July 21, 2019

Burning interest in safety (Aug. 28, 2008)


          Observer photo by Marianne Apfelbaum
Williston firefighter Sean Soper shows Landon Baker, 6, how to use a fire extinguisher during Williston Safety Day on Saturday at Allen Brook School.

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Armadillos pound Mad River for 11th win (Aug. 28, 2008)

Aug. 28, 2008

On Sunday, the Williston Armadillos’ bats sprung to life as the team pounded out 20 hits, six for extra bases, in a 17-5 victory over Mad River Valley.

With the win, the Dillos’ record improved to 11-3 in the Vermont Senior Baseball League. With one game left in the regular season, the team sits in fourth place.

The offensive charge was led by left fielder Dann Van der Vliet (3-3, BB, 2 2B, 3B, 3 runs), outfielder Billy “Vegas” Daw (3-3, BB, run, 2 RBIs), pitcher Bill Supple (3-4, BB, 2 RBI) and first baseman Dennis Johnson (3-4, 2B, 3B, 4 runs, 2 RBIs).

“With the playoffs starting in two weeks, we need to end the season on a high note. The team is waking up at a good time,” said shortstop Greg Bolger.

On the mound, Supple shut out Mad River through the first three innings, giving up five hits and walking none. Supple was relieved by Ken Freeman, who pitched for the Dillos in 2006, but had not played since due to injury. Over the final six innings, Freeman allowed five runs on 11 hits and one walk, while striking out three.

The Dillos jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first when center fielder Ray Danis (0-2, 2 BB, run, RBI) and Supple walked, Bolger (2-5, RBI) singled and right fielder Darby Crum (0-5, RBI) hit into a fielder’s choice, scoring Danis.

Four more Dillos scored in the second. Van der Vliet doubled, moved to third on third baseman Roberto Seals’ (1-4, run) single and scored on Johnson’s fielder’s choice, as Seals was thrown out at second. After Joel Klein (2-2, 2B, 2 BB, 3 runs, RBI) doubled, Freeman (2-4, 3 runs, 3 RBIs) singled to score Johnson and Klein, moved to second on the throw home and scored on Daw’s single.

While Mad River cut the lead to 5-2 in the fourth when they touched up Freeman for four singles and a walk, the Armadillos bounced back for four more runs in the bottom of the frame. Van der Vliet tripled and scored when Seals reached base on an error. Johnson doubled to score Seals, Klein walked and Daw singled to load the bases. Danis brought home Johnson with a sacrifice fly and Supple singled to score Klein.

After Mad River scored a run in the fifth, the Dillos scored three more in the sixth to up the lead to 12-3. Van Der Vliet doubled, moved to third on Johnson’s single and scored on Klein’s single. Freeman reached on a throwing error, with Johnson scoring, and Daw singled home Freeman.

The Dillos picked up another run in the seventh on singles by Supple, Bolger and the Bambino (1-4, RBI).

They scored their final four runs in the eighth as Johnson tripled, Klein walked, Freeman singled home Johnson, Daw and Danis walked, the latter bringing in Klein, and Supple and Bolger hit into consecutive fielder’s choices, with a run scoring in each instance.

The Dillos were scheduled to conclude their regular season by playing a make up game against 11-2 Colchester on Wednesday, Aug. 27, at Williston Central School. Playoffs are set to start on Sept. 7.

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Redhawks head to Bradford

Aug. 28, 2008
By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

“We have depth,” said new Champlain Valley Union High head football coach Jim Provost on Sunday, the day after his team scrimmaged Rice Memorial High at the CVU gridiron.


          Observer photo by Pogo Senior
Senior Quin Gilbert of Champlain Valley Union High grabs a pass during Saturday’s scrimmage against Rice Memorial High School.


“Overall, I was pleased with the effort,” the coach added. “Physically, we held up well on a warm day and the execution was good. I like where we are going into the first game.”

That initial outing of the new campaign is at 1 p.m. on Saturday, in Bradford against Oxbow High, a school going into its second varsity campaign. This will be CVU’s fourth varsity level season.

Asked about emerging team strengths, Provost first mentioned some of the defensive work.

