www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/harford/aberdeen-havre-de-grace/ph-ag-25-years-1011-20131007,0,5013322.story

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HdG man, APG employee confesses to transferring military secrets [25 years ago]

BY ERIKA BUTLER, ebutler@theaegis.com

6:00 AM EDT, October 11, 2013

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From The Aegis dated Oct. 13, 1988:

A Havre de Grace resident who worked at Aberdeen Proving Ground pleaded guilty 25 years ago this week to transferring military secrets to South African agents.

The white minority rule apartheid regime was firmly in control of South Africa at the time.

The 49-year-old was being held without bail pending sentencing, which was expected to carry a penalty of 10 years and a $10,000 fine.

The man had retired for "personal reasons" on Sept. 30, and APG officials weren't aware of the FBI investigation until the guilty plea was entered.

The FBI did not disclose the exact nature of the information passed on, except to say the information was still classified and it involved the potential for "sabotage."

Five students at Edgewood High School felt the bleachers they were sitting on during gym class begin to "give way," and were able to get off before one end of a few rows fell to the gym floor.

The collapse at Edgewood came just a few days after bleachers collapsed at a Calvert County high school and injured 83.

As a result of the incident, certified bleacher inspectors were called and a temporary ban was put on the use of retractable seating at five of the county's five public high schools - Edgewood, Aberdeen, C. Milton Wright, Fallston and Joppatowne.

"We were very lucky - I don't want to think what could have happened if we had been having a pep rally or a basketball game when the bleachers collapsed," Edgewood High Principal Carl Roberts said.

Norrisville resident Becky Nelson had the dubious distinction 25 years ago of being the student with the longest bus ride in Harford County. She spent more than 2 hours on the bus each way, and her parents said the situation was unacceptable.

Cathy Nelson told school board members that she expected it to take a while to get her daughter the 20 miles from their Norrisville home to the John Archer school, but "6:30 till 9 o'clock is just a little ridiculous... It's unfair and I don't think it is legal."

The new superintendent, Dr. Ray Keech, said he was unaware of the inordinately long bus rides and agreed it was an "unfortunate" and "unacceptable" situation that would be "corrected pronto."

In other education news 25 years ago this week, the Harford County Board of Education voted, 6-1, to put an end to paddling students in its schools as a form of discipline.

In 1971, the state school board passed a guideline that banned corporal punishment except for systems that sought to be exempted from the bylaw.

Even so, school board members called it a non-issue, saying paddling was used 70 times the previous year in a school system of 30,000 students.

Democrats far outnumbered Republicans in Harford County as of the end of September 1988, when 78,347 people — including 47,138 Democrats, 25,845 Republicans and 5,297 Independents — were registered to vote in the upcoming election.

For the 1984 election, 75,555 were registered to vote, and 74 percent of them cast ballots.

Until this week 25 years ago, the man dubbed the Phantom Fondler had been quiet. But this week, he was suspected to be the man who awakened an Edgewood woman by fondling her breasts.

"I would say, at this point, because of the method of operation and the description of the suspect, this was the same person," Sgt. B.J. Caudill of the Maryland State Police Bel Air Barrack said.

The woman said she was asleep in her bed with her husband when she was waken up around 4:20 a.m. by someone touching her. When she screamed, the man ran out of the house.

Thirteen girls were vying 25 years ago this week for the title of Miss Teen Harford County. Those in the running were Angela Cooper, 17, of Joppatowne; Gina Marconi, 14, of Fallston; Kera O'Bryon, 14, of Bel Air; Jenifer McGlothan, 14, of Bel Air; Holly Steg, 14, of Fallston; Jennifer Healey, 16, of Jarrettsville; Jennifer Saunders, 16, of Edgewood; Amy Sabatino, 14, of Fallston; Donna Dattola, 15, of Forest Hill; Lori Flick, 16, of Havre de Grace; Kristen Ward, 16, of Havre de Grace; Lanelle Nolen, 15, of Havre de Grace and Tiffany Brody, 17, of Bel Air.