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PennDOT begins repairs to Route 230


Repair work to Route 230 from Londonderry Twp. west through Main Street in Middletown and into Lower Swatara Twp. started on Monday, Nov. 2, by a contractor hired by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, PennDOT announced.

However, the final repaving of Main Street in Middletown will still not be done until spring 2016, when warmer weather returns.
The PennDOT work to be done this fall and winter consists of curb, drainage and base repair. Curbs at the intersections are to be made accessible to handicapped persons under requirements of the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The work includes repairs to storm sewer inlets, said PennDOT spokesman Mike Crochunis.

During the fall and winter phase of the work, motorists using Route 230 may encounter “shifting traffic patterns or single-lane traffic restrictions with flaggers assisting them through the work zone on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.,” according to a PennDOT press release issued on Wednesday, Oct. 28.

The section of Route 230 included in the project runs from Route 341 (Colebrook Road) in Londonderry Twp. west to Tioga Avenue in Lower Swatara Twp. However, Crochunis could not say exactly when certain sections will be impacted – for example, whether the contractor will start at Route 341 and move east, or start in Lower Swatara and move west, or start in the middle on Main Street and move either east or west.

One change is that the Route 230 project – including repaving Main Street – is to be done by the end of June. Earlier PennDOT had said that the contractor had until August. Pennsy Supply Inc. of Annville was awarded the contract at a cost of just under $2 million.

Between now and spring, the plan remains that Doli Construction – the firm that Middletown Borough hired to replace water and sewer lines under Main Street earlier this year – is to come back to do repairs intended to make the street more driveable for motorists over winter. That chiefly means smoothing out the rough street cuts and patches so that the road surface is level, said borough spokesman Chris Courogen.

The current conditions “are simply not acceptable,” Courogen said. “We drive over those streets too. We share the frustration that Middletown residents have with Main Street.”

A dialogue between Doli and the borough toward remedying the situation is underway.

“The contractor (Doli) has told us he plans to bring in a machine that will mill an 8-foot swath and repave it. So basically all the street cuts in need of repair will get an 8-foot wide swath of repaving,” Courogen said.

Nevertheless, the borough is withholding part of the payment to Doli until the contractor fixes the road for the winter to the borough’s satisfaction, Courogen said. If it’s not fixed, the borough will use that unpaid portion to hire another contractor to fix Main Street until the repaving is done in the spring, he said.

Besides the inconvenience for motorists, Main Street must be leveled out for snow plowing to be done. PennDOT is to plow Main Street this winter under an agreement with the borough that calls for PennDOT to plow state-owned roads in town.

The borough is using Main Street to detour motorists around the sections of Union Street that are being closed over the next several months as part of the downtown streetscape improvements. Still, the repairs that will be done to Main Street during the fall and winter will focus mostly on curb cuts at intersections, so “This shouldn’t really affect traffic too much,” Crochunis said.

The Main Street detour runs from Union Street west to Ann Street, while the sections of Main Street most in need of leveling out for the winter are from east of Union to Vine Street – so borough officials are not too worried about the PennDOT work impacting the ability of motorists to use Main Street as a detour, Courogen said.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2015 15:23

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ICDA approves trellis, pavilions for downtown


A contract to build trellises and pavilions on both sides of North Union and East Emaus streets as part of the downtown Middletown streetscape project was awarded on Tuesday, Oct. 27 by the Middletown Industrial and Commercial Development Authority.

The authority’s original plan was to build a large pavilion in the space on the northeast corner of North Union and East Emaus streets, where a building housing small businesses once stood. The authority razed the building earlier this year.

However, the authority chose to modify its original plan to bring down the cost of the trellises and pavilions.

Instead, the contract awarded on Oct. 27 calls for building a trellis and a small pavilion on the northeast corner, and a small pavilion coupled with “a modified trellis structure” on the northwest corner of the intersection next to the Brownstone Cafe.

At $294,755, the scaled-down version still exceeds the $263,000 that the authority had estimated for the trellises and pavilions at the intersection. Previously, the authority had received two sets of bids for the trellises and pavilions, but the bids were still coming in at $513,000.

The trellises and pavilions delayed the overall streetscape project as well as added to the cost. The authority had hoped to start construction of the streetscape improvements in June and finish by the end of this year. Instead, work did not begin until October, and now is expected to take until July to complete.

The contract for the trellises and pavilions was awarded to Lobar Associates of Dillsburg through the Keystone Purchasing Network. The network allows the borough and other participating municipalities to choose from a list of contractors that have already submitted bids on a variety of construction projects.

Awarding the trellis and pavilion contract has increased the cost of the overall streetscape from $3.4 million to $3.7 million, including engineering costs. That’s already $1 million over the original $2.7 million estimate for the downtown renovations.

When all is said and done, the cost of the streetscape improvements will be higher still. The authority, during its Oct. 27 meeting, voted to extend to North Union and Spring streets sidewalk and crosswalk improvements that are associated with the streetscape project. Doing so adds close to another $150,000 to the streetscape budget, including $28,100 for revised designs by the borough’s consulting engineers, HRG.

