July 29, 2014

PHOTOS: Redhawks football

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Observer photos by Shane Bufano

Saturday’s Spirit Day game against Essex High School was a nail-biter, with the Hornets narrowly defeating the Redhawks 33-26.

THIS WEEK’S POPCORN: “The Words”

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Reading, Writing & Deceit

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer

 

“The Words,” directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, is a story inside a story, and then for good measure, enveloped in yet another story…all of them pretty much wrapped up in the same conundrum: What price glory? But that’s just scratching the surface of this multi-layered contemplation, full of swell ideas but a bit too unwieldy in its presentation.

First meet Rory Jansen, portrayed by Bradley Cooper, only a few years out of college and distressed that he still hasn’t written The Great American Novel. Nope…the literati have made no comparisons of his work to Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” or Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby”… not yet. Well, at least he has a supportive wife.

Too bad he can’t say the same for his dad, a successful manufacturer of widgets who wishes his dreamy offspring would do that thing most offensively disparaging to aspiring young authors. In other words, “get a real job.” Pressure mounts. Gosh, it’s not Rory’s fault that, after graduation, he just couldn’t seem to find his way to the Novel Factory.

It gets worse. Self doubt, the ogre that changes the author’s mantra from “I’m great” to “maybe I’m just a mediocre hack” rears its ugly head. The ego agonizes. The idea of just being part of the audience instead of the grand influence is anathema. So, as is usually the case in such parables, Rory must decide what to do when a shortcut presents itself.

If you’re a writer, morally it’s far more egregious than a baseball great taking steroids, or a decorated combat veteran accepting credit for a fallen comrade’s bravery. Think of it as a found package with that most detestable, unthinkable and shameful word stenciled on it: Plagiarism. Devil-sent, there’s no mistake about it if you open it and use it. None!

You are a fraud, a phony, a mountebank….everything that, as a writer, you’ve tacitly taken an oath to revile. You’re no better than the next guy, probably worse. Not only common and unremarkable, you’re a hypocrite. Oh, mother of mercy, the shame of it all. That is, if you get caught. Hey, don’t be so rash. Haven’t others gotten away with it?

Imperiously above it all, posing these multifarious questions of ethics is Dennis Quaid‘s Clay Hammond, the famous author of the allegory in question, reading selections of his tale to a rapt body of fans. And, just to add another stratum of inquiry into the whys and wherefores of literary ambition and success, enters the alluring Daniella (Olivia Wilde)

A Columbia grad student who inveigles her way back stage and soon wins the scribe’s eyes and ears, her intentions aren’t quite clear, maybe not even to herself. But whatever they are, a dusting of the room surely would find traces of power, lust, skepticism and fear. She wants to see where he writes. The, uh, interrogation moves to his apartment.

Ahem. With this bit of sexual tension tossed on, what was slightly convoluted now gets a mite bulky. And maybe too difficult to understand for some audiences if you consider a recent poll showing that nearly two out of three voters in Ohio and North Carolina aren’t sure who was more responsible for killing Bin Laden, the President or Mitt Romney.

In any case, this is more philosophical and thought provoking than it is artistically adept. But truth is, I’d be hard put to suggest how the directors might have made their cogitation on the vagaries of literary pursuit more accessible, and I know it was Mr. Obama who had the aforementioned terrorist leader eliminated. It is in the movie’s nature to ramble.

Additionally, while Bradley Cooper’s troubled protagonist is just barely credible enough for the story’s purposes, his performance is emblematic of some rather average acting performances. The exception is Jeremy Irons’s contribution as The Old Man. After a slow start, his compelling character proves central to all the quandaries being mulled.

Also helping save “The Words’s” most modest fortunes is the burning mystery at the heart of it all. At the promise of deep divulgences, the more patient of us have invested some emotion in the players. Sludge gumming the works or not, we want to know how this all came to be and how it might be resolved. We figure there has to be more to this.

Hence, the bemused audience that let me share their space wasn’t in a terrible hurry to leave once the closing credits rolled…speculating, as did I, that there might be a postscript before reel’s end. But, despite being inherently intriguing and winning my vote for the year’s best middling effort thus far, “The Words” is nothing to write home about.

“The Words,” rated PG-13, is a CBS Films release directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal and stars Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana and Jeremy Irons. Running time: 97 minutes 

Police Notes

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Vandalism

  • Police received a report from a woman on Sept. 11 that while shopping at Goodwill, someone “wrote ‘ass’ on her (vehicle) door with a marker,” according to police reports. An officer investigated and was able to “wipe off the writing with his finger,” according to the report.
  • An Essex Road resident reported to police on Sept. 11 that someone had “sliced” some political signs on his lawn overnight, according to police reports. He was advised to call police if “anything else suspicious” happened.

