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Readers' Views: Preserving our town's treasures




I attended the Middletown Area Historical Society’s “Music Along the Swatara” on Friday, July 18. What a wonderful event.


The music by Strange Foke was in a relaxing and beautiful venue along the Swattie.


Kids of all ages enjoyed food, face painting and games by Members 1st Federal Credit Union and others. Attendance was small, possibly due to a lack of advertising. Future events like these need to be supported by all. It was fun, and for a great cause.


I noticed that the Press And Journal made a nice contribution to the society. Thank you for supporting our community, P&J!


I have driven by the Ferry House and the Liberty Band Hall thousands of times, but never realized that these treasures were in my back yard.


The Ferry House offered ferry service across the Swatara Creek, and was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The Ferry House also served as a fort.


The Liberty Band Hall served as the former Salem Lutheran Church in Oberlin and was moved to Middletown in 1916. The Liberty Band practiced in this beautiful building until 1966.


The flood of 2011 took its toll on these historical buildings. The society is trying to refurbish these structures for all to enjoy once again. I want to encourage everyone to support the society’s efforts.


It is amazing how many true treasures our little town has to offer that few know exist.


There is an abundance of history in Middletown. We need to support the society’s efforts to let these landmarks tell the stories of days gone by.  



                                            Laura Little

                                 Londonderry Twp.



(Editor's note: The Press And Journal presented the Middletown Area Historical Society with a check for $520 – $10 for every new subscription and $5 for every renewal – as part of a fund-raising promotion in June. The Press And Journal presented the check to the society during "Music on the Swatara.'')


Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 20:41

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Readers' Views: Don't leave Pennsylvania parched




The Marcellus Shale revolution has brought new jobs, cheaper energy and cleaner power to our area, but hydraulic fracturing technology can take a heavy toll on local water supplies.


And it’s not just a drop in the bucket – drilling and fracturing one horizontal shale gas well can use up to 5 million gallons of water.

According to the Susquehanna River Commission, approximately 65 percent of the water used for Marcellus Shale drilling is drawn from rivers, creeks and lakes in Pennsylvania. Drilling companies purchase the remaining 35 percent from local communities.


As technology evolves, operators should seek alternative water sources and employ advanced treatment methodologies to minimize hydraulic fracturing’s impact on potable water.


Brackish groundwater, acid mine drainage and power plant cooling water are just a few options that remove fresh water from the equation entirely.


Regardless of the source, advanced recycling methods can give a second life to produced water, which is trapped underground and comes to the surface during drilling, and flowback water, which consists of recovered fracturing fluids.


By securing water sources that don’t compromise community water needs, we can continue to enjoy the benefits of the shale boom without leaving Pennsylvania parched.


                                                                                                               John Ontiveros

                                                                                                 Sharon, Mercer County

(The writer is president of Winner Water Services, a Sharon-based company that provides ecologically-friendly source water for hydraulic fracturing at Sykesville, Jefferson County, and Sarver, Butler County.)



Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 20:14

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Readers' Views: Fireworks? The stars dazzle




It’s the Fourth of July. The day nearly done. I sat and watched “A Capitol Fourth’’ on PBS and its accompanying fireworks display. As always, it was breathtaking.


Then I walked out into the dark of the night to see if I could catch any of the fireworks from around the area. I couldn’t. Only the percussions.


But then I happened to look up at the moon. And then I fixated on the stars. As I stood there gazing for a few minutes, I couldn’t help but think how much more beautiful and dazzling God’s creation was in its utter simplicity.


My mind wandered, and the Bible’s 8th Psalm came to me: “When I consider thy heavens, the works of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained, what is man that thou art mindful of him?’’


What is man that You are mindful of us? That really is a good question, isn’t it?


I hope the next time you catch the glimmer of a star, this Psalm comes to mind.


We’re all mixed up in this life together.


                                                                                                                    Eddie Costik




Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 20:11

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READERS' VIEWS: Thanks for the coverage



Thank you so much for the wonderful article and pictorial spread in the Press And Journal (“Out & About: Blessing of the Animals at New Thing – A Methodist Community,’’ A2, Press And Journal, June 18).

