April 20, 2018

WCS dances into April break

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Victoria Jadus

Instead of watching the clock tick in slow motion, Williston Central School students watched one another dance to pulsing beats on the day before April break.

The second annual “Dance-A-Rama,” held on April 19 in the “new” WCS gymnasium, gave third- and fourth-graders the chance to dance their way into vacation under the guidance of seventh and eighth grade choreographers.

“We looked for an opportunity to mix the third- and fourth-graders and have some fun,” said WCS physical education teacher Lynn McClintock. “Because they can go through the whole year without mixing … so this is a way for them to all get together and dance.”

After a solid hour of group dances – judged by a panel of “celebrity guest judges” (i.e. WCS teachers in costume) in the style of the television program “America’s Best Dance Crew” – McClintock called a halt to the foot stomping.

But before dismissing the mob of ecstatic vacationers, McClintock paid tribute to Dick Clark, the television icon of “American Bandstand” fame who passed away on April 18.

“Let’s remember Dick Clark, the man who got us all dancing,” McClintock said.

The group of WCS students – most of whose grandparents were born after “America’s oldest teenager” – responded with a respectful round of applause.

This week’s Popcorn: ‘American Reunion’

No Pie for this Movie

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer

“American Reunion,” another paltry attempt to cash in on the raunch/nostalgia quotient set in motion by Jim Levenstein (Jason Biggs) and pals in “American Pie” (1999), is a typical example of the one hit wonder that spawns a successful franchise despite itself. It is solely for diehards and others who just can’t seem to get enough grade B soft smut.

Save for a few funny scenes wherein veteran Eugene Levy does his shtick as Jim’s innocently candid dad, the only thing to recommend this mishmash of retreaded dirty jokes is the possibility that it may jog some of your own fond recollections. Drifting off to Memory Lane as a form of self-preservation assures you a far better entertainment.

Whether due to apathy or fear that any cerebral upgrade might upset the bottom line, it’s still too bad directors Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg didn’t take the opportunity to say something perceptive about high school reunions. If folks are going to imbibe it anyway, here’s a chance to slip in a beneficial component…like adding iodine to salt.

I, for one, am all in favor of throwing oneself, every decade or so, on the sacrificial pyre that is the high school reunion. It’s wonderfully cathartic, oddly dizzying and strangely democratic to see that the nerd who made a fortune for his cure of Dr. San Fernando’s Rare Dancing Disease still envies the former jock, even if he’s now bald and out of work.

But what I really like best about the ceremonial masochism, aside from the just OK prime rib, is the absurd perception of you that some out-of-sight, out-of-mind souls decide to share. Like, “I was always amazed that you had a tuna fish sandwich for lunch every day.” First of all, I didn’t. Secondly, that’s how you’ve defined me all these years?

However, I digress, which is my modus operandi when the film in question deserves just so many paragraphs. So back to it, “American Reunion” touches on the usual stuff of reunions as it specifically relates to the clichéd angst, fears and seemingly dashed dreams of Jim and Co., none of whom has made an attempt to outgrow his sexual adolescence.

In fact, they celebrate it. But while such is often a key component in so-called raunchy comedies, in the better ones, like “The Hangover” (2009), a transcendent, self-parody mixes with some witty truths to legitimize it. Whereas “American Reunion” is more like the 7-year-old who has just learned his first curse word and must repeat it ad nauseam.

The opening scene, apparently just nine jading years after “American Wedding” (2003), depicts Jim and Michele (Alyson Hannigan) as old marrieds before their time. Now with toddler in tow, the attraction that comprised their compatibility has morphed into an awkward discordance, exampled in a slapstick series of sex-related embarrassments.

Oh, but they love each other, we are assured. Otherwise this couldn’t be an ultimately happy, vindicating traipse through post-marital fantasy and flirtation. Going down the line, each of that old gang ‘o’ mine in town for the reunion regales us with his or her specific disgruntlement, inevitably connected to some sexual and/or romantic woe.

Oz, played by Chris Klein, a sportscaster who has recently won considerable notoriety for his near victory on a dance show, has misgivings about the trophy bimbo who features herself his steady squeeze. When the girlfriend/future doc that got away, portrayed by Mena Suvari, shows up with her cardiologist boyfriend, the old flame is fanned.

In a taboo variation on that theme, Thomas Ian Nicholas is Kevin, who, for some reason or another, needs a reencountering with a past heartthrob to find out whether or not he loves his wife. We can only hope such equivocation, a recurring theme in the film, is just the result of a lazy writer and not an accurate reflection of our current crop of humans.

Veering somewhat from this syndrome, but not, heaven forbid, completely void of a sexual angle, Finch’s (Eddie Kaye Thomas) story has more to do with success and status. Arriving on a motorcycle a la a new millennium version of James Dean, we have no reason to doubt his tales of worldly adventure and spiritual enlightenment…or do we?

On it goes, one trite vignette after the next, purporting to wax significant about reunion dynamics, yet barely able to put across its little naughty joke. A few moments capitalize on your own nostalgia. But like that classmate you obliterated from your memory, and then on reconvening quickly remember why, “American Reunion” is an affair to forget.


 “American Reunion,” rated R, is a Universal Pictures release directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg and stars Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan and Chris Klein. Running time: 113 minutes 





PHOTOS: Big Basket Raffle & Fun Night

Observer photos by Melanie Watson 

Last Saturday’s (April 14) Big Basket Raffle and Fun Night at Williston Central School.

PHOTOS: Poster contest winners at Statehouse

Photos by Scott Baker

PHOTOS: CVU boys baseball

Observer photo’s By Shane Bufano

CUV’s triumph against South Burlington on Tuesday, April 17.

PHOTOS: McFadden Dance Academy

Courtesy photos

McFadden Academy of Irish Dance owned by Beth Anne McFadden, is the only certified Irish dance academy in Vermont.

PHOTOS: Jake the Snake

Observer photos by Luke Baynes

Natural science educator and snake handler Stephen Amos unveils his reptilian friend Sunday at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library. Menacing-looking yet docile ‘Jake the Snake’ – a 30-year-old, 30-pound, 9-foot red-tailed boa constrictor – awakes from a lengthy nap to greet over 40 local youths at the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library on April 14. Jake’s appearance was the grand finale of National Library Week in Williston.




Virginia Louise Prescott Clark, 82, died peacefully on March 31, 2012, after a mercifully brief illness. She was born on Dec. 24, 1929, in Boston, the only child of Frank and Phyllis (Whyte) Prescott. Raised in Chevy Chase, Md., she attended St. Johnsbury Academy where she met and married St. Johnsbury native, Harry L. Clark. They lived in the Washington D.C. area, St. Johnsbury, and Burlington, and settled in Shelburne in 1966. Virginia spent 36 fulfilling years there, and retired to Williston in 2002. With a lifelong passion for reading and language, Virginia worked as an executive secretary while launching an academic career that would become her life. She held a BA (University of Vermont, 1961, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa), M.A. (UVM, 1963), and Ph.D. (University of Connecticut, 1968). She taught English and linguistics at UVM throughout her career, beginning as an assistant professor in 1968 and, by 1976, becoming one of the university’s youngest full professors. She was appointed to the Graduate College faculty in 1969. She was the author or coauthor of several influential textbooks including, Language: Introductory Readings and Language Awareness, as well as many academic articles and conference presentations. Courses taught included, Structure and History of the English Language and British Literature. She was the first faculty member at UVM to teach a course on Women in Literature. Her academic pursuits were so unusual for a young mother in the 1960s, that the Free Press sent a reporter to photograph her sitting with her three children on the swing set in her cap and gown. An early feminist, Virginia prevailed against the “glass ceiling” many women hit in academia, and became a role model for many female academics and students. She served as Chair of the UVM English Department for many years. Her early interest in technology, unusual among English professors, helped bring the department into the computer age. She chaired the UVM Faculty Senate from 1979-1981. She and her husband were passionate skiers. Harry volunteered on the ski patrol at Smuggler’s Notch, and Virginia took pride in the number of days they skied, regardless of the weather. They enjoyed summers at their home on Lake Champlain, including swimming and Harry’s gourmet cooking. She was predeceased by her husband, Harry, in 1990. She is survived by her three children, daughter, Delia (formerly Deborah) Clark and her husband, Timothy Traver, of Taftsville, son, David Clark of Shelburne, and daughter, Susan Clark and her husband, Mark Bushnell, of Middlesex; six grandchildren, Annakalmia Traver of Brooklyn, Mollie Traver of Brooklyn, Toben Traver of Burlington, Alexander Clark of Manhattan, Miranda Clark of Shelburne, and Harrison Bushnell of Middlesex. She is also survived by her brother-in-law, Richard Clark, and his wife, Joyce, of Green Valley, AZ. A memorial service is being planned for mid-May. For details, call Susan at: 802-223-5824. In lieu of flowers, her children suggest making a donation to Williston Fire and Rescue, 645 Talcott Road, Williston, VT 05495 or to the academic or women’s charity of your choice.


On April 10, 2012, the golden heart of Clair E. Phillips stopped beating and won the battle over death and entered paradise surrounded by her family. She was born in Winooski on July 5, 1934, to Austin and Lillian (Langlais) Feeney. Her love for her children, James Phillips, Lynn (Jim) Hill, Sally Parker and partner, John Paul, and son, Alan Phillips, knew no boundaries. She leaves behind beloved grand- children, Jennifer Parizo, Samantha and Allison Parker, Fallon Fitzgerald, and James Morrissette; and great-grandson, Logan Morrissette. Also left behind, deeply saddened sisters, Rita Gauthier and husband, Robert, Sue Merchant and husband, Vernon, along with their children who included Clair in all holidays and special occasions in their homes with open arms. She leaves devoted in-laws, Donald and Monique Phillips, Theresa Myers, Andre and Pauline Bouchard, and all of their children. She will be missed by her many cousins, who she felt were more like brothers and sisters to her. All who live at Falcon Manor will miss her, along with close friends, Joyce, Katherine, Gerry, Dolly, Blanka, Gilberta, Gail and Roger. She was predeceased by her husband, Bernard, son, Thomas, mother and father, Austin and Lillian Feeney, and mother- and father-in-law, Eugene and Florence Phillips. All of our lives without Clair will never be the same. Her family especially wishes to acknowledge a special niece, Judy Senesac, who was able to stay by Clair’s side a great deal of the time and made her passing more comfortable and joyous. Our thanks go out to Green Mountain Nursing Home staff and ex-daughter-in-law, Jeanne, who made Clair’s stay there more comfortable, and last but not least, the nursing staff at Fletcher Allen Health Care on Shephardson 4 Oncology, whose constant caring and professionalism came through to all and will always be remembered. Visiting hours were held  on Monday, April 16, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at LaVigne Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 132 Main St., Winooski. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, April 16 at noon in St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Winooski. Interment followed in St. Francis Xavier Cemetery.


