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EA Sets Guidance For 2021-22 School Year

July 29, 2021 |

By Kristen Keleschenyi | Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News

East Allegheny School Board has approved an update to the district’s health and safety plan for the upcoming school year.

The district will be returning to a five-day-per-week regular school schedule when classes resume on Aug. 24.

“I now think we have a revised health and safety plan that I think reflects the best thinking that is present on how schools should go about entering this new school year,” Superintendent Alan Johnson said at a special meeting July 22.

At the end of the previous school year, EA was operating on a four-day-per-week schedule with an early dismissal at Logan Elementary School. Wednesdays were remote instruction days for cleaning purposes.

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Water Flushing, Testing Continues in 10th Ward

July 28, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Announcements, McKeesport and Region News

A “do not use” order has been lifted in 10th Ward, but some homes and businesses — in the area shown in red — remain under a “do not drink” order. (Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County map)

An order preventing residents of the 10th Ward from using their tap water for anything except flushing toilets has now been lifted, a water authority spokesman said.

However, about 20 homes and businesses along Romine Avenue, Rebecca Street and West Fifth Avenue have been told they should not drink or cook with the water, said Matthew Junker, spokesman for the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County.

A “do not use” order for residents of lower 10th Ward was issued July 17 after emergency personnel reported that firefighting chemicals may have been sucked into an open fire hydrant as crews battled a multiple-alarm blaze at McKeesport Auto Body on Rebecca Street.

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Drug, Gun Bust Part of New Crackdown Effort

July 28, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: Crime and Police News

McKeesport and Elizabeth Twp. police joined local elected officials on Wednesday morning as state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, center, announced a major new task force aimed at drug and gun trafficking. (Tube City Almanac photo)

Local and state officials will not accept that McKeesport area residents must put up with drug trafficking and gun violence, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Wednesday morning.

“I am done — done — hearing about how McKeesport is one of ‘the most dangerous cities in America,’” Shapiro said at a news conference to announce the creation of tje Region V Strategic Response Team in the attorney general’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation. “I refuse to accept that, and no one up here is willing to accept that.”

Shapiro was flanked by McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko, police Chief Adam Alfer, Assistant Chief Mark Steele, state Sen. Jim Brewster, state Rep. Austin Davis, acting Elizabeth Twp. police Chief Adam Blake and Brenda Sawyer, a former McKeesport police officer who now serves as regional director of the state Bureau of Narcotics Investigation.

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Residents Not Liable for Paving Damage, Towing

July 28, 2021 |

By Sarah Turnbull | Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak Borough’s ongoing paving project has posed challenges for residents. Deborah Kidd of Ohio Avenue reported marks on her driveway.

“I’ve tried pressure washing, and I cannot get them off,” Kidd said. “It’s only four years old.”

Borough Manager John Palyo agreed that the paving company should take responsibility for removing the marks. Residents should contact the paving company to have damages repaired.

In related news, council voted unanimously to reimburse residents whose vehicles were towed due to roadwork. Residents whose cars were towed should contact council for reimbursement.

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Teen Dead in Soles Street Shooting

July 24, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Crime and Police News, McKeesport and Region News

An 18-year-old died early Saturday morning following a shooting at a home on Soles Street.

Dontae McKenith was pronounced dead at the scene, the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office said. Allegheny County homicide detectives said Phillip Payne, 16, surrendered to McKeesport police at 8 a.m. and will be charged in connection with the death.

County police Lt. Venerando Costa said detectives believe that McKenith and Payne were passing a handgun back and forth when Payne pointed it at McKenith and pulled the trigger, striking him at least once. Payne fled the scene before police and paramedics arrived, Costa said.

The investigation is ongoing and police did not say whether there was a motive for the shooting or it was accidental. Payne in awaiting arraignment on charges of criminal homicide and firearms offenses, Costa said.

Payne turned himself at the McKeesport police station without incident, police said.


Second Teen Charged in Duquesne Homicide

July 23, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

Update: Owens surrendered to Allegheny County police at 2 p.m. Saturday (July 24).

A second teen-ager has been charged with homicide in connection with the March 13 shooting death of a Duquesne man.

Allegheny County police on Friday obtained a warrant for the arrest of Carlo Owens, 14, of Duquesne on charges of criminal homicide, robbery and conspiracy.

County police previously arrested another 14-year-old, Tyion Simmons-McClain, also of Duquesne, and charged him with criminal homicide and robbery. Both youths are charged as adults.

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Water Advisory Lifted for Most 10th Ward Homes

July 23, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Residents in the affected area (see red area on map) have been advised to continue not to use the tap water for any purpose other than flushing toilets. Residents in the purple area have been told they can resume water use as normal. (Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County map)

A “do not drink” water advisory remains in effect for some residents of the city’s 10th Ward after traces of firefighting foam were found in water samples there. About 30 homes and businesses are affected.

However, the advisory has been lifted for most of the neighborhood, said Matt Junker, spokesman for the Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County.

Meanwhile, an environmental group that has collaborated with McKeesport residents to test soil for lead contamination on Friday questioned why fire departments continue to use foams containing so-called PFAS — chemicals linked to low birth weight, nervous system and thyroid disorders and some types of cancers.

On Friday afternoon, Junker said further water line flushing and testing will be needed for a small section of 10th Ward near the scene of a large fire July 16.

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Make-Up Business Day Planned Due to Rain

July 23, 2021 |

By Submitted Report | Posted in: Announcements

Due to inclement weather, last Saturday’s Black Business Day in McKeesport was cut short, so organizers are holding a second event tomorrow (July 24).

The event is scheduled from 2 to 6 p.m. in the parking lot of the Healthy Village Learning Institute, 1102 Fremont St., just off Versailles Avenue.

A limited number of spots are available for exhibitors. For details, visit Take Action Mon Valley on Facebook.


COVID Cases Up, Health Department Warns

July 21, 2021 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Areas of darker colors show a higher number of positive COVID-19 tests over the past 90 days. Over the past three months, McKeesport has had the fifth-highest number of COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County. (Data courtesy Allegheny County Health Department)

As COVID-19 cases begin to rise again in Allegheny County, the health department has warned residents that although we may be done with the pandemic, the pandemic is not done with us.

Seventy new cases of COVID-19 were reported Monday and 55 on Tuesday, said Dr. Debra Bogen, director of the Allegheny County Health Department.

Health department data also indicates that over the past 90 days, McKeesport has had the fifth-highest number of COVID-19 cases in Allegheny County. West Mifflin is No. 7.

“Although these numbers remain significantly lower than during the spring surge, it is a notable increase from the 10 to 15 daily cases in June and early July, and a stark reminder that this virus is not done with us,” Bogen said Wednesday.

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Former City Man Indicted on Drug Charges

July 21, 2021 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: Crime and Police News

A former city man has been indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with suspected drug trafficking.

A spokeswoman for Acting U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman said Brock J. Cochran, 30, is charged with possession with intent to deliver cocaine and the synthetic painkiller fentanyl.

A grand jury returned the indictment this week in connection with an incident that happened June 29, the spokeswoman said.

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 40 years, a fine not to exceed $5 million or both. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case, Kaufman’s office said.


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