July 18, 2019

Board OKs lower speeds on U.S. 2

    Observer photo by Greg Duggan
Vehicles pass through Williston Village on Tuesday afternoon. The Selectboard recently approved a lower speed limit in the village, though the state still needs to sign off on the decision. See story below.

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Armadillos defeat Caledonia (8/27/09)

Aug. 27, 2009

With just two games remaining in the 16 game schedule, the 11-3 Williston Armadillos knew they needed a win on Sunday against 9-5 Caledonia to remain in contention for the league championship.

Williston’s record placed them alongside the Charlotte Bison atop the Vermont Senior Baseball League, but technically the Dillos resided in second due because Charlotte defeated Williston two weeks ago.

On Sunday, the Armadillos rose to the occasion, defeating Caledonia 7-3.

Starting pitcher Greg Bolger, who picked up the victory to improve his record to 5-2, threw the first seven extremely humid innings. Bolger surrendered two runs, only one of which was earned, on six hits and five walks. He struck out six. Pat “Pookie” Martin gained a save by throwing the last two innings, yielding one run on no hits, two walks and two strikeouts. Williston’s offense, which rapped out 11 hits, was led by Bolger (3-4, 2 runs), left fielder Bill Supple (2-4, 2 runs, 2 RBIs) and second baseman Brent Tremblay (2-4, 3B, run, 2 RBIs).

After Caledonia scored a run in the first inning on a walk and two singles, the Dillos bounced back with three runs in the fourth. Following Supple and Bolger’s singles, Tremblay blasted a triple over the head of the right fielder to score both. Although Caledonia’s left fielder made a sliding catch of catcher Darby Crum’s (0-3) line drive to hold Tremblay at third, he scored when Caledonia’s shortstop misplayed right fielder Billy Daw’s (0-4) grounder on what should have been the final out of the inning.

Williston plated two more in the fifth frame with the help of three bunt singles. Leadoff hitter Reid Crosby (1-2, BB, run) reached safely on a perfect drag bunt down first. First baseman Dennis Johnson (1-2, run) and center fielder Ray Danis beat out bunts down third to load the bases. Supple then grounded to short, scoring Crosby, and when the second baseman had difficulty tagging Danis at second, Johnson rounded third and swiped home.

Caledonia cut the lead to 5-2 in the sixth by scoring a run on a throwing error by shortstop Tremblay, a walk and single. Caledonia further cut the margin to two in the eighth by scoring another run on two walks, a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly, but the Dillos got those two runs back in the bottom of the eighth. Supple and Bolger singled again, and Martin brought both home with a two base drive in the left center gap.

The victory was not without cost however, as leadoff hitter Danis was forced to leave the game after the play at second, as he injured his ankle. That injury, combined with left fielder Dann Van der Vliet’s shoulder injury, which has left him unable to throw, has left the Dillos’ lineup headed into the playoffs in jeopardy.

On Sunday, the Dillos are at home against the 9-5 Jericho Indians.

“We need to defeat Jericho and have Colchester defeat Charlotte for us to win the regular season title,” Martin said. “As it is, though, we can finish no lower than third, based on the standings and our won-loss record against those at the top.”

League standings and individual and team statistics are online at www.scorebook.com. Enter “Vermont Senior Baseball League” under league name search.


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Athletes, parents gather at CVU gym (8/27/09)

Aug. 27, 2009

Athletic policies and procedures were among subjects covered Tuesday evening at a mandatory meeting for fall sports athletes and their parents at Champlain Valley Union High School.

Kevin Riell, CVU athletic director, estimated the turnout at more than 700 for the first such general meeting for sports participants and parents in several years.

Principal Sean McMannon opened the session, noting that at CVU, the student in student-athlete comes first.

Riell then discussed expectations for athletes in regards to grades, sportsmanship and communication. He also introduced the coaches.

Athletic trainer Tony Lora discussed health issues.

Cross country and field hockey teams open their seasons Tuesday. Boys and girls soccer teams and football get their game schedules under way the following week.

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent


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CVU chasing second straight field hockey title (8/27/09)

Aug. 27, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

After nailing down the first Division 1 field hockey crown in the school’s history last fall, coach Kate McDonald and her 2009 edition of Redhawks would very much like to repeat the experience.


