Natural Gas Tax an Issue of Fairness, Fetterman Tells Chamber Lunch

April 26, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

A tax on natural gas from Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale isn't a Republican issue or a Democratic issue --- it's a fairness issue, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said Friday.

During a luncheon at the Sunset Room in Elizabeth Twp., hosted by the Mon-Yough Area Chamber of Commerce, Fetterman, former mayor of Braddock, said even hard-core Republican states such as Oklahoma and Texas levy taxes on the extraction of natural gas.

Those states "aren't some socialist dream from some 'tax-and-spend lib,'" Fetterman joked.

After Texas, Pennsylvania is the nation's second-biggest producer of natural gas. Yet only Pennsylvania has no such tax, said Fetterman, who is backing a proposal from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to levy 4.5 percent on natural gas to fund infrastructure improvements statewide.

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Officials Voice Frustration as U.S. Steel Appeals Pollution Fine

April 26, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Taking audience questions during a panel discussion at the Sunset Room in Elizabeth Twp. on Friday were state Rep. Mike Puskaric, Allegheny County Councilman Bob Macey, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, state Sen. Jay Costa, state Sen. Jim Brewster and state Rep. Bill Kortz. (Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

U.S. Steel should spend more money on anti-pollution technology and less on "lawyering up," said officials at a Mon-Yough Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Friday.

They expressed their frustration after U.S. Steel on Thursday announced it will again appeal air pollution fines levied against the corporation.

An accident at the Clairton Plant on Dec. 24 knocked pollution equipment out of service for more than three months and put the entire Mon Valley under a health advisory.

"We would rather see (U.S. Steel) make investments not in legal actions --- 'lawyering up' --- but investing in engineers to clean it up," said Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive.

A large contingent of clean-air and public health advocates also attended Friday's lunch, including Johnie Perryman, 75, of Clairton, who wore an air-filter mask for much of the event at the Sunset Room in Elizabeth Twp.

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MASD Residents Invited to Recycle TVs, Tires, Phones on Saturday

April 25, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

(Tube City Almanac file photo)

McKeesport officials have opened their annual event for "hard to recycle items" to all residents of the McKeesport Area School District in an attempt to encourage wider participation.

"Respect Our City, Respect Our Earth" will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday behind the No. 2 fire station in Renziehausen Park, near the intersection of Eden Park Boulevard and Tulip Drive.

Items that will be collected include televisons and computer monitors, keyboards, DVD players, VCRs, radios and cellular phones, a spokeswoman said. Collection bins also will be available for used tires, but they must be removed from the rims first.

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Medical Marijuana Wellness Fair to Be Held Sunday

April 25, 2019 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

A free health and wellness fair will be held this Sunday to provide consumers and the general public with information about the uses of medical products derived from marijuana.

The event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Palisades Ballroom, 100 Fifth Ave., McKeesport, is being supported by Mayor Michael Cherepko and is sponsored by McKeesport-based PurePenn and Pittsburgh-based Compassionate Certification Centers.

"It will be a great opportunity for the community to learn about medical marijuana," said Gina Rosso, community liaison for PurePenn.

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Enrollment Underway for Skill-Training Program at Former News Building

April 25, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News


Paul Anselmo of New Century Careers. (Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

Producing a daily newspaper requires more than just gathering information --- researching, writing and editing. It also requires the skills to be able to manufacture and distribute the printed product.

So bringing New Century Careers' machinist training program to the former McKeesport Daily News Building on Lysle Boulevard makes sense in more ways than one, says Paul Anselmo, the organization's president.

"We're not looking to do very much remodeling," Anselmo says. "It's perfect just the way it is."

Based on Pittsburgh's South Side, New Century Careers has provided free manufacturing skills training since 1999. In June, the non-profit will expand its programs into McKeesport and the Latrobe area.

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W.O. Council Announces Pool Rates for 2019

April 22, 2019 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak borough council has set 2019 rates for Heritage Hill Pool.

