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Email scam asks companies for employee IRS W-2 forms

barletta louU.S. Rep. Lou BarlettaU.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, recently issued a warning that there is a new wave of email scams circulating which target company payroll or human resources offices and seek personally-identifying information of employees.  

The Internal Revenue Service has reported that the email scams may use a corporate officer’s name to create an appearance of legitimacy, a form of the email phishing practice known as “spoofing.” The emails may request a list of employee names, salaries, and IRS W-2 forms. The purpose of the information is to file fraudulent tax returns in an attempt to collect refunds.

“Email scammers are getting more and more clever, which means that people must be more on guard than ever,” said Barletta, whose district includes areas north and west of Middletown. “If you receive an email that looks like it comes from a company executive requesting sensitive information about employees, it is better to double check that it’s a legitimate request. These emails can look extremely authentic, so it is always best to ask.”

The following are examples of requests that may be contained in the emails:

• Kindly send me the individual 2016 W-2 (PDF) and earnings summary of all W-2 of our company staff for a quick review.

• Can you send me the updated list of employees with full details (Name, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, Home Address, Salary)?

• I want you to send me the list of W-2 copy of employees’ wage and tax statement for 2016.  I need them in PDF file type.  You can send it as an attachment. Kindly prepare the lists and email them to me ASAP.

Residents who believe they have received one of the spoofing emails should forward it immediately to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 February 2017 14:16

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23 Years Ago: Feb. 1, 2017

23 years agoBlame It On The Weather – An early morning weather-related accident on Friday, Jan. 28 prompted Highspire firefighters to respond to a collapsed roof at Stambaugh’s Air Service at 427 Second Street in Highspire. The collapsed canopy was discovered by an employee as he reported for work at 5:30 a.m. There were no further damages, but the electric was knocked out to an industrial operation housed in the rear of the building and was not expected to be restored for a few days.

 

From The Wednesday, Feb. 2, 1994 Edition Of  The Press And Journal

 

School Calendars Adjusted; Last School Day Uncertain

 Due to severe weather conditions, area school districts have proposed and approved adjustments to their school calendars for the 1993-94 school year. But the big question being asked by students, their parents, teachers and administrators – how long will school have to remain in session - will remain unanswered at least for several weeks.

 While many school districts have cancelled in-service days and shortened upcoming Easter vacations, many superintendents admit they are awaiting a decision on the state level regarding the 180-student day requirement. Many school districts closed when Governor Robert Casey called on schools, businesses and residents to curtail energy consumption. The severe cold had forced utilities to consider and in some areas, enact energy blowouts.

 In a move to grant Pennsylvania’s school districts greater latitude in trying to make up snow days, Dauphin County Representative Frank “Chick” Tulli is introducing a bill to allow school to be in session on Saturday’s. Tulli noted his bill would only grant districts this opportunity for the 1993-94 school year.

 “If enacted, my bill would allow students to attend a full 180 days this school year, and not force those in their senior year to delay graduation or go to school well into the summer months. Each school district could decide on their own how they want to make up the days lost to bad weather. Having Saturdays would give them additional choices in trying to meet their own individual needs.”

 

1993 Area Crime; A Reflection 

Of National Trends?

 Roving gangs, drive-by shootings, madness-driven mass murders. These remain, for the most part, the day-to-day horror stories of big cities – Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C.

 Still, some good news has surfaced.

According to the leading national news story of Dec. 6, 1993, serious crime is down. FBI statistics, comparing the first six months of 1993 to the same period in 1992, showed both violent crime and property crime dropped, 3 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

However, the FBI director aptly noted that few Americans would draw much comfort from the “slight decreases” since the levels of violent crime and drug trafficking remain so staggering.

Chances are, few small town Americans will draw much comfort either.

As one Middletown property crime victim recently said, “Big city crime is here.” It might not be the random, senseless, stranger-to-stranger violence playing out in large cities, but it is, many believe, different from the crime of yesteryear.

More guns, more drugs, more violence, more youth crime. Most area police chiefs agree, and 1993 headlines indicate, that these are the factors characterizing much of today’s crime - even in small town America.

 In 1992, the five localities surveyed for this report – Elizabethtown, Highspire, Lower Swatara Township, Middletown and Steelton - had no homicides. In 1993, five homicides occurred – two in Steelton; two in Middletown, one the result of an arson; and one in Lower Swatara Township, which authorities believe may have been drug-related.

