Drive-Through COVID Testing Coming to City

September 09, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A drive-through COVID-19 testing center will open in the city next week, the Allegheny County Health Department announced Wednesday.

Build-out of the site, located in the Industrial Center of McKeesport, began Tuesday, said Amie Downs, county spokeswoman.

Tests will be free but appointments will be required, she said. Funding for the site is being provided by the federal coronavirus stimulus program and the money has been allocated by state officials, Downs said.

The site will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, beginning Sept. 15.

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Cornerstone Finds New Home In Cleveland

September 09, 2020 |

By Chris Baumann | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The cornerstone of a now-demolished McKeesport church has made its way to a new home in Cleveland, Ohio.

After months of persistence, Cleveland resident and historian Nicholas Boros secured the cornerstone of the former St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church on Beacon Street and moved it to his own church, St. Elizabeth of Hungary.

“It was all very last minute,” said Boros, who had assumed his efforts to preserve the cornerstone had been unsuccessful. “I didn’t know I was getting it until three days before leaving for Cleveland.”

St. Stephen’s closed in 2002 following the death of its longtime pastor, the Rev. Stephen Kato.

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Equipment from Local Plastics Plant to Be Sold

September 08, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

This is one of the injection-molding machines from Magic Creations Inc. that’s being sold, according to a Connecticut-based auctioneer. (Photo courtesy The Branford Group)

A Connecticut-based auctioneer is selling off plastic-molding equipment from a Christy Park company that manufactures ice-cube trays, food storage bins, laundry baskets, trash cans and other items.

More than 250 molds and eight plastic injection-molding machines used by Magic Creations Inc. are being sold to the highest bidder beginning this week by The Branford Group, according to Ali Wade, marketing director for the auctioneer.

Magic Creations is located in the former G.C. Murphy Co. and Ames Department Stores distribution center between 28th and 31st avenues.

Although the equipment is being auctioned, the company is not going out of business, said an employee at the office who would not give his name or any other information to a reporter.

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Unions Celebrate Labor Day Sprucing Up Renzie

September 07, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

James J. Blatnik, AFL-CIO community services liaison for the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council, paints park bench metal frames before the wood is replaced on the bench. (Tube City Almanac photo by Vickie Babyak)

McKeesport city officials, the Allegheny-Fayette Central Labor Council, local union members and their families worked together on Saturday morning to participate in a beautification day at Renziehausen Park.

Because the annual Pittsburgh Labor Day Parade, picnics and other celebrations were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, union members instead organized “Labor’s Weekend of Service” at several locations in the Pittsburgh area.

Darrin Kelly, a Pittsburgh firefighter and president of the labor council, said it was an opportunity to highlight the commitment of union members to serving the communities where they live.

“We are embracing this opportunity to honor the frontline workers who are helping usget through this pandemic and to show what organized labor is all about,” Kelly said. “We are all in this together, and it’s never been more important that we all take care of one another.”

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Water Authority Explains Recent Outages

September 04, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A pump failure at the McKeesport water treatment plant caused a lengthy outage on Friday night, a spokesman for the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County said.

But it wasn’t just a lack of water that had some city residents frustrated — they said a lack of information from the water authority also left them high and dry.

Authority spokesman Matthew Junker told Tube City Almanac an electric motor that drives one of the pumps at the plant failed at about 7:30 p.m.

Crews had difficulty getting a second pump into operation, which caused water pressure to fall, he said.

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Feds Urge City Residents to Become
‘Cheerleaders’ For Investment

September 04, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A.J. Tedesco, McKeesport community development director, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko, HUD Pittsburgh Office Field Director Michael Horvath and HUD Region III Administrator Joe DeFelice talk following a visit to the vacant Penn-McKee Hotel, Downtown. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Less than a month after visiting McKeesport to encourage the city to take advantage of the Financial Opportunity Zone program, a federal official returned with two colleagues to help him make his case.

