Tag Archives: Jennie Jenkins

Local organizations give away food at Nativity School, supporting community after loss of teen

Volunteers distributed boxes of food to community members in need.

In just a few weeks the Nativity School has witnessed acts of both violence and unity right in its parking lot.

Following the shooting and subsequent death of a Harrisburg teenager outside the school, community groups came together on Tuesday to reclaim the space and spread positivity through a food giveaway.

“We picked this location for a reason,” said Jennie Jenkins, an organizer of the event and the owner of La Voz Latina Central, a local publication. “We wanted to support the community, especially the Nativity School that was plagued by violence.”

The Black Wall USA, a nonprofit fighting against racism, hosted the event to help those in the community that are in need of food.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture donated 1,300 boxed meals, each containing 30 pounds of food, for The Black Wall to distribute to local families.

“COVID is real, people are suffering, food is needed,” said Martin Harris of The Black Wall.

A large crowd of city residents waited in lines as volunteers from over 18 different organizations hauled boxes out of a packed truck. People could take as many as they needed for their family, volunteers explained.

Numerous boxes were also taken to those in Harrisburg who may not have been able to get out to the event. Jenkins said they distributed to places like the East Shore YMCA, Paxton Place Apartments and the Presbyterian Apartments.

Harris said The Black Wall USA plans to do food giveaways like this bi-weekly.

The Black Wall USA formed this past summer to solve issues around racial injustice in the Harrisburg area. Harris’s father, Earl Harris, a retired pastor, lawyer and civil rights activist, founded the organization.

Harris said the organization, under his father’s leadership, considers themselves the “evolution of Black Lives Matter.”

“We get past the point of just holding a rally,” he said. “We make a plan and execute it.”

The organization is especially interested in using politics to make a change, but also through caring for the community on a local level, like through the food giveaway.

An ambitious group, The Black Wall has many projects in the works, Harris said.

“If there’s a gap we will fill it,” he said.

For more information on The Black Wall USA, visit https://blackwallusa.org/.

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Former mayoral candidate among 17 seeking seat on Harrisburg City Council

A former city council president and mayoral candidate is one of 17 applicants vying for a seat on Harrisburg City Council.

Gloria Martin-Roberts, who lost last year to incumbent Mayor Eric Papenfuse, has applied to fill a seat formerly held by Cornelius Johnson, who resigned this month to take a new job in Atlanta.

Martin-Roberts served two terms on council, including one as president, before deciding not to seek reelection in 2011. She ran for the 103rd legislative district seat in the state’s House of Representatives in 2012 and lost to state Rep. Patty Kim. Martin-Roberts has also served on Harrisburg’s school board.

She announced her mayoral campaign in November 2016 and received 2,048 votes in the May 2017 Democratic primary. Papenfuse earned 2,663 votes. She also ran a last-minute write-in campaign in the general election.

Martin-Roberts isn’t the only Papenfuse challenger seeking a council seat. Jennie Jenkins, who mounted an unsuccessful mayoral campaign last year, has also submitted an application.

Other hopefuls include Devan Drabik, a former city employee who now works for Visit Hershey-Harrisburg; Airis Smallwood, a musician and daughter of former school board president Jennifer Smallwood; Bill Cluck, an environmental lawyer and local activist who served on the Capital Region Water board when it took over the scandal-plagued Harrisburg Authority; and Joshua Burkholder, a former Democratic congressional candidate who also has previously applied for an open council seat.

Candidates had until noon today to apply for Johnson’s former seat. The Harrisburg city clerk disclosed the full list of applicants this afternoon:

  • Devan Drabik
  • Eric Hicks Sr.
  • Shane Gallagher
  • Chris Yellowdy
  • Danielle L. Bowers
  • Elizabeth P. Hobbs
  • Josiah Yonker
  • Stephen Hickey
  • Damion Scott
  • Joshua F. Barker
  • William J. Cluck
  • Airis Smallwood
  • Gloria Martin-Roberts
  • Lakichia Lee Carrier
  • Joshua Burkholder
  • Jennie Jenkins
  • Aaron N. Holt

City clerk Kirk Petroski said that the city’s Human Resources department will vet all applications starting on Monday. The applicants eligible to serve on council will be invited to an Oct. 3 selection meeting, where each one will be given two minutes to speak before the seven-member body.

Once council members have heard from all applicants, they will nominate candidates to move on to an interview round. A nominee must receive a majority of votes to be appointed to a seat.

The new appointee will chair the Building and Housing Committee and serve through the end of 2019.

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January News Digest

Comprehensive Plan Draft Criticized, Defended

Harrisburg’s draft comprehensive plan faced a cool reception from business leaders and city administrators last month, as the city Planning Commission hosted its first hearing on the document following a months-long dispute between the city and the plan’s author.

During a hearing in City Council chambers, members of the business community said the plan stepped on the toes of property owners and private developers. They feared that the proposals for land use would restrict investment in the city.

Private citizens and representatives from neighborhood associations were more supportive. Those who spoke out commended the plan’s goals to connect parks and neighborhoods and to redesign roadways for pedestrians and cyclists.

The plan, developed by the Harrisburg-based Office of Planning and Architecture, aims to guide development and urban planning in the city for the next 20 years. The project was delayed more than a year after OPA’s principal, Bret Peters, feuded with the city about compensation, deadlines and proposals in the plan.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse wants the Planning Commission to discard the consultant’s draft entirely and adopt a new draft written by the city’s Planning Bureau. He said their in-house plan includes many of the best ideas from Peters’ draft, but is less specific and ideological.

“[Peters’] plan is a recipe for disaster,” Papenfuse said. “It’s unworkable and unsalvageable.”

Other business professionals offered more specific criticisms.

Attorney Charles Courtney spoke on behalf of his client, Adam Meinstein, who owns the former U.S. Postal Service building at 813 Market St. The draft comprehensive plan recommends dividing that property between commercial, residential and business uses. Courtney said that the specificity of the plan limited his client’s discretion for how to develop the property.

“We need to have a broader view,” Courtney said. “If and when that property is developed, all the stakeholders will want to work together and not have it hamstrung by language in the comprehensive plan.”

