Truck Crash in 3rd Ward Under Investigation

September 20, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

CORRECTION: This story was corrected after publication to remove a sentence speculating about the cause of the crash. We apologize for the error.

McKeesport police and state safety investigators are probing a crash Monday afternoon that injured two sanitation workers and two bystanders and damaged a half-dozen parked cars in the city’s Third Ward.

Rob Smith, president of Big’s Sanitation in Rostraver Twp., said a truck that was working a route in the area of Jenny Lind Street lost its brakes and rolled down the hill, collding with several cars in the parking lot of Ryco Inc. along 13th Avenue at Walnut Street.

The company collects residential trash in the city under contract.

The truck stopped just short of the Ryco building, Smith said.

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Local Mom Organizes Walk to Raise Awareness

September 19, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Crime and Police News, McKeesport and Region News

Family and friends of Quanisha Ball, 31, want her death to bring more awareness to the need for pedestrian safety. Ball’s mother, Courtney Thompkins, has distributed flyers near the intersection in DeKalb County, Ga., where her daughter died. (Photo left, courtesy Thompkins family; at right, Dan Whisenhunt photo for Decaturish)

A McKeesport woman has organized a walk on Wednesday (Sept. 20) to bring attention to her daughter’s death while crossing the street in Georgia.

More than 100 family members and friends will gather at 10 a.m. at the trailhead for the Great Allegheny Passage under the Boston Bridge in Elizabeth Twp. in memory of Quanisha Ball, 31, and then walk two miles.

That’s the distance, her mother alleges, that the driver who struck Ball continued on his way before returning to the accident scene outside of Atlanta.

The driver was never charged. Wednesday would have been Ball’s 32nd birthday, said her mother, Courtney Thompkins.

“It’s the first birthday since my baby isn’t here,” Thompkins said. “Quanisha was an amazing sister, daughter, a leader and we all admired her 31 years on this earth. And we miss her so much.”

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Alumni, Students Enjoy PSUGA 75th Celebration

September 19, 2023 |

By Yousuf Lachhab Ibrahim | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Penn State University Greater Allegheny celebrated its 75th anniversary on Saturday with a “Blue & White Watch Party.”

Visitors went to the campus in McKeesport to eat free food and watch the Penn State Nittany Lions play the Illinois Fighting Illini on television.

Only 30 feet from the cafeteria where the watch party was held, the PSUGA men’s soccer team faced off against the Christendom College Crusaders from Front Royal, Va.

“We really wanted to celebrate the campus’ 75th anniversary in a way that honored our connection to the community,” said Megan Nagel, interim chancellor and chief academic officer. “Our alumni, our current faculty, staff, employees — We just wanted to make sure we had an event where anybody knew they were welcome to attend for free, eat for free, bring their kids. And I think we've achieved that today.”

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Motorists Get Peeling Plates Replaced at Free Event

September 17, 2023 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Julian Calabro of McKeesport gets help with a form from State Rep. Matt Gergely. (Tube City Almanac photo)

More than four dozen motorists signed up for free replacement license plates Saturday afternoon at McKeesport Area High School.

State Rep. Matt Gergely, who organized the event along with McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko, said many Pennsylvania motorists have complained in recent years that the paint is peeling from the license plates on their cars, making them unreadable.

Officials have been unable to identify what, exactly, caused certain plates to fail, he said, but it seems to relate to a change in the way the license tags were manufactured several years ago.

Although Pennsylvania will issue new license plates, free of charge, for anyone who has an illegible plate, Gergely said the process is inconvenient, in part because the form must be witnessed by a law-enforcement officer and notarized.

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Districts Unite to Support Community, Students

September 17, 2023 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: Duquesne News, McKeesport and Region News

Community members recruited to be part of “The Village” recently greeted students as they arrived for the first day of school in Duquesne. (Submitted photo courtesy Allegheny Intermediate Unit)

Superintendents from the Clairton City, Duquesne City and McKeesport Area School Districts are spearheading efforts for greater communal support.

Through a newly formed program titled “The Village,” local school leaders are encouraging community members to help educate and mentor local children.

McKeesport Area Superintendent Tia Wanzo said she conceived of the idea in July.  At the time, Wanzo was thinking about the African proverb, that it “takes a village to raise a child,” she said.

Wanzo reached out to Clairton City Superintendent Tamara Allen-Thomas and Duquesne City Superintendent Sue Mariani about gathering a group of villagers — business owners, clergy, school board members and retirees — to dedicate their time and wisdom to today’s youth.

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Authority, Tenants Grateful for Help After Fire

September 16, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

All but 15 residents of McKeesport Towers have returned to their homes following a fire Sept. 8 that gutted a seventh-floor apartment and forced the evacation of the senior-citizen complex.

One resident remained hospitalized Friday in critical condition, authorities said. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Allegheny County fire marshal’s office, a spokeswoman said.

