August 28, 2015

Board finalizes utility fees (5/13/10)

May 13, 2010

By Greg Duggan

Observer staff

The Williston Selectboard has decided upon a fee schedule for its utility ordinance, eliminating two fees in the process.

The board passed the ordinance in December, but postponed a decision on the fees until this month. The ordinance regulates the placement of utility lines on public rights of way.

“The ordinance allows for the Selectboard to adopt fees or change the fees as they deem necessary without a public hearing process,” Town Manager Rick McGuire wrote in an e-mail to the Observer.

At its meeting on May 3, the board passed a fee schedule that charges $100 for a permit fee, $100 for an inspection fee and a fee of $10 per square foot of pavement or concrete repairs.

Those fees had met little opposition during the process, though representatives from utility companies have argued against fees for green space and directional boring, which were proposed at $1.75 per square foot and $1 per linear foot respectively.

Jim Condos of Vermont Gas Systems appeared before the Selectboard on May 3 to reiterate those arguments. Regarding the fees for disrupting green space, Condos said that Vermont Gas is already required to repair damaged areas.

So-called “trenchless technology” allows utility companies to install lines underground with horizontal boring techniques. Williston’s fee on boring would have been the first of its kind in the state. Condos said that any extra cost to Vermont Gas Systems would be transferred to customers through a rate increase.

Beth Fastiggi of Fairpoint also attended the meeting and told the Selectboard she agreed with all the concerns raised by Condos.

Bruce Hoar, the town’s director of Public Works, argued that assessing fees could cover future costs to the town, such as repairs to broken lines.

Ultimately, the Selectboard listened to the concerns of Condos and Fastiggi and approved a motion to do away with the green space and boring fees.

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Board approves recreation park (5/13/10)

May 13, 2010

By Greg Duggan

Observer staff

Construction on a new recreation park behind Allen Brook School could begin in a matter of weeks.

The Development Review Board gave the park a discretionary permit on Tuesday night. The park can now move forward with building permits from the town, and still needs to finalize state permits.

Allen Brook Principal John Terko, in his April report to the Williston School Board, wrote that work on the fields will begin at the end of the month and run through the summer. Planning Director Ken Belliveau said he’d be surprised if construction begins that soon, as the project still requires permits.

As Recreation Director Kevin Finnegan said, however, “We’re definitely getting close.”

Once the permits are lined up, the Recreation Committee can put out a request for proposals and hire a construction company.

The first phase of construction will bring two multi-purpose fields for sports including soccer and lacrosse. Finnegan said once the fields are built, people will need to wait at least a year to use them as the grass takes hold.

Much of the discussion at Tuesday night’s Development Review Board meeting focused on parking issues, and how many spaces would be needed. Some members argued for building additional parking immediately, while others advocated for a phased approach. Belliveau said the board eventually opted for phased parking.

A few nearby residents also questioned the lighting of the fields and courts. Finnegan said the Recreation Committee has yet to finalize lighting plans, but is likely to come up with requirements to have lights go out by 10 p.m., or to prohibit baseball and softball games from starting an inning after 10 p.m.

After construction of the multipurpose fields, subsequent building phases will include tennis and basketball courts, softball and baseball fields and a playground.

Finnegan said the entire park is expected to take more than 10 years to build.

“It’s a nice joint venture here with the school and the town,” Terko said.

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Birdie takes flight on stage

    Observer photo by Karen Pike
Conrad Birdie, played by Joe Castano (center), sings to a swarm of teenage fans while visiting Sweet Apple. Williston Central School’s Drama Club performed ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ May 7-8 at the school’s Al Myers Theater. 

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Schools enter second year of Corrective Action (5/13/10)

District doesn’t make Adequate Yearly Progress

May 13, 2010

By Greg Duggan

Observer staff

Despite making what District Principal Walter Nardelli called “great leaps,” two groups of Williston students again failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress on standardized test scores.

Students identified as low income and disabled did not score high enough as groups on standardized tests, as required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Williston and Vermont use the New England Common Assessment Program, commonly known as NECAP, for testing.

Nardelli and Lisa Lovelette, who works as Williston’s school support coordinator for the Vermont Department of Education, said students — particularly those in the disability subgroup — are improving their scores.

“They are making steady progress,” Nardelli said. “That’s good news. But the problem is they’re not making the plateau that says they made adequate yearly progress.”

No Child Left Behind requires a certain percentage of students in every school district to score at least proficient on standardized tests. By 2014, the target is 100 percent of students scoring proficient or higher.

Williston’s scores on the 2009 NECAP tests resulted in the district’s failure to make adequate yearly progress in the student subgroups for the fifth straight year.

