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OFF MAIN STREET / THE OFFBEAT SIDE OF THE NEWS

OFF MAIN STREET / THE OFFBEAT SIDE OF THE NEWS

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Cheers at McWedding

We're not sure if it was McLove at first sight, but we know they didn't need any Happy Meals to please the guests after Michael Size and Pamela Panapinto were married at the McDonald's restaurant in Arcade on Friday morning.

The couple, along with Panapinto's 4-year-old son, Tyler, had their first date at McDonald's. Eight months later, he popped the question -- at McDonald's, taking the hamburger chain's slogan "I'm Lovin' It" to heart.

The happy couple was selected from among 16 couples for WYRK's McWedding promotion, in which listeners cast more than two million votes online. Size and Panapinto received more than one million votes.

Along with the ceremony and reception facilities, Size and Panapinto received food for 50 guests, courtesy of McDonald's, and gifts from area retailers. Toasting the couple was Ronald McDonald. The total value of the newlyweds' prize package is $12,260.

Hmmm, maybe McDonald's hasn't phased out all of its Supersizes.

A close call

Neither of the two long-abandoned 14th Street properties was left standing at the end of the day.

The mayor almost went down, too.

Members of Voice-Buffalo, an organization of about three dozen religious congregations, were understandably excited as they gathered to watch the demolition of the West Side houses last week. They've been pushing for demolition for about two years.

Sister Susan Bowles, one of the group's leaders, seemed more impatient than anybody else.

She zipped down 14th Street as she arrived for the demolition, honking the car horn as she swerved onto the sidewalk at Our Lady of Loretto Catholic Church, near the doomed houses.

Mayor Anthony M. Masiello shouted, "Hey!" just before her car came to a stop near him. He wasn't sure who was driving or where the car was going to end up.

It looked like he was ready to start a lecture on poor driving habits -- until he saw who got out of the car. He bit his tongue.

Voice-Buffalo has sometimes taken a confrontational approach with City Hall officials, and he's been targeted by the group in the past.

But this time, the golf shirt Masiello was wearing may have saved him from another run-in with Voice-Buffalo.

"I think she was looking for somebody wearing a jacket and tie," the mayor said of Sister Susan's driving.

Red sky at night? $25

It's hard to put a price tag on a beautiful sunset, but the Lake Erie Seaway Trail Visitors Center is trying: $25.

That's how much it costs to "buy" and dedicate your very own Lake Erie sunset.

The new center in Hamburg, which opened Friday, is selling sunsets as a fund-raiser. Buyers get a print of the sunset with the date, their name and the recipient's name.

Kathy Hochul, a Hamburg Town Board member and head of the center's board, said she figured if people can sell the stars in the sky, they could sell sunsets.

The program started last month. So far, Hochul said, they've sold about 15 sunsets, including one bought in memory of a deceased pet.

More dates are available through August. Call Hochul at 649-6111, Ext. 2237.

However, buyers won't get a rain refund. "As an attorney, I have to put in a disclaimer: There are no guarantees of a perfect sunset," she said.

Giving his best shot

As weather warnings go, it will be tough for any big city mayor to top Jimmy Griffin's well-quoted "six pack" remark during a blizzard in early 1985.

But last weekend, as Hurricane Dennis bore down on the Gulf Coast, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin gave it a shot, as he told residents there not to worry. Sort of.

"We want you to be somewhat comfortable," he said, "but not totally relaxed."

Perhaps a nickname change is in order: The Somewhat Big Easy.

Written by Bruce Andriatch with contributions from Barbara O'Brien, Stephen T. Watson and Patrick LaKamp.

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