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Carlisle
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke in Carlisle in April 1961

Linda Goodridge Steckley never experienced such force and passion from the pulpit of the Allison United Methodist Church in Carlisle.

“It was frightening,” she said. “We were just beginning to sense the turmoil of the civil rights movement that would change our world and lead ultimately to [Obama’s] historic election.”

The date was April 11, 1961, and Steckley was among the crowd listening to a sermon by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. She was a member of the Dickinson College Class of 1963.

King was in Carlisle that April morning as part of the college’s Representative American Preacher series. His sermon at the Allison Church took place almost two years and five months before his historic March on Washington and the “I Have a Dream” speech on Aug. 28, 1963.

This April 4 marks the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination by James Earl Ray in Memphis. Steckley was one of several alumni quoted in an article published on Dec. 30, 2008, that memorialized his Carlisle visit. Michelle Simmons, former editor of the Dickinson Magazine, posted the article online in January 2017 ahead of the February MLK Jr. Symposium hosted by the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity.

John Cornew of the Dickinson College Class of 1963 recalled the anticipation of a crowd so large there were students sitting in the aisle and standing in the rear of the Allison church sanctuary.

“The single most important issue on anyone’s mind was civil rights,” Cornew said. “Everyone who was there was so excited to hear from him [King].”

The Sentinel ran a story on April 8 announcing King’s upcoming appearance. The newspapers referred to King as an “anti-segregation leader” and the current pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

“He was prominent as president of the Montgomery Improvement Association which led the protest against segregation seating in the buses of Montgomery, Ala.,” The Sentinel article reads. “At the time, he was pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery.”

The 2008 article said it had taken Dickinson College two years to bring King to campus. King was originally scheduled to appear on Nov. 24, 1959, but was delayed by fog in Atlanta the day before.

Between 1959 and 1961, King had become the pastor of the Ebenezer church and president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. The 2008 article mentioned that the Freedom Rides and lunch counter sit-ins were in full swing.

The sermon was covered in the April 14 edition of The Dickinsonian, the student newspaper. In it, King described the three dimensions of life as length, “a natural and healthy concern with oneself and goals;” breadth, “an outward concern for the welfare of others;” and height, “a reaching for God.”

“Many of the problems in the South today are caused because men are too occupied with the first dimension, their own selfishness and political security, economic positions, and social status,” King said. “If they would add breadth to length, the jangling discord would become a harmonious symphony.”

The Sentinel said King thought of conformity as the greatest sin of the South and hypocrisy as the greatest sin of the North. He had hoped that President John F. Kennedy could provide the leadership the country needed to change the American attitude towards discrimination.

In the Dickinsonian article, King described segregation as a system primarily concerned with a particular group of people who believe in “white supremacy,” “an idea that one particular race is better than others and responsible for all contributions to the world.

“All life is interrelated, and no nation today can live alone,” King said. He suggested the U.S. could solve its surplus food problem by storing food in the stomachs of the starving masses in India.

King also challenged the presence of materialistic atheism brought on by industrialization and scientific discoveries. “In spite of new developments God is still around,” King said. “It is this faith which guided me in the last few years. When people have asked how I can persist I answer ‘The cause is right, and we have cosmic companionship.’ Thus we can walk and never get weary and this keeps us going.”

King was on such a tight schedule, he only had time for lunch with church organist Jon Steen and Heber Harper, a Dickinson College professor of political science. Steen was a member of the Class of 1963.

“He’d look at you and smile but didn’t say much,” Steen said of King. “You really didn’t know what was on his mind.” King was unable to grant any requests for college conferences or interviews with journalists.

“During this period of transition and conflict in the South, I find it necessary to restrict myself to short trips more than before,” King said in April 1961.

In 1957 Time magazine selected King as one of the outstanding personalities of the year. The Sentinel reported that King had received more than 40 awards, citations and honors for his work on behalf of equality for blacks.


Trump wants military to secure border with Mexico

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants to use the military to secure the U.S.-Mexico border until his promised border wall is built.

Speaking during a visit with Baltic leaders, Trump said he’s been discussing the idea with his Defense Secretary, Jim Mattis.

“We’re going to be doing things militarily. Until we can have a wall and proper security, we’re going to be guarding our border with the military,” he said, calling the measure a “big step” that had rarely been done before.

Federal law prohibits the use of active duty service members for law enforcement inside the U.S., unless specifically authorized by Congress. But over the past 12 years, presidents have twice sent National Guard troops to the border to bolster security and assist with surveillance and other support.

The White House counsel’s office has been working on the idea for several weeks.

Trump has been frustrated about the lack of progress building what was the signature promise of his campaign: a “big, beautiful wall” along the Mexican border. He’s previously suggested using the Pentagon’s budget to pay for building the wall, arguing it is a national security priority, despite strict rules that prohibit spending that’s not authorized by Congress.

The Department of Homeland Security and White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment. At the Pentagon, officials were struggling to answer questions about the plan, including rudimentary details on whether it would involve National Guard members, as similar programs in the past have done.

But officials appeared to be considering a model similar to a 2006 operation in which former President George W. Bush deployed National Guard troops to the southern border in an effort to increase security and surveillance.

Under Operation Jump Start, 6,000 National Guard troops were sent to assist border patrol with non-law enforcement duties while additional border agents were hired and trained. Over the two years, about 29,000 National Guard forces participated in the missions, as forces rotated in and out.

Active duty U.S. troops weren’t used for the operation because of legal prohibitions.

In addition, President Barack Obama sent about 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border in 2010 to beef up efforts to battle drug smuggling and illegal immigration.

Texas has also deployed military forces to its 800-mile border with Mexico. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, now serving as Trump’s energy secretary, ordered the deployment of 1,000 Texas National Guardsmen to the Rio Grande Valley in summer 2014 in response to a sharp rise in the numbers of Central American children crossing the border alone.

White House officials were scheduled to meet later Tuesday with DHS border security personnel and attorneys to discuss further details, according to a White House official speaking on condition of anonymity. The White House counsel’s office has been working on the issue for some time, the person said.

The Posse Comitatus Act, passed after the Civil War, is the main federal law prohibiting the use of American service members in law enforcement, unless specifically authorized by Congress.

Trump’s comments came a day after administration officials announced they were crafting a new legislative package aimed at closing immigration “loopholes” and Trump called on Republican lawmakers to immediately pass a border bill using the “Nuclear Option if necessary” to muscle it through, as part of a flurry of tweets on the subject over the last several days.

The president has also been declaring protections for so-called Dreamer immigrants “dead,” accusing Democrats of allowing “open borders, drugs and crime” and warning Mexico to halt the passage of “caravans” of immigrants or risk U.S. abandonment of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trump has been seething since realizing the spending bill he signed last month barely funds the wall he has promised supporters. The $1.3 trillion funding package included $1.6 billion in border wall spending — far less than the $25 billion Trump made a last-minute push to secure. And much of that money can be used only to repair existing segments, not to build new sections.

Among the new measures the administration is pursuing: ending special safeguards that prevent the immediate deportation of children arrested at the border and traveling alone. Under current law, unaccompanied children from countries that don’t border the U.S. are turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services and undergo often lengthy deportation proceedings before an immigration judge instead of being immediately deported.

The administration is also pushing Congress to terminate a 1997 court settlement that requires the government to release children from custody to parents, adult relatives or other caretakers as their court cases proceed. Officials complain that many children never show up at their hearings.

Trump announced last year that he was ending DACA, the program that protects “Dreamer” immigrants and allows them to work legally in the country, but the Department of Homeland Security is continuing to issue renewals because of a court order.

Trump also warned Mexico to halt the passage of about 1,100 migrants, many from Honduras, who had been marching in a caravan along roadsides and train tracks in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.

These “Stations of the Cross” migrant caravans have been held in southern Mexico for at least the last five years. After days of walking along roadsides and train tracks, the organizers plan to try to get buses to take participants to the final event, an immigrants’ rights conference in the central state of Puebla later this week.

“If it reaches our border, our laws are so weak and so pathetic,” Trump claimed. “It’s like we have no border.”


Carlisle
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Carlisle
Development timeline to be unveiled at Carlisle Borough Council workshop

A tentative timeline for the Carlisle Urban Redevelopment Plan and Connectivity Project is expected to be presented at the borough council’s workshop meeting Wednesday night.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the borough hall, 53 W. South St.

