Pancake Breakfast Scheduled Feb. 23 at Renzie

January 21, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

McKeesport Unit of the NAACP will hold its annual pancake breakfast Feb. 23 at Renziehausen Park, a spokeswoman said.

The event is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 12 noon at Jacob Woll Pavilion. The cost is $8 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under.

The menu will include pancakes, sausage, fruit cocktail, coffee, tea, water and juice, and assorted desserts for sale.

For more information, call (412) 292-5852.


Mon Yough Chorale Seeks Singers for Spring Season

January 21, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Do you like to sing? Have you sung in high school, college or even in the shower? The Mon Yough Chorale is looking for you.

Spokeswoman Dianne Ribecca said the community chorus, based in White Oak, is always open to new members. The first gathering of the spring season will be held at 7 p.m. Jan. 27 at Sampson's Mills Presbyterian Church, 1665 Lincoln Way.

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Free Tax Preparation Help Available Through April 11

January 18, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Photo by David Reber via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)

Now through April 11, Mon Valley residents may be eligible to get their federal, state and local tax returns filed for free under a program being offered again this year by the Human Services Center Corp. and United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Stephanie Eson, a spokeswoman for the Turtle Creek-based HSCC, said the preparers are certified by the IRS, and there are no hidden fees or charges, and taxpayers who are eligible for refunds will get to keep those refunds.

Participants may qualify if their total income in 2018 was up to $30,000 for an individual or $50,000 for a household, Eson said. Appointments are required and can be made calling 2-1-1.

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$210K Pledged for Computer Science in Local Schools

January 18, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

(Photo by Classroom Camera via Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY-2.0.)

Five local school districts will each receive $35,000 grants to integrate computer science education into classroom lessons at all grade levels.

In addition, a $35,000 grant under the Pennsylvania Department of Education's PASmart initiative also has been awarded to the Mon Valley School in Jefferson Hills to provide targeted computer science education to students with special needs.

Duquesne City, East Allegheny, Norwin, South Allegheny and Steel Valley are among 221 school districts receiving the PASmart grants.

“As computer technology continues to evolve, it is important that students can experience and learn new computer skills first hand,” state Sen. Jim Brewster said in a prepared statement. “I am pleased that students in our area will benefit from Pennsylvania’s grants dedicated to improving computer science programs in local schools.”

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Nesby Issues Statement Following Tense Meeting

January 17, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Duquesne News

Following January's city council meeting when tensions ran high between residents and officials, Duquesne Mayor Nickole Nesby issued this statement:

"It’s important for everyone to be on the same page because residents get confused. The city values community organizations such as the Duquesne Youth Football Association. Sports play a role in bringing communities together, increasing social and cultural impact, developing social capital, reducing crime and anti-social behavior.

"It is my hope that more people participate as volunteers, increase the culture of respect and tolerance among young people, reduce fear of crime, create a more sustainable community with local pride, provide people with a greater voice and influence over decision-making, and increase the capacity to own community assets."


Duquesne Residents Vent Frustrations at City Council Meeting

January 17, 2019 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: Duquesne News

Duquesne residents voice their frustrations during January's city council meeting. (Cami DiBattista photo, special to Tube City Almanac)

Read More: Duquesne Mayor Nickole Nesby had additional thoughts following this meeting

The first Duquesne City Council meeting of the year was emotionally charged, as a roomful of residents vented their frustrations with Mayor Nickole Nesby and other officials.

Several representatives of the Duquesne Youth Football Association questioned city officials about allegations that the organization is being dissolved.

They alleged that the Duquesne Police Department had “spread rumors of drug money being funneled through the organization.”

One spokesperson for the youth football association said the organization is unhappy with Police Chief Tom Dunlevy and the department, and said he feels the city’s black population is being unfairly targeted.

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Missing Girl, 16, Found Safe in City; Two Men Jailed

January 17, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

An East Pittsburgh man is being held without bail on charges that he kidnapped a 16-year-old girl from her home in Penn Hills.

The victim, Marjani Aquil, was found Wednesday night by McKeesport police at a residence in Christy Park, a county police spokeswoman said. Aquil had suffered facial injuries during her abduction and was treated at a local hospital, county police said.

Jermaine Laquay Rodgers, 19, was arrested by McKeesport police and the Allegheny County Police SWAT team following a three-hour standoff.

He is being held in the Allegheny County Jail without bond pending a preliminary hearing Jan. 28 before Magisteral District Judge Anthony L. DeLuca, court documents indicate.

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State Officials Call for More Accountability from U.S. Steel, Health Dept.

January 16, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Roy Luck photo via Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY-2.0.)

Correction appended, Jan. 17:

Three elected state officials are demanding more accountability from U.S. Steel and the Allegheny County Health Department in the wake of the announcement that sulfur dioxide emissions from the Clairton Plant have exceeded safe levels six times since Dec. 24.

