November 29, 2014

PHOTOS: Emerald ash borer

Experts expect the emerald ash borer to arrive in Vermont in the next several years, devastating the state’s ash trees.

Experts expect the emerald ash borer to arrive in Vermont in the next several years, devastating the state’s ash trees.

AshBorer 2

Wildflower Circle3

The emerald ash borer, an invasive species from Asia that kills ash trees, will hit Williston especially hard. Nearly half of Williston street trees, like these on Wildflower Circle, are ash. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

Wildflower Circle vert

Wildflower Circle 2

Wildflower Circl

PHOTOS: Lax trail work


Members of the Williston-Richmond Rotary Club joined forces with members of the UVM lacrosse team on a chilly Saturday in October to complete the trail connecting Mud Pond Park and Five Tree Hill Park. When finished, the project will be able to accommodate hikers, snow-shoers and skiers and still allow access by snowmobile.




PHOTOS: Turkey drop off


The Williston Community Food Shelf collected 260 turkeys on Nov. 22 during its annual turkey drive. New England Federal Credit Union donated 50 turkeys. The fire department had a truck outside the fire house that collected 52 turkeys. The food shelf has given out 110 turkeys and expects to give out 25-30 more before Thanksgiving. ‘Our Turkey Drive has netted enough turkey for everyone’s Thanksgiving meal and probably enough turkeys for everyone to get one for their Christmas dinner,’ said Turkey Day organizer Ginger Morton, pictured below. Food shelf volunteers are also sharing the community’s generosity and bringing 35 turkeys to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf.


Ginger Morton







POPCORN: “Dumb and Dumber To” It Sure Is


2.5 popcorns

“Dumb and Dumber To”

It Sure Is

2 & ½ popcorns

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer


It takes some pretty smart writing to make the title characters appear as stupid as they are in “Dumb and Dumber To.” There is wit in the Farrelly Brothers’ reprise to their 1994 imbecility, an explorative zeal and talent for delving far more dopily into ignorance than any farce has dared to stumble. It’s almost as difficult and accomplished a task for us intelligent folk to shed our self-respect for 110 minutes and enjoy the guilty thrill of laughing aloud at the goofiness purveyed.


Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne, respectively but not respectfully, convince us that they are the penultimate screwballs. They treat idiocy as if it were an Olympic event, inducing us not only to chuckle and guffaw, but recurrently exclaim: “No one is that dumb!” Likewise, and not as enjoyable if you are older than 13, they regularly cause us to opine that surely no adults could have such disgusting health habits.


Penned by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly with the help of Sean Anders, John Morris and Bennett Yellin, the insanity by committee is carefully pieced together, and a mite too self-conscious in its meshugana mission. However, in moments when Messrs. Carrey and Daniels have their missing brain cells misfiring on all eight cylinders and the nuttiness is flowing, it’s shades of comedy’s classic numskulls and dunces.


Reminiscent of the tried-and-true template The Three Stooges, Red Skelton and Abbott and Costello often employed, the directors insert their unwitting fools’ prattle and imprudence into a deadly serious scenario. But naturally, as experienced ad nauseam by the numerous funnymen who have fortuitously sidestepped falling pianos and villains’ daggers, G-d protects drunkards, fools and children. You know: dumb luck. We like such heartening pie-in-the-sky providence protecting the less fortunate from evil…the more outlandish, the better.


In this case, the nonsense is set in motion when Harry, thumbing through some mail he hasn’t perused in two decades, finds a postcard from former town slattern Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner) informing she’s pregnant. Putting 2 and 3 together with the help of old pal Lloyd, recently emerged from the catatonic state he’s been in for twenty years, it appears Harry is an ancestor. So, of course it’s off to find the foundling, though the actual motivations hardly vouch for their character.


Just prior to his belated discovery of fatherhood, Harry informed Lloyd he was in need of a kidney. Lloyd abruptly declined. But now an albeit smudgy light bulb flickers above Harry’s head: He’ll find the surprise offspring and beg a kidney to save her dear old dad. Lloyd, equally altruistic, is instantly obsessed with the amorous possibilities posed by his best friend’s daughter.


As irony would have it, Penny (Rachel Melvin), the pretty gal whose every manner would suggest she’s a chip off the old biological blockhead, has been adopted by kind Dr. Pinchelow (Steve Tom), a Nobel laureate blissfully ignorant of Penny’s dimwittedness. But this obvious fact is not lost on cruel, mean Adele (Laurie Holden), the treacherous stepmom who, in cahoots with landscaper Travis (Rob Riggle), has been slowly poisoning the good doctor a la “Notorious” (1946).


