May 23, 2018

Places I’ve Played


July 21, 2011

By Bill Skiff

Do you know how hard it is to sit around waiting to be a grandfather? You can’t say anything because it is none of your business, but you sure want to.

When Ruth and I went home to visit, we started to find little crib size Afghans that my mother made. Dad’s poems began to talk about multi-generations of Vermont families, and the joy of passing on family traditions. I never got the message — until our children began to marry. Then I got it loud and clear.

I found myself in sporting goods stores looking at small bats and gloves, or finding dollhouse blueprints in arts and crafts books. I was ready, but no one else was. I used to ask myself, “What’s the matter with them?” I would think. Then I would just sit back and wait … and wait. Another Christmas went by with no opportunity to buy that electric train or build that dollhouse. I just sat, waited, and kept quiet.

Finally, a baby girl arrived. I was so proud. Another generation arrived. I pulled out the dollhouse I had made her mother, and refurbished it — just in time for Christmas. Last month, I attended her eighth-grade graduation. How did that happen?

Two boys later arrived and I was able to buy a couple of Red Ryder BB guns. I made a leather carrying case for one, complete with Indian graphics. I can once again spend summer days shooting tin cans and looking for big game. I have to work it in around soccer games, camps, play dates and work projects.

One grandson is tall enough now to look me in the eye. Where did that time go?

Then, two more girls arrived. What fun it was to build a dollhouse from those blue prints I purchased so long ago. Then I had my college roommate — who is an architect — design a schoolhouse. Even now, when they are playing softball, soccer, and taking horseback riding lessons, I see those houses tucked away in their rooms. How did they get from dollhouses to horses in such a short time?

For those of you waiting to be grandparents, I say, “Stay the course. It is worth it.” Try to control your impulses to leave Afghans around, or say things like, “What’s the matter with you?” It won’t work. Just be patient and with a little luck, it will happen. And your life will never be the same.

You can watch them grow up like you couldn’t with your own children because you were so busy. You can spend quality time with them passing on family stories and showing them tricks you learned. You can watch them play sports without being the coach, and they can come to your house and eat anything they want. I have one grandson who knows where everything edible is in our house.

I have to hide chocolate from my wife. One day some were missing and I asked her how she found them. She said she had not eaten them. When our grandson came down, she asked him, “Where does Papa keep his chocolates?” He replied, “Why do you ask?” Nice to have a grandson who watches your back!

When you are reading this, I will be in a cabin in Alaska crawling around the floor with my newest granddaughter. I haven’t seen her since she was one-week old. She is now nine-months-old. Where did that time go?

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

Not a tiger

July 21, 2011

By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

Note to readers: I was travelling when I learned of the passing of fellow columnist Steve Mount. I will miss Steve’s insightful writing. More importantly, I will miss his unfailing friendliness and hard work to enhance the educational experience of Williston’s school children.

Amy Chua’s book, “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011)”, reminds me how varied, interesting and — in some cases — extreme parenting styles can be. Chua, a first generation Chinese-American and Yale law professor, imposes ultra-high achievement expectations on her daughters. She’s raising them in what she calls, “the Chinese way.” Although, I imagine, some Chinese might disagree.

Chua’s teenage daughter’s, Luisa and Sophia, are high-achievers. Their mother meticulously engineers their educational, extracurricular and social involvements, arriving at a sort of manufactured prodigiousness. Activities are weighed, judged and meticulously calibrated, to maximize college acceptance potential.

Chua details in her book how Luisa and Sophia are prohibited from engaging in play dates, sleepovers, school plays and computer games. They are not allowed to bring home a grade less than an A. They may play only pre-approved instruments — piano or violin. They must practice three hours a day.  They must practice while on family vacations.

This Doctrine of Chua leaves me with a feeling of unease. Parents imposing a pre-scripted life path leave little room for children to make mistakes and learn from them. They deny them the opportunity to seek and find their true passions. I worry about the emotional anguish kids experience when parents establish unreasonably high expectations. I suspect emotional intelligence and social skills are compromised when young people are burdened with bone-crushing “academic” requirements. Thinking “for” our children, choreographing their every step, denies them the opportunity to develop skills to think for themselves.

