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The Erie County Environmental Education Institute has named Mike Levy, a veteran newspaper reporter, columnist and freelance writer, the 2004 Paul MacClennan Environmental Citizen of the Year.

He received the award in a recent special ceremony at Tifft Nature Preserve in recognition of his efforts to preserve and protect the local and global environment, according to Nick Hejaily, president of the institute.

Levy, who worked as a general assignment reporter for The Buffalo News from 1969 to 2000, is a freelance writer. He writes a weekly outdoor column for the newspaper, focusing on conservation and recreation issues. He also writes on a number of topics outside the environmental scope.

The award is named for its first recipient, a retired Buffalo News reporter and well-known environmental journalist.

Brian R. LaValley has been named director of the master's program in organizational communication and development and assistant professor of communication studies at Canisius College.

He previously was senior public relations representative for Independent Health and manager of community relations for Tops Markets. He also was an adjunct professor of public relations at the University at Buffalo.

LaValley is accredited in public relations by the Public Relations Society of America and is a past president of the society's Buffalo Niagara chapter.

He has a bachelor's degree in public communication from Syracuse University and a master's degree in business administration from St. Bonaventure University.

Army Staff Sgt. Patrick M. Mercurio, a 1996 graduate of Hutchinson-Central Technical High School, has been deployed to Kosovo as a member of the U.S. Army contingent serving as part of the Multinational Brigade-East.

His assignment is with Task Force Falcon at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. Soldiers are part of a rotating NATO-U.S. task force that helps support the continuing Kosovo Peacekeeping Force (KFOR) mission after the crisis in Kosovo ceased in June 1999.

The NATO-led Kosovo Force helps maintain a safe and secure environment in the province and provide a security presence in villages, assists in resolving disputes, and works with international aid agencies to provide support for communities. The United States is one of 36 countries that participate in the NATO peacekeeping mission.

Mercurio, a squad leader, is the son of Connie Mercurio of Rochelle Park, Town of Tonawanda.

D'Youville College Community Service Awards were presented at a special reception Oct. 14 to Edward C. Cosgrove, former Erie County district attorney, and Phillip A. Perna, president and CEO of Supermarket Management.

The reception was in the name of Michael F. Dillon, who served on the D'Youville board of trustees prior to his death.

Cosgrove, a Buffalo native, was district attorney for seven years. He is known for his fund-raising efforts for the Diocese of Buffalo. He is a member of the Peace Bridge Task Force and was chairman of the Horizons Waterfront Commission from 1988 to 1991. He was named Outstanding Citizen by The Buffalo News in 1977 and received the St. Thomas More Award from the Buffalo Diocese earlier this year.

He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Georgetown Law School.

Perna, whose company is a franchisee of Tops Markets and operates three Tops Markets and one B-Kwik Market in Erie and Niagara counties, formerly was a partner in a law firm for six years and an associate counsel at M&T Bank.

He serves on the boards of the Buffalo-Niagara Partnership and the Volunteer Lawyers Project. He is a graduate of Canisius High School and has degrees from Boston College and Syracuse University College of Law.

Buffalo attorney Carol E. Heckman, a partner in the law firm of Harter, Secrest & Emery, has been named to the Judicial Conference Planning and Program Committee of the federal courts.

Heckman, a former federal magistrate judge, will assist in organizing and selecting speakers for judicial conferences in the Second Circuit of the U.S. District Court system, whose territory includes Western New York.

Her appointment was announced by the Second Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Midshipman Eric J. Wilckens, son of James and Christine Wilckens of Elma, recently completed six weeks of "Plebe Summer" at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Academy officials said the demanding, fast-paced orientation marked the beginning of four years of preparation for commissioning as Navy or Marine Corps officers. During Plebe Summer, Wilckens and other new midshipmen assimilated basic skills in seamanship, navigation, infantry drill, shooting pistols and rifles and sailing.

The plebes also received instruction and indoctrination in of the "Brigade of Midshipmen's honor" before joining the rest of the 4,000-member brigade.

Wilckens is a 2004 graduate of Iroquois Central School.

Dale P. Stein, a LeRoy dairy farmer, has been named president of the Genesee County Farm Bureau. Stein, 50, owns Stein Farms with two brothers. The 2,200-acre farm has 750 cows.

A letter of commendation was sent recently to Silver Creek Police Officer John Bailey for his assistance in capturing two suspects in a stolen car.

Silver Creek Mayor Elizabeth Turzillo announced the honor at the Oct. 4 meeting of the Village Board. According to the letter, Bailey assisted the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Department on Sept. 2 during a high-speed chase and foot pursuit.

The letter was sent to the village and police chief by Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace.

"We are proud of the efforts of Officer Bailey," said the mayor.

* Genesee Community College has announced the appointment of Maryanne C. Arena as the new director of Fine and Performing Arts.

The native of Brooklyn has for the past five years directed the Theater Arts program at Southwestern Michigan College, where she founded a children's theater workshop.