January 23, 2020

Rugged test awaits CVU football team at Rice

Redhawk defense stymies Mount Mansfield

Sept. 30, 2010

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Tucker Kolasch hits one of three extra points in Champlain Valley Union High’s win over Mount Mansfield Union on Saturday. (Courtesy photo by Joe Kropf)

A little more than a year ago, a new-to-Division 2 Champlain Valley Union High football team rolled into Rice Memorial High for its first intra-divisional contest of the season and left with a surprisingly one-sided victory, helped by a large turnout of red-shirted supporters.

This year, with a 3-0 Division 2 record in hand, the Redhawks return to Rice, which is also a title challenger in the division and coming off a Friday night bashing of Division 1 Burlington High.

“They run and pass very well,” CVU head coach Jim Provost said of the Green Knights.

He called this fifth week of the season “a huge pivotal week” for teams with Division 2 playoff aspirations, of which there are many.

Under the current rating formula, CVU ranks second behind Middlebury Union High. U-32, Milton High, Rice and North Country Union are third through sixth in that order with defending champion Colchester High seventh.

The lone common foe for CVU and Rice is Burr and Burton. The Redhawks whacked the Bulldogs 56-26 in their season opener at Hinesburg while Rice lashed the Dogs 37-27 in Manchester on Sept. 10.

CVU goes into Saturday’s contest coming off a spiffy and defensively solid 21-3 blunting of Mount Mansfield Union High Saturday at the Hawks’ hangout.

The Red Darter, J.P. Benoit, led the offense with three touchdowns and daylong romps. The CVU defensive line — paced by the pachyderm pack of muscular Crawford Morris, Cameron Fitzgerald and Dale Conger, with contributions from ends Ian Solomon and Taylor Gingras — kept the Cougars offense under tight wraps.

MMU gained just 64 yards of offense and five first downs, only one first down in the second half. The Cougars misfired on all eight of their pass attempts.

“We controlled the line,” the 260-pound Conger said.

“We used our speed to shoot the gaps and get into their backfield, which really messed them up,” added the 255-pound Fitzgerald, who praised the schemes of assistant coach and defensive guru Kevin McCarthy.

Benoit, grieving for his grandmother Marilyn Palmer of Hinesburg, who passed away two days before the game, had a spectacular afternoon. He scored all three CVU touchdowns on a 31-yard return of an MMU punt, a 1-yard untouched run and a 9-yard pass from quarterback Konnor Fleming.

In all, the Darter ran through and around MMU defenses for 116 yards in 17 carries, 22 yards pass receiving and 37 yards in kick returns.

“It felt like I had 12 guys blocking for me,” Benoit said after the game. “It was an amazing day.”

Provost said if there was a game-changing series it came just before halftime. MMU, deep in CVU territory for the only occasion all day, got stopped for a 2-yard loss on a second and goal from the seven by linebacker Drew Nick. A third down pass was then broken up by defensive back Nick Meunier.

The Cougars’ Paolo Rossi then kicked a fourth down, 26-yard field goal to bring MMU within 14-3 at the break.

Fleming had another efficient day at the controls of the CVU offense, completing eight of 12 passes for 83 yards while running for another 43 yards in 10 lugs. Gingras had four catches for 36 yards and Matt Bauer grabbed a 33-yarder.

Ground pounders for the Cougars were Nate Tomlinson with 42 yards in 15 carries and Mike Williams with 23 yards in 15 sorties.

CVU kicker Tucker Kohlasch went three-for-three on point-after tries.

CVU-MMU, Stats

MMU 0            3            0            0   –   3

CVU 7            7            0            7   –   21

MMU            CVU

First downs                        5                        11

Rushing yards                  73                        185

Passing yards                     0                        83

Return yards                     57                        59

Comp-Att-Int                0-8-0                        8-12-0

Sacked-Yards Lost          1-9                        0-0

Punts-Avg                      8-37                        5-34

Fumbles-lost                   1-1                        1-0

Penalties-yards              3-25                        4-20

CVU girls soccer team back in winning stride

Sept. 30, 2010

Its season-opening, four-game victory string interrupted last Wednesday with a 1-0 overtime loss to a strong Mount Mansfield Union High combine, the Champlain Valley Union High girls soccer team has regained its winning form.

Tuesday’s 3-0 triumph at South Burlington High was its second in a row and hiked the season record to 6-1.

Next up: Saturday morning’s home session with 4-3 Essex High at 10 a.m. and a contest under the lights at defending Division 1 champion Burlington High at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

At South Burlington, junior attacker Sophia Steinhoff, who missed early season games due to an injury, showed she is in high form with two goals. Amanda Kinneston, who also missed early games, tallied the other.

The Redhawks unleashed 18 shots on the South Burlington net. CVU keeper Emily Sackett had seven saves.

Last Saturday morning at home, the Redhawks dispatched Colchester High 4-1 with Molly Howard, Kendall Berry, Taylor Goldsborough and Shelby Hanlon knocking in the scores.

Howard’s first half goal came on a 40-yard bomb that caught Colchester net minder Haley Forkey (12 saves) outside the net.

Colchester’s tally came on a first half penalty kick, the result of a controversial call.

The score was only the second goal the Redhawks have given up this season, a point addressed after the game by veteran defender Lindsey Hawley.

“We work hard to keep the ball moving upfield,” she said. “Talon (Tomasi) and I always try to bring it up and set up the attack.”

And there was plenty of help Saturday from others including Berry and Emily Leffler.

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent

Field hockey ’Hawks out to regain winning edge

Sept. 30, 2010

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

A band of Eagles from Mount Abraham Union High will swoop into Hinesburg Heights at 4 p.m. Thursday when the home nesting Champlain Valley Union High field hockey Redhawks hope to get back into the victory column. The ’Hawks played to a deadlock and defeat in their last two outings.

The Eagles entered this week with a 1-4 record.

CVU is 4-2-1 following Saturday’s 3-3 tie at Middlebury Union and Tuesday’s 5-0 whitewash by undefeated South Burlington High, which hiked its season mark to 6-0.

The Rebels were quick, strong and smart at midfield and defense and up to their reputation as a Division 1 title favorite.

Swift forward Ashley McDonald and teammate Molly Higgins each scored twice. Morgan Bresnahan also found the range for the Rebs.

One of CVU’s best chances came just before halftime when co-captain Louise Gibbs’ long shot just missed catching the left corner of the South Burlington cage.

“If that had gone in we would have trailed by 2-1 at halftime and that might have made a difference,” said CVU coach Kate McDonald, adding that South Burlington has a great team.

The Redhawks best sustained threat against South Burlington, which has allowed only a single goal this season, came late in the second half. Trailing 4-0, CVU, with Gibbs, Kelsey Barrett and Mallory Hillman operating up front, got off three straight shots, but South Burlington keeper Becca Bowser stopped all three among her total of six saves.

Sami Kassel had 10 saves for the Red and White.

Despite the score, CVU defenders — led by The Red Rascal, co-captain Aubrey Deavitt — had some solid plays in front of Kassel. Deavitt was quite rascally in breaking up Rebel offensive surges while mates Lauren King and Jenna Cloutier also had moments.

“They were fast and a very good team,” Deavitt said of South Burlington.

The two foes meet again Oct. 20 on the Rebels’ turf.

In the tie at Middlebury, Sarah Reed scored twice and Gibbs notched a tally as the Redhawks came back twice from deficits with Reed forcing the deadlock with just 1:53 remaining in regulation.

McDonald said Deavitt prevented a tiebreaker with a non-goalie save on a Middlebury penalty-corner after regulation time had expired.

Middlebury came away with a 3-2-1 season mark.

CVU’s female harriers capture first in N.H. meet

Sept. 30, 2010

With last weekend’s visit to the flat lands of Manchester, N.H. in their rear-view mirror, the Champlain Valley Union High cross country runners return to their native Green Mountains (literally) on Saturday — the harriers have an invitational meet in the Thetford hills overlooking the Connecticut River.

The course for Saturday’s 20th annual Woods Trail Run will also be the site of the state meet in late October.

The trip to the Granite State was rewarding, as CVU’s well-balanced girls team captured first place in the elite division in the annual Manchester Invitational. Rival Essex High took sixth.

The triumph was CVU’s first in the nationally significant Manchester event since 2005. Little wonder head coach Scott Bliss told media outlets that it ranks as one of the program’s biggest victories.

The Redhawks once again ran in a pack, with Adrienne Devita taking 13th place in 20 minutes and 16 seconds. Summer Spillane was right on her heels in 14th place at 20:18 and Julienne Devita 15th at 20:20.

The girls ran so tightly together that a blanket could nearly cover them, but the blanket may need to be larger: Tayor Spillane, up from the junior varsity, finished 19th in 20:39. And right behind her was veteran Aleksey Jordick in 22nd place.

The lone Vermonter with a better time was Essex High’s Markie Palermo in 19:15, good for sixth.

CVU’s boys ran in the large school division and placed sixth, second among Vermont teams behind third place St. Johnsbury Academy.

The Redhawks’ Dan Hebert ran the course in 17:26 to finish 16th overall and fourth among the five Vermonters in the top 20.

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent

CVU boys soccer team draws against Burlington

First Essex test at home Friday

Sept. 30, 2010

Tanner Tomasi (9) of Champlain Valley Union High controls the ball against Burlington High’s Ali Abdullahi. The two teams tied 0-0 in Saturday’s match in Burlington. (Observer photo by Greg Duggan)

The undefeated — though once tied — Champlain Valley Union High boys soccer team took on 2-2-1 South Burlington High on Wednesday in the first of two important home contests this week at Hinesburg Heights.

The match against South Burlington was scheduled for after press deadline.

The second contest, at 4 p.m. on Friday, brings the always tough Essex High Hornets to the Redhawks’ nest for the first of two home-and-home contests. The second will be a week from Saturday at the Hornets’ Junction field at 1 p.m.

After opening the season with five straight victories, the Redhawks ran into a downdraft Saturday when a solid Burlington High team limited CVU to a 0-0 deadlock at the Seahorses’ turf.

Burlington, which took Essex into overtime before bowing 2-1 the previous week, got 13 shots on an unusually busy CVU goalie, Jeffrey Wettstein. The Hawks got turned back on 16 shots at BHS keeper Amir Pasic.

The draw followed a 3-0 home victory over 2-3 Mount Mansfield Union High last Thursday. In that game, Zach Blanchard, Nick Spencer and Tino Tomasi knocked in goals while Blanchard and Tanner Tomasi added assists.

Wettstein and Golden Golann shared time in the CVU cage and combined for five stops. MMU’s Dan Ebenstein kicked out 12 shots at the Cougars’ end.

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent

New preschool program targets ‘at risk’ children

Sept. 30, 2010

By Jess Sanders
Observer correspondent

A competitive Early Education Initiative grant from the Department of Education will allow Allen Brook School to launch a preschool program for children in low income homes, or who speak English as a second language.

“We do have other classes for kids with disabilities, ages 3 and 4. We’ve had that for 20 years probably, but this is brand new to try to meet the needs of other kids who are at risk like kids in poverty and for kids whom English is their second language,” said Carter Smith, director of special education for the Williston School District.

“We’re going to be following pretty much the same curriculum as the (Earliest Essential Education) program,” said Jenny Lyle, who will teach the class. “We use Creative Curriculum and a program called Read it Again, a curriculum that the school district just purchased.”

Though the curriculum is the same, the behavioral and social differences of the children in the preschool program will require Lyle to cater lessons to the individual needs of each child.

“What they do is assess the kids and individualize the program based on the needs of the kids. You’ve got to individualize the program and change it around depending on who shows up,” Smith said.

