Kitchen Fire Forces Midtown Apts. Evacuation; No Injuries

March 29, 2018 |

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

A fire on top of a kitchen stove forced the evacuation Wednesday night of the Midtown Plaza Apartments.

All 131 apartments in the building had to be evacuated and all off-duty McKeesport firefighters were called to the scene, along with volunteers from Glassport and Duquesne Annex.

McKeesport deputy fire Chief Tom Perciavalle said crews were finishing up at a call in the 500 block of Walnut Street just after 10 p.m. when they were dispatched to the senior-citizen high rise.

Firefighters forced entry to a locked second-floor apartment and found it filled with thick, black smoke, Perciavalle said. The residents were not home at the time of the fire.

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Property Tax Discount Date Extended Due to Weekend

March 28, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The date by which Allegheny County property owners can pay their 2018 taxes at a discount is being extended.

Allegheny County Treasurer John K. Weinstein said Wednesday that the deadline for the 2 percent discount --- which was originally this Saturday --- is being extended to Monday, due to the weekend.

In addition, the treasurer's office will stay open until 7:30 p.m. Monday for the convenience of taxpayers.

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City Woman Charged With Social Security Fraud

March 28, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport woman has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh and charged with Social Security fraud.

Federal prosecutors today accused Kristin Hope Lucas, 44, of receiving $19,289 in supplemental security income benefits to which she was not entitled, said U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady in a prepared statement.

The benefits were paid out between November 2012 and October 2014, Brady said.

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Local Coin Clubs Slate April Meetings

March 28, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Three local clubs for coin collectors have scheduled their April meetings.

The Mon Valley Coin Club will meet at 2 p.m. April 15 at 303 Chamber Plaza in Charleroi, a spokesman said. The general public is welcome and applications for membership will be available, along with prizes for kids.

The South Hills Coin Club will meet at 8 p.m. April 10 at Bethel Presbyterian Church, 2899 Bethel Church Road, Bethel Park. The public is invited and April's program is on "the many faces of Abraham Lincoln," a spokesman said.

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6th Annual Storytime Scheduled April 4 at Renzie

March 28, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

McKeesport First Steps and other area agencies will partner to hold the sixth annual "Spring Around Storytime" at 5 p.m. April 4 at Jacob Woll Pavilion, Renziehausen Park.

A spokeswoman said the event is intended for children ages 2 to 8. There will be six activity stations, community information and light snacks provided. Each child will receive a free story book and can listen to stories being read.

Participating agencies include Carnegie Library of McKeesport, McKeesport Area School District, McKeesport Head Start, McKeesport Family Center, Clairton Family Center, Duquesne Family Center and the Mon River Fleet Lions Club.

For more information, call (412) 672-6970.


Duquesne Man Indicted on Drug, Firearm Charges

March 28, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News, Duquesne News

A Duquesne man has been indicted by a federal grand jury after prosecutors said he was caught with quantities of heroin and so-called "designer drugs" related to the tranquilizer fentanyl.

Marquis Brown, 29, also is charged with violating federal firearms laws, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady said in a prepared release.

Brown is currently being held in Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $15,000 bond after being arrested Monday by Duquesne police on charges of possession of controlled substances with intent to deliver, tampering with evidence and resisting arrest.

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Route 837 Work Begins, With More to Come

March 27, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Duquesne News

Crews from Gulisek Construction of Mt. Pleasant Twp. begin repairs on Route 837 in Duquesne. Work also will begin soon on the ramp leading to the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge from Dravosburg. (Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

Rainy weather hasn't deterred construction crews from beginning work on a pothole-strewn section of Route 837 near Kennywood Park.

And more work is planned on Route 837 near the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge, with a ramp expected to close in April.

Steve Cowan, district spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said Gulisek Construction of Mt. Pleasant Twp., Westmoreland County, was awarded a $7.08 million contract to repair concrete, replacing curbs, and upgrading signage, traffic signals and drainage.

Lane restrictions began on Monday between North Second Street in Duquesne and Hoffman Boulevard in West Mifflin. The work will eventually continue from Hoffman Boulevard to the Rankin Bridge in Whitaker.

The repairs were planned before the 2.5-mile stretch of Route 837 sprouted a bumper crop of deep potholes, but Cowan said area roads took a beating this winter.

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Local Residents Participated in Saturday's Anti-Gun Violence March

March 26, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(All photos: Vickie Babyak, special to Tube City Almanac)

Mon Valley residents joined a crowd estimated at more than 30,000 who took to the streets of downtown Pittsburgh on Saturday to protest gun violence.

