August 21, 2014

Todd Shepard named police chief

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Todd Shepard

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Todd Shepard, deputy police chief for the city of South Burlington, has signed a conditional offer of employment to become the next Williston police chief.

Williston Town Manager Rick McGuire made the announcement Tuesday in a press release.

“I believe Mr. Shepard has the leadership skills, experience, and personal qualities that our department needs to move forward in a positive direction,” McGuire stated in the release. “Mr. Shepard will be a valued addition to our management team.”

McGuire told the Observer on Tuesday that Shepard’s employment is contingent on a background check by an outside investigator. He said that while the terms and conditions of employment have yet to be negotiated, Shepard would likely be offered a salary on the higher end of the advertised $54,410 – $78,168 range for the position.

Shepard, 48, has served as deputy chief of the South Burlington Police Department since 2005. A native Vermonter, he worked briefly for the Milton Police Department before joining the SBPD in 1985. He was also chairman of the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council from 2007-2009 and has served on the Milton Selectboard since 2010.

Shepard said he had been contemplating retirement before the Williston police chief position became available.

“I guess I’m just not ready for retirement,” Shepard said. “Working next door to Williston for as long as I have, I’ve just seen the town grow and I just realized the potential opportunities for the growth of the department.”

Shepard joins a department that has been beset by internal strife in recent years, as outlined in a May 2011 internal investigation report by former Burlington Police Chief Thomas Tremblay. Shepard said he hopes to bring a stabilizing presence to the department.

“It’s been very unfortunate that two of their permanent chiefs have gone out for medical reasons, and they’ve had the misfortune of having a lot of interim leaders in the organization, and I think that plays some part in some of what’s been going on over there,” Shepard said. “I think that just being given the opportunity to come in and lend some stability to the organization might help out.”

The police chief search process began almost immediately after former Williston Police Chief Roy Nelson resigned on Jan. 23. Nelson’s announcement came seven months after he took an indefinite leave of absence to undergo cancer treatment.

McGuire said he received more than 70 applications for the position. The runner-up was Robert Stafford, the former chief of the Milton Police Department, who is currently a captain with the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training Council.

McGuire said he and Shepard have discussed a tentative start date of Aug. 20, contingent on the successful completion of the background check and the negotiation of an employment agreement.

PHOTOS: CVU Class of 2012

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Observer photos by Steve Mease

The Champlain Valley Union High School Class of 2012—346 students in all—graduated on Friday, June 15 at Patrick Gym.

PHOTOS: Kohls Cup (Soccer)

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Courtesy photos

Players from the Williston Soccer Club U8 teams handle the ball during the Kohl’s Cup at the Tree Farm in Essex Junction on June 10.

 

Fasth-Gillstedt: From Sweden to a Vermont baseball title

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By Mal Boright 

Observer correspondent

Anders Fasth-Gillstedt. (Observer photo by Shane Bufano)

It may have been the first standing ovation for simply carrying a tarp to the pitching mound when infield sprinklers inadvertently went off before the start of the final inning in a semifinal playoff game.

The recipient was Champlain Valley Union High’s Anders Fasth-Gillstedt, who helped rush the tarp to the mound to keep the dirt from becoming muddy and possibly mucking up teammate Curt Echo’s shutout of Colchester, and possibly the CVU baseball team’s trip to the championship game, where it popped Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans 5-0 for the crown.

Fasth-Gillstedt, an exchange student from Sweden, was a valued member of head coach Tim Albertson’s team, even though he had never played the game before coming to the United States and CVU last August.

“We have nothing like it in Sweden,” the popular athlete said during a recent interview at CVU. “It’s a fun sport.”

“He had a lot of enthusiasm for the game,” said CVU assistant coach Onnie Matthews.

Fasth-Gillstedt said he liked playing toss and fielding the best. “The outfield was perfect for me,” he said. “I least enjoyed hitting.”

Although he seldom got into games, he could be found chasing down foul balls and occasionally getting a hand or supportive comment from spectators for a job well done. He would even take a bow every once in a while.

No one was happier than Fasth-Gillstedt after the championship triumph over BFA at Burlington’s Centennial Field.

“We have a championship,” he shouted.

“This was an amazing group,” he said later of the team that went 18-2 and captured the second Division 1 baseball title in school history. “Everybody from the coaches to the last guy on the bench were great. The coaches made it fun and really helped me as a rookie.”

Fasth-Gillstedt was also a member of the CVU soccer team last fall that got to the championship game before losing a tight contest to South Burlington High.

He was a reserve goalie for the Redhawks and posted a 7-0 shutout victory in the one game he started between the posts.

“In Sweden, I played soccer until the seventh grade and then basketball took over,” he said. He called basketball his favorite sport and back home follows the NBA “24-seven.”

Fasth-Gillstedt was a member of the CVU varsity basketball team over the winter and logged significant playing time.

He said he enjoyed his time at the school, and while Sweden has “a good school system,” he found teachers at CVU “very accessible,” and helpful.

A sense of community at the school also impressed him. “There are 1,400 students here. I don’t know all of them, but I know a lot.”

Fasth-Gillstedt’s English is very good, a result of the Swedish educational system’s insistence that all youngsters start learning a second language as early as the first grade. Many take up a third language later in their schooling.

He says he has more years of study ahead of him including college, which in Sweden is paid for, although students are responsible for room and board. He also has set a goal to return to CVU for a visit, “in two years.”

Fasth-Gillstedt stayed with Ross and Susan Williford during his year at CVU.

“I really liked the pastries,” he said with a big grin.

Sports Roundup

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CVU girls soccer camp opens July 8

The annual Champlain Valley Union High girls soccer camp kicks off its five-day run on July 9 at the school’s athletic fields.

CVU girls soccer coach Brad Parker said this will be the 12th year of the camp, which accepts girls entering kindergarten through ninth grade.

Parker said the purpose of the school is for girls “learning to have fun playing soccer.”

Registration and additional information can be obtained through town recreation departments or at the CVU website (www.cvuhs.org) under athletics and summer camps.

All-Metro honors to 10 CVU baseball players, coach

The Division 1 champion Champlain Valley Union High baseball team placed 10 players on all-Metro teams while head coach Tim Albertson was named Coach of the Year. The announcement was made recently by the Metro coaches.

Albertson guided the Redhawks to an 18-2 record and the second Division 1 crown in school history.

Player of the year was won by Mount Mansfield Union High pitcher-infielder Cody Sharrow, who led the Metro with a .538 batting average and 21 stolen bases.

For CVU, first team all-Metro selections went to senior pitcher Curt Echo (3-0 during postseason title run), senior centerfielder Jeff Badger, senior infielder Drew Nick and junior Davis Mikell, who led the Metro with three home runs.

On the second team are: senior infielder Tucker Kohlasch; senior outfielder Brendan Davitt; junior catcher Kirk Fontana; and senior designated hitter Tim Jones.

Honorable mentions were earned by senior outfielder Lawrence Halvorson and junior pitcher Dylan Ireland.

Senior pitcher Tim Rensch of Williston, and Rice Memorial High, was a first-time choice.

Home opener Sunday for Legion baseball team

Coaches Jim Neidlinger and Onnie Matthews were working out members of the 2012 SD Ireland American Legion baseball team Monday night at the Champlain Valley Union High baseball field in preparation for Thursday’s season opener against Addison County in Middlebury.

The Ireland’s first home game is set for Sunday noon when Montpelier invades the CVU field.

Neidlinger said the Ireland team has an 18-member roster including players from CVU, Mount Mansfield Union and Rice Memorial High.

Ahead of the team is an 18-game schedule plus an appearance in the annual three-day Coopers Cave tournament July 10-12 in Glens Falls, N.Y.

Vermont state playoffs begin July 26 at Castleton State College.

Following Sunday’s test, the Irelands will be home against Essex on Monday, although it will be Essex’s home game because its field is otherwise occupied. Addison comes to the CVU field on Tuesday.

— Mal Boright

Recipe Corner: Baked beans are nutritious

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Beans are superstars when it comes to nutrition. They are a good source of complex carbohydrates, and protein, are low in fat and cholesterol and add fiber to your diet. Beans are popular for picnics and potlucks.

Try an easy recipe or one that requires little time and effort if you have a crockpot.

