February 12, 2016

On Tap’s chowder triumphs in Challenge

Sept. 22, 2011

By Adam White

Observer staff

Aaron Epworth, executive chef at On Tap Bar and Grill in Essex Junction, serves samples of his seafood chowder during the first annual Williston Chowder Challenge on Sept. 18. (Observer photo by Adam White)

Even as the nation grapples with a bear market, the right stock sent Aaron Epworth soaring to a double victory in the first annual Williston Chowder Challenge on Sept. 18.

Epworth, the executive chef at On Tap Bar and Grill in Essex Junction, used a complex fish stock made with clams, lobster, shrimp, crab, scallops and mussels as the base for his seafood chowder, which won the top awards as both the people’s choice and judges’ choice at the benefit event for the Williston Police Officers’ Association and Williston Community Food Shelf.

“All that seafood made a really good stock,” Epworth said. “I also used sherry, shallots and a lot of fresh thyme.”

Chunks of shellfish and lobster could be found throughout the final product, and deep-fried leeks sprinkled on top provided the finishing touch to the hands-down champion among the 13 chowders being judged.

“We’ve been getting a lot of compliments,” Epworth said. “Everyone seems to love it.”

The event raised close to $4,000 for the two charities, according to organizer Travis Trybulski. Other than a problem with an electricity source at the Village Green site that was overcome thanks to power generators from the Fire Department, the inaugural Challenge went off without a hitch.

“You never know what to expect in the first year, but I’ve heard nothing but good things,” Trybulski said.

Not too seriously, however: Shawn Beede, head chef at Monty’s Old Brick Tavern, sported costume dog ears on his cap and boasted that his “dog chowder” included such ingredients as beef bones and dog biscuits.

His actual entry, “poor man’s chowder,” featured chunks of monkfish floating in a broth that originated from cornhusks soaked in milk. Old Bay seasoning and a cinnamon stick added some extra zip and zest.

“I’m really happy with how it turned out,” Beede said. “The whole (event) seems like a huge success.”

Second and third places in the judges’ competition went to Essex eateries Cody’s Irish Pub and Grille and Firebird Café, respectively. Williston’s Chef’s Corner Café and Bakery was the second place finisher in the people’s choice voting, followed by Ray’s Seafood Market in Essex Junction in third place.

Chef’s Corner earned top honors in the best display category, thanks to a vibrant island scene complete with tropical flowers, coconuts, luau music and even live fish swimming in a bowl.

“This is the only display that hits every sense,” said judge June Bugbee of Sew Many Treasures in Williston. “There is something to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste. They spent a lot of time on this.”

Runner-up in the display category was Sweet Clover Market of Essex, which featured a map of northern New England with separate piles of seafood for each state: clams for Vermont, mussels for New Hampshire and lobsters for Maine. Sweet Clover’s server, Heather Belcher, agreed that the event was a success – albeit a bit sloppy one at times.

“The best part is watching people spill (chowder) down their shirts,” she said with a laugh.

Trybulski said the event couldn’t have happened without the support of its many sponsors – including Maple Tree Place, Omega real estate, electric and construction, Munson Earth Moving and Extra Space Storage.

“The community support has been great,” he said.

1000s mark return of Fall Harvest Festival

Sept. 22, 2011

By Adam White

Observer staff

Three-year-old Anya Carr of Winooski in the bouncy castle at the Adams Apple Orchard & Farm Market’s Fall Harvest Festival on Sept. 18. (Observer photo by Adam White)

A disappointing apple harvest last season forced the first cancellation in the 17-year history of the Fall Harvest Festival at Adams Apple Orchard and Farm Market in Williston. This year, the Festival returned – and drew an estimated five-digit crowd.

“It’s so nice that the festival is back,” said Frances Koucky, who drove from Montpelier with her son, Matthew, to experience the event. “I think it’s a great community event. It’s fun to pick apples, hear the songs, the whole thing.”

With an acapella group crooning in the background, participants swarmed the orchard to pluck ripe McIntosh apples from the trees. Owner John Adams stood nearby with a smile, saying that the Festival was more about being outside in the sunshine, soaking in the event, than it was about amassing fruit.

“It’s not really a food event, it’s a social event,” Adams said. “You can tell that by the sizes of bags that people buy. It’s the experience of it.”

