City / County Digest

CITY / COUNTY DIGEST

November 28, 2006

Harford board votes to raze historic school despite pleas

Despite strong opposition from town officials, preservationists and alumni of a 19th-century school in Bel Air, the Harford County Board of Education voted unanimously last night to demolish the building to make way for an expansion of the playground, parking lot and bus loop at nearby Bel Air Elementary School.

Board members insisted they would need the property in the future and could not make it available to the town.

"We can't surplus property if we foresee a need for it," said board member Ruth R. Rich. "There is no time frame for that need."

The town failed to interest a developer in renovating the brick school, which opened in 1884 on Gordon Street, but offered to lease and restore the building as a cultural arts center at an estimated cost of $2.5 million.

"We would do the improvements and relieve the board of any liability," said Bel Air Mayor Terence O. Hanley. "We are trying everything we can to save this building."

A town engineer has inspected the building, which sits on 2 acres that adjoin the Harford County Historical Society, and found it structurally sound.

Once known as the Bel Air Academy and Graded School, the building recently served as the school system's central offices but has been vacant since school officials relocated to a new facility on Hickory Avenue last year.

Mary Gail Hare

Carroll County: Finksburg

Man pleads guilty to fatal DUI in '05

An 18-year-old Westminster man pleaded guilty yesterday to two counts of homicide by motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, the Carroll County state's attorney's office said.

Mark Vincent Dyson was sentenced to two consecutive five-year sentences, of which he will serve 18 months, said David P. Daggett, deputy state's attorney.

Once Dyson is released from the Carroll County Detention Center, he will remain under home detention for six months and supervised probation for five years, Daggett said.

Dyson was charged with killing Zachary Ondrish and Keith Flem, both 16, in an early-morning, single-car accident in Finksburg on Labor Day 2005, according to court documents. Dyson, who was 17 at the time of the accident, lost control of the Jeep Wrangler he was driving as he turned into a curve and struck a tree.

Zachary and Keith were partially thrown from the vehicle and died of their injuries, according to a statement of facts.

Dyson and the four passengers had been drinking, and Dyson had drunk as many as eight or nine beers before the crash, court documents said.

Arin Gencer

New Windsor

Church of Brethren moves its office

The Church of the Brethren recently relocated its Annual Conference Office from Elgin, Ill., to the Brethren Service Center at New Windsor.

The office has two full-time staff members, Lerry Fogle, executive director, and Dana Weaver, conference assistant, who coordinate functions for the denomination.

The annual conference of the Church of the Brethren is a yearly gathering of representatives of congregations, their families, other church members and nonmembers.

The conference is the final authority of the church in all matters of procedures, program, policy and discipline.

Ellie Baublitz

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