May 23, 2019

Allen Brook restoration garners high marks

‘A very impressive approach’

Williston Senior Planner Jessica Andreoletti points out measures the town has taken to restore the Allen Brook watershed during a July 24 tour. The Allen Brook, the primary watershed for the town of Williston, has been listed on the state’s 303(d) list of impaired waters since 1998. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Leave it to Mother Nature to have the last word.

A celebratory walkthrough of the recently restored Allen Brook watershed was cut short Tuesday when the skies opened and a deluge of pelting raindrops soaked to the skin a party that included town, state and federal officials.

It was the last laugh for the erosive forces of nature that have relegated the Allen Brook to the state’s 303(d) list of impaired watersheds since 1998.

As Williston Senior Planner Jessica Andreoletti noted prior to the aborted tour, the town has wrestled with the ravages of time and nature through land acquisition, conservation easements and federal and state grant dollars.

“There were a total of 18 acres that were planted with trees and shrubs, and we conserved 37 acres of land, either through land purchased, or through conservation easements,” Andreoletti said. “We really put the money into this project and you can really see the results.”

To be exact, $401,102 was spent on the Allen Brook restoration project.

Of that amount, 55 percent was from a federally administered State and Tribal Assistance Grant, 25 percent was from a state administered Stormwater Impaired Waters Restoration Fund grant, 15 percent was a town match (comprised of a combination of Environmental Reserve Fund and capital budget dollars from the last two fiscal years) and 5 percent was from other sources, including a state Clean and Clear grant and a Lake Champlain Basin Program grant.

In addition to land acquisition and the purchase of conservation easements, the funds were used to plant trees and shrubbery within the town’s 150-foot riparian buffer along the Allen Brook watershed.

Allyn Lewis, construction chief for the Vermont Facilities Engineering Division, praised the town of Williston, which was late to the game among the eight municipalities eligible for state administered watershed restoration funds due to unprecedented turnover in the Planning and Zoning Department in 2008.

“You had a lot to do, and we didn’t think you could get it all done in the time that you were allotted to do it, and I want to commend you for getting it done,” Lewis said.

Champlain Water District General Manager Jim Fay, whose territory spans wherever water flows in the Lake Champlain Basin, offered impromptu commentary as he surveyed the watershed just prior to the downpour.

“This is a very impressive approach that Williston took,” Fay said.

Williston Director of Planning and Zoning Ken Belliveau, who saved himself a thorough soaking by forgoing the afternoon field trip and holding down the fort at the Planning and Zoning Office, gave credit to both Andreoletti and prominent town landowners for the success of the restoration project.

“I think as much as anything, it speaks to some of the relationships we have with landowners in town, that we were able to get the cooperation and buy-in that we got from people,” Belliveau said. “It’s a tremendous accomplishment.”

This Week’s Popcorn: “The Amazing Spider-Man”

Crawling with Romance

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer


Remember when you were little and you argued for hours as to who was badder, Superman or Batman? Well, here’s a new enigma for you: Which is better, the “Spider-Man” director Sam Raimi brought to the screen in 2002, 2004 and 2007, or this one here, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” directed by Marc Webb?  For my money it’s the latter.

Dubbed a re-imagining by the marketing wizzes, it is essentially a re-boot, a do-over, a retelling of the superhero’s conception based on the same Marvel Comics material created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Not your big brother’s Spider-Man, it’s what your Dad’s Spider-Man might have looked like if they had the technical know-how back then.

In all fairness, if all that were left to posterity were the three Tobey Maguire/Kirsten Dunst offerings, the Earth would nevertheless spin on with little remorse. Yet, now presented the oxymoronic verities of a more realistic fantasy, we wonder how we could have ever lived without it. This Spider-Man gets to the nitty-gritty of power and passion.

All the issues of why a young man would want to create an alter ego in the first place are dramatically addressed in a fine screenplay that tugs nicely at the heartstrings. The special effects, as exciting as ever, but almost always in service of the plot, are meant to illustrate just how astounding things can get when extraordinary powers are unleashed.

But what surprisingly pierces jaded skin to find the hopeless romantic beneath is the love story etched by Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker, a.k.a. Spider-Man, and Emma Stone’s smartly realized high school heartthrob, Gwen. While the amorous angle is usually an addendum to the super saga, such is not the case here. Fact is, shucks, it’s quite touching.

Garfield’s lone wolf teen, raised by a loving aunt and uncle following the baffling disappearance of his parents, important personages in the scientific community, is a geek extraordinaire. Peter is a magnet for the high school bully, especially when his humanity stirs him to aid an even lesser nerd. Of course he pines for the school’s Miss Popularity.

We are expressively reminded of those years, told again that no matter what success or notoriety one achieves in later life, it is the impressions made in high school that are engraved for life on our psyches. And so there hardly can be any better wish fulfillment, any finer vicarious joy, than having all of those inequities blown asunder and rectified.

The epiphany for Peter comes after pondering some all but forgotten lore, cached in his Dad’s briefcase. It’s about cross-genetics, the theory being we can jump the evolutionary process by eons if we appropriate the abilities we desire from some of the so-called lower species. Coincidentally, Dad’s old partner has been trying to find the formula for years.

He is Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), an arrogant, celebrated scientist who, we suspect, knows something about the famed Dr. Parker’s curious vanishment. Missing an arm and exhibiting all the Ahab-like symptoms that can accompany such a condition, his interest in a regenerative power is personal. And yeah, he’s also into that superhuman race stuff.

Yet, albeit inadvertent, Peter proves the genius doesn’t fall far from the tree and beats the modern-day mad sorcerer to the discovery. Suddenly he possesses all the abilities of the test tube spider whose DNA he has co-opted. The revelatory sequences are wonderfully operatic, an ebullient Peter dancing through the skies, flexing his newfound resources.

His confidence soaring, the otherwise shy teen concurrently strikes up a relationship with Gwen, who just so happens to be the daughter of the police chief (Denis Leary) who regards this Spider-Man phenom as a dangerous vigilante. Sparks fly, the most enchanting of them between Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield. Talk about chemistry.

Perhaps by design, Mr. Garfield’s brooding, thoughtful righter of wrongs evinces the sort of well injected quirks and nuances reminiscent of Brando and James Dean…a sort of vague discomfort barely kept under control. Reading her partner with thespic aplomb, Miss Stone’s winsome, self-assured lass proves his mental and emotional match.

It’s exciting, too, thanks in great part to the formidable antithesis Rhys Ifans’s Dr. Connors morphs into once he unlocks the genetic blueprint, although with decidedly misbegotten result. Administering the magic potion, Dr. Connors becomes a variation on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Mr. Hyde…a big, ugly, megalomaniacal lizard, to be specific.

Thus the war between good and evil, deftly dappled with just enough gray areas of ambiguity to keep matters from getting smug, ensues. Ripe with philosophy, action, love and fantasy, making it clear this is a summer blockbuster of the first order, “The Amazing Spider-Man” draws you into its artistically woven web of solid, escapist entertainment.

 “The Amazing Spider-Man,” rated PG-13, is a Columbia Pictures release directed by Marc Webb and stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans. Running time: 136 minutes.

PHOTOS: Plein Air Festival

Courtesy photos

Three Williston artists are set to participate in this weekend’s Plain Air Festival in Jericho—Phil Laughlin, whose work includes “Tractor,” Marla McQuiston, who painted “Shelburne Pond,” and Marie Jewell.



PHOTOS: Farmers Market

Courtesy photos 

A variety of goods were on sale during last Wednesday’s Farmers’ Market.

THE HUB: Hub Happenings

Stern Center dedicates Hoehl building

The Stern Center’s new building at 183 Talcott Road in Williston was officially named the Cynthia K. Hoehl Building in honor of Cynthia K. Hoehl, a life-long teacher, tutor and current Stern Center Board member, during the building’s dedication on June 12.

Hoehl was present at the event to receive the dedication and was joined by family members, the Stern Center Board of Directors and staff and more than 100 guests.

In addition, The Stern Center recently became an approved provider of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) with the National Association of School Psychologists.

Bistro offers outdoor dining

The Kitchen Table Bistro in Richmond recently opened their new patio. After years of planning, the tree- and flower-lined patio is ready for outdoor dining. The restaurant is located at 1840 West Main Street in Richmond.


Dumas joins DuBois & King

Steven V. Dumas

DuBois & King consulting engineers announced that Steven V. Dumas has joined the firm’s building services division as manager of the mechanical department. Dumas and his family live in Williston, and he works in the firm’s Williston office.


GME announces new engineers

Green Mountain Engineering in Williston recently announced that Tyler M. Gingras passed the professional engineering exam in April. Gingras has been with GME since 2009 as a project engineer.

GME also announced the addition of a new project engineer, Elias Erwin. Erwin is a licensed Class B designer, Class III water system operator, senior project manager, foreman and field technician.


Amy Partin joins RehabGYM

Amy Partin

The RehabGYM has announced the addition of physical therapist Amy Partin to its Williston team. Partin graduated from the University of Vermont in 2011 with a clinical doctorate degree in physical therapy. She specializes in aquatic therapy.


St. Michael’s professor promoted

Williston resident Dr. Karen Popovich was promoted from assistant professor to associate professor at Saint Michael’s College. Popovich works in the business administration department, specializing in operations management with a specific focus in strategic enrollment management for higher education.


CWD manager awarded

Jim Fay, Champlain Water District’s general manager, received the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) George Warren Fuller Award on June 13. Considered AWWA’s highest award, the award recognizes distinguished service to the water supply field.


New owners at Simpson Cabinetry

Andy and Betsy Cabrera

Betsy and Andy Cabrera of Richmond have purchased the South Burlington woodworking shop Simpson Cabinetry. Longtime staff and the company’s core products will remain the same. Changes include a new showroom and design studio that has been built adjacent to the workshop. In addition, the company website will be enhanced including features that allow clients to follow the progress of their custom project.


Vermont submits grant request for Health Benefit Exchange

The Department of Vermont Health Access on June 29 submitted its Level Two Exchange Establishment Grant application for $104.4 million to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The Level Two Grant will support the continued planning, implementation and operation of the state’s Health Benefit Exchange through 2014. Vermont’s Exchange is set to begin operation in October 2013 as required by the Affordable Care Act.

The Level Two Grant will support efforts like major IT systems development, education and training programs and a strong evaluation strategy. Previously, Vermont received a Planning Grant in 2011 and is currently operating on funds from the Level One Exchange Establishment Grant.

The Health Benefit Exchange is a marketplace for individuals, families and small business to compare and purchase qualified private health insurance plans, determine eligibility for public health insurance plans and access federal tax credits. The ACA requires all states to have Exchanges and sets forth certain requirements, but allows states flexibility in implementation.


Vermont Fresh Network announces new member criteria

This spring, the Vermont fresh Network reevaluated its membership criteria to reflect the increase in demand, availability and diversity of foods from Vermont producers and distributors.

Criteria include: All food distributors, producers and restaurants must partner with and purchase from at least four VFN producers or farms; Restaurants are required to feature on their menu Vermont products in at least three of the six USDA food groups year round; Restaurants must also spend at least 15 percent of their annual food purchases on Vermont grown or produced food.

Nine Williston businesses are currently members of the Vermont Fresh Network: Adams Apple Orchard & Farm Market; Chef’s Corner Café; Monty’s Old Brick Tavern; Natural Provisions Market & Deli; Oscars; Scratch N Earth Farm; Sweet Harmony Home Bakery; Three Tomatoes Trattoria; and Windstone Farm.


Chelsea Green Publishing becomes employee owned

Independent book publisher Chelsea Green has become an employee-owned company, with close to 80 percent of its stock to be held by its employees.

The move makes Chelsea Green unique among book publishers in an industry dominated by investor-driven, multinational corporations. Only a handful of independent book publishers can claim employee-ownership status, and of those Chelsea Green will be near the top in terms of the percentage of stock controlled by its employees, according to a company press release.

The transaction, completed on June 29, allows a minority portion of the company’s privately held stock to be held by Ian and Margo Baldwin, who founded Chelsea Green in 1984 on the South Green in Chelsea, Vermont. Margo Baldwin is currently the company’s president and publisher and will maintain that role for the foreseeable future.


KeyBank names new business banking officer

Jeffrey Ciochetto

KeyBank has hired Jeffrey Ciochetto as vice president senior business banking officer covering the State of Vermont. He is responsible for overseeing the development of new and existing relationships with business customers, consulting with business owners to identify banking needs and working with business banking officers and branch staff to provide quality customer service, according to a company press release.

Ciochetto has more than 29 years of experience in commercial and retail banking with a focus on commercial lending, credit and treasury cash management.  Prior to KeyBank, he most recently served as senior vice president and senior loan officer for Union Bank in Morrisville.


Mercy Connections hires two UVM grads

Mercy Connections is recently announced the addition of Gwen Pokalo and Hannah Hinsley, both former students of the University of Vermont.

Pokalo received an undergraduate degree in community and international development and a Master’s in community development and applied economics, with a focus in entrepreneurial development.  She also managed a small local product store and micro-business incubator at UVM for four years.

Hinsley received an undergraduate degree in public communication. Through education in service-learning classes and practical experience gained through internships, Hinsley was well prepared for the marketing coordinator position, according to a company press release.


Chamber appoints events director, Chamber Preferred coordinator

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce recently announced the appointment of Ellen Dube as the director of events. Formerly director of the Vermont Chamber’s group tour marketing program, Vermont Tourism Network, Dube has been involved in a variety of Vermont Chamber programs and events since 2009.

“I am excited to be a part of the Vermont Chamber’s stellar event line up,” says Dube, “I’m looking forward to working with Vermont businesses to feature their stand out products, services and staff at our events.”

The Chamber also appointed Julie McDonough as Program Coordinator for the new Chamber Preferred program, an innovative benefit marketplace providing employers with savings and customized benefits options for their employees. McDonough can be reached at or 802-262-2113.


VPR receives radio award

Vermont Public Radio has been honored with a 2012 national UNITY Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for its 2011 Vermont Reads series exploring “To Kill A Mockingbird” and race relations in Vermont.

VPR is one of six organizations—three radio, three television—to receive the award this year, given for organizations’ ongoing commitment to covering the cultural diversity of the communities they serve.


Lang McLaughry Spera appoints Holmes Lion & Davis director

Angie Holmes

Lang McLaughry Spera Real Estate has announced the appointment of Angie Holmes as director of the firm’s fine properties division, Lion & Davis. Holmes has been an associate with LMSRE since 2008. Holmes is taking over the helm at the retirement of the former director, Mary von Ziegesar.

Marla Woulf

Holmes will be supported by Marla Woulf, assistant director of Lion & Davis.  Woulf began her real estate career in 2009 as the firm’s Executive Assistant to CEO Staige Davis and von Ziegesar.


Burlington gas prices exceed FTC projections

Gasoline prices in Burlington in June were as much as a dime to 43 cents greater than a Federal Trade Commission computer model projected they should be, according to commission data turned over to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

While Vermont motorists already pay among the country’s highest prices to fill their tanks, the June price spike in Burlington exceeded what a computer model used by government economists said was the absolute highest price stations should be charging.

While prices have dipped by several cents after Sanders made public his call for a federal investigation into unusually high gas prices, the trade commission data detail a month-long trend of unusually high prices in Burlington.

The detailed data was turned over to Sanders after he called for a probe by the trade commission and the Oil and Gas Price Fraud Working at the U.S. Department of Justice.

As of the first weekend in June, Burlington prices averaged $3.84 a gallon, about two cents more than the computer model’s predicted high and 34 cents above the predicted low, according to the FTC data. By June 30, the average price in Burlington was $3.68 a gallon, a dime more than the predicted high of $3.58 and 44 cents above the predicted low.

Burlington is one of 360 metropolitan areas around the nation where the FTC’s Bureau of Economics tracks gas prices and compares them to a projection of what high and low prices should be. The monitoring project tracks wholesale and retail prices of gasoline “to identify possible anticompetitive activities and determine whether a law enforcement investigation would be warranted,” according to the commission. The formula used by the monitoring project considers in supply and demand, geography and other factors.

