City Man Indicted on Gun, Drug Charges

August 26, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A man arrested by McKeesport police in December on weapons and drug charges has now been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady said the four-count indictment, unsealed Wednesday, charges Jermaine Pawlik-Curry Sr., 35, with violating federal weapons and drug trafficking laws.

McKeesport police and Allegheny County probation officers went to Pawlik-Curry’s home on Dec. 18 to confirm that he was complying with the terms of his parole.

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NV Commissioners OK Fire Company Payments

August 26, 2020 |

By Kristen Keleschenyi | Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News

North Versailles Twp. commissioners will express their support for the Tobacco Free Allegheny campaign.

At the August meeting, Township Manager Patricia Logo was directed to draft a letter of support for Tobacco Free Allegheny, notifying the campaign that North Versailles prohibits smoking in township parks and around public buildings.

In other business, commissioners approved payments to the West Wilmerding VFC in the amount $6,749.64 from the 2019-20 Fire Tax Money and to the Crestas VFC in the amount of $15,943.83.

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Crew Missions Seeks Volunteers for Cleanup

August 26, 2020 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Clairton-based Crew Missions is seeking volunteers to help clean up a local road in Jefferson Hills.

A spokeswoman said the event is planned for 9 to 11 a.m. Sept. 19 along High Road, which parallels Route 51 off of Ridge Road.

Participants will be give a face mask and hand sanitizer, and all cleanup supplies will be provided. Volunteers should wear old clothes for the event, she said.

To register, call Judi at (412) 708-7328, email or visit the Facebook page for the event.


Part of W.M. Road to Close Sept. 8

August 26, 2020 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Part of Greensprings Avenue in West Mifflin will close Sept. 8 for repairs, the Allegheny County Department of Public Works has announced.

The westbound lane of Greensprings will close near the Homeville Volunteer Fire Dept. so that crews can repair a concrete culvert, repave the road and install a storm grating and paint new pavement markings.

Work is expected to continue until November. Stop signs will be used to control traffic, and drivers are urged to use caution in the area, the county said.

The $73,123 project is being done by Pugliano Construction Co. Inc. of Plum.


Wolf Endorses Brewster Bill on Lawmaker Gifts

August 26, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Politics & Elections

Editor’s Note: Clarified to note that Pennsylvania puts no monetary limits on gifts. There are other restrictions.

State Sen. Jim Brewster of McKeesport, shown with Braddock Mayor Chardaé Jones and representatives of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission during a recent tour of the Monongahela River, has introduced legislation to ban gifts from lobbyists to Pennsylvania lawmakers. (Submitted photo)

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has lent his support to an effort by a McKeesport lawmaker to block gifts from lobbyists to state lawmakers.

During a press conference Tuesday near Harrisburg, Wolf introduced his fall legislative agenda, asking the state house and senate to take up several proposals this fall, including additional aid for workers who lost jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and for businesses forced to close or restrict operations.

Wolf also endorsed a proposal introduced by state Sen. Jim Brewster that would ban gifts from special interests to legislators.

Pennsylvania is one of only 10 states that puts no monetary cap on gifts to members of the state house and senate, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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Chicken Ordinance Passed In North Versailles

August 26, 2020 |

By Kristen Keleschenyi | Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News

Chickens are now welcome in North Versailles Twp. after a unanimous vote of commissioners at their August meeting.

The new ordinance, approved by commissioners, will allow homeowers to apply for a permit to keep up to four female chickens on their property. The property must be a single-family dwelling and chickens must be secured at night in their coop.

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Annual Kane Fun Walk Goes Virtual Sept. 19

August 26, 2020 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(File photo/submitted)

The ninth-annual Joan Burns Kane Foundation “Fun Walk 4 Kane” has gone virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is our first attempt at a virtual walk,” says Janet Kulis, volunteer and sister of Joan Burns, for whom the walk is named.

This year’s event is Sept. 19. Entrants are being encouraged to “walk anywhere you like, for as long as you want” and ask friends, family, neighbors and co-workers to sponsor them.

Burns was a retired McKeesport Area teacher and Kane volunteer who died in 2013 at age 59. A board member of the Kane Foundation, she was co-founder of the family council at Kane McKeesport.

