April 18, 2014

Mother Nature throws CVU baseball a curve

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April 28, 2011

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Champlain Valley Union third baseman Jason Schneiderman dives to catch a foul ball during the Redhawks’ 8-2 loss at Missisquoi Valley Union on April 23. (Courtesy photo by Roger Nadeau)

With its home field well watered and more rain on the way, Champlain Valley Union baseball coach Tim Albertson was looking forward to some blue skies on Tuesday and getting his team outdoors for a few practice sessions, not to mention games.

That afternoon’s scheduled home contest with Vergennes had been postponed due to wet conditions.

“We hope we can play tomorrow (Wednesday)” said Albertson with a doubtful look.
The coach noted that the team has been outside only seven times this rainy spring.
“And five of those were either games or scrimmages,” he added.

The forecast for Wednesday (makeup against Vergennes) and Thursday (at South Burlington) were mixed as of Tuesday night. Saturday’s outlook was much better with Mount Abraham scheduled to be at the Redhawks’ Hinesburg field for an 11 a.m. tilt.
Monday’s home loss (8-5) to Rice Memorial left the Redhawks with a 1-2 mark, coming on the heels of Friday’s 8-2 loss to Missisquoi Valley Union in Swanton.

But Monday’s encounter, played in a light but stubborn drizzle that caused difficult-to-grip baseballs, was a tight and tense duel for six innings before a whacky seventh allowed the veteran Green Knights to put it away.

It was a 2-2 deadlock going into the top of the seventh when the fates turned on CVU reliever Curt Echo After a leadoff walk, Zak Poland reached off a bunt down the first base line that Echo could not field properly. This brought up the Knights’ No. 3 batter Chris McCormick, who immediately pounded the ball over the fence in right center for a 5-2 Rice lead.

The Knights added three more runs off reliever Tucker Kohlasch on a package of three singles, a throwing error, two fielder’s choices and a walk.

CVU got three runs in the bottom of the seventh. John Keen drove home two with a solid double down the right field line.

Poland, a southpaw with some heat, whiffed seven and gave up just one run in the fourth before pinch hitter Ian Solomon’s double to deep right center, Justin McKenzie’s walk, and Ryan Machavern’s RBI single chased him in the sixth. McKenzie eventually scored to the tie the game at 2-2 when Jeff Badger reached on an infield throwing error.

Drew Nick started for the Hawks and allowed two runs, four hits and struck out five, before giving way to Echo in the fifth. Echo masterfully escaped a two-on, no-out situation when he entered the game with two strikeouts and a pick off. Rice was clinging to a 2-1 lead at the time.

Rice’s Evan Healy, a righty, took over for Poland in the sixth and got the win.
In the loss at Missisquoi, Thunderbirds’ pitcher Turner Ede went the distance. Kohlasch smashed a triple and double with an RBI for CVU. Nick rapped his second double in two games, and Keen produced a run-scoring single.

Little Details

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Technology: omnipresent, not omnipotent

April 28, 2011

By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

Thomas Edison (1847-1931) holds an honored place among our nation’s most prolific inventors. The lightbulb and phonograph are featured among the 1,093 U.S. Patents issued in his name.

Edison left behind 3,500 journals crammed with invention ideas. Jotted notes and rough sketches present a rambling display of American ingenuity. Anyone who invents — or writes for that matter — understands the importance of committing an idea to paper in the moment it materializes.

Working in his lab in West Orange, N.J., in January 1888, Edison penned a list of “things doing and to be done.” Samplings from this five-page catalogue of creativity include “deaf apparatus,” “ink for the blind” and “cotton picker.” Was Edison envisioning hearing aids or cochlear implants? Did he imagine audio books for the visually impaired? Might he have anticipated mechanized crop harvesting?

I am not an inventor. My mind is not particularly adept at unraveling problems involving technology. For years, a small index card was taped to our lawn mower with hand-written notes on how to start our John Deere. My cell phone is a cheap, pre-paid gizmo. I can retrieve messages, but don’t text or take photos. Facebook remains an enigma. I have a “page” but don’t really do anything with it. I prefer face-to-face interactions. Call me oldfashioned.

