February 7, 2016

CVU boys hockey team opens with two victories

Dec. 16, 2010

After joining Spaulding High of Barre in sending two Maine teams packing with 0-4 records in last weekend’s tournament in Vermont’s Granite City, the Champlain Valley Union High boys will turn their attention closer to home this Friday and Saturday for the annual Burchard Tournament at Burlington’s Leddy Arena.

The Redhawks will begin their pursuit of the crown Friday night at 8:00 against Colchester High, which opened its season Wednesday night against Burlington High.

Rice Memorial High and Burlington are in the first game Friday at 6 p.m. Losers play Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Veteran sniper Robbie Dobrowski had nine points in two games as CVU bopped Waterville, Maine 6-0 on Friday night. The Redhawks then rolled past Scarborough, Maine 9-2 on Saturday afternoon.

Dobrowski had three goals and two assists Saturday, as did Derek Goodwin. Also scoring were Jeff Thompson (2 assists), J. P. Benoit and Quinn Kropf.

Net minder Jason O’Brien had 10 saves.

O’Brien made 15 stops in registering the shutout in CVU’s opener Friday night.

Dobrowski fired a goal and helped out on three others. Kyle Logan, Jamie Thayer, Thompson, Benoit and Goodwin also stroked lamp lighters.

Spaulding scored 6-2 victories over Scarborough and Waterville.

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent

Defense carries CVU girls to hoops win

Dec. 16, 2010

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Tuesday was opening night for the girls basketball team at Champlain Valley Union High’s Bremner Gymnasium and rookie coach Jeff Evans was asked if he had the usual first game jitters.

Whoops. Wrong question.

Rookie coach? No siree.

Evans, who took over the varsity helm this season from retired Stan Williams, came from a few years with girls junior varsity and freshmen. Before that, he spent a decade as boys varsity coach.

Over at the visiting Mount Mansfield Union High bench, first year Cougar chieftain Cat Arnold was guiding her initial contest.

Mount Mansfield, with a tough inside game, took an 18-16 lead at intermission, only to have Evans put his team into a terror zone and occasional press in the second half to scramble away with a 40-27 victory.

With veteran guards Carlee Evans and Amanda Kinneston hustling to disrupt MMU guards at the top of the zone and Shae Hulbert, Elana Bayer-Pacht and Remi Donnelly collapsing on the inside, the Redhawks opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run to pull in front 23-18. MMU never got closer than three after that as the CVU defenders forced seven third quarter turnovers and limited the Cougars to two hoops in 19 tries in the entire second half.

The deciding offensive hammer blows came late in the third period when Donnelly fed Lazrin Schenck for a three-point cord cutter from out front. That basket was followed by a Sara Riordan swisher from the same area after a pass from Kinneston.

A Carlee Evans trey to open the fourth quarter, on a pass from Caroline Limanek, put the Redhawks in front 34-22 and the issue was resolved.

The Cougars hit seven of their 14 first half shots with an effective inside presence. Meanwhile, the Redhawks struggled to find the range early, making only three of 14 tries in the second quarter.

But once the defense kicked in after halftime and turnovers put the frisky Redhawks into effective transition situations, the shots started to fall with more regularity.

Carlee Evans had a busy all-around night with seven points, seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. Hulbert garnered eight points and four rebounds while Limanek pulled down seven rebounds and hit for four points. Kinneston had four steals.

Hannah Nichols, operating at guard and forward, collected nine points and six rebounds for MMU. Center Erin Simmons got five points and six boards.

A pair of road games are coming up for the Redhawks, who travel to South Burlington High Friday night and then to Vergennes Union High on Tuesday. Both games start at 7 p.m.


Davis 1 0-0 2, Fisher 1 5-7 7, Simmons 2 1-2 5, Nichols 3 2-2 9, Youngman 0 0-0 0, Decatur 1 0-2 2, Duncan 1 0-0 2, Bugbee 0 0-0 0, Cheney 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 8-13 27.

CVU (40)

Hulbert 3 2-6 8, Bayer-Pacht 1 1-2 3, Donnelly 3 0-0 6, A. Kinneston 2 0-0 4, C. Evans 2 2-2 7, Riordan 1 0-0 3, Giles 0 0-0 0, Leach 0 0-0 0, Schenck 1 0-0 3, Lozon 0 0-0 0, Limanek 1 2-2 4, E. Kinneston 1 0-0 2, R. Evans 0 0-0 0. Totals 15 7-12 40.

MMU 11            7            4            5   –   27

CVU 8            8            15            9   –   40

(Junior varsity score: CVU 52, MMU 10)

Goals come quickly in hockey opener

Girls hockey team cruises to 9-2 win

Dec. 16, 2010

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Hannah Johnson of Champlain Valley Union High brings the puck up the ice in Saturday’s season opener against Mount Mansfield Union High. CVU rolled to a 9-2 rout over MMU. (Observer photo by Shane Bufano)

Even when there are top snipers returning from a Division1 runner-up hockey team, there is always concern before opening night as to a team’s ability to put pucks into the opposition’s net.

Apparently, no need to worry about the Champlain Valley Union High girls team.

It took only 26 seconds after the opening faceoff for CVU’s Molly Howard to register the Redhawks’ first goal of the season Saturday night in a booming 9-2 hockey victory over Mount Mansfield Union High at Cairns Arena.

CVU (1-0) was slated to meet Colchester High on Wednesday in a contest coach Tom Ryan said could be a tough challenge for his hard charging, shot-launching team.

CVU’s Molly Howard (left) fends off an MMU defender. Howard scored the team’s first goal of the season just 26 seconds into the game. (Observer photo by Shane Bufano)

The 1-0 Lakers, youthful but with a sprinkling of veterans, scored a 4-2 road triumph Saturday over U-32 of East Montpelier. Saturday afternoon the Redhawks will travel to Hartford.

But it was not only Howard who was off to a fast start to the campaign Saturday. Before six minutes had expired, freshman Molly Dunphy, seniors Alyx Rivard and Amanda Armell along with junior Sophia Steinhoff had also fired in scores to pretty much put the contest on ice, so to speak.

Rivard’s tally was the result of a defensive steal of the puck in front of the CVU cage and a twisting and turning rush to the other end for a spectacular goal.

Howard wound up with three scores while Armell and Dunphy each got a pair. Steinhoff added two assists.

Mount Mansfield goalie Autumn Hallock made 29 saves including some nifty ones off Steinhoff and Howard.

Junior Rowan Hayes got first and third period scores for the Cougars.

Nicole Sisk was between the CVU pipes for the first two periods and had six saves.

Senior Emily Sackett, fresh from minding goal for the CVU girls soccer team, took over in the third period for her first appearance in the hockey cage. She made three quick, strong saves before Hayes got a puck under the pads for her second and final score.

Teachers meet to learn strike legalities

Contract negotiations drag on

Dec. 16, 2010

By Tim Simard
Observer staff

Members of the Chittenden South Education Association, the teachers’ coalition for Chittenden South Supervisory Union, planned to meet Wednesday afternoon to learn the legalities of striking and to consider ways to foster community support.

A letter obtained by the Observer invited union members to hear from Donna Watts, a lawyer with the Vermont chapter of the National Education Association, about the legal details of a strike. The meeting was set to take place at Champlain Valley Union High School after press deadline.

After the presentation, CSEA members planned to gather and create a list of residents from CSSU towns who “support teachers and education,” according to the letter. Residents on the list will later receive information prepared by the CSEA about the contract status, as well as requests to contact school boards and ask them to settle a fair contract.

Lisa Bisbee, the lead negotiator for the teachers’ union, did not return phone calls prior to press deadline.

Meanwhile, the CSSU negotiating team issued a press release Tuesday detailing negotiation offers at a Dec. 1 contract meeting. The CSSU board offered teachers a total salary increase of 1.86 percent for the current school year, with individual raises allotted based on step increases. For the 2011-2012 school year, the supervisory union offered a 3 percent bump in total salary.

Teachers countered by asking for a 3.25 percent increase for both school years, according to the press release.

Both parties agreed that teachers should contribute 13 percent for health care premiums this year. But the CSSU Board asked teachers to increase the contribution to 15 percent in 2011-2012, while teachers wanted the figure to remain at 13 percent.

The CSSU Board and CSEA negotiators also struggled to agree on early retirement incentives and whether teachers should receive automatic pay increases while the contract is under negotiation.

Teachers have been working without a contract since the end of June. The next meeting between both sides is scheduled for late next month.

Police Notes

Dec. 16, 2010

Multiple charges

Dewayne White, 25, of Essex Junction was cited on charges of retail theft and driving with a suspended license on Dec. 3 after allegedly taking off his shoes in Wal-Mart, putting on new ones and leaving the store without paying for them, according to police reports. He had a criminally suspended license and allegedly drove to Wal-Mart, the report notes.


Police are investigating a case in which a Williston woman’s bank account was accessed and $500 was taken by someone in Canada, according to police reports.

Driving with suspended license

• Crystal L. Hardy, 25, of Essex was cited on a charge of driving with a criminally suspended license on Dec. 3, according to police reports. No other information was released.

• Jason James Jewer, 30, of Beebe Plain was cited on a charge of driving with a criminally suspended license on Dec. 5, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court on Jan. 11.

• Aaron Lafountain, 27, of Jericho was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on Dec. 7, according to police reports. His vehicle was stopped for having a license plate light out and for an expired registration, the report notes.

Wanted person

• Following a motor vehicle stop on Dec. 3, Joseph D. Finch, 28, of Burlington was cited on arrest warrants for charges of violation of a restraining order and for grand larceny, according to police reports. No other information was released.

• Adela Piralic, 26, of South Burlington was apprehended on Dec. 13 on an active arrest warrant, according to police reports. She was taken into custody while attending a Williston Community Justice Board meeting at the Williston Police Department, the report notes. She was taken to Chittenden County Correctional Center in lieu of $1,500 bail, according to the report.


• A Williston woman reported to police on Dec. 4 that after putting some purchases in the trunk of her car that was parked near Toys “R” Us, she continued to shop; when she returned, she found her vehicle’s window “smashed and items missing from her trunk,” according to police reports. The items were valued at about $73, the report notes. The case is under investigation.

• A generator owned by Comcast that was used to “help deal with trees down/power outages” during last week’s storm was reported stolen on Dec. 6, according to police reports. The generator was a red Honda EU3000 valued at $2,300, according to the report. Anyone with information is asked to call Williston Police at 878-6611.

• A Haz-Mat (hazardous materials) license plate was reportedly stolen off an Enpro trailer on Dec. 7, according to police reports. The Massachusetts registration is SM1277, the report notes. Anyone with information is asked to call Williston Police at 878-6611.

Unlawful trespass

Jacob Clark, 18, of Hinesburg was cited on charges of unlawful trespass and unlawful mischief on Dec. 12, according to police reports. No other information was available as of press time.

Property damage

A Williston resident called police on Dec. 12 to report that a tree service company was doing work for his neighbor and using his yard without permission, according to police reports. The resident said the company damaged his property, including taking down his fence and not putting “anything back,” the report notes. The case is under investigation.

Everyday Gourmet

Christmas crib notes

Dec. 16, 2010

By Kim Dannies

It’s the most magical time of the year, where food and family, parties and presents all take center stage. Between the galas and the gigs, it’s nice to know there are tasty meals and snacks that are quick to prepare, but still feel like an extra-special treat.

Lamb Chop Heaven

Broil baby lamb chops for 5 to 6 minutes. Top with minced mint, orange zest, and garlic, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Perfection on a plate.

Fast & Fancy

Buy a pre-cooked hickory smoked duck breast. Sear a chopped onion in a bit of oil. Slice the duck breast against the grain (like a flank steak). Add slices to the hot pan; quickly add a splash of sherry and some balsamic vinegar. Heat. It’s ready in 2 minutes. Leftover duck, like bacon, is a great embellishment in almost everything.

Professional Brownies (from a box)

Mix a standard package with 2 eggs, 1 cup chopped walnuts, 1/3 cup leftover coffee and 1/3 cup vegetable oil. Pour mixture into a pan that forces the batter to rise 3/4 of the way to the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

(Decadent alternative: to a standard mix add 1 egg, 1/2 cup of sugar and 8 ounces of mascarpone — outrageous!)

That’s Italian

Sauté 1 large, chopped onion in olive oil until caramelized. Add 4 minced garlic cloves. Add a jar of commercial pasta sauce and 1 can of crushed tomatoes. Add 1 shot of vodka and 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano. Salt and pepper to taste. Add beef or chicken meatballs. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Serve over a new kind of pasta.

Afternoon Tea

Sick of cookies? Slather 2 slices of Waitsfield Common Red Hen bread with some creamy goat cheese and Nutella. Pop into a hot pan or panini maker to toast. Excellent with Earl Grey tea.

Cheap drinks

To save time and money and score some really fabulous wines, check out WTSO.com. The wines are a warehouse auction and go fast, but you can save between 30 percent and 65 percent on select bottles with free shipping. Plus, it’s really festive when the FedEx guy shows up with the goods.

Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three 20-something daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.

Places I’ve Played

A storybook Christmas

Dec. 16, 2010

By Bill Skiff

I lived the storybook Christmas. Our old brick house had three fireplaces — every one big enough for Santa to come down. My bedroom window looked over the roof covering the hired man’s quarters. I knew that roof was big enough to hold Santa, a sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

After the first week in December, Dad would gather up the family and we would head for the sugar bush in search of our tree. We would hike all over until one of us would yell, “There it is!” We would chop it down and drag it home. Our decorations were mostly homemade except for the lights and star, which Mom and Dad purchased during their first year of marriage.

Christmas morning was magical for me. It arrived somewhere between 4:00 and 6:00 depending upon the tolerance of my dad. My brother, sister and I would lie on the floor of the upstairs hallway waiting for dad to yell, “OK, come on down!” We would then tumble down the stairs and burst into the living room. There would be the tree with its lights on, a big fire in the fireplace and, just maybe, that new pair of skis I asked Santa for.

I always left some of Mother’s oatmeal cookies for Santa and loved it when I saw the crumbs he left on his plate. I also left hay and grain in the yard for the reindeer and was amazed they ate it all. One year I’m sure I saw their tracks. Another year, I heard some sleigh bells and a hardy “HO HO HO!” in the yard. I rushed out but Santa was gone. When I came back in Dad was standing in the kitchen wearing his boots all covered with snow. I guess he must have come in from the barn.

After we had opened our presents we jumped into the car and headed over to my Uncle Walt’s house. There, we would exchange presents and have some warm milk and oatmeal. It was always fun to see them and to share the Christmas Spirit. To have two Christmas trees in the same morning was something special.

But that was just the beginning: Soon we would all gather in two cars and head for Burlington to our grandparents’ house on Adams Street. Nana and Pop would have many surprises for us. In the parlor were the Christmas tree and the presents. They had two floor-to-ceiling doors that closed off the living room from the parlor. Pop would not open the parlor doors until after dinner. I always tried to open them when no one was looking, but they were too heavy. I would, however, put my eye to the keyhole and peek in. Dinner seemed to take weeks to finish.

The dinner was good — but I was too excited to enjoy it. Looking back, I do remember three things. First the many pies, at least six or seven different kinds, from apple to banana cream and everything in between. Second, my grandmother’s great pickles — bread and butter, dill, watermelon and even pickled pears. Man, I miss them. And lastly, Nana’s chicken pot pie. The top was covered with baking powder biscuits and in one corner were a half dozen toothpicks sticking up. Under those toothpicks were the choice pieces of white meat. Nana’s favorite. You had better not scoop out any servings from that area until Nana had taken hers. If you did, you would get a lecture on the correct serving of her pie!

Finally, Pop would open the big doors to the parlor and all of us kids would go rushing in. There would be a beautiful tree with presents neatly arranged. What fun to share all this with my siblings, cousins and grandparents.

I can only remember two presents I ever received. One was some railroad stock from my Uncle Will. As a 10-year-old kid, I couldn’t figure out why he gave me a piece of paper rather than something I could use and play with. Twenty years later, I realized what a great present it had been as it was then worth 10 times more. The other gift was a two-gun holster my aunt Ruth gave me. It was a Roy Rogers double pistol set, and man was it beautiful. I slept with it strapped to my hips for at least two weeks.

To know I was cared for by all those people was special. Now that I look back, I was a very fortunate boy to be loved by so many who made Christmas such a memorable time.

Christmas was about more than just getting gifts. My mother was a true believer. She made sure we attended our church events and I knew the Christmas story and the value of giving.

This year I gave my 2-month-old granddaughter in Alaska my Christmas stocking. Mother had bought it for my first Christmas … now, her great-granddaughter will have it for her first Christmas. It has hung in my house for more than seven decades; I smile knowing that when she hangs it up on her 22nd Christmas it will be 100 years old and by then she will have her own Christmas memories to share.

As for my memories of Christmas, at some point in late afternoon Dad would say, “We best be getting home, as chore time is coming up.” When I protested he would say that although the barn had a manger, the cows had not heard the Christmas story and they still needed to be milked on time. I would crawl into the back seat of the old Plymouth and be asleep before we hit Winooski while visions of sugar plums still danced in my head.

I truly was the boy who lived the Story Book Christmas.

Bill Skiff grew up on a farm between Cambridge and Jeffersonville. After a career in education, he now lives in Williston, where he is a justice of the peace and Fourth of July frog-jumping official. In “Places I’ve Played,” he will share his experiences of growing up in Vermont. Comments are welcome at vtcowcal@yahoo.com.

Little Details

What of Dickens?

Dec. 16, 2010

By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

Charles Dickens (1812-70) published “A Christmas Carol,” the first of his five annual Christmas books, in 1843. He penned the piece, a ghost story, in a few short weeks. England was recovering from the Great Depression of 1841-42 and his wife, Catherine, was pregnant with their fifth child. Frankly, they needed cash.

The enchanting Victorian novella introduces readers to the character of Ebenezer Scrooge, a greedy, grumpy, pathetically lonely man transformed by the visitation of three spirits on Christmas Eve.

The author was born in England in 1812 to John and Elizabeth Dickens during the reign of King George III. His father earned moderate wages as a clerk in the Naval Pay Office. British society was highly stratified, lacking significant class mobility. John and Elizabeth, appreciating the finer things, aspired to a lifestyle beyond their means.

Dickens’ education at the private William Giles School ended abruptly at age 12 — due to his father’s banishment to debtors’ prison. The elder Dickens owed the modern day equivalent of 2,939 British Pounds, or about $4,656. Dickens’ parents and his three youngest siblings moved to Marshalsea Prison, a shabby and corrupt establishment along the south bank of the Thames, near London.

England’s vast system of debtors’ prisons ran as for-profit institutions.

Inmates accrued “Jailors’ Fees” for room and board, hampering their ability to work off debt. Whole families often moved in, exacerbating accumulation of monies owed. Children and wives sought day wages, earning precious few shillings in a system that provided few escapes from poverty.

Dickens was sent to work at Warren’s Blackening Co., a factory owned by a distant relative. Abandoning books and writing implements, he worked 10-hour days, affixing labels to bottles of boot polish while earning 5 shillings a week. He rented a room in Camden Yards, the less affluent London district in which the character Bob Cratchit, Scrooge’s ill-treated clerk, resides. Dickens became intimately familiar with the area, walking to and from work each day.

The Dickens family’s tenure at Marshalsea was mercifully short. Within months, John Dickens’ paternal grandmother died, bequeathing a moderate inheritance. The younger Dickens resumed his education, in public school, over the protestations of his mother, who wanted him to remain at the factory. His parents never grasped the concept of solvency. Financial security eluded them throughout their lives.

At age 15, Dickens assumed a position as a junior clerk in the Ellis and Blackmore Law Office. Working by candlelight, he prepared documents and obliged requests from superiors. He studied shorthand at night, eventually leaving the position to become a freelance reporter.

By 1835, Dickens was writing short journalistic pieces for the Morning Chronicle and Evening Chronicle newspapers. His “Sketches by Boz” and “Street Sketches” offered stories of everyday Londoners, often highlighting the day-to-day realities of the poor and working classes. He spent much time roaming the streets and in courtrooms, reporting on proceedings. His keen memory, gift for description and quick study of personalities would provide a rich trove of literary material for his eventual fiction pieces.

Dickens published his first novel, “The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club,” in monthly serial from April 1836 to November 1837. Novels published in this manner — chapters appearing in magazines — made them more affordable to the masses.

The writer perfected his craft, offering readers realistic glimpses into prisons, workplaces and dwellings of the less affluent. Dickens, honoring his humble roots, engaged in considerable philanthropy. He established and actively funded Urania Cottage, a refuge for former prostitutes providing training for careers in domestic service. He delivered a series of public readings to help fund the expansion of the Great Ormond Street Hospital. He offered his pen anonymously, writing about social ills such as the plight of abused and neglected children.

My family reads “A Christmas Carol” each year at this time. I am most moved by the characterizations of two employers in the text — Ebenezer Scrooge and Mr. Fezziwig. Scrooge is depicted as cold-hearted and greedy prior to his spectrally-influenced transformation. Mr. Fezziwig is warm-hearted and generous, encouraging his employees to stop working on Christmas Eve to celebrate.

I sometimes wonder who served as the real inspiration for the characters of Scrooge and Fezziwig. Clearly, Dickens encountered both of them in some capacity. Was it in the first floor counting house of the boot blackening factory? Was it in the personality of a lawyer or senior clerk at the law firm? Was it an editor to whom he reported?

We all have roles to play. Let’s aim to be Fezziwigs now and throughout the year. Happy Holidays!

Katherine Bielawa Stamper lives in Williston. Reader comments are welcome at LittleDetailsCol@yahoo.com or editor@willistonobserver.com.

Letters to the Editor

Dec. 16, 2010

Rotary Club hosts Senior Luncheon

The Williston Rotary club hosted over 90 Williston-area senior citizens at its 12th annual holiday luncheon on Thursday, Dec. 9 at the Williston Federated Church.

Twenty Rotarians served the free meal, which included turkey with all the trimmings. Guests were treated to a brief visit from Santa, as well as live music performed by five Williston Central School saxophone players under the tutelage of the school’s music teacher, Kim Thompson. The quintet’s repertoire included numerous holiday and seasonal songs.

“We look forward to this special event every December,” club President Chris Stewart said. “Seeing our guests’ smiling faces year after year makes the luncheon a lot of fun for our club.” Over 30 lucky seniors went home with poinsettias donated by the Rotary club. The event concluded with a sing-along with DJ Steve Leclair.

Andy Mikell, former Rotary president, Williston

Thankful for responders

The storm that hit Williston on Dec. 1, as reported in last week’s Observer (“Storm downs trees, knocks out power”), did a phenomenal amount of damage and disrupted electric power to a great many homes, mine included. This kind of natural disaster, as basically the storm was, reminds me once again how important it is to have good public services with dedicated, front-line responders.

Williston’s fire and police departments and public works staff, the state’s road crews and the repair teams of private companies Vermont Electric Cooperative, Green Mountain Power and Comcast all set a new standard in hard work and dedication. To return all of us residents to the level of service we expect, after such rampant destruction, these responders worked incredibly long hours and addressed a huge number of challenges.

On behalf of the many Williston residents who benefitted from this hard work, I would like to express sincere gratitude and utmost praise to all the responders who made our homes and community livable again.

Debbie Ingram, Williston

Guest Column

Talking with teens about alcohol

Dec. 16, 2010

By Shannon Ryan

In our society, alcohol is a glorified substance. It is in movies, television shows, music and, perhaps most importantly, it is present in our everyday lives. Talking about alcohol use can be a very difficult thing for parents to do with their teens. But believe it or not, parents do influence the choices their teens make. Although alcohol use can be an awkward topic, it is important for parents to talk about alcohol use with their kids.

Beforehand, arm yourself with knowledge. As a parent, you should be a credible source of information for your teen. Learn about the laws and risks associated with alcohol. For example, brains don’t fully develop until the mid 20s and teen drinking can permanently interfere with memory and learning. Knowing this information ahead of time will help with answering questions and backing up arguments.

After gathering the information, pick a time to chat. Make it an ongoing conversation. Use something, such as the phone bill, as a monthly reminder to talk to your teen. Use “teachable moments” such as a beer commercial or a scene in a movie to initiate the dialogue.

When it comes time to talk to your children, try not to lecture them. The last thing teens wants to do is listen to their parents drone on and on; they will zone you out. The key to getting through to your teen is to make alcohol use the topic of a two-way conversation. To get the dialogue going, try asking a question such as, “What do you think of …?” Genuinely listen and build off of your teen’s response. If your teen uses a third party example, keep an open mind. She could be talking about herself and testing the waters to see how much she may be willing to share with you. It is also entirely possible she is talking about someone else.

Along with talking with your teen, be sure to lead by example. Create a family no-use policy with appropriate, clear consequences. Although they may not show it, teens care about what their parents think and say. By creating this policy with your teen, expectations are made crystal clear to both parties without parents seeming controlling. After creating the policy and talking with your teen, keep the communication lines open. The goal is to make your teen comfortable talking with you about alcohol.

Williston resident Shannon Ryan is a student at Champlain Valley Union High School and a member of CY-Connecting Youth, a community based organization dedicated to creating a safe and healthy environment for young people in Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, St. George and Williston. For more information about CY, visit www.seewhy.info or www.facebook.com/connectingyouth.