LGBTQ Advocates Laud Introduction of Fairness Act

June 30, 2021 |

By Amanda B. Gillooly | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf joined members of the state legislature and LGBTQ advocates on June 15 to unveil the PA Fairness Act. (Photo courtesy state Rep. Dan Frankel’s office)

As a Pittsburgh-area LGBTQ rights advocate, Ciora Thomas has heard too many stories about how members of that community are discriminated against — from medical maltreatment to housing and employment discrimination.

As a Black trans woman, she’s had those experiences herself.

But Thomas — founder of Sisters PGH, a Black and trans-led nonprofit based in Swissvale which provides resources for the transgender and gender non-conforming community — is hopeful that a piece of legislation introduced this month in the state House will help those stories and experiences be a thing of the past.

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Eastland Development Delayed, NV Facilities Open

June 29, 2021 |

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

It appears development of the former Eastland Mall property will begin later than expected.

In an email to North Versailles Twp. officials, James Murray-Coleman, senior vice president for Trammell Crow Co., said the proposed tenant is looking at a “late summer start” as the firm acquires the necessary permits.

Work on the facility — a distribution center — was originally expected to begin in late June or early July. The main tenant is rumored to be Amazon, but no official announcement has been made.

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W.O. Council Votes to Keep Pool Guidelines

June 29, 2021 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak council will continue its current policy of allowing only passholders into Heritage Hill Pool this summer.

The policy was enacted as part of COVID-19 protocols, but as the number of new cases has sharply fallen, Pennsylvania has relaxed almost all of the restrictions imposed in March 2020.

“This season, the pool will be open to passholders only, as decided back in April,” Councilman George Pambacas said at the June meeting. “We didn’t feel comfortable opening up the pool to everyone for Community Day and then closing it again. Community Day isn’t just about the pool.”

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Swimming Pool Death Under Investigation

June 29, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Foul play is not suspected in the death of a man who was found unconscious in a swimming pool at a home on Grandview Avenue Monday afternoon.

The victim was identified as Kurt Bills, 34, said the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office. The cause and manner of death are pending an autospy.

McKeesport police Chief Adam Alfer said Bills had been swimming with a family member at home. The family member went inside for a brief period of time and came back outside to find Bills unresponsive.

Paramedics were called and attempts were made to revive Bills, Alfer said, but he was pronounced dead at UPMC McKeesport hospital. Police are awaiting the medical examiner’s ruling, he said.


Renzie Ramble Takes Walk Through Local History

June 24, 2021 |

By Kristen Keleschenyi | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Kate Hester, a 19th century McKeesport saloon-keeper, is credited with coining the word “speakeasy” to describe an illegal bar. Hester’s story and that of other local and national celebrities will be told this weekend in Renziehausen Park, McKeesport. The photo is not of Hester’s saloon but depicts a 1919-era tavern. (Library of Congress collection)

Some of the best stories to come out of the 15132 zip code will be told with a dramatic flair this Saturday within the trails and landmarks of Renziehausen Park.

The first-ever “Renzie Ramble Walking Tour,” presented by the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center and the McKeesport Little Theater, will go beyond the Living History Tours that have taken place for the past seven years in the McKeesport & Versailles Cemetery.

“It’s stuff we would like to do on the cemetery tour but can’t because either they are not buried there or we don’t have the exact facts,” said David Moore, museum director at the MRH&HC. “When we do the cemetery tour a lot of research goes into every single one of those characters, whereas for this we did the research but if we couldn’t confirm it we had to fill it in.”

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One Faces Charges in May Shooting

June 24, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport woman is free on $25,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing on charges related to a May 2 shooting that sent another woman to the hospital.

Olivia Faith Lynn Lewis, 22, is charged by McKeesport police with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person.

According to a police report, officers were dispatched to Building 55 of the Crawford Village housing development just before 6 p.m. when a ShotSpotter sensor detected a gun shot. A 9-1-1 call was received one minute later, reporting a shooting.

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City Woman Charged in School Bus Crash

June 24, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport woman faces a preliminary hearing Friday in connection with a crash involving a school bus.

Lakeya Dodoo, 42, is free on her own recognizance pending proceedings before Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi.

According to a police report, on the afternoon of June 2, a black Ford Fusion sedan collided with the bus on Eden Park Boulevard, not far from the McKeesport Area High School campus.

