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Work on rugby site to get underway at Sunset Park

The Harrisburg Rugby Football Club will start work on its first permanent home in 2017, as ground in Sunset Park, Londonderry Township, will be cleared for three rugby fields, according to township officials.

Steve Letavic, township manager, initially met with the club when its members and township residents in September were looking into land along Newberry Road for a possible location.

“The residents were not in favor of having a recreational use with lighted fields near their homes,” Letavic said. “From that meeting it was clear that this would be an ongoing issue, so I decided to try and help them find a home within our parks.

“Sunset Park made sense because of the lack of neighbors and because we already have lit ballfields there. It appeared to be a good solution that would enhance the park and provide an area for the rugby club to have its games and practices.”

Next spring, the township will clear trees from area in Sunset Park across the road from the public works building. The club will then be responsible for grading the new fields and making any stormwater improvements.

The new fields, called “pitches” in rugby terms, will include a primary lighted game field and two practice fields. The club will also be responsible for expanding the parking lot and installing the lights.  

When the fields are not scheduled for the club’s use, they will be available for rent for soccer, rugby and lacrosse.

“We will coordinate the use of the fields with the rugby club,” he said.

The rugby club will be responsible for the initial costs of about $350,000 for the fields, stormwater and paving. Lighting for the field will cost an additional $120,000.

To pay for its new home, the club has been working on funding raising, including an event in November at Sunset Golf Course. It also might benefit from grants.

“We will be assisting through the grant process,” Letavic said. “That is, we will seek out grants with matching fund components to assist to the extent that those grants exist. The rugby club would provide the matching funds and the township as owner would be the grant applicant.”

The township and the club signed a 50-year lease for the 8.5 acres portion of the park with a $1 per year lease.

Under the terms of a lease signed with the township, the fields will be mowed and fertilized by township crews.

The rugby club plans to later build a two-story clubhouse for use by its members.
“It is the club’s intent to construct a clubhouse complete with changing rooms, showers and social facilities,” according to the proposal the club provided the township.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 December 2016 14:57

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23 Years Ago - 11-30-2016

Years ago1130201623 YEARS AGO -Open House – On November 23 parents and friends were invited to an open house at the Edward E. Brunner Science and Technology Wing of the Middletown Area High School. Computer applications, keyboarding, programming, work processing, library technology and English were shared with the guests. Pictured in the computer room is Roni Wareham (upper right) helping Edith and James Booser better understand the workings of the Macintosh computer system.


From The Wednesday, December 1, 1993 Edition Of The Press And Journal


Civil War Reenactor Mixes With Stars While Filming ‘Gettysburg’

Turner Pictures recently sent special commemorative packets to each of the more than 5,000 reenactors who went to Gettysburg in the summer of 1992 to contribute their presence, their unique training and their dedication and experience in Civil War reenactments to make “Gettysburg,” a motion picture already being praised as a classic.

Looking over those precious mementos of his participation in the re-staged battle, Bill Leonard says he often reflects on the fact that he has been fascinated with that famous battle ever since his parents, Margaret and William Leonard Sr., of Royalton, took him to visit the battlefield.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 November 2016 13:08

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Middletown honored across U.S. for its National Night Out event

K9 officerPress And Journal photo by Eric Wise -- A Capitol Police K-9 unit was just one of the many popular attractions at this year's National Night Out at Hoffer Park in Middletown

Middletown has won a national award for its National Night Out event that was held  in Hoffer Park on Tuesday, Aug. 2.

Middletown’s event was ranked 14th in the nation among 211 communities with populations from 5,000 to 15,000 people, according to the website of National Night Out, an organization based in Wynnewood, outside of Philadelphia.

The award is based upon a number or criteria, including neighborhood participation, involvement of local law enforcement, unique special events that are part of the event itself, and the media involvement and campaign that goes into promoting the event, said Matt Peskin, National Project Coordinator for National Night Outside.