“We were attacking and going to the football rather than having it come to us,” he said. “Plus, our depth should be a strength. We have kids we can rotate in and out so our key players can remain fresh.”

Provost thought his offense moved the ball and that the blocking for the running game improved.

“We have to be able to run,” he emphasized.

With sophomore Ian Solomon at quarterback, Provost thinks the passing game will do well once the timing improves. He also praised the pass blocking of the line and the backs.

Elected captains by their teammates were seniors Robert Charland (halfback, defensive back), Zeph Desormeaux (halfback, linebacker) Tommy Powers (halfback, linebacker) and Matt Gault (offensive and defensive line).

In the one downer Saturday, the veteran Charland injured an elbow on one of the last plays of the scrimmage and is expected to be out of action for up to a month.

“These are the guys the coaches had in mind for captains,” said Provost. “They all play at a high level.”

Senior receiver and defensive back Michael Bonfigli, along with defensive ends Matt Long (junior) and Tyler Hulbert (senior), have also caught the coaches’ eyes for good work.

Provost said he is in awe of the CVU maintenance experts.

“The condition of the field is great. This is one of the nicest fields around,” he said.

The first home game on that field is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 6, when Bellows Free Academy of Fairfax drops by.

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Defending soccer champs reload for new campaign (Aug. 28, 2008)

Aug. 28, 2008
By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

The Champlain Valley Union High boys soccer team opens its quest for a seventh straight state Division I crown on Thursday afternoon at 4:30 at Burlington High, and as one rival coach said recently, the Redhawks “do not rebuild each year, they just reload.”


          File photo by Greg Duggan
Champlain Valley Union High sophomore Tino Tomasi controls the ball during a playoff game against South Burlington High last year. Tomasi moves to the midfield this year for the Redhawks.


Third year coach T.J. Mead noted this weekend that despite the loss of 13 players by graduation from last year’s championship team, “things are looking pretty good,” adding angst to rival coaches’ outlooks for the upcoming autumn clashes.

“We have a young squad, but it is a hardworking one,” Mead said of his 22-player unit. “A majority on the team have not won a title so they have something to work toward.”

Mead’s philosophy is to build teams from the back (defense) to the front (attack), and this year will be no different.

Led by juniors Chris Beaton and Andrew Blake, Mead considers his back line, “pretty strong.”

“We are probably not going to be scoring a lot of goals,” Mead said. “We’ll be in a lot of scoreless or 1-0 games.”

Sophomore Tino Tomasi, whose quickness was an offensive weapon last year despite a mid-season injury, has been moved to midfield “so we can take better advantage of his great vision and playmaking.”

As for the scoring, Mead believes the points will spread around, with no one individual racking up the goals.

“We have some young talent coming in,” he said, pointing to six sophomores up from last season’s undefeated freshman team, and a freshman.

Competing for the goaltending job held for three years by the graduated All-State choice Andreas Varsakopoulos are senior Chris Howard and junior John Milbank.

“They are pushing each other hard,” Mead said.

After the opener in the Queen City, the Redhawks travel to Hartford High on Wednesday before their home opener on Friday, Sept. 5 against Missisquoi Valley Union High.

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Youth to lead CVU field hockey team (Aug. 28, 2008)

Aug. 28, 2008
By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

With just five seniors on the 17-girl squad, the Champlain Valley Union High field hockey team nevertheless has an optimistic outlook going into the season-opener.

The girls start the regular season at 4 p.m. on Thursday at home against Route 116 neighbor Mount Abraham Union.

“We feel good about the preseason,” coach Kate McDonald said over the weekend. “We have a smaller squad than usual but we have five starters back and nine who played last year.”

Among the returnees are senior captains Lucy Barrett, Katie Longshore and Danielle Michael, who were members of the 2007 team that played its way into the Division I state semifinals before losing in overtime at Middlebury Union High.

In preseason scrimmages, the Redhawks last Thursday popped a young Mount Mansfield Union outfit 3-0 after previously winning one and deadlocking twice in a short game, round robin affair on a soggy Mount Abraham field.

Among the pre-season standouts have been two juniors who blossomed last season, Kelsey Jensen and K. K. Logan, both expected to be in midfield positions.

