February 12, 2016

Letters to the Editor

Jan. 19, 2012


Solar energy needs further study

I am writing in reference to last week’s article (Observer, “Solar spotlight,” Jan. 12, 2012). Although solar and/or windpower may be the best solution to both Vermont and Williston’s energy needs, I think that the proposal needs to be examined more carefully.

I was, however, appalled by the solution that the voters be bypassed yet again. The suggested course of action reminds me of the ambulance issue, which as you might recall, reversed a decision by the taxpayers by slipping that item into the town budget. Let us not reinforce a questionable precedent in the affairs of our town by once again taking a path that would circumvent the voters (our taxpayers), even if the cause is laudable.

Mike Mauss



Attend the school budget public hearing

There’s foliage season, the holiday season, mud season and if you are a School Board member, budget season!

Your Williston School Board members, administrators, and community budget buddies have been working since October to create a school budget that provides the best education for our children with the least amount of tax dollars — no easy task given the current economic challenges in our town, state and nation. Continuing the same budget as last year would have resulted in more than a 3-percent monetary increase, which would have increased the tax rate beyond what the Board felt was reasonable to ask of the community. As we prepare for the community budget hearing on Jan. 26, we are putting forth a budget that continues excellent programs — such as the school wide enrichment program and Connecting Youth mentoring program. In addition, this year’s budget includes a summer skills program, a summer camp for our increasing English Language Learners population and an extended day program to serve those students who need additional academic time.

Our administrative team was able to make cost-saving decisions that only slightly increase our school budget (less than 2 percent), resulting in less than a 3 percent increase in school taxes.

The School Board would like to thank Darlene Worth, Keith Roy, Marsha Drake and Thomas Hark for serving as budget buddies. Their feedback and insights were instrumental in helping create a budget that is reflective of our students’ and community’s needs. We invite you to join us, along with some of the Champlain Valley Union High School Board representatives from Williston, on Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. in the Williston Central School dining room for our annual budget hearing to hear more details regarding next year’s Williston and CVU school budgets.

Holly Rouelle, chair; Deb Baker Moody, vice chair, Giovanna

Boggero, Joshua Diamond

and Kevin Mara.

Williston School Board


Retail competition is good, traffic is not

This is the Wal-Mart fight all over again. Everyone is/was anti Wal-Mart, but yet everyone shops at department stores (vs. mom and pop or small shops) because of the prices. Target will merely offer competition and a choice other than Wal-Mart. If Kmart would actually invest in their local store(s), they could also compete — but they choose not to. For Target to compete, it needs adequate (i.e. equal) space like Wal-Mart.

I, and many others, agree on the traffic concern. But the traffic issue is not Target’s problem; it is a local (town, county, and state) planning issue. Collectively, these planning boards, entities and protesters have screwed this up. All these “alternatives” are not going to fix this traffic mess. Most of the opposing comments cite the existing traffic problems, and don’t want to make it worse. Lets fix this Circumferential Highway once and for all so Sen. Robert Stafford can rest in peace.

Mike Mullin



Ritchie’s charitable work stretches beyond article

Your article saluting Brigitte Ritchie (“Salient survivor,” Observer, Jan. 12, 2012) mentioned many reasons to respect her and her charitable work on behalf of Citizens Bank. I’d like to add one more. For six years, Brigitte has connected Citizens Bank to the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival. The festival, with the generous support of Citizens Bank, has donated over $550,000 to local cancer-related causes including Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, The Cancer Patient Support Fund, and most recently, Survivorship NOW — whose goal is to offer wellness programs to bridge the gap in support for cancer survivors between treatment and recovery.

Each summer, Brigitte’s spirit and determination permeates the festival. A tribute to Brigitte is incomplete without mention of her work with Dragonheart Vermont and the Lake Champlain Dragon Boat Festival.

Debra McConnell



Sign petition to reverse U.S. Supreme Court decision

The year 2010 was a watershed year in American history, as it was the year that the Supreme Court of the United States decided the case known as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The court’s 5-4 split decision effectively affords the same First Amendment rights granted to every American citizen to corporations.

The practical effect of this decision permits corporations and unions to spend unlimited amounts of money to sway the results of elections without disclosing the source of funding. Citizens of the United States, wishing to know the agenda of a virtually unlimited barrage of advertising, will have no way of knowing who is behind the ads and what their agenda is.

To reverse this decision, the only recourse of the people is to work toward an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that explicitly denies corporations the rights of personhood. We are working locally to get a resolution on the warning for Williston’s Town Meeting that will allow us to express the fact that corporations are not persons. We still need signatures from Williston voters, ideally by Jan. 20, to get this resolution on the ballot. I would highly encourage Williston voters to join your neighbors, who have already signed, to get your names on the petition. Please email WillistonResolution@gmail.com.

Seth Maciejowski


Recipe corner

Healthy and hearty cookies

Jan. 19, 2012

By Ginger Isham


Oatmeal cookies have been around for years, and are a favorite of most children and adults. You can add any combination of chocolate chips, Craisins, raisins and/or nuts. I like to press one-half a nut on top of the cookie in case someone doesn’t like nuts. These are healthy, hearty and — when hot from the oven — make you want more than one. They are made without flour.



2/3 cup melted butter (I use 1/3 cup olive or canola oil, and 1/3 cup butter or any combination)

1 1/4 cup brown sugar  (I use 1 cup)

3/4 cup white sugar (I use 1/2 cup)

3 eggs (can use 2 eggs and 1 egg white)

1 1/2 cup peanut butter  (room temperature, may use chunky style)

6 cups oatmeal (quick or old-fashioned oats)

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 cups raisins (I use 3/4 cup Craisins)

1 package chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate chips)

Beat butter, sugars, eggs and peanut butter together until well blended and smooth. Mix in oatmeal gradually with rest of ingredients. Using a generous tablespoon of dough, form gently with hands into about a 3-inch ball and gently press down a little. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12 -15 minutes. Makes about 36 big cookies.



3 1/2 cups flour

2 1/3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats

1 3/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Pinch of salt

3 1/2 sticks of butter (I use 2 sticks of butter and 1/2 cup canola or olive oil)

1 3/4 cups white sugar  (I use scant 1 1/2 cups)

1 3/4 cups brown sugar  (I use scant 1 1/2 cups)

1 can pumpkin (15-ounce size)

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/3 cups chopped nuts

1 1/3 cup raisins

Beat butter, sugars, pumpkin, eggs, and vanilla together until batter is smooth. Add flour, baking soda, salt and mix well. Stir in nuts and raisins. With large tablespoon, drop batter onto lightly greased cookie sheet and spread to about a 3-inch circle. Bake at 350 degrees for 12- 15 minutes. Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes before removing to cooling rack. May decorate with icing. Enjoy cookies with hot tea on a cold day.


Ginger Isham lives with her husband on a fifth generation family farm on Oak Hill Road.


Little Details

Food for the journey

Jan. 19, 2012

By Katherine Bielawa Stamper


The bus from Haverfordwest deposited us on the side of the road, beside a potato patch.

“I don’t normally drop people off here,” our driver cautioned in a thick Welsh accent. He obliged our request nonetheless, guiding our way, saying, “Slate Mill is about two miles down, on the right.”

Pelted by intermittent raindrops, my husband, daughter and I trudged along a muddy connector — more like a rutted driveway — to reach the two-lane road that would bring us to our night’s lodging. Cows in an open-air barn eyed us curiously as we passed, backpacks strapped to our bodies. Wagons overflowing with freshly harvested potatoes, caked in earth, beckoned. They were not ours to take.

We departed civilization to spend six days traversing Wales’ Pembrokeshire Coastal Walk. The path is 186 miles long; we aimed to cover 70. With a map, compass and weather-wary wardrobes, we planned to hike 12 -18 miles per day, sleeping at pre-arranged hostels and guesthouses.

Slate Mill Lodge offered lovely, ramped up accommodations. We stayed here because the more affordable hostel was booked.

David, the innkeeper, restored the 13th century mill, transforming it into traveler accommodations. The stone and stucco exterior was surrounded by slate pathways and gardens.

Born in London in 1944, David’s father was a sculptor and his mother was a physician. This Welshman was raised by French-speaking nannies and governesses.

David was a man of business, whose politics differed from mine. His choice of newspapers — conservative tabloids — made me wish I’d packed a Guardian in my pack. He spent 20 years in Bayeux in Normandy, France — a town I visited — as proprietor of an inn. His return to Wales was precipitated by a seemingly unpleasant divorce.

“Will you be having dinner?” David asked.

Reviewing the survivalist rations in our packs — peanut butter, apples, bread, cheese and Welsh cookies — we answered, “Yes, please. We should tell you we’re vegetarians.”

“It’s no problem,” David assured. “I’m quite comfortable cooking vegetarian. How about you come around for dinner at 6:30?”

We settled into our suite. Our daughter stayed in the main guesthouse, connecting on Facebook with friends in Vermont. British television provided a bit of a treat. We didn’t always “get” the humor, but became slightly hooked on “Britain’s Got Talent!”

There’s always a risk ordering a meal when there is no menu. We learned this while seeking dinner on a two-tabled, front porch restaurant run out of a woman’s home in a tiny town in Greece. The fasolada (bean soup) was tasty; the bill rivaled an upscale Athenian taverna.

David knocked on our door at about 5:45 and explained that dinner would be ready at 6, not 6:30. We obliged and arrived at the prescribed time. I wore one of the two dresses I packed for the trip.

Let me tell you about the meal. We experienced an amazing French-inspired feast that tantalized our American taste buds. Glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon greeted us upon arrival. Our appetites were wetted with freshly baked rosemary bread and a vegetarian pate of chickpeas, mushrooms and corn, served with spiced apple jam. This was the first act in what would be a gustatory parade of intriguing edibles.

David sat beside us at the sprawling dining room table, sipping Scotch (I think). He departed only to re-appear with each subsequent course. We discussed travel, politics and theater. David mentioned how he’d befriended Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh while attending a party in London years ago, ultimately forming a friendship with Olivier’s son, Tarquin. I wondered how much was true and how much was, perhaps, enhanced-storytelling.

The main course arrived: red and green peppers stuffed with beans and herbs, resting in a sherry mushroom sauce. A cheese plate followed, with appearances by aromatic Camembert, Brie and Boursin sharing the porcelain stage with stout Welsh cheddar. Romaine salad speckled with Spanish onions and green olives followed as our meal stretched past two hours of consuming and conversing.

My husband excused himself from the table to retreat to our room, passing on dessert. My daughter and I indulged in crepes with raspberries, strawberries and mint surrounded by a thin layer of what David called “sexy cream” — sweetened cream flavored with a hint of lemon vodka.

The meal was extraordinary, the conversation tantalizing. The bill, presented to us upon checkout the next morning, was expensive but worth every British pence. We walked 18 miles that day, fueled by wonderful French food, savored in the heart of Wales.


Katherine Bielawa Stamper lives in Williston. Reader comments are welcome at Editor@willistonobserver.com or LittleDetailsCol@yahoo.com.

PHOTOS: CVU wrestling

Observer photos by Jennifer Olson

Clark Poston claimed the championship in the 182-pound weight class, leading the Champlain Valley Union wrestling team to a second-place finish at the 17-squad Otter Valley Tournament on Jan. 7. Grant Poston finished second in the 160-pound division. Alex Craige and Connor Brown placed third in their respective classes.

PHOTOS: 50 Hour Film Contest

Observer photos by Stephen Mease (www.stevemease.com)

Max Erickson, a senior at Champlain Valley Union High School, directed the film, ‘Gap Year,’ which won for Best Cinematography in the 50 Hour Film Contest. Several CVU students were involved in the film’s production. A screening took place at Essex Cinemas on Dec. 15.

PHOTOS: Celebrate the Arts

Observer photos by Stephen Mease (www.stevemease.com)

The third annual Celebrate the Arts Night was held at Champlain Valley Union High School on Jan. 5. The event featured 450 pieces of visual art created by CVU students currently enrolled in arts courses. Also on view were practical artwork from Technology Education and Fashion Design students.


This Week’s Popcorn

‘A Dangerous Method’


Jan. 12, 2012

3 & ½ popcorns

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer


Esoteric, a bit obscure and yet nonetheless absorbing, director David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method” chronicles what very well may be one of the earliest psychological dramas (or more correctly, the first one occurring just after the terminology, now so common, came into use). Dr. Jung meets Dr. Freud and our libidos will never be the same.

