July 18, 2019

THE HUB: Property Transfers

452 Commons Road

William Drzyzga sold a condominium to Annette and Donald Miller for $291,000 on Sept. 13, 2012.


4517 Oak Hill Road

Clark and Pamela Gundlach sold a single family home to Stephen and Sarah Francisco on Sept. 14, 2012 for $780,000.


186 Stonybrook Drive

Gwenn M. Robinson sold a single family home to Timothy Flanagan for $262,000 on Sept. 14, 2012.


100 Ridge Road

The Martin and Dorothy Dienst Revocable Family Living Trust sold a single family home to Alain and Darlene Cloutier for $290,000 on Sept. 17, 2012.


358 Commons Road

Joan Johnson sold a single family home to Eric Goddard for $272,600 on Sept. 17, 2012.


139 Wildflower Circle

Juliane Hegle sold a single family home to Gerald Ghazi for $400,000 on Sept. 21, 2012.


56 Primrose Lane

Pamela Warner and Marne Stuthart sold a single family home to Kenneth and Linda Kaleita for $348,000 on Sept. 24, 2012.


363 Northview Court

Robert and Chesley Schamroth sold a condominium to Renee Ste Marie for $192,000 on Sept. 26, 2012.


50 Churchview Drive

Churchview Estates LLC sold a single family home to John and Christine Tardie for $310,000 on Sept. 27, 2012.


180 Turtle Pond Road

Paul and Sheryl Foxman sold a single family home to Eric Simmons and Theresa Krainz for $420,000 on Sept. 27, 2012.


507 Nob Hill

Richard II and Jean Bokan sold a single family home to Rand and Laura Whitney for $363,500 on Sept. 27, 2012.


51 Balsam Circle

Douglas and Claudia Labare, trustees, sold a condominium to William and Kathleen Young for $415,000 on Sept. 27, 2012.


235 Fairway Drive

Berl Mendel and Joanne Farrell sold a single family home to Peter Ferguson and Dawn Ellinwood for $530,000 on Sept. 28, 2012.


108 White Birch Lane

Catherine Wagner sold a single family home to Gregory and Casey Mack for $292,000 on Sept. 28, 2012.


16 Hideaway Lane

Karen Popovich sold a condominium to Patrick Kelly and Christina Eaton for $198,500 on Sept. 28, 2012.


460 Shunpike Road, Unit 9

Branch Realty Inc. sold a commercial condominium to JLC/JBC Properties LLC for $220,000 on Oct. 1, 2012.


9292 Williston Road

Marilyn Leduc sold a single family home to Matthew Lesage for $170,000 for Oct. 3, 2012.


476 Commons Road

Mary Lynn Riggs and Sarah Jane Conant sold a condominium to Dianne and David Bokan for $272,900 on Oct. 5, 2012.


702 Oak Knoll Road

Beth Ann and Andrew Lawrence sold a single family home to John and Kari Antonucci for $325,000 on Oct. 5, 2012.


161 Chamberlain Lane

Robert and Lori White sold a single family home to Jeffrey and Monica Paul for $434,000.


26 Read Road

Monica and Jeffrey Paul sold a condominium to MUK Real Estate LLC for $223,000 on Oct. 10, 2012.


193 Overlake Road

Wedgewood Development Corporation sold a single family home to Robert and Lori White for $660,675 on Oct. 10, 2012.


232 Lefebvre Lane

Megan Bachinski sold a single family home to Aaron and Katharine Cieri for $250,000 on Oct. 11, 2012.


Giovanna Lane, Lot 5

Fitzgerald-Godbout Custom Homes, Inc. sold a single family home to Megan Bachinski for $636,485 on Oct. 12, 2012.


69 Jakes Way, Lot 37, the Hamlet

Village Associates, LLC sold a single family home to Stephen Casale for $316,776.96 on Oct. 12, 2012.


136 James Brown Drive

HBRA Building sold an office/warehouse to Ricky and Sherry Limoge for $315,000 on Oct. 12, 2012.


48 Industrial Avenue

Munson Earth Moving sold a commercial space to G.I.T. Realty LLC for $830,000 on Oct. 15, 2012.


447 Highlands Drive

Brookfield Relocation, Inc. sold a single family home to Steven Stetson for $1,020,000 on Oct. 16, 2012.


117 Morgan Parkway

Shawn and Lisa LaBounty sold a single family home to Dinh Vu and Anh Tran for $281,000 on Oct. 17, 2012.


96 Chelsea Place

Anita Blau sold a single family home to Sandra DeBrita for $238,000 on Oct. 19, 2012.


105 Honeysuckle Lane

Virginia Clark Irrev. Trust sold a condominium to Patrick and Lorraine Ryan for $300,000 on Oct. 25, 2012.


266 Eastview Circle

David and Emily Moynihan sold a condominium to Ashley Hulsey for $197,000 on Oct. 30, 2012.


116 Southview Lane

Corey Cardinal sold a condominium to Martin and Rita Dessau for $202,000 on Oct. 30, 2012.


4959 & 4961 Williston Road

Betty Merriman and Sally Wilder sold three dwelling units to Frederick and Barbara Bristol for $248,000 on Oct. 31, 2012.


80 Wildflower Circle

Kenneth and Linda Kaleita sold a single family home to David and Eileen Freeman for $358,900 on Nov. 9, 2012.


16 Forest Run Road

Harjit and Mandeep Dhaliwal sold a single family home to Michael Duquette for $264,900 on Nov. 9, 2012.


57 Maple Road

Jeanette Voas sold a single family home to Hugh and Cheryl Rostad for $254,000 on Nov. 15, 2012.


224 Hanon Drive

Mark and Barbara Berry sold a single family home to Dean and Heather Lewis for $420,000 on Nov. 16, 2012.


2212 North Williston Road

Eileen Blackwood and Lynn Goyette sold a single family home to Seth and Kathryn Hibbert for $325,000 on Nov. 16, 2012.


893 Ledgewood Road

Robert and Gwen Blankenheim sold a single family home to Robert Desautels for $532,500 on Nov. 16, 2012.


188 Southridge Road

Linda and Craig Ladd sold a single family home to Tracy Tripp for $344,000 on Nov. 19, 2012.


147 Windridge road

Antonio and Josephine Guerrieri sold a single family home to Drew and Katrina Crandell for $275,000 in November, 2012.


230 Lamplite Lane

Jeffrey Stem sold a single family home to Kevin and Monica Hutt for $259,000 on Nov. 20, 2012.

Hub Happenings

Wal-Mart gives $10,000 to local nonprofit

Wal-Mart recently announced that it is donating $10,000 to local nonprofit Vermont Soldier’s Angels.

The donation is part of its “12 Days of Giving” holiday campaign. The sixth day of the campaign saw $110,000 given to 11 nonprofits nationwide that support troops, military families and veterans in their local communities.

Soldiers Angels, a nationwide group, sends letters and care packages to deployed soldiers and assists returning soldiers. Soldiers Angels Vermont is led by Willistonian Barb Greck and Essex resident Terri Sabens.


NEFCU donates to COTS, agencies

New England Federal Credit Union recently donated $20,000 to Burlington’s Committee on Temporary Shelter.

“We are incredibly grateful to NEFCU for their ongoing support and for this very generous contribution,” said COTS Executive Director Rita Markley. “With winter almost upon us, demands on COTS will increase and these funds will help us meet the challenge.”

NEFCU also recently made donations totaling $25,000 to Franklin County organizations. Tim’s House, Franklin/Grand Isle Community Action, Franklin County Home Health Agency, Frankin-Grand Isle United Way and Northwestern Medical Center each received $5,000.


Gooden named NBT branch manager 

Jessica Gooden was recently promoted to branch manager of NBT Bank’s Williston office. Gooden, who has more than eight years of banking experience, joined NBT Bank in 2009 as assistant branch manager.

“We are proud to announce Jessica’s promotion to branch manager,” NBT Bank Regional Manager Matt Durkee said in a press release. “Her background in bank management and customer service makes her an excellent resource for our customers and staff in the Williston community. We wish her continued success in her career with NBT Bank.”

A resident of Williston, Gooden earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla. She serves on the board of directors for the Kid’s Rehab Gym and is a member of the Women Business Owners Network.


Hampton Direct moves some business to L.A.

Williston-based Hampton Direct, which sells “As Seen on TV” products including PajamaJeans, Total Pillow and Wonder Hanger, recently announced that it will open a Los Angeles location and reduce its local staff by about 20 workers, according to Vermont Business Magazine.

The company’s operations, finance and other support functions will remain in Vermont, a Hampton Direct press release states.

“This is a monumental step for our company and one that will facilitate long-term growth. The L.A. office will allow Hampton Direct to capitalize on numerous expansion opportunities and provides a strategic advantage that will help take the company to the next level,” Steve Heroux, Hampton Direct CEO and founder, said in the release.


DEW earns honors; hires Wheaton 

DEW Construction recently won Engineering News Record’s 2012 Best Projects competition in the retail/hospitality category for the New York region, which includes New York, New Jersey, and New England. DEW won the award for its work as construction manager for Hotel Jay and Pump House Waterpark at Jay Peak Resort.

“DEW couldn’t be more pleased to have the Hotel Jay and Pump House Waterpark recognized as one of the best 2012 projects in New England. The project is unique and involved a real team collaboration where everybody involved pulled their weight. It is a great accomplishment,” said Don Wells, president of DEW, in a press release.

DEW also recently announced that Matthew Wheaton has joined the company as manager of preconstruction services.

Wheaton is a graduate of Norwich University, with a Master’s degree in architecture and bachelor’s degree in architectural studies.


Department of Labor warns of scam

The Vermont Department of Labor has been alerted to a nationwide identity theft scam attempting to lure employers into providing confidential information about their employees. So far, it has not received reports of the scam occurring in Vermont.

The scam is designed to trick employers into responding to an email that appears to have been sent from a state’s “Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA).” The email looks like a legitimate job separation request used by state UI agencies. It requests wage and other information on a former employee(s) filing for unemployment benefits, and directs the employer to click on a link to an embedded website address which is in South Africa. The scam email is generic and does not reference specific employees or businesses by name.

The Vermont Department of Labor does not request confidential information over email or attempt to collect information on behalf of other state’s unemployment agencies.


Sports Illustrated honors Brush Davisson

Former Charlotte resident Kelly Brush Davisson has been selected as one of “10 Athletes Who Care” in the Dec. 10 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine for her charitable work off the playing field. Brush Davisson, 26, founded the Kelly Brush Foundation in 2006, following a ski racing crash that left her paralyzed. Despite her injury she remained active in sports, winning the women’s handcycle division of the Boston Marathon in 2011.

In the six years since its inception, the foundation has raised $1 million to support the foundation’s mission to improve the quality of life for those living with spinal cord injury and to improve ski racing safety.

“I’m humbled and honored to be included on this list,” Brush Davisson said. “This group of incredibly gifted athletes who choose to honor their achievement by turning around and giving back is an inspiration for me and the work of the Kelly Brush Foundation.”


Federal unemployment benefit cuts to impact Vermonters

Approximately 1,400 people in Vermont will lose unemployment benefits when the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation Program ends on Dec. 29. The Vermont Department of Labor will have no funding or authority to continue to pay EUC benefits after that week.

Although Congress has extended the program 10 times in the past four years, there is no indication at this time that the EUC program will be reauthorized.

Individuals who need help finding a job can receive assistance from the Vermont Department of Labor. For a list of the Department’s Career Resource Centers and other information, visit www.labor.vermont.gov.


Kelly joins CCTV

Matt Kelly is set to join the CCTV Center for Media & Democracy as director of Channel 17/ Town Meeting Television and executive producer of CCTV Productions.

Kelly grew up in Burlington and worked at WVNY TV-22, WEZF-93FM and WXXX-95Triple X, and returned to Chittenden County after stints in New York and Los Angeles.


Anderson joins RehabGYM

The RehabGYM recently announced the addition of Mike Anderson, M.Ed. to its Colchester team. Anderson will be the business manager and site director. Anderson graduated from CSU-Sacramento with a bachelor’s degree in recreation administration, followed by a Master’s degree in education from Monmouth University. Prior to joining the RehabGYM, Anderson owned and operated Petra Cliffs Climbing Center in Burlington for almost eight years.


Statewide Seasonally-Adjusted Unemployment Rate Increases Slightly in October

The Vermont Department of Labor recently announced that the seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate for October 2012 increased by one-tenth of a percent from the prior month. At 5.5 percent, Vermont’s seasonally adjusted rate remains significantly lower than the national average of 7.9 percent, which also rose by one-tenth of one percent from the prior month. The total labor force increased for the second straight month.