When we meet them, the renowned scientist, understandably under the weather, is sending the blithe lass as his emissary to a conference of geniuses in El Paso where she will deliver a secret package purported to contain a breakthrough discovery he will gift the world…no charge. But Laurie has other plans. She figures it’s worth billions, and it’s just too bad if Penny is now added to her list of endangered relatives.

Then our dummies arrive. The dragon lady seizes the opportunity to make them complicit in her dirty work, to unknowingly filch the purported boon to mankind, the McGuffin as Hitchcock referred to such plot-motivating objects of desire. The clueless pair are sent chasing Penny, with Travis along to make sure Laurie’s nefarious bidding is done. Suffice it to note the worlds of smart and dumb will clash and, just in case you’ve somehow never witnessed this cliché, the Big Brains mistake Harry for Dr. Pinchelow. You fill in the rest.


No absurdity goes unturned and no insult to our intelligence is omitted as the Brothers Farrelly intricately and broadly explore every regressive and adolescent inanity to come down the cinema pike. It’s apt material for the Ph.D. thesis you’re writing on crude and vulgar taste, if that’s the excuse you’ll need to score some mindless laughs … a palate cleanser between post-apocalyptic downers. All my rocket scientist and brain surgeon pals are using that one. Or, be a smarty pants like me and say you surely wouldn’t see “Dumb and Dumber To” if you weren’t a film critic.

“Dumb and Dumber To,” rated PG-13, is a Universal Pictures release directed by Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly and stars Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels and Rachel Melvin. Running time: 109 minutes





Recipe Corner: Holiday Beverages


By Ginger Isham

Holiday beverages
(easy recipes from old and new cookbooks on my shelf)

Apple-Cranberry Fizz
2 cups apple juice
1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
1 cup carbonated water
slices of lemon or lime
Chill the apple juice and cranberry juice. When ready to serve add carbonated water and serve with a slice of lemon or lime. Can double the recipe.
Spiced Hot Tea
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups boiling water
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 whole cloves (or powdered cloves)
5 small tea bags (orange pekoe blend)
Dissolve sugar in 1/2 cup in boiling water, add juices and spices. Pour rest of hot water over tea bags and steep 5 minutes. Remove tea bags and add fruit syrup to tea. Serve immediately.

Green Cooler
1 six-ounce can frozen limeade concentrate
1 six-ounce can filled with vodka
5 cans crushed ice
Put all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

Bloody Mary
4 cups good-quality, thick tomato juice
1 teaspoon salt (maybe 1/2 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
8 dashes Tabasco pepper sauce
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
4-5 jiggers of vodka (1.5 ounces = 1 jigger)
lime wedges
Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and chill at least an hour. Stir before serving and pour over chipped ice in tall glasses. Add lime wedge.

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels!

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

‘Mild’ control of systolic blood pressure in older adults is adequate


150 is good enough
By David Stauth
A broad review of the use of medications to reduce blood pressure says that “mild” control of systolic pressure is adequate for adults age 65 or older—in the elderly, there’s no clear benefit to more aggressive use of medications to achieve a lower pressure.
Historically, most medical practitioners tried to achieve control of systolic pressure—the higher of the two blood pressure readings—to 140 or less. Recently changed guidelines now say that for adults over 60, keeping the systolic pressure at 150 or less is adequate.
However, researchers also say in the report that more work needs to be done studying blood pressure in older populations, since most of the research, and the medical guidelines based on them, were done using predominately younger adults.
Scientists from the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University and Oregon Health & Science University published the review in the professional journal Drugs & Aging.
“The goal of a systolic pressure at or below 140 has been around a long time, and there’s still skepticism among some practitioners about accepting a higher blood pressure,” said Leah Goeres, an OSU postdoctoral fellow and lead author on the publication.
“Keeping systolic blood pressure in older adults below 150 is important, it’s what we consider a mild level of control,” Goeres said. “But for older people, that level is also good enough. After an extensive review, there was no significant evidence that more intensive management is necessary.”
Researchers say the issue of how low is low enough is important because blood pressure medications can have unwanted side effects that increase as higher dosages of medications are used. The problem is common—in the U.S, about 70 percent of adults age 65 or older have hypertension and millions of people take medication to control it.
One of the more significant side effects is what’s called “orthostatic hypotension,” a condition in which a person’s blood pressure can suddenly fall when they rise or stand, making them feel light-headed or dizzy and sometimes leading to dangerous falls. More than 30 percent of people over the age of 80 have this problem.
High blood pressure is a serious health concern, but also one of the most treatable with medication, if such things as diet, exercise, weight management or lifestyle change prove inadequate. Hypertension is often called the “silent killer” because it causes few obvious symptoms, but it weakens blood vessels and has been linked to higher levels of heart attacks, kidney disease and especially stroke.
“There’s clearly a value to controlling blood pressure, enough to keep it at 150 or less,” said David Lee, an OSU assistant professor of pharmacy practice. “Keeping blood pressure within acceptable levels will lower death rates. But as people get older, there’s less clear evidence that stringent control of systolic blood pressure is as important.”
The researchers said a goal for the future should be to do more studies specifically with older adult populations and try to identify health situations and conditions that might benefit from different types of management. Such “individualized” treatments, they said, would consider a person’s entire health situation instead of treating them based on findings made with large groups.

