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NIAGARA NEWS BRIEFS

>Make-A-Wish honors Billittier family

The Billittier family of Chef's Restaurant -- Louie, Mary Beth Ann and the late Louis Sr. -- was honored Saturday for its support of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Western New York.

The family received the Lifetime Achievement Shooting Star Award during the group's annual gala in Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel.

The local chapter of the foundation also announced that a 14-year-old North Tonawanda boy with a severe form of spina bifida got his wish to fly with his family to Nashville, Tenn., where they received VIP tickets to the Country Music Television Award Show and met singer Carrie Underwood.

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>Bloch Rodwin honored for violence program

Lisa Bloch Rodwin, one of the state's top domestic violence prosecutors and advocate of programs to help domestic violence victims, will be honored at the annual dinner of a victim aid group she helped found.

The Lewiston-based It Happened to Alexa Foundation will honor Bloch Rodwin, head of the Erie County district attorney's office Domestic Violence Bureau, at its fifth annual dinner in the Niagara Falls Country Club at 6 p.m. June 8.

Bloch Rodwin, a member of the foundation's board, helped Stacey and Thomas Branchini set up the foundation, which provides financial, emotional and advocacy assistance to rape victims who prosecute their attackers. It was named for their daughter, who was raped in her freshman dorm by a stranger at Boston University in 1999.

Foundation Executive Director Ellen Augello and Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark credited her with establishing the first domestic violence unit in a prosecutor's office in the state outside of New York City in 1995, and with lobbying the State Legislature to toughen the state's laws on sexual abuse.

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