White Oak Council Considers Zoning Changes for Marijuana Clinics, Gas Drilling

September 20, 2017 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: News, White Oak News

White Oak council is considering changes to the borough’s zoning rules to govern how it would handle medical marijuana clinics as well as future oil and gas drilling operations.

At a public hearing Monday at the municipal building, Mike Hammond, filling in for borough Solicitor Krisha DiMascio, gave a brief overview of the purpose of each proposed change.

The borough currently has no zoning regulations governing either medical marijuana or oil and gas drilling.

The proposed medical marijuana zoning ordinance, similar to other ordinances passed across state, outlines where a dispensary could be located and provides penalties for violations.

Under the proposed White Oak ordinance, “the dispensaries (could be) zoned only in commercial and light industrial zones, meaning they (could) not be located near any schools,” Council President Ron Massung said.

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Mon-Yough Catholic Parishes Face Sweeping Realignment

September 19, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

  • Editor's Note: We would appreciate hearing from Mon-Yough area Catholics about their opinions on these proposed church groupings. Opinions can be kept anonymous, upon request. Email tubecitytiger@gmail.com.

Roman Catholic churches in East McKeesport, Elizabeth, Glassport, Liberty, McKeesport and White Oak could be put into a single "parish grouping" as the Diocese of Pittsburgh works to address a shortage of priests.

The realignment of the seven parishes --- many of which were created after church mergers in the 1980s, '90s and 2000s --- are being recommended to Bishop David Zubik by a commission as part of an ongoing initiative called "On Mission for The Church Alive!"

The diocese said no immediate church mergers are planned, and said no church buildings are closing at this time.

The groupings were announced this weekend in the diocesan newspaper, the Pittsburgh Catholic.

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| News

Benny Benack III to Headline Penn State Jazz Benefit

September 19, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

(Perry Bindelglass photo courtesy Benny Benack III.)

Hot on the heels of his first solo album, trumpeter Benny Benack III will headline the 14th annual "All That's Jazz" benefit concert at Penn State Greater Allegheny.
A fundraiser for the campus' scholarship fund, the event will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 14 at the Student Community Center, a spokeswoman said.

Grandson of jazz trumpeter Benny Benack, a Clairton native who popularized traditional and Dixieland-style jazz in the Pittsburgh area in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, Benack III released his debut solo album, "One of a Kind," on Friday.

Over the past 13 years, more than $1 million has been raised for scholarships at Penn State by "All That's Jazz."

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Jerome Street Bridge Repairs Underway

September 19, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

Repairs to McKeesport's Jerome Street Bridge will cause lane restrictions for an indefinite amount of time, the state Department of Transportation has announced.

Traffic is currently being diverted from the right lane on the westbound side of the bridge, heading from Downtown to 10th Ward.

But PennDOT District 11 spokesman Steve Cowan said crews will be doing repairs on the bridge structure in the opposite, eastbound direction. PennDOT employees will conduct the work.

The bridge, which carries more than 11,000 vehicles daily, is scheduled for a $13 million rehabilitation project in 2019.


Duquesne Council Eyes Improvements to Roads, Business District

September 15, 2017 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: Duquesne News, News

Duquesne officials are looking to improve road conditions in the city --- and encourage shopping in its business district.

With the state Department of Transportation planning to repave portions of Route 837, city council on Wednesday voted to approve a maintenance reimbursement agreement to help maintain their portion of the project.

“As part of the agreement, we’re responsible for the curbs and handicapped accessibility ramps,” said Frank Piccolino, city manager.

The work, which will focus on the stretch of road from the Thompson Run Bridge in Duquesne to the Rankin Bridge in Whitaker, will cost the city around $18,000 and will result in repairs to the existing curbs and the installation of new ramps.

Construction on the project is expected to begin sometime next year.

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Log Jammer, Kennywood Staple Since 1975, to Be Retired

September 14, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

Kennywood Park's first million-dollar ride is getting a last hurrah this weekend, and going out with a splash. (Sorry.)

The venerable West Mifflin amusement park announced Thursday that the Log Jammer is being closed and will be replaced by a different attraction.

"It is a bittersweet decision, but one that in time will create some exciting opportunities for our guests," said Jerome Gibas, Kennywood general manager, in a prepared statement. "While no final decisions have been made regarding what will replace the Log Jammer, Kennywood is committed to enhancing our guests' experiences while preserving our signature balance of modern thrills and traditional family favorites."

Kennywood's summer season ends this Sunday. The park re-opens with Halloween themed attractions for Phantom Fright Nights beginning Sept. 29 and continuing Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 29. Holiday light displays begin Nov. 24.