Kevin Kulp, president of the Harrisburg Senators, said that the plan would be catastrophic for businesses on City Island. It calls for the elimination of all surface parking on City Island and for parking to be relocated to a garage on the island and overflow lots in downtown Harrisburg.

“We don’t have enough parking as it is, and we need every bit of it,” Kulp said.

Geoffrey Knight, director of the city’s Planning Bureau, said that the plan Harrisburg adopts needs to guide development, not direct it. If an owner did not want to develop a property according to a mandate in the comprehensive plan, Knight said, the owner would have to seek a waiver from the Planning Commission, which is the first body to consider land use proposals.

Some residents came out in support. Joyce Gamble, leader of Camp Curtin Community Neighbors United, said her organization supported the plan and hoped to work with the city to shepherd it to approval. Zach Monnier, a North Street resident, said he appreciated proposals that would make renters stakeholders in their neighborhoods.

Peters later rejected the charge that he did not prioritize private business interests in his draft. Raising the aggregate real estate values in Harrisburg is central to the plan, he said, and will benefit property owners as well as residents. He also said that Harrisburg needed the kind of specific planning that made many attendees at the meeting balk.

“Laissez faire real estate and planning have been practiced in this city for 50 years, and it hasn’t worked,” Peters said.

Planning Commission members will consider the input from the meeting when they convene on Feb. 5.



Mayor’s Aide Loses Job

A senior mayoral aide who was found liable in civil court for threatening an Allison Hill resident is no longer employed with the city.

Communications Director Joyce Davis confirmed last month that Karl Singleton, former senior advisor to Mayor Eric Papenfuse, has not been employed with the city since Papenfuse learned about the court ruling. Davis could not say whether Singleton had resigned or been fired.

In December, Singleton appeared before Magisterial District Justice David O’Leary for a hearing on a civil suit filed last July by Allison Hill resident Timothy Rowbottom. Rowbottom said in court that Singleton threatened his life during a heated argument on May 9, a week before the primary municipal elections, following a debate between mayoral primary candidates at the Hilton Harrisburg.

“I’m from Hall Manor, you should be scared of me,” Singleton allegedly told Rowbottom, referring to Harrisburg’s largest public housing complex, according to the court ruling. “I know where you live; I can have you taken out.”

Rowbottom, who campaigned for Papenfuse challenger Jennie Jenkins during the mayoral primary, allegedly made racist remarks to Singleton prior to the argument. He admitted to calling Singleton “a sorry excuse for a black man” and that he (Rowbottom) “is blacker than [Singleton] ever will be,” stated the court ruling.

O’Leary found Singleton liable for making malicious threats. The judge also said that Singleton’s political position compounded his liability.

Since Rowbottom admitted in court that he was unapologetic for his racially inflammatory remarks and claimed he was unafraid of Singleton, O’Leary only awarded the plaintiff nominal damages.

Davis said she was unaware of any plans to replace Singleton, whose position was incidentally reduced to part-time in January. Papenfuse said during budget hearings in December that the recent addition of a full-time business advisor to his cabinet reduced the need for a full-time aide.



City Officials Sworn In

Harrisburg officials invoked a spirit of optimism and cooperation last month, as the city swore in its returning mayor and most of City Council.

In city hall, newly inaugurated District Justice Hanif Johnson administered the oath of office to Mayor Eric Papenfuse, Treasurer Dan Miller and council members Wanda Williams, Shamaine Daniels, Ben Allatt, Dave Madsen and Ausha Green.

At the ceremony, Papenfuse cited the progress Harrisburg has made during his first term following the financial crisis that nearly bankrupted the city and sent it into state receivership.

“Today, Harrisburg is not a symbol of failure,” he said. “In Pennsylvania and throughout the nation, Harrisburg is a glowing symbol of renaissance and renewal.”

He credited his fellow elected officials, city workers and residents for “the optimism and hope that is so palpable on our streets today.”

“Yes, we have achieved a lot working together these past four years, but much work lies ahead,” he said.

Following the ceremony, City Council held a brief reorganization meeting, unanimously re-electing Williams as council president. Allatt took over as vice president by a 4-3 vote over Councilman Westburn Majors. Daniels, who served previously as vice president, was not re-nominated.

Williams said that, for 2018, her principal goal is ensuring the construction of the police substation on Allison Hill. The city plans to raise a 1,600-square-foot modular building on S. 15th Street, with a planned opening in the late summer. Completion of the city’s comprehensive plan is another priority, she said.



Brewpub RFP Issued

Have you always dreamt of running your own brewpub? If so, you may want to give Harristown a call.

Harristown Enterprises last month issued a request for proposals (RFP) as it seeks a qualified entrepreneur to open a brewpub or full-service restaurant in a large space on Market Street long occupied by the Gingerbread Man.

CEO Brad Jones said Harristown went this route after several potential deals fell through for the space.

“We really want to get the word out,” Jones said. “We think there are a lot of people out there who will find this to be a really attractive deal.”

The 6,000-square-foot space, part of Strawberry Square in downtown Harrisburg, has been empty since the Gingerbread Man closed down in 2014.

The RFP lists several criteria:

  • Brewery or distillery with a full-service restaurant or a brewpub or restaurant with a liquor license
  • A lease of at least seven years
  • Operations seven days a week

Harristown plans to charge $10.50 per square foot of rentable space for the first year and is offering to help defray the cost of the build-out. If interested, Harristown requires a business plan, resumes and financial information by Feb. 5.

“We feel the downtown is underserved for breweries,” Jones said. “That’s the one thing we’re missing.”

U.S. Marshal Killed

A deputy U.S. marshal was killed and a York City police officer wounded last month after gunfire erupted in an Allison Hill residence, where members of a federal fugitive task force went to serve a warrant to a Harrisburg woman.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher David Hill, 45, of York County, an 11-year veteran of the Marshals Service, was killed in the gun battle.

Kevin Sturgis of Philadelphia, who opened fire at the officers, later succumbed to gunshot wounds, said law enforcement officials. The subject of the warrant, Shayla Lynette Towles Pierce, was taken into custody at the scene, charged with making terroristic threats with a weapon, officials said.

