September 4, 2015

Eagle Scout project still tied up in court 9/25/08

Proposed dock intended to serve community

Sept. 25, 2008
By Greg Elias
Observer staff

Summer has come and gone, another season of waiting for a Williston teen whose Eagle Scout project, a dock on Lake Iroquois, is stalled amid neighborhood opposition.

File photo
Boy Scout Jeffrey Dumas stands near Lake Iroquois last year. The teen has been trying to build a dock on the lake, but the proposal has stalled during an appeal process.

Jeffrey Dumas proposed the dock to fulfill a requirement for Eagle Scout, Boy Scouting’s highest rank. But residents who live near the lake are against the idea, saying it will bring more boats to the already overcrowded lake and spread invasive aquatic life.

Now, months after the dock received state approval, the proposal remains tied up in the appeal process. Under Boy Scout rules, Dumas must complete Eagle Scout requirements before he turns 18 in April, well before the next boating season begins.

Dumas did not return telephone messages left at his home and his school. But Diane Dumas said her son is now doing other work to earn his Eagle rank, although he’d still like to complete the dock after spending so much time on the project.

“It hopefully will happen soon,” she said.

Meanwhile, absent a “magic wand” Dumas said her son will continue to wait.

Jeffrey Dumas has put more than a 100 hours into the project, his mother said. He spent months researching the dock, raising funds and attending meetings before the permit application was filed.

As planned, the dock would be located adjacent to the public boat launch on the northwestern side of the lake. It would be 50 feet long and have wheels so it could be removed when the boating season ends each year.

The dock was intended to ease access for those with age or physical limitations. Boaters must now launch from a ramp and then climb over the side after their boat is in the water.

But neighboring property owners are urging the state to deny a permit for the project.

Dozens turned out for a January meeting on the proposal. Opponents argued that it would attract more boat traffic and thus increase the chances of a collision on the small lake. They also asserted that the lake was already infested with milfoil and warned that more boaters could bring in other invasive aquatic species.

Supporters complained that the neighbors wanted to turn the lake into their own private recreation area. Some noted that not everyone was fortunate enough to own lakefront property.

In March, the state Department of Environmental Conservation granted the permit. The Lake Iroquois Association, a nonprofit group that includes residents who own property on or around the lake, then appealed in Vermont Environmental Court.

Roger Crouse, president of the association, said the appeal questions whether the state followed its own rules and procedures when issuing the permit. The appeal also questions the dock’s effect on wildlife, water quality and boat navigation and asks if there is no feasible alternative.

Despite the opposition, Crouse reiterated his and other residents’ previous expression of support for Boy Scouting in general and Dumas in particular.

“Poor Jeff Dumas,” he said. “He had very good intentions in trying to receive his Eagle badge. Personally, I feel sad to have him waiting while all that crap goes on in court.”

The appeal was still pending before the Environmental Court as of Tuesday afternoon.

Lake Iroquois Association members had urged Dumas to undertake an alternative project, such as a check-in station where volunteers could ensure boats do not have invasive aquatic life clinging to their hulls.

Over the summer, the association did open such a facility and took other steps to protect water quality and ensure boater safety, Crouse said. Channel markers and speed limit signs have been installed, and weevils were introduced to control invasive plants.

William McSalis is the scoutmaster for Williston Troop 692, according to the Web site for the Green Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts of America. McSalis did not return phone calls seeking comment.

Diane Dumas said her son is working on another project to complete Eagle requirements before he turns 18. She declined to be more specific.

She said she is not angry or resentful about the opposition and neither is her son.

“There’s nothing to be done about that now,” she said. “So he’s mature enough to push forward with a project that he thinks will benefit the general public.”

She and her husband, Steve, have remained circumspect throughout the process, deflecting questions about their views on the issue and framing the controversy in terms of their son’s future. The latest interview was no different.

“It’s a learning process,” she said. “He’s gained so much knowledge that he’ll use the rest of his life.”

[Read more…]

Schools learning about poverty 9/25/08

Sept. 25, 2008
By Tim Simard
Observer staff

When Allen Brook School Principal John Terko told the Williston and Shelburne school boards at a recent meeting that teachers and staff needed a “good, solid understanding of poverty,” Lisa Lovelette knew exactly what he was talking about.

Lovelette, Williston’s school support coordinator for the Vermont Department of Education, worked as a principal in the Hardwick school system up until last year. Lovelette estimated that low-income students make up 65 percent of Hardwick’s school population, and said the high number brought her closer to the challenges faced by students living in poverty.

