Turnpike Halts Work on Mon-Fayette Expressway Extension

March 22, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Map: Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission illustration via Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission


The long-delayed, controversial extension of the Mon-Fayette Expressway through West Mifflin, Dravosburg, Duquesne and Turtle Creek appears to be cancelled --- again.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced Wednesday afternoon that it will stop engineering and design activities on the planned 14-mile stretch between Route 51 and the Parkway East after the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission on Monday declined to endorse the project.

“The (Pennsylvania) Turnpike has a legislative mandate to develop the Mon-Fayette Expressway, but our role is not to serve as an advocate for the project,” said Mark Compton, chief executive officer of the Turnpike Commission, in a prepared statement.

“This is a regional project, and the decision as to whether it is of value to the region should be made by those who live there," he said. "If the region does not want to move forward with the expressway, we will certainly respect their decision.”

 
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If Cannabis License is OK'd, Company Sees Room to Grow in McKeesport

March 20, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Above: Pittsburgh-based PurePenn LLC has received conditional use approval from McKeesport City Council to erect a facility to grow and process medicinal cannabis on this five-acre site in the industrial park along the Monongahela River. The company is hoping to be awarded a license by state regulators. (Tube City Almanac photo)

. . .

A group of investors applying for a license to cultivate cannabis --- medicinal marijuana --- in McKeesport sees room to grow on the Monongahela River waterfront.

PurePenn LLC is applying today for one of only two licenses that Pennsylvania expects to award in southwestern Pennsylvania. A different group with ties to former Steelers great Franco Harris is applying for a license in nearby Braddock.

The competition is serious, said Gabe Perlow, chief executive officer of PurePenn, and many groups who are applying in the Pittsburgh area are doing so quietly to fly "under the radar."

PurePenn had hoped to do the same, he said, but needed to go public after their application for a conditional use permit required approval from McKeesport City Council. Council approved it unanimously at its March 1 meeting.

McKeesport officials have a good feeling about Perlow and the other PurePenn partners, Mayor Mike Cherepko said.

 
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Mayor Supports Landlord Ordinance; Property Owners Plan Organization

March 15, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

* Corrections made, 6 p.m.

In the wake of new city regulations that will require rental properties to be inspected every two years, a group of McKeesport-area landlords is forming a trade association to make sure their voices are heard before future laws are passed.

Damian Trujillo, who moved to McKeesport from California seven years ago and now owns five properties in the city, says he and other landlords feel as if they're being singled out unfairly.

"We're investors --- not slumlords," Trujillo says. "We're worried about all of the abandoned houses in the city, too, because we're worried about our investments."

But Mayor Mike Cherepko says the new property regulations, which require rentals to be registered with the city and inspected regularly for fire and safety code violations, are necessary and aren't burdensome.

"Responsible landlords shouldn't be upset about anything, if they're keeping their buildings in good condition," Cherepko says. "The ones who don't take any responsibility are the ones who should be more concerned."

 
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Violence Top of Mind for Mayor, Council

February 09, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

McKeesport City Council had a light February agenda. But the topics discussed by council members and Mayor Michael Cherepko were anything but light.

At their Feb. 1 meeting, officials voiced their frustration with ongoing and well-publicized gun violence, and discussed strategies for combatting it.

"The thing that scares me is the randomness of it," Councilman Jim Barry said. "They seem to be shooting for no reason."

Shots being fired during daylight hours are especially "shocking and intimidating," he said.

"It's one of the reasons I ran for council," Councilman Tim Brown added. "We all, as a city, need to step out and step up and do the same thing -- we need to let these kids know we care about them."

 
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Planning Underway for Monument to 'McKeesport 23'

February 09, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Above: Joe Hoffman displays one of 500 T-shirts sold in honor of the 'McKeesport 23'

CORRECTION, NOT PERFECTION: The T-shirts are being sold at cost and are not being sold as a fundraiser, Hoffman told me this morning. I apologize for the error. Persons interested in a shirt may contact Joe Hoffman directly at wojudo@hotmail.com. -- Jason

. . .

Organizers are in the final stages of fundraising for a permanent, public memorial to 23 young McKeesport men who died in the armed forces during the Vietnam War.

