E. McKeesport Council OK’s Ice Plant Hill Fix

February 11, 2024 |

By T.J. Martin | Posted in: East McKeesport News

(T.J Martin photo for Tube City Almanac)

East McKeesport Borough has awarded a bid for a project to help alleviate a stormwater runoff issue and part of the project will utilize drainage pipes that the borough didn’t previously know existed.

The borough council voted unanimously to accept a bid of $249,633 from Cranberry Twp.-based State Pipe Services Inc. for the Ice Plant Hill Remediation Project. The project will be financed by three grants the borough has received.

Borough Engineer Laura Branthoover of Glenn Engineering & Associates said rainwater runs off the hillside bordering Ice Plant Hill and into the parking lot of the Wilmerding Community Center at the base of the hill.

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Glass Recycling Program Returns to County Parks

February 11, 2024 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Pennsylvania Resources Council photo)

Allegheny County and the Pennsylvania Resources Council will offer a glass recycling program in county parks again this year.

The PRC’s Traveling Glass Recycling Bin Program will be available February through November to allow residents a resource to recycle glass, a spokesperson said.

The service is increasingly important because many communities have reduced their recycling programs or do not offer collection of glass jars, bottles and jugs.

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Elbow Room Closing After One Final Party

February 10, 2024 |

By Yousuf Lachhab Ibrahim | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Tube City Almanac photo)

The sun will set permanently on a McKeesport landmark this weekend with one final party at The Elbow Room.

After opening for limited hours for several months, the beloved 10th Ward restaurant and bar announced via Facebook this week that it is closing for good Sunday.

A farewell event will begin at 3 p.m. and continue “until the last person leaves,” according to the post.

Calls and messages to the Elbow Room were not returned as of presstime.

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Hundreds Gather in Tribute to Slain Police Officer

February 06, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The Rev. Bill Meekins Jr., lead pastor of the McKeesport Area Shared Ministry of the United Methodist Church, delivers the invocation Tuesday evening at the rededication of the city’s dek-hockey rink in memory of murdered police officer Sean Sluganski. Mayor Michael Cherepko and Sluganski’s family look on. (Tube City Almanac photo)

More than 300 people gathered at sunset Tuesday to remember murdered McKeesport police Officer Sean Sluganski.

At a ceremony attended by many current and retired law-enforcement officers, city officials and clergy re-dedicated the dek-hockey rink at Renziehausen Park in memory of Sluganski, who was fatally shot by a suspect on Feb. 6, 2023, as he and his partner, McKeesport police Officer Chuck Thomas Jr., responded to a domestic dispute in the Grandview neighborhood.

A former city man is awaiting trial on homicide charges in connection with Sluganski’s death.

A bench bearing Sluganski’s name and image also was unveiled by Thomas and McKeesport police Lt. Bob Eastman, who responded to the same call.

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said the city wanted to honor Sluganski with an appropriate, permanent memorial, and felt renaming the dek-hockey would be appropriate, because of his love of hockey.

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Report: Min. Wage Hike Would Benefit Pa. Workers

February 03, 2024 |

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

A new report has shed light on who would benefit most in Pennsylvania from raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026.

More than 1.3 million workers would see higher paychecks, said report author Claire Kovach, a senior research analyst for the Keystone Research Center.

Pennsylvania’s minimum wage has been $7.25 per hour for more than a decade, and the state has lost significant buying power in that time. Kovach said the data analyzes the potential impact of a higher minimum wage based on demographics such as age, race, education, gender and industry.

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W.O. Council Adds 1-Mill Tax Increase

February 03, 2024 |

By T.J. Martin | Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak Borough Council made it official Thursday night, unanimously passing a 2024 budget with a 1-mill tax increase after previously passing a no-tax-increase 2024 budget.

In December, council passed a $6.48 million budget which contained no tax increase using approximately $892,000 from the borough fund balance. That left about $723,000 in the fund balance.

But in January, council voted to reopen the budget and consider a 1-mill real estate tax increase.

