May 23, 2018

Last game for CVU field hockey

The Champlain Valley Union High School field hockey team is headed to Burlington for its final regular season game Thursday afternoon.

Burlington edged out the 6-5-2 Redhawks 1-0 in the teams’ last match, a close overtime game.

Last Thursday, CVU beat the Mount Mansfield Union Cougars 2-1, making up a rained out Oct. 3 game.

The next day, though, the Redhawks took a tough loss at Essex High School. The Hornets defeated the Redhawks 3-0.

On Monday, the Redhawks played Middlebury at home, tying 1-1.

—Stephanie Choate,
Observer staff

Cross country’s Spillane strong in Manhattan

Champlain Valley Union harrier Taylor Spillane held her own at the Manhattan Invitational in New York last weekend, placing sixth and finishing the 2.5-mile course in a time of 14:42.7.

Overall, the girls team placed fifth. Autumn Eastman took the 15th spot with a time of 15:00.5 and Julienne Devita placed at number 32, with a time of 15:38. Abby Keim was 60th with a time of 16:10.8, Aleksey Jordick was 78th with 16:34.7, Emma Putre was 86th with 16:54.3 and Carly Neeeld 87th with 16:55.2.

Sean Delaney led on the boys side, coming in at 13:46.2 for number 39. Jared Keyes took number 48 with a time of 13:51.4, Nick Boutin was 56th with 13:57.9, Clarke Shedd was 65th with 14:03.9, Chase Weaver 67th with 14:04.8, Zach Marshall 80th with 14:13 and Will Kay 108th with 14:26.7. The boys team took the sixth spot.

—Stephanie Choate,
Observer staff

Girls soccer takes strong record to Burlington

Another win last week strengthened the Champlain Valley Union High School girls soccer team’s record as it prepares to play its last game of the regular season.

The team went into Wednesday’s game—after the Observer’s press deadline—against South Burlington High School with a 10-1-1 record.

As of Oct. 16, CVU was ranked in the number two spot, just behind Essex, a team CVU narrowly lost to in overtime in September then tied earlier this month.

The Redhawks logged another win last week on the road at Colchester, beating the Lakers 3-0. CVU dominated the game, and goalkeepers Lily Harris and Maddie Turnau were never tested, Coach Brad Parker wrote in an email to the Observer.

On Saturday, the Redhawks are set to play Burlington High School—a team they bested 3-2 earlier this month—at home at 10 a.m.

—Stephanie Choate,
Observer staff

Hub Happenings

Speeder and Earl’s leases Williston space

Speeder and Earl’s Coffee recently leased more than 5,000 square feet of office, warehouse, roasting and packing space at 368 Avenue D in Williston. The property was leased from REM Development Co. and assisted by Linda Letourneau of Redstone.


Williston company joins 1% for the Planet 

Vermont-based 1% for the Planet recently announced that 21 new companies from the New England region joined the network. Members of 1% for the Planet contribute 1 percent of annual sales directly to approved non-profit organizations. Non-profits are approved based on referrals, track record and sustainability focus. Currently over 3,000 non-profits worldwide are eligible to receive donations.

Andy Duback Photography, based in Williston, joined the network. Other Vermont companies include Rossier Bros., Timbers Restaurant at Sugarbush Resort, Tonewood Maple, George Soules Photography and Green Peak Promotions.


Businesses partner to provide socks and support to Vermont’s homeless 

Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel, Darn Tough Vermont and Smartwool teamed up to donate 550 pairs of socks and $1,700 to representatives from local shelters at the Lenny’s store in Williston. The donations were the result of a joint effort between the three businesses to help provide warm socks and support to Vermont’s homeless population in preparation for the state’s colder months.

Over the weekend of Sept. 20–23, Lenny’s Shoe & Apparel held its second annual Charity Sock Sale. Darn Tough Vermont and Smartwool agreed to donate one pair of socks for each pair sold of their respective brands at Lenny’s stores across Vermont. In addition, Lenny’s made a monetary donation for each pair sold. The organizations receiving the donations include the Committee on Temporary Shelter (COTS) in Burlington, the Samaritan House in St. Albans, and the Good Samaritan Haven in Barre.


Local residents join Vermont Consultants Network 

The Vermont Consultants Network announced the election of several members to its executive committee for the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Vijay Desai, executive project manager and managing partner of Desai Management Consulting in Williston, was named as a member-at-large, along with Richmond-based Adaptive Engineering, Inc. founder and owner Chris Coulter and Carl Lorentson, founder and president of Renaissance Information Systems in Jericho.

John Burton of Network Performance Inc. in South Burlington was named president, and Terry Stone, owner of Business Performance Solutions in Colchester, is vice president.


Alyssa McBride joins Davis & Hodgdon

Alyssa McBride has joined Williston accounting firm Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPAs as an associate accountant. McBride has prior public accounting experience at a firm in St. Johnsbury and recently completed a tax internship with Davis & Hodgdon. Currently, she is preparing to sit for the CPA exam.  McBride is originally from the Northeast Kingdom and currently resides in Essex Junction.


Graybar donates toys

Graybar Company of Williston donated more than 300 toys to Vermont Children’s Hospital on Oct. 10. The toys were collected as part of a nationwide charitable campaign by Graybar, Inc. and will be distributed to inpatients and outpatients at the hospital.


 Longtime VSAC chief plans retirement

Don Vickers announced last week that he plans to retire as head of the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation in June. Vickers has worked with VSAC for 41 years, and has been president and CEO since 1988.

“Don has never forgotten his own humble beginnings and makes every decision with an eye toward what will be most beneficial for the students and families VSAC serves,” said Dorothy Mitchell, chair of the VSAC Board of Directors, in a press release. “He believes deeply that each generation owes the next generation of students a chance at a better future.”

In his years as CEO, Vickers led efforts to expand VSAC’s career exploration and college planning and financing services, resulting in significant growth in VSAC’s workforce. The VSAC board plans to conduct a nationwide search for Vickers’ successor. It expects to begin the recruitment process later this fall and to select a new CEO next spring.


ReSOURCE changes store name to avoid confusion

The former ReCycle North in Burlington, most recently known as ReSTORE, has changed its name.

The opening of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Williston created the potential for confusion among customers. Both ReSOURCE and Habitat—close partners—wanted to avoid conflict. This led to the decision to change ReSTORE to ReSOURCE Household Goods Store.

ReSOURCE and Habitat have been working on the name change for three months for the same outcome: to provide clarity to customers and promote two nonprofits with separate but very important missions.

“I am pleased to once again have the opportunity to work alongside ReSOURCE in an effort to make Vermont a better place to live for low income working families” said David Mullin, executive director at Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity.


Vermont Chamber names Antonio Pomerleau Citizen of the Year 

Antonio Pomerleau, Chairman and Founder of Pomerleau Real Estate, has been selected as the 2012 Citizen of the Year by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

The Citizen of the Year Award, now in its 49th year, highlights the work of a Vermonter who has bettered the state through self-sacrifice, service and volunteerism.

Among his philanthropic contributions, Pomerleau has donated $1 million each to St. Michael’s College, the Greater Burlington YMCA and to the Irene Recovery Fund.


McKenzie’s wins ‘Exhibitor of the Year’ at Vermont Food Expo

The team from McKenzie’s Country Classics bested more than 140 exhibitors to take “Exhibitor of the Year” honors at the annual convention and expo for the Vermont Food Industry, which was sponsored by the Vermont Grocers’ Association. The award is based on overall attractiveness, creativity and presentation of the exhibit booth as judged by the retail and restaurant attendees of the show.


New Executive Director for The Vermont Commission On Women

The Vermont Commission on Women announced the selection of Cary Brown as executive director. Brown, a Montpelier resident, brings more than 16 years of professional and volunteer experience working with issues that affect women, girls and their families.

Brown will begin at the end of October.


Citizens Bank Foundation Helps Feed Vermont Kids on the Weekends

Citizens Bank Foundation has made a $10,000 charitable grant to the Vermont Foodbank in support of the BackPack Program.  In partnership with schools around Vermont, the Foodbank BackPack Program works to ensure children have the food they need during weekends and out-of-school time.

“With more than 27,000 Vermont children at risk of hunger, the need for expansion of the BackPack Program has never been greater,” said John Sayles, Vermont Foodbank CEO.  “Citizens Bank Foundation’s commitment to Vermont communities and their support of the BackPack Program this year will enable us to reach more children than ever before.”


Donna Hogan named VGA Person of the Year

Donna Hogan was honored at the recent Vermont Food Industry Convention with the Vermont Grocers Association Person of the Year award.

In presenting the award, VGA president Jim Harrison said, “Donna’s devotion to the scholarship program is legendary.  Through her efforts, the program has grown each year and has awarded over $325,000 to students affiliated with our industry in Vermont. Additionally, the success of the annual convention is a direct reflection on her.”


Pick For Your Neighbor

Shelburne Orchards recently hosted Seventh Generation employees for a day of apple picking to provide apples for the Vermont Foodbank.

Pick for Your Neighbor is a partnership program between the Vermont Foodbank, Agency of Agriculture, and Vermont Tree Fruit Growers Association. During the apple harvest, people are encouraged to visit a participating orchard to pick and purchase extra apples for donation to the Foodbank.

“This program benefits the Foodbank by increasing the amount of fresh, healthy produce while also helping out local orchards,” said Michelle Wallace, program manager at Vermont Foodbank.


SymQuest Hires Contract Administrator

SymQuest Group announced the recent hire of Jonathan van Luling as a contract administrator.

Previously a family medical leave specialist, van Luling will be working  to ensure the accuracy of contracts and to provide support if clients have any contract-related questions.

“I look forward to being an integral part of the team for this well-respected company,” van Luling said in a statement.


Sam Goater joins DuBois & King

DuBois & King, Inc. consulting engineers announced that Sam Goater has joined the firm’s transportation team as a design engineer. A graduate of the University of Southampton, Goater earned a Bachelor of Engineering in civil engineering and is currently working on his Master’s degree. Goater works in the firm’s Randolph headquarters.

—Observer staff

THE HUB: Vermont Pizza Company opens in Williston

Vermont Pizza Company has opened in the former Rocky’s Pizza location at Taft Farms Village Center in Williston. John and Logan Howe, who purchased the Rocky’s Williston location last year, felt it was time for a change and wanted to create a real Vermont-style Italian restaurant, according to a press release.

“We wanted to take our current restaurant to the next level,” said John Howe. “We have improved upon our pizza recipe and added several specialty pizzas and homemade sauces, as well as creating a more varied menu that includes Vermont Angus beef burgers, a variety of pasta dishes, calzones and wraps, several new side dishes and some amazing desserts.”

The Howes are also working to incorporate Vermont products into their business.

“In addition to Vermont beef, we offer fresh Vermont veggies and breads, and are working on joining the Vermont Fresh Network,” Logan Howe said. “And we have redesigned the restaurant with a more open, Vermont farmhouse feel, while featuring local artists’ work on our walls.”

Vermont Pizza Company now offers tableside service in addition to at-the-counter orders.

“We want to cater to local families and also to business people who want to stop in for a quick lunch,” John Howe said. “We are so excited to offer a place where you can take your time and enjoy yourself or have a quick business meeting. We want everyone to feel welcome—it’s the Vermont tradition.”

 —Staff report

THE HUB: The string section—bringing harmony to Williston

Nick Caiano, guitar teacher

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

In 1976, the year America celebrated its bicentennial, Nick Caiano celebrated a different milestone: his first electric guitar.

He was 13, and if it hadn’t been for his older and wiser cousin putting a Kiss record on the turntable, Caiano might not answer to the handle “The Guitar Teacher” today.

“My head exploded,” Caiano recalled of his first taste of Kiss’ “Cold Gin.” “I ran into the next room and I told my father, ‘You have to get me a guitar.’”

Caiano, now 49, is a graduate of Berklee College of Music. Before settling into a career as a guitar teacher, he woodshedded as a session guitarist in New York City and served as recording engineer for the once in a lifetime session that paired Boris Grebenshikov (“the Russian Bob Dylan”) with members of The Band (Dylan’s backing band during his tempestuous 1966 world tour).

Caiano, who moved to Vermont 17 years ago, is in the process of moving his instruction studio from Shelburne to Williston. He hopes to relocate to a space on Cornerstone Drive by Nov. 1.

Although he has had five students who have gone on to graduate from Berklee, Caiano said he accepts students of all talent levels and customizes his lesson plans accordingly.

“The lessons are tailored to each person. There’s no set plan, there’s no book. We make the book as we go,” Caiano said. “With me, the bottom line is joy of music. I love music, and I make sure that when you walk in that door, there’s an air of joy in the room.”

For more information about Nick “The Guitar Teacher” Caiano, visit


Shay Gestal, violin teacher

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

When 24-year-old Shay Gestal doesn’t have a soccer ball attached to her foot, she can usually be found with a violin wedged under her chin.

That’s because Gestal, the assistant women’s soccer coach at Saint Michael’s College, is also a violin teacher.

Gestal began teaching violin while she was a student at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass. She now gives lessons at the Elley-Long Music Center in Colchester’s Fort Ethan Allen.

A Vermont native, Gestal began playing the violin when she was 5.

“I was lucky enough to start at an early age, because as a little kid, whatever’s in front of you, you just pick it up,” Gestal said.

While she credits her violin teacher with making her the player she is today, she disagrees with her mentor’s style of instruction.

“When I took lessons, it wasn’t fun. I would come out crying a lot of the time, because my tutor would yell at me,” Gestal said. “So probably because of that … I’m all about technique and doing things right, but you’ve got to have fun at the same time. I want them to go home and want to practice.”

In terms of her teaching methodology, Gestal said she tries to bridge the gap between learning by ear and learning through sight-reading.

“Some people, they stress really heavily the playing by ear, but there’s some people that stress too much playing exactly what’s in front of you,” she said. “There’s a happy medium there. You have to know how to (read music) but you don’t want to be too glued to the page.”

Shay Gestal can be reached at 323-3752.

THE HUB: Guitar Center strikes a chord in Williston

Jackson Garrow, 11, of Westford strums a chord at the Oct. 11 grand opening of Guitar Center in Williston’s Maple Tree Place. The Guitar Center chain, headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., is the world’s largest retailer of musical instruments. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

It was just about a year ago that Daddy’s Junky Music defaulted on its debt obligations and abruptly closed all of its New England stores—including a location in Williston’s Maple Tree Place.

On Oct. 11, music returned to 21 Hawthorne St. with the grand opening of the newest store in the Westlake Village, Calif.-based Guitar Center chain, the world’s largest retailer of musical instruments.

The push to open a Guitar Center store in Williston was led by store manager Paul Wilson, who formerly managed Daddy’s Junky Music in Maple Tree Place and reasoned that the location would still be associated in consumers’ minds as a guitar store.

“I was the strongest, if not the only, proponent for opening the store in this location,” Wilson said.

Wilson noted that the Burlington area is “really tight-knit in terms of musicians” and that all 30 of his employees are musicians.

“When you do a survey, all of these people are going to answer that music is the most important thing in their life,” Wilson said. “This is the connection that we make with our customers.”

Maple Tree Place had a large police presence at 7 p.m. on Oct. 11, as customers lined up around the block and were granted entrance in batches of 25 for the grand opening of the nation’s 237th Guitar Center. It was christened by the performance of an Elvis impersonator, who belted out the King’s greatest hits as customers perused walls of electric axes, which range in price from a $100 Fender Mini Strat to a $3,500 Gibson 330.

Despite its singular namesake, Guitar Center has a large variety of musical instruments and equipment, including bass guitars, drums, bongos, cowbells, keyboards, microphones, amps and speakers. It also has a room dedicated to acoustic guitars and sections devoted to guitar repair and musical instruction.

Scott Benton, grand opening manager of Guitar Center Studios, which offers music lessons and rehearsal space, said Guitar Center is revolutionizing the industry by blurring the distinction between musical instrument sales and music instruction.

“We just want to help people make music,” Benton said. “We’re not just selling people the gear they need. We’re teaching them to play, as well.”

Wilson, a bassist who specializes in heavy metal and hardcore punk, reiterated that his business is run by musicians, for musicians.

“This is 100 percent a passionate people-based business,” Wilson said. “It’s really just about musicians hanging out with musicians.”

Letters to the Editor

Let your voice be heard

It is well known that parents’ or caregivers’ participation in their children’s education is incredibly important and directly correlated to their ability to succeed in life. And by succeed, we mean become a healthy, happy, well-educated individual who is self-confident, has the ability to make well-informed decisions and has developed the grit that is required to withstand the challenges that life throws our way each and every day.

So what better opportunity to take part in this important process than by sharing your voice and opinion as the School Board begins the annual process to determine the 2012-2013 school budget. Please join us on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. in Williston Central School’s dining room for our community forum.

If you are interested in fully familiarizing yourself with the budget and all that is considered in completing this process, we also have an opportunity for you—become a “budget buddy.” You don’t need to be a math whiz or an accountant, all you need is a willingness to dedicate a little bit of your time and have an interest in our children’s education. This is truly a unique opportunity that very few public schools have available and that is hugely valuable (for both the children and you, as a tax payer). If you are interested, please contact us via email at or the school administration by calling at 878-2762. We very much look forward to hearing from you!

