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HdG Schools to Have Police Through School Year

The Havre de Grace City Council approved expansion of its school resource officer program during a meeting Tuesday.

The following is a recap of the Jan. 22 City Council meeting as Patch documented the event live from City Hall.

8:44 p.m. The meeting adjourned.

8:42 p.m. Mayor Wayne Dougherty declared that his favorite NFL player was Ray Rice and he only hoped that Rice got more playing time at the Super Bowl.

Councilman John Correri asked that the City Hall be illuminated in purple.

Councilman Bill Martin went on record with his Super Bowl prediction: 34-17.

Council President Randy Craig said his wife, who hails from San Francisco, is a 49ers fan. Half the house is 49ers and the other half is Ravens. "The hallway is the neutral zone," Craig said.

8:35 p.m. Council President Randy Craig said that the Havre de Grace High School wrestling program is in its second year. He encouraged anyone interested in starting a program to get in touch with the Recreation Committee.

Craig also encouraged citizens to communicate with the Board of Education about the Havre de Grace High School situation. "Public education is the great equalizer in this country," Craig said. "Unfortunately, the facilities [at Havre de Grace High School] do not allow for that to happen."

He said that this past January 2012, "we started off getting approval for a scope study, which was the first step in the process of getting a replacement for Havre de Grace High School.

"Several months went by and the study was done," Craig said. "Where it stands now is in the Board of Education."

8:30 p.m. Councilman Bill Martin said he was starting to see businesses flying 15-star flags. "It does my heart proud," he remarked. He said well over 100 Havre de Grace War of 1812 license plates have been issued. "It's a great way to promote your city," he said. He also mentioned that a Havre de Grace native participated in a race last week that included six of the world's fastest boats. The boat, Martin added, was built in Havre de Grace. "Our own Jimmy Shane is the owner of the world's fastest speed boat," Martin said. "I've often said it's Havre de Grace against the world. And so it be." The mayor chimed in that the entire family is accomplished.

8:24 p.m. Councilman David Glenn said more than 100 people attended a drug and alcohol program recently at Havre de Grace High School. As a result, Glenn said, Harford County is going to donate $1,500 for an after-prom event at the high school. "It was a touching tribute and touching ceremony that they had," Glenn said. "It was really an eye opener." He also provided updates on traffic studies.

8:20 p.m. Councilman John Correri thanked Councilman Smith for his comments about national politics. He also said thoughts and prayers are with the Barker family and with that of Tommy Jordan, both of whom recently passed away. Correri was choked up as he encouraged people to research what Jordan accomplished in his lifetime. Correri said that Jordan took over a building on Revolution and Union Avenue for his medical practice. In a report that followed Correri's, Councilman Glenn said that Jordan was his family doctor and that it was a tremendous loss.

8:17 p.m. Councilwoman Barbara Wagner expressed her condolences to the Barker family and to that of John Duncan. Duncan struggled with alcoholism and homelessness, Wagner said. "He just always struggled," Wagner said. She asked that people keep the families in their prayers.

8:14 p.m. Mayor Wayne Dougherty said Havre de Grace lost an important volunteer. "Of course I speak of Charlie Barker, wife of mayor Phil Barker. Charlie was very brave from the time of diagnosis but yet Charlie Barker worked right up until the end," Dougherty said. "A few days before that end, she called my office and wanted to speak with me" to make sure that some of the museums and their volunteer programs were in order. Dougherty said he was sending prayers to her family and thanked them "for sharing her with us." Said Dougherty: "The city of Havre de Grace has lost a friend, someone that loved this city."

8:10 p.m. Councilman Joseph Smith mentioned that Comptroller Peter Franchot visited Havre de Grace last week and “we appreciated the comptroller visiting our great city.”

He also put the addition of school resource officers in a national context. "...it was pointed out that this [Newtown, CT] is the fourth tragedy that the President has had to console survivors for and I think the cumulative effect got to where he decided and others decided it was time to take action, issuing 23 executive orders and reallocating money to fund additional school resource officers..." Smith said, providing national context for the council's decision earlier in the evening to add two additional positions in the police department. As a result, each school in Havre de Grace will have its own dedicated officer through the end of the school year.

Smith said in addition to the mayor, he and Councilwoman Wagner were at the Main Street Annual meeting on Monday. He talked about Martin Luther King Day and inauguration day as manifestations of dreams being fulfilled. "But there's a lot more to be done," Smith said, encouraging people to look at making the country and the world a better place.

