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11 Candidates Seeking MASD School Board Seats

May 14, 2021 |

By Siana Emery | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Eleven candidates — including three incumbents — are seeking four positions on the McKeesport Area School Board during next week’s primary.

School Director Ivan Hampton is not seeking re-election.

The primary election is Tuesday, May 18, and gives voters who are registered as either Democrats or Republicans the chance to choose their party’s candidates for the November general election.

Seven candidates are cross-filed as both Republicans and Democrats, while four candidates are running strictly as Democrats.

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Large Crowd Celebrates Field’s Dedication

May 13, 2021 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Friends and family of Jamie Brewster-Filotei gather around a bench at Jamie Brewster-Filotei Memorial Field on Wednesday. The bench was donated by members of the staff of state Sen. Jim Brewster, shown at right, with his wife, Linda, at left. (Tube City Almanac photo by Vickie Babyak.)

A large crowd of friends, family members and former students gathered Wednesday evening to celebrate the life of Jamie Brewster-Filotei, former McKeesport Area school teacher and vice president of city council.

During a ceremony in Renziehausen Park, a baseball and softball field was renamed for Brewster-Filotei, who died May 12, 2020 of non-small cell lung carcinoma.

The event began with an invocation by the Rev. William B. Meekins Jr., senior pastor of the McKeesport Charge of the United Methodist Church, which Brewster-Filotei attended.

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Free Lead Testing Available for Local Gardeners

May 13, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Raised beds, such as these ones growing greens, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli and strawberries, are one way to help keep lead contamination out of fruits and vegetables. (Jennifer Feuchter photo via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)

Fruit and vegetable gardeners in McKeesport who are concerned about possible lead contamination in their soil will be able to get a free test done May 22.

During the event, organizers also will provide free information to gardeners about how to keep lead contamination out of their vegetable patches this spring and summer. Advance registration is required at

The event is being organized by “Get The Lead Out, Pittsburgh” in cooperation with the Allegheny County Conservation District and Women for a Healthy Environment.

A sampling of home gardens in McKeesport in December 2020 concluded that 83 percent had levels of lead exceeding safe standards. The soil samples were tested by Penn State University.

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Field to Be Renamed for Late Councilwoman

May 11, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Tube City Almanac photo)

City officials, friends and family will gather Wednesday evening (May 12) to dedicate an athletic field at Renziehausen Park to former McKeesport Councilwoman Jamie Brewster-Filotei.

The dedication at 6 p.m. will take place on the one year anniversary of Brewster-Filotei’s death at age 46 after a nearly three-year battle with non-small cell lung carcinoma.

“Obviously we know what Jamie meant to this community, we know her extreme commitment to our youth, and we know her as an athlete as well, whether it was coaching or playing,” Mayor Michael Cherepko told city council last week.

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AFL-CIO Leaders Question U.S. Steel Decision

May 09, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The federation of the state’s largest labor unions has joined local elected officials in questioning a decision by U.S. Steel to cancel more than $1.5 billion in upgrades to its three Mon Valley facilities.

In a joint letter to U.S. Steel’s chief executive officer, leaders of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO called themselves “shocked, disappointed and bewildered” by the corporation’s April 30 announcement that it will not carry through with its plans to construct an “endless caster” at Edgar Thomson Plant as well as a co-generation energy facility at Clairton Plant.

“Over the years we have diligently and cooperatively worked with your government affairs team and the Pennsylvania Steel Alliance to encourage new manufacturing in the Commonwealth and beyond,” wrote Rick Bloomingdale, president of the state AFL-CIO, and Frank Snyder, secretary-treasurer, in the letter made public May 6.

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MAHS Students Make Their Voices Heard

May 09, 2021 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Brandy Daye, assistant principal of Twin Rivers Elementary School, discusses summer employment opportunities for the high school students during "The Voices of Change" meeting. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

A growing group of McKeesport Area High School students are learning about their cultural differences — and finding out that more unites them than separates them.

