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HARFORD WEEK

Perry Point crew heads for Montana; DNR team home

Three AmeriCorps volunteers from Perry Point joined a team of Delaware State Forest firefighters last week to battle the Mineral-Primm wildfire in Lolo National Forest, northeast of Missoula, Mont., according to Monica Davis, a spokeswoman for AmeriCorps in Perry Point.

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The Mineral-Primm fire consists of four wildfires that had scorched almost 24,000 acres in western Montana as of Friday afternoon. The fire was one of 20 burning in Montana, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

AmeriCorps members Benjamin Bahnsen, Kimberly Jones and Jenny Richter will be on site for two weeks with the Delaware team, Davis said.

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Bahnsen fought the Blackfrog Complex fire on the Idaho-Montana border in July, and Jones battled the Blue River Complex fire and the West fire in Arizona, the Deseret fire in Utah, and the Rough Draw fire in Montana this summer. This is Richter's first deployment, Davis said.

Meanwhile, the last Maryland Department of Natural Resources Wildfire Fighting crew of 20 members returned from the West. The crew assisted in fire containment efforts in Montana at the Burnt Ridge Sheep Camp Complex in Montana. This is the fifth and likely last crew from Maryland to be dispatched this year, according to Heather Lynch, a spokeswoman for the Department of Natural Resources.

The Maryland Interagency Wildland Fire Mobilization program coordinated and dispatched the crews - 111 people in all -this summer to fight fires in the West.

Havre de Grace man guilty in killing of friend

A Havre de Grace man faces the possibility of life without parole after a Harford Circuit Court jury found him guilty of first-degree murder in the death of a friend after an evening of gambling.

Robert Scott Earl, 23, of the 500 block of Bourbon St. was tried before Judge Emory Plitt and found guilty Wednesday of the murder charge, armed robbery and use of a handgun in commission of a felony, in the death of Troy Reid, 30, another Havre de Grace resident.

According to court records, Earl became angry at Reid after playing dice in Havre de Grace's Hilltown neighborhood July 31 of last year.

Earl left the Vancherie Court area, where the game took place, then returned wearing a mask, the state's attorney's office said. Witnesses said Earl approached Reid and shot him twice. Reid was taken to Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he died about three weeks later.

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Sentencing was set for Nov. 14.

Council OKs outside help for rewriting regulations

Harford County Executive James M. Harkins got the go-ahead Tuesday night to retain a Missouri law firm for help in rewriting the county's development regulations.

The County Council voted, 6-1, to approve funding of up to $50,000 to hire the firm, Freilich, Leitner & Carlisle, to review the county's 20-year-old zoning and subdivision rules, after Nancy Giorno of the county legal department made it clear the administration would not agree to a memorandum of understanding, proposed by Councilman Robert G. Cassilly, outlining how the revision process would work.

Councilwoman Cecelia M. Stepp said she had received personal assurances from Harkins that the council would receive review updates every other week.

Council weighs changes to septic reserve areas bill

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A controversial sewage disposal bill that cuts in half the square footage required in septic reserve areas moved a step closer to adoption Tuesday night after the Harford County Council voted on 17 amendments to the legislation.

The key amendment in the package, which sought to restore the original 40,000-square- foot septic reserve area, was defeated on a 2-4 vote, with one abstention by Council President Robert S. Wagner, who said he owns property that could benefit from the bill's changes.

The smaller reserve areas is in part designed to allow for more clustering of homes, especially on agricultural parcels, and the council voted, 6-0 with Wagner's abstention, to restore placement of a conservation easement on the acreage left as open space on these properties. The final vote on the bill was held over until the council's next meeting on Tuesday.

Construction company moves offices to Abingdon

J. Vinton Schafer & Sons Inc., a construction management company that specializes in the construction of schools and hospitals, is moving its headquarters to William Paca Business Park in Abingdon.

The company's new office is undergoing a $250,000 renovation and is scheduled to open Sept. 15. The company will employ 30 people at the new 8,500-square-foot location and an additional 20 employees will be out in the field, according to Warren Hamilton, vice president of J. Vinton Schafer.

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The company, established in Baltimore County in 1919, is working on several Harford County projects including the remodeling of North Harford High School and renovations at Forest Hill Elementary School. Past projects include construction of the Bel Air Parking Garage and additions to the Bel Air United Methodist Church.

Grier Nursery Road reopens after repairs

Grier Nursery Road has reopened between Street and Millers roads in Street. The road was closed from June 19 to Aug. 27 for bridge replacement over a tributary of Deer Creek.

The bridge painting and deck replacement continues on Harmony Church Road between Glenville and Deths Ford roads; and the road reconstruction work on Windy Laurel Way between Box Hill South Parkway and Cooper Ridge Road remain scheduled for completion next month.

Stream bank stabilization on Patterson Mill Road between Route 924 and Wheel Road is expected to be completed by October, and the bridge reconstruction project on Singer Road between Atkisson and Clayton roads is expected to be completed in November.

Bridge replacement on Turner Road between Houcks Mill and Pocock roads and the bridge repair work on Onion Road between Scott Road and Route 136 also are expected to be finished in November.

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County seeks comments on use of block grant

Harford County is eligible to receive $47,353 from the Bureau of Justice Assistance for the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant Program.

The county has received requests to use the block grant to enhance security, support law enforcement, support drug court and enhance adjudication of cases involving violent offenders.

Public hearings to obtain comments on the proposed uses of the block grant funds will be held at 6 p.m. Oct. 2 at and at 1 p.m. Oct. 3 in the First Floor Conference Room, Harford County Administrative Office Building, 220 S. Main St., Bel Air.

Harkins names Drabinski as mediator representative

Harford County Executive James M. Harkins has appointed Patrick J. Drabinski of Bel Air as the active volunteer mediator representative on the Harford County Community Mediation Commission.

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Harford County Council members are expected to vote on Drabinski's appointment at their session Tuesday.

Mosquito spraying begins in Bel Air, Aberdeen

Mosquito spraying began last week in Bel Air and Aberdeen in response to a recently confirmed case of West Nile virus in a 76-year-old man who lives in the Bel Air area, state agriculture officials said.

Areas treated in south Bel Air are between Emmorton and Tollgate roads, south of MacPhail Road and north of West Riding Drive, said Sue duPont, a spokeswoman for the state Agriculture Department.

In Aberdeen, areas include residential streets west of Swan Creek, north of Aberdeen Proving Ground and south of U.S. 40, she said, adding that APG is doing similar spraying on post.


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