    Observer photo by Cassidy Maglaris
Varsity and junior varsity field hockey players at Champlain Valley Union High School run through drills during tryouts the morning of Aug. 18.

And there is a solid crew of veterans returning to lend some serious credibility to the team’s chances of making it to the big championship game once again.

The campaign will get under way Tuesday, when the Redhawks open their season at Burlington High for the first of three consecutive road contests. The initial home game is set for Saturday, Sept 12, a 10 a.m. session with Mount Mansfield Union High.

Gone by graduation from the championship squad are five, including top scorer Katie Longshore (12 goals). In addition, the Redhawks will be without dynamo winger Gillian Shelley, who has transferred to a private school.

Thus to say McDonald has been “winging it” in early practice sessions might be correct in only one sense: The veteran coach has to find replacements at the offensive edges.

“We need to fill two spots on the wings,” she said.

But the numbers are good, which increases the chances that new wingers will step up.

McDonald said some 57 candidates tried out, with 17 on the varsity roster and the rest divided between junior varsity A and B teams.

Eight seniors and two juniors are on the varsity squad.

Leading the returnees is goalie Elizabeth Goddette, who was a mighty presence in the CVU cage last season through the playoffs and title game victory over Hartford High.

Other veterans lending experience of some two varsity seasons include Kathryn Powell, Emmaleigh Loyer, Kelsey Jensen and KK Logan, who is coming off a knee injury last season and, according to McDonald, “looks great.” Louise Gibbs also saw considerable action last season.

While the forecast for the season looks promising, McDonald warns that the Metro Division is once again strong and well balanced.

“Remember, a lot of our wins last year were by a single goal,” she recalled, adding that this season CVU’s defending champs will be the team to which the others will be giving special attention.

McDonald will get a good look-see for comparison purposes Saturday at Mount Abraham Union in Bristol, when the Redhawks join some 10 other teams in a “Playday” series of half-hour, pre-season scrimmage games.


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School begins next week (8/27/09)

Aug. 27, 2009

The 2009-2010 school year kicks off next week as students head back to class after summer vacation. The first day of school is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 2.

The school day starts at Allen Brook School at 7:55 a.m. and ends at 2:35 p.m. At Williston Central School, the day starts at 8:10 a.m. and ends at 2:55 p.m.

At Champlain Valley Union High School, freshmen and new students will have a half-day on Wednesday, starting at 7:30 a.m. The full first day of school for all CVU students is Thursday, Sept. 3.

For updated Williston and CVU bus information, visit www.williston.k12.vt.us or www.cvuhs.org.

— Tim Simard, Observer staff


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School officials prep for swine flu (8/27/09)

Aug. 27, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

The week before the school year begins, Williston administrators and school nurses are preparing for what may be a busy flu season. But this season could be different from past flu seasons. State and federal health officials believe the novel H1N1 virus, better known as swine flu, may rapidly spread through schools and communities.

District Principal Walter Nardelli said the schools are taking a proactive stance in combating the possible spread of swine flu. The goal is to keep the schools running throughout the year and avoid having to shut down, as Williston did in June during a swine flu outbreak.

“The only reason that occurred that time is because we had two days of school left to go,” Nardelli said. “We didn’t want it to spread like crazy in Williston, and it didn’t.”

The state is also taking the swine flu threat seriously. Patsy Kelso, the state’s epidemiologist with the Vermont Department of Health, said Vermont is looking into setting up clinics in schools to inoculate students once a vaccine is ready.

The H1N1 virus originated in Mexico early this year and spread across the globe. Worldwide, more than 1,400 people have died from swine flu. There have been no deaths reported from the swine flu in Vermont, but there have been 65 confirmed cases and potentially many more within the state since last spring, Kelso said. The World Health Organization has already labeled the H1N1 virus a global pandemic.

A report released this week by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology said a swine flu outbreak this fall could kill between 30,000 and 90,000 people; approximately 40,000 people die each year in the United States from the seasonal flu.

While the flu virus causes symptoms similar to the common seasonal flu, there is one potentially dangerous difference: “Since it’s a new virus, there’s no immunity to it yet,” Kelso said.

Currently, the federal government is preparing an H1N1 vaccination that will be available to individuals deemed most at risk from the flu, including school-aged children, pregnant women and senior citizens. Kelso said the vaccine is expected to be ready by mid-October, which might be too late to stop the spread of the flu.

