McKeesport Robotics Team Heads to Championship

March 30, 2023 |

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

The McKeesport robotics team poses after qualifying for a championship at the Miami Valley Regional FIRST Robotics competition at Xavier University in Cincinnati. (Submitted photo courtesy Team 1708)

The robotics team based at McKeesport Area High School is headed to the world championship in Texas next month.

Amp’D Robotics — McKeesport-based FIRST Robotics Team 1708 — was chosen to compete for trophies and cash prizes from April 19 to 22 at the annual FIRST Robotics Competition in Houston.

FIRST — For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology — is an international organization that sanctions science, engineering and robotics clubs and contests for high school students.

Co-lead mentor and former team member Jason Mols has been mentoring and coaching the team since 2014.  A mechanical engineer by trade who works for RE2 Robotics, Mols shares the mentoring duties with Derek Price another former member of the team.

“We are based out of McKeesport High School, but we have students from four local high schools on our team,” Mols said. Also represented are students from East Allegheny, Elizabeth Forward and Norwin plus one home-schooled student, he said.

McKeesport Area junior Cameron Goldinger and his brother, senior Dillon Goldinger, have been with the program since 9th grade. Their dad, Chris Goldinger of McKeesport, has now seen four of his kids go through the program.

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Community Urged to ‘Wake Up’ From Violence

March 29, 2023 |

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

A video produced by Divine Restoration Church of God in Christ is being used to introduce the “Wake Up!” campaign to Duquesne. Organizers are hoping the message takes root in McKeesport, as well. (YouTube)

Rallies in McKeesport and Duquesne this week will bring together multiple faiths and community organizations in an effort to urge young people to “Wake Up!” from their apathy and work to reduce gun violence.

Walkers will gather at 1:30 p.m. Thursday (March 30) at the Healthy Village Learning Institute, located at the former St. Pius V School, then walk along Versailles Avenue to the Family Dollar store at 3215 Versailles Ave.

“We timed this so that kids would be coming home from school about that time,” says the Rev. Jessica McClure Archer, pastor of Sampson’s Mills Presbyterian Church in White Oak. “We want to tell them, ‘wake up, you’re beautiful, you’re smart.’ We want to speak into the void of hopelessness so many of them are feeling.”

That walk is open to the public.

On Friday, Duquesne School District teachers and staff will attend a separate event being organized by the Rev. Eric Ewell, pastor of Divine Restoration Church of God in Christ and director of continuing education at Penn State Greater Allegheny Campus.

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MAHS Musical Brings ’50s Tunes to Life

March 28, 2023 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: Entertainment, McKeesport and Region News

The whole cast dances all out to one of the many musical numbers in “All Shook Up.” (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photo for Tube City Almanac.)

If you go...


All Shook Up”

Where: McKeesport Area High School, 1960 Eden Park Blvd.

When: Thursday, March 30, Friday, March 31, and Saturday, April 1 at 7 p.m., with an additional Saturday, April 1 matinee at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $10 for adults, $5 for students and senior citizens. Available by emailing, or in person at the high school through Friday from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m.

While almost all adults have at least heard – and many may have a favorite – Elvis Presley song, that isn’t necessarily true for all teens.

That’s unless those teens are in the cast, crew, or orchestra pit for McKeesport Area High School’s spring musical “All Shook Up,” which opens Thursday (March 30).

Characterized as an “American jukebox musical,” it was written in 2004 and premiered on Broadway the following year. And while “All Shook Up” is inspired by and features the music of Elvis,  the storyline is not about Presley. The male lead character is Chad (Collin Klein), who arrives as a stranger on a motorcycle to a conservative town in the Midwest circa 1950s.

While his bike is getting repaired by mechanic Natalie Haller (Kaitlyn Majewski), Chad looks for some excitement, only to learn about the town’s Mamie Eisenhower Decency Act, which prohibits things such as “loud music, public necking, and tight pants.”

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Students Preview Upcoming MAHS Musical

March 27, 2023 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

At Wednesday’s meeting, the McKeesport Area School Board welcomed high school students who are appearing in “All Shook Up.” The school musical, which is inspired by the life of Elvis Presley and features the songs he made famous, will be presented at McKeesport Area High School Auditorium, 1960 Eden Park Blvd., this March 30, 31 and April 1.

Nearly 20 students sang “All Shook Up” and “Can't Help Falling in Love.” Both numbers received a standing ovation from the board.

