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Lower Swatara seeks park improvement suggestions

Lower Swatara Twp.’s recreation committee has decided to throw open the doors at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3 to allow residents to share ideas, visions and suggestions on improving the township’s parks.


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 May 2015 09:23

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No charges filed in argument at Middletown poll



The Dauphin County Sheriff’s office will not file charges regarding an argument between a Middletown Borough Council member and a candidate at a Middletown polling place during the primary election on Tuesday, May 19.


Police were called to the Presbyterian Congregation of Middletown at Water and North Union streets after Councilor Mike Bowman and Greg Wilsbach, a candidate for a council seat, exchanged words, authorities said.


Willsbach summoned Middletown police, and Chief John Bey and two patrol cars responded. Due to a possible conflict of interest with an elected official, Bey requested the assistance of Lower Swatara Twp. police, whose officers responded to the scene and took statements from Wilsbach and other witnesses. Bowman was gone when police arrived.


Lower Swatara police turned the investigation over to the Dauphin County Sheriff’s office. 


“No crimes were committed,” said Sheriff Jack Lotwick. “People can shout at each other.”


Wilsbach said he was disgusted by the incident, which shows “the mentality of these people.’’


“This guy is a councilman and he’s going to throw his hat down and say, ‘Come on, you wanna go?’ ” Wilsbach said.


 Reached after the incident by phone, Bowman said, “No one ever got in touch with me about a confrontation.”


Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 May 2015 09:41

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Temporary soccer field planned for PSU-Harrisburg


Penn State Harrisburg will build a new temporary soccer field on a developer’s property along Dauphin Street for its games this year, university officials told Lower Swatara Twp. commissioners on Wednesday, May 20.


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 May 2015 09:03

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Incumbents fall in primary

Voters in Middletown, Royalton and Lower Swatara Twp. leaned toward change in the primary election on Tuesday, May 19, ousting three incumbents in the race for Middletown Borough Council and giving three challengers a significant victory in the race for Middletown Area School Board.


In Middletown, council President Chris McNamara and incumbents John Brubaker and Sue Sullivan lost their bids to get on the ballot in November’s general election, losing to three challengers – two of them election newcomers.


In the school board race, one incumbent, Pamela Price, lost her bid for re-election, as three challengers – Linda Mehaffie, Jennifer Scott and Chris Lupp – claimed a major victory by winning both the Republican and Democratic nominations for board seats.


Both Republican and Democratic voters in Lower Swatara and Royalton opted for Mehaffie and Scott over five incumbent school board members in nearly every precinct, according to unofficial returns. The two-party victory by the duo and Lupp give the three challengers an advantage over four incumbents still in the race – board President Barbara Layne and board members Gordon Einhorn, Michael Richards and Terry Gilman – in November’s general election.


“I’m humbled, I’m speechless – I’m like, really? It’s exciting,’’ said Mehaffie, who added she is cautious not to take the advantage she won on Tuesday for granted in November. “I really want to be helpful in the whole scheme of things – working with current directors and the administration. I feel there’s something more we can do for the children.’’


Here are the results of Tuesday’s primary, according to unofficial returns, and what voters can expect in November’s general election:




Chris McNamara lost to challenger Gregory Wilsbach, the borough’s former electric department supervisor, 217-47 in the race for the Republican nomination.


Wilsbach will face Travis Arndt, who won the Democratic nomination, in November’s general election. Arndt received the most write-in votes of the 99 cast by Democrats, who had no candidate on their ballot.


“They were doing things without the public’s knowledge,’’ Wilsbach said of council incumbents after his victory. “There was no openness on anything. That doesn’t lead to good leadership and that doesn’t lead to a positive outcome.’’


McNamara did not return a call for comment.




Challengers Damon Suglia (173 votes) and Diana McGlone (133) defeated Brubaker (123) and Sullivan (92) for the two Republican nominations for council seats – and all but clinched a victory in November’s general election by earning the Democratic nominations as well.


Suglia and McGlone emerged victorious when all 120 Democratic write-in votes were counted, confirmed Jerry Feaser, director of Dauphin County’s Bureau of Elections and Voter Registration. Democrats had not candidates on their ballot in the primary.


“I think people were looking for a new direction, new leadership,’’ McGlone said. “The tide of the town and the people have finally recognized the professionalism and openness and honesty of individuals we need to be governing.’’


Suglia said the outcome did not surprise him: “I knew our town was ready for a change,’’ he said.




Dawn Knull defeated David Scully, 86-36 for the Democratic nomination for a two-year term on council in Tuesday’s primary, according to unofficial returns. The seat was formerly held by Tom Handley, who resigned in the middle of his term.


Knull will face Republican Dana Ward, who was unopposed for her party’s nomination, in November’s general election.


Former councilor David Rhen (68 votes) beat two other former councilors, Barry Goodling (60) and Rachelle Reid (32) and a political newcomer, Sean Vaccarino (22), to win the Republican nomination for a four-year term on council representing the First Ward.


Rhen will face Scully, who was unopposed for the Democratic nomination in Tuesday’s primary, in the November general election.





In the primary, Republicans nominated Linda Mehaffie (835 votes), Chris Lupp (832) Jennifer Scott (779), Terry Gilman (705) and Michael Richards (704) over Dustin Green (698), Barbara Layne (646), Gordon Einhorn (576) and Pamela Price (433).


Democrats nominated Scott (406), Mehaffie (388), Layne (373) Einhorn (356) and Lupp (350) over Gilman (348), Richards (325), Green (320) and Price (304), according to unofficial returns.


