November 1, 2014

CVU soccer girls heading down tournament trail

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Senior Emma Davitt outpaces her opponents during a game earlier this month.(Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

Senior Emma Davitt outpaces her opponents during a game earlier this month.(Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

October 24th, 2013 [Read more...]

CVU busts way to Div. 1 boys soccer quarterfinals

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Junior Tripp Moreton strips the ball from a defender with a slide tackle during a tight game against Mount Mansfield earlier this month. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate.)

Junior Tripp Moreton strips the ball from a defender with a slide tackle during a tight game against Mount Mansfield earlier this month. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate.)

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

October 24th, 2013 [Read more...]

Rutland High at CVU for gridiron playdown Saturday

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Steele DuBrul heads down the field during Saturday’s victory against BFA St. Albans. For more photos, visit the Web Extras section (Observer courtesy photo by Al Frey)

Steele DuBrul heads down the field during Saturday’s victory against BFA St. Albans. For more photos, visit the Web Extras section (Observer courtesy photo by Al Frey)

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

October 24th, 2013 [Read more...]

Volunteer Opportunities

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October 24th, 2013 [Read more...]

LITTLE DETAILS: Finding the light in others

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By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

October 24th, 2013 [Read more...]

Letters to the Editor

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CVU Turf Fields Project

I am writing in support of the CVU Turf Fields Project. I am an interested community citizen. My kids are long gone from school, but I continue my involvement in helping kids through some coaching and community board involvement. Over time, I have coached hockey, baseball, basketball and football at a variety of levels, skills and genders. I also grew up in a family that for generations have been educators and coaches. Through those experiences, I have come to understand the value of the athletic experience as a critical element in the overall development of the person.

CVU has been adversely impacted by the inability of its teams to have regular and healthy practice time due to the lack of consistent availability of its practice fields. This is because the fields are unable to hold up to virtually any level of wet weather, and once they are wet, they are quickly unplayable and in quick disrepair. In athletics, wins or losses sometimes mask the true value of what goes on in the development of the athlete and the team. The overall quality of the training and development process is paramount. I would venture to guess, as has been my experience, that most coaches have fonder memories of a particular player and their growth than some of their big wins. This is how programs grow, the players grow as individuals and as teammates, and we as the educational community reap the full benefit of the experience. For coaches, the field is the classroom and no one would tolerate nor accept classrooms in this state of condition.

We hope that your support on Nov. 5 will help bring an athletic classroom deserving of our young people to reality.

— Kevin B. McCarthy
Shelburne

 

A gift to Williston and its not-for-profits

Thank you to the Mark Akey Family and their Williston village restaurant for creating Wednesday not-for-profit night—donating a percentage of the evening’s proceeds to Williston not-for-profits. Catamount was the beneficiary last Wednesday.

Supporting your Williston not-for-profits and having a great evening out at the same time makes lots of sense.

—Jim McCullough
Williston

 

Balance needed

There has been enough of the one-sided political cartoons. It isn’t enough that the occupant of the White House endlessly slams, criticizes, blames and dumps on the Republicans of this country, not to mention how condescending he constantly is, but is it necessary to further divide the population by printing derogatory cartoons in the Observer?

There ARE others besides Democrats here in Williston. Where is the balance?

—Kimberly Townsend
Williston

 

More oversight needed at NCSC

The Development Review Board will be doing the town of Williston and our environment a grave injustice if it allows the North Country Sportsman’s Club to move ahead with their plans as currently proposed.

Despite the lack of follow through at the Oct. 8 DRB meeting, this is an enforcement issue.

First, the NCSC brought in tons of fill without any of the three required permits: one town; two state.

Second, the fill contains significant amounts of “unclean” items (rebar, concrete, conduit, pipe, asphalt, fabric, brick, plastic, shot-gun casings). Who knows what sort of toxins have flowed through these pipes (sewer, chemicals, etc.)? We do know, however, that arsenic is a major toxin found in shotgun casings.

Third, additional fill was apparently brought in after the NCSC was told to stop work due to lack of permits. We can only assume this was to cover up “unclean” fill showing through, as a complaint had been filed to that matter.

Third, the NCSC stated several facts that were proven to be inaccurate.

Despite the above facts, it looks like their plans are to move forward.

Just because the ANR says they approve the work being done at the NCSC, doesn’t mean that what is being done is enough. How much oversight is the ANR/town actually investing in this site that is already polluting neighboring streams, land and water with severely toxic amounts of lead?

I was told that “The Development Review Board is the only entity in the Town of Williston that had the ‘b@##s” to follow the letter of the laws and would make the NCSC do the right thing”; so, once again I wonder why so much time is spent writing laws to protect our resources if no one is willing to enforce them.

—Mona Boutin
Williston

 

GUEST COLUMN: Essential transparency

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By Bruce Lisman

Transparency is the essential ingredient in transforming state government into an organization capable of solving Vermont’s most pressing challenges. It’s also the most valuable tool in holding government accountable to the very people who government serves and who actually elect the government. Imagine it: government transparency—the ability to measure how well government is led and managed, not merely administered.

Campaign for Vermont made these points in our paper Achieving Accountability: Transforming State Government into a Modern, Transparent 21st Century System. Now it’s time to take action.

Good ideas alone never compel politicians and special interests groups to embrace real transformation, especially when the result will be more accountability. That’s why CFV will advocate for real reforms in the next legislative session.

As part of our transparency proposal, we also advocated for developing ethics rules for elected officials. Ours is one of the few states with no ethics laws, financial disclosure requirements for those running for statewide office, required conflict of interest disclosure, or an ethics panel that would advise on, and enforce, these matters. That’s why the Better Government Association ranked Vermont 43rd in government integrity laws, while The State Integrity Investigation gave Vermont a D+ for corruption risk. That may also be one reason Vermont has among the highest rates of embezzlement in the nation.

To stymie reforms, some say ours is a small state; we all know each other; there have been few examples of corruption at the state level; or that ethics regulations place a burden on legislators or statewide officials.

It is true that most Vermonters don’t break laws, but we still have a wide array of regulatory frameworks that offer protection from the few that do. In addition, corruption isn’t always a matter of stealing money or selling access or influence—but it certainly can be. Ethics guidelines would tell us how conflicts of interest should be treated in certain circumstances and mandatory disclosures would help us highlight potential pitfalls. Certainly, any new burden placed on politicians for transparency is far less significant than the burden the regulatory burden imposed by state government in a wide range of issues—generally with good reason.

That’s why we believe Vermont ought to establish standards of conduct that are applied to public office and these policies must be enforceable through an independent, non-partisan and quasi-judicial system—an Ethics Commission—that is itself a model of transparency and accountability.

CFV will be releasing a detailed ethics proposal. Be prepared for political insiders to say they support it, but take no meaningful action, or attempt to explain away ethics laws and disclosures as unnecessary.

Vermont is a proud, forward-thinking state that likes to lead. We cannot be content to be among the last in transparency, accountability and ethics.

You can learn more about our ideas, and join the effort, at www.CampaignForVermont.org.

Bruce Lisman is a resident of Shelburne and is the founder of Campaign for Vermont.

 

Around Town

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Turf fields Bond hearing set for Oct. 28

A public hearing in advance of the bond vote for turf fields at Champlain Valley Union High School is set for Oct. 28 at 5 p.m. at the school.

Champlain Valley Union High School district voters—Williston, St. George, Hinesburg, Shelburne and Charlotte residents—are being asked for a $1.5 million bond issue, which would help fund artificial turf on two athletic fields, as well as seating and lights at one of the fields.

The CVU board voted unanimously to ask voters to approve the bond for turf fields, after looking at several other options to refurbish the clay-based fields, which become unusable after heavy rains.

The remainder of funds needed for the fields is being raised by a committee.

The vote is set for Nov. 5.

 

PLANNING TO PREVENT FALLS

The Vermont Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association held a falls prevention session at Whitney Hill Homestead in Williston Tuesday. Physical therapists from Cornerstone Physical Therapy volunteered at the association’s Stay Steady Program, which helps older residents learn ways to avoid falls and provides individual balance screenings.

Another session is set for Oct. 30 at the Pines Senior Living Community in South Burlington from 1 to 3 p.m.

 

HVPR issues warning about 2005 artist mug

Vermont Public Radio has issued a warning regarding “unacceptable” levels of lead in its 2005 artist mug, one of 34 mugs produced in the series in the past decade.

VPR tested all 34 mugs in the series and found lead in 11 of the mugs, but only the 2005 mug was found to be above the FDA standards.

VPR advises that anyone who has this mug should discontinue its use.

The broadcaster is in the process of contacting all members who received the mug.

More tests are underway.

Old Stage Road footbridge completion date still uncertain

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Neal Candel (left) and Susan Parenti head into the road to avoid the closed pedestrian footbridge on Old Stage Road. (Observer photo by Marianne Apfelbaum)

Neal Candel (left) and Susan Parenti head into the road to avoid the closed pedestrian footbridge on Old Stage Road. (Observer photo by Marianne Apfelbaum)

By Marianne Apfelbaum

Observer staff

October 24th, 2013 [Read more...]

Opposing views on Mountain View Road path

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A map prepared by consulting company Stantec shows proposed paths and sidewalks. (Observer courtesy map)

A map prepared by consulting company Stantec shows proposed paths and sidewalks. (Observer courtesy map)

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

October 24th, 2013 [Read more...]