City Preparing Fireworks, Concert for Fourth

July 04, 2024 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Announcements

(Tube City Almanac photo)

McKeesport officials will do “everything we can” to close the Fourth of July with a bang, Mayor Michael Cherepko said Wednesday.

The annual fireworks display at Renziehausen Park is scheduled to begin at 9:45 p.m.

UPDATE: A spokesman said a planned concert by Jeff Jimerson and Airborne has been rescheduled to Sunday.

The National Weather Service in Moon Twp. is predicting “isolated showers” with a 30 percent chance of precipitations. Thunderstorms are expected to move into the area after 10 p.m.

“I’m not going to make a decision to cancel fireworks based on a forecast,” Cherepko said. “We will do everything we can to get fireworks (today). If it’s raining during the day we will probably hold them off until Friday night.”

Due to possible rain, today’s concert by Airborne has been rescheduled to 7 p.m. this Sunday at the bandshell. The next entry in the concert series sponsored by the city and the McKeesport Lions Club is the 1990s cover band The Clintones on July 14, followed by The New Pure Gold on July 21. Admission is free.

A complete schedule is available on the McKeesport Bands Facebook page.


Duquesne Officials Talk Police Vehicle, Paving

July 03, 2024 |

By Tom Leturgey | Posted in: Duquesne News

Duquesne police Chief Tom Shaw is hoping to bolster his department with a new-to-them police vehicle.

At this week’s council meeting, Shaw asked City Manager Douglas Sample, Mayor R. Scott Adams and council to investigate purchasing a used vehicle for officers to drive. He said a 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe currently in the fleet is becoming “too costly to repair.”

“Do we need this vehicle to supplement the fleet?” Adams asked.

Shaw notes that the department has two Ford Explorers that are “drivable” but two newer vehicles are constantly being used, he said. He wants to avoid using those vehicles too much.

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Education Bill Awaits Vote in State Senate

July 02, 2024 |

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

A bill to increase Pennsylvania public school funding by billions of dollars passed the state General Assembly and is awaiting a vote in the state Senate.

House Bill 2370 proposes more than $5 billion extra in funding for the next seven years. It has been referred to the state Senate’s education committee and has not been scheduled for a vote.

Aaron Chapin, president of the Pennsylvania State Education Association, a union representing more than 187,000 teachers and other school employees, said if the bill is signed into law, it would boost school funding and reflect critical elements of the Basic Education Funding Commission’s majority report.

PSEA strongly supported that report, which was released in January.

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State Secures $244M for Abandoned Mines

July 02, 2024 |

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

Editor’s Note: This story was written by Danielle Smith of Keystone State News Service with additional reporting from Tube City Almanac.

The state Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation received a national award for its cleanup work regarding approximately 27 acres of coal refuse piles in Cambria County, which posed multiple environmental threats to the area. (Photo courtesy state Department of Environmental Protection)

Pennsylvania will receive $244 million this year to clean up the pollution left over from decades of coal mining.

The money is part of $725 million in abandoned mine cleanup funding the Biden administration is providing to more than two dozen states. Pennsylvania has more abandoned coal mines than any other state in the country, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection. About 1.4 million Pennsylvanians live within one mile of an abandoned mine.

The most recent funding is the third installment of more than $11 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for cleaning up environmental hazards and pollution by past coal mining operations, aligning with President Joe Biden’s environmental justice initiatives.

“Remediation of abandoned mine lands is critical for the health, safety, and well-being of communities across Pennsylvania,” said Jessica Shirley, acting state secretary of environmental protection. “With this federal funding, we will be able to continue this vital work that protects public health and safety, and put reclaimed land to good use with eligible economic development initiatives.”

According to the state Department of Environmental Protection, more than 5,000 miles of streams in Pennsylvania are impacted by acid mine drainage from abandoned mining sites. Toxic chemicals from mines can harm water sources and result in issues like erosion, DEP said.

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Two Named in Case Lament Lack of Openness

July 02, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Correction: Carmine Bloise Jr.’s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story. We regret the error.

McKeesport has added a page to its website to explain the Right-to-Know Law, as well as a form for requesting information. (Screenshot)

Related Story: City Chastised for Right-to-Know Practices

Two of the people named in a state Open Records office ruling that criticized McKeesport’s handling of requests under the Right-to-Know Law said the city can — and should — do better.

Documentary filmmaker Carmine Bloise Jr., who is collecting police procedure manuals for a project he has been working on for two years, said McKeesport’s procedures for handling such requests were the “worst I’ve ever seen.”

“I thought it was crazy, but apparently it’s a pattern,” Bloise said in an interview. “I do a lot of a right-to-know requests. It’s pretty typical that you don’t get a response. But this is the worst I’ve ever seen. I was astonished.”

In a ruling released last week, the state’s Open Records office cited 10 cases where residents, members of the media, or businesses asked for documents from McKeesport officials.

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City Criticized for Right-to-Know Practices

July 02, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Related Story: Two Named in Case Lament Lack of Openness

The state agency overseeing access to public records last week issued a scathing report, accusing McKeesport officials of failing to respond to requests for information from members of the media, the general public and commercial businesses.

But city officials said they have responded, and that they have made changes to accommodate a right-to-know process that they argued itself is flawed and sometimes onerous.

In an strongly worded ruling, Catherine Hecker of the state Office of Open Records suggested that the city has opened itself up to civil penalities or sanctions for allegedly ignoring requests from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, KDKA-TV, private companies that specialize in real-estate records, and former McKeesport Area school director Joe Lopretto, who ran for mayor in 2023.

The ruling covers 10 such cases. The Open Records office cannot levy fines or penalties against a municipality. But Hecker wrote that she believes “a judicial finding of bad faith by a reviewing court would be appropriate here.”

Read the Ruling (PDF)

City Solicitor J. Jason Elash said that Hecker’s ruling was “disappointing” and that McKeesport officials have not engaged in any efforts to withhold public information.

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Friends of Norwin Library Holding Used Book Sale

June 24, 2024 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The Friends of the Norwin Public Library will hold their annual “Buy the Bag” book sale this week at the library, 100 Caruthers Lane, Irwin, a spokesperson said.

Bags of used books will be sold for $5. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.


W. Newton Church Holding Hoagie Sale

June 24, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

West Newton First Church of God, 157 N. Second St., is holding a hoagie sale to raise funds for its upcoming mission trip. Hoagies will be available on July 20 for $10. Telephone orders will be taken at (724) 872-7467 and hoagies may be picked up in the afternoon. Leftover hoagies will be sold at Ace Hardware and Rite-Aid, a spokesperson said.


Portion of Route 48 Closed for Wall Replacement

June 24, 2024 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

A portion of Route 48 in Elizabeth Twp. will be closed through late August so that a wall can be replaced, the state Department of Transportation has announced.

Crews from A. Liberoni, Inc., are replacing a section of wall between Finney Road and West Smithfield Street and the road must be closed around the clock, a district spokesman said.

Additional work includes roadway and shoulder reconstruction, PennDOT said. Traffic will be detoured via West Smithfield Street and Finney Road.


EA School Board OK’s Budget, 1-Mill Tax Increase

June 24, 2024 |

By T.J. Martin | Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News

East Allegheny School Board has adopted a final 2024-25 school year budget which includes the first real estate tax increase in the district in more than a decade.

The increase, however, is slightly smaller than that in the preliminary budget approved last month and unlike that budget, the final budget doesn’t add to the district’s overall budget deficit of more than $5 million.

The final budget has $46.24 million in both revenues and expenditures, according to Director of Fiscal Services Toni Valicenti. The budget was approved 8-0 with board member Macey Kinard absent.

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