Work Underway to Renovate Two City Ball Fields

May 17, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: News, Sports

Work is underway to renovate two community ball fields in the city to update the facilities and make them more accessible to people with disabilities.

The projects at Fawcett and Duncan fields, totaling $210,000, are designed to enhance recreation opportunities for younger residents and make the neighborhoods more attractive places to live, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said.

The fields are used on a daily basis during the baseball and softball season, he said, including by several leagues.

“Youth sports (are) a way to keep our children active and involved in a structured program that will teach them cooperation, team building and other responsibilities that will benefit them for the rest of their lives,” Cherepko said. “My administration always will support initiatives and developments that provide positive life-learning experiences for our children.”

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Art Group Celebrates 60 Years With Spring Show

May 15, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

McKeesport Art Group will celebrate its 60th Anniversary this weekend with one of its largest spring art shows in recent memory.

Scheduled to go on display at 5 p.m. Friday at Jacob Woll Pavilion in Renziehausen Park are 135 entries, including many from area students, said Jan Catalogna, group president.

Awards will be presented during a ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday. Hours are 12 noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and 12 noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Catalogna said. There is no admission charge, and original art and crafts will be for sale.

"We have metal working, 3-D art, photography and computer art, in addition to" paintings and drawings, she said.

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LifeSpan Slates Renzie 'Picnic in the Park' May 24

May 13, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

All area seniors are invited to LifeSpan Mon Valley Center's annual "Picnic in the Park" at the Jakomas Blue-Top Pavilion in Renziehausen Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 24, a spokeswoman said.

There will be live music from Darryl & Kim playing Motown favorites, along with bingo, dancing and lunch. Tickets are $10. For more information, call (412) 664-5434.


Auberle Award Ceremony Recognizes Success Through Teamwork

May 13, 2018 |

By Tyler Pack | Posted in: News

In sailing, it's not as simple as just setting out a boat on a straight course.

Instead, Kathleen Miclot told an audience at Edgewood Country Club, navigating a sailboat is all about turning and steering to follow the wind and the current. And succeeding depends on the whole crew.

“It takes work and it takes help from other people," said Miclot, who spoke at the 32nd annual All Star Banquet Dinner and Award Ceremony for McKeesport-based Auberle. "With the correct help, you can get where you are trying to get.”

The ceremony, held May 7, recognized donors, foster parents and corporate sponsors.

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Duquesne Achieves Better ISO Fire Rating

May 13, 2018 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: Duquesne News

Duquesne has improved its fire preparedness rating by five points, according to a national agency.

At last week's Duquesne City Council meeting, fire Chief Frank Cobb said the Insurance Service Office, Inc., has moved the community from a 9 to a 4, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best and 10 the worst.

The city had last been rated in 1989, Cobb said. The rating reflects the overall effectiveness of the department, he said.

Cobb said 24 calls for service were answered by the department for April. The chief also thanked Mayor Nickole Nesby and city council for funding repairs to the department's ladder truck.

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Response to New Transit Plan Positive, Port Authority Says

May 10, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

(Image courtesy Port Authority of Allegheny County)

Port Authority's recently appointed CEO, Katharine Eagan Kelleman, is scheduled to attend a public hearing at 6 p.m. tonight at the Palisades, corner of Fifth Avenue and Water Street, Downtown, to discuss the latest proposed changes to Mon Valley bus routes.

But the public response to the changes --- planned in conjunction with a proposed new Bus Rapid Transit loop between downtown Pittsburgh and Oakland --- have been "overwhelmingly positive," says Adam Brandolph, a spokesman for the transit agency.

Additional public meetings are planned May 14 in downtown Pittsburgh, May 17 in Pittsburgh's Uptown neighborhood, and May 22 and 24 in Oakland, Brandolph says.

The current proposal would preserve the frequency of 61 A, B and C routes that connect Mon Valley communities such as Braddock, Swissvale, Homestead, West Mifflin, Duquesne and McKeesport with downtown Pittsburgh via Oakland.

