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Restore Charleroi slate prevails in municipal elections

| Wednesday, May 22, 2013, 3:56 a.m.
Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
John Mollenauer reacts to winning in the Charleroi mayors race. , as Deborah Kruell-Buck,Karen Kosh, Jennifer Vargo, and Larry M. Celaschi check the incoming numbers for charleroi council winners. On Tuesday, May,21,2013.

A team of four council hopefuls and a mayoral candidate promised to Restore Charleroi if elected.

Now it appears most of the team will have a chance to make good on that promise.

Former Charleroi Chamber Executive Director John Mollenauer won the Democratic nomination for mayor, besting incumbent Mayor Nancy Ellis, former mayor Frank Paterra and constable Marcus Carroll.

According to unofficial results released late Tuesday, Mollenauer received 253 votes, topping Carroll at 195 votes, Ellis at 73 votes and Paterra 21 votes.

In the battle for four Democratic nominations for council, three of the four Restore Charleroi slate of candidates won Democratic nominations. Larry Celaschi, Terrance Newstrom and Paul Pivovarnik were victorious. Only Restore Charleroi hopeful Deborah Kruell Buck fell short, edged out by former Councilman Ed Bryner.

According to the unofficial results, the vote totals were as follows: Celaschi, 323; Newstrom 291; Pivovarnik, 281; Edward M. Bryner, 227; Kruell Buck, 208; Ellis, 137; Paterra, 123; Bob Arthurs, 58; and Tom Dubreucq, 31.

No Republicans were on the primary ballot.

Paterra went 0-for-3 on the night, coming up short in his bid for a seat on the Charleroi Area School Board as well.

Bryner served on council for one term more than 20 years ago. But he stepped down at the time to raise a family. Now, with his children grown, he is looking to serve on council again.

“I couldn't have worked with a better group of people,” a jubilant Mollenauer said after the results were released. “Larry has been the spark plug of this campaign. Larry's done yeoman's work on this campaign.”

Pivovarnik is in his sixth year on council.

“Our team set an agenda to improve the community,” Pivovarnik said. “With me being on council, some of this is already under way.”

Pivovarnik credited a large voter turnout and “the well-organized system that got out the vote.”

“My priority will be to bring new businesses in and see Charleroi actually come to life,” he said.

Newstrom said Mollenauer and Celaschi talked him into seeking a third term on council.

“The people of Charleroi saw a strong ticket and saw some of the things Paul and I have already acted upon,” Newstrom said. “They saw a ticket that can move this town forward.”

Newstrom vowed that the new mayor and council will work hard for Charleroi.

“I hope with hard work, we can make a difference in this town,” Newstrom said.

Celaschi led the ticket, but was concerned with the close defeat that Kruell Buck suffered, pending absentee vote counts.

The team also ran an active write-in campaign on the Republican ticket.

“I'm very happy for the team, but we still have one to get through,” Celaschi said. “I'm not going to get any satisfaction until I know that Debbie Buck Kruell can join us at the finish line.”

Celaschi called the election results “a victory for Charleroi.”

“We now have to deliver,” Celaschi said. “Charleroi had enough faith in us. This is a real eye-opener. I see Charleroi is hungry for change.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or