Supporters Urged to Line Funeral Route Tuesday

February 12, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A McKeesport patrol car has been decorated with bunting and parked at the city’s war memorial on Lysle Boulevard in honor of Officer Sean Sluganski, 32, who died Feb. 6. A city man has been charged with fatally shooting Sluganski and seriously wounding Officer Chuck Thomas Jr., 35. (Tube City Almanac photo)

After the murder of Brackenridge police Chief Justin McIntire in January, North Hills attorney Ed Kress distributed signs throughout the community saying “We support our police.”

He was hoping not to have to repeat the gesture for a long time.

But Kress and former state Rep. Marc Gergely of White Oak, who were fraternity brothers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, found themselves pressed into service again after McKeesport police Officer Sean Sluganski was shot to death on Feb. 6, and fellow Officer Chuck Thomas Jr. was injured.

This weekend, they've been working hard to get up to 1,500 signs distributed along the planned route of Sluganski’s funeral on Tuesday.

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Study: Trace Chemicals Remain Present in Water

February 06, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Source: University of Pittsburgh and Women for a Healthy Environment)

Trace amounts of chemicals used in firefighting foam can still be detected in the water supplies of lower 10th Ward residents, almost two years after a massive fire that destroyed a local auto-repair shop.

However, says Pitt researcher Carla Ng, the amounts of chemicals known as PFAS in the water are so small that they may not be the worst exposure most people face.

“It could be that your drinking water is not your main exposure to PFAS,” says Ng, an assistant professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering who is affiliated with the university’s Pittsburgh Collaboratory for Water Research, Education & Outreach. “You may want to cut the other products out of your life that may have an even bigger impact.”

And compared to the initial samples taken in 2021, Ng says, the level of chemical contamination in the water is substantially lower, which is good news. But traces of PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, and PFOS, or perfluorooctane sulfonate, are still a concern.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also can be found in fast-food wrappers, microwave-popcorn bags, pizza boxes, candy wrappers, plastic water bottles, non-stick cookware, cleaning products, stain-resistant coatings for upholstery and carpets, and even personal care products, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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City Council Votes Down Six-Pack License

February 02, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport City Council has rejected the transfer of a liquor license to a proposed sandwich and six-pack shop on Lysle Boulevard near Market Street.

By a 5-1 vote, council voted down a request from Sarabjit & Neelam Holdings for permission to transfer a liquor license into the city from Moon Twp.

Councilman Tim Brown cast the only yes vote. Councilwoman Jill Lape was absent.

At January’s council meeting, company representatives had expressed their intention to open a deli and six-pack shop in a former check-cashing store at the intersection of Market Street and Lysle Boulevard.

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Parents, School Officials Decry Recent Violence

January 26, 2023 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Following three area shootings in six weeks, and the discovery of a plastic BB gun in a high school student’s backpack on Monday, McKeesport Area School District board members voiced their commitment to safety during Wednesday’s meeting.

“Safety is the number one priority. Education is supposed to be number one but that’s fallen out and number two for me,” board member Joseph Lopretto said. “This school board is 100 percent on board. I don’t want anybody to even take away from tonight that we don’t care because we care.”

Despite Lopretto’s assertion, several parents raised concern regarding the effectiveness of backpack checks and other security measures.

Superintendent Tia Wanzo said that a group of six adults inspect backpacks “every day.”

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Advocates: Curbing Violence Needs Persistence

January 23, 2023 |

By Tom Leturgey | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Community members arrive Thursday at McKeesport Area High School for a community meeting on gun violence convened by the McKeesport Unit of the NAACP. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

Focused and persistent community action is necessary when it comes to tackling gun violence, said one of the speakers at a summit last week at McKeesport Area High School.

Tim Stevens, chair and chief executive officer of the Black Political Empowerment Project, or B-PEP, said stakeholders in the Mon Valley need to “stay the course” and keep working on communication and outreach, especially to youth who may be lured into crime or violence.

Anti-bullying and Internet safety are two specific areas that families should pay attention to, Stevens said.

