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The offbeat side of the news

No cup o’ joe for John

Coffee and doughnuts go together like peanut butter and jelly or peaches and cream, right?

Well, not necessarily. Some might prefer one or the other, or one with something else.

Fortunately, those various preferences were easily accommodated during Thursday’s grand opening of the new Tim Hortons at HarborCenter, which rightly could be described as a paean to coffee and hockey culture.

For added measure, Kim Pegula – co-owner of the Bills and wife of Sabres owner, Terry Pegula – was there waiting to serve steaming hot chocolate to some the new franchise’s first customers. Standing at the door with her was HarborCenter president John Koelmel who, while talking up the one-of-a-kind coffee shop/hockey museum ambiance of waterfront attraction, also admitted that he is not a coffee fan.

“As you can tell, I have a doughnut or two from time to time,” he said, “but I’m not a coffee guy.”

Win column

We already know Buffalo has a few distinctive “firsts” in its history, such as being the first U.S. city to have electric street lighting back in 1881.

Apparently, the City of Light is not too shabby in the “seconds,” either. According to a recent travel posting at Huffington Post, “Buffalo, New York: 20 Surprising Reasons Culture Vultures and Foodies Should Visit Now,” the Albright-Knox Art Gallery boasts the second-largest number of columns in the country.

The first is the U.S. Capitol building, which has tiers of cast iron columns as part of its edifice, as well as 40 sandstone columns, which support the arches holding up the floor of the Capitol Rotunda.

We called Maria Scully-Morreale, head of marketing, corporate and public relations for the Albright-Knox, to see if anybody had done a count of the various columns incorporated into its design. Scully-Morreale said she believes the claim in Huffington Post is accurate, but determining an exact number would take a while.

“We can count the outside, but there are some original columns in our basements, and such. So we’ll have to go around and investigate,” Scully-Morreale said.

We’ll report back as soon as they complete the tally.

A grand stand

The Republican majority of the Erie County Legislature made it clear a month ago that it had no will to approve salary increases of between 16 and 29 percent for the county executive, comptroller, clerk and sheriff that were recommended by a citizens panel.

Apparently, that wasn’t enough of a promise for Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw who doubled down on his vow to reject a pay raise.

“If I do receive a pay raise ... I will donate the difference to charity,” he told lawmakers during a public hearing on recommended raises Thursday.

It can’t be too difficult to reject a raise you know you’re never going to get.

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil.