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Honor Roll / Recognizing the achievements of Western New Yorkers

The Erie County Probation Department Warrant Squad won the 2012 State Director's Award for Outstanding Service by a Probation Officer. The award was presented in Albany on Aug. 9 by Robert Maccarone, deputy commissioner of the State Division of Criminal Justice Services and director of the State Office of Probation and Correctional Alternatives.

The current Warrant Squad began operations in 2008 and consists of 18 probation officers with full-time caseloads, each of whom volunteers to be a squad member. They complete training in firearms and defensive tactics that is more rigorous than usual, and participate in exercises involving searching for and apprehending suspects.

When the squad began operations there were 845 outstanding probation warrants; since then, the squad has served 487 warrants. In year 2012 to date, the Warrant Squad has served 112 warrants. This includes the apprehension of six sex offenders and the execution of 63 felony warrants. Additionally this year the squad has made four felony drug arrests and four gun arrests.

The Warrant Squad is led by Supervisor Mike Lex. Joining Lex are squad members Scott Harmon, Deneen Anderson, Howarth Colon, Jeff Durski, Bill Diamond, Lisa Geier, James Knight, Gloria Roman, Kim Cedeno, Nancy Chu, Mike Zulewski, Dan Augustyniak, Gina Doyle, Richard Carter, Yvette Stocks, Matt Anderson, and Jen Curry.

There are generally two warrant details per month, with eight officers participating on any given detail. These details go to the last known addresses of probationers for whom warrants have been issued and take them into custody. In addition to the warrant details, officers regularly participate in the Buffalo Police Department's Operation Clean Sweep and in collaborative ventures at the state and federal level, cooperating in activities with the FBI, ATF, ICE, Erie County Sheriff, and police departments in Cheektowaga, Amherst, Tonawanda, Buffalo, and Lackawanna.

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Four Hilbert College faculty members have received 2012 Excellence in Teaching, Scholarship and Service Awards in recognition of individual faculty achievements.

Faculty-selected Excellence Awards were presented to Andrew Kolin, professor of political science, Excellence in Scholarship; Lisa Lograsso, adjunct instructor of mathematics, Excellence in Adjunct Teaching; Sharon Sisti, chairwoman of the Social Sciences Division and assistant professor of human and rehabilitation services; and Amy Smith, chairwoman of the Division of Arts and Sciences and director of the Honors Program, Excellence in Service.

Joining the Hilbert faculty in 1999, Kolin has focused his areas of research on political theory, the Holocaust and genocidal crimes, and American democracy. Following years of extensive research, he wrote the book "One Family: Before and During the Holocaust, which chronicles his family during the pre-Holocaust period and their fight to survive the Holocaust." Nominated for an American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies/Orbis Books Prize for Polish Studies, a second, expanded edition of the book has been published.

In 2011, Kolin authored "State Power and Democracy: Before and During the Presidency of George W. Bush," and previously published "State Structure and Genocide and the Ethical Foundations of Hume's Theory of Politics."

Lograsso has served as a Hilbert adjunct instructor of mathematics for the past decade. Prior to this, she was a math teacher at Silver Creek Middle School and at St. Francis of Assisi Elementary School.

Lograsso is an alumna of Hilbert, having earned an associate's degree in business administration from the college. She went on to receive a bachelor's degree in marketing and a master's degree in education, both from Canisius College.

A faculty member at Hilbert since 1996, this marks the third time Sisti has been selected for a Faculty Excellence Award, having previously received a 2009 Excellence in Service Award and her first Teaching Award in 2004.

For the past 30 years, Sisti has been an advocate for domestic violence victims, a commitment for which she was recognized with the 2009 William B. Hoyt Award from the Erie County Coalition Against Family Violence. She received the William B. Hoyt Advocacy Award from Child & Family Services of Erie County and was named Social Worker of the Year by the Western Division of the National Association of Social Workers New York State Chapter.

Smith was honored this year with her third Excellence in Service Award, a recognition she previously received in 2008 and 2000. Since joining the Hilbert faculty in 1996, she's has been involved in the Kenya Krew international service learning trip and various student projects to benefit local families and communities.

She has been a volunteer counselor for 25 years at Camp Good Days and Special Times, which has recognized her many years of service at its annual gala event. She's coordinated several efforts at Hilbert to support the many children and families served by the organization.

In addition to teaching English at Hilbert, she is director of the college's Honors Program and chairperson of the Arts and Sciences Division, a post she was appointed to this academic year.

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Marsha Lewis, professor and dean of the University at Buffalo School of Nursing, was selected by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) for its class of nursing deans and senior faculty to participate in the first AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Program, which took place from Aug. 14-17 at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

"I was proud to represent the UB School of Nursing. The mission of our school is to produce outstanding clinicians and researchers and to improve nursing outcomes to meet the current and future needs of society through our academic programs, research and scholarship," Lewis said.

The AACN-Wharton program uses active learning strategies that give participants the opportunity to experiment and hone skills in building strategic relationships and leading change in times of uncertainty.

"There is great synergy between the take home messages from the Leadership Program and how we need to educate our students for health care in the next decade and beyond. Nursing has an opportunity to be present and influential in healthcare and make a difference," Lewis said.

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Businesswoman Julie Ponkow was installed by Amherst Town Justice Mark Farrell as the new president of the Amherst South Rotary Club. Ponkow is the owner of the Ashland and Vera Guest House at the Chautauqua Institute.

At Ponkow's installation, three new rotarians were inducted: Scott Marcin, financial advisor for Met Life; Patty Macey, leadership team for First Niagara Bank; and returning Amherst South rotarian and businessman Mark Ahrens.

Other rotary officers installed were president-elect Guy Marlette; secretary Steven Goodman; and treasurer Martin Quinn.

Under Ponkow, the Amherst South Rotary will host a community health fair open to the public at no charge from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 13 at the Windermere Boulevard Elementary School with Shefali Clerk as chairman.

The Amherst South Rotary Club will celebrate its 75th anniversary with a dinner at the Park Country Club with Deputy Amherst Supervisor Guy Marlettte as chairman.