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Park improvements delayed while township seeks grants

The planned improvements for Old Reliance and Shope Gardens parks in Lower Swatara Twp. will be delayed for a year while the township applies for grants of about $165,000.


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 16:40

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River island retreats must comply with building codes, township says


All Londonderry Twp. property owners may lose federal flood insurance if the township fails to get Susquehanna River island properties into compliance with building codes, its codes and zoning officer told the Board of Supervisors on Monday, April 6.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials have taken issue with the township for what has been called a “deficiency in compliance” with building codes and flood plain requirements. While the agency has pushed for getting all the township’s properties to comply, FEMA has taken a keen interest in properties on Shelley, Hill, Bashore and Beech islands.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 15:06

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Authority seeks proposals for Elks Building

Proposals from other entities interested in transforming the Elks Building in Middletown into a regional performing arts center will be solicited over the next three months, the Middletown Industrial and Commercial Development Authority decided on Thursday, April 9. 

The authority already has one such proposal submitted by Phantom Theatre Company. The Greater Middletown Economic Development Corporation (GMEDC) is also expected to submit a proposal.

GMEDC has leased and operated the Elks Theatre since September 2014, when GMEDC sold the Elks Building to the authority.

The ICDA authorized that a Request for Proposals be advertised for 90 days.

Over the next several months, work related to codes and life-safety issues is to be completed at the Elks Building, followed by renovations. It will be about a year before the building can open as a performing arts center, said Chris McNamara, authority member and Middletown Borough Council president.

On a related note, the ICDA approved a request from Phantom Theatre to hold a reception at the Elks Theatre from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, April 24. The event is by invitation only.




Elks Theatre Request for Proposals (RFP)

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 April 2015 14:50

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Man charged with downloading child pornography

A Middletown man was arrested on Wednesday, April 8 for allegedly downloading 12 images of child pornography onto his computer in January, according to borough police.

John Mark Rohrbaugh, 51, of the 300 block of Cypress St., was charged with 12 felony counts of child pornography. He was arraigned before District Judge David Judy and released on $100,000 bail, according to court documents.

Police, acting on a tip provided through the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, obtained a court order on March 6 that eventually traced the images to Rohrbaugh, 51, police said in court documents.

Middletown police were assisted in the investigation by an agent with the computer forensics unit of the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General.

A preliminary hearing is set for Wednesday, April 22 before Judy.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 14:58

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Contractors set 50,000-pound beams atop Vine Street turnpike bridge

 Construction crews placed four concrete box beams on top of the westbound side of the Vine Street Pennsylvania Turnpike bridge in Middletown on Thursday, April screenshot 

Each beam weighs about 50,000 pounds and is 60-feet long. Each beam is 48 inches wide by 27 inches tall. The beams are precast and the center of each beam is hollow.


Each beam arrived separately upon a different tractor-trailer truck. The big rig pulled onto a dirt road that runs parallel to the westbound side of the bridge. Construction crews climbed atop the beam, unhooked it from the truck, and attached the beam to cranes.


The cranes then slowly lifted each beam above the bridge, and maneuvered each beam so it could be slowly lowered in place atop the bridge. From start to finish, it took about 10 minutes for each beam to be put in place.


The four beams together are what the bridge deck will sit upon on the westbound side.


Two weeks ago, four beams were placed atop the eastbound side of the bridge, in a process identical to what happened on April 9.


Once atop the bridge, the beams are not right next to each other but separated by several feet. 


The beams are laid on special pads on top of the bridge. The beams are held in place by guides - to make sure that the beams do not fall off.


But otherwise, nothing physically attaches the beams to the bridge. They are simply laid in place. This is necessary in order for the bridge to  move and to allow for natural expansion and contraction.


The Vine Street bridge is part of a larger ongoing project, in which the turnpike commission is replacing its bridges over Vine Street, over Swatara Creek Road and over Swatara Creek, and over the Middletown and Hummelstown Railroad.


The new bridges will be wide enough to allow for three lanes in each direction, in anticipation of future widening of the main turnpike line between the Harrisburg East and Lebanon-Lancaster exits.


The entire project is to be done by mid-2016, at a total cost of $47.65 million.


More information can be found by going to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission web site.


Last Updated on Thursday, 09 April 2015 20:15

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