August 31, 2014

Around town

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CVU teams take on cancer

Champlain Valley Union High School athletic teams are set to take part in the winter edition of the Coaches vs. Cancer games—where teams raise money for cancer research. At home Redhawk games this week and weekend, teams will sell t-shirts and baked good and hold a 50-50 raffle. Coaches vs. Cancer home games include:

Jan. 23, girls basketball against Burlington, 7 p.m.

Jan. 24: boys basketball against St. Johnsbury, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 25: girls hockey against Harwood, 6 p.m.

Jan. 25: boys hockey against Colchester, 7:30 p.m.

Weiss raises money for camps

Williston resident Thea Weiss, a senior at Champlain Valley Union High School, recently helped raise $7,900 for Our Community Cares Camp, which provides a camp experience for needy children in Richmond, Huntington and Bolton.

Weiss spearheaded the camp’s selection as the beneficiary of CVU’s one-day cafeteria benefit, Café for a Cause. The money raised will provide 5,000 meals for campers next summer according to OCCC founder Marie Thomas.

“We were so thrilled to receive such a precious gift from the students at CVU,” Thomas wrote in an email to the Observer. “Thea Weiss is quite a talented person.”

 

Golf scholarships available

Online applications are now available for the Vermont Golf Association Scholarship Fund, which provides a minimum of 10 Vermont scholars $1,000 annually for four years of education. Scholarship recipients are selected based on scholastic achievement, financial need and a demonstrated interest in golf.

The Vermont Golf Association Scholarship Fund was established in 1963 to help young Vermonters further their education with money donated by Vermont golfers and other benefactors. Since its inception, the VGA Scholarship Fund has dispensed more than $1 million to more than 400 Vermont boy and girl scholars.

Applications must meet all of the following criteria to be eligible for this scholarship:

Must be residents of the State of Vermont and a high school graduate.

Be in the top 40 percent of their graduating class or have a GPA of at least 80 and a minimum combined SAT score of 1,500.

Demonstrate financial need.

Be enrolled in, or accepted as a full-time student at a college, university or technical school of university grade.

Have a connection to the game of golf such as competing on the golf team or working at a golf course.

Applications are due no later than May 1. The 2014 Vermont Golf Association Scholarship application is available at www.vtga.org/scholarship_app.html.

Schools boards finalize budget proposals

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By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Williston School District and Champlain Valley Union High School boards last week approved final budget proposals for the 2014-2015 school year.

The Williston School Board on Jan. 16 approved a budget proposal of $17.25 million—approximately the same as last year. The board settled on the figure after reviewing nearly $300,000 in cuts from its adjusted baseline budget earlier this month.

The Champlain Valley Union High School Board also approved its final budget proposal last week. The board officially approved a 2014-2015 proposal of $22.4 million, a 1.65 increase over the current budget. The board was initially presented with a 3.56 percent increase in its baseline budget.

Despite the flat Williston budget and trimmed increase in the CVU budget, the property tax rate is still set to increase by approximately 6.8 percent, according to the latest estimate provided by Bob Mason, Chittenden South Supervisory Union chief operations officer.

The total estimated homestead education tax rate, which includes the Williston School District spending and Williston’s portion of the CVU budget, would be $1.56 per $100 of value—up approximately 10 cents from last year’s rate. Not all taxpayers pay the same rate, however. Homeowners who earn less then $92,000 are eligible for reductions to their property tax bills through the state’s income sensitivity program. Approximately 53 percent of Williston’s parcels receive tax credits, according to Town Clerk Deb Beckett.

Several factors go into the complicated formula that determines each town’s education tax rate, including the base rate set by the legislature, the town’s common level of appraisal and the school’s spending.

The estimated increase is largely due to a recommended 7-cent increase in the state’s base homestead tax rate. The legislature will set the final rate in the summer, but Tax Commission Mary Peterson has recommended that it raise the rate to $1.01.

No contested races yet for town boards

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Deadline to file is Jan. 27

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

With the filing deadline just a few days away, there are no contested races for several town positions with terms expiring in March. Most incumbents are planning to run for reelection, but voters will see a couple of new names on the ballot.

Selectboard members Debbie Ingram and Chris Roy plan to run again, Ingram for a three-year term and Roy for a two-year term.

