July 24, 2019

PHOTOS: Scouts go zip-lining

Nov. 24, 2010

Courtesy photos by Bill Burbank

Boy Scout Troop 692 went zip-lining on Nov. 20 with Alpine Adventures zipline tours in Lincoln, N.H.

PHOTOS: Shelburne Meat Market at Williston

Nov. 24, 2010

Observer photos by Tim Simard

The Shelburne Meat Market at Williston opened in Taft Corners Shopping Center on Nov. 20.

PHOTOS: North-South football game

Nov. 24, 2010

Courtesy photos by Carol Palmer

The Champlain Valley Union High football team had five players participate in the annual North-South senior all-star game, played at Castleton State College on Nov. 20. Quarterback and defensive back Konnor Fleming, halfback and defensive back J. P. Benoit, linebacker Eric Palmer and two-way linemen Cameron Fitzgerald and Dale Conger were the honored Redhawks who played on the North squad. Fleming, still hobbled by a leg injury in the semifinal contest with Rice Memorial High, watched from the sidelines. The North team won the game 74-48.

PHOTOS: Fall in Williston

Nov. 24, 2010

Courtesy photos by Braden Lalancette (BradenLalancettePhoto.webs.com)

Williston resident Braden Lalancette snapped these photos of Williston on Nov. 21.

Practices open Monday for CVU winter sports

Nov. 24, 2010

Tryouts begin Monday at Champlain Valley Union High for winter sports programs.

The schedule is unusually late this season, with opening practice day following the Thanksgiving holiday for the first time in memory.

Basketball tryouts will have the boys working out at 6:30 a.m. and again at 3 p.m., with the girls taking over at 6 p.m. under new varsity coach Jeff Evans.

Hockey tryouts are set for Cairns Arena in South Burlington with the boys on rink 1 at 4 p.m. and the girls at rink 2 starting at 4:10 p.m.

Wrestling candidates will meet right after school at 3:15 p.m. in the CVU mini-gym.

Alpine and Nordic ski candidates will be going through conditioning programs at the school at 3:15 p.m.

Gymnastics candidates will meet new coach Carlie Rivard at 7 p.m. at Green Mountain Gymnastics in Williston.

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent

Div. 1 in works for 2011 CVU football

Nov. 24, 2010

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Champlain Valley Union High football player Cameron Fitzgerald (right) blocks an opponent during the annual North-South senior all-star game, played at Castleton State College on Saturday. Fitzgerald was one of five CVU players named to the North squad, which won the game 74-48. Also representing CVU were Konnor Fleming, J. P. Benoit, Eric Palmer and Dale Conger. (Courtesy photo by Carol Palmer)

Apparently, it will be on to big boy football next autumn for the Champlain Valley Union High football team.

Last week, the Vermont Interscholastic Football League released its new divisional alignment, which moved CVU and three other 2010 Division 2 teams into an enlarged 14-team Division 1.

Colchester High, Middlebury Union High and Mount Mansfield Union High were the other teams being added to the top class.

The proposal still needs the approval of the Vermont Principals Association, which will act after the first of the year.

Whether going up a division will have much impact on the fortunes of the Redhawks is unknown. Some would say their Division 2 schedule in 2010 was big boy football in a very competitive division.

In two seasons of Division 2, the Redhawks, in their fourth and fifth years of varsity football, went to the championship contest in 2009 and a semifinal in 2010.

“This was no surprise,” CVU athletic director Kevin Riell said late last week.

He pointed out that the team under head coach Jim Provost has made the final four in its two seasons in the division while CVU has the largest boy population (710) of any Vermont high school.

Riell also noted that the youth feeder program is very vibrant and popular.

“It (the move up) will take some adjustment,” he added. “Don’t expect immediate success.”

Under the proposed realignment, Division 1 teams will play eight games with a ninth for a quarterfinal playoff round for the top eight. Those not in the great eight would play a game against another non-playoff team.

As presently formulated, the proposal would allow schools to play one non-division team, which might end the CVU-Rice Memorial rivalry given that Division 2 Rice would maintain its traditional contest against intra-city foe Burlington High of Division 1.

CVU’s budding rival might be Mount Mansfield Union for the Mountain Valley Bowl each year.


Five members of the CVU football team were named to the North squad in Saturday’s North-South senior all-star game played at Castleton State College.

Quarterback and defensive back Konnor Fleming, halfback and defensive back J. P. Benoit, linebacker Eric Palmer and two-way linemen Cameron Fitzgerald and Dale Conger were the honored Redhawks. Fleming, still hobbled by a leg injury in the semifinal contest with Rice Memorial High, watched from the sidelines.

Old CVU foe Chris McCormick of Rice quarterbacked the North to a 74-48 victory by completing 19 of 28 pass attempts in amassing 347 yards and six scores.

Benoit hotfooted his way to some significant yardage, while Cameron, Conger and Palmer put the heat on the south’s signal callers with Palmer accounting for a pair of sacks and recovery of an onside kick.

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent

CVU Board faced with budget Challenges

Nov. 24, 2010

By Tim Simard
Observer staff

The Champlain Valley Union High School Board received its first look at a proposed 2011-2012 budget last week. The school’s baseline budget, which is the cost of current services if they’re carried into the following year, would see a 1.04 percent increase over the current budget. Next school year’s budget would total $21.57 million, according to Chittenden South Supervisory Union Chief Operations Officer Bob Mason.

While the increase is low, the CVU Board is facing a bigger task in meeting the Vermont Legislature’s Challenges for Change, which aims to cut school spending across Vermont. The state is strongly urging schools to cut 2 percent from net spending, which would require CVU to make large reductions in its budget. School Board Chairwoman Jeanne Jensen said, in light of the baseline increase, CVU might need to eliminate more than $700,000 from next year’s budget to meet the challenge.

Jensen said the board will look at ways to make cuts, but remained unsure if it would approve the amount of budget reductions required to meet the Challenges for Change.

“Getting anywhere close to it would have to take away a lot of opportunity for kids,” Jensen said. “I don’t know if we’re ready to dismantle our programs.”

The board asked Principal Sean McMannon to devise several different budget options based on possible cuts. Jensen said the board will likely look at McMannon’s proposals at its Dec. 13 meeting. The board must tell the Department of Education by Dec. 15 if it plans to meet the Challenges for Change.

The CVU School Board will continue budget talks at 6 p.m. on Nov. 29 at the high school.

Recipe Corner

Varied holiday salads

Nov. 24, 2010

By Ginger Isham

A long time ago, a booklet of salad recipes was published by Aline Coffey, Home Demonstration Program agent of the University of Vermont Extension Service. I watched Aline and learned about her recipes on “Across The Fence” when feeding babies. It is time to visit the recipes again, as they are easy, affordable and can be made ahead of time.

Frozen Banana Salad

2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese

dash of salt

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup crushed pineapple (drained)

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, coarsely cut up

1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

1 cup whipping cream

2 cups diced bananas (approximately 3 to 4 bananas)

Soften cream cheese and mix in salt, mayo and lemon juice. Fold in pineapple, cherries and nuts. Whip cream until thick and shiny but not stiff. Fold into the cream cheese mixture. Fold in bananas. Pour into a 9-by-11-inch pan and freeze for three hours or more until firm. Cut into squares and serve on crisp greens.

Cranberry Cream Salad

1 3-ounce package of cherry flavored gelatin

1 cup hot water

1 can (1 pound) cranberry sauce

1/2 cup celery, diced

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1 cup sour cream

Dissolve gelatin in hot water. Chill until slightly thickened. Break up cranberry sauce with a fork and stir into the gelatin along with celery and nuts. Fold in sour cream. Pour into a 1-quart mold or glass bowl and chill.

For fruit salads, try one of these dressings or dips:

Orange Honey Cream Dressing

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons orange juice

1 cup sour cream

grated orange rind

Blend honey and orange juice and fold in sour cream. Garnish with orange rind.

Strawberry Cream Dip

Whip 3 ounces of softened cream cheese and 1/4 cup strawberry preserves (the kind made with juice).

Fold in 1 cup heavy cream, whipped (I use all purpose). If needed, add a little bit of milk to thin the dip. Put in center of fruit platter.

For an accompaniment salad, serve canned apricot, pear or peach halves filled with cream cheese or cottage cheese and dates, and perhaps sprinkled with finely chopped nuts.

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

Vermonter at Large

Itches in the old belfry can drive one bats

Nov. 24, 2010

By Mal Boright

It is time that we puzzled citizens — I trust I am not the only one — snap out of our apparent apathy and establish the AHA (Ambivalent Headscratchers’ Association) in an attempt to get some answers to some of the perplexing questions that continue to hound us.

Elections come and go and the same problems remain, largely untouched by the so-called leaders we send to the nation’s political nervous center.

Some old election rules remain. Those out of power call for change while those in power cite their experience. And, of course, money rules all.

So, here are a few national and local noggin itches that bring on futile scratching:

• We are told we cannot afford economic stimulus (jobs programs), improvements in our health care system, better schools and the like, yet there is no problem raising more than $3 billion in campaign and advertising funds for the 2010 elections.

And while complaints about negative campaign advertising are almost universal, going negative will continue unabated because there is a perception among those seeking elective office that dirt works.

• The slogan from Tea Party folks and others this past summer and autumn to “take back our government.”

Er, take it back from whom?

Those in power coming in to the election were put into office in 2008 by a democratic process and there has been no sign of some nefarious cabal wrenching the tools of power from that elected leadership.

On the other hand, if the Take Back Movement is pointing to cleaning up Congress by eliminating the flow of money and influence from special interests, and getting control over institutionalized lobbying practices, then, yes, we have a worthwhile effort being formed.

• Closer to home, the dome needs a serious scratch over the fact that adequate brain power has not been mobilized to think outside the box and find a solution to the lack of signage on Vermont 2A. Consumers from afar need to be able to find their way to Wal-Mart and Home Depot before encountering the rollicking wonders of the Taft Corners intersection (one way) or the Interstate 89 underpass (the other way).

To have bewildered out-of-staters (white license plates) and out-of-town Vermonters (green license plates) lost among the fast-moving, highly-motivated drivers that inhabit 2A are invitations to mayhem.

Surely, some type of decent locator signs can be installed without dooming the area to environmental and commercial Armageddon.

• The end line on Vermont lottery television and radio ads that urge citizens to “please play responsibly” after a message of how much fun the games’ potential riches can be. There is no mention of how the odds are stacked against individual players.

Let’s see now. If one were to be truly responsible he or she would stuff the lottery money back in the wallet and later give a donation to a local food shelf or other worthwhile cause.

But never, never to a politician for campaigning. Now there are some really big odds stacked against the people.

• Noodle nudging is also widespread as to these horrible auto-dial telephone calls that ramp up during election seasons but never really go away.

Why any responsible company or individual would want to use auto-dialing (or telemarketing at all) and thus be associated with the crooked outfits that use these methods to scam the public is puzzling.

And fie on the political campaigns that go auto-dial. There seemed to be fewer of these calls in the recent election, but the voices of Jason Gibbs for secretary of state and Gov. Jim Douglas making a pitch for Brian Dubie come to mind.

Hey, boys and girls, can the auto-calls! They only send the message that you are too busy to actually want to talk with individual voters.

Or, you don’t mind being grouped with hucksters.

Williston resident Mal Boright has been an editor, columnist and reporter for several Vermont newspapers. He covers local sports as a correspondent for The Charlotte Citizen and the Williston Observer.

Right to the Point

Obama rating

Nov. 24, 2010

By Kayla Purvis

I’m sitting in the kitchen of an old New Hampshire farmhouse. On the counter next to me is an almost-empty jug of apple cider, a porcelain coffee cup, quilted place mats and multiple newspapers from the surrounding area. Underneath these things I find a pile of newsletters showing livestock for sale, a regional milk price stabilization meeting flyer, an advertisement for New England Holstein breeders and a chart of the soon-to-be-declining milk prices.

Saturday night, I spent the evening admiring calves and helping to clean the box stall of a very old (and very big) cow called “22.” I watched as two farmers milked their dairy cows. They are beginning the process of switching from dairy farming to beef farming because it turns a better profit in today’s economy. Their farm currently does not turn a profit, but instead breaks even.

It is these sort of situations that are keeping President Barack Obama’s approval and job ratings down. RealClearPolitics.com’s current polls give him 46 percent job approval and a 48 percent disapproval. His failed stimulus, expensive health care reform and lack of promised change is what has some Americans regretting their 2008 vote.

In a recent appearance on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart called Obama out on the reasons for this feeling. He pointed out the messianic appearance that Obama had, the idea that he was going to be the savior of our country’s tanking economy. To my surprise, Stewart told Obama that it was his own fault that he hasn’t lived up to his campaign slogan: change. Or, to be more accurate, positive change. Perhaps the president’s reply is what will hurt him most: “We have done things that some folks don’t even know about.”

Right now, the voting trend has a pattern. Americans get irritated when the party in power doesn’t make speedy changes that automatically fix all the country’s problems. So when elections come around, they vote for the opposite party. Except, they are not really voting for that party so much as voting against the current party. If Obama wants to buck this trend, he has two options.

The first is to remain as far to the left as he is, try to refocus the main issue surrounding the elections and fight hard for reelection in 2012 — like FDR in the 1930s. The other is to move more to the center and ride the winds of the boosted economy, like Bill Clinton in the mid-1990s — except that Obama doesn’t have those winds.

Robert Reich, a writer for RealClearPolitics.com, said that the economy is growing at 2 percent a year. This rate is not enough to shrink the percentage of jobless Americans and give our economy the big shove it needs for Obama to have a good shot at pulling off either of these options. Both former presidents grabbed hold of strong economic-recovery winds by the end of their first terms, and Obama won’t have that.

Based on the way he puts off the complaints of Americans and the states themselves regarding his health care plan, I would say the president is in a bit of denial. He doesn’t want to agree that his plan isn’t right and needs revisions. This will hurt him; Americans feel ignored. And the states are losing money fast. So his best bet is to try to make the main issue of the 2012 election something other than the economy. Because if the situations of Americans like these New Hampshire farmers don’t get better, he will likely not have a chance of winning a second term on the basis of the U.S. economy.

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