“The Voices of Change” includes students and faculty facilitators, who are focused on discipline, diversity and academics, said the organizers. Since their first meeting in March, which attracted about a dozen students, the group has continued to expand.

In the past few weeks, the group’s popularity has grown and membership continues to increase for the upcoming new school year.

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City OK’s Demolitions Near New Senior Building

May 06, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

This vacant building at the corner of Beech and Bailie avenues is one of 14 near the former Centennial School that has been targeted for demolition. Tax records indicate the building is owned by a limited-liability corporation in Forest Hills. (Tube City Almanac photo)

City officials are working to clear away more than a dozen blighted houses around a former school that is being turned into a senior citizen residence.

At Wednesday’s meeting, city council voted 7–0 to tear down 14 abandoned homes and apartment buildings on Bailie, Beaver and Union avenues and in the surrounding area, and to apply for $250,000 funding from the Allegheny County Economic Development Department to pay for the demolition.

City Administrator Tom Maglicco said McKeesport officials are hopeful that once the vacant structures are gone, the lots can be turned into greenspace or transferred to adjoining homeowners to enhance their own properties.

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Middle School Students Will Rock This Weekend

May 05, 2021 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment, McKeesport and Region News

The cast rehearses one of the high-energy song-and-dance numbers from “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo for Tube City Almanac)

If You Go


“Schoolhouse Rock Jr.”

Where: Francis McClure Middle School, White Oak

When: Thursday through Saturday, but two performances are sold out. One of the performances will be recorded and streamed at a later date. Details will be posted on the McKeesport Area School District and Founders’ Hall Facebook pages.

Tickets: No admission at the door. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, seats are extremely limited and some performances are already sold out. To ask about tickets, email

Years after Edward Moore studied theatre arts at West Virginia Wesleyan College, he’s directing and producing his first musical — “Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr.” — featuring Founders’ Hall Middle School students.

“I guess that being a singer/actor with a college degree in theatre arts, I always wanted to try my hand at directing,” he said.

Moore works as an assistant to the Special Education Department at McKeesport Area School District. His musical credits include performing as a chorister for Pittsburgh Opera for more than 30 years.

After the former middle school musical director retired, Moore said he was approached by principal Tom Knight to take over.

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Building Repairs Underway, No Collapse

May 04, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Repairs are underway at a Downtown building after bricks came loose from a side wall early Tuesday morning.

The damage at the former Moose Lodge on Fifth Avenue near Strawberry Way was reported by a caller to 9-1-1 who heard a loud noise, said McKeesport Deputy Fire Chief Tom Perciavalle.

A section of brick approximately 15 to 20 feet tall and 10 to 12 feet wide fell into a sidewalk next to an apartment building, Perciavalle said. The neighboring apartment building, which has five units, was not damaged and no injuries were reported.

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U.S. Steel: Mon Valley Plants Remain Competitive

April 30, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

See also: Local officials, union blast U.S. Steel for ‘broken promises’

A planned “endless caster” will not be installed at Edgar Thomson Plant in Braddock, U.S. Steel said Friday, but the plant remains the corporation’s lowest-cost producer of flat-rolled steel. (David Kent photo via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons)

U.S. Steel’s three Mon Valley Works facilities remain competitive and highly profitable, the corporation told Wall Street analysts on Friday.

The decision not to add a so-called “endless caster” to the Edgar Thomson Plant in Braddock and North Braddock is not a reflection on the facility’s future, said Kevin Lewis, vice president of investor relations for U.S. Steel.

“We’re highly confident in the existing facilities at the Mon Valley (Works),” he said. “We believe it will generate strong earnings and strong cash flow for the business.”

In fact, one of the blast furnaces at Edgar Thomson was shut down on Friday for 25 days of repairs and upgrades, Lewis said. “We remain committed to that facility going forward and we will continue to allocate capital toward it,” he said.

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