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Off Main Street: Reaping what they Tso

Unusual reprieve

Kenmore Village Court proceedings were going along smoothly Tuesday night, until a young woman was called before Judge Scott Riordan to contest a traffic ticket.

The woman handed her ticket to Riordan, whose look quickly turned to one of puzzlement.

“Did you write on your ticket?” Riordan asked the woman.

“My friend did,” the woman replied.

“Your friend wrote, ‘General Tso says no’ on your ticket?” the judge asked.

“Yes,” said the woman.

After several moments, Riordan gave the woman a reprieve.

“Despite what General Tso says, I will dismiss it,” Riordan said.

We’re not sure what the woman’s friend meant. Was she referring to the Chinese statesman in the late Qing Dynasty? Or perhaps she mistook the ticket for a Chinese takeout order form?

If you’re reading this, let us know.

Twin politicians

While he won’t be raising the gavel in the House anytime soon, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz probably could if he wanted.

Poloncarz has been told before that he bears a resemblance to the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, but he didn’t realize just how similar the two looked until a recent visit to the capitol.

Walking the hallways with Congressman Brian Higgins, the two caught a number of passers-by glancing curiously in Poloncarz’s direction.

It did not take them long to realize the source of confusion, especially now that both Poloncarz and Ryan sport facial hair.

“He’s my doppelganger,” Poloncarz said.

Musical motivation

West Herr Auto Group gave its employees a holiday party they’ll never forget Wednesday night with a surprise performance by the Goo Goo Dolls.

Employees were only told the party would be at Shea’s Performing Arts Center and that they “didn’t want to miss the last 90 minutes.”

When the Goos took the stage, the shocked audience erupted.

“Everyone was surprised and started screaming. No one expected it,” said Cory Thie of Buffalo.

It was the first time Thie has seen the Goo Goo Dolls live.“It reminded me of an upscale acoustic show like a big coffee shop performance. It was real low key.”

Danea Johnson, 32, from Cheektowaga, is a longtime Goo Goo Dolls fan who attended the event with her boyfriend, Jason Helmbrecht.

“From what they said, we thought it was going to be a motivational speaker. We thought it would be someone we knew, but never expected the Goo Goo Dolls,” Johnson said.

Sparks in City Hall

Those South Park Sparks brought plenty of spark to City Hall on Wednesday. During the visit, city officials showered the football players with everything from wisdom and life lessons to Buffalo keepsakes.

The team made history last week when it became the first in the Buffalo school system to win a state title.

South District Councilman Chris Scanlon praised the players for making a commitment to working together.

“As a result,” he told the students, “you made history.”

Scanlon also told the champs he hopes to see them back in City Hall “next year with a back to back.”

Mayor Byron W. Brown gave each of the football players a couple of gifts, including a pen and a Buffalo pin.

“We want them to carry Buffalo in their hearts,” Brown said. “Each of them are in our hearts.”

The city also declared Dec. 2 South Park Sparks Day.

Off Main Street is written by Tiffany Lankes with contributions from Joseph Popiolkowski, Toni Ruberto, Susan Schulman, Lou Michel and Stephen T. Watson. email: