March 23, 2019

PHOTOS: Allen Brook School bake sale

Allen Brook School students in the the Horizon House held bake sale on Dec. 14. The event raised $551 for the Committee on Temporary Shelter. Students used the money to purchase items on the nonprofit’s wish list, including sheets, blankets, pillows, cleaning supple, diapers, soap and towels. (Observer photos by Stephanie Choate)


PHOTOS: CVU wrestling

Champlain Valley Union High School wrestlers defeated Vergennes 66-6. (Observer courtesy photos by Jennifer Olson)



A Psycho Drama

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer


I miss Alfred Hitchcock. The thought occurred with a nostalgic pang whilst viewing director Sacha Gervasi’s solidly entertaining homage bearing the filmmaker’s name. While Hollywood is flush with technically astute manipulators of suspense and scads of competent horror-meisters, Hitch’s sheer and surprising inventiveness is lost to the ages.


However, thanks to Anthony Hopkins’s witty and dedicated emulation of the title genius, we have the consolation of at least spending ninety-eight reminiscent and edifying minutes with Sir Alfred. The biographical sketch centers around the sturm and drang he weathered in 1958 and ‘59 while wickedly working to shock the world with “Psycho.”


You won’t feel so bad that your brother-in-law wouldn’t back you in that hot dog stand venture when it’s impressed that Paramount didn’t want to fund the film, believing it was farfetched, risky and just too terrifying. Gee, what slings and arrows we poor geniuses must endure. Of course, with no great challenge, there can be no great success story.


And thus, without a tribute to the romantic notion that behind every great man there is a great woman, there would be no love story here. But “Hitchcock” purveys on both fronts. Plus, if you count the battle of the sexes, it’s also a war story. Helen Mirren’s portrayal of Alma Reville, the filmmaker’s wife and long suffering afflatus, supplies plenty firepower.


A good supporting cast, featuring Scarlett Johansson as a very sexy Janet Leigh and James D’Arcy as an appropriately anxious Anthony Perkins, nicely establishes the aura and authenticity of the backstory. Appurtenances of the era, like a Formica kitchen table in the Bel Air manse where the artiste often agonizes, help recall a time and place.


Interestingly, director Gervasi manages to delve into the intrigue and sinew that went into creating the classic film in question without detracting from the haunting cachet that has come to attend it. Imagined visits by Hitchcock to the heinous retreat where serial killer Ed Gein, the inspiration for the tale, plotted his butchery, add a disturbing eeriness.


Less gripping, but a necessary element to the intertwining accounts of love, marriage, devotion and a dose of inescapable jealousy, is Alma’s relationship with writer Whitfield Cook (“Strangers on a Train”), played by Danny Huston. Far more intriguing is the peek into the director’s infatuation with what have become known as the Hitchcock blondes.


Depicted as an epicurean of large and diversified tastes, he is a bit of a naughty boy, aggravating his abiding, health conscious Alma with an insatiable appetite for rich foods and spirits. Hopkins impishly captures the essence of innocently unaware decadence when, told he must economize, rails against purchasing pâté sourced from lesser geese.


Recognized icon or not, Alma’s attempts to rein in Hitch’s excesses and keep his ego in check as concerns their relationship offer a telling glimpse into the artistic ethos. Implicit is the virtuoso’s expectation of special privilege and dispensation from the mundane obligations of mere mortals. The polemical dance the two do is deliciously droll.


But while Hopkins handsomely fulfills the script’s personality portrait, expect no deep look into the protagonist’s life. The narrative moves briskly and exercises an impressive economy of detail. Still, it would be nice if, more than just the few allusions to his storied past, an elucidative checklist of his filmic contributions decorated the storyline.


Precluding the use of the term biopic to describe “Hitchcock,” the accent on the narrow swath of events surrounding the making of “Psycho” iterates the cynical reality that is Tinseltown. Yep, even Alfred Hitchcock, the acknowledged Master of Suspense, is only as good as his last movie. We mull the tentative nature of fame, the rigors of commerce.


So it’s capital vs. art and imagination, that conundrum unique to us humans, the internal competition hardwired into our nature, ostensibly programmed to improve the species. How would it have panned out for civilization and the commonweal if Paramount had just given Hitchcock carte blanche? Besides, this way we get to hate the corporate suits.


