Dual QBs Lead Serra Past Imani Academy

September 30, 2022 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: Sports

An explosive second quarter led by Serra quarterbacks Quadir Stribling and Elijah Ward pushed (4-1) Serra Catholic past (2-3) Imani Christian Academy last Friday night.

The 4-1 Eagles normally like to keep a quick tempo. In the matchup with Imani, the Eagles scored early but didn’t really start soaring until the second quarter. Once they got rolling, however, they were able to secure a 47-12 victory and keep their four-game winning streak alive.

Stribling and Ward will be showing off their talents tonight as the (4-1) Eagles welcome an (0-5) Derry team at home in McKeesport at 7 p.m.

“We are always trying to play fast as a no-huddle offense. Imani did a great job after our first drive settling down and playing good defense. We found some plays that worked in the second quarter and continued to run them as they had great success,” said Michael Betler, Serra Catholic assistant head coach.

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Angora Gardens Posts October Calendar

September 30, 2022 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements, White Oak News

(Submitted photo)

Thursday yoga classes with Alice Kemp will be returning to Angora Gardens in White Oak this winter, and wreath and crochet classes will resume in November, a spokeswoman has announced.

The health and wellness center, operated by UPMC Western Behavioral Health at Mon Yough, has released its October schedule, and also is seeking volunteers.

“Volunteering at Angora Gardens is an extremely rewarding experience that provides a valuable service for our community,” says Julie Pecora, program supervisor. “We offer volunteer activities for adults and youth.”

Individuals, families, scout and church groups, schools, corporate teams and others seeking community service hours are encouraged to participate.

The facility is located at 3 Muse Lane in White Oak Park.

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Resale Shop Offers Outfits for Any Occasion

September 28, 2022 |

By Elizabeth Laughlin | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Courtesy YOUnique Boutique (Via Facebook)

For owner Stephanie Smalls, opening a business in McKeesport was unexpected.

“Even I was shocked to be there,” Smalls said. “But I asked, ‘Which way should I go, Lord?’ And that’s where I ended up.”

In 2013, Stephanie Smalls decided to leave her job in the corporate world and start her own business. That’s when she and her daughter, Jazmine, opened YOUnique Boutique, located in the Masonic Building at 522 Walnut St. They are not originally from the McKeesport area, but the location was affordable.

Whether YOUnique Boutique can survive much longer, however, is a question. Smalls said the store took a big financial hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I worked for 25 years in the corporate world,” Smalls said. “But this is what I always wanted to do. I’ve always appreciated thrift shopping.”

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Blast at Former YWCA Still Under Investigation

September 28, 2022 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A team of investigators is still working to determine the cause of an Aug. 2 blast that heavily damaged the former YWCA of McKeesport on Ninth Avenue.

Allegheny County spokeswoman Amie M. Downs said Tuesday that city officials and the county fire marshal’s office will arrange a meeting at the scene with building tenants, the state Public Utility Commission and representatives of Peoples Gas to examine the structure and determine what parts are safe to enter.

According to witnesses and emergency officials, a contractor was using heavy equipment at the rear of the building to dig up a portion of the parking lot shortly before an explosion occurred.

The contractor, who has not been publicly identified, was working to construct a wheelchair-accessible ramp.

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Increased Security in Wake of Kennywood Shooting

September 28, 2022 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News, State & Region

The suspect wanted in connection with a shooting at Kennywood on Saturday night that injured three people remains at large, Allegheny County police said.

In the meantime, officials at the landmark amusement park in West Mifflin have announced enhanced security measures for when the park reopens, including a requirement that all guests age 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult age 21 years or older, and that their chaperones must have valid ID.

Details of the new security policies are posted on Kennywood’s website.

Three people, including two teen-agers, were wounded by gunshots after a suspect described as a Black teen-ager wearing a hooded sweatshirt and a face mask opened fire near the Musik Express ride.

The park was open Saturday night for its annual Halloween-themed “Phantom Fall Fest” celebration.

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McKeesport NAACP Marks 60 Years at Dinner

September 28, 2022 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

State Rep. Summer Lee, who represents the 34th Legislative District was the keynote speaker for the McKeesport Unit NAACP’s 60th Anniversary celebration. (Photo by Vickie Babyak for Tube City Almanac)

A race riot in Abraham Lincoln’s hometown in 1908 led to the organization of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

In Springfield, Ill., during the summer of 1908, a white woman alleged a Black man had attacked her. The woman later admitted before a special grand jury that, in fact, she actually was beaten by a white man but wouldn’t disclose his name.

