March 19, 2019

BREAKING NEWS: Kolibas found guilty (3/29/10)

A jury has found Williston man Robert Kolibas, 51, guilty on three counts related to drugging and molesting a teenage girl in his home. Kolibas was found guilty of two counts of aggravated assault and one count of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child.

The case has unfolded since May 2009, when a then 13-year-old girl, a friend of Kolibas' daughter, told police that the man molested her while she was sleeping over his house.

 A full story will appear in the Observer on April 1. 

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Puppet masters

    Observer photo by Stephanie Choate
Rick Conte (left) and Richard Medrington of the Puppet State Theater of Scotland perform ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’ at Williston Central School on Monday. Originally a book by Jean Giono, the story follows a shepherd who planted a forest over 40 years, as told by the shepherd’s dog. Puppeteers performed the show for students from Williston Central, Champlain Valley Union High School and Edge Academy.

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Sports Notes (3/25/10)

March 25, 2010


CVU trio in charity hoops contest Saturday

A trio of Champlain Valley Union High basketball stars will be participating Saturday in the annual Slam For Sudan at Burlington’s Memorial Auditorium.

Seniors Allison Gannon and Chris Beaton along with junior Jake Donnelly will be among Vermont hoopsters from a wide geographical area competing in the charity fund-raiser. Last year, the event earned $14,000 for the Global Reach Partnership, which aids refugees through local mentors to become leaders in community development of Vermont and Sudan communities.

Along with a slam dunk contest, there will be competition in three-point shooting and point guard skills.

Events will get under way at 7 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students with identification.


Hurricanes make mark in wrestling

Williston athletes from the Hurricanes Wrestling Club have fared well in recent competitions.

On March 13, the team competed against 12 other squads at Mount Mansfield Union High School. Third grader Lucas Brown took home a second place medal, as did second grader Dillion Schlogl. First grader Riley Brown, fifth grader Jerett Legg, sixth grader Aaron Meacham and third grader Ty Schlogl won third place medals.

The Hurricanes traveled to Milton Middle School on March 20 to compete against 10 other teams. Cody Huestic, a sixth grader at Williston Central School, pinned all opponents to win first place. Second place finishers included Meacham and Dillion Schlogl. Brown, Legg and Ty Schlogl wrestled to third place finishes. Lucas Brown placed fourth. 

The Hurricanes have members from Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, St. George and Williston. The club will travel to Middlebury High School on Saturday to compete against 11 other teams.


Bay State honors for Williston basketball player

A solid season at the guard position for the Northhampton School Wildcats has earned all Class B Western New England all star honorable mention for Ben King, who started his school basketball career at Williston Central School.

King, in his first year at the school, was the team’s second leading scorer and top rebounder from his starting guard position. He sank free throws at a gaudy 88 percent clip.

A year ago, King was team most valuable player at Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan, N.H.


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JV girls complete 17-3 hoops season (3/25/10)

March 25, 2010

The future looks bright for the Champlain Valley Union High girls basketball program given the records this past season for the two sub varsity teams.

Coach Jeff Evans led the junior varsity combine of 10 sophomores and one freshman to a 17-3 mark. Evans also noted that the junior varsity B team under Katie Kuntz had “only one or two losses.”

Evans said the strength of his team was its defense, which he called “consistent,” and depth.

Leading scorers over the campaign were three sophomores: Kathleen Leach, Sofia Lozon and, on the inside, Caroline Limanek.

Leach was the team’s leading three-point bomber.

Sophomore Emma Chicione stood out as a leading defender while freshman Alex Krupp was credited with being a solid role player.

Looking ahead to the coming winter, Evans predicted there will be a lot of competition for varsity and junior varsity slots once tryouts begin in November.


— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent


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Spring sports under way at CVU (3/25/10)

March 25, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Yes, it is spring at Champlain Valley Union High hill in Hinesburg.

Tuesday afternoon, just before 4 p.m., coach Corinna Hussey was working with 11 softball players in one part of the gymnasium, while junior varsity mentor Katherine Riley had 14 girls practicing at the other end of the gym.

“We have already been outside twice,” Hussey said with a big grin.

“We got out in our tryout week for the first time ever,” she said, adding that last year the team could not practice outside until two days before the opening game.

Things are looking up this season for the Redhawks, who return nine players from the 2009 team.

The Hawks open the season April 17 at Mount Mansfield Union High along with the baseball team.

In the hallway outside the front office, girls varsity lacrosse coach Julie Sloan was taking care of the administrative detail of distributing uniforms to some 20 players.