There was one particular apple that was highly sought, however. On Friday, a representative from the Vermont Department of Agriculture was on hand to unveil a special contest co-sponsored by the state Department of Tourism, Apple Growers’ Association and Small Dog Electronics: whoever found a special wooden apple hidden within the orchard could exchange it for an iPod, or possibly and iPad.

One young treasure hunter pestered Adams for clues, even going so far as to ask which particular tree he should focus on.

“It’s out there somewhere,” Adams said with a grin.

Picking apples was just one part of the multi-faceted Festival. Near the mouth of the orchard, an outfit known as The Dizzy Dozen was cranking out four flavors of mini donuts.

“We went through about 400 dozen on Saturday, and we expect to do the same (Sunday),” said owner Dizzy Desilets. When asked which of the four flavors was the most popular, the 15-year veteran baker didn’t hesitate: maple.

“That’s only because it’s your favorite,” said co-worker Diane Dufresne with a laugh.

Desilets said the crowd at this year’s Festival was the largest he had seen, and attributed that trend to the help of Mother Nature.

“John (Adams) said the apple crop was really good this year,” Desilets said. “I think the two go hand-in-hand.”

The adjacent petting zoo drew a steady stream of children, who reached through the fences to pet a number of very accommodating sheep, and a llama. Hannah Smith of Smith Family Farm sat nearby —  spinning yarn on an old-fashioned spinning wheel — as her dog, Millie, stood by and watched like canine quality control.

The most popular attraction for children, however, might have been the inflatable “bouncy castle” set up next to the Adams Farm Market. Youngsters waited patiently in line for a chance to enter, though many were reluctant to exit once their allotted time was up.

Adams said that cash register sales were used to estimate attendance, and that he put the total weekend number at close to 10,000 people. He said that the event could grow even larger in the future, due to the cancellation of another, similar festival in South Hero.

“I was glad we were able to have (the Festival) again this year,” Adams said. “This makes 17 out of 18 years, and it’s getting more and more popular.”

Where the wild things are

Williston looks at protecting wildlife from development

Sept. 22, 2011

By Adam White

Observer staff

Much of the land in Williston could be impacted by overlay zoning being considered by the town’s Planning Commission. (Observer photos by Adam White)

Williston is exploring new environmental protection zoning that could have a major impact on the town’s future development.

A proposed overlay zoning district presented to the Williston Planning Commission on Tuesday showed that a significant portion of the undeveloped land in town serves as core habitat and travel corridors for wildlife. Members of the commission expressed optimism that the protection of such land — a task identified in a more general sense within the town’s Comprehensive Plan — will be easier to accomplish with the help of the overlay district.

“There is a lot of verbiage in the town plan that supports this, but it’s more ‘endeavor to persevere’ than anything concrete like this,” said Commission member Kevin Batson. “This gives us something definitive to implement.”

Environmental planner Jessica Andreoletti handed out to the Commission a series of maps — generated using data from a habitat assessment completed in conjunction with the University of Vermont’s Spatial Analysis program in 2009 — showing the areas in Williston that serve as core habitat and travel corridors for wildlife. Andreoletti said the maps effectively superseded older maps created by former town planner Lee Nellis, presumably from the examination of settlement patterns and cover.

“The Conservation Commission decided to stick with the science, because it’s more defendable,” Andreoletti said.

Brian Shupe, deputy director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council, reviewed a six-page draft of habitat protection standards that included sections on purpose, review procedure and key definitions. Shupe — who is being promoted to executive director of the VNRC on Thursday, and has prior planning experience in Stowe and the Mad River Valley — said his role as advisor to Williston in regard to the overlay district is to “identify the threat (to wildlife) and appropriate policy choices the community can make to address it.”

“It is very difficult to just draw a line on the ground and say one side is great habitat, and one side is not,” Shupe said.

Commission members and the town’s planning staff agreed that restricting development based on the presence and activity of wildlife could prove contentious. Senior planner Matt Boulanger said that a number of recent development projects in town would have been impacted by the proposed overlay district, and planning director Ken Belliveau warned that implementing strict limitations on every area highlighted on the habitat and corridor maps would be difficult, if not impossible.

“To create an overlay process, it’s going to have to be sellable to property owners and the Selectboard,” Belliveau said.

He then suggested using further studies to prioritize areas of town  that are most important to wildlife, and exploring options for protecting those areas permanently.

“The best protection is always if you can buy the development rights outright, and get it out of the mix totally,” he said.

Shupe agreed that the town should be prepared to defend its policies and subsequent decisions in regard to the OZD.

“If you’re going to restrict property rights, you had better explain how you are going to do it, based on sound science and research,” Shupe said.

Batson suggested revising the habitat/corridor map to remove flood planes, wetlands, steep slopes and other protected areas that would not be considered for development regardless of wildlife patterns. Belliveau agreed that with such revisions, “the map wouldn’t look so draconian.”

“If the whole town is covered, that could create a hurdle that you’re never going to overcome,” Belliveau said.

Boulanger proposed an examination of undeveloped property parcels in town, and how they might be impacted by the implementation of the overlay district. Andreoletti supported that idea, and added that habitat and corridor maps were likely to change over time with shifts in wildlife activity, creating the need for fluidity in any resulting policies.

No definitive action in regard to the proposed overlay district was taken by the Planning Commission, which is scheduled to meet next on Oct. 4.

A draft of a significant habitat overlay zoning district was reviewed and discussed by the Williston Planning Commission at its meeting on Tuesday. (Left to right) Commission member Meghan Cope, Vermont Natural Resources Council Deputy Director Brian Shupe and Williston Environmental Planner Jessica Andreoletti listen as Senior Planner Matt Boulanger (not pictured) proposes an examination of undeveloped land parcels in town that would likely be impacted by the implementation of an overlay district.

PHOTOS: Williston remembers 9/11

Observer photos by Marisa Machanic

Williston police and fire officials held a ceremony at the fire station commemorating the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Hopes and prayers tied to balloons were also released at the Williston Federated Church on Sept. 11.

PHOTOS: CVU football vs. Brattleboro

Courtesy photos by Joe Kropf

The Champlain Valley Union football team improved to 2-0 with a 43-13 win against Brattleboro on Sept. 10.

PHOTOS: CVU boys soccer vs. Rutland

Observer photos by Steven Frank

The Champlain Valley Union boys soccer team opened its 2011 season with a 2-0 victory over Rutland at Essex High School on Sept. 8.

Sports Notes

Sept. 15, 2011


Champlain Valley Union’s Parker Cornbrooks (right) defends Rutland’s Justin DelBianco during the Redhawks’ 2-0 victory in boys soccer at Essex High School on Sept. 8. (Observer photo by Steven Frank)

Having easily passed their first crucial test of the season Saturday, the Champlain Valley Union girls cross country team will hit the five-kilometer trail again Saturday morning in the annual Burlington High Invitational.

The defending Vermont and New England regional champs scored a solid team triumph Saturday in the 34th annual Essex High Invitational at Williston’s Catamount Outdoor Family Center. The boys’ team took fifth place among 10 teams.

CVU coach Scott Bliss has often said his teams need depth to find success in team competitions. The Redhawks apparently have met that requirement again this year.

The girls placed five runners in the top 10 finishers, led by race runner-up Taylor Spillane who was second to veteran Markie Palermo of Essex. Other Redhawks crowding into the top 10 were Adrienne DeVita (fifth), Julienne DeVita (sixth), Aleksey Jordick (seventh) and Autumn Eastman (10th).



Fresh from two victories in the season-opening Jay Brady Tournament at Essex last week, the Champlain Valley Union boys soccer team headed for Harwood Wednesday (after press deadline) to tangle with the Highlanders.

On Friday, the Redhawks have their home opener against Burlington before motoring to Essex Tuesday to test the always-tough Hornets.

Coach T. J. Mead was generally pleased with his team’s play in wins over Rutland Thursday (Sept. 8) and Rice Memorial Saturday (Sept. 10) in the Essex event.

“We had an interesting game Saturday,” he said of the 5-1 triumph over Rice.

Mead recalled that the Hawks got a 1-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the contest, but the Green Knights tied it on a deflected goal. The Redhawks then surged back with a four-goal outburst before halftime.

The second half was scoreless but CVU controlled play.

Co-captain Sam Raszka paced the Hawks with a goal and three assists.

In Thursday’s 2-0 opening win over Rutland High, Joseph Shumway scored after a throw in from Shane Haley with 9:22 remaining in the first half. Haley scored the final goal in the second half and also popped a pointer against Rice Saturday.

CVU goalie Brandon O’Connell had three stops in the shutout while Rutland netminder David Cohen, an all-tournament selection, made nine saves.

Benjamin Comai and Chad Bateman of CVU were named to the all-tournament team.



