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Honor Roll / Recognizing the accomplishments of Western New Yorkers

Two Bishop Timon–St. Jude High School alumni will be honored for their contributions to the arts at its third annual Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony, which was held Saturday.

Jay Desiderio, class of 1978, and Chuck Basil, class of 1983, will be joined by Timon and Mount Mercy graduates in celebrating the history of musical productions held at Timon.

Actor and director Vincent O’Neill will receive the Timon Center for Media and the Arts Service Recognition Award.

Desiderio is co-owner of Desiderio’s Dinner Theatre/Lancaster Ale House with his brother, Bob. He holds a bachelor’s degree in theater arts from Fredonia State College and a master’s in education from Canisius College.

Basil has served as a musician as well as a music director for the Diocese of Buffalo for the past 30 years and is the recipient of 2002 Marvin Hamlisch Star Search Award. He has served as choral director for Timon’s music program over the past several years.

O’Neill, artistic director and co-founder of Irish Classical Theatre Company, has been involved in Timon’s arts program for the past 10 years.


Two Buffalo attorneys who help introduce young people to legal careers have been honored by the New York State Bar Association with the 2013 Citation for Special Achievement in Public Service. Jessica Lazarin and Tasha Moore were recognized by the association’s Committee on Attorneys in Public Service during a ceremony held earlier this month in Albany.

Moore is the regional director of the New York State Division of Human Rights in Buffalo. Lazarin is immigration staff attorney for the Erie County Bar Association’s Volunteer Lawyers Project. Together, they were honored for their work in co-founding the Western New York Diversity Task Force, which was established to implement local programs for the long-term development of youth and the legal community.

One of the task force’s initiatives, the Pipeline Program, serves undergraduate college students, particularly underrepresented minorities and first-generation college students, who are interested in law careers. Another initiative, the Goldilocks Program, uses the popular children’s story to teach grade-school students about the law.

The CAPS citations are given out annually to recognize the special achievements of public service attorneys who have had a significant impact on their communities.


Four recent graduates of the Russell J. Jandoli School of Journalism and Mass Communication at St. Bonaventure University received honors at the 2012-13 New York State Associated Press Association Awards banquet and symposium held Oct. 2 at the Genesee Grande Hotel in Syracuse.

Samantha House, class of 2011, won first place for beat reporting and first place for continuing coverage for her work with the Citizen in Auburn. Chris Michel, class of 2010, of the Olean Times Herald, won third place in the continuing coverage category as well. Jim Miller, class of 2005, of the Finger Lakes Times, won first place in the business/finance category. A team from the Citizen that included House and Kelly Voll Gottula, class of 2006, placed second in the depth reporting category.


The C-SPAN Education Foundation has named Joe Karb, director of teacher initiatives at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown, as a 2013 C-SPAN Senior Teacher Fellow. Karb is a social studies teacher at Springville-Griffith Institute Middle School.

C-SPAN Senior Fellows are expert social studies teachers who are familiar with using C-SPAN’s programs and resources to create innovative teaching materials for students in grades six through 12. Karb, together with colleague Andrew Beiter, director of youth education, developed a youth education initiative for the center in 2011.

The center sponsors a national award, in addition to its Western New York educator award. The local winner for 2013 was Walter Robertson, a social studies teacher at Dunkirk High School.

Also recognized were four teacher fellows for 2013: Junie Eimiller, Southwestern High School; James Gang, Hamburg High School; Lynn Miller Kutschke, Pine Valley High School; and Timothy Redmond, Williamsville East High School.


Marsha L. Lewis, dean of the University at Buffalo School of Nursing, was recently inducted as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing at its 40th annual meeting and conference. Fellows have a responsibility to contribute their time and energies to the academy and to engage with other health care leaders outside the academy in improving America’s health care system.

Selection criteria includes evidence of significant national contributions to nursing and health care and sponsorship by two current academy fellows. Applicants are reviewed by a panel of elected and appointed fellows, and selection is based, in part, on the extent of the nominee’s nursing career influence on health policies and the health and well-being of patients.


Three winning teams in the 2013 North Union Street Adopt-a-Planter Competition in Olean recently received awards. Two of the winning teams have taken top awards in the past.

First place went to the Dr. Francis Matthew Bohan Planter, tended by veteran Adopt-A-Planter teammates Marcia Kelly and Maureen Sheahan. Kelly and Sheahan’s entry took second place prizes in 2011 and 2012.

Second-place prize winners Databranch Planter received a gift certificate from Uptown Florists and a set of tickets to a Quick Center performance. Team members Beth and David Prince collected first prize in 2011.

Two teams, Tom and Joey Enright’s No. 16 and Neighborworks Home Resources No. 11, will share in the third-place title due to a tie. Third-place awards are a potpourri and a candle centerpiece.

The Enrights are also Adopt-A-Planter veterans whose Planter No. 16 took first prize in 2012, the couple’s first year of competition. The Neighborworks Team, Kim Whitney and Mark Sabella, are first-year participants.

All 22 of the city-owned redwood planters were filled in the 2013 competition. A group of judges from the Portville Garden Club ranked the containers in a series of random inspections, for color, uniqueness, general condition and overall design. A perfect score is 320 points.


Girl Scouts of Western New York honored nine women with Women of Distinction Awards during a recent ceremony at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. Six of the women are from the Buffalo area, and three are from other communities in Western New York. The six recipients are:

Business, Mary Ann Coulson, senior vice president and branch manager at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management; health care, Cheryl Howe, executive vice president, operations, at HealthNow New York Inc.; Girl Scout volunteer, Evelyn L. Kerney, Western New York business program administrator at Bryant & Stratton College; entrepreneur, Lisa Kirisits, managing partner of Kirisits & Associates; sports and fitness, Felisha Legette-Jack, head women’s basketball coach at University at Buffalo.

Women of Distinction is a signature fundraising event for Girl Scouts of Western New York, and it provides girls in grades nine through 12 the opportunity to receive mentorship from honorees.


John P. Zukowski, senior partner of Emminger, Newton, Pigeon & Magyar Inc., was recently recognized at the New York State Assessors Conference in Lake Placid by the State University of New York as a dedicated instructor and mentor and awarded the George J. Hill Educator Emeritus Award.

Zukowski has been a national, statewide and local instructor for real estate appraisal courses for more than 15 years. He was selected based on his continuous commitment and dedication.