Category Archives: NEWS / OPINION

LP dodges big stink over mammoth trash containers

By Charles Zinn
Linglestown Gazette summer intern

Lower Paxton Township officials most likely are patting themselves on the back based on what’s happening in neighboring West Hanover Township.

Why?

Well, taking out the trash is harder these days in West Hanover Township, according to some residents who showed up at a recent township supervisors’ meeting.

Residents of Country Manor Farms, a 55+ mobile home community located along Old Route 22 behind Aroogas, aired their problems with large trash containers that are now required to be used under the township’s new trash-hauling contract with Waste Management. They said the trash cans are too big for them to haul to the curb.

“Everybody here is all senior citizens and they have a hard time pulling them out,” said Helen Marriott.

Some residents of other housing communities in the township have also expressed a dislike for the new containers.

The containers are designed to work with trucks equipped with automated side loaders.

Lower Paxton Township recently considered going with Waste Management’s large trash bins but opted against them when residents and some township officials were concerned about their size.

“People say the cans are too ugly, too big, and won’t fit in their garage,” said Daniel Rosario, West Hanover Township’s manager.

When asked about senior citizens being unable to pull the cans to the curb, Rosario said residents can fill out a form to obtain an exemption from the curbside requirement.

However, that procedure doesn’t seem to be working for at least one resident.

“They promised they would come up and pull them to the road, which they did not do,” Marriott said.

Rosario said the rationale for the township-issued containers came about because the old system wasn’t working.

“The problem is people are not following the ordinances,” he said.

Some citizens did not put lids on their trash cans and this resulted some days in trash flying everywhere and litter collecting in neighbors’ yards. Township officials decided to agree to have a standardized trash can with an attached lid to help keep the litter to a minimum.

In response to complaints, the township plans to have a workshop meeting on August 13 to discuss possible changes to the contract with Waste Management.

 

 

Longtime LP leader passes away

Longtime Lower Paxton Supervisor Bill Hawk passed away Saturday.

He served as a supervisor for over 20 years and was the board chairman during most of those years. This spring he was elected as president of a statewide association of township officials.

“Hawk was proud that the Lower Paxton supervisors always tried to be a ‘listening board’ whenever citizens had opinions and ideas to share at meetings or during private conversations,” said Bill Bostic, publisher and editor of Linglestown Gazette. “He was a true public servant and a man that I count as a role model. Bill will be greatly missed.”

“Bill’s impact on Lower Paxton has been immeasurable,” said Lowman Henry, chairman of the township Board of Supervisors. “Lower Paxton developed into a major township over his years in office.”

“Bill made sure the township grew in an orderly fashion. He touched every facet of life in Lower Paxton over the last 20 years, and he was supportive of the effort to develop George Park and worked to assist the township’s first responders.”

Township Supervisor Chris Judd remembered Hawk in a Facebook post: “Politics can harden the heart, but I don’t know anyone who could detect an ounce of cynicism in Bill over his many years as a civic leader.”

No funeral plans were available at the time this update was published.

The township will have to fill Hawk’s seat during the next month or so. Contact the township office if you want to apply for the position.

 

 

Citizens call for new light on Locust Lane

Staff Report

Tim Murphy, a resident in the Locust Lane corridor, reports that a large crowd attended Tuesday night’s Lower Paxton Township supervisors’ workshop to call for a traffic light at the intersection of Locust Lane and Fairmont Drive near the vo-tech school.

An updated traffic study is needed to convince PennDOT of the need for the light, according to Murphy.

The supervisors agreed that a light is needed. And Yingst Homes, the developer of the Union Station housing community located south of the intersection along Fairmont Drive, also wants the light and will pay for the traffic study, reported Murphy.

Fourteen accidents in the last two years and the poor sight distance due to the skewed intersection should also carry some weight in expediting the approval and installation of a traffic light, he said.

Murphy filed the report on a Facebook group called Neighbors of Lower Paxton. This is a closed Facebook group but new members are added upon request.

