May 24, 2018


April 14, 2011

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.


Greater Burlington YMCA – “Healthy Kids Day,” encourages families to play more, make nutritious food choices, and build stronger family connection. Help with setup, activities and cleanup. April 16, four-hour shifts.

Friends of the Horticulture Farm Perennial Garden Wake Up and Maintenance – Help the Curator tidy up the garden collection by weeding, dividing and staking perennials. April 23 and May 7, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and July 16, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., up to 10 volunteers per day. Volunteers can take home a perennial plant.

Women Helping Battered Women – Annual “Zumbathon” fundraiser needs volunteers to setup and clean up. Prizes, snacks, and fun, April 30, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) – The COTS Walk, a major fundraiser, needs volunteers to serve as crossing guards and to help with refreshments, hospitality and more. May 1, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

YWCA of Vermont – Help open YWCA Camp Hochelaga in South Hero. Projects include painting, grounds cleanup, putting up tents, general repairs, etc. May 5, 6 and 13, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., about 30 volunteers each day.

Lund Family Center – Spend Mother’s Day volunteering with or honoring your mom at the 3rd annual bike ride. Volunteers are needed for setup on May 7 and for registration, course monitors, parking, lead and trailing bikers, on May 8. May 7, noon to 4 p.m.; May 8, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Lake Champlain International – The LCI Walleye Run, a run, walk and kids’ fun run event on Mallets Bay, needs volunteers to help with registration, course directing, parking, refreshments, etc. May 8, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.


Sara Holbrook Community Center needs volunteers to work with kids and teens. Teen Program aides work with youth in grades 6 to 12 at two “drop-in” sites (Sara Holbrook, evenings, and New North End Youth Center, afternoons). Play pool, foosball, and other games. Outdoor enthusiasts needed to join middle-school youth for mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, rafting and more. Must be 18-years-old and able to swim. Weekday afternoons and evenings. Summer camp assistants will swim, run, build sand castles, and go on field trips in a program for elementary school children. Weekday schedules.

Volunteers for the New Arrivals summer program for immigrant and refugee children work one-on-one with children, chaperone field trips and help teachers. Weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Interview and background check required for all positions.


American Cancer Society’s “Road to Recovery” needs a volunteer to coordinate the transportation program that provides cancer patients with rides to treatment sites. Volunteer receives transportation requests, assigns volunteers, keeps records, and reports problems to staff. Two to four hours per week, orientation and training provided.


Chittenden Community Action is looking for volunteers to post flyers on assigned routes in Burlington, Essex Junction and Winooski on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Flexible scheduling.


Puppets in Education invites volunteers to become part of a statewide educational puppet troupe that reaches children in an innovative way and teaches them to appreciate each other’s differences. Puppet training provided. Hours are flexible: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday schedules.


Burlington Police Department needs volunteers to support citizens impacted by party and social noise by making follow-up phone calls to provide information about community resources and services. A Parallel Justice Volunteer is also needed to collaborate with an existing volunteer to provide clerical and data collection to support follow up phone calls preparation, and help those impacted by crimes such as burglary, vandalism, assault, etc. Orientation and training provided. Background check required for both positions.


Special Services Transportation Agency is seeking volunteer drivers to transport elders to and from medical appointments outside of Chittenden County using their own vehicle. Mileage reimbursement provided. Background check; clean driving record, and up to date insurance required.

This Week’s Popcorn – “Win Win”

Victory for the common man

3 popcorns

By Michael S. Goldberger
Special to the Observer

Following a thoroughly enjoyable viewing of director Thomas McCarthy’s “Win Win,” I’ve decided that after the health of my family, world peace and a Ferrari, I’ll ask the genie to please let Paul Giamatti perennially regale us with his portrayals of middle class heroes. His struggling lawyer by day, high school wrestling coach by night, is an inspiration.

