Tube City (Not That One) Changes Its Name

March 01, 2016 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Glassport-based Tube City IMS Corp. announced today that it is changing its name to TMS International Corp.

The name change reflects the company's growing global presence, a spokesman said.

The new name is effective immediately and is being implemented across all of the company's products and subsidiaries. The company's website address has changed to

"Our former name, Tube City IMS, represented a consolidation of different organizations, including Tube City Iron and Metal and International Mill Service," said Raymond Kalouche, President and CEO. "Their proud legacies are the foundation of our current success. But as we move into our tenth decade of operations, we believe TMS International better reflects the company's integrated operations and global status."

Tube City IMS provides a wide range of services to the steel and metals industries, including processing, recovering and brokering the sale of precious metals and alloys; engineering and logistics support; slag handling and processing; and recycling and disposing of waste.

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Rep. Gergely Charged With Corruption in Gambling Case

March 01, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Above: State Rep. Marc Gergely meets a constituent during an open house at his office. Official Pennsylvania state House of Representatives photo.)

Editor's Note: The author, and Tube City Community Media Inc., have conflicts of interest regarding this story. Please see the editor's note at the end of this story. UPDATED: Added information from the Uniontown Herald-Standard. UPDATED: Added information about donations to Gergely's re-election committee. UPDATED: Added information from The Associated Press.

. . .

State Rep. Marc Gergely has been charged with felony corruption and other offenses in connection with the investigation of a Mon Valley video poker ring that implicated a former McKeesport city councilman and other local officials, including the former Forward Twp. police chief.

The charges were announced today by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane in Harrisburg. Gergely is expected to appear tomorrow for a preliminary arraignment, Kane said.

Kane said the investigation is "ongoing" and that additional charges may yet be filed.

In a prepared statement, Kane said Gergely, 46, a Democrat from White Oak and former president of the McKeesport Area School Board, actively tried to promote and protect the illegal gambling business of Ronald "Porky" Melocchi.

In at least two cases, the attorney general's office claims, Gergely personally met with business owners and tried to convince them to allow Melocchi to put poker machines in their businesses.

"This is an unfortunate case in which the players traded political capital and favors to advance their own agendas and illicit business," Kane said. "The evidence clearly shows that Mr. Melocchi relied heavily on his relationships --- including with Mr. Gergely --- to conduct his illegal business."


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McKeesport High Added to 'Super Bowl High School Honor Roll'

January 28, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Four McKeesport Area High School graduates who played at the top levels of the National Football League will visit their alma mater next week on the eve of the 50th Super Bowl.

Retired NFL players William Miller (Class of 1957), Mike Logan (Class of 1992), Brandon Short (Class of 1995) and Russell Stuvaints (Class of 1997) will present the district with a Golden Football from Wilson Sporting Goods as McKeesport Area High School is placed on the Super Bowl High School Honor Roll.

The ceremony will take place in Neenie Campbell Gymnasium during the halftime of the Feb. 5 boys' basketball game when the Tigers host Gateway High School.

High schools across the nation are receiving a commemorative Wilson Golden Football for every player or head coach who graduated from their school and was on an active Super Bowl roster, a spokesperson said.

The program celebrates high schools and communities that have contributed to Super Bowl history, a spokesperson said, and is designed to link past Super Bowls with this year’s game and honor the high schools and communities that have positively impacted the game of football.

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Local Officials Urge Caution, Patience During Weekend Snowstorm

January 22, 2016 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

As the Mon-Yough area braces for its first significant snowfall of 2016, local officials are reminding residents to keep roads clear for snowplows and salt trucks, and to be patient.

Police in White Oak requested that residents "not park on the street unless absolutely necessary," advice that was echoed by police in Wilkins and North Huntingdon townships.

A spokeswoman for McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko urged residents to be "careful and patient" as crews work to clear streets this weekend.

"As our plows and salt trucks make their way through the city’s near 100 miles of roadways, please stay safe in your homes," she said. "Be sure to be good neighbors and lend a helping hand to those in need of assistance, whether that means shoveling an extra sidewalk or checking in to make sure folks are doing well."

The National Weather Service in Moon Twp. says the McKeesport area is likely to receive 3 to 7 inches of snow between 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday. Winds gusting up to 25 mph will make blowing and drifting snow a problem as well, meteorologists said.

A winter weather advisory has been issued for the Mon-Yough area. Heavier snowfalls are expected south of McKeesport in Washington, Fayette and Greene counties, where the weather service has issued more serious winter storm warnings.

The predicted low overnight will be 20, and tomorrow's high will be 26. Saturday night, temperatures will turn much colder, with wind chill making the temperature feel like 1 below zero.

But the weather service cautioned that even minor changes in the direction of the passing storm could cause increases in the amount of snow in our area. Parts of Ohio and Maryland were already reporting 3 to 4 inches of snow as of 3 p.m. Friday.

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Local Penn State Historian Discusses MLK's Work and Ongoing Legacy

January 18, 2016 |

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

Many universities --- including Penn State's Greater Allegheny Campus in McKeesport --- were closed today for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.

But instead of taking the holiday as a day off, about 90 students from the McKeesport campus and six other Penn State campuses in Beaver, Altoona, Behrend, DuBois, Fayette and New Kensington gathered in McKeesport, and then fanned out through the Pittsburgh area to volunteer at charities such as McKeesport Little Theatre, Auberle,  Braddock Carnegie Library and Braddock Free Store, and for public spaces such as White Oak Park.

