October 14, 2019

Recipe Corner (4/30/09)

New ways to serve pasta

April 30, 2009

By Ginger Isham

The Italian word “carbonara” describes a white sauce made with eggs, cheese and Italian bacon or ham and served over spaghetti. It’s easy and quick to make, and best when served with a green salad and crusty bread and fruit.

Spaghetti Carbonara

1 onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, chopped

1 cup ham or pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped

1/2 cup white wine

1/2 cup chicken stock or water

2 eggs

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup milk

1 ounce Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

pinch of nutmeg

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

1 pound of spaghetti, cooked and drained

In 2 tablespoons of olive oil, cook onion and garlic. Add chopped ham and cook until heated thru. Add wine and chicken stock and simmer until liquid is almost gone. Mix together eggs, sour cream, milk, cheese, salt, pepper to taste and nutmeg. Stir into the onion, garlic and ham mix and cook until thickens. Add parsley. Heat and serve over cooked spaghetti.

Hot and Spicy Turkey Spaghetti

(taken from Yankee Magazine some time ago)

1 8-ounce package spaghetti, cooked

1 small onion, chopped

1 8-ounce package mushrooms, sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

2 tablespoons oil

pinch of salt

1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chilies, do not drain

8 ounces cheddar cheese, cut into cubes

2 cups cubed cooked turkey

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Sauté in oil the onion, mushrooms and red pepper until tender. Add salt, cooked spaghetti, tomatoes, cheese, turkey and peas. Cook over medium heat until all are heated and serve immediately.


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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Letters to the Editor (4/30/09)

April 30, 2009

Remembering Al Myers

We can say all we want, throw as many superlatives as we can hurl in his general direction (to paraphrase “Monty Python”), but it all doesn’t quite begin to both capture what Al Myers meant to this community or what we’ve lost. There’s a large, gaping wound over at Williston Central School and profound pain can be felt far beyond the confines of our small state.

The cast and crew of “The Wizard of Oz” have an incredibly emotional and physically demanding task in front of them. The curtain will rise Friday night and fall one last time the following evening. Many teachers, parents, former students and an arsenal of Al’s close friends are working incredibly hard to make this the production he envisioned. The students are keenly aware of the gravity of the task before them and Mr. Myers would be the first to remind them, as Glinda reveals to Dorothy at the end of her journey in Oz, “You don’t need to be helped any longer, you’ve always had the power!”

Thank you, Al Myers, for giving such a gift to our children.

Sara Dunphy



Successful first season

We’d like to thank the Williston community for making the inaugural season of The Brick Church Music Series a success. With seven concerts, the series raised almost $6,000 for local nonprofit and charitable organizations including the Williston Food Shelf, Catamount Outdoor Family Center, Essex Children’s Choir, Big Heavy World, CY Mentoring, Vermont Youth Orchestra Association and the Rotary’s Polio Plus program.

Equally important, the series met and surpassed the goals laid out in our mission statement, which included “… to promote community interaction by bringing a variety of musical performances to Williston at an affordable price.”

The credit for this success goes to two groups: First, to the Williston business community, which was extraordinarily generous in supporting the series in difficult economic times; and second, to the musicians, volunteers and especially to our patrons, who came out in good weather and bad to enjoy the music and mingle with their neighbors.

Our sponsors include numerous businesses and individual donors: the Town of Williston; the band Rumble Doll; Neil Boyden; Elizabeth Skarie; Cathy Yandell; and, last but not least, the Williston Observer. We’d also like to thank the Brick Church Trustees, whose warm and open-minded response to our original proposal made the music series possible.

Due to the positive feedback we’ve had, we hope to run the series again next fall and winter, starting in September or October. Stay tuned, and please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to suggest bands, opening acts, artists, community host groups or have an idea you’d like to see become part of the series in the future.

Thank you once again to all who participated and helped to make the Brick Church Music Series a success!

Peter Engisch, Rick McGuire, Don Sheldon, Dave Yandell

Brick Church Music Series organizers


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Guest Column (4/30/09)

The first 100 days — then and now

April 30, 2009

By David B. Woolner

After 100 days in office, the comparisons between President Barack Obama and Franklin D. Roosevelt seem as valid as ever.

