October 26, 2014

On the Town Meeting Day ballot

Share

Voting by Australian ballot will take place March 5 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Armory. Absentee ballots are available at the Town Clerk’s office. Voters can weigh in on the following ballot items.

  • Adopt an $8,845,370 municipal budget. The budget represents a 4.4 percent increase from last year and would boost the tax rate by a penny to 24 cents per $100 of value.
  • Authorize the construction of a new Public Works facility and related improvements including land acquisition expenses at a total cost not to exceed $5,900,000 and to borrow money by issuance of notes or bonds to be financed over a period not to exceed twenty (20) years.
  • Elect incumbent Jeff Fehrs to a two-year term on the Selectboard. Fehrs, like all other candidates, is running unopposed.
  • Elect incumbent Jay Michaud to a three-year term on the Selectboard.
  • Elect incumbent Gerry Huetz to the Board of Listers.
  • Elect Jude Hersey to fill out the remainder of a term as a Dorothy Alling Memorial Library trustee. Hersey was appointed in 2012 to replace Bo Tur, who moved out of Williston.
  • Elect Brian Goodwin to a three-year term as a library trustee. Goodwin replaces Liz Jordan-Shook, who has been on the board for eight years.
  • The third library trustee position, a five-year term, is vacant. Former candidate Kathleen DeLuca withdrew from the race, and Jeff Dannies is running as a write-in candidate. Dannies needs at least 30 write-in votes. Dannies would fill the spot vacated by Pat Mardeusz, a board member since 2001.
  • Elect incumbent Kevin Mara to a two-year term on the Williston School Board.
  • Elect newcomer Kevin Brochu to a three-year term on the Williston School Board. Brochu replaces Chairwoman Holly Rouelle, who has been on the board for seven years.
  • Elect incumbent Champlain Valley Union High School Board member Jeanne Jensen to a three-year term.
  • Elect incumbent Champlain Valley Union High School Board member Polly Malik to a three-year term.
  • Adopt a Williston School District budget of $17,468,262.
  • Borrow $218,000 to purchase two Williston school buses.
  • Issue an $88,000 bond for lighting upgrades to Allen Brook School.
  • Adopt a Champlain Valley Union High School budget of $22,038,941, a 2.86 percent increase from the 2012-2013 budget.
  • Borrow $210,000 to purchase two CVU school buses.
  • Issue bonds of $328,600 to finance a boiler conversion from oil to natural gas, HVAC controls conversion to allow more local control and energy-efficient lighting upgrades financed interest-free by Green Mountain Power. Immediate savings from each project will cover the cost of installation and, in the case of the lighting upgrades, save additional money, said CVU Board Chairman David Rath.
  • Allocate CVU’s current fund balance of $154,000 to use in the school’s budget.

CVU gymnasts a whisker behind

Share
CVU gymnasts finished just behind state champs Essex at the state championship event Saturday. The final tally was 139.1 for Essex to the Redhawks’ 138.25.

CVU gymnasts finished just behind state champs Essex at the state championship event Saturday. The final tally was 139.1 for Essex to the Redhawks’ 138.25.

By Mal Boright 

Observer correspondent

Another late February Saturday, another ever-so-narrow nudging by the state champions in the crowning event.

The always hopeful—for good reason—Champlain Valley Union High gymnastics team came close, but for the second time in two years, bowed by less than a point to Essex High Saturday as the Hornets captured their eighth straight title at their gymnasium.

The final tally was 139.1 for Essex to the Redhawks’ 138.25. Last year it was even closer, the Hornets prevailing by a wisp, 139.35 to 139.15.

However, there were no drooping heads among coach Bob Abbott’s Red and White gymnasts following the final announcements.

CVU veteran senior Maddie Bourdeau, who has been part of four trips to the championship round, said the Redhawks had an overall better day than a year ago.

“The beam and bars were just great, the floor exercise not quite so good,” she said, an opinion shared by teammates.

Floor exercise, the final event for each team, was the decider with Essex, which held a slight 104.2 to 103.575 edge going in, maintaining the edge with all-around winner Courtney Gleason second and Karyn Svarczkopf first.

CVU junior Megan Nick was third, Bourdeau fourth and senior Sarah Kinsley sixth.

Nick, also first on the bars, second on the beam and fourth on the vault, was the meet’s all-around runner-up. Kinsley was sixth all around.

CVU trailed early when Essex nailed the vault, the initial event, behind Gleason’s spectacular 9.55.

CVU then made a comeback on the parallel bars with Nick winning, Kinsley taking sixth and Grace Carey seventh. The Hornets were pretty good, though, Svarczkopf second and Gleason third after CVU created a pressure situation for them.

“The bars and beam are the keys for us,” said Abbott after the bars competition. “We hit the bars, now the beam.”

And hit the four-inch wide balance beam they did. Mount Mansfield Union’s Avery Lind won the event, but Nick took second and Kinsley third with Gleason’s fifth the high Hornet competitor. For CVU there were hugs all around.

Last year’s hopes for the Redhawks had somewhat crashed on the beam and memories were long.

That pulled the Redhawks to within a point of the defending champs with floor exercise remaining.

“Essex is always strong in floor exercise,” said Abbott, as his team got ready for the closing event, with Essex to follow.

“It was good, but not our best,” the coach opined after the Redhawks finished. Essex then came through with a strong performance to clinch the crown.

Town plans for bike, pedestrian upgrades to Industrial Ave.

Share

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

As the state looks to improve the intersections on either end of Industrial Avenue, the town turned its attention to planning for the future of the road itself.

On Monday, the Selectboard unanimously approved a plan for the Industrial Avenue corridor, based on the recommendation of Stantec Consulting Services Inc.—a consulting firm hired by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission at the town’s request to conduct a planning study of the corridor—and the Planning Commission.

The corridor study, which began almost a year ago, aimed to help the town understand how well the road functions, given changing land use in the area. The study looked at how Industrial Avenue might develop in the future, and how the town might prepare for some of the changes.

At its previous meeting on Feb. 11, the board heard from Stantec Senior Project Manager Rick Bryant and CCRPC representative Christine Forde.

“The recommendations that have been made are really just for future implementation, not for immediate change,” Forde said.

Bryant said that with a formal plan in place for Industrial Avenue, the town could work with developers to get transportation improvements installed as part of development projects.

“Development has been happening along Industrial Avenue and there’s been an opportunity (for town benefits) from the development projects that have come forward, but without a plan, when those opportunities arose, no one knew what to ask for, and those opportunities slipped by,” Bryant said.

Currently, Industrial Avenue has one sidewalk on its northern side, beginning at Route 2A and ending at a crosswalk at Rossignol Park.

“There is no bike accommodation right now,” Bryant said. “You can get through there on a bicycle, but there’s not a designated spot for you.”

The study looked at three alternatives to improve Industrial Avenue.

The first included bike lanes and a sidewalk on one side of the street. The second option included bike lanes, sidewalks on both sides and additional traffic lights. The third strategy included bike lanes, sidewalks, signals and turn lanes.

Stantec proposed a hybrid alternative—bike lanes along the entire street, and sidewalks on both sides beginning at Route 2 and ending at Rossignol Park, where a sidewalk on the northern side would connect with the existing sidewalk.

Planning Director Ken Belliveau said the Planning Commission supported the hybrid strategy, recognizing that the town wouldn’t get much benefit from a continual turn lane or added signals.

Bryant said options are limited because the town has only a 50-foot right of way for Industrial Avenue, compared to the standard 64 feet. Adding a couple extra feet of right of way would, in some cases, mean that residents couldn’t park a second car in their driveways.

He added that pedestrian, bike and transit facilities would eventually help with traffic calming.

“When people start to see people crossing the road and riding the bus, they will begin to slow down,” Bryant said.

Tales from town meetings past

Share
Resident Bill Skiff poses with 'Gov. Thomas Chittenden.' Skiff is set to appear in historical skits before Town Meeting on March 4.

Resident Bill Skiff poses with ‘Gov. Thomas Chittenden.’ Skiff is set to appear in historical skits before Town Meeting on March 4.

Historical skits and potluck dinner to precede Town Meeting

 

By Phyl Newbeck

Observer correspondent

Residents who show up for Town Meeting an hour early can feast on a potluck dinner and witness what organizers have labelled “a whimsical and historically semi-accurate look at Town Meetings of the past.”

A cast of 15 in period costumes will portray different characters from Town Meetings in 1786, 1804 and 1850—bringing important issues of those years to life.

Town Clerk Deb Beckett credits Bill Skiff and Jim Heltz with the idea of the skits. The potluck is also a throwback to days gone by. Years ago, the Fire Department’s Ladies Auxiliary used to host a potluck or chili dinner on Town Meeting Day and roughly a decade ago, the town held a dessert social. Ginger Isham has been publishing old recipes in her column in the Observer, so organizers hope some of the food will be historically accurate. The March 4 potluck is set to begin at 6 p.m. at Williston Central School and at 6:30 the skits will commence, finishing in time to get residents to a more modern Town Meeting.

Skiff, Heltz and his daughter, Jackie Heltz, wrote the skits, using names taken from old town records. The names are accurate, but the dialogue spoken by the characters will not be historically exact. Jim Heltz researched Williston records to learn about some of the debates of the past and Skiff recalled discussions that took place in Cambridge, where he grew up and his father served as town moderator.

Skiff recalls one Town Meeting when his high school sociology teacher brought the class to Town Hall. He and his classmates sat in the balcony and watched as people went to the booths to vote on whether the town should be wet or dry. Since Cambridge was a small town, the students were pretty accurate in their assessment of the results. That debate will be recreated as one of the skits.

Skiff was responsible for casting the actors and actresses.

“I cast it with people who would fit the characters and would enjoy doing it,” he said. “It’s been fun because people are really getting into it. The ladies in the temperance skit are probably going to steal the show with their costumes.”

Keith Gaylord, a man with theatrical experience, has been cast as town moderator and Rep. Jim McCullough will play the role of Giles Chittenden. Town Moderator Tony Lamb will narrate the skits.

Jim Heltz described the skits as a form of dinner theater. The 1786 sketch will deal with road issues and the election of Williston’s first town moderator. That meeting was the first to be held in the state—previous Town Meetings were held in Huntington, N.Y. The 1804 skit will center on land surveying, and the 1850 one will pertain to temperance issues and will even include some singing. As narrator, Lamb will provide some historical perspective for each skit. Audience members will be provided with cue cards, prompting them to second motions being presented and to vote “yea” or “nay.”

“Some of the issues are serious,” said Heltz, “but it’s a very lighthearted look at Town Meeting and we try to keep it fun.”

Skiff recalled that Town Meeting used to be one of the biggest events of the year.

“Attendance has gone down from a packed house to just 100-plus people, so we’re hoping that through our promotion we may encourage people to come,” he said. “We’re also hoping to get people in the mood for the anniversary celebrations, which will take place later in the year.”

THIS WEEK’S POPCORN: ‘The Oscars, Kidnapped’

Share

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer

 

Dear Reader,

 

If this, my annual Oscar prediction column, has reached your eyes, I have been successful, and perhaps in some small way the causes of democracy and freedom will have been served. You see, I have been kidnapped. The vile event occurred just as I set about to forecast the winners of the 85th Annual Academy Awards. I ask you: What more heinous thing could one perpetrate on humankind?

 

Alas, to date, I know neither my abductors nor their purpose, though I have three theories: 1. A competing newspaper, jealous of my prognostications and protective of their film critic, is behind the deed. 2. A terrorist organization aiming to disrupt what has become an iconic American tradition is the ignominious culprit. 3. I’m making it all up as a shameless lead-in to my generally pathetic attempt at handicapping the awards.

 

In any case, assuming it’s one of the first two, I’m neither sure who my scurrilous hosts are nor where, in what land or place, I have been sequestered. Nevertheless, by timing the changing of the guard, at night I am able to sneak out and visit the little town below, a quaint hamlet reminding both in architecture and population of something from Dr. Seuss.

 

While I have adopted a favorite pub, I usually engage no one, as their conversation is entirely in rhyme, and I fear that just one suspect alliteration will give me away. Thus far, the tall striped hat I was able to procure and a simple ordering procedure—“Beer and whiskey, mighty risky”—have served me well. And it is here where I have met Tovarisch. Only you know, by reading this missive, if he has been true to his word.

 

Sidling up to me one night, but looking in another direction, in what sounded like an Eastern European inflection he furtively informed, “I have helped many film critics before…for, you know…to get Oscar picks to Free World. I have access to carrier pigeon, ham radio, and message in a bottle, as well as boat across channel with daring emissary. You can buy just one, but package deal is for sure best…one is bound to reach America.”

 

I went for the package deal. And while Tovarisch declined to accept my American Express card, noting the vig was too high, surprisingly he did take VISA. If you are indeed reading this, I can’t help but wonder which part of the package made it.

 

Meanwhile, my captors, who all kowtow to a Major Strasser and wear uniforms inspired by the Gestapo garb in “Casablanca” (1942), each day press me for my Academy Award choices. They assure me that, not only will it serve a good cause, but that it would also secure my freedom. I resist. To punish me, they repeatedly make me watch “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” (2012), “Anaconda” (1997) and some Chilean documentary.

 

When the vinegar doesn’t work, they try sugar by showing “Boom Town” (1940), “Sullivan’s Travels” (1941), “The Great McGinty” (1940) and other favorites. And, to further ply the carrot, I’m assured they have a perfect copy of “One Touch of Venus” (1948). But again, I defy them, not only because I believe in justice, democracy, the American way and my right to freely predict the Oscars. You see, the food is astonishingly good.

 

The chef, who prides himself on his knowledge of American cuisine, delivers the meals personally and we’ve had interesting conversations. Possessing an accent that’s an amalgam of every foreign-based customer service person I’ve spoken to on the telephone, he says his name is Chip. Admittedly, though, he’s a bit obsessed with mac ‘n’ cheese.

 

Yesterday, for instance, headlining above a hearty, steaming bowl of mushroom barley soup accompanied by French, multigrain baguette and the freshest of butters,  he presented a dish of mac ‘n’ cheese that, he informed, contained exactly 17 different cheeses, all of them originating from Third World countries.

 

The cheese progression started two weeks ago with just four cheeses, and with each lactic addition he urges me to identify the newest curd. I always say Limburger first, which routinely evokes a laugh accompanied by, “No, no Limburger…too smelly…you always say that.” I think I’m his only friend.

 

However, when I ventured to inquire why instead of just varying the cheeses, he didn’t also rotate the variety of pasta…perhaps an orecchiette one day, maybe a farfalle the next…you’d think I had spit on his mother and then his flag, whatever that may be. All of which suggests I shouldn’t postpone my escape. Thanks to Tovarisch and my VISA card, I’ve booked passage, carefully scheduled so I won’t miss Sunday Night’s bill of fare, featuring Chip’s stellar Chicken cordon bleu and kasha varnitchkes. Until then, mon ami, ‘tis a far, far better thing, and all of that. I pray the following list, albeit slightly stained from an errant bit of mac ‘n’ cheese and a splash of fruity red wine, safely reaches you.

 

Mike

 

Best Motion Picture of the Year: “Argo”; Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Daniel Day-Lewis for “Lincoln”; Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Jessica Chastain for “Zero Dark Thirty”; Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Tommy Lee Jones for “Lincoln”; Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Anne Hathaway for “Les Miserables”;  Best Achievement in Directing: Steven Spielberg for “Lincoln”; Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen: Mark Boal for “Zero Dark Thirty”; Best Writing, Screenplay based on Material Previously Produced or Published: David O. Russell for “Silver Linings Playbook”; Best Animated Feature Film of the Year: Tim Burton for “Frankenweenie”; Best Foreign Language Film of the Year: “Amour” (Austria); Best Achievement in Cinematography: Claudio Miranda for “Life of Pi”; Best Achievement in Editing: William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor for “ Zero Dark Thirty”; Best Achievement in Production Design: Eve Stewart, Ann Lynch-Robinson for “Les Miserables”; Best Achievement in Costume Design: Joanna Johnston for “Lincoln”; Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling: Peter King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey”; Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score: Thomas Newman for “Skyfall”; Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song: Adele, Paul Epworth, for “Skyfall.”; Best Achievement in Sound Mixing: Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes for “Les Miserables”; Best Achievement in Sound Editing: Paul N.J. Ottosson for “Zero Dark Thirty”; Best Achievement in Visual Effects: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik de Boer and Donald Elliott for “Life of Pi”; Best Documentary, Feature: Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn, “Searching for Sugar Man”; Best Documentary, Short Subject: Cynthia Wade, Robin Honan for “Mondays at Racine”; Best Short Film, Animated: David Silverman for “The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare”; Best Short Film, Live Action: Sam French, Ariel Nasr for “Buzkashi Boys.”

