Activist, '60s Icon Angela Davis Coming to City Oct. 19

September 30, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

(Above: Angela Davis speaks to students in Wellington, New Zealand, during a 2007 lecture tour. Jonathan Ah Kit photo via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons.)

Legendary activist Angela Davis --- who was fired from her job at the urging of Ronald Reagan and was labeled a "dangerous terrorist" by Richard Nixon --- will come to McKeesport this month to speak at Penn State Greater Allegheny.

Davis, 74, will be the third keynote speaker in the university's Crossing Bridges Summit and is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. Oct. 19.

Although Davis' visit to McKeesport has not yet been formally announced by the university, tickets for students are still available on the EventBrite website and a spokesman confirmed that she is scheduled to appear. No additional tickets remain for the general public, according to EventBrite.

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School Year Moving Smoothly for 'Rejuvenated' MASD Staff, Superintendent Says

September 28, 2018 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport Area teachers began their year with a bus tour of the communities and neighborhoods the school district serves.

At last week's board meeting, Superintendent Mark Holtzman Jr. told school directors the tour --- involving more than 350 employees and 10 school buses --- was "a very powerful event."

“I spoke to our staff a little bit about what we’re doing, what our direction is as a school district, and how we meet the needs of our students, and it was very moving,” he said, adding that he hopes the event sets the tone for a positive school year.

“I’m extremely proud of our building administration, our principals, people on the front line, our teachers and support staff, and their attitudes toward the education of our students,” Holtzman said. “We have a rejuvenated, energized and passionate group, and I look forward to building on that as we move throughout the year."

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NVT Commissioners Consider Emergency Repairs to Damaged Alley

September 26, 2018 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News

North Versailles Twp. commissioners are considering a request from people in the Arlington neighborhood for emergency repairs to an alley.

At this month's meeting, Ward 2 Commissioner Daryl Mitchell said the alley between Union and Broadway avenues is so bad, some residents can't get to their homes.

“One of the residents there can’t even back his car up, without going into a gutter --- that’s how bad it is,”  Mitchell said. "With the rain we had recently, it has gotten worse ... I know we set a budget, but with all this rain we’ve had, it’s caused a lot of damage, all I’m asking is there some way we can help make some type of improvement in that alley.”

Commission President Sam Juliano said repairing the alley was on the township's paving “wish list” earlier this year, but it was deleted for budgetary concerns.

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White Oak Developing Plans for Heritage Pool Improvements

September 26, 2018 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak officials are preparing to make improvements to handicapped accessibility around Heritage Hills Pool.

At this month's meeting, council authorized the borough engineer to develop specifications and advertise for bids for Phase I of the project. A community development block grant of $35,000 has been approved for the project, borough officials said.

Council also awarded a $121,695 contract to Tennis Roofing of Washington, Pa., to replace the roof on the bathhouse at the pool.

In other business, council awarded a $63,165 contract to Swede Construction Corp. of Elizabeth Twp. to construction a new salt shed.

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Port Vue Slates Fall Clean-Up This Weekend

September 24, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Port Vue will have fall cleanup days this Saturday and Sunday, a spokesperson said.

Trash bins for bulk collection will be located at the Romine Avenue Fields, in the parking lot near the comfort stations, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Only borough residents with proper identification may use the bins.

Electronics also may be recycled for $5 per item. For more information, call 412-664-9323.


NV Twp. Thanks Scout for Park Beautification Project

September 23, 2018 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News

(Submitted photo courtesy Martino family)

A North Versailles Twp. student’s landscape gardening project has brought him one step closer to earning the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout.

Last week at the township commissioners' regular monthly meeting, board President Frank Bivens presented Noah Martino, 17, with a certificate of recognition and accompanying plaque for successfully completing the North Versailles Park Beautification Project in June.

“I have one merit badge that I am finishing over the next two months, and then I will officially get the Eagle rank,” Martino said.

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White Oak Residents Demand Answers to Sewage Problems

September 23, 2018 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: White Oak News

A room full of White Oak residents attended this month’s borough council meeting to air grievances after they said their homes were flooded with sewage when heavy storms hit the area Sept. 8, 9 and 10.

