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Coyle Theater group's absence at gaming money meeting blamed on illness

| Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 12:03 a.m.

Illness forced representatives of the group formed to restore Charleroi's historic Coyle Theater to miss a meeting last week to push their effort to land gaming money distributed annually by Washington County.

Charleroi Mayor Nancy Ellis said Tuesday she and another member of the Mon Valley Cultural Trust who had been designated to appear before the Washington County Local Share Account Committee — the panel that hears presentations for local projects and then makes funding recommendations to the county commissioners — were forced by illness to cancel their scheduled appearance.

“We were sick,” explained the mayor, who was frustrated by a story published Tuesday in The Valley Independent reporting that the Coyle group had notified the screening committee that it would not attend a Jan. 14 meeting to pitch the Coyle project.

Efforts to contact the mayor before that story was published were unsuccessful.

Ellis, who noted appearances before the committee are not mandatory, indicated she would attempt to contact the commissioners on behalf of the Coyle project before a final decision is made about which applications to approve for funding.

As part of Tuesday's story, Jeff Kotula, chairman of the screening committee, said the panel was “disappointed” by the Coyle group's failure to appear at last week's meeting.

“We were disappointed because the committee wanted to understand what the project's viability is now that they did not meet the end-of-year deadline to match the original LSA grant several years ago,” he said.

Kotula was referring to the fact that the group missed a deadline at the end of 2012 to match $175,000 in share account money from previous years.

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