The West Newton Community Singers will present “When I Sing” at 7:30 p.m. Friday (May 5) at West Newton United Presbyterian Church, Third and Main streets, West Newton, a spokesman said. Rick Carson will serve as director and Lauren Cross as accompanist.
Tickets can be purchased in advance at Gary’s Chuck Wagon Restaurant, South Second Street, and are $7 for adults, or $8 at the door. Children’s tickets are $5.
West Newton Public Library, 124 N. Water St, will hold a jewelry and book sale from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. May 6, a spokesperson said. Books will be sold for $5 per bag.
“Our storage building is full to bursting, so if you love to read, be sure to not miss this sale,” the spokesperson said.
In case of rain, the event will be moved to May 13. For more information, call (724) 633-0798.
In other West Newton Public Library news, there are 24 books from the “Antique Shop Mysteries” series available and in like-new condition that are now being sold in a silent auction. Interested parties should call the library before April 30 and leave their name, telephone number and bid. The winner will be contacted after April 30.
West Newton First Church of God, 157 N. Second St., will hold an election day luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the day of the May 16 primary, a spokesperson said.
A spokesperson said “we urge you to go out and vote, then come and eat at our Election Day luncheon.” The menu will include soup, salads, sandwiches, desserts and beverages. For take out, call (724) 872-7467. Delivery will be available to local businesses in the West Newton area.
Warmer winters and shifting weather patterns caused by climate change are magnifying the impact of invasive pests like the spotted lanternfly, say experts. (Tube City Almanac file photo by Vickie Babyak)
Invasive pests cost the U.S. about $40 billion a year in damages to trees, plants and crops, according to the USDA.
Kathryn Bronsky is the USDA’s national policy manager for plant protection and quarantine. She said hungry pests are often great hitchhikers, and people can accidentally spread them to new areas by traveling.
In particular, she said, experts are urging residents to be on the lookout for the spotted lanternfly.
McKeesport chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness support group will meet at 6 p.m. May 3 at Penn State Greater Allegheny in Frable Building Room 122, a spokeswoman said. The meeting is open to families and friends of loved ones living with mental illness.
Guest speakers from Re:Solve Crisis Services will discuss the unit’s support features. Sponsored by Allegheny County and UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital, the 24-hour, 365-day crisis service is free to all Allegheny County residents.
Re:Solve offers a 24-hour hotline answered by trained clinicians and provides a mobile response team that travels where needed within the county.
Rev. Dr. Moni McIntyre embraces McKeesport police Officer Charles Thomas on Tuesday at the city’s Public Safety Building. (Special to Tube City Almanac)
A Downtown church on Tuesday presented a city police officer who is recovering from wounds sustained during a shooting with more than $300 in gift cards in honor of his service.
The gift to McKeesport police Officer Charles Thomas Jr. was the idea of Jo Pratt of White Oak, a parishioner at St. Stephen Episcopal Church, Walnut Street, and was quickly adopted by other members of the congregation, who contributed to the collection.
“We felt it was really, really necessary, because our church is in the community, and we realize the risk our police officers take with their lives, and that the compensation they receive does not in any way compare,” Pratt said. “We wanted (Thomas) to get a night out and to let all of our police know that we care, and that they are in our constant thoughts and prayers.”
Attendees at the Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual legislative lunch included state Reps. Brandon Markosek and Abigail Salisbury; chamber member and McKeesport real-estate broker Robert Baum; state Reps. Matthew Gergley and Nick Pisciottano; West Mifflin business owner Nick Pisciottano; Lt. Gov. Austin Davis; Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald; business owners Craig Baum and Eva Jovanovic; Allegheny County Councilman Bob Macey; and Mon Yough Chamber Board Chair Robert Johnson. (Tom Leturgey photo for Tube City Almanac)
Pennsylvania’s governor is dedicated to making the state more business-friendly to entrepreneurs, Lt. Gov. Austin Davis told the Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce during its annual legislative luncheon.
