May 23, 2018

Solid season for CVU field hockey team

Nov. 10, 2010

Champlain Valley Union High’s Lauren King makes a play on the ball during Wednesday’s field hockey playoff game against South Burlington High School. The Redhawks fell 5-0 to South Burlington, which went on to win the Division 1 crown. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

A return to the Division 1 semifinals in 2010 after nine players graduated from the 2009 division tournament runner-up has to be considered a good season for coach Kate McDonald’s Champlain Valley Union High field hockey team.

The Redhawks finished 8-5-3 and made it to the semifinals a week ago Wednesday, where they fell 5-0 to eventual undefeated champion South Burlington High. The running Rebels went on to pop defending champ Hartford High 3-0 in Saturday’s title match at the University of Vermont for a perfect 17-0 season.

During the regular season, the Redhawks lost 5-0 to the Rebels at CVU and 2-0 Oct. 20 in South Burlington.

To spring the semifinal upset, CVU needed to get an early score that might give the speedy top-seeded South Burlington combine pause. Instead, it was the Rebels who became the early birds, knocking in a pair of goals within the first seven minutes en route to a hefty 4-0 advantage by intermission.

The Redhawks buckled down in the second half but were held off the scoreboard.

McDonald told the media that the team had hoped to start strong, but South Burlington’s early scores took away any possible CVU momentum.

Seven players will be graduated by the time McDonald greets hopefuls at next summer’s tryouts. This spring’s graduates will include tri-captains Mallory Hillman, Aubrey Deavitt and Louise Gibbs. Also departing are goalie Sami Kassel, Holly Bertolet, Kelsey Barrett and Madison Wetmiller.

— Mal Boright, Observer staff

Muddy end to strong CVU football season

Nov. 10, 2010

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

The offensive line of Champlain Valley Union High’s football team fails to get much going in the mud against Rice Memorial High on Saturday. Rice knocked CVU out of the Division 2 playoffs with a 29-8 victory. (Courtesy photo by Joe Kropf)

On a mostly cloudy, crisp, November day, Champlain Valley Union High’s second Division 2 football season came to an end Saturday on a muddy home field.

In the first playoff contest to be staged at the Hinesburg gridiron, the Redhawks learned that stout defense alone could not keep the Rice Memorial High Green Knights off the board for an entire game. The visitors used an effective aerial attack led by senior quarterback Chris McCormick to register a 29-8 victory.

Question: given the muddy (soupy) conditions, could the game qualify as a Souper Bowl?

Rice goes on to meet undefeated Middlebury High for the championship Saturday in one of three division-crowning games at Castleton State College.

CVU, which had handed the 9-1 Knights their only loss, 30-22 at their South Burlington field in early October, lost starting quarterback/defensive back Konnor Fleming early in the initial quarter. The offense was never able to recover its yardage chewing operation.

Fleming, the Redhawks’ primary running and passing threat, rolled out to the right sideline on the second play following a CVU (Derek Goodwin) recovery of a Rice fumble on the opening kickoff at the Knights’ 27. Fleming injured a knee on the play and was unable to return. He watched the second half on crutches. A further evaluation was scheduled for early this week.

With Fleming gone, the Redhawks’ usually diverse offense bogged down, due in no small part to a tough, aggressive Rice defensive line and linebackers. The Knights held CVU to three first downs, two of those via penalties, and 13 yards total offense.

As for the absence of Fleming being a reason for the CVU loss, Redhawks head coach Jim Provost would have none of it.

“This was Rice’s day today,” he said after the game. “They outplayed us. They have skilled players all over.”

Three backs, J.P. Benoit, Ian Solomon and Tyler Barnes, took snaps over the center for CVU but were unable to make much yardage running or passing against the Rice front wall.

In the meantime, McCormick and company did not manufacture much against the CVU defenders until midway in the second quarter and then with the gift of good field position. After a Rice punt put CVU back on its own 20, a Redhawk fumble turned the ball over to Rice for a first down at the Hawks’ 14.

A strong pass rush and alert secondary held McCormick to four incomplete passes.

“Our defense played unbelievably well,” Provost said of the overall effort by the defenders.

Following that rescue by the defense, CVU took over, but a third down interception gave Rice the ball at the 20 and this time McCormick connected with wideout Nicky Elderton for a scoring pitch with 3:38 left in the half. A two-point conversion throw to Billy Weaver made it 8-0.

