April 20, 2019

‘When collecting has gone bad’

The horrors of hoarding

Feb. 23, 2012

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff


Many of us have areas of the house we wish were less cluttered — the dining room table that doubles as an office space, the Ping-Pong table that hasn’t seen a game in years, the unworkable work den.

Then there are those people whose houses are so packed with stuff that they become unlivable.

Picture a living room that resembles a landfill; or a bathtub so crammed with newspapers that bathing is impossible; or a refrigerator overflowing with spoiled food.

In these cases, the accumulation of material possessions reaches such an extreme that it can threaten a person’s health and create fire hazards or vermin infestations.

It’s called hoarding, and it’s an issue that even health professionals are struggling to fully understand.

“Hoarding is when collecting has gone bad,” said Mark Schroeter, a supervisor with the developmental services department at the Howard Center human services agency in Burlington. “Collectors have a collection that’s on display; hoarders just accumulate and accumulate and can’t stop.”

Schroeter is a member of the Chittenden County Hoarding Task Force, a group formed in 2009 to spread awareness of and help those suffering from compulsive hoarding, also known as pathological collecting.

Mike Ohler, another member of the Task Force, brings to the group first-hand experience working with hoarders through the Burlington Housing Authority.

“It’s not like it’s some new societal problem,” Ohler said of hoarding. “It’s been around for a long time; it’s just nobody’s ever discussed it before.”

Ohler said that while hoarding isn’t an officially characterized mental disorder at this point, it’s moving in that direction.

“We used to think hoarders were eccentric, and now we’ve come around to the point where, my understanding is, when they come out with a new DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), that hoarding is going to be on the OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) spectrum,” said Ohler.

Hoarding can be mentally (and, in extreme cases, physically) debilitating to those suffering from the condition, but it becomes a matter for safety code enforcement personnel to deal with when it begins to pose a health or safety threat to neighbors.

“There are very clear guidelines about when something is dangerous or not,” said Deborah Dalton, a case management specialist with Burlington Code Enforcement. “Even if the person doesn’t believe that the way they’re living is dangerous to them, they often don’t understand that in an apartment/attached dwelling situation that the way that they’re living actually affects everyone in the building.”

Dalton said her participation in the Task Force has taught her to have patience with hoarders.

“It’s been great to work with the Hoarding Task Force, because you really do begin to understand that these issues sometimes take time, so if you can clear up the immediate safety issues, then some of the other things can follow on their own,” Dalton said.

Brooke Hadwen, director of the Community Support Program at the Burlington Police Department, thinks some people hoard because they perceive a potential value to items other people throw away.

“It’s sort of culturally supported,” said Hadwen. “We’re supposed to have a lot of stuff, we’re supposed to go out and buy, we’re supposed to accumulate. We live in a culture in which stuff can bring us financial reward … so if you find that thing, and you can sell it to the right person, you can make money.”

Sara Miller, a case manager with the Champlain Valley Agency on Aging, said hoarding tendencies and the perceived value of worthless items can be particularly acute among the elderly.

“One of the things that fascinates me is I look at something — or society in general would look at something — and say it’s trash,” said Miller, “but eight out of 10 times, (a hoarder) looks at it and sees potential and value.”

Miller said hoarding can manifest itself differently in different people and that one of the difficulties of her job is determining an individual’s self-awareness of a hoarding problem.

“It is extremely difficult,” she said. “Many of the clients are very much aware that there is an issue; some are very embarrassed about it; some are very defiant about it; some don’t acknowledge it at all.”

Schroeter observed that it is often effective to use a “good cop/bad cop” approach with hoarders, by first having a code enforcement officer threaten them with eviction, and then having a social worker assist with the emotional process of dispensing with one’s possessions.

That strategy can work with hoarders living in apartments, but for hoarders who own their own homes a family-initiated intervention is sometimes required.