RECIPE CORNER: More 250th celebration recipes

Share

By Ginger Isham

Remember to attend the old-fashioned potluck supper on March 4 at 6 p.m., with live entertainment that you won’t want to miss! “Be there or be square,” as the saying goes!

 

Red Flannel Hash
(Colonial Cookbook)

2 cups cooked, corned beef, chopped (1 1/2 cups would work, can use canned also, but rinse)

2 cups boiled, chopped potatoes

1 cup cooked beets, chopped

3 tablespoons butter (may use less)

1/4 cup milk or cream

salt and pepper

Mix corned beef, potatoes and beets. Add salt and pepper. Melt butter in skillet. Add meat and veggies and pour milk/cream over all. Flatten hash in pan with spatula. Cook over low heat until one side is brown. May turn and brown other side—optional. Add more milk if mixture seems dry. May double recipe for a crowd.

 

Indian Custard Pudding
(A Vermont Cook Book)

2 1/2 tablespoons corn meal

2 tablespoons molasses  (or maple syrup)

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups milk

2 eggs, separated

Combine all ingredients but egg whites. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture. Bake in 35- degree oven for 35 – 45 minutes.

 

Baked Sweet Potatoes With Apples
(Open Hearth Cookbook)

2 and 1/2 cups boiled, sliced sweet potatoes

1/2 cup water

6 tablespoons butter (try 5)

2 cups apple slices (I prefer Macs that cook quickly)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

juice of 1 lemon

Boil white sugar, lemon juice and water 2-3 minutes. Add apples and cook until soft. Remove with slotted spoon, save syrup. Sprinkle a little of brown sugar in medium casserole dish. Arrange layer of sweet potatoes and apples. Dot with some of butter and sprinkle more brown sugar. Repeat layers. Stir. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

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

 

Hub Happenings

Share

St. George builders win energy efficiency award

Yandow Green Builders of St. George received a “Best of the Best” merit award earlier this month from Efficiency Vermont for energy efficient new home construction.

The winning home, located in Charlotte, was designed to meet the Passive House standard—which results in an ultra-low energy building—while using a modular construction approach.

The “Best of the Best” awards, given annually by Efficiency Vermont, recognize high achievement by architects, builders, and contractors using energy efficiency and sustainability practices to construct and renovate Vermont buildings.

 

Habitat announces ReStore staff

Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity announced its team at Vermont’s first Habitat for Humanity ReStore, located in Williston.

Jonathon Goldhammer is Habitat ReStore’s manager. Goldhammer has held past positions with Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity’s Weatherization Program and Bosch Thermotechnology.

“I enjoy developing strategies and partnerships to implement this new social enterprise,” he said

Dan Mullin, a 2012 graduate of Johnson State College, is the ReStore’s assistant manager. In addition to working with Habitat, Dan is a volunteer firefighter with Essex Fire and Rescue.

 

O’Brien joins Dusty Trail Realty 

Dusty Trails Realty, LLC announced that Williston realtor Cathy O’Brien has joined its agency. O’Brien ha more than 19 years of experience designing and building homes and has been professionally evaluating land for 25 years. O’Brien also co-owns development company Greenleaf.

