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The offbeat side of the news: The Force Among Us, ‘Turtles’ trailer, Ryan twins

The Force among us

If 18,000 baseball fans wielding glow-in-the-dark laser swords at Coca-Cola Field for the Buffalo Bisons’ annual Star Wars night is any indication, Western New Yorkers love the film franchise.

But are we really secretly living in that galaxy “far, far away?”

With a little assist from Peter Myhalenko and Gil Guemes, members of the Buffalo-based North Ridge Star Wars fan club, The Buffalo News has uncovered some evidence that the force may be unusually strong here.

Among the findings:

Taunton Place in North Buffalo – Clearly named after the tauntauns that Luke Skywalker and Han Solo rode on the icy planet of Hoth in “Empire Strikes Back.”

North Ridge Road – Otherwise known as Route 93 out of Youngstown. Could it be connected to the “North Ridge” references in “Empire Strikes Back,” from which the local fan group got its name?

The Sabres – Short for lightsabers, right? Although with their track record, their scoring has been about as accurate as Stormtroopers with their blasters.

The Skylon Tower – Go to Niagara Falls State Park on a misty day and look toward the Canadian side. It sure could pass for Cloud City.

One more: Is Mark Poloncarz our only hope? The Erie County executive seems to be feeling the Force. He changed his Twitter pic Thursday to that of a bearded Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

More than words

Longtime Buffalo Public Schools administrator James Kane has quite a few stories to tell from his decades with the district. And Kane, who started in 1989, shared a few of them this week at his last board meeting before retiring.

There was the time he outbid prominent developer – and later boss on the School Board – Carl Paladino for a piece of property.

He’s seen scores of superintendents and board members come – and go – through the door, each one contributing to the district’s – er – unique brand of politics.

After all of those years, Kane said, he has just one regret – he never wrote a book about his experiences.

“It’s fascinating, some of the things that have happened,” he told the board.

“That’s one way to put it,” responded School Board President James Sampson.

Cowabunga, dudes!

Commuters know just how crazy the Kensington Expressway can get during rush hour.

But the trailer for “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows” took travel on the familiar route to a whole other level.

About 25 seconds of the newly released, two-minute, 25-second trailer show footage shot on the Kensington, where scenes were filmed in May.

The scene shows a group of motorcycles converging on an armored vehicle. An explosion tosses several SUVs in the air.

Wait, isn’t that East Utica Street?

Twin twins

The Ryan twins celebrated birthdays on Dec. 13. So did the other Ryan twins.

Many Buffalo sports fans know that Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan and his twin brother, Rob, who is also a pro football coach, were born minutes apart on Dec. 13, 1962. But they aren’t the only twins with Buffalo connections born on Dec. 13.

Rock musicians Tom and Rick Ryan, who played with Weekend, one of the most popular local bands of the 1970s, were born exactly 11 years before Rex and his brother.

Weekend still gets together for occasional shows, with Tom on drums and Rick on bass guitar.

Tom Ryan is a Bills fan, and he happened to be watching Rex Ryan’s TV show recently when the coach was talking about what it is like to share a birthday with a twin. Tom Ryan said he’s been talking about the same thing for years.

“I miss being the only Ryan twins in Buffalo,” Tom Ryan said.

Off Main Street is written by Tiffany Lankes with contributions from Maki Becker and Aaron Besecker.