Parents, School Officials Decry Recent Violence

January 26, 2023 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Following three area shootings in six weeks, and the discovery of a plastic BB gun in a high school student’s backpack on Monday, McKeesport Area School District board members voiced their commitment to safety during Wednesday’s meeting.

“Safety is the number one priority. Education is supposed to be number one but that’s fallen out and number two for me,” board member Joseph Lopretto said. “This school board is 100 percent on board. I don’t want anybody to even take away from tonight that we don’t care because we care.”

Despite Lopretto’s assertion, several parents raised concern regarding the effectiveness of backpack checks and other security measures.

Superintendent Tia Wanzo said that a group of six adults inspect backpacks “every day.”

 
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Reminder: Permits Needed for Fish Fries

January 25, 2023 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The Lenten season is right around the corner, which means fish fries are too.

The Allegheny County Health Department is reminding fish fry sponsors that they must have a valid food permit, a requirement for all food facilities in the county, including temporary fish fries.

“Seasonal fish fries are a great part of the region’s cultural identity,” said Otis Pitts, deputy director for food safety, housing & policy at the health department. “It is important that seasonal fish fry organizers follow proper food safety handling procedures to make sure their patrons do not get sick from the food they serve. Working with the Health Department’s Food Safety Program will help fish fry organizers do just that.”

 
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NAMI McKeesport Plans February Meeting

January 25, 2023 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The McKeesport chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness will meet at 6 p.m. Feb. 1 in Room 122 of the Frable Building at Penn State Greater Allegheny, a spokeswoman said. The meeting is open to families and friends of loved ones living with mental illness.

Updates regarding NAMI programs and other resources will be available. A care and share session will be held.

NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

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

 

Scholarship Fund Plans Spaghetti Dinner

January 24, 2023 |

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

The Grady Hoffman Memorial Scholarship Fund will hold a spaghetti dinner benefit from 1 to 6 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Hutchinson Volunteer Fire Dept. hall, 261 Firehall Road off Route 136 in Sewickley Twp., a spokesman said.

Dinners are $10 for adults and $5 for children and include spaghetti, bread, beverage, salad and dessert. There will be a 50/50 drawing and other raffles.

The scholarship fund distributed $9,000 in educational assistance last year, the spokesman said. Purchase tickets at the door and eat-in or take-out.

 

Teen Critical Following Dinsmore St. Shooting

January 23, 2023 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

An unidentified teen-ager is in critical condition at a local hospital following a shooting Monday afternoon on Dinsmore Street in the city.

McKeesport police said officers were dispatched at 2:27 p.m. to a report of “multiple shots fired” and discovered the victim suffering from gunshot wounds. The incident happened near the corner of Dinsmore and Meadow streets, police said.

The victim’s age and the extent of his injuries was not immediately known.

Allegheny County police said in a prepared statement that homicide detectives are investigating. Anyone with information is asked to call the County Police tip line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.

 

Police Investigating ‘Gun’ Incident at H.S.

January 23, 2023 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

McKeesport Area High School was put on lockdown Monday morning after a plastic BB gun was discovered in a student’s backpack.

City police Chief Adam Alfer said the investigation is ongoing and that charges had not been filed. The student involved is 16 years old and attends the high school, he said.

Tube City Almanac does not identify suspects who are charged as juveniles.

Alfer said officers from McKeesport, White Oak and Penn State Greater Allegheny were dispatched after Allegheny County 9-1-1 received a report that a handgun had been spotted in a student’s belongings.

 
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Advocates: Curbing Violence Needs Persistence

January 23, 2023 |

By Tom Leturgey | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Community members arrive Thursday at McKeesport Area High School for a community meeting on gun violence convened by the McKeesport Unit of the NAACP. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)


Focused and persistent community action is necessary when it comes to tackling gun violence, said one of the speakers at a summit last week at McKeesport Area High School.

