Last Lordstown-built Cruze stays in the Valley

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The final Chevro-

let Cruze manufactured at the General Motors Lordstown Assembly Complex will stay in the Mahoning Valley.

Mary Pipino, a Youngstown native and relative of local entrepreneur Ed Muransky, made a winning $35,000 bid to buy the vehicle during United Way of Youngstown and Mahoning Valley’s Centennial Champions black-tie gala Friday evening at The Lake Club.

Upon hearing the vehicle was sold to a Miami dealership after rolling off the Lordstown line, Muransky stepped in to buy it and bring it back to the Valley, he said.

“We all heard the plant was closing, but the emotion of seeing United Auto Workers’ emotion attached to that Cruze – it just wasn’t right,” Muransky told the hundreds of United Way sponsors and donors in attendance. “The Cruze was going down the line without a purpose.

“We’re going to make it part of the future of our Valley. … Let’s turn it into something,” Muransky said.

United Way had been accepting bids for the vehicle since mid-April, said spokeswoman Roxann Sebest. The highest online bid heading into Friday’s event was for $32,500. When Muransky called for final bids from the club’s stage, Pipino put hers in.

Pipino, whose sister Chris Muransky is Ed’s wife, is from Youngstown but splits her time between the Valley and Florida, she said. She said it was “an honor” to be the vehicle’s owner.

“[Ed and Chris] are so very, very special to me and my closest family and they’ve done so much for this community. It’s an honor to be able to support and continue what they are doing,” Pipino said shortly after the auction.

“We’re going to figure out how this car is going to be able to be used to give back to the community.

“We want to make it something where it’s going to be meaningful. … It’ll be something wonderful,” she said.

Sebest said United Way’s centennial bash nearly sold out the club with 440 attendees. Previous annual fundraisers have raised as much as $300,000 and Friday’s goal was to go beyond that sum, she said.

Donors bid more than $33,000 live on auction items including an Ohio State University football game, a golfing trip to Las Vegas and a private dining experience by Youngstown chefs.

The gala’s silent auction featured more than 100 items, including signed jerseys from Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and Brian Rust of the Pittsburgh Penguins and certificates for local restaurants.

Money raised will fund United Way’s early education and emergency-services programs, Sebest said.

The nonprofit also put out a call for donations to purchase a 15-passenger school bus for its after-school program. She said finding transportation after school is difficult as most school fleets are often being used for athletics.

“We want to give our students the opportunity to experience things,” Sebest said. “We’re hoping with this van we can at least take one class at a time.

“It’s definitely a need that we have, and we want kids to experience things outside their classroom walls.”

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