Share this article

print logo

Off Main Street / The offbeat side of the news

Totes branches out

Totes McGoats launched into Internet stardom last year after the City of Niagara Falls revealed him as its recycling mascot.

Now, the somewhat creepy goat head on a man’s body is looking to diversify his brand. Next week, the local fan fave will debut a video (educational, we’re told) along with a theme song.

There will even be a special release party.

The city debuted Totes in October, and the mascot immediately became a social media sensation. (“Niagara Falls’ Terrifying Recycling Mascot Is Named Totes McGoats”), Mashable (“Niagara Falls has a terrifying new recycling mascot”), Cosmopolitan (“The Internet Is Freaking Out Over This Terrifying Recycling Mascot Named Totes McGoats”) and Huffington Post (with a headline that’s not appropriate for a family newspaper) all picked up on the story.

Totes even had his own Twitter impersonator.

So it’s really only natural for the mascot to continue building his stardom in the music business. The city will unveil the video during a special event at 6 p.m. Feb. 9 at the city’s conference center, although organizers offer a word of caution.

“WARNING: We will not be held responsible for the Totes McGoats theme song getting stuck in your head!”

Insiders speculate Totes is already contemplating his own clothing and premium vodka brands.

Shadow city

Buffalo is used to falling in the shadow of larger cities on this side of the border.

But who knew that some of our Canadian friends felt the same way about us?

A recent article in the New York Times recounts the many reasons Canada has become suddenly “hip” with the increasing popularity of its new prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

“An expanse once stereotyped as the home to square-jawed Mounties and beer-swilling ‘hosers’ has quietly morphed into a multicultural breeding ground that has given us the Weeknd, who can’t feel his face; the director Sarah Polley, who makes films of subtle power; and the upstart fashion designer Tanya Taylor, whose creations have been worn by Michelle Obama,” the article states.

But it wasn’t always that way.

One commenter in the article reflects on days past when Canadians felt very much in the shadow of ... Buffalo?

“For a treat we would take family trips to Niagara Falls, and I’d always want to cross the border and go to Buffalo, to go shopping!” remarks particularly zealous Joe Zee, who was raised in Toronto. “Buffalo, N.Y., was my rainbow growing up – it’s where the pot of gold was.”

Lost in time

Kenmore’s Roosevelt Elementary School may be facing its final days, but thanks to a surprise discovery by some maintenance workers, a part of its history can remain.

For years, no one knew what became of the time capsule buried at the school in 1976 to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial. The original intent was to open it 50 years later – in 2026 – to celebrate the school’s 100th anniversary.

But the plan hit a snag along the way when it had to be dug up during a construction project. After that, no one knew what became of the capsule.

That changed recently, when two maintenance workers found the capsule wedged between two pieces of old furniture in a boiler room.

“I looked inside the tube and saw a white garbage bag,” said Robert Brock, a 31-year veteran of the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District who has previously worked at Kenmore East and Kenmore West high schools. “I didn’t think anything of it at first but I thought I should check just in case. After examining the contents, I immediately knew of its historical significance.”

The school is planning an official unveiling to coincide with an end-of-year closing celebration, but a sneak preview reveals an unused Kodak flash cube, Play-Doh and special seeds used as ammunition for a pea shooter.

Off Main Street is written by Tiffany Lankes with contributions by Nancy A. Fischer. email: