May 26, 2018

Corrections improves notification system

The Vermont Department of Corrections announced last week that it is making improvements to its notification system to rapidly communicate emergency messages to citizens.

The Department purchased a system called TFCC Alert (Twenty First Century Communications) which enables it to send time-sensitive, targeted messages to select groups and geographic areas.

This system is capable of reaching landlines, cellular and VoIP phones, BlackBerrys/PDAs, pagers and TTY/TTD devices for the hearing impaired. It also sends messages via SMS/text messaging, fax and email and can post messages to Facebook and Twitter.

Currently, to be added to a contact database, interested parties must send a letter or an email to the correctional facility of interest and request to be added to its notification system. The Vermont Department of Corrections is working with TFCC to develop a website interface where members of the public can register by going to a simple website. In addition, this website will allow users to update their information as telephone numbers or contact information changes. Users can discontinue participation at any time.

The primary use of the system will be  to disseminate messages pertaining to the correctional facility and surrounding community when affected by a perceived, emerging or imminent emergency event. Once registered, members of the community will receive periodic notices from the system when the facility conducts different emergency drills or tests the system.

National Poison Prevention Week’s golden anniversary

Fifty years after President Kennedy first proclaimed the third week of March National Poison Prevention Week, poisonings continue to be a significant public health issue.

Today, there are 90 percent fewer poisoning deaths among children under five years of age than there were 50 years ago, but this age group still accounts for more than half of poison center cases. The good news is when a poison center is called, most of these cases can be treated at home with over-the-phone advice from trained health care professionals like nurses, saving time and unnecessary, expensive emergency department visits.

For adults, poisonings are a fast growing public health concern. More people die of poisonings than motor vehicle crashes.  Nearly nine out of ten poisoning deaths are caused by drugs, including medications. Drug poisoning deaths have increased 600 percent since 1980. Middle-age males are the group most likely to die from a drug poisoning.

“Adults don’t think of medications or drugs as potential poisonings. We are seeing more and more people taking many more medications and having bad outcomes. Errors in taking the medications, interactions and side effects result. Each additional medication adds to the risk that a medication-related problem will occur. We need to remind adults that children are not the only victims of poisoning. Medication-related problems are a type of poisoning that affects many adults,” said Dr. Karen Simone, the Director of the Northern New England Poison Center.

Dr. Simone added, “Most adults do not think of calling a poison center about a possible medication-related problem, especially if it is not an emergency. They do not realize that the poison center can be called in an emergency or with a question.”

The Northern New England Poison Center (NNEPC) launched a new website to better serve Vermont residents. In addition to calling the poison center at 1-800-222-1222, visitors to can now chat with a trained health care professional 24 hours a day about their poisoning or poison question.

“Our hope is that by being available around-the-clock by phone and now through online chat, people who have never used our services before will start to use them,” said Dr. Simone.  “The idea is that if people call the poison center first, they may not need to go to the emergency department. If the poison center determines that a caller does need to go to the emergency department, the poison center staff will work with the hospital doctors and nurses so the patient gets better faster.”


To Prevent Poisoning:

  • Program you cell phone with the poison center phone number, 1-800-222-1222.
  • Post 1-800-222-1222 near your home phone.
  • Visit to learn more about common poisons.
  • Store medications and other poisons up and away, out of the sight of children.  Take the pledge at
  • Clean out your medicine cabinet and get rid of unwanted medications.  Visit for tips on safe disposal.
  • Participate in a medication take-back event in your community on April 28. Learn more at
  • Remember, when you call or chat with the poison center, you get help immediately, saving valuable time in an emergency.

Source: NNEPC


Protect your family and yourself from carbon monoxide

By Ryan Prouty 

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning injures an estimated 10,000 people each year, and claims more than 200 lives. CO is colorless and odorless. CO is produced when any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. When appliances are operating properly, CO levels are not hazardous, but when appliances are not working correctly, dangerous CO levels can result.

What are carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms?

Since CO is colorless and odorless, it is important to understand the symptoms associated with CO poisoning. Exposure to CO can cause headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue.

 What can I do if I suspect carbon monoxide poisoning?