 

Hot Bar-B-Q Baked Beans

(from Jean Johnson’s kitchen, former Williston resident)

1 can (28-53 ounce) pork and beans

1 can each 15 ounce) kidney, pinto, Great Northern and lima beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup chopped onion (or more if you like)

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup mustard

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar (add 1/4 cup less and taste)

1 eight ounce bottle hot barbeque sauce

Mix all together and pour into a lightly greased dish. Bake in 350-degree oven for 1 hour.

 

Bar- B-Q Kidney Beans

(from nephew’s wife, Gail Isham)

2 cups dried kidney beans;1/4 pound bacon (may use less); 1/4 cup canola or olive oil; 1 cup chopped onion; 1 clove garlic, crushed 1 pound can tomatoes; 2 teaspoons dry mustard; 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce; 1 and 1/2 teaspoons chili powder; dash of salt and pepper; 1/4 cup vinegar

Put beans in kettle and cover with water. Let set overnight. In morning, drain and add bacon and cold water. Bring to boil and simmer for 60-90 minutes. Drain and add all other ingredients. Cook 8 -10 hours in crockpot.

 

Hot Bean Dish

(Ada Osborne, former resident of Williston )

1 can (15 ounce ) each red kidney beans, shell beans, drained and rinsed

1 can Campbell’s baked beans (15 ounce or other brand)

1 can (14 ounce) cut-up tomatoes

1 pound low fat ground beef

1 package chili seasoning

Combine all ingredients and simmer 10-15 minutes. Good served with or over corn bread.

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

THE HUB: Hub Happenings

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Williston Hannaford Jiggety Jogs for Vermont Respite House

The 21st Vermont Respite House 5k Fun Run and Jiggety Jog on May 12 once again included Team Hannaford. Williston’s Hannaford store has been a team since 1996 and promotes the Vermont Respite House 5k Fun Run and Jiggety Jog through store donations, in-store events and staff registration.

“We have a team year after year because a lot of us have had personal experiences with the Respite House and we want to be part of helping out where we can,” Store Manager Curt Echo said. Not only is the day fun for people of all ages, but there is a clear link to our companies’ priority of connecting to our community. We have raised over $5,000 over the past few years for the Vermont Respite House and are proud to support this critical need in our community.”

Green Mountain Club honors Rose

The Green Mountain Club recently announced the election of its 41st president, Jean Haigh of Craftsbury.

Haigh is behind much of the club’s work in the Northeast Kingdom, especially on the former Champion Lands, and has helped guide the club in accepting its additional management responsibilities on the Appalachian Trail in Vermont.

The annual meeting also saw the announcement of an honorary life membership for Ben Rose of Williston, who served as executive director for 12 years until 2011.

Jenkins named Realtor of the Year

Nancy Jenkins

The Northwestern Vermont Board of Realtors honored Nancy Jenkins with its 2012 Realtor of the Year award at its annual gala dinner on May 22. The awards recognize realtors and affiliate members for their achievements, community service and professionalism.

Jenkins, a 16-year former resident of Williston and owner of Prudential Realty Mart, has been helping families to buy and sell homes in northwestern Vermont since 1980.

NVBR’s Realtor of the Year award goes to an agent who has given his or her heart to the community through dedicated community service. Jenkins is on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Burlington and supports many local groups, including Women Helping Battered Women, Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, Go Red for Women and the United Way of Chittenden County.

MicroStrain wins Air Force contract, expo award

The U.S. Air Force has awarded MicroStrain Inc. a $149,000 research contract to demonstrate an integrated wireless load measurement system for improved monitoring of aircraft landing gear. The system will enable aircraft operators to more accurately measure static and dynamic loads for more effective tracking of the fatigue life of these critical structures.

“Our breakthrough wireless sensor technology will provide the Air Force with fully autonomous landing gear monitoring,” says Steven Arms, President of MicroStrain, which is located in Williston. “Not only will our sensors eliminate costly wiring, they will also use very little energy. Combined with our new miniature energy harvesters, these sensors don’t require battery maintenance. We’re very excited to work with the Air Force to qualify and demonstrate our advanced sensors in this important application.”

MicroStrain also recently earned a silver “Best of Sensors Expo” award for its latest LXRS Lossless Extended-Range Synchronized Wireless Sensor Network at the 2012 Sensors Expo & Conference in Rosemont, Ill.

Local insurance agencies merge

The Allen Agency of Williston and the Roy Insurance Agency of Swanton have announced their recent merger with Rutland-based Kinney Pike Insurance. As part of this merger, Kinney Pike Insurance has relocated its South Burlington office to The Allen Agency building in Williston.

“Kinney Pike Insurance has built a reputation for being very stable, dependable and for conducting business with the utmost integrity,” stated Andy Finelli and John McAuliffe, the two principals of The Allen Agency and Roy Insurance Agency. “We elected to partner with Kinney Pike Insurance because of our shared values and the outstanding reputation they have in the insurance industry.”

Wake Robin Lifecare Community receives environmental award

Wake Robin staff accept the Governors Award.

Wake Robin Lifecare Community in Shelburne has earned the Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for its project, “Energy Use & Conservation: From Policy to Practice.” The award recognizes Wake Robin’s efforts to conserve and protect natural resources, prevent pollution and promote environmental sustainability.

“This award recognizes that environmental consciousness is woven into our community—from a Board of Directors’ policy on energy saving and conservation to a myriad of specific activities including residents’ bee-keeping operation, supporting local farmers, replacing roofs and installing new windows and siding. We’re proud to provide a lifecare community where residents can continue to live their green ideals,” President and CEO Allie Stickney said.

Williston FedEx drivers place in championship

Two drivers for FedEx Express, based in Williston, placed among the top finishers at the 2012 Vermont State Truck Driving Championship in Pembroke, N.H. on June 2.

Christopher Novak captured his fifth state title with a win in the Flatbed class.

David Fountain posted second-place in the three-axle class.

Novak will go on to compete at the American Trucking Associations’ 2012 National Truck Driving Championships, known as the “Super Bowl of Safety,” set for Aug. 7 to 11 in Minneapolis, Minn.

Gunn joins VFN board

Laurie Gunn

Vermont Family Network welcomed Laurie Gunn as its newest member of the Board of Directors during the organization’s Annual Meeting in May. Gunn, a resident of Williston, is the vice president of human resources at Fletcher Allen Health Care.

“We are very excited to have Laurie on our Board,” said Pam McCarthy, President and CEO of Vermont Family Network. “Laurie brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in human resources and operations that will be extremely beneficial to Vermont Family Network as we continue to enhance the quality and infrastructure of our organization.”

Gunn will also serve on the organization’s Operations Committee. Vermont Family Network is a statewide non-profit organization that promotes better health, education, and well-being for all children and families, with a focus on children and young adults with special needs.

NBT Bank promotes Quintin

Christopher Quintin

NBT Bank Regional President Matt Durkee announced that Christopher Quintin has been promoted to vice president.

Quintin is market manager for NBT Financial Group, a division of NBT Bank, that provides services related to trust, investments, insurance and retirement. Quintin, who has 15 years of financial experience, is based in the bank’s regional office in Burlington.

“Christopher Quintin has made a significant contribution to the success of our company through consistently exceptional performance,” Durkee said. “He has emerged as a leader within his division by keeping the success of our clients and the company at the forefront. I want to congratulate him on his promotion and wish him continued success.”

NBT also has branches in Williston and Essex Junction.

Unemployment rate remains at 4.6 percent in May

The Vermont Department of Labor announced that the seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate for May 2012 was 4.6 percent. The comparable national unemployment rate was 8.2 percent, an increase of .1 percent from the previous month. While the national number had an uptick, the Vermont data for May reflects no change from the prior month’s revised estimate of the statewide unemployment rate. At this level, Vermont’s seasonall adjusted unemployment rate continues to rank as fourth lowest in the United States.

“The May jobs numbers confirmed the volatility seen in April’s data was related to seasonal fluctuations,” said Department of Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan. “As we move into the summer months and away from this period of transition, the data will produce clearer indications about the economic direction of the state.”

