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News Maryland Harford County Abingdon

Education a hot topic at Edgewood Community Council meeting

The drizzle did not keep nearly three dozen Harford County residents from piling into the Southern Precinct of the Harford County Sheriff's Office for Wednesday evening's monthly Edgewood Community Council meeting, where residents said students and parents on the south end of I-95 were being ignored.

Robert L. Frisch, member of the Harford County Board of Education, announced the school superintendent will hold community forums for parents, students and community leaders to voice their opinions and concerns with regard to the 2014-2015 school year budget.

"We want to hear what you want from your school system," Frisch said. "It's better to be engaged on the front end than on the back end."

One forum will be held at Oct. 22 at 5 p.m. at C. Milton Wright High School. Another will be held Oct. 25 at 3:30 p.m. at Patterson Mill High School.

Steve Johnson, director of economic development in Aberdeen, who is running for state delegate in District 34A, said he is concerned that all of the meetings are occurring only in Northern Harford where students and parents are less impacted by budget cuts.

"A lot of the families most affected are in the Route 40 corridor," Johnson said. "It would be nice to have something in this area. When we lost bus transportation, people out here were the ones that were impacted because many parents don't have cars and couldn't just drive their kids to school."

Kevin Eggleston, 54, of Edgewood, said he is glad to see the school board is open to hearing parents' concerns, but it took a lot of work and uproar from the community to see those changes.

"After the bus situation, I think it's sad it had to get outrageous for us to get to this point," Eggleston said.

Frisch encouraged residents to contact the superintendent's office with their complaints and explain they would prefer a community forum closer to home.

During the meeting, residents also heard a special presentation from Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler, who is running for governor of Maryland. Gansler spoke on his five point plan to improve the state and took questions and comments from the audience.

Harford County Councilman Dion Guthrie gave residents a list of announcements about the status of legislation and upcoming events in the area.

Guthrie said the council is working on updates to the county's Livability Code, which provides protection to renters covering dwelling issues such as unsanitary living conditions and structural issues.

Guthrie also noted Oktoberfest at Aberdeen Proving Ground has been rescheduled for the weekend of Oct. 25-27 because of the government shutdown.

"We did a lot of work on it in the last six months," Guthrie said. "It was all set up and they made up some beautiful signs to represent all of the areas of Harford County."

He also reminded residents to come out for the opening of the Epicenter, a new community center in Edgewood, designed to be a hub for parents and adults. The open house will be Oct. 27 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Capt. Jonathan Krass, of the Harford County Sheriff's Office, said summer initiatives to curb crime in the Edgewood area have proven successful. He said the area has had a decline in crime since the department implemented a new strategy on July 1.

"At the beginning of the summer we saw a dramatic increase in violence in Edgewood," Krass said. "And the culminating thing was a homicide in June on Grempler Way."

In comparison to last September, homicides, rapes, robberies, burglary, assault and auto theft are down in Edgewood, according to statistics from the sheriff's office.

The sheriff's office will host an open house on Oct. 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Attendees will take a tour of the facility and meet with officers from the K-9 division, dive team, crime scene investigation and warrant departments.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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