September 4, 2015

School district rolls out tech changes (3/11/10)

March 11, 2010

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

Since the unveiling of a new Web site last fall, new technological changes continue emerging within the Williston School District.

For the first time, the student placement process will be wholly completed online. Also, the district is currently moving towards becoming a Google-based campus.

For Bonnie Birdsall, Williston’s technology integration specialist, the next few months will be an exciting time. Moving student placement to the Web site will streamline the process, she said. And using free Google applications will enhance communication and save the district money in the long run, Birdsall added.

Currently on the district’s Web site, parents can register a new account by creating a login name and password. Parents are asked to create the account before March 15. The online placement form will be available starting March 18. Birdsall said the account information will be used for school purposes only and will not be shared with outside groups.

Parents that don’t register online can still participate in the placement process the old-fashioned way — using pens and pencils to fill out paper forms.

Nearly 300 parents created Web site accounts since an e-mail went out last Friday in regards to the information.

“I found that to be a really good response,” Birdsall said.

Birdsall said the district is also working on more features that will be available for parents with site accounts. She envisions they will be able to visit sites dealing specifically with their students’ academic house, including information on schedules, homework and projects.

While parents become more involved with the district via the Web site, teachers and staff are preparing themselves for a major change. By mid-April, e-mail addresses for all school personnel will switch to Google addresses, which will allow for more efficient communication within the district and with parents, Birdsall said.

By using Gmail by Google, teachers and staff will also gain access to calendar applications, as well.

Many changes similar to the ones in Williston are occurring within schools across Chittenden South Supervisory Union. Champlain Valley Union High School made a similar move last year, which Birdsall called a success.

“They were the ones that figured things out for everybody,” she said.

School personnel and students are already familiar with Google document applications. Teachers urge students to use “Google docs” on group projects and individual work. The application allows users to work on assignments and save their work within Google. This lets those working on group projects access work on any computer and make changes from there.

As Allen Brook School enrichment teacher Betty Poirot told the School Board at a February meeting, “Google docs is changing the world.”

Parents will continue to be updated on the upcoming technology changes in the Williston School District, Birdsall said. And while teacher e-mail addresses are changing, the old ones will continue to work for some time, she added.

Birdsall believes Google and its Web-based tools are altering the way people communicate and how everyone uses technology. And it’s for the better, she said.

“(Google is) forging the way with great technology, so why fight it?” Birdsall said.

[Read more…]

Police Notes (3/11/10)

March 11, 2010


Wanted person

• Michael Gauthier, 34, of Williston was taken to Chittenden County Correctional Center on Feb. 11 based on an outstanding warrant for escape from custody, according to police reports. No other information was released.

• Donald Nichols, 48, of Barre was arrested as a “fugitive from justice” on Feb. 12 based on an outstanding warrant from the state of Georgia for failure to register as a sex offender, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.

• Troy M. Parker, 47, of Williston was arrested on an outstanding warrant on March 4, according to police reports. He was taken to Chittenden County Correctional Center. No other information was released.


Driving with suspended license

• Brandy L. Beaudry, 53, of St. Albans was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license-criminal on Feb. 10, according to police reports. She was cited to appear in court on April 1.

• Following a motor vehicle stop on Feb. 12, Travis Lee Laplant, 36, of Essex Junction was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license, according to police reports. No other information was released.

• Following a motor vehicle stop on March 1, Jennifer Stoll, 35, of Burlington was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license, according to police reports. She was cited to appear in court.

• Following a motor vehicle stop on March 3, Joshua Terry, 30, of Burlington was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.

• Following a motor vehicle stop on March 6, Paula J. Creamer, 36, of Colchester was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license-third offense, according to police reports. She was cited to appear in court.


Marijuana possession

Glenn D. Spence, 52, of Waterbury was cited on charges of marijuana possession and driving with a suspended license on Feb. 13, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court on April 5.


Underage drinking

Following a motor vehicle stop on Feb. 7, Patrick Aiken, 20, of Charlotte was cited on a charge of underage drinking and driving, according to police reports. His blood alcohol test registered .036, according to the report. The legal limit for driving for those under 21 is .02 in Vermont. He was cited to appear in court on April 1.


