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Honor Roll /

Dr. Gil I. Wolfe, Irvin and Rosemary Smith professor and chair of the department of Neurology at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has been selected to receive the 2015 Doctor of the Year award from the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America.

Wolfe is an expert on neuromuscular disorders with a special focus on myasthenia gravis, the most common disease of neuromuscular transmission. Myasthenia Gravis is an autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in the voluntary muscles. MG manifests itself uniquely in each patient, but typically involves symptoms such as inability to keep eyelids open; crossed eyes; weakness in hands and arms, feet and legs; trouble with smiling and other facial expressions; and, worst of all, difficulties swallowing and breathing which can lead to myasthenic crisis.

Currently, Wolfe is clinical chair of a major National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded international trial of a surgical procedure called thymectomy. The study assesses the benefit of thymectomy beyond conventional medications in helping MG patients who do not present with a chest tumor. He received planning grant support from the Muscular Dystrophy Association to develop the trial of thymectomy for MG in the late 1990s and has successfully obtained funding from the NIH to support the trial which will complete final outcome assessments in November.

Wolfe has served the MGFA in numerous capacities, including on its medical scientific advisory board since 2001 and immediate past president. He co-organized the MGFA-New York Academy of Sciences 12th International Conference on Myasthenia Gravis and Related Disorders in 2012 and has organized yearly scientific sessions for the MGFA.


Joseph M. Hanna, a partner at Goldberg Segalla LLP, has been selected to receive the Bar Association of Erie County’s 2015 Lawyer of the Year Award which was presented at the Association’s 128th annual dinner on June 8 at Kleinhans Music Hall. Hanna will be recognized for his public service work as founder of Bunkers for Baghdad and his tireless efforts to bring diversity into the practice of law.

Other awards include: Outstanding Jurist Award, Hon. Eugene M. Fahey, New York State Court of Appeals; Award of Merit, Hon. Frederick J. Marshall, New York State Supreme Court; Charles H. Dougherty Civility Award, John C. Doscher and James P. Renda; and Special Service Award, David L. Sweet.


Arts Services Initiative of Western New York honored several individuals and organizations at its 2nd annual Spark Cultural Awards Party which was held May 20 at Hotel @ The Lafayette.

A panel of cultural representatives from throughout Western New York selected the 2014-2015 winners. They are:

Lifetime Achievement, Jonathan Rogers, animator, artist; Cultural Ambassador, Tom Calderone, president, VH1; Advocate for the Cultural Sector, Paul Hogan, John R. Oishei Foundation; Arts Integration, Timothy Murphy and the University at Buffalo Clinical and Translational Research Center; DEC Program of the Year, Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara Fine Arts Program; Rising Star, Danceability; Supporter of the Cultural Sector, Rigidized Metals/Silo City; and Unsung Hero, Gerald Mead, artist, art collector, mentor, Buffalo State College.

In addition, winners from the finalists in the following two categories:

Artist of the Year: Sarah Fonzi, sculptor; Ntare Ali Gault, spoken word, playwright; and David Michael Miller, blues vocalist, songwriter, guitarist.

Cultural Organization of the Year: Albright Knox Art Gallery; Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Center for Comedy; and Niagara Arts and Cultural Center.


Kevin W. Spitler was sworn in as the 109th president of the Bar Association of Erie County at its 128th annual meeting, succeeding Laurie Styka Bloom. Gregory T. Miller was elected vice president and will assume the presidency in June 2016.

Thomas F. Hewner is treasurer and Ericka N. Bennett was elected deputy treasurer. Liz Midgley, James J. Nash, Melissa Hancock Nickson and Michael F. Perley were elected to three-year terms on the board of directors. Elected to the nominating committee were Katherine J. Bestine and John V. Elmore.

Spitler has practiced as a trial lawyer in Buffalo for the last 34 years, focusing on criminal defense. He is a graduate of Canisius College and the International School of Law in Washington (now George Mason School of Law). He formerly served as a director of the Bar Association and currently serves on its criminal law committee.

Miller is a partner at Roach, Brown, McCarthy & Gruber, P.C.. His practice focuses on the defense of medical professionals, hospitals, and nursing homes in medical malpractice cases. He worked as a teacher before entering SUNY at Buffalo Law School.

The Bar Association of Erie County was founded in 1887 to advance the administration of justice through programs and services for the legal profession and the public.


Daemen College’s efforts to reduce food waste, which has resulted in more than 3 tons of food that has been diverted to composting over the past three years, has been recognized with a Certificate of Appreciation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2.

