Honoring accomplishments of Western New Yorkers - The Buffalo News
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Honoring accomplishments of Western New Yorkers

Christine Tjahjadi-Lopez, a senior at the University at Buffalo majoring in international trade with a minor in business administration, was awarded the $5,000 Jacquie Walker Scholarship at the annual fall dinner of the local branch of the American Association of University Women, held at Christ United Methodist Church in Amherst. She was selected from among 33 applicants for the award named for the Channel 4 News anchor who has been honorary chairwoman of the AAUW book sale for the past several years.

Tjahjadi-Lopez, who has a goal of ending human trafficking, created Bloggers Against Social Injustice, a network that involves bloggers from 33 countries and led to UB’s first Freedom Walk and seminar attracting international speakers on the issue. Her research both as student and activist has shed light on corporate social responsibility and the connection between the commercial sex industry and trafficking.

Tjahjadi-Lopez also created Girls Day, an annual one-day mini-conference for preteen girls in Buffalo’s inner city. The summer program seeks to empower girls by increasing their academic skills and self-confidence. She plans to use a portion of her scholarship funds to finance an expanded seminar next summer.

She is the daughter of Myriam Lopez Tjahjadi and John Tjahjadi of Getzville.


Dr. Michael E. Cain, vice president for health sciences at the University at Buffalo and dean of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has received a Distinguished Fellowship Award from the International Academy of Cardiology. The award recognizes contributions to cardiovascular medicine and service to the academy. It has been awarded to fewer than 20 individuals.

Cain is an internationally recognized cardiovascular physician-scientist who specializes in abnormal heart rhythms.

Cain’s research, supported by the National Institutes of Health, has focused on determining the mechanisms of life-threatening heart rhythm abnormalities that occur in heart attacks and other conditions that damage heart muscle cells. He lives in Orchard Park.


Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard presented Deputy Christopher Soluri with New York State’s Certificate of Exceptional Valor for his exemplary action last year on Grand Island in which an armed, despondent man threatened to kill himself and others.

Soluri, who lives on Grand Island, negotiated with the man, who was armed with a knife, while in close proximity to the suspect with little room to maneuver or retreat.

While knowing the risk he faced, Soluri took aggressive, timely action protecting the lives of the suspect’s girlfriend, their baby and the suspect himself, Howard said.


The Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation board honored Erick, Marianne and Peter Laine as 2013 Friends of the Foundation for their generosity, service and dedication to philanthropy in the Greater Olean community.

Board member Ward “Skip” Wilday presented the awards on behalf of the foundation.

“What they have done demonstrates what a difference one family can make in a community,” Wilday said of Erick, Marianne and Peter’s volunteerism and support of nonprofits.

Erick Laine, former president of Cutco Corp. and current chairman emeritus, and his wife, Marianne Letro Laine, have long been affiliated with improvements for local higher education. Together they were instrumental in the development of the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University.

Marianne Laine, a native of Olean and former teacher, serves as chairwoman of the Guild for the Quick Center.

Erick’s son, Peter, former executive vice president of Cutco, , was involved with local nonprofits, as co-chairman of several United Way of Cattaraugus County campaigns. He now serves as board treasurer for the Western Carolina Alzheimer’s Association chapter and volunteers as a pilot for Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic.


The Family Help Center awarded the U.S. Postal Service Central Park Station employees the Corporate Caring Award for their efforts on behalf of children and families at a volunteer recognition reception.

“We are proud to present the Corporate Caring Award to the U.S. Postal Service Central Park Station employees in thanks for their outstanding work to make the holidays special for hundreds of the children whom we serve,” said Deborah A. Merrifield, executive director of the Family Help Center.

Don Schwartz of Amherst was presented with the Exceptional Volunteer Award for Lifetime Service and Cheryl Hake of Alden received the Volunteer of the Year Award.

The following board presidents since 2000 were inducted into the Past Presidents’ Circle in recognition of their service: Norm Kohn, Linda Smith, Robert Sweeney, Mary Slisz, Lisa Damiani, Stephanie McLean-Beathley and Amy Vigneron.


David Mauricio, community superintendent of Buffalo Public Schools, has been selected as one of only 17 candidates nationwide to participate in the Superintendent Leadership Academy, created by the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents.

The leadership program is the first of its kind in the United States to focus on preparing the next generation of school system leaders with the skills necessary to close achievement gaps and specifically address the needs of English Language Learners and other disenfranchised groups.


The New York Water Environment Association, a statewide nonprofit organization of water quality professionals, awarded Kristina M. Marco a $1,500 scholarship.

Marco, a freshman at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, is majoring in environment resources engineering. She graduated as salutatorian in June from Holy Angels Academy. She is the daughter of John and Susan Marco of Amherst.

The association awards several scholarships annually to support deserving students who demonstrate achievement, passion and commitment to work in a career that helps protect the water environment.


Emily Geiger was awarded a scholarship from the Vein Treatment Centers of Williamsville and Clarence for a 10-day trip to Zambia, South Africa to work with HIV/AIDS prevention services.

She is a sophomore at Orchard Park High School and plans to pursue a career as a nurse practitioner.

Emily’s sister Nichole received the same scholarship two years ago for HIV/AIDS prevention in Zambia. She is a freshman at Daemen College.

The sisters are active with the Wesleyan Church in Orchard Park.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com

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