December 10, 2018

Owner of Williston business receives volunteer recognition

By Greg Duggan
Observer staff

Photo courtesy of the SBA - Bob Berman was named Financial Services Champion for Vermont by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Bob Berman makes his living as president of Williston-based Instrumart, selling industrial automation, control and measuring equipment. But Berman also spends a good amount of his free time as vice chairman of Champlain Valley SCORE, which offers free business advice to startup and existing companies. And for that, Berman will receive an award as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2010 Financial Services Champion in Vermont.

“I was elated of course,” Berman, a South Burlington resident, said of the recognition.

Berman will collect his award on June 17, at the 2010 Vermont Small Business Person of the Year Awards Celebration at Shelburne Farms. Three other Vermont business owners will also be recognized at the event, hosted by Vermont Business Magazine.

U.S. Small Business Administration doles out awards nationally. The Financial Services Champion award, according to SBA guidelines, goes to “an individual who assists small businesses through advocacy efforts to increase the usefulness and availability of accounting or financial services for small businesses.”

Berman has run Instrumart since founding the company 22 years ago.

“Pretty much the skills that you need to run this business are transferable between a lot of different businesses,” Berman said.

As a volunteer with the local chapter of SCORE, Berman said he counsels people with business advice based on their particular situations. Assistance can range from helping an aspiring entrepreneur fill out a template for a business plan to making sure businesses have enough capital to get started. Work can take place through email, over the phone or face to face. Some people Berman has worked with have gone on to run successful businesses; in other instances, Berman said, he’s talked people out of starting a business.

“The counseling is free. It goes on as long as the applicant wants it,” Berman said.

Berman was nominated for Financial Services Champion of the Year by Jerry Johnson, chairman of Champlain Valley SCORE.

Johnson said Berman fit the criteria for the award, and he made the nomination following a discussion with the SBA.

“(Berman) is unique in that he’s … a very … successful business leader today,” Johnson said. “Some (SCORE) volunteers have had those positions in past, but Bob is currently the president of his company. It takes a lot of time and energy and drive to achieve that in a company.”

In an article about Berman for Vermont Business Magazine, Kate Herrington of the SBA wrote, “Berman was chosen for the award based on his volunteer services to provide comprehensive business planning assistance, including financial guidance, to small business entrepreneurs.”

Though Berman may still offer advice to people in Williston, Instrumart’s time in the town is limited. Berman said the company recently purchased a new building in South Burlington, and will move there around Labor Day.

CVU boys lacrosse vs. Spaulding High

Observer photos by Greg Duggan

The Champlain Valley Union High boys lacrosse team rolled to a 14-4 win over Spaulding High of Barre in a playoff game on Friday. CVU went on to defeat Rutland High 13-1 on Tuesday, earning a trip to the Division 1 championship game.

CVU Boys Lacrosse

Guest column

Learning from the oil spill
By Stewart Cohen

It is hard to not react to the current catastrophe in the Gulf with a desire to reject all future offshore oil drilling. However, I believe that we have learned two critical things from this event that will enable us to proceed more capably in the future.

The first is that there is plenty of oil if we look for it. The second is that the real cost of an accident like this is almost incomprehensible and therefore one must never happen again. It is not enough to point out how little these accidents have happened; there have been others and we simply cannot allow more. Just as the Exxon-Valdez grounding forced the move to double hulled tankers (and we still haven’t finished cleaning up that mess), it would seem that this fiasco points to several options that can ensure our safety.

I like the fact that the Mineral Management Service is now being broken up to separate regulation and inspection from contracts and leases. It is a good first step. However, we also need to implement and enforce very strict standards for the production, operation, retirement, replacement or recertification of all critical operating parts involved in the drilling and extraction process. It is already clear that shortcuts were taken by BP in operations that contributed to the sequence of events in this disaster. Given that the ultimate solution for the leak is completing a relief well (which will take a total of three months to finish), I would propose the following idea: All offshore drilling from now on will include the simultaneous construction of primary and secondary wells into each oil source. Current offshore wells should be supplemented with secondary relief sites to offer the immediate potential to “relieve” any accident.