The classroom will be a mix of children, including students who would do well in a regular preschool classroom, those not considered to be in a financially burdened family or unfamiliar with the English language.

There will be a total of 14 children, though the classroom is not yet full. The program will begin with nine or 10 children, and fill up as the program continues.

“We just let the families know that have applied to be part of this preschool, so we set an open house date of Oct. 6, and our first day of classes will be on Oct. 12,” Lyle said.

One reason Allen Brook School applied for the grant, Smith said, is that standardized test scores for the New England Common Assessment Program, or NECAP, are lower for children on free and reduced lunch programs or for whom English is a second language. Smith feels the school still needs to do its job in seeking out and giving aid to children and families in need of further help.

“I have monthly meetings with other directors in the county and I know that for example Burlington and Winooski are good examples of towns that have a lot of kids and families with English Language Learners, more than we do,” Smith said. “Just because Williston is seen as a middle class community doesn’t mean we don’t have pockets of kids and families that need support.”

According to Manuela Fonseca, the early education coordinator for the Department of Education, Williston was awarded $28,948; the maximum amount is $30,000.

“Williston was chosen because its proposal received enough points to place it within the middle of all proposals submitted,” Fonesca said.

Lyle was hired in the summer, when Allen Brook learned it would receive the grant. Lyle will teach with a paraeducator the two afternoons a week that the preschool will be open, Tuesday and Wednesday.

This program will also include outreach services to local childcare centers.

“There might be some children that are going to attend this preschool that will be in childcare centers throughout this community, and so part of my outreach will be going in and working with the teachers at those childcare centers and maybe brainstorming ideas of things that might work to help the child with social behavior kinds of things,” Lyle said.

Lyle may also bring some ideas from her program conducted in the classroom to the centers, and potentially do some work with the families of the children.

“We’ll learn from them, and they’ll learn from us,” Smith said.

As for next year, Smith knows the preschool will need more funding. The program will be assessed at the end of the year for a grant renewal.

For now, however, the focus is on launching a successful program.

“It’s a start. We’re excited about it,” Smith said.

Recipe Corner

Vegetarian dishes

Sept. 30, 2010

By Ginger Isham

If you still have tomatoes and want to know what to do with them, here is an easy supper dish that can be made ahead of time. It serves about 4 and has 470 calories per serving.

Tomato and Cheese Strata

(I cut this out of a paper a long time ago.)

8 slices white sandwich bread (I use a good firm bread and cut off crusts)

4 tomatoes, sliced about 1/2 inch thick

4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)

4 scallions, sliced (or 1/4 to 1/3 cup onion, chopped)

2 cups milk

4 large eggs

pinch of salt and pepper

Place four slices of bread in lightly greased 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Top with half of the tomato slices, half of the cheese and half of chopped onion. Repeat with rest of bread slices, tomatoes, cheese and chopped onion. Whisk milk, eggs, salt and pepper together and pour over all the above. Cover and refrigerate up to 24 hours. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes until puffed and golden in color. I made it in the early morning, let it set all day and baked it in the early evening.

Butternut Orzo Risotto

(from Country Woman magazine)

This easy fall dish uses butternut squash, but I think other types of fall squash could be substituted.

3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 teaspoon olive oil

pinch of salt and pepper

3 cups chicken broth (use fat-free, low sodium)

1 small onion, chopped

2 teaspoons butter

1 cup uncooked orzo pasta

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

2 tablespoons fresh parsley; or 1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh sage, minced; or 1/4 teaspoon powdered sage

1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced; or 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme

Parmesan cheese

Place squash on greased baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 18 minutes. Stir once or twice.

Sauté onion in butter and add orzo and garlic. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in 1 cup warmed chicken broth. Cook and stir until all liquid is absorbed. Add remaining warmed chicken broth a little at a time, stirring and letting it be absorbed each time. Cook until creamy and the orzo is almost tender. Add herbs and squash and heat through. Garnish with cheese. Serve hot. Makes 4 to 5 servings.

