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From the Vault: News from the Thursday, April 9, 1964, edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 3/6/19

Borough service clubs unite in first annual recognition ceremony

More than 100 hundred members and guests of the borough’s service clubs joined in presenting the first annual Community …

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From the Vault: News from the Thursday, April 9, 1964, edition of the Press & Journal


Borough service clubs unite in first annual recognition ceremony

More than 100 hundred members and guests of the borough’s service clubs joined in presenting the first annual Community Recognition Ceremony on Monday night at the Elks Lodge rooms.

The program was a united effort staged by the Middletown Kiwanis, Lions and Rotary clubs. The work of a dedicated community nurse, two acts of heroism, and the noteworthy athletic achievements of a high school athlete and his coach were cited in special certificate presentations.

Honor guests of the service clubs cited were:

• Miss Naomi Fickes, a native of Steelton, who started her duties as Middletown community nurse in 1932 and who served continuously until her retirement last year.

Victor Rabberman introduced Miss Fickes and read the citation of honor. It said in part: “In 1932, she came to Middletown at the invitation of the Mothers’ Congress and served Middletown, Royalton and surrounding rural areas within a 4-mile radius. For many years she served as school and insurance company nurse, handled investigations for all welfare work and conducted preschool clinics. She also cooperated with the Dauphin and Perry County Tuberculosis Society and helped conduct its Christmas Seal camp for children.

“During the 1936 flood, she served around the clock in every possible way and assisted in giving typhoid innoculations in town and Royalton. During World War II she conducted a monthly clinic at Olmsted Field Homes and at Pine Ford Acres.

“Here is a woman who, during her entire life, worked to ease the suffering of others. We feel she is a credit to her profession and to all women everywhere.”

• Harvey “Tony” Colston, outstanding Middletown Area High football, basketball and track athlete.

John Brinser, Middletown faculty member, presented Colston’s citation and lauded him for not only “his athletic accomplishments but for his fine humble manner which attracts him many friends.

“He is without question a ‘team player’ and an outstanding athlete, one of the best to ever wear the colors of the Blue and Gold for Middletown High.”

Brinser read many statistics which grew out of his participation in football, basketball and track. Notable among these was his football scoring proficiency which achieved for him the title of leading high school scorer in Pennsylvania in 1963. He scored 166 points.

Accompanying Tony at Monday night’s dinner was his mother, who was also introduced after her son had accepted his certificate.

• Donald Gilbert, Middletown Area High football coach, whose 1963 team brought Middletown High its first Capital Conference championship.

Introduced by John Brubaker, Gilbert’s ability as a baseball catcher and football player was highlighted from the time he graduated from Dubois High School through his Army military career, until he finished his college studies at Michigan State University.

“In the fall of 1963 it was Middletown’s good fortune to have him come from Central Dauphin High School (his first coaching venture) to take over the head football coaching job here. His teams in two years compiled a record of 14 wins, 4 losses and one tie, the tie costing Middletown the conference title. However, in 1963, his team won all of its Capital Area games and the championship.”

• Joseph Hoover, a Middletown High graduate of 1962. who was cited for his quick action to administer first aid to an auto accident victim — action which medical authorities stated helped save the life of the victim.

Hoover was introduced by Paul Daily, who gave a vivid account of Hoover’s act on June 8, 1962, when he came upon the accident scene.

“The youth we honor applied bandages, placed tourniquets on both legs to stop bleeding and then treated the victim for shock. Two facts stand out in this event and they both reflect credit on the young man. First he was still in high school and had just finished taking a first aid course offered by the Red Cross at one of the local firehouses. Second, after giving first aid, he modestly retreated from the limelight. He is a young man of whom we feel all Middletown can be very proud.”

Also introduced were Hoover’s parents.

• Charles May, a Middletown mail carrier who was cited for his act of heroism in removing an Ann Street youth from his smoke-filled home on Sept. 14, 1961.

May was unable to be present Monday night to receive his award. His heroic act was described by Walter Reider.

For this act, the Post Office Department awarded May a certificate of superior accomplishment and a cash award.

School system sets stage for reorganization with $2 million record budget

Middletown Area School System’s super-budget for 1964-65 at $2,084,241 would buy one modern supersonic jet fighter for today’s Air Force.

This same plane which can move somewhere in the twice-the-speed-of-sound range, can set up a shock wave known as a sonic boom.

You can’t spend a budget that fast, but a discussion can ripple up the fiscal facts, which set up their own shock waves.

This was evident at this week’s meeting of school directors when the 1964-65 budget was presented for approval by representatives of the Middletown, Royalton and Lower Swatara Township districts.

Superintendent George W. Feaser informed directors it had been prepared and submitted for a “merged” school district. He also indicated it was a very close budget — one that would start with no appreciable balance from the current year. It was so close that directors had to apply the pruning technique in order to find $20,000 to finance first year expenditures in the newly organized Harrisburg Area College, a Royalton playground program, and funds to partially landscape new school buildings.

The $20,000 was obtained by reducing projected expenditures for the proposed Rosedale Avenue Elementary School — the last unit of the system's major construction program which will be built in Lower Swatara Township, near Meade Heights, to ease crowded elementary conditions.

In becoming the system’s first $2 million budget, it was prepared to anticipate state approval of the merger plan. The plan is scheduled to go before the state Board of Education today.

By endeavoring to become a merged district before the deadline on July 1, 1965, the new merged board would receive about $25,000 more than the $43,000 it now gets as an area system. Under the merged district concept, the number of school directors will be reduced from the present 17 to 9, and the tax millage of all districts will be a uniform levy. What is now 45, 55 and 40, respectively, for Middletown, Royalton and Lower Swatara Township, will become an even 50 mills on real estate.

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