Council Awards $775K in Street Paving Contracts

April 02, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Streets in Myer Park, Haler Heights, Grandview and Peterson Plan and areas near the hospital all will be targeted for paving in 2020 under the city’s McKeesport Rising program.

The walking trail in Renziehausen Park also will be repaved and restored.

At Wednesday’s meeting, city council by 7-0 vote awarded a $723,428.50 contract to El Grande Industries of Donora, Washington County, to mill and repave portions of Evans Avenue, Fawcett Avenue, Fifth Avenue, Hospital Way, James Street and Marshall Drive.

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GetGo Plan for East End Site Gets City’s OK

April 02, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

* CORRECTION: This story was corrected after publication.

An architect’s rendering of a typical GetGo store, from the Giant Eagle website. City officials said they could not confirm any details of the proposed facility. (Giant Eagle website)

McKeesport city council has endorsed a traffic study from Giant Eagle, which plans to build a new GetGo convenience store and gas station at the foot of Hartman Street in the East End.

At Wednesday’s meeting, council agreed by 7-0 vote to adopt and endorse the transportation impact study for the store, which would be built on the current site of a car wash and several other properties along East Fifth Avenue.

In light of social distancing guidelines from county, state and federal authorities, three councilors — Jamie Brewster-Filotei, Lu Ethel Nesbit and Keith Soles — participated in the meeting via conference phone. Other council members sat six feet apart in city council chambers at the Public Safety Building.

The only spectators were reporters from the Mon Valley Independent and Tube City Almanac.

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Shutdowns, Changes Becoming Fact of Local Life

March 30, 2020 |

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

CORRECTION: McKeesport city officials said the public is being asked not to attend Wednesday’s council meeting for social distancing reasons. We apologize for the error.

This story was edited after publication.

Port Vue (above), North Huntingdon Twp. and White Oak are among local municipalities that have closed playgrounds as well as basketball and tennis courts to discourage groups from congregating. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Although playgrounds are closed and police have been needed for traffic control outside of crowded banks and supermarkets, life during the coronavirus pandemic is continuing in Mon-Yough communities.

But shutdowns, closures and restrictions are expected to remain a fact of life continue well into the spring, and possibly the summer.

Some communities are canceling municipal meetings, while others are moving them online and inviting the public to participate.

On Monday, Allegheny County officials announced that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is doubling every three days. There are now 290 cases and 38 people currently hospitalized, county officials said.

There were 158 confirmed cases on Friday.

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AIU Forum Targets School Funding Reforms

March 30, 2020 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Jon Delano of KDKA-TV moderated a March 12 forum on public education at Allegheny Intermediate Unit. Speakers included State Sen. Jim Brewster, state Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa Jr., and state Rep. Dan Miller. (Richard Finch Jr. photo for Tube City Almanac)

On the night before Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all K-12 schools shut down, legislators at a forum in Homestead said the state law governing charter schools is out-of-date and unfair to public school systems.

Frank Dalmas, superintendent of Sto-Rox schools, told the audience at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit that coronavirus wasn’t the biggest threat to his district — charter schools are.

The problem is in the hands of state legislators, he said. “What are you going to do to help solve this problem?” Dalmas asked Democratic legislators who also attended the event on March 12. “Is it your caucus? Is it the Republican caucus? Is it because the charter school lobby is so powerful and strong that you guys can’t come up against it?”

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Two COVID-19 Cases at Glen Hazel Kane Center

March 27, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Two residents of the county’s skilled-nursing facility in Glen Hazel have tested positive for COVID-19, officials said Friday.

Allegheny County spokeswoman Amie Downs said both residents of the Kane Community Living Center were tested after they were running fevers that could not be explained. They remain at the facility in isolation, she said.

On Wednesday, the Glen Hazel center reported that an employee had tested positive for COVID-19.

