June 23, 2018

Life in Williston

Reality TV drama doesn’t compare

Sept. 29, 2011

By Karen Wyman


Every now and then, I enjoy the luxury of watching a television show of my own choosing. That means no NFL Network, no Golf Channel, no Nickelodeon and no Disney Channel!

When this opportunity presents itself, I find it increasingly difficult to come across something to watch other than “reality” shows. These “real life” depictions are usually high on glamour and low on morals. I can’t help but wonder if this is what life is truly like these days, and if so, is this outrageous drama actually happening right here in Williston?

I would like to know where my invitations to lavish Sweet 16 parties rivaling the Royal wedding and to toddler birthday parties featuring live performances by The Wiggles are? I also am never at a restaurant when glasses are thrown across tables and women are pulling out each other’s hair extensions.

Maybe I am just naïve, but I believe Williston’s drama is much more refined and subtle. Would our relatively laid-back lifestyles fascinate people in Beverly Hills, the way their high-profile and fast paced lives mesmerize some of us? Perhaps we should develop a “Real Housewives of Williston” to see how many people tune in!

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want a spin-off of “The Jersey Shore” to be filmed at Lake Iroquois. I just want to show the rest of the country what we already know: Williston residents are real and genuine. For those of you who watch reality shows, you know these qualities aren’t high on producers’ minds. We could be the only show in the series where cows outnumber plastic surgeons, our dogs only wear clothes because it’s freezing, and moms don’t wear sequin dresses to playdates. Our weather may be more conducive to UGGs than Jimmy Choos, and there’s no Nordstrom’s for miles, but we still have plenty of style. If desired, we could purchase online designer fashions and accessories portrayed on these shows.

However, others could never buy what our version would showcase: family values and a strong sense of community. Maybe we don’t host $10,000 a plate charity events, but we know other ways to unite and help our neighbors in need. If you think bake sales and bottle drives aren’t riveting enough for TV, just think of the gossip and drama that could ensue when someone brings store-bought cookies to a bake sale! Imagine the cameras rolling during the annual pancake breakfast at the Williston Fire Department. The food is delicious, and the number of people young and old that comes together to support those who risk everything for us is truly inspiring. We could also film some explosive footage after the event, when I yet again have to explain to my indignant girls that the fire station is not a restaurant.

I have been told by some of my non-Williston friends that Williston is stereotyped as a bunch of SUV-driving soccer moms who have cookie-cutter houses and lives. I am guilty of the first two, however, make no mistake — my house and life is more cookie-clutter. Speaking of drivers, though, let’s have a camera capture some of our beloved citizens trying to navigate the rotary in town. My goodness people, it’s just a yield.

But I digress. In today’s reality shows, it is apparently considered the norm to look 20 years younger than you actually are and to be 20 pounds underweight. Home Botox parties may be all the rage on the West Coast, but my friends and I still prefer a good old Pampered Chef party (please allow me to reassess this opinion in a few years when I turn 40).

It also seems these shows revere people for having the largest home, the most exclusive interior designer and the hottest exotic cars. Too many of these shows only focus on one end of the spectrum and, in turn, leave out a large part of reality. As adults, we can easily recognize that most of these shows are scripted, but to the impressionable younger crowd, this is a conflicting dose of reality. I don’t want my girls to grow up thinking this is what should be valued. I am so glad they are being raised in this community, where we value education, hard work and volunteerism. Williston is a little bit country, a little bit city and it represents many aspects of the spectrum in regards to finances, religion, education and experiences. It is this balanced demographic that helps paint an authentic picture of life.

I don’t want to be so enthralled with the petty competition and self-indulgent behavior so abundant on TV today. How refreshing it would be to watch motivating reality, like our tight-knit community supporting and encouraging its members to succeed. I am going to make a conscious effort to stop getting drawn into these ridiculous dramas during my precious, fleeting control of the remote.

No more reality television will enter my home…unless, of course, Super Nanny would like to pay my household a visit!


Karen Wyman has been a Williston resident for six years, and lives with her husband and twin 4-year-old daughters.

