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Off Main Street /

Picking Peter’s pockets

Hamburg Highway Superintendent Tom Best told the Town Board this week that a section of North Hampton Brook Drive had washed away and he did not have any money in his budget to fix it.

What about the 11 roads you plan to pave this summer, they asked him. How about using some of that money to repair North Hampton Brook?

“I don’t believe in stealing from Peter to pay Paul,” Best said. “You solve one problem and create 11 others. There are 11 roads out there that are in bad shape.”

“You’re not stealing from Peter to pay Paul,” Supervisor Steven Walters said, as he carried the analogy a bit further: “Peter broke his hand and now Peter can’t get a new pair of sneakers.”

“When are you going to pay Paul back?” Best asked.

“Paul’s not even involved in this,” Walter said.

“Better tell Peter,” Best advised.

Something fishy about carp

The ancient fish mounted to the sign at Sturgeon Point Marina in Evans would seem to advertise a species frequenting the nearby waters.

It is large, long, submarinelike, gray, bony and has four unmistakable barbels underneath its pointed snout.

But, the only fish to be seen in the harbor on a particular day this week were each about a foot long, bright orange and meandering around the dozens of docked boats.

That led us to three possible conclusions:

• There’s a new brightly colored invasive species taking over the Great Lakes.

• The lake sturgeon species has completed its 135-million-year evolution into goldfish.

• Or, Polly and Bubbles outgrew their tank in a nearby Old Lake Shore Road mansion.

None of the above, assured a nearby resident and fishing aficionado.

“Golden carp,” he confidently announced.

Or just maybe all of the above, according to Wikipedia, which defines a goldfish as a domesticated species of an Asian carp.

Buzzing back

Three weeks ago, an Off Main item chronicled the mysterious saga of a remote-controlled drone aircraft, hovering annoyingly with its camera above the Orange Cat coffee house patio in Lewiston.

Well, the drone’s operator appears to have – at least partially – stepped out of anonymity to explain that he is a budding entrepreneur practicing aerial photography for a photo business he is starting. In an email to this column, he added that he is well within his rights, per the Federal Aviation Administration. He did, however, recognize that hovering at a low altitude can be, in his words, “obviously not discreet.”

But what about the folks serenely sipping their morning java and the invasion of privacy they experienced?

This is what the drone pilot said:

“Your story is nothing more than a story of sketched-out individuals that think everyone’s out to get them! I guess it’s natural to be scared of something we don’t know about.”

We’re not sure whether too much caffeine could fan the flames of paranoia, but it is curious that our correspondent purporting to be the anonymous pilot refused to reveal his identity when asked.

“No need for revealing names. It’s quite irrelevant,” he replied.

Perhaps the paranoia flows both ways.

Discreet tweets

Denim is out for Erie County legislators and their staff while conducting formal business in Legislature chambers, and so are loud cellphones.

Majority Leader Joseph Lorigo’s resolution that set the new rule was approved Thursday in a 6-4 vote of the Legislature. Texting and tweeting are allowed, but only if one’s cellphone is on silent or vibrate. Good thing, as Lorigo has been known to tweet (quietly, of course) during legislative sessions if the mood strikes him.

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with contributions by Barbara O’Brien, T.J. Pignataro and Lou Michel. email: