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Etna Council appoints new member, junior council member

| Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, 3:06 p.m.
Megan Tunon
Megan Tunon
Sophia Kachur
Sophia Kachur

Etna has appointed two members to its council.

Megan Tunon, 32, is filling a seat Karen Tomaszewski vacated after 14 years to accept a tax collector position.

Tunon said Tomaszewski, her next-door neighbor, being involved in the community inspired her to represent Ward 1 on council.

“She and other people work really hard to make it (Etna) a great place to live, and I almost saw it sort of like a responsibility to pick up the torch as a member of the younger generation to keep that going and to keep it just as vibrant and a nice place to live,” she said.

“Also, Mary Ellen (Ramage, borough manager) is super inspiring, too. You know, women in politics these days, I think it's important to get involved.”

Tunon's term will last through 2020. As this is her first political venture, she looks forward to learning more about local government. The Democrat also said she hopes to make Etna a more sustainable community and wants to continue what “so many of these council members and volunteers have started.”

Tunon is an Etna Neighborhood Association member and is involved with developing the borough's ecodistrict plan. Her husband, Robert, a Rothschild Doyno Collaborative Architecture and Urban Design associate, is spearheading the project in a volunteer capacity.

After growing up near Lock Haven, she earned a bachelor's in English from Penn State University and a master's in education from Bloomsburg University.

She taught high school English in New Jersey, before moving with with her husband to Panama, where she taught at an international high school.

In 2015, they relocated to Pittsburgh — Robert's hometown — to start a family. They weren't overly familiar with Etna, however.

“We just realized that it has a lot of really great community resources. There's just a lot to offer young families. It's a great location, you know, he (Robert) works in the city, and it's just a tight-knit community. We really lucked out, actually. We moved there for the house and kind of ended up falling in love with the neighborhood.”

As a newly appointed councilwoman, Tunon said she's appreciative for the opportunity “and looking forward to seeing where it goes and what happens next.”

The Tunons have a 2-year-old son, Leo, and are currently expecting.

Additionally, Sophia Kachur, 18, is Etna's newest junior council member.

Following Ramage's Shaler Area High School presentation about Etna history, Kachur approached her to inquire about opportunities within Etna's local government.

Kachur said she wanted to join the council because she is passionate about local politics and the impact they can have on small communities.

“I think trying to conduct some projects that would be within the interest of people my age is something that I'm expected and I hope to do. There's been talk of getting people at the high school or within the school district involved in the new ecodistrict committee and the conservationist projects that they're trying to undertake and maybe some new recreational things within Etna.”

The high school senior has served as a Shaler Area School Board student representative for the past two years, an experience she considers “enlightening,” because she gets to hear district-related news straight from the board, voice her opinions and witness how district decisions are made.

Kachur is president of the Student Political Action Committee for Education club (SPACE) and a member of the National Art Honor Society and high school stage crew.

She hopes to major in political science and study public policy in college.

She resides with her father, John, and stepmother, Valerie. Her mother, Wendy Andrews and stepfather, Ken Andrews, live in Houston.

Erica Cebzanov is a Tribune-Review contributor.

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