A vaccine for the common seasonal flu is ready and school-aged students should see about getting a flu shot before school starts, Kelso said.

She said it’s possible swine flu could spread quickly when students return to school next week.

“The virus didn’t completely go away in the summer like the (seasonal) flu usually does,” Kelso said.

In June, swine flu caused problems within the Williston School District. A student at Allen Brook School contracted the virus after visiting friends out of state. Back in Williston, the student fell ill, as did many of his classmates. Within a week, swine flu had spread throughout Allen Brook and Williston Central schools. The administration decided to close the schools two days before the end of the 2008-2009 school year.

Nardelli said Williston will follow recommendations released last week by the Vermont Department of Health and Department of Education. The joint report suggests school nurses should wear masks when evaluating potentially infected children and students should be urged to stay home with any flu-like symptoms. School awards for perfect attendance should also be suspended for the year to discourage sick children from attending school, the report noted.

Nardelli said he liked the ideas in the report.

School nurses are expected to meet with every class in Williston within the first few weeks of school, Nardelli said. The nurses will review with students proper hygiene tips that help slow the spread of the flu, like washing hands after sneezing and covering one’s mouth when coughing.

“The usual precautions definitely will apply,” Nardelli said.

As for shutting schools down during a swine flu outbreak, the state recommends not doing so unless it’s a severe enough outbreak to impede the student body’s daily activities. Nardelli said he’ll meet with school officials to determine at what point administrators should consider closing the school in the face of a major outbreak.

“We certainly don’t want it to happen again,” he said.


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Everyday Gourmet (8/27/09)

Aug. 27, 2009

The cheese whiz

By Kim Dannies

I spent last weekend cheesing my way to a potential heart attack. First, I saw the delightful movie “Julie & Julia,” a must-see that is enhanced by smuggling in a wedge of ripe Brie. After the movie, I sated my lust for French food at a local café: Buttery escargots, paté de champagne, fromage de chèvre grille and fresh sardines did the trick.

Still breathing, my next event was a super cheese-studded party to celebrate Vermont Butter and Cheese Company’s 25 years in business. There were kudos and cheese curds flying around this festive reunion as slices of baguette, smeared with hand crafted Bonne Bouche, Coupole and Bijou chèvres, paraded on trays just begging me to pick them off, which I happily did. The Vermont Butter and Cheese Company is largely credited for creating the specialty cheese industry in Vermont and has won hundreds of blue ribbons in international competitions.

I spent the next day cheesing it up at the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival at Shelburne Farms. Dozens of Vermont artisanal cheese makers shared more than 100 varieties of handmade cow and sheep milk cheeses; my favorite of the day was a Cabot Clothbound Cheddar from Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro. I enjoyed a demonstration of cheese making and tasting by French native Marc Druart and cheese writer Max McCalman of New York City’s Artisanal restaurants. Another session was a sensory pairing of five cheeses with bacon and chocolate; pumpkin and caraway; salt, oil and honey; cranberry compote and pickled beets; dilly green beans and tomato; and cider butter with maple crunch popcorn. Try it sometime — crazy fun on the plate and on the palate. I was too cheesed out to handle the wine and beer pairings, but they sure looked appealing.

The festival was held in partnership with the University of Vermont’s cheese education program, the Vermont Institute for Artisanal Cheese (google “VIAC”), which provides weeklong classes in cheese techniques for anyone interested in cheese making as a hobby or possible business. The guest instructors are experts from all over the world.

This week I’ll be jogging around town munching rolls of Tums and rabbit food from my local farmers’ market. I can handle this regime as long as there is still a smidgeon of Chocolate Apple Mascarpone Cheesecake leftover in my fridge to bridge the gap. The recipe is available at butterandcheese.net.


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 kimdannies.com.

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Little Details (8/27/09)

Aug. 27, 2009

No place like Skals

By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

Skal’s Lounge sat on the corner of Central and Walnut streets in my hometown on Boston’s North Shore. It was a few doors down from the “package store,” local parlance for a liquor store. Close proximity and somewhat complementary hours insured easy access to booze despite Massachusetts’ Puritan-rooted Blue Laws limiting alcohol sales.