All of which makes for a high echelon David and Goliath. While practically everyone likes a good rags to riches saga, a variation on the theme to which we are perhaps even more sensitive is the potential fall from grace. We shudder when personalizing it: “Look, there’s Mike…once a respected film critic, wrote that bad review, and .now look at him.”


Thus, we are cozily ensconced in a front row seat, rooting for the fat cat as underdog, smirkingly aware of our champion’s legacy and anxious to see how he ultimately ensured it. Hopkins et al pull it off rather swimmingly, transporting us back to a point in time when horror, murder and mayhem were best served with a touch of “Hitchcock” class.

“Hitchcock,” rated PG-13, is a Fox Searchlight Pictures release directed by Sacha Gervasi and stars Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren and Scarlett Johansson. Running time: 98 minutes


CVU icemen go for tourney title Thursday

While the National Hockey League remains in a lockout-caused deep freeze, the Champlain Valley Union High boys hockey team will have an NHL-like schedule of games this week, thanks to a reworked Beech Tournament.

CVU, 1-0 after gaining the tournament championship game with a 5-2 victory over South Burlington on Friday, will wait until Thursday at 5 p.m. to meet Colchester High for the title at Burlington’s Leddy Arena. The two nights of tournament play were originally slated for last Thursday and Friday.

A busy four days of action began Wednesday night when the Redhawks motored to St. Albans to test the Bellows Free Academy Bobwhites. After Thursday’s session, they will get a day off before hitting the road for Rutland and a 3 p.m. fixture against the Rutland High Red Raiders.

Asked Sunday about Colchester, CVU head coach Mike Murray said the Lakers have a couple of guys “who can fly and score,” but added that the Redhawks have good depth with four lines that can contribute.

In the victory over South Burlington, CVU carried a 3-2 lead into the final reel and then put the game away on power play goals by junior Will Bernicke and sophomore Adam Hauke.

Earlier goals were off the sticks of sophomores Cam Rivard and Elliott Mitchell, along with junior captain Alex Bulla. Sophomore Hoyt McCuin passed off for three assists.

“We played okay,” said Murray, noting that CVU had some early penalty problems.

CVU’s sophomore goalie Greg Talbert made 30 saves in getting the season’s initial victory. The Redhawks unloaded 30 shots on the Rebel cage.

Colchester earned its way to the championship game with a 7-0 triumph over Rice Memorial.

—Mal Boright,
Observer correspondent

Redhawks help Nordic team to historic victory

Members of the Nordic 17 Premier Girls team were awarded their New England Championship medals by Olympic Gold Medal and World Cup Champion Mia Hamm (center, in black). The team included Redhawks Laura Jennings, Paige DuBrul, Audrey Morehouse and Haliana Burhans. (Observer courtesy photo)

Champlain Valley Union High School soccer players Haliana Burhans, Paige DuBrul, Laura Jennings and Audrey Morehouse helped Nordic Soccer Club’s 17 Premier Girls team net the first win by a Vermont youth soccer team at a National Youth Soccer championship.

The team recently returned from the Y League National Finals, held at the IMG Academy in Florida.

After an initial 3-0 loss to New York Magic in their opening game, Nordic rebounded with a close 1-0 victory over TSF Academy from New Jersey. Burhans scored the game’s lone goal midway through the second half.

In their final group game, needing a win to advance to the semi-finals, Nordic fell short to a FC America team from Orlando, Fla., 7-2. Burhans tallied her second goal of the tournament, with an additional goal from Allyssa Tenney.

Nordic finished the tournament with a 1-0 victory over Quickstrike FC from New York, with Burhans adding to her tally of three goals in four games.

Nordic 17 Premier Girls qualified for the Y League National Finals after winning the New England Division of the Y league this past summer.

—Observer staff report

CVU basketball girls start off on high note

The 1-0 Champlain Valley Union High girls basketball team was in Barre Wednesday night, hoping to get a start on a repeat of last year’s double victories in the two-day tournament, with Spaulding High the host.

The second and concluding evening is Friday.

Coach Ute Otley’s Redhawks got the new season off to a swisheroo of a start Friday at Bremner Gymnasium with a 50-31 decision over visiting South Burlington High.

Despite the loss of several key performers from last season’s

Division 1 finalists, the youthful Redhawks showed exceptional balance in putting away the Rebels.

Junior Emily Kinneston led the scorers with nine points, while freshman Sadie Otley, in her varsity debut, became the leading helper with seven assists. Junior Amanda Lougee popped for eight points, as did Laurel Jaunich, another freshman. Lougee worked inside to haul down seven rebounds.

CVU has road games at Mount Mansfield Union on Dec. 28 and South

Burlington High on Jan. 3 before the next home game Jan. 7 against Mount Mansfield.

—Mal Boright,
Observer correspondent

CVU hoop guys face Friday test from BFA

Its season-opening three-game losing string snapped Tuesday with a victory at Burlington High, the Champlain Valley Union High boys basketball team can look forward to Friday night’s (6:30 p.m.) home clash with 1-2 Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans.

The initial victory of the season also marked the return to action of veteran senior forward Brad Bissonette from a bout of illness. He led the scorers with 19 points, followed by twin brother Scott Bissonette with 14 as the Redhawks rolled to a 50-40 triumph over the 1-1 Seahorses.

CVU used a quick start as a recipe for victory, grabbing a 14-4 lead by the end of the first period.

Last Friday, the Redhawks fell to Vergennes Union High for the second time this season as the unbeaten (4-0) Commodores rolled into Hinesburg for a 52-44 win.

Inside operator Lucas Aube paced CVU’s offense with 13 points.

—Mal Boright,
Observer correspondent

Sports Roundup

Hornets visit CVU hockey girls Saturday

With their scheduled contest with Rice Memorial High last Saturday canceled, the 0-1 Champlain Valley Union High girls’ hockey team opened a two-game homestand Wednesday with Rutland High providing the opposition.

Coach Ben Psaros’ Redhawks return to the Cairns Arena home ice on Saturday afternoon at 2:25 p.m. with the Essex High Hornets.

In their lone outing thus far, CVU journeyed to Missisquoi Valley Union on Dec. 12 and fell 8-0 to the Thunderbirds.

—Mal Boright,
Observer correspondent


CVU Nordic ski team hoping for action Dec. 27 

Among those in ski country eyeing the sky and hoping for a blizzard or two are members of the Champlain Valley Union High Nordic ski team.

With races Dec. 19 and 22 races canceled, the Redhawks and coach Sarah Strack are looking to Dec. 27, when they are slated to host an event at Sleepy Hollow.

However, Strack sees the possibility of the races being moved to Craftsbury if the Northeast Kingdom facility can accommodate the event.

—Mal Boright,
Observer correspondent


Baseball umpires sought for next season

The Northern Vermont Baseball Umpires Association is looking for new baseball umpires for the 2013 season.

The association officiates high school, middle school, Babe Ruth, AAU and Legion games in Chittenden and Addison counties. Umpire training will start at the end of January and runs for six weeks.

For more information, contact Randy Yandow at 343-4041 or e-mail

—Observer staff report

RECIPE CORNER: Christmas cookies

By Ginger Isham

The following recipe is about 30 years old. I made these cookies for my children and now for my grandchildren. My daughters made them in grade school as Valentines for their friends in place of paper valentines. They would cut out large hearts and small hearts and put a small heart in the corner of a large one and use pink icing as glue, sometimes adding small cinnamon candies and sprinkles. I made them recently to tell the story of our farm using maple leaf, evergreen tree, chicken, cow and heart cookie cutters.


Sugar cookie cutouts (seven ingredients)

1 cup sugar (I use little less)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla or almond flavoring

pinch of salt

3/4 cup soft butter

2 and 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder


Cream the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat in and/or stir in 2 and 1/4 cups flour. I sprinkle the other 1/4 cup on counter when rolling out the dough. Chill for 1-2 hours or overnight. Let set a few minutes at room temperature when taken out of refrigerator. Roll out 1/3 of dough at a time on a floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out cookies. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle leaves and trees with green sugar sprinkles, use natural sugar for cows and chicks and colored sprinkles for hearts. Bake in 350-degree oven for 10 minutes until cookies are just little brown on edges.


Mandarin Marmalade Cookies (seven ingredients)

1 large egg

1 cup sugar (I use 3/4 cup)

1 cup soft butter

1/2 cup orange marmalade

One 10-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained and chopped

2 and 3/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder


Cream the butter, sugar and egg. Stir in marmalade and oranges until batter is smooth. Add flour and baking powder. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake in 300-degree oven for 20-22 minutes until bottom begins to brown. Before baking, you can add part of candied cherry or nut on top.

Ginger Isham lives with her husband on a fifth generation family farm on Oak Hill Road.

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