Written by Press And Journal Staff
This weekend, the C-SPAN Cities Tour takes Book TV and American History TV to Harrisburg, visiting historic sites and talking with local writers about the history and literary culture of the city and surrounding area.
Included is a look at the Three Mile Island accident in March 1979.
In addition to having the below pieces air on Book TV & American History TV throughout the weekend, both networks will have a block of programming where all of the respective Harrisburg pieces for their channels will air.
In the segment called “Three Mile Island Collection,” viewers will visit the Pennsylvania State Archives and see some of its collections related to the nuclear incident at Three Mile Island in March 1979. Supervisor of Reference Services Jonathan Stayer shares his personal story as a college student in the area at the time. Stayer also shows documents taken from Pennsylvania governor and former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh’s papers, and letters sent to Harold Denton, who served as President Jimmy Carter’s personal adviser regarding the incident.
The segment is part of “American History TV Features” at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 22 on Comcast channel 104.
Visit the special “Harrisburg” city web page at www.c-span.org/citiestour where each Harrisburg segment will be available to view after it airs. In addition, all video segments will be available indefinitely on the C-SPAN Video Library site at www.c-span.org.
The “Book TV Feature”, at noon Saturday, Jan. 21 on Comcast channel 104, features:
• Marian Dornell, “Unicorn in Captivity”: Hear author Marian Dornell recite a collection of her poems to share the story of Pennsylvania's enslaved African Americans through her book.
• Cooper Wingert, “Slavery & the Underground Railroad in South Central Pennsylvania”: Learn about the struggles between slavery and abolition in South Central Pennsylvania from author of “Slavery & the Underground Railroad in South Central Pennsylvania,” Cooper Wingert.
• The Midtown Scholar Bookstore: Visit the Midtown Scholar Bookstore with co-owner Catherine Lawrence to learn about its history, mission, and day to day operations. Co-owner Eric Papenfuse takes us behind the scenes to show their rare book collections that highlight the unique history of Harrisburg.
• Paul Kahan, “Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s Scandalous Secretary of War”: Learn about the life of one of Pennsylvania's most notable political figures from the author of the book with that title, Paul Kahn. Simon Cameron (1799-1889) served as Secretary of War under President Abraham Lincoln, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a founder of the Republican Party. Kahan offers an inside look into Cameron and why he is considered one of Pennsylvania's most prominent political figures of the 19th century.
• Michael Barton, “City Contented, City Discontented: A Modern Day History of Harrisburg”: Learn about the history that help shaped modern day Harrisburg from Michael Barton, editor of “City Contented, City Discontented.”
• Todd Mealy, “Legendary Locals of Harrisburg”: Hear author Todd Mealy talk about the life of civil rights leader William Howard Day of Harrisburg and the impact of this lesser known abolitionist through his book “Legendary Locals of Harrisburg.”
• Harrisburg Driving Tour: Tour the city with Mayor Eric Papenfuse. Ride along with him as he takes cameras through the city to highlight some of its historic locations.
The “American History TV Features, at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan 22, on Comcast channel 104, also looks at:
• 1839 Whig Convention: Visit the site of the 1839 Whig Convention. Historian Howard Parker explains the backroom deals and trickery that led to nominating William Henry Harrison as the party’s presidential candidate. This was the party’s first contested convention. Mr. Parker explains how the Whig’s selected William Henry Harrison over party favorite Henry Clay and War hero General Winfield Scott, and then coined the phrase “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too.”
• Pennsylvania State Capitol: Pennsylvania Capitol Preservation Committee Historian Jason Wilson visits the House, Senate, and Supreme Court chambers of the building, which was dedicated in 1906. Wilson highlights the building’s unique designs, ornate décor and numerous murals, which tell the story.
• Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCNTV): Hear CEO and President Brian Lockman and others talk about the history of PCN and how its public affairs programming provides televised coverage of floor proceedings of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Lockman and others share the story of PCN’s mission, its commitment to provide its audience with an inside look into Pennsylvania's state politics and the impact this nonprofit cable network has had on its audience.
• Harris-Cameron Mansion: Visit the Harris-Cameron Mansion and hear about the founding of Harrisburg. Historian Ken Frew reveals how John Harris Sr. arrived in the area in 1817. Nearly 70 years later, his son John Harris Jr. would plot out the city of Harrisburg, designating land for the future state capitol. Frew also shares the story of Simon Cameron, a Pennsylvania politician who served as Abraham Lincoln’s Secretary of War. The mansion highlights the history of both John Harris Jr. and Simon Cameron’s life and legacy.