It’s Zurich, 1904, and Sabina Spielrein, a horribly hysterical, young Russian woman is brought, completely fettered, to Dr. Carl Jung’s clinic in a last ditch hope that he might cure her. To the backdrop of his own, antithetically subtle uneasiness, the physician speculates aloud to his wife that this patient may be a candidate for the “talking cure.”

Let the analysis begin. We’ve seen such morbid memories and causes unearthed before, but perhaps never with such historical import. Oh…I don’t remember if good wife Emma (Sarah Gadon), pregnant with their first child, asks the pioneering physician if Sabina (Keira Knightley) is pretty, but you get the gist. See! Freud is right. It’s all about sex.

Well, in this case it is, kind of, maybe. But just to be sure, let’s put a call in to the illustrious Dr. Sigmund Freud, pontificating ad nauseam in his dark, Vienna office and smoking more cigars in a day than General Grant did in a week. Portrayed effectively by Viggo Mortensen, he becomes a pen pal and then a friend of the admiring adherent.

Still, though crouched right alongside Herr Doktor at the embattlements declaring their medical revolution, Dr. Jung, convincingly played by Michael Fassbender, has an opinion or two of his own. While it ultimately seems that Freud would rather he didn’t, in time it leads to a lively and edifying discussion. Voila! The footings for psychoanalysis are laid.

Making it a triangle, though not quite in the conventional sense, Sabina, as both a case history and one who also aspires to a career in the emerging psychiatry, becomes an integral catalyst to the doings. And yep, for all the noble talk of science and objectivity, before long “A Dangerous Method” adds a steamy love story to its highfalutin discourse.

While it is hardly as impossible as Freud’s “The Interpretation of Dreams,” viewers educated by Mr. Cronenberg’s film, adapted from John Kerr’s book by Christopher Hampton, might feel they deserve three credits toward a master’s degree in psychology. However, truth is the filmmaker probably had to dumb it down to make it accessible.

He must have, if I think I understand it. Expect intense conversations that begin with, “Yes, but if that’s so, it follows that…” To which the first claimant inevitably removes yet another layer of the onion skin that is our psyche. It can get pretty brutal, though no one in the theater I saw it in ran out screaming, “I don’t feel that way about my mother at all!”

The fascinating thing is, for all the upper crust ruminations and deep thoughts divulged, director Cronenberg, who made his bones in the shock-and-awe horror genre, manages a rather fluid, rarely staid scenario. Supported by some swell, mood-evoking sets with just the right, period-identifying appurtenances, the story achieves its deserved significance.

Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that society thought nothing of tossing its psychologically challenged population into dungeon-like institutions, never to be heard from again. In fact, we’re fairly assured that a fate not too much better might have befallen Sabina were it not for her upper middle class background and Dr. Jung’s interest.

As it is, a good deal of the treatments and theories, both then and still now, are pretty nightmarish. Such conditions are bound to prevail when almost half of your citizenry isn’t really sure if it wants to help its less fortunate numbers. Happily, there are moments in time when compassion clicks in folks and they realize the true meaning of civilization.

Such is the medical renaissance we are made privy to as Jung sets about not only to cure Sabina of her deep, dark demons, but also to virtually change her emotional makeup. But aha, detracts Freud, this is where we good doctors separate. Nope, he says, cure yes, change, no…we are hardwired, for all intents and purposes, to the serial number we were issued.

Beats me, though I have no doubt that professional and amateur shrinks alike will have a field day disagreeing to their hearts content. As for the rest of us, I remind of the apocrypha attributed to Freud, whereas “Sometimes a cigar is just a good smoke.”

Meaning it’s a safe bet, I have no subconscious motive for recommending “A Dangerous Method.”

“A Dangerous Method,” rated R, is a Sony Pictures Classics release directed by David Cronenberg and stars Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley and Viggo Mortensen. Running time: 99 minutes 

CVU sports schedule

Jan. 12, 2012



Friday: RICE MEMORIAL, 7:15 p.m.



Thursday: BFA-ST. ALBANS, 7:15 p.m.



No meets scheduled



Saturday: RUTLAND, 6 p.m.



Saturday: at Spaulding, 3:45 p.m.



