Death of owner of nearly 8 undeveloped acres in Bel Air leaves future of property up in the air

From The Aegis dated April 21, 1988:

The future of what may have been one of the most valuable properties in Bel Air was up in the air this week 25 years ago.

Former county surveyor Glen Deaton, who owned a home and adjoining pastureland smack dab in the middle of Bel Air, had died recently, and local officials were trying to determine what could happen next.

Mr. Deaton had had several cows in the grassy field across from McDonald's, but only Betsy was left and she roamed the field near Harford Mall and the new Route 24. Mr. Deaton had been offered "large sums" for his 7.75 acres – part of the county but surrounded by the town of Bel Air proper – but kept the land for his cows.

The Harford County executive was preparing 25 years ago this week for life after his term was to run out in two years – Habern Freeman was working about nine hours a week as a physical therapist in Towson, a move the county council president and one of the county charter authors said was illegal.

When he was elected six years earlier, Freeman sold several physical therapy businesses.

"I can't expect somebody to hand me a job [in two years] so I can support my family," he said.

"I've got to do what is best for me, for my family and my situation," he said. "And the truth of the matter is, in two years, I don't have a job and I've got to eat and pay the mortgage."

John W. Hardwicke said it was illegal for the executive to work outside his elected position, according to the county charter. Lawyer Robert Carson, who helped write the charter in the early 1970s, said the executive "May only engage in that position for a livelihood and nothing else."

The city of Havre de Grace, developers Jerome Collidge and David Gonzales and leaders of a group that got a proposed annexation to referendum on the May ballot, reached an agreement 25 years ago this week to end the formal opposition to the annexation. The 146 acres to be annexed were off Route 155 and owned by George C. Pensell.

The developers agreed to limit the number of homes to be built on 137 acres to 475, with no more than 125 townhouses. And a planned road for the subdivision would not be extended to nearby Shawnee Brooke, a neighborhood once part of the Pensell property.

In exchange, the group that had formally opposed the annexation, agreed to support the developers and their plans.

Across the Maryland border in Pennsylvania, cracked access hole covers were to be replaced at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, part of an effort to satisfy critics of a restart of the power generating plant.

While Philadelphia Electric officials said there was not a significant threat of radiation escape in the area where the cracks were, the company was making the repairs in anticipation of its restart request to the Nuclear Regulator Commission at the end of the year.

A 12-year-old boy was charged as a juvenile with assault 25 years ago after he allegedly stabbed an 11-year-old in the Havre de Grace area. Police released few details but said the boy was released to the custody of his parents. In a separate incident, jewelry worth more than $10,000 – a necklace and two pairs of earrings – was stolen from a car in the Joppa area.

Though it was only April, the Bel Air Fourth of July parade was big news this week 25 years ago, when organizers announced that for the first time Baltimore Pike would be the main parade route.

The new parade route was to begin at the corner of Routes 24 and 1, proceeding down Route 1 to Kenmore Street, then to Heighe Street and ending at Idlewild in the Bel Air Middle School complex.

"We're trying to eliminate the three to five-minute gaps that have existed in the parade and open up the two major north/south routes [Main and Bond] in town during the parade," Bel Air Police Chief Thomas Broumel said.

Aegis editor Robbie Wallis wrote a letter, via his column, to fired Orioles Manager Cal Ripken Sr.

It started like this: "Dear Rip, You've probably given a thousand or more pep talks all over this country. I think now may be a good time for you to be on the receiving end of one.

"For one thing, don't even think of hanging your head. You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, and a career in which you and your family and all of Harford County an take pride.

"Yes, you were fired last week from the job to which you ad aspired since as far back as any of can remember. But you gave it your best short and for that there can never be shame."

Mr. Wallis went through highlights of Mr. Ripken's career, pointing out his multiple successes, before his untimely firing after six losses to start the 1988 season.

"There's certainly no reason to hang your head. Instead, I hope that you will continue to hold it high. You should.

"In the meantime, good luck with your future endeavors."

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