October 23, 2016

RECIPE CORNER: Manna for the early settlers

By Ginger Isham


History tells us that in 1784, Captain Charles Sias and two friends traveled what they thought was two miles through wilderness in Danville with a sled carrying the Sias children and items to a new cabin. Leaving the children, they again traveled what became eight miles back the next day, bringing the mother and rest of the family. One more trip finished bringing all they needed to set up house. If not for the Indians showing them how to make maple syrup, they would have died of starvation that winter. Could that be the beginning of Vermonters’ reputation as hardy, independent people rising above all odds?


Maple Syrup Dessert Sauce

1 cup maple syrup (medium or dark amber)

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup evaporated milk

1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Bring maple syrup and butter to a boil in saucepan and cook for three minutes. Cool and stir in milk and nuts. Delicious over vanilla ice cream or a plain cake, or both.


Butternut Pie

1 cup milk

1 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon butter

3 eggs, separated

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

pinch of salt

1/2 to 3/4 cup butternut pieces or other nuts


Heat milk and maple syrup in saucepan and let it cook a minute or two, nevermind how it looks! Add butter. Beat egg yolks with flour, cornstarch and salt. Add to the syrup mixture and cook until thick. Stir in nuts. Cool and pour into a baked 8-inch piecrust. Make a meringue of egg whites, adding 2-3 tablespoon sugar. Spread on top of pie filling and brown in oven. Whipped cream is better.

It is a rich pie that took very little time to make compared to the couple of hours I spent taking the nut pieces from the hard shells. The yield was 2 cups nut pieces. This did not include the time it took to crack the shells, which was done in the farm garage. I learned all over about patience and how haste makes waste. But I was a happy cook when a local gal gave me a pail of butternuts last year! I got to experience what the cooks of long ago had to endure when making a meal for their family!

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


Redhawk girls have a blast to gain hoop crown

The Champlain valley Union High School girls basketball team celebrates after clinching the Division 1 championship and completing a perfect season.

The Champlain valley Union High School girls basketball team celebrates after clinching the Division 1 championship and completing a perfect season.

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

Call it the burst tactic.

Among their 23 victories in 23 games—including their first Division 1 state title since 1987—the Champlain Valley Union High girls basketball Redhawks would often take over contests with extended point splurges of eight to 18 points, leaving foes in the dust.

The burst that propelled the Redhawks to Monday night’s 47-42 win over Rice Memorial at the University of Vermont’s Roy L. Patrick Gymnasium in the Division 1 crowning test was a quick five-point detonation with a mere three-plus minutes remaining in a nerve-rattling final quarter.

The fiver snapped a 32-32 deadlock—the third and final lead change—to put CVU ahead for good despite some serious pushback by Rice’s veterans of its 2011 and 2012 championship triumphs over the red and white.

It was junior Emily Kinneston, Vermont’s Gatorade Player of the Year, who set off the critical eruption. Vexed by a 0-11 shooting off night (to that point), Kinneston cranked up a three-point bam that brought an earsplitting roar from the sea of red-clad followers jammed into the bleacher seats behind the CVU bench.

“Coaches told me to keep shooting,” Kinneston said, acknowledging she had a good look on the trey try.

Just seconds later, backcourt mate Kaelyn Kohlasch made a larcenous steal of the ball from a Rice guard at center court and sped in for a layup that boosted the CVU lead to 37-32. There was 2:49 remaining on the clock and thrills aplenty to come, but CVU had its third and largest lead of the night and followers thinking that victory was indeed possible after the Green Knights had generally the better of play to that point.

Rice’s junior point guard Hailee Barron, who, despite four fouls, unloaded 10 fourth quarter points to keep Rice alive and hooping, quickly responded with a three-point cord-snapper of her own.

CVU’s forward Amanda Lougee then meshed a baseline jumper—her lone hoop—after taking a pass from Sadie Otley. Now there was 2:17 remaining.

“That basket by Amanda was huge,” said Coach Ute Otley.

Another critical point for which Kinneston again had the solution came with CVU up 41-38 with but 36 seconds left. Kinneston leaped high and over all bodies to grab the rebound of a missed CVU free throw and was immediately fouled by big Cassidy Durda, the fifth and disqualifying foul for the Rice center (9 points, 11 rebounds). Kinneston nailed both charity tosses. (She hit seven straight from the line down the stretch.) That made it 43-38. Barron, still on fire, again canned a threebie, but Kinneston swished another two free flips and that pretty much did it.

In a very atypical first half for the Redhawks, Rice rolled to a 20-9 lead by forcing CVU turnovers and getting an inside game that got nine points from forward Tomi Akinpetide, plus six from Durda. CVU, crippled by 10 turnovers, went a shaky 26 percent from the floor, hitting but five of 19 shots. Rice was also 26 percent, but on seven-of-26 shots.

“Rice played very good defense and worked our guards, so we had trouble setting up our offense,” said coach Otley.

Just when things looked darkest, the Redhawks ran off the final eight points of the first half, with Sadie Otley lighting the flame with a trey and a deuce as CVU got to within 20-17 by intermission.

