March: A Blue Ribbon School, a championship team

Disasters and AccidentsShootingsAbusive BehaviorHarford CountyHotel and Accommodation IndustryProperty

A smoking ban went into effect at the start of 2012 for all properties owned or leased by the Harford County government, with one exception, the Circuit Courthouse on Bel Air's Main Street. There would still be a designated smoking area away from building entrances and at least 25 feet away from the building doors.

Two Bel Air men, Cory Richard Strevig, 26, and Daniel James Sheets, 25, were charged in connection with a string of burglaries in the Fallston area in February. The five break-ins occurred during the day and the burglars got in through the rear entrances of the homes.

Parents of three John Archer School students made allegations of alleged child abuse at a meeting of the Harford County Board of Education. Teri Kranefeld, the school system's communications manager, wrote "The school system is aware of the allegations and an investigation is underway."

In sports, the Aberdeen girls basketball team won its first state title with a victory over River Hill in the Class 3A state championship. The Patterson Mill girls basketball team won its region title for the Class 2A East region crown. Zach Cullison, Fallston High School, won a second straight state wrestling title in the Class 1A-2A, 132-pound division.

After more than a decade of planning, Fallston's Aumar Village is finally coming to life where a CVS, APG Federal Credit Union and a Texas Roadhouse will be built.

Mark Edmund Christian II, 24, of Aberdeen, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of Robert Donte Hemphill in an Aberdeen motel in 2007. The charges against Christian include first-degree murder, one count of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery and handgun use in a felony violent crime. Christian was facing a maximum sentence of life without parole. The incident took place on August 18, 2007 when Mr. Hemphill was killed by multiple gunshot wounds in his room at the Keyser Motel in Aberdeen as the cause of an attempted robbery.

An Internet prank caused extensive damage to an Aberdeen hotel. A guest at the Holiday Inn Express in Aberdeen was contacted by a website http://www.pranku.net and was told a gas leak had occurred in the hotel and was subsequently coaxed into breaking off the hotel room sprinkler head with the toilet bowl cover, causing water to flow into eight rooms and the floor below. Similar pranks have been going on in other states according to Mark Bilger, Deputy Chief State Fire Marshal. Damage to the structure and contents was estimated at $50,000.

Ring Factory Elementary School was named a Maryland Blue Ribbon School. Ring Factory was honored for its students' proficiency in reading and math and for the staff's dedication to school leadership and professional development. It was one of six schools statewide named as a Maryland Blue Ribbon School.

TFC. Michael Bonczewski, of the Bel Air Barrack, was named Maryland Trooper of the Year for 2011.

Construction of the new Sonic restaurant on Route 924 in Bel Air begins.

The new Southern Precinct or the Harford County Sheriff's Office station in Joppa opens. The new sheriff's office is located at Routes 40 and 152.

Police investigated possible white supremacist activity at the Mountain Branch Golf Course in Joppa. Signs and words that were spray-painted on the course could possibly be gang related. The signs and words included a red swastika on the fourth green, the words "white power" and "MRC", were also found. The damage was estimated at $500.

Five men between the ages of 17 and 22 told Harford County Sheriff's Office that they were stabbed by an unknown group of men. The men were walking along Meadowood Drive in Edgewood toward a friend's house shortly before midnight when they were attacked. All five victims were listed in stable condition. Their identities were not being revealed at this time because of the ongoing investigation.

Fumes at St. Margaret's School sent three adults to the hospital. A chemical odor was reported at 8:30 a.m. Harford County's hazardous materials team responded and evacuated the building. The odor was attributed to the cross-contamination of cleaning solutions. No children were injured in the incident.

A minor chemical spill at William S. James Elementary School caused a Hazmat team to be dispatched. A sink was being removed in the nurse's office when a small amount of mercury was found in the water trap. The room was isolated and authorities were notified. No classes were disrupted and no children were affected.

The Fallston Mall, home to Harvest Fare grocery store and a CVS Pharmacy, was placed on the auction block. The 13.7 acre property along with the 85,000 square foot shopping center will be sold "as is" and the bidding will start at $100,000.

In the Mary E. W. Risteau State Office Building, visitors have been able to view court dockets on large flat-screen monitors instead of typed papers pinned in display boards. The new monitors are part of a statewide project in which monitors will be installed in every District Court operation in Maryland that has at least two courtrooms.

Two people were taken to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center when a rifle exploded at a private event in Jarrettsville. A man was firing a World War II era Japanese rifle when the gun malfunctioned and exploded. A 13-year-old boy was hit in the abdomen with a piece of wood and the man firing the weapon was struck in the head and cut. Both were treated for superficial wounds at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center.

The county's Emergency Operations Center, 911 dispatch calls, plans on a new way of labeling emergency versus less serious calls. The new system will help improve traffic safety and reduce accident rates for its first responders.

Jupiter and Venus, usually lost to the naked eye, could be seen this month shining bright in the night sky. The two planets could be seen in the southwest sky roughly 30 degrees above the horizon.

Three women are suspected of passing counterfeit $100 bills in multiple Harford county businesses. Walmart in Abingdon, Rite Aid in Havre de Grace, and three stores at the Festival at Bel Air have all reported incidents of customers passing The new Southern Precinct or the Harford County Sheriff's Office station in Joppa opens. The new sheriff's office is located at Routes 40 and 152.

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