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>Hires/Promotions/Honors

Cohen & Lombardo partner James J. Nash was elected to the Bison Scholarship Fund's board of directors for a two-year term. The Bison Scholarship Fund is a privately subsidized tuition assistance program for low-income children living in Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Wyoming and Orleans counties. Families awarded a Bison scholarship can send their child to a private elementary school of their choice.

Combined Insurance, a provider of individual supplemental accident, disability, health and life insurance products, named Tony O'Dierno senior divisional manager. O'Dierno joined the company in 1980 as a sales agent and has since held several management positions.

L&M Financial financial adviser Joseph Lipsitz attained Certified Financial Planner designation.

Northwestern Mutual honored Andre B. Cook with membership in its 2012 Forum group. Only the top 5 percent of Northwestern Mutual's more than 6,000 financial representatives receive the annual honor. Cook is affiliated with the Dodd Network Office in Amherst.

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>Company Connections

Athletes Unleashed, CrossFit AU, a cross-training facility, was opened recently at 3689 California Road in Orchard Park by Buffalo native Robby Dinero and his wife, Jennifer.

The Ramada Hotel & Conference Center's first "Girls' Weekend" was recently given the outstanding event award from the Buffalo Niagara Event Professionals. The Ramada's Girls' Weekend was held in March. A percentage of the proceeds was donated to breast cancer research. The second annual Girls' Weekend is scheduled for Jan. 26 and 27.

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>Contributing

Niagara Recycling will fund the new $71,000 Niagara Training & Employment Agency program, an after-school respite program that will support eight children at a time, ages 5 to 18, who have a variety of special needs, including medical, behavioral, autism and mental health diagnoses. The after-school program will operate from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday throughout the school year in the Donald L. Reilly Centre in Niagara Falls.

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>Patents

Title: Radial bed vessels having uniform flow distribution

No.: 8,313,561

Inventors: Celik, Cem E. (Grand Island); Ackley, Mark W. (East Aurora)

Assignee: Praxair Technology (Danbury, Conn.)

Date issued: Nov. 20, 2012