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Council’s Louer resigns, meaning the ‘McNamara majority’ is gone

For the third time in less than a year, Middletown Borough Council will go through the process of finding someone to fill a vacant seat with the resignation of Robert Louer Sr.

robert louer srRobert Louer Sr.As of July 1, there will be no members who were part of the majority during Chris McNamara’s tenure as council president from January 2012 until the end of 2015. That majority enacted an array of wide-ranging and controversial actions to confront its assertions that the borough was heading for a financial apocalypse.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 June 2016 15:34

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Council OKs $18,600 to study upgrades for square

The Middletown Borough Council took the first steps June 21 to begin making improvements to the town’s square, but it wasn’t without a heated discussion.

Council’s 6-3 vote approved payment of $18,600 for an engineering firm to draw up a “conceptual design” for improvements to the square at Main and Union streets. Several councilors - and some residents in the audience - opposed the action, claiming it rushes the town into another project and fails to enable the public sufficient time to provide input about it.

Council President Ben Kapenstein said potential funding assistance was the reason for moving forward. He said Harrisburg-based consulting engineers Herbert, Rowland & Grubic Inc. must have the design finished by Aug. 1 in order for the borough to apply for a Dauphin County gaming grant that could be used to carry out the improvements.
HRG is to make a presentation on the conceptual design during council’s July 5 meeting. However, it is unclear how the public will have input under that timeline. Kapenstein did not respond to a request for more comment from the Press And Journal.

Councilor Anne Einhorn, who voted against the proposal, questioned what the borough will do if it spends the money to draw up a plan to improve the square and then is unable to get the county gaming grant. 

“What’s our backup plan?” Einhorn asked, adding while she favors doing something to make the square look nicer, “I think we are rushing into something.”

The motion led into a heated discussion of the future of the Elks Theatre. Councilor Diana McGlone, who also voted no to the town square-related motion, contended that instead of starting a new project to revitalize the square, council should be making a decision on what to do with the theater, which has been closed since April 2015.

“I think it’s time this council does something with this theater. All it is doing is sitting there and adding to the blight,” she said.

Dawn Knull was the third member of council to vote against hiring HRG for the square conceptual design.
Voting for moving forward with the square design were Kapenstein, Council Vice President Damon Suglia and fellow councilors Robert Louer, Ian Reddinger, Robert Reid and Ed Shull.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 June 2016 15:19

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Baltimore man nabbed in burglary in Middletown Borough

Middletown Police arrested and charged a Baltimore man in connection with a burglary and attempted burglary of two homes on the north side of Middletown.

Diehl Michael 6 23 16Michael C. Diehl, 22, has been charged with burglary for his role in the break-in Fri., June 17 of a home in the 1000 block of Plane St. An HP laptop computer and an iPad with an estimated valued of more than $1,000 were reported stolen from the residence.

Police also charged Diehl with criminal attempt burglary for an attempted burglary of another home located in the 1000 block of Cypress Street.

 Diehl has also been charged with two unrelated drug offenses, intentional possession of a controlled substance by person not registered, use/possession of drug paraphernalia and false identification to law enforcement officer, police said.

 “An alert citizen provided real-time information to the 911 center of the location of the suspect and another male that led to their detention and investigation early Wednesday morning (June 22),” said Middletown Police Chief John Bey. “She recognized the one male from an alert provided during a neighborhood canvas by patrol officers, and called immediately. Information developed by interviewing these suspects led police to a residence in the 1100 Block of Cypress Street, where a search warrant was served on the residence and police recovered numerous items of stolen property.”

Bey said police were further assisted in their investigation after viewing a video provided by a neighbor. Bey said the home surveillance tape showed Diehl attempting to break into the Cypress St. home on June 17.

6 17 16 BurgrlaryMtownDiehl was arraigned June 22 before District Judge Raymond Shugars and held at Dauphin County Prison in lieu of $75,000 bail.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday, July 1, at 9 a.m. before District Judge David Judy in Royalton.

Bey said the accused had been staying at a residence in the 1100 block of Cypress St.

This is a fine example of the ability of alert citizens helping police to bring a successful conclusion to a crime spree in their neighborhood,” Bey said. “The Middletown Police Department thanks all those who helped with this case and provided tips that we diligently followed up on.”

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 June 2016 13:43

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Cupcakes and clocks?

Almost 100 years ago, the Mothers Congress Circle, a charitable organization, sold cupcakes to help raise money to buy the clock. The town clock, located at the corner of N. Union & Emaus streets in Middletown, PA, returned on June 15, 2016 after an extensive restoration.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 June 2016 10:59

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Watch new traffic lights go up in downtown Middletown

New traffic signals were placed in downtown Middletown June 22, 2016 as part of the Borough's streetscape program. Workers labored over an hour to complete the task.

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 June 2016 14:55

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