“We had many kids at the end of the day who had no one to go home to because both parents had to work,” Lovelette said, adding that many parents worked two or more jobs to make ends meet. “There was this visible absence of parents and we had kids staying (at school) long after the school day was done.”

Though Hardwick may have a greater percentage of low-income students than Williston, whose economically disadvantaged students make up roughly 10 percent of the school population, the local school district is trying to come up with solutions to a problem facing the entire state — the low test scores of students from poorer families.

Each year, Vermont public school students take the New England Common Assessment Program tests, better known as NECAPs. The tests monitor academic achievement and improvement in reading, math and writing. The testing area depends on grade, but regardless of subject or age, economically disadvantaged students regularly score well below the state average.

In 2007, across Vermont, the number of economically disadvantaged students scoring proficient or higher came in about 25 percentage points less than their peers in the three test subjects.

Williston’s 2007 scores had an even wider gap than the state average. The town’s economically disadvantaged students reaching proficiency in reading, math and writing was 43 percent, 49 percent and 33 percent, respectively. The percentages of other students attaining proficiency were 81 percent, 82 percent and 67 percent in reading, math and writing.

It’s the third consecutive year Williston has failed to meet federal improvement standards for the economically disadvantaged students, and Williston administrators are looking for solutions. Lovelette is helping the district understand the everyday challenges faced by the disadvantaged students.

Williston learns about poverty


Lovelette said there are many reasons low-income students fail to perform better, including the lack of proper medical care and the lack of a healthy diet. She said students with poor diets and health are easily distracted and unmotivated.

District Principal Walter Nardelli said that at a Vermont Principals’ Association meeting a few years ago, he read a report that stated economically disadvantaged students did not receive enough vocabulary lessons before reaching school. The report showed children were not being read to often enough, he said.

Lovelette noticed similar reading deficiencies while at Hardwick. She said teachers often worked harder with key students, reading to them and helping them comprehend reading material.

Also, some low-income students have missed out on pre-school learning, which can have an impact when entering kindergarten or first grade, Nardelli added.

“It really comes down to learning vocabulary in those early years,” Nardelli said. “Sometimes we’re fighting things that either happened or did not happen before the student even got to school.”

TheWilliston school district has made a concerted effort to reach out to parents of low-income students to get them better involved in their child’s learning, Nardelli said.

Gail Taylor, director of standards and assessments at the DOE, said parental involvement could be a huge influence on improving achievement. Getting both parties working together should be the goal of all schools in the state, she said.

“We need to make school a positive place to engage parents in the process, especially parents who are working two or more jobs,” Taylor said.

Terko said he’s been handing out articles and other materials for teachers to read and discuss. He said he’s held meetings with teachers in order to broaden understanding on poverty.

“Williston is a pretty affluent area and some people need more exposure to it (poverty),” Terko said.

The Allen Brook principal said he expects the number of economically disadvantaged students to rise in the future because of the current state of the economy.

“The job market is tough — they’re not hiring,” Terko said. “It’s putting a lot of stress on people.”

Lovelette said she hopes her experience can be beneficial and believes Williston is heading in the right direction.

“It’s not an easy fix,” Lovelette said. “I’m very hopeful for Williston because there is an incredible understanding from John (Terko) on poverty to improve student performance.”

[Read more…]

Everyday Gourmet (Sept. 18, 2008)

Farmer Brown is in town

Sept. 18, 2008
By Kim Dannies

Did you know that Williston has its very own Farmer Brown? Yup — when he’s not growing students at the University of Vermont, Pat Brown grows rows and rows of gorgeous garlic. Temptress, Carpathian, Siberian, Leah, Georgia Fire, Romanian Red and Polish Hardneck are all thriving in picture perfect grids at the MacGregor Garlic Farm he shares with his wife, children’s book author and illustrator Amy Huntington.

Most cooks consider garlic a culinary rock star, but I never knew there were so many different bulbs grooving in Vermont until I ran into Farmer Brown at a food event. Pat shared samples of each variety and let me experiment with their different qualities.

The Georgia Fire is hot, but sultry, and salsas right through any fresh tomato dish with lots of style. The patrician Siberian is garlic royalty, with a purple skin and a common touch (use it in everything). For a pure garlic splash, go with the Polish Hardneck. I like it chopped, swimming in a pool of cold pressed olive oil, smeared on lightly toasted artisanal bread, with a glass of Spanish Rioja acting as lifeguard. The zesty Carpathian is the stuff to ratchet up basic mashed potatoes along with buttermilk, melted butter and sea salt. Mellow out the Romanian Red by roasting it for puree — slice the head off, douse in olive oil, bake in a covered ramekin for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. It’s great in my Garlic Flan recipe.