If you suspect CO poisoning, it is important to get fresh air immediately. Call 911 and tell the dispatcher if you are feeling any side effects of CO poisoning. The Williston Fire Department will then be dispatched to help mitigate the hazard.

What can I do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning?

Vermont Division of Fire Safety recommends that every home have a CO detector. A CO detector should be centrally located outside of each bedroom. Each detector should be placed on the ceiling, wall or other location as specified in the installation instructions that accompany the unit.

Where can I get a carbon monoxide detector?

CO detectors are available for purchase at most hardware stores. The Williston Fire Department has free battery-operated CO detectors along with smoke detectors for Williston residents who cannot afford to purchase a detector. If you are interested in receiving a detector, or have any other questions regarding CO, please call the Fire Station at 878-5622.


Ryan Prouty is a Shift Officer with the Williston Fire Department.

CVU girls in all-star hockey

Observer photo by Josh Kaufmann 

Two members of the 2011-2012 Champlain Valley Union High girls hockey team were in action Saturday in the Rotary-Key Bank All Star Hockey Classic at the Essex Skating Facility. Nicole Sisk (above) was a goalie and Rowan Hayes a forward for the Austin Conference senior stars, who fell 4-2 to the Harris Conference. Hayes, a Burlington High student who played for the Redhawks this winter, was named the day’s Most Valuable Player for her conference team.


Hoop crown just out of reach for CVU girls

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent


For a second straight year, the Champlain Valley Union High girls basketball team played their way into the Division 1 championship game at the University of Vermont’s Roy L. Patrick Gymnasium.

And Saturday night, for a second straight year, Rice Memorial High came away with the big trophy, this time coming from behind inthe fourth quarter for a 46-41 triumph that kept huge and colorful followings of both teams enthralled and noisy until the very end.

For Rice, which prevailed 45-36 last year, it was the second straight crown, and fifth since 1999. The defeat was the Redhawks third in five seasons in title tests. Their last championship came in came in 1987.

The 19-5 Green Knights took the season series from 20-4 CVU, two games to one. The Green Knights won by overcoming a gruesome (0-14 shooting) first quarter by keeping its cool and defensively forcing 15 CVU turnovers while holding their own miscues to eight and losing the ball only once to a CVU steal. Thefts from defensive presses and traps had been a Redhawk mainstay.

Yet coach Ute Otley’s charges took a 29-22 advantage into the fourth quarter and appeared in good shape as the Knights had not found consistency at the offensive end of the floor.

But Rice’s 6-1 junior center Cassidy Derda (14 points, 12 rebounds) canned a layup and two free throws in the first minute and 10 seconds of the final reel to put Rice back in business.

Lazrin Schenck (13 points) hit a CVU layup after a set-up pass from Elana Bayer Pacht and Remi Donnelly snapped home a layup, pass from Sofia Lozon, around a driving layup by Rice guard Hailee Barron.

After that flurry, CVU led 33-28 but Rice, paced by Willistonians Tomilayo Akinpetide, Emily Chicoine and Ellen Boucher, erupted for a 13-2 run to bolt to a 41-35 edge with one minute to play.

Akinpetide contributed four points including the first three, Chicoine tossed in four points and hauled down three big rebounds, and Boucher went four-for-six from the foul line to keep the burst on track.

The Redhawks did not go quietly into the warm late winter. Schenck, on a pass from Emily Kinneston, ripped the ropes with a three-pointer to bring CVU within 44-41 with five seconds to go. Barron then applied the wrap with a pair of charity tosses at 3.5 seconds.

Rice took advantage of 32 free throw opportunities, hitting 19 to help make up for a deficit from the floor. The Knights, after that first quarter iceberg, finished with 13-for-46 from the floor for 28 percent.

CVU shot a decent 35 percent from the field and nine-for-15 at the line. Schenck, the CVU scoring leader, had five rebounds an assist and steal to go with her 13 points. Kinneston had 10 points and three rebounds while Bayer-Pacht had five rebounds and five assists.

Under the glass, Remi Donnelly collected nine rebounds to go with seven points. Caroline Limanek, troubled all season by an angry shoulder, turned in eight minutes off the bench and fired in seven points while taking down two rebounds and blocking two Rice shots.

