November 25, 2014

Holiday closings

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Dec. 22, 2011

 

TOWN HALL

In observance of Christmas, Williston Town Hall will close at noon on Friday, Dec. 23 and remain closed on Monday, Dec. 26. The office will be open Tuesday, Dec. 27 to Friday, Dec. 30, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be closed on Monday, Jan. 2 in observance of New Year’s Day and reopen Tuesday, Jan. 3 at 8:30 a.m.

 

POST OFFICE

The U.S. Post Office in Williston, located at 82 Blair Park Road, will be closed on Monday, Dec. 26 and Monday, Jan. 2. The office will be open during its regular hours on all other days.

Around Town

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TARGET DISCUSSION JAN. 3

Representatives from Target Corp. will meet with the Williston Planning Commission at 7:15 p.m. in the town hall meeting room on Tuesday, Jan. 3. The discussion will be of a preliminary nature, and will mark the first time Target representatives have met with the Planning Commission.

Although the Commission is not obligated to take public testimony because it is not a formal hearing, the public is welcome to attend to learn more about Target’s interest in potentially building a store at the former driving range property at 6180 Williston Road.

The property is not currently zoned for a big box store and Williston Planning and Zoning Director Ken Belliveau told the Observer on Tuesday that Target has not yet filed an application to change the zoning.

WATER AND SEWER BILLS DUE

Water and sewer bills from the town of Williston have been mailed and are due Dec. 30.

Methods of payment are check or cash, in-person, at the town clerk’s office at 7900 Williston Road. Checks can also be mailed, or left in the drop box located behind the clerk’s office.

DOG REGISTRATION

The Williston Town Clerk’s office has reported that there were 673 dogs registered in Williston for 2011, but there are still approximately 325 who have not been renewed or never been licensed.

According to Vermont State Statutes, “A person who is the owner of a dog or wolf-hybrid more than six months old shall annually on or before April 1 cause it to be registered, numbered, described and licensed for one year from that day in the office of the clerk of the municipality where the dog or wolf-hybrid is kept.”

When a police officer or dog control officer picks up an unlicensed dog, it is taken to a local kennel. In order for the dog to be returned to the owner, there must be a proof of rabies provided, a current license must be obtained and an impounding fee of up to $75 paid to the Town.

Contact the Williston Town Clerk at 878-5121 to obtain a 2012 license or to let the office know if you no longer have a dog.

TREE PICKUPS

On Jan. 7, Williston Boy Scout Troop 692 will collect Christmas trees in the following neighborhoods: Southridge, Brennan Woods, Indian Ridge, Wildflower Circle, Turtle Pond, Pleasant Acres, and Ledgewood. The troop plans to collect the trees in the morning and asks residents to leave their trees at the bottom of their driveways.

Residents from other neighborhoods can leave their trees at the Williston Central School cafeteria entrance on the same day, between noon and 3 p.m.

The troop, which will take the trees away to be mulched, is providing the service for free but would appreciate donations.

MONTY’S PREPARING TO SERVE COCKTAILS

Monty’s Old Brick Tavern, located in Williston Village on Williston Road, recently received a liquor license that will allow the establishment to serve alcoholic drinks in addition to beer and wine. Monty’s Owner David Herskowitz said he and his staff are formulating a cocktail list, and patrons are welcome to make suggestions through the bar’s website (www.montysoldbricktavern.com). Herskowitz estimates the new offerings to be available by New Year’s Eve.

LOCAL CONTRACTOR ORDERED TO PAY NEARLY $80,000

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office announced on Dec. 7 that the Chittenden Unit of the Superior Court Criminal Division has ordered Williston-based home improvement contractor Donald Bevins to pay a combined total of $79,623.08 in restitution to two of his former employees.

According to Vermont Business Magazine, Bevins, who operated under both “Twin City Roofing” and “Around the Clock Property Maintenance,” pled guilty on June 23 to two counts of failing to maintain workers’ compensation insurance. An investigation by the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and the Vermont Department of Labor revealed that Bevins was operating without workers’ compensation insurance and in violation of a Vermont Department of Labor Stop Work Order. The article also said that Bevins did not maintain insurance during that timeframe and two of his employees were seriously injured while working; resulting in the employees suffering “tens of thousands of dollars” in uninsured medical bills and lost wages.