Below, retired McKeesport police Officer Ralph Johnson has been hired to work as a school police resource officer at Founders’ Hall Middle School.

(All photos: Adam Reinherz for Tube City Almanac)

Adam Reinherz is a freelance writer. He can be reached at


School District Hires New Security Firm

March 27, 2023 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A video circulating on social media that allegedly showed a McKeesport Area School District security guard napping on the job turned into a point of contention at the school board meeting.

“What is wrong with security at this school?” asked former school director Mark Holtzman Sr., who is running in the May 16 primary to reclaim his seat on the school board. He called it “a disaster waiting to happen.”

“When a security guard is sleeping, laying around, half-dressed, bellies hanging out, I mean come on,” Holtzman said. “Stuff gotta be done.”

The school board said it is taking steps to resolve complaints, including the approval this month of a contract with a new school security firm that will eventually provide 14 guards to the district.

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Locally Filmed Movie Gets April 1 Premiere

March 16, 2023 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: Entertainment, McKeesport and Region News, North Versailles Twp. News

Pittsburgh and surrounding neighborhoods continue to be desirable locations to shoot films of all genres and budgets.

The region “has a little bit of everything,” said film producer and writer Mark Cantu. “You can be in a very urban environment one minute and then drive 20 minutes away and be in a very rural farming community.”

Cantu recently completed his upcoming horror-comedy, “Wolf Hollow,” filmed in and around McKeesport and North Versailles Twp.

The movie, which will premiere April 1 at Dormont’s Hollywood Theater, follows a group of filmmakers as they journey to the fictional location of “Wolf Hollow,” searching for an area to shoot a new film only to discover that they are surrounded by a family of werewolves and must fight for their survival.

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Food Services Director Updates School Board

March 06, 2023 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Fifth-grade students from Francis McClure Elementary School delighted board members and school leaders when describing the process of creating a Black History Month gallery walk at a recent school board meeting. (Adam Reinherz photo for Tube City Almanac)

Participation in breakfast and lunch programs at McKeesport Area School District is up across the board, but so are expenses.

Ryan Grados, food services director, told the school board at its most recent meeting that the department is making a profit this year, to the tune of $278,198.

“The reimbursement rate that we received was $2.46 for breakfast, and $4.31 for lunch,” Grados said. “Everybody knows that inflation is hitting us pretty hard, so the state has been generous enough to offer us a higher reimbursement rate; therefore, this year we’re receiving $2.77 for breakfast and $4.51 for watch.”

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Bus Company Sues District, Local Officials

March 06, 2023 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A local bus company that lost a contract to transport McKeesport Area School District students is suing the city, the district and several area officials, claiming its problems were caused by political manipulations.

Pennsylvania Coach Lines has filed suit in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court against the City of McKeesport, the school district, state Sen. Jim Brewster, Mayor Michael Cherepko, school director and mayoral candidate Joe Lopretto, former school Superintendent Mark Holtzman Jr., and city administrator Tom Maglicco.

The company, based on Rebecca Street in the city, was replaced prior to the 2022-23 school year by Krise Transportation after parents repeatedly complained that Pennsylvania Coach Lines was canceling buses without warning, stranding students and forcing them to miss classes.

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‘Nightmare’ Month for City, ‘Horrific’ Afternoon

March 02, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport City Council opened its meeting Wednesday night with a moment of silence for slain police Officer Sean Sluganski and four people who were shot — three fatally — earlier in the day.

Two shootings less than an hour apart on Wednesday left residents and local officials again wondering what can be done to stem gun violence in the city.

Wednesday afternoon’s events were “horrific,” Mayor Michael Cherepko said.

“It has been an extremely difficult month for the City of McKeesport,” he said. “An absolute nightmare.”

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Violence Leaves City Grieving, Looking for Answers

February 27, 2023 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

SPECIAL REPORT — © 2023 Tube City Community Media Inc.

( photo via Flickr, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

After a violent three-month period that has seen three young people shot — one fatally — as well as the murder of a police officer, McKeesport residents are searching for answers.

“This was not how we grew up at all,” McKeesport Area School Superintendent Tia Wanzo said in an interview. “We went through 13 years of school and we may have had one student in our class that passed away — whether it was a car accident or something unexpected — but this is way too much. It’s too common.”

The events, she and other community members said, evidence new realities.

Wanzo recalled her actions following the Dec. 13 death of 16-year-old Chance Naylor. In the aftermath of the student’s murder, she began preparing a statement.

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