W.N. Church Hosts Election Day Luncheon

April 30, 2021 |

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

West Newton First Church of God will be holding an Election Day luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 18, a spokesperson said. Lunches are available for take-out only.

The church is located 157 N. Second St. Call (724) 872-7467. The menu will be posted on Facebook.

The church’s annual Strawberry Festival will return from 4 to 7 p.m. May 27 at the Sewickley Grange on Greensburg Pike, with take out only. Details will be posted on Facebook.


Clairton, Duquesne Share $168K for Park Projects

April 30, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements, Duquesne News

Duquesne will receive a grant of $25,000 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority for the Polish Hill Playground Project, state Rep. Austin Davis has announced.

The project will replace old equipment with new playcenters, new swings and rubber safety surfacing. It also includes new benches, a trash receptacle and installing a drainage system.

In addition, $143,394 was awarded to Clairton for Clairton City Park Green Infrastructure. The project includes the design and construction of five rain gardens that will control stormwater runoff, reduce flooding and help protect water quality within the Peters Creek Watershed.

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NV Twp. Clean-Up Day is May 1

April 30, 2021 |

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

The North Versailles Twp. Clean-up Day will be held from 9 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday, May 1, a spokesperson said.

Volunteers should meet at the township building parking lot at 9 a.m. Supplies will be provided as well as a thank you luncheon. Dumpsters will be placed at Green Valley Fire Hall and Crestas Fire Hall for the event.


NAMI Slates May Meeting in Renzie

April 30, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The McKeesport affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness will meet 6 p.m. May 6 in the pavilion adjacent to the parking lot by the McKeesport Heritage Center in Renziehausen Park, a spokeswoman said.

Licensed therapist Tamara Hill will talk about childhood trauma and how it impacts adult life and development when it is unresolved, the spokeswoman said. Hill also will discuss the challenges of the mental health system and why certain aspects of that is traumatic for families abroad.

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Duquesne Council OK’s Hiring 2 Officers

April 30, 2021 |

By Nichole Faina | Posted in: Duquesne News

On the second attempt, Duquesne City Council approved a proposal from police Chief Tom Dunlevy to hire two additional officers.

At the April meeting, council agreed to hire the officers after Dunlevy reported that the police department had clocked about 400 hours of overtime pay in the previous month.

Council in March rejected the request for additional personnel.

According to Dunlevy, the overtime included construction details, and federally funded reimbursable overtime for drug investigations. The 400 hours “doesn’t mean the totality of what we had on the streets, that’s the overall number,” he said.

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U.S. Steel: Mon Valley Plants Remain Competitive

April 30, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

See also: Local officials, union blast U.S. Steel for ‘broken promises’

A planned “endless caster” will not be installed at Edgar Thomson Plant in Braddock, U.S. Steel said Friday, but the plant remains the corporation’s lowest-cost producer of flat-rolled steel. (David Kent photo via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)

U.S. Steel’s three Mon Valley Works facilities remain competitive and highly profitable, the corporation told Wall Street analysts on Friday.

The decision not to add a so-called “endless caster” to the Edgar Thomson Plant in Braddock and North Braddock is not a reflection on the facility’s future, said Kevin Lewis, vice president of investor relations for U.S. Steel.

“We’re highly confident in the existing facilities at the Mon Valley (Works),” he said. “We believe it will generate strong earnings and strong cash flow for the business.”

In fact, one of the blast furnaces at Edgar Thomson was shut down on Friday for 25 days of repairs and upgrades, Lewis said. “We remain committed to that facility going forward and we will continue to allocate capital toward it,” he said.

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Officials, Union Blast U.S. Steel’s ‘Broken Promises’

April 30, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

See also: U.S. Steel says Mon Valley plants remain competitive, low-cost facilities

U.S. Steel has canceled plans to invest $1.5 billion in its three Mon Valley Works facilities, including Edgar Thomson Plant, shown here, saying that conditions have changed. (Mark Dixon photo via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)

Local officials and the United Steelworkers union are blasting an announcement by U.S. Steel Corp. that it will cancel more than $1.5 billion worth of investment in its three Mon Valley Works facilities.

The corporation also will idle three out of nine coke oven batteries at the Clairton Plant.

The decisions were announced Friday morning during a call with investors and stock market analysts.

“To be very clear, this is not the end of Mon Valley Works,” said David Burritt, U.S. Steel president and chief executive officer. “This highly competitive mill will continue to serve strategic customers today and into the future.”

Mon Valley Works includes Clairton Plant, which produces coke and other chemical byproducts from coal; Edgar Thomson Plant, a basic steelmaking faciity in Braddock and North Braddock; and Irvin Plant, which produces coils of finished steel in West Mifflin.

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City Man Held in Connection With Fire

April 29, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport man is being held in the Allegheny County Jail in connection with a fire in Christy Park that police said was deliberately set.

Jesse Henderson, 23, is jailed in lieu of $25,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing May 10 before Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi. He was arrested Tuesday.

Police said McKeesport firefighters were dispatched to a home in the 2200 block of Walnut Street on the afternoon of April 19 for a reported structure fire.

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Pittsburgh Man Charged in Three-Car Wreck

April 29, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A Pittsburgh man was charged with aggravated assault, recklessly endangering other persons and reckless driving after McKeesport police allege that he deliberately caused a three-car wreck in the East End in an attempt to injure himself.

Carl E. Taylor, 30, of Lawrenceville faces a preliminary hearing May 10 before Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi. He is currently being held in the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bond.

City police said they were dispatched to the area under the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge during evening rush hour on April 20 for a report of a three-vehicle crash with injuries.

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Police: Woman’s Death Not Suspicious

April 28, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

The death of a woman whose body was found just off Versailles Avenue early Sunday morning is not considered suspicious, investigators said.

The Allegheny County medical examiner’s office said the body of Myra Huff, 36, of Duquesne was discovered just before 7 a.m. near the intersection of Versailles Avenue and Park Street. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Allegheny County police Lt. Venerando Costa said Huff’s death does not appear to have been a homicide and may have been an overdose. Investigators are awaiting a report from the medical examiner’s office, he said.


Reader’s Viewpoint: McKeesport’s ‘Mayor Lou’
Had a Life Well-Lived

April 28, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

A collage of newspaper clippings from both local and national publications traces Lou Washowich’s career from coach of the McKeesport Little Tigers to one of Allegheny County’s only two full-time mayors. (Tube City Almanac illustration)

Dennis K.E. Pittman served as a community development consultant to McKeesport Mayor Lou Washowich from 1985 to 1989, and as the city’s community development director from 1989 to 2000.

Washowich, who served as mayor from 1980 to 1995, died April 2 at age 81.

Pittman writes:

The measure of a person’s life is often determined by his or her time and place. One’s values may transcend the ages ... the “what-ifs” of what might have happened had one been in a particular situation and place. The bottom line is really, how did someone respond when their name is called?

Lou Washowich — only his beloved bride of 58 years, Jean, was allowed to call him “Louis”! — impacted so many lives in his 81 years that I am confident each and every one of those individuals Lou met could relate their own special remembrance. Hopefully, this will conjure up some memories for them to enjoy.

Lou’s character was forged early in life, growing up poor in a tough industrial town without benefit of a standard nuclear family. He became rich, however, through his experiences and friendships with many days when he did not have a nickel in his pocket.

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County Council District 9: Steven Singer

April 28, 2021 |

By Siana Emery | Posted in: Politics & Elections

(Submitted photo courtesy Steven Singer)

See also: Incumbent says his policies better reflect his Mon Valley constituents

Steven Singer, challenger to the incumbent for the Democratic nomination in District 9 of Allegheny County Council, is determined to make the voice of the Mon Valley heard.

“The Mon Valley is kind of forgotten by the rest of the county. But this corner of the county — we’re here, and we deserve the same resources and amenities as the rest of the county. I want to stand up and make sure we’re heard,” Singer said. “The steel mills may have closed, but we’re still here.”

Singer is “Allegheny County born and bred,” having lived in White Oak his entire life. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Singer worked as a journalist at the McKeesport Daily News, as well as an educator in Baldwin and McKeesport, before settling at the Steel Valley School District as a middle school teacher.

“Mon Valley is my community,” said Singer. “I want to serve this community because this is my neighborhood. This is the place I grew up. My family lives here, I care about the people here.”

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County Council District 9: Bob Macey

April 28, 2021 |

By Siana Emery | Posted in: Politics & Elections

Editor’s Note: Tube City Almanac contributor Siana Emery called Bob Macey on his home phone, cell phone and office phone, asking for an interview. She also sent email to Macey’s office.

Macey did not respond to those requests.

(Allegheny County photo)

See Also: Challenger says Mon Valley communities deserve ‘a fair shake, a new deal’

For the first time since 2013, Allegheny County Councilor Bob Macey has an opponent in the Democratic Primary in the race for the District 9 seat.

Macey, who resides in West Mifflin, did not respond to requests from Tube City Almanac for comment. However, he told WESA-FM Radio that his policies are a better reflection of the Mon Valley community than those of his opponent, Steven Singer.

District 9 serves Dravosburg, Duquesne, Elizabeth, Forward, Glassport, Liberty, Lincoln, McKeesport, North Versailles Twp., Port Vue, South Versailles Twp., Versailles, West Mifflin and White Oak. Macey was appointed to the seat in 2006 and elected for a four-year term in 2009.

An article published by WESA on April 26 outlines some of Macey’s voting record for local issues. Throughout his three terms on county council, Macey has established himself as a politician who leans further right than many others in his party, while still supporting some progressive legislation.

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White Oak Slates Upcoming Events

April 23, 2021 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: Announcements, White Oak News

White Oak Clean-Up Day will be held 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 24, borough officials said.

Volunteers should gather at Heritage Hills Park no later than 9:30 a.m. to receive assignments and supplies.

Electronics and household hazardous waste recycling collection will be held on the same day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the borough building.

Councilwoman Julie Opferman, who chairs the parks and recreation committee, said that Rainbow Volunteer Fire Co.’s Cars in the Park from 1 to 7 p.m. May 16 at Heritage Hill Park. The rain date will be May 23.

Councilman George Pambacas said a rabies vaccination clinic will be held at the Municipal Public Works Garage on Lincoln Way from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 5.

“It’ll be a drive-through clinic, where you stay in your car until you’re called,” Pambacas said. “Dogs should be on a leash and cats should be in a carrier. The animals must at least three months old, not pregnant, and not sick.”

Sarah Turnbull is a freelance writer in Irwin. She can be reached at sarahturnbull323@gmail.com.


W.O. Mayor Breaks Tie on Contract Vote

April 22, 2021 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak Council approved a new contract with the union representing borough police officers after the mayor cast the tie-breaking vote.

Council voted 3-3 to adopt the four-year agreement with Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 91, with council members George Pambacas, George Dillinger and Kenneth Robb voting no.

Councilwoman Julie Opferman abstained due to a conflict of interest. Mayor Ina Jean Marton broke the tie.

Pambacas said he voted against the resolution for financial reasons, while Robb expressed concerns about the length of the contract.

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Elizabeth Road in Dravosburg Reopens to Traffic

April 22, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Allegheny County’s Department of Public Works announced Thursday that Elizabeth Road between Scott Drive and Curry Hollow Road in Dravosburg has reopened to traffic earlier than expected.

The closure, which began on April 12, was required to repair damage to a support wall and guide rail caused by a single-vehicle crash that occurred in November 2020.

The $40,284 project was done by Pugliano Construction Co., Inc., of Pittsburgh.


Green Grocer Back in Valley Towns Again

April 20, 2021 |

By Matt Germaine | Posted in: Duquesne News, McKeesport and Region News

Two Green Grocer team members at a recent market stop. (Submitted photo courtesy of Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank)

The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s Green Grocer truck is back on the road and making regular visits to a handful of Mon Valley communities for the 2021 season.

Originally launched in 2015 with an itinerary of three stops, the food bank’s popular mobile farmer’s market has since expanded to include semi-monthly visits to 20 different neighborhoods within the Greater Pittsburgh area, including Glassport, Clairton, and Duquesne.

As a food access program, Green Grocer focuses on providing fresh and locally-sourced fruits and vegetables to communities in which healthy food providers are otherwise scarce, said Josh Anderegg, the food bank’s Mobile Markets Supervisor.

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Serra’s ‘Poppins’ Makes Bow One Year Late

April 20, 2021 |

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

Rehearsing “A Spoonful of Sugar” are Vincent Brown as Robertson Ay, Victoria Koslosky as Mary Poppins, Serafina Szarmach and Lindsay Schanck as Jane and Michael Banks, and Abriel DiLonardo as Winifred Banks. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo for Tube City Almanac)

If you go/watch...


“Disney’s Mary Poppins”

Where: Online at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/51437, and live shows with limited audiences, with masks and social distancing required, in the high school auditorium, 200 Hershey Drive.