The McKeesport unit of the NAACP on Thursday convened the second of a series of community meetings focused on reducing gun violence. A third is tentatively planned for Feb. 21.

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Westmoreland Trail Eyes Mon Valley Connection

January 12, 2023 |

By Amy George | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, North Versailles Twp. News

The Westmoreland Heritage Trail connects Saltsburg to Trafford, via Monroeville. A proposal is underway to connect the trail to the Great Allegheny Passage via North Versailles Twp. and Turtle Creek. (Daveynin photo via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic)

Changes coming to the regional trail network could make it easier than ever for Mon-Yough area bicyclists to reach destinations in Monroeville and Westmoreland County.

Currently in the works are plans to extend the current Pittsburgh-to-Maryland trail — the Great Allegheny Passage, or GAP trail — deeper into local communities. One such plan — the Turtle Creek Connector project — would extend the Westmoreland Heritage Trail through Turtle Creek and North Versailles Twp. to meet the GAP, which serves McKeesport, Duquesne and Homestead.

Once a bustling network of railways akin to the region’s industrial history, these converted trails have seen new life in the past few decades and continue to develop with innovative community visions.

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Final Sunday Mass Sad for Corpus Christi Faithful

January 11, 2023 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The parishioners who attended the final weekly Mass at Corpus Christi Church on Versailles Avenue looked on with sadness Saturday afternoon at the beautifully decorated altar, still adorned with a manger scene and Christmas trees.

The final communion hymn touched everyone deeply as the choir from above sang, “Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.” As the organ fell silent, the entire church erupted with applause. Many of the parishioners continue to send letters to the bishop hoping for a miracle. 

Parishioners at Corpus Christi Church, the former St. Mary Czestochowa, are afraid that they’ll have to die or get married to ever come back into the building.

In accordance with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh’s “On Mission for the Church Alive” campaign many parishes in and around Pittsburgh have merged into regional clusters. Corpus Christi is now part of Mary, Mother of God Parish, which also includes churches in Christy Park, White Oak and East McKeesport.

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Seven, Including Mayor Candidate, Face Charges

January 05, 2023 |

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

A local business owner who is challenging McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko in this year’s election has been arrested by state drug enforcement agents and accused of being part of a cocaine trafficking ring allegedly led by his campaign manager.

Corry J. Sanders, 52, who obtained a pardon for a previous drug offense through the efforts of now-U.S. Sen. John Fetterman and other elected officials, is charged by the state attorney general’s office with two counts each of drug possession, possession with intent to deliver and delivery.

The arrest — originally reported by Pittsburgh’s KDKA-TV on New Year’s Eve — was confirmed Thursday afternoon by the attorney general’s office.

Investigators allege that Sanders sold cocaine to a confidential informant on two separate occasions, including at his Locust Street barbershop, Kool Kutz, in November 2022.

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Train Club Wraps Up Annual Holiday Show

December 15, 2022 |

By Elizabeth Laughlin | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Submitted photo courtesy McKeesport Model Railroad Club)

The McKeesport Model Railroad Club will be open to the public on Saturday and Sunday for its final holiday train show of 2022.

The organization, which formed in the 1950s, first met in a McKeesport freight train station before moving to their current location on Walnut Street. Every Christmas season, they open their doors to the community to observe their model-railroad layout.

“We just want people to enjoy it,” Vice President Steve Raith said. “We have families that come back every year as a tradition.”

Raith became involved with the club after his young son expressed interest. After attending a few meetings, Raith decided to volunteer and eventually became one of the board members.

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Dozen Displaced in Hartman St. Apartment Fire

December 09, 2022 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

More than a dozen people had to be assisted by the American Red Cross after fire swept through an apartment building on Hartman Street on Wednesday afternoon.

One person jumped from a third-floor window and two tenants were rescued by firefighters using ladders, emergency officials said. The cause of the blaze is under investigation by the Allegheny County fire marshal’s office.

The fire at 916 Hartman St. was reported at 1:03 p.m., emergency personnel said, and quickly escalated to three alarms. The building is a four-story brick structure with 16 units, according to county real-estate records, and is owned by a McKeesport resident.

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