February 8, 2016

Finding four-legged therapy

Bia Mele displays her medal after participating in the Champlain Adaptive Mounted Program horse show on June 22. (Observer courtesy photo)

Bia Mele displays her medal after participating in the Champlain Adaptive Mounted Program horse show on June 22. (Observer courtesy photo)

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Twelve-year-old Williston resident Bia Mele is a new rider, but an enthusiastic one.

“The horse’s energy kind of lifts up into you and it makes you relaxed and calm,” she said. “I like the feeling of it, physically and emotionally… it’s very, very therapeutic.”

Mele was one of several riders from Williston who took part in the Champlain Adaptive Mounted Program’s annual Memorial Horse Show Fundraiser, held June 22 at Good Hope Farm in South Hero.

Champlain Adaptive Mounted Program, known as CHAMP, provides horseback riding experiences for children and adults with special needs through lessons, camps and the annual horse show.

“It’s an allover good feeling when you ride,” said CHAMP Executive Director Jean Desranleau. “There’s something about the bond between the horse and a person.”

The program charges riders 25 percent of the cost of a lesson or camp, and makes up the rest through grants, donations and fundraisers like the horse show.

Mele went door-to-door, raising $150 to participate in the show. She also had the idea to approach Hannaford in Williston, which donated bags of carrots and apples and cases of bottled water.

“All the riders rode beautifully, better than ever, they just really stepped up,” Desranleau said. “I think they were very pleased to be showing families and friends what they’ve learned.”

Mele began taking lessons at the CHAMP stables earlier this summer, and is set to participate in the nonprofit’s summer camp in July.

“I ride Ladybug,” she said. “She’s just really sweet, but she’s also a treat hog.”

Mele praised the inclusive atmosphere at CHAMP.

“I think differently, and it’s really hard when lot of people are like, ‘Why do you think that way?’ and ‘How come you don’t understand this?’” she said. “A lot of people are rude and not understanding and I wish more people were understanding. CHAMP is really, really understanding and accepting, because there we’ve all had a challenge.”

Mele said it is hard for her to read what people are thinking through facial expressions and body language. People often don’t understand the effects of autism spectrum disorder, and she loves that CHAMP doesn’t judge her.

“They don’t give me that weird look most people do because they really know how it is to feel like that,” she said. “No matter how different you are or what your problem is, they’re going to care. ”

She also enjoys the diversity CHAMP offers—she rides with adults and children of all different backgrounds and abilities. Mele often rides with another Williston resident who participates.

“She’s really sweet and a really good rider,” she said. “The best thing about her is she’s just a really great kid. She might not understand how to do nuclear physics or add or subtract, but she loves what she does and she’s proud of what she does.”

Lori Mele, Bia’s mother, said CHAMP is one of the adventure camps her daughter is trying this summer, and it is proving helpful.

“When we leave a lesson and are in the car driving away from Good Hope Farm, Bia’s like ‘I can’t wait till next Saturday,’” Mele said. “All the people in CHAMP have been so supportive and really amazed by Bia’s ability and balance.”

Desranleau says she loves watching a sense of calm descend over each rider as they get on a horse and smiles immediately light up their faces.

She described one particularly joyous girl in a riding group with local nonprofit Partners in Adventure on Tuesday morning.

“We were out on a trail ride and all of a sudden she goes, ‘I’m so happy,’” Desranleau said.

Mele said she has wanted to try horseback riding since she was a little girl—and has no intention of giving it up now that she has gotten a taste.

“I don’t care if I have to go out and buy a horse against my parent will, I will keep riding,” she said.

She is set to attend a CHAMP summer camp in July, and is unreservedly looking forward to it.

“CHAMP is just so amazing,” she said. “If I could recommend any camp in the whole entire world I would recommend CHAMP because it really is the best.”

