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New Faces Headed to White Oak Council

November 06, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Liberty Borough News, Politics & Elections, White Oak News

New faces are apparently headed to White Oak council after election returns show two incumbents trailing in their bids to retain their seats.

Six candidates --- three Republicans, three Democrats --- were running for three four-year terms on borough council.

According to complete but unofficial results from the Allegheny County Elections Division, incumbents Charles Davis and Lou Bender, both Republicans, were the top vote getters, followed by Democrat George Pambacas.

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City Voters Choosing Mayor,
School Board on Tuesday

November 04, 2019 |

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

Other stories:

Politicians Endorse 'Marsy's Law,' But Some Worry it Goes Too Far

County DA Race Adds Excitement to Municipal Elections

Some of the excitement over the hotly contested race for Allegheny County district attorney has spilled into local politics.

Lisa Middleman, an independent who is challenging incumbent District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr., has lent her support to Fawn Walker-Montgomery, who is running for mayor of McKeesport.

A former city councilwoman, Walker-Montgomery is challenging Mayor Michael Cherepko, who has said he's running on the strength of the "McKeesport Rising" initiative that his administration launched two years ago.

Cherepko, a former city council president and McKeesport Area school teacher, is seeking his third term as mayor. The Democrat is asking voters to keep together the team responsible for "McKeesport Rising."

"McKeesport Rising" has targeted neighborhoods throughout the city for removal of blighted buildings, street paving and infrastructure improvements, as well as expansion of facilities at Renziehausen Park and along the city's waterfront.

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Local Firefighter Remembered for Efforts After 9/11

November 01, 2019 |

By Chris Baumann | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, White Oak News

Versailles volunteer firefighter Nick Ursta, then a volunteer from White Oak, responded to New York City following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. (Submitted photo)

When the towers of the World Trade Center fell on Sept. 11, 2001, volunteer firefighter Nick Ursta didn't wait, says his friend Perry Gricar.

“He didn’t even think twice about going, just beelined and was right out there,” says Gricar, chief of the Versailles Volunteer Fire Co., who served alongside Ursta for 14 years. “He was a very selfless person, the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back, who you could call at 3 a.m. Just an all around genuine, great person.”

Ursta died Tuesday --- on his 52nd birthday --- of complications of mesothelioma. Family and friends believe he developed the form of cancer after a week of breathing the toxins in the air at Ground Zero following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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Big's Owner Defends Hauling
Crews, Service in White Oak

October 23, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: White Oak News

The owner of the contracted trash hauler for White Oak borough said Wednesday that charges made against his company at a recent council meeting were not accurate.

Joe Eori Sr., who has owned Big's Sanitation since 1999, said the company is not mixing waste with recycling --- in fact, he said, Big's is trying to encourage recycling.

"I want everyone to recycle, because (Big's) pays by the ton" for landfill disposal fees, Eori said Wednesday. "The more (residents) recycle, the less tonnage I take in."

At Monday's meeting, residents said Big's crews were dumping recyclables into a trash truck. Eori said Big's is using a trash truck to haul recycling.

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White Oak Residents Frustrated
With Garbage Collection

October 22, 2019 |

By Christy Walters | Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak residents voiced their opinion at Monday’s council meeting that Big’s Sanitation is not fulfilling its contract, or meeting the needs of the community.

Former councilman Rich Bryce spoke during the public comments section of the meeting to address the issue.

He claimed that workers from the Belle Vernon-based sanitation company pull their trucks up to homes and put both trash and recycling into the same trucks.

“I voted for (Big’s) when I was on council because they had a good reputation and everything else,” Bryce said. “They’re breaking their contract. They’re screwing up. They’re charging us for two things and only doing one.”

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Throwback Thursday: That Good Gulf Gasoline

October 17, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: History, White Oak News

(* — CORRECTION, NOT PERFECTION: This story was corrected after publication.)

This 90-year-old photo shows Allen Evans' Gulf gasoline station at the corner of Long Run Road and what was then known as "White Oak Level Road" — now Lincoln Way.

Although almost everything around the intersection has changed, the same curve is still present in Lincoln Way (below, in an image from Google Maps).

Scanned from the Allegheny County archives by the University of Pittsburgh Libraries for its "Historic Pittsburgh" archive, the image touches on a lot of the history of the McKeesport and White Oak areas.

The Evans family — for whom Evans Avenue is named — was prominent in the history of the McKeesport area.

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Boil-Water Advisory Lifted;
Authority Says Tests Were Clear

October 16, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements, McKeesport and Region News, White Oak News

A boil-water advisory that has been in effect for McKeesport-area residents since Saturday night has been lifted.

The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County announced Wednesday morning that  water samples over two consecutive days from the city, Port Vue, Versailles and White Oak were all clear.

Storage tank levels are at normal conditions so it is no longer necessary to conserve water, said Matt Junker, authority spokesman.

The advisory was put into place after an intake pump at the McKeesport Water Treatment Plant failed Saturday evening, flooding the facility and forcing it to be closed temporarily. That caused water pressure to fall throughout the system, leading the authority to impose water conservation orders for some communities and a boil-water advisory for all four communities served by the plant.

About 16,000 customers were affected.


Boil-Water Advisory Could Be Lifted Tomorrow

October 15, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, White Oak News

Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County's McKeesport Water Treatment Plant (photo courtesy MAWC)

A boil-water advisory for about 16,000 customers in McKeesport, Port Vue, Versailles and White Oak could be lifted on Wednesday.

Matt Junker, spokesman for the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County, said the first round of testing on water from the McKeesport Water Treatment Plant was clear of any hazards.

"We are hopeful that the advisory can be lifted Wednesday after a second round of good results," Junker said Tuesday.

The authority also provided additional details of the incident on Saturday evening that forced the plant to be shut down, causing a loss of water pressure in parts of the McKeesport area and leading to the boil-water advisory.

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Local Facilities Coping With Boil-Water Advisory

October 14, 2019 |

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

Local schools and public facilities in areas affected by a boil-water advisory reported Monday they were finding ways to cope.

But the advisory left some businesses in the area --- mainly restaurants --- unable to open.

The failure of an intake pump that pulls water from the Youghiogheny River forced the shutdown on Saturday night of Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County's McKeesport Water Treatment Plant.

The pump was rebuilt and put back into service on Sunday afternoon, but not before many customers in the city, Port Vue, Versailles and White Oak reported no water, or very low water pressure.

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Water Plant Back in Operation;
Boil-Water Advisory Remains

October 13, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, White Oak News

(This story will be updated with new information periodically)

Volunteer firefighters from White Oak No. 1 and Rainbow handed out cases of bottled water at the borough’s municipal complex on Sunday afternoon. (Photo courtesy White Oak Office of Emergency Management, via Facebook)

The McKeesport water treatment plant is back in production, but is pumping slowly to purge air from the distribution system.

Authority spokesman Matthew Junker said the plant went back into operation at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The plant shut down Saturday night when a pump failed.

However, a boil-water advisory will remain in effect until further notice for the city, Port Vue, Versailles and White Oak. Some customers at higher elevations in Port Vue and McKeesport were reporting a complete lack of water on Sunday.

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