Two-thirds of a cup equals 230 calories.

Serve with a green salad and favorite bread. For meat lovers, serve as a side dish with pork, chicken, turkey, beef or fish.

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

Right to the Point

‘American’ ideals

Sept. 30, 2010

By Kayla Purvis

As Thomas Patterson, author of “The American Democracy,” says, “The American political culture centers on a set of core ideals — liberty, equality, self-government, individualism, diversity, and unity — that serve as the people’s common bond.” What happened to these ideals? That’s what I want to write about this week.

America’s core values are liberty, equality and self-government. Liberty is used synonymously with “freedom,” but does not have the same meaning. Liberty is the freedom to act or think as one chooses so long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others. Equality does not mean equal in monetary or social status. It means equal in moral worth and protection under the law. And self-government is the principle that the people of this nation must have a voice and be the ultimate governing authority. In other words, the people run the government.

We have a superiority complex. We think that we are the richest, most elite and most intelligent, and therefore we must be the best. We use this logic to try to impose our government and ways of life on other countries. Newsweek ranked the United States as number 11 in its list of 100 best countries in the world. President Barack Obama says, “Americans won’t settle for number two!” Well then, we better turn back into the America that existed 80 years ago.

We had what Thomas Friedman, a journalist for the New York Times, calls a “values breakdown” between the Greatest Generation and now. Members of the Greatest Generation could not escape the trials of their time: the Great Depression, Nazi Germany, threats of Communism, World War II …. Their problems could hardly be fixed by taxes or policies. They had to work, suffer and sacrifice. At the time of the Depression, most Americans were unaware of the government. Meaning, it laid low. The government was small, as it should be.

Friedman points out that the leaders of that generation were not afraid to tell Americans that they would need to sacrifice in order to progress. Today? Today politicians have to find ways around sacrifice, because Americans are lazy. We expect everything immediately, wonder what will be done for us and expect something for doing nothing. What happened to our work ethic? What happened to the promise of coming to America and working toward success?

A perfect example is welfare. It was well-intentioned, I will give it that. But there are so many people who purposefully do not go get a job because they want to make sure they still get those welfare checks. Excuse me, but what about the people working and paying for those checks? What about the people who actually need the money? It’s awful how lazy so many Americans have gotten.

The Greatest Generation was not afraid of hard situations. Sacrifice? They knew it was necessary. Work? They didn’t expect to get paid without it. Tough decisions? They didn’t whine and complain because not everybody would be happy.

In today’s America, no one wants to upset anyone else. There is this idea that it is possible to pacify every group, while simultaneously our party system is driving the country in two. Why are we so passive? Why are we afraid to offend somebody by saying what we think or what is right? Why do we pitch a fit whenever something hard comes along that may require us to hurt a little bit? Because we are a lazy America.

Somewhere along the way we left our ideals behind. Welfare conflicts with individualism, the principle that we are each responsible for taking our own initiative and being self-sufficient. Our changed and incorrect definition of equality has prompted passivity. And self-government? We are kissing it goodbye every time we make the government bigger. Unity is being pushed as the need to come together to provide for everyone else, instead of the principle that we are united as one nation. Diversity is the respect for different individuals and groups, and is clearly nonexistent as we look at our fighting party system, non-admitted religious intolerance and tip-toeing around racial groups.

So, we won’t accept being ranked number two, but we aren’t willing to work to be number one. Well, then I guess we better get used to the idea of being surpassed by country after country as more of them become more like old America: hard-working, willing to sacrifice and appreciative of what they have. Maybe that is what it will take for America to remember its work ethic, and take back our number-one spot.

Williston resident Kayla Purvis is a senior at Champlain Valley Union High School.

Liberally Speaking

GOP pledge is nothing new

Sept. 30, 2010

By Steve Mount

As Yogi Berra said, “It’s déjà vu all over again.”