When I was in high school, I was friendly with both the Valedictorian and the Salutatorian of my graduating class. Suzanne, the Valedictorian, studied hard, participated in music and cheerleading activities, and had many friends. Julie, the Salutatorian, studied all the time (even through lunch). She limited her activities to make room for one thing: studying. Which of the two was actually “smarter?” I think it was Suzanne; she used her time more wisely.

Applying oneself academically is important. Earning straight A’s is not necessarily a ticket to success. Intellectual curiosity and a willingness to learn for the sake of learning, I believe, lead us to finding our passions. Pursuing that which we love, and earning a living while doing it, seems a recipe for success…and happiness.

Luisa and Sophia should be commended for their achievements. That said, I wonder what price they pay — emotional and otherwise — for their mother’s micromanagement of their lives. Chua hovers, in true helicopter parenting fashion, directing her daughters’ movements.

Where do autonomy, thinking on one’s feet and defining one’s path fall into this equation? How can young people learn to think for themselves when all the thinking is done for them? How can they learn from mistakes if “less than perfect” is not an option? What of desperation among youths pushed to the brink by expectations that squeeze out activities and experiences that may bring true joy?

While I may not agree with Chua’s parenting style, I acknowledge her right to do so. I think modeling self-actualization — living life with passion, setting and working towards our own personal goals — sends the most powerful message of empowerment to our children. Forcing them to play an instrument or load up on AP courses does not.

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


Shoulder replacement surgeries operate as beneficial option

July 21, 2011

By Phyl Newbeck
Observer correspondent

Ray Verville of Burlington stretches. (Courtesy photo)

“I love talking about my shoulders,” said Raymond Verville of Burlington.

That wasn’t always the case. Verville had pain in his shoulders for years, but thought he was too old for surgery. Finally, unhappy about not being able to do things like dry his back after a shower, he went to see Dr. John Macy. In December of 2009, at age 78, he underwent shoulder replacement surgery.

“Five days later, I was feeling so good I was crying,” he said. “I went back six weeks later to get the second one done. I never had the slightest bit of pain from the procedure.”

Verville underwent four months of physical therapy which he supplemented by working out at home.

“I keep thinking it’s a miracle,” said Verville. “I felt so good … that I just had heart surgery. Now that I’ve got two good shoulders I wanted to make sure my ticker would work.”

Macy is an orthopedic surgeon based in South Burlington whose specialty is shoulder and elbow problems. While shoulder problems can come in many varieties, Macy said the most common are those involving the rotator cuff. There are three stages of rotator cuff disease: early stage, which is inflammation, tendonitis or bursitis; middle stage in which the tendon is partially torn; and late stage which is characterized by a full rotator cuff tear. Each stage can be symptomatic or asymptomatic and not every tear needs to be repaired. Ideally, treatment for rotator cuff injuries is non-operative, requiring activity modification, anti-inflammatories and physical therapy to regain a full range of motion. If that doesn’t work, it’s best to have surgery as early as possible because tears can get worse over time and smaller tears are easier to repair. The earlier the surgery is conducted, the less the chance the tear will reopen.

Macy said rotator cuff injuries can’t necessarily be prevented because some occur due to intrinsic tendon disease, which is genetic. External factors can include exposure to overhead activities such as swimming, tennis or throwing. Macy said studies have shown that 30 to 50 percent of those over the age of 50 have partial or full rotator cuff tears.

“It’s a very high incidence,” he said “but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are all symptomatic. We treat those who are symptomatic because that causes disability, dysfunction, weakness and pain.”

Recovery from rotator cuff surgery usually requires a patient to be immobilized for four to six weeks. Physical therapy is initiated after a week and can last for two to three months. A full recovery may take six to nine months.

“I tell all my patients,” said Macy, “that rotator cuff surgery is the longest rehab process and can take up to a year for a full recovery, but most patients are doing well after three months.”

Another frequent shoulder problem is arthritis, although it is significantly less common than knee or hip arthritis. Like rotator cuff injuries, arthritic shoulders can be treated non-operatively with activity modification, anti-inflammatories and physical therapy. Macy said the importance of physical therapy cannot be overstated.

“If you have knee or hip surgery, you can walk afterwards,” he said, “but you don’t use your shoulder or arm as much, particularly if it hurts. We need to almost force people to use the joint, and that requires therapy.”

