August 21, 2014

Two of Williston’s veteran teachers announce retirements

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By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Williston School District teachers Beth Dusablon (left) and Margaret Munt (right) are retiring at the end of the school year. Colleagues for the past 28 years, Munt and Dusablon have over 70 years of combined teaching experience. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

When Beth Dusablon and Margaret Munt retire at the end of the school year, they will leave behind more than 70 years of combined teaching experience.

Dusablon, 63, departs after a 42-year career as the longest tenured member of the Williston School District.

“I’ve been here long enough that I’ve taught students whose parents I’ve also taught,” Dusablon laughed.

But Dusablon, who has taught grades 1-4 at both Williston Central and Allen Brook schools, said her loyalty to the school district isn’t uncommon.

“There are quite a few folks in our district who have been here a long, long time, so that says something about the job and the quality of the schools,” said Dusablon.

Munt, 57, is a case in point, having spent the past 28 years teaching first and second grade in Williston. She said she stuck with early childhood education because of students’ openness to learning at that age.

“I love teaching literacy and early math skills. The children are just so inquisitive and eager to learn,” Munt said. “It’s just wonderful to develop relationships with the children and with their families.”

Dusablon, who taught third grade at WCS this year, agreed with her friend and colleague about the pleasures of the early elementary grades.

“I love seeing the change and the growth in the students, and I find that the younger the student, the more easily you see that within a year’s time,” Dusablon said. “When I worked with first and second graders, I would see some incredible changes over a year.”

Munt and Dusablon also give credit to the Williston community for consistently passing school budgets that have enabled the district to increase staffing and ensure small class sizes, despite a student population that has grown dramatically over their lengthy teaching careers.

“The community has always been supportive, and we’ve always had the resources that we’ve asked for, and we really appreciate that,” said Dusablon.

When asked separately what they will miss most about teaching, both Munt and Dusablon immediately responded: “The children.”

For that reason, Munt and Dusablon—who are both Vermont natives and graduates of the University of Vermont—cited “travel” and “visiting grandchildren” as top priorities in retirement.

For Dusablon, after 42 years of working around the school district’s schedule, she’s looking forward to the freedom and great unknown of retirement.

“It will just be nice not to have a schedule, and not to have a to-do list, to kind of take things as they come and not plan for everything,” she said.

And the beat goes on

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Governor signs CPR bill into law at WCS

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Williston resident Tommy Watson trains Gov. Peter Shumlin in hands-only CPR on May 23 at WCS. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

Gov. Peter Shumlin used two pens when he signed bill S.245 into law at Williston Central School on May 23.

He gave the first to Tommy Watson, the WCS eighth-grader whose hands-only CPR graduation challenge project spurred the passage of the bill.

The second pen went to Michelle Johnston, a sudden cardiac arrest survivor, whose presence at the event was living proof of the law’s benefit.

“The lesson in all of this is that each of us can do great things to help save lives, to make our state stronger and safer,” Shumlin said. “I’m very proud to sign this bill that the legislators worked so hard on. This is a simple way to save lives in Vermont.”

The newly signed law makes successful completion of hands-only CPR and automated external defibrillator training a mandatory condition of secondary school graduation. Iowa is the only other state with a similar law.

Watson, who had trained 267 people in CPR prior to teaching the governor and several others at the bill signing event, also addressed the packed WCS auditorium.

“I can’t stress enough how important CPR really is to everyone, and how easy it is to learn it, and I’m especially thankful that the governor can sign (the bill) today,” said Watson.

Williston State Rep. and Selectboard Chairman Terry Macaig, speaking to the Observer after the event, likened the bill’s lengthy period of debate in the House and Senate to the Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive,” which Watson adopted as the theme song for his project because of its disco beat that mimics the correct compression frequency of CPR.

“This has been a two-year process to get this bill through, and once it got out of the Senate—finally, this year—I could sort of hear Tommy in the background, saying, ‘Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive,’ because the bill kept on progressing,” Macaig said.

Senator Ginny Lyons (D-Williston) said she hopes the law will serve as a precursor for future mandates to improve the health and safety of Vermonters.

“We should have a ‘health day’ in all business environments—and that includes schools and other workplaces—where people could be trained in lifesaving techniques, whether it’s CPR, or the Heimlich maneuver or whatever,” said Lyons.

Watson, it’s safe to say, won’t rest on his laurels following the successful passage of the bill.

On June 4, he heads to New York City for an NBC media day, with the hope of appearing on the Today Show the following morning to demonstrate to a national audience the lifesaving benefits of hands-only CPR.

On the ROAD

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Road crews will be out in force this summer working on Vermont’s roads. Check
On the Road” each week to see which projects are underway, what conditions to expect and when the projects are expected to be complete—plus, helpful tips to keep you safe on the road. Roadwork information is provided by the Vermont Agency on Transportation. To learn more and view maps, visit www.511vt.com

 

Current work

Richmond: Bridge reconstruction on U.S. 2, temporary bridge in place. Completion expected Nov. 30.

South Burlington: Bridgework, including milling and paving on Interstate 189. Lane switching to westerly side. Completion expected at the end of June.

Burlington: Cherry and Church streets will be one lane at times, until May 29. Curbing will be underway on Pearl and St. Paul streets until the end of summer.

Colchester/South Burlington: Work on Route 2 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Some delays possible. Completion expected on July 26.

Barre: New main being flushed on U.S. 302/Main Street. Use caution: very slippery due to rain. Completion expected by the end of summer.

Berlin/Montpelier: Rock scaling on northbound I-89 between exits 7 and 8 until mid-October, right lane closed, no delays expected.

Randolph/Williamstown/Berlin: Bridgework on I-89 northbound between exits 4 and 6, reduced to one lane with speed restrictions. Completion expected by June 28.

Rutland: Paving with flaggers on site on Route 4, no reported delays. Completion expected on Aug. 19.

Danville: U.S. 2 work: Ongoing paving, with alternating one-way traffic. Completion expected in November.

St. Johnsbury: Work on U.S. 2 St. Johnsbury bridge over I-91. Expect traffic signals, merge early, no delays. Completion expected in September.

East Hardwick: Bridge work on VT 16, one lane. Completion expected on June 15.

Poultney: Short delays for paving project on VT 30, south of Poultney. Completion expected on Aug. 19.

Franklin County: Bridges on I-91 between exits 23 and 26 reduced to one lane in both directions, with multiple works zones. Completion expected in September.

 

Upcoming projects

Richmond/Waterbury: Construction is expected to begin soon on north- and southbound I-89, lasting until late summer.

 

Safety tip of the week

Many Vermonters are still confused about using roundabouts, also known as rotaries and traffic circles.

Aside from always going around in a counterclockwise direction, the one rule to remember is to give way to any vehicle already in the roundabout. When entering the circle, yield to oncoming traffic, but do not stop if the way is clear. Once in the roundabout, you have the right of way.

Remember to watch for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Garner’s artwork on display in community room

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By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Elizabeth Garner with her dog, Alvin. Elizabth Garner’s pencil sketches of Vermont scenes are on the walls on the Williston Police Department community room. (Courtesy photo)

Sketches of classic Vermont scenes—nostalgic sugarhouses, narrow wintry roads and serene lakesides— are decorating the walls of the community room at the Williston Police Department.

The pencil drawings are the work of Essex artist Elizabeth Garner, the latest in a series of artists to exhibit work in the town building.

“They’re all things that you would just see driving down the street,” Garner said of the sketches. “I like to take things that are meaningful for me or somebody else and draw them.”

Millie Whitcomb, executive assistant to the police chief, organizes the displays. Garner is the sixth artist to hang his or her work there since last fall.

“I personally think it’s gorgeous,” Whitcomb said of Garner’s work. “She does some really wonderful depictions of Vermont life… a part of Vermont that you don’t see a lot of anymore.”

Whitcomb said she was so impressed with the work, she even bought one of Garner’s drawings—a sketch of a farmer walking away across a field that Whitcomb said reminded her of her dad.

“It’s very simple, but it really touched me,” Whitcomb said. “I was very impressed with her stuff, and I love having it there.”

Garner is a dispatcher for the Vermont State Police, but has been sketching for several years.

“It’s something I like to do when I come home at night,” she said. “It’s very relaxing for me to just sit down and draw and do something fun.”

The community room, located in the police station, is open to the public. Garner’s art is scheduled to be on display until mid-August.

For more information about displaying art, contact Whitcomb at [email protected]

Canine comfort

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Williston-based Therapy Dogs of VT unleashes its mission

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Dave Mott receives a surprise visit from Micro, a trained therapy dog owned by Therapy Dogs of Vermont founder Steve Reiman. (Courtesy photo by Steve Reiman)

There was a time when Therapy Dogs of Vermont founder Steve Reiman considered giving up his vocation.

He was tired. It was becoming too much work. He had other things going on in his life.

A visit to a hospital with his German shepherds Lily and Jordan changed his mind.

When Reiman and the canine half-sisters entered the hospital room of a 14-year-old girl, she was motionless from a brain aneurysm that had rendered her comatose. Reiman took the girl’s hand and placed it on Lily’s head. He saw her fingers wiggle.

Then Reiman told Jordan to get on the bed with the girl. Jordan complied and put her head on the girl’s chest. The girl then lifted both her arms and hugged Jordan. It was the first substantial movement she made on the road to full recovery from her aneurysm.

Reiman said the incident brought tears to his eyes.

“Here was something that two dogs could do that doctors and nurses couldn’t,” he said.

Twenty years since its founding, TDV is still going strong, with 287 certified therapy dog teams in 137 sites across Vermont and into New York, New Hampshire and Quebec.

Although the group trains dogs of all breeds—with the exception of wolf hybrids—requirements for qualification include a minimum of one year of age and six months with their current handler, an absence of dog-to-dog aggression and a social personality.

Executive Director Bob Uerz, a Williston resident was the only paid staff member among the 200-plus volunteers, said that unlike the service dog concept—in which dogs are assigned to people in need—both therapy dogs and their owners are trained and certified.

“The thing about Therapy Dogs, which is different from other types of service dogs, is we’re really focusing on certifying teams,” Uerz said. “The word ‘dog’ is prominent, obviously, but it’s really the person—the handler—as well as the dog itself that we certify.”

Uerz said the group’s mission statement, while verbose, is apt.

“Our mission is maybe a little bit long, but it’s: ‘Touching hearts, bringing joy, offering comfort and enriching lives with our certified therapy dogs,’” said Uerz. “That kind of encompasses all the different venues that we’re in right now, and we hope to be expanding to new areas all the time. One area in particular is working with returning vets.”

Although TDV has yet to establish a significant foothold with military veterans, it has for several years been working with the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library in Williston on a program that promotes youth reading by having kids read books to therapy dogs.

“The idea is if you’re reading to a dog instead of a person, kids will be less nervous,” said Library Director Marti Fiske.

Youth Services Librarian Jill Coffrin said the “Reading with Frosty and Friends” program, which began with Williston resident Cathy Messina’s dog Frosty sitting with kids for 10-minute reading sessions, has snowballed into a weekly phenomenon during the school year.

“It’s been really, really a great thing,” Coffrin said.

Williston resident Nancy Kahn, whose 3-year-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel Sophie has been a therapy dog since she met the 1-year age requirement, remarked with amazement on the joy animals can bring to those in need.

“I enjoy going out with her and seeing how happy it makes people,” said Kahn. “It’s amazing to me how a dog can light up a room or help a kid.”

Kahn’s sentiments recall another story shared by Reiman.

During a hospital visit, Reiman and Lily encountered a young girl stricken with cancer. Lily, per her usual jovial personality, presented a Frisbee to the girl, but was continually rebuffed.

The next week, when Reiman and Lily returned to the hospital, they were told by staff that the girl had been waiting all week for Lily’s arrival.

After playing with Lily prior to receiving radiation treatment, the girl was told that she could bring a Polaroid picture of Lily into the treatment room.

Reiman said he overheard the girl tell her mother: “I told you all along I wanted to die. Now I want to live.”

For more information, visit www.therapydogs.org, email [email protected] or send snail mail to Therapy Dogs of Vermont
P.O. Box 1271,Williston, Vt. 05495-1271.

Stormwater plan may cost residents

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Town ponders stormwater utility fee

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Six species of trees were planted along the banks of the Allen Brook in Williston last fall in an effort to mitigate bank erosion and reestablish the natural habitat of the watershed. The nascent trees are protected by plastic tubes that prevent browsing by deer and rodents. Despite the efforts of the Williston Conservation Commission and town volunteers, the Allen Brook remains an impaired watershed, which has prompted the Williston Selectboard to explore alternative means to tax residents for stormwater management funding. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

Although it got top billing at the May 21 Williston Selectboard meeting, a flow restoration plan and related stormwater funding study for the Allen Brook ultimately played second fiddle to a contentious debate over alternatives to the Chittenden County Circumferential Highway.

But between the two topics, the stormwater issue could have a more immediate impact on Williston residents as the Selectboard looks for ways to improve the watershed that covers 31.4 percent of Williston’s 31 square miles and which has been relegated to the federal list of impaired watersheds since 1998.

Bethany Eisenberg of consulting firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. explained that stormwater runoff and the high percentage of impervious surfaces in North Williston are among the primary reasons the Allen Brook is impaired.

“When it rains, it’s like giving the pavement a bath, and all the dirty bathwater with all the pollutants in it goes into our brooks, rivers, streams and wetlands,” Eisenberg said.

Besides polluted water, negative ramifications to residents from the Allen Brook’s impaired status include greater difficulty obtaining development permits and increased real estate due diligence.

The town currently uses a combination of Public Works and Planning and Zoning department staff to address stormwater issues. It funds stormwater services through municipal property taxes, which flow into the town’s general fund.

Eisenberg and her VHB colleague Joshua Sky proposed an alternative “stormwater utility,” in which taxpayers would be billed separately for the town’s stormwater-related operations based on the amount of impervious surface owned by the resident.

“It’s a fee-based system for a service, and the service that you’re providing is the stormwater management in the town,” Eisenberg told the Selectboard. “It is not a tax. Everybody pays, and it’s typically based on the impervious area of your property.”

Sky explained that the fee system would involve establishing an “equivalent residential unit” that would equal the average amount of impervious surface for a single-family residence.

“A typical residential parcel in Williston is about 5,100 square feet of impervious surface—a little over a tenth of an acre,” Sky said. “We used that ERU, which we equate as a single-family residence, as the basis to calculate all of the stormwater fees.”

Although the amount taxpayers would be responsible for would likely vary based on the amount of federal grant funding the town is able to obtain, the estimates presented by VHB assume a monthly fee range of $2 to $5 per ERU. On the high end, that would mean a property owner with 5,100 square feet of impervious surface would be responsible for an annual fee of $60.

Theoretically, the stormwater fee would be offset by a commensurate decrease to general property taxes, although the Selectboard could choose to reallocate that portion of the operating budget to other town projects during the annual budget process.

Sky said the town’s annual stormwater budget averaged around $428,000 for the past five years, of which approximately $200,000 was comprised of annual grant funding. He said he expects the annual budget to increase to between $520,000 and $565,000, based on projected estimates for Williston’s “flow restoration plan,” which is a state-mandated requirement for towns with impaired watersheds.

Sky recommended that the town consolidate its stormwater operations into a single department and appoint a stormwater coordinator who would be responsible for overseeing the stormwater utility. He said having a separate funding source administered by a dedicated individual would increase the town’s likelihood of receiving grant monies.