When: In-person showtimes are 7 p.m. April 23; 1 and 7 p.m. April 24; and 2 p.m. April 25. Scheduled online streaming is 1 and 7 p.m. April 24 plus 2 and 7 p.m. April 25. Scheduled content streams only play at the specified event date and time, and cannot be viewed at any other time. Cost is $20 per stream per device, with an additional slight surcharge.

Tickets: Limited tickets are available through advance sales only at $5 for students and $8 for adults by calling the high school office at (412) 751-2020, or from cast members. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Returning senior Lindsay Schanck, who plays Michael Banks in Serra Catholic High School’s spring musical “Mary Poppins,” has a message for the director, echoed by other students as well.

“Thank you for just not giving up, Mr. (Jesse) Bush,” she said. “We are all so close. We all work together, have fun together, and I got to meet people I would have never met if I didn’t do the musical.”

Victoria Koslosky also is a senior, and was set to perform the title role of Mary Poppins last year when schools were shut down because of the pandemic and the musical eventually was canceled.

She also thanked Bush for giving the show a second chance.

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Emergency Help Paying Utilities Now Available

April 20, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is now accepting applications for utilities assistance online at https://covidrentrelief.alleghenycounty.us, a spokesperson for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services said.

The program provides people who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 with help paying their bills for electricity, gas or fuel oil, sewerage, trash removal and water.

Applicants will need to provide the name of the utility company, the name on the account, the account number and the months for which they are requesting assistance, the spokesperson said.

Utilities will be paid through the Dollar Energy Fund.

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W.O. Officials Eying Spring Projects

April 19, 2021 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak officials discussed a number of ongoing projects at their April 12 workshop meeting, chiefly concerning infrastructure and vehicle maintenance.

In his engineer’s report, Councilman Kenneth Hillman announced that funds have been secured for repairing the Center Street extension, and that the renovations to Lincoln Way will cost less than expected.

“The wall specs for the Center Street extension will be finalized on May 13. We’re also making sure that the crossings and road markings on Lincoln Way comply with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act),” Hillman said.

Hillman also announced plans to build a new walkway at Heritage Hill Park, along with eight new benches, ADA accessibility, and rubber mulch ground cover. Councilwoman Julie Opferman also supported the idea of adding pickleball, hockey or basketball courts.

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Lea’s Floral Shop to Re-Open After Fire

April 17, 2021 |

By Kristen Keleschenyi | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, North Versailles Twp. News

Delivery vans serve as floral coolers at the temporary location for Lea's Floral Shop on Chicora Street in East McKeesport. The store will set up temporarily at this building. The business was gutted April 10 by a fire that also displaced one resident. (Kristen Keleschenyi photo)

Monday will mark the reopening of Lea’s Floral Shop in East McKeesport, a little more than one week after a fire destroyed the majority of their inventory and two of their floral coolers.

Their building on Fifth Avenue will have to be gutted as they prepare to rebuild but luckily, they found the perfect spot, the East McKeesport Senior Citizen Community Center, just two blocks away, to serve as a temporary location.

“The Thursday before the fire they (East McKeesport Borough Council) decided not to rent this out because of COVID-19. You’re only allowed 45 people in here, everybody would have to be in masks and you have to police everything,” says Mary Lechliter-King, owner of Lea’s Floral Shop, who approached borough council members about the possibility of the building being their temporary storefront.

“The borough had a meeting and we offered them the rent. They get business privilege tax so we pay that too. It’s a win-win.”

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Library Slates Neighborhood Earth Day Cleanup

April 16, 2021 |

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

(Tube City Almanac file photo by Vickie Babyak)

Volunteers are needed for a neighborhood clean-up day in the city’s library and cultural district.

A spokeswoman for the Carnegie Library of McKeesport said volunteers should meet at 10 a.m. Saturday (April 17) at the parking lot of the library.

The activity is tied to Earth Day, which will be celebrated on April 22, and will be held outdoors. Social distancing rules will be in place and light refreshments will be served, the spokeswoman said.

For more information or to register, visit mckeesportlibrary.org.


Clairton Man Dead Following 837 Crash

April 16, 2021 |

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

A Clairton man died following a crash early Friday morning near the intersection of North Second Street and Route 837 in Duquesne.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as Ralpheal Franz Greene, 30. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Allegheny County police said Greene was thrown from the vehicle following the crash. An unidentified juvenile passenger in the car was taken to the hospital and was reportedly in stable condition.

