December 21, 2014

Guest Column (3/26/09)

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All a-Twitter about Facebook

March 26, 2009

By Tom Kearney

I guess I expected something more when I joined Facebook. But I didn’t get it.

Facebook is the place where Americans go to meet these days, at least in the virtual sense. It supplanted MySpace as the hot social networking site.

Linked-In is more crass; it’s mainly about making money. Twittering is for lemmings, a place where you can find someone whose opinions you like, and then follow them to the ends of the earth.

But I expected Facebook to be more than the place where fourth-grade bullies try to reconnect with you, or where old flames want to see your profile photo so they can see how much weight you’ve gained, or where friends expose their most banal feelings.

Here’s a sample of comments, and comments on those comments. These are real comments; just the names have been changed:

    • Bill Smith is getting the bike ready ….

    Sally Callahan: I was just thinking the same thing.

    Jimmy Suggs: Let me know if you want to ride:)

    • Liz Hurley has a turkey in the oven.

    Christine Waller: When will it be ready?

    Liz: 4 p.m.; come on over.

    Kim Stevens: Dinner at Liz’s. Yay!

    • Brad Shaw is motivated — have hit the elliptical five days in a row! Happy Monday everyone!!!

    • Jane McHugh wants to tell Monday “thanks, but no thanks.”

    • Melissa Crean did not sleep well and is very tired.

    • Jane McHugh wishes voodoo really worked.

    • Bob Allison is lucky to have Lisa to take care of me when I am sick.

    • Liz Hurley is feeling blissful.

    • Jane McHugh is home from Connecticut and misses her sweetie already.

    • Brad Shaw: Pizza time — Yum!!!

    • Jane McHugh is tragically unhip.

Then, there are gifts and causes and groups and quizzes:

    • Bobby Jones placed a delicious Cadbury Egg on Jill McSorley’s profile.

    • Kyle Friedman took the “Where should you live?” quiz and the result is:

Ireland.

    • Shirley Jenkins took the “Where should you live?” quiz and the result is:

Italy.

    • Brad Shaw is the 867,569th person to join the cause A World Without Breast Cancer. Join him.

I figured there’d be something more substantive. Ha!

I’m not that big a fan of syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, but she sure nailed the social-network weakness with this comment:

“Twittering isn’t entirely new, of course. The Facebook generation has been sort of twittering for years, posting prosaic bulletins about their whims and whereabouts, providing a glimpse of what the world would be like if hummingbirds could type: ‘Jordan is busy busy!’ ‘Josh is driving to the mountains today.’ ‘Kate is sooooooooo never drinking martinis again.’”

Problem is, once you sign up for Facebook and acquire all these friends, how do you bail out? How can you tell 20 or 30 people you don’t want to be their friend anymore? You could blame it on Facebook, saying you can’t afford all the time it sucks out of your life, but that would be like saying you don’t have time for their pizza and bikes and Cadbury eggs.

So, here’s my idea for a new line of work. I think it could be quite lucrative.

Call it the Social Networking Profile Attendant.

What you do is hire somebody to tend to your social-networking connections. You give the attendant your user name and password, and a dozen thoughts or comments or ideas.

The attendant minds your Facebook account, and looks for comments that might actually be important; those comments can be forwarded to you by e-mail.

Twice a day, the attendant drops in one of your evergreen comments, and all your friends think you’re right there with them, paying attention. You might need to update the comments every three months or so, to keep up with the seasons, but if you’re particularly creative, maybe not.

Think of the upside: You never have to visit Facebook and its ilk again. You keep your friends, you stay in touch, you’re informed if anything important happens in your friends’ lives — and you get your own life back.

How much is that worth?

Tom Kearney lives in Montpelier. He is managing editor of the Stowe Reporter.

 

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Density debate delays bylaw approval (3/26/09)

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Selectboard wants revisions to proposal

March 26, 2009

By Greg Elias

Observer staff

A debate about housing density stalled approval of new development rules on Monday as the Williston Selectboard sent the regulations back for revisions.

