State Grant Will Fund 'Multi-Faceted' Program to Reduce Gun Violence in City

September 07, 2018 |

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

State officials have awarded almost $150,000 to McKeesport police and partner agencies to create a program designed to reduce gun violence in the city.

The grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency was announced Friday by state Sen. Jim Brewster and state Rep. Austin Davis, both of McKeesport.

It will fund a new McKeesport Gun Violence Reduction Program designed by the office of Mayor Mike Cherepko, city police Chief Bryan Washowich, and other local and county leaders, including volunteers and churches.

The program will be modeled after successful strategies used in other cities to get illegal guns off the streets, a spokeswoman for the mayor's office said, and will work with young people in an effort to convince them not to resort to violence in the first place.

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More Vacant Houses to Face City Wrecking Ball

September 06, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Click the map to explore it in detail.)

Nine additional vacant houses were added to McKeesport's demolition list on Wednesday as city council awarded a contract to demolish those properties, as well as 85 previously targeted.

By 6-0 vote, the $679,000 contract for Phase III of McKeesport's 2018 city-wide demolition project was awarded to Jadell Minniefield Construction Services of Pittsburgh's Hazelwood neighborhood. Councilwoman Lu Ethel Nesbit was absent.

Minniefield in July was awarded a contract to demolish 92 vacant structures. Mayor Michael Cherepko said Minniefield was the lowest responsible bidder on Phase III, and had done excellent work so far.

"He's doing a wonderful job, and I'm glad he bid on our contract," Cherepko said.

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Two Eagle Scout Projects Fly High for Serra's Band

September 02, 2018 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: News

Ryan Gedman perches on the steps of the new conducting tower he built as part of an Eagle Scout project. (David Adams photo for Tube City Almanac)

Two Serra Catholic High School band members used their talents to make improvements that benefit the entire group while meeting ongoing requirements to attain the rank of Eagle Scout.

Junior Logan Kearns of Turtle Creek converted what once was the library in the school's friary into a much-needed instrument storage and uniform area, removing stacks and stacks of books, adding shelving and organizing the area for easy access.

“I worked on it over the summer, for four hours on three Saturdays to get it done,” Logan said. The junior said he belongs to Troop 184 out of Monroeville. “I am still in the process of obtaining (Eagle Scout),” he said. “I am very close.”

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McKeesport Area Schools Ready For New Year, New Challenges

August 21, 2018 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: News

Superintendent Mark Holtzman Jr. is excited about the school year and said the McKeesport Area School District will hit the ground running when classes begin Wednesday.

Among new initiatives this year is a pilot program where all third graders will have one-on-one access to an iPad electronic tablet in their classrooms.

Besides enhancing the classroom experience, Holtzman said, the pilot program will help the district decide whether experiments with electronic tablets should be expanded.

“It will be costly,” he said. Because of the expense, deciding when and where to expand access to technology “is not always easy,” Holtzman said.

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District OK's Advanced Placement Agreement With Mt. Aloysius

August 20, 2018 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: News

McKeesport Area School District has approved a dual-enrollment agreement with Mount Aloysius College to provide advanced placement courses for high school students.

The agreement with the four-year liberal arts school, based in Cambria County near Johnstown and Altoona, was OK'd by the school board last week.

While the district has AP college credit agreements with other schools as well, Superintendent Mark Holtzman Jr. said the Mount Aloysius agreement is an opportunity for students to earn college credits at a lower cost.

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School Board Hires Kovach as Boys' Varsity Basketball Coach

August 19, 2018 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: News

Ending weeks of rumors and speculation, McKeesport firefighter Kevin Kovach has been named the coach of the boys' varsity basketball team at McKeesport Area High School.

The appointment of Kovach, 39, came at Wednesday's school board meeting by a 7-1-1 vote.

“I had some sweaty-palm moments,” Kovach said after the meeting. “I didn’t know anything coming into the meeting today. I don’t know what happened behind closed doors.”
Board member Ivan Hampton voted against hiring Kovach, with Steve Kondrosky abstaining. Kovach will be paid an annual salary of $7,100 for the 2018-19 school year, replacing Gerald "Puddin" Grayson, who retired in June.

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Rain Didn't Stop Families, Fans from Attending Village

August 18, 2018 |

By Charlotte Hopkins | Posted in: News

Above: Chuck Bray was born and raised in McKeesport and said he's never missed attending International Village. (Charlotte Hopkins photo special to Tube City Almanac)

McKeesport's 59th International Village got off to a rocky start this year due to a string of rain showers on the first day.

The muddy grounds at Renziehausen Park's Stephen Barry Field showed the aftereffects of the storm, but it didn't stop fans of the annual festival from joining in the festivities on days two and three.

The three-day event, which began in 1960, is run completely by volunteers, the majority of which are the array of churches playing tribute to the rich history of ethnic groups in America.

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After Near-Fatal Heart Attack, Man Returns to Thank Hospital

August 14, 2018 |

By Charlotte Hopkins | Posted in: News

Paul Glover (third from left) stands with a few of the staff members that oversaw his care at UPMC McKeesport hospital, including Robyn Stawinski; Rani Kumar, emergency department medical director; and David Courson, emergency department unit director. (Charlotte Hopkins photo special to Tube City Almanac)

Paul Glover was watching a basketball game with his girlfriend, Deanna Shannon, and eating Chinese food when he started to experience an uncomfortable feeling in his chest.

He told her he was going to lie down in bed. "No," Shannon said: We're going to the hospital.

Glover was having a heart attack. Moments after he arrived at the emergency room at UPMC McKeesport, his heart stopped. Doctors and nurses had to restart it three times, he said.

On Friday, two months after the incident, Glover came back to the hospital to meet with the doctors, nurses and staff. “I owe you guys my life, I appreciate you from the bottom of my healed heart,” he said.

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NAACP Presses School Board on Hiring Policies for Basketball Coach

August 13, 2018 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: News

The McKeesport NAACP has asked the McKeesport Area School Board to explain specific details of the hiring process in place to select the next head basketball coach. 

Their concerns were raised Wednesday during the public comment portion of the board's monthly meeting. 

Brenda D. Sawyer, McKeesport NAACP president, asked the board to explain the process used to determine which applicant should receive an interview and to describe the specific categories used to make that determination.  

Additionally, Sawyer asked for information on how the interview questions are scored and if the person who is being considered for the position scored more points than the other applicants.

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Former Daily News Building to Welcome Tenants in October

August 08, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

The former McKeesport Daily News building at the corner of Walnut Street and Lysle Boulevard will likely welcome its first new tenants in October.

At a meeting Wednesday, council by 6-0 vote awarded a $195,000 contract for renovations to the building to Kucich Construction of McKeesport. Council President Richard Dellapenna Jr. was absent.

Mayor Michael Cherepko said Kucich Construction's was the lowest of two bids received on the renovations, which will be made to the first floor of the building in the former advertising department. That area will be used by the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office for training and meetings between prosecutors and police, Cherepko said.

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