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Man killed along Route 230

A man was struck and killed by a vehicle on Route 230 in front of Londonderry Animal Hospital Friday, Feb. 5, according to information from Londonderry Fire Company.

The fire department responded between 9 and 10 p.m., said Fire Chief Bart Shellenhamer. 

Last Updated on Saturday, 06 February 2016 14:19

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TRACK WORK COULD BEGIN IN 6 MONTHS FOR NEW MIDDLETOWN TRAIN STATION, PENNDOT SAYS

 

webaaastation2 10 16A PennDOT rendering of the new Middletown train station, shown to Middletown Borough Council and the public on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

 

webbridge2 10 16A PennDOT rendering of the proposed pedestrian bridge that would cross West Main Street to connect the Penn State Harrisburg campus with the new train station.

 

webaerial2 10 16An aerial view of the new train station and pedestrian bridge.

 

Work on the new Amtrak station in Middletown should begin within six months, Jennie Granger, the official in charge of the project for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, said in an update to Middletown Borough Council on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

 

The last time Granger appeared before council in June 2015, she said she hoped that work on the station could begin in “early 2016.” 

 

Granger said she is at the mercy of Amtrak, which must do the track relocation work before the rest of the train station project can get started.

 

Amtrak has “limited forces and we are competing to get those,” Granger said. “This is like painting your way out of a room. The track work must happen first and then we work

our way out” to build the station, the parking, and eventually the extending of West Emaus Street to West Main Street.

 

Assuming the track work can begin within six months from now, it will take about two years to complete the entire project - including the Emaus Street extension and building a pedestrian bridge across Route 230 to connect Penn State Harrisburg with the station, and to provide a safe way for students and others to cross the busy highway. 

 

The project completion time frame could be longer - up to two and one-half years, Granger estimated - if the project runs into a lot of bad weather or other obstacles, Granger noted. But once the track work is done, she expects the project to move quickly once it is in the hands of contractors.

 

The designs for the train station are done, Granger said. PennDOT is in the process of working with Penn State Harrisburg and owners of the student housing along Route 230 regarding the location of the pedestrian bridge. 

 

In just about all other respects the station plans are the same as what Granger presented back in June 2015. A bicycle/pedestrian path on the Penn State Harrisburg campus is to be extended across the street onto the train station property. 

 

Among its other features, the station will have pull-off and pick-up areas for Capital Area Transit buses and will also be able to handle large charter buses. A shuttle will run to take passengers back and forth between the train station and Harrisburg International Airport.

 

 

Last Updated on Friday, 05 February 2016 14:16

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PennDOT hopes track work for new Middletown train station can start within the next six months, official tells borough council

 webaaastation2 10 16The future Middletown Amtrak station, according to a recent PennDOT rendering shown to Middletown Borough Council.

 

 

webbridge2 10 16A PennDOT rendering of the pedestrian bridge that would cross West Main Street to connect Penn State Harrisburg student housing to the new train station.

 

webaerial2 10 16An aerial view of the new train station and pedestrian bridge, shown in a PennDOT rendering.

 

 

Work on the new Amtrak station in Middletown should begin within six months, Jennie Granger, the official in charge of the project for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, said in an update to Middletown Borough Council on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

 

The last time Granger appeared before council in June 2015, she said she hoped that work on the station could begin in “early 2016.” 

 

 

Granger said she is at the mercy of Amtrak, which must do the track relocation work before the rest of the train station project can get started.

 

Amtrak has “limited forces and we are competing to get those,” Granger said. “This is like painting your way out of a room. The track work must happen first and then we work

 

our way out” to build the station, the parking, and eventually the extending of West Emaus Street to West Main Street.

 

 

Assuming the track work can begin within six months from now, it will take about two years to complete the entire project - including the Emaus Street extension and building a pedestrian bridge across Route 230 to connect Penn State Harrisburg with the station, and to provide a safe way for students and others to cross the busy highway. 

 

The project completion time frame could be longer - up to two and one-half years, Granger estimated - if the project runs into a lot of bad weath

 

er or other obstacles, Granger noted. But once the track work is done, she expects the project to move quickly once it is in the hands of contractors.

 

The designs for the train station are done, Granger said. PennDOT is in the process of working with Penn State Harrisburg and owners of the student housing along Route 230 regarding the location of the pedestrian bridge. 

 

 

In just about all other respects the station plans are the

 

same as what Granger presented back in June 2015. A bicycle/pedestrian path on the Penn State Harrisburg campus is to be extended across the street onto the train station property. 

 

 

Among its other features, the station will have pull-off and pick-up areas for Capital Area Transit buses and will also be able to handle large charter buses. A shuttle will run to take passengers back and forth between the train station and Harrisburg International Airport.

 

PennDOTrep 1 2 16PennDOT officials present new renderings of the proposed Middletown train station to Middletown Borough Council and the public.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 04 February 2016 16:49

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Middletown Borough Council votes for court injunction to block proposed crematory

Middletown Borough Council voted 8-1 Tues., Feb. 9  to hire separate legal counsel toward filing a court injunction to block the proposed crematory behind the Fager-Finkenbinder Funeral Home at 208 N. Union St.

 

The action came after council - for the second time in two weeks - heard pleas from residents living near the funeral home who are against the proposed crematory.

 

“This is not right,” said Kirk Ramsey of the 100 block of North Pine Street. “We don’t want this. Everybody in this town is going to lose money. What does Middletown have to gain from this? Nothing.”

