May 24, 2018

Thinking of the kids left behind (12/17/09)

Scouts send ‘Hero Packs’ to soldiers’ children

Dec. 17, 2009

By Greg Elias

Observer staff

As he penned a note to go with gifts for a military kid, 10-year-old Nate Bamberger reflected on how he would feel if his mom or dad went off to war in Afghanistan.


    Observer photo by Greg Elias
Cub Scouts Nicolas Durieux (left) and Zachary Hark place a stuffed animal in a ‘Hero Pack.’ Each member of the pack brought an item to place in sacks, which were sewn by Williston Girl Scouts.

“I’ve thought about that a lot,” he said. “I’d feel pretty sad if it happened to me.”

Nate was among roughly 100 members of Cub Scout Pack 692 who gathered at Williston Central School on Monday evening to assemble “Hero Packs” for children of Vermont military members deployed overseas.

Amid the din of excited voices, Cubmaster Will Littlefield told the kids and their parents that the effort was a “communication tool” intended to “tell military kids how much the community cares.”

The boys grabbed green and red cinch bags and circulated among tables piled with gifts in the school’s cafeteria. Like little Santas, they stuffed their sacks with disposable cameras, scrapbooks, pencils, notepads, photo albums and other items.

The effort in Williston is part of a national program called “Operation: Military Kids.” The U.S. Army launched the program in 2005 as a collaboration with communities around the country to support children affected by deployments.

The Hero Packs are intended to thank children for the sacrifices they make when their parents are deployed, according to the Operation: Military Kids Web site. They contain items that can help youngsters communicate with their far-away mothers or fathers.

The University of Vermont Extension’s 4-H program oversees the state’s Hero Packs initiative. The Williston pack learned about the program through Boy Scouting’s Green Mountain Council, said Danielle O’Brien, a parent who helped organize the local effort.

Girl Scouts also pitched in. O’Brien said members of four Williston troops sewed the 50 cinch bags, scrambling to get the work done within two weeks, in time for Monday’s sack-packing activity.

Each Cub Scout brought an item to place in the Hero Packs. Local businesses and nonprofits chipped in with gift certificates and vouchers. O’Brien said contributors included Mexicali Grill and Cantina, Passport Video, Rocky’s N.Y. Pizza, Sports & Fitness Edge, Villari’s Self Defense and Wellness Centers, Zachary’s Pizza and the Williston-Richmond Rotary.

Littlefield said the program was a perfect match for Cub Scouts.

“One of the core principles and missions of Scouting is community involvement, community service and respect and giving back,” he said. “So this was a great project for us to get involved with. It encompassed all those aspects.”

None of the Scouts interviewed had a parent being deployed. But some said they or their parents knew of someone who was a military member serving overseas.

Littlefield said it was inevitable given the size of Williston and the local Cub Scout pack that some of the kids or their parents would have a connection to the 1,500 Vermonters being deployed to Afghanistan. Members of the Vermont Army National Guard have been leaving in groups of several hundred over the past few months, with the deployment scheduled to be completed by the end of January.

“Many of them have neighbors, relatives or even family members” going overseas, Littlefield said. “I myself do not, but I have a number of neighbors on my street that have served several times. It can hit close to home.”

After the hero packs were filled, the Scouts wrote notes to go with the gifts. Brendan Leprevost, 8, neatly printed his in orange pen.

“Take this gift as our appreciation,” he wrote. “You’re so brave!”


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Scientific young minds

    Observer photo by Karen Pike
Williston Central School student Greg Goldman shows off his science project, a replica of a medieval siege weapon, at the school’s science fair last Thursday evening. His ammunition was a marshmallow. 

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Sports Notes (12/10/09)

Dec. 10, 2009


Redhawk wrestlers on the road

After dividing home matches with Mount Mansfield Union (loss) and Milton High (win) a week ago Wednesday, the Champlain Valley Union High wrestling team faced three straight road trips, starting this past Wednesday at Enosburg High.

Wednesday’s match was scheduled for after press deadline.

The Redhawks will be back on the asphalt Saturday, bound for St. Johnsbury Academy and its Early Bird Tournament, which starts at 10 a.m. On Monday, coach Rahn Fleming and his grapplers will cruise down Interstate 89 for a session at Randolph High.