But in the meantime, an angry mob of around 5,000 surged through the streets in violence. Eight Black men were killed, more than 50 men, women and children were beaten, and their homes and businesses were burned down forcing 2,000 Black residents to abandon their city, losing their livelihoods and wealth.

Remembering that history — and celebrating the hard work done over the past century to overcome racial discrimination and prejudice — members of the McKeesport Unit of the NAACP came together this month to celebrate their own 60th anniversary at the group’s annual Freedom Dinner.

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Family, Officials Re-Dedicate Marina Lighthouse

September 26, 2022 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Family of the late McKeesport Mayor Joe Bendel gathered Sunday morning with Mayor Michael Cherepko, state Sen. Jim Brewster and others to re-dedicate the Bendel Lighthouse at McKees Point Marina. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Family and friends of the late Joe Bendel gathered Sunday morning to re-dedicate a lighthouse at McKees Point Marina to the former mayor’s memory.

First erected in 2008 following a fundraising drive, the Bendel Lighthouse was heavily damaged in a storm two years ago. McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said repairs to the lighthouse — which is a scaled-down version of a full-size coastal lighthouse — were completed by Vegely Welding in the city’s Third Ward and paid for by insurance.

Bendel, who served on city council and then as mayor from 1995 to 2000, died in 2003. Cherepko and others credited Bendel with working to slow a long period of decline in the city that began in the 1980s with the loss of U.S. Steel, G.C. Murphy Co. and other large employers.

The lighthouse symbolizes the “vision that Joe Bendel had of the marina and bike trail,” Cherepko said. “He saw all of this happening long before we ever imagined it.”

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Several Hurt Following Kennywood Shooting

September 25, 2022 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

(UPDATED with statement from Kennywood management.)

Kennywood will remain closed until Sept. 30 as police and park officials investigate a shooting on Saturday night near the Musik Express ride.

Three people — including two 15-year-olds — were taken to area hospitals with gunshot wounds, while other people reportedly suffered minor injuries while running for the exits following the 10:49 p.m. incident at the West Mifflin amusement park.

Witnesses said that a brawl broke out near the Pirate Ship ride shortly before shots were fired. Dozens of police officers from throughout the Mon Valley descended on the park following the shooting, which caused the closure of Kennywood Boulevard into the early morning hours on Sunday.

The park is “closely collaborating with police,” said Mark Pauls, Kennywood general manager, in a prepared statement. “We will continue to cooperate with authorities throughout their investigation.”

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Bus Co. Head Asks for Patience from MASD Parents

September 23, 2022 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Krise Transportation says it has been aggressively recruiting drivers to fill its new contract with McKeesport Area School District, using TV and Internet ads like this one. (YouTube)

Tim Krise understands that McKeesport area parents are frustrated, but the president of Krise Transportation is asking for patience.

Since entering into agreement with McKeesport Area School District this summer, Krise Transportation has sought to remedy a difficult situation.

Krise noted that families and students experienced days last year “where routes were not covered, were delayed or were canceled within an hour or two of when students were supposed to be picked up.”

Krise Transportation’s objective, he said, “is communication — whether it's good or bad — with the school district and the parents.”

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MAHS Junior Recognized for College Board Honor

September 22, 2022 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Chemay Smith, a junior at McKeesport Area High School, was recognized during Wednesday's school board meeting for receiving an academic honor from the College Board through its National African American Recognition program. She is shown here with her mother, Priscilla Carter-Smith. (Adam Reinherz photo for Tube City Almanac)

A McKeesport Area High School 11th-grader has received a national academic honor from the College Board.

At Wednesday’s meeting, district Superintendent Tia Wanzo congratulated Chemay Smith for receiving an award from the National African American Recognition program for her high test scores.

“These national recognition programs grant underrepresented students with academic honors that can be included on college, school and scholarship applications, and connect students with universities across the country, helping them stand out during the admissions process,” Wanzo said.

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MASD Drops Live Streams of Meetings

September 22, 2022 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Future sessions of the McKeesport Area School Board will not be streamed on the Internet, a decision which dismayed some residents at Wednesday’s meeting.

In addition, board President Mindy Lundberg said, the school board has decided to cut back to just one meeting per month.

“I just want that to be transparent,” Lundberg said. “If you have concerns I welcome people to come and speak at the next meeting.”

Lundberg noted the decisions, which represent the majority wishes of the board, follow her own reflections on past meetings and the fracases that have ensued between sitting members and the public.