At April's meeting, Councilman Lou Bender said rates for White Oak residents are $60 for a season pass; $30 for a season pass for senior citizens (65 and older); and $5 for a day pass. Proof of residence is required for White Oak residents.

Non-resident rates are $100 for a season pass; $60 for senior citizens; and $10 for a day pass.

During the public comments section of the meeting, a resident asked if the parks and recreations committee would consider adding a daily or weekly adult-only swim time. Bender said the committee would take the request into consideration.

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UPMC McKeesport Celebrates 125 Years as ‘Cornerstone of the Community’

April 22, 2019 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: News

UPMC McKeesport hospital physician Richard Bondi, M.D., with a cutout of his late father, Dr. Frank Bondi, at the hospital's 125th Anniversary celebration on Friday. (Richard Finch Jr. photo/special to Tube City Almanac)

On a rainy April 19, 1894, a large crowd --- estimated at 1,000 people, according to news reports of the time --- gathered at the McKeesport-Versailles Cemetery for the dedication of McKeesport Hospital.

Due to a light rain last Friday, the 125th anniversary celebration for what is now UPMC McKeesport hospital was moved from the courtyard to the Usman Ahmad, M.D., Memorial Conference Center in the Mansfield Building.

“Today is Good Friday, but it is also a great Friday here at the hospital,” said Mark O’Hern, president of UPMC McKeesport and UPMC East.

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Lent's Last Fish Fries Draw Crowds Locally

April 20, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: News, White Oak News

Above: Deacon Brent Robertson and Jim Brown were manning the grill at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Downtown, on Friday. (Vickie Babyak photo, special to Tube City Almanac)

Lent marks the 40 days observed by Christians as a time of fasting, penance and prayer before Easter Sunday.

Traditionally, Catholics have given up eating red meat on Fridays during Lent as a form of sacrifice, and Catholic churches, volunteer fire departments and other organizations have held fish fries.

As a result, Lenten fish fries have always been a big deal in parts of the country with a large Roman Catholic population, including Western Pennsylvania.

But over the past 10 years, fish fries have become a major feature of Pittsburgh area culture, embracing not just Catholics, but Christians and non-Christians alike. Websites have sprung up to review and rank local fish fries, and some churches and civic organizations have added other ethnic foods to make their particular fish fries stand out.

With Easter Sunday upon us, Friday marked the last Lenten fish fries for 2019. Photographer Vickie Babyak stopped at some local fish fries in the Mon-Yough area to grab a few last scenes (and fish sandwiches).

All photos: Vickie Babyak for Tube City Almanac. To request a reprint, contact

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County Police Seek Suspects, Motive in 7th Ward Shooting

April 19, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Allegheny County police have released few details in connection with a shooting Thursday night in the city's Seventh Ward that left a teen-ager hospitalized in critical condition.

In a prepared statement, county police Lt. Kenneth Ruckel said 9-1-1 emergency dispatchers received "multiple calls" just before 7 p.m. Thursday reporting that shots were being fired in the 1300 block of Hamilton Street, and that a young man was injured.

McKeesport police and paramedics responded and discovered the victim, a 15-year-old, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds on Dinsmore Street near Pirl Street.

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Easter Egg Hunt, Clean-Up Day Slated in White Oak

April 18, 2019 |

By Cami DiBattista | Posted in: Announcements

The White Oak Borough Easter Egg Hunt was announced at this week’s borough council meeting.

The annual event is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday. Sponsored by the White Oak Borough Recreation Board, the event will take place at the pavilion of the Heritage Hill Park.

Additional upcoming events include:

Borough Clean-Up Day will be held April 27. Volunteers are welcome to participate and should be at the Heritage Hill pavilion at 9:30 a.m. to help prepare for the event. The clean-up will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

In partnership with the White Oak Animal Safe Haven, a rabies clinic is scheduled 12 to 3 p.m. May 18. The event will take place at the public works garage. A resident rate of $5 applies; proof of residency is required. Non-resident cost is $10.

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