May 27, 2018

CVU gymnasts top seeded in state championships

Feb. 17, 2011

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

With a perfect 7-0 regular season mark as its passport, the Champlain Valley Union High School gymnastics team will be the top seed Saturday when the state championship competition gets underway (2 p.m.) at Essex High School.

“The girls are very excited,” first year coach Carly O’Brien Rivard said.

“They are confident but perhaps a little nervous about tumbling,” she added, noting that the foam floor at Essex can make a difference in tumbling moves during floor exercise.
However, most of the Redhawks have previously been in title competition in Essex. Last year CVU got nicked by injuries and a powerful Essex team captured its fifth straight Division 1 crown.

Veteran Ashley Bachand, freshman Megan Nick, Madison Bourdeau, and all-around performer Sarah Kinsley lead this year’s healthy squad.

Grace Carey is recuperating from an ankle injury but has the green light for two events.
Five team members enter each event with the top four scores counting. Rivard believes that Essex and South Burlington are serious competitors for the title. The Redhawks defeated both in separate meets this winter.

Rivard is no stranger to state championship meets. She competed quite well while a student at Rice Memorial before graduating in 1995.

“Back then the championships were held at the University of Vermont,” she recalled.
Rivard has family help with the task of running the team. Her sister Jillian is an assistant coach while her mom, Shelly O’Brien, a former state meet director, keeps score.

CVU boys basketball drops fifth straight

Feb. 17, 2011

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Coach Scott Bliss’ Champlain Valley Union High School basketball team looked much sharper at home Tuesday night but still got nudged 56-55 by an improving Colchester (8-7) unit.

However, the performance which included better balanced scoring and rebounding could be significant for the Redhawks, who have 7-8 defending Division 1 champ Essex and 13-2 Rice Memorial High coming to Bremner Gymnasium Friday night, and late Tuesday afternoon (5:30 p.m.).

The loss to the long distance bombing Lakers was 5-10 CVU’s fifth in a row, which had some usually winning statistics in that the Hawks shot 43 percent from the field and held a lusty 39-22 edge in rebounding.

The clinker in the deal for CVU was Colchester’s 3-point sniping, which resulted in nine cord snappers from international waters: six by junior Nate Hodge, who totaled a game-high 22 points. Teammate Anthony Granai logged three hits from downtown among his 11 points.

Colchester hit 12 of 45 shots for a slick 47 percent.

The Redhawks took a 45-39 lead into the final quarter after a scintillating third reel in which they put up a 20-11 doozie on the Lakers, paced by Brad Bissonnette’s seven points and muscular Andrew (Mr. Bam) Gale’s inside work of seven points and six rebounds.
However, Hodge knocked down a pair of treys early in the final reel and the Lakers quickly pulled ahead, 51-49.

Tucker Kohlasch swished one of two free throws with 3:56 left and then nailed a 3-ball after a set-up pass from Nick Spencer to give CVU a 53-51 edge.

Colchester then popped off five straight points, aided by two critical CVU turnovers.
Robert Russ (12 points) then hit a layup following a precision pass from Jake Donnelly, and CVU was within 56-55 with 26 seconds remaining. The Redhawks had two more possessions but could not manufacture a decent shot.

Donnelly, chased all over the place by eyeball-to-eyeball Colchester defenders, was limited to eight shots and six points but hauled in 10 rebounds.

Bissonnette, in his second game back after missing a few due to a shoulder injury, had nine points and six rebounds. Gale turned in a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Kohlasch potted 11 points and drew three assists.

Colchester also got solid work from senior forward Jack Leclerc with 15 points and eight rebounds.

While both teams shot well from the field, the charity stripe was more of a challenge. The Lakers hit just 5 of 14 from the line while the Hawks were just 2 of 6.

North Country upends CVU
Last Friday, CVU got an early lead at North Country, but could not hang on and bowed to the 2-12 Falcons, 47-44. North Country nailed 9 of 10 free throws in the final quarter to clinch it.

Donnelly had 15 points and Russ 12 for CVU.

