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Kennywood, Other Attractions Reopening

June 30, 2020 |

By Jason A. Mignanelli | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Kennywood employees standing six feet apart demonstrate social distancing. Guests will need to make a reservation to visit the park, which opens July 11. Masks also will be required for most patrons age 3 and older, except on water rides. (Submitted photo courtesy Kennywood)

Just in time for the start of summer — and the arrival of hot and sunny weather in Western Pennsylvania — local attractions are welcoming visitors after many were closed, or delayed their opening days, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kennywood Park in West Mifflin, which usually welcomes guests in early May, will open to the public beginning on July 11 — but at the 121-year-old amusement park and elsewhere, things will look and be quite different this year.

For one thing, advance registration will be required, said Nick Paradise, director of public relations at Kennywood. Guests who want to visit Kennywood must RSVP at the park’s website, The park also suggests having alternate dates in mind, in case the preferred date is already booked to capacity.

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July 4 Fireworks Still Planned in City

June 29, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Fireworks illuminate Gordon Street in McKeesport on July 4, 2019. (Vickie Babyak photo for Tube City Almanac)

Although other communities have scrapped their Independence Day fireworks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show will go on in McKeesport.

However, there will be no city-sponsored activities on the ground in Renziehausen Park, and officials are suggesting people view the fireworks from the safety of their own homes or backyards.

If necessary, Mayor Michael Cherepko said, residents can drive to Renzie but park and stay in their cars.

Because the display can be safely viewed from a distance, Cherepko said, the city “decided all along that we were not going to cancel fireworks.”

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Construction Projects Will Affect Traffic Locally

June 29, 2020 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Construction projects in Dravosburg and West Mifflin this week will impact local traffic, including a detour on Route 885 and the complete closure of Route 837 for two days.

Work will include final paving on Route 885 (Lebanon Road) Wednesday through Friday, weather-permitting, as well as a closure of Route 837 so that crews can reconstruct the Boswell Oil railroad crossing.

Steve Cowan, district spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said paving on Route 885 between Mifflin Road and Noble Drive (near Skyview Volunteer Fire Department) will require a southbound detour from 6 a.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday, and from 6 p.m. Thursday to 8 a.m. Friday.

Northbound traffic will not be affected, Cowan said.

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As COVID-19 Cases Set Another Record,
New Restrictions in Place

June 28, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Update: At 7:51 p.m., county officials announced that on-premises liquor consumption must end immediately, but enforcement will not begin until 5 p.m. Tuesday. This story also has been updated with remarks from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.

As COVID-19 cases set another new record high in Allegheny County, officials have announced new restrictions on bars and restaurants and are recommending all travelers self-quarantine for two weeks.

At a press conference Sunday, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said “these are severe steps,” but added, “we’re going in the wrong direction.”

Overnight, 96 new cases were confirmed in Allegheny County overnight, breaking the record of 90 cases set Saturday. Those are the highest numbers since the county first began tracking COVID-19 in March.

Last week, county officials said that through contact tracing, they determined that many new COVID-19 patients had been spending time in bars and restaurants.

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International Village Canceled Due to Pandemic

June 27, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Denise L. Ritter photo for Tube City Almanac)

International Village — McKeesport’s signature summer event and one of the largest ethnic festivals in Western Pennsylvania — has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city had been hoping to operate a scaled-down version of the three-day event in Renziehausen Park — offering takeout food only, with no seating and no live entertainment — but Mayor Michael Cherepko said Saturday that vendors surveyed by the village committee were reluctant to participate.

“The vast majority of them weren’t interested in having the village this year in any way, shape or form,” Cherepko said. “They’re concerned about COVID-19 and concerned about having volunteers at their booths.”

It’s the first time in International Village’s 61-year history that the event has been canceled.

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Hospital Confirms Seven Cases of COVID-19

June 27, 2020 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Kerry Pollard, a microbiologist for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, extracts a sample of SARS-CoV2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, inside a state-operated lab in Exton, Chester County. (Photo courtesy Pennsylvania Department of Health)

Seven cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at UPMC McKeesport hospital, a spokeswoman said Saturday, but it’s unclear if the cases are related or coincidental.

The report comes as officials are warning of a sharp increase in the number of cases of COVID-19 across Allegheny County — many among younger people who recently traveled or who had been visiting bars and restaurants.

Countywide, there were 90 new cases reported Saturday — the biggest single-day jump since the health department began tracking COVID-19 in March.

In a prepared statement, UPMC spokeswoman Sarah Katz said four cases have been identified among patients at UPMC McKeesport and three among employees. The departments where the employees work were not released.

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Police Allege Driver Struck Child, Fled Scene

June 23, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A Wilmerding woman is accused of leaving the scene of an accident in which a child suffered minor injuries.

McKeesport police have charged Siddioah L. Sands, 28, with failing to stop and render aid, driving with a suspended license, careless driving and causing an accident while not properly licensed.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 24 before Magisterial District Judge Eugene Riazzi.

Police said two girls were walking home from the store on the evening of June 7 and were attempting to cross Soles Street near Bailie Avenue when a black Ford Explorer drove by, striking one of the children.

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Suspect Held in NV Twp. Bank Robbery

June 23, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

(Photo courtesy Allegheny County sheriff’s office)

A North Braddock man was arrested Tuesday in Clairton in connection with the November 2019 robbery of the Huntington Bank branch in Great Valley Shopping Center, North Versailles Twp.

D’el Lamar Mackey, 38, is charged by North Versailles police with robbery and is being questioned by the FBI in Pittsburgh, said a spokesman for the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office. A preliminary hearing has not been scheduled.

Mackey also was indicted June 3 by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh and has been charged with one count of bank robbery, court records indicate. The indictment was unsealed Tuesday.

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One Wounded in Evans Ave. Incident

June 22, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

(Updated June 22, 11:30 a.m.)

An unidentified 41-year-old woman is in critical condition at a local hospital following a shooting Sunday night on Evans Avenue.

Allegheny County police said McKeesport police responded to a report of a shooting just after 10:30 p.m. to the 700 block. The victim was suffering from gunshot wounds to the back, arm and leg, a county police spokesperson said, and was hospitalized.

On Monday, county police homicide detectives said the victim was sitting on her porch with other individuals when a man with a mask covering his face walked towards the residence and opened fire, striking the victim.

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Police Seek City Woman in Slaying

June 21, 2020 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport woman is being sought by Allegheny County police in connection with a fatal shooting early Thursday morning.

It was the second homicide in the city in less than four days.

Gabrielle Parker (above), 33, is charged by county police with homicide and carrying a firearm without a license.

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