April 25, 2019

Around Town

Scholastic book fair next week

The Scholastic Book Fair is set for Dec. 3 – 7 in the Williston Central School dining room.

Hours are:
Monday, 2 – 8 p.m.; Tuesday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Wednesday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. with a visit from Clifford the Big Red Dog from 6 – 7 p.m.; Thursday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

To volunteer at the fair, visit http://vols.pt/DhdJiV.


Red Cross blood drives, honors

The American Red Cross will hold several community blood drives during the month of December. For a full list of blood drive locations or to make an appointment to donate blood, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit redcrossblood.org.

Blood drives are set for: Dec. 5 in the Shelburne town center from 12 – 5:30 p.m.; Dec. 13 at the Charlotte Senior Center from 2 – 7 p.m.; Dec. 20 at Williston’s Immaculate Heart of Mary Church from 11:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Dec. 21 at Edgeworks in Williston from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Dec. 26 at the Holy Rosary Catholic Church Hall in Richmond from 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; and Dec. 28 at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

In addition, the American Red Cross Blood Services recently recognized  Mary Lou Harton of Williston for donating 19 gallons of blood.

Numismatist opens Attic Treasures

Jon Milizia inspects a coin at Attic Treasures Coin & Jewelry on Williston Road. Milizia moved his business to Williston 10 weeks ago after leasing space in Shelburne for the past year. (Observer photo by Luke Baynes)

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

The one-cent coin, commonly known as the penny, is a neglected denomination of American currency.

How many times have you told a gas station clerk to keep the change on a $1.99 purchase, or superstitiously declined to pick up a shiny Lincoln from the pavement because it had the misfortune of landing tails side up?

But as numismatist Jon Milizia observes, one red cent could potentially be worth big bucks.

“A coin, to be valuable, it has to be rare … or it has some kind of major error,” Milizia said. “A good example of that would be a 1969-S penny. If it’s doubled—meaning you can see everything twice—there’s only a few of those. It would be worth like $150,000.”

Milizia, who owns the Williston-based Attic Treasures Coin & Jewelry with his partner, Kiersten Olivetti, is certified by the Colorado Springs-based American Numismatic Association, a group dedicated to the collection and study of coins, paper money, tokens and medals. He said that while there is a decent coin collector’s market in Vermont, the bulk of his coin business involves the reselling of silver coinage to refineries.

“The U.S. mint coins had a 90 percent silver (ratio) until 1964, and then they continued making the Kennedy half (dollar) from 1965 to 1970 in 40 percent silver, and that was actually the last U.S. coin that had any silver in it,” Milizia explained. “Based on the current price per ounce, which is about $34 for an ounce of pure silver, we usually offer somewhere around 25 times the face value, so if it’s a half dollar that’s silver, pre-’64, we would offer $12.50 each.”

Despite the often grimy appearance of an old coin, Milizia said owners should avoid cleaning or polishing currency on the odd chance that it might be a rare treasure.

“There’s been some examples right off the top of my head where people would have had very valuable items had they not cleaned them,” he said. “When an item’s been cleaned, oftentimes a chemical is involved which removes the luster, and luster and eye appeal are two major factors when it comes to coin grading.”

Milizia founded a landscaping company called Landscape Design Associates in 2004. Although he still maintains the business on a seasonal basis, he said the ongoing economic recession has had the effect of decreasing his horticulture work while increasing his numismatic client base.

“I think the growing fear about the economy with the public has encouraged, or at least brought to their attention, the options of silver and gold,” Milizia said.

Located at 4626 Williston Road near the corner of Industrial Avenue, Attic Treasures also buys and sells jewelry, antiques and even the occasional guitar. Milizia said that regardless of the item being bought or sold, his business model is based on giving the customer a square deal.

“With this business, to me it’s all about taking the mystery out of selling your items,” he said. “One of the things I learned out at the ANA (American Numismatic Association) is that 90 percent of the people in the general public who own coins or jewelry have inherited them, and they know little to nothing about them. So instead of using that against the potential seller, we try to help them and inform them about what they have.”