Colchester (56)
Leclerc, 7 1-4 15; Granai, 4 0-0 11; Caus, 3 2-6 8; Hodge, 7 2-3 22; Dandurand, 0 0-1 0; Kozlowski, 0 0-0 0; Corrigan, 0 0-0 0; El-Hajj, 0 0-0 0; Gardner, 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 5-14 56

CVU (55)
Donnelly, 3 0-2 6; Bissonnette, 4 0-0 9; Gale, 6 1-2 13; Kohlasch, 4 1-2 11; Russ, 5 0-0 12; Spencer, 0 0-0 0; Karmes, 1 0-0 2; Boland 0 0-0 0; Keen, 1 0-0 2; Lambert, 0 0-0 0; Pierson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 2-6 55

CHS 13  15  11  17  –  56
CVU 9  16  20  10  –  55

Junior Varsity: CVU 46, Colchester 35

CVU girls hoopsters look to settle scores

Feb. 17, 2011

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

The Champlain Valley Union High girls basketball team goes into Thursday night’s home contest (6:30 p.m.) with defending Division 1 champion St. Johnsbury Academy hoping to even the season series at a game apiece.

The Hilltoppers began the week with a 7-8 record, but one of their victories was against the 11-6 Redhawks, 32-23, in St. Johnsbury in December.

CVU has two other home contests to close out the regular season: Essex (Monday, 5:30 p.m.) and BFA-St. Albans (Feb. 24, 5:30 p.m.). Both squads downed CVU earlier this season.

On Feb. 14, Burlington High rolled up the final 10 points and out of Hinesburg with a 45-37 win over the Hawks. CVU knocked off the Seahorses 63-55 last month in Burlington.

It was a seesaw affair when freshman guard Emily Kinneston drove for a layup early in the fourth quarter to give the Hawks a 37-35 edge. However, they were the last points CVU scored.

Brittany Robertson of BHS (12 points) tied it with a shot from the corner, and after a CVU turnover—one of three critical ones in the closing minutes—5-11 forward Danielle Guyette took over.

Guyette, who had a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, sank a baseline shot to put BHS up 39-37 with 3:34 left. At 2:40. Guyette fired a shot from the corner for a four-point lead with 2:37 to go and CVU was unable to respond.

Burlington went 5-for-11 from the floor in the crucial quarter while the Hawks were 2-for-9, missing their last five.

Until the late game chill, CVU played well despite a few vexing turnovers, sinking 11 of 23 shots in the second and third quarters, paced by Amanda Kinneston’s 15 points (14 in the first half), and five steals.

After leading 21-20 at the half, the Redhawks , with Remi Donnelly (once) and Shae Hulbert (twice) scored on inside shots to stake the Red and White to a 28-23 advantage.
But led by Guyette who had 12 points in the second half, the Seahorses rallied to make it a back-and-forth situation leading to their closing run in the late stages of the game.
Donnelly paced the Redhawks’ board game with 11 rebounds while Hulbert had eight points plus a pair of assists, three rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal.

Last Thursday in Barre, Hulbert bagged 12 points and Donnelly scored 11 in a 42-32 triumph over Spaulding, which dropped the Crimson Tide’s record to 7-9.

Burlington (45)
Guyette, 8 2-2 18; Burrington, 3 0-0 6; Robertson, 5 2-3 12;
Hines, 1 1-2 4; Mahoney, 2 0-0 4; Silver, 0 0-0 0; Jones, 0 1-2 1;
Maher, 0 0-0 0; Zabili, 0 0-0 0. Totals: 19 6-9 45

CVU (37)
Hulbert, 4 1-2 9; Bayer-Pacht, 0 0-4 0; Donnelly, 1 0-1 2; A.
Kinneston, 6 1-2 15; C. Evans, 1 0-1 2; Riordan, 0 0-0 0; Giles, 0 0-0
0; Leach 0 0-0 0; Schenck, 1 0-0 2; Lozon, 1 0-0 3; Limanek, 1 0-0 2;
E. Kinneston, 1 0-0 2; R. Evans, 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 2-10 37

BHS 10  10  13  12  –  45
CVU 6  15  11   5  –  37

Junior Varsity: CVU (13-4) 47, BHS 21

Education Briefs

Vermont Tech introduces aviation program

Vermont Technical College, in partnership with the Vermont Flight Academy, has announced the opening of a new Bachelor of Science degree program in Aviation: Professional Pilot Technology. The program will begin admitting students this fall and will bring the number of bachelor’s degrees offered by the school to 12.

According to Brent Sargent, Dean of Vermont Tech’s Williston campus, a degree in Professional Pilot Technology will provide graduates with a comprehensive understanding of the sciences and technologies involved in aviation, and the communication skills necessary to perform and compete in the aviation industry.

Graduates of the new program will hold multiple Federal Aviation Administration pilot certificates and ratings and will be prepared to meet the multiple challenges that a career in aviation requires. Most major airlines now require their pilots to have a baccalaureate degree, preferably in aviation.

“Vermont offers a unique training environment for pilots because of its topography, quiet air space, and varied weather conditions,” Sargent said, “all of which allow students to develop important skill sets related to flying in all kinds of conditions. And, Vermont Tech is an ideal location for the program due to its excellent teaching faculty, consistently high job placement rate, and proximity to Burlington International Airport.”

The Vermont Flight Academy is the only flight school in Vermont that is sanctioned, regulated, and monitored by the FAA under 14 CFR Part 141. It offers flight trainings from private to commercial pilot, and was created to promote general aviation through a program of high-quality training at a competitive cost.

Scholars Bowl on a roll

Champlain Valley Union High School’s Scholars Bowl team reached the semifinal round of the VT-NEA State Tournament playoffs on Jan. 29. CVU won all five of its preliminary playoff matches at Montpelier High School. The team will be seeded No. 1 in the final playoffs and has earned a bye into the semifinal rounds. The playoff semifinals and finals will be held at Champlain College on March 26.

CVU is 32-1 on the season, and has won 24 consecutive matches. The team has now reached at least the semifinals of the state playoffs seven times in the past 10 years. Participants for CVU on Jan. 29 included seniors Rubin Goldberg, Nick Chlumecky, Krysta Dummit, and Geoff Matthews, and juniors Liam Kelley and Phil Clark.

Future business leaders qualify for national competition

A team from Champlain Valley Union High School FBLA won the Vermont LifeSmarts Competition, held in Montpelier on Feb. 10. The team consists of Adam Kaufman, Jeffrey Wettstein, Jacob Grasso, and Drew Nick. The win qualifies the team to participate in the national competition in Los Angeles, Calif. at the end of April.

Everyday Gourmet

Feb. 17, 2011

Winter revenge

By Kim Dannies

Even the most enthusiastic winter buff has had their fill of storms and snowdays. No more mac and cheese please, or anything that resembles comfort food: we want color! We crave vibrant, clean foods that promise some glimmer of a future devoid of slush and salt-stained boots.

Looking deep into my freezer I see August blueberries waiting to rescue me from winter’s wrath. Grapefruit, avocados, and nuts- supermarket staples I am often indifferent to- beckon me. Put this all together on a plate, and I’ll be darned (I think I can make it through another few weeks of the white stuff).

Pork Tenderloin with Blueberry Sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 1 to 2 pounds of pork tenderloin in a roasting pan and season with salt and pepper. Roast 25 minutes (internal temperature of 155 degrees). When 12 minutes of cooking time remains, remove pan and arrange 1 to 2 pounds of fresh trimmed asparagus, tossed in a bit of olive oil, around the pork. Return to complete cooking time.

Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sauté a medium-sized sliced red onion for 15 minutes, until nicely caramelized. Add 1 ½ cups of frozen blueberries, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon maple syrup, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme and simmer, covered, for 8 minutes until thickened. Adjust for seasoning. Slice pork into medallions and nap with the sauce. Serves 2 to 4.

Ambrosia Salad

Prepare 1 pink and 1 red grapefruit: cut the zest, including the white pith from the fruit with a sharp paring knife; cut segments free from membranes. Cut segments crosswise, transfer to a bowl. Lightly toast ½ cup of pistachio nuts. Peel and cut 2 avocados length-wise into 1/4 inch slices; drizzle with 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice; season with salt and pepper.

Toss together 4 cups of baby spinach, some pea shoots, and half the grapefruit segments with vinaigrette. Arrange avocado slices and remaining grapefruit on a plate.

Top with greens and sprinkle with nuts. Serves 4.

Vinaigrette: whisk 1/4 cup of grapefruit juice, 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger, 1 tablespoon canola oil. Season.

