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Bel Air gears up for Christmas with visit from Santa

As taken from the pages of The Aegis dated Thursday, December 19, 1963:

Santa arrived in Bel Air by fire truck and handed out candy canes to the onlookers. To add to the holiday spirit of the day, a light snow had fallen during the night which coated the ground.

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The County Board of Zoning Appeals upheld a decision which would allow the Colonial Pipeline Company to construct a building and storage tank on the Berry farm on Morse Road. In June 1963, the board had determined that a zoning certificate be issued to Colonial Pipeline for the construction of a building and five tanks for the storage of petroleum products on land zoned A-1, agricultural. This was the first major decision brought by Judge Harry E. Dyer since assuming the bench.

The possible appointment of Dr. Charles W. Willis of Bel Air as the new state superintendent of schools was opposed by the NAACP. Dr. Willis, who was the current superintendent of Harford County school system was rated by the NAACP as being opposed to racial integration in Maryland schools. In reality, Dr. Willis had not been approached by members of the state board and had not indicated special interest in the position. Dr. Willis' reputation as one of the best school administrators in Maryland as well as the entire East Coast could have resulted in an invitation to consider the superintendency. Records indicated that integration moved along steadily but slowly in Harford County schools for quite a while. The NAACP wanted integration to be immediate and throughout the county.

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A large crowd gathered for the opening of the new Edgewood branch of the Harford County Public Library. Principal speaker for the event was Mrs. Broadnax Cameron, a long-time campion of library work in the county. The land for the library was donated by the Ward and Bosely Real Estate firm, a $100 gift for furnishings was supplied by the Edgewood Lions Club and floral arrangements for the opening were donated by the First National Bank of Harford County. The new building was designed so that outside walls could be removed and additions made easily for future expansion. Inside, partitions were made of movable bookshelves so that the entire space could be converted to one room. There was an 8,000 volume book collection, a phonograph record collection and 25 magazine titles.

Mayor Werner Buchal announced that all of the parking meters in the town of Bel Air would be covered from Friday, Dec. 20 through Christmas Day. This annual Christmas treat was given as a courtesy to holiday shoppers.

The 145-acre Pugh farm in Abingdon was sold for $95,000. Acting agent W. Dale Hess did the bidding for Reuben Schilling, a Baltimore attorney, who represented a group that owned a large tract, including Constant Friendship that stretched from Route 24 across Winters Run and included this new tract.

According to data released by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, covering 1962, 34 out of every 1,000 residents of Harford County over the age of 14 were either divorced or separated. This showed that there were fewer divorced people in Harford County than in most parts of the United States. The government figures showed that the divorce rate in the United States had been dropping continuously since 1946 right after World War II.

The Harford County Chapter of the American Red Cross placed 10 mobile first aid units in service in the county. The plan for the units was to have them throughout Harford County and they would be available at the scene of an accident to render aid until an ambulance could arrive. Secondly, in case of a major diaster, they could form a sizable group of first responders as well as a large supply of first aid equipment. The cars participating in the unit would display small metal plates on the front and rear of their cars that said Emergency First Aid and display a small red cross.

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