Last week, the Redhawks bowed 48-30 to Mount Mansfield, but emerged with a 36-27 triumph over Milton in a tri-meet on the CVU mats.

Schuyler Himberg (125 pound class) and James Datillio (285) scored wins in the victorious match.

Against MMU, Ryan Stearns (135) and Sam Fortin (171) were CVU victors, while Pat Shea (125) earned an exhibition thumbs upper.


Soccer officials honor both CVU teams

Champlain Valley Union High boys and girls soccer teams have both been given sportsmanship awards for the 2009 season by the soccer officials organization.

The boys’ award was presented prior to Thursday night’s home basketball game, with seniors Chris Beaton and Nick Hart accepting the trophy.

The girls’ trophy was presented at Friday night’s basketball contest to team members Amanda Kinneston, Lindsay Hawley and Sarah Monteith.


— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent


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Postseason awards for CVU football players, coach (12/10/09)

Dec. 10, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Three members of the Division 2 runner-up Champlain Valley Union High football team earned first team All-State status and two others were accorded honorable mention on the annual galaxy group announced this weekend by the sponsoring Burlington Free Press.

In addition, Division 2 coaches named CVU’s Jim Provost their coach of the year, while eight Redhawk defensive players and seven from the offense were given slots on the various All-Division teams.

All-State first team honors went to offensive tackle Nathan Mills, defensive end Matt Long and cornerback Konnor Fleming. Mills and Long are seniors and Fleming is a junior.

All-State honorable mentions were won by senior placekicker Brian Cherhoniak and defensive lineman Cameron Fitzgerald.

Long was named tight end on the All-Division offense. He was joined by Mills, senior lineman Dan Thabault and Cherhoniak on the first team while Fleming is second team quarterback.

Offense honorable mentions went to running back J. P. Benoit, a junior, and senior lineman Mikey Bean.

Long, Fitzgerald and Fleming made the Division 2 first team defense. Second team picks are junior lineman Dale Conger along with linebackers Thabault, sophomore Drew Nick and junior Eric Palmer.

Senior Ryan Busch is second team defensive back.

Provost, in his second season as head coach, led the Redhawks to a 9-2 season and an appearance in the Division 2 title game after CVU was boosted to the higher division following the 2008 campaign in which it just failed to gain a Division 3 playoff berth.


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Ups and downs for CVU boys hockey ensemble (12/10/09)

Dec. 10, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

The defending Division 1 champion Champlain Valley Union High boys hockey team took on a solid 2-0 Spaulding High of Barre hockey team Wednesday night, the Redhawks hoping to even their season mark at 2-2.

The game was scheduled for after press deadline.

The Crimson Tide held victories over the two teams that edged the Hawks, Burlington High and South Burlington High.

Burlington bumped off CVU 2-0 Saturday night in the championship game of the annual Burchard Tournament at Leddy Arena, despite a 30-save performance by CVU goalie Mark Albertson. The Redhawks had 15 shots on BHS net minder Nathaniel Young.

On Friday, coach Doug Hopper’s Red and White had chalked up an 8-0 victory over Rice Memorial High in the tournament’s opening round.

Robbie Dobrowski and Derek Goodwin each fired a pair of goals for the winners. Sam Parent and Nate LaCroix popped single tallies, as did John Milbank and Max Hopper. For Milbank and Hopper the scores were their initial high school lamp lighters.

The Redhawks’ season opener was a week ago Wednesday, a 4-3 overtime loss to South Burlington’s Rebels.

Kyle Logan and Griffin Brady gave the Hawks an early 2-0 advantage, but South Burlington came back to go in front before Dobrowski tied the game with 10 seconds left in regulation.

Matt Chickansosky’s goal some two-and-a-half minutes into overtime won it for the Rebs.

CVU outshot South Burlington, 32-25.

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Donnelly leads Redhawks to 2-0 start (12/10/09)

Two home contests next for boys hoops squad

Dec. 10, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Thursday night will be a good night for birders at Champlain Valley Union High’s Bremner Gymnasium. CVU’s Redhawks will be matching talons — er, hoops — with the visiting Missisquoi Union High boys Thunderbirds.

Missisquoi comes in for the 7 p.m. game with a 1-0 mark after nipping Mount Mansfield Union High 59-57 in overtime at home Monday night. CVU on the same night hiked its record to 2-0 with a 59-49 road victory at Vergennes Union High.