“There’s a higher percentage chance of success in securing grants when you have a dedicated funding source that you can use for matching and you can show that you have an individual who is going to be able to administer the grant,” Sky said.

Williston Town Manager Rick McGuire said the Selectboard will need to decide before the fall budget season whether it wants to maintain the status quo or establish a fee-based stormwater utility.

“The key decision the board has, as I see it at this moment, is do you want a fee, or do you want to keep it the same and fund it entirely through property taxes,” McGuire said. “If you want a fee, then we still have a lot of work to do.”

Coming-of-age movies for the ages

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Ten classics for parents and teens

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

The success of Martin Scorsese’s marvelous 3-D adventure “Hugo” (2011) – a coming-of-age movie that pays homage to the nascent days of the silent cinema – stems partly from the fact that Scorsese himself literally came of age watching movies.

A lonely child who couldn’t play outside with other kids due to chronic asthma, Scorsese found solace from his affliction and escape from the mean streets of New York’s Little Italy by holing up in movie houses and living vicariously through his heroes of the silver screen.

Yet one doesn’t have to be an avid film buff like Scorsese to have one’s formative years shaped by the cinema.

A favorite movie star might influence the way a teenager dresses, or cuts his hair, or even how he talks or acts.

A single film might inspire a future career path.

Movies featuring teenage characters can have the particular effect of making the angst of the teenage years more bearable by providing an onscreen representation of adolescent growing pains.

A good coming-of-age movie is one that retains its relevance with age – and that can be appreciated regardless of one’s age.

The following are 10 movie recommendations (in alphabetical order) for both parents and teens that share the common theme of teens maturing into adults:

 “American Graffiti” (1973, directed by George Lucas)

Set in 1962, just 11 years prior to being made, “American Graffiti” invented the nostalgia movie. But there’s still no better source for parents to show teens what life was like in the days of drive-ins and sock hops. And by focusing on the last day of summer after high school graduation – the last gasp of youth before the looming pressures of adulthood– the future creator of the futuristic “Star Wars” made a period piece that remains timeless.

 “The Breakfast Club” (1985, directed by John Hughes)

Anyone who grew up in the ’80s grew up with “The Breakfast Club.” Whether you were the brain, the athlete, the basket case, the princess, the criminal – or a combination thereof – there was someone to identify with in the film. Today’s teens will get a laugh out of the fashion and music of the era, but when it comes down to the movie’s basic teen issues, has anything really changed?

 “Breaking Away” (1979, directed by Peter Yates)

Peter Yates is best known for directing Steve McQueen’s archetypal car chase through the hilly streets of San Francisco in “Bullitt,” but his best outing behind the camera was this quirky comedy set in Bloomington, Ind., where four local townies come of age in the shadow of privileged Indiana University frat culture. It’s a familiar underdog story, complete with a climatic bike race, but its idiosyncratic tone defies convention.

 “A Bronx Tale” (1993, directed by Robert De Niro)

A word of caution: “A Bronx Tale” contains scenes of harshly realistic violence and coarse language typical of the racially charged milieu of the Bronx, circa 1968. Disclaimer aside, Robert De Niro’s directorial debut is an often touching tale of a boy growing into a man under the influence of two father figures: his actual father, a blue collar bus driver (De Niro); and the local mob boss (Chazz Palminteri, who also wrote the screenplay based on his own childhood). With an agile camera sense – informed by longtime collaborator Martin Scorsese – De Niro provides a broad tapestry of urban yearning that contains one of Hollywood’s most honest interracial romances.

 “Cinema Paradiso” (1988, directed by Giuseppe Tornatore)

Yes, it’s subtitled – a surefire teen turnoff – but Giuseppe Tornatore’s love poem to the cinema, featuring a liberal amount of clips from classic American movies, is as good a starting place as any to introduce teens to both the golden age of Hollywood and modern international cinema. As a bonus, you also get the poignantly rendered story of a boy coming of age in a sleepy Sicilian village under the tutelage of a benevolently crusty film projectionist.