The board voted unanimously to ask the Planning Commission to change portions of the proposed, 320-page Unified Development Bylaw.

The provisions in question would increase allowable housing density in certain zoning districts but restrict development in some cases by omitting the required buffer around wetlands when calculating how many units may be built on a given parcel.

Selectboard member Chris Roy expressed the strongest doubts about the revised density rules. He said the changes could have the unintended consequence of steering too much development into certain areas of town as developers avoid building near streams and wetlands.

Judy Sassorossi also had reservations. She said rules intended to protect the environment could instead produce more scattered development.

“We are in the middle of a densely developed area,” she said. “If enough housing isn’t available in the core of Chittenden County, are we just creating a situation where we’re pushing people out into outlying areas like Franklin and Washington counties? Are we just making people drive from further out?”

Sassorossi also raised a number of smaller concerns with the bylaws. She even suggested the town should revise one section that forbids livestock in residential areas, suggesting that up to six hens should be permitted so homeowners can have fresh eggs. That idea drew chuckles and grins from fellow board members.

The board also directed the Planning Commission to reconsider another provision that requires a property owner to physically mark land zoned as open space. Sassorossi said the rule would be impractical and expensive.

But most of the debate revolved around the new density rules.

The bylaw increases the allowable density from two to three units per acre in the residential zoning district north of U.S. 2, which includes Williston’s largest subdivisions such as South Ridge and Brennan Woods. A developer building in the town’s designated growth center around Taft Corners could construct 10 units per acre, and up to 15 units when affordable housing is part of the project.

But another provision excludes required buffers around streams and slopes from the density calculation. So a developer working with a 10-acre parcel may for example only get credit for half that much land when determining how many units are allowed.

Waterbury developer Jeff Atwood urged the board to eliminate that provision. He said the change would greatly reduce the number of units permitted in his proposed subdivision on North Williston Road and rule out construction of affordable housing in that project — as well as many other places in town.

“I’m a firm believer that if it is allowed we won’t achieve any affordable housing in this district,” he said.

Board members seemed to be swayed by the argument, although Ted Kenney said any alterations to the proposed bylaws should be made for the good of the entire town, not to benefit a particular developer.

Ken Belliveau, Williston’s planning director, said the existing zoning rules could result in too many units being clustered on land that contains streams and wetlands and so negatively impact the environment. He noted the new restrictions are offset in part by the fact that Williston, unlike other towns, includes land used for access roads in the density calculation.

Still, he acknowledged the new rules “push the envelope” on wetland protection and are more restrictive than other places he has worked.

Work on the new bylaw, which in its current form was assembled piecemeal over decades, began more than three years ago with former Town Planner Lee Nellis. Belliveau took over the job when he was hired last year. The Planning Commission and the Conservation Commission have shaped the rules during numerous meetings.

The Planning Commission will now reconsider the bylaw. That could happen as soon as its next scheduled meeting on April 7, Belliveau said in an interview.

But he also noted commissioners felt strongly about the density rules and may refuse to make changes. If so, the Selectboard could simply overrule the commission, altering provisions it objects to before approving the new rules.

 

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Around Town

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March 26, 2009

Kindergarten registration time

Parents of children from Williston and St. George who will be 5 years old by Sept. 1, 2009 can start registering their kids for kindergarten. Registration will be held at Williston Central School from April 7-9. Parents should call the school at 879-5806 to make an appointment for them and their children. Registration forms will be mailed to parents prior to their April meetings.

Passport Day

Saturday is Passport Day in the United States, and the Williston Town Clerk’s Office is hosting a passport fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The so-called Passport Day in the USA on March 28 is a U.S. Department of State “national outreach event to inform the public about the upcoming changes to U.S. travel document requirements, provide passport information and accept passport applications from U.S. citizens from coast-to-coast and border-to-border,” according to the Department of State’s Web site.

