Following a rash of catamount sightings in the area, a Marlboro resident reported seeing one of the mountain lions on family property on Hamilton Road. “It was buff-colored, with rounded ears and cat eyes,” the witness said, “but it was the long tail that caught my eye.”
A Windham District Court judge dropped the second degree murder charge against Brian Gilbert, of Charlemont, MA, who shot and killed Jacksonville resident Douglas Bartlett, who had been picking blackberries in a remote part of Whitingham. Gilbert, a hunter, said he mistook Bartlett for a bear. The judge said the facts presented by the state failed to show that Gilbert knew he was likely to kill a person when he fired the shot.
15 years ago:
Wilmington formed a committee to research the pros and cons of adopting a town charter. The concept had been brought to the attention of the public after a public meeting with Paul Gillies, a Montpelier attorney. Gillies said that most “enlightened” communities had a town charter. Wilmington, however, declined to pursue a charter after the committee’s work was concluded.
For the first time, Wilmington taxpayers were facing a tax rate over $3, thanks to a projected 79-cent increase in their school tax rate. Several factors were responsible for the huge increase, but board members placed most of the blame on Act 60, the statewide education funding system.
20 years ago:
Deerfield Valley businesses were reporting an economic boom, thanks to great winter weather and record-breaking crowds over the holiday weekends.
Mount Snow planners were back at the “drawing board” after they found that a proposed pipeline from Somerset Reservoir wouldn’t meet their need for 350 million additional gallons per season. The resort’s hydrogeologist said that, based on New England Power’s license restrictions, there wasn’t a lot of “extra” water that could be drawn from the reservoir. He suggested withdrawing water from Harriman Reservoir, which had fewer license restrictions.
25 years ago:
The “wacky” Jose Cuervo Games of Winter were held at Mount Snow. The “shenanigans” included snow volleyball, snow tug-of-war, the margarita lime toss, and the Great Cardboard Box Race, in which contestants slid down a 200-foot downhill course in a box. Extra points were awarded for creativity in designing the box.
Wilmington faced a shortage of paraprofessionals for students with special needs. One parent said her child with special needs had been without full-time assistance since the beginning of the school year.
35 years ago:
Mount Snow opened the Free Fall expert trail on the North Face. The first two skiers down the trail were Mount Snow lifts manager Scott Pierpont and David Grygiel, of Mount Snow’s skiing services department.
Dover resident Rep. Stephen Morse was re-elected Speaker of the House.
A New York man pleaded guilty to puncturing the tire of a Wilmington police cruiser and was ordered to pay restitution. He was also ordered to write a letter to the town apologizing for his actions.
40 years ago:
Heavy rains pelted the valley, flooding streets and dashing the hopes of skiers and those who depend on them. “Rain runs down the window panes at a ski area like a solitary tear running down a beautiful woman’s face,” wrote a Deerfield Valley News reporter, apparently too choked up to maintain journalistic neutrality. “It brings sadness and despair.”
Gary Wax was sworn in as Wilmington’s newest full-time police officer. Wax had moved to the area from Queens, NY, about eight months earlier. Joining Wax was Mark Rosso, a 19-year-old Wilmington High School graduate who was sworn in as a part-time officer. Officer Dave Donley was scheduled to leave the department at the end of the month.
West Dover resident Bernard Hastings, with the help of local skier and New York patent attorney Arnold Sprung, patented “Ski Wheels.” The “wheels” were tiny hardened steel discs, several of which were mounted on the inside edge of each ski, directly below the boots. The edges of the “wheels” extended about 1/10 of an inch below the bottom of the ski, providing skiers with a second edge to bite into ice for more control under less than ideal conditions.
45 years ago:
John Cronan was appointed Wilmington Town Manager, after the departure of former town manager John Plonski a month earlier. Cronan had been a teacher in New York before earning his master’s degree in public administration.
Famed Olympic alpine skier Jean Claude Killy competed in, and won, his first race as a professional skier at Mount Snow. Killy took home $2,500 for his performance in the giant slalom event. Killy went on to take the ’73 world championship title.
50 years ago:
Mount Snow released plans for its second annual Winterfest. The week-long festival included races, a “slalomfest,” demos, jack-jumper races, a fashion show, snowmobile races, and a beauty pageant to select Miss Winterfest.
The Fabulous Farquahr packed the local nightspot Fat City. According to Deerfield Valley News editor and Farquahr fan Dave Lyman, the group’s draw was so irresistible that the owners of rival entertainment establishments were also in the Fat City crowd. According to Lyman, Farquahr opened with “a raft of rip-snortin’ songs, some from the Clancy Brothers, some from the Beatles, and a few from the pen of their own Barnswallow Farquahr.” Barnswallow was the Farquahr pseudonym of Doug Lapham. The other three Farquahrs - Hummingbird, Condor, and Flamingo – were pseudonyms of the McGowen brothers, Bobby, Dennis, and Frank.