Multiple charges

Susan Benjamin, 54, of Wolcott was cited on March 10 on charges of attempting to elude police, negligent operation of a vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident and resisting arrest, according to police reports. Benjamin allegedly did not stop her vehicle when officers tried to pull her over, instead leading them on a 12.2 mile chase through South Burlington, Burlington, Williston and ending on Route 117 in Essex after police deployed spike stripes on the road. Benjamin was taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care for “unrelated medical issues,” the report notes.


[Read more…]

Recipe Corner (3/11/10)

Spring's tonic

March 11, 2010

By Ginger Isham

Don’t you just love these sunny days we have been having? The heavy wet snow and the north wind? Mother Nature knows what will make the sugar maker happy!

We make our best maple syrup under these conditions. (This time of year, excitement builds with the thought of spring just around the corner and seed catalogues show up in the mailbox.) My maple recipes are spread out all over my counters.

The following recipe is new and from a cookbook I purchased in Nova Scotia titled, “The Sugar Bush Connection” by Beatrice Ross Buszek. The Mennonite ladies of Ontario made many of these pies for a maple festival.


Vanilla Pie (First step)

1 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup sugar (I would use a little less)

1 cup water

1 egg

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend all ingredients until smooth and cook until mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and cool.


Crumb Topping (Second step)

1 cup brown sugar (I would use 3/4 cup)

1 cup flour

1/4 cup shortening (maybe butter or oil)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Blend all ingredients until they have a crumb-like texture.


Pour the cooked pudding mixture into an unbaked piecrust. Sprinkle the crumb topping over this. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.


Maple Hints

> Add maple syrup to marshmallow creme for a special sundae sauce.

> Add maple syrup to mashed turnips along with butter and seasonings.

> Pour 2 tablespoons of maple syrup into the cavity of a baked acorn squash along with salt and pepper.

> Add 2 tablespoons maple syrup (darker grade) to a glass of cold milk and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

> Add 2 tablespoons hot maple syrup to a cup of Chai tea.

> Drizzle Fancy maple syrup over sliced strawberries and other fruits to give them a shine.


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


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Right to the Point (3/11/10)

Life after Vermont Yankee

March 11, 2010

By Mike Benevento

Last month, the Vermont Senate overwhelmingly voted to close the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon. Following their cohorts’ lead, the House is considering a similar vote to decline the plant’s re-licensing in 2012.

Recently, leaking radioactive tritium and misleading information from Entergy Corp. raised doubts about the plant’s safety and management. Even still, questions about corporate restructuring, decommissioning funds and the cost of power were reasons Senate President Peter Shumlin gave for not supporting the plant’s further operation — not safety.

Closing Vermont Yankee is yet another nail in the coffin for the private sector in Vermont. By shutting the reactor down, legislators risk long-term damage to the state’s economy. Losing 650 good-paying jobs at the plant will hurt — especially in southern Vermont where employment is scarce. The job losses will also negatively affect Vermont’s tax revenue, resulting in the state providing less service for its inhabitants.

One thing is for sure: Vermont life will become more expensive. Your electric bill will increase significantly. Higher utility rates will handicap businesses, which will pass along the added costs to consumers. The impact on IBM and other power-intensive Vermont companies may be the final straw that chases them out of state.

Eventually, Montpelier’s legislators must develop a plan to keep the lights on throughout Vermont for a reasonable price. Yankee’s license expires in two years. In the meantime, lawmakers need to find other energy resources. Because Vermont Yankee currently supplies approximately one-third of the electricity the state consumes, replacing its contribution may prove difficult.

The Senate wouldn’t have made the move to shutter the reactor without forethought, right? Since it pulled the plug on Vermont Yankee, what are the Legislature’s solutions to replacing a third of our electricity? Vermonters need to know now, since families and businesses only have two short years to prepare for the transition.

The fact of the matter is that reliable and cost-effective nuclear power has quietly powered the state’s environmental success since the early 1970s. Nuclear energy allows Vermont’s carbon footprint to be the nation’s smallest.

