LaRosa Club Marks 2nd Year With New Signs

June 27, 2023 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

*Correction: This story misstated the number. We regret the error.

Beau Yauch and Jesse Whitt of Tri-State Signs position the LaRosa Youth Club’s new sign over the main entrance on Ravine Street. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Almost two years to the day since taking ownership of its Ravine Street facility, the LaRosa Youth Club has new signage.

Workers from Tri-State Signs & Reprographics of Pittsburgh’s Strip District recently installed new signs over the main clubhouse as well as the adjacent gymnasium.

“This is a big day for us,” said Jim Barry Jr., a member of the board of the LaRosa Youth Development Foundation, the club’s parent organization. “We finally have our name on the building. That makes it permanent.”

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City Native Attracting National Spotlight, Interest

June 26, 2023 |

By Elizabeth Laughlin | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Joey Young, 21, of McKeesport, shown here with Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey, is attracting a national following for his dynamic mix of soul and pop. “Watch out for Joey Young,” a family friend says. (Submitted photo courtesy Joey Young, via Instagram)

A city native has been grabbing the national spotlight as an in-demand entertainer at events around the country.

Joey Young's newest single, "Spectacle," dropped June 2, one day before he was introduced by Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro at the three-day Pittsburgh Pride celebration on the North Side.

One week later, Young was a featured soloist during two concerts with the Renaissance City Choir at East Liberty Presbyterian Church. 

That’s after a run of performances during which Young, 21, also headlined Pride Month events in Miami Beach and Hollywood, Fla.

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McKeesport Area Welcomes New Nature Initiative

June 16, 2023 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

From back to front, AnnaLisa Haughwout of McKeesport, Sarah Koenig, ASWP conservation director, and Brian Shema, ASWP operations director, discuss the benefits of bird-watching. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania recently celebrated its launch of an environmental collaborative initiative with municipalities, community partners, local organizations, schools and residents throughout the region of the McKeesport Area School District.

City and borough officials, organization leaders, Mon Valley residents and bird lovers gathered in Renziehausen Park recently for the Mon Valley Bird-Friendly Community Project Kickoff and certified backyard habitat enrollment.

Community programming will include a master birder program, birdwatching walks and habitat gardening classes. ASWP will collaborate with area plant nurseries to reduce invasive plant sales while expanding the offer of pollinator and bird-friendly plants to customers. A transformation of a vacant lot into a bird and pollinator-friendly habitat will be established in partnership with Tri-COG Land Bank.

ASWP executive director Jim Bonner is originally from the Mon Valley and has a special bond with the area. Bonner said, “Creating bird-friendly communities is at the heart of what we do,” he said.

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Spring Demolition Projects Underway

June 05, 2023 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The vacant Frank Mikell barber shop on Walnut Street is being demolished under a contract awarded to West Mifflin-based Minniefield Demolition Services. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Four contractors are simultaneously working together to demolish approximately 300 vacant and abandoned buildings in the city this spring and summer, officials said.

A.J. Tedesco, city community development director, said some of the buildings currently being targeted are under contracts that were awarded in 2022.

Among the buildings currently being demolished is the former Frank Mikell’s Barber Shop on Walnut Street in the Third Ward. Contrary to rumors, the building did not collapse, but it is being demolished by hand, slowly, to avoid damage to neighboring structures, Tedesco said.

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School Board Apologizes, Commits to Cooperation

May 27, 2023 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport Area School Board this week recognized pupils from United at Twin Rivers and Francis McClure schools who wrote winning essays for a contest sponsored by the Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., program. Superintendent Tia Wanzo congratulated each of the students before encouraging attendees to applaud the group. (Adam Reinherz photo for Tube City Almanac)

An expeditious meeting of the McKeesport Area School Board this week featured an apology and recommitment to communal partnerships.

School Board President LaToya Wright told attendees she needed to share something “that’s been on my heart.”

The board recently enacted a policy that school directors would not respond directly to comments, complaints and accusations raised by the public during a meeting.

Wright said she has heard from the community that the board is opting to remain “ignorant” of serious concerns.

“I want to apologize to any community member if they felt ignored, or any ignorance from the board, because that was never the intention,” she said.

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RAD Earmarks $750K for McKeesport Library

May 18, 2023 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The Allegheny County Regional Asset Board has approved a $750,000 grant to the Carnegie Library of McKeesport to help transform a third-floor storage space into an area usable by the public.