Both leaders have had to cope with an unprecedented global financial crisis, a deteriorating economy, high unemployment and an electorate steeped in fear and apprehension about the future. Both men have also had to contend with a worldwide security crisis; inspired in FDR’s case by the pernicious ideology of fascism, and in Obama’s by the rise of a deadly form of international terrorism driven by religious extremists. Both men have also had to share the blessing — or burden — of high expectations, not only among the American public, but among people the world over, where their assumption of office has been widely heralded as the beginning of a new day.

But in spite of these and other similarities, there are some striking differences between their first 100 days that may provide the current president and his colleagues in Congress with some food for thought.

One clear distinction is the reaction of the Republican Congressional leadership to the president’s initial legislative agenda. In FDR’s day, many Republicans not only responded positively to the president’s call for bipartisanship, they also lent their support to some of the most significant measures to come out of the 100 days, including the Federal Emergency Relief Act and the establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority, or TVA — our nation’s first electric public utility. In short, this “unprecedented national emergency” met with unprecedented national cooperation, among Democrats and Republicans, and among the executive and legislative branches of government.

A second clear distinction involves America’s standing overseas. Although FDR did not attend, he sent a high level delegation (led by his secretary of state, Cordell Hull) to Great Britain in June 1933 to attend the long anticipated “London Monetary and Economic Conference.” Attended by 66 nations, and convened to bring about an international response to the global economic crisis, FDR famously “torpedoed” the conference by rejecting a temporary currency stabilization agreement that was negotiated in London and seen as critical to the ability of the conference to continue its work. His decision to do so — particularly after the terms of the temporary agreement had been secured — greatly disappointed the British, French and other delegations. As a result, his international reputation suffered for a time and there were fears — which subsequently proved unfounded — that FDR was an economic nationalist.

By contrast, Obama’s performance at the recent G-20 meeting in London has been a 10-strike. The president may not have gotten all he wanted in London, but his willingness to listen to and work with the leaders of the world’s leading industrialized nations, along with his ensuing visits to France and Turkey, have restored the international community’s faith in American leadership and significantly enhanced the confidence of people the world over that together we will get through this crisis.

This last point brings us back to the most significant similarity between the two men — their ability to inspire hope in moments of despair and their willingness to act. FDR, like Obama, never lost faith in the ability of the American people to restore the nation to prosperity. But he understood that government, which he wisely called “ourselves and not an alien power over us,” had a vital role to play in this process. By restoring the people’s faith in government, then, FDR in essence restored their faith in themselves. President Obama and our leadership in Congress would be wise to do the same.


David Woolner is senior vice president of the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute and co-editor of “FDR’s World: War, Peace, and Legacy.”


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Right to the Point (4/30/09)

Resolving conflict is only the beginning

April 30, 2009

By Mike Benevento

These days, pirates are in the news. No, not Johnny Depp’s “Pirates of the Caribbean.” And not baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates. The news-making pirates are from Somalia. They have been terrorizing shipping off the Horn of Africa for years. The United Nations is now searching for ways to combat the problem.

Four Somali pirates recently took Vermonter Richard Phillips hostage after failing to hijack the Maersk Alabama cargo ship. Three were killed during Phillips’ rescue. The United States has charged the sole-surviving teenager, Abdiwali Abdiqadir Muse, with piracy and hostage-taking.

According to USA Today, Muse’s mother believes he was outwitted into becoming a pirate. His father said the pirates lied to his son, telling him they were going to get money. Like most Somali families, Muse’s family is extremely poor.

Why do nations become breeding grounds for piracy, terrorism and criminal activities? Can the United Nations get to the root cause and avoid future occurrences? Answering these and many other questions may be nearly impossible. However, because so many people throughout the world live in poverty, the issues deserve closer examination.

The world — especially Africa — is full of poor countries. Somalia is one in a long list of nations where violence rules. Rwanda, Sudan and Chad are others. If America withdraws from Iraq and Afghanistan before they are rebuilt, they too could turn poor and extremely violent.

In the early 1990s, the Somali Civil War killed tens of thousands and led to widespread famine. The United Nations sent food supplies, but local clan militias stole 80 percent of it. As a result, 300,000 people starved to death between 1991 and 1992.

U.N. peacekeepers arrived and provided security for humanitarian operations. However, the violence continued to rise as various Somali militias attacked U.N. personnel.

