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Niagara Honor Roll / Achievers and achievements

Maybe the Erie Canal Discovery Center should consider changing the name of its annual Erie Canal Song Contest to the Stuart Shapiro Erie Canal Song Contest.

For the third time in the contest's fifth year of existence, Shapiro -- who is known as Doc Stuart -- took top honors. This time it was his "Digger N' Haulers" that won.

The second-place entry was written by Donna Dutchess and is titled "Home on the Erie Canal." Third place went to Joseph Baschnagel for his song "Six Years on the Erie Canal."

Honorable mention went to Kimberlyann Meal for "The Lamp Lighter," John Schimminger for "Come Away With Me on the E-ri-ee," and Hank Chlebowski for "My Father's Dream."

All of the winners have been invited to perform their songs at a free public concert at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Discovery Center, 24 Church St., Lockport. The Discovery Center is also planning to sell a compilation CD of current and previous Erie Canal Song Contest entries. For more information, call 439-0431.

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Patricia Burdick from Lockport High School, Gabrielle Lopez from Lewiston-Porter High School and Marina DiBartolomeo from Niagara Wheatfield are the recipients of the 2012 Thomas A. Beilein Scholarship. Each will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Patricia will attend Alfred University, and Gabrielle and Marina will attend Niagara University.

Sheriff James R. Voutour awarded the scholarships to the three seniors who intend to pursue a career in criminal justice/law enforcement.

The Thomas A. Beilein Scholarship Award is funded through the Niagara County Law Enforcement Foundation and is named for former Niagara County Sheriff Thomas A. Beilein, who served as sheriff from Jan. 1, 1994, to July 25, 2008, when he was appointed chairman of the New York State Commission of Correction.

His appointment culminated a 40-year career in law enforcement, and the scholarship honors his long and distinguished record of service. Voutour said Beilein insisted on the same standard of personal integrity and professional performance from Sheriff's Office staffers that he practiced himself.

"He continually stressed the importance of education as the springboard of a young person's success in whatever their chosen field of endeavor was to be," Voutour said. "As my predecessor and mentor, it gives me great personal and professional pleasure to recognize his many accomplishments and years of service to the citizens of Niagara County"

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Aaron Bacon of Royalton-Hartland and Megan Price from Tonawanda were the top winners at the recent 2012 Niagara Region PTA 4th and 5th Grade Spelling Bee.

Students from 10 surrounding school districts competed in the event. Fourth-graders from Albion, Barker, Grand Island, Holley, Lockport, Newfane, Royalton-Hartland, Starpoint, Tonawanda and Wilson competed in the morning, followed by a fifth-grade competition in the afternoon.

Aaron Bacon proved to be the top fourth-grade speller, taking home a trophy and $100 savings bond. Julia Beutel from Starpoint came in second, taking home a trophy and $50 savings bond. Maxwell Clarke, also from Starpoint, took home the third-place trophy.

In the fifth-grade competition, Megan Price won the first-place prize, followed by Faith Westgate of Newfane and Mikaela Ventura from Emmet Belknap in Lockport.