A slew of Champlain Valley Union High School track and field athletes qualified for the New England meet during the Essex Invitational meet on May 28. (Observer courtesy photos by Glenn Fay Jr.)
By Michael S. Goldberger
Intent on having the first word and setting the tone of the post film musings when exiting J.J. Abrams’s “Star Trek Into Darkness,” a 132 minute, colorfully amusing assault on the senses, I remarked to my wife Joanne, “Boy, they sure give you your money’s worth.” Translation: It’s huge and decadently excessive, but there’ll be no Pulitzer for writing.
Then, I ventured a zany analogy only an indulgent spouse would let pass. Maybe because my mind was switching its interest to food, I pontificated that both filmmaker Abrams and deli owner Harold Jaffe (of Harold’s N.Y. Deli in Edison, N.J.) happened upon ingenious business plans in their respective fields. In the latter case, the word is big.
The signature offering wowing ‘em at Harold’s for years, a giant pastrami sandwich now weighing in at $22.45, essentially represents two sales. Sure, while some lovebirds may share one, I speculate that most folks are only eating half and taking the other half home. Voila, they’ve bought two, good-sized meals. Don’t tell anyone I eat the whole thing.
The Abrams plan represents a different sort of savvy. Following the ten Star Trek films that logically evolved from franchise creator Gene Roddenberry’s 1960s TV series, the old gang was, uh, getting old. Surely nostalgia has its place, but it’s doubtful audiences were eager to follow them to their adventures in assisted living. So, enter Ponce de León.
With a few sprinkles from the Fountain of Youth, we are jettisoned back to the future, to when the largely likable, always heroic crew of the Starship Enterprise were young, well-scrubbed and, adding to the entertainment, still a little wet behind the ears. Welcome to the prequel, Filmdom’s answer to Hamburger Helper®. There’s just one problem.
It comes into play in this 12th big screen episode. Heroes and villains, by rights of a destiny now guaranteed them, attain a super status in that they can’t die….not yet. Hence, when it looks like an overly irradiated Kirk hath dived too deep into the breach to save his crew from destruction, we know there’s a comic-book style caveat in the offing.
However, a kaleidoscopic panoply of special effects delivered for two hours with the intensity of the last minute of a 4th of July fireworks celebration, and available for extra $$$ in just OK post-production 3-D if you choose, goes a long way to making you toss out reason. Likewise, an unnecessarily convoluted plot works to divert common sense.
Still, despite liberties taken and an obvious commercial thrust aimed at attracting the largest, 13-25-year-old audience in the universe, a web survey of card-carrying Trekkies concurs the film passes orthodox muster. I wouldn’t know, but I can vouch the pastrami at Harold’s, mustard or not, is almost as good as the stuff served at N.Y.’s Carnegie Deli.
Of course none of that would matter to this young, thin and fit crew of explorers who doubtlessly feed on some space age version of Soylent Green. They’re far too busy either saving humanity or pondering friendship, duty, honor and philosophies related to world- saving to take time out for a snack, let alone indulge in a fat serving of smoked bovine.
Bright eyed and bushytailed, the best the Starfleet has to offer, they’ve got their work cut out for them in the persona of John Harrison, a rogue agent who destroys the London office and is in actuality the notorious Khan. Not to alarm you, but this dude has been voted one of the ten greatest film villains of all time by the Online Film Critics Society.
What’s scariest about the scourge is that like the current crop of real-life terrorists threatening our way of life, we’re not exactly sure what he wants. Other than the usual litany of goals like world domination and frightening the bejesus out of everybody who doesn’t believe what he believes, odds are he really doesn’t know what he wants.
It’s perhaps telling how dysfunction, of late a cause celebre in our social consciousness, has been personified in the shape of our fictional antagonists. In this case, harboring a grudge related to some past perceived wrong, Khan’s entire group of genetically engineered, superhuman cohorts, frozen in torpedo capsules, awaits his call to vanquish.
Ah, but we have youth. It’s fun seeing the way they were, even if the genesis of the Kirk-Spock, right-left brain debate gets a bit much. But what a bargain at over 2 hours. Oh, I’d prefer a great plot to the techno schmaltz. Which, might I suggest, should be a first course for rumination if discussing “Star Trek into Darkness” over that big, post film sandwich.