Two other juniors, Emmaleigh Loyer and Kathryn Powell, have looked good, as have sophomores Gillian Shelley and Louise Gibbs.

Instead of the traditional junior varsity and freshmen teams this season, McDonald said CVU will field Jayvee A and Jayvee B teams. She noted that no players had to be cut during tryouts.

McDonald expects the Metro Division to once again be highly competitive and the Eagles to bring a solid team to the Redhawks’ nest on Thursday.

The home opener will be followed by two more contests in the friendly confines at CVU: Wednesday against Mount Mansfield and Friday, Sept. 5 against South Burlington High.

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Fire Log (Aug. 28, 2008)

Aug. 28, 2008

Aircraft standby

A plane flying into the Burlington International Airport in South Burlington radioed the control tower with a problem on Aug. 12. Williston fire crews were dispatched to the scene at 10:18 p.m. Capt. Tim Gerry said it was a Phase 5 call, meaning it was the highest and most important call on the phase scale used by the airport.

Phase 5 calls can be for landing gear and wing flap problems, he said.

“The phase call depends on the size or severity of the problem,” Gerry said.

Gerry said other fire crews were dispatched from around Chittenden County, including Burlington, South Burlington, Colchester, Malletts Bay and Essex Junction. He added the fire department does not get information on the exact problem when being called out.

Tower 1 and Engine 4 responded to the airport, where the plane landed safely without incident.

The fire department gets called to the airport “about half a dozen times” during a year for phase problems, Gerry said.

Car accidents

•    On Aug. 7 at 12:50 p.m., fire crews were called to the scene of a car accident at the intersection of South Brownell Road and Shunpike Road. A Hyundai Accent rear-ended a Toyota Camry, with the passenger of the Camry sustaining injuries. St. Michael’s College Rescue responded and transported the individual to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington. Nine fire personnel responded on Engine 3 and Hazmat 1.

•    A Dodge Colt drove off Mountain View Road at 5 a.m. on Aug. 8, prompting fire crews to respond. The driver of the Colt sustained injuries and was transported by St. Michael’s College Rescue to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington. Engine 3 and the Command Car responded with six fire personnel.

•    At 5:10 p.m. on Aug. 13, fire crews responded to a multi-vehicle accident at the intersection of routes 2 and 2A at Taft Corners. A Dodge Caliber, a Ford 500 and a four-door Jeep collided, although it was unclear from the fire log which vehicle caused the accident. St. Michael’s College Rescue responded to the scene as well, and transported one person to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington. Engines 2 and 3 responded, along with the Hazmat truck and 10 fire personnel. Crews cleaned up the scene after the accident.

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Letters to the Editor (Aug. 28, 2008)

Aug. 28, 2008

A vote for Ashe

Tim Ashe will get my vote for state senator in the primary on Sept. 9 because of his commitment to support our local agricultural economy. Our current food system suffers from a host of problems — everything from escalating costs to food security issues to agricultural viability. The only real solution to these growing problems is to support local food production wherever possible. Tim gets it.

Molly Stevens



Costs of renewable energy

For a campaign promise to get votes, it must be believable. That means that Americans must believe what they are being promised. Obama said he would “require that 10 percent of our energy comes from renewable sources by the end of my first term — more than double what we have now.”

This promise sounds strangely similar to the goals Green Mountain Power has set for their future. At the current prices for “renewables,” you can expect to pay over 45 cents a kilowatt hour for renewables, as opposed to the 11 cents we are now paying for the combination of hydro, nuclear and other sources. Power costs money and renewables are very expensive and do not generate power at night or when the wind does not blow, so the real price for renewables as a base load source would be closer to 135 cents a kilowatt hour.

If you want electricity prices to increase faster than oil prices have risen, just mandate the use of cost prohibitive means of generating electric power. With prices like that, electric cars could become prohibitively expensive. Is that a good thing?

Shelley Palmer



Beef with the UVM police

It seems the University of Vermont campus police have hired some new recruits, and they seem to be setting up decoys so they can practice and hone their skills on unsuspecting citizens. They were out in numbers Friday night and in the wee hours of Saturday morning.

