Great Harrisburg Cleanup This Saturday

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It may be wet & cold today but Saturday will be sunny & dry.  Perfect weather to come out and join Friends of Midtown in the Great Harrisburg Cleanup which runs from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.  There will be a dumpster located at the Broad Street Market for the bags of trash & debris collected.  Our new incinerator owner, LCSWMA, has agreed to waive the tipping fees and the dumpsters have also been donated by local businesses.  This is truly a community event and city-wide as there will be donated dumpsters located in Uptown and Allison Hill.

We will meet at 8:45 am in front of the Broad Street Market on the Third Street side and set our plans to clean up our neighborhood.  If you prefer to work with your neighbors in your own block and find hauling your collected trash bags to the Broad Street Market dumpster could be difficult, register your group on the Great Harrisburg Cleanup website at http://historicharrisburg.com/index.php/events/volunteer-registration and indicate what street corner your bags will be placed so they can be picked up by Public Works.

Any questions?  Contact us at beautification@friendsofmidtown.org before 8:00 am on Saturday.

Hope to see you there!

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Pittsburgh Councilwoman Deb Gross Proposes Land Bank

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Deb Gross is proposing the creation of a land bank for the city of Pittsburgh, a mechanism that could streamline the process of redeveloping tax-delinquent land.

Ms. Gross today introduced a bill today creating the legal framework for the land bank, which would be an entity separate from the city. The legislation is a work in progress because Ms. Gross wants to get community input on many of the program’s details.

In 2012, the Pennsylvania Legislature passed the State Land Bank Act, which allowed for the creation of land banks. Since the passage of the law, Westmoreland County, Dauphin County and Philadelphia have created land banks.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2014/01/14/Pittsburgh-councilwoman-Deb-Gross-proposes-land-bank/stories/2014011401450000000#ixzz2qQ6pSLFH

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Montco Residents’ Butter Sculpture Honors The Milkshake At Pa. Farm Show

Location of Whitemarsh Township in Montgomery ...

Location of Whitemarsh Township in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Will Sellers appeared amazed as he stared at roughly 1,000 pounds of butter fashioned into a three-dimensional image that depicts a guy selling milkshakes beside two cows dancing on their hind legs.

“I’ve never seen a butter sculpture,” said Sellers, of Luling, La.

Sellers was in Harrisburg on Thursday to help his father-in-law — Larry Hamilton, owner of Potter County-based Hamilton’s Maple Products — set up a display for the family’s business at the 98th Pennsylvania Farm Show.

The sculpture, a longtime tradition at the show, is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world, Farm Show officials said.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20140103/montco-residents-butter-sculpture-honors-the-milkshake-at-pa-farm-show

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2014 Pennsylvania Farm Show Starts January 4th In Harrisburg

The Pennsylvania Farm Show runs Jan. 4 through Jan. 11 at the Pennsylvania Complex & Expo Center, North Cameron and Maclay Streets, Harrisburg.

Show hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 4 through 11 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 12

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/business/20140102/live-from-the-2014-pennsylvania-farm-show

Outgoing Harrisburg Mayor, Linda Thompson, Lands On Time Magazine’s 2013 Mayors’ Gaffe List

Editor’s note:  Ms. Thompson landed in the number two spot.  A rather infamous list of mayoral faux pas from around the globe.  Way to go LT for putting Harrisburg in the international spotlight.

The Year in Mayors’ Gaffes

A road to political purgatory, from bad to worst

Read more: The Year in Mayors’ Gaffes | TIME.com http://poy.time.com/2013/12/10/the-year-in-mayors-gaffes/#ixzz2nhSvTjn9

Multiple People Shot Following Harrisburg Youth Party

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Multiple adults and juveniles were shot as they left a youth party at the Community Center at Walnut and Hoerner streets in Harrisburg early Saturday morning.

Police were dispatched to a shooting report at North 16th and Walnut streets at 12:55, and upon arrival, were directed to Walnut and Hoerner streets to investigate a report of multiple shots fired.

As the investigation was underway, several people arrived to area hospitals with non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/10/multiple_people_shot_following.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Some Parts Of Harrisburg Area Hit With 10 Inches Of Rain Thursday Through Friday, Forecasters Say

Locator map of the Harrisburg metro area in th...

Locator map of the Harrisburg metro area in the south central part of the of . Red denotes the Harrisburg-Carlisle Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the Lebanon Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Harrisburg-Carlisle-Lebanon CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After two days of record breaking rainfall, the sun is once again visible in the Harrisburg area this morning.

Some parts of the Cumberland, York and Dauphin counties received more than ten inches of rain during the last 48 hours, according to estimates by the National Weather Service in State College.

The Harrisburg area officially received a total of 9.74 inches of rain on Thursday and Friday, according to measurements taken at the Harrisburg International Airport.