In 1994, with Bill Clinton two years into his first term as president, Republicans presented a Contract with America to the electorate. The Contract was a list of legislative priorities that the Republicans promised to turn into bills within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. It was a ploy that played to the angers and frustrations of the American people at the time.

The ploy worked. The House of Representatives had a Republican majority for the first time in 40 years. Though many of the bills based on the Contract failed to become law either because of presidential veto or because the Senate failed to pass them, the Republican majority in the House lasted from the 104th Congress through to the 109th. The Democrats were not able to wrest control until the 110th Congress, almost four years ago, in January 2007.

The legacy of that Republican control includes government shutdowns, tax cuts for the richest Americans, authorization of an unnecessary war and the worst recession in decades.

More recently, Republicans have released their Pledge to America. The GOP is pledging to right all the wrongs that they see in American government and society, a good and noble sentiment, but forgetting that it was they who were the root cause of many of these woes.

President Obama came to office promising change, change that many of us — Democrats, Republicans and independents — were eager for. It is change that we have not seen in many cases, change that we still wait for. But even as we await more of the president’s promises to come to fruition, we cannot allow ourselves to be blinded to the fact that change has, indeed, already happened.

To me, the Pledge to America is more about undoing the good that has already been done and thwarting any possibility for more good to be done in the next two years.

Just last week, some of the most important provisions of the health care bill came into effect:

• Children can no longer be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition;

• Health care policies must cover children up to age 26;

• Health care policies may no longer include lifetime limits on coverage.

These features and protections are all important and have real impact on people’s lives today. And if Republicans had had their way six months ago, none of these provisions would have taken effect. Because of the staggered implementation of the health care bill, even more changes will be taking effect over the next few years.

Another major accomplishment of the president and his congressional allies is the end of combat operations in Iraq. This war, the wrong war to have spent blood and treasure on, was authorized by a Republican Congress. Ending it was one of Obama’s top priorities, and though it took two years, he was able to accomplish the goal without putting undue risk on our troops or the Iraqi people.

Though Republicans use it as a selling point for their own agenda, calling it a “government take-over,” the government’s support for General Motors and Chrysler saved an American industry and all the jobs that go with it.

According to Recovery.gov, the Recovery Act, put in place by the Democratic Congress, has brought more than $250 million to Vermont through June 30, and another $500 million has been awarded to Vermont. This money represents real jobs, held by your neighbors.

The Republican leadership would have you forget about all of these accomplishments. Is there more to be done? Of course there is, but the way to get things done is not to take a step backwards, back to Republican majorities in the House and Senate.

As he introduced the latest Republican ploy, the Pledge to America, House Minority Leader John Boehner said that if they are placed in the majority, the American people can expect Republicans to “not be any different than we have been.” I don’t think that America can afford, nor stomach, “not different” from the Republicans, because they have been combative, obstructive and contrary ever since the new Congress was sworn in.

What we need is a new Republican party that is willing to work with Democrats to come up with solutions, not create more problems. In lieu of that seeming pipe dream, our best bet is to maintain the Democratic majorities in Congress, and for all Democrats to work diligently toward that goal.

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 steve@saltyrain.com or read his blog at http://saltyrain.com/ls.

Letters to the Editor

Sept. 30, 2010


Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 2. Please note the Observer will not run any Letters to the Editor pertaining to the vote on Oct. 28, the edition prior to the election.

All Letters to the Editor written in regards to the election MUST be received by 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 18, and will appear in the Observer on Oct. 21.

Please be aware that normal guidelines will apply, including a 300-word limit for all letters.

E-mail letters to editor@willistonobserver.com.

Questioning McCullough’s record

State Rep. Jim McCullough’s ad in last week’s Observer states that he “balances business’ and communities’ needs” and that he is a voice for business and landowners. His record, however, defies his claims.

In the 2009 session he voted to increase taxes by $28 million, including taxes on clothing and satellite television (H. 441), an additional $55 million, including the income tax (H. 442) and an increase in gas and diesel fuel taxes (H. 438).