Their racial profiling aside, they are sinking to an all time low. I understand their need to practice, and even the need to play with the blue flashing lights, but to pull people over for that practice is deplorable.

Formal complaints can be submitted by going to the campus police station and filling out some paperwork.

Kimberly Townsend


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Guest Column (Aug. 28, 2008)


Williston firearms ordinance amended favorably for sportsmen

Aug. 28, 2008
By Frank Stanley

Last fall, because of a few complaints, the town of Williston was asked to take a look at its firearms ordinance. As a result, proposed amendments were offered that created inconsistencies with numerous state laws, were very restrictive and would have unnecessarily shut down hunting on almost all town lands.

A public hearing was held in December 2007 and the concerns from both the non-sporting and sporting community members were heard. Hunters and non-hunters alike voiced concerns about wildlife population control. Without hunting as a wildlife management tool, you can see population explosion in species like coyote, deer, raccoon and other furbearers. This can pose threats to the community, such as density dependent diseases like rabies and lyme disease, habitat destruction from over grazing, destruction of agricultural crops and personal property, and increase in wildlife/human incidents and missing pets.

On Monday evening, Aug.18 the  Williston Selectboard favorably amended its Firearms Ordinance to be less restrictive and grant greater flexibility to the Selectboard in allowing hunting on town owned lands. Everyone present voted in favor of the amendments except board member Jeff Fehrs, who wanted it on the record that he was against the proposed amendments because he feels that keeping town owned land open for hunting is a public safety concern.

If you look at the National Safety Council’s statistics on accidental deaths in the United States, hunting is considered one of the safest forms of outdoor recreation. A person is 40 times more likely to be struck by lightning than by a hunter’s bullet. Due to the efforts of The Vermont Traditions Coalition, Vermont Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, The Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife, Bill Cleary of the Powderhorn Outdoor Sports Shop and others working together with former Williston Environmental Coordinator Carrie Deegan and the Williston Selectboard, a reasonable solution was found.

This is a big win for both the people and wildlife of Williston. Thank you to everyone who contributed to keeping town lands truly town lands.

The newly enacted ordinance will soon be available on the Town of Williston Web site.

Frank Stanley does government affairs and public outreach for the Vermont Traditions Coalition, a nonprofit group of traditional land use organizations from throughout Vermont.

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Recipe Corner (Aug. 28, 2008)

 Recipes for corn lovers

Aug. 28, 2008
By Ginger Isham

It is the season and the corn is good! Leftover corn can be cut off the cob and used in many ways, including the following:

Corn fritters

1/2 cup milk

2 cups of boiled corn cut from the cob

2 cups flour

scant teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon oil

2 eggs, well beaten

Blend milk and corn; add rest of ingredients and mix well. Drop by spoonfuls into fat at temperature of 375 degrees (use electric fry pan). To test if fat is hot enough, drop in a piece of bread. It should brown in 60 seconds. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately. Taken from a 1929 cookbook titled, “Anyone Can Cook.”

These next two recipes come from “Soups & Salads for Spring and Summer Days” by Liza Fosburgh, which I purchased at Fort Ticonderoga Gift Shop.

Creamy corn chowder

2 bacon strips

1 medium onion, chopped

1 potato, peeled and chopped

1 sweet red pepper, seeded and finely chopped

2 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1 can evaporated milk (14 ounce), or half and half or light cream, heated

4-5 ears of cooked corn cut from the cob (scrape cob to get all sugary liquid)

1 cup plain yogurt

Cook bacon until crisp; remove and crumble and save. In bacon drippings, sauté onion, potato and red pepper until soft. Sprinkle on flour and mustard and mix well. Gradually add milk/cream, stirring constantly to thicken. Stir in corn and yogurt. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot with crumbled bacon.

Pepper corn-stuffed tomatoes

4 large ripe tomatoes, cut in half, scoop out meat and chop

2 cups cooked orzo (pasta)

1 cup cooked corn kernels

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped

1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced; or cilantro

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons lime juice

lettuce leaves

Combine tomato meat, orzo, corn, pepper, parsley, yogurt, oil and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper. Fill the eight tomato halves with this mixture. Serve on a bed of lettuce.

