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50 years ago this week: March 26

Fifty years ago this week no one in Addison County had heard of COVID-19. Here are some of the top stories that appeared in the March 26, 1970, edition of the Addison Independent:
•  Harold Zedlitz of Southwick, Mass., was hired as the new Bristol police chief.
•  The hit film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” played at the Campus Theatre in Middlebury.
•  The construction of a new sugar house in Ripton heralded the start of the maple sugaring season.
•  The only photo on the front page featured three Middlebury men rescuing a collie that had fallen through the ice on Otter Creek near the Old Stone Mill. Police Patrolman Arthur Ploof walked out on ladders stretched across the ice to retrieve the unidentified dog; he was assisted by Arthur T. Prime and George Bougor. They took the collie to Middlebury Animal Hospital where it would reside “until claimed, or disposed of.”
•  The state legislature passed bills to create an Agency of Human Services — which today assists Vermonters with housing, employment and healthcare — and to ensure anonymity for voters in presidential primaries.
•  Mount Abraham Union High School student Roger Ford was chosen to participate in the Bristol school’s student exchange program and travel to South America. As part of the program, MAUHS this year hosted Felida Fernandez from Venezuela.
•  Addison native Bob White won first place in his class at the United States Snowmobile Association’s First World Series in Rhinelander, Wisc. White competed against racers from across the United States and Canada and was hailed as a “world champ.”
•  The public was informed about new road signs meant to take the place of billboards along Vermont’s highways. These “Signs of the Times,” such as a fork and knife for food and a bed for lodging, are now instantly recognizable, but at their inception were described as an “experiment with ‘information’ versus ‘advertising.’”
•  The question of whether or not Addison County should remain “the country” or be more open to industry was debated at a Town Hall in Orwell with the Addison County Regional Planning Commission. The ACRPC’s regional plan bothered many locals with its suggestion of attracting new industries such as foundries, pharmaceutical products, and small machinery production to the area to “strengthen and diversify” Addison County’s economy. Locals feared that the county would be changed into an “urban atmosphere” and that the new businesses would attract workers who commute from Burlington or other large towns rather than hiring Addison County residents.
— Emma Pope McCright

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