“Star Trek Into Darkness,” rated PG-13, is a Paramount Pictures release directed by J.J. Abrams and stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto and Benedict Cumberbatch. Running time: 132 minutes
By Kim Dannies
For happy people, the word “problem” is rarely part of the vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task or a dare. In other words, it’s not what happens, it is how we interpret what happens. How does this relate to cooking? Read on.
I decided to treat my pals to a simple fruit crostata. I have made this crust a hundred times—no brainer. But, when I rolled out the dough, something was funky—too hard and dry. Pressed for time, I turned to plan ‘B’ and coaxed the naughty stuff into a baking dish. I filled it with fresh cherries, rhubarb and strawberries and baked it open-faced. When I pulled it from the oven, the pie was U-G-L-Y! Humbled, I moved on to plan ‘C’ (for Crumble). Butter, sugar, flour, oats and another 15 minutes bake time did the trick, and the maple-glazed walnuts didn’t hurt, either.
It takes guts and good ingredients to turn a disaster into something tasty, so whenever you face a cooking obstacle, try seeing at it as a challenge. I was humbled until some simple crumble (and really good maple ice cream) saved my day.
Humble Crumble Pie
When moderation won’t do, this is the dessert for you
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pulse together 3.5 cups white pastry flour and 1 stick Crisco. Add a pinch of salt and just enough water to form the dough. Wrap in plastic and chill. Coat 2 cups of walnuts with 1/2 cup maple syrup; bake on a covered cookie sheet for 15 minutes. Remove and sprinkle nuts with a bit of sea salt.
Pit 2 cups fresh cherries; dice 3 cups fresh rhubarb and strawberries each. Combine fruit in a prep bowl; toss with two egg yolks and 1/2 cup cornstarch and sugar each.
Press dough into a 14 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish (up the sides). Add fruit and bake 45 minutes.
In a mini-processor, pulse 4 ounces of cold butter with 1/2 cup sugar and flour each; combine this with 2 cups oats to make the crumble. Top pie with crumble and some walnuts; bake 15-20 minutes.
Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters. Archived Everyday Gourmet columns are at kimdannies.com. Kim@kimdannies.com
A window was “smashed” and property valued at $500 was stolen from a vehicle parked at a business on Boyer Circle on May 13, according to police reports. The investigation is ongoing.
Two vehicles parked at a business on Krupp Drive had their windows “smashed” and property stolen on May 13, according to police reports. The investigation is ongoing.
Two trucks from Vermont Energy Contracting were vandalized and equipment was stolen on May 13, according to police reports. Police are investigating.
Driving with license suspended
Christine M. Ramos, 35, of Essex was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on April 30, according to police reports. She was cited to appear in court on May 21.
Paul J. Washburn, 41, of South Burlington was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on May 2, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.
Benjamin H. Hayes, 39, of St. George was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on May 3, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.
Rachel E. Washington, 29, of Winooski was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on May 4, according to police reports. She was cited to appear in court.
Steven T. McLeod, 44, of Waterbury was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on May 8, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.
Seth Slayton, 48, of Bristol was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on May 9, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.
Eric S. Martin, 26, of Burlington was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on May 9, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.
John C. Sylva, 37, of Richford was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on May 11, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.
Scott J. Tyler, 24, of Essex was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on May 14, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.
Dennis Bouchard, 34, of Colchester was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on May 17, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court on June 18.
Christopher Lafreniere, age, of town was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on May 17, according to police reports.
Douglas Brockington, 39, of Colchester was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on May 17, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.
On May 10, a blue 1989 Honda Civic operated by Jon Cabral, 24, of Williston was stopped on Skunk Hollow Road in Jericho for a vehicle inspection violation. A check with the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles revealed Cabral’s license was criminally suspended. Cabral was processed and cited for driving with a suspended license. He was also issued traffic tickets for vehicle inspection violations and a traffic ticket for operating a vehicle without liability insurance.
Police notes are written based on information provided by the Williston Police Department and the Vermont State Police. Please note that all parties are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
A slew of Champlain Valley Union High track and field athletes are heading to the New England meet after qualifying at the Essex Invitational on Tuesday. The meet was set for May 25, but driving rains and soggy conditions led it to be postponed until Tuesday.
