Battelle opens $20 million lab in Aberdeen

Battelle officially opened its Eastern Science and Technology Center in Aberdeen last week, placing the Ohio nonprofit research and development firm in a prime location for military, biotechnology and pharmaceutical work.

The $20 million laboratory, office and conference space employs 200 scientists and researchers who work primarily on biological and chemical defense but also conduct engineering and technology research.

"This is the first of many phases for Battelle," said J. Thomas Sadowski, Harford County's director of economic development. "We now have two billion-dollar research organizations in the county, Aberdeen Proving Ground and Battelle. I think that says it all."

He said the county government has been working for five years with the state, business and higher education officials to build a Harford high-technology corridor.

Battelle's decision to build in Aberdeen's Higher Education and Applied Technology Center further strengthens that public-private partnership.

The 80,000-square-foot center has 16 labs, including a Biosafety Level 3 suite, the second-highest grade, which will allow it to work with dangerous viral and bacterial agents.

More than 50 people protest Riverside auto auction lot

More than 50 frustrated people crammed into the Harford County Planning and Zoning Department's typically tepid development advisory committee meeting last week to protest plans to put an auto auction lot in their Riverside community.

They waited for more than three hours to express their concerns to the members of the committee, a collection of agencies, from state highways to county Emergency Medical Services, which must sign off on proposed projects. The group meets twice a month to review plans. The proposed auto auction lot would be on a roughly 175-acre parcel in the Riverside Business Park, part of the planned mixed-use Riverside community in southern Harford County off Route 543.

The auction site would be an expansion of the Bel Air Auto Auction, which has been in business on U.S. 1 since 1947, said Charles Nichols, one of the business owners. He said he did not have details on how many auctions might be held weekly.

Harford schools cancel some out-of-county trips

Harford County School Superintendent Jacqueline C. Haas has notified students and parents that all field trips to Washington, Philadelphia and New York City have been canceled until further notice because of the war in Iraq.

In a letter to parents, Haas said that other field trips outside the county would be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Schools have been reminded that anyone entering buildings must display a photo identification badge, employee identification or visitors badge.

Vendors going into school buildings or offices must show company identification.

Parents picking up their children also will be asked to show photo identification.

11 from county honored at Special Olympics

Eleven athletes representing Harford County at the recent Maryland State Special Olympics Winter Games brought home 13 medals from the recent games at Wisp Ski Resort in Garrett County.

Harford Special Olympian John Skokowski was selected to carry the Olympic torch into the opening ceremonies. Game organizers say they selected Skokowski because of his enthusiasm for the event and his strong desire to strive for excellence.

Despite low temperatures and daily snowfall, the team members brought home gold, silver and bronze medals.

Billy Church of Havre de Grace received a bronze medal in the alpine slalom; Audrey Fung of Churchville won the silver in the alpine glide; Debbie Gring of Aberdeen won the silver in the 50-meter cross country; Chris Hanson of Fallston won the gold in the alpine giant slalom; Vickie Lilley of Bel Air won the silver in the 100-meter cross country; and Matthew Loyco of Fallston won the gold in the alpine glide.

Also, Paul Moran of Bel Air won the bronze in the 1-kilometer cross county and the silver in the 50-meter cross county; Kai Mosby of Joppatowne won the gold in downhill; Melvin Schultz of Aberdeen won the gold in the 50-meter cross country; Skokowski of Bel Air won the silver in the alpine giant slalom and the gold in the alpine slalom; and Melvin Webster of Aberdeen won the silver in the alpine glide.

Another Olympian, Michael Raidt of Bel Air, represented Harford County in the modified alpine skiing event.

Aberdeen Proving Ground increases tests, training

Aberdeen Test Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground is increasing training and testing exercises relating to national security and the war on terror, officials said last week.

Day and nighttime exercises are scheduled through July, said APG spokesman George Mercer. Activities may take place in the post's restricted water or in the air, over land and water, and may include weapons firing and use of land and watercraft, he said.

Residents around the post may notice increased noise and vibration because of low-flying aircraft and firing, Mercer said, though efforts will be made to minimize the effect on surrounding communities. Information: 410-278-1147.

Customer detained after fumes reported

Frank Gerardo Anania, 40, was being held on $10,000 bail at the county Detention Center after he was detained in a Forest Hill grocery store after a manager called the Sheriff's Office to report a suspicious customer.

About 9 a.m. Tuesday, an employee of Klein's in the 2100 block of Rockspring Road said he noticed fumes from a man carrying a backpack, said Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Ginger Rigney. The state fire marshal's office bomb squad searched the backpack and found powdered drink mix.

Anania, who was identified by his passport but whose address is not available on the charging documents, was charged with hindering a police investigation because he would not disclose his identity at the scene, police said.

Police said Anania invoked his Fifth Amendment rights during questioning and maintained that they had no probable cause to detain and search him.

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