Mon-Yough Districts to Join
Statewide Public School Rally

December 04, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport, Duquesne, South Allegheny and other local school districts will participate in a statewide rally on Thursday demanding more oversight of Pennsylvania’s charter schools.

A group called Pennsylvania League of Urban Schools, or PLUS, is planning simultaneous press conferences at 12 noon at nearly 20 different school districts, calling on Gov. Tom Wolf and the state General Assembly to address what its leaders call “unfair and inequitable” funding.

“We are coming together in solidarity to stand up for fair funding,” said Stephen Rodriguez, president of PLUS and superintendent of the Pottstown Area School District, located about an hour northwest of Philadelphia in eastern Pennsylvania.

Other local districts planning to participate in Thursday's rally include Clairton, Penn Hills, Steel Valley, Wilkinsburg and Woodland Hills.

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Dislodged Panel Closes Lane of Lysle Blvd.

November 28, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Tube City Almanac photo)

A stone panel fell from the People's Building on Wednesday afternoon, causing one lane of Lysle Boulevard to be closed Downtown.

No one was injured when the block fell at around 1 p.m. from the third-story corner of the so-called annex of the building, at the corner of Lysle Boulevard and Walnut Street.

McKeesport police, firefighters and ambulance rescue services responded to the scene.

The sidewalk near the building and part of one lane of Lysle Boulevard remained closed on Thursday.

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City’s 55th Santa Parade Has
Large Crowd, Pleasant Weather

November 25, 2019 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport Area High School cheerleaders were among more than 70 different units in the city’s 55th annual Salute to Santa parade. (Vickie Babyak photos, special to Tube City Almanac)

Pleasant weather --- a welcome change --- drew a large crowd Saturday morning to Fifth Avenue for McKeesport’s 55th Annual Salute to Santa parade.

The parade got underway just after 11 a.m., following a performance of "Joy to the World" by McKeesport Area High School senior Joey Young. State Sen. Jim Brewster served as parade marshal.

Video was streamed live by Tube City Online and its radio station, WMCK, from the corner of Fifth and Walnut streets.

Photographer Vickie Babyak captured these scenes for Tube City Almanac.

(All photos: Vickie Babyak. For reprint information, email

Serra Catholic High School Eagle Marching Band and McKeesport Area High School Tiger Marching Band prepare for the parade under the Jerome Street Bridge.

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Saturday's Santa Parade Kicks Off
Holiday Season in Mon-Yough Area

November 21, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements, McKeesport and Region News, White Oak News

(Tube City Almanac file photo by Richard Finch Jr.)

McKeesport's 55th annual Salute to Santa parade will kick off the Christmas season at 11 a.m. Saturday along Fifth Avenue, Downtown.

Then, on Saturday evening, White Oak will light the borough's holiday tree with a celebration at Rainbow Volunteer Fire Co. on Long Run Road.

And McKeesport's 34th annual Festival of Trees is just a few weeks away.

First up is "Salute to Santa," one of the largest Christmas parades in Western Pennsylvania.

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Pittsburgh Non-Profit Partnering
With City on Home Rehabs

November 19, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Low-income homeowners in the Christy Park and Grandview (above) neighborhoods of McKeesport will be eligible next year for assistance upgrading their exteriors of their houses, with help from gaming funds and tax credits, local and state officials announced last week. (Tube City Almanac photo)

A Pittsburgh-based non-profit will begin helping residents of two McKeesport neighborhoods rehabilitate their homes with assistance from Pennsylvania gaming revenues.

Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh, located in Homewood, has been awarded $150,000 for a program to offer exterior improvements for low-income homeowners in Grandview and Christy Park in 2020, a spokeswoman for McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said.

The money will be provided from the state's Gaming Economic Development and Tourism Fund, which receives 5.5 percent of the revenues from casinos and other gambling facilities in Pennsylvania.

Separately, the state Department of Community and Economic Development has authorized $225,000 in tax credits for the same home improvement program, as well as $360,000 to the McKees Point Development Group for redevelopment projects and tourism enhancements in the Downtown area.

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Water Authority Begins Work on Upgrades to Grandview-Area Hydrants

November 17, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Tube City Almanac photo)

Crews have begun the long-awaited process of running a new water line to fire hydrants in the Grandview neighborhood of the city.

The work is being done by W. Construction Corp. of Jeannette under a contract from the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, said Matthew Junker, water authority spokesman.

Nearly a half-mile of 12-inch water main is being installed, he said. Work is expected to conclude in early February. McKeesport city council this month granted a right-of-way along Silver Alley to the water authority.

"We were happy we were able to come to an agreement with the city and we look forward to working with them," Junker said.

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Minor Chlorine Leak Sends Hazmat to Water Plant; Operations Normal

November 15, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport firefighters and Allegheny County hazardous materials teams responded to a chlorine leak Thursday morning at the McKeesport Water Treatment Plant.

Matthew Junker, spokesman for the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, said the chlorine was isolated to a single building and water treatment operations at the plant were not affected.

Emergency crews were notified when workers detected a “slight chlorine smell” in the room where the tanks are housed, Junker said.

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Fire Destroys Vacant House; Cause Unknown

November 14, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The Allegheny County fire marshal's office is investigating a blaze on Tuesday afternoon that destroyed a vacant house on Stewart Street.

McKeesport fire Chief Jeff Tomovcsik said callers reported the fire at 3:21 p.m. in the two-story wood frame structure at 2910 Stewart.

Initial reports indicated that someone may have been inside, but those proved to be incorrect, Tomovcsik said.

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Chef With Soul Sees Kitchen as a Healing Place

November 08, 2019 |

By Emily Pidgeon | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Michael Kennedy and Vickey Giddens-Kennedy have opened Vickey’s Soul Grill Takeout & Catering with help from Penn State’s Mon Valley Launchbox. (Photo by Emily Pidgeon, special to Tube City Almanac)

Vickey Giddens-Kennedy wants to change how people think and feel about Southern cooking.

“Just let me get into a kitchen," says the owner of Vickey’s Soul Grill Takeout & Catering. Giddens-Kennedy says she found her own personal healing through food and wants to pass that gift onto others in the community.

Sometimes, Giddens-Kennedy says, she would pray, “Lord if you heal me, I’ll give this healing to others.”

"Food is my cure,” she says.

Vickey's Soul Grill is one of the first busineses to receive guidance and assistance from the Mon Valley Launchbox, a business incubator program of Penn State University’s Greater Allegheny Campus.

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Public Invited to Veterans’ Day Program at MAHS

November 08, 2019 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: Announcements, McKeesport and Region News

Students perform during McKeesport Area High School’s 2013 Veterans’ Day program. (Photo courtesy McKeesport High School Tiger Band.)

McKeesport Area students will perform a one-hour concert, “A Tribute to Veterans,” at 9:30 a.m. Monday at the high school in honor of Veterans Day.

The event will begin with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the Presentation of Colors by the McKeesport Area High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps.

The program will feature the district’s symphonic and jazz bands, directed by Mark DeCarlo; the concert and a capella choirs; and the string orchestra directed by Sarah Persin, as well as a multimedia presentation including “Tribute to Apollo 11,” “75th Anniversary of D-Day” and Toby Keith's “American Soldier,” and conclude with an audience sing along with the a capella and concert choirs.

“The students are very excited to present their hard work to the veterans,” said Beth Eger, choral director at Founders Hall Middle School.  “This is one of our favorite programs, we get to show our appreciation to the men and women who fought for our country.”

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