May 27, 2018

Road tests ahead for CVU lax boys (4/22/10)

April 22, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

The sun came out Monday and the Champlain Valley Union High boys lacrosse team made sure there was nothing but blue skies on their record in a 12-8 home trimming of visiting Spaulding High of Barre.

The contest was postponed from Saturday by rain.

“Essex High comes next,” CVU coach Dave Trevithick said.

The powerful Hornets were due in after press deadline Wednesday afternoon and expected to give the 4-0 Redhawks their biggest test of the young season.

Following that clash, CVU will be in St. Albans on Saturday for a 3 p.m. effort against the Bellows Free Academy Bobwhites and on the road again Tuesday against Middlebury Union High at 4 p.m.

In Monday’s triumph, the Redhawks bolted to 7-1 (halftime) and 9-2 leads before Spaulding, 1-0 coming in, made it somewhat close through the middle stages of the final reel thanks to a five-goal outburst by speedy junior attacker Tory Chouinard.

“We kind of let down on defense,” Trevithick said.

A couple of big plays prevented Spaulding from turning the contest into a burning crisis for CVU.

After the Crimson Tide had closed to within 9-4 with two straight scores and was threatening further mischief late in the third quarter, senior captain and defenseman Cully Milikin stole the ball deep in CVU territory; moments later, with 2:58 left in the period, Nick Hart fired a blue darter from the left side to end the Tide string. It was his second goal to go with a pair of assists.

But the persistent visitors then notched the first three tallies of the final reel to close within 10-7 with 7:32 remaining in regulation.

Jake Marston came front and center. Taking a faceoff out of a scrum at midfield, the CVU junior worked his way to the back of the Spaulding cage, made a quick move to the front and launched his second goal of the game (11 for the season) to give the Redhawks some added breathing room.

Moments later, at 6:52, Nathaniel Wells popped his second score after a Hart assist for a 12-7 edge.

Spaulding’s final pointer came with 20 seconds to go.

Milikin agreed that the Redhawks might have relaxed a tad once they got the big leads.

Helping to get those leads were Lawrence Dee (three goals), Taylor Gingras (one goal, two assists), Peter Hiser (two goals) and Derek Goodwin (goal).

The Hawks out shot the Tide 26-17.

Gingras, who also has 11 goals in the Redhawks’ four games, notched five last Thursday in CVU’s 11-6 home victory over South Burlington High. Dee notched a goal to go with five helpers, while Marston potted two scores. Hart, Wells and Hiser added one each.


[Read more…]

CVU girls lacrosse team improving (4/22/10)

April 22, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

The Champlain Valley Union High girls lacrosse team took a 1-2 record into Wednesday’s home match with rival Essex High.

The game was set to be played after press deadline.

After that contest, it will be two weeks before the Redhawks resume competition with a game at Burlington High on May 5.

On Monday, CVU gave undefeated Mount Anthony Union a struggle before bowing to the Patriots by a 16-9 tally. It was a commendable improvement over their first meeting, a 17-2 blowout by the Patriots at their Bennington field on April 10.

Junior Amanda Kinneston found the net for six goals and added three assists for CVU, which is getting its offense into gear.

Kinneston hiked her season total to nine tallies.

Also scoring for the Redhawks were Erika Gobeille (two goals) and Lucy Halvorson.

Sophia Steinhoff had another busy day in the CVU cage, where she registered 18 stops. The Hawks were outgunned 34-14 in shots.

Steinhoff was even busier last Wednesday, when she made a whopping 27 saves as the Redhawks scored a 12-10 victory at Rutland High (1-1-1).

Sydney Beldock broke loose on the offensive end for four goals in pacing the victory. Kinneston added two goals and a pair of assists while Halvorson, Kelsey Barrett, Michaela Kiley, Brenna Gorman, Sara Riordon and Corrinne Vien added singletons. Gorman also passed off for two assists.

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CVU nips South Burlington in extra innings (4/22/10)

Redhawks to host Thunderbirds on Thursday

April 22, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With a hard-earned entry into the victory column secured Tuesday, the 1-1 Champlain Valley Union High baseball aggregation was looking forward to a second straight home contest Thursday when Missisquoi Valley Union High comes calling at 4:30 p.m.


