Written by Dan Miller
Middletown Borough may be one of the first communities in Central PA to have a medical marijuana dispensary set up business in town.
Borough council heard a presentation Tues., June 7 from Alexander Fox Person, who wants to open the business in Middletown. A green light for dispensaries was given under provisions of Act 16, the legislation that was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf earlier this year.
Person told the council he chose Middletown as the site for his dispensary because of the town’s potential for economic growth. He also cited the town’s proximity to hospitals such as PinnacleHealth and the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, as well as the large number of senior citizen communities in the surrounding area.
People 55 and older is the fastest growing demographic when it comes to demand for medical marijuana, Person said. He also noted the town is represented by Sen. Mike Folmer and Rep. John Payne, both of whom supported the legislation to provide medical marijuana.
Person currently does not have a location in Middletown for his proposed dispensary. He said the earliest that such a dispensary could open would be September 2017. The Department of Health is writing regulations to implement the new law, and it will probably be the end of the year before he can even apply to the department for permission to have a medical marijuana dispensary, Person said.
The law restricts the number of permitted medical marijuana dispensaries in Pennsylvania to 50. Each of the 50 could have up to three locations each, for a potential total of 150 dispensary locations throughout Pennsylvania.
At this time Person said he only expects to have one location, in Middletown.
In an e-mail to Middletown Councilor Diana McGlone Person said he hopes to obtain a letter of support from the borough for his plan to have a medical marijuana dispensary in Middletown. However, he did not ask for such a letter during council’s meeting, and council took no action.
Person is a 28-year old Air Force veteran from Gettysburg, who is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Human Rights at Columbia University in New York.
Assistance with ordinance for marijuana dispensaries
On a related note, the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission is providing Middletown and other municipalities with a “model ordinance” to regulate medical marijuana dispensaries. The commission is recommending that municipalities “get out in front” of the issue, Borough Manager Ken Klinepeter told council.
The model ordinance will be among several items to be taken up by the borough’s new planning commission, Kapenstein said. Council earlier in the meeting appointed five borough residents to the new commission.
Among provisions of Act 16 is that a medical marijuana dispensary not be allowed to locate within 1,000 feet of a public or private school, or a day care center. Person asked that the council not adopt regulations that are any more restrictive than the provisions included in Act 16.
Once the borough clarifies where a medical marijuana dispensary can be located - and where it cannot - Person said he will find a site for his proposed dispensary. Having a specific site for a dispensary is required in order to obtain the state approval to operate one, Person told the council.
Former councilor Rachelle Reid spoke in favor of Person’s proposal for a medical marijuana dispensary in Middletown.
Reid said that many of her family members were stricken with cancer, and that Sen. Folmer is a cancer survivor. Her family members could have benefited from medical marijuana, had it been available, she added.
“We are the first community in Dauphin County. We need to be the first community in the state that jumps on this,” she said.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 June 2016 06:39
Middletown, Highspire and Hummelstown will hold Memorial Day ceremonies.
A list of events:
Middletown's annual Memorial Day Parade will kick off at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 30, with a slight altering of the parade route due to the ongoing downtown streetscape work.
The parade will start at the MCSO Building at West Emaus and Catherine streets, said Skip Carnes, adjutant of American Legion Post 594. It will head up Catherine, turn right on Water Street, then left on Union Street and proceed across the square to the Middletown Cemetery on North Union Street.
The parade Grand Marshal will be Joseph Alton. Alton in 1945 enlisted as a private first class in what was then the U.S. Army Air Force. The Air Force became a separate military service in 1947.
Immediately following the parade will be the annual Memorial Day observance at the cemetery. Those looking to attend the event should be at the cemetery by 9:30 a.m., Carnes said.
Guest speaker at the ceremony will be Irv Strohecker, a veteran from Middletown and a former athletic director for Middletown Area School District.
The Middletown Area High School band will perform at the event.
Representatives of the Middletown American Legion Post 594 and Middletown VFW Post 1620 will attend a service at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday May 29 at New Beginnings Church, 630 S. Union St., Carnes said.
A Memorial Day ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 30 at Memorial Park.
Hummelstown’s Memorial Day Parade will begin at 10 a.m. at West High Street and end at Hummelstown Ceremony, where a service will be held immediately after the parade.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 May 2016 07:13
Dauphin Co. Sheriff Nicholas Chimienti Jr. has issued a warning about a phone scam targeting residents.
Sheriff Chimienti has received numerous complaints over the past several weeks about scammers claiming to be from the county’s sheriff’s office (DCSO). “A former co-worker, a retired State Police Major, got a call on his cell phone from scammers stating they were from the DCSO and were investigating complaints by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and to turn himself in to his local police department or call the DCSO,” Chimienti said. “The callers also leave threatening phone messages.
“These calls are bogus and do not originate from the Dauphin County Sheriff’s Office. In various parts of the county, residents are being targeted and threatened with arrest by deputy sheriffs. If you or someone you know receives a threatening call from someone claiming to be from the sheriff’s office, do not provide any sensitive information and report the call to law enforcement.”
Chimienti said the sheriff’s office does not require anyone to provide sensitive information in any telephone call, nor to purchase any kind of monetary device to avoid arrest.
Persons receiving a suspicious or threatening call or text message are recommended to immediately contact their local law enforcement agency and the DCSO at (717) 780-6590. “Anyone who has been a victim of this scam should try to record as much information as possible, such as a name, call-back number or email address, without giving any of their personal information away,” the sheriff added.
Last Updated on Monday, 09 May 2016 13:52
Police detectives investigating the Sunday, April 3, fire in Middletown that seriously damaged the Holly Hall building in the Village of Pineford Apartment Complex are asking for the public's help with their investigation.
The fire, which began sometime before 11:30 a.m., seriously damaged the building and displaced dozens of residents. Police are seeking any information people may have about when the fire was first noticed and are asking for any photographs and/or video footage that members of the public may have that documents the fire.
Last Updated on Saturday, 16 April 2016 05:56
Middletown Borough Council voted to accept the resignation of Second Ward Councilor Greg Wilsbach on Tuesday, April 5.
Wilsbach, a Republican, was elected to a four-year term in November. He said in a resignation letter dated March 22 that he was leaving to apply for a job as the borough’s public works director.
The borough will now accept letters of interest and resumes from Second Ward residents who want to fill the council vacancy created by Wilsbach’s resignation.
Council plans to appoint a replacement at its May 3 meeting, said council President Ben Kapenstein.
The borough also is accepting applications from Middletown residents who are interested in serving on the town’s new five-member planning commission and the Olmsted Regional Recreation Board. One seat is open on the rec board. Applications will be accepted over the next 30 days.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 April 2016 16:23