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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, Oct. 24, 1984, edition of the Press & Journal

Posted 10/17/18

‘Radical’ pro-nuclear group seeking debate opponents

An organization described by its president as “a radical pro-nuclear women’s group” has recently formed in the Middletown area. …

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From the Vault: News from the Wednesday, Oct. 24, 1984, edition of the Press & Journal


‘Radical’ pro-nuclear group seeking debate opponents

An organization described by its president as “a radical pro-nuclear women’s group” has recently formed in the Middletown area.

Ruth Ann Merchant, Clermont Drive resident, holds the leadership role in PRO-Women, Positive Response Organization for Women. She stressed that the organization is a “separate group altogether” from Friends and Family of TMI, another Middletown-area pro-nuclear group.

Merchant, whose husband is a TMI employee, admitted that there is an “overlap” between the two organizations and that PRO-Women receives support from Friends and Family.

“Our goal is to promote nuclear power and support restart of TMI, but we’re a little more radical about it and we go at it a little harder and louder than FFTMI,” Merchant explained.

The group’s current plans are to organize a pro-nuclear rally at the state Capitol. Another PRO idea is to arrange a debate between two women’s groups on the subject of nuclear power. “We’re seeking a willing opponent,” Merchant added.

“Nuclear power is such a broad and controversial subject, we feel that the content of such a debate cannot be limited to only Three Mile Island,” she continued. “Neither organization in the debate would be an expert on the subject, but we feel that informed statements require some technical knowledge.”

A debate topic Merchant suggested was “nuclear energy power is a viable energy source for the Central Pennsylvania area.”

PRO-Women has already contacted one organization, Concerned Mothers and Women of Middletown, Merchant said, but that organization had turned down her request for a debate.

“We’ve mailed out 12,000 letters and we’re putting up posters at area colleges,” the group’s president noted.

The results so far have pulled in 50 members.

A political science major at Harrisburg Area Community College and the mother of three children, Merchant says she is deeply committed to the organization’s goals.

“I know in my heart that nuclear power will be needed for me and for my children,” she stressed. “They will need nuclear energy in the future.”

Other officers of PRO-Women include Middletown residents Judy Brandt, vice president; and Sarah Woodhead, secretary-treasurer. The three officers and four members of the organization’s executive board meet weekly.

Merchant sees anti-nuclear organizations as groups that have been “putting up roadblocks” and “doing a great injustice” by actions to question the restart of TMI.

On restart, Merchant feels that the action is inevitable.

Injunction halts work crews at boat launch site

Dauphin County Court Judge John Dowling issued a preliminary injunction Monday morning directing the Metropolitan Edison Co. to discontinue work on a proposed boat launch site on the Susquehanna River in Londonderry Township near the borough of Royalton.

The injunction was sought by Carl G. Wass, a Harrisburg attorney representing Stewart & Elva Deimler and their son, Terry. The Deimlers claim they have deeds to the property, some of which date back to 1811, that indicate they own the land in question to “the Susquehanna River at its lowest tide.”

According to Wass, the injunction bars Met-Ed or its contractors from cutting any more trees on a portion of the land which the Deimlers claim has been “in the family for nearly a century.”

Last Thursday, the Deimlers enlisted the aid of District Justice William Heckman. After examining the Deimlers’ deeds Heckman went to the boat launch site, advised Met-Ed crews that they were “trespassing” on private property and ordered them to leave the property.

The workmen, employees of Shull Tree Service Co., Middletown, obeyed Heckman’s directive, but the Deimlers expected the workmen would return the following day.

The crews stayed away from the site on Friday and again on Monday and a spokesperson at the Shull office said Monday that Met-Ed officials had instructed them to delay further work on the site until the issue of ownership was clarified.

Blue Raiders escape vs. Indians

The Middletown Blue Raiders escaped a foggy Roscoe Warner field in Progress on Friday night with a 19-14 come-from-behind victory over the Susquehanna Township Indians.

With the win, the Raiders, with a current 6-2 record, have ensured themselves a winning season, the first by a Middletown varsity football team in nine years.

A relieved Dennis Iezzi praised the comeback after falling behind 14-7 at halftime.

The early minutes of the Mid-Penn Division II matchup were a little shaky for the Raiders, who bobbled the opening kickoff and then lost a fumble to Susquehanna’s Dan Leaman at the Middletown 27 on the second play from scrimmage. But linebacker Rich Elli and defensive end Bill Mattes sacked Indians’ quarterback Mark Cline for a four-yard loss at the 22 and Mike DiVittore broke up a fourth down pass to stop the Indians’ threat.

Hot buys

• Jamesway grand opening, Route 230 and Rosedale Avenue. Eight-track tape sale, 10 for $1. Philco black-and-white 12-inch television, $58.88. Men’s plaid flannel sport shirts, $4.88.

• Olympia ETX I text processing system, $1,895. Includes big 12-inch screen. Engle Business Equipment, Elizabethtown.

• Carpet remnant sale. Plush carpeting, $10.95 a square foot. Moore’s Carpet and Vinyl, 16 S. Union St., Middletown.

Other headlines

• Police charge juvenile in Third Ward burglary spree

• Authority permitted to upgrade water system

• Celebrating Ebenezer AME Church’s 100th birthday