March 19, 2019

Students get early start on college

Oct. 28, 2010

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff

The first week of classes at Florida International University in Miami was a breeze for Lyndon native Sarah Stenson.

Stenson had already taken three college courses while she was in high school, which helped her know what to expect and how to handle it.

“The beginning of classes would not have gone by easy if I hadn’t done it,” 18-year-old Stenson said. “I knew what to expect coming in, so I wasn’t so nervous. I wasn’t freaking out as much as I would have been.”

Every Vermont high school student is entitled to one free college course at most schools in the state, including the University of Vermont, Champlain College and Community College of Vermont.

Students can earn college and high school credit, saving tuition money and getting ahead.

“I think it’s a tremendous help,” said Katie Mobley, associate director of the secondary education initiative at CCV. “It gives students a taste of the future.”

A college course can help students figure out if a certain major — or college in general — is right for them. It can motivate students to do better in high school, too.

“When you play a sport with someone more skilled than you, often your game raises a little,” Mobley said. “When high school students have a chance to be in a college environment and have rich discussions and see the dynamics that go on, it’s benefiting them in that experience and in what they take back to high school.”

Nichole Hathaway, who administers the program at UVM, said she usually suggests that students take a lower-level course, but she makes exceptions for academically advanced students. UVM offers summer, evening and online courses, which can fit in with a high school student’s schedule.

At CCV, students must first take the free 13-week course Introduction to College Studies. The course teaches skills that help students succeed in college, including time management, test-taking, stress management and applying for financial aid.

Stenson opted to take a medical terminology class, which helped her decide to become a nursing major. She liked the class so much that she and her mother decided to continue with college courses, taking an additional two classes.

“I really liked the idea of getting a jump-start on college,” Stenson said.

Recipe Corner

My Halloween Wacky Cake

Oct. 28, 2010

By Ginger Isham

This recipe has been around for many years. It would make a festive dessert Oct. 31. I used a decorating idea from my favorite cookbook, which is more than 25 years old — Betty Crocker.

Wacky Cake

2 1/4 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar (I use 1 1/4)

4 1/2 tablespoons cocoa (unsweetened powder)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

pinch of salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup oil

1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar

Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl. Make 3 holes in the mixture. In one hole put the vanilla, in another hole put the vinegar and in last hole pour the oil. Pour 1 1/2 cups water over all and mix until smooth. I use a whip. Pour batter into a 17-by-11-inch greased jellyroll pan (you could substitute a 9-by-13-inch and an 8-by-8-inch baking pan). Bake at 325 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes. This makes a thin sheet cake. When cool, frost with the following:

Orange Butter Cream Icing

3 cups confectioners sugar

1/3 cup soft butter

4 to 5 tablespoons orange juice (I like the kind with pulp or use fresh squeezed)

Whip all together until smooth. Stir in 1 drop of red food coloring and 2 drops of yellow food coloring to make an orange colored icing. Frost the sheet cake. Place in fridge for a few minutes until icing is set. Cut into squares and decorate as follows:

Place 4 to 5 drops of green food coloring on an almost flat plate — very shallow with ridges around edge. Add 1/8 teaspoon water. Dip small cookie cutters, one at a time, into the food coloring and press lightly on each cake square to make the outline of the cookie cutter.

You could also sprinkle orange Jell-o granules in center of designs, add colored sprinkles, press candy corn in the shape of a circle with points toward the center, or use black licorice.

Store covered in a cool place.

Roasted pumpkin seeds

When cutting your jack-o-lanterns save those pumpkin seeds and roast them.

Wash and dry pumpkin seeds.

For approximately 2 cups of seeds, mix 1 1/2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt (I use Mrs. Dash, which is salt- and MSG-free) and 1/4 teaspoon salt (I use a pinch of salt). Mix with seeds on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Cool and store in tight container.

Pumpkins seeds contain good fats, magnesium and iron.

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

Right to the Point

Enter the third party

Oct. 28, 2010

By Kayla Purvis

Democrats. Republicans. Teas? America’s flawed, two-party system is being pushed away by the emerging powerhouse called the Tea Party. Inspired by the 1773 protest against the British government in America, the Tea Party’s main request is this: smaller government, please!

We have our Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. We have extremes on both sides, and we have happy mediums in the middle. But what it really comes down to are two parties: Democratic and Republican. In America, these are our parties, and they are the immodest majority.

Parties are inevitable. James Madison wrote in “The Federalist No. 10,” “As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed.” And naturally, people with like opinions congregate. Madison was afraid of factions, or interest groups, but was under no impression that they could be properly prevented in the United States of America: “There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects,” Madison wrote. In America, good luck conforming the populace to the same opinion and taking away its liberty!

Taking Madison’s reasoning that parties are unavoidable, I do not protest their existence. I do, however, disagree with how divided our country has become because we only have two main parties. Most of us, and I am sometimes guilty of this myself, will dismiss a politician based on his or her proclaimed party affiliation. There is such a rivalry between our parties that we are extremely divided on issues. This also makes it quite easy for one party to gain control of the Senate and the House, as well as the presidency.

The Tea Party has disrupted this long-standing system. There is now a third party, though it is not officially recognized as a party. And the Tea Party makes waves. Tea Partiers know what they want, and they will not hesitate to let you know exactly what that is: smaller government, fewer taxes, more power given back to states and the people. It is, after all, rightfully ours.

I attended a Tea Party rally in Montpelier my sophomore year of high school, when the Tea Party was just starting to get some attention. There was a giant (and I mean giant) list of taxes the party had on display. I was shocked to learn that there is a death tax. Yep, you are taxed for dying. I was also enlightened to the idea that the government had overstepped its place. I had never studied nor questioned the government prior to listening to the voices at that rally.

Today, I agree that the government is growing too big and that it intervenes in too many places that are, constitutionally and historically, not its place. I also agree that the government has a bad habit of raising taxes unnecessarily.

So I embrace the Tea Party, not just because I agree with some of its views, but because it is making waves in American politics and I appreciate the change.

One of the Tea Party’s recent public happenings was Christine O’Donnell’s misunderstanding of the Constitution in her recent Delaware Senate debate against Chris Coons. Arguing that it should be the decision of local schools whether or not they choose creationism as an equal theory to evolution, O’Donnell asked where in the Constitution it establishes separation of church and state. Even though the First Amendment doesn’t use those exact words, it is clearly implied that the separation is what was intended.

Being the very first sentence in the very first Amendment, O’Donnell’s question got a lot of publicity. Being a Tea Party candidate, O’Donnell’s gaffe was both good and bad for the party — got their name out there, but in an embarrassing instance.

I think the rise of the Tea Party will make positive, and maybe drastic, changes to America’s political disposition. It is good for our divisive two-party system.

I would like to use the end of the column to remind everyone to go out and vote on Election Day, Nov. 2!

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

Liberally Speaking

On amending the Constitution

Oct. 28, 2010

By Steve Mount

You’ll notice an unusual item on your ballot on Nov. 2 — a vote on an amendment to the Vermont Constitution. Its appearance gives me a chance to discuss the long road that an amendment to the Vermont Constitution has to travel, and how widely the procedure varies from amending the U.S. Constitution.

The process for amending any constitution should not be an easy one — a constitution is the basic law of a political unit, and provides a stable foundation that can be relied on for years, decades, even centuries.

The process of amending the U.S. Constitution has a few different paths, not all of which have been taken.

The most common path is for the Congress to vote, by two-thirds concurrence in both houses, to recommend an amendment. It has never been an easy thing to get a two-thirds vote in Congress, and this high bar reflects the framers’ thoughts that changes should only come with broad consensus.

After those votes, however, there is a final stage that can be just as hard to overcome. The amendment is then sent to the states, where three-quarters of them must ratify the amendment.

The states can ratify in one of two ways — by majority votes of each state’s legislature (which is most often another two-part hurdle) or, if directed by the amendment itself, by a special ratifying convention called in each state.

This second option may seem like a bit of an end-run around the legislatures, and to some degree it is. Depending on state law, however, it is the executive or legislature that must convene the convention, and a determined governor or legislature could refuse to do so or at least drag its heels.

In the case of Vermont, heel-dragging is not an option. The responsibility to convene a convention is given to the governor, who has only 60 days following an amendment proposal to call the convention. The process then involves the voters, who choose 14 people from a list of 28 compiled by the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the house.

The election must take place between three and 12 months after the governor’s call, and the convention itself must take place 20 to 30 days after the election. The convention is free to conduct itself in any way it decides, and a majority vote on the proposed amendment, either way, decides the issue.

The convention route for a constitutional amendment has only been used once — to ratify the 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th Amendment and made liquor again legal in the United States.

The second, unused method for proposing amendments is by a convention of all the states. Many fear what amendments could come out of such a convention, and that fear has, in my opinion, been the main reason that many resist any call for an amendment convention.

Amending the Vermont Constitution is a longer process, by design.

First, amendments may only be proposed every four years, beginning in 1975. The Senate must initiate the process and must approve the amendment by two-thirds vote. The House must then approve the amendment by a majority vote. The last year an amendment could be proposed was 2007 and the next is 2011.

Once this first hurdle is crossed, the amendment must lay dormant until the next two-year legislative session. The amendment is then taken up again and must be approved by a majority of both houses of the Legislature. If those votes are successful, the amendment has one final hurdle — the people.

That is the stage the voting age amendment has reached this year. If a majority of Vermonters approve the amendment, it will become a part of our Constitution; if not, it will have to wait until 2011 for another go.

Both methods have pros and cons. The method used by Vermont would probably be unworkable for an electorate on the scale of the United States, so even though there is value in getting the direct voice of the people, the methods already in place work well enough. The nation needs a way to rapidly change its Constitution in a time of crisis, so the built-in speed bumps in the Vermont amendment process could actually be dangerous for the federal Constitution.

When you go to the polls next week, be sure not to miss the question on the constitutional amendment presented to you. It is a rare opportunity for you to voice how our Constitution should be constructed.

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 or read his blog at

Letters to the Editor

Oct. 28, 2010

Girl Scout thanks

Williston Girl Scout Troop 30444 thanks our neighbors for all their support during our recent bottle drive. The money we’ve raised will help fund our upcoming educational trip to New York City. Thanks!

Betsey Dempsey, Williston

Ride the bus

I ride the CCTA Williston Village Bus to commute to and from my job in Burlington and I encourage you to ride the bus too. Chittenden County Transportation Authority added the Williston Village route in June and we are lucky to have this opportunity. There are numerous bus stops to take advantage of.

I enjoy taking the bus. It has forced me to get moving every day as I walk to and from the bus stop. By leaving the driving up to someone else, I get to read and relax. I have had numerous laughs with my fellow riders. I have not only saved money on commuting costs but I have also saved money by not running errands after work.

We all need to do our part in cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Williston is known for coming together, so won’t you help in filling every seat on the bus?

CCTA makes daily Monday through Friday trips from the village to Burlington at 7:05 a.m. and 8:05 a.m. and from Burlington to the village at 4:40 p.m. and 5:20 p.m.

CCTA designated the Williston Village Route as 1V for a reason. We are #1.

I hope to see you on the next Route 1V bus.

Robin Coletta, Williston

Organic or local?

I think we should do away with the word “organic” and use the word “local.” When I hear the word “organic” I see dollar signs. I realize we need to be concerned about our food and where it comes from, as well as making sure it is good, healthy food. I think we can only be concerned up to a point that is realistic.

With today’s economy, how can the average family survive on “organic” food that costs twice as much as what is sold in the supermarkets? Some of the prices at farmers’ markets are “organic” also.

Why do a small percentage of people shop at farmers’ markets? Because of several reasons such as prices, limited time available and limited products. We have a large percentage of working families today. Weekends hold precious hours for family time, recreation, cultural time and sports activities. Shopping needs include the non-food items as well as the grocery list. The supermarket is convenient as a one-stop deal.

If a large percent of the population shopped at organic/farmers’ markets, could the producers keep up with the demand? It seems to me they would have to work harder to produce more food, hire help and get bigger. Bigger has its problems. Staying small and “organic” means struggling and includes a lot of hard work from preparing the soil to planting, care of the plants, picking the produce, advertising, trucking to and from a market.

I don’t know the answer but I do know I prefer to shop “local” rather than “organic.”

I am reminded of the farmer who spent thousands of dollars for equipment, cows, feed, herd health services and more, and could never get a good price for his product and was always and is always today in debt.

Ginger Isham, Williston

Our students deserve better

Recently, the Observer reported on the Science NECAP scores of all eighth graders in Chittenden South Supervisory Union. The percentage of eighth grade students scoring proficient or above on the Science NECAP is as follows:

> Charlotte: 59 percent

> Hinesburg: 41 percent

> Shelburne: 42 percent

> Williston: 26 percent

Why did eighth grade students in all the other CSSU schools score higher on the Science NECAP than Williston eighth graders if Williston Central School is led by the same curriculum director and its teachers are responsible for teaching the same Vermont State Standards in Science as the other schools in our Supervisory Union?

I refuse to believe that Williston students are not as smart or as capable as the students in these other schools.

Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that the students in these other schools are being led by competent administrators who are held accountable by their school boards.

Don’t Williston students deserve the same?

Abby Klein, Williston

NECAP scores

On Oct. 14, Walter Nardelli, Williston School District principal, wrote in response to the yet again dismal NECAP scores, “The areas where our students struggle include inquiry, science writing and justifying results. Students on individualized education programs, also known as IEP plans, who speak English as a second language and/or who come from homes struggling to provide the basic needs for their children find the test especially challenging” (“Guest Column: Improving our science NECAP scores”).

I didn’t realize Williston had so many ESL speakers and poverty-level homes. I guess that explains it.

Patrick Etienne, Williston

Award is ‘despicable’

I want to express my utter revulsion and sadness at the news item entitled “Williston has two ‘Rising Stars’” (“Around Town,” Oct. 21 Observer).

The fact that Vermont Business Magazine deemed a volunteer coordinator at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England worthy of honor both horrifies and saddens me. That someone in any way associated in the business of murdering little babies is worthy of honor for “their commitment to business growth, professional excellence and involvement in their communities” is simply too surreal to believe! Do they not realize that “business growth” at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is higher numbers of deaths of babies, and the permanent wounding of women’s spirits?! According to their own financial statements, abortion is the main source of income at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.

To honor someone for their part in the snuffing out of hundreds of innocent lives is despicable, and a vivid commentary on how depraved our society has become.

Marie Chamberlin, Richmond

Guest Column

Brussels sprouts pack nutritional punch

Oct. 28, 2010

By Dianne Lamb

It’s time to enjoy Brussels sprouts, the vegetable that has often gotten a bad rap from kids and adults. This vegetable looks like a small cabbage. In fact, Brussels sprouts belong to the same botanical family as cabbage (Brassica oleracea).

Although the word “Brussels” might make you think that these small heads originated in Belgium, it is believed that Brussels sprouts were grown in northern Europe in the 1200s (based on oral tradition). However, the first written description of this vegetable did not appear until the late 1500s.

Brussels sprouts spread and became popular in France and England, making their way to the Americas with the early settlers. There are references to this vegetable growing in Louisiana in the early 1800s as a result of French settlements.

Brussels sprouts can be grown in Vermont and northern New England. In fact, frost enhances their flavor. Brussels sprouts grow on a stalk with the leaves of the plant on the top. The small heads (sprouts) completely surround the stalk and are harvested from the bottom of the stalk when the leaves begin to turn yellow. The sprouts should be firm, green, compact and about 1 inch in diameter when picked.

Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable, meaning that the blossom on the plant resembles a cross. Other cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale. All of these cruciferous vegetables contain compounds that help to keep the human body healthy by reducing the risk of many diseases.

Brussels sprouts are a nutrient-dense food. One cup of cooked Brussels sprouts has 61 calories, 4 grams protein, 14 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams dietary fiber, 495 milligrams potassium, 33 milligrams sodium, less than 1 gram of fat and no cholesterol. In addition, they are high in vitamin C (97 milligrams, which is more than the daily recommended allowance), folate, carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin.

You can buy this vegetable fresh at farmers’ markets or supermarkets. The small heads may be prepackaged in pint containers, loose (allowing you to pick the ones you want) or on the stem, letting you cut them off the plant. Brussels sprouts also can be found in the frozen vegetable section at the supermarket.

If you don’t eat them, it may be that you tried them as a kid and were turned off because they were overcooked, odiferous and very strong flavored. Brussels sprouts need to be cooked until just tender. Overcooking releases the sulfur compounds in the vegetable, creating a foul smell.

Fresh Brussels sprouts need to be refrigerated. Left at room temperature, the outer leaves of the sprouts will turn yellow. When cooking, try to cook sprouts of equal size, so they will cook uniformly. Avoid puffy or mushy ones. The outer leaves are the most nutritious part, so do not remove unless they are yellowed or wilted.

When ready to use, wash the Brussels sprouts well in lukewarm water to remove any debris (soil or insects). Rinse in fresh water. Trim the stem end, but try not to cut flush with the bottom of the sprout as the outer leaves are apt to fall off. Some people score the base of the sprout with an “X” to help the heat penetrate the core of the sprout, so it cooks as quickly as the leaves.

Brussels sprouts can be steamed by bringing 1 inch of water to a boil in the bottom of a pan. Place a colander or collapsible basket in the pan. Add the sprouts and cover. Reduce heat and steam for 5 to 7 minutes or until just tender.

This vegetable also can be cooked in a microwave oven. Wash, trim and make an “X” on the bottom of the stem. Place sprouts in a 1 1/2-quart covered dish. Add 1/4 cup water. Microwave 1 pound (4 cups) for 4 to 8 minutes on high power until just tender. Stir once during cooking.

Brussels sprouts usually are too strong-flavored and chewy to eat raw, especially if they have been stored for awhile. They can be blanched in boiling water or steamed, then drained and quickly dunked in ice water to stop the cooking. Thoroughly drain again. These blanched sprouts can be marinated or used as crudités with a dip.

Or roast in the oven, add to stews, stir-fry or use in soup. Some herbs and spices that go well with Brussels sprouts include basil, caraway, dill, mustard, sage, thyme, curry, nutmeg, garlic, cumin, marjoram and savory.

Other quick ways to use Brussels sprouts include:

> Lightly steam or blanch whole sprouts for grilled shish kebabs;

> Toss cooked sprouts with vinaigrette or salad dressing. Serve as a side dish or salad.

Dianne Lamb is the Extension nutrition and food specialist at the University of Vermont.


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Oct. 28, 2010

Last week’s profile of Vermont House of Representatives candidate Jay Michaud contained two errors about Michaud’s past business experience. Michaud purchased Witness Tree Landscaping and Property Management, and it was not the first business he owned.

ANNIVERSARY: Votes, crimes and new faces headline past Octobers

The Williston Observer is celebrating its 25th year providing news to the community. Here are some stories from past months of October:

• Williston residents were to vote on Oct. 20, 1987 on whether to hire a town manager, the Whistle reported in its October 1987 issue. A growing town had resulted in the need for more municipal employees and a greater number of services.

“As these responsibilities have grown by major proportions in the last few years, the need for professional management of town affairs has become more evident,” the Whistle reported.

A town manager would perform “day-to-day coordination and management of the various town departments to make the most efficient use of … resources” and “would also oversee the financial management of the town under the direction of the (Selectboard),” according to the Whistle. The measure passed, and Williston’s first town manager started work in September 1988.

• In its October 1989 edition, the Whistle detailed the components of a bond proposal asking Williston voters to authorize a $6.72 million expense for a building and renovation project at Williston Central School. The state would have helped fund the $7.2 million project. Plans for the five-year project included 12 new classrooms and improved traffic flow for buses and pedestrians.

• As part of the Children’s Art Exchange, paintings from American and Russian kids lined Town Hall at a reception welcoming a delegation from Vermont’s sister state, the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Karella, the Whistle reported in October 1989.

• The Whistle reported in October 1991 that the Williston Central School Board had in the previous month received the Vermont Alliance for Arts Education’s annual School Board/Community Award. At the awards ceremony in September, the Alliance co-chairwoman praised the School Board for maintaining and expanding its commitment to the arts.

• In the Oct. 21, 1992 edition of the Whistle, the paper reported that a new police chief, Ozzie Glidden, would join the Williston Police Department on Dec. 7. Glidden, 47 at the time, was the police chief in Richmond before coming to Williston.

• Former Town Manager Bert Moffatt won the Vermont League of Cities and Towns’ Municipal Person of the Year Award in October 1995, the Whistle reported in its Oct. 5 issue of that year. Moffatt had served as town manager in Williston for seven years prior to receiving the award.

• On Oct. 10, 1995, the Williston Planning Commission approved a $5.4 million, 400-student elementary school, which would eventually become Allen Brook School.

• “Supreme Court Clears the Way for Wal-Mart,” read the top headline in the Oct. 26, 1995 Whistle. The state’s Supreme Court rejected the final appeal against Wal-Mart. Burlington and Citizens for Responsible Growth had appealed a state permit for Wal-Mart, but the court said only directly-affected parties, such as the town of Williston or the Regional Planning Commission, could appeal the permit; Burlington and Citizens for Responsible Growth did not qualify to appeal.

• Williston Police Sgt. Bart Chamberlain found and removed a massive marijuana plant growing on the east side of town, the Whistle reported on Oct. 3, 1996.