John McClaughry, vice president of the nonpartisan Ethan Allen Institute, wrote, “By late 2012 the cheapest and most reliable third of Vermont’s electricity will disappear. There is zero possibility that it can be replaced by any believable combination of conservation, wind turbines, solar panels, cow power, and landfill methane.”

Reduced consumption, increasing energy efficiencies and energy conservation will be part of the solution. Wind, solar and methane will help, but they cannot come close to replacing Yankee’s energy production. Additionally, wind and solar sources provide electricity at many times the cost of nuclear power — making them difficult to implement in hard financial times.

McClaughry wrote, “We might be able to double the power purchased from Hydro-Québec — if its management has forgiven Vermont for its ill-advised lawsuit aimed at breaking its supply contract after the ice storm of 1998. But that would leave Vermont with 2/3 of its power from a single supplier, not a good idea.”

According to McClaughry, most likely Vermont will ask the New England electric grid operator to send the energy we need from wherever they can find it — mainly coal burning plants — an expensive proposition.

In a serious blow to controlling global warming, McClaughry notes that closing the plant will defeat our self-imposed goal of cutting carbon dioxide emissions back to 50 percent of 1990 levels by 2028. Without Vermont Yankee, more fossil fuels including coal, oil and natural gas will be burned — none of which are as clean as nuclear energy.

There is little doubt that existing solutions inadequately offset the electricity lost by closing Vermont Yankee. While solar, wind and hydropower help, I am convinced the best long-term solution to Vermont’s energy needs is nuclear. Thus, I recommend keeping Vermont Yankee running while building a new nuclear power plant at the Vernon site. I am not alone.

Ironically, nuclear power advocates have a new ally. To help create clean energy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, earlier this year President Barack Obama proposed America start constructing new nuclear power plants.

With this in mind, 34 Republican legislators introduced Joint Resolution H. 41. The bill calls for the Legislature to start planning for a new nuclear power plant at the Vernon site to replace Vermont Yankee.

The legislation was referred to the committee on Natural Resources and Energy last month. While alternative energy sources may replace a portion of Yankee’s lost power, only a nuclear power plant can replace all of it. J.R.H. 41 may be our state’s best hope.


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 (3/11/10)

Vermont must seek new energy

March 11, 2010

By Steve Mount

Though the plant is not dead yet, Vermont Yankee is getting close. The state Senate voted, by a wide margin, not to recommend the Public Service Board look into renewing Vermont’s only nuclear power plant’s license for 20 years past its 2012 license term.

Though next year’s Senate could change its mind, a reversal seems unlikely. Vermont Yankee currently supplies one-third of Vermont’s power — what will replace that power once it is gone?

One suggestion is to reuse the Vernon site: As the current reactor is taken down, a new, modern one would be built alongside it. Given the political climate in this state, this solution seems unlikely. No new plants have been built in the United States since 1996, and though Washington has plans to push new plants along, no one has seriously pushed Vernon as the site for a new reactor.

Today, with the green revolution in full effect, many are pushing for Vermont to take a bold step into that revolution, creating power using the latest green technologies.

The key to these technologies is the harvesting of energy that is already there, but which is being effectively wasted. Nature provides us with energy in many forms, including the sun, the wind, even gravity itself.

Solar is a technology with a long history, and from the local Hannaford to Hinesburg’s NRG Systems, solar arrays are popping up everywhere. But is solar ready to provide power for one-third of the state?

Briefly, no. Vermont is notoriously cloudy, and though solar can generate power without direct sunlight, its ability to do so is greatly reduced. Without great advances in the technology, solar will not be our solution.

We have been using gravity, in the form of water flowing downhill, to supply power for more than 100 years. Hydropower has great potential, but it also can do some serious damage. One-third of Vermont’s power comes from hydro, but the will to build more dams in the state does not seem to be there.

Fortunately, Hydro-Quebec harnesses the power of Quebec’s northern rivers. Vermont currently contracts with Hydro-Quebec for one-quarter of our power, and it seems likely that these contracts will not only be renewed but expanded. With Hydro-Quebec’s recent forays into harnessing wind power, these contracts could fit nicely into our power portfolio.

