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Honor Roll: Niagara County achievers and achievements

Dr. Venkat R. Kolli has been named chief of surgery at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. His appointment was announced by Dr. Vijay Bojedla, vice president and chief medical officer.

A graduate of the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research in Pondicherry, India, Kolli completed residencies in general surgery at Harlem Hospital Center in New York City, a teaching institution affiliated with the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. He received fellowship training in head and neck surgical oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Kolli has advanced training in multiple laparoscopic surgical procedures and is board certified by the American Board of Surgery. He's a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a member of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons and a candidate member of the American Head and Neck Society. He's been an attending surgeon at Niagara Falls Memorial since 1999.

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Area historian Robert Kostoff, of Niagara Falls, recently published a book, "Hidden History of Greater Niagara," and will present a program at the History Center, 215 Niagara St., at 2 p.m. Sept. 24.

Kostoff is a retired journalist who has worked for the Buffalo Courier-Express, Niagara Falls Gazette, Lockport Union Sun and Journal, and currently writes a weekly column for the Niagara Falls Reporter. His stories have covered many aspects of life in Western New York, and he's written other books, both fiction and nonfiction. "Hidden History" is a collection of "underreported" stories from the region's past, many with a new "slant" or point of view. Kostoff will be on hand at the History Center to recap some of the work that went into his publication.

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Zachary Joseph, of Youngstown, has won 13 scholarships -- including the Youngstown Free Library and Ruby Carey Memorial scholarships. His winnings, about $10,000 worth, ease his expenses at Fredonia State College this year. He's studying music education and cello performance.

In an award-winning essay, submitted in consideration for the Ruby Carey Memorial Scholarship, Joseph, 18, wrote of how he moved to Youngstown in fourth grade and had many problems adjusting to the more challenging curriculum at Lewiston-Porter school.

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Thomas Eggert has been honored by the Niagara Orleans Counselor Association with the Niagara University/NOCA scholarship for 2009-10. A native of Lockport, Eggert is attending NU this fall in the College of Arts and Sciences.

A graduate of Lockport High School, he was inducted into the National Honor Society during his junior year and received special academic commendations in the subjects of religion, biology, English and Spanish. Eggert has assisted the DARE summer youth program in the City of Lockport and received the Lockport Youth and Recreation Bureau's Park Leader of the Year award in 2008.

NOCA is a professional organization whose members are K-12 school counselors, as well as professionals from local post-secondary schools.

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Niagara County Legislature Chairman William L. Ross; his wife, Linda; and retired Lockport Savings Bank President Norman W. Sinclair have been named the co-chairmen of the Niagara County Community College Foundation's 19th annual "Viva NCCC Scholarship Gala."

The gala, benefiting the NCCC Foundation scholarships, is Oct. 17 in the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel. The evening will feature gourmet cuisine prepared by NCCC's culinary arts and baking and pastry arts students, live musical entertainment and special effects by the school's arts and media students, recognition of Distinguished Student Scholarship honorees, as well as basket, silent and live auctions.

The event will culminate with the presentation of the college's 2009 Distinguished Alumni award, presented to Youngstown resident and artist Susan J. Geissler, a 1974 fine arts alumna who is sculpting the Freedom Crossing Monument to be unveiled in Lewiston in October.

The NCCC Foundation has awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to deserving students since its inception in 1987. Tickets for the gala are $100 per person and are available by contacting the NCCC Foundation office at 614-5910 or online at www.niagaracc.suny.edu/foundation.

e-mail: lcontinelli@buffnews.com

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