Uplifting without the usual Hollywood punctuation to cue us when to exult and when to anguish, this modest production, also written by McCarthy, sings a paean to humanity. A fine cast of familiar types welcomes us in to the fold. And while it makes no promises, it is soon apparent that, if nothing else, there will be fierce honesty.

First of all, whereas films rarely encumber audiences with the day-to-day tribulations that comprise our lives, here, it is practically the centerpiece. Meet New Providence, New Jersey’s Mike Flaherty, an attorney whose real talent is giving folks a hand. Some might call him a schnook for it. But it’s who he is, and as usual the cash flow isn’t very good.

In the evenings, to make pin money and perhaps exercise a passion unfulfilled by the daily grind, the human comedy only continues. His wrestlers are a mediocre bunch of slackers who hardly listen to exhortations he himself has come to believe less and less. Giamatti fills Mike’s face with something you might remember seeing in your parents.

In other words, he is ripe for a lottery win or a grand epiphany. But, as this screenplay is determinedly realistic, while waiting for his boat to come in Mike is going to have to settle for a more bromidic consolation. Like forgetting his woes by helping someone with bigger troubles; bingo, he shows up, not on his, but on a client’s doorstep.

Kyle, superbly portrayed by newcomer Alex Shaffer, is a runaway from Ohio. The white-haired teen is looking for his grandfather, Leo Poplar (Burt Young), an old gent struck by early stage Alzheimer’s who Mike has been representing. But there’s more to it than that. Factor the words desperation and ethical conundrum into the plot equation.

The interesting news is Kyle, who wants absolutely nothing to do with his dope-addicted mom (Melanie Lynskey), is a heck of a wrestler. However, a whole bunch of buts and ifs stands in the way of this disclosure proving beneficial to anyone. While that’s being decided, the Flahertys offer temporary aid to the troubled teen.

You’ll get scarcely more details here. But rest assured that while the scenario is not unfamiliar, McCarthy smartly avoids the usual clichés. Rather, he allows his character-driven script to wander this way and that, and relate a touching tale in the process. Mike’s motley pals and colleagues interact to supply both suspense and comedy.

Heading the list of supporting performances, Bobby Cannavale adds a whimsically telling perspective as Terry Delfino, Mike’s best friend since high school. Well-heeled, albeit compromised by a crushing divorce, he is nonetheless the perpetual youngster. As charged up by Kyle’s wrestling prowess as Mike is, he wants to share in the kid’s glory.

On the home front, her motherly instincts appalled by the idea of a young boy separated from his natural mom, Amy Ryan is sweetly warmhearted as Mike’s wife, Jackie. The thing is, she already has two of her own kids to raise. But OK, it’s all right if he sleeps in the basement … only until his mother gets out of rehab and comes to fetch him.

Illustrating by his hangdog example another angle of the emotional landscape is Jeffrey Tambor as Stephen Vigman, the deadpan CPA who co-habits the house where counselor Flaherty makes his office. Oh, he’s also the coach’s assistant by night. But more important is what this gaggle of chums, relatives and hangers-on represent.

Though the largest common denominator in the world, rarely is it highlighted in American films the way it is in “Win Win.” I speak of the struggle to make a living. Occupation is generally an identifier of class, but infrequently connected with the shekels needed to order pizza for the brood (working two jobs, there’s no time to cook).

Here, a stiff upper lift attempts to trump the furrows in Giamatti’s middle-aged forehead – a ploy conjured to stave off anxiety in those who depend on him. Only his canniness, strength and determination separate them from the mastodons, saber-toothed tigers and natural disasters that threaten just outside the cave.

Add to these observations a savvy thesis about the moral quandary Mike gets himself into whilst grappling for survival, and you have an artistic representation of what it takes to rise above the quiet desperation that typifies most men’s lives. Successfully celebrating how we regularly fight the good fight, “Win Win” scores a motion picture triumph.

