This week from our pages in history
ELKTON — Each week, we take a look back in time to examine what was on the minds of Cecil County readers. Rotating through the Whig’s 176-year history, we hope to not only provide direct text from our archives, but also context as to why the issue was important at the time.
Join us as we thumb through the pages of our history. 50 years ago (Nov. 8, 1967) Teens have always found a way to get themselves into some mischief, but this headline from 50 years ago definitely caught our attention. Homemade bomb misfires at school A homemade bomb that misfired and a fire set in the school by students were reported by the administration of North East High School this week.
Principal Luby S. Weaver reported to John Farrell, fire investigator of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, that on Friday, Nov. 3, while returning from lunch at 12:40 p.m. he saw smoke in one end of the building.
Rushing to the end of the corridor he extinguished a small fire that was emanating from a red tube on the floor.
Closer examination by Farrell and State Trooper 1/C J.B. Saunders revealed that the end blew out of the homemade device and scattered powder across the floor. They also found a wick and burned cigarette at the scene.
The malfunction of the supposed bomb caused slight powder burns on the floor and wall of the corridor.
Samples of the powder have been forwarded by state police to the FBI laboratory in Washington, D.C., for examination.
On Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 7, three female students at the high school were arrested and charged with malicious destruction of property after they appar- ently started a fire in one of the girls’ lavatories.
The fire was fueled by bathroom tissue and caused no damage other than the quantity of smoke generated. The fire was extinguished by Weaver. Two of the girls apparently involved are juveniles and will be referred to the juvenile services division. The third girl, Mary Beth Haskell, 18, near North East, was being held in the Cecil County Jail in lieu of $500 bail.
Today, a trip to the planetarium, a theater built primarily for presenting educational and entertaining shows about astronomy and the night sky, would probably be a special occasion in a large city. Fifty years ago, however, planetariums were in great demand with America at the height of the “space race.” In Cecil County, Elkton High School once boasted one such theater.
The Planetarium: Now for all students
The planetarium at Elkton Senior High School, under the supervision and tutelage of Alvyn I. Nacman, is underway into a developmental program during 1967-68 that will attempt to have every student in Cecil County schools experience at least one class period in the auditorium.
Using a projector slide which has computer planned holes in it, the planetarium can project on the screen above the night sky of any location in the world.
The planetarium is made by Spitz Laboratories in nearby Yorklyn, Del., a firm that was started by Armand Spitz, who was originally from Elkton.
Nacman is at present teaching daily classes in basic astronomy to eleventh and twelfth graders. The students are given a taste of geography navigation, and physics in their daily sessions.
In addition to the regular classes, students from other county high schools and grade school students have been coming to the planetarium for instruction.
Commenting on the importance of the planetarium courses, Nacman revealed the fact that in Russia every high school has a planetarium and every grade school at least an observatory. In the United States, he saysm there are only 1,000 high school units.
“How,” asks Nacman, “can we meet the space age demands of education if we don’t have the tools to teach our students?” 25 years ago (Nov. 2, 1992) For many people, an area code is much more than just a number. It can be an identity and represent home for the people living there and those who have left. In Cecil County, there is perhaps no area code as widely known and used as 410 — and yet it’s only 25 years old.
410 area code goes into effect for Cecil County
Today is the first business day that more than 1.1 million Chesapeake & Potomac Co. customers and nearly 5,000 Armstrong Tlephone Co. customers will switch area codes, from 301 to 410.
Armstrong, which serves part of Cecil County, and C&P are the state’s only telephone companies.
Until now, all Maryland phone numbers have had a 301 area code. On Sunday, the customers in the state’s eastern counties change to 410.
C&P has aired radio advertisements, distributed brochures and mailed letters to customers in recent months to inform them of the impending change, said company spokeswoman Jeanine Smetana.
“Our sample studies show that people are adjusting much better than we originally thought,” said Smetana. “Traditionally, customers dial correctly between 20 and 25 percent of the time when there is an area code change. But, as of Thursday, about 70 percent of the calls are dial correctly.”
On Sunday, callers who failed to punch in for 10 before dialing in eastern Mary- land number received a message telling them to try their call again.
Cellular phone owners in eastern Maryland must take their phones to local service centers for reprogramming, a 15-minute procedure in which the phone’s computer chip “brain” is switched to the new area code, said Karen and Kurlander, spokeswoman for Bell Atlantic Mobile Systems.
Bell Atlantic and Cellular One are the state’s two cellular service providers.
Nearly 6,500 of Maryland’s 35,000 Bell Atlantic customers have not reprogrammed their phones, Kurlander said.
“We’ve been telling people in the affected areas for a year now they won’t be able to use their phones if they don’t reprogram, but I guess they’ll just have to find out the hard way,” Kurlander said.
Cellular customers who have not reprogram their phones will be able to make calls after Sunday, but they won’t be able to receive incoming calls, said Wendy Dabney, of the Nationwide Cellular Service in Linthicum.
“There is always a select few who don’t pay attention to changes,” Dabney said. “But they’ll be here next week when they realize it’s not a joke.”
“The mad rush won’t be until Monday morning, when they can’t use their cellular phones anymore,” said Brian Murfee, president of Telewire in Salisbury.
The new 410 area code is needed because phone companies were running out of available numbers, Smetana said. New devices including fax machines, beepers, personal computer modems and cellular phones created the shortage.
“The 410 area code doubles our capacity,” Smetana said. “We are looking at a minimum of 15 years before we have to change again.”
All Eastern Shore county will switch to the 410 area code plus Baltimore, Anne Arundel, Howard, Carroll, Harford counties and the city of Baltimore.