Plans for Former Daily News Building Move Forward

March 08, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A portion of Kennedy Park on Lysle Boulevard may be removed to provide parking for what is being called the McKeesport Multi-Media Building. (Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

McKeesport is aggressively moving forward to prepare the former Daily News Building for new tenants.

At Wednesday's meeting, city council voted 6-0 to apply for a $200,000 grant from Allegheny County's Community Infrastructure & Tourism Fund for renovations and repairs to the building. Councilwoman Jamie Brewster-Filotei was absent.

The first tenants could be moving into the building as early as May, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said.

In addition, city public works crews will probably be turning part of Kennedy Park at the corner of Lysle Boulevard and Walnut Street into a parking area for the building.

The work would not affect the statue of President Kennedy or the plaza around it, Cherepko said, but would require removal of the small fountain at the corner.

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School District Awaits Approval on Possible Tax Increase

March 02, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport Area School District is awaiting state approval on a possible 3.42-mill property tax increase that administrators hope won't be necessary.

"I'm sure by the time we're done with this it's not going to be anywhere near that amount," said David Seropian, district business manager.

Under Pennsylvania law, school districts are allowed to enact a property tax increase only within an "index" --- sort of an "inflation" or "cost-of-living adjustment" --- set by the state. The index for 2018-19 is 2.4 percent.

Property tax increases above that indexed percentage must be put to a referendum by the voters unless certain conditions are met. On Wednesday, McKeesport Area filed its preliminary 2018-19 budget with the state Department of Education and asked for a waiver from the referendum requirement.

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Annual NAACP Pancake Breakfast Brings Crowd to Renzie

February 26, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Above: Ronnie Walker, Jay Kirby and Harold Allen were among the volunteers staffing the kitchen at Jacob Woll Pavilion during the McKeesport NAACP's annual pancake breakfast. (Vickie Babyak photo special to Tube City Almanac)

An enthusiastic crowd kept kitchen volunteers busy on Saturday morning when the McKeesport unit of the NAACP held its annual pancake breakfast.

The event, held at the Jacob Woll Pavilion at Renziehausen Park, raises money for a scholarship fund and other community programs administered by the unit, said Brenda Sawyer, who has served as president for two years.

In addition to the city, the McKeesport NAACP also serves Duquesne, North Versailles Twp. and neighboring communities. The unit is currently holding a membership drive and is holding a "meet and greet" open house for people interested in joining and volunteering.

The event, from 1 to 4 p.m. March 10, will be held at the Common Ground Building (former McKeesport YWCA), 410 Ninth Ave., Downtown. For more information, call (412) 292-5852.*

Also helping in the kitchen were National Honor Society students from McKeesport Senior High School, Amani Isaac, Jurdan Dunston, Charisma Ford and Marena Mathe. (Vickie Babyak photo, special to Tube City Almanac)

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Puerto Rican Students Studying at City's Penn State Campus, Doing Internships

February 21, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Penn State Greater Allegheny photo)

Seven college students from Puerto Rico are enrolled in classes at Penn State Greater Allegheny this semester and are working on internships near the McKeesport campus.

The students from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez arrived on Feb. 2, a Penn State spokesperson said.

The move is designed to allow the students to continue their education as the U.S. territory struggles to recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which five months ago devastated the island. About one-third of Puerto Rico's residents --- nearly 1 million people --- still have no electricity, according to published reports.

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Rental Fees at Increased at Renzie's Main Pavilion

February 16, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

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

The cost of providing air conditioning at Renziehausen Park's Jacob Woll Pavilion has led McKeesport officials to increase the fee to rent the facility.

City council unanimously approved an increase of $50 for rentals, taking the cost to $450 for Allegheny County residents and $500 for non-county residents.

The lack of air conditioning had left the pavilion uncompetitive and under-utilized in the summer. But since installing air conditioning in the pavilion, "our costs have risen dramatically," Mayor Mike Cherepko said. "We're looking to balance that cost over 12 months."

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Council OK's Contracts With Police, Public Works Unions

February 12, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport officials are thankful to unionized police and public works employees for helping the city contain personnel costs --- especially when it comes to health insurance.

Council last week unanimously approved new three-year labor agreements with both bargaining units, who are represented by Teamsters Local 205 in White Oak.

The contracts provide unionized police officers with wage increases of 4 percent in the first year and 3 percent in the second and third years; and public works employees with a wage increase of 2.5 percent in the first year and 1.5 percent in the second year, McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko said.

Among other concessions, police officers will pay a deductible on their health insurance for the first time, while public works employees are accepting a wage freeze in the third year, Cherepko said.

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City Officials Urge Patience With Snow, Ice Removal

February 08, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

After a snow or ice storm, some of the best information about which streets need to be treated comes from sanitation crews, says Steve Kondrosky, McKeesport's public works director.

"Every day, somewhere in the city is trash collection day," he says, and crews from the city's garbage collection contractor, Big's Sanitation, will alert the public works department if a street or alley needs attention.

City police, too, serve as the eyes and ears to report snowy or icy streets --- and there has been plenty to report.

"The weather has not been very kind to us this year," McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko says.

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Davis Takes Oath as District's New Rep

February 05, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Duquesne News, McKeesport and Region News, Politics & Elections, White Oak News

With his wife, Blayre, holding the Bible, Austin Davis took the oath of office as the new state representative serving Clairton, Duquesne, McKeesport and neighboring communities. (Screenshot from Pennsylvania House of Representatives video feed)

Austin Davis took the oath of office in Harrisburg on Monday to become the newest member of the state's General Assembly.

Surrounded by his parents, family and friends, Davis, 28, of McKeesport was sworn in with his wife, Blayre, standing alongside him, holding the family bible.

Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge David Spurgeon administered the oath.

Davis won a special election Jan. 23 to fill the remaining months of former state Rep. Marc Gergely's term. Gergely resigned after pleading guilty to charges connected with a video poker and illegal gambling ring operating in the Mon Valley.

Davis will represent the 35th District, which includes Clairton, Duquesne, Lincoln, McKeesport, Munhall, Versailles, South Versailles Twp., Whitaker, White Oak and parts of West Mifflin.

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Library Feels Like 'Home' to New Director

February 05, 2018 |

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

(Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

Working at the Carnegie Library of McKeesport feels like home to Colleen Denne of Elizabeth Twp., who took over as director on Jan. 3.

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a master's degree in library science, Denne, who grew up in Liberty Borough, says she feels very connected to her new job.

"My dad's family is from Duquesne, and my mom's family is from McKeesport," Denne says. "These are my roots. This is my home library. I don't think it would mean as much to me anywhere else."

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School Board OK's Sale of White Oak Elementary

February 02, 2018 |

By Mary Shelly | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Photo courtesy Broker 1 Realty)

The McKeesport Area School Board has voted to begin the process of selling the White Oak Elementary School building to Wellness for Veterans in the amount of $400,000.

District officials said Wellness for Veterans is a privately owned organization that provides physical and mental health services as well as job placement services for veterans.

"I've been told that they would be providing housing for veterans as well as some health services, job placement services, et cetera," said David Seropian, district business manager.

The building will be a taxable property under this purchase, Seropian said.

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