Brynn Kusiak, a physical therapist at the Edge in Williston, works with patients with shoulder injuries. For those who have not had surgery, Kusiak said it is important to learn how long they have had pain, what positions make them feel better and what makes them feel worse. An important consideration is posture, which Kusiak described as a major aspect of muscle pain. Symptoms can be treated with heat, ice, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and progressive exercise including stretching and strengthening programs. Patients are encouraged to develop a home exercise regime, too.

Post-operative rehab programs are very similar. Kusiak said it is important to have “early movement” after surgery, even if it is just passive motion that a patient does at home.

“We try to help them manage,” she said. “We try to get them exercising within their comfort range and sometimes we help them stretch beyond what they think they can do.”

Kusiak noted that the shoulder is unique because use of it “involves the coordinated movements of the ball and socket joint, shoulder blade, collar-bone, and the joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles that connect through the whole region.” For this reason, shoulder rehabilitation is a longer, more complex and challenging process than what’s required for many other types of injuries.

Although roughly 600,000 knee and hip replacements are performed by doctors annually, the number of shoulder replacements is much lower – 30,000 to 40,000. While most orthopedic surgeons perform no more than two to four shoulder replacements annually, Macy does close to 100. He describes the operation as quicker and easier than rotator cuff surgery. Full recovery may take nine months to a year, but most patients spend three weeks in a sling. Within three months after the operation, they can do most of their regular activities. Macy said more than 90 percent of rotator cuff and shoulder replacement surgeries are successful in the short and long-term.

Kusiak believes the increasing level of activity in older people is leading to more shoulder injuries.

“Shoulders are very vulnerable,” she said.

It may take longer for an older person to heal, but the rehab regimen should not be appreciably different than a younger person. Among the sports which can create the most shoulder problems are baseball, golf, sailing, swimming and tennis.  Kusiak noted that both kayakers and canoers are susceptible to shoulder injuries, but flat water kayakers can return to form faster than canoers because they don’t reach as high.

“People should prepare for sports ahead of time,” said Kusiak. “There should be a combination of stretching, strengthening, and awareness of posture, as well as some sport-specific exercises. Two to three times a week everyone should do something to maintain their strength to avoid injury.”

Kusiak cautions older athletes to ease into their athletic endeavors.

“You need to gradually work into things,” she said, “and make sure to warm up before and cool down afterwards.”

British Mania invades Williston

Crowd packs Maple Tree Place to see Beatles tribute band

July 21, 2011

By Adam White
Observer staff

Beatles tribute band British Mania performed before a quadruple-digit crowd at Maple Tree Place on July 14 as part of the Groovin’ on the Green concert series. From left to right: Jim Miller as Paul McCartney, John Perry as George Harrison and AJ DeFeo as Ringo Starr sport the matching black suits worn by the Beatles during their renowned 1964 appearance on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show.’

The time machine cranked to life, and Ron Finney got back to where he once belonged — 46 years ago and 2,500 miles across the country.

“I saw the Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl in 1965,” said the Williston resident. “And if you close your eyes, this takes you right back.”

Finney’s ride through time and space came courtesy of British Mania, a Beatles tribute band from New Jersey that took the Groovin’ on the Green series at Maple Tree Place to new heights on July 14. The crowd was estimated at between 1,500 and 2,000 people, easily the largest turnout in the series’ four-year history.

Seven-year-old Peyton Jones of Williston dances in front of the stage during the concert. (Observer photos by Adam White)

“I’m so excited that we were able to give this back to the community, and everyone is really enjoying it,” said Karen Sidney-Plummer, general manager at Maple Tree Place. “These guys are really great.”

The four members of British Mania didn’t just cover the Beatles’ music — they used a series of mid-show costume changes to recapture iconic moments from the band’s career. They first took the stage in the black suits worn by the Beatles during their 1964 “Ed Sullivan Show” appearance that catapulted them to U.S. stardom.

Bass player and vocalist Jim Miller — who portrays Paul McCartney in the group — said that he witnessed that landmark moment in music history on television as a child at home in Baltimore, Md.

“I was a little tot, but I remember it well,” Miller said, adding that the members of British Mania have studied “every bit of video of (the Beatles) there is on the Internet, DVD and even 16-millimeter film.”

All that research has paid off, according to witnesses of the original band’s act.