Wind power recently got a boost from the town of Lowell, which approved a project at its recent Town Meeting. While government maps of Vermont show no part of the state as being suitable for solar power generation, the vast majority of the state is suitable for wind power generation. The biggest hurdle is getting towns to buy into the plans.

The best wind is atop our mountain ranges, a fact that is hard for some residents to swallow. Wind turbines can reach skyward hundreds of feet, marring the picturesque views. Many, however, would find a skyline interrupted by wind turbines to be even more picturesque. What wind needs is the will of the next generation. Though pretty views are important, power is, too.

There is one other, very intriguing possibility for our power needs. Relatively unique today, the concept of on-site generation is slowly gaining traction. This is what NRG Systems hopes to do — produce enough of its own power that it need draw none from the grid.

Small-scale, on-site generation could be where the future lies, using the grid only as a backup. The Observer reported just last week about the small wind turbine that will soon be installed at Allen Brook School, part of AllEarth Renewables’ push into the important residential market.

Also recently in the news is the BloomBox, a pair of tiny cubes made of advanced materials that can reportedly power the average American home. The BloomBox uses an emissions-free reaction between natural gas (or any other combustible gas, like waste methane) and oxygen to produce electricity. Enormous data centers for Google and eBay are already using large-scale BloomBox installations to produce energy quietly, cleanly and with a very small footprint. Could a BloomBox be in your future?

The most likely answer is that a combination of these technologies, and others not even invented yet, will be the future of Vermont’s power. What seems pretty clear, though, is that we need to be planning for that future right now. While we will be able to live without Yankee, we won’t be able to live without the power it provides.


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


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Letters to the Editor (3/11/10)

March 11, 2010


Looking for local

How it is that Mr. Hornberger, the founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation in Fairfax, Va., had a guest column in our local paper (“The miracle of the market,” Feb. 25)? The Williston Observer would be better served by guest columns written by our own citizens.

The column states, “Every day, people have a wide range of grocery stores from which to choose, each one vying for his business.”

Perhaps that is the case in Fairfax and Williston, but it isn’t the case in many urban and rural areas known as food deserts. Wikipidia says, “A food desert is a district with little or no access to foods needed to maintain a healthy diet but often served by plenty of fast food restaurants. Food deserts are a public health threat for many, and reveal that the market is not always a miracle for us all.

Lynn Blevins, Williston


Editor’s note: The Observer welcomes and encourages residents to submit guest columns for consideration. When the paper does not have any locally-produced columns to choose from, however, the editor must pick a column from a variety of submissions that come from regional or national sources. Guest column submissions should be 750 words or less, and can be e-mailed to [email protected]


Roy on Town Meeting

I want to thank the voters of Williston for reelecting me to serve as a member of your Selectboard. It is an honor and a privilege to serve, and I appreciate your support.

As we know, the ambulance service and proposed roundabout were two big issues on Town Meeting Day. For your information, this is how I intend to approach these issues going forward.

Regarding the ambulance service, I understand that this new service was adopted on the basis of projected expenditures and revenues that would not increase the financial burden on taxpayers. Rest assured, I will be vigilant in tracking actual expenses and income to gauge whether the projections are borne out by reality.

As for the roundabout, it was clearly demonstrated that Williston voters do not currently support a roundabout solution at the intersection of U.S. 2, North Williston Road and Oak Hill Road. While I personally supported the roundabout option, I will not pursue that approach in light of the voters’ clear preference. Instead, I urge interested community members to get involved in the town plan rewrite process that has just begun. Village character and transportation issues, including a long-term solution for this troublesome intersection, can then be considered as part of a public process and the Williston community can articulate its shared vision for the village.

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve.

Chris Roy, Williston Selectboard


Health care for all

I would like to thank Dr. Gerald F. Joseph Jr. for his guest column, “Helping those without insurance,” in the March 4 edition of the Williston Observer. Dr. Joseph, who is president of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, illuminates the grim statistics of our brutal free market health care system.