On Saturday, the team will head to the State Championship meet, set for 9 a.m. in Burlington.
The top six athletes in each event qualify for the New England meet, set for June 8. CVU will be represented in a total 17 events.
On the girls side, speedy Haliana Burhans won the 200 meter dash and took second in the 100 meter race. Autumn Eastman won the 1,500 meter run and came in fourth in the 800 meter distance. Taylor Spillane and Julienne Devita both qualified for the 3,000 meter event, finishing second and third, respectively.
Eliza Giles will head to the New England meet after taking fifth in the 300-meter hurdles. Abigail Eddy qualified with a sixth place high jump finish. Emily Geske was second in the pole vault, and Brianna Hake second in the javelin.
On the boys side, Roshi Brooklyn was fourth in both the 110-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles. Jared Keyes was sixth in the 800 meter run. Brian Boisjoli was second in the pole vault, and Oren Klempner sixth.
CVU will have a strong relay presence at the New England meet.
The powerhouse girls 4×800 meter relay team—Devita, Eastman, Rachel Slimovitch and Spillane—handily won the event. The girls 4×100 meter relay team—Burhans, Katie Arms, Eddy and Abbey Norris—took third.
The boys 4×800 meter team of Zach Marshal, Sean Delaney, Keyes, and Sam Logenbach also clinched a victory, cruising to first place by more than 6.5 seconds.
The boys 4×400 meter relay team—Keyes, Brooklyn, Sam Longenbach and David Keyes—is also headed to the New England meet, finishing fifth in Essex.
—Stephanie Choate, Observer staff
By Mal Boright
You have to go back to 2009 to find a Vermont high school boys tennis championship belonging to someone other than David Ro of Williston, a senior at Essex High.
Ro earned the title for a record-setting fourth straight year Sunday, defeating Cody Yu of South Burlington High, 6-1, 6-0, at Fitness Edge indoor courts in South Burlington.
Going into the match, Ro shared a record of three titles with Middlebury Union High’s Alex Davydov, who ruled in 1996 through 1998.
In becoming the first competitor to win four championships, the lanky six-foot-plus Ro has dominated Vermont boys’ high school tennis in a way possibly never seen before. In those four years of in-state play, Ro has never lost a set. Not once.
In an interview with the Observer Monday, Ro admitted he felt some pressure prior to the title match but once the ball was in play it was game on.
A more difficult match came in the semifinals when he bumped off younger brother Daniel 6-0, 6-3. Daniel, an Essex High sophomore, was seeded fifth despite making the championship match a year ago.
“I didn’t like it,” David Ro said of the semifinal pairing against his brother. “I wish we had been on opposite sides.”
However, next spring when David is at Dartmouth College, Daniel will be going for the individual honors once again.
“He has a very good chance for the title next year,” David predicted.
While he had little trouble winning on the indoor court, David Ro said he prefers to play outdoors. He said the strongest part of his game is his serve.
But not by tennis alone does David Ro rule a competitive endeavor. He is also the reigning Vermont high school chess champion.
By Bill Skiff
This Memorial Day as I sat on my porch I realized how fortunate I am to be living in Vermont. As I sat there safe and free, my thoughts turned to my many family members and friends who had made timely sacrifices to make that feeling possible.
By Angela Smith-Dieng
At the May 20 meeting of the Hunger Council of Chittenden County, community leaders from across the county gathered to learn about the state of the emergency food system in the county and efforts to decrease hunger. Leaders of food shelves, including those in Burlington, Winooski, Westford and Williston, shared the diversity of challenges they face in meeting the needs of the many families who come to them for food. Community support of food shelves is strong, but food shelves are still unable to provide as much food as they would like to families, and many advocates worry that the demand at food shelves would drastically increase if the Farm Bill being considered in the House of Representatives passes.
The Farm Bill is the primary legislation that authorizes agricultural and food policy in the country. While it includes a variety of agricultural and conservation programs, the bulk of Farm Bill funding supports one program—the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known in Vermont as 3SquaresVT. The Senate version of the bill that may pass very soon (as it is being debated as I write this) contains $4 billion in cuts to SNAP over ten years. These cuts would not likely have an immediate or severe impact in Vermont. However, the version proposed by the House Agriculture
Committee includes $20.5 billion in SNAP cuts over ten years. The House bill would have a serious impact in Vermont as thousands of current participants would become ineligible and thousands more would see a major decrease in benefits. In turn, Vermont would likely see hunger rise in our communities and lines at food shelves get longer.
Already one in seven Vermonters, including one in five children, are considered food insecure, meaning they do not have consistent access to enough food to meet their needs. SNAP, or 3SquaresVT, is the country’s first line of defense against hunger, and the only program that puts money directly into the hands of hungry households to increase their food purchasing power at grocery stores and farmers’ markets.
There are a number of additional nutrition safety net programs that serve particular populations (i.e. school meals, child care meals, meals on wheels, etc.), but SNAP is the program that serves all ages, from birth to death. The vast majority of SNAP households are very poor—the average income is about $6,600 a year for one person or $13,600 a year for a family of four, well below the poverty line. And the vast majority of benefits go to households that include children, elders and people with disabilities.
A wealth of research shows that SNAP decreases food insecurity, alleviates poverty and improves health and education outcomes over time. Yet, despite this proven track record, it remains the program most targeted for cuts in the House Farm Bill. Critics of the program say that program costs have grown too much since the recession. However, the program is predicted to decrease in participation over the next five years as the economy improves and fewer people need the help. Thus, program costs will also decrease, without the need for added cuts.
At Hunger Free Vermont, we are working hard to improve. It is critical that we support all aspects of the nutrition safety net in our local communities—from food shelves to summer meal programs for children—to ensure that children, families and seniors have good nutrition no matter where they are in their day. The fact is that food shelves would not be able to feed all the SNAP participants who would lose benefits if the House bill were to pass. Therefore, it is also critical that we support a strong Farm Bill that protects and strengthens SNAP on behalf of the 100,000-plus Vermonters who depend on its benefits to put food on the table. Hunger Free Vermont, a statewide organization working to end the injustice of hunger and malnutrition for all Vermonters, is doing this advocacy, but we need more voices to share the message. You can help! Call your legislators and tell them we need a strong Farm Bill that protects 3SquaresVT for hungry Vermonters. Learn more about Hunger Free Vermont’s efforts to end the injustice of hunger and malnutrition for all Vermonters at www.hungerfreevt.org.
Angela Smith-Dieng is the 3SquaresVT advocacy manager at Hunger Free Vermont and staff member of the Hunger Council of Chittenden County, an initiative to reduce hunger and improve nutrition in the area. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Observer staff report
Record-setting rainstorms last week have kept Williston police and public works crews busy. Public Works Director Bruce Hoar said his department is still stabilizing roads after heavy rain last Wednesday and Thursday washed out culverts and flooded roadways.
Hoar said Redmond Road lost two driveway culverts and suffered erosion damage in ditches, while River Cove Road flooding caused an “extensive washout and flooded a home,” Hoar said. Hurricane Lane also sustained some damage, he said.
Williston police reported that last Thursday’s heavy rain caused flooding on Mountain View Road between Paya’s Auto and Katie Lane, as well as flooding and debris on St. George Road.
Police responding to a 10 p.m. report of flooding on Mountain View Road said Paya’s Auto was “completely under water to the tops of the cars in the lot,” and the owner was notified so the cars could be moved. Hoar said it was dark, but it appeared that “the water was halfway up the cars closest to the road.” A Paya’s employee declined to comment when contacted by the Observer.
Police also responded to reports of flooding on St. George Road at approximately 9:20 p.m. near Walker Hill Road and discovered the “southbound lane was inundated by water and that 6-10 (inch) rocks were covering the roadway in both lanes making a serious traffic hazard,” according to police reports. The road was closed while town and state highway crews removed the rocks.
According to National Weather Service data for the Burlington airport—the closest observation point to Williston—the area received 6.51 inches of rain from May 22-26, including a heavy 2.26 inches on May 23. Hoar’s research on the NOAA website showed that the May 22 storm produced a record-setting 1.43 inches of rain. He also noted that on May 23, 1.26 inches of rain fell in less than an hour. “You can’t design for that,” Hoar said.
A FEMA crew was dispatched to survey the damage countywide. Hoar is fairly confident that the damage will meet the $1 million mark, which he said is the point at which the federal government will provide the state with money for repair and rebuilding. For now, “we’re just trying to make things safe,” he said.