Scoreless in its first two outings of the season, the Champlain Valley Union field hockey team hopes to get the offense into gear with three straight home games starting Thursday when 1-1 Essex comes into Hinesburg to test the 0-1-1 Redhawks (4 p.m.).

Mount Abraham (1-1) will be at CVU Saturday at 10 a.m. followed by Middlebury Union (0-3) next Wednesday.

A previously postponed home match with Colchester has been moved to a future date due to a lack of available game officials.

The Redhawks got blanked for a second straight game Tuesday at Mount Mansfield Union but came away with a scoreless deadlock. CVU netminder Evangeline Dunphy had just two stops while the Hawks had just three shots on the Cougars’ cage.

Last Friday (Sept. 9), CVU opened the season with a 4-0 loss to defending Division I champion South Burlington. In the contest, Dunphy had 14 saves.



Seven-time American Canadian Tour champion and Williston native Brian Hoar inherited his second win of the weekend in the ACT Late Model Tour and Série ACT Castrol combination Can-Am 200 at Circuit Riverside Speedway in Sainte-Croix, Canada on Sept. 11.

With the win, Hoar secured an unprecedented eight ACT Late Model Tour championship.

Hoar finished second to apparent winner Alex Labbé, WHO was later disqualified for failing to comply with a protest by the No. 91 QC team of his ACT sealed crate motor. It was Hoar’s 33rd career ACT Late Model Tour win and second straight Can-Am 200 win.

CVU Sports Schedule

Sept. 15, 2011


Saturday: at Burlington Invitational, 9:30 a.m.

Tuesday: at Colchester, 4 p.m.


Thursday: ESSEX, 4 p.m.

Saturday: MOUNT ABRAHAM, 10 a.m.

Wednesday: MIDDLEBURY, 4 p.m.


Friday: at Essex, 7 p.m.


Friday: BURLINGTON, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday: at Essex, 4:30 p.m.


Thursday: at Milton, 4:30 p.m.


Wednesday: ESSEX, 4:30 p.m.



Schedules subject to changes

CVU girls soccer starts strong

Redhawks open with two victories

Sept. 15, 2011

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With a pair of victories over southern Vermont teams on their 2011 record, coach Brad Parker and his Champlain Valley Union girls soccer team get some northern cooking Thursday when they take their 2-0 mark to Milton (4:30 p.m.).

The Redhawks got their home season off to a rip snorting start Tuesday with a 7-0 triumph over visiting Burr and Burton of Manchester.

While sophomore midfielder Mackenzie Kingston potted three scores and co-captain Shelby Hanlon added two, the quick and speedy Redhawk defense and midfielders held the Bulldogs without a shot on goal.

After being turned away from several early scoring opportunities, CVU finally broke through with 12:58 remaining in the first half when Hanlon knocked a hard point-blank shot off Burr and Burton goalie Callie Zak’s hand.

The deluge followed. Taylor Goldsborough scored a little more than four minutes later and Sophia Steinhoff — after a speedy and deep penetration of the Bulldogs’ defense by sophomore Haliana Burhans — booted home a pointer for a 3-0 lead.

Kingston scored twice in the first three minutes of the second half and Hanlon soon followed with a line drive under the cross bar for her second tally (Burhans assist).

Anna Spector set up Kingston’s final and hat trick score with 1:08 to go in the game.

CVU unleashed 20 shots on a trio of Burr and Burton netminders. The Bulldogs are 1-2 for the season.

Hanlon, a returning veteran from the solid 2010 squad that lost a lot of key players from graduation, said after the game that the “new players are working in very well.”

The initial road trip of the season last Saturday (Sept. 10) resulted in a 1-0 win at Rutland. Kate Raszka fired home the lone goal, the Redhawks’ first of the campaign.

A previously postponed home game with Rice Memorial has been rescheduled for Monday at the ‘Hawks Hinesburg nest. CVU girls soccer.

Redhawks football prepares for Hornets’ nest

2-0 CVU faces Essex Friday

Sept. 15, 2011

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

CVU receiver Matt Bauer tries to handle a pass from quarterback Drew Nick during the Redhawks’ 43-13 victory over Brattleboro on Sept. 10. (Courtesy photo by Joe Kropf)

When a 2-0 high school football team goes up against one that’s 0-2, a positive outcome for the unbeaten combine should be a piece of cake, right?