State Sens. Jim Brewster and Jay Costa and state Rep. Austin Davis are calling on the state House and Senate Democratic Policy Committees to hold a joint hearing in the Mon-Yough area, which has been under an "air quality alert" since Jan. 8.

Last week, local residents criticized the health department for waiting 16 days before issuing the alert, which warned children, the elderly and people with heart and lung conditions to avoid strenuous outdoor activities until further notice.

"The public needs to know sooner and get better information on how to react," Brewster, Costa and Davis said in a joint release Wednesday.

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| News

Dravosburg Man Charged Following Hit-Run Accident

January 16, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A Dravosburg man faces charges after McKeesport police accused him of deliberately striking a car being driven by an off-duty police officer, and then fleeing the scene.

Edward M. Gibson, 31, is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, leaving the scene of an accident involving an attended vehicle and reckless driving.

He remains free on his own recognizance pending a preliminary hearing at 9 a.m. March 28 before Magisterial District Judge Richard D. Olasz Jr.

McKeesport police said the off-duty officer, whose name was not released, was on Maple Avenue just before 11 p.m. Jan. 5 when another driver in a Jeep started to tailgate him.

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Library Sets Book Discussions, Craft Programs

January 11, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Photo courtesy Carnegie Library of McKeesport via Facebook.)

Book discussions and craft programs are on the schedule this month at the Carnegie Library of McKeesport, 1507 Library Ave.

For more information or to register for any program, call (412) 672-0625 or visit the library's website.

Postcard History of McKeesport: Local author and historian Michelle Wardle-Eggers will discuss the 2011 book "McKeesport: Postcard History" at 3 p.m. Jan. 19. Wardle-Eggers is the former executive director of the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center and received her master's degree in history from Kent State University. She wrote the book along with local historian and photographer John W. Barna.

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White Oak Legion Schedules Oldies Dances

January 11, 2019 |

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

DJs Candy and Mike will spin the tunes on Saturday (Jan. 12) and Jan. 19 when American Legion Gen. Smedley D. Butler Post 701 in White Oak holds its next oldies dances.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and music continues until 11 p.m., a spokesman said. Admission is $5 and all proceeds benefit veterans' programs.

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


Health Department Responds to Criticism Over Clairton Plant Warning

January 11, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Brett Ciccotelli photo via Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Mon-Yough residents reacted angrily after the Allegheny County Health Department warned people with heart and lung conditions to avoid strenuous outdoor activities due to equipment problems at U.S. Steel's Clairton Plant.

On social media, they questioned why the department waited 16 days before issuing the warning.

The health department's alert, issued Wednesday, cautioned Mon-Yough area residents --- especially children, the elderly and those suffering from conditions such as asthma, emphysema or bronchitis --- to avoid strenuous outdoor activities until further notice.

According to the health department, sulfur dioxide emissions at the Clairton Plant have gone above acceptable levels six times since a fire on Dec. 24 that knocked out two pieces of emissions equipment known as "gas dispatcher" stations.

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| News

Emergency Training Comes to City Churches Through UPMC Program

January 10, 2019 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: News

Dale Mitchell, an EMT with UPMC, works with participants at a Stop the Bleed training seminar at Noah's Ark Community Center in McKeesport. (Photo by Richard Finch Jr., special to Tube City Almanac)

“Sometimes it’s hard to get people to step up and be interested in something until it hits home, thinking it’s never going to touch them,” said Rev. Earlene Coleman, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in McKeesport.

Even before last year’s synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, an increasing number of law enforcement, emergency medical personnel and school district employees had signed up for Stop the Bleed, a training initiative to prepare people to assist victims in life-threatening situations until emergency medical personnel arrive at the scene.

UPMC, in partnership with Copeland Regional Trauma Council, is leading the nation's largest "Stop the Bleed" initiative. Developed in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school shooting in 2012, the program's goal is to train bystanders and first responders to stop bleeding using dressings, compression and tourniquets.

On Saturday, Bethlehem hosted a 90-minute "Stop the Bleed" class at Noah’s Ark Community Center in McKeesport.

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| News

Charity Hoops Tourney Will Raise Funds for Scholarships

January 09, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements, Sports

A charity basketball game on Saturday at Penn State's Wunderley Gymnasium in McKeesport will raise money to support scholarships for Hispanic students in the Pittsburgh area.

The game is being co-hosted by Penn State Greater Allegheny Campus and the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. It tips off at 2:30 p.m.

“We are so pleased to be teaming up with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for this event,” said Jacqueline Edmondson, chancellor and chief academic officer at Greater Allegheny. “The chamber has been a wonderful community partner and incredibly supportive of our students through their scholarship programs.”

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County: Clairton Plant Fire Leaves Potential for Unhealthy Air

January 09, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: News

U.S. Steel's Clairton Plant in a 2010 photo by Patrick Cain. (Via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0)

An accident three weeks ago that damaged two pieces of equipment at U.S. Steel's Clairton Plant has the potential to create unhealthy air conditions in the Mon Valley, Allegheny County officials said Wednesday.