“I had three inches of sewage in my basement --- sewage, not rain water,” said John Baker, who lives on California Avenue. “Something’s not right. Something has to be done.”

Borough Manager John Palyo issued a statement on behalf of council, saying that White Oak does not own the sanitary sewer system, the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County does.

White Oak Solicitor Krisha DiMascio said the Westmoreland municipal authority was asked to attend the council meeting. No one from the authority attended.

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McKeesport Woman Killed in Wreck; Driver Faces Charges

September 23, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport woman died Sunday morning when the car in which she was a passenger was struck by another vehicle near Allegheny County Airport.

Marlee Anne Hill, 19, was pronounced dead at the scene, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office said. The accident happened just before 4 a.m.

Allegheny County police Lt. Andrew Schurman said in a prepared statement that Hill was in the back seat of a Volkswagen Jetta sedan that was stopped at the three-way intersection of Lebanon Church Road, Buttermilk Hollow Road and MacArthur Drive.

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One Dead in Duquesne Shooting; Man's Death Ruled Homicide

September 23, 2018 |

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

(Updated 10 p.m. Sunday)

A Pittsburgh man died following a shooting Saturday afternoon in Duquesne.

A spokesman for the Allegheny County police said Duquesne police and McKeesport paramedics were dispatched to the 1100 block of Grant Avenue just after 4:30 p.m. when callers to 9-1-1 reported that a man had been shot.

When police and paramedics arrived, they found the victim suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.

The Allegheny County medical examiner's office on Sunday identified the victim as Bronson Szallar, 22. A spokesperson said Szallar was found near the intersection of Pitts Avenue and Wilmot Street. Szallar's death has been ruled a homicide.

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American Textile Expanding to City's Industrial Park

September 20, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Tube City Almanac photo)

A Duquesne-based manufacturer of bedding sold in stores around the country is expanding into McKeesport.

American Textile Co. has signed a lease for a 98,000-square-foot building in the Industrial Center of McKeesport, located on the site of the former U.S. Steel National Works.

The deal was announced Thursday by the non-profit Regional Industrial Development Corp., which owns the industrial park. American Textile will be using a building at 200 Center St. formerly occupied by Steel City Products.

An RIDC spokeswoman said Steel City Products, an auto parts distributor, has moved elsewhere.

“As our pillow business continues to grow, we need this additional space to cover growing demand,” Lance Ruttenberg, American Textile's chief executive officer and president, said in a prepared statement. The company expects to add 30 employees at the McKeesport location.

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Local Legislators Unveil Plan to Reform Police-Community Relations

September 17, 2018 |

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

State Rep. Austin Davis, center, and State Sen. Jim Brewster (right, back to camera) participated in a peace walk through McKeesport July 6 following a police-involved shooting in East Pittsburgh. The McKeesport legislators have joined colleagues from Pittsburgh, Forest Hills and Mt. Lebanon to promote police reform legislation. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

In the wake of a police-involved shooting in East Pittsburgh that killed a 17-year-old and roiled the community, several local state legislators have unveiled a package of reform bills.

The legislation would be designed to improve police officer training and salaries; provide incentives for small municipalities to pursue regional police forces; encourage additional community oversight and recruitment of more diverse candidates to become police officers; and provide for an independent response team to investigate police shootings.

Backing the package of bills are state Sens. Jim Brewster of McKeesport, Jay Costa of Forest Hills and Wayne Fontana of Pittsburgh's Brookline neighborhood, along with state Reps. Austin Davis of McKeesport, Ed Gainey of East Liberty and Jake Wheatley of the Hill District.

“We need to do more to improve the training, quality and support of officers,” Costa said at a press conference last week. “But our improvements need to extend beyond police departments and into communities. I believe the package of bills we are working on can do that.”

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3rd 'Bark in the Park' Announces Coloring, Art Contest

September 17, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Volunteers pause in their work at Cindy's Memorial Bark Park in Port Vue. (Photo via Facebook)

Kids in kindergarten through sixth grade are being encouraged to compete in a coloring and art contest sponsored as part of the third-annual "Bark in the Park."

The annual event at Romine Avenue Fields, Port Vue, raises money for Cindy's Memorial Bark Park, a three-acre dog park that is currently being completed near the Port Vue Athletic Association off of Portsmouth Drive.

Scheduled for 12 to 5 p.m. Oct. 6, this year's Bark in the Park will feature craft and pet supply vendors, food trucks, games, face painting, "pet stenciling," photos with pets, "make and take" crafts for kids, raffles, an "Ask the Vet" booth and a pet supply drive for the Hello Bully pit bull rescue project.

Events tentatively include a "blessing of the pets" at 12:30 p.m., a "tricks for treats" contest at 1:30, a "cutest canine costume contest" at 2 p.m., field games for kids at 2:30 p.m., a police K-9 demonstration at 3:30 p.m.

Entries for the art and coloring contest should be dropped off before 3:30 p.m. on the day of the event. Winners will be announced and prizes will be awarded at 4:30 p.m.

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Dark Comedy 'Sordid Lives' Brings Plenty of Laughs at MLT

September 13, 2018 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

The cast of McKeesport Little Theater's season-opening "Sordid Lives" rehearses a scene from the funeral of Peggy Ingram, whose unexpected death prompts some soul-searching among family members and friends. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo)

A comedy --- albeit a dark one --- is sure to bring plenty of laughs to the audience as McKeesport Little Theater kicks off its 58th season with a strong ensemble cast in “Sordid Lives.”

If the title sounds somewhat familiar, it probably is. Del Shores originally wrote “Sordid Lives” as a play, then directed an independent film with the same name in 2000, followed by a television series in 2008 called “Sordid Lives: The Series.”

Producer Anthony Gomez, who also is president of McKeesport Little Theater’s board of directors, said “Sordid Lives” is all about family and acceptance.

The play is set in Winters, Texas, and was nominated for more than 30 awards. Family matriarch Peggy Ingram, known in the community as an upright, Christian woman, dies in an unfortunate accident when she trips over her lover’s wooden legs and hits her head, causing quite a stir.

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New Technology Programs Enhance Learning at Duquesne School

September 13, 2018 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: Duquesne News

(Students at Duquesne Elementary School learn how to use a MakerBot 3D printer. Duquesne City School District photo via Facebook)

Duquesne City School District students were excited to learn about some new programs and opportunities awaiting them when they began school this year.

A new coding program called Codes and Bots --- complete with a new lab space for elementary students to utilize --- an addition to the curriculum for the 2018-2019 school year.

Dubbed the CAB Lab, the area has been stocked with virtual reality googles, 3-D printers, iMacs, LEGO racers, light tables and other new equipment. Additionally, iPads were distributed to all students for use during school hours.

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Fun Walk Saturday Will Benefit Activities for Kane Patients

September 12, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Allegheny County photo)

The seventh-annual "Joan Burns Fun Walk 4 Kane" will be held this Saturday to raise money for activities for residents of Allegheny County's four Kane skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. at Kane McKeesport, 100 Ninth Ave. at Water Street, and the walk begins at 9:30 a.m. A picnic on the Kane lawn will follow. The first 100 people to register will receive a T-shirt.

The registration fee is $20, but will be waved for anyone who turns in donations and pledges of $50 or more, a spokesperson said.

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Free Yoga Classes Begin Thursday at Downtown Church

September 12, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Submitted photo courtesy Pittsburgh Yoga Therapy)

Free yoga classes for women will be provided on Thursday afternoons at a Downtown church, beginning this week, and child care will be available.

"Empower" is a 10-week yoga and wellness program being taught by Ali Popivchak (above), founder of Pittsburgh Yoga Therapy. Classes are being held from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. in the social hall of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, corner Walnut Street and Eighth Avenue, next to the McKeesport post office.

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Fundraiser Planned Oct. 19 for LifeSpan

September 12, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

LifeSpan, a Homestead-based agency that serves seniors throughout the Mon Valley and South Hills, will hold a "Cashtoberfest" fundraiser Oct. 19 at Salvatore's in Baldwin.

