October 20, 2014 | Link to this story

Donations Sought for Family of Fire Victims

Category: News || By Staff and Submitted Reports

A friend of six people killed in a house fire Saturday morning in the city's 10th Ward section have set up an online fundraising drive to defray funeral costs and medical bills for the sole survivor.

The fund, set up by Amanda Grimes of Charleroi, has raised more than $9,000 of a $20,000 goal.

Grimes is the mother of the niece of Hope Jordan, 27, who died in the blaze along with her four children, Dominic Jordan, 7; Autumn Jordan, 6; Serenity Jakub, 3; and Victoria Jordan, 2; and her father-in-law, Ronald Egenlauf Sr., 55, according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office.

Her husband, Keith Egenlauf, 23, was badly burned in the fire and is in critical condition at UPMC Mercy Hospital, Uptown section of Pittsburgh.

The medical examiner ruled Sunday that the victims died of acute smoke and fume inhalation. According to emergency officials, the blaze in the two-story wood frame home on Express Alley, near the CSX railroad tracks, broke out before 7 a.m. Saturday, and heavy flames and smoke were present when McKeesport firefighters arrived on the scene.

Investigators have determined that the fire began in the living room of the house, on the first floor, Alvin Henderson, chief of the county Department of Emergency Services, said on Monday. But investigators have not yet pinpointed where or how the fire exactly began, he said.

"This is still an active fire investigation and additional interviews need to be conducted," Henderson said. "Once the cause and origin of the fire have been determined, we will issue a statement, but we will not be providing any other information at this time."

A candlelight vigil in 10th Ward on Sunday night attracted hundreds of mourners, according to published reports. Funeral arrangements are in charge of Hunter-Edmundson-Striffler Funeral Home and are not yet complete.



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October 17, 2014 | Link to this story

Big Band Era Archived By City Native

Category: History || By



Paul Roth left McKeesport to become a noted pioneer in the field of computer simulation and computer models, and twice was elected to head the national organization of researchers interested in the field.

A graduate of both Pitt and the University of Pennsylvania, he retired from the computer science faculty at Virginia Tech after teaching at Villanova, Maryland and South Florida universities, and his long career also included work with the National Bureau of Standards, Burroughs Corp. and General Electric.

But his passion --- formed during his teen-age years in the Library District of the city --- is the dance band music of the 1940s and '50s. Roth's avocation has been interviewing jazz musicians of the "big band" era and cataloging their recordings. Roth recounted those formative years last year in an article for Western Pennsylvania History magazine.

Roth, a McKeesport High School graduate who now divides his time between Western Pennsylvania and Florida, will be speaking at 2 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 18) at the McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center in Renziehausen Park to deliver its annual Founders' Day Address. The event is free and open to the public; call (412) 678-1832 or visit the website.

Beginning in the late 1970s and continuing for nearly 20 years, Roth traveled the country, interviewing important contributors ranging from Sammy Kaye to Steve Allen. Many of the recordings that Roth collected during his travels now form the Paul F. Roth Collection of the American Dance Band at Stanford University in California, and that archive has been used by music historians throughout the world.

(more)

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October 16, 2014 | Link to this story

Majorette's Dream Led to City's Famous Drill Team

Category: History || By Andi Cartwright



When Helen Donato was picked to be one of only four girls to be a McKeesport High School majorette, her joy was overshadowed by the heartbreak she witnessed of the dozens of other girls who weren't picked for the highly-exclusive team.

In 1947, during her senior year, she was hired for a clerical position by Progressive Music. But soon, her talents as a twirling instructor were realized, and she began teaching.

Her classes filled quickly as her reputation grew. She saw an opportunity to form a group for all kids who had the desire to be a part of a drill team, but might not have the talent to make the cut for the limited slots on their high school squads.

And so, the McKeesport Majorette Drill Team was formed, and no child was turned away. As long as they were willing to work hard, and adhere to the strict code of conduct, they were welcomed and made to feel a part of a large family.

(more)

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October 16, 2014 | Link to this story

Health Department Hosts Local Meeting Oct. 22

Category: Announcements || By Submitted Report

The Allegheny County Health Department will hold two community health meetings next week, including one in the city.

The meetings, among 13 being held in each Allegheny County Council district, serve as an opportunity to disseminate information about the current health of Allegheny County and engage the public in a community discussion about health issues, a spokesman said.