 

Council will have to obtain separate legal counsel because the firm that is the borough solicitor, McNees Wallace & Nurick, also represents Fager-Finkenbinder.

 

“They have a conflict,” said Council President Ben Kapenstein. 

 

Fager-Finkenbinder in October filed an application with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to obtain an air quality permit that would be required for the funeral home to operate the crematory at the site. The application is currently under technical review by DEP.

 

Documents filed as part of the Fager-Finkenbinder application identify 29 residential properties - homes and garages - that are within a 250-foot circle drawn around the proposed crematory.

 

The residents contend that the crematory will emit potentially harmful mercury emissions - from dental implants in the remains of some of those who would be cremated at the site - as well as offensive odors. Concerns have also been raised over intrusive lighting coming from the facility.

 

The crematory would reduce the value of nearby properties and conflict with the borough’s ongoing downtown revitalization, the residents say.

 

“How can we possibly expect to bring new people into our town when we have something like this in the midst of it?” said Jo-Ann Lauffer of the 200 block of North Pine.

 

She asked that council render “null and void” a determination issued on June 24, 2015, by former Middletown Codes Enforcement Officer Jeff Miller that gave Fager-Finkenbinder local zoning approval for the crematory as an “accessory” use to the funeral home. Miller resigned in early December.

 

According to documents included in the DEP permit filing, Miller rendered that written decision just one day after receiving the application from Fager-Finkenbinder.

 

Residents also point to documents included in Fager-Finkenbinder’s DEP application stating that the crematory could potentially operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 52 weeks a year, although Fager-Finkenbinder also states in the application that the crematory’s actual “operating schedule” would be 12 hours a day, six days a week, and 52 weeks a year.

 

The residents contend that even the 12 hours a day operating schedule would eventually lead to the crematory becoming the primary business driver at the Fager-Finkenbinder funeral home in Middletown, which would invalidate the “accessory” finding upon which Miller’s determination was based.

 

Fager-Finkenbinder also owns funeral homes in Palmyra, Elizabethtown and Marietta. Residents fear that Fager-Finkenbinder intends to use the crematory to incinerate remains from all four of its funeral homes, not just the one in Middletown.

 

“We believe that a review of Mr. Miller’s approval of the Fager-Finkenbinder request should determine whether or not Mr. Miller himself or any other members of the borough management were aware of Fager-Finkenbinder’s intention to operate the crematory” up to 12 hours a day or even 24/7,” David Black, who with his wife Marti resides next to the funeral home, said in prepared remarks to the council.

 

After hearing the comments from residents, former long-time mayor and new Councilor Robert Reid called on the council to seek an immediate injunction.

 

“Do we have enough time to stop this?” Reid asked.

 

The residents erupted into applause after Councilor Greg Wilsbach said that “We should do everything in our power to try and stop this project.”

 

But others on council warned against moving too fast.

 

“Right now we can’t make decisions without legal consultation,” said Vice President Damon Suglia. 

 

However, the only councilor to vote against the motion was Diana McGlone. While saying she shares the concerns of the residents, “I do not like the language of seeking an injunction without getting legal counsel on it first,” McGlone noted.

 

Kapenstein after the vote said that the motion is for the council to “seek out legal counsel and subsequently file an injunction to stop the crematory.”

 

“We have to hire the attorney first, obviously,” he said. “I’m going to be on it tomorrow. I don’t know how soon it’s going to happen. It seems like we have to move pretty fast. I’ll be calling around tomorrow to try and figure out legal counsel.”

 

The Press And Journal earlier sent a list of questions detailing the residents’ concerns to funeral home owner Travis Finkenbinder to get a response.

 

Finkenbinder declined to answer any of the specific questions, but in his response e-mailed to the Press And Journal said that the funeral home is “committed to conforming with all rules, laws and regulations as we install and implement this demanded service at our North Union Street funeral home.”

 

The supplier of the equipment for the proposed crematory, Matthews Cremation, is part of a 150-year old company based in Pittsburgh that has “dozens of cremation systems in Pennsylvania - several in Dauphin County - all of which have been approved” by DEP, Finkenbinder wrote.

 

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 February 2016 08:27

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Dauphin County GOP endorses Mehaffie for House seat

mehaffiepic1 13 16Tom Mehaffie

The Dauphin County Republican committee endorsed Lower Swatara Twp. commissioner Tom Mehaffie on Saturday, Jan. 30 for the GOP's nomination in the campaign to replace retiring state Rep. John D. Payne.

Mehaffie, president of the Lower Swatara commissioners, announced publicly that he would be seeking Payne's seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

Payne represents the 106th District, which includes Middletown, Royalton, Lower Swatara Twp., Hummelstown, Derry Twp., Conewago Twp. and parts of Swatara Twp.

“I want to thank the dedicated members of the Dauphin County Republican Committee for their support,” Mehaffie said. “Working together, we are building the team necessary to win this seat in November. I am excited about the momentum behind my campaign and I look forward to bringing my message to the voters.''

Mehaffie said his experience as a commissioner and business owner – he owned Breski Beverage Distributor, which he acquired and grew over 20 years, would "help me be a strong and effective voice in the State House.”

Mehaffie also serves as the president of the Malt Beverage Distributors Association of Pennsylvania, and a member of the Executive Board of the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Commissioners, the Dauphin County Planning Commission, the Lower Swatara Lions Club, the Zembo Shrine and the Prince Edwin Spring Creek Masonic Lodge.

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 January 2016 15:23

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