July 24, 2019

Library Notes

OneClick Digital Audio is offering a patron-focused webinar that demonstrates the service’s features. The 45-minute program includes a complete tour of the service and shows you how to create an account, install the OneClickdigital Media Manager, search for content, manage checkouts and download and transfer audiobooks to listening devices.

You can register for the webinar on Tuesday, Oct. 23 from 3 – 4 p.m. at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/168898550 or Tuesday, Nov. 27 from 3 – 4 p.m. at https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/696940398

Youth News

After School Movie

Friday, Oct. 26, 3 pm. Find out what happens when a group of zany zoo animals make their way to Europe for a wild circus adventure. Rated PG. Free popcorn. Children 8 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

Halloween Stories with Abby Klein

Monday, Oct. 29, 6:30 p.m. Bring kids in PJs or costumes with their favorite stuffed animal for stories, a craft and a bedtime snack. Presented by Building Bright Futures of Williston and the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library. Call Kim at 355-5417 to pre-register.

Reading with Frosty and Friends Therapy Dogs

Tuesdays, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Bring a book and read to a dog! All dogs registered with Therapy Dogs of Vermont. All ages. Call 878-4918 to pre-register for 10-minute individual sessions

Coming in November:

Food For Thought Library Volunteers

Thursday, Nov. 1, 4-5 pm. Grades 7-12 Teen Advisory Group.

Russian Story Time

Saturday, Nov. 3, 10:30 a.m. Stories, songs and crafts for children up to age 5. Includes a puppet show.

Spanish Stories and Music

Friday, Nov. 9, 10:30 a.m. Stories and songs for children up to age 6.

Cartooning Workshop

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 3-5 p.m. Presented by Will Workman. Ages 9 and up. Pre-register.

Lego Day

Thursday, Nov. 29, 3 – 4 p.m. Grades 1-5. Pre-register.

Adult Programs 

Shape and Share Life Stories

Monday, Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Prompts trigger real life experience stories, which are crafted into engaging narratives and shared with the group. Led by Recille Hamrell.

Great Ghosts of Vermont: Joe Citro

Saturday, Oct. 27 at 1 p.m. Vermont author and researcher of the weird and spooky of New England will present rousing stories of Vermont ghostlore. Recommended ages 8 and up. Presented by Friends of the Library.

Backyard Astronomy: Identifying Constellations

Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. Join us for an evening of basic instruction on locating constellations, planets, comets and just appreciating the beauty of the night sky. Telescope viewing if weather permits. Presented by Frank Pakulski. Aimed for adults but children 8 and older welcome if accompanied by adult.

Brown Bag Book Club

Friday, Nov. 16 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Looking to meet others who love to discuss books? This month we will discuss “The Lace Reader” by Brunonia Barry. Coffee, tea, juice and dessert provided.

New Non-Fiction

“Walking the Amazon: 860 Days One Step at a Time” by Ed Stafford describes the author’s quest to walk the entire length of the Amazon River, offering details on the effects of deforestation and his encounters with both vicious animals and tribal members with machetes.

New Biography

“Remembering Che: My life with Che Guevara” by Aleida March: Forty-five years after Che’s assassination in Bolivia in 1967, his widow and the great love of his life has finally released her memoir of their years together.

New Adult Graphic Novel

Called “war as pop,” Lamia Ziade’s Adult Graphic Novel: “Bye Bye Babylon” positions a shocking narrative next to a child’s perspective of the years 1975-1979.


The Dorothy Alling Memorial Library is located at 21 Library Lane in Williston, and can be reached at 878-4918. www.williston.lib.vt.us

Around Town

Hurricanes wrestling signups begin in November

Seventh and eighth grade CSSU students can sign up for Hurricanes wrestling next month. The team has had 25 state champions in its history. For more information or to sign up, stop by the Hinesburg Community School Nov. 6-8, Nov. 13-15 or and Nov. 27-29 between 6:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. in the cafeteria. Contact head coach Wayne Ring at hurricaneswrestling@gmail.com and or call 482-3747.