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Fight, Coach’s Resignation Top MASD Agenda

February 03, 2024 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Citizens withheld tears, shouted and questioned board members about the resignation of Amy Gumbert, McKeesport Area High School’s girls basketball coach during Thursday’s open agenda meeting.

Gumbert, a third-year coach who led the Tigers to the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals in her first two seasons, and her staff, which included her brother Eric Gumbert, have all been replaced.

“Coach Amy and Coach Eric have been in my life since I can remember,” sophomore Luciana Lewis said during Thursday’s hearing of citizens. “I knew I could go to either one of them when I needed someone to talk to. They are like family.”

“Amy and Eric have been one of the best coaches ever that I've had since fourth grade,” freshman Morgan McClung said. “They pushed us to the point where we become the best version of ourselves.”

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Residents, Leaders Sound Off on Rate Increase

February 01, 2024 |

By T.J. Martin | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Pennsylvania American Water Company acquired the assets of the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport in 2017. The company is proposing a rate increase for both sewer customers served by the McKeesport treatment plant as well as water customers in Liberty and West Mifflin. (Tube City Almanac photo illustration)

Residents in the Mon Valley took the opportunity to speak to representatives of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission this week at the first pair of public input hearings regarding a rate increase request by Pennsylvania American Water Company.

At a public hearing at the Port Vue municipal building, state Rep. Matthew Gergely of McKeesport called proposed rate increases to water and sewerage rates “extreme and unprecedented.”

About 50 people attended the hearing. Port Vue Councilman Bob Betters said he was also opposed to the proposed increase. Noting that PAWC said that it wants to make “infrastructure upgrades” as one of the reasons for a rate increase, Betters said, “You bought this junk car, you should have to fix it — not us.”

In 2017, PAWC purchased the assets of the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport and began providing sewage services to at that time 64,000 people in McKeesport, Duquesne, Dravosburg, White Oak, North Versailles, East McKeesport, Elizabeth, Glassport, Liberty, Port Vue and Versailles.

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U.S. Steel Settles Clean-Air Lawsuit for $45M

January 30, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: State & Region

Editor’s Note: This writer has a conflict of interest. He is a U.S. Steel Corp. stockholder.

David Masur of PennEnvironment addresses reporters at a press conference on Monday as David Meckel of Glassport holds a sign that says “No city is livable with dirty air.” (Screenshot via Zoom)

Environmental watchdog groups this week celebrated the filing of a consent decree that will see U.S. Steel pay more than $8 million in penalties and legal fees and another $19.5 million for improvements to the corporation’s Clairton coal by-products plant.

But advocates argued that the settlement — on top of $17.5 million worth of improvements already completed at Clairton Plant — will not compensate residents of Clairton, Glassport, Liberty Borough and other nearby communities for harm they have already suffered in the wake of a December 2018 accident at the facility.

“U.S. Steel spewed out roughly a month’s worth of sulfur dioxide pollution every three days, along with hydrogen sulfide and harmful small particulates,” said David Masur, executive director of PennEnvironment, on Monday during a press conference.

“Residents reported splitting headaches, uncontrollable asthma attacks and difficulty breathing,” he said. “It was so bad that the Allegheny County Health Department told local residents living downwind from the facility not to leave their homes.”

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DA Files Charges Against Century III Owner

January 30, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: State & Region

Water covers an entrance to Century III Mall in this 2018 photo. District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. called the abandoned West Mifflin shopping center “the poster boy” for blight in Western Pennsylvania. (Photo by Quackerkats via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution-Generic)

Calling it “something out of a disaster movie,” Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. on Tuesday announced that he will seek criminal charges against the owners of Century III Mall in an attempt to compel them to demolish the property or sell it.

“They clearly have no intention of doing anything with the property as it exists,” Zappala said at a press conference. “They have abandoned this property.”

Zappala said he is hoping that a hearing can be held within 60 to 90 days.

Separately, Zappala’s office went to an Allegheny County judge on Tuesday seeking a temporary restraining order against the mall’s owners.

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