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Preliminary EA School Budget Includes Tax Increase

May 30, 2024 |

By T.J. Martin | Posted in: East McKeesport News, North Versailles Twp. News, Wilmerding News

East Allegheny School District property owners could see their first property tax increase in more than a decade.

The school board has approved a preliminary 2024-25 budget containing a mileage tax increase of just over 1.05 mills. School board members Tisha Thomas and Merle Pusey voted against the preliminary budget and Robert Trout was absent.

The preliminary budget must be voted on at next month’s school board meeting.

Director of Fiscal Services Toni Valicenti said the state dictates a maximum millage increase that every district can impose and the proposed increase in East Allegheny is half of the maximum allowed by the state.

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Public Meeting Set on Wilmerding Bridge Project

May 29, 2024 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News, Wilmerding News

Patton Street Bridge (Submitted photo courtesy Allegheny County)

The Allegheny County Department of Public Works will hold a public meeting at 7 p.m. June 6 to discuss the upcoming replacement of the Patton Street Bridge in Wilmerding, a spokesperson said.

The hearing will be held online using the Microsoft Teams video conference app. Registration in advance is required by going to Allegheny County’s website. A link and phone number to attend the meeting will be emailed to those who register.

The Patton Street bridge links the north and south sides of Wilmerding over Turtle Creek and also provides a transportation link between North Versailles Twp. and Monroeville.

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Wilmerding Council Plans Future for Park

April 15, 2024 |

By T.J. Martin | Posted in: Wilmerding News

(T.J. Martin photo for Tube City Almanac)

Wilmerding Borough Council learned last month that the borough had received a $70,000 grant to renovate Wilmerding Park. At the April meeting, council heard the borough engineer’s plan for how they can spend that money.

Borough Engineer Brad Branthoover of Glenn Engineering & Associates Ltd. said the borough received a Community Development Block Grant earmarked for the park renovation through a program administered by the Turtle Creek Valley Council of Governments.

Bordered by Herman Avenue, Westinghouse Avenue and Commerce Street, the park is located just across the street from the former Westinghouse Memorial High School.

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EA Board, Police Warn Parents About Vaping

March 17, 2024 |

By T.J. Martin | Posted in: East McKeesport News, North Versailles Twp. News, Wilmerding News

(Source: Pennsylvania Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs)

North Versailles Twp. police and the East Allegheny School Board are warning parents about the dangers children face from vaping.

At this month’s school board meeting, Acting Superintendent Joseph DiLucente told the board that he and Norm Locke, North Versailles assistant police chief, sent letters to parents earlier this month warning of the dangers children face from vaping.

The school district letter, signed by DiLucente, junior high school principal Mark Draskovich and senior high school principal Brian Ferek, notes, “We have noticed an unfortunate upward trend in drug use among our student population and youth in the Mon Valley as a whole.”

“I ask that you address the dangers of drug use, particularly unknown substances in vape devices, with your children. In speaking with Norm Locke, Assistant Chief of NVPD, and reviewing recent confiscations of vaping devices at the high school, this is our chief area of concern,” the letter continues.

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EA Board OK’s Tax Break for Volunteer Firefighters

March 17, 2024 |

By T.J. Martin | Posted in: East McKeesport News, North Versailles Twp. News, Wilmerding News

(File photo courtesy Fire Department of North Versailles via Facebook)

While not as much as originally proposed, some volunteer firefighters in the five fire departments serving the communities in the East Allegheny School District will receive a real estate tax credit of up to $300.

The East Allegheny School Board voted 5-1 at their monthly meeting earlier this week to approve the program, with Board President John Savinda opposed, Merle “Bud” Pusey and Shannon Basa-Sabol abstaining and Macey Kinard absent.

The proposal will give an annual $300 real estate tax credit to qualifying homeowners who are volunteer firefighters in the five fire departments — Crestas, the Fire Department of North Versailles, Wilmerding, West Wilmerding and United, which serves East McKeesport and Wall — within the district. The proposal places an annual cap of $7,000 on the program.

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$50K Grant Will Target Storm Basins in Wilmerding

February 14, 2024 |

By T.J. Martin | Posted in: Wilmerding News

Wilmerding Borough has received a $50,000 grant to use to repair rainwater catch basins in the borough.

Borough Engineer Brad Branthoover of Glenn Engineering & Associates, Ltd. told the borough council at their monthly meeting that he has a list of 27 basins that could use repair.