Tim Stevens, chair and chief executive officer of the Black Political Empowerment Project, or B-PEP, said stakeholders in the Mon Valley need to “stay the course” and keep working on communication and outreach, especially to youth who may be lured into crime or violence.

Anti-bullying and Internet safety are two specific areas that families should pay attention to, Stevens said.

The McKeesport unit of the NAACP on Thursday convened the second of a series of community meetings focused on reducing gun violence. A third is tentatively planned for Feb. 21.

 
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Wilmerding Community Center Slates Craft Show

January 22, 2023 |

By Dianne Ribecca | Posted in: Announcements

The Wilmerding Community Center, previously the YMCA, is having a craft show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 5.

The craft show will feature crafters and vendors with woodwork, quilted items, jewelry, bath and body products, fragrances, baked goods and more.

The Wilmerding Community Center is located at 1 Memorial Field, off Ice Plant Hill Road. Call (412) 520-7946 for more information.

 

City Library Posts Upcoming Events

January 20, 2023 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

“It Happened One Night,” a 1934 comedy starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, will be screened at the Carnegie Library of McKeesport, 1507 Library Ave., at 10 a.m. Jan. 27, a spokesperson said. (Columbia Pictures photo)


Carnegie Library of McKeesport will host a family-game night at 5 p.m. Saturday in the children’s room, 1507 Library Ave., a spokesman said.

Library Director Vincent D’Alesio said staff will host parents and kids in a game of “Apples to Apples Jr.,” a vocabulary-building game of funny word combinations.

The game is intended for players ages 8 and up. Registration in advance is requested, because space is limited. Call (412) 672-0625.

In other events for the second half of January, visitors are invited to take a “shelfie” — that’s a self-portrait in the shelves — on Jan. 25 during library business hours. If the photos are posted on social media, tag them with Carnegie Library of McKeesport on Facebook and @McKeesLibrary on Twitter.

 
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Walnut Street Work Begins Monday

January 20, 2023 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Traffic will be restricted on Walnut Street beginning Monday morning so that crews can install new sewer lines, a district spokesman for the state Department of Transportation said.

Lane restrictions will be in place from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. between 11th and 12th avenues, weather-permitting, continuing through late February, PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said.

Crews from Wilson Excavating will conduct sewer installation work.

PennDOT is not involved in this work and is providing this information as a public service announcement only, Cowan said.

 

No Danger Detected After Cleanup at EA School

January 20, 2023 |

By Dianne Ribecca | Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News

No dangerous levels of mold or other contaminants were detected after a water-line broke at East Allegheny Junior-Senior High School, the district’s superintendent told the school board this month.

Sub-zero temperatures over the winter break caused a pipe to break on the second floor, causing significant damage to the second-floor science wing.

School Superintendent Alan Johnson said that after consulting with the district’s environmental and disaster recovery experts, there were no reports of dangerous mold levels or other contaminants.

Environmental specialists were required to conduct additional testing for other toxins for another week, he said, before students could resume in-person classes.

 
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New City Manager Starts Work in Duquesne

January 20, 2023 |

By Tom Leturgey | Posted in: Duquesne News

Duquesne’s new city manager realizes he has many challenges in his post, but he’s ready to take on the charge.

Scott Crawford, 54, started work Dec. 19; Kelly Robertson had left the job in August, and George Newsome had assumed the Interim duties ever since. Newsome moves over to administrative assistant with the addition of Crawford.

“I’ve been working a couple of different roles,” said Crawford in a telephone interview on Tuesday. He has worked in a variety of different financial roles throughout his career. A Mt Washington native, Crawford was with the city of Pittsburgh from 2015 to 2019.

In 2020 and 2021, he was with the Allegheny County Health Department’s financial offices. He tried the private sector with stops at the Rivers Casino and PNC Bank, before finding the vacancy in Duquesne.

 
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Davis Takes Oath as State’s First Black Lt. Gov.