Letters to the Editor

Sept. 29, 2011


Chuck Wagon staff thanks community


We wanted to thank you for your generous support of the Williston Chuck Wagon. On your behalf we have collected and donated 660 pounds of food and $195 in cash to the Williston Community Food Shelf.

We would also like to thank our No. 1 volunteer, Mikayla Morin. We appreciate your generosity and warm welcome when we visit your neighborhood.

We’re glad we live in such a great community, and we’ll be knocking on your door soon.


Chris and Joe Castano

Williston Chuck Wagon

Guest column

Sept. 29, 2011


Stephen Mount (Courtesy photo)

Editor’s Note: The following thank you letter from the Mount family is in response to events since Williston resident Stephen Mount’s sudden passing on July 2, including a 5k run/ride that took place in his honor on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Steve will be remembered as a wonderful man, husband, father, son, brother and friend but he was truly so much more.  He embraced life with passion and compassion and I see him every day through our children. We plan to keep his memory alive and hope to continue to live our lives as he would want us to. We are going to make him proud!

As you can imagine, the last few months have been extremely difficult for our family, coworkers, friends and the Williston community. His tragic and sudden death (on July 2) still doesn’t seem real and our hearts are filled with a void that will never heal completely. We take comfort in knowing that he was doing what he loved. Our time together was all too brief and so this is a lesson to all of us to enjoy every moment in life; to love deeply, forgive freely, laugh often and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Steve and I would have celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary together on Aug. 4. We were supposed to grow old together but God had other plans for him. Stephen is our hero and will always be a winner in our hearts.

I felt compelled to write this letter to thank each of you for your overwhelming support throughout the last few months. It is a testament to Stephen of all the lives he touched without even knowing it. Our family is forever grateful for your generosity and love. There are so many to thank for the hundreds of cards, beautiful singing at his funeral service and burial, endless yummy meals from the meal train, financial donations to the Mount Family Education Trust, many bouquets of beautiful flowers, delicious fruit baskets, various gift cards, moving eulogies given by his siblings, weekly lawn mowing, getting rid of a huge bee’s nest at our house, staining our front porch, fixing various things around our home and countless messages of support.

A very special thank you to our brother-in-law, Nick, for the beautiful urns he crafted with love, and to Linda Poirier and Patty Pasley for organizing the memorial fun run. We couldn’t have gotten through these last few months without all of you.  We are beginning to put together the pieces to find a path of how we are going to rise stronger from this tragedy.  I do not know what that path is yet, or how to get there, but with time we will find a way. Stephen loved his family, friends, work, community, the Constitution and our country.

There have been several events held in his honor and in his memory, including the Stephen Mount Memorial 5k fun run/ride on Saturday, Sept. 24 to benefit students in Williston. Despite the weather, many of our friends, family and community members came to show their support and love for Stephen, and for the countless hours he dedicated to Williston and the Williston schools — a true tribute to the life he lived and a life well-lived. It was moving to watch all the finishers cross the finish line; smiling and hopefully remembering that he was a man who was so loved by many and will be missed by all who knew him. We hope that he will not be forgotten and that his great works will continue through the hands and hearts of each of us.

I wish I could respond personally to each message on Facebook, email, card and voice message but there are just too many. Please know you are each very special to us, and we are forever grateful for the outpouring of support you have shown our family.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

—Karen Mount, Brittany Mount, Jacob Mount, Ryan Mount and Samantha Ashline

PHOTOS: Chowder challenge

Observer photos by Karen Pike

Aaron Epworth, the executive chef at On Tap Bar and Grill in Essex Junction, won the top awards as both the people’s choice and judges’ choice at the first annual Williston Chowder Challenge on Sept. 18. The event raised close to $4,000 for the Williston Police Officers’ Association and Williston Community Food Shelf.

PHOTOS: Adams harvest festival

Observer photos by Adam White

The Adams Apple Orchard and Farm Market Fall Harvest Festival returned on Sept. 17 and 18 after a year off due to a low apple harvest. The Festival drew an estimated 10,000 people over the weekend.

PHOTOS: CVU football vs. Essex

Courtesy photos by Joe Kropf

The Champlain Valley Union football team routed Essex, 49-21, on Sept. 16. The Redhawks’ Nicky Ferrentino rushed for 231 yards and scored four touchdowns.

This week’s Popcorn

‘Contagion’ — spread the word

3 popcorns


Sept. 22, 2011

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer


Director Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion” incubated a dread in me months ago when coming attractions first warned of its inevitable breakout in theaters. So it’s good I was able to vaccinate myself against that preconception in just the nick of time. Otherwise I would have been prejudiced against what is certainly not your typical disaster movie.

To be sure, screenwriter Scott Z. Burns’s script employs the familiar template to tell its tale of unthinkable cataclysm, wherein the greater catastrophe is mostly told via smaller, personal tragedies the upheaval wreaks. But this variation on the theme is a cut above the usual, preferring an intelligent, responsible approach to the scary possibilities it details.

While not quite as scientifically astute as the medical detective tale Michael Crichton’s “The Andromeda Strain (1971)” wove, like that classic “Contagion” lets the inherent terror speak for itself. There’s no ramping up the horror for horror’s sake. If anything, Mr. Soderbergh’s stab at objectivity could almost be mistaken as curiously dispassionate.

Embodying the overall mood, Matt Damon is stellar as Mitch Emhoff, husband of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Beth Emhoff, who, researchers soon come to believe, brought the deadly disease to our shores after a business trip to Hong Kong. And lest matters seem too sterile, she brings a touch of soap opera morality and comeuppance to the scenario.

Count it among the many things Damon’s splendidly drawn everyman has to contend with as he tries to keep his daughter Jory (Anna Jacoby-Heron) and himself safe from the ever-spreading epidemic. Sharing lead player honors, Laurence Fishburne is also quite solid as Dr. Ellis Cheever, head of the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Ga.

Other major germ fighters introduced as the drama unfolds include Kate Winslet as field worker Dr. Erin Mears; Marion Cotillard as Dr. Leonora Orantes; and Jennifer Ehle as infectious disease researcher Dr. Ally Hextall. Less traditional in method and a nod to a contemporary twist in how crisis is sometimes addressed is Jude Law’s Alan Krumwiede.

Law is terrific as the quintessence of a character who has increasingly gained potentially dangerous influence in our society. Perched in the shadows of conventional journalism, he is the renegade blogger, the self-professed answer to all controversy who — through no talent other than his ability to win trust — has gained 12 million adherents.

Law’s nomination-worthy media gadfly provides thought-provoking interjection and a smart, novel patter to accompany the lickety-split pace as Soderbergh’s camera adroitly switches among the protagonists. Fine editing intersperses the doings with news reports establishing chronology, the progress of the disease and, alas, the number dead thus far.

Switching every so often to a documentary style chillingly reminiscent of Holocaust footage, a mostly black and white camera records soldiers in protective garb filling long mass graves, and covering them with a white powder. Newscasters flash the statistics. Scientists brief the military and make predictions based on the 1918 flu pandemic.

Long, unruly lines form for disbursement of forsythia, claimed a panacea by Krumwiede, who meets in secret with financial investors seeking input and advice. Also seen from an interestingly hush-hush point of view, Cheever and his band of medical experts scale the walls and jump through the hoops that just may stand in the way of a lifesaving vaccine.

Especially touching in this regard is the sidebar detailing the dedicated Dr. Hextall’s relationship with her physician father. But Mr. Soderbergh never dwells, trusting his divulgences to make their point. It is a dramatic savvy respectful of its audience: a word to the wise is sufficient. The question is, exactly what advice is he hoping to impart?

It’s not as if this were your usual cautionary tale with a definite remedy. After all, the scope of epidemic is just too big to fathom…seemingly impossible to prevent. And yet, small as we may seem, there is a flicker of optimism in the filmmaker’s pronouncements. Miss Winslet’s M.D. informs we touch our faces three to five times a minute. Gotta stop that!

And mom was right. Wash your hands for gosh sakes. This movie can put you in full Lady Macbeth mode. But that aside, and much to my surprise, “Contagion” is quite diverting. All of which ruins a closing line I had ready if it were the opposite. Hence, instead of recommending you avoid it like the plague, my advice is that you catch it.