Free and low-cost legal services that help seniors in need


Savvy Senior
By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,
Where can seniors turn to for free or low-cost legal help? My husband and I need some professional legal assistance but don’t have a lot of money to pay a high priced lawyer. What can you tell us?
—Seniors in Need

Dear Seniors,
There are actually a number of free and low-cost legal resources available today to help seniors, but what’s available to you and your husband will depend on where you live, the type of legal assistance you need and your financial situation. Here are several resources to check into.
Legal Aid: Directed by the Legal Services Corporation, legal aid offers free legal assistance to low-income people of all ages. Each community program will differ slightly in the services they offer and income qualifications. See to locate a program in your area.
Pro Bono programs: Usually sponsored by state or local bar associations, these programs help low-income people find volunteer lawyers who are willing to handle their cases for free. You can look for a pro bono program through the American Bar Association at, or through
Senior Legal Hotlines: There are a number of states that offer senior legal hotlines, where all seniors over age 60 have access to free legal advice over the telephone. In Vermont, call (800) 889-2047 or visit
Senior Legal Services: Coordinated by the Administration on Aging, this service may offer free or low-cost legal advice, legal assistance or access to legal representation to people over the age of 60. Your Area Agency on Aging can tell you what’s available in your community. Call the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 to get your local number.
National Disability Rights Network: This is a nonprofit membership organization that provides legal assistance to people with disabilities through their Protection and Advocacy System and Client Assistance Program. If you or your husband is disabled, visit to find help in your state.
Other Options
If you can’t get help from one of these programs, or find that you aren’t eligible, another option is to contact your state or local bar association, which may be able to refer you to a low-fee lawyer. Or, you may want to consider hiring a lawyer for only part of the legal work and doing other parts yourself. This is known as unbundled legal services.
Many bar associations offer public service-oriented lawyer referral services that will interview clients and help identify the problems a lawyer could help them with. If a lawyer can help with your problem, the service will provide you with a referral to a lawyer. If the problem does not require a lawyer, the service will provide information on other organizations in your community that may be able to help. Most of these lawyer referral services conduct their interviews and make referrals over the phone.
To contact your state or local bar association, go to and type in “state and local bar associations” in the search field to find their state-by-state directory.
And finally, if you are an AARP member, one other discount resource that may be able to help you is AARP’s Legal Services Network from Allstate. This service provides members a free legal consultation (up to 45 minutes) with an attorney along with 20 percent discounts on other legal services you may need. To locate a lawyer near you, call 866-330-0753.