The streetscape project could get still more expensive, depending on what the authority decides to do with the space on South Union Street next to Roberto’s Pizza that was once occupied by the Klahr Building.

The borough acquired the Klahr Building in 2013 and then razed it with plans for constructing a pedestrian alley to connect South Union with the municipal parking lot. However, that plan was not incorporated in the original $2.7 million streetscape budget.

On Oct. 27, the authority voted to accept the transfer of the vacant Klahr Building space from the borough. The authority then requested a cost estimate to extend the streetscape project into the Klahr Building space be obtained from Flyway Excavating of Lititz, general contractor for the streetscape project.

“You’re not going to get that pricing again,” said authority member Jim Nardo, suggesting that the least expensive way to add the Klahr Building into the streetscape would be to amend the existing contract with Flyway. The authority asked that the cost estimate be ready for a vote at its next meeting, scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 24.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 November 2015 15:21

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TO-DO: Middletown train station

demofortrain8 19 15WEBPress And Journal File Photo -- The A.C. Green warehouse on West Main Street is demolished to make way for the new Amtrak train station that will be built there.

Construction of the new Amtrak train station on West Main Street is expected to start in early 2016, PennDOT officials have told the borough.

The $32 million project includes building a pedestrian bridge from the private Penn State Harrisburg student housing over West Main Street so students can cross safely to the new train station.

Emaus Street is also to be extended to West Main Street as part of the train station project. The Emaus Street extension would be completed toward the end of the overall project.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Bridge Over Vine Street

Click to return to TO-DO LIST Main Page



Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 August 2015 17:36

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Get Your Omega-3s!


By now, you probably know that you “should” be getting enough Omega-3s in your diet, but do you know why?

The Omega-3 buzz got really strong in the last few years, and people have listened. In fact, according to WebMD, they are one of the most popular supplements in the U.S., but it seems that many of you aren’t sure why you are taking them. Was it something about blood pressure? Memory? Overall health?

Omega-3s are an essential fatty acid that your body needs to maintain health. The list of benefits associated with these fatty acids is long — very long, and the 3 following benefits should be enough to remind you that you are taking them for very good reason:

1. They lower inflammation 

The list could potentially stop right here. It turns out that the vast majority of the diseases that people have really boil down to inflammation. Heart disease? Inflammation. Diabetes? Inflammation. Autoimmune Disease? Inflammation. Migraines? Inflammation. Even premature aging, arthritis, cancer, and weight gain have been linked to this type of invisible and chronic inflammation. This is the very type of inflammation that Omega-3s can greatly reduce. Armed with even this limited bit of information, the question really seems to be “why wouldn’t you take Omega-3s?”

2. They help your heart

Yes, helping to lower levels of plaque in your arteries and lowering your triglyceride level is probably also really about reducing inflammation, but heart health is enough of a concern for the general population to warrant its own mention. There is evidence dating back as far as 1989 that even moderate increases of Omega-3 consumption, such as eating fish twice/week, regulates irregular heart rhythms that could lead to heart attack. “Similar, though even more profound, effects were suggested by a Harvard study showing that men who had higher blood levels of omega-3 fatty acids suffered an 80% lower likelihood of sudden cardiac death compared with men who had low omega-3 blood levels. If you are concerned about heart health, increase your Omega-3 intake.

3. They help your brain

Even in the brain, most issues come down to inflammation, yet again, this is an area worth pointing out more specific benefits. Research has shown that an increase in Omega-3 fatty acid intake can help decrease depression, bi-polar episodes, and there is even preliminary research that has shown a possible benefit to those suffering from schizophrenia. Beyond that, there is also evidence to suggest that a deficiency of Omega-3s can be a factor in age-related cognitive decline, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s. 

It turns out it is a good thing you have been taking those fish oils. Supplementation is a fine way to get them if you must (and make sure they are of very high quality or you risk high mercury consumption). You live in Oregon, however, and you are blessed with a bounty of delicious West Coast foods that are rich in Omega-3s: salmon, halibut, tuna, oysters, walnuts, flaxseeds, kale, spinach, and basil. I leave you with this Omega-3-rich (and tasty) recipe for Roasted Squash with Mint and Toasted Pumpkin Seeds


Last Updated on Thursday, 16 July 2015 08:18

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HIGHSPIRE STRIKES BACK: Coalition refutes Middletown's concerns for taking Highspire students


The Highspire group behind the proposed transfer of 229 borough students from the Steelton-Highspire School District to the Middletown Area School District rebuked arguments against the transfer by both districts in a response it filed with the state Department of Education.

Quite simply, the Highspire Education Coalition, as the group is called, focused on the educational merits of a secession by Highspire to Middletown Area, claiming that it would provide Highspire children with a better education.

It refutes Middletown’s claims that the transfer would cause overcrowding in Middletown’s schools or a financial burden to the district, and asserts that Middletown’s fears that Highspire students are behind academically proves their point about the move’s educational merits.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 May 2015 13:53

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