Updated: Mar 19
There was a tremendous amount of fanfare and celebration last December (rightly so) as Council President Pete Ramage retired after serving the Borough of Etna for 52 years. Pete left two very big shoes to fill, and members of the community have stepped forward to help lead the community into the future.
Dave Becki, long-time Council Vice President, was nominated to fill the role of Council President. Dave joined the Borough Council in 1990 and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the role. While Dave will now be sitting out front, for most of his involvement with the borough he could be seen working in the background - volunteering at events to help set up and tear down, organizing the sound system, and offering support to projects and programs or all types. His commitment to the borough has been extraordinary and his new appointment is well deserved. Dave reflects that he is most proud each December when the council passes next year's budget because it's then that he can reflect on the year's improvements to the borough's infrastructure, events, and services to the residents. Over the years, Dave has learned to be patient and work to understand each side of an issue that comes before the council. This is evident by his willingness to help residents resolve problems in the best possible way. When we asked him what he wants to achieve as Council President, Dave replied,
"I am hoping I can pass on my knowledge to the newer members of council so that they can ultimately take over the reins of leadership."
Filling the vacancy for Etna's second ward is Danielle Rothmeyer-McElhaney. Danielle has been an Etna resident for 40 years. She states,
"I love our community! And I know others feel that same passion. Our town provides a feeling of belonging, safety, pride, and involvement. I see and have experienced neighbors looking out for or helping one another."
Danielle was compelled to run for the vacant seat in 2020 because she was inspired by those who served before her, many whom she has looked up to for much or her life. Danielle also grew up volunteering at her church, with the fire department, and at community events. Now she feels honored and inspired that her neighbors elected her to serve them on council. Looking forward, Danielle is excited to work on public safety, health, and security issues. She is also excited to help with the development of the Etna Center for Community. She states,
"My hope and motivation would be to bridge our many community resources to one location where our residents of all ages and needs can access them. I feel the public library services will ensure that access."
Finally, an appointment was made to fill a vacant seat in the third ward. There was a great deal of interest in this seat, and it was ultimately filled by Colleen Schaeffer. Colleen has been serving for the past year on Etna's Planning Commission. She is interested in many of the Borough's new initiatives involving the Etna EcoDistrict and has a passion for animals. She recently worked on the resolution to recognize "Spay Day" in the borough - an initiative through Animal Friends that connect Etna pet owners with discounts and resources. When asked what community means to her, Colleen replied:
"Community is more than a group of individuals living in the same location. It’s a sense of belonging. From the residents to the small business owners to visitors, everyone cares about what happens in the area and wants the best for all."
Well said, Colleen! Etna strives to be a place where everyone feels that they belong here. We are excited to see new faces on the Borough Council and feel confident that it will continue to help our community grow and thrive under its new leadership.