In the meantime, varsity baseball coach Tim Albertson was getting ready for a 5 p.m. practice in the gym.

He said the team works out in the gym Monday through Thursday and then moves to the Shelburne Field House Friday afternoon and Saturday morning.

Albertson has pared some 40 hopefuls to 15 on the varsity and 18 on junior varsity.

“We have a nice group of guys,” the coach said. “There is good chemistry and it is a hard-working group.”

Scrimmages are set for April 8 at South Burlington, a jamboree at Essex Junction the 10th as well as a home workout with Peoples Academy of Morrisville, and then a home practice game with Essex on April 13.

As for when the Redhawks will get into the great outdoors, Albertson predicts April 1.

“I always predict April 1,” he said with the typical high school baseball coach’s springtime optimism that every wind in March is a warm and melting one.

Also getting set for the games to come are the boys lacrosse team and the track and field aggregation.

Golf coach Jeff Evans said the linksters will open their schedule the first part of May and will begin practicing in earnest as soon as golf courses dry out.

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CVUs Scholars Bowl team shares third place (3/25/10)

March 25, 2010

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Champlain Valley Union High School’s Scholars Bowl team made it to the semifinal round last weekend in the state championship, held at Champlain College.

CVU beat Spaulding High School in the quarterfinal round, but lost to Hanover High School, which came in second, in the semifinals. Essex won the state title, and CVU shared the third-place spot with Middlebury High School.

“I was very pleased at how we played on Saturday,” Coach John Bennett wrote in an e-mail to the Observer. “We did a great job, coming back from behind early to take the lead, and falling only due to Hanover’s own excellence in the end.”

Scholars Bowl is a question-and-answer academic game played by teams. Seven CVU students competed in Saturday’s tournament, but Bennett said there have been as many as 20 students competing throughout the year.

“We got a good start against Hanover, and played our best,” said Phil Clark, a sophomore from Williston. “I personally think we did great getting as far as we did this year, and I wouldn’t do anything different. We played great all season, and everyone will have a shot at the championship next year.”

Clark said he got involved with Scholars Bowl as a freshman because he was bored during the 45 minutes of free time he had before classes. Someone suggested he try Scholars Bowl.

“Now it’s an integral part of my day,” he said.

Junior Krysta Dummit said she joined the team because her brother was on it, but stuck with it because she likes the intellectual challenge and the people involved.

“It was fun to participate in the state championships,” she said. “It was gratifying to do so well, but it’s fun either way. Matching wits with the team across from you is fun, and just seeing who can get the buzzer first.”

On March 12, CVU won the Vermont National Academic Tournament, which included 18 teams around the state. The CVU team finished the season with a 39-5 record — the best in team history.

“These students are to be commended for their ability and character and are great representatives for CVU,” Bennett wrote.

CVU has been involved in Scholars Bowl for more than 20 years, and Bennett has been the coach since the 2001-2002 school year. CVU won the state championship in 2007.

“To me, Scholars Bowl is simply a fun activity for kids, a game of quick recall, and a way for students to be members of a non-athletic team,” Bennett wrote.

“I consider myself to be really blessed here at CVU with great players, great parents and great support from the school and district faculty and administration alike. The success that we’ve had really reflects all of the academic achievements we’ve made across the whole district.”

All of the players in Saturday’s tournament were in 10th and 11th grade, and Bennett wrote, “The 2010-11 season looks very promising to say the least.”

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Recipe Corner (3/25/10)

Maple dessert, anyone?

March 25, 2010

By Ginger Isham

Try these specialties with fresh maple syrup for Easter or any occasion. They are simple but delicious!


Maple Parfait

This first recipe, from Elaine Elliot’s “Maple Syrup Cookbook,” was made years ago by a woman in Nova Scotia who could not get her child to eat Christmas pudding. She called it, “Maple Christmas.”


1/2 cup maple syrup (medium grade)

2 eggs

1 cup heavy cream

Crème de cacao, whipped cream, slivered almonds and chocolate sprinkles. Crème de cacao is a chocolate flavored liqueur with a hint of vanilla flavoring. You can find it in a liquor store.

Heat maple syrup in a saucepan to almost a boil. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Add eggs and beat on high for about 5 minutes with portable mixer until mixture is well blended. Put in fridge for several hours or overnight so it is well chilled. Using the mixer, whip cream until stiff peaks form and then beat this into the maple mixture. Pour into parfait glasses, cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Can set glasses in a metal or plastic container so will not tip over. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving and garnish with a teaspoon of crème de cacao, dollop of whipped cream, almonds and chocolate sprinkles.


Maple Pecan Squares

This next recipe comes from a well-known cookbook, “Sweet Maple” by James Lawrence and Rux Martin. It is a family favorite.



Combine 1 1/4 cups flour and 1/3 cup sugar, and cut in 1/2 cup soft butter until mixture looks like coarse meal. Press mixture into the bottom of an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes.



3/4 cup maple syrup (medium to dark grade)

2/3 cup sugar (scant amount)

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 tablespoons flour

pinch of salt

1 cup chopped pecans

Mix all ingredients except pecans. Beat well and then stir in pecans. Pour this mix over the prepared crust and bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until firm. Cool and cut into squares.


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


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Right to the Point (3/25/10)

Tea Party is America’s biggest political force

March 25, 2010

By Mike Benevento

A little over a year ago, the Tea Party movement was born out of anger and frustration with elected officials in Washington, especially Democrats. In no time, Tea Parties spread like wildfire across America — capturing the hearts of many citizens fed up with ever-increasing government spending and its intrusion into their daily lives.

For many Americans, once in charge, the Obama administration and Congress immediately sought to change the nation’s direction by increasing the size and power of government and redistributing wealth as they saw fit. They passed a partisan stimulus package full of pork barrel spending and earmarks, continued to bail out Wall Street, took over auto companies, passed cap and trade legislation and started efforts to socialize health care. With Washington spending trillions upon trillions of dollars without an end in sight, Americans wanted fiscal responsibility.

Washington’s arrogance and condescending attitude (they know better than us what is better for us), coupled with putting special interests ahead of representing the voters, frustrated many Americans. No longer apathetic to the liberal takeover, they formed Tea Parties to take action.

Simply put, the movement was a reaction to President Barack Obama and a Democratic-controlled Congress determined to implement their liberal activist agenda against the majority of the American people’s wishes.

The movement derives its name from the Boston Tea Party. In 1773, patriots protested against taxation without representation by dumping British tea into the Boston Harbor. In essence, because Washington politicians continue to ignore the will of the people by increasing spending and taxes, today’s Tea Partiers believe they too are being wrongfully taxed without proper representation.

In 2009, Tea Parties held protests across the United States, including on April 15 (Tax Day), Independence Day and the day after the Sept. 11 anniversary. There were also rallies opposing President Obama’s health care reform in July.

Although recently passed by Congress, the Tea Party had a big impact on the health care bill. Last summer, when Democrats were hustling their revolutionary takeover proposal through Congress, individuals questioned its many shortcomings during town hall meetings around the country. The activists successfully slowed the process, yielding a more honest debate on the legislation’s merits and pitfalls.

During the past year, local Tea Parties have been involved with many activities throughout Vermont. Besides calling and writing elected officials, members participated in the Montpelier Tax Day rally, helped organize health care forums, held many sign waves and a candlelight vigil, and successfully campaigned to repeal Burlington’s instant runoff voting.

Although Tea Parties are independently run, they share many of the same conservative beliefs. These include reducing the size, scope and cost of government, lowering taxes, protecting individual rights, restoring states’ rights, fostering capitalism, enforcing immigration laws, limiting the welfare state and strengthening national defense.

Since the Tea Party is a grassroots effort, its various groups are locally run and loosely associated. A growing consensus, however, believes Tea Parties would be more effective by organizing under one national umbrella.

Otherwise, the Tea Party remains a gaggle of affiliated groups, heading in the same general direction, but lacking coordination. Self-professed National Tea Party President Marty RicKard wrote, “We can do far more together as a cohesive well-organized group than we can as a bunch of straggling independent groups.” Coordinating common efforts multiplies the impact on the political scene.

Republicans, who will be the main beneficiaries in November, find common cause with the Tea Party movement. Because it is still relatively young, the movement does not have a political apparatus. Instead, it will align with the Republican Party to elect principled conservatives to eradicate the liberal agenda.

Because it is still in its infancy, the Tea Party movement risks fizzling out. Long-term success for the Tea Parties depends on continuing to grow from the bottom-up while at the same time unifying at the national level. Most likely, even if it falters nationally, the Tea Party will remain influential during future local and state elections.

No longer are the two major political parties the biggest and most active force in today’s politics. It is the Tea Party movement. Politicians who brush off the Tea Party or espouse differing basic principles do so at their own political peril.


Note: If you want to be involved with dedicated people passionate about arresting the national decline, please check out the Vermont Tea Party ( and the local Green Mountain Patriots ( Besides continuing to fight ObamaCare, there is an upcoming a rally in Montpelier on April 15 highlighting how the government’s tax and spend policies threaten liberty.


Michael Benevento 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. Please send comments to


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Liberally Speaking (3/25/10)

More than just a head count

March 25, 2010

By Steve Mount

It’s been a busy few weeks at my Web site, I was expecting it to be busy, but I expected the questions to be all about the health care bill and congressional rules and procedures. The bulk of the e-mail I’ve gotten though, was about something completely different.

The subject of interest is perhaps best illustrated by this question: “Is there a place in the Constitution that says that I don’t have to answer all the questions asked by the census?”

The question seems to come from a place of paranoia that I just cannot quite get my head around. Before I address that, though, a little history about the census itself might be interesting.

When the framers of the Constitution came to their great compromise between the small and large states, they created a bicameral Congress: One house with equal representation, the Senate; and one with proportional representation, the House of Representatives. This was a great departure from the Congress created by the Articles of Confederation, where each state had an equal voice.

To ensure that the proportional representation, or apportionment, in the House was fair, the Constitution requires the Congress to conduct a census every 10 years. Until that first census, the Constitution guessed at proportions, with small Delaware and Rhode Island garnering one representative each and the largest state, Virginia, getting 10.

The very first census was held in 1790. The Constitution allows the Congress to conduct the census in “such manner as they shall by law direct.” From the very beginning, the law directed that the census be more than a simple head count.

In that first census, which was conducted by census marshals and deputies who visited each home, the questions asked included the name of the head of household and the gender, race, slave status and age of each person. The slave status was necessary because slaves were counted as three-fifths of a whole person, a slight remedied by the 14th Amendment.

Fast-forward to 2010, and the release of the 2010 census form. The questions on the form are not so different today as they were back in 1790. It asks for the name, gender, birth date, age, race, ethnicity and relationship to the head of household of each individual. For the entire household, there are questions about whether the dwelling is rented or owned and for the household phone number.

These questions are not overly intrusive. The courts have said as much — the Supreme Court blessed non-headcount questions in 1870, and lower courts affirmed them as late as 2000. The questions form the basis for a relatively comprehensive look at the American population, and because similar questions have been asked since 1790, we have a wealth of information about our changing demographics over time.

Yet there are still those who question the questions, and feel certain that the Constitution must allow people to refuse to answer them.

The Constitution, of course, does not have a provision to allow you to refuse to answer. In fact, the Constitution explicitly gives the Congress the power to ask them — the census is to be conducted in such manner as the Congress requires by law. This statement seems pretty straightforward.

If nothing else, the census has become less intrusive in recent years. The form in 2010 has about 10 questions; the 2000 census form was basically the same. In 1990, however, the 200th anniversary of the census, the census had 33 numbered questions for individuals and 26 for the dwelling. Filling out the form could take hours.

Some 3 million households, of an estimated 118 million, will get a longer form this year — a copy of the American Community Survey. This survey goes into the sort of detail the 1990 survey asked of all households. The information is required by law, so if you get one, you should take the time to fill it out. The questions asked can seem intrusive — what sort of fuel do you use for cooking, for example — but the answers can help the Congress, and even our own state Legislature, make critical policy choices.

The answer to the question posed to me is no, there is no provision in the Constitution giving you the right to refuse to answer census questions. The head count is crucial to proper apportionment of the House, but beyond that, accurate answers can help shape policy for years to come.


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 or read his blog at


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Letters to the Editor (3/25/10)

March 25, 2010


Cap and trade

In his letter last week, Shelley Palmer attacked a “Lieberman-Warner bill.” Mr. Palmer was presumably referring to the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008, the most recent Lieberman-Warner collaboration, which contained several items referred to in his letter (greenhouse gas cap-and-trade system, carbon exchange center in Chicago).

However, this bill is dead. The last action on it was on June 6, 2008. The Republican minority leader, Mitch McConnell, used tactics like demanding that the entire bill be read out on the Senate floor (it took eight hours) to halt the bill’s progress, and it was eventually cleared from the books at the end of the 110th Congress. Later, a memo from Sen. McConnell’s office was leaked, stating in part, “The goal is for a theme (e.g. climate bill = higher gas prices), and the focus is much more on making political points than in amending the bill … or affecting policy” (, June 9, 2008).

Perhaps Mr. Palmer was thinking of a recent proposal for a similar bill, written by Sens. Kerry, Lieberman and Graham. This more tepid proposal would impose a cap-and-trade system first on utilities only, then eventually manufacturers. The framework includes nothing about an exchange center in Chicago.

The framework released says the bill will include provisions for increasing domestic oil production, incentives for nuclear power and subsidies to make sure the low and middle classes don’t pay any more for energy — things Mr. Palmer has supported in previous letters. Far from having “no detectable effect,” the bill would eventually keep over 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere.

Given these inaccuracies, I wonder if Mr. Palmer (or his sources) regards Sen. McConnell’s “focus on political points” as more important than actual facts.

Zeke Benshirim, Williston


Our medical future

The federal government is by far the nation’s largest “insurer,” far exceeding all others combined when it comes to the underfunding or denial of essential medical coverage.

In an effort to expand this tradition of limited services paid for by bankrupt entities such as Medicare, Medicaid and the VA, our president who is a smoker but is awful concerned about the health of everybody else is proposing to cut hundreds of billions of dollars in federal services while mandating everybody, including the tens of millions of illegal aliens who now are enjoying decent health care, be covered only by the government.

I must admit that exempting the president, his family and the Congress from such an ambitious plan was indeed a smart choice. How might such a monumental task be attempted? Start with a committee chairman who says he doesn’t understand the legislation. Throw in a speaker of the House who believes that we the people will only be able to understand the legislation after it is passed, toss in one obese surgeon general who hails from a city the name of which the president can’t pronounce on or off his teleprompters, fund it on the back of a broke country overseen by a treasury chief who claims to be too dumb to figure out how TurboTax works.

What could possibly go wrong?

Shelley Palmer, Williston


NordicStyle thanks

As publicity chair of this year’s American Cancer Society Relay For Life NordicStyle®, I would like to thank residents of Williston, Stowe, Morrisville and throughout Vermont for their generosity and support. Forty-four teams participated in this year’s event and raised more than $98,000 to help the Society’s fight for every birthday, threatened by every cancer, here and throughout the world.

This outstanding show of support proves that the people of Vermont stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the American Cancer Society to achieve its mission of saving lives by helping people stay well, by helping people get well, by finding cures and fighting back.

We were honored to be joined by 60 survivors who walked the opening Survivors Lap, officially kicking off this year’s event. These survivors are the reason we continue the fight. Their participation inspires hope in those currently battling cancer.

A special thanks to the many Relay For Life NordicStyle volunteers who worked to make this event a success — celebrating the lives of those who have battled cancer, remembering loved ones lost and pledging to fight back against the disease. The Relay For Life NordicStyle committee did an outstanding job of putting the event together. Committee members are Ali Fredette, Jane Weaver, Suszan Letwenski, Diane McCarthy, Michele Powell, Brian Fredette, Stephany Kittell, Suzy Klinefelter, Charlie Yerrick, Adam Messier, Rachel Lakey Laundon, Ed Cinque, Paul Thabault and Susan Russo.

We also appreciate the generosity of this year’s corporate sponsors. Relay For Life NordicStyle would not be possible without them. You may get involved with Relay For Life at any time. Check out or call 1-800-227-2345 for more information.

Susan Russo, 2010 Relay For Life NordicStyle Publicity


CVU Board says thanks

The Champlain Valley Union High School Board of Directors wishes to express our sincere gratitude to the voters of Williston who supported the proposed 2010-2011 school year operating budget.

It was a difficult year in which to develop a budget and the CVU Board worked to maintain the high quality programs offered at the high school while striving to keep the tax impact to a minimum. We faced a number of uncertainties as we deliberated on this budget.

The CSSU district is currently in the midst of contract negotiations with our teachers, so faculty salaries and benefit costs are unknown. The costs associated with providing special education services were based on estimates which can change significantly after the budget is approved. In addition, the Vermont state property tax rate will not be set until after the vote, so education property tax rates are estimates. Each of these uncertainties made it very difficult when decisions about what and how much to cut program expenses were made by the board.

We recognize that not every voter was able to support the budget and we welcome feedback on how to balance our obligation to provide an outstanding education to our children while striving to maintain affordability for community taxpayers. Many of you shared feedback via the CVU survey available at town meetings and polling places. We look forward to discussing those results with you in the near future.

We want to thank Meg Hart-Smith for the eight years of School Board service to the Williston and CVU communities and welcome Polly Malik to the board. Our thanks also to the dedicated faculty, staff and leadership team at CVU, the “budget buddies” who devoted hours of their time to budget meetings and to the many members of the community who continue to support the Champlain Valley Union High School.

Jeanne Jensen, Jonathan Milne, David Rath, Williston representatives, CVU High School Board

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