The event begins at 5 p.m. and will include music, dancing, a dinner buffet, raffles, prize baskets, and a cash drawing every 15 minutes between 7 and 10 p.m. The 10 p.m. drawing will be valued at $2,000, a spokeswoman said, and ticket holders need not be present to win.

Attendees must be 21 or older and no outside alcohol may be brought into the facility, located at 5001 Curry Road. A cash bar will be available and dinner is included in the ticket price.

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Allegheny County Declares Disaster Emergency Following Floods, Landslides

September 10, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(This story will be updated throughout the day.)

Roads throughout the Mon-Yough area are closed due to floods and landslides after more than six inches of rain fell on the region from Saturday through Monday morning.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald on Monday afternoon declared a county-wide disaster emergency as a result of the three-day-long deluge, caused by remnants of Tropical Storm Gordon.

The declaration was issued on a recommendation from Allegheny County Emergency Services and enables county agencies to temporarily suspend bidding and contract requirements in order to contract with vendors for supplies and services.

“While flood warnings have expired, and rain showers are leaving the area, our department will begin its assessment of damages, and will do everything it can to assist in any recovery,” Fitzgerald said.

Five municipalities have reportedly issued their own emergency declarations, including Elizabeth Twp., where residents are being urged to evacuate from Blythedale, Smithdale, and parts of Industry and Buena Vista. Displaced residents are being encouraged to seek shelted at the community center, 429 Duncan Station Road.

Another emergency shelter has been opened at the Collinsburg Volunteer Fire Company, 514 Hickory Drive, near West Newton, according to a spokesman for the American Red Cross.

In Westmoreland County, the Sutersville Volunteer Fire Dept. was encouraging residents to evacauate and seek higher ground immediately. The fire department posted photos on its Facebook page showing that the Youghiogheny River had risen more than a foot in an hour, and was flooding the borough.

According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Yough at Sutersville was at 25.5 feet Monday morning --- more than five feet above flood stage. At 1 p.m. Monday, the fire department reported, water was covering First Avenue in the borough.

The National Weather Service in Moon Twp. said Monday afternoon that Monday's crest at Sutersville would be the highest at that location since 1996 and the sixth-highest in recorded history.

The Monongahela River at Braddock was near flood stage Monday afternoon and was expected to crest at least 18 inches above flood stage at 8 p.m., the Army Corps reported. In Wilmerding, Turtle Creek --- which drains into the Monongahela --- had risen from 5 feet Saturday afternoon to near 14 feet by Monday afternoon.

A landslide closed Route 837 in Whitaker Borough from 10 a.m. to about 4 p.m. Monday. Motorists exiting the Rankin Bridge were being forced to turn right toward Homestead, and through traffic was being diverted via Whitaker Way and Mifflin Street.

Route 837 also was closed in West Mifflin between the Valley Hotel and Anthony Crane, due to flooding.

Allegheny County emergency management said that Lincoln Way was closed in White Oak between McClintock Road and Rankin Road, while Route 48 was closed between Cool Springs Road and Marshall Drive, due to flooding. Both roads re-opened Monday afternoon just after 3 p.m., White Oak police reported.

A county spokeswoman said that White Oak Mayor Ina Jean Marton has issued a disaster declaration to allow for emergency work to be done to sewers after sewage began backing up into basements of many homes.

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Greensburg Pike Repaving Gets Underway

September 08, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements, North Versailles Twp. News

Work begins this week on reparing, paving and rehabiltating Greensburg Pike between West Wilmerding and Turtle Creek, a county spokesperson said.

The work will require the temporary closure of the northbound side of Greensburg Pike from Central Avenue (just below Rossi's Pop-Up Market) to the Greensburg Pike bridge.

The posted detour for traffic heading from North Versailles Twp. into Turtle Creek takes motorists over Warren Avenue, Route 30, Linden Avenue, Beech Avenue, Braddock Avenue and Penn Avenue Extension.

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State Grant Will Fund 'Multi-Faceted' Program to Reduce Gun Violence in City

September 07, 2018 |

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

State officials have awarded almost $150,000 to McKeesport police and partner agencies to create a program designed to reduce gun violence in the city.

The grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency was announced Friday by state Sen. Jim Brewster and state Rep. Austin Davis, both of McKeesport.

It will fund a new McKeesport Gun Violence Reduction Program designed by the office of Mayor Mike Cherepko, city police Chief Bryan Washowich, and other local and county leaders, including volunteers and churches.

The program will be modeled after successful strategies used in other cities to get illegal guns off the streets, a spokeswoman for the mayor's office said, and will work with young people in an effort to convince them not to resort to violence in the first place.

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More Vacant Houses to Face City Wrecking Ball

September 06, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Click the map to explore it in detail.)

Nine additional vacant houses were added to McKeesport's demolition list on Wednesday as city council awarded a contract to demolish those properties, as well as 85 previously targeted.

By 6-0 vote, the $679,000 contract for Phase III of McKeesport's 2018 city-wide demolition project was awarded to Jadell Minniefield Construction Services of Pittsburgh's Hazelwood neighborhood. Councilwoman Lu Ethel Nesbit was absent.

Minniefield in July was awarded a contract to demolish 92 vacant structures. Mayor Michael Cherepko said Minniefield was the lowest responsible bidder on Phase III, and had done excellent work so far.

"He's doing a wonderful job, and I'm glad he bid on our contract," Cherepko said.

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'Tour de Mon' Bike Ride Slated Sept. 15

September 05, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Photo courtesy Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce)

The eighth-annual "Tour de Mon" bike ride will be held Sept. 15 on the Great Allegheny Passage biking-hiking trail between Elizabeth Twp. and Hazelwood.

The event -- billed as a "family fun ride" --- is sponsored by the Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce and presented by Levin Furniture, with support from the Steel Valley Trail Council and the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area.

Maury Burgwin, executive director of the chamber, said the bike ride begins and ends at the historic Pump House located at the Waterfront in Munhall.

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McKeesport NAACP Slates Annual Human Rights Dinner

September 05, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Photo courtesy Penn State Greater Allegheny)

The McKeesport unit of the NAACP will hold its 58th annual Human Rights Dinner on Sept. 15 at the Palisades, 100 Fifth Ave., Downtown, a spokeswoman said.

The keynote speaker will be Anthony Mitchell Sr. (above), an associate teaching professor at Penn State Greater Allegheny Campus.

A graduate of Geneva College, Penn State and Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a doctorate in education, Mitchell is the co-founder of the university's African American Male Mentoring Program.

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Mon Valley Author Expo Connects Local Writers, Readers

September 04, 2018 |

By Charlotte Hopkins | Posted in: Entertainment

Editor's Note: Charlotte Hopkins was one of the hosts of this event.

Local authors --- including two from McKeesport and one from Pleasant Hills --- met with readers and members of the public at an event in Washington County last month.

The Monongahela Area Library and the Just Write Literary Group held the first-annual Mon Valley Author Expo on Aug. 25. Also in attendance was Rebecca Benston, the CEO of Springfield, Ohio, based Higher Ground Books and Media.

The authors who attended the event shared their background and motivation behind their published work.

Yasmin Brown

Last year, Yasmin Brown of McKeesport released her memoirs in a two-part series. Her first book, “The Silent Destruction,” tells how, as a young girl, she was forced into silence regarding sexual assaults that she suffered by a close friend and family member.

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Two Eagle Scout Projects Fly High for Serra's Band

September 02, 2018 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Ryan Gedman perches on the steps of the new conducting tower he built as part of an Eagle Scout project. (David Adams photo for Tube City Almanac)

Two Serra Catholic High School band members used their talents to make improvements that benefit the entire group while meeting ongoing requirements to attain the rank of Eagle Scout.

Junior Logan Kearns of Turtle Creek converted what once was the library in the school's friary into a much-needed instrument storage and uniform area, removing stacks and stacks of books, adding shelving and organizing the area for easy access.

“I worked on it over the summer, for four hours on three Saturdays to get it done,” Logan said. The junior said he belongs to Troop 184 out of Monroeville. “I am still in the process of obtaining (Eagle Scout),” he said. “I am very close.”

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