 “East of Eden” (1955, directed by Elia Kazan)

“Rebel Without a Cause” is the more famous James Dean movie, but “East of Eden” (Dean’s film debut) has aged much better – despite being set considerably earlier, during the First World War. Taking a small portion of the 1952 John Steinbeck novel as his source, Method acting guru Elia Kazan channeled its biblical edifice into a compact narrative, and in the process, turned Dean into the voice of a generation of youths.

 “Hoosiers” (1986, directed by David Anspaugh)

“Hoosiers” is a collective coming-of-age story, chronicling the improbable Indiana state high school basketball championship of a small town team. But it’s also about two adults’ belated maturation: Gene Hackman, as the disgraced former college coach who finds redemption at the high school level; and Dennis Hopper (in an Oscar-nominated performance), as the town drunk who must revert to childlike dependency on his son before he can regain his life.

 “Picnic at Hanging Rock” (1975, directed by Peter Weir)

A strong candidate for the greatest Australian movie ever made, “Picnic at Hanging Rock” is a riddle without a solution – the unsolved mystery of picnicking schoolgirls who disappear in the outback. But it’s really about the eternal mysteries of burgeoning adulthood and the perpetual tragedy of innocence lost.

 “Rushmore” (1998, directed by Wes Anderson)

Wes Anderson’s offbeat comic masterpiece is a cross-generational coming-of-age story, treating teenage angst and middle-aged malaise as two sides of the same coin. Set at a private academy, “Rushmore” is the story of a 15-year-old dreamer (Jason Schwartzman) and a 50-year-old millionaire (Bill Murray) who fall in love with the same schoolteacher. It’s like “The Catcher in the Rye” meets “The Graduate,” set to the music of the British Invasion.

 “The Social Network” (2010, directed by David Fincher)

Call it a modern classic. A Best Picture contender during the 2010 Oscar season, “The Social Network” is the fictional telling of the founding of the cultural force that is Facebook. But it’s also the story of the coming of age – or rather, the comeuppance – of Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who made billions of dollars but many enemies on his way to the top of the social media world. It should be required viewing for any computer illiterate parent who wonders what Facebook is, and just what their teen is doing every night after school.

This Week’s Popcorn: ‘Dark Shadows’

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Eternity Revisited

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer

 

Explaining Johnny Depp’s niche in the film world, my daughter Erin, a promising player in the New York art scene, informed that the lead in Tim Burton’s “Dark Shadows” is an iconoclast for the masses. Joanne, her mother, my wife and a college professor, simply exclaimed, “I just want to see my Johnny.” My obsolescence couldn’t be more satisfying.

Neither a fan of the series when it played the small screen from 1966 to 1971, nor of vampires in general, approaching this assignment I would then be Filmdom’s Alexis de Tocqueville, an outsider, the objective surveyor. As such, I bring news that, as long as you’re not expecting too much, this is a decent and rather witty homage to the franchise

Not jealous an iota, on the contrary just glad my competition isn’t Clark Gable or Errol Flynn, I found that Johnny is, well, Johnny, and again quite good at it. In the service of full disclosure, I long held that Depp was my favorite young actor. But time, money and stereotypes being what they are, serious comparisons to Spencer Tracy are now on hold.

All the same, the one-two combination he and filmmaker Burton have so fondly fashioned continues here its bizarre scrollwork, this time invading the gothic ruminations of never-ending love, unholy eternity and good old class distinction. And recent memory doesn’t recall a better rendition of a well-known axiom than is etched here by Eva Green.

She is Angelique Bouchard, the lowly but beautiful servant who Mr. Depp’s Barnabas Collins, prince apparent of Collinsport, Maine’s, namesake Brahmins, trifled with to a terrible and tragic fault. Angelique effusively illustrates that indeed hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and that it’s double coupons if said jilted female is a bona fide witch.