Both Knights’ coach Tim Rice and Otley praised the final reel work of Chicoine, with Otley saying that the forward was quite possibly the difference in the game.

Othey said to media post-game that work for next season starts this week with sophomores Kinneston and Kaelyn Kohlasch leading the returnees as graduation takes Donnelly, Schenck, Lozon, Limanek, Bayer-Pacht and Kathleen Leach.

Big Second Half Key to Hawks Semifinal Win

Down by eight points midway through the third quarter, CVU fired up and hit hopeful Essex High with a shocking 21-point splurge, carrying it to a 57-42 victory in last Wednesday’s semifinal at UVM.

Rice earned its way to the championship test with a 51-33 triumph over Colchester High as Derda poured in 23 points and Akinpetide added 10.

CVU’s game-winning run came after Otley called a time out with 4:05 left in the quarter to discuss the Redhawks’ eight-point deficit situation with game time growing short. “We took the gloves off,” the coach said later.

The Hawks, with Bayer-Pacht, Lozon, Kinneston and Kohlasch pressing all over the court and forcing the Hornets into turnovers (16 for the game), outscored Essex 37-20 in the second half and 21-10 in the final period.

CVU’s leading scorer was Lozon with 17 points. The 5-1 senior was a first quarter zone zapper, hitting two long distance treys to discourage an Essex zone defense. For the game she went four-of-six from international waters.

Bayer-Pacht had 13 points, four assists and five rebounds. Kinneston snapped home 12 points while producing four assists, four rebounds and four steals. Kohlasch had nine points and Donnelly held forth on the boards with 13 rebounds.

CVU’s defense held Essex to 29 percent (15-52) shooting while the Hawks filled the baskets at a 39 percent (22-56) clip. Williston’s Kari Lavalette, a 20-point average sniper in leading Essex through the post season, was held to two points.

Rice 46, CUV 41 (March 17)


Rice Memorial High (19-5)

Akinpetide, 3 5-10 11; Chicoine, 2 2-4 6; Derda, 6 2-4 14; Barron, 2 4-4 9; Boucher, 0 6-10 6; Kowalski, 0 0-0 0; Bunch, 0 0-0 0; Snell, 0 0-0 0; Bolger, 0 0-0 0.

Totals: 13 19-32 46


CVU  (20-4)

Lozon, 0 0-0 0; Bayer-Pacht, 1 0-0 2; Donnelly, 3 1-2 7; Kohlasch, 0 2-2 2; Kinneston, 4 2-4 10; Schenck, 5 1-2 13; Limanek, 2 3-5 7; Krupp, 0 0-0 0; Lougee, 0 0-0 0; leach, 0 0-0 0.

Totals; 15 9-15 41

Rice           3   8  11  24  – 46

CVU          9 10  10  12  – 41

Places I’ve Played

By Bill Skiff

For the love of sugaring


In the spring, a young mans fancy turns to love — or is it baseball?- — or is it really sugaring?

As a teenager growing up on a farm in Vermont, I blended all three into a gloriously fun season.

When it came to sugaring, Uncle Charlie was Dad’s master boiler. He was a rare man who could operate a syrup rig with a touch of genius. Uncle Charlie was a master of the wood fire. He could work the firebox so he always had the right temperature at any crucial moment. I have seen boilers get such a raging fire going that the whole sap contents turned to syrup in an instant. That never happened to Uncle Charlie:  he always had the heat just right so he could draw off three or four gallons of syrup at a time.

One season, Uncle Charlie set the farm record: 60 gallons in a day. His work started at four in the morning and ended at ten at night. It was done the hard way, without modern equipment.

My jobs during sugaring were to help gather sap and wash the felt pads used to strain the nectar out of fresh syrup. To clean the pads, I washed them in boiling hot sap. I wore rubber gloves, but I burned my hands every time. The worst part was ringing the pads out. Dad finally found an old wooden ringer. It was not only efficient, it saved my fingers for the baseball season.

Gathering sap also had its disadvantages — carrying a five-gallon pail of sap in each hand and walking on crusty snow could be disastrous. If your foot broke through the crust, you stumbled, and sap spilled into your boots. You spent the rest of the day squish-squashing around with cold-wet feet.