I lived on Central Street and remember distinctly the sights and smells I passed as I walked downtown to the Peabody Institute Library. Inebriated men sat in the doorway of a long-closed cobbler shop with dirty windows, unshaven and aromatic. The occasional whiff of urine reinforced a “booze is bad” view of my world. Looking back, I’m struck by the number of alcohol establishments tucked in between churches, schools, houses and convenience stores.

Tiny bottles of Seagrams and other high octane spirits littered the sidewalk at certain points. I remember stepping over them gingerly when wearing summer sandals. These “nips,” as they were called, perched near registers in liquor stores, satisfied those aching for a swig but lacking funds for a full-blown drunken haze. Alcohol-infused elixirs offered a quick fix, something to take the edge off a less-than-ideal existence.

Skal’s Lounge, with its smoke-stained curtains, held a sort of macabre fascination for me. I would never ever venture inside, although I always peeked in as I passed by. If the door opened in winter, the smell of alcohol blended with cigar and cigarette smoke spilled out. In summer, the door left open onto the sidewalk revealed dim silhouettes of men leaning over the bar. The aroma, simultaneously pungent and sweet, can still be conjured in my olfactory memory. I’ve never experienced that unique infusion of flavors anywhere but outside Skal’s stoop.

My high school history teacher, Mr. Metropolis, worked the Dead Man’s Shift — 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. — at a Peabody leather factory while in college. He spoke of the 2 a.m. “coffee break,” during which workers from nearby Walnut Street would traipse over to Skal’s to swig vodka with a raw egg suspended in the glass. The egg, I suppose, was for protein for the hard physical labor required of their shift.

My dad worked in the leather shops on Walnut Street when he first came to America. His straight-laced, church-on-Sunday persona makes me think he wasn’t one to frequent the bars near the factories. He certainly didn’t do that when I was a kid. My dad wasn’t a big drinker. Maybe that’s why he moonlighted as a bartender. He could handle being literally surrounded by the stuff for hours, without temptation.

My sisters and I would pass a different bar on the way to school. Violet’s Lounge was seemingly more upscale. It had to be — it was right around the corner from our church. The proprietors, the Sobocinski family, were the ones who picked up my father from a pier in Boston when he arrived on a refugee ship in 1949. As I child, I understood we had a special connection to them.

We’d pass Violet’s Lounge on our walks to school, to church and on our annual trek on Halloween to Gardner Street, a row of fancy houses. Gardner Street was the hub of Halloween activity in our part of town — kind of like South Ridge here in Williston.

One year, I was perhaps 6 or 7, I insisted we step into the bar to get some Halloween candy. My father relented and let us walk in wearing plastic masks and satiny costumes bought at Kresge’s Five and Dime. We spouted out with youthful vigor, “Trick or treat!” No response.

We must have looked bizarre — four little girls with trick or treat bags in a bar. The bartender stared at us, flummoxed. Finally, an older man seated on a stool, wearing a longish coat, reached into his pocket and threw some quarters on the counter. He handed each of us a small package of peanuts, the super salty ones I loved as a kid. We offered up high-pitch thank yous and proceeded to Gardner Street to load up on Sugar Babies, Snickers and Red Hots. I’d learned my lesson and didn’t ask to stop in the bar the following Halloween.

Skal’s, Tanners’ Cafe, Violet’s and the Courthouse Pub are just a few of the bars I remember from childhood. With a limited number of liquor licenses to go around, I wonder why they seemed so plentiful.

Skal’s is now a Brazilian steakhouse. Violet’s is long gone. Tanners’ Café recently closed, its liquor licensed bequeathed to yet another “package” store in town. Even in adulthood, I’m not drawn to bars. I guess I have good old Skal’s to thank for that.

Katherine Bielawa Stamper lives in Williston. Reader comments are welcome at editor@willistonobserver.com or LittleDetailsCol@yahoo.com.


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Letters to the Editor (8/27/09)

Aug. 27, 2009

Solve the mystery

This is to let all Williston residents who like a challenge know that if you have not already become a history detective, there is still time to participate in the Chittenden County “History Mystery.” Completed riddle brochures are not due until Sept. 1. You can pick one up at Dorothy Alling Memorial Library and start right in your hometown to solve the 18 riddles. If you have any questions, local resident Ginger Isham will be most helpful.

