September 1, 2014

37-unit subdivision proposed for North Williston Road

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    Observer photo by Tim Simard
A 23-acre field on the west side of North Williston Road, pictured above, could be home to a 37-unit subdivision in the coming years. See story below.

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CVUs Clayton, Pete earn top athlete nominations (11/25/09)

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Nov. 25, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Two Champlain Valley Union High athletes are in the running for the Vermont Athlete-of-the-Month for October, the sponsoring Vermont Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association has announced.

 


    File photo
Champlain Valley Union High junior Mike Clayton (23) drives the ball downfield during the Division 1 championship game against Burr and Burton on Nov. 7. Clayton was one of two CVU athletes — the other being cross country runner Zach Pete — nominated for Vermont Athlete-of-the-Month for October.

Mike Clayton, the top scorer for the CVU boys soccer team, and Zach Pete, Vermont cross country titleholder, are among seven vying for the honor.

Clayton, who led the state champion Redhawks with 21 goals, fired in at least three game-winning tallies in October, including a penalty kick in a tense 1-0 Division 1 quarterfinal victory over Mount Mansfield Union.

Earlier, the CVU junior had notched winning goals in a 1-0 victory over defending champion Burlington High and a vital 2-1 triumph over Essex High, which earlier had handed the Redhawks their only loss of the season.

Pete captured three cross country events in the month, including the Vermont boys crown at Thetford. Pete won by a shoulder in a time of 17 minutes, 44 seconds over the 5-kilometer course. He became the top boys qualifier for the New England competition.

Pete’s earlier victories were at Middlebury and Mount Mansfield Union. It was the senior’s second season at the varsity level.

Other nominees are Castleton State College running back Tyler Carpenter, Middlebury College quarterback Brad McKillop, Norwich University quarterback Kris Sabourin, Mount Mansfield Union halfback Ian Shaw and Essex High wide receiver and place kicker Pat Nee.

The winner will be a nominee for Athlete of the Year and be honored at the annual VSSA luncheon this summer.

 


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CVU budget could require two votes (11/25/09)

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Cuts needed to avoid Act 82 trigger

Nov. 25, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

The Champlain Valley Union High School Board learned Monday that next year’s proposed budget exceeds the state-enacted cap on spending increases. As mandated by Act 82, voters would have to approve two budget articles in March unless the board makes significant cuts.

If CVU’s budget vote was held today, voters would have to approve a budget of approximately $21.65 million, plus a second article approving roughly another $375,000. Chittenden South Supervisory Union Chief Operations Officer Bob Mason confirmed CVU’s budget exceeds the state-implemented increase. Mason warned that the percentage may change.

“As a board, we’d be very interested in getting below that number,” said Jeanne Jensen, CVU School Board chairwoman.

Act 82, enacted by the Vermont Legislature last year, is a spending cap for school budgets. If a district’s budget increase exceeds the mandated percentage, a second vote is triggered. The percentage increase comes from a number of sources, including the average school budget increases in the last budget cycle.

Last year, the Williston School District faced the same predicament, but was able to keep that school budget to one article by reducing the budget increase to 0.3 percent over the previous year.

The 2010-2011 CVU baseline budget — the budget if the school opens with the same staff and services next year — is a 4.75 percent increase, coming to nearly $22.03 million.

Many board members are looking beyond reducing the budget to get beneath a two-vote threshold. Some prefer a level-funded budget, one with no spending increases or tax increases for voters.

“Let’s start out with a zero-based budget and then talk about what we have to add in,” said board member Mike Bissonette.

Board member Jonathan Milne agreed. He said economic stresses voters are dealing with should be reflected in the budget.

“A 3 percent increase is not dealing with reality,” Milne said.

 

Coming up with cuts

The board decided to ask school officials to come up with several scenarios on which services would be affected depending on potential cuts. One scenario would show the effects of getting the budget under the two-vote threshold. Another would show the effects of a level-funded budget.

To get to level funding, roughly $1 million would need to be cut from next year’s budget. Jensen warned other board members that the cuts “could get ugly.”

Also during the meeting, the School Board looked at possible areas that could receive cuts, notably transportation. The CVU budget for transportation is nearly $1 million. Mason said at the last meeting that CSSU is reworking how transportation is billed to allow for more accurate records. Since CVU requires the most buses of all school districts in the supervisory union, it will have to pay more for transportation.

Mason told the board the transportation costs cover such essentials as regular bus runs, express buses in Shelburne and Williston, special education transportation and a variety of other needs.

“I think we need to tear it apart into its components and see what we can take out,” Jensen said.

Mason said school officials are looking into increasing express busing across the supervisory union in order to decrease regular bus runs, which are more expensive. With express busing, students meet at a centralized location for the ride to CVU instead of “door-to-door” pick-up, Mason said.

Currently, an express bus leaves from Shelburne Town Offices and two leave from the Williston Town Hall-Armory parking lot. Both runs leave at 7:45 a.m. Mason said officials are looking into implementing an express bus in Charlotte.

He said more express runs would be added over time and not all at once, although Jensen urged him to look at implementing more.

“Having a high school kid walk a half-mile to a bus is not unreasonable,” she said.

The board also questioned CSSU’s decision to change billing practices for technology costs. Under the new method, all districts in the supervisory union would pool together for technology resources. Since CVU is the biggest school in CSSU, its costs have risen.

School officials said it makes sense, since technology and technical staff is shared across all districts. To break that out by school can sometimes create confusion and inaccuracy. But many board members believed CVU is putting in too much with CSSU’s calculations and they aren’t getting an appropriate return on the investment.

Jensen said if the CVU School Board agrees to the transportation and technology changes, it could be reducing teachers and staffing at the school. Those cuts are not something community members would favor, she said.

 

The next CVU budget meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 7 at the high school. A regular board meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. and precede the budget meeting.


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Police Notes (11/25/09)

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Nov. 25, 2009

 

Theft

• A generator and air compressor were stolen from a service trailer at Harvest Equipment on Nov. 16, according to police reports. The thief cut a fence to enter the area, according to the report. The case is under investigation.

• A 1997 Ford E-350 silver van was stolen from a business next to Harvest Equipment on Nov. 17, according to police reports. The van was in a locked enclosure and the keys were in it, the report notes.

• Brent Gay, 26, of Milton was cited on charges of retail theft on Nov. 22, according to police reports. No other information was released.

 

Multiple charges

• Three men — Ronald J. Jones, 28, of Proctor, Ronald J. Ritchie, 45, of West Rutland and Allen Jones, 19, of West Rutland — were cited on charges of retail theft from Wal-Mart on Nov. 19, according to police reports. Ronald Jones was taken to Chittenden County Correctional Center “on a warrant,” according to the report. Ritchie was also cited on charges of driving with a suspended license and for giving false information to a police officer, the report notes.

• Following a motor vehicle stop on Nov. 22, Daniel B. Muir, 26, of Hinesburg was arrested on two outstanding warrants, according to police reports. Muir was also cited on charges of driving with a suspended license and for giving false information to a police officer, the report notes.

 

Burglary

On Nov. 19, someone “broke into” the Ponderosa Steakhouse and tried to get into the floor safe, according to police reports. The case is under investigation.

 

Vandalism

Graffiti was found on a building in Community Park on Nov. 16, according to police reports. The case is under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call Williston Police at 878-6611.

 

Extortion

Christine Landon, 42, of Williston was cited on a charge of “felony extortion” on Nov. 17, according to police reports. She was cited to appear in court. No other information was released.

 

Tobacco, alcohol offenses

Two 17-year-old males were issued possession of tobacco tickets on Nov. 22, according to police reports. One of the men, who was the driver of the vehicle that was stopped by police, was also issued a “.02 ticket,” related to drinking and driving, according to the report. The teens’ parents were contacted and picked them up, the report notes.

 

Driving under the influence

• Bruce C. Kelly, 54, of Colchester was cited on a charge of driving under the influence on Nov. 20 following a motor vehicle stop for defective equipment, according to police reports. His blood alcohol test registered .124, according to the report. The legal limit for driving in Vermont is .08. He was cited to appear in court.

• Brett H. Houseman, 26, of Richmond was cited on a charge of driving under the influence on Nov. 22 following a motor vehicle stop, according to police reports. His blood alcohol test registered .107, according to the report. He was cited to appear in court.

 

Wanted person

• David Dean, 28, of Burlington was “processed and taken to court” by Williston Police on Nov. 18 after the Drug Enforcement Agency contacted Williston Police regarding Dean being a “wanted male” in its custody, according to police reports. No other information was released.

 

Driving with suspended license

Eric W. Ovitt, 28, of Essex Junction was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on Nov. 17, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.

 


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Recipe Corner (11/25/09)

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Side dishes for the holidays

Nov. 25, 2009

By Ginger Isham

Rather than the small creamed onions that are tradition in some households on Thanksgiving and Christmas, try this dish taken from Taste of Home’s “Garden-Fresh Recipes.”

 

Maple Baked Onions

6 large sweet onions (slice about 1/2-inch thick)

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup melted butter

Layer the onions in an oiled 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Combine the butter and maple syrup and pour over the onions. Bake at 425 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, uncovered.

 

Corn Pudding

(From the magazine Taste of Home, with some of my minor changes)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

4 eggs, separated

1 tablespoon white sugar

1 tablespoon brown sugar

dash of salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg

2 cups frozen whole kernel corn (I add an extra 1/2 cup of corn. Can used canned corn that is drained)

1 cup half and half

1 cup milk

Beat egg yolks until light colored and thick. Add butter, salt, sugars, vanilla, spices and mix well. Stir in corn, cream and milk. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into the corn mixture. Pour into a greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

 

Hot Pineapple Casserole

This is an absolute favorite from a church supper, though I forgot to write the chef’s name on a recipe card.

2 large cans chunk pineapple (I prefer 1 can to be crushed pineapple)

3/4 cup sugar (I use 1/2 cup)

5 tablespoons flour

1 cup grated cheddar cheese (use your favorite cheese)

1 stick of butter, melted (I use 4 tablespoons, or 1/2 stick)

3/4 cup crushed hard Vermont round crackers (I use about 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs)

Drain pineapple and place in a greased 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Mix flour and sugar and sprinkle over pineapple. Spread cheese on top. Sprinkle with crumbs and pour melted butter over all. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

 

HINT: Bake a turkey breast the day before and a full-size turkey the day of Thanksgiving for plenty of white meat.

Buy gravy (low-fat, low-salt if possible) and add it to your homemade gravy, as you can never have too much gravy for the next day’s hot turkey sandwiches.

 

Ginger Isham lives with her husband on a fifth generation family farm on Oak Hill Road.

 


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Right to the Point (11/25/09)

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Opposing Obama is not racist

Nov. 25, 2009

By Mike Benevento

Have you noticed that opposition to President Barack Obama’s agenda has elicited a strong response from his supporters? Because he was their choice, they view any criticism as a personal attack. Many mistakenly cite racism as the reason people oppose his policies. Although racism still exists in the United States, almost all who resist President Obama’s ideas do so not out of bigotry but because they disagree with his liberal programs.

In mid-September, former President Jimmy Carter stirred racial tensions by stating, “I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he’s African American.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele disagreed, saying, “President Carter is flat-out wrong.” The African-American Steele wrote, “This isn’t about race. It is about policy.”

Without a doubt, racism lingers throughout the country, especially in the south. However, compared to any other time in U.S. history, race relations are at their all-time best.

That does not mean racism has been eradicated. There are individuals who disapprove of Obama solely because he is black — and will always do so. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of Americans are not bigots. If they disapprove of Obama, it is because his vision for America greatly differs from theirs.

