August 31, 2014

Library Notes

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Youth News

Toddler Yoga & Stories

Friday Jan. 31, Feb. 7, 10:15 a.m. Karen Allen presents simple yoga and books for children ages 1-5. Pre-register at 878-4918.

After School Movie

Friday, Jan. 31, 3 p.m.  An inventor and his friends battle mutant food beasts to save their island. Rated PG. 95 minutes. Grades 1 and up. Snacks provided. Children ages 8 and younger must be with an adult while at the library.

Russian Playgroup

Saturday, Feb. 1, 10:30 a.m. Bring your favorite toy to the library for a tea party with snack.  Non-Russian speakers welcome. Sponsored by Building Bright Futures.

Preschool Music

Mondays, 10:45 a.m. with Peter Alsen, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m. with Derek Burkins. For children up to age 5 with a caregiver. (No music Monday, Feb. 17.)

Story Time and Crafts

Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Preschoolers are introduced to a variety of books, authors and a simple craft activity for early literacy skills. Feb. 4: dinosaurs. Feb. 11: math with robots. For children ages 3-5.

Reading with Frosty & Friends

Tuesday, Feb. 4 and 11, 3:30 p.m. Bring a book and read to a dog! Dogs are registered with Therapy Dogs of Vermont. All ages. Pre-register at 878-4918 for appointments.

Babytime Evening Playgroup

Wednesday, Feb. 5, 6-7:30 p.m. For children birth to age 2 and their caregivers. Sponsored by Building Bright Futures.

Food for Thought Library Volunteers

Thursday, Feb. 6, 4-5 p.m. Pizza, discussion, and library projects for grades 7 and up. New members welcome!

Pajama Story Time with Abby Klein

Monday, Feb. 10, 6:30 p.m. Bring kids in pajamas with their favorite stuffed animal for stories, craft, and a bedtime snack. Presented with Building Bright Futures.

Teen Movie

Thursday, Feb. 13, 3:30 p.m. A powerful film about how one man changed baseball and America. Rated PG-13.128 minutes. Grades 7 and up. Snacks provided.

Toddler Time: Wild Animals

Friday, Feb. 14, 10:30 a.m. Early literacy program for children ages 1-3. Children are welcome to bring a stuffed animal!

Programs for Adults 

Introduction Ayurvedic Lifestyle and Diet

Monday, Feb. 3, 6:30 p.m. Adena Rose Harford presents Ayurveda, a medicine system from India that uses diet, lifestyle and herbs for healing and safely complements any treatment protocol. Learn the basic principles and how to utilize them for better digestion and feeling your best.

Tech Tutor

Thursday, Feb. 6 and 13, 3- 6 p.m. Stop by anytime during tech hours and ask one-on-one technology questions with a local teen. Guarantee a time by making a 15-30 minute appointment 878-4918.

Investing Seminar: Understanding the Jargon

Saturday, Feb. 8, 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. The local Fortune Group Investment Club will discuss how people buy stocks to make money and the basic vocabulary needed.

Gentle Yoga with Jill Lang

Saturdays, Feb. 8 and 22, Wednesdays, Feb. 12 and 26, 1 – 2 p.m. Jill Lang, a yoga teacher certification candidate, presents classes through April. Bring your own mat.

Shape and Share Life Stories

Monday, Feb. 10 and 24, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. Recille Hamrell shows you how to craft and share engaging stories with a group.

Library Trustee Meeting

Monday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m.

Vermont Author

“Treasures on Your Doorstep.” Wednesday, Feb. 12, 6:30 p.m. Julia Lynam, author and park ranger, shares how to find and enjoy National Parks. Book signing available.

Brown Bag Book Club

Friday, Feb. 14, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Meet others who love to discuss books. This month we will discuss “The Other Boleyn Girl” by Philippa Gregory. Copies available at the library. Beverages and dessert provided.

 The Dorothy Alling Memorial Library is located at 21 Library Lane in Williston, and can be reached at 878-4918. All events are free. www.williston.lib.vt.us

 

Letters to the editor

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Right about technology

Ginger Isham’s letter on too much technology (Jan. 16, 2014) is right on! Technology is great for writing documents (do not need White Out), doing powerful analysis (faster and saves lead pencils and erasers), sending information to others (saves postage—sorry Post Office, but at least I do still send entries to Publishers Clearing House), talking to and seeing my granddaughter from a distance (Skype) and helping business succeed.

Technology can also be annoying.

In a restaurant it destroys the atmosphere for others. Browsing the web—is it really factual information? I have 20 options each on my washer and dryer and seven on my toaster! Holy cow! My father is probably rolling over in his grave.

Be sociable: talk to people rather than gluing your face to technology. Oh, and the law says two hands on the wheel when driving.

Perhaps it is good that we can do a lot more now with technology, but I feel I need a driver’s license to use much of it. User guides? Essentially nonexistent. Get eye strain instead while you read it on your computer.

I worked in technology for 40 years, thus know its power. Technology certainly has its place. In many ways, technology has improved our lives. Yet, in other ways, its use is destroying us as a social society. It reminds me of a song from several years ago, “In the Year 2525.”

Roger Crouse
Williston and Essex

 

Guest Column: Addressing the projected increase in property taxes

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By Stephen Dale 

Gov. Peter Shumlin’s recent commentary about school budgets and property taxes is disappointing and has responses ranging from bewilderment to outrage from Vermont’s school board members. The governor’s comments in his budget address and at a recent press conference are misleading to a confused public and intended to create space between the governor and projected increases in property taxes.

In his budget remarks, the governor stated, “I am not at all happy that Vermonters will once again bear an increase of five to seven cents in the statewide property tax rate next year based upon projections for local school spending.”

This statement is misleading. Any increase in property taxes this year reflects multiple factors—some related to local spending, some reflecting the absence of one-time funds applied by the state in past years, some resulting from declining property values and some by the failure of the administration and the general assembly to properly support the education fund. In 2005, only 61 percent of the education fund was provided through property taxes. In 2014, that figure has risen to 68 percent. That is one major driver of property tax increases.

Vermont school boards are very concerned about the cost of education and property tax pressures. Although proposed budgets have not been finalized in all districts, most are quite modest. A scan of statewide media sources reveals numerous accounts of intense public meetings where boards have proposed substantial reductions in staff. Vermont’s school boards are responsibly developing budgets in their efforts to balance the needs of students and taxpayers. These efforts occur in the context of an ever-expanding list of obligations imposed by the state and federal governments. Vermonters, on Town Meeting Day, will review those budgets and determine whether enough work has been done to reconcile interests and meet new obligations.

In a year when property taxes are projected to rise at a rate greater than the percent increase in proposed budgets, we all owe it to the citizens of Vermont to be sure that we and they understand the moving parts, have properly defined the problems and have set out to solve them. We don’t want voters rejecting school budgets based on frustration due to their inability to make sense of a confusing funding system. If that happens, it is the education of children that will suffer. Where local spending increases are inappropriately high, those need to be addressed by local voters. Where the state’s education finance system is contributing to high property taxes by under-funding the education fund, that needs to be addressed by the governor and the legislature. Most importantly, all elected officials must seek to understand the situation, define problems and set out to solve them, rather than engaging in finger-pointing and blame and seeking to confuse the electorate.

Stephen Dale is the Vermont School Boards Association’s executive director.

 

Around Town

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Williston trooper accidentally discharges gun

The Williston Police Department is investigating why one of its officers accidentally discharged a gun into his own cruiser Saturday night after assisting Essex Police on a call.

Officer Josh Hansell, 29, was clearing a semi-automatic rifle when it accidentally discharged, according to a Monday press release from Williston Police Chief Todd Shepard and Essex Police Chief Brad LaRose.

Hansell had been assisting the Essex Police Department at a reckless endangerment incident.

Hansell, who has been an officer for two years, was pointing the muzzle of the weapon down and into the passenger compartment of the cruiser when it discharged. The cruiser was unoccupied and no one was injured, but the shot damaged the floorboard and may have damaged the transmission.

Shepard is reviewing the incident, and Hansell remains on active duty.

 

Spring Youth Lacrosse registration

The Williston Recreation Department is taking registrations for spring lacrosse. Players must fill out the registration form and submit it with payment to the town clerk’s office.
Players must also register as members of U.S. lacrosse on the organization’s website, www.uslacrosse.org, and be able to provide a membership number.

The league has limited enrollment and registrations will be taken on a first-come first-served basis until closed. The town is accepting registrations for third- through eighth-grade boys and fifth- through eighth-grade girls. The town is looking for someone interested in coaching a third- and fourth-grade girls team. If you’re interested in playing, or coaching, contact the Parks and Recreation office at 878-1239 or [email protected]

 

CVU awarded grant

The Vermont Agency of Education recently awarded a $10,000 grant to Champlain Valley Union High to design, develop and implement a work-based learning training for CVU teachers and community partners.

The grant is part of the Flexible Pathways initiative signed into law in June, intended to encourage more post-secondary education.

CVU’s proposal was an extension of its Go Out and Learn, or GOAL, program, where students can design their own learning project and earn school credit, gaining real-life experience in the process. The school hopes to expand its work-based learning opportunities, offering them to every student with the help of the grant, along with a career exploratory class.

In addition to these initiatives, the bill calls for the creation of Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs) for every student. Residents interested in getting involved should contact the CVU Direction Center 482-7137.

African interloper cause for commuter rubber-necking

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Drivers on Route 2A can catch a glimpse of a decidedly non-native creature peering over a hedge—a 12-foot-tall tin giraffe. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

Drivers on Route 2A can catch a glimpse of a decidedly non-native creature peering over a hedge—a 12-foot-tall tin giraffe. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

January 30th, 2014

[Read more...]

Local club shares investing expertise

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Members and prospective members of the Fortune Group Investment Club watch a webinar on the basics of investing in the stock market Jan. 22 at the Dorothy Alling Library in Williston. (Observer photo by Matt Sutkoski)

Members and prospective members of the Fortune Group Investment Club watch a webinar on the basics of investing in the stock market Jan. 22 at the Dorothy Alling Library in Williston. (Observer photo by Matt Sutkoski)

By Matt Sutkoski

Observer correspondent

January 30th, 2014

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Property taxes, utility rates to rise

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Selectboard OKs operating budget 

By Greg Elias

Observer correspondent

January 30th, 2014

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Field set for March elections

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Joshua Diamond

Joshua Diamond

Giovanna Boggero

Giovanna Boggero

Christopher Roy

Christopher Roy

Debbie Ingram

Debbie Ingram

No contested races; some positions vacant

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

January 30th, 2014 [Read more...]

Brick Church Concert

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CVU Girls Basketball

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