MOUNT POCONO — A combination of local business owners, municipal servants, managers, long-time residents, and public service volunteers have decided to join as a single slate in this November’s borough elections.
With a combined 180+ years in various capacities in the borough, including as residents, volunteers, and employees, they say they are equipped to “return the borough to a functioning, responsible, and transparent body working with and for the people of the borough,” in the words of the independent candidate Norman Delano.
The group’s slogan is “Names you know; People you trust,” with a website called savemountpocono.org.
The team includes mayoral candidate Randy Altemose, who won the Republican bid in the May primary. Also on the slate are borough council candidate Don Struckle, and his wife, tax collector candidate Karen Struckle, also won slots in the primary on the Republican ticket.
Joining them are two independent candidates for borough council, not eligible to run in the primary because they are registered “Independent” or “Not Affiliated.” They are Lori Noonan and Norman Delano. Noonan and Delano secured ballot positions through post-primary petitions
In separate interviews, the candidates decried what they saw as the erosion of competence and civility in Mount Pocono over the last several years, leading to a dysfunctional council and ‘out of control’ mayor.
They all express confidence that the behavior of the current elected and appointed office holders does not reflect the expectations of borough residents.
“We can do our best to grow in a responsible and controlled way to meet the needs of residents, visitors, and businesses alike.”
Mayoral candidate Randy Altemose is a life-long resident of the Borough.
He’s been a member of the Pocono Mountain Volunteer Fire Company since 1975, serving as chief for 14 years. A member of the Company Board of Directors for over a decade, Altemose also has been chairman of the Annual Carnival since 1983.
He served as the borough Emergency Management Coordinator from 1993 until the current council removed him, with Mayor Michael Penn calling him ‘unqualified’.
Altemose was a member of the Borough Planning Commission for over ten years, four as chairman, and he’s been on the Parks & Recreation Commission for over 14 years.
Last year he retired from PennDOT as an Assistant Construction Manager after 35 years. He was responsible for overseeing highway and bridge construction projects in six counties.
He told The Boro & Towne News that he decided to run for Mayor to help “preserve the character of the Borough.” Altemose says his various experiences make him well-suited to the task of Mayor.
“My past experiences provide me with the ability to balance the need for the inevitable growth of the Borough and the desire to keep things the way they used to be,” he says.
“The past is in the past and we can never go backward, but we can do our best to grow in a responsible and controlled way to meet the needs of residents, visitors, and businesses alike.”
“I’m running to help ‘right the ship’ and work together with other members of Council to be responsive to the needs and concerns of residents.”
Lori Noonan is well-known to residents and over three decades of elected borough officials she worked with as the Borough Secretary/Treasurer until last year. Prior to her appointment to the borough position, she had also worked for Tobyhanna Township.
A lifelong resident of Monroe County, she tells us her parents, James & Linda Frutchey, set the example with their many years of public service, which instilled in Noonan a passion for service to a community and its residents.
Lori brings to the table 33 years of experience working for local government. She started her career at Tobyhanna Township before devoting 31 years as Mount Pocono’s Borough Secretary/Treasurer. She currently is a Mount Pocono Safety Commissioner.
Is she running to get her job back? “Absolutely not!” Noonan told us. “I have zero interest in that.” Lori said that she sees a “dysfunctional council, followed closely by fiscal mismanagement” as the biggest problems facing the Borough.
She said she is running with the slate “to help ‘right the ship’ and work together with other members of Council to be responsive to the needs and concerns of residents.”
If elected, Noonan would be the first Summit Pointe resident on council since Mario Scavello.
“I believe a council should have an agenda that works for the residents of Mount Pocono, not for individual satisfaction.”
Don & Karen Struckle
Don and Karen Struckle have run the Casino Theatre & Village Malt Shoppe in downtown Mount Pocono for 15 years. Lifetime residents of the area, they have lived in Mount Pocono for 12 years.
Don is running for a seat on borough council, while Karen is seeking the vacant tax collector position.
Don graduated from Pocono Central Catholic and then received his degree in Business Administration from Kings College. Following college, he worked in management for Roadway Express before retiring as Terminal Manager in Brooklyn after 30 years.
He and Karen have been attending borough council meetings for years. In 2015 then-Mayor Fred Courtright awarded them the 2015 Dan McDavitt Service Award, lauding the pair as “embedded in the community” and thanking them for their many contributions to the borough.
Don is a borough safety commissioner. He and Karen are also members of the board of the Mount Pocono Association.
“Growing up in this area, I have an understanding of what this community needs from a Borough Council member. Our community needs to come first,” Don said. “I feel the biggest challenge is that we have a dysfunctional council. I believe a council should have an agenda that works for the residents of Mount Pocono, not for individual satisfaction.”
Don said he would return the annual pay he earns as a council member to the borough. “We have a borough that is financially strapped because there is no more tax base to go after. I feel that with past experience in the corporate and private sector I have the knowledge and experience to bring new ideas to the table to help our residents have a community that is enjoyable, safe and we can feel good about.”
Karen grew up in Paradise Township. Also a Pocono Central Catholic graduate, she attended the University of Scranton, where she also earned a business degree. Since 1975, when her family acquired the theater, she has been working there. When the Casino was closed in the winter, she worked at a local accounting firm.
“For 47 years, I have worked at the family business, including keeping the Casino afloat during a pandemic by reinventing our business model to host private groups in our theatres until the movie studios started releasing major motion pictures again,” Karen said.
“I have been very involved in our community for decades and have decided to run for Tax Collector because I want to give back to the community that has been so good to us.”
“We are running as a slate so that we can go in there and, working together and with the residents, change what we have all been watching going on in the Borough.”
A borough resident for over 11 years, Norman Delano owns a commercial printing business in Mount Pocono. He currently serves as the chairman of the borough Zoning Hearing Board.
Active in the community for years, he donated all the banners currently lining our downtown celebrating those who have proudly served our country. They were sold to raise funds for the independent Mount Pocono Parks & Recreation Foundation.
He says he is running for council to give residents a higher profile on council. “I’ve met many great people in Mount Pocono and I have noticed most have lives pretty similar to mine but they lack representation by the current council members. Although they (current council members) are all good people and I thank them for their service, I think we are at a point where they are out of touch with the residents and business owners of Mount Pocono,” Delano told us.
Delano also will be donating his council salary back to the borough, “using that as a first step to ensure I’m committed to fiscal responsibility, I will work for the residents, not the money. Too much is on the line, we have three council members up for re-election or election and it’s time to stir things up around here. Let’s stop the in-fighting and get to work for the residents.”
Asked what inspired this diverse group of candidates to come together this year, Delano told The Boro & Town News, “We are running as a slate so that we can go in there and, working together and with the residents, change what we have all been watching going on in the Borough.”
Also running for council in November, on the Republican ballot, Ron Emilie and former council member Karl Davis. Emilie is on council now, having been appointed to fill out Donna Casole’s term when she resigned.
On the Democratic side, Penn is running for his first full term as mayor, Stacy Stewart-Keeler seeks reelection to council, while Ann Marie Harris, reportedly recruited by Penn, and Patricia Bucco, are first-time candidates. Bucco is on council now, having been appointed to replace Matt Hensel, who resigned.
Damon Keeler, Stewart-Keeler’s husband, is running for tax collector as a Democrat.
The election is on November 2.