Cecil County Executive Danielle Hornberger announced that she will allocate an additional $190,000 to the Cecil County Public Library for fiscal year 2022. This funding will go toward extending the library’s hours in the near future, performing maintenance on the new North East branch and helping pay for staff health care.
“Over the past month, Executive Director Morgan Miller and I have met and discussed the library budget and the importance of making the library more available to more citizens,” Hornberger wrote in a press release Tuesday. “I am thrilled that this funding will help the library to continue extending hours and services to the public.”
The funding is being made possible through expected savings from the bond refinancing bill currently before the County Council, which still must approve that bill for the funding to be made available.
“The current proposed budget includes $480,000 in savings from the bond refinancing bill,” wrote Cecil County Public Information Officer Kevin Alkinburg in an email. “We are confident, given current market conditions, we will be able to save an additional $190,000 from the refinancing of County bonds. This bill is currently before the County Council and we are working closely with the Council to ensure its timely passage.”
Alkinburg said that Executive Hornberger’s administration has been talking and working with the County Council and they believe Council will support this initiative.
Cecil County Library Executive Director Morgan Miller emphasized the importance of increased monetary support.
“We are very grateful to the County Administration for increasing support to the library system so that we, in turn, can support the community through this critical time of recovery,” Miller wrote in the same press release. “So many citizens depend on the library for their daily lives.”
The extended library hours, which would be included in this funding, have yet to be decided.
PORT DEPOSIT — The waterfront trail from Vannort Drive to the Tome Gas House now has a name; The Conrad Promenade.
Port Deposit officially bestowed the name to preserve the legacy of Jack and Diane Conrad and to honor Jack’s memory. Jack Conrad died in October 2020.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Diane said of the celebration luncheon held at Lee’s Landing Monday, which led to the unveiling of a plaque designating the Conrad Promenade. “I only wish he was here to see it. He would have loved it.”
Wayne Tome, former mayor of the town, said the resolution approving the honor was his last official act as he left office in January to take the post as director of the Cecil County Department of Emergency Services.
“I thought about the loss of Jack and all he and Diane did for Port Deposit,” Tome said. “They gave a lot of help to the town and the (Water Witch) fire department.”
While he was a teddy bear of a guy, he was also a straight shooter, as Mayor Bob Kuhs remembers, fondly.
“There were times he’d sit at the council meeting and rail at us,” Kuhs said.
Conrad took the town government to task for its personal property and inventory taxes. He moved the boat sales arm of Tome’s Landing Marina out of town in protest.
In 2006 the town did away with both taxes.
He also spoke up about zoning, public safety and the town’s reputation of being anti-business.
However, the Conrads will be better remembered for their benevolence.
They gifted the Tome Gas House to the town, which is now a visitor center and Northern Map Turtle Education and Research Center in partnership with Towson University. The couple hosted a Poker Run for a number of years to benefit Water Witch Fire Company. That fundraiser allowed the volunteer firefighters to obtain a fireboat and other equipment.
“He didn’t like to toot his own horn but he did a whole lot of things for the town from which we’ve all been able to benefit,” Kuhs said.
That included transforming its waterfront from what the mayor described as “a grimy little industrial town with defunct buildings and cranes ... into a waterfront destination.”
“We owe all of it to Jack and Diane,” Kuhs said.
“This puts a stamp on the legacy of the Conrad family,” Tome said. “All you did for us will live on.”
Cecil County, in coordination with funding from the state and private companies, is launching eight broadband access projects across the county, aiming to bring the access to broadband internet up to 95.8% for all addresses.
“I applaud the State for awarding these eight broadband grants to Cecil County,” said County Executive Danielle Hornberger in a press release Thursday. “The COVID-19 pandemic further highlighted the importance of home internet access, and these projects will work toward providing more County residents with the ability to work from home or to actively participate in school.”
The county is able to move forward with broadband access after receiving money for eight individual expansion projects totaling $605,914. This grant money will be added to contributions from the county and private companies to fund the collective projects’ $1 million price tag.
Cecil County will contribute about $173,000 to the fund. That money will come from the Video Lottery Terminal Fund, an allocation of money from casino profit that is reinvested into Maryland counties including Cecil.
The eight projects, which are to be completed in the next 11-15 months, include areas around Cecil County that are currently underserved with internet access.
Those project areas include areas in southern Cecil County near Warwick Road and Kent County, Cayots Corner Road and vicinity, Mountain Hill Road and vicinity, Ricketts Mill Road and Winding Way, Old Log Cabin Road with part of Turkey Point Road, Pinewood Road with Fingerboard Schoolhouse Road, Elk Valley Lane and Wharburton Road (700-1200 block), according to the press release.
Horberger credits David Black, the county’s GIS coordinator orchestrating the broadband projects.
