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Mon-Yough School Districts Say
'We All Face Similar Challenges'

December 11, 2019 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: Duquesne News, McKeesport and Region News

Linda Iverson, Wilkinsburg school superintendent, says some of her students are dealing with multiple generations of poverty and trauma. (Richard Finch Jr. photo)


Related story: School districts seek relief, changes to charter school law


School superintendents who attended a press conference in McKeesport on Thursday said most urban school districts in the Mon-Yough area --- and across the country --- face similar challenges created by poverty.

In the Wilkinsburg School District, about 99 percent of approximately 1,000 students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, said Linda J. Iverson, superintendent.

Some of them are coming from generations of poverty and "fragmented" home environments, she said.

“It's not just that they're coming in from trauma-informed instances," she said. "They may not have had food or sleep the night before, or they may not have clothes.”

 
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Lacking Funds, Duquesne Suspends
Demo Hearings Until 2020

December 04, 2019 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: Duquesne News

Citing a lack of funding, Duquesne will suspend any additional hearings on demolishing abandoned buildings until the beginning of 2020.

But normal bills will be paid as usual, a city official said.

“We don't have the funds in order to take out the advertisements and the things that need (to be) done,” City Solicitor Myron Sainovich told council.

“The city will not hold any hearings on property demolitions until the beginning of next year, due to lack of funding,” he said. “We are running on a bare minimum budget until the end of the year. So some of these things are going to be put off.”

 
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Duquesne Seeks $1M to Improve Water, Sewer Systems

December 04, 2019 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: Duquesne News

Duquesne will seek $1 million in state funding to upgrade the city's sewer and water infrastructure.

City council voted to pursue the grants from the state Department of Community and Economic Development's Commonwealth Financing Authority.

The city is requesting the maximum grant amount of $500,000 through the Pennsylvania Small Water and Sewer Grant Program and $500,000 request from the H20 PA program.

The Small Water and Sewer grant is designed to assist with the construction, improvement, expansion or rehabilitation or repair of a water supply system, sanitary sewer system, storm sewer system, or flood control projects.

 
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Duquesne Police Post Monthly Report

December 02, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News, Duquesne News

Duquesne police Chief Thomas Dunlevy said during the month of October, police responded to 961 incidents and handled 85 criminal investigations resulting in the arrest of 53 adults and three juveniles. A total of 471 citations and warnings were issued. Police Officer Andy Carter submitted his resignation, effective Dec. 1, to accept a position with the Allegheny County Housing Authority Police.

Dunlevy said Duquesne police will hold a full active shooter drill at Duquesne Elementary Center in January 2020.

 


Four Wounded in Duquesne Shooting;
Police Seek Suspects

October 21, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News, Duquesne News

Duquesne and Allegheny County police are looking for three men involved in a shooting Saturday evening on Priscilla Street that injured four people.

Police said three of the victims were sitting on the front porch of a house in the 600 block at around 5 p.m. when a blue Ford Fusion approached and someone inside the car opened fire.

The car then continued down the street where another person was shot, police said.

 
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Caldwell: Duquesne Council Wants End to Lengthy Meetings

September 30, 2019 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: Duquesne News

A Duquesne city councilman acknowledged that recent meetings have been “lengthy and contentious,” but said elected officials are working towards a common goal.

“People need to understand the mills are gone from the city and so is the tax base they supported,” Councilman Tim Caldwell said after the Sept. 24 meeting. “It’s a different era. Once we get our finances in order we’ll be on top of our game. Despite what people are saying, Duquesne is coming up.”

Duquesne has been under Act 47 financially distressed status since 1991, but is working on a plan to exit that process by 2022. Caldwell said council also is focused on bringing in partners to redevelop blighted properties.

 
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Duquesne Council OK's New Timeline for Police Board Inquiries

September 30, 2019 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: Duquesne News

Duquesne City Council has directed the mayor or police chief to respond to complaints submitted to the new citizens' police review board within 30 days.

At the Sept. 24 meeting, council approved a motion presented by councilwoman Terra Henderson-Murphy designed to streamline the process.

The move came after residents filled council chambers, many of them speaking out about their frustrations with how the review board process has been handled up until now. Prior to the meeting, there was no established timeframe for complaints to be investigated.

“Residents don’t feel they're being heard,” Councilman Tim Caldwell said after the meeting. “They are concerned they are not getting answers right away.”

 
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Afterschool Academy Will Teach Career, Life Lessons for Grades 9-12

September 30, 2019 |

By Chris Baumann | Posted in: Duquesne News, McKeesport and Region News

In August, members of the LaRosa Boys & Girls Club and Duquesne-West Mifflin Boys & Girls Club participated in a STEM summer camp led by McKeesport's Blueroof Technologies. The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania are opening an after-school career preparation academy in October at the former McKeesport Daily News Building, Downtown. (Photo courtesy Boys and Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania, via Facebook.)


The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania is opening a Workforce Development Academy called Career Works in the beginning of October in Downtown McKeesport.

Located in the Tube City Center for Business and Innovation --- the former Daily News Building at 409 Walnut St.--- the program will primarily focus on developing career opportunities for highschool students grades 9-12.

Students from any area school district are welcome to participate and applications are being accepted online. The program will meet from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. weekdays beginning Oct. 1 through June 1.

Career Works will offer academic development, soft skill development, career coaching, internship programs and many other valuable career-related resources, said Lisa Abel-Palmieri, president and chief executive officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania.

“Our organization has been offering career development for over a decade, but we want to serve a broader teen demographic,” she said.  “We want to retain students past the K-8 level. In the past they have tended to lose interest in the organization due to a lack of programming for their age range.”

 
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Food Bank Eyes Expansion With State Grant's Help

August 06, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Duquesne News

Refrigerated trucks are loaded at Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in Duquesne. By 2025, the organization hopes to deliver 20 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables each year to people in 11 counties. (Photo special to Tube City Almanac)


The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is planning to double the amount of fresh produce it provides to needy people throughout Western Pennsylvania by 2025.

To make that possible, the Duquesne-based organization is planning a renovation of its facility in the RIDC industrial park that would expand its cold storage area as well as its "cold dock" --- the part of the warehouse where fresh vegetables and fruit are received and repacked for distribution.

Officials last week announced that the food bank's project has been awarded $1 million from the state's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

For nutritional and health reasons, food banks are moving away from pre-packaged boxed and canned foods and towards fresh foods, said Justin Lee, chief operating officer for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.

 
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Fired Employee ‘Frustrated’ as Duquesne Appeals Arbitrator’s Ruling

August 05, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Duquesne News

The City of Duquesne is appealing an arbitrator's decision to reinstate a police secretary accused of misusing a criminal justice database.

Lori Achtzehn had worked for the city for more than 40 years before being fired by city council in March 2018.

On June 25, an arbitrator ruled that the firing violated the terms of the city's contract with Teamsters Local 205, which represents Duquesne rank-and-file employees, and ordered Achtzehn reinstated with back pay.

Duquesne believes the arbitrator was wrong and is appealing to Allegheny County Common Pleas Court, said Myron Sainovich, city solicitor.

 
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