The agenda for the meeting lists a special presentation from Herbert, Rowland & Grubic Inc., the program manager for the project. A post on the borough’s Facebook page says that the public will also have the opportunity to ask questions about the plan.

Created in 2013, the Carlisle Urban Redevelopment Plan is a response to the closing of three industrial sites on the north side of town within a three-year span.

Construction has been ongoing at the former Carlisle Tire & Wheel site along North College Street where Cleveland-based developer PIRHL partnered with the Cumberland County Housing and Redevelopment Authority to bring 40 townhomes, 12 flat apartments, a 2,000-square-foot community building and a two-acre park to the site.

At the former IAC/Masland site, which is owned by Carlisle Events, work is expected to begin this summer or early fall on the Concours at Carlisle, a development consisting of more than 20 condos designed to store and display automobiles. Plans for the site also include a four-story, 95-room Homewood Suites hotel, a restaurant and residential units.

Real Estate Collaborative LLC, a subsidiary of the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp., recently received nearly $3 million in loans and grants from the state to help with the redevelopment of the former Tyco Electronics site on Hamilton Street. In addition to the Tyco property, Real Estate Collaborative controls two adjacent lots with frontage on North Hanover Street.

The concept plan for the site includes a 7,500-square-foot brewpub on lots fronting Hanover Street. The current Tyco building is expected to be demolished to make way for two three-story office buildings with retail businesses on the first floor.

The Carlisle Connectivity Project will make improvements to the roads near the planned development. The project includes the construction of connecting roads — B and C streets — through the former industrial sites between Fairground Avenue and College Street to restore the grid system. Three roundabouts are planned: one at B and College streets, one at B Street and Fairground Avenue, and one at North Hanover and Penn streets.

Materials from the presentation will be put online after the meeting, according to the borough’s Facebook page.


Govt-and-politics
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Toomey, Carlisle business owners talk tax law benefits

Several area businesses say they expect to reap some benefit from the federal tax overhaul passed late last year, which was discussed Tuesday in a roundtable event with U.S. Sen Pat Toomey.

Business owners from the Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce met with Toomey on Tuesday, where Pennsylvania’s Republican senator pressed the benefits of the GOP’s tax plan.

But Toomey also cast a less enthusiastic tone about future policy, given the deep divisions in Washington not just with Democrats but within the Republican Party during the Trump era.

“This year, I don’t’ expect any big landmark bills like the tax reform,” Toomey said. “There is some possibility of an infrastructure bill, but I think that’s not likely this year.”

The session was held at Desperate Times Brewery in Carlisle, which was opened by Matt and Susan Dunn in 2016. The Dunns voiced optimism that changes to the federal tax code would help their growth plans for 2018, which includes increased sales of beer to other bars and restaurants.

“We’re going to have to hire full-time sales people for that this year, and hopefully a lower tax burden will make that easier,” Matt Dunn said. “Currently, [Susan] is doing all the sales herself, and running the kitchen, which is just too much.”

Dunn also said the federal excise tax on beer was dropped from $7 per barrel to $3.50 per barrel. One barrel is roughly two kegs’ worth, which has saved Desperate Times a fair amount of money on its first quarterly submission, Dunn said.

Toomey ran through a number of points about the tax overhaul that the GOP frequently stresses — 93 percent of American families will see some savings from the changes, and corporate entities will see their base rate reduced from 35 percent to 21 percent.

Income received from so-called “pass through” entities such as LLCs and partnerships now receives a 20 percent deduction, making the tax rate on investors’ and business owners’ income more competitive with the rate on corporate profits. And the deduction of capital depreciation has been sped up and extended, allowing businesses to get bigger breaks from buying new equipment.

“We wanted to incentivize capital expenditures,” Toomey said. “Investment in capital, in my view, is the building block of a capitalist economy.”

The question remains how much of the tax cuts, which are anticipated to put a $1.5 trillion hole in the federal budget over the next 10 years, will go toward this goal.

Democrats have hammered Toomey and other GOP economic gurus on the distribution of the cuts. Roughly 65 percent of the total tax savings will go to the top 20 percent of households, with the bottom 80 percent of Americans sharing 35 percent of the benefit, according to the Congressional Budget Office and Tax Policy Center.

Further, while businesses may choose to invest in more jobs and/or higher wages, many are also using a chunk of their tax savings to bolster their stock prices through buybacks.