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P.V. Police Issue Parked Car Warning

June 23, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Port Vue police will be tagging and towing cars and trucks parked on public streets without valid inspection stickers and license plates.

In an email, Police Chief David J. Petruski said the enforcement push is an effort “to clean up Port Vue by removing the unsightly junk vehicles that populate the borough.”

Under borough ordinance, vehicles without valid licenses or inspections may be tagged with warning notices. Owners then have 48 hours to move the vehicle off of the road, or rectify the problems, police said.

Petruski said all vehicles parked on borough streets must have valid and current registration plates and inspection stickers.


Dek Hockey Leagues Thriving in City

June 22, 2021 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, Sports

Additional reporting by Kristen Keleschenyi

When the McKeesport Dek Hockey Association announced in March that they would have adult leagues in the spring, interest was high after a year of COVID-19 restrictions. Although youth leagues were postponed, enrollment in the adult leagues flourished.

The rink offered a dose of normalcy for adults during the pandemic. Not only was the rink a location for adults to gather safely to get some much-needed exercise, but it also gave players an opportunity for fellowship.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” said Andy Miller, a Glassport resident who plays in the adult leagues. “I started playing here about two years ago. Now, I’m usually here three or four nights per week playing games.”

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NAMI McKeesport Sets July Meeting

June 22, 2021 |

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

McKeesport’s affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness will meet at 6 p.m. July 1 in the pavilion adjacent to the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center in Renziehausen Park, a spokeswoman said. The meeting is open to families and friends of loved ones living with mental illness.

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. It offers understanding and support unique to those who are affected by these conditions. NAMI McKeesport occasionally invites mental health professionals to speak about treatment and resources.

For more information about the McKeesport meeting, call (412) 527-6600. For the NAMI Helpline, call (412) 366-3788 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


WN Library to Dedicate Children’s Room

June 22, 2021 |

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

West Newton Library will hold a dedication and open house of its new children’s room from 6 to 7:30 p.m. June 30, a spokeswoman said. The room is being dedicated in memory of Patricia Medsger and Emma Jean Pritchard.

Visitors are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing. The library is located at 124 N. Water St.

The spokeswoman said the library specificaly needs used adult fiction hardcover book donations. The library is open from 12 noon to 5 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, 12 noon to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

Books being donated for sale should not be placed in return book drop box. Outside of business hours, books can be dropped off in bags or boxes on the front porch.


Duquesne Schools Optimistic About ’21-22

June 22, 2021 |

By Matt Germaine | Posted in: Duquesne News

In March 2020, just days before the COVID-19 pandemic forced all Pennsylvania schools to switch to remote instruction, state Rep. Austin Davis visited Duquesne Education Center to read to pupils. (Courtesy State Rep. Austin Davis)

Despite a year dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Duquesne City School District finished the 2020-2021 academic year strong and with an optimistic outlook on the year to come.

“We’ve had about 25 [cases] total, it really has been remarkable,” said Sue Mariani, the Duquesne City School District’s superintendent.  “We’ve been very, very fortunate.  To me, it’s the due diligence of everybody just doing their part to keep everyone safe.”

In March 2020, the district sent each of its 360 students home with either an iPad or a Chromebook, depending on grade level and teacher pedagogy.  But while students learned from home, the district’s faculty and staff adopted a proactive mindset regarding the logistics of the months to come.

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3 Hurt as Bus Collides With Cars

June 18, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Three people, including a child, sustained minor injuries Wednesday afternoon when a school bus collided with four cars near the 15th Avenue Bridge.

McKeesport police Chief Adam Alfer said the accident occurred at 4:25 p.m. on Walnut Street just north of the intersection. The school bus, carrying middle-school-age pupils home from an extra-curricular activity, was following four other vehicles south toward Christy Park, he said.

According to a police report, as the traffic reached the intersection at 15th Avenue, the light turned red. Although the first four vehicles stopped for the traffic signal, a preliminary investigation indicates that the bus driver was momentarily distracted and didn't realize that traffic had halted, Alfer said.

“He hit the brakes, but it was too late to stop,” Alfer said.

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Good Crowd, Weather at Good Neighbor Day

June 17, 2021 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Children wait to take a ride on the kiddie train at McKeesport’s Good Neighbor Day. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

Approximately 40 organizations participated in McKeesport Good Neighbor Day along Fifth Avenue between Market and Locust streets on Wednesday.

