(Above: Jason DeFelice, U.S. Air Force senior master sergeant (retired), and McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko. Tube City Almanac photo.)
Four people were honored this month by McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko and the McKeesport Message Committee for upholding the values of respect, dignity, hope and love.
A subgroup of the mayor's Select Committee on Crime and Violence, the committee accepts nominations from the public and makes the selections four times per year.
Citations were presented at the April 5 city council meeting to U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. (retired) Jason DeFelice; Sharon Soles; Coach Gerald Grayson; and McKeesport Area High School senior Hannah Klingensmith.
Annunciation of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church will hold a Greek Food Festival from 12 noon to 8 p.m. May 13, featuring lamb shanks, gyros, pastitsio, spanakopita, chicken, grape leaves, rice pilaf, Greek pastries, loukoumades (honey balls) and more.
The church is located at 1128 Summit St., White Oak. For more information about the church, call (412) 673-1224 or visit the website.
More than 150 people turned out Saturday morning at Earth Day-themed cleanup events throughout the city of McKeesport, while in neighboring communities such as Port Vue and Glassport, residents woke up early to get organized.
Tom Callahan of Port Vue was helping to man one of several large trash bins set up behind the Romine Avenue ballfields. "I do this every year," he said, adding that he was planning to be back at his post on Sunday morning as well. "It's a lot of garbage so far," Callahan said.
In the city, leaders of cleanup groups met at the Palisades on Water Street for breakfast and to plot strategy before meeting up with 15 groups of volunteers ranging from six people to more than 20 people throughout McKeesport.
One woman volunteered to clean the intersection of Walnut Street and Eden Park Boulevard by herself.
Mayor Mike Cherepko said the turnout was heartening.
"I would be lying if I said I was surprised, because here in the city of McKeesport, that's one thing that we're always blessed with is volunteers," he said. "No matter what it is --- no matter what the occasion --- this is just another example of people pulling together for the betterment of the city."
An eighth-grader from West Mifflin Area Middle School took first place in a county-wide contest to create a poster to celebrate Earth Day tomorrow.
Meanwhile, many communities --- including McKeesport, East McKeesport, Glassport, Jefferson Hills and Port Vue --- are preparing to mark the 47th annual Earth Day on Saturday with community-wide clean up events, while West Homestead will have a flower-planting event.
Lauren Jacobs' colorful poster, shown above, won the poster contest, sponsored by the Allegheny County Health Department. This year's theme was "brighter paths in preserving energy."
Jacobs' poster features suggestions such as using energy-efficient light bulbs, installing solar panels, and trying alternative and renewable energy sources.
UPMC McKeesport and its sister hospitals will participate in a prescription drug "take-back" day on April 28.
A spokeswoman said the event is being organized in cooperation with the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration in an effort to get unused prescription drugs --- particularly painkillers, which have the potential for abuse --- off the streets.
Drugs will be collected from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the first floor of the Crawford Building at UPMC McKeesport's Aging Institute Resource Room, and in the main lobby of UPMC East hospital in Monroeville.
Additional collection locations include UPMC Presbyterian hospital and Magee-Womens Hospital in Oakland; UPMC Mercy hospital in the uptown section of Pittsburgh; UPMC Mercy South Side hospital; Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in Lawrenceville; Hillman Cancer Center in Shadyside; and various locations at the University of Pittsburgh campus in Oakland.
Above: Lay minister Ray Albright and the Rev. David Else nail sins to a wooden cross at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Downtown, during Good Friday services there.
Christians around the world are marking Easter weekend, the three days that commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ as recorded in the New Testament.
Churches in the Western and Orthodox traditions calculate holy days using different calendars, but this year, both are celebrating Easter Sunday at the same time --- a relatively rare event that will not happen again until 2025.
A guard at the Allegheny County Jail has been arrested and accused of providing a cell phone to an inmate.
John "T.J." Wierzchowski III, 40, of West Mifflin is charged by Allegheny County Police with providing contraband to an inmate, criminal conspiracy and tampering or fabricating evidence.
Wierzchowski is free pending a preliminary hearing at 8 a.m. May 23 before Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Manning.
