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.
Nov. 25, 2009
By Mal Boright
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.
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.
Cuts needed to avoid Act 82 trigger
Nov. 25, 2009
By Tim Simard
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.
Nov. 25, 2009
• 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.
• 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.
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.
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.
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.
• 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.
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.
(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.