McKeesport residents and their neighbors from surrounding communities came together to enjoy the festivities. Events started at 10 a.m. and lasted until 4 p.m. Admission was free.

Agencies provided information about women’s health, family support systems, well-being of children, and local businesses promoted their products.  Food vendors sold drinks, snacks and complete meals. Children enjoyed feeding farm animals at the petting zoo, took rides on a kiddie train, and jumped in a bouncing house.

The annual event, sponsored by the City of McKeesport, was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Crafts, Live Music Mark Good Neighbor Day

June 16, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

After a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, McKeesport’s Good Neighbor Day will return Wednesday (June 16) to Fifth Avenue, Downtown.

A spokesperson said more than 40 organizations are scheduled to participate, including food vendors, craft booths and games for kids, local public officials, community service groups, churches and businesses.

Events will continue from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. along a two-block stretch of Fifth Avenue between Market and Locust streets. Admission is free.

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First-Responders Meet Kids During Career Week

June 14, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Paramedics from McKeesport Area Rescue Service joined city police and firefighters to talk to local students about public-safety careers. (Submitted photo)

McKeesport Area School District students participating in a day camp are getting a close-up look at career paths this week.

On Monday, first-responders from McKeesport police and fire departments and McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service met with students to answer questions and show them how emergency equipment works.

The summer camp, funded by the Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation, includes daily sessions focused on hands-on learning, athletics and enrichment. This week is “Career Week,” organizers said.

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Roads Flooded, Power Off After Storms Slam Area

June 14, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, North Versailles Twp. News, White Oak News

A fast-moving storm knocked down this tree in McKeesport’s Renziehausen Park on Monday afternoon. (Kristen Keleschenyi photo)

For the second day in a row, intense thunderstorms slammed parts of the Pittsburgh area on Monday, flooding streets, knocking down trees and turning out the lights for thousands of residents.

Duquesne Light Co. said more than 5,200 customers were without power Monday night, including about 1,000 in McKeesport, North Versailles Twp. and Port Vue. About 3,000 West Penn Power customers in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties also were without power, including in White Oak, Coulter and Elizabeth Twp., company officials said.

A fast-moving line of storms swept through the Mon-Yough area between 2 and 3 p.m., bringing dangerous lightning, high winds and pea-size hail.

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City Man, Two Other Dead in Pittsburgh Crash

June 14, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Pittsburgh firefighters work to extinguish a blaze that ignited after a car crashed into this office building on that city’s North Side. Three people, including a McKeesport man and a Clairton woman, died in the crash. (Pittsburgh police photo)

Three people, including a McKeesport man, died after a car crashed into a blood plasma center on Pittsburgh’s North Side on Saturday morning.

Pittsburgh police said Ronald K. Morgan, 50, was inside the vehicle that crashed into the Biomat USA plasma center in the 1300 block of Western Avenue just before 12 noon. Morgan was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other two victims, Laura E. Meneskie, 35, of Pittsburgh, and Parveena Abdul, 55, of Clairton were employees of Biomat USA who were working inside the building, emergency personnel said.

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Library Hosts COVID-19 Clinic June 18

June 07, 2021 |

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

Carnegie Library of McKeesport will host a “pop-up” vaccination clinic from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 18 in the children’s room, a spokeswoman said.

All walk-ins will be accepted. The vaccine to be administered will be the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Masks will be required except for people with medical exemptions. The vaccine is free and is available to ages 16 and older.

For more information, call (412) 672-0624. The library is located at 1507 Library Ave.


EA To Host COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

June 07, 2021 |

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

East Allegheny School District will host a COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Wednesday (June 9), a spokesperson said.

This clinic will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. at Logan Elementary School, 1150 Jacks Run Road in North Versailles Twp., and is not limited to residents of the district. The clinic is also open to residents of surrounding communities.

This vaccine opportunity is available due to a partnership between UPMC, Children and Adults Developmental Agency Programs, the Neighborhood Resilience Project and East Allegheny School District.

