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baltimoresun.com

25 years ago: Harford getting ready to open the new Route 24

BY ERIKA BUTLER, ebutler@theaegis.com

1:46 PM EST, November 14, 2012

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From The Aegis dated Nov. 18, 1987:

"Highway history is about to be made in Harford County when a new four lane highway connecting the area's commercial and residential hart with an interstate highway opens Monday," read the beginning of an article in The Aegis 25 years ago.

The new Route 24, replacing the road that was to become Route 924, was set to open in a week 25 years ago. An estimated 20,000 vehicles were expected each day along the 6.3-mile, $22 million road. An estimated 30,000 vehicles were expected to be using the road daily by 2005.

The "limited access" road was expected to take commuter traffic off the existing Route 24, Route 152 and Route 1.

The front page of The Aegis showed a small map at the very top of the front page, then a larger one and about a dozen different stories about the new highway, including one that said there would be 10 full intersections, with traffic signals at the Route 1 Bypass, Boulton Street, Business Route 1, Ring Factory Road and where Tollgate Parkway and the old Route 24 met with the new Route 24.

The area district engineer said "some or all" of the other intersections could eventually have traffic signals.

The man who killed 1985 Joppatowne High graduate Dawn Marie Garvin was arrested and charged with her murder and the murder of two other women – one in Maine and the other back in Baltimore County.

Ms. Garvin, who had recently married, was attending Harford Community College and living in the White Marsh area. Her husband was out of town and couldn't reach her, so he called Ms. Garvin's father to check on her. He found her dead in her apartment, where she had been raped and shot.

Steven H. Oken, 25, who lived just a few blocks from where Ms. Garvin lived. Being held in jail in Augusta, Maine, Oken was to be charged in Ms. Garvin's death as well as that of a 25-year-old hotel clerk in Kittery, Maine and his sister-in-law, Patricia A. Hirt, 43, of Baltimore City.

Oken, who would eventually be put to death, became a suspect in his sister-in-law's death after relatives complained she had not returned since visiting Oken's apartment on a Sunday afternoon.

"A gun they found in his townhouse linked him to Dawn Garvin's death," a Baltimore County police representative said.

From there, Oken fled north where he killed the motel clerk before he was tracked down after the three murders were linked.

It was anticipated that, amid allegations of sexual child abuse, a Bel Air day care would be closing in the next few weeks 25 years ago. The State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, after a seven-day hearing, recommended the day care's license, up for renewal in March, be suspended because of the suspected abuse and other alleged violations.

The state's hearing examiner concluded in his 50-page opinion ... "I conclude that child sexual abuse has in fact been proven by the state, and the other less serious infractions cannot be discounted."

School officials were looking for a "super" new superintendent 25 years ago after Dr. A.A. Roberty announced he would retired at the end of the 1988 school year after 18 years on the job.

"It's in the word," school board member George Lisby of Aberdeen said. "Super, that's just what we're going to need."

Lisby's comments came at a public meeting that attracted about 40 people who wanted to convey to the school board what they wanted to see in a new superintendent 25 years ago. While many said the would like the new superintendent hired from within the school system, school board members said that wasn't a likely possibility.

Havre de Grace Mayor David Craig went on the attack against the owners of Harford Memorial Hospital 25 years ago. If the non-profit owners could spend $10 million to buy another hospital and other property in Havre de Grace, he said, "then the can certainly pay city property taxes."

He said the city filed a challenge to the hospital's tax exemption with the State Attorney General. The exemption had been in effect since the teens, when the institution was first founded.

"If they don't want to pay a property tax bill, we'll gladly accept an annual payment in lieu of taxes," Craig said.

Herbert R. Hoopes, 77, and his 81-yer-old brother picked by hand just about all the peaches off the 1,400 trees at his Quaker Hill Farm on Grafton Shop Road during the season 25 years ago. And while he had turned over management of the 137-acre farm to his son, Donald, Hoopes didn't consider retirement. In fact, he was named the Harford Farmer of the Year by the county farm bureau 25 years ago.

"If I could, I'd arrange to die on this farm in the middle of my strawberry patch," he said.