CVU had its best offensive thrust after the Rice score.

Barnes returned the kickoff 30 yards to the CVU 35. Later, on a fourth down fake punt at the 44, Barnes scampered past a shocked Rice line for a first down at the Knights’ 36. It was the Hawks’ second deepest penetration of Rice territory (the first period fumble recovery at the 27 the deepest).

But a holding penalty quickly pushed the Redhawks back. A Rice pass interception was followed by a CVU intercept by deep defender Ryan Nakhleh at the CVU 6 to stop another McCormick aerial assault before halftime.

While the Redhawks remained stalled on offense in the second half (a trio of three downs-and-punt, 1 turnover, 1 second-down safety), McCormick authored a 58-yard drive midway through the third period, getting the score on a 5-yard keeper for a 14-0 lead with 6:44 left in the period.

Casey Tipson and Dan Bulger scored on short runs in the fourth quarter. A safety on a botched CVU snap from center gave the Knights their final points.

The Redhawks scored when defensive end Ryan Beaudry picked up a Rice fumble at the CVU 25 and legged out 75 yards through the mire for the end zone. Benoit grabbed a pass for the two-point conversion.

McCormick said after the game that he had difficulty getting feet planted for throws, but the rifle-armed passer was still able to connect 15 times in 31 tries for 240 yards and a touchdown.

CVU’s defenders intercepted him twice and the trench guys, led by linebacker Eric Palmer and tackle Dale Conger, sacked McCormick three times for 24 yards in losses.

Each team had six fumbles in the goo, Rice coughing up two and CVU one. Rice was intercepted twice and the Redhawks three times. It all worked out to four turnovers by each team.

Rice-CVU, Stats

Rice                        0            8            6            15  –   29

CVU                        0            0            0            8    –   8

Rice                        CVU

First downs                        16                        3

Rushing yards                        82                        13

Passing yards                        240                        0

Return yards                        80                        160

Comp-Att-Int                        15-31-2            0-9-3

Sacked-Yards lost            3-24                        0

Punts-Avg                                    4-31                        7-26

Fumbles-lost                        6-2                        6-1

Penalties-Yards                        9-90                        7-55

Abrupt finish to stellar season

CVU girls soccer team upset in playoffs

Nov. 10, 2010

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

From last season’s state Division 1 girls soccer championship match at Burlington High against the BHS Seahorses, to this year’s home semifinal contest a week ago Wednesday against Colchester High, the outcome for Champlain Valley Union High was the same: a vexing 1-0 loss.

Motivated in part by last year’s outcome at BHS, the top-seeded Redhawks dominated overall play, out-shooting the fifth-seeded Lakers 10-2 but never getting the ball past Colchester goalie Haley Forkey, a freshman.

The disappointing outcome was the final appearance in the red and white uniforms for 12 seniors, most of whom were no strangers to the tension of postseason action.

Colchester took a 10-4-3 mark into Saturday’s Division 1 championship game, where it lost 2-1 to 10th-seeded South Burlington High. The Rebels collected their first Division 1 title.

An old saying in sports has it that an underdog in a critical soccer game can make its bark significant if it scores first. Colchester did, and then packed in its defense near its net as the 14-2 Redhawks attacked.

The Lakers’ Lauren Bernard had scored the lone goal with 13 minutes and 21 seconds left in the first half after CVU had kept the ball in front of the Colchester cage most of the time from the game’s beginning.

It was only the fifth tally against the Redhawks all season.

CVU’s formidable attack took over and ruled field position the rest of the game, but could not dent the net through a crowd of defenders that at times resembled Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

Twice in the second half there piles of bodies in front of an empty Laker net — goalie Forkey was in the piles — but a Redhawks foot could not nudge the ball past the goal line.

CVU coach Brad Parker said after the game he thought until the end that CVU would score as his team maintained fierce pressure. But it was not to be.

“We had to defend like crazy,” the Lakers’ Bernard told the media.

They did.

Education Briefs

Nov. 10, 2010

MATHCOUNTS seeks members

Williston Central School’s MATHCOUNTS Competition Program is looking for sixth, seventh and eighth graders to join the team. The program provides students with problems that promote critical thinking and problem solving skills.

MATHCOUNTS competitions feature oral and written rounds, as well as individual and team events. Local competitions begin in February after a few months of coaching. Regional winners advance to statewide competitions in March, with the top four individuals and top coach having the chance to participate in the national competition.

Practices begin later this month, and will take place once a week after school. Anyone, including fifth graders, are welcome to join.

Register by Nov. 15. For more information, contact Cris Milks at or visit

Nordic Ski Team hosts silent auction

The Nordic Ski Team at Champlain Valley Union High School will hold its annual silent auction on Nov. 22-23. The auction coincides with parent-teacher conferences at the school.

The registration table and auction items will be set up in the “four corners” area of the school from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Items should include sporting equipment, restaurant gift certificates, clothing and more.

Proceeds benefit the team’s wax and equipment budget.

For more information, contact coach Sarah Strack at

CVU to hold Arts Night

Champlain Valley Union High School will host an Arts Night on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m. The evening will feature visual artwork on display throughout the school, and provide visitors a chance to speak with the artists.

Chorus and band performances begin in the auditorium at 7 p.m.

Shaw nominated for honor society

Kathryn Shaw of Williston, a member of the Bowdoin College class of 2011 majoring in history and environmental studies, was nominated for membership in Phi Beta Kappa. She was among 12 students nominated for membership last month.

Phi Beta Kappa Society is a national honorary fraternity for the recognition and promotion of scholarship. Nominations are based on academic records.

The students will be officially elected and initiated into Phi Beta Kappa at Commencement in May.

Recipe Corner

Food for flu season

Nov. 10, 2010

By Ginger Isham

In my cookbook collection I have a small book called “Garlic and Vinegar” that was put out by Global Digests and published by American Media Mini Mags Inc. in 2001. It is so interesting to read about the healing powers of these two foods.

A story in this book tells about outlaws who robbed homes during the plague in the Middle Ages. The people were too weak to fight back. When the thieves were caught the judge asked them why they risked their lives to get close to their victims. The thieves replied that they made a special drink and drank it before the robberies to protect themselves. It was the following recipe:

2 quarts of apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons dried lavender leaves

2 tablespoons dried rosemary leaves

2 tablespoons dried sage leaves

2 tablespoons dried mint leaves

2 garlic cloves, chopped

They steeped the dried herbs in vinegar for two weeks. Then strained it, added the garlic, and shook it to mix it well. They then would take 1 tablespoon every hour up to four hours before they began their robberies.

The judge was so impressed that he thanked them for the recipe and then let them go.

On a more serious note, I drink 1/2 to 1 cup of hot water lots of mornings when I first get out of bed. Years ago, a nurse friend told me she did this. It makes sense to warm the body and start the juices flowing after lying still all night. When I think my throat feels scratchy or my family is having colds, I add 1 teaspoon of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey (not garlic) to the hot water and sip it before I eat breakfast. I have read that vinegar and honey will help a cough. Who knows if this is why I have not been ill in years?

During cold and flu season the remedy was always chicken soup. The “Garlic and Vinegar” book has an easy recipe called Chicken Soup Plus.

1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

28 ounces low-fat, low-salt chicken broth

2 carrots, sliced thin

2 stalks of celery, sliced thin

1 tablespoon parsley, chopped fine

Sauté the onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add rest of ingredients, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Just before serving, stir in 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and stir well. Serve hot.

Flu season hint: I change my pillowcases on the bed every two to three days during winter and flu season months.

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

Right to the Point

Disappointed with Vermont

Nov. 10, 2010

By Kayla Purvis

On Nov. 3, at 9:30 a.m., Lt. Gov. and Vermont gubernatorial candidate Brian Dubie conceded the race for governor to Sen. Peter Shumlin. The vote was too close to call Tuesday night, and by Wednesday morning, neither candidate had broken 50 percent. In Vermont, this means that it has to be taken to vote in the Legislature. Since the Legislature is a Democratic majority, it did not make sense for Dubie to call for that process when the vote would ultimately go to Shumlin anyway.

Many say that Dubie was just trying to make himself look good, but those that know him know better; Dubie was just being himself when he conceded the race to Shumlin. It was a courteous and respectful thing to do not only for his opponent, but for our state. He did not want to cause trouble or use up time by insisting on a legislative vote.

I do not consider Shumlin’s win to be a victory for Vermont. He is not the right type of politician for the Green Mountain State, nor do I believe him to be nearly as good-natured as Dubie. Shumlin is too much of a Washington politician for my taste, and I am sad to see that our state has elected such a type.

As I said in my endorsement column a few weeks ago, I have had the privilege of volunteering a little time on the Dubie campaign. I got to meet Dubie a couple of times, and when I did, I knew that he earnestly cared about meeting me; he ran his campaign for Vermonters, and he knew the importance of hearing them out. Dubie is the type of leader who remembers your name and your story, and who will tour around the state of Vermont to listen to the concerns and stories of people in every corner.

I was fortunate enough to get to listen to Rep. Patty O’Donnell, R-Vernon, one rainy fall day in Burlington, and she told stories about how Shumlin neglected his own county when it had businesses tanking left and right, and how he never showed up to a single meeting. The people of Windham County were calling on their senator to help them and be there for him, and he never made an appearance. Is this the type of governor we want? Not for me, and not for my Vermont.

I feel I should address the negative ads that we saw towards the end of both campaigns. The mudslinging ads are something Vermonters are not used to, and it put a lot of us out. In comparison to some ads in other states, though, the ones released in Vermont this election were nothing. I am not impressed with nor condoning the ads on either candidate’s part, but I can and will argue that the ads we saw released against Shumlin were not characteristic of Dubie.

I have grown up in the same community as Dubie. I went to youth group with his youngest daughter. His wife taught at my school. My grandfather, a colonel, knows his brother from the National Guard. I’ve met his mother’s old best friend while out campaigning. I go to school with his nephews. One of his relatives was my elementary and middle school P.E. teacher.

With such a close race, and the outcome that it had, I can’t help but wonder if maybe I could have done something more to help Dubie win. I want a governor who I can run into at church, or at the grocery store or attending an event where his daughter Casey is performing.

One thing Shumlin said that struck me was that he couldn’t wait for the Dubie who cares about his family and the state of Vermont to come back after the campaign was over. I wanted to stand up and point out that Dubie’s family was sitting there in the crowd supporting him … and where was Shumlin’s? Dubie’s wife Penny was always by his side during his campaign, whether it be at rallies or debates. His daughter Emily was also present a number of times, as was Casey. Shumlin had no right to say that Dubie doesn’t care about his family.

I am disappointed in Vermont for choosing Shumlin. I think his plans for Vermont are unsafe and not well thought out, and I think he is too sneaky of a politician for a state with such unique political patterns. Shumlin has not convinced me that he will take care of my state, and he is not the right fit for Vermont.

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

Liberally Speaking

Analyzing the 2010 Election

Nov. 10, 2010

By Steve Mount

Interpreting election results can be as tricky as predicting them. Given that, I suggest you add my voice to all the others you’ve heard in the past week as you make up your own mind.

At the state level, I am proud of Vermonters as we did two things: we bucked the general trend toward the right, but at the same time, we were maverick-like in our choices at the state level.

With so many office-holders giving up their seats this year, many of the main offices were fresh for the taking: governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state.

Williston itself showed a conservative streak in its vote for governor, with Republican Brian Dubie winning the vote 53 percent to Democrat Peter Shumlin’s 46 percent. Statewide, though Shumlin pulled in just under 50 percent of the vote (to Dubie’s 47 percent) and Dubie conceded the race. The selection of governor will, technically, be left to the Legislature, but Dubie’s concession virtually guarantees Shumlin’s eventual win.

In the lieutenant governor’s race, the Republican Phil Scott beat Democrat Steve Howard 48 percent to 41 percent; in Williston, Scott pulled in 54 percent of the vote to Howard’s 39 percent.

And finally in the secretary of state’s race, Democrat Jim Condos beat out Republican Jason Gibbs 54 percent to 44 percent; in Williston, the numbers were similar, 54 percent to 46 percent.

Based on Williston’s vote in the top two races on the ticket, I still have a lot of work to do here, trying to convince the majority of my neighbors that the best choice for Vermont is left-leaning. I hope the governor’s actions help me out in that regard!

My impression is that Vermonters in general were not particularly impressed with the tone the political advertisements took in Vermont this campaign season, particularly in the governor’s race. At the same time, I was impressed with much of Peter Shumlin’s advertising, especially his “whiteboard” series, which condensed complex issues down to their bare bones, and may have made a real difference in the campaign.

Shumlin’s unerring support for closing Vermont Yankee also resonated with many Vermonters (though not with your humble columnist), and ads touting his business experience also raised confidence in many Vermonters.

The wide margins won by our current members of Congress show yet again the power of incumbency, especially when there is a general air of satisfaction with the incumbent’s work. The best advice I would have for any newly elected member of Congress from Vermont is to represent the state vigorously and to keep your nose clean. With those two things under your belt, a long-term job seems easy to keep.

Nationally, of course, this is no time for liberals to celebrate. Though the polls told us it was coming, hope sprung eternal that the losses would not be so bad. Democrats did retain control of the Senate, but likely because only a third of the body was up for election.

In the House, the swing from Democratic to Republican control is one of the biggest on record. Since Democrats, however, still hold the presidency and the Senate, the next two years are going to be the Republicans’ chance to show not that they can flex their muscle, but that they can compromise.

The 2010 election made one thing clear: the American public is impatient. Given what they got in 2008, President Obama and the 111th Congress accomplished a lot, but in the face of continued unemployment near double digits, it seems that we as a people think the Republicans can do better. I’m not sure they can, but I’m not going to wish that they fail. I hope that Republicans and Democrats both can set aside their differences and work to finding solutions to our national problems.

We’ll also see if the gleam of the Tea Party continues to shine, or if it will tarnish as its new leaders, including Senators-elect Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, try to influence legislation in the 112th Congress. Fortunately for their states, and us all, the worst of the Tea Party, Sharon Angle and Christine O’Donnell, went down to defeat. Even Alaska’s Joe Miller seems, at this writing, to have lost to write-in incumbent Lisa Murkowski.

I’m confident that Democrats are willing to work with Republicans to get the tough work of governing the nation done. The next two years will show the American people if the Republicans are just as willing, or if the obstructionism they’ve been known for in the last two years will continue to be a feature of their governing strategy for the next two years.

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

Nov. 10, 2010

Analyzing NECAP scores

I have seen so many letters discussing the latest NECAP scores, I had to do a little research. I picked one other town for comparison (Shelburne) and looked at eighth grade NECAP science scores from the last three years compared to the state average, and listed percentages of proficient and above.

Here’s the result (as Williston/Shelburne/Vermont):

• 2008: 46/43/26

• 2009: 36/26/25

• 2010: 26/42/29

The first thing that jumps out is that the whole state needs improvement in either test taking or science curriculum, or both. The second thing is Shelburne also experienced a dip; in 2009 they were at state level. The third thing is the downward trend over three years for Williston, dropping to below state level. A singular dip could indicate trouble within one group, but a trend would seem to indicate trouble at the school.

I think back over the past three years, and what stands out most to me is the continuous drain on school and community energy by the restructuring planning. This stress came to a head last year with the final upheaval plans being unveiled. I don’t know how the teachers can work with the floor shifting under their feet every year. I moved my business two years ago, and although the move took only two weeks, it took three to four months away from my focus. I am not surprised that something dropped off in our schools. I think it’s time to leave our teachers to do their work and stop carping. It’s clear that it is taking a toll on our kids’ education.

Stewart Cohen, Williston

Benevento says thanks for support

As you know, Tuesday was Election Day. I would like to thank everyone who supported me during my campaign. Almost 1,600 Williston residents voted for me — many of whom I have never met.

Although I was not elected, it was still an exciting and uplifting time of my life. I appreciate all the nice comments received while campaigning door-to-door as well as the many supportive letters on my behalf.

Finally, of course, I very much appreciate the assistance of my family and friends. It may sound cliché, but it’s true. Without their support, I would never have accomplished what I did.

Mike Benevento, Candidate for state representative, Williston

Representatives appreciate support

To all who voted for us, thank you! Please remember we hope to effectively represent all of you, whether you voted for us or not. This is a partnership of government … you participate by keeping us informed of your positions and needs. We promise to listen and consider carefully.

Terry Macaig and Jim McCullough, State representatives, Williston

Michaud says, ‘Thank you’

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank all the folks who voted for me and supported my campaign. Congratulations to Terry Macaig and Jim McCullough on their victory and the professional campaign they ran. You have my support and the support of the town to assist the new administration to solve some of the issues facing Vermonters. My thanks also go to my running mate, Mike Benevento. It was a pleasure to carpool to the many events we attended and to plot strategy for our campaigns.

I want to thank all the folks who opened their doors, greeted me with a smile, shook my hand, voiced their opinions and displayed the passion for issues they believed in. That truly was the reason why I ran for the office of state representative. Every day I knocked on a door I became more convinced that entering the political arena was a good thing. The people I met and the stories that were shared will always be remembered as part of my campaign. I look forward to meeting you all again, whether it be at a school function, sporting event, town meeting or the July 4th festivities.

