U.S. Steel Settles Clean-Air Lawsuit for $45M

January 30, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: State & Region

Editor’s Note: This writer has a conflict of interest. He is a U.S. Steel Corp. stockholder.

David Masur of PennEnvironment addresses reporters at a press conference on Monday as David Meckel of Glassport holds a sign that says “No city is livable with dirty air.” (Screenshot via Zoom)

Environmental watchdog groups this week celebrated the filing of a consent decree that will see U.S. Steel pay more than $8 million in penalties and legal fees and another $19.5 million for improvements to the corporation’s Clairton coal by-products plant.

But advocates argued that the settlement — on top of $17.5 million worth of improvements already completed at Clairton Plant — will not compensate residents of Clairton, Glassport, Liberty Borough and other nearby communities for harm they have already suffered in the wake of a December 2018 accident at the facility.

“U.S. Steel spewed out roughly a month’s worth of sulfur dioxide pollution every three days, along with hydrogen sulfide and harmful small particulates,” said David Masur, executive director of PennEnvironment, on Monday during a press conference.

“Residents reported splitting headaches, uncontrollable asthma attacks and difficulty breathing,” he said. “It was so bad that the Allegheny County Health Department told local residents living downwind from the facility not to leave their homes.”

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DA Files Charges Against Century III Owner

January 30, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: State & Region

Water covers an entrance to Century III Mall in this 2018 photo. District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. called the abandoned West Mifflin shopping center “the poster boy” for blight in Western Pennsylvania. (Photo by Quackerkats via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution-Generic)

Calling it “something out of a disaster movie,” Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. on Tuesday announced that he will seek criminal charges against the owners of Century III Mall in an attempt to compel them to demolish the property or sell it.

“They clearly have no intention of doing anything with the property as it exists,” Zappala said at a press conference. “They have abandoned this property.”

Zappala said he is hoping that a hearing can be held within 60 to 90 days.

Separately, Zappala’s office went to an Allegheny County judge on Tuesday seeking a temporary restraining order against the mall’s owners.

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Motorcyclist, Passenger Hurt in Route 30 Crash

January 29, 2024 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A motorcyclist and his passenger were injured Saturday afternoon when they collided with a car on Route 30 in North Versailles Twp.

Allegheny County police said the motorcycle was headed east on Route 30 near the Greensburg Pike overpass at around 2:30 p.m. when a sedan turned left onto the highway from Highwood Avenue into its path, and the vehicles collided.

The cyclist was taken to a hospital in critical condition, while the passenger was taken to the hospital in stable condition, police said. Neither person’s name was released.

The driver and passengers of the sedan were not injured, police said. Homicide detectives initiated an investigation.

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


Striking Workers to Publish Dessert Cookbook

January 29, 2024 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Submitted photo)

Sales of an upcoming cookbook will help raise money for striking workers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“Seasoned with Solidarity” is seeking favorite home recipes for desserts, says Allie Petonic of United Steelworkers Local 3657. Recipes are being accepted through Feb. 5.

For more information, visit tinyurl.com/CookbookPGUnions.  

Petonic says recipes have been received so far for apple cake, pear tart, poppyseed cake, lemon dream cookies, carmelitas, rum balls, puddings, sugar cookies, pumpkin cake, pound cake, oatmeal pie, strawberry cornbread, brownies, nut roll and many more, but additional contributions are welcome.

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NAMI McKeesport Sets February Meeting

January 29, 2024 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

National Alliance on Mental Illness McKeesport support group will meet at 6 p.m. Feb. 7 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.

A “care and share” session will be held. This opportunity offers understanding and support unique to those who are affected by mental health conditions of loved ones.

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.


Two Hurt in Mansfield Bridge Crash

January 28, 2024 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Allegheny County police are investigating a head-on collision on the Mansfield Bridge that sent two people to area hospitals.

Police said that just after 3:15 p.m. Friday, a red Hyundai sedan entered the bridge from the Glassport side, traveling the wrong way in the southbound lanes.

There, police said, it collided with a black Honda SUV. The driver of the Hyundai, identified only as an adult male, was taken to a hospital in critical condition, while the Honda’s driver, identified only as an adult female, was in stable condition. Neither drivers’ name was released.

The bridge was closed to traffic for several hours as police worked on the accident scene.

The Allegheny County police Collision Reconstruction and Homicide Unit is investigating. Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to call the county police tip line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.


Two Face Trial in Fatal School Bus Crash

January 28, 2024 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Two men accused of racing one another across the Mansfield Bridge before a fatal school-bus crash will face trial on all of the charges.

At a preliminary hearing Friday before Magisterial District Judge Katherine P. Lovelace in Pittsburgh’s Highland Park neighborhood, William R. Soliday II, 43, of Irwin, and Andrew N. Voigt, 37, of Penn Hills, were ordered held for court in connection with the Sept. 20 death of Samantha Kalkbrenner, a sophomore at Serra Catholic High School, and injuries suffered by four other people on the bus, including the driver.

Formal arraignment has been scheduled for Feb. 26 in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.

Soliday is currently being held without bond on homicide and related charges in Allegheny County Jail. Voigt is free on $150,000 cash bond.

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EA Board Proposes Tax Break for VFD Members

January 23, 2024 |

By T.J. Martin | Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News

East Allegheny School Board is considering a measure to give a $3,000 annual property tax break to qualifying members of volunteer fire departments.

The measure, proposed by School Director Merle Pusey, is designed to help encourage residents of the district to join their local fire departments, which have struggled for years with declining numbers of volunteers.

At last week’s school board meeting, there was a standing room only crowd, and most of the members of the audience were there to see if the measure would pass.

The school district is served by five volunteer fire departments — Crestas, Fire Department of North Versailles, West Wilmerding, Wilmerding and United, which serves East McKeesport and Wall.

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Three Hurt in Car-Ambulance Collision

January 22, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Three people, including two crew members of McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service, were injured Sunday evening in a collision at the intersection of Stewart and Soles streets.

McKeesport police are investigating the incident, which occurred as the ambulance was responding to a house fire in the 2700 block of Dinsmore Street.

MARS Chief Bill Miller said the 2019 Ford ambulance had just left the station on Evans Avenue and was eastbound on Stewart when it was struck broadside on the driver’s side by another vehicle.

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Dinsmore St. House Fire Displaces Family of 5

January 22, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Related story: Three Hurt in Car-Ambulance Collision

A family of five was displaced Sunday evening when fire swept through their Dinsmore Street home.

Crews were dispatched to the 2700 block just before 7:30 p.m. and arrived to find smoke visible and flames emerging from the left side of the house, McKeesport deputy fire chief Ed Harmon said.

The occupants of the home — a mother and four children, ages 7 to 18 — were able to escape safely and called 9-1-1, Harmon said.

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East McKeesport Will Re-Bid Stormwater Project

January 18, 2024 |

By T.J. Martin | Posted in: Announcements

A newly-received state grant prompted the East McKeesport Borough Council to reject a bid for a portion of a storm water project and they will now seek bids for the entire project.

Borough Engineer Laura Branthoover of Glenn Engineering & Associates Ltd. told the council that the borough recently received a $100,000 Small Water and Sewer Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for the Ice Plant Hill Project.

The project is designed to address storm water issues on the two-lane roadway by cleaning out some existing drainage pipes and adding additional collection inlets.

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W.O. Council Plans to Reopen 2024 Budget

January 17, 2024 |

By T.J. Martin | Posted in: White Oak News

Late last month, White Oak Borough Council passed a 2024 budget with no tax increase. But now it looks as though they’ll change their collective minds.

At a special meeting Dec. 28, council passed a budget of $6.48 million which included using approximately $892,000 from the borough fund balance and no tax increase. That left about $723,000 in the fund balance.

But at its regular January meeting, council voted unanimously to reopen the budget and hold a special meeting Feb. 1 to consider a new 2024 budget which contains a 1-mill real estate tax increase.

“Revenues are decreasing and expenses are increasing,” Finance Committee Chairman Jason Russell said in explaining the proposed change to his fellow councilpersons.

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District Drops Firm That Employed Security Guard

January 12, 2024 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Members of the McKeesport Little Theater’s Juniors Program performed selections from Disney’s Aladdin Jr. at Thursday’s school board meeting. The show opens tonight (Friday). (Adam Reinherz photo for Tube City Almanac)

McKeesport Area School Board has accepted the resignation of the firm that was providing security in district buildings and will retain a new company within 60 days.

The move comes after a guard for Homeland Intelligence & Protective Services LLC of McDonald was arrested and charged this week with having a sexual relationship with a now 17-year-old student.