The mainstream media remains one of Obama’s staunchest supporters. It does its best to portray the president positively. Unfortunately, some in the media did not hesitate to blame racism once Obama’s socialist agenda ran into inevitable roadblocks. For instance, Maureen Dowd of The New York Times wrote, “Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.”

Walter Williams, professor of Economics at George Mason University, writes that Obama’s presidency is a remarkable commentary on how far Americans have come in resolving matters of race. Williams noted that Obama won 53 percent of the popular vote.

“So now,” Williams observes, “Jimmy Carter, Dowd, (House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charlie) Rangel and other race-carders want us to believe that the massive discontent with Obama is racism. I say nonsense!”

Williams continues, “For these people, it is inconceivable that many Americans are outraged by the president’s spending policies, budget deficits, industry takeovers.”

In truth, while prejudice plays a tiny part, the ire is mainly over Obama’s efforts to remake the nation into a socialist-like state. Many Americans — especially those on the political right and middle — are seriously concerned about Obama and Congress implementing their liberal agenda.

To his credit, the president refused to play the divisive race card.

“Are there people out there who don’t like me because of race? I’m sure there are. That’s not the overriding issue here,” Obama insisted in a CNN interview. He said the “biggest driver” for the intense resistance to his plan is from people who are “passionate about the idea of whether government can do anything right.”

Obama noted that, historically, presidents attempting to make radical changes encounter much more fierce opposition. He cited criticism of President Franklin Roosevelt’s actions as an example. Obama added, “Things that were said about (President) Ronald Reagan when he was trying to reverse some of the New Deal programs were pretty vicious as well.”

Those who peddle racist falsehoods know they are losing the argument. Unable to win the battle of ideas, they desperately use their tool of last resort — race — by accusing others of being racist.

However, upstanding Americans are getting tired of the race game and will act one day. That time may come during the 2012 presidential election. By then, Obama may find himself as a one-term president — not because of racial bias — but because of his policy decisions.

The grassroots 9-12 Project aims for the people to take back control from an out-of-touch Washington. Like the Tea Party protesters, 9-12 participants are ordinary Americans tired of politicians eroding their freedom while simultaneously invading their wallets.

On Sept. 12, the movement held rallies across the United States protesting President Obama and Congress taking the country in the wrong direction. When reporting on the events, the mainstream media attempted to portray the groups as racist — inserting words like “hate” and “anger” into their coverage. Too bad the media chose not to be neutral.

During one of the 9-12 citizen marches, a man displayed a sign that sarcastically serves as a reminder of the media’s bias. The homemade poster read, “It doesn’t matter what this signs says. You will call it racism anyway.” Unfortunately, it is not too far from the truth.

 

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 (11/25/09)

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Time to kill the filibuster

Nov. 25, 2009

By Steve Mount

A few weeks ago in these pages, I took issue with those who insist we live in a democracy, explaining that a democracy is not an ideal system for a population of any significant size. Our system of representative democracy, where we hire, or elect, people to represent us, is a much better way of running a government.

Along with this indirect form of representation, we have protections in our system to ensure that the majority does not act as a tyrant. Our constitutions, for example, protect the freedoms of all, especially those of the minority.

Given all this, I feel the time is right to rail against one of my least favorite “features” of our legislative process — the filibuster.

The word derives from a Dutch term for a type of pirate. The term was first applied to American adventurers who sought to overthrow Central American governments in the 19th century, and was transferred to Senators who attempt to do the same to legislation.

The filibuster has a long history. At their inception, both houses of Congress allowed for unlimited debate — which is a fancy way of saying that a member of Congress could talk for as long as he wished, on any subject. While the member spoke, no other business could be conducted. If you could get two-like minded members to team up, that house of Congress would grind to a halt.

This is the exact opposite of a democratic principle, a tyranny of one.

The House long ago did away with this practice, as the number of Representatives rose. The Senate, however, retains the practice. For more than 100 years, there was no way to stop debate. In 1917, the Senate created the cloture rule. Under the cloture rule, if enough Senators vote to stop debate, it stops. Originally, the number needed to invoke cloture was two-thirds, or 67 Senators in today’s Senate. In 1975, the number needed to invoke cloture was reduced to three-fifths, or 60 Senators.

