August 24, 2019

Independence Day celebrations by Bill Kneen

July 8, 2010

Courtesy photos by Bill Kneen




















Independence Day celebrations by Cindy Rose

July 8, 2010

Courtesy photos by Cindy Rose









Independence Day celebrations by Greg Duggan

July 8, 2010

Observer photos by Greg Duggan

Independence Day celebrations by Marianne Apfelbaum

July 8, 2010

Observer photos by Marianne Apfelbaum

Independence Day celebrations by Stephen Mease

July 8, 2010

Observer photos by Stephen Mease (

July 8, 2010

Observer photos by Stephen Mease (

Everyday Gourmet

Sweet summer Lumpia

By Kim Dannies

Feeling a little bloated from holiday potluck potato and pasta salads? A recent farmers’ market score of bib lettuce, Napa cabbage, scallion, kale, mint and peas inspired me to create a portable Asian spring roll that is perfect for picnics, parties or snacks. It’s a tasty, healthy way to enjoy the bounty of summer with a little twist.

Variations of Lumpia are common all over Asia. Basically, it’s a refreshing no-cook lump of veg and protein that is wrapped in the soft leaves of bib lettuce and doused with a sweet dipping sauce. Ingredients and proportions can be as diverse as the toppings for pizza, so use this recipe as a guideline. But don’t eliminate the dry roasted peanuts — they make the dish! Eaten with the hands, Lumpia can be a bit messy, but it is oh-so-delicious summertime fun.

Summer Lumpia with Sweet Sauce

Combine the following in a large prep bowl: 10 sliced scallions; 1 cup diced red pepper; 1 cup diced celery; 8 ounces diced smoked turkey and ham each; 2 cups chopped, pre-cooked shrimp; 1 bunch fresh mint and kale each, ribbon sliced; 12 ounces fresh bean sprouts; 2 cups fresh or frozen baby peas. Season with a large pinch of kosher salt and red pepper.

Mince 6 garlic cloves and a golf ball-sized chunk of freshly peeled ginger in a mini-processor. Stir half of paste into the Lumpia; reserve half in the processor.

Slice a head of Napa cabbage into thin ribbons. Place in a large glass bowl and wilt in the microwave for 90 seconds, until just barely limp. Drain and combine with Lumpia.

Sweet Sauce: To the reserved garlic-ginger paste add 1 cup soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or brown sugar and 2 teaspoons of sesame oil. Blend well. Serve in a small side bowl.

Wash and pat dry 24 bib lettuce leaves of various sizes; place on large serving platter.

Add Lumpia to a serving bowl and set on platter. Lightly crush 1 cup of peanuts and place in small side bowl. Fill lettuce leaves with Lumpia, top with sauce and peanuts, roll like a cigar, devour.

Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three college-aged daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to

Letters to the Editor

A vote for Racine

I’m excited to be supporting Doug Racine in the Aug. 24 Democratic primary.

Doug has received the endorsement of the Vermont Labor Council, the state teachers union, the Vermont State Employees Association and the Vermont League of Conservation Voters. Why? Because he has spent his entire adult life championing the causes that I and most Vermonters care deeply about: quality education, environmental protection, fair wages, equitable taxation and health care for all Vermonters. His support for civil unions was staunch at a time when this legislation was unpopular and emotions were running high.

Best of all, Doug Racine is someone we can trust. He is a man of his word and follows through on his promises. He has the record and experience to be a great governor, he has unquestionable integrity and he has my vote.

Elizabeth Skarie


Guest column

What didst thou celebrate July 4?

By Edwin Cooney

No, no! You can’t fool me. I saw you crunching potato chips — periodically soaking them in chip dip — munching on hot dogs, hamburgers and barbecued chicken. Like “The Shadow” from old time radio, I was an unseen witness as you swallowed potato and pasta salads and gnawed corn from the cob while swilling down punch, soda and beer. I never saw your hand over your heart, but you stood up during the seventh inning stretch of that baseball game you were enjoying and belted out both “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “God Bless America.” What’s more, you didn’t even seem to care whether or not you were singing in tune. As I said, don’t kid me, you were definitely celebrating something quite special!

What? You were celebrating the Fourth of July, America’s birthday, you say? Wow! America’s 234th birthday, you insist! Yes, indeed, I know, that’s a mess of birthdays. Tell me, though, and be more precise, please: why were you celebrating America’s 234th birthday?