PHOTOS: Baseball championship

Observer photos by Greg Duggan

Observer photos by Greg Duggan

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PHOTOS: WCS Graduation

Observer photos by Stephanie Choate

Observer photos by Stephanie Choate

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PHOTOS: CVU Graduation

Observer photos by Stephen Mease

Observer photos by Stephen Mease

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POPCORN: ‘The Internship’ A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future



By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer


Director Shawn Levy’s “The Internship” is the sort of lighthearted ditty Bing Crosby and Bob Hope might have knocked out if they were making their “road to” movies at the dawn of this millennium. However, since the filmmaker has neither resurrecting powers nor a time machine, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson make good substitutes.


The sensibilities of the genre are kept intact. Except that, in this incarnation, the starry-eyed, bantering best buddies find fun, dismay, epiphany and maybe even raison d’etre not in an alluring, foreign locale, but in the exotic mores and folkways of a changing society epitomized at Google. The unlikeliest of job interns, they are strangers in a strange land.


Now, know thee that nary a cliché on Moviedom’s shelf of worlds-colliding plots isn’t swept into use here as stereotypes clash, merge and explore the societal building blocks known as diversity. However, Mr. Vaughn, who wrote the script with Jared Stern, ups the sociocultural ante with some fairly decent cogitations on the watershed in question.


Granted, when filmmaker Levy threw all the movie’s parts into the air, they might have fallen in more astute arrangement. And there’s nothing here that’ll make the sociologists at Princeton wish they “had thought of that.” Still, while critics entrusted to save readers money will be hesitant to give their blessings, audiences are bound to be less persnickety.


Whether it’s due to overpopulation or homogenization caused by the mass media, or because some alien beings are cloning us, the aforementioned stereotypes seem to be in greater supply of late. Hence, we find those folks perpetrated in “The Internship” rather familiar, their foibles and strengths ready agar for satiric upbraiding and compliment.


I, for example, forever wishing I had a techie intern named Reggie, who I could bid to “download that, to speak to this, and connect therein so it’ll stream info from some app,” find solace in relating to Vaughn’s Billy and Owen Wilson’s Nick. Born before the computer claimed its place in our consciousness, they have a foot in both worlds.


But when the film’s fortyish, card carrying dinosaurs lose their jobs selling watches for a manufacturer’s rep (John Goodman) who cruelly informs that people now consult their phones for the time, circumstances demand they jump a chasm. Of course it takes our own leap of faith to believe these two could possibly land an internship at Google.


That noted, if you haven’t yet exceeded your suspension of disbelief quota this year, “The Internship” is worth an activation, not necessarily for full price at the Bijou, but when it plays Netflix or the other assorted, secondary purveyors. Messrs. Vaughn and Wilson are likeable Lewis and Clarks, glibly guiding us through the Brave New World.


Plus, as Billy and Nick voyage through the Valley of Nerds, we can’t help but become enamored of the ragtag group of castoffs with whom they team in competition for those few prized jobs. Natch, a synergy bespeaking the greater humanity evolves as not only do they learn Newspeak, but become ambassadors of the Old School and Lingua Yesteryear.


Tiya Sircar is Neha, the only woman on the roster, and the tacitly acknowledged princess. Talking a good game, alas, all her experiences are of the virtual kind. Tobit Raphael is Yo-Yo Santos, a self-deprecating overachiever with some serious Mom problems. But the hardest geek to crack is antisocial Stuart, played by Dylan O’Brien.


Everything’s a drag, real life is a bore, its denizens disingenuous. But that’s OK, says Nick, who smilingly tells him, “You’re gonna like me.” Also tutored in the joyful ways of the unextraordinary is Josh Brener as Lyle, the neophyte Google employee assigned to the team. The film stops short of including “Getting to Know You” in the musical score.


Among the roadblocks tossed before the motley crew, Aasif Mandvi is Mr. Chetty, the no-nonsense head of the internship program who, in the orientation scene picked for the trailer, standoffishly tells Billy, “No, I will not be having a cold one with you.” But the unmitigated villain spot is reserved for fellow intern Graham Hawtrey (Max Minghella).