According to U.S. Attorney David J. Freed, officers in the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force arrived at the residence in the 1800-block of Mulberry Street just after 6 a.m. to serve Pierce an arrest warrant. After they announced their presence and entered, they apprehended her on the second floor of the dwelling.

After placing Pierce in handcuffs, Freed said, gunfire erupted from the second floor of the residence. Hill and York City police officer Kyle Pitts were both struck. Hill died of his wounds at UPMC Pinnacle Hospital, Freed said. Pitts underwent surgery and is expected to fully recover.

Sturgis fled to the first floor of the building and exited through the front door while firing his weapon, officials said. Officers returned fire and killed him.


School Board Vacancy

The Harrisburg school district is accepting applications for a vacancy on the school board.

Board member Matthew Krupp resigned his seat last month after assuming the elected office of Dauphin County prothonotary.

Applicants have until mid-February to submit their applications. The successful candidate will serve out the remainder of Krupp’s four-year term.

For more information, visit the school district’s website.


Major Gift for SAM

The Susquehanna Art Museum last month announced a $2 million donation from local art collectors, Marty and Tom Philips.

As a result of the donation, the museum building, located in Midtown Harrisburg, has been renamed the Susquehanna Art Museum at the Marty and Tom Philips Family Art Center. The gift is contingent on SAM raising at least $1 million in matching funds over the next two years.

In addition, SAM last month announced naming gifts from the S. Wilson and Grace M. Pollock Foundation, which will lend its name to the Education Center Gallery, and Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP, which will have its name above the museum’s entry portico.


So Noted

2K Networking announced a change of ownership last month, as Josh Hinkle, former director of business development, acquired the Harrisburg-based technology company. He took over from former CEO Glenn Pepo, who will stay on as a consultant.

Barley Snyder, which has locations throughout central and eastern Pennsylvania, last month opened its newest office in downtown Harrisburg. The office is staffed with 10 attorneys formerly of Rhoads & Sinon and is located in that firm’s former space at the M&T Bank building.

RSR Realtors last month named Jamie Berrier as president of the Lemoyne-based real estate company. She succeeds Greg Rothman, who will remain as a partner and board chairman, the company said. Moreover, RSR named Jim Koury as CEO, Garrett Rothman as vice president and broker of record and Bill Rothman as treasurer.

Smith Land & Improvement Corp., headquartered in Camp Hill, announced last month that Richard E. Jordan III, formerly chief operating officer, is now president and CEO. He replaced his father, Richard E. Jordan II, who will retain the role of chairman of the board.

The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC) announced last month the availability of more than 120 scholarship funds available to Pennsylvania students administered by its organization. For more information about scholarship opportunities or to apply, visit www.tfec.org.

Vista, a provider of autism services in eight counties in central PA, last month appointed Kirsten Yurich as chief executive officer. In this role, Yurich, previously the organization’s chief clinical officer, will oversee all operations of the Vista School, the Vista Foundation and Vista Adult Services.

Changing Hands

Balm St., 57: K. & R. Thames to C. & S. Epps, $50,000

Boas St., 318: M. Webb to C. Hughes, $144,000

Boas St., 1815: Harrisburg Rentals LLC to S. Henry, $64,000

Chestnut St., 2014 & 2015 Zarker St.: R. & B. Cielinski to T. Smallwood, $33,500

Croyden Rd., 2962: J. & R. Harle to M. Cabrera, $48,000

Cumberland St., 121: L. Williams to J. & K. Bowser, $59,000

Derry St., 1525: J. Rissler to M. & A. Mekhaiel, $40,000

Derry St., 2641: L. Knoll to E. Chandler, $79,900

Dunkle St., 631: B. Drake to A. Eubanks, $64,900

Emerald St., 521: N. Clelan to C. Gibbs, $84,900

Green St., 1509: R. Stare to A. & K. Tyson, $95,500

Green St., 1936: D. Marquette to G. Tsambas, $210,000

Green St., 2106: J. Evans to Segue Systems LLC, $39,010

Greenwood St., 2506: N. Hanna & J. Parisi to T. Davis & J. Martinez, $99,000

Hanna St., 106: S. Fahey to D. Frank, $174,000

Herr St., 1933: Bajwa & Rana LLC to N. & M. Gill, $250,000

Julia St., 1945: J. & S. Pagliaro to Kanta Estates LP, $230,000

Kelker St., 622: PA Deals LLC to End Properties LLC, $54,000

Lenox St., 1935: J. & K. Alvarez to B. McKinley, $72,500

Lewis St., 308: A. Dittman to C. Engvall & A. Bryant, $112,000

Lewis St., 322: J. Chelgren to K. Franklin, $60,000

Logan St., 2417: W. Blackway to Y. Aquayo & I. Class, $41,000

Market St., 810, 812 & 900 and 12, 21 & 23 N. 9th St., and 24 & 26 N. 10th St.: 812 Market Street LLC & Twenty Lake Holdings to 812 Market Inc. & L&B Realty Advisers LLP, $1,600,000

Market St., 1301: J. & S. Kim to 80 Second Street LLC, $180,000

Nagle St., 121: D. Gadel to P. Donohoe & J. Augustine, $182,000

North St., 1721: D. Hawkins to R. Scott, $40,000

N. 2nd St., 1813: E. Pettis & C. Barker to J. Bailey, $81,500

N. 2nd St., 2141: D. Kumpf to T. & J. Perla, $117,500

N. 2nd St., 2838: S. & B. Blank to Diamond Real Estate Solutions Inc., $90,000

N. 2nd St., 3224: K. Petrich to B. Najia Property LLC, $39,000

N. 3rd St., 512: Genex Properties to RLJG Inc., $80,000

N. 3rd St., 1209: N. Riess to R. Abel, $129,000

N. 3rd St., 1616: W. Taylor & C. Pimentel to T. Breitsprecher, $100,000

N. 6th St., 2470 & 2472: F. & E. Karnouskos & Sixth Street Holdings LLC to Rivas Property Investments LLC, $80,000

N. 17th St., 94: S&S Property Management to N. Booth, $34,000

N. Front St., 1525, unit 402: R. & R. Fried to S. Anthony, $205,000

Penn St., 1930: J. McSurdy & J. Lentini to T. Holderman, $157,400

Penn St., 2139: Central Penn Properties to PA Capital Area Investments LLC, $30,000