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#TBT: McKeesport to Pittsburgh Train Schedule, 1964

September 14, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: History

Throwback this Thursday to 1964, when Mon Valley residents could board a train in Downtown McKeesport --- "all cars air-conditioned" -- to New York, Washington, Baltimore, Akron, Detroit, Chicago ... or Willard, Ohio.

You always wanted to go to Willard, Ohio, didn't you?

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, whose tracks entered McKeesport between Market Street and Walnut Street in the Seventh Ward, then cut across Walnut Street, Fifth Avenue and Lysle Boulevard, then had six long-distance trains (three westbound, three eastbound) each day that stopped in McKeesport, at a train station roughly on the present site of the Dollar Bank drive-thru location on Lysle Boulevard.

That doesn't count the 16 commuter trains (eight east, eight west) that connected Versailles to Pittsburgh, stopping along the way in Christy Park, McKeesport, Braddock and Rankin. One train each way even went from Connellsville to Pittsburgh, through West Newton, Sutersville and Coulter.

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BBQ Dinner Slated at Christy Park Church

September 13, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Christy Park United Methodist Church, 29th Avenue at Beale Street, will have a barbecue dinner from 2 to 6 p.m. Oct. 7 with food prepared by "BBQ Stu" Wilson, a spokeswoman said.

Meals will include a full rack of ribs for $22, a half-rack of ribs for $12 and a half chicken for $9.

Meals include baked beans, lexington slaw and a biscuit. Call  (412) 678-3110.


County Exec Leads Six-Day Bike Trip Through Region

September 13, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Lucy McNee, a bicyclist from Scotland who is traveling across the United States, jokes with state Sen. Jim Brewster on Wednesday morning outside McKeesport's trailside hostel. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Bicyclist Lucy McNee slept Tuesday night in McKeesport's trailside hostel and expected to hit the trail Wednesday at about "half past seven."

The audiologist from Sterling, Scotland, didn't know she and her bike, Bertie, would have to wait for an official welcoming committee.

Just after 9 a.m., Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, former U.S. Attorney David Hickton, Westmoreland County Commissioner Ted Kopas, and a delegation of other local leaders, philanthropists and their families, arrived on the first leg of a six-day bicycle tour from downtown Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C.

For McNee, who is keeping a blog of her experiences, it was only the latest unexpected pleasure of a coast-to-coast American bicycling trip that is taking her from the Pacific Ocean at Coos Bay, Oregon, to West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Maine.

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Police Log: Sept. 12, 2017

September 12, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Police News

  • Arrest records published here were provided by the McKeesport Police Department.
  • Not all arrest records are published.
  • A report of an arrest does not mean the person identified has been convicted of a crime.
  • All people arrested are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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McKeesport's Davis to Seek Gergely's Legislative Seat

September 12, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

A longtime community volunteer and current Democratic Party official has declared his candidacy for the 35th Legislative District seat currently held by state Rep. Marc Gergely.

Austin Davis, executive assistant to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald since 2012 and vice-chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Committee, announced his campaign Tuesday. His is the first declared candidacy for what is expected to be a hotly contested race in 2018.

Davis, of McKeesport, has been a familiar face to Mon-Yough residents since high school, when he served as a member of a Youth Advisory Council created by Jim Brewster, then mayor of McKeesport and now a state senator.

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Somerset Coroner to Share 9/11 Experiences at Lecture

September 11, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Image courtesy Miller Funeral Home and Crematory, Somerset)

The coroner whose jurisdiction included victims of the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 will talk about his experiences during a lecture this Saturday.

West Newton Public Library will host a discussion entitled "9/11" at 10 a.m. Sept. 16 at the First Baptist Church of West Newton, corner of South Sixth Street and Vine Street, West Newton, a spokesperson said.

The featured speaker will be Somerset County Coroner Wally Miller, who responded when the plane, which had been hijacked by terrorists, crashed into a field outside of Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001.

It is believed that the terrorists were planning to crash the plane into a government building in Washington, D.C., and that passengers of the plane wrested control from them before that could happen.

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Lions, Residents Think Positive With Patriotism Parade

September 11, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(All photos: Submitted by Annette James, McKeesport Lions Club)

On a beautiful late summer Sunday in Renziehausen Park, local residents and the McKeesport Lions Club celebrated patriotism with a parade down Eden Park Boulevard.

The Patriotism Parade, which on came on the evening before the 16th anniversary of the devastating terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was followed by a salute to veterans at the Lions Club Bandshell; a concert by Monroeville-based singer Judi Figel; and fireworks, said Lions Club member Annette James.