 

Survey Helps LD Board Take 

A Good Look At School

 Thanks in part to a survey by the New Baldwin Corridor Coalition; the Lower Dauphin School District has a chance to take a look at itself. A condensed version of the survey was presented to the Lower Dauphin School Board at its January meeting by Dr. Ronald J. Snavely, assistant to the superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

“Sixty percent indicated that they had ‘some’ or ‘quite a lot’ of confidence in the public schools to prepare students for the job market. These findings are not unlike the annual Gallup Pole of Education,” Dr. Snavely said in reading portions of the report.

 “Only 7.5 percent of the respondents indicated that they would be willing to pay more taxes to support lengthening the school day or the school year. As keeping the school district buildings and facilities open for regular instruction 12 months out of the year would require additional resources, and if the public would not be willing to pay more taxes to support that, it would appear that there is no feasible mandate from the public to provide regular instruction 12 months out of the year,” Dr. Snavely read.

 A portion of the survey dealt with vocational/technical schools. “There was substantial agreement (74 percent) that there should be job placement service for vocational/technical students entering the work force. Because of the relatively high percentage of people responding ‘undecided’ it would appear that the general public is not well informed about the roll of vocational/technical schools.”

 Under the heading of Sharing Resources, the top three ranked items were sharing of purchasing, teacher and staff training and teachers. “Based upon this finding, it would be appropriate for districts to discuss ways to combine their staff development efforts.”

 Academic programs, extracurricular programs, and quality of faculty are important perceived strengths of the school district, according to the report.

 

Prices From 23 Years Ago

Progresso Minestrone Soup 19 oz. can, 69¢

Hormel Spam 12 oz. can, $1.89

Red Baron Pizza 22 oz. pkg., $3.29

Raisin Bran Cereal 20 oz. box, $1.99

Fashnacht Donuts bakers dozen, $2.79

Hamburger Helper 7.75 oz., 99¢

Chun King water chestnuts, 98¢

Speas Farm apple butter 10 oz., 99¢

Fresh brussels sprouts, 68¢/lb.

Minute Rice 28 oz. box, $1.99

Pork sirloin cutlets, $2.98/lb. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 February 2017 13:05

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Two of the oldest airport properties will be razed; Business also coming to HIA-owned land near Sheetz

webIMG 5210Building 26, the imposing former Officer’s Command Headquarters, has holes in its roof and windows, and signs on the doors warning of the asbestos inside.

 

Two of the oldest remaining properties on Harrisburg International Airport property are scheduled to be torn down.

Also, property owned by HIA across Route 230, near Sheetz, will have a new tenant soon as well.

These changes are in addition to recently approved plans for a four-story Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel that will be built on the site of a vacant parking lot on HIA’s South Terminal Drive in the next 18 months.

The buildings that will be razed are along Airport Drive near where it intersects with Olmsted Drive, about halfway between long-term parking and the terminal.

webIMG 5221Building 96 was erected in 1942 as a temporary World War II-era structure.

 

One of the buildings is clearly visible to anyone traveling along Route 230/West Harrisburg Pike, directly across the road from the Middletown Home. It’s Building 26, the imposing former Officer’s Command Headquarters that has fallen into a deep state of disrepair.

“It’s a classic, old-style, very-well-built brick building, but it’s full of asbestos. So there has to be an environmental cleanup in there before we take it down,” Scott Miller, deputy director of business development and marketing strategy for HIA, told the Press And Journal.

Built in 1933, it has 52,414 square feet and is two stories high with a basement. Vacant since 1989, it was used solely as the command headquarters. There are holes in its roof and windows, and signs on the doors warning of the asbestos inside.

Also coming down is a smaller building across Airport Drive from the old headquarters. The nondescript Building 96 was erected in 1942 as a temporary World War II-era structure. It’s 15,354 square feet — a long, rectangular, two-story, gable-roofed building. From 1995 to 2009, the Pennsylvania Air National Guard used it as weekend barracks.

web IMG 5208This undated photos shows the former Officer’s Command Headquarters in its prime.

 

“There’s no practical use for them anymore. In addition, in the master plan for the airport, we want to reconfigure that whole intersection, to make access to the (Air National) Guard and the cargo facility easier and take out a weird intersection that is there,” Miller said.