Residents are encouraged to attend the meeting in their county council district but are also welcome to attend any of the other meetings.

The McKeesport meeting will focus on residents of District 9, which also includes Dravosburg, Duquesne, Elizabeth Twp., Forward, Glassport, Liberty, Lincoln, North Versailles Twp., Port Vue, South Versailles Twp., Versailles, West Mifflin, White Oak.

It will be held at the McKeesport YMCA, 604 Evans Ave., across from UPMC McKeesport hospital, on Wednesday, Oct. 22 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

(more)

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October 08, 2014 | Link to this story

Chinese Opera Troupe Visits McKeesport Monday

Category: Announcements || By Submitted Report

Penn State Greater Allegheny welcomes China's Ningbo Yong Opera Troupe at 7 p.m. Monday (Oct. 13) for a 90-minute performance in the McKeesport campus' Wunderley Gym.

The public is invited to attend and admission is free. For more information, contact the Academic Affairs Office at (412) 675-9140.

The 27-member troupe from Ningbo Performance & Arts Group is traveling to the U.S. from Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China. The performance will include parts from "Andi," adapted from Eugene O'Neill's Pulitzer-winning "Anna Christie," as well as highlights from other plays.

"We are so excited and fortunate to host the award-winning Ningbo Yong Opera Troupe," says Margaret Signorella, director of Academic Affairs for Penn State Greater Allegheny.

"We are always looking for cultural and educational opportunities for our students, and to have a world-renowned musical group perform on our campus is an experience consistent with the campus emphasis on a global curriculum," she says.

(more)

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October 07, 2014 | Link to this story

All Lanes of Mansfield Bridge to Open Thursday

Category: Announcements || By Submitted Report

The Allegheny County Department of Public Works announced that all traffic control measures will be removed on the Mansfield Bridge, and all four lanes will be open, beginning Thursday afternoon.

The bridge, which connects the city with Dravosburg and Glassport, has been the focus of a lengthy, $34 million reconstruction project which is due to wrap up later this year.

Over the next month, temporary lane closures may take place during 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays to install the new handrail on the approaches to the bridge, a county spokeswoman said. The project is being done in conjunction with the state Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. The work is being performed by the Joseph B. Fay Company of Tarentum.



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September 24, 2014 | Link to this story

City, Penn State Students Collaborate on Survey

Category: News || By Submitted Report

Penn State Greater Allegheny photo


McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko, shown with interim Chancellor Nancy Herron, visited the Penn State Greater Allegheny campus to discuss the city's strategic planning. (Penn State Greater Allegheny photo)

. . .

Students in Penn State Greater Allegheny's Foundations of Civic and Community Engagement class have developed two surveys that will be used by the City of McKeesport in strategic planning.

The class was discussing ways in which they could get involved in the community. A perfect opportunity came along when the City of McKeesport announced plans to create a strategic plan to address a wide range of issues that have an impact on residents who live in the city as well as people attending local schools and those commuting into the city for work.

Environmental Planning & Design of Pittsburgh, which is contracted by McKeesport to help with the strategic plan, approached Director of Academic Affairs Margaret Signorella with the idea of having students help create the survey, which asks the opinions of students, faculty and staff at the campus.

"This was a great way for students to be engaged in a meaningful community project," Signorella said. "To be able to use the skills learned in the classroom to assist a city in proactively moving forward is a perfect example of what we strive to accomplish in all our classes."

(more)

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September 16, 2014 | Link to this story

C-clear Center Calls for Volunteers

Category: Announcements || By

Clean-up @ C-clear Center for Innovation and Empowerment

 
The C-clear Center for Innovation and Empowerment is hosting a Clean-up Day on Saturday, September 27 at 10 am.
 
Individuals and community groups are being asked to volunteer to help clean up the first floor of the historic 327-329 Shaw Avenue location as a first step in a green renovation of the space which will serve as a "destination for learning and a gathering place for the community".

Volunteers are asked to bring a broom and dustpan if they have them. Gloves, garbage bags, other supplies and drinks will be provided. Pizza will be served from 12:30-1 pm.

Contact C-clear Co-founder and President, Curtis Reaves at c.reaves@c-clear.org for more information.

C-clear is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization providing services throughout Allegheny County with a mission to empower youth and adults residing in high poverty communities by helping them to reach their true potential, while serving as a catalyst for positive growth and change in the community.

