Blessing Board's McKeesport Location Helps Local Families

May 01, 2018 |

By Charlotte Hopkins | Posted in: News

Above: John Fischetti and Diane Brown are two volunteers at the Blessing Board. (Photo courtesy The Blessing Board)

A demonstrated need drew an Oakmont-based charity into the McKeesport area.

Now, after several moves within the city, The Blessing Board is open two Saturdays per month at 820 Market St., in a former auto parts store shared with First Step Recovery Homes.

The Blessing Board was established to help people who are struggling to furnish their homes. People who want to use it need only two things --- an appointment and access to a truck, said Amy Hehn, who sits on the board of directors and is a member of the Day of Blessings Team.

“We know they are here because they have a need, they do not have to prove that,” she said. “Here people can furnish their home with love and that's Gods love.”

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Mon Valley is Turning a Corner, Panelists Say --- But Transportation Challenges Remain

April 23, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Above: State Rep. Austin Davis, left, makes a point as state Rep. Paul Costa and U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle listen during Friday's legislative breakfast, sponsored by the Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce. (Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

Although the Mon Valley is finally turning an economic corner, lack of good transportation to and from the region's "job centers" remains a obstacle.

That was the message delivered by elected officials and business leaders Friday during the annual legislative breakfast of the Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce.

Several panelists mentioned the need for the long-delayed extension of the Mon-Fayette Expressway through West Mifflin and Duquesne, to provide major highway access to brownfields in the McKeesport area.

But transportation progress can't begin and end with the expressway, state Rep. Austin Davis said. "If you've seen some of the growth that has taken place in the city of Pittsburgh, in places like East Liberty, it's because of access to public transportation," Davis said. "It's been transit-oriented development."

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School Employees Get Emergency Training During 'Stop the Bleed' Sessions

April 21, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: News, White Oak News

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

Teachers and staff at McKeesport Area School District are learning how to provide emergency help until first responders arrive at four "Stop the Bleed" sessions.

The third session was presented for employees at McKeesport Area High School on Thursday. Techniques were taught by representatives of UPMC Pre-Hospital Care and Trauma Care, as well as McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service and White Oak EMS.

"It's part of our ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of our students," said Tom Bauman, associate principal at the high school.

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District Residents Pitch In During Recycling Event

April 21, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Above: Matt McCracken of White Oak and James Williams Jr. of Duquesne help load discarded tires onto a truck for recycling Saturday in Renziehausen Park.

Volunteers, students and city employees collected hard-to-recycle items --- including TVs, computer monitors, tires and cell phones --- during an Earth Day event Saturday in Renziehausen Park.

"Respect Our City, Respect Our Earth" was open to all residents of McKeesport Area School District and was supported in part by the Angora Gardens Junior Gardeners, the McKeesport Lions Club and the school district.

"This was a great opportunity for residents to safely dispose of materials that would otherwise end up in alleys or over hillsides," McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko said. "We want to give people as many opportunities as we can to keep their neighborhoods looking good and their homes uncluttered."

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Funds Sought to Rehab Railroad Roundhouse as Museum

April 19, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Editor's Note: The author has a conflict of interest. See conflict of interest note, below.

(Photo courtesy Regional Industrial Development Corp.)

Two groups have announced an effort to preserve the McKeesport Connecting Railroad roundhouse at the former U.S. Steel National Works site.

In a press release, the recently formed Steel City Chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, Inc., and the McKeesport Preservation Society said they will hold a fundraiser at Teutonia Mannechor on Pittsburgh's North Side at 5 p.m. June 16 to kick off their effort.

Tickets are $50 for members of the railway society and $75 for non-members.

The groups envision reusing the building, which once serviced steam and diesel locomotives for the railroad, as the "Western Pennsylvania Railroad and Transportation Museum."

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Healthy Village Marks 5th Anniversary of Education, Outreach

April 17, 2018 |

By Tyler Pack | Posted in: News

(Photo courtesy Healthy Village Learning Institute)

History tells us much. But the past is just one part of the story. The present and future are equally important. Organizations that understand this and build upon it are able to most successfully serve their communities.

The Healthy Village Learning Institute in McKeesport is an example of an organization that takes a holistic approach to lifting up its members and the entire community.

Located in the former St. Pius V. Catholic School on Versailles Avenue, the building overlooks much of the community. It also shares the lower level with a fitness organization called Akwaaba Fitness. Akwaaba is the Ghanaian word for “welcome.” 

The Healthy Village Learning Institute has just celebrated a milestone fifth anniversary. But the concept and the work to create it began long ago. The founder, Keith Murphy, has made it a nearly two-decade labor of love.

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State Agency Awards $300K for Housing Upgrades in Library District

April 13, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

A state agency has awarded $300,000 to construct two new homes in the city's Library and Cultural District, and make improvements to 10 existing owner-occupied homes.

The award was one of 137, totalling $26.6 million statewide, announced Thursday by the Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund.

"PHARE" money comes from a variety of sources, including real estate transfer taxes and marcellus shale gas drilling fees, and supports housing and community development initiatives in low and moderate income communities.

In addition to the Carnegie Library of McKeesport, the Seventh Ward neighborhood is also home to several churches, Twin Rivers Elementary School, the McKeesport Little Theater and other assets.

“Providing affordable homes is essential in helping our families and communities thrive,” state Rep. Austin Davis said. “Not only will this grant truly help those in need, but it will also sustain the pride of our artistic corridor.”

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Water Authority Meeting With Property Owners After Leak

April 13, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

An employee of the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County is meeting today with property owners who were affected by a water main leak near Renziehausen Park.

Matt Junker, authority spokesman, said most of the damage seemed to be to external landscaping.

"We will have a contractor out there to clean up the yards and make landscape repairs as the weather permits," Junker said Friday.

MAWC crews were replacing a valve on a 16-inch water main on Palm Street Thursday morning when a nearby 12-inch line began to leak, the authority said.

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Water Main Leak Near Renzie Floods Homes, Closes Roads

April 12, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: News

A water main near Renziehausen Park began leaking Thursday morning, flooding several homes and leaving parts of Haler Heights, the 11th Ward and Versailles Borough with low or no water pressure.

The incident happened just before 10:30 a.m. in the 700 block of Palm Street as crews from Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County worked to install a new valve on a 16-inch water main, said Matt Junker, authority spokesman.

"When the new valve was installed, a sleeve that holds it to the pipe shifted, causing a leak" in a nearby 12-inch pipe, Junker said.

The leak was isolated at about 2 p.m. Thursday, he said.

Homes in the area of Palm and King streets were flooded by the initial leak, and debris washed down onto Eden Park Boulevard, said Steve Kondrosky, McKeesport public works director.

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Route 30 Closed in Both Directions as Collapse Continues

April 06, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: News

Route 30 is now completely closed in East Pittsburgh after state highway officials said the ground underneath the road has continued to shift.

Westbound lanes --- from East Pittsburgh toward Forest Hills --- were closed Wednesday after officials said the roadway was settling and cracking, but one eastbound lane remained open.

At 1 p.m. Friday, the state Department of Transportation closed the remaining lane so that excavation work could begin. A PennDOT spokesman said it's too soon to say how long the closure will last, or how the road will be repaired.

The closure will be a headache for motorists; according to PennDOT traffic volume maps, about 22,000 cars use that stretch of Route 30 every day.

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