May 25, 2020

PHOTOS: Adams Summer Festival

Aug. 26, 2010

Observer photos by Marianne Apfelbaum

Adams Apple Orchard & Farm Market held its first annual Summer Festival Aug. 21-22. The Adams decided to hold a Summer Festival this year in place of their traditional fall event due to damage to their apple crop from a late spring frost.

The festival featured a peach pie contest, with Forrest White of Williston winning the grand prize for his Peach ‘n’ Bacon Pizza.

Pizza dough

Pizza sauce

2 peaches

1 teaspoon butter

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper flakes

Pinch of salt



Mozzarella cheese

Blue cheese

Preheat oven to 550 degrees with pizza stone on bottom. Precook bacon and set aside. Prepare pizza sauce in sauté pan on low heat. Add butter, honey, puree of one peach, cayenne pepper and pinch of salt. Cook until ingredients are well combined. Toss pizza dough, lay out on pizza peel/tray. Spread sauce your dough. Sprinkle mozzarella on sauce. Place on toppings: 1 peach cut into 1/2-inch cubes, bacon, tomato. Sprinkle with blue cheese crumbles. Cook until cheese starts to brown.

PHOTOS: Groovin’ on the Green concert

Aug. 26, 2010

Observer photos by Brighton Luke

Buddy Dubay and the Minor Key performed at Maple Tree Place Aug. 19 for the Groovin’ on the Green music series. The final concert takes place Aug. 26, with Woods Tea Co. playing.

PHOTOS: Primary election

Aug. 26, 2010

Observer photos by Marianne Apfelbaum

Williston voters took to the polls on Tuesday at the Williston Armory to cast ballots in the Vermont primary election.

This Week’s Popcorn

“Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” is a match made on the cutting edge

By Michael S. Goldberger
Special to the Observer

As inevitable as the rock opera was in the late 1960s, director Edgar Wright’s “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” creatively combines the audio-visual tools of a new generation in a kaleidoscopic mélange of mediums. It may not always be art, and may not care. But the process by which Bryan Lee O’Malley’s graphic novel is adapted is watershed striking.

While the comprehensive confluence of contemporary sensibilities humorously and arrogantly declares its turn at the palette, the ideas are sneakily inserted into a traditional, narrative structure. Which it then sets about to satirize and thumb its nose at whilst observing all its rules. There is method to the madness and an impressive consistency.

Almost as divergent as the mode of delivery, the portrayals come replete with a built-in hypocrisy. Title character Scott Pilgrim, a 23-year-old slacker played by Michael Cera, supplies the script with large portions of self-awareness prattle. In what are essentially stage whispers, he declaims his frailty, ineptitude and nobility.

It’s apparently his charm. How else could he be courting two gals? OK, so he’s in a band. Yet by his own admission, the group isn’t even that good. Still, when first we meet the geek, he’s apprising his gay roommate of the Chinese high school girl he’s dating. Oh, don’t worry, it’s totally platonic. It outrages his older sister, Stacey (Anna Kendrick).

The vociferous sibling, who owes her omniscience to the wittily lampooned cell phone milieu and Scott’s gossipy roomie, Wallace Wells (Kieran Culkin), functions as Scott’s conscience. Interjecting her diatribes with milepost regularity, the authority figure is ludicrously subjective. But it doesn’t matter. Scott’s too self-absorbed to listen, anyway.

Plus, there is suddenly the matter of Ramona Flowers, a mysterious young lady funkily played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Arriving in Toronto to work as a delivery person for, she becomes, in a classical case of the adored Venus as perceived road to salvation, The One. Add a dramatic ploy from the ancient Greeks and you have the plot.

You see, in order to win Ramona, Scott will have to defeat the gal’s seven evil ex boyfriends. Interwoven with a series of band competitions his rock group, Sex Bob-Omb, has entered in hopes of winning a recording contract, it makes for plenty of inventively orchestrated action. Surprisingly, Scott is quite the warrior for a nerd.

The seemingly endless string of battles, interspersed with comical scrutinization of Scott’s moral dilemmas — including, but not limited to high schooler Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) — is presented with cutting edge savvy, nuance and technological pizzazz. I.e.-Video game scoring and graphics are part and parcel of the comic-book-like mêlées.

Filmmaker Wright confidently shuns presumption with an incorporated self-effacement, and gains validity by chidingly reminding with intermittent footnote that his whirligig of a film shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Humbly, it’s just a logical evolution. That said, this is good, smart sociology, delivered with poetic skill.

