April 22, 2019

CVU boys hoops has split decision

‘Hawks top Essex, lose to Colchester

Jan. 26, 2012

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent


Actor Liam Neeson’s new flick, “The Grey,” might be a description of the hair color of coaches and team followers of the Champlain Valley boys basketball team after two recent cardiac-throbbing contests at Bremner Gymnasium that featured a Redhawk win and loss.

Coach Scott Bliss and his 6-5 ‘Hawks blow into Burlington Thursday (7:45 p.m.), hoping to gain a repeat of mid-December’s home 53-45 win over the Seahorses.

CVU returns home Monday to conclude the season series with South Burlington. The Redhawks rumbled past the Rebels 58-40 late last month in South Burlington.

The two thrill fests concluded Monday night with CVU’s 56-48 loss to a hard-working Colchester quintet that departed with a 5-5 record.

This followed Saturday’s (Jan. 21) uplifting 50-48 nudging of Essex (5-5) on a scintillating tie-breaking layup by Brad Bissonette with nine seconds left in regulation.

The Colchester test had highs (CVU’s 10-point third period lead) and lows (a Laker 19-2 run in the third and fourth quarters).

Colchester took a 50-42 lead into the closing three minutes. CVU twice got to within four, but could not inch closer despite having the ball.

The Redhawks’ productive offense early (50 percent first-half shooting) came to a halt midway in the third period when Colchester laid more traps in CVU’s offensive side of the court than Canadian trappers put out in the north woods in the 1600s.

While the ‘Hawks did not turn the ball over much, their shots became hurried and off target. At the other end, the Lakers used a patient approach to get quick guards loose for layups. They led 43-40 by the end of the quarter.

Not much happened for the Redhawks until late in the fourth period when Brad Bissonette boomed a long trey from the left corner with 2:51 left, and Lucas Aube hit 1 of 2 free throws at 2:05 to pull CVU within 50-46.

But despite other opportunities, they got no closer — Joe Chevalier’s layup at 1:01 was the Redhawks’ final basket.

Brad Bissonette led CVU with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists. Aube had eight points and six boards. John Keen collected seven points and four rebounds.

Defender of the day was junior Ryan Brogna, called off the bench by Bliss and given the job of controlling Colchester’s Anthony Granai after Granai lit up the Hawks for 15 points in the first half.

Brogna did his job. Granai got off just one second-half shot and had three free throws to finish with 18 points. However, Lakers’ slashing guards Ricky Giroux and Nate Hodge got clicking for nine points each to rescue Colchester.

In the Essex game, while Brad Bissonette’s clutch shot was the winner, the game was not over until the Hornets missed an open three-pointer just before the final buzzer.

Brad Bissonette had a complete outing with 22 points, four rebounds, four assists, two steals and three blocked shots. Keen contributed 11 second-half points, seven rebounds and three steals. Point guard Tucker Kohlasch had nine points, including a pair of deep threes, and four assists.

Brogna came off the pine with his usual in-your-space defense to go with six rebounds and two steals.

For Essex, junior Tom Carton unloaded 25 points and hauled in 10 rebounds.

The seesaw affair featured 13 lead changes before CVU took a 47-41 advantage midway through the final quarter; only to have Carton lead Essex back to a tie (48-48) before Bissonette struck the final blow.

CVU’s jayvees nipped Colchester 64-63 in overtime, and rose its season record to 8-2.

Matt Howell’s threebie from the right corner inside of 30 seconds to go provided game winner.




Colchester 56, CVU 48 (Jan. 23)


Colchester (5-5)

N. Corrigan, 1 0-0 2; Kozlowski, 0 0-0 0; Caus, 4 1-3 9; Granai, 6 4-6 18; hodge, 3 4-4 11; Giroux, 3 2-2 9; Tuttle, 0 0-0 0; Paradee, 0 0-0 0; McNeil, 1 0-0 2; B. Corrigan, 2 0-0 5.

Totals: 20 11-15 56


CVU (6-5)

B. Bissonette, 6 0-0 14; Keen, 3 0-2 7; Aube, 3 2-4 8; Whitbeck, 1 0-0 2;

Kohlasch, 2 0-0 5; Chevalier, 3 0-0 6; S. Bissonette, 1 0-0 2; Beaudry, 1 0-0 2; Gilstadt, 1 0-0 2; Brogna, 0 0-0 0.

Totals: 21 2-6 48


CHS       10  26  17  13  – 56

CVU       14  16  10    8  – 48



CVU 50, Essex 48 (Saturday, Jan. 21)


Essex (5-5)

Mulcahy, 1 0-0 3; Salerno, 1 0-0 2; Carton, 10 3-6 25; Barnes, 3 2-4 8; McGrath, 4 0-0 8; Forbes, 0 2-6 2; McSoley, 0 0-0 0; Trick, 0 0-0 0; Goodrich, 0 0-0 0.

Totals: 19 7-16 48


CVU (6-4)

B. Bissonette, 9 0-1 22; Chevalier, 1 0-0 2; Aube, 0 2-4 2; Whitbeck, 1 0-0 2; Kohlasch, 3 1-2 9; Beaudry, 0 0-0 0; Gilstedt, 0 0-1 0; Keen, 5 1-2 11; S. Bissonette, 0 0-0 0; Brogna, 0 2-4 2.

Totals: 19 6-14 50


Essex           17  10  10  11  – 48

CVU             15    8  13  14  – 50

‘Hawks girls quintet stops Seahorses

CVU hoop squad soars to 9-0

Jan. 26, 2012

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent


Champlain Valley Union’s Kaelyn Kohlasch (right) steals an errant pass as Burlington’s Olivia Maher (10) fights for the loose ball during the Redhawks’ 52-35 win Tuesday. (Observer photo by Shane Bufano)

After dispatching 3-5 Burlington Tuesday night at Bremner Gymnasium, coach Ute Otley and her 9-0 Champlain Valley Union girls basketball team await two more invasions of the home hoop house.

North Country Union comes out of the Northeast Kingdom Friday evening and once-beaten Essex is scheduled for a Tuesday night showdown.

Once again, it was a combination of a motivated defense and patient offense with an ability to see and pass to open shooters that vaulted the Redhawks past the Seahorses 52-35.

The contest was essentially over after a second period in which CVU broke a 9-all deadlock with a 14-6 run to open a 23-15 advantage by intermission. The Redhawks boosted the lead to 20 points early in the final stanza before letting up on the gas pedal.

Burlington coach Doug Cheeseman was preaching patience to his charges in the first period against CVU’s helter-skelter, trapping defense that, to foes, appears that gremlins have gotten loose in their backcourt.

The Seahorses, hampered by turnovers, stayed somewhat on course in the opening reel with 3-for-7 shooting and an 8-2 edge on the boards. The gotcha came in the second canto as CVU began to dominate on the glass and outshot BHS.

By halftime, the Hawks had taken 31 shots and hit 11 while BHS, snookered by 11 turnovers, was just 6-for-18 from the field.

Center Remi Donnelly was a solid citizen in the middle for the victors with 10 points on 5-for-9 shooting, 11 rebounds and six assists in CVU’s slick inside-out passing attack.

Guard Kaelyn Kohlasch was 6-for-8 from the floor for 13 points and contributed three steals. Forward Elana Bayer-Pacht had her usual sparkling floor game, adding 11 points and eight rebounds.

Emily Kinneston was all over the place with eight points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Lazrin Schenck came off the bench to add six rebounds, three assists and a swipe.

The Seahorses were led in scoring by speedy guard Kylah Jones with nine points (seven in the closing quarter). Junior forward Olivia Maher had six points and six rebounds.

“We spend two-thirds of our practice time on defense,” Otley said.

Earlier, CVU’s jayvees hiked their record to 7-2 with a 54-14 triumph over Burlington.

Last Friday (Jan. 20), the Redhawks took the often-difficult trip to St. Johnsbury and came home with a 39-31 victory. Kinneston got cracking with a daunting all-around performance of nine points, eight steals, seven rebounds and six assists.

Bayer-Pacht led scorers with 12 points and Donnelly added nine.



CVU 52, Burlington 35 (Tuesday)


Burlington (3-5)

Garrison, 3 0-0 7; Jones, 3 2-4 9; O. Maher, 3 0-0 6; I. Maher, 1 0-2 2; Black, 2 2-6 6; Pidgeon, 0 0-0 0; Medic, 2 0-0 4; Prufer, 0 0-0 0; Morris, 0 0-0 0; Farnham, 0 1-2 1.