Roy has been on the board since 2008.

Ingram, who has been on the board since 2010, is among those who have said they would consider filling Sen. Sally Fox’s seat in the Vermont Senate. Fox, a long-time Vermont senator, died last week. Ingram came in seventh in 2012 for the six-seat Chittenden County Senate race. Ingram told the Observer her consideration for the Senate seat would not impact her decision to run for Selectboard.

Williston School Board members Giovanna Boggero and Josh Diamond have also filed paperwork to run for reelection to the Williston School Board. Boggero, who has been on the board since 2011, is running for a two-year term. Diamond, who has also been on the board since 2011, is running for a three-year term.

Champlain Valley Union High School Board Chairman David Rath said he plans to run for another three-year term.

Two new residents, Karla Karstens and Kristin Caterer, have thrown their hats into the ring for library trustee positions, both for five-year terms.

Incumbents Susan Williford and Marcy Kass have decided to step down.

Kass, who is completing one five-year term, said while she initially thought it would be interesting to have a contested race for a seat on the library’s board of trustees—a rarity—she decided to step down and give someone else a turn.

“It’s a really great thing to do and I’m so glad and proud to have been a library trustee,” she said. “That library is terrific and Marti (Fiske, the library’s director) is terrific. It’s a great group and it was a really good experience.”

Williford has been on the board for 13 years.

“While I loved my time on the board and I love the library… I think it was just time for me to take a break and let some fresh blood come in,” she said.

Williford added that Williston is fortunate to have such a well-run and supported library.

“Most other libraries in the state look with envy at the Williston library,” she said.

Deb Beckett has also submitted the paperwork to run for three more years as Williston’s town clerk and town treasurer, a post she has held for 15 years.

Incumbent Joe Duncan filed for another three-year term on the Champlain Water District Board.

Anyone interested in running for town positions must fill out a petition with at least 30 resident signatures and consent forms and turn them in to the town clerk’s office by 5 p.m. on Jan. 27. Forms are available in the town clerk’s office.

Police Department hopes to revive self-defense program

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 Funds needed for training, equipment

By Matt Sutkoski

Observer correspondent

The Williston Police Department is considering reviving a popular self-defense course to help people avoid, or at least weather, criminal attacks.

The course is called RAD, for Rape Aggression Defense, which teaches people how to be safe and avoid situations in which they can be assaulted.

Williston Police Chief Todd Shepard said the program existed in Williston a few years ago, but the officers trained to teach the course have left the department. He now wants to revive the program.

The word “rape” in the program is a bit of a misnomer. The course is geared toward women, but versions of it are aimed at young people and even men who want to avoid becoming crime victims, Shepard said.

He said he’ll gauge community interest to determine when and how often to hold the RAD classes, and whether to open the course up to young people and men, along with women.

“It would be my hope to start classes this year,” Shepard said.

But first, Shepard said he has to raise money to pay for the program. He estimates it will cost about $4,000 to buy equipment to run the program and train instructors on how to teach it. Once the program is up and running, costs are minimal. He said he plans to approach the Williston Area Business Association, of which the town of Williston is a member, to see if there is any interest in helping support a RAD program in Williston.

RAD is taught across the nation through hundreds of police departments and private organizations. According to its website, RAD has trained 11,000 instructors to teach the course and about 900,000 women have participated in RAD courses since the program’s inception in 1989.

There are a number of RAD offshoots, including RAD for children, seniors and men.

The course is not strictly a martial arts program, in which participants are taught to karate chop their way to safety. In most cases, that’s not how people escape an attack. Instead, certified RAD instructors teach participants about awareness, prevention, reducing risks and avoiding potential trouble. Self-defense is just one element of the course.

According to RAD’s website, eight Vermont police agencies offer the self-defense program. Additionally, nine other independent instructors or municipalities offer the program in Vermont.

South Burlington is among the communities that offer RAD, Shepard said, and their classes usually fill up quickly.

Kathy DeLuca, outreach librarian at the Dorothy Alling Library, said ten to 12 people participated in a RAD class back in October, and there was a waiting list of other people who wanted to join. The library didn’t have the capacity for more participants.

The class was taught by an officer with the South Burlington Police Department, DeLuca said.