If this Brave New World’s attention deficit-inspired argot isn’t your native tongue, however, then once the survey course in modern, youthful mores and folkways paints its enlightenment, the scenario grows a bit wearying. The boom, bang and kapow of the rock music-enhanced images lose their dazzle. Alas, the love story salvages our interest.

Good acting by the principals establishes a time-honored triangle, affirming that love is alive and well and every bit as mystifying among the high-tech generation. Mr. Cera is effective as the suitor atypical of his realm, his being comprised of a real self, an insecure id and a heroic alter ego. Naturally, we root for the latter to prevail over the evil exes.

But while we actually don’t learn much about Scott beyond his two-dimensional effusions, it’s a cornucopia of info compared to Miss Winstead’s purposely enigmatic, prized objet d’amour. Curiously, other than that she changes the color of her hair on a weekly basis and has gained the affections of seven bad boys, she remains a puzzle.

If it isn’t just a metaphor for the elusiveness of love, then it leads one to question the so-called liberation at this vanguard of our culture. Not that the men are depicted in such haloing light. Still, sister Stacey is a didactic nag; Knives is an adoring little girl; and Kim (Alison Pill), Sex Bob-Omb’s drummer still pining over Scott, is forever in a rage.

More emblematic is the nonchalance about sexual preference. Yet all the same, our protagonist is as hormonally perplexed as were Andy Hardy and Holden Caulfield. Illuminating while reasserting that the more things change, the more they stay the same, “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” amusingly competes for your moviegoing dollars.

“Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” rated PG-13, is a Universal Pictures release directed by Edgar Wright and stars Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Kieran Culkin.

CVU athletes prep for fall campaigns

Aug. 26, 2010

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

With football practices in their second week and the first days of workouts well under way in soccer, field hockey and cross country, the autumn athletic season at Champlain Valley Union High has hundreds of athletes working hard for varsity and junior varsity slots when the campaigns begin early next month.

All sports have solid 2009 seasons on which to build, or, in the case of boys soccer, to try and replicate. Coach T. J. Mead’s Redhawks captured the Division 1 championship last year.

The girls soccer team and the football team made it to championship games in Divisions 1 and 2, respectively. The girls cross country team is always a state and even New England contender, with the boys not far behind.

The field hockey team is coming off two seasons in the Division 1 championship game, with the big trophy a wrap in 2008.

Head coach Kate McDonald said in a Monday telephone conversation that only four starters return from the 2009 team that went undefeated until the championship game, when Hartford High took its revenge; CVU had popped the Hurricanes in the 2008 title test.

McDonald said three of the seven graduated starters from last year are already into their college careers. They are Kelsey Jensen (Colgate), KK Logan (Connecticut College) and Emmaleigh Loyer (Bates).

“We graduated nine seniors,” McDonald said. “We have some new faces.”

Returning to CVU are just four starters: forward Louise Gibbs, defender Aubrey Deavitt, forward Molly Burke and defender Lauren King.

To help fill some slots will be several players from last season’s junior varsity squad, which rolled through its 2009 schedule with only one loss and a tie.

McDonald, who has 10 years at the field hockey helm, said she is working with 62 girls who will be divided into varsity and two jayvee teams, which is about the same number of hopefuls as in 2009.

The varsity will travel to Bristol and Mount Abraham Union Saturday for an event in which the Redhawks will compete in half-hour contests against some of the several teams participating.

A scrimmage at Essex High is on the docket for Aug. 31, with the season opener against Burlington High at the CVU field on Sept. 8.

Cross country coach Scott Bliss has been working with more than 90 boys and girls as the cross country teams run up and down hills to get ready for the rigors of the season.

If youth is served, the boys team will be first in line with more than 30 freshmen among the 60 candidates. On the girls side there are more than 30 candidates.

The Redhawks’ season opener is a home invitational at Keenan Farm at 10 a.m. on Sept. 4.

Mead is currently working with 40 hopefuls at the varsity level. He expects to pare the number down to 22 to 25 players by the time the season opens Sept. 7, when Route 116 neighbor Mount Abraham Union motors to the Hinesburg field.

In all, Mead expects up to 70 players on the varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams.

Missing for at least much of the season will be Mike Clayton, last year’s top goal getter, who injured a knee in late winter and is undergoing treatment and rehabilitation.

“We had a pretty nasty conditioning test,” Mead said of the welcome to CVU soccer drill held on opening day Monday at 7 a.m.

The candidates, as is tradition, were to run a mile in six minutes, after a short rest, a half-mile in three minutes, another short rest and then a quarter-mile in 90 seconds and later a 200-yard dash in 45 seconds.

“It is really tough,” Mead said, adding that in general it went quite well.

“The legs being in good condition allows players to do what they want to do on the field,” the coach explained.

The defending champs have scrimmages set for 10 a.m. Saturday morning at home against Rice Memorial High and Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans.

Everyday Gourmet

Study, play, eat

Aug. 26, 2010

By Kim Dannies

The school schedule is kicking into full gear this week, and fast healthy food is paramount for ravenous students, athletes and people pushing the revolving door of activity. Fortunately for cooks, there is a mother lode of great produce just waiting to be turned into a meal that will please everyone.

Orecchiette (oh-rayk-kee-EHT-the), also known as “little ears” pasta, is fun to eat. The disk-shape cradles the sauce, delivering a fresh burst of flavor in every bite. For weekend guests, ricotta stuffed ravioli provides an excellent up-tick to the dish. This recipe is very forgiving — I recently tossed in leftover grilled corn and sliced kalamata olives, and they proved to be nice additions. Prep is super-fast, do-ahead, and the best part is packing lots of nutrition into a fun meal without your busy bodies noticing.

Tomato & Basil Orecchiette

In a large glass prep bowl, combine the following: 4 to 6 tomatoes (1.5 pounds), rough cut with skin and seeds; 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced; zest of 1 lemon, plus the lemon juice; 2 cups zucchini, finely diced; 3 tablespoons of olive oil; 1 fist-full of fresh basil, ribbon-cut; 2 big pinches of sea salt; fresh pepper to taste. Prep this mixture up to 24 hours ahead; store covered at room temperature.

To serve: Add 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese to the tomato mixture. Add 2 cups cooked cubed chicken or shrimp (optional).

Cook 8 ounces of Orecchiette for 10 minutes in boiling, salted water. At the 10-minute mark, scoop 1/2 cup of the cooking water into the tomato mixture. Drain pasta and toss into sauce. Serve immediately; reheats beautifully in the microwave. Serves 4 hungry people; doubles nicely.

On the side: Toast slices of Tuscan bread and slather with fresh or store-bought pesto.

For dessert: Microwave peach halves for 2 minutes; fill cavity with a scoop of non-fat Greek yogurt. Top peaches with a mixture of hazelnuts, fresh mint and warm honey.

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

Little Details

Aug. 26, 2010

Going home

By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

“You know,” the elderly man leaned in toward my husband and said, “that sandwich would taste even better with a little bit of onion.”

My husband looked up and simply smiled.

“Actually, sir,” I interjected, “my husband doesn’t speak Polish. I’ll translate for him.”

Embarrassed, the man offered a quick, “Przepraszam,” which means, “pardon me.”

“There’s no need to apologize,” I assured him. His friendly overture was a sweet surprise.

After a brief conversation, he wished us a pleasant dinner and walked away slowly. My eyes followed him. His gait reflected a slight limp, similar to one my father developed later in life. The man paused to read the inscription on a monument honoring victims of Nazi persecution before disappearing into the crowd. I felt an inexplicable rise of emotion. There was something unusual, almost otherworldly, about our exchange.

Our picnic consisted of rye bread, cheese, tomatoes, chips and kefir. My family sat on a bench overlooking the San River in the town of Przemysl, enjoying a casual meal as pedestrians streamed past. The sun lay low, bathing the summer sky in pink-orange light.

My paternal grandfather was born in Przemysl when it was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Nestled near the tranquil Bieszczady Mountains, it is today a Polish frontier town, 12 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.

We were in no hurry to return to our lodgings. I booked what was likely the cheapest hostel in this eastern outpost. Our three-person room was spartan yet clean, tainted only by small bits of plaster missing from otherwise unblemished walls. Crisp linens rested atop bunks and a bureau with three drawers occupied a small corner. The shared bath and communal kitchen resided down the hall. We were the odd family in residence amid a sea of college students.

