Bel Air honors fifth grader for his community service

The Bel Air Town Commissioners honored a fifth-grader Monday for his efforts to help fellow students, his family and members of the community.

During the commissioners' meeting Monday evening, Mayor Eddie Hopkins described Michael Green, 11, as someone "who genuinely cares and goes out of his way for others" while presenting a town Student Achievement Award to the St. Margaret School student.

The town regularly presents Student Achievement Awards to students at local schools who are recommended by administrators.

Michael, who is the youngest of six children, attended Monday's meeting with his parents, Jonathan and Diane Green, of Havre de Grace, as well as St. Margaret School officials.

The award proclamation, which Hopkins read from, said Michael reaches out to students who are often alone while at school by sitting with them at lunch or playing with them.

He also spends time with his 92-year-old grandmother and "caring for her with a joyful heart," and works in the community with his church youth group, The Shamrocks, and travels with his parents to deliver meals to homebound local residents during the holidays.

He also received the school's Amelia Mike Citizenship Award when he was in third grade, according to the proclamation.

"I thought it was pretty cool I was recognized for what I do," Michael said after the presentation.

He added: "Sometimes if somebody's sitting alone at lunch I'll go over sit with them, or if somebody's playing alone I'll go over and play football with them."

His father noted he had reached out to one little girl who initially did not have other friends, and Michael said she has since made a few friends among her classmates.

"I think I kind of encouraged her to make some new friends," he said.

St. Margaret School Principal Madeleine Hobik said Michael "just stands out and is constantly sharing and helping students."

"Michael is probably one of our unsung heroes," Hobik continued. "He does not look for recognition or notoriety, and yet he deserves that and more."

Revolving loan approved

The town commissioners approved an offer of a $20,000 revolving loan to AKB Inc., owner of Kroh's Cleaners on Pennsylvania Avenue, to support the cost of the purchase of a replacement boiler for about $25,000.

"This loan provides for some of the cost, and the applicant is providing the remainder of the funds," Trish Heidenreich, director of economic development for the town, told the commissioners.

The loan will be paid back at 2.5 percent interest over five years.

Commissioner David Carey, a Bel Air attorney who has provided legal services to the operators of the cleaners previously, abstained from voting.

"I'm not doing anything for them currently, but I have provided legal services for them in the past, so I thought it would be a conflict of interest to vote on it," said Carey, who is with the firm of Brown, Brown and Young, P.A.

Bel Air officials set up the revolving loan fund last year with $125,000 in state and local funds to make loans to support local businesses, new and existing.

The fund is designed to grow with proceeds paid back by borrowers, when can then be lent to new applicants.

Heidenreich said loans are made "based on whether that particular business is going to be an asset, or is an asset in the town and is part of the kaleidoscope [of local businesses]."

Former liquor board chairman honored

Commissioners Vice Chairman Rob Reier presented a proclamation to Donald Hess, who stepped down as chairman of the Harford County Liquor Control Board after his term expired last month.

Hess had spent more than 18 years on the board and was not reappointed by Harford County Executive David Craig.

Reier said county legislation supported by the liquor board under Hess helped bring bars and chain restaurants such as the Bonefish Grill to Bel Air.

He said town officials are "very thankful for Mr. Hess."

Arbor Day in Bel Air

Commissioner Susan Burdette presented a proclamation to Rowan Glidden, chairman of the town's Tree Committee, and Michael Simini, vice chair, in honor of Arbor Day.

April 26 will be proclaimed Arbor Day in Bel Air, in honor of the national celebration of planting trees.

Burdette, who also serves on the Tree Committee, noted "the intellect and the experience of all the members" of the committee.

The committee is supporting tree-planting projects along Fulford Avenue and Plumtree Park in town, and was part of a project to give away 200 tree seedlings during the opening of the Bel Air Farmers' Market Saturday.

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