In 1997, while working at the McKeesport Daily News, I realized that it had been exactly 10 years since U.S. Steel's National Works had closed --- actually, I think I noticed an item under "This Day in History."
Business editor Sue Simkovic, photographer John Barna and I decided to do something we called "The National Works Project," and we asked readers to send us their memories of working in the mill.
For a variety of reasons, none of which I remember (probably lack of space), we didn't use everything we collected. One item I particularly regretted not using was a poem that came to us from a retiree named Ed Brush.
Pennsylvania-American to pay McKeesport $159 million for the assets of its sewer system
All existing McKeesport authority employees will be offered comparable jobs at PAWC
Rates will be frozen for one year
PAWC will begin $62.7 million worth of improvements to the McKeesport system
State will require PAWC to do "ongoing, targeted outreach" to low-income customers about utility bill assistance
The state Public Utility Commission has voted unanimously to approve the sale of McKeesport's sewerage system to Pennsylvania-American Water Company.
The transaction, valued at $159 million in PUC documents, will affect nearly 13,000 customers in McKeesport, Duquesne, Dravosburg, and Port Vue, as well as thousands of additional customers in Elizabeth Twp., North Versailles Twp., Liberty, Lincoln, Glassport, Versailles, White Oak and East McKeesport whose wastewater is treated by McKeesport's sewage treatment plant, located in lower 10th Ward.
About 64,000 people are affected by the switch.
At their regular meeting Wednesday, McKeesport council voted 7-0 to authorize city officals to formally dissolve the Municipal Authority of the City of McKeesport, which was created in 1949 to build and operate the sewer system.
Mayor Michael Cherepko said Wednesday the city hopes to close the sale by Nov. 30.
The city of McKeesport is acquiring the former Daily News building and is exploring the creation of a digital media center there, in cooperation with Point Park University, Mayor Mike Cherepko said Wednesday.
Cherepko told city council that officials are close to a deal with the parent company of the Tribune-Review and TribLive.com to purchase the building for what he described as "an unbelievably good price."
Details are expected within a few weeks, he said. "The Trib has truly been working with us to make this a reality," Cherepko said.
There are hopes that part of the building will be used by students in Point Park's Center for Media Innovation, which was launched in 2015 with help from a $2.5 million grant from the Allegheny Foundation. The foundation was created by the late Richard Mellon Scaife, publisher of the Tribune-Review.
"We've got a lot of ideas at this point, but to be honest with you, we don't want to close any windows of opportunity," Cherepko said in an interview Wednesday night.
This year marked the 30th anniversary of an event that most people in the McKeesport area would probably rather not remember.
On Aug. 29, 1987, the final workers at U.S. Steel's National Plant --- 21 in all --- left work for the last time.
The plant, built by the National Tube Company, beginning in 1872, had once employed 9,000 people, and operated the largest pipe-making mill in the world.
But by 1981, National Plant was reeling. The Texas and Louisiana oil and gas drilling boom of the 1970s had collapsed. Foreign steel mills were exporting products to the United States --- often below the cost to produce them, a practice called "dumping."
Then, in the summer of 1981, the U.S. economy went into recession.
In what's become a Halloween tradition at Tube City Online since 2006, more or less, we present the story of the blood-sucking monkeys who were raised in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania ... which is really scary territory, kids!
Then the monkeys got too big for West Mifflin, so they hopped on a freight train and went to Sewickley! And then ... well, Count Floyd will tell you the rest.
Just a little blast from the past courtesy of Pittsburgh's own Joe Flaherty and the Canadian sketch-comedy show SCTV. Remember, this film won the Western Pennsylvania Fright Award in 1978.
If you want to feel old, I'll remind you that this clip is from 35 years ago. And that is really scary.
The owner of a Dravosburg-based contracting company pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government, Acting U.S. Attorney Soo C. Song said today.
Donald R. Taylor, 78, of Eighty-Four, Washington County, entered the plea before U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer in Pittsburgh.
Taylor, the owner of Century Steel Erectors Co., testified in court that he conspired with Watson L. Maloy Jr., 77, of Union Twp., Washington County, to use Maloy’s company, W.M.C.C. Inc., as a "front" company to illegally obtain federally funded subcontracts on bridge projects being completed for the state Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
W.M.C.C. qualified for certain government jobs because it was a minority-owned small business, federal prosecutors said. Century Steel Erectors was not.
Above: "A Letter to SASKIA" by Robert Qualters is one of the works on display in "Working Class Images" at the Bost Building through Dec. 16. Courtesy Rivers of Steel Historic Area.
Works by four local artists are featured in a new exhibition that examines life and culture in the Mon Valley.
"Working Class Images" debuted at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Bost Building, 623 E. 8th Ave., Homestead, a spokesperson said.
The exhibit --- inside a gallery at the Rivers of Steel Historic Area Visitors Center, near the Waterfront and the former site of U.S. Steel's Homestead Works --- spans four decades and includes paintings, mixed-media installations and photography.
The artists whose works are on display include McKeesport and Clairton native Robert Qualters; Carnegie Mellon University professor Charlee Brodsky; West Homestead-based muralist Jennifer Rempel; and poet and painter Peter Oresick, who died in 2016 from brain cancer.
"The exhibit addresses the struggle of workers to attain economic wellbeing and rights within the workplace, as well as expressions of their inner lives,” said Joel Sabadasz, Battle of Homestead Foundation board member and coordinator for this project. “Themes of work, community, struggle, dignity, faith, democracy, patriotism, play, friendship and love are timeless reflections of the region’s working-class life and culture.”
Exhibit hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday through Dec. 16, except for Thanksgiving weekend, when the Bost Building will be closed. A $3 donation is requested for admission and includes access to other exhibits as well as the gallery.