Horses pulled a sled with a tank attached for gathering sap from buckets. As you went to empty your bucket, if you misjudged the top of the tank, your bucket bounced off the top and sloshed sap down your front and into your boots. Now you had a soaked shirt and pants to go along with your wet boots.

During my teen years, I was known to become infatuated with members of the opposite sex. It was my practice to carve our initials into the beams of every sugarhouse I worked. BS + PN can still be found in a few sugarhouses. Dad’s was the scene of most of my artwork and would have had more if Uncle Charlie had not kept calling me to clean felt strainers.

PN was almost the cause of my demise during one sugaring season. I couldn’t believe my luck when her father asked me to hire out for the season. He offered me a few dollars a week with board and room. I would have worked for nothing just to have the opportunity to work with PN.

But her father was smarter than I had given him credit. PN never went anywhere near the sugaring operation. She stayed home and worked with her mother. That’s the first lesson I learned that season — when a man hires you to work — he expects you to work!

The second lesson took place during the evenings. After doing chores in the morning, working all day in the woods, and completing chores at night, we finally sat down to supper. By that time, I was whipped.  All I could think about was crawling up the stairs and flopping into my feather bed.

Then it would happen…after dessert, PN would say, “Billy would you like to sit in the parlor and listen to records?”

“You bet your life I would.”

All my fatigue would disappear and I was fresh as a daisy.

About 9:30, PN’s mother would cough, my signal to get to bed before her father appeared.

My bedroom was over the kitchen. The metal smoke pipe from the kitchen stove ran right past the head of my bed. Every morning, PN’s mother was up at 4a.m. to begin baking. The first thing she did was open the top grate on her stove, stick an iron poker through, rattle it around in the pipe and yell, “Billy its time for chores!”

As those sounds amplified up the stovepipe — and right beside my head — I bolted out of bed in shock, confusion and disbelief. How could it be time for chores? I just went to bed!

While doing morning chores I would resolve, “Nothing — and I mean nothing — is going to keep me from retiring early tonight.”

Then I would hear that sweet invitation, and the cycle would repeat itself.

When my two weeks as a hired man — and connoisseur of fine record — were over, Dad picked me up on a Friday night, rolled me into a bushel basket, put it in the back of his truck and drove home. Mother poured me into bed and I never made a sound until Monday morning.

Lesson two:  Love doesn’t make you blind — it makes you tired.


Bill Skiff grew up on a farm between Cambridge and Jeffersonville. After a career in education, he now lives in Williston, where he is a justice of the peace and Fourth of July frog-jumping official. In “Places I’ve Played,” he shares his experiences of growing up in Vermont. Comments are welcome at


Life in Williston

By Karen Wyman

Girls day out

For the past few years, one of my best girlfriends and I have had a Monday afternoon ritual. We try our best to never let anything interfere with this standing date– it is our much needed and deserved girl time. My friend doesn’t live in Williston, but she always wants to have our outings here over her own town. On the rare occasions when we have met on her home turf, we ended up disappointed at the lack of options and variety compared to Williston.

No matter what our plans for the day include, one thing is for sure, we always start out with a leisurely lunch. To be honest, this is the main reason we love to meet in Williston! We can usually be spotted at Chef’s Corner or The Garden of Eatin’, excitedly chatting over soup and sandwiches. We also enjoy eating at the great restaurants Maple Tree Place has to offer. In the summer, we like to grab a hotdog or a sandwich and picnic on the green. This is especially relaxing because we aren’t holding up a table for too long and our loud laughter doesn’t garner as many stares! In the winter, it’s convenient to catch a matinee and see those “chick flicks” our husbands refuse to see with us.

After lunch, we sometimes treat ourselves to a manicure, pedicure or even a massage. If we still have a lot to talk about, we prefer to walk the bike path, followed by a stop for ice cream or an iced coffee drink. The majority of the time, though, we partake in our second favorite pastime (after eating) – shopping! What better place to browse an assortment of stores than Williston? I think I speak for many women when I say I am much more decisive and happy shopping for a dress, swimsuit or home décor/improvements if I have a girlfriend with me. I could never decide on a pair of jeans, paint color or a piece of furniture without her opinion.

In the early days of these excursions, our husbands complained that we never invited them, so for a few months we switched to evening get-togethers and allowed them to join us. Since we all had an upcoming Italian vacation planned, we signed up for “Italian For Travelers” through the CVU Access Program. Surprisingly, our husbands enjoyed delving into the Italian language class, and much to our dismay, picked it up more quickly than we did! They even started dictating where we could eat after class or what movie we would go see. That’s when my girlfriend and I signed the four us up for ballroom dancing classes. Our plan worked — the guys never asked to impose on our girl time again.

It is amazing that we never run out of things to do in and around Williston. As the weather warms up, we have already planned to spend some afternoons checking out the many local greenhouses for seasonal plants and flowers. We also have an ambitious plan for the summer Mondays – hitting the driving range and improving our golf game. This way, we can pay back the guys and tag along on their quality time on the golf course. There’s nothing better than hitting away at a bucket of balls in the warm sunshine… well, except maybe lounging on the beach at Lake Iroquois. Whatever it is we decide to do, at least we know we won’t have to go far to find a good meal and an entertaining activity.


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


Around Town

Get ready for Green Up Day

Williston’s Senior Planner Jessica Andreoletti is preparing for the town’s annual Green Up Day, set for May 5.The Town will have a booth at Williston Community Park with trash bags and refreshments. “It would be good to get teams of folks to walk the Allen Brook to collect trash, as well as along the roads and in our neighborhoods and parks. I am looking for food/beverage donations from local restaurants/coffee shops/grocery stores,” Andreoletti wrote in an email to the Observer.

Residents may sign up and pick up their bags at the Planning Office in April, or may show up on Green Up Day at the concession stand at the Community Park starting at 8 a.m. to enjoy refreshments, pick up trash bags and select an area to “green up.”

Questions should be addressed to Andreoletti at 878-6704 x 4 or by email



Pre-registration for fall kindergarten has begun. If your child will be 5 years old by Sept. 1, 2012, visit the Williston School District’s website ( or call 879-5806 to start the process. Kindergarten registration will be held April 4-6. Appointments can be scheduled via phone or online.



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

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

Letters to the Editor

Use common sense with your dogs

It is that time of the year that we all enjoy getting outside and the Williston Community Park is a great place to do that. The park was intended for everyone to enjoy. I thank the people that leash their dogs. As for the others, yes, Williston doesn’t have a leash law, but Town records state:

Article III. (e) “At large” shall mean off the premises of the owner and not under control of the owner, a member of the owner’s immediate family, or an agent of the owner by leash, cord, chain or otherwise within the control of such person so at all times the dog may be prevented for causing any damage, disturbance, nuisance or annoyance.  Any dog accompanied by its owner or keeper which is neither threatening to persons, livestock, domestic or wild animals nor causing damage, disturbance, nuisance or annoyance and is in obvious control of or obedient to the commands of its owner or keeper shall not be considered to be at large.

Article V. No person shall permit or cause any dog to go at large within the town of Williston.

So it is a little confusing as to what the town laws are stating. Yes, you can let your dog run loose with you, but IT MUST BE UNDER YOUR COMMANDS. Then it states that no dog shall be at large within the town of Williston?

But common sense, courtesy and respect to others that share the park seems like it is missing. I walk the park every day and it totally amazes me the people that forget that the park was built for everyone. Walkers and runners do not want dogs chasing them, bike riders (like myself) don’t know which way a dog is going when he is loose. After my knee replacement, I walked at the park for physical therapy and I lost count of how many dogs almost bowled me over because they were running loose. I was using a cane and these owners were clueless.

Would you walk on the sidewalks around town and let your dog run loose? I do not believe you would put your dog in harm’s way. Personally, I do not care if you let your dog run loose. What I do care about is being respectful to others who share the park.

Maybe Williston should think about opening a “dog park” like they have in Burlington…something to think about. In the meantime, use just a little common sense.