Town Clerk Deb Beckett said Williston’s passport fair will be a chance for U.S. citizens to obtain passport information and submit passport applications.

As of June 1, U.S. citizens returning to the country by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda will need to present a passport book, passport card, or other U.S. government approved travel documents. Passport requirements already exist for air travelers.

Beckett said residents can call her office at 878-5121 or go online to travel.state.gov for information on the cost and how to apply for a passport book or a passport card. Passport information is also available by calling the National Passport Information Center at 877-487-2778.

Town Hall open Saturday for dog registrations

Town Clerk Deb Beckett announced that dog owners in Williston must register their pets by April 1 each year. Residents who have yet to register their dogs can do so at Town Hall, which will also be open on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dog owners will need to bring proof of a rabies vaccine for their pets. Rabies vaccines are good for three years. For more information call Beckett at 878-5121.

 

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MealZip to the hunger rescue (3/26/09)

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New restaurant delivery service to cover Williston

March 26, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

A new Champlain Valley business opening next month is hoping to make dinner and lunch delivery a more popular alternative than take-out orders. The food delivery service, MealZip, is scheduled to start delivering food in Williston from a number of area restaurants next month.

Owner Patrick Kompf said his goal is to think beyond standard pizza delivery and help his customers quickly get their favorite lunches and dinners without leaving their homes or offices.

“This is something I’ve been planning for a long time now,” Kompf said. “I do think there is a demand here.”

Kompf said MealZip would kick off its delivery service on April 7.

MealZip will serve Williston, Colchester, Essex and other towns, and deliver food from restaurants located in those communities. Kompf believes he’ll have success in these towns due to the large numbers of offices and businesses located in the area.

Kompf currently has nine restaurants signed up for MealZip and he’s hoping to add many more. Asian Bistro in Williston will be part of the service, as will the Drunken Noodle in Essex Junction.

His focus is on locally owned restaurants, but he’s hoping to convince some national chains, such as Chili’s and Texas Roadhouse, to be part of the business.

Kompf has experience in food delivery. He owns and manages 863-ToGo, which delivers restaurant food around the Burlington area. His said his main customers for that business are college students and city residents.

“It’s been going great,” Kompf said. “And restaurants like the extra business they get.”

863-ToGo has been in business for more than five years and is steadily growing, Kompf said. Hence creating MealZip for outside Burlington, he said.

Kompf also owns GroceryGoGo.com, a grocery delivery business for the Champlain Valley, including Williston.

Orders for MealZip can be placed at the business’ Web site, www.mealzip.com. There will be a $3 lunchtime delivery fee for all towns on orders up to $50; orders more than $50 will have free delivery, Kompf said. Dinner delivery fees will range from $3.50 to $5 depending on where an order is going, he added. Kompf said he will also receive a percentage of the bill from the restaurant.

Orders will take 30 to 45 minutes to reach their destinations, Kompf estimates.

 

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Community mourns loss of former school nurse (3/26/09)

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Shea succumbs to cancer

March 26, 2009

By Mariana Lamaison Sears

Observer correspondent

The Williston school community on Monday mourned the loss of former school district nurse Kathy Shea, remembered by many as a children’s advocate, a friend and someone fun to be around.

“She was at the heart of WCS, and she was also at the heart of CY,” said Nancy Carlson, coordinator of the Connecting Youth Mentoring Program at Williston Central School.

Shea contributed by being a mentor herself and also by referring to the program students whom she knew would benefit from having a mentor, Carlson said.

“She made sure each student was safe, valued and cared for. She went way beyond her job description,” Carlson said.

Shea passed away Friday at her Williston home, per her request, after battling adrenal cancer, a rare disease that originates in the adrenal glands located on top of the kidneys, for more than two years. She was 52. Relatives, friends and coworkers attended the funeral service Monday afternoon at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in South Burlington.

“It’s hard to do her justice,” said Cid Gause, a school district administrative assistant whose children attended the Williston schools and benefited from Shea’s nursing care.