THE HUB: Fine jewelry finds a niche at Argento Laraine

Jayson and Krista Argento opened Argento Laraine Fine Jewelry at 135 Talcott Road in Williston. (Observer courtesy photo)

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Williston’s newest business is called Argento Laraine Fine Jewelry—with the emphasis on the fine.

“We only sell precious metals and fine gemstones and diamonds,” said co-owner Krista Laraine Argento. “We don’t sell any lab-created stones. We don’t sell any industrial grade diamonds. My goal is to have everything top quality, even in the gemstones or smaller pieces.”

Argento Laraine Fine Jewelry opened Dec. 12 at 135 Talcott Road. It is Williston’s only fine jewelry store.

“I figured it was a huge untapped market,” Krista Argento said. “A lot of people from surrounding towns come here to work and to shop and eat.”

Krista Argento, who ran an Essex-based home jewelry business for the past year and a half, is also an accomplished actress. She met her husband and store co-owner Jayson Argento during production of his supernatural thriller “Cthulhu Chronicles,” which co-starred the future couple.

Jayson Argento, also a photographer and lead singer in the local ’80s cover band PleasureDome, suggested that the as yet unfinished design of the store will be an amalgamation of the cinematic and jewelry arts.

“One of the top things we want to do is make it an old Hollywood sort of feel, and one of the things we came up with is putting up a big movie screen and running classic movies,” he said.

Krista, who cited the bejeweled Hollywood classics “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” as personal favorites, said her filmic tastes have informed her store inventory.

“I really like a vintage feel for my pieces,” she said. “I have a line of all solid, die-struck platinum made by this incredible company, Whitehouse Brothers, who recreate antique platinum mountings from the ’20s and ’30s, and they’re so fine and all hand-done.”

While the selection of rings, earrings and necklaces at Argento Laraine range in price from $100 to $20,000, Krista said the common denominator of the business is that she wouldn’t put anything on display that she wouldn’t wear herself.

“I hand select everything,” she said. “I won’t put anything in the case that I think looks tacky or isn’t up to par for what I would like for myself.”

THE HUB: Self-defense meets self-control at Kojo Academy

Stephen Barrett

By Luke Baynes

Observer staff

Seated at his desk at Kojo Academy of Taekwondo in Williston, 70-year-old Master Stephen Barrett recalls a story from his younger days, before he obtained master status and rose to the rank of eighth-degree black belt.

As Barrett tells it, one day his taekwondo instructor set a concrete patio block atop two larger cinder blocks and told Barrett to break the patio block with the heel of his palm. He’d never attempted such a feat, but he summoned all his energy and brought his palm crashing down.

The block exploded into tiny fragments.

The instructor then told him to break a stack of two blocks. He complied, followed by stacks of three, four and five blocks.

Smiling, the instructor then told him to break one block. Barrett raised and lowered his arm like before and struck the block. It didn’t budge. After seven unsuccessful attempts, the instructor told him to go home and not come back until he realized why he failed.

“Halfway home, it came to me,” Barrett said. “After I knew I could break five, I didn’t give any respect to the one. That was a valuable lesson. That lesson has taught me to pay attention even to the little things that don’t seem so important.”

At Kojo, such life lessons are as important as learning the proper form of a crescent kick or knife hand block.

“Taekwondo is a microcosm of life in general,” Barrett said. “It’s all about character building.”

A New Hampshire native, Barrett spent eight years in the Navy before moving to Vermont and beginning a 30-year career at IBM. He began his taekwondo studies in 1972 under Grandmaster Duk Sung Son and taught at various venues around Chittenden County before establishing Kojo in 1992.

Barrett said one of the basic tenets of taekwondo, a martial art that originated in Korea, is to engage an opponent in physical combat only as a last resort.

“The ultimate goal of taekwondo is to eliminate fighting,” Barrett said. “A person who becomes proficient in taekwondo feels so confident to handle themselves that they can use their head for something other than a hat rack. They can think and not be emotionally involved.”

He added that self-control is as important as technical proficiency when it comes to advancing to the next belt level.

“We don’t teach the more advanced techniques if you haven’t gone through the process of proving that you have self-control. You have to have it, or there’s chaos,” he said.

