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Gun Violence: How Does it Hit Home? What Can We Do?

February 15, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial, Podcast

On our podcast, "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," we recently talked about gun violence --- especially the emotional impact it has had on the Mon-Yough area --- and asked if there's anything we can do about it.

In 2017, there were 109 homicides in 2017. Nearly three dozen of them were in the Mon Valley in communities such as McKeesport, Swissvale and Turtle Creek, but practically no community of any size was unscathed --- and virtually all of the homicides were the result of shootings.

Our guests were Vanessa Mayers-Snyder, a community engagement & mediation specialist for the Center for Victims, and Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFire PA.

 
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Commentary: 'Invent Penn State' Rises to the Challenge

February 08, 2018 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

Opinions expressed in editorials and commentaries are those of their authors, and are not those of Tube City Community Media Inc., its board of directors, volunteers, contributors or donors. Responsible replies are welcome.

Jacqueline Edmondson is chancellor and chief academic officer of Penn State Greater Allegheny.


“McKeesport Rising” is an ambitious project intended to address urban blight, joblessness, and morale in the city. Announced by Mayor Michael Cherepko in January 2018, this project invests in the city and will transform the landscape and opportunities for citizens in the region.

Similar efforts are underway in Braddock, Duquesne, and other Mon Valley communities. Penn State Greater Allegheny is playing a role in these important efforts by leveraging an Invent Penn State grant to address the educational and economic needs of the region.

Penn State Greater Allegheny is proud of its roots in McKeesport. The campus began in the 1930s as a center to develop workforce and labor education in the region.

 
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Thank You, McKeesport and Mon-Yough Area

January 22, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

I want to thank, publicly, the following people, organizations and businesses who contributed to our year-end fund drive. If I missed anyone, I apologize. (UPDATED: I realize I'd missed any donations made online. The list is now updated.)

  • Paul E. Bekavac Funeral Home, Elizabeth
  • Tom Carter
  • E.R. Crawford Estate Trust Fund
  • Robert Dacey
  • Mary Ellen Driver
  • E.C. Finney Funeral Home, Glassport
  • I.M. Finney Funeral Home, Dravosburg
  • S.M. Finney Funeral Home, Clairton
  • Sharyn H. Fletcher
  • Jo Ann Hartos
  • Judith E. Hornfeck
  • Vicki Johnston
  • Janet Kulis
  • Doris T. Lynch
  • Joan A. Mayhue
  • Harry R. Miller
  • Ruth Ann Molloy
  • Mortuary Society Inc., Clairton
  • Rose M. Sakas
  • John Stevens
  • Young Funeral Home, Butler, Pa.
 
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Commentary: Why Are Pittsburghers' Palates Too Delicate For What Bourdain Dished Out?

October 24, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

The following is an editorial expressing an individual's opinion. Opinions expressed in editorials and commentaries are those of their authors, and are not those of Tube City Community Media Inc., its board of directors, volunteers, contributors or donors. Responsible replies are welcome.


(Anthony Bourdain talks with Pittsburghers at Kelly's Bar & Grill in East Liberty. Photo courtesy CNN.)


Whatever else Anthony Bourdain's hour-long exploration of Pittsburgh proved this week, it demonstrated that one fact about the region remains as true as it ever has been:

We are notoriously thin-skinned and hyper-sensitive to even the slightest criticism.

Make fun of New Jersey, and will its residents complain? Ah, fuggedaboutit.

Go ahead and knock Chicago. It rolls right off of the city's big shoulders.

But say anything even slightly negative about Pittsburgh, and we erupt in a blast of black-and-gold fury. (Topped with french fries.)

 
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'Thank You' to Finney Funeral Homes --- and You

July 27, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

I opened our mailbox recently to find a very pleasant surprise.

Along with a $324.00 bill to our Internet radio station, WMCK.FM, from one of the music licensing agencies, there were four donations from Finney Funeral Homes on behalf of families whose loved ones' obituaries recently appeared on our sister website, McKeesportObituaries.com.

This message is to thank Finney Funeral Homes and their staff and employees, includng owner and funeral director Scott M. Finney; licensed funeral directors Cynthia L. Finney and Edward C. Finney; and office manager Kathy DeMarco, for their continued support of our efforts to build a non-profit, community journalism website for the McKeesport area.

We do not ask funeral directors to pay to post obituaries --- it's done free of charge, as a public service to the community --- but donations from the Finneys are helping to sustain that service.

I should mention the Finneys are not alone. We've also had donations from other funeral professionals, including Bekavac Funeral Home & Crematory and Maloy-Schleifer Funeral Home.

This message is also to answer the question,"Say, what do those Tube City yahoos do with the donations they receive?"

 
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In a Hospital Room in McKeesport, a Story of Resilience

June 30, 2017 |

By David Stephens | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

(Kim Ursta and Jason Mollard exchange vows in the chapel at UPMC McKeesport hospital on June 13. UPMC McKeesport photo)


I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into UPMC McKeesport hospital recently to meet Jason Mollard, and his new wife, Kim Ursta.

In late November 2016, Jason was diagnosed with two inoperable brain tumors that caused him to lose his vision.

Jason grew up in McKeesport, and Kim grew up in White Oak. They’ve lived their entire lives in the area, both attending McKeesport High School, although not knowing each other at the time. The community around them has been a pillar of strength for the family in their time of need. Friends, family, and neighbors have raised funds, extended sympathies, prepared meals, and offered support in every way they can.

 
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Mistakes: I Made a Few

June 05, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

When I make mistakes, I try not to waste my time with little ones. I try to make sure they're really dumb ones.

On Friday, I received a press release from the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus about a letter, sent to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, urging the SPC and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to prioritize construction of the Southern Beltway over the northern leg of the Mon-Fayette Expressway.

I quickly wrote up a story and posted it Friday night.

On Saturday, I got a text message: "You have state Rep. Brandon Neuman listed as a Republican. He's a Democrat." I was at a wedding reception (congratulations Kelly and Nick!) but whipped out my phone and checked.

Well, I had assumed that because the Republican Caucus sent the press release, all of the people signing the letters were Republicans. Nope: Sure enough, Rep. Neuman is a Democrat. That was dumb of me.

 
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A Slow Email From China

June 01, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

The following is a commentary. Commentaries represent the viewpoints of individual authors and are not those of Tube City Community Media Inc. or its directors.


Some people are skeptical of claims by American steel companies that Chinese companies are dumping steel pipe on the U.S. market. I've heard them say it's just American companies making excuses for being uncompetitive.

Would you believe that we here at Tube City Community Media get offers to buy steel pipe from China a couple of times per week? Here's one we got just this morning. The smiley face is a nice touch.

Notice that they're selling large-diameter, electric-resistance weld pipe --- exactly the kind of pipe that U.S. Steel was making in McKeesport, and which Dura-Bond Industries is soon going to start making again.

 
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Pittsburgh Penguins: Outstanding in Their Field

May 09, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

We spotted this message mowed into a field near the intersection of Round Hill Road and Route 48 in Elizabeth Twp. Is it the extra boost the Penguins need as they prepare for Game 7 against the Washington Capitals?

The Capitals beat the Penguins, 5 to 2, at PPG Paints Arena in Game 6 of the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs on Monday night. The Pens had a three games to one lead, but, missing both their number 1 goaltender, Matt Murray, and their number 1 defenseman, Kris Letang, the team struggled in Games 4 and 5.

Faceoff for Wednesday's game at the Verizon Center in D.C. is at 7:30. The winner advances to the Eastern Conference finals to face either the New York Rangers or the Ottawa Senators.

 


State Legislature Passes Budget Nine Months Late

March 25, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial, Editorial Cartoons

© 2016 Jason Togyer/Tube City Community Media Inc.

Pennsylvania budget achieves too little, costs too much

The Democratic governor is standing by his principles by not signing the $6 billion remainder of a $30 billion budget that he believes is unbalanced. But, by letting it become law by Monday without his signature, Wolf is sparing school districts the cost of borrowing additional money to make up for undelivered state funding ...

The question for Wolf is why he did not accept defeat on taxes sooner.

The question for Republican state lawmakers is whether their political victory was worth the heavy costs it imposed: on social service agencies that had to cut staff; on counties ... that paid interest on loans or ... lost interest on reserves they had to spend; and on school districts.

The question for both is how they're going to avoid a replay in fiscal year 2016-17, the budget for which is due by June 30.

—Editorial, the Reading (Pa.) Eagle

 
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