July 30, 2014

News from Aprils past in the Williston Observer (4/29/10)

Share

The Williston Observer is celebrating its 25th year providing news to the community. Here are some stories from past Aprils:

• In April 2000, Williston began recruiting members for its own rescue squad after Iroquois First Response, which served Williston, Hinesburg and St. George, announced it was disbanding. More recently, the town decided to take public safety a step further by including a town-owned ambulance service in the municipal budget.

 


    File photo
Al Myers, a Williston Central School teacher who passed away last April, is shown here in his role as captain of the Champlain Valley Reenactors.

• An earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale caused minor damage in the area, including broken windows and cracked foundations, in April 2002.

“We are fortunate to live in a country where building techniques prevent much damage from happening,” Vermont Emergency Management Director Ed von Turkovich said at the time.

• Sean McMannon was named the new principal of Champlain Valley Union High School in April 2005, beating out 14 other candidates for the position. The former CVU teacher and Fairbanks House director replaced 18-year veteran principal Val Gardner.

• Herb Goodrich was honored in April 2007 by the Selectboard for 50 years of service to the Williston Fire Department. Goodrich has served as a town lister, justice of the peace, fire warden, cemetery commissioner and Selectboard chairman.

• The CVU Scholars Bowl Team won its first state championship in April 2007 after defeating Hanover (N.H.) High School.

• More than 100 residents gathered at Williston Central School in April 2008 for the first event of Williston Into the Next Generation, commonly known as WING. The meeting kicked off with a community potluck supper and continued with a “free flow of thought” throughout the weekend, according to Judy Sassorossi, WING co-chairwoman. The group has since divided into subgroups to work on five areas identified as most important to the community.

• In April 2009, legislators overrode Gov. Jim Douglas’ veto and passed the landmark bill legalizing same-sex marriage. Williston Reps. Jim McCullough and Terry Macaig, along with Sen. Ginny Lyons of Williston, all voted for the legislation and to override the veto. Seeing same-sex marriage as a civil rights issue, Lyons said, “You can believe this is a sin, but really it isn’t.”

• Opponents of a proposed roundabout meant to ease traffic at a busy Williston Village intersection launched a petition drive in April 2009 stating there was no need for the roundabout.

“It would just make our little town look tacky,” resident Jill Mellion said.

Residents voted against the roundabout in an advisory measure included on the ballot in March 2010, so it is currently on hold.

• The death of longtime Williston Central School teacher and drama coach Al Myers on April 25, 2009 stunned the community. Myers died after falling from a ladder in the auditorium while working on the school’s spring play, “The Wizard of Oz.” Four Facebook tribute pages were quickly created, with hundreds of messages posted, and a May 16 celebration of his life was held at the school. In April of 2010, the school held a weeklong remembrance of Myers, which included Mustache Day.


[Read more...]

Williston company to open factory store (4/29/10)

Share

April 29, 2010

By Greg Duggan

Observer staff

After years operating out of a woodshop in Williston, Vermont Butcher Block and Board Company owner David Glickman is expanding his business with a retail store in Burlington.

 


    Observer photo by Greg Duggan
Vermont Butcher Block owner David Glickman stands outside his new retail store on College Street in Burlington. The Williston-based company is expanding by opening the factory store.

Glickman founded the company in 2004, and builds cutting boards, salad bowls, utensils and more. Though Glickman said he opens his Williston woodshop to customers if they set up an appointment, he makes most of his sales online at www.vermontbutcherblock.com. So far, the strategy has worked well; Vermont Butcher Block and Board Company has been mentioned in publications including Cook’s Illustrated and Design New England, and has picked up customers from throughout the country.

Still, Glickman sees room to expand.

“I enjoy the craft shows that I do. And I want to grow my business, be the next Danforth (Pewterers) or the next big Vermont company,” Glickman said. “There’s no way to do that without a factory store, so all the sudden it was just time.”

Glickman expects to obtain his certificate of occupation on Thursday and open to the public on Friday.

