Former Postmaster Gets Jail Time in Connection With Drug Shipments

April 10, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News

The former postmaster of West Newton has been sentenced to four years in federal prison after pleading guilty to conspiring with a drug trafficking ring out of Texas.

Joseph Borrelli, 49, of Glassport also was sentenced last week by U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab to five years of supervised release following his prison term, acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song said.

At trial, prosecutors said that Borrelli helped Dante Lozano of Brownsville, Texas, by providing addresses of vacant houses in Westmoreland County that were served by the West Newton post office.

Lozano would then mail packages of cocaine to those addresses, said investigators, who believe that between 2011 and 2015, dozens of packages totalling 18 pounds of cocaine were shipped into the Pittsburgh area that way.

When the packages to the West Newton area couldn't be delivered and were rerouted to Borrelli, prosecutors said he would deliver them to Jeffrey Turner, 36, and April Racan, 38, formerly of McKeesport and Elizabeth, for sale.

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New Zoning Ordinance Presents 'Vision' of City

April 10, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A complete overhaul of McKeesport's zoning ordinance represents a vision of what the city could look like in the future.

One of the biggest changes is a newly created zoning district along the Monongahela River waterfront that allows single-family homes and townhouses like those at Homestead's Waterfront development.

On Wednesday, city council by an 7-0 vote adopted the 139-page comprehensive zoning ordinance, which is the outgrowth of a planning process begun in August 2013 with help from what was then called the Twin Rivers Council of Governments.

"This is really about envisioning what the city is going to look like after we're all gone, 20, 30, 40 years from now," Mayor Mike Cherepko said Wednesday. "This is designed to help us market the city."

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Man Dead After Alleged Abduction, Police Standoff

April 05, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport man is dead after what Allegheny County police are describing as a standoff following an abduction.

Andre Williams Jr., 20, died this morning in Swissvale after county police said he shot himself in the head with a handgun, said the Allegheny County medical examiner's office, which will perform an autopsy.

Allegheny County police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said in a prepared statement that the county homicide unit is investigating and would like to speak to anyone with information about the incident. Investigators may be reached at (412) 473-1300.

Police said the incident began just after 2 a.m. in Pittsburgh's Homewood neighborhood when callers to Allegheny County 9-1-1 reported a violent domestic dispute was in progress in a home there.

Pittsburgh police arrived and determined that a 19-year-old woman and her infant child had been abducted, county police said. Pittsburgh police notified Swissvale police that a Ford Explorer believed to be involved in the incident may have headed to their borough.

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'Cinderella' to Take Stage at McKeesport Area High School

April 05, 2017 |

By Mary Shelly | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

McKeesport Area High School will showcase Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" beginning Thursday in the high school auditorium.

Shows begin at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, Friday and Saturday, with an additional 2 p.m. matinee Saturday. 

Tickets are $5 for students and senior citizens, and $10 for adults. 
To help ease the crowd, patrons will not be able to select their seats for tickets purchased the night of the performances.

During the performances there will be a Chinese auction, a 50/50 raffle, as well as flowers to buy for the performers and a general concession. 

Since January, the cast, musicians and crew have practiced nearly every day after school, dedicating just over three months of work leading up to their performances. 

"Although I have been involved with the musical for the past six years as program designer and photographer, this is my second year in the role of producer," says MAHS staff member Carolyn Carreiro, co-producer with director Tina Stewart.

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Home's 'Deplorable' Condition Lands Child in Protective Custody

April 03, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Crime and Police News

An infant is in foster care after McKeesport police responding to a reported heroin overdose discovered the child living in what officers described as "deplorable" conditions.

According to an incident report, McKeesport Ambulance Rescue Service paramedics and city police were dispatched to a home on Banker Street at 9:39 a.m. March 12 for a suspected overdose. When they arrived, paramedics were able to revive the overdose victim, 20, with a dose of the antidote Narcan.

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Carnegie Library of McKeesport Posts April Activities

April 03, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Book clubs, the return of "Wise Walks" and daytime movies are a few of the activities scheduled for April at Carnegie Library of McKeesport, a spokeswoman announced.

Activities are at the main library, 1507 Library Ave., unless otherwise noted. For more information, call (412) 672-0625 or visit

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Casino Night Will Benefit Port Vue 'Bark Park'

March 30, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Supporters of Cindy's Memorial Bark Park will hold a "Casino Night" Saturday (April 1) to raise money for the new dog-friendly facility on Romine Avenue in Port Vue.

The event will be held at the Vigilant Hose Co. hall, 1800 Romine Ave., a spokeswoman said. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door, and proceeds benefit Cindy's Memorial Bark Park.

Food, beer and mixers are included, but visitors should bring their own wine or spirits. A cash prize will be awarded based on the tickets.

For more information, call Kelsey at (412) 328-4805.


Our Proposal for the New Mt. Washington Sign

March 30, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Editorial Cartoons

"A Pittsburgh nonprofit wants to replace the controversial black and yellow Sprint sign on Mt. Washington with a Hollywood-style letter sign.

Scenic Pittsburgh sent a letter to Louisiana-based Lamar Advertising, which owns the 7,200-square-foot billboard, asking them to donate or sell the property to the organization. Lamar is in a legal battle with the city of Pittsburgh, which claims the company is violating zoning regulations.

One option for the sign’s future could be something akin to Hollywood’s iconic hillside sign, according to Scenic Pittsburgh executive director Mike Dawida." -- WESA-FM Radio

Our humble opinion: Why does Pittsburgh need a sign telling people in Pittsburgh that they're in Pittsburgh? They already know that. Let's give people some useful information.


School Board Unanimous; Appoints Holtzman as MASD Superintendent

March 30, 2017 |

By Mary Shelly | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Photo by Mary Shelly/Special to Tube City Almanac)

Dr. Mark Holtzman Jr. is the new superintendent of the McKeesport Area School District.

At a special meeting Wednesday night, school directors voted unanimously, with all nine members present, to appoint Holtzman to the position.
Holtzman's position is effective July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2022 including a salary of $140,000, subject to the terms and conditions upon execution of a written agreement between the parties.
Holtzman's work experience includes serving as MASD's Director of Secondary-Education and Teacher Evaluation from July 2015 to the present, McKeesport Area High School's Building Principal from July 2010 to June 2015, and as Dean of Students at West Mifflin Area High School from August 2007 to July 2010.

Holtzman also worked as a behavioral specialist for both MAHS and the UPMC's Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.

School Director Patricia Maksin was very vocal in her strong support for Holtzman. She said she did not originally vote for Holtzman seven years ago because of issues she had with his appointment, and because she also felt he wasn't ready. "You proved me wrong," Maksin said. "I learned to never vote against Mark Holtzman, because what Mark Holtzman says, he's going to do."

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Students Shine During School Board Presentations

March 29, 2017 |

By Mary Shelly | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Above: Shia Ethridge, 7, a student at Francis McClure, reads "Wake Me in Spring" by James Preller to School Director Ivan Hampton. (Photo by Mary Shelly, special to Tube City Almanac)

Fourteen first-graders from throughout McKeesport Area School District attended the March 22 board meeting in celebration of "Read Across America Day."

Introduced as "fluent readers" by Pamela Gordon, coordinator of elementary curriculum/instruction, each student read one-on-one with a board director as a slideshow of the students played for the crowd to see.

All of the students were wearing a handmade hat resembling the one in "The Cat in the Hat."

Board President Joseph Lopretto filled the room with laughter as he asked the first graders, "Where's my hat at?"

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