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Children Found Handcuffed, Two Adults Arrested

May 06, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News, White Oak News

Two people face child abuse and assault charges after school officials and White Oak police said they found two children handcuffed in the back seat of their car.

According to court records, Richard Hayes, 37, of Mt. Oliver is being held in the Allegheny County Jail without bail, while his girlfriend, Natosha Bell, 26, of Rankin is free on $50,000 bond. Hayes faces a preliminary hearing May 19 before Magisterial District Judge Richard G. King, while Bell faces a preliminary hearing June 30.

The two children who were restrained in the car, ages 7 and 10, and a third child, age 11, are now in the emergency care of Allegheny County Children, Youth and Families, said county police Inspector Michael Peairs.

 
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White Oak Slates Upcoming Events

April 23, 2021 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: Announcements, White Oak News

White Oak Clean-Up Day will be held 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 24, borough officials said.

Volunteers should gather at Heritage Hills Park no later than 9:30 a.m. to receive assignments and supplies.

Electronics and household hazardous waste recycling collection will be held on the same day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the borough building.

Councilwoman Julie Opferman, who chairs the parks and recreation committee, said that Rainbow Volunteer Fire Co.’s Cars in the Park from 1 to 7 p.m. May 16 at Heritage Hill Park. The rain date will be May 23.

Councilman George Pambacas said a rabies vaccination clinic will be held at the Municipal Public Works Garage on Lincoln Way from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 5.

“It’ll be a drive-through clinic, where you stay in your car until you’re called,” Pambacas said. “Dogs should be on a leash and cats should be in a carrier. The animals must at least three months old, not pregnant, and not sick.”


Sarah Turnbull is a freelance writer in Irwin. She can be reached at sarahturnbull323@gmail.com.

 


W.O. Mayor Breaks Tie on Contract Vote

April 22, 2021 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak Council approved a new contract with the union representing borough police officers after the mayor cast the tie-breaking vote.

Council voted 3-3 to adopt the four-year agreement with Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 91, with council members George Pambacas, George Dillinger and Kenneth Robb voting no.

Councilwoman Julie Opferman abstained due to a conflict of interest. Mayor Ina Jean Marton broke the tie.

Pambacas said he voted against the resolution for financial reasons, while Robb expressed concerns about the length of the contract.

 
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W.O. Officials Eying Spring Projects

April 19, 2021 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak officials discussed a number of ongoing projects at their April 12 workshop meeting, chiefly concerning infrastructure and vehicle maintenance.

In his engineer’s report, Councilman Kenneth Hillman announced that funds have been secured for repairing the Center Street extension, and that the renovations to Lincoln Way will cost less than expected.

“The wall specs for the Center Street extension will be finalized on May 13. We’re also making sure that the crossings and road markings on Lincoln Way comply with the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act),” Hillman said.

Hillman also announced plans to build a new walkway at Heritage Hill Park, along with eight new benches, ADA accessibility, and rubber mulch ground cover. Councilwoman Julie Opferman also supported the idea of adding pickleball, hockey or basketball courts.

 
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Marton Retires from W.O. Animal Shelter

April 05, 2021 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak Mayor Ina Jean Marton enjoys the company of Luke and Chewie during a 2019 fundraiser for the White Oak Animal Safe Haven. Marton has retired as director of the shelter after 18 years. (Tube City Almanac file photo by Cami DiBattista)


After 18 years and 16,000 dogs and cats rescued, Ina Jean Marton has retired from her role as director of the White Oak Animal Safe Haven.

“I’d been planning it for six to eight months. After 18 years, I felt like it was time to enjoy my life,” said Marton, who also serves as White Oak borough mayor.

Shelter vice president Laura Massie has taken over as director. She expressed optimism about the shelter’s future.

“We’re building a catio (cat exercise area) and renovating our office,” she said. “We’re also bringing in new volunteers and brainstorming ideas for fundraisers. I just want to do whatever I can to make the shelter successful — especially with kitten season coming up.”

 
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W.O., City Slate Easter Events

March 24, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements, White Oak News

White Oak borough will hold an Easter Egg Hunt on April 3 at Heritage Hill Park.

Councilwoman Julie Opferman, who chairs the Parks and Recreation Committee, said guests should bring their own Easter baskets.

Ages 3 and under will start at 10 a.m., ages 4 to 7 at 10:30 a.m., and 8 to 10 at 11 a.m., Opferman said.

In McKeesport, a spokesperson for Mayor Michael Cherepko announced that the annual Easter egg hunt will return at 10 a.m. March 27 at Renziehausen Park. Last year’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 
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W.O. Council Limits Comments on Ordinance

March 24, 2021 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: White Oak News

People who came to White Oak’s council meeting this month to protest a controversial feral cat ordinance were sidelined.

Before the March 15 meeting, council instituted a rule restricting the public comment portion to White Oak residents only. None of the people in the audience were borough residents.

Council members said the rule was implemented to improve communication and focus during public meetings.

 
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Local Buses Kept Rolling During COVID-19

March 19, 2021 |

By Ann Belser | Posted in: Liberty Borough News, McKeesport and Region News, North Versailles Twp. News, White Oak News

A Heritage Community Transportation bus pauses on Braddock Avenue in Braddock. The non-profit group connects residents of Mon Valley neighborhoods to main Port Authority bus routes and has provided 1.5 million rides. (Submitted photo courtesy Heritage Community Initiatives)


A year ago, when the state shut down all but essential services, a Braddock-based nonprofit found that one of its services could not stop and the others were more vital than ever.

Paula McWilliams, CEO of Heritage Community Initiatives, said the bus service her organization operates, Heritage Community Transportation, was needed to make sure that workers in eastern communities, including Braddock, Liberty, McKeesport, North Versailles Twp., Port Vue and White Oak, could get to their jobs at hospitals such as Forbes Regional, UPMC McKeesport and UPMC East.

The Heritage buses, which are 14-passenger vans, operate on three fixed routes. They had to be modified for transporting workers and senior citizens who needed to get groceries and to medical appointments while keeping passengers and drivers safe.

 
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W.O. Takes Tentative Steps to Reopening

March 11, 2021 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: White Oak News

A year after the COVID-19 pandemic hit Pennsylvania, White Oak is preparing to reopen its municipal building to the public with limited hours.

At Monday’s council workshop, Borough Manager John Palyo announced that the office is getting ready to welcome the public again in the spring.

“I know we’re all eager to return to some sense of normalcy,” Palyo said. “We’ll have limited hours at the borough building. The Norwin Aqua Club also wants to use Heritage Hill Pool for a nominal fee, as they have in the past.”

 
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Activists Urge Humane Solutions to Cat Problem

March 09, 2021 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: White Oak News

Protestors lined Lincoln Way in front of the White Oak municipal building March 5 to draw attention to the borough’s feral cat ordinance. (Amanda Coats photo via Facebook)


After 20 years of rescuing dogs and cats, Amanda Coats’ passion for animals remains strong. Over the last 10 years, Coats has trapped, neutered and returned 1,000 cats in the Mon Valley.

As a trap, neuter, return volunteer, Coats, of Murrysville, works with community cats and their caretakers to keep the animals healthy, along with educating citizens and legislators on how to best care for homeless cats.

“Cats can be in suburbia, farms, on the streets … really anywhere humans are,” Coats said. “And they can have up to four litters a year. One colony can have anywhere from five to 50 cats.”

In December, White Oak council passed an ordinance making it unlawful to continue feeding feral cats if it causes a nuisance to neighbors, prompting a protest from 25 animal lovers outside the borough building on March 6.

 
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