September 2, 2014

PHOTO: Williston law enforcement ice bucket challenge

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So far, donations have reached $88.5 million, compared to $2.6 million for the same time period last year. The law enforcement personnel took part in the challenge last Friday, after a department award ceremony. While still warm and dry, Shepard gave out Officer of the Year awards to Officer Travis Trybulski and Officer Ben Hollwedel, criminal enforcement and motor vehicle enforcement awards to Trybulski, a DUI enforcement award to Officer Alex Tower and letters of commendation to Sgt. Mike Lavoie, Officer Josh Moore and Sgt. Bart Chamberlain. He also gave a teamwork award to LaTulippe and Cristalee McSweeney, reparative coordinator with the Community Justice Center. ‘There’s just so much good work done in this agency,’ Shepard said.

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Members of the Williston Police Department (from left) Sgt. Brian Claffy, Assistant to the Chief Millie Whitcomb, Chief Todd Shepard and Community Justice Board Coordinator Stephan LaTulippe get doused with icy water for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, an international fundraiser for the debilitating neurodegenerative disease. Observer photo by Stephanie Choate.

 

POPCORN: “The Giver” Once More into the Apocalypse

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3 popcorns

3 popcorns

“The Giver”

Once More into the Apocalypse

3 popcorns 

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer

 

The good thing about the apocalypse, if you happen to survive it, is that the society that then evolves is so nice and orderly…everything in its place, y’know. No anger, competition, hunger, strife or pestilence. Boy, they sure learned their lesson. And gee, all the architecture is so neo-Guggenheim museum. The bad thing is, it’s a stultifying bore. Which is why Brenton Thwaites’s Jonas, the starry-eyed protagonist in director Phillip Noyce’s adaptation of Lois Lowry’s best seller, figures there has to be a better way.

 

You’ve seen this ad nauseam in literature and film…the utter impossibility of us humans finding some middle ground between the organized chaos and willy-nilly silliness we call government and the restrictive Orwellian destiny sci-fi futurists inevitably predict for us. Nonetheless, in order to form a more perfect union, to coin a phrase, it is necessary to inform each succeeding generation of the political quagmire they’ll be wrestling with…to warn them of the fascism that hides in easy fixes. Miss Lowry’s book does its civic duty.

 

Happily, thanks to the author’s injection of present-minded sensibilities eagerly lapped up by the kids it was ostensibly written for, director Noyce is able to fashion some new wrinkles into the cautionary tale. Solid acting, especially from Jeff Bridges in the title role and Brenton Thwaites as his prodigy, plus an energetic pace and superb production standards make for an engaging, high-minded experience. Ne’er-do-wells aside, it is among humanity’s finer instincts to hope that our prospective heirs will get it right.

 

On first blush, as we are introduced to the troika of pals at the center of the saga, it looks like things for these denizens of many years hence are going quite swimmingly. On the evening of the Ceremony of Twelves, when they will be assigned their occupations for life, Jonas, Fiona (Odeya Rush) and Asher (Cameron Monaghan) champ at the bit with anticipation. Yet slowly but surely, hints of uncertainty, albeit so subtly woven, give us pause…alerting that these young cohorts are perhaps not completely lost to conformity.

 

But what happens if you don’t toe the company line…if you aren’t completely accepting of the prescribed Sameness? We fear we’ll find that out after the already questioning Jonas receives his assignment…surely a major honor. No sundry vocation for this bright lad, no siree. He will study to be the next Receiver of Memory, a human repository of all the utopian community’s memory and heritage, tutored by Jeff Bridges’s noble sage. Now his thoughts wander even further beyond the pale of obedience.

 

The chemistry is ennobling, this wise Socrates allowed to live outside the confines and strictures of the “perfect” community with Jonas’s Plato learning at his knee. Of course the process is fraught with pitfalls and flaws in theory, which makes us wonder what the Elders, currently led by Meryl Streep, had in mind when they fashioned the ambiguous process. In a true dictatorship, obeisance to even the slightest hint of enlightenment, or to show concern for a supposedly failed and decadent past, would surely be verboten.

 

The lessons are at once beautiful, harsh, epiphanic and, in proper science fiction style, full of metaphors about our current civilization. It is an ideal, a paean to education…a great teacher and his formidable, eager student anxious to bite the apple. Combining good old fashioned instruction with a telepathic/download thing The Giver does by grasping Jonas’s forearms and thinking real, real hard, the kaleidoscopic array of human emotion and experience is near overwhelming.

