From The Aegis of Jan. 29, 1987:
Harford County got hit with back-to-back snow storms this week in 1987, when 20 inches of snow fell and left the county at a standstill.
The first storm hit Jan. 22, a Thursday, dropping a foot of white stuff.
"Battered and weary, the County slowly came to its feet, a stunned but determined fighter," read The Aegis. Just a few days later, Sunday into Monday, another 8 inches fell, leaving roads closed, people homebound and snow removal crews working long hours.
One man, a 72-year-old from Bel Air, died from a heart attack after using his snowblower. Numerous other injuries were also reported, including a young boy who was hurt in a sledding accident and a 52-year-old who was suffering from hypothermia.
Temperatures during the five-day period dipped as low as 1 degree, while reaching a high of 37. Wind gusts reached 44 mph.
Between 150 and 200 county employees used 60 pieces of equipment to clear the roads of the heavy snow, working around the clock and costing an estimated $30,000 in overtime alone.
Hardware stores were reaping the benefits of the January storm. Sales of snow blowers, shovels, ice solvents, windshield wiper fluid and other snow-related items was "like nothing seen at Courtland in 30 years," Jim Kunkel, co-owner of Courtland Hardware on Bond Street in Bel Air, said.
"It's phenomenal what's happened here since Thursday," he said.
The storm shut down county schools for at least six days straight beginning the first day of the storm and including the weekend. The county government, however, remained open, and it was business as usual Friday and Monday, the days after the brunt of the storms hit. Harford County Executive Habern Freeman acknowledged he probably wasn't too popular among his employees.
The news wasn't all about the snow 25 years ago this week. A man who kept 20 thoroughbreds at a horse farm in Stewartstown, Pa., just over the Harford County Line, was facing 11 charges of animal cruelty after three thoroughbreds in his care were found dead at the farm.
The farm was owned by a Bel Air man and had been for sale. A real estate agent and prospective buyers visiting the farm one day noted several horses looked malnourished and had little to drink in their barn. The buyers called the SPCA and the agent called the owner, resulting in an inspection the same day, when the two dead horses were found as well as the sick horses.
A new communications system for the sheriff's office and a new emergency communications command vehicle to link various rescue and police agencies during a disaster was expected to cost the county upward of $38 million 25 years ago.
If approved, it would mean the county's capital budget was at least triple the $13 million capital budget approved for FY1986-1987.
Freeman, who had to submit his budgets to the Harford County Council by April 1, said he expected revenues to grow at the existing tax levels, but he had been hedging on the possibility of a property tax decrease.
The county withdrew its offer 25 years ago to drill a new well on a property on Scarboro Road, where the old well was likely contaminated by the landfill. County officials said the property owner was making "totally unrealistic" demands of the county, which said the negotiations were ongoing, but were inactive.
The resident, county officials said, wanted a five-year guarantee on the new well and its parts as well as a gravel road. Those were above and beyond what the county had agreed to when it said it would drill a new well.
The running days of The Aegis columnist Bill Blewett came to an end 25 years ago this week. Blewett, who had been writing for The Aegis for about four years then and still does today, broke his ankle in a pre-dawn workout in Bel Air. The mechanical engineer at Aberdeen Proving Ground was about halfway through his run from his home on Shamrock Road to the Bel Air post office on Main Street.
Blewett said he slipped on ice and heard two snaps. Doctors treating him told Blewett his competitive running days were over.