April 1, 2015

Young Writers Project: What are you most grateful for?

This photo by Laura Cavazos of Essex High School was selected as the photo of the week. (Observer courtesy photo).

This photo by Laura Cavazos of Essex High School was selected as the photo of the week. (Observer courtesy photo).


Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve and connects them with authentic audiences through the Newspaper Series (and youngwritersproject.org) and the Schools Project (ywpschools.net). This week, students answered the prompt, “What are you most grateful for?”


Baby brother

By Reagan Dufresne 

Grade 6, Williston Central School

I am thankful for my little brother, Jonas. Why? Because he has been through the hardest journey I have ever seen. He was born three months early—not weeks, months!

I had always wanted a little brother, so when I found out he was three months early, I was really sad. But I did not give up on him and my family did not, either. The doctors said he had a 3 percent chance of living. We were all very scared at the time and were worried he was not going to make it.

But every night I would pray for him. He was in the hospital for two months. I was so worried about him. One day, when my step-mother told me I could see him, I could not wait. I saw him through the glass.

About a month later they said he was well enough to come home! I was so happy I would have a little brother! The first time I held him I just could not stop thinking about how strong he is! It is amazing! I am so thankful he is here with us today! Jonas is 1 now.


Fun family

By Taylor Detch 

Grade 5, Williston Central School

I am most grateful for my family because I love them. I love my family because we do fun things together. They are my whole life! I am also grateful for my friends. Without my friends, I don’t know where I’d be now.


My mom

By Mykala O’Farrell

Grade 6, Williston Central School

I have many things that I am thankful for. I am thankful for my house, for food and many more things. But if I could pick one thing that I am most thankful for, it would be my mom.

I am thankful for my mom for so many reasons. She puts a smile on my face all the time. My mom makes me laugh so much that I can’t stop laughing. I am also thankful for her because she helps me with many things. She helps me with my homework and other things, too. She also teaches me right from wrong. I honestly do not know where I would be without my mom. My mom makes me see the good in everything even when sometimes it is hard to.

My mom is kind, generous, loving, funny and much more. I am also thankful for my mom because she has taught me to give 110 percent, no matter what.



By Ethan Knudsen 

Grade 6, Williston Central School

I’m grateful for my cat, Dexter. He is the best cat. He is a Himalayan breed.

Dexter is really fluffy—that is why I love him. Dexter and I have been though a lot… Dexter was 8 weeks old when we got him.

My parents

By Callahan Freeman 

Grade 6, Williston Central School

I am thankful for a lot of things, but I’m mostly grateful for my parents. My parents have given me a great life—a great house, food, water, heat, everything. I wouldn’t be so great without them…


Giving thanks

By Cassidy Frost 

Grade 6, Williston Central School

I am most thankful for my family. I love my family very much because they do a lot for me. I am very happy that I have a very nice family. In January, there was a new member to my family. We got a dog! We got a little yellow lab puppy. We named her Stella. She is a great addition to our family.

So this Thanksgiving, I will be thinking of the family and friends that have helped me become a better person. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

YWP is supported by this newspaper and foundations, businesses and individuals who recognize the power and value of writing. If you would like to donate to YWP, please go to youngwritersproject.org/support. 





Sophia Lorraine Glaser, 22, beloved daughter of Caitlin and Jacob “Jack” Glaser, died peacefully in her sleep of natural causes on Friday, Nov. 8, 2013. She is also survived by brother, Rama Gottfried, sister-in-law, Celeste Gottfried, and niece, Elodie Gottfried.

A film student at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, she was studying at FAMU in Prague for the semester. She was a 2009 graduate of Champlain Valley Union High School in Hinesburg. A complete obituary will follow when a date for memorial services is scheduled. Contact the Boucher & Pritchard Funeral Home for details. Donations may be made to: SYDA Foundation, Donations, PO Box 600, S. Fallsburg, NY 12779, www.siddhayoga.org; or the PRASAD Project, 465 Brickman Road, Hurleyville, NY 12747, www.prasad.org.



