Corry Sanders has led "an exemplary life" since a 1993 felony conviction, an assistant district attorney told McKeesport officials earlier today, but he will be ineligible to serve on city council unless he is pardoned by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.
Angry residents on Monday night crowded McKeesport City Council chambers, many of them demanding that Sanders be allowed to take the seat to which he was elected in November.
But city council President Rich J. Dellapenna adjourned council's reorganization meeting, and two additional council meetings scheduled for this week have reportedly been cancelled, as McKeesport officials await the outcome of a likely hearing before an Allegheny County judge.
Sanders, a local businessman, was one of four people elected in 2015 to four vacant seats on city council, along with Tim Brown and incumbent council members Dellapenna and Keith A. Soles. But in January 1993, Sanders pleaded "no contest" to two felony drug charges, and according to Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr., that makes him ineligible to hold elected office in Pennsylvania.
Article II, Section 7 of the Pennsylvania constitition says that "no person hereafter convicted of embezzlement of public moneys, bribery, perjury or other infamous crime" is eligible to hold any "office of trust or profit" in the state.
"It is unfortunate that this situation has arisen, given the fact that Mr. Sanders has put his past indiscretions behind him and, by all accounts, lived an exemplary life since then," assistant Allegheny County district attorney Kevin F. McCarthy wrote Monday in a letter to McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko.
Sanders, who has served on unelected boards such as the McKeesport Downtown Business Authority, frequently speaks to school and church groups about how he has turned his life around.
The closure of the McKeesport Daily News is going to leave a void in our lives in many ways. One concern I’ve already heard expressed is the loss of our local obituary page.
Besides the obvious usefulness of obituaries in letting a community come together to grieve the loss of our friends and loved ones, obituaries also provide a useful service to genealogists and historians.
The following is a commentary. Commentaries represent the viewpoints of individual authors and are not those of Tube City Community Media Inc. or its directors.
The Daily News asked me for a few words about the paper's closing. Here's what I sent them:
. . .
A wise person once said that news is anything that people in authority don't want printed --- everything else is advertising.
So, it's a very bad day for democracy and for an informed community when any newspaper closes.
Very few cities of the size of McKeesport or Monessen have a daily newspaper any more. In fact --- much, much larger cities like Cleveland and New Orleans now have newspapers that only come out a few days per week.
So, on the one hand, the loss of newspapers such as the Daily News and Valley Independent is something happening all over the country.
But the problem is that when these local newspapers are closing or downsizing, nothing is replacing them.
The reason is that news coverage --- real news coverage, not just re-printing news releases or police reports --- is very, very expensive, and it's hard to make money in publishing on the Internet.
I still haven't figured out what I'm going to do when the Daily News closes. I have literally been reading the newspaper since I was old enough to read. I learned how to read from the Daily News' comics page of the 1970s --- "Nubbin," "The Smith Family," "Walt Disney's Scamp," and a bunch of other frankly terrible funnies better forgotten.
Tube City Community Media Inc. is in no way a "replacement" for the Daily News, but will be here to help.
Please send community announcements to email@example.com or leave a voice mail at 412-385-7450, and we will do our level best to get your announcement both on Tube City Online and WMCK.
Be patient; for now, we are all volunteers. That may change, but not soon.
We will have an announcement shortly about an obituary service we are launching next week, and we may do something similar for church news.
We have not given up on the McKeesport area, and we know thousands of others haven't, either. Mon Valley residents are tough, and stubborn. It isn't over until we say it's over.
If you haven't yet made plans for New Year's Eve, family and friends of a Monongahela area woman are hoping you'll join them for a party --- and to raise money for a good cause.
Elizabeth Twp.'s Sunset Room, located just off Lovedale Road, is hosting a benefit for Tiffany Fine on Thursday night from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. New Year's Day.
Fine, 32, is battling a brain tumor. The event is sponsored by the Seth Simon Foundation. People unable to attend Thursday night can also make contributions at a YouCaring page set up by the Simon Foundation.
Tickets are $60 for individuals or $400 for a table of 10. A limited number of seats are still available but reservations "absolutely, positively," must be made no later than Thursday morning, said Andi Cartwright, marketing and event coordinator for the Sunset Room. "Wednesday would be better. We have a lot of set-up to do."
