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8 Dems seek 4 nominations for Pitcairn Council

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 8:33 p.m.
Orelio 'Rollo' Vecchio
Orelio 'Rollo' Vecchio

Eight Pitcairn residents — including three incumbents — are vying for the four Democratic nominations for Pitcairn Council that are up for grabs in the May 21 primary. Four seats with four-year terms are open on council.

The nominees will advance to the general election Nov. 5, and the winners assume their new positions in January.

Among the challenges that Pitcairn Council members could face over the next few years are an ailing infrastructure, a flood-mitigation project that has been decades in the making, unkempt property and an increase in reports of criminal activity in recent years.

Although eight are running for office, only seven names will appear on the Democratic ballot. That's because candidate James Rullo filed his paperwork with the elections bureau too late. Rullo is running as a write-in candidate.

No one is filed as a Republican in the primary.

Andrea Marie Bowser

Age: 47.

Political experience: None.

Job: Musical director at Pitcairn Assembly of God..

Education: Currently enrolled at the Community College of Allegheny County's Boyce Campus, studying surgical technology, with a graduation expected in May 2014.

Community involvement: President of the Surgical Technology Club at CCAC Boyce Campus, former youth leader at Pitcairn Assembly of God, and coach and team mom with the Pitcairn Baseball Association.

Family: Husband, Neil; and three sons, Christopher, Nicholas and Nathan.

Bowser said there should be more of a focus placed on providing programming for what she says is 200 residents in Pitcairn between the ages of 13 and 18.

“These young people need programs that go all year long,” Bowser said.

She said that if elected, she will work to provide recreation and leisure activities for teenagers.

“These young people are our future leaders, so we need to find a way to invest in their lives.”

George Burkhardt

Age: 55.

Political experience: Three years on Pitcairn council.

Job: Employed at Babe Charapp Ford and Kenny Ross Chevrolet for nearly 30 years.

Education: East Allegheny High School graduate.

Community involvement: President of Pitcairn Volunteer Fire Company No. 2 for more than 20 years, president of the Pitcairn Fire Relief Association, former member of the Parks and Recreation Board and the beautification committee, co-organizer of American Legion Memorial Day Parade.

Family: Wife, Diana; three children, Carriann, Dwain and Jeremy; and four grandchildren

Burkhardt said he's seeking re-election to help make Pitcairn a safer place. Burkardt said last week that he is actively is working with running mate Rollo Vecchio to collect the remaining 15 signatures from property owners needed to complete the Dirty Camp Run flood-control project.

“It is so close to being done, and it would be nice not having to worry about flooding,” Burkhardt said.

Dona Galia

Age: 50.

Political experience: None.

Job: Head Start teacher.

Education: Graduate of Gateway High School and Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a degree in elementary education.

Community involvement: Co-founder of KEEP, or Keep Elementary Education in Pitcairn; camp director for Pitcairn Camp G, Persons with Disabilities committee member for North American Martyrs Parish, CIRCLES Guiding Coalition board member

Family: Husband, Marty; and 2 children, Olivia and Bennett.

Galia said that, if elected, she would seek funding to refurbish some vacant structures and remove those that are unsafe. She said that improving the safety in Pitcairn will take a focus on both vacant structures and law enforcement.

“I would like to continue the work that is being done to ensure the safety of our residents, including controlling the drug activity and funding the needed repairs to the infrastructure.”

Lorraine Myers

Age: 67.

Political experience: None.

Job: Retired Gateway School District custodian.

Education: General Educational Development, or GED, diploma.

Community involvement: Member of Pitcairn crime watch and volunteer for the Pitcairn Renaissance Burger Blasts.

Family: Husband, Ron; two sons and two stepdaughters.

Myers said that, if elected, she would work to continue to enlist the help of the appropriate outside law enforcement agencies to reduce criminal activity in Pitcairn. She said she also would address unkempt rental properties.

“I would like to clean up our community by working to get landlords to fix up and care for their properties by enforcing our ordinances,” Myers said.

John Prucnal Jr.

Age: 56.

