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The morning after

 

It has not escaped our attention that six of the seven Middletown Borough Council members who rolled back electric rates and drastically cut expenses have lost elections after dropping the fiscal axe on borough spending.

 

Three incumbents lost in the primary election on Tuesday, May 19, while three others lost in the previous municipal elections two years ago. Yeah, we know the cry from Borough Hall: People don’t realize all the wonderful things the borough has done for its electorate because the politically-motivated media is sworn to publish “misinformation’’ instead of the truth, though one would think drastically-reduced electric bills, unaltered and unfiltered by the discolored words of the treacherous media, would have resonated with voters more than the articles of allegedly persuasion-hungry publishers, editors and reporters.

 

So, the voters either don’t think the savings on electricity have been enough to validate the drastic cuts in staff and services that have come from a significant electric rate decrease, or they don’t like the way the borough has gone about its business – winners have defeated council incumbents by pledging “transparency,’’ a rallying call that seems to have resonated with an electorate that for a period of time was not even made aware of upcoming council committee meetings.

 

It’s one thing to cut waste – and everyone has their own definition of that – but when you chop funding for such things as the venerable Middletown Public Library, or reduce borough staff so severely that you can’t plow the snow from the busiest borough streets as quickly as you did in past winters (at least without pushing the few plow drivers who remain to a point that threatens their safety, as Borough Manager Tim Konek suggested this past season), you threaten to curtail the very services that taxpayers fully expect to enjoy regardless of your spending cuts.

 

While council could justify eliminating the borough’s communications center – it was a duplication of services that Dauphin County already provided – it’s had a more difficult time convincing the public that reductions in its police force, electric department and other offices were for the town’s good.

 

Moving on the downtown renovation project – the day the trees were cut down on Union Street – before a plan was approved, either by council or its Industrial and Commercial Development Authority, and voting to de-fund the library before it could become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit simply made it seem that the public was out of the loop.

 

Politics seems to create a fortress mentality among those in power, and that may have been the case, and the downfall, for the current majority. If a new council is promising transparency, we expect it will improve borough operations when it takes over in January.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 May 2015 09:49

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On Memorial Day, let's remember and reflect

We will observe Memorial Day on Monday, May 25, and this year’s observance comes during a time when we note the anniversary of two major wars.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, and the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War.

The final curtain on both conflicts were strikingly different. When Nazi Germany surrendered in Europe in 1945, the news brought revelers into New York’s Times Square, preventing vehicles from passing for six hours.

The Vietnam War ended in 1975 with the fall of Saigon and communist North Vietnam’s victory after 30 years of conflict.

As if Memorial Day, the day we honor those who died to defend our country, isn’t a solemn enough occasion, the two anniversaries make it even more poignant this year. It reminds us of man’s potential for conflict against other men, and how much our inability to deal with one another can cost us.

Memorial Day evokes a mixture of patriotism and sadness, pride and regret. There have been enough conflicts in the world that we all know someone who as served in the military – a relative, a friend. Their sense of duty to their country was stronger than their fear, and we appreciate their fortitude.

Memorial Day is for those who gave their lives in service. Local municipalities, including Middletown, have observances planned for Monday to honor the dead. Take the time to honor those who lost their lives in your own way. We should always be thankful, and never forget.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 May 2015 16:12

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The primary election is upon us – are you ready?

 

If we told you who to vote for in the primary election on Tuesday, May 19, would you listen? Probably not. You proudly make up your own mind.

 

So again we choose not to endorse candidates for local office. Journalism is cluttered with editorials endorsing candidates that were ridiculed and, ultimately, ignored. Winning an endorsement may look good for the campaign literature, but seems to carry little weight with the electorate.

 

Instead, we put our energy into providing you with information and opportunity to meet, quiz and judge the candidates for yourself.

 

Our Voters’ Guide was part of our May 6 edition, mailed to every household in Middletown. We even placed free copies in a box outside our South Union Street office. Most every local candidate we invited to participate did just that, answering a questionnaire we mailed to them. We believe their answers will help you make up your mind in the voting booth.

 

We’re also hosting a Meet & Greet with local and Dauphin County candidates from 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 17 at our office at 20 S. Union St. The BYOB affair is a chance to meet the candidates in a casual setting – no debates, no formal question-and-answer session – over light snacks, wine, beer or coffee.

 

There are other opportunities to judge the candidates. A question-and-answer gathering with candidates is set for 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 14 at Hoffer Park, an opportunity for parents with kids to do their due diligence while their children can frolic in the park.

 

Meanwhile, Middletown Citizens for Responsible Government held a series of debates for Middletown Borough Council and Middletown Area School Board candidates at Penn State Harrisburg and the American Legion Post 594.

 

There have been, and still are, plenty of opportunities to get to know the candidates. The election is just days away. Will you be prepared?

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 16:22

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When compassion breaks school records

 

How cool is Penn State’s annual THON, the university’s annual charity dance marathon that has raised millions? High school students have staged their own, shorter variations to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, a charity that helps the families of kids battling cancer.

Don’t underestimate the power of the younger generation: Each of the Mini-THONs at three local schools – Middletown Area High School, Lower Dauphin High School and Elizabethtown Area High School – broke school records for funds raised this year, quite an accomplishment by students, school staff and the community, which contributed so generously.

Middletown’s Mini-THON raised a record $21,295.49 on Friday, April 17, beating the school’s previous record by more than $5,000. Lower Dauphin, which has held its Mini-THON for a greater number of years, raised $82,630.95 in March to break the school’s previous record. Elizabethtown raised $70,037 last month – another school record broken, prompting Michele Balliet, superintendent of the Elizabethtown Area School District to marvel, “I continue to be amazed at the dedication and commitment of the students in all of the fundraising."

Indeed, it is an amazing feat by local high school students, parents, school staff and community. These fundraising efforts continue to grow – Middletown has added a “Mr. Middletown" pageant in recent years, where male students compete in a kind of mock beauty pageant, with the winner getting his crown for raising the most money."

Students should be proud of their achievement. So should everyone who contributed. It’s a community effort, and reflects the compassion of people in each district.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 16:16

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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 17:53

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