The new company store at 173 College St. in Burlington will sell Vermont Butcher Block products including knife blocks, cutting boards, cheese boards, utensils and wood care products. Glickman also plans to offer a variety of other products made in Vermont. Having met other Vermont crafters and artisans in his years running Vermont Butcher Block, Glickman wants to sell their products in his store.

“The majority of our stuff will be Vermont made,” Glickman said.

Two employees work at the Williston woodshop, and Glickman plans to hire two more workers for the retail store.

Glickman and his employees have spent the past several weeks preparing the retail store for the May 1 opening. They’ve been painting, patching the floor and stocking shelves. And with the nice weather, Glickman said he often leaves the door open during the day. That alone has started to generate interest.

“It’s amazing how many people walk in when the door is open,” Glickman said.

Because the store is located next to City Hall Park, Glickman also hopes to capitalize on shoppers visiting the Burlington Farmers Market on Saturdays.

 

The Vermont Butcher Block company store is located at 173 College St. in Burlington. Owner David Glickman plans to open the store on May 1, and it will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday.


[Read more...]

Williston honored for growth strategy (4/29/10)

Share

April 29, 2010

By Greg Duggan

Observer staff

The Williston Planning Department will have a new plaque to hang on the wall next week.

On Monday, Planning Director Ken Belliveau will head to Montpelier to receive a Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence and Pollution Prevention. Williston has won an award for Land Use & Land Planning.

“It’s a nice feather in our cap,” Belliveau said. “It’s always nice to be noticed for good things.”

The state Department of Environmental Conservation Web site says the Land Use & Land Planning awards recognize “projects that preserve or conserve land to create ecological and environmental benefits or that advance smart growth alternatives.”

Williston was nominated for the award by Faith Ingulsrud, the planning coordinator for the Vermont Department of Economic, Housing and Community Development. Williston’s overall development plan has many facets. In short, the town has policies and practices that foster development in the growth center area generally located around Taft Corners.

That goal stood out for Ingulsrud, who in her nomination application wrote, “Williston’s current planning program exemplifies Vermont’s statewide planning goal to implement a strategy that will effectively focus compact development within the designated growth center and protect the majority of land in the town as rural.”

Ingulsrud went on to praise Williston for its “active community participation, strong leadership and … committed volunteer planners and professional staff members.”

“Williston now has one of the most sophisticated smart growth planning programs of any town in Vermont,” she wrote.

Belliveau said Williston is recognized around the state as a leader for town planning practices, a claim backed up by Gary Gulka, the assistance and prevention program chief for the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.

“Williston has served as a model for others in terms of actually taking smart growth planning to the next step, which is the implementation of policies and regulations,” Gulka said.

Gulka serves on the Planning Commission in Cabot, and said the town plans to look at the steps Williston has taken to implement smart growth strategies.

Williston was the only municipality to win a Governor’s Award in 2010, Gulka said.

Vermont Coverts, a company that works with private landowners to maintain and enhance forest habitats, will also receive a Governor’s Award for Land Use & Land Planning. Nearly 20 other organizations and businesses will take home awards in areas that include Resource Conservation, Earth Stewardship & Resource Protection and Education & Outreach.

Belliveau noted that decisions made by Williston’s Development Review Board and Selectboard help guide the town’s planning goals.

“Whether we won this award or not, as a planner, it’s nice to be able to work in a community that really values what happens with planning,” Belliveau said.

 


[Read more...]

Caring for the earth

Share


    Observer photo by Stephanie Choate
Girl Scouts from Troop 30847 clean up an area near U.S. 2 on Earth Day. Pictured are (from left) Erin Watson, Grace Hemmelgarn, Paige Niachos, Julianna Marino, Julia Neeld and Rachel Howell.

[Read more...]

Hundreds will walk to fight homelessness (4/29/10)

Share

April 29, 2010

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

This weekend, Champlain Valley Union High School students will join hundreds of other Vermonters in the annual COTS Walk in Burlington.

 


    Courtesy photo
People stream down Church Street during the 2009 COTS Walk. This year’s walk is set for May 2.

Approximately 30 CVU teachers and students — many of them in the school’s Key Club, a community service group — will take part in the May 2 event that benefits Burlington’s Committee on Temporary Shelter.