A picnic by the river seemed a fitting way to mark our return to Poland following a five-day excursion to Ukraine. It was the summer of 2005. Six short months before, a frustrated Ukrainian electorate took to the streets to protest a flawed presidential election. The Orange Revolution was remarkable for its peacefulness and positive outcome. Civil disobedience prompted new elections. We encountered spell-throwing gypsies, intriguing definitions of vegetarian fare (Note: Americans do not consider white chicken breast vegetarian) and friendly Ukrainians expressing fervent hope that the revolution would improve their lives.

Our mission in Ukraine was simple: visit my father’s hometown of Turka, the one the Nazis took him from in October 1941, transporting him to a German slave labor camp. At war’s end, Turka was absorbed into the Soviet Union, making travel there nearly impossible. My father’s family was deported, forsaking forever the beloved house grandfather built for an abandoned German dwelling in Silesia. My father landed in America in 1949, a refugee. He longed to return to the place of his childhood, a childhood interrupted by war.

Ours was a sentimental journey, a grasp at the past. We hired a Polish-speaking guide in Lviv to make the journey to Turka. Ivan answered our every request with an enthusiastic “Absolutnie!” which means, “Absolutely!” We hit the road in his little Lada, traversing a circuitous path along bumpy lanes.

We found my father’s church, the one closed by Soviets and turned into a warehouse. Stain-glassed windows, long since destroyed, were replaced by simple, transparent panes. Damaged floor tiles were slowly being replaced. We climbed the steeple — devoid of its bell — where my altar boy father called townspeople to Mass.

The parish, reopened shortly after the collapse of the U.S.S.R., is shepherded by a young Polish missionary from Gdansk. Father Tadeusz was friendly, vivacious and a bit harried — the rectory was filled with an assemblage of priests, nuns and youths preparing for a five-day, 150-kilometer pilgrimage on foot. My family sat at a rickety table sharing tea — a mark of hospitality given the building’s lack of running water — and conversation with pilgrims. I remember three youthful Polish nuns — Sisters Joanna, Marzena and Ewa — giddy with anticipation. Our language of currency was Polish, given its similarity to Ukrainian; English proved useless.

We walked the streets of Turka past an open air market and the small square whose homes were inhabited by Jewish shop owners and professionals before the war. Poverty was evident in the shabbiness of the houses. We stood out — for our clothes and non-Ukrainian mutterings.

We ventured towards the outskirts of town to the neighborhood where my father once lived. The house is gone; the trees grandfather planted remain. I embraced pastoral views, imagining my father as a happy-go-lucky kid catching fish in the stream and playing ball with friends. He was very outgoing and sociable then, or so my uncle tells me. Imprisonment by Nazis coupled with displacement from home and family left their mark on my gentle father.

Dad died of cancer in July 1996. It later dawned on me that the friendly, gentle man who greeted my husband did so on the exact anniversary of my father’s passing, on the day we returned from Turka. It was almost as if dad — who loved onions on his sandwiches — was trying to say, “You did well. Thank you for returning to the place from where I came.”

Katherine Bielawa Stamper lives in Williston. Reader comments are welcome at or

Letters to the Editor

Aug. 26, 2010

Playing at Mud Pond

We have been enjoying the recent coverage about Mud Pond Country Park and all of the new trail improvements. Kudos to the Fellowship of the Wheel Mountain Biking organization for all of the time, effort and expertise they have devoted to maintaining this gem of a trail. The Fellowship of the Wheel ( is an outstanding group of outdoor enthusiasts who have created amazing hike and bike trails all over Chittenden County. An outing at Mud Pond will be a highlight of your family’s fall weekend schedule — check it out, it is only a few minutes from home!

Kim and Jeff Dannies, Williston

Buying FRONTLINE online

If you are a pet owner and you like to get good deals online be careful what you shop for. If the price seems too good to be true the product may not be what it should be.

My dog takes FRONTLINE to protect her from getting fleas and ticks. What many people don’t know is that some websites sell counterfeit items. FRONTLINE is a pet product used to kill biting lice, ticks and fleas on your pet or pets.

There are four ways to tell if your item is counterfeit:

1) The lot numbers on the box need to match the lot numbers on the applicator;

2) The connected applicator packaging should have a v-notch between each applicator packet;

3) There should be a full applicator picture on the back of each applicator packet with specific writing under picture stating, “To remove applicator, use scissors or lift and remove plastic tab to expose foil, then pull down.”

4) The unit of measure on the back of each applicator should be in ounces, not millimeters.

For the safety of our pets, the company should state that their products are U.S. EPA and FDA approved.

