September 30, 2014

Road Watch

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Burlington

Road construction will reduce traffic to one lane at times or allow local traffic only on the following Burlington streets:

  • Peru Street
  • George Street
  • Prospect Hill
  • Colchester Avenue
  • Pomeroy Street
  • Colonial Street
  • Loomis Street
  • Weston Street
  • St. Louis Street
  • Van Patten Street
  • Temple Street
  • Rockland Street

Road construction on Colchester Avenue from Prospect Street to Nash Street will run through Oct. 15. Traffic delays are expected.

The South Winooski Avenue repaving project will involve paving of abutting side roads during the week, with possible driveway excavation that will cause no parking in those areas. Vehicles left in the signed “No Parking” areas will be towed at the owner’s expense. Through Friday, there will be additional roadwork on South Winooski Avenue starting at King Street and proceeding south to the end of the project. Traffic control will be present.

Colchester

Work on Holy Cross Road will continue until mid-October. Traffic control will be present when required.

Essex

Construction begins this week to install traffic signals at the Ethan Allen Avenue intersection with Route 15 in Fort Ethan Allen. Later in the week, Ethan Allen Avenue will be limited to traffic entering the Fort, and exiting traffic will be detoured to the main Barnes Avenue intersection. There will also be periodic lane closures on Route 15. Work will be done between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., and this project will continue through mid-November.

Essex Junction

Work on Pearl Street between the main gate of the fairgrounds and the intersection with the post office will last through Nov. 1. Most of the work will be between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. with occasional night work possible. Two-way traffic will be maintained at all times with traffic control present, but motorists may experience short traffic delays.

South Summit Street is CLOSED from Pearl Street to Cherry Street from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. for road construction. Traffic will be detoured, and traffic control will be present. To accommodate school traffic, South Summit Street will be open from 7:45 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., and then from 2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. This project is expected to be completed by Oct. 5.

Interstate 89

There will be lane and shoulder closures at various places between exits 10 and 16 northbound and southbound through Oct. 30.

Drivers should be aware of construction activity near the exit 14W northbound ramp.

Southbound traffic approaching exit 15 should stay in the left lane due to work painting the bridge over the Winooski River and to shorten the exit 15 on ramp. The speed limit is reduced to 50 mph in this area. This project will continue through the end of October.

Work to improve the exit 15 northbound ramp on Interstate 89 in Winooski may cause minimal traffic delays.

Milton

Traffic on the West Milton Road near the Lamoille River will be reduced to one lane due to road construction. Traffic control will be present, and this project will continue through Oct. 1.

Richmond

Utility companies working in the area of the Checker House Bridge on U.S. 2 and on the north side of U.S. 2 from French Hill to the Winooski River Bridge may reduce traffic to one lane at times for the next several months.

South Burlington

No parking is allowed on Airport Drive in front of the airport until Oct. 8 to accommodate the delivery of large construction materials.

Road construction on San Remo Drive will reduce traffic to one lane at times.

Underhill

Pleasant Valley Road is open for two-lane traffic but the travel will be rough until the road is repaved in October. Motorists should be aware of construction and utility vehicles and people working along the side of the road in the work zone.

Westford

Weather permitting, there will be work on driveways and general cleanup work throughout the project limits on Route 128 north of the Westford Village to Fairfax.

Winooski

Crews will continue replacing sidewalks along Route 15 near exit 15, causing various lane closures on Route 15 in both directions throughout the week.

County-wide

Motorists should be alert for bridge washing and mowing along all county roads. Minor traffic delays should be expected.

For additional information, contact Administrative Advantage at 802-872-9757. More information on current activities at the Chittenden County Metropolitan Planning Organization is available online at www.ccmpo.org.

Volunteers

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The listings below are a small sample of needs from more than 200 agencies, available by going online to www.unitedwaycc.org and clicking on “Volunteer.” If you do not have computer access, or would like more information about the volunteer opportunities, call 860-1677 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

AMBASSADOR

Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce is looking for volunteers who want to help area businesses save energy and money by conducting on-site “business energy visits.” Volunteers will be trained to identify basic energy saving opportunities and to review financial incentives offered by Efficiency Vermont. Volunteers are expected to attend a three-hour training from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 14 and then conduct five one-hour business visits by mid-December.

MAKING STRIDES

The American Cancer Society needs volunteers to distribute Making Strides posters and information to businesses, schools and organizations in every community during the week of Oct. 10. Flexible scheduling. Volunteers are also needed to prepare and serve refreshments at the Making Strides event at Dorset Park in South Burlington on Oct. 17, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

FESTIVAL

Linking Learning to Life is holding a Giant Pumpkin Regatta and Festival on Sunday, Oct. 10 at the Burlington Waterfront and needs volunteers to help with arts and crafts, refreshment sales, loading pumpkins and more. Flexible scheduling between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

COMPUTER INSTRUCTOR NEEDED

The BHA Network for Education and Technology works directly with youth and adults interested in learning the basic functions of the Windows operating system as well as printers, scanners and more. The Network is looking for a student or professional with the ability to lead a group of learners to develop proficiency in today’s most common office tools. Flexible scheduling.

MAKE A QUILT

Lund Family Center is seeking quilt makers to make lap-size sensory quilts for children receiving adoption services. Volunteers should be creative with patterns, textures and design and utilize fillings of rice, beans or popcorn. An excellent opportunity for “stay at home volunteers.”

ARCHIVIST NEEDED

Lund Family Center will be celebrating its 120th anniversary next year and is looking for a volunteer with a passion for history and the talent to bring that history to life by presenting the Center’s incredible past in new and interesting ways. Flexible scheduling.

MENTOR! MENTOR!

Mercy Connections has partnered with Vermont Works for Women to create a mentoring program to support women making the transition from correctional facilities into Chittenden County. Mentors can have a profound influence as individual women work to rebuild their lives. Orientation and specialized training provided. Mercy Connections also needs volunteers for short-term assistance such as helping with transportation.

This Week’s Popcorn

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‘The Town’ is the one without pity

3 popcorns

By Michael S. Goldberger
Special to the Observer

Unsettling via the ugly little, crime-absorbed world it unearths, director Ben Affleck’s “The Town” blends old style action-drama with a shock and awe rawness common to our times. While a part of you may wish that the distasteful sociology had remained under its slimy rock, your captivated half is sure to be rendered mouth agape and at seat’s edge.

Mr. Affleck, buzzed of late as only a fair actor, disproves the naysayers this go-round by pulling the triple threat — acting, writing and directing — with notable aplomb. He is Doug MacRay of the Charlestown, Boston, MacRays, a second generation robber of banks and armored cars. And of course, we’re meeting him at a turning point.

Oh yeah, even before we learn Doug’s sad but true story, we suspect this isn’t your ordinary mass of criminal DNA. Perhaps he was destined for better things. It’s this idealism, doubtlessly intertwined with a touch of our own optimistic sentiment, that sets up the moral quandary which hauntingly resides at the core of the turbulent tale.

The sticky situation is set in motion when Doug and his three partners in crime are forced to briefly take Claire Keesey (Rebecca Hall), a pretty bank executive, hostage during a job gone slightly awry. The complications are ineradicable, or at least they are if Doug isn’t actually a decent sort behind his bizarre array of bank robbing disguises.

In short, he wants to do the right thing. But that could compromise longtime buddy, cohort and inveterate loose cannon, James Coughlin (Jeremy Renner), which in turn prompts an ethical dilemma within the greater moral scheme. It gets even more involved as the storyline dusts off a creepy old romantic plot with a cat and mouse twist to it.

But wait … one more thing. Cannily exacted by Jon Hamm, FBI Special Agent Adam Frawley adds yet another wrinkle to the tension-filled treatise on right and wrong. True, he’s clean cut. And yes, he is in pursuit of the bad guys. Still, we can’t help note a nagging likeness between S.A. Frawley and Inspector Javert of “Les Miserables” infamy.

While these players and allegiances are being established, we are also bombarded by a cascade of overwhelming crime statistics. Of all the bank jobs and armored car heists in the United States, no place holds a candle to Charlestown’s numbers. It’s a local specialty. More dizzying, these desperadoes blatantly thumb their noses at Feds and Boston cops alike.

But while Affleck’s disparaging dissection of the culture steers clear of a justifying empathy for most of the lowlifes it showcases, there is an analogy here … one that recalls similarly themed films from the Great Depression. The tacit implication is that Judgment Day takes hard times into consideration, and allows for a sliding scale of scrutiny.