Totals: 14 5-14 35


CVU (9-0)

Lozon, 1 0-0 2; Bayer-Pacht, 3 5-11 11; Donnelly, 5 0-0 10; Kohlasch, 6 0-0 13; Kinneston, 3 2-4 8; Krupp, 1 0-0 2; Schenck, 1 0-0 2; Whiteside, 0 0-0 0; Beatty, 1 0-0 2; Grasso, 0 0-0 0; Leach, 1 0-0 2.

Totals: 22 7-15 52


BHS      7   8   7  13  – 35

CVU      9  14 14  15 –  52


Jan. 26, 2012



Evan James Daudelin was born Nov. 1, 2011 at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington. Parents Jenny and Darin Daudelin live in Williston.


Daniella Phyllis D’Agostino was born Nov. 19, 2011 at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington. Parents Greta and Matthew D’Agostino live in Williston.



The following Williston residents recently received their gallon pins from American Red Cross Blood Services, New England Region:

Stephen Barrett — 73 gallons

Michael Gauthier — 15 gallons

Esther Perelman — 12 gallons

Around Town

Jan. 26, 2012



The Champlain Valley Union High School Board approved its budget for fiscal year 2013 Monday. The budget totals $21,425,188, a 1.5-percent increase over the current year’s $21.11 million budget.

According to CVU High School Board chairwoman Jeanne Jensen, the Board cut more than $500,000 from its baseline budget (the amount required to maintain all programs and personnel currently in place).

“Costs were reduced in books, supplies, and travel,” she wrote in an email to the Observer on Wednesday. “Personnel costs were reduced in all the academic areas, co-curriculars and administration.”

Jensen added that staff reductions, in most cases, are in line with declining enrollment and that an elimination of a half time driver’s education instructor could cause some students to not get into that class until their senior year.

The budget will go before a vote on Town Meeting Day in Williston, Charlotte, Hinesburg and Shelburne.



The 17th annual Vermont 50-Plus & Baby Boomers EXPO will be held Saturday, Jan. 28, at the Sheraton-Burlington Hotel & Conference Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m

Williston Publishing and Promotions, LLC, which publishes the Williston Observer and Vermont Maturity Magazine, is producing the EXPO.

Baby Boomers, seniors and all ages are invited to enjoy a day of fun and learning featuring: more than 80 interactive exhibits; seminars and workshops on topics including dating, retirement planning, nutrition, health and wellness, travel and more; Family Feud-style live game show “Survey Says” with great prizes; silent auction and raffle to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association-VT Chapter; giveaways including free tote bags and a casino trip for two; Lyric Theatre Company performing songs from Broadway musicals old and new including tunes from Lyric’s current season productions of Hairspray and Titanic ; the ever-popular afternoon dance party with Charlie Rice; lunchtime concert by Celtic music group Longford Row; tai chi and Zumba demos; soup sampling from area restaurants and more.

Tickets are $5 at the door, $4 in advance. Advance tickets can be ordered by phone, or by visiting the University Mall Customer Service Desk.

For more information call (802)-872-9000 x18, visit www.vermontmaturity.com/expo or email vermontmaturity@aol.com.



The University of Vermont Medical Group at Fletcher Allen recently named radiologist Jeffrey Klein of Williston “Continuing Medical Educator of the Year” for his work as a teacher and administrator.

Dr. Klein serves as the associate dean for continuing medical education at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He was one of eight physicians in the UVM Medical Group to receive an award. There are approximately 450 physicians in the group.

“These awards seek to recognize and encourage the critically important work our members do beyond providing excellent patient care,” said Paul Taheri, president of the UVM Medical Group and senior associate dean for clinical affairs at UVM, in a news release.



The Williston Soccer Club, a non–profit parent volunteers club that sponsors boys and girls teams for indoor winter and outdoor spring competitive play, is registering players for its outdoor spring season. To register, visit www.willistonsoccerclub.com, select “LINKS” on the homepage and complete registration form. The registration deadline is Feb. 12.

Outdoor practice and games will begin at the end of April.

Selectboard approves operating budget

3 percent increase adopted

Jan. 26, 2012

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff


On what would have been American patriot John Hancock’s 275th birthday, the democratic process was on full display at Monday’s Williston Selectboard meeting, with the Board agreeing upon a fiscal year 2013 operating budget of $8,311,530 and to put an additional budget expenditure on road paving up to a separate vote on Town Meeting Day.

The budget adopted by the Selectboard represents a $247,010 increase over the current fiscal year. However, it shaves $90,700 from the initial budget presented by Williston Town Manager Rick McGuire on Dec. 5, including the decision not to fund an afterschool enrichment coordinator position and the elimination of a proposed $10,000 increase to the town’s Environmental Reserve Fund.

From a municipal tax perspective, the cuts mean that annual property taxes for residents would increase an estimated $10 for every $100,000 of assessed home value — as opposed to the $20 increase originally proposed.

“I think Rick’s done a great job, and I was really happy to see these changes, and I think that they won’t impact things too severely,” said Selectboard member Debbie Ingram.

The subject of most contention was a $160,000 line item for the retreatment of deteriorating town roads that was not included in the budget McGuire presented to the Board.

“As much as I think this is a good budget, it’s a budget I’m worried about, too,” said Selectboard Deputy Chairman Jeff Fehrs. “I don’t think we are appropriately funding various services as we should be, and the one that’s the most glaring to me is retreatment.”

Selectboard member Chris Roy proposed leaving the road paving question up to town residents.

“If people want to make the further investment in the roads, they can think about that and vote about that separately,” Roy said. “I do think voters would appreciate the opportunity to own a portion of the budget and have their voice be heard.”

Roy’s motion unanimously passed, meaning that residents will have the opportunity to cast a separate vote on the retreatment question on Town Meeting Day, in addition to voting on the overall operating budget.


The theme of democracy in action continued later in the meeting, when resident Allaire Diamond appeared before the Selectboard to advocate the inclusion of a ballot item on the official Town Meeting warning, which proposes that “money is not political speech, that corporations are not persons under the United States Constitution … (and) that the General Assembly of the State of Vermont pass a similar resolution.”

The proposed ballot item is in response to the landmark Jan. 21, 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which paved the way for the so-called “Super PACs” (political action committees) that can accept unlimited campaign contributions for candidates.

“This is an issue that is important and deserves discussion,” said Diamond, who obtained signatures of 7 percent of eligible town voters on a petition. “That’s the mission behind having it on the warning — to have a townwide discussion on it.”

The question put before the Selectboard was not to decide on the merits of the ballot item, but rather to determine if it is appropriate for that type of nationally charged issue to be debated at the town level.

“You have to make a decision not based on the merits, because if you allow it, then next year or the year after when you have another (petition) coming in — regardless of your view — it’s going to have to be included, I think, once you’ve set a precedent,” said McGuire.

Ingram motioned that the Board allow the item to be included on the Town Meeting warning; with the caveat that a precedent be established to only include such items in the future if at least 5 percent of voters sign a petition.

“It is democracy in action,” Ingram said. “I think we should — for sure — put it on the town warning.”

The motion passed, 4-1, with Roy opposed.


Amarah’s Chocolate Company adds flavor to marketplace

Jan. 26, 2012

By Steven Frank

Observer staff


Dave and Angela Emerson own and operate Amarah’s Chocolate Company, located in the Taft Corners Shopping Center in Williston. In addition to hundreds of chocolate and candy varieties, the shop also serves hand-dipped ice cream and shakes during the spring and summer. (Observer photos by Steven Frank)

Ann Sikora recalled how, when her husband died two years ago and she was incapacitated a short time afterward following knee replacement surgery, Angela and David Emerson helped out with errands such as grocery shopping.

“They are the kindest people, just lovely, and I don’t use that term easily,” said Sikora, a Williston resident.

For the Emersons, that “sweet” service is an extension of the service they’ve been offering area consumers since 2003. That’s when the husband and wife team opened up a candy/gift store at the Taft Corners Shopping Center in Williston — renaming it after their then 8-year-old daughter, Amarah, in 2006.

The inventory at Amarah’s Chocolate Company includes 72 kinds of chocolate-covered cordials, seemingly endless walls of candy and a glass display case packed with assorted chocolate delectables.

“We have the largest (retail) selection of sweets in Chittenden County, probably in Vermont. And we can say that with confidence,” said Angela Emerson, also has an 18-year-old son, Jared.

Dave Emerson added: “We’re actually more of a gift store than a treat store. We have so many gift items.”

In a marketplace that has seen one specialty candy shop recently close at the University Mall in South Burlington and another (Sweet Tooth’s Candy and Gifts) that’s planning to shut its doors in Waterbury at the end of February, Amarah’s is surviving and thriving off an assortment of strategies.

