W.O. Council Adds 1-Mill Tax Increase

February 03, 2024 |

By T.J. Martin | Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak Borough Council made it official Thursday night, unanimously passing a 2024 budget with a 1-mill tax increase after previously passing a no-tax-increase 2024 budget.

In December, council passed a $6.48 million budget which contained no tax increase using approximately $892,000 from the borough fund balance. That left about $723,000 in the fund balance.

But in January, council voted to reopen the budget and consider a 1-mill real estate tax increase.

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Fight, Coach’s Resignation Top MASD Agenda

February 03, 2024 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Citizens withheld tears, shouted and questioned board members about the resignation of Amy Gumbert, McKeesport Area High School’s girls basketball coach during Thursday’s open agenda meeting.

Gumbert, a third-year coach who led the Tigers to the WPIAL Class 5A semifinals in her first two seasons, and her staff, which included her brother Eric Gumbert, have all been replaced.

“Coach Amy and Coach Eric have been in my life since I can remember,” sophomore Luciana Lewis said during Thursday’s hearing of citizens. “I knew I could go to either one of them when I needed someone to talk to. They are like family.”

“Amy and Eric have been one of the best coaches ever that I've had since fourth grade,” freshman Morgan McClung said. “They pushed us to the point where we become the best version of ourselves.”

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Residents, Leaders Sound Off on Rate Increase

February 01, 2024 |

By T.J. Martin | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Pennsylvania American Water Company acquired the assets of the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport in 2017. The company is proposing a rate increase for both sewer customers served by the McKeesport treatment plant as well as water customers in Liberty and West Mifflin. (Tube City Almanac photo illustration)

Residents in the Mon Valley took the opportunity to speak to representatives of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission this week at the first pair of public input hearings regarding a rate increase request by Pennsylvania American Water Company.

At a public hearing at the Port Vue municipal building, state Rep. Matthew Gergely of McKeesport called proposed rate increases to water and sewerage rates “extreme and unprecedented.”

About 50 people attended the hearing. Port Vue Councilman Bob Betters said he was also opposed to the proposed increase. Noting that PAWC said that it wants to make “infrastructure upgrades” as one of the reasons for a rate increase, Betters said, “You bought this junk car, you should have to fix it — not us.”

In 2017, PAWC purchased the assets of the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport and began providing sewage services to at that time 64,000 people in McKeesport, Duquesne, Dravosburg, White Oak, North Versailles, East McKeesport, Elizabeth, Glassport, Liberty, Port Vue and Versailles.

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U.S. Steel Settles Clean-Air Lawsuit for $45M

January 30, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: State & Region

Editor’s Note: This writer has a conflict of interest. He is a U.S. Steel Corp. stockholder.

David Masur of PennEnvironment addresses reporters at a press conference on Monday as David Meckel of Glassport holds a sign that says “No city is livable with dirty air.” (Screenshot via Zoom)

Environmental watchdog groups this week celebrated the filing of a consent decree that will see U.S. Steel pay more than $8 million in penalties and legal fees and another $19.5 million for improvements to the corporation’s Clairton coal by-products plant.

But advocates argued that the settlement — on top of $17.5 million worth of improvements already completed at Clairton Plant — will not compensate residents of Clairton, Glassport, Liberty Borough and other nearby communities for harm they have already suffered in the wake of a December 2018 accident at the facility.

“U.S. Steel spewed out roughly a month’s worth of sulfur dioxide pollution every three days, along with hydrogen sulfide and harmful small particulates,” said David Masur, executive director of PennEnvironment, on Monday during a press conference.

“Residents reported splitting headaches, uncontrollable asthma attacks and difficulty breathing,” he said. “It was so bad that the Allegheny County Health Department told local residents living downwind from the facility not to leave their homes.”

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DA Files Charges Against Century III Owner

January 30, 2024 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: State & Region

Water covers an entrance to Century III Mall in this 2018 photo. District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. called the abandoned West Mifflin shopping center “the poster boy” for blight in Western Pennsylvania. (Photo by Quackerkats via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution-Generic)

Calling it “something out of a disaster movie,” Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. on Tuesday announced that he will seek criminal charges against the owners of Century III Mall in an attempt to compel them to demolish the property or sell it.

