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The SPCA Serving Erie County has received the Four-Star Distinction for sound fiscal management from Charity Navigator for the sixth consecutive year. The four-star rating indicates that SPCA consistently executes its mission in a fiscally responsible way.

According to Ken Berger, president and chief executive officer of Charity Navigator, “Only 3 percent of the charities we rate have received at least six consecutive four-star evaluations, indicating that the SPCA Serving Erie County outperforms most other charities in America.”

Charity Navigator, a national charity evaluator, highlights the work of efficient charities and provides donors with essential information needed to give them greater confidence in the charitable choices they make.

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Leonard H. Epstein, SUNY Distinguished Professor in the University at Buffalo’s Department of Pediatrics, has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The association elected Epstein for distinguished contributions to the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity, including mechanisms that regulate intake and energy expenditure in children. New fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a rosette pin on Feb. 15 during the association’s annual meeting in Chicago.

Epstein is division chief of behavioral medicine in the UB Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and he has appointments in the departments of community health and health behavior and social and preventive medicine in the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions.

Epstein was the first researcher to demonstrate that reducing television viewing improves childhood obesity treatment outcomes. He developed and tested innovative approaches to reducing television watching that improved standard approaches to pediatric obesity treatment. He also pioneered the use of lifestyle exercise as a component of obesity treatment, developing and testing programs that allow people to integrate into their usual lifestyles exercises that have similar calorie-burning benefits as standard aerobic exercise programs.

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The Hy-View Exempts Association of Hy-View Fire District No. 8 has elected officers for 2014.

New officers are: president, Jack McCarthy; vice president, Ken Hauser; treasurer, Mike Behun; secretary, Richard J. Kotecki. Appointed chaplain was Ed Lyons.

The company is located at 8 Airport Drive, Depew.

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Eight employees of local nursing facilities have been honored as Caring Hearts of the long-term care industry by District 10 of the New York State Health Facilities Association and New York State Center for Assisted Living. The award honors model caregivers working in member skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, whose dedication, skills and compassion set them apart.

They were chosen by their managers and peers for the extraordinary compassion they display as they perform their daily job responsibilities.

The honorees are: Nicole Williams, certified nursing assistant, Niagara Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, Niagara Falls; Brenda Fox, licensed practical nurse , Elderwood Assisted Living at West Seneca, West Seneca; Andre Dixon, certified nursing assistant, St. Catherine Labouré Health Care Center, Buffalo; Muti Ubaydah, social worker, Kaleida HighPointe, Buffalo; Tiffany Hawkins, certified nursing assistant, Elderwood at Amherst, Amherst; Paula Hansen, director of housekeeping/laundry, Fiddlers Green Manor Nursing Home, Springville; Gloria Reed, licensed practical nurse, Delaware Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Buffalo; and Linda Coffey, certified nursing assistant, Briody Health Care Facility, Lockport.

Volunteers that received NYSHFA District 10 Volunteer of the Year awards include: Albert Killian, senior adult category, St. Catherine Labouré Health Care Center, Buffalo; Deacons Norm and Nancy Foster, spiritual guidance category, Kaleida HighPointe, Buffalo; Mary Joan Trembly, adult category, Kaleida HighPointe, Buffalo; and the Women’s Board, group category, Kaleida HighPointe, Buffalo.

Also, four employees received $750 scholarship awards: Holly Steffen, certified nursing assistant, Elderwood at Hamburg, Hamburg; Amy Mayer, diet technician, Elderwood at Wheatfield, Niagara Falls; Alyssa Oswald, nutrition service aid, Our Lady of Peace, Lewiston; and Andrea Jones, certified nursing assistant, Elderwood at Hamburg, Hamburg.

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Susan Burzynski has received the Dental Hygienists Association of the State of New York’s Excellence in Dental Hygiene Award for Mentoring.

Burzynski is a clinical hygienist in the office of Drs. James A. Hoddick and Thomas J. Balazs in Tonawanda. She holds a master’s degree in education from Canisius College and an associate degree from Erie Community College.

Also, Lorraine Carhart has been re-elected secretary for the state association. She is a dental hygienist for Western New York Dental Group in Williamsville. She has served as eighth district director on the association’s board of directors and president of the Eighth District Dental Hygienists’ Association. Carhart has received the Award for Volunteerism in the Niagara County Headstart Program and state association’s Excellence in Dental Hygiene Award for Volunteerism at the component level.

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Phillip Tucciarone, a University at Buffalo chemical and biological engineering student, has won a Marshall Scholarship. He is the first UB student to win a Marshall Scholarship since 1988 and is also a 2013 recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

The Marshall Scholarship will finance Tucciarone’s graduate study at a university in the United Kingdom, where he plans to study materials science. Up to 40 American students are awarded a Marshall Scholarship each year. The scholarship works to strengthen the relationship between British and American citizens, and their governments and institutions.

Inspired by a desire to become a professor of materials science, Tucciarone will use the Marshall Scholarship to pursue a doctorate degree in materials science at either the University of Oxford or the Imperial College of London. He plans to join the research currently underway on graphene, one of the crystalline forms of carbon. A UB Honors College scholar, Tucciarone is president of the Honors Student Council, and works with inner-city public schools through UB’s Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership, funded by the National Science Foundation, which seeks to improve science education in Buffalo Public Schools.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com