September 4, 2015

Williston hockey player headed to Clarkson University3/12/09

March 12, 2009

A college Division 1 hockey career is looming for Peter Massar of Williston, who is headed for Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y.

The Eastern Junior Hockey League has announced that Massar is expected to sign a letter of intent to enroll at the northern New York university and hockey power.

Mattson played with the Green Mountain Glades this past season where, in 36 games, he produced 16 goals and 38 assists.

After a year at Champlain Valley Union High School, Massar enrolled and played hockey at Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Conn.

According to a Glades spokesman, Massar and two teammates are eligible in early April to sign national letters of intent to enroll at their prospective educational institution after their recent verbal commitments.

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent


[Read more…]

JV boys hoops team notches 16-win campaign3/12/09

March 12, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With only four graduating this spring from the Champlain Valley Union High boys basketball team, the battle for positions next winter is going to be epic.

Some 13 members of the 16-4 junior varsity team will be looking to move up, and 13 into four has historically not been an easy fit.

But as varsity coach Scott Bliss and jayvee coach Seth Emerson might say, bring it on.

Some of it might have started Wednesday night, when the jayvees had their break-up get together at the school, including a dessert and a hoop contest between the team members and their parents — or at least those parents who brought sneakers.

“I’m playing with the parents,” said Emerson.

Okay guys, there was an opportunity to make a statement for next season, either by holding the coach scoreless, or leaving him flat on the deck with a brilliant move to the hoop for an easy layup.

Monday afternoon, Emerson summed up the Little Redhawks’ season as “a good one with steady improvement.”

The coach considered the highlight a 10-game winning streak after the unit opened with a 3-2 mark.

“Some of those games we were winning big,” he recalled.

Emerson liked the improvement shown by all of his team members, but thought 6-foot-1 sophomore Mike Clayton had an especially solid season.

“He averaged 12 to 14 points a game and had a couple of 20-point nights, which is hard to do because you are not on the floor all that much,” he said. “Mike is a slashing forward who is athletic and likes to run and is good at getting the ball down court.”

The work of sophomore guards Ryan Boland and captain Jeff Wettstein drew praise from the coach for “keeping us settled down and distributing the ball well.”

Emerson called 6-foot-2 sophomore inside operator Nick Spencer the “most improved” player who is “strong and a monster on the glass” and whose “scoring output increased down the stretch.”

Two freshmen, guard Tucker Kohlasch and 6-foot-2 forward John Keen, were cited for steady improvement and good shooting.

“To go from eighth grade to junior varsity at the high school level is a big jump and they handled it well,” Emerson said.

Sophomores Tino Tomasi and Larry Sweetser were praised for the abundant athleticism that gave them court presence with the speedsters or rebounding against the big guys.

Ryan Pierson, Jacob Grasso, Jason Schneiderman, Tommy Burns and Eoin Karnes were noted for improved shooting skills and all-around court work.

Emerson said he has given each player “some personal skills” to develop over the summer, and added that most if not all will play AAU basketball.

November should bring quite a competition for those varsity openings.


[Read more…]

Donnelly leads CVU in hoops honors3/12/09

March 12, 2009

John Donnelly, who powered to the rim for layups and also sank long bombs from three-point range for the Champlain Valley Union High basketball team this past season, will join other senior stars in the North-South all-star basketball games Saturday at Windsor High School.


    File photo
John Donnelly, a Champlain Valley Union High senior, goes up for a shot against North Country Union on Feb. 14.  

Donnelly had several games of 20-plus points and double figures in rebounds.

“John had an outstanding offensive season,” coach Scott Bliss said, adding that there are an exceptional number of seniors in Divisions 1 and 2 from which players are chosen for the annual games.

Donnelly also was named to the All-Metro All-Star second team, as chosen by the division’s 10 coaches. Senior teammates Jack Jesset and Ryan Poirier earned Honorable Mention in the division.

The coaches selected Burlington High center Clancy Rugg as the division’s Player of the Year.

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent


[Read more…]

Third and fourth place Vt. finishes for alpine teams3/12/09

March 12, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

The two-run slalom proved a couple of tight turns too many for the Champlain Valley Union High boys alpine ski team last Thursday, as it took third place in the Vermont State Championships at Pico Mountain in Mendon.


    File photo
Cody Putre, a freshman on the Champlain Valley Union High alpine ski team, races at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl earlier this winter. Putre was one of five CVU skiers named to the NVAC district team. The girls and boys teams finished their seasons last week, placing fourth and third, respectively, in state meets.  

“We were second, just 17 points out of first after the giant slalom,” coach Mike Minnerly said this week.

Then came the slalom runs and difficulty.

Senior Sam Darling, who zipped to a second place finish in the giant slalom, just nine-tenths of a second behind winner Brandon Ogilvie of eventual champion Burr and Burton of Manchester, fell on his first slalom run.

Dan Caffry, after a nifty third in the giant slalom, had problems on his first slalom go, according to the coach.

While others had various problems in the slalom, freshman Cody Putre skied to an eighth place finish and Warren Colomb took 20th, the same finish he had in the GS.

“Warren skied well,” Minnerly said. “He was consistent all day.”

Minnerly noted that it was difficult to put two solid runs together.

“Tucker Spillane had a nice first run, but then a tough second run,” the coach said.

Recalling the highlights of the season, Minnerly looked to the boys’ victory in the Northern District meet and the naming of Darling, Caffry, Putre and Colomb to the NVAC district team. Darling is the lone senior.

Minnerly also considered a season highlight the Essex Invitational meet in which the combined boys and girls team earned a victory.

With some 40 skiers on the practice slopes, Minnerly believes the future is bright for one of the largest high school alpine teams in the state.

As for the girls, who were fourth in their state meet at Stowe, senior Cassie Smith led the way with an 11th in GS and 14th in slalom. Smith was also named all-NVAC.

“Cassie had a great year,” Minnerly said. “She was solid all year long.”

Minnerly also praised the skiing of Allie Maynes and was upbeat about the return next year of juniors Lucy Halverson and Erika Gobeille, sophomore Meg Wallace and a quartet of freshmen, Mikaela “Miki” Gobeille, Abby Owen, Mariah Hill and Anna-Claire Smith, plus others.

An update of the CVU Nordic ski season will appear in next week’s issue of the Observer.


[Read more…]

Greek philosopher inspires CVU student3/12/09

Hudson, Cory win awards from Classical Association of New England

March 12, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

While international headlines about global warming and a deadening economy portend a gloomy future, Williston resident Dylan Hudson looks for guidance from the past. The Champlain Valley Union High School senior recently wrote a 350-word paper explaining how Greek philosopher Epicurus’ teachings about leading a self-sufficient, happy life can apply to today’s world.


    Observer photo by Tim Simard
Champlain Valley Union High senior Dylan Hudson, pictured above, recently took first place in the Classical Association of New England’s annual writing contest.  

“As humanity edges toward an environmental breakdown from excessive consumption, we may want to consider looking deeper into our world for happiness, and deeper into our history for guidance,” Hudson wrote in the closing of his paper. “By a mere change in perception, we can find that less is often more. Culture may have changed, but the human condition remains the same.”

His paper won a first place award last month in the Classical Association of New England’s annual writing contest. Students taking Latin or classical studies courses were invited to submit short papers in various formats to be judged in the contest. But when Hudson wrote his piece, he wasn’t thinking of winning.

“I was just trying to get my homework done as fast as I could,” Hudson said with a laugh.

For Hudson, studying ancient languages, literature and philosophy has become a passion. He said it began when he took CVU history teacher Joe Greenwald’s Ancient Greece course last year. Hudson then took Latin, progressing all the way up to Latin III in a number of weeks. He is also currently taking an Ancient Greek language class at the University of Vermont — his second Greek class with the university.

Hudson’s Latin teacher at CVU, Lydia Batten, said the student picked up Latin at a rate faster than she’s used to seeing. Four weeks into Latin II last semester, Batten had Hudson take an advanced exam, which he passed with flying colors. Hudson was immediately allowed to take Latin III, she said.

“He’s sort of an entity all unto himself,” Batten said.

