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We felt no earth move under our feet

We thought the earth would shake in downtown Middletown.

 

But we didn’t feel a thing. boringphoto8 6 14Press and Journal Photo by Dan Miller: This auger boring machine, worth about $200,000, was the star of the show.

 

Just another day at the office for L&N Zimmerman, a boring – no pun intended –company from Newmanstown, Lebanon County.

 

In less than 10 hours on Thursday, July 31 and Friday, Aug. 1, the company bore a large round hole under the railroad tracks at Brown and Union streets in Middletown’s business district.

 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 19:48

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Line replacement moves up a block

 

streetphoto8 6 14Press and Journal Photo by Dan Miller: South Union Street between Emaus and Brown streets will be closed until about Sept. 1 as crews replace sewer and water lines.

 

The Big Dig in downtown Middletown keeps chugging along.

 

As of Monday, Aug. 4, the work of replacing old sewer and water lines on South Union Street has advanced into the block between Brown and Emaus streets.

 

The block will remain closed for about four weeks, until around Monday, Sept. 1, said Middletown spokesman Chris Courogen.

 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 19:40

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INSERT PARK HERE? Airport, borough discuss the future of razed Middletown neighborhood

emptylotphoto8 6 14Press and Journal Photo by Dan Miller: This vacant 10-acre stretch of land in Middletown held 25 houses that were purchased and razed by the authority that operates Harrisburg International Airport

 

What was once a small neighborhood of 25 houses in Middletown could become an area for public recreation.

 

Over the past few years, the homes have all been sold to and razed by the authority that runs Harrisburg International Airport under a program where airports buy up nearby properties that are most impacted by noise from airplanes flying overhead. Participation in the program is voluntary.

 

Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority owns the properties but has no use for them. The authority of late has renewed talks with Middletown Borough officials aimed at selling the properties back to the town.

 

“We are looking to cooperate with [the borough] so that we can put this property to its best use, one that is of benefit to the borough,” said Tim Edwards, executive director of the airport authority.

 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 19:31

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YOU COULD BE SEEN AND HEARD ON SCHOOL BUSES

Attention Middletown Area School District students: This school year, expect Big Brother to be watching and listening.

 

The Middletown Area School Board is expected to consider a policy at its meeting on Monday, Aug. 25 that would allow audio taping on school buses. 

 

Middletown has had video taping capability on all school buses for several years now, said David Franklin, district assistant superintendent for finance and operations. But in February, Gov. Tom Corbett signed legislation allowing Pennsylvania school districts to use audio recording devices on school buses as well.

 

The law says school districts must do four things to legally tape audio on school buses, said Steve Robinson, spokesman for Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA).

 

First, a district must have an approved policy governing the use of audio taping. Second, a district must notify students and parents of the use of audio taping on school buses by letter each year sent to the student’s home.

 

Third, notification that audio taping is being done must be posted in a “clearly visible” location on each school bus. Finally, audio-taping can only be done on school buses when the buses are being used for a school-related purpose, Robinson said.

 

Franklin said that under current district practice the video taping equipment is in use all the time whenever students are in the school bus for a school-related purpose. The same will be true of audio-taping – it will be on all the time, Franklin said.

 

The purpose of audio-taping – as well as videotaping – is to give the school district another tool to find out what happened if an incident occurs in a school bus that needs to be investigated, Franklin said.

 

The district contracts with a company for student transportation. The capability to do audio-taping as well as videotaping already exists on all school buses that are used by the district, so there will be no additional expense to the district to start audio-taping, Franklin said.

 

The administration presented the policy for first reading during a meeting on June 23. The proposed policy can be found on the district Web site by going to board meeting agendas for the June 23, 2014 meeting:  http://www.raiderweb.org/wp-content/board/agendas/current/2014-06-23%20School%20Board%20Meeting.pdf.

 

Other local school districts have approved their own policy or are drawing up a policy.The Derry Township School Board approved a policy on June 23 that allows for audio-taping on school buses used by the district. “We have had video monitoring on our buses for quite some time,” said district spokesman Dan Tredinnick.

 

The Harrisburg School Board approved a policy in 2012 that provides for the use of audio recording on school buses.

 

The Lower Dauphin School Board is working toward approving a policy that would allow audio-taping on school buses, said Jim Hazen, district spokesman.

 

The Steelton-Highspire School District did not respond to a request for comment.

 

Robinson said the PSBA isn’t tracking how many school boards have moved forward with audio-taping on school buses since the legislation was approved, though “we have been getting a lot of calls” from school boards asking for information on the issue.

PSBA has not taken a position on whether school districts should have audio-taping on school buses. The association considers the matter a local decision, Robinson said.

Dan Miller: 717-944-4628, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 19:04

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THE DRILL IS GONE: Big $300,000 rig is stolen from Middletown site

 

stolendrill1

 

It’s big, black and gray and worth more than $300,000. Have you seen a drill rig stolen from a work site in Middletown?

 

The rig and a flatbed truck, used for work on Amtrak railroad tracks in the borough, were taken between July 11 and 14 from a staging area at Wilson and Grant streets, according to Middletown police.

 

The equipment is owned by L.G. Hetager Drilling of Punxsutawney.

 

The drill is a 2005 Acker self-propelled drill rig, gray and black in color. The truck is a 2006 International tilt flatbed truck valued at $69,500, teal and white in color with a black bed, police said. At the time of the theft, the truck had a Pennsylvania license plate, number AE17586.

 

A reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the theft is expected to be offered through Crime Stoppers, police said. Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call Middletown police at 717-558-6900.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 19:58

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