The Redhawks’ home stand ends Monday night with Vergennes rolling into town at 7 p.m.

With junior Jake Donnelly continuing his torrid scoring touch with 27 points (53 in two games), CVU broke out to an early 18-point lead in cruising past the Commodores, who fell to 1-2.

Will Hurd (15 points) and Robert Russ (10) joined Donnelly in double figures.

Vergennes did not go away easily. CVU’s big early advantage fell to just six points by intermission, but the Redhawks were able to maintain control through the second half.

The season-opening Mount Mansfield contest last Thursday was similar in that the Redhawks, paced by Donnelly’s 14 points, jumped to a 22-7 edge on the Cougars by the end of the first quarter.

But while CVU’s pressure defense produced seven MMU turnovers in the first period, the miscues in the second reel mostly came from CVU and the Cougars cut the Redhawks’ lead to 29-20 by break time.

“We got off our rhythm,” CVU coach Scott Bliss said of the ragged second quarter.

Floor play improved in the second half and CVU kept the lead between seven and 10 points until Donnelly, with a baseline drive, ignited a seven-point run midway through the final reel. The scoring streak boosted the Redhawks to a 56-37 advantage with four minutes remaining. The Cougars put in five more points before the buzzer, putting the final score at 56-42.

Donnelly finished with 26 points, a team-leading seven rebounds and three assists and enough running of the floor to earn the name “Mr. Motion.”

Russ nailed two big treys in the second half and totaled 13 tallies. Hurd had five points and five rebounds while guard Chris Beaton came off the bench for a busy five points, five rebounds, two steals and an assist.

A pair of sophomores had solid games for coach Jeff Davis’ Cougars. Tom Lacy dropped in three treys among his team high 14 points while 6-foot-7 Eric Suder scored 11 points and grabbed four rebounds.

CVU’s junior varsity notched a 41-36 win.


MMU-CVU, Score

MMU                        7            13            13            9     –   42

CVU                        22            7            14            13   –   56


MMU (42)

Lacy 5-10 1-2 14, Lecours 0-2 1-2 1, Suder 4-10 3-6 11, Brown 1-4 2-6 4, Leland 1-8 0-0 2, Wright 2-4 0-0 4, Labounty 0-1 0-0 0, Sharrow 2-4 1-2 6, Springer 0-0 0-0 0, Chornyak 0-0 0-0 0, Pochop 0-0 0-0 0, Garrow 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-43 8-18 42.

CVU (56)

Donnelly 8-15 8-10 26, Nigh 0-2 1-2 1, Hurd 2-8 0-2 5, Hart 0-0 0-0 0, Russ 3-9 5-6 13, Gale 1-1 0-0 2, Beaton 2-4 0-0 5, Rensch 0-0 0-0 0, Leckerling 1-2 0-0 2, Pierson 0-0 0-0 0, Boland 0-0 0-0 0, Spencer 0-0 0-0 0, Clayton 0-0 0-0 0, Karnes 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 18-43 14-20 56.


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Girls hockey team starts 2-0 (12/10/09)

Dec. 10, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Shots on goal were no problem for the Champlain Valley Union High girls hockey team in its first two encounters of the 2009-10 campaign.

The girls unleashed 42 in their 9-1 opening victory last Wednesday over Mount Mansfield Union, and followed up Saturday with another 46 in a 6-0 whitewashing of Colchester High at Cairns Arena in South Burlington.

Coach Tom Ryan expects the contests to get tougher, starting with Wednesday night’s home meeting at Cairns against 0-1 South Burlington High, which was nipped 2-1 by a solid Spaulding High of Barre squad on Saturday. Wednesday’s game was scheduled for after press deadline.

“There are several strong teams in the division,” Ryan said.

The goal getters in the triumph over Colchester were sophomore Sophia Steinhoff, junior Molly Howard and senior co-captain KK Logan, each with two.

All three shooters and teammates might have had more scores but for some solid goaltending by the Lakers’ Gretchen St. Pierre, who came up with 40 stops on a night when traffic in front of her net was like Black Friday at a popular shopping mall.