Shea began working for the district in 1995 and worked at Allen Brook and Williston Central schools until she went on medical leave last year, Gause said. As the school nurse, she was a registered nurse and a licensed teacher.

Gause recalled the parade of children stopping by Shea’s office at Williston Central with all sorts of complaints. Shea would offer them one of her “magic crackers” kept in a special bowl with the earnest belief that anything could be cured with a kind word and a saltine cracker, Gause said.

“It meant a lot to them,” she said.

Shea also conducted her work very professionally, according to longtime Williston physical education teacher Jennifer Oakes. Shea started as a substitute nurse while working at Fletcher Allen Health Care, said Oakes, and was highly skilled and experienced.

“We’ve had broken bones and people with heart issues and she always handled all situations with calm,” she said. Oakes also knew Shea as a parent, as she was a teacher to Shea’s two sons. “She was a single parent for the most part, it was pretty amazing.”

The Observer talked to Shea’s youngest son, Mark Lerner of San Diego, Calif., and he said the family agreed to have his mother’s friends share their memories.

Shea was also remembered as someone involved in the community. She used to coordinate the distribution of Thanksgiving baskets for families in need and collect clothes and other donations through the holiday season, Gause and Oakes said. From her work with the children at the school she was aware of which families were struggling, they said.

Shea’s friend and former co-worker Melissa Cronin of South Burlington said she was not surprised to see the outpouring of love at Shea’s funeral and at the gathering that followed right after at her home. Cronin, who was a substitute nurse for the school district a couple of years ago, remembered Shea as an open, welcoming and encouraging person.

“It was easy to become her friend,” Cronin said.

Josie Bateman agreed. A fellow nurse and close friend of Shea’s, Bateman said she had lots of friends.

“She loved all of us, all the same but individually. We learned so much (from) her,” Bateman said.

Cronin also remembered mentioning to Shea she wanted to try acupuncture. Next thing she knew, she was attending an acupuncture session with Shea.

“It’s a great example of how encouraging she was,” Cronin said.

Oakes said that after being diagnosed with cancer, Shea began supporting and encouraging others becoming ill with cancer. Shea took part in a dragon boating festival in Burlington to raise funds for children and breast cancer survivors, Oakes said. Shea was also fascinated by the world and loved to travel and explore; “she wanted to be a participant in life,” Oakes said.

Shea’s encouraging and fun personality and her devotion to the community will keep her spirit alive in the hearts of those she met.

“She was quick to laugh, a lovely person,” Gause said.

“She was just wonderful,” Oakes said.

“We are honored to have been part of her life,” Bateman said.

 

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Grant to fund Town Hall energy upgrades (3/26/09)

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Changes could reduce electric, gas costs

March 26, 2009

By Greg Elias

Observer staff

Williston has landed a $12,000 grant that will fund efficiency upgrades at energy-hogging Town Hall.

 


    Observer photo by Greg Duggan
A $12,000 grant will fund new insulation and lighting to make Town Hall more energy efficient.  

The grant will pay for new insulation and lighting in the historic structure, which was built in 1860 and last renovated in 1988.

“We’re ecstatic,” said Kevin Batson, a member of Williston Green Initiatives, a grassroots group that worked with the town to complete the grant application. “That’s a lot of money to get the Town Hall building taken care of.”

Batson credited Building Energy, a Williston-based company, for rushing to complete an energy audit of Town Hall that he said helped win the grant. The audit, released earlier this year, concluded Williston could save thousands annually by upgrading insulation, lighting and heating systems.

The grant will supplement money already set aside in the 2009-10 municipal budget to pay for energy efficiency work. The town had planned to spend $15,000 for new lighting and insulation, and $27,000 for heating and air conditioning upgrades. The lighting and insulation projects are expected to be completed this summer.

Town Manager Rick McGuire said the grant money would help defray costs. Energy-wasting lighting and porous insulation were among the problems cited in the audit.