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Volunteers Offer Smiles, Supplies to MASD Students

August 24, 2020 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Mindy Sturgess, a McKeesport Area school director and city resident, passes a backpack for a student through the family's SUV window. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

McKeesport Area School District students were invited to a “Back-to-School Giveaway” event held in front of the high school on Saturday afternoon.

Back packs and hygiene essentials were distributed by members of the McKeesport unit of the NAACP, along with community volunteers.

The event was made possible with donations from the McKeesport Community Fund, Walmart, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and McKeesport residents.

Volunteers handed out appropriately filled backpacks for all students in kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as hygiene essential bags including products such as hand sanitizer, Kleenex and lip balm.

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Teen Faces Drugs, Weapons Charges After Chase

August 22, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A Clairton teen-ager faces a long list of charges — including for weapon and drug violations — after police said he crashed into a McKeesport patrol car, then led officers on a chase through Duquesne, West Mifflin, Dravosburg and Glassport.

McKeesport police said the car driven by the 15-year-old boy traveled down Route 837 at speeds well in excess of the posted limit, going airborne on several occasions, and causing officers to stop pursuing for safety reasons.

According to police reports, officers on routine patrol near Crawford Village on the night of Aug. 11 noticed a vehicle with darkly tinted windows in a parking lot. When the officers approached the vehicle, it drove away, police said.

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City, NAACP to Distribute Back-to-School Packs

August 22, 2020 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

City officials and the McKeesport unit of the NAACP will distribute backpacks and hygiene essentials to McKeesport Area School District students from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 22), a spokeswoman said.

The drive-through distribution for pupils in kindergarten through 12th grade will be held at the main entrance of McKeesport Area High School, 1960 Eden Park Blvd.

Walk-in visitors are also welcome.

The event is being supported by McKeesport Community Fund, the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime & Delinquency, Walmart and donations from area residents.


EA Marching Band Plans Rock-Themed Show

August 20, 2020 |

By Kristen Keleschenyi | Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News

Assistant Drum Major Aidan Foscoe directs the East Allegheny High School band during a Monday night practice. (Kristen Keleschenyi photo for Tube City Almanac)

After several years of jazz-themed shows, the East Allegheny High School Marching Band is changing its tune.

For the 2020 season, the band will do a rock-themed show spotlighting the music of Elton John, including arrangements of hits such as “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding,” “Your Song” and “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.”

Band director Justin Rosco says the decision to move away from jazz was based on the departure of a number of seniors last year, and his desire to change things up a bit.

“We had a good trio,” Rosco says, “that was one of the reasons we did several jazz shows in a row.”

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Serra Show Draws on Scottish Lore, Music

August 17, 2020 |

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

Serra marching band student leaders for 2020 are: Serafina Szarmach, Ryan Gedman, and Harrison Potts, drum majors; Natalie Makovics and Nina Fassinger, colorguard captains; Jordan Premozic, woodwind section leader; Joe Crossen, brass section leader, and Abigail Bernick, percussion section leader. (Photo by Bonnijean Cooney Adams)

With a senior drum major who plays bagpipes, Serra Catholic Marching Band director Jesse Bush said he didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to do a Celtic-themed show.

So Bush decided on “The Secret of Loch Ness,” with musical numbers “Scotland the Brave,” “Skye Boat Song,” and “The Loch Ness Monster.”

Drum Major Harrison Potts plays bagpipes. He, and Drum Major Serafina Szarmach in a vocalist role, are featured in “Skye Boat Song.”

The annual two-week marching band camp kicked off Aug. 10 and concludes Aug. 21, with some business as usual and other activities modified to meet guidelines in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Duquesne Adds 14 Homes to Demolition List

August 17, 2020 |

By Nick Zurawsky | Posted in: Duquesne News

Fourteen vacant properties in Duquesne are scheduled for demolition next year with the help of an Allegheny County Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund grant.

Six of the properties are on a single block of North Second Street.

At a special hearing Aug. 11, 16 properties were listed for possible demolition by city officials for being either a public nuisance or a danger to other people.