January 17, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Politics & Elections

Allegheny County President Judge Kim Berkeley Clark administers the oath of office to new Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Austin Davis, with his wife, Blayre Holmes Davis, by his side. (Submitted photo courtesy Commonwealth of Pennsylvania)


Pennsylvania’s first Black lieutenant governor was sworn into office on Tuesday morning and credited his upbringing in McKeesport — and the support of his family — with his success.

Lt. Gov. Austin Davis, 33, a lifelong resident of the city and a graduate of McKeesport Senior High School, took the oath of office in Harrisburg from Kim Berkeley Clark, Allegheny County president judge, with his wife, Blayre Holmes Davis, by his side.

One hour later, Davis’s running mate, former Attorney General Josh Shapiro, was sworn in as the commonwealth’s 48th governor, replacing Tom Wolf, who was limited to two terms by the state constitution. Both men are Democrats.

“Growing up my parents instilled in me the values of hard work, compassion and empathy,” Davis said. “The very values that we hope are instilled in all of our leaders. I wouldn’t be the man I am today without my parents Kathy and Ankarie Davis. Thank you for all the life lessons you’ve taught me.”

 
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Group With MLT Ties Presents ‘Romeo & Juliet’

January 13, 2023 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

Madeline Sclichter as Juliet and Emma Perman as Romeo, seated at center, were surrounded by most of the cast of Youth Shakespeare Society of Pittsburgh's production of “Romeo and Juliet” on Jan. 7 as they wrapped up several months of rehearsals. They resumed tech week rehearsals at Carnegie Stage in Carnegie, where the production will be staged. (Submitted photo)

If you go...

   

Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet”

Presented by Youth Shakespeare Society of Pittsburgh

Where: Carnegie Stage, 25 W. Main St., Carnegie

When: Friday, Jan. 13 and Saturday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m.; Sunday, Jan. 15 at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $10, available through our.show/yssprnj and the group’s website, youthshakespearepgh.org/romeoandjuliet

Those who enjoyed an adaptation of Shakespeare’s work at McKeesport Little Theater last summer will have to travel a little bit farther to see another one of the group’s productions.

Youth Shakespeare Society of Pittsburgh, co-founded in 2019 by Ella Mizera and Theo Fantozzi to provide teens and young adults with performing, directing, and designing experience in Shakespeare productions, is in tech week rehearsals for its adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet.”

The show opens tonight, and runs through Sunday, with two evening and one matinee performance at Carnegie Stage.

Ella Craig, who portrayed Viola in YSSP’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night,” which was performed at the McKeesport theater in June, has stepped up to direct the classic tragedy.

 
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Westmoreland Trail Eyes Mon Valley Connection

January 12, 2023 |

By Amy George | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, North Versailles Twp. News

The Westmoreland Heritage Trail connects Saltsburg to Trafford, via Monroeville. A proposal is underway to connect the trail to the Great Allegheny Passage via North Versailles Twp. and Turtle Creek. (Daveynin photo via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)


Changes coming to the regional trail network could make it easier than ever for Mon-Yough area bicyclists to reach destinations in Monroeville and Westmoreland County.

Currently in the works are plans to extend the current Pittsburgh-to-Maryland trail — the Great Allegheny Passage, or GAP trail — deeper into local communities. One such plan — the Turtle Creek Connector project — would extend the Westmoreland Heritage Trail through Turtle Creek and North Versailles Twp. to meet the GAP, which serves McKeesport, Duquesne and Homestead.

Once a bustling network of railways akin to the region’s industrial history, these converted trails have seen new life in the past few decades and continue to develop with innovative community visions.

 
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Water, Trash Bills Increase for Duquesne Residents

January 12, 2023 |

By Tom Leturgey | Posted in: Duquesne News

Duquesne City Councilwoman Elaine Washington ironed out a few street department “goals” for 2023 at the governing body’s first meeting of the year.

“New street signs,” she noted. Some need to be installed, while others need to be replaced, she told council.