“They have a lot of the little quirks down,” Finney said. “George (Harrison) was always pushing his guitar, Paul (McCartney) would shake his head a certain way and John (Lennon) had this stance, with his legs apart like he was riding a horse.”

British Mania’s first set break saw them retake the stage in the matching brown, military uniform-style outfits worn by the Beatles at their renowned Shea Stadium concert in 1965. Their final costume change saw them inject some of the individual style of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” and “Let It Be” era. Miller’s McCartney donned a maroon velvet jacket and Jon Ferris — who founded British Mania in 2003 — portrayed Lennon in a white suit with matching slip-on sneakers and his signature round eyeglasses.

Ferris said that British Mania’s set list varies greatly throughout the roughly 40 shows the band plays per year. The Maple Tree Place concert featured a slew of the Beatles’ No. 1 hits (including “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Ticket to Ride”) as well as lesser-known songs like “She Said, She Said” off the album “Revolver.” Several selections struck a chord with the sizable group of children dancing in front of the stage; four-year-old Madie Halvorsen of Essex jumped for joy at the opening refrain to “Help!” — which she said was her favorite Beatles song. Seven-year-old Abigail Willis of Williston had her request for “Yellow Submarine” granted to obvious delight.

The band injected some humor into its act along the way. The song “Nowhere Man” was played in honor of Charlie Sheen, and Miller dedicated “Let It Be” to “the fifth Beatle, Clarence” — a reference to a 1983 Saturday Night Live sketch starring Eddie Murphy.

But the primary focus remained on the music. Though originally slated to end at 8:30 p.m., the show didn’t stop until just after 9 p.m. — when the last sing-along chorus of “Hey Jude” finally subsided. By that time the dancing crowd in front of the stage had swelled considerably, and included a half-dozen uniformed members of the Williston Little League All-Star team that had just finished a playoff game against South Burlington.

“We lost, 6-5, but we’re still moving on to the tournament — so that’s what we’re celebrating,” said one of the players, Joe Warren.

Ferris thanked the crowd and expressed the band’s desire to return to the venue next summer, and Sidney-Plummer said she was definitely thinking along the same lines after the unprecedented success of the show.

“We’d love to have them back again,” Sidney-Plummer said. “I think (the concert series) is headed in the right direction.”

A tale of two developments

Parallel projects showcase Williston’s multiple personalities

July 21, 2011

By Adam White
Observer staff

A pair of mixed-use projects being developed in different sections of Williston illustrate the different goals and challenges necessary to protect the historical integrity of the village while fostering growth at Taft Corners. The Hamlet off Zephyr Lane is aimed at providing much-needed rental properties among its other residential and commercial units.

Planning and managing development in Williston is a balancing act. Throughout all the applications, reviews and permits, the town seeks to simultaneously promote growth for the future and protect the tradition and history of the past.

A pair of mixed-use projects being developed simultaneously in distinctly different areas of town illustrates this dual responsibility. Infill Realty Advisors’ project at 8031 Williston Rd. involves the reconfiguration of multiple dwelling units within a historic property in Williston’s village, while Milot Real Estate’s development, The Hamlet, aims to bring much-needed rental opportunities to the thriving Taft Corners growth center.

The Lambert Lane project seeks to reconfigure multiple units of housing in an historic village house (right) into separate dwellings on the back portion of the same property. (Observer photos by Adam White)

“Managing development in Williston is both challenging and exciting,” town planner Ken Belliveau said. “The town is trying to protect its heritage, working landscape and countryside, while dealing with some pretty strong growth pressure. You can’t just stop it, or will it to go away — you have to manage it.”

Center of attention

“There is no rental property in Williston,” said Brett Grabowski.

The owner and driving force behind The Hamlet, Grabowski has already struck gold with the numerous dwelling and business units within the development off Zephyr Lane. His project cleared another hurdle earlier this month, when it gained Development Review Board approval to consolidate several proposed individual dwelling units into a three-story, mixed-use building located near the southwest corner of the property.

The reconfiguration would accomplish several logistical goals, including the creation of additional rental units within the development. According to the Vermont Housing Authority, the rental vacancy rate in Chittenden County currently stands at two percent — and developers recognize this as a golden opportunity.