• Pennsylvania Icons Exhibit — State Museum of Pennsylvania: See Pennsylvania icons related to historic events in early American History. The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s Executive Director James Vaughan tours the Pennsylvania Icons Exhibit that features more than 350 items that show the state’s role in the growth of the country. MVaughan highlights objects from Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown, the Whiskey Rebellion and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
National Civil War Museum: Visit the National Civil War Museum. Curator Brett Kelley walks through the museum built to tell the story of the Civil War from both Union and Confederate perspectives. Kelley highlights some of the museums unique artifacts including a Bible with a fired bullet inside of it and a loaded revolver taken off the battlefield.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 January 2017 16:38
Written by Dan Miller
Plenty happened at Tuesday's Middletown borough council meeting
Plenty happened at Tuesday's Middletown borough council meeting, so maybe you missed this nugget: Borough council during its meeting immediately following the meeting said a public hearing will be set regarding a request from the Giant Food store in Midtown Plaza to obtain a liquor license.
Giant in a Jan. 12 letter to the borough said that it wants to open a restaurant at the store that would include the sale of beer, Finance Director Bruce Hamer told council. Giant seeks approval from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to transfer an existing license in from a municipality outside of Middletown, Hamer said.
A date for the public hearing has not yet been set.Read more in Wednesday's Press And Journal.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 January 2017 10:58
Written by David Barr
Lower Swatara Township Police are looking for a man who tried to steal a large concrete buffalo from a business in the 1900 block of Fulling Mill Road on Saturday, Jan. 14.
The buffalo was damaged during the unsuccessful attempt at Coin Wrap, 1981 Fulling Mill Road, at the HarrisPort Business Center. It is about 3 feet high and sits on a sidewalk to deter foot traffic.
The suspect attempted to drag it or lift it, and it tipped over, breaking a horn off the buffalo's head, according to Frank E. Williamson Jr., township director of public safety/assistant township manager.
Surveillance photos show a white male driving a Honda Civic attempting to steal the statue. He appeared to have a bandanna over his face.
Coin Wrap, according to its website, is a "nationwide company servicing the coin handling industry." It handles, processes and stores coins and tokens, domestic and foreign.
Anyone with any information is asked to call Lower Swatara Township Police via Dauphin County Control at 717-558-6900. Tips may be submitted to Dauphin County Crime Stoppers at 800-262-3080 or at www.dauphin.crimewatchpa.com. Click on the “submit a tip” link.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 January 2017 15:11
Written by Dan Miller
A new effort is underway in Middletown to renovate and reopen the historic Elks Theatre, which has been closed since April 2015.
A new committee - the Performing Arts Center Committee - formed under the auspices of the Middletown Area Historical Society aims to restore and reopen the theater as a performing arts center within two to three years, according to a proposal that the committee presented to the borough’s Industrial and Commercial Development Authority during the authority’s Jan. 17 meeting.
The committee intends to acquire the theater from its current owner, the authority, committee representative Janet Vastine Kirchner told the authority.
In response, authority Chairman Ian Reddinger offered to sell the theater to the society for $1 - the same offer that Reddinger had made to the Friends of the Elks group in 2016. The Friends group said no, saying that it wants to lease the theater and operate it, but that the theater should remain borough-owned.
Reddinger and Mayor James H. Curry III, also an authority member, both urged the committee move up its timetable for acquiring the theater. The committee proposal indicates that the committee would not be ready to acquire the theater until close to the end of the three-year period.
But that largely depends on how successful the group is in raising funds toward restoring, renovating, and reopening the theater.
“We have not yet determined when we can take possession,” Kirchner said, adding “We would hope as soon as possible.”
“We would much prefer to move faster than the estimated time line,” said Jenny Miller, a committee member and also a historical society trustee.
Curry is concerned over the borough having to continue to incur maintenance and other costs related to owning the theater. Moreover, the theater has now sat vacant for almost two years and “the longer it sits vacant the worse it is,” Curry added.
“If they take the building for $1 that gives them all the time in the world to do what they want,” Curry said. “I would be in favor of selling it to you for $1.”
Kirchner asked the authority provide numbers regarding the borough’s current costs related to maintenance and ownership of the theater, which dates to 1911.
If the new committee is ready, the authority could sell the theater to the society committee at the authority’s next meeting on Feb. 21, Reddinger said.
“The borough doesn’t want to own the building,” Curry said. “It’s time to move on. You apparently have the heart to do it. I applaud you for it. I say let’s move forward.”
No one at the meeting spoke on behalf of Friends of the Elks, a successor to a non-profit group that previously owned the Elks Building, and continued running the theater while leasing it from the authority after the authority acquired the building in 2014.
Since August 2015 the Friends group has had a proposal before the authority to operate the theater and lease it from the authority. The authority has taken no action on the proposal.
