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Minor Chlorine Leak Sends Hazmat to Water Plant; Operations Normal

November 15, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport firefighters and Allegheny County hazardous materials teams responded to a chlorine leak Thursday morning at the McKeesport Water Treatment Plant.

Matthew Junker, spokesman for the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, said the chlorine was isolated to a single building and water treatment operations at the plant were not affected.

Emergency crews were notified when workers detected a “slight chlorine smell” in the room where the tanks are housed, Junker said.

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Fire Destroys Vacant House; Cause Unknown

November 14, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The Allegheny County fire marshal's office is investigating a blaze on Tuesday afternoon that destroyed a vacant house on Stewart Street.

McKeesport fire Chief Jeff Tomovcsik said callers reported the fire at 3:21 p.m. in the two-story wood frame structure at 2910 Stewart.

Initial reports indicated that someone may have been inside, but those proved to be incorrect, Tomovcsik said.

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Chef With Soul Sees Kitchen as a Healing Place

November 08, 2019 |

By Emily Pidgeon | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Michael Kennedy and Vickey Giddens-Kennedy have opened Vickey’s Soul Grill Takeout & Catering with help from Penn State’s Mon Valley Launchbox. (Photo by Emily Pidgeon, special to Tube City Almanac)

Vickey Giddens-Kennedy wants to change how people think and feel about Southern cooking.

“Just let me get into a kitchen," says the owner of Vickey’s Soul Grill Takeout & Catering. Giddens-Kennedy says she found her own personal healing through food and wants to pass that gift onto others in the community.

Sometimes, Giddens-Kennedy says, she would pray, “Lord if you heal me, I’ll give this healing to others.”

"Food is my cure,” she says.

Vickey's Soul Grill is one of the first busineses to receive guidance and assistance from the Mon Valley Launchbox, a business incubator program of Penn State University’s Greater Allegheny Campus.

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Public Invited to Veterans’ Day Program at MAHS

November 08, 2019 |

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

Students perform during McKeesport Area High School’s 2013 Veterans’ Day program. (Photo courtesy McKeesport High School Tiger Band.)

McKeesport Area students will perform a one-hour concert, “A Tribute to Veterans,” at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the high school in honor of Veterans Day.

The event will begin with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the Presentation of Colors by the McKeesport Area High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.

The program will feature the district’s symphonic and jazz bands, directed by Mark DeCarlo; the concert and a capella choirs; and the string orchestra directed by Sarah Persin, as well as a multimedia presentation including “Tribute to Apollo 11,” “75th Anniversary of D-Day” and Toby Keith's “American Soldier,” and conclude with an audience sing along with the a capella and concert choirs.

“The students are very excited to present their hard work to the veterans,” said Beth Eger, choral director at Founders Hall Middle School.  “This is one of our favorite programs, we get to show our appreciation to the men and women who fought for our country.”

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Upcoming Film Shooting Some Scenes in City

November 07, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan is co-producing “I’m Your Woman,” an upcoming Amazon Studios release which is filming some scenes in McKeesport this month. (Submitted photo)

Hollywood is back in McKeesport: Amazon Studios is using locations in the city for scenes in an upcoming movie starring Rachel Brosnahan.

Film crews used The Elbow Room restaurant on West Fifth Avenue this week, as well as the former Weinberg's Texaco station on the opposite side of Rebecca Street.

Brosnahan, who recently won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in Amazon Studio's series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” is the lead in a movie titled “I’m Your Woman,” according to the Pittsburgh Film Office.

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City Officials Reverse Decision on Trash-Hauling; Will Contract Services

November 07, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Want to buy a garbage truck?

McKeesport officials have reversed their decision to bring trash collection in-house and will instead contract for services in 2020 with County Hauling of Rostraver Twp., Westmoreland County.

At Wednesday's meeting, council by 7-0 vote approved a contract with the trash collector, a division of Westmoreland Sanitary Landfill, to pick up waste and recycling citywide beginning Jan. 1 at a cost of $79.75 per ton. The company will replace Big's Hauling as McKeesport's residential trash collector.

Big's was charging $112 per ton, City Administrator Tom Maglicco said.

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City Voters Choosing Mayor,
School Board on Tuesday

November 04, 2019 |

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

Other stories:

Politicians Endorse 'Marsy's Law,' But Some Worry it Goes Too Far

County DA Race Adds Excitement to Municipal Elections

Some of the excitement over the hotly contested race for Allegheny County district attorney has spilled into local politics.

Lisa Middleman, an independent who is challenging incumbent District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr., has lent her support to Fawn Walker-Montgomery, who is running for mayor of McKeesport.

A former city councilwoman, Walker-Montgomery is challenging Mayor Michael Cherepko, who has said he's running on the strength of the "McKeesport Rising" initiative that his administration launched two years ago.

Cherepko, a former city council president and McKeesport Area school teacher, is seeking his third term as mayor. The Democrat is asking voters to keep together the team responsible for "McKeesport Rising."

"McKeesport Rising" has targeted neighborhoods throughout the city for removal of blighted buildings, street paving and infrastructure improvements, as well as expansion of facilities at Renziehausen Park and along the city's waterfront.

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Local Firefighter Remembered for Efforts After 9/11

November 01, 2019 |

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

Versailles volunteer firefighter Nick Ursta, then a volunteer from White Oak, responded to New York City following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (Submitted photo)

When the towers of the World Trade Center fell on Sept. 11, 2001, volunteer firefighter Nick Ursta didn't wait, says his friend Perry Gricar.

“He didn’t even think twice about going, just beelined and was right out there,” says Gricar, chief of the Versailles Volunteer Fire Co., who served alongside Ursta for 14 years. “He was a very selfless person, the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back, who you could call at 3 a.m. Just an all around genuine, great person.”

Ursta died Tuesday --- on his 52nd birthday --- of complications of mesothelioma. Family and friends believe he developed the form of cancer after a week of breathing the toxins in the air at Ground Zero following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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Drum Major Sets Pace Both On, Off Field

October 29, 2019 |

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

Senior drum major Olivia Bakaturski looks over Tiger Band members in the stands at the Franklin Regional away game on Oct. 18. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo, special to Tube City Almanac)

McKeesport Area High School Tiger Band senior Olivia Bakaturski has come a long way musically since she first considered learning to play clarinet back in in fifth grade.

“I originally wanted to do percussion,” she said with a little laugh following a recent halftime show she directed as drum major.

Bakaturski and her band mates found success this season with the group’s industrial-themed “A Day in the Mill,” performed at football games and competitions. The Tiger Band was named Tournament of Bands Chapter 8, Group 2-0 Champions on Oct. 25.

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Cornel West: Not Optimistic, But Hopeful, About Triumph of Justice

October 29, 2019 |

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

Author, teacher and philosopher Cornel West meets with Penn Staters prior to Friday evening's discussion at Wunderley Gymnasium in McKeesport. (Photo courtesy Penn State Greater Allegheny via Facebook)

Cornel West is not optimistic about the triumph of equality and justice. But he's hopeful.

There's a difference, he said.

During a discussion Friday night at Wunderley Gymnasium of Penn State Greater Allegheny Campus in McKeesport, West, a philosopher, author and activist, was asked if he found reasons to be hopeful and optimistic about the future lives of Black Americans.

“There is a difference between hope and optimism,” he said. “I'm not optimistic at all, I've never been an optimist.”

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