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A look back at the past year's news

Photo by Mike Longo Jr.

Our Lady of the Sacred Heart took the title at the WPIAL 2A Championship on Feb. 28. They were set to move on to the playoffs, however, the introduction of COVID-19 would force the game to be canceled.

By Jamie Wiggan

-Year In Review-

Thanks for sticking with us through another year.

It’s been a tough one. But — like the communities we serve — our little newsroom has proven resilient, and we’ve closed out 2020 stronger than ever after briefly scaling back during the spring.

Join us as we look back on the highs and lows from a year that’s sure to mark the pages of history and haunt living memories for years to come.


New management

During its first public meeting of the year Jan. 6, Crafton Council voted out former manager R.J. Susko and ushered in Russ McKibbon as her temporary replacement.

When pressed by a resident among the audience, council declined to comment on the reasons for the switch.

The borough later confirmed McKibbon as its permanent manager and hired Doug Sample to fill a newly-created assistant manager position.

Inaugural award

Readers rallied behind McKees Rocks Councilwoman Sarah Harvey as they made their nominations for Gazette 2.0’s inaugural Person of the Year award.

“I would like to thank each and every person who nominated me and supported my nomination,” Harvey said in a written response. “...This accomplishment could not be possible without the continuous support, guidance and encouragement from my loved ones, mentors and fellow serving leaders.”

A Sto-Rox graduate, Harvey studied education at Slippery Rock University and returned to her hometown upon graduation. She was first elected to council in 2017.

Gas station

Real estate representatives from Giant Eagle, inc. met with McKees Rocks officials for the first of several public meetings to authorize the development of a GetGo gas station at the sight of the former Pat Catan’s craft store on Chartiers Avenue.

Introducing a challenge that became a sticking point in subsequent meetings, Councilwoman Liz Delgado voiced her concern for traffic exiting a back entrance that would be directed through brick-lined residential streets by the one-way system in place there.

Athletic center

After being dropped from council’s November 2019 meeting without being given a clear reason, Sean Gibson met with McKees Rocks community members Jan. 15 to rally support around his athletics center plans ahead of February’s council meeting.

About 30 residents and community leaders convened at the Zellous Hope headquarters on Chartiers Avenue to hear Gibson discuss the same proposal he was set to present at council two months prior. Many expressed support for the project and outrage over reports of the “backdoor meeting” where councilmembers apparently chose to remove Gibson from the agenda.

Gibson is the great-grandson of the Homestead Grays famed negro baseball league player Josh Gibson and executive director at the Josh Gibson Foundation.

Miracle Field

During the township’s Jan. 29 workshop meeting, Miracles in Moon President Mike Magulick told Moon officials plans to unveil an ADA-accessible baseball field in the township would be pushed back to June due to construction delays.

Construction on the field did conclude by late summer, however the organization suspended its inaugural season in light of coronavirus concerns.

Teachers’ grievance

Sto-Rox directors formally denied a grievance issued during the 2019 fall term by the teachers’ union, which claimed educators were on the receiving end of increasing student violence.

Board members did not comment on their decision to deny the grievance during the Jan. 30 school board meeting, however responding to the initial filing in November, President Samantha Levitzki-Wright said it was “premature” and “misguided.”

Union president Ben Englehardt declined to comment on the verdict.

Montour lawsuit

The Montour School District filed a lawsuit Jan. 9 against a parent group that previously took charge of the high school’s annual musical performances.

The civil complaint requested Montour Friends of the Performing Arts (MFPA) turn over $27,000, which the district claimed as its own after the group did not immediately agree to turn over its account balance when the school board replaced the group with a new parent-led organization several months previously.