BY ROBIN BENJES, Aegis staff
9:08 PM EST, December 27, 2012
A Cecil County man, James Young Starcher, was charged in connection with five bank robberies committed in the previous two months. The sheriff's office charged Starcher in connection with a Cecil Bank robbery in the 1600 block of Pulaski Highway and with the Havre de Grace branch of the Aberdeen Proving Ground Federal Credit Union. Starcher is believed to also be connected to the robberies of a Cecil Federal Saving Bank in Elkton, an M&T Bank in Delta, Pa. and a robbery at the Coatesville Savings Bank in Oxford, Pa.
A monument was dedicated to the town's police officers in a flower bed outside of the entrance to the police department at Bel Air Town Hall. It was a wish of the late Deputy Chief Armand G. Dupre that he wanted to leave something behind to all who served in the police department. The memorial included a quote Dupre wrote as well as his signature. The quote reads: "To the men and women who have faithfully served beside me at the Bel Air Police Department, may God bless and protect each and every one of you."
More than 50 people attended a hearing held at Youth's Benefit Elementary School for the proposed new gas pipeline running from Owings Mills through Harford County north of Fallston. The MB pipeline will parallel an existing Columbia Gas MA pipeline across the same area. Most of the residents in attendance at the public hearing were concerned with the lack of notice of the project, the possibility of depreciating property values and the environmental impact the line will have on the community.
Two $250,000 Mega Millions lottery tickets were sold in Bel Air, according to the Maryland Lottery. The tickets were bought at Redner's Warehouse Market at 2126 N. Fountain Green Road and at the 7-Eleven at 1302 Churchville Road.
Elizabeth Smart made an appearance as a keynote speaker at a Cherish the Child Symposium at Mountain Christian Church in Joppa. Smart was the victim of a child abduction and kidnapping in Utah. Smart formed the Elizabeth Smart Foundation which focuses on child safety and protection.
Tuition at Harford Community College will be raised by nearly 10 percent more for the upcoming Fall semester. The tuition increase is to add to HCC's budget to help offset state funding cuts.
A proposed waste transfer station for Joppa was a hot topic at the Harford County Council's budget hearing. Residents from the area gathered at the Bel Air High School auditorium wearing T-shirts reading "No Transfer Station".
The Tuesday Bel Air Farmers Market moved to Main Street. The market would be held on the former BB&T Bank site at 33 S. Main Street, once the demolition of the old building was completed at the end of May.
Two people were killed in a Fallston crash on Mountain Road near its intersection with Reckord Road.
The new North Avenue bridge opens to traffic. The bridge is also the first with a walking trail incorporated into it as a future extension of the Ma and Pa Trail through Bel Air.
In sports, the Fallston Cougars won state championships in boys and girls lacrosse. The girls beat Winters Mill in the title game. The boys lacrosse team also won its second straight Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference title for third time in four years. The C. Milton Wright girls lacrosse won the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic division by defeating Harford Tech, 15-1. This was the second championship won for the Mustangs in the last three years. The North Harford Hawks won the UCBAC baseball championship game.
A Bel Air man, David K. Walters, 34, was issued a criminal summons for false alarm/fire. Walters became belligerent over the closed captioned showing of "The Avengers" at the Regal Cinemas in Abingdon. When the movie ended, "Walter became belligerent and argumentative with management and at that point Walters intentionally pulled the fire alarm in the lobby and left the premises," according to the notice of investigation.
County Executive David Craig decided to withdraw legislation that would have paid a one-time $650 bonus to all county government and school employees. Craig said that the money would be needed to meet the county's new obligation to fund teacher pension costs that were previously paid by the state. Harford County teachers staged a job action protest over no raises and other contract issues. Teachers marched and waved signs along Route 924 at Ring Factory Elementary after classes had let out for the day. The protest also extended to Bel Air High School where the teachers there agreed to begin a "working to rule" policy beginning immediately. What this means is that these teachers will begin to follow their contracts to the letter of the law. The teachers will be entering school at 6:50 a.m. to begin the day and leaving the building at 2:20 p.m. as a group. The walk out was a result of the second half of the county bonus plan being revoked, an extra work day in dispute between the teachers union and school officials and the lack of raises for a fourth year.
A Bel Air teenager, Donnell Graham, 18, was sentenced to life in prison for the stabbing of a Bel Air blind man to death last summer. Graham pleaded guilty to a single charge of first-degree murder of Patrick Xavier Ward. On Aug. 5, 2001, Graham broke into Ward's apartment in the 900 block of Redfield Road in Bel Air. Ward, who was legally blind, was stabbed several times in his upper torso and taken to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead. Graham was arrested within hours of the crime and charged as an adult.
The county's first graduating class of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program took place with 21 graduating seniors. The high-level magnet program at Edgewood High School first began four years ago. The IB program offers a wide array of classes similar to AP classes, requires completion of community service projects, and it also puts its students through rigorous testing.
The Harford County Public Library system decided not to carry the bestselling trilogy by E.L. James, "50 Shades of Grey". The novel had been making headlines because of its explicit story line and had been selling out in bookstores. Library officials explained that the book is viewed as "pornography" and not suitable for the Harford system's shelves.