Written by Dan Miller
Voter turnout is running a bit higher than normal for an "off-year" election in Middletown today, based on unofficial numbers provided by judges of election.
Five of six precincts reported turnout of 20 percent or more. The lowest turnout - about 14 percent - was reported for the Second Ward, Second Precinct at Fink Elementary School.
Voter turnout was reported as somewhat higher than normal in both First Ward precincts, where two borough council seats are up for grabs and long-time former Mayor Robert Reid has run a write-in campaign for the four-year seat.
In the First Ward First Precinct, an estimated 90 percent of 125 votes cast have been write-ins, said Judge of Elections Kendra Gibson. Turnout in the precinct was 25 percent today, which is good, Gibson said.
The most write-in votes in many years were also cast at the First Ward Second Precinct, where turnout was running just over 20 percent, said Judge of Elections Lennie Prough.
Borough council races seem to be drawing voters out, although there are also a number of contested seats on Middletown Area School Board.
Turnout reported by election judges for the three other precincts in Middletown were as follows:
- 20 to 25 percent in the Second Ward, First Precinct
- Almost 25 percent in the Third Ward, First Precinct
- 25 percent in the Third Ward, Second Precinct
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2015 20:09
Barring an unexpected successful challenge, former long-time Middletown Mayor Robert Reid be returning to elected office in January to serve a four-year term on borough council representing the First Ward.
Unofficial results from the Nov. 3 election gave Reid 160 write-in votes, more than enough to defeat the two candidates who were on the ballot for the four-year First Ward seat - Democrat David Scully, who garnered 90 votes; and former councilor Republican David Rhen, who received 85.
Reid's total was increased to 175 through a Dauphin County count of the write-in votes that received a preliminary certification on Nov. 12.
The county allows a week between the first certification on Nov . 12 and the final certification on Nov. 19, in order for anyone to challenge the results, said Gerald Feaser, county director of elections and voter registration.
Unless there is a challenge between Nov. 12 and Nov. 19, Reid on Nov. 19 will be officially certified as the winner of the First Ward four-year seat.
"Write ins are tough. I was fortunate,'' Reid said late on Nov. 3 after the first counting of the ballots. "If the write-ins hold up it shows that the people had faith in me. Being out of politics a number of years and asking them to write my name in is a pretty good thing."
Reid, a retired school teacher, said that he intends to serve the entire four years of his term, debunking a rumor that he planned to resign soon after he was elected and allow a new council majority to select a replacement.
"Nine of us have to work together," Reid said. "Right now the downtown looks like one of those old Wild West movie towns. We just have to make some improvement."
Dawn Bixler Knull and Greg Wilsbach also appeared to win council seats, according to unofficial returns – Knull a two-year term representing the First Ward and Wilsbach a four-year term representing the Second Ward. In the Third Ward, Diana McGlone, a former councilor, and businessman Damon Suglia were unopposed for two council seats.
Knull called for council to be more transparent in conducting business and to communicate better with constituents.
"We need to get this town back as one,'' she said. "There shouldn't be sides on council. We should all work as a team. We are all for the same community."
"I hope to see a change for this town, and for the better."
In Lower Swatara Twp., Republicans appeared to sweep the three seats up for grabs in the election, while two incumbents appeared to be ousted in the race for five seats on the Middletown Area School Board.
In Dauphin County contested races, Republicans won the courthouse, as incumbent Republican commissioners Jeff Haste and Mike Pries and incumbent Democrat George P. Hartwick III won re-election. Republicans claimed the Dauphin County sheriff's race and Dauphin County controller's race, too, according to unofficial returns.
MIDDLETOWN BOROUGH COUNCIL
FIRST WARD (4-year term)
Write-in candidate Robert Reid, the former long-time mayor of Middletown, appears to have beaten two candidates on the ballot to win a four-year term representing the First Ward.
Reid had 175 write-in votes, according to unofficial returns posted at the two precincts on Tuesday night, while Democrat David Scully had 90 and Republican David Rhen had 85.
FIRST WARD (2-year term)
Democrat Dawn Bixler Knull defeated Republican Dana Ward, 210 to 104, according to unofficial returns posted at the two precincts on Tuesday night.
Republican Greg Wilsbach defeated Democrat Travis Arndt, 323 to 87, according to unofficial returns posted at the polling places on Tuesday night.
