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Borough police investigating argument between mayor, spokesman


[Editor's note: This story was updated on Tuesday, July 8 with additional information obtained from the Middletown police department after the July 9 edition of the Press And Journal went to press.]

Middletown police have asked the Dauphin County District Attorney's office to investigate an alleged incident involving a heated argument between Mayor James H. Curry III and Chris Courogen, the borough’s director of communications, after a Middletown Borough Council meeting on Monday, July 7.

Police responded to borough hall when called about the incident. Middletown's acting police chief, Sgt. James Bennett, said his department eventually referred it to the District Attorney's office to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Several minutes after the council meeting ended around 10 p.m., a shouting match broke out between the mayor and Courogen that could easily be heard by everyone still left in council chambers, including several councilors and a handful of residents who had attended the meeting . . .

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 July 2014 22:02

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Borough supervisor resigns, levels charge against councilor

Greg Wilsbach, the supervisor of Middletown Borough’s electric department, made public his resignation during a statement before Middletown Borough Council on Monday, July 7 in which he accused council President Christopher McNamara of authoritzing the payment of a neighbor’s tree pruning with borough funds.

Wilsbach alleged that a year ago McNamara authorized the borough pay $850 worth of work done by a private contractor involving the pruning of trees at a neighbor’s house on Pine Street. Wilsbach said that McNamara, who lives across the street, authorized payment for the work, performed on
July 2, 2013, because “he was tired of the leaves blowing on his property” from the neighbor’s yard.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 July 2014 19:12

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Three HIA wells shut down for elevated PFOS

Wells had supplied water to Lower Swatara, Highspire customers



Three wells at Harrisburg International Airport that supply water to customers in Lower Swatara Twp. and Highspire have been taken out of service after airport officials were notified of test results showing an elevated level of Perfluorooctane Sulfonate, or  PFOS, in the wells.


 PFOS is not regulated under the federal Clean Water or Safe Drinking Water acts, but is a compound for which the Environmental Protection Agency is gathering additional information by testing on a nationwide basis.


 In January 2009, the EPA established a provisional health advisory of 0.2 micrograms per liter for PFOS. Testing showed the levels of PFOS in the three wells to be from 0.4 to 1.1 parts per billion. Parts per billion is equivalent to micrograms per liter.


 Airport owner Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority sells water from the wells to United Water Pennsylvania, and United then provides it to its customers in Lower Swatara and Highspire. As a precaution, United is not purchasing water from any of the six groundwater wells operated by the airport, including three wells that did not show elevated levels of PFOS, according to airport spokesman Scott Miller.


 The authority and United Water, in a joint press release issued Thursday, June 26, said that customers who receive their water from the airport wells had been notified of the situation. The press release said that customers did not need to take any corrective action.


 Edwards said that elevated levels of PFOS were found in the wells during a random test from water drawn by United Water in February. Edwards said that the authority was not told of the February test results until June.


 Edwards said that on June 6 the state Department of Environmental Protection notified United Water of elevated levels of PFOS that had been detected in more recent testing of one of the airport wells. He said that United Water notified the authority, and the well was taken out of service on Monday, June 9.


 More testing of the airport’s five other wells was done on June 10. Results came back on June 23 showing elevated levels of PFOS in two other wells, and those wells were taken out of service the same day, Miller said.


 Edwards said he does not know if the wells had elevated levels of PFOS from February until results of the more recent testing were made known in June. United Water spokesman Bob Manbeck could not be reached for comment.


 The three wells remain out of service. The press release said that both United Water and the authority “have initiated flushing in their systems throughout the affected areas to ensure that any residual water that could contain traces of PFOS is eliminated from the distribution system and storage facilities.”


 Edwards said that the authority and United Water and now both awaiting results of more recent testing of the water that was conducted on Thursday, June 26.


Edwards said that elevated levels of PFOS had not been detected in the airport wells before because the EPA had not previously tested for the substance. Edwards said airport officials have not found the source of the PFOS. However, he added that officials believe that the PFOS was “probably associated” with activities that occurred many years ago when the airport property was still being used as the Olmsted Air Force Base, which was closed in 1969.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 20:07

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Steelton church is demolished

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As Wayne Griffin watched the Steelton church crumble beneath the heavy blows of construction equipment, he, too, fell to pieces.

The church, labeled the Grace United Evangelical Church but known as the Pentecostal Church of God and the Holy Ghost, had been in the family of Griffin and his wife, Donna, since 1973. It had been nestled in between houses on Lincoln Street even longer – 125 years.

Now the church lies in a pile of rubble, waiting to be cleared away . . .


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 19:22

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Steel-High reverses decision on new high school principal


One week after hiring a superintendent on paid leave as its new high school principal, the Steelton-Highspire School Board has changed its mind.

During a special school board meeting on Monday, June 30, the board voted 8-0 to rescind the appointment of Penny Lenig-Zerby and to hire Michael Iskric Jr., a former assistant principal at Central Dauphin East, instead, effective Tuesday, July 1. Board member Rosemary Tonkin was absent . . .


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 July 2014 19:19

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