“Win Win,” rated R, is a Fox Searchlight Pictures release directed by Thomas McCarthy and stars Paul Giamatti, Alex Shaffer and Bobby Cannavale. Running time: 106 minutes

WCS’s Rossier accepts new position

April 14, 2011

Williston Central School teacher Kathy Rossier is going to become a Math Interventionist at the school beginning this fall. Rossier, who now teaches grades five to eight, wrote in an e-mail to parents and guardians last week that she is “excited for this opportunity to help develop and implement this new program at (the) school.”

Rossier went on to write that the staff, students, and parents of Full House have been a part of her family for 12 years and that she will miss her students.

Everyday Gourmet

Devil may care

April 14, 2011

By Kim Dannies

It’s spring — time for shenanigans, reckless cooking, and general revelry. Egg-themed-everything is in the celebratory air, so why not make a feast out of the little devils? Go ahead! Abandon traditional deviled eggs and that high-cholesterol filling, and go wild with some new and intense combinations of savory temptation.

Filling choices are limitless: tuna, mayo, and capers topped with minced red onion; pulled pork and BBQ sauce topped with shredded cabbage; guacamole, chopped tomato, and bacon bits; tarragon shrimp salad; hummus, fried onions, and sesame seeds; almond butter & jam dollops; chopped smoked salmon and yolk, with crème fraiche and dill.
OK, OK. I’ll play the devil’s advocate and vote to keep the classic fix, but how about we shake things up a bit and add spicy horseradish and lots of hot paprika to the mix?

Angel Eggs

For perfectly well behaved hard-boiled eggs, consider using organic (they taste better). Eggs should be one to two weeks old. Gently place a couple dozen eggs in a large pot and cover with lots of cold water. Add 2 teaspoons of salt, cover the pot, and bring to a boil. You don’t need to boil the water hard to cook the eggs – the trick is to let the water come to a full boil, and then move the pot to a cool burner. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the pot and cover it (vinegar will make the eggs easier to peel). Set a timer for 30 minutes, and let the eggs sit.

Next, drain the eggs and cool in ice water for 20 minutes. This prevents the greenish ring from forming around the yolk. The green hue is the chemical reaction of iron in the egg yolk with sulfur from the egg white; these combine to make green-gray ferrous sulfide and the resulting smelly “rotten eggs” hydrogen sulfide gas. Gently crack each egg and set it back into the water. When the eggs are all cracked, remove the shells. Rinse eggs and rest them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before slicing into halves with a clean edge knife. Remove yolks and fill the egg with desired ingredients.

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

Williston Police promote career development

April 14, 2011

Williston Police Chief Roy A. Nelson announced the department’s continuing effort to establish a structured career development program where members of the department can participate and prepare themselves to successfully perform assigned duties as well as meet new challenges.

Recently, Officer Justin Huizenga was assigned to attend a “First Line Supervision” training course. The Justice System Training and Research Institute at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., in partnership with the New England Association of Chiefs of Police, recognized Officer Huizenga on April 1 for the successful completion of the “Command Training Series: First Line Supervision Course,” a two-week comprehensive training program.

Coursework addressed contemporary concepts of management and leadership relevant to the responsibilities of first line supervisors in a modern criminal justice agency. The program, presented by experienced academics and law enforcement practitioners between March 21 and April 1, discussed topics including operational leadership and management principles, problem-solving, organizational and interpersonal communications, labor relations, disciplinary issues, and ethical decision-making.
Graduates of this program represented police departments from throughout the New England states.

Further, the department recently sent two officers to obtain their certification as “Instructors” for issues involving the application of police batons, handcuffing, and O.C. spray. The department has been without an active instructor since May 2010.

Officers William Charbonneau and Karie Tucker will fill this void and have the responsibility of creating and providing lesson plans covering areas such as legal aspects of police use of force, baton deployment and purpose, justification, handcuffing passive and resistant suspects, application of O.C. spray, decontamination procedures, and documentation/tracking use of force, and policy review.

