Remembering the 'McKeesport 23'

November 07, 2015 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements, Podcast

McKeesport has one of the earliest known U.S. monuments to soldiers, sailors and marines who died in the Vietnam War.

In 1966, following the deaths in Vietnam of four former members of what was then known as the McKeesport Boys Club, club founder Samuel LaRosa decided that those serving in Vietnam needed to be remembered. He erected a tablet outside the club with the names of the four fallen.

Before the end of the war in 1975, the names of 23 young men from McKeesport would be displayed on LaRosa's tablet.

Walt Yager, a longtime member and volunteer at what is now known as the LaRosa Boys and Girls Club, says he believes it was the first Vietnam memorial erected in the United States.

The "McKeesport 23" will be remembered with a tribute at 2 p.m. Nov. 14 at the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center in Renziehausen Park.

The event is open to the public, but organizers are especially hoping that families and friends of the 23 can attend, along with others who served in Vietnam.

This week on "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," we talked to two of the organizers, Yager and retired White Oak police Chief Joe Hoffman, about why they think so many men from the Mon Valley served, and what the Nov. 14 tribute symbolizes.

"Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" airs at 8:30 a.m. Fridays on WEDO (810), 8 a.m. Sundays on WZUM (1550), and at 3 p.m. Sundays on WMCK.FM.

. . .

 

ADVERTISEMENT: Support for "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes" comes in part from the McKeesport Hospital Foundation. Since 1976, the foundation has addressed key concerns that affect our good health, as well as our education, social needs, recreation, and safety and security. The foundation partners with UPMC McKeesport and other agencies to eliminate barriers to all services for all residents of the Mon Valley. Visit www.mckhospitalfoundation.com, or call (412) 664-2590.

 

Police Seek Suspect in Bystander's Death

November 07, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: News

Police are looking for an 18-year-old suspect in the shooting death of a man who was apparently struck by a stray bullet while driving in the city's East End.

Rashawn Walker (shown) is wanted for questioning in the death of James A. Ponzo, 73, of Glassport.

Ponzo was driving on East Fifth Avenue near the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge just before 3 p.m. Wednesday when two other cars entered the street, police said. The occupants of the two cars were shooting at each other.

Police believe Ponzo was struck by a stray bullet. His car then went out of control and struck another vehicle, injuring two people.

 
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| News

When Radio Went Bump in The Night

October 30, 2015 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: History

On Oct. 31, 2015, our Internet radio station, WMCK.FM, will present the famous Oct. 30, 1938, broadcast of "The War of the Worlds" as part of a special evening of old-time radio programs beginning at 5 p.m.

. . .

In the days before television, people listened to the radio in the evenings. In fact, as crazy as it seems, many of them even listened to a ventriloquist.

Edgar Bergen -- maybe best-known today as the father of actress Candice Bergen --- was one of America's most popular comedians in the 1930s and '40s. His "dummies," including mischievous, wisecracking Charlie McCarthy, were as famous and beloved as The Muppets today.

In 1938, Bergen and McCarthy were featured on a weekly, Sunday night hour-long variety show sponsored by Chase and Sanborn Coffee, and heard over NBC. The program was so popular that CBS, the major competing network, couldn't even find a sponsor for its show.

So, CBS countered with a series of hour-long plays produced by Orson Welles under the title, "The Mercury Theater of the Air."

At 8 p.m. Oct. 30, 1938, Edgar Bergen presented a Halloween-themed program called "The Haunted House," featuring singer Nelson Eddy and a short play called "There's Always Juliet" with Madeleine Carroll and Don Ameche.

In Pittsburgh, it was carried on WCAE (which later became WTAE), which was then at 1220 kHz AM.

WJAS, then at 1290 kHz AM in Pittsburgh, was the local CBS network affiliate. At 8 o'clock, Welles and his actors presented a play based on the 1898 novel by H.G. Wells (no relation) called "The War of the Worlds."

To spice things up, Welles and his actors moved the setting of Wells' novel up to their present day (1938) and made it sound like a 1938-style news broadcast.

. . .

All was well, apparently, until listeners of the Edgar Bergen "Chase and Sanborn Hour" tuned out when that show took a musical break.

In Pittsburgh, they turned their dials just a few spaces, from 1220 to 1290, and found Welles and his presentation of "The War of the Worlds." They were just in time to hear the actors, playing news broadcasters and eyewitnesses, giving the details of an invasion of Earth by Martians.

It should have been hard to mistake for a real news bulletin --- in fact, four times during the show, the CBS announcers explained it was fictional --- but thousands of people did reportedly make that mistake.

 
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Career Fair Tomorrow for Penn State Students, Alumni

October 28, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Current students and alumni who are looking for an internship or part-time, seasonal or full-time employment are invited to attend the 2015 Career and Internship Fair at Penn State's Greater Allegheny Campus in McKeesport.

The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday (Oct. 29) in the Wunderley Gymnasium. Attendees must wear business dress and bring a resume.

"This is a great opportunity for our students and alumni to network and market themselves," said Erica Clarke, career services coordinator/instructor in communications at Penn State Greater Allegheny. "They will have access to employees they otherwise may not get the chance to meet."

 
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Temporary Outage Knocks Out Westmoreland 911

October 27, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

An outage knocked out 9-1-1 service for some Westmoreland County residents this morning, said spokesmen for local emergency management agencies.

Service was restored by 11 a.m., though a spokesman for Sewickley Twp. emergency management said the lines may be "unstable."

In the event of a 9-1-1 outage in Westmoreland County, residents of North Huntingdon Twp. may call 724-863-8800 for assistance.

Other Westmoreland County residents who are having an emergency, but can't get through on 9-1-1, may call the backup number, 724-600-7358.