Political experience: President of Pitcairn Council, council member since late 1990s, Pitcairn Democratic Committee.

Job: Territory sales manager for Bimbo Baking USA.

Education: Plum High School graduate.

Community involvement: Organist and cantor at St Michael Catholic Church, member of Envisioning Ministries Committee at St. Michael Catholic Church, original Pitcairn representative to 3 Rivers Wet Weather Demonstration Group and Turtle Creek Council of Government representative for Pitcairn Borough.

Family: Wife, Robin; and two children, Zachary and Katy.

Prucnal, the current council president, said the main issue in Pitcairn is its “old and neglected infrastructure.” He said there are four bridges that need to be replaced, two main roads that are deteriorating and a flood-control project that has been on hold for years.

“Add to that the increasing number of abandoned homes that need demolished and absentee landlords which contribute to the crime problems, there is a lot of work that needs to be done.”

He said that if council puts the community first, and not politics, those issues can be solved.

James Rullo

Age: 65.

Political experience: None.

Job: Retired adult probation/parole supervisor for Allegheny County Court.

Education: Gateway High School graduate and Point Park University graduate.

Community involvement: Member of the Pitcairn Historical Society, Pitcairn Renaissance, Pitcairn Camp B and the Pennsylvania DUI Association.

Family: Wife, Yvette; daughter, Kelly; and two granddaughters.

By relying in part on his experience as an adult probation/parole supervisor for nearly 40 years at the Allegheny County Court, Rullo said, he is “ready to work with council to deal in anyway possible to help Pitcairn return to the town I knew, full of community pride and people working together to make Pitcairn a better safer place for the future.”

Rullo has been member of the Pitcairn Zoning Board for more than 40 years and said he is “aware of the problems with absentee landlords and flood problems in the community.”

Rullo is campaigning as a write-in candidate, after being removed from the ballot for failing to meet a filing deadline for candidates at the borough building. Rullo said he missed the deadline by one day.

Orelio “Rollo” Vecchio

Age: 75.

Political experience: Pitcairn Councilman for 32 years, Democratic Committee member for 46 years, short-term participant with state AFL-CIO political group and member of the Eastern Regional Democratic Organization.

Job: Retired Pennsylvania Department of Revenue Enforcement agent.

Education: Pitcairn High School graduate and Air Force air evacuation schooling

Community involvement: Treasurer for Rankin Christian Center Board, involved in senior housing, retired president and participating member of Camp B, member of Pitcairn Civic Association, former president of Allegheny County Boros Association, Knights of Columbus member, past member of the finance committee and parish council for St. Michael Catholic Church, member of the American Legion and the Lions.

Family: Wife, Mary Ann; two sons, Frank and Carmen; and two granddaughters

While serving as a member of Pitcairn Council for more than 30 years, Vecchio has participated with several community organizations and projects, including the Dirty Camp Run flood-control project that appears to be nearing a completion. Vecchio said that by council working together with landlords, they can solve the housing issues in Pitcairn.

“By working together with landlords enforcement, we should be able to settle these (issues),” Vecchio said.

He said there also should be a focus on obtaining funding for bridge repairs.

Tom Wiater

Age: 64.

Political experience: Six-month term on Pitcairn Council, where he was appointed to replace a council member who resigned. Member of planning commission.

Job: Senior construction manager at ACTION-Housing Inc., a nonprofit United Way agency.

Community involvement: Member of St. Bernadette Parish in Monroeville

Education: Serra Catholic High School graduate and a Youngstown State University graduate, with a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Family: Wife, Linda; and two sons, Neil and Charles.

As a construction manager at ACTION-Housing, Wiater said he hopes to address what he said is an infrastructure in need of maintenance.

“Pitcairn is becoming a very old community,” Wiater said. “The housing stock and the infrastructure is aging to the point that roads are collapsing, drainage system is in need of replacement.”

Wiater said he also would address the quality of rental property in Pitcairn. He said that if officials work with landlords to improve the rental stock of housing, “other problems can resolve themselves.”

Kyle Lawson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or

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