Council Moves Forward With Sewerage Authority Sale

September 07, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Correction added, 11:57 a.m. Sept. 8, 2016)

With no controversy, McKeesport City Council on Wednesday took the first step toward selling the city's sewerage authority to Pennsylvania-American Water Company.

By 6-0 vote, with Councilwoman LuEthel Nesbit abstaining, councilors authorized the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport to enter into a sales agreement with the water company. Nesbit is a member of the municipal authority's board. The authority board will meet on Thursday to consider the deal; Nesbit said Wednesday she will abstain from voting there, as well.

In a separate vote, council also accepted a $5 million advance payment from Penn-American. If for any reason the sale isn't consummated, the city will be required to repay the money, Cherepko said.

Although the final sale price of the sewerage authority isn't yet known, its outstanding debts --- including some $62.5 million spent recently to upgrade and expand the system --- top $90 million, city officials have said.

In a prepared statement, Kathy Pape, president of Penn-American, said Wednesday night that the company was "pleased" with city council's decision and was looking forward to the authority's vote on Thursday.

 
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City Council May Take Steps to Sell Sewerage Authority

September 06, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

In a long expected move, McKeesport City Council on Wednesday night is expected to take the first steps toward selling the city's sewerage authority.

At a council work session on Tuesday, Mayor Michael Cherepko said the city has received two competing proposals to purchase the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport, which also serves customers in Dravosburg, Duquesne, East McKeesport, Elizabeth Twp., Glassport, Liberty, Lincoln, North Versailles Twp., Port Vue, Versailles and White Oak.

Cherepko has recommended to council that the city accept a proposal from Pennsylvania-American Water Co. The exact sale price has yet to be determined pending an appraisal and an analysis of outstanding debts owed by the sewerage authority, but it will be in excess of $90 million, said J. Jason Elash, city solicitor.

"As a ratepayer and as a taxpayer, I would say there are more pros than cons," Cherepko said. "In fact, I see very few cons."

 
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Local Penn State Students Donate Time to Renovate Houses

September 01, 2016 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The vision of Penn State Greater Allegheny is to always care for and advance the success of its students and communities. 

Each year, on several early Saturday mornings, students from the McKeesport-based campus have helped their community by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh. The tradition of students helping to build houses will continue this year as students gear up to volunteer three days this fall. 

Glenn Beech, director of student affairs, takes the students on these trips, and he has been impressed with the enthusiasm the students show when helping their local community.

“I am so proud of each of the students who, unselfishly, gives up entire Saturdays to participate in a community service project for a community in which they are a part of, only because they are studying here," Beech said. "This act of kindness, on their part, demonstrates to me that they are members of a caring and compassionate generation that is striving for a better future for all of us.”

 
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Duquesne VFW Folds After Nearly A Century Of Service

August 31, 2016 |

By Mike Mauer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

After nearly a century of service to Duquesne, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 188 Raymond C. Burns is no more. Citing declining membership and dwindling finances, the post turned in its charter following a meeting with VFW District 29 officials Tuesday.

The physical trappings of a once active post were still there at the close of the meeting.  A 57 mm anti-tank gun made in 1942 graced the outside of the building.  A memorial dedicated to local servicemembers lost in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam was in the foyer directly across from the main entrance.

But this history ended after VFW Post 188 Commander Elizabeth Salvador banged her gavel to close the organization’s final vote.  Roughly one dozen of the unit’s remaining members voted unanimously to turn in the charter.

 
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Colleagues Remember McLaughlin as Tough, Fair

August 26, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Above: Rege McLaughlin is shown in McKeesport city hall shortly after being sworn in as mayor in 2010. (Tube City Online file photo.)

. . .

McKeesport is "a good town, but a tough town," said state Sen. Jim Brewster, and former Mayor Rege McLaughlin was tough "both physically and mentally."

"I think he would like to be remembered as a guy who was willing to help anybody, but who didn't take any guff from anyone," said Brewster of McLaughlin, who died Tuesday at age 82 in a hospice in Mt. Lebanon.

Persons close to McLaughlin said the former mayor and city council president was suffering a recurrence of prostate cancer.

"Rege worked in the mill, so he knew what it was like to work hard," said Brewster, who served with McLaughlin on city council. "He had owned his own business. He was a family man. So there wasn't much that you could tell him that he didn't know something about."

McLaughlin's death is "a sad day for McKeesport," said Mayor Mike Cherepko, who also served with McLaughlin on city council and succeeded him as mayor.

"Rege was obviously a true public servant," Cherepko said. "He did whatever he could to make McKeesport a better place to live and work, and he was very well respected, not just in his capacity as mayor, but because he had such deep ties to the community."

 
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Fade Out: Southland 9 Cinemas Closed

August 26, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Above: Unidentified Southland 9 employees pose on the theater's last day. Photo via Facebook.)

Less than four months after the opening of the new Century Square Luxury Cinemas in West Mifflin, an older multiplex at nearby Southland Four Seasons Shopping Center has closed.

Georgia-based Carmike Cinemas has closed the Southland 9 theaters in Pleasant Hills, located behind the shopping center on Route 51. An announcement on the theater's Facebook page said the closing was effective yesterday.

The Southland 9's page on the Carmike website was deleted overnight.

