Today In Salisbury’s History: Thursday, Jan. 17, 1980

Thursday, Jan. 17, 1980 —

  • A minor blaze at the W.T. Grant store on Cypress Street has turned into a major issue in Salisbury. Fire Chief Frederick A. Williams said Conrail maintenance employees working on the railroad tracks that cross Route 50 at Cypress Street prevented him and a responding fire engine from reaching the scene. The chief said other firefighters en route were blocked in by traffic and response times were delayed. The chief, who said “the only thing hot about this fire is me,” said that even with sirens blaring, the railroad workers continued placing rails and ignored the firefighters’’ emergency.
  • Richard Hazel, general manager of the Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. of Salisbury said Maryland’s proposed return-deposit legislation on bottles and cans will not solve the litter problem but will disrupt the economy by tying up money. Legislation mandating can and bottle deposits has already been filed in the 1980 General Assembly. A 5-cent deposit would be required on “uniform” containers; a 10-cent deposit would be required on unusual containers and cans. The bill would also ban “pop tops” which can sometime be swallowed and plastic rings which have been known to disable animals.
  • The state and former Salisbury State College President Dr. Norman C. Crawford have reached an agreement related to Crawford’s departure from office, but no one will say what happened. Crawford was asked to resign in October, but has since refused to move out of the college-owned President’s House on Camden Avenue. His attorney, Morton Owrutsky, said the agreement would come to light at some point, but couldn’t say when. All that is known publicly is that the school is operating with an $880,000 deficit.
  • The Salisbury City Council voted unanimously to ban the sale of drug paraphernalia in city limits. The measure includes a possible fine of $500 and 90 days in jail for those convicted of breaking the new law. Prior to the vote, Councilman Norman Conway dramatically removed from his pocket a pipe that had been designed to administer a controlled substance. Conway, a public school principal, said he had confiscated the pipe from a school student that very day and was time for the city to take action against drug use.
  • Mayor Elmer F. Ruark presented a special plaque to former Councilman John L. Morris, 89, who is credited with introducing tennis to the Salisbury community and who has continued to make contributions that have resulted in Salisbury becoming known as “Tennis Town USA.” Morris served on the council from 1928 to 1934 and was known for providing tickets for local youngsters to attend Davis Cup tournaments and the U.S. Open in Forest Hills, N.Y. As a longtime Recreation Commission member, Morris continuously promoted tennis as an activity suitable for young people.

Greg Bassett is editor and general manager of Salisbury Independent. Reach him at gbassett@newszap.com

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