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Turning blight back into a home in Middletown


The house at 336 Lawrence St. in Middletown has been an eyesore for years. Empty, condemned, a blight on the neighborhood.

Fortunately, the borough has found an agency willing to rehabilitate it, and sell it to a family – the Tri-County Housing Development Corp., which receives federal funds to buy run-down properties and restore them for resale to low to moderate income families.

Tri-County has done this twice before in Middletown. A Wood Street house that was vacant for years was gutted and restored, and the work that went into the project was impressive. It was sold, making the project a complete success.

Middletown Borough Council has voted unanimously to donate the 336 Lawrence St. property to Tri-County for another restoration. The borough had a $22,000 municipal lien placed against the property to recoup costs to clean up the house and collect unpaid municipal bills. In fact, the property has cost the borough about $30,000 to date, according to borough manager Tim Konek.

But the borough is unlikely to recoup that cost, and the house would have sat empty and run-down for who knows how much longer.

The decision to donate the property is a good one. It will put the house back on the tax rolls, and provide a home for a family.



Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 November 2014 20:09

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Correcting our error

There are several noble professions, but few truly heroic ones. How many of us put our life on the line in our work? Police officers, firefighters, emergency responders do. And, of course, soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, military personnel who serve our country, defend our freedom and keep us safe.


These people have earned, through their dedication, our respect and gratitude. So when we learned that we published the incorrect name of a former infantry officer who spoke during a Veterans Day observance at Middletown Area Middle School, we decided to do more than run a short correction. We decided to reprint the article in its entirety.


It is an unusual step for a newspaper to take. And all newspapers make mistakes – as long as they are produced by human beings, who are imperfect, they will make them. All good newspapers correct errors. The Press And Journal corrects any factual error it publishes, as do other papers.


By reprinting the article with the speaker’s correct name, we believe we accurately share his accomplishments and words. It seemed right to us: As chroniclers of history, among our other functions as a newspaper, we should accurately tell the story of someone like Eric Fegley, the speaker at the middle school program, for posterity, and a correction appearing separately from our article about his accomplishments and speech seemed lacking.


You can find the reprinted article on page A2 in this edition.


Fegley, of Middletown, spent eight years as an infantry officer in the Army, serving in Afghanistan and Bosnia and Herzegovina during his military career. A 1991 graduate of Middletown Area High School, he earned the Bronze Star, Combat Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Expert Infantryman Badge and Meritorious Service Medal.


His Veterans Day speech on Tuesday, Nov. 11 at the middle school was part of what has become a very impressive observance of the holiday. The program included an impressive video that showed the faces, one by one, of every veteran from Middletown who has been killed in action in conflicts from World War I on.


It wasn’t the only Veterans Day celebration at a Middletown school: Seven Sorrows School provided a pancake breakfast to veterans and active military personnel associated with the school and Seven Sorrows BVM Church. Students created thank-you cards for participants.


Honoring our veterans is a great opportunity to teach history – and respect. Schools seem to be observing Veterans Day more and more. As a nation, our respect for our heroes seems to have swelled as we’ve better understood what they have done for us in their service. We hope our reprint is in that same spirit of respect.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 November 2014 16:02

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The voters have spoken; now we hope it works

Credit it to a resurgence in the Republican Party, or blame it on gerrymandering, but the success of GOP candidates statewide in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 5 gives the party continued control of the Pennsylvania Legislature.


And it begs the question: Can we get something done on some of the state’s burning issues?


Sure, under Republican Gov. Tom Corbett and a Republican legislature, the state budget was approved on time. But Corbett failed to get a pet project – the privatization of liquor sales – passed. And the legislature ignored his demand last summer that the General Assembly stay in session to resolve the pension crisis that already has been felt by school districts and the taxpayers who support them.


Gov.-elect Tom Wolf is a Democrat with his own agenda, and it should be interesting to see how he and the legislature work together to resolve the state’s pressing problems.


We hope they can.


In a time when heated rhetoric seems to drown out reason and compromise, and trump good governance, we wonder if genuinely good leadership can pull us through. The knock against Corbett was that he didn’t provide leadership, even in his own party. He certainly did not inspire the notion that he was a leader among voters, whose decision to toss him out of Harrisburg on Nov. 5 was historical. Corbett was the first incumbent Pennsylvania governor to lose re-election in 44 years.


Now we will have a Democratic governor and a Republican legislature. Well, why not? No doubt it will be interesting; we hope it will be successful, too.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 November 2014 22:30

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A library is valuable to our town's future

The Middletown Public Library is a community asset that is worth more than we could imagine. It inspires children to read, through kids’ programs and its mere existence, and a more literate child will likely become a more successful adult.


After years of existing mostly on Middletown Borough funds, the library is operating as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, counting on donations to stay open – though the borough continues to provide a reduced amount of funding.


So fundraising efforts such as the Fall Book Sale, held by the Friends of Middletown Public Library, are more important than ever.


The sale continues this week, on the following days:

• 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 5;

• 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 6;

• 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 8;

• 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 11, which is Veterans Day – and a day where the books will be offered at the low price of $2 a bag.

The library is located at 20 N. Catherine St.


Bargain books? Who doesn’t like that? And each dollar goes to a worthy cause.


A borough library is not only a nice perk, but also a vital force in the welfare of Middletown’s future.


Every dollar counts toward its continued existence.


Think of it as an investment in Middletown's future.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 November 2014 17:21

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Editor's Voice: Christmas arrived early for the Elks and Middletown

By Jim Lewis

Perhaps it was the Christmas spirit that moved a record number of people – 200! –  to buy tickets for the Middletown Holiday Candlelight Tour of Homes on Dec. 8 and 9. And maybe the 224 people who paid to see the

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 22:53

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