Originally Published in March 2021-
21 is already proving itself to be a year of significant change for Etna Borough Council. In January, Kendra Clarke was appointed to fill the vacated seat of former Councilperson Bill Odell in Etna’s Third Ward. Kendra is a founding member of ECO and currently sits on the Board of Directors. She was a critical team member in the Etna EcoDistrict community engagement process and has shown her dedication to the Borough through her volunteerism and leadership. She will be a huge asset to the Borough Council thanks to her deep knowledge of our community, passion for sustainability, and her expertise in the construction industry.
Kendra shared with us that “serving on Council means learning and developing with our community to continue nurturing it to be the best version of itself. Some things I hope to accomplish while serving on Council include identifying if there are people, groups of people, or needs among the community that are not adequately represented by the work Council is currently doing and then work to see how that can be improved. I also hope to continue to strengthen our community's relationships with surrounding communities.”
Also in January, we were devastated to learn of the passing of one of our favorite neighbors and members of Borough Council, Rudy Milcic. Rudy served on Council for 25 years, and was a constant presence at every Borough event, often serving as the bingo caller or event MC. Rudy’s friendly personality and cheerful spirit were infectious, and he made everyone feel welcome and comfortable in his presence. His love of our community and the people who live here was always apparent and he will be sorely missed. As is required by law, the Council had thirty days to fill his seat, which was done with a heavy heart.
For the appointment, many residents of the First Ward were interested in filling the vacancy, no doubt inspired by Rudy’s life of service. Alice Gabriel was chosen to fill out the rest of Rudy’s term, and the Council was pleased to welcome her. Alice was instrumental last summer in tending to the Garden of Etna when its operations shifted during the pandemic to focus on supplying food to the Bread of Life Food Pantry. Alice and just a few other volunteers took on the huge task of planting, tending, and harvesting produce from all of the garden beds. This summer, Alice will be leading a free container garden program alongside ECO’s Veni Mittal and Garden of Etna’s Tom Quigley called “Bloom Where You Are Planted.”
We asked Alice about her goals on Etna Council. Alice responded,
“As a new Councilmember, I want to provide a voice for my neighbors. I hope to assist in making Etna a more pedestrian and bike-friendly place. I want people throughout the Pittsburgh area to discover that Etna is a wonderful destination for families with fun events and a growing business district. I am excited about Etna’s momentum in building green infrastructure with an emphasis on improving air and water quality. I want to aid in these goals in any way I can.”
Like Kendra, Alice has shown her dedication to the Borough through her acts of service to our community and will be a wonderful addition to our Council. We are confident that Etna’s future looks bright with Kendra and Alice helping to lead the way.