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Parents, School Officials Decry Recent Violence

January 26, 2023 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Following three area shootings in six weeks, and the discovery of a plastic BB gun in a high school student’s backpack on Monday, McKeesport Area School District board members voiced their commitment to safety during Wednesday’s meeting.

“Safety is the number one priority. Education is supposed to be number one but that’s fallen out and number two for me,” board member Joseph Lopretto said. “This school board is 100 percent on board. I don’t want anybody to even take away from tonight that we don’t care because we care.”

Despite Lopretto’s assertion, several parents raised concern regarding the effectiveness of backpack checks and other security measures.

Superintendent Tia Wanzo said that a group of six adults inspect backpacks “every day.”

 
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Advocates: Curbing Violence Needs Persistence

January 23, 2023 |

By Tom Leturgey | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Community members arrive Thursday at McKeesport Area High School for a community meeting on gun violence convened by the McKeesport Unit of the NAACP. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)


Focused and persistent community action is necessary when it comes to tackling gun violence, said one of the speakers at a summit last week at McKeesport Area High School.

Tim Stevens, chair and chief executive officer of the Black Political Empowerment Project, or B-PEP, said stakeholders in the Mon Valley need to “stay the course” and keep working on communication and outreach, especially to youth who may be lured into crime or violence.

Anti-bullying and Internet safety are two specific areas that families should pay attention to, Stevens said.

The McKeesport unit of the NAACP on Thursday convened the second of a series of community meetings focused on reducing gun violence. A third is tentatively planned for Feb. 21.

 
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Westmoreland Trail Eyes Mon Valley Connection

January 12, 2023 |

By Amy George | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, North Versailles Twp. News

The Westmoreland Heritage Trail connects Saltsburg to Trafford, via Monroeville. A proposal is underway to connect the trail to the Great Allegheny Passage via North Versailles Twp. and Turtle Creek. (Daveynin photo via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)


Changes coming to the regional trail network could make it easier than ever for Mon-Yough area bicyclists to reach destinations in Monroeville and Westmoreland County.

Currently in the works are plans to extend the current Pittsburgh-to-Maryland trail — the Great Allegheny Passage, or GAP trail — deeper into local communities. One such plan — the Turtle Creek Connector project — would extend the Westmoreland Heritage Trail through Turtle Creek and North Versailles Twp. to meet the GAP, which serves McKeesport, Duquesne and Homestead.

Once a bustling network of railways akin to the region’s industrial history, these converted trails have seen new life in the past few decades and continue to develop with innovative community visions.

 
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Final Sunday Mass Sad for Corpus Christi Faithful

January 11, 2023 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The parishioners who attended the final weekly Mass at Corpus Christi Church on Versailles Avenue looked on with sadness Saturday afternoon at the beautifully decorated altar, still adorned with a manger scene and Christmas trees.

The final communion hymn touched everyone deeply as the choir from above sang, “Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.” As the organ fell silent, the entire church erupted with applause. Many of the parishioners continue to send letters to the bishop hoping for a miracle. 

Parishioners at Corpus Christi Church, the former St. Mary Czestochowa, are afraid that they’ll have to die or get married to ever come back into the building.

In accordance with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh’s “On Mission for the Church Alive” campaign many parishes in and around Pittsburgh have merged into regional clusters. Corpus Christi is now part of Mary, Mother of God Parish, which also includes churches in Christy Park, White Oak and East McKeesport.

 
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Seven, Including Mayor Candidate, Face Charges

January 05, 2023 |

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

A local business owner who is challenging McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko in this year’s election has been arrested by state drug enforcement agents and accused of being part of a cocaine trafficking ring allegedly led by his campaign manager.

Corry J. Sanders, 52, who obtained a pardon for a previous drug offense through the efforts of now-U.S. Sen. John Fetterman and other elected officials, is charged by the state attorney general’s office with two counts each of drug possession, possession with intent to deliver and delivery.

The arrest — originally reported by Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV on New Year’s Eve — was confirmed Thursday afternoon by the attorney general’s office.

Investigators allege that Sanders sold cocaine to a confidential informant on two separate occasions, including at his Locust Street barbershop, Kool Kutz, in November 2022.

 
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Train Club Wraps Up Annual Holiday Show

December 15, 2022 |

By Elizabeth Laughlin | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Submitted photo courtesy McKeesport Model Railroad Club)


The McKeesport Model Railroad Club will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday for its final holiday train show of 2022.

The organization, which formed in the 1950s, first met in a McKeesport freight train station before moving to their current location on Walnut Street. Every Christmas season, they open their doors to the community to observe their model-railroad layout.

“We just want people to enjoy it,” Vice President Steve Raith said. “We have families that come back every year as a tradition.”

Raith became involved with the club after his young son expressed interest. After attending a few meetings, Raith decided to volunteer and eventually became one of the board members.

 
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Dozen Displaced in Hartman St. Apartment Fire

December 09, 2022 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

More than a dozen people had to be assisted by the American Red Cross after fire swept through an apartment building on Hartman Street on Wednesday afternoon.

One person jumped from a third-floor window and two tenants were rescued by firefighters using ladders, emergency officials said. The cause of the blaze is under investigation by the Allegheny County fire marshal’s office.

The fire at 916 Hartman St. was reported at 1:03 p.m., emergency personnel said, and quickly escalated to three alarms. The building is a four-story brick structure with 16 units, according to county real-estate records, and is owned by a McKeesport resident.

 
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City Ends Garbage Contract, Seeks Legal Action

December 09, 2022 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

After three years of a sometimes-frustrating relationship with its contracted garbage collection company, McKeesport is changing vendors and preparing to go to court.

At Wednesday’s meeting, city council by 7-0 vote approved a three-year contract with Big’s Sanitation of Rostraver Twp., Westmoreland County, to collect trash and recyclables. Big’s was the city’s garbage hauler from 2015 until 2019, when the contract was awarded to County Hauling, also of Rostraver.

The city is considering legal action against County Hauling over its poor performance, Mayor Michael Cherepko said Wednesday night.

 
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Voters to Choose Replacements for Davis, Lee

December 07, 2022 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, Politics & Elections, State & Region

Summer Lee and Austin Davis, shown here at their Mon Valley Youth Expo in 2019, have resigned their respective state legislative seats. Lee has been elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, while Davis is slated to become Pennsylvania’s first Black lieutenant governor. (Submitted photo courtesy Pennsylvania House of Representatives)


Mon-Yough area voters will be asked to choose replacements for two state legislators who have been elected to higher offices.

State Rep. Austin Davis of McKeesport and State Rep. Summer Lee of Swissvale, both Democrats, submitted their resignations on Wednesday. Davis has been elected lieutenant governor, replacing John Fetterman of Braddock, while Lee has been elected to the congressional seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, who is retiring.

On Wednesday, state House Democratic Leader Joanna McClinton of Philadelphia announced that a special election will be held Feb. 7 to replace Davis, Lee and state Rep. Anthony DeLuca, who died in October.

 
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Family Pets Perish in Main St. Blaze

December 07, 2022 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A fire on Tuesday afternoon that heavily damaged a home near Renziehausen Park is under investigation by the Allegheny County fire marshal.

Although the two residents were not present at the time of the blaze, five dogs were located on the second floor of the house, said Jeff Tomovcsik, McKeesport fire chief. Firefighters, McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service and a UPMC paramedic administered oxygen in an attempt to revive the animals, but were not successful, he said.

The blaze at 3917 Main St. was reported just after 3 p.m. when neighbors reported seeing smoke from a window.

When crews arrived, Tomovcsik said, smoke was present from multiple windows on the first and second floors of the two-story wood frame house.

 
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