Union President Finds Reasons for Optimism

August 30, 2023 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

With only one day remaining until teachers’ contracts expire on Aug. 31, there’s uncertainty — but optimism — at McKeesport Area School District.

Gerald McGrew Jr., head of the teachers’ union, said negotiations are “moving forward” but didn’t offer a date when parents, students and district members could expect the potential labor crisis to resolve.

“I don't personally see it dragging on too long. But I can’t answer for any factual ending,” he said.

The school board and members of the McKeesport Area Education Association have been negotiating a new contract since January. McGrew said the early stages of the process began “very professionally,” and with positive input from both sides.

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Florida Man Makes $10K Heritage Center Gift

August 17, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A medallion of William Shakespeare that once decorated the front of White’s Opera House in McKeesport is now displayed on the lawn of McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Staff at the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center thought it was a fraud, or an accident, when they were notified of a $10,000 donation that had been received through the organization’s website.

“It came through on PayPal,” said Meagan Donnelly, community outreach coordinator for the museum and historical society in Renziehausen Park. “We thought it was a scam at first, then we were worried that maybe someone meant to send us $10 or $100 and typed in too many zeroes.”

A quick call to Terry Merlin of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., a former White Oak resident and McKeesport Area High School graduate, confirmed the donation was very real and made intentionally.

“Our average donation is more like $5 to $20,” Donnelly said. “For a program or a big event like our golf outing, we may occassionally get a hundred dollars. This was a very pleasant surprise, to say the least.”

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Crowds Enjoy Traditions, Fun at 63rd Village

August 17, 2023 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Chris Starry from McKeesport and Norma Kwiecinski from Irwin with her grandson, 5-year-old Liam. Starry and Kwiecinski have been friends for a long time and both have attended International Village for years. Kwiecinski said, “I’m introducing my grandson to International Village for the first time.” “I really like the halushki from the Croatian booth,” said Liam. (Vickie Babyak photos for Tube City Almanac)

If you go...


McKeesport’s 63rd International Village

Where: Stephen Barry Field, Renziehausen Park (Eden Park Boulevard)

When: 3 to 9 p.m. today (Aug. 17)

Admission: $2 for adults

Website: www.internationalvillage.info

Families of all generations have been enjoying one of the area’s biggest events since 1960 and have honored their roots while learning about other cultures.

The City of McKeesport is wrapping up its 63rd annual International Village at Stephen Barry Field in Renziehausen Park today. The ethnic heritage celebration ran from Tuesday through Thursday. Food, live entertainment and polka music are a huge attraction for many people of all backgrounds.

Live coverage will be available beginning at 5 p.m. on YouTube via Tube City Community Media Inc.

When International Village began, it was held as part of a larger event called “Old Home Week” on Market Street, Downtown. Many of the traditions started at the first “village” has carried over to the modern day International Village.

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Excitement ‘In the Air’ for MAHS Band Show

August 16, 2023 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Drum major Tina Wos conducts one of the movements from “All Up in the Air,” brass players sound off during band camp. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photos for Tube City Almanac)

If you go...


McKeesport Tiger Band Preview Show

Where: McKeesport Area High School Stadium, 1960 Eden Park Blvd.

When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Aug. 17)

Tickets: Admission is free

There’s lots of excitement — not just in the air, but “All Up in the Air” — from staff and students involved in producing and performing McKeesport Area High School Tiger Marching Band’s 2023 show.
In addition to performing at football games and competitions, the group already was hard at work perfecting skills during band camp on Aug. 4 for an additional event this year.

That is the Bands of America competition on Oct. 7 in Toledo, Ohio, band director Drew DeCarlo confirmed.

“Bands of America is a really big deal,” DeCarlo said. “We will be competing with the top bands in the country. Bands of America boasts that it is life-changing experiences for students,” he said. “It is a memory from their high school years that they will never forget and will carry with them through their lifetime.”

Planning for the 2023 show began in early January as a staff effort, DeCarlo said.

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Village Will Cap Summer for Local Residents

August 02, 2023 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Members of the Rankin Junior Tamburitzans perform during International Village in 2021. The group is scheduled to return this year and perform Aug. 16. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

If you go...


McKeesport International Village

Where: Renziehausen Park, Eden Park Boulevard

When: 3 to 9 p.m. Aug. 15, 16, 17, 2023

Admission: $2 at the gate

Parking: Available in the park or nearby

More information: InternationalVillage.info or Facebook

The first McKeesport International Village took place in 1960 and has been a source of summer fun ever since.

What was once part of a 10-day long celebration known as “Old Home Week,” has emerged as a three-day celebration of McKeesport’s heritage and history, and 63 years after its inception, Greater Pittsburgh’s longest-running celebration of traditional food, music and dancing is about to kick off again.

This year’s festival will run from 3 to 9 p.m. Aug. 15 to 17 at Stephen Barry Field in Renziehausen Park.