Champlain Initiative wraps up

Martha Maksym, executive director of United Way of Chittenden County, recently announced that the Champlain Initiative has wrapped up its activities after 16 years of working to solve community problems. Created in 1996, the Champlain Initiative strove to demonstrate how economic security, environmental soundness, health and wellbeing all contribute to a healthy, sustainable community.

“Throughout its history, the Champlain Initiative examined the causes that shaped our challenges, connected people who created innovative solutions and explored how our community could become stronger for the coming changes,” said Maksym.  “The community is indeed stronger and better prepared to meet our challenges.”

Some highlights of the Champlain Initiative include developing the Vermont 2-1-1 informational and referral service, the Get Moving Vermont fitness initiative, the mentoring program Mobius and the Working Bridges program, an employer collaborative dedicated to improving workplace productivity, retention, advancement and financial stability.

Land Air Express joins partnership

Land Air Express of New England recently announced that it joined the SmartWay Transport Partnership, a collaboration between the Environmental Protection Agency and industry which provides a framework to assess the environmental and energy efficiency of goods movement supply chains.

Land Air Express of New England will contribute to the Partnership’s savings of 1.5 billion gallons of fuel, $3.6 billion in fuel costs, 14.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 215,000 tons of nitrogen oxides and 8,000 tons of particulate matter, according to a company press release. Carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas, and nitrogen oxide is an air pollutant that contributes to smog.

“Land Air Express is very excited to participate in the SmartWay Transport Partnership. It is important to our employees and our customers to ensure that we are doing our part to protect the environment,” Vice President Thomas Spencer said.

ECHO welcomes new marketing coordinator

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain recently announced Abbe Malcolm as the new marketing coordinator.

“ECHO has embarked on a major expansion which has increased the amount of marketing, advertising and public relations efforts for the institution,” said Gerianne Smart, ECHO’s Director of Marketing and Communications. “Abbe brings with her a talent in web design, general marketing and print ad creation as well as a great team spirit.

Malcom was born and raised in Middlebury, Vt. and returned to her home state recently after living in Colorado for ten years. While there, she received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Colorado. After graduation she lived and worked in Denver for High Noon Entertainment and Giant Interactive in television graphics.

KeyCorp holds annual community service day

KeyCorp employees.

More than 8,000 KeyCorp employees nationwide participated in the company’s 22nd annual day of volunteer community service, Neighbors Making a Difference Day, on May 24.

Employees from locations in Burlington, South Burlington, Essex, Winooski, Williston, St. Albans and central and southern Vermont spent the afternoon volunteering for various organizations. In Williston, Key employees baked cookies and brownies and assisted with outdoor projects at the Vermont Respite House.

Vermont College of Fine Arts welcomes Diane Moser

Vermont College of Fine Arts recently announced the appointment of Diane Moser as a new faculty member for the MFA in Music Composition program.

Moser has been a featured performer and composer throughout the country with jazz ensembles, big bands, orchestras, chamber music, dance and theater companies since 1975.

Her music varies from straight-ahead to experimental, using free and structured improvisation, graphic scores and the environment as source material.

Vermont companies recognized for workplace safety

Several Vermont companies were recently recognized for their commitment to effective workplace safety at the annual Vermont Workplace Safety Conference. The Governor’s Award for Outstanding Workplace Safety went to Ben and Jerry’s in St. Albans and HP Hood of Barre in the large business category, and to Chroma Technology Corp. of Bellows Falls in the small business category.

The Governor’s Award for Outstanding Workplace Safety is the highest honor given by the State of Vermont to recognize an employer’s commitment to excellence in workplace safety and health.

South End Arts and Business Association board adds new members

The Board of the South End Arts and Business Association is pleased to announce the appointment of six new members to the Board of Directors: Rick Levinson from RL Photo; Alex Halpern from Freeman French Freeman; Chris Ashby from Champlain Valley Exposition; Chris Webster from Select Design; Dennis Healy from Burton Snowboards; and Natalie Miller from Spark Arts.

“Our Board of Directors (is) a dynamic, creative and energetic group all around. We are very pleased to have these great new additions to our Board of Directors, that will propel SEABA to provide more opportunities for businesses and artists in the South End of Burlington,” said Adam Brooks, SEABA Executive Director.