Natural Provisions in Williston is now selling Farmer Brown’s garlic varieties in limited quantities, so try some while they last.

Roasted Garlic Flan

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Scald 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of cream in a saucepan; cool. In a work bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and 2 additional egg yolks, one-fourth cup of cooled roasted garlic puree and a pinch of nutmeg. Whisk while slowly adding small amounts of the cream mixture to the eggs (tempering) to form a liquid custard; season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Lightly grease 4-ounce ramekins with cooking spray. Portion custard into ramekins and set ramekins into a large cake pan. Pull out oven rack and set pan on it. Fill the cake pan with boiling water until it hits halfway up the ramekin to form a water bath (bain-marie). Cover with foil and gently slide into oven. Bake 32 minutes at 300 degrees or until flan is firm but glossy. Cool slightly; un-mold flan to serving plates. Top with a simple salsa of fresh tomatoes, parsley and basil. Serves 6.

Quick tips about garlic: There is no substitute for freshly chopped garlic. Choose heads with firm, plump bulbs and dry skins. Avoid garlic with sprouts — it’s old and nasty. Try chopping cloves with a bit of kosher salt and the garlic will hold together nicely as the salt absorbs flavorful juices. Garlic presses are generally frowned upon because they are metal and react with the acid the garlic releases when pressed.

Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three college-aged daughters. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to
[Read more…]

CVU cross country teams look to continue strong run (Sept. 18, 2008)

Sept. 18, 2008
Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

The Champlain Valley Union High cross country teams will compete in the Burlington High Invitational at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday. The teams are coming off impressive performances last Saturday in the annual Essex Invitational at the Catamount Outdoor Family Center in Williston.

In what CVU coach Scott Bliss called the teams’ first test of the season, the CVU girls, five-time defending state Division I champions, captured first place while the boys came in second to Essex High.

While South Burlington High’s Caroline Weaver (19:36.73) triumphed by more than a minute in the girls’ race, CVU placed six runners in the top 11, led by Maddie Christian (third), Nora McFadden (fourth), Summer Spillane (seventh), Adrienne Devita (ninth), Danika Frisbie (10th) and Laura Jackson (11th).

In the boys event, Tony Sulva of CVU took second place, just 16 seconds behind winner Adron Pitmon (16:55.40) of Mount Mansfield Union.

The Redhawks’ John Dixon took ninth, Matt Mainer 12th and Zack Pete 14th.

In team totals, the boys trailed first place Essex, 52-36. The girls team won 33-55 over Essex, which took second.

[Read more…]

CVU girls soccer team rolling through competition (Sept. 18, 2008)

Redhawks meet unbeaten Burlington on road Thursday

Sept. 18, 2008
Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

After neatly dispatching Stowe High and Mount Mansfield Union at home on Saturday and Tuesday, respectively, coach Brad Parker and his 5-1 Champlain Valley Union High girls soccer team motor to Burlington High on Thursday. The afternoon test against the 5-0 Seahorses kicks off at 4:30 p.m.

Observer photo by Pogo Senior
Haleigh Smith, a Champlain Valley Union High junior, splits two Stowe defenders during Saturday’s game.

BHS has returned many of the players who last October knocked the Redhawks out of the Division I playoffs. Meanwhile, the young CVU team is working its way toward the division’s elite, having thus far scored 13 goals while allowing just four.

On Tuesday, the Redhawks whipped Mount Mansfield Union, 3-0, as captain and midfielder Asia Sienko scored once and assisted on the other goals. Juniors Haleigh Smith and Johanna Fehrs had the other net finders.

Sienko also scored in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Stowe. Two juniors, Erika Gobeille and Nicole Utter, also scored.

Sophomore goalie Emily Sackett had two stops in picking up the shutout of Stowe. Tuesday, Sackett shared time with junior Ashley Trayah, and the two combined for seven saves.

[Read more…]

Spirit Day downer for CVU boys soccer (Sept. 18, 2008)

Sept. 18, 2008
By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

No doubt smarting from their first loss to South Burlington High since 1990, the Champlain Valley Union High boys’ soccer team hoped to get back on the winning side of things on Wednesday at Mount Mansfield Union.

Observer photo by Pogo Senior
Champlain Valley Union High fans cheer on the men’s varsity soccer team and Harrison Gatos waves the school colors during Saturday’s Spirit Day contest against South Burlington High. South Burlington’s Rebels won 2-1, handing the Redhawks their first loss in nearly two years.

The Redhawks will then play host to Colchester High at 4:30 p.m. on Friday in Hinesburg. The Lakers entered the week with a 4-2 season mark.

