Local Facilities Coping With Boil-Water Advisory

October 14, 2019 |

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

Local schools and public facilities in areas affected by a boil-water advisory reported Monday they were finding ways to cope.

But the advisory left some businesses in the area --- mainly restaurants --- unable to open.

The failure of an intake pump that pulls water from the Youghiogheny River forced the shutdown on Saturday night of Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County's McKeesport Water Treatment Plant.

The pump was rebuilt and put back into service on Sunday afternoon, but not before many customers in the city, Port Vue, Versailles and White Oak reported no water, or very low water pressure.

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Liberty Borough Sets Halloween
Parade, Trick-or-Treat Hours

October 14, 2019 |

By Marcy Cendroski | Posted in: Announcements, Liberty Borough News

Halloween in Liberty Borough will be celebrated with a parade and trick-or-treat on Oct. 31, Councilwoman Melissa Morgan said.

The parade will line up on Scene Ridge Road at 5:30 p.m., followed by trick-or-treat from 6 to 8 p.m. Residents are asked to keep their porch light on if they are giving out Halloween treats.

Liberty police and volunteer firefighters will be patrolling throughout the trick-or-treat period.


Water Plant Back in Operation;
Boil-Water Advisory Remains

October 13, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, White Oak News

(This story will be updated with new information periodically)

Volunteer firefighters from White Oak No. 1 and Rainbow handed out cases of bottled water at the borough’s municipal complex on Sunday afternoon. (Photo courtesy White Oak Office of Emergency Management, via Facebook)

The McKeesport water treatment plant is back in production, but is pumping slowly to purge air from the distribution system.

Authority spokesman Matthew Junker said the plant went back into operation at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The plant shut down Saturday night when a pump failed.

However, a boil-water advisory will remain in effect until further notice for the city, Port Vue, Versailles and White Oak. Some customers at higher elevations in Port Vue and McKeesport were reporting a complete lack of water on Sunday.

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All Communities Served by McKeesport Water Plant Under Boil Advisory

October 13, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, White Oak News

Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County has now added White Oak to a precautionary boil water advisory that McKeesport and Versailles were placed on last night.

Port Vue was added earlier today. Issues with a repair to the raw water pump caused White Oak to be added as well, said Matt Junker, spokesman for the water authority.

Water tankers are available in White Oak at the municipal building, 2280 Lincoln Way, and PNC Bank, 1612 Lincoln Way, Junker said.

Water tankers also are available at 238 Atlantic Ave. in lower 10th Ward; Walnut and 12th streets, Third Ward; Walnut and Juniper streets, Versailles; and at UPMC McKeesport Hospital.

Additional water tankers are stationed in Port Vue at American Legion Post 447, 304 Gumbert St.; and the shopping center at 1515 Washington Blvd.

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Water Treatment Plant Shut Down; McKeesport Area Under Boil Water, Conservation Orders

October 12, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

An equipment failure at the McKeesport Water Treatment Plant has some customers under a mandatory conservation order, and others being advised to boil their water as a precaution.

The orders were issued by Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County on Saturday night. More than 16,000 customers are affected.

Customers in McKeesport and Versailles Borough are being advised to boil their water for at least one minute before drinking or cooking with it, while customers in Port Vue and White Oak have been ordered to conserve water.

Water tankers have been placed at 238 Atlantic Ave. in lower 10th Ward; UPMC McKeesport hospital; the intersection of Walnut and 12th streets in Third Ward; and Walnut and Juniper streets in Versailles, said Matthew Junker, spokesman for the water authority.

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State A.G. Claims ‘Rent-to-Own’ Company Deceived Local Residents

October 11, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, North Versailles Twp. News

This house on Duquesne Avenue in McKeesport is listed in a “lease with option to buy” deal for $1,500 down and $378 per month by a South Carolina company, Vision Property Management. Pennsylvania’s attorney general alleges the company’s sales tactics violate state law. (Photo via Zillow.)

A South Carolina company that has heavily marketed its “rent-to-own” homes in McKeesport, Glassport, Braddock and other parts of the Mon Valley is being sued by the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, claims that Vision Property Management of Columbia, S.C, and more than 50 affiliated companies used deceptive business practices to market homes that had serious problems that were concealed or never disclosed, including missing plumbing, insect infestations, defective wiring and leaky roofs.

State Attorney General Josh Shapiro brought the lawsuit on behalf of 650 families.

As of Friday, according to the company’s website, Vision Property had 14 houses available in Allegheny County, including one on Duquesne Avenue in McKeesport and others on Maryland Avenue in Glassport and Zimmer Lane in Greenock, Elizabeth Twp.

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Grandview Fire Displaces 3; Cause Under Investigation

October 11, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A two-alarm fire on Grandview Avenue that displaced two adults and one child is under investigation by the Allegheny County Fire Marshal's office.

But McKeesport fire Chief Jeff Tomovcsik said the blaze at 1804 Grandview is not believed to be suspicious in nature.

A 9-1-1 caller reported seeing smoke outside the house at 4:11 p.m. Saturday. The residents were not home at the time, Tomovcsik said.

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Pasta Dinner Will Raise Money for Wheelchair Van

October 10, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements, West Newton News

A pasta dinner on Sunday will raise money for a West Newton man to purchase a new wheelchair van.

The event is being held from 12 noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 13 at the West Newton Lions Field House, 511 Pittsburgh St.

Participants will get ziti with homemade meat sauce, a tossed salad, bread and butter, soft drink and dessert for $10, or $5 for children under 10. Dinners will be available to eat in or take out.

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Area Veterans Invited to Breakfast at Legion Nov. 8

October 10, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Photo courtesy state Sen. Jim Brewster)

State Rep. Austin Davis and state Sen. Jim Brewster are inviting all area veterans to a free breakfast with them on the Friday before Veterans’ Day.

The veterans’ breakfast will be held from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Nov. 8 at the White Oak American Legion, 2813 Capitol St., White Oak.

“Our veterans served our country with honor, integrity and bravery,” Davis said. “Sen. Brewster and I find that it’s only fitting to serve them breakfast as a small token of our appreciation for the service they’ve provided to our country.”

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Signs Will Start Sending Safety Message at Crosswalks, Bus Stops

October 10, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport public works employees George Bell and Dave Cuadrado install the first sign promoting "Aly's Rules" at the intersection of Eden Park Boulevard, O'Neil Boulevard and Hartman Street. Similar signs will be going up at more than 30 bus stops around the city. (Tube City Almanac photo)

The first of what will likely be dozens of signs encouraging pedestrians to cross streets safely was installed Thursday morning near McKeesport's Founders Hall Middle School.

The signs promote "Aly's Rules," a safety campaign created by the family of Alyson Higdon, a Founders Hall student who died in 2014 after being struck by a truck at the intersection of O'Neil Boulevard, Hartman Street and Eden Park Boulevard.

Alyson's mother, Cindi Higdon; grandparents Sharon and Rick Tarsala; and siblings Caleb, Haylie and Jonah were on hand to see the first sign installed.

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Old G.C. Murphy Property Donated to City Redevelopment Authority

October 09, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Tube City Almanac file photo by John Barna)

(The author has a conflict of interest. See editor's note.)

The former G.C. Murphy Co. home office complex at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Sheridan Street has been donated to the city's redevelopment authority.

Allegheny County deed records show that the five-building complex at 521-531 Fifth Ave., located on four separate lots, was sold to the Redevelopment Authority of the City of McKeesport on Sept. 23 for the nominal cost of $1 for each parcel.

The seller was Exclusive Services Inc., which owns and operates Don Farr Moving & Storage in West Mifflin. The company had owned the buildings since 1993.

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Four Honored For Living ‘McKeesport Message’ of Respect, Dignity, Hope, Love

October 09, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Earnest Oatneal of the McKeesport Recreation Board and Mayor Michael Cherepko at the Oct. 2 council meeting. (Tube City Almanac photo)

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko and city council on Oct. 2 honored four people for “Living the McKeesport Message” of Respect, Dignity, Hope and Love.

“Living the Message” awards are presented quarterly by the McKeesport Message Committee, a subgroup of the mayor’s Select Committee on Crime and Violence.
Honored were Ernie Oatneal (respect), Barbara Williams (dignity), Jonathan Stark (hope) and Helene Moux (love). The following biographies of the award recipients were submitted by the committee.

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McKeesport Area Hosts 9 Marching Bands Saturday During Tournament

October 08, 2019 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

Above: On Wednesday, members of the Dougherty and Elash families met with students from the McKeesport Tiger Band to talk about their experiences working in steel mills. The band's 2019 show is entitled "A Day in the Mill." McKeesport's Tournament of Bands begins at 4:45 p.m. Saturday. (Submitted photo courtesy McKeesport Area High School Marching Band, via Facebook.)

If you go...


Tournament of Bands Region 8 competition

Hosted by McKeesport Area High School Marching Band

Where: Weigle-Schaeffer Memorial Stadium, 1960 Eden Park Blvd.
When: Saturday, Oct. 12. Gates open at 4:30 p.m.

Whether a marching band participant or supporter, there are some disadvantages to mostly-Friday-night performances.

There are only so many home football games, and what if it rains and the band doesn’t get to perform? As a supporter, what if your work schedule includes Friday nights?

Or what if your friend or relative is in a marching band in a different school district?