    Observer photo by Shane Bufano
Drew Nick throws a pitch for Champlain Valley Union High on Tuesday, when the Redhawks defeated South Burlington, 3-2.

Their bats silenced Monday by Mount Mansfield Union’s Sam Spencer’s 9-0 no-hitter in Richmond, the Redhawks used scarce but timely hits Tuesday to nip visiting South Burlington High. CVU won 3-2 on a Drew Nick’s two-out, screaming double down the left field line, which chased home Alec Zullo from first with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

“I was just trying to get a hit,” said Nick, who had been re-inserted into the batting order after being relieved from his starting pitching chores after completing seven frames.

The victory blast was Nick’s second hit of the game. He also rapped a first inning single that sent in Zullo, who had singled and stolen second. Zullo had all three CVU runs, also crossing home plate in the sixth on a throwing error after he reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second, his second swipe of the contest.

Zullo’s first inning single — he was batting in the second slot — was the Redhawks’ initial safety of the campaign.

In all, CVU had just four hits off Rebels pitcher Ben Jenkins. Andy Leckerling’s seventh inning single was the other bop.

Nick scattered seven hits, including a homer and RBI double, in his seven innings of hurling. He whiffed five and hit a batter but allowed no walks.

A crucial time came in the bottom of the second. After Popper Hanson led off with a circuit clout to tie the game at 1, South Burlington loaded the bases on a hit batter, single and infield error. Situation grim.

No sweat for Nick. The sophomore slinger then struck out the next two batters and got the third on a fly to Zullo in left.

Nick then kept the Rebels from doing further damage until the seventh, when a leadoff single, sacrifice and double tied the game.

Ryan Machavern took over in the eighth and gave up a pair of singles but emerged unscathed.

After the game, Nick got a hero’s chilling: a cooler filled with ice cubes over the head while he was chatting with media representatives.

As for Monday’s no-hit effort by the Cougars’ Spencer, Nick said the MMU pitcher “was hitting his spots. We hit the ball pretty well a few times but right at someone.”

Head coach Tim Albertson noted that Tuesday’s win was commensurate with the Redhawks’ slogan of “grind it out.”

CVU will hit the road Saturday for an 11 a.m. clash at Rice Memorial High in South Burlington and will travel to Vergennes on Tuesday for a game at 4:30 p.m.


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Kenyan peace activist speaks at CVU (4/22/10)

April 22, 2010

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Kenyan activist Dr. Karambu Ringera spoke with Champlain Valley Union High School students and community members this week about her efforts to promote grassroots development in growing nations.


    Observer photo by Stephanie Choate
Kenyan peace activist Dr. Karambu Ringera speaks to CVU students Tuesday about her work in Africa.

“You are the future leaders in your country and future leaders in the world,” she told a group of students Tuesday. “I want to challenge you … go and listen to the people, see what they perceive to be their challenges and needs and create solutions with them.”

Ringera heads International Peace Initiatives, or IPI, which works toward solutions for disease, conflict and poverty. She recently launched a community home for orphans in Meru, Kenya, which she hopes will represent a new approach to development.

“We’re trying to create a solution from the bottom up, from the voice of the people affected by the problems,” she said.

Ringera said the welfare-type model that most orphanages operate under is not working. Children become dependent on outside sources and often end up on the street once they leave the orphanage.

The problem extends to other aid projects, she said. Since the projects were not developed with the involvement of local people, the projects end soon after aid workers leave.

“The only way to help people is to work with them and identify their problems and solutions,” she told students. “Unless people create solutions themselves, they’re not going to be sustainable.”


CVU connections

Ringera’s visit, one of several across the country, was sponsored by CVU students Ditra Backup and Molly Vatis.

Backup and Vatis went to Kenya in August as part of their Graduation Challenge, a learning project required of all CVU seniors. In Kenya, the two met Ringera and worked in the community home, called Kithoka Amani Community Home.

