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Sullivan Jr. approved by council as new liquor board member

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C. John Sullivan Jr. was unanimously confirmed Tuesday by the Harford County Council as a new member of the Harford County Liquor Control Board.

Sullivan, the Democratic member of the board, will fill the seat of Donald St. Clair Hess, whose term will expire at the end of the month. Hess had spent 18 years on the board – and served as chairman – but he was not appointed to a seventh term by Harford County Executive David R. Craig.

Sullivan, Hess' brother-in-law and father of Craig's deputy chief of staff for agricultural affairs, was in the audience Tuesday and was recognized by the council. He is also executive director of the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum and was the county and state director of assessments.

Councilman Chad R. Shrodes also thanked Hess for his service on the liquor board.

"I just want to thank him for that service and I just want to wish Mr. Sullivan a lot of success on the board," Shrodes said.

Liquor board member Vernon L. Gauss Jr. was also confirmed as a reappointment.

Other board appointments

The council also approved the reappointments of Glenn A. Brown, William O. Elliot, Michael A. Perini, Carolynn G. Baker, Mary K. Moses, Roy A. Valiant, David Schneck and Lawrence W. Dietrich Jr., and the new appointments of Adam Obest, Craig P. Reeling and Carol A. Roddy to the county's Commission on Veterans' Affairs.

Cancer awareness

The members of the Harford County Council declared March Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month during their legislative session Tuesday, part of an effort by Harford County officials to encourage early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer.

Councilman James McMahan read the proclamation, which Council President Billy Boniface presented to county Health Officer Susan Kelly, along with Susan Twigg, program supervisor for the Harford County Health Department's Cancer Prevention Services Unit, and Bill Wiseman, the health department's public information officer and director of public health education and cancer prevention services.

"We want to bring awareness to the Harford County residents that colorectal cancer is almost entirely preventable with routine screening," Twigg said.

She noted people 50 and older have the greatest risk of colorectal cancer, and encouraged residents, even if they do not have a family history or symptoms, to get screenings to catch intestinal polyps – which can be removed surgically – before they become cancerous.

"We talk about this as the disease that no one wants to think about, and the part of the body that no one wants to talk about," Wiseman said.

He said it is "that lack of familiarity and awareness in the public" which limits research funding, and "keeps people unaware of their screening and treatment options and unnecessarily causes premature death among people who do not have access to treatment at an early stage when it's highly preventable."

A health department press release, provided by Kelly to The Aegis, noted that "According to the American Cancer Society, excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States."

The press release also cited American Cancer Society estimates of more than 140,000 new cases of colorectal cancer – 102,480 colon cancer cases and 40,340 rectal cancer cases – would be diagnosed in the U.S. this year.

"Colorectal cancer is also the second leading cause of cancer death among both genders, combined, and is expected to cause about 50,830 deaths during 2013," the release stated.

Kelly, Twigg and Wiseman also encouraged county residents who are low income or do not have health insurance to take advantage of free colonoscopies offered by the health department.

Anyone interested can call 410-612-1780 to determine if they meet the qualifications for free screenings.

St. Baldrick's

Councilman Joe Woods, his head freshly shaved after the weekend's community fundraiser for the St. Baldrick's Foundation at Looney's Pub in Bel Air, reported Tuesday about $40,000 had been raised through the event for the foundation, which funds childhood cancer research.

Event organizer Dylan Baumgardner said Wednesday an exact total of money raised was still being determined, as donations were still coming in.

The fundraiser was interrupted by a Bel Air-area power outage, and Woods noted Tuesday that "no one left; everything just kept going" while the power was out. Organizers were able to obtain generators and extension cords to keep shaving.

He also said "probably the biggest highlight" was when local couple Charlie and Trish Grimmel had their heads shaved – Trish Grimmel had recently grown her hair back after undergoing cancer treatment.

School funding

Ryan Burbey, president of the Harford County Education Association, spoke during the public comment portion of Tuesday's meeting about a recent meeting of county and school officials, and the discussion about the difficult funding situation facing Harford County Public Schools in the coming fiscal years.

"I think it's a good step forward when were able to meet and enter into a calm rational discussion before things get to be heated," he said.

Burbey said it was clear to him, after listening to school system staff, that "without additional funds HCPS will not look the same next year; there will be dramatic cuts."

He said school staffers did not give details on what those cuts would be, however.

"I'd ask you all to dig deep into those previous budgets and look for those hidey holes where the money is and where we can find a way to get some more funding to the schools," Burbey told council members. "It's no longer just about teacher salaries or steps or raises. It's about the integrity of the system and the integrity of the program and equity amongst our schools."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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