“They clearly have no intention of doing anything with the property as it exists,” Zappala said at a press conference. “They have abandoned this property.”

Zappala said he is hoping that a hearing can be held within 60 to 90 days.

Separately, Zappala’s office went to an Allegheny County judge on Tuesday seeking a temporary restraining order against the mall’s owners.

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Motorcyclist, Passenger Hurt in Route 30 Crash

January 29, 2024 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A motorcyclist and his passenger were injured Saturday afternoon when they collided with a car on Route 30 in North Versailles Twp.

Allegheny County police said the motorcycle was headed east on Route 30 near the Greensburg Pike overpass at around 2:30 p.m. when a sedan turned left onto the highway from Highwood Avenue into its path, and the vehicles collided.

The cyclist was taken to a hospital in critical condition, while the passenger was taken to the hospital in stable condition, police said. Neither person’s name was released.

The driver and passengers of the sedan were not injured, police said. Homicide detectives initiated an investigation.

Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to call the county police Tip Line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.


Striking Workers to Publish Dessert Cookbook

January 29, 2024 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Submitted photo)

Sales of an upcoming cookbook will help raise money for striking workers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“Seasoned with Solidarity” is seeking favorite home recipes for desserts, says Allie Petonic of United Steelworkers Local 3657. Recipes are being accepted through Feb. 5.

For more information, visit tinyurl.com/CookbookPGUnions.  

Petonic says recipes have been received so far for apple cake, pear tart, poppyseed cake, lemon dream cookies, carmelitas, rum balls, puddings, sugar cookies, pumpkin cake, pound cake, oatmeal pie, strawberry cornbread, brownies, nut roll and many more, but additional contributions are welcome.

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NAMI McKeesport Sets February Meeting

January 29, 2024 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

National Alliance on Mental Illness McKeesport support group will meet at 6 p.m. Feb. 7 at Penn State Greater Allegheny in Frable Building Room 122, a spokeswoman said. The meeting is open to families and friends of loved ones living with mental illness.

A “care and share” session will be held. This opportunity offers understanding and support unique to those who are affected by mental health conditions of loved ones.

For more information about the McKeesport meeting call (412) 527-6600. For the NAMI Helpline call (412) 366-3788 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Two Hurt in Mansfield Bridge Crash

January 28, 2024 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Allegheny County police are investigating a head-on collision on the Mansfield Bridge that sent two people to area hospitals.

Police said that just after 3:15 p.m. Friday, a red Hyundai sedan entered the bridge from the Glassport side, traveling the wrong way in the southbound lanes.

There, police said, it collided with a black Honda SUV. The driver of the Hyundai, identified only as an adult male, was taken to a hospital in critical condition, while the Honda’s driver, identified only as an adult female, was in stable condition. Neither drivers’ name was released.

The bridge was closed to traffic for several hours as police worked on the accident scene.

The Allegheny County police Collision Reconstruction and Homicide Unit is investigating. Anyone with information concerning this incident is asked to call the county police tip line at 1-833-ALL-TIPS. Callers can remain anonymous.


Two Face Trial in Fatal School Bus Crash

January 28, 2024 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Two men accused of racing one another across the Mansfield Bridge before a fatal school-bus crash will face trial on all of the charges.

At a preliminary hearing Friday before Magisterial District Judge Katherine P. Lovelace in Pittsburgh’s Highland Park neighborhood, William R. Soliday II, 43, of Irwin, and Andrew N. Voigt, 37, of Penn Hills, were ordered held for court in connection with the Sept. 20 death of Samantha Kalkbrenner, a sophomore at Serra Catholic High School, and injuries suffered by four other people on the bus, including the driver.

Formal arraignment has been scheduled for Feb. 26 in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.

Soliday is currently being held without bond on homicide and related charges in Allegheny County Jail. Voigt is free on $150,000 cash bond.

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