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Three vie for Follansbee mayor post

April 2, 2011
By WARREN SCOTT, Staff writer

FOLLANSBEE - Follansbee voters will be asked to chose from three candidates for mayor when they cast their ballots in the city's primary election Tuesday.

The three are: John A. Casinelli of 1015 Virginia Ave., R. Glenn Kocher of 531 Penn St. and David A. Velegol Jr. of 400 Heathermoor Drive.

Incumbent Tony Paesano has chosen not to seek re-election.

Casinelli is chairman of the Brooke County Economic Development Authority and a member of the Brooke County Parks and Recreation Committee. He served as Follansbee councilman for eight years, on the city's water and sewer board for four years and as Brooke County Commissioner for eight years.

A graduate of West Liberty State College, where he earned a degree in business administration, he is a purchasing manager at Follansbee Steel.

Casinelli said if elected, he will work to bring jobs to the city and retain existing ones by promoting positive aspects of the city, identifying and correcting any shortcomings that deter businesses and find ways to help existing local businesses, including ensuring the city seeks goods and services from them when possible.

He added, "We must make sure our police department has the proper support to address our drug problem in the city. By addressing this very important problem, we will be able to reduce the amount of other issues that come along with it such as robberies and assaults."

Casinelli said he'd also work to improve the city's playgrounds, parks and sports facilities, add more summer activities and provide a permanent facility for the city's youth baseball teams.

Kocher has served as chairman of the Brooke County Solid Waste Authority for 17 years, all but one as its chairman; and as a state officer of the West Virginia Solid Waste Authority.

He served previously as mayor of Follansbee, for four years; councilman at large, for six years; and the city's park and recreation director for eight years.

Kocher was employed as a Brooke County sheriff's deputy from 1959 to 1960, by the U.S. Postal Service for 31 years and worked as a community involvement coordinator for Wal-Mart for nine years.

He said if elected, he will work with the other elected officials to prioritize projects, such as the paving of streets and alleys; the sale of city property at Follansbee's north end to new businesses and the development of businesses elsewhere in the city.

Kocher said he'd also further efforts to provide safe routes for students walking to school and recreational programs for children, their families and senior citizens.

He said, "All programs are dependent on financing. Financing has become more difficult to obtain so I will work with local, state and federal government to obtain grants and loans to accomplish these programs."

Velegol has served as Follansbee's municipal judge for 10 years, and on the city's sewer board and the Follansbee Community Days Committee, both for five years.

He earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from West Virginia University, a master's in business administration from Robert Morris University, and a law degree from Duquesne University.

Velegol has been employed for 24 years by Chester Engineers of Pittsburgh, where he has been involved in designing and constructing large cooling water and wastewater plants for steel and oil refineries and in the company's industrial, municipal and Marcellus Shale groups.

He said, "Chester Engineers represents approximately 50 municipal clients and many of these communities are dealing with the same infrastructure and financial issues that face Follansbee. I'll be able to benchmark what these communities are doing and provide Follansbee with proven ideas."

Velegol said if elected, he'd work to create jobs by aggressively marketing the city to potential businesses while helping existing businesses to grow, work for the completion of a proposed athletic complex near Archer Hill Road and secure development grants with the help of federal and state officials.

(Scott can be contacted at

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