“I sincerely thank David Black, our GIS Coordinator, who spearheaded these grants for Cecil County”, Hornberger said in the same press release. “We will continue to work with the private sector to provide internet broadband to all our unserved areas.”
Black and Kevin Alkinburg, Cecil County’s public information officer, said that the reasons these locations were chosen is due to multiple factors. Those include the number of students and teachers in the area, public concerns and private broadband companies’ preferences and ability to install broadband in an area among other considerations.
Last year the county received four grants for broadband access. Currently there are around 2,300 addresses in Cecil County that do not have broadband.
Black emphasized that, while they would love to provide broadband access to every address in the county immediately, logistics only allow them to move so fast.
Factors that affect the inability to immediately provide broadband access for every address include funding, logistics problems and supply concerns from private companies. The pandemic has affected the supply chain of tools and technology necessary for installation.
Even with the grants, there isn’t enough money to give everyone broadband access at once.
“While we would like to do all of them, we can’t,” Black said. “There isn’t enough to do this in one fail swoop.”
The private companies Cecil County plans to work with include Comcast, BridgeMAXX and Bloosurf. Bloosurf and BridgeMAXX are both Maryland-based companies.
Alkinburg emphasized the County’s commitment to expanding broadband.
“Broadband is necessary for people’s everyday lives,” he said, keeping with Executive Hornberger’s message that broadband access in Cecil County is very important going forward.
CECILTON — An estranged husband is facing several charges after he allegedly pointed a loaded shotgun at his wife inside a Cecilton residence — a scene that continued until a nearby man heard the woman’s screams, grabbed a machete and wrested the firearm from the suspect, who then fled, according to Cecil County District Court records.
Investigators identified the suspect as David Michael Sadler, 63, of the unit block of South Forest Road near Elkton.
Court records allege that Sadler came to his estranged wife’s residence in the 200 block of West Main Street in Cecilton at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Saturday — in violation of a court-issued protective order against him — and pointed a shotgun at her in the kitchen after entering the home.
The woman later told Maryland State Police investigators that she grabbed the shotgun barrel and tried to point the weapon away from her, prompting Sadler to allegedly pull her by the hair, police said. The woman’s friend, Allen Lee Crosby, 67, heard the woman’s screams and intervened, police added.
“Crosby stated he was outside when he saw David Sadler pull into the driveway, get out of his vehicle with a shotgun and go into the residence. Crosby then stated he heard (the woman) screaming, ‘Call the cops, he’s going to kill me!’,” according to charging documents.
Crosby ran into the house holding a machete, before forcing Sadler from the inside of the dwelling to the outside of it while wresting the shotgun away from him, police said. At that point, police added, Sadler drove away from the residence.
The woman called 911 while Crosby was struggling with Sadler to take control of the shotgun, according to a written summary of the Cecilton incident, which MSP officials included in press release concerning statewide criminal and traffic cases that troopers had handled over the weekend. The agency issued that crime-and-traffic roundup press release on Monday.
MSP Tfc. Kyle Morrison responded to that 911 call at 6:33 p.m., police said.
But Morrison deferred to other troopers heading to the scene when he spotted a green Ford Focus that matched the description of the suspect vehicle — including the license plate — as it headed northbound on Augustine Herman Highway (Route 213), after coming off the Chesapeake City Bridge, police added.
Morrison turned his southbound patrol car around, at that point, and stopped the suspect vehicle after it had made a left turn onto nearby Spears Hill Road, according to police. Morrison then arrested Sadler — the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle — without incident, police reported.
During a pat-down search of Sadler, the trooper found a box containing two rounds of 00 buckshot in the suspect’s front left pants pocket, police said.
Morrison also confiscated a tannish-brown bandolier containing 16 rounds of shotgun ammunition, after noticing it “in plain view” on a rear passenger seat, where he seized one loose round of 00 buckshot, too, police added. A bandolier is a shoulder belt made up of loops or pockets in which shotgun shells or bullets can be stored.
Meanwhile, back at the Cecilton residence, MSP investigators took custody of the shotgun that Sadler allegedly had used to threaten his estranged wife — and they found one round of 00 buckshot in the chamber and two additional rounds in the magazine tube, court records allege.
MSP investigators later confirmed that, since March 22, there has been an active Cecil County District Court protective order against Sadler, one designed to protect the alleged victim in Saturday’s incident against him, police reported.
“This order prohibits David Sadler from owning or possessing any firearms or ammunition,” according to charging documents.
Sadler is charged with first-degree assault — a felony that is punishable by up to 25 years in prison if convicted — and six related misdemeanors, including use of a firearm in the commission of a felony or a crime of violence, reckless endangerment, violation of a protective order and possession of a firearm by a disqualified person, court records show.
Scheduled for a June 11 preliminary proceeding, Sadler remained in the Cecil County Detention Center on no bond Tuesday, one day after his bail review hearing, according to court records.