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Film Looks at Dementia’s Toll on Black Residents

April 19, 2024 |

By Danielle M. Smith - Public News Service | Posted in: State & Region

Documentary filmmaker C. Nathaniel Brown, right, with the late Louis Gossett, who talks about his own family’s experience with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in the new movie, “Remember Me,” which has its Pittsburgh debut on Saturday. (Photo courtesy C. Nathaniel Brown via Facebook)

Alzheimer’s disease is the eighth-leading cause of death in Pennsylvania, but takes an disproportionate toll on Black and African-American patients.

A documentary on the topic debuts Saturday in Pittsburgh. “Remember Me: Dementia in the African American Community” features individuals and families who are dealing with memory loss.

C. Nathaniel Brown, founder and CEO of Expected End Entertainment and a former Pittsburgh resident, said his aunt lives with dementia, which sparked his interest in talking with others to find out more about the disease and how it affects communities of color.

“The first thing I found out was that there are over 100 types of dementia,” said Brown, who began his career as a writer and photographer for the New Pittsburgh Courier. “And the more I learned, the more I realized how much it was impacting the African American community disproportionately. We’re twice as likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or some other progressive type of dementia.”

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Air, Water Groups Rally Ahead of U.S. Steel Merger

April 12, 2024 |

By Danielle M. Smith - Public News Service | Posted in: State & Region

(Photo courtesy Breathe Project via Keystone State News Connection)

People working for environmental justice are rallying today at the downtown Pittsburgh headquarters of U.S. Steel, voicing their concerns to company shareholders about creating a healthier future in the Monongahela Valley region.

Japan's Nippon Steel is buying U.S. Steel for more than $14 billion.

Former Duquesne Mayor Nickole Nesby, an environmental-justice organizer with the group 412Justice, said the asthma rate in the Mon Valley is four to five times higher than the national average. She pointed out they're being left out of important conversations about the sale and are urging better health protections.

“We are actually gathering to demand a seat at the table,” she said. "We — the communities which have been impacted by the pollutants for decades — have not had a seat at the table. Our voice needs to be heard.”

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Roads Closed After Another Record-Setting Storm

April 12, 2024 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: State & Region

Thursday’s storms were another record-setting day for the Pittsburgh area.

The National Weather Service in Moon Twp. said that 2.77 inches of rain measured at Pittsburgh International Airport nearly doubled the previous record for April 11, set in 1933.

It also was the 25th-wettest day on record in Pittsburgh, NWS forecasters said. Records go back to 1871.

So far, April’s rainfall has been 6.11 inches above normal and the month is now the third-wettest April on record, the weather services said Friday. By month’s end, April 2024 will probably be the wettest April in Pittsburgh, ever.

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More Flooding as Rain Swamps Region Again

April 11, 2024 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: State & Region

BREAKING: This is a developing story and will be updated as necessary.

Another week, another flood: Just days after Western Pennsylvania cleaned up from record-setting rains that sent local rivers and streams over their banks, rainstorms again drenched the region on Thursday.

A flash-flood warning for the entire area is in effect until 2:30 a.m. Friday, according to the National Weather Service in Moon Twp. McKeesport, Clairton, Liberty and the neighboring communities are all in the path of the current line of storms.

Route 48 (Long Run Road) was closed Thursday night in both directions between Cool Springs Road and Lou Washowich Way (Marshall Drive Extension) due to flooding, White Oak emergency management announced.

Forecasters and emergency personnel on Thursday night warned motorists to stay off of local roads unless absolutely necessary, adding that most flood deaths occur when drivers are trapped in stalled cars due to high water.

Emergency crews throughout southern Allegheny County were responding to literally dozens of calls for assistance on Thursday night after 2 to 3 inches of rain fell throughout the day, the NWS said.

Another 1 to 1.5 inches of rain are possible overnight, forecasters said.

Local streams are rising, including Thompson Run at Turtle Creek, which was at 4 feet and climbing on Thursday night. Normal flow is 1 foot.

Some of the worst flash-flooding was reported in Washington County and south and west of Pittsburgh, with emergency rescues reported in communities such as Oakdale, North Fayette Twp. and South Park Twp., and roads closed in Jefferson Hills, Brentwood, Baldwin and surrounding municipalities.

All lanes of the Parkway West (Interstate 376) were closed at the junction of Business Route 376 at approximately 7 p.m. due to flooding, emergency officials said.

But low-lying roads in the Mon-Yough area were again hard-hit, with emergency personnel reporting just after 8 p.m. that cars were stuck on Route 837 under the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge.

Munhall and Forward Twp. also were reporting localized flooding.


AARP, VITA Have Last-Minute Tax Help Available

April 09, 2024 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: State & Region

Spalding County, Ga., resident Dan Garvin was receiving free tax preparation help from University of Georgia students and Spalding County Extension Agent Cindee Sweeda in this file photo. (File photo by Sharon Dowdy/University of Georgia via Twitter. Licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC 2.0 Deed)

With less than a week to go before the deadline for most federal and state income tax and municipal wage tax forms, Pennsylvania residents who need assistance in filing their returns can use the free services of the AARP Foundation’s Tax-Aide program. You don’t have to be an AARP member or a senior citizen to get help.