 

 

How Koons Park’s July 4th fireworks show came to be

By Charles Zinn
Linglestown Gazette intern

Time sure does fly when you’re having fun with fireworks.

Tonight marks the 15th consecutive year Linglestown Fire Company has had a hand in putting on a spectacular fireworks celebration at Koons Park to mark the Fourth of July holiday.

While these fireworks have been a huge tradition for folks who live in Lower Paxton Township, most people don’t know how they began.

Dan Crum, the deputy fire chief, pointed to outstanding support from the Lower Paxton Township community as the volunteer fire company’s motivation for starting to do the show.

“We wanted to host an event to support them,” said Crum.

The fire company staged the first fireworks show at Koons Park in 2003. All the funding for the show was taken care of solely by the fire company during the first few years. Lower Paxton Township began to provide financial assistance around 2008, according to Terri Bauknight, the township’s parks and recreation director.

Nowadays, the cost of the fireworks is split between Linglestown Fire Company and Lower Paxton.

With the history of the Koons Park Fireworks complete, all that is left for you to do is come out to the show that starts at dusk. And be sure to arrive in Linglestown well in advance of the first rocket being fired to get a parking spot close to the park.

 

 

Wegmans coming to East Shore?

By Bill Bostic

Linglestown Gazette summer intern Charles Zinn has gotten to the bottom of the ongoing controversy over Wegmans adding a second store in our area. In short, it’s not happening anytime soon.

A Wegmans official in the public relations department said there are no plans for building a Wegmans on the East Shore, unless you count the Lancaster area as part of the shore area.

Not only that, but the rumor that Wegmans doesn’t build stores within a 50-mile radius of each other has been debunked.

Here are the main criteria that must be met for a second store to be added to an area like the Harrisburg region:

1. The site must be large enough to accommodate a big-box store and have adequate parking, which requires a huge lot.

2. The location must be easy to find and get to.

3. When it comes to population density, the company looks for a high volume of people, both for customers and the employees that will serve them.

The East Shore at a minimum doesn’t meet #3 because out-of-towners don’t consider the Susquehanna River to be a dividing line when figuring out population density. The store on the West Shore counts folks on the East Shore as potential customers.

So, get used to driving the 25-30 minutes it takes in light to moderate traffic to get to Wegmans in Silver Spring Township for the foreseeable future.
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Charles Zinn contributed to this story.
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Photo from The Carlisle Sentinel

 

 

Rt. 39 traffic woes subject of corridor study

By Charles Zinn
Linglestown Gazette summer intern

There’s growing concerns about traffic congestion on Pennsylvania Route 39 with major development projects planned in the corridor in Susquehanna and Lower Paxton townships.

With help from community activist Eric Epstein, Dauphin County officials launched a corridor study about a year ago by contracting engineering firm Herbert, Rowland & Grubic to work on the project.

Earlier this week an open house was held in South Hanover Township’s municipal building to provide the public with a status report on the study and to gather suggestions from citizens.

Route 39 map was used to gather public comments and suggestions on various sections of the corridor,

“We’re looking for public input on certain areas and certain locations that there is particular capacity issues,” said Jacob Long, a HRG staff member who works in the firm’s traffic department.

Having the public weigh in with their opinion can further help HRG find out about the capacity of Linglestown Road, he said.

“The purpose of [the open house] is to identify whether or not the existing zoning and the projected future land use makes sense for the long-term for the corridor,” said Tim Staub, a land-use planner at HRG.

The aim of the study, which also includes Route 743, is to come up with a punch list of suggestions for local and state officials that would help maintain a reasonable traffic flow through the corridors. The recommendations most likely will include road enhancements and zoning changes.

“We didn’t want them changing Linglestown,” said Joe Murphy, a Linglestown resident who spearheaded the formation of the Lower Paxton Township Historical Commission earlier this year. “Our biggest concern was whether they were going to cut into some of the historical areas.”