There have been several famous filibusters through history. Some are the stuff of legend — Huey Long, Democrat of Louisiana, filibustered the Senate multiple times in the 1930s as he railed against legislation he felt gave too much to America’s upper class. He entertained the nation by reading the phone book, Shakespeare and the Bible into the public record.

Some filibusters had nothing short of evil intent. Strom Thurmond, Democrat (and Republican) of South Carolina, filibustered for more than 24 hours to stop civil rights legislation in 1957. Other anti-civil rights filibusters were the norm until 1964, when the Senate was finally able to move the issue forward.

We have made some progress from the tyranny of one, to the tyranny of the quarter, to the tyranny of the two-fifths. I am a proponent for the protection of the minority, but the main protection for the minority is the Constitution, not an arcane Senate rule. It is time, has been time for a long time, to remove this technical procedure altogether.

Lest you think that this is just some sour grapes, the result of the recent close vote on cloture to allow the Senate’s version of the health care bill to come to the floor, I admit that’s part of it. It isn’t like I sit around mulling over the filibuster and cloture every day.

But the recent vote only brought the issue to the foreground. I’ve disliked the filibuster and cloture for as long as I can remember. I would support doing away with it when the Senate is controlled by Republicans, too.

Not only is the filibuster anti-democratic, it is also ripe for abuse. Recent reports that Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s vote for cloture was bought with a $100 million gift to Louisiana is just another side of the problem — to get to cloture, the majority party might be willing to buy votes.

Whether that happened here or not is not relevant — what is relevant is that it can happen, that it has happened before, that it will happen again.

I’m thankful that the Senate voted to allow the health care bill to come to the floor for debate. It is a good step in the right direction. Once we have this important piece of legislation properly vetted, debated, amended and passed, hopefully the Senate will take a close look at its rules and decide that the time of the filibuster has long since gone.

 

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 [email protected] or read his blog at http://saltyrain.com/ls.

 


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Letters to the Editor (11/25/09)

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Nov. 25, 2009

 

Respect the hunters

In response to the “Respect your fellow Vermonter” letter (Nov. 5) and the stories on page 1, “Complaints trigger another look at hunting rules” (Nov. 12) and “Hunting banned in Five Tree Hill park” (Nov. 19), I have to say, I’m in favor of the hunters.

I’m not a hunter myself, but have family who have hunted for generations on Vermont land. It amazes me that people continuously build in the woods, next to hunted areas, then complain there are hunters during hunting season.

How long does the season last? A couple weeks? I grew up on a farm and roamed the woods throughout my childhood, and during the short hunting season, we were told to stay close to the house. We kept our animals close to the house as well. No one complained. That was the way life was; people hunted, and we respected that.

Now homeowners want to build in the woods, then ask to be respected by those who have likely grown up hunting those same woods. Why shouldn’t the homeowners respect the hunters those couple weeks and stay close to their homes, or hike where there are no hunters? We had a lot of deer in our area, and we could hear gunfire when there were hunters in the woods, but we all grew up without a nick from one.

It seems people have become pretty selfish. People post their land and complain that others hunt to help feed their families. Sad to have to adjust for a very short time to someone else’s needs.

You can wander and hike the woods all year long with the exception of a couple weeks in November. Why be so stingy and want that, too? Why crowd out those who have been here longer than most in this community and hunted what’s left of the hunting land for most of their lives?

Kimberly Townsend, Williston

 

Meals on Wheels bids adieu to two Williston drivers

On behalf of the Williston Meals on Wheels team, I’d like to extend a long-overdue thank you to Thelma Osborne and Shirley Faverty for their years of service with Meals on Wheels. They both “retired” from this volunteer position this past summer after delivering meals for nearly seven years.