In the third period, Barron picked up her fourth personal foul early and had to take a seat on the Rice bench. CVU got in front for the first time 24-23 on a Laurel Jaunich shot (assist to Sadie Otley) with 3:55 left in the reel.

After that, it was two for the seesaw until Kinneston unloaded in the late stages of the game.

Kinneston may have had a difficult shooting night early, but as is typical of her game, she found other chores to help the cause such as a team-high 13 rebounds, the theft of four round pieces of leather from the Knights, and a team-high three assists.

Sophomore Carolyn Snell, not big but quick, had a game-high 16 rebounds for Rice.

CVU had three players scoring in double figures, including Kinneston (12), Otley (11) and Kohlasch (10). Jaunich worked for six point, six rebounds, two assists and two blocked shots.

CVU is the first top-seeded team to carry on to the title since Bellows Falls Union High in 2003. That Terrier team was also the last undefeated Division 1 champ.

It was a nifty last hurrah for seniors Taylor Goldsborough (4-5 from the line), Alexandra Krupp (CVU’s first hoop) and Elspeth Grasso (2 rebounds).

In knocking out a young Burlington High team in last Thursday’s semifinal at the Patrick Gym, the Redhawks opened a 15-point lead (45-30) with five-and-a-half minutes to go before the 15-8 Seahorses, fired up by some three-point blasts, made it close in the final minutes before CVU emerged with a 53-47 win.

Kinneston led the Redhawks with 14 points while adding three assists, three rebounds and three steals. Kohlasch and Jaunich each tallied nine points while Sadie Otley notched eight and Krupp fired in seven.

Goldsborough hauled in 10 rebounds and passed off for three assists while grabbing three steals.

CVU hit 19 of 48 shots for 39.6 percent while losing the battle of the boards to the bigger Seahorses, 38-29.

Reserve Ajla Medic led BHS with 21 points including three of its five treys.


Championship Box Score

Rice Memorial (42)

Snell, 0 1-2 1; Akinpetide, 3 4-6 10: Derda, 4 1-2 9; Avonda, 1 2-2 5; Barron, 5 2-4 15; Bolger, 0 2-2 2; Zuk, 0 0-0 0; Doe, 0 0-0 0; Cirignano, 0 0-0 0.

Totals: 13 12-18 42


CVU (47)

Lougee, 1 0-0 2; Kinneston, 1 9-12 12; Beatty, 0 0-0 0; Krupp, 1 0-0 2; E. Grasso, 0 0-0 0; Kohlasch, 4 0-1 10; Otley, 4 1-2 11; Jaunich, 2 1-2 6; Grevatt, 0 0-0 0; Goldsborough, 0 4-5 4.

Totals: 13 15-22 47


Rice 12 8 7 15 – 42

CVU 9 8 10 20 – 47



Semi-final Box Score (March 14)

Burlington High (47)

O. Maher, 0 0-0 0; Garrison, 1 0-0 3; I. Maher, 2 4-6 8; Pidgeon, 4 1-2 10; Black, 1 0-0 2; Medic, 6 6-7 21; Morris, 1 1-2 3; Thach, 0 0-0 0.

Totals: 15 12-17 47


CVU (53)

Lougee, 1 0-0 2; Kinneston, 5 4-4 14; Beatty, 0 0-0 0; Krupp, 3 1-2 7; E. Grasso, 0 0-0 0; Otley, 3 1-4 8; Jaunich, 3 3-4 9; Kohlasch, 2 5-6 9; Goldsborough, 1 0-2 2; Grevatt, 1 0-0 2.

Totals: 19 14-22 53


BHS 10 4 15 18 – 47

CVU 13 11 15 14 – 53

Boys ice Redhawks look to next winter

Redhawk Hoyt McCuin takes on one of the Rebels during last Wednesday’s championship game, which top-seeded South Burlington won 4-2. For more photos. visit the Web Extras section. (Observer photos by Glenn Fay Jr.)

Redhawk Hoyt McCuin takes on one of the Rebels during last Wednesday’s championship game, which top-seeded South Burlington won 4-2. For more photos. visit the Web Extras section. (Observer photo by Glenn Fay Jr.)

The 2012-2013 Champlain Valley Union High boys’ hockey team began the season in the rugged Metro Division 1 campaign with four seniors aided and abetted by tender youth.

Now, after playing their way to a 15-5-3 record and a charge into the Division 1 championship contest—where top-seeded 21-2 South Burlington scored a 4-2 victory in a solid contest—the Redhawks have good reason to be optimistic for the coming year.

In last Wednesday’s title contest, the Rebels captured their first Division 1 crown and second triumph in a fortnight over CVU. South Burlington blanked the Hawks 3-0 in the annual CSB Cup—the two teams come out of the same youth program—at Cairns Arena.

Thus, the contests in which the two teams meet could be named Buddy Bowls. As is well known and proven by Rebels and Hawks, friends can be the toughest competitors against each other.

CVU, coming off a 3-0 semifinal victory at second-seeded Essex, took a 2-2 deadlock into the third period. The Rebels’ Matt Baechle broke the tie with nine minutes and seven seconds gone and then assisted teammate Gabe Simpatico’s empty net tally with 31 seconds remaining.

South Burlington scored the first goal, just under eight minutes into the initial reel.

Kirk Fontana, from Hoyt McCuin and Bendan Gannon, tied it with 2:17 elapsed in the second stanza. The Rebs’ Connor O’Toole launched a power play goal with 11:45 gone in the second period to put SBHS up 2-1.

CVU’s Jake Garrett tied the game a little more than two minutes into the closing canto, assists going to the Keelan brothers, Ryan and Pat.

McCuin took a cut on the forehead in the first period, but soldiered on after getting treatment from Redhawks’ trainer Tony Lora.

Greg Talbert, in the CVU net, made 18 saves while the Rebels’ David Streeter had 17.

Defenseman and CVU captain Alex Bulla gave up his body to block SBHS shots on three occasions, while Gannon had a pair of blocks.

Each team had just one penalty.

The game drew a crowd of 3,902.

—Mal Boright, Observer correspondent


Sports Roundup


She is not one of those point-a-second scoring machines, but she is busy, busy, busy on the court for the 23-0 Champlain Valley Union High girls’ Division 1 basketball champs.

That describes junior Emily Kinneston, recently named Vermont’s Gatorade Player of the Year based on athletic prowess, academic performance and good character.

“Emily is very deserving,” said coach Ute Otley, noting that while Kinneston is not a huge scorer (she led CVU with 12.8 points per game) that as a complete player she does much for the team, including rebounds, assists and steals.

“On our team our scoring is spread out, but she does so much for us,” Otley said.

In the classroom, Kinneston has a 3.9 grade point average. She also volunteers for various charitable causes such as literacy outreach, Special Olympics and youth camps.



Presque Isle, Me. and its Nordic ski facility are probably a-okay with Champlain Valley Union High Nordic skier Taylor Spillane.

Spillane won the 5k and 7.5k events this past weekend in the Eastern Interscholastic Nordic Ski Championships in the Pine Tree State.

The Vermont team retained the title it also won a year ago.

A busy Spillane also found time and the energy to help the co-ed Vermont relay team win its race.

Spillane’s CVU teammate, Autumn Eastman, also had a solid performance. She was runner-up in freestyle, third in classic and fourth in the 1.5k sprint.

In team standings, Vermont was followed by Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York, in that order.



Two veterans of the trenches for the Champlain Valley Union High football team have been named to the 2013 Vermont Shrine football team, which will meet its New Hampshire counterparts in the August Maple Sugar Bowl game of graduated seniors.

Lineman Alec Distler and linebacker Harvey Ottinger will suit up for the Green Mountain State team to be coached by Burrand Burton Academy’s Jason Thomas.

“They are both very deserving,” said CVU coach Jim Provost.

—Mal Boright, Observer correspondent


Hub Happenings

NEFCU donates to Vermont Children’s Hospital

Earlier this month, Bill Smith of New England Federal Credit Union presented a check for $26,453 to the Vermont Children’s Hospital. Funds were raised during the annual Big Change Roundup, in which “change bandits” in Vermont collected loose change and donations from their friends, family and members of the community. All proceeds from the Big Change Roundup benefit patients and families served by Vermont Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care.

The Big Change Roundup began in January and ended on March 11. NEFCU staff challenged its 85,000 members to join in the fundraising.


Special Olympics awards Lenny’s

Special Olympics Vermont recognized Lenny’s Shoe and Apparel with its 2012 Fundraising Organization of the Year award during its annual awards banquet.

In 2012, Lenny’s ran a promotion in conjunction with the timing of the Olympic Games in London that raised $12,000 for Special Olympics Vermont.

“Lenny’s Shoe and Apparel was a wonderful partner for Special Olympics Vermont in 2012 and we hope that this relationship continues for many years to come,” said Lisa DeNatale, president and CEO of Special Olympics Vermont. “We are thrilled that we are able to partner with local businesses for the mutual benefit of both parties which is exactly what happened with Lenny’s.”


DuBois & King honored, hires Davis

Iris Davis recently joined consulting engineers DuBois & King Inc. as a mechanical designer at the firm’s Williston office. A recent graduate of the Vermont Technical College, Davis earned two Bbachelor’s degrees, one in architecture and one in sustainable design and technology, as well as an associate’s degree in architecture and building technology.

DuBois & King received top honors earlier this month for three projects entered in the 2013 Engineering Excellence Awards.


VPR wins 2013 Gracie Award

Vermont Public Radio has been honored with a 2013 Gracie Award. Upper Valley and Northeast Kingdom reporter Charlotte Albright was recognized in the outstanding hard news feature category for her story, “Female Veterans Cope With Harassment At New VA Center.”

The Gracies are presented by the Alliance For Women In Media and honor outstanding national and local work “created for women, by women and about women, as well as individuals who have made exemplary contributions to the industry.”


Berger makes all-stars list

Burlington-based firm Dinse, Knapp & McAndrew, P.C. recently announced that Ritchie E. Berger was included in BTI Consulting’s list of The 2013 BTI Client Service All-Stars, in the area of Complex Litigation.

