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Kerry at table? Hold the celery

| Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Secretary of State John Kerry
Mike Theiler
Secretary of State John Kerry
Luke Ravenstahl
Luke Ravenstahl
Chelsa Wagner
Chelsa Wagner

Don't serve John Kerry any celery.

The Washington Post offered that advice to foreign chefs who might have to prepare a meal for the new secretary of State. Turns out he doesn't like the stuff, despite its low-calorie, high-fiber bulk.

Delving deep into the dark underbelly of what the secretary prefers to put in his belly, The Post got an unnamed Kerry aide to dish about his culinary preferences. They include scallops, lamb chops, shepherd's pie, clam chowder and ice cream. He doesn't drink coffee, preferring water, apple juice or a nice glass of sauvignon blanc.

Hope he's not too disappointed in the drink and dining options when his travels take him to less-developed nations. We're guessing a good bottle of Lucien Crochet Sancerre Le Chene probably is hard to find in poverty-stricken Malawi.

Big backers' building now Luke 2013 HQ. When it comes to campaign headquarters, Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is going from the dingy to the debonair.

The mayor has moved his re-election brain trust from its former home in a dreary Downtown building on Ross Street to more upscale digs at 1400 Smallman St. in the Strip District. The office will have its official unveiling on Tuesday.

We don't believe Ravenstahl chose the space simply because of its proximity to one of the city's finest Italian restaurants, Lidia's, which is in the same building. No, we think the move had something to do with the building being owned by Walnut Capital Partners, whose top executives — CEO Gregg Perelman and President Todd Reidbord — have been among Ravenstahl's largest campaign contributors.

We bet the Lukester got a good deal on the rent.

CHELSA CHASING CASH. You thought all a county controller liked to do was audit.

Not so. Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner also likes to raise money.

Despite being barely a year into her first term as controller, Wagner is holding a not-inexpensive Downtown fundraiser on Tuesday at the Engineers' Society of Western Pennsylvania. Tickets for the event range from a relatively modest $500 to a rather incomprehensible $5,000.

The Chelsalista isn't up for re-election until 2015, so what gives? Perhaps she's just trying to keep up with her political sparring partner, county Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who recently held a fundraising soiree of his own.

CROONING LIKE CLAPTON. Westmoreland County Controller Jeffrey Balzer was a big hit at a fundraiser last week for state Sen. Kim Ward, R-Hempfield.

Balzer took to the stage with the band and was channeling Eric Clapton during the event at La Tavola Ristorante in New Stanton, attendees reported.

No subsequent tour dates have been announced.

HAPPY TRAILS. At least one person can smile through the snowstorms.

Journalism icon Sandra Reabuck retired on Jan. 31 from covering the Cambria County beat for The Tribune-Democrat of Johnstown. She no longer has to deal with sleigh rides through the “Antarctic of Pennsylvania” to visit the county courthouse in Ebensburg.

Reabuck, who knew more about comings and goings in her territory than did the Republican or Democrat officials she covered, never backed away from tough stories. She had been with the newspaper since 1964, covering county government and courts for the last 33 years.

Bon voyage!

KLINE'S KICKOFF. First-term Westmoreland County Clerk of Courts Bryan Kline will announce his re-election campaign at a fundraiser set to run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Courtyard Marriott in Hempfield.

The campaign launch is being held in conjunction with a county Republican committee drive to get signatures on nominating petitions for GOP candidates in the primary.

— compiled by Tribune-Review staff

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