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School Director, Resident Exchange Angry Words

September 28, 2023 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Related story: School Board Meeting Marked By Heated Rhetoric

A McKeesport Area School Director apologized on social media following an angry exchange with a member of the public at the end of Tuesday night’s board meeting.

During the meeting, School Director Jim Brown had referred to the lengthy, tense proceedings as “a sh-t show.”

Following the meeting, as Brown was speaking to a reporter from Tube City Almanac, a resident accosted Brown and told him, “You’re the cause of the sh-t show, just by the way you conduct yourselves. Tone it down, tone it down, tone it down.”

Brown responded with profanity and an offensive word, telling the resident, “Hey, you better get away from me. What’s wrong with this dude?”

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School Board Meeting Marked By Heated Rhetoric

September 28, 2023 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Related story: School Director, Resident Exchange Angry Words

A lengthy McKeesport Area School Board meeting on Tuesday was marked by contentious remarks and explosive rhetoric that was lamented by several participants.

The meeting was rescheduled from Sept. 20 after an accident that morning claimed the life of a student from Serra Catholic High School. Board members opened the meeting with a moment of silence for Samantha Kalkbrenner, 15, of Dravosburg, who died in that collision, which also injured three other students and two adults.

During the citizen’s comments portion of the meeting, several community members raised concerns about student safety and district accountability.

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City Seeks $3M for New Versailles Ave. Bridge

September 26, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Tube City Almanac file photo)

McKeesport officials are hoping that the replacement of the Versailles Avenue Viaduct can be expedited with help and funding from the state Department of Transportation.

Council this month authorized PennDOT to act on the city’s behalf to perform the necessary work begin the process of replacing the nearly 300-foot-long bridge, which was closed to all traffic in February 2022 after an inspection determined it was no longer safe.

City council also have asked PennDOT for $3 million in funding toward the project from the state’s Multimodal Transportation Fund.

McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said the city is hopeful that funding from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission and the federal government will help make up the remainder of the cost, estimated at approximately $10 million.

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Council OK’s Renovations to Lysle Garage

September 26, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

(Tube City Almanac file photo)

Renovating the Lysle Boulevard parking garage is another important step toward turning around the decline of the Downtown business district, McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko said.

City council this month awarded a $2.3 million contract to Kucich Construction Co. of McKeesport for work that will include new safety lighting, electrical upgrades, elevators, concrete deck repairs and other improvements.

The work will be paid for through a state Department of Transportation multi-modal grant awarded to the city in 2018.

“I think it’s a key component to attracting businesses, not just to the Daily News Building, but to the People’s Building and the Executive Building as well,” Cherepko said. “Barring any major setbacks due to obtaining material, I would expect the work to last approximately a year.”

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Serra Student Remembered at Prayer Service

September 22, 2023 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Students, teachers and members of the McKeesport-area community hold candles during a prayer service Thursday night for Samantha Kalkbrenner. (Photo by Adam Reinherz for Tube City Almanac)

A Thursday evening prayer service in memory of Samantha Kalkbrenner brought hundreds to McKeesport’s Serra Catholic High School.

As hymns were sung and candles held, mourners recalled Kalkbrenner, a 15-year-old sophomore from Dravosburg who died tragically Sept. 20 following a crash between a car and a Serra school van at the intersection of Richland and Third avenues in Dravosburg. Kalkbrenner was a passenger in the van.

Five other people, including three other students, were injured in the collision.

A crowd of perhaps 400 people, including students, teachers, staff and members of the McKeesport community attended the vigil, held at the football stadium on the Haler Heights campus.

“Although she is no longer with us, her life will never be extinguished,” Serra Catholic Principal Robert Childs said. “When our lives are difficult and seem unbearable we will remember her smiling face and her kind words.”

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Truck Crash in 3rd Ward Under Investigation

September 20, 2023 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

CORRECTION: This story was corrected after publication to remove a sentence speculating about the cause of the crash. We apologize for the error.

McKeesport police and state safety investigators are probing a crash Monday afternoon that injured two sanitation workers and two bystanders and damaged a half-dozen parked cars in the city’s Third Ward.

