Wilmerding Community Center Prepares for Grand Opening at Former Y Site

August 29, 2019 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, North Versailles Twp. News

Wilmerding Community Center board member Melissa Allenbaugh shows the indoor swimming pool to John Callahan of North Versailles Twp. during the open house held on Aug. 24. The grand opening will take place Sept. 3. (Richard Finch Jr. photo special to Tube City Almanac)

Greg Jakub has been involved in the Wilmerding Community Center project ever since “the YMCA handed me the old keys and closed the door.”

At an open house Saturday at the former Wilmerding YMCA, Jakub, the borough's mayor, said he would like to see people coming to the center to socialize as well as exercise.

“We have people that used to come in here, they didn’t swim, they came to sit and gab and that’s what we want to have happen again,” Jakub said. “All the hard work is finally paying off, but we're still a work in progress and there are things that need to be done.”

The center officially opens to the public on Sept. 3.

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Elected Officials Call for Pollution Crackdown; U.S. Steel Hit With New Lawsuit

August 28, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Photo by Mark Dixon, via Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons.)

A group of 63 local elected officials --- including state Sen. Jay Costa, state Reps. Austin Davis and Summer Lee, and the mayors of Braddock, Duquesne and East Pittsburgh --- have signed an open letter calling for stricter air pollution regulation and tougher penalties on violators.

The letter --- released Wednesday during a press conference held by an activist group, PennEnvironment --- came two days after U.S. Steel was hit with another federal lawsuit over emissions from its Clairton Plant.

“Allegheny County is a great place to live — but air pollution is threatening residents' health,” says the letter, available on PennEnvironment's website. “Pittsburgh is a beautiful place to live, work and raise a family — but not if the air will make us sick.”

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Community Celebration Will Kick Off New Downtown Church

August 22, 2019 |

By Charlotte Hopkins | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The McKnight family is excited to open their church, Kingdom Culture Ministries, with a community day celebration in Renziehausen Park on Sept. 1. From left to right: Joy McKnight, Morgan McKnight, Gabriel McKnight Jr., Pastor Gabriel McKnight Sr. and Maleah McKnight. (Anthony Tabron II photo courtesy Kingdom Culture Ministries)

When Gabe and Joy McKnight first looked at the former Transfiguration of Our Lord Byzantine Catholic Church, they saw more than an old building with bricks falling from the side.

They saw what they can create inside the 100-year-old church on Sixth Avenue, Downtown. They imagined the families that would fill the pews to hear the lessons brought in a modern Christian style.

“My goals for the church are to simply help people find hope and salvation by spreading the love of Christ and to help shift the stigma on the Christian community,” Joy McKnight said. “We want to be a shoulder and a friend to all.”

The McKnights’ new church, called Kingdom Culture Ministries, will hold a community day open to everyone at 5 p.m. Sept. 1 at Pavilion No. 1 in Renziehausen Park.

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Davis Introduces Tougher Air Pollution Legislation

August 18, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

New legislation proposed by a state official from McKeesport would impose larger fines on industrial facilities that violate air pollution standards.

House Bill 1752, which would amend Pennsylvania’s 1960 Air Pollution Control Act, also would require large industrial facilities to have warning systems to alert residents to air-quality emergencies.

State Rep. Austin Davis, who introduced the bill, called it a response both to a Dec. 24 incident at U.S. Steel's Clairton Plant, as well as to a massive fire in June at an oil refinery in Philadelphia.

“These were two incidents that were not only unfortunate but detrimental to the environment and the residents residing in the general vicinity of both sites,” Davis said. “Laws and regulations currently exist to make sure we have clean air and to also monitor industrial sites so that the public is protected from excessive emissions.”

The bill was referred Friday to the state Legislature's Environmental Resources & Energy Committee, where it will likely face a tough road to a vote by the full General Assembly, which is controlled by Republicans.

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50 Years On, GASP Still Advocating for Cleaner Air

August 18, 2019 |

By Charlotte Hopkins | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

If you go...


GASP 50th Anniversary Gala

Where: Rodef Shalom Congregation, 4905 Fifth Ave., Oakland, Pittsburgh

When: 5 p.m. Oct. 12

Tickets: Available at Eventbrite. All proceeds benefit GASP.

Fifty years ago, the goal of the Group Against Smog and Pollution was to be a watchdog, fighting for cleaner air for Pittsburgh-area residents.

One of its targets back when it was formed in 1969 was the then-mighty U.S. Steel Corp., which owned mills up and down the valley.