RESIDENT NAMED CHAMPLAIN VALLEY EXPOSITION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

The Board of Directors of the Champlain Valley Exposition Inc. named Tim Shea of Williston as the organization’s new executive director on Dec. 16. Shea will assume his new position in February 2012, according to a news release.

Shea, currently the vice president and congressional liaison for the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, was chosen after a national search. He’s also served on the Burlington Electric Commission, Burlington Legacy Project and the United Way of Chittenden County boards.

“Tim is a talented, intelligent executive with a special feel for the needs of the many audiences that visit CVE,” Matthew Stevens, president of the CVE board, said in the release.

The CVE is the largest event center in Vermont, hosting more than 110 events annually, including the Champlain Valley Fair.

WILLISTONIAN NAMED TO STATEWIDE BOARD

Dr. Traci Griffith, a Williston resident and Saint Michael’s College associate professor of media studies, journalism and digital arts, was elected to be vice president of the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. She was also appointed by Gov. Peter Shumlin to serve on the Vermont Humanities Council. In addition, Griffith serves on the board of Vermont Public Radio.

She will be speaking about media representations of Martin Luther King Jr. and the issue of race in Burlington on Martin Luther King Day (Monday, Jan. 16).

 

WINTER PARKING BAN

The parking ban in Williston began Dec. 1 and remains in effect until April 1, between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. During those hours, vehicles cannot be parked on any town street or highway. The penalty for a violation is a $25 fine. The penalty for committing another parking violation within 30 days is $50.

 

CVU DEBATE TEAM NEEDS HELP

Champlain Valley Union High School will host the largest debate/speech tournament of the year on Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012, and needs citizen judges.

No experience is required, training will be provided. The time commitment is approximately 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

More than 100 students from across the state will compete in the event.

If interested, contact Chris O’Donnell at [email protected] or 482-7140.

 

PUBLICLY FUNDED PREKINDERGARTEN

The Chittenden South Supervisory Union has publicly funded prekindergarten for children between the ages of 3 and 5 who reside in the towns of Williston, St. George, Charlotte, Hinesburg and Shelburne.

Publicly funded prekindergarten is defined as six to 10 hours per week of developmentally appropriate early learning experiences that are based on Vermont’s Early Learning Standards.

Prekindergarten education is limited to the academic year. (September 2012-June 2013). Applications for the 2012-13 school year are due March 12, 2012. For more information, contact Wendy Clark at 383-1235, [email protected], or visit the Chittenden South Supervisory Union Website (www.cssu.org).

Fire department wages reviewed

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Planning and zoning budget also discussed

Dec. 22, 2011

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

 

Town budget talks shifted location Monday to the Pinecrest Village Community Center – and shifted focus to the fire department, and planning and zoning department budgets.

At the center of Fire Chief Ken Morton’s presentation to the Williston Selectboard was a request for a wage increase for firefighting and emergency medical services personnel.

Morton pointed out that the budget he prepared was decreased by the town manager’s office prior to being presented to the Selectboard.

“This is not the budget that I gave the town. After I presented the budget to the town, there were a couple of adjustments made in the area of salaries, and those adjustments totaled $8,392,” Morton said. “So if I were to make a request, it would be to actually add in the $8,392 — and that’s the Board’s decision, but I’m a little bit nervous.”

Although the fiscal year 2013 budget doesn’t propose an increase in on-call firefighter wages, Morton provided the wage scale of his on-call staff as an example that firefighters as a whole are underpaid.

“We pay our call firefighters $8.87 per hour when they start, and minimum wage, as of Jan. 1 (2012), is $8.46 per hour,” said Morton. “So we pay our firefighters and EMTs 41 cents more per hour than minimum wage, and I think that’s a problem.”

Williston Town Manager Rick McGuire acknowledged that the points Morton made regarding on-call wages were valid, and noted that the $8,392 budgetary decrease was based on curtailing the overall budget.

