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Fallston / Joppa

News Maryland Harford County Fallston / Joppa

Slow snow removal, highway safety, crime discussed in Fallston

Snow removal, highway safety and crime were the chief topics of discussion during the latest meeting of the Fallston Community Council on Tuesday evening.

During the council's bi-monthly meeting at the Fallston fire station, there were complaints that some neighborhoods near I-95 received especially poor attention following recent snowstorms.

"We had issues at [the department of public works] in Abingdon with roads not being plowed in a timely manner," community council chairman Dave Williams said.

Williams, who is also chief spokesman for the Fallston Volunteer Fire Company, made his comments about the need for more timely snow removal and treatment of roads just hours before another inch of snow fell overnight and created treacherous driving conditions early Wednesday morning.

A woman attending the meeting chimed in that "Abingdon was horrible" as far as post-storm road clearing.

Jessica Blake, the new legislative aide for County Councilman Joe Woods, said the roads in Abingdon were not pre-treated, making them icy for days after the storm.

She explained in a follow-up e-mail, that Woods had received e-mails regarding the pre-treatment of residential roads, but the roads were cleared in a timely manner after the snow feel.

"The concerning citizens were told that salt/brine does not work effectively on residential streets for the low volume of traffic that travels them," Blake said.

Route 1 lighting update

Andrew Tress, the legislative aide to County Council President Billy Boniface, told the community council that the Friends of Harford land use advocacy group is moving forward with its effort to get a new lighting control ordinance before the county council.

Residents near Fallston's Route 1 commercial corridor have long had concerns about bright lighting from businesses reflecting on residential areas, especially from the Jones Junction auto sales complex at Route 1 and Harford Road.

"That's been a thorn in our side for three years now, lighting issues on Route 1," Williams said.

Highway safety

Williams also talked about highway safety in light of a recent accident on Route 1 that claimed the life of a 20-year-old Forest Hill man.

Maryland State Police say Austin Robert Lentz died after he lost control of his 2012 Ford Mustang while driving north alone on Route 1 near Reckord Road at 6:55 a.m. on Dec. 30.

He crashed into a box truck, whose driver, a Mount Wolf, Pa., man, was flown by helicopter to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore with injuries that were not life-threatening.

Luckily, Williams said, the "very, very tragic situation" did not kill or injure anyone else. Instead of a Ford F-550 box truck, he added, the Mustang could have crashed into "one of the women in our community driving two kids to day care."

Williams said Mr. Lentz "worked at Jones [Junction] and a lot of people knew him."

Fallston had a spate of vehicle crashes around the Christmas holiday season; Mr. Lentz's was the only fatality, Williams said.

"It seems like we always have a fatal crash sometime between Thanksgiving and New Year's," he said.

Williams urged everyone to use caution on Fallston's roads, many of which are winding or have poor sight lines.

"Please, please, please drive carefully and be aware of your surroundings at all times," he said.

Crime drop

Violent and property crimes in Fallston were much lower in December 2013 than in the same month in 2012, Harford County Sheriff's Office Lt. Rich Miller told the community council.

The Sheriff's Office reported 29 percent fewer calls for service in December 2013, he said, with the largest number involving alarms, suspicious incidents or 911 hang-ups.

The largest grouping of calls in December 2012 was for thefts, he said.

"What jumps out at me is the reduction of thefts and burglaries also from the previous year," Williams said.

Six burglaries, two robberies and 19 thefts occurred in the Fallston area during December 2012.

Eight thefts, but no robberies or burglaries, were reported in December 2013.

Two vehicle were stolen in the area last month, one in which the owner left the car running while stopping at 7-Eleven, Miller said.

Parenting expo

Harford County's community services department will be holding an event called The Early Years Expo in Bel Air in February, Williams told council attendees.

The free event will offer activities, products and services for families with children up to 5 years old.

It will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 22 at Emmorton Elementary School, 2502 S. Tollgate Road.

The event is also sponsored by the Goddard School, Harford County Public Library and Kiddie Academy.

More information is available at 410-638-3389.

This report has been updated from a previous version to reflect a clarification about the snow removal concerns expressed by the aide to County Councilman Joe Woods. In addition, the prior version did not correctly identify Andrew Tress as the speaker about the Route 1 lighting situation.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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