Batten assigned her Latin III classes to write a short piece that could be entered into the Classical Association’s contest. This year’s theme was “Living Antiquity: Classics and Modern Life;” students wrote poetry, fiction or essays elaborating on the topic.

Batten said the participating high school classics teachers chose the top three entries from their school, and then a state board chose the top three from Vermont. Finally, teachers from all over the region chose the winner, with Hudson coming out on top.

Batten said she’s proud of Hudson’s accomplishment, even as he’s being coy about the award.

“He’s being the usual teen and playing it cool,” Batten said.

Hudson will read his paper at the Classical Association’s annual conference in Boston later this month, with the organization paying for a hotel room and meals. He also receives a $200 savings bond.

Another of Batten’s Latin III students, Hinesburg junior Isaiah Cory, placed second in the Vermont portion of the contest. Cory said he wrote a science fiction piece in which Roman times meld into present day America. For Cory, learning Latin makes it easier to learn other languages. He said the class helped him immensely in English and Spanish classes, as well as on the SAT tests.

“I use (Latin) in everyday situations and it’s really helpful,” said Cory, who plans to continue his classical studies into college.

Hudson agrees that studying Latin and Ancient Greek can teach the world about modern day issues much more than people think — hence his paper on Epicureanism.

Hudson said he’s not sure what he wants to major in after he graduates from high school and attends UVM, where intends to enroll. But he knows his classical studies will be an important part of his learning, in any field of his choosing.

With the prevalence of Latin in science and medicine, Hudson said, “Everybody says to me, ‘You must be going to medical school,’ but I’m not sure yet.”


[Read more…]

Parents split over whether to change school configuration3/12/09

Teachers tend to favor status quo

March 12, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

It was a busy and productive evening at the Williston Central School cafeteria on Monday. More than 100 parents and community members turned out to aid the Williston Conceptual Frameworks Committee in creating recommendations for a future school configuration.


    Observer photo by Tim Simard
Parent Kristen Littlefield dictates her thoughts to Frameworks Committee member Wendy Bliss at Monday night’s community forum. Littlefield was pondering a possible lower house school configuration.  

Eleven different configuration options were open for discussion, with some offering drastic change in grade grouping structures and others keeping things close to the status quo.

Parents displayed mixed reactions to some of the proposals, with a few stating they did not want the system altered. Parent Linda Poirier, who said she had five children attend Williston schools, believes the current configuration is best. She likes the way the house system is set up with the four-year groupings and hopes things won’t change.

“But I think there are going to be changes,” Poirier said. “Everybody keeps screaming, ‘Change, change, change.’ (The committee) isn’t going to ignore that.”

Many parents were on hand to advocate for change. Parent Ann Smith, a vocal advocate for reconfiguring the school system, wants to see change and approves of some of the options. Specifically, she liked the option that had single-grade classrooms for fifth and eighth grades, while keeping multi-age classrooms for sixth and seventh graders.

Smith said she also wanted to see grades one through four housed under one roof, which is a building configuration option under consideration.

“If you don’t, you’ll never have equity,” Smith said.

Currently, grades one through four are split between Allen Brook and Williston Central schools.

Parent Marcy Kass said she sees both sides of the argument in regards to the current configuration. She said there should be some improvements, but not at the cost of losing what Williston already has.

“Talking to parents with young kids, maybe the multi-age (house system) is scary for them,” Kass said. “But I talk to my sister in New Jersey and she’s jealous of what we have here. She thinks it’s like a private school.”

Committee Facilitator Mary Jane Shelley spent about 40 minutes at the beginning of the meeting presenting the 11 configuration options — six options for the lower houses and five for the upper houses — as well as two building configuration options.

“We’re looking for different impressions from you,” Shelley told the crowd.

She said all opinions and statements would be typed up and evaluated by the committee in three meetings this month. The committee plans to present a configuration recommendation to the School Board on April 2.

Throughout the community forum, parents discussed the different options at cafeteria tables, and in front of flipcharts where committee members recorded opinions.

Parent Ann Schmidt said she was impressed by the hard work the Frameworks Committee accomplished. She said she prefers the current system, but wants to see a different building configuration.

