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Off Main Street: The offbeat side of the news

A pest control solution

Frank Maddock found an innovative way to keep attention on Lancaster’s rodent problem.

Maddock, a regular at government meetings, turned up at the Village Board meeting this week with a mini pencil sharpener fashioned into a yellow and clear garbage tote with little black tires.

On his way into the meeting, Maddock presented it to Deputy Mayor Kenneth L. O’Brien III, who has been outspoken about how the village should handle its rodent problem. He wants the village to get residents to follow garbage rules and possibly consider totes when the garbage contract is up for renewal in a few years.

“Maybe this will help eliminate our rodent problem.”

The little treasure cost just 50 cents and Maddock bought it at the William Street School school store after finishing up his weekly volunteering.

“The William Street School has the answer for the rodent problem,” Maddock said as he handed the tote pencil sharpener to O’Brien, “I just happened to notice them in the bookstore the other day. I said to myself, ‘Geez, I was thinking of Trustee O’Brien. He was the one when the rodent controversy started that was discussing the pros and cons of totes.’ ”

He said he chose O’Brien because he regularly enjoys “busting his chops.”

What did O’Brien have to say afterward?

“I think it’s hysterical,” he said. “Although it has been a controversy, it can still be joked about.”

As for Maddock, he is not a tote advocate.

“I am pro-obeying the rules and regulations and not pro-tote,” he said.

Twin fashion plates

It was the battle of the summer jackets at the Erie County Legislature’s Energy and Environment Committee meeting Thursday. Legislator Ted Morton, who chairs the committee, wore a pale blue sports jacket, while Legislator Kevin Hardwick wore a slightly less pale version of the same jacket.

“My jacket is lighter than yours, so we’re not going to clash totally,” Morton told Hardwick.

He also pointed out that Hardwick has a little more hair “so they won’t mix us up.”

Not-as-long a shot

The Penguins have barely finished celebrating their Stanley Cup victory, but oddsmakers are already looking to next season.

Bovada released odds for NHL teams to win the 2016-17 title, and (surprise) installed the Penguins as the favorite.

The Sabres were tied with the Leafs for the longest odds, at 66 to 1. But look on the bright side: last year at this time, the Sabres were a 100-to-1 shot.

And how about this: Bovada last year gave the Penguins only 14-to-1 odds, tied with three other teams for just the sixth-best chance of winning it all.

Too tall – and too ugly

It seems a good bet that the Common Council next week will approve the 23-story building planned for the former Freezer Queen site on Buffalo’s waterfront.

But a unanimous vote seems unlikely, at least not without Council members voicing some reservations.

When the issue came up at this week’s Council meeting, some members already stepped up to criticize the project.

“I think it’s too tall,” said Fillmore Council Member Dave Franczyk. “It’s not the prettiest building. It looks like a pagoda.”

Niagara Council Member David Rivera continued the critique:

“I’m not opposed to development,” Rivera started out, before offering a somewhat blunt appraisal.

“I think the building is ugly,” he said. “I just don’t find the building attractive at all.

Off Main Street is written by Tiffany Lankes with contributions from Karen Robinson, Sandra Tan, Matt Glynn and Susan Schulman