Friday’s rainfall in Harrisburg was measured at 5.72 inches. That crushed the previous high for Oct. 11, which was 1.47 inches, set in 1905.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/10/some_parts_of_harrisburg_area.html#incart_river_default

Local McDonald’s Owner Subject Of Son’s Harassment, Prostitution-Related Complaints

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The son of a local McDonald’s franchisee has asked the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and McDonald’s Corp. to investigate employee harassment charges that he has lodged against his father.

Jason Rippon filed a complaint with the EEOC in August in which he alleges that his father, H. James Rippon, has ordered employees to help solicit prostitutes, regularly sexually harasses workers and makes racist comments to staff.

James Rippon, 72, had a manager at one of his three restaurants send text messages to prostitutes he was soliciting, according to his son’s complaint. James Rippon allegedly had the worker send the texts because he didn’t know how to send messages from his own cellphone.

The elder Rippon, of Hummelstown, owns McDonald’s restaurants in West Hanover Township, Pine Grove and Shamokin Dam.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/10/mcdonalds_franchisee.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Harrisburg Mayoral Hopefuls Fielding Questions For First General Election Debate

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, PA – Three mayoral candidates are fielding questions during the general election’s first debate.

The event started at 6 p.m. at co-sponsor Harrisburg Area Community College’s student center, 1 HACC Drive.

Democrat Eric Papenfuse, Republican nominee Dan Miller and write-in hopeful Lewis Butts will participate.

Whoever wins the election will lead Harrisburg as the city emerges from financial recovery.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/10/harrisburg_mayoral_hopefuls_fi.html#incart_river#incart_m-rpt-2

Moving Harrisburg Forward Might Be Impossible Without Settling Present

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The forum was supposed to focus on the future of Harrisburg. And to a large extent, it did. But the reality of city’s present casts a long shadow over any discussion in the capital these days.

At some point in the next three months, it is likely the Harrisburg recovery plan, whether you support it or not, is going to go into effect, essentially eliminating the city’s massive debts and putting its government back on the path to some form of solvency.

How much it is able to carry that past the next four years remains unknown. But the future of the city, whether it stagnates or begins a new renaissance, will largely be in its own hands, unencumbered from debt obligations.

At its core, argues developer Ralph Vartan, is a simple equation. Of the 58,000 people who work in the city, only about 10,000 live in the city. That is further unbalanced by the fact that over the last several decades the regional population has almost doubled, while Harrisburg’s has stagnated.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/09/moving_harrisburg_forward_may.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Massive Foreclosure Sale: 16 Office Buildings, $67M In Debt, Spanning 2 Counties

Locator map of the Harrisburg metro area in th...

Locator map of the Harrisburg metro area in the south central part of the of . Red denotes the Harrisburg-Carlisle Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the Lebanon Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Harrisburg-Carlisle-Lebanon CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sixteen office buildings, $67 million in debt.

It is a sprawling real estate portfolio, one that stretches from Mechanicsburg in the west to Lower Paxton Township in the east. And its all being put up for sale to the highest bidder in October, dramatically enough on the steps of the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Harrisburg.

The foreclosure sale – one of the largest, if not the largest in the midstate’s recent history – comes after a year-long, largely uncontested civil case in federal court, between one of the nation’s largest banks and a real estate company which serves as proxy for other, largely unknown investors.

The buildings include sites in Rossmoyne Business Park in Upper Allen Township, Interstate Drive in Susquehanna Township, and along Flank Drive in Lower Paxton, home to dozens of private businesses and several state agencies, including PEMA.

Reads more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/09/massive_foreclosure_scheduled.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Dauphin County Coroner Identifies Harrisburg’s 12th Homicide Victim

Harrisburg’s latest homicide victim was identified as one Rafael Diaz, according to a press release issued by the Dauphin County Coroner’s Office earlier Thursday.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/09/dauphin_county_coroner_identif_1.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Former Harrisburg Official Slams $86M Premium For City From Incinerator Sale

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, PA – The capital city will pay an $86 million premium for garbage disposal under the proposed terms of sale for its incinerator, a former local official warns.

Those numbers are based, in part, on the city’s disposal rate starting next year at $190 per ton, former Harrisburg Public Works Director Ernie Hoch said.

Hoch sent a letter and supporting spreadsheet to City Council on Sunday afternoon lobbying them to vote against the transaction, then forwarded copies to other contacts including PennLive and City Controller and mayoral candidate Dan Miller, who sent his own cautionary correspondence last week.

Hoch noted the rates and tonnage minimums for the city and Dauphin County are based not on service costs, but the Lancaster Solid Waste Management Authority’s anticipated debt obligations related to its acquisition of the facility.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/09/former_harrisburg_official_sla.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Harrisburg’s Interim Police Chief Talks Reallocation Of Officers, New Hires During Public Safety Hearing

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Harrisburg‘s interim police chief reiterated his passion for community policing during a panel discussion on public safety Thursday held by Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Papenfuse.

