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Off Main Street /

Vidler’s in Vienna

Vidler’s 5 & 10 in East Aurora has gone international, at least online.

The store was featured in the Austrian press this past week in an article in Futurezone, which is the online tech site for Austria’s largest daily newspaper, “Die Kurier.”

“Anyone looking for a Spaetzle maker or a Krampus mask in the U.S. will find it at Vidler’s 5 & 10 in the biggest store in the world,” an English translation of the article begins.

The translation from German, provided by Google Translate, is rough, but it’s good publicity for a local business.

“Don’t know if this will mean direct flights from Vienna to Buffalo, but we’ll keep the Spätzlehobel und Krampusmaske in stock just in case!” said proprietor Don Vidler in an email notifying us of the international attention.

A first fan

Not many people can claim they’ve been Buffalo Bills fans for more than five and a half decades, starting a year before the team’s inaugural kickoff in 1960.

But Ray Deibel, the Trico Products engineer who died last week at age 98, started his 56-year passion for the Bills in the fall of 1959.

That’s when he attended a luncheon for local business leaders at the downtown Hotel Statler, where would-be owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. was seeking season-ticket commitments.

Deibel liked the sales pitch and the price of season tickets – just $35 apiece. He thought Wilson was “a nice young man,” Deibel family members recalled with a laugh this week. And in a recent recording made by one of his grandchildren, he said of Wilson, “He gave such a good talk that I couldn’t help but buy a ticket.”

Deibel still attended games right up through last season, at age 97, and remained a huge fan until his death. A week before he died, after learning about coach Rex Ryan’s recent sky dive, he quipped, “I hope he’s as good a coach as a paratrooper.”

‘A-mazing’ welcome

Meanwhile, the Bills received an “a-mazing” welcome on the first day spring training Friday at St. John Fisher College, outside of Rochester.

The message – which reads “Go Bills” and features the name and likeness of newly named Bills coach Rex Ryan – has been cut into a six-acre cornfield owned by Stokoe Farms in Scottsville, and is best viewed from the air. Julie Izzo-Niedzwick, director of operations and marketing for Stokoe Farms, came up with idea and posted a photograph of the finished product on Twitter Friday.

Izzo-Niedzwick, who also is an alumna of St. John Fisher, said there is a palpable excitement over the prospect of Ryan coaching the Bills this season.

“It just brings an energy to the Bills that I haven’t seen for a while. So I was like, we really need to pay homage to that,” she said.

“We kind of feel like the Bills are Rochester’s (team), as much as everybody else’s. We’re still close, just 45 minutes down the Thruway or so,” Izzo-Niedzwick added.

A team of four from the Maze Co. of Utah took four hours to cut the maze, will be open to the public on weekends only, beginning Sept. 12 through Oct. 25

Oh, dear

The sight of a deer carcass that had been left to rot outside a shuttered John Deere plant was no laughing matter for residents who happened upon it earlier this week across the border in Welland, Ont., but there was some irony in the happenstance.

The dead animal, clearly visible behind a fence at the closed factory, had been left to decompose for an unknown length of time, the Welland Tribune reported this week. The grisly sight – not the mention the stench – was not at all pleasing to motorists and other passersby, prompting a vow by Welland Mayor Frank Campion that it would be removed immediately.

At least the incident resulted in a clever headline in the Tribune: “Dead Deer Discovered at Dead Deere Plant.”

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with contributions by Michelle Kearns and Gene Warner.