McKeesport officials have posted a video of this year’s Festival of Trees in Renziehausen Park and now are encouraging residents to submit photos of their own holiday trees to be part of a virtual festival.
A slimmed-down Festival of Trees—the 35th annual event—concluded on Monday evening at Jacob Woll Pavilion. Past events have included 75 to 90 hand-decorated Christmas trees representing various Mon Valley groups, churches and organizations.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event had only about 40 trees, and many of the usual amenities—including refreshments and hay rides through the park—were canceled.
An online forum Thursday afternoon will discuss how income inequality leads to poor health for Black women.
“Socioeconomic and Environmental Perspectives on Black Women’s Health” will be moderated by Johnathan White, history lecturer at Penn State Greater Allegheny campus in McKeesport. The event begins at 3 p.m. and will be streamed live on Penn State’s website at watch.psu.edu/crossingbridges.
The panel discussion is the second in this year’s series of Crossing Bridges Summit events. The first, in October, examined Black women’s health from a medical perspective.
McKeesport’s 2021 budget cuts more than a half-million dollars in spending and keeps tax rates the same.
“We will continue to try to shrink this budget,” Mayor Michael Cherepko told city council at its December meeting. “I’m looking next year to try to get below $22 million, to $21 million.”
On Wednesday, city council, with six members participating via telephone due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unanimously approved the $22.1 million spending plan, which holds taxes at 8.26 mills on structures and 20.5 mills on land.
McKeesport is one of three cities in Allegheny County that has separate millage rates on land and buildings. Each “mill” represents $1 in taxes for every $1,000 of assessed value.
McKeesport’s Festival of Trees is coming together at the Jacob Woll Pavilion in Renziehausen Park—though smaller than in previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual event, a staple of the holiday season for the past 35 years, is scheduled to open to the public from 2 to 8 p.m. daily Dec. 3 through 7.
“We will do our best to continue this tradition—boosting our community’s morale and holiday spirit while respecting COVID-related guidelines and recommendations,” McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko says.
McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko is hopeful that an “amicable solution” can be reached that prevents the city’s 75-year-old LaRosa Boys & Girls Club from closing.
Meanwhile, state corporation records hint that a new organization is being formed to help sustain the club.
On his Facebook page, Cherepko said that on Tuesday, along with State Sen. Jim Brewster and State Rep. Austin Davis, he had a video conference call with leaders of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania to discuss the future of the LaRosa Boys & Girls Club on Ravine Street.
“I am very pleased with the meeting and wholeheartedly believe we will be able to reach an amicable solution that will allow us to serve our community in one way or another at the club’s current location,” Cherepko said.
McKeesport’s Boys & Girls Club bears the names of both founder Sam LaRosa and benefactor Walter C. Shaw Sr. (Tube City Almanac photo)
The grandson of the founder of the LaRosa Boys & Girls Club is surprised and disappointed by the parent organization’s decision to close the 75-year-old institution on Ravine Street.
Don Michel of Cranberry Twp., whose grandfather, the late Samuel R. LaRosa, founded the club in 1945, served on the board of directors of Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania for more than 10 years, until July 1.
Michel, who had also served as vice chair of the board for the past five years, said the relationship between the Pittsburgh-based parent organization and the suburban clubhouses has been deteriorating.
“What I see is a shift away from operating brick and mortar facilities that carry high levels of overhead, and trying to shift to operating in somebody else’s facilities,” Michel said Friday. “So we’re no longer a safe place for kids to gather. We’re a provider of programming.”
McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko helps unload $2,000 in food donated to the local Salvation Army by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. (Tube City Almanac photo)
Local Mormons have donated more than $2,000 in non-perishable food to McKeesport’s Salvation Army.
The gift, from the Pleasant Hills Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, comes as the Salvation Army is worried that this year’s “Red Kettle” campaign may come up thousands of dollars short.
Church members delivered the food gift on Thursday. Jeff Miracle of Mt. Lebanon, president and first counselor of the church’s Pittsburgh West Stake, said the congregation is working to build its relationship with the surrounding community.
With Halloween on Saturday, you’ve hopefully already made a plan for a costume. But have you considered the safest way to trick-or-treat this year?
Most local communities — McKeesport, North Versailles Twp., White Oak, Port Vue, and Liberty Borough — will observe Halloween with trick-or-treating during the hours of 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday.
Duquesne will observe trick-or-treating from 5 to 7 p.m. and will have a costume contest, with “grab-and-go” treats, from 4 to 5 p.m. at Memorial Park on Grant Avenue. To comply with COVID-19 safety recommendations, participants should enter via South Second Street and exit via South Third Street. The event is made possible by city officials, Duquesne PRIDE and the Duquesne PartnerSHIP.
Dravosburg will observe trick-or-treating from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday, with a Halloween costume parade at the borough’s ballfields at 4:30 p.m. Social distancing rules will be in place and attendees are asked to wear face masks.
Prizes will be given to the prettiest costume, ugliest/scariest costume and most original costume. Children ages 0 to 13 are allowed to participate.
Devin Brown, 7, of McKeesport is introduced to K9 Officer Ryco by his handler, police Sgt. Fran Angert, as his mom, Heather Nelson, looks on. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)
A second-grader at Propel McKeesport surprised city police on Saturday morning with 47 custom-ordered face masks.
Devin Brown, 7, of McKeesport, has admired police officers since an incident at a Greensburg diner, said his mother, Heather Nelson.
A Pennsylvania state trooper stopped in to eat lunch and gave Devin a “junior trooper” sticker badge. “Ever since then, he’s wanted to be a policeman when he grows up,” Nelson said. Devin has plastic handcuffs and plays with his pretend police toys all the time, she said.
The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County has approved an upgrade project designed to make the McKeesport water treatment plant, shown here, more reliable. A small mechanical equipment building, shown at lower left, will be replaced by a new facility with room for expansion. (Submitted photo)
The water authority that serves McKeesport, Port Vue, Versailles and White Oak has approved a $7.8 million project to replace the intake structure at the city’s water treatment plant.
That could prevent a repeat of an incident in August that caused an overnight water outage for some local residents served by the facility, and a more serious problem last year that resulted in a boil-water advisory.
At a meeting this month, the board of directors of the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County authorized the upgrades, which will improve water supply reliability for customers supplied by the plant, said Matthew Junker, authority spokesman.
The McKeesport plant draws water from the Youghiogheny River and treats it for its own customers, as well as for residents of Duquesne, which buys water in bulk from MAWC.