January 2015 - Year's first snow brings death of a paramedic, new governor taps Harford residents for cabinet

Black flags hang from the main Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company station following the death of paramedic Erik Steciak while responding to a call during the year's first snowstorm on Jan. 5.
Black flags hang from the main Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company station following the death of paramedic Erik Steciak while responding to a call during the year's first snowstorm on Jan. 5. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF / Baltimore Sun)

A Harford County native, Stephen Moyer, was named Maryland's new secretary of public safety and correctional services by incoming Governor Larry Hogan. As secretary of public safety and correctional services, Moyer would be responsible for the department that operates the state's prisons and runs the parole and probation system, as well as the Baltimore City central booking, detention center and pre-trial release services.

The first baby born in Harford County for 2015 was Everleigh Paige Couch, of Rising Sun. She arrived at 3:46 p.m. on Jan. 1 at Bel Air's University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, weighing 6 pounds and 5 ounces.


Baltimore Ravens fans prepared for the wild card playoff battle with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday, Jan. 3. The Ravens beat the Steelers, 30-17.

Joseph I. Cassilly was sworn in for his ninth term as Harford County State's Attorney, setting a record for the longest serving state's attorney in Maryland. Cassilly was sworn in for his first term at the age of 32, which made him the youngest person to ever hold the position.


Harford's first snowstorm of 2015 arrived on Jan. 6. Students had just returned to school on Monday after their two-week holiday vacation when the county received 3 inches of snow by Tuesday afternoon.

A Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company paramedic, Erik Steciak, was killed in the line of duty in an accident on Patterson Mill Road, where he was responding to an emergency medical call during the snowstorm. Steciak, who was also a captain with a volunteer fire company in Howard County, was struck by a 4-wheel drive utility vehicle that slipped on the ice while it moved down a driveway to reach a patient.

A line of black flags hung from the front of the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company main station in Bel Air after the unfortunate death, the first death of a Harford County Fire and EMS Service member since 1999. Thousands paid their respects to Steciak during a viewing at the main BAVFC station on Feb. 17.

Former Harford County Executive David Craig was named state secretary of planning by Hogan. Craig lost to Hogan in the 2014 gubernatorial primary. Craig will work closely with the Maryland Municipal League and Maryland Association of Counties, two organizations which he has led in the past.

North Harford High School students were evacuated after a heating problem sparked a fire at the school on Jan. 7. Students returned to the building an hour after the fire was reported. No one was injured in the fire, which was caused by a malfunctioning heating element.

The Hays-Heighe House at Harford Community College was the first place in Harford County to be put on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. The Network to Freedom National Underground Railroad program was implemented "to coordinate preservation and education efforts nationwide and integrate local historical places, museums and interpretive programs associated with the Underground Railroad," according to its website.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman announced a hold on spending on new capital projects through the 2015-16 fiscal year. Among the projects affected were the replacement building for Havre de Grace High and Middle Schools, a second phase to the county's new emergency services headquarters and a major renovation for Joppatowne High School.

Harford Community College's Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition for the next school year by $12 per credit hour. The per credit hour tuition increase would raise the cost to $116 per credit hour from $104. Tuition has increased four times since 2010.

The Mars Super Market, which opened in 2011 in Bel Air Plaza Shopping Center, closed it's doors for good on Jan. 25.

The former Aberdeen Moose Lodge, purchased by the City of Aberdeen, would be made into a military museum. The museum would be a partial replacement of Aberdeen Proving Ground's former Ordnance Museum.

The price of gasoline dipped below $2 in Harford County by the end of January after the price of oil plummeted on world markets.

The Harford County Council passed two major tax measures the week of Jan. 23. The county's first lodging tax that will charge 6 percent of the cost of a room rental and the repeal of the stormwater remediation fee which has been referred to as the "rain tax."


Jesse Bane, former Harford County sheriff, became the Town of Bel Air's new administrator, replacing James Fielder Jr., who stepped down to become secretary of appointments for the new governor.

It was announced that Mountain Christian School would close its doors after the 2015-16 school year after 40 years of Christian education. Church officials cited the economic downturn and general enrollment decline as contributing factors.

The Maryland State Highway Administration approved a limited access from Route 924 for the proposed Walmart site at Plumtree road. This move was a sudden reversal from SHA's previous denial of the access, and Harford County legislators and county officials were caught by surprise. Several challenged the decision.

Judge Angela M. Eaves took over the role of Harford County Circuit Court Judge from Judge William O. Carr. Judge Carr, who spent more than 20 years as the administrative judge for the county, would remain on the bench as a trial judge.

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