St. George begins planning for 250th anniversary

St. George was chartered in 1763 and will be celebrating its 250th anniversary next year. The town has begun planning ways to celebrate the occasion.

So far, a plan has been proposed to build a pavilion next to the new location for the schoolhouse in the town center. To participate in celebration planning, e-mail Connie Kendall at constance.r.kendall@gmail.com.

Letters to the Editor

Macaig for State Rep.

I am pleased to write this letter in support of Terry Macaig for reelection as our State Representative. My votes for state representative will go to candidates who are dedicated to doing what is best for the state, who respect taxpayers and who don’t forget the town they come from. Terry has demonstrated all of these values. In his committee work, he has worked on policy to reduce recidivism among those in our corrections institutions and has been in the middle of the plan to replace the Vermont State Hospital and Waterbury Complex. Who can doubt Terry’s life-long commitment to Williston? He is a dedicated chair of our Select board, active in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church and as one of his responsibilities as president of the Historical Society, he organizes the annual Ice Cream Social! In Montpelier, he continues this service to the town. Did you know that the state skims off a portion of the 1 percent sales tax from Williston? Terry successfully worked to lower this “fee,” keeping more of that revenue here at home.

Finally, Terry plays an important role as a member of the majority party in Montpelier, advocating for the taxpayers and supporting a balanced budget. Terry is doing exactly the work we need him to do. Please join me in supporting Terry Macaig for State Representative.

Jeanne Jensen



‘Williston Wins?’ Not at this rate!

“Williston Wins” is a brilliant effort by the Williston Families as Partners to raise money needed to fund our children’s field trips and provide grants to classrooms for equipment, books and the like. In addition, it eliminates all fund-raising efforts for preschool to fourth grade and eliminates door-to-door product sales for all students. Their last stroke of brilliance … it is tax deductible and ANYONE can donate! My question to Williston is, why are we still less than halfway to the goal with little more than a week remaining? One hundred percent of this money goes straight to our students, not the measly percentage they would get selling overpriced products no one really wants. With Innisbrook wrapping paper, only 50 percent of the profits go to your student, with Yankee candles, only 40 percent. These products are so expensive you might as well wrap the presents in $1 bills taped together! In addition to the greatly reduced profit, we have students trying to sell products door-to-door or through parent workplaces. How many of us are sick of that! For a mere $40, less than many of us spend on a night of even reasonably priced dining (I’m thinking Friendly’s here), you could support your students in so many more important ways. Come on Williston, let’s show the students that we value their time, their safety and above all their education!

For more information, go to http://www.cssu.org/Page/2261.  If you’d like to make a donation, please mail or deliver a check (made payable to Williston FAP) to Williston Central School, attn: FAP, 195 Central School Drive. The campaign ends Oct. 31. They send a letter acknowledging your tax-free donation by the end of the year.

Julia Nesbit


Support Macaig and McCullough for Vermont House

In these trying times, we need experienced leadership representing the residents of Williston at the Vermont State House. So, I urge your support in re-electing Terry Macaig and Jim McCullough to the Vermont House of Representatives.

Both our representatives have a proven record of leadership in promoting economic growth and helping working Vermonters. Yet, at the same time, they both understand that protecting the environment sustains the quality of life necessary to entice businesses and entrepreneurs to settle here in Vermont and create good jobs.

Jim McCullough and Terry Macaig have a distinguished record of public service to the Town of Williston and the State of Vermont through their participation on numerous town boards and charitable organizations. Let’s return Terry Macaig and Jim McCullough to the Vermont House of Representatives.

Joshua Diamond



Waiting for a lead
cleanup plan

I’ve been watching with interest the dispute between the North Country Sportsmen’s Club and the Boutin family property/Creamery Road residents. It seems to me that the North Country Sportsmen’s Club has every right to operate a safe shooting range. Likewise, the people who live near it have every right to expect that their water sources are clean and protected.