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Duquesne Fire Dept. Awaits Results of Insurance Inspection

May 09, 2018 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: Duquesne News

Fire company Vice President Chas Woolsey, junior firefighter Nate Beck and fire Chief Frank Cobb look over equipment at the Duquesne fire station. (Cami DiBattista photo for Tube City Almanac)

Firefighters and city officials in Duquesne are awaiting the results of an evaluation of the fire department's readiness.

The evaluation is being done by the Insurance Services Office, Inc., said Duquesne fire Chief Frank Cobb. The last ISO inspection of Duquesne was done in 1989, he said.

ISO assigns a Public Protection Classification rating between 1 and 10, with 1 being the best and 10 being the worst. Duquesne's PPC rating was seven, Cobb said.

“They seemed pleased,” he said. “It’s looking pretty good and we’re anticipating a much lower rating than we received several decades ago.”

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Authority Seeks Solution for White Oak Sewer Backups

May 09, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: White Oak News

Officials at the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County are working on a solution to sewer backups that have repeatedly flooded the basements of several White Oak homeowners.

John Palyo, borough manager, said the problem in the area of Vermont and Ohio avenues is particularly acute during wet weather and following heavy rainstorms.

White Oak sold its sewer lines to the Westmoreland authority --- which also provides water to McKeesport, Port Vue, White Oak and several neighboring Allegheny County communities --- several years ago, Palyo said.

And although Pennsylvania American Water Co. now owns the McKeesport sewage treatment plant, Gary Lobaugh, a spokesman for the water company, said it only treats White Oak's wastewater --- it doesn't maintain the underground lines in the borough.

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Correction, Not Perfection

May 09, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements, White Oak News

Due to an editing error, a story published May 1 about a White Oak borough council meeting was incorrect.

Although White Oak's wastewater is treated by Pennsylvania-American Water Co. at the McKeesport treatment plant, the sewer lines themselves are owned and maintained by the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, and have been for several years, according to borough manager John Palyo and Gary Lobaugh, spokesman for the water company.

The mistake was made in editing and was not the fault of the writer. I apologize for the error.

-- Jason Togyer, editor and executive director

Tube City Almanac corrects all known errors of fact, promptly. If you think a news article is factually incorrect and needs to be corrected, please email or call (412) 614-9659.


Letter Carriers, Volunteers Prepare for 26th Annual Food Drive

May 08, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

(Photo courtesy Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank)

Retired postal worker Chuck Jarrell will be up before 6 a.m. this Saturday, buying dozens of donuts for his former colleagues at the McKeesport post office.

"I like to get them all sugared-up before they go out," he says, joking.

Saturday is a special day for the men and women of the McKeesport post office --- and post offices around the country --- as the National Association of Letter Carriers will be running its 26th annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive.

Since 1993, the food drive organized by the postal workers' union has collected 1.6 billion --- that's 1,600,000,000 --- pounds of food for the needy and hungry.

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Nationally Known Catholic Author to Lead Three-Day Mission

May 08, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

Author and motivational speaker Jon Leonetti will lead a three-day "mission" at Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church in June.

Leonetti, a Catholic radio talk-show host based in Des Moines, Iowa, will be the featured attraction at the "Surge of the Heart" Parish Mission at 7 p.m. June 4, 5 and 6.

The event is free and open to the public. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. each night.

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Community Chorus Slates Upcoming Performances

May 08, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The Mon Yough Chorale, a community chorus based in the McKeesport and White Oak area, has scheduled several upcoming concerts, including a Memorial Day-themed celebration in Monongahela.

At 6 p.m. May 30, the chorale will perform in a Memorial Day-themed event at the Aquatorium in Monongahela, Washington County, at a ceremony to honor fallen troops.

Immediately following the ceremony, the Mon Yough Chorale will entertain at a reception at Monongahela Valley Hospital, Carroll Twp.

A spokeswoman said the chorale's big spring concert is scheduled for 3 p.m. June 3 at Sampson's Mills Presbyterian Church, 1665 Lincoln Way, White Oak.

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McKeesport High Class of '68 Planning 50th Reunion

May 05, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

There were more than 750 people in the Class of 1968 from McKeesport Senior High School, but planners of an upcoming reunion still need contact information for more than 200 of them.