In a prepared statement, county police Sgt. Mike Peairs and Lt. Richard Mullen said the cell phone was found April 4 on an inmate at the jail, triggering an investigation that led to Wierzchowski's arrest.
Two teen-agers have been charged in connection with an alleged kidnapping that began April 5 in Pittsburgh's Homewood neighborhood and ended a few hours later with a suicide in Swissvale.
D'Ambrosse Garland, 17, of Pittsburgh's North Side and Zanaya McKenzie, 17, of Ambridge, Beaver County, are being held in the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing Wednesday (April 12) before Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning.
Both are charged as adults, Allegheny County police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said in a prepared statement.
They are charged with conspiring with Andre Williams Jr., 20, of McKeesport to kidnap a 19-year-old woman and a 1-year-old child following a violent dispute early on the morning of April 5.
The former postmaster of West Newton has been sentenced to four years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiring with a drug trafficking ring out of Texas.
Joseph Borrelli, 49, of Glassport also was sentenced last week by U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab to five years of supervised release following his prison term, acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song said.
At trial, prosecutors said that Borrelli helped Dante Lozano of Brownsville, Texas, by providing addresses of vacant houses in Westmoreland County that were served by the West Newton post office.
Lozano would then mail packages of cocaine to those addresses, said investigators, who believe that between 2011 and 2015, dozens of packages totalling 18 pounds of cocaine were shipped into the Pittsburgh area that way.
When the packages to the West Newton area couldn't be delivered and were rerouted to Borrelli, prosecutors said he would deliver them to Jeffrey Turner, 36, and April Racan, 38, formerly of McKeesport and Elizabeth, for sale.
A complete overhaul of McKeesport's zoning ordinance represents a vision of what the city could look like in the future.
One of the biggest changes is a newly created zoning district along the Monongahela River waterfront that allows single-family homes and townhouses like those at Homestead's Waterfront development.
On Wednesday, city council by an 7-0 vote adopted the 139-page comprehensive zoning ordinance, which is the outgrowth of a planning process begun in August 2013 with help from what was then called the Twin Rivers Council of Governments.
"This is really about envisioning what the city is going to look like after we're all gone, 20, 30, 40 years from now," Mayor Mike Cherepko said Wednesday. "This is designed to help us market the city."
A McKeesport man is dead after what Allegheny County police are describing as a standoff following an abduction.
Andre Williams Jr., 20, died this morning in Swissvale after county police said he shot himself in the head with a handgun, said the Allegheny County medical examiner's office, which will perform an autopsy.
Allegheny County police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said in a prepared statement that the county homicide unit is investigating and would like to speak to anyone with information about the incident. Investigators may be reached at (412) 473-1300.
Police said the incident began just after 2 a.m. in Pittsburgh's Homewood neighborhood when callers to Allegheny County 9-1-1 reported a violent domestic dispute was in progress in a home there.
Pittsburgh police arrived and determined that a 19-year-old woman and her infant child had been abducted, county police said. Pittsburgh police notified Swissvale police that a Ford Explorer believed to be involved in the incident may have headed to their borough.
McKeesport Area High School will showcase Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" beginning Thursday in the high school auditorium.
Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, Friday and Saturday, with an additional 2 p.m. matinee Saturday.
Tickets are $5 for students and senior citizens, and $10 for adults. To help ease the crowd, patrons will not be able to select their seats for tickets purchased the night of the performances.
During the performances there will be a Chinese auction, a 50/50 raffle, as well as flowers to buy for the performers and a general concession.
Since January, the cast, musicians and crew have practiced nearly every day after school, dedicating just over three months of work leading up to their performances.
"Although I have been involved with the musical for the past six years as program designer and photographer, this is my second year in the role of producer," says MAHS staff member Carolyn Carreiro, co-producer with director Tina Stewart.
An infant is in foster care after McKeesport police responding to a reported heroin overdose discovered the child living in what officers described as "deplorable" conditions.
According to an incident report, McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service paramedics and city police were dispatched to a home on Banker Street at 9:39 a.m. March 12 for a suspected overdose. When they arrived, paramedics were able to revive the overdose victim, 20, with a dose of the antidote Narcan.