These kinds of fail-safes may actually offer up more security than statistics do and will indeed cost boatloads of money. The oil profits are there to support this, but let’s face it — this will raise the price of oil extraction and gas at the pump. The benefits of this will be true security about the safety of oil extraction as well as stepping up the drive to increase fuel efficiency and the availability of non-combustive energy sources, which will ultimately improve our energy independence and environment.

This is not a political or partisan issue; these are things we as Americans need to urge our government to do for us to keep us safe here at home.

Stewart Cohen lives in Williston.

CVU girls lacrosse squad challenges top teams (5/20/10)

May 20, 2010

They may have just one win in their eight outings, but the Champlain Valley Union High girls lacrosse team is giving all kinds of heartburn to the so-called powerhouses of its division.

The latest team to get a rattling from the Redhawks was 9-2 Middlebury Union High Tuesday down in the college town.

Led by Amanda Kinneston’s five goal outburst and a trio of scores by Sara Riordan, the Redhawks led late in the game before the Tigers’ Katie Ritter scored with 1:36 remaining in regulation to give Middlebury a shaky 14-13 victory.

Sydney Beldock, Erika Gobeille, Claire Trotter, Michaela Kiley and Devan Wilkins also scored for CVU, which had a 28-24 edge in shots on goal. Sophia Steinhoff came up with 11 saves in the CVU cage.

Last Friday it was an 8-3 Essex team that had nervous moments against the Hawks before pulling out a 10-7 win at the Hornets’ nest.

Riordan popped four goals as the Redhawks pressured Essex to force goalie Becky Anderson to make 21 stops. Steinhoff had 10 saves for the Hawks.

— Mal Boright, Observer correspondent

Cafe caters to Industrial Avenue clientele (5/20/10)

May 20, 2010

By Greg Duggan

Observer staff

Employees who work in the many businesses off Industrial Avenue in Williston have long had limited options for breakfast and lunch.


    Observer photo by Greg Duggan
Yvonne Brown stands behind the counter at Yvonne’s Café, which she opened about a month ago in White Cap Business Park.

Enter Yvonne Brown, who opened Yvonne’s Café about a month ago. While Brown admits the café, located in the back of White Cap Business Park and hidden from the road, is off the beaten path, she said, “I’m just trying to get a little niche in here.”

The owner of Nadeau’s Playschool and former owner of Belle’s Café, which she sold in March 2009, Brown decided to open in White Cap after plans for another café in the space fell through.

Serving primarily breakfast items, sandwiches and soups, Yvonne’s Café has begun to build a steady customer base out of the businesses in the Industrial Avenue area. Brown said she has already learned the names of several customers.

“It was really nice when the restaurant opened up, because before that there was not much in this neck of the woods to get a bite to eat unless you wanted to drive up to South Burlington,” said William Graham, who works in White Cap Business Park.

Though he often brings his own lunch to work, Graham said he now buys sandwiches from Yvonne’s a couple times a week and occasionally grabs a cinnamon roll for breakfast. Graham has gravitated toward Yvonne’s NY Reuben sandwich.

“It’s hard to find good a Reuben sandwich, but theirs … for the two or three times I’ve had it, has been really good,” he said.

Another regular customer, Matt Parda, said he finds himself ordering paninis. He also raved about the soups and chocolate chip cookies. Parda works on nearby Avenue D at Kittredge Equipment Co., which sold kitchen items to Yvonne’s Café.

“It’s just a great new lunch option in town,” Parda said. “There’s a lot of businesses on Industrial Ave., and it’s nice not to have to drive too far to get there. It’s like a little hidden gem.”

The menu at Yvonne’s features a variety of breads, meats, cheese and dressings, and customers can create their own sandwich or choose from a list of specialty sandwiches. Salad choices also exist, as do numerous snack items and baked goods.

In addition to the regular menu items, Yvonne’s offers daily specials. On Friday, for instance, the café served leek and potato soup and chili; the sandwich special was ham, salami, lettuce, tomato, provolone and Italian dressing on a sub.

A few tables and chairs sit on a patio outside the entrance to Yvonne’s. Inside, the café can seat 32 at seven tables; customers can also take their meals to tables located at one of two atriums inside the building.

Not that customers need to visit Yvonne’s to eat. Brown offers a catering service, and will deliver lunch to office buildings.

“The product is really good,” Brown said. “It’s just getting (people) to know we’re here.”