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Seniors Cap Challenging Year With Final Concerts

June 04, 2021 |

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

Correction: This article was corrected after publication to fix a misspelled name. We apologize for the error. —JT

Senior members of the McKeesport Area High School Choir gather for their final spring concert on May 11. (Submitted photo)

Twenty-seven McKeesport Area High School seniors — some even participating in all three music ensembles — performed their final band, choir and orchestra concerts to culminate a challenging year during a pandemic.

The choir concert was May 11, while band and orchestra performed May 13.

Although practices, classes, and performances definitely were different than in the past for the students and their directors, some shared reflections of how they overcame the obstacles.

Three seniors receive awards annually for outstanding contributions, while a fourth is presented with a scholarship in honor of a long-time McKeesport Area High School music teacher and band director who passed away in 2017.

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Heritage Center Hosts Owston Concert Sunday

June 04, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Pastor Chuck Owston (Submitted photo via Facebook)

The “rockabilly reverend,” Pastor Chuck Owston, will give a concert at 5 p.m. Sunday in the parking lot of McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center, a spokesperson said.

Owston’s program, entitled “Highways & Railways,” will include a musical journey from the mountains of Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta “and beyond.”

A member of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, Owston has been playing and singing American roots music for more than 60 years. In the 1960s he did on-location research in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, studying folk music from people who were passing down traditional music from generation to generation.

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Renzie Market Opens This Saturday

June 04, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

Jaime DeCarlo and Camden Stover of DeCarlo's Fruit Market on the Glassport-Elizabeth Road had produce, honey and flowering plants available at the Renzie Market in 2017. (Tube City Almanac file photo)

The farmer’s market at Renziehausen Park resumes this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will continue through late August, a spokesperson said.

Located behind McKeesport Fire Station No. 2 at the corner of Eden Park Boulevard and Tulip Drive, scheduled vendors include DeCarlo’s Market, Jwicksbeads, Gifts of Paradise, 2 Guys & A Coffee Stand, Daryl’s Famous Rolls, Modest Lips, Sydney’s Scrunchies, Cheryl Yeager Gallery and more.

Fruit and vegetable vendors accept WIC and senior produce vouchers. For more information, visit Renzie Market on Facebook.


W.O. Remembers Sacrifices, Welcomes Summer

June 03, 2021 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: White Oak News

*Correction: This story was corrected after publication to fix a misspelled name. We apologize for the error. —JT

Vietnam-era veterans representing American Legion Post 701 ride in Monday’s Memorial Day parade on Lincoln Way in White Oak. (Sarah Turnbull photo for Tube City Almanac)

After taking a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, White Oak resumed its annual Memorial Day parade Monday.

The parade began at 12:30 p.m. on Guice Street and ended at the American Legion post on Capitol Street.

Hosted by American Legion General Smedley D. Butler Post 701, the parade included units representing veterans’ organizations, the White Oak police department, area volunteer firefighters, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops and the McKeesport Area High School Tiger Band.
For Laura Massie, executive director of the White Oak Animal Safe Haven, seeing the community come together is the best part of Memorial Day.

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Council, Mayor Target Parking Scofflaws

June 03, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Tube City Almanac photo)

McKeesport officials are warning motorists not to park on sidewalks.

At Wednesday’s meeting, City Councilman Jim Barry Jr. urged Mayor Michael Cherepko to take action against the practice.

“I’m getting some constituent complaints,” he said. “I notice it mostly on Walnut Street and Fifth Avenue, but it’s starting to move into (residential) neighborhoods as well.”

Barry described the problem as more than a nuisance. “It forces people to walk in the street, so it’s a safety issue, but it’s busting up the sidewalks and curbs,” he said. “We’ve got to start warning people.”

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More Vacant Buildings Face Demolition

June 02, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The former Frank Mikell barber shop on Walnut Street in the Third Ward — once a community gathering place — is targeted for demolition. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Another 24 vacant buildings — mostly in the city’s Walnut Street corridor — are scheduled for demolition in what McKeesport officials said is a focused effort to encourage new business development in the Second and Third wards.

At Wednesday’s meeting, city council awarded a $219,850 contract to Minniefield Demolition Services LLC of West Mifflin to tear down abandoned homes and commercial structures on Walnut, Jenny Lind, Locust and Whigham streets; Tube Works and Van Kirk alleys; and Olive, Seventh and Ninth avenues.

The latest contract is separate from a $294,000 state grant announced last week that will help pay for the demolition of seven commercial buildings in the Downtown area.

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