8:03 p.m. The mayor, wearing a Duck Dunk t-shirt, sang praises of the Susquehanna Hose Company for its annual event. "My hat goes off to all members of the Susquehanna Hose Company," Dougherty said, noting how fortunate Havre de Grace was to have such wonderful volunteers. Dougherty won the costume and fundraising contests. He also made a plug for Young at Heart, a group for those 55 and older at the Havre de Grace Activity Center. He congratulated Main Street, which reelected its board and elected a new member named David Dougherty at the annual meeting last night.

7:54 p.m. Mayor Wayne Dougherty is providing the second quarter financial results. "The city continues to operate in a financially sound manner," Dougherty said, making investments in infrastructure and reducing debt in the water and sewer fund.

7:53 p.m. April 27 is when the annual take-back days are taking place, Chief of Police Teresa Walter said. People can drop off unwanted medications from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the police department. She also thanked the council and the community for approving the budget amendment to allow for expansion of the school resource officer program.

7:50 p.m. Director of Planning Neal Mills provided an update on Upper Chesapeake's plans for a new hospital in Havre de Grace. The earliest people may see construction activity is summer or fall 2014, Mills said.

Recently Upper Chesapeake submitted a sign plan, landscape plan, architectural renderings, lighting plan, stormwater management and forest conservation plans, Mills said. "As far as the planning department is concerned, we still have the stormwater management plan and forest conservation plan to approve," Mills said. “There are more challenges for Upper Chesapeake than our planning department," he continued, beginning with a certificate of need through the state of Maryland which Upper Chesapeake will apply for in August. The decision could take up to a year, Mills said.

Director of Finance George DeHority provided his update and so did Director of Public Works Larry Parks.

7:44 p.m. An amendment to budget for two additional school resource officers through July 1 passed unanimously. "If you want to get something done, the local level is where it gets done," Mayor Wayne Dougherty said.

7:30 p.m. Council President Randy Craig said that when two weeks ago, the council passed the initial amendment to budget for school resource officers, the hope was that additional revenue sources would become available in January. This new budget amendment will fund them through the remainder of the school year or the city budget year, which is July 1. “I’m hopeful that at that time there will be city council members that continue to support this very critical and very important program in our city,” Craig said.

Councilman Joseph Smith responded that he voted against the amendment two weeks ago not because he was opposed to school resource officers but because he was looking for more detail about the program and the process.

Councilman Bill Martin asked members of the audience to raise their hands if they were employees of the Harford County school system. Approximately half of those in attendance raised their hands. He repeated something he said two weeks ago—that in previous days, it was believed that school systems did not need school nurses but over time it was realized that teachers could not handle those roles. He compared that to the discussion about school resource officers. "I feel very frustrated sometimes in the aftermath of what happened in Newtown and I am a parent of three," Martin said.

7:25 p.m. The council unanimously approved of three special events. The Mardis Gras parade will be Feb. 12 on Bourbon Street. The Women's 5K by the Bay will be April 14 in Tydings Park. The 50th annual Havre de Grace Art Show will be Aug. 16-18.

7:18 p.m. Meadowvale Elementary School Principal Debbie Freels received applause for her comments on the school resource officer (SRO) program, which she said has had positive impacts on everyone from parents to preschoolers. A teacher at Havre de Grace Elementary School said that everyone feels "a lot safer" with the addition of the school resource officers as of 2013.

7:12 p.m. Cindy Height of the Soroptomists and chair of the Havre de Grace Art Show said this year is the 50th annual art show. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 20. The Soroptomists support "ladies and scholarships," Mayor Wayne Dougherty added, and he congratulated the organization on its longevity and accomplishments. "I wish you the best and a very successful show."

Bruce Lyon was reappointed to the Marina Commission, and Pamela Wexler and Sharon Spence were reappointed to the Arts Commission.

7:07 p.m. The family of Jeremy Cregar received recognition on his behalf. Cregar, who is in the Marines, is carrying the American flag at the Pro Bowl's half-time this weekend.

7:06 p.m. Patch was late to the meeting, which has begun. Things are moving quickly. They are already on "recognitions." We missed the call to order, roll call, Pledge of Allegiance, opening prayer and review of minutes. Apologies!

The City Council meeting, which was moved from its normal day due to the federal holiday on Jan. 21, will commence at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Here's the meeting agenda. Tonight's discussion includes the addition of two school resource officers through the end of the academic year. Read more on the issue here.

James P. Miller January 23, 2013 at 03:07 PM
Once again the city leaders let emotion get in the way of sound fiscal management. I agree with putting police officers in the County Schools. I don't agree with the City of Havre de Grace funding officers that the County shold provide, but for some unknown reason refuses to do.

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