That's according to Nancy Paradise, one of the organizers of the upcoming 50th class reunion, to be held Aug. 24 and 25.

The reunion will include a dinner on Aug. 24 at the Antonelli Event Center in Irwin, and a picnic at Lake Emilie in Renziehausen Park on Aug. 25.

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Education Innovator Sings Praises of Duquesne Elementary

May 04, 2018 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: Duquesne News

Ted Dintersmith greets students at Duquesne Elementary School on Wednesday. (Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

Duquesne Elementary School students enjoyed demonstrating some features of one of their school’s "makerspaces" to a special guest on Wednesday.

Ted Dintersmith, a former venture capitalist turned philanthropist and public education advocate, is on a 50-state tour to promote his documentary film, "Most Likely to Succeed," based on the best-selling book about education which he co-authored.

Dintersmith, whose newest book is called "What Schools Could Be," was in Pittsburgh this week to deliver a lecture at the O'Reilly Theater, Downtown.

When Dintersmith visited Duquesne Elementary, students demonstrated how to use virtual reality displays.

“We’re using virtual reality to visit the Holocaust museum,” said fourth-grader Lyniah McFadden.

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#TBT: 10 Years Ago in Tube City Almanac

May 03, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: History

This week in 2008, from our files:

McKeesport Mayor Jim Brewster declared his intention to "fire Blue Cross-Blue Shield" as the city's health insurance carrier. The pledge came after Highmark, the Pittsburgh region's Blue Cross licensee and its dominant health care provider, raised the rate on one city plan by $620,000 --- nearly 84 percent.

Brewster scheduled a meeting with another health insurance carrier, saying: "We'll give them a little taste of McKeesport competitiveness."

The new executive director of McKeesport's YMCA said that "failure is not an option," but admitted the 120-year-old institution was struggling with an aging building, a declining number of members and serious debts. The McKeesport Y was considering a merger with the larger YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh and the possibility of selling its building on Sinclair Street.

The American Lung Association named Pittsburgh the "sootiest city" in the United States, surpassing Southern California. The dubious distinction was mainly due to high levels of particulates in the air near U.S. Steel's Clairton Works. The facility produces coke, a fuel created by superheating coal in ovens.

An Almanac editorial noted that many chemicals and medicines are made from the byproducts of coke, and that the Mon Valley needs "the high-paying, blue-collar jobs that Clairton Works and coal-mining provide, (but) we also need clean air."


City On Track to Demolish 300 Vacant Houses in 2018

May 03, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

McKeesport is on track to demolish 300 vacant houses in 2018 in "every ward of the city," Mayor Michael Cherepko said Wednesday.

The effort, part of the mayor's previously announced "McKeesport Rising" initiative, is aimed at stablizing neighborhoods and transforming the entrances to the city.

Council by 6-0 vote awarded a $711,500 contract to Jadell Minniefield Construction Services, Inc., a demolition contractor based in Pittsburgh's Hazelwood neighborhood, to tear down 97 vacant houses.

The city will be holding condemnation and demolition proceedings on another 200 houses in the coming months, Cherepko said, and hopes to award another bid in July.

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Council Approves First Phase of Bowman Ave. Reconstruction

May 03, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

A much-needed reconstruction of Bowman Avenue in the city's Highland Grove neighborhood is expected to begin in a few weeks.

At Wednesday's meeting, McKeesport City Council by 6-0 vote awarded a $181,260 contract to Morgan Excavating of Belle Vernon to dig out the existing bricks, install a new roadbase, and resurface the road from the North Versailles Twp. line to near Cliff Street. Councilman Jim Barry Jr. was absent.

The repairs will require a complete shutdown of the road to through traffic, said Steve Kondrosky, city public works director, and a detour will be posted.

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Short: Education is Key to the American Dream

May 03, 2018 |

By Josh Rizzo | Posted in: News, Sports, White Oak News

(Photo: Penn State Greater Allegheny, via Twitter)

Brandon Short sees the world much more clearly now that he lives in London.