“The wages for call firefighters historically was low, and gradually each year we’ve been increasing it by the cost of living, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was low to begin with, and it’s still low,” McGuire said. “Eventually that adjustment will need to be made in some form or another.”

Selectboard Deputy Chairman Jeff Fehrs observed that issues such as wage increases underscore the challenge the Board faces with balancing service improvements versus reasonable property tax increases for town residents.

“The overall town budget as presented to us is (a 4-percent increase), which I think is actually a good budget, but along with that comes around a 9-percent-plus increase in the revenue that comes from taxes,” Fehrs said. “We have to weigh trying to provide the resources and the staff requirements that the town needs, but we also have to answer to the taxpayers.”

INCREASE IN PLANNING AND ZONING REVENUE PROJECTED

Williston Planning and Zoning Director Ken Belliveau appeared before the Selectboard and spoke about the need for a current set of aerial orthophoto images to update the town’s geographic information system.

“The last set of good images were flown in 2004,” Belliveau said.

He noted that the variable cost for the aerial photographs would require a $10,000 “placeholder” in the budget, but said they are valuable to ensure accurate planning studies.

“Having an additional set of data on the average of every 10 years is a tremendous tool to have, because it allows you to make comparisons over time,” said Belliveau.

The updated orthophoto images will contribute to a proposed 3.6-percent increase in planning and zoning expenditures. On the other side of the equation, revenue for the department is projected to increase 22.2 percent.

Belliveau said the projected revenue increase takes into account the planned Finney Crossing development north of Maple Tree Place, which “has been issued its first batch of permits.”

“We’re anticipating they’re going to come in with more permits in the upcoming fiscal year,” Belliveau said of Finney Crossing.

He also remarked that construction on Vermont 2A of a CVS/Pharmacy and an adjacent mixed-use commercial building, to include Panera Bread and a Verizon Wireless store, are “likely to break ground in the spring.”

“There seems to be some synergies and some momentum in terms of building activity and growth in town,” Belliveau said.

Maple Tree Farm exec meets with Planning Commission

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Former Pine Ridge School property at stake

Dec. 22, 2011

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

 

The former Pine Ridge School property took another step toward changing its namesake from the coniferous to the broad-leafed tree variety when Maple Leaf Farm Executive Director Bill Young met Tuesday with the Williston Planning Commission.

Maple Leaf Farm, an Underhill-based alcohol and drug rehabilitation center, entered into a $2.85 million purchase and sale agreement with People’s United Bank in November to purchase the 127-acre property that formerly housed a private school for students with learning differences.

Young’s meeting with the Planning Commission marked the first of what will likely be a series of discussions in a lengthy town approval process.

In order for Maple Leaf to locate a portion of its operations in Williston, it will first need to get a specific plan approved to operate a community care center in a district that Williston Senior Planner Matt Boulanger explained is zoned strictly for agricultural or rural residential use.

“In this zone, you can live there in a one- or two-family dwelling, and you can farm,” Boulanger said.

Boulanger further explained that the specific plan process is primarily concerned with how a proposed zoning exception will benefit the public.

“The biggest thing about a specific plan is to allow the Commission and the Selectboard to make an assessment of what’s being asked to be done on the site, how it’s different from what’s allowed from the base zoning, how much it’s different and what’s going to be provided as a public benefit to balance the relief that’s being asked for from the base zoning,” said Boulanger.

While Pine Ridge School had a partial exemption from local zoning regulations because of its status as a state-approved school, Maple Leaf Farm doesn’t meet the technical definition of a hospital to enjoy a similar exemption.

It will therefore need to prove to the Planning Commission — and ultimately the Williston Selectboard — that it offers a discernable public benefit to the town.

Young addressed the public benefit question by identifying two potential benefits: conservation of open space and jobs.

“We certainly would have no problem with some kind of a conservation easement,” Young said in regard to preserving undeveloped land. “We like having open spaces around us.”

In terms of employment, Young said that as many as 85 jobs could be created as part of Maple Leaf’s expansion, due to the fact that more than 90 patients could eventually be accommodated at the Williston facility.