She said there is quite a bit of interest in town for more RAD classes and hopes the Williston Police Department can offer the program.

Shepard acknowledged Williston is not a particularly high crime town. Women are safe walking the streets, he said. But Shepard said it is always good to be prepared and people who take a RAD course can take the knowledge gained from the classes anywhere.

“People will feel better about their quality of life if they have these skills,” Shepard said.

Anyone interested in donating toward setting up a RAD program in Williston can call the chief’s office at 764-1152 or email, marilla.whitcomb.state.vt.us.

Selectboard mulls budget reductions

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Final decision slated for next week

By Greg Elias

Observer correspondent

The Selectboard on Tuesday considered cuts that would chop a double-digit budget increase down to more voter-friendly size.

Town Manager Rick McGuire presented the board with a list of 17 mostly small reductions during the session held in the Williston Police Department’s community room. But rather than finalize specific cuts, board members discussed revenue adjustments and the long-term effect of slicing a little bit from so many programs.

Board member Jeff Fehrs asked if the town would be better served by cutting one program or service entirely rather than making many smaller reductions.

“We end up kind of nickel and diming programs, and that has a cumulative effect on those programs,” he said.

Board member Chris Roy responded that the town offers only the basics—public safety, recreation programs and the library—so there’s no savings to be had from cutting unnecessary programs.

“Frankly, one of the good things about this town, and why I think it has been responsible with its finances, is we don’t have a lot of frilly extra stuff that we do,” he said.

The board had previously asked McGuire to find ways to find cuts that would reduce the projected tax rate increase by a penny. His original budget proposal would have boosted the rate by 3 cents. Each penny added to the rate raises property taxes by $30 on a $300,000 home.

The original $9,919,030 operating budget needed changes in expenses or revenue totaling more than $100,000 to reach the Selectboard’s goal. McGuire offered a menu of reductions that ranged from fewer cleaning services to less training and conference funding.

The board did not discuss whether to accept all or some of McGuire’s cuts, although no one objected to the proposals. Chairman Terry Macaig emphasized that members would have to make a final decision at their next meeting.

But the Selectboard appeared to reach consensus on adjustments to the revenue side of the ledger that would bring the tax rate increase to exactly 2 cents. McGuire’s proposed cuts would have produced a 2.1-cent tax rate increase.

Roy said he’d rather tell voters that the tax rate was 2 cents rather than promise that the rate would later be reduced to reach that number.

“It’s just a simpler story to tell on Town Meeting Day,” he said. Voters approve the town budget but the final tax rate is set about three months later, just before the new fiscal year starts.

To produce the rounded-off tax rate, Roy suggested a more optimistic estimate of local sales tax revenue that would add $30,000 to the budget’s bottom line.

McGuire said he wasn’t so sure that the town would actually receive that extra money. Instead, he said the budget should show a bigger grand list increase that would increase projected property tax revenue. Then he said he would bump up the sales tax estimate enough to produce the desired property tax rate.

The budget originally proposed by McGuire for the fiscal year starting July 1 represented a 10.5 percent increase compared to the current spending plan. But he has noted that that double-digit jump is misleading because it includes payments on a new, voter-approved public works facility totaling about $400,000. Water and sewer fees will cover about half that cost, with property taxes paying the balance.

Also driving up the budget will be spending due to a new stormwater management system. Those costs, however, will be covered by a separate fee charged to property owners.

As for the property tax rate, payments on the public works facility account for half of the projected 2-cent hike.

The board is slated to adopt the final budget at its Jan. 27 meeting. Residents will vote on the spending plan in March.

Eagle achievement

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Scout Avery Caterer (center) received his Eagle rank on Sunday during an Eagle Scout Court of Honor and reception at the Williston Federated Church. Vemont State Representatives Terry Macaig (left) and Jim McCullough spoke during the event. Caterer's parents shared letters from Sen. Patrick Leahy, Gov. Peter Shumlin and Boston Red Sox player Shane Victorino—also an Eagle scout—congratulating Caterer on his achievement. The Eagle rank is which is the highest attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America. Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges and demonstrating Scout Spirit through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, service and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. (Observer courtesy photo)

Scout Avery Caterer (center) received his Eagle rank on Sunday during an Eagle Scout Court of Honor and reception at the Williston Federated Church. Vemont State Representatives Terry Macaig (left) and Jim McCullough spoke during the event. Caterer’s parents shared letters from Sen. Patrick Leahy, Gov. Peter Shumlin and Boston Red Sox player Shane Victorino—also an Eagle scout—congratulating Caterer on his achievement. The Eagle rank is which is the highest attainable in the Boy Scouting program of the Boy Scouts of America. Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges and demonstrating Scout Spirit through the Boy Scout Oath and Law, service and leadership. This includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads, and manages. (Observer courtesy photo)

“The Wolf of Wall Street”: Grandma, What a Big Stock Portfolio you Have

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By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer

 

I approached Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” with trepidation—‘gosh, three hours long…that’s a sentence, not a movie’—but emerged from the thoroughly entertaining, fastest moving 179 minutes on film with exaltation. Based on stockbroker Jordan Belfort’s autobiography of the same title, the primer on how to make a killing in the market at any cost is an enrapturing rollercoaster ride through all manner of excess.

 

I should have trusted that Mr. Scorsese could pull this off…keeping us mesmerized and tantalized via contemporary America’s most potent of intoxications:  the euphoria of unimaginable wealth. It is Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy” updated, and just as telling of its time.

 

Just out of college and recently wed, the title character, superbly portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, starts off as a seemingly nice enough, unassuming kid from the Bronx looking to make a good living. If there was a proclivity for scheming and fraud, it isn’t mentioned. Simply suffice it to note that, once ensconced within the marble and granite halls of unlimited moneymaking, Jordan catches the fever. He has quite the knack.

 

In fact, he makes it look rather easy, and doubtless a few young, impressionable viewers who gain entrance to this R-rated odyssey into the land where anything goes will adopt the icon of white collar crime as their ideal. Belfort, swigging full tilt at the font of drug abuse, debauchery and whatever else the traffic will bear has skipped well past the bulls and bears of his chosen field and piggishly settled on total golden calf worship.

 

Hurtling his character through the steps leading to this vainglorious pursuit in much the same way Ray Liotta hustled Henry Hill into the mores and folkways of the Mafia in “Goodfellas” (1990), DiCaprio’s devil-may-care mountebank renders us mouth-agape. The party is always in full swing at Stratton Oakmont, the fancy Wall Street firm that passed itself off as an old line, prestigious firm. Of course, once they won your trust, you were literally sold a bill of goods. Namely, junk penny stocks.

 

At Stratton, obscene abuse of trader-client trust was not only applauded and rewarded, but revered. For here, under Jordan Belfort’s tutelage, the rules of justice, fair play and decorum have been thrown under the bus in preference for the canons of the monetary jungle. Anyone who doesn’t agree is a sucker, and hence fair game. Here, like religious zealots in some arcane culture, they bow to that sin declared the root of all evil: the love of money.

 

No one here wants to be a great statesman, write the Great American Novel or work endless hours in a lab to cure cancer. Nope, money can facilitate all that, or so they contend. It is a grand conceit. But then, even we altruists, do-gooders all, don’t mind being wafted along for a little while. Ah, the deep, luxuriant sigh of relief knowing there is no bill we cannot pay, no Ferrari we cannot buy, no opportunity for our children that can’t be realized.

 

Supporting Mr. DiCaprio in this feature length orgy, pretty Margot Robbie is effective as Naomi, the trophy wife extraordinaire who, at least in the beginning of their relationship, is blind to hubby’s extracurricular dalliances. And Jonah Hill is aces as Donnie Azoff, the Pancho to Belfort’s Cisco and every bit as smitten by what initially seems like easy pickings. The thing is, can they avoid the canny circumspection eventually brought to bear by Kyle Chandler’s splendidly sly F.B.I. Agent Patrick Denham?

 

An astute recreation of the 1980s landscape, from corded phones to the high-powered sartorial facade of the era, populates a screen jam-packed from start to finish with all the indigenous trappings and appurtenances. Editor Thelma Schoonmaker beautifully parcels out the elaborate panoply of materialism gone wild, and powerfully showcases the abashing behavior it spawns.

 

Naturally, just before film’s end, when the chickens come home to roost, we fair-weather friends will suddenly recall the ethics Miss Popper taught us is in grammar school and sober up, leaving the comeuppance to our high wire financier personified. We will disdainfully tsk, tsk. But oh, for a while, indulgently, like lottery players with a grand dream, we’ll bask in this guilty thrill…as close to immortality as worldly pursuits can take us.

 

There’s no quiet desperation for this ilk and certainly no concern for the commonweal unless there’s a tax break in it. Such is the cynically amusing commentary on man’s financial inhumanity to man so bitingly illustrated by “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

“The Wolf of Wall Street,” rated R, is a Paramount Pictures release directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie. Running time: 179 minutes

 

 

 

Everyday Gourmet: Restorative power

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To me there are few things better than a hearty bowl of homemade soup. Such soup steams comfort and reassurance after the day’s tribulations, and it provides consolation and companionship like no other food. In deep winter, this is exactly the Rx for cabin fever, achy joints or a broken heart.

After clearing out mystery blocks of food in my freezer (leftovers from the holidays) I found some pretty good stuff to work with. Roasted butternut squash, cooked turkey meat, chicken stock and puree of parsnip. Hum. I started my soup dance and surprised my family with a comfort soup that easily doubles as the base for a healthy turkey pot pie.

Try to use homemade chicken stock if at all possible– it is rich in magnesium, calcium, and many trace minerals that are easy for the body to absorb. The gelatin promotes healthy cartilage and supports the connective tissue that fights joint disease.

I served the soup with toasted honey-oat gluten-free bread from Barre’s Vermont Gluten Free Bakery. It is so delicious that regular bread-eaters will enjoy it, too; it has a biscuit-like quality that beautifully complements the creamy soup.

 

Turkey Pot Soup

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large soup pot. Add 1 large chopped onion and sauté on medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Deglaze with 1/2 cup of sherry and scrape up the brown bits on the pot’s bottom with a wooden spoon. Add 6 cups of homemade chicken stock, 2 cups chopped carrots and 2 cups chopped celery. Simmer 10 minutes.

 

Fill another pan with 5 chopped potatoes (skin on), barely cover with water, and simmer for 25 minutes. Add 4 tablespoons butter and salt & pepper to taste. Gently smash the potatoes with a potato masher until slightly lumpy. Add the potatoes and liquids to the soup pot.

 

Rough chop 4 cups cooked turkey or chicken meat. Add to soup pot. (I added 1 cup butternut squash and 1 cup of parsnip puree here, but this step is optional.) Simmer the batch for 10 minutes. Add 2 cups frozen peas. Adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Serves 12, or more.

 

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 who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.

 

THE HUB: Hub Happenings

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Podhajski appointed as advisor

The Williston-based Stern Center for Language and Learning recently announced that its president, Blanche Podhajski, has been appointed by the Vermont secretary of state as a speech-language pathologist advisor to the Vermont Office of Professional Regulation.

Podhajski founded the Stern Center for Language and Learning in 1983 and has more than thirty years experience working with individuals with learning differences.

LORD Corporation names Thelen as CAD designer

LORD Corporation announced the addition of Chad Thelen as computer-aided design (CAD) drafter/designer to the LORD Corporation MicroStrain Sensing System team in Williston. Thelen will be responsible for completing detailed definition products through the creation of 3-D CAD models and technical drawings.

Prior to working at LORD, Thelen served as an IT project coordinator for two years and as a lead CAD technician for four years at Hayward Tyler, Inc.

new accountant at Davis & Hodgdon

Zach Davis has joined Davis & Hodgdon Associates CPAs as an associate accountant. Davis, a South Burlington native, recently returned to Vermont after graduating from Colorado State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in sociology. He is currently preparing for the QuickBooks ProAdvisor certification.

Champlain College trustees announce new president

Champlain College announced last week that Donald J. Laackman, president of Harold Washington College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, will become Champlain’s eighth president. Laackman will succeed David F. Finney, who is retiring after nine years.

Laackman received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and a Masters of Public Policy from the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

VSECU members to decide gift recipients

Vermont credit union VSECU will donate $20,000 to Vermont charities through the We Care 2 Program. Now in its third year running, the program gives credit union members the opportunity to help direct the donations.

The 2013 We Care 2 Program received 49 applications from charities from across the state of Vermont for consideration to be selected as one of the five finalists by VSECU’s Community Contributions Committee. VSECU members will now have the opportunity to vote and select two of the final five to each receive a $10,000 donation.

The finalists are NCSS Youth in Transition, Rutland Community Cupboard, Southern Vermont Natural History Museum, Therapy Dogs of Vermont and Vermont Adaptive Ski and Sports. Each organization has until mid-March to rally support and try to earn VSECU membership votes through their social media and other communication channels.

Renewable NRG Systems promotes Wheating to president

Renewable NRG Systems has promoted Justin Wheating, chief financial officer, to the role of president. Wheating will be responsible for overseeing operations, providing strategic direction and leading the executive management team.
Wheating joined Renewable NRG Systems in 2009. He previously held executive positions at MacGregor Golf, Burton Snowboards, and Dynastar Skis.

Barbour to leave CVAA

CVAA’s Executive Director John Barbour has announced his intention to retire this year. Barbour has been the executive director for 26 years and has been with the agency for nearly 34. CVAA will honor Barbour at its 40th anniversary dinner, set for May 29.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with talented, skilled, dedicated people including CVAA staff, volunteers, and board members as well as others who are engaged in health and human services.” Barbour said. “More than anything I have enjoyed being part of providing services that have been quite successful at improving the quality of life for thousands of older Vermonters and their families. It has been a privilege.”

Local Motion appoints new executive director

Walk/bike advocacy group Local Motion announced that, after a national search, it has appointed Emily Boedecker as its new executive director, beginning March 3. Boedecker comes to Local Motion from the Vermont Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

Boedecker succeeds Local Motion’s founding executive director, Chapin Spencer, who recently became director of public works for the City of Burlington.

Organizations deliver socks

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, Cabot Hosiery Mills/Darn Tough Vermont and Vermont community action agencies joined forces for the sixth year to provide warm socks for young people.

“Blue Socks for Kids” project volunteers delivered 8,400 pairs of merino wool socks to community action agencies and homeless shelters for distribution to children in need of warm clothing this holiday season.

“Blue Socks for Kids” has now distributed more than 50,000 pairs of socks at a cost of nearly $150,000 over the six years the project has operated.

THE HUB: Protect your business from frozen pipes

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By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Local jewelry store Argento Laraine is back open after a broken pipe flooded the store and kept it closed for a week.

Last weekend, frigid temperatures froze a pipe—even though co-owner Jayson Argento said he left the heat on—causing it to burst. Temperatures then warmed, thawing the pipe and sending water flowing down the wall and across the store’s floor while Argento was out of town.

Luckily, Argento said it seems his insurance will cover the damages to his possessions and his landlord’s insurance will cover structural damage. The jewelry was in the safe and was not damaged, he said.

Williston Insurance Agency owner David Palmer said freezing pipes should be covered in a typical policy, but every claim is different and it’s important to be clear on what your policy covers.

“Have a quick conversation saying, ‘This is an area that concerns me, I’d like to have you help me make sure it’s covered on the policy,’” he said.

Kinney Pike Insurance Communication Specialist Ann Hutson said Kinney Pike advises clients to keep faucets open to a very slow drip during freezing cold spells.

“The more folks can take preventative action during cold weather, the better off they’re always going to be,” she said.

If you are renting your business space, Palmer said you should also make sure you are clear on what you are expected to cover. Some rental agreements only require liability coverage, while others expect you to take care of the building.

Palmer said some of his clients did not have a clear understanding of their rental agreements.

“We helped them understand what they had and we’ve seen exposure that they weren’t aware of and had they had a claim, it could have been financially devastating,” he said.

Argento also recommended having open communication with your landlord, adding that his has been “awesome.”

“People should for sure directly speak to their landlord,” he said. “If you’re not lucky enough to have a kind landlord, just be matter-of-fact and honest.”

Argento said he will also work with his friend’s company, Enhanced Digital Systems, which has a feature that alerts the company if temperatures approach freezing.

He also recommended checking security cameras while away.

Argento said there are some positives to having your business’s floor covered in water.

“The floor is really clean,” he said.