September 17, 2014

Sports Notes (4/29/10)

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April 29, 2010

 

CVU tennis teams resume season Monday

After April vacation week, the Champlain Valley Union High tennis teams will get back on schedule Monday with the girls at home to Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans and the boys travelling to St. Albans and the BFA home courts.

CVU’s girls will be hoping to extend a season-long winning string that reached six matches last Thursday with a 5-2 triumph at Rice Memorial High. The victory marked the Redhawks’ second win this season over the Green Knights.

It was depth that sealed that victory, as the Hawks’ top two singles players, Kylie deGroot and AnnaClare Smith, were nudged by the top two Rice players, Holly Thayer and Akayna Hauke.

Abby Stoner, Colleen McCarthy and Andrea Joseph, however, came through with singles triumphs and the doubles teams of Claire Stoner-Emily Polhemus and Megan Henson-Kristen Donaldson earned victories.

The boys will be hoping to regroup from a 1-5 start to the season.

Rice took a 6-1 victory over the Redhawks last Thursday in Shelburne. The doubles team of David Keyes and Aiden Shumway bagged the lone CVU triumph.

 

CVU girls lax team to play under lights

It will have been two weeks since its last outing, a 14-3 home loss to a 4-0 Essex High team, but the Champlain Valley Union High girls lacrosse team hopes to light up the Seahorses at Burlington High when they meet there under the lights Wednesday.

The game is scheduled for 7 p.m.

CVU, 1-3 for the young season, got stymied by the strong Hornets, who out shot the Redhawks 29-18. Essex was led by Julie Pearl with three scores and three assists.

Erika Gobeille notched a pair of goals for the Hawks, boosting her total to four in the last two games.

Kelsey Barrett also tallied for the Redhawks and Amanda Kinneston picked up two assists. Goaltender Sophie Steinhoff kicked out 15 shots for CVU.

 

AAU team having successful season

A pair of young Williston athletes have helped the AAU Vermont Cats basketball team of under-11 players to a strong season.

Amanda Daniels and Laura Durkee play on the team, which has so far won two Vermont tournaments and advanced to the final round of the Empire All-Stars Albany Spring Shootout, held April 17-18 at the University of Albany in New York.

Coached by Ann Durkee of Williston and Ute Otley, the Cats won all of their games on Saturday. By winning their first two games on Sunday, the Cats moved on to the championship game against the Saratoga Sparks. Though the Cats had defeated the Sparks on Saturday, Saratoga took the title on Sunday with a 21-19 win.

By placing second in the Albany Spring Shootout, the team qualified for the Empire State Championships next month.

 

Rec volleyball finishes season

The Williston Recreational Volleyball League wrapped up its season earlier this month. The spring season playoffs were held April 14, with the team of Don Dempsey, Jon Haftarczuk, Julian Haftarczuk, Chris Herskowitz, Brian Valentine and Mary Winters taking home the title.

With the end of the season, the volleyball program completed its 21st year.

 

Five CVU athletes in competition for scholarshsips

There are two days left for voting in an H. P. Hood scholarship program, through which $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to three athletes from each New England state.

In each state, the company’s Good Sports Vote program will select the top 15 vote getters for interviews and then award the scholarships to three finalists. The awards can be used for two- or four-year colleges and universities.

Five Champlain Valley Union High senior athletes are on the list for voting which, has an April 30 deadline.

They are Corynn Benoit, Kristen Darby, Erika Gobeille, Matt Long and Emmaleigh Loyer.

Votes can be cast at www.hood.com/promo/goodsportvote0310/default.aspx.

 


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Narrow wins for CVU boys lacrosse team (4/29/10)

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April 29, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With the early week snows forcing an interruption in but not a halt to their 6-0 charge through the early season, the Champlain Valley Union High boys lacrosse Redhawks will return to competition Friday.

Mount Mansfield (2-2 last weekend) comes calling to the hilltop nest for a 4 p.m. game.

Tuesday’s scheduled contest at Middlebury Union High was postponed until May 10 by the big load of white stuff that made a mid-spring appearance this week.

The most recent wins for coach Dave Trevithick and his charges have been via the nervous, come-from-behind method rather than the big early lead variety.

The latest triumph was a 9-8 Saturday win in St. Albans, where the Hawks found themselves trailing 7-4 in the third quarter before they rallied for the victory by scoring five straight goals. Lawrence Dee netted the eventual winner, his 15th tally of the season and second for the day, to go with four assists.