One of the most traditional American institutions is the Fourth of July speech or written commentary declaring what this hallowed day ought to mean to you. Hence, as something of a switch, I offer a set of questions that may enable you to decide for yourself (for a change) the Fourth of July’s real significance.

Which of the following do you most associate with the Fourth of July: fireworks, parades, toasted marshmallows, watermelon, soda and beer — or the assertion that “all men are created equal?”

Which of the following phrases fits the way you regard the Fourth of July: is it Independence Day or America’s birthday?

When was America conceived and what portion of the population was most responsible for nurturing America’s conception? Was it the rich, the poor, the average citizen, the religious, the good, the bad, the educated, the respectful, the opportunistic, the elite or a combination of these? Be specific if you say “a combination” of all of the above.

If the American colonies were to be “free and independent states from Great Britain,” did that automatically mean a “republican form of government” for you and me?

Do the words “freedom” and “independence” mean the same thing? If not, how do they differ?

Did you celebrate what you’ve been told about America or what you’ve figured out for yourself?

If America’s independence is a gift from God is the independence of every other nation in the world also a gift from God?

Should God bless America exclusively? Should we care whether or not God blesses other nations as well?

If independence stands for freedom, what kind of freedom? Are we free to do what we want to, what we can or what we ought?

If Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton were to return today, would they recognize 21st Century America as their legacy? What aspects of American life would they endorse and which would they disown?

Did the Declaration of Independence guarantee personal freedom?

Has the celebration of the “Fourth of July” always been a nonpartisan event? Might Federalist New England have favored a different date for celebration than Democratic-Republican Virginia?

Finally, should we make room on the calendar (though admittedly there’s little room remaining) to celebrate “Freedom Day?”

Whoops! This was to be a questionnaire, not a commentary — except that the idea behind the last question is for me so compelling!

Edwin Cooney is a national political and historical columnist.

Little Details

Just go

By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

The first time I saw Paris I ran out of money. My sister Jane and I found ourselves with little more than loose bits of change jangling in our pockets on our last day. We fancied ourselves ultimate budget travelers — eating baguettes and brie in leafy parks and ascending the Eiffel Tower only halfway, because it was cheaper. We lingered at a historic exhibit amid the steel tower’s midriff, Edith Piaf crooning via Muzak. We sipped café au lait in cafés; coffee was far cheaper than multi-course meals.

It was the summer of 1985. Jane and I were backpacking around Europe armed with Eurail passes and a “Let’s Go Europe” travel guide. In our youthful exuberance, we aimed to visit as many major cities as possible, as long as cash held out. Budapest, Rome, Vienna, Munich and Paris beckoned.

Memories of that long ago trip populate hazy corners of memory. I remember Gustav Klimt paintings at Belvedere Palace in Vienna, seemingly dripping with gold and mosaic paints. Sampling genuine Viennese Tort was high on my gustatory wish list. To save money, I dipped into a creamy slice with a plastic fork on a park bench. Images of filigreed wrought iron and impossibly dazzling crystal chandeliers at the Hofburg Palace made me wish I’d been a friend of the Hapsburgs, invited to tea.

In Munich, my sister ordered a beer and I sipped Coca Cola at the Hofbrauhaus from which Adolf Hitler launched his ill-fated Beer Hall Putsch in 1923. Rome may be for lovers, but it certainly wasn’t for pedestrians back then. I have distinct memories of being trapped on tiny islands amid multiple horn-tooting Italian Fiats, desperately trying to cross the street.

Visiting Vatican City and witnessing Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel was, for me, the ultimate art experience of my life — so far. Head tilted Heavenward, my jaw dropped as I embraced the artist’s manifestation of God barely touching Adam. The collection of elaborate papal wardrobes and jewel-encrusted chalices, reliquaries and papal jewelry prompted some pretty serious soul searching.

Jane and I called home mid-way through our trip.

“Where are you?” my mother asked, concern in her voice. “Don’t you know there are bombs going off over there and there’s been a hijacking?”

Nope. We didn’t. We were too busy traversing rail lines. Plus, the Internet and cell phones hadn’t been invented yet. We somehow missed news of recent bombings in Frankfurt, Geneva, Rome and London as well as the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 from Athens. Detached from daily news, we filled our minds with art while pushing our bodies to the limit with mile upon mile of exploration. News of the terrorist actions rattled us, just a little.

Paris was our last stop before my sister and I split up to catch separate flights home from Frankfurt and Brussels. The City of Light enchanted me. I finally got to see DaVinci’s “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre. Her stunning eyes and teasing smile drew me in, but I found myself distracted by the crowd of tourists pushing and pressing to get close to her.

My eyes swooned in another gallery. Standing before me, regal in her marble state, the second century B.C. sculpture “Venus of Milo” exuded exquisiteness — despite her lack of arms. Curvaceous and seductive, her beauty was freed by the artist’s hand.

Notre Dame’s magnificent Rose Window reminded me that when sand meets fire and pigment, beautiful things happen. Sun streaming through stained glass brought an array of color and illumination to the sacred space. Construction of the gothic cathedral began in 1163 and, following a series of architects, was completed in 1345. It is believed that the consecrated ground on which the building lies was once the site of a pagan temple. Missionaries were smart. Creating new churches on former pagan sites meant that the newly-converted were already in the habit of “stopping by.” Sitting in the wooden pews, I felt the weight of history, but did not spy a hunchback.

My sister and I soaked up Paris’ art and architecture. Evening strolls yielded minstrels plying their craft — on accordion or guitar or brass — along the Seine. We watched couples embrace as the sun set, taking care to avoid crusty older men inebriated by more than warm night air.

We’d soon part ways for our respective flights home to Boston. We used our last bit of cash to buy two liters of purple grape juice — sustenance for our journeys — until we were fed on our planes. Plane food was pretty good, with generous portions, back then.

My sister was carrying our grape juice when we decided to stop in just one more church before bidding the City of Light a sweet adieu. Churches were like free museums, offering up peace, quiet and sacred art. We typically tossed coins into collections bins, but this day our pockets were empty. Jane and I were well on our way to the train station when we realized our precious juice was forgotten, left to ferment in a wooden pew. Too late to turn back, we boarded our trains, suffering in silence as we awaited that blessed airline meal. I’m heading to Paris soon. This time, I’ll bring a debit card.

Katherine Bielawa Stamper lives in Williston. Reader comments are welcome at or

Education briefs

Reconfiguration work tackling equity

As the Williston School District moves toward its reconfigured classrooms in the fall — Allen Brook School will house pre-kindergarten through second grade, with grades three through eight at Williston Central School — the administration is working to improve equity across the district.

District Principal Walter Nardelli said most changes with equity will be ready for the fall.

“There are loose ends that need to be tied up,” Nardelli said. “We’ll look to come back in the fall, and take on the last parts.”

One example of a final detail is figuring out logistics for students in grades five through eight to take a field trip to a major city, Nardelli said.

A survey conducted earlier this year took feedback from parents on equity. Results of the equity survey were republished in The School Bell, the district’s weekly newsletter, last month.

The survey had 468 people respond. Nardelli said the responses came from parents with students of all ages.

Nardelli said he would run changes past the School Board.

“We’ll see if they agree with what we’re proposing,” Nardelli said. “We have kept them up to date as work has gone on.”

Bonuses for school employees

Cid Gause and Kermit LaClair, employees of the Williston School District, recently received performance bonuses for their work with the district’s reconfiguration efforts.

Gause, an executive administrator, and LaClair, the head of custodial services for Williston Central and Allen Brook schools, have done a lot of logistical work for the reconfiguration, said District Principal Walter Nardelli. Their efforts include contacting moving companies and organizing the reconfiguration process.

The School Board decided to grant the bonuses after entering executive session, which is closed to the public, during a meeting last week. Nardelli did not place a specific number on the bonuses, but said they were in the range of a couple thousand dollars.

He said employees only occasionally receive performance bonuses, which are not given every year.

“It’s a one time thing recognizing their efforts in the past year and coming summer,” District Principal Walter Nardelli said.

New teacher for Voyager House

The Williston School District has hired Sam Messer on a one-year contract as Language Arts/Social Studies teacher. He replaces Nick Brooks.

Messer has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in teaching. He spent the past year as an intern with Swift House.

The School Board unanimously approved the hire last week.