Rapper Taurus Bartlett, 24, better known as Polo G, has released three albums, each of which have sold more than 2 million copies. He’s scheduled to appear in McKeesport ahead of the Sept. 15 release of his fourth album. (Photo at left by Lou Wop via Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons 3.0. Photos at right courtesy Columbia Records.)
A controversial — and highly successful — rap artist currently facing criminal charges in Los Angeles could be coming to McKeesport to perform.
According to advertisements posted on Eventbrite, Taurus Bartlett, 24, better known as Polo G, is scheduled to appear at “Club IKON” — formerly “Tube City Brew House” — on Route 48 near Olympia Shopping Center.
City officials said Wednesday they are aware of the situation and will take action, but said they could not speak further. “We are handling it,” an official said, speaking on background.
“We have a lot of security — we don’t compromise on that — and we’re definitely looking to work with the local police to ensure our guests’ safety,” said real estate developer Prasad Margabandhu, co-owner of Club IKON through the company, Maya Restaurants Inc., he controls with his brother, Sivram M. Bandhu.
“We’ve never had any problems since we’ve been in McKeesport,” Margabandhu said.
A ticket sale listing posted on Eventbrite advertises “an epic night of music and vibes ... get ready to groove to the beats of one of the hottest artists in the game right now ... Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to experience Polo G’s electrifying performance live!” Tickets range from $60 to $85.
Zach Werner of McKeesport proudly stands next to one of three The Little Free Growers Exchange stands he built for community residents to share plants and seeds. (Vickie Babyak photos for Tube City Almanac)
Zach Werner of McKeesport was ready for a challenge when White Oak Councilwoman Julie Opferman contacted leaders of Boy Scout Troop 1640 and made a request for the troop to be more involved with the community.
Troop 1640 is attached to Saint Angela Merici Church in White Oak. Werner was getting ready to try to reach Eagle Scout — something only 6 percent of all Boy Scouts achieve — and he began to brainstorm ideas to help the borough.
“Zach joined the Cub Scouts when he was 5 years old and transitioned into Boy Scouts when he was 11,” his mother Danielle Werner said. “He’s been a member ever since.”
With only one day remaining until teachers’ contracts expire on Aug. 31, there’s uncertainty — but optimism — at McKeesport Area School District.
Gerald McGrew Jr., head of the teachers’ union, said negotiations are “moving forward” but didn’t offer a date when parents, students and district members could expect the potential labor crisis to resolve.
“I don't personally see it dragging on too long. But I can’t answer for any factual ending,” he said.
The school board and members of the McKeesport Area Education Association have been negotiating a new contract since January. McGrew said the early stages of the process began “very professionally,” and with positive input from both sides.
A Turtle Creek woman faces formal arraignment in Allegheny County Court after being accused of threatening the life of a district magistrate in Duquesne.
Rose Ann Kardell, 58, remains in the Allegheny County Jail pending the Sept. 29 hearing.
Kardell was charged July 20 by the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office with threatening harm against a public official, stalking, disorderly conduct and harassment after Magisterial District Judge Scott Schricker in Duquesne began receiving threatening text messages on his personal cell phone.
A medallion of William Shakespeare that once decorated the front of White’s Opera House in McKeesport is now displayed on the lawn of McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center. (Tube City Almanac photo)
Staff at the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center thought it was a fraud, or an accident, when they were notified of a $10,000 donation that had been received through the organization’s website.
“It came through on PayPal,” said Meagan Donnelly, community outreach coordinator for the museum and historical society in Renziehausen Park. “We thought it was a scam at first, then we were worried that maybe someone meant to send us $10 or $100 and typed in too many zeroes.”
A quick call to Terry Merlin of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., a former White Oak resident and McKeesport Area High School graduate, confirmed the donation was very real and made intentionally.
“Our average donation is more like $5 to $20,” Donnelly said. “For a program or a big event like our golf outing, we may occassionally get a hundred dollars. This was a very pleasant surprise, to say the least.”
Chris Starry from McKeesport and Norma Kwiecinski from Irwin with her grandson, 5-year-old Liam. Starry and Kwiecinski have been friends for a long time and both have attended International Village for years. Kwiecinski said, “I’m introducing my grandson to International Village for the first time.” “I really like the halushki from the Croatian booth,” said Liam. (Vickie Babyak photos for Tube City Almanac)
If you go...
