July 31, 2015

PHOTOS: Building a rain barrel

Observer photos by Al Frey

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PHOTOS: Swimming championships

Observer photos by Al Frey

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The Champlain Valley Swimming League Championship was held on Friday and Saturday at the Essex town pool. Several Williston children swam for the Edge team, including Cam Cuttitta (TOP).

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What’s cooking? Tribute to zucchini

By Lucy McCullough

The zucchini is such a prolific green squash that man/woman has created numerous ways to eat it. Cookbooks probably exist that feature this vegetable alone. It can be eaten raw in a salad, spiralized and eaten as a pasta substitute, sauteed in garlic (delicious with lamb), steamed with onions and topped with butter, batter fried, grilled, baked in a casserole with cream cheese and bread crumbs, made into relish or fritters, baked in many variations of zucchini bread and, of course, the Chocolate Zucchini Cake.
The zucchini cake was introduced to us by our neighbor, Mike Davis, when he was working with us at the Catamount Tavern in the log cabin in the early ‘80s. He asked if it would be okay for him to bake his mother’s (Bev Thomas) cake recipe. It was a huge success and it has since been served at many of our family member’s birthdays and one son-in-law baked several for his wedding cake. It is very chocolaty and moist. The kids probably won’t even guess there is zucchini in it.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Cream together:
1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup oil, 1 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour milk* or buttermilk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2 eggs
Beat well.
2 1/2 cups flour, 8 tablespoons special dark unsweetened baking cocoa, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda.
Add the dry ingredients to the cream mixture. Beat well. Stir in 2 cups of grated zucchini. Pour into greased and floured 8×12-inch pan. Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes. Cool cake thoroughly before frosting.

Combine 3 ounce package of cream cheese, 1 stick of softened butter, 2 cups confectioners sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla
* For sour milk, add 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar to milk to equal 1/2 cup
Let’s eat!
Lucy McCullough and her husband, Jim, started Catamount Outdoor Family Center on the family farm in 1978 and have been operating Catamount’s B&B since 1996.


Albert Kupiec

Albert Kupiec

Albert John Kupiec, Jr., Williston, 84 passed away on Wednesday July 22, 2015 at Starr Farm Nursing Home in Burlington. Albert was born in Ludlow Vermont on September 7, 1930, the son of Albert John Kupiec, Sr. and Stephanie Wass. He had 8 siblings and was predeceased by Anthony, Mary, Theresa, Lynn, Stephanie and Caroline. He is survived by siblings; Cele Letourneau of Santa Maria California and Joan Garrow of Plattsburg NY.
Albert served as a Corporal in the Army during the Korean War July 10, 1952 to June 30, 1954. He was honorably discharged and went on to attend St. Michaels College.
He married Elizabeth Murray on July 24, 1954. They met at a bonfire on North Beach while she was attending Trinity College. Together they raised 4 children while living in Long Island New York and later moving to Williston, Vermont in 1966. He was predeceased by Elizabeth (Betty) on July 6, 1993.
Albert loved sports. In his early years he played basketball. He was a huge baseball fan and followed the Red Sox through thick and thin. Albert was instrumental in the early development of the Williston Little League and Champlain Valley Babe Ruth League, serving as a coach and league president from the late 1960’s through the mid 1970’s. He was well known in the community for these contributions.
Albert worked in accounting and business most of his life. In his later years he enjoyed his status as a Real Estate Broker and owning his own tax business in Essex Junction. Albert had a great sense of humor and loved to have a good time.
Albert is also survived by all of his children and grandchildren; his daughter Patricia Bouffard, her husband Paul and their children Lesley and Amanda. A daughter Mary Beth Giroux, her husband Bob and their children Derek (wife Stephanie), Aaron and Taylor. A son Timothy, his wife Pamela and their children Joshua and Evan. A daughter Stephanie Chicoine, her husband Marty and her children Justin, Morgan and Devon Ricker.
There will be no visiting hours. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday July 29, 2015 at 11 a.m. at Holy Family Church, Essex Jct., with Reverend Charles Ranges, S.S.E. Immediately following the mass there will be a reception for Albert at the VFW on Pearl Street, all are invited to attend. The family invites you to share your memories and condolences by visiting www.awrfh.com.

Elizabeth “Liz” (Allen) Swim passed with peace and grace on July 21, 2015, at the age of 77. Family and friends are comforted in knowing she is happily playing golf and sipping scotch in heaven. Liz was born on Oct. 17, 1937, in Manchester, N.H., to Christopher and Margaret Allen. Liz donated countless hours to local charities and organizations. Her career as salesperson led her to many wonderful clients that she considered friends. Although she had many golf victories, she always motivated others to play their best. She is survived by daughter, Heather Burfeind (Dave) of Ellensburg, Wash.; son, Michael Swim (Karmen) of Saint Albans; her four grandchildren, Christopher and Megan Burfeind and Nicholas and Amanda Swim; sister, Katherine Pfaff; along with four nieces and two nephews. She was preceded in death by her brother, Richard. The family would like to thank the radiation staff at Vermont Medical Center, especially Dr. Chris Ankers, Karen and Pasty. We would also like to extend our appreciation for the care and compassion given by the staff at Pillsbury North Senior Living Communities and Griswold Homecare. And, we are truly blessed to have had the skilled care and loving support of the Vermont Respite House staff and volunteers during Liz’s final days. Services will be held on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, at 11 a.m. at the Federation Church of Williston in Williston. Liz was an enthusiastic supporter and long-time board member of the Sara Holbrook Community Center. Her passion for the youth and the center’s services brought her much joy and satisfaction as she watched this organization achieve their goals to enhance the lives of youth. It is the wish of the family, that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Sara Holbrook Community Center, 66 North Ave., Burlington, VT 05401; or the Champlain Junior Golf Foundation, 581 St. Albans Rd., Swanton, VT 05488.

Police Notes

Heroin distribution
On July 10, police completed a two and a half month drug distribution investigation with the arrest of Carla Beatson, 26, of Burlington. She was cited on a charge of distribution of heroin and is currently incarcerated at the Chittenden County Correctional Center on other drug charges. No other information was released.

Multiple charges
On July 14, Emily L. Pouriot, 38, of Westford, was cited on charges of domestic assault, cruelty to a child under age 10 and disorderly conduct, according to police reports. The charges stem from an incident at a doctor’s office in Williston in which witnesses reported Pouriot assaulted her 2-year-old daughter by “squeezing her and throwing her to the ground and pinning her to the ground with her ankles up over her shoulders,” according to the report. The child was evaluated by rescue and was released to her father without treatment, the report notes.
On July 12, police received a complaint of a possible intoxicated driver. Officers were able to locate the vehicle and initiated a motor vehicle stop on Connor Way in Williston. It was determined that the driver, Robert Jameson, 56, of Williston was under the influence of alcohol, according to the report. He was subsequently taken into custody and cited on charges of driving under the influence-second offense-refusal and criminal driving under the influence-refusal. No other information was released. Multiple charges
Morgan A. Kenyon, 29, of Essex Junction was cited on a charge of driving under the influence-second offense on July 19, according to police reports. Her blood alcohol concentration was .224 according to a field sobriety test, the report notes. The legal limit for driving in Vermont is .08. Police noted there was a child in the vehicle with her and she was also cited on a charge of reckless endangerment of a child the report notes. She was cited to appear in court.
Shawn Laplant, 27, of Hinesburg was cited on charges of burglary and aggravated domestic assault after forcibly entering a Williston residence on July 23, according to police reports. Laplant was taken into custody at his residence and subsequently lodged at the Chittenden County correctional facility. No other information was released.

A wallet was reported stolen from a locker at The Edge Williston on July 17, according to police reports. Police are investigating.
Sports equipment was reported stolen from an unlocked vehicle parked on Lawnwood Drive on July 18, according to police reports. Police are investigating

Drug paraphernalia
After noticing a vehicle parked in a corner of Rossignol Park on July 18, police approached the vehicle and subsequently confiscated “drug paraphernalia,” according to police reports. No other information was released.
Driving with suspended license
Joel Fausett, 26, of Stowe was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on July 14, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.
Corey W. Nulty, 32, of St. George was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on July 14, according to police reports. He was cited to appear in court.
Michael Beach, 29, of Colchester was cited on a charge of driving with a suspended license on July 17, according to police reports. He was lodged at Chittenden County correctional facility on two warrants and cited to appear in court on Aug. 11, the report notes.
Police notes are written based on information provided by the Williston Police Department and the Vermont State Police. Please note that all parties are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Financial aid for older adults going back to school

