Two Sentenced For Role in Cocaine Trafficking Ring

June 13, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Two city residents were sentenced to three years in federal prison for their role in a drug trafficking ring that also snared the former postmaster of West Newton.

Jeffrey Turner, 35, and April Racan, 37, also will face five years' probation following their release under the sentence handed down last week by U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab in Pittsburgh.

Federal prosecutors said that from 2011 and 2015, Racan and Turner acted as the local contact persons for an alleged drug dealer in Brownsville, Texas, Dante Lozano. Investigators allege that Lozano mailed dozens of packages of cocaine, weighing about 18 pounds total, to Racan and Turner in Elizabeth and McKeesport.

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Farmer's Market Has Room to Grow at Renzie

June 12, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Tony Kennon and daughter Maggie, age 7, of North Versailles Twp. inspect fabric art on sale Saturday at the first Renzie Farmer's Market. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Saturday morning's rain dampened --- but only slightly --- the first of 26 planned weekly farmer's markets behind fire station No. 2 at Renziehausen Park.

About 16 vendors selling fresh fruit and vegetables, flowering plants, crafts and jewelry greeted visitors from 9 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday, said two of the organizers, Joelle Harbert and Andi Cartwright, both of White Oak.

"Not everyone who planned to be here came out this morning, but I think this is a great turnout for the first day and I'm excited to see what comes in the next few weeks," Cartwright said.

This is the second year for the farmer's market, which was organized by Kelly Doyle and held last year at Heritage Hills Park in White Oak, Harbert said.

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McKeesport Knitters Pick Library Lawn for Saturday Celebration

June 08, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

It only takes a set of needles and "the ability to chatter" to participate in the worldwide event coming to McKeesport this Saturday.

That's the advice of Susan Paoletti of Glassport, one of the people planning to participate this weekend in "World Wide Knit in Public Day" on the lawn of the Carnegie Library of McKeesport. The event begins at 11 a.m. and will include a potluck lunch, and the public is welcome to attend, says Mary Rose Bendel, director of adult education and outreach for the library.

Number 10 or 11 needles --- available for $3 or $4 per pair at most craft stores --- are best, Paoletti says. Otherwise, she says, little else is needed to join in the fun.

"We have patterns and we have the yarn," says Paoletti, who learned to knit as a young girl and picked the hobby up again 10 years ago, when she retired from a career at Gimbels, Horne's, Lazarus and Macy's.

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City Events to Go Smoke Free in 2017

June 08, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport City Council has banned smoking, except in designated areas, at all organized events on public-owned property.

The measured passed Wednesday night by a 4-1 vote amends a previous ordinance that banned smoking at public playgrounds.

Council President Richard Dellapenna Jr. was absent due to a death in his family, while Councilwoman Jamie Brewster-Filotei was attending McKeesport Area High School's graduation ceremonies. Councilman Tim Brown participated in the meeting by phone.

Mayor Mike Cherepko said there have been complaints at McKeesport's Summer Concert Series about attendees smoking in the audience.

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Mayor Says Sewerage Authority Sale On Track, Value Up $6M

June 08, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Photo by Jeff Tomovcsik via Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport website.)

The sale of the sewerage authority serving McKeesport and 11 other municipalities is "on track," city Mayor Mike Cherepko said, despite rumors to the country.

In fact, the appraised value of the system has gone up from $156 million to $162 million. City Council last night by 5-0 vote approved an amended sales agreement at the new, higher value, and extending by 180 days the deadline for the deal to be completed.

In September, Pennsylvania-American Water Co. announced plans to purchase the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport, which serves 22,000 customers in southeastern Allegheny County and operates sewage treatment plants in the city's lower 10th Ward, Duquesne and Dravosburg.

The purchase is one of the first in Pennsylvania to be affected by Act 12, a law passed by the state General Assembly in 2016, that governs the takeover of publicly owned utilities --- such as sewerage authorities --- by private utility companies regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

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New Store Closings Spare (So Far) Mon-Yough Kmarts

June 07, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The Mon-Yough area's two remaining Kmarts are so far spared from the store closings being planned by their parent company.