 

In Braddock, New Tenant at Free Press Building

October 27, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Courtesy Mon Valley Initiative

Studebaker Metals, a metal accessory and jewelry manufacturer, is the first commercial tenant in the recently renovated Free Press Buildings in Braddock, developed by the Mon Valley Initiative.

The business owners and community leaders will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. this Friday at the buildings, located at 534-538 Braddock Ave.

In attendance will be HUD Pittsburgh Field Office Director Jane Miller, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Braddock Council President Tina Doose, and Laura Zinski, chief executive officer of Mon Valley Initiative.

Business owners Michael Studebaker and Alyssa Catalano launched the company out of Studebaker's father's basement in nearby East Pittsburgh. They use traditional metalsmithing techniques, manipulating metals directly with hammers and anvils. The two had previously focused on selling their product wholesale, but had not considered having a retail element. This space made that possible.

But after receiving a large order, they realized they needed more space.

They moved into a warehouse space in Wilkinsburg but were still searching for another location for the business. The two recently bought a house in North Braddock, which is when they heard about the renovation of the Free Press Buildings and contacted Patrick Shattuck, MVI's real estate director.

While taking a tour of the space with Shattuck, Studebaker says he immediately fell in love. "The space, physically, is perfect," Studebaker said.

 
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Local Communities Post Halloween Schedules

October 26, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Courtesy clipartpanda.com

McKeesport's "Trick or Treat" hours are 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, said a spokesperson for the city Recreation Committee.

"Please drive extra carefully on that evening and let's do everything we can to insure the children enjoy a safe trick or treat evening," the spokesperson said.

Elizabeth Twp., Liberty Borough, North Versailles Twp., White Oak and Wilmerding also will hold trick or treat from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31.

In Dravosburg, Port Vue and West Mifflin, trick or treat hours are 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Dravosburg also will have a costume parade and contest for kids, beginning at 5 p.m. Oct. 31 at the borough building, 226 Maple Ave., near the Mansfield Bridge. Age groups are 0-2, 3-5, 6-8 and 9-12.

Duquesne will hold a Halloween party and parade at 4 p.m. Oct. 31 on Grant Avenue, near the parking lot of Duquesne Education Center, with trick or treating, prizes for the best costumes, and free safety light-sticks donated by McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service.

Port Vue's Halloween Parade is from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 31 at Romine Ave. Ballfield. Liberty's parade begins at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 31 at the corner of Scene Ridge and River Ridge roads.

In North Versailles, Rossi's Pop-Up Marketplace will host a Halloween parade at 11 a.m. Oct. 31 with free treats from some vendors.

 

Local Prof's Work Featured in Wired Magazine

October 21, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: News

Above: Lori Hepner's photographs are produced by programming spinning LEDs to flash based on the binary code of each character in a tweet. This photo used a tweet from pop star Miley Cyrus. (Courtesy Lori Hepner)


A professor at Penn State Greater Allegheny in McKeesport has had her work profiled recently in Wired magazine ... and it may soon be sent to the moon.

The article describes how Lori Hepner, associate professor of integrative arts, photographs images produced by programming "eight spinning LEDs [to] flash based on the binary code of each character in a tweet."

These ‘Twitter portraits’ are part of a series Hepner calls "Status Symbols."

According to the article, one of Hepner's photographs will be included in an art collection to be sent to the moon as part of Carnegie Mellon University's entry in the Google Lunar X competition.

 
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| News

Clairton, School District Join County's 'Live Well' Project

October 10, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Clairton is the latest Allegheny County community that's taking active steps to improve the health of residents.

City and Clairton School District officials this afternoon announced that they are joining the "Live Well Allegheny" project overseen by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and the county's health department.

The announcement was made during the 10th annual Clairton CommUNITY Day at the Clairton Education Center on Waddell Avenue. The event included a multi-activity children's area, food and drink, live entertainment, a bake sale and ethnic foods.

Live Well Allegheny was launched in January 2014 as a comprehensive strategy to encourage physical health, mental wellness, personal and community safety, prevention and preparedness, and much more.

The effort is being led by the Board of Health and Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker.

Clairton City School District has begun several healthy living initiatives including Breathe Pittsburgh and Grow Pittsburgh, a spokesperson said. The district is also hosting an asthma camp, participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, Adagio Power Up!, and Safe Routes to Schools Program. Future plans include the implementation of a Live Well Allegheny Field Day and a "drink more water" initiative.

The City of Clairton actively promotes a voluntary wellness campaign, wellness activities, an Annual 5K Run/Walk, bike and walking trails, healthy food options at community events and shares information on activities in the broader community. The city also plans to continue to work with Jefferson Hospital to improve the quality of life for all of its residents --- not only physical health, but financial empowerment and food security as well.

 
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Dead Man's Hollow Open House Slated Tomorrow

October 09, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Some trails open while other ones are closing. Dead Man's Hollow Conservation Area, located off Scene Ridge Road in Liberty Borough, will hold a trail open house and volunteer event from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 10).

Visitors are invited to hike the first completed stretch of the Cool Spirit Trail, which features sweeping switchbacks, a new bridge at a waterfall crossing and a great opportunity to enjoy fall foliage, a spokesman said.

Participants will learn why some trails are more sustainable than others as they help close off some older, steep sections of the trail and spruce up the Catfish Pond and the surrounding area before winter comes.

Visitors should wear long pants and sturdy work shoes. Pizza will be provided for lunch.

The event is sponsored by the Allegheny Land Trust and the Dead Man's Hollow Conservation Area.

Coming up on Oct. 23 from 6:30 to 9 p.m., visitors are invited to take a Halloween season "night hike" through the supposedly haunted industrial ruins of Dead Man's Hollow.

(Photo courtesy Allegheny Land Trust)

 

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