“An uninsured American” Dr. Joseph wrote, “dies every 24 minutes because he or she could not get the necessary care,” and “More than 45 percent of all uninsured people in the United States are women, including 13 percent of all pregnant women.”

What do these statistics say about the values of our nation, our state? If we pride ourselves as a moral nation, why do we continue to commit the daily immorality of an American dying “every 24 minutes” while health insurance company profits suffer no qualms of conscious, jumping up by huge percents whenever they see a chance?

Dr. Joseph does a great service by listing the resources where the uninsured can get help at the end of his column. Yet, the true way to help those without insurance is to finally find the courage within ourselves to treat health care as a right of all of our citizens and not a product to be bought and sold in the marketplace. It is time to urge our legislators to pass health care for all rather than just for a few.

Walter Carpenter, Montpelier


Supporting troops and their families

I’d like to thank the Williston residents for their generous support of the bake sale held during voting at the Armory on March 2.

Your donations will be used to benefit the families of the soldiers of Vermont National Guard Unit HHC Williston.

Thank you also for your kind words of appreciation and support for our soldiers and their families.

Peter Moreman, Williston


Cap & Trade

Next week, the U.S. Senate will start debate on the new “Greenhouse Gas Cap and Trade” tax proposed in the Lieberman-Warner bill.

The reasoning behind this bill is to tax Americans into poverty by rationing energy for dairy farmers, ski hills, schools and low-cost housing in a futile effort to reduce dangerous global warming (or is it climate change these days? I find it hard to keep up with the latest catastrophic prognostications) while giving everybody else in the world cheaper and more plentiful energy.

The estimated $50 billion to $300 billion a year tax will be paid disproportionately by lower income earners while an Enron-style carbon exchange will be set up in Chicago to sell off the carbon “credits” of failing businesses. Gee, I wonder if those hard-working carbon traders will also be getting gigantic Wall Street sized bonuses?

There are provisions for tax kickbacks in the tens of billions of dollars so voters can support the continued policy of thinking some other American will pay their fair share (the hallmark of the current administration) while “special” companies can be exempt from the same scam. No increased taxes for anyone earning under $250,000 is turning out like the famous “read my lips, no new taxes” in the George 41 pledge.

As India, China and others continue to out-produce us in carbon dioxide, we can enjoy the benefits of $6 per gallon gasoline, $7.50 diesel fuel and $7 heating oil while producing no detectable effect on the supposed menace of global warming. If Congress gets their way, the shaft the consumer corporate welfare parade will be coming to a town near you … real soon.

Shelley Palmer, Williston


School Board update

Thank you, Williston School District voters.

On behalf of 1,113 students and 207 staff, your Williston School Board members wish to express gratitude to Williston voters for supporting the district school budget. Passage of this fiscally responsible budget allows us to maintain the outstanding programs, increase student access to technology, provide intensive training for math teachers in kindergarten through eighth grade and purchase new science materials as we continue to evaluate our science program to improve instruction.

The school district’s elected officials, appointed officials and Budget Buddies considered many factors when setting the fiscal year 2010 budget for operations. The factors included slightly declining enrollment, the state of the economy and the overall impact budget increases would have on the local tax rate.

Moving forward, the board and administration will continue to focus on monitoring student achievement data with the goal of reducing the achievement gap between subgroups and improving academic achievement of all students in science, mathematics and literacy on state and local assessments. We will continue to promote 21st century learning and technology integration from kindergarten through eighth grade. Finally, work continues to support student/parental options of two- and four-year learning communities at grades five through eight through reconfiguration and to improve communications and equity in kindergarten through eighth grade.

The School Board wishes to express our sincere appreciation to a dedicated and hardworking faculty, staff and administration and a supportive community. We are all focused on the best possible education for all our children.

Finally, if you are an online member of Facebook, please join our Williston School Board Facebook Fan Page.