The guard, Alexis Brown, 24, of McKeesport is charged by Allegheny County police with unlawful sexual contact with a student, corrupting the morals of minors and unlawful contact with a minor. She is awaiting a preliminary hearing Jan. 29 before Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi.

Board members and staff spent Thursday’s monthly meeting reiterating that student safety remains paramount.

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MLT Juniors Conjure Lively ‘Aladdin’ Adaptation

January 12, 2024 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment

Members of the cast of Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.” at McKeesport Little Theater prepare for the show’s opening on Friday. (Photos by Bonnijean Cooney Adams for Tube City Almanac)

If you go...


Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.”

Where: McKeesport Little Theater, 1614 Coursin St.,

When: Friday, Jan. 12 and Saturday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.;
Sunday, Jan. 14 at 2 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. and Friday, Jan. 19 at 7 p.m.;
Sunday, Jan. 21 at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $15 for adults, $10 for students. Tickets available
through the MLT website or by calling the theater.

Those who love the story of Aladdin should thoroughly enjoy the latest Juniors’ show at McKeesport Little Theater.

Disney’s “Aladdin Jr.” musical stage production features an expanded storyline that includes Aladdin’s fellow street urchins Babkak, Kassim, and Omar, who become his best friends, supporters, and rescuers.

There are some different songs in the stage version, but plenty of familiar tunes, too.

The theater is transformed into the town of Agrabah just in time for opening night, Friday (Jan. 12) with a colorful production complete with stunning costumes and great musical selections performed by a live pit.

Some of the actors are veterans of the Juniors program and have performed together there or elsewhere, while others are just getting their feet wet in theater.

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Community MLK Program Scheduled Sunday

January 12, 2024 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

McKeesport unit of the NAACP and a group of churches will host a community-wide program Sunday to celebrate the legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The event begins at 4 p.m. at Zion Baptist Church, 1300 Locust St., and will include a mime performance, church choirs, and a short skit, said Brenda Sawyer, unit president.

The Rev. Richard W. Truss, pastor of Zion, will be the featured speaker. The theme of the event is “Dream the Impossible Dream.”

Light refreshments will be served. Other churches participating include Christ Temple AME, Trinity Church of God in Christ and Macedonia Baptist Church of Duquesne.

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Brewster Confirms His Retirement from the Senate

January 11, 2024 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Politics & Elections

State Sen. Jim Brewster speaks to the media about the COVID-19 pandemic during the summer of 2020 as former Gov. Tom Wolf looks on. Brewster has announced that he will retire at the end of his current term. (Tube City Almanac file photo)

Confirming speculation that emerged in December, state Sen. Jim Brewster this week announced plans to retire at the end of his current term.

The McKeesport Democrat said Thursday that serving the 45th Senatorial District “has been an honor, privilege and pleasure,” but that after 14 years in the state senate, “it is time to explore other options and take on new challenges.”

Local elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Austin Davis and McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko, paid tribute to Brewster’s career in public service, which also has included stints as a McKeesport city councilman and mayor from 2003 to 2010.

“Jim Brewster has upheld a lifelong commitment to McKeesport and the entire Mon Valley,” Cherepko said in a prepared release. “He is a hardworking, goal-oriented leader, who has always strived for the growth of our region. He does this with a kind heart and genuine concern for his neighbors and constituents. I’m proud to call him a mentor and a friend.”

The race to replace Brewster is expected to be hotly contested.

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Duquesne Mother Charged in Infant’s Death

January 11, 2024 |

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

A Duquesne woman is being held in the Allegheny County Jail without bond in connection with the death of her three-month-old son from a head injury.

Alisha L. Parker, 26, is charged by Allegheny County police with criminal homicide and endangering the welfare of children in connection with the death on Sunday of Dal’von Means.

County detectives allege that Parker was intoxicated at ther time of her baby’s death, and that an autopsy indicated the infant had a skull fracture that could only have been delivered by someone with the strength of an adult.

Police allege Parker attempted to blame the infant’s death on her other child, age 3, who she described to detectives as “jealous” and “dangerous,” telling investigators the other child “gotta go.”

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Ex-Security Guard Charged in Sexual Assault

January 08, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Crime and Police News

(This is a developing story and will be updated if necessary.)

A former security guard at McKeesport Area High School was arrested Monday on charges that she had a sexual relationship with a now 17-year-old student.

