October 22, 2014

Selectboard dissatisfied with compost communication

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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.

DOING A DIRTY JOB

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

School Board kicks off budget talks

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Oct. 28, 2010

By Greg Duggan
Observer staff

If attendance at two forums on Tuesday was any indication, faculty and staff in the Williston School District have much greater interest than parents in budget talks.

The Williston School Board began the budget season at Williston Central School by hosting two forums — one for faculty and staff, and another for parents. Three parents showed up at the 6 p.m. forum; by comparison, approximately 30 faculty and staff members attended the earlier forum for teachers, board Chairwoman Holly Rouelle and District Principal Walter Nardelli said.

The School Board needs to present its proposed budget by January. With a non-binding directive from the state Legislature to reduce spending, the board wanted to begin its budget process with feedback from teachers and parents.

Under the Challenges for Change bill passed in the spring, the state’s education commission must identify $23.5 million to cut from school budgets statewide. Each supervisory union and school has a budget reduction goal for the next fiscal year, as assigned by the commissioner of education. Williston has a Challenges for Change reduction figure of $265,760.

School districts must decide by Dec. 15 whether they will be able to meet the challenge. Chittenden South Supervisory Union Chief Operations Officer Bob Mason said Williston would receive its baseline budget figure on Nov. 10.

The fact that Challenges for Change is at this point a suggestion rather than a requirement was a major sticking point for parent Joshua Diamond.

“What if we say no (to Challenges for Change), to promote quality education?” Diamond asked, noting that a strong educational system also boosts property values.

Diamond praised the School Board for minimizing budget increases the past few years, and said the district shouldn’t necessarily have to make more cuts this year.

Diamond had support from Larry Lackey, another of the parents at the forum.

“Kids get an excellent education here,” Lackey said.

To bolster Diamond’s argument, Mason and School Board members said that debt the school district usually needs to pay off will come off the books in the next fiscal year; Mason estimated the savings could essentially cover the Challenges for Change figure.

But the board cautioned it wanted to take a long-term approach to the school budget, in case it was forced to make larger cuts in future years. Furthermore, Mason noted the uncertainty in anticipating how the Legislature would react if schools reject Challenges for Change.

The discussion followed a brief presentation by Nardelli and Mason about school curriculum and the budget situation.

As part of the forum, the School Board asked participants four questions: which areas or programs could be reduced or eliminated, which areas or programs should not be reduced, what are the minimum requirements for providing a quality education and in what ways can the school district “rethink the way (it) currently provide(s) education to preserve the quality and programs while funding sources decline?”

Diamond, Lackey and parent Jan Mazzone all preferred to make as few cuts as possible. Mazzone encouraged the school to continue its enrichment programs, while looking to trim the outdated parts of educational programs.

All three parents said they attended the forum to voice support for the school district and to ensure a quality education for their kids.

“I’m interested in my kids’ future,” Mazzone said.

“I think schools are the core of our communities,” Diamond said.

Nardelli and Rouelle said they were impressed by the teacher turnout and suggestions, which included thoughts of a longer school year — classes would run the same number of days, but over a more spread out schedule — and offering more online services.

Nardelli plans to compile and type up the suggestions, and to continue the discussion with the school’s Program Council.

The School Board plans to continue budget discussions in mid-November, and encouraged parents to participate in the process.

“We’re at the very beginning stages,” Rouelle said.

The next Williston School District budget hearing is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 18 at Williston Central School.

Musical brings Caribbean beats to CVU

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Oct. 28, 2010

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff

Sasha Torrens-Sperry (from left), Greg Zengilowski and Amelia Munson practice a song called ‘Pray.’ (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

For Candy Padula’s first play as Champlain Valley Union High School’s theater program director, she chose her favorite musical.

“As it’s my first show at CVU, I wanted it to be a special one,” she said.

“Once On This Island,” the school’s fall musical, is set to open Oct. 28 and run through Saturday.

“It is so beautiful and there’s always something going on, always something that I think will take the audience’s breath away,” Padula said. “It’s a fast-moving show, very high energy.”

Set on a Caribbean island divided between two isolated societies, the play is loosely based on “The Little Mermaid.” It follows the story of TiMoune, a peasant girl who falls in love with Daniel, an upper class boy from the other side of the island, after saving his life.

Senior Amelia Munson, who plays TiMoune, is no stranger to the play. A longtime participant in school drama programs, she has taken part in this musical in some capacity four times. She has even played TiMoune before — though she was in middle school.

“It’s definitely not the same this time,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve brought a lot of different stuff to the role that I couldn’t at 12 years old.”

Munson said viewers shouldn’t expect the Disney version, but that the play is a “beautiful story.”

“It teaches us all the reasons we should celebrate happiness and celebrate life,” she said.

Senior Matthew Shepardson, who plays the god Agwe, said he also likes the storyline.

“It’s a great family experience and a lot of fun,” Shepardson said. “It’s fun music and dancing.”

Shepardson said he has been acting in plays since he was 5 or 6 years old.

“You get to take on a different persona and be someone else, but you can still put parts of yourself in different characters.”

Padula said she loves the music and dancing in “Once On This Island.”

“I’m a choreographer, and I enjoy a lot of dancing in a show,” she said. “This show is almost nonstop movement and dancing from start to finish. It’s often been referred to as a choreographer’s dream.”

Although this is Padula’s first time directing at CVU, she is by no means a stranger to the drama world.

Padula has been involved in theater since she was a preteen, and has been directing “forever.” She ran the drama program at Trinity College before becoming a director at Mount Mansfield Union High School in Jericho, where she has been for the past 11 years. Padula will continue to direct plays at Mount Mansfield in addition to CVU.

During the last few weeks of rehearsals, Padula said she is too busy to be nervous or excited about the show.

“This last week of rehearsing a show is always a challenge for everyone,” she said. “We’re all invested and we’re all exhausted and working very hard and everything that could go wrong goes wrong, and then we figure out how to fix it.”

Padula said she is looking forward to opening night.

“I’m excited for the show to open, because that’s when I get to sit back and relax a little bit and watch it,” she said. “It’s a beautiful show to watch and enjoy.”

Performances of “Once On This Island” are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 28 and 29, and 2 p.m. on Oct. 30. Tickets are $6 for students and faculty and $8 for general admission. They can be purchased in advance at CVU during lunch periods or at Brown Dog Books in Hinesburg.

VIDEO: Williston School Board meeting

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Oct. 22, 2010

The Williston School Board held its monthly meeting on Oct. 13.

Video courtesy of RETN Channel 16.

PHOTOS: Nordic soccer in Columbus Day tourney

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Oct. 21, 2010

Courtesy photos

The Nordic U-12 Boys Premier soccer team won the 8 vs. 8 Premier Division in a World Cup Columbus Day Soccer Tournament played in Nashua, N.H. Williston players included Max Hamrell, William Hubbard and Brock and Dillion Hamrell.

PHOTOS: CVU Spirit Day & craft fair

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Oct. 21, 2010

Observer photos by Stephanie Choate

Champlain Valley Union High School held a craft fair as part of its Spirit Day festivities on Oct. 16.

PHOTOS: CVU football vs. Colchester

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Oct. 21, 2010

Observer photos by Stephanie Choate

The Champlain Valley Union High football team beat Colchester High 23-14 on Oct. 16, CVU’s Spirit Day.

PHOTOS: CVU football vs. Colchester

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Oct. 21, 2010

Courtesy photos by Joe Kropf

The Champlain Valley Union High football team beat Colchester High 23-14 on Oct. 16, CVU’s Spirit Day.

CVU girls soccer team handles South Burlington

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Regular season finale on Friday

Oct. 21, 2010

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

A rematch between the 2009 Division 1 finalists Burlington High and the Champlain Valley Union High girls soccer team will close out the Redhawks’ regular season Friday at 4 p.m. at their Hinesburg Heights Nest.

CVU popped the defending champion Seahorses 5-1 just two weeks ago on Burlington High’s turf.

Before the Friday contest, the 11-1 Redhawks had some business at Essex High on Wednesday. The game was scheduled for after press deadline.

South Burlington High (6-6) tested the Red and White Monday in a contest rescheduled from Saturday. South Burlington came up short by a 6-0 tally, the Redhawks scoring three times in each half at their home field.

Amanda Kinneston notched a pair of goals, one of them a penalty kick, and Sophia Steinhoff launched one goal and helped out on two others. Shelby Hanlon, Molly Howard and Katie Parker also scored, Parker blasting her second penalty kick in the last two games. Howard and Parker also had assists.

CVU controlled the territorial play, outshooting the Rebels 16-7.

Regular CVU net minder Emily Sackett had two stops and gave way to Bryn Philbert and Sarah Monteith in the second half. Philbert made two saves and Monteith had three.

It was the eighth shutout of the season for CVU, which has outscored the opposition 51-3.

Redhawks remain unbeaten with win over MMU

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Two home games remain for boys soccer team

Oct. 21, 2010

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Hustling forward Nick Spencer of the Champlain Valley Union High boys soccer team has over the course of the season had some eerily near misses on scoring opportunities.

But he has kept on dashing and slashing and Tuesday it paid off with two goals as he led the undefeated Redhawks to a 5-0 victory over Mount Mansfield Union at the Cougars’ Jericho Center lair.

The victory gives the Redhawks a 10-0-1 season mark going into the final contests of the regular campaign. Essex High, 9-3, rolls into Hinesburg at 4 p.m. Thursday, to be followed by 3-9 North Country Union at 11 a.m. Saturday.

Also scoring Tuesday for the ’Hawks were Tanner Tomasi, Henry Sengle and Hans Fredrik Fahle. Midfielder Tino Tomasi, who had missed two games with an injury, returned to action with a pair of assists.

Jeffrey Wettstein and Golden Golann split the CVU goalkeeping duties and combined had 10 stops. The Redhawks fired 18 shots at MMU net minder Dan Ebenstein.

Spencer also had a key assist last Wednesday in a 1-0 win over tough Burlington High. Spencer got the ball to Mac Edgerton, who launched the lone score of the game with 13 minutes and 58 seconds left.

Burlington, 9-2-1 after a 2-0 triumph over North Country on Tuesday, had stymied the Redhawks with a scoreless tie at BHS earlier in the season.

“They are a good team and very athletic,” CVU coach T.J. Mead said of the Seahorses.

In the meantime, CVU’s Goose Egg Gang now has 10 shutouts in 11 outings, a mark that senior defender Eric MacLean acknowledged is a source of pride for the team.