West Newton Library Plans Book Sale

August 30, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

West Newton Public Library will hold its fall book sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 8 and 9 at the historic John Plumer House on South Water Street in the borough.

A spokesman said there are four rooms "packed with books" and that visitors can fill a bag with books for $5.

For more information, contact the library at (724) 633-0798.


Christy Park UM Church Schedules Upcoming Events

August 30, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Christy Park United Methodist Church, 29th Avenue at Beale Street, has scheduled a number of upcoming events, a spokeswoman said.

  • "Kids' Kitchen" will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 6. All kids are invited to come and help bake cookies for the upcoming pancake breakfast.
  • A pancake breakfast will be held from 8 a.m. to 12 noon Sept. 9, with bake sale. Proceeds benefit the church and its activities. 
  • A barbecue dinner will be held from 2 to 6 p.m. Oct. 7, featuring sauces prepared by McKeesport's own BBQ Stu Wilson.

For more information, about the church, call (412) 678-3110 or visit the Facebook page.

(Photo courtesy Christy Park United Methodist Church, via Facebook)


West Mifflin Man Pleads Guilty in Fraud Case

August 30, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A West Mifflin man who once ran one of the largest mortgage brokerage businesses in the Pittsburgh area pleaded guilty this week in federal court to conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud.

James Nassida, 49, faces up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine, said Soo C. Song, acting U.S. Attorney in Pittsburgh, in a prepared statement.

Sentencing before Senior U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose has been scheduled for Jan. 10, a spokeswoman said.

Nassida and his sister, Janna Nassida, were convicted in 2016 of conspiring to submit fraudulent mortgage applications through their business, Century III Home Equity in Baldwin.

But James Nassida was granted a new trial earlier this year after Ambrose concluded that his attorney had fallen asleep numerous times during the first trial, denying him of his right to legal representation.

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Chief: New Fire Engines Will Make City Department More Efficient

August 30, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Above: McKeesport fire Chief Jeff Tomovscik and firefighter Jay Pravdica pose with a new fire engine added to the city's department. The city has also purchased a new ladder truck. Tube City Almanac photo.)

If you're a car buff, a 500-horsepower, 12-liter engine sounds pretty impressive. (That's about 732 cubic inches, for those of us who don't speak metric.)

But when you put it into a 52,000-pound vehicle, such as a fire truck carrying a 78-foot-long steel ladder, "it's working pretty hard," says Jeff Tomovscik, McKeesport fire chief, about one of the two new trucks recently added to the city department.

Purchased with the assistance of the federal Community Development Block Grant program, Tomovcsik says the new ladder truck and fire engine are safer, carry better equipment and are designed to fight fires more efficiently than the 1998-vintage equipment they replace.

"As well as they served the city, (the 1998 trucks) were becoming very problematic mechanically, and getting expensive to service," he says. "These trucks take a beating. We're a busy department with tight roads and a lot of hills."

In theory, better equipment also helps improve the ISO, or Insurance Services Office, fire suppression ratings for the city, which can lower insurance costs for all property owners.

The McKeesport department, whose two stations are staffed 24 hours a day by paid firefighters, answers roughly 1,400 calls per year, including 25 to 40 residential fires, Tomovcsik says.

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'Fun Walk' Benefits Programs for Kane Center Residents

August 25, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The sixth-annual Joan Burns "Fun Walk 4 Kane" gets underway at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 16 at Kane Regional Center in McKeesport, 100 Ninth Ave. at Water Street.

The first 100 people to register get a T-shirt, a spokeswoman said. Prizes will be awarded throughout the day.

All proceeds benefit the Kane Foundation, a non-profit charity which provides special events and extracurricular activities for residents of Allegheny County's four Kane skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers. The other three are in Pittsburgh's Glen Hazel neighborhood, as well as Scott and Ross townships.

The walk is named for retired McKeesport Area teacher Joan Burns, a Kane volunteer and one-time resident who died in 2013 at age 59.

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New Superintendent Begins 'Comprehensive Study' of School District

August 24, 2017 |

By Mary Shelly | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport Area School District's new superintendent has begun a "comprehensive study" of the system.