McKeesport’s 63rd International Village
Where: Stephen Barry Field, Renziehausen Park (Eden Park Boulevard)
Families of all generations have been enjoying one of the area’s biggest events since 1960 and have honored their roots while learning about other cultures.
The City of McKeesport is wrapping up its 63rd annual International Village at Stephen Barry Field in Renziehausen Park today. The ethnic heritage celebration ran from Tuesday through Thursday. Food, live entertainment and polka music are a huge attraction for many people of all backgrounds.
When International Village began, it was held as part of a larger event called “Old Home Week” on Market Street, Downtown. Many of the traditions started at the first “village” has carried over to the modern day International Village.
Residents in Duquesne and the surrounding area are without another grocery store, as the Shop ’n Save in the Village Shopping Center suddenly closed for the last time on Friday.
The store along Homeville Road in West Mifflin, which had changed ownership about a year ago, had a small, dedicated group of employees who opened the market at 7:30 a.m. and served nearby residents, including those who live in the neighboring senior-citizen high-rise.
A few years ago, a Save-A-Lot store located in Duquesne Plaza — the last supermarket in the city limits — closed its doors. Many residents started shopping at the Village Shopping Center Shop ’n Save instead.
Efforts to find a new supermarket for Duquesne have been unsuccessful.
As a result, Duquesne is one of the communities classified as a so-called “food desert,” because although there are convenience stores and dollar stores, none of them provide fresh perishable fruits or vegetables.
The West Newton First Church of God, 157 North Second St., will hold a Peach Festival fundraiser from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 31 at the Lions Club Field House on Pittsburgh Street, a spokesperson said. The fundraiser will feature homemade sandwiches, salads, peach desserts and drinks.
Drum major Tina Wos conducts one of the movements from “All Up in the Air,” brass players sound off during band camp. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photos for Tube City Almanac)
If you go...
McKeesport Tiger Band Preview Show
Where: McKeesport Area High School Stadium, 1960 Eden Park Blvd.
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 17)
Tickets: Admission is free
There’s lots of excitement — not just in the air, but “All Up in the Air” — from staff and students involved in producing and performing McKeesport Area High School Tiger Marching Band’s 2023 show.
In addition to performing at football games and competitions, the group already was hard at work perfecting skills during band camp on Aug. 4 for an additional event this year.
That is the Bands of America competition on Oct. 7 in Toledo, Ohio, band director Drew DeCarlo confirmed.
“Bands of America is a really big deal,” DeCarlo said. “We will be competing with the top bands in the country. Bands of America boasts that it is life-changing experiences for students,” he said. “It is a memory from their high school years that they will never forget and will carry with them through their lifetime.”
Planning for the 2023 show began in early January as a staff effort, DeCarlo said.
The West Newton Public Library will hold its final book sale for the year in the parking lot at 124 North Water St. on Aug. 26, a spokesperson said. Hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visitors may “fill two bags” with used books or other items for $5.
The library recently received a large donation from a book collector who was downsizing, and those items include non-fiction books on sports, history, and rock collecting. All are in good condition.
Other items on sale will include adult fiction, biographies, paperbacks, children’s books and puzzle books. For more information, call (724) 633-0798.
The jobs of more than 3,000 Mon Valley steelworkers are among those that hang in the balance after competing bidders emerged with offers to purchase Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp.
On Sunday evening, the publicly traded company announced that it had retained investment bankers from Barclays Capital Inc. and Goldman Sachs & Co. to evaluate “strategic alternatives” to “maximize stockholder value” that could include selling all or part of the corporation.
U.S. Steel operates the Pittsburgh area’s last integrated steelmaking facility, the Mon Valley Works, which includes a coal by-products plant in Clairton; a blast-furnace and continuous casting facility, Edgar Thomson Plant, in Braddock and North Braddock; and a rolling mill, Irvin Plant, in West Mifflin.
U.S. Steel confirmed over the weekend that a rival company, Cleveland-Cliffs Inc., a steel-making and iron-ore mining conglomerate in Ohio, had made an unsolicited $7.3 billion offer to purchase the corporation.
The Cleveland-Cliffs offer has the support of the United Steelworkers union, according to a letter the company released on its website.
Motorists who use Route 837 between Duquesne and Dravosburg can expect delays this week as crews conduct pavement repairs, said a district spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation.
Single-lane alternating traffic is currently underway between Coal Valley Road and Watco Terminal and Port Services, south of the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge. Lane restrictions are occurring in various locations from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays through Wednesday, weather permitting.