Pennwood Rd., 3210: J. Clark to A. & G. Powell, $117,500

Reily St., 313: Judy Fisher 2004 Trust to E. Krokonko, $77,000

Rose St., 925: D. Niles to R. Ritchie, $80,000

Rumson Dr., 281: G. Burdsal to J. Runyan, $72,000

Seneca St., 226: R. Ralls to I. Billington, $127,000

S. 2nd St., 316: Diamond Real Estate Solutions LLC to A. Radford & N. Towne, $110,000

S. 13th St., 14: H. & L. Grajales to B. Crews, $67,000

S. 14th St., 1414: A. & G. Evans to City of Harrisburg, $55,000

S. 14th St., 1416: G. Evans to City of Harrisburg, $51,500

S. 14th St., 1429: J. Newhouse to City of Harrisburg, $45,000

S. 25th St., 638: PA Deals LLC to Mid-Atlantic IRA James Eshelman IRA, $60,000

S. 26th St., 734: Secretary of Housing & Urban Development and Information Systems Networks Corp. to J. Gilpatrick, $41,000

S. 29th St., 526: Kusic Capital Group LLC to R. Morris & A. Courtney, $150,000

S. Front St., 629: Harrisburg PA Properties LLC to J. Snyder, $50,000

S. Front St., 709: D. Smith to L. Foster, $182,900

State St., 1730: Mussani & Co. LP to Next Generation TC FBO Akhter Parvez IRA, $60,750

State St., 1911: JP Homes Inc. to G. & E. Varghese, $34,000

Susquehanna St., 1637: Harrisburg Rentals LLC to S. Henry, $83,900

Susquehanna St., 1716: L. Caro to S. Goodman, $98,500

Valley Rd., 2317: M. Thomas to G. & K. Kooiker, $144,000

Walnut St., 401: M. Tamanini to B. Kowalczyk, $100,000

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He’s Gone: Harrisburg mayoral advisor out after adverse court ruling.

Harrisburg city hall

A senior mayoral aide who was found liable in civil court for threatening an Allison Hill resident is no longer employed with the city, according to a Harrisburg official.

Communications Director Joyce Davis confirmed on Monday morning that Karl Singleton, former senior advisor to Mayor Eric Papenfuse, has not been employed with the city since Tuesday, Jan. 9 — the same day that Papenfuse learned about his court ruling from a Burg reporter. Davis could not say whether Singleton had resigned or been fired.

TheBurg reported last Tuesday that Singleton appeared before Magisterial District Justice David O’Leary on Dec. 19 for a hearing on a civil suit filed last July by Allison Hill resident Timothy Rowbottom. Rowbottom said in court that Singleton threatened his life during a heated argument on May 9, a week before the primary municipal elections, following a debate between mayoral primary candidates at the Hilton Harrisburg.

“I’m from Hall Manor, you should be scared of me,” Singleton allegedly told Rowbottom, referring to Harrisburg’s largest public housing complex, according to the court ruling. “I know where you live; I can have you taken out.”

Rowbottom, who campaigned for Papenfuse challenger Jennie Jenkins during the mayoral primary, allegedly made racist remarks to Singleton prior to the argument. He admitted to calling Singleton “a sorry excuse for a black man” and that he (Rowbottom) “is blacker than [Singleton] ever will be,” stated the court ruling.

In the ruling entered on Dec. 27, O’Leary found Singleton liable for making malicious threats. The judge also said that Singleton’s political position compounded his liability.

Since Rowbottom admitted in court that he was unapologetic for his racially inflammatory remarks and claimed he was unafraid of Singleton, O’Leary only awarded the plaintiff nominal damages.

On Monday morning, however, Rowbottom said that he did take Singleton’s threats seriously. He also said he’s even more afraid now that Singleton no longer holds a position in city hall.

“I had to take him straight,” Rowbottom said. “I’m more afraid now than before. I’m terrified for my life every day.”

Davis said she was unaware of any plans to replace Singleton, whose position was incidentally reduced to part-time in January. Papenfuse said during budget hearings in December that the recent addition of a full-time business advisor to his cabinet reduced the need for a full-time aide.

Both Singleton and Papenfuse declined to comment this morning.

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Dauphin County Sheriff Visits Martin-Roberts Campaign Office as Raffle Probe Mounts

The downtown Harrisburg building housing the campaign office of Gloria Martin-Roberts.

A raffle scheme offering voters the chance to win a free iPhone X has apparent connections to the Gloria Martin-Roberts mayoral campaign, but it is unclear whether the write-in candidate sanctioned it herself.

Dauphin County Sheriff Nicholas Chimienti Jr. and an investigator went to the Martin-Roberts campaign office on N. 2nd Street at about 4:45 p.m. this afternoon, where they spoke with staffers. At that time, a box with flyers advertising the raffle and flyers proclaiming, “Vote NO Papenfuse; Write in Gloria Martin Roberts,” were in the office, along with reams of blue raffle tickets.

Chimienti would not comment on the investigation as he left the campaign office just after 5 p.m.

Campaign staffers also declined to speak with reporters and became hostile when they tried to take photos inside or outside the office. People who said they were hired by the campaign to distribute flyers (pictured below) and raffle tickets also filed out of the building and declined to comment.

Several Harrisburg voters filed complaints today after receiving raffle tickets from men stationed at the entrances of polling places. At some locations, the tickets were accompanied by flyers advertising a voter turnout initiative offering voters the chance to win prizes if they voted. The raffle offered a free iPhone X, valued at $1,000, to a first-prize winner, $500 cash to a second-place winner, and a $200 Best Buy gift card to a third winner.

Subsequently, early this afternoon, Dauphin County Judge Arthur Evans issued an injunction that all raffle tickets be seized from precincts 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14. He further ordered that all Dauphin County sheriffs visit all polling stations and seize all raffle tickets.

