Paddlers take part in last year’s Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival. A team from Champlain Valley Union High School has formed to row in this year’s festival, scheduled for Sunday. See story below.
July 30, 2009
The Burlington Lakers Soccer Club will hold tryouts at 6 p.m. on Aug. 10 at Callahan Park in Burlington.
The soccer club is a premier girl’s travel club that was formed in 2001. This year, the club will field competitive travel teams for U13, U15 and U17.
Last year, the Burlington Lakers U16 girls won the 2009 State Cup, competing in the Region 1 National Championship. They came in second in their group. The U16 girls also won the South Coast Seaside Classic Tournament in Rhode Island.
The U14 Girls won the Suffield Tournament in Connecticut, and the U12 Team finished as runner-up state champions in the 2009 State Cup.
For more information, call 343-8887 or visit www.burlingtonlakers.com.
Jousting match turns painful for Vt. mayor
A Vermont mayor who agreed in fun to a jousting match with padded sticks and helmets ended up in the emergency room after he broke some ribs.
Sunday’s joust at a festival in Barre was a modern-day re-enactment of a fabled fistfight over the city’s naming. Mayor Thomas Lauzon and Jeff Blow, chairman of the town’s selectboard, teetered on padded pedestals in the middle of a ring as they wielded their jousting sticks.
The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus reports Blow toppled Lauzon in less than 15 seconds and the mayor returned the favor with a below-the-belt thrust.
In a deciding third match, Lauzon broke his ribs when he lunged toward Blow and slammed into his pedestal. The mayor’s wife, Karen Lauzon, said Monday he’s OK.
— The Associated Press
July 30, 2009
By Ben Portnoy
Since first starting to play racquetball in 1978, Williston resident Les Hankins Jr. now finds himself competing in his first Summer National Senior Games.
Hankins has stuck with the sport for so many years simply for the love of the game.
“I enjoy the competition,” Hankins said. “More importantly, the people that I play with and against are superb human beings.”
Currently, Hankins plays at least twice per week at Sports & Fitness Edge in Williston. So, how did the 66-year-old decide to take his 31-year-old healthy hobby to the next level?
In 2004, after spending 30 years in Maryland, Hankins and his wife uprooted and moved to Williston to be closer to Hankins’ family. Hankins said he was convinced by a relative, who had competed in the Senior Games since 1993, to take his passion for racquetball to the next level by qualifying for the 2009 Senior Games.
Last June, Hankins competed in a qualifying tournament at Lyndon State College in Lyndonville. He then found out in January that he had qualified for this year’s Senior Games. Hankins will compete in racquetball singles and doubles, with partner Brian Crandall of Waitsfield.
Taking place Aug. 1-15 in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, the Summer National Senior Games is a biennial Olympic style competition for athletes 50 and older. A torch run and Opening Ceremonies precede the competitive events.
Competitions for the 2009 Senior Games cover 18 sports, including archery, cycling, golf and track and field. The Celebration of Athletes Ceremony and the awarding of medals to winners is also part of the Senior Games.
Hankins admits that he has never competed in a tournament of this size, but he is still going for gold.
“I hope to be the last man standing. I know it’s very difficult to achieve, but I have the racquetball maturity and I think I’m fit enough,” Hankins said. “I at least want to give Vermont a good show.”
Natalie Varty, the 2009 Senior Games Media Team contact, noted that Hankins “is extremely proud that he has never stepped away from the game and is able to compete in this year’s games.”
Setting potential success in the 2009 Senior Games aside, Hankins says it is up in the air as to whether he would like to attend the 2011 Senior Games in Houston, Texas.
“Time will tell,” Hankins said. “After the first experience, one needs to savor the play and the organization. I’m kind of on the fence.”
Still, Hankins is only focusing on the challenges that await him in the next two weeks.
“It’ll be a great time,” Hankins said. “I’m really looking forward to it and I’ll give it all I can.”
The Observer’s sports correspondent, Mal Boright, will also compete at the Senior Games in basketball. Karin Thomsen of Williston also qualified for volleyball, but is no longer registered for the Games, according to Varty.
Construction work comes in under budget
July 30, 2009
By Tim Simard
All summer long, the Champlain Valley Union High School auditorium has been undergoing a dramatic change. Where rows of seats formerly faced an old and uneven stage now sits a large, green bulldozer. Mounds of dirt surround a large crater in the ground, representing where an orchestra pit will be installed. The deafening sound of high-powered drills is all that can be heard as construction crews prepare to install a series of catwalks above the auditorium’s floors.
Observer photo by Tim Simard
Construction equipment at Champlain Valley Union High School surrounds a recently completed concrete structure, which will turn into the CVU auditorium’s new orchestra pit. Crews have been renovating the 40-year-old space since mid-June.