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Burrell Ground Attack No Match for Serra Gridders

September 22, 2022 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: Sports

Burrell High School’s archaic gameplan was not enough to ground the Serra Catholic Eagles last Friday night.

Using an unrecognizable game plan for the year 2022, the Burrell Buccaneers did not attempt a single forward pass the entire game against Serra Catholic last Friday night. The Burrell offense could have literally “taken the air out of the ball,” and the results would have been same.

However, the ground-and-pound offense was only effective until halftime and that’s when the Serra Catholic football coaches went to work making the necessary adjustments on their way to a 35-20 victory.

The Eagles are on the road this week to face 2-2 Imani Christian Academy of Pittsburgh. Game time is 7 p.m.

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They’re Here: Lanternflies Pestering Local Residents

September 22, 2022 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: State & Region

They may seem pretty at first — but spotted lanternflies could cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to crops and timber in Pennsylvania every year. The invasive pests have arrived in the Mon-Yough area and are widespread. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

The invasive spotted lanternfly is spreading through the Mon Valley. Residents report noticing a few lanternflies in their yards or neighborhoods and others are seeing swarms of them.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the spotted lanternfly, or SLF, is an invasive plant-hopper native to Asia. It was first discovered in 2014 in Berks County and since then has spread to multiple counties, as well as to Ohio, Virginia and Maryland.

“We’re coming up on the time when SLF lay egg masses from September to November and this is a great time to continue to control the spread,” said Tim Byan, Whetzel Land Steward for the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania.

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Police Investigate Fatal Duquesne Shooting

September 22, 2022 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News, Duquesne News

A Duquesne man died early Wednesday morning after a shooting in the 700 block of Grant Street.

Demetrius T. Pirl, 52, was pronounced dead at the scene, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

In a prepared statement, county police said 9-1-1 was notified of the shooting just after 12 midnight.

First responders found the victim, identified as Pirl, suffering from gunshot wounds, police said.

County homicide detectives are investigating but have released few other details. Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to call the county police tip line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.


Eagles Ready for Showdown With 3–0 Burrell

September 16, 2022 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: Sports

The Serra Catholic High School Eagles will look to keep their momentum alive tonight when they host the Buccaneers of Burrell High School under the lights in Haler Heights.

Last Friday, a thrilling three-minute series of plays helped the Eagles score 21 unanswered points on their way to a miraculous comeback that helped Serra defeat the Prexies of Washington High School 35–34.

The Eagles’ offense was spearheaded by sophomore quarterback Quadir Stribling, who was 11-18-1 with 185 yards passing. Senior running back Mike Schanck rumbled into the endzone for 2 touchdowns on 12 carries while amassing 93 yards on the ground.

Michael Betler, Serra Catholic associate head coach, wasn’t surprised by the comeback.

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Lively Tunes, Dance Shine in MLT’s ‘Newsies’

September 15, 2022 |

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

From left, Anderson Miller as Les, Ayden Freed as Davey, Dylan Pal as Jack Kelly, and Camryn Hall as Katherine Plumber, rehearse a musical number from “Newsies.” (Photo by Bonnijean Cooney Adams for Tube City Almanac)

If you go...


Disney’s “Newsies: The Broadway Musical”

Where: McKeesport Little Theater
1614 Coursin St.

When: 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays Sept. 16, Sept. 17, Sept. 23, Sept. 24, and matinees at 2 p.m. on Sundays Sept. 18 and Sept. 25
Tickets: $20 for adults and $12 for students, available through the website or by leaving reservation information at the theater

When Disney’s “Newsies: the Broadway Musical” opens at McKeesport Little Theater on Friday, Sept. 16, audiences will get to see the results of transforming a huge production to a community stage for an up-close-and-personal experience.

The Broadway version evolved from the 1992 film of the same name featuring a young Christian Bale as newsboy leader Jack Kelly. It is based on real events and people involved in the famous 1899 newsboys strike in New York.

The newsies peddled papers produced by media moguls Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst. The strike occurred when the publishers tried to change the way the young workers were compensated.

The show features lots of catchy tunes, likeable characters, and lively dance numbers. It’s been portrayed on the big movie screen, Broadway stages and national tours.

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Library Hosts Lunch, Local Poet on Friday

September 15, 2022 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Submitted photo via Twitter)

Carnegie Library of McKeesport will host a “lunch on the lawn” Friday as part of its continuing celebration of “Love Your Library Month,” then will welcome local poet Kristofer Collins, who will read some of his work.

A spokesperson said the Sept. 16 lunch begins at 11 a.m. and will feature quiche, salad and a beverage. Funnel cakes also will be available for an additional $5. Events will be held outside, weather-permitting.