If you’ve ever gone to school or worked anywhere, you know this scurrilous rat only too well…more concerned with your failure than his success. Gosh knows from what hole they crawl. But it’ll take a lot more than his ilk to besmirch the grandiosity of Google as it is showcased here. On first blush, it seems the most perfect place in the world to work.


What’s not to like? Free food, pods to nap in, volleyball, the best computer gadgetry, etc. Never mind that the all-inclusive “paradise” could be mistaken for futuristic feudalism, or worse. Nope, the purpose here is to paint a funny, positive portrait of both humankind and modern entrepreneurship, and in that respect “The Internship” gets the job done.

“The Internship,” rated PG-13, is a Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation release directed by Shawn Levy and stars Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson and Tiya Sircar. Running time: 119 minutes

RECIPE CORNER: Easy 4th of July recipes

Buffalo style chicken

2 cups crushed cornflakes

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

pinch of salt

1 pound, skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1/3 cup blue cheese dressing

2 teaspoons water

1-2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce

Wash and clean chicken breasts. Cut into strips. Crush cornflakes and mix with parsley and salt in a bowl or place in plastic bag. In a shallow dish, mix the dressing, water and pepper sauce. Add chicken strips to the dressing mix and then place in corn flake crumbs and shake or stir. Bake in 425-degree oven for 15-20 minutes.


Creamy potato and pea salad

1 and 1/2 pounds Yukon potatoes, unpeeled

4 hard-boiled eggs

1/3 cup non-fat, plain Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons mayo

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon white vinegar

pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup frozen peas, let thaw at room temperature

3 tablespoons chopped chives

Cook potatoes until knife-tender. Cool and cut into cubes. Peel eggs, discard two yolks (I used them), chop and sprinkle over cubed potatoes along with peas. Mix yogurt, mayo, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper and gently fold into potatoes. Place in frig for an hour or overnight, covered. Can substitute white or red potatoes.


Potato planks for the grill

1 pound russet potatoes

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

salt and pepper

Slice potatoes lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices. Mix with oil and salt and pepper. Grill medium-high heat 8 -10 minutes turning once. Spray with oil and sprinkle with parsley.


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

Library Notes

The library is signing up volunteers for the annual book sale. Call 878-4918 or email marti@williston.lib.vt.us. Donations for the book sale will be accepted until June 28.

Youth News

Pirate Pet Parade

Saturday, June 22, 10:30 a.m. Arrrr! Don’t miss your chance to dress in a costume and bring your pet or stuffed animal for a parade around the library, featuring face painting, a balloon twister artist and a treasure hunt. Register for “Dig into Reading” summer reading challenge. (No pets in the library, please).

‘Beneath the Surface:’ Summer Reading for Teens

Keep track of your reading and enter to win prizes! Details on our teen blog at http://damlfft.blogspot.com/

The Hobbit Teen Club

Wednesdays, 3-4 p.m. Movies, snacks, book discussion, riddles, video-making and more. For students entering grade 6 and up.

A Date with Hemingway: Summer Book Group

Monday, June 24, 6:30 p.m. Grade 7 – adult. Kick off our summer classics series with an informal discussion of “The Old Man and the Sea.” Refreshments provided. Pre-register. Books are available at the library.

Vermont Lake Monsters Baseball Players

Tuesday, June 25, 11 a.m. Baseball players read stories and autograph baseballs. All ages.

Coming in July:

Dig into Nature! Butterfly Gardens: Monday, July 8, 1 p.m. Ages 5 and up pre-register.

Pirate Story Time: Tuesday, July 9, 11 a.m. Featuring “The Rogue Dutchman,” Andy Van Ness. All ages. No pre-registration.

