Bang-Up Job: VFW Volunteers Refurbish Howitzer Near Kennywood

July 19, 2017 |

By Mike Mauer | Posted in: News

Thanks to two local men and West Mifflin Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 Intrepid, a ceremonial howitzer near Kennywood Park recently received a much-needed facelift.

Ken Curcio and Garrett Tomko, both from West Mifflin, refurbished the monument earlier this month as part of a community service project. The howitzer sits in Mitchell Paige Memorial Park at the intersection of Homeville Road and Commonwealth Avenue, and is seen by thousands of motorists as well as students at nearby West Mifflin Area High School.

According to VFW Post 914 Commander Jake Bradich, the results couldn’t be better.

“Like the men and women who serve in our armed forces, you always expect a piece of military hardware to look sharp,” said Bradich, an Army combat veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  “I’m glad we’re able to help honor our veterans in this way, and I thank everybody in the VFW and in the borough who helped make this possible.”

 
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Property Owner to Be Cited in Connection with Compost Fire in Clairton

July 17, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: News

A fire in a large compost pile in Clairton that's been burning, on and off, since last week appears to have broken out from natural combustion, Allegheny County officials said Monday.

However, a county spokeswoman said, the pile was created by illegal dumping of debris, and the fire is having a negative impact both on the air quality in the neighborhood, as well as a nearby creek.

The property owner will be cited by the Allegheny County Health Department's Solid Waste Program for improper disposal of waste and for the conditions that led to the fire, the county said in a statement.

The Clairton Fire Department was dispatched to a site off of Worthington Avenue several times last week for what firefighters thought might be a mine fire, Allegheny County officials said.

 
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City Residents Angry Over Gun Shop's Expansion; Owner Understands Concerns

July 07, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(A firearms dealer is renovating the former Burt Foster American Legion Post, shown here, for use as a retail store. Residents packed this week's city council meeting, saying the location showed insensitivity in a town fighting against handgun violence. Tube City Almanac photo.)


© 2017 Tube City Community Media Inc.

Residents of McKeesport angry over a firearms dealer's planned expansion Downtown packed city council chambers this week to raise issue with what they called a lack of "transparency" and "consideration."

The store's owner, meanwhile, said Friday in an interview with Tube City Almanac that he hears their concerns, but is running a legal, responsible operation.

"I'm not here for scare tactics and I'm not here to sell guns to other people who shouldn't have one," said Jonathan Stark, owner of Pittsburgh FFL, which is renovating the former Burt Foster American Legion post to be used as a retail gun store to be known as "Legion Arms."

"I'm not a 'crazy gun guy,'" Stark said. "I'm a businessman. I think that's what allows me to understand both sides of the issue.

"We operate responsibly, but I do understand that there is a stigma," he said. "We provide a legal, lawful business and service, and I want everything we do to be positive."

 
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Rabid Cat Found in Liberty; Residents Urged to Vaccinate Pets

July 07, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: News

Residents of Liberty Borough are being urged to vaccinate their pets after a rabid cat was found in the area.

The Allegheny County Health Department said that a cat got in an altercation with a dog in the 3100 block of Valley Ridge Road this week. The cat, believed to be feral, was found to have rabies.

Anyone in that area who has had exposure to a feral cat should contact the health department, a spokeswoman said, and contact with stray animals should be avoided. Residents should have their pets vaccinated, and watch for unusual behavior.

“Well-intentioned efforts by individuals sometime can result in unnecessary exposure to pathogens like the rabies virus,”  Dr. Karen Hacker, health department director, said in a statement.

So far in 2017, seven rabid animals have been reported in Allegheny County, includijng one cat, three bats and three raccoons.

 
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Medical Cannabis Grower Slates Job Fair July 27

July 06, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Photo courtesy PurePenn LLC, via Facebook.)

The company that has just been awarded a license to produce medical cannabis in McKeesport will hold a job fair for potential employees on July 27.

PurePenn LLC is purchasing five acres in the industrial park along the city's Monongahela River waterfront to construct a growing facility and laboratory. The company is one of 12 statewide that were awarded licenses to produce medicinal cannabis, or marijuana, to potentially treat conditions ranging from glaucoma to chronic pain to lack of appetite caused by the effects of chemotherapy.

The job fair will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Palisades ballroom, corner of Fifth and Water streets, Downtown, next to the McKees Point Marina. The company expects to hire 25 people to begin operations within the next six months.

