At the Ukrainian Technological Society’s 47th annual dinner-dance (from left) are: Eugene Szestak, Mary Anne Szestak, Halyna Mykhailiv-Ciarallo, honoree Natalie A. Jaresko, George Honchar, Bonnie Reinhart, Nickolas C. Kotow and Judith Moses.

Ukrainian Technological Society presents Ukrainian of the Year Award to Natalie Jaresko

PITTSBURGH – The Ukrainian Technological Society of Pittsburgh held its 47th annual dinner-dance on Saturday, November 4, at The Club at Nevillewood in Pittsburgh and presented its 2017 Ukrainian of the Year Award to Natalie Ann Jaresko. The society’s Ukrainian of the Year Award recognizes individuals of local, national and international stature who have contributed to the Ukrainian community or Ukrainian scholarship, or who have demonstrated significant achievement, which brings recognition and prestige to the Ukrainian community. Ms. Jaresko was honored for her 25 plus years of successful management experience in government and business, and for perpetuating Ukrainian religious culture by her service to the Ukrainian Orthodox League. Prior to the evening’s ceremonies, Ms. Jaresko and her family had a chance to visit the students and teachers at the School of Ukrainian Studies of Pittsburgh at Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie, Pa., where they were welcomed by Principal Olexandra Korenovska. Ms. Jaresko viewed the students’ lessons, and explained to them, in both Ukrainian and English, what she did as the minister of finance of Ukraine in Ukraine.

Ihor Kowal with the special birthday cake made by Lyuba Demchyk.

Parish celebrates choir director’s 70th birthday

JAMAICA PLAIN, Mass. – On Saturday afternoon, November 11, some 80 members of Christ the King Ukrainian Catholic Parish in Boston gathered together with family and friends of Ihor Kowal, long-time choir director and cantor, to celebrate his 70th birthday and to mark his many years of liturgical service to the parish as well. The gathering began with the celebration of vespers in the church by candlelight by the pastor, the Very Rev. Dr. Yaroslav Nalysnyk, with the full choir under the direction of guest choirmaster Alexander Kuzma of Hartford, Conn., who also served as cantor. The service was followed by a reception in the Parish Center which included a cocktail reception, a formal program, a buffet dinner, an impressive dessert station and, later in the evening, the official birthday cake which was in the form of a Ukrainian embroidered shirt, which was designed and put together for the occasion by Lyuba Demchyk. Parish Council Member Myron Kravchuk acted as master of ceremonies; Father Nalysnyk opened the program with a prayer.

Nadia Vynnytsky

Actress reaches for the stars

PHILADELPHIA – Nadia Vynnytsky, an actress of Ukrainian heritage, will star as Katherine, the feisty, independent journalist, in Disney’s high-energy Broadway show “Newsies The Musical.”

The performance will take place December 1-20 at the Pioneer Theatre in Salt Lake City, Utah. Ms. Vynnytsky was previously seen at the Pioneer Theatre as Hodel, the second daughter, in “Fiddler on the Roof” and in the “Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

Ms. Vynnytsky, 29, is not new to the stage. At a young age she was already performing in regional theaters. While attending Ukrainian Saturday school and Plast Ukrainian Scouting Organization in Philadelphia, she found time to hone her dancing, singing and acting skills. The daughter of Ihor and Dora (Varvariw Vynnytsky), she is a member of Ukrainian National Association Branch 362.

Author Larysa Plawan Levycky (in an undated photo) and the cover of her new book.

Author releases historical novel

COQUITLAM, British Columbia – Author Larysa Plawan Levycky of British Columbia recently released her book “Destiny,” a work of historical fiction that tells the story of a woman born of privilege and her experiences during the Russian Revolution and World War II. As noted in a press release from Trafford Publishing, the novel focuses on the saga of an aristocratic German family, the von Shtattens, who have settled near the city of Mariupol, Ukraine, in the grape-growing region called “Weinberg.”

As the third generation of the von Shtattens is born at the height of the Communist Revolution, the family loses nearly all its wealth, forcing a series of events that lead the beautiful 19-year-old Lydia von Shtatten to change her name to avoid Communist attention and eventually marry and have children with concert pianist Leonid Leontev. As Hitler moves through Ukraine, Leontev is inducted into the Red Army and goes missing in action. Now Lydia must rely on help from her cousin to survive as the Gestapo terrorizes the innocent and changes her future once again. As Lydia’s destiny leads her across Europe and eventually to Canada, she must struggle to endure myriad challenges amid the chaos of a brutal war.

Dr. Boris Lushniak (right) receives the AMA Distinguished Service Award from AMA President David O. Barbe, M.D.

Former acting surgeon general receives AMA Service Award

HONOLULU – The American Medical Association (AMA) honored former Acting Surgeon General of the United States Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., with the Distinguished Service Award for his contributions in the field of public health. Granted by the AMA Board of Trustees and endorsed by the AMA House of Delegates, this award honors a member of the AMA for meritorious service in the science and art of medicine. “A dedicated and indefatigable leader, Dr. Lushniak led critical missions at home and across the globe for the CDC, spearheading response efforts to everything from skin cancer to Hurricane Katrina,” said AMA Board Chair Gerald E. Harmon, M.D. “He never falters when faced with hard work or dangerous situations, but rather sees an opportunity to make a difference during critical moments that affect our nation and the globe.”

