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Intermodal Facility Coming to City's Waterfront; 50 Jobs Expected

May 15, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

An intermodal facility employing 50 people will be built on 18 acres of the former U.S. Steel National Works near the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge. (Tube City Almanac photo)

A Braddock-based network of companies that operates steel recycling, transportation and materials-handing businesses is building an intermodal facility on McKeesport's riverfront.

City officials and Regional Industrial Development Corp. have broken their silence about plans to create the truck, barge and railroad loading and unloading facility near the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge.

Work began several weeks ago when cranes and a barge appeared on the Monongahela River, but the tenant was not identified until Wednesday.

A new company, River Materials Inc., will use about 18 acres of the former U.S. Steel National Works site for warehousing, processing and recycling and intends to construct buildings for offices, storage and light manufacturing, as well as a railroad car and barge remediation facility, according to a press release.

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Gift, Grant Aid Effort to Reopen Wilmerding Y

May 14, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News, North Versailles Twp. News

Celebrating a gift of $75,000 to the Wilmerding Community Center from Allegheny Petroleum Products Co. are CEO Jim Kudis and President Barb Kudis, state Rep. Brandon Markosek, Wilmerding Community Center board member Peter McGinty, Wilmerding Mayor Greg Jakub and state Sen. Jim Brewster. (Submitted photo courtesy Allegheny Petroleum Products Co.)

An effort to reopen the former YMCA in Wilmerding has gotten a big boost from a local business.

Allegheny Petroleum Products Co. has pledged $75,000 over three years to the new Wilmerding Community Center Inc. The gift was announced Friday.

Organizers are hoping the former YMCA will reopen this August --- on or about the one year anniversary of its closure.

Barb Kudis, president of Allegheny Petroleum, says the company hopes its gift spurs other donations. The 32-year-old company has been headquartered in Wilmerding for all but five years of its existence.

"We're a big supporter of the community," she says. "We have a lot of employees in the area, and the Wilmerding area has been a good partner of ours for many years."

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New Writers Group Aims to Inspire, Connect Local Creators

May 13, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Photojournalist Martha Rial will lead a series of story-telling workshops at the former Daily News Building beginning this Tuesday. (Tube City Almanac photo)

The old newsroom of the McKeesport Daily News will echo once again with the sounds of writers and photographers working on their story-telling skills.

But many of the stories they tell will likely be personal ones --- and they'll be working in formats that many newspaper employees never got a chance to experiment with.

"Tube City Writers" will hold its first organizational meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday on the second floor of the building at 409 Walnut St., now called the Tube City Center for Business and Innovation.

Martha Rial, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1998, will lead the meetings, along with author Nicole Peeler, an associate professor at Seton Hill University in Greensburg.

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Concert Series Will Focus Attention on City's Waterfront

May 10, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

CONFLICT OF INTEREST NOTE: The author has a conflict of interest. See editor's note at the end of this story.

A roots-rock group called The Seams will perform May 24 at McKeesport's new amphitheater along the Youghiogheny River. The concert will kick off a new series of Friday night events designed to attract attention to the area around the bike trail, marina and Palisades. (Photo courtesy The Seams)

A new amphitheater at Gergely Park along the Youghiogheny River will be inaugurated with a series of Friday night concerts designed to get people excited about redeveloping McKeesport's waterfront.

The concerts, announced this week by Mayor Michael Cherepko's office, will include ethnic food trucks, barbecue, raffles, artists and door prizes, as well as a beer tent for ages 21 and over.

The series opens at 7 p.m. May 24 with a concert by The Seams, a roots-influenced rock band comprised of Mon Valley area natives. Admission will be free.

The events are being organized under the auspices of the McKees Point Development Group, a volunteer committee that has been studying ways to attract new businesses and investment to the area around the McKees Point Marina and the Great Allegheny Passage hiking-biking trail, starting with the abandoned Penn-McKee Hotel.

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MASD Settles Lawsuit Over Black Student Union

May 01, 2019 |

By Richard Finch Jr. | Posted in: News

Six of the 11 McKeesport Area High School students who sued the district and Superintendent Mark P. Holtzman Jr. were all smiles at a news conference in Duquesne on Monday evening.

Sitting alongside their attorney, Witold “Vic” Walczak, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, they talked about their hopes for the proposed McKeesport Black Student Union.

“I feel like it's a way to get young teens together and to talk about stuff that’s going on, it's a safer environment,” said Ayriauna West, a ninth-grader.

Under the terms of a settlement between the district and the students, school officials must recognize the club within 10 days as “a non-curricular student activity” and ensure the club receives “the same rights, privileges and benefits that it provides to any other non-curricular student activity.”

