Forty years ago this month, a massive fire swept through Downtown McKeesport, destroying the former Famous Department Store, the Elks Lodge, the old Market Street School and several other buildings, and heavily damaging the Memorial Theater, which never re-opened.
On Sunday (May 15), retired firefighters and other residents will discuss their memories of the May 21, 1976, blaze that caused $5 million in damage --- roughly $20.9 million in 2016 dollars --- to the city's business district. More than 40 fire departments from throughout western Pennsylvania fought the fire.
The event begins at 2 p.m. at the McKeesport Regional History and Heritage Center, 1832 Arboretum Drive, Renziehausen Park, and will be moderated by Jason Togyer, executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc., and a heritage center board member.
Admission is free and refreshments will be provided by Local Union 10 of the International Association of Firefighters, representing McKeesport firefighters.
Diwas Timsina has come a long way. Now studying information sciences and technology at Penn State Greater Allegheny in McKeesport, he is originally from Bhutan, and was raised for 14 years in Jhapa, Nepal, in a refugee camp. His family and 70,000 other Bhutanese were forced to leave the country due to the interethnic conflict that occurred in the 1990’s.
“We faced so many struggles and challenges like discrimination, crowdedness, floods, fire, hurricane and diseases. The list goes on and on,” Diwas says. In 2008, the Timsinas first arrived in the United States, settling in Atlanta, Georgia, where they stayed for three years before moving to Pittsburgh. Timsina has since founded a nonprofit organization, Children of Shangri-Lost.
On May 22, Timsina will be a featured speaker at TEDx Pittsburgh. He is going to share the story of his journey from Bhutan to the refugee camps in Nepal and to the United States.
Art and music will take center stage on April 23 at a festival to benefit Homestead's Rivers of Steel Heritage Corporation.
The Steel to Sustainable Festival will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. April 23 at the Carrie Furnaces historic site near the end of the Rankin Bridge and will include musical performances by Red Room Effect, Colonel Eagleburger's Highstepping Goodtime Band, Daily Grind and more.
The festival is designed to take place to coincide with the same weekend as Earth Day, which is April 22.
The event also will feature a Hard Hat Art Show featuring local Pittsburgh artists in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the hard hat.
A section of Greensburg Pike near Great Valley Shopping Center in North Versailles Twp. will close next week and remain closed until mid-August.
A spokeswoman for the Allegheny County Department of Public Works said the closure, which begins at 7 a.m. April 18, is necessary to stabilize the road. A reinforced retaining wall built of "geo-grid" will be used.
The closure will affect the area behind the Save-a-Lot store.
The posted detour will use Route 30 and Warren Drive. The $590,000 project is being completed by A. Merante Contracting Inc. of West Mifflin.
Based on the hit 2001 DreamWorks film, as well as William Steig's 1990 book, "Shrek: The Musical" features music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. It premiered on Broadway in December 2008, closing after a run of more than 12 months and after being nominated for multiple Tony and Drama Desk awards.
Show times are 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday, with a matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday.
Tickets are $5 for students and senior citizens, and $10 for adults.