 

CRW establishes scholarship

Construction equipment distributor Wood’s CRW established the Rod Dewyea Memorial/Wood’s CRW Scholarship to benefit students in Vermont Technical College’s Diesel Technology Program. The scholarship, to be awarded annually, honors Dewyea’s 33 years of service to Wood’s CRW; he passed away from lung cancer in 2011.

“Rod Dewyea was an exceptional heavy equipment service technician and a true professional,” said Chris Palmer, President of Wood’s CRW. “He was a mentor to many in our company and he was very well respected in his field. We wanted to keep his spirit and memory alive in our industry for his family, friends and colleagues.”

 

Staff changes at Vermont Ski Areas Association

The Vermont Ski Areas Association last week announced two staff changes for 2013. Kyle Lewis, formerly the marketing manager at Ski Vermont, has been promoted to the role of director of marketing, replacing Jason Gibbs, who stepped down in December. VSAA welcomed Hilary DelRoss on board to fill the marketing manager position.

 

Nominate outstanding businesses

The Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Vermont Business Magazine are accepting nominations until March 1 for outstanding Vermont businesses.

The Deane C. Davis Outstanding Business of the Year Award honors a Vermont business that shows an outstanding history of sustained growth while displaying an acute awareness of what makes Vermont unique.

Nominees and applicants can complete the nomination form online at http://jotform.us/form/30444195823151.

 

New coordinator at H.O.P.E. Works

H.O.P.E. Works, formerly known as Women’s Rape Crisis Center, announced in February that Tony Moulton moved into the newly created position of H.O.P.E. Works community relations coordinator. His most recent position with H.O.P.E. Works was as education coordinator. Moulton will be responsible for fundraising and development within Chittenden County.

 

Champlain College online program ranks high

U.S. News and World Report ranked Champlain College’s online degree program 54th out of 237 participating schools. U.S. News released its “2013 Best Online Education Report,” ranking online degree and distance learning programs.

 

New staff at HomeShare Vermont 

HomeShare Vermont recently welcomed Shannon Treacy and Lisa Meyer.

Treacy joined HomeShare Vermont as an intake and outreach assistant. Originally from upstate New York, she worked for four years at Achievements doing similar work.

Meyer, who joined HomeShare Vermont as a case manager, worked for five years with the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties and is a registered nurse.

 

Johnson joins Red Cross

Suzanne Johnson joined The Vermont & New Hampshire Upper Valley Region of the American Red Cross as its major gifts officer.

“The American Red Cross mission emphasizes the importance of ‘mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors’ in order to alleviate human suffering,” Johnson said. “I will be working very hard to ensure that Red Cross volunteers and the people they help have the support they need from the broader community,” Johnson added.

In addition to working as a realtor for several years, Johnson owned Tilley’s Café in Burlington.

 

Sanders proposes Tax Fairness Act

Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bill on Feb. 7 to stop profitable corporations from sheltering income in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens. The legislation also would end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs and factories overseas.

 

Julian partner at Gallagher, Flynn & Company

Gallagher, Flynn & Company recently announced that Steve Julian has been promoted to partner. Julian is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Northeastern University, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in accounting.

 

Staff changes at SymQuest

South Burlington-based SymQuest Group announced several recent staffing changes.

SymQuest hired Nicholas J. Knowlton as a new virtual chief information officer, Nancy C. Farrington as an account executive, Robert C. Whytock as a networking account executive, Paul C. Richard as a remote connectivity engineer, Danielle Quenneville as a client support representative, Lindsey R. Lehouillier as a contract administrator, Shawn Kelly as a field technician and Ryan LaRoche to SymQuest’s desktop application team.

SymQuest also announce the return of David Porterfield to his former position of Account Executive after five years of active military service, including one tour in Iraq and two tours in Afghanistan.

 

Vermont unemployment rate drops to 5.1 percent in December

The Vermont Department of Labor announced that the seasonally adjusted statewide unemployment rate for December 2012 decreased by one-tenth of a percent from the November to 5.1 percent. Vermont’s seasonally adjusted rate remains significantly lower than the national average of 7.8 percent.