Devar Bailey of Harrisburg said he was stationed at the 10-1 polling location at Woodbine and N. 3rd streets. He got the job after answering a Craigslist ad offering $10 an hour to hand out materials that included pro-Martin-Roberts flyers and raffle tickets.

“A lot of people took it,” he said, adding that he was recruited by a woman he identified as “Jennie Jenkins.”

Jenkins, a former candidate for mayor, refused to be interviewed for this story, saying that all questions should be directed to her attorney.

At the same location, a poll watcher left behind a bag of flyers and raffle tickets, which was later obtained by TheBurg (pictured below).

Bailey said he was instructed to visit the Martin-Roberts headquarters on N. 2nd Street at 8 p.m. to get paid. He said he worked a total of nine hours, until 3 p.m., handing out material.

While Bailey was recruited by a Craigslist ad, other large groups of poll workers were recruited from local shelters, including Bethesda Mission and Downtown Daily Bread, according to sources.

Martin-Roberts lost to Mayor Eric Papenfuse in the May Democratic primary for mayor. She declared just last week that she would mount a write-in campaign for the seat.

This story was updated to include that Jennie Jenkins refused comment.

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September News Digest

Madsen Named to Council

Dave Madsen is Harrisburg’s newest council member, as City Council last month appointed the Midtown resident to a four-month term.

Madsen takes the seat vacated by former Councilman Jeffrey Baltimore, who resigned in August.

Six city residents applied for the position, and City Council named four finalists: Madsen, Brian Ostella, Jennie Jenkins and Joshua Burkholder. In the end, Madsen, Ostella and Jenkins received nominations from council, which selected Madsen, a technician with the state Department of Revenue, by a 4-2 vote.

Also last month, the Democratic Committee of Dauphin County selected Madsen to appear on the November ballot as its nominee for a two-year council seat to fill the remainder of Baltimore’s term.

In that committee contest, Madsen narrowly bested city official Devan Drabik after Jenkins withdrew her name from contention and threw her support behind Madsen.

Civil War Museum Accord Reached

Harrisburg’s mayor and a city museum have put aside their contentious past in a deal that would give the museum ownership of its permanent collection.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse and board members of the National Civil War Museum last month outlined an agreement in which the city would sell the collection to the museum for $5.25 million and begin to charge the museum rent.

“My goal has always been to reach an agreement in the city’s best interest, and I believe this is in everyone’s best interest,” Papenfuse said.

After becoming mayor in 2014, Papenfuse strongly objected to deals reached under former Mayor Steve Reed that allowed the museum to display the city-owned artifacts at no cost and that charged the museum just $1 a year in rent for the city-owned building. The new agreement, which must be approved by City Council, addresses both those issues.

First, the city would sell the artifacts to the museum for $5.25 million. In turn, the city would put $1 million into a reserve fund to pay for capital improvements to the building, which the city would continue to own. The other $4 million would pay for improvements to Reservoir Park, where the museum is located.

Under the deal, the museum has five years to raise the $5.25 million to purchase about 25,000 artifacts. If it fails to raise the money within that time, the city would be allowed to sell 20 percent of the museum’s collection.

The agreement also outlines a graduated schedule for the payment of rent.

For the first five years, the museum would pay the city $45,000 per year in rent. However, no money would change hands, as the cumulative amount over that period almost equals the amount of money that the museum is owed by the city for unreimbursed building repair costs dating back to 2009.

“It took us a long time to be here, but I think we realize that this made a heck of a lot of sense for both (parties),” said Gene Barr, a museum board member.”

Harrisburg Finances Praised

State officials last month offered an optimistic forecast for Harrisburg’s 2017 finances, but the city’s ability to maintain a balanced budget through the end of the year remains uncertain.

Members of the city’s Act 47 team appeared before City Council to give a mid-year assessment of the current budget.

Praising the “exemplary” leadership of Mayor Eric Papenfuse and City Council, the team summarized the city’s 2017 finances through June and offered recommendations for the second half of the year.

While the team commended the city’s financial vigilance, Harrisburg will see some challenges looking into the second half of the year.

For example, the city doesn’t yet know if it can count on its annual payment from the state. In past years, the state has made a single, lump-sum payment to Harrisburg to cover the costs of supporting the state Capitol complex.

“Not getting $5 million from the state is a little concerning,” said Bruce Weber, city finance director. “Even though we may be in good financial position now, it’s tenuous.

Term Limits Proposed

Former Harrisburg Mayor Steve Reed served seven full terms, leaving financial devastation in his wake when he left office after 28 years.

City Council President Wanda Williams says she now wants to prevent a future mayor from staying in office too long, thus endangering the welfare of the city. So, she has introduced an ordinance that would limit future Harrisburg mayors to two terms.

“I don’t want that to happen again,” she said.

Mayor Eric Papenfuse said that, in general, he supports term limits for officeholders and might even consider them as part of a new Home Rule charter. However, he does not support this proposal because, he said, one branch of government cannot use term limits “to control” another.

In contrast, he said he might support a proposal that subjects all municipally elected officials to term limits. Williams said that she might go for that.

“If he wants to consider council members, that’s fine with me, too,” said Williams, who, with 12 years on council, is the longest-serving elected official in the city government.


Hamilton Health to Expand

A planned expansion at Hamilton Health Center in Allison Hill will increase pre-K access for children in that neighborhood, while also providing additional parking for the facility’s patients and employees.

Last month, Harrisburg City Council approved Hamilton Health’s application to add a new parking lot and a 25,000-squre-foot building to its facility on S. 17th Street. The building will house classrooms for Capital Area Head Start and another childcare facility.

Jo Pepper, executive director of Capital Area Head Start, said that the Hamilton Health expansion will allow her organization to direct more resources to its highest-need area, adding 80 slots starting next year.

“Every year, one of our biggest problems is finding safe, age-appropriate facility space in our areas of need,” Pepper said. “We’ve been looking for additional space in Allison Hill for five years now.”

Capital Area Head Start will occupy five classrooms in the new Hamilton Health building.

“We are a one-stop shop for families to access what they need,” said Jeanine Peterson, CEO of Hamilton Health. “Co-locating with Head Start eliminates a lot of the barriers that a lot of families have in ensuring that their kids get quality health care.”

