Pastor Denies Claims That Versailles Ave. Church is a 'Cult'

March 04, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Photo courtesy KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh) Correction appended, 1 p.m.

A Florida-based charity that investigates suspected cults says a McKeesport church manipulates and shames members of its congregation into doing what its pastor tells them to do, including tithing 10 percent of their income to the church.

Citing former members of the congregation, the charity claims those who disobey or attempt to leave the church are shunned.

An attorney has denied the accusations, calling them "specious and unfortunate," and that any misbehavior was done by people no longer affliated with Guy Miller Ministries, while the pastor attributed them to "misunderstandings."

But Families Against Cult Teachings, located in Aventura, Fla., near Miami Beach, claims that based on its own investigation, The Church of Life in Christ on Versailles Avenue, also known as Guy Miller Ministries, shows signs of being a cult.

A four-part expose on FACT's website attracted the attention of Pittsburgh KDKA-TV reporter Andy Sheehan, who aired a report during Wednesday's newscast.

On Thursday, Sheehan interviewed additional former members of the church, one of whom told Sheehan, "Absolutely. Absolutely, 110 percent it is a full-blown cult."

 
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East Liberty Man Charged in White Oak, Wilmerding Bank Robberies

March 03, 2016 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A man from Pittsburgh's East Liberty neighborhood has been indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with the robbery of the First Commonwealth Bank in White Oak and Compass Federal Savings Bank in Wilmerding.

Leonard D. Gibbons, 55, of Station Street was indicted Tuesday on five counts, including bank robbery and violations of federal firearms laws, U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton said yesterday.

Gibbons is currently being held in the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond, court officials said.

Investigators said that on July 17, 2015, Gibbons held up Compass Bank, fleeing with $7,828. Four months later, on Nov. 19, 2015, Gibbons used a firearm and held up First Commonwealth, netting $3,971, Hickton said.

According to a published report, the robber was spotted fleeing First Commonwealth by a worker at a nearby store, who gave police a description of his getaway car. When the car was seen in McKeesport a short time later, city police and the Allegheny County sheriff's office gave chase and ultimately arrested the driver, identified as Gibbons.

 
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Three Indicted for Firearms Violations

March 02, 2016 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Three Allegheny County residents have been indicted by a federal grand jury for violating firearms laws.

In a 13-count indictment returned on Tuesday, Joshua Bristo, 23, and James Pamplin Jr., 21, both of Clairton, along with Richard Van Holt Jr., 27, of Mt. Oliver, were charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, tampering with a witness by threat of physical force, and brandishing, using, carrying, and possessing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, said U.S. Attorney David J. Hickton.

Prosecutors said that the three men were not eligible to own firearms due to past felony convictions. Instead, Hickton said, the men falsified purchase forms so that they could buy weapons.

The indictment also charges that in March 2015, Bristo pointed a gun at a witness and threatened to kill him.

“Individuals who illegally sell guns end up arming violent criminals, who time and again pull the trigger on our streets and put the public’s safety at risk,” said Sam Rabadi, a special agent-in-charge in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.and prosecute gun crimes.

 
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$1M Cash 5 Winner Sold in West Newton

March 01, 2016 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

One jackpot-winning Pennsylvania Lottery Cash 5 ticket worth $1 million from the Feb. 27 drawing was sold at the Giant Eagle in West Newton, Westmoreland County, a lottery spokesperson said.

The ticket correctly matched all five balls drawn, 04-08-20-27-37, to win $1 million, less withholding tax. The retailer will receive a $5,000 bonus for selling this winning ticket.

Cash 5 winners have one year from the drawing date to claim prizes. Prizes must be claimed and tickets validated before winners can be identified.

More than 84,500 other Cash 5 tickets won prizes of various amounts in the drawing, the spokesperson said.

 

Tube City (Not That One) Changes Its Name

March 01, 2016 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: News

Glassport-based Tube City IMS Corp. announced today that it is changing its name to TMS International Corp.

The name change reflects the company's growing global presence, a spokesman said.

The new name is effective immediately and is being implemented across all of the company's products and subsidiaries. The company's website address has changed to www.tmsinternational.com.

