Keeping it short and simple

North Tonawanda’s mostly Republican Common Council is efficient. At Tuesday evening meetings, the congenial aldermen agree with each other, swiftly vote on matters like adjusting sewer improvement budgets, and sometimes finish in half the time it takes meeting regular Ann Finkle to drive to City Hall.

In hopes of prodding them to consolidate and meet two times a month – not four – Finkle has taken to announcing the absurdly short meeting lengths: Four, five and seven minutes have been her recent wristwatch tallies.

“I don’t see why they can’t streamline,” said Finkle, a retired teacher who has made a hobby of attending local government meetings. “It just irritates the holy Hannah out of me.”

On Tuesday, the city’s website had a blank spot where the Council’s agenda is usually posted, the first time that has happened in 2½ years under Finkle’s watch.

What happened?

The Council did not have a minute’s worth of real work.

Council President Richard Andres admitted the only thing they had to talk about was another dismal end to a Buffalo Bills football season.

Call it a glimmer of hope for Finkle: at last, a meeting adjustment she could be proud of.

Not a ringing endorsement

Anyone who has ever been in a school cafeteria knows school lunches have seldom looked especially yummy, aside from the pizza or cheeseburgers.

Now, school children are griping more than ever, given the new federal guidelines requiring schools to serve healthier food. That means less fat and salt and more fruits and vegetables.

When the East Aurora School Board this week asked Business Manager Paul Blowers to report on lunch sales, we learned he does not always like to eat the healthy stuff himself.

“I’m among the last to eat at the middle school each day, so I see what goes over well and what does not,” Blowers said.

“Do you try what’s not gone over?” board member MaryBeth Covert asked.

Blowers hesitated, while board members, administrators and residents waited for his response, eventually breaking into laughter.

Finally, he answered.

“Green and orange aren’t my favorite colors. I’m probably the worst of the children,” he admitted. “The food is still pretty good, but there are some issues.”

But scratch off one item from the kids’ complaint list: Blowers reported that the district has addressed student complaints about the size of subs.

Upscale concessions anyone?

A discussion about sponsors for a planned indoor baseball training facility in Lancaster provided some light moments at an otherwise straightforward Town Board work session.

Supervisor Dino Fudoli shared with board members the proposed terms of sponsorship agreements the Lancaster-Depew Baseball League has reached with area companies to offset the cost of the facility in Westwood Park.

Russell J. Salvatore, owner of Russell’s Steaks, Chops & More and an adjoining hotel, would be a sponsor.

“Can we give Salvatore the concessions?” Councilman John Abraham Jr. joked, envisioning higher-end fare instead of hot dogs and popcorn.

“Some nice steaks?” Fudoli added.

“Prime rib,” added Councilwoman Donna Stempniak.

Fudoli went on to say that another potential sponsor, Intense Milk, would get more signage and other recognition than Salvatore in return for its sponsorship payments.

“Poor Russ,” Stempniak said.

“There are two words I’ve never heard together,” Councilman Mark S. Aquino quipped.

Pass the aspirin, please

Business Insider has ranked Buffalo the fifth-most Hungover City in the United States.

The business website looked at Centers for Disease Control statistics on binge drinking and Trulia’s list of cities with the most bars per capita.

It could have just looked at the Buffalo Bills record.

By Patrick Lakamp with contributions from Michelle Kearns, Karen Robinson and Stephen T. Watson. email: