August 31, 2015

Vote might not end roundabout, ambulance debate (2/25/10)

Board unsure about reaction results of balloting

Feb. 25, 2010

By Greg Elias

Observer staff

The biggest issues facing Williston voters — a roundabout and a new ambulance service — may not be settled at the ballot box.

Selectboard members say they don’t know what they will do if voters say no to the roundabout, which is planned for the intersection where U.S. 2 meets North Williston and Oak Hill roads. They are also noncommittal about the fate of the new ambulance service if voters reject the budget that funds it.

Asked what he would do if the roundabout was defeated, Selectboard member Jeff Fehrs’ response summed up the board’s ambiguity on the issue.

“That’s a good question,” he said. “I don’t really have a good answer to it.”

The Observer asked each Selectboard member how they would react to a rejection of the roundabout or the budget. Ted Kenney was on vacation and could not be reached for comment.

Board Chairman Terry Macaig said if the roundabout is defeated he would seek more information about what residents want at the intersection, perhaps by holding more public forums on the issue.

Chris Roy said his willingness to reverse his previous roundabout support could be influenced by the vote tally. A close vote would make it harder to decide, but if there was a lopsided no vote then he wouldn’t keep pushing for a roundabout.

Judy Sassorossi warned that the alternative might be an intrusive traffic light and a new turn lane. But she, too, said she wasn’t sure what she would do if the voters rejected the roundabout.

“I haven’t made up my mind, absolutely,” Sassorossi said.

On the budget vote, which may end up being a referendum on the ambulance service rather than a decision on spending, Selectboard members also said they were undecided.

“If the budget is voted down, we would have to have a long conversation and a lot of research,” Fehrs said.

Macaig said it would be logical to first consider deleting the ambulance service. But he and other board members noted that budget defeat leaves open the question of what voters want. A no vote, they said, could simply show voters are unhappy with spending or property taxes.

Indeed, each issue comes with subtleties that make the results of Tuesday’s balloting less than definitive.

Roundabout foes circulated a petition to put the issue on the ballot. The Selectboard reluctantly agreed to the vote despite the fact that it would not be binding.

State law says that issues that don’t involve municipal spending are solely the responsibility of municipal governing boards. The roundabout is ranked as one of the 50 most hazardous intersections in the state, making the project eligible for federal funding.

Sassorossi and other board members assert that the Vermont Agency of Transportation has the final say on the roundabout because it is on a state highway. Agency spokesman John Zicconi said last week that it was the town’s decision.

“They say that, but ultimately it’s the state’s call,” Sassorossi said, noting that if accidents continue to plague the intersection the agency is bound to insist on changes.

It is unclear if federal funding will be available by the time the roundabout, which is projected to cost nearly $1 million, is ready to be built. It is expected to take years to secure rights-of-way and permits for the project.

Board members also note that the wording of the ballot item leaves open the question of what traffic improvement voters want if they reject the roundabout.

The ambulance service is expected to pay for itself by charging fees to patients’ health insurers, with revenue projected to exceed expenses by $28,445. Because of that, board members note that other services would have to be cut or taxes raised if the ambulance service is taken out of the budget.

The quandary on the ambulance service that a budget defeat would present only emphasizes the need to place new services on the ballot, said Fehrs, the only board member who voted against including it in the budget.

“Why is it that we are afraid of what voters feel on this issue?” he said. “It didn’t feel right to me that we didn’t seek voter input on this issue.”



Voting on March 2 takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Williston Armory. Those who can’t go to the polls can pick up absentee or early voting ballots at Town Hall. Items on the ballot:

· Adopt a $7.7 million municipal budget. The budget represents a 2.4 percent increase in spending and would boost the property tax rate by a penny to 21 cents.

· Should the town replace a four-way stop sign at the intersection of U.S. 2, Oak Hill Road and North Williston Road with a roundabout?

· Elect incumbent Selectboard member Jeff Fehrs to a three-year term. Fehrs, like all other candidates on the ballot, is running unopposed.

· Elect incumbent Selectboard member Chris Roy to another two-year term.

· Elect Bo Tur to a five-year term as Dorothy Alling Memorial Library trustee. She will replace longtime trustee Ann Hazelrigg.

· Elect Jerry Huetz to another three-year term on the Board of Listers.

· Elect Kermit LaClair to another one-year term as town constable.

· Elect incumbent Williston School Board member Holly Rouelle to a three-year term.

· Elect incumbent Williston School Board member Keith Roy to a two-year term.

· Elect Polly Malik to a three-year term on the Champlain Valley Union High School Board. Malik will replace Meg Hart-Smith, who is stepping down after six years.

· Elect incumbent Champlain Valley Union High School Board member Jeanne Jensen to a three-year term.

· Adopt a $16.5 million budget for the Williston School District. The budget represents a 1 percent increase in spending.

· Adopt a $21.4 million Champlain Valley Union High School Budget. The budget represents a 1.5 percent increase.

· Allocate $225,000 in fund balance for CVU to use in the school’s budget.

· Borrow $86,000 to purchase a school bus.

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Fire department looks for voter support for ambulance

    Observer photo by Stephanie Choate
A sign in front of the Williston fire station promotes the final ambulance forum being held on Feb. 18. See story below.

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Sports Notes (2/18/10)

Feb. 18, 2010

CVU’s Edgerton now leading the Larries

Katie Edgerton, a key player on Champlain Valley Union High’s Division 1 championship runner-up basketball team in 2008, is enjoying a solid season on the court in her sophomore year at St. Lawrence University.

She was recently named co-player of the week in the Liberty League, leading the Larries to a 3-0 mark by averaging 15.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.

Lacrosse registration

Williston Recreation Lacrosse League registration is open for girls and boys in grades five through eight. Teams are available for fifth and sixth grade girls, seventh and eighth grade girls, fifth and sixth grade boys, and seventh and eighth grade boys. Space is limited and available on a first come, first serve basis.

Volunteer coaches are also needed for the league. Register at the Williston Recreation Office, or call 878-1239 for more information.


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CVU boys basketball labors in overtime for win (2/18/10)

BHS at CVU Friday for regular season finale

Feb. 18, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

A chance to move up in the post-season Division 1 pairings may be at hand for the Champlain Valley Union High boys basketball team Friday night (6:30 p.m.) when the highly regarded 18-1 Burlington High Seahorses stampede into Hinesburg.

Yes, there is hope for the Redhawks, who bowed to Burlington by a narrow 56-50 count earlier in the season at BHS. The Seahorses’ lone loss was to Essex High, and last week Mount Mansfield Union High (twice a victim of CVU) had BHS nipped until the once-beaten aggregation got a rebound put back in the final seconds to escape with a one-point home win.

But before going against the division’s current leader, the 15-4 Redhawks had to labor into overtime for the second time this season to put away 4-15 North Country Union, 58-44, Tuesday night in Newport.

Jake Donnelly, apparently loving overtime work, notched six points in the additional session and led all scorers with 19 points. Reliable Robert Russ chipped in with 14.

CVU blanked the Falcons 14-0 in overtime.

In their last home outing, the Redhawks zoomed past a 1-17 Colchester High squad, 62-43, opening a 24-9 first period advantage as Donnelly poured in 10 points and Will Hurd nine. Point guard Chris Beaton contributed three assists, two steals and a hoop to the fest.

Donnelly wound up with 27 points and nine rebounds as coach Scott Bliss cleared the bench early. Fourteen players got in on the action and eight scored while 12 grabbed at least one rebound.

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CVU girls make basketball quarterfinals (2/18/10)

Feb. 18, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With the all-important home court advantage, the Champlain Valley Union High girls’ basketball team was victorious in Tuesday’s 43-29 first round in the postseason Division 1 playoffs against Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans. The Redhawks were awaiting news on the winner of Wednesday’s St. Johnsbury Academy (7-13) at Rice Memorial High (14-6) contest as of press time.

CVU will play host to the winner Saturday afternoon (2 p.m.) at Bremner Gymnasium. The Redhawks split the home and home series with St. Johnsbury and lost twice by narrow margins to Rice.

BFA (7-14) gave coach Stan Williams’ fourth-seeded Redhawks some early problems before a 31-10 game-busting middle two quarters put CVU in control.

For supporters, the first quarter became white-knuckle time as the Redhawks missed their first nine shots and avoided being blanked for the entire eight minutes only because of a Carlee Evans’ bomb from three-point territory with six seconds left.

The long range bucket got the Redhawks in gear. Trailing 9-3 early in the second reel, CVU got a trey from foul-plagued Kendal Kohlasch and a hoop and two free throws by guard Amanda Kinneston to pull into the lead for the first time, 10-9.

After BFA had nudged in front 13-12, Kinneston became a force.The busy little backcourt junior popped a three with an assist from Evans. On BFA’s next possession, Kinneston intercepted a Comet pass and fed Lazrin Schenk for a layup. Kinneston later found Allison Gannon with a good outside look and assisted on Gannon’s threebie that gave the Hawks a 20-13 halftime advantage.

With the tall threesome of Shae Hulbert, Kohlasch and Gannon leading the way, CVU broke out of a 14-2 run in the third to ice the contest.

For the game, the Redhawks held BFA to eight baskets in 36 shots (22 percent) while knocking down 18 of 49 (37 percent). CVU had a coaches’ delight of at least 15 assists on 18 hoops.

Senior Shelby Labarge led BFA with nine points and nine rebounds before fouling out in the final period. Out-rebounded 9-5 in the opening quarter, CVU ended with a 28-25 advantage on the glass.

In helping CVU to a 52-47 triumph over BFA in the regular season finale in St. Albans last Thursday, Hulbert scored 17 of her 20 points in the second half as the Redhawks erased a halftime deficit.

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CVU boys, girls hockey teams seeded in playoffs (2/18/10)

Feb. 18, 2010

There was little time for the 10-8-2 Champlain Valley Union High boys hockey team to regroup for the Division 1 playoffs following Saturday’s season-ending loss to Bellows Free Academy – St. Albans.

The Redhawks were seeded seventh and were slated to defend home ice against 10th-seeded Burr and Burton of Manchester Wednesday night at Cairns Arena in South Burlington.

A win would put coach Doug Hopper’s crew into a quarterfinal contest against second-seeded South Burlington High (14-6) Saturday afternoon (2:10 p.m.) at Cairns.

The 15-4-1 CVU girls drew second seed in the Divisional playoffs and will rest until Saturday when they will play host at Cairns (12:10 p.m.) to the winner of Wednesday’s contest between 10th-seeded Burlington High (3-17) and 7th-seeded South Burlington High (10-9-1).

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent


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CVU hockey teams up and down in regular season closers (2/18/10)

Feb, 18, 2010


While the Champlain Valley Union High girls’ hockey team took a big step toward the upper brackets in post-season playoffs Saturday, the boys’ team lost for the third time in four games.


    Courtesy photo by David Yandell
CVU girls hockey co-captain KK Logan scurries for a quick shot on net. The girls team ended the season with an impressive 15-4-1 record.


    Courtesy photo by David Yandell
CVU boys hockey forward Sam Parent (23) powers through the BFA defense. Goalie Mark Albertson had 23 saves in the CVU net.

The girls, blanked 4-0 at home earlier in the season by a sharp Spaulding High of Barre, went to the Tide’s rink and issued a 3-2 trimming to close out the regular campaign 15-4-1. Spaulding is 15-3.

Down 2-0 after the first period, the Redhawks came back hard in the second reel with Amanda Armell, Alyx Rivard and Maggie Ryan finding the net to pull the decision out of the fire.

Nicole Sisk came up with 17 stops in the CVU cage. The Redhawks took 17 shots at Tide goalie Gabbie Willey.

The boys, after a dispiriting 4-2 home defeat at the hands of up-and-down 13-6-1 North Country Union last Wednesday, gave Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans (10-10) a struggle before BFA logged the win on a late score with 2:30 left in regulation.

Mayson Kropf (Erik MacLean and NateLacroix assisting) and Kyle Logan (assists to Sam Parent and Robbie Dobrowski) nailed the CVU goals.

The Redhawks were narrowly outshot 26-24. Mark Albertson had 23 saves in the CVU net.

