Record Observer - - Opinion -

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.

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