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Our own private Idaho was an April Fool's joke

 

Happy April Fool’s Day!

You may already have realized that our A1 story on Central Idaho University’s plan to build a branch campus in Middletown is an April Fool’s Day joke. The day for pranks fell on a Wednesday this year – the day we publish our latest issue – so we couldn’t resist. Hey, even the conservative Wall Street Journal has published a humorous April Fool’s Day story in the past.

There is no Central Idaho University.

But you knew that, right?

We hope it gave you a belly laugh, or at least made you roll your eyes.

Laughter is the best medicine, and heaven knows we all can use another dose of laughter now and then in these times. The world seems to be a darker, more dangerous, horribly contentious place nowadays. We hope you have kept your sense of humor. We have.


Middletown is a borough in transition. We’ve endured a major water and sewer line construction project in the downtown, and are in the midst of another along Main Street. No one loves road construction and detours, but the work promises to bring development to town.

The borough is scheduled to begin a $2.7 million downtown renovation project this spring, and the plans already have lured investors to town. One of them talked to staff writer Dan Miller, and his comments can be found in a story about the streetscape project on A1 of this issue.

Other investors have recently purchased the Lamp Post Inn on Main Street, and plan to open a restaurant there.

What really buoyed our spirits about Middletown was the Mayoral Madness basketball challenge between basketball players at Middletown Area High School and alumni, a game organized by Mayor James H. Curry III to help raise money for a fireworks show in town on Labor Day weekend. The game on Friday, March 27 at the school gym drew a large crowd of people willing to donate their money to the cause.

There is much good in Middletown. Let’s not forget that as we move forward and face a future that, we believe, is promising – with or without Central Idaho University.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 March 2015 16:17

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Stay calm and take the detours around road work

No one loves road work. No one loves detours, longer commutes, traffic snarls. At best, we tolerate them.

Your tolerance and patience will be requested once again in Middletown. After a major sewer and water line project moved up Union Street in the borough’s downtown business district last year, requiring traffic to detour the area, Middletown again has embarked on a major construction project, this time along Main Street.

About a mile’s worth of sewer and water lines will be replaced along Main Street, a $2.5 million borough project that began on Monday, March 16. The project is expected to move in sections from East Main Street to West Main Street until it is completed in August, when the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation plans to repave the street – Route 230.

Like the Union Street project, the Main Street pipeline work is desperately needed. Replacing old sanitary sewer lines – on Union Street, they were leaky century-old brick lines – not only reduces water infiltration in the lines, but also prevents possible sinkholes from forming. Upgrading old water lines facilitates new development, something we hope Middletown, with its growing population of full-time students at neighboring Penn State Harrisburg, sees a lot of in the next several years. Already PennDOT is planning a new Amtrak station along West Main.

The traffic signal loop detectors at Main and North Union streets and Main and Vine streets also will be restored.

The work had to be done sometime soon, and the borough was wise to time the project in conjunction with PennDOT’s planned repaving of Route 230. Because the borough and state agency are working together, Middletown will not have to spend additional money to dig up a freshly-paved roadbed to improve the sewer and water lines.

The borough will also save money by infusing resin inside the aging sewer lines instead of replacing them with pipe. The resin tube that is formed should last 50 years – and it’s cheaper per foot than traditional pipe, the borough says.

The work will be done in stages, with detours created during each stage for local traffic and truck traffic. The borough has produced a detailed map of each stage and local detour, which it has provided to the Press And Journal. The map can be found with our story on the project, which begins on A1 of this issue. You’d be wise to cut it out and stick it on the refrigerator door. You’ll need to refer to it.

After the work on Main Street is completed, PennDOT plans to begin the replacement of the Route 230 bridge over the Swatara Creek that connects Middletown with Londonderry Twp. Construction is expected to be completed in 2016.

With the borough’s downtown revitalization project scheduled to get underway in earnest this summer as well, Middletown streets are going to be busy this year. Work will be going on everywhere – at least on the boroough’s major streets.

Just remember that it’s only temporary. Imagine the benefits, and how it will look after it’s done. Patience is a virtue – especially when driving. Stay calm and follow the detour signs.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 March 2015 16:23

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A town Human Relations Commission is a good idea

Seems Middletown has had a human relations commission for decades that could investigate discrimination complaints, but the panel grew dormant and, eventually, forgotten – until recently.

 

Middletown Borough Council voted 6-2 in September to preserve it, though it had not functioned for decades.

 

Opponents of reviving it say it’s not needed – that the existence of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and the federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission render it rather useless.

 

But proponents, like Mayor James H. Curry III, say a local commission is needed now more than ever with an increasing influx of Penn State Harrisburg students, including many from other countries. 

 

A Middletown commission could investigate complaints itself or pass them on to the state Human Relations Commission. It could serve as a local place for those who believe they’ve been discriminated against to start the process of seeking justice.

 

Council recently voted 8-0 on Monday, March 2 to advertise for commission members among local residents who may be interested in serving. Interested residents would have 30 days to submit a letter of interest to the borough after the borough places an advertisement.

 

Keeping the commission is a good idea, and should not cost the borough a significant amount of money. We agree with supporters on council that it strengthens the relationship between the borough and its residents, at a minimal cost.

 

We hope that residents step forward to help.

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 March 2015 17:11

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Editor's Voice: Christmas arrived early for the Elks and Middletown

By Jim Lewis

Perhaps it was the Christmas spirit that moved a record number of people – 200! –  to buy tickets for the Middletown Holiday Candlelight Tour of Homes on Dec. 8 and 9. And maybe the 224 people who paid to see the

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 17:53

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Editor's Voice: At Steel-High, an unusual and inspiring civics lesson

If you’re an American, and value your right to vote, you probably remember the first time you voted – the thrill of walking into the voting booth, the excitement of casting a ballot. The candidate for whom you voted.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 November 2012 13:25

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