Today In Salisbury’s History: Thursday, Jan. 16, 1969

Thursday, Jan. 16, 1969 —

  • Public spending watchdog James Betts is attacking the Wicomico Board of Education’s plans to install air conditioning in new classrooms. Betts is also assailing plans to install carpeting in some classrooms, calling the move wasteful. Under public criticism, the school board recently decided not to air-condition a new auditorium at Wicomico Senior High School, but then in a follow-up meeting agreed to pay for the air conditioning.  
  • The city of Salisbury will become 42 percent bigger if plans to annex land on which the new Salisbury Mall sits proceed as planned. Some 522 acres of the eastern suburbs would join the city as of July 1. Public Works Director Philip C. “Pete” Cooper said he is hopeful the various property owners will agree to annexation, but said opposition could derail the plan. The annexations would add $5.4 million to the city’s assessable tax base.
  • The Rev. Lane Adams, an Associate Evangelist with Billy Graham, drew a crowd of more than 3,700 people to services held Saturday at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center. At the event, Adams told the crowd that Civic Center officials told him the crowd was the largest ever in the building’s history. Sunday’s crowd was only a bit smaller, coming in at 3,600 people.
  • Johnnie Brown, who has been on Maryland’s death row for killing a Salisbury Police Officer, has been declared sane, according to Maryland Secretary of State C. Stanley Blair. Brown had been scheduled to die in the gas chamber last fall, but Gov. Spiro T. Agnew delayed the execution and called for a psychiatric evaluation. Brown, who underwent testing at Clifton E. Perkins State Hospital, was convicted of shooting Officer Henry T. Stephens in 1958.
  • The Wicomico County Council is now in receipt of a $7,000 report on the possibility of expanding police services in a growing county. The International Association of Police Chiefs concluded the county currently has adequate police protection, but it would be wise for officials to extend service throughout the county. The report said a so-called “doughnut ring” surrounds the city of Salisbury, with police protection in the rural portions of the county that lie outside that ring sometimes falling short.
  • Salisbury is under a Feb. 5 deadline from state health authorities to halt pollution of the Wicomico River, but city officials are hoping to get the deadline extended. The state was forced to close the river to oyster harvesting after thousands of gallons of industrial sewage was being dumped into the river in the area of the Fitzwater Street Pumping Station. City officials say more than $1 million in improvements are needed at the city’s sewer plant to stem the pollution.

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