Council OK's Raffles, Other Games at Palisades

April 14, 2016 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: News

The Palisades Ballroom has received formal permission from city council to host small games of chance such as raffles.

At its April 6 meeting, McKeesport council by 7-0 vote recognized the McKees Point Palisades Performing Arts Corporation as a civic or service association under the state's Local Option Small Games of Chance Act.

Council's approval clears the way for the Palisades to host raffles and other small games of chance to help fund its operations.

In other business:

  • Council by 7-0 vote approved a two-year contract with employees of the public works department, and another with the city's clerical employees. Both groups of employees are represented by Teamsters Local Union 205. The contracts run through Dec. 31, 2017.
 
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County, U.S. Steel Reach Agreement on Clairton Pollution

March 28, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

2013 Roy Luck photo, via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

Editor's Note: The writer of this article has a conflict of interest; he is a U.S. Steel Corp. stockholder.

. . .

The Allegheny County Health Department has reached an agreement with U.S. Steel regarding what health officials called "numerous violations of both county and federal emission standards" at the Clairton Coke Works.

The agreement and the associated complaint were filed last week following judicial review in the Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania.

County officials recognize that U.S. Steel "expends considerable resources to understanding and fixing" pollution problems at the Clairton Works, said Jim Thompson, deputy director of environmental health at the Allegheny County Health Department. The plant heats coal to remove impurities and create coke, a fuel used in blast furnaces, as well as produce chemicals used in pharmaceuticals, paints and other products.

But, a health department spokeswoman said, U.S. Steel has failed to meet various commitments made to the county as part of its ongoing efforts to reduce air polluting emissions.

In January, the non-profit environmental activist group PennFuture announced plans to sue the county, U.S. Steel, the state Department of Environmental Protection and the federal Environmental Protection Agency for what the organization's chief legal counsel, George Jugovic Jr., called a continuing failure to enforce clean air laws.

A search of the federal court database over the past weekend did not find any record of the lawsuit yet being filed.

 
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West Mifflin Veteran Receives France's Highest Military Honor

March 19, 2016 |

By Mike Mauer | Posted in: News

More than 70 years since the end of World War II, a West Mifflin man has been awarded France’s highest distinction to honor his military service.

Glenn E. Kempf, a life member of West Mifflin's Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 Intrepid, has been named Chevalier of the Legion of Honor by the French Republic.  He received the award for his actions as a soldier in the United States Army while serving in Normandy and the Ardennes.

While assigned to the 45th Field Hospital as a medical technician, Kempf landed in Normandy June 7, 1944, on Omaha Beach.  He also participated in the Battle of the Bulge later that same year.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express the French Government’s deepest gratitude for your courage,” said Franck Roy, chief of staff to the French ambassador to the United States.  “We are forever grateful to the men and women who fought for our freedom and to whom we owe it today.”

 
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Nesbit Named to Fill Vacant Council Seat

March 17, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

After two months without holding a meeting, McKeesport City Council last week set its schedule for the coming year --- and appointed a councilmember to fill a vacant seat.

LuEthel Nesbit will fill the four-year term to which local businessman Corry Sanders was elected. (Correction added, 5 p.m.)

Nesbit is the longtime executive director of the Steel Valley Opportunities Industrialization Center and is now at ACTION-Housing. A vice-president of the McKeesport branch of the NAACP, Nesbitt also serves on the board of the McKeesport Housing Authority and the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport.

 
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Pastor Denies Claims That Versailles Ave. Church is a 'Cult'

March 04, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Photo courtesy KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh) Correction appended, 1 p.m.

A Florida-based charity that investigates suspected cults says a McKeesport church manipulates and shames members of its congregation into doing what its pastor tells them to do, including tithing 10 percent of their income to the church.

Citing former members of the congregation, the charity claims those who disobey or attempt to leave the church are shunned.

An attorney has denied the accusations, calling them "specious and unfortunate," and that any misbehavior was done by people no longer affliated with Guy Miller Ministries, while the pastor attributed them to "misunderstandings."

But Families Against Cult Teachings, located in Aventura, Fla., near Miami Beach, claims that based on its own investigation, The Church of Life in Christ on Versailles Avenue, also known as Guy Miller Ministries, shows signs of being a cult.

A four-part expose on FACT's website attracted the attention of Pittsburgh KDKA-TV reporter Andy Sheehan, who aired a report during Wednesday's newscast.

On Thursday, Sheehan interviewed additional former members of the church, one of whom told Sheehan, "Absolutely. Absolutely, 110 percent it is a full-blown cult."

 
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Tube City (Not That One) Changes Its Name

March 01, 2016 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: News

Glassport-based Tube City IMS Corp. announced today that it is changing its name to TMS International Corp.

The name change reflects the company's growing global presence, a spokesman said.

The new name is effective immediately and is being implemented across all of the company's products and subsidiaries. The company's website address has changed to www.tmsinternational.com.

"Our former name, Tube City IMS, represented a consolidation of different organizations, including Tube City Iron and Metal and International Mill Service," said Raymond Kalouche, President and CEO. "Their proud legacies are the foundation of our current success. But as we move into our tenth decade of operations, we believe TMS International better reflects the company's integrated operations and global status."