Pamela Boutin-Adams



Thanks for CVU trip

Our daughters just returned from an amazing CVU trip to a coffee farm in the Dominican Republic, and we’d like to share our gratitude for such an incredible student opportunity. Thanks go to the teachers, Seth Jensen and Meredith Visco, for having the vision and gumption to organize such an adventure, and the willingness to leave their own families to give our students this experience; to the administration and School Board, for their support of international student trips, so important in this time of globalization; and to the voters in the CVU district, for the support of budgets that continue to keep CVU programming so strong.

Why was this trip so special? The students were fully immersed and integrated into the daily life of Los Marranitos, a small coffee farming community tucked high in the hills.  Living in cabins with intermittent electricity and no hot water, hiking miles up and down the steep hillside every day to work with the children in school or share afternoon coffee with families, dance, play volleyball, or learn to cook and sew, the group experienced a life vastly different from theirs in Vermont. Speaking only Spanish on the trip, they also learned about coffee production, from beginning to end. They brought along many extra suitcases stuffed with clothing and school supplies donated by the generous Williston Central and CVU communities. It’s difficult to capture in words the powerful impact this trip had on the students and teachers, but we are grateful our children could take advantage of such a fabulous cultural service trip. Thank you CVU!

Betsy & Victor Forrester and Becca & Adam Weiss



Praise for CVU    Nordic team

I wanted to share a brief story about a small team of CVU Nordic skiers who participated in this year’s Nordic Relay for Life on a recent Saturday evening at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe. The team consisted of Emma Slater, the team captain, Colin Snyder, Will Kay, Emily Ahern, Rachel Baginski, Lauren Kelley, Natalie Puma, David Daly, Louis St. Pierre, Addie Zinner, Alexandra Spicer and Brianna Hake. The CVU team was one of several youth teams skiing through the night for this worthwhile cause. The CVU team also took the award for top youth fundraising team, raising almost $1,900 for the American Cancer Society.

Lisa Foley



Bus service inadequate

As a supporter of the “People’s Budget” campaign, I would like to give my testimony concerning the inadequacy of bus service and the way that public transportation is funded.

I rely solely on public transportation for all my needs. I work for the Visiting Nurse Association as a caregiver and I have clients who live in Burlington and Williston. I work on Sunday and there is no bus service from Essex, Winooski or Shelburne. As the old adage goes, “you can’t get there from here.” The only way that I can get to them is by taxi, which can cost me anywhere from $12.50 to $16 one way.

As the population grows, this lack of transportation affects the choices one makes concerning where to live, opportunities for jobs and even the inability to attend recreational and cultural events. I’ve talked with other people in my community, and many of my neighbors feel very passionately about public transportation and about our right to freedom of movement.

Beth Abustan

Essex Junction

Guest Column

Transparency and accountability: State can do better

By Bruce Lisman

Campaign for Vermont urges Vermonters to read the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Report Card issued March 14. The report card gives Vermont State Government a D- in transparency and accountability.

The USPIRG report card calls for Vermont and other states to publish a “money trail” website of all state spending. Campaign for Vermont supports this common sense solution to improve state government’s lack of fiscal transparency. It also agrees with USPIRG that “top-flight transparency websites actually save money for taxpayers, while also restoring public confidence in government, and preventing misspending and pay-to-play contracts.”

Right now is the time for elected officials to practice what they preach on the campaign trail. Establishing fiscal transparency cannot wait until the political campaign season. It must be a priority, starting now. On the first day of every month that little or no decisive action has been taken on this excellent idea, Campaign for Vermont will publicly decry this failure to act. And when decisive action is taken, the Campaign will be the first to applaud it.

We would also note the irony of the USPIRG Report’s publication coming within days of news reports alleging financial conflict of interest by former Vermont Public Interest Research Group staffer James Moore. According to Seven Days newspaper, Moore, while speaking in his official VPIRG capacity, lobbied the Legislature successfully for subsidies that directly benefit his new, private-sector solar power development company, SunCommon. Even the pursuit of a good cause such as solar energy deserves a transparent process.

As USPIRG says, taxpayers need to be able to follow the money; when taxpayers don’t have a seat at the table, pretty soon they’re on the menu.


Bruce Lisman is the founder of Campaign for Vermont. He lives in Shelburne, but was born in the Old North End and raised in Burlington. He attended Burlington public schools before going on to graduate from the University of Vermont.