Eating your way to health

A good-faith effort to reverse Buffalo’s reputation as a place that only serves up tasty chicken wings, hot dogs and doughnuts took place on the steps of City Hall on the eve of the Taste of Buffalo.

Representatives from Independent Health were promoting their “Healthy Options” program at the Taste, in which each restaurant is required to sell an item that could be construed as “healthy.”

The requirements aren’t too strenuous, except that they are expected to be under 600 calories.

“We don’t want to take away the flavor of what they’re trying to do with their items,” said Carrie Meyer, executive director of the Independent Health Foundation.

To make the point that you can eat at a restaurant known for barbecue and still be healthy, the owner of Fat Bob’s was brought in to demonstrate. The Virginia Place restaurant will be serving up creole chicken wraps.

Other offerings include a spinach burger from Go Veggies Cafe and flavored ice from Anderson’s.

Taste Chairman Joe Lane thanked Independent Health for “changing the waist of Buffalo.”

Pridgen’s slippery slope

At Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, Buffalo lawmakers plowed through a batch of resolutions, many of which required little in the way of discussion, not even a pithy quip.

That is, until the Council got to the point in the agenda where lawmakers took up requests to waive permit fees for various street fairs.

It’s a rather routine annual exercise aimed at helping the local nonprofit groups that sponsor these events defray costs.

When it came time for the Council to consider Ellicott District Council Member Darius G. Pridgen’s request to waive permit fees associated with the 44th annual Grease Pole Festival set for next weekend at the Olivencia Community Center, Council President Richard A. Fontana offered a dare instead.

“We’ll approve the request if you agree to climb the pole in that suit,” Fontana said to the always nattily dressed Pridgen.

It got a laugh, but Pridgen didn’t take the dare, and the Council voted for it.

A park by any name ...

The controversy about possibly renaming Rogers Avenue Park in Lockport for the late Buffalo Officer Patricia Parete, a proposal that was rejected, really irked Deputy Niagara County Historian Craig Bacon.

He didn’t take a stand for or against honoring Parete.

What upset Bacon was that the name of the park was wrong to begin with.

Even though everyone calls it Rogers Avenue Park, and the sign says Rogers Avenue Park, Bacon said his research in Lockport Common Council records shows that the correct name is “The Rogers Park,” as ordered by the Council in 1939.

The area used to be called Rogers Grove. It and the street are named for a family of early settlers who were prominent in business when Lockport was founded almost 200 years ago.

“It is not known why it has recently been referred to as Rogers Avenue Park,” Bacon told the Council at a recent meeting.

The fact that it’s located on Rogers Avenue is probably a good guess.

Arresting humor

At Friday afternoon’s promotional ceremony for members of the Buffalo Police Department in headquarters, the gathering did not start promptly at 1 o’clock, as scheduled.

Turns out there was a crime to be investigated, according to emcee Dennis J. Richards, chief of detectives and the force’s chief quipster.

He explained to the packed room of officers and their loved ones, “Someone had stolen the toilet from the men’s locker room at headquarters.”

He then tossed out the punch line in the room, that was hot and stuffy: “Police have nothing to go on.”

Written by Jill Terreri, with contributions from Harold McNeil, Thomas J. Prohaska and Lou Michel. email: