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Speaker: MLK’s Legacy Includes Fighting
for Social, Economic Justice

January 25, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Jeff Ballou, Penn State alumnus and news editor at Al Jazeera’s English language channel, speaks to Jacqueline Edmondson, chancellor of the Greater Allegheny campus, following a Martin Luther King Jr. Day speech on Monday. (Tube City Almanac photo)


A speaker at Penn State Greater Allegheny on Martin Luther King Jr. Day challenged students — and the university itself — to take a bigger stand against economic inequality, including the rising cost of a college education.

Jeff Ballou, former president of the National Press Club, a Penn State graduate and a Pittsburgh native, said Monday that modern audiences make a mistake when they “freeze” Martin Luther King Jr. at a single moment in time — his “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington in 1963.

“You think everyone celebrates Dr. King,” said Ballou, a former student at the McKeesport campus. “Well, not in 1967.”

 
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Penn State Students Give Up Day Off to Perform Service

January 21, 2020 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Penn State students from five Pittsburgh-area campuses, including Greater Allegheny in McKeesport, volunteered at six Mon-Yough area charitable organizations on Martin Luther King Day, including Auberle. (Vickie Babyak photo, special to Tube City Almanac)


In 1965, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told students at Oberlin College, “The time is always right to do what is right.”

When Penn State Greater Allegheny Campus reached out to the Pauline Auberle Home in McKeesport a couple of weeks ago, to find out of students could work on a service project during Martin Luther King Day 2020, the time was right, said Kayla McGrath, volunteer coordinator at Auberle.

“Penn State and Auberle have worked together before but this is the first time we’ve done this type of activity,” McGrath said. “The university was looking for organizations to plan volunteer service on a larger scale inspired by Martin Luther King Day and asked if we’d like to host volunteers.”

 
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One Displaced in Evans Ave. House Fire

January 15, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The cause of this fire Tuesday afternoon in the 1800 block of Evans Avenue remains under investigation, a fire official said. (Photo courtesy McKeesport Fire Department)


One man was displaced when fire damaged his Evans Avenue home on Tuesday afternoon.

McKeesport fire Chief Jeff Tomovcsik said crews were dispatched at 12:09 p.m. after callers reported smoke and flames coming from the rear of a single-story house at the corner of Evans Avenue and Grant Street.

When police and firefighters arrived, they found the back porch of the house fully engulfed in fire, he said.

A second alarm was sounded and additional fire crews from Allegheny County Airport, Glassport, Liberty Borough, Vigilant Hose (Port Vue) and White Oak No. 1 responded to the scene, Tomovcsik said.

 
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U.S. Steel Promises to Work With
County on Inversion Study, Response

January 14, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

EDITED to remove typo.

U.S. Steel’s Clairton Plant. (Photo by Mark Dixon/Blue Lens, licensed under Creative Commons)


U.S. Steel has promised to help Allegheny County Health Department develop a plan to predict when weather conditions will make air pollution worse, and respond more quickly.

The health department’s proposal was announced in the wake of a so-called “temperature inversion” that left the Mon Valley and much of Allegheny County covered in smog during the Christmas holidays.

“We know from research that inversions are expected to get worse with climate change,” said Ronald Sugar, interim director of the health department. “We’re seeing that first-hand here.”

A local environmental group welcomed U.S. Steel’s participation, but questioned why the corporation didn’t take voluntary steps to reduce its own output during the inversion Dec. 21 to 26, when pollution was thick in the air.

 
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Charity Basketball Game Raises $9K For Scholarships

January 14, 2020 |

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

CORRECTION: Darius Prince was unable to attend Saturday's game. He was replaced by Chris Edmonds.

Bryan Akinkugbe currently plays for the Steel City Yellow Jackets. He also played professionally in Canada and Mexico. He was among the competitors during a charity basketball game at Penn State Greater Allegheny in McKeesport on Saturday. (Richard Finch Jr. photo/special to Tube City Almanac)


Jesús Torres is already working on plans for the third-annual Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Celebrity basketball game, securing commitments from fellow “celebrity” players to return to McKeesport next January.

“I was joking with the players after Saturday's game that we need to sign five-year contracts,” he said. “They all promised to come back here next year to keep this event going.”

Three hundred fans showed up on Saturday for the second-annual game, which raised more than $9,000 for scholarships to support the region’s Hispanic community.

Celebrity players were divided into home and away squads. The unofficial score was 96-90 in favor of the “home” team, but the “official” score was changed to a 96-96 tie, a Penn State spokesman said.

