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Reader’s Viewpoint: Legislation Needed to Protect
Small Businesses, Consumers

November 20, 2023 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

Tube City Community Media is committed to printing viewpoints from residents of the McKeesport area and surrounding municipalities. Commentaries are accepted at the discretion of the editor and may be edited for content or length.

State Rep. Nick Pisciottano chairs the House Democratic Subcommittee on Labor, Energy & Development. He represents the 38th Legislative District in Allegheny County, which includes parts of the Mon Valley and the South Hills. Pisciottano writes:

This Saturday is Small Business Saturday, and it’s the perfect time to start your holiday shopping by supporting the small businesses who create jobs and invest in our local community. But, it’s also a time to recognize that our main street businesses need more than just our dollars.

In the United States, a fair marketplace is a healthy marketplace. Open competition is the engine of our nation's economy, and we need to ensure that state law protects against companies that seek to restrain Pennsylvania commerce.

For decades, large companies across the nation have purchased smaller ones, creating concentrated power in almost all sectors of our economy. Large, monopolistic firms then use their dominant market share to engage in price gouging, collusion and other predatory, anti-competitive tactics that harm consumers, small businesses and workers by raising prices, suppressing wages and more.

This monopolistic consolidation has also led to offshoring our nation's production capacity, while creating brittle supply chains for even basic goods.

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Reader’s Viewpoint: Exhibit Brought Stories to Life

August 02, 2023 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

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.

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Readers’ Viewpoint: Support UPS Workers’ Fight

July 18, 2023 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

A United Parcel Service truck makes a delivery in New York City in 2014. (File photo by Chris Sampson via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-SA 2.0)

State Reps. Nick Pisciottano of West Mifflin and Elizabeth Fiedler of Philadelphia write:

Pennsylvania’s history is the history of organized labor. Our fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, and generations beyond literally risked their lives to stand up against the robber barons and their corrupt allies in government that put the rich above the people.

They shed their blood in dangerous mines and factories. They died in preventable accidents caused by greed and indifference toward the plight of working people. They led the fight for the things we take for granted today: 40-hour workweeks, paid holidays, health insurance, a chance to retire, and so much more.

The Mine Workers, the Steelworkers, the Autoworkers, the International Ladies Garment Workers — those organizations turned America’s economy into the most powerful economy in the world and did it by creating the strongest middle class on the planet, full of workers paid fairly with enough money and enough time to spend their dollars in the community.

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Reader’s Viewpoint: Here’s The Buzz on Bees

May 27, 2023 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

A bee gathers pollen from a dandelion plant. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

Vickie Babyak of Dravosburg writes:

Every third bite of food that we eat depends on pollination, and bees — including honeybees — are among the most important pollinators for crops. But bee populations are declining worldwide, due to overuse of pesticides and environmental factors such as climate change.

Last Saturday (May 20) was celebrated by environmentalists as “World Bee Day.” World Bee Day commemorates the birthday of Anton Janša, born in 1734, who was a pioneer beekeeper from Slovenia. Janša learned bee-keeping from his father and made one of the first scientific studies of bees and their behavior. In 1770, Empress Maria Theresa appointed him head beekeeper for all of Austria.

World Bee Day shines a light on bees and their habitat so we can improve conditions for the survival of bees and other pollinators. This year’s theme was “Bee engaged in pollinator-friendly agriculture production.”

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Free Space for Political Candidates

March 27, 2023 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

As a public service, Tube City Community Media Inc. again will make available this space as a free, public outlet for local political candidates — although there are rules attached.

If you know any political candidates, please let them know of this opportunity. Deadline is May 1; announcements will be published at Tube City Almanac in the order they arrive.

Any candidate for a municipal (city, borough or township) or school board office in the Duquesne City, East Allegheny, McKeesport Area, South Allegheny or West Mifflin Area school districts* may submit a candidate announcement or statement for publication at Tube City Almanac.

Profiles received after the deadline will be published at the editor’s option, time permitting.

Please email them to; U.S. mail them to Tube City Almanac, P.O. Box 94, McKeesport, PA 15134; or drop them off during regular business hours at Tube City Community Media, 409 Walnut St., Suite 200, McKeesport. (Please do not send them as a text message, or as a Facebook message. Handwritten entries and phone calls are not acceptable.)

Complete rules follow after the “more” link and are subject to change at any time.

Thanks for your cooperation, and for running for local office!

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Reader’s Viewpoint: Better Days Still Ahead

February 09, 2023 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

(Submitted photo courtesy of Jonathan Stark)

Jonathan Stark is the owner of the People’s Bank Building and the Executive Building, Downtown, as well as several other commercial and residential properties around the city. He writes:

I’m not originally from McKeesport. When I try to explain to people why I love McKeesport, they don’t understand. They aren’t from McKeesport.

When my wife Jen and I moved to neighboring White Oak in 2005, I remember being totally impressed with the old architecture, beautiful homes and the stories about what many would agree was the best city in Allegheny County to grow up in at one time.

I was intrigued. I had never seen anything like it where I grew up in Westmoreland County.

I remember introducing myself to a few police officers when I bought my first downtown building in 2008 and asked them what I should expect. They told me that it’s a big city and has all the same problems that any big city has. I got to know those officers and became good friends with many of them and other firefighters, EMS, local politicians and residents.

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Reader’s Viewpoint: Why Are Only Working People Ever Asked to Sacrifice?

January 04, 2023 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

Above: State Rep. Nick Pisciotanno, West Mifflin Democrat, takes the oath of office on Jan. 3 alongside newly elected state Rep. Arvind Venkat of McCandless. Pisciotanno was first elected to the state General Assembly in 2020 and was re-elected in November 2022. In addition to West Mifflin, his district includes Baldwin Borough, Dravosburg, Glassport, Pittsburgh’s Lincoln Place neighborhood and Whitehall. (Photo courtesy Pennsylvania House of Representatives.)

State Rep. Nick Pisciottano is chairman of the newly formed House Democratic Subcommittee on Labor, Energy & Development. He represents the 38th Legislative District in Allegheny County, which includes parts of the Mon Valley and the South Hills. Pisciottano writes:

We’ve seen it over and over. A crisis like the recent potential railroad strike is only fixed when the working people who truly drive our economy are asked to once again “tighten our belts” and make concessions.

President Biden was given a terrible choice: support workers exercising their fundamental right to collectively bargain, demand fair treatment, and, if necessary, strike — which would potentially wreck the national economy — or use the government’s unique power over the rail industry and force workers to accept a contract, damaging his record as a worker-first leader who wants to rebuild the American middle class.

Biden put the American economy first. But it didn’t need to come to this.

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Reader’s Viewpoint: Native Plants Key to Area

August 30, 2022 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

Vickie Babyak is a photographer and freelance writer from Dravosburg:

Bee balm (Monarda), native to eastern North America, and black-eyed Susans (Rudbekia hirta), native to eastern and central North America, naturalized in the western part; both plants are perennials attracting hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

The end of summer is near and the first day of autumn arrives on Sept. 22. In reaction to the shorter length of days, seasonal changes can be observed in surrounding trees and plants.

Each season displays its own beauty with growth that is attractive to humans and supportive to the environment.

Native plants are particularly important to nature and some bloom throughout autumn before winter arrives, providing necessary nourishment for a wide-range of diverse wildlife.

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Commentary: Steel Can Have a Strong,
Responsible Future in Pennsylvania

May 25, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

State Rep. Nick Pisciottano of West Mifflin was recently elected from the 38th Legislative District. He writes:

Imagine this: It is 2023 and President Biden is standing outside of U.S. Steel’s Edgar Thomson Plant — the first of Andrew Carnegie’s steel mills, built in 1873, that turned Pittsburgh into the Steel City — to announce the country’s most technologically advanced steel making process has just been installed in the plant.

These improvements allow for the continued manufacturing of steel, right here in the Monongahela Valley, and will create the steel of the future used to build high-rises, bridges, vehicles, home appliances and much more, while providing high-quality, union jobs to our community in an environmentally responsible manner. Once again, Pittsburgh would be the center of steel production for the entire nation.

This doesn’t have to be just a dream.

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Reader’s Viewpoint: McKeesport’s ‘Mayor Lou’
Had a Life Well-Lived

April 28, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

A collage of newspaper clippings from both local and national publications traces Lou Washowich’s career from coach of the McKeesport Little Tigers to one of Allegheny County’s only two full-time mayors. (Tube City Almanac illustration)

Dennis K.E. Pittman served as a community development consultant to McKeesport Mayor Lou Washowich from 1985 to 1989, and as the city’s community development director from 1989 to 2000.

Washowich, who served as mayor from 1980 to 1995, died April 2 at age 81.

Pittman writes:

The measure of a person’s life is often determined by his or her time and place. One’s values may transcend the ages ... the “what-ifs” of what might have happened had one been in a particular situation and place. The bottom line is really, how did someone respond when their name is called?

Lou Washowich — only his beloved bride of 58 years, Jean, was allowed to call him “Louis”! — impacted so many lives in his 81 years that I am confident each and every one of those individuals Lou met could relate their own special remembrance. Hopefully, this will conjure up some memories for them to enjoy.

Lou’s character was forged early in life, growing up poor in a tough industrial town without benefit of a standard nuclear family. He became rich, however, through his experiences and friendships with many days when he did not have a nickel in his pocket.

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