For the 16th consecutive year, workers from the Allegheny County Health Department are placing rabies vaccine baits in an attempt to curb the spread of the disease.
Now through Aug. 11, more than 300,000 of the baits are being distributed across the county by health department employees on foot and in vehicles, said Melissa Wade, health department spokeswoman.
The baits are specifically designed to be eaten by raccoons and inoculate them with the rabies vaccine, Wade said. Residents should confine their pets to their property or keep them on leashes, she said. Although the rabies baits are not harmful to dogs and cats, county officials want them to be eaten by raccoons --- not pets.
The department is also asking the public to make a special effort to bring any food indoors that raccoons might eat, and to make sure that garbage containers kept outdoors have secure lids.
It also produces a weekly 30-minute podcast, "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," available from iTunes and other services, and which is heard Sunday morning on WEDO (810) in McKeesport and WZUM (1550) radio in Braddock.
Members of the board of directors for 2017-18 are Alycia Bencloski, Andi Cartwright, Doug Goffus, Bob Janis, Dan Malesky, Mike Mauer, Judy Rosenfeld, Tom Schroll Jr., Jennifer Sopko, Chris Stillwell and Jason Togyer.
Goffus was elected chair of the board, Sopko was elected secretary and Bencloski was elected treasurer, said Togyer, who also serves as executive director.
Nominations are still being accepted for the annual "Women of Achievement" Awards, presented by the Mon River Fleet.
A spokesperson said that the deadline for the awards has been extended until Aug. 11.
The annual Mon River Fleet Women of Achievement Awards Dinner recognizes and honors Women of Excellence in their field for outstanding contributions that have impacted the Mon Valley region through their integrity and compassion for all, the spokesperson said.
All proceeds benefit the State Health Improvement Plan, or "SHIP," initiatives in Braddock, Clairton, Duquesne, McKeesport and surrounding communities within the Mon Valley.
The fleet partners with more than 300 member agencies located in the Mon Valley to offer programs and services that concentrate on the well-being and needs of residents.
Mon-Yough area residents --- especially those who care for small children and who live in homes or apartments built before 1978 --- are being encouraged to get their homes inspected for lead paint hazards under a free program being offered by ACTION-Housing.
Lu Ethel Nesbit, who administers ACTION's McKeesport Weatherization office, said the Lead-Safe Homes program will help up to 175 families in Allegheny County identify and cope with lead paint hazards in their homes.
Lead was commonly used as a pigment in residential paints. Although lead paint has been banned for residential use since 1978, more than 90 percent of the houses in McKeesport were built before that ban took effect, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
McKeesport police are seeking the person or persons who shot two young men Tuesday night in the 1100 block of Washington Street.
The shooting happened not far from where residents were marking "National Night Out," a yearly event designed to improve cooperation between police and the community.
Police said in a prepared statement that officers were called at 7:30 p.m. for a report of "several shots fired" and two victims, ages 17 and 20, were found wounded. Neither is suffering life-threatening injuries.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at (412) 675-5015.
Listen: Jamie Holmes is our guest this week on "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes." The show airs Sundays at 8 a.m. on WEDO (810) and WZUM (1550) and at 3 p.m. on Internet radio station WMCK.FM. It's also available as a free podcast from our website.
In 2005, a 17-year-old who had just graduated from McKeesport Area High School started a charity with the help of her grandma's checkbook.
Last year, Jamie's Dream Team raised nearly $400,000 to provide help to children and families in serious need. More than 3,000 people have benefited from Jamie's Dream Team since its inception, Holmes says.
"We've grown fairly quickly," she says. Although the charity remains based in the McKeesport area, it now serves families anywhere in the United States. "Where the money is raised is where the money stays," Holmes says. "If we get a request from North Carolina, we try to raise the money there."
The charity is presently trying to raise $52,000 to send 10 families to Walt Disney World in Florida and to help raise funds will hold a fishing derby Aug. 12 at Twin Lakes Park just east of Greensburg. Contestants will be able to compete for cash prizes as well as gift cards, Holmes says.
The Mon Valley is at the forefront of a new industry that will be as transformative for the rest of the world as the steel industry was a century ago, state Sen. Jim Brewster said Thursday.
At a groundbreaking ceremony on the site of the former U.S. Steel National Works, Brewster called PurePenn's new medical cannabis production and research facility "a beacon of hope" for both the region and patients around Pennsylvania.
"Don't let the naysayers drag you down," Brewster told a crowd of more than 200 gathered in the RIDC Industrial Center of McKeesport, where PurePenn is purchasing five acres of property, with an option to purchase five more. "We can do almost anything in the Mon Valley --- you should believe that."
Afterwards, many in the crowd joined the hundreds of people who lined up outside the Palisades Ballroom to apply for one of the 25 jobs that PurePenn needs to fill.
Gabe Perlow, the company's chief executive officer, said operations will begin by Dec. 20.
I opened our mailbox recently to find a very pleasant surprise.
Along with a $324.00 bill to our Internet radio station, WMCK.FM, from one of the music licensing agencies, there were four donations from Finney Funeral Homes on behalf of families whose loved ones' obituaries recently appeared on our sister website, McKeesportObituaries.com.
This message is to thank Finney Funeral Homes and their staff and employees, includng owner and funeral director Scott M. Finney; licensed funeral directors Cynthia L. Finney and Edward C. Finney; and office manager Kathy DeMarco, for their continued support of our efforts to build a non-profit, community journalism website for the McKeesport area.
We do not ask funeral directors to pay to post obituaries --- it's done free of charge, as a public service to the community --- but donations from the Finneys are helping to sustain that service.
Fireworks will wrap up the first night of McKeesport's 58th International Village, Aug. 15, 16 and 17 in Renziehausen Park.
Mike "Mikey Dee" Dorich, entertainment coordinator for the festival, released the entertainment schedule this week.
Dancing will be provided in the Jakomas Blue-Top Pavilion each night from 5 to 9 p.m. Scheduled to appear are the Balkan variety band Harmonia (above) on Tuesday, the kolos and czardases of the Gipsy Stringz (below) on Wednesday, and polkas with Johnny Koenig on Thursday.