New Housing Opens in Homestead Boro.

June 06, 2016 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: News

Community leaders and developers cut the ribbon Thursday (June 2) on a new mixed-use development in Homestead.

One Homestead is located on East Eighth Avenue at Amity Street and has 51 housing units, including three-story loft apartments, two- and three-story townhouse units, and one- and two-bedroom apartments with patios or sunrooms.

The complex incorporates original Eighth Avenue buildings --- including the old Homestead post office, recently used as the borough police station --- as well as new construction. The developer was A.M. Rodriguez Associates of Pittsburgh and Akron.

One Homestead "was a very challenging project, but it will stand the test of time," said Victor Rodriguez, president of the company. "We put a great deal of thought into the design. We look forward to continuing to work with the Borough of Homestead on new developments, including the opening of a new brewpub in the old Levine Hardware store on 8th Avenue.”

 
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TV Series Filming in City; Will Close Lysle Blvd.

June 01, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Update: Traffic closures will now be "intermittent" on Monday and Tuesday, according to the mayor's office.

A Netflix TV series being filmed in the Pittsburgh area will utilize the former offices of the McKeesport Daily News for some scenes.

Sources told Tube City Almanac that the landmark Art Deco building at the corner of Lysle Boulevard and Walnut Street will stand in as an FBI office a police station in the upcoming series "Mindhunter," a series based on a 1996 book about criminal psychologists working for the FBI.

UPDATED: Signs labeling the building as the "Sacramento Police Department" appeared over the weekend.

Construction crews today removed plywood that has been covering the windows of the Daily News since the paper was closed by its parent company, Trib Total Media, on Dec. 31.

UPDATED: Filming will cause "intermittent closures" of Lysle Boulevard from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday (June 6) and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday (June 7), with a full closure of Lysle Boulevard from 6 p.m. Tuesday until 2 a.m. Wednesday (June 8), said a spokeswoman for McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko.

The road will be closed between Locust and Market streets. Detours will be posted.

According to published reports, "Mindhunter" is set in the 1970s, and producers have been seeking 1960s and 1970s cars to use in background scenes. The series is being produced by Jennifer Orme Erwin and actors Kevin Spacey and Charlize Theron.

Shooting was budgeted at $80 million, according to a story by Jason Cato in the Tribune-Review.

 
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Local Letter Carriers Collecting Food Donations Tomorrow

May 13, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

McKeesport-area letter carriers and volunteers are gearing up to do their part during the 24th annual nationwide "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive.

Organized by the National Association of Letter Carriers, the union representing nearly 280,000 active and retired U.S. Postal Service employees, the food drive last year collected 71 million pounds of food across the United States.

Residents are asked to place non-perishable food items into bags at their mailboxes for collection on Saturday.

In the McKeesport area, the collection will begin early Saturday morning, said Chuck Jarrell, food drive coordinator for Letter Carriers Branch 332.

The food collected stays in the areas where it's collected, he said.

"A big chunk goes to Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank -- about two trucks' worth," Jarrell said. "But to help with logistics we keep a lot as local as possible. White Oak's food is taken to Sampson's Mills Presbyterian Church food pantry, and food collected in the Boston area is collected for McKeesport's Salvation Army."

 
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City Making Progress on Demolition Backlog

May 04, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

The city is making progress on tearing down abandoned houses and is getting cooperation from at least one of the country's largest banks.

At last night's work session, McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko told council that at least a dozen vacant houses have been torn down by city public works employees since Jan. 1, and said likely "40 to 50" have been demolished in the past two years, when McKeesport purchased a piece of heavy equipment known as an excavator.

Paying an outside contractor to demolish a house can cost $8,000 to $10,000. At those rates, Cherepko said, the city's excavator "is more than paid for."

In at least one case, he said, the home mortgage division of Wells Fargo & Co. transferred an abandoned house to the city, along with $10,000 to pay for its demolition. The bank had taken ownership of the house in a foreclosure when the previous owner defaulted on their mortgage.

 
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1-Adam-12: Your Cars Are Ready

April 29, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

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A sharp-eyed reader who would prefer to remain anonymous spotted these vintage 1970s Plymouths and AMC Matadors being turned into police cars at a shop on Lebanon Road, near the West Mifflin municipal building, and sent us this photo.
 
"Is the West Mifflin police department going retro?" our reader asked. Maybe. Or else Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane of "The Dukes of Hazzard" is in town --- he did wreck an awful lot of similar police cars on that show.
 
We don't know for sure, but it seems more likely that they're being prepared for the new Netflix series "Mindhunters," which starts filming in Pittsburgh in May. In March, Pittsburgh's Nancy Mosser Casting put out a request asking owners of cars from the 1960s through early 1980s if they were interested in participating.
 
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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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