Because the shape of the land where the old headquarters is located is very narrow, it’s unlikely it would be developed anyway, Miller said.

“They’ve outlived their useful life expectancy, and they’re community eyesores,” he said.

There is no time frame for the teardown, and a cost has not been established. It will be paid for through a variety of sources, Miller said.

According to Miller, the two oldest remaining structures other than the two slated to be torn down are the old firehouse close to the former headquarters building, which a rental car company uses for car washes and maintenance, and the old base chapel, which most people don’t know is on HIA property. It’s now Grace & Mercy Church & Ministries, just across the Ann Street bridge from what most consider the start of the airport.

webIMG 5213The former Officer’s Command Headquarters is in disrepair, with broken windows and holes in the roof.

 

 

Business on North 29

On land known as the North 29 — 29 acres that includes the Sheetz site across Route 230 from the airport — an Enterprise Rent-A-Car facility will be built on 10.4 acres by PENRAC LLC, a local company that runs rental car facilities in and around Harrisburg.

Miller said the structure will be a sales/service/maintenance facility for central Pennsylvania Enterprise locations.

It will not, however, be the place where cars are rented. That will remain at the airport.

PENRAC will rent the property for $158,500 a year. According to information from HIA, PENRAC plans to invest more than $1 million into the property, including construction of a 10,000-square-foot, two-story office building. The building will house 50 Enterprise employees and more than 100 temporary/part-time employees, according to information provided by HIA.

The total term of the lease is 29 years. It allows PENRAC to use the site for rental, storage, leasing, parking and/or sale of motor vehicles. 

It could be a location where the company sells rental cars after they no longer are being rented, Miller said.

With Sheetz taking up 3 acres and the new facility about 10, that leaves 16 acres left on the North 29, but a retention pond cuts the available space to about 10 acres.

“The rest of it, we’re still looking for some type of retail or some type of compatible use to Sheetz and the facility that is there, that has benefit for the community,” Miller said.

That still could mean a restaurant. The development near the new Amtrak station just down the road toward Middletown also could impact the HIA property, he said.

“We’re always looking for people who want to invest and build something there, but I don’t anticipate any action in the next year,” he said.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 February 2017 12:58

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Kuppy’s car show returns, but it will be held in September

lineupCars line up on May 30, 2013, to prepare for the car show put on by Kuppy’s Diner. That was the last year the event was held, but it is scheduled to be restarted this September.

 

The popular car show hosted by Kuppy’s Diner is roaring back to Middletown this fall after a four-year hiatus.

Hundreds of cars and motorcycles will converge on downtown and be on display this September, bringing back a popular event that has been missing from the area since 2013. Event co-founder Carol Kupp said having it in the downtown area will bring exposure to the area and new people to Middletown in general.

“We’re excited for it to be brought back to the downtown,” Kupp said.

Started in 2001, the popular event continued for 12 years on the Thursday before or after Memorial Day, before various downtown street, sewer and water projects forced its suspension. It was suggested that the event be held somewhere other than downtown, but as Kupp described it, there was a sense of it being “not the same” if the show was held in a new location. 

kupp carolCarol KuppAdditionally, with the delayed host date, Kupp would have more time to work on it as far as planning and preparation and not feel as though they were throwing it together just for the sake of having it.

Now, it’s back for the foreseeable future with some changes, the biggest change of which is the date of the event. 

Instead of late May, the scheduled date this year is Thursday, Sept. 21, with a rain date of Sept. 28. The event will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. no matter which day is used.

Another change is to whom the proceeds will be donated. In past years, funds raised went to 4 Diamonds at Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey. This year, funds will go to the Feel Your Boobies Foundation, run by Middletown’s own Leigh Hurst. Overall, in the 12 years of holding the event, more than $94,000 was raised.

Hurst told the Press And Journal that she was thrilled when the Kupps told her recently that her foundation had been selected as the recipient of the funds. With the money donated from the event, Hurst said the foundation will be able to serve more women with materials promoting both self- and professional medical exams. 

Hurst said both she and the Feel Your Boobies bus will be at the show in September. The vehicle was introduced in 2007 and is wrapped with decals and slogans associated with the foundation. This year there will be a new bus with a new wrap job on it, but the purpose will remain the same: inform women of the importance of examinations and remind them to examine their breasts.