Kmart stores at the corner of Route 30 and Route 48 in North Versailles Twp. and on Route 51 in Pleasant Hills are not on the list of closures sent Tuesday to employees of Sears Holdings Corp., which is declining comment to the media.

But Kmart stores in Rostraver Twp., Westmoreland County, and near Indiana and Butler, Pa., are being closed this year, likely before September, according to published reports.

The list obtained by media outlets indicates that Sears Holdings will close 16 Sears, Roebuck & Co. locations and 49 Kmart stores, including those three in Pennsylvania.

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Mistakes: I Made a Few

June 05, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

When I make mistakes, I try not to waste my time with little ones. I try to make sure they're really dumb ones.

On Friday, I received a press release from the Pennsylvania House Republican Caucus about a letter, sent to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, urging the SPC and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to prioritize construction of the Southern Beltway over the northern leg of the Mon-Fayette Expressway.

I quickly wrote up a story and posted it Friday night.

On Saturday, I got a text message: "You have state Rep. Brandon Neuman listed as a Republican. He's a Democrat." I was at a wedding reception (congratulations Kelly and Nick!) but whipped out my phone and checked.

Well, I had assumed that because the Republican Caucus sent the press release, all of the people signing the letters were Republicans. Nope: Sure enough, Rep. Neuman is a Democrat. That was dumb of me.

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Suspect Wanted in Connection With Homestead Bank Robbery

June 02, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A Mt. Oliver man is wanted in connection with the robbery of the PNC Bank at the Waterfront in Homestead.

Allegheny County police on Friday obtained a warrant for the arrest of David Payo, 52, on charges of robbery, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.

Police said that the PNC Bank located inside the Giant Eagle was robbed on May 27. After surveillance photos of the robbery suspect were posted on Facebook, police said, tips from the public identified Payo as a suspect.

Payo is described as white, 5-feet-9, weighing 205 pounds. Anyone with information is asked to call Allegheny County Police at (412) 473-3000.

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County, Local Officials to Cut Ribbon on New White Oak Playground

June 02, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements, White Oak News

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald will join other county and local officials on Saturday morning to cut the ribbon at a new playground in White Oak Park.

Located at the corner of Route 48 (Jacks Run Road) and McClintock Road, the new playground replaces an existing facility that was "antiquated," said a county spokeswoman.

The new playground includes updated equipment suitable for small children as well as teen-agers, plus new benches and waste recycling receptacles, and a new, shaded picnic area.

The ribbon-cutting at 10 a.m. is open to the public. White Oak Park is an 810-acre county-owned facility bordered by Lincoln Way and Route 48.


State Reps Urge Turnpike to Drop MFX Construction

June 02, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Above: The representatives who signed the letter are urging the Turnpike Commission to complete the unfinished sections of the Southern Beltway —- shown in purple and orange —- before completing the northern extension of the Mon-Fayette Expressway, shown in yellow. (Map courtesy Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission)

Correction: This story incorrectly stated the party affiliation of state Rep. Brandon Neuman and state Rep. Pam Snyder. They are Democrats. I apologize for the error.

A group of state representatives —- including Elizabeth’s Rick Saccone —- have written to the Greater Pittsburgh area’s regional planning commission urging it not to recommend completion of the Mon-Fayette Expressway.

Instead, the representatives —-9 Republicans, two Democrats --- say the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission should intensify its efforts to complete the so-called Southern Beltway (state Route 576) between Interstate 79 and Finleyville as quickly as possible.

About 6.5 miles of Route 576 in Findlay and Robinson townships, near Pittsburgh International Airport, is open, while another 13 miles is now under construction.

The letter to the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, signed by 11 members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, refers to the proposed 14 mile segment of Pennsylvania Route 43 from Jefferson Hills to Monroeville as a “road to nowhere.” It argues that completing the Mon-Fayette through West Mifflin, Duquesne, East Pittsburgh and Turtle Creek will do little to open old factory sites to redevelopment.

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