The county Health Department is warning residents --- especially those with pre-existing heart or lung conditions --- to limit their outdoor activities until further notice.

The Clairton Plant produces coke, a fuel used in the steelmaking process, by baking coal at extremely high temperatures to remove impurities.

Jim Kelly, deputy director for environmental health at the Health Department, said a fire on Dec. 24 damaged two "gas dispatcher" stations, which help to remove pollutants.

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| News

Casino Night March 2 Will Support Port Vue Dog Park

January 07, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Above: Kenneth Schroder and Mike Diehl work on pillars for a sign at Cindy's Memorial Bark Park, currently being completed in Port Vue. (Photo courtesy Cindy's Memorial Bark Park via Facebook.)

Volunteers will hold a "casino night" on March 2 to support operation of a dog park being constructed in Port Vue, a spokeswoman said.

"Wild, Wild Woof" will be held at the Glassport American Legion, 417 Monongahela Ave., said Holly Turkovic, one of the organizers. Doors open at 6 p.m. 

Tickets cost $20 in advance or $25 at the door. The event will include card games, raffles, a silent auction, a buffet supper, beer, door prizes and music by "D.J. Dale."

Proceeds will benefit Cindy's Memorial Bark Park, which is nearing completion on 3.5 acres of land off of Portsmouth Drive in the borough.

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LifeSpan Campaign Distributed Holiday Cookies to 709 Seniors

January 07, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Approximately 700 Mon Valley area seniors had a sweeter December after volunteers baked more than 6,300 holiday cookies --- 525 dozen --- to be distributed along with Meals on Wheels.

LifeSpan, a non-profit agency based in Homestead that serves seniors throughout the Mon Valley and South Hills, last week issued a "thank you" to everyone who baked or donated to its ninth-annual “Sweet Holiday Wishes” cookie campaign.

Each senior -- 709 total --- received a half-dozen cookies, a spokeswoman said.

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Railroad Operations Disturbing Sleep, 10th Ward Residents Say

January 04, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

A CSX train passes through Downtown McKeesport in 2016. Residents of lower 10th Ward say nighttime railroad operations are knocking things from walls and disturbing their sleep, but the railroad says nothing's changed. (D.A. Liscomb photo via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.)

The author of this story has a conflict of interest. See editor's note.

It sounds like "a pile of steel (being) dropped into an empty barge at two in the morning."

That's how Dwayne Yeager of lower 10th Ward described CSX Railroad's late-night and early-morning operations in his neighborhood.

Yeager, who is retired from factory work, has lived in his home since 1994, so he's used to the sound of trains passing through. He told McKeesport City Council on Wednesday that it's not the normal noise of train operations bothering him and his neighbors.

"That noise is nothing," Yeager said. "What they're doing is hooking and unhooking cars by camera, without a brakeman, at all hours of the day and night. They're shaking things off the walls and off of the windows."

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| News

Few Details Released in Connection With Monday Shooting

January 03, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Few details have been released in connection with a shooting Monday night that left a Christy Park woman in critical condition.

Friends and family members have identified the victim as 46-year-old Stacey Stinson. A crowdfunding page has been set up at GoFundMe to raise money for her medical care.

McKeesport police referred questions to Allegheny County police.

Allegheny County police said in a prepared statement that the victim was shot once inside her home on 31st Avenue just before 7 p.m. Monday.

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White Oak Standoff Ends Peacefully, No Charges Filed

January 03, 2019 |

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

A White Oak man was hospitalized following a two-hour standoff with police and the Allegheny County SWAT team.

No charges have been filed but the investigation remains open, White Oak police Chief Mark Sargent said.

Police were dispatched to a home on State Street just before 4 a.m. Wednesday when callers reported a 20-year-old man living there was suicidal.

As officers entered the front door, Sargent said, they heard a shot from the second floor.

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Police Chief Announces Retirement, Effective Feb. 1

January 02, 2019 |

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

McKeesport's police chief will wrap up an almost 26-year career with the department on Feb. 1.

Bryan J. "B.J." Washowich, who has served as chief since 2010, has announced his retirement. His successor has not yet been named.

Washowich, 47, grew up in White Oak, where his father, the late Wayne Washowich, served as a police officer, planning and zoning director, and code enforcement officer.

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City Targets More Structures for Demolition

January 02, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

Above: 1724 Butler St., McKeesport, via Google Maps.

More than 140 additional houses and commercial structures in McKeesport are facing condemnation proceedings and possible demolition.

City officials have advertised and will hold hearings at 1 p.m. Jan. 9 and 11 on 147 properties, located in practically every section of McKeesport.

But the list particularly targets blighted neighborhoods along Versailles Avenue, including 15 houses on Butler Street, 14 on Soles Street and eight on Jersey Street.

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