Robert DiFrancesco of Lewiston has been elected president of the board of directors of United Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State for 1998-2000. DiFrancesco was installed at the association's annual state conference. He has served on the state board since 1995.
DiFrancesco, who is principal of Niagara Falls High School, sits on the board of directors of United Cerebral Palsy of Niagara County, where he served as president from 1986 to 1992.
He also has been involved with the Niagara Falls Planning Board, St. Joseph's Elementary School Education Council, Niagara County Youth Board, Niagara County Head Start and the Niagara University Graduate Education Administration Advisory Board.
DiFrancesco cites his committed involvement to so many community organizations as a way to "assist youths of all ages."
He said his involvement with United Cerebral Palsy has been rewarding and given his life additional meaning.
"Working with individuals with disabilities has given me insight into how people can triumph over obstacles. I have learned so much from them," he said.
Diane Baehre was appointed quality assurance/training coordinator for the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Niagara County in October.
Her duties will include monitoring incident reports, providing in-service training for staff members, serving as a liaison with government regulatory agencies and maintaining and ensuring the accuracy of current agency regulations.
She also will serve as chairwoman of the agency's Policy and Procedure and Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement committees and as a member of the Quality of Care and Training committees.
Ms. Baehre has 21 years of experience working with the developmentally disabled. She has worked for United Cerebral Palsy of Western New York, People, Inc., and at Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center, a 59-bed intermediate care facility.
She received a bachelor of science degree in social work from Medaille College.
Ms. Baehre lives in Clarence with her husband, Kevin, and 4-year-old daughter, Candace.
"I enjoy working with the people who receive our services. UCP has a history of providing quality services to the individuals we serve. I'm very happy to be a part of the UCP family," Ms. Baehre said.
Dr. Zdenka Gredel-Manuele, professor of history at Niagara University, received the Perboyre Medal at the Marillac Faculty Panel on Nov. 10.
The Perboyre Medal recognizes extraordinary contributions and service to the global society following the example of the Gospels, St. Vincent de Paul and John Gabriel Perboyre, a Vincentian priest who gave his life to serve the people of China.
Dr. Gredel-Manuele was honored at the Marillac Faculty Panel, which included presentations on St. Louise de Marillac, the co-founder of the Daughters of Charity, and St. Vincent de Paul.
Presenters were Wayne B. Northcutt, professor of history; Marilynn P. Fleckenstein, director of Niagar University's Learn and Serve program and associate professor of philosophy; Rev. Joseph G. Hubbert, C.M., chairman of the department of religious studies; and a student, Adrienne Stevens.
Dr. Gredel-Manuele has been a member of the Niagara University faculty since 1969.
She earned a doctorate in modern European history from the University at Buffalo.
Born in Croatia, Dr. Gredel-Manuele was raised in Berlin during and after World War II. After immigrating to the United States in the late 1950s, Dr. Gredel-Manuele and her father helped found the Niagara Frontier Folk Art Council.
This educational, cultural and nonprofit organization promotes better understanding and friendship among various ethnic groups of the Niagara Frontier through the sharing of heritages and legacies.
She succeeded her father as president of the Folk Art Council and actively involved Niagara University students in its programs.
In 1979, Dr. Gredel-Manuele was one of the founders of the Ethnic Heritage Festival held in the Buffalo Convention Center.
A resident of Buffalo, Dr. Gredel-Manuele's writing and presentations focus on the events of recent European history and on the study of immigrant groups in the United States, especially those who settled in the Niagara Frontier.
As a teacher, Dr. Gredel-Manuele has extended her classroom to the broader world by accompanying students on various field trips to Washington, D.C. and Toronto.
"She has also shown a particular concern for Niagara's foreign students who have always found a warm welcome in her home. Like them, she knows what it is like to be young and in a strange land," said the nomination.
State Sen. George D. Maziarz was named Humanitarian of the Year by the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Niagara County recently. He was honored for his continued support of the agency's programs and for serving as a successful advocate for individuals with disabilities in Niagara County.
Maziarz is the New York State senator for the 61st District, representing parts of Monroe, Orleans and Niagara counties.
"Time and time again, Senator Maziarz has met with me and members of the board of directors. He and his staff have always addressed the concerns brought to him concerning the people served by UCPA. George has taken a personal interest in helping to improve the quality of life for our mutual constituents," said Joseph Mineo, executive director of United Cerebral Palsy.
A lifelong resident of North Tonawanda, Maziarz has served as North Tonawanda clerk and Niagara County clerk.
He was elected to the 61st Senate District in March 1995.
Maziarz graduated from North Tonawanda High School in 1972 and got a bachelor's degree in history at Niagara University in 1977.
He has served as president of the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas, on the board of directors of the United Way of the Tonawandas, on the corporate advisory board of DeGraff Memorial Hospital in North Tonawanda and has been chairman of the Canal Festival of the Tonawandas.
Maziarz is a past officer and 27-year member of the Live Hose Company No. 4, a member of the Niagara County Volunteer Fireman's Association, Knights of Columbus Council 2535, S.C.O.P.E, the Niagara University Booster Club and Ascension Catholic Church in North Tonawanda.