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If you see some low-flying fighter jets on the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 24, here's why

If you saw some low-flying fighter jets in the skies Tuesday morning, Jan. 24, it was just a drill.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command - NORAD - was to conduct exercise flights between 10 a.m. and noon on Jan. 24 between the north Baltimore region of Maryland to University Park Airport in State College, NORAD said in a release issued Monday.

Although the flights were scheduled for Tuesday morning, they could be delayed for up to 24 hours or cancelled due to weather, NORAD said.

The exercise is one that NORAD conducts periodically to test responses, systems, and equipment. In the scenario, low-flying NORAD-controlled fighter jets fly in "close proximity" to a civilian aircraft that takes on the of an "aircraft of interest," NORAD said.

NORAD has been doing these exercises since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, NORAD said.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 January 2017 11:51

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Expect long delays on Pennsylvania Turnpike at New Jersey border due to bridge closure

delaware bridge

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and New Jersey Turnpike Authority are advising motorists to expect extreme congestion and delays starting Monday at all Delaware River crossings between Bucks County in Pennsylvania and Burlington and Mercer counties in New Jersey due to the continued emergency closure of the bridge connecting the Pennsylvania and New Jersey turnpikes. 

PA Turnpike LogoConstruction work was under way over the weekend to stabilize the bridge while engineers engage in a more comprehensive assessment and structural analysis necessary to determine a permanent repair plan.

Motorists are strongly urged by the authorities to take public transit, carpool, work from home or adjust work hours outside of peak commuting times during this closure. Severe congestion is expected at all area river crossings. Expect slow-moving or stopped traffic, especially during the morning and evening rush hours.

The following detours are in place:

• Motorists heading to New Jersey will be detoured at Pennsylvania Turnpike exit 351 to Route 1 northbound to Interstate 95 northbound, which becomes Interstate 295 southbound in New Jersey, to Interstate 195 eastbound to the New Jersey Turnpike. Pennsylvania Turnpike exit 358, Delaware Valley, will remain open for local traffic only; watch out for a single-lane pattern approaching Delaware Valley.

bridge fractureOn the Delaware River Bridge, the complete fracture occurred on a 14-inch truss member beneath the deck, or driving surface, of the Delaware River Turnpike Bridge. The affected truss member is located just below the westbound right lane of I-276 on the west shore.Motorists heading to Pennsylvania will be detoured at New Jersey Turnpike Interchange 7A to I-195 westbound to I-295 northbound, which becomes I-95 southbound; or from New Jersey Turnpike Interchange 5 to Mount Holly Road. Motorists traveling from northern New Jersey are advised to exit at Interchange 14 and use Interstate 78 west into Pennsylvania. 

I-276 eastbound is closed and detoured at Pennsylvania exit 358. Local roads under the bridge including Radcliff Street, Palmer Avenue and Wood Avenue are also closed until further notice. Motorists traveling east from Route 130 will be able to use Interchange 6 to access the New Jersey Turnpike via the Pearl Harbor Memorial Extension. The westbound Pearl Harbor Memorial Extension will remain closed to all traffic; there will be no access to Interchange 6 from that direction.

The bridge is jointly owned and maintained by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. It was deemed unsafe and immediately closed Friday following the discovery of a fracture in a steel truss. Work is continuing to stabilize the bridge while engineers engage in a more comprehensive assessment and structural analysis to determine a permanent repair strategy. No timetable has been set for the reopening.The fracture, which was discovered on the Pennsylvania side of the bridge yesterday afternoon, was noticed during a routine check of a bridge-painting project by NJTA resident engineer examining the work on the bridge, the ownership of which is divided between the two toll agencies. The painting contractor was hired by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority to repaint the entire bridge, which carries more than 42,000 vehicles per day, combined eastbound and westbound traffic.

The 1.2-mile-long bridge opened to traffic on May 23, 1956.

For real-time information about traffic conditions in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, drivers are encouraged to call 511 from any telephone. 

The Pennsylvania Turnpike on Monday launched a new web feature to provide timely, accurate updates to travelers impacted by this prolonged bridge closure. Click here to learn more: www.paturnpike.com/DRBAlert.aspx

Last Updated on Monday, 23 January 2017 09:26

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Middletown police need help finding man in imminent danger

The Middletown Police Department needs help finding an "at-risk" person.