Rob Smith, president of Big’s Sanitation in Rostraver Twp., said a truck that was working a route in the area of Jenny Lind Street lost its brakes and rolled down the hill, collding with several cars in the parking lot of Ryco Inc. along 13th Avenue at Walnut Street.

The company collects residential trash in the city under contract.

The truck stopped just short of the Ryco building, Smith said.

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Local Mom Organizes Walk to Raise Awareness

September 19, 2023 |

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

Family and friends of Quanisha Ball, 31, want her death to bring more awareness to the need for pedestrian safety. Ball’s mother, Courtney Thompkins, has distributed flyers near the intersection in DeKalb County, Ga., where her daughter died. (Photo left, courtesy Thompkins family; at right, Dan Whisenhunt photo for Decaturish)

A McKeesport woman has organized a walk on Wednesday (Sept. 20) to bring attention to her daughter’s death while crossing the street in Georgia.

More than 100 family members and friends will gather at 10 a.m. at the trailhead for the Great Allegheny Passage under the Boston Bridge in Elizabeth Twp. in memory of Quanisha Ball, 31, and then walk two miles.

That’s the distance, her mother alleges, that the driver who struck Ball continued on his way before returning to the accident scene outside of Atlanta.

The driver was never charged. Wednesday would have been Ball’s 32nd birthday, said her mother, Courtney Thompkins.

“It’s the first birthday since my baby isn’t here,” Thompkins said. “Quanisha was an amazing sister, daughter, a leader and we all admired her 31 years on this earth. And we miss her so much.”

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Alumni, Students Enjoy PSUGA 75th Celebration

September 19, 2023 |

By Yousuf Ibrahim | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Penn State University Greater Allegheny celebrated its 75th anniversary on Saturday with a “Blue & White Watch Party.”

Visitors went to the campus in McKeesport to eat free food and watch the Penn State Nittany Lions play the Illinois Fighting Illini on television.

Only 30 feet from the cafeteria where the watch party was held, the PSUGA men’s soccer team faced off against the Christendom College Crusaders from Front Royal, Va.

“We really wanted to celebrate the campus’ 75th anniversary in a way that honored our connection to the community,” said Megan Nagel, interim chancellor and chief academic officer. “Our alumni, our current faculty, staff, employees — We just wanted to make sure we had an event where anybody knew they were welcome to attend for free, eat for free, bring their kids. And I think we've achieved that today.”

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Motorists Get Peeling Plates Replaced at Free Event

September 17, 2023 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Julian Calabro of McKeesport gets help with a form from State Rep. Matt Gergely. (Tube City Almanac photo)

More than four dozen motorists signed up for free replacement license plates Saturday afternoon at McKeesport Area High School.

State Rep. Matt Gergely, who organized the event along with McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko, said many Pennsylvania motorists have complained in recent years that the paint is peeling from the license plates on their cars, making them unreadable.

Officials have been unable to identify what, exactly, caused certain plates to fail, he said, but it seems to relate to a change in the way the license tags were manufactured several years ago.

Although Pennsylvania will issue new license plates, free of charge, for anyone who has an illegible plate, Gergely said the process is inconvenient, in part because the form must be witnessed by a law-enforcement officer and notarized.

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Districts Unite to Support Community, Students

September 17, 2023 |

By Adam Reinherz | Posted in: Duquesne News, McKeesport and Region News

Community members recruited to be part of “The Village” recently greeted students as they arrived for the first day of school in Duquesne. (Submitted photo courtesy Allegheny Intermediate Unit)

Superintendents from the Clairton City, Duquesne City and McKeesport Area School Districts are spearheading efforts for greater communal support.

Through a newly formed program titled “The Village,” local school leaders are encouraging community members to help educate and mentor local children.

McKeesport Area Superintendent Tia Wanzo said she conceived of the idea in July.  At the time, Wanzo was thinking about the African proverb, that it “takes a village to raise a child,” she said.

Wanzo reached out to Clairton City Superintendent Tamara Allen-Thomas and Duquesne City Superintendent Sue Mariani about gathering a group of villagers — business owners, clergy, school board members and retirees — to dedicate their time and wisdom to today’s youth.

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