As chronicled in the book and movie “Black Hawk Down,” vastly outnumbered American soldiers fought thousands of Somali militia during a raid in Mogadishu in 1993. Not long afterwards, U.S. military forces withdrew from Somalia.

According to USAID, a complex emergency exists in Somalia. It is one of the world’s poorest and most violent nations. A quarter of Somali children die before age 5 and 43 percent of the population needs humanitarian assistance.

Countries like Somalia — ravaged by war for decades — usually lack a strong central government. Thus, there is no law except that of the gun. Various clans, warlords and drug cartels hire their own militia and terrorize locals through intimidation and outright force. Without police or military backing, the people are helpless.

This breeds a culture of violence. Children grow up with war and poverty being the only two constants in their lives. Generations become accustomed to depravation and are desensitized to violence.

Many families lack fathers, who are either away fighting or dead. This results in mothers raising children all by themselves. These single parent families constantly battle malnutrition, poor health, diseases like HIV/AIDS and extreme poverty. Their future is dismal.

Conditions are ripe for recruiting warriors. For boys and young men, it seems like the only way out is to turn to violence.

For families lucky enough to have fathers return from war, conditions may not dramatically improve. Often, the men return traumatized and lack civilian job skills. Besides, employment is scarce. Therefore, the men tend to fall back into becoming guns for hire and the cycle of violence continues.

To successfully transition from war to a civil society, survival basics must be available for everyone in the nation. Food security, health and nutrition, and shelter are good starting points for the international community. A stable infrastructure of roads and bridges, plentiful energy, clean water and sanitation are important. The monetary system needs shoring up and laws need to be enforced. Jobs with steady and reliable paychecks need creating.

The young must attend school and learn viable trades. Most warriors dropped out of school during their pre-teen years. Instead of an education, they trained to fight. They never held a civilian job. They need to be re-educated and integrated into society.

One of the criticisms of the United Nations is that after it helps end a conflict it quickly leaves.

The military crisis is resolved when the fighting stops. A humanitarian crisis, however, remains. The country, devastated by war, is unable to function on its own and provide for its people. Chaos develops.

When the guns stop is not the time for the United Nations to be packing up and heading home. The United Nations’ hardest task — rebuilding a society — is just beginning. It needs to stay until the job is finished.

Michael Benevento is a former Air Force fighter jet weapon systems officer. He has a bachelor’s degree in Military History and a master’s in International Relations. Mike resides in Williston with his wife Kristine and their two sons, Matthew and Calvin.


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Liberally Speaking (4/30/09)

Fighting poverty, preventing piracy

April 30, 2009

By Steve Mount

Any time revenues decline, whether in a business, family or government, there is an inevitable search for a place to cut costs.

One place that financial advisers will not advise a family to cut, though, is in investing for the future. The “magic” of compound interest means that $1 not invested now could cost you $4 in 30 years.

Similarly, there are investments in the future that we, as a nation, must think carefully about when we are looking to cut. If we are to invest in our nation’s future, one way to do that is to provide non-military foreign aid. If we do not invest in foreign aid, we risk putting our future in jeopardy.

One need only look to the piracy crisis that has recently grabbed the nation’s attention to see the results of poverty and chaos. Though the attention is recent, the problem has been festering for quite some time. In 1991, for example, the World Food Programme was having trouble finding shipping companies willing to take food aid to Somalia because of piracy off the Somali coast.

Because of overwhelming poverty, some of the people of Somalia have chosen piracy as their best choice for survival, even with all the inherent risks.

Is there anything we could do to reverse the piracy problem? It seems we may be doing all we can at this point — the solution is a military one.

According to the International Maritime Bureau, or IMB, another hot spot for piracy is the Strait of Malacca. In all of 2000, more than 75 attacks were recorded in the strait. By 2004, that number had decreased to 38, and in the first quarter of 2009, to only one. According to the IMB, the difference is in the patrols, which have dramatically increased over the past 10 years, especially by the navies and coast guards of Malaysia, Indonesia and other littoral nations.

While the key to stopping piracy seems to be military diligence, preventing piracy from even starting is where our money could be well-spent.

The budget for USAID, the United States Agency for International Development, which distributes American foreign aid, was almost $19.5 billion in 2007, $17.6 billion in 2008 and budgeted to be $18.8 billion in 2009. These numbers are nothing to sneeze at, but they are a pittance compared to our military budget.

