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Monessen woman, N. Charleroi man to be married on Tener bridge

Jim Ference | The Valley Independent
Robecca Novotne of Monessen gets a kiss from her fiance, Michael Castner of North Charleroi, and is the second assistant fire chief and vice president of the Lock 4 Volunteer Fire Company. They will have their wedding on Saturday, June 29, 2013 to coinside with the opening of the John T. Tener Bridge.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 1:51 a.m.

On Saturday, Monessen and North Charleroi will again be joined when the John K. Tener Memorial Bridge over the Monongahela River opens.

As a part of the celebration, Robecca Novotne of Monessen and Mike Castner of North Charleroi will be wed on the bridge.

Novotne, a 2007 Monessen High School graduate, and Castner a 2002 Charleroi Area High School graduate, were introduced by mutual friend Chad Warfield at a softball game at City Park in Monessen.

Warfield will serve as the best man. Novotne's lifelong friend, Alicia Campbell, will be the maid of honor.

Novotne said Monessen Mayor Mary Jo Smith and the city's municipal fire chief, Delmar Hepple, suggested a bridge wedding.

“They said it's too perfect. You're from North Charleroi and she's from Monessen,” Castner said.

“Something like this is never going to happen again,” Novotne said.

The couple said their families support the plan. His parents are Brenda Castner of Charleroi and William S. Castner of North Charleroi. Her parents are Robert and Irene Novotne of Monessen.

“I think they're more excited than we are,” Novotne said. “They understand the historical aspect of how it will be remembered.”

When the bridge idea was hatched, the couple had already planned a July 6 wedding in Chess Park in Monongahela. They will follow through with that ceremony, which will be officiated by Magisterial District Judge Joseph Dalfonso of Monessen.

North Charleroi Mayor Lee Hall will conduct the bridge ceremony.

The bride will wear a wedding dress. Her groom will wear his Class A firefighter uniform for the bridge wedding, which will take place shortly after the grand opening event begins at 11 a.m.

After the bridge wedding, the couple will mingle at the post-event celebration in the North Charleroi Professional Plaza.

Castner, a utility technician for the U.S. Steel Clairton Works, has worked for the company since 2006.

She works at the Mon Valley YMCA in Carroll Township and is self-employed in a graphics and photography business.

Both are members of the Lock Four Volunteer Fire Department, where he is the second assistant chief and vice president.

The couple became engaged five years ago. They decided to delay their marriage until she received a degree from Seton Hill College in Greensburg. Novotne graduated in 2011.

“He brought me home one day from class,” Novotne recalled. “I turned around, and he was on the ground. He said, ‘Will you marry me?' I said, ‘This better not be a joke, because you're within striking distance.'”

Their reception following the July 6 ceremony will be at the Lock Four social hall.

The couple will live in Castner's home on Isabella Avenue, around the corner from the fire hall – overlooking the bridge.

The bridge will be a constant reminder of their special day, the couple agreed.

“When we have kids, every time we cross the bridge I can tell them, ‘that's where your mother and I got married,” Castner said.

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

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