Towns compete for the award by submitting a report on their National Night Out event to the national organization, Peskin said.

The criteria for receiving the award also includes the completeness and comprehensiveness of the report that is submitted, as well as the amount of advance planning that a community devotes to its National Night Out event, Peskin added.
He said he believes this is the first time that Middletown has received an award from the national organization recognizing the town’s National Night Out.

“I do remember they had a nice turnout,” Peskin said. “A lot goes into the planning and participation” of the Middletown event. “It’s a nice balance of the community and law enforcement and I know it is something they look forward to each year.”

An estimated 5,000 people attended Middletown’s 2016 National Night Out at Hoffer Park, many of them from outside the borough. That was an increase over the 3,500 who attended the event in 2015, said Middletown Police Officer Gary Rux.

Rux each year devotes countless hours to planning and organizing the event. He also relies on a large number of volunteers from throughout the borough — at least 60 who participated in the 2016 event.

There’s always a lot of free food, games and free entertainment at the Middletown event. But the focus is always “to improve the place I grew up in,” Rux said.

That comes down to finding ways through each year’s National Night Out to improve relations between the community and borough police, and to reduce ways that residents are victimized by crime, Rux added. For example, one of the special programs involved in the 2016 NNO was to get residents to sign up for a registry of homeowners who have their own video surveillance cameras systems.

If police know who has these cameras and where they are, the department can better prevent crime and apprehend offenders after a crime occurs, like a home break-in, Rux said.

Planning starts in May for Middletown’s NNO that is held on the first Tuesday in August — the same as other NNO events nationwide. But Rux finds himself  “brainstorming” about the event all year long.

Middletown was among just four communities in Pennsylvania that received an award for their National Night Out events.
Spring Township received an award for placing 35th among communities nationwide with population from 15,000 to 50,000. Cain Township was ranked 25th in the same category as Middletown. Moscow Borough was ranked seventh among communities with fewer than 5,000 residents.

In addition, the Defense Distribution Center Susquehanna depot outside of New Cumberland received national award for its National Night Out in the category of military installations.

Middletown’s award and national ranking for its National Night Out “is a true testament to the work ethic and commitment to our community from Officer Rux and his NNO team,” Middletown Police Chief John Bey told the Press And Journal.

“It’s not my award at all,” Rux said. “It’s a testament to everyone. It shows that as an organization and a town, we (Middletown) are willing to move forward with crime awareness.”

Middletown will receive a plaque in recognition of its ranking within the month.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 November 2016 13:01

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Christmas tree lighting is Dec. 10, and you can buy an ornament for it

treeornamentsWEBPress And Journal photo by Dan Miller -- Jeff Rehrer, owner of Middletown Sheet Metal and Fabrication Inc, displays two of the icicle ornaments in front of his business on North Pine Street. For a $10 donation, residents can purchase an ornament, have it personalized by signing it, and have it hung on the Middletown Christmas tree by borough employees.


Saturday, Dec. 10, is shaping up to be a day full of community events, including the lighting of the Middletown Christmas tree.

The tree is from the town and has been donated by a borough resident, Jim Weirich.

Another borough resident — Ed Shull — who owns a tree-cutting business, cut down the tree for free from Weirich’s yard so borough employees could put it back up in front of the McNair House property at North Union and East Emaus streets, across from the Brownstone, where it will stay through the holiday season.

The tree will be replaced by a pine tree seedling that is being donated by Mayor James H. Curry III. The seedling will be planted somewhere in the borough to make up for the 45-foot-tall tree donated by Weirich.

There’s more. Another borough business owner, Jeff Rehrer, who owns Middletown Sheet Metal and Fabrication Inc. on North Pine Street, is donating his time and supplies to make special ornaments for the tree that are made out of scrap sheet metal.

For a $10 donation, residents can purchase an ornament, have it personalized by signing it, and have it hung on the Middletown Christmas tree by borough employees.

