Baltimore County

July 2013: Parades, fireworks, a Farm Fair carnival and a twister

An Arizona-based Center for Biological Diversity asked the Kiwanis Club to call off the annual turtle derby to be held as a part of the Fourth of July celebration in Bel Air. The issue was raised because of an increase in ranaviruses among amphibians in Maryland. The virus had been detected since last year in Harford County and the center was concerned about its spread to the turtles and the children.

Harford County government hired TV news reporter Sherrie Johnson as public information officer. Johnson will serve as the primary contact for media inquires and would become the main spokesperson for Harford County government.

The Edgewood community came out for the End of Violence Community Healing Night/Vigil at the Edgewater Village. About 50 people showed up to speak against increased crime and violence after 24-year-old Quinton Stokes was shot and killed.

Harford County had the most rainfall in June since Hurricane Agnes passed through in 1972. This was 60 percent more than average, according to the National Weather Service.

The Hooker Farm, off of Laurel Bush Road in Abingdon, would soon become the site of 172 houses. The new subdivision, to be called Laurel Ridge, would be built on land at the intersection of Laurel Bush Road and Falkland Drive that had been farmed by the Hooker family for more than a century.

Many Harford County residents and visitors enjoyed Fourth of July celebrations with parades and/or fireworks in Bel Air, Darlington, Havre de Grace, Joppatowne/Edgewood and Kingsville attended by thousands.

Two building fires were blamed on the illegal discharge of fireworks on July 4. One of the fires was on the rear porch of a home in Jarrettsville resulting in a neighbor being charged with discharge of fireworks without a permit. The second fire, which broke out on the roof of an Aberdeen shopping center, was caused by flying embers from fireworks discharged from an area behind the shopping center.

Harford County's three municipal police departments - Aberdeen, Bel Air and Havre de Grace - were discussing formation of a joint SWAT Team. A multi-jurisdictional team would allow each department to take advantage of a highly-trained group of officers.

Shane Volk, 32, of Bel Air, was killed in a single-vehicle crash in Glen Arm. Volk who had been a member of the Baltimore City police force since 2008, was driving along Glen Arm Road when his vehicle left the roadway and struck an embankment and two mailboxes. Volk was ejected from his vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene.

Joppatowne residents gathered to discuss what could be done to save the community pool at Mariner Point Swim Club. The Mariner Point Swim Club had been part of the Joppatowne community since the early 1960s. The owner, Murray Stephens, plans to sell the 4.5 acre property to Southern Baptist Church of Baltimore. Joppatowne community leaders and residents have been working to keep it from being sold. Residents would like the county to purchase the property and build a community center on the parcel.

The Edgewood Denny's finally reopens after an arsonist set fire to the restaurant in 2012. No suspects have been named in the crime.

Harford County opened cooling centers in the libraries after a heat wave hits the area. Officials warned people to take precautions, if they plan to spend a significant amount of time outside.

This year's Harford County Farm Fair would feature a carnival midway to be held simultaneously with the fair. It was thought by fair organizers that it would make the Harford Farm Fair look more similar to the Maryland State Fair and other county fairs.

Plans are being made for a shopping center and office strip on Baltimore Pike at Old Joppa Road. The new project will be called Bell Gate Center. Also planned for development, a 1.42-acre plot next to the Fallston Crossing community and across Route 1 from Royal Farms. This project will house two fast food restaurants and an office building when complete.

An Amtrak train stalled in Joppatowne after experiencing mechanical issues. This left more than 100 passengers stranded for an hour in 90-degree heat without air-conditioning.

A power outage along Route 22 left hundreds, including Harford Community College, without power on one of the hottest days of the year.

One man dies and another is hospitalized in serious condition after suspected heroin overdoses in Churchville. Maryland has had a 15-percent increase in heroin overdoses between 2011 and 2012, according to a Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

A site plan for the apartment complex, which would be built on the southwest corner of Plumtree Road and Route 24 south of Bel Air, met with county requirements and was approved. That would also bring about the joining of the two ends of Tollgate Road, which would then be connected at the intersection of Plumtree Road in Bel Air.

The Department of Emergency Services confirmed that a tornado, with estimated wind speeds of 80 mph, struck the Darlington area. Buildings on the Murmur Farm property sustained significant damage.

A Harford County jail inmate from Belcamp was found smuggling prescription drugs to try to sell in the detention center. The man tried to swallow several pills after a Harford County Sheriff's Deputy found a container with 32 pills hidden in a sock.

Six people were taken to the hospital after they were sickened by foul odors at Jarrettsville's Camp Wo Me To. The odor was caused by a prank and the source of the odor was a commercial deer repellent.

The Harford County Sheriff's Office warned residents to be on the lookout for people claiming to be utility workers in order to gain access to their homes.

Two Harford County residents were indicted by a federal grand jury in connection with an alleged pharmacy fraud scheme. The residents defrauded Medicaid and Medicare by submitting false claims for prescription refills. Pharmacare LLC on Plumtree Road and Caremerica on Emmorton Road were both closed because of the indictments.

Nancy Reynolds was unanimously selected to serve as the Harford County Board of Education President for the next two years.

A dump truck traveling north on I-95 crashed into the Old Joppa Road overpass in southwestern Harford County. No one was injured in the crash and the overpass sustained only minor damage.

The Harford County Farm Fair promoters reported a very successful year. The weather was great and the addition of the carnival was also a triumph.

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