“They are seeing gains, which is great, said Jill Remick, communications director for the Department of Education. “But in a lot of cases, it’s not enough to make (adequate yearly progress) two years in a row, which is what they need to do to come off the school improvement list.”

The district was one of 16 in the state to be placed on a list for Year 2 of Corrective Action. Ninety-four schools in Vermont were identified by the Department of Education as not making adequate yearly progress on some level.

Because it is in Corrective Action, the Williston school district works with the Department of Education to address its areas of need and implement an action plan.

Nardelli said Williston has three full time reading recovery teachers working with students in first and second grade who need the extra help. A math recovery teacher focuses on first and second grade students. Another reading specialist works with students in grades five through eight who need extra teaching.

Nardelli also said that kindergarten students, who now attend school all day, have higher scores than their predecessors in half-day programs.

Third grade is the first level at which students take the NECAP tests, and Nardelli expects to see improvements when the younger students reach that point.

Furthermore, the district is spending more time on data analysis to make instructional decisions, Nardelli and Lovelette said.

Lovelette mentioned other steps taken by the school district, including training all math teachers in a course called “Best Practices in Teaching Mathematics” and offering students a three-week summer support program in literacy and math.

“We have more in place now for supports than we’ve ever had before,” Nardelli said.

Remick also noted that No Child Left Behind was passed by the administration of former President George W. Bush. With President Barack Obama now in office, the federal government may change education requirements and standards, Remick said.

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Football honors for CVU

May 6, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

The Vermont Chapter of the National Football Foundation Sunday night bestowed prestigious annual awards on two Champlain Valley Union High football figures.

Head Coach Jim Provost was named Vermont Coach of the Year after leading the Redhawks to the Division 2 title game, and senior end Matt Long was named PRIDE Player of the Year.

The awards were announced April 25 at a dinner at Castleton State College.

Provost, in his second season at CVU, led the Redhawks to the Division 2 championship game in the team’s fifth varsity campaign. It was also its first season in Division 2 after four years in Division 3.

“It was a great night for the whole program,” Provost said of the awards.

Long was a key player for the Redhawks, creating big plays from his defensive end position including making life miserable for opposing quarterbacks seeking time to throw, blocking punts and stopping runners cold.

“Matt was one of the most dominant players I have ever coached,” said Provost, who led Rice Memorial High to a state crown a few years ago. “He made big plays for us.”

Long has been named to the Vermont team in the annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl game in August between graduated seniors from Vermont and New Hampshire. He is the first CVU player to be named to the team.

In winning the PRIDE award, which stands for Personal Responsibility for Individual Daily Effort, Long edged out two other finalists: Essex High quarterback Max Librizzi and Windsor High’s Gavin Callahan.

There was another moment of joy for a Williston resident during the evening’s proceedings.

Provost’s mother, 84-year-old Beatrice, won two tickets to a New England Patriots home game this fall.

“She will definitely be going,” her son said.


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Redhawks basketball coach stepping down (5/6/10)

May 6, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

In 1993, Stan Williams picked up a clipboard, put a lanyard with a whistle around his neck and started drills for Champlain Valley Union High girls basketball players.

For the 2010-2011 season, Williams will be looking on from the sidelines. He has given up the post of head coach for the Redhawks varsity team, a post he ascended to eight seasons ago.

In those eight varsity campaigns, Williams teams posted more than 100 victories. Three seasons ago, the team rolled into the Division 1 championship, where the Redhawks bowed to Mount Anthony Union High of Bennington.

This past season, CVU made it to the Division 1 quarterfinals, where it got nipped by eventual champion St. Johnsbury Academy.

“Stan has been an outstanding role model for students, and even more importantly, one for other teacher-coaches to emulate,” CVU Athletic Director Kevin Riell said.

As for the process of naming a replacement, Riell said the position “will be posted in-house initially in hopes of getting a qualified candidate.”



Champlain Valley Union High boys hockey coach Doug Hopper has been granted a one-year leave, Athletic Director Kevin Riell announced.

Hopper will be replaced this winter by assistant coach Mike Murray.

Hopper had guided the Redhawks to the Division 1 championship game the last three seasons. In 2009, CVU won the state crown for the second time in school history.

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent


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Weekend test for CVU track and field team (5/6/10)

May 6, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With less than a month left before the season-ending regional and state events, the Champlain Valley Union High track and field team will get a mid-campaign measurement of how it fares against major competitors this weekend at Burlington High school.

The two-day Burlington Invitational opens Friday, and according to CVU co-coach Eli Enman, “Most of the strong teams will be there.”

The Redhawks got a warm-up Monday in a dual meet at South Burlington High, which Enman said, “Went well.”

The boys bowed 81-62 in team results while the girls got nipped 76-74.