Chairwoman Holly Rouelle, Vice Chairwoman Deb Baker-Moody, Clerk Laura Gigliotti, Keith Roy, Darlene Worth, Williston School Board


[Read more…]

Guest Column (3/11/10)

The free market isn’t always the answer

March 11, 2010

By William Workman

In his guest column in the Observer on Feb. 25, Jacob G. Hornberger praises the free market system that allowed Washington D.C. grocery stores to restock their shelves quickly after two snowstorms.

Thanks to the “miracle of the market,” food appears “almost by magic,” packing stores with a “dizzying array of choices.” He compares this to the shoddy quality we could expect if the government ran the grocery business — one imagines long lines of sad-eyed people, waiting in the cold to trade state-issued coupons for cans of gray Comrade Chow.

But like many free market cheerleaders, Hornberger doesn’t know his history. “Suppose,” he asks ominously “that in 1900 it was decided that food was just too important to be left to the free market?” But of course, that’s exactly what happened, give or take a few years.

President Lincoln established the Bureau of Chemistry (predecessor of the FDA) way back in 1862. This was in response to a number of food scares, such as the Swill Milk Scandal, in which putrid milk was made sellable by adding flour or plaster of Paris, killing about 8,000 children.

In 1906 Congress passed the Meat Inspection Act, compelled by the horrors of the Chicago meat packing industry exposed in the landmark Neill-Reynolds Report. President Theodore Roosevelt had commissioned the report to discredit the claims in Upton Sinclair’s socialist novel “The Jungle,” but the reporters found conditions even more appalling than Sinclair described.

The next year saw the Certified Color Regulations, which prevents known toxins from being used as food coloring. From 1910 to 1912, many infants were killed by Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup for teething and colicky babies, which was unlabeled but contained morphine. The Shirley Amendment prohibiting false therapeutic claims followed in 1912.

There have been hundreds of food scares and scandals since, and Congress has passed hundreds of food and drug laws in response. The result is that we now enjoy unprecedented food quality, quantity and safety. Thanks to the “heavy hand” of government, we take for granted that a 16-ounce bottle of ketchup really contains 16 ounces, that smoked ham is really smoked (and really ham, not horse), that Vermont maple syrup is really from Vermont.

And no, Mr. Hornberger, that food doesn’t appear by magic; it travels via roads, rails and airports our government had a hand in building.

Of course, the real target of Mr. Hornberger’s essay is our public education system. He would like to see the government get out of the education business and turn it over to the free market, just like our food. So let’s turn his “what if?” around. What if our children’s education was in the hands of the same laissez faire capitalists who gave us swill milk, putrid meat and quack medicines, before the government intervened?


William Workman is a Williston resident.


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Around Town (3/11/10)

March 11, 2010


Kindergarten registration approaching

The Williston School District has announced the upcoming dates for kindergarten registration.

Parents of children who live in Williston or St. George and will be 5 years old by Sept. 1, 2010 can register their kids for kindergarten at the Williston Central School dining room. Registration will take place April 6-8 at the Williston Central School dining room.

The school district recommends making an appointment for a registration time. Appointments can be made online at the school’s Web site, registration, or by calling 879-5806.

Passport Day in Williston

Williston is preparing for Passport Day in the USA 2010, which takes place on March 27.

Passport Day is a national passport acceptance and outreach event. Williston will take part by hosting a Passport Day Fair at the town clerk’s office from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 27.

Information on the cost and how to apply for a U.S. passport is available online at U.S. citizens may also obtain passport information by phone by calling the National Passport Information Center toll-free at 877-487-2778.

For more information about Williston’s Passport Day, contact Town Clerk Deb Beckett at 878-5121.

Bills due

The water and sewer bills for the town of Williston have been mailed and are due March 30, 2010. Kimberly Richburg of the town’s Public Works and Recreation departments made the announcement in an e-mail to the Observer.

Recognition for waste district

The Chittenden Solid Waste District has received an award for its participation in the Vermont League of Cities and Town’s Leader Program.

The program encourages and rewards municipalities for their wellness activities. The CSWD is one of 251 municipalities and local government organizations that belong to the VLCT Health Trust.

Late last year, the CSWD won a Leader Program award for earning the highest score for a medium-sized municipality.


