Commentary: Journalism is Under Financial Attack

February 14, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial


 (Tube City Almanac photo)


The following is a commentary. 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.


I was asked to speak on Monday at the dedication of the Tube City Center for Business and Innovation. Here's a slightly edited version of what I said:

I think like most things around here, it’s going to be a while before we stop calling this “The Daily News Building,” because the paper was such an important part of our lives for 131 years.

And any institution that lasts 131 years was clearly was doing a lot of things right.

Of course, the name Tube City Center has nothing to do with Tube City Online. We took our name, and this building takes its name, “Tube City,” from McKeesport’s heritage as a place for innovations in the steel industry --- specifically, in the manufacture of steel pipes and tubes, a tradition which is being maintained today by Dura-Bond, and up at CP Industries in Christy Park.

I hope this building’s reopening and rebirth is going to kick off some new innovations in McKeesport --- in digital media, in technology, in communications, and in entrepreneurship.

 
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Black History Month Program Examines Vietnam Wall's Visit

February 14, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Diane Richard (above right), host of the online series "Let's Talk," and cinematographer Carl Truss will present this Saturday's Black History Month program at McKeesport Regional History and Heritage Center.

The program, titled "The Wall That Heals: Bringing Love to Our Valley of Tears," begins at 1 p.m. at the heritage center, 1832 Arboretum Drive in Renziehausen Park. Admission is free for members and $2 for non-members, a spokesperson said.

 
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Speakers: Reuse of Daily News Building a Big Win for Mon Valley

February 13, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

WATCH: Video of Monday's event

The reopening of the former Daily News Building as the "Tube City Center for Business and Innovation" is a signal that McKeesport officials want to direct their focus to revitalizing the city's Downtown area.

"We have development coming in at all different corners of town --- in Christy Park, on East Fifth Avenue, and RIDC is going to be out with a big announcement within the next 30 days," McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said at Monday's ribbon cutting ceremony.  "Up and down the Walnut Street corridor, we have new businesses and construction."

One part of the city hasn't seen that level of activity: Downtown. "That's the part of town we're here about today," Cherepko said.

More than 300 residents and business owners packed the lobby of the former Daily News Building at the corner of Lysle Boulevard and Walnut Street for the ceremony, hosted by Cherepko and state Sen. Jim Brewster.

 
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| News

Mayor: People's Building to Be Transferred Soon

February 13, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Tube City Almanac photo)


The People's Building --- a landmark 1906 office building in McKeesport's Downtown that has fallen into disrepair --- will be in the hands of the city's Redevelopment Authority in the near future.

At Monday's grand opening for the Tube City Center for Business and Innovation, Mayor Michael Cherepko confirmed rumors that the building, which has been up for sale for more than a year and is currently condemned, is about to be sold.

"Very soon that is going to be in the hands of the Redevelopment Authority and that will be in the hands of a developer as well," Cherepko said. "We have someone very interested."

The potential developer is rumored to be a McKeesport business owner who has successfully rehabilitated other properties in the city. Sources contacted by the Almanac declined to confirm or deny the speculation publicly.

 
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| News

Ministerium Slates Annual Lenten Services

February 13, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

McKeesport Area Ministerium will hold Lenten Luncheon services at area churches beginning March 13.

A spokeswoman said all services are non-denominational and begin at 12 noon. Each will include a light lunch following each service.

A free will offering will be taken to help defray the cost of the meal.

For Christians, Lent is the observance of the 40 days leading to Easter. It begins on Ash Wednesday, March 6.

 
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Lawmakers Hope Company, Environmentalists Can Find Common Ground in Aftermath of Clairton Fire

February 13, 2019 |

By Charlotte Hopkins | Posted in: News

Above: The crowd overflowed city council chambers at Clairton's municipal building on Feb. 7 during a hearing on air quality problems following a fire at U.S. Steel's Clairton Plant. (Charlotte Hopkins photo, special to Tube City Almanac)


Workers at U.S. Steel's Clairton Plant said they want to have an open discussion about the air quality around the facility --- but they also want to preserve thousands of jobs in the Mon Valley.

"Simply put, if U.S. Steel ends up idling batteries, our members will lose their jobs," said Don Furko, president of United Steelworkers Local Union 1557. "This will begin a chain of events that will have a devastating impact on them, their families and our communities across the Mon Valley."

Following a standing-room-only meeting last week at the Clairton Municipal Building, state lawmakers are hoping to bring the company, employees, residents and environmental advocates to the table to work together. State Sen. Jim Brewster said U.S. Steel has agreed to open quarterly meetings to lawmakers, health groups and concerned residents.