Yvonne’s Café is located at 426 Industrial Ave. #155 in White Cap Business Park. Hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call 497-0336.


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Changes coming for towns public safety services (5/20/10)

May 20, 2010

By Greg Duggan

Observer staff

July 1 will be a big day for Williston’s public safety agencies.

That Thursday, the town plans to install a new police chief and launch its own ambulance service, and officials report that both changes are progressing on schedule.

Town Manager Rick McGuire informed the Selectboard on Monday that a hiring committee had finished interviews with three finalists for the police chief position.

The town has been without a full-time chief since July 2008, when former Chief Jim Dimmick suffered a stroke. Acting Chief Doug Hoyt, a former Montpelier police chief, temporarily joined the force last month.

For the final step in the hiring process, McGuire said the three candidates received a driving tour of Williston, met with Hoyt and several other town employees and proposed a hypothetical budget for the next fiscal year. McGuire told the Selectboard he is now speaking with town employees about their impressions of the candidates.

The town has also made progress toward implementing its own ambulance service. Currently, Williston relies primarily on St. Michael’s Rescue for emergency response. But the Selectboard decided to include an ambulance service in the municipal budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and voters approved the budget at Town Meeting in March.

After purchasing a new ambulance last month, the town has now also bought a used ambulance from Odessa, Del. McGuire told the Selectboard the used ambulance is in excellent condition. Both vehicles have been included in the town’s plans for the ambulance service.

To offset some of the costs, the fire department has sold some of its own equipment, including its hazmat truck and a car. Melanie Watson of the fire department said a department in Ohio bought the hazmat truck last month. The truck was used to clean up hazardous material spills, though McGuire said the state now handles that type of work.

By obtaining the new equipment now, McGuire said the fire department can begin training staff to be ready for the July 1 launch of the ambulance service.

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Armadillos shut out by Mad River (5/20/10)

The Williston Armadillos’ offense and defense both went flat on Sunday.

The team committed six errors, resulting in four unearned runs, three in the first inning, and collected just six hits and two walks en route to a 7-0 loss to undefeated Mad River Valley. With the loss, the team’s record dropped to 1-2 in the Vermont Senior Baseball League.

“We faced one of the best pitchers in the league, and we have five first year players, so the lack of hits is understandable, however, the defensive lapses were made by our returning players. Chalk it up to a lack of practice,” pitcher Greg Bolger said.

Bolger was forced to pitch the entire game for the Dillos, as former ace Bill Supple announced his retirement and Pookie Martin was out of town. Over the nine innings, Bolger gave up five hits while walking four and striking out six. With the loss, Bolger’s record dropped to 1-1.

Offensively, only Bolger (1-3), third baseman Brent Tremblay (1-3, double), outfielder Ray Danis (1-4), outfielder Billy Daw (1-3, double), first baseman Ted DiGrande (1-3, double) and outfielder Steve Burt (1-1, BB) collected hits. So anemic was the offense that only once did the Dillos get the leadoff batter on base; on just two occasions did they get a runner to third.

The Dillos’ woes started early. In the first inning, following a leadoff walk, Daw dropped two successive flies to left that loaded the bases. After a walk to the clean up hitter plated one, Bolger induced the next batter to ground back to him on the mound. After Bolger threw home for the force play, catcher Darby Crum (0-1, BB) threw wild to third while attempting the double play. The error allowed another run to score and the runner on second to take third. A fielder’s choice on an infield grounder brought home the third unearned run of the inning.

Mad River padded its lead to 4-0 in the third inning by putting together a triple and a single. The lead grew to 6-0 in the fourth inning on another triple and single, coupled with a fielder’s choice. Mad River scored its final run in the ninth when Danis dropped a fly in center; two batters later, the runner scored on a sacrifice fly.

Next week, the Dillos travel to Airport Park in Colchester to take on the 3-0 Colchester Lakers. Game time is noon.

League standings and individual and team statistics are online at Enter “Vermont Senior Baseball League” under league name search.


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Sports Notes (5/20/10)

May 20, 2010


CVU golfers even series with North Country

The Champlain Valley Union High golf team will return to the fairways Friday at Cedar Knoll after a narrow victory Tuesday over North Country Union at Kwiniaska. The latest win took some of the sting from last Friday’s loss to the Falcons at their home Newport Country Club course.