Joe Hoffman, retired White Oak police chief, said more than $5,400 has been raised toward the estimated $6,430 necessary to complete and install the granite memorial in the courtyard of McKeesport Area High School.

If all goes well, Hoffman said, the memorial will be unveiled at 12 noon May 13. At least 10 of the 23 families are expected to attend, he said. The public is also welcome.

 
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Two Dead in White Oak Apartment Fire

February 07, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: News

Two people are dead following a fire today in a White Oak apartment complex.

The names of the victims have not yet been released and the blaze is under investigation by the Allegheny County Fire Marshal's Office and Allegheny County police homicide officers.

Crews were dispatched at around 1 p.m. to the townhouse-style complex in the 2800 block of Lincoln Way, near the Westmoreland County line. County officials said in a prepared statement that upon arrival, police and firefighters were told that people may be trapped in the apartment that was on fire.

White Oak police attemped to enter the apartment through the front door, but were forced back because of "high heat and smoke," county officials said.

 
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'Hand'-y PSGA Students Learn Engineering, Provide Helping Hands

January 30, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: News

(Editor's Note: This story was written by Linda Curinga, manager of marketing and communications at Penn State Greater Allegheny.)

Students in an engineering design class at Penn State Greater Allegheny learned about 3-D printing technology as well as the challenges faced by people who need assistive devices when they participated in a contest to design and make their own prosthetic hands.

The students, who were taking instructor Alandra Kahl's Introduction to Engineering Design class during the fall semester, participated in the nationwide challenge put on by the E-Nable Project and the Prosthetic Kids Hand Challenge.

“It’s always a plus when students can find a way to help others in the community while learning and expanding their knowledge base," Kahl says. "This project helped students to learn and hone basic design skills, and will, hopefully, be able to make it easier for children to perform daily tasks."

 
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Dura-Bond to Re-Open Former U.S. Steel Pipe Mill in McKeesport

January 12, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Photo above: Dura-Bond pipe manufacturing operations near Harrisburg. Dominion Gas Co. photo via YouTube.)

McKeesport's claim to be the "Tube City" appears to be alive again.

Westmoreland County-based Dura-Bond Industries, which operates pipe-coating operations in Liberty Borough and Duquesne, announced today that it is leasing and will re-open U.S. Steel's former McKeesport Tubular Operations plant, also known as the electric resistance weld mill.

The McKeesport mill is the second pipe-manufacturing operation to be re-opened by Dura-Bond, which also owns a former Bethlehem Steel pipe mill in Steelton, near Harrisburg.

Terms of the purchase were not released. The ERW mill in McKeesport is the last remaining vestige of McKeesport's National Tube Works, which once employed more than 7,000 people.

 
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Parking Meter App Coming to City's Downtown

December 19, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

A smartphone parking meter app developed by a Mon Valley-based company is bring its services to McKeesport.

City council this month approved a one-year agreement with Braddock-based Meter Feeder Inc. to provide payment services for McKeesport's parking meters.

Meter Feeder allows municipalities to tie their existing parking meters into a computer database that allows motorists to pay for parking using either coins or their smartphones. The app uses GPS location information to detect where cars are parked. It's already in use in Braddock, Dormont, Greensburg, Homestead, Sewickley and other Western Pennsylvania cities.

The company was co-founded by former McKeesport area resident Dan Lopretto and CMU graduate James Gibbs and has attracted positive stories from national media outlets such as TechCrunch and TechTimes.

 
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County Identifies Victim of Munhall High-Rise Fire

December 16, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office has identified the victim of a fire that swept through a Munhall senior citizen high rise on Friday morning.

Richard Miller, 61, was pronounced dead at the scene of the blaze at Parkview Towers on Caroline Drive.

The fire in the seven-story building, owned by a corporation affiliated with the United Methodist Church, was reported just before 5 a.m. and took two hours to bring under control.

More than 20 fire companies from as far away as Westmoreland County were called to the scene, which forced the evacuation of 80 people, some of them with serious disabilities, county officials said.

Seven residents of the building suffered minor injuries and were taken to local hospitals, said Matt Brown, chief of Allegheny County emergency services, and three Munhall police officers had to be treated for smoke inhalation after they helped evacuate the building.

 
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