Call (412) 667-1117 to reserve a seat.
The event will include live music from House of Soul, an 11-piece funk and R&B band led by sax player Calvin Stemley.
"It's a great band that's been around for 22 years," Cartwright said. "They have a big following, but they don't usually do a whole lot of gigs in our area, so we've been trying to bring them here for a while."
Allegheny County Councilman Charles Martoni, Swissvale Democrat who represents county council District 8, talks about the history of the Carrie Furnaces site during this morning's ribbon cutting. (Allegheny County photo via Twitter)
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Federal, county and state officials today joined Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald in celebrating the completion of the $14.5 million Carrie Furnace Flyover Bridge with a formal ribbon cutting.
The bridge connects the Rankin Bridge to the 168-acre brownfield along the Monongahela River by passing over three railway tracks and includes significant railroad crossing safety improvements. The completion of the flyover bridge marks a significant milestone in the site work and reclamation of the former steel yard.
The ramp represents a "significant step" in the redevelopment of part of the former Carrie Furnaces site because it offers direct access to more than 100 acres of flat, riverfront property, Fitzgerald said.
Allegheny County purchased the Carrie Furnace site in 2005 for $5.75 million. In 2006, Carrie Furnaces Nos. 6 and 7 were designated as a National Historic Landmark.
In the last decade, the county has completed environmental assessments of the property, finished design and engineering work needed to bring the site above the 100 year flood plain, and extended sanitary and storm water systems.
The Redevelopment Authority of Allegheny County, which has managed the project, plans to market the site as a flexible light industrial park that can accomodate offices or some manufacturing. The authority, which will solicit development proposals soon, predicts the site can accommodate 1,000 jobs over the first 10 years.
The ramp investments "were absolutely integral to the clean-up of this brownfield, and can be a boon to the surrounding communities as it begins to develop," Fitzgerald said.
(The editor of Tube City Almanac has a conflict of interest. Please see the editor's notes at the end of this article.)
Unionized employees at U.S. Steel's Mon Valley Works have an early Christmas present.
The company and the United Steelworkers yesterday reached a tentative three-year contract agreement covering 18,000 employees in 26 local unions at a dozen U.S. Steel facilities. The union has been working without a contract since the previous agreement expired Sept. 1.
The agreement covers employees of U.S. Steel's domestic flat-rolled facilities, which include the Clairton, Edgar Thomson and Irvin plants of the Mon Valley Works, as well as pipe-making and iron-ore mining operations. The tentative agreement remains subject to ratification, a process that the union said could take several weeks to complete.
"We are pleased that we have reached a tentative agreement in the best interest of our company, our stakeholders and our employees," U.S. Steel President and CEO Mario Longhi said.
The agreement, he said, "further supports the mutual success we have had with the USW" in restructuring U.S. Steel in the face of what he called "unfair trade that is significantly impacting our industry."
Opinions expressed at Tube City Almanac are those of individual authors, and not those of Tube City Community Media Inc., its directors or volunteers. Responsible replies are welcome.
. . .
McKeesport "has a newspaper graveyard of considerable proportions," wrote Walter Abbott and William Harrison in the 1894 book, "The First One Hundred Years of McKeesport."
And it's going to now be enlarged by one.
There is absolutely nothing positive I can say about yesterday's announcement that the Daily News will close on Dec. 31 after 131 years of service.
It is terrible. Horrible. Awful. Combined with the closure of Monessen's Valley Independent, it means 87 good people will lose their jobs through no fault of their own.
And to emphasize: It is not their fault. It is a result of forces much larger than either paper. In my opinion, it doesn't even say that much about the economics of the Mon Valley, or the economics of newspapering.
. . .
It also --- despite some of the negativity I saw yesterday on the Internet --- doesn't mean there is no hope for the McKeesport area.
(By the way: If you were on the Internet yesterday, and your first reaction to the news of the papers closing was to bash Obama, or blame Republicans, or to say "good, I hated those papers anyway" ... well, you might be a schmuck. And, to quote Dean Martin, "I cleaned that up.")
If the board of directors of Tube City Community Media Inc. didn't think there was hope for the McKeesport area, we wouldn't still be running Tube City Online, and we wouldn't have just launched an Internet radio station, WMCK.FM.