Added to the socioeconomic thrust, “The Town” is also about humankind’s perpetual petition for another turn around the block. And if seen solely in these terms, Mr. Affleck’s effort would be just so much warmed up cliché. Art, however, reserves a special place in its heart for first-class variations on a theme. And “The Town” fully qualifies.

Unlike the Scorsese style of full, environmental construction, Affleck makes do with a simple landscape of gritty, tough-talking denizens. Through their snapping diatribes and emotionally charged confessions, a character driven milieu materializes. If there’s a sun shining or kids laughing in Charlestown, no one pays notice. Sheer survival is uppermost.

It’s the sad result of everything that can go wrong when we are tossed into a poverty-stricken, urban environment perennially ruled by a cynical, demagogic power. Here, the nasty opportunist, superbly exacted by Pete Postlethwaite, is “Fergie” Colm, a mobster reeking of clan-evolved, might-makes-right despotism. Gosh, this is a terrible place.

Therefore, we charitably issue a nodding approval to the formula within the old saw, fully appreciating Doug MacRay’s desire to escape from the hell that is Charlestown. Problem is, if our bank robber is to achieve redemption, how can he sidestep customary, movie code punishment? Thus is added an introspective layer of anxiety to the doings.

There is uneasiness as we find ourselves rooting for the handsome thief and rationalize his right to grace. After all, no dispensation is sought for his average looking, unlikable cronies, especially Jeremy Renner’s hair-trigger Jimmy Coughlin. Expertly etched, he frighteningly reminds of Don Cheadle’s sociopath in “Devil in a Blue Dress” (1995).

They are a disquieting bunch in a distressing saga, forcing us to check our calendars to see if we are indeed living in a modern, civilized society or just a chimera of it, where the law of the jungle still prevails. As action-packed as it is suspenseful and socially confounding, “The Town’s” dramatic demographics make for an alarming civics lesson.

“The Town,” rated R, is a Warner Bros. Pictures release directed by Ben Affleck and stars Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremy Renner and Jon Hamm. Running time: 123 minutes.

PHOTOS: CVU boys soccer vs. Burlington

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Sept. 30, 2010

Observer photos by Greg Duggan

Champlain Valley Union High’s boys soccer team played to a scoreless tie at Burlington High School on Sept. 25.

PHOTOS: Senegalese visit Williston

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Sept. 30, 2010

Observer photos by Greg Duggan

Lt. Col. Bamba Diao and Maj. Canar Diop of Senegal received a tour of the Williston Police Station on Sept. 27. Officer Travis Trybulski led the tour. The Senegalese were in Vermont as part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program. They observed a statewide catastrophic event exercise on Friday and Saturday, and toured the Williston police and fire stations on Monday.

PHOTOS: Dogging it at Iroquois

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Sept. 30, 2010

Courtesy photos by Stephen Mease (www.stevemease.com)

Ruth Chandler of Williston and her daughter Sarah’s dog, Bo, enjoyed some water fetch on a bright autumn Saturday morning at Lake Iroquois in Williston.

PHOTOS: Heart Walk fund-raisers honored

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Sept. 30, 2010

Courtesy photos

Bob Morris, vice president of human resources at Lane Press, honored top fund-raisers at the Vermont Start! Heart Walk awards party at the Courtyard Marriott in Williston on Sept. 22. Morris, a Williston resident, announced that the Vermont Start! Heart Walk, held on June 13 at the University of Vermont in Burlington, raised more than $71,000 to help the American Heart Association fight heart disease and stroke.

PHOTOS: Harvest Moon

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Sept. 30, 2010

Courtesy photo by Louis M. Izzo

Lea Drive resident Louis M. Izzo snapped a photo of the Harvest Moon on Sept. 22.

PHOTOS: CVU football vs. Mount Mansfield

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Sept. 30, 2010

Courtesy photos by Joe Kropf

The Champlain Valley Union High football team defeated Mount Mansfield Union 21-3 on Sept. 25.

PHOTOS: Memory Walk

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Sept. 30, 2010

Observer photos by Marianne Apfelbaum

More than 350 participants joined the annual Memory Walk, held Sept. 25 at the Shelburne Museum. The walk is the major fund-raiser for the Williston-based Vermont Alzheimer’s Association. The Memory Walk has so far raised $30,000, and donations are being accepted through October. To donate or for information on the Association, e-mail [email protected] or call 316-3839.