The rally was one of dozens held Saturday in cities across the United States --- one source says as many as 450 events were held --- under the banner "March for Our Lives," and organized in the wake of a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in which 17 people died and another 17 were injured.

All 50 states hosted at least one March for Our Lives rally, with at least 1.2 million people believed to have participated nationwide. A March for Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C., attracted upwards of 200,000 people, according to crowd estimates made from digital photos.

Tube City Almanac correspondent Vickie Babyak attended the Pittsburgh event with a friend from the Mon Valley. "Both of us work with students and have children --- and I have grandchildren," she says. "We are concerned with the violence and the lockdown drills schools put students through because of mass shootings."

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Special Funding Will Provide Fresh Food Options for Needy Households

March 22, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Photo courtesy state Rep. Austin Davis, via Twitter.)

Allegheny County will provide an additional $250,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, officials announced Thursday.

The one-time funding will make items such as fresh meat, fish and dairy products available to food pantry clients --- items that are not usually purchased for distribution due to their cost, a spokeswoman said.

Lisa Scales, president and CEO of the Duquesne-based charity, was joined by state Rep. Austin Davis, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and state Sen. Jim Brewster for the announcement.

CDBG funds are administered to counties through the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“This is the kind of thing the CDBG program is intended to do --- help improve the quality of life and economic prospects of economically distressed households and neighborhoods in Allegheny County and across the country,” U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle said in a prepared statement.

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W.O. Announces Upcoming Easter Egg Hunt, Cleanup Day

March 22, 2018 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: White Oak News

Around 200 local children are expected to attend White Oak’s annual Easter celebration.

Youth will be split up according to age for the Easter egg hunt, slated for 10 a.m. March 31 at the pavilion at Heritage Hill Park. Goody bags with vouchers for Texas Road House children’s meals will be gifted to all who participate.

In other borough news, Councilman Lou Bender reported at this week's meeting that a borough cleanup day has been scheduled for 10 a.m. April 28. Volunteers who wish to participate should report to Heritage Hill Park at 9:30 a.m.

A rabies clinic in partnership with White Oak Animal Safe Haven is scheduled for 12 noon to 3 p.m. May 19 at the Public Works garage at the municipal building on Lincoln Way. Resident rate is $5 and proof of residency is required. Non-resident rate is $10.

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Saturday Craft Show Will Benefit Leukemia Society

March 21, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements, White Oak News

A spring craft show will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at White Oak Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1, 1130 California Ave., a spokeswoman said.

More than 50 vendors are scheduled to participate, including dealers for Tupperware, Lularoe, Thirty-One, Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simple, Younique and many other companies.

Other vendors scheduled to participate include MB Letters, Creative Creations by Carol B., Kara's 100 Percent Soy Candles and Melts, Jordan Grace Co., Whaley's Wood Working, Cold Nose Bakery and The Chosen Wand.

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White Oak Council, Residents Discuss Blight

March 21, 2018 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak council and residents are worried about vacant and blighted properties in the borough.

Before Monday's council meeting, a public hearing was held on whether to proceed with the demolition of a home on State Street that burned in December. Two people died in the fire.

Brian Dinkfelt, code enforcement officer, said that the property was uninhabitable and a hazard. Borough officials said the home was not insured.

Borough Solicitor Krisha DiMascio said White Oak will attempt to recoup the cost of demolition.

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McKeesport Area Schools to Hold Lockdown Drill March 27

March 21, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Crime and Police News, McKeesport and Region News, White Oak News

McKeesport Area School District will hold a lockdown drill for all of its buildings on Tuesday morning to practice security protocols in the event of an emergency.

Parents are being encouraged to talk to their children before the event to avoid kids being alarmed or panicked, said Mark Holtzman Jr., district superintendent.

The drill was prompted in part by the Feb. 14 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in which 17 people were killed and another 17 wounded, but McKeesport Area officials have "always been concerned about school security," Holtzman said.

Any parent who wants information about the lockdown drill is being asked to call Holtzman's office at (412) 664-3600 or email

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Citizens Encouraged to Participate on New Duquesne Committees

March 20, 2018 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: Duquesne News

Duquesne's mayor and city council have established eight committees to provide advice about municipal operations, and they're asking for representatives from each of the city's three wards to participate.

“We decided to initiate these committees so that we can function better as a community,” Mayor Nickole Nesby said. “We’re aiming to change the whole outlook of the city of Duquesne. We want people to feel safe here and be proud of their community.”