Mia O’Farrell, Williston

Guest Column

Vermont adopts national education standards

Aug. 26, 2010

By Armando Vilaseca

On Aug. 17, the Vermont State Board of Education approved the adoption of the Common Core State Standards. The Common Core State Standards initiative is a national effort to have common learning expectations for all students across the country. Vermont is the 31st state to adopt these standards, and it is expected that all remaining states will do so as well in the coming months.

The Common Core State Standards are comparable to the most rigorous international education standards. What this means for Vermont and other states with high standards is that we will not be lowering our standards in this move, but rather more states will now have high expectations comparable to what we already have. We will also be able to truly see how well our students perform compared to their peers nationally.

For the past six years, Vermont — along with Rhode Island, New Hampshire and most recently Maine — have shared common standards and a common assessment called the New England Common Assessment Program, commonly known as NECAP. Our states’ standards are considered to be some of the highest in the nation, and we do not take this change lightly.

The NECAP consortium will no longer be viable after 2014, since all states will be using one of two new assessments based on the Common Core. Of the two assessments, Vermont is participating in the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium, which has approximately 32 states participating. This assessment will expand the use of technology by delivering the assessment to students electronically. Each student will respond to a unique set of items that will provide more information about progress as well as achievement. This move to only two assessments nationally means there will be better comparisons across states, and more collaboration and sharing of resources among all states. In addition, through these common assessments, colleges and universities will be better able to incorporate student results in their admission process, which will make this assessment much more relevant for our high school students.

Vermont has been actively involved in the development and review of these new standards and will be actively involved in the assessment consortium. Because of our experience working in multi-state consortia, Vermont is able to bring perspectives to the discussion that only a handful of states can provide.

The transition from our current standards and NECAP assessment to the implementation of the Common Core in curriculum, instruction and assessment will require a multi-year effort at the local and state level. Professional development will be the single most important aspect of preparation for this change, and will require a statewide initiative and investment to support teachers in this transition.

This initiative comes with some concessions. This transition means Vermont will be changing assessments for the third time in 16 years, making it difficult to look at trends and how improvement to curriculum and instruction is impacting students’ test scores. There will be some additional costs for staff development and implementation of new curricula, which will require additional resources at the state and local levels to ensure all of our educators are well prepared to support the Common Core. However, these are minor concessions to make when we look at the long-term benefits of adopting the Common Core.

The State Board’s vote to adopt the Common Core State Standards continues to push Vermont’s already strong educational system forward. We expect these changes at the state and national level will result in enhanced outcomes and increased aspirations for students beyond high school, and will accurately measure true college and career readiness skills for all Vermont students.

For more information, visit

Armando Vilaseca is the Vermont commissioner of education.

Around Town

Aug. 26, 2010

Board approves bylaw amendments

The Williston Selectboard on Monday evening approved two changes to the town’s Unified Development Bylaws.

One change, to Chapter 11 of the bylaws, allows developers of certain subdivisions to reapply for growth management allocation. Due to the confusing language of growth management, certain projects may have expired permits. Subdivisions qualifying for the reapplication process must have already displayed an intention to begin construction. Planning Director Ken Belliveau said his department will notify affected developers of the bylaw change.

The second change applies to Chapter 37 of the bylaws, and allows existing light industrial buildings and warehouses in the mixed use commercial district to expand.

Fire Department offers car seat fittings

The Williston Fire Department has three members who were recently trained as car seat technicians. Shift officer Ryan Prouty, firefighter-EMT Prescott Nadeau and firefighter-EMT David Auriemma are certified to properly fit car seats. To schedule a free fitting, call the station at 878-5622.

Shepard to chair Telecommunications Authority

Williston resident Dr. Steven Shepard, a technology educator and writer, has been appointed as chairman of the Vermont Telecommunications Authority.

Shepard was named to the position by Gov. Jim Douglas, Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith and Vermont Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin. The founder of the Shepard Communications Group and co-founder of the Executive Crash Course Company, Shepard has more than 25 years of experience in the technology industry.

“Over the last 10 years I have had the honor to work on telecom policy issues in over a hundred countries, from First World nations to the Third World, where the introduction of telecom technology is a nation-changer,” Shepard said in a press release. “The opportunity to work with the VTA and its many partners in the state is a unique opportunity that I take very seriously.”

The Vermont Telecommunications Authority was approved by the Vermont Legislature in 2007. It aims to ensure that Vermonters have access to affordable broadband and cellular service throughout the state.