If the Planning Commission were to recommend approval of the proposed use of the site — and if the Selectboard were to subsequently approve the zoning exception — a discretionary permit would then need to be approved by the Williston Development Review Board to allow Maple Leaf to convert the site into its intended use as an alcohol and drug rehabilitation clinic.

Planning Commission Chairman Jake Mathon addressed that potential DRB concern, asking: “Do you foresee any growth that would require future building on the site?”

Young replied: “I can’t envision more dorms. People say, ‘never say never,’ but I just don’t see it. Certainly in terms of the dorms, I can’t see building more dormitory space or classroom space (for rehabilitation services).”

Williston Planning and Zoning Director Ken Belliveau summed up the evening’s proceedings by suggesting that Maple Leaf’s potential relocation to the former Pine Ridge property warrants further discussion.

“It certainly seems to me that this property, in terms of how it’s zoned, where it’s located and the way that it’s been developed currently presents a pretty unique set of circumstances,” Belliveau said. “Where we are as a starting point today for this particular property … seems like it has potential.”

PHOTOS: CVU wrestling

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Courtesy photos by Jennifer Olson

The Champlain Valley Union wrestling team battled Vergennes and Mount Mansfield Union on Dec. 14.

PHOTOS: CVU boys hockey

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Courtesy photos by David Yandell

The Champlain Valley Union boys hockey squad ventured north of the border and lost to Lower Canada College 3-1 on Dec. 16.

PHOTOS: CVU boys basketball

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Observer photos by Shane Bufano (www.shanebufano.com)

The Champlain Valley Union boys basketball team defeated Burlington 53-45 on Tuesday (Dec. 20).

PHOTOS: Pinecrest Village food drive

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Courtesy photos

Upon reading the Dec. 15 article about the Williston Community Food Shelf in the Observer (‘Food shelf seeks post-Irene donations’), Ramona Guadalupe conducted a food drive in her Pinecrest Village neighborhood on Dec. 17. Almost 300 pounds of food was collected in just 90 minutes, according to Guadalupe. Later in the day, a van picked up the food and brought it to the food shelf.

This Week’s Popcorn: ‘My Week with Marilyn’

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Dec. 22, 2011

3 popcorns

 

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer

 

There are countless beautiful actresses in Hollywood, but as we are reminded by director Simon Curtis’s “My Week with Marilyn,” based on the fond remembrance by Colin Clark, none with the mystique Marilyn Monroe possessed. The inscrutability lives, nicely evoked in this latest effort to make sense of the je ne sais quoi and its associated tragedy.

While we all acquire a coming of age tale, Mr. Clark’s passage to maturity, portrayed by Eddie Redmayne, just happened to intersect with the famous siren in question. Though the story starts off slow, centered around the combative meeting of Marilyn and Laurence Olivier on the set of “The Prince and the Showgirl (1957),” in good time we are seduced.

Of course it can’t help being a tad gossipy, streaming meaty allusions to the favorite myths and lore and offering a few more to contemplate in the bargain. It’s all done within a dreamy but nonetheless sober framework — Mr. Clark doubtlessly, and perhaps melancholically, attempting to make unique his bittersweet tête-à-tête with the starlet.

Problematic at first, we quickly realize that Miss Monroe’s beauty cannot be successfully imitated (otherwise somebody would have). But giving credit where it is due, though her facial features more resemble Ava Gardner’s (just color the hair), Michelle Williams does capture much of the allure that was Marilyn. It’s a complex challenge, met rather well.

The same goes for Kenneth Branagh as Olivier. Though nowhere near as possessing of the great thespian’s handsomeness, the noted Shakespearean is otherwise a natural. Pompous and outraged, but all the same as smitten by the blonde bombshell as is the young storyteller to be, his Sir Larry provides the filmmaker with excellent balance.

The setting is Pinewood Studios and the British countryside. The kingdom is all-abuzz with the fair damsel’s visit. And both stars, exact opposites at their craft, expect no less than total Sturm und Drang. Witnessing the self-fulfilling prophecy is our fledging movie biz wannabe, having gained his front seat to the fireworks through pure determination.