The Reverend Martin P. Dienst, of Williston, was called home to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, at age 92. He was born in Palms, Mich. on Dec. 7, 1919, to Walter and Ida Dienst. Martin Luther was his namesake and his parents instilled in him their Lutheran faith and encouraged him to become a minister. Martin’s family moved to Detroit when he was a boy and that is where he spent most of his primary school years, followed by prep school for the ministry in Fort Wayne, Ind. He met his future wife, Dorothy Oertel, in 1939 at Epiphany Lutheran Church in Detroit, and the couple married on Sept. 9, 1944, after Martin graduated from the seminary in St. Louis, Mo. He then received his first call to be a Missionary at Large in Groton, Conn., until December of 1946. During the years that followed, Martin and Dorothy had six children, and Martin was called to serve congregations in Ruth, Mich., Palms, Mich., Kingston, N.Y., finally ending up as the pastor of Community Lutheran Church in South Burlington in 1961, where he served until his retirement in 1985. In 1976, during his tenure in South Burlington, Martin was elected New England District President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, serving 97 congregations throughout the region until 1984. He was also very active in Kiwanis Club. Martin and Dorothy enjoyed traveling together and spending time with their large family. All who knew Martin appreciated his caring gentle spirit, his interesting stories and his clever wit. Martin was predeceased by his parents, Walter and Ida Dienst; brothers, Laurence and Harold Dienst; daughter, Nina Carreira; daughter, Dorothy Dienst; and granddaughter, Janine Kuehn. He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Dorothy; their children, Martha Peace and husband, Stuart, of Germany, Timothy Dienst and wife, Sandra, of Williston, Daniel Dienst and wife, Michele, of Stowe, and Sarah Dienst of Bennington; grandchildren and their spouses and great-grandchildren, James and Kim Carreira, and their children, Alexis, Samuel and Matthew; Christine and Carl Williamson, and their children, Mark, Max, Logan, and Avery; Stuart and Deborah Peace, and their daughter, Sofia; Deanna and David Luce; Erik Peace; Douglas and Meredith Dienst; Darren Dienst; Haley Dienst; Hillary Dienst; Alex Dienst; Laura and Craig Smith; Michelle and Jeremy Pearson; Jeffrey Chao; Dorothy and C.O. Johnson, and their children, Robert and Reagan. He is also survived by his sister, Dorothy Mollon, and her husband, Jack, of Harrison Township, Mich. The family wishes to thank the Williston Rescue Squad and the Fletcher Allen Emergency Room and Intensive Care Unit staffs for the excellent care given to Martin during his final hours and for their compassionate consideration of the family. A funeral and celebration of Martin’s life was held on Friday, April 13 at 2 p.m. at Community Lutheran Church, 1560 Williston Road, South Burlington, followed by interment at East Cemetery in Williston. Visiting hours were held on Thursday, April 12 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Corbin & Palmer Funeral Home, 9 Pleasant St., Essex Junction. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Bethesda Lutheran Communities, 600 Hoffmann Drive, Watertown, Wis., 53094.


Everyday Gourmet

By Kim Dannies

The hunger games

Time for a spring tune-up in the pantry and the pants. Here are some food-savvy tips to incorporate into your eating game plan. While strategies abound for fitness and food regimes, there is only one winner in the hunger games, and that’s YOU (when exercise meets healthy food choices on a daily basis.) Sure, you’ve heard it all before, but a spring refresher can’t hurt. And I think you’ll love my Fudgie Babies – they are to die for.

Lose the bite and gain the flavor of healthy cancer-fighting onions in your dishes. Rinsing minced onions in cool water removes the pungency that can overpower other flavors. When onions are chopped, sulfurous compounds are released as the knife slices through cell walls. Washing the sulfur from the cell walls results in a mellow, aromatic flavor.

Cooking healthy is easy with a “less is more” approach. Choose foods in their natural state, cook with olive oil, and add a small amount of sea salt to finish. Do no harm, which means, sear, grill, or sauté foods quickly to retain flavors. Stick with fresh fruits, and vegetables, whole grains and clean proteins. Eschew processed foods.

When ordering out, split an entree with someone (or divide and pack half for another meal) as a matter of routine. This REALLY works!

Most recipes call for too much oil or butter; you can generally cut back to half of the recipe recommendation. Also, using olive oil spray for lightly coating meats and veggies is a healthy trick.

Stuck in the car and dying of hunger? Keep a few “Think Thin” bars in your glove compartment for emergencies. These tasty, high-protein bars are the cleanest, yummiest lifesavers you’ll find in a supermarket.


Fudgie Babies

In a food processor, crush one-half cup of salted almonds; remove, reserve.

To the processor add one-half cup of walnuts and crush. Add one and one-half cups of date pulp; 4-tablespoons of cocoa powder; 1-teaspoon of vanilla; and a pinch of salt and cinnamon. Pulse to combine. Divide dough into two sections; roll dough on pieces of plastic wrap into a plump log shape. Coat the logs with almonds. Seal in wrap and freeze 2 hours. Slice and serve.


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


HUB Happenings

Business identity theft website launched

Secretary of State Jim Condos recently announced the development of www.BusinessIDTheft.org, a site designed to serve as a critical resource to help business owners understand and protect their businesses from identity theft.

The Identity Theft Protection Association created and launched the website with input from the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), which convened a national business identity theft task force in October 2011.

The BusinessIDTheft.org website is the first site dedicated to business identity theft. It provides expert information on the multitude of ways that business identity theft can occur, risk management and prevention information, victim assistance and comprehensive local resources for each U.S. state and territory. Fraud prevention tips and the latest tools for credit protection are also featured.

“Getting good information to the public in an easy-to-understand way is at the heart of catching Business ID theft at the filing level,” said Condos. “This website will be a great resource.”

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont groups win worksite wellness awards

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont recently announced that 16 of its employer groups were awarded Worksite Wellness Awards at the 2012 Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Worksite Wellness Conference held on March 28 in Burlington.

The Vermont Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports gives awards to employer programs that support staff access to physical fitness activities and promote good health at work and beyond. Governor Peter Shumlin and Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen presented awards on behalf of the council to 79 employers.

Employer groups who won worksite wellness awards included:

Gold Standard

Chittenden Solid Waste District

Rutland Mental Health Services


Village of Derby Center

Vermont League of Cities and Towns

Heritage Family Credit Union

City of Burlington


Village of Derby Line

Town of Killington

Hickok and Boardman Group Benefits


Engelberth Construction, Inc.


Town of Marshfield

Town of Castleton

Dwight Asset Management

Rising Stars

Howard Center

Central Vermont Medical Center

Digital Future Conference May 8

The e-Vermont Community Broadband Partnership is hosting the Vermont Digital Future Conference on May 8 at Champlain College in Burlington. Vermonters will join digital leaders to set a path that will increase Internet adoption and utilization in the state. The resulting strategies will have a common goal of improving digital literacy, business opportunities, local government practices, innovation in education and connecting communities.

Nicco Mele, known for his pioneering use of technology during Governor Howard Dean’s presidential campaign, will be the keynote speaker.

For more information, contact Joanna Cummings, Conference Coordinator, at joanna@snellingcenter.org or call 802-859-3090.

DRM attorneys recognized by Chambers USA

David J. Sylvester

David J. Sylvester and Bruce C. Palmer are new this year to the roster of 22 attorneys at the law firm Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC who are recognized in Chambers USA 2012: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.

Sylvester is based in DRM’s Burlington office and Palmer is based in DRM’s St. Johnsbury office.

Bruce C. Palmer

Chambers and Partners is a global organization that has been researching and ranking U.S. law firms on criteria that include technical expertise, business acumen, prompt delivery and value since 1999. According to Chambers, selections are based on extensive research that includes peer and client evaluations.

For more information, visit www.drm.com.


SBA Says: Tell Us Your Story!

Do you have a small business story to tell? Every business has one. Tell your story to the SBA and your video may appear at National Small Business Week, SBA’s marquee event that attracts hundreds of small business owners, Fortune 500 company executives, members of Congress and Obama Administration officials.

In celebration of National Small Business Week 2012, SBA is looking for creative videos from small businesses that show how they have been helped by an SBA program or service. Three winning videos will also be shown during a Google+ Hangout hosted by the SBA and the White House with SBA Administrator Karen Mills on May 24. The winners can also participate in the event with Administrator Mills, while she answers questions from small businesses around the country.  All qualifying videos will be showcased on SBA’s YouTube page.

