Air Force Airman Jonathan L. Bias and Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class David J. Winchell graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio.

The airmen completed an eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness and basic warfare principles and skills.

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

Bias is the son of Catrina Bias of South Main Street, Albion. He is a 2011 graduate of Albion High School.

Winchell is a 2011 graduate of Newfane High School.


Army Reserve Spc. Yasmeen Smith has graduated from basic combat training at Fort Jackson, Columbia, S.C.

During the nine weeks of training, Smith studied the Army mission, history, tradition and core values and physical fitness, and received instruction and practice in basic combat skills, military weapons, chemical warfare and bayonet training, drill and ceremony, marching, rifle marksmanship, armed and unarmed combat, map reading, field tactics, military courtesy, military justice system, basic first aid, foot marches and field training exercises.

She is a 2008 graduate of Niagara Wheatfield High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in 2012 from Niagara University.


The Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, Niagara University president, was recently presented a service award from the Turkish Cultural Center inBuffalo and the Peace Islands Institute.

The honor is granted in recognition of exemplary services and contribution to the service learning education in fighting poverty.

The Turkish Cultural Center and the Peace Islands Institute co-organized the Fourth Annual Friendship Dinner and Awards Ceremony on Nov. 26, which brought academics, elected officials and other community leaders together to promote diversity, peace and mutual understanding through dialogue. Levesque was unable to attend this year’s event, prompting his receipt of the award Dec. 7.

The Turkish Cultural Center in Buffalo was founded in December 2005 by the Turkish-American community in Buffalo to increase awareness of Turkish culture, music, literature and arts in the society; to build strong bridges between Turkish and American people based on respect, understanding and tolerance; and to help Turkish immigrants and refugees adapt to the life in Buffalo and America.


Niagara University and 12 partners, including the Niagara Falls City School District, have been awarded an Investing in Innovation grant of $3 million from the U.S. Department of Education.

The federally funded program is designed to advance student achievement in high-need schools in grades three through six in mathematics and science through improved teacher preparation and early-career teaching support.

The project, “Building a Pipeline of Teaching Excellence,” capitalizes on the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ unique repository of case studies of accomplished teaching, including videos of board-certified teachers paired with reflective analyses describing instructional decision-making and teaching strategies. The cases will be housed in an online resource called Accomplished Teaching, Learning and Schools (ATLAS).

Through the grant, the National Board and its partners will pilot ATLAS cases in six teacher preparation programs and seven local education agencies (LEAs). The project will help embed National Board standards and exemplars of accomplished teaching in preservice and induction in participating institutions of higher education and LEAs.

The National Board will oversee this project, convening partners to develop new instructional approaches that are high-impact, cost-effective and scalable. Ultimately, ATLAS will expand across all 25 National Board certificate areas, including thousands of cases addressing all areas of the curriculum and every developmental level of pre-K-12 education.

Debra Colley, Ph.D., dean of Niagara University’s College of Education, noted that the project addresses a need in teacher preparation by providing preservice programs with up-to-date tools so as to strengthen the preparation provided to teachers and extend that preparation through their early years in teaching. “National Board standards are the DNA of accomplished teaching,” she said. “By embedding them at the heart of preservice and induction, we will ensure that new teachers in STEM fields will be ready for the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.”

Over the course of the grant, the free training in early childhood learning is expected to benefit about 1,500 area teachers and impact 35,000 schoolchildren.


Black Willow Winery, a member winery of the Niagara Wine Trail, was awarded eight medals, including a gold medal, at the 2012 American Wine Society Commercial Wine Competition. Several other New York State wineries were among the top winners at the competition held last month in Portland, Ore.

Aside from the gold medal for “Odin’s Nectar,” Black Willow Winery’s signature mead (honey wine), silver medals were also awarded to “Flight 6.1.37,” a dessert wine; “Trilogy White,” a white wine blend; and “Black Widow Berry,” a blackberry-flavored sweet red wine. Bronze medals were also awarded to their Classic Diamond, Bare Cat Blush, 2011 Riesling Reserve, and “Freyja’s Passion,” a vanilla-strawberry-flavored mead.

The AWS competition is one of the oldest, most respected wine competitions in the country, drawing entries from across the United States and Canada. The competition was held over two days at the Red Lion Riverside Hotel in Portland in conjunction with the American Wine Society’s 45th annual conference.


Peggy Grayson of the GLOW Region Solid Waste Management Committee was named Recycler of the Year by the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3), the professional recyclers’ association for New York State.

According to the news release submitted by the committee, Grayson is the only employee covering a multi-county area of the state for recycling, and she does it with enthusiasm and on a shoestring budget. She was one of the first in the state to execute multi-county household hazardous waste collection days and is also the driving force behind the Western New York Materials Exchange catalog. She is described as an “inspiration ... always willing to go the extra mile – or 50 – in rural communities to spread the word about recycling and get the job done, diverting waste from landfills and improving the landscape around her.”

GLOW operates in Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming counties.