Street in Renzie to Be Renamed for Skyliners' Beaumont

July 05, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Jimmy Beaumont, shown fourth from left on the cover of The Skyliners' first LP, was born in Pittsburgh but lived in McKeesport for nearly 50 years until his death in 2017.


A portion of Tulip Drive near the Lions Bandshell in Renziehausen Park will be renamed for the late Jimmy Beaumont.

McKeesport City Council on Tuesday by 5-0 vote approved a proposal from Mayor Michael Cherepko and Council Vice-President Jamie Brewster-Filotei to rename the section of street for Beaumont, former lead singer of The Skyliners, who died Oct. 7, 2017, at his home in McKeesport at age 76.

Jimmy Beaumont Boulevard will be dedicated on Aug. 11, when the remaining Skyliners perform at Renzie.

Beaumont was born in Pittsburgh's Knoxville section but had lived in McKeesport's Myer Park neighborhood since the 1960s.

 
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Crowd Enjoys Independence Day Celebration at Renzie

July 05, 2019 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: News

(All photos: Vickie Babyak, special to Tube City Almanac)


The McKeesport area celebrated the 243rd birthday of the United States of America with a lively concert and fireworks at Renziehausen Park.

James Warren of McKeesport and his daughter Alaina, age 2, show off their holiday spirit with the red, white and blue.

Sal Ventura, lead singer for Zoot Island Band, tosses a hula hoop off stage to the audience during their concert in Renziehausen Park.

 
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Panel Discussion Examines Possibility of Penn-McKee Renovation Project

July 04, 2019 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: News

From left, Michelle Matuch, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko, Matthew Craig of the Young Preservationists of Pittsburgh, and Jason Togyer participated in a panel discussion entitled "The Past, Present and Future of the Penn-McKee Hotel" on Saturday at McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center. (Photo courtesy McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center)


The first thing you see driving into Downtown McKeesport from the Jerome Street Bridge or traveling on the river trail is the derelict Penn-McKee Hotel.

And thousands of people ride through McKeesport on the bike trail --- but don’t stop to spend any money, according to Jason Togyer, executive director of Tube City Community Media Inc.

Reversing those two facts --- and filling cash registers --- are the goals of a possible renovation of the hotel, Togyer said.

 
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GetGo May Be Coming to City's East End

July 03, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News


Another gas station and convenience store may be coming to East Fifth Avenue near the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge.

McKeesport City Council by 5-0 vote on Tuesday approved a request from Morris Knowles & Associates of Delmont, Westmoreland County, to merge together 12 separate lots, totalling more than 3 acres, for the development of a gas station and convenience store.

Councilmen Jim Barry Jr. and Richard Dellapenna Jr. were absent.

Council also voted to vacate a portion of Gleditsch Alley, which passes between the lots at the bottom of Hartman Street.

Dick Roberts, a spokesman for Giant Eagle, said the O'Hara Twp. based retailer is considering the construction of a GetGo cafe and market at the site.

 
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Retired Police Captain Surprised With Diploma After 70 Years

July 01, 2019 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: News

Mark P. Holtzman Jr., McKeesport Area School District superintendent, presents Dennis Halaszynski Sr. with his cap, tassel and 1949 high school diploma from McKeesport Area School District. (Photo by Vickie Babyak, special to Tube City Almanac)


Diane Couch couldn't stop smiling as she held her father's hand Wednesday night.

She and five of her siblings brought 88-year-old Dennis Halaszynski to the McKeesport Area School District meeting on the premise that one of his daughters-in-law was receiving an award.

It was a special case of "better late than never" for the life-long McKeesport resident when he received his high school diploma from district Superintendent Mark Holtzman Jr. at Wednesday's meeting, during a surprise ceremony planned six weeks ago with the help of school board President Joe Lopretto.

Couch said her father always regretted not earning his high school diploma.