No scheduled events



Saturday: site and time to be announced



Thursday: at Spaulding, 6 p.m.


Schedules subject to change

Sports Shorts

Jan. 12, 2012



It was the fifth scheduled event of the season and the site was changed, but the Champlain Valley Union Nordic ski team at long last raced in an interscholastic event Saturday (Jan. 7).

Redhawk boys and girls teams each came in second in the six-school event, held at Craftsbury after being switched from U-32 High School in East Montpelier.

CVU is slated to try again Saturday against South Burlington and Burlington at a site to be determined (one with adequate snow cover).

The girls took second Saturday with 24 points, just nudged from the top by Middlebury’s 23.

CVU’s Sienna Searles captured second place, Taylor Spillane took sixth and Emma Hamilton was 10th.

The boys, led by Emmett Peterson (sixth) and Sean Delaney (eighth) were the runner-up with 38 points to U-32’s 26.



The Champlain Valley Union girls hockey team will try to snap a seven-game losing streak to start the season Saturday afternoon in Barre with a 3:45 p.m. face off against 4-3 Spaulding.

On Jan. 7, the Redhawks got a pair of goals from Molly Dunphy, her fifth and sixth of the campaign, but bowed 6-2 to Colchester. The Lakers unloaded 40 shots on CVU net minder Nicole Sisk.

On Jan. 4, Missisquoi Valley Union bopped the ‘Hawks in Highgate, 11-3. Dunphy, Rowan Hayes and Kristina Ushakova had CVU’s tallies.

CVU grapplers take second at otter valley tourney

Clark Poston claimed the championship in the 182-pound weight class, leading the Champlain Valley Union wrestling team to a second-place finish at the 17-squad Otter Valley Tournament on Jan. 7.

“To my knowledge, this is our best finish in a varsity tournament in at least a decade, possibly longer,” CVU wrestling coach Rahn Fleming wrote to the Observer.

Grant Poston finished second in the 160-pound division. Alex Craige and Connor Brown placed third in their respective classes.

The Redhawks brought 12 wrestlers to the event.

—Mal Boright and Steven Frank


Stowe stops CVU boys hockey

Defending Division I champion ‘Hawks dip below .500

Jan. 12, 2012

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent


The Champlain Valley Union High boys hockey team returns to home ice at Cairns Arena Saturday (6 p.m.) to meet the Rutland Red Raiders, an aggregation the Redhawks bopped 4-1 in Rutland three weeks ago.

CVU had business at Stowe Tuesday, where the ‘Hawks bowed to the Raiders 5-2. Stowe fired 38 shots on CVU’s net. Griffin Brady and Patrick Keelan notched goals for 4-5 CVU, which took 28 shots.

For coach Mike Murray’s skaters, last week featured a 4-2 victory at Spaulding in Barre on Jan. 4, followed by a 5-1 loss to a speedy 8-1 South Burlington team Saturday (Jan. 7) at Cairns.

Against the Rebels, it was a case of too much blitz too soon. The Rebels came out flying, scoring twice in the first four minutes and never looking back.

Apparently put back on their heels by the swift, aggressive Rebels, the Redhawks did not get much going on the offensive side of the ice until the final period — when they fired eight of their 12 shots at South Burlington net minder Nate Young. Patrick Pattison scored on a wicked 10-footer from the left side with just more than nine minutes remaining. An assist went to Will Bernicke.

The score came on one of four power play opportunities the Redhawks had in the period. The Rebels’ effective penalty killing kept CVU pretty much bottled up on the three extra-skater situations that followed the goal. South Burlington made it 5-1 with a shorthanded tally by Tommy Royer with 3:24 left.

Sam Finkelstein and Matt Baechle had the first period goals for the victors, while Chris Weinhiemer scored in the second period and Charles Hall got a goal early in the third period in a crash with CVU goalie Jason O’Brien that pulled the net from its mooring. O’Brien had 23 stops.

Outshot 8-1 in the first reel, CVU slowly got some flow going by the third period for some positive take-away.

It was CVU youth day at Spaulding, where freshmen Kaleb Godbout and Cam Rivard, along with sophomore Pattison, popped home goals. Senior Chris Bulla also scored. O’Brien saved 19 shots.