Taylor Gingras had three scores and two assists, including a helping hand in the winner. He hiked his goal total to 16.

CVU outshot the Bobwhites 20-13.

This thriller followed a victory for the ages last Wednesday, when the Redhawks outlasted strong 2-2 Essex High 8-7 in double overtime in Hinesburg.

Gingras tied the game with one second left in regulation, which allowed Nathaniel Wells to bury the game winner 1:25 into the second extra period, assist to Robbie Dobrowski.

Dee had three goals and Gingras a pair while Eric Palmer turned in a mighty performance in the CVU cage, stopping 17 shots by the Hornets. Essex was led by veteran Bill Hennessy’s two goals and an assist.

 


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Redhawks baseball team seeks to reset this week (4/29/10)

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April 29, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

As of Tuesday, it would be at least another day before the Champlain Valley Union High baseball team could get back on track following Saturday’s derailing at Rice Memorial High.

Tuesday’s game at Vergennes Union High (2-1) was postponed until Wednesday, and that date, according to CVU head coach Tim Albertson, was shaky given rain in the forecast.

The Redhawks are then scheduled to visit Mount Abraham Union in Bristol on Friday and to return to their Hinesburg field Tuesday with a strong Essex High contingent paying a 4:30 p.m. visit.

CVU stands at 2-2 for the young season in the wake of a 15-4 loss at 4-0 Rice, which has a lineup of swatters (12 hits) but also took advantage of 11 CVU errors, 10 walks and a hit batter.

Those kinds of defeats can be dispiriting. But as a salty veteran high school baseball coach once observed (and others have probably repeated), “These games happen in the early spring in Vermont high school baseball. It is good to get them out of your system.”

Albertson said the team was working on getting past the debacle as soon as the game was over.

“This team is good about recovering and moving forward,” Albertson said, adding that the seniors spoke up and took leadership at a team meeting in the middle of the field at Rice.

There were positives the Redhawks could take from the outing. The bats pinged for nine hits including Drew Nick’s two RBI singles and a two-run single by Tucker Kohlasch.

Collin Teator whacked two doubles, one a shot off a Rice outfielder’s glove. He also pitched a shutout inning in relief.

CVU starter Curt Echo deserved a better fate. After pitching out of a run-in, bases loaded, no outs situation in the first, Echo got touched up for six runs, five of them unearned, in the third on three hits. That gave the Green Knights a 7-1 edge and control of the contest.

Righty Sean Rugg worked the first four innings for the winners and left in the top of the fifth after Teator, Alec Zullo and Nick whacked three straight hits. Lefty Josh Blow finished up.

Last Thursday, CVU found itself trailing Missisquoi Valley Union 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth at a windblown home nest.

After receiving gifts of two walks and a hit batter from Missisquoi pitching to load the bases with no outs, Zullo singled home two runs. Nick drove in another on a sacrifice fly, and reached base when the ball was misplayed in the outfield. He later scored on a wild pitch as the Redhawks put five runs on the board to clinch their second victory.

Lefty Alex Hopkins picked up the win with four outs of shutout relief.

The Redhawks had gone hitless until Teator singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth and added only singles by Ian Solomon in the fifth and Zullo’s clutch shot in the sixth. However, they made hay from 11 bases on balls.


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McCarthy leads CVU to win over Rice (4/29/10)

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Mt. Abe, Essex next for softball team

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Pending the weather and Wednesday’s possible makeup of Tuesday’s postponed contest in Vergennes, the 2-2 Champlain Valley Union High softball team will play next at Mount Abraham Union at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.

 


    Observer photo by Shane Bufano
Heather McLaughlin of Champlain Valley Union High’s softball team makes a play during a 10-2 win over Rice Memorial High on Saturday.

The next home contest is Tuesday against a tough Essex High outfit that had a 26-game winning streak come to an end Saturday with a 2-0 loss to visiting St. Johnsbury Academy.

That same day, the Redhawks popped 1-3 Rice Memorial High, 10-2 in South Burlington behind some lusty hitting and the pitching of junior Cayla McCarthy.

“Cayla really pitched very well,” said coach Corrina Hussey.

McCarthy went the seven-inning route and allowed but five hits while whiffing 10 batters.

Solid sockers for the Redhawks were Emily Himberg and Heather McLaughlin. Each knocked out three hits and drove in two runs to fire up the Redhawks’ bats after they got temporarily silenced on Thursday by Missisquoi Valley Union’s Dakota Raleigh.

Raleigh fired a two-hitter and fanned 13 as the Thunderbirds posted a 9-0 zip at the CVU field.

McLaughlin and Cassidy Maglaris had the Redhawks’ hits, both singles.


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Students go green at Williston Central School (4/29/10)

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April 29, 2010

By Greg Duggan

Observer staff

Decked out in green shirts, students wandered the grounds of Williston Central School on Friday. Many of them had trash bags in hand as they picked garbage out of the woods, grass and wetlands surrounding the school.

 


    Observer photo by Greg Duggan
Zachary Varricchione and Zaza Quatt pick trash out of a wetland next to Williston Central School on Friday. The students were taking part in the school’s Green Up Day.

 


    Observer photo by Greg Duggan
Austyn Morin rakes leaves in the Williston Central School courtyard during the school’s Green Up Day.

The green shirts represented the color of Swift House, which spent the week honoring former teacher Al Myers (photo on page 9), but it made for an appropriate coincidence on the school’s Green Up Day.

For the second straight year, students helped clean the grounds of the school. The idea for a Green Up Day at Williston Central came about a couple years ago, when parent volunteer Nicki Layman went into the school’s courtyard to toss the ball around with her son.

“It was apparent to me that this was a beautiful space, but had been neglected,” Layman said.

Layman worked with Principal Jackie Parks and parent Sarah Hibbeler to organize a crew of parents and school staff to clean up the courtyard. The group raked, pruned and transformed the courtyard into a useable space. Parks then suggested putting together a Green Up Day for the school, and a year ago students helped with the cleanup.

“Last year we started it as a tradition. The day before April break seems to be good timing for us to have it,” Parks said.

Vermont’s Green Up Day — when residents throughout the state roam their towns and clean up trash — happens on Saturday; holding a Williston Central School Green Up Day last week gave students a chance to participate before the April vacation.

“Kids get antsy before they go on break,” Layman said. “It’s a good way to divert them and let them exert some energy and help out the environment and the school.”

Parks said the day also fosters a sense of community within the entire school, rather than just among individual academic houses.

Students enjoyed a sunny day on Friday. Dozens of students toiled in the courtyard. Early in the afternoon, approximately 50 students raked leaves, pulled weeds, planted flowers and otherwise tidied the outdoor space.

But as Parks said, while the courtyard was the focal point and impetus for the cleanup, Green Up Day expanded beyond that area.

Outside the school, small groups of students picked up refuse in the area.

Marsha Drake, a paraprofessional with Swift House, walked with several students as they picked up trash around the school.

“We decided to circle the school to see if anything was left,” Drake said.

Zaza Quatt, Shania Stearns and Zachary Varricchione, after emerging from a swampy area next to the school, said they found a good bit of trash in the woods near U.S. 2. The garbage included candy wrappers and a wine bottle.

“Do you know what’s really a shame?” Quatt said. “That people would even think of polluting.”

 

ENJOYING THE COURTYARD

The transformation of the courtyard at Williston Central School goes far beyond a simple cleanup during the school’s Green Up Day.

Since parents Nicki Layman, Sarah Hibbeler and others began making the courtyard a useable space last year, the area has become a popular spot in the school. Principal Jackie Parks said students can stroll through the courtyard between classes, and teachers and students often eat lunch in the outdoor area.

Now, the courtyard can also be used as a classroom.

Layman tracked down a large, slate blackboard for the school to purchase, around which benches were installed. Once students return from the April break, Parks said, teachers will be able to sign up to use the space for class.

“It’s an outdoor classroom, complete with an old-fashioned chalkboard and benches,” Parks said.

 

— Greg Duggan, Observer staff

 


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Police Notes (4/29/10)

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April 29, 2010

 

Fight in church parking lot

Two men and a woman were reported to police to be “screaming, pushing and shoving” in a Williston church parking lot on Sunday, April 25, according to police reports. When police arrived, the trio was able to “come to an agreement,” according to the report.

 

Violation of conditions of release

Matthew Pepper, 23, of Williston was charged with three counts of violating conditions of release on April 19, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court. No other information was released.

 

Theft

• The Salon Professional Academy reported to Williston police on April 20 that more than $300 had been stolen, according to police reports. The investigation is ongoing.

• A laptop computer, wallet and other items were stolen from a hotel guest’s unlocked vehicle at the Courtyard by Marriott on April 25, according to police reports. The investigation is ongoing.