Merchants Bank recognized for performance

Mike Tuttle, President and CEO of Merchants Bank, announced that “American Banker Magazine” and the “ABA Banking Journal” have both recently recognized Merchants Bank as one of the top performing banks in the country.

“…These two most recent accolades are a reflection of our entire organization. Every employee of Merchants Bank should take tremendous pride in knowing that their company is one of the finest banks in America. That’s no small accomplishment,” said Tuttle.

“American Banker Magazine” ranked banks across the country with less than $2 billion in assets, ranking Merchants Bank at number 10. The “ABA Banking Journal” ranked banks across the country with assets between $1 billion and $10 billion, naming Merchants Bank at number 14, according to a company press release.

THE HUB: Following The Leaders

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A chat with Champlain Vally CrossFit head trainer Jade Jenny

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Another day at the ‘office’ with Jenny and his dog Hawks. (Observer photo by Angela Gage)

What does it mean to be in shape?

It’s a question posed by 26-year-old Jade Jenny, head trainer and co-owner of Champlain Valley CrossFit in Williston.

“Is a body builder a fit person? Is an ultramarathoner a fit person? We would say no,” said Jenny. “Yeah, they have really good endurance and lungs, but top level marathoners look like someone who came out of a World War II internment camp. Pick up a 50-pound bag of dog food and they might be in trouble.”

CrossFit is an exercise discipline, founded by Californian Greg Glassman in 2000, that uses a combination of Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, plyometrics, running, rowing, sled dragging, tire flipping and other workout regimens in varied permutations and levels of intensity.

“The definition that CrossFit gives is ‘constantly varied, functional movement performed at a high intensity,’” said Jenny.  “The way I see it, it’s an athletic strength and conditioning program. We train the way athletes do. If you walked into the U.S. Ski Team, or an NFL room … this is the stuff they do.”

Unlike Tony Horton’s television infomercial phenomenon P90X, which touts the benefits of “muscle confusion” to avoid workout plateaus, Jenny said CrossFit is a constantly evolving program.

“Besides a handful of benchmark workouts that we do, you’ll probably never do what we put up on the board that day again,” he said. “P90X would definitely be a big jump up from what most people do in the gym, but P90X is still primarily built around bodybuilding-based movements … and in the end, it’s still a routine.”

Because of its protean versatility, CrossFit has gained considerable traction in the military and among public safety personnel.

“One of the main staple ideas behind CrossFit is that it’s supposed to prepare you for the unknown and the unknowable. That’s why everything’s different all the time,” Jenny said. “If you’re a cop, you don’t know what the hell’s going to happen in your day-to-day job. Maybe you just drive around, maybe you chase someone down, maybe you get in a gunfight. Who knows?”

A former downhill mountain bike racer, Jenny founded Champlain Valley CrossFit in Sept. 2010 after researching the business concept for his senior year internship at Champlain College.

“It was something I enjoyed and was passionate about—and I needed a job,” Jenny said. “I was coming out of college, so I opened this three months after I graduated college.”

CrossFit is not for the couch potato looking to shed a few pounds before a high school reunion. As The New York Times reported in 2005, when carried to an extreme it has been known to cause rhabdomyolysis—a kidney condition that results when muscle fiber breaks down and is released into the bloodstream.

To avoid injury, Jenny said he puts all CrossFit newcomers through a nine-class introductory process.

“We make all new athletes—unless they’ve come from a CrossFit affiliate or if they have some sort of extensive weight training background—they go through an introductory program called ‘On-Ramp,’” he said. “We don’t want to just throw them in a class.”

Champlain Valley CrossFit began with 10 clients at a small location on Adams Drive in Williston. Today its 9,000-square-foot complex on South Brownell Road boasts 160 clients—some of whom are world class athletes.

In May, the top three male and female athletes from Champlain Valley CrossFit placed third in the team competition at the Northeast regional competition of the CrossFit Games in Canton, Mass. In July, they will be one of 43 teams in competition at the 2012 CrossFit Games in Los Angeles.

Jenny, who called the CrossFit Games qualification “a pretty big deal for us,” also stressed the non-competitive camaraderie of the Champlain Valley CrossFit family.