As co-coordinator of the event, I would like to publicly thank Ginger for all her enthusiasm and support, and the Williston Historical Society for their participation and use of their Vermont Room for “History Mystery” Committee meetings. Also, the Williston Observer for being the first newspaper to publish a story about it (“Historical Society calls all history detectives,” July 30).

Thanks, too, to the “History Mystery” Committee, comprised of representatives from each of the historical societies in Chittenden County. They gave their time, talents and treasure to create an interesting and fun event in commemoration of the Quadricentennial.

Ann Arms, Burlington

Ja, wir können! (Yes, we can!)

The pace of change is breathtaking. There have been appointments of many new czars who derive their powers from presidential appointments. They have been doing little things like firing the president and board of directors of GM to gobbling up the largest banks and insurance companies.

A czar is an autocratic leader or ruler. There is no constitutional authority for us to be governed this way, yet by the number of bumper stickers of politicians I see who wholeheartedly embrace our new national socialism, they must be very popular.

If current trends continue, more than 50 percent of all business in the United States will be conducted under the direct authority of state or federal entities within a year or so. The same thing happened in 1933 after the credit markets “froze up.” Universal government health care was put in place, environmental policies were adopted, massive infrastructure work projects were undertaken, energy production and distribution were nationalized and emergency powers were given to the executive to transform society into the vision of the majority party.

The fellow who accomplished that sweeping ändern, or change, in the ’30s was named Adolf.

Shelley Palmer, Williston

Reform wisely

Dear Obama and health care reformers,

I like the fact that you are willing to tackle tough subjects. They are tough because there are so many competing priorities. This tells me you should think about what we are really asking for in health care reform in a realistic way. We want a long-term solution, as opposed to you gaining a notch in your belt.

This is not a quick fix. You’ve got what is left of the four-year term. Use it. Having said that, consider that not everyone needs the fix — only those that aren’t insured or can’t afford what they are paying. These folks are desperately in need of an interim quick fix. Sometimes, stepping stones get us where we need to be even faster.

I want you take your time, be thorough, discuss, envision, take the pieces that look good, move forward, and do it all over again. In your last six months, when you have exhausted every possibility, come back and tell us what you have, so we can think about it and vote on it.

It’s not all about affordability. I believe it is about wholeness; wellness of body, mind and spirit. The reforms being generated in Washington right now are far short of what we need, but they have opened up the dialogue that will advance us on the road toward real reform.

Please take your time to investigate, run models, list the pros and cons, talk with representatives of every faction of health care. I really appreciate a visionary. You help us see what can be.

A reminder to those helping you with this vision: It is not always the hare that wins when racing against the tortoise. Think about the real definition of win here.

Kris Benevento, Williston


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Guest Column (8/27/09)

Prescription drug abuse touches everyone

Aug. 27, 2009

By Barbara Cimaglio

The social use, misuse and abuse of prescription drugs is a growing concern in Vermont. One of our roles at the Vermont Department of Health is to raise awareness about the circumstances that too often lead to prescription drug addiction.

Prescription narcotics are readily available in many home medicine cabinets. Because children, family members or workers who may come into your home can access them there, the medicine cabinet is a common source of drugs that are used accidently or illegally. In fact, the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 16 percent of Vermont students said they had taken prescription drugs that were not prescribed to them.

When your health care provider prescribes a narcotic or other controlled substance for you, make sure that you understand the medication’s addictive potential. Talk with your provider about how you will work together to monitor your reactions to the medication and make any needed adjustments. If you will be on the medication for an extended period of time, it is essential to work closely with your provider to reduce the dose gradually as your condition improves. If you are under care for long-term pain, ensure that your provider has the expertise to properly manage the medications and can work with you to avoid health risks associated with narcotics.

Narcotics are powerful medicines. Used correctly, they can help us cope with severe pain and other symptoms. Used incorrectly, a struggle with addiction can take hold and rapidly erode a person’s quality of life and ability to function in his or her daily life.

Pay attention to the pills you are prescribed, follow the guidance of your health care provider and prevent the medication from falling into the wrong hands.

For more information, visit the Vermont Department of Health Web site: www.healthvermont.gov/adap/RxOTCabuse.aspx.

Barbara Cimaglio is the deputy commissioner of the Vermont Department of Health’s
Division of Alcohol & Drug Abuse Programs.


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