During the event at the Georgetown Centre in Pleasant Hills, Davis told local business leaders that among Gov. Josh Shapiro’s first actions after being sworn in was the creation of the new Office of Transformation & Opportunity.
Davis called the office “a one-stop shop for businesses, to give you the support you need to grow and thrive.”
The administration is also putting pressure on state permit and license agencies to perform, he said. When a business applies for a license, Davis said, “they will have a timeline that the state is required to meet. And if we don’t respond by that deadline–the applicant gets their money back.”
“We’re planting a flag, sending a clear message that Pennsylvania is open for business,” he said.
A volunteer picks up litter in an Allegheny County park. (Submitted photo courtesy Allegheny County Parks, via Facebook)
Volunteers are needed in several Mon-Yough neighborhoods as local groups celebrate Earth Day on Saturday.
At 8:30 a.m., city officials and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s TreeVitalize program will gather at Kennedy Park on Lysle Boulevard between Market and Walnut streets for a free class in tree-planting, according to McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko’s office.
Then, teams of volunteers will fan out through the city’s Downtown area and Renziehausen Park to plant several trees with help from experts, the mayor’s office said. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and safe shoes. All necessary material will be provided, but participants will receive gloves if they need them.
Afterward, a free lunch will be served. Transportation to and from Renzie Park will be available for people who need it, the mayor’s office said.
The cast of “Little Shop of Horrors,” with Brigid Fuller as Audrey (far left) and TJ Betzner as Seymour Krelborn (far right) rehearse the “Skid Row” number from Serra Catholic's spring musical, which opens Friday. (Tube City Almanac photo by Bonnijean Adams)
If you go...
“Little Shop of Horrors”
Where: Serra Catholic High School gymnasium, 200 Hershey Drive, (412) 751-2020
When: Friday, April 21 at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 22 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 23 at 2 p.m
Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for students, available from any cast or crew member, in the main office, at the door, or by contacting email@example.com. Rated PG-13.
Following a string of Disney musicals, Serra Catholic High School’s director and students decided they wanted to do something different this year.
They’ve been hard at work honing skills needed to not only sing and dance their hearts out, but to accommodate an otherworldly, carnivorous plant that is key to the production of “Little Shop of Horrors.” It opens Friday (April 21) at 7 p.m.
“I wanted something completely different,” director Jesse Bush said. “I wanted to step outside our comfort zone and try something new.”
Some of the cast members said they were familiar with the subject matter and music from either watching the movie of the same name or attending Elizabeth Forward’s spring musical last year – while others were not.
Denise Sharbaugh spent the weekend looking for a new home for her 88-year-old father. She’s not sure how well he will adapt to the change.
Chuck Sharbaugh, who has lived at Senior Care Plaza on Lysle Boulevard for several years, is one of the residents who will be displaced when the personal care home closes May 1. A spokesman for the state Department of Human Services said the facility is voluntarily surrendering its license to operate.
A commercial kitchen on the site will continue to operate, employees have told Tube City Almanac, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Everything’s been running smoothly, my dad has been well taken care of,” Sharbaugh of White Oak said. “It’s really clean, and I like it. I’m really taken aback.”
A non-profit veterans organization had the winning bid for a former elementary school in North Versailles Twp.
Wellness for Veterans, located in Blairsville, must raise $615,000 or risk losing its opportunity to purchase the former Green Valley Elementary School at 3290 Crestview Drive, which was offered at public auction.
East Allegheny School Board this month accepted an offer from Wellness for Veterans. The group must deposit $20,000 to secure the sale and complete the transaction in 120 days, officials said.
Steve Miller, founder and chief executive officer of Wellness for Veterans, said he is feeling the pressure to come up with the money or lose the building.
The last unused building in McKeesport’s industrial park is getting a new owner.
McKeesport City Council has approved a request from W&E Investments LLC to use the former McKeesport Connecting Railroad roundhouse for temporary storage of oil and lubricants used by U.S. Steel plants in the area.