Our current team of drivers covers two routes in Williston. This team delivers hot lunches and optional cold suppers every weekday to people throughout Williston, rain, snow or shine. They volunteer their time and gas to make sure our clients get a nutritious, balanced meal every day — as well as a daily visitor. If you know them, please extend a warm thank you to Williston’s drivers: Betty Emery, Shirley Miles, Martha Huber, Carl Runge, Bethe Ogle, Kelly DeSantos, Jane Stickney, Barb Powell, Tom Johnson, Carol Burbank, Charlie Magill, Denise Keefe, Mary King, Bob Pasco, Giovanna Boggero and The Williston Chittenden Bank Team.

If you’re interested in receiving Meals on Wheels, please call the Champlain Valley Agency on Aging at 642-5119. To be eligible, you must be over 60 (or married to someone over 60), at nutritional risk, or unable to shop or prepare meals. There are no income eligibility rules. The Meals on Wheels program does ask for a nominal suggested donation per meal (or what one can comfortably afford). We will happily deliver on an ongoing or temporary basis.

Patty Pasley, Williston MOW Coordinator

 

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

By having a criminal trial in Federal Court in Manhattan, the Obama Administration confers Constitutional rights and the presumption of innocence on this Guantanamo Bay enemy combatant. Did the Senate not confer the authority for the president to wage war?

Note: 1,600 Vermont National Guard troops are not heading into a crime scene. Should those soldiers advise people shooting at them of their Miranda rights?

Why do we send predator drones to kill Muslim adversaries and those near them when we have granted due process rights to those who have confessed their guilt in an attack that killed thousands of innocent U.S. civilians?

Both the president and Attorney General Eric Holder have claimed the detention and treatment at Gitmo were illegal (Holder’s law firm represented Gitmo detainees before he was appointed attorney general). If U.S. captors water-boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and threatened to kill his family if he didn’t talk, is the Federal Court going to be OK with that and uphold a conviction? The taxpayers foot the bill for a dog and pony show so those who attacked our country can be exonerated and spew anti-U.S. hate.

Thanks Barack Hussein Obama, good call for America.

Shelley Palmer, Williston

 

Abortion and health care

In the latest move by pro-life activists to restrict access to abortion, Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat in the U. S. House, introduced an amendment that would remove all coverage for abortions from any insurance plan offered in the new health care plan. Anyone receiving federal subsidies to purchase health care would not be allowed to choose a plan that offers abortion coverage. The measure passed 240-194, with 64 Democrats voting in favor.

This measure will not only affect people who rely on subsidies to get coverage. Insurance companies will have much less incentive to offer coverage for abortions to anyone, since doing so might cost them their subsidized clients. So, even if women are using their own money to purchase insurance in the new exchange, they will not be able to get coverage for this legal procedure. This is wrong and it is not fair to risk losing the health care bill over this issue.

Nathanael Vander Els, St. George


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Guest Column (11/25/09)

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Defining Vermont’s social host laws

Nov. 25, 2009

By Detective Sgt. Bart Chamberlain

As the holiday season approaches, some parents will consider allowing their underage children to drink at home during family gatherings.

I have heard many reasons given for this practice, the most popular being, “If my children are drinking at home, at least I know they are drinking responsibly and are in a safe environment” and “My children are going to drink alcohol anyways, so I might as well try to monitor it.”

The bottom line is that in Vermont, providing alcohol to anyone under 21 or providing a minor with a location to drink alcohol is ILLEGAL. I, along with Connecting Youth, want you to know that.

Any person who provides alcohol to a minor or enables the minor to drink alcohol can be charged with a crime (Title7VSA658) and will face up to two years in jail and will be fined not less than $500 and up to $2,000, or both. In addition, if the minor operates a car and is involved in a crash leading to a death or serious injury, the person who gave the minor alcohol or enabled them to drink it shall be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than $10,000, or both.