That’s where competitions such as the Tournament of Bands Region 8 Home Show hosted by McKeesport Area High School Marching Band on Saturday, Oct. 12, provide another opportunity not only to see the hometown band perform, but others from the region as well.

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Mother of Columbine Shooter Reflects on Pain, Loss During City Visit

October 07, 2019 |

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

Sue Klebold spoke at Penn State Greater Allegheny Campus in McKeesport on Wednesday. (Richard Finch Jr. photo)

Twenty years ago, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 students and one teacher and wounded 21 others at Columbine High School in Colorado, before taking their own lives.

At the time — April 20, 1999 — it was the deadliest school shooting in American history.

Klebold’s mother, Sue, struggled with humiliation and devastating grief following the tragedy. She kept out of the public eye and spent years volunteering for suicide prevention organizations and talking with fellow survivors of loss.

“I never forget for a moment that my son, not only lost his life, but hurt other people,” she said.

Now, as the debate over gun violence and mental health takes center stage, Klebold is speaking out. She was in McKeesport on Wednesday to speak at the Wunderley Gymnasium at Penn State Greater Allegheny campus.

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Spaghetti Dinner Oct. 10 Will Benefit Food Pantries

October 07, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Shidle Lodge No. 601 of the Free & Accepted Masons will hold a spaghetti dinner fundraiser from 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 10 at First United Methodist Church, 310 Oak St., Irwin, a spokesman said.

Proceeds will benefit local food pantries.

Attendees can have "all you can eat" for $7, and takeout items will be available.

For more information, call Dean Williams at (724) 875-9969 or Ben Douglas at (724) 681-5451.

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Missionaries to Speak at West Newton Church Oct. 26 & 27

October 07, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements, West Newton News

Pastors Caleb and Christina Acosta will speak at the First Church of God, 157 N. Second St., West Newton, at 6 p.m. Oct. 26 and 10:30 a.m. Oct. 27, a spokesperson said.

The Acostas have a ministry to Spanish-speaking communities and have set up churches in many areas, and will talk about their work.

The church is currently raising money for its own mission trip to the Navajo Nation in New Mexico and Arizona in 2020.

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USS Manager: $1.2B Investment Will Keep Mon Valley Plants Competitive

October 05, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Guests watch a video depicting a new “endless caster” to be built at U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thomson Plant in Braddock and North Braddock. (Photo courtesy Maury Burgwin, Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce)

Listen: An edited version of this discussion can be heard on our podcast, Two Rivers, 30 Minutes

U.S. Steel’s planned $1.2 billion investment in its three Mon Valley plants will open them to new markets, reduce pollution and energy consumption and keep them competitive well into the 21st century.

That's what Kurt Barshick, general manager of the Mon Valley Works, said Friday during a luncheon held by the Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce to mark National Manufacturing Day.

“This is going to make Pittsburgh — and the Mon Valley in particular — the epicenter for automotive steel production,” Barshick told about 125 people during the event, held at the Sunset Room in Elizabeth Twp. “Mills in Detroit will not be able to compete with us ... we plan on keeping that job base in Pittsburgh forever.”

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Local Lions Club Member Honored With Prestigious Award

October 04, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Kirby Marchand of North Versailles Twp., past governor of District 14-B of the Lions Club, presents the first of two awards to Annette James, secretary of the McKeesport Lions Club. (Tube City Almanac photo)

A McKeesport resident and city employee who prefers to stay out of the spotlight was honored Wednesday night — whether she liked it or not.

Before a standing-room crowd, Annette James, secretary of the McKeesport Lions Club, was presented with the Lions’ Club International President’s Leadership Award and the President’s Marketing Award.

The leadership award is the third-highest honor available in the international fraternal and service organization, founded in 1917 and based in Illinois.

James, a member of the Lions Club since 2012, “is not someone who hears of a problem or an opportunity for service and sits on it,” said Kirby Marchand of North Versailles Twp., past governor of District 14-B, which includes Allegheny County. “She takes action.”

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Zoning Board Denies Variance for Former Store

October 03, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport's zoning hearing board has denied a request for a conditional use permit at the former David Israel men's clothing store at 507 Fifth Ave.

The permit was requested by the building's owner, the McKeesport Preservation Society, which had sought permission to use the structure for “educational” purposes, said A.J. Tedesco, McKeesport community development director.

The building is in a commercial C-2 zoning district, which according to the city's zoning code is intended for "retail and service commercial uses along with business, professional and medical offices, and other related business uses."

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Flea Market Slated Saturday at St. Stephen's

October 02, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

St. Stephen's Episcopal Church will host a flea market from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 5), a spokeswoman said.

Proceeds benefit Animal Full Life Rescue, a no-kill animal shelter located in Wilkinsburg, and the church.