Our foreign aid budget covers a lot of important things, according the USAID’s Citizen’s Report. Counter-terrorism, peace support, conflict mitigation, good governance, promotion of human rights and combating AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. The budget also pays for programs to improve infrastructure, agriculture, water supply safety, economic opportunity and financial transparency.

This last group of programs, under the category heading “Promoting Economic Growth and Prosperity,” is where our money can help end the conditions that lead to problems like piracy. If a nation has a sound government, a reliable food and water supply, and provides opportunity for its people, the lure of easy money from piracy or other crime is suddenly that less strong.

The change in administration has brought change to the philosophy behind foreign aid. The 2009 budget was built by George W. Bush’s State Department. The 2010 budget, built by Barack Obama’s State Department, increases the department’s budget by 40 percent, and the budget for USAID would go up a similar percentage.

With this increase, our efforts to fight poverty, both with direct aid and developmental aid, could make a big difference in people’s lives. Could this increase also be a piracy prevention measure? We can only hope — as with any investment, the return is not guaranteed.


On a personal note, with many of you, I mourn the death of Williston Central School teacher Al Myers. Over the years, I’d seen Al show off his musical skills at the FAP Variety Show, show off his Civil War knowledge in presentations to the Cub Scouts and show off his encyclopedic knowledge of the history of Williston schools and FAP as he recounted the evolution of our current system.

Al’s fellow teachers in Swift House and throughout the school system are coping bravely with the loss as they simultaneously help all the kids cope with the loss.

While I salute his memory and his legacy, I also salute the continued professionalism of our entire teaching staff. Al’s death will leave a hole, but I know it will be quickly filled.


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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Around Town (4/30/09)

April 30, 2009

Town awards scholarships

The town of Williston last week handed out a pair of $2,500 scholarships to high school seniors who plan to major in environmental studies.

Danica Frisbie and Carl Lozon, both Champlain Valley Union High School students from Williston, won the scholarships.

Frisbee said in her application that she plans to attend the University of Vermont; it is unclear from his application where Lozon will go to college.

Town Manager Rick McGuire said there were only three applicants for the scholarships, which are awarded annually to Williston students who intend to major in environmental studies.

Funding for the scholarships comes from a $1 million payment made by the Chittenden Solid Waste District when it closed the Williston landfill in the early 1990s and opened the current transfer station here.

The Selectboard in 1995 established a policy of using part of the money to pay for an ongoing scholarship program.

Williston to participate in postal food drive

Williston Post Office will join other post offices around the country on May 9 for the annual Postal Workers Mother’s Day Food Drive. In past years, food collected by postal workers on that day has been donated to the Burlington Emergency Food Shelf. This year, donations will be delivered to the Williston Food Shelf in Maple Tree Place.

Residents are urged to leave nonperishable food items in their mailboxes on May 9, and are welcome to bring food donations to the Williston Post Office.

For more information, call Ginger Morton at 879-4558.

Girl Scout attends U.N. commission

Williston resident Ellie Beckett was one of three Girl Scouts from Vermont to travel to New York City earlier this year and participate in the 53rd United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women. The commission had a theme of “Gender Equity in Care Giving,” with a focus on HIV/AIDS.

“I was really able to make connections to topics that I hadn’t thought were related at all. Things like climate change, gender-based violence, education and AIDS are all connected,” Beckett said in a press release.

Beckett was chosen based on her year of work with Vermont female legislators through the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains’ Vermont Legislative Internship program “Girls Rock the Capitol.”


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Board OKs waste budget (4/30/09)

April 30, 2009

The Williston Selectboard last week approved a $9 million operating budget for the Chittenden Solid Waste District.

The vote came after Tom Moreau, the district’s general manager, gave an overview of operating and capital expenditures for the 2009-10 fiscal year. The spending plan represents a 0.8 percent decrease from the previous year’s budget.

Williston is just one of the 18 municipalities that must vote on the CSWD budget. A majority of the communities must sign off on the budget, which has already been approved by the waste district’s board.

In previous years, the budget has won easy passage. This year, Moreau had said the budget might face opposition because of a 25 percent rate increase imposed on trash haulers, a portion of which could be passed on to consumers.

But the Williston Selectboard did not question the rate increase. Mike Coates, the town’s representative on the CSWD board, said last week that opposition from other communities has been limited.