In addition to criminal penalties, Vermont has established civil penalties to emphasize the importance of holding adults responsible if they provide alcohol to minors or enable them to drink. Vermont statutes (Title7VSA501) provide the means for any person who is injured in person, property or means of support by an intoxicated person, or in consequence of the intoxication of any person, to take civil action against the person who sold or furnished the alcohol. This includes anyone who played a role in the furnishing, including people who own the location where the alcohol was consumed, even landlords, if they knew or reasonably should have known that minors were consuming alcohol at the location.

This is not limited to incidents that just take place while the minor is drinking, but includes any future incidents related to the consumption of alcohol. For example, let’s say a parent takes the keys away from a group of minors and allows them to consume alcohol at the parent’s home. The next morning a minor is driving home and he or she is involved in a car crash. If a detectable amount of alcohol remains in the system and contributed in any way to the crash, the parent who hosted this party will be civilly liable to all persons injured and for all property damaged.

Vermont ranks number one in the country for underage drinking and number two for underage binge drinking. According to a 2006 study from the National Survey on Drug Use & Health, among adolescents ages 12 to 20 in Vermont, 38 percent reported alcohol consumption in the past 30 days and 28 percent reported binge drinking in the past 30 days.

Home is the primary source of alcohol among the youngest drinkers. Two of three teens say it is easy to get alcohol from their homes without parents knowing about it and one-third say it is easy to obtain from their own consenting parents.

In a local survey of Chittenden South parents in July of 2009, 25 percent of the parents surveyed said they believe it is okay for youth under 21 to drink. What many parents don’t realize is that alcohol is the leading cause of death among youth, particularly teenagers. It contributes substantially to motor vehicle crashes, other traumatic injuries such as drowning or falls, suicide, date rape and family and school problems. Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are also four times more likely to develop an addiction than those who start after they turn 21.

Regardless of parents’ personal philosophy on this issue, those who allow minors to drink are assuming a huge civil and criminal liability. It is important for parents to be aware that police in Vermont, and certainly the Williston Police Department, have zero tolerance for violations of these statutes. If you furnish alcohol to minors or are a social host for underage drinking, including allowing your own children to drink at home, you will be charged, even if it is your first offense. Whether you agree with the drinking age or not, it is the law. The old adage, “If you are old enough to fight for your country in the military, you should be old enough to drink,” will not prevent you from being arrested.

Connecting Youth and local law enforcement encourage parents to set a positive example for children by following the law.

I hope you all enjoy a safe and peaceful holiday season.

 

Detective Sgt. Bart Chamberlain is a member of the Williston Police Department. Connecting Youth is a community-based organization in Chittenden South Supervisory Union dedicated to creating a safe, healthy environment for young people.

 


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Skater falls short of championships berth (11/25/09)

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Emily Young finishes sixth in sectionals

Nov. 25, 2009

By Greg Elias

Observer staff

A skater from Williston just missed earning a berth in the national championships during a sectional competition held last weekend at the University of Delaware.

 


    Courtesy photo
Williston figure skater Emily Young, pictured above, skates in a past event. At a sectional competition held at the University of Delaware last weekend, the 18-year-old finished sixth out of 13 skaters in the senior ladies division.

Emily Young finished sixth out of 13 skaters competing in the senior ladies division. The top four skaters in each division move on to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

The 18-year-old placed second in a regional qualifier held last month in Burlington. But the sectionals were a sterner test, drawing the best skaters from 18 eastern states.

Young was in seventh place after the short program. A graceful long program helped her move up in the standings but she did not hit a triple jump, according to Vicki Hilderbrand, a Williston resident who officiated at the sectionals.

“Her elegant spins and spirals were awarded by the judges,” Hilderbrand wrote in an e-mail. “Unfortunately, she could not break into the top four (who go on to the Nationals) without a triple.”

Young grew up in Williston and currently lives in the Boston area. Her parents, Todd and Elizabeth, and younger sister, Andrea, still live in Williston.

Another local skater, University of Vermont student Allison Krein, a member of the Champlain Valley Skating Club, finished just behind Young in seventh place.

One Vermont skater did advance to the national championship to be held in January in Spokane, Wash. Kendall Wyckoff of Panton placed second in the junior ladies division.


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