 

Driving with suspended license

• Following a motor vehicle stop on April 20, Benjamin R. Lagrow, 25, of Williston 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 April 21, David J. Sullivan, 47, of Warren was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court on June 7.

• Following a motor vehicle stop on April 23, Lonnie J. Burke, 56, of Milton was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court on June 7.

 


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Everyday Gourmet (4/29/10)

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Feisty fideos

April 29, 2010

By Kim Dannies

Rossejat de fideos, a traditional dish of Spain’s Catalonia region, resembles paella; but instead of rice, it calls for fideos (fih-DAY-ohs), fine vermicelli-like pasta that is toasted and crispy. I took the fideo concept one step further and whipped up fried shrimp and chicken fideo pancakes topped with a spicy-sweet yogurt sauce. The result is a very satisfying and fun treat — fragrant, crunchy, feisty cakes that are the perfect tapas food.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small batches, snap 8 ounces of angel hair pasta into 2-inch pieces on to a large cookie sheet. Toast the pasta until fragrant, 8 minutes.

In a large saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium-high and sauté 4 ounces of crumbled chorizo sausage and 2 tablespoons of sliced garlic until the garlic is just golden, about 5 minutes. Add a large pinch of crushed red pepper.

Combine 2 cups chicken stock, 1 cup white wine, 6 chopped scallions and a large pinch of saffron; add to sauté pan. Bring mixture to a boil, then turn down heat to low. Stir in the pasta and cook 10 minutes, until the fideos are al dente and the sauce is creamy.

Stir in 6 ounces of (small dice) raw shrimp or chicken; season with kosher salt. Cool mixture. Whisk together 2 egg whites and 1 egg until frothy. Fold into fideo mixture along with 4 ounces of finely shredded Manchego or Parmesan cheese. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and form 12 plump fideo cakes. Rest cakes in fridge for 1 hour.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet on high and add 2 tablespoons of grape seed oil. Fry the cakes in batches until both sides are crispy and brown, about 5 minutes per side. Add small drizzles of oil, as needed, with each batch. Warm the fried fideo cakes on a paper towel-lined cookie sheet in a 250-degree oven.

Spicy-Sweet Yogurt Sauce

Drain 6 ounces of plain non-fat yogurt. Whisk together with 1 scant teaspoon of commercial Sriracha sauce, 1 tablespoon mayo and 2 teaspoons blue agave syrup (or honey). Drizzle over warm fideos. Devour immediately.

 

Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three college-aged daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.

 


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Little Details (4/29/10)

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The show goes on

April 29, 2010

By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

The curtain rises again as Williston Central School’s Drama Club presents the musical comedy “Bye Bye Birdie” May 8 and May 9. Backpacks, sports equipment and musical instruments — trappings of middle school life — lie in heaps on the auditorium floor as students arrive for rehearsal. They are quickly transported to 1958 and the mythical town of Sweet Apple.

The energy and enthusiasm of 64 actors plus crew is nothing short of exuberant. As opening night approaches, lighting and sound systems are fine tuned as final touches are placed on scenery and costumes. These kids want to perform. Each has a role to play, which, when combined with others, creates a spectacle on stage.

“Bye Bye Birdie” embraces a familiar theme. A heartthrob rock singer, trailed by a bevy of joyously unrestrained teenyboppers, is drafted. Conrad Birdie’s PR-sensitive manager suggests one last hurrah — a major publicity stunt — before his locks are shorn and his pleasing physique is squeezed into a stifling, brass-buttoned uniform.

Elvis Presley, due to begin filming “King Creole,” was abruptly drafted into the Army in 1957. Angry fans protested, writing letters to the Memphis Draft Board and even President Dwight Eisenhower. Instead of derailing the King of Rock and Roll’s career, a well-crafted public relations campaign actually boosted his popularity. Carefully timed record releases and publicity photos of the music icon in uniform broadened his appeal while he served on a tank battalion in West Germany.

Andrea Cronan, making her directorial debut at Williston Central School, brings a wealth of experience to “Bye Bye Birdie.” She deftly juggles multiple roles. By day, Cronan is the marketing manager at Williston-based DEW Construction. She credits owner Don Wells with affording her the flexibility to take on this gig. Flex-time during play production means she’s in her office from 6:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. before heading to school to direct from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Call it a labor of love.

“I’ve been involved in theater since third grade,” Cronan says.