“(Grabowksi) is looking at that two-percent vacancy rate and saying, ‘here is the demand — let’s go build the supply,’” Belliveau said.

The newly reconfigured building at The Hamlet will reportedly contain a dozen rental apartments, and a pair of approved developments on either side of U.S. 2 in Williston — Finney Crossing and Cottonwood — could conceivably add hundreds more.

“The first building proposed for Finney Crossing is a 40-unit, multi-story building,” Belliveau said. “It’s highly unlikely those will be anything but rentals.”

But the creation of a multi-story apartment building would only be allowed in the town’s growth center, a restriction decried by proponents of similar projects elsewhere as overly prohibitive. Belliveau maintains that the creation of rental properties is in no way prohibited in other parts of town — it just has to fit within a more rigid zoning framework.

“There are apartments in the village,” Belliveau said. “There are duplexes in places like Maple Street, and our bylaws allow anybody with a single-family housing unit to incorporate an accessory apartment — some people call it a mother-in-law or au pair apartment — into the unit. And in the village, you can build to a maximum size greater than other districts. If you have a big garage or barn with a loft, you can turn that into an apartment.”

But size is relative, and nowhere do the buildings come bigger than in Taft Corners. The Hamlet’s three-story building at the center of the DRB’s reconfiguration approval sports a footprint of 4,500 square feet, according to Grabowski. The overall plan for The Hamlet boasts more than 80 units of commercial and residential space among its 60 buildings, which include 47 single-family homes and five duplexes.

The development lies within easy walking distance of many of Williston’s prime shopping, restaurant and entertainment attractions, which Belliveau said is one of the keys to the town’s vision for the growth center. He said studies have shown that most people will typically walk up to a quarter-mile for amenities, and will use automobiles to reach anything beyond that radius.

“What Taft Corners is all about is the future of Williston, what’s to come,” Belliveau said.

It takes a village

Bill Niquette’s company, Infill Realty Advisors, specializes in adaptive reuse projects that breathe new life into existing properties. He first became involved in the project at 8031 Williston Rd. — at the corner of Lambert Lane, near the heart of the town’s village — approximately 18 months ago.

He has since made the decision to make the town home for himself and his family, and has gained some deeper perspective on its philosophies about zoning, growth management and development.

“It’s a very unique situation, but I think it works pretty well,” Niquette said. “It is certainly not the norm to see a town’s most developed part targeted for its lowest density. But it makes sense to me to designate an alternative area for high growth.”

Niquette’s introduction to that trend came when his proposal to move their existing dwelling units out of a historic home on Williston Rd., and recreate them as separate units on the same property while converting the house into commercial space.

Belliveau said that current zoning bylaw allows two dwelling units per acre, and that the 1.1-acre lot in question was in legal non-conformity as configured. But the planning department determined that Infill’s plan constituted an intensification of use, and thus the developers were required to reduce the number of new, individual housing units on the property from three to two.

“What we have now is quite different from what we had originally, but it’s still a good plan,” Niquette said. “I think that’s a sign that the process works. By nature, these types of developments tend to evolve into an ongoing conversation — and I think it’s possible for reasonable people to disagree about what’s appropriate for a site, and work through it.”

But whereas a project in the growth center typically impacts other abutting businesses or developments, Infill’s endeavor encountered some fierce resistance from neighboring property owners on Lambert Lane during a public meeting early in the process.

“I have never heard anything like the kinds of things being expressed at that meeting,” Belliveau said. “Some of them were just outrageous. At one point, someone was complaining that the residents of the new dwelling units ‘might have family gatherings there.’ I’d never heard that expressed as a zoning nightmare before.”

Access issues were also hammered out between the developers and the town; the original plan called for a dead-end cottage cluster accessed directly from Williston Rd., but Belliveau and company suggested moving the entrance to Lambert Lane.

Other residents of Lambert Lane objected, but a bit of research revealed it to be a private road that was in no way deeded to those residents — so Niquette bought it.

Infill will go before the DRB on July 26 to seek its discretionary permit for the project. The project, as currently configured, would produce approximately 3,000 square feet of office space within the existing house — which Belliveau said illustrates the allure of developing within the village, despite its limitations.

“The village gives, and the village takes away,” Belliveau said. “You’re subject to design review that you wouldn’t be (in) other districts, and you have material requirements such as no vinyl siding and true divided-light, wood windows. But you also have a wider array of non-residential uses allowed. It cuts both ways.

He added: “The (regulations) are there to protect essential characteristics of the village that came about over time, and are important to preserve. The village is about the history of the town — its roots.”

Oneida Acres hosting garage sale to benefit accident victim

July 21, 2011

By Luke Baynes
Observer correspondent

Attention bargain hunters and garage sale buffs: get ready to break open your piggy banks because Saturday is going to be a big one.

Oneida Acres is hosting a community garage sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The community, whose streets form a rough circle, is accessible from Sharon Drive off Vermont 2A or Gail Terrace off Industrial Avenue.

Proceeds from the sale will benefit Stephen St. Peter, the 49-year-old son of Oneida Acres residents Paul and Evelyn St. Peter, who was paralyzed from the shoulders down following a swimming accident last summer.

“They’ve always been the type of neighbors that are there for everybody,” Fran Henning said of the reason why the community decided to band together to help the St. Peters. “They’re just beautiful people.”

So far, 14 families have indicated that they will participate in the sale, which will include furniture, sports memorabilia, toys and tools. It will be left to each family’s discretion how much of the individual proceeds they will donate to the St. Peter family.

“I tend to like to do garage sales as a hobby on Saturday mornings,” said neighborhood resident Anne Robillard, who will be donating all of her sales proceeds to the St. Peters. “I went to several in the Williston area and I mentioned that we were going to do this Williston benefit and asked if they would donate their leftovers to us, so I have a garage full of leftovers now to be able to sell at the garage sale.”

The sale is timely, coming a day before the one-year anniversary of Stephen St. Peter’s tragic accident. Evelyn St. Peter, who has lived in Oneida Acres since 1965, noted that while her son is coping surprisingly well with the adversity of being a quadriplegic, the sale will provide much needed financial relief.

“The first year or two you’re just bombarded with expenses that insurance doesn’t cover,” she said. “We have a really nice neighborhood over here. They are very, very nice people. I am so glad I live in this neighborhood.”

Unbeknownst to Henning when she set the date for the sale, July 23 will mark the 56th wedding anniversary of Paul and Evelyn St. Peter. The couple can’t think of a better way to spend their special day.

“Usually we spend the day and go somewhere,” said Evelyn St. Peter of her wedding anniversary. “But we’re more than happy to stay home.”

Those who wish to make a contribution to the trust fund established for Stephen St. Peter can send a check to Paul and Evelyn St. Peter at 72 Gail Terrace, Williston, Vt. 05495. Checks should be made payable to “Stephen St. Peter” and indicate “For deposit only” on the back of the check.

Town Plan reaches 11th hour

July 21, 2011

By Adam White
Observer staff

The final public hearing on the 2011 Comprehensive Plan for the town of Williston will take place at the Selectboard’s regularly scheduled meeting on July 25.

The Board will have the option, immediately following the hearing, to formally approve the plan.

The town’s Planning Commission spent close to three hours making 11th-hour adjustments to the plan at its meeting on Tuesday, and will submit a finalized draft to the Selectboard. Subsequent approval would cap a process that began roughly two years ago, when town planners began compiling a growth report that largely shaped the scope of the 2011 Plan.

“The Town Plan is a long-range vision for Williston, that’s been carefully considered and vetted by the public,” said Matt Boulanger, senior planner for the town. “Williston uses its Town Plan all the time. It becomes a foundation; you’re always asking yourself, with every issue that comes up, whether it is consistent with the Town Plan.”

The Town Plan is updated every five years. The July 25 hearing will be the second of two required opportunities for the public to give its input on the Plan. The entire process began with a pair of public kick-off meetings, in which issues ranging from traffic to residential subdivision were discussed.

“We had a facilitator come in, and invited the public to engage in a very open-ended discussion about what people saw happening, and what they want to happen, in Williston,” Boulanger said.

Another part of the early process was to gauge the progress made on the objectives laid out in the 2006 Plan. Williston town planner Ken Belliveau keeps a color-coded spreadsheet on the wall in his office that categorizes which objectives have been completed, as well as other projects that are in progress or have yet to be undertaken.

“The Town Plan is a policy document as much as anything,” Belliveau said. “Here’s where we are, here’s where we want to go, and here’s what we need to do to get there.”

