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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, June 15, 1983, edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 6/6/18

Attorney general inquest requested into police and council activities

A request for formal investigation into the activities of Middletown Borough Council and the borough’s police department was …

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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, June 15, 1983, edition of the Press & Journal

Posted

Attorney general inquest requested into police and council activities

A request for formal investigation into the activities of Middletown Borough Council and the borough’s police department was delivered today to the state attorney general, according to Council President Dennis Stover.

Stover made the announcement at borough council’s Monday night meeting, stating that for the past several months, there has been “a sore festering within the borough,” creating a situation which has become intolerable to him and to the people in the community.

It is believed that the attorney general will not have jurisdiction to pursue an investigation in the matter.

The council president referred to recent charges of council interference into borough departments, specifically the police department, and to questions posed to Borough Police Chief Ronald Wells as examples of the present problem.

A 5 1/2-year veteran of the police force, Officer Richard Brandt, submitted his resignation last week stating that he wouldn’t be leaving his position “if it were not for a handful of Middletown Borough Councilmen who seem to take pleasure in harassing and demoralizing the Middletown Police Department.” Middletown’s “officer of the year,” as Brandt had recently been designated, continued in his resignation letter, “I would like to … commend Chief Wells, and also Mayor Robert Reid and the present compliment of officers … for doing an outstanding job of protecting our borough under circumstances that would make normal men want to throw in the towel.”

Just one day after Brandt submitted his letter, Wells actually was asked to throw in that towel. At a committee meeting of the public safety committee, Third Ward Councilman David Rhen presented Wells with some 25 verbal allegations or questions he wanted answers to, later stating that he felt the charges were of such a serious nature that he personally requested the chief’s resignation.

Wells did not resign and had no additional comments at that meeting.

At this week’s council meeting, the councilmen present discussed the matter in a 30-minute executive session which did not appear on the meeting’s agenda. Following that session, Stover reported that the matters brought forth by Rhen have been referred to the borough’s solicitor and that there would be no further word on the situation at this time.

In response to council activities John “Jack” Stotz, a Pine Street resident, blasted council for its inability to work together and requested that the councilmen sit down and regroup so that they could settle animosities in-house before the problems filter into the community through the media.

“This council has been labeled as a circus,” Stotz emphasized, adding that council was going nowhere except maybe backwards.

“You can’t have five people over here that disagree with everything a man says because they don’t like him,” Stotz said in reference to recent charges of personality problems between council members and the chief.

The Middletown resident suggested that personnel problems be handled within council before being released to the press.

“I like living in Middletown, and I want to keep it that way,” Stotz concluded.

Grand slams, triple play highlight LS play

Two grand slams and the first triple play of the season highlighted the action last week as Lower Swatara athletic teams arrived at the halfway point of the season.

Cristin Vezza powered the LS Lions Jr. Girls softball team to a 25-1 victory over Paxtang with a grand slam in the second and then repeated the sixth inning. Vezza picked up 9 RBIs in the game as well as the mound victory and Kim Burgess chipped in with an additional 4 RBIs. The Lions are now 8-2 for the season.

Homestead Group Realtors’ record dropped to 2-8 as the junior girls team lost to Highspire, 12-3. Tammy Noll was on the mound for Homestead and took the loss.

ABC East split its two games last week. Heather Royer picked up a win as ABC held off a stubborn Chambers Hill Cubs team, 14-11.

Later in the week, ABC was upset by Wilhelm by a 5-4 score to drop ABC’s record to 7-3 for the season.

Stambaugh’s Air turned in the season’s only triple play in a 13-1 victory over Penn Outdoor in Midget-Minor boys action. With runners at first and second, Stambaugh’s first baseman, Mike Miller, grabbed a line drive, tagged first and threw to Brian Huber at second to complete the play.

Brian Keyser picked up the win for Stambaugh’s.

Keyser hit a three-run homer to spark Stambaugh’s, now 8-3, over J&J Pizza by a 14-3 score. Brian Huber was the winning pitcher.

Longenecker’s Meats rallied for 8 runs in the last inning but fell short in a 12-11 loss to Hamilton Bank. Longenecker’s bounced back against Family Medicine for an 11-3 victory on the pitching of Kevin Bachman. Tim Yeich hit his third home run of the season to spark the win. Longeneckers now owns an 8-3 mark for the season. Meminger’s Inc. picked up three wins last week to boost their record to 8-3.

Memingers stopped J&J Pizza, 15-7, behind Sean Furjanic’s pitching and J.J. Williams’ 5 RBIs. Greg Rush picked up the victory as Memingers then defeated Penn Outdoor, 16-3. Richard Wright provided Meminger’s offensive spark with a 3-for-3 day at the plate and 4 RBIs. Memingers closed out the week with a 19-6 win over Hamilton Bank as Rush again picked up the win.

Middlesworth Potato Chips dropped two games last week to fall to a 2-9 record. Middlesworth’s lost to Sure Heat, 10-4, and then dropped an 18-4 decision to Middletown Lumber.

Royalton electric rate increase stalls again

Even though Royalton Borough Council passed a 30 percent increase in electric rates, the ordinance remains worthless following Mayor Edward Port's decision to withhold placing his signature on the ordinance.

At the June 7 meeting of council, the electric rate increase ordinance was passed by a 4-3 vote. The ordinance met with opposition from First Ward Councilmen Charles Bolton, Ruth Hurley, and Ron Vulatic. The officials shared the opinion that a 25 percent electric rate hike would be sufficient, rather than the 30.

With the mayor's refusal to sign the rate increase ordinance, Council has been forced to address the electric rate increase ordinance a third time at its July meeting.

Council had faced a similar situation at its May meeting in which officials voted 3-3 on a 30 percent electric rate increase. At that gathering, Port refused to cast a tie-breaking vote.

Metropolitan Edison Co. achieved a 19.2 percent increase in its cost of electrical current to the borough, effective in March of this year. In addition, a fuel adjustment charge which has been imposed on Met-Ed customers for the past two years has yet to be passed on to the residents of Royalton.

The borough has been covering the fuel adjustment costs — to the tune of as much as $5,000 monthly — from municipal funds. It is now forced to withdraw monies from the general fund to meet monthly electric bills from Met-Ed.

Second Ward Councilman Judith Oxenford spoke in favor of the 30 percent increase.

Headlines from the edition

• Royalton mayor wants pager, council turns it over to chief

• Council hires expert for straight talk on police radios

• Kindergarten for 4-year-olds approved by school board

• TMI sewage no threat; radioactivity below limits

Hot buys

• Move up to RCA ColorTrak. Automatic color control and fleshtone correction. Automatic light sensor. Automatic contrast/color tracking. RCA’s Super AccuFilter picture tube. $599.95. Ebersole’s TV, Locust Grove Road.

• Recliner sale. Rocker recliner is a large, man-size chair, rocks and reclines three ways. Plush olefin fabric in tan or chocolate. $288. Furniture Unlimited’s Surplus Outlet, Olmsted Plaza.

• 1978 Buick Century Wagon, V-6, air, with matching blue interior, $5,488. 1980 Olds Cutlass Supreme Brougham, V-8, blue, one owner, $6,988. Harry Cramer Inc., 1998 W. Harrisburg Pike.