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County commissioners help Londonderry Twp. crack down on illegal dumping


Officials in Londonderry Twp. expressed gratitude to Dauphin Co. Commissioners in assisting with the cleanup of an area in the township.

The recent cleanup of the former 230 Diner site in Londonderry – paid for with a $2,126 restitution order issued in February against the owner, who also paid a $500 fine – is an example of how the county’s anti-dumping efforts are helping communities, said Commissioner Mike Pries.

“Cracking down on illegal dumping is one way to improve the quality of life for residents,’’ Pries said. “When we learn of a dumpsite, we investigate to see if we can determine who is to blame and then prosecute those responsible.’’

Londonderry Township Manager Steve Letavic said without the county’s help the township may not have had the resources to pursue the owner in court and get the site cleaned.

“We struggled trying to get the property into compliance and the county gave us the tools we needed,’’ Letavic said. “The partnership we have with the county commissioners allowed us to be successful in this area and many others.’’

Since 2013, anti-dumping efforts spearheaded by the commissioners have resulted in the collection of almost $60,000 in fines and the investigation and cleanup of numerous sites throughout the county.

In 2013, the county collected $40,000 in fines from illegal dumpers and haulers illegally taking trash outside the county and $24,000 in fines were collected in 2014, with an additional 23 cases pending.

Under the county’s illegal dumping ordinance, violators can face up to a $1,000 fine and 10 days in jail per incident. All illegal dumping and hauling cases are brought before District Magisterial Judge Kenneth A. Lenker.

Ensuring trash haulers use the Harrisburg facility is important because under the agreement with Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority, Dauphin County is expected to deliver 126,650 tons of municipal trash. If the county fails to meet the contracted tonnage, disposal fees could increase. Investigation of illegal dumpsites and hauling violations are handled by county Waste Enforcement Officer Gino Santamaria, the former police chief for Royalton and a decorated Army veteran.

“Fighting blight is a priority and illegal dumping is one factor that can cause a neighborhood to start deteriorating,’’ said commission Chairman Jeff Haste. “It’s not right that those with no respect for anyone else use our communities as a trash barrel.’’

Commissioner George P. Hartwick III urged residents to report anyone they see illegally disposing trash.

“If you see someone dumping garbage in your neighborhood, try to get the license plate of their vehicle and report it to the county,’’ Hartwick said. “We all have to play a part in keeping our neighborhoods clean.

Anyone who sees illegal dumping can report it by calling the Dauphin County Recycling Center at 717-982-6772.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 16:49

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Gun stolen from Lower Swatara home for second time

 This handgun has had quite a year.

It was was stolen from a Lower Swatara Twp. man’s home last summer, sold for drugs, recovered by drug enforcement officers, returned it its owner – and stolen a second time, according to Lower Swatara Twp. police.

The latest theft happened on Wednesday, April 15 at the victim’s home in the 300 block of Summit Ridge Road, police said. Someone may have entered the home through an unlocked window to take the handgun, a Sig Sauer .22-caliber semiautomatic that was loaded with five rounds of ammunition, police said.

The same gun was stolen from the home in June 2014 and sold in exchange for drugs, police said. It was turned over to the Dauphin County Drug Task Force by an informant in January, then returned to its owner, police said.

Police are asking anyone with information about the latest theft to call them at 717-939-0463.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 15:43

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The last picture show? Elks Theatre closes for repairs

elksphoto4 29 15WEB

Opened in 1911, Middletown’s Elks Theatre survived competition from drive-ins and suburban movie megaplexes, operating long enough to see a sixth sequel to “The Fast and the Furious,’’ the final film it showed before it closed on Sunday, April 19.

The second longest continuously operating cinema in the U.S., the Elks was closed for repairs that are expected to last a year – and when it reopens, it could be something different.

Its owner, the Middletown Industrial and Commercial Development Authority, is seeking proposals from those who want to operate, and possibly own, the theater and its host building, the Elks Building.

One group, Phantom Theatre Company, has submitted a $3.4 million plan for turning the Elks into a performing arts center that would show movies as well as host plays. Another group, the Greater Middletown Economic Development Corp., which operated the movie house for years, has said it intends to submit a proposal to keep showing films at the theater.

While the authority seeks suitors, Phantom presented its plans at an invitation-only reception at the theater.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 15:37

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Settlement reached in police chase, cyclist’s death


A Dauphin County Court judge has approved a $400,000 settlement in the case of Gregg Kisic, a Highspire motorcyclist who died after he was struck by a car in Middletown’s square during a police chase in 2012.

The settlement was approved on Tuesday, April 14 as a result of a lawsuit that had been filed by Kisic’s widow, Deborah, alleging negligence on the part of Steelton and Highspire borough police.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 15:20

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Hoffer Park gets an upgrade for Earth Day


HofferCleanup2Press and Journal Photo by Dan Miller -- Young people from the YouthBuild program of the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg joined volunteers from many other organizations in the Hoffer Park cleanup.


Volunteers from numerous local companies and agencies spent Earth Day 2015 cleaning up Hoffer Park in Middletown.


Fourteen young people from the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg's YouthBuild program showed up, along with five staff members. They were joined by volunteers from United Water, Penn State Harrisburg, Dauphin County Vocational Technical School, and the Borough of Middletown.


The project is to continue on Thursday, with a work crew from FedEx expected to be on hand.

The work includes repairs to Kids Kastle.


The sand box is getting new sand, new wood carpet is being put down, and the spires are being repainted. New sand is also being put down in the volleyball court. 


The grills in the park are being replaced with new grills that have been donated to the borough. Penn Waste is donating 15 new trash cans to replace the ones now in the park.


The street light poles will get a new coat of paint. The large pavilion and the small pavilions are all being repainted. The picnic tables will get a new clear protective coating.


Gingrich Memorials of Middletown will power wash and refurbish the Hoffer Memorial located in the park. The main Hoffer Park entrance sign will be replaced by Street Stores Hardware, which the borough says is planning to open a location on East Main Street.


Other signs in the park are also being fixed up.


Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2015 09:07

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