Belliveau’s progress chart contains plenty of green and yellow lines, which indicate completion or progress on objectives within the ’06 Plan. Boulanger said one of the primary goals accomplished was the implementation of a new, unified development bylaw that addresses a number of issues highlighted within the Plan.

Not surprisingly, the bulk of the exceptions to that pattern of progress have stalled due to funding — a consideration that is mapped out, along with the objectives, in every Town Plan.

“You at least try to identify some kind of cost source,” Boulanger said.

Refining the previous Plan’s language to reflect changes in the town’s developmental landscape over the past five years proved to be a significant task. A rewrite of a two-paragraph section pertaining to the connection between the Circumferential Highway project and potential Chittenden Solid Waste District regional landfill resulted in more than an hour of deliberation by Planning Commission members.

“Town support for the landfill needs to be predicated on the improvements necessary to provide proper access to the site,” Commission member Kevin Batson said. “We’re being irresponsible as a Planning Commission if we don’t put that in there.”

Throughout their reworking of the Plan’s language, Commission members made repeated references to prior comments made about issues by members of the Selectboard — and the need for the town’s governing entities to share a unified philosophy in the town’s best interests.

Belliveau commended the Board for its extensive involvement in the drafting of the Town Plan, saying that in other places he has worked, the task is left almost entirely up to staff — and “the town officials adopting it haven’t even read it.”

“Our Selectboard goes through the Plan chapter-by-chapter,” Belliveau said. “I think that’s a manifestation of how seriously they take it.”

Such a fine-toothed-comb approach does far more than add extra sets of eyes to catch typographical errors, according to Boulanger.

“There is so much benefit to that, because your elected (officials), when you go back and interact with them over the next five years, have a recollection of the Town Plan and what’s in it,” Boulanger said.


July 21, 2011

Diane M. Handy

Diane M. Handy, 51, passed away unexpectedly due to a heart attack on Tuesday, July 12, 2011. She was born Feb. 3, 1960, to Rosalie Fontaine and Hollis Pudvah. She graduated from BHS in 1978. Diane was a selfless person who always put everyone else first. She was known to many as “mom.” She loved spending time with her family, golfing, playing bingo, gambling and visiting the ocean. She dedicated her time to caring for her family, especially her mother, Rose, stepfather, Andre, and granddaughter, Evelyn. Diane recently began taking guitar lessons in honor of her late son, Michael (Mikey). Diane is survived by her daughter, Angela Noonan and her husband, Shaun; her son, Christopher Handy; life partner of 31 years, Ricky Handy; granddaughter, Evelyn Noonan; mother, Rosalie Fontaine; sisters, Deb Cahill and Darlene Pudvah; and many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and dear friends whom she loved so much. She was predeceased by her son, Michael Handy in 2009; father, Hollis Pudvah in 1990; stepfather, Andre Fontaine in 2009; and her brother, Richard Pudvah in 1995. Funeral services were held on Saturday, July 16, 2011, 1 p.m., at the LaVigne Funeral Home, 132 Main Street, Winooski. Interment followed at Resurrection Park Cemetery. Visiting hours were held that day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Diane loved her granddaughter, Evelyn, very much. Therefore, in lieu of flowers, we request gifts to be made in Diane’s memory to the Evelyn Noonan Education Fund, P.O. Box 3105, Burlington, Vt. 05408-3105.

John Paul Gill Jr.

John Paul Gill Jr., 53, died Monday, July 11, 2011, in the Fletcher Allen Medical Center in Burlington. He was born in Lansdale, Pa. on Feb. 8, 1958, the son of John and Mary (Moore) Gill. He was a graduate of North Penn High School and later earned an Associate Degree from Vincennes University. He had been married to Susan Laneuville. He later married Lisa Ann (Dustin) Pettrey at the Norwich University Chapel at Norwich University in Northfield on July 23, 2005. John was a career military and veteran of the United States Global War on Terrorism, having served two deployments as an Army Paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne. He earned many ribbons, badges and citations for his distinguished service here and abroad. He had worked many years, both full time and part time, during his military career for Advanced Auto Parts in South Burlington. He was a member of the Vermont Army National Guard, American Legion Post 63 in Northfield and Veterans of Foreign Wars in Essex. John enjoyed history, working on cars with his many friends and spending time with his family. Survivors include his wife, Lisa Pettrey-Gill of Williston; his daughter, Elizabeth Gill of Grass Valley, Calif.; stepdaughter, Krista Pettrey of Northfield; stepgrandson, Logan Martin of Northfield; and siblings, Diana and Vance. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his stepdaughter, Jessica Pettrey. There were no calling hours. A memorial service was conducted Thursday, July 14, 2011, at noon, at the Norwich University’s White Chapel in Northfield. Burial followed the service in the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Randolph Center, where full military honors will be accorded. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the VT National Guard Charitable Foundation, P.O. Box 683, Essex Junction, Vt. 05453.

