25 Years Ago, It Was Christmas With 'Bob' and 'The Bear'

December 16, 2015 |

By Mike Mauer | Posted in: History

Carrying his trademark golf club in what he described as "the world's largest sand trap," comedian Bob Hope waves to the crowd as he is escorted to the stage at Eskan Village by U.S. Central Command Commander-In-Chief, Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf.  The general and the entertainer are surrounded by staff members, and security forces provided by the Saudi Arabian government. (Photo by Mike Mauer)

. . .

Twenty-five years ago, many people had something more to worry about than a sluggish economy and Christmas shopping. The usual brightness and bustle associated with the holidays were marred by dark clouds of war gathering over Southwest Asia.

On Dec. 22, 1990, oil prices rose to $26 per barrel and looked like they would shoot higher during the cold winter months. Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army was test firing its much-vaunted Scud missiles, and United States troop deployments to Saudi Arabia were approaching the 300,000 mark.

For families in the United States with loved ones being sent to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Desert Shield, Christmas of 1990 may have seemed an empty holiday. Service members sweltering in the desert heat 8,000 miles away had an even harder time getting into the spirit of seasonal cheer.

Because of fears that Muslim forces in the coalition against Iraq might be offended, open celebration of Christmas by United States troops stationed around heavily populated areas in Saudi Arabia was discouraged. Additionally, 18-hour duty days, a ban on the consumption of alcoholic beverages and a definite lack of snow in the forecast helped quell the chances of Desert Shield troops enjoying any type of holiday whatsoever.

 
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Deadline for Property Tax Rebates is Dec. 31

December 16, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The deadline for applications for the state's Property Tax/Rent Rebate Program is Dec. 31.

State Rep. Marc Gergely of White Oak said the rebate program benefits eligible Pennsylvanians 65 or older, widows and widowers 50 or older and people with disabilities 18 or older.

The program is funded by the Pennsylvania Lottery and revenue from slots gaming.

The income limit is $35,000 a year for homeowners and $15,000 annually for renters, and half of Social Security income is excluded.
 
"With how busy we are around the holidays, it’s easy to lose track of time," Gergely said. "Before you know it, it’ll be a new year and too late to file an application. This program is geared to helping seniors and those who are disabled and I don't want anyone to miss out what is rightfully theirs."

The application deadline for eligible residents to receive a rebate on their 2014 paid property taxes or rent is Dec. 31.

 
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Local Police Warn of Burglary, Theft Attempts

December 09, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Police News

Photo by Scott Davidson via Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

As the holidays approach, local police are warning of an increased number of thefts and burglary attempts.

In White Oak, police this week said more than 15 vehicles were entered over the weekend throughout the borough, while thefts also were reported in Jefferson Hills. Meanwhile, Wilkins police are investigating a burglary in the Gilmore Acres section of the township.

"Burglaries and break-ins are always prevalent around the holidays," a Wilkins Twp. police spokesperson said in an email yesterday, adding that residents should make sure to lock their homes and vehicles. Residents should consider leaving lights on and drawing their curtains when they're away from home, Wilkins police said.

The spokesperson added that police have a suspect in mind in the Gilmore Acres burglary, which occurred in an unoccupied home.

In White Oak, police said items were stolen from vehicles on Summit Street, Delaware, California and Kansas avenues, and Carmella, Marietta and Victoria drives. The thefts are believed to have occurred sometime in the early hours of Sunday morning.

 
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Penn State GA Campus Names New Chancellor

December 09, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Photo courtesy Brandon University)

Andrew Egan, dean of the Faculty of Science and acting associate vice president for research at Brandon University in Brandon, Manitoba, has been named chancellor and chief academic officer at Penn State Greater Allegheny, effective Feb. 15, 2016.

Egan will succeed Interim Chancellor Nancy Herron, who will retire from Penn State for a second time on Dec. 31 after coming out of retirement to serve as interim chancellor on Jan. 1, 2014. John Peles, interim director of academic affairs at Penn State Greater Allegheny, will serve as interim chancellor/chief academic officer beginning Jan. 1, 2016.

“Dr. Egan possesses more than 20 years of proven academic leadership, providing Penn State Greater Allegheny with a wealth of experience in the areas of strategic planning, program development and accreditation, enrollment management, and external relations,” said Madlyn Hanes, Penn State vice president for Commonwealth Campuses. “He brings an accomplished record of supporting faculty development and collaboration that will serve the campus well.”

In his new position, Egan will also hold the title of professor of forest resources.

“I am thrilled and honored to be joining the Penn State community as chancellor of the Greater Allegheny campus,” Egan said. “In a way, this is a homecoming for me, having graduated from Penn State in 1993. We are connected to Pennsylvania in other important ways as well — my wife is a native of Pittsburgh, having spent her childhood in Ingomar.”

 
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'Crossing Fences' Radio Project Unites Young Men With Mentors

December 03, 2015 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News, Podcast

Many people in the Pittsburgh area have probably heard "The Saturday Light Brigade," the long-running public radio program that airs on six FM radio stations and three Internet stations, including Tube City Online's WMCK.FM in McKeesport.

But they may not be aware that SLB's parent organization also engages in mentoring and training programs in local schools, including the Propel charter schools in the Mon Valley as well as public schools through the McKeesport-based Consortium for Public Education.