Archaeological Dig: Wednesday, July 10, 11 a.m. Ages 8 and up. Pre-register.

Red Cross Babysitter’s Class: Saturday, July 13, 10:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Ages 11 to 15. Pre-register.


Adult Programs

Brown Bag Book Club

Friday, June 21, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Looking to meet others who love to discuss books? This month we will discuss “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Books available at the front desk. Coffee, tea, juice and dessert provided.

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: Slow down, you move to fast

By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

Whizzing along Interstate 89 to the rhythm of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Feeling Groovy,” I spied a wall of cars ahead at a near dead stop. I instinctively switched on my hazards, signaling a message to drivers behind.

“Construction? Accident?” I wondered.

Joining a sea of slow-moving cars, we crept along—a few precious inches at a time—like slugs on an ascendant trail. Down to one lane, I saw numerous twinkling red brake lights before me.

I was returning to Williston after dropping off my sister and her young son at Manchester Airport. It had been a pleasant visit and I was grateful for making good time. Time gained became time lost. My car’s digital clock showed minutes trickle by, like bits of sand in an hourglass.

Stuck in the crush of autos, I switched from CD to VPR. Within a few minutes, the station reported that 89 North, south of Exit 11, was entangled by a car crash. I said a silent prayer, hoping the drivers and passengers were safe. Cars can be replaced; people are irreplaceable.

“Crash” sounds different than “accident” to me. “Crash” conjures images of pulverized glass, scraped and tattered bits of metal strewn about and ambulances weaving the fastest path to the emergency room.

Rounding a curve, I spotted red and blue flashing lights in the distance. I still marvel at how police, firefighters and EMTs willingly walk into situations so many of us divert our eyes from.

I then saw what was left of the car. Twisted chunks of metal spread over two flatbed trucks. Once-tight-fitting pieces were smashed to smithereens. There was no hope for reconstructive surgery of the automotive kind. My heart sank as I thought about the passengers. A single car had plowed into a wall of jagged ledge on a grassy patch between northbound and southbound lanes.

It was April. The road was not wet. The pavement didn’t have a sliver of ice. A lump formed in my throat as we slowly progressed—or rather, processed—past the carnage. Tire blowout? Sudden cardiac event? Texting? Moose? Deer? DUI? Suicide? A murder-suicide as a result of domestic violence? (The latter speculation comes from a decade of involvement in domestic violence prevention work.) Could a split second of inattentiveness—the kind all of us are prone to—have caused such devastation?

Vermont’s Senate president pro tempore, John Bloomer, died in a car crash in Stockbridge in 1995. I worked as a legislative liaison at the time and had ample opportunity to see Senator Bloomer in action at the State House. His was a powerful presence in Montpelier. I remembered the suddenness of his death. I also remembered the suddenness of his absence. Police investigators speculated at the time that the sun’s glare on his windshield may have impaired his vision. Life happens—in split seconds of decision making.

Creeping past the scene, in a lane wet from washing, I saw tire tracks dead ending at the base of the gray stone. Smooth sailing eventually returned with the opening of the second lane. I coasted towards home in silence, my heart heavy.

Scanning the newspaper the next day, my suspicion of fatalities was confirmed. Two people—a man and a woman—died in the crash. Their names were withheld pending notification of family. I searched afterward for the victims’ names, but never found a follow-up story or an obituary.

Were there witnesses? What, if anything, could I learn from passing this spot—along a road I frequently travel—where two souls departed?

It’s simple. It’s obvious. It’s easy to forget. Embrace today. Tell those you love that you love them. And remember, if you are moving through life too quickly…Slow down, you move too fast. You gotta make the morning last…”

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


Amber Bushey and Mark Gaworecki were married at Boyden Valley Winery in Cambridge on May 25, 2013. The parents of the bride are Dale and Kathryn Bushey of Williston. The parents of the groom are John and Diane Gaworecki of Essex. The maid of honor was Amanda Beam. Bridesmaids included Allyson Shaloohey, Katelyn Ritchie, Sharon Szczapa, Heather McAllister, Molly Wagoner and Emma Plouffe. The best man was David Gaworecki. Groomsmen included Jerome Gonyeau, Christopher van der Lugt, George Ramia, Marcus Casadonte, Roy Costa and Nick Tobergte. Flower girls were Harley Beam and Serenity McAllister. The couple spent a few days in Ogunquit, Me. after the ceremony. They will take a honeymoon in Hawaii in October.



In Memory of Leo Nalette

4/29/60 – 6/19/08

It’s hard to believe that it has been five years since you went home to be with the Lord.  So much has happened. Your three wonderful grandchildren have been born.  Your daughters have grown into beautiful women. And your stepsons are growing into fine young men.

Words can never express how much we miss you and love you. You were an awesome example of a father, a stepfather and a husband. You always made it so easy for people to just be themselves. Oh how we miss those hugs that you would give (and so many of us can’t forget about those kisses!!).

We love you and miss you,

Samantha, Craig, Nick, Caleb, Nate and Cole

CVU regains boys lacrosse throne

CVU goalie Owen Hudson (right), seen here during a regular season game against Middlebury, made eight saves in Monday’s title game, helping CVU to a 7-6 championship win. (Observer file photo)

CVU goalie Owen Hudson (right), seen here during a regular season game against Middlebury, made eight saves in Monday’s title game, helping CVU to a 7-6 championship win. (Observer file photo)


Simply call the Castleton State lacrosse turf “the place where old pals meet.”

Certainly that is true in the case of Champlain Valley Union High and Essex High boys lacrosse combines.

The two friendly but formidable Division 1 foes last met there in the 2011 championship contest and CVU pulled out a thrilling overtime victory under the lights.

Monday, top-seeded Essex and sixth-seeded CVU tangled again for the crown and coach Dave Trevithick’s Redhawks came away with a 7-6 triumph in the anticipated thriller for their second title in three seasons.

The Hornets took both regular season contests 14-8 and 6-5 to capture “the bucket” for a second straight spring. The Bucket is an old helmet once worn by Trevithick, which was put up last year to go to the winner of each regular season series between the teams.

On Monday, CVU, 14-5, struck early to carry a 4-1 lead into halftime and 5-2 by the end of the third period. But the Hornets, 15-2 coming in, were far from finished, having averaged double digits in offense.

Keenan Weischedel and Bradan Merrill got through the sticky CVU defense to pull Essex to 5-4 with eight minutes left in regulation. The Hornets appeared to have momentum, but CVU had an answer as Nevin DiParlo popped home a score past Essex netminder Pat Abbott (five saves) to restore a two-goal lead.

The tension grew as Essex again got back to within a score, but the Redhawks’ Alex Bulla unleashed a tally with under three minutes remaining and CVU was up again by a deuce.

Essex’ Luc LeBlanc scored at 1:12 to keep the final minute tense.

Bulla finished with two goals and three assists. Diparlo, Steele DuBrul, Matt Palmer, Hoyt McCuin and Eliot Mitchell each scored a goal. DuBrul and Mitchell were also credited with two helpers apiece.

Goalie Owen Hudson, who passed up a seminar at the Air Force Academy to be between the posts in the CVU cage, had eight stops.

The two finalists earned their Castleton trip by giving some lessons to southern Vermont hopefuls. Essex clubbed fourth-seeded Brattleboro Union High 15-4 while the Redhawks easily handled second-seeded 15-2 Mount Anthony Union 12-3 at Williams College.

Mitchell was all over the place in the Williamstown, Mass. setting, uncorking three goals and assisting on five others. Bulla snared a trio of scores and helped on another while DiParlo and Palmer had two goals each.

Hudson made 10 saves. CVU fired 22 shots at the Patriots’ net.

—Mal Boright, Observer correspondent