In addition, council has established a Civilian Police Review Board, to be overseen by Councilman John Guyer. The board will investigate citizen complaints about any improper police conduct, Nesby said.

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Oldies Dances Slated at White Oak Legion

March 20, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements, White Oak News

White Oak American Legion Post 701 will hold oldies dances from 7 to 11 p.m. April 7 and 21, a spokesman said.

Admission is $5 and music from the 1950s and '60s will be provided by DJs Candy and Mike.

The legion is located at 2813 Capital St. All proceeds benefit veterans programs. For more information, call (724) 984-6611.


GA Campus Grad Makes $30K Gift Toward Scholarship Fund

March 20, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

Barbara and Regis Becker (Penn State photo)

Penn State University's director of ethics and compliance is retiring June 30 --- but he's the one providing a retirement gift.

Regis Becker, a 1978 Penn State graduate, and his wife, Barbara, have made a $30,000 committment toward a new scholarship at the university's Greater Allegheny Campus in McKeesport.

The donation was announced by the university on Friday.

"When Barbara and I talked about what was important to us, she was the one who suggested the McKeesport campus," Becker said in a prepared statement. "She said, 'I really think we should try to do something for that campus, because they were so important in your career and your formation."

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Local Fire, EMS Departments Receive State Grants

March 20, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Mon-Yough area fire and ambulance companies will receive nearly $400,000 in state grants through Pennsylvania's Fire Company and Volunteer Ambulance Service Grant Program, administered by the Office of the State Fire Commissioner.

In addition to funding equipment and training, the money can be used for repairing, building or renovating facilities and for repaying debt related to equipment purchases or facility building and maintenance, a spokeswoman said.

“These grants will provide crucial funding to ensure that our local firefighters and EMS workers have what they need to carry out their life-saving work,” said state Rep. Austin Davis, who represents the 35th District. More than $160,000 is being awarded to 13 fire and ambulance companies in his district.

The funding will provide for equipment, training and other resources that are so important to their safety and the safety of our community, Davis said.

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Duquesne Police Officers Promoted

March 16, 2018 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: Duquesne News

Three Duquesne police officers were promoted to sergeant at the recommendation of Police Chief Thomas Dunlevy.

This week, city council approved a motion 5-0 to promote officers Melissa Kuks, James Foster and Nick Manday.

Kuks is a 14-year veteran of the department. Dunlevy said she "excels at community relations and has an excellent rapport with the community." She will be taking on the responsibilities of police administrator.

Foster, who currently serves as a field training officer, has a master’s degree in the administration of criminal justice and will be in charge of patrol, Dunlevy said.

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Turnpike to Display Mon-Fayette Plans, Discuss Route

March 16, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements, Duquesne News

Residents of communities that are in the path of the Mon-Fayette Expressway are being encouraged to attend one of three information sessions where the plans will be displayed.

Renee Vid Colborn, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, says the open houses will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. April 3, 4 and 5 at the Georgetown Centre, 526 E. Bruceton Road, Pleasant Hills.

The information will focus on Jefferson Hills, West Mifflin, Clairton, Dravosburg and Duquesne.

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Duquesne Partnering With Auberle to Clean Up Blighted Properties

March 15, 2018 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: Duquesne News

Correction: A story on Feb. 19 had the spelling of Jade Burleigh's name incorrect. The original story has been corrected and we apologize for the error. 

Duquesne is partnering with McKeesport-based Auberle this summer to provide employment to young adults and clean up blighted and abandoned properties.

Auberle will offer work for up to 100 participants between ages 14 and 24 clearing blight, Duquesne Mayor Nickole Nesby said this week.

Those interested should sign up with Tim Kelly at (412) 673-5800 or contact the city. The deadline to register is March 31.

The program is part of the administration’s effort to address blighted properties in Duquesne.

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'Day of Prayer and Healing' for HIV/AIDS Planned Saturday

March 15, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

A day of "prayer for the healing" of people with HIV and AIDS will be held Saturday at Zion Baptist Church.

The event, called "The Balm in Gilead," begins at 11 a.m. at the church at 1300 Locust St., a spokeswoman said.

In addition to the church, sponsors include the Partnership for Minority HIV/AIDS Prevention.

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Mon Valley Attorney Sentenced to Prison in Fraud Case

March 15, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A former attorney who was accused of funnelling money from one of his client's accounts into his personal businesses --- including the Mon Valley Independent newspaper --- has been sentenced to 33 months in federal prison for mail fraud.