County police homicide detectives and the Collision Reconstruction Unit are investigating. Anyone with information about the crash is being asked to call the county police tip line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.


Duquesne to Host Mayoral Candidate Forum

April 16, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements, Duquesne News

Duquesne residents will have the chance to see their candidates for mayor during an online debate at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (April 20).

According to the Allegheny County Elections Division, five people are currently seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor of the city, including Councilman R. Scott Adams, Councilman Timothy Caldwell, Charles Morgan IV, incumbent Mayor Nickole Nesby and Councilwoman Elaine Washington.

No candidates have registered to run for mayor in the Republican primary, the division said.

The debate will be presented on Zoom. The meeting ID number is 827 4836 1032 and the passcode is 222910. Persons without Internet access may participate by telephone by calling (312) 626-6799, (646) 558-8656 or (301) 715-8592, and entering the same ID number and passcode.

The primary election is May 18. The last day to register to vote in the primary is May 3. Mayors are elected for a four-year term.

For voter registration information, visit votespa.com.


Duquesne Hopeful About Aquaponics Plant

April 16, 2021 |

By Nichole Faina | Posted in: Duquesne News

Editor’s note: This is the second of two stories about In City Farms. The first may be found here.

An architect’s rendering shows what In City Farms’ Duquesne facility will look like. Construction is expected to begin soon. (Submitted image courtesy In City Farms)

When businessman Paul Schink learned that In City Farms aquaponics plant was slated to be built in Duquesne, he said it would mean “more customers and more traffic” for his store, Schink’s Hardware, and other local businesses. His father founded Schink’s Hardware in 1945 and he began working at the store in 1959.

Schink, who witnessed Duquesne’s industrial decline over the last few decades, is glad for new industry to come to the area.

This spring, In City Farms is breaking ground in RIDC’s Industrial Center of Duquesne business park, located on the former U.S. Steel Duquesne Plant.

The 25-acre development is a 175,000-square-foot aquaponic plant dedicated to growing vegetables such as bok choy, collard greens and mixed salad greens and raising fish.

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W.N. Library Slates ‘Fill-a-Bag’ Book Sale

April 16, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: West Newton News

West Newton Library, 124 N. Water St., will hold a jewelry and “fill-a-bag” book sale from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 24 in the parking lot, a spokesperson said.

All visitors will be asked to practicing social distancing and to wear masks. Library volunteers said that more than two years’ worth of donations of gently used books have been sanitized and quarantined, and will be on sale.

Parking will be available at the West Newton Senior Center or other nearby spaces. For more information, call (724) 633-0798.

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County Police Participating in Drug Take-Back Day

April 15, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The Allegheny County Police Department will participate in the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Take-Back Initiative being held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 24, a spokesperson said.

This is the DEA’s 20th bi-annual event focused on offering an opportunity for the public to surrender expired, unwanted or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications to law enforcement officers for destruction.

Any over-the-counter, controlled substance or prescription-required drugs can be dropped off. Tables, capsules, ointments, creams and liquids will be accepted in packaging. There is no need to take medicines out of the original package or container. Sharps and syringes cannot be accepted due to safety reasons, the county said.

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Local Group Celebrates 110th Anniversary

April 14, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Marsha Watkiss of Jeannette, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, helps to clean a grave Long Run Cemetery in North Huntingdon. The McKeesport chapter, named for Queen Alliquippa, celebrated its 110th anniversary this past weekend. (Submitted photo)

Few organizations can celebrate more than a century of existence. Even fewer in Western Pennsylvania are comprised of people who can trace their lineage to the American Revolution.

On Saturday, members of the Queen Alliquippa Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution celebrated their 110th anniversary with a tea social.

Their special guest was Elizabeth Watkins, state leader — or “regent” in DAR parlance — who updated the local group about her efforts to restore a window at the Valley Forge Tower that honors Robert Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the U.S. Constitution, and one of Pennsylvania’s first U.S. senators.

Founded in 1890 and incorporated by an act of Congress in 1896, the DAR is an organization of women 18 years and older who can prove they are descendants of any “patriot” who supported the American Revolution.

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One Year Later, Show Goes On at MAHS

April 13, 2021 |

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

Whether new to the cast, returning to the same roles they were ready to play in 2020, or in totally different roles this year, McKeesport Area High School students are in final rehearsals for “Disney’s The Little Mermaid.” (Submitted photo courtesy Carolyn Carreiro)

If you watch...