The roundhouse, built in 1906, was used by the railroad for repair of locomotives and other equipment until 1987.
W&E Investments is a project of Cliff Wise, chair of River Materials Inc., which operates a barge and railcar loading facility under the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge.
“It is literally the only building not bought or occupied at this point” in the industrial park, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko says. “We’re going to allow (Wise) to use it for storage for now” while additional plans are developed.
The Lysle Boulevard location of Rite Aid will close on April 20, employees have confirmed.
A sign at the front entrance to the Downtown store claims the location is “moving.” The addresses given are existing Rite Aid stores on Walnut Street in the city’s Christy Park neighborhood and on Monongahela Avenue in Glassport.
Calls to the company’s Camp Hill headquarters near Harrisburg seeking comment were not returned.
In 2022, Rite Aid closed 145 stores and reported a quarterly loss of $67 million in December. According to Forbes magazine, the chain’s executives said it was planning to close more locations in 2023.
Senior Care Plaza has been located in the former McKeesport Sheraton Inn since 1992. The facility has announced it is closing May 1. (Tube City Almanac photo)
A Downtown personal care home is closing May 1 after a long battle with state regulators over licensing issues.
Senior Care Plaza, located on Lysle Boulevard, has notified family members about the closure. It has been operating under a provisional license since March 2021, according to files at the state Department of Human Services. The facility, located in the former McKeesport Sheraton Inn, has been open since 1992.
A commercial kitchen that provides service to other providers will remain in operation.
State records indicate the facility is licensed for 100 beds, but according to several sources speaking on condition of anonymity, Senior Care Plaza has not been at full occupancy for some time.
(Submitted photo courtesy Carnegie Library of McKeesport)
With National Library Week just around the corner, Carnegie Library of McKeesport is encouraging Mon-Yough residents to take advantage of upcoming programs at the main location and White Oak Branch.
Library Director Vincent D’Alesio said the week of April 23-29 is set aside this year to celebrate libraries, as well as “the people who work at them, and the people who use them.”
Special programs at the main library during library week include a free breakfast for visitors at 8:45 a.m. April 24, free lunch on the lawn at 12 noon and an apron design class at 3 p.m. April 26, a session on how to upcycle used materials into bird feeders and bird houses on April 28, and a karaoke party at 12 noon April 29.
The story of a princess with amnesia is about to come to life at East Allegheny.
The high school’s spring musical, “Anastasia,” opens on Thursday (April 13). The story revolves around Anastasia “Anya” Romanov, who is trying to find out about her past, but ends up befriending two con men who have ulterior motives.
Although the show is not a Disney musical, it has all the elements of one — a princess, great song and dance numbers, and (of course) there’s a love story. The show is based on the 1997 animated film of the same name, and a 1956 live-action film.
Musical director Amanda Rosco said this particular musical paired well with the students who came out to audition and their skill sets. The licensing rights to “Anastasia” just became available to schools last musical season, and EA is only the third school in the area — Belle Vernon Area being the closest and most recent — to present it to an audience.
The West Newton Church of God will hold a fundraiser from 4 to 9 p.m. April 19 at the Country Custard Cottage & Gift Shop, 1503 Mars Hill Road, Sutersville, a spokesperson said. The church will receive a percentage of the proceeds whenever customers mention the “New Mexico Mission Trip Fundraiser.”
The spokesperson said the church is raising money for a Bible school trip to the Navajo nation.
McKeesport police Chief Adam Alfer with newly promoted police Officers Matt Cerasuolo, Joshua Kramer and Parker Scherf, and McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko. (Tube City Almanac photo)
McKeesport city council has elevated three part-time police officers to full-time status.
At the April meeting, council approved the personnel moves for Officers Matt Cerasuolo, Joshua Kramer and Parker Scherf. McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said each of the three have been serving the city for a year and have done “an incredible job.”
