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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, Nov. 11, 1965 edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 11/15/17

Council reinstates suspended policeman

Borough council has countermanded Mayor George Mansberger’s suspension of a police patrolman who refused to drop charges against a man he arrested for …

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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, Nov. 11, 1965 edition of the Press & Journal


Council reinstates suspended policeman

Borough council has countermanded Mayor George Mansberger’s suspension of a police patrolman who refused to drop charges against a man he arrested for going through a red light at Union and Emaus streets.

Council’s action came this week after Patrolman Dale K. Nigro appeared before council to protest the suspension order. Mansberger explained to council that his action was based on provisions of the motor code which exempts vehicle operators while engaged in certain duties. The motorist charged, he said, was employed by the contractor of the Union Street improvement project. Mansberger further stated he first obtained legal guidance from the borough solicitor before issuing the suspension.

Patrolman Nigro explained he observed the motorist approaching the signal light on Emaus Street, go through on “red,” then turn right into Union.

After arresting the driver, Nigro said he was told to drop the charges, which he refused to do.

The order came from Police Chief Harold Houser. Nigro quoted Houser as saying: “The mayor said you are to drop the charges.”

At one point during the interchange, Nigro was advised by Solicitor Joseph Nissley to cease and obtain counsel and submit his appeal at a hearing. Council President Donald Nees, however, asked that Nigro present his side of the story. Council members all nodded their approval.

Nigro said he interpreted the motor code to imply the “protective” measure applied only to employees working on a street surface.

The man arrested was an inspector for Kimbob Inc., and was operating a privately owned vehicle at the time of the arrest.

“I have been with the police force for nine years,” Nigro said, “and I asked the chief if I ever made a bad arrest before. I felt the arrest was justified and I refused to withdraw the charges.” Councilman Harry Judy questioned why this matter was never formally presented before a justice of the peace.

Nigro said the man charged with the violation offered to pay the fine.

Councilman Robert Bretz questioned Mansberger’s move in ordering the suspension.

“We are continually asking our policemen to do the job this man (Nigro) did and then we suspend him for doing just that.”

Bretz then offered the motion to countermand the suspension order, which was approved unanimously by a 9-0 vote.

Local church landmark being razed

One of Middletown's landmarks is being demolished, and with it go fond memories for older citizens of the community — of baptisms, confirmations and weddings, among other events.

The landmark is the former St. Mary’s Catholic Church on Ann Street near the entrance gate to the Olmsted Air Force Base.

One of the most important events connected with the church was the fact that it was blessed two years after occupancy by the Blessed John Neumann in 1856, then the archbishop of Philadelphia. At that time this area was part of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

According to the Rev. Frederick of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, the church holds special significance to the parish members because the former archbishop’s canonization to sainthood is pending in Rome at the current time.

When the parish moved to the present quarters, they took along some of the relics of the former church. This included the crucifix which is now over the main altar and dates back to 1856. The church bell was also removed.

The cornerstone will be kept but plans are indefinite at this time for its use.

The church was in use until recently, with an average of 150 persons regularly attending mass there when authorities found the church structurally unsafe for continued use the building was abandoned.

Since the cost to repair the building was estimated to be astronomical, the decision was made to demolish it. Demolition of the church began on Saturday with the general contract let to Ellenberger and Associates of Harrisburg at a cost of $3,900, with completion expected to be by the first of the year.

Included in this contract are also the demolishing of the following church properties: the old rectory at 425 Ann St.; the social hall at 423 Ann St.: the former parish convent at 260 Race St.; and the present rectory at 240 Race St., as soon as renovations for the newly purchased rectory at 401 Conewago St. are completed (about Dec. 1).

The Rev. Bradel said an attempt had been made to sell the church properties at Ann St. half a year ago, but the decision was reversed when it was thought more feasible to use the land to beautify that portion of the community. Definite plans have not been drawn up for this undertaking.

Two hurt in three-car crash

A Middletown man has been charged with reckless driving as a result of a three-car accident at the intersection of Main and Catherine streets Sunday at 11:15 a.m.

According to borough police, the car driven by Thomas Perkins, 215 W. Main St., hit the rear of a 1956 Ford owned and driven by Miss Patricia Ann Kerstetter, 1058 Pine St., who is reported to have stopped awaiting to make a left turn on Catherine from Main Street.

Police say the impact pushed Miss Kerstetter’s car head-on into a 1961 Chevrolet Sedan driven by Russell C. Breon, 16, of 20 Donald Avenue, Shope Gardens. A passenger in the Breon car, Eric Breon, 6, and Miss Kerstetter were taken to the Harrisburg Hospital.

The Breon boy received 15 stitches in the forehead. Miss Kerstetter was treated for head and leg injuries.

Both were discharged.

Police report damages to the Perkins car was $1,000; To the Kerstetter car, $300 and $500 to the Breon car.

According to police records, a charge of reckless driving was filed against Perkins.

Detailed plans asked for proposed Penn State campus

Pennsylvania State University was asked yesterday to submit a detailed plan for the establishment of an educational campus at Olmsted Air Force Base.

The request was made by the State Board of Education.

“The educational and economic advantages to the commonwealth … have yet to be established through the development of a detailed brief outlining a plan of operating and developing a higher education program at the Olmsted base,” the board said in declining at this point to endorse the proposal.

The board was requested by Gov. William Scranton last month to approve a Penn State center at Olmsted offering graduate, junior-senior college, and some technical, two-year associate courses. The policy-making body deferred action, however, so that it could hold hearings to gather more information on the proposal. This was done last month by the Council of Higher Education.

Charles G. Simpson, chairman, in presenting the Council of Higher Education's report to the full board. said: “"A formidable indication has been made of the need for graduate education programs and facilities in and around Harrisburg. Not so great, but yet substantial, is the indicated need for additional facilities for undergraduate programs leading to a baccalaureate degree.”

He also acknowledged that the chance to acquire Olmsted facilities for an educational center “may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” and that a Penn State facility such as outlined “may be the best means” of serving the area.

But, despite the great pressure on the board to approve the plan, the council felt that more than simply the graduate, junior-senior college facility must be taken into consideration.

Headlines from the edition

• Council OKs salary hike by 5-4 vote

• Local banks to mail $255,000 in yule checks

Hot buys

• Country Casuals sports jacket, from $35. David Martin Stores, 52 E. Emaus St., Middletown.

• Frigidaire Jet Action washer. No lint trap to clean; automatic soak cycle. Arnold Electric, 2 S. Union St., Middletown.

• Furniture specials: dinette set, $69. Three-piece bedroom suite, $98. Walters Furniture, 243 E. Main St., Middletown.