He added that it was his fear that they would continue to change Linglestown Road into a four-lane highway, similar to Route 22.

Bill Minsker, another Linglestown resident, supports the use of roundabouts to smooth out the traffic flow at intersections along Route 39.

“I see many, many places where roundabouts would be much more efficient than traffic lights,” said Minsker.

Epstein, a Lower Paxton Township resident and Central Dauphin school board member, was surprised at the number of people at the open house who expressed interest in having a pedestrian path and bicycle lane along Route 39.

He’s unsure how township officials in Susquehanna, Lower Paxton and West Hanover townships will use the study to coordinate land use and transportation.

With all of this going on, Eric Stump of HRG, the manager of the corridor study, said the next step is to confirm all land uses and look at different alternatives with the zoning, both with the existing zoning and with the comments given by the public.

Stump said there will be another public meeting in October or November, and he expects the study most likely will wrap up sometime in the first half of 2019.

He hopes local officials will use the corridor study to help acquire grants and other funding that would be needed to implement recommendations.
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Charles Zinn is a 2018 graduate of Harrisburg Christian School and will be attending Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa., this fall.
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For additional information on the Route 39 corridor study, CLICK HERE for a story published by PennLive.com.

 

 

Another CD tax hike is in the works

Central Dauphin’s school board is on a course to adopt a property-tax hike for the sixth consecutive year.

CLICK HERE to get up to speed with a report filed by independent journalist Bill Bostic for PennLive.com.

School board members Richard Mazzatesta, Eric Esptein and Justin Warren said earlier this week that the board will discuss in June ways to reduce the proposed 2.8 percent tax increase.

The key meeting on this issue is scheduled for June 11, which is the only time the board will be in one room prior to gathering on June 25 to take a final vote on the nearly $200 million budget for the 2018-19 school year.

The Gazette will attempt to do a video interview with Mazzatesta and Epstein soon after the Memorial Day weekend to discuss the budget. They have been lobbying the board to hold the line on the tax rate this year.

 

 

CD East High dedicates sports complex gateway

The Central Dauphin School District community gathered Monday to dedicate a new gateway to a 14-field athletic complex on the CD East High campus.

The gateway is named after David Alexander, who was a member of the school’s first graduating class in 1964 and went on to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point.

He served in Vietnam, where he lost his life in service to his country.

The project was fully funded with private money, said Ford Thompson, president of the Central Dauphin School Board.

Marty Gruver, a classmate of David’s at East High, spearheaded the project that took several years to take shape.

In addition to the gateway, David’s memory lives on with an annual award given to an East High male senior athlete.

Marty gives a brief backgrounder on David and the sports complex gateway in the video below.

 

 

Lower Paxton to assess new environmental fee

By Bill Bostic
Gazette editor & independent journalist

The impact of federal clean water regulations is about to take a chunk out of every property owner’s wallet in Lower Paxton Township – and there’s nothing local officials can do stop this environmental freight train.

The Lower Paxton township supervisors have retained a financial consultant to sort through options for addressing stormwater runoff, and Tuesday they approved spending $65,000 for the consultant to help create a stormwater utility fee to fund a remediation program.

It looks like property owners will have to cough up between $128 and $192 a year after the fee is enacted.

The township’s consultant has agreed to conduct public information meetings to explain the proposed environmental fee and to field feedback from citizens.

The money will be used to reduce the amount of runoff material that drains into the Paxton Creek and eventually the Susquehanna River. If this environmental program works, stream water will be cleaner which in turn will help to make the waters in the Chesapeake Bay healthier.

CLICK HERE for a story by independent journalist Bill Bostic about Tuesday’s vote and HERE if you want to dig into the nitty-gritty details of this issue.

Managing stormwater runoff and the potential high costs associated with the environmental initiative have been lurking around for years. Digging through the archives of Linglestown Gazette produced a link to an article published in 2011 by The Patriot-News.

Lower Paxton isn’t the only municipality dealing with this environmental headache. Many other communities in the Susquehanna River watershed are impacted too, and some of them have already established a stormwater utility fee or raised property taxes.