During the discussion, Chief Thomas Carter provided further details regarding the plan he presented earlier this week alongside Mayor Linda Thompson to dissolve several specialty police units in order to beef up the city’s overworked regular patrol.  Under the plan, 17 officers from groups such as the traffic and street crimes units will be pulled from the chief’s office to resume regular patrols, Carter said.

“We put them back into the fold,” the interim chief said.  “The basis of every strong police department is to have patrol officers out there to answer your calls, and we did not have that.”

Carter, who was appointed by Thompson after former Chief Pierre Ritter retired late last month, told the small audience at Thursday’s hearing that, while he believes such steps should have been taken as long as a year ago, he does not fault his predecessor for not making the call.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/09/harrisburgs_interim_police_chi.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Harrisburg Has Paid More Than $630K In Debt Service On $3.795M Capitol View Loan

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG. PA – More than $630,000 in city grant funds have been diverted to repay a federal loan for the failed Capitol View project whose bankrupt developer awaits sentencing for fraud.

City officials say they’re hoping David Dodd’s sentence includes some restitution for Harrisburg, which guaranteed a $3.795 million federal loan for the project in 2006 that Dodd never repaid.

Between that, unpaid property taxes and another unpaid loan from the former Mayor’s Office of Economic Development program, Dodd’s project has become a $5 million liability for the city.

That amount doesn’t include city legal bills from engaging in his bankruptcy and fraud proceedings, or to defend the city against lawsuits from contractors never paid for their work on the $28 million project.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/09/harrisburg_paid_all_630k_of_de.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Harrisburg Officials Say They’ll Compromise On KOZ Incentive

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG – City officials will decide next week whether to allow tax breaks to entice badly needed development on 10 properties – most of which do not generate any revenue currently.

Representatives from the Capital Region Economic Development Corporation, Hamilton Health Center, and the local public school district lobbied City Council’s Community Development Committee Wednesday night for a Keystone Opportunity Zone.

Target sites include four closed schools and the half-finished Capitol View Commerce Center abandoned by developer David Dodd, who’s now awaiting sentencing for defrauding the $28 million project of federal funds.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/08/harrisburg_officials_say_theyl.html#incart_river_default

Cleaning Up Steve Reed’s Mess: Harrisburg’s Debt Plan Expected To Be Filed Today

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cleaning up former Mayor Steve Reed’s mess is going to take more than just a solution to his incinerator debt.

Harrisburg‘s state-appointed Receiver has said he hopes to file sometime today his plan to eliminate the city’s bad debt through the sale of the incinerator and a long-term lease of parking assets.

While the more than $360 million in unpayable debt at the incinerator is the root of why the city is in receivership, whatever plan is put forward has to account for much more than that.

Why?

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/08/harrisburg_debt_plan_cleaning.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Harrisburg Police Chief Pierre Ritter To Retire; Mayor To Name Replacement Thursday

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Harrisburg officials will hold a news conference Thursday to announce the retirement of city police Chief Pierre Ritter.

Mayor Linda Thompson also is expected to announce Ritter’s successor, said Robert Philbin, the city’s interim chief operating officer.

Ritter was named chief in January 2010.  He has been on the city’s police force for more than 30 years.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/08/harrisburg_police_chief_pierre_2.html#incart_river_default

Harrisburg Schools To Furlough More Employees Yet Hires Cyber School Director

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Harrisburg School District announced 15, and possibly more, furloughs for non-teaching staff to help save up to $687,000 as part of its recovery plan — if the union contract isn’t approved.

“We’re not playing here,” Chief Recovery Officer Gene Veno said Monday.  “This is about recovery — financial recovery.”

With tensions already high from recent teacher resignations and furlough notices, they further escalated when the School Board voted to hire a director for the district’s cyber charter school at an uncertain salary.

Veno said the next set of furloughed positions haven’t been announced.  As many as 20 positions with an average salary of $40,000 could be considered.  In July, the district furloughed custodians, library and health aides and maintenance workers,

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/08/harrisburg_school_district_to_2.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Some Residents Ready To Take A Stand After Rash Of Recent Shootings In Harrisburg

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Dauphin County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rather than giving in to fear in the wake of eight shootings reported in the city since July 30, some Harrisburg residents are taking a stand against further bloodshed.

Rallying behind the city’s latest effort to combat crime, residents from all over the city will meet at the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg on Monday to discuss future cooperation between different neighborhoods to stop violence and keep the street clean.  At the center of the meeting is Bryan Wade, the city’s new Community Policing Coordinator.

“Harrisburg in general is very fragmented, you have a lot of good things going on, but in terms of information about neighborhood and community safety and what each group is up to, it’s very fractured,” Wade said of the current state of community groups.  “I’m hoping to bring some more cohesion and unity to the process.”

Since early April Wade has been reaching out to existing neighborhood watch groups like the Friends of Midtown and the 18th Street Neighborhood Watch to marshal interest in the meeting.

Read more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/08/some_residents_ready_to_take_a.html#incart_m-rpt-2