Rose Katherine Dolson

Rose Katherine Dolson, 85, of Williston, died peacefully on Sunday, July 17, 2011, in Pillsbury Manor North in South Burlington. She was born in Walpole, N.H. on Aug. 18, 1925, the daughter of Hugh and Katherine (Ryan) Sullivan. Katherine graduated from the University of Vermont and was a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority. She had been employed by the U.S. Government for many years in Japan, Germany, Korea, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. She also worked as an Affirmative Action coordinator for Faculty at Boston University, retiring in 2004. Katherine is survived by a son, Michael Holt Dolson and his wife, Lori, of Burlington; a daughter, Kate Lovering and her husband, Dave, of Old Town, Maine; grandchildren, Shannon, Phillip, Nicholas Dolson, and Jessica Lovering; brothers and sisters, Mary Ellen McMahon, James and Sarah Sullivan, Peggy and Larry Larrow, Eleanor Sullivan and Paul and Jan Sullivan; and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by a son, Charles; her parents; a brother, Hugh Sullivan; brother-in-law, Loring McMahon; and niece, Joanne Buckles. A memorial mass will be held at a later date at the convenience of her family. There will be no visiting hours. Assisting her family is the Ready Funeral and Cremation Service, Burlington. To send online condolences to her family, please visit Donations in her name may be made to Dorothy Alling Memorial Library, 21 Library Lane, Williston, Vt. 05495.


Everyday Gourmet

Squash throw down

July 21, 2011

By Kim Dannies

I saw a photo of the most beautiful summer squash salad in the June 2011 issue of Bon Appetit. I also saw a very similar recipe in April’s Food & Wine. So I thought, “Heck, this must be a pretty good idea.” It is! This salad is so easy and spectacular that you’ll have no problem using up excess zucchini and yellow squash this summer. Since I don’t follow recipes well — and I love both magazines — I made a composite of the two recipes. This is a great 24-hour do-ahead party dish. It also morphs into a crowd-pleasing main course. On a plain white platter, this salad stunner looks and tastes like summer personified.

Shaved summer squash salad

Choose 6 firm zucchini and yellow squash each. Gently wash the veggies and dry with paper towel. Cut tip and ends off each squash. With a vegetable peeler shave each squash lengthwise, turning it as you go to capture a bit of color on each slice. Peel until you get to the seed level and then discard the stalk. Place the squash ribbons in a flat-bottomed marinade dish.

In a small processor combine 2 to 3 garlic cloves and the zest of one lemon and mince well. Add 3/4 cup of fresh lemon juice. With the motor running, drizzle in ½ cup of olive oil. Blend well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the squash, coating well. Seal and marinate up to 24 hours.

To serve, line a plain platter with a handful of fresh micro-greens. With clean hands gently heap the squash onto the platter. Add ribbon-cut fresh mint and a handful of shelled pistachio nuts. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and add a twist of fresh pepper. Optional: with the vegetable peeler, carve some fresh Parmesan cheese curls and sprinkle over the salad. Serves 8 to 10.

Zucchini linguini

Cook up a pound of linguini and drain. Double the dressing recipe. Combine with the shaved squash and top with fresh Parmesan curls, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper. Serves 8 to 10.

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


PHOTOS: Williston Little League — 11- and 12-year-old all-stars

July 21, 2011

Photos courtesy of Tim O’Brien

The Williston 11- and 12-year-old Little League All-Stars were eliminated from the District I tournament in Burlington on July 17. Facing a must-win contest against Burlington American, the Willistonians lost, 8-7. Williston finished tournament play with a 6-2 record.