All proceeds from sales of the ornaments will go toward buying new Christmas decorations for the town for Hoffer Park.

At Curry’s urging, borough council re cently added $10,000 to the borough’s 2017 budget toward the Christmas decorations. 

However, the $10,000 isn’t enough for what the mayor has in mind for Hoffer Park — “something akin to Hershey Sweet Lights but on a smaller scale for our town,” as Curry said in a video the mayor posted on Facebook. 

Rehrer’s business specializes in making duct work for heating and air-conditioning systems. 

But on the side he likes to shape other things out of scrap metal, like Tin Man figurines.

The mayor called asking “if I wanted to get involved in decorating the town tree,” Rehrer said. Rehrer made a “prototype” of an ornament made out of stainless steel that looks like an icicle. 

The ornaments can be made out of stainless steel or copper, in which case the donation sought might be a little more than $10.

Residents interested in getting an icicle to hang on the town Christmas tree can order one by contacting Curry, either through Facebook or by calling the mayor at 610-533-4751 or by sending him an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Residents also can order an ornament by stopping in the Municipal Building during normal business hours.

Rehrer has also made a large three-dimensional stainless steel star that will be filled with lights and placed atop the town Christmas tree. 

The tree-lighting ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 10, will follow the holiday home tour that will be held from 1 to 8 p.m. that same day by the Middletown Area Historical Society.

Refreshments for the public will be provided by Brownstone Cafe, Kuppy’s Diner and the Tattered Flag Still Works, the mayor said. Plans are also being developed for providing music during the event.

Curry is working with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to arrange for the intersection of Emaus and Union streets to be closed for the tree-lighting ceremony.

“We are going to make a night of it,” the mayor promises of the tree-lighting ceremony. “We are going to play music, we are going to have these things going on to light the tree. It’s going to be a big happy family.”


Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 November 2016 12:07

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23 Years Ago - 11/23/2016

YearsAgo11 23 1623 YEARS AGO - Senior Raiders – Pictured are the senior Raiders you’ve enjoyed watching on the field and now it’s time to see them without their helmets. Senior football players honored at the Sunday, November 14, 1993, football banquet are from left top row: Jeffrey Swartz, Ricky Thomas, Mike Corradi and Tom Leach. Front row from left: Tom Blazi, Jason Sipe, Antwon Scott and Dave Morgan.


From The Wednesday, November 24, 1993 Edition Of The Press And Journal

L. Swatara Twp. Expects Taxes To Remain Same In ’94 Budget

 Despite capital purchases that include two new police vehicles and a street sweeper, the Lower Swatara Township Board of Commissioners was recently able to advertise a 1994 budget with no tax increases.

 “The bottom line is we’re living within our means,” said Commissioner Ron McAlpine, budget and finance chairman.

 The formal vote to adopt the 1994-spending plan is set for December 15. The proposed budget came in at $1,875,005, compared to the 1993 budget, which was $1,834,526.

 “I think it’s a fair budget,” McAlpine told the audience at the special public hearing held prior to the Board’s November business meeting. “The new contract for waste collection is going to save us $20,000,” he added.

 McAlpine noted that the tax millage would hold at “2.64 mills for the fifth or sixth year in a row.”

 McAlpine pegged the cost of the two police cruisers at $30,000 and the cost of the street sweeper, which will be purchased through a lease-purchase agreement, at $25,000.

 Real property taxes are projected to produce revenue of $650,000 in 1994 with the earned income tax generating $490,000.

 On the expenditure side, total public safety expenses come in at $860,881 in the proposed budget in addition to $402,880 earmarked for total public works.

 The proposed 1994 budget will be on display in the municipal building.

 Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the Board awarded the Township’s waste management contract to York Disposal Company, Inc., which was the low bidder. The contract is contingent on approval of an agreement that John Polly, vice president of York Disposal, presented to the Board on Wednesday.



Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 November 2016 15:38

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