— Giovanna Boggero 

Williston School Board Member


Vote for Terry

Terry Macaig has the qualities for our state representative including true dedication to the job, a serious commitment to the people to do the best for them, enjoyment of the work despite long hours and long committee meetings and many years of leadership experience in many areas. As a neighbor and a friend for 46 years, I would ask you to elect for another term, Terry Macaig, as our state representative to Montpelier so he might continue in this dedicated position for the people of Williston. Thank you.

— Carol Burbank



Vote for Michaud

It is my privilege to recommend Jay Michaud for your vote for Williston representative to the Vermont Legislature.

From my perspective, Jay’s energy, common sense, business experience, willingness to listen and focus on the future make Jay exactly the kind of person we need to represent us in Montpelier.

I have served with Jay on the Williston Selectboard over the last few years. Jay appropriately sits in the middle of our five-person table and is respected for his thoughtfulness, friendliness and courteous demeanor. He approaches all issues—whether the budget or other matters of public policy—with fairness, frugality, common sense and keen intuition.

Jay knows firsthand about the challenges and rewards of building and operating small businesses in Vermont, having personally started and built many businesses over the years. Making Vermont a vibrant place to live and work isn’t an academic exercise for Jay—it’s something he lives every day.

Jay is also particularly focused on young people and their future. He regularly involves students and interns in his various pursuits. As a youth football coach with the Chittenden South Buccaneers, I am an heir to Jay’s hard work and legacy, since his foresight and community leadership led to the creation of the CVU and CSSU football programs.

Finally, Jay would bring much needed balance to Montpelier—not one extreme balancing out another extreme, but someone who himself brings a pragmatic, balanced approach to every task. Jay will listen to both sides of every issue, weigh the pluses and minuses, and focus like a laser on the future of Williston and Vermont, with special attention to young people and families looking to build a life in our beautiful state.

In truth, what more could we ask from our representative?  Please join me in voting for Jay Michaud.

— Chris Roy



Support Debbie Ingram for Vermont Senate

Support one of Williston’s own, Debbie Ingram, running for Vermont Senate. Debbie has a proven track record of leadership and experience to represent our community in the Vermont Senate. As a result, she has been endorsed by Congressman Peter Welch, Governor Peter Shumlin and former Governor Madeleine Kunin.

Debbie has served in local government as a Selectboard member from Williston and a Member of the Long Range Planning Committee of the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission. She is a small business owner and understands firsthand the struggles of both working Vermonters and employers in this difficult economy. Debbie will work hard to reform our broken health care system and help small businesses prosper.

Finally, Debbie understands how to work with others to achieve common goals. As executive director of Vermont Interfaith Action, she knows how to bring people together to tackle difficult problems like affordable housing, sustaining our environment and creating economic opportunities for all Vermonters. I urge your support for Debbie Ingram.

— Joshua Diamond,



Your choice can make a difference

Do you feel that you do not want to vote? Are you tired of the adverts and the media bombardment with their pervasive slogans? You are not alone. Many Williston voters are despondent and have lost their regard for the election process. We need to ask if the current leadership results in what we really want for Vermont and for America? Your choice can make a difference. Not voting means you will have a “national health” system like Canada, with unknown increases in taxes. Not voting will result in your gas prices matching California’s. Not voting means Vermont will have more international workers brought in to build big corporate ventures like Jay Peak when Vermonters need the jobs.

If you vote for hard-working, problem-solving Vermonters like Jay Michaud and Tom Nelson here in Williston, Randy Brock as governor and John McGovern to replace the long-term Bernie Sanders, then you will once again have a voice. You will be reducing big government and addressing the debt crisis. You will see jobs return and your children will be able to stay here.

Do you remember being proud of Vermont? Do you remember going to the polls knowing you made a difference? Send your party a message that you are the ones in charge of Vermont, not the elite Montpelier cronies who are forcing you into things you do not want or doing things that do not work. This is enough. This has to change. Get out and VOTE.

Be all that you can be—be a true Vermonter again!

— Jenifer Burnett


Support for Sally Fox

I am writing to express my support for Sally Fox for re-election to the Vermont State Senate.

Sally Fox is a strong voice for children and families and seniors.  She fights for laws and programs that focus on preventing problems and reducing the need for more expensive solutions—like law enforcement programs and incarceration. She fought hard for health care reforms that will free up human capital and potential—and thus create jobs and a better future.

Sally’s balanced and passionate Senate leadership—she is a member of both the Health and Welfare Committee and the Finance Committee—gives real clout to Chittenden County. Her work makes a difference in people’s lives.

— Ted Kenney



Support Robert Letovsky for Vermont State Senate

We support Robert Letovsky, Independent candidate for Chittenden County State Senate. Robert is eminently qualified with an impressive business, professional and civic background.

A professor and chairperson of business at St. Michael’s College, Robert understands the importance of a growing, vibrant and sustainable economy that will support the creation of good-paying jobs. To do this, he favors reforming not only current tax rates, but the regulatory framework that deters investment, wastes money, promotes uncertainty and encourages businesses and jobs to leave Vermont. Robert has traveled to Afghanistan to set up a business college there based on St. Michael’s model. He is an experienced scholar.

As a former school board chairman, he understands the challenges that parents and taxpayers face in trying to provide high quality education for our children.

Having lived under both the Vermont health care system and single-payer health care in Canada, he understands the financial implications that a single-payer system will bring to Vermonters. He believes that government-controlled health care will dramatically increase tax burdens and further encourage the flight of jobs and capital.

Robert values hard work, personal responsibility and individual and economic liberty. He understands the burdens excessive government spending puts on taxpayers. He believes that society bears the responsibility to help those truly unable to care for themselves, but to meet this obligation, he recognizes that Vermont must create economic conditions with more higher-skilled and better-paying jobs that will make it possible for our young people to remain in our state. Economic vitality will sustain the quality of life that we Vermonters enjoy. Robert Letovsky will serve Vermonters well as a senator. We strongly support his candidacy.

— Don and Ann Messier



End trapping season 

I’m tired of feeling trapped by Vermont’s trapping season.

I get a knot in the pit in my stomach every October when trapping season starts, since trapping means needless suffering for so many animals. Traps are indiscriminate and don’t know the difference between a cat, dog, fox or a bobcat versus a lynx (the latter is endangered), so none are safe.

Leg-hold traps often leave animals to languish in pain and suffer from blood loss, predation, dehydration and freezing temperatures. When trapped, the animal’s primal instincts go into overdrive and in a desperate attempt to free themselves from the traps, they may attempt to chew off their own limb. Per Vermont’s current regulations, trappers are required to check their traps daily. Who, other than the trapper, can be certain when their trap was last checked? How can the trappers ensure us that they aren’t trapping endangered species, like the lynx?

Do the ends justify the means here? Trapping is one of those traditions that serves no good purpose other than the continuation of an inhumane ritual, passed down from generation to generation. It’s up to new generations to see trapping for what it is: cruel and unnecessary.

Isn’t it time to teach our youth a better way rather than passing down traditions that may not be in the child’s best interest? Most children’s faces light up when they see animals either wild or domestic and they exhibit a natural desire to connect with them. Sadly, sometimes a child’s need to please his parent overtakes his instinct to preserve nature. How about getting your child outside with a camera and some binoculars and view the beauty of Vermont’s wildlife together in a humane way?

— Brenna Galdenzi



Full lead clean-up needed

In response to the recent article, “Lead Free Williston reloads in gun club controversy,” regarding the North Country Sportman’s Club and the subsequent lead pollution, it is time that Williston neighbors see a full site clean-up.

For several years, members of the North Country Sportman’s Club have provided a venue for hunters and sportsmen to practice and learn. The decades of shooting has diminished the land and community as lead bullets continuously invade surrounding neighbors’ yards and homes. Lead shot has been accumulating on the North Country Sportman’s Club property for decades, with no sign of removal or clean-up. Consequently, this lead has migrated into surrounding properties, polluting brooks, waterways and currently a family well.

The activity of the NCSC has caused a family farm to stop raising its own beef and vegetables and has also forced several families into a state of constant concern and fear for their health. Lead Free Williston, a group of neighbors, came together a few years ago to encourage the NCSC to clean up the existing lead pollution and adopt a more sustainable practice that would reduce health and environmental threats. At the recent media event in September, members of Lead Free Williston were joined by several supporters, demonstrating widespread concern.

A site clean-up and amended practice are long past due. Everyone deserves the right to breathe clean air, drink clean water and live in a safe and healthy community. Polluting Williston’s land, waterways, and community with lead shot directly threatens those rights for families and community members. I urge the gun club to amend their practices to a model that keeps resources and residents safe and I urge the state to hold the gun club responsible for the existing pollution.

— Kalyn Rosenberg


GUEST COLUMN: Avoiding drowsy driving

By Julie E. Lee


As fall approaches, the days grow shorter, making our morning and evening drives darker. Because our brains respond to darkness by emitting sleep-inducing hormones, you may feel drowsier while driving in the fall and winter.

Drowsy driving is a serious safety threat, not only to the driver, but to other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drowsy driving is the cause of more than 100,000 crashes each year, resulting in an estimated 1,500 deaths and more than 40,000 injuries. And these are most likely conservative numbers, as drowsy driving is wildly under-reported as the cause of accidents.

Follow these three safety strategies for staying awake and alert on the road.

Know when you shouldn’t drive—and don’t

Drowsy driving behavior is very similar to drunk driving, and it can be just as dangerous. According to one survey, almost 90 percent of police officers had found a driver pulled over for suspected intoxication was actually drowsy. The warning signs are easy to spot. Excessive yawning, missing a traffic sign and difficulty focusing are all signs you may not be alert enough to drive. More serious indications of drowsy driving include drifting out of your lane, having trouble remembering the last few miles and accidentally following too closely behind another driver. If you find yourself exhibiting any of these symptoms, pull over to a safe area.

Plan and prepare for long-distance drives

The most important way to prepare for a long drive is to get ample sleep, at least eight hours, the night before. Having a driving partner and alternating shifts will also help prevent exhaustion for both drivers. With or without a partner, be sure to stop at least every 100 miles or every two hours for a stretch and some fresh air. Finally, check with your doctor or pharmacist regarding your medications, as many prescription and over-the-counter drugs can make you drowsy.

Fight sudden exhaustion

Sudden exhaustion while driving is relatively common, and can be incredibly dangerous. If you suddenly grow tired behind the wheel, the most effective thing you can do is to pull over to a safe area and take a quick nap. A 15-20 minute nap can revive you, but beware—sleeping for more than 20 minutes may make you feel even drowsier. If you have more than an hour left in your drive and are still exhausted after a nap, consider stopping to get a full night’s sleep before going on. You should not rely entirely on coffee or caffeinated soda to keep you alert. In fact, the best way to use caffeine during a long drive is to combine it with a short nap. Researchers from the U.K.’s Loughborough University Sleep Research Center suggest the most effective way to alleviate drowsiness is to drink an 8-ounce cup of strong coffee (or its caffeine equivalent), then nap for 15 to 20 minutes. When you wake up, you will feel re-energized and the caffeine will just be kicking into your system.

For more information, visit or call 1-888-AARP-NOW (1-888-227-7669).


Julie E. Lee is the vice president and national director of AARP Driver Safety, Education and Outreach

McGillicuddy’s Irish Ale House opens its doors

McGillicuddy’s Irish Ale House owner Dave Nelson. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

“Patience is a virtue that causes no shame,” an Irish proverb states.

McGillicuddy’s Irish Ale House is finally open for business, nearly seven months after owner Dave Nelson announced plans to establish a Williston-based counterpart to his existing Irish pubs in Montpelier and Barre.

As far as Richmond resident Jim Remsen is concerned, it was well worth the wait.

“It’s cool to see it open,” Remsen said at McGillicuddy’s Oct. 10 grand opening. “There’s nothing really like it in the area.”

Located on Walnut Street in Maple Tree Place, McGillicuddy’s is a purveyor of such traditional Irish pub grub as beef stew and fish and chips, as well as the Irish and American hybrid of bangers and mashed sweet potatoes and its signature Guinness-marinated burger. Its 22 televisions are outnumbered only by its 28 beers on tap, including such draft rarities as the Oregon-brewed Henry Weinhard’s IPA and Smithwick’s—Ireland’s oldest ale.

Nelson, who used the words “comfortable” and “casual” to describe his new establishment, thinks it will attract a diverse crowd of locals and tourists. He also suggested that it will give Majestic 10 moviegoers a place to congregate after an evening show.

“I think in general, there’s a market for what we’re doing,” Nelson said. “Our place is a hang-out kind of place.”

Judging from the turnout on opening day, when every booth and table was filled by 6 p.m. and patrons milled around the fully occupied horseshoe bar, Nelson might be onto something.

“I’m amazed at how many people are here for the first night,” remarked patron Brenda Collins, between sips of Stella Artois. “It’s a very nice atmosphere in here.”