August 31, 2015

Guest Column

Opening Williston’s time capsule

July 22, 2010

By Ginger Isham

Can news that is 10 years old be interesting? Yes it can! Especially when it is about hometown celebrities. See if you can guess who they are (here’s a hint: one likes skiing and two like ice cream).

When the Williston Historical Society opened its year 2000 time capsule on July 2, 2010 at the Town Band concert, these were the contents of the box:

1. Copy of the book “Thomas Chittenden’s Town” by Willard Sterne Randall and Nancy Nahra

2. 1999 Williston, Vt. Annual Report

3. Jan. 1, 2000 Time magazine Commemorative Issue

4. First 2000 edition of The Williston Historical Society Bulletin

5. Jan. 6, 2000 edition of the Williston Whistle newspaper

6. Picture of our then president, Bill Clinton

7. Williston Historical Society membership picture as well as the Williston Historical Society officer’s pictures

8. A Burlington Free Press article about the final edition of the “Peanuts” comic strip

9. Williston Town Meeting results for 2000

10. Newspaper articles about Ann Battelle’s skiing accomplishments

11. Sacagawea dollar coin

12. A Census Bureau population forecast for the next 100 years

13. Burlington Free Press articles about Ben & Jerry’s being sold to Unilever

14. Pokémon pencils

15. Williston Central School Year 2000 Yearbook

16. Year 2000 top 10 Vermont news stories, selected by the Burlington Free Press

17. News articles announcing George W. Bush’s election as president of the United States

The round top, trunk-style box used for the time capsule was built as an eighth grade challenge by the following four students at Williston Central School: Ashley Baker, Jenn Dumont, Maribeth Fonda, and Melissa Tatro. It was a pleasure to have Maribeth present for the opening.

We hope to add a few noteworthy items from 2010 to the time capsule and open it again in another 10 years. I wonder who in the Historical Society will be around at that time?

Anyone who wishes to view the contents of the time capsule or offer suggestions for 2010 additions should contact Ginger Isham at 878-4875 or [email protected], or Terry Macaig at 878-3872 or [email protected]

If anyone is interested in purchasing a copy of the Historical Society’s book “Thomas Chittenden’s Town,” which includes an extensive history of Vermont’s first governor and other early families in Williston, contact Isham or Macaig or stop in at the town office. The cost is $10.

By the way, did anyone notice the Thomas Chittenden statue on the green was polished recently and shined for the town’s July Fourth activities?

Other Historical Society news

The Williston Historical Society recently lost of one of its members, a talented, historical figure here in town. We extend our sympathy to his family. His name was Art Tuthill. Art lived on U.S. 2 in the former home of a son of Thomas Chittenden. For one of our past July Fourth parades, Art designed and built (with the help of friends) a small replica of Thomas Chittenden’s first home. The original had burned in 1926. The replica is still sitting in Art’s backyard and I hope someday someone will want to restore it in Art’s memory.

The Historical Society wishes to thank everyone who participated for the success of our Ice Cream Social. The proceeds will go to the Williston Community Food Shelf.

Ginger Isham is on the Williston Historical Society’s Board of Directors.


July 22, 2010

An article in last week’s issue of the Observer, “Williston woman urges support for soldiers,” provided the wrong phone number for Barbara Greck. Her phone number is 288-9644. She can also be reached by e-mail at [email protected]

Around Town

July 22, 2010

Parade nets Food Shelf donations

Williston Community Food Shelf volunteers who walked in Williston’s Independence Day Parade collected $1,100 in donations, said Food Shelf President Cathy Michaels.

“A huge thank you to the community for the donations they did do during the July Fourth parade,” Michaels said. “Their donations are always hugely welcomed so we can serve the community.”

Michaels credited Food Shelf Treasurer Jeanne Jensen for organizing the Food Shelf parade participants.

She also encouraged members of the community to continue supporting the Food Shelf, either through donations or by volunteering at the facility. To volunteer or donate, call 735-6303 or visit

Movie deal for Williston man

Williston filmmaker John Oliver has secured a deal giving Osiris Entertainment worldwide distribution rights to his indie comedy film “Dumping Lisa.”

Oliver, who produced and directed the film, spent two years making the movie. “Dumping Lisa” was filmed in Williston and at other locations in Chittenden County.

According to a press release, the DVD is scheduled to be released Aug. 17, and a limited theatrical run will follow.

The movie is “about a couple of conniving slackers who make their living dumping girlfriends of confrontation challenged guys,” according to the press release.

Navy recruit completes training

Navy Seaman Recruit Daniel J. Kalagher, the son of Richard P. Kalagher of Williston, recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

The training program lasted eight weeks, and included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety.

Williston resident participating in internship program

Aaron May of Williston has been named one of six interns at Competitive Computing, a business technology firm located in Colchester.

Competitive Computing, also known as C2, said the internship program focuses on increasing the number and diversity of students seeking careers as engineering, design and finance professionals by providing on-the-job training and practical experience.

May attends Vermont Technical College in Williston.

Essex to upgrade wastewater treatment plant

Williston to help with costs

July 22, 2010

By Greg Duggan
Observer staff

The Wastewater Treatment Plant in the Village of Essex Junction, which serves Williston, will soon need costly upgrades, town officials say.

Costs will likely be transferred to users.

Town Manager Rick McGuire informed the Selectboard of the necessary work on Monday night.

“The Village is in the process of studying portions of the plant (that) are in need of major repairs and upgrades,” McGuire wrote in a manager’s report for the Selectboard.

Built in 1964, the plant went through a major upgrade in 1984. Those repairs had a design life of 25 to 30 years.

McGuire praised the maintenance work of employees at the plant, and described the upgrades as ones becoming necessary at the tail end of the lifespan of the 1984 work.

“What’s really happening, it’s just wearing out,” McGuire told the Observer. “The Essex Junction staff has done an excellent job maintaining that facility. I think we’re facing far less cost than if it was not properly maintained.”

Total cost of the work has yet to be determined, but McGuire said the bill will be millions of dollars. He expects Williston will have to contribute about 30 percent of the cost, a figure that corresponds with the town’s use of the plant.

Because the Village of Essex owns the plant, McGuire expects that town to be responsible for borrowing any money to pay for the work.

“As they contributed to the plant, they would pass the extra cost to us,” McGuire told the Observer.

Selectboard member Judy Sassorossi asked during Monday’s meeting if any grants would be available to help pay for the work.

McGuire responded that Essex is looking into grant opportunities. He said he would inform the board as more information became available.


The Selectboard approved increases to the water and sewer rates on Monday night.

The rates, proposed by Public Works Director Bruce Hoar, are based on water and sewer budgets approved in January.

The water use rate was set at $2.75 per 1,000 gallons for fiscal year 2011. The sewer use rate is $3.86 per 1,000 gallons. Both rates take effect with the second quarter billing for August 2010.

Town Manager Rick McGuire said the rates will cost a family of four an additional $60 per year.

— Greg Duggan, Observer staff

Improvements made at mountain bike trail

July 22, 2010

By Greg Duggan
Observer staff

The local nonprofit mountain biking group Fellowship of the Wheel recently completed the first of 10 new bridges, pictured above, as part of an upgrade to the Mud Pond Loop trail in Williston.

Williston mountain bikers will soon have new bridges and a rerouted trail to enjoy near Mud Pond.

The Fellowship of the Wheel, a local mountain biking organization, is using nearly $1,800 from the Williston Conservation Commission’s trail maintenance budget to improve the Mud Pond Loop.

“It’s a network of about 3.5 miles of trail that my group built quite a few years ago,” said Brooke Scatchard, executive director of the Fellowship of the Wheel. “It was getting regular use, so we decided it was time for bridges and other upgrades.”

Town Planner Jessica Andreoletti said the Fellowship of the Wheel submitted a proposal and budget for the work. The Conservation Commission agreed to buy materials for the improvements.

With the Fellowship providing the labor, Andreoletti said the town was willing to contribute money for the project.

“It was a good partnership opportunity,” Andreoletti said.

Scatchard said the work includes 10 bridges, spanning a total of 200 feet over areas of the trail that hold water after a rainstorm. He said the bridges tend to be 2 feet wide.

Work on the trail began approximately two weeks ago, and Scatchard expects to finish in about a week and a half. The Fellowship, a nonprofit group that supports mountain biking in Chittenden County, has hired four employees for the summer. Other members of the group will also help with the trail work.

Scatchard said other work will include rerouting a section of the trail that channels water.

The trail near Mud Pond in Williston leaves from the east side of South Road and passes through what Scatchard described as rolling terrain in a predominantly pine forest.

“It’s generally intermediate level terrain,” he said. “A lot of people ride over their lunch break, or if they don’t have more than an hour. It’s a good quick loop and it’s pretty fun.”

Andreoletti said the Mud Pond Loop is “pretty much our number one mountain biking trail system in Williston. Fellowship of the Wheel has done a good job being a steward of that trail system.”