Yipes! Young sons should see this before being allowed to date. But not too young, as the PG-13 rating barely escapes the R some of the scariness surely deserves. One scene, wherein incompetent parents commit their troubled little daughter to an insane asylum, had me worried for the tots whose equally lousy parents had dragged them to the theater.

It’s an odd mix for a so-called mainstream movie expected to gross big at the Multiplex. But most of it’s fun, if not always good clean fun…jabs at, and allusions to, old tastes, new culture and just about anything else that passes under the purview of Mr. Burton and writers John August and Seth Grahame-Smith whilst singing a paean to the source soap.

Set in 1972 with a prologue two hundred years afore to bring us up to speed on all the lore, things get bumping in the night when workmen, R.I.P., discover an enchained coffin. Well, darn the future nail salon that probably had the boys digging that night. But if you believe in destiny, this is where Barnabas Collins resumes the search for his.

Naturally, or rather, unnaturally, this includes finding his lady fair. While he might have dallied with Angelique, when it comes to Josette, played by Bella Heathcote, his love is apparently timeless. All of which led to that early grave now unearthed. Well, what’s a resurfaced vampire to do after 200 years rest?  Why, visit the old family manse of course.

No surprise, as is the usual case when the prodigal son returns to the homestead, things have gone forlorn and to seed. The once majestic Collinwood Mansion now looks like the before shot in a home improvement shyster’s brochure. And once inside its peeling walls, Barnabas notes that his motley brood of scions could use a bit of refurbishing themselves.

It’s Angelique’s curse. Emoting the plight and aura, yet still standing proud is Michelle Pfeiffer’s Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, tacitly accepted standard bearer. Her brother Roger (Jonny Lee Miller) is a wastrel and a cad. Bearing the brunt is David (Gulliver McGrath), his sweet, motherless son. Barnabas is appalled, but then soon uplifted by a presence.

Enter Victoria, David’s recently arrived tutor who looks just like Josette, a dead ringer if you will. Sorting this all out is a job for a revamped vampire…to right old wrongs, spruce up the family crest, revitalize the failed fishing empire that once richened the Collins clan and see if true love can indeed withstand the ravages of time, evil spell notwithstanding.

It’s more interesting than it is funny, an amalgam of ideas and vignettes drawing far more attention to the artistic process than the rote retelling of its prosaic vampire tale. A great assemblage of pertinent but borrowed songs, including “Nights in White Satin,” is the telltale coup de grâce, divulging that, alas, “Dark Shadows” has no soul of its own.

“Dark Shadows,” rated PG-13, is a Warner Bros. Pictures release directed by Tim Burton and stars Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Eva Green. Running time: 113 minutes 

 

PHOTOS: CVU boys tennis

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Observer photos by Shane Bufano

Playoffs next for CVU tennis teams

As the calendar turned into midweek, Champlain Valley Union High’s girls and boys tennis teams were awaiting Vermont Principals’ Association pairings for both individual and team tournaments.

Coach Amy deGroot’s girls put the final touches on an undefeated (14-0) and probable top team playoff seeding with a 7-0 popping of Mount Mansfield Union High on Monday in Jericho.

Frank Babbott’s boys team finished 7-7 with a 7-0 victory Monday over Mount Mansfield at the Redhawks’ home Shelburne courts.

Boys individual winners were Liam Kelley, Henri St. Pierre, Joey O’Brien, David Keyes and Conor Mcquiston. Doubles were won by the duos of Asa Cloutier-Brad Barth and Chris Vecchio-Josh Huber.

Girls individual triumphs went to Anna Clare Smith, Emily Polhemus, Claire Stoner, Andrea Joseph and Evelyn Mitchell. Mackenzie Buckman-Leah Epstein and Becca Daniels-Andrea Young teams took doubles.

PHOTOS: ABS art show

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Observer photo by Stephanie Choate

Allen Brook School hosted its annual schoolwide art show last week.