Figel's concert closed out the summer concert series organized by the Lions.

The parade began at 6 p.m. at Sycamore Drive and continued onto Eden Park Boulevard, Tulip Drive and Arboretum Drive, and included the McKeesport Area High School Tiger Marching Band, fire units from McKeesport and White Oak, and local schoolchildren.

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Local Residents Sentenced After Defying Federal Court Order

September 11, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Police News

Three people from Duquesne have been sentenced to nine months in prison and three years' probation after defying a federal court order.

Shane Brooks, 30; Victoria Morgan, 32; and Bobby Rodgers, 48; all of Duquesne, and Khayri Battle, 36, of Newark, N.J., received the sentences for contempt of court last week from U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, said a spokeswoman for Soo C. Song, acting U.S. Attorney in Pittsburgh.

The four had been granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying against accused drug traffickers Anthony Pryor and Lance Yarbough, the spokeswoman said. But the four refused to testify at the trial.

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Duquesne Business Expanding to McKeesport's Third Ward

September 11, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

(Tube City Almanac photo)

Duquesne-based Vegely Welding Inc. is completing renovations to a building on Walnut Street in McKeesport as it expands its operations.

The nearly $1 million expansion project is being financed in part by a $300,000 Enterprise Zone loan arranged by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Duquesne.

According to a press release from the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Duquesne, Vegely has 20 employees at its present location along Route 837 and plans to add up to 15 more in McKeesport. Company president Ken Vegely did not return phone calls seeking comment.

The expansion utilizes part of a building that was begun by the now-defunct Capco Contracting Co. in 2003 on the site of the old Tube City Brewing Co., but left unfinished after Capco's owners were indicted for fraud.

Vegley’s loan is part of a $916,750 project which is also funded through private equity as well as a bank loan, according to a spokeswoman for McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko.

Work on the McKeesport facility began approximately four months ago, Cherepko's office said, and is expected to be complete in six to eight months.

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With Cold Weather Coming, Agency Says Don't Wait to Insulate

September 08, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

Photo by Community Environmental Center via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC 2.0.

According to the calendar, it's still summer. But with Labor Day in the rear-view mirror, and a bit of a chill in the air in the Mon-Yough area these past few nights, fall is obviously just around the corner.

And even if you're not ready to put away your short-sleeved shirts yet, it's time to start thinking about winter.

That's according to LuEthel Nesbit, program administrator in the Mon Valley office of the non-profit agency ACTION-Housing. Nesbit says now is the time for residents to start thinking about winterizing their homes.

"A lot of times, people wait until it gets cold outside, and then it's too late," says Nesbit, who also serves as a McKeesport city councilwoman. "Once the money runs out, it runs out."

Last year, she says, ACTION-Housing provided weatherization assistance to 226 households through the U.S. Department of Energy and to an additional 82 households through the state's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP.

Heating and air-conditioning repairs and replacements were made for 716 households through the state Department of Public Assistance LIHEAP crisis program, Nesbit says.

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Arrest Made in Fatal Double Shooting; Second Suspect Sought

September 07, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Police News

One man has been arrested and another suspect is wanted in connection with a shooting in lower 10th Ward that left two people dead and another seriously wounded.

Miras M. Kelly II, 19, of McKeesport is charged with criminal homicide, burglary, robbery, conspiracy and aggravated assault in connection with the deaths of Melodie Robb, 52, and Kimberly Lesko, 55, said Allegheny County police Sgt. Scott Scherer in a prepared statement.

Also wanted in connection with the shooting is Kylee S. Lankford, 19, of Monroeville. Police said Lankford (shown below) is 5-feet-9 and weighs approximately 150 pounds, and is considered armed and dangerous.

Kelly has surrendered to police and is being held in the Allegheny County Jail pending a preliminary hearing, Scherer said.

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West End Man Held in Homestead Bank Robbery

September 07, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Police News

A man from Pittsburgh's West End is being held in Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $75,000 bond after police charged him in connection with a bank robbery in Homestead.

Christian Moore, 27, faces a preliminary hearing Sept. 13 before Magisterial District Judge Thomas Torkowsky in Munhall.

Allegheny County police said a man entered the First National Bank branch at 116 W. Eighth Ave. in Homestead at 1:40 p.m. Tueaday and gave a bank teller a note demanding money. The note said the man was armed.

Police said the bank robber was given "an unknown amount of money" and then fled on foot.