“I’m a firm believer that (grades) one through four should be in one place, and (grades) five through eight should be in one place,” Schmidt said. “It just makes sense.”

Parent John Hemmelgarn found some of the options weren’t too different from the current system and hoped they could be adapted to help a wider range of parent concerns.

“I’d like to see something more flexible so we don’t need to keep having these conversations,” Hemmelgarn said.

Parent John Colt said he’s been “very happy” with the current system, especially the lower houses. He said teachers put in a lot of effort in maintaining a good teacher-student relationship. He was unsure about some of the configuration options.

“I think it’s very hard to make any judgments without looking at the research,” Colt said.

Earlier in the day, teachers turned out for their own forum. Committee member Kevin Mara said most came prepared with notes and suggestions.

“A lot of comments were well thought out,” Mara said.

Many of the flipcharts were full of positive and negative comments, with some skewed in one direction or the other. The current upper house system had mostly positive comments from teachers, while some of the options with changes in grade grouping and looping had mostly negative comments.

Also addressed during the forums was the situation regarding the Allen Brook temporary classrooms. A temporary building permit for the trailers expires February 2010, though school officials are working on a master plan for the rooms to present to the Development Review Board.

School Board Chairwoman Darlene Worth said the classrooms’ permit would not affect the Frameworks Committee’s effort. She said the school is looking at all options for the trailers, including applying for another temporary building permit, and hopes to go before the Development Review Board with a master plan before the summer.


[Read more…]

Fire Log3/12/09

March 12, 2009

Chimney fire

At 12:35 p.m. on Feb. 23, fire crews responded to a report of a chimney fire on South Road. The occupants reported smoke coming from their oil-furnace chimney. Firefighters found no visible fire, but did finds signs a fire had occurred. Crews tested the furnace and noticed small flare-ups, which were extinguished. Firefighters cleaned the chimney and checked the house for carbon monoxide levels before venting the residence.

Engines 1, 2 and 4, along with Tower 1, reported to the scene with 10 firefighters. Richmond and South Burlington Fire Departments also reported for mutual aid.

Carbon monoxide incident

Fire crews responded to a residence on Hillside Drive at 6:31 p.m. on Feb. 11 for a report of possible carbon monoxide exposure. The occupants reported their carbon monoxide alarm sounded 15 minutes before they placed the call. Nobody in the home reported any sickness. Firefighters tested the levels of the gas within the home and found 44 parts per million. Firefighter Ryan Prouty said any reading over zero is cause for concern.

An oil furnace and water heater proved to be the source of the gas, and a technician was called in to fix the problem. The residents were asked to remain away from the home until the problem was fixed. Engine 3 and four firefighters responded to the scene.

Car fire

On Feb. 8 at 12:36 p.m., firefighters responded to a car fire at the Christmas Tree Shops parking lot. Heavy smoke appeared to be coming from the engine of a four-door Buick. Fire crews lifted the hood and extinguished the fire. AAA towed the car from the lot. Engines 1 and 3 responded with 10 firefighters.


[Read more…]

Police Notes3/12/09

March 12, 2009

Domestic assault

On March 9, police responded to a report of a domestic assault on Lamplite Lane, according to police reports. When police arrived at the alleged victims’ home, they saw a man “attempting to leave the residence on foot,” and tried to stop him, according to the report. Police said the man, Paul Jerome Macleod, 42, of Williston, “pushed past them and continued to walk away.” After a brief struggle, police said, they were able to restrain Macleod and he was taken into custody.

Macleod had been living at the residence as a renter for about two years, according to a police affidavit. The landlords, a couple in their 60s who also live in the home, told police Macleod came into their bedroom “agitated” and began swearing at them, the affidavit states.

They told Macleod to leave, and when the landlord followed him into the hallway, Macleod allegedly took the man’s cane and appeared as if he was going to hit the man with it, the affidavit states. The woman grabbed the cane, and the man said Macleod took a hammer and again appeared as if he was going to strike him, according to the affidavit. The altercation spilled into the living room, where Macleod threatened the man with a chair and a vase and began “beating him with closed fists on the chest, back and head,” the affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, Macleod told police he did hit the man, but that the man had also hit him; the man “could be meddlesome;” he was upset that the man had not told a “new tenant everything he needed to know about renting the room” and that tenant then had to ask Macleod for information.