“The purpose of the meeting wasn't to find blame but to find a process to keep U.S. Steel open and producing coke, and also pay attention to our air quality," Brewster said. "I want closer discussions, and invite them to the meetings, not to argue or debate but create partnerships in communication.”

 
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| News

City Will Re-Enter Trash Hauling Business in 2020

February 07, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

McKeesport will begin picking up its own trash again in 2020.

City council on Wednesday unanimously approved a $1.24 million, five-year, lease-purchase agreement with A&H Equipment of Hempfield Twp., Westmoreland County, for six vehicles --- three large trucks, two smaller trucks, and one truck equipped to handle large roll-off dumpsters.

Although called a "lease," McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said the city will own the vehicles outright at the end of 2024. All of the vehicles will be built new, to the city's specifications, he said.

McKeesport once used its own employees to collect refuse, but has been contracting with private haulers since 1982. Cherepko and other city officials have been talking about bringing the service back in-house since 2017.

 
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Wagner Hears Concerns During Healthcare Meeting

February 07, 2019 |

By Charlotte Hopkins | Posted in: News

Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner listens Monday to testimony during a meeting at Carnegie Library of McKeesport. (Charlotte Hopkins photo special to Tube City Almanac)


Customers are concerned about what will happen when a consent decree between UPMC Health System and Highmark, the area's largest Blue Cross Blue Shield provider, ends on July 1.

At the first of a series of community meetings organized by Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner, held Monday night at Carnegie Library of McKeesport, Highmark subscribers said they were angry about some of UPMC's practices.

Wagner is holding another meeting at 6:30 tonight (Feb. 7) in room B-434 of CCAC South Campus, 1750 Clairton Road, West Mifflin.

Some of the people who spoke Monday asked that their names be withheld. One woman said she has a brain tumor and has been treated by a UPMC doctor even though her insurance is with Highmark. That arrangement will end June 30, when UPMC is no longer required to accept certain Highmark patients.

 
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| News

Brewster Expands Office Hours, Food Bank Reach

February 05, 2019 |

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

State Sen. Jim Brewster greets residents of McKeesport's Steelview Manor during a holiday party in December 2018. (Photo courtesy state Sen. Jim Brewster)


Brewster announced partnerships with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and the Westmoreland County Food Bank as he also announced office hours for additional communities in the 45th Senatorial District.

The district stretches from Baldwin and Brentwood in Pittsburgh's South Hills to New Kensington in Westmoreland County.

“We’ve joined with area food banks to expand information availability and develop greater access to food for those in need,” Brewster said.  “Information about the food banks and locations of their services in our district are on our website and staff at my permanent and satellite offices will help facilitate contact.”

 
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Suspect Held For Court in Home Invasion

February 05, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport resident faces formal arraignment in Allegheny County Court on March 4 in connection with a suspected home invasion during which she was shot in the leg by the homeowner.

Police said both people have a previous relationship and that the incident stemmed from an earlier argument.

Tanya M. Johnson, 34, was ordered held for court on charges of burglary, criminal trespass, simple assault (domestic violence) and making terroristic threats following a preliminary arraignment before Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi. She is currently free on bond.

 
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Five Juveniles Charged With Break-Ins at Man's Home

February 05, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Five juveniles were arrested after McKeesport police believe they broke into a Jenny Lind Street man's home at least twice, vandalizing his bedroom and stealing items.

The teen-agers --- two 17-year-old males, a 16-year-old male, and two females, ages 13 and 16 --- were charged by police with burglary, criminal trespass and criminal mischief and their parents were notified.

At least three of the youths were residents of a group home on Olive Street, police said.

McKeesport police said the first incident occurred overnight on Jan. 13. Police said a 55-year-old resident of the 700 block of Jenny Lind returned home from work early Jan. 14 and found the front door of his home had been damaged.

 
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Duquesne to Create Outdoor Fitness Court

February 05, 2019 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: Duquesne News

A $30,000 grant from the National Fitness Campaign will be used to create and implement an outdoor fitness court in Duquesne.

The facility, which is expected to be constructed by the end of the 2019 calendar year, will be free to use for community residents and visitors, Mayor Nickole Nesby announced.

At January's regular meeting, council approved a motion to hold a workshop and planning session on the second Tuesday of each month, with a voting meeting on a fourth Tuesday of each month. Both meetings will continue to be open to the public.

In other business:

Council has repealed a previous ordinance that would have increased the mayor's salary to $65,000 per year following the next mayoral election.

 
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