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Niagara Honor Roll / Achievers and achievements

The Health Association of Niagara County recently honored Robin Ripple with the Karen Albond Courage in Caring Award.

Ripple, an individual with developmental disabilities, "is a very dynamic and passionate person who not only advocates for herself and her peers, but also sets an example for others," said Connie S. Brown, executive director of Opportunities Unlimited.

Ripple participates in the Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara Self-Advocacy Group, currently serving as president. She represents her peers at regional and statewide conferences. She serves on the Consumer Council, where she actively participates in issues relating to community living and day programs. Additionally, Ripple serves on the Opportunities Unlimited Western Region Committee with community volunteers and assists in training agency staff through the orientation program.

She also attends Technology Today, a class where she is learning computer skills to use toward her goal of employment in a community-based business.

Ripple received the Consumer of the Year award in 2004 at Western New York Developmental Disabilities Day and the Substantial Influence on the Lives of Others 2004 achievement award from the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.

The Karen Albond Courage in Caring Award honors individuals in the Niagara community who persevere in service to others despite physical or developmental disabilities or chronic illnesses.

The award is named for Karen Albond, a longtime HANCI board member who died in 2003 after significant volunteer and professional service to the Niagara community. HANCI, established in 1927, promotes health, wellness and independence across generations through diversified programs and services.

North Tonawanda Meals on Wheels has received a gift of $200 from the New York State Retired Teachers Association.

Joy Welch, coordinator of North Tonawanda Meals on Wheels, said, "This gift is especially appreciated because the October Surprise storm, which cut off our electricity for 4 1/2 days [and] destroyed $1,993 worth of refrigerated and frozen foods. The replacement of the food was not covered by our insurance or by FEMA. This damage really hurts a nonprofit charity such as NT Meals on Wheels, since we operate on a very tight budget."

The Seneca Nation Office of the Aging also is receiving a grant.

Presentation of the grants was made made Dec. 13 in Michael's Banquet Facility by Anne Flansburg, president of the Western Zone of the teachers association, and Leonard S. Sikora, chairman of the association's Founders Fund.

The Nominating and Governance Committee of the North Tonawanda History Museum has announced the 2007 board of trustees:

New trustees: John H. George, retired superintendent of North Tonawanda schools; James M. Perry, attorney; Stephen Kurbiel, retired plumbing and heating contractor and retired city code enforcement officer; Keri Gullo, owner of Gullo's Macaroni Grill in Amherst; John H. Kolecki, retired educator in the Sweet Home School District, former Niagara County legislator, and an author; April J. Orlowski, a civil litigator and insurance law specialist with Hiscock & Barclay of Buffalo; Donald MacDonald, a registered architect with Trautman Associates of Buffalo; Shari L. Kiesow, vice president and branch manager of KeyBank in Williamsville; Thomas M. Galdys, a financial planner with Aurora Financial; Dan Kelley, a retired radio broadcaster and a former executive director of not-for-profit organizations, including the Variety Club and the Cystic Fibrosis Association, who now is a self-employed voice over specialist; and Laura E. Winchester, retired newspaper reporter and editor who has worked for The Buffalo News, Courier-Express and Niagara Gazette locally and has held editing positions at newspapers in New Jersey, Connecticut and Arkansas.

Continuing on the board of trustees: Donna Zellner Neal, volunteer director of the museum since 2003; Paula M. Belair, retired educator and a part-time employee of North Tonawanda Public Library; Marilyn Pane Lasky, customer service representative with Impressive Imprints of North Tonawanda; and Barbara Wickman, owner of Barb's Sweet Treats and Jack's Trains of North Tonawanda.

Kiesow is a resident of the City of Tonawanda; Galdys is a Getzville resident; Kelley is a Buffalo resident; and Winchester is a Snyder resident. The others are North Tonawanda residents.

Judith L. Mittiga was named a trustee emeritus. Mittiga joins six other former trustees who previously served as officers: Paul A. Rumbold Jr., Kay Learned, John Borycki, Cynthia Fredricks, Betty Brandon and Joyce L. Santiago. William M. Davignon and A. Daniel Bille continue as ex-officio members of the board of trustees.

The board of trustees has expanded its size, and the Nominating and Governance Committee is conducting a search for a few additional talented and conscientious volunteer board members to lead and strengthen its programs and to help bring the organization into the next phase of its development, including its present plans to move into larger and more appropriate quarters.

Those interested in volunteering their time and expertise are invited to contact the museum at 213-0554 for more information.

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