Harford prepared for first snow, blanketed with 6 to 9 inches

From The Aegis dated Jan. 14, 1988:

The first big snowfall of 1988 hit Harford County 25 years ago this week, when 6 to 9 inches fell over the area, forcing schools, state offices, businesses and Aberdeen Proving Ground to close.

Unlike other storms, Harford was prepared for this one.

"Very surprisingly, it was very light. There was absolutely no real big problems," Lt. Randy Holt of the Maryland State Police Bel Air Barrack said.

"I think everyone was prepared for it and a lot of people didn't have to work. There was no rush hour in the morning and no rush hour in the evening, that saved us," he said.

A few days later, however, an early morning ice storm turned Harford roads into "skating rinks."

The rain started around 5 a.m. and turned to ice an hour later, and the ice was to blame to at least three crashes, including one on Route 40 in Joppatowne that involved 25 cars and two nine-car crashes on Route 165at the at the Harford/Baltimore County line and Route 40 near Bata Shoe Company.

"What was a quiet night just exploded on us," a spokesman for the state police said.

In non-weather-related news, Harford County freshmen scored all-time highs on the reading and math functional tests given in the fall.

According to the results, 97 percent of Harford's ninth-graders passed the reading test and 81 percent passed the math portion, versus the state average of 93 percent passing reading and 68 percent passing math.

Harford's scores were both up two percentage points from a year earlier, when 95 and 79 percent passed the tests, respectively.

Harford's state lawmakers were looking to get slot machines for non-profit clubs in the county 25 years ago.

Del. Eileen Rehrmann said Harford clubs were losing recruits and regular members to neighboring Cecil County, where such machines were approved by the Maryland General Assembly a year earlier.

The delegation chairman said the surprise request came from representatives of several local clubs.

"There are benefits to the bill for both the community and the clubs," Raymond Boyle, a legislative officer for the Aberdeen VFW, who lived in Perryville where he was a member of the American Legion, said.

His legion had recently donated $54,000 to the town's volunteer fire company to help buy an ambulance. While the legion was permitted by law to keep up to 50 percent of the proceeds, all of Perryville legion's was donated to the ambulance.

A 34-year-old Baltimore man working in Benson was electrocuted when equipment malfunctioned.

The man, Michael Patrick Joyner, who had been working for the Baltimore-based Penn Advertising for the previous six months, was in a chair suspended by a cable from a boom, getting ready to dismantle a large billboard. The man operating the boom said several pins holding the boom gear control snapped, causing the chair Mr. Joyner was in to go out of control, hurling him into a 13,000 volt primary line carrying electricity from the Fallston substation.

Witnesses said Mr. Joyner hit the line for "about a second" before slumping in the chair. He was pronounced dead at Fallston General Hospital.

More than two dozen new law enforcement officers graduated from the Harford County Sheriff's Office Training Academy 25 years ago this week. The 26 new police officers and sheriff's deputies finished 26 weeks of training then returned to their respective agencies for four weeks of field training.

Eleven of the officers were sheriff's deputies, two were from Aberdeen and Bel Air police departments and one from Havre de Grace Police Department, as well as 10 from jurisdictions from outside Harford County.

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