At this month's school board meeting, Mark Holtzman Jr. told school directors that he and Tia Wanzo, assistant to the superintendent, are interviewing people in leadership roles, including labor union representatives, central office administrators and building principals.

"We're going to survey all of our teachers and support staff in our district, asking for feedback on some of the major departments, (and) how the schools operate,” said Holtzman, formerly the district's director of secondary education and teacher evaluation, who began his new role July 1.

This process is an effort to gather the core values of every school in the district. From the interviews and surveys, the board will be asked to “generate initiatives for the next five years,” Holtzman said.

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27 Mon-Yough Residents Charged in Federal Drug Investigations

August 24, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Crime and Police News

More than 20 people from the Mon-Yough area have been arrested in connection with drug trafficking in Allegheny and Washington counties after a federal grand jury returned two indictments this week.

Three of the suspects named in the indictments remain at large. Eighteen of the people charged are from Clairton.

The indictments were unsealed Thursday.

In all, 27 people have been charged in connection with two separate, but related investigations into trafficking of cocaine, heroin and illegally obtained prescription narcotics, said Acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song in a prepared statement.

The investigations were conducted by the FBI, Pittsburgh and Allegheny County police and the Allegheny County sheriff's department, and funded by the federal Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force Program, Song said.

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Federal Grand Jury Indicts City Man on Heroin, Fentanyl Charges

August 23, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport man has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of violating federal drug laws.

The one-count indictment, returned Tuesday in Pittsburgh, charges Michael Henry, 35, with conspiracy to distribute heroin and the prescription drug fentanyl, a narcotic pain reliever.

In a prepared statement, acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song said that the indictment is a product of a 12-month investigation into drug trafficking in Allegheny, Beaver and Butler counties conducted by the FBI's Greater Pittsburgh Safe Streets Task Force, which includes officers from the Allegheny County, Pittsburgh and Wilkinsburg police departments, the Allegheny County sheriff's department  and state agencies.

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Renzie Expansion Underway as Officials Make Pitch for RAD Money

August 23, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Lake Emilie in Renziehausen Park. Tube City Almanac file photo)

McKeesport officials went to Allegheny County's Regional Asset District this week to plead their case for additional funding for Renziehausen Park.

On Monday, city Administrator Tom Maglicco and Jen Vertullo, assistant to Mayor Mike Cherepko, requested from the RAD board approximately $724,000 toward operating expenses at the park, as well as $225,000 toward capital improvements to parking areas and repairs at the park's seven pavilions.

The operating expense request is a 3 percent increase over the current Allegheny County RAD allocation of $703,000. Maglicco said the city requested the increase to cover inflationary expenses.

"We try to stress to the RAD board that Renzie is a regional asset for all of the Mon Valley in Allegheny County," he said. "We want people to use our facilities and draw people into our city and our community."

Separately, the city has received $200,000 to expand Renzie into the so-called Palkovitz property on Eden Park Boulevard behind the Pennsylvania Coach Lines school bus garage.

The money, from the county's Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund, will be used to extend Renzie's fitness trail and to add a dog park, said A.J. Tedesco, McKeesport community development director.

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Detours Planned in 2019 When Jerome Bridge Gets $13M Rehabilitation

August 22, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Work will begin in 2019 on a $13 million, year-long rehabilitation of the Jerome Street Bridge.

Yasmeen Manyisha, a spokeswoman for state Department of Transportation District 11, said rehabilitation of the 761-foot-long, four-lane bridge will be paid for with a combination of state and federal funding.

PennDOT and Federal Highway Administration officials offered an overview of rehabilitation plans for the bridge last week during a public hearing at the Palisades Ballroom.

The Jerome Street Bridge serves as the main entry to Downtown McKeesport from the west and connects West Fifth Avenue with Lysle Boulevard. It crosses the Youghiogheny River, the CSX Railroad and River Road, as well as the McKees Point Marina and the Great Allegheny Passage hiking-biking trail.

At this time, detour plans call for one lane of eastbound traffic into Downtown to be maintained throughout construction, Manyisha said, but westbound traffic --- toward 10th Ward --- will be detoured. One sidewalk on the bridge will remain open at all times, she said.

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