BTI Client Service All-Stars are selected from reviews by corporate counsel at the world’s largest business organizations, including the Global 500 and Fortune 1000. Berger is one of 307 attorneys nationwide and the only Vermont attorney selected.


Wings Over Vermont Air Show canceled 

The Vermont National Guard Charitable Foundation announced last week that the Wings Over Vermont Air Show scheduled for Aug. 10-11 has been canceled. After studying the impact of sequestration on the air show, the foundation determined that it is no longer feasible to continue. The U.S. Air Force Demonstration Team, the Thunderbirds, were scheduled to headline the show.

On March 1, the Department of Defense directed the Air Force, and all the services, to cancel aviation support to public events for the remainder of the fiscal year. Additionally, the Air Force canceled the Thunderbirds’ entire 2013 season beginning April 1.

“The Foundation is deeply disappointed to cancel Wings Over Vermont,” said Phil Murdock, Chairman of the Wings Over Vermont Air Show.


Williston business hosts Homebuilders social

Vermont Custom Closets and Otter Creek Awnings & Sunrooms in Williston hosted the monthly Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Northern Vermont business social earlier this month. The mixer brought together over 60 members in the building and remodeling business community to meet and celebrate Otter Creek Awnings and Vermont Custom Closets’ newly remodeled showrooms.


Grant for hops research goes to UVM-Extension

The Vermont Brewers Association recently awarded a $20,000 grant to the University of Vermont Extension Program for hops research.

The award will be used to purchase an ultraviolet spectrophotometer and peripheral equipment and to set up a specialized lab for testing the various attributes of hops. The University of Vermont will have someone operate the lab and maintain the equipment. Right now the program has to send the hops grown in its research yards out to a contractor in Washington State for testing.


Five new members on UVM Board of Trustees

Three legislative trustees, a medical student and a gubernatorial appointee have been named to the UVM Board of Trustees for terms that started March 1.

The new legislative trustees, elected by the Vermont General Assembly for six-year terms, are Jeff Wilson, Sarah Buxton and Anne O’Brien. They succeed Harry Chen, Donna Sweaney and Jeanette White, while Carolyn Dwyer, who was appointed to a six-year term by Gov. Peter Shumlin, succeeds Jeff Davis. New student trustee Raj Thakrar was selected to a two-year term.

Robert Cioffi was re-elected to another one-year term as board chair at a special board meeting on March 11. Deborah McAneny was elected vice chair and Joan Lenes was elected secretary in February.


Platzer joins United Way

Alyson Platzer recently joined the staff of United Way as the Neighbor Rides coordinator. Neighbor Rides is a newly launched program to connect volunteer drivers with seniors and those with disabilities to help them get to medical appointments, grocery stores, adult day centers and other destinations.

Platzer served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay and as an education and food security consultant for Washington, D.C.-based firms.


Hunger Free Vermont awarded

The Food Research and Action Center awarded the Dr. Raymond Wheeler/ Senator Paul Wellstone Anti-Hunger Advocacy Leadership Award to Hunger Free Vermont earlier this month in Washington, D.C. The award is given each year to an advocate who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the fight against hunger.

“Not only does Hunger Free Vermont work effectively within the state to create change, but the organization also has made it a priority to mentor other anti-hunger organizations in New England and across the country,” said Jim Weill, FRAC president. “FRAC is proud to honor their work in Vermont and to call them a partner in our work to end hunger.”


SymQuest hires engineers

Symquest Group recently made several new hires: Tyler D. Brown as a level 2 field support engineer; Daniel J. Eyer as a project engineer and Rich Sheffer as a field support engineer.


Small business owners opposed to gas tax hike

Small business owners in Vermont overwhelmingly oppose raising the gas tax as a way to pay for transportation improvements, according to a new survey by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

According to the survey, 94 percent of respondents oppose raising the per-gallon tax on gasoline and 92 percent oppose a four-percent sales tax on the total purchase, 98 percent say that policymakers should stop taking money out of the transportation fund for non-transportation related spending.


Vermont Information Technology Leaders appoints project manager 

Vermont Information Technology Leaders appointed Craig Hill as project manager earlier this month.

The Winooski resident worked as a temporary employee at the health information exchange organization for the past six months. Prior to entering the information technology industry, Hill was a business owner and project manager in the residential building industry for more than a decade.

THE HUB: Dancing with plants

Just Dancing Gardens & Greenhouse owner Sabrinajoy Milbury. (Observer photo by Marianne Apfelbaum)

Just Dancing Gardens & Greenhouse owner Sabrinajoy Milbury. (Observer photo by Marianne Apfelbaum)

By Marianne Apfelbaum

Observer staff

A wide, grass-green streak of hair is the first hint that Sabrinajoy Milbury is not your garden-variety business owner. “When I work with plants, I feel as if I am dancing with them. Sometimes I am the leader, sometimes they are,” she wrote on her blog in explanation of the naming of her company, Just Dancing Gardens & Greenhouse in Williston.