Steinhoff got the Redhawks going with 4 minutes, 39 seconds left in the first period, scoring from out of one of those crowds with an assist from Kate Ford. Prior to the goal, St. Pierre had frustrated several CVU opportunities.

The Redhawks would not score again until midway through the second period. Howard made it 2-0 with an unassisted hard, rising blast from 20 feet out as she crossed from left to right.

With 2:43 left in the period and the Redhawks killing a penalty, Logan got the puck deep in her own territory and charged up ice past all defenders — even the Lone Ranger would have been in awe — and placed a shot past St. Pierre after some deft stick handling.

With CVU dominating territorial play, Steinhoff scored her second goal, Howard assisting, for a 4-0 lead going into the third stanza in which Logan and then Howard applied the finishing pointers. Maggie Ryan was credited with a helper on Howard’s tally.

CVU’s sophomore goalie Nicole Sisk had eight stops, five of those in the first period when Colchester was able to apply some offensive pressure.

In last Wednesday’s victory over MMU, Howard fired home three goals while Logan, Steinhoff, Ryan, Ford, Amanda Armell and Addie Peterson launched single scores.

Sisk had 16 stops in the Redhawks’ cage.

After the South Burlington meeting, the Redhawks will be off until this coming Wednesday, when they hit the road for a contest at Burr and Burton Academy of Manchester.


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Strong finishes boost CVU girls hoops team (12/10/09)

Dec. 10, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

It may take a while, but once the Champlain Valley Union High girls basketball team gets into high gear, the results speak for themselves: Two wins in its first two games.


    Observer photo by Jeff Schneiderman
Champlain Valley Union High junior Lindsay Hawley carries the ball past half court during the Redhawks’ game against South Burlington High on Tuesday night. The visiting Redhawks won, 49-41.

The latest triumph came Tuesday night at South Burlington and required a 20-7 fourth period surge to put away the now 1-2 Rebels, 49-41.

On Friday, the Redhawks opened the season with a dramatic, 55-51 overtime triumph at Bremner Gym over Mount Mansfield Union High. CVU returns home Friday night to meet Vergennes Union High at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, the Redhawks trailed South Burlington 36-31 just a minute into the fourth period and the outlook appeared rather grim.

But center Allison Gannon set up in a low post near the basket and got the ball twice from Shae Hulbert and once from Kendal Kohlasch for turn around lay-ins, the three consecutive hoops putting CVU up 37-36.

Guard Carlee Evans, a solid all-around performer, got loose for a fast break layup. Evans followed that with two free throws at 2:28 to kick the lead to 41-36.

South Burlington responded with a pair of hoops around two Kohlasch charity tosses, but Gannon, with another low post layup (pass from Hulbert) and free throw put the Hawks up 46-39 with less than a minute left.

Evans hit three of four foul shots to finish the job.

CVU’s glowing fourth quarter play (just two turnovers) was a nice recovery from a difficult first three periods, particularly the second when a 10-9 first quarter advantage became a 22-16 halftime deficit. The Rebels scored on six occasions in the eight minutes as a result of getting the ball via six of the eight CVU miscues in the stanza.

While the Redhawks, still troubled by turnovers in the third quarter, were able to cut only one point from the South Burlington lead, previews of coming attractions were there as Gannon nailed two inside baskets and Hulbert popped a trio of hoops.

Hulbert wound up with eight points, seven rebounds and three assists.

Gannon led the scorers with 17 points, hitting eight of 12 shots. Kohlasch chipped in 12 points and five assists while Evans had 10 points, four rebounds and three helpers.

The CVU defense was solid, holding the Rebels to 17 baskets in 46 shots. Rachel Crews, a junior, led South Burlington with 13 points.


Overtime in Hinesburg

The drama with Mount Mansfield had to be saved before the overtime could begin.

Gannon’s two clutch free throws with 24.2 seconds remaining tied the score at 48 to force overtime.

The Cougars scored first in the extra session on a hoop by forward Erin Simmons.

Evans with a jumper and Gannon with a shot from the key then put CVU up 52-50.

Elana Bayer-Pacht nailed a foul shot at the 52-second mark and Kohlasch with a pair of charity tosses at 14.8 seconds applied the clinchers.

Gannon led CVU scorers with 14 points and added seven rebounds plus five steals. Bayer-Pacht made going to the hoop pay off in 14 free throws tries of which she made nine in amassing 11 points. Kohlasch had 12 points and seven rebounds.

