This Week in History
10 years ago:
Drivers dodging potholes on Route 100 in Wilmington Village were relieved to hear that 4.7 miles of Route 100 would be paved under Gov. Jim Douglas’ “Operation Smooth Ride” initiative. Repairs were set to start as early as May. Wilmington Town Manager Bob Rusten said the repairs, which were the only ones in AOT district one, were thanks to the lobbying efforts of AOT district one manager Wayne Gammel and the towns of Wilmington, Whitingham, and Dover.
Selectboard members approved a plan by Unicel to place a cell phone antenna in the belfry of the Congregational church on East Main Street. The antenna was touted as improving reception and preventing dropped calls in the village for cell customers with GSM phones.
Crocuses were in bloom on the lawn of Deerfield Valley Elementary School.
15 years ago:
A Wilmington committee formed to investigate the feasibility of adopting a town charter recommended against it at a meeting with selectboard members. Chief among their concerns was the process by which a charter would be adopted.
Whitingham’s selectboard was considering hiring a town administrator, a move that would ease the burden of day-to-day administrative operations on the board, and on the selectboard chair in particular.
Wilmington and Dover agreed to study the possibility of merging their police departments – again. It was by no means a new proposal, having been studied several times since the 1970s.
20 years ago:
Whitingham School Board members were struggling to cut another $50,000 from their budget, a budget that was already below the previous year’s budget. The reduction was mandated by Town Meeting voters who were concerned about soaring taxes brought on by Act 60. Underlining the frustration with the controversial education funding system, Whitingham Principal John Doty said that every dollar cut from the budget would reduce the town’s tax liability by only 12 cents.
25 years ago:
According to Dover Police, illegal dumping – people throwing their trash in a dumpster that they’re not authorized to use – was one of the biggest theft-of-services issues in Dover. Business owners said most of the illegal disposal was perpetrated by second-home owners, one-time visitors, and even some locals. They knew that, they said, because they routinely went through trash bags for addresses and other identifying evidence so they could bill the dumpers. One business owner said the cost of illegal dumping tripled her trash disposal bill. Another business owner said that some mornings she arrived to find her dumpster full and bags piled up on the ground. But she also noted that a lot of visitors would be willing to pay to dispose of their trash, they just didn’t know what they should do with it.
35 years ago:
The Silo Saloon was sued by the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) for “publicly performing copyrighted music of ASCAP members.” The Silo’s attorney said it was up to the musical acts hired by the Silo to secure rights to perform music, not the Silo.
Local legislators announced that the state would improve several areas along Route 100 and Route 9. Included in the state highway department’s plans was resurfacing on Route 100 in Wilmington and Dover, as well as several reconstruction projects along Route 9.
40 years ago:
An engineering consultant for the Wilmington Selectboard said they wouldn’t have enough time to meet requirements for an application for flood protection grants from the federal department of Housing and Urban Development that was due on May 15. But the consultant said the town “would be in the best shape if it would take the bull by the horns and go ahead on its own to finance an engineering study for flood protection.”
Angler Robert Allen, 75, of Jacksonville, broke with tradition and disclosed some of the best trout fishing spots in southern Vermont. One of his top spots included Branch Brook in Halifax, where he caught an 18-inch brook trout.
45 years ago:
Mount Snow presented Whitingham Ambulance Service with a $500 donation “in recognition of outstanding services performed for residents of Deerfield Valley communities and in support of first-aid services at Mount Snow.” At the time, WASI was the only ambulance service in the valley.
The Wilmington School Board discontinued the high school band program. According to board members, the reason for disbanding the band had nothing to do with students’ enthusiasm or skill, it was because they couldn’t find a part-time music teacher. For many years, band teachers were shared among area schools, but with an increasing workload, fewer teachers were willing to take on shared positions.
50 years ago:
The US Senate was considering the “Dodd anti-gun bill,” (authored by Sen. Thomas Dodd, of CT) which would become the Gun Control Act of 1968 when signed into law later in the year by President Lyndon Johnson. The bill was spurred by the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. The Vermont Fish and Game Department took the unusual step of opposing the law and, in an op-ed in The Deerfield Valley News, urged Vermonters to contact their federal representatives to voice their opinions. “The Fish and Game Department is not against legislation that would accomplish effective restriction of guns by the criminal and mentally unstable segment, but it is strongly opposed to any laws that would infringe on the rights of law abiding Americans who, by their heritage, have the right to bear arms for personal security and recreational uses.”