The couple has obtained a restraining order against Macleod, according to police.

Macleod was cited on a charge of first-degree aggravated domestic assault and resisting arrest, the affidavit states. Police say Macleod was lodged at Chittenden County Correctional Center, but no information was available regarding bail.


• Seladjdin Sadriu, 41, of Winooski was cited on March 2 to appear in court on May 4 on a charge of retail theft from Wal-Mart after allegedly stealing more than $44 worth of merchandise, according to police reports.

• Savannah Bradshaw, 37, of Burlington was cited on a charge of retail theft on March 3 after allegedly stealing more than $76 worth of merchandise from Wal-Mart, according to police reports. She was also charged with driving with a suspended license, and is scheduled to appear in court on April 6, according to the report.

• Rebecca L. Sheeran, 31, of Burlington was cited on March 6 on a charge of accessory to felony retail theft that allegedly occurred on Feb. 25 at Wal-Mart, according to police reports. Police say Sheeran’s friend stole about $160 worth of Bluetooth accessories, and a few minutes later, Sheeran tried to return the merchandise for a refund without a receipt, and was given a store credit. Her friend had removed the theft detection devices from the merchandise, “making it a felony,” according to Detective Michael Lavoie. Sheeran was cited to appear in court on April 6.

Driving under the influence

• David Hodgdon, 39, of Colchester was cited on a charge of driving under the influence on March 2 and lodged at Chittenden County Correctional Center, according to police reports. Hodgdon’s blood alcohol test registered .17, the report notes. The legal limit for driving in Vermont is .08. He was cited to appear in court.

• Following a motor vehicle stop on March 3, Robert Smith, 51, of Jonesville was cited on a charge of driving under the influence, according to police reports. Smith’s blood alcohol test registered .148, the report notes. He was taken into custody and was later released on a citation to appear in court, according to the report.

Illegal drug possession

David Stafford, 31, of Williston was cited on March 5 for possession of a regulated drug, according to police reports. No other details were released. He was cited to appear in court.

Driving with suspended license

• Following a motor vehicle stop on Feb. 25, Jeremy B. Zeno, 25, of Fairfax was cited to appear in court on April 6 on a charge of “criminal” driving with a suspended license, according to police reports. No information as to the nature of the suspensions was released.

• Keith J. Addis, 34, of Bolton, was cited to appear in court on a charge of driving under the influence on Feb. 26, according to police reports. No other information was released.

• Jordani LeBlanc, 26, of Milton was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on March 3, according to police reports. No other details were released.

Disorderly conduct

Francis Ducharme, 20, of Plattsburgh, N.Y. was cited on a charge of disorderly conduct at Wal-Mart on Feb. 27, according to police reports. No further information was released.


[Read more…]

Everyday Gourmet3/12/09

March 12, 2009

By Kim Dannies

The crunch mister

Croque Monsieur (the crunch mister) is just the ticket to get us through the last gray days of winter. There is simply nothing more delicious and comforting than a golden, gooey, chewy, crunchy mass of warm ham and cheese to fill our bellies.

The béchamel sauce is what makes this treat so special, and every cook should know how to make one. It’s a simple sauce of butter and flour thickened with milk and seasoned with a bit of nutmeg. (Personally, I am sick and tired of restaurant menus masquerading soggy ham sandwiches as authentic Croque Monsieur — it’s not that difficult to do brilliantly.)

To make béchamel sauce, grate 10 ounces of Gruyère or Emmentaler cheese. Measure out 1/2 cup of cheese for the sauce; reserve remaining cheese for later assembly. Warm 2 cups of low-fat milk in the microwave on 100 percent heat for 2 minutes. Over low stovetop heat, melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of white flour until blended but not colored. Slowly whisk in the warm milk and cook until the sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the grated cheese. Season to taste with black pepper, salt and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg. (Can be prepared 24 hours ahead and stored in fridge; gently re-warm before use.)