In other business, council approved the appointment of Earnest Oatneal to a one-year term on the city’s civil service commission, and William Miller and Jim Miller, no relation, to two-year terms. Attorney Jim Creenan was appointed as the commission’s solicitor.
Duquesne residents who have seen their sewerage bills increase as much as 29 percent are complaining to city council.
Councilman Aaron Adams noted that he has received many calls from concerned citizens after they received their most recent invoices. Sewerage in Duquesne is handled by Pennsylvania American Water Co., which purchased the McKeesport municipal sewer authority in December 2017.
The rate increase was approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, not by the city, Adams said.
Duquesne City Council on Tuesday night voted to dissolve its little-used Redevelopment Authority, and is in the process of joining Allegheny County’s larger agency.
By a 4-0 vote, with Councilman Timothy Caldwell absent, city officials went through with previously-discussed plans to eliminate the authority.
Mayor Scott Adams said the city originally planned until a new city manager was hired, but ultimately decided that they needed to get it done.
Solicitor Myron Sainovich said that all of the proper paperwork has been delivered to his office and the next step in the process is to join Allegheny County’s infrastructure agency. A resolution was then adopted, 4-0, for the city to participate in the Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County’s RAAC Vacant Property Recovery Program.
Above: Dewitt Walton, vice president and program director for the Pittsburgh chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute, talks to visitors during a July 2022 session. (Submitted photo courtesy APRI Pittsburgh, via Instagram)
Labor leaders in various industries recently celebrated the 85th anniversary of a federal law that laid the groundwork for registered apprenticeship programs in Pennsylvania and across the country.
However, a new report says not everyone gets a fair shot at these opportunities.
“The opportunities for life-changing careers in the construction and building trades, we have to increase the awareness of those opportunities,” he said, “and promote them in a more comprehensive and successful manner than we have in the past.”
(Courtesy First Step Recovery Homes Inc. via GoFundMe)
A fire that damaged an apartment building on Penny Steet last week has left First Step Recovery Homes Inc. temporarily unable to accept any new residents.
The charitable organization, which helps people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, is waiting to find out if insurance will cover its losses, said Keith Giles, founder of First Step. The city-based non-profit has created a GoFundMe to raise additional money, he said.
Four residents were displaced by the fire, which began Wednesday night at the rear of a wood-frame two-story house at 330 Penny St., destroying the back porch, traveling up the back wall, and damaging the roof and attic. The cause of the fire is under investigation but McKeesport fire officials said last week it is not considered suspicious.
McKeesport Area High School physical education teachers Richard Satcho and Victoria Pomilio look over plans as they co-teach the new Partners in Physical Education class. The program matches general education and special education students to build social skills and self-confidence. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)
A group of McKeesport Area High School students are creating warm and caring friendships while participating in a Partners in Physical Education class.
Partners in PE is a nationwide program that matches general education and special education students to help each other in physical ed activities. The concept was reportedly first adopted in the Pittsburgh area by the Baldwin-Whitehall School District in 2001 and has since spread throughout the region, including at Belle Vernon Area, West Allegheny and other districts.
The program’s goals include helping students use physical activity as a way to build their social skills and self-confidence.
Brianne Lion, assistant special education coordinator at McKeesport Area, is pleased with the results so far.
“As we walk through life, our interaction with those who have different strengths and needs from our own, leaves a lasting impression on how we gain perspective, friendship and grow compassion for one another,” she said. “Partners in PE allows for all students to gain access to their full potential and to build these friendships that shape their future success.”
While a proposed increase in basic education funding in Pennsylvania is appreciated, public school officials that represent small school districts said last week it’s not enough.
Last week, five members of the Pennsylvania League of Urban Schools — including East Allegheny School District — held press conferences to appeal to Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro and the General Assembly to treat school district funding as a crisis that needs more attention.
In addition to EA, school officials in Greater Johnstown, Upper Darby, Lancaster and Bethlehem all presented specific financial information regarding the gap between the revenue they receive each year, and their operating and mandated costs.