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February 2013: Three divers die in APG's Super Pond

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Aberdeen Proving Ground officials identified George H. Lazzaro Jr., of Baltimore County, as the civilian diver who died during a routine dive at the installation's Underwater Demolition Testing Facility, known as the Super Pond, late on the afternoon of Jan. 30. An immediate investigation was ordered by the Army. Mr. Lazzaro worked for the Army Test Center, which also oversees the Super Pond.

All of Harford County prepared for the Baltimore Ravens to appear in the Super Bowl in New Orleans. Local schools held pep rallies, businesses promoted all things purple, and eateries started selling Ravens themed foods. The Ravens won the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.

Harford County School Superintendent Robert Tomback announced that he would leave his post in June when his contract expired. Tomback began his term as superintendent in July 2009.

A bill was introduced to the Harford County Council requiring CPR rescue masks, automatic external defibrillators and first-aid kits be provided at all pools in the county.

Harford County will have two judicial vacancies. The first, Circuit Court Judge Emory A. Plitt, Jr. would be retiring Feb. 1 after serving on the bench since 1999 and the second was District Court Judge John Dunnigan would also be retiring in March. Any lawyer, who is a member in good standing of the Maryland Bar and lives in Harford County, can apply to the Judicial Nominating Commission for Harford County.

The Harford County Department of Community Services' count of the homeless found 166 people living in some kind of shelter and eight people living on the street. This constituted a significant reduction in the number of homeless people from the three previous annual counts.

The Mary Risteau State Office Building was evacuated as a result of a bomb threat. This was the second evacuation of this building in the same week. Nothing suspicious was found in either incident.

The Bel Air Downtown Alliance unveiled their "Hearts of Harford" sculptures, a new public art project. The purpose of the project was to enhance the public space in Downtown Bel Air and provide visual appeal to the public landscape. The design of the sculptures was based on the heart used in the logo of the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, similar to the fish and crab sculptures that were put up in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

Total enrollment in Harford County Public Schools declined again this year and only two of the county's 54 schools appear to be in danger of becoming overcrowded. This was according to the Maryland State Department of Education enrollment at the end of 2012.

Harford County Executive David Craig appointed Russell Strickland the manager of the new department of emergency services. The new department will include the public safety commission, Harford County's Volunteer Fire & EMS Association and the Local Emergency Planning Committee.

Harford Community College's Board of Trustees voted to extend the contract of the College President Dennis Golladay. Golladay, who was hired in the summer of 2010, will continue in his current position for the next three years.

The Maryland Board of Public Works approved a project to build a satellite building on the HCC campus for students to take third and fourth year college courses. The building will provide the opportunity for students to take Towson University credits in Harford County.

The Fallston Cougars wrestling team won their second straight Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference Championship.

The Edgewood Rams boys basketball team won the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference Championship game.

The Aberdeen Eagles girls basketball team won their second Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference Championship in a row.

The County Council introduced a bill that would levy a flat $125 fee on all residential and agricultural properties as a storm water remediation fee. Under a new law passed by the Maryland General Assembly, property owners will be required to pay a storm water fee beginning in the second half of 2013. Proceeds are to fund local storm water management projects designed to protect the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways. Opponents statewide dubbed the new fee a "rain tax."

A 15-star, 15-stripe War of 1812 Commemorative American flag was raised in front of the Harford County administrative building in Bel Air. The flag will be flown in recognition of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and Harford County's involvement in the conflict. The flag will fly for the next 22 months.

Design work gets under way for the replacement of the Hess Road Bridge over the Little Gunpowder Falls between Baltimore and Harford counties.

A second diving accident at the APG Super Pond caused the deaths of two Navy divers. They were training in the same place where a civilian diver working for the Army died in late January. The deaths were the first at the Super Pond since the Army began using it in 1994 to test the explosive resistance of ship hulls and other equipment.

The intersection of Grafton Shop Road and Route 23 in Forest Hill, was the scene of a three-vehicle accident that claimed the life of a Churchville woman and injured three others. The death was the fourth at the intersection in 10 years and second since 2012. The State Highway Administration said it was not considering installing a light at the intersection, but Maryland State Police said they would step up their patrols.

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