The grant “helps us do part of the projects sooner than we would have been able to do otherwise,” McGuire said.

Combined, the grant and municipal expenditures will pay for most of the upgrades recommended by the energy audit.

The audit, done pro bono by Building Energy, recommended efficiency improvements totaling roughly $65,000. But the audit said those investments would pay for themselves over time by reducing gas and electricity costs. The town spent $6,000 on natural gas alone in 2007.

Williston’s grant is just one of the 17 energy efficiency projects around the state to receive funding through the Vermont Community Climate Change Program. In all, $188,000 was doled out in the first round of funding. Another round of grants will be announced in late spring.

The grants require a 10 percent match from towns receiving funding, according to Sabina Haskell, spokeswoman for the Vermont Department of Natural Resources. In Williston’s case, the required local match is $1,200, a sum easily exceeded by the town’s planned upgrades.

The town could reduce its natural gas bills by 20 percent by installing new insulation and cut an estimated 30 percent off its electric bills by replacing light fixtures, the grant application said. The lighting and insulation upgrades alone could reduce energy costs by nearly $3,000.

The grant program is funded by the first installment of Vermont’s $1.8 million, five-year settlement payout agreed to by American Electric Power Corp., the nation’s largest operator of coal-fired power plants. American Electric was sued by a coalition of Northeastern states that alleged that coal power plants in the Midwest were contributing to acid rain and air pollution.

 

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Pine Ridge to close in June (3/26/09)

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Private school nearly $3 million in debt

March 26, 2009

By Greg Duggan

Observer staff

Barring a “miracle,” when Pine Ridge School closes its doors on June 5, it will mark the end of the institution’s 40-year history. But for headmaster Dana Blackhurst and other staff, that doesn’t mean the school has failed.


    Observer photo by Greg Duggan
Pine Ridge School Headmaster Dana Blackhurst (left) talks with Jean Foss, the school's director of clinical teaching and research, on Friday afternoon.

Blackhurst took over the private school nearly two years ago, charged with returning the institution to its original mission of teenagers with dyslexia and other language based learning disabilities. Since then, enrollment dropped from more than 70 students last year — many of them with behavioral problems that didn’t fall under the school’s mission statement — to 22 this year. Staff also dropped to about 20, including 16 layoffs in January 2008.

As the school reinvented itself, remaining faculty and students drew close. Blackhurst and other staffers moved into the dorms, and teens interviewed by the Observer spoke highly of the bond between students and staff while also praising the school’s one-on-one approach to academics.

“Academically, that side, we are very healthy as a school,” Blackhurst said.

But the school, which had been in debt since before Blackhurst took over, still struggled to pay the bills. Business manager Ron Turner and the Board of Trustee’s finance chairwoman, Kim Alsop, pegged the school’s debt at about $3 million. Turner said the school is losing less money this year than in any of the previous five years — when losses ranged from $250,000 to $800,000, he said. He would not speculate what the annual deficit will be in June.

Officials largely blamed the economy for the decision to close. Mitch Roman, the chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees and a former student in the 1970s, said public schools that would normally send students to Pine Ridge for language learning needs were cutting back on spending. Boarding students pay an annual tuition of more than $56,000. Alsop said the poor economy had made it more challenging for the school to raise money through donations.

Declining enrollment also meant a decrease in tuition income. Furthermore, Roman said that when Pine Ridge relaxed its admission standards and moved away from its mission statement — an effort to boost tuition revenue — it lost its reputation as a school for students with language based learning disabilities.

“Since we strayed from our mission, consultants didn’t know what our niche was. They weren’t sending us students,” Roman said.

Admissions Director John Thomas said all current students expressed a desire to return to Pine Ridge next year — and called that a reflection of the school’s academic success — but the loss of six graduating seniors would have dropped enrollment to 16. Turner said the school would need an additional 15 students to make the finances viable.

“We probably could have gotten by at 25 or so (students),” Roman said. “If we’d had 35, I’d be very happy.”

