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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A Slow Email From China

June 01, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Commentary-Editorial

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.

Some people are skeptical of claims by American steel companies that Chinese companies are dumping steel pipe on the U.S. market. I've heard them say it's just American companies making excuses for being uncompetitive.

Would you believe that we here at Tube City Community Media get offers to buy steel pipe from China a couple of times per week? Here's one we got just this morning. The smiley face is a nice touch.

Notice that they're selling large-diameter, electric-resistance weld pipe --- exactly the kind of pipe that U.S. Steel was making in McKeesport, and which Dura-Bond Industries is soon going to start making again.

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Teen-Ager Charged in Death of His Infant Son

May 31, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport teen-ager has been charged with homicide after Allegheny County police accused him of suffocating to death his four-month-old son.

De-John Johnson, 16, was arrested this afternoon after the Allegheny County medical examiner's office ruled the death of Isaiah Brooks-Leonard a homicide.

He is being charged as an adult, county police Sgt. Scott Scherer said.

The Allegheny County medical examiner's office today said Isaiah Brooks-Leonard died of asphyxiation due to smothering. The incident happened at 3:43 a.m. Feb. 6 in a home in the 2400 block of Banker Street in the city, the medical examiner's office said.

Brooks-Leonard died a short time later at UPMC McKeesport hospital, the ME's office said.

Court officials said Johnson is awaiting a preliminary hearing in Pittsburgh Municipal Court on a single charge of criminal homicide.


Governor Tours McKeesport Mill: 'No One Beats' American Workers

May 31, 2017 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf talks to local and state officials during a tour of the McKeesport electric-resistance weld pipe mill recently purchased by Dura-Bond. From left, Jason Norris, president of Dura-Bond Industries (with back to camera); Wolf; McKeesport Mayor Mike Cherepko; state Sen. Jim Brewster; and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. (Submitted photo courtesy City of McKeesport.)

Editor's Note: This story was written from a recording of the tour.

The new owner of McKeesport's last remaining pipe mill last week told Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf that "the challenge is enormous" but Dura-Bond is committed to turning the facility around.

"We have a family ethic and we're here to create jobs and put people to work and, in turn, take care of the business, and hopefully the business will take care of us," said Jason Norris, president of Dura-Bond Industries Inc., who gave a tour on Friday to Wolf and other local and state officials.

A family owned, Westmoreland County-based company, Dura-Bond took ownership of the former U.S. Steel electric-resistance weld mill in December. The mill is not running yet but Dura-Bond is making the necessary repairs to put it back into operation, Norris said.

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Six Arrested in Saturday Morning Saloon Brawl

May 31, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Crime and Police News

At least six people were arrested after what police described as a "chaotic" brawl at a bar Saturday morning on Evans Avenue.

McKeesport police said a fight broke out at about 1:55 a.m. inside the Double S Saloon and spilled into the street.

As the first officers arrived, police said, at least 10 people were in the street, "fighting and throwing punches," with another 10 or more watching. One man was armed with a pool cue, police said.

Officers needed pepper spray to subdue two people, while another man was bitten by a K-9 officer and taken to UPMC McKeesport hospital for treatment, police said.

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