Ginger Isham was the co-owner of Maple Grove Farm Bed & Breakfast in Williston, a fifth generation family farm on Oak Hill Road where she still lives.

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Liberally Speaking (Aug. 28, 2008)

Campaign letdowns

Aug. 28, 2008
By Steve Mount

I feel let down by Republican presidential candidate John McCain.

To be fair, though, I also feel let down by the Democrats on two points, so let me get those out of the way.

First, I signed up to be “one of the first” to know about Barack Obama’s choice for a vice presidential candidate, the message to arrive on my cell phone before even the cable news networks were told.

I got the message, but at 3:29 a.m. last Saturday morning; before I checked my inbox, I saw the morning news telling me about Joe Biden. So much for being one of the first.

Second, I was disappointed that the Democratic National Committee decided to let Florida and Michigan off the hook for their disobedient behavior during the primary season. Having held primaries earlier than the rules allowed, they were stripped of their convention delegates.

After negotiations between the Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns, the states were granted half their delegates, and now, this past weekend, the DNC decided to seat both states’ full delegations. As any parent will agree, you have to follow through on your punishments or they mean nothing.

These letdowns, though, are minuscule compared to those of McCain.

I had a lot of respect for McCain, but daily it’s being chipped away. I will always respect his times of service, both in the military and in the Senate, but his run for the presidency has rubbed off the gloss.

For example, McCain’s stuttering confession that he was unsure about how many houses he owns certainly was not endearing: “I’ll have my staff get back to you,” he told reporters. To have so many that you lose count does not make me feel like he and I have the same concerns. The count, by the way, turns out to be eight.

I’ll get back to McCain himself in a moment. His staff, however, deserves mention here. They seem to forget that the way things work is that the principal spokesperson for a presidential campaign is the candidate himself.

When McCain details some of his economic plans on the campaign trail, his budget policies end up nearly $3 trillion out of line with his published plans. McCain’s chief economic adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, was questioned about the discrepancy by online magazine Slate. Reported Slate blogger Christopher Beam, “‘This is parsing words out of campaign appearances to an unreasonable degree,’ Holtz-Eakin said. ‘He has certainly I’m sure said things in town halls’ that don’t jibe perfectly with his written plan. But that doesn’t mean it’s official.”

This has widely, and not inaccurately, been paraphrased as “John McCain does not speak for the McCain campaign.”

And it happened again, a week later. In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, McCain said that in discussions about saving Social Security, “nothing is off the table,” specifically including payroll tax increases.

The next day, one of McCain’s spokesmen corrected the candidate, saying that a payroll tax increase was “absolutely out of the question.” Again, McCain does not speak for the McCain campaign. Troubling.

Back to McCain himself: In a speech before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, McCain criticized Obama’s positions on Iraq, saying that they called into question the judgment he would need as commander in chief: “Behind all of these … positions by Senator Obama lies the ambition to be president.”

Maybe it is fair to criticize a presidential candidate for having ambition to be president, maybe not. But McCain should be careful of throwing stones. In 2002, McCain wrote a book about his 2000 run for the presidency, noting that he hadn’t run for president to solve any particular problems.

“I wanted to be president,” he wrote, “because it had been my ambition to be president.”

Look, we all misspeak. But in this day and age, when the lies told by “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” are perceived as truth, one must be especially careful about what one says. Failure to do so is, in itself, a black mark against you.

I leave you this week with a McCain gaffe that I found amusing but which may have made McCain’s home life a bit awkward for a few days.

At the beginning of August, when McCain and his wife, Cindy, were attending a motorcycle rally in South Dakota, McCain told the crowd that he had encouraged Cindy to enter the “Miss Buffalo Chip” contest held at the rally.

Perhaps he did not know (or, worse, perhaps he did) that the contestants for the Miss Buffalo Chip contest dress scantily, if at all, and dance lewdly in front of the hooting audience. For John’s sake, let’s hope Cindy has a good sense of humor.

Steve Mount has been a Williston resident since 1996. He is a software engineer at GE Healthcare and is devoted to his family, his country and his Constitution. You can reach Steve at steve@saltyrain.com or read his blog at http://saltyrain.com/ls.

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