October 14, 2019

Guest Column: Prioritize next week’s schools merger vote — it’s pivotal

By Jeanne Jensen,
Karen Maklad, Kevin Mara and Gene McCue

On June 7, voters in the towns of Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, Williston and St. George are asked to vote on the question of merging school governance for the school districts that make up Chittenden South Supervisory Union. If you read this and are puzzled you are likely not alone. In our busy lives of work and home and groceries and soccer games, the issue of school governance is an unlikely priority. But right now, it is an important one. [Read more…]

Spring allergies are nothing to sneeze at

Statepoint media

Special to the Observer

Spring allergy season seems to get worse each year, and climate change may be the culprit, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Increasing temperatures and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere help plants grow faster – and produce more pollen. For many people, this can trigger allergy symptoms.

“Spring allergy symptoms can lead to a major disruption in quality of life,” says allergist and immunologist Dr. Neeta Ogden. “It’s important for allergy sufferers to manage these symptoms, so they can feel their best and enjoy the season.”

Dr. Ogden offers these tips to help make spring more bearable for allergy sufferers: [Read more…]

Bear encounters rise in Williston, state

Observer courtesy photo. A bear scopes out a backyard chicken coop. Bear encounters are higher than normal this spring, state officials say. For more information on bear behavior and homeowner tips, visit the Web Extra section at willistonobserver.com.

A bear scopes out a backyard chicken coop. Bear encounters are higher than normal this spring, state officials say. For more information on bear behavior and homeowner tips, visit the Web Extra section at willistonobserver.com.

It was a beary miserable winter for Vermont’s bear population.

The warm weather and lack of substantial snowfall — hindering truly deep hibernation — left the state’s bear population foraging for longer than normal, state officials say, and now they’re desperate for high-value food sources after having to sustain themselves for such a long period.

[Read more…]

Dog trainer’s peace comes by helping pet owners find theirs

PIX-DOGPACKBy Phyl Newbeck

Observer correspondent

Rhonda Bilodeau had always known she wanted to work with dogs, but she also knew she had a lot to learn. She attended workshops and training sessions and in 2007 joined the International Association for Canine Professionals.

Bilodeau finally began working as a dog walker and dog sitter, but when the recession hit, her services were no longer requested. Undaunted, she decided to see what else she could do in her chosen field and thus, Vermont Dog Pack was born.

Bilodeau’s initial venture was an off-leash park for dogs. Although the impetus was to provide exercise and socialization, she soon began turning her outings into “training camps” which she ran across Chittenden County. [Read more…]

Contenders vying for new school board seats

Special election June 7

Each year, the Observer publishes information about the candidates for open seats on the Williston and Champlain Valley Union High school boards.

This year, after some of the candidates faced an earlier election for their seats, voters are again asked to participate, this time in a special election that might result in the dissolution of the existing school boards. [Read more…]

Aaron Ritchie’s Brewing Secrets

Williston Runs for Education

Little League Hit-A-Thon

“Captain America: Civil War”

This isn’t your father’s superhero

2 1/2 popcorns

By Michael S. Goldberger

film critic


It wasn’t just because “Captain America: Civil War” was unnecessarily convoluted that I grew despondent as I sat through its 147 minutes of confusion. Later I would also be miffed by the lack of clues leading to the surprise conclusion. But I am beside the point. With nary a smartphone a-texting, the kids around me seemed to love it, totally welcoming the cacophony and esoteric story details. Such is what Father Time wreaks. [Read more…]

Pain in the back?

By George Cook

Special to the Observer

Everyone reading this has probably experienced back pain, especially low back pain, likely the most common ailment anywhere. In fact, you’ll find a large percentage of worker’s compensation claims stem from back issues.

Chronic pain or difficulty moving, standing, bending, walking and reaching are all common symptoms. Just this spring, my constant bending, squatting, lifting and picking up armfuls of firewood during sugaring season initiated chronic low back pain.

Hmm…sure some of it may be from getting older, but we’ve all been there, no matter our age. [Read more…]