One more thank you goes to all the folks who came up to me on Election Day, shook my hand, shared a personal story and expressed condolences over the recent passing of my Dad during the campaign. It was truly heartfelt, and it showed the character of our town. All politics aside, fellow townspeople really cared.

Thank you so much for this experience.

Jay P. Michaud, Candidate for state representative, Williston

School fund-raiser scores big

Whitcomb’s Land of Pumpkins would like to thank everyone who participated in and supported our Annual Giant Pumpkin Display/Weighoff and Williston School Fund-raiser. We displayed and weighed some very nice and big pumpkins (17 in all). The winner brought in a bright orange, 517-pound pumpkin. The pumpkin plant sale in the spring, along with the pumpkin and maze donations, totaled $1,326.

Special thanks to our local businesses for their generous prize donations. Also, a thank you to Williston FAP for their help at the weighoff.

The Whitcomb Family, Williston

Going solar

The Williston Observer recently published a front-page article on the Sept. 23 launch of Solar Williston (“Williston to become ‘solar community,’” Sept. 23). I’m lucky to be the first customer of this great community program and endorse it strongly.

They have made it very easy and affordable to “go solar.” The folks at VPIRG are organizing homeowners and businesses here in Williston who want to install solar photovoltaic panels and have negotiated a great discount based on that volume. The discount is bundled with government and utility incentives to get the cost down to very affordable levels. They walked me through the process and showed how solar could work for me. I calculated that I could replace my electric bill with equivalent loan payments instead for about eight years, after which my electricity will be free for the rest of the 25-year life of the panels. Solar Williston filed all the paperwork for me. The permit will be issued soon and my panels will be installed next month.

This opportunity is available in Williston only through the end of the year, when they’ll move on to other communities. So, I urge residents to take advantage of it now. For more information you can go to

Myra Boenke, Williston

Letter writer was ‘courageous’

After reading the “Irked” response (Letters to the Editor, Nov. 4) to Marie Chamberlain’s letter written the week before, I would like to say that she was courageous to speak out. Chamberlain’s letter was not inflammatory; it was heartfelt and to the point.

It doesn’t matter what percent of Planned Parenthood’s budget is spent on abortion. The fact is that abortions kill unborn babies. That was her point and she is right.

Christine Parker, Starksboro

Thanks from Fox

I would like to thank the citizens of Williston for their support for me as one of your senators representing Chittenden County. This was a good race, with a slate of excellent choices, and I feel honored to be elected.

I pledge to be accessible and responsive to your concerns, and I hope that you will feel free to contact me with any concerns or issues you have with state government.

Sally Fox, Chittenden County senator-elect, South Burlington

Renaud thanks supporters

Thank you for your support, your votes, your thoughts, your fears, your strength of character, your loves and your intelligence. The direction of Vermont is a concern for all of us. We are its people. We are its solution. I am encouraged by the votes I received as a first run candidate. We have a lot of work to do, my fellow Vermonters. We are one and we have spoken. I have enjoyed meeting you, listening to you and talking with you. I am looking forward to seeing you in the near future!

Please visit my site ( I will be posting things periodically to let you know of my whereabouts and my thoughts.

Annette Renaud, Candidate for Chittenden County senator, Essex Junction

Thanks from Salmon

A very sincere thank you to the many Vermonters that provided support to my family and me during the race for state auditor. It is an honor to serve Vermont in this capacity. I will continue to rise early each day with a focus on improving the lives of others.

Thomas M. Salmon, CPA, State auditor, St. Johnsbury

Britton reflects on race

My wife Kathy and I thank all the Vermonters who supported my campaign for the U.S. Senate.

As a first time candidate for high office, traveling to every corner of the state and meeting thousands of Vermonters has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. Seeing the resilience and independence of citizens in our great state on a daily basis made me prouder than ever to call myself a Vermonter.

We endeavored to run a positive, issue-oriented campaign and we thank Sen. Leahy for doing the same. We wish him Godspeed in tackling the serious issues facing the nation.

I look forward to adding my voice to the public discussion on issues facing our state and nation in the months ahead.

Len Britton, Candidate for U.S. Senate, South Pomfret

Guest Column

Part D is helping seniors

Nov. 10, 2010

By Robert Blancato

Nov. 15 marks the beginning of open enrollment for the Medicare prescription drug benefit. Public officials have already taken steps to streamline the program, otherwise known as Medicare Part D, making it that much easier for seniors to sign up and customize coverage to best fit their medical needs.

Part D administrators expect a flood of new enrollees. Since the program launched in 2006, it has become incredibly popular — according to surveys, about 9 in 10 seniors are pleased with Part D. This makes sense. The Medicare drug benefit offers a great deal of choice and has reduced seniors’ out-of-pocket costs.

Even better, the health reform bill improved the benefit by closing the infamous “doughnut hole” that led to gaps in drug coverage.

Right now, beneficiaries who have purchased prescription drug coverage under Part D face a gap in their coverage when total drug spending falls between $2,830 and $6,440. This year, seniors whose spending falls into that hole will get a $250 rebate check. Next year, they’ll only have to pay 50 percent of the cost of brand-name drugs in that gap. That number will decrease every year until 2020, when seniors will have to pay just 25 percent of the cost of brand-name and generic drugs in the gap. That’s the same amount they must pay before they reach the gap.

The Medicare drug benefit is also lauded because it’s one of the few government programs that has cost less than expected.

The Medicare trustees’ report found Part D spending was lower than predicted in 2008 and 2009. They also estimate further spending will grow at a slower rate over the next 10 years than first predicted. This is almost entirely due to the design of Part D.

Unlike the other components of Medicare, Part D beneficiaries get their coverage by voluntarily purchasing plans from private insurers. These private companies compete to get seniors’ monthly premiums — which are subsidized by the government — so they must offer plans that give high value for the dollar. Seniors can choose from a variety of plans to select the one that best fits their needs.

One worrisome component of the health reform bill could hurt Part D. The new law establishes an Independent Payment Advisory Board to recommend cost-costing measures in Medicare. Its members will make recommendations that automatically become law unless Congress overrides them. Yet the board can’t cut costs in its first decade for over half of Medicare providers — including Part A hospital visits and Part B out-patient services. In other words, Part D is one of the few components of Medicare that the board could slash.

Still, just as progress is constantly being made in bringing new life-saving medicines to the patients who most need them, progress is being made in making those medicines more affordable for the patients who most need them. With the removal of the notorious “doughnut hole,” Medicare Part D is now a bipartisan success story.

Robert B. Blancato is the executive director of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs.

Business Briefs

Nov. 10, 2010

ENPRO increases storage capacity

A local hazardous waste disposal company recently renewed its operating permit with the state for another 10 years.

ENPRO Services of Vermont Inc., which transports and disposes hazardous materials for private and government organizations, can now also store more waste at its Avenue D facility in Williston. The increase in capacity was incorporated within the new permit issued by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.

ENPRO facility manager Jeff Baker said the permit renewal, which is good for 10 years, shows a commitment by the company and the state to continue safe operations. He said ENPRO’s waste analysis plan approved by the state and Environmental Protection Agency played a key role in ENPRO’s renewal and capacity expansion.

Along with added bulk tank storage for waste oils and non-harmful liquids, the company can hold more than 2,000 55-gallon drums of hazardous waste. All materials are stored in a large, climate-controlled and secure warehouse.

“This approval from state and federal regulators has given a well-earned sense of achievement and satisfaction to everyone involved in working on the permit renewal with the (Department of Environmental Conservation) over the course of the last two plus years,” Baker said in a press release.

The company, which began in Massachusetts 25 years ago, has facilities in Maine and New Hampshire in addition to the Williston warehouse.

Wal-Mart unveils store renovations

On Friday, Williston’s Wal-Mart officially unveiled a three-week-long remodeling project that store managers believe will significantly enhance shoppers’ experiences. With newer signage, wider aisles and lower shelving, the renovations make shopping easier for customers, store manager Lucas Coon said in a press release.

“The new layout is easier to navigate, which will save our customers time as they shop for necessities,” Coon said, adding the store received a paint job and improved lighting.

Wal-Mart also expanded and revamped its electronics department, food section and pharmacy. A new part of the store called the Celebration Station offers various party supplies.

Williston isn’t the only Wal-Mart to see significant renovations. Stores across the country underwent remodeling over the past year to give different Wal-Marts more modern designs.

Also during Friday’s event, the company’s charity branch, the Wal-Mart Foundation, donated a total of $2,500 to several local charities, including the Vermont Food Bank, Linking Learning to Life and the Vermont Council on World Affairs.