Sanders pointed to evidence that in recent days Burlington gas prices were 15 cents to 29 cents greater than prices charged by gas stations only about 35 miles away in other Vermont towns.

“Prices here in the Burlington area and other parts of Vermont are much higher than they should be,” Sanders said. “So far, no one has given me a particularly good explanation.” One factor may be that just four companies own 58 percent of the stations in the Burlington market.

“People who own service stations have a right to make a profit,” Sanders said. “They don’t have a right to rip people off,” he added.


Vermont energy leaders combining efforts

Two of Vermont’s leading energy organizations are combining efforts to further the advancement and adoption of sustainable energy in Vermont and beyond.

As of July 10, the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation (VEIC) has assumed the programs of the Biomass Energy Resource Center (BERC), building upon the cooperation between the non-profit organizations.  This transition will result in an expanded, and growing, set of comprehensive sustainable energy services that encompass biomass, other renewable energy resources, transportation and energy efficiency, according to a company press release.

“We approached VEIC with this proposal because we saw it as a way to advance our work with a partner who shares our vision for a sustainable energy future,” said Brenda Quiroz Maday, Executive Director of BERC. “The transition of BERC’s programs to VEIC will foster the continued development of sustainable biomass energy systems across the nation.”

Senator Leahy, who has helped BERC secure project support through the U.S. Department of Energy, said, “These two Vermont organizations each have international expertise and proven track records in developing renewable energy projects. By working together, they will be even more effective in increasing renewable energy options in Vermont and around the world, creating Vermont jobs in the meantime.”

“This is a great opportunity that will enhance the important work that VEIC and BERC have been pursuing,” said Scott Johnstone, Executive Director of VEIC. “By combining BERC’s deep expertise in biomass energy with VEIC’s comprehensive sustainable energy approaches, we will be better able to meet the increasingly-complex demands of our clients in Vermont and around the country. The acquisition also furthers our organizational mission to reduce the economic and environmental costs of energy use.” For more information,



THE HUB: Following the Leaders

A chat with Sabra Davison co-owner of Little Bellas

Sabra Davison

Little Bellas: ‘Mentoring on Mountain Bikes’

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Sporting talent tends to run in families.

Take the Alou brothers—Felipe, Jesus and Matty—who formed the only three-brother outfield in Major League Baseball history when they took the field for the San Francisco Giants in 1963.

Or Cheryl “105-point game” Miller—arguably the greatest female basketball player of all time—and her brother, Reggie, who is merely second on the NBA’s list of most career three-pointers made.

The Jericho, Vt. born and bred Davison sisters are no exception, despite dominating a so-called “fringe sport.”

Lea Davison, 29, will compete as one of the two female members of the U.S. Olympic mountain bike team at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London next month.

Her 27-year-old sister and former rival, Sabra, was forced to step down from a successful racing career after a series of race-related head injuries.

Yet Sabra Davison hasn’t settled lazily into “retirement.”

Instead, she has assumed a more active role in Little Bellas, a mountain bike mentoring organization for girls ages 7-14, which the sisters formed five years ago at Catamount Outdoor Family Center in Williston.

The Observer recently sat down with the youngest Davison sister to discuss how Little Bellas grew from a senior project at Middlebury College into the flourishing nonprofit organization it is today.

WILLISTON OBSERVER: Why did you and you sister start Little Bellas?

SABRA DAVISON: When we were racing (professionally), I thought it was such a privilege to have that as your job that you have to give back. Mountain biking is a sport that has so many differences in terms of males and females. It’s a young sport, so equality isn’t there. Males make twice as much in salary, and even prize money is unequal unless it’s an internationally sanctioned race by the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale).

WO: What was the program like in the early days?

SD: When we started here at Catamount our first year, it was just a Sunday program. We’ve always kept our Sunday program, because to Lea and I, that’s the core. That starts with a ride, and then we have a snack, because pairing snack and exercise is so important for girls because of body image. So many girls these days view food as a way to get fat.

WO: How has Little Bellas since expanded?

SD: We do camps in California, Colorado, Wisconsin and Vermont. In every program that we have, the girls are exposed to professional athletes. Out at Sea Otter (an annual mountain bike event in Monterey, Calif.), we had the top 10 World Cup women there, and we had a lemonade social with them. So you had 25 girls asking the top 10 women in the world questions. That’s the thing about female mountain bike pros: they want to help, because the sport needs it.

WO: How about in Vermont? How has your business grown locally?

SD: We have a new program called Moxie Sparks (a collaboration with Montpelier-based Mountain Moxie and the Stride Foundation in Ferrisburgh). … We teamed up to make a program for underprivileged girls, and it’s our pilot year. So we took girls from the Williston Central School that the principal recommended and we got them bikes and jerseys and helmets and shoes and CamelBaks and just equipped them with all the things they needed to ride.

WO: The slogan of your business is ‘Mentoring on Mountain Bikes.’ Where does the mentoring component come in?

SD: We don’t sit them down and do journaling … but you’d be amazed what comes out on the trail, like, ‘Mom and Dad are getting divorced.’ There are a lot of times when that stuff comes up, and the brakes go on and we just talk.

WO: How are you affiliated with Catamount?

SD: We’ve actually partnered with Catamount. It’s been fantastic, because we were working together anyway … and so now we just made that official, so we’re actually under their umbrella as a 501(c)(3). We’re trademarked as Little Bellas, but we are under Catamount’s nonprofit status. The reason that we partnered with them is because our missions line up so well.

WO: Do you like working with your sister?

SD: Oh God, it’s awesome. She and I have always been so tight. She’s my best friend, by far. That’s the best training partner ever—the one that’s your best friend and the one that you never want to let beat you. We are the reason that we’ve gotten places in athletics, because the hardest workouts were with each other, not races.

WO: Where does Little Bellas go from here?

SD: I have a couple different directions that I’ve been looking into. One is further down the road, and that’s going international. We’re looking at a couple of different festivals in France, and that’s something that we really want to do at some point. And then (in the shorter term), getting a race team started for the girls that want to race.

WO: When you were a senior at Middlebury, did you ever envision that you’d be where you are today?

SD: I never thought it was going to be a business. I never thought I was going to run a nonprofit. My scope in starting it was so small, in that I had a goal of just to get more girls riding and loving the sport that I did. It morphed into a job, and that’s really the best job that you can have is a goal that you see through.

THE HUB: Red Barn Gardens blossoms

Carolyn and Joe Weaver tend the flowers, foliage, fruit and vegetables at new Williston nursery Red Barn Gardens. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Joe Weaver gestured excitedly in the afternoon sun, deep in conversation with a customer whose arms were filled with a pot overflowing with vivid coleus foliage, bright green emblazoned with pink and pale yellow.

Though he smiled a bit ruefully at the cliché, he said these connections with customers—experienced gardeners and novices alike—are the best part of running his new nursery, Red Barn Gardens.

“I thought at first my favorite thing would be the growing part, but it’s the customer interaction, it really is a lot of fun,” he said.

Joe Weaver and his wife, Carolyn, said they have had countless fulfilling experiences with customers during the first season at their Route 2 nursery.

Many of the plants Weaver has nurtured from seeds or cuttings through the spring came at the request of customers.

“If someone wants something done, it’s easy for me to say yes,” he said.

Though the annuals season is winding down—the Weavers have sold most of the plants that once stuffed the greenhouse to the rafters—they plan to start selling cut flowers soon.

Later, they’ll sell vegetables, along with wreaths and Christmas trees in the winter. The Weavers also hope to expand their perennial selection in future seasons.

“Our plants are really healthy, we take good care of them,” Carolyn Weaver said, looking at a shady table spread with the remaining flowerpots—fat begonia blossoms, vibrant spikes of celosia, a fountain of impatiens cascading from a hanging basket.

Joe Weaver has always been a gardener, developing a green thumb in his father’s gardens while growing up in Massachusetts. He studied botany at the University of Vermont, and always maintained an extensive garden at his Williston home while working in sales.

When the Weavers bought the old farmhouse and surrounding 16 acres, it was the ideal opportunity to realize a longtime dream of running a nursery. The property came with a detailed blueprint of the orchards, shade trees and berry bushes planted by the previous owners, the Tuthills.

“We inherited amazing gardens…they were great stewards,” Joe Weaver said. “He was a gentleman farmer, and we’re trying to keep that spirit alive.”

Along with the established gardens, the house’s location made it an ideal spot for the nursery.

“It’s a convenient place to stop and pick up some fresh vegetables and fresh flowers,” Joe Weaver said.

The Weavers encourage people to stop by on their way through, picking up a few tomatoes to toss into a salad, or a bright bouquet for a friend.

Whether you have a few herbs by the door or sprawling gardens, Weaver said being consistent with plants is his biggest tip for a successful season.

“If you make the rounds on a consistent basis, you’re going to understand the plant a lot better,” he said.

Gardening is “very nurturing and gives great rewards,” he added. “It can be frustrating, but if you get more wins than losses, it’s worth it.”


Red Barn Gardens is located at 8939 Williston Road, and can be reached at 233-0429 or 

All-stars advance

Williston’s 9-10 winning all-star team. (Courtesy photo)

By Matt Rushford

Special to the Observer

Williston’s 9-10 year old baseball all-stars advanced to the Division championship game by shutting out South Burlington 10-0 in their first meeting on Wednesday.  In yet another mercy rule-shortened game, the local kids needed only five innings to dismantle their top-seeded cross town rivals.

A sea of yellow shirts indicated the massive support that the Williston players enjoyed at the game, played at Shelburne’s South Field.

Williston opened strong with four runs in the first inning, highlighted by Ryan Spear’s two-RBI single up the middle. Defensively, the boys in blue continued their stingy and overpowering play. Starting pitcher Storm Rushford ended just one hit away from a perfect game, allowing no runs, no walks and only a solo double in the fourth inning with two outs, followed quickly by a 5-3 put out by Ryan Eaton that ended the inning, and any real hope for South Burlington.

Rushford received stellar support from his defense, which added 11 put outs to his four strikeouts.  Spear elicited a collective gasp of relief from the crowd when he snagged a high fly ball deep in left center field, that nearly dribbled out of his glove.  Second baseman Aidan Johnson and shortstop Baker Angstman, who both went two-for four at the dish with a walk, were ruthlessly efficient in the field, expertly chasing down shallow outfield fly balls and gobbling up hard-hit infield grounders.

The offense opened it up in the fourth inning, with a string of hits by Griffin McDermott, Jacob Boliba (who had three hits in the game), Brandon Arnold and Ben Herskowitz, whose RBI double secured the ten-run mercy rule margin.

South Burlington then moved down to the Loser’s Bracket, where they defeated Colchester for the unenviable opportunity of facing Williston again on Saturday morning.

In that game, pitchers Storm Rushford and Griffin McDermott threw a combined six innings of shutout ball and also contributed two of Williston’s three hits, the other made by second baseman Aidan Johnson, who also had some fine plays in the field. The only run of the game was scored by McDermott, when right fielder Ben Mazza-Bergeron, who was awarded first base on a walk, was caught stealing second base, allowing McDermott to sneak home.

South Burlington attempted a late rally, registering a runner on first base via a walk in the bottom of the sixth, but McDermott left that potential tying run stranded by striking out the final batter to secure the winand the Division I Championship for the Williston team.

Williston now advances to the state championship in Barre. That tournament begins July 19.

Sports Roundup

Swimming success

 Courtesy photo

Emily Marvin swims to a first place in the 9/10-year-old  25-yard breaststroke competition on July 12, at which The Edge swim team in Williston won its swim meet against Vergennes.


Baseball crunch time for S.D. Ireland

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

And the games (and days) dwindle down to a precious few.

With less than a week to go in the regular season, the S. D. Ireland American Legion baseball team’s hopes for making the state tournament are, shall we say, problematic. The tournament is slated for July 26-30 at Castleton State College.

With Tuesday’s home contest against the OEC (Orleans, Essex, Caledonia counties) Kings postponed by thunderstorms, The Irelands, 5-7 in league play, were scheduled to play Burlington at home (Champlain Valley Union High field) on Thursday, travel to South Burlington on Saturday, and to the OEC Kings on Sunday at Lyndon State College. A rescheduled makeup of Tuesday’s rainout is also in the mix.

The general consensus this week was that the Irelands had to win all remaining contests and get significant help from others. Addison, Colchester, South Burlington, Franklin County and Essex were over .500 and ahead of the Irelands in the race for the four North Division tournament berths.

Coach Jim Neidlinger’s charges had to work nine innings Monday before coming away from Burlington with an 8-3 victory that snapped a two-game league losing string. According to reports, Curt Echo, with a pair of hits, and Drew Nick, with a triple, led the Irelands offense while Dylan Ireland turned in a solid mound performance.

In Saturday’s narrow 3-2 loss to a solid Addison combine (9-2 after nipping the Colchester Cannons 2-1 Monday), the Ireland lads could not make a late 2-0 lead stand up as the Addisons, held to three hits in the first five innings by Echo, exploded for three singles and three runs in the top of the sixth.

Wade Steele’s sacrifice fly plated the first run. Collin Curler’s squeeze bunt scored the second and Nick Ouelette’s two-out single to left chased in the eventual winning tally.

Addison starter Sawyer Kammen, an incoming junior at Mount Abraham Union, limited the Irelands to five safeties in six innings while striking out five, several on knee-buckling third strike slow curves coming off a diet of swifties.

The Irelands broke through in the bottom of the fifth. Catcher Kirk Fontana reached and took second on a double error (grounder bobble and throw). With two out, Ben St. Clair crashed a gapper to right center for a triple, driving in Fontana. Nick then stroked a single to score St. Clair for the short-lived 2-0 advantage.

Just a run down in the bottom of the seventh, the Irelands threatened. Dylan Ireland, who had taken over on the mound in the top of the sixth, had one of the memorable at bats of the season. After taking two pitches for strikes, he fouled off five while working the count to three-and-two. The patient Ireland then took ball four for a lead-off walk that sent Kammen, with a high pitch count, from the mound in favor of reliever Devin Hayes.

Jeff Badger ran for Ireland and advanced to second on Will Conroy’s sacrifice bunt. St. Clair’s infield out got Badger to third, but Hayes then recorded a whiff to end the tense contest.


More tennis success for Williston’s Ro

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

David Ro of Williston, the current (three-time) Vermont boys individual scholastic tennis champion, has added a men’s crown to his collection.

The incoming senior at Essex High won the recent Burlington Waterfront Men’s Singles title, defeating Davin Garcia 6-4, 6-3 in the championship match.

Garcia made the final test by edging David Ro’s younger brother Daniel in a semifinal match.

David Ro joined with Cody Yu to capture the men’s doubles title.

Recipe Corner: Summer fruit desserts

By Ginger Isham

Very Berry Crisp

2 cups fresh raspberries

2 cups fresh strawberries

2 cups fresh blueberries

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour plus two tablespoons

1/3 cup crushed graham cracker crumbs

1/3 cup quick-cooking oatmeal

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon canola ( or olive ) oil

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 tablespoon water

2 tablespoons sliced almonds ( or nuts of your choice)


Combine berries , 1/3 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons flour.

Place in 11 x 7 inch baking dish, lightly oiled. Combine rest of dry

ingredients. Stir in oil, butter and water. Sprinkle over berries.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25- 30 minutes.


Citrus-Melon Sorbet

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1/4 cup orange juice

3 cups diced cantaloupe (can try other fruits)

1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

1 teaspoon grated lime peel.


Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Place in a 9 x 13 inch dish. Cover and freeze for 45 minutes or until edges begin to look firm. Stir. Freeze 2 hours longer or until firm. Just before serving, place in blender and process until smooth. Makes 2 cups.


Frosty Berry Blend (for kids and adults)

2 cups each raspberries and blueberries (might try peaches and raspberries)

6 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup milk

1 package 8-ounce cream cheese


Put honey, milk and cream cheese in food processor or blender. Blend until well mixed. Add fruit and blend until smooth. Pour mix into plastic, paper or glass cups. Freeze until ready to serve. Good on a hot day.