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This Spud's for U: Idaho University Chooses Middletown for New Branch


The Press And Journal has learned that a college in Idaho will open a branch campus in Middletown, with a groundbreaking ceremony scheduled soon for a $31 million student center to be built in the borough.

A source from the board of trustees of Central Idaho University who requested anonymity said the school enviously watched the tremendous expansion of Penn State Harrisburg’s growing Middletown campus and wants to grab a share of the town’s fledging cottage industry – higher education.

“If Middletown wants to be a college town, they’re going to get a college town,’’ said the source.

Construction, which is set to begin this fall, will start with a spectacular student center that will rival the $30 million Student Enrichment Center that Penn State’s trustees approved for the Penn State Harrisburg campus last month.

The student center will be erected in the proposed heart of Central Idaho’s future campus – atop the mysterious Ann Street tunnel uncovered by demolition crews while tearing down a ramshackle wood frame house last year, a site that has been up for sale for months after the strange discovery.

Penn State Harrisburg officials would not comment on the apparent beginning of this new chapter of the Middletown area’s future. But some observers believe Central Idaho’s incursion into Blue & White territory marks the opening salvo of a protracted college competition for Middletown’s land and loyalty. “It’s heathy competition,” observed Lirpa Sloof of Middletown. “It’s all about the children, so I’m all for it.”

One sign of a potentially contentious battle for Middletown is Central Idaho’s announcement that its local branch campus will be called “Central Idaho Middletown’’ – or “CIM’’ – as a tribute to the town, while Penn State Harrisburg is named for a city eight miles away. “You can’t throw a textbook on quantum physics out a dormitory window at that campus without hitting Middletown,’’ noted the unnamed source.

Once a bustling military town where shops catered to workers at a nearby Air Force base, Middletown has wrestled with economic and social change during the last 50 years. The borough, Dauphin County’s oldest, watched as the Pentagon closed the Olmsted Air Force Base in the late 1960s, and as Penn State has taken over remnants of the military installation to serve as a campus for its burgeoning student body.

Penn State Harrisburg has grown to about 4,000 full-time students, many of whom have moved into rental properties in Middletown, and recently disclosed plans to purchase additional acreage in the area – an expansion that has sparked hopes for an economic revival, and angst over student rowdiness, among the town’s residents.

“We’ve survived without a coffee shop for 260 years,’’ lamented one resident, who asked not to be named. “Now it looks like we’re going to have a Starbucks on every corner.’’

Borough officials, caught by surprise by the announcement, said town policy prevented them from commenting on the record, but they would say confidentially that they have not studied the potential impact of Central Idaho’s move into Middletown, which is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation of its downtown business district this spring.

Officials did confirm that the borough may include potato vines in planters that could line the sidewalks of the new downtown street scape. A member of a yet-to-be-named community action group, who wished to remain anonymous, said a potato peeling contest may be added to town festivals in 2018 to draw students to the business district.

The CIM source said initiatives will be launched to woo substantial numbers of international students to the local campus, including the offering of a variety of international dishes in its cafeteria alongside baked potatoes, the college’s mascot, at dinner – and noted it recently won its first-ever Psi Tampa Beta National Championship in British Parliamentary Debate. 

The CIM campus would feature a yet-commissioned work of art as its centerpiece: a sculpture of Meriwether Lewis, the commander of the Lewis and Clark Expedition through Idaho and much of the Louisiana Purchase, shaking hands with George Fisher, the founder of Middletown. “Does Penn State Harrisburg have a statue of Joe Paterno shaking George Fisher’s hand? I don’t think so,’’ the Central Idaho source said.

A chancellor has not been named, but Central Idaho is considering a list of famous Idahoans to lead the new branch campus. The leading candidate thus far appears to be Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate and conservative talk show personality, who was born in Sandpoint, Idaho. Palin is a popular choice among the school’s trustees.

Additional details about the school will be reported as they become available. In the meantime, the source from Central Idaho suggested local residents access the school’s new Web site for full details,


Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 March 2015 15:23

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In 10 minutes, thief takes items from her parked car

She was quickly dropping off her child at a Lower Swatara Twp. daycare center - but in those few minutes someone grabbed her laptop computer and cell phone from her parked car and ran off.

The theft occurred between 8 and 8:10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 13, in the parking lot of the Discovery Kids Childcare Center in the 1000 block of Oberlin Road, according to Lower Swatara police.

The victim, a township resident, told police she spent no more than 10 minutes in the center.

Taken were a Dell laptop valued at $900 and a Samsung S4 phone valued at $600, police said.

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call police at 717-939-0463.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 February 2015 16:01

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Hummelstown bank robbed


An unidentified man robbed the Fulton Bank on West Main Street in Hummelstown around 1 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 6, Hummelstown police said.


The robber approached a teller window, demanded cash and fled the bank on foot with an undisclosed amount of money, police said.


No weapon was displayed, police said.


Police described the robber as a light-skinned male, approximately 5-7 to 5-9 in height with a medium build.

The suspect was wearing a black Nike jacket with a hood and a Nike symbol over the left chest, jeans, black sneakers, white shirt, grey knit hat, black face mask and black gloves.


Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to call them at 717-566-2555.


Last Updated on Friday, 06 February 2015 16:30

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Highspire man rams wife’s SUV after leaving marriage counseling session, police say

A Highspire man was arrested after he allegedly threatened to kill his wife and drove his car into the back of her SUV after a joint marriage counseling session in Harrisburg on Tuesday, Jan. 20, police said.

For the full story, CLICK HERE to subscribe to the Press And Journal.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 03 February 2015 15:53

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Middletown Snow Emergency

Word is expected soon on the status of a snow emergency in Middletown that was declared by Mayor James Curry at 11 p.m. yesterday.

“By issuing the emergency, we can ensure the roads are clear for Borough and PennDOT crews, ” said Curry, in declaring the emergency.

Curry said parking restrictions will be strictly enforced and tickets will issued for any and all vehicles in violation of those restrictions.

During a declared snow emergency, parking restrictions go into effect to facilitate the removal of snow from Borough streets. During such an emergency, it is unlawful to park on the north side of designated east-west streets or on the east side of designated north-south streets, unless otherwise indicated.

Once the snow stops and it has been removed from those parking areas, parking there becomes permissible as long there is no interference with the Borough snow removal crews and no interference with traffic during the remainder of the emergency.

Residents needing an off street place to park can use the lot behind Borough Hall.

Following is a complete list of designated snow emergency route streets and parking restrictions in Middletown.

Name of Street



Adelia Street 


From Emaus Street to East Main Street 

Ann Street 


From Swatara Creek west to Grant Street 

Catherine Street 


From Emaus Street north to Main Street 

Emaus Street 


From Adelia Street west to Wood Street 

Grant Street 


From Ann Street to Wilson Street 

Main Street 


From Swatara Creek to Apple Avenue 

Roosevelt Street 


From Vine Street west to Union Street 

Union Street 


From Ann Street to Park Circle Road 

Union Street 


From Ann Street to its southern limits 

Vine Street 


From Water Street to Aspen Street 

Water Street 


From Vine Street to Catherine Street 

Wilson Street 


From Grant Street to and over the overhead bridge to Main Street 

Wood Street 


From Susquehanna Street north to Emaus Street


Last Updated on Monday, 26 January 2015 15:37

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