A few years ago, noticing that business was slower in the warmer months, the Emersons began offering hand-dipped ice cream, sundaes and shakes. In 2007, they launched a customer reward program. This year, they began a buy more, save more program. There is also a new 16-by-4-foot wooden display featuring 79 varieties of gummy candy.

Where did these initiatives come from?

Amarah’s offers items for color-coordinated candy buffets, which owner Angela Emerson said are popular at anniversary and birthday parties, and weddings.

“We listen to our customers,” said Angela Emerson, who also sells sugar items that she handcrafts. “We do what they ask us to do. We carry what they buy.”

A large amount of that feedback is generated through the company’s Facebook page, which is updated several times a week. Recent postings on Amarah’s Facebook wall feature pictures of its Valentine’s Day items including a chocolate rose root (a pretzel stem covered with milk chocolate and caramel), a bouquet of dark chocolate roses, a chocolate-covered swan and a cut glass chocolate foil heart box filled with artisan heart truffles.

“If you don’t change with the times, you sink the ship,” Amanda Emerson said of social networking.

The Emersons also interact with customers through a free newsletter that’s e-mailed. Customers can sign up for the newsletter through Amarah’s website.

Sikora is one of those newsletter recipients.

“They are very astute to how the business world is changing,” said Sikora, who buys dark chocolate at Amarah’s for her son-in-law (a dentist) and treats for her 11 grandchildren. “If things aren’t selling, something will change. I remember when they put in ice cream. They know how to keep improving.”

According to Angela Emerson, however, 2012 won’t be a year of significant change.

“This is the first year where we don’t feel we have to make a change. Right now, it’s just about letting people know what we have,” she said. “We’re not going to be buying Bentleys anytime soon but (our business) is doing fine.”

Amarah’s Chocolate Company can be found online at www.amarahschocolatecompany.com and www.facebook.com/Amarahs. Store hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Amarah’s is also open Sundays, beginning three weeks prior to major holidays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Living history

Williston Historical Society preserves town’s past

Jan. 26, 2012

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff


Middlesex resident and WCVT Classic Vermont Choral Hour host Linda Radtke (above) performed a program of songs celebrating Vermont history as part of the Williston Historical Society’s annual meeting, held Jan. 24 at the Williston Federated Church. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

If you veer left when you enter the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library in Williston, you might suddenly find yourself in a time warp.

The workaday drag of modernity will fade away as you open the door to the Vermont Room and are confronted with the pleasantly musty smell of the old books and relics of Williston antiquity.

The preserved treasures are myriad:

A wedding dress and veil worn by Harriet Burnett in 1929.

A pair of ladies shoes, circa 1890.

A portrait of Sylvia Warren — the pioneer of local library sciences — who served as head of the Williston Public Library from 1905-1955.

Then there’s a time capsule, unscathed from the ravages of time — its wood crafted in 2000 as part of a Williston Central School eighth grade challenge project that might someday be instructive to Willistonians of future millennia.

Such mementos from Williston’s past were preserved through the efforts of the Williston Historical Society, a group founded in 1974.

Ginger Isham, who joined the Historical Society in 1977, told the Observer in an e-mail that her interest in the group was based both upon her family’s longstanding local ties and her desire to learn more about the town’s history.

“Reading the history of our town written by local folks made me feel proud of those who are no longer on this earth who saw the importance of saving and preserving our town’s history,” Isham wrote. “I get so excited about the Historical Society and think how grateful we all should be today for the group that started the society who are no longer with us.”

The Historical Society has been headed since 2006 by Terry Macaig, chairman of the Williston Selectboard and a two-term State Rep.

“When I was in school, I couldn’t care less about history, but as I got older, it seems to be something I’ve gotten interested in doing — especially Williston history,” Macaig said. “I’ve lived in Williston since ’66 and have seen the town grow and some of the things that have happened in town, so it’s always great to get involved and try to see what happened in years past, even before I got here.”

In addition to the many historical items memorialized in the library, the Historical Society is trying to preserve the town’s oral tradition.

“We try to get people in town active and try to do oral histories with some of the old-time folks in town, to try and get their slant on what happened in the town in past years,” Macaig said.

The Society was also instrumental in commissioning the construction of the statue of Thomas Chittenden — the first governor of Vermont and the founder of Williston — that currently stands on the village green in front of Williston Central School.

“We were given an endowment and were able to have a likeness (of Chittenden) made, because no one ever knew what he looked like,” Isham said.

