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Kruell Buck exits Charleroi council race, still obtains seat

| Friday, July 12, 2013, 1:11 a.m.

In less than two months, Debbie Kruell Buck went from the odd person out in a race for a council seat to the newest member of Charleroi Council.

On May 21, Kruell Buck came up a few votes short of a Democratic nomination for one of four council positions, according to the unofficial results.

Thursday, she was unanimously chosen to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of longtime Councilman Harry Reis.

Reis was first elected to council in 1981 and served for eight years. After being off council for 18 years, he was again elected in 2007 and 2011.

Kruell Buck won a Republican nomination as a write-in candidate.

In nominating Kruell Buck, Councilman Paul Pivovarnik made it a condition of her selection that she withdraw from the GOP ballot.

Solicitor Mike Lucas said that could not legally be a part of the motion. But Kruell Buck said after the meeting she would drop out of the general election race.

She has owned Audrey's Customer Draperies for 19 years, starting her employment there in 1980.

Kruell Buck said she is “proud to be representing Charleroi.”

“I'm excited and looking forward to working with the current council and the incoming council,” she said.

Campaigning under the banner of Restore Charleroi, former Charleroi Chamber Executive Director John Mollenauer won the Democratic nomination for mayor while Larry Celaschi, Terrance Newstrom and Paul Pivovarnik won party nominations for council.

Former councilman Ed Bryner also won a Democratic nod. They are unopposed on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Asked what she hopes to tackle first, Kruell Buck said she sympathizes with Rhonda Jaquay, owner of Tim's Secret Treasures.

Jaquay complained to council about nuisance tenants in an apartment dwelling near her business. She said one of the residents smashed a whiskey bottle against her business.

Jaquay said police have been to the area to investigate. Council President Mark Alterici said during a Zero Tolerance public meeting Tuesday that residents and business owners should notify police of any suspected criminal activity.

After the meeting, council walked the new Zero Tolerance zone, from the 500 to 800 blocks of Fallowfield Township.

“The key is to have an impact in an area that is visible and can have an impact. We're going to see if we can have an impact in one area and then move on to other areas,” Borough Manager Don Henderson said.

In other news, council was asked to consider a Charleroi Arts and Entertainment Economic Development and Repositioning Strategy.

Barry Cassidy, newly hired consultant for the Mid Mon Cultural Trust, said a quarter of the commercial properties between Second and Seventh streets along Fallowfield and McKean avenues are vacant.

He said the plan would be to implement an arts occupancy-based real estate strategy, using the Coyle Theater as an anchor.

He asked council to consider allowing the borough be a conduit for a $500,000 grant to help cover repairs to the historic-but-shuttered theater. Alterici invited Cassidy to attend council's agenda meeting Aug. 1 to discuss the plan before council considers it at its meeting Aug. 7.

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