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New faces ready to take office at Valley municipalities meeting

| Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, 12:01 a.m.

Four years after the neighboring communities of Charleroi and Monessen elected their first female mayors, two newcomers will assume those offices.

And they won't be the only new faces when Valley municipalities hold their bi-annual reorganization meetings next week.

In Charleroi, John Mollenauer defeated the past two mayors, Nancy Ellis and Frank Paterra, in the Democratic primary. He also won the GOP nod on a write-in and cruised unopposed to victory in November.

He will be joined by two newcomers on council: Larry Celaschi Jr., who led the council slate in the elections, and Debbi Kruell Buck, who was appointed to a seat vacated with the resignation of Harry Reis in late 2012.

Returning to council will be former councilman Ed Bryner. Incumbents Paul Pivovarnik and Terry Newstrom, who ran on the Team Restore Charleroi ticket with Mollenauer, Celaschi and Kruell Buck, will also be sworn in.

Celaschi said he is “energized” to get to work.

“Miracles can happen if we all work together,” Celaschi said. “Let's get it done. There are no excuses anymore. Everybody always says, ‘Why can't you do this? Why can't we do that?

“It's time for people to come outside of their homes and take an active role in their community. That's what this team has done. We've positioned ourselves to see a clear road to success.”

In Rostraver Township, Ray Iacoboni will be joining the board of commissioners. He is the brother of the late Ralph Iacobonni, former township commissioner and Belle Vernon Area school director.

Ray Iacoboni said he took some small motivation from his brother's public service when choosing to run.

“I want to make the township a friendly environment for home owners and businesses,” Iacoboni said. “I want people to build their garage, build their shed. I want to make it easier for them.

“I want to see people put money into their homes.”

Iacoboni said he looks forward to working with the established commissioners.

In Monessen, Lou Mavrakis begins his term as mayor. Mavakis defeated incumbent Mary Jo Smith in the primary election and then slid by Republican upstart Rob Zynosky in an election even the victor admitted was closer than usual for the Democratic stronghold.

He will be joined in city government by two new council members, Patricia Bukowski and John Nestor.

In New Eagle, when Charles “Chaz” Fine is sworn in as mayor, he will join his father, council President Jack Fine.

Chaz Fine defeated incumbent Mayor Glen Petticord

Chaz Fine said he is “excited” to take office.

“I'm looking forward to seeing what I can to do around here,” he said.

Elizabeth Borough will also have a new mayor when councilwoman Elizabeth V. Ann Malady is sworn in. She defeated incumbent David G. Householder.

Charles Trax Jr. will assume office as a new Union Township supervisor.

North Belle Vernon will have two new council members in 2014. Barb Peters was elected to council.

In addition, a vacancy was created on the board when Diane Donaldson resigned. Former councilman John Ross, who his lost re-election bid in 2013, was appointed to that post.

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