There are currently about 60 members in the Historical Society, which had its annual membership meeting on Jan. 24. Upcoming events include the annual Independence Day ice cream social and the Vermont History Expo, which will be held in June in Tunbridge.

And although 2012 has just begun, the society is already looking forward to 2013, when Williston will celebrate its 250th anniversary.

Macaig said it’s too soon to announce any definite plans for the town’s sestercentennial, but he assured that the milestone will be celebrated in style.

“We’re working on it,” he said.

Nascent newsmen

Student newspaper a mouthpiece for the masses

Jan. 26, 2012

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff


Blue & Gold writers (from left to right) Laurynn Bombardier, Molly Duncan and Nathan VanBuren are three of the approximately 150 reporters who contribute to the Williston School District’s student newspaper annually. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

What’s blue and gold and read all over?

The Williston School District’s student newspaper, now that The Blue & Gold is an online blog instead of a biannual print publication.

“When we made a decision to switch to (an online blog), we did a survey of all the teachers,” said Williston Central School grades 5-8 enrichment teacher Cris Milks, “and we found out people really liked a common place where we could report school-wide news, but the paper copy wasn’t always being read.”

Although the readership numbers of the print newspaper were hard to ascertain, Milks said that they’ve already had more than 3,500 website hits and 160 comments on students’ articles since switching to the blog format this school year.

Betty Poirot, Milks’ counterpart for grades K-4, said the commenting feature has engaged both students and families in the journalism process.

“The ability to comment has really generated a lot of interest with families,” said Poirot, “and within the school we’re having whole classes commenting on work that kids in different houses are doing.”

Poirot also observed that while the blog format is a non-traditional form of journalism, it has allowed The Blue & Gold to be a more news-oriented publication.

“In our search to be timely and relevant, trying to report all the news from the school twice a year was really tough,” Poirot said.

Richard Allen, a local historian who taught at WCS for 37 years, founded The Blue & Gold in 1990 and started the enrichment program in 1988.

“It seemed like a natural thing to do,” Allen said. “A lot of the work I was doing was with small groups, and one of the attractive reasons (for starting The Blue & Gold) was to serve a wider audience.”

On average, 150 students write articles in the course of a school year, but Milks said she would like to have a group of interested students report on a regular basis.

“Our ultimate vision is to have regular reporters,” Milks said, “but what we’ve been doing so far is pulling in kids (when) we know there’s a story related to their team and having them write stories on it.”

One of the students who has shown a budding interest in journalism is sixth-grader Molly Duncan.

“I’m less of a creative writer as I am a reporter,” said Duncan, who recently co-authored an article on stormwater runoff with classmate Julia Neeld. “I like to write more about facts. I like gathering information and putting that in my own words. I can inform people about things that I think are cool or things that I think need to be recognized.”

Fellow sixth-grader Nathan VanBuren, who collaborated with Abby Rosenthal on a piece about ecological succession, shares Duncan’s interest in writing.

“I really enjoy writing,” VanBuren said. “You can share what’s on your mind.”

For fourth grade student Laurynn Bombardier, seeing the feedback from friends and family was the best part of the process.

“I told my parents about it, and then they told all my family members and they (commented) on it,” Bombardier said. “It feels really good that people actually checked out my work.”

Poirot, who has three kindergarten reporters “who are on the job all the time,” noted that in addition to fostering the journalistic aspirations of young Willistonians, The Blue & Gold serves a valuable function as the collective voice of the student body.

“Within the school, the teachers and the administration like the overview of the entire school that The Blue & Gold provides,” said Poirot. “It gives you the school-wide view and it really has value for that.”

The Blue & Gold can be found on the Williston School District’s website (www.wsdvt.org), under the link listed on the left-hand column of the homepage.

Police Chief Nelson resigns

Jan. 26, 2012

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff


Police Chief Roy Nelson (File photo)

Police Chief Roy Nelson resigned Monday as head of the Williston Police Department, seven months after taking an indefinite leave of absence to undergo cancer treatment.

Citing uncertainty about his future health and the desire to be close to family in Connecticut, Nelson steps down less than two years after assuming the position as Williston’s chief law enforcement officer.

“I can’t be selfish about the department. I didn’t want to be dragging them out long-term,” said Nelson, whose resignation will be effective Jan. 31. “The department needs to have stability, and I’m not in the position to really give that stability and foster growth by being here in Connecticut addressing my needs, so I thought it was the prudent thing to do both personally and professionally.”