New Office Building Planned

Downtown Harrisburg may soon get its first new office building in several years, as Harristown plans to clear and develop a narrow space off of Market Square.

Asbestos remediation work began last month on 21 S. 2nd Street, a small, three-story, dilapidated brick building that once housed the Coronet restaurant on the ground floor. Demolition will follow, said Brad Jones, president and CEO of Harristown Enterprises.

“This building was beyond repair,” Jones said. “Rehabilitation is always our preference when working on an old building, but, unfortunately, this former restaurant had severe water damage and asbestos and couldn’t be saved.”

Harristown hopes to construct a new, six-story office building next year, with retail or restaurant space on the first floor, once demolition is completed in February 2018. It expects to combine the space with a renovation of the historic SkarlotosZonarich building next door.

Home Sales Continue Rise

Area home sales resumed their upward trend in August, rising 4.4 percent year over year.

Sales totaled 989 units versus 947 in August 2016, while the median price rose to $184,900 against 169,900 the year earlier, according to the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors.

In Dauphin County, 325 homes sold compared to 311 homes in the year-ago period, and the median price was $169,900 versus $157,500, GHAR said. In Cumberland County, sales increased by 10 to 346 units, and the median price rose to $204,950 compared to $178,450 in August 2016.

Perry County had sales of 36 homes, down by two units, while the median price decreased to $159,450 versus $162,250 a year ago.

GHAR covers all of Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry counties and parts of York, Lebanon and Juniata counties.

So Noted

Amanda Arbour
last month was named the new executive director of the LGBT Center of Central PA. Arbour replaces Louie Marven, who served for more than five years in the post.

Beau MacGinnes, gallery curator for Zeroday Brewing Co., captured the first-place prize for “Windows of Perception,” his entry into Wildwood Park’s annual “Art in the Wild” competition. Eve Gurbacki and Adrianne Zimmerman took second place with “When Trees Dream,” and Sean Rafferty and Katlyn Goodyear won third for “Equus Cabullus.”

Boo-Boo’s Barbecue held its grand opening last month at 912 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg. The new eatery, which features barbecued meats and homestyle sides, is owned by Litho “Boo Boo” Ware, a former city police officer.

Harrisburg Bike Share plans to launch this month with 10 city locations downtown, Midtown and on City Island. For a $25 annual fee, users will be able to use the bike-sharing service. For details, visit www.bike.zagster.com.

Meeka Fine Jewelry last month held a ribbon cutting at its location at 2135 Market St., Camp Hill. Owner Monika Kroll co-locates her studio in the renovated space, which features products from eight independent artisans.

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-11) last month announced that he would run for the U.S. Senate in 2018. Barletta, who is in his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, would vie for the seat currently held by Sen. Robert Casey Jr.

Sam Jordan has been promoted to vice president, commercial banking, for S&T Bank. He previously served as assistant vice president, commercial banking.

Timothy Reardon last month announced his retirement as executive director of Tri-County Regional Planning Commission following a seven-year tenure in the position. The commission provides planning services and expertise for the greater Harrisburg area.

Zeroday Brewing Co. last month celebrated the grand opening of the Zeroday Outpost inside the stone building of the Broad Street Market in Harrisburg. To mark the occasion, a “community ribbon cutting” was held, with patrons cutting small pieces of ribbon.

Changing Hands

Adrian St., 2249: N. Townsend to T. Bui, $48,000

Berryhill St., 2338: M. Ortiz to PA Deals LLC, $30,000

Berryhill St., 2432: PA Deals LLC to E. Shelly, $63,500

Boas St., 421: B. Andreozzi to M. Berlin, $115,000

Boas St., 433: D. & D. Dreher to S. Rives, $120,000

Brookwood St., 2619: B. Sweger to J. Torres, $65,200

Buckthorn St., 223 & 225; 1208 Walnut St.; 1468 Zarker St.; 2144 N. 4th St.; 1835 North St.: LMK Properties LLC to RT Propertiez LLC, $86,867

Calder St., 102: K. Goodling & K. Shepherd to C. Hommel, $164,900

Derry St., 2435: PA Deals LLC to J. Tucker, $64,000

Fulton St., 1408: J. Bancroft to K. Black, $109,900

Fulton St., 1413: A. Beasy to C. Wilson, $118,000

Herr St., 214: Leonard J. Dobson Family Limited Partnership to P. Dee, $58,000

Green St., 800: J. & S. Wesley to D. & C. Seltzer, $219,900

Green St., 922: M. Roan to S. Winkeljohn & D. Black, $184,900

Green St., 1201: Equity Trust Co. Gordon Trump IRA to D. & L. Butcher, $189,900

Green St., 1417: B. Williams to L. Santos & O. Labinjo, $173,000

Green St., 1926: W. O’Brien to M. Stier & D. Gottlieb, $210,000

Green St., 2014: H. & S. Johnson to R. & J. Tilley, $135,000

Green St., 2137: N. Morrison to T. Sangrey, $51,000

Green St., 2138: C. Ly to Round Rock Investments LLC, $87,000

Green St., 2340: E. & K. Woolever to J. Clmens, $184,000

Green St., 3240: J. Mueller to M. Sangrey, $115,000

Hamilton St., 232: T. Gagnolet & M. Barth to A. & M. Fretz, $165,000

Harris St., 238: D. Leaman to W. Davis & T. Helwig, $194,824

Harris Terr., 2483: H. Nguyen to HT Properties LLC, $35,000

Lenox St., 1910: M. & J. Bryant to RTD Properties and Management, $40,000

Lexington St., 2600: M. Sink to Harrisburg Properties LLC, $38,500

Logan St., 2000 & 2001 N. 3rd St.: Otterbein Evangelical & Z. Haverstock to New Day Way of the Cross Church in Christ, $85,000