Having a broader world view has strengthened the 40-year-old McKeesport native’s belief in the concept of the American Dream.

That’s why it was important for Short to espouse the importance of higher education in front of a crowd of 110 people during a talk at the Crossing Bridges Summit Wednesday night at Penn State Greater Allegheny’s Wunderley Gymnasium.

Despite some of the country’s flaws, Short believes everyone has a chance for upward mobility. Short, who had a seven-year career in the NFL with the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers from 2000-06, is running for a spot on Penn State University’s Board of Trustees.

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Open House Slated at McKeesport Wastewater Plant

May 02, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The new owners of the sewage treatment plant serving more than 64,000 people in the McKeesport area are inviting area residents to inspect the facility --- and ask questions about how it works.

Pennsylvania American Water will hold an open house and offer free tours of the McKeesport Wastewater Treatment Plant from 9 a.m. to 12 noon May 12, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Tours will last about 45 minutes each and will include gifts, refreshments and activities for kids.

“Our McKeesport team treats approximately 13 million gallons of wastewater each day,” said Chuck Schultz, operations superintendent for PAWC. “This open house will provide our customers with a unique opportunity to learn more about wastewater treatment and meet the professionals who make it happen 24/7.”

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Duquesne's Nesby Discusses Visions for City Shared During Town Hall Meeting

May 02, 2018 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: Duquesne News

Around 30 people attended Duquesne’s first town hall meeting, which was held last week to provide community members with an opportunity to discuss their vision of the city’s future.

“The first meeting went well,” Mayor Nickole Nesby said at Duquesne's recent city council meeting. “We had a nice turnout and covered several subjects such as new businesses in the areas and employment opportunities, pending grant applications, the Mon-Fayette Expressway, our health insurance plan and recent audits and payments of past due bills.”

Attendees were encouraged to volunteer for one of the new committees established in an effort to address areas in need of improvement within the city.

The next "town hall" meetings are slated for 6 p.m. on May 8 and 22 at Duquesne Elementary School. All are invited and encouraged to attend.

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Retail Development Eyed at Market-Fifth Intersection

May 01, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

Several lots that have been vacant since a disastrous Downtown fire more than 40 years ago could be the site of a new retail development.

The five lots at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Market Street, owned by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of McKeesport, have been purchased by area businessman Jon Stark, said A.J. Tedesco, the city's community development director.

Terms have not yet been made public, but Stark will ask the city's planning commission on May 16 to approve a proposal to consolidate the five lots into one.

Stark is a partner or owner of several nearby businesses, including Compulsive Paintball; a custom countertop company, Lexmar USA; and Legion Arms, all located on Market Street, less than a block away.

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White Oak Officials Prepare for Opening of Heritage Pool

May 01, 2018 |

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

(*CORRECTION -- This story was corrected on May 9, 2018.)

White Oak officials and managers of Heritage Hill Pool are preparing for the 2018 season.

At April's meeting, council established a rate of $60 per resident for a season pass or $100 for a nonresident.

The pool is scheduled to open May 28 (Memorial Day), and will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days per week, weather permitting.

Council is considering a request from the White Oak Swim Team Board requesting permission to place a storage shed on the pool grounds and to sell and hang fundraising banners on the fence of the complex. A decision will be reached at a later date, officials said.

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Blessing Board's McKeesport Location Helps Local Families

May 01, 2018 |

By Charlotte Hopkins | Posted in: News

Above: John Fischetti and Diane Brown are two volunteers at the Blessing Board. (Photo courtesy The Blessing Board)

A demonstrated need drew an Oakmont-based charity into the McKeesport area.

Now, after several moves within the city, The Blessing Board is open two Saturdays per month at 820 Market St., in a former auto parts store shared with First Step Recovery Homes.

The Blessing Board was established to help people who are struggling to furnish their homes. People who want to use it need only two things --- an appointment and access to a truck, said Amy Hehn, who sits on the board of directors and is a member of the Day of Blessings Team.

“We know they are here because they have a need, they do not have to prove that,” she said. “Here people can furnish their home with love and that's Gods love.”

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