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One person loves, another loathes

The adage that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder most often applies to individuals, but in this case let’s relate it to the streetscape project under way in downtown Middletown. Opinions about the streetscape continue to range from unqualified support to vehement opposition. 

It is interesting to note the consensus among outside observers (and those not living with the day-to-day inconveniences) is generally in praise of the project: “This looks incredible.” … “You’re going to have tons of people here.” … “This will transform the town.” … “It’s beautiful.” … “This is how tax dollars should be spent.” 

It could be argued these people are looking at the streetscape project from a perspective that many local folks just don’t see. 

On the other end of the spectrum, statements from those opposed to the project continue to be voiced: “It’s a waste of money.” … “This is not Middletown.” … “We don’t know what’s being built.”… “This is taking forever.” … “This continues to hurt businesses.”

It’s unreasonable to accuse those critical of the project with a lack of vision or a ceaseless desire to simply rehash old arguments. Let’s be fair, many criticisms are well-founded. From the outset, this project has been mired in controversy: Scant public input, fragmented details, the pressure of prolonged street closures on struggling downtown businesses and the countless costly changes have ensnared public officials (both former and current) and continue to fuel the fires of the discontent for some businesses and residents.

There’s another old adage about seeing the forest for the trees and that seems especially applicable at present with regards to our streetscape. Whether we like it or not, the streetscape project is under way and it will substantially transform our downtown. Whether that transformation will meet expectations remains to be seen.

It’s easy for those safely outside downtown’s dust and dirt to see the advantages of the project. For those of us cloaked in the gritty everyday reality - it’s not been easy. But we believe it’s time to dust ourselves off and start seeing the proverbial forest for it’s beauty.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 15:15

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Middletown's public library is so much more than books on shelves

On the heels of the Kick Off Carnival and healthy dessert contest over the weekend the Middletown Public Library started its Summer Reading Program. Today, June 15 marks “Wow! Wednesdays” with the Sciencetellers.

The momentum of the Kick Off Carnival, featuring magician Erick Hershey and singer-songwriter Joel Krevsky, will certainly make for a fun and exciting summer in our area.

“Wow! Wednesdays” continues each week until Aug. 3, with a variety of performers, activities and entertainment. These free programs include Family Stages: Peter Pan, Turtle Dance Music, Storyteller Robbi K., Dinorific Game Show, Lego Star Wars and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Middletown Library Olympics and Grins and Gins. Programs like these should draw lots of children from our area to have a good time, provide a change of pace to their summer weeks, and learn something.

Teens and adults will have the time to hear and interact with six Pennsylvania writers on Aug. 27, with four writers of young-adult works, the author of medical thrillers and a romantic adventure writer on tap.

We believe these programs, even the ones held at the MSCO building on Emaus St. in downtown Midddletown, will draw people to walk into our community library and see what it has to offer. Community libraries can and do make a difference, and that is why the Press And Journal continues to support the Middletown Library in general and the institution’s Summer Reading Program specifically.

Did you know your community’s public library on North Catherine Street can help you delve into your family history/genealogy, provide access to audiobooks and e-books? Try this - the library even offers weekly family yoga!

The library simply has one heck of a lot going and Director John Grayshaw, other library staffers, volunteers and the library’s board of directors are working very hard to show us how wonderful and innovative this jewel is. It’s a treasure! Stop by the Middletown Public Library or visit middletownpubliclib.org to find out more about this community gem!

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 15:29

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A success story at Fink

What’s happening at Middletown’s Fink Elementary School is impressive, and noteworthy. Its students, most from low-income families who live within the borough, are learning at a rate that has propelled the school into the top 5 percent in performance among Pennsylvania schools that qualify for federal Title 1 funds, money given to help economically-disadvantages kids achieve.

Fink has earned “High Progress’’ status, mainly by focusing on improving its students’ reading ability. The school doubled the number of its Title 1 reading teachers – from one to two – who can provide more individual instruction to students, teaching reading in small groups or sometimes 1-on-1 with a child. It’s made a difference. ”You can just pick up on errors they are making and you can adjust them right away,” said Louisa Clinkscale, one of the reading teachers.

Fink is a school where more than 75 percent of the students are considered low income, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Most walk to school from one of several Middletown neighborhoods. They’re your kids, our kids. It’s good to know that educators are inspired to find new strategies to get students to learn, and that those strategies are working. You can read our story about what's happening at the school on page A1 of this edition.

Congratulations to all involved in improving education at Fink.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 June 2016 15:40

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High school graduation is an important first step

It was satisfying to see 163 seniors in Middletown Area High School’s Class of 2016 accept their diplomas at the school’s commencement on Thursday, May 26 at the Forum in Harrisburg.

It was amazing to see family, friends and other Middletowners fill the cavernous auditorium, which seats more than 1,000 people. Very, very few seats were available as the ceremony began.

Afterward, proud parents, grandparents, siblings and friends greeted newly-minted graduates with flowers, gifts and hugs.

It’s great to see so many people celebrate education. We need more of that if our world is to become a better place. The crowd applauded the members of the National Honor Society, who were asked to stand by school administrators, and those graduates who have chosen to enter the military.

It all begins with education. Take District Judge Joseph Lindsey of Lower Paxton Twp., a 1970 graduate of Middletown Area High School: He’s worked as a judge, a police officer, an insurance agent, and all on his MAHS diploma. He didn’t attend college.

“Take it and run with it, and good things will happen,’’ Lindsey told the graduates.

Steelton-Highspire High School and Lower Dauphin High School seniors will receive their diplomas, and move on to the next chapter in their lives, at commencement ceremonies this month. Steelton-Highspire will hold its commencement at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 7 at the school, while Lower Dauphin will hold its commencement at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 9 at the Giant Center.

Congratulations to all the graduates.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 June 2016 15:17

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