Said Alsop, “At the end of the day you want to do what’s right for the students there. We couldn’t see that happening next year.”

Finishing the school year

The students who remain, who watched Pine Ridge undergo its academic transformation in the past two years, are disappointed to see the school close.

“I’m trying to keep positive,” said 16-year-old Kelsey Jacobsmeyer, a student from California. “I will miss this school. It’s helped me so much and raised me to the level where I can go to college.”

She liked the changes implemented by Blackhurst to install more order and discipline — students used to regularly swear, storm out of class and cause other problems in the classroom — and her self-confidence grew this year as she became a better student.

“I believe when I leave here I’m going to be someone,” Jacobs-meyer said.

She plans to attend another private school next year, and hopes Blackhurst can be there as well.

Stephen Haigley, a 15-year-old student from Baltimore, said the school helped him grow academically and gave him an opportunity to make good friends.

Now, with the school ready to shut its doors, Blackhurst, staff and the six trustees have taken on an additional purpose — beyond continuing to educate, they need to find placements for the students who would have returned next year.

“The finest thing I do in 22 years of teaching will be placing these kids,” Blackhurst said.

Turner said making the decision now to close at the end of the school year allows the administration time to help students move on to new institutions. Blackhurst said he’s bringing in colleagues from other private schools to meet the Pine Ridge students, who he says will interview those administrators to decide which school to attend next year.

“I’d put these kids up against anybody, any time,” Blackhurst said.

As for faculty and staff — all of whom took pay cuts in an effort to help the school — Blackhurst believes the Pine Ridge teachers would make wonderful additions to any school. Two staffers are considering starting a learning center in the area.

“It’s important our teachers and students go out knowing we did the right thing,” Blackhurst said.

Alsop said the board is considering its options on how to climb out of debt, though she did not elaborate. Turner and Roman mentioned a sale of the school as one possibility, and Roman said there has been some discussion of allowing another school to rent the facility.

“A miracle could still happen,” Blackhurst said. “Twenty-two kids could enroll tomorrow.”

 

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Roundabout selected for village intersection (3/26/09)

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Stoplight slated for James Brown Drive

March 26, 2009

By Greg Elias

Observer staff

Going against the flow of public opinion, the Selectboard chose a roundabout as the best way to move motorists through an accident-plagued intersection in Williston Village.

The board on Monday picked the roundabout over the stoplight and no-build alternatives for the corner where U.S. 2 meets North Williston and Oak Hill roads. It also decided a stoplight and a turn lane were the best way to improve another problematic intersection at Vermont 2A and James Brown Drive.

Board members acknowledged installing a roundabout would override public sentiments expressed during a hearing in February and on previous occasions. Traffic at the corner is currently controlled with a four-way stop sign, and most who spoke during the hearing wanted the town to leave the intersection alone.

“We heard quite strongly from people who (live) close to the intersection that they are happy with the way it is and it doesn’t need to be improved,” said Jeff Fehrs. But he said the wishes of other residents who didn’t attend the meeting and motorists in general should also be considered.

Chris Roy said he strongly supported a roundabout. He said they move traffic smoothly and look better than other alternatives.

“I think it would be great for Chittenden County to have a state-of-the-art roundabout that the rest of the county could look at and learn from,” he said. “I think that the benefits greatly outweigh the cost, and it would be a very responsible investment for the gateway to our village.”

Mark Smith, senior associate with Burlington-based Resource Systems Group, presented a study of potential improvements for both intersections. He said because the U.S. 2 intersection is accident-prone, it is eligible for 100 percent federal funding no matter what improvement was chosen.

RSG’s study found there had been 25 crashes over a five-year period ending in 2006, making it among the most accident-prone intersections in the state. The study concluded that a roundabout or a traffic signal would improve safety and traffic flow.

But residents at the February hearing thought stricter traffic enforcement or better crosswalks would solve safety problems. And some thought congestion, which is mostly limited to the afternoon commute, was manageable.