Washington said the post office gave the city a warning about subpar signage “a few years ago,” and she thinks it’s time that street signs should be a priority.

“We also need to look at overgrowth, especially on Route 837,” she said. “It is our [Duquesne’s] responsibility.” She hopes crews will tackle that project in the late spring.

 
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Final Sunday Mass Sad for Corpus Christi Faithful

January 11, 2023 |

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

The parishioners who attended the final weekly Mass at Corpus Christi Church on Versailles Avenue looked on with sadness Saturday afternoon at the beautifully decorated altar, still adorned with a manger scene and Christmas trees.

The final communion hymn touched everyone deeply as the choir from above sang, “Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.” As the organ fell silent, the entire church erupted with applause. Many of the parishioners continue to send letters to the bishop hoping for a miracle. 

Parishioners at Corpus Christi Church, the former St. Mary Czestochowa, are afraid that they’ll have to die or get married to ever come back into the building.

In accordance with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh’s “On Mission for the Church Alive” campaign many parishes in and around Pittsburgh have merged into regional clusters. Corpus Christi is now part of Mary, Mother of God Parish, which also includes churches in Christy Park, White Oak and East McKeesport.

 
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Chorale Seeks Members, First Meeting Jan. 22

January 06, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

The Mon Yough Chorale, a community chorus, will begin rehearsals for its Spring session at 7 p.m. Jan. 22, a spokeswoman said. 

Rehearsals are held at Sampson's Mills Presbyterian Church, 1665 Lincoln Way, White Oak. Chorale president Donna Dineen said all sections are open, with a great need of tenors and basses.

“If you’ve sung in your high school, college or church choir in the past and are looking to get back to singing, this is a great opportunity,” she said. “There are no auditions. Just sit in on a rehearsal and then decide if you want to join.  For more information, visit our website, monyoughchorale.org.”

 

PD Chief Named, Duquesne VFD Gets Grant

January 06, 2023 |

By Tom Leturgey | Posted in: Crime and Police News, Duquesne News

For months, Tom Shaw has been Duquesne Police Department’s “acting” police chief. That changed Tuesday night as the Mayor Scott Adams and city council removed the interim title from his resume.

By a 4-0 vote, council this week named Shaw the permanent police chief. Councilman Tim Caldwell was absent. Shaw also was unable to attend the meeting, because he was away on business, Adams said.

Council also named Duquesne police Lt. Karra Vance assistant police chief. Vance served as acting police chief after former police Chief Thomas Dunlevy was placed on leave in 2021. Dunlevy was fired by city council on Dec. 6.

Both appointments took effect Wednesday.

 
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Seven, Including Mayor Candidate, Face Charges

January 05, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Crime and Police News, McKeesport and Region News

A local business owner who is challenging McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko in this year’s election has been arrested by state drug enforcement agents and accused of being part of a cocaine trafficking ring allegedly led by his campaign manager.

Corry J. Sanders, 52, who obtained a pardon for a previous drug offense through the efforts of now-U.S. Sen. John Fetterman and other elected officials, is charged by the state attorney general’s office with two counts each of drug possession, possession with intent to deliver and delivery.

The arrest — originally reported by Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV on New Year’s Eve — was confirmed Thursday afternoon by the attorney general’s office.

Investigators allege that Sanders sold cocaine to a confidential informant on two separate occasions, including at his Locust Street barbershop, Kool Kutz, in November 2022.

 
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LIHEAP Offers Pa. Residents Heating Assistance

January 04, 2023 |

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

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or LIHEAP, helps families living on low incomes pay their heating bills in the form of a cash grant. (Photo illustration courtesy Pennsylvania Department of Human Services)


Higher fuel prices and a bitterly cold start to this winter mean it will cost more for most people to heat their homes, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

There is help available for qualifying Pennsylvania households. Applications are being taken for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program through April 28 by the state Department of Human Services.

