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Honor Roll / Recognizing the accomplishments of Western New Yorkers

Miss District of Columbia, Ashley Boalch, has been awarded the Miss America pageant's first journalism scholarship in the name of late Associated Press writer John Curran. Curran, the son of the late Buffalo News columnist Bob Curran, was a graduate of Amherst High School and St. Bonaventure University.

The $1,000 scholarship to the University of Maryland student was announced during a non-televised portion of the competition in Las Vegas. The scholarship goes to a non-finalist studying journalism. The 23-year-old Boalch will seek a master's degree in communication. Pageant officials established the scholarship in Curran's honor after he died of a heart attack in September at his home in Vermont at age 54. He covered the Miss America pageant for more than a decade as AP's Atlantic City, N.J., correspondent.


The state's Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Department of Environmental Conservation honored winners of the 2011 Camping Photo Contest showcasing top images of New York's scenic outdoors. Winners were selected from a process that drew more than 1,200 photos submitted among six categories.

Runner-up finalist Chris Podosek of Buffalo submitted his night-time image of a tent at Treman State Park, Ithaca, winning a free weekend stay at any state campground.


Buffalo resident Shannon Sylvia served on her final project with the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps, completing more than 1,700 hours of community service in the falls by helping to fight wild fires in Texas.

Sylvia and her team served with the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the supervision of American Youth Works, coordinating and supervising volunteers coming through the Bastrop Volunteer Reception Center. The team also assisted families affected by the wild fires.

Sylvia, the daughter of Carol Sylvia, has completed nine projects across the country with the NCCC team. She graduated from the AmeriCorps NCCC program in November in Vinton, Iowa.


Allentown Village Society Inc., a not-for-profit organization, announced the winners of five awards granted to Buffalo Public Schools whose art teachers have developed and submitted exemplary and unique art lessons.

Each teacher will be awarded $1,000, which will be used for art materials that specifically help in the implementation of each teacher's proposed art lesson. All submissions were reviewed by art education evaluators using a scoring rubric.

The grant winners include: Kerry Chiodo, Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts -- "Mandela Umbrellas"; Elizabeth Spiro-Carman, Buffalo Elementary School of Technology -- "Zuni Fetishes: Relationships Between Native Americans and Nature in the Southwestern United States"; Ann Curthoys, Waterfront Elementary "Watts Happening? Recycled Materials Become Public Art"; Doreen Juszkiewicz, Waterfront Elementary "Home 'Tweet' Home: Architectural Discoveries Through the Creation of Birdhouses"; and Allison Davis, International School No. 45 -- "Piecing Together History and Culture: Faith Ringgold Quilts".

All of the teachers and some of their students will be displaying their projects and artwork at the 55th annual Allentown Art Festival held June 9 and 10.


Child and Family Services has a new board chair and three new board members.

*Barbara A. Piazza has been named chair of the board of directors. She is a member of the Rosenthal, Siegel and Muenkel law firm, where she practices matrimonial and family law. She has been a board member since 2001.

The board members are:

*Albert C. Erni, a financial adviser with Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management, where he recently earned the designation of chartered retirement planning counselor. He has served as a loan committee member with Child and Family Services Ways to Work Loan program for 12 years prior to becoming a board member.

*Christine Garvelli, operations manager for the Personal Insurance Division at the Walsh Duffield Companies. She is also a board member of the Independent Insurance Agents of Western New York.

*David J. Luzon, is an attorney with Phillips Lytle. He concentrates his practice in family wealth planning, Canadian cross border, tax and not-for-profit. He is a member of the board of directors for the Financial Planning Counselors of Western New York.


Jessica Underberg, assistant manager of the Erie County Fair, was honored with the Rising Star Award at the 121st annual convention of International Association of Fairs and Expositions held at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.

The award was created to recognize leadership and industry contributions of members age 40 and younger. She was one of the original co-chairs of the group.

Underberg has been with the Erie County Fair for 15 years and was named the assistant fair manager in November 2010. She also serves as the agricultural manager.


William Krellner of North Buffalo was named winner of the fourth annual Ed Kaps Hope Award for 2011 during the "Us TOO" national conference held in December in Chicago.

Krellner is the leader of the Western New York Chapter of the "Us TOO" Prostate Cancer Support Group. He is a retired accountant who volunteers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and works with the Roswell Park Consortium for Prostate Cancer as a patient advocate.

Us TOO International has chapters throughout the United States and works to help and educate men about prostate cancer and raise awareness about the need for testing.