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Mayor, Police: City Needs Help to End a 'Sad Year' of Violence

September 07, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Saying "even one homicide is too many," McKeesport officials on Wednesday expressed frustration about the number of fatal shootings in the city so far this year.
There have been 10 murders in McKeesport in 2017, including the shootings last week of Kimberly Lesko, 55, and Melodie Robb, 52, in a home in lower 10th Ward.

Allegheny County police are investigating the Lesko and Robb killings, though they have released few details. The women, who were sisters, were buried Tuesday in Richland Cemetery in Dravosburg following a funeral Mass at St. Mary's Romanian Church in Christy Park.

The shootings have not officially been ruled homicides by the medical examiner's office. Lesko, of Versailles, was an overnight guest at Robb's home when she, Robb and a third person were shot just after 3 a.m. Sept. 1.

McKeesport police Chief Bryan Washowich told city council on Wednesday that he's reluctant to speculate in public on why homicides have increased this year. There were four homicides in McKeesport in 2016, including two from gun violence.

"We're making every effort possible to solve these murders," Washowich said. "If you ask me what the common denominator is, I have to be respectful of victims and their families, so my comments have to be limited."

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20 Fugitives Arrested in City-Wide Warrant Sweep

September 06, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Police News

Allegheny County sheriff's deputies arrested 20 people with outstanding warrants during a sweep of city neighborhoods Thursday.

Chief Deputy Kevin Kraus said the sweep was conducted with the assistance of FBI agents and McKeesport police. Suspects were wanted both on criminal charges and for failing to pay child support, Kraus said.

In addition, while executing a bench warrant at residence in the 1700 block of Abraham Street, deputies saw a firearm and suspected heroin. A search warrant was obtained, Kraus said, and deputies recovered two full loaded 9mm handguns and 75 bricks of suspected heroin from the home.

Deputies also seized a .380 caliber handgun and suspected crack cocaine while executing an arrest warrant at a home in the 1300 block of Maple Street, Kraus said.

Names of the people arrested were not released by the sheriff's office.


Christmas Parade Planning Underway; Princess, Queen Nominees Sought

September 06, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Planning is underway for McKeesport's 53rd annual Salute to Santa parade, and nominations are being sought from district students who want to be nominated as the Christmas event's queen and princess.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Michael Cherepko said the parade is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Nov. 18 at the McKee's Point Marina, Fifth Avenue at Water Street, Downtown, and proceed up Fifth Avenue to City Hall.

A Christmas party is held following the event at the Palisades.

"The Salute to Santa parade and children's party have established a longstanding tradition in McKeesport," Cherepko said in a statement. "Each year, thousands of spectators from across the Mon Valley line Fifth Avenue in downtown McKeesport to watch a procession of holiday floats, marching bands, dance troupes, fire trucks and more."

Participation in the parade is open to community groups, student organizations, churches, businesses and local officials, the spokeswoman said.

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Seven Bands Benefit Six Charities at Sept. 16 Event

September 06, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Seven bands, plus the Rankin Junior Tamburitzans, will take the stage on Sept. 16 at a concert to benefit seven local charities.

The first-ever "Mon Valley Sizzles" music and food festival is being held at the Carrie Furnaces national historic site in Rankin and Swissvale. Gates open at 3 p.m. and live music continues until 10 p.m., a spokeswoman said.

Groups scheduled to appear include Brownie Mary, The Gathering Field, Billy Price Band, House of Soul, Brass Roots, Velcro Shoes and Pillow Project.

The event is being organized by the Mon-Yough Area Chamber of Commerce as a benefit for the Carnegie Library of Homestead, McKeesport Hospital Foundation, Mifflin Township Historical Society, Rainbow Kitchen Community Services, Mon Yough Community Services and the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, which administers the Carrie Furnaces site and the Bost Building in Homestead.

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Croatian Club Schedules Picnic and 'Paint and Sip' Night

September 05, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

An "indoor picnic" and a paint-and-sip night are on the schedule at the Yukon Croatian Club during the month of September.

Barbecued lamb and tamburitza music of Stari Prijatelji will highlight the Sept. 17 indoor picnic at the Yukon Croatian Club, a spokeswoman said.

The lamb, prepared by Mike and Carol Mezick, must be pre-ordered by Sept. 10. Call (724) 872-7459 to order. Lamb may be picked up on Sept. 17 starting at 12:30 p.m. when the club doors open.

Stari Prijatelji will play songs and kolos for dancing from 2 to 6 p.m. There is a $7 cover charge.

The Paint & Sip Night will take place at 6 p.m. Sept. 19 under the direction of Denise Maughan. Participants will finish a canvas pre-stamped with a 12 inch by 12 inch image.