At 2 p.m., Collins will read from his work. He is the editor of the Pittsburgh Book Review, books editor at Pittsburgh Magazine, a contributor to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and co-host of the Summer Poetry Series at Hemingway’s in Oakland.

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Shriners Band Comes to Renzie on Sunday

September 15, 2022 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Submitted photo courtesy Shriners Band of Pittsburgh)

The swing-style Shriners’ band of the Syria Temple is coming to the Lions Bandshell at Renziehausen Park at 6 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 18), a spokesperson said.

The concert is being presented by the Carnegie Library of McKeesport and the McKeesport Music Club.

The first all-Shriner band in North America, the Shriners Band of Pittsburgh is affiliated with the Syria Temple Shriners, headquartered in Cheswick. The band traces its history back more than 100 years and regularly plays concerts throughout the mid-Atlantic states to raise money for Shriners Hospitals for Children.

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Baby Joeys Hop Into Hospital Courtyard

September 15, 2022 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Submitted photos)

Baby kangaroos visited with health care workers on Wednesday afternoon in the courtyard of UPMC McKeesport hospital.

The joeys, raised on Aldinger Farms near Harrisburg, also visited UPMC East hospital in Monroeville.

“For the past two years, health care workers have faced numerous challenges,” said a UPMC spokesperson. “Bringing the kangaroos to visit UPMC East and UPMC McKeesport and spend some time with the employees is a fun way to recognize their hard work and dedication.”

Shown with one of the baby kangaroos is Beth VanGelder, an environmental services employee in the operating room.


Kane Fun Walk Will Raise Funds for Activities

September 15, 2022 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Submitted photo)

Organizers are getting ready for the 11th annual “Joan Burns Fun Walk 4 Kane,” which will be held this Saturday to raise money for activities for residents of Allegheny County's four Kane skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. at Kane McKeesport, 100 Ninth Ave. at Water Street, and the walk begins at 9:30 a.m. A picnic on the Kane lawn will follow. The first 100 people to register will receive a T-shirt.

The registration fee is $20, but will be waved for anyone who turns in donations and pledges of $50 or more, a spokesperson said.

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License Plate Replacement Event Today

September 14, 2022 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements, White Oak News

State Rep. Austin Davis and Allegheny County police will host a free event today (Sept. 15) to help Mon Valley residents replace damaged or hard-to-read license plates.

The event will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. at Rainbow Volunteer Fire Co., 2916 Jacks Run Road, White Oak.

The event is being held to help residents replace standard-issue license plates only and cannot accommodate specialty, vanity or handicap plates. New plates will not be issued at the event.

Registration is required prior to the event by calling Davis’s office at (412) 664-0035. Davis’s staff will help complete the necessary paperwork for a replacement license ahead of time to streamline the process. Attendees will need to bring a valid driver’s license and current registration to the event.

The Allegheny County Sheriff’s Department will also be at the event to collect unused or expired medications to dispose of them safely.


Resale Shop Holding Vendor Event Oct. 8

September 14, 2022 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Fifth and Rebecca Resale Shop, located in the former Weinberg Service Station in upper 10th Ward, will host a vintage flea market from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 8, a spokeswoman said.

Multiple vendors will be selling new and antique items, including home furnishings, housewares, clothing, signage, and seasonal fall and Halloween items.

In addition, mums and corn stalks will be available, and there will be a bake sale as well as refreshments from Salsa Sam’s food truck.

The resale shop is located on West Fifth Avenue at Rebecca Street.


Chamber Slates 11th Annual Tour de Mon

September 14, 2022 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Submitted photo)

Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce will hold its 11th annual “Tour de Mon” bike ride on Sept. 24, a spokesman said.

Registration will be held from 8 to 11 a.m. at the pump house, located at the south entrance to the Waterfront, 880 E. Waterfront Drive, Munhall, said Maury Burgwin, chamber director.

Cyclists will then travel the Great Allegheny Passage before returning to the pump house for lunch and a concert by the Robinson Power Band.

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Fire Station, LaRosa Club Improvements OK’d

September 11, 2022 |

By Tom Leturgey | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport City Council approved a resolution to enter into a grant agreement for improvements to Fire Station No. 2 in Renziehausen Park.

At this month’s meeting, council by 6-0 vote approved an application for the Keystone Communities Program Grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The application for the $25,000 grant is being facilitated through state Senator Jim Brewster’s office, city officials said. Councilman James Barry Jr. was absent.