This week, SLB debuted the latest three CDs in its "Crossing Fences" series. In "Crossing Fences," groups of African-American teen-agers interview local men from the community, and then edit the interviews into four to six minute radio documentaries.

The latest series includes interviews collected in Braddock and Homestead; a previous series included oral histories collected in McKeesport and Hazelwood. Twelve communities have been covered so far; all of the documentaries are available as free downloads at NeighborhoodVoices.org.

On the next episode of our weekly radio show, "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," we talk with Sarah Siplak and Chanessa Schuler of SLB Radio Productions about "Crossing Fences," and we also listen to one of the oral histories.

 
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Festival of Trees Opens Today

December 03, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

. . .

The 30th annual McKeesport Festival of Trees gets underway today and continues through Monday.

Dozens of hand-decorated Christmas evergreens representing churches, schools, social groups and other organizations are on display in Renziehausen Park's Jacob Woll Pavilion.

An official tree-lighting ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. tonight (Dec. 3) at the intersection of Arboretum and Sycamore drives, near the pavilion entrance. Santa Claus will arrive at the ceremony on a McKeesport Fire Department truck, a spokeswoman said.

Hours for the show are 12 noon to 9 p.m. Thursday through Monday. Admission is $2 for adults, while children 12 and younger are admitted at no charge with donation of one non-perishable food item for local food pantries.

Activities include live entertainment, visits with Santa, and hayrides through Renzie, provided by McKeesport's public works department. The park will be lit by luminaria at night.

 
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Tips for Tots Next Week at Eat 'n Park

November 30, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Wait staff at the McKeesport Eat 'n Park will donate their "tips for tots" on Dec. 9 as part of the restaurant chain's 37th annual Caring for Kids campaign.

Employees at the restaurant on Lysle Boulevard will contribute tips received between 4 and 7 p.m. on that day. Eat 'n Park's Smiley cookie mascot will make an appearance as well, and there will be a 50/50 raffle.

Wait staff at two other Mon-Yough locations will donate their tips for tots this Thursday (Dec. 3) --- the North Huntingdon location from 4 to 8 p.m. and Homestead Waterfront from 3 to 8 p.m.

The Caring for Kids campaign benefits children's hospitals and charities that help children recovering from injuries or illnesses.

Last year, during the five weeks at the end of the year, Eat 'n Park's restaurants in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia raised more than $411,000 that was donated to 14 different hospitals and charities.

 

Dravosburg, W.M. Post Holiday Event Schedules

November 30, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Dravosburg and West Mifflin have posted schedules of upcoming holiday events.

West Mifflin will host the lighting of the borough's holiday tree on the lawn of the municipal building, 1020 Lebanon Road (near the Port Authority garage), at 6:30 p.m. this Thursday (Dec. 3), a spokesperson said.

There will be a ceremony and activities for kids, with refreshments and a visit from Santa Claus to follow at the nearby Skyview Volunteer Fire Department.

Dravosburg will hold its sixth-annual "Holly Jolly Christmas Celebration" at 6 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 5) at the municipal building, 226 Maple Ave., near the Mansfield Bridge.

Winners of the borough-wide children's coloring contest for ages 3 to 12 will be invited to light the Dravosburg holiday tree. From 6:15 to 7 p.m. kids can have their photos taken with Santa, and a magician will perform at 7.

There also will be facepainting, fingerprinting by McKeesport police, hot chocolate and cookies.

In addition, luminaria orders will be taken for Christmas eve.

 

UPDATED: Police Seek Suspect in City Shooting

November 30, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Police News

McKeesport police are looking for a suspect in connection with a shooting this morning Downtown.

City detectives said the incident in the 900 block of Fifth Avenue happened during domestic dispute between a boyfriend and girlfriend. Police said an argument between the 25-year-old female victim and her boyfriend turned physical and violent at about 5 a.m. and the two began to struggle with a handgun.

The victim told police the gun went off and she was shot in the shoulder. Her boyfriend then fled before emergency personnel arrived.

She was taken to the hospital and was referred to a victim's assistance program to deal with domestic violence.

 
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Ripple Road Bridge Has Reopened in White Oak

November 24, 2015 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The bridge that connects Ripple Road to Route 48 in White Oak has reopened after being closed for construction since mid-August, said a district spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

The Ripple Road bridge over Long Run creek reopened Nov. 18 after about 12 weeks of reconstruction performed by Walsh Construction Company. The original bridge was built in 1939 and carried about 9,200 vehicles per day before it was closed.

Next spring a final layer of a special polyester concrete will be placed on the bridge deck to resist pothole formation and reduce bridge maintenance costs, the spokesman said. But that material can only be applied in temperatures above 50 degrees and after the deck has cured for at least 30 days. Drivers may notice a slight bump as they cross the bridge until that final step is completed.

The Rippel Road bridge replacement is part of the Rapid Bridge Replacement Project, a Public-Private Partnership between PennDOT and Plenary Walsh Keystone Partners under which PWKP will finance, design, replace and maintain for 25 years 558 state owned bridges. The P3 approach will allow PennDOT to replace the bridges more quickly while achieving significant savings and minimizing impact on motorists.

 

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