“The experiences that touched me the most were during the time that I spent with the kids,” Backup said. “Every day there would be something little they would do that would warm my heart or change my perspective of myself or the world in some way.”

Ringera came to the United States to talk about her school, and also to encourage high school and college students to come to Kenya and volunteer.

Backup said several students have already expressed interest in fund-raising or travelling to Kenya as a result of Ringera’s visit.

“I can already see the impact it’s had and the good it’s done, which is just incredible for me,” Backup said.

Vatis called her experience in Kenya “absolutely incredible and life changing.” She urged fellow students, teachers, and community members to find a cause they feel strongly about, in another country or their own community, and get involved.

“Every single person in the world can do something to create change,” Vatis wrote in an e-mail. “It’s important that everyone recognize their responsibility to take action, for we are all global citizens and human beings and we have the power to make a difference.”


Work in Kenya

Ringera’s goal is to make Kithoka Amani Community Home self-sustaining in the next three to five years, creating projects that will help students learn to provide for themselves and raise money locally.

Students grow vegetables and raise animals, and each student has his or her own fruit tree. The students keep 30 percent of profits from the sale of animals or produce they tend. Each student has his or her own bank account, which teaches how to save.

“That way, they are responsible for sustaining themselves,” Ringera said. “We are creating their livelihood together, and they have a role to play.

The home teaches students skills, including agriculture, animal husbandry and jewelry-making.

“We’re using cottage industry as a way of teaching children skills they can benefit from in the future,” Ringera said.

The training shows the community, as well as the children, that youngsters are valuable members of society, not liabilities, Ringera said.

“We need to show the community that the children are valuable,” she said. “They can do something to benefit society, so society stops discriminating against them and excluding them.”


[Read more…]

Recipe Corner (4/22/10)

Eating for your health

April 22, 2010

By Ginger Isham

Jean Carper, author of “EatSmart Cookbook” from 2004, has simple but healthy recipes and a description of why the main ingredients are good for us. I have chosen a few examples of food nutrition facts and recipes from her book. Of course, there is a little maple syrup in some recipes.

Tea – The healthiest drink that helps prevent deadly artery clogging and reverses poor arterial functioning (green is best but black is good too).

Good fats – People whose main source of fat is olive oil live longer and have less heart disease, cancer and arthritis. The best olive oil is the extra virgin kind.

Fish – Salmon, herring, sardines and tuna (fresh or canned) contain omega-3 oils that prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory problems, inflammation related to arthritis and neurological disorders including depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Eat two servings a week.

Good carbs – Choose whole grains, restrict white foods including potato, pasta and bread, but choose sourdough over other breads.

High fiber fruits and veggies – Examples are pears, apples, bananas, raisins, asparagus, sweet potatoes, beets, peas, Brussels sprouts and pumpkin.

Some statistics – A study in Greece years ago showed a 72 percent decrease in heart disease when participants ate five or more fruits and veggies per day. A Japanese study showed reduction in deaths related to liver, stomach and lung cancer by 20 percent to 35 percent.


Beets with Orange and Ginger

6 medium beets (high in antioxidants)

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon white vinegar (suppresses blood sugar spikes)

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped (an anticoagulant)

1/2 cup walnut pieces (contain good fat)

Cook beets and skin and cut into wedges (may buy 3 15-ounce cans of cooked beets, drained). Combine rest of ingredients in sauce pan and simmer until thickened. Add beets and mix.


Fruity Chicken Curry Salad

2 cups cooked chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces (good protein and low-fat)

1 20-ounce can chunk pineapple, drained (antioxidant)

1/2 cup chopped celery (antioxidant)

1/4 cup fat-free sour cream

2 teaspoons curry; begin with 1 teaspoon and add to taste (anti-inflammatory)

pinch of salt and black pepper

Combine all together and serve.


Grilled Salmon Glaze

Mix 1/4 cup maple syrup and 2 tablespoons lite soy sauce in saucepan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Use as a glaze for a thick, flavorful crust on your salmon.


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


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Right to the Point (4/22/10)

Military protestors and health care

April 22, 2010

By Mike Benevento

In a bit of a departure from the norm, today’s column will investigate two unrelated topics. We’ll look at a group of protestors followed by discussing health care once more.

Protesters at military funerals

In case you missed it, for years Baptist Pastor Fred Phelps and his followers have been picketing funerals of fallen soldiers throughout the United States. You would think that the group demonstrates all over the country simply because they object to America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They are not, however, necessarily protesting America’s involvement in wars. It goes well beyond that. Instead, Phelps and his cult protest during military funerals because they believe God punishes America with combat deaths as a response to the country tolerating homosexuality.

Yes, you read that right. Phelps’ church believes that because the United States tolerates homosexuals, the nation incurs God’s wrath. The 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina and combat losses are examples of our punishment.

At funerals, Phelps’ group gleefully celebrates the military member’s death. They parade signs like “God Loves Dead Soldiers” and “God Hates Fags” as they desecrate the American flag. They display no compassion for the grieving families.

Because of Phelps’ repulsive actions, federal and state governments enacted laws restricting protests near military funerals. Naturally, the American Civil Liberties Union sided with Phelps as he challenged the constitutionality of such laws.

In late March, a federal court declared that the First Amendment protects the protests — repugnant as they are — as a form of free speech. The families appealed to the Supreme Court. They hope the highest court will look at it not from the free speech standpoint, but as the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Lawyer and commentator Ann Coulter argues that since the group protests at funerals for the specific purpose of causing pain to the deceased’s loved ones, Phelps and others are intentionally inflicting mental distress.

As Coulter wrote, “But if a group of lunatics standing outside the funeral of a fallen American serviceman with hateful signs about the deceased does not constitute intentional infliction of emotional distress, then there is no such tort recognizable in America anymore.”

In the meantime, a group of volunteers called the Patriot Guard Riders protects families by forming a buffer between the mourners and the protestors. The group lines up their motorcycles and stands in such a way (with American flags) as to shield the families from the demonstrators. Until the Supreme Court makes its determination, these volunteer barriers may be the best way to protect the mourners.

Health care column response

My Obamacare column invoked an e-mail response from Bill W., who believes my last column “expresses the same tired Republican talking points.” He called the column “swill” and added that it “is nothing but lies and misinformation.”

While I disagree with his assessment, I thank Bill for reading my column and providing feedback. Because it may be difficult for people who oppose my viewpoint to read my column and respond, I appreciate Bill’s efforts.

As a writer, one of my goals is to have readers look at things differently. Like most Americans, I try to gather the facts, read and listen to others and reach my own conclusions. I do not operate on Republican talking points.

It is not surprising that since I am conservative, I align with Republicans more often than I align with Democrats. Just as health care reform supporters sound like they are spewing Democratic talking points, because I oppose it, I sound like a Republican.

Can health care reform supporters please answer some questions? Will purchasing health insurance be mandatory for most Americans? Is it now? Is it right to force people to purchase insurance? If yes, why?

I am trying to understand why making people purchase something is a good thing … especially if they do not want to.

Additionally, will the federal government play a larger role in health care? If yes, that means individuals and states will have less control. Is that good? If so, why? When will this constant federal expansion end?

I am generally for a smaller federal government, less government control, fewer taxes and more personal freedom to spend our earnings as we desire. I try to write my columns based on these principles. That way, people can better understand that increases in the federal government’s scope reduce state and individual rights.

We are well past what the Founding Fathers envisioned the federal government’s power to be, but most Americans have become so desensitized that they don’t even realize it.


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


[Read more…]

Liberally Speaking (4/22/10)

Advice for the Tea Party

April 22, 2010

By Steve Mount

The Tea Party movement has been active for about a year now, and with the movement’s rise comes a lot of questions. Despite the fact that I don’t agree with most of the Tea Party’s message, they are a continuation of the great American spirit of dissent and protest.

The common use of the Gadsden Flag by Partiers, with its yellow field, coiled rattlesnake, and “Don’t Tread on Me” message, is the group’s own attempt to link back to our revolutionary heritage.

The “Doonesbury” cartoon series has noticed, too: When perpetual hippie Zonker attended a Tea Party rally, he heard Partiers chanting “Down with the Tyrants!” Zonker noted they had the same “outasight” message his generation had. Zonker also found common cause with a Partier who was out to “stick it to the man.”

The Tea Party, though, has image problems it needs to deal with. I’m sure you’ve heard these stories:

• At a January rally in New Mexico, news reports said that “many” of the Partiers showed up with loaded semi-automatic weapons and holstered pistols. All perfectly legal, but the image this sort of thing projects to the average American, who supports gun rights but is wary of guns, is one of aggression and conflict.

• Charges of racism in the Tea Party have also come up again and again. Many examples I cannot repeat here, but this is one: Calling the health care act “white slavery” senselessly and callously belittles the actual slavery the ancestors of some of our black citizens had to endure.

• Finally, a common scene depicted at some rallies has the face of President Barack Obama placed over the image of Adolph Hitler. Aside from the fact that nothing Obama’s administration has done approaches Nazism, there is Godwin’s Law, which states that if you start comparing people to Hitler, the discussion has, by default, gone on too long.

Has the discussion gone on too long?

Last month, my colleague on the right-hand page, Mike Benevento, noted that the Tea Party movement was fragile. The movement, he wrote, “risks fizzling out.” Mike noted that the movement had to not only grow from the grass-roots, but it also had to unify nationally. Otherwise, it risked being just a local phenomenon, with no national influence.

I agree with Mike, but his advice must be only part of the movement’s long-term survival plan. If it continues to appeal to the fringes of the right wing, the ones who insist on screaming “baby killers!” and “socialists!” and even “Nazis!” at every turn, they will lose any hope of wide appeal.

I’ve seen this sort of thing happen before, up-close and on the left. When I was a student at the University of Vermont, because of my work on the school’s Vermont Cynic newspaper, I was asked by a far-left campus group to help produce their own alternative newspaper. It was called The Gadfly, and it contained a fair number of good stories about students working with organizations in Burlington to help the city’s poor and downtrodden.

These stories had a real shot of getting more students involved in social action. The stories, however, were buried between reprints from Granma International (an English-language newspaper from Cuba, which extolled the virtues of Castro and his Revolution) and the People’s World (a communist weekly from New York City). The Gadfly was largely ignored.

The lesson is that a good, positive message of change can easily be derailed by being connected too closely to extreme messages that the common man has no interest in hearing.

The Tea Party’s raison d’être now is to be against the health care law. If that’s all it has to hang its hat on, then I don’t think the Party has much life left in it. They may help Republicans pick up a few seats in November, but I also think that for every negative message about the law the Republicans and the Tea Party have to offer, there are (at least) two positive stories about how the law will make the average American’s health better and more secure.

The movement’s other major issue, the raging deficit, is a big concern; but the only way to stop that now would be to leave our troops in a lurch or to allow the bottom to drop out of the economy. Obama has plans to bring our troops home and hopes with the rest of us that the economy is rebounding, bringing us back to the surpluses of the Clinton years.

The Tea Party might be a force for change over the next few years; they just need to be sure what they want to change is worth changing, and that they do it with rational arguments and tempered words.


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 (4/22/10)

April 22, 2010


Running for VEC board

This letter is an alert for the 689 Williston and 3,296 Chittenden County and Starksboro residents who are Vermont Electric Cooperative members and read the Williston Observer for local and regional news. There is an important election coming up.

The VEC is non-profit under the control of a Board of Directors elected by its members. It serves about 34,000 members with almost 10 percent of Vermont’s power load.

VEC is integrally connected with the Vermont, New England and, ultimately, the national systems. It faces many challenges: alternative energy, energy management, nuclear power, transmission, security and, most importantly to its members, the provision of reliable and affordable energy.

VEC members in 2009 voted to reduce the board from 13 to 12 directors: seven directors to be elected from designated districts and five to be “at-large.” This May, all 12 director positions are up for election.

Under the new design, District 5 includes 4,689 Chittenden County and 188 Starksboro members who will elect one director to replace the three directors elected in 2006/2009. Ballots were to be mailed to members on April 20 and must be returned by May 14 to be tallied at the May 15 VEC annual meeting.

I am a candidate for this directorship. Letters to the Editor limits make it impossible to provide my resume other than to state that I am retired, have the time and interest with an extensive professional background in government, regulatory matters, law, management and planning, which will enable me to be a challenging and constructive member of the board. Questions: contact me via e-mail at

Schuyler Jackson, Hinesburg


Nuclear sophistry

The president just finished a big Washington infomercial on a subject near and dear to his heart, nuclear weapons. The meeting was held with 46 national leaders in attendance.

Missing at the meeting was Iran who according to our own State Department is the world’s leading exporter of terrorism. Iran has processed enough highly enriched uranium to flatten several medium sized countries and regularly threaten to incinerate Israel. China insisted that no sanctions be used to stop Iran from enriching uranium and that they can also continue to bar those pesky IAEA nuclear inspectors from looking around.

North Korea missed the meeting too. Those are the folks who have detonated not one but two nuclear devices and keep hundreds of thousands of prisoners in concentration camps complete with gas chambers and lethal chemical human experimentation.

Syria wasn’t in attendance either. Their North Korean designed plutonium production reactor was blown up three years ago and since then they have concentrated their efforts away from nukes to arming Hezbollah terrorists with chemical capable Scud missiles.

Canada, Mexico and Ukraine have agreed to turn in any potential nuclear bomb making material at the non-binding summit. Burma continues ethnic cleansing and plutonium production but they don’t allow foreigners into their country so nobody knows about their super secret nuclear bomb program.

The president did manage to get a few dozen countries with no nuclear ambitions to issue a nonbinding summit communiqué.

We fund the military in Pakistan. Pakistan continues to make nuclear bombs and refused to sign the nonbinding I don’t know what you call it.

The group did agree on a “work plan” and will be meeting again in another two years so we can continue to be free from worrying about terrorists getting nuclear materials from Canada and Mexico.

Shelley Palmer, Williston


From the Senate

As a member of the Senate Institutions Committee, I want to share some highlights of the Capital Bill passed out of committee last week.

The bill appropriates $72 million in bond dollars to make long-term investments in Vermont’s physical infrastructure. This year, the committee also prioritized labor-intensive uses of funds to put the most Vermonters to work.

The Vermont Telecommunications Authority will deploy $5 million to expand broadband and cell phone coverage to nearly 15,000 Vermonters, including Chittenden County residents, currently without service or with inadequate dial-up as the only option.

Building on last year’s work, the committee voted to deploy $3 million to further enhance the state park system. Most notably, many state park buildings will become solar-powered.

Believing that returning service people should return to decent facilities, the committee appropriated $850,000 to improve the armories for the men and women of the Vermont Guard.

These are just a few highlights from the Capital Bill. For more information, contact me at

Sen. Tim Ashe, Chittenden County


Fresh Air thanks

It is with sincere gratitude that I recognize the tireless efforts of Fresh Air Fund volunteers in northwestern Vermont as the country celebrates National Volunteer Week. Their commitment to helping New York City children is exemplary for all community members and truly embodies the spirit of the 2010 National Volunteer Week theme, “Celebrating People in Action.”

Fresh Air volunteers work in several capacities throughout the year in 13 Northeastern states and Canada to help make The Fund’s programs possible. Caring Fresh Air host families open their homes and share the everyday joys of summertime with their Fresh Air guests. Our local volunteer leaders — many of whom are also hosts — serve on our local committees, plan summer activities, publicize the program and interview prospective host families. Additionally, individuals and businesses give generously of their time and resources to make the Friendly Town host family program throughout this area a great success each and every summer.

