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Vandals damage walls, doors at student complex

 

Vandals damaged walls, doors, ceiling tiles and a water line valve in the Nittany Village of Apartments – and the complex’s management is offering a month’s free rent to any college student who provides information that leads to the conviction of those responsible.

Thousands of dollars of damage was done to the complex, officials said. Glass was broken in several doors, obscene words were written on walls, holes were punched and kicked in walls, ceiling tiles were knocked out and a water line valve was broken, causing water to leak in the buildings, Lower Swatara Twp. police said.

The vandalism occurred between Feb. 27 and March 2.

Most of the occupants in the complex, in the 400 block of W. Main St., are Penn State Harrisburg students.

Got a tip for authorities? You can call township police at 717-939-0463 or management at the complex at 717-944-4440.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:41

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Council nixes handicapped parking revisions

If you live in Middletown and have applied for an on-street handicapped parking space – and you’re still waiting for an answer – you may end up waiting a lot longer.

Middletown Borough Council voted 5-4 on Monday, March 2 to reject revisions to the borough’s existing policy regarding on-street handicapped parking spaces.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:31

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He’s charged with DUI twice in one day

A Middletown man was arrested for DUI twice in one day on Sunday, Feb. 22 by two different police departments after two separate hit-and-run accidents, according to court records.

And the arrests came while Richard F. Pennington Jr., 49, was scheduled to enter a plea in Dauphin County Court on another DUI charge that occurred in Swatara Twp. in 2014, police said.

The Feb. 22 incidents involving Pennington occurred just five hours apart, according to criminal complaints filed by Lower Swatara Twp. and Middletown police.

The first happened just before 3 p.m. when Middletown police say Pennington drove a silver Dodge Durango into a house and fled the scene, according to the court records. Police found him at his home in the 200 block of State Street, according to the records.

Then just before 8 p.m., a silver Dodge Durango struck a vehicle at West Harrisburg Pike and Ann Street, then continued down Ann into Middletown, according to Lower Swatara Twp. police.

The borough police officer who had arrested Pennington told township police through Dauphin County 9-1-1 that a vehicle matching the Dodge Durango had been involved in an earlier hit-and-run in Middletown, police said. Township and borough police both went to Pennington’s home, where township police arrested him for DUI. Pennington was placed in Dauphin County Prison on $10,000 bond.

Besides DUI, Pennington also faces charges of driving under suspension and hit-and-run from both Lower Swatara and Middletown police, court records show.

A preliminary hearing on the Lower Swatara charges is set for Wednesday, March 4 before District Judge Michael Smith.

A preliminary hearing on the Middletown charges is set for Wednesday, March 25 before District Judge David Judy.

Pennington is scheduled to enter a plea on the 2014 DUI charge in Swatara Twp. on Friday, March 20 in county court.

Dan Miller: 717-944-4628, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 March 2015 15:32

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Middletown Borough Council to consider repeal of shade tree commission Monday night

 

Middletown Borough Council will consider adopting an ordinance on Monday, March 2 to get rid of the borough's Shade Tree Commission.

 

Council voted 6-3 during its Feb. 17 meeting to advertise repeal of Chapter 247, the 1961 borough ordinance that established the commission. Dissenting were Councilors Anne Einhorn, Ben Kapenstein, and Scott Sites. 

 

A legal notice placed by the borough, which ran in PennLive on Feb. 24, did not include the text of the ordinance that council is to consider Monday, Ordinance No. 1312. The published notice did not refer to Ordinance No. 1312 by name, only to Chapter 247.

 

A follow-up legal notice which ran in PennLive on Sunday, March 1, did refer to the proposed new ordinance, 1312.

 

Council President Chris McNamara proposed during a Feb. 4 meeting of council's public safety committee that council get rid of the commission in favor of a system where the borough would act directly as the permitting authority for the planting, removal and maintenance of trees under borough jurisdiction.

 

The state Borough Code gives council authority to "plant, transplant, remove, maintain and protect shade trees on the streets and highways in the borough." The code also gives council authority "to employ and pay persons and make and enforce regulations as may be necessary for the care and protection of the shade trees of the borough."

 

The code does not require the borough to have a Shade Tree Commission. The code references a shade tree commission as a mechanism by which a borough can carry out its responsibilities regarding shade trees.

 

As McNamara put it, having a Shade Tree Commission is "a may, not a shall," under state law.

 

In tandem with repeal of the Shade Tree Commission, McNamara has proposed the borough put out a request for proposals toward hiring one company that would be awarded the contract to maintain all shade trees that come under borough jurisdiction. A request for proposals, instead of a bid, would mean the borough would not be obligated to just go with the lowest bidder, but could consider other criteria besides price in deciding to whom to award the contract, McNamara said.

 

Besides trees that are in the public right-of-way – or overhang or otherwise impact the public right-of-way – the shade trees under borough jurisdiction also include those that impact electrical lines.

 

McNamara contends that having a fixed contract with one company to do all the tree work would save money compared to the practice that the borough currently follows.According to McNamara, that amounts to an unregulated process by which the borough goes out and hires any company it wants on an as-needed basis.

 

During council's Feb. 17 meeting, McNamara held up a thick pile of papers that he claimed was documentation of the borough having spent $700,000 on maintaining trees. He later told the Press And Journal that the $700,000 covered a 10-year period.

 

It appears under state law that even if council gets rid of Middletown's Shade Tree Commission, the borough must still publicly advertise in advance any actions the borough plans to take regarding shade trees.

 

According to Chapter 2720.3 of the state Borough Code, "If council proposes to plant, transplant or remove shade trees on any street, notice of the time and place of the meeting at which the work is to be considered shall be given in one newspaper of general circulation once a week for two weeks immediately preceding the time of the meeting. The notice shall specify in detail the streets or portions upon which trees are proposed to be planted, transplanted or removed."

 

"In the event that a shade tree commission is to undertake the work, the commission shall provide the notice."

 

Council Monday night may also discuss revised guidelines to the process by which residents apply for and receive a designated on-street handicapped parking place. Revised guidelines have been submitted to council's public safety committee by borough Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Miller.

 

Miler has also submitted proposals to the committee regarding storage tanks, and the temporary storage of materials on the public right-of-way.

 

The storage tank revision would add language that would require all property owners to remove any above- and below-ground petroleum or petroleum derivative storage tanks that are no longer in service.

 

"You are better off getting rid of stuff than trying to keep it in place or bury it," Miller said, explaining his reasoning behind seeking the requirement.

 

 

 

 

Ordinance 1312 - Repealing Chapter 247 of Borough Code of Ordinances (Shade Tree Commission)-1

Last Updated on Monday, 02 March 2015 10:24

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Trial set for township man charged with assault

A Lower Swatara Twp. man charged by police with the alleged aggravated assault of a 6-month-old boy is scheduled to stand trial on March 20.

Stephen M. Lehman Jr., 27, allegedly threw the infant into a playpen on July 20, township police charged. The child was under the care of Lehman and the baby’s older sister, who was Lehman’s girlfriend, while the mother was at work, police said.

The infant sustained injuries including a fractured skull, authorities said. The child was released from the hospital on July 23.

Besides felony aggravated assault; Lehman is also charged with simple assault, and endangering the welfare of children, both misdemeanors. Lehman remains in Dauphin County Prison.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 February 2015 15:32

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