Kristofor M. Rico, 39, a white man who is 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 220 pounds was last seen wearing a black T-shirt with red letters "PHRESH," a gray Bucknell sweatshirt, jeans, and gray Nike sneakers with red stripes.

The Middletown police consider him in "imminent danger," to himself but not to others.

person soughtKristofor M. RicoHe was last seen leaving his Middletown borough apartment at about 5:15 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20.

He might be driving a white Ford Fusion, unknown direction or destination.

If you have information that can assist in helping safely locate him, call 911 or contact the police at 717-558-6900.

Last Updated on Saturday, 21 January 2017 21:16

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Rep. Barletta on Trump inauguration: ‘He has offered a bold agenda of fighting terrorism and of protecting our homeland’

U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazelton, whose district includes the Middletown area, issued the following statement regarding the inauguration of Donald J. Trump as the 45th president of the United States:

“Today the world witnessed what is one of the finest attributes of the United States: the peaceful transfer of power from one chief executive to the next. I thank former President Barack Obama for his service and wish him and his family well on the next phase of their lives. And I welcome President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence as they begin to travel their own path in blazing a new trail of American history.

“The Trump Administration comes into focus with many daunting issues before us as a nation. The new president enters office as the champion of those citizens who felt that their government had stopped listening to them and was more concerned with consolidating power than with solving any of our problems. He also enters at a time when worldwide terrorism is at a fever pitch and our borders and national security measures are as porous and precarious as they have ever been. Meanwhile, too many of our citizens feel that the American Dream is lost to them, and the promise of Ronald Reagan’s Shining City on a Hill has faded from view.

“To find answers to these monumental questions, President Trump will need the assistance of all Americans. He has offered a bold agenda of fighting terrorism and of protecting our homeland. He has promised to enforce our immigration laws and protect our national security and the American jobs that are threatened by open borders. And as he made clear in his inaugural address, he has pledged to place America first when making decisions on domestic and international policy. It will be up to Congress and the people we represent to do our parts to fulfill these promises.

“As an early supporter of the president’s, I was able to see the groundswell of support he was building from the very beginning. As one of his allies in the House of Representatives, I intend to use my open channel to the White House to pursue my own legislative goals, which include enforcing immigration laws, pursuing a robust transportation infrastructure investment program, reducing government interference in private enterprise, and helping businesses find trained workers. And we will repeal the failed Obamacare law and replace it piece by piece to ensure that no one falls through the cracks.

“There can be no question that the campaign that led us to today was bruising and among the most rancorous we have seen. As Americans, it is imperative that we put aside the differences we aired on the campaign trail and begin to pull together toward our shared goal of a stronger United States of America.”

Last Updated on Friday, 20 January 2017 13:46

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Local Army hero who lost both legs in Iraq to be on stage for Trump inauguration

leonardtwo8 14 13Dennis Leonard and his son, Ethan, at his house dedication in August 2013.

 

A local military hero will be on stage today as Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.

Dennis Leonard, a former Army sergeant who lost both legs in an IED explosion during his second tour in Iraq, is slated to be sitting with lawmakers and their guests, like Sen. Pat Toomey, and his wife, Kris, and Sen. Bob Casey.

Leonard was injured in Iraq on Jan. 13, 2007, on a mission to clear a route of bombs. An IED blast rocked his tank, killing Leonard’s tank commander and seriously injuring Leonard. He woke up in a field hospital to find he had lost both of his legs.

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DID YOU ATTEND THE INAUGURATION? Are you from the Middletown/Lower Swatara Township/Londonderry Township area? Email us your photos at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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In August 2013, he received a home in Lower Swatara Township through the efforts of Helping a Hero, a Houston nonprofit that provides support to severely injured military personnel. It was the first home the organization completed in Pennsylvania.

Casey passed along a ticket to Toomey, and Toomey’s office selected Leonard to receive it, according to Steve Kelly, press secretary for Toomey.

"Sgt. Dennis Leonard is an American hero and Sen. Toomey is honored  to be with him,” Kelly said in a statement. “Sen. Toomey also appreciates Sen. Casey's willingness to pass along his guest ticket so that Sgt. Leonard is able to have a front row seat to witness the Inauguration of Donald Trump."

Kelly said each senator is given two stage tickets, one for the senator and one for a guest.

Jacklin Rhoads, press secretary for Casey, said the ticket is the one allocated for Casey’s wife, Terese, who cannot attend today. She said she was not sure if Leonard would be seated next to Casey.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 January 2017 13:07

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