The board voted Thursday to approve five grants totalling $3.8 million from a new Transformative Community Library Fund. Libraries in Braddock, Clairton, Homestead and Swissvale also will receive funding during this round of grants, a spokesman said.

The grant to the McKeesport library will enable the top floor of the 1902 building to be converted from a storage area into meeting space for public events.

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Cherepko Cruises To Victory; Some Results Still Out

May 17, 2023 |

By Tom Leturgey | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, Politics & Elections

(Additional reporting from Jason Togyer)

Incumbent McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko won Tuesday’s primary election, easily defeating two vastly different challengers for the Democratic nomination.

According to incomplete and unofficial returns from the Allegheny County Division of Elections, Cherepko is holding a 20-point lead over his nearest rival, Corry Sanders, 52. Joe Lopretto was in third place with approximately 17 percent of the vote.

However, an official tally may not be available until Friday. Two city precincts — Ward 8, District 4, and Ward 12, District 3 — have not yet reported complete results. Countywide, 29 out of 1,324 precincts have reported incomplete results, elections officials said.

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Cherepko Faces Two Challengers for Re-Election

May 14, 2023 |

By Tom Leturgey | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, Politics & Elections

The race for mayor of McKeesport has a great deal of intrigue, as voters will report to polling places in just a few days.

In many races throughout Allegheny County, including the race for mayor of McKeesport, there are no official Republican challengers. Barring a successful write-in campaign during November’s election, the winner of the primary will be sworn in as mayor.

McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko, 46, has been in office since 2012 and is hoping to secure the Democratic nomination on Tuesday. The Penn State University graduate was a fifth-grade teacher in the district before becoming an elected official. He touts his “Working Together for a Better McKeesport” as a successful motto.

In this year’s Democratic primary he faces two challengers who both emphasize their “outsider” status, Joe Lopretto, 58, a retired McKeesport police officer, and Corry Sanders, 52, a church deacon, barber and business owner.

All three candidates received an questionnaire with identical questions. In addition, reporter Tom Leturgey called Lopretto and Sanders on May 2 and May 12, and sent questionnaires to Sanders and Lopretto via their official Facebook pages.

Lopretto and Sanders did not respond to Leturgey’s phone messages or Facebook messages, though both have been using Facebook to share their campaign statements and positions.

McKeesport has about 17,700 residents as of the 2020 census.

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Five Board Candidates Offer Viewpoints

May 14, 2023 |

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

Five of the candidates running for McKeesport Area School Board have offered their views on pressures facing the district, relating to student achievement, building safety and charter schools.

There are 13 candidates filed to run for five seats on the school board, which has nine members in all. In addition to the city, the school district serves Dravosburg, South Versailles Twp., Versailles and White Oak.

School board elections are officially non-partisan and candidates may file to run in more than one party. Of the 13 candidates, 11 are filed as both Republicans and Democrats, while two have filed only as Democrats.

The primary election is this Tuesday. Voters from each party will choose candidates who will run in the general election in November.

In April, Tube City Almanac mailed a questionnaire to all 13 candidates at their homes, and a reminder was mailed one week later. All candidates received the same questions. Five candidates had responded as of May 13:

Jeffery Anderson (Democratic)

Diane Elias (cross-filed Democratic/Republican)

Matthew Keller (cross-filed Democratic/Republican)

Matthew Mols (cross-filed Democratic/Republican)

Cameron L. Preston (cross-filed Democratic/Republican)

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MASD School Board Candidate: Cameron Preston

May 14, 2023 |

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

Name: Cameron L. Preston
Address: Craig Street, McKeesport
Filed as: Republican/Democratic

Almanac: Why are you running for school board, and what are your qualifications?

Preston: As a lifelong resident and district alumnus, I feel it is my duty to step up in the community in which I reside. I have over 15 years of experience working in social services, both inside and outside of school settings.

Almanac: One constant question at board meetings has been about gun violence. Prior to this election, how have you addressed gun-related violence within the community?

Preston: On Jan. 23, 2023, my then-16-year-old son was critically shot while walking home from school. Prior to that incident, I have spoken at rallies against gun violence and attended many functions and events. But, since gun violence has made it directly to my doorstep, I believe now is the perfect time to step up.

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