A $35 fee covers the canvas and all supplies needed to complete the painting. The event is open to the public and limited to 12 to 15 people, the spokeswoman said.

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Crowds Enjoy Labor Day Weekend Rib-Fest, Car Cruise

September 04, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: News

Crowds turned out at Renziehausen Park this weekend for the seventh-annual McKeesport Rib Fest, including a car cruise on Sunday sponsored by the McKeesport Lions Club.

Events conclude this evening with a concert by The Igniters at 7, followed by fireworks. Vickie Babyak took these photos for Tube City Almanac.

Chuck Blasko's Vogues performed at the Lions Bandshell at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Vietnam Veterans: Sam Gallo of North Versailles Twp. served in the Air Force from 1969 to 1971; Chris Tatchel served in the U.S. Army from 1967 to 1968; and Dan Schlegel of McKeesport, served in the U.S. Army from 1970 to 1971.

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One Dead in Dravosburg Bus Crash

September 02, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Police News

(Updated with victim's name, 10:28 p.m.)

A 41-year-old woman was killed Saturday morning when the car she was driving collided with a Port Authority bus on Dravosburg Hill, Allegheny County police said.

Pittsburgh-McKeesport Boulevard and Richland Avenue were still closed at 12 noon as county homicide detectives investigated. Traffic was being turned around at Lebanon Church Road and at Sixth Street in Dravosburg.

The victim was identified late Saturday as Jennifer Benjock Sprowls of Dravosburg.

Allegheny County police said the wreck occurred about 8:30 a.m. in the 700 block of Pittsburgh-McKeesport Boulevard when Sprowls' car, which was headed south toward McKeesport, went out of control, striking a guardrail and then colliding with the bus.

The bus was headed toward West Mifflin Garage from McKeesport, said Port Authority spokesman Adam Brandolph. Brandolph said the bus, running on the 61C McKeesport route, was not in service at the time of the crash and no passengers were aboard.

Sprowls was pronounced dead at the scene. County police said she was not wearing a seatbelt and appeared to be talking on the phone with a co-worker at the time of the accident. Port Authority of Allegheny County police also are investigating.

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West Mifflin Veterans, Community To Remember 9/11

September 01, 2017 |

By Mike Mauer | Posted in: Announcements

Above: Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 Intrepid West Mifflin Chaplain Gene Staudt, left, and Commander Jake Bradich display a Flag of Honor in preparation for a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony to be held at Mitchell Paige Memorial Park 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11. 

The event will feature guest speaker Jimmy Young, a firefighter with the McKeesport Fire Department who was on site at the 9/11 aftermath, as well as other local first responders. (Mike Mauer photo)

West Mifflin Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 Intrepid, first responders and civic leaders will be on hand for a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony at Mitchell Paige Memorial Park Sept. 11. 

Slated to begin at 6:30 p.m., the event will feature remarks by local officials, music, and a wreath laying in tribute to the more than 3,000 Americans who were killed 16 years ago during the al Qaeda terrorist attacks.  Members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Featured guest speaker at the ceremony will be Jimmy Young, a firefighter with the McKeesport Fire Department who was on site at the 9/11 aftermath. 

Other participants and attendees scheduled to attend include West Mifflin Mayor Chris Kelly, members of West Mifflin Borough Council and the West Mifflin Recreation Committee, firefighters from the Homeville #1 VFC Station 293, the Duquesne Annex VFC Station 294, the West Mifflin #3 VFC Station 295, the Skyview VFC Station 296, representatives from the West Mifflin Police Department, and personnel from the Baldwin EMS Station 510.

“We all remember where we were when the September 11, 2001 tragedy took place," said event organizer and VFW Post 914 member David G. Jackel, a retired senior chief petty officer, who was decorated with the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Service Medal during his active military service. "We should never forget the sacrifices made and heroism shown by first responders, military personnel and courageous citizens.”

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Two Dead in Early Morning Shooting

September 01, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Police News

(UPDATED with additional information from medical examiner.)

Two people are dead and a third is hospitalized following a shooting this morning in lower 10th Ward.

The victims have been identified by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office as Kimberly Lesko, 55, and Melodie J. Robb, 52. Both women were pronounced dead at the scene at 3:26 a.m. today, the medical examiner’s office said.

The medical examiner’s office said the incident occured at 3:07 a.m. in a home in the 400 block of Gross Street. Upon arrival, McKeesport police found three people suffering from gunshot wounds, Allegheny County police Lt. Andrew Schurman said in a prepared statement.

The third victim, a man whose name was not released by police, was taken to the hospital. Allegheny County homicide detectives are investigating.

This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.


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