 

Theft

  • Holly L. Cota, 35, of Williston was cited on a charge of retail theft on Sept. 10 after stealing $372 worth of merchandise from Wal-Mart, according to police reports. She was cited to appear in court.
  • A Casey Lane resident reported to police on Sept. 15 that $150 was stolen from her vehicle, according to police reports. A Hillcrest Lane resident also reported a theft from his vehicle the same day, the report notes. Both cases are under investigation.

 

Assault

Norman J. Blay, 69, of Williston was cited on a charge of aggravated assault after trying to hit a resident in the parking lot of his housing development with his car on Sept. 11, according to a police affidavit. Blay admitted to police that he was angry with the resident but that “veering” his vehicle toward her was “a joke,” according to the affidavit. He was cited to appear in court.

 

Driving under the influence

William A. Menke, 22, of Essex Junction was cited on a charge of driving under the influence-refusal on Sept. 12, according to police reports. No other information was released.

 

Adoption raffle

Police received a report on Sept. 13 that a woman was going door to door in a local neighborhood selling raffle tickets to raise money “so she could adopt a child,” according to police reports. The woman was told she needs a peddler’s permit in order to sell door to door, the report notes.

 

Bat in a box

Police were called to a Chaloux Lane residence regarding a bat “trapped” in a resident’s bathroom on Sept. 14, according to police reports. Police captured the bat in a box and “removed it outside,” the report notes.

 

Multiple charges

Kahal M. Gharouni, 28, of Milton was cited on charges of driving under the influence, second offense-refusal and leaving the scene of an accident on Sept. 15, according to police reports. He was taken to Chittenden County Correctional Center.

 

Driving with suspended license

  • BethAnn Brown, 32, of Colchester was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on Sept. 3, according to police reports. She was cited to appear in court.
  • Stephen Strella, 22, of Burlington was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on Sept. 8, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.
  • Holly Martelle, 42, of Essex Junction was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on Sept. 14, according to police reports. She was cited to appear in court.
  • Jeffrey C. Patnaude, 54, of Winooski was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on Sept. 12, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.

EVERYDAY GOURMET: Toast the school year

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 By Kim Dannies

Now that our summer groove has ground to a halt, it’s time to pull out a few tricks to keep the gang moving forward with the school routine. It’s called “breakfast for dinner,” a loving and revered tradition among desperate moms. Baked Blueberry French Toast is just the right amount of wrong on a busy school night. It’s a fun treat for kids to make and eat, and it will morph a feeble C- dinner effort to the honor roll. Just make sure to serve a big mint-studded fresh fruit salad alongside to keep you out of the principal’s office.

 

Baked Blueberry French Toast

Spray a 9×12-inch baking dish with vegetable spray. Line the pan with six supermarket sesame steak rolls. Mix together 6 eggs with 1/2 cup of milk. Add small pinches of cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Pour over the rolls and set 15 minutes or even overnight. Bake, uncovered, in a preheated 425-degree oven for 15 minutes, then add Crumble Topping and bake for 15 minutes more. Serve with Blueberry Maple Syrup; serves 4.

Crumble Topping: combine 1/2 cup cold butter bits, 3/4 cup of flour, 1/3 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of crushed walnuts.

Blueberry Maple Syrup: in a glass container combine 1 cup of Vermont maple syrup with 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries. Cover with plastic wrap. Zap in microwave for 2 minutes.

Pump the nutrition: A nice alternative is to add pizza fillings such as cheese, sausage, and spinach to the inside of the rolls and proceed with egg mixture, leaving out the spices and crumble topping, for a calzone-style baked toast. To serve, top with warm marinara sauce.

 

Fresh Fruit Salad

Your family will eat more fruit if it is cut up. Kids love toothpicks, so stud your salad with picks and let them have at it. Start with a ripe cantaloupe melon. Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds. Slice into wedges, then slide a knife along the base of each wedge to release it from the rind. Chop into chunks. Add to a serving bowl along with store-prepped pineapple, green grapes, and raspberries. Top with freshly chopped mint.

 

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

CVU Sports Schedule

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Cross Country

Saturday: Divided Squads at U-32 Invitational (East Montpelier), 10 a.m.

Also at Manchester, N.H. Invitational, time tba

Tuesday: at Burlington High, 4 p.m.

Field Hockey

Saturday: at Middlebury Union High, 10 a.m.

Tuesday: BURLINGTON HIGH, 4 p.m.

Football

Saturday: at St. Johnsbury Academy, 1 p.m.

Boys Soccer

Friday: at Mount Mansfield Union, 4:30 p.m.

Monday: at Harwood Union (Duxbury), 4:30 p.m.

Girls Soccer

Saturday: at Mount Mansfield Union High, 10 a.m.

Tuesday: COLCHESTER HIGH, 4:30 p.m.

CVU soccer girls in strength of schedule

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The defending Division 1 champion Champlain Valley Union High girls soccer team, undefeated and unscored upon in its first four contests, got into a possibly tougher patch in the schedule Wednesday (after the Observer’s press time) when the Essex High Hornets came calling to Redhawk Hill in Hinesburg.

CVU travels to Mount Mansfield Union on Saturday at 10 a.m., then returns home Tuesday to play host to Colchester High with rival South Burlington High rolling into town next Friday.

Coach Brad Parker’s Redhawks racked up a Spirit Day 5-0 victory over Milton on Saturday morning and in their first four games have fired in 18 goals while allowing nada at the other end.

—Mal Boright, Observer correspondent

CVU boys soccer team getting in some road time

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By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With Tuesday’s rain-induced switch of a key contest with Essex High from Tuesday at home to Wednesday at the Hornets’ nest in Essex Junction, the Champlain Union High boys soccer team opened a run of three straight road games.

After visits to Mount Mansfield Union on Friday and Harwood Union on Monday, coach T. J. Mead and his Redhawks will return home on Sept. 27 to meet Rutland High in a match previously postponed by weather.

After that, the team faces road games at Brattleboro Union and Colchester High.

The ‘Hawks took a 2-0-1 record to Essex on Wednesday (after the Observer’s press time), following a 1-1 tie at highly regarded Burlington High on Saturday afternoon.

The contest was scoreless until BHS took a 1-0 lead with about 10 minutes remaining in regulation time. The equalizer, about a minute later, came from CVU’s Noah Lieberman, Joe Castano getting the assist.

CVU had an 11-8 advantage in shots on goal.

Last Wednesday, the Redhawks, playing at home, blasted past Harwood Union 8-1 as Shane Haley uncorked three goals plus an assist, while Lieberman pitched in with three assists.

CVU harriers divide for two meets Saturday

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By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent 

The Champlain Valley Union High cross-country team will have runners in two meets on Saturday—one in Manchester, N.H. to test the New England field and also at U-32 in East Montpelier.

Last Saturday, coach Scott Bliss’ defending New England champion girls scored a solid victory in the Burlington High Invitational, while the boys took fourth place.

In the 15-team girls event, Taylor Spillane came in second behind defending Vermont champion Ellie Purrier of Richford High. Purrier posted a winning time of 18 minutes and five seconds, with Spillane at18:35.

Right behind Spillane were teammates Autumn Eastman (18:48) in third and Julienne Devita (20:02) in fifth. Redhawks Emma Putre and Abby Keim took 12th and 13th.

CVU had 35 points, while runner-up Essex High had 104.

The fourth-place boys were led by sixth place finisher Nick Bouton with a time of 17:26. Jared Keyes was 13th and Chase Weaver 17th as the boys totaled 100 points to 63 for first place Essex.

Road tests on CVU field hockey schedule

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By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

After ending a scoring draught Saturday with a 2-1 Spirit Day victory over visiting Essex High, the Champlain Valley Union High field hockey team headed down Route 116 for Bristol and Mount Abraham Union on Wednesday to test a solid Eagles combine.

The Redhawks will then be back on the asphalt Saturday for a 10 a.m. confrontation in Middlebury against traditional power Middlebury Union High.

The next home game is on Tuesday, when Burlington High comes to the Redhawks’ cozy hillside nest (4 p.m.).

Shutout for five consecutive halves and trailing Essex 1-0, CVU’s junior midfielder Robin Powell was the great zero breaker on Saturday when she popped home a goal following a penalty corner just under three minutes into the second half. Emma Griesser drew an assist.

“I was there at the right time,” said a happy Powell after the game.

The winning tally came with 19:30 to go and was scored by junior Katie Arms, her third goal of the campaign.

“Katie made it happen,” said CVU coach Kate McDonald.

Essex’s best chance to tie the game came with just over a minute remaining, when an Essex crossing pass rolled in front of the cage, but the Redhawks’ Jenna Cloutier was on the case and protecting the net while goalie Evangeline Dunphy worked the other side.

Dunphy, with her specialty kick saves, had three first-half stops before Essex got its lone goal a little over six minutes before intermission, when Sierra Villemaire launched a shot out of a crowd into the left corner.

CVU had an edge in territorial play in the first half, as Emily O’Brien and Kathryn Loucks led the midfield and backfield crew in keeping control of  the action. But CVU was held off the scoreboard until Powell struck.

It was the 2-1-1 Redhawks’ first score since Arms deposited a pair in the 2-0 opening day win at Colchester High.

Redhawks seek win on the road Saturday in St. Jay

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Redhawk Brandon Murakami hangs onto the ball during Saturday’s Spirit Day game against Essex High School. The Hornets narrowly defeated the Redhawks 33-26. (Observer photo by Shane Bufano)

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

After narrowly succumbing to Essex High’s relentless air assault last Saturday, coach Jim Provost and his 2-1 Champlain Valley Union High football team will head for the Northeast Kingdom Saturday to meet the 1-2 St. Johnsbury Academy Hilltoppers.

“They are kind of a mystery,” Provost said Monday of his gridders’ next foe.

St. Johnsbury blasted Spaulding High of Barre 32-14 on Saturday for its initial victory of the campaign. But on the previous Saturday at their field, the Hilltoppers got squashed 42-0 by Burlington High, a team CVU popped 33-13 at home in the season opener.

“They (St. Jay) thumped Spaulding pretty good, so we have a lot to get right this week,” Provost said, recalling that the Hilltoppers came to CVU last year and put up a scrap before finally bowing.

Provost said he looks for St. Johnsbury to “mix it up a lot on offense.”

However, the Redhawks and their road followers are unlikely to see the massive air mail special delivery offense with which 3-0 Essex filled the air Saturday, laying a nerve-wracking 33-26 loss on the ‘Hawks that left players and spectators alike with strained necks from looking up for almost three hours.

And up there was where Hornets’ senior quarterback Joseph Picard operated, throwing 48 passes and completing 26 for 403 yards and five touchdowns. It was a blitz in every sense of the word.

“Actually, our defense played pretty well once we got past some missed assignments that resulted in three touchdowns,” said Provost.

By most accounts, the game provided an enthralling afternoon for spectators and players alike, along with more hair loss for the coaches.

On its first play after stopping an early first-period CVU 64-yard ground-pounding march at its 16, Picard unloaded a first down 84-yard pass and run bomb to sophomore wide receiver Cody Greene for the first score of the game. Tyler Warren kicked the point after.

Moments later, after the Hornets got the ball back on the first of three interceptions by linebacker Ryan Forbes, Picard went two-for-two, covering 38 yards to score, the pay dirt pitch a 13-yarder to Warren, who added the point. The score stood 14-0 with almost four minutes remaining in the first reel.

It looked like an impending blowout, but having now experienced the Essex quick-strike aerial circus, the Redhawks reached deep for their defensive stubborness and went to work, outscoring Essex the remainder of the game.

CVU quarterback Steele DuBrul passed 26 yards to Ryan Beaudry just before the end of the period and Max Whitcomb knocked the extra point through the wickets. Just moments later, a Brad Bissonette interception (one of five for the CVU defense) gave the Redhawks the ball at the Essex 31, and it took just four plays for halfback Alex Bulla (20 carries, 67 yards and two catches for 20 yards) to smash into the end zone from the 10. Whitcomb again booted the point.

From then on the game was two for the seesaw, Essex going in front 20-14 by halftime on a 26-yard Picard scoring pitch to the pesky and elusive Greene (six catches for 166 yards, three touchdowns).

Early in the third period, on the third play following the second half kickoff, CVU linebacker Jason Cora picked off a Picard pass and got the ball to the Essex 24. Just three plays later, DuBrul bolted into the end zone from the 7 to deadlock the score at 20.

Essex responded with a 75-yard sortie, Picard hitting running back James Olsen with a 15-yard six-point pop for the touchdown, Warren got the point and Essex led, 27-20.

It was the score that gave Essex the lead for good, but at the time who was to know, especially after DuBrul, his team backed up to its own 2-yard line and facing a second down. He sneaked into the line, burst into the open, turned on the flat-out gear and romped 98 yards for his second touchdown of the day and sixth in three games.

DuBrul during the contest carried the pigskin 27 times for 259 yards. For the season, he has stepped his way to 636 yards, while passing for another 305 yards and three scores

A try for a two-point conversion after a 15-yard penalty failed by a foot or two when Beaudry caught DuBrul’s pass but was nailed just shy of the end zone.

In the fourth quarter, after an exchange of punts, Essex put up its final score on a 39-yard Picard to Greene hookup.

Down by seven after Essex failed to pass for a two-point conversion, CVU got one last good opportunity when Beaudry pulled down a Picard first down pass to give CVU the ball at the Essex 13 with four minutes and 39 seconds left. DuBrul charged to the 8 on first down, but a third down roll out pass to the right side was intercepted by the ever-present Forbes, who made a leaping grab of the ball. Essex then ran out the remaining 3:09.

Provost praised the work of his lines against the beefy Essex front set (roster has four players 260 pounds or more). Co-captains Harvey Ottinger and Alec Distler spent the afternoon swapping muscles in a lengthy contest that had 147 offensive plays, 77 by Essex.