“I am pretty happy with how much interest the CVU community has shown toward this event,” CVU sophomore Claire Colwell, who is organizing the school’s team, wrote in an e-mail.

Colwell said the CVU group hopes to raise $1,000.

“COTS serves people with whom we can all relate,” Colwell wrote. “In these hard times, everyone can connect to (the) COTS mission …. This walk is also a great way to spend time with friends and get involved in the community.”

CVU is one of nearly 20 high schools and colleges in the state with teams registered for the walk.

“It’s just heartwarming and amazing to see so many teens participate,” said Lesli Blount, COTS Board chairwoman. “Every year they participate in great numbers.”

The three-mile route follows the course a homeless person might take to get shelter and services.

“This is the one day of the year when we open up our shelters to the public,” said Mary Beth Jensen, COTS special events coordinator. “Otherwise, people would never get to see the inside of a shelter and what it really is like.”

Walkers set individual fund-raising goals for themselves and collect pledges from friends, family, coworkers or whomever they can find.

Organizers hope to raise $175,000 during the walk. Since event sponsors cover the costs, all of the money raised goes directly to shelters and services, Jensen said. She said the event is “huge,” one of the organization’s two biggest events of the year.

“It brings in enough money to run the shelters for quite some time,” she said. “It’s really vital.”

Blount said COTS has seen an “all-time high demand for services” in the past year or so. The group had to open an overflow center, which Blount said is “already kind of bursting at the seams.”

Some people have lost their jobs and others have had their hours cut as businesses try to weather the tough economic climate.

Taking part in the walk is a fun and easy way to lend a hand, Jensen said.

“It’s a great way for people of all ages to get involved in their community and learn about homelessness in Burlington and see for themselves what is being done and how … they can help and get involved,” Jensen said.

Jensen said people take part in the COTS Walk because it’s a good time, but it also raises awareness about homelessness.

“People get to see things they don’t typically get to see,” Jensen said. “It’s a great way to have a conversation about homelessness and poverty and social justice in general.”

 

The COTS Walk is scheduled for May 2 and starts at Battery Park in Burlington. Check-in is at 1:30 p.m. Visit cotsonline.org for more information.


[Read more...]

Permit costs concern Williston (4/29/10)

Share

State may require towns to fund stormwater management

April 29, 2010

By Greg Duggan

Observer staff

Williston and numerous homeowners associations in the town could very well be responsible for paying to upgrade and monitor stormwater management systems in the near future.

Williston is one of eight cities and towns in the state that needs to comply with the federal stormwater regulations originally issued by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1999. Those communities all have municipal separate storm sewer systems, also known as MS4, and need to manage stormwater runoff in these systems.

Now, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation is reissuing the so-called MS4 permits, and released a draft permit in January. Written comments about the draft could be submitted through April 22.

Bruce Hoar, Williston’s Public Works director, submitted comments for the town. While he noted that Williston believes in improving water quality in Vermont, he also wrote “to express our great concern that the majority of the newly drafted permit is an unfunded mandate and that the State is deferring the costs directly to the MS4’s.”

Since the issuance of the 1999 permit, Williston has come up with a stormwater management plan. According to information on the town Web site, management steps include street cleaning to reduce the amount of sediment washed into waterways and the creation of stream bank buffers.

Williston’s Allen Brook is considered impaired by stormwater. The Muddy Brook was on the list of stormwater impaired waterways, but has been removed.

Hoar said the town is trying to limit the amount of stormwater flowing into the Allen Brook. As rains run off impervious surfaces — roads and parking lots, for instance — water carries sediment and other pollutants into the stream. Furthermore, the extra water flowing in the brook causes greater erosion, which means more sediment flowing through the water.

Hoar wrote in his comments that the town recognizes the importance of stream monitoring and implementing a flow restoration program, but fears the draft MS4 permit places too much of the financial responsibility of doing so on municipalities. The permit also does not allow enough time to develop a flow restoration program, Hoar wrote.

