ANNIVERSARY: Police share December headlines with holiday happenings

Dec. 22, 2010

The Williston Observer, formerly the Williston Whistle, is celebrating its 25th year providing news to the community. Here are some stories from past months of December:

• In December 1991, the Whistle broke the news that Williston Central School Principal Marian Stroud would resign on June 30, 1992, after 17 years at the school. In Stroud’s statement to faculty, the principal said she wanted “to move closer toward my true passions, children, the growth of the intellect and the act of learning.” Teachers, administrators and parents all spoke highly of Stroud.

• The December 1991 issue of the Whistle announced that the Vermont State Police planned to move to Williston in 1992.

“The State Police have been trying to re-locate in the Williston area for several years now,” the Whistle reported. “The primary reason is to better serve the public and allow them easier access to their police force. The Williston location is central to the Vermont State Police area of responsibility.”

• A year later, in the Dec. 9 1992 issue, the Whistle reported on the State Police relocation. On Dec. 7, the police moved to Williston from Fort Ethan Allen in Colchester, where state troopers had been located since the 1960s.

• The Williston Post Office also relocated in December 1992, moving to 9 Blair Park from its former location on Commerce Street.

• A draft of a study conducted by the Vermont League of Cities and Towns recommended that the Williston Police Department triple in size in five years, the Whistle reported on Dec. 19, 1996.

“The study … concludes that Williston’s police service isn’t staffed, supplied, or equipped in a manner that even permits it to meet the existing needs of this growing community — much less the needs officials project over the next five years and into the next century,” the Whistle reported.

At the time, Williston had four full-time police officers, including Chief Osburn Glidden, and various part-time officers.

The study also praised the professionalism of Williston’s police force.

• The District 4 Environmental Commission approved construction at Maple Tree Place, as outlined in a Dec. 18, 1997 issue of the Williston Whistle. The decision came nearly 22 years after developer Pyramid Co. first proposed a shopping mall in Williston.

• The Dec. 24, 1998 edition of the Whistle included an article about local politicians’ reactions to the impeachment process of President Bill Clinton. Most politicians and community members called for bipartisanship and fairness.

• The Dec. 9, 1999 issue of the Whistle included an article about a free booklet available to help people assuage concerns of the change to the year 2000, entitled “Y2K and You.”

• The Dec. 7, 2000 issue of the Whistle described a police fund-raiser where only a fraction of the money raised went to charity, prompting questions and a state investigation. A Maine-based company soliciting money on behalf of the Williston Police Officers Association kept more than two-thirds of the money raised, a Whistle investigation found.

• Teachers at Williston Central School tactfully steered children toward healthy lifestyle choices through two school programs, physical education and family and consumer sciences, an article in the Dec. 11, 2003 issue of the Observer described. The programs were part of an effort to stem the rise of obesity.

• Thousands of shoppers swarmed to Williston for post-Thanksgiving deals, according to a Dec. 2, 2004 issue of the Observer. Williston’s big box stores have become a major destination for shoppers looking for Black Friday savings.

• A Williston school bus driver was ordered to take down Christmas decorations she had hung inside her bus, a Dec. 9, 2004 Observer article reported.

“Depending on your point of view, making a school bus driver take down colorful Christmas decorations because they violated district policy was either a Grinch-like gesture or an attempt to respect religious diversity,” the article reads.

• The Dec. 1, 2005 issue of the Observer included an article about a Connecticut man who was killed when he crashed his small plane in Williston during a snowstorm, less than 2 miles from the Burlington International Airport.

• A fire that consumed two Williston families’ homes drew attention to the fact that all Williston homes are not close to a fire hydrant, according to a Dec. 21, 2006 article in the Observer. Firefighters had to lay down nearly a mile of hose to fight the fire on Chapman Lane.

Protesters young and old display anti-war messages during a demonstration at Maple Tree Place in 2007. High school students organized the event to protest recruiting practices, but the demonstration also included those opposed to the Iraq War. (File photo)

• Thirteen demonstrators were arrested after staging an anti-war protest in Maple Tree Place, a Dec. 6, 2007 Williston Observer article relayed. Approximately 75 high school and college students and other demonstrators gathered to noisily protest military recruitment outside the Vermont National Guard office. Thirteen protesters, including three juveniles, were cited for trespassing.

The Dec. 13, 2007 Observer featured an article about a pro-military demonstration staged in response to the student protest.