 

Expectedly, as he learns about these previously hidden wonders that have been snatched from his psyche courtesy of the culture’s compulsory drug program, Jonas can’t help but want to impart the revelations to his best friends. But that’s a no-no, and soon his behavior begins to try the patience of Miss Streep’s autocrat. Compounding the problem, it seems The Giver’s last attempt at transferring his knowledge also proved a source of consternation for those powers that be, as well as a personal tragedy. The plot thickens.

 

Shades of George Lucas’s “THX 1138” (1971) and a host of other such parables, it is a recurring theme that goes as far back as when Pharaoh had misgivings about his brief moment of tolerance. Nope, the despot decides, it’s not going to work. After them!

 

The story switches gears with a vengeance, the philosophical and prophetic stuff culminating in a traditional rampage of derring-do. However, the film rises above its derivativeness courtesy of some fine special effects, a panoply of the neatly imagined era’s rather nifty furnishings, and a surprise twist or two. And so “The Giver” bequeaths viewers with an exciting and thought provoking sojourn to the latest Brave New World.

“The Giver,” rated PG-13, is a Weinstein Company release directed by Phillip Noyce and stars Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites and Odeya Rush. Running time: 94 minutes

 

 

 

PHOTOS: Armadillos wrap up

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Members of the Williston Armadillos baseball team catch, hit and pitch during their last regular season home game on Aug. 24. The team beat the Champlain Whales 20-4. The Armadillos currently lead the Vermont Senior Baseball League with a 14-1 standing. (Observer photos by Al Frey)

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Savvy Senior: Is life insurance needed in retirement?

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Dear Savvy Senior,
Is life insurance needed in retirement? I’m about to retire and have been thinking about dropping my policy to escape the premiums. Is this a good idea?
—Over Insured

Dear Over,
While many retirees choose to stop paying their life insurance premiums when they no longer have young families to take care of, there are a few reasons you may still want to keep your policy. Here are some different points to consider that can help you determine if you still need life insurance in retirement.

Dependents
Life insurance is designed to help protect your spouse and children from poverty in the case of your untimely death. But if your children are grown and are on their own and you have sufficient financial resources to cover you and your spouse’s retirement costs, then there is little need to continue to have life insurance.
But, if you had a child late in life or have a relative with special needs who is dependent on you for income, it makes sense to keep paying the premiums on your policy.
You also need to make sure your spouse’s retirement income will not take a significant hit when you die. Check out the conditions of your pension or annuity (if you have them) to see if they stop paying when you die and factor in your lost Social Security income, too. If you find that your spouse will lose a significant portion of income upon your death, you may want to keep the policy to help make up the difference.

Work
Will you need to take another job in retirement to earn income? Since life insurance helps replace lost income to your family when you die, you may want to keep your policy if your spouse or other family members are relying on that income. If, however, you have very little income from your retirement job, then there’s probably no need to continue with the policy.

Estate taxes
Life insurance can also be a handy estate-planning tool. If, for example, you own a business that you want to keep in the family and you don’t have enough liquid assets to take care of the estate taxes, you can sometimes use a life insurance policy to help your heirs pay off Uncle Sam when you die.
It’s a good idea to talk to a disinterested third party (not your insurance agent), like an estate planning expert or a fee-only financial planner to help you determine if your life insurance policy can help you with this.

Life Settlement Option
If you find that you don’t need your life insurance policy any longer, you may want to consider selling it in a “life settlement” transaction to a third party company for more than the cash surrender value would be, but less than its net death benefit. The best candidates are people over age 65 who own a policy with a face value of $250,000 or more.
Once you sell your policy, however, the life settlement company becomes the new owner, pays the future premiums and collects the death benefit when you die.
How much money you can expect to get with a life settlement will depend on your age, health and life expectancy, the type of insurance policy, the premium costs and the value of your policy. Most sellers generally get 12 to 25 percent of the death benefit.
If you’re interested in this option, get quotes from several brokers or life settlement providers. Also, find out what fees you’ll be required to pay. To locate credible providers or brokers, the Life Insurance Settlement Association provides a referral service at lisa.org.

Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Obituaries

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Phillip Allen Griffith
Phillip Griffith passed away Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, in the Lakeland Regional Medical Center after a short illness.
Phillip was born on Feb. 16, 1928, in Montpelier to the late William H. and Margery (McIntyre) Griffith. His early education was in Moretown and Vergennes High School, where he graduated as valedictorian and earned a full scholarship to UVM, which he attended after a short time in the Army. He graduated in ‘52 with a BS in education. He later received a Master’s degree in teaching from St. Michael’s College. He held early teaching positions in Enosburgh and Richmond. The remainder of his 38 years of teaching was spent at Lyman C. Hunt School in Burlington. He served in many organizations, including as president of the Vermont Teachers Association.
Phillip and his family ran the Sure Luck Motor Court cabins on their property in Williston for many summers. He enjoyed the country life and was an avid gardener. He played the piano and organ; his talents were welcomed by the various churches of which he was a member over the years.
He is survived by two sons, Peter A., his wife Cindy of Milton, Leslie F., his partner Melissa Moore, of Ferrisburgh, a daughter Martha (Griffith) Poirier, her husband Serge of Williston and their two sons Nicolas and Ryan, also of Williston and various nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his siblings Roger, twin sister Phyllis, Edith and Glenn.
The family would like to recognize the unwavering attention given to Dad by his great friend Otto Wunder, his friends and neighbors in May Manor and “Pastor Andy” and the congregation of Our Savior Lutheran church, in Lakeland.
Contributions in Phillip’s memory can be made to Good Shepherd Hospice, 105 Arneson Ave., Auburndale, FL 33823. A memorial service was held at Our Savior Lutheran – Lakeland. Final arrangements were handled by the Central Florida Casket Store & Funeral Chapel, Lakeland, Fla.

JESSICA B. LAMPHERE
Jessica B. Lamphere, 48, of Tremont Street, died Aug. 21, 2014, in Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, following a brief illness. Surrounded by family, Jessica passed peacefully into the spirit world to start a new journey.
She was born Jessica Ann Bates on Jan. 15, 1966, in Burlington, the daughter of Gerald and Nancy Bates of Williston. She attended Williston schools and graduated from Champlain Valley Union High School in 1984. Jess was an accomplished flutist and played First-Chair in the Vermont Youth Symphony Orchestra. Following high school, Jessica attended the University of Vermont where she graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She went on to teach first and second grade at the Waits River Valley School for 25 years.
Jessica loved teaching and reading and will be missed by the WRVS staff, parents and students. Her principle membership was the National Education Association. In 2001, she wed Michael C. Lamphere of Barre and in 2003 they had a son, Jacob Raymond Lamphere.
Jessica loved music, reading, floating and spending quiet weekends at her family’s camp in the mountains. She was an excellent cook and loved to bake. She leaves behind her loving husband and son, Jacob; mother, Nancy Bates of Williston; sister, Jennifer Safford of Elmore; and numerous nieces, nephews, aunts and cousins. She was predeceased by her father. Friends may call at the Hooker and Whitcomb Funeral Home, 7 Academy St., Barre, on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, from 5 to 8 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to the Friends of Waits River Valley School, 6 Waits River Valley Road, East Corinth, VT 05040.

Recipe Corner: Zucchini and tomatoes

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By Ginger Isham

About this time of year, there is an abundance of zucchini and tomatoes. These are two recipes I have made recently using both.

Zucchini Skillet Dinner
1/2 pound lean hamburger (substitute ground turkey/chicken/pork/sausage)
5-6 cups sliced zucchini
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 cup cottage cheese
3/4 cup instant brown rice (could use 3/4 cup cooked rice)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Brown hamburger in skillet. Add rest of ingredients (except cheese) and cover and simmer and stir 2-3 time for about 20 minutes until zucchini is cooked. Remove from stove and sprinkle cheese on top, replace cover and let set until cheese is melted. Serve.

Fresh Tomato Soup
1 medium carrot (sliced)
1/2 a leek (sliced)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 firm tomatoes, cut up (or one 28-ounce can stewed tomatoes)
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/2 bay leaf
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped basil (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5 cups chicken broth or water
black pepper
Heat olive oil in skillet and add carrot, leek and garlic. Cook gently for several minutes. Add rest of ingredients except for pepper. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
Puree in a blender. Add black pepper. Serves 4-6 people.
For a creamy soup, add 4 cups broth and 1 cup half and half. You may also add 1 1/2 cups cooked rice or macaroni. Serve with French/Italian bread slices you have spread with oil and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese and browned under broiler in oven.

Note: I have read that tomatoes reduce risk of colon, prostate and bladder cancers. Blueberries, strawberries, cherries and plums help protect against gastrointestinal cancers.

Ginger Isham lives with her husband on a fifth generation family farm on Oak Hill Road.