The board voted unanimously to select the roundabout as its preferred alternative, then had a lengthy discussion about how to solve the complex problems at Vermont 2A and James Brown Drive.

Traffic is often congested on the heavily traveled stretch and pedestrians have no safe way to cross the road.

Smith outlined numerous potential improvements, including traffic islands, stoplights and crosswalks. But he acknowledged the state would probably not approve of some of the options.

The board settled on a hybrid approach proposed by Williston Public Works Director Neil Boyden. He recommended the town install a stoplight, a crosswalk and center turn lanes that could be used by both northbound and southbound vehicles on 2A.

Neither project is expected to be completed anytime soon. Though the roundabout will be eligible for immediate funding, Boyden said rights-of-way must be acquired from neighboring property owners, which could delay the project. Smith said the Vermont 2A/James Brown Drive project will compete for state and federal funding with all the other road projects in Chittenden County.

 

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CVU stars win in hockey and hoops3/19/09

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March 19, 2009

Senior athletes from Champlain Valley Union High got in some galaxy time with fellow all-stars this past weekend in boys hockey and basketball.

Five members of the CVU Division 1 champion hockey team were named to the Harris Conference stars for the 26th annual Key Bank Rotary All Star Hockey Classic Saturday at the Essex rink. The Redhawks helped their Harris mates down their Austin Conference counterparts, 6-3.

CVU forward Sam Spencer contributed a goal and assist while his teammate, Ben Soll, fired in a goal.

Also on the team were forwards Brady DeHayes and Tim Reichert, along with defensemen Owen Smith and Chris Howard.

Playing in the annual Senior High School Basketball Classic in Windsor on Saturday, CVU’s John Donnelly tallied eight points in his Division 1 and 2 North team’s 86-59 bashing of the South.

The day was a four-game sweep for the North, which also took the Division 3 and 4 boys and both girls’ contests.

The North came away with a 26-10 advantage in the series, which is sponsored by the Vermont Basketball Coaches Association.

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent

 

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Girls jayvee hoop squad scorched the nets for CVU in 2008-093/19/09

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March 19, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With seven sophomores and five freshmen, the Champlain Valley Union High girls junior varsity basketball team piled up victories in its first nine games en route to a final 13-6 record.

(For a game at Vergennes High, coach Jeff Evans’ freshmen — or B team — made the trip and recorded a triumph.)

Junior varsity coach Matt Lutz called it a strong season and agreed there will be strong competition for the few slots available next season on the varsity squad, which graduates just three from this year’s combine.

Lutz summed up his club, noting there were “ a lot of specialists” and good scoring balance.

“I think every player had one game of at least seven points,” he recalled. “It was a case of who was hot on a certain day.”

Leading point getter was freshman Elana Bayer-Pacht, whom Lutz called “very consistent,” averaging around 15 points per outing.

Sophomores Emma Cohen, Sara Riordan and Cayla McCarthy had big moments behind the three-point arc and were solid point producers. Dunn recalled that Riordan had one 20-point night.

Freshman Remi Donnelly led the rebounding corps while another freshman, Lazrin Schenk, and sophomore Daphnee Vandal were solid contributors.

Sophomore Emma Gause was termed by Lutz as his “best post position player,” and defensively very good.

Sophomore Lindsay Hawley missed more than half the season with an injury, but got back in uniform for the final eight games to become one of the team’s top scorers.

Ali Carey, another sophomore, was a defensive standout despite, according to Lutz, playing with a tricky shoulder.

Freshman Miranda Evans was a tough defender and shot blocker. Sofia Lozon, also a first year player, dropped in a welcome 12 points in the season finale.

Lutz said one of the highlights of the season came on the road in St. Albans, where the Redhawks found themselves down by 15 points in the third quarter to Bellows Free Academy, at which time they rallied to pull out the win.

The coach said most if not all of the athletes will be playing AAU basketball over the summer.

 

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