Find out more about the C-clear mission and projects by visiting www.facebook.com/Cclearinnovation or www.c-clear.org



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September 09, 2014 | Link to this story

GTECH: Why We're Working in McKeesport

Category: Another Viewpoint || By James Snow

(The following is a guest commentary. Opinions expressed in commentaries are those of individual authors, and are not necessarily those of Tube City Community Media Inc., its directors or volunteers)

Image courtesy GTECH Strategies


This fall, 10 McKeesport residents have the opportunity to clean and green vacant lots in their neighborhood. This is GTECH Strategies' first vacant land Ambassador program outside of the City of Pittsburgh.

Why did we choose to work with the City of McKeesport to create new community green spaces?

1. The vacant land. There are lots of vacant lots in the City of McKeesport. More precisely, there are more than 2,500 vacant parcels of land; that number grows every month with each vacant house torn down.

Vacant land is a detriment to communities. Reports suggest that they attract crime and create other public safety issues. (In another study, violent crime rates were shown to decrease up to 8 percent near greened, former vacant lots.)

From an economic standpoint vacant land decreases property values, possibly up to as much as 20 percent (PDF). There are a lot of good reasons (PDF) to focus on cleaning and greening vacant land. (And GTECH is here to help!)

(more)

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September 05, 2014 | Link to this story

Renzie Hosts All-Day Christian Music Fest Saturday

Category: News || By



City residents Lou and Kris Rhoades have parlayed their small business acumen, and their passion for Christian ministry, into a musical and outreach effort that spans the Mon Valley and Western Pennsylvania.

Their non-profit group, The Well Ministries, will sponsor its 14th annual all-day Inspire Christian Music Festival this Saturday (Sept. 6) at the Lions Club Bandshell at Renziehausen Park. Admission is free.

In an interview this morning on "Two Rivers, 30 Minutes," our weekly public affairs program, the couple (married for more than 30 years) discussed the music festival and The Well's many ongoing projects, which include a band called Chalice.

Lou Rhoades also discussed the puppet shows he puts on throughout the area. To see a schedule for Saturday's event, visit the website, where the festival also will be streamed live.

"Two Rivers" airs at 9:30 a.m. Fridays on WEDO (810) and is also available as a free podcast download via iTunes and Stitcher.



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September 05, 2014 | Link to this story

'Patriotism Day' Events, Art Show Sunday in Renzie

Category: Announcements || By


The City of McKeesport will hold its first-ever celebration of patriotism this Sunday as part of a full slate of events planned for Renziehausen Park.

A "Patriotism Parade" will begin in the park at 6 p.m., followed by a salute to local veterans and local servicemen and servicewomen at 6:30 p.m. The River City Brass Band will perform at the Lions Club Bandshell at 7 p.m. For more information, visit the McKeesport Bands website.

In conjunction with the patriotism celebration, the WIP Arts project, McKeesport Art Group and McKeesport Regional History & Heritage Center will hold an "Art in the Park" craft show and sale in the parking lot of the Heritage Center from 12 noon until 7 p.m.

Art and craft vendors will be on hand to sell creative works and community organizations will be providing family-friendly arts and crafts activities. The Heritage Center museum will be open and entertainment will be hosted at the Heritage Center.

Musical performances include Luis Castillo at 1 p.m. and the MoneyPenny Band at 3 p.m. Spaces are still available for vendors at a cost of $20.

For more information, visit the WIP Arts website.



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September 05, 2014 | Link to this story

Mansfield Bridge Traffic Changes Coming

Category: Announcements || By Submitted Report

Traffic patterns on the Mansfield Bridge will be switched Monday night (Sept. 8), and the new patterns will be in effect for approximately two weeks, a county spokeswoman said.

The Mansfield Bridge is being reconstructed as part of a $34 million project being done in conjunction with the state Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration. Work is being performed by the Joseph B. Fay Company of Tarentum.

The next phase of construction will have cars traveling from Glassport and McKeesport to Dravosburg using the newly constructed side of the bridge. Traffic on either side of the bridge will be restricted to one lane.

The temporary traffic signal which was installed in March 2012 on the Glassport side of the river will be removed and traffic coming onto the bridge from Glassport to Dravosburg will be controlled through a stop sign.

Traffic traveling onto the bridge from McKeesport to Dravosburg and traffic going to McKeesport and Glassport will have the right-of-way.



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