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LaRosa Grandson ‘Disheartened’ By Club’s Closing

November 20, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport’s Boys & Girls Club bears the names of both founder Sam LaRosa and benefactor Walter C. Shaw Sr. (Tube City Almanac photo)

The grandson of the founder of the LaRosa Boys & Girls Club is surprised and disappointed by the parent organization’s decision to close the 75-year-old institution on Ravine Street.

Don Michel of Cranberry Twp., whose grandfather, the late Samuel R. LaRosa, founded the club in 1945, served on the board of directors of Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania for more than 10 years, until July 1.

Michel, who had also served as vice chair of the board for the past five years, said the relationship between the Pittsburgh-based parent organization and the suburban clubhouses has been deteriorating.

“What I see is a shift away from operating brick and mortar facilities that carry high levels of overhead, and trying to shift to operating in somebody else’s facilities,” Michel said Friday. “So we’re no longer a safe place for kids to gather. We’re a provider of programming.”

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Salvation Army Receives $2K Food Gift

November 16, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko helps unload $2,000 in food donated to the local Salvation Army by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Local Mormons have donated more than $2,000 in non-perishable food to McKeesport’s Salvation Army.

The gift, from the Pleasant Hills Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, comes as the Salvation Army is worried that this year’s “Red Kettle” campaign may come up thousands of dollars short.

Church members delivered the food gift on Thursday. Jeff Miracle of Mt. Lebanon, president and first counselor of the church’s Pittsburgh West Stake, said the congregation is working to build its relationship with the surrounding community.

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Trick-or-Treat Times, Safety Suggestions Posted

October 30, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements, Duquesne News, Liberty Borough News, McKeesport and Region News, North Versailles Twp. News, White Oak News

With Halloween on Saturday, you’ve hopefully already made a plan for a costume. But have you considered the safest way to trick-or-treat this year?

Most local communities — McKeesport, North Versailles Twp., White Oak, Port Vue, and Liberty Borough — will observe Halloween with trick-or-treating during the hours of 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

Duquesne will observe trick-or-treating from 5 to 7 p.m. and will have a costume contest, with “grab-and-go” treats, from 4 to 5 p.m. at Memorial Park on Grant Avenue. To comply with COVID-19 safety recommendations, participants should enter via South Second Street and exit via South Third Street. The event is made possible by city officials, Duquesne PRIDE and the Duquesne PartnerSHIP.

Dravosburg will observe trick-or-treating from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, with a Halloween costume parade at the borough’s ballfields at 4:30 p.m. Social distancing rules will be in place and attendees are asked to wear face masks.

Prizes will be given to the prettiest costume, ugliest/scariest costume and most original costume. Children ages 0 to 13 are allowed to participate.

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Local Second-Grader Surprises City Police

October 25, 2020 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: Crime and Police News, McKeesport and Region News

Devin Brown, 7, of McKeesport is introduced to K9 Officer Ryco by his handler, police Sgt. Fran Angert, as his mom, Heather Nelson, looks on. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

A second-grader at Propel McKeesport surprised city police on Saturday morning with 47 custom-ordered face masks.

Devin Brown, 7, of McKeesport, has admired police officers since an incident at a Greensburg diner, said his mother, Heather Nelson.

A Pennsylvania state trooper stopped in to eat lunch and gave Devin a “junior trooper” sticker badge. “Ever since then, he’s wanted to be a policeman when he grows up,” Nelson said. Devin has plastic handcuffs and plays with his pretend police toys all the time, she said.

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Water Authority OK’s City Treatment Plant Upgrade

October 24, 2020 |

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

The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County has approved an upgrade project designed to make the McKeesport water treatment plant, shown here, more reliable. A small mechanical equipment building, shown at lower left, will be replaced by a new facility with room for expansion. (Submitted photo)

The water authority that serves McKeesport, Port Vue, Versailles and White Oak has approved a $7.8 million project to replace the intake structure at the city’s water treatment plant.

That could prevent a repeat of an incident in August that caused an overnight water outage for some local residents served by the facility, and a more serious problem last year that resulted in a boil-water advisory.