I’m sure that many of us in Williston anxiously await the detailed cleanup plan forthcoming from the club and also a preventative plan for how the new shooting alleyways will not create the same pollution in a new location. I hope all residents of Williston push to hear these details.

Meg Thomas



Williston’s Hatfields and McCoys?

Why have Williston residents and Lead Free Williston not received information on plans to clean up the tons of lead accumulating on the slopes of the North Country Sportsman’s Club? Months ago, the club received a federal grant to be used for lead clean up. I believe Vermont Fish and Game are responsible for overseeing how the grant is used.

Past history is that this situation is out of the hands of our town fathers, even though lead is accumulating in our town watershed. They are only responsible for gun club hours and the level of noise. Lead Free Williston is not the only group concerned with this problem. More than a year ago, 350-plus signatures were collected from residents supporting the cleanup of the lead. Our legislators can express their concern, but it seems their hands are tied.

The EPA has a publication entitled “Best Management Practices for Lead at Outdoor Shooting Ranges.” It gives several engineered runoff controls such as filter beds, containment traps and detention ponds, dams and dikes, and ground contouring. Also, the best way to minimize lead migration is to reclaim the lead by process of hand raking and sifting, screening, vacuuming and soil washing.

The publication goes on to say gun clubs everywhere benefit from proactively implementing good practices, improving public relations for all shooting ranges and shooting sports and keeping a clean, well-maintained facility.

Lead Free Williston is not against guns or hunting. We all have friends and families that hunt. We ask the gun club to show they are moving toward a lead free environment. This is not the Boutin Family vs. NCSC, but the concern of a community.

I urge state, federal and environmental agencies and the NRA to find a way to get involved and help the citizens of Williston. How can laws be passed and not enforced?

Ginger Isham



Learn more about the F-35 proposed base in Burlington

Here are five facts about the F-35 Stealth Bombers from the U.S. Air Force Environmental Impact Statement:

1. The F-35 is more than four times louder than the F-16.

2. Almost 7,000 people, five schools and six churches will be put in a zone “generally not considered suitable for residential use,” including more than half of Winooski.

3. With the F-35, the Vermont Air Guard payroll would be less than 1 percent of the total non-farm income of Chittenden County.

4. Homes exposed to the increased noise may lose between 11 and 42 percent of their value.

5. The crash rate for the F-35 is 11 times higher than the F-16.

The F-35 is a stealth bomber that carries 18,000 pounds of bombs (including nuclear ones). No official has stated that the Vermont Air National Guard base will close or downsize if they don’t get the F-35.

If these facts are concerning to you, please get involved. Call our elected officials and the U.S. Air Force, and find out more at http://www.stopthef35.com/. The Air Force will make a decision in December. Once they do, there is no going back.

Deborah Miuccio



Support for Letovsky

We are hearing much about the extreme partisanship which has become so prevalent within our political system in recent years, and the finger-pointing that it’s “their fault but not ours” is a line that has now become tiresome. It is clear that both parties are guilty.

All who run for office say they will bring about a change in that mentality, but few have the courage to demonstrate that independence even before they are elected. Robert Letovsky of Jericho, a candidate for the Vermont Senate from Chittenden County, is that person. He is running for office as a true independent, not to be confused with the Independent Party, though I have no quarrel with them.

Robert Letovsky is determined to truly work to bridge that divide and do things that will really help Vermonters, and thus is swearing no allegiance to either party, and I believe in him and his goals. Those who know him, and I do, know of his commitment to the goal of reversing the trend of outmigration of our young people to other states due to the lack of opportunity here. As a college professor who teacher college seniors, he knows of the concerns of these graduates and other young people who are trying to stay here and make a living. He has specific ideas about how to reverse this trend of outmigration. Everyone will agree that this should not be a partisan issue, and Robert Letovsky will help to ensure that it is not.