Coach T.J. Mead’s youthful Redhawks (2-1-1) got some pointers from the veteran 4-1 South Burlington team. The Rebels shook off a 1-0 halftime deficit with two second half goals for its historic 2-1 victory. In the process, they gave CVU its first loss in nearly two years.

Tom Eddy’s third goal in two games got CVU the first half advantage, with Jack Jesset assisting.

The Rebels, however, grabbed geographical advantage in the second half and potted scores by Noah Johnson and Ethan Martin in the first 12 minutes of the closing 40.

Two days prior to the Spirit Day rumble with the Rebs, CVU bopped visiting Route 116 neighbor Mount Abraham Union of Bristol. The Redhawks won 5-0 and didn’t allow a shot on net.

Tino Tomasi and Eddy each slammed home a pair of tallies for the Redhawks, while Jesset nailed a goal. Kyle Logan had two assists.

In chalking up their second shutout of the campaign, the Redhawks outshot Mount Abe 18-0.

[Read more…]

Allen Brook adjusts to all-day kindergarten (Sept. 18, 2008)

Observer photo by Tim Simard
Kindergarten students Ashton Moshovetis (from left), Kyle Rexford, Celia Cote and Lizzie Maklad enjoy a creative playtime on Monday during Sarah Read’s class. This is the first year the Williston School District has all-day kindergarten.  –Read more here….

[Read more…]

Redhawk football shuts out Winooski (Sept. 18, 2008)

CVU faces defending champs in next game

Sept. 18, 2008
By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

With two straight home victories in the bag, the Champlain Valley Union High football team will head south on Saturday to the home of the defending Division III champion Poultney High Blue Devils.

“They are the defending champions,” said CVU head coach Jim Provost. “This is an important league game for us.”

The Redhawks hiked their season record to 2-1 Saturday with a 21-0 triumph over 0-2 Winooski, which had handed CVU two losses in the past two seasons.

Poultney is 1-2, having had its eggs scrambled at home on Saturday, 46-6, by Rice Memorial High, a Division II team with a 2-1 record. The Blue Devils’ lone victory was an 18-6, turnover-aided triumph at Bellows Free Academy in Fairfax. The Redhawks knocked off BFA 27-6 in Hinesburg two weeks ago.

The young Winooski team did not go down easily before the multi-faceted Redhawks.

“We had to work for this,” said Provost. “We needed to play well to beat them.”

Primary factors for CVU’s victory were an aerial defense that produced a quartet of interceptions and an effective ground pounding that racked up 246 yards.

Leaders of the blitzkrieg were speedster J.P. Benoit, who lugged the ball 18 times for 131 yards and a touchdown. The dash and dart zinger had his second straight century mark game, having trotted for 107 yards in the win over BFA.

Fullback Crawford Morris became known as the “drive-extender,” slamming for 66 yards in 13 carries, seven of those earning first downs for the Redhawks.

The CVU pass interceptors were defensive backs Collin Teator, Konnor Fleming, Nick Meunier and linebacker Eric Palmer.

Teator’s first quarter grab in the end zone on a Winooski fourth and goal from the 5 was a serious momentum changer. Winooski, with its second possession, unleashed a 41-yard scurry by halfback Cyle Chaplin, which set up a first and goal from the CVU 3 in a scoreless game.

On the first play, CVU linebackers Jake Thibault and Dale Conger threw Winooski halfback Gary Grant for a 3-yard loss. After a no-gain line plunge and a 1-yard pass completion, Spartan quarterback Chris Blais threw into the end zone and Teator made the pick, returning the ball to the CVU 21.

From there, the Redhawks drove 79 yards in 12 plays, quarterback Ian Solomon hitting end Matt Long with a 16-yard completion to the Winooski 11. Benoit then scooted in for the initial tally.

Benoit then showed he has hands to go with his legs, as he caught a Solomon pass for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 CVU lead.

The score came just seven seconds into the second quarter. On the first play after the kickoff, Fleming picked off a Blais pass to give the Redhawks the ball at the Spartan 40. Two plays later, Solomon connected with his favorite long bomb facilitator, wide receiver Michael Bonfigli, for a 43-yard touchdown.

The final score came late in the third period. Defender Cameron Fitzgerald fell on a blocked Spartan punt in the end zone. Andrew Lieberman kicked the extra point to finish the scoring.

As to how the punt was blocked, the answer was in the trenches.

“What happened?” veteran senior lineman Tyler Hulbert was asked.

“A Winooski player was pushed into the kick,” he replied.

“Who shoved him?” was the next question.

“I did,” came the reply.

A reminder that winning starts in the trenches.