Logan St., 2246: Dobson Family Partnership to S. Powell, $42,294

Maclay St., 219: Kusic Capital Group LLC to Good Management LLC, $105,000

Mercer St., 2424: L. Barber to R. Murphy III, $50,000

Mercer St., 2455: MidFirst Bank to D. Pham, $32,500

Moore St., 2122 & 2122A: 3 Anvi LLC to Harrisburg Homes Investment LLC, $50,000

Nagle St., 120: J. Piglacampo to J. & D. Griffin, $168,500

Naudain St., 1522 & 1524: H. & C. Myers to ERD Small Property LLC, $40,000

N. 2nd St., 1105: K. Brett to Hamr Second Street LLC, $112,000

N. 2nd St., 1331: E. Benion to S. Mimm, $70,120

N. 2nd St., 1714: R. & N. Walborn to Harrisburg Redevelopment Group LLC, $325,000

N. 2nd St., 1909: PA Deals LLC to S. Jusufovic, $35,000

N. 2nd St., 2527: S. & A. Andrus to GRSW Stewart Real Estate Trust, $193,500

N. 2nd St., 3031: J. Ritchie to D. & M. Main, $96,000

N. 3rd St., 1620: K. Reimer to J. Reimer, $90,000

N. 3rd St., 2010: R. Blumenstein to N&R Group LLC, $31,000

N. 3rd St., 2204: R. & M. Zeigler to P. Ford, $146,000

N. 4th St., 1701: R. Steinmetz to S. Biray, $129,000

N. 4th St., 1703: D. Hopkins to S. Bradley & R. Daman, $123,900

N. 5th St., C. & M. Enoch and S. Pollard to S. Jawhar, $35,000

N. 6th St., 1316: A. Kraft & B. Kephart to T. Jones, $92,000

N. 7th St., 2612: Great Foods Inc. to V. Galasso, $50,000

N. 18th St., 112: Bigfoot Properties to Amiracle4sure Inc., $52,500

N. Front St., 1525, Unit 208: I. Valeo to S. & L. Weitzman, $115,000

N. Front St., 1525, Unit 511: A. & C. Yastishock to S. Sulecki, $200,000

N. Front St., 1525, Unit 601: A. Prashar to J. Devine, $174,900

Penn St., 1706: W. & M. Fontana to C. Harris, $132,000

Race St., 612: C. Pinto to D. Amaguayo, $180,000

Rudy Rd., 2492: My Neighbor LLC to HT Properties LLC, $33,600

S. 2nd St., 21: D. Bratic to South Second Associates LLC, $150,000

S. 17th St., 209: K. Lawson to M. Khan, $60,000

S. 17th St., 447: O. & Y. Han to C&P Property Management, Inc., $60,000

S. 28th St., 726: R. McClure to P. & L. Brown, $35,000

S. 29th St., 712: C. Kiscadden to M. Gill, $92,900

State St., 234: G. & L. Martin to Harrisburg Buildings & Grounds Co., $163,000

State St., 1508: 1508 State Street LLC to Harrisburg Homes Investment LLC, $40,000

Woodlawn St., 2511: T. Hoa to PA Double Deals LLC, $130,000

Harrisburg property sales for August 2017, greater than $30,000. Source: Dauphin County. Data is assumed to be accurate.

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Back to Back: County Democrats nominate Dave Madsen for Harrisburg Council seat.

Dave Madsen makes his pitch to members of the Dauphin County Democratic Committee before tonight’s nomination vote.

Dave Madsen’s service on City Council got a likely two-year extension on Wednesday night, thanks to a vote of confidence from the Dauphin County Democratic Committee.

At a packed nomination meeting in the Kline Library, DCDC voted to make Madsen the party candidate for the November city council election. Madsen beat out four other nominees to clinch his spot on the ballot.

His victory came one day after he was appointed by council to serve a four-month term, filling the seat vacated by Jeffrey Baltimore in August. Madsen will run for the same seat in November to serve out the remaining two years of Baltimore’s term.

Madsen’s win in November is all but inevitable, since the county Republicans have not put forth a candidate for the seat.

Madsen secured 21 of the committee’s 44 votes at Wednesday’s nomination meeting. Devan Drabik, the city’s business development director who said she would quit her job to take a council seat, followed with 18 votes. Three votes went to former city Councilwoman Patricia Stringer. Steven Williams, who was absent from the meeting, and Jennie Jenkins, who announced her withdrawal before the vote took place, got a single vote each.

Since Madsen faces likely election in November, he plans to focus most of his energy during the campaign season on promoting other Democratic candidates, he said.

“It’s about pushing the ticket,” he said after the meeting. “We have competitive races for the state Supreme Court and at the county level.”

Madsen said that his most immediate priority as a council member will be helping the city approve a 2018 budget. After that, he hopes to work on local campaign finance reform.

“It’s something that’s talked about a lot at the national and state level, and I’m looking forward to promoting it locally,” Madsen said.

He also came out in favor of mayoral term limits, a topic of debate at last night’s council work session. Madsen said he supports 12-year term limits for both the executive and legislative branches.

When asked about long-term financial planning for the city, Madsen said that he would approve a Home Rule charter “as a last ditch effort” and only after a one-year campaign to engage and educate the public. He also supports the city’s application for a three-year extension on its Act 47 status and intends to speak with Harrisburg’s state representatives about maintaining the local services tax at its current rate.

Author: Lizzy Hardison

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Decision Made: Madsen named new Harrisburg councilman.

Dave Madsen (center) chats with fellow council hopeful Brian Ostella at last week’s Harrisburg council meeting.

Dave Madsen is Harrisburg’s newest council member, as City Council today appointed the Midtown resident to a four-month term.

Madsen takes the seat vacated by former Councilman Jeffrey Baltimore, who resigned last month.

Six city residents applied for the position, and City Council named four finalists: Madsen, Brian Ostella, Jennie Jenkins and Joshua Burkholder. In the end, Madsen, Ostella and Jenkins received nominations from council, which selected Madsen, a technician with the state Department of Revenue, by a 4-2 vote.

Council members Wanda Williams, Ben Allatt, Shamaine Daniels and Destini Hodges supported Madsen. Councilman Cornelius Johnson voted for Ostella, and Councilman Westburn Majors voted for Jenkins.

Madsen remained for the lengthy work session that followed his appointment. He is expected to be sworn in before council’s legislative session next week.