“The Vermont economy had a strong ending to 2012,” said Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan. “The preliminary estimate of the annual 2012 unemployment rate is 5 percent, more than a full half of a percent lower than 2011. Vermont’s jobs data as reported by Vermont businesses is up over one percent, or three thousand jobs, from last year. The economic recovery, nationally and on the state level, has been slower than prior recessions; but progress is being made as evidenced by the 2012 data. We are optimistic that economic growth will continue in Vermont as businesses and job seekers gain confidence.”

 

LaPointe joins Hickok & Boardman

Karra LaPointe recently joined Hickok & Boardman Insurance as a commercial account manager. LaPoint has more than seven years of experience in the insurance industry. LaPointe previously worked as a commercial account manager for Willis Smith Bell & Thompson Inc.

THE HUB: Young entrepreneurs, get your pitches ready

Share

A new business pitch competition, LaunchVT, is “awarding cash prizes to young entrepreneurs who develop plans for a new business enterprise that demonstrates exceptional potential in today’s market,” according to its website.

The competition offers $20,000 in cash awards, $40,000 in in-kind support and mentor pairing.

LaunchVT is intended to develop connections between young professionals and Vermont’s entrepreneurial community, said Emily Piper of Burlington Young Professionals Group, a subset of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. Piper, along with Nick Grimley of insurance agency Hackett, Valine & MacDonald, cofounded LaunchVT.

“We wanted to show young professionals that we value them, want them to stay here and that there are opportunities to start businesses,” Piper wrote in an email to the Observer. “We know there are great ideas out there and we think LaunchVT will give them the educational, and other supports, they need to take it to the next level and promote economic growth in Vermont.”

To enter, companies must be in the early startup stages and headquartered in Vermont, though there are no concrete parameters.

Piper said LaunchVT has received 55 applications so far, including computer apps, engineering techniques and new products.

The deadline for applications is March 9. LaunchVT’s advisory board will choose the five best business ideas. The five will present their final pitches on May 31.

For more information, visit www.launchvt.com.

—Stephanie Choate, Observer staff

 

THE HUB: Salon Ink makes its mark

Share
Alicia Norton (left) and Sonia Martin recently opened Salon Ink. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

Alicia Norton (left) and Sonia Martin recently opened Salon Ink. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Painters have their brushes, musicians their instruments. Sonia Martin and Alicia Norton have their scissors.

“I just love the art aspect,” Martin said. “I’m an artist.”

Martin and Alicia Norton, who have been working in the hair industry for more than two decades combined, opened the doors of their own business, Salon Ink, in October.

The two-chair salon, with rows of multicolored dye bottles and Paul Mitchell products lining the bright teal walls, sees approximately 20 to 30 clients a week.

“We’re trying to grow it as we grow,” Martin said. “We both have young families, we’re both from Vermont and we’re finding ways to express ourselves and do our own thing.”

“It gives us the freedom to be ourselves,” Norton said of the new salon.

“To be a little bit more artistic,” Martin added.

Martin and Norton said they focus on fashion-forward hair, scouring the runways, fashion magazines, TV and the Internet for the latest trends.

“It’s an extension of the fashion industry,” Norton said. “What you see on the red carpet, we try to recreate.”

“We’re on the cutting edge of hair,” Martin said. “There’s a lot of hip people in Vermont, believe it or not.”

The pair said that lustrous red hair, along with loose waves, is becoming trendy as spring approaches. Ombre coloring—hair that gradually becomes lighter at the tips—is still popular as well.

“The best hairstyles come when I can just play,” Norton said. “Our clients, after years of coming to us, trust us enough to give a little bit of direction and let us go from there. Most of them say, ‘Do whatever you want, we trust you.’”

Burlington resident Mandy Russin—who hasn’t let anyone but Norton cut her hair for the past seven or eight years—said Norton’s and Martin’s creativity and on-trend styling sets them apart.

“They’re not worried to try something different, they’re not scared of anything,” Russin said. “They always have really great ideas. I think clients come to them with ideas rather than specifics.”

Lisa Imobersteg of South Burlington has left her hair to Martin for the past eight years.

“I don’t have any qualms about saying, ‘I don’t know what I want, do what you want to do,’ and it never has come out wrong,” she said.

Imobersteg said she loves the new salon.

“I just love the little personal atmosphere,” she said. “It’s a fun place to go. It’s nice and private and intimate.”

Although Salon Ink is new, Norton and Martin are no strangers to the business.

Norton started working in local salons in 2003, right after graduating high school.

“I have been playing with hair my whole life,” Norton said.

Martin went to O’Briens Institute, after considering a career in fashion design.

“I graduated at the top of my class and I’ve really not stopped trying to become a better hair dresser in my 12 years in the business,” she said.

Salon Ink is affiliated with Paul Mitchell—a professional hair care product manufacturer and salon educator—giving Martin and Norton constant access to training and seminars.

Aside from cuts and styling, the salon specializes in keratin treatment—a protein-based relaxing treatment for curly hair—and coloring.

Norton said people are excited to get their hair done, giving Salon Ink a “happy environment.”

“It’s not just about looking good, it makes people feel good, too,” she said.

 

Salon Ink is located in studio 13 of the Sola Salons building at 2141 Essex Road in Williston. Women’s cuts are $50, color begins at $50. Men’s cuts are $30 and children’s are $20.

Redhawks take unbeaten record toward season’s end

Share
Kaelyn Kohlasch holds onto the ball during the Feb. 15 game against Burlington. The Redhawks won 48-42. (Observer photo by Greg Duggan)

Kaelyn Kohlasch holds onto the ball during the Feb. 15 game against Burlington. The Redhawks won 48-42. (Observer photo by Greg Duggan)

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Standing 17-0 and at the top of Division 1 girls basketball playoff rankings following a 54-38 triumph over visiting North Country Union at Bremner Gymnasium Tuesday night, coach Ute Otley and her youthful Champlain Valley Union High Redhawks were poised for two serious challenges in the immediate evenings ahead.

First up on Friday night, a visit from a strong 13-4 Essex High combine hoping for payback for CVU’s 45-39 victory at the Hornets’ nest in late January. Essex pounded visiting St. Johnsbury Academy 57-31 Tuesday as former Willistonian Kari Lavalette notched her 1,000th career point.

Then comes Tuesday and a trip to Rice Memorial High. The Redhawks handed the 16-1 defending champion Green Knights their lone loss 48-44 at CVU on Feb. 1. On Tuesday, Rice rumbled past Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans, 60-35.

“These games are gigantic,” Otley said.

The triumph over the visiting 6-11 Falcons on Tuesday contained the usual Redhawk trademarks: gritty turnover-producing defense, finding open shooters, balanced scoring and the entire roster participating in meaningful ways.

After falling behind 7-3 in the first quarter, CVU used an 11-0 spurt to close out the period and fuel a 21-9 second reel onslaught that piled up a 35-14 advantage by intermission. Eight Redhawks scored and four notched assists in that productive half.

The aggressive, trapping defense produced nine NCU turnovers in the second period alone, allowing the Hawks to outdo the Falcons in shot attempts 17-10.

By games’ end, CVU had 53 shots (20 connects) to 41 (16 made) for North Country.

Emily Kinneston had another of her zesty all-around games with 12 points, five steals, four rebounds and at least one assist. Also in double figures scoring-wise were freshmen Sadie Otley and Laurel Jaunich, with 10 points each. Otley went all Intercontinental with a trio of treys.

Senior Taylor Goldsborough led the rebounding crew with six grabs in about 16 minutes of action. She also had two assists on nifty inside-out set-up passes.

CVU’s leading helper was guard Kaelyn Kohlasch, with four assists to go with five points and a pair of steals.

Last Friday night, the Hawks squeezed past a rambunctious and hefty 11-6 Burlington High five, 48-42 at a fired-up Hinesburg nest.

Kinneston was immense with 22 points, six rebounds and five thefts while Jaunich and Amanda Beatty each had four rebounds in difficult inside work against the physical Seahorses.

In the backcourt, Kohlash notched five assists and three steals. Senior Elspeth Grasso had a solid fourth quarter while ringing up three assists for the night.

CVU has three games remaining in the regular season before heading into the playoffs. Friday night’s game against Essex is set for 6:30 p.m. at CVU.