May 27, 2018

THE HUB: A local way to stay hydrated and healthy

Robert and Elaine Tyzbir, both nutritionists, created Epic H2O as a healthier alternative to sugary sports drinks. (Observer courtesy photo)

Robert and Elaine Tyzbir, both nutritionists, created Epic H2O as a healthier alternative to sugary sports drinks. (Observer courtesy photo)

By Phyl Newbeck

Observer correspondent

It all started with a smart-alecky student.

Dr. Robert Tyzbir, a University of Vermont faculty member for four decades, was explaining to his sports nutrition class the best substances to promote recovery after physical activity. He suggested that one of them could become rich by putting together a product combining those substances and a student asked why he didn’t do it himself.

Tyzbir explained that his job was education, not manufacturing, prompting one wag to bring out the age-old adage, “those that can, do; those that can’t, teach.” Faced with that challenge, Tyzbir decided to give production a try and his company, Epic H2O, was born.

Tyzbir, who founded UVM’s sports nutrition program and has a PhD in biochemistry, began mixing ingredients in his Williston kitchen. He used his own money for the start-up company so he would not be beholden to anyone.

Tyzbir believes the increase in obesity in America is due at least in part to sugary soft drinks, so it was crucial that his product contain pure glucose and no fructose. Additionally, he refused to use high fructose corn syrup, table sugar, lactose, caffeine or other stimulants, or artificial colors or sweeteners.

After a great deal of experimentation, Tyzbir found the formula for Epic—glucose, a blend of essential amino acids that help rebuild muscle after exercise, electrolytes and water-soluble vitamins and antioxidants. The lemon flavor of the product was tweaked after experimentation with various members of UVM’s athletic teams. Epic comes in powder form in small cylindrical containers and is designed to be mixed with a minimum of eight ounces of water. It can be drunk before, during or after exercise.

Epic has been tested by the World Anti-Doping Agency and found to have no harmful ingredients. Several UVM athletes use Epic, but the university can’t buy it for its teams because NCAA rules prohibit athletic departments from purchasing products with amino acids. Tyzbir said the rule was created because these products are expensive and schools with better endowments would have an unfair advantage over poorer institutions. Student-athletes can purchase Epic on their own.

Once he had his product, Tyzbir approached a former student, Chris Rivard, who was working for Bariatrix in South Burlington. It was Rivard’s idea to use the formula to make sticks of powder rather than a liquid. The packaging currently reads “made in Canada,” which is Bariatrix’s home base, but soon it will be made in Vermont.

“Every ingredient is highly purified and natural,” said Tyzbir.

While Robert Tyzbir created the product, he credits his wife, Elaine, another nutritionist, with doing all the post-production work. She went door-to-door visiting chiropractors, health food stores, physical therapists and sports shops. The couple also did demonstrations at some establishments and provided free samples at local races. Epic is carried in stores throughout Chittenden County including Natural Provisions and the Vermont Center for Chiropractic and Sports Medicine in Williston.

The company was launched in 2010 and although the Tyzbirs had testimonials from users, they had no empirical evidence their product was working. That changed when UVM undergraduate Danielle Leahy commenced a study with Professor Stephen Pintaro. Several non-athletes were asked to come in for a four-day exercise regimen, after which they either took Epic or a placebo that looked and tasted like Epic. They took three weeks off, then repeated the procedure—except the students who had Epic were given the placebo and vice versa. The women in the study experienced a 45 percent decrease in delayed muscle soreness and the duration of the soreness was shortened by one day with Epic. The men also had a decrease in both the delay and the duration but it was not statistically significant, leading Tyzbir to believe they should have had an increased dosage.

The Tyzbirs are not counting on getting rich from their company. Some of the proceeds will go to the Tyzbir Scholarship for needy students majoring in nutrition at UVM and some will go to Smile Train, a nonprofit which repairs children’s cleft palates. The couple also sells the product at cost to nonprofits like the Chittenden County Nordic Soccer Team. Last year, the girls team went door-to-door selling Epic to raise enough money to go to Scandinavia for a tournament.