Reached after the meeting, Branthoover said catch basin repairs typically cost between $2,500 and as much as $7,500 depending on several factors and so the grant should cover repairs to approximately 10 to 12 catch basins.

He said he developed the list of the basins needing repair in conjunction with the borough’s Public Works Department and it will be that department’s job to prioritize the basins on the list to determine which are most need of repair.

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Former WABCO Home Plant to Close in 2024

December 24, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Wilmerding News

Wabtec workers and local officials railled in Wilmerding in April 2022 to encourage the corporation to invest in the future of George Westinghouse’s historic factory. The company has announced plans to end operations and permanently lay off 94 workers. (Photo courtesy United Electrical Workers union via Facebook)

Almost 100 workers in Wilmerding and their families are having a very unhappy holiday.

Pittsburgh-based Wabtec Corp. last week filed notice with the state Department of Labor & Industry that it intends to end its remaining operations at the former Westinghouse Air Brake Co. plant beginning in February.

Plant operations are expected to shutter permanently in July 2024. The 13.1-acre facility was sold earlier this month to a Zelienople firm, Wilmerding Warehouse LLC, for $1.3 million.

The air brake company, founded by George Westinghouse in Pittsburgh in 1869, was the cornerstone of the inventor’s fortunes. WABCO’s factory moved to Wilmerding in 1889 and has been at the center of the borough ever since.

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No Tax Increase as Wilmerding OK’s Budget

December 18, 2023 |

By T.J. Martin | Posted in: Wilmerding News

Wilmerding Borough Council gave property owners in the borough an early Christmas present this month when they passed a 2024 budget with no property tax increase.

Finance Committee chairman John Thomas told his fellow council members that property taxes will remain at 13 mills. Expenditures and revenue total $1.164 million, up slightly from the 2023 figure of $1.150 million.

“Police went up, garbage went up, everything went up,” Thomas said in explaining the small increase.

The seven-member council approved the budget unanimously. They also unanimously approved retaining Borough Solicitor G.N. Evashavic, Borough Engineer Brad Branthoover and the borough’s four employees.

T.J. Martin is a freelance writer from Trafford whose work has also appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Irwin Standard Observer.


Wilmerding Grads Impressed With School’s Look

July 27, 2023 |

By Bonnijean Cooney Adams | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News, North Versailles Twp. News, Wilmerding News

Stephanie Spingola looks over items in the costume studio, including a Westinghouse sewing machine. She is a member of the Class of 1963 and taught art for fourth through sixth graders after high school students from Wilmerding moved to East Allegheny. Below: The main entrance to Westinghouse Arts Academy reflects the building’s historic past as a school, and includes access to the auditorium, home of many student performances. (Bonnijean Cooney Adams photos for Tube City Almanac)

For some, it had been a long time since they last set foot inside the main building that now houses many of the programs at Westinghouse Arts Academy in Wilmerding.

As a prelude to activities for the second all-class gathering (1937-1969) of Westinghouse Memorial High School, more than 30 former students met on the school steps the morning of July 22 before breaking into smaller groups to tour that building and the neighboring Westinghouse Castle.

Ray Adams, a Westinghouse Memorial graduate who came back to teach at his alma mater, was part of a committee that decided to hold the first all-class event in 2022, then again this year.

Adams taught social studies, photography, and videography there and at East Allegheny Junior-Senior High School before he retired in 1995. He also was the advisor for the Class of 1969, so said he agreed to be on the committee when asked.

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Time Capsule Hunt Unites Past, Present Students

April 29, 2022 |

By Kristen Keleschenyi | Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News, Wilmerding News

Logan Elementary School sixth-graders were armed with shovels last week to help find a time capsule buried in Wilmerding more than 20 years ago. (Photos courtesy Kim Reno)

When you think of places for an archeological dig, Wilmerding probably doesn’t stand out as a prime location. But for a group of current and former East Allegheny students, the grounds of Westinghouse Arts Academy this month provided an exciting locale for an excursion 23 years in the making.

Back in 1999, students in Kim Bollinger’s sixth-grade science class at Westinghouse Elementary School, then part of the EA school district, put together a time capsule as the final part of their ongoing recycling project.

Westinghouse Elementary School closed in 2009 and now is home to the Westinghouse Arts Academy Charter School.

“At the time we didn’t have paper recycling bins [in the school],” says Kim Reno, formerly Kim Bollinger. “We put boxes in everyone’s room and had all of the teachers put their used paper in the box. My students once a month would load it into the back of my trunk and I would take it to the South Side and they paid you for the paper.”

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