Champlain Valley Union head coach Jim Provost is not buying the cake business as he looks ahead to the Friday night (7 p.m.) clash in Essex between his 2-0 Redhawks and the 0-2 Essex Hornets.

“Essex just might be the best 0-2 team in the state,” Provost told the Observer Monday. “They will be sky high. This is almost a playoff game for them.”

Last weekend, while CVU was dispatching Brattleboro at home, 43-13, Essex was suffering a 31-28 loss at Middlebury

“We have to prepare this week for perhaps the best team we will see all year, “ Provost added, noting that Friday’s contest is the home opener for the blue and gold Hornets.

It will be the second straight year the Redhawks have visited the 2009 Division I champs in their house. Essex popped the Hawks last fall in a game that saw both starting quarterbacks sidelined by halftime.

In CVU’s initial outing before the home folks Saturday (Sept. 10), the Redhawks fell behind Brattleboro in a fumbly first quarter before they grabbed a shaky 12-6 edge by halftime. CVU then rolled in the second half behind a crunching ground attack and stingy defense.

Led by halfback Nick Ferrentino (22 carries, 168 yards, three touchdowns), the Redhawks piled up 253 rushing yards.

Quarterback Drew Nick connected on 10 of 20 passes for one score and one rushing touchdown. “Old Thunderfoot,” kicker Tucker Kohlash, knocked in a 27-yard field goal and a pair of extra points.

But it took some time for the Red and White to get the offense clicking.

Two lost fumbles in the first quarter played a role. The second turnover gave the Colonels good field position at the CVU 41. Seven plays later, Brattleboro was in the end zone on a 17-yard pass from quarterback Tyler Higley to wide receiver Aaron Prue with 2:33 left in the reel. The kick for the extra-point was wide.

Midway in the second quarter, a naked reverse by Nick from the BUHS 40 got the Redhawks moving. Faking passes, Nick rolled out to his right and ran 26 yards to the Brattleboro 14. On first down, Ferrentino exploded up the middle and into the end zone to knot the contest. Kohlasch’s kick for the point-after bounced off the left upright.

Five plays later, CVU was back in business. Nick, from his defensive back position, picked off a Higley pass and returned it 15 yards to the Colonels’ 34. Four plays later, Ferrentino had an 8-yard scoring run. The elusive back gained 18 yards in three carries in the drive, and Nick connected with lanky end Ryan Beaudry for 16 yards. An extra point kick never happened due to a fumbled center snap.

Early in the second half, CVU officially took charge. Recovering a Brattleboro fumble at the visitors’ 21 on just the third play of the third quarter, the Hawks scored in just three plays on a Nick keeper from the 3, — Ferrentino set up the score with an 18-yard run that left a trail of prone white clad would-be tacklers. Nick passed to Matt Bauer for the two-point conversion and a 20-6 lead.

After that, the CVU frequently scored. Nick hooked up with Brent Carreiro on a 14-yard scoring toss with 5:43 left in the third quarter and Kohlasch launched his field goal midway through the final reel.

Ferrentino bolted 15 yards around the right side for the final touchdown with 1:07 to play.

“Our (offensive) line really did at great job today,” Ferrentino said after the game and his second straight 100-plus yard performance.

Also deserving praise was the defense, led by linebackers Ryan Fleming, Michael Fournier and Quinn Kropf, along with Harey Ottinger, Pete Wernhoff, Bobby Russell and Nick.

“We were well prepared for (Brattleboro),” said Fournier who, along with Fleming and Wernhoff, had a role in the six sacks of quarterback Higley.

Higley, a junior, despite the sacks and being under constant pressure, still hit on 18 of 33 passes for 238 yards and two scores.

“Our defense is really coming together,” said Provost who also had good words for Russell’s punting (four for 35-yard average) that backed up the Colonels deep in their territory on at least two occasions when the game was in doubt.

CVU 43, Brattleboro 13

BRATTLEBORO (1-1)            CVU (2-0)

First downs                            12                                                14

Total yards                             277                                              301

Yards rushing                        61                                                253

Yards passing                        238                                             70

Yards lost, fumble                0                                                  22

Pass att, comp, int               33-18-2                                      20-10-0

Fumbles-lost                         3-2                                               4-2

Sacked-yds lost                     6-22                                             0

Penalties-yds                        3-25                                              3-25

Punts-avg                              5-28                                             4-35

Return yards                        79                                                  50



BRATTLEBORO            6            0            0            7   — 13

CVU                                  0            2            21         10 —  43