"Our former name, Tube City IMS, represented a consolidation of different organizations, including Tube City Iron and Metal and International Mill Service," said Raymond Kalouche, President and CEO. "Their proud legacies are the foundation of our current success. But as we move into our tenth decade of operations, we believe TMS International better reflects the company's integrated operations and global status."

Tube City IMS provides a wide range of services to the steel and metals industries, including processing, recovering and brokering the sale of precious metals and alloys; engineering and logistics support; slag handling and processing; and recycling and disposing of waste.

 
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Rep. Gergely Charged With Corruption in Gambling Case

March 01, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

(Above: State Rep. Marc Gergely meets a constituent during an open house at his office. Official Pennsylvania state House of Representatives photo.)

Editor's Note: The author, and Tube City Community Media Inc., have conflicts of interest regarding this story. Please see the editor's note at the end of this story. UPDATED: Added information from the Uniontown Herald-Standard. UPDATED: Added information about donations to Gergely's re-election committee. UPDATED: Added information from The Associated Press.

. . .

State Rep. Marc Gergely has been charged with felony corruption and other offenses in connection with the investigation of a Mon Valley video poker ring that implicated a former McKeesport city councilman and other local officials, including the former Forward Twp. police chief.

The charges were announced today by state Attorney General Kathleen Kane in Harrisburg. Gergely is expected to appear tomorrow for a preliminary arraignment, Kane said.

Kane said the investigation is "ongoing" and that additional charges may yet be filed.

In a prepared statement, Kane said Gergely, 46, a Democrat from White Oak and former president of the McKeesport Area School Board, actively tried to promote and protect the illegal gambling business of Ronald "Porky" Melocchi.

In at least two cases, the attorney general's office claims, Gergely personally met with business owners and tried to convince them to allow Melocchi to put poker machines in their businesses.

"This is an unfortunate case in which the players traded political capital and favors to advance their own agendas and illicit business," Kane said. "The evidence clearly shows that Mr. Melocchi relied heavily on his relationships --- including with Mr. Gergely --- to conduct his illegal business."

 

 
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Heritage Center Program to Highlight 'Women in Sports'

February 29, 2016 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

The McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center will host its annual Women's History Month program on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 2 pm. "Women in Sports." Jodi Gill, Marianne MacBeth and Elizabeth Jones will discuss the history of women in sports and how Title IX changed their access to sports.

This program will be held at the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center at 1832 Arboretum Drive, McKeesport PA 15132. The program is free and open to the public. Please call 412-678-1832 for more information.

 

Reader's Viewpoint: Why Don't Customers Count?

February 24, 2016 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Letters to the Editor

To the editor:

The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County is planning a 25 percent rate hike, with more to follow.

An online petition fell on deaf ears. I thought there was a law which prevents utility hikes beyond a certain percentage? And this is the second one to do the same work the last hike was approved for.

Where is the water authority's responsibility to budget for ongoing repairs to their own systems?  Why don't its customers' objections count?  Who can afford this increase, especially in McKeesport? 

Is there anything citizens can do to try to prevent this astronomical increase?

—Philip Haughey and Susan Linders, McKeesport

 
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City Man Jailed After Miles-Long Police Chase

February 24, 2016 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport man is being held in the Allegheny County Jail on $100,000 cash bond after leading police on a wild chase through the Mon Valley that ended with a crash on the Parkway East.

According to court officials, Andre Lamont Johnson, 27, faces a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 29 before Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi on an array of charges, including driving under the influence, aggravated assault and multiple moving violations.

McKeesport police Chief Bryan Washowich said officers on routine patrol Friday night near the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Lysle Boulevard pulled alongside a car and smelled a "strong odor" of burnt marijuana.

 
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Public Meeting Planned on Possible Route 30 Improvements

February 18, 2016 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Doug Kerr photo via Flickr; licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

Residents, business owners and commuters who use U.S. Route 30 in the Mon-Yough area are being invited to discuss possible improvements to the road in Irwin and North Versailles Twp.

The first in a series of public meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. March 2 in the cafeteria of Norwin High School, 251 McMahon Drive, North Huntingdon Twp., said a district spokeswoman for the state Department of Transportation.

In addition, PennDOT has created an online survey for the public at www.Route30projects.com.

 
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