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent

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Jake Donnelly nominee for Athlete of Month (2/18/10)

Feb. 18, 2010

Champlain Valley Union High basketball standout Jake Donnelly is a nominee for the January Vermont Athlete-of the Month award sponsored by the Vermont Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.

Donnelly, a junior, led his team with 18 points per game and averaged five rebounds, four assists and two steals. An unforgettable moment came in the third period of a game at South Burlington High when Donnelly nailed three straight three-point shots to extinguish a Rebel rally that had pulled them even with the Redhawks, who went on to win the contest.

Among other nominees are college hoop stars Rui Carmo of Green Mountain College, and Tyler Schilling of St. Michael’s College. CVU hoop foe Demir Smajovic of Essex High and hockey stars Jake Orr of Essex and Erich Schwer were also nominated.

  Mal Boright, Observer correspondent


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CVU boys alpine ski team wins districts (2/18/10)

Feb. 18, 2010

If there were questions about depth on the Champlain Valley Union High boys alpine ski roster, those queries have been answered in the affirmative.

The Redhawks, without injured aces Cody Putre and Warren Colomb cruised to the northern district title Tuesday at Smugglers’ Notch Resort by 39 points over runner-up St. Johnsbury Academy.

“This is a team sport,” CVU alpine coach Mike Minnerly told the media after the boys’ victory, noting that his skiers didn’t try to overcompensate by “going down the hill with their hair on fire.”

Veteran Dan Caffrey earned a victory in the two-run slalom, nudging Max Johnson of St. Johnsbury. Golden Golann finished tenth to join teammate Caffrey at the top of the list.

Caffrey took second place in the giant slalom with Caleb Ladue zipping into sixth place. Mount Mansfield Union’s David Polson was the victor.

“We had no major mistakes. Every kid finished today,” Minnerly said.

CVU came in with a combined 91 points to 130 for St. Johnsbury.

Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans was third (141). Mount Mansfield (282) came in seventh.

Putre, who has a concussion, and Colomb, with a knee injury, could be back for the state meet in 10 days.

The girls team will try to make it two-for-two Thursday in its district meet, also at Smugglers’ Notch.

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent


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CVU gymnasts place second in state title meet (2/18/10)

Feb. 18, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Second best in the state, by a couple of points.

That was the finish Saturday for the Champlain Union High gymnastics team which got nudged by Essex High in the Vermont Championship Meet at the Essex High gym.


    Observer photo by Pogo Senior
Grace Carey shows perfect form as she reaches for the lower bar at the start of her routine. Visit for more photos of the gymnastics competition.

The Redhawks put up a total of 134.45 points to 136.8 for the Hornets, who captured their fifth consecutive championship. CVU, third a year ago, returned to the runner-up position, edging out South Burlington High which finished with 131.9 points.

The Rebels and Essex (narrowly) were the only teams to defeat the Redhawks during head-to-head competition this season.

Leading the winners was all-around title holder Mary Parmenter, a junior from Essex, who edged out CVU sophomore Ashley Bachand for the honor. Parmenter had 36.95 points to 36.125 for the Redhawks’ star.

Bachand, the Redhawks’ top performer, missed the championships last year due to illness and had some nagging injuries for part of this season. But she was on her game Saturday.

She won the vault and the balance beam, edging second place Parmenter in the two events. Parmenter, the final competitor of the day, then turned in a superb 9.5 performance in floor exercise to nip Bachand, who had earlier checked in with a 9.35 routine. Both girls, best of friends by the way, drew loud applause at the finish of their routines.

Parmenter’s overall victory came primarily with a first place on the bars, where Bachand, due to a fall, wound up sixth.

The two will no doubt tangle again for the crown next year.

In a discussion following her final event, Bachand said she felt good about her day.

“The bars did not go so well, but the other three events were fine,” she said with a smile.

CVU teammate Amanda Holman turned in a solid routine in floor exercise to capture third place with a 9.2 score.

Freshman Grace Carey took fourth place on the bars while another freshman, Madison Bourdeau, tied for fourth on the beam.

Coach Jason Fleming called it, “a good day” overall.

Nine teams plus unattached individuals took part in the annual competition.

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