The employee in question did not have any direct contact with residents and had not worked since March 19, said Dennis Biondo, director of the county's four Kane Community Living Centers, which include the McKeesport facility at the foot of Ninth Avenue.

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COVID-19 Cases Increase, Mon Valley Not Spared

March 27, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Source: Allegheny County Health Department)

Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in several Mon-Yough area communities, and public health officials said now is not the time to become complacent.

“Everyone is at risk of this disease,” said Dr. LuAnn Brink, chief epidemiologist for the Allegheny County Health Department. “There’s no immunity. There is community spread at this point. So please, stay six feet away from everyone and assume everyone has it. And protect yourself by, first off, staying home.”

On Friday, Allegheny County officials said there are now 158 confirmed cases, with 25 people hospitalized. There have been two deaths attributed to COVID-19 including a woman from Greenfield and a man from Clairton.

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Grocery Coping With Shortages During Pandemic

March 27, 2020 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Dino DiGaegory and Rich Kugler, behind the deli counter at Lampert’s Market on Eden Park Boulevard. The meat case is fully stocked, though the Kuglers say they never know what's going to be delivered due to supplier shortages. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

Large chain grocery stores are facing difficulties while social distancing is required during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many stores are quickly running out of high demand products and customers have been posting empty shelf images on their social media.

A well-known family-owned business, Lampert’s Fine Meats and Deli near Renziehausen Park, is also experiencing uncertainty. Jan and Rick Kugler have owned their business almost 40 years and said for the first time, they have to limit amounts purchased from their suppliers.

They order from at least six different suppliers and each supplier has cut items on delivery, sometimes in half and sometimes completely, Jan Kugler said. They never know what will be delivered until they unload, she said.

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City Native Recalls Glory Days of Pittsburgh Courier

March 24, 2020 |

By Ann Belser | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Photo by Ann Belser for East End Print)

Diane I. Daniels had always wanted to work for the Pittsburgh Courier.

It was the paper that changed the civil rights conversation: an African American newspaper that was so controversial, that in the 1920s and 1930s, Pullman porters would hide it in the train and then deliver it to specific ministers down south so that segregationists would not seize the copies and burn them.

All of the great Black intellectuals had written for the Courier in its heyday.

Daniels, a McKeesport native who is now a freelance business writer for the New Pittsburgh Courier, spoke about her experience trying to get a job at the New Pittsburgh Courier following a screening of the 2009 documentary “Newspaper of Record: The Pittsburgh Courier 1907-1965.”

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Allegheny Co. Residents Told ‘Stay Home,’
School Closures Extended to April 6

March 23, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf addressed members of the news media via closed-circuit camera from his home. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has ordered all Allegheny County residents to stay home until further notice except for essential, necessary trips.

At a press conference Monday afternoon, Wolf also extended the shutdown of all K-12 schools for another two weeks, beginning Tuesday and continuing through at least April 6.

The new measures are necessary to slow down the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania are increasing by 100 percent every two days.

“The line is essentially going straight up,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health.

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Churches Face Reduced Services Through Lent

March 22, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Many churches will be empty during this Lenten season as concerns about the worldwide spread of novel coronavirus has led spiritual leaders to recommend the faithful limit large worship services. (File photo by E.I. Sanchez via Flickr)

For many Christians, the Fourth Sunday of Lent — 21 days before Easter Sunday — is known as Laetare Sunday, and is a day to rejoice during Christianity’s most solemn season.

But today, many churches throughout the Pittsburgh area were empty, or nearly empty.

Last week, the Roman Catholic and Episcopal bishops of Pittsburgh cancelled all public in-person worship in their dioceses as part of their response to the worldwide pandemic of novel coronavirus. They encouraged worshippers to gather online or to pray in their homes.

On Monday, the Most Rev. David Zubik, Catholic bishop of Pittsburgh, cancelled all public Masses in the diocese until further notice. All other activities — including Friday fish frys held by many parishes — also were ordered cancelled.

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