As GASP celebrates its 50th anniversary, U.S. Steel --- especially its Clairton Plant --- remains in focus, especially after a fire at that facility on Christmas Eve destroyed a desulfurization unit.

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Preparations Underway for McKeesport’s 60th International Village

August 05, 2019 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Tube City Almanac file photo from 2012 by Denise L. Ritter)

CORRECTION: Fireworks are Tuesday, Aug. 13. We apologize for the error.

Renziehausen Park will soon be booming with the tastes, sights and smells of another International Village

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the event, which has been a McKeesport tradition since its inception in 1960. International Village has grown to become the region's largest celebration of ethnic food, heritage and diversity.

This year’s celebration of the city’s distinctive ethnic diversity is slated for Aug. 13, 14 and 15.

“International Village is one of the many wonderful events that brings McKeesporters together, and it’s been a phenomenal success over the past 60 years,” said City Councilman Keith Soles, chairman of the International Village Committee. “Everyone comes together to celebrate years of tradition.

“I think, in addition to the tradition of their individual heritage, folks come out to celebrate the tradition of the Village itself,” he said. “It’s a grand event that truly represents what the McKeesport community has to offer.”

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New House in Library District Already Has Buyer

August 05, 2019 |

By Chris Baumann | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

This new home in McKeesport's Library District is one of two that ACTION-Housing has planned in the Library District. (Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

A new house built in the city's Library District already has a buyer, and the non-profit agency that oversaw construction is hoping to do more.

Pittsburgh-based ACTION-Housing secured funding for the house through the state with assistance from the city of McKeesport.

“We are planning to reapply for funding in the fall to build a second house in the winter or spring,” said Joe Costa, a housing associate with ACTION-Housing.

The new house, with a list price of $130,000, has three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, one half bathroom and off-street parking. Located at the corner of Bailie and Cornell avenues, the house is also accessible for people with limited mobility.

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Health Department Hears Concerns Over U.S. Steel Agreement

July 31, 2019 |

By Charlotte Hopkins | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Members of the Allegheny County Council and Clairton City Council attended a public hearing Tuesday about a proposed settlement between U.S. Steel and the Allegheny County Health Department. From left, County Council Members Paul Zavarella (District 8), John Palmiere (District 6), Anita Prizio (District 3) and Bob Macey (District 9), Clairton City Councilman Tony Kurta, Clairton Mayor Rich Lattanzi and Clairton Councilwoman Denise Johnson-Clemmons. (Photo by Charlotte Hopkins/Special to Tube City Almanac)

“Enjoy your dinner with U.S. Steel.”

Those were the words of one Mon Valley resident to representatives of the Allegheny County Health Department at a public hearing on Tuesday.

He was critical of a proposed settlement between the health department and U.S. Steel over alleged violations of clean air standards by the company’s Clairton Plant.

The health department hosted the hearing at Clairton Municipal Building to hear comments from the public about the proposed settlement, announced in June. Under the terms of the agreement, U.S. Steel would pay $2.7 million in fines, with 90 percent set aside for a “community benefit trust.”

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Mon-Yough Area Finds Ways to Beat the Heat

July 21, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, White Oak News

Children play in the spray area at Renziehausen Park in McKeesport on Saturday. After several days of temperatures near or above 90 in the Mon-Yough area, the weather is expected to return to more seasonal conditions. (All photos: Vickie Babyak/Special to Tube City Almanac)

Mon-Yough area residents found ways to beat the heat last week as temperatures crept into the 90s, with humidity that made it feel closer to 100 degrees.

Below: At Heritage Hills Pool in White Oak, Tina and Bob Baker from North Versailles Twp. are regulars. Tina Baker says her dolphin-decorated floating device also has been making the trip every day.

Above: Bobby Petrosky of McKeesport is a lifeguard at Heritage Hills and was getting ready to take a dive on Saturday morning.

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Public Transit Advocates Gathering Data for East Busway Expansion

July 18, 2019 |

By Chris Baumann | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Debra Green of Duquesne is a coordinating committee member with Pittsburghers for Public Transit. She rides public transportation every day. (Photo courtesy Pittsburghers for Public Transit)

A transit advocacy group has developed a unique new computerized tool that allows residents and bus riders to give their direct input into the planning of a campaign to extend the East Busway to the Mon Valley and the Eastern Suburbs.

“This would be an enormous, transformative improvement and change for our community,” said Laura Wiens, executive director of Pittsburghers for Public Transit, a non-profit organization.

The tool is now available online, and allows bus riders of the Mon Valley and the Eastern Suburbs to identify areas they believe are not given adequate service. It also allows riders to rank destinations in order of importance in their daily transit.

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