“Disney’s The Little Mermaid”

Where: Online at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/48602

When: 7 p.m. Thursday, April 29, Friday, April 30, and Saturday, May 1, with an additional 2 p.m. matinee on May 1. (Note: Performances must be watched when they’re being streamed. There will be no re-broadcast.)

Tickets: $20 per device

“Disney’s The Little Mermaid” was supposed to be the final spring musical for McKeesport Area High School producer Carolyn Carreiro back in 2020.

But then Covid-19 came along and changed her plans.
“Last year was supposed to be my last musical as producer,” she said. “With the pandemic, no one else was hired and I said I would step up one more time. This year was so different with the logistics of streaming the show, that it would have been a nightmare for a new producer to deal with.”

Read More

District ‘Thankful’ for COVID-19 Relief Funds

April 13, 2021 |

By Siana Emery | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The COVID-19 pandemic has stretched resources in school districts across the nation, creating deficits in funding, access to education, and access to resources. For schools in the Mon Valley, however, there is some aid on the way.

State Rep. Austin Davis announced on March 30 that an estimated $41.1 million in federal funding has been allocated to districts across the Mon Valley to help them reopen safely and address learning losses as students and teachers return to classrooms.

The McKeesport Area School District will receive $16.9 million.

“We are thankful to have those funds,” said Mark Holtzman Jr., district superintendent. “I don’t know what we would’ve done without them.”

Other districts receiving funds include:

• Clairton City School District — $4.96 million
• Duquesne City School District — $4.81 million
• East Allegheny School District — $4.82 million
• South Allegheny School District — $3.4 million
• Steel Valley School District — $5 million
• West Mifflin Area School District — $5.95 million

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Residents Speak at First Meeting After Lawsuit

April 09, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Residents who challenged McKeesport city council’s decision to close its January meeting finally got a chance to speak their minds.

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, which was streamed over the Internet, eight people asked to enter comments into the official record. Four were from McKeesport. One of the others was Allegheny County Councilwoman Olivia Bennett.

Comments were received in writing from three of the four people, including former McKeesport Councilwoman V. Fawn Walker-Montgomery, Janina Riley and Courtney Thompkins, who sued McKeesport City Council after the Jan. 6 meeting was closed to the public.

All of the comments criticized police behavior during the Dec. 20 search for Koby Lee Francis, the 22-year-old suspect accused of shooting McKeesport police Officer Jerry Athans.

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County to Issue Mon Valley Air Quality Alerts

April 09, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

County health officials will begin issuing air-quality alerts targeted to the Mon Valley, beginning on Monday.

A spokeswoman for the Allegheny County Health Department said the alerts will tell residents when weather forecasts have the potential for poor air quality.

The alerts will be sent out using email, text messages and phone calls. To receive the alerts, visit alleghenycounty.us/alerts and sign up for “Mon Valley Air Pollution Episode” notifications.

The move comes in the wake of several recent cases when air quality measured at the Liberty Borough monitor dropped below federal standards.

Read More

County’s Elections Board to Meet Tuesday

April 09, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Allegheny County’s Board of Elections will meet at 2 p.m. Tuesday (April 13) to discuss the upcoming municipal primary election, a spokesperson said.

The Elections Division will provide an update on its plans, including discussion on preparations for polling places, poll workers and other related administrative functions.

The public may view the meeting at https://bit.ly/3uo3leN. Anyone wishing to address the board must submit their comments via email to BOE@AlleghenyCounty.us prior to 2 p.m. April 12.

Pennsylvania voters will be electing mayors, borough councils, township commissioners and supervisors, school directors and other offices. The primary will be held May 18.


City Man Pleads Guilty on Federal Charges

April 09, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport man faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of possession of child pornography.

Michael Brooks, 54, also faces a fine of up to $250,000, said a spokeswoman for acting U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman in Pittsburgh.

Brooks entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Marilyn J. Horan. Sentencing is scheduled for July 27.

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Series on Black Women’s Health Continues

April 09, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Panelists will discuss “Political Influences on Black Women’s Health” at 3 p.m. April 15 during Penn State Greater Allegheny’s final Crossing Bridges Summit for the 2020-21 academic year.

The event is free and open to the public, and may be viewed at watch.psu.edu/crossingbridges.