Diane Raible, deputy director of McKeesport Housing Authority, which owns the complex, said repairs have been estimated at up to $2.5 million, and repairing the damaged units will likely take up to 18 months.

The fire broke out just after 2:30 p.m. in an apartment on the Coursin Street side of McKeesport Towers, a 12-story complex consisting of two buildings, joined at the center.

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Authority Hopes Residents Can Return Soon

September 09, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Damage to the east wing of McKeesport Towers may affect 26 to 30 units, MHA says. (Tube City Almanac photo)

• Related story: Officials praise response, evacuation efforts at high-rise

Residents of McKeesport Towers should begin to know by Sunday afternoon when they can return to their apartments.

On Friday, 180 people were forced to evacuate after fire broke out in a seventh-floor apartment on the Coursin Street side of the 12-story high-rise complex. Although the fire was extinguished in less than 30 minutes, damage to that portion of the building was extensive, said Diane Raible, deputy director of the McKeesport Housing Authority.

“I’ve seen a lot of fires and I’ve never seen anything of this magnitude,” she said.

Raible spent all night at the scene along with other MHA employees. She said her thoughts — and theirs — were with two residents who remained hospitalized in critical condition on Saturday. “Property is nothing compared to life,” Raible said.

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180 People Displaced Following High-Rise Fire

September 09, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

• Related Story: Residents should learn soon when they can return to their homes

Four people were injured during a fire at a McKeesport high-rise that involved the rescue and evacuation of nearly 200 elderly residents on Friday afternoon.

At least two people remained hospitalized, reportedly in critical condition, on Saturday.

The blaze broke out in a seventh-floor apartment on the Coursin Street side of the McKeesport Towers, a 12-story apartment building owned and operated by McKeesport Housing Authority.

McKeesport Deputy Fire Chief Gene Esken said the resident of the unit where the fire was first reported was home at the time of the fire and was in a wheelchair. The resident, whose name is not being released, was able to escape into the hallway and was evacuated by fire crews, Esken said.

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Residents Evacuated from High-Rise Fire

September 08, 2023 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News


The Allegheny County fire marshal's office and multiple fire departments were on the scene of a blaze at the McKeesport Towers high-rise on Friday afternoon that forced the evacuation of its senior-citizen residents.

The fire was reported just after 2:30 p.m. and quickly raised to three alarms, emergency personnel said. Flames could be seen pouring from the windows of a seventh-floor unit, and smoke was visible throughout the city.

The 192-unit building is a senior-citizen apartment building along Sixth Avenue at Huey Street and is owned and operated by McKeesport Housing Authority.

Emergency personnel were evacuating the building and several ambulances were on the scene. There were unconfirmed reports that three people were injured.

Due to the number of ambulances required to evacuate residents, a mass-casualty incident was declared, emergency personnel said. Rescue crews from as far away as Robinson Twp. and McCandless were sent to the scene. Motorists and onlookers were being asked to avoid the area.

Residents were temporarily taken to an emergency shelter at the McKees Point Palisades. Preliminary reports indicated that the fire may have begun in a mattress.

In addition to McKeesport fire department, crews from Allegheny County Airport, Dravosburg, Glassport, Homestead, Liberty Borough, Munhall No. 1, Port Vue, Swissvale No. 1, Homeville, Duquesne Annex, West Mifflin No. 3, White Oak No. 1, Rainbow and Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory were on the scene Friday afternoon.


Controversial Rapper Could Be Headed to City

August 30, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Rapper Taurus Bartlett, 24, better known as Polo G, has released three albums, each of which have sold more than 2 million copies. He’s scheduled to appear in McKeesport ahead of the Sept. 15 release of his fourth album. (Photo at left by Lou Wop via Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons 3.0. Photos at right courtesy Columbia Records.)

A controversial — and highly successful — rap artist currently facing criminal charges in Los Angeles could be coming to McKeesport to perform.

According to advertisements posted on Eventbrite, Taurus Bartlett, 24, better known as Polo G, is scheduled to appear at “Club IKON” — formerly “Tube City Brew House” — on Route 48 near Olympia Shopping Center.

City officials said Wednesday they are aware of the situation and will take action, but said they could not speak further. “We are handling it,” an official said, speaking on background.

“We have a lot of security — we don’t compromise on that — and we’re definitely looking to work with the local police to ensure our guests’ safety,” said real estate developer Prasad Margabandhu, co-owner of Club IKON through the company, Maya Restaurants Inc., he controls with his brother, Sivram M. Bandhu.

“We’ve never had any problems since we’ve been in McKeesport,” Margabandhu said.

A ticket sale listing posted on Eventbrite advertises “an epic night of music and vibes ... get ready to groove to the beats of one of the hottest artists in the game right now ... Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to experience Polo G’s electrifying performance live!” Tickets range from $60 to $85.

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