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Niagara Honor Roll / Achievers and achievements

*Christopher H. Brown, of Brown & Company LLP in Niagara Falls, recently was elected chairman of the Artpark & Company board of directors. Nominating Committee Chairman J. Michael Kelleher also announced the appointment of four new directors for 2008.

Brown succeeds Thomas J. Fatta, who was credited for continuing Artpark's resurgence during his four-year tenure at the helm of the not-for-profit company. Since Fatta was elected chairman in October 2003, the park has become the summer home to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, event attendance has increased by 114 percent, corporate sponsorships have risen appreciably, and, last year, Fatta helped Artpark secure a $2.5 million capital improvements grant from the Western New York State Legislature delegation.

"Much of the success that Artpark has experienced over the last four seasons can be directly credited to Tom Fatta's exemplary leadership and forward-thinking ideas," Brown said in a prepared release.

Vice chairmen of the organization are Wendy L. Montante, of Clarence Center, and Amherst resident Ray Walter, president of Regional Waste Solutions. Vincent Agnello, of Youngstown and Niagara University, will retain his duties as treasurer and secretary.

Newly elected to the Artpark & Company board are Paul O. Cannon, a Youngstown resident and principal and regional director at Cannon Design; Bill Hibbard, of Orchard Park, president and general manager of Engineered Facility Solutions; Brian Geary, a partner at Sanderson and Company who lives in Amherst; and Mark Thomas, of Fredonia, the Western District director of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Thomas will serve in an ex-officio capacity.

Directors re-elected for three-year terms include Agnello, Vincent Laurendi Jr., Carl Montante Jr., Wendy Montante, Hon. Rose H. Sconiers and Lorie L. Washuta. Advisory Board members re-elected to a one-year term include Thomas E. Brydges, Assemblywoman Francine DelMonte, Pamela Jacobs-Vogt, Seymour Knox IV, State Sen. George Maziarz, Rhodes C. Palmer, Joseph Pillittere and Lewiston Mayor Richard Soluri. Meanwhile, Thomas B. Burrows and Daniel E. Cantara III rotated onto the Advisory Council.

As the not-for-profit programming arm of the venue, Artpark & Company was responsible for the influx of almost 220,000 visitors to scheduled events in 2007. While Artpark's Tuesday in the Park concert series maintained its high degree of popularity, and the park's Wednesday night series saw a substantial increase in attendance, it was Artpark's theatrical programming that saw the largest growth, in terms of percentage. A theater schedule headed by the critically acclaimed production of Elton John & Tim Rice's "Aida," the BPO and the headliner performance of the WNED Buffalo Niagara Guitar Festival facilitated a 20 percent increase in attendance.

*David Rappleyea, with a time of 15:52, and Angela Kudley, with a time of 18:33, were the winners of the 10th annual Jack-a-Lantern 5K run on Goat Island Oct. 27.

*Kathie Kudela, executive director of the Niagara Arts and Cultural Center in Niagara Falls, has been named to the New York Multi Arts Center Consortium board of directors. The statewide organization comprises 45 multi-arts centers, like the NACC, and serves to build a strong network of organizations through resource and information sharing, promoting identity and advocating for the arts in the community.

The NACC also announced that Gina Cali-Misterkiewicz has joined the organization as director of development. A native of Niagara Falls, she recently moved back to the area. With experience in all areas of nonprofit management, she will have the task of implementing fundraising initiatives and cultivating relationships with the community and area businesses.

See what is happening at the NACC, 1201 Pine Ave., during the open house and gallery opening from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Friday. The event is free. For more information, call 282-7530 or visit the Web site at

*Niagara University's College of Business Administration has presented seven students its annual Everett Ockerman Award. The award, which acknowledges academic excellence, was given to students in accounting, economics and finance, human resource management, international business, management, marketing and supply-chain management.

Recipients, all seniors who were chosen by the faculty, are: Shannon Bollinger of Gainesville, supply-chain management; James Kelley of Farmington, human-resource management; Christopher Leendertse of Ancaster, Ont., marketing; Christopher Patti of Cheektowaga, accounting; Michael Placito of Rochester, economics and finance; Michelle Urban of Blasdell, international business; and Mark Wilson of Peterborough, Ont., management.

The College of Business Administration established the Ockerman Award in 1976 in honor of the former chairman of the Niagara University department of commerce, who taught at Niagara from 1953 until his retirement in 1975.

*In recognition of Domestic Violence Month last month, the Niagara County Community College Wellness Center and Human Services Club sponsored their second annual "Walk With Me" walk on campus.

The silent procession around the perimeter of the campus was designed to raise awareness of domestic violence. More than 60 members of the NCCC community took part in the walk, four times the number who walked during the school's first similar event last year.

*Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class Cameron J. Haag has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio.

During the six weeks of training, Haag studied the Air Force mission, organization, and military customs and courtesies; performed drill and ceremony marches; and received physical training, rifle marksmanship, field training exercises and special training in human relations. In addition, airmen who complete basic training earn credits toward an associate's degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

Haag is the son of Micheal Haag of Niagara Falls and is a 2007 graduate of Niagara-Wheatfield High School.

*Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class Lyle J. Szpakowski has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio. He is the son of Lisa Szpakowski of Lockport and a 2007 graduate of Lockport High School.

*Air Force Airman Benjamin P. Riexinger has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio.

He is the son of Thomas Riexinger of Gasport and a 2006 graduate of Barker High School.

*Stan and Dr. Maria Komin and Virginia and Savino Nanula have been named co-chairmen of the 2008 Premier, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center's annual black-tie dinner and entertainment gala. The Premier will be held Jan. 19 in the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel. Headline entertainment will be Three Dog Night, with additional performances by Nik and the Nice Guys, Wendell Rivera's Latin Jazz Ensemble and the Jim Beishline Quartet.

Individual tickets for the event are $175. For information and sponsorship opportunities, call 278-4570.

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