“A lot of the times when we do an intervention it’s to help move them along to see that (hoarding) is affecting them in a negative way,” Schroeter said. “You have to determine if a person is in a pre-contemplative stage, and if they are, they’re not really seeing that they have an issue, so they’re not really ready to tackle it or try to resolve it.”

Schroeter stressed that a hoarder has to be willing to make a change for the Task Force’s efforts to have a lasting impact.

“One rule that we pass on is: don’t work any harder than the client,” he said, “because you can do all the work, but it doesn’t really change the behavior.”



Hoarding Facts:

  • Hoarding behaviors can begin as early as the teenage years, although the average age of a person seeking treatment for hoarding is about 50.
  • It seems likely that serious hoarding problems are present in at least 1 in 50 people, but they may be present in as many as 1 in 20.
  • Some estimate that as many as 1 in 4 people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) also have compulsive hoarding tendencies.
  • Research suggests that nearly 1 in 5 compulsive hoarders have non-hoarding OCD symptoms.
  • Signs of compulsive hoarding include:
    • A large amount of clutter in the home that makes it difficult to move around
    • Not inviting family or friends into the home due to shame or embarrassment
    • Refusing to let people into the home to make repairs

Source: International OCD Foundation


In for the long haul

Williston company at the forefront of fiber-optics

Feb. 23, 2012

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff


Greg Kelly (above) is president of the Williston-based TelJet Longhaul LLC, a fiber-optics company that offers high-speed data services to many of Vermont’s largest businesses. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

With a full-time staff of 10, TelJet Longhaul LLC can hardly be considered a big business.

But with a client base that includes the University of Vermont and Fletcher Allen Health Care, the Williston-based TelJet, founded in 2002, thinks big.

“Anybody’s who’s big is our customer,” said TelJet President Greg Kelly. “We probably have the highest revenue per employee of any company in the state.”

TelJet is a fiber-optics company that offers data transmission speeds through fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks. Unlike DSL (digital subscriber line) services that transmit data electrically through copper wires, FTTP is a photonic technology.

“A signal over copper is an electrical signal, and it can only travel, say, five miles before it has to be repeated,” explained Kelly. “Over fiber, it’s actually light – it’s photonic – and it can travel about 50 miles before it needs to be repeated. Over copper, the most you can transmit is 45 megabits. Today, we are capable of doing 4,000 megabits over a single fiber.”

Although FTTP technologies have hit the open market via Verizon Communications’ “FiOS” branded Internet service – touted as providing faster data speeds than AT&T Inc.’s fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) technology, which uses a coaxial infrastructure to deliver home-based service from a centralized fiber-connected node – TelJet offers faster data speeds than either of the former “Baby Bells.”

“Verizon is using a technology that is called PON (passive optical network), so the speed is limited by that type of electronics,” Kelly said. “We don’t do PON, because PON was designed for more of a residential one-fits-all. … (PON) works great in residential environments, because (basic Internet users) don’t need these kinds of speeds (that TelJet provides).”

In layman’s terms, the fiber-optic connections TelJet offers businesses can be thought of as data-based “hotlines,” comparable to the Moscow-Washington “red telephone” that linked the White House to the Kremlin during the Cold War, or its contemporaneous spoof – the “Batphone” that linked Commissioner Gordon’s office to Bruce Wayne’s study in the original “Batman” television series.

Rather than companies having to rely on the limitations and fickleness of the Internet to interact with business partners, TelJet instead gives them a dedicated fiber network to share data.

The TelJet-owned fiber network forms a rough circle – bisected by Williston – that encompasses the metropolitan hubs of New York City, Boston and Montreal. When clients’ data needs spread outside the Northeast – such as the Williston-based digital media company Subatomic Digital Inc., which routinely sends massive chunks of data to clients in Los Angeles and San Francisco – TelJet partners with other fiber-optics companies to ensure seamless connectivity.

“Is the other end on someone’s fiber network?” Kelly asks prospective clients.

If the answer is yes, they’re in business.

Kelly, 54, was born in Guam to American parents. A resident of South Hero, he formerly served as the chief information officer for Oxygen Media, just prior to the launch of the Oxygen cable television network.

