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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2004, edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 2/11/20

‘A presidential visit: Mr. Bush comes to townPresident George W. Bush passed through Middletown last Thursday after landing at Harrisburg International Airport. The president came to the area …

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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2004, edition of the Press & Journal


‘A presidential visit: Mr. Bush comes to town

President George W. Bush passed through Middletown last Thursday after landing at Harrisburg International Airport.
The president came to the area to appear and speak at Central Dauphin High School on his education initiatives. Air Force One, the president’s official plane, landed on the runway of the Pennsylvania 193rd Air National Guard Unit at HIA. Upon deplaning, the president was greeted by Col. James Lillis, vice commander of the 193rd Pennsylvania Air National Guard. This was the first time Lillis has greeted a president of the United States. He was grateful for the opportunity.
“It’s exciting, quite an honor,” he said. “[Bush] is a man I’ve always respected.”
Lillis presented Bush with a special 193rd wing coin.
Bush was also greeted by Lauren Simkulak, 18, who volunteers each week at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Children’s Hospital. Last month, the USA Freedom Corps, Bush’s initiative to engage all Americans in service to their neighbors and their nation, celebrated its second anniversary. Bush is recognizing individuals around the country like Simkulak, who are answering the call to volunteer service.
Simkulak, a senior at Central Dauphin High School, volunteers each Saturday at the children’s hospital, reading books, playing games and helping young patients with arts and craft projects. Since 2001, Simkulak has also helped support the children’s hospital by volunteering with the Four Diamonds Fund, an organization that provides financial assistance to children being treated for pediatric cancer at this hospital.
Since 1993, Central Dauphin High School has held a 12-hour dance marathon. Students stay on their feet for 12 hours and participate in activities to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund. In 2003, Simkulak served as one of three chairpersons for Central Dauphin’s Four Diamonds Mini-THON Committee.

Official wants Lower Swatara Township history project

Lower Swatara Township in Dauphin County was not always Lower Swatara Township in Dauphin County.
The township was first established in 1729 as the Township of Peshtank in what was then Lancaster County. Peshtank means “place where water stands.”
Some might not be aware of that fact, but a township resident wants to make sure that more people learn of the rich history of the area. Bob Loych, who was sworn in last month as the township’s newest commissioner, suggested a project to research the history of Lower Swatara and to produce a DVD.
“I want to get it recorded before it passes away and changes,” he said.
Loych moved to Lower Swatara Township in 1982. He said that he would take his Rottweiler for walks in the woods and find intriguing things such as gravestones from the 1700s.
“I have always had an interest in history,” he said. “Finding things like that is what really lit my fire for it.”
The township does have a viewbook published that briefly discusses the history. It recalls facts such as that of Col. James Burd being one of the first landowners in the township. Burd authored the Middletown Resolves for Independence in June 1774, more than a year before the Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress. Burd is buried in the Middletown Cemetery.

Mascot comes to life at Kunkel in form of 6-foot kangaroo

On Thursday, a 6-foot-tall marsupial was spotted at John C. Kunkel Elementary School.
Known as the Kunkel Kangaroo, it was there to give out hugs and treats, as it hopped from room to room during the children’s classroom Valentine’s party.
Although a visitor to the school may have been startled by its appearance, the Kunkel students and staff were eagerly awaiting its arrival. PTO Vice President Jen Albright said the kangaroo was there to make its official debut as the school mascot.
She said the PTO recently sponsored a contest to give students the opportunity to choose a new mascot. Albright said the children had a good time being creative and innovative with their ideas.
“They played with the letter ‘K,’” she said. “Their ideas ranged from the Kunkel Wild Kats to the Kunkel Kool Kats and everything in between.”
Albright said that after the field was narrowed to 10, the pupils cast the deciding vote. Albright said the Kunkel Kangaroo won by a landslide.

Police seeking male suspect in baby food theft

Middletown police are investigating a retail theft incident, at about 11:40 Sunday, Feb. 8.
Police said an olive-complexioned adult male, possibly in his mid- to late-20s, is depicted on store surveillance entering the Giant store. He is later seen loading his shopping cart with an undetermined amount of varying sizes of baby formula, according to police reports.
Store officials discovered the incident when finding what they described as a “set up” cart abandoned in another aisle, police said.
Store officials reviewed the video and saw footage of the suspect.

Hot buys

• Three-day meat sale, March 1, 2 and 3. Fox’s Markets, Middletown.
• Leap Year tanning special, $29 for 29 days. Hairport, 2 S. Union St., Middletown.
• Breakfast buffet for $4.95, every Sunday, 8 to 11 a.m. Every Wednesday, batter-dipped haddock, french fries and cole slaw, with seconds on the house. $7.50. Bratina’s Steak House, across from the airport on Route 230.

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