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Police Log: Four Face Charges Following Stop

August 14, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

• Arrest records published here were provided by the McKeesport Police Department.
• Not all arrest records are published.
• An arrest does not mean the person identified has been convicted of a crime.
• All people arrested are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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East Allegheny Fine Tunes Fall School Plan

August 13, 2020 |

By Kristen Keleschenyi | Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News

More details have been released regarding the school start plan for East Allegheny School District.

At this week’s school board meeting, Superintendent Alan Johnson clarified the wording of the health and safety plan that was approved by EA directors on July 31.

The majority of students are expected to start the year remotely, but the wording has been changed to more accurately depict how EA’s education plan will be executed for the first nine weeks.

“We have a sizable number, not a majority, but a good number of students who will require some face to face instruction,” Johnson said. “These are students that have learning disabilities who really would probably not do well in a remote learning environment, so we are making arrangements that they can come into the school.”

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Fill-a-Bag Sale Planned at W.N. Library

August 07, 2020 |

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

West Newton Public Library will hold a “$5 fill-a-bag” sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 3 in the parking lot of the library, 124 N. Water St., a spokesperson said.

All attendees must wear face masks. The library will be selling cookbooks, children’s books, adult hardcover and paperback books, non-fiction, biographies, audio tapes and DVDs.

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Jerome Bridge Overhaul Begins Monday

August 07, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

(Photo courtesy McKeesport fire Chief Jeff Tomovcsik)

Lane restrictions begin Monday on the Jerome Street Bridge as construction crews begin a two-year, $15.44 million renovation project.

Steve Cowan, district spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction between Romine Avenue and Gibson Way through late March 2021.

In addition, he said, the sidewalk on the north side of the bridge — facing up the Youghiogheny River — will be closed to pedestrians.

The rehabilitation project includes a new concrete deck and sidewalk, painting, structural steel repairs, bearing replacement, concrete substructure repairs and new expansion dams, Cowan said.

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First Commonwealth Closing City Office

August 07, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Editor’s Note: The writer has a conflict of interest. See editor’s note at the end of this story.)

The long-rumored closing of the Downtown branch of First Commonwealth Bank is apparently official.

The location at 225 Fifth Ave. is one of 29 offices that the Indiana County-based bank intends to close, Jonathan Longwill, vice president and communications specialist at First Commonwealth, told Tube City Almanac on Friday.

Official notification will be sent to government regulators in early to mid-September, and the McKeesport branch is expected to close for business on Dec. 31, he said.

The closure will leave only two banks with branches in Downtown McKeesport. PNC has an office at the corner of Lysle Boulevard and Huey Street, and Dollar Bank has an office in the former Midtown Plaza shops.

Huntington Bank closed its office at 1415 Fifth Ave., near UPMC McKeesport hospital, in 2019.

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HUD Official Encourages City
to Utilize Opportunity Zone Program

August 07, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development met Wednesday with McKeesport leaders. Shown at city hall are A.J. Tedesco, McKeesport community development director; state Sen. Jim Brewster of McKeesport; Mike Horvath, HUD Pittsburgh field office director; Jane Miller, HUD deputy regional administrator; Mayor Michael Cherepko; and Joseph DeFelice, HUD Region III administrator. (Almanac photo)

McKeesport should take advantage of the federal Financial Opportunity Zone program to encourage investment in commercial properties and affordable housing in the city.

That was the pitch made Wednesday to city officials by Joseph J. DeFelice, regional administrator of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for five mid-Atlantic states and Washington, D.C.

DeFelice visited the McKeesport Housing Authority’s Crawford Village as well as McKeesport City Hall during a stop Wednesday morning. DeFelice said he has been criss-crossing Pennsylvania to visit with housing agencies and local governments.

“A lot of people come up with really great ideas sitting around offices, but they don’t know what’s going on at the ground level,” he said. “I want ideas to filter up from places like McKeesport and McKees Rocks. I think that’s a better way to do things.”

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McKeesport Schools Plan Combination
of In-Person, Remote Instruction

August 06, 2020 |

By Kristen Keleschenyi | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport Area School District plans to offer both in-person and online learning for the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

Superintendent Mark Holtzman has been revealing the proposed plan for the district during a five-part online video series. The fourth video was posted online earlier this week, followed up by a school board agenda meeting on Wednesday.