Flaggers will assist motorists through the work zone, the PennDOT spokeswoman said, adding that drivers should use caution in the area.
Sponsors and walkers of all ages are being encouraged to participate an event that raises money to fund events at Allegheny County’s Kane Community Living Centers.
The 12th annual Joan Burns Fun Walk 4 Kane will be held beginning at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 16 at the Kane center on Ninth Avenue in McKeesport, a spokesman said. The event supports the Kane Foundation, which provides quality-of-life improvements for residents at the county-operated homes for the aged and people with disabilities.
Registration for the walk costs $20 and donations are tax-deductible. Free registration is available for anyone who collects $50 or more in pledges. To register in advance before Sept. 1, visit the county’s website. Registration on the day of the event begins at 8 a.m.
Checks may be made payable to Kane Foundation Walk, The Kane Foundation, 955 Rivermont Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15207. For more information, call (412) 292-8069.
Plenty of family fun was provided and information booths were set up by local organizations during the celebration on Friday and Saturday of White Oak Community Days at Heritage Hill Park.
The event was sponsored by White Oak Borough, the 75th Anniversary Committee and White Oak Recreation Board, with additional funding from 75th Anniversary sponsors.
On Friday evening, food and drinks were available and “The New Pure Gold” performed from 6 to 9 p.m.
Saturday’s festivities began at 11 a.m. with food, drinks, games, train rides and a bounce-house. The “Wild World of Animals,” featuring exotic critters, put on an act at the pavilion, while “Beatlemania Magic” took the main stage at 6 p.m.
Kaitlyn Majewski sang the National Anthem and a fireworks display by Pyrotechnico concluded the evening.
Residents enjoyed music, spoken word performances, hot dogs and hamburgers as Duquesne celebrated its 31st annual Community Day on Saturday.
Even the weather cooperated, providing near perfect conditions for the event at Polish Hill Park.
Patricia Ann Haley Bluett, lovingly known as “Miss Pat,” is one of the driving forces for the success of Community Day, Councilman Derek Artim said. “Miss Pat” handed out community pamphlets and talked with countless attendees.
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Children played on a giant slip ’n slide on the library lawn in July. (Submitted photo courtesy Carnegie Library of McKeesport via Facebook)
August is an especially busy month for the Carnegie Library of McKeesport and its branches, when community events in the city, White Oak and Duquesne highlight an already full programming lineup.
Director Vincent D'Alesio said the main event at the library itselt will be the wrap-up party for the annual Summer Reading Program. That party begins at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 9 for everyone who participated, he said. Participants will enjoy food, entertainment from a juggler and a stilt-walker, and a airbrush tattoo artist. Raffle prizes also will be awarded, D'Alesio said. Registration by Aug. 7 is required by calling (412) 672-0625.
The library’s annual book sale will held this year at White Oak Community Day at Heritage Hills Park on Saturday (Aug. 5). The lower floor of the White Oak branch library will be open for book shoppers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., D'Alesio said.
What was once part of a 10-day long celebration known as “Old Home Week,” has emerged as a three-day celebration of McKeesport’s heritage and history, and 63 years after its inception, Greater Pittsburgh’s longest-running celebration of traditional food, music and dancing is about to kick off again.
This year’s festival will run from 3 to 9 p.m. Aug. 15 to 17 at Stephen Barry Field in Renziehausen Park.
For Mikey Dee, a native of McKeesport and the entertainment director for the festival, International Village each year brings back many fond memories from his childhood. “I remember coming with my parents and grandparents and tasting the food and hearing the music, it was special,” said Dee.
Vickie Babyak of Dravosburg says her great-grandfather served in both World War I and World War II. Seeing historic WW2 aircraft last month at Allegheny County Airport brought his service to life, she writes:
Last month, the Commemorative Air Force brought its national air tour of World War II aircraft back to the Allegheny County Airport. The tour was designed to give people an opportunity to get a glimpse of history and what it was like to be on a bomber. Ramp access fees of $20 or $10, depending on age, gave people an opportunity to tour the cockpit of a WW2 aircraft.
Seat tickets started at $150, depending on the aircraft chosen and flights were scheduled at different times during the exhibit.
Attending aircrafts were the B-29 Superfortress FiFi, B-24 Liberator Diamond Lil, P-51 Mustang Gunfighter, Boeing Stearman, T-6 Texan, and RC-45J Expediter.