Elaine Tyzbir said the couple’s goal was to create a healthier alternative to what was on the market. They were gratified at a recent RunVermont event where Epic was requested so often they ran out of product.

Robert Tyzbir said he is proud of the fruits of his labors.

“This stuff really works,” he said.

For more information, visit


THE HUB: Timeless Paws helps ease parting with pets

Stacey Rousseau, with her husky Neeko, founded Timeless Paws to pursue her passion of helping people who have lost their beloved pets. (Observer photo by Rachel Gill)

Stacey Rousseau, with her husky Neeko, founded Timeless Paws to pursue her passion of helping people who have lost their beloved pets. (Observer photo by Rachel Gill)

By Rachel Gill

Observer correspondent

The first condolences come from Neeko, a blue-eyed white husky, who immediately offers a friendly paw shake to say hello. Gentle music and soft lighting then seem to reach out to offer a hug.

These welcoming gestures are all part of the goal of Timeless Paws, a new pet memorial service business in Williston, to give pets and their owners the support they need no matter the circumstances.

“We want to provide support for whatever stage your relationship is at with your pet,” said Stacey Rousseau, founder of Timeless Paws. “We are not just a pet funeral home, we are so much more.”

Timeless Paws opened at the end of March, creating an environment that offers a variety of support services for pets and their owners.

“We offer the same services a family member would receive,” Rousseau said.

Services include burial, cremation, grief support, preparation assistance for near-death pets and care for senior pets.

Pet owners can also purchase a memorial copper leaf to honor a deceased pet. The leaf, engraved with a pet’s name, is placed in the Timeless Paws’ honorary memorial mural tree in the Celebration of Life room.

A portion of the leaf’s cost is donated to All Breed Rescue in South Burlington. All Breed Rescue is a non-profit, no-kill shelter that saves dogs regardless of age, health, breed and behavioral condition from animal control shelters, known as high-kill facilities, in the South.

Whitney Troy-Vowell, vice president of All Breed Rescue, said he is “exceptionally grateful” for any amount of support.

“It’s a very harmonious partnership,” Troy-Vowell said. “It’s fantastic to have a business that is helping families deal with the loss of a dog because they are part of their family network, and that’s very cohesive with our mission to support the loving families of these animals.”

Rousseau said Timeless Paws also works with other local businesses.

“We provide the family with whatever they need,” Rousseau said.

That may mean contacting a local florist, picking up the deceased animal or even connecting the pet’s family with an artist who specializes in pet portraits.

“We also hold memorial services in the Timeless Paws memorial chapel,” Rousseau said. “I might light a candle or say a blessing, the same steps you would do for a family member passing to provide closure.”

In other cases, pet owners may need support through a pet’s difficult health condition.

“We can do energy work with the pet and or pet owner, massage or aromatherapy,” Rousseau said. “We want people to be able to focus on the joy of their relationship with their pet.”

Rousseau will also offer individual and group support—helping people prepare and cope with the loss of a pet has become her passion, she said.

“I worked in the pet cremation business for four and a half years and realized the piece that it was lacking was support,” Rousseau said. “I also grew up on a farm and we had all kinds of pets like cats, birds and dogs, so animals were always a big part of my life.”

During her years in the pet cremation business, Rousseau said she was happy to provide those services to owners of any kind of pet.

“I have seen cremation for dogs, cats, pigs, and I have even seen people who need to cremate a fish,” she said. “It is not so much the act, it’s more about the closure it provides. That’s what’s important.”

After opening Timeless Paws, Rousseau has involved her sons as well.

“Out of their own interest, my two sons, ages 9 and 11 both assist in of some of the services we provide,” Rousseau said. “My son Brandyn helps with dressing for pet viewings during memorial services.”

Brandyn’s love of animals prompted him to help.

“I like dogs a lot and I don’t like to see them die,” Brandyn said.

Rousseau is looking forward to providing both animals and their families with lots of love.