“Contagion,” rated PG-13, is a Warner Bros. Pictures release directed by Steven Soderbergh and stars Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne and Gwyneth Paltrow. Running time: 105 minutes 


Sept. 22, 2011




Saturday: at U-32 Invitational (East Montpelier), time TBA



Friday: at Burlington, 4 p.m.

Saturday: COLCHESTER, 10 a.m.

Tuesday: at Colchester, 4 p.m.



Saturday: ST. JOHNSBURY, 1 p.m.



Saturday: MOUNT MANSFIELD, 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday: HARWOOD, 4:30 P.M.



Saturday: MOUNT MANSFIELD, 10 a.m.

Tuesday: at Colchester, 7 p.m.




Schedule subject to change

Sports Notes

Sept. 22, 2011


For those parents and other followers of Champlain Valley Union sports who haven’t been able to catch a game this fall, there will be a good opportunity on Saturday at the school’s annual “Spirit Day.”

All teams with the exception of cross country will be home, beginning with the girls soccer and field hockey teams with games starting at 10 a.m.

The boys soccer combine will take the field at 12:30 p.m. and the football squad will kick-off at 1.

“We have had this for more than 20 years,” said athletic director Kevin Riell. “Val Gardner (then principal) and I started it as a sort of homecoming but since that was before football, we named it ‘Spirit Day’”.

Riell noted that when the weather is good, the observance brings large turnouts to the athletic fields.



After taking care of business with a 2-0 victory over visiting Rice Memorial on Monday, the Champlain Valley Union girls soccer team entertained 2-1 Essex on Wednesday (after Observer press deadline). The teams will then end its three-game home stand Saturday morning (10 a.m.) when Mount Mansfield Union (2-2) comes to Hinesburg to kick off “Spirit Day.”

Coach Brad Parker’s youthful Redhawks took a 3-0-1 record and 11-1 edge in goals into the Essex contest.

It was junior midfielder Kate Raszka who took care of the offense in the win over Rice, scoring with just 40 seconds gone in the first half. She later scored in the second half.

“Kaelyn Kohlasch (sophomore) got the ball up to the corner, then it was crossed in front and we scored,” Raszka said of the first goal.

Her second score came after the ball took a couple of bounces in front of the Rice cage, following Kohlasch’s effective corner kick.

CVU outshot the Green Knights, 12-7. Redhawks goalie, senior Sarah Monteith, had seven saves — including one where she rolled out of the goal to snuff out a two-on-one charge by Rice’s Hailee Barron and Lindsey Swanson.

Rice keeper McKenna Hayes had 12 stops. She stopped a targeted header by Taylor Goldsborough early in the second half and Anne Spector’s point-blank burst in the first half.

CVU had the better of geographical play for most of the game.

On Sept. 15 at Milton, speed merchant Haliana Burhans’ second half score forced a 1-1 tie with the Blue Devils.

The Redhawks outshot Milton, 10-3. CVU goalie Bryn Philibert made a big stop in overtime on a direct kick.



With two ties and two losses in their first four games, coach Kate McDonald and her Champlain Valley Union field hockey unit are in game competition four times in seven days. The hectic slate began Wednesday (after Observer press deadline) with a home fixture against Middlebury.

The schedule then features a Friday trip to 0-3-1 Burlington and a “Spirit Day” tilt at home against 2-0-2 Colchester. The two teams tangle again in Colchester Tuesday.

On a weather-wise picture perfect Saturday morning (Sept. 17), the Redhawks got the first goal of the game but could make it stand in a 1-1 deadlock with visiting 1-1-2 Mount Abraham Union.

“Every time we play (MAU) it is a close, well-played game,” McDonald said of CVU’s Vermont 116 neighbors.

The coach agreed with the observation that for her Redhawks, the bad news was that they had trouble taking advantage of scoring opportunities but the good news was that there were several opportunities.

There was a little more than 14 minutes remaining in the first half when Sarah Reed, the Red Raider, moved the ball into position at Eagles’ netminder Lizzie Huizenga’s right side, and launched a shot into the cage. It was CVU’s second score of the season, both from Reed.