Training for Officers Charbonneau and Tucker was sponsored by the Meriden (Conn.) Police Department. Staff administered academic and practical skills from KFD Training and Consultation led by (Ret) Lt. Kevin Dillon, an internationally recognized trainer.
Chief Nelson acknowledges the members of the department for their concerted efforts in conducting investigations involving the distribution of illegal drugs because much of the educational expenses were offset through confiscated drug asset funds.

CVU Sports Schedule

April 14, 2011

Friday: MOUNT MANSFIELD, 4:30 p.m.

Friday: MOUNT MANSFIELD, 4:30 p.m.

Thursday: SOUTH BURLINGTON, 4 p.m.
Saturday: SPAULDING, 11 a.m.

No games scheduled

Thursday: ESSEX, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: at Essex, 3:30 p.m.

No meets scheduled


Sports Notes

April 14, 2011


The Champlain Valley Union tennis teams will tangle for a second time this season with Essex on Thursday (3:30 p.m.) before taking more than a week off for spring break.
The boys and girls teams hope to repeat earlier wins when the boys play host to the Hornets at the Shelburne courts and the girls travel to the Junction.

Both teams hiked their records to 3-0 Tuesday with victories over Mount Mansfield Union.

Playing at home, the boys rolled up a 6-1 triumph with Will Hall, Liam Kelley, Henri St. Pierre and Brad Barth winning in singles to go with doubles thumbs-uppers by the duos of Tyler Murphy-Joey O’Brien and Josh Huber-Tristan Arthoud.

The girls, on the road at Mount Mansfield, earned a 7-0 triumph. Andrea Joseph, Emily Polhemus, Claire Stoner, Megan Henson and Leah Epstein won their singles matches. Laura Andrews-Samone Schneider and Becca Daniels-Taylor Kingston were the winning doubles teams.


The Champlain Valley Union girls lacrosse team celebrates during its victory over Mount Abraham on April 9. (Courtesy photo by Thomas Spencer)

During last spring’s three-win season, coach Julie Sloan’s Champlain Valley Union girls lacrosse team knocked off some of the leading powers in the division.

On April 2, the new edition of Redhawks unloaded 15 goals on southern power Mount Anthony Union (0-2) in cranking out a 15-13 triumph in the season opener at the Hinesburg lax layout.

Heading up the CVU point poppers were Amanda Kinneston with six tallies and Michaela Kiley with five plus a pair of helpers.

Also finding the net were Brenna Gorman (twice) along with Devan Wilkins and Kate Raszca.

Mikaela Gobeille had a busy time in the CVU goal, making 20 stops.

The Hawks hoped to keep up the scoring activity Wednesday (press time) when Rutland rolled into the CVU nest for another north-south confrontation.

CVU strikes early and often in boys lacrosse wins

April 14, 2011

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Champlain Valley Union’s Jeff Palmer fends off a defender during the Redhawks’ 17-8 win against Woodstock on Tuesday. (Observer photo by Shane Bufano)

With two home blowout wins in the bag, coach Dave Trevithick and his Champlain Valley Union boys lacrosse team closed out what became a four-game home stand to open the season this week against South Burlington on Thursday (4 p.m.) and Spaulding on Saturday (11 a.m.)

In triumphs on April 9 over Rice Memorial High (12-5) and Tuesday over Woodstock Union (17-8) the veteran CVU front line got cracking early and often.

It took face-off specialist Jake Marston and attacker extraordinaire Lawrence Dee just eight seconds to team up for the season’s first score against Rice. Marston controlled the ball on the face off, rushed up the field and passed to a well-positioned Dee in front of the Rice cage to finish the score.

The Redhawks then rolled to a 5-1 lead by the end of the quarter, which became 9-1 at halftime.

The first score against Woodstock (2-1) took a few seconds longer. Marston got possession on the face off and got up the field quickly but had to reset before getting the ball to Dee, who pumped it into the net with 27 seconds gone.

The tally ignited another CVU explosion as Nathaniel Wells scored three times, helping the Hawks gain a 6-0 advantage by the end of the period, and an 11-2 lead by intermission.