Community Development Director A.J. Tedesco and City Administrator Thomas Maglicco are working on the grant proposal. Garvin Consulting is donating some engineering services toward the project.

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Tense Exchange at Council Between Mayor, Rival

September 11, 2022 |

By Tom Leturgey | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko and resident Corry Sanders exchanged tense words Wednesday night at the city council meeting when a discussion over speeding turned tense.

The debate could be a preview of things to come, since Sanders — who was elected to city council in 2015 but was unable to take his seat — has discussed the possibility of running against Cherepko in a future election.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Sanders asked the mayor about road patching and resurfacing on Jenny Lind Street. Cherepko said the public works crews do the best they can with strategization and available resources.

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Serra Bounces Back, Looks To Build Momentum

September 08, 2022 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: Sports

After a tough loss in week one at North Catholic, Serra Catholic’s football team was out to make a statement last Friday night. The Eagles beat the Seton LaSalle Rebels 56–21 at Rebel Athletic Field, bringing their record to 1-1-0.  

Eagles Head Coach Jose Regus was not surprised at all by his team’s rebounding effort.

“The players know the expectations that have been set in this program. This group didn’t flinch at the loss; it was a chance to get better,” he said.

The Eagles controlled the Rebels from the beginning, and it soon became a highlight reel for Eagles’ senior quarterback Elijah “Tiger” Ward as he threw for three touchdowns, caught one touchdown, and ran one in on the ground. Ward finished the game with 237 yards passing.

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Report: Lack of Juvenile Detention is a ‘Crisis’

September 05, 2022 |

By Danielle M. Smith - Public News Service | Posted in: State & Region

One goal of youth and family support services is to keep kids out of juvenile detention, but for those who are accused of serious crimes, Pennsylvania doesn't have enough space in its detention centers, and it is being described as a crisis.

A report by the Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission outlined the effects of facility closures on accessibility to services. Since 2006, some 15 juvenile detention centers have closed in the state, including Allegheny County’s Shuman Juvenile Detention Center, which had its license revoked in 2021.

There are now 14 facilities providing secure detention services across the state, and 61 of 67 counties must vie for beds at just seven of them. The report indicated staff shortages mean not all the beds can be used.

The closest juvenile detention facilities to Allegheny County are in Erie, Fayette and Westmoreland counties.

Abigail Wilson, director of child welfare, juvenile justice and education services for the Pennsylvania Council of Children, Youth, and Family Services, said a few factors are contributing to the lack of available beds.

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Teen Slain in Duquesne Shooting

September 05, 2022 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News, Duquesne News

A 14-year-old from Duquesne died Friday evening following a shooting near the intersection of Caroline Street and Priscilla Avenue.

La’Japonis Roberts was pronounced dead at the scene, the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office said.

Allegheny County police said Roberts was a passenger in a car in the 700 block of Priscilla Avenue when someone opened fire just after 5 p.m. The driver fled the scene, police said.

Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to call the county police tip line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.


Craig Street Woman Wounded in Shooting

September 05, 2022 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

More than 30 shell casings were recovered Sunday evening from the scene of a shooting on Craig Street in which an  innocent bystander was injured.

Allegheny County police said a 68-year-old woman who was sitting on her porch was injured when unknown gunmen targeting a house in the 1100 block of Craig Street opened fire.

In addition to the unidentified victim, who was struck in the arm, two houses and three vehicles were damaged, county police said.

The incident happened just before 5:30 p.m., police said.

Police recovered a mix of rifle and handgun casings and said they believe the shooters, who fled on foot, were targeting a specific house.

Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to call the county police tip line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.


Former MASD Teacher Charged in Abuse Case

September 01, 2022 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

(UPDATED with bond information)

A former McKeesport Area School District teacher is being held in the Allegheny County Jail without bond after being charged in connection with 11 alleged incidents of child sex abuse.

Eric V. Fairman, 26, is charged by Allegheny County police with multiple counts of indecent assault, corruption of minors, unlawful contact with minors and criminal use of a communications facility. Allegheny County police said Fairman surrendered this morning.

McKeesport Area school officials said Fairman resigned from his position at Founders Hall Middle School on Wednesday, when the district learned he was being investigated. He had worked there since September 2021.

Fairman also has been removed from coaching positions at West Jefferson Hills School District, school officials there said.

Police allege the incidents occurred in 2020 and 2021 in Pleasant Hills and Jefferson Hills borough, where according to published reports, Fairman served as a girls’ assistant basketball coach and former ninth-grade baseball coach at Thomas Jefferson High School.

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