The dance began 16 years ago, when Milbury decided to start her own business after stints as an office worker, home daycare owner, Mary Kay consultant and volunteer at her daughter’s school in its gardening program, which she created, and where she enjoyed sharing her knowledge and passion for gardening with the children.

“I loved going around to different classrooms with my little cart…building gardens…planting trees,” she said.

After participating in “Growing Places,” a Women’s Agricultural Network program designed for women interested in starting or growing an agricultural-based business, Milbury set up shop in her South Burlington backyard, where she built a local following of both gardening enthusiasts and those with brown thumbs. “I don’t have a green thumb, but I wanted lots of plants,” says Leslie Holman, a Shelburne resident and one of Milbury’s longtime customers.

Holman brings her pots to Milbury every spring—“Isn’t it Sabrina time yet?” she laughs—and as Milbury’s clients often describe it, “Lets her do her magic.”

Milbury’s potted plant creations are “visually and aesthetically phenomenal. They are a mélange of textures. I could never recreate that,” says Holman. “It’s her love of flowers that does it. She literally brightens my life. It is the highlight of my spring when I bring her my pots.”

The art of gardening

Milbury agrees that her approach to her work is a unique one. “I am an artist. I use plants and soil as my medium.”

Her “paints” are an eclectic and broad collection of high quality flowering and vegetable plants, many of which are not the norm at other garden centers.

“One of my favorite plants is crossandra. I adore this plant and haven’t seen it anywhere else,” she says. “It has amazing orange flowers with shiny, glossy leaves and it flowers all through the summer.”

Milbury says one advantage she provides to customers is that she has more flexibility as a small grower to carry these types of unusual plants. If she sees or hears about a plant that intrigues her, she says, “I’m just gonna try this plant!”

She is very selective about what she offers. “The only zucchini worth growing is Costata Romanesco,” she asserts. “It is firmer and less watery (than other types) with a nutty flavor, not as seedy, just yummy.”

She also speaks admiringly about the benefits of container gardens. “I love the convenience of them. You don’t have to kneel or weed. They are easier to maintain and move around. In this business, a lot of what you do is move plants.”

Growing business

After more than a dozen years, 57-year-old Milbury’s business was so successful it began outgrowing her backyard greenhouse, so she started looking to move her business. A friend referred her to Mike Isham, who runs the Isham Family Farm on Oak Hill Road in Williston. She visited the farm in August of 2011 and said she immediately thought, “Oh, this is a pretty cool place.”

She and Isham worked out an agreement and she opened her greenhouse behind the Isham barn last spring. For his part, Isham says he likes Milbury’s “positive and outgoing” personality and that she offers “much higher quality” and is not trying to compete with Wal-Mart or Home Depot.

Just Dancing is the first in what Isham hopes will be a series of collaborations on the farm to create an “agricultural center for Williston. I don’t want people to think of Williston as just a shopping center,” he says.

Milbury is happy to be on board. “The Isham family has welcomed me with open arms. I love this family. It’s a great place to be.”

Just Dancing Gardens & Greenhouse will open for the season on April 24 and will be open Wed. – Sat. 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. However, there will be a hanging basket workshop on March 24. The business is located behind the Isham Family Farm barn at 3515 Oak Hill Road in Williston. Phone: 863-3530. Website: www.justdancinggardens.com.


A potted Vancouver Centennial geranium. (Observer photo by Marianne Apfelbaum)

A potted Vancouver Centennial geranium. (Observer photo by Marianne Apfelbaum)

Library Notes

Youth News

Spanish Stories and Music

Friday, March 22, 10:30 a.m. Spanish rhymes, books and songs for children up to age 6. Free. Presented by Constancia Gomez.

Teen Movie

Thursday, March 28, 4 p.m. Scaling the Cliffs of Insanity, battling Rodents of Unusual Size, facing torture in the Pit of Despair—true love has never been easy. Rated PG. Free popcorn.

Food For Thought Teen Group

Thursday, April 4, 4 p.m. Grade 7-12. Pizza, discussion and library projects for teens. First Thursday of each month. New members welcome.

Toddler Yoga and Stories

Three-week series. Fridays, 10:15 a.m. (April 5-19). Simple yoga and books for children ages 1-5. Presented by Karen Allen. Pre-register at 878-4918.

Story Time and Crafts

Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Each story time features a different theme and a simple craft activity for children ages 3-5. Free. No pre-registration.

Bubble Trouble! 

Saturday, April 6, 1 p.m. Jeff Boyer takes bubbles to the max in this one-man bubble extravaganza. Join us for comedy, music and interactive bubble magic. All ages. Free. Sponsored by Friends of the Library. Children 8 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

Reading with Frosty and Friends Therapy Dogs

Tuesdays, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Bring a book and read to a dog! All dogs registered with Therapy Dogs of Vermont.  All ages. Call 878-4918 to pre-register for 10-minute individual sessions.


Adult Programs 

Book Discussion Series: ‘The Richer Sex’ by Liza Mundy

Monday, April 8 at 6:30 p.m. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the “Feminine Mystique.” What issues are women facing now? Discussions led by Barbara Mieder, long-time Vermont Humanities scholar, library trustee and former teacher. Preregister at 878-4918, copies available for loan.  Open to all adults.

Brown Bag Book Club 

Friday, April 19 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Looking to meet others who love to discuss books? This month, we will discuss “Peace Like River” by Leif Enger. Coffee, tea, juice and dessert provided. Open to all adults.

How to Download and Use Listen Up Vermont 

Monday, March 25, 6:30 p.m. Virgil Fuller teaches how to download eBooks and audio books from start to finish using Listen Up Vermont. Pre-registration helpful. Please call 878-4918.

Story Crafters: Using Stories to Create Important Social Change

Wednesday, April 3 at 6:30 p.m. Mark Redmond works for homeless and at-risk teens and young adults as director of Spectrum Youth & Family Services. He has been at the forefront of some important legislative changes in Vermont, which have improved conditions for this population, and his use of stories has played an important part in this. Statistics and fact sheets and data are important, but it is the real life stories of young people that often drive social change.

Aging Gracefully 101

Wednesday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m. Nancy Somers presents the latest research on brain health, what it takes to maintain high-level health and wellbeing. Explore how to eliminate senior moments and add zest to every area of your life! Preregister at 878-4918.


New titles at the library

New DVDs

The 2013 Oscar winners and nominees are arriving! We already have “Argo,” “Anna Karenina,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Searching for Sugar Man” and “The Master.” More will be arriving soon!

New Non-Fiction

In “Remedy and Reaction,” author Paul Starr explores how health care became such treacherous terrain in American politics.

New Fiction

Joyce Carol Oates’ newest title, “The Accursed,” is an eerie, unforgettable story of possession, power and loss in early-twentieth-century Princeton, a cultural crossroads of the powerful and the damned.

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


LITTLE DETAILS: Small acts of compliance… and defiance

By Katherine Bielawa Stamper


“I’m sorry, Miss. You can’t bring your coat in here,” the attendant whispered. “You must check it in the cloakroom.”

This was my initiation to the Jagiellonian University Library. As a recently arrived exchange student, I found myself navigating a Polish university in the waning days of communism. Martial law forced pro-democracy efforts underground. Shortages were a way of life.

Raised to be a rule follower, I entered a world where government edicts seemed nonsensical. Why couldn’t I take photos at the train station? Why were ration cards required to buy a measly piece of meat? Why did I have to pay to use a public restroom? Why did the babushkas attending restrooms mete out Lilliputian scraps of toilet paper?

These questions weighed on my 19-year-old American brain. That said, humans are adaptable. I learned the norms of living in a communist state. When passing a store with a line, I instinctively jumped in to secure my place, like a Pavlovian pup. Only then, did I ask, “Co jest?” (“What is it?”). I stamped my feet in the cold and endured drizzling rain while queued for kielbasa, wine, toilet paper or, perhaps, some bonus chocolate. Only children received ration cards for chocolate—that was the government’s rule. I accepted that items might run out before my turn. I carried a wad of toilet paper with me—always.

I’d passed the Jagiellonian Library several times before, looking forward to studying in its hallowed space. Among its 6.5 million volumes were precious cultural treasures in a country that lost so much to pillaging invasionary armies. The Jagiellonian housed medieval manuscripts, Copernicus’ “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium” (“On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres”) and intricately decorated prayer books owned by Poland’s long-ago kings and queens.

Jagiellonian University was founded in 1364, nearly three centuries before Harvard. The library, however, was a relative youngster on campus. Large block numbers etched over its entrance read 1939—the year Germany invaded Poland and closed the university, forcing it underground. So many Polish academics were murdered. To me, the 1939 stood in defiance of brutal Nazi aggression.

Mustering the courage to crack this Polish nut, I determined to settle in for my first study session. I entered the library’s main floor, breezed past the coat check and ascended stairs to the hallowed reading room.

I was greeted by long wooden tables lined in rows and the distinctive aroma of books, thousands of books. Quiet permeated the space. Students hunched over their work, heads leaning into arcs of illumination from reading lamps. I proceeded quietly, settling into a seat near the back of the room.

I removed my jacket and extracted from my backpack a book, notebook and pen. I then heard footsteps on the smooth wooden floor and realized they were coming towards me. It was then that the attendant approached to inform me of my aberration.

A few Polish heads looked up at me from their books. This is exactly what I didn’t want to happen. I wanted to blend in. I didn’t want to be the Amerykanka (American) who was breaking rules.

Repacking my freshly unpacked book, notebook and pen, I stepped ever-so-quietly to the cloakroom, handing my jacket to the attendant behind the counter. She returned a small metal disk with a number on it.

Re-entering the hallowed reading room as inaudibly as possible, I sat down and, again, extracted book, notebook and pen.

I heard footsteps. Somehow I knew they were aimed in my direction.

“What now?” I thought.

“I’m sorry, Miss, but you can’t sit here,” he whispered in semantics reflecting the polite formality of the Polish language

A few more Polish heads popped up from their reading to look at me.

“I’m sorry, Sir,” I said, continuing the delicate dialogue in whispers.

“You are required to sit at the seat number that coincides with your disk,” he said, almost apologetically.

I felt stupid, really stupid. I also felt frustrated. Complicated choreography was thwarting my efforts to study.

Embarrassed by the attention I’d drawn in the otherwise pin-drop-quiet space, I decided to leave. I resolved to return another day. Next time would be easy, I thought. I now understood the etiquette. I could slip in and out like a real Pole.

Living in a communist state where basic civil liberties were denied ultimately empowered me to challenge rules when they seemed utterly baseless. I learned to lie to communist officials who asked inappropriate questions. I learned to exchange U.S. dollars on the black market for Polish Zloty because Communist-contrived exchange rates were absurd. I learned it was morally just to secretly stash illegal underground literature. People back home needed to understand the work of the pro-democracy movement.

I am still a rule follower by nature. That said, my Polish sojourn taught me that challenging unjust, nonsensical rules is, in small ways, where social progress begins.

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


Letters to the Editor

Dugouts for softball field

Hello, my name is Isabel Geffken and I am an eighth grader at Williston Central School. I have been very active in my elementary school for as far back as I can remember and, in particular, I have played softball on the girls Williston Central team since sixth grade and as part of the Williston Little League since I was 7 years old. I was an all-star for the past four years for the Williston All-Star 9-10 and 11-12 teams! In particular, I played first base (my favorite position) and third base. In all the years I have played at Williston, there has been a discrepancy that has always bothered me. The girls’ softball field does not have dugouts. All of the boys’ fields at Williston, the Majors and Babe Ruth have dugouts, but the girls softball field just has metal temporary benches.

The reason I am writing this letter is in optimism that I can find others in our wonderful Williston community to help rectify this unfortunate situation. I would like to build dugouts for the girls softball field with your help, whether it is with materials, volunteers or donations! This has been a dream of mine for the past four years! I am using this opportunity as my eighth grade challenge and part of my Girl Scout Silver Star Award to bring awareness to everyone of this need. I would so appreciate your assistance in helping the future of girls softball players have the appropriate, fair and equitable dugouts in our proud town of Williston. If you are interested in making this dream a reality, please contact me at 879-0489 or via email, cfgeffken@hotmail.com. Thank you for your consideration and support in advance of the Williston girls softball program.

Isabel Geffken


Praise for okonomiyaki

Thank to Kim Dannies for the wonderful okonomiyaki recipe in last week’s paper. As she promised, they were simple, fun to make, with healthy ingredients and an Asian flavor that my whole family loved. It also brought back a great memory of a fantastic restaurant that I went to in Japan, where you choose your favorite ingredients, and then grill up your own okonomiyaki at your table.

Keep the great recipes coming!

Deborah Miuccio


Syrup grading thoughts

I guess I am in my own Vermont world when it comes to maple syrup. Until recently, I did not realize that our neighbors in Maine and New Hampshire had a different yet similar grading system. I did some research into how these three states’ grading systems differ, and it helped me decide how I would vote.

I was disappointed to learn that Maine does not sell a Grade B maple syrup. I do like its system, and New Hampshire’s, calling maple syrup Grade A Light Amber, Grade A Medium Amber, Grade A Dark Amber and Grade B. In Vermont we use terms Fancy, Medium Amber, Dark Amber, Grade B and Grade C. Adding the letter A in the light, medium and dark grades seems appropriate, as it describes a superior product, no matter what color the syrup is.

The Grade C, made at the end of our sugaring season, is very dark and strong tasting. This happens because a certain amount of bacteria grows in sap as it is collected and cooked. Maple syrup made early in the season has a good grade of sugar called sucrose. Syrup made later in the season that is darker in color may have sugar that is more like fructose and glucose. The season’s beginning temperatures—20 degrees at night and 45 degrees in the daytime—make the lightest syrup. As the season progresses and temperatures get warmer, the grades change.

I would vote that the Vermont and all of the U.S. use one grading system: Grade A Light Amber, Grade A Medium Amber, Grade A Dark Amber (like Maine and New Hampshire) and allow all states to sell a Grade B and a Grade C.

Since Canada is another country, let them use their own grading system. Here in the U.S. we need to distinguish our product from another country’s.

Ginger Isham


School Board seeks input for budget

The Williston School Board met on March 13 and began planning for a revised budget. There will be a community forum on Wednesday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m.  at Williston Central School. This is an opportunity for community members to voice concerns, share thoughts and ask questions. The board will reconvene on April 2 to adopt the revised budget and a second budget vote will be held in early May.

Board members may also be contacted via phone or email. Contact information is listed in the Williston Observer (page 6) and on the cssu.org website. We welcome your suggestions as we work to provide a quality education for our students at a cost the community can support.

We would like to welcome Kevin Brochu to the board. He is serving a three-year term.

Williston School Board members Kevin Mara, Giovanna Boggero, Josh Diamond, Kevin Brochu and Deb Baker-Moody


The real cost of the 1-to-1 iPad proposal

Our Williston School Board as part of the budget proposal for next year has included the so-called 1-to-1 iPad initiative to provide every child in grades 5 and 6 (260 students) with their own personal iPads. It is the intention to expand that program next year to include grades 7 and 8 (another 260 students).

The administration stated that the first year cost of this initiative would be $93,000, however, after a needed $70,000 from the current year budget surplus, the actual cost is $163,000. This same amount would be required next year to implement the program in grades 7 and 8. When further pressured, the administration conceded that these iPads would need to be replaced every three years to keep them current.

The administration stated that the objective was for these iPads to have Internet access 24-7. The item which was not identified was the cost of the necessary data package. The cost of a minimum data package would be projected to be around $30 per month or $360 per year per iPad.

If one does the math, the first ten-year cost for this program would be $2,919,400 ($1,141,000 for the iPads, $1,778,400 for the data plan). This does not include the cost of the insurance to cover lost and damaged units, the cost of special software required for each unit or the cost of a staff member who would be required to support these 520 iPads.

With this kind of deceptive presentation from the administration, one has to wonder what else there is in the proposed budget that might be misleading. I urge the voters to resoundingly reject this budget until this initiative is removed and further significant cuts are made.

Gil Rodes


Death with dignity

At Town Meeting, several people asked me about the status of the Death With Dignity legislation. I share with you what I know. I was pleased that we finally got to a full discussion of the issue in the Vermont Senate (S.77). It is a major step forward to have the bill be passed by that part of the Legislature. I am less than jubilant however, over the fact that the amended bill, which was passed and sent on to the House, omitted safeguards that I have long felt important and have worked so diligently to include in a Vermont bill.

The bill as passed by the Senate is not fashioned after the safe and successful practices that have been followed in Oregon for 15 years. I am hopeful that the House will take up the amended bill in committee. I encourage you to ask your representatives, Macaig and McCullough, to work for the bill and restoration of the protective measures gutted from the bill by the Senate.

It is important that a Vermont bill afford true end-of-life choices to patients, as well as provide appropriate legal guidelines and protections.

Safeguards are essential to patients, medical practitioners and families. I continue to believe that a restored Death With Dignity bill will serve as an instrument that strengthens and improves medical care for all seriously ill persons. Patient Choices Vermont is a strong advocate for a bill with these essential features. Visit www.patientchoices.org for more information.

Robert Ullrich


GUEST COLUMN: Rx important for all, critical for chronically ill patients

By Michael O’Connor


Vermont’s patients aren’t “one size fits all,” and their choices in prescription medicine shouldn’t be, either. A single prescription drug formulary structure has been proposed for Vermont, but it just doesn’t make sense for patients and the state. Inefficient for patients, financially ineffectual and administratively burdensome, a single formulary system makes it harder for patients to receive the care they deserve at a cost that makes sense.

As background explanation, a prescription benefit management (PBM) plan makes contracts to lower the price of drugs purchased for the state, but they can also limit a patient’s options for treatment, especially when there are several kinds of medications available to treat the same condition. Those limitations, or formularies, can make it harder for patients to receive the right medication at the right time, or remove the best available medication from the management plan.

If cost savings are the premise for such dire risks to patient health, then let’s take a hard look at the facts. Spending on innovative medicines makes up only about 3.5 percent of all federal spending in Medicaid. Professional services, hospital care, administration, home health, nursing facilities and residential care make up the remainder.

Patients may have a trial and error process when they fill a prescription, which may lead to non-adherence with a prescribed treatment plan. For instance, under a single formulary, a patient takes his prescription to be filled by a pharmacist, only to be told that the medication is not covered. Leaving the pharmacy without their medication can derail a therapeutic plan, and in the end cost the patient and the state more.

We understand the state’s need to try to reduce costs associated with health care, but there are other ways to achieve those ends. Adding another layer of bureaucracy could make it harder for physicians to do their jobs and ultimately could have a negative effect on patient care.

Medicines aren’t always interchangeable, and the limitations of a single formulary and substitutions that would be required can have a dire effect not just on patient choice, but on their overall health. As a 2009 Health Affairs article (http://m.content.healthaffairs.org/content/28/5/w832.full) cited, in addition to projected cost savings due to a single formulary being murky (at best), limitation on a patient’s drug formulary can have clearly negative therapeutic effects.

The treatment of Parkinson’s Disease and its side effects requires a delicate balance of prescription medications. Substituting less expensive or generic drugs, or not being able to obtain the correct combination, can often undermine progress made over a long period of time, which makes having the right choice of prescription drug plans absolutely critical for these individuals.

Vermonters who have prescription drug plan options available through Medicare Part D are able to make educated, informed choices about which plan provides them with the best, most affordable coverage. But a single formulary will eliminate this choice and would impact low-income Medicare beneficiaries the most.

Shutting out patients from a physician’s primary treatment decision isn’t the right answer for Vermont. Let’s rethink our approach. It’s not just about how we approach costs; a single formulary is also relevant in thinking about how we pay for value and care for our patients.

Michael O’Connor is the president of the Vermont Chapter American Parkinson’s Disease Association, Inc. and a resident of Williston.