PHOTOS: Monsters for a day

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Williston resident Storm Rushford holds a check from the Lake Monsters after signing a one-day contract with the team. Rushford, 12, was one of nine boys and girls in the state named to the 2014 Little Lake Monsters All Stars.  Hundreds of kids sent applications, and the winners were selected based on their answers to three questions that focused on sportsmanship, community and leading a healthy lifestyle. After a ceremony on Aug. 22, Rushford was outfitted in a Lake Monsters uniform and took batting practice with the team before its home game on Friday. He and his fellow winners also stood on the field with the team during the national anthem and sat in the dugout with the players for an inning.

Williston resident Storm Rushford holds a check from the Lake Monsters after signing a one-day contract with the team. Rushford, 12, was one of nine boys and girls in the state named to the 2014 Little Lake Monsters All Stars.
Hundreds of kids sent applications, and the winners were selected based on their answers to three questions that focused on sportsmanship, community and leading a healthy lifestyle.After a ceremony on Aug. 22, Rushford was outfitted in a Lake Monsters uniform and took batting practice with the team before its home game on Friday. He and his fellow winners also stood on the field with the team during the national anthem and sat in the dugout with the players for an inning. (Observer courtesy photos)

Storm Rushford

Storm Rushford

Mira Filion

Mira Filion

Mira Filion

Mira Filion

Maddie Montagne

Maddie Montagne

Maddie Montagne

Maddie Montagne

Grace Arcovitch

Grace Arcovitch

Grace Arcovitch

Grace Arcovitch

Ethan Schwaner

Ethan Schwaner

Ethan Schwaner

Ethan Schwaner

Ethan Fritz

Ethan Fritz

Ethan Fritz

Ethan Fritz

Dustin Beloin

Dustin Beloin

Dustin Beloin

Dustin Beloin

Connor Nielsen

Connor Nielsen

Connor Nielsen

Connor Nielsen

Brady Doorey

Brady Doorey

Brady Doorey

Brady Doorey

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CVU football, cross country open at home Saturday

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By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

The first competition of the fall interscholastic sports season is set for Saturday with the Champlain Valley Union High football and cross country teams seeing action.
The distance steppers go first with an informal relay event starting at 10 a.m.
The gridiron Redhawks will unveil their 2014 edition at 1 p.m. with the Colchester High Lakers on the opposite side of the scrimmage line.
On Tuesday (4:30 p.m.), the defending Metro champion girls’ soccer team has a home opener against Route 116 rival Mount Abraham Union High.
Two days later on Thursday, the field hockey squad meets Colchester High in its season opener on the Hinesburg hill while the boys’ soccer team kicks off its campaign in a tournament test against Rice Memorial High at Essex.
“I hope we can give Colchester a real rude welcome to the fine town of Hinesburg,” CVU head football coach Jim Provost said early this week.
He added that as is typical with season opening games, he does not know much about the Lakers.
“They scrimmaged Rice and St. Johnsbury last week and based on that I would say we are pretty even,” the coach said.
CVU scrimmaged Mount Mansfield Union Saturday and except for “a couple of mental lapses, I thought overall we looked pretty good,” Provost said.
According to the coach, the Redhawks came out of the scrimmage in good health.
Junior Andrew Bortnick appears to have inside track on the quarterback job with, sophomore Jake Evans and Boomer Vasquez, up from jayvees, also in the running.
Last season, Steele DuBrul and Bennett Cazayoux were primary signal callers and both have graduated.
Provost is seeing good things in his line play with the defensive set getting a boost from sophomore transfer from North Carolina, Jacob Briggs, who has been anchoring the middle of the defensive front.

Understanding town dog control laws

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Paul Dickin walks his dog, Alfie -- whom Dickin said is occasionally called Suarez, after the Uruguayan soccer player, for his tendency to act as if he is about to about someone -- on the Williston bike path.

Paul Dickin walks his dog, Alfie — whom Dickin said is occasionally called Suarez, after the Uruguayan soccer player, for his tendency to act as if he is about to about someone — on the Williston bike path. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff

Town Clerk Deb Beckett and Williston Animal Control Officer Marilla Whitcomb have teamed up to educate Willistonians about the town dog control ordinance.
The pair have held education days on the bike path, reaching out to pet owners.
While in most parts of town, dogs must be under voice command or leashed, all dogs on the bike or recreation path must be on a leash.
Beckett said her office gets calls from people concerned with dogs off leash and while owners may know their dogs won’t cause any problems, others may not be so sure.
“Dogs may be absolutely fine, but there are a number of people that go for walks on the rec paths that are very much afraid of dogs,” she said. “For them, even a friendly dog coming up is problematic.”
The town requires that all dogs in Williston have a collar with a tag that says the owner’s name and address and a town registration tag.
All dogs must be registered with the town, though Beckett said the number of registered dogs declines every year. Registering—which costs $12 for spayed and neutered pets and $18 otherwise—is especially important with rabies cases confirmed in Chittenden County, both for dog and human safety. Dogs may be registered through the town clerk’s office, reachable at 878-5121.
Cleaning up after your dog is not only neighborly, responsible and sanitary, it’s the law. Dog owners are required to carry a bag or scooping device for dog waste whenever they have their dog off of their own property—and they must use them promptly.
Dog waste can’t just be tossed into the woods, either—it must be thrown away in a garbage can, sewage disposal system or buried more than 6 inches below the ground (without the plastic bag).