He also holds the patent for a technology that can connect a viewer of specific television content to a related Web site via remote control. The invention would have the effect of blurring the distinction between TV and the Internet – which Kelly maintains is the reason he was never able to market it.

“Say you have Comcast,” Kelly offered, “and you have Internet and TV from the same provider that’s coming through the same box. It’s possible to shift between TV and the Web; the issue is the TV broadcasters don’t want that to happen, and so the cable companies – who need the content – are saying, ‘OK, we won’t do this,’ but technically it’s possible.”

Kelly considers invention a form of relaxation; in his free time away from the office he invented a more durable cover for Adirondack guideboats and a device for rolling a sail on a small sailboat.

In a sense, Kelly’s career has been a form of invention. A college dropout, he created his own path in the business world by anticipating market trends and identifying development opportunities.

“The old adage is find a need and fill it,” said Kelly. “We just keep working to fulfill the needs of our customers, and the fun part is trying to anticipate (those needs). … We love to build things.”

Specialty scarves

Williston resident organizes knitting project for Special Olympics

Feb. 23, 2012

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff


Special Olympics Vermont employees (from left to right) Kim Bookless, Wendy Kenny, Lisa DeNatale and Chris Bernier model scarves that will be provided to athletes prior to the start of the Special Olympics Vermont 2012 Winter Games on March 9. The goal of the scarf project, organized by Williston resident Patty Pasley, is to collect 500 scarves by Feb. 29. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

This year’s Special Olympics will be extra special for the approximately 400 competing Vermonters, thanks to the efforts of a Williston resident and a group of dedicated knitters and crocheters who are handcrafting scarves for every athlete in the competition.

Willistonian Patty Pasley started the scarf project in 2010.

“My mother-in-law and aunts were knitting scarves for the Atlanta Special Olympics, and I wanted to knit too, but I wanted to knit for Vermont,” Pasley said.

The first year, Pasley collected nearly 800 handmade scarves. Last year, she gathered 500 — a benchmark she hopes to equal this year so that there are extra scarves for employees and volunteers.

“It’s not unusual for a knitter to drop off 15 or 20 scarves that she has worked on over the past few months,” said Pasley. “That’s always a surprise to me, since I’m lucky if I could knit one or two in that same time period.”

Chris Bernier, director of marketing and development for Special Olympics Vermont, said the scarves have the effect of unifying the athletes.

“I think it really adds a deeper sense of community for the athletes, because all of the scarves have the same color,” Bernier said.

Pasley agreed.

“The unity that happens when everyone is wearing the same colors is quite empowering, I think, for our athletes, for our volunteers and for our coaches,” she said.

This year’s color scheme is bright red with optional white patterns. Knitters and crocheters are given their choice of pattern, needles and yarn, but washable yarn is preferred. The suggested size of the scarves is 5 feet long by 6 inches wide.

Bernier commented that while the majority of the scarves are locally made, it’s not exclusively a Vermont project.

“They’ve come from really all over the country,” Bernier said. “We just got a note from a group in Italy who’s sending us some scarves. It’s pretty remarkable.”

He added that while Special Olympics’ staff sends out postcards to promote the project and have partnered with some local yarn shops, Pasley deserves the bulk of the credit.

“Patty is really connected in the knitting and crocheting world, so she knows a lot of groups,” said Bernier. “She really deserves all the credit. We just try to help her in any way we can.”

Pasley, who washes all of the scarves prior to the competition, downplayed her role. She said that while she sends flyers to yarn shops and senior centers, interest in the project spreads mainly through word-of-mouth and viral means like Facebook.

She believes the knitters and crocheters are the ones who deserve the credit.

“The handiwork and skill in some of the scarves is astonishing,” Pasley said. “It’s really neat to see these works of art that people give away.”

The Special Olympics Vermont 2012 Winter Games will be held March 9-11 at The Woodstock Inn and Resort and Suicide Six Ski Area in South Pomfret.