The national distinction was awarded in honor of Daemen’s exceptional efforts in the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge, a part of the Sustainable Materials Management Program that seeks to reduce wasted food. Challenge participants across the country are encouraged to save money, help communities and protect the environment by composting, donating extra food and engaging in other diversion activities.

From 2012-13, the college increased by an impressive 238 percent the total amount of food diverted from landfills. Under the guidance of Brenda Young, chair of the Daemen Global and Local Sustainability Department, a student-run class project focused on reducing wasted food as part of the FRC program.

“In cooperation with Hallmark Food Services at Daemen, the project successfully established Daemen’s effort to divert tons of kitchen food scraps to composting rather than sending the material to a landfill, which reduces carbon emissions and produces valuable soil amendments,” said Young.


Christine Salamone, a teacher at Bennett High School, has been awarded Buchwald Summer Fellowship by the Ashbrook Center at Ashland University in Ohio. The center is a highly regarded nonprofit provider of educational programs for U.S. history and government teachers, as well as high school and college students.

Middle and high school teachers chosen as Buchwald Summer Fellows receive the full cost of tuition, room, board and books to participate in a rigorous week-long summer graduate course offered through Ashbrook’s Master of Arts in American History and Government program. Participants in the course earn two graduate credit hours from Ashland University.

The courses run throughout June and July. Course topics include the American Revolution, the Constitution Ratification Debate, the Civil War and Reconstruction, America During the Cold War, and others.


The Marie Jackson Golf Committee named the 2016 winners of their scholarships. Each winner will have $1500 given as a tuition payment to the Catholic High School they will be attending in September. The winners are:

Jake Blidy, attend Bishop Timon St. Jude; Ryan Gall, attend Bishop Timon St. Jude; Tyler Shea, attend Canisius; and Kathryn Bergman, attend Nardin Academy.


Several local residents have graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas.

Airman Alexandra M. Tyler is the daughter of Carla and Matthew Tyler of Tonawanda. She is a 2014 graduate of Tonawanda High School.

Airman 1st Class Nicholas A. Damon is the son of Julianne Masocco of Hamburg. He is a 2014 graduate of Clarence High School.

Airman Michael J. Bardsley is the son of Dina and Michael Bardsley of Buffalo. He is a 2014 graduate of Frontier Central High School.

Airman 1st Class Kevin A. St. George is the son of Melanie A. St. George of Spring Hill, Fla., and Richard R. St. George of Fredonia, and brother of Erik R. St. George of Dunkirk. He graduated in 2009 from Fredonia High School and earned an associate degree in 2013 from Jamestown Community College.

National Guard Airman 1st Class Derrick J. Ford is the son of David Ford and Susan Ryan, step-son of Patrick Ryan, and nephew of Dawn and Rich Ford of Tonawanda. He graduated in 2012 from Kenmore East High School and earned an associate degree in 2014 from Medaille College.

Reserve Airman 1st Class Micah N. Greidanus is a 2014 graduate of Kenmore West High School.

Reserve Airman Steven L. Krashefski earned distinction as an honor graduate. He is a 2007 graduate of Frontier Central High School.

Reserve Airman 1st Class Clifton M. Robinson is the son of Anshella and Clifton Robinson III of Buffalo. He graduated in 2011 from Western New York Maritime Charter School.

Airman Ashley K. Swiantek is the daughter of Annette and Peter Swiantek of Grand Island. She graduated in 2011 from Grand Island High School.

Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.


Western New York Federal Credit Union has awarded two West Seneca West High School seniors with $500.00 college scholarships at a scholarship dinner hosted by credit unions in the Erie-Niagara Chapter of the New York Credit Union Association which was held May 18 at Sean Patrick’s in Getzville.

The 2015 scholarship recipients are Stephanie Pfeiffer and Hannah Saunders. In addition, Western New York Federal Credit Union also awarded Laura Rose Krawczyk, also, a senior at West Seneca West, with the Molly Berger “Act of Kindness” Scholarship.


Craig W. Tyson, assistant professor of religious studies at D’Youville College, has been selected from a nationwide pool of nominees to participate in a faculty seminar on the teaching of interfaith understanding. The seminar is offered by the Council of Independent Colleges and Interfaith Youth Core, with support from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Twenty-five faculty members from colleges and universities throughout the U.S. will participate in the five-day Teaching Interfaith Understanding seminar that will take place June 21–25 at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Tyson is a magna cum Laude graduate of Grove City College in Pennsylvania, earned his master’s degree in divinity and a master’s degree in Old Testament studies, both summa cum laude, from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston. He holds a master’s degree in Near Eastern studies from the University of Michigan where he earned his doctorate in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israelite History.