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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McKeesport School Board Expected to Name New Superintendent Tonight

March 29, 2017 |

By Mary Shelly | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

A new superintendent of schools is expected to be named tonight at a special meeting of McKeesport Area School Board.

Superintendent Dr. Rula Skezas is retiring June 30, and the new superintendent is expected to take over the following day.

At the regular board meeting on March 22, parents expressed their hopes and concerns about Skezas' replacement.

"You need to make sure the new superintendent is aggressive in promoting achievement and proficiency," said resident Keith Murphy, who is concerned about low test scores in the district.

Murphy said certain strategies, such as setting the expectation bar at a higher level, need to be implemented in order for scores to increase.

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Please Welcome New Correspondent Mary Shelly

March 29, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

Please welcome our newest correspondent, Mary Shelly, who will be covering McKeesport Area School Board for Tube City Almanac.

Mary is a junior at McKeesport Area High School, and a member of the school newspaper the Red and Blue. A member of the National Speech and Debate Association, Mary last month qualified to attend the state tournament at Bloomsburg University.

She also works on the production staff for McKeesport Area High School’s broadcast news show “The Port Report." In addition to covering monthly School Board meetings, Mary will also cover small feature stories around the district.


Route 30 Work Planned in N. Huntingdon Twp.

March 27, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Traffic will be restricted on part of U.S. Route 30 near the Irwin exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike so that crews can construct a new storm sewer.

A district spokesperson for the state Department of Transportation said that work will begin, weather permitting, at 6 p.m. April 3 in the westbound lanes of Route 30 in front of North Huntingdon Square shopping plaza.

When the sewer and associated inlets are complete, the spokesperson said, the road will be repaved. All work will be done between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. and is expected to be complete by May 12.

Traffic will be unrestricted during non-working hours daily, according to PennDOT.


Volunteers Gathering Saturday to Replant Hollow's Native Trees

March 24, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

More than 40 volunteers will gather Saturday morning in Dead Man's Hollow to help plant seedlings that should improve the environment for resident and migratory birds.

The effort is being organized by the Allegheny Land Trust, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Volunteers should meet at 9 a.m. at the parking lot off Scene Ridge Road in Liberty Borough, said Keri Rouse, community coordinator for the land trust, which owns Dead Man's Hollow.

Dead Man's Hollow is a 450-acre nature preserve, created in 1994, that spans parts of Liberty and Lincoln as well as Elizabeth Twp. More than six miles of trails through the preserve connect it to the Great Allegheny Passage hiking and biking trail just north of Boston, Elizabeth Twp.

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Turnpike Halts Work on Mon-Fayette Expressway Extension

March 22, 2017 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Map: Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission illustration via Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission

The long-delayed, controversial extension of the Mon-Fayette Expressway through West Mifflin, Dravosburg, Duquesne and Turtle Creek appears to be cancelled --- again.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission announced Wednesday afternoon that it will stop engineering and design activities on the planned 14-mile stretch between Route 51 and the Parkway East after the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission on Monday declined to endorse the project.

“The (Pennsylvania) Turnpike has a legislative mandate to develop the Mon-Fayette Expressway, but our role is not to serve as an advocate for the project,” said Mark Compton, chief executive officer of the Turnpike Commission, in a prepared statement.

“This is a regional project, and the decision as to whether it is of value to the region should be made by those who live there," he said. "If the region does not want to move forward with the expressway, we will certainly respect their decision.”

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$30M Elizabeth Bridge Project Begins in July

March 21, 2017 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

A $30 million to $32 million rehabilitation of the Elizabeth Bridge is part of an estimated $220 million that state officials will invest in bridge improvement projects in Allegheny County in 2017. The rehabilitation project on the 434 foot structure, built in 1948, is expected to begin in July of this year, district officials for the state Department of Transportation announced yesterday. “We are pleased to begin major improvements to our roadway and bridge infrastructure in the greater Pittsburgh region,” said Dan Cessna, executive in charge of PennDOT District 11, adding that work also will continue on existing projects, such as Pittsburgh’s Liberty Bridge. Formally known as the Regis R. Malady Bridge, the Elizabeth Bridge carries state Route 51 and connects Elizabeth and West Elizabeth boroughs. An estimated 26,000 vehicles use the bridge every day.
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