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Six students graduated from the Xi Epsilon Omega Chapter’s Emerging Young Leaders Phase 3, a signature program of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. The Emerging Young Leaders program is for girls in sixth through eight grades. It is designed to cultivate and encourage high scholastic academic achievement through leadership, education, civic engagement and character building.

Honorees were: Maya Owens, Jesen Daniels, Alasiha Wood, Roshelle Lewis, Patrice Moody and Prodda Murphy.

The ceremony was held June 7 in Old Country Buffet, Amherst.

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A State Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan of Elma honored Karen O’Hara of Springville with the New York State Senate’s Woman of Distinction award for her efforts to confront the global epidemic of human trafficking and for her charitable activities and devotion to the Western New York community.

“Karen is a Renaissance woman in the truest sense of the word, a special person who is always looking for new ways to apply her unique talents to make the world around her a better place to live,” Gallivan said. “As a mother, Karen volunteers with local athletic organizations; as an entrepreneur, Karen is a leading voice to ensure the business community of Springville has every opportunity to succeed and grow; and as a woman, Karen has dedicated her life to ending the brutal practice of human trafficking and providing services and stability to its victims. We are fortunate that Karen has chosen to make New York State and Western New York her home, and I extend my sincerest congratulations to her.”

She is owner of SouthTowns Route 219 Antique and a former director of Springville Area Chamber of Commerce.

A former Mrs. New York, O’Hara has used her publicity and her designation as Mrs. New York International 2013 to bring awareness and resources to human trafficking. She is the founder and chairwoman of United Hands of Hope House, a nonprofit corporation that provides recovery services to domestic survivors of human trafficking within the 17 counties of the western portion of New York State.

She was recently named an Ambassador of Hope for Shared Hope International, presented with a New York State Senate legislative resolution recognizing her efforts on behalf of trafficking victims by Gallivan and State Sen. John DeFranciso of Syracuse, and honored with a day named in her honor in the City of Buffalo by Mayor Byron Brown.

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Chris Mackowski, associate professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University, has co-authored three new Civil War books recently published.

Two of the books, “A Season of Slaughter: The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House” and “The Last Days of Stonewall Jackson,” are part of the Emerging Civil War Series. They follow Mackowski’s first book in the series, “Simply Murder: The Battle of Fredericksburg,” released last December. The third book released in May is “Chancellorsville’s Forgotten Front: The Battles of Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church.”

All three books are co-authored by Mackowski’s longtime writing partner, Kristopher White.

According to historian Don Pfanz, who reviewed the book, “Too often historians have treated the battles of Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church as mere footnotes to the greater Chancellorsville campaign. In Chancellorsville’s Forgotten Front, Mackowski and White bring the story to the forefront where it belongs, and they do so in a style at once entertaining and evocative.”

Mackowski and White are co-founders of the blog Emerging Civil War. They have both worked as historians at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park in central Virginia.

Mackowski, who has taught at St. Bonaventure since the fall of 2000, earned his Ph.D. from Binghamton University. ...

The Erie County School Boards Association recognized board of education president Bob Dana and vice president Stephen Brooks with its annual Rising Star award. The award recognizes outstanding examples of leadership, learning and service.

Board of education members become a rising star by completing the ECASB new school board member trainings and participating in ECASB’s annual School Finance Academy and annual Legislative Breakfast. In addition to completing these seminars, Brooks and Dana have been active on the ECASB legislative team both locally and in Albany. Brooks also served on the budget and finance team.

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University at Buffalo’s School of Social Work podcast series, inSocialWorkSM (formerly known as Living Proof), received a national award in the “Best Website” category by the National Association of Social Work Media. inSocialWorkSM is a biweekly podcast series featuring conversations with social work professionals, interviews with researchers and information on emerging trends and best practices in the field of social work.

“This marks the fifth year of our podcast series, and we are truly honored to win this prestigious award from NASW,” says Tony Guzman, director of online programs at the UB School of Social Work and the leader of the podcast series committee.

The National Association of Social Workers 2013 Media Awards recognize reporters, bloggers, columnists, television producers, movie directors and other media professionals who help raise awareness about the social work profession and issues important to social workers.

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Cattaraugus County District Attorney Lori Pettit Rieman was recepient of Outstanding Women in the Law award by the Eighth Judicial Distict’s Women in the Courts/Gender and Racial Fairness Committee for excellence in her professional role. The ceremony was held at a luncheon June 12 at the Pan American Grill and Brewery in the Lafayette Hotel.

Other honorees include: Hon. Erin M. Peradotto, Justice of the Appellate Division; Hon. Joan Bozer, former Erie County Legislator; Diane Bosse, counsel, Hurwitz & Fine; Hon. Marjorie C. Mix, Retired Erie County Family Court Judge; Dolores Gist, bail bond agent; Mary Beth Scimia, LAN administrator; and Kate Stoneman (posthumous).