Patrick Cicero, consumer advocate for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, said no matter your home’s heating source, you do not have to be behind on your bill to be eligible for a cash grant.

 
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Reader’s Viewpoint: Why Are Only Working People Ever Asked to Sacrifice?

January 04, 2023 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

Above: State Rep. Nick Pisciotanno, West Mifflin Democrat, takes the oath of office on Jan. 3 alongside newly elected state Rep. Arvind Venkat of McCandless. Pisciotanno was first elected to the state General Assembly in 2020 and was re-elected in November 2022. In addition to West Mifflin, his district includes Baldwin Borough, Dravosburg, Glassport, Pittsburgh’s Lincoln Place neighborhood and Whitehall. (Photo courtesy Pennsylvania House of Representatives.)


State Rep. Nick Pisciottano is chairman of the newly formed House Democratic Subcommittee on Labor, Energy & Development. He represents the 38th Legislative District in Allegheny County, which includes parts of the Mon Valley and the South Hills. Pisciottano writes:

We’ve seen it over and over. A crisis like the recent potential railroad strike is only fixed when the working people who truly drive our economy are asked to once again “tighten our belts” and make concessions.

President Biden was given a terrible choice: support workers exercising their fundamental right to collectively bargain, demand fair treatment, and, if necessary, strike — which would potentially wreck the national economy — or use the government’s unique power over the rail industry and force workers to accept a contract, damaging his record as a worker-first leader who wants to rebuild the American middle class.

Biden put the American economy first. But it didn’t need to come to this.

 
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Police: Chief Was Slain By Duquesne Man

January 03, 2023 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A Duquesne man accused of killing the police chief of a small Allegheny Valley borough and wounding another police officer died following a confrontation Monday afternoon in the city of Pittsburgh.

Allegheny County police said Aaron Lamont Swan Jr., 28, formerly of Pittsburgh’s Lincoln-Lemington neighborhood, died after exchanging gunfire with several officers in a wooded area off of Columbiana Street in the Homewood-Brushton section of Pittsburgh.

Swan is suspected of killing Brackenridge police Chief Justin McIntire and wounding a Tarentum police officer following a foot chase in Brackenridge’s business district on Monday afternoon.

 
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Freezing Temps Break Pipe at E.A. High School

January 03, 2023 |

By Dianne Ribecca | Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News

Freezing temperatures and high winds over the Christmas weekend caused a water pipe in a sink on the second floor of East Allegheny High School to rupture and cause flooding, the district announced.

According to a letter written and posted on the school district’s website by the Superintendent of Schools, Alan Johnson, the water damage was quite significant, and affected the second-floor science wing and the rooms below on the first floor and basement levels.

As a result of continued cleanup and testing to ensure the building is safe, seventh through 12th graders attending the junior-senior high school will learn remotely this week through Jan. 6.

Logan Elementary students will resume classes in person as usual.

 
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District Court Moves from T.C. to Duquesne

January 03, 2023 |

By Tom Leturgey | Posted in: Duquesne News

Magisterial District Judge Scott Schricker (center) and his office staff recently completed a move of District Court 05-2-47 from Turtle Creek to the Duquesne Plaza shopping center on Route 837. Hours and phone numbers remain the same. (Tom Leturgey photo for Tube City Almanac)


Magisterial District Judge Scott H. Schricker got an early Christmas gift when his office moved from Turtle Creek to Duquesne.

Schricker, of Duquesne, says that his office had outgrown the office front in Penn Plaza, Turtle Creek, and after months of renovation, a much larger spot opened in the Duquesne Plaza, next door to where the Save-A-Lot grocery store had been. Schricker, and his staff of five moved into the contemporary facility in early December and have been holding hearings without disruption.

The long-serving magistrate and his staff had been in the Turtle Creek office since Schricker took office in 2004. In addition to Duquesne and Turtle Creek, Schricker’s district also includes Braddock, North Braddock and East Pittsburgh boroughs.

 
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