The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children since 1877. For more information on how you can help to continue this wonderful tradition of volunteering, please call The Fresh Air Fund at 800-367-0003 or visit

Jenny Morgenthau, Executive director, Fresh Air Fund


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Guest Column (4/22/10)

Lessons from Sally

April 22, 2010

By Leah Soule

Sally. Ninety-eight years young and still growing. An open history book with thousands of living pages, and a mouth too. Sally was born on the 13th of January in 1912. I was born in 1995; I am merely 15, and she has lived through about everything I have ever studied in school — though her pages hold much more than I could ever get from a normal history book. Her pages are her mind; it may be rusty, but it holds the same amount of determination and purpose as ever before.

Sally and I met this past December when I played holiday songs on the piano at the Converse Home in Burlington. After the songs were over, I saw Sally sitting in the back row, looking unusually happy for someone who was sitting alone. I quickly learned she wasn’t just happy, that was her overall personality. That was just the way she lived: with a smile on her face.

I went over to her and introduced myself. Within a period of about five minutes, Sally managed to fill my brain with pages and pages of her own history book. Leaving shortly after our introductions, I found myself becoming intrigued by this 98-year-old woman who simply sat there in front of me, not even knowing how much impact she had made. There was living history sitting right there before me, and I had to go home to do my own history homework. Sally could have easily given me a day’s worth of school with an answer to any one of my questions, which would only stimulate more questions. Isn’t that what learning is all about, anyway?

We can learn so much from one single voice. I suppose it’s whether we are able to take notice of that one voice that makes all the difference; whether we are all able to accept that voice into our lives. I decided I wanted to hear this voice again. I went back to the Converse Home and met with Sally a second time. Sally greeted me with her lovely smile and content persona that I expected.

I had everything planned out. I proudly created a list of purposeful questions to ask about her 98 years. I had my recorder with me and I was ready to play out the schedule I had prepared. I was like an eager journalist yearning for a good story. Fortunately, as soon as I said hello, Sally immediately jumped into conversation. There was no time to take out the recorder and the list of questions. I say “fortunately” because I know I wouldn’t want to talk to a plastic box if I were on the other end.

I simply sat there and listened as Sally willingly told me everything about her life. I never became bored, that’s for sure. She spoke of everything from the first time she was allowed to vote to the first time she fell in love. Sally explained that when she was only 14 she began to work at an office by day and went to school by night. Sally was even able to complete two years of college.

I felt so honored to be in her presence — the presence of history. That sounds a little dramatic, but Sally really never gave up and she still doesn’t now. She told me she always strived to become better. It was inborn; she never needed an extra push like most people do. She simply wanted to succeed. That is the straightforward answer that got her through life. She pushed herself. She did what most humans wouldn’t: took on the challenge of existence. Now, what would the world look like if we all had a mind like Sally?

Sally. Ninety-eight years young and still growing. Where would we be without our elders? They have the potential to teach us the world. All we have to do is listen. Sally taught me so much within the hour I was with her. As soon as I met Sally, I could tell that she wasn’t afraid. She wasn’t afraid of challenges, of growing old, of dying. She was as happy as could be, with a smile glued to her face. Sally was so grateful for her life; she kept on telling me just how lucky she felt with her 98 years. When we shared our goodbyes, Sally enlightened me with a simple phrase that, I may add, has stuck to the bindings of my soul and I believe will stay there forever.

“You have so much ahead of you Leah, you really do. You just need to make the best of it.”

Thank you, Sally.


Leah Soule lives in St. George and is a student at Williston Central School.


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Plans progress for ambulance service (4/22/10)

April 22, 2010

Williston’s new ambulance service is on schedule and on budget, according to Town Manager Rick McGuire.

McGuire updated the Selectboard on the progress of the service on Monday night. The ambulance service was included in the town budget for fiscal year 2011, which voters approved on Town Meeting Day last month.

The service is set to start on July 1.

McGuire said a new ambulance has already been ordered. The town still needs to find a second, used ambulance. Williston will likely hire South Burlington as a bill collection agency for the ambulance service, McGuire said.

“All of the pieces are falling into place as we move forward,” McGuire said.

The town currently uses St. Michael’s Rescue as its primary emergency responder.


— Greg Duggan, Observer staff


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