At a meeting this month, the board of directors of the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County authorized the upgrades, which will improve water supply reliability for customers supplied by the plant, said Matthew Junker, authority spokesman.

The McKeesport plant draws water from the Youghiogheny River and treats it for its own customers, as well as for residents of Duquesne, which buys water in bulk from MAWC.

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Trash Complaints Still Vex City Leaders, Residents

October 21, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport officials remain unhappy with service from County Hauling and may go “in a different direction” when the current contract expires.

At this month’s council meeting, Mayor Michael Cherepko said service from the company has improved from a few months ago, when he and other city officials were accompanying trash trucks on their routes and picking up missed garbage.

“They definitely have gotten better,” he said. “Am I happy? No. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we go in a different direction.”

In response to questions from Tube City Almanac, a spokesman for the Rostraver Twp. based company said they “apologize for any inconvenience to residents” and urged them to “reach out to us directly so we can resolve isolated issues.”

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Christmas Parade Canceled, But Trees Will Go On

October 21, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport’s 35th annual Festival of Trees is expected to continue as scheduled, but this year’s Christmas parade has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Tube City Almanac file photo from 2019)

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused yet another cancellation — this time, of McKeesport’s Christmas parade.

However, the 35th annual Festival of Trees is expected to be held, though with social distancing rules in place and probably without food service.

“You’ll probably agree with me that this year has been a really tough year for many reasons,” Mayor Michael Cherepko said. “It’s disheartening to not have the events — the concerts, the ribfest, the Easter egg hunt, International Village, I could go on and on. That’s made this year a lot worse because that’s where (McKeesport) gets to shine.”

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In Unannounced Visit, HUD Secretary Stops in City

October 18, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Ben Carson, U.S. Secretary of Housing & Urban Development, visited McKeesport on Thursday to discuss the federal Financial Opportunity Zone program. The meeting with city officials and local business owners was closed to the public. (HUD photo via Twitter)

The federal secretary of Housing & Urban Development made an unannounced visit to McKeesport on Thursday to meet with city officials and local business owners.

Neither media nor the public were invited to the event with HUD Secretary Ben Carson, described as a roundtable discussion of the federal Opportunity Zone program with local business owners and developers.

It is the third time in as many months that HUD officials have visited McKeesport to discuss the Financial Opportunity Zone program, which provides tax incentives to people who invest in economically distressed areas.

Joseph J. DeFelice, Region III administrator for HUD, visited the city in both August and September.

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Seeking End to Dumping, Council Increases Fines

October 08, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Workers from Allegheny CleanWays cleared debris from an illegal dumping site in the city in September. CleanWays crews and city officials also picked up garbage dumped along the Youghiogheny River. (Submitted photo)

Frustrated by dozens of illegal dump sites throughout McKeesport, council has voted to drastically increase the fines and the city will soon post cameras in target areas.

Council on Wednesday voted 7-0 to amend the city’s illegal dumping ordinance to set a minimum fine of $2,500 and a maximum of $10,000, or up to 180 days in the Allegheny County Jail.

The previous fine was $300.

Mayor Michael Cherepko said the city has been working with Allegheny CleanWays’ “DumpBusters” program to identify illegal dumping spots.

City Administrator Tom Maglicco said 48 sites have been identified so far.

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City Detective Recovering After Motorcycle Crash

October 08, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Crime and Police News, McKeesport and Region News, White Oak News

A longtime city police officer is recovering at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, Oakland, after being injured in a serious motorcycle crash on Route 48.

McKeesport police Chief Adam Alfer said Detective Joseph Osinski was southbound at Ripple Road at around 3 p.m. Monday when his motorcycle collided with a car pulling out onto the highway.

White Oak police are investigating. Chief Mark Sargent could not be reached for comment.

Osinski and his wife, Brenda, are the owners of Puzzlers’ Restaurant & Lounge in Christy Park and founders of the Joey-O Foundation for Autism Awareness, and are frequent contributors to charitable causes around the region.

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