Simmons with 16 points and Halley Fisher with 15 paced the youthful MMU crew.




CVU 10 6 13 20   –   49

SBHS 9 13 12 7      –   41


CVU (49)

Kohlasch 4-6 3-3 12, Hulbert 4-6 0-0 8, Gannon 8-12 1-1 17, Giles 0-4 0-0 0, Evans 2-6 6-7 10, Donnelly 0 0 0-0 0, Riordan 1-3 0-0 2, Bayer-Pacht 0-0 0-4 0, Schenk 0-1 0-0 0, Hawley 0-1 0-0 0, Kinneston 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-39 10-15 49.


South Burlington (41)

Wimett 2-5 2-4 6, Crews 5-11 3-4 13, DeVarney 3-6 0-0 6, Chappell 1-7 1-3 3, Taylor 1-5 0-0 3, Gloyd 3-7 0-1 6, Bishop 1-3 0-0 2, Audette 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 17-46 6-12 41.


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Boards ready to negotiate with teachers (12/10/09)

Dec. 10, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

Contract negotiations between school boards and teachers within Chittenden South Supervisory Union are expected to begin in January. Boards across CSSU met in executive sessions, which are closed to the public, at recent gatherings to determine the direction they want to take in the upcoming discussions.

“Most boards so far have met to discuss ground rules and expectations in the process,” CSSU superintendent Elaine Pinckney said.

The current contract expires June 30 next year.

Pinckney said the teachers’ union, the Chittenden South Education Association, has yet to inform boards that it is ready and willing to negotiate. Most unions inform boards by sending a letter, which officially starts the process.

Pinckney said the letter is generally a formality, and both sides are ready to begin discussions on Jan. 11. On this date, representatives with the teachers’ union will meet with representatives from CSSU school boards to outline what teachers want in a new contract, she said.

“Right now, we have no idea what they want,” Pinckney said.

Each school district in CSSU has two representatives on the negotiating committee.

Pinckney said the lead negotiator with the Chittenden South Education Association is Lisa Bisbee, a Williston School District special educator. The Observer was unable to reach Bisbee prior to press deadline.

Contract negotiations last took place during the 2006-2007 school year. Negotiations took more than a year, with a new contract eventually ratified in October 2007, more than three months after the previous contract expired.

From Jan. 11 onwards, both sides will meet every two to three weeks, Pinckney said. She has stated in the past that this year’s negotiations could prove difficult in light of the current economic struggles. Health insurance costs and salary increases will likely be topics discussed at length, she said.

Individual pay increases for teachers vary depending on educational background and experience. CSSU’s budget for salary increases has hovered between 3.5 percent and 4 percent since ratification of the current contract. Also, teacher contributions to health insurance plans are 12 percent.


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Fire closes CVU on Monday (12/10/09)

Dec. 10, 2009

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

Classes at Champlain Valley Union High School were canceled Monday due to an overnight fire that filled hallways with smoke and strong odors. According to Principal Sean McMannon, a fire broke out in the school’s woodworking shop classroom around 2 a.m. on Monday morning. Alarms sounded in the buildings, triggering sprinklers in the industrial arts wing and a response by area fire departments

McMannon said fire officials told him they believed the fire started in a dust-collecting unit in the wood shop. The system had recently been emptied and the remaining sawdust particles may have spontaneously combusted, McMannon said.

The Hinesburg Fire Department and firefighters from three other communities reported to CVU in the early morning hours to extinguish any remaining fires and clear smoke from the building.

While there were no towering flames reported, smoke and strong, smoky odors filled the southern wing of the building near the Direction Center and science classrooms.

“Outside of the metal and wood shop areas, it wasn’t bad at all and, in some places, not even noticeable,” McMannon said.

School was closed so fire officials could survey damage and help maintenance workers clear out smoke and odors, he said. Extracurricular activities and athletics practices went ahead as scheduled Monday afternoon and evening. The CVU School Board meeting moved to the Chittenden South Supervisory Union central offices in Shelburne, since the assigned meeting room at the high school was located next to the wood shop.

“All in all, we’re very fortunate,” McMannon said. “We might have some stinky rooms for a while, that’s all.”

Classes resumed Tuesday on a normal schedule.

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