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

Places I’ve Played

Feb. 17, 2011

‘The Waterfalls’

By Bill Skiff

From the 1930s to the 1960s Jeffersonville, Vt. had a waterfall not seen by many people. Only half of our school population ever saw it, while the other half never knew it existed,
The waterfalls were in the basement of Cambridge High School: three vertical marble slabs, each 5-by-2 feet. A ½ inch pipe at the top of the slabs was full of holes. Water flowed out the holes over the top of the marble slabs. At the bottom was a tin trough that directed the water down the drain. We boys called it “The Waterfalls.” It wasn’t natural but it served nature well – the waterfalls were our urinals.

This special feature played a vital part in the initiation of freshmen boys. It went like this: our study hall ran the full length of the second floor of the school, and was wide-open. When you entered, the entire student body could see you. When a freshman boy raised his hand in study hall, asking to go to the boys’ bathroom in the basement, a senior boy would do the same. Then when the freshman boy approached the waterfalls the senior would move in and stand beside him.

At just the right moment the senior would place his hand in the middle of the freshman’s back and gently push him forward so his pants hit the waterfalls – leaving a round wet spot on the front of his pants. As the senior disappeared, the freshman was left standing with the realization that he was going to have to go back to the study hall with the front of his pants all wet. No time to dry; he knew the study hall teacher was waiting for him, and time was running out. It was a dirty trick but if you had ever witnessed a freshman returning to study hall, you would agree it was worth it. I know because I stood in both boys’ shoes.

Sometime in the 1960s, when Cambridge High School was changed to an elementary school, I paid a visit and walked down to see the old waterfalls one more time. It ran no more. In fact the boys bathroom had been converted into a “Speech and Language Lab.” I thought that was appropriate because it was in that room where all of us guys practiced our swearing (well, language is language).

The Perfect Essay was written on a spring day at Cambridge High School:
“Upon entering the classroom, my friend Dick’s English teacher, Mrs. Westman, asked his class to write an essay about a sporting event. They just had to witness the event, not play in it. The assignment was to explain what they saw.

The class began in earnest to accomplish the task – all except, Hoyt. He spent the period gazing out the window and tapping his pencil on his desk. With five minutes left, Mrs. Westman  said to Hoyt, ‘young man, you have five minutes to put something down on your paper or you are going to fail this course, and I will see you again next year.’ Hoyt sat a minute longer, scribbled something on his paper and handed it in.

The next day, Mrs. Westman told the class she was going to read Hoyt’s paper. She stated that it was a fine example of creative thinking, use of language, and getting right to the point. Mrs. Westman had awarded Hoyt an A for his effort. Then, she read his paper: ‘rain, no game.’”
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 shares his experiences of growing up in Vermont. Comments are welcome at

Little Details

Feb. 17, 2011

Not ours to keep

By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

“I don’t understand what the Professor is saying,” I whispered to my classmate.
“None of us do either,” Basia reassured.

As first-year history students at the Jagiellonian University, one of Poland’s most prestigious schools, Basia and I both felt a little out of place. She travelled from a tiny village, pursuing a degree against her parents’ wishes. I was the sole American, struggling to grasp complex historical concepts in Polish.

Nicolas Copernicus, Pope John Paul II and King Jan Sobieski were alumni of the esteemed institution, established in 1364. Our lecture hall was in the Collegium Novum, the building from which, on November 6, 1939, Nazis assembled approximately 168 Polish academics, deporting them to the Sachenhausen Concentration Camp. Their crime: allegedly maintaining a “hostile attitude toward German science”.

Collegium Novum’s stone steps and arcaded ceilings embodied sanctity for learning.

Basia and I won coveted slots in a program in which seven applicants competed for every one seat (get clarification). Basia was studious and may have benefitted from a communist initiative to reserve a few places for promising students from rural villages. My admission was facilitated by an educational foundation based in the U.S. We found ourselves competing with some of Poland’s best and brightest students. I faced the most challenging academic year of my life.

It was the fall of 1985. Poland’s Solidarity movement was forced underground with hundreds of activists imprisoned for pro-democracy efforts. Daily life featured ration cards for food and desperate hunts for textbooks our professors required us to read.  Hot water visited my dorm only sporadically, often in the middle of the night. Toilet paper was a rare commodity. Communist officials tried to distract a freedom-hungry populace; employing tactics of scarcity and intimidation. Life was challenging and, to this American student, fascinating.

Basia and I became fast friends in the lecture hall of our medieval history class.  Professor Wyrozumski, nicknamed “Mistrz” (Master) by students, was an internationally recognized scholar. He possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of Polish Medieval History, from the nation’s embrace of Christianity to political fragmentation and battles with Teutonic Nights.

I benefitted from a small but tight circle of friends. Basia, Mariola, Asia, Anna and I studied together. We shared glasses of tea in our dorm rooms. We sipped mugs of Inka – a coffee substitute made from roasted barley, rye, chicory and beet root – in inexpensive eateries known as Bar Mleczny (Milk Bars).  I shared stories about life in America. They helped fill in historical gaps when my notes failed me.

Basia invited me to spend a weekend in her home village of Regulice. Her family’s small farm felt familiar, like my grandmother’s. A gaggle of chickens greeted us in the front yard of her cinderblock home, flanked by modest fields. Rabbits and a couple of pigs inhabited the barn next to the one requisite cow. Tall glasses of milk did not fit prominently into the Polish diet. Coffee was extremely difficult to find. The cow was expected to produce just enough milk for daily cooking.

Basia’s father sat on a swing on the edge of their property playing his harmonica. He rested there after chores, playing tunes and watching occasional trains rumble by.
My journal entry from that time mentions “much love and religion” at Basia’s house. Her parents, noticeably older, doted on her and I. Her mother immediately offered us food. I don’t remember the menu, but I remember Polish hospitality. I guess our spread included fresh rye bread, cheese, tomatoes, homemade kielbasa, hot tea and a home-baked cake with some variation of apples, prunes or poppy seed.  Huge portraits of Jesus and Mary adorned the walls by the dining table in a room that likely served as her parents’ bedroom, too. Basia was their well-loved only child.

I was a bit of a curiosity; the first American they encountered. I answered questions regarding impressions of Poland and my travels. Her dad pointed out to me that he’d also travelled.

“I’ve been as far as Sandomierz (several hours away) when I was in the army,” he said.
Basia’s parents openly expressed concern about her studies. They feared she would not return to the village after graduating. They worried she’d fall in love and stay in the city. They questioned who would take care of the farm when they got older.

“I don’t understand why Basia has to attend university,” her father told me. “I prayed she wouldn’t pass her entrance exams.”

Basia loved her parents dearly. She also loved learning and was intent on becoming a high school history teacher. She expressed a desire to return to Regulice.

Although I remain in contact with some friends from that time, sadly, I’ve lost touch with Basia. I sometimes wonder if she returned to her village. I also wonder if her Dad is still around – sitting on his swing and playing his harmonica.

As my teenage daughter aspires to her own adventures – some close to home, others much farther afield – I am reminded that parenting is about raising children with the confidence to define and pursue their dreams. Who are we to “keep” them?

Katherine Bielawa Stamper lives in Williston. Reader comments are welcome at or

Letters to the Editor

Feb. 17, 2011

Election Letters Policy
Town Meeting Day is Tuesday, March 1. Please note the Observer will not run any Letters to the Editor pertaining to the elections on Feb. 24, the edition prior to Town Meeting.
All Letters to the Editor written in regards to Town Meeting were to be received by Feb. 14, and appear in this week’s issue of the Observer.

A vote for Ingram

May I draw your attention to one of the Selectboard candidates – my friend Debbie Ingram. She is extremely qualified for this position and we would be fortunate to have her serve. This Stanford (University) graduate has a wealth of experience to bring to the table. As a member of the Williston Planning Commission for the past five years, Debbie knows intimately the issues facing Williston. Her accomplishments are numerous, including being a graduate of the 2010 Vermont Leadership Institute. Other submissions to the paper have detailed her extensive professional and her civic volunteer experience but I would like to speak to her character. She has wisdom, patience and perspective. Her devotion, commitment and determination will make Williston an even better town. I urge you to vote for Debbie.

Linda Brownell, Williston

Support Ingram

I encourage Williston voters to support Debbie Ingram for the 3-year Selectboard seat. Debbie is an active, contributing, community member in Williston and the region, and will do a great job balancing the responsibilities of a Selectperson. She brings a wealth of experience to the board and will provide a perspective that balances economic growth and stability with quality of life.

Debbie has been a member of Williston’s Planning Commission for several years. This experience and her extensive knowledge of the town plan will be of great value to the Selectboard. As Williston continues to face a difficult economy, Debbie’s calm demeanor, insight, experience and wisdom are assets that will be a great benefit for all of us. Please make every effort to get to the polls and vote for Debbie.

Judy Sassorossi, Williston

We need Ingram

Debbie Ingram has the experience, responsible attitude, and common sense to work effectively on the Selectboard. Debbie’s work on the Planning Commission reflects her commitment to support Williston’s sense of community.  She brings people together to focus on problem solving for the good of our community. I urge you to vote for Debbie Ingram for Selectboard on March 1. Her common sense approach is what we need to balance the budget, build policies, and support needed services and programs in town.

Ginny Lyons, Williston

Ingram endorsement

I ask my fellow Willistonians to vote for Debbie Ingram. I met Debbie three years ago when I joined the Williston Planning Commission. In those three years I have had the pleasure to watch and learn from Debbie. She mentored many of us “newbies” on the Commission, as we worked on writing the town bylaws and the newly completed comprehensive town plan. Debbie’s expertise and common sense are invaluable as Williston continues to grapple with managing the town’s growth while maintaining its rural charm. I have been so impressed with Debbie’s tireless work ethic and dedicated commitment that she and I recently formed a business partnership and started a local film production company. I whole-heartedly endorse Debbie Ingram for Selectboard. Please join me in voting for her.

Joel Klein, Williston

Support Article 6

On March 1 we ask for your support of Article 6 that authorizes the town to bond for $600,000 and to create a special assessment district for the Meadowridge neighborhood. This will allow funding from the State Revolving Loan Fund for the already approved connection of the 60-home Meadowridge community to the Williston sewer district.
It is important to note that there will be no cost to any Williston resident except the Meadowridge community. We will pay all costs necessary to repay the bond from the state and all interest costs. In addition, each Meadowridge house will pay the sewer connection fee. In order for the town to support this low interest loan, the Williston residents at town meeting must approve it.

This connection to the Williston sewer system is necessitated by the failure of the Meadowridge septic system and the need for a permanent, environmentally friendly solution. The Selectboard has recognized the importance of this and has already approved the connection.

Once funding is approved, a new sewer line will be installed from our community along South Road. It will connect to the pumping station located on Oak Hill Road. Every Meadowridge resident would pay sewer fees based on water usage like every other town resident.
Thank you in advance for supporting this critical issue.

Claire Rutenbeck, Dave DeLuca, Polly Malik, Dennis Johnson, and Bob Clarke
Meadowridge Board of Directors

Support CVU Relay For Life team

My name is Emma Gause and I’m a senior and Nordic skier at Champlain Valley Union High School. Please help our Relay For Life team. Relay For Life is a 24-hour event held by the American Cancer Society on March 19-20 to raise money for cancer research. Last year, CVU sent 30 skiers and raised almost $2,000. Our fundraising goal this year is $2,500. It would be excellent if the community could help us reach our goal. All the money is going directly to the American Cancer Society.
Donations can be mailed to:
Emma Gause
369 CVU Road
Hinesburg, VT 05461
Donations can also be made online at Click “Donate to Our Team.”
All donations are due by March 16. Thank you for your support. For any questions, comments, or concerns, please e-mail me at

Emma Gause, CVU Nordic Relay For Life team

St. George School Board opening

Are you a resident of St. George interested in becoming more involved in the community? A position on the St. George School Board is open for a 3-year term starting next month.
Meetings take place the second Wednesday of the month. Our children need you to represent them.

Come to the St. George Town Meeting at 6 p.m. on March 1 at Rocky Ridge Golf Course.

Caroline Jalbert, St. George School Board

Kids’ community service needs more exposure

As someone who devoted several years in the newspaper industry, I wish to acknowledge the Williston Observer for their level of dedication in publishing great news stories in the community, especially for kids of all ages. We (our family) receive the paper each week and read its informative news articles about community wide events and local good cheer.

