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Gun Violence: How Does it Hit Home? What Can We Do?

February 15, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial, Podcast

On our podcast, "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," we recently talked about gun violence --- especially the emotional impact it has had on the Mon-Yough area --- and asked if there's anything we can do about it.

In 2017, there were 109 homicides in 2017. Nearly three dozen of them were in the Mon Valley in communities such as McKeesport, Swissvale and Turtle Creek, but practically no community of any size was unscathed --- and virtually all of the homicides were the result of shootings.

Our guests were Vanessa Mayers-Snyder, a community engagement & mediation specialist for the Center for Victims, and Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFire PA.

 
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ICYMI: A Conversation With Penn State GA's New Chancellor

September 29, 2017 |

By Advertising | Posted in: Podcast

In case you missed it: This week on "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," we talked to Jacqueline Edmondson, the new chancellor of Penn State University Greater Allegheny, about the students, the programs and role of the McKeesport campus in the region and across the state.

You can subscribe to "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" using Stitcher, iTunes, Player FM, or almost any podcast app, or you can go to our website at http://almanac.tubecityonline.com/podcast

"Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" also airs Sundays on WEDO (810), WZUM (1550) and WMCK.FM.

 


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

January 18, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: 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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Podcast-Palooza!

January 08, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: 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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'Crossing Fences' Radio Project Unites Young Men With Mentors

December 03, 2015 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News, Podcast

Many people in the Pittsburgh area have probably heard "The Saturday Light Brigade," the long-running public radio program that airs on six FM radio stations and three Internet stations, including Tube City Online's WMCK.FM in McKeesport.

But they may not be aware that SLB's parent organization also engages in mentoring and training programs in local schools, including the Propel charter schools in the Mon Valley as well as public schools through the McKeesport-based Consortium for Public Education.

This week, SLB debuted the latest three CDs in its "Crossing Fences" series. In "Crossing Fences," groups of African-American teen-agers interview local men from the community, and then edit the interviews into four to six minute radio documentaries.

The latest series includes interviews collected in Braddock and Homestead; a previous series included oral histories collected in McKeesport and Hazelwood. Twelve communities have been covered so far; all of the documentaries are available as free downloads at NeighborhoodVoices.org.

On the next episode of our weekly radio show, "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," we talk with Sarah Siplak and Chanessa Schuler of SLB Radio Productions about "Crossing Fences," and we also listen to one of the oral histories.

 
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Remembering the 'McKeesport 23'

November 07, 2015 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements, Podcast

McKeesport has one of the earliest known U.S. monuments to soldiers, sailors and marines who died in the Vietnam War.

In 1966, following the deaths in Vietnam of four former members of what was then known as the McKeesport Boys Club, club founder Samuel LaRosa decided that those serving in Vietnam needed to be remembered. He erected a tablet outside the club with the names of the four fallen.

Before the end of the war in 1975, the names of 23 young men from McKeesport would be displayed on LaRosa's tablet.

Walt Yager, a longtime member and volunteer at what is now known as the LaRosa Boys and Girls Club, says he believes it was the first Vietnam memorial erected in the United States.

The "McKeesport 23" will be remembered with a tribute at 2 p.m. Nov. 14 at the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center in Renziehausen Park.

The event is open to the public, but organizers are especially hoping that families and friends of the 23 can attend, along with others who served in Vietnam.

This week on "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," we talked to two of the organizers, Yager and retired White Oak police Chief Joe Hoffman, about why they think so many men from the Mon Valley served, and what the Nov. 14 tribute symbolizes.

"Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" airs at 8:30 a.m. Fridays on WEDO (810), 8 a.m. Sundays on WZUM (1550), and at 3 p.m. Sundays on WMCK.FM.

. . .

 

ADVERTISEMENT: Support for "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" comes in part from the McKeesport Hospital Foundation. Since 1976, the foundation has addressed key concerns that affect our good health, as well as our education, social needs, recreation, and safety and security. The foundation partners with UPMC McKeesport and other agencies to eliminate barriers to all services for all residents of the Mon Valley. Visit www.mckhospitalfoundation.com, or call (412) 664-2590.

 


White Oak Authors Remember 'Old Versailles Twp.'

September 11, 2015 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: History, Podcast

White Oak Park

(White Oak Park photo courtesy Allegheny County Parks Foundation)

The communities that now include White Oak, East McKeesport, North Versailles Twp., Wilmerding, Wall, South Versailles Twp., Versailles and much of McKeesport were part of one large township until the 1800s.

"Versailles Twp." was one of seven original communities created when Allegheny County was formed in 1788, and stretched from the mouth of Turtle Creek, down the south bank of the Monongahela River to the Youghiogheny River.

Over the years, though, as white settlers moved into the region and established towns and industries, communities were carved away from Versailles Twp., beginning with the "borough" (not city) of McKeesport in 1842 and continuing until 1948, when the remaining seven square miles of Versailles Twp. became White Oak Borough.

Local authors (and brothers) Frank Kordalski Jr. and Mike Kordalski have written a book called Old Versailles Township. They were our guests last week on "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes." We asked them how they became interested in the subject, and about some of the colorful events and places that shaped more than 200 years of history.

"Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" airs at 8:30 a.m. Fridays on WEDO (810) and at 8 a.m. Sundays on WZUM (1550), and is also available as a free podcast from Stitcher and iTunes.

. . .

ADVERTISEMENT: Support for "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" comes in part from the McKeesport Hospital Foundation. Since 1976, the foundation has addressed key concerns that affect our good health, as well as our education, social needs, recreation, and safety and security. The foundation partners with UPMC McKeesport and other agencies to eliminate barriers to all services for all residents of the Mon Valley. Visit www.mckhospitalfoundation.com, or call (412) 664-2590.

 


'Village for Kids' Monday at Renzie

August 09, 2015 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News, Podcast

The seventh-annual "Village for Kids" will be held from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Monday at the Lions Bandshell in Renziehausen Park.

The event, for kids ages 12 and under, is a prelude to McKeesport's 55th annual International Village, which will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3 to 10 p.m.

In addition to music, games, free giveaways and other activities, volunteers will be accepting nominations for the prince and princess of International Village, to be crowned Tuesday at International Village.

This week on "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," we interviewed the lead organizer of the Village for Kids, Alison Piccolino.

We also talked to the Rev. Dr. Daniel Borsay, pastor of the Free Hungarian Reformed Church of McKeesport, which has participated in every village since 1960, and with McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko.

"Two Rivers" airs at 9:30 a.m. Fridays on WEDO (810), 8 a.m. Sundays on WZUM (1550), and as a free podcast on Stitcher and iTunes.

 

. . .

ADVERTISEMENT: Support for "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" comes in part from the McKeesport Hospital Foundation. Since 1976, the foundation has addressed key concerns that affect our good health, as well as our education, social needs, recreation, and safety and security. The foundation partners with UPMC McKeesport and other agencies to eliminate barriers to all services for all residents of the Mon Valley. Visit www.mckhospitalfoundation.com, or call (412) 664-2590.

 


Mon Valley Expressway, Business Climate Explored

July 16, 2015 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News, Podcast

Last week on "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," I talked to Maury Burgwin, president of the Mon Yough Area Chamber of Commerce, about programs offered by the chamber and its goals.

We discussed the need for regional cooperation and the signs of progress --- albeit too slow for many people's tastes --- in the Mon Valley.

And we also talked about the possible completion of the Mon-Fayette Expressway from Route 51 into Pittsburgh. A few years ago, the project was given up for dead, but recent news reports indicate state officials are taking another look at the final leg of the controversial highway.

Borrowing an idea from Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show," I decided to post an extended version of our conversation online.

. . .

Tomorrow on "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," we'll talk to Juan Garrett, executive director of the Riverside Center for Innovation (and a McKeesport native). The Riverside Center has expanded from its roots on Pittsburgh's North Side to offer redevelopment help throughout the Pittsburgh region ... including, recently, in McKeesport and Clairton.

"Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" airs at 9:30 a.m. Fridays on WEDO (810), 8 a.m. Sundays on WZUM (1550), and is available as a free podcast from Stitcher and iTunes.

. . .

ADVERTISEMENT: Support for "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" comes in part from the McKeesport Hospital Foundation. Since 1976, the foundation has addressed key concerns that affect our good health, as well as our education, social needs, recreation, and safety and security. The foundation partners with UPMC McKeesport and other agencies to eliminate barriers to all services for all residents of the Mon Valley. Visit www.mckhospitalfoundation.com, or call (412) 664-2590.

 


McKeesport's Own Mikey Dee on Polka's Enduring Popularity

July 02, 2015 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Podcast

For folks who attend International Village each year, Mikey Dee needs no introduction. The McKeesport native and McKeesport Area High School graduate serves as master of ceremonies, but since he was a teen-ager, he's also been a working, touring musician, both with his own band and with musicians such as Frankie Yankovic and Harold Betters.

Dee has just recorded what he says is his "20th or 21st" album --- "In Your Dreams" --- an album of polka tunes, including covers and several originals.

We asked him to explain some of the culture of polka music, the reasons for its enduring popularity, and why it still holds such an important role in the lives of people of Eastern European descent in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Milwaukee and other cities.

You can hear the interview --- and two tracks for Dee's new CD --- on "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes." The show airs at 9:30 a.m. Fridays on WEDO (810), 8 a.m. Sundays on WZUM (1550), and is available as a free podcast from Stitcher and iTunes.

Last week, we broadcast John Hoerr's 2009 speech at McKeesport Heritage Center, when he discussed the life of McKeesport-born playwright Marc Connelly, as well as his own novel about McKeesport, "Monongahela Dusk":

. . .

ADVERTISEMENT: Support for "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" comes in part from the McKeesport Hospital Foundation. Since 1976, the foundation has addressed key concerns that affect our good health, as well as our education, social needs, recreation, and safety and security. The foundation partners with UPMC McKeesport and other agencies to eliminate barriers to all services for all residents of the Mon Valley. Visit www.mckhospitalfoundation.com, or call (412) 664-2590.

 

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