Scarves can be mailed or delivered to Special Olympics Vermont, 16 Gregory Drive, Suite 2, South Burlington, Vt., 05403. The deadline is Feb. 29. Questions can be directed to Patty Pasley at plpasley@gmail.com.

Burlington Technical Center Honor Roll

Feb. 23, 2012

The following students from Champlain Valley Union High School earned an A- or better in their Burlington Technical Center programs, placing them on the Burlington Technical Center Honor Roll for the second quarter:


Austin LaBerge, Auto Body Repair

Elizabeth Ladd, Honors Medical & Sports Sciences

Sophie Lapointe, Design & Illustration

Jeremy Lerner, Computer Systems

Cody Osborne, Computer Systems

Rice Memorial High School honor roll

Feb. 23, 2012

The following students from Williston were named to the Rice Memorial High School’s second quarter honor roll:


First Honors

Michelle Bolger

Ellen Boucher

Emily Boucher

Matthew Kruse

Madeline Limanek

Elizabeth Sartorelli

Ellen Sartorelli


Second Honors

Victoria DeLuca

Hannah Durkee

Emily Dykes

Tom Fitzgerald

Ezekiel Geffken

Anna Krause

Gabrielle Kruse

Timothy Rensch

Kelly St. Marie


Feb. 23, 2012



Ruth M. Bouchard, 97, formerly of Williston, passed away quietly on Tuesday morning, Feb. 14, in the St. Albans Health and Rehabilitation Center. Ruth was born April 15, 1914, in Winooski, the daughter of Fred and Margaret (Companion) Willette. Ruth married Homer Bouchard in April 1934. She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Ruth had a great sense of humor and an amazing zest for life. In earlier years, Ruth worked for the Winooski Woolen Mills until 1954. She then moved to Milford, Conn. from 1954 to 1972. Ruth returned to Vermont after retiring from Burndy Corporation in Milford, Conn. Ruth is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth (Betty) Bouchard; her son, Robert Bouchard and his wife, Lynn; her grandchildren, Keely and Tom Power, Katie and Paul Leclerc, Kyle Bouchard and Monica Emmons, Jennifer and Phil Cyr, Sarah and Simon Alexander, Steven Morin, and Vicki Metivier; her great-grandchildren; one great-great-grandson; and several nieces and nephews. Ruth was predeceased by Homer in May 1996; and her son, Norman in April 2005. The family would like to express their heartfelt thanks to all the staff at the St. Albans Health and Rehabilitation Center for all their loving care and kindness. Visiting hours were on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 10 to 11 a.m. and funeral services began at 11 a.m. Interment followed at St. Francis Xavier Cemetery. A Mass celebrating her life will be at a later date and at the convenience of the family. In light of Ruth’s love of animals, the family would like to suggest donations made in Ruth’s name to the Franklin County Humane Society, 30 Sunset Meadows, St. Albans, Vt. 05478.



Wilfred James Bissonnette of Taft Farms, Williston, died Friday, Feb. 17, in Fletcher Allen Health Care. He was 94 years old. He was born at home on Jan. 23, 1918, to Anne (Proulx) Bissonnette and William Bissonnette, in Malone, N.Y. He graduated from nursing school at King City Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y. in 1942, where he met his wife, then Halina Blaskowitz. He attended New York University where he was awarded a bachelor of science degree in nursing. He served in World War II as an Army medic in the European theatre and on the Pan American Highway. He worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the Staten Island Hospital. He was a Boy Scout leader and was involved in Saint Paul’s Roman Catholic Church in Staten Island. Bill had a zest for life and socializing. He enjoyed road trips, camping, gardening, Amway, and spending time with his family and friends. Bill was well known for his rare and quirky sense of humor. He took great pleasure in the various game nights and community activities with his friends at Taft Farms, where he will be greatly missed. Bill was also an avid sweepstaker and kept up with technology, working daily on his computer. Bill was devoted to Charlotte Larrabee, his longtime sweetheart, who he would visit daily at Burlington Rehabilitation. He is survived by his children, Wilfred J. Bissonnette II and his wife, Ellen, of Bristol, Mona Gambardella of Cornwall, Robert Bissonnette and wife, Allyson, of Queens, N.Y., and Susan Bissonnette of Woodstock, N.Y.; nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Bill was predeceased by his wife, Halina Bissonnette, mother of his five children; daughter, Maura Ann; and his wife, Josephine (Padd) Bissonnette of Cheektowaga, N.Y. A Mass was celebrated on Monday, at 4:30 p.m., at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 7415 Williston Road, Williston.



