YWCA Director Discusses Housing, Social Needs

June 25, 2015 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, Podcast

Last week on "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," we talked to Maggie Jensen, chief executive officer of the YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh.

We asked her what are the greatest social service needs in the Mon Valley area? How is the YWCA addressing those needs? And how can people in McKeesport, Homestead, Braddock, Clairton and the surrounding areas connect with health insurance and child care resources?

Tomorrow: In honor of McKeesport native, author and historian John P. Hoerr (above), we'll broadcast his 2009 speech at McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center, when he discussed the life of McKeesport-born playwright Marc Connelly, as well as his own novel about McKeesport, "Monongahela Dusk."

Hoerr died Sunday at age 84 in Massachusetts, where he had lived for several years.

A graduate of McKeesport High School and Penn State University, Hoerr was a veteran of the U.S. Army who began his long career as a journalist with United Press in 1956. He may be best known for his work as a labor reporter and editor with Business Week magazine.

But his biggest legacy may be his books he wrote about the Mon Valley, especially his 1988 book about the collapse of the American steel industry, "And the Wolf Finally Came."

"Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" airs at 9:30 a.m. Fridays on WEDO (810), 8 a.m. Sundays on WZUM (1550), and as a free podcast from Stitcher Radio and iTunes.

. . .

ADVERTISEMENT: Support for "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" comes in part from the McKeesport Hospital Foundation. Since 1976, the foundation has addressed key concerns that affect our good health, as well as our education, social needs, recreation, and safety and security. The foundation partners with UPMC McKeesport and other agencies to eliminate barriers to all services for all residents of the Mon Valley. Visit www.mckhospitalfoundation.com, or call (412) 664-2590.


At Work and Play in Ohio

June 24, 2015 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

Opinions expressed at Tube City Almanac are those of individual authors, and not those of Tube City Community Media Inc., its directors or volunteers. Responsible replies are welcome.

Last week, my wife and I took a five-day mini-vacation in Ohio, hitting a bunch of the state's small towns --- places such as Piqua, Troy, Chillicothe, Sidney, New Concord --- and visiting friends.

. . .

In Monroe, Ohio, north of Cincinnati, we spent a few hours at the Traders' World flea market, one of the largest and best-organized flea markets I've ever seen.

There was a lady there doing permanent makeup tattoos. Getting a tattoo at the flea market is bad enough, but would you really want a flea-market-based tattoo artist to work on your face?

. . .

Seriously, folks, I want to tell you ...

We had a good time on the trip, though something I wrote five years ago still holds true today; when you travel around the Northeast, you learn that the entire United States has become a nation of McKeesports.

There are many, many towns of McKeesport's size that have an abandoned factory or two or three, with a boarded-up downtown and decaying residential neighborhoods. The factory may have made steel, auto parts, appliances, electronics, plastics, and it may have closed in the 1980s or in the last five years.

But America's industrial heart has really and truly been ripped out, and it's not an issue of which political party was in charge in each of these towns (much of Ohio is solidly Republican), or an issue of race (many of the counties we visited were 95 to 98 percent white).

The only issue is money; the big corporations that made the industrial products in these towns have shipped the jobs overseas. In most cases, they didn't lower their prices and pass their savings onto the consumers; instead, they took their increased profits and paid their executives and a handful of investors obscene wages or perks.

It is very difficult to see how the controversial trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership will possibly improve the situation. The Obama administration claims it will make it easier for American companies to sell their products overseas, but it's not, by and large, overseas companies that are shipping American jobs to China and Korea; it's our own American companies.

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