Mr. McCullough favored passing the cost of decommissioning Vermont Yankee to Vermonters in the form of higher electricity costs in the future (H. 436). He opposed the effort to require the state to consider the impact of all legislation on our jobs (H. 313).

These votes are crippling young families, two income households and retired persons. It’s time for a change in Montpelier. Let’s elect Jay Michaud and Mike Benevento to the Legislature and get our state on the path to sensible government and prosperity.

Bret P. Powell, Williston

First and goal, plenty of time

Under beautiful fall skies this past Saturday we witnessed the match-up between the Champlain Valley Union High Redhawks and the Mount Mansfield Union High Cougars.

Near the end of the game the score was 21-3 in CVU’s favor. The Redhawks had the ball. It was first and goal with plenty of time to score again. The ball was snapped. What did the young men do? They took a knee — twice!

Instead of running the score up to 28-3 and sending the Cougars home with their tail tucked far between their legs (which they deserved, in my humble opinion) they let ‘em off easy.

Coach Jim Provost and the Redhawks: you are a class act! Congratulations on the outcome of Saturday’s game and good luck with the rest of the season.

Tim Platt, Williston

Support for Chief Nelson

I am writing to show my support for Police Chief Roy Nelson. After the cloud of misinformation clears I hope people will see clearly that Nelson’s blood alcohol was well below the legal limit and probably lower than the majority of drivers leaving the parking lot of any of our local restaurants that serve alcohol (“Chief ‘well below the legal limit’ in DUI case,” Observer, Sept. 23). He was not drinking on shift, but rather he was called back into a potentially violent situation. I believe if he had ignored the call and the situation had escalated there would be a lot more public outcry.

I do believe the trooper who asked Nelson to take the test and Nelson himself for submitting to the test acted properly and in the public’s best interest. However, I think the continued investigation and the “back relation analysis” is nothing more than a waste of time, taxpayer money and tantamount to a witch hunt. Rather than rake our police officers over the coals we should thank them for protecting us while we sleep.

Kevin Stephens, Williston

Dissatisfied with NECAP scores

I am writing to express concern regarding Williston’s abysmal 8th grade Science NECAP test results (http://www.education.vermont.gov/new/pdfdoc/pgm_assessment/data/NECAP/NECAP_school_summary_05-10.pdf).

Only 26 percent of Williston’s eighth graders achieved proficiency on this test this past spring. This is alarmingly below the state average of 29 percent and a 10 percent drop from last year and a 20 percent drop from 2008 results! This is unconscionable for one of the wealthiest towns in the entire state. When I think about what all our kids have missed, and will never recover, my heart aches and my blood boils.

Below are indefensible comparisons of other Vermont eighth grades. (The only grossly comparable schools were Burlington’s Hunt Middle School and Milton Jr./Sr. High, which have nearly triple and double the percentage of students on Free and Reduced Lunch.)

It’s time to implore the Williston School District Board to address this science tragedy, and the unacceptable fact that our schools are also in state ”Corrective Action” for our fifth year of not making Annual Yearly Progress in Reading and Math. It’s time to examine true accountability for these problems and what must be done to turn our academic performance around. We cannot afford to “wait and see” any longer.

I sincerely hope this may inspires others to contact the School Board at WSDSchoolboard@cssu.org (or attend the next regular board meeting at 7 p.m. on Oct. 13 at Champlain Valley Union High) for the future of our children. Let’s stop this downward spiral and get Williston performing at the top, where it belongs!

Ann Smith, Williston
Town/School Percent proficient Percent with free & reduced lunch
Crossett Brook Middle 59 22
Charlotte Central 59 11
Albert D. Lawton 54 22
Frederick H. Tuttle 54 18
Camels Hump Middle 54 21
Essex Middle 53 14
Edmunds Middle 46 39
Shelburne Central 42 8
Hinesburg Community 41 18
Colchester Middle 32 21
Lyman C. Hunt Middle 26 47
Milton Jr. Sr. High 26 23
Williston 26 12