Kojo offers taekwondo classes for children as young as 4 through its Little Dragons program, taught by Master Judy Nolin, a fourth-degree black belt. Barrett, who estimated that Kojo currently has about 100 students, personally teaches 15 classes per week.

Barrett said enrollment is open to anyone willing to show proper respect to the discipline of taekwondo and to fellow students.

“I make sure every student that comes through the door is respected. It doesn’t matter who they are. It’s only through their actions while they’re here that that respect can be lost,” he said. “It’s really wonderful. It’s a non-threatening atmosphere, and that’s what I’ve created.”

For more information about Kojo Academy of Taekwondo, visit www.kojotkd.com.

OBITUARY: Julia Fifield

Orford, N.H.—Julia Mentzer Fifield died quietly six days after her 107th birthday at the Alice Peck Day Hospital in Lebanon, N.H. with her daughter and son-in-law at her side.

She was born in Somerville, Mass., the daughter of Charles and Gertrude (Vinton) Mentzer. The family moved to North Williston when Julia was about four years old. She attended the Essex Junction High School, commuting to school on horseback. After her father’s death in 1923, Julia and her mother moved to Cambridge, Mass., where Julia attended Lesley Normal School (now Lesley University), graduating in 1926. She taught school in Somerville for three years. In 1930, she married Charles Paget Golding in a ceremony at the farm of George Clark in Plymouth, N.H. The Goldings started out in Longmeadow, Mass., where their children, Ann and Charles P., Jr., were born. They moved to South Dartmouth, Mass. in 1935 and Julia remained there until 1963.

While in South Dartmouth, Julia and Charles were active in The Spouters, a local theater group and Julia was a member and a past president of The Garden Club of Buzzard’s Bay (GCBB). She was the captain of the New Bedford Red Cross Motor Corps during World War II. Julia was widowed in 1947 and embarked on a career as a landscape gardener (her mother and grandmother were both gardeners) while raising her children. She was very involved in the GCBB’s participation at the Boston Flower Show for many years.

In 1960, Julia married Clifford Crane Fifield, an old family friend. They moved to her mother’s home in Orford, N.H. in 1963. Julia was very active in Orford as a member of the school board, chairman of the cemetery commission (which she took over from her husband after his death in 1978) and a longtime trustee of the Orford Social Library, a special interest, and a member and past president of Rondo. She helped spearhead the fund drive for Orford’s Community Fields and participated in Orford’s Bicentennial Celebration. She was a regular fixture at the annual Old Home Day. She was one of the founders of St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Fairlee, Vt. and a devoted communicant.

In Hanover, she was very active with The Friends of the Hopkins Center and the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College and was instrumental in the start of the Montshire Museum at its original site in Hanover. She also was instrumental in the development of The Magic Carpet program of the Montshire, which continues to this day. She was an honorary member of The Hanover Garden Club.

Julia was trustee of the Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury, N.H. for ten years and Chairman of the New Hampshire Preservation Association Review Board for three terms, appointed first by Governor Meldrim Thomson. She was on the committee for the restoration of the Bedell Bridge in Haverhill, N.H. and a Colonial Dame in the National Society of Colonial Dames of America, New Hampshire Chapter.

She was also active in The Garden Club of America, serving as national chairman consecutively of the Horticulture Committee, the Flower Shows Committee, and the Conservation Committee. Following those assignments, she was a director. She received the Acheivement Award of the Garden Club of America in 1988, a singular honor.

Julia loved Orford. She held the Boston Post Cane, which she received in 1995. She always attended Town Meeting although her recent attendance was limited due to hearing loss. She was devoted to her friends, both in Orford and in Hanover and surrounding towns. She particularly enjoyed attending Dartmouth football games and in later years, her lunch groups in town. She will be sorely missed by her family and friends.

She is survived by her daughter, Ann (Joe) Davis of Orford, her son, Paget Golding of Bradenton, Fla., three stepsons, George (Helen) Fifield of Sterling, Mass., Crane (Fay Ann) Fifield of Seneca Falls, N.Y. and Walter (Jeanne) Fifield of Concord, N.H., and her beloved grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Contributions in her name will be welcome at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 158, Fairlee, Vt. 05045 and at The Orford Social Library, P.O. Box 189, Orford, N.H. 03777.

There will be a private committal service at the convenience of the family. Also there will be a Celebration of Julia’s Life in May, time and date to be determined, in the garden of her Orford home.