Gina McKenzie, a spokeswoman for Carmike, said in an emailed statement Friday afternoon that members of the Carmike Cinemas rewards program and owners of annual popcorn buckets may continue to use them at the Galleria 6 in Mt. Lebanon and the Carmike 10 at South Hills Village. Both are less than 10 miles from Southland.

McKenzie declined comment on how many Southland 9 employees were affected by the closure, and whether any of them were offered jobs at other theaters.

 
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Air Force C-130 to Appear at West Mifflin Community Day Sept. 10

August 23, 2016 |

By Mike Mauer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules --- similar to this one shown flying above Pittsburgh's Mt. Washington --- will take center stage when West Mifflin celebrates its community day Sept. 10 at Allegheny County Airport.

One of a line of transport aircraft that have supported U.S. military personnel since 1957, the venerable C-130 will join dozens of local community groups, a live radio broadcast and performances by The Bel Airs and the North Side Kids at West Mifflin Community Day.

Refreshment booths will sell pork, ribs and chicken from Bad Azz BBQ, while various vendors, including non-profit groups and athletic teams, will supply other foods and beverages. Hours are 12 noon to 6 p.m.

 
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Village Returns With New Performers, New Night for Fireworks

August 08, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Denise L. Ritter photo

Tube City Almanac file photo by Denise L. Ritter

. . .

One of Western Pennsylvania's largest and longest-running ethnic festivals returns for its 57th consecutive year with many old favorites and a few new elements.

McKeesport's International Village will be held Aug. 16, 17 and 18 at Stephen Barry Field in Renziehausen Park, next to Penn State University's Greater Allegheny Campus and near McKeesport Area High School. Gates open each day at 3 p.m. and main stage entertainment begins at 6 p.m.

As in past years, a $2 donation is requested at the gate from visitors.

Gates and booths will close at 9 p.m. this year.

In addition, the fireworks display that has typically closed the three-day festival has been moved to opening night --- Tuesday --- as part of a lineup of entertainment that also will include the William Penn Magyar Folk Dancers, the Trafford Junior Tamburitzans, the Grecian Odyssey Dancers, the Saint Nicholas Junior Tamburitzans and a Lebanese bellydancer, as well as entertainment representing the traditions of Kenya.

Music for dancing will be provided in the Jakomas Blue-Top Pavilion, beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday, by the group Stari Drugovi, presented by the Swedish booth.

 
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Mon-Fayette Project Alive; Turnpike to Hold Public Meetings

August 03, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Jon Dawson via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution-No Derivatives

Seven years after halting work on the final stretch of the Mon-Fayette Expressway, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is putting the project back into gear.

The commission has scheduled a series of public meetings to collect input from residents and business owners about a new proposal to push on with a segment of highway through the Mon-Yough area.

The first meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Aug. 9 at Skyview Volunteer Fire Department, just off Route 885 in West Mifflin.

Subsequent meetings will be held at 6 p.m. Aug. 10 at Carlow University's St. Agnes Center on Fifth Avenue in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh; at 6 p.m. Aug. 16 in the gymnasium of Gateway Middle School, 4450 Old William Penn Hwy., Monroeville; and at 6 p.m. Aug. 17 in the auditorium of Woodland Hills Junior-Senior High School, 2250 Greensburg Pike, Churchill.

First proposed in the 1950s, the Mon-Fayette Expressway was envisioned as a link between Pittsburgh and Interstate 68 near Morgantown, W.Va.

The final, uncompleted 14-mile stretch from Route 51 in Jefferson Hills to the Parkway East in Monroeville would traverse the McKeesport, Duquesne and Braddock areas --- the most-populated stretch along the entire highway route, and arguably the most important segment in terms of economic development.

Plans to build a stretch of the expressway into the City of Pittsburgh have apparently been abandoned due to objections from residents, business owners and city leaders, according to published reports.

 
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Area Ministers Express Appreciation for City Police

July 20, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Tube City Almanac photo

McKeesport police Sgt. Francis Angert hugs Diane Elias, owner of Di's Kornerstone Diner, as members of the McKeesport Area Ministerium present officers with gift cards Tuesday as a token of appreciation. Tube City Almanac photo.

. . .

McKeesport-area religious leaders yesterday greeted city police officers as they began their shifts to thank them for their service, and to buy them a meal.

With cooperation from Di's Kornerstone Diner in Olympia Shopping Center, the McKeesport Area Ministerium provided $15 gift cards to all 55 full-time and part-time McKeesport police officers. They also visited police officers during roll call at 7 a.m., 3 p.m. and 11 p.m. Tuesday.

The spontaneous act of kindness was a reaction to the shootings of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La., and heightened tensions between the public and law enforcement.

"Although you may not be told this very often, people really do appreciate what you do," Salvation Army Lt. John Esker Jr. told police before they started their afternoon shift, "and we're here to say thank you."

Ministerium leaders shook hands and, in some cases, hugged police officers as they left for patrol. Participants included Esker; Rev. Earlene Coleman, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church; Boniface Igba, spiritual director of Auberle; Gladys Hunt-Mason of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh; the Rev. Peter Giacalone of the Rainbow Temple Assembly of God; and Marty Smith, a retired pastor formerly with the McKeesport Alliance Church.

 
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