Vergennes Union High will be the host team this Friday.

Solid balance was the winning formula for the Redhawks Tuesday.

North Country’s Tyler Coulter was medalist with a 77, but CVU’s Chris Nigh was right behind him with a 79. Backing up Nigh were Cam Fitzgerald (81), Billy Wilson (85), Jack Tomashot (86) and Todd Forrester (87).

CVU’s team wound up with a two-stroke 331-333 triumph.

At Newport, North Country scored a 308-322 team win. Tomashot with a 75 and Nigh at 79 were the low scorers for the Redhawks.


North Country next for CVU softball combine

Following a solid 8-4 victory Tuesday afternoon over visiting 1-11 Spaulding High, Coach Corinna Hussey and her 4-8 Champlain Valley Union High softball team are looking forward to Thursday’s home contest against North Country Union High at 4:30 p.m.

Anna Supple and Cayla McCarthy shared the pitching chores in halting the Crimson Tide, while Leah Leister continued her heavy hitting of late with a double, two singles and three runs produced.

Saturday, in a narrow 6-5 loss to 7-4 Middlebury Union High on the road, Leister rapped two hits and drove in four runs.

Also providing sock in the win over Spaulding were Cassidy Maglaris and Susan Parmelee with two hits each.

Hussey praised the defensive work of Kayleigh Colbeth at second base and catcher Emily Himberg, who “called a great game behind the plate.”


Final home track meet approaches for CVU

The Champlain Valley Union High track and field team will close out its home campaign Tuesday when South Burlington High visits the Redhawks’ nest for a 3:30 p.m. start.

The varsity was in action Wednesday at Essex High while the freshmen will be at Essex on Friday for a meet starting at 3 p.m.

Last Friday, the boys finished second to St. Johnsbury Academy in the annual Bobwhite Relays in St. Albans with Bellows Free Academy the host school.

The Redhawks captured five events. They were the shuttle hurdles (Ethan Hildebrand, Alex Bonfigli, Keith Kelley, James Pieper-Lococo), freshmen 4-by-100 (Alex Craige, Albert Brown, Tyler Barnes, Jeremy Lerner) and four-by-400, (Tom Keller, Anthony Jordick, Josh Campagna, Chris Sulva). The other two meets were the long jump (Pieper-Lococo, Bonfigli, Keller) and the pole vault (Sam Chevalier, Campagna, Jacob Grasso).

In the South Burlington High girls Rebel relays on Saturday, CVU took two events, the high jump and the 4-by-100.

The winning high jump team was Haleigh Smith, Sara Lewis and Kaitlin O’Connell.

Capturing the 4-by-100 were Abby Eddy, Marion Albers, Emma Eddy and Emma Riesner.

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Redhawk baseball team eyes return to winning ways (5/20/10)

May 20, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

After a two-game winning streak was snapped Tuesday by a narrow margin, the Champlain Valley Union High baseball team will be swinging away Thursday hoping to open another string of victories.

North Country Union High shows up at the Redhawks’ nest for a 4:30 p.m. encounter.

On Saturday, coach Tim Albertson’s charges will travel to Milton for an 11 a.m. tilt against the Blue and Gold, who entered the week at 3-6. On Tuesday, the Redhawks will be off to St. Albans to meet Bellows Free Academy at 4:30 p.m.

After a pair of decisive road victories over St. Johnsbury Academy and Middlebury Union, CVU was primed for Tuesday’s invasion by Spaulding High of Barre. The Crimson Tide came to town with a 7-4 mark.

But Spaulding put up six runs in the top of the fourth to erase an early 2-1 CVU lead and then held on for a squeaker of a 7-6 triumph, leaving the Hawks with a 6-6 season log.

Chief culprit for Spaulding was center fielder Sam Fuller, who bashed a pair of RBI doubles and made a big third out catch in front of the 350-foot marker in center off CVU slugger Drew Nick. CVU had runners at first and third, and Fuller’s catch ended a furious Redhawk rally in the bottom of the fourth.