At work, I’m the “go to” person for questions regarding spelling, grammar and occasional obscurities of history. When it comes to technology — navigating databases, learning new software and demystifying social media — I struggle. Technology greases the skids of the modern workplace and I must learn certain aspects to remain competitive. Patient colleagues teach and re-teach lessons which inexplicably fall out of my head.

I feel most grateful for technologies that improve human health. Radiation shrank my father’s cancerous tumors when I was pregnant with my daughter, buying him precious time to meet his newest grandchild. Magnetic Resonance Imaging and CT Scans save lives, facilitating early detection of maladies. Dialysis keeps people alive — literally. Lasers correct vision, and electrocardiograms reveal hints of heart disease.

My approach to what I consider “recreational technology” is decidedly a la carte as opposed to buffet. I pick and choose technologies. An inherent introverted nature means I am easily wearied by multiple messages winking and blinking, taunting a reply. We don’t pay for Caller ID. Each time our telephone rings, the identity of the caller is truly a surprise. Our house lacks Wi-Fi, leaving the quietest corners free from electronic invasion. We share Internet access, invoking natural limits on usage. We don’t download Netflix, preferring to support locally owned outlets. Change is inevitable. Delaying opt-in is entirely deliberate.

Twenty-four-hour-a-day, seven day a week connectivity sounds exhausting. The technology wave sometimes feels absolutely invasive, an overwhelming tsunami of data. Do I really want my boss or my dentist’s receptionist to reach me on vacation?

A phone rattling with a new message issues forth a squirt of dopamine, like a shot of caffeine. What are the social, emotional and physiological consequences of all of this “alertness?” Who really wants to be available 24/7? Even if we shut off our myriad devices, the messages are there, waiting like a pile of unanswered mail demanding attention with beeps, blinks and tremors.

As the parent of a teen, I sometimes worry about the pervasive nature of technology. This has prompted much conversation and negotiation as we have navigated the sea called progress. Cell phone, iPod, iPad and iTouch screens require healthy boundaries. The unlimited nature of these gadgets can raise stress levels.

I don’t have all the answers. I do, however, detect heightened anxiety and angst within a society perpetually turned on by technology. Here’s what some of the experts are saying:
Pew Research Center:  One in three teens sends more than 100 text messages a day or 3,000 texts a month. Teens’ attachment to their phones is a frequent source of family conflict.

Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital Boston: Teens engaged in excessive cell phone use have been found to be at greater risk of anxiety and depression.
Kaiser Family Foundation: American youths, aged 8-18, spend an average of 7 hours 38 minutes engaged in “entertainment media” on a daily basis.

National Sleep Foundation: Almost 1 in 5 teens are awakened by a phone call or text message at least a few nights a week.

The above entities are not technological naysayers. Their research is grounded in very real science, the kind of science Edison so creatively invoked. They each offer websites providing facts, figures and strategies for navigating a technological landscape characterized by omnipresence.

Distraction, dozing off and sleep-deprived grumpiness may dull the blade of American ingenuity. We owe it to our kids to be mindful consumers of technology, avoiding consumption for consumption sake.

I believe reserving time and space for solitude, reflection and face-to-face conversation are vital to the preservation of our humanity … and our inventiveness. If you happen to agree, let’s start a real, old-fashioned conversation.

Katherine Bielawa Stamper lives in Williston. Reader comments are welcome at [email protected] or [email protected]

Places I’ve Played

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55 and still alive

April 28, 2011

By Bill Skiff

Fifty-five years ago last Thursday, I spoke the best two words I ever said: “I Do.”
I was in the army, and stationed at Valley Forge. The general at the time was not Washington, but rather General Temple. I was a social worker assigned to the psychiatric wards at Valley Forge Army Hospital in Phoenixville, Pa., just outside of Philadelphia. I counseled men returning from the battlefields of the Korean War.

One night, I made a phone call and asked a question. The answer came back “YES!” And the rest is history!

I met Ruth when I was a graduate student at Springfield College and she was the assistant to the director of our department. My fellow classmates said I was attracted to her because she was pretty, kind, could spell, type — and had a car.

I don’t know what I had that attracted her to me but I’m sure glad I had it. She was the nicest woman I ever met and I did all I could to garner her attention. It took some doing because she was so busy. Eventually I think she felt sorry for me when she found out I couldn’t spell and typed with two fingers (which I still do).

Our romance continued after my graduation — she and a girlfriend drove from Westfield, Mass. to Fort Dix, N.J., where a buddy and I were stationed for basic training. She brought the best fried chicken dinners any soldier could wish for. After basic training, I was assigned to Valley Forge Army Hospital; it was there I made my phone call.

For me to reach our wedding day — Saturday, April 21, l956 — took some planning and a little luck. The captain of our unit agreed to give me a pass, but not before a lot of fanfare, which included spreading the word about how I planned to spend my leave. A couple of old sergeants tried to talk me out of it, based on their marital experiences.

Then luck appeared. My pass did not start until midnight on Friday, April 20. The train I needed to catch out of Philadelphia to make it to the church by 2 p.m. on Saturday left at 10 p.m. I boarded the bus at the army base at 8 p.m. — four hours before my pass was legal.

At the Military Police guard house, the officer of the day came on the bus and asked to see everyone’s pass. When he arrived to check my pass, he said, “Soldier, your pass doesn’t start for four more hours. If I let you go now, you will be AWOL.” Then he asked, “Why are you in such a hurry?” I had to tell him — in front of everyone on the bus — that I was leaving to get married. Sweat streamed down my back while he and everyone else on the bus offered me their thoughts on marriage.

Finally, the officer turned to everyone and said, “What do you think? Should I let him go?” They all cheered: “Yes! Yes!” With a red face and an anxious heart, I made it out of the base to begin the best years of my life.

After the wedding on Saturday we drove to Hartford, Conn., then back to Valley Forge on Sunday. No honeymoon for us: Monday we both went to work. I returned to my unit and Ruth began work for a base doctor.

Some would say that 55 years is a long time to be married. But as I look over those years, they have gone all too fast. They have been filled with hard work, companionship and love. It does take a lot to make a marriage work. Even though I do not have any magical advice on marriage, I know that without Ruth my life would have been much different and very empty. Instead, our house was filled with four children and is now filled with six grandchildren — life doesn’t get much better than that.

On my dad’s 25th anniversary, he expressed his feelings on marriage through this poem, which I believe is a tribute to the meaning of a long and loving relationship. Mom and dad spent 62 years together. I feel blessed to have experienced 55 with Ruth — and we are not done yet.

“Silver Wedding”

By Glenn Skiff

Twenty-five short years, swift run,
Brimful, pressed down, and running over
Of well remembered days,
Each one a strong, yet slender thread.

That weaves the variegated fabric
Of which our lives are made.
A fabric which beneath our hands
Has leaped to threefold life
Wherein we live again
The sweet short years of youth,
Think not I have forgotten them,
The years we’ve shared since first we met.

They are a part of all I am,
And all I ever shall be.
As slower, sometimes faltering hands,
Weave on, and on, and on
A pattern, which I know not now,
I only know it will be strong and good,
And filled with warmth and love,
If still I may, please God,
Weave side by side with you
Who are my friend,
And so much more than friend.

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 [email protected]

Letters to the Editor

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April 28, 2011

Thanks to WCS teachers

I recently attended a parent volunteer meeting for the eighth grade graduation. As the end of the student year draws near, I know that my family’s ties to Williston Central School will be over. We have had two lucky children attend WCS and have been involved with the school for more than 16 years. I think it is timely for me to thank the amazing teachers that have helped me raise my sons to be who they are today.

To the teachers of Lighthouse: my heartfelt thanks for your humor and kindness. You helped both of my sons push themselves to achieve educational goals and set even higher targets for them to become caring, thoughtful citizens of the world. Lighthouse was a family that devoted themselves to my children and partnered with me to build a strong foundation for each boy to build upon. And to the teachers of Voyager, thank you so much for continuing to shape these amazing boys into kids who are interested in learning and eager to question. They know that they are responsible for their own achievement and that the world offers endless possibilities. Voyager has inspired them to reach with their minds and explore. My children have been excited about learning from their first day of school and the teachers that have lined their paths have been a gift to my family. A million thanks to each of you.

Heidi Brown, Williston

Siding with Steve

It is not often that I agree with Steve Mount and disagree with Kayla Purvis but today is the day. Steve is right — our tax code is an abomination (Williston Observer, April 21, Liberally Speaking: “Connections: GE and the royal wedding”). It should have a few simple personal deductions and perhaps three rates, and should take no more than 20 pages. Our old code should be scrapped completely.

Kayla for once is wrong. The Tea Party is not extreme (Williston Observer, April 21, Right to the Point: “Getting lost in the middle”) unless you consider following our Constitution extreme. Many of our northern Republicans wouldn’t even classify as Democrats in the south. We need six-year term limits so no one will have time to make friends with all the lobbyists. I am 84-years-old and long ago got all the money back I put into Social Security, as well as what the various companies I worked for put in with compound interest on both contributions.

Ralph M. McGregor, Williston

Guest Column

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Project needs volunteers

April 28, 2011

By Stephen Asch

Hello, I am an eighth grader from Williston Central School. In eighth grade, all students are required to do an eighth grade challenge that interests them and has a community component. For my challenge, I’m helping to restore the Allen Brook, which runs through Williston. The Allen Brook is on the state list of impaired waters and is in need of restoration.

With the help of my mentor, Jessica Andreoletti, a Williston Town Planner, I have explored two areas of the brook accessible from Old Stage Road, where the stream buffer is too small and where there are too many invasive plant species.

Chapter 29 of the Unified Development Bylaw states in Section 29.9.2: “There shall be a buffer of at least 150 feet above the ordinary high water mark of the Allen Brook, the Muddy Brook, the Sucker Brook and the Winooski River.” After I collected my data, I wrote letters to the people who had little or no stream buffer. In the letters I let them know that the town is willing to supply trees and shrubs if I organize and recruit a planting crew.  I told them that if they were interested in making a difference, to contact my mentor Jessica. A few weeks after I sent the letters, I was pleased to see that we received responses.

This week I will be presenting my project to the class and recruiting people for a crew. If you are interested in volunteering your time to be a part of the planting crew please call Jessica at 878-6704 ext. 4.
Stephen Asch is an eighth grade student at Williston Central School.

Beauty queen puts her best foot forward

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Ortiz bringing her message of charity to Williston

April 28, 2011

By Adam White
Observer staff

Miss Vermont 2010 Nydelis Ortiz will be the guest speaker at the Williston Federated Church on May 1, prior to taking part in the COTS Walk later that day in Burlington. (Photo courtesy of Nydelis Ortiz)

Charity is a beautiful thing to Nydelis Ortiz.

The 2010 Miss Vermont pageant winner will serve as guest speaker at the Williston Federated Church on May 1, prior to taking part in the COTS (the Committee on Temporary Shelter) Walk in Burlington later that day. Ortiz and her family received assistance from the COTS program upon moving to the United States from Puerto Rico when she was 6-years-old.

“I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the help of COTS and its supporters, and I am honored to be a part of something that changes so many lives for the better,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz, 21, is currently employed at the Dept. of Homeland Security in Williston, after fulfilling an internship there while studying at Castleton State College. Her mother, Doris Rivera, also works for Homeland Security, albeit in a different department.

“We have separate duties so we don’t have very many opportunities to interact, but we do carpool together almost every day,” Ortiz said.

Rivera didn’t have the easiest of roads to travel when she came to Vermont with her daughter and son 15 years ago. She suffered a stroke shortly after the relocation, and was unable to work at a time when her family’s living situation hadn’t yet fully stabilized. That’s when COTS stepped in and provided a helping hand.

“We were a part of the Families in Transition program offered by COTS and through this program and others offered by the organization, my mother was able to find a part-time job despite her disabilities caused by her stroke,” Ortiz said. “COTS was also able to help place us in an affordable housing program where we lived in an apartment better suited for a family of three.”

That success story of a family overcoming adversity is what led Federated Church pastor Joan O’Gorman to reach out to Ortiz, in hopes that the Essex resident would serve as guest speaker on May 1.

“I thought it was a compelling story,” O’Gorman said. “Our church supports COTS and a lot of the walkers who will be taking part on May 1, so it was a good match. We also have some links to Hispanic culture … [including] a regular trip to Nicaragua, for a school rebuilding project.”

Ortiz is collecting donations online for her effort in the COTS Walk, the latest link in a chain of charity work that was first forged when she participated in a food drive in middle school.

“Ever since then I was always inspired to give back,” she said.

That charitable spirit was one factor in Ortiz being named Miss Vermont in 2010. She plans on competing in this year’s Miss Vermont pageant on July 25 at South Burlington High School, in hopes of moving on and bringing the Green Mountain State its first-ever Miss America crown.

Along the way, Ortiz is likely to inspire more young women to contribute to their communities – and be more than just another pretty face.

“Nydelis was like a big sister to me last year, and we are very close friends now,” said Shelby Gregoire of Barre, who was named Miss Teen Vermont in 2010. “Nydelis is everything I ever could have hoped for in a sister; she is caring, understanding, compassionate, and thrives on helping others. She is the type of person who leaves people smiling, and inspires me to do the same.”

Peters touched many with full, dynamic life

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April 28, 2011

By Greg Duggan
Observer correspondent

Dylan Peters (Courtesy photo)

By the time Dylan Peters could walk, he could run. And running opened a whole new level of existence, one where the child learned to climb, to jump, to constantly stay in motion. Dylan’s father, Jim Peters, remembers hearing thuds when his son was 9 months old and leaping out of his crib. His mother, Sue Peters, said baby gates could barely contain the boy.

The adventurous nature never left Peters in his 18 years. Described by one friend as an “adrenaline junkie,” Peters took up skateboarding and became a talented snowboarder, winning local and national events with his massive, spinning, inverted jumps.

Dylan Peters was an accomplished snowboarder. (Courtesy photo)

That life of constant motion — “He did not sit still,” Jim Peters said of his son — ended abruptly this month.

Peters, a student at Champlain Valley Union High School and Burlington Technical Center, died April 7 following a car accident on Oak Hill Road. The Williston Police Department’s preliminary investigation identified the cause of the accident as “excessive speed along with loss of control of the vehicle,” according to a press release.

When hundreds gathered for a memorial service at the Bolton Valley base lodge on April 13, friends, coaches, teachers and family members shared stories about Peters’ short, rich life. Snowboarding had garnered Peters the most recognition in the broader community, but the teen’s reach extended far beyond the snowboarding world. Friendly and easy-going, Peters built strong friendships in CVU, Burlington Tech, the art community and multiple snowboarding clubs. When Peters died, those communities lost a close friend, and his family — parents Jim and Sue, younger brother Dustin and younger sister Danielle — lost a son and brother.

The many talents of Dylan Peters

Peters had many interests. As his mother said, “He was passionate about whatever he did, whatever he wanted to do.”

Snowboarding dominated his winter. Warmer months gave way to music and skateboarding. Art became a year-round endeavor.

“He crammed a lot into 18 years. It was not a boring 18 years,” Jim Peters said.

Snowboarding took Peters from the slopes and terrain parks at Bolton, Stowe and Waterville Valley to the mountains of the western United States. Former Bolton Valley Snowboard Team coach Zach Hoag described Dylan’s progression as one of “happy persistence.”

“Dylan’s personality was quiet, happy, and confident,” Hoag wrote in an e-mail to the Observer. “And I think that led him to be a very dedicated snowboarder — he knew he could succeed, he enjoyed every minute of his riding, and he encouraged his friends instead of competing with them.”

Peters began winning competitions in his early teens. Sponsorships followed. In 2010, Peters captured first place in the junior men’s slopestyle competition at the USA Snowboarding Association national championship.

