A lifelong Harford County resident was recently named a Harford Living Treasure, giving him the opportunity to have his memories of life in the county recorded for future generations.
Members of the Harford County Council voted unanimously during their legislative session Tuesday to name Charles Albert St. Clair, 82, a Harford Living Treasure, following a recommendation from the Harford County Cultural Arts Board.
"Whereas, Mr. St. Clair's memories of life in Harford County remain vibrant and will be recorded for posterity," Councilman Jim McMahan read from a proclamation.
St. Clair, who grew up in Jarrettsville and lives with his family in Bel Air, is the former longtime president of the Harford County School Bus Contractors Association.
He was born in 1931, and his childhood included collecting "metal and tin" around his neighborhood to support the American military during World War II, according to the proclamation.
He went on to work for his father's companies, the St. Clair Motor Co. dealership and the St. Clair Transportation Co., providing school bus transportation.
St. Clair is a husband, father and grandfather, and enjoys gardening, music, photography and all types of seafood offered by the Chesapeake Bay, according to the proclamation, as read by McMahan.
St. Clair was surrounded by relatives as he stood before the council to accept his award.
"Thank you very much for all you do for Harford County," Council President Billy Boniface said as he presented the proclamation.
St. Clair spoke briefly and thanked those who "worked with me and gave me much support and encouragement," and his family, especially his wife, Jocelyn.
"Without them, I would not have been able to accomplish what I did," he said.
St. Clair concluded: "I'm very honored and a little speechless to have received this recognition; thanks to all and may God continue to guide us and the country."
The Living Treasures Oral History Project is an initiative of the Harford County Public Library.
A county resident who has lived in Harford for at least 40 years and is at least 70 years old is eligible to be nominated.
Nominations should be sent to the Cultural Arts Board, which reviews them; the county council then confirms them, according to the library's web page on the Harford County Living Treasures.
The Living Treasures are then interviewed by library staffers about their lives in Harford County, and the interviews are recorded for the collection.
More than 250 people have been selected as Living Treasures since the program began in 1981.
Bill 13-32, Funds Transfer-Facilities Master Plan, and Bill 13-33, Traffic Safety Advisory Board, came before the council last Tuesday for public hearings.
Director of Procurement Debbie Henderson presented a budget transfer request for $700,000 toward an ongoing capital project, which involves an extensive review of all county facilities.
The county has commissioned the Jacobs Project Management Co. of Baltimore to create its Facilities Master Plan.
County officials had already budgeted $1.25 million for the project, Henderson told council members.
"This is to review all of the buildings that are owned by not only general county but also the Board of Education, the libraries and the [community] college and the volunteer fire companies," Henderson said.
She noted facilities that are leased by the county will be included in the study.
Henderson and Pete Gutwald, director of planning and zoning, are co-chairs of a committee, which draws its members from all county entities covered in the study, created to oversee the project.
She said Jacobs staff are currently "ciphering through" all the information about county facilities which has been sent to their website, and will take one building from each "facility type" for a pilot assessment.
"They will assess the buildings and they will do the reports that are part of this project to make sure that we are satisfied with the type of reporting that they do, the type of things that they look at, the different areas within the building that they use to prioritize the needs for the building," Henderson explained.
Bill 13-33, introduced by Councilman Chad Shrodes, covers the creation of a Traffic Safety Advisory Board.
Shrodes said the Advisory Board proposal is the result of deliberations among members of a traffic safety task force created in 2012 to address the rising number of fatal traffic accidents in Harford.
Shrodes introduced a resolution in June 2012 to create the task force, which his fellow council members unanimously approved.
"Really the focus of the task force is to identify resources that target efforts to enforce traffic laws to reduce traffic crashes and eliminate fatalities, but also to focus on issues that cause the greatest number of traffic safety problems, such as distracted driving, impaired driving, aggressive driving, highway infrastructure, the wearing of seat belts and pedestrian safety," the councilman said Tuesday.
Sheriff Jesse Bane and Lt. Charles "Chuck" Moore, commander of the Maryland State Police Barrack in Bel Air, served as heads of the task force.
Bane spoke during Tuesday's public hearing; he said Bill 13-33 addresses what he considers "one of the more important recommendations" of the task force, which is for the council to create an advisory board.
"Creating a board accountable to a governing body provides legitimacy for, and requires accountability of all stakeholders, whose responsibility will be to study the traffic issues and make recommendations that address those issues," Bane said.
He continued: "These actions are long overdue and will contribute significantly to reducing our crash injury and fatality rates in Harford County."
Council members did not vote on either bill last Tuesday.