Some Parents Frustrated By COVID Response

December 21, 2020 |

By Siana Emery | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Correction: This story was corrected after publication. See editor’s note.

As students gear up for winter break, some McKeesport Area parents are left wondering in what form school will resume in January.

While cases of COVID-19 continue to be confirmed in students and faculty across the district, in-person classes are expected to resume on Jan. 4.

All classes are virtual this week.

As of Dec. 22, McKeesport Area School District has had 77 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students and faculty since the school year began on Sept. 2. Most of those cases have been reported since November.

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Wounded Officer Recovering,
Search for Suspect Continues

December 21, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

McKeesport police Officer Jerry Athans, 32, prepares to return fire Sunday after being shot three times by a suspect identified as Koby Lee Francis, 22. Francis is charged by Allegheny County police with attempted homicide. (Submitted photo via Allegheny County police)

Holiday decorations in Kennedy Park on Lysle Boulevard spell out the words, “PEACE ON EARTH.”

The scene captured by surveillance cameras on Sunday afternoon along Fourth Avenue — just behind those words — is anything but peaceful.

Footage released by Allegheny County police on Monday shows a suspect identified as Koby Lee Francis, 22, of McKeesport, firing several shots at city police Officer Gerasimos “Jerry” Athans, 32, from the back seat of a McKeesport police cruiser.

Athans takes cover at the front of the car, turns, aims and returns fire as Francis — still handcuffed from his arrest a few minutes earlier — flees on foot. The entire sequence plays out in about 20 seconds.

“We strongly urge members of the community who can see that this was an egregious violation to cooperate with our investigation and provide us with his whereabouts,” said county police Superintendent Coleman McDonough at a press conference Monday.

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Duquesne Slates Zoning Hearing

December 21, 2020 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Duquesne News

The City of Duquesne will hold a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday concerning a development proposed by the McDonalds Corp., a spokesperson said. The hearing will be held via Zoom and an invitation will be posted on the city’s website,

Any owner, agent, lessor, lessee, mortgage holder, person or persons with a property interest may appear and be heard.


City Police Officer Shot, Suspect at Large

December 20, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Koby Lee Francis, 22, is wanted by Allegheny County police in connection with the shooting of a McKeesport police officer on Sunday outside the Public Safety Building. (Courtesy Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office)

A suspect who was arrested Sunday afternoon for violating a protection-from-abuse order shot a McKeesport police officer outside of the Public Safety Building, sparking a massive lockdown and search.

The 32-year-old officer, whose name has not been officially released, was in critical but stable condition at UPMC Presbyterian hospital, Oakland, Sunday night.

The suspect, identified by police as Koby Lee Francis, 22, of the city is wanted by Allegheny County police on charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, escape, flight to avoid apprehension, and violating the uniform firearms act.

The incident happened just after 4 p.m. outside the Fourth Avenue entrance to the police station. A dragnet fell over the Downtown area and Third Ward following the shooting, as police from multiple jurisdictions — including local, county and state agencies and federal agents — cordoned off a large section of the city.

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City Police Officer Shot, Manhunt Underway

December 20, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Please see the updated story.


Thank You for 2020 — Here’s to 2021

December 17, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements

In an era where we’re being bombarded every day on our telephones by scams and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram by hoaxes and propaganda, access to information is more important than ever.

This year was a very difficult one for everyone. At Tube City Community Media, we lost one of our best correspondents due to a family emergency, while another had to give up writing for us because of her daytime work obligations. That left us unable to cover some communities with the depth they deserve, and we're sorry about that.

But we’ve persisted and we are working to recruit several new writers — two of them have already had bylines recently and we’re looking forward to more of their good work.

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Republicans React to Victory Declaration in 45th

December 17, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Politics & Elections

Correction: This story was edited after publication. See editor’s note.

Pennsylvania Republicans reacted with disbelief after state Sen. Jay Costa declared victory Wednesday for state Sen. Jim Brewster in his re-election.

Brewster, a McKeesport Democrat running for his third full term in the 45th Senatorial District, currently leads Nicole Ziccarelli, Lower Burrell Republican, by approximately 70 votes.

State totals certified Wednesday put the margin at 69 votes, while county-level results posted online say 73 votes.

But more than 2,000 mail-in and absentee ballots in Allegheny County have been challenged by the Ziccarelli campaign in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh. Although signed, those ballots lacked handwritten dates.

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NV Twp. Man Killed By Snow Plow

December 17, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News, North Versailles Twp. News

A North Versailles Twp. man was killed when he was struck by a snow plow near his home in the Arlington section of the township, Allegheny County police said.

John A. Vichie, 63, was pronounced dead at the scene, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s office said.

County police said that Vichie was walking with a snow blower in the 100 block of Union Avenue when he was struck by a township public works truck that was backing up the street.

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Deadlines Set on 45th Senate District Challenge

December 17, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Politics & Elections

A federal judge in Pittsburgh has given Republican challenger Nicole Ziccarelli until Dec. 23 to demonstrate why her attempt to throw out more than 2,300 mail-in ballots in Allegheny County should proceed.

Those ballots give a 73-vote lead to state Sen. Jim Brewster, Democrat of McKeesport, in his bid for re-election to a third full term — and on Wednesday, Senate Democratic leaders declared victory for their colleague after the Pennsylvania Department of State certified the results.

“While we have been confident for some time that Sen. Jim Brewster would be returning to the Pennsylvania Senate, the official certification comes as a relief and we congratulate him on the win,” said state Sen. Jay Costa of Forest Hills, who also serves as senate minority leader, in a prepared statement.

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Merger Unites W.O. Bakery, Beloved Pizza Shop

December 15, 2020 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: White Oak News

The Macey family couldn’t imagine White Oak without Veltre’s Pizza. So in July, when owner Vince Veltre announced his retirement after 37 years in the business, they resolved to do something about it.

Veltre’s of White Oak re-opened Monday as Patti’s La Cucina, operated by the Maceys, who opened Patti’s Pasticceria on Lincoln Way in 2011.

“We’ve always been Vince’s customers,” Andrew Macey, son of Patti’s La Cucina owner, Patti Macey, said. “He’s been a mentor to us.

“We can’t imagine White Oak without Veltre’s,” he said. “He’s done so much for the community — and we need some normalcy during COVID.”

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