"PurePenn is very committed to being involved in this community," Mayor Mike Cherepko said. "They are committed to finding workers from within the city of McKeesport, as well as veterans. It's a great opportunity for our residents."

 
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Mayor, Council Appoint New Administrator, Controller

July 06, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Tube City Almanac photo)

McKeesport's controller was appointed to the city's top administrative position on Wednesday night, while the man who was running to replace the controller has been elevated to that job on an interim basis.

Council voted 6-0 to name Tom Maglicco as city administrator, effective immediately. Councilwoman Fawn Walker-Montgomery was absent during the vote.

Maglicco replaces Matt Gergely, who resigned to take a position as assistant to the business manager in the McKeesport Area School District.

"Mr. Maglicco was on a very extremely short list" of replacements for Gergely, Mayor Mike Cherepko said. "It was very clear to me early on that he has a passion for making McKeesport a better place to live and work."

 
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McKeesport School Board Trims Budget, OK's Tax Increase

July 05, 2017 |

By Mary Shelly | Posted in: News

McKeesport Area School District residents will pay a little bit more in property taxes next year.

The final budget of $65.6 million adopted June 28 by a 7-1 vote will increase the tax rate from 16.74 mills to 17.37 mills.

A tax increase of 0.63 mills would add 63 cents on every $1,000 of assessed value of a property. A taxpayer with a house valued at $50,000 will expect to see their annual school property tax go up $31.50.

School Director Scott Smith was the only board member to vote no, although Christopher Halaszynski was not in attendance.

 
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Local Reps Praise Decision on Mon-Fayette Expressway

June 30, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: News

Two McKeesport-area state representatives are praising the decision by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission to recommend completion of the Mon-Fayette Expressway through the Mon-Yough area.

The commission, which oversees infrastructure planning for 10 counties, including Allegheny, voted 48 to 4 on Monday to include the 14-mile extension of the toll road into the region's transportation master plan.

The extension would take the highway, also known as Pennsylvania Route 43, from its current northern end in Jefferson Hills through West Mifflin, Dravosburg, Duquesne, East Pittsburgh, Turtle Creek and Wilkins Twp. to the Parkway East in Monroeville.

“We would like to publicly acknowledge the members of the (SPC) and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald for their hard work and willingness to work together in taking the next step toward bringing this important transportation project closer to reality," said state Reps. Bill Kortz of Dravosburg and Marc Gergely of White Oak, in a joint statement.

 
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Storm Damage Tops Discussion for White Oak Council

June 27, 2017 |

By David Stephens | Posted in: News

Two major thunderstorms that rocked the Mon Valley took their toll on White Oak, officials and residents said at the June 19 council meeting.

James Eiben, a resident of Ohio Street, told borough council that following the storms, his basement had two feet of water, and that the new storm drains are constantly flooding onto the street.

Meanwhile, the borough is looking for a replacement for the traffic light in front of Busy Beaver on Lincoln Way, which was damaged by a falling tree during one storm.

The damage was extensive and a new pole is needed, officials said. The problem is that the pole is an older, four-bolt model, but newer poles use three bolts. Borough officials said that if White Oak crews can find a replacement four-bolt pole they can have the light repaired in a couple weeks; if they can't find one, it could take a few months to put the signal back into service.

A temporary all-way stop sign was placed at the intersection pending the signal's repair.

 
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After 130 Years, Church Gives Thanks Before Closing its Doors

June 26, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Above: Rev. Warren Smith, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in McKeesport, brings Communion to a worshipper on Sunday, along with Allie Tyler and Bob Katko. The church on Ninth Avenue will close this Friday. (Tube City Almanac photo)


In the summer of 1887, when McKeesport had about 20,000 residents, "25 to 30" English-speaking Lutherans gathered under the leadership of William Passavant and Elmer Crouse to found the congregation that became known as St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Church attendance boomed as the city's population grew to 55,000, said the Rev. Kurt F. Kusserow, Bishop of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod.

Now, 130 years later, McKeesport has about the same number of residents and about the same number of congregants at St. John's, which will permanently close its doors this Friday. A final worship service was held Sunday at the church on Ninth Avenue, with about 50 people --- twice the usual number of congregants --- in attendance.

"If today's closing is a dark time, if it feels like an ending or a failure, then open your eyes, because the light of Christ is shining all around you," Kusserow told worshippers on Sunday.

 
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