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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, June 24, 1998 edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 6/21/17

Boro vs. Met-Ed: Settle or fight? Utility offers $18 million

By Janet Pickel, Press-Journal Editor

Middletown Borough Council’s negotiating team is recommending acceptance of an $18 million …

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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, June 24, 1998 edition of the Press & Journal


Boro vs. Met-Ed: Settle or fight? Utility offers $18 million

By Janet Pickel, Press-Journal Editor

Middletown Borough Council’s negotiating team is recommending acceptance of an $18 million offer from Metropolitan-Edison to end the borough’s long-standing electric contract with the utility.

The offer was explained by attorney and negotiating team member Kevin McKeon at a June 17 public meeting on the matter. Other members of the negotiating team are council President Tick Sinniger, Vice President Nancy Taxweiler and borough manger Jack Haney.

According to McKeon, the proposed settlement terms are as follows:

• The contract ends Dec. 31, 1998.

• Met-Ed pays the borough $18 million.

That would be broken down, with $2 million to be paid Jan. 4, 1999, and $1.6 million annually — including 1999 — until 2008.

“The borough’s cost of power will increase,” McKeon said of accepting the settlement. He explained:

• Middletown will pay market rate for wholesale electric, higher than the 1 cent/kilowatt hour (kwh) currently paid.

• The borough’s electric rate to customers will increase.

• Middletown will retain its electric department.

“That’s an important point,” McKeon said. “The (electric) distribution center is a very valuable asset to the borough.”

Currently, the attorney explained, Middletown buys power for 1 cent/kwh, sells it for 4 cents/kwh and uses the difference both to run the electric department and to benefit the general fund, to the tune of $1.1 million.

If it loses the contract and has to pay more for electric — McKeon’s example was 2 to 3 cents — but continues to sell it to borough customers for 4 cents/kwh, the amount that goes into the general fund will fall to around $300,000, McKeon said.

“The borough must get revenues from other sources,” he said. “That is the problem, if you will. ... There has to be a rate increase.”

Middletown could make up the $1.1 million by upping the electric rate it charges customers to 5 cents/kwh, according to McKeon, assuming it can purchase that power for 2 cents/kwh.

That’s where the $18 million from Met-Ed would come in, McKeon said. That money would go into a “rate stabilization fund.”

Woman opens home to needy creatures

By Joy Owens, Press-Journal Staff

In Elizabethtown, almost anyone with a pet problem is advised to “call Laura.” That’s Laura Jenkinson, a grandmother of teenagers whose small second-floor apartment is all but filled with bird cages — permanent residents within them — and usually at least one stray pup, abandoned cat or perhaps injured squirrel that is staying until injuries heal or a home can be found.

Invariably, there is an exception. Laura’s lease prohibits dogs, but when she became attached to a tiny Pomeranian she named Bear, the landlord relented. Bear weighs about 3 pounds, scampers around like so much quicksilver, but requires minimum space. And aside from being protective of Laura if a stranger arrives, he bothers no one.

There’s one ground rule more stringent than the lease, though, where Bear is concerned: No bothering the birds. In more than a year, he’s been fine on that front, too — almost all of the time.

Jenkinson nurtures birds for breeders who haven’t the time or patience to hand-raise and hand-feed hatchlings. She’s done it countless times, mixing formula for everything from baby doves or canaries to huge macaws. Currently her senior citizens among the birds is Jo-Jo, a cockatiel with rouge-red cheeks Laura has owned for more than 10 years. If someone will whistle a few bars of “Jesus Loves Me,” the tradition children’s Sunday School song, Jo-Jo will pick up the tune and whistle along.

Thief makes ‘clean’ getaway

Lower Swatara Township police are looking for an individual or individuals who literally made one heck of a clean getaway.

Police are investigating the theft of a 48-foot trailer that contained more than 2,600 cases — 20.5 tons — of household products, most of which were cleaning products, deodorants and shaving cream.

Loss in merchandise and the vehicle was estimated at over $32,000 by Transtar Inc. of Oklahoma, the owner of the refrigerated trailer.

Officers investigating the incident report that the theft took place in the parking lot of Excel Logistics in the 300 block of Hunter Lane. They believe the theft took place sometime between Friday, June 5, and Monday, June 8. Reportedly the trailer was left there by its driver. Police noted that another trailer had also been left in the parking lot but was apparently untouched.

A manifest of the trailer’s contents was included with the police report. It noted that the 41,142 pounds of merchandise that was in the trailer included 192 cases of Liquid Drano, 176 cases of Shout spray cleaner, 336 cases of Raid insecticide, 5,816 pounds of deodorant, 6,147 pounds of shaving cream, and 24,026 pounds of other cleaning products.

Headlines from the rest of the edition

• Burn victim’s condition upgraded to ‘good’ (10-year-old Middletown boy Nick Russ Jr.)

• Legion lifts season record over .500

• M-Town bus driver earns safety award (Dawn Foreman)

• Giant Foods takes strict stance on bounced checks

• HIA stop may be added to bus route

Hot buys

• Summer clearance sale, save 20 to 50 percent on most in-stock plants, gifts, fertilizers and insecticides. Geraniums, $1.29. Londonderry Garden Center, 2912 River Road, Middletown.

• 1993 Dodge Shadow ES four-door sedan. Nice, clean car, only 43,000 miles. $6,795. Behney Motors, Race and Emaus streets, Middletown.

• Summer specials. Carpeting, $1.55 a square foot, your choice of sculptures, textures, plushes, berbers in the newest decorator colors. Vinyl, $2.22 a square foot, includes expert installation. Bittinger’s Flooring, 201 W. Main St., Hummelstown.

• Fox’s June Meat Bundle. Stock up for your summer grilling. 50 pounds for only $73. Fox’s, South Union Street, Middletown.