Toomey’s Democratic counterpart, Sen. Bob Casey, released a report in February citing $100 billion in stock buybacks announced immediately after the tax bill’s passage, describing the GOP’s plan as a “corporate windfall” that puts most of the money in the pockets of financial institutions, and little money back into workers or capital.

On Tuesday, business owners offered some examples that would help Toomey fight back. Rob Kole, president of insurance firm Benefit Connections, said he planned to hire two new employees in 2018, and he issued several thousand dollars in bonuses in 2017 as a result of anticipated tax savings.

“You hear that companies are going to keep the benefits, but that’s not always true,” Kole said. “Am I going to make some more money? Sure I am, but I’m also investing in my business and my employees.”

David Maaskant, manager of Smith Elliott Kearns & Co.’s Carlisle location, said all the projections he has done for clients’ 2018 taxes have been positive.

“Every one of my clients, business and individual, is paying less tax in 2018,” Maaskant said.

While each client is different, Maaskant said the doubling of the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per dependent under age 17 has been a significant factor. The GOP tax plan also increased the ceiling for the credit: Single parents who make up to $200,000 can claim the credit, and married couples up to $400,000. Previously, the child credit was limited to $75,000 for single parents and $110,000 for couples.

Further, most small business owners in the Midstate receive their business profits as a pass-through from an LLC or other holding entity, and 20 percent of such proceeds are now tax-free under the Republican tax plan.

Maaskant said these were the main factors in what he estimated as a $6,000 to $8,000 average savings for his clients, many of whom are families with children, and who operate or own stakes in small businesses.

From a political standpoint, the GOP has bet heavily on the success of the tax overhaul, given the party’s difficulty in other policy areas during the Trump era.

“It was a rough first year,” Toomey said. “It felt to me like we were wrapped around the axle, not getting Republican consensus on how to replace Obamacare.”

Toomey descried the tax bill as a “silver lining” in the cloud of failure on health care.

“The silver lining was a tremendous commitment to getting tax reform done. We made two big promises, and we can’t fail on both,” Toomey said.

As a strict adherent to laissez-faire economic principles, Toomey has often found himself at odds with both ends of the political spectrum since the 2016 election.

The fact that the GOP has thus far not fixed congressional spending practices, despite passing tax cuts, is a particular thorn.

“I hope we can get away from these manufactured fiscal crises where we wait until the end of the year and then four guys get together in a room and negotiate a trillion-dollar-plus spending bill,” said Toomey, criticizing the most recent $1.3 trillion package that was passed on March 23 to avoid another government shutdown.

Lack of consensus on an infrastructure bill is “in part because the big omnibus spending bill a few weeks ago was such a blowout … it probably stops us from doing an infrastructure initiative this year,” Toomey said.

Toomey has also been critical of the Trump administration’s recently announced tariffs, which have resulted in counter-measures from China and dives in the stock market.

Three-quarters of the steel used by U.S. manufacturers is domestically produced, limiting the benefits of Trump’s import restrictions on China, Toomey said. But Chinese countermeasures such as tariffs on agricultural products, of which the U.S. is a large net exporter, could do more damage.

“They will do more harm than good,” Toomey said. “There was never a good argument for these [tariffs] to begin with.”

At the same time, Toomey said he expected a struggle with his more left-leaning colleagues over financial deregulation.

The Senate recently passed a partial rollback of Dodd-Frank Act provisions, put in place after the 2008 financial crisis, with 17 Democrats voting in favor along with all of the Senate’s Republicans. The bill would cut back “too big to fail” vetting requirements from some banks, and ease up on mortgage writing controls that the bill’s supporters say disadvantage smaller banks and credit unions.

“The bottom line is we have been wildly overregulating financial institutions generally, but especially the small ones,” Toomey said.

Opponents, such as Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, have criticized the bill. In a recent Politico report, Warren was quoted as saying it rolls back “the rules on some of the biggest banks in the country so they’ll have a chance to crash the economy again.”

House Republicans will likely return the bill to the Senate with a number of additional provisions, Toomey said, some of which will undercut Democratic support in the Senate.

“The Democratic senators are saying they don’t want to do anything because they’re taking heat from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the party that hates the idea of any financial deregulation,” Toomey said.