Sue Peters said her son wanted to move up in the snowboarding world, and then combine his boarding and artistic talents into a business focused on action sports. An honor roll student, Peters had yet to commit to college, though his parents believe he would have chosen to attend Westminster College. The liberal arts school in Utah had offered Peters a $100,000 scholarship, and encourages students to supplement academics with skiing and boarding in the nearby mountains. Peters’ parents said he was planning a course of study that combined communication, art and entrepreneurship.

“He was always talking about wanting to be an entrepreneur,” said Colleen Murphy, Peters’ Design and Illustration teacher at Burlington Technical Center.

Murphy called Peters a talented artist, best at graphic design, and noted that not all artists enter the field to make money. Not many artists have a strong business sense, Murphy said, but Peters “had a head for that. He always used to say he’d be famous, and we would laugh, you know.”

‘Dylan defies stereotypes’

“Dylan defies stereotypes,” Adam Bunting, a CVU teacher and Peters’ house director and advisor, wrote in a letter of recommendation.

For all Peters’ talents and interests, those who knew him say they will remember his humble, easygoing personality that allowed him to connect with a diverse set of people. Speaking at Peters’ April 13 memorial service, Bunting said, “Dylan transcended social groups and societal expectations. He thought for himself, and in Dylan’s world, a snowboarder could earn a 4.0, craft gangsta rhymes and treat his peers with respect and dignity.”

Peters dressed in baggy clothes — often wearing purple, his favorite color — pants sagging low, at times held up by a belt buckle containing a certain four-letter curse word starting with ‘F.’

“He was kind of a hip-hoppy kind of kid who snowboards and skateboards,” Peters’ friend Gabe Cohn told the Observer.

Despite the image, Peters floated easily between sets of friends. As Cohn said, “I’m three years younger … and he hangs out with me all the time. He doesn’t care.”

“Dylan was able to find value in and connect with just about anybody,” Bunting wrote in an e-mail to the Observer. “Dylan’s activities were just as diverse as his choice of friends. Slapping a label on Dylan just doesn’t work.”

Friends speaking at the memorial service shared tales about mischievous escapades. Cohn recalled sneaking away from home during a sleepover with Peters, eventually ending up at a swimming hole in the Huntington River at 4 a.m.

Ivan DeLean, another close friend of Peters — “he’s like my twin brother,” DeLean said — reminisced about Peters crafting a homemade hang glider to jump off a slope at a local sandpit.

“Having so many friends was a testament to how caring he was, how fun he was to be around,” Sue Peters said.

The playful, outgoing personality stands out as people remember Peters.

“It’s not the specific moments that linger,” Bunting wrote in an e-mail to the Observer. “It is his spirit that was so well represented by his huge playful grin. I am hard pressed to remember a moment when he wasn’t smiling.”

Jim Peters said the family looked through old photos to display at the memorial, ultimately choosing 200 or 250. In only one was Dylan not smiling, Jim Peters said, because in that picture Dylan’s then-baby sister had just thrown up on his chest.
“His brother and sister looked up to him,” Sue Peters said. “He set the energy for the household.”

Remembering Dylan

Though Peters will no longer touch people daily with his charisma, his family wants to ensure that memories of the teen never fade. Even in death, Peters was able to bring life. Five of his vital organs were donated to four people. His corneas, bone and tissue also became donations.

“Dylan’s last great act was that he saved four people,” Jim Peters said.

“And gave sight to another and helped countless others with (skin and tissue) repairs,” Sue Peters added.

The family hopes their son’s donations can raise awareness about organ donation.

The Peters family also plans to extend the memory of their son through the Dylan Peters Art of Snowboarding Fund.

“I always want to make good out of bad and fix things,” Sue Peters said. “I can’t fix this.”
Instead, Sue Peters wants to help children who do not have the advantages of her son but still want to pursue art or snowboarding.

Friends, too, have devised their own way of keeping Dylan in their lives. Sue Peters said many of Dylan’s friends have placed a picture of him on the dashboards of their cars.
“He touched a lot of people,” Sue Peters said.

Donations in Dylan Peters’ memory can be made to the Dylan Peters Art of Snowboarding Fund, c/o Sue and Jim Peters, 1102 Ledgewood Drive, Williston, VT 05495.

Town set to break ground on new park

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Athletic fields are first part of Allen Brook School plan

April 28, 2011

By Adam White
Observer staff

Ground will be broken soon for construction of two multi-purpose athletic fields behind the Allen Brook School in Williston. The plan also calls for the future construction of three other playing fields, including a lighted baseball diamond. (Observer photo by Adam White)

Ground will be broken soon on the first building phase of a new park behind Allen Brook School on Talcott Rd. in Williston, after the town accepted a bid and signed a contract with a Richmond construction company last week.
The first part of the park’s plan calls for two multi-use athletic fields, the construction of which will be funded entirely through impact fees under the town’s capital plan, according to Recreation Dept. Director Kevin Finnegan. Finnegan said that future phases would be initiated as town growth generates the revenue to cover its costs.
“Impact fees on new developments are paying for this project,” Finnegan said. “For every new house that is built, there is a dollar figure that goes toward all different services in town, (including) Parks and Rec. As the economy picks up, we should have more money in the kitty to put toward this project.”
According to Public Works Director Bruce Hoar, the winning bid for the first phase came from J. Hutchins Inc., of Richmond. Hoar said the contract stipulates that the project can be started no earlier than May 15. Lindsay Vincelette of J. Hutchins Inc. said that the work is expected to get under way around June 1.
“We plan to coordinate our efforts around school traffic,” Vincelette said. “We’ll start with the necessary erosion control, then move on to the mass excavation for the playing fields.”
The project’s blueprint shows twin fields labeled “soccer/lacrosse,” measuring 330 feet long and 195 feet across. The plan also shows an “extra, all-purpose field” with the same measurements proposed to the north of the first two fields, as well as a softball field, Little League baseball diamond and lighted Babe Ruth baseball diamond, playground, picnic shelter, bathroom/storage/concessions building and “tot lot.”
The existing recreational path near the school will also be reworked, and a “possible future bike path” is included in the plan as well.
Finnegan said that while the entire project is “shovel-ready” in terms of permit and design approval, the timeline for construction of everything beyond the first two fields will depend entirely on funding. He said the Recreation Dept. lobbied unsuccessfully during the town’s budgeting process for the Selectboard to put aside $25,000 per year for the project, as it has for improvements to Rossignol Park at the corner of North Brownell Rd. and Industrial Ave.
“We support the plan and want to see it happen, because the town needs more park space and playing fields,” Selectboard chair Terry Macaig said. “But we didn’t want to raise the tax rate this year, if we could help it.”
Hoar said Rossignol Park would continue to be improved with funding from the capital plan for ongoing improvements.
“Last year we re-did the tennis courts, and we’re looking at rebuilding the basketball courts next,” Hoar said.

PHOTOS: Liam Reiner competes at Nationals

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April 21, 2011

Courtesy photos by Susan Teare

Liam Reiner, 11, competed in snowboardcross, slalom and giant slalom events at the at the 2011 United States of America Snowboard Association National Championships at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado earlier this month after qualifying in local competitions.

“I was happy to achieve my goal, because last year I didn’t qualify,” Reiner said. “This year, I was really determined to make it.”

Reiner’s top performance occurred in the slalom, where he placed 24th in his division. A member of the Smuggler’s Notch Snowboard Team, Reiner said that he would like to compete in the Championships again next year, and learned three big lessons from his debut in the sport’s largest amateur contest: “Don’t scrub speed, keep your knees bent and don’t fall,” he said. Reiner will now turn his attention to his favorite spring sport, baseball, in which he plays for the Williston Rangers.

PHOTOS: Williston Fire Department pancake breakfast

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April 21, 2011

Courtesy photos by Melanie Watson and Mike Lizotte

The Williston Fire Department held their annual pancake breakfast at the Williston Fire Station on April 17. Town Manager Rick McGuire said of the breakfast: “(It’s) a nice tradition that started a number of years back and it is a great opportunity in the springtime for people to get together to share some good food and see some of their neighbors.”