Even Colin’s landed gentry folks couldn’t get him anything higher up than 3rd assistant director and personal gofer to Mr. Olivier. But that’s just fine for the star struck young lad who soon finds himself a buffer between Monroe and those forces — real and imagined — bent on destroying her. She has brought her curiously sad craziness to the scene.

There’s nothing very new here aside from the details surrounding the making of the movie Mr. Olivier, much to his exasperation, chose to direct. However, by portraying several matters and situations in an objective context, the mostly sympathetic look at Marilyn does establish an angle from which viewers might draw their own conclusions.

The pathology is your familiar, hackneyed, little girl abandoned syndrome. Now grown, she’s an idol, with lots of power. Hence, subconsciously or not, Marilyn will wreak her revenge on anyone who becomes enamored of her. Dare fly near the flame and you might be consumed. Poor hubby Arthur Miller, fleeing the set, bellows, “She’s devouring me!”

We can only hope Colin doesn’t become Pip to Miss Monroe’s albeit beautiful variation on Miss Haversham. Milton Greene (Dominic Cooper), her business partner (whose real-life son is currently contending Clark’s work is complete fantasy), warns Colin. He’s been there. Since discarded and relegated to gatekeeper, he assures the same fate awaits Colin.

Meanwhile, as filming trudges arduously, often delayed by Norma Jean’s tardiness or Olivier’s outbursts of impatience, a war between the orthodox thespian and the method actress ensues. Adding fuel to the pyre, Marilyn’s acting coach, confidante and advocate, Paula Strasberg (Zoë Wanamaker), is forever meddling.

What makes the enmity especially engaging, however, is the rather ambiguous mutual admiration society that evolves. Annoyed when Marilyn can’t do a scene because she “doesn’t feel it,” he drones, “That’s why it’s called acting.” Yet, when she gets it right, he marvels at her natural instinct. Terrified, she so wants to please the theatrical legend.

So, to a backdrop continually emphasizing what an international celebrity and showbiz phenomenon Marilyn is, we become engaged in a quandary of fame, privilege and the currency that is beauty. Let’s face it: If Miss Monroe was just plain Jane Doe and acted out her anxieties with such resultant disquietude, we’d doubtfully issue her a pass.

It’s a familiar conundrum…a disservice often attending famous folks cruising for a bruising. Still, while neither profound nor revelatory, Mr. Curtis’s seemingly responsible treatment offers a buffet of food for thought. And thus, viewers with a taste for mulling such matters will want to put “My Week with Marilyn” on their movie-going calendar.

 

“My Week with Marilyn,” rated R, is a Weinstein Company release directed by Simon Curtis and stars Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh and Eddie Redmayne. Running time: 99 minutes 

CVU Sports schedule

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Dec. 22, 2011

 

BOYS BASKETBALL

Friday: at BFA-St. Albans, 5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: at South Burlington, 5:45 p.m.

Dec. 30: MOUNT MANSFIELD, 5:45 p.m.

 

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Thursday: Colchester (at Barre Tournament), 5:30 p.m.

Dec. 29: MOUNT MANSFIELD, 5:45 p.m.

 

GYMNASTICS

Dec. 29: HARWOOD, 1 p.m.

Jan. 4: ST. JOHNSBURY ACADEMY, 7 p.m.

 

BOYS HOCKEY

Dec.28: RICE MEMORIAL, 7:15 p.m.

Jan. 4: at Spaulding (Barre), 8 p.m.

 

GIRLS HOCKEY

Dec. 28: RUTLAND, 5 p.m.

Jan. 4: at Missisquoi Valley Union, 6 p.m.

 

NORDIC SKIING

Tuesday: Sleepy Hollow Race, Time TBA

Jan. 2: at Middlebury (Breadloaf Campus), 10 a.m.

 

WRESTLING

Wednesday: at Middlebury Invitational, 2:30 p.m.

Thursday: at Middlebury Invitational, noon

Jan 4: ESSEX and MOUNT ABRAHAM, 5:30 p.m.

 

HOME CONTESTS IN CAPS

Schedule subject to change