LOWER SWATARA TWP. COMMISSIONERS
Republicans swept the three seats up for grabs on the Lower Swatara Twp. Board of Commissioners, according to unofficial returns.
With 4 of 4 precincts reporting, incumbents Mike Davies and Jon Wilt and newcomer Todd Truntz, an attorney, defeated Democratic challenger Danielle Prokopchak.
Davies had 1,344 votes, while Wilt had 1,250, Truntz had 1,018 and Prokopchak had 662, according to unofficial returns.
MIDDLETOWN AREA SCHOOL BOARD
Linda Mehaffie, Chris Lupp, Jennifer Scott and incumbents Mike Richards and Terry Gilman appeared to win the five seats on the Middletown Area School Board, which includes Middletown, Lower Swatara Twp. and Royalton.
Incumbents Barbara Layne, the board's president, and Gordon Einhorn lost their bids for re-election, according to unofficial returns.
With 12 of 12 precincts reporting, Mehaffie led with 2,369 votes, followed by Lupp (2,324), Scott (2,316), Richards (1,666) and Gilman (1,620) in the race for five seats. Layne (1.090) and Einhorn (1,048) finished sixth ad seventh., according to unofficial returns.
DAUPHIN COUNTY COMMISSIONER
Incumbents Jeff Haste, Mike Pries and George P. Hartwick III won re-election to the Dauphin County Board of Commissioners in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 3, according to unofficial returns.
Haste, a Republican, led the field with 23,849 votes, while Pries, a Republican, was second with 21,528 and Hartwick, a Democrat, was third with 19,165 with 162 of 162 precincts reporting, according to unofficial returns. Democratic challenger Tom Connolly, a Swatara Twp. commissioner, was fourth with 15,730 votes.
DAUPHIN COUNTY SHERIFF
Republican Nick Chimienti defeated Democrat Tim Carter, 22,831 to 17,138 with 162 of 162 precincts reporting, according to unofficial returns.
DAUPHIN COUNTY CONTROLLER
Republican Timothy L. DeFoor defeated Democat Eric Gutshall, 22,072 to 17,507 with 162 of 162 precincts reporting, according to unofficial returns.
STEELTON BOROUGH COUNCIL
Democrats swept the four seats up for grabs on Steelton Borough Council, according to unofficial returns.
With 6 of 6 precincts reporting, Michael A. Segina (513 votes), Keontay R. Hodge (429), Kelly S. Kratzer (394) and Sharon Salov (376) won seats. Incumbent Mike Albert (348 votes), Dennis Heefner (287) and Chris Hughes (252), all Republicans, lost their bid.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 November 2015 14:50
Written by Dan Miller
Officials debate its role in downtown renaissance
One Middletown Borough Council member has proposed tearing it down in favor of parking.
But it appears more likely that the so-called McNair House at North Union and East Emaus streets will remain standing – and perhaps even enjoy a starring role in the new borough downtown that is now unfolding as part of the streetscape project.
Not that it was planned that way.
The original intent was to build a large pavilion as part of the streetscape that would have blocked the front of the McNair House from the view of people walking and driving by along Union Street.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2015 15:18
Written by Eric Wise
As DAS Companies continues to move forward with the land development approval needed to move the John Motter Star Barn from its Lower Swatara Twp. home, contractors began dismantling the main barn by removing the cupola on Tuesday, Oct. 27.
The cupola, at least 12 feet square and some 30-plus feet high, left its perch atop the barn and will soon undergo restoration, said Michael Kleinhans, a spokesman for DAS.
DAS plans to add the Star Barn, which gathered fame in the past 40 years since the opening of Route 283 as people passed it during their commutes, to its sprawling 275-acre complex in Lancaster County where it will be used to host weddings and other events.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2015 15:43
Middletown Borough Council agreed by 5-1 vote on Monday, Sept. 21 to draft an ordinance based upon a proposed downtown zoning overlay that’s being prepared for the town by KSK Architects Planners Historians of Philadelphia.
The zoning overlay is not meant to cover the entire town but is to supplement existing zoning for portions of the downtown.
The overlay could impose new regulations and restrictions intended to protect the downtown, while at the same time provide new flexibility for prospective developers to carry out projects that are now not possible under existing zoning, borough officials have said.
Councilor Mike Bowman voted against the motion.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 September 2015 15:52