City Officials Urge Patience With Snow, Ice Removal

February 08, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

After a snow or ice storm, some of the best information about which streets need to be treated comes from sanitation crews, says Steve Kondrosky, McKeesport's public works director.

"Every day, somewhere in the city is trash collection day," he says, and crews from the city's garbage collection contractor, Big's Sanitation, will alert the public works department if a street or alley needs attention.

City police, too, serve as the eyes and ears to report snowy or icy streets --- and there has been plenty to report.

"The weather has not been very kind to us this year," McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko says.

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Davis Takes Oath as District's New Rep

February 05, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Duquesne News, News, Politics & Elections, White Oak News

With his wife, Blayre, holding the Bible, Austin Davis took the oath of office as the new state representative serving Clairton, Duquesne, McKeesport and neighboring communities. (Screenshot from Pennsylvania House of Representatives video feed)

Austin Davis took the oath of office in Harrisburg on Monday to become the newest member of the state's General Assembly.

Surrounded by his parents, family and friends, Davis, 28, of McKeesport was sworn in with his wife, Blayre, standing alongside him, holding the family bible.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David Spurgeon administered the oath.

Davis won a special election Jan. 23 to fill the remaining months of former state Rep. Marc Gergely's term. Gergely resigned after pleading guilty to charges connected with a video poker and illegal gambling ring operating in the Mon Valley.

Davis will represent the 35th District, which includes Clairton, Duquesne, Lincoln, McKeesport, Munhall, Versailles, South Versailles Twp., Whitaker, White Oak and parts of West Mifflin.

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Library Feels Like 'Home' to New Director

February 05, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Duquesne News, News, White Oak News

(Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

Working at the Carnegie Library of McKeesport feels like home to Colleen Denne of Elizabeth Twp., who took over as director on Jan. 3.

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a master's degree in library science, Denne, who grew up in Liberty Borough, says she feels very connected to her new job.

"My dad's family is from Duquesne, and my mom's family is from McKeesport," Denne says. "These are my roots. This is my home library. I don't think it would mean as much to me anywhere else."

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School Board OK's Sale of White Oak Elementary

February 02, 2018 |

By Mary Shelly | Posted in: News

(Photo courtesy Broker 1 Realty)

The McKeesport Area School Board has voted to begin the process of selling the White Oak Elementary School building to Wellness for Veterans in the amount of $400,000.

District officials said Wellness for Veterans is a privately owned organization that provides physical and mental health services as well as job placement services for veterans.

"I've been told that they would be providing housing for veterans as well as some health services, job placement services, et cetera," said David Seropian, district business manager.

The building will be a taxable property under this purchase, Seropian said.

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New Exhibit Explores Life in Region During World War II

January 29, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: News

UPDATE: Corrected to fix identification of two people.

Above: JoAnne Rodgers of McKeesport, a board member at the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center, looks over an exhibit about the role of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African-American bomber and fighter pilots who trained at Alabama's Tuskegee Institute. (Vickie Babyak photo special to Tube City Almanac)

A traveling exhibit exploring life in Western Pennsylvania during World War II opened on Saturday at McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center.

"We Can Do It: WWII" was created by Pittsburgh's Senator John Heinz Regional History Center. It will remain on display at the McKeesport museum through March 20.

The Heritage Center, located in Renziehausen Park at 1832 Arboretum Drive, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

More photos from Saturday's opening can be found below.

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Davis Wins Special Election for 35th District Seat

January 24, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Duquesne News, News, Politics & Elections, White Oak News

Austin Davis won't get a break --- either from working or campaigning.

The 28-year-old McKeesport resident will be the next state representative for the 35th Legislative District after defeating 37-year-old Fawn Walker-Montgomery of McKeesport on Tuesday in a special election.

Davis expects to wrap up his current job as executive assistant to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald next week, and be sworn in as a state legislator a few days later.

Then, Davis, a Democrat, will be running in the May 15 primary for a chance at a full term in office.

"I do like to keep a robust schedule, but no, there's not much downtime," Davis said Wednesday.

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McKeesport's 'Crown Jewel' Prepared for Sale

January 19, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Photo special to Tube City Almanac) Your new Pittsburgh-area headquarters is waiting at the corner of Walnut and Lysle.

If not Amazon, says city resident Regis Mellinger, why not Apple Inc.? The company has announced plans to re-invest $350 billion in the U.S. economy --- why couldn't it be in McKeesport?

Mellinger, a sales associate for Howard Hanna Wilson Baum Agency and the operator of the "Positive McKeesport" Facebook group, knows it's far-fetched to think that Apple or Amazon would want to open an office in the city.

But Mellinger doesn't think it's a crazy idea to envision the 112-year-old People's Union Bank Building --- which has just gone up for sale at $400,000 --- as the headquarters for a high-tech company, or as loft apartments.

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New Detox Unit at UPMC McKeesport Addresses 'Growing Epidemic'

January 18, 2018 |

By Lynne Glover | Posted in: News

A view of the new inpatient detox and rehab unit at UPMC McKeesport --- the only one of its kind in Allegheny County. (Submitted photo courtesy UPMC)

Every day in Allegheny County, between six and 14 people are admitted to a hospital emergency room after an overdose, according to a 2016 study by the county's departments of Health and Human Services.

With its soon-to-open detoxification and rehabilitation unit, UPMC McKeesport is “stepping up to address the growing epidemic,” says Mark Sevco, hospital president.

Epidemic indeed: In 2016 and 2017, there were 35 fatal overdoses in the McKeesport zip code, 15132.

On Jan. 10, one day before UPMC McKeesport held an open house for its soon-to-open inpatient detox and rehab unit, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf declared the heroin and opioid epidemic a statewide disaster emergency.

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Emergency Work Begins on Executive Building; Street Still Closed

January 12, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Photos special to Tube City Almanac)

City officials are hopeful that the 300 block of Fifth Avenue will reopen early next week after demolition crews finish removing damaged bricks from the facade of the Executive Building.

The street was closed Jan. 5 after part of a decorative brick pillar on the Ringgold Street side of the building collapsed on the sidewalk. Similar cracks were spotted in the brick pillars on the Fifth Avenue facade as well, leading the city to close the street to through traffic.

Betters Company of Lincoln Borough is working to remove the damaged sections of the pillars from the five-story brick office building. The building has been vacant since late December, when the final tenants were forced to leave.

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Minor Flooding Reported in District as Region Braces for Icy Blast

January 12, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Photos special to Tube City Almanac)

Minor flooding closed several area roadways on Friday morning as the Mon-Yough area braced for another icy blast.

Melting snow, followed by steady rain, caused ponding in low-lying areas, including along Route 837 in Dravosburg.

The unseasonably warm temperatures on Thursday and Friday are expected to be followed by a blast of freezing rain, ice, sleet and snow, which could freeze flooded roadways and make them treacherous.

The National Weather Service in Moon Twp. said Friday that accumulating snow on top of freezing rain was likely to result in "extremely dangerous if not impossible driving conditions" in parts of the region tonight.

The forecast has led several organizations to cancel activities scheduled for Friday night and Saturday morning.

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