Dr. Lushniak played an active role in government service for nearly 30 years, having served as acting surgeon general from July 2013 to December 2014. He also held the position of deputy surgeon general from 2010 to 2013 and from 2014 to 2015, as well as assistant commissioner for counterterrorism policy for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 2004 to 2010. During his time as acting surgeon general, Dr. Lushniak participated in disaster responses in various parts of the world, was part of the Centers for Disease Control/The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health team at Ground Zero, and oversaw much of the federal government’s planning for bioterrorism defense in the years following the September 11 attacks.

Dr. Ireneus Zuk

Professor of music receives prestigious teaching award

KINGSTON, Ontario – Dr. Ireneus Zuk is the 2016-2017 recipient of the Queen’s University School of Music Excellence in Teaching Award. The award ceremony took place at the Isabel Bader Center for the Performing Arts in Kingston, Ontario, on Friday, October 13, during the annual Homecoming Showcase Concert. The concert presented five of the large student ensembles from the Dan School of Drama and Music and was well attended by students, faculty, alumni and music enthusiasts from the community at large. The Dan School Music Teaching Award is the highest acclamation for teaching excellence given by students. This honor is awarded to a member of the music faculty who has been nominated by students for their exceptional dedication to the School of Music both inside and outside of the classroom.

Peter Fil celebrates his win in Haidong Gumdo with the first place World Mulimpia trophy.

Father and son win gold at the third World Mulimpia

WATERVLIET, N.Y. – The third World Mulimpia was held in July in PyeongChang, South Korea, the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics. The Mulimpia is a martial arts open championship competition in Taekwondo, Hapkido, Wushu and Haidong Gumdo. Over 5,000 martial artists from 51 countries participated. Competitions were organized by different disciplines of the martial arts and by age groups. Part of team U.S.A. were Ukrainian father and son, Peter and Markian Fil from Latham, N.Y., who traveled with 52 other participants and travelers from Master Yang’s Martial Arts Center.

At the Konowal Walk dedication ceremonies (from left) are: Paul Grod, president, Ukrainian Canadian Congress; Prof. Lubomyr Luciuk, chairman, Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation; and the presiding officer, Lt. Gen. Paul Wynnyk, commander, Canadian Army.

Konowal Walk opens at WWI memorial in France

LOOS-EN-GOHELLE, France – Hundreds of people from France and a sizeable delegation of Ukrainians from the diaspora attended the public unveiling of the Battle of Hill 70 Memorial at Loos-en-Gohelle, France, on August 22. Included in the ceremony was the official opening of the Konowal Walk. Cpl. Filip Konowal’s valor 100 years ago at the Battle of Hill 70 (August 22, 1917) was recognized with the highest medal of the British Empire, the Victoria Cross. He was the only Ukrainian ever so distinguished. The naming of the central pathway at the Hill 70 memorial after Konowal was made possible through the generosity of the Temerty Family Foundation, the Ihnatowycz Family Foundation, the Petro Jacyk Education Foundation, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation, Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund, Ukrainian Canadian Veterans Fund, Shevchenko Foundation and other Ukrainian Canadian organizations and individuals, with the support of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain.

Friends with Lesia Chraplyva (seated in the middle in a white embroidered blouse) during the celebration of her 90th birthday.

Friends celebrate author Lesia Chraplyva’s 90th birthday

TORONTO – Throughout many decades of her life, Lesia Chraplyva was known as a writer, journalist, editor, Plast scouting leader and community activist. To celebrate her 90th birthday, a large group of her friends and colleagues gathered on May 26 at St. Demetrius Residence in the Toronto area. Written congratulations were read and memories were recalled. A collection, which netted almost $2,000, was organized on the occasion of the milestone birthday.

At the Macomb County awards ceremony recognizing community volunteers, (from left) are: Marta Kwitkowsky, honoree Marie Zarycky-Cherviovskiy, Macomb County Commissioner Andrey Duzyj; Nadia Purnell and Catherine Kizyma, president of Ukrainian National Women’s League of America Branch 96.

Michigan Ukrainian is among volunteers honored

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. – As in the past 27 years, the annual Macomb County Commissioners Volunteer Recognition Program took place at the Macomb County Administration Building in Mount Clemens, Mich. The Macomb County Board of Commissioners, consisting of 13 districts, annually distributes awards to dedicated individuals who have volunteered their time benefiting the county and its residents. This year, more than 60 volunteers were recognized on April 27 for their dedication to serving others in Macomb County and throughout southeastern Michigan. To be considered for the award, individuals must meet two requirements: they must have donated at least 150 hours of service to the community and either must reside in Macomb County or their volunteerism must have benefited the county and its residents.