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



With a love for young children and a yearning to live in Vermont, Amy Wise arrived in Burlington in the spring of 1979 with a sleeping bag, a college degree and her welcoming smile. She quickly immersed herself in the community, and 35 years later, she leaves us a legacy of caring for Vermont’s children, its natural resources, and its many people less fortunate. Amy Warburton Wise, 58, died unexpectedly at her home in Williston on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. She was born Sept. 11, 1956, in Butler, Pa., the daughter of newspaper owner John Laing Wise Jr. and Eleanor (Green) Wise. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Family Studies at Ohio Wesleyan University in 1978, and a Master of Education from the University of Vermont in 1991. Amy was best known as a head teacher at Poker Hill School in Underhill from 1994 to 2012, inspiring and influencing more than 1,000 children, their families and her colleagues. She also taught at the JC Simon VNA Child Care Center, UVM Campus Children’s Center, Community College of Vermont, Burlington Technical Center, and Trinity College. Recently, she taught for the Vermont’s Start with the Arts and Vermont Humanities Council. She generously donated time and resources to the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, Lund Center, Green Mountain Club, Camel’s Hump Nordic Center, and many others, for which she earned a Vermont Governor’s Award for Outstanding Community Service in 2006. Her grandfather, University of Pennsylvania professor of Hispanic Language and Culture, Otis Howard Green, inspired Amy’s devotion to the outdoors and education. Friends recall her love of running, biking to work, kayaking, skiing and hiking. Amy explored the Vancouver Island West Coast Trail, Alaska, Galapagos Islands, Nepal, New Zealand, South and Central America and Europe. Amy enjoyed close friendships through a book group and 30-year monthly gourmet dining club. While she never held elected office, she was an engaged citizen in Williston government, politics and planning. She was predeceased by her father in 1996. She is survived by her mother; brother, John L. Wise III; and nephews, John Laing Wise IV, and Hunter Navta Wise, all of Butler, Pa; partner, Steve Jarrett of Williston, and children, Shay Gestal, Tom Jarrett, and Lily Jarrett. She will be greatly missed by many close friends, neighbors and other relatives. A celebration and memorial service will take place at the Billings Center at the University of Vermont on Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to Amy’s favorite charities: Poker Hill School Scholarship Fund; Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program; and Green Mountain Club

Charles T. Hill
Charles T. Hill, 93, of Williston died peacefully at home on Nov. 10, 2014. He was born in 1920 in Gilman, the son of Robert and Gertrude Hill.
In World War II, he was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Signal Corps. serving in New Guinea, the Philippines and Japan.
In 1946, he married Katherine P. Barrett in St. Johnsbury, and began driving for St. Johnsbury Trucking Company. Moving to North Haverhill, N.H. he drove for the First National Stores. Then they moved to No. Perry, Ohio where he worked at Industrial Rayon. In 1963 they moved to Williston and again he worked for St. Johnsbury Trucking, until retiring in 1985.
He enjoyed traveling and family outings, liked reading westerns and watching Red Sox games. He was a member of the Federated Church in Williston. At the time of Katherine’s death in 2012, they had been married for 66 years.
Survivors include his three children: Kathy Root, Rodney Hill and wife Priscilla, and Deborah Hill; two granddaughters: Abby Armell and husband Justin and their son Liam, and Emily Hill. He is also survived by one sister, a sister-in-law, three brothers-in-law, and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, three sisters, and two brothers.
A funeral service was held on Nov. 19, 2014 at the Sayles Funeral Home in St. Johnsbury, with the Rev. Jay Sprout officiating and with military honors. Burial will take place in the spring at the Grove Cemetery in East St. Johnsbury.
Donations made in his memory may be directed to the Visiting Nurse Association, 1110 Prim Road, Colchester, VT 05446.

HANDS reaches out to older adults on Christmas


Observer staff report
The free 10th Annual Holiday Dinner for Seniors will be held on Christmas Day from noon to 3 p.m. at the Elks Lodge at 925 North Ave. in Burlington.
In collaboration with the Burlington School Food Project, CVAA, Temple Sinai and the Elks Lodge, HANDS (Helping and Nurturing Diverse Seniors) will provide both a delivered meal and a sit-down dinner again this year on Christmas Day.
“We’re happy to be combining our efforts with the Elks Lodge again this year so we’ll have the sit-down buffet dinner there,” said HANDS Director Megan Humphrey. “We also know that some people would rather have a meal delivered to their home and we’ll provide that, too,” she said.
Last year, 300 meals and gift bags were delivered or served.
To reserve the free meal delivered to your home (either ham or vegetarian lasagna), call CVAA at 865-0360 by Dec. 18. After Dec. 18 or to reserve free transportation to the Elks Lodge, call Megan Humphrey at 864-7528 or email [email protected]
“We just couldn’t do this without the help of hundreds of people and many organizations,” said Humphrey.

For more information or to donate, visit

Nine from CVU gain field hockey honors


By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

The Division 1 runner-up Champlain Valley Union High field hockey team has nine members on Metro A league teams, with two making the Burlington Free Press All-State first team.
The All-State selections are forward Lily Schmoker and defender Kathryn Asch.
Midfielder Sami Harvey made All-State second team, while an honorable mention went to defender Katherine King.
Harvey, King and Schmoker were first team All-Metro as selected by coaches. Asch and forwards Kate Burke, Kate Machavern and Lydia Maitland are second team selections.
Goalie Tashia Pashby-Rockwood and defender Katherine Scotnicki were given honorable mentions.
Kathleen Young of Division champ Essex High was named Player of the Year, while her coach Heather Garrow is the Metro coach of the year.