The district will offer in-person learning five days a week, breaking the students into two groups by alphabet or by family.

“Children will come to school for approximately 3 to 3.5 hours, either in the morning or afternoon, and receive all the instruction necessary for the day,” Holtzman said. “Secondary students will run through their entire schedule, whether it's an eight- or nine-period day for a shortened period of time.”

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MAHS Tiger Band Wraps Up Unusual Camp

August 06, 2020 |

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

Musicians and colorguard from McKeesport Area High School rehearse the opening movement of “An Ancient Summoning.” (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo)

McKeesport Area High School Marching Band students are preparing for a 2020 show full of classic struggles between darkness and light in “An Ancient Summoning.”

“We picked the theme to be vastly different than last year,” band director Drew DeCarlo said.

While the 2019 theme depicted a day in a steel mill, a sneak peek revealed through the band’s Facebook page revealed “an era before time.”

Based on Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring,” with additional original music by composer and arranger Randall D. Standridge, the show is divided into four movements, reflected in marching and interpretive motions.

The first is “The Summons,” followed by “The Darkness,” “The Light,” and “The Conflict.”

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Writer: COVID-19 Doesn’t Stop Charity Runs

August 03, 2020 |

By Dianne Ribecca | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

Clad in face masks, runners gathered under the Boston Bridge in Elizabeth Twp. on Sunday for a 5K run to raise funds for the Pet Adoption League of Westmoreland County. (Dianne Ribecca photo for Tube City Almanac)

My goal this year was to run one 5K race event a month for charity. These five-kilometer runs provide financial support and awareness to a selected non-profit organization. 

I managed to do one in January, February and March — but then the world closed down.  Families, businesses, municipalities and — of course — non-profit organizations have felt and continue to feel the pain.

On Sunday, despite the ever-changing world of coronavirus precautions, Team Brunazzi Events of Elizabeth Twp. was able to put on its Solar Vortex 5K/15K race with proceeds going to the Pet Adoption League, a no-kill animal rescue organization located in Yukon, Westmoreland County.

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MAHS Tiger Band Selling Face Masks

August 03, 2020 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Submitted illustration)

McKeesport Area High School Tiger Marching Band is selling face masks as a fundraiser.

A spokesperson said the masks are three-ply, washable, and come in two sizes, youth and adult. Masks cost $10 each, which must be paid when the orders are placed.

Deadline is Aug. 7 and the masks will ship Aug. 22. Additional information and an order form are available on the band’s website,


Pandemic Inspires Local Scout To Get Involved

August 02, 2020 |

By Kristen Keleschenyi | Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News

(Submitted photo)

Turning double digits is a milestone in a kid’s life. Most children ease into a new decade maybe by playing with some of the presents they received and eating leftover cake.

But in June, two days after Adeline Naser turned 10, she was making a presentation to the North Versailles Twp. Commissioners. Her presentation was turned into a newly drafted ordinance to allow chickens in the township, which will be voted on in a few weeks.

Naser got the idea at the beginning of the COVID-19 stay-at-home order when eggs were in short supply. Her friend had chickens and was giving away eggs to her neighbors.

That’s when the wheels started turning for Naser, a local Girl Scout who has set her sights on making a difference in her community and earning her bronze award, the highest honor for a junior scout.

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Historian Wants to Preserve Church’s Cornerstone

August 02, 2020 |

By Chris Baumann | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Submitted photos courtesy Nicholas Boros)

Historian Nicholas Boros came from Cleveland to Western Pennsylvania this summer to digitize some old Hungarian Catholic newspapers written by the Rev. Kalman Kovats, the founder of the church formerly known as St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church.

Located on Beacon Avenue in McKeesport, St. Stephen’s is scheduled to be demolished.

Boros decided on a whim to visit the church to take some pictures and has begun a movement to preserve its cornerstone.

“I’ve always had a great love of history,” said Boros. “I studied comparative religion in university. That really helped develop my passion for historical research on immigrant religious communities.”

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