May 23, 2019

Fields set for March elections

Jan. 27, 2011

By Tim Simard
Observer staff

Williston’s Town Meeting Day ballot will contain a number of candidates new to politics, but features only one contested race.

Debbie Ingram and Shelley Palmer will vie for a three-year term on the Selectboard, a position currently held by Judy Sassorossi.

Town Meeting Day is March 1.

Monday was the deadline for candidates to file petition forms for public offices, including School Board and library trustee. Incumbents for lister, town constable and other positions will run to retain their respective positions, including Town Clerk and Treasurer Deb Beckett. She filed her paperwork for the three-year terms before shipping out to Iraq last year as a member of the Vermont National Guard.

Two seats open on Selectboard

The race to replace Sassorossi on the Selectboard pits a Planning Commission member against a long-aspiring candidate for local office.

Ingram has served on the Planning Commission for five years, and wants to take her experience in that role to the next level. She said she’s been thinking about a Selectboard campaign for “quite a while” and decided to run after learning that Sassorossi planned to leave the board. If elected, Ingram plans to resign from the Planning Commission.

As a member of the Planning Commission, Ingram has had a hand in rewriting the Town Plan and turning Taft Corners into the state’s first designated growth center. She said one of Williston’s biggest challenges going forward will be balancing development throughout town.

“I feel I like I have something to contribute,” Ingram said. “I’m the kind of person who doesn’t mind committing to meetings.”

Palmer, who has campaigned unsuccessfully for the Selectboard and Vermont Legislature in the past, said he’s concerned with Williston’s direction and wants the town to attract more business, among other issues. Additional businesses means more revenue for the town, which in turn eases the tax burden on homeowners, Palmer said.

“The difficulty of getting an Act 250 permit is keeping a lot of businesses away,” Palmer said.

Palmer said he’d also look forward to shaping the new Town Plan. He described the plan as a sound document, but said certain areas need further review.

The other Selectboard seat, a two-year term currently held by Ted Kenney, features only one contender, Jay Michaud. With his experience as a small business owner, Michaud said he plans to bring his professional knowledge to the Selectboard. Michaud ran unsuccessfully last year as a Republican candidate for the Vermont House. He admits he’s a political rookie, but said that’s advantageous for Williston.

“There needs to be a fresh perspective on the board,” Michaud said. “I can bring that.”

School Board expects to welcome new members

The Williston School Board has three positions, all uncontested, that will appear on the Town Meeting ballot.

Current board member Kevin Mara, who the board appointed in August to replace Keith Roy, will run for Laura Gigliotti’s two-year seat. Gigliotti decided earlier this month not to run for reelection. Roy resigned last summer before he deployed with the National Guard to Afghanistan.

Mara is a veteran of the Williston Conceptual Frameworks Committee, a group that helped determine the new school district reconfiguration.

Joshua Diamond, a lawyer with a practice in Montpelier, will run for Darlene Worth’s three-year term. Worth, also the current chairwoman of the Chittenden South Supervisory Union School Board, will step down from both positions in March. Diamond, a newcomer to public office, told the Observer earlier this month that his experience as a school budget aid helped persuade him to join the board.

Giovanna Boggero, also a newcomer to elected office, will run for the one-year seat currently held by Mara. Boggero said that, as a parent, she plans to ensure Williston continues to offer quality instruction.

“I want to make sure our kids get the best education they can,” Boggero said.

David Rath, one of Williston’s four representatives on the Champlain Valley Union High School Board, will run again for his three-year term.


The annual Town and School Meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Feb. 28. Australian ballot voting will occur on March 1, with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Candidates are running for the following positions:

Selectboard, three-year term: Debbie Ingram, Shelley Palmer

Selectboard, two-year term: Jay Michaud

Williston School Board, three-year term: Joshua Diamond

Williston School Board, two-year term: Kevin Mara

Williston School Board, one-year term: Giovanna Boggero

CVU School Board, three-year term: David Rath

Town Clerk/Treasurer, three-year term: Deb Beckett

Lister, three-year term: Linda Ladd

Library Trustee, five-year term: Elizabeth Jordan-Shook

First Constable, one-year term: Kermit Laclair

Champlain Water District Representative, three-year term: Donald Phillips

This Week’s Popcorn – ‘The Green Hornet’

‘The Green Hornet’ stings up the theater

1 popcorn

By Michael S. Goldberger
Special to the Observer

Seth Rogen, who has thus far enjoyed a successful film career as the affable slacker who serendipitously rises to heroic heights, fails to summon that persona in director Michel Gondry’s “The Green Hornet.” Playing both Britt Reid, heir to a publishing dynasty, and his alter ego title character, he is but an unredeeming and not so terribly funny schnook.

Unimaginatively written and poorly paced, “The Green Hornet” possesses a hit and miss level of slipshod glib that can’t decide whether it wants to imply campiness or convince us to sympathetically embrace its would-be superhero. Adding insult to injury, for a few dollars more per ducat you can accentuate the negative and see all this ineptitude in 3-D.

But the only thing that will stand out with any consequence is the waste of money said option represents. While the lightshow attending the nonstop scenes of destruction Mr. Gondry wreaks throughout his film might have blown us away in the late 1960s, employed now the cacophonous psychedelia is about as cutting edge as a Nehru jacket.

Based on the accumulated lore that has evolved in radio, film and pulp form since the 1930s, the contemporary update of creator George W. Trendle’s Depression Era vigilante is penned by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Pity is, instead of imbuing the protagonists with a comic book fancifulness, they simulate the cartoonish hijinks of Tom and Jerry.

The story initially follows the familiar, first episode exposition common to most superhero accounts, the major difference being this dude’s lack of character. Other than chasing the girls and wallowing in the decadence his wealth makes possible, Britt Reid doesn’t want to accomplish a thing. Naturally, a tragic watershed spurs a change of heart.

Catalytic to the ensuing epiphany is Britt’s acquaintance with Jay Chou’s Kato, his dad’s ingenious auto mechanic, tech virtuoso and coffee maker extraordinaire. Never mind that the wastrel just wanted a good cup of Joe. The idea of being masked vigilantes is hatched, but never fully baked. It doesn’t deter them from rushing headlong to their first mission.

After a while, discovering they don’t know a thing about their newly chosen profession, they make the crime-fighting franchise a troika, yet do so without letting the third party in on the deal. She is Cameron Diaz’s brainy Lenore Case, happy to be hired as a researcher at the prestigious Daily Sentinel. Slyly, they tap her for the skinny on the local bad guys.

Of course, they are soon vying for her attentions. Added to the fact that neither the L.A. Police nor the city’s criminal element knows exactly what the duo is up to, the resultant rift only confuses matters. But by Britt’s twisted way of thinking, that serves to makes his crusade more illustrious. Such irrationality not only fails to amuse, but tries our patience.

It is a glazier’s dream. Utilizing the CGI magic available to him, director Gondry takes a dyspeptic child’s toy-breaking fantasy to newly destructive heights. After half an hour, there isn’t a pane of virtual glass left intact in L.A. Delirious in his newfound passion, Britt/Green Hornet kicks off a tedious, self-congratulatory rant to underline the nonsense.

The ensuing banter fest between lead and sidekick, never achieving a satisfyingly comic rhythm, points out Mr. Rogen’s ultimate inappropriateness for the role. While Adam Sandler might have put it across, the heretofore schlumpy Rogen is just not a likable brat. To play it straight, à la Michael Keaton in “Batman” (1989), would defeat the purpose.

While the supporting players are less incompatible, none is interesting enough to save the day. Cameron Diaz’s precocious underling might have been bolstered to better effect. And Christoph Waltz, whose supremely villainous portrayal in “Inglourious Basterds” (2009) won him an Oscar, can’t find his humorous bad self as the gangster Chudnofsky.

Mr. Chou’s Kato, on the other hand, is hampered by the lack of chemistry he and his partner in — well, whatever it is they’re trying to achieve — exude. Though the wiz wows us with his technical prowess, Rogen’s uncertain portrayal doesn’t allow him to establish anything beyond the rebellious, Man Friday stereotype he ostensibly plays in a vacuum.

About the only thing that works here is the ideal you bring to the theater … that hopeful little kid you were, comfily ensconced under the covers, trusty flashlight leading the way across the comic book pages as you made the world safe for democracy. Unworthy of that romantic aspiration, “The Green Hornet” betrays the true blue hero in you.

“The Green Hornet,” rated PG-13, is a Columbia Pictures release directed by Michel Gondry and stars Seth Rogen, Jay Chou and Cameron Diaz. Running time: 119 minutes.

BREAKING: CSSU, teachers association fail to reach contract consensus

By Tim Simard
Observer staff

Chittenden South Supervisory Union’s negotiating team and the local teachers union failed to agree on a new contract Thursday night. Scott Cameron, the lead negotiator for CSSU and a Montpelier lawyer, said representatives from the Chittenden South Education Association walked out of the negotiations about three hours into the meeting at Williston Central School.

According to a press release issued by CSSU Friday afternoon, both sides remain apart on the issues of step increases and teacher payments towards health care premiums, among other concerns.

The CSSU board has given the Chittenden South Education Association until Jan. 31 to accept the CSSU proposal or make a “reasonable counter offer,” Cameron said. He added the CSSU school boards may decide to impose a one-year contract to complete the process.

Lisa Bisbee, chief negotiator for the Chittenden South Education Association, did not return calls from the Observer on Friday afternoon. In the past, the teachers union has met with a lawyer to discuss the legalities of a strike.

The Chittenden South Education Association is made up of teachers from Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, Williston and Champlain Valley Union High School.

The Observer will feature more in the Jan. 27 issue.

PHOTOS: CVU junior varsity wrestling

Jan. 20, 2011

Courtesy photos by Jennifer Olson

Champlain Valley Union High School’s junior varsity wrestling program captured first place in the annual Middlebury jayvee tournament on Jan. 15. Fifteen teams competed in the event. The Redhawks scored 143 points, easily besting the 56 points from runner-up Essex High.

PHOTOS: CVU wrestling at Middlebury Union High

Jan. 20, 2011

Courtesy photos by Jennifer Olson

In their last meet on Jan. 13, the Champlain Valley Union High wrestling team was edged 33-27 by Middlebury Union High. CVU got victories from Chris Roy in the 119-pound class and Ryan Stearns in the 130-pound grouping.

PHOTOS: CVU boys hockey vs. Rutland

Jan. 20, 2011

Courtesy photos by David Yandell

The Champlain Valley Union High boys hockey team beat Rutland High 6-3 on Jan. 17.

PHOTOS: CVU boys hockey vs. South Burlington

Jan. 20, 2011

Courtesy photos by David Yandell

The Champlain Valley Union High boys hockey team notched a 4-0 win over South Burlington High on Jan. 15.

PHOTOS: CVU Family Formal by Kayla Walters

Jan. 20, 2011

Observer photos by Kayla Walters

More than 100 people attended the fourth annual Family Formal at Champlain Valley Union High School on Jan. 15. The school’s Business Ethics class hosts the dance as a benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Teacher Tamie Jo Dickinson said the goal was to raise $3,000 while also teaching students ‘how businesses should be socially responsible and build a sense of community.’

PHOTOS: CVU Family Formal by Marianne Apfelbaum

Jan. 20, 2011

Observer photos by Marianne Apfelbaum

More than 100 people attended the fourth annual Family Formal at Champlain Valley Union High School on Jan. 15. The school’s Business Ethics class hosts the dance as a benefit for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Teacher Tamie Jo Dickinson said the goal was to raise $3,000 while also teaching students ‘how businesses should be socially responsible and build a sense of community.’


The listings below are a small sample of needs from more than 200 agencies, available by going online to and clicking on “Volunteer.” If you do not have computer access, or would like more information about the volunteer opportunities, call 860-1677 Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


January is National Mentoring Month and there are many opportunities for caring volunteers to serve as mentors to those who will benefit from some one-on-one support. Research shows that youth with mentors are much less likely to use drugs and alcohol or to skip school. Be a mentor!

The United Way Volunteer Center’s RSVP and FGP programs have three mentoring programs designed for volunteers 55 and older. FGP volunteers share their warmth and encouragement by helping teachers in a classroom 15 or more hours per week in Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle or Washington counties and receive a tax-free stipend.

RSVP School Buddies help school-age children identified by teachers as needing extra help in reading, math, spelling or other areas and serve at least one hour per week.

RSVP Read To Me volunteers share the wonder of books with children in nonprofit child care centers and preschools for at least one hour per week. References and background checks required.


The Green Mountain Club in Waterbury Center needs your help. Come enjoy a unique opportunity to shake away your winter blahs by volunteering to lead hikes and workshops, direct cars, sell tickets, staff the food concession and help with set-up and clean-up. Saturday, Feb. 5, three-hour shifts between 8 a.m. and 3p.m.


The Vermont Family Network has many volunteer opportunities for community members who want to support the network’s Parent Information & Resource Center, or PIRC.

• Parent Workshop Facilitators lead workshops in parenting skills and strategies, approximately four hours per month.

• Community Resource Parent Volunteers help families navigate school systems with children who have IEPs, approximately four hours per month.

• Table Volunteers represent PIRC at statewide conferences, fairs and workshops, approximately four hours per month.

• Communications, Proofreading and Editing volunteers are needed to help with newsletter and other publications, website and social media. Minimum of two hours per month.

• Fund-raising and Event Volunteers are needed to help with planning, advertising, organizing materials and setting up for events. Hours vary.

All positions require an application, interview and references; training is provided.


The Burlington Police Department needs a volunteer to provide clerical support for the Parallel Justice program, which offers validation and resource support to persons impacted by crime. The volunteer will collaborate with another volunteer to provide clerical and data collection support and make follow-up phone calls to crime victims. Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Training and ongoing support provided. Background check required.


PACE Vermont is seeking a volunteer to work with the human resources department to help develop communication strategies, develop orientation materials, develop reports using Access and help with an employee satisfaction survey. Prefer HR background. Weekday mornings, flexible as to exact schedule. Background check required.


ReSOURCE is seeking a “computer stripper” to help the ITM team strip old computers in order to recycle parts. Four- to eight-hour shift per week, can be scheduled during Monday through Wednesday afternoons or Thursday through Saturday days. Volunteers must be able to lift and carry 10 pounds, work by themselves and listen to and follow directions. Background check required.