 
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Volunteers Enhance MASD Weight Room, Courtyard

June 28, 2019 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: News

Volunteers unpack new fitness equipment in the weight room at McKeesport Area High School. (All photos: Richard Finch Jr., special to Tube City Almanac)


McKeesport Area High School became the latest destination on the nationwide Team8 Tour this week, after volunteers with the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and United Healthcare's “Do Good, Live Well” employee program gathered in the gymnasium to kick off the two-day event.

The weight room in the high school and the courtyard at Founders Hall Middle School were targeted for improvement. The Team8 Tour is a national campaign aimed at encouraging young people around the country to make healthy choices, build character and learn critical life lessons that will inspire them to be catalysts for positive social change, according to the foundation's website.

McKeesport Area School Superintendent Mark Holtzman Jr. credited baseball coach Ron Bishop with connecting the district to the program.

 
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School Board OK's 0.68-Mill Tax Increase on 6-2 Vote

June 28, 2019 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: News

Above: Major Bryan Carson has been hired by McKeesport Area School District to teach the Air Force Junior ROTC program for 10 months, beginning July 1. His appointment was approved by the school board Wednesday. (Richard Finch Jr. photo, special to Tube City Almanac)


McKeesport Area School Board voted this week to approve a $69.1 million budget that includes a 0.68-mill property tax increase.

At their meeting Wednesday, school directors voted 6-2 to approve the spending plan for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

School directors David Donato and James Brown voted against the budget, and school director Mindy Sturgess was absent. Donato and Sturgess were absent during the 7-0 vote on the preliminary budget on May 22.

The tax increase takes the district's millage from 19.48 mills to 20.16 mills, and represents a $68 increase on a house assessed at $100,000. It's the second year in a row that McKeesport Area School District has raised its property tax rate.

Francis Weiss, a former MASD employee, told school directors the property tax increase is a burden for herself and other seniors living on a fixed income.

 
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UPMC, Highmark Reach 10-Year Deal on Hospital Access

June 24, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

UPMC McKeesport hospital (Tube City Almanac file photo)


Local officials and health care advocates are praising a deal that will give Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield customers access to UPMC hospitals and facilities for the next 10 years.

The agreement, brokered by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and Gov. Tom Wolf, was announced Monday --- just a week before a consent decree between the two health giants was scheduled to expire.

Not all of the details were public, but a spokesperson for Shapiro said the deal --- reportedly the longest ever signed between UPMC and a health insurance company --- will cover all UPMC facilities.

State Sen. Jim Brewster of McKeesport called the agreement “excellent and welcomed news” that will relieve “tension and anxiety” for people with Highmark health insurance.

 
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Health Department Gives U.S. Steel 24-Hour Deadline

June 17, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

UPDATED with comments from Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald.


The Allegheny County Health Department has given U.S. Steel 24 hours to develop a plan to reduce its emissions at the Clairton Plant.

If the company doesn't present that plan --- and then get pollution levels from the facility under permitted limits within 20 days --- the county will order U.S. Steel to shut down its coke ovens or face fines of $25,000 per violation, per day.

An emergency order signed by Jayme Graham, manager of the county's air quality program, was issued Monday (June 17) after a fire at the Clairton Plant damaged equipment that removes sulfur dioxide from the plant's emissions.

The order questions the effectiveness of U.S. Steel's emergency strategies to reduce emissions following an earlier fire on Dec. 24 that damaged the same pollution-control equipment.

 
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Emissions Equipment Off-Line After Fire at Clairton Plant

June 17, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

U.S. Steel's Clairton Plant in a 2010 photo by Patrick Cain. (Via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0)

U.S. Steel's Clairton Plant in a 2010 photo by Patrick Cain. (Via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0)


For the second time in six months, a fire has knocked out emissions-control equipment at U.S. Steel's Clairton Plant.

A company spokesman said that a small electrical fire was detected early Monday morning (June 17) in a circuit-breaker panel that delivers power to the byproducts facility at the plant. There were no injuries "and the fire was quickly extinguished," the company said in a prepared statement.

But the blaze knocked out processing equipment that removes sulfur dioxide emissions, the company said.

There are no specific precautions recommended for the public at this time, said Ryan Scarpino, a spokesman for the Allegheny County Health Department.

 
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