She’s acted, worked on crew and later became involved in student-directed plays while a student at Lyndon State College. Community theater shows include cast, crew and directorial gigs with Lyric Theatre and Stowe Theatre Guild. Cronan’s dossier reads like a libretto anthology with “Music Man,” “Oklahoma,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “The Secret Garden” among her credits.

Cronan cites people like Patrick Clow, Johanna Boyce-Munson and Williston’s beloved Al Myers among her mentors. Theater is a craft. It’s not something learned from a book. Dedicated thespians must hone their skills, studying from those more masterful, like an apprentice in a carpenter’s shop.

Cronan assembled a powerful production team including Technical Director Cathy Rylant, Musical Director Andrea Haulenbeek, Choreographer Kim Nowlan and Producer Juliette Longchamp. Parent volunteers Victoria Francis and Kerry Castano return as costume co-chairs, working their magic with needle and thread.

“We wanted to do a high energy, positive show,” Cronan observes. “‘Birdie’ is upbeat and fun. The music is very demanding to sing — a push for some of our kids’ developing voices.”

Cronan is particularly excited to be working with middle school students. She recently attended an intensive three-day workshop in New York City for directors working with young people. As the parent of a Williston Central School student, Cronan has an inside scoop on this particular age group.

“It’s amazing to see where we started and where we are today,” Cronan muses. “It’s coming together. I see the kids really pushing themselves to bring the show to the next level.”

One challenge Cronan faces is working with kids facing so many demands on their time. Competing activities — sports and other arts — sometimes conflict with rehearsal time. It’s difficult to run a scene if several key actors are missing. More stringent choices will be imposed when our kids reach high school. For now, there’s room on stage and opportunity for them to dabble in many things.

“None of this would happen if it wasn’t for parent volunteers,” Cronan observes.

From building sets to creating costumes to designing hair and make-up, parental involvement is evident throughout the production.

Williston’s exceptional theater program is a legacy of Al Myers. With a real auditorium, including professional lighting and sound systems — a boon for a middle school — we’re raising kids who love to sing, dance and perform their hearts out.

Al Myers left big theatrical shoes to fill. Andrea Cronan is borrowing a few ideas from Al’s playbook while spreading some of her own magic theater dust. See you at the show.

 

At publication, limited tickets were available by calling 879-5836.

 

Katherine Bielawa Stamper lives in Williston. Reader comments are welcome at [email protected] or [email protected]

 


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Letters to the Editor (4/29/10)

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April 29, 2010

 

Drama program says thanks

On behalf of the Williston School drama program, I want to express our deepest thanks to the good people of the Brick Church Music Series for their recent donation in memory of Al Myers. Their contribution will go to improving our theater in order to continue Al’s mission of bringing a high quality drama experience to students and adults alike. We are honored to have been a beneficiary of the concert series.

Special thanks go to Peter Engisch, David Yandell, Rick McGuire and Don Sheldon for their work in organizing the Brick Church Music Series. They put in a lot of work to offer these performances, and both the town and causes like ours benefit greatly from their effort.

Rick McCraw, Williston School drama program

 

Help Haiti with sight

My name is Aleksandra Stamper and I am an eighth grader at Williston Central School. In order to graduate, every eighth grader is required to conduct a yearlong research project involving a community organization.

I chose to do my project on visual impairment. I am interested in this topic because I do not have 20-20 vision and wear contacts. I also have a cousin who is legally blind.

My optometrist is traveling to Haiti and needs 2,000 pairs of used glasses. I am helping to collect those glasses. From May 1-15, there will be collection boxes at the front desk at Dorothy Alling Memorial Library and Williston Central School. Please donate your used glasses and give someone the gift of sight!

Aleksandra Stamper, Williston

 

Think about donating

I am writing in response to your headline article “Waiting for the gift of life” in the April 22 edition.

I, too, have a kidney disease, which is chronic and causes progressively worsening symptoms of kidney function. I am grateful to the Yakubik family for coming forward to bring to light life with a debilitating disease. I am presently on the transplantation waiting list for a good kidney match, and appreciate this issue being brought to public attention.

Hopefully articles such as this one will encourage folks to come forward with the blessing of a donation not only for a specific person they know and care about, but also for the principle itself. Living donations are the optimal choice; deceased donations are incredibly important as well.

I wish Matthew good fortune while preparing for transplantation, as well as others in this situation.

