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Mon Yough communities plan Night Out activities

| Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, 4:41 a.m.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Trib Total Media
Chairman Charles Alter addresses members of the Grandview Task Force during a Monday planning meeting for Tuesday's National Night Out celebration.
Jennifer R. Vertullo | Trib Total Media
Grace Merta, Emily Vasquez and Angelo Norelli of the Glassport Crime Watch display a sign promoting Tuesday's National Night Out celebration in the borough.

There is no singularly correct way to enjoy National Night Out.

The annual community-based event designed to curb crime might involve a parade of fire trucks and police cars or something as simple as a meal of grilled hot dogs and soft drinks.

The event, traditionally observed on the first Tuesday of August, was founded by the nonprofit National Association of Town Watch 31 years ago and has been a favorite gathering in some local municipalities for decades.

On Tuesday evening, the Grandview Task Force in McKeesport will stage its first observance of National Night Out starting at 6 at the corner of Grandview Avenue and Auburn Street.

Task force member Chuck Alter said plans came together quickly considering the newly revamped task force formed only about three months ago after a town hall meeting called by McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko.

“It just took off from there,” Alter said, noting that the task force has about 20 active members. He said the group has hosted a cleanup event and plans to conduct more.

National Night Out events typically involve a visit from community first responders such as police and fire departments and ambulance companies. Often local leaders will drop by to connect with residents.

The Grandview event will have all of that as well as children's activities such as a duck pond, a ring toss and volleyball games.

“We're going to have food and we definitely want everybody to come out,” Alter said, adding that the task force has a Facebook page.

Cherepko said he will visit the Grandview event and two others in the city, in the Fawcett Plan and Haler Heights neighborhoods, which begin at 6:30 and 7 p.m., respectively.

“This is an opportunity for residents to come together to socialize and get to know their neighbors,” Cherepko said. “It's about using community awareness to fight crime.”

In Fawcett Plan, task force member Monica Hancharik said her group is expecting a good turnout in the parking lot behind the Christian Alliance Church.

In addition to a barbecue, bake sale and games for children, there will be music by disc jockey Roger Fine and a dunking booth.

All three McKeesport National Night Out events, including the one off Beckman Drive in Haler Heights, will feature visits from the McKeesport police K-9 unit.

Glassport and its crime watch group are planning a large celebration for the borough's second annual observation of National Night Out.

Council president David Kowalski said the event, which starts at 5:30 at the War Memorial, will feature a cookout, poster contest and music by the South Allegheny High School band Roll of the Dice.

The borough will present an award to a special citizen and recognize the block that has the most porch lights lit. Kowalski said the borough has posted signs to encourage residents to turn on lights to show their support for first responders.

Other National Night Out events include a cookout in Port Vue near the borough building at 6:30 and a disc jockey in the park in Wilmerding at 7:30.

Duquesne Crime Watch is encouraging residents to turn on a porch light to show their support for law enforcement.

Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1966, or