15 years ago: Whitingham joined Wilmington in the prospect of a first-ever combined tax rate exceeding $3 per $100 of appraised property value. Whitingham’s school budget was almost $3.2 million, and a loss of revenue was pushing the town’s rate up by as much as 27 cents, to $3.11. Whitingham and Wilmington school board members working on a proposed joint school district announced they planned to bring the plan to the voters in both towns as soon as spring 2004. Wilmington was losing three police officers to the state police. Some officers cited a morale problem after a group of voters offered a motion to cut the department’s funding at the previous town meeting. And informal local discussions suggested a move was afoot to cut the department by half at the upcoming March 2003 Town Meeting.
20 years ago: Wardsboro residents were upset when a young bull moose that had been wandering around the village for months, was shot by the department of fish and wildlife. The moose had no fear of people, and some residents left food out for him, and others even interacted with him – one resident even got close enough to kiss the animal on the snout. The moose was shot after it wandered into traffic and couldn’t be scared off by state or town highway department personnel. The moose wandered through the halted traffic, even stopping to poke his head in a car window. After it was shot, department of fish and game officials said the moose showed obvious signs of brain roundworm disease, a fatal parasite that leads to disorientation, paralysis, and death.
25 years ago: Wardsboro Town Clerk Jacquie Bedard and her sister, Stratton Town Clerk Terri Garland, were granted a permit to open a restaurant in the Cobb House. In his speech before the Legislature’s opening session, Gov. Howard Dean said the state can no longer depend solely on local property taxes as a way to fund education. A Wardsboro man was fined $200 as the result of an incident in which he was alleged to have slapped the town’s road foreman at a site review of road construction on Route 100.
35 years ago: The Deerfield Valley got its first snowstorm of the season, dumping almost 28 inches of snow on southern Vermont. Vermont Advocates for Public Health was working to raise the drinking age in Vermont from 18 to 21, and to lower the legal blood alcohol level from .10 to .08. The District Environmental Commission ruled an application submitted by a local developer to build 48 two-bedroom units adjacent to Dover Green invalid. According to the commission, the owner of the property never signed the application.
40 years ago: Police Sgt. Dave Donley was calling it quits. Donley had been with the Wilmington Police Department since its inception in 1969. When he started at the department nine years earlier, there were only two state police troopers serving the area, Donley noted, but there were now three state troopers, four full-time Wilmington police officers, and three full-time police officers in Dover. Donley was leaving to accept a position in the security department at a hotel in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.
45 years ago: The Deerfield Valley News explored Linc Haynes’ new, state-of-the-art sawmill and manufacturing facility on Mill Street in Wilmington. Haynes’ company, Vermont Barnboard, produced simulated barnboard from new white pine, spruce, and hemlock boards through a “secret” aging process. The plant began manufacturing earlier in the month. Famous jazz drummer Buddy Rich, billed as “The World’s Greatest Drummer,” appeared at Fat City in Wilmington.
50 years ago: Neil Priessman opened Neil’s Restaurant in the old creamery building on Route 100 in Wilmington. Priessman redecorated the interior of the building with an early American atmosphere, using two of the old counters from Parmelee & Howe. Priessman served two or three entrees nightly, using recipes he collected during his travels through Europe and Great Britain. Temperatures at the summit of Mount Snow dipped to -35 degrees and the lowest temperature recorded at the base was -22 degrees, as a record-breaking cold spell hit the Northeast. The cold temperatures were accompanied by a stiff wind, driving skiers into the base lodge where they sought refuge in front of the fireplaces. Swiss officials were considering new ski laws based on traffic laws. If enacted, ski police could pull skiers to the side of the trail for speeding, reckless skiing, or skiing while intoxicated. The penalties assessed would be the same as the similar traffic offenses. Some Swiss ski resorts already had police officers patrolling the slopes, according to the report.