Hoar and Lisa Sheltra, Williston’s engineer technician, said the town is waiting for the state to run a model that will estimate a cost for the management program. Estimated costs for management plans for Potash and Bartlett brooks in South Burlington came out to approximately $25 million and $5.8 million respectively, Sheltra said, though neither she nor Hoar would speculate on what those numbers meant for an Allen Brook restoration plan.

“We’re hoping for the lower end of the cost, but we won’t know until the state runs a model,” Sheltra said.

The town will need to work with numerous homeowners associations to come up with and pay for stormwater management systems that will comply with the MS4 permit.

One possibility to pay for stormwater management is the creation of a town or regional utility that would charge fees, though Hoar said it was too early to elaborate on such a plan.

The town also wants to work with homeowners associations to try to obtain funding through the clean water state revolving fund, which can provide low-interest loans.

“If the permit takes effect, it is a permit we’ll have to comply with,” Hoar said. “The state is trying to shift most of the responsibility to municipalities.”


[Read more...]

Waiting for the gift of life

Share


Observer photo by Greg Duggan
Matthew Yakubik (bottom right) stands outside his house with his family — brother William, father Will and mother Ellen. Matthew, 9, suffers from a disease called Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis and needs a kidney transplant. See story below.

[Read more...]

Track and field teams fare well before break (4/22/10)

Share

April 22, 2010

The Champlain Valley Union High track and field teams have some 10 days before their next meet, set for May 3 at South Burlington High. The Redhawks have an accomplished three wins in four competitions in the early season.

On Tuesday, the girls scored a victory in a six-team meet at Colchester High, beating out the runner-up host team by 153 points to 137.

The Redhawks swept the relays while Haleigh Smith scored wins in the long and triple jumps plus a second in the high jump.

In addition, Marion Albers and Emma Riesner finished one-two in the 100-yard dash, Albers posting a winning time of 13.4 seconds.

The boys finished second to St. Johnsbury Academy, which racked up 197 points to 117 for CVU.

Sam Chevalier scored a victory in the pole vault and the relay teams prevailed in the 400 and 800 runs.

Last Wednesday, both boys and girls teams were victorious in a season-opening, home meet against Harwood Union and Spaulding High.

 

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent

 


[Read more...]

Busy week of competition for boys tennis team (4/22/10)

Share

April 22, 2010

Seeking to end a two-match losing skein, the Champlain Valley Union High boys tennis team faced undefeated Essex High on Wednesday at Shelburne in a match rained out earlier in the season.

The match was scheduled for after press deadline.

Then the original schedule called for a visit from Rice Memorial High on Thursday. The Green Knights had nipped the Redhawks 4-3 in the season opener.

Essex had also posed a problem for the Hawks, having scored a 6-1 triumph in Essex last Thursday.

The Hornets were led by Williston’s David Ro, who scored 6-0, 6-0 wins over Tabor deGroot, CVU’s top player. Will Hall earned CVU’s lone point with a singles win.

Despite singles victories by Hall, Brice Guerriere and Liam Kelley, the Redhawks on Monday bowed 4-3 to South Burlington High (2-0).

 

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent

 


[Read more...]

CVU girls tennis squad to face Rice (4/22/10)

Share

April 22, 2010

The undefeated Champlain Valley Union High girls tennis team will have its second go-around with a tough Rice Memorial High squad at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday on the Green Knights’ home courts.

The Redhawks scuttled the Knights 6-1 on April 8, but as coach Amy deGroot noted, Rice was without one of its best players.

In the meantime, the Redhawks, at their home Shelburne courts Monday, rolled past South Burlington High, 7-0. The victory lifted CVU’s season mark to 4-0.

Kylie deGroot, the team’s number one singles player who is headed to the University of Vermont, scored a 6-0, 6-2 victory over the Rebels’ Samantha Wulfson. Other CVU singles winners were AnnaClare Smith, Abby Stoner, Colleen McCarthy and Andrea Joseph.

Triumphant doubles teams were Emily Polhemus-Claire Stoner and Kristen Donaldson-Megan Henson.

Last Thursday, the Redhawks blanked Essex High, 7-0, also on the Shelburne courts.

 

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent

 


[Read more...]