Contestants can enter the contest by producing an original video, two minutes or less, that shares their stories. Videos will feature small business owners from across the country discussing the SBA assistance the company received, the most rewarding aspects of starting a business and how the SBA assistance benefited the business and the local community.

The videos can be submitted through www.Challenge.gov through 5 p.m. on May 11. For more information on the Small Business Week Video Contest, visit http://smallbizvid.challenge.gov.


NBT Bank hires Roy

Robert A. Roy

NBT Bank has hired Robert A. Roy as vice president and senior commercial banking relationship manager.

Roy is responsible for developing and managing business relationships with the bank’s commercial customers throughout western Vermont. He is based at the NBT Bank’s Vermont Regional Office in Burlington.

Roy has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Finance and Marketing from the University of Vermont. He is also a graduate of the New England School of Banking at William College. Roy serves as vice president and treasurer for the Chittenden County Court Diversion Program, is head of the finance committee of St. Francis Xavier Parish and treasurer for Cub Scout Pack 658.


NE Air hires two

Sue Shea

New England Air Systems, a full service mechanical contractor in Williston, has announced the addition of two new employees.

Melanie Atwood

Melanie Atwood has been hired as Accounts Payable Administrator. She has over 20 years experience in business management, including the creation of two successful businesses.

Sue Shea joins NEAS as Payroll Administrator. Shea formerly worked at Autumn Harp and has nearly 30 years experience in accounting and payroll.


NEFCU wins service award

CMG MI’s Kevin Keegan presents the Outstanding Service Performance Award to NEFCU’s Pearl Hall and Katharine Whalen.

Greg Hahr, Mortgage Manager for New England Federal Credit Union, recently announced that the credit union has won the CMG Mortgage Insurance Company 2011 Outstanding Servicing Performance Award.

In a ceremony held at NEFCU’s offices on March 22, CMG MI account executive Kevin M. Keegan presented the award to NEFCU staffers Pearl Hall and Katharine Whalen.

“Our staff did a stellar job in 2011,” noted NEFCU’s Hahr.  “We are extremely pleased to see their outstanding work recognized with this important award.”


Schooner Company sold

Whistling Man Schooner Company, a Burlington-based Lake Champlain sailing tour company, has been acquired by Crowsnest Sailing Solutions of Hinesburg.

The business will continue to operate on the waterfront in Burlington and service the many tourists who visit Burlington during the summer months.

Stern Center offers writing help for adults

The Stern Center is expanding its individualized, one-on-one instruction for adults by offering “writing for the real world.” This service is tailored to adults seeking help with creating clear, logical, persuasive text organized for its audience and purpose. This new service is now available at the Stern Center’s Williston location and is offered during extended evening hours to accommodate the business community. Visit www.sterncenter.org for more information.


Sullivan appointed to Board

Lori B. Sullivan

Lori B. Sullivan MS, OT of Burlington, Director of Hearts, Hands & Horses, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the American Hippotherapy Association. Hippotherapy is a physical, occupational or speech and language therapy treatment strategy that utilizes equine movement. Hearts, Hands & Horses provides equine-assisted occupational therapy services for children ages 2-12 at Destiny Morgan Farm in Colchester. Sullivan specializes in treating children with autism spectrum disorders and sensory processing disorders. Visit www.vthippotherapy.com for more information.

Stackpole wins VNA Cares for Children Award

Janet Stackpole

The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) hosted its popular Spring Blooms! Fashion Show and Luncheon on April 4 at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in support of the Janet S. Munt Family Room, the VNA’s parent-child center housed in Burlington’s Old North End.

Church Hindes, VNA’s CEO and President, announced the creation of a new award, the VNA Cares for Children Award. The award honors an individual whose efforts have enabled a vital aspect of the VNA’s work, caring for our communities’ children. The inaugural recipient of the VNA Cares for Children Award was Janet Stackpole of Burlington.

Stackpole has raised over $280,000 for the VNA Family Room through her years of coordinating the Spring Blooms! Fashion Show. She was a longstanding member of the VNA board of directors and is now on the VNA honorary board.