50 years ago this week: Apr. 30

THE FRONT PAGE of the Addison Independent 50 years ago.

While many of us today stay in our homes and practice social distancing, Addison County residents 50 years ago were out and about enjoying warm weather deemed perfect for spring cleaning. However, the week also brought an unusually high number of crimes to the area. Here are some of the top stories that appeared in the April 30, 1970, edition of the Independent:
•  A “brass or copper” urn bearing the inscription “Rupert C. Field—1937” was stolen from the Munger Street Cemetery in New Haven.
•  Fourteen-year-old Marion Johnson of Brandon, who had been reported missing, returned home after four days.
•  John Thayer of Bridport was attacked and robbed while hitchhiking on Route 125 in Middlebury. “Three long-haired boys” pulled over to offer Thayer a ride, but when he climbed into the back seat of the car one of the boys hit him with a rolled-up newspaper, knocked him unconscious, stole his wallet with $52 inside, and dumped him on the side of the road.
•  A syndicated column reported that “according to an authority on men’s wear, the style influence of the hippies is waning fast. Praise be!”
•  The Vergennes City Council approved a resolution for a program providing rent subsidies to the city’s low-income and elderly residents.
•  The Vermont Special Olympics was scheduled for May 16 in Middlebury.
•  The nation’s first tri-town water system — servicing Addison, Bridport and Shoreham — received further funding to provide water to 22 more homes and farms in Shoreham.
•  The Bristol Rotary Club held its first annual Mt. Abraham area talent show, where 18 acts competed to win cash prizes and a trip to New York City to audition for the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour TV show. The first-place winner was Liz Van Nostrand of Middlebury, who sang a song of her own composition and played the guitar.
Since we didn’t get to publish a “From the Archives” last week, we will let readers know that the inauguration of Vermont’s first-ever Green-Up Day on April 18, 1970, and celebration of Earth Day four days later meant that concern for the environment was fresh in the minds of many Addison County residents 50 years ago last week. Here are some of the top stories that appeared in the April 23, 1970, edition of the Addison Independent:
•  Political speakers including Gov. Deane Davis, Lt. Gov. Thomas Hayes and Attorney Gen. James Jeffords gathered at Middlebury College on Earth Day, April 22, to give talks about Vermont’s attempts to curb pollution. Many of the speakers urged locals to “exert the discipline” to help reduce pollution themselves rather than relying on legislation to do the job for them. 
•  Also on Earth Day, Middlebury Union High School students staged a demonstration at the Middlebury dump to protest air pollution caused by open burning. Although open burning was outlawed in the state, the Middlebury dump continued to smolder. Dump custodian Joe Dragon said the fires were almost impossible to put out due to trash fires constantly burning underground. 
•  Stained glass windows were installed in the Methodist Church in West Addison in memory of Mrs. L. Mae Reed.
•  Members of the 5-Town Area UD-28 school board got to work trimming their proposed 1970-1971 budget after learning that Bristol’s school costs were the highest in the state.
•  Mrs. William Ringey of Cornwall and Mrs. Raymond LeBeau were among five “Merit Mothers” honored at the Governor’s Reception for the 1970 Vermont Mother of the Year. Neither of the women’s given names were mentioned in the original article.
•  Addison County’s first federally funded Manpower Training Program began its 20-week session in Middlebury. Trainees age 19 to mid-40s were promised custodial and maintenance jobs in the area after learning a wide array of skills including carpentry, electricity, mechanics and plumbing.
•  State’s Attorney Ezra S. Dike, a resident of North Street in Bristol, had water to his home shut off after he refused to pay the town’s water tax. Dike claimed that the village trustees were misusing the revenue from the water tax, and his nonpayment of the $50 bill sparked a feud with Municipal Manager R.W. Smith. He eventually paid his overdue bill “under protest” and had his water turned on again.
•  Middlebury Town Manager David A. Crawford reported at least 34 tons of trash were brought to the Middlebury dump alone after a successful Green-Up Day (particularly successful for one Salisbury child, who found a five-dollar bill). Participants from almost every town in Addison County worked together to clean up about 90% of the county’s roads in just one day.
•  A photo from Green-Up Day in Bridport showed three young women who lent a hand; the were identified as Cindi Wright, Debbie Bagley, Debbie Anderson, Debbie Delphia, Elly Cook and Suzie Wright.
— Emma Pope McCright

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