After Fuller doubled home a run off Nick in the first inning, CVU took the lead in the bottom of the frame as Tucker Kohlasch (surprise bunt) and Alec Zullo got singles off Spaulding starter Scott Bigelow. Nick singled to left to drive in the swift Kohlasch and Lawrence Halvorson lofted a sacrifice fly to right for the run and the lead.

After three strong innings, Nick’s pitches started getting up in the strike zone in the fourth and the Tide followed a walk and hit batter with three singles and an infield miscue.

Theron Fuller relieved Nick with four runs in and runners at first and third. An infield ground out produced the fifth Tide tally and, with two out, Fuller slammed home the sixth with his second two bagger.

Fuller then finished with three innings of shutout hurling.

CVU got three runs back off Bigelow in the bottom of the inning, Zullo’s two-run single the key stroke after singles by Curt Echo and Fuller plus a walk to Tim Jones and a bases loaded pass to Kohlasch.

CVU provided some nervous moments for Spaulding in the bottom of the seventh after side-arming Bryan Hickey took over for Bigelow, who had thrown 100 pitches in his six frames of work.

With one out, Collin Teator worked Hickey for a walk, stole second, took third on a balk and scored on Halvorson’s single to left to reduce the Tide’s lead to a run. But the rally ended there.

At Middlebury on Saturday, the Redhawks scored a 13-4 victory as Andrew Leckerling tossed a complete game five-hitter while striking out eight. Nick unloaded four hits, including three doubles, to drive in three runs.

Kohlasch stroked a triple and single for an RBI and Jones cracked a pair of hits to plate two tallies. Teator bashed a homer and drove in two runs.

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Redhawks roll over BFA in boys lacrosse (5/20/10)

May 20, 2010

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With its gaudy 12-0 record — including five wins by two or fewer goals — coach Dave Trevithick was looking for a “complete” game Saturday morning when the Redhawks hosted a physical Bellows Free Academy combine that came within 9-8 of CVU on April 24 in St. Albans.

“Today we got three-fourths of a total game,” Trevithick said after his Hawks blew past the Bobwhites 11-3 in one of their best all-around performances of the season.

CVU was slated to entertain Middlebury Union High Wednesday before heading to Essex Saturday morning for an 11 a.m. session with the strong Hornets. Essex entered the week 8-2, the only local loss to the Hawks, 9-8, on a last-second score in an April contest in Hinesburg.

It did not take long for the Redhawks to take command Saturday. Taylor Gingras, with an assist from Lawrence “The Helper” Dee, snapped a 1-1 tie with 5:31 left in the first period. The Hawks bolted to a 6-2 lead by halftime and a 10-2 advantage by the opening of the final reel.

Gingras, team leader with 35 goals, posted four scores and added an assist. Dee passed off for six assists and also scored a third period unassisted goal with a nifty spin move in front of the BFA cage. He has 24 tallies for the campaign.

“We passed well, defended well and put it together today,” Dee said after the game.

Nathaniel Wells and Justin Beaudry each scored twice, Beaudry notching the game’s first and final goals. He has scored seven times in the last six contests.

Nick Hart and Jake Marston had single pointers while Robbie Dobrowski collected a pair of assists.

Marston made vital contributions on midfield face offs where he either came away with the ball or lured BFA into a violation, which also got the ball for the Red and White.

Trevithick lauded the play of defensemen captain Cully Millikin and Ben Teasdale, who kept BFA’s offensive thrusts and traffic in front of goalie Eric Palmer to a minimum.

Another stout defender was junior Konnor Fleming, who came up with several takeaways and subsequent rushes down the field into BFA territory.

“He had never played until this year,” Trevithick said of the midfielder.

One of the more spectacular scores of the season came early in the first period when BFA tied the score at 1-1. The Bobwhites’ capable goalie, Kaleb Nichols (11 saves), made a stop and then charged out of the net and downfield.

He kept trotting through a disbelieving Redhawk team and, resembling a light tank at full speed, rolled in on Palmer and deposited the ball in the net while colliding with the CVU net minder.

“I saw him coming and then … boom!” Palmer said. “We adjusted so that would not happen again.”

Palmer and senior Sean Keenan had eight stops for CVU, which outgunned the visitors 22-11.

Trevithik said CVU had several midfielders missing in that first tight contest at BFA.

“We had just about everybody back for this one,” the coach said.


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