Keith A. Bassi, 61, of Jefferson Twp., Fayette County, also must pay more than $505,000 in restitution and a $100,000 fine, and forfeit more than $235,515, U.S. Attorney Scott Brady said Wednesday.

The sentence was imposed by U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab.

A graduate of Yale and Duquesne universities, Bassi was a partner in the Charleroi law firm of Bassi, McCune & Vreeland and a well-known attorney in the mid-Mon Valley, serving as solicitor to several communities and school districts and as general counsel to the former Charleroi Federal Savings Bank, now CFSBank.

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City Seeks Solution for Mansfield Bridge Ramp Flooding

March 14, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Above: McKeesport public works crews clear flooding at the end of the Mansfield Bridge following a severe storm June 13, 2017. (Tube City Almanac file photo)

McKeesport officials are hoping to have a lasting solution this summer to flooding problems that have forced repeated street closures at the southern end of the Mansfield Bridge.

Council this month authorized the administration to seek $255,000 from the state's Small Water and Sewer Program for repairs to a storm sewer under West Fifth Avenue.

The city will be required to match the grant, if received, with at least $45,000 of its own funding, Mayor Michael Cherepko said.

City engineer Jim Garvin said the grant money would initially fund a thorough inspection of the line, so that the scope of the work can be planned out.

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Ringgold Team Wraps Season; Featured Players From Across Mon Valley Schools

March 14, 2018 |

By Josh Rizzo | Posted in: Sports

(Photo courtesy Ringgold Hockey Association, via Facebook)

Clayton Colecchi doesn’t feel any different aversion to playing hockey with a different high school on the front of his sweater. The South Allegheny High School sophomore wanted a chance to compete in the PIHL -- the governing body for high school hockey in Western Pennsylvania -- and playing under the Ringgold Hockey banner was his only option.

South Allegheny is part of a wide-ranging agreement that features eight schools, including Belle Vernon, Bentworth, Brownsville, California and Yough.

“I’ve embraced it and so have the other kids in my school,” Colecchi said. “They come out and watch the games and support it. They don’t care if it’s Ringgold, they consider it South Allegheny.”

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Local DAR Chapter Honors Area Students for Citizenship, Essays

March 11, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Students from area schools were recognized for their citizenship and scholarship this month by the Queen Alliquippa Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Spokeswoman Sharon Wallhausen said the local chapter of the DAR, founded in McKeesport in 1911, recently reinstituted its Good Citizen Award program. This year's winner is Owen Meilander (above right), a senior at Elizabeth Forward High School, shown with Maria Ferguson, regent of the Queen Alliquippa Chapter.

Meilander was recognized during a meeting at Norwin Public Library. His name will be submitted to the DAR's Pennsylvania State Competition, Wallhausen said.

Other finalists, who were nominated by their schools for the award, included Julia Conway, Gateway High School; Dana Ewing, Norwin High School; Kayley Bayne, Franklin Regional High School; Ashley Sandella, Serra Catholic High School; and Samuel Wilshire, Redeemer Lutheran School.

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Warrant Service Leads to Five Arrests

March 09, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Allegheny County sheriff's deputies serving a family court warrant Friday morning wound up recovering six bricks of suspected heroin and arresting five men on unrelated drug charges.

Tony Griffith, spokesman for the Allegheny County sheriff's office, said deputies and McKeesport police went to an apartment in the Crawford Village housing complex before 8 a.m. to arrest Troy L. Brown, 20, of Elizabeth Twp. on a warrant for failing to appear for a hearing in family court.

Upon arrival, Griffith said, police and sheriff's deputies found "multiple tenants" within the apartment, as well as "a lot of activity," and observed a brick of what they suspected to be heroin in plain view.

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Brewster Calls for Armed Guards in School Buildings

March 09, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Photo courtesy state Sen. Jim Brewster)

* UPDATED at 8:35 p.m. with comments from McKeesport Area School District.

State Sen. Jim Brewster on Friday proposed placing armed security guards inside all school buildings in Pennsylvania.

The McKeesport lawmaker, who represents parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, said the recommendation is just one of several proposals he is making that are intended to protect students and teachers from violence.

Last week, Brewster said he was drafting legislation to create an 11-member Statewide School Safety Panel to examine security at Pennsylvania's schools and recommend areas for improvement.

“Students must be better protected,” Brewster said Friday in a prepared statement. “Parents deserve assurance that school buildings are safe and secure environments.”

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No Injuries Reported in Lamont Street Fire

March 09, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A pet cat is credited with alerting two city residents to a fire in the attic of a Lamont Street home.