— Greg Elias, Observer staff


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Transit resolution wins support (4/30/09)

April 30, 2009

After adding a clause emphasizing the environmental benefits of mass transit, the Williston Selectboard passed a resolution supporting regional funding for the Chittenden County Transportation Authority.

The board, at its April 20 meeting, unanimously approved the resolution. It had tabled the matter at a meeting earlier this month so that language could be added saying that expanding public transit would help reduce greenhouse gases and is consistent with Williston’s Comprehensive Plan.

The resolution is being brought to area towns with the aim of building support for expanded regional service and funding to go with it. The transit agency hopes to win legislative approval for new funding, perhaps a regional gas tax or other levy.

The agency now relies in part on contributions from member towns. Williston paid $180,260 as a member in the current fiscal year.

But CCTA asserts the patchwork funding system prevents expansion to meet demand. Ridership has risen steadily amid increasing concern about the environment and fuel prices.

With a new revenue stream, the agency said it could add routes, including one that runs along U.S. 2 from Williston Village to downtown Burlington.

— Greg Elias, Observer staff


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Adversarial project takes next step in development process (4/30/09)

April 30, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

A proposed subdivision off North Williston Road is one step closer to becoming reality.

The Development Review Board granted a discretionary permit Tuesday night for a nine-unit development that has long caused strife among neighbors.

Co-applicants Jeff Atwood and Dana Hood, along with project engineer Debra Bell of Trudell Consulting, appeared before the board to discuss the latest plans for their project. The development would be located between North Williston Road and the Lefebvre Lane neighborhood.

About 20 residents from Lefebvre Lane attended the meeting, hoping for more compromise from Atwood in regards to the project’s access road. Residents have said Atwood needs to gain permission from their neighborhood association to build an access road in an area where wetlands would be minimally affected. Atwood said he would build the road at a different spot on Lefebvre Lane, though that spot would have a greater impact on wetlands.

Ultimately, state officials will recommend the best location for the access road during the Act 250 environmental permitting process.

Plans for the subdivision include moving the current Hood house a few feet on the property and dismantling the residence’s driveway. A triplex will be built, along with two duplex homes. A final single-family home will be built along with a separate garage, according to the plans. Of the nine units on the property, Atwood said seven would be designated as perpetually affordable housing.

Atwood and Lefebvre Lane residents appeared frustrated with each other during the meeting. Neighbors claimed Atwood had not been conciliatory during negotiations and gave only ultimatums. Atwood said he knew how to make deals and neighbors had not been open to negotiations.

Board Chairman Kevin McDermott urged both sides to find a way to work together, although he didn’t seem to believe it would be a possibility.

“This is one of the more adversarial projects we’ve ever had, in terms of the neighbors,” McDermott said. “I’d say it has to be at least in the top five.”


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Roundabout opponents meet (4/30/09)

April 30, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

Citizens concerned with a proposed roundabout in Williston Village turned out in force Tuesday night to air concerns and propose questions they want answered.

Approximately 100 people talked and listened during a neighborhood meeting in the basement of the Williston Federated Church. The church is built at the northeast corner of the four-way intersection of U.S. 2, North Williston Road and Oak Hill Road where the roundabout would be built.

With the meeting moderated by Ken Stone and Keith Gaylord, the group devised a list of topics and questions that needed further discussion. Items on the list included concerns over historic aesthetics, cost of the project and safety issues. Impact on neighboring properties, such as the church and the Korner Kwik Stop, was also discussed.

Stone said the purpose of the meeting was to gather information and hear all sides of the issue.

“We’re not here to take a specific decision,” Stone said.

While a few people spoke in support, there was an overwhelmingly negative response to the roundabout.

“I’m concerned as to whether this even belongs in Williston,” said resident Bill White. “I think this would destroy the whole ambiance of Williston.”

Another issue raised questions about what would happen with a roundabout if the Circumferential Highway is ever built.

“If you did (build the roundabout) and put the Circ Highway in one, two years from now, it makes this thing obsolete,” resident Bob Marcotte said.

Other residents appeared concerned the roundabout would be built no matter what citizens said in opposition.

A meeting with the Selectboard and project engineers is scheduled for 7 p.m. on May 11 at Williston Central School, where Stone hoped the topics discussed this week would be given more discussion and answers.


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