Huizenga kept the Redhawks from additional goals, making a total of 13 stops.

“They (MAU) have a really good goalie,” McDonald said after the game.

The Eagles knotted the contest approximately three minutes into the second half when Hailey Sayles knocked in a long pass from Nicky Shandrow.

CVU had a solid advantage in field position through the remainder of regulation and the 10-minute overtime, but Huizenga and fate maintained the tie.

On two occasions, the ball slowly and tantalizingly rolled in front of the Eagles’ goalmouth with the Redhawks unable to get stick to sphere. In overtime, Huizenga made a diving stop on CVU’s Kathryn Loucks at the MAU doorstep.

Co-captain Kathryn Maitland and Robin Powell were among Redhawks with standout defensive work. Goalie Evangeline Dunphy had two saves as CVU outshot the Eagles, 14-3.



The undefeated Champlain Valley Union girls’ cross country team hopes to stay that way Saturday in its scheduled event at U-32 in East Montpelier.

It was a close call on Sept. 17 when the girls edged runner-up Essex by a mere point (41-42) at the annual 20-team Burlington High Invitational.

Once again it was depth in the top 10 that was the CVU trump card. Taylor Spillane (third), Adrienne DeVita (fifth), Autumn Eastman (seventh) and Julienne DeVita (ninth) paced the Redhawks.

Markie Palermo led Essex with a second place finish to winner Elle Purrier of Richford.

CVU’s boys squad took seventh place in their division. Essex won the team competition.



The Williston Soccer Club, a parent-led non-profit organization and member of the Vermont Soccer League, will hold its registration day on Sept. 30 at Williston Central School from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Club doesn’t require players to try-out but requests their commitment to a more competitive level of play and accepts players from surrounding towns for its indoor season.

The Club offers a co-ed team for U8 players and boys and girls teams for U10, U12 and U14. A high school (U18) team will be formed if there is enough player interest and parent support. According to the Club, all teams receive equal instruction and support and will have a reasonable amount of playing time during competitive games.

Age brackets for the 2011-2012 seasons are:

U8 — players born between Aug. 1, 2003 and July 31, 2005

U10 — players born between Aug. 1, 2001 and July 31, 2003

U12 — players born between Aug. 1, 1999 and July 31, 2001

U14 — players born between Aug. 1, 1997 and July 31, 1999


The winter indoor season runs from early-November to April. The outdoor spring season lasts from mid-April to early-June.

Players can also register online at www.willistonsoccerclub.com.


—Mal Boright


CVU boys soccer perseveres

Injury-ridden club upends Essex, 1-0

Sept. 22, 2011

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With four starters out of action and other players with assorted bumps and bruises, the Champlain Valley Union boys soccer coach T.J. Mead declared Wednesday “regeneration day” in the wake of Tuesday’s thrilling 1-0 overtime road victory over rival Essex.

The 4-1 Redhawks had three days for some healing before their clash on Saturday’s “Spirit Day” at home against Mount Mansfield Union.

“The effort was there today,” Mead said of his team, which handed the 4-1-1 Hornets their first loss of the season on a goal with less than two minutes to go in overtime.

Todd Forrester set up the game winner with a well-placed corner kick after the CVU defense thwarted Essex’s offensive flurry.

“I wanted to get the ball into the area in the middle of the goal so someone big could hit it,” said Forrester.

That someone big was lean Roshi Brooklyn, who got his foot on the ball after a couple of bounces through a crowd of players and got it into the cage.

Until that point, Essex netminder Dan Palker was impregnable with nine earlier saves; including a diving, slap away deflection of a Forrester short-range blast with 18:05 left in regulation.

CVU had a solid edge in territorial play and some offensive frustration that included forward Shane Haley’s first-half shot clanking off an upright.

Brandon O’Connell was steady in the CVU cage with seven stops. Mead praised the work of midfielder-forward Bennett Hadley, who is usually a reserve but played all Parker Cornbrooks and Zackery Evans keyed a spirited CVU defense.