Girls winners included Kendall Berry (800 meters), Rachel Cross (1,500), Summer Spillane (3,000), Lily Whitaker (100 hurdles) and Shannon Jensen (shot put).

Abby Eddy and Marion Albers tied for the victory in the 200 dash while Haleigh Smith took seconds in the long jump, high jump and triple jump.

CVU also scored a win in the 4-by-800 relay.

The boys captured the 400 and 8,000 relays and got a pair of victories from Dale Conger in the shot put and javelin.

CVU also had the hottest feet in the dashes, with Edward Hasen winning the 100 and Travis Lafrance taking the 200, as the Redhawks swept the first three places in both events.

Last Friday during vacation week, Enman had fewer than half his team available for an event at Essex High. Still, there were some highlights for the Redhawks as the boys took third among six teams and the girls finished fourth.

The three CVU boys victories were posted by Alex Bonfigli in the 110 and 300 hurdles, with Ethan Hildebrand taking second in both events. CVU’s A and B teams took the two top positions in the 400 relay.

Maya Grevatt posted the lone girls win by taking the pole vault.


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Softball team out to end losing streak (5/6/10)

May 6, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Their bats shut down for two straight games, the Champlain Valley Union High softball Redhawks hope to snap a three-game losing streak Thursday afternoon when 1-6 Burlington High rolls into Hinesburg.

Some sharp pitching silenced CVU’s offense early this week, with Essex High’s Bethany Falls slinging a one-hitter and fanning eight as the Hornets posted a thunder and rain-shortened 12-0 triumph at CVU on Tuesday.

Leah Leister’s second inning single was the lone hit for the Hawks, who fell to 2-5. Essex is 4-1.

On Monday, in a make-up contest at Vergennes Union High, CVU managed just four hits off the Commodores’ Devon Lane, who went the seven-inning route in a 12-1 victory.

There was plenty of sock in the CVU metal last Friday. The Redhawks took a lead in the top of the eighth inning, only to give up a pair of tallies in the bottom of the extra frame in a 20-19 loss to the 4-1 Eagles of Mount Abraham Union High.

CVU got serious thump from the bats of Cassidy Maglaris, who had four hits including a triple and three runs driven in. Freshman Alannah Roy unloaded three hits and scored four times while Heather McLaughlin bashed a triple and single while sending three runners across the plate.

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Thunder halts CVU baseball team (5/6/10)

May 6, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

When thunder from on high Tuesday at a little after 6 p.m. caused umpires to suspend the baseball contest between Champlain Valley Union High and Essex High at the CVU baseball foundry, nature’s boomers only took over for the Essex bats.

The veteran 4-1 Hornets had through five innings smashed 18 hits in rolling up a 12-3 advantage over the Redhawks. Then the thunder, followed by lightning and a hard rain, halted proceedings.

The contest was to be resumed Wednesday afternoon, after press deadline, with two on and two out in the bottom of the fifth inning with Lawrence Halvorson batting for CVU.

It was the first game in a busy week in which the 3-4 CVU aggregation will be home to Burlington High on Thursday (4:30 p.m.), at Middlebury Union High on Saturday (11 a.m.) and then back home Tuesday to Mount Mansfield Union (4:30 p.m.).

Essex, considered one of the Metro powerhouses, took charge in the top of the first inning when its first four batters — Dylan Begin, Adam Picard, Dave Valley and Ted Andrews — all rocked solid hits, Begin a double to right center. The foursome started an eight run, 10-hit inning that pretty much decided the contest then and there.

Valley, a senior right-hander, hurled the first four innings and held CVU to three hits and two runs. Lefty Beau Brooks moved from first to the mound in the fifth and gave up two walks and a run while striking out two before the big boom out of the darkening skies shut things down.

Halvorson, a sophomore, led CVU with two singles and an RBI.

Junior lefty Calvin Benevento started for the Redhawks. He gave way in the third to junior righty Ryan Machavern, who pitched two-and-two-thirds strong innings, touched up only by an Andrews two-run homer.

There was more boom in the CVU bats Monday, when the pings and bongs produced 17 hits and a 12-1 win at 3-3 Vergennes Union High in the makeup of a previously postponed contest.

Theron Fuller pitched six innings to collect the win. He surrendered just six hits and whiffed three batters.

The lusty attack was led by Drew Nick, who socked a homer, double and single to chase five runs over the platter. Alec Zullo lashed a double and two singles while Tucker Kohlasch unloaded a pair of doubles for two ribbies. Halvorson cracked a two-bagger and drove home two runs.

The offensive outburst was a welcome sight for coach Tim Albertson after the Redhawks got shut down Friday in Bristol by 5-0 Mount Abraham Union’s Shawn Marcelle. Pickings off Marcelle were slight: just five hits while he fanned 12.

The top rapper for CVU was Nick with a double and single.


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