“Community is really big here,” he said. “It’s not your normal gym that you go to and the headphones are on and you don’t talk to anyone. We have tons of people here who never knew each other before coming here and they hang out and go out and do things together.”

THE HUB: Artists’ Mediums celebrates 25 years in Williston

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By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Custom Picture Framing Department Manager Kristin Richland (left) and General Manager Chelsea Lindner (right) relax in easy chairs at Artists’ Mediums, a Williston-based fine arts supply store that is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

Artists’ Mediums is celebrating two anniversaries this year.

The fine arts supply store is commemorating its 25th year in Williston.

And a less obvious landmark, but no less of an accomplishment, is General Manager Chelsea Lindner’s 17th anniversary with the store.

A Colorado native, Lindner operated a lead letterpress in high school, making signs for shopping malls. She hand-painted frames for cel animation cartoons for a period. She kicked around Seattle for a while, selling limited edition fine art papers while learning block printing for CD cover art.

“I’ve always managed to stay in the arts,” she said.

When Lindner began working at Artists’ Mediums in 1995, she was a self-professed “register monkey.” In 2002, she became general manager and entered into a purchase agreement with owner Doug Duncan. Based on her current payment plan, she will own the business outright in the summer of 2017.

“When I first started here, we used to call it, ‘The Hardware Store for Artists.’ It was little cardboard boxes full of knickknacks and stuff,” Lindner said. “We decided to cater more to the artists. They can special order almost anything from me, because we have over 200 vendors now.”

Artists’ Medium has also upscaled its interior since moving from Taft Corners to Cornerstone Drive in 1998. Besides carrying “the widest selection of fine art materials in the state of Vermont,” the store has a lounge area and features local art for sale on all four walls.

“I don’t jury these (art) shows,” said Lindner, who charges a 30 percent commission for artwork sales. “I will let you show, because I want to show all the different stages of art. Because all of us started somewhere. Even Michelangelo probably started with stick figures.”

Custom Picture Framing Department Manager Kristin Richland—the only full-time staffer besides Lindner among the store’s four employees—said Artists’ Mediums is trying to organize a local arts collaborative with other Williston arts and crafts stores.

“We’re trying to network with Northeast Fiber Arts, with The Whistling Duck, with Stitched, with Ginger Morton over at Bead Crazy, with Sew Many Treasures. We’ve all had times where we’ve helped promote each other,” Richland said. “We’ve got a good amount of creative stuff going on here in Williston. We just need to let people know that it’s here.”

Lindner added to Richland’s remarks by commenting that she and the owners of the other arts and crafts stores are looking for ways to collaborate on advertising.

“We’re meeting to figure out how we can pool our resources to try to do advertising together,” said Lindner. “We’re all starving artist companies, and yet we all need to get what little business we can and to share the customers, because a lot of it is the same customer base.”

As if on cue, a woman entered the store looking for precious metal clay supplies.

Ginger Morton sent her.

Around town

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Williston’s American Legion post 45

Post 45 will meet Thursday, June 21 at the Williston Town Hall Meeting Room (back door and up the stairs) beginning at 7:00 p.m. to determine the future of Post 45. Times, days and/or locations for monthly meetings are all up for discussion — the key question, however, is simple: does the organization press on and become an active and productive Post or fold?

Senior needs grocery shopping help

CVAA is seeking a friendly volunteer to assist a senior in Williston with grocery shopping. The volunteer would go grocery shopping with the senior about once a week. The volunteering is flexible—you and the senior decide on the schedule. If you are interested in helping this senior or know someone who could, contact Emily Hood-Pouliot at 1-800-642-5119, ext.1039 or [email protected]

VT Strong plates available

Help Vermonters impacted by Tropical Storm Irene by purchasing a Vermont Strong front license plate for $25. Net proceeds from the sale of each plate will be distributed to both the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund (www.vermontdisasterrecovery.com) and the Vermont Food Bank (www.vtfoodbank.org). You can purchase plates at the Williston Town Clerk’s Office, which is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

SMARDON RETIREMENT PARTY POSTPONED

The June 22 open house in honor of Kathy Smardon’s retirement has been postponed. An alternate date has yet to be set.