This was the second time that council attempted to fill the seat. Last week, council met in a special session to name a new member to the seven-person body. However, because Hodges was absent, no nominee could garner the four votes necessary for the seat.

Madsen will only serve four months. In the November general election, voters will decide who will serve out the remaining two years of Baltimore’s term. Both the Dauphin County Democratic and Republican committees are eligible to nominate one candidate to appear on the November ballot for the seat.

Tomorrow night, the Democratic committee will meet to decide who will be its nominee. Madsen said he also has applied for that nomination.

Author: Lawrance Binda

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Come Back Next Week: Battle still on for empty City Council seat.

Brian Ostella (left) and Dave Madsen (center) emerged as the final two nominees for an open Harrisburg City Council seat.

Harrisburg City Council nominated two candidates on Thursday night to fill a vacant short-term seat, but ultimately failed to summon a majority to make a final appointment.

Brian Ostella, a longtime member of the city’s audit committee, and Dave Madsen, a technician with the state Department of Revenue, each garnered a nomination from council members at the end of a special session this evening. But since Councilwoman Destini Hodges was absent, the remaining five members split the ballot 3-2 in favor of Madsen – one vote short of the four-member majority it needed to appoint him.

Council recessed and will attempt another round of voting at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday with all four finalists back in contention: Ostella, Madsen, former mayoral candidate Jennie Jenkins and former congressional candidate Joshua Burkholder. Council members can nominate any of the four for the seat.

The purpose of Thursday’s meeting was to hear from six residents hoping to replace Jeff Baltimore, a councilman who resigned on Aug. 11, two years into his four-year term. Following procedure set by the city charter, the special session consisted of three rounds to select a replacement: introductions, interviews and nominations.

Each of the six candidates who applied for the position — Burkholder, Jenkins, Madsen, Ostella, Christopher Conroy and Patricia Stringer — was permitted two minutes to address council about their experience and qualifications. Burkholder, Madsen, Ostella and Jenkins were all invited to appear for interviews, but, in the end, only Madsen and Ostella received nominations from council members.

Council President Wanda Williams said that the council tried to reach Hodges by phone for voting, but lost their connection before the nominating round. Hodges wasn’t present because of previously planned trip.

The candidate that council selects on Tuesday will serve through January.

Separately, the Democratic and Republican county committees are allowed to nominate one candidate each to appear on the general election ballot in November for the seat. The winner will take office in January and serve the remaining two years of Baltimore’s council term.

This story was updated to clarify that all four finalists will be back in contention on Tuesday when City Council reconvenes.

Author: Lizzy Hardison

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Your Next Rep.: Six residents apply for open Harrisburg council seat.

Next week, Harrisburg City Council will select from six applicants to fill the vacant council seat.

Six city residents want to be the next Harrisburg City Council member, as the deadline passed today to submit applications for the open seat.

The applicants include a former city councilwoman and several residents who have run previously for elected office. They are:

  • Joshua Burkholder, a former CBS21 News reporter who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Congress last year and now works as a multimedia digital artist at Hollywood Casino at Penn National.
  • Christopher Conroy, a political newcomer who manages a medical practice affiliated with PinnacleHealth.
  • Jennie Jenkins, a former Harrisburg police officer who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for mayor last May.
  • Dave Madsen, a tax account collections technician with the PA Department of Revenue who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for council in May.
  • Brian Ostella, a long-time member of the city’s audit committee who previously ran unsuccessfully for Harrisburg treasurer.
  • Patricia Stringer, a former city councilwoman who since has run unsuccessfully for another seat on council.

Residents had until noon today to declare their interest and submit applications to serve on the seven-member body. The seat became vacant earlier this month following the resignation of former Councilman Jeffrey Baltimore.

On Thursday, beginning at 5:15 p.m., council will choose from among the six applicants. Candidates will be given one to two minutes to explain why they’re interested in the seat. Afterwards, council members will nominate one candidate of their choice. Council then will interview the nominees before voting for their selection.

The new council member will only serve a four-month appointment. The Dauphin County Democratic and Republican committees are slated to select their own nominees, who will appear on the general election ballot in November for a two-year council seat to serve out the remainder of Baltimore’s term. The winner of the election will take office in early January.

In their applications, candidates were asked to state why they want to serve on City Council. Their responses were as follows:

Burkholder: Working closely with the public in the media and during my run for Congress, I recognized in myself the strong desire to become involved in my community and take part in issues that affect so many lives. I listened to the people and began to realize that their voices weren’t being heard, and they were not being represented by those they trusted to do so. It is vital to stay close to the community and listen to the concerns of the constituents and to make government and its process accessible to all people. I have been a part of the Harrisburg community for many years and I would like to take on a role that will improve the quality of life for our people.

Conroy: I am born and raised in Harrisburg, and feel a strong commitment to the continual improvement of our city. I believe that as the city continues to grow and change, we citizens must contribute all of our personal skillsets to our government so that it is fully responsive to the needs of each and every person living here. I would like to bring my understanding of new technologies to engage new avenues of growth for Harrisburg. The committee on which I would chair, if chosen, is working on precisely the issue for which I have ideas.

Jenkins: I want to represent the public, while balancing the well-being and interests of the city.

Madsen: I want to be a councilman that works for everyone and makes sure every voice is heard in city hall. If elected to the council, I will push for real change that will preserve our city for future generations. I would like to work with members of council and the mayor’s office to ensure that Harrisburg is set on a stable path.

Ostella: I am interested in serving on Council because I want to help the citizens of Harrisburg. I believe true leadership is found in serving others and Harrisburg needs more leaders who are willing to serve and do what is best for the whole, not just what is best for themselves. I believe that my government, corporate and nonprofit experience make me qualified to help serve all of the stakeholders in Harrisburg. Whether they are a citizen, a business owner, a government official, and/or a visitor to our city, they all have a voice in how the city’s policy decisions impact them.

Stringer: I have always wanted to serve the residents of Harrisburg by representing them in a professional manner, engaging them civically, speaking out on their behalf and assisting them with any concerns relating to the city of Harrisburg.

Author: Lawrance Binda

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