McKeesport Area Schools to Hold Lockdown Drill March 27

March 21, 2018 |

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

McKeesport Area School District will hold a lockdown drill for all of its buildings on Tuesday morning to practice security protocols in the event of an emergency.

Parents are being encouraged to talk to their children before the event to avoid kids being alarmed or panicked, said Mark Holtzman Jr., district superintendent.

The drill was prompted in part by the Feb. 14 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in which 17 people were killed and another 17 wounded, but McKeesport Area officials have "always been concerned about school security," Holtzman said.

Any parent who wants information about the lockdown drill is being asked to call Holtzman's office at (412) 664-3600 or email

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City Seeks Solution for Mansfield Bridge Ramp Flooding

March 14, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Above: McKeesport public works crews clear flooding at the end of the Mansfield Bridge following a severe storm June 13, 2017. (Tube City Almanac file photo)

McKeesport officials are hoping to have a lasting solution this summer to flooding problems that have forced repeated street closures at the southern end of the Mansfield Bridge.

Council this month authorized the administration to seek $255,000 from the state's Small Water and Sewer Program for repairs to a storm sewer under West Fifth Avenue.

The city will be required to match the grant, if received, with at least $45,000 of its own funding, Mayor Michael Cherepko said.

City engineer Jim Garvin said the grant money would initially fund a thorough inspection of the line, so that the scope of the work can be planned out.

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Brewster Calls for Armed Guards in School Buildings

March 09, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Photo courtesy state Sen. Jim Brewster)

* UPDATED at 8:35 p.m. with comments from McKeesport Area School District.

State Sen. Jim Brewster on Friday proposed placing armed security guards inside all school buildings in Pennsylvania.

The McKeesport lawmaker, who represents parts of Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, said the recommendation is just one of several proposals he is making that are intended to protect students and teachers from violence.

Last week, Brewster said he was drafting legislation to create an 11-member Statewide School Safety Panel to examine security at Pennsylvania's schools and recommend areas for improvement.

“Students must be better protected,” Brewster said Friday in a prepared statement. “Parents deserve assurance that school buildings are safe and secure environments.”

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No Injuries Reported in Lamont Street Fire

March 09, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

A pet cat is credited with alerting two city residents to a fire in the attic of a Lamont Street home.

The Allegheny County Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the blaze, which happened early this morning, but McKeesport Deputy Fire Chief Tom Perciavalle said that it may have been caused by faulty wiring.

Perciavalle said the residents of the home at 2005 Lamont were awakened just before 1:30 a.m. when one of their two cats bolted, frightened, from the bathroom adjoining the upstairs master bedroom.

"They felt it was unusual behavior, because the cat is fairly sedentary," Perciavalle said.

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Plans for Former Daily News Building Move Forward

March 08, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

A portion of Kennedy Park on Lysle Boulevard may be removed to provide parking for what is being called the McKeesport Multi-Media Building. (Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

McKeesport is aggressively moving forward to prepare the former Daily News Building for new tenants.

At Wednesday's meeting, city council voted 6-0 to apply for a $200,000 grant from Allegheny County's Community Infrastructure & Tourism Fund for renovations and repairs to the building. Councilwoman Jamie Brewster-Filotei was absent.

The first tenants could be moving into the building as early as May, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said.

In addition, city public works crews will probably be turning part of Kennedy Park at the corner of Lysle Boulevard and Walnut Street into a parking area for the building.

The work would not affect the statue of President Kennedy or the plaza around it, Cherepko said, but would require removal of the small fountain at the corner.

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School District Awaits Approval on Possible Tax Increase

March 02, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

McKeesport Area School District is awaiting state approval on a possible 3.42-mill property tax increase that administrators hope won't be necessary.

"I'm sure by the time we're done with this it's not going to be anywhere near that amount," said David Seropian, district business manager.

Under Pennsylvania law, school districts are allowed to enact a property tax increase only within an "index" --- sort of an "inflation" or "cost-of-living adjustment" --- set by the state. The index for 2018-19 is 2.4 percent.

Property tax increases above that indexed percentage must be put to a referendum by the voters unless certain conditions are met. On Wednesday, McKeesport Area filed its preliminary 2018-19 budget with the state Department of Education and asked for a waiver from the referendum requirement.

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Annual NAACP Pancake Breakfast Brings Crowd to Renzie

February 26, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: News

Above: Ronnie Walker, Jay Kirby and Harold Allen were among the volunteers staffing the kitchen at Jacob Woll Pavilion during the McKeesport NAACP's annual pancake breakfast. (Vickie Babyak photo special to Tube City Almanac)

An enthusiastic crowd kept kitchen volunteers busy on Saturday morning when the McKeesport unit of the NAACP held its annual pancake breakfast.

The event, held at the Jacob Woll Pavilion at Renziehausen Park, raises money for a scholarship fund and other community programs administered by the unit, said Brenda Sawyer, who has served as president for two years.

In addition to the city, the McKeesport NAACP also serves Duquesne, North Versailles Twp. and neighboring communities. The unit is currently holding a membership drive and is holding a "meet and greet" open house for people interested in joining and volunteering.

The event, from 1 to 4 p.m. March 10, will be held at the Common Ground Building (former McKeesport YWCA), 410 Ninth Ave., Downtown. For more information, call (412) 292-5852.*

Also helping in the kitchen were National Honor Society students from McKeesport Senior High School, Amani Isaac, Jurdan Dunston, Charisma Ford and Marena Mathe. (Vickie Babyak photo, special to Tube City Almanac)

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Puerto Rican Students Studying at City's Penn State Campus, Doing Internships

February 21, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: News

(Penn State Greater Allegheny photo)

Seven college students from Puerto Rico are enrolled in classes at Penn State Greater Allegheny this semester and are working on internships near the McKeesport campus.

The students from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez arrived on Feb. 2, a Penn State spokesperson said.

The move is designed to allow the students to continue their education as the U.S. territory struggles to recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which five months ago devastated the island. About one-third of Puerto Rico's residents --- nearly 1 million people --- still have no electricity, according to published reports.

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Rental Fees at Increased at Renzie's Main Pavilion

February 16, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Tube City Almanac file photo by Denise L. Ritter)

The cost of providing air conditioning at Renziehausen Park's Jacob Woll Pavilion has led McKeesport officials to increase the fee to rent the facility.

City council unanimously approved an increase of $50 for rentals, taking the cost to $450 for Allegheny County residents and $500 for non-county residents.

The lack of air conditioning had left the pavilion uncompetitive and under-utilized in the summer. But since installing air conditioning in the pavilion, "our costs have risen dramatically," Mayor Mike Cherepko said. "We're looking to balance that cost over 12 months."

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Council OK's Contracts With Police, Public Works Unions

February 12, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

McKeesport officials are thankful to unionized police and public works employees for helping the city contain personnel costs --- especially when it comes to health insurance.

Council last week unanimously approved new three-year labor agreements with both bargaining units, who are represented by Teamsters Local 205 in White Oak.

The contracts provide unionized police officers with wage increases of 4 percent in the first year and 3 percent in the second and third years; and public works employees with a wage increase of 2.5 percent in the first year and 1.5 percent in the second year, McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko said.

Among other concessions, police officers will pay a deductible on their health insurance for the first time, while public works employees are accepting a wage freeze in the third year, Cherepko said.

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