For Mikey Dee, a native of McKeesport and the entertainment director for the festival, International Village each year brings back many fond memories from his childhood. “I remember coming with my parents and grandparents and tasting the food and hearing the music, it was special,” said Dee.

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Wilmerding Grads Impressed With School’s Look

July 27, 2023 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, North Versailles Twp. News, Wilmerding News

Stephanie Spingola looks over items in the costume studio, including a Westinghouse sewing machine. She is a member of the Class of 1963 and taught art for fourth through sixth graders after high school students from Wilmerding moved to East Allegheny. Below: The main entrance to Westinghouse Arts Academy reflects the building’s historic past as a school, and includes access to the auditorium, home of many student performances. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photos for Tube City Almanac)

For some, it had been a long time since they last set foot inside the main building that now houses many of the programs at Westinghouse Arts Academy in Wilmerding.

As a prelude to activities for the second all-class gathering (1937-1969) of Westinghouse Memorial High School, more than 30 former students met on the school steps the morning of July 22 before breaking into smaller groups to tour that building and the neighboring Westinghouse Castle.

Ray Adams, a Westinghouse Memorial graduate who came back to teach at his alma mater, was part of a committee that decided to hold the first all-class event in 2022, then again this year.

Adams taught social studies, photography, and videography there and at East Allegheny Junior-Senior High School before he retired in 1995. He also was the advisor for the Class of 1969, so said he agreed to be on the committee when asked.

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Chief: Recruiting Pays Off for McKeesport PD

July 11, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport police Chief Adam Alfer, left, and Mayor Michael Cherepko, at right, pose with newly hired police officers Dylan Culbertson, Rich Dell, Ca’leb Brevard and Dylan Vaniel. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Although many police departments nationwide have reported a shortage of applicants, McKeesport’s police chief said that targeted recruiting has paid off for his agency.

At this month’s meeting, city council approved hiring four additional full-time officers, bringing the department to 44 full-timers and two part-timers. In addition, council approved the promotion of Detective Dan Goughnour to lieutenant. Goughnour heads the department’s juvenile squad, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said.

Police Chief Adam Alfer said that recruiters from McKeesport have worked with the Allegheny County and Indiana University of Pennsylvania police academies to identify candidates.

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Swift Response Promised After Health Report

July 07, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Tube City Almanac photo)

Workers at a Downtown supermarket were sanitizing shelves and throwing out merchandise Friday morning following a “Consumer Alert” from the Allegheny County Health Department.

Jeff Ross, owner of the Shop ’n Save on Fifth Avenue at Coursin Street, said the store has been battling mice ever since several buildings were torn down next to the supermarket.

“Please tell our customers we appreciate their business and we’re here in McKeesport to stay,” he said Friday. “Obviously, we want to correct the problem quickly, but it will be a little bit of a process. We hope they will work with us.”

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Photographer Michals to Mentor Young Artists

July 05, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Duane Michals, 91, shown here in a 2002 self-portrait taken in the ruins of his childhood home in McKeesport, will return to the city this month to mentor a group of aspiring local photographers. (Duane Michals photo © 2002)

Internationally known photographer and McKeesport native Duane Michals will return to his hometown this month to lead a three-day workshop for both aspiring and experienced local artists.

Michals, 91, a self-taught photojournalist whose works hang in galleries and museums around the world, will join with local artist and educator Richard Kelly on July 14, 15 and 16 to teach “Picture This: A Photo Experience” on location at several Mon Valley sites, including the former McKeesport Daily News Building and Carrie Furnaces in Rankin.

Although the three-day event is sold-out, the public also is invited to meet Michals, Kelly and other participants at 6:30 p.m. July 14 at the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center in Renziehausen Park.

Kelly, an adjunct instructor at Point Park University who previously taught at Pittsburgh Filmmakers, says he’s hoping the Michals visit sparks more creative interest in McKeesport and the surrounding area.

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Rial: No Plans to Stop Capturing Images of City

July 05, 2023 |

By Tom Leturgey | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Martha Rial leads the McKeesport Community Newsroom project of Point Park University. The group’s writing workshop will hold a reading at Carnegie Library of McKeesport on July 20. (Tube City Almanac file photo)

“You never know that you got the right shot, because you can’t see it,” said Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Martha Rial. “The shutter snaps.”

That was one of the takeaways from a presentation from the Regent Square resident as she discussed the “challenges and joys” of her 40 years as professional and one of the most highly regarded photographers in Pittsburgh. The hour-long review of her career was held by the Women’s Press Club of Pittsburgh at Point Park University in June.

In addition to her own work as a photojournalist, Rial also teaches photography at local universities and is currently the program director for the McKeesport Community Newsroom, a citizen journalism initiative for high school students and adults, funded by Point Park.

The group Rial leads in McKeesport, Tube City Writers, will hold its next public reading at 6:30 p.m. July 20 at Carnegie Library of McKeesport, 1507 Library Ave.

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