We appreciate greatly your coverage of our first animal blessing and ice cream social.

New Thing – A United Methodist Community would also like to thank Jeanette Rowan and her crew from Animal Instincts for providing the ice cream and assisting with the event.

                                                                                               Pastor JoAnn M. Darrow
                                                                                                  New Thing Community
                                                                                                       Lower Swatara Twp.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 08 July 2014 18:59

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Readers' Views: Vague, inaccurate statements about police force


Click here to view David Rhen's letter to Middletown voters.




Please print this letter in time to get to the voters of Middletown Borough.


It seems that members of the current Borough Council like to make statements at the 11th hour that are either vague or factually inaccurate. Here are a few examples:


• Dave Rhen, chairman of council's Public Safety Committee, recently mailed a letter through out the borough. In one statement, Rhen says, “I know all too well the problems associated with the Borough's Police Force.”  Rhen held hearings in 2011 dealing with police corruption. The only people speaking to police wrongdoing were those who had been arrested by the police. The media covered those hearings but nothing was ever reported on the news. Dave Rhen and crew went to the District Attorney and Attorney General with their tales of corruption. They were told that there was nothing criminal going on. Rhen is the one who has given our Police Department a black eye with his unfounded accusations of corruption. He even urged more civil law suits against the Borough. Has Middletown been sued more than other police departments?


• Rhen's statement that the police force was “Virtually unmanaged for most of the past two decades.” Rhen was on council three different times – 1984, 2001 and 2010. So Rhen has been on council for at least 12 years while all this so-called mismanagement was happening – and as chairman of the Public Safety Committee, what did he do to correct it?


• Let's talk about police overtime. Again I quote Rhen, who said police “have cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in unbudgeted overtime expenses.” You slashed a budget item to an unrealistically low amount, then say it is the police force's fault that overtime is over budget. If overtime is truly over budget by hundreds of thousands of dollars, then it is poor budgeting on the part of the Borough Manager and Borough Council.  Several police officers have retired/resigned and the positions have not been filled. So there are less officers to fill the same number of shifts, making the only alternative overtime. The national average is 2.3 full time officers per 1,000 residents. Middletown has 13 full time officers for just over 9,000 residents – 2.3 x 9 = 20.7.  How safe do you feel?


• Rhen states, “Borough Council has been taking major steps to modernize and professionalize the Police Department.” What steps, and how much did it cost? Remember, this council says the borough's broke.


• Rhen states, “Police dispatch has been moved to Dauphin County's 911 system, which will hold officers more accountable for their whereabouts and actions.” The dissolution of our dispatch center is the reason that none of us can contact the police officers or get copies of reports. County 911 has no control over our police officers and does nothing to hold them accountable – they only dispatch the calls.


This council has appointed three police chiefs in the last two years. I certainly hope they get it right soon. How much did they spend to buy each of those chiefs out of their contract?


How much will the quest for accreditation cost us taxpayers?


Rhen states, “Excess overtime has been curbed.” Do you notice that dollar amounts are never quoted. If they saved us so much money why not tell us how much?


 • Now, Bob Givler's $63,000 payout: If Mr. Givler was dedicated enough that he didn't use the leave available to him, then he was entitled to get paid for it when he retired. Unlike police chiefs who get their contract bought out when we want them to move on.


Do you see how easy it is to be mislead by vague statements? They make statements without backing them up with any facts.


What axes do these people have to grind with our Police Department? Is it that several of them or their family members have been arrested?


Let me tell you something about our police department. In a 2010/2011 study done regarding the Communications Center the statistics showed our Police Department made more criminal arrests than departments more than twice our size. The study was made part of the public record and previously listed on the borough's website.


I'm not sure why our candidates have not asked this question: How could this council take us from a surplus of funds to financially distressed in less than two years?


Dave Rhen was sure willing to make accusations about Bob Givler but doesn't say what Mr. Curry is going to do or what he is about, other than he has no ties to the Police Department.  What does Mr. Curry know about running or overseeing a police department?


Mary L. Hiester



(The writer is a former president of Middletown Borough Council.)



Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 23:00

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