The Crossing Bridges Summit began in 2017 and has become a signature program at the McKeesport’s Penn State campus. Its purpose is to bring students, faculty, staff and community members together and to bridge racial divides in the Mon Valley.

This year’s summit considered issues raised in the 2019 report, “Pittsburgh’s Inequality Across Gender and Race.”

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Some Still Reluctant to Receive COVID-19 Vaccine

April 08, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Rev. Earlene Coleman, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, speaks to members of the media Wednesday. Also shown are Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, state Sen. Jim Brewster, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Allegheny County Health Department Director Debra Bogen. (Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

The COVID-19 vaccine shortages and website crashes that frustrated Pennsylvania residents in January and February are not likely to be repeated, Gov. Tom Wolf said in McKeesport on Wednesday.

Joined by city, county and state elected officials, Wolf visited the city to tour a vaccination clinic set up in the fellowship hall of Bethlehem Baptist Church on Walnut Street, Downtown.

“By the second week in May, we should have reached the point where at least one dose will have reached everybody who wants the shot,” Wolf said.

The biggest issue is the number of people who remain reluctant to be vaccinated, he said — which is where churches like Bethlehem Baptist can help.

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A Note of Apology and Explanation

April 08, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

I wanted to write a quick note about the audio feed of Wednesday’s council meeting, and apologize and take responsibility for some technical problems.

I know there was intense interest in the meeting because of the lawsuit filed over access, and because residents wanted to address the Dec. 20 manhunt for a suspect accused of shooting a police officer.

We did hear from several people during the meeting that they were having trouble hearing, or that the audio was dropping out, and I apologize.

There was no intention to censor anyone’s remarks. We worked as quickly as we could to rectify the problems in real time.

• If you missed any of the audio, you can find a downloadable MP3 at our website. It was posted less than an hour after the meeting ended.

• For those who do not have the ability to listen to MP3s, there is another file on YouTube that includes the entire meeting.

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Bank Donates Former Downtown Office

April 07, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Accepting this year’s $100,000 payment toward the city’s neighborhood assistance program are Melissa Ernst, secretary of the McKeesport redevelopment authority; city Councilman Jim Barry; A.J. Tedesco, community development director and executive director of the redevelopment authority; McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko; Evan Zuverink, community reinvestment act officer for First Commonwealth Bank; Scott Vidovich, market leader for First Commonwealth Bank; Kristen Lupari, White Oak branch manager; Paul Sturgess, member of the redevelopment authority; and Stu Wilson, president of the redevelopment authority. (Submitted photo)

First Commonwealth Bank has donated its former Downtown location to the city’s redevelopment authority.

Jonathan Longwill, vice president and media relations specialist for the Indiana, Pa., based bank, said the building at 225 Fifth Ave. has been donated to facilitate ongoing redevelopment work in McKeesport’s central business district.

The bank is also participating in McKeesport’s six-year, $2.7 million neighborhood assistance program to remove blight and renovate homes, and recently presented the city with its $100,000 annual installment.

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Shopping Malls: A Retail and Social Experience

April 06, 2021 |

By Dianne Ribecca | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

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.

Eastland Mall in North Versailles Twp., located on a hill overlooking McKeesport and Duquesne, was demolished more than a decade ago. The mall is rumored to become the site of a new Amazon.com distribution center. (Photo by Jacob via Flickr, used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.)

More than a decade after the demolition of Eastland Mall in North Versailles Twp., a developer is planning to build a distribution center on the property, reportedly for Amazon.com.

Most people in this area can probably remember Eastland Mall, which closed permanently in 2005. When the mall first opened in 1963, its major tenants were department stores such as Gimbels and J.C. Penney Co.

Some might even remember that the North Versailles Library was in that mall. I recall regularly going to the library with my mother and sister to pick out books.

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Grants Benefit Office Building, Water Line

April 05, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Infrastructure projects in the city, Clairton, Duquesne and Munhall are the latest recipients of funding from Allegheny County’s Community Infrastructure & Tourism Fund.

Projects awarded funds in the most recent round of grants include $250,000 for renovations to the People’s Building, Downtown McKeesport, including replacement of the heating system; and $100,000 for replacement of a water line on South Fifth Street, Duquesne, between Kennedy and Priscilla avenues.

CITF grants provide financial assistance to municipalities, councils of government, non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses to facilitate economic development projects in Allegheny County.

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NAMI to Meet April 8 in Dravosburg

April 05, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The McKeesport affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness will meet at 6 p.m. April 8 at the Dravosburg American Legion, 51 Duquesne Ave., second floor, a spokeswoman said.