 
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City Trash Pickup Reverts
to Previous 5-Day Schedule

January 10, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

CORRECTION: Edited to clarify that recycling will be collected every other week, on the same day as trash pickup. The next recycling pickups are during the week of Jan. 20. We apologize for the error.


McKeesport homeowners will be going back to their old trash pickup days, beginning Monday.

After one week, the city's new trash collection company, County Hauling of Rostraver Twp., has scrapped its attempt to pickup all of the households in two days and will revert to the schedule used by the previous garbage hauler, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said.

The change comes after a week in which many McKeesport residents complained that their trash and recycling were collected late or not at all. Others expressed confusion over the new schedules.

County Hauling also began collecting trash in North Huntingdon Twp. this week, and according to the Tribune-Review, it’s facing complaints there as well.

 
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Glitches Reported With New Trash Hauler

January 08, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport officials are urging city residents to have patience with their new trash hauler after some homeowners reported their houses were missed, and others expressed confusion over when recycling would be picked up.

The city's contract with its previous trash hauler, Big's Sanitation, expired on Dec. 31, but the new collector, County Hauling of Rostraver Twp., didn't begin service until Jan. 6.

As a result, some residents reported having almost two weeks' worth of trash that needed to be collected.

County Hauling also has not yet released a schedule for recycling collection or explained what items should be put out for recycling. Emails sent by Tube City Almanac to County Hauling spokespersons asking for clarification have not been answered.

 
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Public Asks County Council For
Action on Air, Water Quality

January 07, 2020 |

By Ann Belser | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, Politics & Elections

County Councilman John Palmiere, Democrat from Baldwin Twp., is sworn in by Allegheny County Common  Pleas Judge Dan Regan. Palmiere represents District 6, which also includes Clairton, Elizabeth Borough, Jefferson Hills and Pleasant Hills. Looking on is Common Pleas Judge Kathryn Hens-Greco. (Photo by Ann Belser/Print, special to Tube City Almanac)


If its first meeting was any indication, Allegheny County Council could be in for a contentious new year.

On Jan. 2, the night that all of the new and re-elected members of council were sworn in and Pat Catena of Carnegie was elected as the new council president, a dozen residents availed themselves of the public comment period to talk about the poor quality of the air and water in Allegheny County.

“Of all the issues that come before you, none is more serious than the toxic air that we breathe everyday,” John Detwiler of Squirrel Hill said. “Our county’s air is among the worst in the nation, it affects the health and the very lives of our friends and our neighbors, so all of us should care about our air.”

He called on the new council to reshape the Board of Health through its confirmation process to make the board more responsive to air quality issues.

 
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New Trash Hauler in City,
NHT Beginning Jan. 1

December 30, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements, McKeesport and Region News

A new provider will be collecting trash and recyclables in McKeesport and North Huntingdon Twp. beginning Jan. 1.

Rostraver Twp.-based County Hauling was awarded a four-year contract by North Huntingdon commissioners on Sept. 18, replacing Waste Management, and a one-year contract by McKeesport city council on Nov. 6, replacing Big's Sanitation.

In both cases, officials from the municipalities said County Hauling was the lowest responsible bidder. The company is a subsidiary of Noble Environmental Inc. of Pittsburgh, which also owns the Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill near Monessen. Noble purchased the landfill in 2016 from Tervita, a Canadian company.

“We are a growing, locally owned company,” County Hauling spokeswoman Ro Rozier said in a prepared release. “We are thrilled to be able to provide service to McKeesport and many other communities in Allegheny, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland counties.”

 
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Local Christmas Tree Lots Keep Tradition Alive

December 20, 2019 |

By Emily Pidgeon | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, White Oak News

Herb Spang and an employee prepare to bale a customer’s tree at the family’s lot on Hartman Street in McKeesport. The Spangs have been selling Christmas trees at the location for nearly 60 years. (Emily Pidgeon photo special to Tube City Almanac)


Selling Christmas trees during the holidays may seem like a fun and easy way to make a buck, but after talking to some local tree lot owners, you may think differently.

“We have to fight snakes, spiders, the sun, the weather — everything, you know,” said Don Spang, 88, of White Oak, owner of Spang’s Trees on Hartman Street in McKeesport.

Spang and his brother Herb, 79, along with other family members and employees, are celebrating 59 years of selling Christmas trees in the very same location.

Spang said he’s sold as many as 5,000 trees in one season. These days, the lot sells closer to 500 trees.

 
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