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Off Main Street /

Meet the mystery woman

Everyone wanted to know who the woman from Russia was. Who was that woman who showed up unexpectedly in Buffalo Federal Court on Thursday with Bills head coach Rex Ryan and brother Rob in tow?

Turns out it was Lila Weeks, wife of Bills assistant coach Jeff Weeks, a longtime friend of the Ryan brothers. She was in the downtown courthouse to take an oath of citizenship, one of 60 immigrants from 26 countries taking part in a naturalization ceremony.

The Ryans wouldn’t comment on Thursday, leaving everyone to wonder who the mystery woman was, but Rex later confirmed they were there to celebrate Lila’s citizenship.

Jeff Weeks, the Bills’ assistant defensive line coach, became one of Ryan’s best friends when the two played football at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Weeks also coached with both Ryans at Morehead State in Kentucky.

Just how close are the three?

The New York Daily News profiled the three friends – Weeks and Rex Ryan were with the New York Jets at the time – and suggested more than once that their early relationship was based on two things: football and “raising hell.” Weeks is still remembered as the college pal who ran through a pane of glass in an all-girls dorm to catch one of Ryan’s passes.

“Weeks is the one who has the shovel, and knows where all the bones of the bodies buried in the Ryans’ past are,” Mark Carrier, a former Jets assistant, told the Daily News.

Snow? No problem in Buffalo

When it comes handling large amounts of snow, Buffalo-area residents are the most resilient, according a survey done by the Thumbtack Journal, an online entity that assists residents and businesses in hiring professionals for personal projects.

Surprisingly, our neighbors 70 miles east turned out to be among the least resilient in the nation at taking on the results of winter’s fury. Monroe County came in as the second least tolerant of traceable snowfall, behind Springfield, Mass. According to Thumbtack, on average, Rochester-area residents tend to call for a private plow service when there is less than an inch of snow.

On the other end of the spectrum, the hardy folks in Erie County needed to see 9.7 inches of snow on the ground before deciding to place a call for outside help, which is, perhaps, not that surprising at all. Chicago residents were ranked the second most resilient, requiring 8.8 inches of snow before calling for help.

To arrive at its conclusions, Thumbtack recorded every day there was snowfall in 35 different counties across the country and compared it to the number of requests it received that day for shoveling or snow-removal services. Those responding to solicitations at the front door weren’t included in Thumbtack’s survey.

Too much of a good thing

Speaking of snow, this weekend Mother Nature is unleashing a deluge on some parts of the country while generally sparing the Buffalo area its wrath.

New York City, it turns out, is not so lucky.

This weekend, the Big Apple had planned to hold its annual Winter Jam, billed as the city’s “Ultimate Snow Day.” At first, city officials weren’t so sure they could pull it off, since there was not enough snow on the ground to mold a decent snowball.

So, last Sunday, the city went ahead and hired a small crew to pump 3 feet of fake snow onto the band shell area in Central Park at West 72nd Street to get ready for the event.

Well, that turned out to be overkill. With the news that a big storm was coming Saturday, the city’s parks department made the call Thursday to cancel the winter fun fest.

“It’s very weird – a snow day for the snow day,” a parks conservancy worker told the New York Post after learning of the cancellation.

“You’d think it’d be perfect,” she said of nature’s predicted bounty.

Off Main Street is written by Harold McNeil, with a contribution by Phil Fairbanks.