Though trails designated for mountain biking in Williston are limited, the Fellowship maintains six other trail networks in six other Chittenden County towns.

For more information about Fellowship of the Wheel, visit

EPA gathers info at Superfund site

June 22, 2010

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff

Josh Stewart (left), an Environmental Protection Agency staff scientist, monitors the vertical profiling rig on Commerce Street on Tuesday. The rig takes groundwater samples from 30 to 40 feet below the surface.

Environmental Protection Agency staff is drilling deep below the surface of the ground near Commerce Street this week to learn more about Williston’s Superfund site.

A crew is carrying out a technique called vertical profiling, drilling down 30 or 40 feet to a layer of clay and taking groundwater samples. The samples are then processed at the EPA’s mobile lab to see where the most contaminated water is.

“It’s all going toward giving us a better understanding of the nature and extent of contamination of the site,” remedial project manager Karen Lumino said.

A plume containing high levels of compounds used to clean metals, including trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene, has contaminated groundwater beneath Commerce Street and South Brownell Road. The area became a federal Superfund site in 2005.

Buildings in the area use municipal water rather than wells, however, so there is little current health risk, according to the EPA.

The EPA, which has been drilling since last week, will wrap up the vertical profiling Friday after testing approximately 30 sites.

Earlier this summer, the EPA completed a geophysical survey of the area, where it determined the depth of the clay layer. The clay layer isn’t even, so finding depressions in the clay where the contamination might have “come to rest” will help characterize the plume, Lumino said.

Lumino said the results still need to be processed, validated and tested for quality control. EPA officials are also working to determine the exact parameters of the plume.

“The phase we’re in right now is remedial investigation,” she said.

Lumino said the clay seems to be acting as a barrier, stopping the contamination from getting into the bedrock. She also said the contamination seems to be settling deep underground, on top of the clay layer, which would reduce the risk of vapors causing any health risks.

The EPA plans to analyze the results from the survey and vertical profiling. In August, it plans to conduct soil borings, taking a cross-section of the soil in the area.

Later this fall, the agency also plans to dig more groundwater monitoring wells, since many of the existing ones are either unusable or were paved over.

By this time next year, Lumino hopes to have completed a risk assessment. Once she knows what the risks are, she will conduct a feasibility study to see what remedies, if any are needed, would be best. The feasibility study would likely take another year to complete.

Candidates lacking for School Board

July 22, 2010

By Greg Duggan
Observer staff

The Williston School Board wants to appoint a replacement for outgoing member Keith Roy on Aug. 16, but first it needs to find at least one interested candidate.

Roy, a MEDEVAC helicopter instructor pilot with the Vermont National Guard, announced his resignation in June due to a pending departure to Iraq. The School Board began looking almost immediately for a community member to fill Roy’s seat, but has so far received no interest prior to the Aug. 1 application deadline.

The School Board directed candidates to send an e-mail of interest to the board.

“So far we haven’t received any e-mails,” board Chairwoman Holly Rouelle told the Observer on Tuesday.

Rouelle and board member Darlene Worth said candidates may have contacted District Principal Walter Nardelli, but he said on Wednesday that no one had expressed interest in the position to him.

“If a community member is interested in education, we would consider anyone who is willing to take on the responsibility,” Rouelle said.

The board is scheduled to meet on Aug. 2.

“I’m sure one of the agenda items will be to discuss what our next steps will be as far as finding an additional board member,” Rouelle said.

She added that the existing board members may need to reach and personally contact individuals.

Whoever replaces Roy would hold the position until town elections take place in March 2011.

Anyone interested in the position should e-mail the Williston School Board at [email protected] The letter of interest should say why the candidate feels he or she would be an asset to the School Board and detail any past community service experience.

Williston Community Garden

July 15, 2010

Observer photos by Greg Duggan

Williston’s Master Gardeners harvested vegetables from the Williston Community Garden on Tuesday night, with the produce benefitting the Observer’s Plant a Row Program and the Williston Community Food Shelf.

Bel Canto Wine

July 15, 2010

Observer photos by Greg Duggan

Bel Canto Wine recently opened at 11 Walnut Walk in Maple Tree Place, next to iParty. Hours are noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and noon to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The shop is closed on Sunday and Monday. For more information, call 879-9111.

CVU football camp

July 15, 2010

Observer photos by Greg Duggan

Fifty-three campers showed up for the Champlain Valley Union High football camp on Monday. CVU senior J.P. Benoit is organizing the camp as part of his Graduation Challenge. He’s receiving help from CVU football coach Jim Provost, as well as teammates. The camp is for students in grades three through nine.