The Allegheny County Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the blaze, which happened early this morning, but McKeesport Deputy Fire Chief Tom Perciavalle said that it may have been caused by faulty wiring.

Perciavalle said the residents of the home at 2005 Lamont were awakened just before 1:30 a.m. when one of their two cats bolted, frightened, from the bathroom adjoining the upstairs master bedroom.

"They felt it was unusual behavior, because the cat is fairly sedentary," Perciavalle said.

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Plans for Former Daily News Building Move Forward

March 08, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A portion of Kennedy Park on Lysle Boulevard may be removed to provide parking for what is being called the McKeesport Multi-Media Building. (Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

McKeesport is aggressively moving forward to prepare the former Daily News Building for new tenants.

At Wednesday's meeting, city council voted 6-0 to apply for a $200,000 grant from Allegheny County's Community Infrastructure & Tourism Fund for renovations and repairs to the building. Councilwoman Jamie Brewster-Filotei was absent.

The first tenants could be moving into the building as early as May, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said.

In addition, city public works crews will probably be turning part of Kennedy Park at the corner of Lysle Boulevard and Walnut Street into a parking area for the building.

The work would not affect the statue of President Kennedy or the plaza around it, Cherepko said, but would require removal of the small fountain at the corner.

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Upcoming Program Will Highlight City's 'Fascinating Women'

March 06, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The region's "fascinating women" will be the topic of a special Women's History Month program at the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center.

"Fascinating McKeesport Women" will highlight the work of women who left their mark on the community in a variety of fields, including journalism, aviation and philanthropy, as well as those who influenced social and political movements or broke barriers.

The program will be presented at 2 p.m. March 24 by local historian Ellen Vasey Show, a spokeswoman said.

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Police Log: March 5, 2018

March 05, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and 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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Here We Grow Again! Writers Wanted

March 03, 2018 |

By Advertising | Posted in: Announcements

Tube City Community Media Inc. is seeking two or more freelance writers to cover occasional news and feature stories in the McKeesport area.

Contributors are paid on a per-assignment basis. These are not salaried or contracted positions and these positions may be eliminated at any time, with or without warning.

High school and college students seeking work experience are encouraged to apply; we are willing to work with students who need credit toward class assignments.

The positions currently to be filled are:

  • City of Duquesne correspondent
  • Mon Valley Arts and Entertainment correspondent
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Garden Expert Oster Coming to Carnegie Library

March 02, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Gardeners of all skill levels are invited to spend "an evening with Doug Oster" when the nationally known gardening expert visits the Carnegie Library of McKeesport on April 13.

The event begins at 6 p.m. and will be held in the children's room at the library, 1507 Library Ave. All attendees will make and take home garden containers, a spokeswoman said.

Oster is the manager and editor of EverybodyGardens and also serves as home and garden editor for the Tribune-Review.

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School District Awaits Approval on Possible Tax Increase

March 02, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport Area School District is awaiting state approval on a possible 3.42-mill property tax increase that administrators hope won't be necessary.

"I'm sure by the time we're done with this it's not going to be anywhere near that amount," said David Seropian, district business manager.

Under Pennsylvania law, school districts are allowed to enact a property tax increase only within an "index" --- sort of an "inflation" or "cost-of-living adjustment" --- set by the state. The index for 2018-19 is 2.4 percent.

Property tax increases above that indexed percentage must be put to a referendum by the voters unless certain conditions are met. On Wednesday, McKeesport Area filed its preliminary 2018-19 budget with the state Department of Education and asked for a waiver from the referendum requirement.

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Adam Lynch: Not Soon Forgotten

March 01, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

The following is an editorial expressing an individual’s opinion. Opinions expressed in editorials and commentaries are those of their authors, and are not those of Tube City Community Media Inc., its board of directors, volunteers, contributors or donors. Responsible replies are welcome.

About 10 years ago, I started tracking down and interviewing people who had worked in radio in the Mon Valley, including at stations such as WMCK/WIXZ (1360) and WEDO (810).

Early on in the process, I left a message for McKeesport native Adam Lynch, the retired newscaster who accomplished the rare feat of working on-screen at all three of Pittsburgh’s major network TV affiliates —- KDKA-TV, WTAE-TV and WPXI-TV. He was living then in Monroeville.

He called me at work the next day. His voice was unmistakable —- my God, what a voice! —- but he was a little bit suspicious. Who was this weirdo calling to ask him about his early days at WEDO?

Finally, he agreed to meet me for lunch at Rene’s in East McKeesport.

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