CLICK HERE for a PennLive article published a year ago that looks at how nearby communities are confronting this situation.

 

 

Town hall focuses on school safety

On the eve of the Columbine school massacre’s 19th anniversary and with emotional scars from February’s Florida school shooting still raw, a diverse group of people gathered last week at Susquehanna Township High School to consider how to strengthen school safety.

The Gazette’s independent journalist Bill Bostic attended the town hall and filed a report that appeared on PennLive.com. CLICK HERE to read the story.

 

 

Forum unveils two seeking to succeed Marsico

By Bill Bostic

State Rep. Ron Marsico, R-Lower Paxton Township, deciding to retire at the end of this year is forcing voters in 105th state House District to pick a new officeholder for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Republican voters in Lower Paxton and East and West Hanover townships appear to have a tough choice to make when they cast their votes in the May 15 primary election to select their party’s nominee.

Candidates Adam Klein and Andrew Lewis offered similar views Monday evening on a wide range of issues during a debate staged by the Tea Party Patriots of Central Pennsylvania.

Dan Mosel, the debate moderator, asked everyone in attendance to conduct themselves in a civil manner and both candidates followed the script to a T. About 35 people attended the meeting held at New Love in Christ Church in Lower Paxton Township.

Lewis, a 31-year-old military veteran, said he wants to help the state become a leader in economic growth and job creation. He is an executive with a construction company based in Lower Paxton Township and moved into the township about a year ago.

He called for the state to lower corporate taxes, expand educational opportunities, increase government transparency and put term limits in place for state lawmakers.

In his opening remarks, Klein, a lawyer who resides in West Hanover Township, said getting the state budget under control, addressing the opioid crisis and repairing the state’s aging infrastructure are the most pressing issues facing the state.

Klein, age 46, has lived in West Hanover Township since 2002 and served 11 years as a West Hanover Township supervisor. He also is a former Dauphin County deputy district attorney.

Both candidates mirrored each other on most issues raised during the debate, including the challenge facing the winner of the Republican primary to defeat likely Democratic nominee Eric Epstein in the fall. Epstein, a Central Dauphin School Board member and well-known community and statewide political activist, is unopposed in the primary election.

Klein and Lewis are scheduled to debate again on April 18 at a meeting sponsored by the Linglestown Area Civic Association in the St. Thomas Social Hall at Linglestown Fire Company’s brick firehouse. The event will start at 7:30 p.m.
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Photo by Steve Miller (Pictured l. to r. are Adam Klein, debate moderator Dan Mosel and Andrew Lewis.

 

 

A little potpourri – GMU, Mon, 4/9/18

A little potpourri on the GAZETTE MORNING UPDATE for April 9, 2018 brought to you by Consolidated Insurance Services in Paxtonia and PA House candidates Eric Epstein and Adam G. Klein.

The newscast originated from St. Thomas Roasters Coffee House in Linglestown.

Today’s local yocal newscast by Bill Bostic includes a watchdog update, high school sports and a beautiful mix of potpourri items.

Hey, be sure to check out tonight’s candidates’ debate between Republican PA House candidates Adam G. Klein for State Representative and Andrew Lewis. CLICK HERE for details.

Lastly, student internships announced on today’s newscast

 

 

Hitting the reset button – GMU, Fri, 4/6/18

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This is the TGIF local yocal news – called the GAZETTE MORNING UPDATE (GMU) – for April 6, 2018, brought to you by Consolidated Insurance Services in Paxtonia and PA House candidates Eric Epstein and Adam G. Klein.

Today’s broadcast originated from St. Thomas Roasters Coffee House in the village of Linglestown.

Special guests were Anthony Cristillo aka owner of The Fat Man Clothing Company and preschooler Izzy.

Feature segment is an update by independent journalist and sometimes showman Bill Bostic on how those of you who value the info provided by Linglestown Gazette can help the nonprofit service remain in operation.