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Reports: European Investors Launch Takeover Bid for Kennywood Parent

April 30, 2019 |

By Staff Reports | Posted in: News

(Photo via Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under Creative Commons.)

The Spanish parent company of Kennywood is being targeted for takeover by a group of European investors.

According to published reports, a group calling itself Piolin BidCo owns 44 percent of Parques Reunidos and is attempting to purchase the remaining 56 percent for almost $16 per share.

The details were revealed in an filing with financial regulators in Spain.

Based in Madrid, Parques Reunidos acquired Kennywood in West Mifflin, Sandcastle in West Homestead, Idlewild Park near Ligonier and other related companies in 2008. The takeover ended more than 100 years of ownership by the Henninger and McSwigan families.

The Piolin takeover bid was reported Friday by Skift, a blog for travel industry investors, and the Reuters news agency.

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Companies Gather to Educate Public About Medical Marijuana's Uses, Benefits

April 30, 2019 |

By Charlotte Hopkins | Posted in: News

Erik Asher of Pittsburgh describes how he produces rosin from marijuana extracts. (Charlotte Hopkins photo/special to Tube City Almanac)

* Correction, Not Perfection: This story was corrected after publication. -JT

Making marijuana legal for medicinal purposes has been a long battle ever since the U.S. Congress first made its use or possession illegal in 1937.

It was only three years ago that Pennsylvania reversed the state's policy on medicinal marijuana and made it legal. On Sunday, McKeesport-based PurePenn and other vendors held a Medicinal Marijuana Health Fair at the Palisades.

At one table, Erik Asher of Pittsburgh showed event-goers how rosin, a concentrated extract of the marijuana plant, is made using heat and high pressure.

The rosin is used in the same way as other forms of cannabis concentrates, he said, including through vaping.  “It can be used in edibles and dissolved into alcohol for use as a tincture,” Asher said.

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Speakers: Sailors of S.S. McKeesport 'Serve as Example' of Heroism

April 30, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Bruce Roberts and Tom Bergan raise a flag commemorating the S.S. McKeesport, which was sunk by a German torpedo in 1943. Also shown are Adam Striffler Gulaski and Tom Maglicco. (Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

The sacrifices made by the men of the S.S. McKeesport --- and by other merchant mariners during wartime --- provide a better model for living than the negativity presented by current events, speakers at a memorial service said Monday.

"Their sacrifice was not in vain," said the Rev. Boniface Igba of Auberle, who delivered the invocation during the commemoration of the 76th anniversary of the ship's sinking during World War II. "They serve as an example for us, especially in this time of division and pain and unceasing violence in this great nation of ours."

First launched in 1919 and built in part with steel forged in McKeesport, the ship carried emergency relief supplies for the Red Cross in 1940 and then was pressed into service during World War II to supply allied forces.

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Natural Gas Tax an Issue of Fairness, Fetterman Tells Chamber Lunch

April 26, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

A tax on natural gas from Pennsylvania's Marcellus shale isn't a Republican issue or a Democratic issue --- it's a fairness issue, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman said Friday.

During a luncheon at the Sunset Room in Elizabeth Twp., hosted by the Mon-Yough Area Chamber of Commerce, Fetterman, former mayor of Braddock, said even hard-core Republican states such as Oklahoma and Texas levy taxes on the extraction of natural gas.

Those states "aren't some socialist dream from some 'tax-and-spend lib,'" Fetterman joked.

After Texas, Pennsylvania is the nation's second-biggest producer of natural gas. Yet only Pennsylvania has no such tax, said Fetterman, who is backing a proposal from Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to levy 4.5 percent on natural gas to fund infrastructure improvements statewide.

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Officials Voice Frustration as U.S. Steel Appeals Pollution Fine

April 26, 2019 |

By Jason Togyer | Posted in: News

Taking audience questions during a panel discussion at the Sunset Room in Elizabeth Twp. on Friday were state Rep. Mike Puskaric, Allegheny County Councilman Bob Macey, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, state Sen. Jay Costa, state Sen. Jim Brewster and state Rep. Bill Kortz. (Photo special to Tube City Almanac)

U.S. Steel should spend more money on anti-pollution technology and less on "lawyering up," said officials at a Mon-Yough Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Friday.

They expressed their frustration after U.S. Steel on Thursday announced it will again appeal air pollution fines levied against the corporation.

An accident at the Clairton Plant on Dec. 24 knocked pollution equipment out of service for more than three months and put the entire Mon Valley under a health advisory.

"We would rather see (U.S. Steel) make investments not in legal actions --- 'lawyering up' --- but investing in engineers to clean it up," said Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive.

A large contingent of clean-air and public health advocates also attended Friday's lunch, including Johnie Perryman, 75, of Clairton, who wore an air-filter mask for much of the event at the Sunset Room in Elizabeth Twp.

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