“I’ve picked a lot of pot in my enforcement career, but I can’t remember ever seeing a plant like this,” Chamberlain told the Whistle.

The Whistle described the plant as 6 feet tall with a stalk “as thick as a man’s wrist,” and reported that the marijuana would have fetched more than $1,000 if sold. The grower, if caught, would have faced fines and up to three years in state prison.

• Full-time members of the Williston Police Department unanimously voted to join the International Brotherhood of Teamsters labor union, the Whistle reported on Oct. 2, 1997.

• Circuit City Stores Inc. announced it would hire approximately 80 associates for its location on Marshall Avenue, which was set to open in November 1997. The Whistle reported in its Oct. 16, 1997 paper that the store would be the first Circuit City in Vermont.

The company went out of business early last year after declaring Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2008.

John Flanigan of the Public Works Department guides playground equipment onto a truck in October 2001. The main playground and the preschool playground at Williston Central School were torn down that month because of safety concerns. (File photo)

• Town and school officials, responding to concerns from parents, decided to study safety at the Williston Central School playground, the Whistle reported on Oct. 4, 2001. Parents showed then-Principal Elaine Pinckney pictures of jagged metal edges and exposed bolts on some of the playground equipment. Pinckney said the playground could see improvement, but she did not feel it posed an immediate danger to children.

Three weeks later, the Oct. 18 issue of the Whistle reported that the Williston School Board opted to close the playground. The board made its decision after parents presented a report completed in 1998 by a playground safety expert. The report noted potential hazards that included deteriorating wood, unsafe swings and missing safety rails.

By the time the Oct. 25 issue of the paper came out, school officials had decided to tear down the playground.

• Dorothy Alling Memorial Library Director Marti Fiske was hired in October 2005, the Observer reported on Oct. 6 of that year. Fiske joined the Williston library after serving as the head of Shelburne’s Pierson Library.

• Teachers belonging to the Chittenden South Education Association reached a contract agreement with Chittenden South Supervisory Union after months of working without a contract, the Observer reported on Oct. 18, 2007. The agreement followed nearly a year of negotiations; the previous contract had expired on July 1, 2007. Individual pay increases under the contract varied, but the supervisory union budget for salaries was set to increase by 4.3 percent in 2007-2008, 4.3 percent in 2008-2009 and 4 percent in the 2009-2010 school year.

• In 2007, Williston became the first municipality in the state to be designated a growth center. The Observer reported on Oct. 25, 2007 that the Expanded Downtown Board voted in favor of the designation. The growth center area included approximately 700 acres around Taft Corners, and the status made it easier for Williston to borrow money while encouraging development of a pedestrian-friendly downtown.

• The Williston Community Food Shelf moved to Maple Tree Place in October 2008 after operating out of the garage of the organization’s then-president Jill Lang. The Observer reported in its Oct. 23 issue that the Food Shelf was scheduled to open Nov. 1. The Food Shelf has since relocated again, and now makes its home at Suite 115 of 300 Cornerstone Drive.

• Two men died in an apparent murder-suicide at a home on Isham Circle, the Observer reported on Oct. 30, 2008. Police said Michael Putnam, 55, of Waterbury shot his estranged wife’s boyfriend, 59-year-old Gary Smith of Shelburne, before committing suicide. Police called the slaying Williston’s first murder in nearly 20 years.

• Champlain Valley Union High School’s field hockey team won the Division 1 championship in 2008. According to the Oct. 30 issue of the Observer, the 3-0 victory over previously undefeated Hartford High captured the second field hockey title in school history.

Election Day is Nov. 2

Oct. 28, 2010

Williston voters will have a full ballot to complete when they head to the polls on Tuesday.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 2 at the Williston Armory.

Locally, voters will choose two state representatives to represent Williston in the Vermont House. Candidates are Democrats Terry Macaig and Jim McCullough, and Republicans Mike Benevento and Jay Michaud.

The ballot also contains 16 candidates running for Chittenden County’s six seats in the Vermont Senate. The field includes six Democrats, six Republicans and four third party candidates.

Williston has 27 candidates running for 15 justice of the peace positions.

Statewide races on the ballot include U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative to Congress, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, Auditor of Accounts and Attorney General.

For a full list of candidates, visit the Vermont Secretary of State’s elections website at

The ballot will also contain a question asking if voters will amend the Vermont Constitution to allow more flexibility in the voting age for primary elections.

Assistant Town Clerk and Treasurer Kathy Smardon said early ballots are available at the Town Clerk’s office. Voters can visit Town Hall to vote, to pick up a ballot or to request that a ballot be sent to a family member. Voters can also call the Town Clerk’s office at 878-5121 to have a ballot mailed to them. All ballots must be returned by the time polls close on Election Day.

— Greg Duggan, Observer staff

Selectboard dissatisfied with compost communication

Oct. 28, 2010

By Greg Duggan
Observer staff

Dean Wilson picks through garbage on Friday as part of the Chittenden Solid Waste District’s trash sorting effort, performed to learn about the composition of waste in Chittenden County. Wilson came from the Rutland Solid Waste District to learn about CSWD’s efforts to improve its waste services. (Observer photo by Greg Duggan)

The Selectboard is not pleased with the Chittenden Solid Waste District’s efforts to build a compost facility in Williston.

CSWD General Manager Tom Moreau appeared before the Selectboard on Monday night to detail changes to the proposed compost facility. Following a presentation from Moreau, board members took turns blasting the general manager and the waste district for communication problems and for moving ahead with the construction process before reaching a host town agreement with Williston.

“In my opinion, it was a tale of two different meetings,” Moreau told the Observer Tuesday.

He said he expected to explain the compost facility, whereas the board largely focused on communication problems.

Moreau spent several minutes running through the design process and evolution of the compost facility — the expected cost of the facility has jumped from $1.2 million in March to $2.24 million currently — before being interrupted by board member Ted Kenney.

“I feel like I’m being filibustered a little bit,” Kenney said, noting that he and other board members wanted to ask questions about the facility before moving on to other agenda items.

Moreau said he had no intention of talking through the entire meeting. He went on to say the designs for the facility had evolved in a way meant to address noise, odor and environmental concerns raised by neighbors and during the permitting processes.

Yet Selectboard members raised concerns about how the process has played out over the course of the year.

“I’m … displeased with how the solid waste district is communicating with the town,” Kenney said.

CSWD currently operates a compost facility at the Intervale in Burlington, but is under state order to stop accepting compost materials by Feb. 28, 2011. Earlier this year, CSWD decided to open a new compost facility on Redmond Road in Williston.

Selectboard member Judy Sassorossi argued that Williston, as the town set to host the compost operation, has a greater need than other waste district communities to know the details of the facility. She and other board members felt CSWD has not been forthcoming with those details.

Moreau admitted to “communication gaps,” and said Williston’s CSWD commissioner, Joe Duncan, has been largely unavailable during the process.

The construction process has already begun for the compost facility, with trees and stumps being cleared from the Redmond Road site. The work seemed to antagonize the Selectboard.

Williston has appealed a state approval of the compost facility, arguing that the approval violates a clause in the Town Charter requiring a host town agreement for such facilities. The town and waste district have yet to sign a host town agreement, which would compensate Williston for any impacts of the facility.

Asked by the Selectboard why CSWD went ahead with the project without awaiting a decision on the appeal, Moreau said the waste district’s lawyers had advised that it was OK to begin construction.

Board members Chris Roy and Jeff Fehrs said it felt as if Williston had been left out of the planning process, and only learned about changes to the compost facility once CSWD decided how it wanted to move forward.

Moreau apologized multiple times for communication failures with the Selectboard; following his last apology, Sassorossi told Moreau he failed not only the board, but the entire town.


In an effort to learn about the trash disposal habits of Chittenden County residents, staff from the Chittenden Solid Waste District spent much of last week sorting through garbage.

The trash sort took place Tuesday through Friday mornings at the All Cycle Transfer Station in Williston. Bags were dumped onto a conveyer belt, and then staff picked through the waste, sorting it into bins for compost, recyclables, paper and other trash. Once sorted, the various bins were weighed to determine the percentage types of waste.

CSWD Marketing Coordinator Clare Innes expected the results to be available in a couple of weeks. The data will be combined with results collected from a similar sort in May and used to help CSWD evaluate its education and outreach programs, she said.

According to a press release from CSWD, the May data showed an increase in the amount of “true trash” showing up in garbage bins compared to a sort in 2006. In 2006, true trash composed 47.5 percent of the waste collected. That number had risen to 55.4 percent by May 2010, with a corresponding decrease in recyclable and compostable material showing up in trash bins.

The waste came from residential pick-up routes, Innes said.

— Greg Duggan, Observer staff