Wells finished with four goals and three assists, as CVU got up by 16-4 early in the final reel before Trevithick down shifted the powerful offense.

Dee also had four goals and three helpers while Robbie Dobrowski bagged three tallies. Taylor Gingras added a pair of goals and three assists and Justin Beaudry popped a pair of pointers. Nick Spencer and Chandler Jacobson also scored.

Veteran senior netminder Eric Palmer had eight saves including a few spectaculars before giving way to junior Will Fay in the closing quarter.

On Tuesday, like it did on April 9, anytime Palmer made a substantial save, the CVU bench roared its approval with a “yea, Palmer!”

Dee, Marston and Wells fired in three goals each while Gingras, Christian Goulette and Chandler Jacobson notched singletons.

Child Abuse Prevention Month creates awareness

April 14, 2011

By Steven Frank
Observer staff

The staff at Prevent Child Abuse Vermont planted “Pinwheels for Prevention” on April 1 on the Vermont State House lawn to commemorate Child Abuse Month. (Photo courtesy of Prevent Child Abuse Vermont)

April is about more than rain showers, melting snow, increasing mud, and the opening of the Major League Baseball season.

The fourth month on the calendar also signifies an issue that could hit close to home – child abuse prevention.

National Child Abuse Prevention Month has been taking place each April since 1983, and Vermont is doing its part not only this month but the entire year, too. The staff at Prevent Child Abuse Vermont, an organization that offers programs to educate and support parents, caregivers and youth about child raising, planted “Pinwheels for Prevention” on the Vermont State House lawn in Montpelier on April 1.

Williston Central School counselor Carol Bick, who has been at the school for 12 years, said Child Abuse Prevention Month is beneficial because it raises awareness on the topic.
“The more the people know; the better able they are to deal effectively with this issue,” she said.

At WCS, Bick said school counselors educate children on abuse prevention in guidance classes. The school has also had special programs presented to students and parents, such as Kids on the Block, a national program with a Vermont chapter that educates children through puppetry on many topics including child abuse.

A proactive approach also exists in Charlotte at its Central School.

“A major focus at Charlotte Central School is maintaining positive relationships with all families as children move through our pre-K to eighth grade program, said Diane Downer, CCS counselor for students between pre-K and fourth grade. “If a staff member has a concern about the safety or well being of a student, the concern is brought to the Child Protection Team for discussion.  The Child Protection Team is composed of an administrator, the school nurse and the school counselor.”

As school counselors, Bick and Downer are mandated reporters to the Vermont Department for Children and Families. That means they are required by state law to report suspected child abuse and neglect to the Family Services Division of DCF within 24 hours. Other mandated reporters include hospital and medical staff, members of law enforcement, and other school personnel, such as principals, superintendents, and teachers.

Vermont law defines an abused or neglected child as the following: “One whose physical health, psychological growth and development or welfare is harmed or is at substantial risk of harm by the acts or omissions of his or her parent or other person responsible for the child’s welfare. An abused or neglected child also means a child who is sexually abused or at substantial risk of sexual abuse by any person.”

The definition can be open to interpretation, particularly when the prospected abuse is non-physical. As a result, Downer said protocols for reporting suspected cases are reviewed with staff on an on-going basis, and Bick stressed that there is a large difference between reporting and investigating.

“It’s not the counselor’s job to judge whether the suspected abuse is worth reporting. It is up to the people at DCF to decide whether the report should be investigated,” Bick said.
Bick conducts an interview with the child once a suspected abuse issue is brought to her attention. These interviews now include another adult to serve as a witness.

“There have been cases when the child later denies what he or she said in this meeting. It’s important to have another person there to confirm the story,” Bick said. “I may or may not contact the parent depending on the circumstances. The social workers at DCF often want to be the first ones to contact the family.”

