A run-in with a Hall of Famer

Hanover’s Tom Daniels was star struck two weeks ago. Just two doors away from his Cleveland hotel room was one of the greatest football players who ever played the game: Jim Brown.

Not only did Daniels get the chance to rub elbows with the National Football League great, but he was also able to get photos of the legendary running back. “I was thrilled,” Daniels said. “He was the greatest there ever was.”

Daniels, owner of Tom’s Family Restaurant in Irving, was in Ohio for the Garfield Heights Melt the Ice hockey tournament with his wife, Wendy, and their two children, Connor and Jessica. Connor is a player on the Pee Wee travel team that is part of the Northern Chautauqua County Youth Hockey Association Steeler organization.

Brown’s stay at the Embassy Suites was due to a charity event that was being held at the hotel during Presidents’ Day weekend.

Daniels, however, was not alone in his brush with greatness. Other Dunkirk, Fredonia, Forestville and Silver Creek residents were also able to say hello and be pictured with Brown, who accommodated nearly every request.

On Thursday morning, Daniels was contacted while working at his restaurant, which was damaged in an accident last week. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Daniels was pleased to report that contractor Frank Pagano was on the scene and repairs to his building would be completed within two weeks.

As for the Steelers, all three groups of teams – Mites, Squirts and Pee Wees – had excellent showings that weekend with the latter divisions bringing home the championship.

In 2010, then state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo was instrumental in getting a law passed that allowed for the dissolution of villages. Since that legislation, however, only one major village, Seneca Falls in the Finger Lakes, has officially dissolved and become part of the town of Seneca Falls.

During his visit last week to the Fredonia State incubator, I asked Sam Hoyt, regional president of the Empire State Development Corp., if the issue of consolidation and mergers has fallen off Cuomo’s agenda now that he has become governor.

“It remains a priority,” Hoyt said following his area presentation on Cuomo’s January State of the State message.

“You’re right. It hasn’t been front and center,” he said later. “One of my responses is … (Cuomo) remains a proponent.”

Though consolidation was not mentioned in the State of the State address this year, Hoyt pointed to funding and incentives the governor has put forth in the last two years for the school districts to merge.

“I will promise you this, included in the memo that I submit (to the governor) … I will include the fact that you raised it and you applaud it.”

For Hoyt’s complete response to the consolidation question, visit www.observertoday and my “In our neighborhood” blog.

John D’Agostino is the OBSERVER publisher. Send comments to jdagostino@observertoday.com or call 366-3000, ext. 401.