The auditorium’s renovation is well under way and, by all accounts, right on schedule. The 40-year-old space, which was not updated when CVU underwent major renovations in 2003, is finally getting its due. Gone will be the out-of-date stage area, tiny technical booth and orchestra room that doubled as a closet. In their place will be state-of-the-art equipment to make CVU’s auditorium the envy of other high school theater groups, said Principal Sean McMannon.
“There haven’t been a lot of new auditoriums built around the area in the last 10 to 15 years,” McMannon said.
The renovations are scheduled to be completed on Sept. 1, one day before freshmen begin their year at CVU. McMannon said more work might need to be done after that date, but he doesn’t foresee it lasting more than a week. After all, the theater classes and groups are due to start using the space almost immediately.
“We haven’t run into any major snafus yet, which is a good thing,” McMannon said.
Berlin-based Summit/Catamount Construction is handling the project and McMannon, along with CVU Director of Maintenance Kurt Proulx, are more than pleased with the work that’s been completed.
“I think it’s going to be great when it’s all done,” Proulx said. “(The old auditorium) had already reached its limit of usability.”
Initially, construction was to be completed in two phases, costing an estimated $2.5 million. But the project came in far below estimates at $1.4 million. The administration and School Board decided it would be more cost effective to complete the renovation during one phase this summer.
“You end up incurring a lot of additional costs when you phase a project,” McMannon explained.
He said the economic recession and the effects it’s had on the construction industry helped keep costs well below what was projected.
Most of the project’s funding came from money CVU already had on hand — $537,000 came from leftover construction funds from the 2003 renovations and $755,000 from the school’s general fund balance. Voters approved the use of the money in March.
Fundraising efforts and private donations also raised an estimated $185,000, according to Bob Mason, chief operations officer for Chittenden South Supervisory Union.
Work began the day students finished school in June. Crews immediately removed seats in the auditorium to make way for heavy equipment.
One of the most notable additions to the space is the new orchestra pit, where musicians will sit and play music to accompany the performances on stage. Before, musicians were put in a tiny loft located stage right during shows. Now the band will be front and center, providing better sound while still remaining out of site for performances.
The stage will signify a major improvement, as well. The previous stage had been repaired through the years in a patchwork style. As a result, it was uneven and unsafe. Now, crews will install a brand new maple-floored stage.
Outside the auditorium, a new booth for tickets and concessions is in the middle of construction. Tickets will no longer be sold from a collapsible table in front of the facility’s doors, McMannon said.
Once the auditorium is completed, Proulx said members of his staff will familiarize themselves with its inner workings. He said there will need to be a lot of training with staff, theater and technical students to ensure everyone is on the same page.
McMannon said he’s thrilled students will now be able to learn and perform in an auditorium suitable for the school.
Proulx said he’s most excited about one thing: “I want to see the smiles on everyone’s faces when this is all done.”
Driving under the influence
• On July 20, police received a report regarding an erratic driver. Police located the alleged driver leaving Clark’s Sunoco and followed him onto Interstate 89. The driver, Carl L. Tallman, 39, of Barre, was pulled over at the Williston southbound rest area and arrested on a charge of suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol “after his blood alcohol content was found to be twice the legal limit,” according to police reports. The legal limit for driving in Vermont is .08.
• Henry Lester, 51, of Crowley, Texas was cited on a charge of driving under the influence on July 24, according to police reports. No other information was available as of press time.
• Following a motor vehicle stop on Industrial Avenue on July 25, Quintin Burnett, 19, of Essex was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence and “underage consumption,” according to police reports. His blood alcohol content was .210, according to the report. He was later released and cited to appear in court.
• Scott Nelson, 45, of Essex Junction was arrested on a charge of driving under the influence, second offense, on July 25, according to police reports. His blood alcohol test registered .129, according to the report. He was taken to Chittenden County Correctional Center.
On July 22 at about 3 p.m., a woman’s wallet was stolen out of her purse while she was shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond, according to police reports. Police say the victim told them a woman bumped her cart several times, and she suspects “the woman may have taken her wallet” during that time, according to the report. The suspect subsequently made several purchases in the area, one of which was caught on videotape, according to the report. Anyone with information is asked to call Williston Police at 878-6611.
Christopher Devino, 27, of Hinesburg was cited on a charge of marijuana possession in the Hannaford parking lot on June 17, according to police reports.
Irman Munson, 37, of Williston was “taken into custody on an outstanding warrant” on July 20, according to police reports. He was taken to District Court, the report notes.
Deron Elliott, 41, of Williston was cited on a charge of disorderly conduct on July 21 after allegedly yelling obscenities, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.
Driving with suspended license
Nelson T. Lime, 21, of Charlotte, was cited on a charge of “criminal” driving with a suspended license on July 23, according to police reports. No other information was released.
A blue vehicle was “tampered with” in the Texas Roadhouse parking lot on July 23, according to police reports. Anyone with information is asked to call Williston Police at 878-6611.