“It’s a great town-based event, and I think they do a great job with it,” Hurst said.

Finally, there will be a registration fee with the event. In the past, donations were encouraged in lieu of an entry or registration fee, but this year registration is required to aid in knowing exactly how much each owner gives. The fee will be either $10 or $15, with a final decision yet to be made by Kupp. A silent auction will be at the event for the first time as well.

There will still be judging for all vehicles, and trophies will be presented for the top three cars and motorcycles. There will be a Best of Show trophy as well. Food, T-shirts, and a 50/50 drawing await all who attend this year.

Traditionally, holding the event midweek ensured locals and visitors would not have to decide between attending the car show or another event like they would if the car show was held on the weekend. It would give residents something to do for a few hours in the middle of the week. Finally, because some streets in Middletown are closed for the event, holding the show on a Thursday would allow for less congested streets and traffic backups than there would be if it was on the weekend.

The streets that will be closed due to the show are Union Street from Emaus to Mill streets, as well as Brown and Poplar streets in the block around the restaurant. They will be closed off starting around 3 p.m. and will reopen at the conclusion of the show at 8 p.m.

Middletown Mayor James H. Curry III could not stop expressing his admiration for the Kupps for running a full-time business while at the same time planning and hosting an event that in Curry’s words, was “becoming a staple” in the community for several years before its brief halt.

“It’s really quite admirable,” Curry said. “I’m very, very excited and I know the community will be excited. It shows how Middletown is unique.” 

Irvin Turpin has been a staple at the car show since the beginning. Starting as a sponsor and volunteer, he now assists the Kupps in a voluntary manner only, doing whatever is necessary. 

“I love to help people with stuff,” Turpin said of his choosing to play a role initially.

He said because of how many people were constantly asking if there was going to be a car show now that the downtown construction had been completed, he and Kupp thought it was a good time to bring the show back.

“Middletown looks forward to this. Middletown needs something like this,” Turpin said.

Where the proceeds will be donated this year is not lost on Turpin. His wife is battling breast cancer and there have been others associated with the car show who either had breast cancer or passed away from it, so when the time came to select a charity to donate to, Kupp elected to donate to one that promotes awareness of a disease that has affected and impacted many in their group.

“I’m going to do all my power to make it the biggest and best we’ve ever had.” Turpin said.

“We’re hoping it will be bigger and better,” Kupp said.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 February 2017 12:32

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Potential owner of Asian eatery wants relief from off-street parking requirement

HowardDongOn Dec. 21, Howard Dong, who represented the HE Group, discusses the group’s plan for transforming the former Smuller House Bed & Breakfast into an Asian restaurant during a meeting that had been called by the Middletown Historical Restoration Commission.

 

A new owner who wants to turn the former Smuller House Bed & Breakfast at 460 N. Union St. in Middletown into an Asian restaurant is asking the borough for relief regarding the required number of off-street parking spaces that must be provided.

HE Group, which acquired the former bed-and-breakfast for $350,000 on Dec. 21. 2016, according to Dauphin County records, is requesting a variance to reduce the number of off-street parking spaces from the required 19 to nine.

The borough’s zoning hearing board has scheduled a hearing on HE Group’s request for 6:45 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, in the Municipal Building. The property is located in the borough’s C2 commercial zoning district, where a restaurant is an allowed use. 

On Dec. 21, Howard Dong, who represented the HE Group, discussed the group’s plan for transforming the former bed-and-breakfast into an Asian restaurant during a meeting that had been called by the Middletown Historical Restoration Commission.

The commission has concerns about how the group’s plans could impact the historical integrity of the building, which dates to 1835 according to HRC Chairwoman Jenny Miller.

Dong said that HE Group wants to preserve the backyard and a gazebo on the property. However, in order to do that, the group would need to obtain relief from the borough’s off-street parking requirements, Dong said at the time.

Dong told the commission that the restaurant would have up to 65 seats. A provision in the borough zoning ordinance says that restaurants, taverns, and nightclubs in Middletown must provide one off-street parking space for every 2.5 seats. 

Borough codes and zoning officer Rob Moyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment for more information regarding how the borough arrived at the required 19 parking spaces for the proposed use. 

HE Group’s plan has been referred to as a sushi restaurant. 

However, Dong has described the concept of the eatery as “authentic Asian plus Americana specialty food.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 01 February 2017 12:19

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