25 years ago: April snow covers cars, disrupts high school sports

From The Aegis dated April 9, 1987:

It didn't matter that the calendar said April 25 years ago this week: Mother Nature still surprised Harford County with enough snow to cover cars, roads and sidewalks.

The snow also disrupted the spring high school sports schedule, which was in full swing. Five games scheduled for the day after the snowfall had to be rescheduled.

"BIG NEWS: Roberty happy with budget" was the headline on a story in The Aegis 25 years ago this week, which sounded like a surprise to many. Superintendent Dr. A.A. Roberty said the additional $4.7 million allocated by the county executive was "an outstanding job."

He added that he hoped the county council would OK what Habern Freeman had proposed. He said the $1.9 million Freeman didn't fund of the school system's $50 million-plus request was nothing more than "icing on the cake," but did say it might mean 30 to 40 of the 78 new teachers planned for the next school year couldn't be hired.

"Here's the deal" was the headline on a letter sent to residents of Magnolia Estates mobile home park off Hanson Road 25 years ago this week.

Owners of the financially troubled residential community wanted to turn the neighborhood into condominiums, and if the individual tenants didn't agree to buy their lots, they had to be out of the park by October.

It was unclear to the county attorney as well as a lawyer for several Magnolia Estates residents if there was a legal precedent for "condo-ing" raw land. The bankrupt owner of the park, Advance Mobilehome Corporation, filed for reorganization in bankruptcy court and a condominium regime application with the Maryland Attorney General's Office, which had 30 days to approve or reject it.

The driving force behind the merger of Fallston General Hospital with Upper Chesapeake Health Care Systems, Chester Price, resigned as Fallston General's president this week 25 years ago, citing continued fallout from the merger.

As part of the merger, Price, a minority stockholder in Fallston General, agreed to a contract with Upper Chesapeake to stay on as the chief operating officer of the hospital. Shortly after the merger, however, he said he made up his mind to leave if those contracts could be worked out.

"It's a decision I regretted having to make," Price said. "I really believed in the concept of blending the two different philosophies of the hospitals which we cited when the merger was first announced last year. Unfortunately, it just wasn't working out."

State Sen. Catherine I. Riley made history 25 years ago during the Maryland General Assembly session. She was the first legislator from Harford County to chair a major committee – the Senate Finance Committee, one of the most prestigious posts in the assembly.

The lawyer representing the truck driver blamed for the deaths of two Maryland State Police troopers on I-95 in Harford County several weeks earlier called the investigation into the crash "unprofessional and biased."

The claim came after a 14-count indictment was handed down by a Harford County Grand Jury, charging the truck driver with homicide by motor vehicle while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated and under the influence, driving while his license was revoked in another state and other counts.

The lawyer said the state police had "dubious methods" of gathering evidence because the troopers had a "personal vendetta" against "the man they believe killed their comrades."

"They're of the opinion that there shouldn't even be a trial because it is one of their own," Lester Jones said.

TFC John E. Sawa, 40, of Baltimore, and Trooper Larry E. Small, 21, of Cardiff, died in early March when their patrol car, sitting in the median on I-95 near Route 155 at Havre de Grace, was hit by a tractor trailer.

On the sports front 25 years ago, it wasn't bats or sticks that dominated the front of the sports page, it was pigeon racing. The Laane family, of Jarrettsville, including Judy Laane as president of the Baltimore/Harford Pigeon Club, was involved in the sport and, like other athletes, spent hours training their pigeons.

The Laanes raced homing pigeons, which carried a price tag of anywhere from $1 to $60,000.

The birds begin training once they are accustomed to their home loft. They go for a couple miles then come back home. Their distance is gradually increased to 30 miles, then finally 100.

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