“Timeless Paws was the creation of a dream and I’m so excited to see that dream become a reality,” Rousseau said.  Timeless Paws is located at 4540 Williston Road. Call 497-1226 or visit

EARTH DAY: Adding it all up

April 22 marks the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day—a day intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. The day originated in reaction to a massive oil spill in waters near Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1969. In honor of Earth Day—and Earth Week (April 16-22) —here are some statistics about energy and the environment.


Heating and cooling the home

2.3 million: Estimated number of occupied housing units across the country heated by wood in 2011, more than 2 percent of all homes.

40,063: Estimated number of occupied housing units across the country totally heated by solar energy in 2011.

57.0 million

Estimated number of occupied housing units across the country heated by utility gas in 2011—about half of all homes.

88: Estimated percent of newly built single-family homes across the country with air-conditioning in 2011. In 1974, it was 48 percent.


Commuting to work

25.5 minutes: Estimated average time for workers age 16 and older across the country spent getting to work in 2011, up from 25.1 minutes in 2009 and 25.3 minutes in 2010.


Using energy

19,061 trillion Btu: The energy consumption in the U.S. manufacturing sector in 2010, down almost 10 percent from the 21,098 trillion Btu (British thermal units) consumed in 2006.

-46%: The drop in the consumption of residual fuel oil in the U.S. manufacturing sector in 2010, going from 314 trillion Btu in 2006 down to 170 trillion Btu consumed in 2010.


Building a house

2,480 square feet: The average size of a single-family house built in 2011.

$267,900: The average sales price of a new single-family home in 2011. In 2008, the average sales price was $292,600.

9,000: The number of multi-family buildings built across the U.S. in 2011. Of these, 51 percent had at least 10 units.


Collecting revenue

$1.5 billion: Estimated revenue for “waste collection—hazardous waste management collection services” in 2011 for estimated sources of revenue for U.S. employer firms.

$6.3 billion: Estimated revenue for “waste treatment and disposal — hazardous waste treatment and disposal services” in 2011 for estimated sources of revenue for U.S. employer firms. This was up 9.2 percent from 2010.

$6.3 billion: Estimated revenue for “local, fixed-route passenger transportation, by road and transit rail” in 2011 for estimated sources of revenue for employer firms. This is up 4.8 percent from 2010.

Information courtesy of Profile America Facts for Features ( 


EARTH DAY: Combined efforts to help local brooks

A wide range of groups have been working for years to plant trees near the impaired Allen and Muddy brooks to help improve water quality. (Observer file photo)

A wide range of groups have been working for years to plant trees near the impaired Allen and Muddy brooks to help improve water quality. (Observer file photo)

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

A host of volunteer workers will descend on Williston’s struggling brooks this spring, planting trees to combat the intractable march of erosion and runoff.

The projects are funded in part by $6,000 allocated annually from the town’s capital budget for waterway restoration and matched by a variety of state, federal and regional grants and business donations.

“It’s a huge partnership of leveraging funds to get the Allen Brook back on track,” said Jessica Andreoletti, a senior town planner who has organized many of the plantings.

A crew from the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps will kick off the string of projects on Earth Day, April 22. The crew will provide maintenance work on the thousands of trees already planted over 18 acres in the last four years, in a weeklong effort funded by VYYC, the town and the Lake Champlain Basin Program, said VYCC Operations Manager Kate Hilfiker.

In late April and early May, Williston Central School students will pull on their mud boots and head down to the banks of the Allen Brook to plant trees, with the help of Friends of the Winooski River. Girl Scouts will pick up the torch in mid-May.

The Intervale Center is organizing volunteer day May 25 to plant 650 trees on state property along the Allen Brook, near the fire station where the now-abandoned Circumferential Highway would have gone.

Seth Gillim, assistant manager of the Intervale Conservation Nursery, said he is hoping to get 50 local volunteers.

“You create this mini forest in a matter of hours and it’s incredibly satisfying for everyone involved,” Gillim said. “We strongly encourage families to come. Kids are great, they actually make the best tree planters.”