Eloy Joseph LeBeau Sr., at the age of 76, passed away on Nov. 16, 2013. Visiting of the family was held in the lobby of Trinity Baptist Church, Mountain View Road, Williston, on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, with a memorial service following. Direct Cremation Services and the family invite you to view a full obituary and to and share your memories by visiting www.awrfh.com.


Patricia “Patti” (Bates) Roberts, 79, went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, on Monday, Nov. 18, 2013, with her family by her side. She was born on Feb. 24, 1934, the daughter of Edward and Jane (Horton) Bates. Patti grew up and went to school in Paramus, N.J. She moved to Vermont in 1954, working with New England Telephone. She then worked at Headstart in Burlington, CVU High School and St. Michael’s College, and sold Avon products for many years.

Patti married William L. Roberts on May 5, 1956. Patti and Willy enjoyed camping for many years. She enjoyed knitting, bowling, listening to music and snowmobiling. She is survived by her husband of 57 years, William “Willy;” six children, daughter, Mona and Leo Boutin; son, Ken Roberts; son, Chip and Kim Roberts; son, Dan and Pattie Roberts; son, Hank and Missy Roberts; and daughter, Jani and Chris Wilson; 18 grandchildren; 26 great-grandchildren; brother, the Rev. James Bates and wife, Sandra; sisters-in-law, Joan Bates, Janice Roberts, Ruby Roberts, and Nancy St. Amour; and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her son, Billy Roberts; two brothers, Edward and George Bates; parents, Ed and Jane Bates; daughter-in-law, Patti-Lynn; and numerous brothers- and sisters-in-law. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Williston. Arrangements are in care of the Gifford Funeral and Cremation Service. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to FAHC Development Office, 111 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, VT 05401, in memory of Patricia Roberts. A special thanks to Molly and the nursing staff for their unending kindness.



June D. Talbert died Nov. 14, 2013, in the Respite House in Williston. June was born Sept. 24, 1925, in Burlington, the daughter of John and Margaret (Fleming) Duff. She attended schools in the Burlington area, and graduated from Burlington High School, Class of 1943.

On Aug. 3, 1946, June and Gerdon D. Talbert were married in Burlington at the First Congregational Church. Gerdon predeceased June on Nov. 28, 2003. They were married 57 years. June is survived by her brother, John Duff; sisters-in-law, Jeanette O’Neil, Elizabeth Allard, and Peggy Talbert; and many nieces and nephews. June was predeceased by her husband, Gerdon; parents, John and Margaret Duff; father- and mother-in-law, Gerdon and Lucy Talbert; sisters, Genevieve and husband, Ray D. Sleeper, Virginia and husband, George Commo, and Lorraine and husband, Henry Hendee; and brothers-in-law, Donald Talbert, Warren J. O’Neil, and Robert Allard. June requested that their be no funeral, and the committal service will be held privately at the convenience of the immediate family. Arrangements are in care of the Corbin and Palmer Funeral and Cremation Service.

Library Notes


All library events are free. Call 878-4918 for information or to register.


Youth News

Winter Holidays Party with the UVM Zest

Monday, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. Join us for an a cappella concert, then stay to decorate the library for the winter holidays. Sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

Story Time and Crafts

Tuesdays at 11 a.m. (Dec. 3 -17). Preschoolers are introduced to a variety of books and authors while gaining early literacy skills. Dec. 17, “Science Story Time: Animal Tracks” with Kristen Littlefield. For children ages 3-5. Sponsored by the Friends of the Library.

Evening Playgroup

Wednesday, Dec. 4, 6-7:30 p.m (first Wednesday of each month). Connect with other families with children of similar age. For children birth-2 years and their caregivers. For information, call 876-7555. Sponsored by Building Bright Futures.

Food For Thought Teen Group

Thursday, Dec. 5, 4-5 p.m. Grades 7-12 Teen Advisory Group. Teens meet for pizza, discussion, book/DVD selection, and planning special events for the library. New members welcome.

Spanish Musical Playgroup

Saturday, Dec.7, 10:30 a.m. Non-Spanish speakers welcome. Spanish rhymes, books, and songs with an art activity. Children birth to 5. Snacks included. Music with Constancia, art with Natasha. Sponsored by Building Bright Futures.

Pajama Story Time with Abby Klein

Monday, Dec. 9, 6:30 p.m. Bring kids in PJs with their favorite stuffed animal for stories, a craft and a bedtime snack. Sponsored by Building Bright Futures.

Gingerbread Houses

Tuesday, Dec. 10 or Thursday, Dec. 12, 3-3:30 pm. (Grades K-4). After-Party: Thursday, Dec. 12, 4-4:30 pm. (Grades 5-8). Pre-register. Children ages 8 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

Read to Van Gogh the Cat

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Call 878-4918 to pre-register for 10-minute individual reading sessions. All ages.

Toddler Time

“Zoom! Zoom!” Friday, Dec. 13, 10:30 am. Early Literacy Program. Rhymes, books, playtime and simple art activities for children ages 1-3.

Make Your Own Star Book

Monday, Dec. 16, 3-4 p.m. Use simple paper-folding techniques to create a colorful star-shaped book for a decoration or keepsake. Presented by WCS art teacher MC Baker. Pre-register. Kindergarten and up.


Programs for Adults 

Shape and Share Life Stories

Monday, Dec. 2 and 16, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Prompts trigger real life experience stories, which are crafted into engaging narrative and shared with the group. Led by Recille Hamrell. Free and open to all adults.

Winter Decorating Party with UVM Zest

Monday, Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. Join us for an a cappella concert, then stay to decorate the library for the winter holidays. Sponsored by the Friends of DAML.

Winter Holiday Centerpiece

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 6:30 p.m. Williston’s Buds and Roses will lead a group on making a holiday table arrangement. All materials are provided. Free and open to 10 adults. Pre-registration required.

The Tech Tutor Program

Thursday, Dec. 12 and 26, 3 to 6 p.m. Patrons may stop by anytime during tech hours and ask one-on-one technology questions with one of our local teens. Guarantee a time by making a 15-minute appointment. 878-4918.

Brown Bag Book Club

Friday, Dec. 13, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Looking to meet others who love to discuss books? This month we will discuss “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry. Books available at the front desk. Coffee, tea, juice and dessert provided. Free and open to all.

Williston Revisited Movie Showing

Saturday, Dec. 14, 1 p.m. If you missed the premier of this documentary film by Williston resident Jim Heltz on July 4, you can see it now.

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


Letters to the Editor


Thanks for first aid

When I searched for someone to teach our community Girl Scout leaders CPR/first aid at a reasonable rate, Josh and Meghan Dishaw immediately offered and were more than generous to us! I’d taken a class before, but this one exceeded my expectations. Josh and Meghan were not only incredibly knowledgeable, but delivered the information in a way that we all could understand and kept us completely engaged the entire time. I can’t thank them enough!

Betsey Dempsey

Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains

GUEST COLUMN: Why Vermont needs a farm bill now


By Ted Brady and Bob Paquin


This fall, Congress has an important opportunity to create jobs and grow the economy by passing a long-term, comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs Bill. The Vermont Congressional Delegation—Sen. Leahy, Sen. Sanders and Rep. Welch—are working hard to pass the Farm Bill because they know it affects every American, every day by providing a wide range of programs that strengthen our nation.

The Farm Bill is crucial to maintaining a strong agricultural sector and an abundant food supply that benefit all Americans. Over the past two years, producers have faced a multitude of disasters—from drought, to flooding, to blizzards. These events demonstrate how important the safety net is to keeping producers going strong. Under the 2008 Farm Bill, the Farm Service Agency was able to provide more than $12 million in disaster assistance in Vermont farmers using Farm Bill programs.

A new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would provide a new dairy program supported by Vermont dairy farmers, a strong crop insurance program, reauthorize the now-expired disaster assistance programs, and provide retroactive assistance for livestock producers. By reforming the safety net to eliminate the direct payment program—which pays producers whether or not they are in need of assistance—the Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would also save billions of dollars in the next decade.

In addition, it would allow USDA to continue export promotion efforts that have led to the best five-year period in agricultural trade in American history, and provide FSA with the tools to extend additional farm credit in Vermont.

The Farm Bill is also a job creation bill that would empower USDA to partner with rural communities to grow, expand and support new businesses.

A new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would help Main Street businesses grow and hire more, strengthen infrastructure in our small towns and provide new opportunities in bio-based product manufacturing and renewable energy. For example, in Vermont, USDA has provided more than $10.2 million since 2009 to help farmers, ranchers and rural businesses save energy through the Rural Energy for America Program. This and many other efforts could continue with a new Farm Bill.

A new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would make important investments in nutrition programs that provide critical assistance to vulnerable Americans, including children, seniors, people with disabilities who are unable to work, and returning veterans. It would enable USDA to continue our work with more than 500,000 producers and landowners to conserve the soil and water. It would undertake new strategies to improve agricultural research, and it would ensure a safe food supply.

All of these efforts strengthen our nation. A new Food, Farm and Jobs Bill would continue the job growth we’ve seen in recent years and help grow the rural economy. That’s why President Obama has identified passage of a new Farm Bill as one of his top three legislative priorities this fall.

This is a prime opportunity to give America’s farmers, ranchers and producers the certainty they need about the next five years of U.S. farm policy, while investing in the rural communities that stand at the heart of our values. The Farm Bill has stood as a model of bipartisan consensus for decades. Leahy is a Farm Bill conferee as the most senior member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and we applaud Vermont’s entire congressional delegation for working with both Democrats and Republicans to come to a compromise on this new Farm Bill and we look forward to Senate and House conferees reaching a consensus to move it forward as soon as possible. Doing so will enable USDA to continue investing in Vermont.

Ted Brady is the USDA rural development state director and Bob Paquin is the USDA Farm Service Agency state executive director.


Around town


November 27th, 2013 [Read more...]

CVU boys soccer coach leaving well-stocked program

Coach TJ Mead is retiring after eight years at the helm of the CVU boys soccer team. (Observer file photo)

Coach TJ Mead is retiring after eight years at the helm of the CVU boys soccer team. (Observer file photo)

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

November 27th, 2013 [Read more...]

Local businesses gear up for Small Business Saturday


By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

November 27th, 2013 [Read more...]

Circ alternatives plan heads to legislature

Gov. Peter Shumlin (second from left) addresses the Circ Alternatives Task Force Thursday evening at the Williston Town Hall, the group’s final meeting. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate).

Gov. Peter Shumlin (second from left) addresses the Circ Alternatives Task Force Thursday evening at the Williston Town Hall, the group’s final meeting. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate).

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

November 27th, 2013 [Read more...]

“Thor: The Dark World” Looking for the Light




By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer


An informal poll of five 13-year-old boys in the theater lobby following a recent showing of director Alan Taylor’s “Thor: The Dark World” went like this:


Befuddled, Fuddy-Duddy Film Critic: Did you like the movie?


The Next Generation: (en masse, enthusiastically) Yes!


Befuddled: What would you give it out of 10?


The Next Generation: (unequivocally, again en masse) 9!


Befuddled: Thanks


I briefly thought of asking if they understood it, but decided I didn’t need an “of course!” delivered with askance glare to confirm my interloper status. So I just adopted that silly, philosophically accepting smile as I walked to the car and contemplated the pageant of the generations.


Oh sure, I could grok the thing…if I saw it about three times and crammed the cheater notes before each viewing. However, never too much a fan of parallel worlds beyond the classics of the genre (i.e. –“The Time Machine” – 1960), and hesitant to embrace entertainment that implies a secret handshake, my proclivity is to mine the basic tale of good and evil that lies deep beneath all the high-tech fuss and fancy.


It’s all there, elaborately cached within the bright, shiny, cyberspace packaging, tweaked here to please modern sensibilities, including a trans-world love affair between the god of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) and a pretty mortal (Natalie Portman). It’s just the sort of thing to strike an adolescent male, or female’s, fancy.


Let’s skip for the moment all the lore, minutiae, appurtenances and libretto necessary to an informed, uh, enjoyment of the fanciful, Marvel Comics rendition of Norse mythology. And never mind that no less than five Hollywood scribes had their hand in adapting it for the screen. Suffice it to note, the good folks of Asgard are in trouble.


Well, actually they’re gods, although Odin, played by a patch-eyed Anthony Hopkins, reminds bad adopted son Loki that they do die.


“Yeah,” retorts the snotty black sheep, superbly portrayed by Tom Hiddleston, “In about 5,000 years.”


Hmmm….can’t trust that kid. Our finer, humanitarian instincts say we should try. However, we fear the power-hungry prodigal, recently banned by his stepdad to life in the dungeon, is, like Fredo in “The Godfather II,” in cahoots with the family’s enemies.


That would mean Chris Eccleston’s Malekith, the despicable ruler of the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim. Who wouldn’t have a chip on his shoulder if he couldn’t spell the name of the place he’s from?


In any case, if he ever gets hold of the Aether (the plot’s McGuffin), boy oh boy. That stuff could very well destroy the universe. Duh! You see, it also just so happens that the Asgardians have recently learned that the Convergence, an unusual configuration of the Nine Realms, is looming. But then who doesn’t know that?


But I dare not tell any more, lest I ruin it for you. Besides, my spell-check program has taken to rolling its eyes in disbelief of the words I’ve okayed to “add to dictionary.” Hey, I’ll need them for the unavoidable sequel.


But so much for the condescending rants of an outsider. Odds are, had I been raised on a diet of psychedelic cartoons and video games, and made to imbibe most of my liquid nourishment from juice boxes, Thor and his realms (yep, all 9 of ‘em), would probably serve to alleviate life’s pressures: such as playing sports I’m really not into (so I’ll be well-rounded) and getting into the college most preferred by my parents.


In more exigent circumstances, the colorful panoply of fantastic lands and infinite possibilities might prove an uplifting distraction from cancelled lunch programs, crime-littered streets and being raised by a grandmother who, at 64, is still cleaning houses.


It is romance and hope, albeit disguised in the most illogical glossary of cutting edge notions. Yes, worlds collide, dimensions mesh and time is turned upside down in a kaleidoscopic confusion of force and matter—the more gobbledygook-infused, the better.


But bottom line, this is a love story, the everlasting kind, determined to prevail no matter the cosmic interference or time continuum impossibility.


He, the title character played by Chris Hemsworth, is handsome….a younger, taller Brad Pitt, and for gosh sakes, a god. OK, she’s only human…but appealing…the girl-next-door but with an exotic look and smart like nobody’s business. Natalie Portman’s astrophysicist, Jane Foster, is probably the only one in the film, Asgardian, human or otherwise, who understands what’s going down.


Scratch the rambunctious veneer just a little more and the saga in which this love affair is placed retells a tale of power, corruption and ambition with all the usual lessons Machiavelli so astutely delineated. Now, there was some political thinker. Too bad he didn’t suggest a diplomatic way to get out of that promise to take your nephew to see “Thor: The Dark World.”

“Thor: The Dark World,” rated PG-13, is a Walt Disney Studios release directed by Alan Taylor and stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Tom Hiddleston. Running time: 112 minutes