A presentation by a certified educator about NAMI’s Family to Family program will be given along with various resource information.

Visitors should enter meeting room via ramp at rear of parking lot, the spokeswoman said.

NAMI is a support and educational organization for families and friends of loved ones who suffer with mental illness. For more information please call (412) 527-6600.


Marton Retires from W.O. Animal Shelter

April 05, 2021 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak Mayor Ina Jean Marton enjoys the company of Luke and Chewie during a 2019 fundraiser for the White Oak Animal Safe Haven. Marton has retired as director of the shelter after 18 years. (Tube City Almanac file photo by Cami DiBattista)

After 18 years and 16,000 dogs and cats rescued, Ina Jean Marton has retired from her role as director of the White Oak Animal Safe Haven.

“I’d been planning it for six to eight months. After 18 years, I felt like it was time to enjoy my life,” said Marton, who also serves as White Oak borough mayor.

Shelter vice president Laura Massie has taken over as director. She expressed optimism about the shelter’s future.

“We’re building a catio (cat exercise area) and renovating our office,” she said. “We’re also bringing in new volunteers and brainstorming ideas for fundraisers. I just want to do whatever I can to make the shelter successful — especially with kitten season coming up.”

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Centennial School Will Welcome Residents Soon

April 05, 2021 |

By Jennifer Sopko | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Editor’s Note: The writer has a conflict of interest. Branden Kucich is the writer’s second cousin. This article was written after initial interviews with Branden and Heather Kucich in April 2018 and follow-ups in March and April 2021 once the Centennial School project broke ground.

The former Centennial School opened for the 1921-22 term at the corner of Beaver Street and Union Avenue. The building is being turned into senior citizen apartments. (Submitted photo courtesy Kucich Construction)

Nearly a century after the new Centennial School in McKeesport opened its doors to local students in the fall of 1921, the historic building will soon welcome a new class of seniors.

Branden Kucich, 38, and his wife Heather, 37, of North Huntingdon Twp., have added to their growing portfolio of rental properties in McKeesport and White Oak by purchasing the defunct elementary school and transforming its empty classrooms into senior living apartments.

The Kuciches’ project will not only return a longtime tax-exempt property to the city’s tax rolls but also add to a recent trend of building restorations in McKeesport.

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Rad to the Max: EA Slates ‘Awesome’ Musical

April 01, 2021 |

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

If you go...


“The Awesome ’80s Prom”

Where: East Allegheny High School courtyard, 1150 Jacks Run Road, North Versailles Twp.

When: 8 p.m. April 15 and 16, 2 p.m. April 17

Tickets: Must be purchased in advance at easd.booktix.com. No tickets will be sold at the door.

Nate Perez, Bryce Schmeltz, Kalei Getsy, Passion Paillett and Madison Rucker are “Walking Like An Egyptian” in “The Awesome ’80s Prom.” (Kristen Keleschenyi photo for Tube City Almanac)

Crimp that hair and grab some pink eyeshadow.

East Allegheny High School is going back to the ’80s with its spring musical, “The Awesome ’80s Prom.” The show aims to give audiences the experience of living in a classic John Hughes style movie.

"Take some ‘Ferris Bueller,’ and some ‘Breakfast Club,’ some ‘16 Candles’ and ‘Pretty in Pink’ with little bits of ‘The Wedding Singer,’ in a high school kind of way, and throw it all together. There are lots of stereotypical 80s characters. I think everybody is going to find something they recognize especially if you are familiar with that era," says director Amanda Rosco.

The audience are supposed to be guests at a prom. The storyline revolves around the nominees for prom king and prom queen and who is going to end up winning.

The audience will actually get to vote when they are at the show. "We will not know who wins,” says Rosco. "It could be a different winner every single time. We are preparing multiple endings."

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MASD Plans for Return of Regular Events

April 01, 2021 |

By Siana Emery | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

In spite of climbing numbers of COVID-19 cases in the region, McKeesport Area School District officials are hoping to ensure that major spring events — including prom and commencement — will occur this year, if possible.

At the school board meeting, district officials discussed plans for remainder of the year and began looking ahead to fall.

Board President Joseph Lopretto and District Superintendent Mark Holtzman Jr. said they are keeping an eye on virus cases, and will move forward with plans as possible.

Prom and commencement were canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

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