Alexis Brown, 24, of McKeesport is charged by Allegheny County police with institutional sexual assault, corrupting the morals of minors and unlawful contact with a minor. She was being held in the Allegheny County Jail Monday night awaiting arraignment.

In affidavits filed in Allegheny County Night Court, police said the relationship was reported in early December. Police accused Brown of striking up a relationship with the student over Facebook Messenger that they described as “casual” at first, but which investigators allege turned sexual in nature.

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McKeesport Credit Union Members OK Merger

January 08, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Members of a city-based credit union have approved its merger with a larger thrift in Moon Twp.

At a meeting Thursday at McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center, shareholders of Parkview Community Federal Credit Union OK’d a merger with Clearview Federal Credit Union by a vote of 336 to 74, according to accountants from McKeever, Varga & Senko, who oversaw the ballotting.

The merger is expected to take effect July 1. The agreement has already been approved by federal regulators.

Lisa Florian, president and chief executive officer of Clearview, said there are no plans to close either of Parkview’s offices in McKeesport or North Huntingdon Twp.

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MASD Board Meetings Return to Livestream

January 06, 2024 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Although McKeesport Area School Board meetings have returned to the Internet, board president Mark Holtzman said he hopes that residents will still attend in person when they are able.

“We encourage the public to come,” he said.

Monthly meetings are a chance for citizens to voice concern, however, if a “major issue” arises in the district Holtzman hopes interested parties won’t wait weeks to articulate the problem.

“Please see the superintendent,” he said. “I'm sure she'll address it and take care of it accordingly.”

At Thursday’s agenda meeting, board members extended wishes for a happy new year, and also welcomed new school district police chief Brenda Sawyer

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Tenn. Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Mayor

January 06, 2024 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Prosecutors in Tennessee withdrew two citations against McKeesport’s mayor, who said he is grateful to supporters who stood by him following a November incident at a Nashville nightclub.

“I knew it was a misunderstanding and that everything would work out, but I’m so grateful to have this case dismissed and for the system to view it as I had,” Mayor Michael Cherepko said Saturday.

Cherepko was cited by Metro Nashville police after an incident Nov. 19 at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row. The mayor, who was on vacation with his wife, had been at the bar earlier in the evening, then went back to look for a missing credit card.

Security guards flagged down a passing police officer and asked Cherepko to be cited for criminal trespassing and public intoxication.

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Duquesne Council Swears in New Members

January 03, 2024 |

By Tom Leturgey | Posted in: Duquesne News

Duquesne's elected officials for 2024 (from left): Councilmembers Elaine Washington, Derek Artim, and Denise Brownfield, Mayor Scott Adams and Councilman Aaron Adams. (Tom Leturgey photo for Tube City Almanac)

District Magistrate Scott H. Schricker was busy Tuesday, with multiple stops for municipalities’ reorganization meetings, including his home municipality, Duquesne.

Schricker, who is entering his 21st year on the bench, swore in incumbent Derek Artim for his first full term on city council, as well as a debuting Denise Brownfield.

Brownfield won an open seat when now-former City Councilman Tim Caldwell chose not to run for re-election. Caldwell had not attended a Duquesne City Council business meeting for more than a year.

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W.O. Synagogue Winding Down Operations

January 03, 2024 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: White Oak News

(This story originally appeared in the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle© 2024. Reprinted with permission.)

(Submitted photo via Facebook)

After more than a century in operation, Temple B’nai Israel is closing.

The White Oak-based congregation will halt operations in May 2025, according to its president, Lou Anstandig.

Finances aren’t the issue. “We are running out of people,” he said, noting that most of TBI’s members “aren’t young.”

“The people who are in leadership are in their 80s,” Anstandig said. “There just doesn’t appear to be a future without young people to continue making the congregation active.”

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M.E.: Local Driver Died of Natural Causes

January 02, 2024 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

An woman who was found dead in her car Thursday afternoon along Route 48 died of natural causes, the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office said.

Harriet D. Sigmund, 82, was pronounced dead at the scene after her car went off the road, officials said. She died of cardiovascular disease, the medical examiner’s office said.

Allegheny County police said the incident happened just after 4 p.m. near the intersection of Long Run Road and Marshall Drive. The Allegheny County police homicide unit and collision reconstruction unit investigated.

McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service and UPMC personnel also responded to the scene.


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