Tables will be available for vendors and refreshments will be sold. The sale will be held in the undercroft (social hall) of the church, 220 Eighth Ave. at Walnut Street, next to the McKeesport post office.

Items also may be donated for sale. Any gently used item is acceptable except for clothing and electronics.

For more information, call (412) 673-0504.


Author, Retired Colonel to Speak About Women Marines Oct. 10

October 02, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements, West Newton News

The author of a new book about the history of women in the U.S. Marine Corps will speak in West Newton Oct. 10.

The West Newton Library is hosting the discussion by retired Col. Nancy P. Anderson at 6 p.m. at the Le Grand Ballroom, South Second Street.

Anderson is a graduate of the Naval War College, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and the Naval Postgraduate School.  She began her career in the Marine Corps in 1972 and made history in 1977 as the first woman platoon commander at the Marine Corps' Officer Candidates School at Quantico, Va.

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Mon Yough Chorale Slates Hot Dog Cookout, Bake Sale

October 02, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Mon Yough Chorale will hold a hot dog and bake sale from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of Busy Beaver, Oak Park Mall, White Oak.

A spokesman said a hot dog, bag of snacks and a beverage will be sold for $2.50, and baked goods will be sold separately. All proceeds benefit the Mon Yough Chorale, a community chorus that performs throughout Western Pennsylvania.

Members of the chorus also will be on hand to discuss how to join the group. Meetings and open rehearsals are held at 7 p.m. Sundays at Sampson's Mills Presbyterian Church, Lincoln Way, White Oak.

For more information, visit www.monyoughchorale.org.


City Man Charged With Attempted Arson Following Dispute

October 02, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport man was ordered held for court after family members told police he attempted to burn down their house.

According to court records, Michael L. Belcher, 43, is currently free on non-monetary bond pending formal arraignment Nov. 1 at the Allegheny County Courthouse.

McKeesport police said that officers were dispatched early on the morning of Aug. 29 to a home in the 2700 block of Grover Street when callers reported someone was pouring gasoline throughout the house.

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Mon Valley HIV/AIDS Walk is Only Such Event in Western Pa.

October 02, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Photo courtesy Human Services Center Corp., via Facebook)

The 19th annual Mon Valley HIV/AIDS Awareness Walk will take place Oct. 5, a spokeswoman said.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. in the parking lot of Bethlehem Baptist Church, corner of Eighth Avenue and Walnut Street, and the walk sets off at 9:15 a.m. A light breakfast is provided before the walk and lunch is provided afterwards.

The walk route is about two miles long, the spokeswoman said.

Organized by the Human Services Center Corp., based in Turtle Creek, the walk is led by its HIV/AIDS Working Group and continues to be the only HIV/AIDS awareness walk in Western Pennsylvania, said Abbie Godollei, outreach coordinator for HSCC.

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Grant Spurs Construction of New Houses in McKeesport, Penn Hills

October 02, 2019 |

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

Marking the start of construction on a new house along Lemon Street in the city are state Sen. Jim Brewster, McKeesport resident Shawnda Little-Dreher, who owns a house renovated by Habitat; Mike Rizzo, chief risk officer FHLB Pittsburgh; state Rep. Austin Davis; US. Rep. Mike Doyle; McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko; Howard B. Slaughter Jr. of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh; and Michelle Ufner, regional wellness manager,Team Rubicon USA. (Richard Finch Jr. photo special to Tube City Almanac)

Volunteers who came to Lemon Street in McKeesport Monday morning to “raise the wall” of a family’s new home, instead huddled under umbrellas to wait out the rain.

But the rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of Dr. Howard B. Slaughter, Jr., president and CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh.

“The effort today, to begin this development --- raising the wall --- is important.” Slaughter said.

Habitat of Greater Pittsburgh received an Affordable Housing Grant of $225,000 from Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh for the development of the vacant lot on Lemon Street in McKeesport and two vacant lots in Penn Hills.

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City Coming to Grips With Blight, Vacancies in Downtown Area

October 01, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport officials are pressuring owners of vacant commercial properties like this one across from city hall to "either pay the fines and fix the building up, or sell it," Mayor Michael Cherepko says. (Tube City Almanac photo)

In 1960, McKeesport was the second-largest retail center in Allegheny County, with more than 700 stores doing $100 million in sales --- adjusted for inflation, about $857 million today.

Fifty years later, there were only 81 retail businesses in the city, doing about $300 million in business.

Vacant storefronts fill entire blocks of Fifth Avenue, once the city's main commercial street. But over the past year, something new has been showing up on otherwise empty store windows --- condemnation notices.

"As we continue to market our city and try to attract new businesses in addition to new residents, one of the biggest obstacles we face is blight in our commercial district," McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko says. "Over the last year or so, we’ve really gotten aggressive in addressing issues in the Downtown area."

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