He said everyone who wants to help can, regardless of mobility level.

The trees—a variety of native species between 2 and 5 feet tall grown in the Intervale’s conservation nursery—will be planted thickly over approximately two acres along Allen Brook.

The brook has been included on the state’s list of impaired waterways for stormwater management and bacteria for more than a decade. Town officials and various groups have worked to repair the brook for years, planting 4,500 shrubs and trees between 2008 and 2012.

Overall, the projects have cost $401,100, with $60,100 provided by the town and the rest made up of various state and federal grants and other groups.

“I was kind of bowled over by the enthusiasm that Williston brought,” Gillim said. “We’re building on a number of plantings. It feels good to be kind of throwing our hat in that ring as well and doing our part in continuing the restoration of Williston’s waterways.”

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters purchased the trees from the Intervale nursery for the May 25 project, with Healthy Living providing additional funding. The town’s funds went toward plant protection—the distinctive tubes around the trunks—which Gillim said critically raises trees’ survival odds.

Andreoletti said the groups are hoping for “good growth for five years that will kick-start the conversion from perennial grass meadow to the forest,” she said.

“We’re just trying to speed up the natural process,” she said. “Trees have a hard time establishing themselves in those perennial grasses.”

Without large trees, stormwater easily washes away the banks of the stream, sending a cascade of phosphorus-laden runoff downstream. Trees help hold the banks together, stemming the erosion.

“If you don’t have a healthy functioning riparian corridor, that is, a forested area along rivers and streams … all kinds of dirty water, either through erosion or sedimentation, washes downstream and ultimately ends up in the lake,” Gillim said.

Trees also shade the brooks and create habitats for fish and bugs, which the Allen and Muddy brooks are lacking.

“Trees that fall in the brook are a good thing,” Andreoletti said. “They make the pool environment that fish and bugs need to survive.”

She mentioned that the Muddy Brook needs attention, too.

“We have all really been focused on the Allen Brook for a long time, but we don’t want to forget about the Muddy Brook,” she said.

The Muddy Brook is on the state’s list of impaired waterways for toxins, nutrients and temperature.

Once the trees get established, Andreoletti said the groups’ next battle will be waged against beavers, who have already taken over parts of the Mud Pond Conservation Area.

“We need to figure out how to live together in harmony,” she said.

A true Earth day sentiment.

To volunteer for the May 25 community planting, email


Williston gears up for Green Up Day

On Saturday, May 4, volunteers across Vermont will head out, armed with gloves and garbage bags, to keep the Green Mountain State looking green.

Last year, a record number of Williston residents joined the cleanup efforts, collecting 2.61 tons of trash and 1.12 tons of tires from the town’s roadsides. A total of 282 volunteers helped—from longtime residents to scout groups—filling 475 bags.

Town Planner Jessica Andreoletti hopes for similar participation this year, and plans to order 500 green bags.

“Usually the areas in town that need it the most are your main roads,” she said, mentioning South Brownell, Mountain View, North Williston and Oak Hill roads, as well as Routes 2 and 2A. She said she also hopes to get groups to walk along Allen Brook and Muddy Brook, and stop at the town trailheads.

Residents can sign up for Green Up Day at the town planning and zoning offices. Public works will pick up green bags on Saturday and Sunday.

Another group of residents is organizing a cleanup effort around the Brennan Barn on May 4. Residents and Boy Scouts will clear brush and pick up garbage around the outside of the barn from 9 a.m. to noon. Anyone interested can show up at the barn, located on Mountain View Road near the Williston Community Gardens.

After vacation, tennis teams to take on South Burlington

The Champlain Valley Union High School tennis teams will have some time off before their next events, set for April 29 for both boys and girls.

The girls tennis team took its 3-0 record to Montpelier on Wednesday afternoon, after the Observer’s press deadline, while the 3-0 boys will wait until after vacation for their next event.

On Monday, the girls team defeated Colchester High School 7-0. Singles wins went to Kathy Joseph, Andrea Joseph, Emily Polhemus, Mandy Taheri and Sydney Hardy. Doubles teams of Leah Epstein/MacKenzie Buckman and Paige Watson/Natalie Puma won their events.

“The team looked terrific!” Coach Amy deGroot wrote in an email to the Observer. “The girls played very well against a solid performing team. Colchester has a lot of good athletes on their team who are consistent and chase down a lot of balls. To come through with such a dominant performance is a testament to the hard work these girls have been putting into their tennis!”

On Saturday—a make-up date after sleet and rain canceled a Friday afternoon match—the girls defeated Essex 6-0.

On April 15, the boys team whopped Colchester 5-0.

Coach Frank Babbott said the season is off to a good start, but they have yet to take on “difficult schools” like Essex or South Burlington high schools, both of which he said are strong, especially South Burlington. CVU will take on South Burlington in its first event back from vacation.

The boys’ Wednesday match was cancelled due to “low numbers” from Montpelier High School.

Next up, the girls will play South Burlington April 29 at home in Shelburne, while the boys will be on the road.

—Stephanie Choate,
Observer correspondent


CVU track heads to South Burlington

The Champlain Valley Union High track team, fresh from a victorious season-opening home meet last Thursday, will be at South Burlington High Thursday (3:30 p.m.) for a meet to promote cancer awareness.

The Redhawks got convincing team wins from both boys and girls in a home romp over visiting North Country Union, Oxbow High and Mount Abraham Union. The boys racked up 152 points to runner-up North Country’s 40, while the girls topped out at 148 points to the second-place Falcons’ 45.

Roshi Brooklyn, a senior, led the CVU boys with victories in the 110 and 300 hurdles.

Junior Casey Silk won the 1,500-meter run and finished second to senior teammate Jared Keyes in the 800.

Senior Brian Boisijoli captured the pole vault and took second in the 400-meter run.

The girls were led by junior Haliana Burhans, with triumphs in the 100-meter dash and long jump.

Another junior, Abbey Norris, won the 200 and was second to Burhans in the 100.

Both boys and girls relay teams swept all three of their events.

—Mal Boright,
Observer correspondent


Boys lax team at Burlington Friday

With Saturday’s home game against Mount Mansfield Union postponed until May 6 due to a wet and unplayable field, coach Dave Trevithick and his Champlain Valley Union High boys lacrosse team were on the road against Middlebury High Tuesday.

On Friday at 4 p.m. the Redhawks will be at Burlington High to test the Seahorses prior to school vacation week.

CVU took a 1-1 record to Middlebury, following last Wednesday’s 11-4 triumph at Spaulding High in Barre.

Sophomore Elliot Mitchell led the offensive explosion with four scores while junior Steele DuBrul tallied three times and senior Jack Gingras notched a pair of goals.

Sophomore Cam Rivard and junior Nevin DeParlo had single net finders.

Junior goalie Owen Hudson made 10 saves while the Redhawks took 24 shots at the Crimson Tide cage.

—Mal Boright,
Observer correspondent


Five from CVU to appear in soccer all-star games

The annual Lions’ Twin State soccer all-star games in July will have a Champlain Valley Union High flavor with three Redhawk girls and two guys being named to the Vermont teams.

The graduated senior stars will meet their New Hampshire counterparts in a twin bill at Franklin Pierce College in Rindge, N.H. on July 20.

On the girls team are CVU’s Taylor Goldsborough, Lily Harris and Kate Raszka.

From the boys squad are Shane Haley and Noah Liberman.

—Mal Boright,
Observer correspondent


GUEST COLUMN: Economic development disguised as health care reform

By Don Mayer

Businesses face an all too familiar annual decision: living in a competitive environment with labor costs rising, how much health insurance do I provide my employees? How much do I pay, how much do they pay? What is a reasonable plan, what level of deductible, what level of co-pay?

I know that health insurance is important for my employees, who depend upon my business for their livelihood, but I am struggling with profitability. If I didn’t have to pay 10-20 percent of my payroll for health insurance, I would be making more money.

Nearly every small business faces these questions each year. These vital decisions are in the hands of people not trained in either health care or insurance, and yet we have a hodgepodge of plans, financing and coverage that baffles even the experts.

Vermont has taken a bold and innovative approach to health care reform by putting in carefully measured steps to build a single-payer universal health care system. Instead of some companies paying for health insurance—while their competitors are sometimes not paying—and instead of some being covered by differing plans and entities, Vermont envisions a health care system with everybody in and a public financing system that is fair and eliminates the “free riders” that help to boost health insurance premiums.

The annual escalating cost of health insurance premiums creates uncertainty and helps stifle economic growth in our state. No longer do I simply think of opportunity and growth as I consider expanding my business; I must also think of the burden of the $3 to $7 an hour in addition to wages that I pay for health insurance for my employees. It changes the equation and it makes me think twice about hiring.

Imagine a system where I was out of that equation. My business would continue to support the health care system by collecting taxes for the state, but the critical life and death decisions would be out of my hands. Even more importantly, the playing field would be even. If all Vermonters have health care, one company cannot lower its overhead and be more competitive in bidding for work simply because it short-changes its employees on health care.

Data backs up these claims. A January 2013 report from the University of Massachusetts found that Vermont could cover all residents and cut health care costs by moving to a single-payer system. That report concluded that Vermont will need to raise about $1.6 billion in taxes—this will replace the premiums paid for by businesses and individuals—while cutting system costs by $281 million over the first three years.

It is a fact that health care costs will continue to rise. Doctors keep figuring out ways to keep us alive longer and we have an aging baby boomer population. But it is also true that if we continue with the status quo, our health care system will grow more uncoordinated, fragmented and bloated with administrators. Health care costs will rise at an even more astronomical level, putting more pressure on businesses that support their employees with health care insurance.

Governor Peter Shumlin and our legislators should be very proud of their well thought out plan. Vermont will once again lead the nation and come to grips with one of the most serious issues facing business today. Their plan is truly an economic development plan masquerading as health care reform.

Don Mayer is the CEO of Small Dog Electronics and a member of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility’s Board of Directors.


Around Town

McMannon offered Winooski superintendent position

The Winooski School Board voted 4-1 last week to offer Champlain Valley Union High School Principal Sean McMannon the Winooski School District superintendent position, according to Search Consultant Bob Stevens.

McMannon confirmed that he has been offered the contract and is negotiating with the school board.

The Winooski School Board interviewed McMannon April 4 in executive session, after he visited the school to meet with students, staff and parents. The board voted during its regular board meeting on April 10.

The position was advertised with a salary range of $115,000 – $120,000, Stevens said.

McMannon was the lone finalist for the job. A second final candidate for the position, Yutaka Tamura, decided to drop out of contention at the end of March.

McMannon has been CVU’s principal since April 2005.


Truck accident closes schools Tuesday

Allen Brook and Williston Central schools were closed Tuesday after a truck knocked down a telephone pole in front of Williston Central School early Tuesday morning, cutting off power.

“After a full day’s work by many repair personnel the power and telephones are now back up at Williston Central School along with our connections to Allen Brook School,” an email to parents read.

Schools reopened on Wednesday.


Neeld earns 4-H ribbon

A Williston 4-H competitor was in the top ten for her age group at the State 4-H Horse Hippology Contest on April 6.

In the Junior Division, ages 12 and 13, Julia Neeld placed fifth, winning a rosette ribbon. A total of 93 competitors from clubs in nine Vermont counties competed at the University of Vermont Extension 4-H event. The 4-Hers were evaluated on how well they judged and placed horses in two classes, as well as their overall knowledge of breeds, feeds and forages, tack, animal nutrition, anatomy, confirmation, horse care and other equine science topics.


NEFCU donates to Williston Food Shelf

New England Federal Credit Union presented a $625 check to the Williston Community Food Shelf on April 12, awarded through the credit union’s defined giving program.

The Food Shelf applied for a grant last fall and was one of four organizations awarded in a blind drawing.