The deadline to file for the fall elections may be the first week in July, but the political season in Harford kicked off last week with two gubernatorial candidates visiting the county.
"It's great to be home," said Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., at a Cabinet meeting Monday at the Reckford Armory before taking a walking tour of downtown Bel Air.
In what was billed as a "Harford County Day," Ehrlich's top staffers fanned out across the county, making appearances at schools, libraries and the Higher Education and Applied Technology Center in Aberdeen. Seated next to County Executive David R. Craig, whom he called a "friend of many, many, many years," and Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, who has visited Aberdeen multiple times in recent months. Ehrlich spoke about the challenges presented by the base realignment and closure process.
"BRAC was an incredible success, by any measure," he said. "The major challenge for the guy to my right [Craig] is going to be dealing with growth issues."
Afterward, Ehrlich climbed behind the counter at Boyd & Fulford drug store and took pictures with workers. That evening, he made a brief stop at a $500-per-ticket fundraiser at The Tower restaurant for Norman R. Cochran, a Republican candidate for sheriff who was introduced at the event by Sheriff R. Thomas Golding.
Ehrlich then addressed a crowd of supporters - including most GOP members of Harford's delegation - at the celebratory opening of the Republican Central Committee headquarters in the former Red Cross building on Main Street.
Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley appeared the next day at a fundraiser for Democratic Del. Mary-Dulany James at her fourth-generation Havre de Grace home overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. The event attracted many county notables, including Lucie Snodgrass, who recently joined O'Malley's campaign staff; Craig and his Democratic challenger Ann C. Helton; developer Clark Turner; former county employee Robert N. Hockaday Jr.; Aberdeen Mayor S. Fred Simmons; former County Executive Eileen Rehrmann; and Aberdeen City Councilman Michael G. Hiob, who provided the musical entertainment.
"I don't know how you all get up and go to work in the morning," O'Malley told the crowd, looking toward the bay. "It's like a little piece of heaven up here."
O'Malley praised James' ability to work across party lines and make progress, and pledged to strengthen the middle class while improving safety and education.
Route 439 work to disrupt traffic
The State Highway Administration is repairing and resurfacing Route 439 (Old York Road) in Harford County between Route 23 (Norrisville Road) and the Baltimore County line.
The work should be complete in about three weeks, weather permitting.
During work, one lane of Route 439 will remain open, with flag people controlling two-way traffic through the work zone. Motorists are advised to use caution.
Lane closures may occur any time between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays, and 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays.
Mason Dixon Pod to hold Chili Cookoff
The Mason Dixon Pod will hold its second annual Chili Cookoff from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. June 18 at Fiore Winery, 3026 Whiteford Road, Pylesville.
Proceeds will benefit the Humane Society of Harford County in memory of a county employee who died this year, Animal Control Officer Leon Casner.
The Mason Dixon Pod coordinates cookoffs in the Maryland area for charity, fun and the general promotion of chili. The group is governed by Chili Appreciation Society International.
Cooks also are competing to earn points to qualify for the International Chili Championship held each November in Terlingua, Texas.
Eventgoers are invited to take a picnic, listen to live music provided by Son of Jane and sample wine and chili. Chili will cost 25 cents per sample. Pit beef, ham and ribs will be sold. A 50/50 drawing will be held.
Gate admission is $10.
Part of Green Road to close for 5 months
Green Road between Moores Road and Route 145 will be closed on or about June 19 for about five months, the Harford County Construction Management Bureau announced.
The closure is necessary while crews reconstruct the bridge over Saw Mill Branch.
Motorists are asked to exercise patience and cooperation as they follow detour signs.