WHS-CVU, stats
                                    WHS        CVU
First downs                   8        15
Rushing yards             110        246
Passing yards             77        71
Return yards                59        37
Comp-Att-Int            5-11-4        3-10-1
Sacked-Yards lost        0        3-30
Punts-avg                    2-32        3-33
Fumbles-lost                4-0        2-0
Penalties-yards            5-28        4-40

WHS        0    0    0    0 — 0
CVU        0    14    7    0 — 21
[Read more…]

CVU field hockey team soars to 5-1 record (Sept. 18, 2008)

Sept. 18, 2008
By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

After a trip to U-32 in East Montpelier on Wednesday, the red hot 5-1 Champlain Valley Union field hockey team returns home Friday for a 4 p.m. bash against Essex. Last Tuesday night, the Redhawks knocked Essex out of the ranks of the unbeaten with a 1-0 win at the Hornets’ nest.

(No, there is no substance to the rumor that the hornets flocking around the scorers’ perch during Saturday’s Spirit Day game against Middlebury were scouts from Essex.)

After taking care of business under the lights in Essex, coach Kate McDonald’s combine took out another unbeaten team Saturday in the 3-1 triumph over the visiting Tigers, now 4-1.

Observer photo by Pogo Senior
Katie Longshore, a senior captain of the Champlain Valley Union High field hockey team, works the ball past Middlebury defender Allison Kipp.

“It was an awesome effort and an awesome game,” McDonald told the team after the contest.

The Redhawks rapped early, when senior captain Katie Longshore flipped a loose ball into the Middlebury cage after goalie Casey O’Donohue blocked a shot by Emmaleigh Loyer.

The Redhawks generally dominated play through the first half, going ahead 2-0 when a pair of sophomores got loose — Louise Gibbs scored on an assist by Gillian Shelley.

Middlebury got a goal back before halftime on a rare penalty shot by Lindsay Lalonde. The shot was awarded when CVU goalie Elizabeth Godette was found to be lying on the ball in front of the cage after stopping a Tiger attack.

“I didn’t know where the ball was,” Godette said after the game. “I didn’t want to jump up and have someone score on a shot.”

Lalonde’s uncontested shot at Godette from 5 feet in front of the cage snapped a two-game shutout streak for the CVU net minder, who admitted she was nervous before the contest; Middlebury knocked the Redhawks out of the Division I semifinals a year ago in double overtime.

“I just tried to stay focused,” Godette said.

She did, coming up with seven stops as Middlebury applied serious pressure, especially in the second half.

CVU’s final score came with 18:05 remaining in the match, when KK Logan rolled in on the left side of the Tigers’ cage and fired her fourth goal of the season.

The junior’s tally came just moments after another junior, Kelsey Jensen, had a score denied when her long blast from beyond midfield bounced into the cage. In field hockey, goals have to be from in close.

Jensen should perhaps be known as “FedEx.” Her frequent long forwarding strokes from deep in foreign territory jumpstart the CVU offense. Some of the pokes are said to even enter different zip codes.

O’Donohue had eight saves for the Tigers, with Logan (twice), Gibbs, Jensen and Longshore all working their way to decent scoring opportunities.

Junior Kathryn Powell was among the leaders on the CVU defensive end.

Last Thursday, the Redhawks nipped Colchester High 1-0 on a Lucy Barrett tally, assisted by Longshore. CVU outshot the 1-2-1 Lakers, 11-6.

[Read more…]

Police notes (Sept. 18, 2008)

Sept. 18, 2008


• License plates for an ATV were reported stolen from a home on Porterwood Drive on Sept. 9, according to police reports. The investigation is ongoing.
• A wallet containing credit cards was stolen from a vehicle parked at Williston Federated Church on the night of Sept. 11, according to police reports. Anyone with information is asked to call Williston Police at 878-6611.
• License plates from the vehicle of a Partridge Hill resident were stolen while the resident was at work on Sept. 14, according to police reports. The plates were found on another vehicle and were seized by Essex Police, the report notes.

Internet investigation

An Internet financial company is being investigated after reports of an alleged Internet scam, according to police reports. Residents who sent money to the company via “Moneygrams” to acquire loans “never heard back from the ‘loan agency,’” according to the report. Police warn residents not to send money through the mail, via Moneygram or Western Union in order to get loans.
“Most likely they are scams if they are asking for cash in advance,” the police department warned.

Wanted person

Following a motor vehicle stop on Sept. 11, Isaiah Nelson, 34, of New Haven was arrested on “fugitive from justice” charges, according to police reports. Nelson had a warrant out for his arrest on drug charges from New Hampshire, the report notes.
[Read more…]