Nelson, 53, drove from Connecticut on Sunday and hand-delivered his letter of resignation to Williston Town Manager Rick McGuire Monday morning.

“He’s such a gentleman and a professional,” McGuire said of Nelson, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s mantle cell lymphoma in April 2011. “He wanted to be the person who explained it to the members of the police department, so after he talked to me he went next door and met with the officers that were around.”

Nelson, who began cancer treatment on June 16, said he is currently in the recovery phase of a treatment regimen that included hyper-CVAD chemotherapy. His next checkup will be in April.

“I’m optimistic that (with) the care that I’ve been given so far that we’re addressing the issue as best as possible,” said Nelson. “Probably one of the biggest problems with this cancer is the remission rate is low, and because of that it’s just an unknown territory, because remission is based on time.”

McGuire said the town will begin seeking a replacement for Nelson as soon as possible, with the goal of having a new chief in place by June 1. He noted that he will use the same vetting process and hiring criteria that were utilized when Nelson was hired.

Roy Nelson was sworn in as Williston’s new police chief in July 2010. He is resigning from the position effective Jan. 31, seven months after taking an indefinite leave of absence to undergo cancer treatment. (File photo)

“I think the process we followed last time was successful. By that, I mean I ended up hiring someone who did the job for us,” said McGuire. “Whoever you hire, you want to have them share our vision of the direction we want the department to go in.”

In the meantime, Douglas Hoyt will remain in his role as interim police chief.

“I’m not about to pack up and leave,” Hoyt said.

McGuire said he has been in weekly contact with Nelson since he took his initial leave of absence and that he expects those conversations to continue.

“He offered to help out wherever he could in the transition,” McGuire said. “In fact, he’ll be making other trips up here.”

Nelson praised the town and the police department, and expressed regret that he won’t be able to finish the job he started.

“I can’t say enough about the town of Williston,” Nelson said. “I’m just disappointed I didn’t get a chance to put more time in. That’s my biggest disappointment in this whole thing.”

While he recovers from the aftereffects of chemotherapy and awaits what he hopes will be an encouraging prognosis in April, Nelson said he will spend as much time as he can with family.

“I kind of realized what my priorities are in life right now, and my family’s at the top of the list,” Nelson said. “Right now, every day that I get to spend with my family is just a great day, and that’s what I’m going to be doing.”


Jan. 26, 2012



Surrounded by her family, Christine Percita (Twombly) Ryan, 85, passed away peacefully on Jan. 19, in her home, due to complications following a stroke. She was born in Morrisville on Nov. 19, 1926. Christine was a longtime and much loved employee of Fletcher Allen Hospital. She was best known for her honesty, never-ending smiles and laughter. Christine was also devoted to her family and, without hesitation, would help any way she could. She will also be missed for her never-ending quest for the perfect cup of coffee and her soft-spoken “Honey Girl” to her grandchildren. She was the daughter of the late Henry Twombly and Ellen Brown. Her beloved husband, George Ryan, and daughter, Ellen Laberge, predeceased her in 2006. She is survived by five children, Phillip Ryan of Colchester, Charlene Marchbank and her husband, Jim, of Santa Ana, Calif., Darleen Dove of Santa Ana, Calif., Penny Caesar and her husband, Geoff, of Garden Grove, Calif., Jill Martin and her husband, Duke, of Nipomo, Calif.; six grandchildren, Debbi Sheehan of Vergennes, Sherry Pontbriand and her husband, Steve, of Georgia, Aimee Boucher and her husband, Michael, of Colchester, Wendy Ostroy and her husband, Allen, of Burlington, Ryan Martin and Alyson Martin of Nipomo, Calif.; son-in-law, John Laberge of Vergennes; seven great-grandchildren; sisters and brothers, Georgiana Vincent of Essex Junction, Barbara Verdi of Colchester, Kenneth Twombly and his wife, Priscilla, of Easton, Conn., Luella Barbour of Williston, Oliver Twombly of Barre; brother-in-law, John Ryan Jr. and his wife, Helen, of Enfield, Conn.; her cousin, Richard Newcity of Barton; many cousins, nieces and nephews; and her beloved Missy. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Williston on Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 11 a.m. Interment will take place this spring. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to the Humane Society of Chittenden County, 142 Kindness Court, South Burlington, Vt. 05403