Plan Suggests Improvements for City Streets

April 17, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

City residents Regis Mellinger and Cheryl Cotter discuss a transportation map with Carla Lukehart, a landscape architect at Environmental Planning & Design LLC. (Tube City Almanac photo)

A plan that envisions safer, smoother pedestrian corridors throughout the city is being unveiled for public comment this month.

City residents and property owners can see the proposal — and ask questions — at 6 p.m. April 22 during a meeting at the Calvary-First United Methodist Church campus at the corner of Versailles and Cornell avenues.

Prepared by Environmental Planning & Design LLC, the plan is the product of nearly two years of research, including surveys of city residents. It calls for replacing sidewalks and wheelchair ramps along two main throughfares between the Youghiogheny River waterfront and Renziehausen Park.

It also recommends improved signage and pavement markings for bicycle lanes, as well as replacing street trees in many areas.

 
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Vacant House Fire Under Investigation

April 17, 2024 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News, McKeesport and Region News

(Tube City Almanac photo)

McKeesport police and the Allegheny County fire marshal’s office are investigating a blaze that caused extensive damage Tuesday afternoon to a vacant house in the 500 block of Olive Street.

Emergency personnel were dispatched at 5:40 p.m. when passersby reported smoke coming from the two-story wood frame structure. McKeesport fire Chief Jeff Tomovcsik said the call was raised to a second alarm, bringing in additional volunteer firefighters from Dravosburg, Glassport, Liberty, Munhall No. 4, Port Vue and White Oak No. 1 as well as a crew from Allegheny County Airport.

The Salvation Army also assisted.

 
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Lady Tigers Recognized By School Board

April 15, 2024 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

After a historic run, members of the McKeesport Area High School girls basketball team were honored at Thursday’s school board meeting. Several senior players were presented certificates and basketballs in recognition of their achievements.

“This team has accomplished many historical moments and it has been exciting to be a spectator of their journey over the last four years,” MASD Superintendent Tia Wanzo said.

Board member Jason Pavlecic agreed: “This is a special group of young athletes.”

During the past four years the Lady Tigers have amassed an 86-22 record, gone 37-8 in sectional games, and finished 18-7 in the playoffs.

 
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All-Singing ‘Dreamcoat’ Brightens MAHS Stage

April 12, 2024 |

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

During a rehearsal, Anastasia Bakaturski as Pharoah has a heart-to-heart talk with Lucas Sotereanos as Joseph about the importance of correctly interpreting certain dreams. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo for Tube City Almanac)

If you go...

   

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”

Where:  McKeesport Area High School Auditorium, 1960 Eden Park Blvd.

When: Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13 at 7 p.m., with a matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 13

Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens. Available at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/80225

McKeesport Area High School’s spring musical is a story about jealousy, betrayal, revenge, and forgiveness — with plenty of lighter moments, too — all in a setting “way, way back many centuries ago.”

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” opened Thursday night with a stellar cast of high school and younger students singing and dancing their way through a show with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice.

It is based on the story of Jacob and his 12 sons, including his favorite, Joseph.

What makes this musical so different and challenging is the story is told almost exclusively through song from beginning to end.

 
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MASD Will Approve New Budget Next Week

April 05, 2024 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Adam Reinherz photo)

McKeesport Area School District will vote to adopt a preliminary budget for 2024-25 during next week’s school board meeting. Business manager Joseph Villella presented the report at the district’s open agenda meeting Thursday.

MASD’s budget for the 2024-25 is projected to be $82.8 million, a $3.28 million decrease from the 2023-24 budget.

Total revenue is expected to be $82.47 million, a decrease of $9.9 million from the 2023-24 budget.

Revenue decline is due to the end of funding from the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Relief program, Villella said.

 
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Penn-McKee’s Fate Could Be Decided Soon

April 04, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Editor’s Note: The writer of this story sits on the board of directors of the McKees Point Development Group, a non-profit corporation that has been coordinating demolition and remediation efforts in the Downtown area. This is a conflict of interest. See previous explanations of this issue.