The event is a tradition that began eight years ago, in an effort to use Penn State Pride to give back to the community, a campus spokeswoman said.

To kick off the event, history instructor Johnathan White gave a keynote address to students before they headed out to their volunteer sites.

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Braddock Radio Station Purchased By Local Public Media Group

January 14, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The Pittsburgh area will soon have a jazz radio station again after nearly five years without one.

Pittsburgh Public Media announced today the acquisition of WZUM (1550), an AM station licensed to Braddock, for $75,000. (WZUM airs Tube City Community Media's weekly talk show, "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes.")

A letter of intent and asset purchase agreement was signed by WZUM’s owners, AM Guys LLC, and by Chuck Leavens, president of Pittsburgh Public Media.

The sale is pending approval by the Federal Communications Commission, a process that could take several months, Leavens said. When the sale is complete, PPM intends to add jazz programming to WZUM along with other public-interest features, Leavens said.

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January 08, 2016 |

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

As many of you know, I do a weekly talk show --- "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" --- that's heard on McKeesport's WEDO (810) and Braddock's WZUM (1550), as well as on our Internet radio station, www.WMCK.FM.

You can also get it as a podcast on your smartphone, computer or iPod --- or, at least you can, when I remember to upload the files. With the holidays, I did a poor job of that! Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Well, I've rectified that. There are three (count 'em! three!) new episodes of "Two Rivers" available for download from Stitcher and iTunes.

For our most recent episode, airing this weekend, I talked to Carol Frazier, news editor of the Daily News, and Terri Pollock, an ad sales rep and page designer for the paper, about the paper's closing on Dec. 31.

How did the newspaper bind together more than two dozen Mon-Yough communities? What impact will the loss of the newspaper have on the McKeesport and Steel Valley areas? What are the problems the loss of a local newspaper poses for democracy?

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Braddock Mayor Calls on Governor to Pardon Councilman-Elect

January 06, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Braddock mayor and Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman is the latest person to call on Gov. Tom Wolf to pardon McKeesport business owner Corry Sanders.

Sanders was elected to McKeesport city council in November, but the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office this week warned city officials that Sanders was ineligible to serve because he pleaded guilty in 1993 to two felony drug offenses.

"The voters of McKeesport have democratically chosen (Corry) Sanders to serve as their representative, and we should not let a drug conviction from a quarter-century ago block the will of the people," Fetterman said yesterday. "I call on Governor Wolf to issue a pardon for Mr. Sanders to give the people of McKeesport the democratic representative they voted for."

Fetterman said Sanders' inability to take his council seat --- despite a long track record of clean behavior, which includes service as a church deacon and in numerous responsible positions --- "represents so much about what is wrong with our broken system."

Fetterman is seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in the May primary.

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Judge Expected to Rule on Whether City Councilor Must Be Removed

January 04, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Corry Sanders has led "an exemplary life" since a 1993 felony conviction, an assistant district attorney told McKeesport officials earlier today, but he will be ineligible to serve on city council unless he is pardoned by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

Angry residents on Monday night crowded McKeesport City Council chambers, many of them demanding that Sanders be allowed to take the seat to which he was elected in November.

But city council President Rich J. Dellapenna adjourned council's reorganization meeting, and two additional council meetings scheduled for this week have reportedly been cancelled, as McKeesport officials await the outcome of a likely hearing before an Allegheny County judge.

Sanders, a local businessman, was one of four people elected in 2015 to four vacant seats on city council, along with Tim Brown and incumbent council members Dellapenna and Keith A. Soles. But in January 1993, Sanders pleaded "no contest" to two felony drug charges, and according to Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr., that makes him ineligible to hold elected office in Pennsylvania.

Article II, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania constitition says that "no person hereafter convicted of embezzlement of public moneys, bribery, perjury or other infamous crime" is eligible to hold any "office of trust or profit" in the state.

"It is unfortunate that this situation has arisen, given the fact that Mr. Sanders has put his past indiscretions behind him and, by all accounts, lived an exemplary life since then," assistant Allegheny County district attorney Kevin F. McCarthy wrote Monday in a letter to McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko.

Sanders, who has served on unelected boards such as the McKeesport Downtown Business Authority, frequently speaks to school and church groups about how he has turned his life around.

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Union, U.S. Steel Reach Tentative Contract Agreement

December 20, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(The editor of Tube City Almanac has a conflict of interest. Please see the editor's notes at the end of this article.)

Unionized employees at U.S. Steel's Mon Valley Works have an early Christmas present.

The company and the United Steelworkers yesterday reached a tentative three-year contract agreement covering 18,000 employees in 26 local unions at a dozen U.S. Steel facilities. The union has been working without a contract since the previous agreement expired Sept. 1.

The agreement covers employees of U.S. Steel's domestic flat-rolled facilities, which include the Clairton, Edgar Thomson and Irvin plants of the Mon Valley Works, as well as pipe-making and iron-ore mining operations. The tentative agreement remains subject to ratification, a process that the union said could take several weeks to complete.

"We are pleased that we have reached a tentative agreement in the best interest of our company, our stakeholders and our employees," U.S. Steel President and CEO Mario Longhi said.

The agreement, he said, "further supports the mutual success we have had with the USW" in restructuring U.S. Steel in the face of what he called "unfair trade that is significantly impacting our industry."

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