Prevent Child Abuse Vermont Executive Director Linda Johnson reported that child abuse cases were steadily declining in Vermont over a 20-year span – at a larger rate than the national average – but that the country’s economic struggles in recent years have caused it to resurge.

“The economy puts pressure on a lot of people,” Johnson said, “but the fact that we were declining for 20 years, and ahead of the nation, that gives us a lot to feel good about.”
To combat the current trend and perhaps lessen the need for future Child Abuse Prevention months, Johnson believes it’s important for people to be nicer to each other, and for families, neighbors, and friends to step up.

“It takes a village to raise a child. If there is a takeaway from this, it’s to get involved,” she said. “We need one another. We are a relational species. Children and parents need that relationship concept to thrive … you don’t want to raise victims. You need to make a safe, nurturing environment for your children.”

If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, call The Vermont Department for Children and Families at 1-800-649-5285 — 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Vermonter at Large

Iowa Maple syrup?

April 14, 2011

By Mal Boright

Ah, Iowa.

A recent motor trip to the midwest state revealed a state of warm, low-key, unhurried folks — friendly flatlanders.

No … friendly rollinglanders.

In traffic, Iowans are generally forgiving even of a green-plated Vermonter trying to find his way. They are much more peaceful than drivers in the northeast and Chittenden County, where slowing to find a street address results in horns blowing and single fingers raised in salute.

And since there are no laws in the Hawkeye State providing for regular inspections of automobiles, there are occasional specimens on the roads that are rougher forms of transportation than the obsolete hulks we in Vermont used to call jalopies or flivvers.
On the other hand, prices appear to be much lower in supermarkets and restaurants.
They even have what is considered the world’s greatest truck stop on Interstate-80 near the Illinois border, which is a world unto itself with movies, haircuts, showers, beds, calorie-loaded food of all kinds, Indian artifacts, unicorns and what not. Rumors abound of individuals disappearing for two or three days in the massive place.

In the midwest of dueling states of chatter, Chicagoans look at Iowans and crow about uneducated goobers with too many corn stalks to tend.

Iowans, on the other hand, see Chicagoans and their politics as a collection of slick, self-absorbed crooks and slime balls out to load up their offshore bank accounts at public expense.

It appears the Iowans got it about right.

Near the end of the Old Vermonter’s four-day visit to Ames, home of Iowa State University, came a news story that got serious attention. Iowa, the home of corn, soy and pork, is moving into the maple syrup department.

The story was on the front page of a section in the locally owned daily Ames Tribune.
“What be this?” questioned the Old Vermonter on seeing the headline.

It’s a rule of nature that in order to produce maple syrup, one had to extract sap from sugar maple trees – with trees being the operative word since they are limited to a few around farmhouses and barns across Iowa from Davenport to Des Moines and then north to Ames. The remainder of the land is open fields being readied for spring planting.

There was, however, an entirely different kind of tapping taking place. Republican political officeholders and seekers were in the caucus state trying to drum up fervor among the faithful.

Breakfast pancakes at the hotel in Ames came with a no-name plastic container of “syrup.”

“Do you know where this syrup came from?” the waitress was asked.

She disappeared into the kitchen for a moment.

“There is nothing about where it is from, but it is distributed in Atlanta,” she said upon her return.

That brought to mind images of moonshine and molasses as a way to jump start flapjacks when no authentic Vermont maple is available.

“A-ha,” came another thought. Those clever Iowa corn farmers have found a way to dampen pancakes without tapping trees that aren’t there. They have created ethanol syrup that will get the folks flapping while munching their jacks.

But apparently not.

A complete reading of the Ames Tribune piece revealed that there are indeed sugar maples on a northeastern Iowa nature reserve where a band of agricultural scientists among others had been tapping trees and making syrup.

Here’s hoping they make a lot of the sweet stuff.

Iowans deserve a fancy syrup to help those pancakes go down.

Mal Boright has been an editor, columnist and reporter for several Vermont newspapers. He is a correspondent for the Williston Observer and The Charlotte Citizen.