The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

May 22, 2013

Windber selects Pekala

David Hurst

WINDBER — Windber Borough apparently will have a new mayor.

And in nearby Paint Township, two township retirees concerned about spending captured party nominations that will allow them to face off for a soon-to-be-vacant supervisor’s seat this fall.

Sonya Pekala, a two-term councilwoman, topped current Mayor Simon “Red” Ohler by a 30 percent margin – 228 votes to 87, according to an unofficial tally.

Only a successful write-in campaign would stop Pekala from capturing the mayor’s seat this fall.

No one was on the GOP primary ballot for the seat Tuesday.

“It definitely feels good,” Pekala said of the results. “I love Windber, so seeing that people supported me and what I want to accomplish, it feels good.”

A call to Ohler late Tuesday night was not returned.

Pekala also was one of four borough residents who captured Democratic nominations for the fall council ballot. She was joined by fellow incumbents Barry Jerley, George Ledney and James Spinos, the latter the top vote-getter at nearly 24 percent of the vote.

Pekala, who campaigned for the mayor’s seat this spring, said she “didn’t want to assume anything” until the fall election is over.

“If it comes to (having a choice at one post or the other), I’ll step back and evaluate that in the fall,” she said.

In Paint Township, Democrat Frank Tallyen captured 44 percent of the vote, topping challenger and former Scalp Level Councilman Dave Zeglin by 49 votes. Tallyen cited his business background and said the township should turn its police force over to a regional committee.

On the Republican side, Lewis Clark II, a regular meeting attendee critical of township spending, earned 169 votes – and 56 percent of the total.

Richard Seese and Bret R. Shaffer trailed with 95 votes and 35 respectively.

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