Local animal experts share their pet advice

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Williston experts answer the question “What is your top piece of advice for pet owners?”

Be responsible
My advice for ALL animal or livestock owners is simple. BE RESPONSIBLE OWNERS. Care for and vaccinate your animals, show concern for others, follow the rules.
—Marilla Whitcomb,
Williston animal control officer

Keep your pets in good shape
Over 50 percent of dogs and cats are overweight or obese. Several studies have shown that pets in ideal body condition live an average of 2.5 years longer. Our pets don’t live long enough as it is. Maintaining an appropriate weight is the key to longevity and is within our control. We love our pets no matter their size and shape. It is hard to ignore their request for more food or another treat. However, the impact of obesity can be devastating. Overweight pets are at an increased risk for osteoarthritis, diabetes, decreased immune function, liver problems and even heart and respiratory disease. Keeping your pet in ideal shape is the single most important thing you can do to ensure your pet lives a long and happy life.
—Joel English, DVM
River Cove Animal Hospital

Trust your instincts
As an emergency clinic, we commonly get calls from pet owners noticing changes in their pet’s behavior and they call to get our advice on whether they should bring their pet in to be seen. As a pet owner, you’re an advocate for your pet and if you are seeing slight changes in your pet; a lab that’s not eating or a lovable kitty that’s not being social then you have a right to be concerned. Our advice, you know your pet the best and can recognize the onset of something more serious (or not). When in doubt, contact your veterinarian.
—Whitney Durivage, hospital manager, Burlington Emergency & Veterinary Specialists – BEVS

Choose carefully
Choose the right pet as well as the right trainer. Pet owners should be very honest with themselves about what kind of pet is best for them. Pet owners should educate themselves on the training needs and care that is required for any pet they choose.
Pet owners should also research where they are obtaining a pet from. A quick Google search will tell you what the red flags are for finding a reputable breeder or rescue.
Training methods have evolved for all pets and no method that employs fear or pain should be used on any pet. This includes shock collars, aka e-collars, prong collars and choke chains. When looking for a trainer, ask other people who have a pet similar to yours. Ask how the trainer treated both parts of the pet and owner team. If it feels wrong to you or you are uncomfortable with something a trainer asks you to do, look for alternative solutions. Positive, reward-based training methods will make a great family pet!
—Amy Haskell, Show Me the Biscuit

Pets need exercise
“All dogs need appropriate exercise (physical stimulation) and positive training (mental stimulation) on a daily basis.”
—Lori Bielawa, Owner/Instructor of Waggles

Prepare for a pet
It is important to get the type of pet that suits your lifestyle and personality. This may come down to the type of pet and then breed, age, coat type and activity level within a species, too. It is very important to do your research before purchasing or adopting.
Putting in some legwork before you commit to your new pet can make life a lot easier down the road for both of you, so that you can enjoy time spent together. Be very upfront with your breeder or adoption agency about your lifestyle, your plans for the pet and what your perfect picture of life with that animal is. A good adoption agency or breeder will also be very upfront with you about the pet you are considering. After all, they should be there to support you for the life of that pet as a resource of knowledge. They should steer you in the direction of the right pet, or tell you if the pet you are considering is not the best fit for you. It may be hard to have your bubble burst when you have fallen for a cute face, but trust the folks who have experience with the animals in their care and know that this truly is a sign that they care about the pet’s future and yours. Make sure you are fully informed on the care requirements and any special needs that your individual animal may have.
Before you bring your new friend home, ask yourself and your family if you are truly ready to take on those responsibilities for the life of that animal. If you are, then prepare yourself. Locate a veterinarian, look into training options, make an exercise plan which could include anything from a walk around the block, chasing a toy in the hallway or visits to a daycare center or hiking trail. Get supplies, find a pet sitter or boarding option for when you go out of town. By putting time into research, structure and providing the right lifestyle to suit the needs of your pet, you will be off to a great new relationship for both two- and four-legged family members!
—Staff of Gulliver’s Doggie Daycare