Thanks given for donated turkeys

Members of Williston Girl Scout brownie troop 30948 collected Thanksgiving food donations and made cards for the Women Helping Battered Women shelter earlier this month. Back row (from left): Emma Allaire, Francesca Krol, co-leader Heather Cleveland, Norah Munn, Ella Leombruno, Shannon Kennelly, Riley Erdman, Megan Rexford and Mia Moshovetis. Front row (seated, from left): Makenna Patrick, Addiso Urch, Zoe Bryan and Isabela Nash. Not pictured: Kassidy Cleveland. (Observer courtesy photo)

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

More than 100 local families had a happy Thanksgiving last week, thanks to the charitable giving of the community and the volunteer efforts of the Williston Community Food Shelf.

“It went great,” said Williston resident Ginger Morton of the Food Shelf’s annual turkey drive. “By the grace of God and the good will of our neighbors, last year and this year we’ve been able to give everybody a turkey that wanted one.”

All told, the food shelf received 128 turkeys this year—almost half of which came from a single source.

“Extra special thanks needs to go to the New England Federal Credit Union in Williston, because they brought in 62 turkeys,” Morton said.

Morton, the chief organizer of the 2012 turkey drive, also mentioned that the Food Shelf received 87 gift cards for redemption at Hannaford or Shaw’s supermarkets in Williston. She said the leftover gift cards will be saved for the Christmas season.

“We’re going to use the gift cards that we got at Thanksgiving to give to people at Christmas to let them get a Christmas turkey,” she said.

Despite the Food Shelf’s Turkey Day success, Morton said demand remains high in what was a down year for food donations.

“The stores of food at the Food Shelf are significantly down from what they were last year, and the need is significantly up,” Morton said. “So to all of you wonderful community members who at Thanksgiving gave a turkey, please be kind enough to remember to fill a bag for Christmas, also.”

Residents respond to Industrial Ave. congestion

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Industrial Avenue is already part of two concurrent transportation studies from both the Vermont Agency of Transportation and the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission. On Nov. 20, a third study looking at the Industrial Avenue corridor was presented to the Williston public by CCRPC and Stantec Consulting Services Inc.—the firm behind a separate December 2011 study which looked specifically at sidewalk improvements in the area.

The VTrans study concentrates on the intersection of Industrial Avenue and Williston Road. It proposes adding a left-hand turn lane for eastbound Williston Road traffic and reconfiguring the layout of the intersection to resemble a more traditional “T” shape. The proposed improvements would require the relocation of a municipal water line—at an estimated $500,000 expense to Williston taxpayers.

CCRPC’s Williston-Essex Network Transportation Study (WENTS)—the results of which are scheduled to be unveiled to the public in early 2013—is concerned with potential alternatives to the discarded Chittenden County Circumferential Highway project. As a major Williston thoroughfare, Industrial Avenue is included in that study as a potential traffic collector of proposed Circ alternatives.

Unlike the regional focus of the WENTS and VTrans studies, the Stantec study presented at the Nov. 20 Williston Planning Commission meeting is town specific. Stantec Senior Project Manager Rick Bryant pointed out that having a local plan gives town officials leverage to request transportation or sidewalk improvements during the permitting process for commercial development.

“If you have a plan, then you have something to talk about with the developer when they come in,” Bryant said. “Having a plan helps guide future development and helps guide funding.”

Currently, Industrial Avenue has a sidewalk on its north side, beginning at the intersection of Vermont 2A and ending just beyond Avenue D, where a crosswalk connects to a path that winds through Rossignol Park to North Brownell Road.

As the Observer reported in December 2011, the Planning Commission was previously presented with a choice of a connecting sidewalk on either the north or south side of Industrial Avenue. The commission voted in favor of the southerly option, due to its superior pedestrian safety and public transportation connectivity, plus the fact that the other option would require the more costly relocation of 12 utility poles.

At the Nov. 20 meeting, additional options were presented which contemplate sidewalks on both sides of Industrial Avenue and the addition of traffic signals and left-hand turn lanes at congestion-prone intersections such as Avenues B and D. While the addition of one sidewalk could be accomplished within the town’s existing right-of-way, the latter options would require the purchase of land from abutting property owners.

Several area residents attended the corridor study meeting. None were enthusiastic about the prospect of adding traffic signals on Industrial Avenue.

“My feeling is if you put traffic lights up and down that road, you’d really block up traffic. You’d really back it up,” said Roadside Motorsports owner Don Brisson.

Yet Brisson, a Mountain View Road resident, acknowledged that current traffic congestion in the corridor makes it difficult for residents to leave their homes during rush hour.

“I also can understand that if you try to come out of your driveway and want to make a left-hand turn, most of the time that can’t happen,” Brisson said. “You’ve got to feel sorry for those people. They own homes they can’t even use at certain hours of the day.”

Industrial Avenue resident Larry Currier attested to Brisson’s observation.

“It’s a tough place to live,” Currier said. “Thank God I am retired, because there are times I cannot get out of my driveway. In the morning and in the night. Morning is just as bad as at night.”

Bryant ventured that lacking an unexpected about-face from the state on the Circ Highway, small traffic improvement measures will need to be taken to make the best of an imperfect situation.

“As you saw with the Circ, the solution is to build more roads, but there’s not a political climate to do that,” Bryant said. “So we’re in a situation of how do we make the roads we have work the best that we can?”

Bryant’s question went unanswered, with the Planning Commission agreeing to revisit the topic at its Dec. 4 meeting.

Williston Director of Planning and Zoning Ken Belliveau closed the discussion by reiterating the need for a formal plan for the corridor.

“The fact that we didn’t have some kind of a plan or goal for the road when the old Rossignol building was redeveloped (into the White Cap Business Park), that was kind of a lost opportunity,” Belliveau said. “Especially if you start to think about pedestrian facilities, we could have easily gotten several hundred feet of sidewalk dedicated and built.”

Williston author spins Christmas yarn

“Santa’s Big Red Hat,” written by Williston resident Larry Dubin, contains illustrations by fellow Willistonian Taryn Cozzy, a senior at the New Hampshire Institute of Art. (Illustration by Taryn Cozzy)

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Santa Claus knows if you’ve been bad or good. He even knows your sleep patterns. But what he can’t figure out is where he left his big red hat.

That’s the conundrum at the core of Williston resident Larry Dubin’s “Santa’s Big Red Hat,” a children’s book about a Christmas that is almost cancelled when Mrs. Claus forbids Santa from delivering presents on a cold Christmas Eve without the cover of his misplaced crimson cap.

“This story basically came to me in a dream in 2007, around the holidays,” Dubin said. “The next day I sat down and wrote the story out, and every year I’ve been reading it to my daughter.”

Dubin, who works full-time in the credit card industry and part-time as a singer-songwriter, said he initially had no intention of publishing the story in book form.

“I am not an author by trade,” he said.

But about a year and a half ago, he decided that his story, which is written in rhyme, would have greater resonance with his target audience of 3- to 10-year-olds if it were illustrated. He enlisted the help of Williston native Taryn Cozzy, a senior at the New Hampshire Institute of Art, whose 35 pages of illustrations were done in acrylic paints and then edited digitally.

“She just did an amazing job with the illustrations,” Dubin said. “She really brought my text to life. This is a college student’s artwork that just jumps off these pages.”

Cozzy, an illustration major at the Manchester-based NHIA, said she was surprised when Dubin asked her two summers ago to illustrate his text.

“I’d been doing things like this in classes, but I never thought I’d be doing my own illustrated book so soon,” Cozzy said.

Like Dubin, Cozzy gave high marks to her collaborator.

“It was such a great working relationship,” Cozzy said. “It was a really nice collaborative effort, and it’s really helped me too now in lectures here in school at New Hampshire Institute of Art.”

Although Dubin has read the text of his story to children for years at family gatherings, it will make its official debut in illustrated form during a book reading at Dorothy Alling Memorial Library on Dec. 5 at 6:30 p.m.

“The first time I’m physically going to be reading my actual book is on Dec. 5, with the kids that come to the reading and the signing at the library,” Dubin said.

Copies of “Santa’s Big Red Hat” are on sale for $20 at Adams Farm Market on Old Stage Road. It can also be purchased by contacting Dubin directly at ldubin@together.net.

Local firefighters help Jersey storm victims

Cell phone photos taken by Aaron Atkins of the Williston Fire Department show the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy on the Jersey Shore. A yacht is unceremoniously docked onshore in Sea Bright, N.J. (Observer courtesy photo by Aaron Atkins)

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

On the evening of Nov. 6, as many Vermonters were relaxing on their couches and watching the election results, Aaron Atkins and David Auriemma of the Williston Fire Department were driving south in an ambulance to assist New Jersey residents still reeling from the impacts of Superstorm Sandy.

Over the next five days, Atkins and Auriemma were dispatched to the boroughs of Atlantic Highlands, Keyport and Sea Bright to provide emergency supplies and transport displaced families to shelters. It was an “eye-opening experience,” Atkins said, particularly in the hard-hit Jersey Shore community of Sea Bright.

“There was sand in some areas still 4 feet high in parking lots and cars that were still underwater,” Atkins said. “A lot of buildings were removed off their foundations. There were a few times when you’d see a building sitting next to its foundation or on top of vehicles, or boats strewn about like play toys. One couple, they had four feet of sand in their living room.”

Williston Fire Chief Ken Morton said Williston was one of seven Vermont municipalities that deployed ambulances and emergency response teams to New Jersey on Nov. 6. He noted that within an hour of learning of the call for storm relief, eight WFD members had volunteered for the assignment.

“As the chief of the department, it speaks to how much pride I have in the staff that’s here, because they stepped right in and put their hand up and said, ‘I’ll go,’” Morton said.

Atkins said the praise should instead go to the first responders in New Jersey who worked round-the-clock to provide disaster relief in the aftermath of the storm.

“With a lot of first responders, they had been out helping their communities, so they hadn’t had time to go take care of their own families,” Atkins said. “I’m amazed that they were still running on the little sleep that they had. I’m lost for words at how they continued to work.”

Auriemma was unavailable for comment, but Morton, who received three reports per day from Auriemma and Atkins during their deployment, said that in some cases Vermont firefighters were the first emergency responders New Jersey residents had seen since the storm hit.

“These people were literally on their own. They were on an island, if you will, without any support, and that’s not to look negatively on the Red Cross and FEMA and the state of New Jersey, but they had so much to deal with and these people were the ones that fell through the cracks,” Morton said. “I think just having someone there to help and to lend support was uplifting to the people who had been stranded.”

PHOTOS: Old Brick Church concert

The Blue Gardenias performed at Williston’s Old Brick Church on Friday. Proceeds from the event benefited Camp Joslin, a summer camp for boys with Type 1 diabetes. (Courtesy photos by Dave Yandell, http://davidyandell.zenfolio.com/)


 License to Entertain

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer


“Goldberger. Mike Goldberger.” Well, that’s the way the adolescent me hears it whenever the latest 007 issues his introductory “Bond. James Bond.” It’s a great fantasy writer Ian Fleming gave us. And now, with the franchise successfully entrusted to Daniel Craig’s capable hands, director Sam Mendes’s “Skyfall” takes its place among the best Bonds.


Rousing, colorful, determined, funny and respectful of the noble pageantry that began with “Dr. No” (1962), “Skyfall” superbly synthesizes good old-fashioned, location-style cinematography with CGI technology. So when a runaway subway train almost derails our favorite secret agent’s plans to stay alive, even jaded eyes are rendered rapt.


Smartly exampled here, our 007s, like our presidents, more or less mirror the times and the people in whose service they are engaged. Thus Mr. Craig reflects a pragmatic exigency, tossed in with the most subtle vulnerability, just so that we know his heart is in the right place. He must be a boy scout, but hip…honest and brave, but a savvy realist.


Oh, but he still has to be the guy every man wants to be and every woman wants to be with, in a fanciful sense, that is. Without being sacrilegious by denying Sean Connery’s status as the inaugural, iconic Bond, it behooves to note that Mr. Craig’s rather ruddy world saver, while he looks OK enough in a tux, reinterprets the idea of dashing.


Likewise, the story in which we plop our intrepid adventurer has to represent current fears and concerns. Of course, it’s never about stopping a motorist from cutting you off or passing you on the right. Nope, the bad guy is inevitably into nothing less than world domination. And this one, computer genius/terrorist/psychopath Silva, is a real dilly.


Portrayed by Javier Bardem with flourishes of Shakespearean tragedy, he is one icky dude and an adversary worthy of the film’s hero. Coiffed in died blonde locks, a sadistic zeal projecting from his crazed eyes, he is at once cutting edge evil and, because of his Moriarty-like desire to impress his counterpart, a grand throwback to the villains of yore.


But what makes the insidious rat even worse than most blackguards who’d destroy everything to have their way is his deeply personal hatred for Judi Dench’s M. I can’t tell you why, but he has it in for Bond’s boss and everything she represents. Always a step ahead, he is the ultimate hacker, wreaking deadly destruction with but a keystroke.


It’s a good thing that all is patched together and hobbling along at Her Majesty’s Secret Service, recently forced to set up clandestine digs. At the ready there with all manner of gizmos and gadgets, reminiscent of that genius kid you knew in high school, is Ben Whishaw as the series’ new Q, a dry-witted sort barely old enough to be playing spy.


OK, OK, I see you way in the back urgently waving your hand. Ask your question so I can get on with the review.


Clears his throat, looks around and then inquires, “Uh, you haven’t said anything about the Bond girls. I mean, you said this is good, that’s great, etc., etc., blah, blah tradition, but nothing about the Bond girls. What about the Bond girls?


“Good question, young man. Remember, we’re in the 21st Century now, and with a more serious demeanor taking hold in all things 007, it just wouldn’t do to flaunt a whole bunch of frivolous eye candy. So, with all due respect to Naomie Harris, who plays James’s fellow agent, Eve, and Bérénice Marlohe as Severine, a femme fatale impressed into Silva’s employ, no sir, you’ll find no double entendre-named Pussy Galores or Plenty O’Tooles in this film. The ladies now have the equal opportunity to wear sensible shoes.”


Alas, just as Lautrec notes that respectability has invaded the “Moulin Rouge” (1952), political correctness has come to roost in the world of derring-do. But this doesn’t preclude fomenting some Freudian/Oedipal ruminations courtesy of the critical role Dench’s M plays. Psychodrama shares center stage with treachery and two-fisted action.


And there’s a surprise. As if consolation for strict constructionists, a serendipitous harking back to classic Bond at a pivotal moment in the tale should get audiences to issue a collective “Well, alright!” It’s a grand moment, emotionally analogous to that juncture in the foreign legion films when distant bagpipes declare approaching reinforcements.


Now, if we could only get the otherwise stellar Mr. Craig, the finest Bond since Sean Connery, to wax sad with just a touch less severity, the business of saving humanity from evildoers would prove even more enthralling. That said, the decoded message here for the diehard faithful as well as those who thought 007’s number was up, is to catch “Skyfall.”

“Skyfall,” rated PG-13, is a Columbia Pictures release directed by Sam Mendes and stars Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem and Judi Dench. Running time: 143 minutes


Police seek public’s help in lewd conduct case

A composite drawing of the suspect in the Nov. 14 incident. Police believe the Nov. 12 incidents and Nov. 14 incident are related, but cannot say for sure, according to Detective Michael Lavoie.

A surveillance video shows a suspect in the Nov. 12 incidents.

The Williston Police Department is asking for assistance from the public in helping to identify a man who was seen committing lewd and lascivious acts. On Nov. 14 at about 3:45 p.m., a woman was walking along Old Stage Road in Williston when a man driving an older model red SUV pulled up next to her. When the woman looked at the driver, he was seen exposing and touching himself.

The man was described as being in his 20s, medium to slender build, fair skin, with nearly shoulder length blonde hair. On Nov. 12, two similar incidents occurred. The first happened at about 11:30 a.m. A woman was walking on Marshall Avenue between Leroy Rd. and Boyer Circle when a man driving an older model red/maroon Jeep Cherokee (approximate model year 1999) pulled up next to her. When the woman looked at the driver, the male exposed himself and then fled the area.

The second incident occurred in the parking lot of Home Depot at about 11:45 a.m. A man approached a woman and proceeded to knock several items out of her hands. He then went to help pick up the items, but instead took an “inappropriate” photo of her and fled the area.
In both cases, the man is described as a white male, early 20s, 5’9” tall, skinny, some facial hair, wearing a tan winter (knit) hat and a tan plaid shirt/coat.

If anyone has any information about any of these incidents, please contact the Williston Police Department at 878-6611.

Six from CVU earn field hockey all-metro honors

Midfielder Robin Powell was named to the first all-metro team.

Three seniors and three juniors from the Champlain Valley Union High field hockey team have been named by coaches to the annual all-metro team.

The Redhawks closed out the recent campaign with an 8-7-2 record and an appearance in the Division 1 championship game after entering the playoffs as the seventh seed.

First team slots went to midfielders Jenna Cloutier and Robin Powell. Cloutier was also named to the Burlington Free Press All-State second team. Powell received an all-state honorable mention.

Selected for second team all-metro were junior goalie Evangeline Dunphy and senior defender Olivia Loisel. Dunphy is also an all-state honorable mention.

Junior forward Katie Arms and junior midfielder Emily O’Brien are metro honorable mentions with O’Brien an all-state honorable mention as well.

Mal Boright,
Observer correspondent