Former Duquesne Mayor Bids Farewell, Predicts 'Things Will Be Good' for Successor

January 05, 2018 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: Duquesne News

The swearing-in of new Duquesne Mayor Nickole Nesby this week marked the end of Phil Krivacek's 18 years in that office.

Krivacek previously worked for the city as a firefighter and as city clerk for 14 years. Before becoming mayor, Krivacek served as school board president for six years and as a city council member for five years.

The former mayor called himself "fortunate to work with a lot of people who have done their job well.

“I’ve been here all my life and there are a lot of good people in this town that do a lot of good things,” Krivacek said. “I’m sure Mayor Nesby and her incoming council will do great working together for Duquesne and those who live here. Things will be good.”

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Bitter Cold Prompts Shelter Announcements, School Closings

January 04, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(National Weather Service graphic)

McKeesport Area, Clairton, East Allegheny and South Allegheny schools are closed on Friday as bitterly cold temperatures descend on the Mon-Yough region.

The districts, along with Serra Catholic High School and Mary of Nazareth Catholic School, announced closures on Thursday night, though staff in McKeesport Area will be required to report for a so-called "Act 80" in-service day.

According to the National Weather Service in Moon Twp., the Mon-Yough area will be spared the worst of the blizzard that is bearing down on the New York City area. McKeesport can expect "little or no snow accumulation" over the next few days.

But the winds, and the wind chill, are a different story. The weather service has predicted a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit in McKeesport at 6 a.m. Friday, with winds between 13 and 26 mph that will make the temperature feel like -18 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Resident, 86, Says City's People Are 'Wonderful'

January 04, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Hall Park resident George Mushalko told McKeesport City Council on Wednesday that he's tired of hearing the community be disparaged by the media. (Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

McKeesport resident George Mushalko gave a passionate defense of his hometown on Wednesday night with the vigor and spirit of someone much younger than his own 86 years.

One of five people presented with citations on behalf of the McKeesport Message Committee, Mushalko took objection to only one thing --- Mayor Michael Cherepko's characterization of him as the "epitome" of a caring person.

"I don't think I'm the epitome of a caring person because I've met a lot of wonderful people in McKeesport," said Mushalko, who was honored for upholding the value of "Respect."

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Cold Weather Adds to Fire Calls, Concerns About Space Heaters

January 03, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Photo courtesy Your Best Digs, licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0).)

Bitterly cold weather has led many people to use space heaters to supplement their regular furnace or boiler. But the American Red Cross and local fire officials are warning that those devices can be dangerous.

"We do see a lot of people overloading circuits using space heaters," McKeesport fire Chief Jeff Tomovcsik says. "It's a general cause of fires this time of year. We also see Christmas tree fires this time of year, too. It's a busy time of year for us."

Dan Tobin, regional spokesman for the American Red Cross in Pittsburgh, says the Western Pennsylvania Region of the agency last year assisted 4,000 people in 1,700 disasters over the past 12 months, and most of them were house fires.

Heating equipment fires are the second-leading cause of house fires, Tobin says, and are responsible for about 19 percent of deaths in residential fires.

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White Oak Council Sworn In, Elects New President

January 03, 2018 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: White Oak News

(All photos: Special to Tube City Almanac by Vickie Babyak.)

White Oak councilmembers and Mayor Ina Jean Marton were sworn in during a special meeting at the borough building on Tuesday night.

Above, Magisterial District Judge Thomas Miller is shown preparing to administer the oath of office to newly elected Councilman George Dillinger, returning Councilman Kenneth Robb, new Councilman Sean Robb and Marton.

Council elected Councilman David Pasternak to serve as president, Councilman Kenneth Robb to serve as vice president and Dillinger to serve as president pro tem.

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Blaze Heavily Damages Versailles Ave. Home, Second Also Affected

January 02, 2018 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A fast-moving New Year's Day fire has likely destroyed a home in the 3000 block of Versailles Avenue and caused some damage to a neighboring structure.

Five people were displaced by the blaze, according to the American Red Cross.

McKeesport fire Chief Jeff Tomovcsik said a resident of the home called 9-1-1 to report the blaze at 6:54 p.m. Monday. When the first units arrived at the brick, single-family home near the corner of Versailles and Freemont, the first floor was fully engulfed by fire, the chief said.

"It didn't take long before it spread to the second floor," Tomovcsik said. The volume of fire on the first floor slowed firefighters' progress for some time before they could enter the house, he said.

Extremely cold temperatures also made fighting the fire difficult, Tomovcsik said. According to the National Weather Center in Moon Twp., temperatures dropped to 6 degrees Monday night, with a windchill of -11.

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City, County Post Christmas Tree Recycling Instructions

December 29, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

It's only the fifth day of Christmas, but if your true love says your Christmas tree is losing its needles and becoming less than attractive, you may be looking for a place to recycle it already.

McKeesport and Allegheny County both have solutions.

City residents may drop off natural Christmas trees --- not artificial ones --- behind the Number 2 fire station in Renziehausen Park, said a spokeswoman for Mayor Michael Cherepko.

The trees must be stripped of any lights and decorations. The old trees are ground up for mulch and used in city parks and playgrounds, the spokeswoman said.

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White Oak Council OK's Budget, Accepts Resignation

December 29, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak council has passed the borough's 2018 budget with no tax increase --- but with the caveat that it may re-open the spending plan next month.

And they did so without Council President Ron Massung, who resigned from borough council after 26 years.

At a special meeting Thursday, council voted 6-0 to accept the $5.4 million budget, which fixes real estate taxes at 6.66 mills. Borough Manager John Palyo said the total spending plan is roughly the same as the 2017 budget.

But, Palyo said, with new council members being seated on Jan. 2, they may exercise their prerogative to re-open the budget. Under the state's borough code, they would have until Feb. 15 to do so.

"Being a reorganization year, the new council is going to want to look at everything that has been proposed," Palyo said.

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Proposed Hotel in Old Westinghouse 'Castle' Gets $1M Boost

December 28, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

The developer of a proposed luxury hotel in the former Westinghouse Air Brake Co. "castle" in Wilmerding will receive $1 million in state assistance toward the rehabilitation of the site.

The grant, from the state's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, was announced Thursday by state Sens. Jim Brewster of McKeesport and Joe Markosek of Monroeville.

“The repurposing of the Westinghouse Castle is a signature project that will generate local economic activity and create jobs," Brewster said in a prepared statement.

Empty since 2009, the so-called "castle" on a clearing near the corner of Marguerite Avenue and Bluff Street was built in 1896 on the site of the previous WABCO offices, which were destroyed by fire.

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Rabid Cat in Wilmerding Prompts Health Department Warning

December 28, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Allegheny County Health Department has issued a warning to residents of the Wilmerding area after a cat suffering from rabies was found in the 400 block of Orient Avenue.

“We strongly urge all residents to avoid any kind of contact with a wild or stray animal, particularly those in Wilmerding, where the rabid cat was found,” Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the health department, said in a statement. “If any animal appears to be acting strange or becomes threatening, residents should notify their local animal control service, the police or the Pennsylvania Game Commission immediately.”

A woman who was scratched by the cat has been referred for treatment, Hacker said. The cat also was exposed to other animals, including pets, in the Wilmerding area.

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