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Off Main/ June 6, 2015

Trans-Atlantic boost

A contact of ours was recently in London and picked up a copy of the Guardian newspaper to find a travel piece about … Buffalo.

The story, by a Toronto-based writer, told our friends across the pond about the revival of places like the Olmsted Richardson Complex, the Darwin Martin House and restaurants like Oshun that brought old buildings back to life.

“In Buffalo, the future’s never far from the past,” the piece concludes.

Londoners, if you like what you read about Buffalo, you have a chance to show it: the Bills play at Wembley Stadium in October.

Out-of-this-world view

If you play #SpaceGeo and you’re familiar with Western New York, you had an edge in this week’s installment.

Astronaut Scott Kelly’s space-tinged geography game, in which he tweets a photo from the International Space Station and asks his followers to name the location depicted, on Wednesday focused on Buffalo Niagara’s natural wonder: Niagara Falls.

“Legend of the Falls has lured daredevils here for centuries. Name it!” wrote Kelly in the tweet, which included a picture of Niagara Falls. Unusually, because of Kelly’s viewpoint, Canada appeared on the bottom of the image and Niagara Falls, N.Y., at top.

Plenty of people answered Kelly’s question. The first response? “Niagra.”

The misspelling wasn’t an issue, judging by Kelly’s announcement of the answer: “A: #NiagraFalls.”

“Amazing,” replied one Twitter user. “We have a falls of a similar name in Ontario ... called Niagara.”

‘Favorited’ benefits

It’s no secret that U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez is a strong proponent of benefits that allow American workers paid time off to care for a newborn or other family member who needs care at home.

Perez is also adamant that it is a benefit that is hugely popular with the bulk of the American public. In fact, he’s certain it’s right up there with a few of the country’s other favorite things, which Perez revealed in a post on Twitter earlier this week:

“#PaidLeave is supported by 80% of Americans. This just in: It’s as popular as ice cream and a boxful of kittens,” Perez tweeted.

That sounds like nearly everybody, with the exception of the lactose intolerant and those in fear of succumbing to terminal cuteness.

Food holidays

Doughnuts were on a roll Friday, nabbing attention in newspapers across the country, filling hours of TV news reports and trending on Twitter.

The saturation coverage was such that is was hard not to know it was National Doughnut Day. With all the buildup and accompanying freebies and discounts on the ubiquitous breakfast dessert, most likely far fewer consumers were aware that it was preceded by National Cheese Day on Thursday. There didn’t seem to be much news about the free cheese platters and discounted fondue in the lead-up that Saturday is National Gingerbread Day.

A sprinkle vs. a spread

Erie Community College biology instructor Jill O’Malley did her best to bring the ivory tower down to earth for Erie County legislators this week.

O’Malley, one of three speakers at a public hearing Thursday on the latest proposed ECC budget, constructed a detailed farming analogy in presenting a case for more funding for the college.

She likened students to the “seeds” and faculty as farmers in the field. She then offered up New York State, which provides roughly $31 million toward the college’s $111 million budget, as the sunshine, and Erie County, which gives $17.5 million, as the rainfall. But O’Malley also pointed out that the county’s share equates to far less than the one-third share that sponsoring counties are supposed to provide for their community colleges. “Unfortunately,” she said, “the water is being withheld.”

Legislator Kevin R. Hardwick, an academic himself, appreciated O’Malley’s restraint in driving home her point.

After the hearing, he thanked her “for making us the water – and not the fertilizer.”

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with contributions by Matt Glynn, Sara Meehan, and Jay Tokasz.