December 2013: Sheriff gets a whirlybird; Harford excited by snowy owl

The Harford County Sheriff's Office announced the creation of an aviation unit as it unveiled its new helicopter. The $1 million helicopter was acquired by an in-state transfer through the Department of Defense's 1033 program. The aviation unit will serve the Harford Sheriff's Office, Maryland State Police and police departments in Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace.

A proposed continuing care retirement and single-family home development is planned for a 152.5-acre sit along the east side of Route 543 north of the intersection with Route 22. Presbyterian Home of Maryland is proposing the project.

Bel Air welcomed the holiday season with the 24th annual Bel Air Christmas Parade in downtown Bel Air. After the parade, residents joined Santa in Shamrock Park for a bonfire and Christmas tree and Menorah lighting ceremonies. Aberdeen and Havre de Grace also kicked off their holiday celebrations with parades.

The bill to repeal the storm water management fee, also known as the "rain tax," died when the Harford County Council failed to bring it to a vote.

The graduation rate for Harford County's students rose to 88.4 percent for the Class of 2012. Harford's rate was nearly five points higher than that of the state's 83.5 percent.

A portion of the property on Route 7 in Joppa, that has become known as the Plecker property, may be given to the Joppa Magnolia Fire Company to build a new station. The 22-acre parcel was originally part of the land set aside to build a transfer station for solid waste.

Harford got its first snow of the season when seven inches fell Sunday, Dec. 8. It was followed two days later by a smaller storm that left 4-6 inches more of the white stuff. Both weather incidents closed Harford County Public Schools for their first two inclement weather days of the school year.

Upper Chesapeake Health and Harford Memorial Hospital officially merged with the University of Maryland Medical Systems, which will change the name of the Bel Air hospital to the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center and the Havre de Grace facility would be called the University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital.

A snowy owl was spotted on a farm in Level on Aldino Road just south of Route 155. The unusual bird brought many onlookers and bird watchers alike trying to get a glimpse. They lined the roadside along the field where the bird hung out for more than a week.

Kingsville Market, on Bel Air Road in Kingsville, will close its doors after 52 years. It will reopen under a new management and name. The local market was owned and operated by the Kurrle family. The new owner plans to continue selling meat and liquor once it reopens after the first of the year.

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