July 19, 2014 | Link to this story

Bookstore Owner Holding On for Downtown Revival

Category: News || By


Downtown McKeesport's long-battered business district, where boarded-up storefronts outnumber active businesses, is primed for a comeback within three years, predicts Larry Wolfe, owner of L&L Christian Bookstore on Walnut Street.

Wolfe just hopes that he can hold on that long. He was our guest at 9:30 a.m. Friday on "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," heard over WEDO (810) and also available on Stitcher and iTunes.

"I think things are going to turn around here," he says. "I think some of the people who own property around here are holding onto it because they know that ... they've got the marina with over 200 boats in there. I'm sure they're going to expand that. If you have 200 boats you have 400 to 800 people there every weekend."

An entrepreneur who owns several businesses in his native Cleveland, Wolfe opened the bookstore two months ago in the former Golden Rule home decorating store near the intersection of Fifth and Walnut. The brightly lit store is packed with new merchandise ranging from books and gospel CDs through children's toys, coloring books, choir robes and liturgical material.

Wolfe has a similar successful store in East Cleveland that he claims is the most successful independent Christian bookstore in Ohio.

Yet in McKeesport, business has been slow --- some days, he makes only one or two sales. He watches hundreds of cars pass his front door, but few stop. "You've got one or two businesses trying to do something here," Wolfe says. "But you need other things here."

The Downtown district needs small specialty stores --- gift shops, card shops, beauty salons --- that people don't go to the mall for.

Unfortunately, Wolfe argues that uncooperative landlords and property owners who refuse to rent or sell their buildings are a big problem in Downtown McKeesport. "They've got a lot of people who own these buildings and they're not trying to rent them," he says. "They've let these buildings go so long they'll need $300,000 just to fix them up."

The biggest misconception is that Downtown McKeesport is unsafe, Wolfe says. "It's safe down here. Nobody bothers anybody during the daytime. You can walk the streets and nobody bothers you. Now, you come down here at 11 o'clock or midnight? I'll tell you to stay home. But that's anywhere you go."

. . .

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July 13, 2014 | Link to this story

Sponsors Needed for Village Webcast

Category: Shameless Horn-Tooting || By

We are still looking for donors and sponsors for our upcoming video webcast of International Village.

For $100, we will make a minimum of one 30-second announcement for your group, business or organization every hour, plus we will run a banner ad on Tube City Online for at least 30 days.

For $250, we will make a minimum of one 60-second announcement for your group, business or organization every hour, plus we will run a banner ad on Tube City Online for at least 60 days.

If you simply want to make a gift and do not want an announcement, your donation may be tax-deductible next year. Thank you!







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July 11, 2014 | Link to this story

'Past & Present Reunion' Begins Tonight

Category: Announcements || By



The eighth-annual McKeesport Past & Present Reunion begins at 6 p.m. tonight with a dinner, dance and comedy show at The Palisades ballroom, 100 Water St. at the McKee's Point Marina. Admission is $25 for adults and $50 for a family of four.

Saturday, beginning at 12 noon, the reunion will feature an all-day cookout and family fun events at Moran Field, corner of Market Street and 11th Avenue. There is no admission charge. There will be games and horseback riding for kids, a reptile expert from the Mon Valley Herpetological Society and other activities.

At 11 a.m. Sunday morning, the reunion wraps up with an interfaith church service at Trinity Church of God In Christ, 2216 Jenny Lind St. at Evans Street.

For more information, call (412) 897-4909.

This morning on WEDO (810), we interviewed two of the organizers of the reunion, chair Cornell Johnson and publicity coordinator Christina Preston. You can download the episode from Stitcher Radio or iTunes.

. . .

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July 11, 2014 | Link to this story

Author Explores Story of Helen Richey's Death

Category: Announcements || By Submitted Report

The McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center will host its second 2014 Summer Speaker Program at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 19.

Andrea Niapas will share stories from her research on her new book "Fatal Friendship: The Death of Helen Richey and the Strange Disappearance of Amelia Earhart."

McKeesport native Helen Richey was the world's first female commercial airline pilot. According to Niapas, Richey was convinced Amelia's mysterious disappearance had sinister undertones and wanted secret activities surrounding the fatal flight brought to light. Friends warned Helen that she was asking too many questions.

On Jan. 7, 1947, Helen died in her New York City apartment. Her death was ruled a suicide, but Niapas calls it "impossible" to reject the possibility of a different cause. This book is a historical mystery based on years of investigative research.

The program is free and open to the public. The McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center is located at 1832 Arboretum Drive in Renziehausen Park. For more information, call (412) 678-1832 or visit the website.

. . .

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July 10, 2014 | Link to this story

Brewery Founder Tells of Homestead Plans

Category: Local Businesses || By



The founder of Meadville's Voodoo Brewery is excited about an upcoming move into Homestead.

Matt Allyn says the microbrewery, located north of Pittsburgh, will have a pub up and running in the borough's former municipal building and fire station within six months. The brewery was asked to visit Homestead by the borough council and its redevelopment agencies.

"The more and more we started to interact with (Homestead officials) we really, really liked their ideas for the town," he says. "They seem to be very aggressive about getting some revitalization going."

Although Voodoo doesn't have immediate plans to brew any of its beers in Homestead, Voodoo is looking to operate a restaurant and "tap room" and could eventually produce some other products such as pop, Allyn says.

"It's a great building and it's got a lot of history," Allyn says. "It's one of those buildings that kind of talks to you."

We interviewed Allyn on July 4 for our podcast, which is also heard at 9:30 a.m. Fridays on WEDO (810).
. . .

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July 09, 2014 | Link to this story

The Beg-a-Thon is On

Category: Announcements || By

Too-long-didn't-read (TL;DR) version: We need to raise some serious money. If you'd like to help sponsor our upcoming video webcast of International Village, prices start at $100 for a 30-second hourly commercial, or $250 for a 60-second hourly commercial. Thank you!







This is the least pleasant thing about running a non-profit: Begging for money. That's why we don't do it very often.

As we've done for the past five years, we are again planning to webcast McKeesport's International Village this Aug. 12, 13 and 14. We are planning both continuous video of the main stage, as well as a daily one-hour show from Renzie over WEDO (810) each night.

(We could use a camera person or two. If you're interested in volunteering, email tubecitytiger@gmail.com.)

Coming into this year's International Village, we are seriously in debt, to the tune of about $3,500. Much of this money was borrowed from me, and was advanced to Tube City Community Media Inc. as an "I.O.U."

That's the bad news.

The good news is that the money was spent for a very good reason: We are in the process, finally, of converting Tube City Community Media Inc. into a tax-deductible, charitable organization. The IRS accepted our application on June 13, and we should have a decision within 90 to 180 days.

(more)

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July 04, 2014 | Link to this story

Fireworks Tonight at Renzie

Category: Announcements || By Submitted Report

Happy Independence Day!

McKeesport's summer concerts in the park series hosts "Treasure" at 7 tonight at the Lions Club Bandshell in Renziehausen Park, followed by fireworks at dark. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and join the fun!



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July 01, 2014 | Link to this story

Somebody's in Trouble

Category: General Nonsense || By

Overheard in the North Versailles Twp. Kmart:

Little boy: "Daddy says he needs $200."
Mom: "Oh? What does he need that for?"
Little boy: "To go to the gun show with his friends."
Mom: "Oh, really? He didn't tell mommy that."
Little boy: "I don't know why he needs another stupid gun."
Mom: "Well, mommy is going to ask him about that."

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall when they got home.



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June 27, 2014 | Link to this story

Free Swimming Lessons at Boyce, South Parks

Category: Announcements || By Submitted Report

Allegheny County will hold free swimming lessons for children ages 5 and older at its pools in Boyce, North, Settlers Cabin and South parks from 10:00 to 10:45 a.m. on the first four Tuesdays and Thursdays in July.

Classes for individuals with last names A-K will be held on July 1, 8, 15 and 22. Classes for last names L-Z will take place on July 3, 10, 17 and 24.