(Tube City Almanac file photo)

The fate of the long-vacant Penn-McKee Hotel could become clearer after next month’s city council meeting.

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said the city has been meeting with potential developers and they will present proposals for the site of the historic — but severely deteriorated — building near the McKees’ Point Marina and the Great Allegheny Passage bike trail.

In 2022, engineers concluded that much of the hotel was probably too far gone to save.

“We are looking for things that can make us a destination point,” Cherepko told council Wednesday. “There are all kinds of things we can capitalize on, and we are most certainly are doing everything we can to make sure we don’t miss the boat.”

 
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Landslide Closes Street, Blocks CSX Tracks

April 03, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Crews work to clear a landslide that blocked CSX Railroad tracks and closed Arlington Avenue in the upper 10th Ward. (Tube City Almanac photo)

A landslide triggered by torrential rains closed a street in the city’s upper 10th Ward and temporarily blocked the CSX Railroad’s mainline through McKeesport.

Meanwhile, rising flood waters on Wednesday evening forced the closure of Water Street between Kane Regional Center and the Palisades Ballroom.

The landslide below the 600 block of Arlington Street was reported at around 12 noon on Wednesday, emergency officials said. River Road between 10th Ward and Port Vue is currently closed due to slide repair work and flooding under the Jerome Avenue Bridge.

 
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New Police Initiatives Include School, Park Details

April 01, 2024 |

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

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko, at right with police Chief Mark Steele, swears in new police officers (from left) Dale McGlaughlin, Seth Taylor and Jodi Leitzell at the March council meeting. (Tube City Almanac photo)

McKeesport police have created a floating school detail that is checking in with each of the city’s public, parochial and private schools on a weekly basis, Chief Mark Steele said recently.

In addition, new officers, new equipment and new tactics are being developed in an effort to improve community relations and bolster public safety, he said.

The two-person school detail is visiting buildings at least three days each week and has the flexibility to go where they can provide the most help, Steele said. “They can go to Twin Rivers, Founders Hall, South Hall, the high school, or Propel or Serra Catholic,” he said. “It’s up to them — whatever they feel is necessary.”

Steele said he met with principals of each of the schools recently to assess their needs and gauge whether they would appreciate an increased police presence. The principals welcomed the idea, he said.

 
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Local Women Made Impact on World History

March 26, 2024 |

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

(Tube City Almanac photo illustration)

Since 1987, the United States has celebrated March as “Women’s History Month,” and the Mon-Yough area has plenty of local women who have made their own marks on world history.

Some of them have familiar names to local residents — Helen Richey’s name graces a baseball and softball field at Renziehausen Park. Some of them — like Olympian Swin Cash — are known around the world.

Many are less well-known, though no less important or fondly remembered.

Women’s History Month — which is now celebrated around the world — has its origins as “International Women’s Day,” celebrated on March 8. The day was created in 1910 to highlight the struggle for equal rights for women, including the right to vote.

 
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MASD, AIU Partner to Address Teacher Shortages

March 22, 2024 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(File photo, “School Supplies,” by Nick Amoscato, via Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

McKeesport Area School District is responding to a teacher shortage by investing in its staff.

School board members have approved an agreement with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit to participate in the BridgeUP program. Designed in partnership with Point Park University and BloomBoard, the two-year program enables education professionals who currently hold associate’s degrees to earn a bachelor’s degree in special education.

“We have to think outside of the box of ways to recruit and retain teachers,” Superintendent Tia Wanzo said. Participating in BridgeUP will cost the district $16,500 for each person who completes the program.

Across the commonwealth, districts are facing increased teacher shortages. According to Penn State University’s Center for Evaluation & Policy Analysis, during 2022-23, 7.7 percent of teachers — or 9,587 — left their positions across the state.

 
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