McKeesport needs a team of “cheerleaders” to sell the city’s advantages to prospective investors, said Joseph J. DeFelice, Region III administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development.

“You have proximity” to Pittsburgh, DeFelice said during a roundtable discussion Thursday morning with business owners, elected officials and community leaders at the Palisades Ballroom, Downtown.

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Garage Gets Council OK, After Debate

September 03, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

K&K Roadside Service has received the city’s permission, with conditions attached, to continue operating along Patterson Avenue. (Tube City Almanac photo)

City council has granted an occupancy permit — with conditions attached — to a Patterson Avenue car repair shop that neighbors have claimed looked more like a junkyard.

At Wednesday’s meeting, McKeesport council by 4-2 vote approved a conditional use application for K&K Roadside Service, LLC, to continue operating in the 2200 block, near the entrance to Myer Park.

Councilmen Jim Barry Jr. and Keith Soles voted no, and Council President Richard Dellapenna Jr. was absent due to a professional obligation.

Although the neighborhood is zoned for residential use, an auto-repair shop has been located on the site for decades. But since K&K moved onto the property from Braddock, neighbors have complained repeatedly to McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko and several members of council.

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People’s Building Full of Reminders of City’s Past

September 02, 2020 |

By Emily Pidgeon | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

This massive door in the former bank vault at the People’s Building weighs an estimated 15 tons, says owner Jonathan Stark. (Emily Pidgeon photo for Tube City Almanac)

Jane Jacobs, the writer and journalist who in the 1960s helped popularize the idea of preserving city architecture, once said, “New ideas often need old buildings.”

The Peoples Union Bank Building, with its high vaulted ceilings and old fashioned charm, has been a fixture in McKeesport’s skyline since 1906. Owner Jonathan Stark has ideas, and bringing commerce back to this old building is an important duty he holds dear to his heart.

Purchased by Stark in the late summer of 2019, the People’s Building has had a bit of a facelift and cleanup as well as some more serious construction in the past year. That included repairs to a section of the brick veneer that had pulled away from the exterior, with the potential to cause damage to cars and people below.

Stark was able to repair the damage before any major issues occurred and restored the brick without a hiccup.

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Volunteers Offer Smiles, Supplies to MASD Students

August 24, 2020 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Mindy Sturgess, a McKeesport Area school director and city resident, passes a backpack for a student through the family's SUV window. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

McKeesport Area School District students were invited to a “Back-to-School Giveaway” event held in front of the high school on Saturday afternoon.

Back packs and hygiene essentials were distributed by members of the McKeesport unit of the NAACP, along with community volunteers.

The event was made possible with donations from the McKeesport Community Fund, Walmart, Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and McKeesport residents.

Volunteers handed out appropriately filled backpacks for all students in kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as hygiene essential bags including products such as hand sanitizer, Kleenex and lip balm.

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Serra Show Draws on Scottish Lore, Music

August 17, 2020 |

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

Serra marching band student leaders for 2020 are: Serafina Szarmach, Ryan Gedman, and Harrison Potts, drum majors; Natalie Makovics and Nina Fassinger, colorguard captains; Jordan Premozic, woodwind section leader; Joe Crossen, brass section leader, and Abigail Bernick, percussion section leader. (Photo by Bonnijean Cooney Adams)

With a senior drum major who plays bagpipes, Serra Catholic Marching Band director Jesse Bush said he didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to do a Celtic-themed show.

So Bush decided on “The Secret of Loch Ness,” with musical numbers “Scotland the Brave,” “Skye Boat Song,” and “The Loch Ness Monster.”

Drum Major Harrison Potts plays bagpipes. He, and Drum Major Serafina Szarmach in a vocalist role, are featured in “Skye Boat Song.”

The annual two-week marching band camp kicked off Aug. 10 and concludes Aug. 21, with some business as usual and other activities modified to meet guidelines in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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