Bel Air hires marksmen to eliminate pigeons on roofs [50 years ago]

As taken from the pages of The Aegis dated Thursday, March 26, 1964:

More than 200 pigeons had taken up residence on the roofs of the courthouse and the Masonic Temple buildings in Bel Air 50 years ago this week. To address the problems the pigeon populations were causing, including defaced buildings and the diseases that birds carry, the town commissioners decided to adopt the "Indianapolis Plan." Indianapolis had recently disposed of 100,000 birds successfully by using expert marksmen to shoot them. Seven men carrying loaded shotguns, under the supervision of local law enforcement, kill 45 pigeons on a Sunday morning near the courthouse. The act would be repeated every Sunday, except for Easter, until the pigeons were gone. Extreme caution was taken for the shoot, including the blocking off of traffic on Courtland and Office streets by the courthouse. It was felt that the hour after sunrise on a Sunday morning was the best time to do a shoot because the town was virtually empty.

The NAACP sent a telegram to Dr. Charles Willis, superintendent of schools, strongly opposing the announced four-year plan for desegregation by the board of education. It would be an extension to the original school desegregation plan already approved by the federal courts. "We further protest your shameful failure to desegregate the facilities" and demand a conference with the school board, the telegram concluded.

W.J. Button of Rocks offered the county commissioners 50 acres for a sanitary landfill on his 300-acre farm north of Bel Air. Mr. Button said he would either sell the property to the county for $1,000 per acre or charge a fee per load or ton for the use of the land. The commissioners had been looking for a new dump site because the one on the old County Home property was nearly full. Also the new Bel Air bypass would be passing through this Tollgate Road property.

An unusually late snow storm dropped 7 inches of snow in the area early one Sunday morning. The heavy wet snow quickly melted in the warmer weather, causing telephone and electric lines to be weighted down and break.

The first public Easter egg hunt was scheduled by the Bel Air Junior Chamber of Commerce; 600 colored eggs would be hidden by members of the Jaycees. The hunt would take place on a Saturday near the Bel Air High School football field. There would be 40 prizes awarded to the finders of the lucky eggs. The children would receive a generous number of jelly beans for each egg they would find. Everyone was expected to bring their own containers to collect their jelly bean prizes.

A ground-breaking ceremony was held for the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church of Joppa for its new educational facilities.

Michelle Mellion, 7-year-old of Bel Air, received a card from Mrs. John F. Kennedy. Mellion had written her daughter, Caroline Kennedy, expressing sorrow over her father's passing. Mrs. Kennedy told Mellion that she was "deeply appreciative of your sympathy and grateful for your thoughtfulness."

People with two-way radios were being warned to turn them off when using the Quarry Road near Havre de Grace. A dynamite crew was working at the quarry and at times it was possible for a short wave radio to detonate the dynamite caps.

In an ad for Safeway, "Easter's Finest...from Safeway," turkeys were 35 cents a pound; smoked whole ham, 43 cents a pound; hot cross buns, package of eight, 29 cents; Warwick Candy Eggs, 29 cents; and Easter spring bulbs, 69 cents each.

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