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Best foot forward

There are teachable moments, and then there are marketable moments.

Vermont hunter Colin Phillips experienced both two weeks ago when he spent hours stranded in Genesee County’s Alabama swamps after falling through the ice into waist-deep water while tracking a deer he had shot. Two local firefighters who came to his aid also became stranded. That’s when the Erie County Sheriff’s Office Air One helicopter crew flew to the rescue.

Through it all, Phillips’ feet remained remarkably warm and dry.

“I honestly believe if it were not for the Woody Max Muck boots that I had on, I would not have survived after having them completely submerged for the seven hours,” Phillips told the Original Muck Boot Co. “Once on the island, the boots and water inside stayed ... warm, keeping my feet comfortable waiting for helicopter rescue.”

Phillips added that one of the firemen who saved him actually had a rougher time of it, because he was wearing ordinary rubber boots.

Phillips “inspired us to help him pay it forward and outfit the local responders with Muck Boots of their own,” said Sean O’Brien, global director of retail footwear.

The company is giving new boots to Phillips and the 24 members of the Alabama Volunteer Fire Department’s new backwoods rescue team.

Salvatore does it his way

It shouldn’t be too surprising that well-known Lancaster restaurateur Russell J. Salvatore desires to be interred in a four-column mausoleum in front of his Transit Road restaurant.

Anyone who has visited Russell’s Steaks, Chops and More knows Salvatore’s reputation for enjoying outsized, grand environments, and his meticulous attention to detail.

Though Salvatore, 80, has no immediate plans to use the mausoleum, the stage seems set.

When a Buffalo News reporter called Salvatore to find out more about plans for his final resting place and was briefly put on hold, the sounds of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” wafted over the line.

“I’ve lived a life that’s full,” Sinatra sang.

Indeed, Salvatore has done things his way.

Airport earns its wings

Buffalo doesn’t fare so well on lists compiled by national reporters.(The city can be an acquired taste, we know.) But not always.

Take Global Post’s list of the best airports in which to be stranded.

The holiday piece tries to find the silver lining of what is typically regarded as one of the worst inconveniences of modern travel.

While Tokyo’s Narita Airport made the list for its rooftop deck, and Brussels’ airport was praised for its chocolate, Buffalo Niagara International Airport won a spot on the list for its wings, sold in the Anchor Bar restaurant there.

No doubt the Cheektowaga location has less personality than its granddaddy on Main Street, but when you’re snowed in, who cares about ambience?

Call it our bright spot

Buffalo’s Z80 labs, a start-up incubator downtown, was featured in business magazine Fast Company in an article titled, “4 lessons your startup can learn from a Rust Belt incubator.”

Reporter Rebecca Greenfield interviewed Z80 founder Jordan Levy and noted how his commitment to his hometown and his relationships with others in the venture capital world have helped local entrepreneurs.

If the word spreads that innovation is happening in Buffalo, we at Off Main certainly can’t complain.

Though, we couldn’t help but notice that the article ran with a photo of The Buffalo News building, where Z80 is located, taken on a particularly dreary Buffalo day.

Or maybe it was just a normal Buffalo day.

Greenfield describes Z80’s offices as having a “ping pong table and red furniture, in the otherwise dreary Buffalo News building.”

Hey, we resemble that remark.

Written by Jill Terreri, with contributions from Janice L. Habuda and Karen Robinson. email: offmain@buffnews.com