Pre-registration is not required. All lessons are taught by Allegheny County lifeguards.

For questions or additional information, contact the park where your child will attend lessons: Boyce Park at (724) 327-0338; North Park at (724) 935-1766; Settlers Cabin Park at (412) 787-2750; or South Park at (412) 835-4809. Information is also available online atwww.alleghenycounty.us/parks/swim.aspx .



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June 24, 2014 | Link to this story

The More Things Change

Category: History || By T.L. (Tim) Tassone


(This is the third of three parts. Part 1 appeared Sunday. Part 2 appeared Monday.)

There's a common and familiar phrase that all of us have heard so often throughout our lives: The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Each one of us, the graduates of 1964, can be the judge of that.

Just think about and reflect upon a few of those basically simple things that so importantly affected our lives as graduating students of MSHS and then, in contrast, reflect upon the vastly more complex things which have affect our lives now as we celebrate our 50th reunion. How the very sense, scope, and scale of our priorities have changed!

From the joy of savoring an Isaly's Klondike or thick chocolate real ice cream milkshake to the fear of sudden danger from a Richter Scale 6.0 earthquake, and from looking forward to enjoying a summer evening and a tasty Dairy Queen soft-serve cone to dreading the endless obligation to repay our heirs' student loans.

From slowly searching for basic information buried within our sets of Encyclopedia to using a mere touch of our finger tips to instantly access all the world's data of information on the web through Wikipedia.

And from constant craving to finally own the McKeesport must have classic British style of men's golf jackets, the "Baracuta," to the continuous curiosity regarding the curious ideology of the international TV broadcast network Al Jazeera.

(more)

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June 23, 2014 | Link to this story

FBI, Local Police Target Child Sex Trafficking

Category: News || By Submitted Report

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, Allegheny County officials and local police last week launched a major effort to put an end to child sex trafficking in Western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.

Called "Operation Cross Country VIII," the effort resulted in 30 arrests, including those of three accused "pimps" and two adults accused of attempting to have sex with minors, said Scott S. Smith, special agent in charge of the FBI's Pittsburgh Field Office.

Names of the people arrested as part of the sweep were not released.

"Operation Cross Country has shown us with clarity that sex trafficking and child prostitution continues to plague our communities," Smith said. "Those who exploit children should know they will be sought out and brought to justice."

Monroeville and Pittsburgh police participated in the sweep, along with agents from the state Attorney General's Office and West Virginia State Police, among other agencies.

"These arrests send a strong message that it is unacceptable for women and children to be used to facilitate a criminal enterprise," Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. said.

(more)

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June 23, 2014 | Link to this story

A Long Way Since 1964

Category: History || By T.L. (Tim) Tassone



(This is the second of three parts. Part 1 appeared Sunday.)

When we graduated from McKeesport Senior High School 50 years ago, many of us seized the challenge as a priority, and prepared for college or technical school to seek a career. Others went immediately into the workplace to start a job. Some of us worked for a while before seeking the career that was best suited for our individual lives. A number of us decided to accept the equally challenging career to manage a home in the traditional manner of our parents' generation. A few of us chose not to ever lock into any one steady job or career of any kind.

Many of us sensed that we would have to continue to be further educated in order to progress with our most ambitious careers and lives. Some of us moved on to advanced specialty education degrees or advanced vocational certifications in our fields of choice. A few of us went on to earn the highest educational degree within our fields of interest and specialization.

Many of us chose to pursue careers whether as medical providers or professional athletes, teachers or scholars, artists or entertainers, lawyers or businesspeople, engineers or entrepreneurs, military or clergy, and scientists or technologists. Some of us chose to pursue the more traditional, yet equally challenging, career choice of staying at home and managing and raising a family. A few of us took the que sera, sera approach in terms of a singular career choice.

But whether we went on to college or trade school, started working at a job, maintained a home, or never really became rooted in any one particular vocational or skilled task, every one of us had our future opportunities before us --- to model, manipulate, and manage as we saw fit.

(more)

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