Although it won’t make anyone’s nutritional frequent flier list, the Croque is definitely a crowd pleaser; it also makes a great hors d’oeuvre cut into 9 cubes and served with drinks. Wondering where Croque Madame is? Simply add a fried egg on top.

To assemble 4 sandwiches, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and brush the paper with melted butter. Place 8 slices of bakery sourdough or white sandwich bread on the sheets and bake for 5 minutes. Turn each slice and toast for another 2 minutes.

Lightly brush 4 of the toast slices with Dijon mustard; spackle each one evenly with béchamel sauce ensuring crusts are covered. Divide 8 ounces of sliced ham among the four slices. Top each with 1/3 cup shredded cheese. Top with another piece of toasted bread. Spackle more béchamel sauce generously all over, especially the sides so the ends of the bread seal properly (there will be some leftover sauce.) Sprinkle the remaining cheese over each and bake for 5 minutes. Turn on the broiler; broil for 4 minutes. The “crunch misters” will be a deep golden brown, with crunchy bottoms and crispy edges, and a perfectly melded center.

Bon appétit!

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 who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to


[Read more…]

Little Details3/12/09

March 12, 2009

By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

Living in the affirmative

I like Susan. We meet occasionally for coffee and conversation at Mirabelles, downtown Burlington’s delectable pastry emporium. Susan is partial to frothy cappuccinos. I like my decaf in a white porcelain cup.

When I arrive for our coffee date, I see Susan holding court at one of her favored tables, chatting it up with local luminaries of the legal and political scene. In winter, she brings her cane, for extra support, lest she risk slipping on an icy patch.

Susan, a few decades older than I, remains sharp as a tack and steadfast in her opinions. She reads a foreign language magazine to keep up with the French she studied in college and follows politics with zest.

We met at a church potluck. I sat on her right at a fellow parishioner’s dining room table. In an attempt to make conversation, I asked her where she grew up. I became a little guarded upon learning she hailed from an affluent suburb near Boston. I used to pass through her town on a bus every weekend on my way home from college to work in a restaurant. I never got off the bus in her wealthy enclave, with its manicured lawns and expensive private schools. I feared she might pass judgment on me for my more humble working class roots from a nearby factory town. I soon learned Susan measured people based on character, not their supposed pedigree.

Casual conversation over pasta led to deeper explorations of our personal stories. Her ancestors, polished by Ivy League degrees, made their money in business. My parents earned their keep on factory floors, churning out chemicals and plastic garbage bags.

We talked politics and Susan revealed her liberal leanings. We didn’t agree on every point but we agreed on many. There was something refreshing about her sharp mind and wit. Conversation with Susan keeps you on your intellectual toes. She was no fading lily quietly traipsing off into retirement. She also expressed a genuine interest in who I was and where I found myself on life’s journey.

Decades earlier, when Susan applied to law school, she met with the dean at a prominent program. He scanned her paperwork, looked up and said, “Your grades are impressive. Your letters of recommendation are wonderful. There’s only one problem — you’re a woman. We don’t accept women.”

Even if she was momentarily thwarted by the comment, Susan, in true thinking-on-your-feet lawyerly style, fired back, “Well, can’t you just make believe I’m a man?”

Susan got in. She attended law lectures where professors routinely addressed the class as “Gentlemen.” She studied hard and pushed her way through earning a law degree.

Susan married and, as with some marriages, it just didn’t work out. She doesn’t dwell on this aspect of her life. She drew on her fine credentials and resourcefulness to return to the workforce and earn enough money to raise her children.

Is she bitter? I don’t think so. I think of Susan as a highly accomplished woman who rolls with life and lives in the affirmative. She’s also one of those folks born into relative affluence who acknowledges the need to give others a hand up educationally and/or materially so they have a decent shot at working for and realizing their own success.

March is Women’s History Month. I think of Susan as a modern day pioneer who was savvy enough to ask the question, “Can’t you just make believe I’m a man?” Thanks to women like Susan who forged the way, younger women like me no longer have to ask that question.

Katherine Bielawa Stamper lives in Williston. Reader comments are welcome at [email protected] or [email protected]


[Read more…]