April 20, 2018

Williston soccer heroes show leadership at UVM

Observer courtesy photo Shane Haley

Observer courtesy photo
Shane Haley

[Read more…]

Police Notes

Tuesday, Oct. 18

Police picked up four $20 counterfeit bills at Walmart on Tuesday morning, Oct. 18, which the store had mistakenly accepted as payment on Oct. 2, as well as two $20 counterfeit bills that had been accepted in payment on Oct. 3. [Read more…]

State considers ways to raise funds for lake cleanup

State officials discuss funding for Lake Champlain cleanup Wednesday in Montpelier. From right: Andrew Stein of the Tax Department; Environmental Conservation Commissioner Alyssa Schuren; State Treasurer Beth Pearce; and Administration Secretary Trey Martin. Photo by Mark Johnson/VTDigger

State officials discuss funding for Lake Champlain cleanup Wednesday in Montpelier. From right: Andrew Stein of the Tax Department; Environmental Conservation Commissioner Alyssa Schuren; State Treasurer Beth Pearce; and Administration Secretary Trey Martin. Photo by Mark Johnson/VTDigger

By Mark Johnson

For Vermont Digger

Key Vermont policymakers sought public feedback last week at the Statehouse as they waded through options to pay for the massive, federally required cleanup of Lake Champlain.

Under an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency, the state must reduce the amount of phosphorus going into the lake by 34 percent over the next 20 years, a feat estimated at $2.5 billion, with the state’s share more than $1.35 billion over two decades.

In 2015, lawmakers passed Act 64 and included a temporary funding source, a 0.02 percentage point increase in the property transfer tax, to begin the cleanup. Phosphorus is blamed as a source for toxic, unsightly blue-green algae blooms that smell, fuel aquatic weeds and can threaten human and animal health. Sources of phosphorus include agricultural operations, urban and forest runoff and stream bank erosion.

The property transfer tax surcharge, which raises about $5 million a year, was temporary, and expires in July 2018. State officials, led by Treasurer Beth Pearce, are required to recommend to lawmakers by the middle of next month ways to permanently fund the cleanup.

Officials emphasized at the meeting that paying for the cleanup will require an “all-in” approach of shared responsibility.

“This rests with each of us,” said Administration Secretary Trey Martin, who recently left the Department of Environmental Conservation to take the key post in the Shumlin administration. “We’ve all contributed to this problem. If you drive on a road or eat cheese or you go to a mall or live in the state of Vermont, you are contributing to stormwater pollution.”

After starting with more than 60 proposals, Pearce — along with Martin, DEC Commissioner Alyssa Schuren and Andrew Stein of the Tax Department — outlined a narrowed-down list of 30 tax and fee possibilities at a 2 1/2-hour public meeting Nov. 15, attended largely by environmentalists.

The money-raising ideas included a fee on each piece of property, a surcharge on the income or rooms and meals tax, an increase in the gas tax and a sales tax applied to nail salons, the idea being that the chemicals used in the salons contribute to the pollution.

No decisions were made. Pearce said afterward she expects to give the Legislature two or three options to choose from, each containing a package of taxes or fee proposals to raise enough money.

Read the complete story at vtdigger.org/category/environment.

Vermont: Where sustainability and economic growth come together

Observer courtesy photo AllEarth, based in Williston, designs and engineers solar trackers.

Observer courtesy photo
AllEarth, based in Williston, designs and engineers solar trackers.

By Luc Reid

Special to the Observer

The recent election results have made it clearer than ever that we are a divided country, and even a divided state, yet a few things can unite us and benefit us all. One of these is Vermont’s successful sustainability businesses. [Read more…]

Holiday gifts that can reduce stress

On top of the everyday stress of life, the holiday season can be one of the most hectic times of year. Unfortunately, all this additional stress can take its toll on the body, mind and soul. Make the holidays and beyond brighter with these gift ideas that help promote rest and relaxation, while alleviating tension, stress and anxiety. [Read more…]

Killer Rabbit celebrates comics

Mark Stair and Jennifer Garrett (behind the counter) opened Killer Rabbit Comics and Games in the Taft Corners shopping plaza on Saturday the 19th. The store not only offers new comics including locally producted books and games, but also has collectibles including vintage comics for those trying to complete a collection.

Mark Stair and Jennifer Garrett (behind the counter) opened Killer Rabbit Comics and Games in the Taft Corners shopping plaza on Saturday the 19th. The store not only offers new comics including locally producted books and games, but also has collectibles including vintage comics for those trying to complete a collection.

[Read more…]

No-parking zone approved for Mud Pond Road

By Jess Wisloski

Observer staff

An increasingly popular hiking trail as well as a nearby network of walking and mountain biking trails in Williston may have just peaked. [Read more…]

Williston Community Food Shelf hosts successful ‘Turkey Day’

Observer photos by Al Frey

Folks patiently wait in line at the Williston Community Food Shelf during the WCFS Turkey Day Giveaway on Saturday the 19th.

Folks patiently wait in line at the Williston Community Food Shelf during the WCFS Turkey Day Giveaway on Saturday the 19th.

[Read more…]

Parking ban cometh, says town

By Bruce K. Hoar

               Special to the Observer

Winter is fast approaching, and by some standards, has already arrived. [Read more…]

Letters to the Editor

Thanks for voting for Jim and Terry

Congratulations to all 5,700 plus voters in Williston for doing your civic duty and thank you to all who voted for us. [Read more…]