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Part of South Union Street in Middletown to be closed all next week (Oct. 17-21)

unionstreetPress And Journal photo by Dan Miller -- This part of South Union Street from Brown to Ann streets in Middletown will be closed from Monday afternoon Oct. 17 to Friday Oct. 21 for milling and repaving.

South Union Street from Brown to Ann streets in Middletown will be closed to all vehicular traffic all next week - Oct. 17 - 21 - so that the street can be re-paved as part of the downtown streetscape project, borough officials say.

The closure will go into effect sometime Monday afternoon and remain in effect until sometime Friday, said Middletown Public Works Director Greg Wilsbach. The borough will be using Nixle alerts to put out information updates on the closure, Wilsbach said.

Parking will not be allowed on this stretch of South Union during the closure, however people can park for free in the lot behind the Municipal Building on West Emaus Street.

Otherwise, Wilsbach said that Tuesday Oct. 25 is the target date for reopening the intersection of South Union Street and Ann Street - Route 441.

The intersection has been closed since October 3 for workers to wrap up the last phase of the streetscape project, which includes aesthetic improvements in the downtown from Spring and North Union south to Union and Ann.

On Oct. 25 inspectors from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation are to do a walk- through inspection of the Union and Ann street intersection, including of the new traffic light being installed, Wilsbach said.

The traffic light at Union and Ann will be on flash starting Oct. 25 until Friday, Oct. 28, when the signal is to be fully operational, Wilsbach said.

In the meantime, motorists using the detour now in place for Ann and Union are reminded to stop at all stop signs, and be aware of several school bus stops that are along the posted detour route.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 October 2016 12:01

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Borough paid police officer $52,000 over firing lawsuit

The Borough of Middletown agreed to pay borough police officer Dennis Morris $36,816.66 to settle a federal lawsuit that Morris filed against the borough in February over his firing in 2014.

The borough also agreed to pay an additional $15,183.34 to cover attorney’s fees and costs that Morris incurred in the lawsuit, according to a copy of the settlement signed by Morris on Aug. 11 that was obtained by the Press And Journal through a Right to Know request.

The settlement includes no admission of guilt by the borough or by Mayor James H. Curry III, or by the nine borough councilors named individually as defendants in the suit who voted to fire Morris in 2014. Former Middletown Police Chief Steven Wheeler was also named as a defendant.

The settlement also contains a denial by the borough and all the other defendants of all the allegations brought by Morris in the federal lawsuit, in which he contended that the borough violated his right to due process under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Morris has been back on the job as a Middletown police officer since January, after a Dauphin County judge upheld an arbitrator’s finding that the borough had no grounds to fire Morris in 2014.

Following the county court decision, borough council in late 2015 ordered that Morris be reinstated and be paid all back wages and benefits due him since he was fired. The borough has never said how much money was owed Morris in back pay and benefits, only that the funds were available in the 2015 budget.

Morris alleged in the federal lawsuit that his firing was retribution for his reporting to the Dauphin County district attorney and state attorney general that Wheeler, hired in 2013, was not certified as a police officer and therefore “did not have any enforcement authority under Pennsylvania law,” according to the lawsuit. As such, council’s hiring of Wheeler “violated the Borough Code and other state law,” according to the lawsuit.

Wheeler resigned as Middletown chief in April 2014 after serving in the position a little over a year.

Neither Morris nor Curry responded to a request for comment on the settlement.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 October 2016 15:59

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Lower Swatara Township dismisses finance director

Lower Swatara Township’s finance director was terminated Oct. 5. 

Tom Mehaffie, president of the board of commissioners, brought up the personnel matter at the end of the meeting, among several things that were not included on the agenda prior to the meeting. 

The board passed a motion to end Lisa M. Mundis’ employment, with no discussion. Mehaffie visited Mundis’ office at the township building Oct. 4 and told her he needed to meet with her and acting township manager Frank Williamson Jr., and Mehaffie told her she was terminated. 

“It was a unanimous board decision,” Mundis said Mehaffie told her. 

Mehaffie cited problems with the recently completed township audit for 2015, along with unspecified “job performance issues,” Mundis said. He repeatedly denied her request to see a copy of the audit and to discuss the issues, she said.

Mundis joined the township as director of finance and administration May 11, 2015. Mehaffie changed her title to director of finance sometime after that, she said. 

Commissioners also voted without discussion to hire Zelenkofske Axelrod, a Harrisburg auditing and accounting firm that consulted for Middletown when Chris McNamara led the borough council. The board approved hiring Terry Kauffman for management consulting. 

The board has not commented on plans to fill Mundis’ position, or the position of township manager, open since Anne Shambaugh resigned effective Sept. 30 after 10 months of employment.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 October 2016 15:55

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Man armed with hunting knife robs gas station in Londonderry Township

robberContributed photo -- State police say this man held up the Top Star Express Gas Station

State police are looking for a man who robbed the Top Star Express Gas Station at 2826 E. Harrisburg Pike in Londonderry Township just after 7:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4.

The man was armed with a hunting knife and demanded money from a clerk. The robber took cash from the register and fled the scene, police said.

Anyone with information is asked to call state police at (717) 671-7500.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 October 2016 14:48

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