The Hale Funeral Home of Bradford is in charge of arrangements.

To view an online guestbook go to www.halefuneralhome.com

Volunteer Opportunities

The listings below are a small sample of the more than 350 volunteer opportunities at more than 250 local agencies. For more information or to volunteer, visit www.unitedwaycc.org or call 860-1677.


Celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King by volunteering for some fun and meaningful opportunities throughout the day, then unwind and connect with others at a community dinner in the evening. Service projects include writing letters to troops with Operation Military Kids, making valentines and bookmarks for veterans, shelving and organizing at Brownell Library, painting at the Senior Center and more. Monday, Jan. 21, two- to four-hour shifts throughout the day. Dinner at 6 p.m. at Essex High School.


For Martin Luther King Day, help make dog and cat toys and sew fleece pet beds to hand out at local food shelves. Monday, Jan. 21, 1-4 p.m.


Groups and individuals can moniter a kettle location, ring the bell and welcome people to donate to the Salvation Army kettle effort. Funds support the Friendly Kitchen and Family Christmas program. Through Dec. 24, four-hour shifts between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.


Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains is looking for volunteer mentors who are passionate about the legislative process will help coordinate the Girls Rock program in the spring and serve as troop leaders.  References and background check required. The Girl Scouts are also looking for troop leaders to serve two or more hours/month, weekends and evenings.


Sara Holbrook Community Center is looking for volunteers to assist in daily programs for youth in grades 6-12.  This is a “drop-in” time for teen to hang out, play games, etc. Weekdays between 2:15 and 5:30 p.m. at least once a week. Interview and background check required.


People Helping People Global provides tools such as microloans, training and market information to help people and communities escape extreme poverty. It is looking for a volunteer to organize, motivate, teach and supervise volunteers at local events, festivals and fairs. Experience managing volunteers is very important. Weekdays and weekends, two to four hours per week.


The Burundian American Association of Vermont needs volunteers to help with grant applications, program direction and English teachers for the elders. Volunteers should be qualified to work with a low-income community and should understand background differences. Flexible scheduling.


American Red Cross Blood Services needs volunteers to welcome donors to the canteen, serve refreshments, chat with donors and seek assistance if a donor is not feeling well. Registration volunteers are also needed. Flexible weekday and Saturday scheduling, training provided.



Library Notes

Youth News

The Library Giving Tree

Need a gift idea this holiday season? Please consider donating an item to the library in honor of a family member, friend or favorite teacher. Each ornament on the Giving Tree represents an item that library staff would like to add to the youth or adult collection. We’ll provide a gift enclosure card for the recipient and a brief dedication inside the item.

Little Red Riding Hood

Friday, Dec. 21, 10:30 a.m. Come to a play! Preschoolers and their families are invited to watch a short play and listen to stories presented by Camel’s Hump Middle School students. A craft activity follows. No pre-registration.

Coming in January

Spanish Stories and Music: Friday, Jan. 4, 10:30 a.m.

Book Art! Thursday, Jan. 10, 3 p.m. Children in grades 3-5 learn about different book genres and make posters illustrating their favorite books. Eighth grade challenge project. Pre-register at 878-4918.

Winter Story Hour: Tuesdays, 11 a.m. New session starts Jan. 8. Stories and a craft for children ages 3-5.

Early Literacy Workshop for Early Childhood Educators: Wednesday, Jan. 9, 6-8 p.m. At KinderStart Preschool. Licensure credit available. Pre-register at 878-4918.

Toddler Time: Friday, Jan. 11, 10:30 a.m. For children ages 1-3.

Pajama Story Time with Abby Klein: Monday, Jan. 14, 6:30 p.m.

Homeschool Science Program: Project MICRO: Wednesday, Jan. 23, 1-3 p.m. Students explore microscopic worlds in this hands-on workshop presented by Janet Schwarz from the UVM College of Medicine Microscopy Imaging Center. Ages 9 and up. Pre-register at 878-4918.


Adult Programs 

Brown Bag Book Club

Friday, Dec. 21 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Looking to meet others who love to discuss books? This month we will discuss “A Room of One’s Own,” by Virginia Woolf. Coffee, tea, juice and dessert provided.

Shape and Share Life Stories

Monday, Jan. 14 and 28 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. Free and open to all adults.

Lincoln: Bicentennial of His Birth

Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 6:30 p.m. Abraham Lincoln would have turned 200 in 2009. Celebrate with an in-depth look at the man behind the president in two celebrated biographies and Lincoln’s own words. Part of the Vermont Humanities Reading and Discussion Series, led by John Turner. Session 1: “Lincoln” by David Herbert Donald. Please register.


New titles at the library

New Non-Fiction

In “Champlain Valley Through our Eyes,” the Burlington Free Press has created an aesthetically pleasing photographic journey through the history of the Champlain Valley from the late 1800s through the 1960s.

“Foodopoly: The Battle Over the Future of Food and Farming in America.” As one of the nation’s leading healthy food advocates, Wenonah Hauter believes that the local food movement is not enough to solve America’s food crisis and  takes aim at the consolidation and corporate control of food production.

New Fiction

Brom, the author and artist of “The Child Thief,” returns with “Krampus the Yule Lord,” a modern fabulist tale of the dark enemy of Santa Claus.

From award-winning and bestselling Chinese author Tie Ning comes “The Bathing Women,” a stunningly original novel that captures the spirit of a new generation of young professionals in contemporary China.

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


By Katherine Bielawa Stamper


Dear Readers: I abandoned my planned column for this week as events in Newtown, Connecticut began to unfold. This piece is my homage to the victims of violence.


“Help me, please,” a voice emerged from the darkness.

The voice startled me, interrupting my deliberate stride.

I’d grown accustomed to walking Pittsburgh’s streets alone at night. As a graduate student, I traversed a well-worn path from the university library to my apartment two miles away in a faded Italian neighborhood. I kept to well-lighted streets, maintaining an acute awareness of my surroundings.

“Help, please,” came another, more desperate plea.

My eyes turned from the sidewalk, drawn to the darkened doorway of a Catholic high school across from the Cathedral of St. Paul in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood. I left the sidewalk, guided by a muffled cry for assistance.

Huddled in darkness, shaking with fear, I saw the image of an older women. Her diminutive size spoke of a vulnerability, a fragility amid the harsh realities of a major American city at night. Her tiny frame leaned, left shoulder tilted downward, as if weighted by an invisible boulder.

“Someone was supposed to pick me up,” she said with difficulty. “I think they forgot. I’m afraid to walk home myself. Would you walk me home?”

“Stroke,” I thought to myself. The woman spoke and carried the physical traits of someone who survived a devastating stroke. Impaired speech, challenged mobility and the distinct weakness of one side of her body must have compounded her fear as she waited alone in the darkness.

I couldn’t leave her. I did what I was taught to do: I walked her home. She leaned on my arm as I adjusted my pace to accommodate her labored footsteps.

“My name is Kathy,” I said.

“I’m Betsy,” she answered.

It was during that slow walk and slow talk that Betsy asked me questions about myself. I told her I was a transplant from Massachusetts studying at the University of Pittsburgh. I was careful not to burden her with too many questions as speaking came with considerable difficulty.

Betsy said she lived nearby and her daughter was supposed to pick her up from a meeting. This was before cell phones. The darkened building told me the meeting ended long ago.

I walked Betsy to her home, leaving when she was safely inside.

Talking with my daughter while en route to church this past Sunday, the first Sunday following the tragic school shootings in Newtown, Conn., I mentioned how I pray each morning in the car on my way to work. Prayer for me is, first and foremost, about gratitude. Prayer is also about inviting wisdom or help for myself and others.

I shared with my daughter how—25 years later—I always ask for a blessing for “Betsy” and anyone like her, that they “may find the help they need.”

“I’m sure Betsy is fine,” my daughter said.

“Betsy is probably no longer here,” I said with a smile. “My point is that I hope each of us finds the help we need when we need it, whether from family, friends or a total stranger on a darkened street.”

As Christmas approaches, my heart breaks for the families who lost loved ones in Connnecticut and anywhere else violence has visited. My heart is saddened for the perpetrators, lost souls who themselves needed help.

We must take steps as a nation to curb gun violence. To me, this is simply part of the equation. We must also take steps to reach those isolated, ill and estranged members of society to offer the help needed, to weave them back into the tapestry that makes us a strong and diverse people.

Be a helper.

Katherine Bielawa Stamper lives in Williston. Reader comments are welcome at Editor@willistonobserver.com or LittleDetailsCol@yahoo.com.

Letter to the Editor

Maple Leaf Farm helps our neighbors

I am compelled to rebut the esteemed Dr. Nesbit’s remarks in the Dec. 13 Observer regarding Maple Leaf Farm locating in Williston.

I’m grieved by the “yes, we need this, but not in my backyard; perhaps we can hide the project deep in the forest… maybe out of our town… hidden from our conscience, anywhere but here” attitude. This is, at best, fear based through ignorance; at worst, prejudice (re: this issue) toward a significant universe of people from every walk of life.

Since 1956, Maple Leaf Farm has served over 28,000 people from throughout Vermont and about 14,000 people from Chittenden County. Numbers from each town vary each year, but last year Maple Leaf Farm served eight people from Williston. Many of us have moms, dads, relatives and friends (if not ourselves) who have directly benefitted from counseling at Maple Leaf Farm. These numbers explode when adding the lives of all those changed lives.

Maple Leaf Farm is not a prison, it’s a treatment program. Residents are there voluntarily and have medical staff, counselors and supervisors available 24/7. Patients are involved in a rigorous program that runs from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Even recreation is supervised. Schools and the Interstate are two to four miles away. No patient in the program has threatened a child in its 56-year history.

The proposed site at Pine Ridge is indeed “a serene setting,” very conducive to rehabilitation and renewal of the spirit. There are walking trails, brooks meander between steep ridges, mature forest is complemented with lush wetlands. All combine to assuage and renew the spirit. Maple Leaf Farm’s proposed location is indeed a magical spot that has served many others with special needs.

I have faith in our Williston Planning Commission. They understand the difference between NIMBY concerns and what is legally provided for.

Jim McCullough


GUEST COLUMN: Transforming waste into sustenance

By Donna Barlow Casey and Justin Johnson

Last May, Vermont enacted legislation aimed at reducing the amount of solid waste the state sends to landfills while maximizing recycling and composting. The first of its kind in the country, Act 148 bans disposal of recyclables, yard waste and food residuals, and mandates the implementation of parallel recycling and composting programs statewide. This will enable us to significantly reduce the growth of our landfills, and enhance soil fertility through the application of compost.

In Vermont, approximately 160,000 tons of food waste is generated annually and only an estimated 20 percent is currently composted. Wasted food means wasted money for Vermont businesses and households, and unintended impacts to the environment through production, storage and transportation of food, and ultimate disposal of the waste in landfills.

Historically, the waste management system in Vermont has been driven by consumer convenience and large-scale operations. Food scraps have been mixed with garbage and carted to landfills, where their inherent value to replenish our soils is not only wasted but contributes to environmental degradation through emissions of greenhouse gases that are not captured at our operating landfills. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, up to 20 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, and landfills account for the single largest human-made source of methane in the earth’s atmosphere.

Vermont is in a unique position to lead the nation in diverting 100 percent of our food waste from landfills by 2020—reducing our ecological impacts and investing in our local agriculture movement. Act 148’s requirement to remove food from the waste stream begins in 2014 for large generators and will be required for all generators in 2020. Solid waste haulers and facilities will be required to offer collection services for those materials. This phased-in approach offers a window of time in which critical information about the process can be reviewed by local elected officials, businesses, non-profits, entrepreneurs, farmers and consumers.

Fortunately, we have a solid infrastructure in place for the redirection of safe, wholesome excess food or leftovers; it occurs through churches, food shelves and pantries. Local partnerships between generators (such as grocers, schools and food processors) and farmers also prevent unwanted food from going to waste. Additionally, a number of commercial and on-farm compost operations across the state, plus community and backyard composting, also have a foothold. This infrastructure forms a base upon which to build and expand a thriving food and nutrient redistribution system in our state. This can encompass the social, environmental and economic impacts related to collecting food residuals of all types and redirecting them in keeping with the hierarchy established in the legislation of reducing at the source, feeding hungry people, feeding animals and seeking industrial and compost uses before disposal.

With ongoing analysis, inclusive communication, and continued vigilance, we can reduce waste and use waste that is generated to rejuvenate our soils for increased food production, an improved environment and a healthier world.

Justin Johnson is the Deputy Commissioner of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. Donna Barlow Casey is the Director of Vermont Technical College’s Center for Sustainable Practice.