Francis Tremel, Pennsylvania state coordinator for the program, said that while Tax-Aide volunteers assist people of all ages, their main focus is on serving individuals with low to moderate incomes.

“Last year, over 1.5 million Tax-Aide participants nationwide saved more than $1.1 million in refunds and credits. I work also at the Indiana office,” Tremel said. “And we will do 1,200 returns this year, which is a very significant number for individuals that really need the assistance.”

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Flooding Hits Area After Record Rainfalls

April 03, 2024 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: State & Region

This is a developing story and will be updated as necessary.

Water topped the end of Ninth Avenue near Kane Regional Center on Wednesday afternoon. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Roads remain closed throughout the Mon-Yough area after record rainfalls dropped up to 4 inches of rain on parts of Western Pennsylvania.

The Youghiogheny River is overflowing its banks in Elizabeth Twp. and water was lapping at the edge of the parking lot at McKees Point Marina.

City officials reported that the West Fifth Avenue end of the Mansfield Bridge was closed Wednesday morning due to flooding, while in White Oak, Route 48 was closed between Cool Springs Road and Lincoln Way; and Lincoln Way was closed between Route 48 and Coulterville Road.

White Oak police reported that Lincoln Way had reopened at noon Wednesday, but that part of Route 48 remained closed while crews removed debris from the road.

The stretch of River Road between lower 10th Ward and Port Vue was closed Wednesday afternoon due to flooding and a landslide, the McKeesport Fire Department reported.

The state Department of Transportation reported that Route 837 was closed between the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge and Dravosburg due to flooding. A section of Route 837 in West Mifflin also was closed, borough police said.

A strong storm system that arrived in California last weekend — causing parts of that state’s fabled Highway 1 to fall down a cliff into the Pacific Ocean — made its way across the United States on Tuesday, triggering blizzards and floods in the western part of the country, tornadoes in Indiana, and heavy thunderstorms in Ohio and West Virginia.

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Postal Union Sounds Alarm Over Cuts, Shortages

March 11, 2024 |

By Danielle M. Smith - Public News Service | Posted in: State & Region

The McKeesport post office will hold a hiring fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Wednesday. A postal union official says that the U.S. Postal Service is constantly hiring, but does a poor job retaining new employees because of working conditions. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Postal workers from Pennsylvania will head to the nation’s capital in early May for a national rally to raise awareness about the challenges faced by the U.S. Postal Service.

The workers say staff shortages, consolidations and office closures all are affecting mail delivery. The U.S. Postal Service’s goal is 95 percent on-time delivery across its vast network of 167 million addresses nationwide.

Kimberly Miller, president of the American Postal Workers Union Keystone Area Local 1566, said the worker shortage means some post offices close their facilities early and see delays in processing the mail. Miller pointed out rural customers often are hardest hit.

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Advocates: State’s Pipeline Rules Need Update

February 28, 2024 |

By Danielle M. Smith - Public News Service | Posted in: State & Region

Pennsylvania environmental groups want to see a new rule implemented to improve the detection and repair of leaks from gas pipelines.

The Keystone State has over 94,000 miles of pipelines used to transport natural gas.

Rachel Meyer  — Ohio River Valley field organizer with the group Moms Clean Air Force — said it’s important that the rule be finalized, to improve safety, and reduce climate-harming methane emissions.

She added that these pipelines can leak and pose a safety risk to nearby communities.

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PA Still Lags Nation in Post-H.S. College, Training

February 21, 2024 |

By Danielle M. Smith - Public News Service | Posted in: State & Region

(Source: Lumina Foundation)

Pennsylvania lags slightly behind national figures for the number of working-age adults who have earned college degrees or other professional certifications after high school.

New data from the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation tracks degree attainment, including professional training and university degrees. The foundation says that more than 54 percent of Americans have attained some kind of post-high school education. In Pennsylvania, the number is 53 percent.

The foundation’s research also said more can be done to close the equity gap, in the Keystone State and across the country. The report showed that although more than 50 percent of white Pennsylvanians have college degrees, the same is true of only 32 percent of Black residents and 30 percent of Hispanic residents.

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Audubon Asks for Help With Mon Valley Count

February 16, 2024 |

By Vickie Babyak | Posted in: State & Region

ASWP community conservation coordinator Ben Kehoe at the Mon Valley Bird-Friendly Community Project Kickoff in June. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

Mon Valley residents of all ages and different birding experiences are invited to lend a hand Saturday during the annual Great Backyard Bird Count.

Ben Kehoe, community conservation coordinator for the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, will be leading a Great Backyard Bird Count Walk from 10 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday through Renziehausen Park. Participants will meet in the parking lot of the Renzie Park Senior Center, 100 Sycamore Drive.

This is the first year that Audubon is leading a Great Backyard Bird Count event at Renzie Park, said Rachel Handel, communications director of ASWP.

Registration in advance is requested.

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