25 Years Ago: Lack of communication between delegation, county executive could hurt Harford

From The Aegis dated March 24, 1988:

"Communication lapses between the county government and the state delegation to the Maryland General Assembly – whether perceived or real – could lead to decisions potentially detrimental to Harford," so went an article in The Aegis 25 years ago this week.


While Harford senators and delegates said the county executive rarely met with them during the session to discuss his needs and opinions on pending legislation, Habern W. Freeman said the legislators should be aware of his positions on most of the major issues, and he was too busy running the local government to keep traveling to Annapolis for such meetings.

Case in point was a bill before the General Assembly that would change how recordation taxes were appropriated, which moved through the Ways and Means Committee unopposed. Freeman and the county treasurer, however, told The Aegis the plan could be harmful to the county.


Havre de Grace was planning to honor its most famous decoy-maker, R. Madison Mitchell, who had recently turned 87, by renaming the foot of Giles Street, between Market Street and the Susquehanna River, R. Madison Mitchell Place.

A second county water plant in Havre de Grace was envisioned 25 years ago this week to be ready in about two years. The county and Havre de Grace approved an agreement in 1980 to build a new plant in Havre de Grace, and 25 years ago this week a design contract for the plant was awarded to a Baltimore engineering firm. The project could be bid for construction in the fall and if all went according to plan, could be finished by 1990.

According to the agreement, the county spent $1.8 million on the city's plant on St. John Street, that had a capacity of 4 million gallons per day. Havre de Grace used 1.4 million to 1.5 gallons a day, while the county was buying on average 2 million gallons a day.

Ten years after joining the Harford County Board of Education together, W. Eugene Graybeal and Kenneth B. Block, dubbed "The Odd Couple," were leaving together, too. Their two, five-year terms ready to expire, they "endured the slings and arrows of more hot issues than either can recall," according to The Aegis.

While Block often came out in direct opposition to the superintendent, Graybeal was known to be a staunch supporter of school system head Dr. A.A. Robert and his administration.

"Ghost issues don't bother me and I don't like hidden agendas," Block said. "The way I look at it, if you're for something, say so, if you're against it, then say so, but don't say one thing in public and then something else in private."

Graybeal, on the other hand, said "I think where the board has gone wrong is in failing to support the administration and bickering with one another ... I've seen myself as a mediator even though I've felt like giving up when the board has been divided."

A cigarette carelessly thrown away was believed to have started a nearly 10-acre brush fire, that became two separate fires, 25 years ago on state property in Jarrettsville.


"We believe that it was a couple of kids smoking as they walked ... one of them tossed his cigarette..." a Maryland Department of Natural Resources official said.

It wasn't even spring, but entries were being sought 25 years ago this week for the Harford County Farm Fair, planned for Aug. 5 to 7 at the Harford County Equestrian Center. Entries were needed for the open classes of home arts and farm products.

In 1988 this week, Harford was remembering "The Worst Blizzard Ever" that hit the area 30 years earlier, in 1958. The late winter storm, that dumped 24 inches of wet snow, came quickly and at a time of year when people were more looking forward to spring than thinking about a snow storm. Headlines from the paper following that storm included "Photos tell a graphic story of hardships," "80 percent of county without light at storm's peak," "Storm's weight collapsed many local buildings" and "Dairy farmers severely hurt by power loss."

Eleven women were set to compete in the Miss Harford County Scholarship Pageant April 9, 1988. They included Antoinette Farace, of Joppa; Kimber Garrity, of Bel Air; Christina Hunt, of Forest Hill; Lisa Martinez, of Bel Air; Bridget Quinn, of Bel Air; Sharon Rinaldi, of Bel Air; Jill Salkowski, of Kingsville; Rhonda Lynn Schaffer, of Baltimore; Leah Tipton, of Bel Air; Ann Marie Webster, of Forest Hill and Lori Ann Windsor, of Mount Airy.

Now that St. Patrick's Day was over, advertisers were looking forward to Easter. Log Cabin Candies on Belair Road was selling 18-inch milk chocolate bunnies for $8.99, while pistachio nuts were $2.99 a pound "while supplies last" and "with this ad only."

Petals & Posies Florist had "Bunny Bunches" for $3.50, while Lauren's had children's dolls, toys, books and stuffed animals to "enhance any child's Easter basket."


The Easter Bunny was also at Harford Mall, and kids photos with him were $5 each. The bunny would be there through April 2.