Mary Teresa (Todd) Peate, 84, died peacefully at Green Mountain Nursing Home in Colchester, on Sunday, Feb. 19. She was born in Mimico, Canada on May 13, 1927, daughter of the late Valent and Augusta (Choate) Todd. Mary was a writer of fiction, non-fiction, comedy, radio and TV scripts, and a radio broadcaster for the CBC.

She is the author of a memoir trilogy: “Girl in a Red River Coat [1970; second edition 2005];” Montreal Gazette Best Seller, “Girl in a Sloppy Joe Sweater [1989];” “Girl in a CBC Studio [2000]” and nominated for the Stephen Leacock Humor Prize (2000). Chapters from her books have been anthologized in five Canadian specialty books as well as Canadian textbooks.

She wrote and hosted her own radio show, “Tea & Trumpets.” The show aired on CBC from 1958 through 1965 and was heard throughout Canada, the United States bordering Canada, 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle, France and Germany.

During her show’s seven-year run, she wrote for and appeared on Don McNeill’s “Breakfast Club,” and wrote daily editorials for him for “Flair.” Both these shows aired on ABC out of Chicago. During this time Mary also released the comedy album, “If You Lived Here, You’d be Home Now [1963].” Mary also did runway modeling, print ads, fashion layouts and TV commercials in Montreal in the 1950s-60s. After a 27-year career at the CBC, she moved to California (1980-93) where she contributed to the Los Angeles Times, a number of West Coast publications and wrote a weekly column for the Los Angeles Daily News in the late 1980s. Since 1993, she lived in Williston and later Essex. Her work has appeared in Vermont Life Magazine, The Burlington Free Press and she conducted a Life History Writing Workshop for the women of UVM for ten years.

Mary was totally captivated by the written word and happiest when reading her favorite authors: Charles Dickens, Henry David Thoreau and J.D. Salinger. She was also an avid jazz fan and collector of antiques, memorabilia and dolls. Mary saw the humor in almost any situation; her wit was razor sharp.

She is survived by her two sons, George Peate and wife Michele of Thousand Oaks, Calif., Rick Peate and wife Debbie of Williston; her daughter Candy Padula and husband Chuck of Westford; her grandchildren, James, Dan, Mary Clare, Joe, John and Angela; her great grandchildren, Sophia, Madeline, Danny and Anthony. She is predeceased by her husband Robert Peate.

Visiting hours were held at A. W. Rich Funeral Home in Essex Junction on Wednesday Feb. 22, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, Feb. 23, at 10:00 a.m. at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Essex Jct., with Reverend Richard Tinney officiating. Burial will be held in the family plot in Holy Family Cemetery in the spring. The family invites you to share your memories and online condolences by visiting www.awrichfuneralhomes.com.



Michael Timothy Poirier, 19, formally of Williston, died suddenly on Feb. 18, in Kenduskeag, Maine, where he moved a month ago to live with his brother, Matthew, who is a college student in that area. Michael was born at Ft. Wainwright, Alaska, on Dec. 31, 1992, and is the son of Christopher and Linda Poirier who were longtime Williston residents, until they relocated to Grafton, Mass. in January 2012. Mike is the second born of five children who include his older brother Matthew (20), Melissa (17), Marlena (15) and Madeline (13). Mike was proud to be an infantry soldier in the Vermont Army National Guard. He was very enthusiastic about his future military career in the Guard, and constantly kept himself in top physical shape. For a fitness challenge, he often enjoyed donning his combat boots, fatigues, and a full rucksack, and going on long hikes along the back roads of Vermont. Mike graduated from South Burlington High School in 2010, and planned to eventually move in with his brother in Maine, work fulltime for a year and attend college starting in 2012. Ever since he was 15, Michael always worked hard in his part-time employment at the Hannaford grocery store in Williston. He was frequently commended for his diligence on the job where he always gave his maximum effort. Michael will be remembered for his playful wit, dynamic energy and thirst for adventure. He was always the comedian with his friends and family, and loved to stage pranks and other antics to entertain them. Despite his rambunctiousness, Mike had a gentle heart, thoughtfulness and childlike demeanor to those close to him. Visitation will be Wednesday evening, Feb. 22, 2012, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Corbin and Palmer Funeral Home, 9 Pleasant St., Essex Junction. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012, at 11 a.m. at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 7415 Williston Rd., Williston. A reception will follow in the parish hall. In lieu of flowers, please consider the needs of the family.


Letters to the Editor

Feb. 23, 2012


School bus driver complaint

This morning (Friday, Feb. 17), I was told I would have to hang around Williston Central School for 20 or more minutes with my school bus because, if the buses leave after dropping off their students, we would cause traffic problems.

Really? That’s less than 10 buses among hundreds of parents in cars dropping off their children at the same location — what an inconvenience for the parents who can’t get their children out of bed in time to catch the school buses that pass their front doors. Wake up parents. You complain about things that you have the power to control. Stop blaming others when you can make easy adjustments to solve your problem. Maybe I should adjust and drop off the students at WCS first and continue to Allen Brook School. But then again, we would have the parents driving to Allen Brook complaining about the buses causing traffic problems there.

Glenn Enos

Substitute bus driver


Support the school budget

Please support the Williston School District and vote yes on its 2012-2013 budget. The $16,621,868 budget represents a modest 1.95 percent increase, while continuing to provide sufficient funding to maintain the quality education that our community expects.

The School Board and administration worked hard in the face of a number of budgetary challenges. Many of the expenses driving the school budget are increasing beyond our control. There are fixed increases in labor costs, higher insurance premiums, and rising heating fuel and utility expenses. Meanwhile, federal grants that provide essential funding for instructional support in the areas of literacy and math were eliminated. Grant funding for beneficial programs such as CY mentoring were also cut.

Despite these challenges, the school budget maintains critical instructional supports and programming for literacy and math previously funded with federal grants. Other critical programs, such as summer school and CY mentoring, will continue.

The school board was also mindful of the difficult economic environment that our community is facing. It asked for and received thoughtful cuts from the administration while maintaining critical programming. These cuts included the reduction of a classroom teacher, administrative staffing changes and the postponement of carpet replacement.

We are fortunate to have a school district that is focused on providing an excellent education for our community’s children. Teachers are dedicated, well trained, and effective in helping kids reach their full potential. Administrators have created a positive school climate to foster learning and growth for every student. And, one cannot say enough about the engaged parents and community members that support our schools.

With your support for the FY2013 school budget, we can maintain the quality education our community expects, which is an investment in our children and our future.

The Williston School Board:

Joshua Diamond, Kevin Mara, Giovanna Boggero, Deborah Baker-Moody and Holly Rouelle

Guest column

Missing the Target

Feb. 23, 2012

By Shea Savage


Two hundred years ago, Williston, Vermont was a lush forest full of natural beauty and thriving ecosystems. Trees dominated the landscape — turning the hills green and, in autumn, brilliant shades of flaming red and electric orange. The land thrived with life, animals and plants.

Today, Taft Corners has different scenery. It’s a wasteland of parked cars and pavement, populated by big box stores and angry drivers stuck in rush-hour traffic.

And now, the town’s sight is set on destroying another habitat in favor of a multi-million dollar chain that will bring nothing but traffic and pollution to our community: Target. I think introducing a Target department store to Williston is a dangerous idea that could have severe consequences if not thought through appropriately. If Vermonters were wise, and could see past the ends of their own noses, they would think this as well.

My main reason for believing that a Target in Williston would be excessive and shortsighted is a simple one that does not seem to be being brought up much; the very obvious problem of destroying yet another habitat that houses plants and animals alike. Earth’s environment is being destroyed. This is a clear fact. The ice caps are melting, factories are belching smoke into the atmosphere, and we are standing here and saying, “Bring it on! We want to continue paving! We want to continue building up and up and up until the only place left to go is nowhere! We want a Target!”

Well, I don’t want a Target. I don’t want to grow up and have to tell my grandchildren stories about how nice Vermont used to be — how beautiful and natural and captivating — because all they see when they see Vermont is a paved slab of parking lot. Target is one step closer to a very bleak future we have in store for us, and that is one thing I do not want to see for this gorgeous state we live in.

Even more to the point: Have you driven through the center of town during the holiday season? It can take 10 minutes just to turn into one of the shopping centers, not to mention the time it takes to find a parking spot and battle your way through the throngs of people. Bringing a Target to town would cause traffic to increase tenfold. Taft Corners would become even more of a disaster area than it already is. We already take in the most money from shoppers than anywhere else in the state, including Burlington and its Church Street Marketplace. We don’t desperately need the money, we aren’t a dead zone in our state, so Target is not needed. It’s as simple as that.

The main argument of the people advocating for Target is simple — they just plain want one. They don’t want to have to travel to all the way to New York just to buy their cheap clothing and shoes. People like to shop, and I certainly don’t begrudge them that. I like shopping, too! But the argument isn’t valid. Why? For one thing, we already have a Wal-Mart. Get your clothes fix there, if you need to. For another thing, doesn’t it seem kind of selfish and thoughtless to put the environment, our community and our small business owners out of sight and out of mind just because Target sells decent stuff cheap? Did we consider the fact that all we could gain from Target really is just that; stuff? We need to learn to consider the greater good before we consider our own personal wants. If we continue to put our own desires over the needs of many, the world will suffer accordingly.

In addition to negatively impacting the environment, introducing a Target to our community would be toxic to small businesses. In order to be able to accurately understand this, it is important to understand exactly what impact Target will make upon the workforce. Consider this: It is estimated that Target will employ approximately 150 workers. However, this small number would be negated by the number of small-business owners that would suffer from introducing another chain to town. As Earth becomes filled with billion-dollar chains like Wal-Mart and Target, wouldn’t it make more sense to begin to support our local business owners? Do the billionnaires who run the show really need the cash that they’ll rake in after placing their footprint upon our town? Buying from local sellers will improve the integrity of Williston and decrease the amount of cash going to those who already have inordinate amounts of it.

I have lived in Williston for almost my entire life. We’ve survived for this long without a Target. Introducing one to town would negatively impact our environment, our community integrity, our traffic control problems and our small-business owners. For these reasons, I encourage every person living in the community to seriously consider, not just the excitement of gaining another shopping opportunity, but also the consequences of this. We are missing the target when we consider adding another billion-dollar giant to Williston. If everyone were to think frankly about this, I think they would see it as well.


Shea Savage is an eighth grade student at Williston Central School. The above guest column was for an assignment in her language arts class, where she was asked to write a persuasive piece on something she felt passionate about.

The Everyday Gourmet

Peruvian knockout

Feb. 23, 2012

By Kim Dannies



Flaming salt-crusted chicken, waffle cones filled with foie gras mousse, triple-dipped salted caramels, pan de bono, Latino BBQ ribs… my jeans are tighter, but man, is my belly happy!

I’ve been very lucky to sample some extraordinary food lately. My most memorable meal was Nuevo Latino, specifically the spicy, tangy food of Peru. Peruvian cuisine is a hot topic right now and it’s no surprise, almost nothing in the larder is off limits. Six centuries of melding African, Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese cultures has yielded a cross-pollination of recipes that are ingredient-rich and infinitely creative.