In my opinion, advertisers can achieve great success with increased support of community-wide events and positive news stories. Thank you to the Observer for making such a positive difference in the community.

The Observer might consider a special section of the paper that talks about what kids are doing in their community, in celebration of their future goals.

Peter Searle, Williston

Guest Column

Feb. 17, 2011

Lowering your sodium intake

By Dianne Lamb

Poor diet and physical inactivity are the most important factors contributing to an epidemic of overweight and obese men, women and children in the United States, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans released on Jan. 31. While that’s not news to most of us, many people don’t follow the recommendations outlined in the guide, which is updated every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services.

These guidelines for good eating pertain to every American two and older, including anyone at increased risk of chronic disease. In general, we all need to eat less by paying attention to portion sizes. And we need to move more. The seventh edition of the Dietary Guidelines also recommends switching to fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk and drinking water instead of sugary drinks. Other recommendations include filling half your plate with vegetables and fruits and reading the Nutrition Facts labels on products to reduce the sodium in your diet.

I would like to discuss the sodium issue in greater detail. When the last Dietary Guidelines (2005) were released, the recommendation for sodium was for healthy Americans to consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. That recommendation was equivalent to about one teaspoon of table salt per day from all food sources, including beverages.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend daily sodium intake to be less than 2,300 mg. The recommended intake is 1,500 mg. per day for people 51 and older, African-Americans and anyone, regardless of age, with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. Just think about it. Roughly half the U.S. population should be at the 1,500 mg. level for sodium.

Why all the buzz?
Approximately 74.5 million Americans, or 34 percent of the adult population, have hypertension, which is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure and kidney disease. Such dietary factors as excess sodium intake, insufficient potassium intake, being overweight or obese, and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to increased blood pressure. In addition, 36 percent of American adults are pre-hypertensive, meaning their blood pressure is higher than normal but not yet in the hypertension range.

Sodium is an essential nutrient, but it is needed in relatively small quantities. The sodium that most Americans consume is primarily in the form of sodium chloride that is added to processed foods. Sodium is used as an ingredient in many foods and serves a number of functions including for curing meats, as a flavor enhancer, moisture retainer and in baking.  Not only are foods high in sodium suspect, but so are foods that contain smaller amounts of sodium per serving, but are eaten in greater quantities throughout the day, such as bread.

The 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines offer these suggestions to reduce consumption of sodium:
• Read the Nutrition Facts label for information on sodium content of foods, and purchase foods that are low in sodium.
• Consume more fresh foods and fewer processed foods that are high in sodium.
• Prepare more foods at home where you have control over the amount of sodium that is added to your food.
• Use seasonings containing little or no salt when cooking and eating.
• When dining out, ask if your food can be prepared with less sodium.

On average, the natural sodium content of food accounts for only 10 percent of total sodium intake in a day. The salt that is used at the table and in cooking at home accounts for another 5 to 10 percent of daily sodium intake. Between 75 to 85 percent of daily sodium intake comes from salt that is added to food by manufacturers.

Studies have shown that caloric intake and sodium intake are associated with consuming more foods and beverages. So by reducing calories and the amount of food eaten, you will probably reduce your sodium intake.

To help lower your intake, prepare foods at home using herbs, spices, vinegars, citrus juices or zest from citrus fruits to flavor foods instead of salt. Cut back on salt a little at a time. After awhile, you won’t miss it as your taste buds get acquainted with new flavors from herbs, spices and other potent flavoring agents.

If you have high blood pressure, you can help lower it by following the DASH eating plan. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and emphasizes eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. DASH is rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium, protein and fiber. This diet plan is low in cholesterol and saturated and total fat and limits consumption of meat, sweets and beverages containing sugar. For more information on the DASH diet visit the National Heart Blood and Lung Institute’s website at

To read the entire report or the executive summary for the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines, go to .

Dianne Lamb is the University of Vermont’s Extension Nutrition and Food specialist.


Feb. 17, 2011

In the Feb. 10 story “Town drafts agreement for compost site,” Vermont officials asked Chittenden Solid Waste District to shut down Intervale Compost in Burlington by the end of the month due to fears the site would disturb potential archeological artifacts believed buried, as well as raise the flood level in the area by a small increment.