FROM THE PAST
Sunday about 4 p.m., Thomas told Goodwill firemen that he was taking a car off his lift inside the garage when the gasoline tank dropped off and spilled gasoline on the floor. As he was using a rubber “squeegee” to push the gasoline into the floor drain, he said there must have been a spark that caused a flash fire and explosion which blew out the same rear wall.
••• Queenstown Town Commissioners announced this week that a new town charter has been adopted and will go into effect on March 28, provided they receive no petition from town citizens.
In summary, the town will operate with a threeman board, elected for three-year staggered terms instead of yearly as has been the case. The term of one commissioner will expire annually on the fourth Monday in May.
••• The worst blizzard of the winter dumped nearly 10 inches of snow on Queen Anne’s County and the rest of the Eastern Shore Tuesday closing public schools here for two days.
While the high winds made driving extremely hazardous on Tuesday, drifting was confined to spots and state and county roads crews were able to keep roads passable throughout the storm. The drifting did not seem as troublesome as in the earlier December storm and the one a year ago, according to Larry Morris, county roads engineer.
All roads were open Wednesday morning, however, school officials decided to keep the schools closed for another day.
Morris said his 36-man crew and 21 pieces of equipment started in early Tuesday and worked until after 10 p.m. wood stove sending embers through the chimney. Some of the embers may have escaped and settled on a pile of clothes on the second floor, according to Wayne Turner, assistant chief of the Goodwill Volunteer Fire Company and the officer in charge of the scene.
Since it was still about 10 p.m., most of the residents were awake when they smelled the smoke. There were no smoke detectors in the house, Turner said.
“Luckily, it all happened before they went to sleep,” Turner said. “If they had gone to bed it might have been a different story.”
The floors, ceiling and walls were so badly scarred the home was condemned.
••• Fire destroyed a Chester home Monday, but all family members escaped unharmed. Five of the family’s six pets were not so lucky. Four cats and one dog perished in the blaze.
The Hatcher family, of Anchor Drive in Castle Marina, awoke to the sound of smoke detectors.
“If it wasn’t for the smoke detector, we wouldn’t have made it out,” said homeowner Frances Hatcher. Frances, her husband Anthony and their three children, the youngest of whom is 12, made it outside without incident.
••• Recycling is apparently a victim of its own success in Grasonville.
Due to the increasing amount of recycling, revenues have fallen so badly the Chesterwye Center can no longer afford to pick up aluminum cans.
As a result, the center is asking residents and business owners to bring the cans to them.
Vocational coordinator Janet Akers said that the lack of an increase in the transportation budget and the drop in recycling revenues have kept the center from doing more than breaking even.
“It takes money for gas, garbage bags, and staff time, and we have to pay them (clients) for what they do, and we’re not doing very well at all,” said Akers.
••• Business owners here would like to see the town push to increase business and industry, but fear their town may become like Kent Island.
Kerr McGee and E.S. Vallient fertilizer plants, Agway, Southern States, John Deere dealer, International Harvester, Fox’s, Conner’s Drug Store, a bicycle shop, Connelly Brother’s Garage, Family Shoe Store, Latshaw, an ice cream parlor, Beskids Grocery Store are some of the businesses that have left town. Fox’s store burned down three years ago.
Although Centreville is still quiet, many feel there is no longer enough industry to support the population. “A lot of young kids leave here because there’s nothing to keep them here,” said Richard A. Hash, owner of Hash’s Jewelry Store.
Hash would like to see an increase in retail business, “To draw more people. And an increase in light industry to create new jobs.” Hash said he feels the town, as an institution, has a “stigma” against growth.
••• Divers from the Department of Natural Resources continued their search Wednesday for a hunter believed to have drowned in Crab Alley Bay last week.
Thomas Mitchell of Baltimore has been missing since his hunting party’s 23-foot boat overturned just south of Bodkin Island last Tuesday, according to the DNR. The four other men in the boat, who managed to put on life jackets, clung to the overturned vessel until rescued by watermen several hours later, police said.