Key dishes like pepper purees, quinoa salads and cebiche (ceviche), the citrus cured seafood dish, are drop-dead gorgeous and virtuous eating to boot. The magical way Peruvian chefs play with spice and acid is particularly inspired. They’ll top fresh greens with hearts of palm, Cotija cheese, asparagus, and drizzle it all with a passion fruit vinaigrette that simply sparkles. A wonderful book that captures the beauty and ease of this cooking is “The Food & Cooking of Peru” by Fior Arcaya de Deloit. Recently, I whipped up a Peruvian feast and must say that it was a visual and gustatory knockout that wasn’t that difficult to do.



Choose 1-2 pounds of firm white fish like cod, halibut, scallops or shrimp. Cut into generous bite-sized pieces and place in a glass prep bowl. Thinly slice half of a medium-sized red onion, one small chili and two sticks of celery. Add to the fish. Juice 8 limes to yield 10 tablespoons of juice and gently toss over the mixture. Season with salt and pepper, then let it set for 20 minutes.

Re-toss the mixture; allow it to set in the fridge for 20 minutes more. The fish is ready when it is opaque (depending on which fish you choose, you’ll want to experiment with the marinating time). Line a platter with lettuce leaves, spoon out the seafood and top with finely minced parsley. Steamed potatoes or quinoa are nice side dishes. Serves 4-8.


Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three 20-something daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.

Life in Williston

Getting fit in Williston

Feb. 23, 2012

By Karen Wyman


It’s so nice that our wonderful town boasts many options for getting in shape and staying healthy. Some of these choices include, but are not limited to: several gyms and health clubs, a Jazzercise studio, a gymnastics facility, dance studios, and martial arts studios. Williston also offers a beautiful bike path and several well-maintained hiking trails as well as numerous tennis courts and basketball courts.

With all of these amazing resources right here, I should be motivated to work out more often. Unfortunately, this is not the case. I currently have two expired gym memberships proudly displayed on my key ring; I just never managed to use them. I also have another facility debiting my bank account monthly, yet I haven’t entered its doors since the summer. Calling to cancel my membership would be ridiculous, as I always convince myself l may want to go tomorrow. The funny thing is that I like to work out, and I especially love how much energy I have afterwards. Whenever I make up my mind to join a club or class, I give it my absolute all … for about 2 weeks. After that, no matter how much I enjoy my workout routine and the barely emerging results, I just stop participating. It’s like my initial enthusiasm uses all the energy I have, and the desire just disappears. Luckily this phenomenon doesn’t apply to other areas of my life (like my marriage!).

It would seem that a punch card or seven-day trial membership would make the most sense for my frame of mind and pocketbook. However, when I get it in my head that I am going to start an exercise regimen, there is so much gusto and eagerness involved — I convince myself and everyone around me that there is no choice but to go all in. Thank goodness I’m not a gambler! I think a “time-share” concept membership would be ideal for me. I could split a membership with other people, and we would each be entitled to a certain amount of usage. That way, I could still have the luxury of going for a few weeks throughout the year — whenever my overwhelming motivation hits — and I could sell my unused time to another one of the membership owners and not feel guilty about wasting money! I think I’m onto something here. Maybe I can even “sub-lease” my current membership, and then I can take it back when I need it.

As my girls approach five, and bathing suit season approaches, I realize I can no longer use the excuse that I “just had twins.” After catching a sneak peek of this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover, I am compelled to find a cure for my two-week sporadic commitment to exercise-itis (try finding that on WebMD). I have decided to take advantage of the mild winter, Williston’s expansive sidewalks and bike path, and do some old-fashioned walking. Armed with my pedometer and MP3 player, I am pledging myself to walk 10,000 steps (five miles) every day. So, when you see a crazy lady parking at the far back of the grocery store parking lot, locking her car with a key surrounded by gym memberships, it’s just me trying to get fit and cure my rare condition.


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