Ellie Campbell, Williston

 

Leiberman/Warner Climate Security Act of 2007

It is still working its way through Washington. Here are some highlights:

Sen. Inhofe, R-Okla. led the Senate opposition to the bill, claiming, “The vast majority of scientists do not believe that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are a major contributor to climate change” and called it “the largest tax increase in the history of America.”

Sen. Enzi, R-Wyo. said, “I am an environmentalist” but opposed the bill and urged people to “visualize” their electricity bill being 50 percent higher the first year the bill goes into effect.

Sen. Bennet, R-Utah claimed the bill would more than double electricity prices in the first year and quoted a California scientist who apparently said, “We are moving to irrational panic on climate change.”

Sen. Thune, R-S.D. said the bill “could bankrupt U.S. air carriers,” which have already been crippled by high oil prices and argued it would add $5 to $10 billion to the U.S. aviation fuel bill.

Sen. Cochran, R-Miss. said the bill would be “especially harmful to lower-income families.”

Sen. Chambliss, R-Ga. cited a University of Georgia study he claimed that showed temperatures have dropped in the last century, and said, “This bill will attack citizens at the pump” and “increase job losses.”

Sen. Sessions, R-Ala. said the bill was a “… complex and sneaky cap and trade tax system” that “will raise taxes, will raise substantially energy costs and gasoline prices, will cause worker layoffs and hurt our economy, and leave us less competitive in the world marketplace.” Thus, the bill “just the opposite of what the American people (our dutiful citizens who send us here) would expect us to be doing.”

S.219 is hard to read. They keep changing the monster bill before you can finish reading it. Where have I seen this before?

Shelley Palmer, Williston

 

‘Delicious’ senior luncheon

The Williston Seniors would like to thank Chef Scott Wagner of Williston Central School for the delicious luncheon he prepared for our April meeting. What a wonderful meal it was.

Donna Hoyt, president, Williston Seniors


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Guest Column (4/29/10)

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To answer your questions …

April 29, 2010

By Rob Ezerman

In response to Mike Benevento’s “Right to the Point” column on April 22, Mike, thanks so much for inviting a dialogue by asking questions. As a strong single-payer supporter and thus grudging supporter of the weakened, just-passed health care legislation, here are my answers to your questions.

• Your question: “Will purchasing health insurance be mandatory for most Americans? Is it now? Is it right to force people to purchase insurance? If yes, why?”

Answer: Every automobile driver is “forced” to carry insurance. Indeed, we should all be “forced,” for our individual and especially our collective good, to purchase health insurance, as long as provisions are made for those who cannot easily afford the cost. While I’d like to see single-payer health insurance paid entirely out of federal revenues (Value Added Tax?), mandatory coverage is acceptable for the short term.

My question to you: Why not allow drivers to skip buying collision insurance? And don’t forget that many illnesses are contagious or otherwise can affect more than just the individual with the illness — think influenza, for example. Believe me, when I’m driving down the road I pray that the oncoming drivers have good health insurance that pays for preventive services so they are less likely to have a heart attack or stroke while heading in my direction!

• Your question: “Will the federal government play a larger role in health care?”

Answer: Mike, we’re talking about the insurance industry, not doctor-patient relations. We’re talking about payment mechanisms and guaranteed coverage, not federal intrusion in the examining room.

On the contrary, the dollar-hungry insurance industry currently interferes dreadfully with many doctor-patient relationships by studiously using any and all means, however frivolous, to drop coverage of patients at the first sign they might be a cost burden. In fact, that activity is their main profit center and the industry employs thousands and thousands of people whose only job is to scour old records and application forms to find ways to drop client’s coverage.

Every other industrialized (i.e., developed, advanced) country in the world long ago realized that government control of and regulation of the health care insurance industry is cost-effective and necessary. It is crazy to think that for-profit corporations could ever put patients over profits when just the opposite is built into our corporate regulatory structure. Even foreign countries whose governments have gone through conservative phases maintained their “socialist” health insurance policies.

Sorry Mike, but the Founding Fathers could not have envisioned the current health care industry and the need to treat that arena as “commons” from which we all share and benefit. Just as we collectively fund highways, police departments, fire protection services, and just as the federal government has assumed responsibility for most work-place safety regulations and for safety-net programs like Social Security and Medicaid, it is imperative that we move toward federal government takeover of the health insurance industry.

(And I’ve left out the gorilla in the room: the ever-increasing cost of health care in our country, which is perhaps the most visible threat to our financial viability both as individuals and for all of us as a country.)

 

Rob Ezerman lives in St. George.

 


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