The first person convicted in Harford Circuit Court under a state law providing tough penalties for selling drugs near schools was sentenced Monday to 12 years in prison, with eight years suspended.

Stacey E. Dawson, of Street, sentenced following his conviction for selling cocaine to an undercover police officer near the Halls Cross RoadsElementary School in Aberdeen.

Dawson, 28, was convicted by a jury and sentenced under a drug-free school zone law passed by the state General Assembly in 1989.

The law allows the court to impose prison sentences of up to 20 years for defendants convicted of selling drugs within 1,000 feet of a school.

About a dozen other defendants have similar charges pending incounty Circuit and District Court, according to the Harford State's Attorney's Office.

Dawson received the maximum 20-year sentence from Circuit Judge Stephen M. Waldron, but Waldron suspended eight years of the prison term. Dawson also was given three years probation.

Dawson was convicted of selling a gram of cocaine for $25 to undercover deputy from the county Sheriff's Office on Sept. 6, 1990. The transaction occurred outside the Church Green apartment complex, locatednear the school.


Fire ripped through a Bel Air tire business Monday afternoon, causing about $150,000 damageand slightly injuring an employee who attempted to extinguish the blaze with a garden hose.

The fire was discovered at about noon in the attic of the Quality Tire shop in the 1900 block of Bel Air Road, U.S. 1, by a store manager, according to the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company.

An investigation by the State Fire Marshal's Office determined that the fire was caused by a faulty electrical system, fire company spokesman Edward Hopkins said.

A store employee, Jeffrey C. Mitchell, 22, suffered smoke inhalation after he attempted to put out the blaze before firefighters arrived. He was treated and released from Fallston General Hospital, Hopkins said.

Firefighters found heavy fire and smoke coming from the store's office and showroom, Hopkins said. Burning debris fell from the attic, igniting material on the first floor of the building.

About 50 firefighters from Bel Air and Joppa-Magnolia responded to the fire, bringing it under control by 12:30 p.m., Hopkins said. Fire crews were at the scene for about two hours.

Battling the fire in 90-degree-plus temperatures, firefighters worked in short shifts to avoid exhaustion. No firefighters were injured.


Representative Helen Delich Bentley, R-2nd District, is seeking congressional approval for a measure that includes about $10.8 million in federal money to pay for five bridge replacement projects in Harford County and one in Baltimore County.

The money is part of a $153.5 billion transportation reauthorizationbill, which includes about $2 billion for state highway programs in Maryland.

Introduced last week, Bentley's bill includes money for replacing bridges in the following locations in Harford:

* Durham Road over the West Branch of Winters Run.

* Furnace Road over Winters Run.

* Watervale Road over Winters Run.

* Southampton over Bynum Run.

* Wheel Road over Bynum Run.

The bill also includes money to replace the Baltimore-owned Paper Mill Road Bridge over LochRaven Reservoir, located in Baltimore County, which some Harford commuters use.

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