A local couple reported that they saw a catamount, or mountain lion, cross Route 9 in Woodford. Soon a number of people from all over southern Vermont stepped forward with sightings. Vermont wildlife officials, however, have disputed that any wild mountain lions are in Vermont.
Wilmington Trail Committee Chair John Greene presented a feasibility study on a proposed hiking trail that would follow a portion of the former Hoosac Tunnel & Wilmington Railroad. Greene said the study was the culmination of almost nine years of work by the committee and others. The trail, named after one of the railroad’s nicknames, the “Hoot, Toot & Whistle,” runs from the MOOver headquarters at the end of Shafter Street to the Mountain Mills picnic area at the end of Fairview Avenue.
15 years ago:
Opponents of a nudity ordinance petitioned for a revote of a special Town Meeting vote that affirmed the ordinance, originally passed by the Wilmington Selectboard. The ordinance was requested by a woman with a camp on Harriman Reservoir who complained that nude men were encroaching on her property from a nearby nude sunbathing area. Several instances of lewd and lascivious behavior were also reported before the ban.
State education officials and proponents of Act 60 got an earful from “gold town” educators from around the state at an Act 60 conference in South Royalton. The conference was billed as an “Act 60 lovefest” by critics, who accused organizers of choosing only pro-Act 60 speakers.
20 years ago:
The Vermont Coalition of Municipalities was formed to fight a new state education financing law called Act 60, which had passed earlier in the year. The coalition included 47 dues-paying towns and boasted a war chest of $106,000 to fight the law.
A local hunter shot a 425-pound black bear that had become a frequent patron of local dumpsters. Although the bear was taken during the regular hunting season, a local game warden said it had become a regular nuisance and could have posed a threat to humans.
25 years ago:
Whitingham School Principal John Doty was named Secondary Principal of the Year by the Vermont State Board of Education and the Headmasters Association. Doty now serves Whitingham as a school board member.
Members of the Wilmington Zoning Board of Adjustment were up in arms after the Wilmington Selectboard appointed a local businessman to the ZBA. The new member had clashed with the ZBA on a number of occasions over signs at his business that the ZBA said were not in conformance with the town’s sign ordinance. Several ZBA members vowed to resign over the matter.
30 years ago:
Major structural repairs at the West Dover Congregational Church were nearly complete. Workers lifted the entire structure to construct a new foundation. After the project, the building sat three feet higher than it had before.
Doc Watson appeared at Memorial Hall. It was the legendary bluegrass-folk guitarist’s last appearance in Wilmington before his scheduled retirement to his home in Deep Gap, NC.
35 years ago:
Isabel Childs and Margaret Christowe both lost their bid for the Republican state Senate nomination to Judge Ellwyn Miller. The two West Dover women split the vote, giving Miller the nomination, along with incumbent Robert Gannett.
Rod Gander, former Newsweek Magazine Chief of Correspondents, was installed as Marlboro College’s sixth president, succeeding Thomas Ragle who had been the college’s president for 23 years.
Whitingham voters repealed their inventory tax in an attempt to lure new businesses to the area. Voters also authorized the selectboard to enter into a tax stabilization program with new businesses moving into town.
Stowe spent $2.2 million in an expansion of terrain and support facilities at the mountain. The work was phase 4 of the ski resort’s eight phase, 10-year, expansion project.
45 years ago:
A week after his request for a permit to build a five-unit apartment house triggered demands from planners that Wilmington Selectboard members ban all commercial construction until Town Meeting, the town’s zoning board approved the permit application. During the same week, selectboard members learned of a proposed 24-unit development off Ray Hill Road. The development, an expansion of the existing Wilmington Heights, included 24 single-family homes on a 34-acre tract.
Chet Page, owner and operator of the Burrington Hill Ski Area in Whitingham, was elected director of the Greater Vermont Association, the state chamber of commerce.