Apollo mayor challenged in re-election bid
Apollo's mayoral race will provide the borough next month with two distinct choices for office — one of experience and one of promised change.
The Nov. 5 ballot will pit Republican incumbent Karen Kenzevich against the challenging Democrat Jeff Held, a local marketing director with no elective political experience in Apollo.
Kenzevich has held office since October 2012, shifting from council member to mayor following former office holder Rich Dixon's resignation. Her brief term was highlighted with the hiring of two part-time police officers in the wake of former police Chief Paul Breznican Jr.'s arrest.
Held on Monday applauded Kenzevich's efforts to get the police force back on track but said there's still room for improvement.
“We need to get back to community-based policing,” Held said. “Just because there are budget constraints on personnel doesn't mean we can't have our existing guys getting to know people on a first-name basis.
“I also want to exhaust any and all resources to establish a working relationship with the Armstrong County Drug Task Force and any other law enforcement agencies we have access to.”
Kenzevich agrees that the police department needs improvement but believes the best course of action is to revise the enforcement ordinance and pay for new officers and equipment.
Both candidates agree that Apollo's future hinges on the borough's ability to bring in new merchants and better support current businesses. Leasing the riverfront land parcels along the Kiski River for development, they said, is essential to that aim.
“The land's ready to go,” Kenzevich said of the land once occupied by a nuclear fuels processing company. “It's passed all the necessary tests and we need to get something in there to increase our tax base and draw people into the borough.”
She hopes a large commercial retailer will occupy the property but said she'd consider allowing a light industrial producer to move in.
Held believes Apollo's prosperity is contingent on leasing the land as well but said he's not willing to allow development on the property until it undergoes further testing for contamination.
“I want to move forward with it but we need to conduct some final testing to finally put the controversy to rest,” he said. “Once it's determined that the site's been remediated properly, we can look forward to development. I think it will make the land more attractive, too.”
Held unsuccessfully ran for council in 2010 as a write-in candidate. He said he was apathetic to the inner workings of local government until growing “more and more frustrated with what was going on in Apollo.”
“I'm born and raised in Apollo,” he said, “and I felt like I owed it to my town and its people to get involved and take a stand. There's been too much in-fighting and negligence in government and we need to get on track.”
Kenzevich owns Hair It Is Salon on North Warren Avenue. She served two years on borough council before being appointed mayor.
“Apollo has great history and a great past,” she said. “But it has a better future if we keep moving forward and focus on growing our businesses.”
Braden Ashe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4673 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Allegheny Valley YMCA looks to members, community for financial help
- New Kensington police seek shooting suspect
- New Kensington police chief receives warm sendoff
- ATI continues to produce, ship products
- Steelworkers: ATI talks to resume Sept. 11
- Vandergrift must find $100K for roads
- Sylvan Pool plans to remain open extra week
- Emlenton woman killed in Jefferson Twp. crash
- Changes coming to The Clarion Hotel in New Kensington
- September, the new summer? Warm, dry weather expected
- Alle-Kiski Valley municipalities to re-evaluate how to pay for police protection