Tube City IMS provides a wide range of services to the steel and metals industries, including processing, recovering and brokering the sale of precious metals and alloys; engineering and logistics support; slag handling and processing; and recycling and disposing of waste.

 
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Rep. Gergely Charged With Corruption in Gambling Case

March 01, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Above: State Rep. Marc Gergely meets a constituent during an open house at his office. Official Pennsylvania state House of Representatives photo.)

Editor's Note: The author, and Tube City Community Media Inc., have conflicts of interest regarding this story. Please see the editor's note at the end of this story. UPDATED: Added information from the Uniontown Herald-Standard. UPDATED: Added information about donations to Gergely's re-election committee. UPDATED: Added information from The Associated Press.

. . .

State Rep. Marc Gergely has been charged with felony corruption and other offenses in connection with the investigation of a Mon Valley video poker ring that implicated a former McKeesport city councilman and other local officials, including the former Forward Twp. police chief.

The charges were announced today by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane in Harrisburg. Gergely is expected to appear tomorrow for a preliminary arraignment, Kane said.

Kane said the investigation is "ongoing" and that additional charges may yet be filed.

In a prepared statement, Kane said Gergely, 46, a Democrat from White Oak and former president of the McKeesport Area School Board, actively tried to promote and protect the illegal gambling business of Ronald "Porky" Melocchi.

In at least two cases, the attorney general's office claims, Gergely personally met with business owners and tried to convince them to allow Melocchi to put poker machines in their businesses.

"This is an unfortunate case in which the players traded political capital and favors to advance their own agendas and illicit business," Kane said. "The evidence clearly shows that Mr. Melocchi relied heavily on his relationships --- including with Mr. Gergely --- to conduct his illegal business."

 

 
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McKeesport High Added to 'Super Bowl High School Honor Roll'

January 28, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Four McKeesport Area High School graduates who played at the top levels of the National Football League will visit their alma mater next week on the eve of the 50th Super Bowl.

Retired NFL players William Miller (Class of 1957), Mike Logan (Class of 1992), Brandon Short (Class of 1995) and Russell Stuvaints (Class of 1997) will present the district with a Golden Football from Wilson Sporting Goods as McKeesport Area High School is placed on the Super Bowl High School Honor Roll.

The ceremony will take place in Neenie Campbell Gymnasium during the halftime of the Feb. 5 boys' basketball game when the Tigers host Gateway High School.

High schools across the nation are receiving a commemorative Wilson Golden Football for every player or head coach who graduated from their school and was on an active Super Bowl roster, a spokesperson said.

The program celebrates high schools and communities that have contributed to Super Bowl history, a spokesperson said, and is designed to link past Super Bowls with this year’s game and honor the high schools and communities that have positively impacted the game of football.

 
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Local Officials Urge Caution, Patience During Weekend Snowstorm

January 22, 2016 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: News

As the Mon-Yough area braces for its first significant snowfall of 2016, local officials are reminding residents to keep roads clear for snowplows and salt trucks, and to be patient.

Police in White Oak requested that residents "not park on the street unless absolutely necessary," advice that was echoed by police in Wilkins and North Huntingdon townships.

A spokeswoman for McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko urged residents to be "careful and patient" as crews work to clear streets this weekend.

"As our plows and salt trucks make their way through the city’s near 100 miles of roadways, please stay safe in your homes," she said. "Be sure to be good neighbors and lend a helping hand to those in need of assistance, whether that means shoveling an extra sidewalk or checking in to make sure folks are doing well."

The National Weather Service in Moon Twp. says the McKeesport area is likely to receive 3 to 7 inches of snow between 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday. Winds gusting up to 25 mph will make blowing and drifting snow a problem as well, meteorologists said.

A winter weather advisory has been issued for the Mon-Yough area. Heavier snowfalls are expected south of McKeesport in Washington, Fayette and Greene counties, where the weather service has issued more serious winter storm warnings.

The predicted low overnight will be 20, and tomorrow's high will be 26. Saturday night, temperatures will turn much colder, with wind chill making the temperature feel like 1 below zero.

But the weather service cautioned that even minor changes in the direction of the passing storm could cause increases in the amount of snow in our area. Parts of Ohio and Maryland were already reporting 3 to 4 inches of snow as of 3 p.m. Friday.

 
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Local Penn State Historian Discusses MLK's Work and Ongoing Legacy

January 18, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News, Podcast

Many universities --- including Penn State's Greater Allegheny Campus in McKeesport --- were closed today for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

But instead of taking the holiday as a day off, about 90 students from the McKeesport campus and six other Penn State campuses in Beaver, Altoona, Behrend, DuBois, Fayette and New Kensington gathered in McKeesport, and then fanned out through the Pittsburgh area to volunteer at charities such as McKeesport Little Theatre, Auberle,  Braddock Carnegie Library and Braddock Free Store, and for public spaces such as White Oak Park.

The event is a tradition that began eight years ago, in an effort to use Penn State Pride to give back to the community, a campus spokeswoman said.

To kick off the event, history instructor Johnathan White gave a keynote address to students before they headed out to their volunteer sites.

 
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