In November, the seven nominees will vie for five seats, with Mehaffie, Scott and Lupp holding the advantage of appearing on both sides of the ballot and Gilman, Richards, Layne and Einhorn appearing only on one side.




Republicans Todd Truntz (522 votes), Michael Davies (515) and Jon Wilt (504) were unopposed for their party’s three nominations, while Democrat Danielle Prokopchak (218 votes) was unopposed for her party’s nomination, and all four face one another in November’s general election for three commission seats.


The field could grow if others win the two remaining unclaimed Democratic nominations from Democratic write-in votes cast Tuesday. There were 39 write-ins cast by Democrats. Any of the three Republicans could claim spots on both parties’ ballots in November if they were among the top two vote-getters among Democratic write-ins. Write-in votes are expected to be counted by Thursday, May 28, and the primary results are expected to become verified as official on Thursday, June 4, Feaser said.




Incumbent Melvin Hershey defeated challenger Paul Geyer, a farmer and excavator and former supervisor, 283-50 on Tuesday for the Republican nomination for a four-year term.


In November’s general election, Hershey could face the top vote getter among write-in votes by Democratic voters, who had no candidate on their ballot. There were 28 Democratic write-in votes cast. If the top vote getter is Hershey, he would essentially clinch victory in November.





A Lower Dauphin School Board incumbent, Keith Oellig, remained in the race to retain his seat by winning one of two Republican nominations in Region 3, which represents East Hanover Twp. and part of South Hanover Twp.


Two others who ran in the primary, Jeffrey Neely and Robert Goduto, also secured nominations – Neely won both parties’ nominations, while Goduto won one of two Democratic nominations – to gain spots on the ballot in November’s general election as well, according to unofficial returns.





Incumbent Mary Carricato and newcomer Natashia Woods won both the Republican and Democratic nominations, while incumbent Rachel Slade won the Democratic nomination for five seats on Tuesday.


The field could grow in November’s general election if others were the top write-in vote-getters. There were 31 Democratic write-in votes cast and six Republican write-in votes cast.




Four candidates won the Republican nomination for four seats on Steelton Borough Council – Mike Albert (136 votes), Dennis Heefner (130), Stephen Shaver (125) and Chris Hughes (118). Republican William H. Jones (71 votes) was eliminated.

The four Republicans will face Democrats Keontay Hodge, Sharon Salov, Michael Segina and Kelly Kratzer in November’s general election. The Democrats were unopposed in the primary.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 May 2015 17:24

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Ceremony for business district renovations

video screenshot 


Among the government officials and business leaders who wielded gold shovels at the ceremonial ground breaking for Middletown’s $2.7 million downtown street scape project on Thursday, May 14 was a Middletown Area High School student.

Senior Zachary Gates was one of the 10 people preparing to dig into the dirt at a vacant lot at Union and Emaus streets. He was invited to show that the project was important to Middletown’s future.

“This project is not about today. It’s about tomorrow. It’s about the future of Middletown,” said borough spokesman Chris Corougen, who was the master of ceremonies for the ground breaking ceremony.

Gates and the others tossed aside the first clumps of dirt upon a vacant lot, where not long ago stood a building that once housed several businesses.

The building was acquired and razed by the Middletown Industrial and Commercial Development Authority, the economic development arm of the borough that is overseeing the downtown street scape project.

In its place is to be put a large trellis – the borough more commonly calls it a gazebo – and other aesthetic improvements intended to help draw new customers and investors to the downtown region from just north of Union and Emaus south to Ann Street.

Among those in the crowd observing the ground breaking were the three founders of Tattered Flag Brewery and Still Works, a company that hopes to lease 13,000 square feet of commercial space in the Elks Building from the building’s owner – the authority – for a craft brewery and craft distillery and a brew-pub style restaurant.

The authority hopes to award the contract to a general contractor for the downtown street scape project during its next meeting on Wednesday, June 3, said authority solicitor Salvatore Bauccio. The hope is that work on the street scape will begin in earnest as soon as possible afterward.

The project is to be “substantiallty completed” by the end of this year, authority Chairman Matt Tunnell has said.

The $2.7 project is being paid for through a mix of four funding sources that the authority has pieced together – a $250,000 Dauphin County gaming grant, nearly $672,000 in accumulated liquid fuels money, $730,000 in authority funds and a $1.5 million Dauphin County Infrastructure Bank loan.

The county loan is a low-interest loan that is to be repaid over 10 years with liquid fuels money, not local tax dollars, said Chris McNamara, president of Middletown Borough Council.

“For a small community with a landlocked tax (base), this project was able to occur without any borough tax dollars,’’ Tunnell said. “I think that is an incredible testament to the leadership of our government officials,” including council, the Dauphin County Commissioners, and state Rep. John Payne and state Sen. Mike Folmer, Tunnell said.

The downstreet streetscape is also not a project in isolation, but something that is part of a much larger effort, as Payne reminded those gathered.

“The first thing that Dr. (Penn State Chancellor Mukund) Kulkarni asked me was, ‘When is the train station coming? When is Emaus Street being extended? When are they getting out to our students so they can walk down to the businesses that are going to be here?’ “ Payne said. “The same group that we just talked about – the county commissioners, the senator, the local borough (council), (Lower Swatara) township supervisors, and myself are working on that next phase right now. Our job is to cut through the red tape and make these projects happen.

“I look forward to doing another groundbreaking just down the street,” Payne said.



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


Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 May 2015 13:51

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