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Local company up for national Defense award (3/11/10)

March 11, 2010

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

The Department of Defense recently nominated a Williston company for an award honoring its commitment to National Guard employees.

Control Technologies Inc. is one of seven Vermont employers up for the 2010 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award — a national honor.

The award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. government to companies and organizations for support of National Guard and Reserve employees. Guard employees nominate companies they believe offer the best support during times of deployment. Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, an agency within the Department of Defense, awards the honor each year.

Terry Reynolds, vice president of business development and an ownership partner with Control Technologies, said he was surprised and honored by the nomination. He said the company has always supported guard members when duty calls.

“We’ve had a lot of employees in the Guard that have been deployed,” Reynolds said, adding he and his partners are veterans of various military branches.

Control Technologies, which started in Vermont in 1986, develops control systems for energy-related products, such as building power management and HVAC units. The multi-million dollar company employs 200 workers in six states, many of them engineers.

Reynolds said the company’s employees in the National Guard have vast experience in their fields and are welcomed back once they complete their missions. While the deployment of an employee can strain resources, the company believes in supporting its workforce.

“We’ll all fill in for each other,” Reynolds said. “Our employees completely support it.”

The 15 national award winners will be announced in the summer. Reynolds said if Control Technologies wins, company representatives would be treated to a black-tie gala in Washington D.C. with President Barack Obama. While Reynolds doesn’t expect to win, he’s proud Control Technologies earned recognition.

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Eco Car Wash unveils designs (3/11/10)

March 11, 2010

By Tim Simard

Observer staff

Plans for a proposed environmentally friendly car wash moved forward Tuesday night during a Development Review Board meeting. The board granted a pre-application permit to Eco Car Wash based on the design presented by the project’s owner.

Colchester businessman Aaron Vincelette wants to build the car wash on 2.2 acres at the corner of Vermont 2A and James Brown Drive. He said patrons using his facility would experience the “greenest” possible cleaning experience. Vincelette already owns an Eco Car Wash in Milton.

Vincelette said cars would enter a 150-foot tunnel, where the cleaning process will use eco-friendly soaps and less water than standard car washes. He said only 25 to 30 gallons would be used per vehicle.

“When people wash their cars at home, they use about 100 gallons (on average),” Vincelette told the board. “And all those phosphates in the soaps soak into the ground and into our ground water.”

The structure’s roof would be built to allow the sun to light the interior, therefore reducing electricity usage. The roof would also collect rainwater for recycling. Also, Vincelette said he plans to install up to 11 solar panels on the property. He’s looking into the AllSun Trackers, solar panels built by Williston’s AllEarth Renewables Inc.

“I’ll start out with just one, primarily because of the cost,” Vincelette said.

Immediately adjacent to the car wash will be another tunnel for vehicle interior detailing. Workers would clean the inside of a car while the driver waits in a small lobby, Vincelette said.

Another addition to the site would be a display area for Vincelette’s other business, Vermont Eco Cottage. He said he plans to put seven or eight of the garden sheds on a green space next to the car wash.

This addition came as a surprise to Williston Planning Director Ken Belliveau, who said he had not been apprised of the display area in Vincelette’s plans.

“That was the first I’d heard of it,” Belliveau said.

A few neighboring business owners and residents turned out at the meeting to hear about the project’s details. Gary Malle, owner of Champlain Self Storage, expressed concerns about the solar trackers. He said the devices would block the visibility of his business from Vermont 2A. The trackers might reduce a storage renter’s ability to self-monitor the site.

Malle also said the addition of Eco Car Wash could make the traffic situation at James Brown Drive even more difficult. Vincelette admitted to that possibility, but also pointed out that the town hopes to build a traffic light, turning lane and crosswalk at the busy intersection. Since it’s a state highway, the final say comes from the Vermont Agency of Transportation. Vincelette said officials told him a lack of funds at this time prevents any intersection improvements.

For now, the traffic bottleneck the intersection frequently creates will be considered in any future plans, board members said.

“We’re going to be asking for a traffic study between now and the next meeting,” board chairman Kevin McDermott said.


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