Estimates for what it will cost to restore and reopen the theater run from about $500,000 - dismissed by some observers as unrealistically low - to $1.4 million.
In November 2016 the borough was awarded a $500,000 state grant toward reopening the theater through funds that were set aside by Gov. Tom Wolf.
However, borough council twice voted to reject accepting the grant, over opposition to using borough tax dollars to cover the part of the Elks Theatre project not covered by the grant.
The proposal from the society’s Performing Arts Center Committee outlines a three-phased approach to completing the Elks Theatre project.
Phase one calls for establishing a bank account through the society that would be specifically dedicated to the Elks Theatre project. Contributions to the account would be tax-deductible, since the society is a non-profit organization, Miller said.
The first phase also includes launching fundraising efforts to include a capital campaign, local fundraisers, and grants. The committee would work to access local, state, and federal government sources. The society would also determine potential users of the theater, such as theater groups, dance companies, schools, businesses, and others.
In phase two, the committee would draw up specific numbers for architectural design, construction and contracting costs, and costs related to legal and marketing purposes.
Phase three calls for the committee to acquire the theater, and to simultaneously begin the process of restoring and renovating the historic structure.
The committee said it is already working with a number of consulting organizations regarding the restoring of old theaters; including the League of Historic American Theaters, the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Theatre Historical Society.
A restaurant with beer sales at Giant?
In other matters, borough council during its meeting immediately following the authority meeting said a public hearing will be set regarding a request from the Giant Food store in Midtown Plaza to obtain a liquor license.
Giant in a Jan. 12 letter to the borough said that it wants to open a restaurant at the store that would include the sale of beer, Finance Director Bruce Hamer told council. Giant seeks approval from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to transfer an existing license in from a municipality outside of Middletown, Hamer said. A date for the public hearing has not yet been set.
-- Tabled final approval of a proposed ordinance that would determine where a medical marijuana dispensary can be located in the borough. Council approved the ordinance for advertisement on Jan. 3, but a public hearing must be held before final approval, since the ordinance constitutes a change to borough zoning, said Solicitor Adam Santucci. A public hearing on the medical marijuana ordinance has been set for Feb. 7 in council chambers.
-- Gave final approval to an ordinance setting new rules and limits regarding parking in downtown Middletown. Council had approved the ordinance for advertisement on Jan. 3.
-- Heard a presentation from Councilor Diana McGlone regarding a new program that would provide low-interest loans to help property owners in the borough fix and bring up to code homes and residential rental units. Grants from $2,000 to $10,000 would be available, depending upon one’s credit score. The loan program would be a revolving fund, in that money for loans that are paid back would go into providing new loans. The program would be administered by a committee made up of councilors and members of the public, McGlone said.
-- Following a closed-door executive session approved promoting Middletown Police Officer Gary Rux to detective. Rux had been promoted within the police department to detective in late 2016, however the action was rescinded when it was pointed out that the promotion required council approval.
-- Approved advertising for a borough resident to fill the vacancy on the planning commission created by the resignation of Rodney Horton, whom council appointed to the zoning hearing board on Jan. 3.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 January 2017 23:19
Note: The Middletown Industrial and Commercial Development Authority will meet at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers, with the borough council meeting to follow at 7 p.m.
BOROUGH OF MIDDLETOWN
BOROUGH COUNCIL MEETING - January 17, 2017
Call to Order - 7 PM
Pledge of Allegiance
Public Comment on Agenda Items
1. Approve Meeting Minutes - January 3, 2017
2. Approval of Bills
3. Presentation - Middletown Improvement and Reinvestment Loan Program
a. Manager Report
b. Finance Report
c. Public Works Report
d. Police Report
e. MDT Report
5. Approval to Purchase 2018 International Dump Truck
6. Approval to Purchase 2017 Bobcat UTV
7. Approval to Purchase 2017 Bobcat 24-inch Hi-Flow Planer
8. Approval to Redirect $9,000 from the Capital Budget for HVAC Unit Replacement to Purchase of a Large Document Scanner
9. Approve Resolution No. 2017-1 - Overhead Banners
10. Planning Commission - Approve Advertisement for Vacancy
11. Adopt Ordinance 1335 - Parking Amendment
12. Pending Ordinance 1336 Adoption - Medical Marijuana
13. Approve Custodian Services for Pension and OPEB Funds
14. Approve Resolution No. 2017-2 - Revision to Non-Union Employee Benefits Policy
15. Discussion - Giant Foods Request for Resolution and Public Hearing for Transfer of Liquor License
Note - General public comment will be limited to 4 minutes per speaker
Last Updated on Monday, 16 January 2017 16:24