He is a warm and caring individual who will bring fresh and exciting perspective to the issues Vermont is facing. I hope you will vote for Robert Letovsky to elect him to the Vermont State Senate.

Leo M. LeCours



Robert Letovsky for State Senate

I enthusiastically support Robert Letovsky for election to the State Senate. Robert has an independent vision and voice, which is a refreshing change in these times of partisan politics. He clearly understands the problems facing our communities and our state, and he has the ideas, the energy and the enthusiasm to solve those problems. He has the knowledge and experience that is needed in Montpelier.

As the chairman of the Business and Accounting Department of St. Michaels College, Robert understands the problems of our local and state economies. He has fashioned some terrific solutions to solve those problems. Robert also has a thorough understanding of our issues in health care. Robert lives in Jericho, but was raised in Canada. As a result, he has experienced both a single payer system, and our current system of private health insurance. This knowledge will be essential to help shape our health care reform. Visit his excellent website to find out for yourself, www.robertvtsenate.com, and give Robert your support on Election Day.

Fred Ziegler





GUEST COLUMN: Here comes the rain again

By Deb Markowitz

After a summer of nearly constant outdoor activity, I love the rainy days of fall. The rain gives me an excuse to get to those projects I put off, and to enjoy a good book by the fire. And all Vermonters depend on rainwater to replenish the lakes, streams and underground aquifers that feed our community water systems and wells.

Although we welcome the wet weather, the rain also brings challenges that come with stormwater runoff. Have you ever noticed a stream of water running down the road while it’s raining? Since coming to work for the Agency of Natural Resources, I’ve begun to notice the places in my own community where stormwater runoff is a problem. When I see this, I find myself wondering what’s in that water, and how it’s impacting the river, stream or lake it’s headed for.

As water washes over paved or otherwise “impervious” surfaces, it carries with it whatever else is in its path. This often includes dirt that contains nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen, chemicals from motor vehicles, salt, sand and silt, and garbage that has been discarded improperly. Not surprisingly, one of the most significant causes of pollution in our rivers and lakes is stormwater runoff.  Traditional engineered approaches to clean stormwater before it reaches our waterways have been challenging and costly to implement. For that reason the Agency of Natural Resources has kicked off a project to promote and implement innovative, green infrastructure approaches to stormwater management.

Green infrastructure are systems that mimic natural processes that reduce the amount and slow down the flow of stormwater so that it can seep into the ground, rather than run off into ditches and brooks that will ultimately wash pollution into our rivers, lakes and ponds. Green infrastructure practices include changing how we put in curbs so that water washes into green spaces rather than keeping it on pavement, putting in rain gardens (green spaces designed to catch water with native water-loving plants), porous pavements, green roofs, trees and planters designed to catch and hold water during storm events and rain water harvesting (for example, rain barrels).

When we use green infrastructure techniques to manage stormwater and reduce water pollution, we see many additional benefits to the environment and to our communities. Green infrastructure helps prevent flooding and flood damage, it can help us conserve energy by reducing the urban heat effect and can improve air quality by increasing the number of plants and trees that absorb carbon dioxide. It also improves the quality of life in our urban and suburban communities by adding green space for recreation and urban agriculture.

Vermont’s Green Infrastructure Initiative began with an executive order signed this past summer. That directive requires all state agencies to use green infrastructure practices to manage stormwater runoff to minimize pollution on state land, and directs the Agency of Natural Resources to convene an interagency group to implement this goal. The first meeting of this group will be held later this month. In addition, the agency received a quarter million dollar U.S. Forest Service grant which will be used to encourage municipalities to implement green infrastructure practices by offering technical and financial help.

To learn more about how you can use green infrastructure practices in your home or community, visit www.vtwaterquality.org/stormwater/htm/sw_green_infrastructure.htm. Next summer, install a rain garden or rain barrel at your home and reduce the amount of stormwater runoff leaving your property. Together, we can protect and preserve our natural resources for this and future generations.


Deb Markowitz is the secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources.

White wins cooking honors

Observer staff report

Forrest White of Williston came in second in the fourth annual Hood New England Dairy Cook-Off with his Squash’n’Blossom Fritter with Vichyssoise Shooter in the appetizers/side dishes category. The event was held Oct. 21 in Providence, R.I.

The competition began at 7:30 a.m., when 30 semifinalists competed in their individual categories. The five categories were: breakfast/brunch; soups/chowders; appetizers/side dishes; lunch/dinner (entrée) and dessert.

One amateur chef from each New England state competed in each category. Competitors had one hour to prepare and plate their dishes. All recipes were original and included at least one Hood dairy product and were judged based on taste appeal, presentation/appearance and creativity/originality.

White took the top honors in the appetizers/side dishes category, claiming a $500 prize, and was selected for second place overall.

Continued public comment sought on proposed changes to maple grading standards

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) is considering a proposal by the Vermont Maple Sugarmakers Association (VMSA) to align the state’s maple grading standards to the system recommended by the International Maple Syrup Institute.

Proponents of this change say it will make Vermont syrup more competitive in the international market, believing Vermont’s current maple grading system can be confusing to those outside the state. Some suggest sugarmakers can still use the current system on their packaging and in their marketing materials, in addition to noting the new, international standard grade. Other sugarmakers are concerned that modifying the grading system will cause the loss of a Vermont tradition important to the maple market place, especially here in Vermont.

Last week, VAAFM, in partnership with VMSA and UVM Extension, held public meetings in Middlebury, South Woodstock and Hyde Park to take comment on the proposed changes to the maple grading system.

The Agency is encouraging Vermonters to share their views about this proposal by Dec 1. Those interested in giving input are encouraged to send their point of view via email to Noelle.Sevoian@state.vt.us at the agency.

Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross will review all comments received by the public, utilizing the input to help inform his decision about how to proceed. The secretary plans to make a decision by early January, which includes any of the following courses of action:

• Begin the process of amending the current maple regulations as requested by the Vermont Maple Sugarmakers Association, which could include modifications to the original proposal

• Recommend that the Legislature amend the maple statutes in 2013

• Determine that no changes are currently warranted

Each of these options will provide for additional public input. The Secretary may decide no changes are currently warranted, but that doesn’t preclude public input to the Legislature by the sugarmakers or others who want changes or further review. If changes to the current maple grading standards are pursued, changes would not be in effect until the 2014 maple season at the earliest.

For a chart explaining the proposed changes, visit http://www.internationalmaplesyrupinstitute.com.

—Observer staff report

An eerie night at the library

Film scholar Rick Winston takes a question from the audience at Dorothy Alling Memorial Library on Oct. 17, following a presentation on the career of Alfred Hitchcock. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Leave it to Alfred Hitchcock, the cinema’s uncontested master of suspense, to turn a trip to the library into a nail-biting experience.

The movie was 1943’s “Shadow of a Doubt,” about a wholesome small town girl (played by Teresa Wright) who gradually begins to suspect her beloved uncle of being a murderer. The film’s turning point, when the doubts of Wright’s character become more than a shadow, is set at the Santa Rosa, Calif. public library and involves one of Hitchcock’s most virtuoso camera moves: a sweeping crane shot which begins on a close-up of an emerald ring and ends high in the library’s rafters.

On Oct. 17, Hitchcock’s patented brand of suspense was again on display in a library setting. Only this time, the venue was Williston’s own Dorothy Alling Memorial Library and the master of ceremonies was Rick Winston, a film scholar who co-founded Montpelier’s Savoy Theater in 1980 and now lectures as part of the Vermont Humanities Council.

Winston’s Wednesday evening program interspersed personal commentary with clips from 11 Hitchcock thrillers, spanning the silent cinema classic “The Lodger,” from 1926, to “Psycho,” which made audiences afraid to take a shower for weeks after its 1960 premiere.

With only an hour and a half at his disposal, Winston’s talk could only graze the surface of Hitchcock’s art, but he did an admirable job of highlighting the themes, motifs and narrative obsessions that pervaded Hitch’s 54-year career as a director of motion pictures.

Hitchcock, who often peppered his films with Freudian psychological undertones, was fond of telling a story from his own youth, in which his father, rather than sending him to his room for being naughty, had him locked in a cell at a local London precinct.

Winston used that story as a springboard to investigate the psychological motivation behind Hitchcock’s recurring theme of the wrongfully accused man on the run, explored most memorably in the British production “The 39 Steps” (1935), and its closest American heir, “North by Northwest” (1959).

Winston also examined the concept of the “MacGuffin,” the Hitchcockian narrative device that places undue significance on an incidental story element which ultimately proves to be irrelevant.

Perhaps the best example of a MacGuffin is in “Notorious” (1946), in which a cache of uranium in the wine cellar of a Nazi spy forms the basis of the first half of the narrative, but which by story’s end is immaterial in a movie more concerned with a bizarre love triangle between Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains.

Although Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” (1958) was recently named the greatest movie ever made in Sight & Sound magazine’s decennial critics’ poll, Winston cited “Notorious” and “Rear Window” (1954) as his two favorite Hitchcock pictures.

It’s an opinion he shares with François Truffaut, the late French critic and director who conducted a definitive series of interviews with Hitchcock in the early 1960s.

Truffaut, in the introduction to his interview book, called Hitchcock the cinema’s “foremost technician” and lumped him with Howard Hawks and John Ford as the only heirs to silent film pioneer D.W. Griffith to be working in 1960s Hollywood.

Winston, more than 40 years later, reaffirmed Hitchcock’s preeminence as both an audience and critics’ favorite.

“I like to think of Hitchcock as perhaps the most audience-friendly of directors, and it’s because he had our viewing pleasure in mind,” Winston said. “He was not making these movies in a vacuum. He was really gauging every effect in his films.”

Wetland impacts force changes to Essex Alliance Church project

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Shifting wetlands have necessitated changes to a planned church property off Vermont 2A.

Essex Alliance Church, a proposed 80,000-square-foot complex which will have access driveways on Beaudry Lane and Vermont 2A, was previously approved by the Williston Development Review Board in September 2011—with the condition that a new wetlands delineation study be conducted.

The previous wetlands map of the property showed the presence of class III wetlands, which are developable at the discretion of the DRB.

However, a new wetlands study commissioned by Essex Alliance Church has revealed the presence of class II wetlands, which are regulated by state law and are generally undevelopable, with the possible exception of roads, trails and utility lines.

At Tuesday’s DRB meeting, the church proposed changes to its parking lot, which will have the effect of reducing the size of a planned soccer field.

“What we had to do is we lose the full-size soccer field and the passive recreation area around where the two class III wetlands were, and we now have a more narrow green band and a much smaller soccer field,” said church representative Jeff Kolok. “So we’re kind of bummed about that.”

The revised plans have a portion of an access driveway passing through class II wetlands, meaning that the church will need to obtain a conditional use determination from the state, although the DRB has the authority to supersede state approval and impose its own conditions.

Williston Director of Planning and Zoning Ken Belliveau told the Observer on Wednesday that the DRB agreed in deliberative session to approve the site plan revisions for the project, with the condition that Essex Alliance Church obtain a conditional use determination from the state.


In other business, the DRB modified a notice of zoning violation issued to Bill Dunn for clearing trees on his Hurricane Lane property without a permit.

Dunn apologized to the board on Tuesday for putting “the cart in front of the horse,” but said the clearing of the land was for a planned solar farm which will utilize net metering and will be subject to approval by the Vermont Public Service Board.

“I think it’s a great project,” Dunn said. “The town itself is doing a solar project, so we’re going down the same road.”

Dunn said he is in the process of completing a Public Service Board application for the solar project and plans to file it in November.

Belliveau informed the Observer on Wednesday that the DRB ruled that Dunn will be required to seed the cleared area by the end of the week and will need to file the solar farm application with the Public Service Board by May 2013, or else revegetate the area.

A previous plan to build an office complex on Dunn’s Hurricane Lane property fell through when computer chip company Qimonda AG filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

Williston wins Community Enhancement award for town trails

A map produced by the Williston Planning and Zoning Department shows the current and future composition of Williston’s trail network. The town was recently awarded the 2012 Community Enhancement Award from the Vermont Trails and Greenways Council for an ongoing project that will provide a trailhead on Vermont 2A and a footbridge over Sucker Brook. (Map courtesy of Jessica Andreoletti)

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

A project that will provide access on Vermont 2A to Williston’s trail network has been awarded the 2012 Community Enhancement Award from the Vermont Trails and Greenways Council.

Sherry Winnie of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation had high praise for the project.

“This is connecting people to the forests and is a great collaboration amongst the community and is a very well thought out and well done project,” Winnie said. “(VTGC) felt wholeheartedly that it strengthened the community and enhanced the quality of life for not only people living in Williston, but for people who want to travel out to see the rural part of Williston.”

Williston Senior Planner Jessica Andreoletti, who accepted the award on the town’s behalf, said the completed project will include a parking lot off Vermont 2A that will provide much needed relief to an overcrowded Sunset Hill Road parking area.

“The biggest benefit is relieving the parking at Five Tree Hill,” Andreoletti said. “This will provide an alternate trailhead for folks who want to get up to the Five Tree Hill lookout.”

Andreoletti noted that there is still work to be done on a 58-foot bridge over the Sucker Brook and that the project is on track to be completed in the spring of 2013.

She added that the ultimate goal is to provide a continuous expanse of hiking trails, stretching from Vermont 2A to South Road.

“The next project is to build a floating bridge to get people from Oak Hill Road to South Road,” Andreoletti said. “That’s the last missing link.”

The Smirkus comes to town

Williston Central School fourth-grader Camie Cuttitta balances a peacock feather on her palm during an afters chool event hosted by Circus Smirkus. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

Williston Central snares Circus Smirkus afterschool program

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

For Rick Davis, the circus is more than sword swallowers, bearded ladies and human cannonballs.

It’s a way of life, and a way to teach life skills to anyone willing to accept failure as a necessary byproduct of success.

“The interesting thing about circus arts is that it’s something for everybody of any skill level, any gender, any age,” Davis said.

Davis, who began his circus career almost 40 years ago as a clown for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, has spent the past decade as an afterschool program director for Circus Smirkus, a Greensboro, Vt.-based nonprofit circus dedicated to teaching circus arts to children.

“The primary reason why Circus Smirkus does this is to foster life skills in the children,” Davis said. “They gain confidence and persistence and patience, and they learn that trying new things can lead to unexpected pleasures.”

Since Monday, Davis has been the clown-in-residence at Williston Central School, where he has taught a group of 25 students everything from juggling and plate spinning to tightwire and acrobatics.

The weeklong blitzkrieg of big top schooling will culminate in a student-led performance at WCS’ Al Myers Theater on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

“It will be a memorable event,” Davis said. “Most children have the experience of being pleasantly surprised at how much they can learn in a short amount of time.”

The Circus Smirkus program at WCS is sponsored by Families as Partners, the Williston School District’s Parent Teacher Organization.

Liz Neeld, chairwoman of the FAP Advisory Council, paid particular tribute to the Friday night showcase.

“Just to see your peers up on stage performing, I think that’s motivating to other children, as well,” Neeld said. “That’s why I like the piece of the performance on a Friday night, where they can really get up and show what they’ve learned and maybe energize some other students to try it next year.”