By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,
Are there any financial aid resources you can recommend to baby boomers who are interested in going back to school? I’ve been thinking about taking some classes at a nearby college, and wanted to check into financial aid opportunities first.
Looking For Aid

Dear Looking,
If you know where to look, there’s quite a bit of financial assistance out there that can help working baby boomers and retirees go back to school. Here are some steps to take that can help you find it.
Fill out the FAFSA form: A good place to start is by filling out the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA). This will help you learn about grants, federal student loans (which are a better option than private student loans), even work-study jobs. But, be aware that for most types of federal financial aid you will need to be enrolled at least half time in a degree or academic program to be eligible. To learn more or to fill out an application online, visit fafsa.gov. Or call 800-433-3243 and request a paper FAFSA.
Search for scholarships: While most scholarships are aimed at traditional undergraduates, there are a number of national and local scholarships offered specifically to older, non-traditional students. To find them try fastweb.com and scholarships.com. Both sites will prompt you to enter your birth date to find ones that are age appropriate.
Contact financial aid office: Call the financial aid office at the college or university that you plan to attend to see if they offer any other financial aid options you may be eligible for. Also, find out if they offer any special tuition waivers or discounts for students over age 50. Many community colleges and some four-year colleges offer discounted tuition rates and  many allow older students to audit courses for free.
Seek a tax break: Uncle Sam may also be able to help you with a tax credit, like the annual $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit, or the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit, which is worth up to $2,000 per year. Or, if you’re not eligible for the tax credits, the government also provides tuition and fees deductions for students that can cover up to $4,000 in expenses.
To learn more, visit the IRS’s Tax Benefits for Education Information Center at irs.gov – type in “tax benefits for education” in the search bar to find it. Or call 800-829-3676 and request a copy of IRS Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education (irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf).
Open a 529 account: If you don’t plan to go back to school right away, you should consider opening up a 529 college-savings plan for yourself (see savingforcollege.com). Available in every state, 529s allow you to save money for college tax-free. And in many states you can even deduct part or all of your contribution on your state tax return.
Sign up for a free or low cost MOOC: That’s the acronym for the popular “Massively Open Online Courses,” which offers thousands of certificate and no-certificate courses by the best universities around the world. MOOCs offer free or cheap ways to learn from their instructors anytime, anywhere. See mooc-list.com to search for courses.
Consider lifelong learning: If you’re interested in taking classes just for fun, consider Lifelong Learning Institutes (LLIs). These are noncredit educational programs designed for retirees that involve no tests or grades, just learning for the pure joy of it.
Usually affiliated with colleges and universities, LLIs offer a wide array of courses in such areas as literature, history, religion, philosophy, science, art and architecture, finance, computers and more.
To find an LLI, call your closest college or search the websites of the two organizations that support and facilitate them—Osher (osher.net) and Road Scholar (roadscholar.org/ein/intro.asp). Together they support around 500 LLI programs nationwide. Contact the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Vermont at 656-2085.
Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Vt. aclu threatens to sue over school spending cap

By Anne Galloway
For Vermont Digger

The Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is threatening to sue the state over a variable cap on school spending that was enacted in the last legislative session. The nonprofit group is actively seeking plaintiffs for a lawsuit against the state.
Allen Gilbert, executive director of the Vermont ACLU, told a state education panel on Friday that he believes the limit on education spending is unconstitutional.
Gilbert says Act 46, the new school district merger law, which features an adjustable limit on how much a school can spend over the next two years, “violates the equity provision” of the Brigham decision and the Vermont Constitution.
“We will be following how Act 46 is implemented, and what happens with school budgets,” Gilbert told the members of the Vermont State Board of Education on Friday. “We put out the word that we will entertain the requests of any school districts who want to be represented.”

Click here to read the full story

Essex (with CVUers) bows out of American Legion tourney

It began with two straight victories, but the Essex American Legion baseball team’s charge at the state title went awry Sunday with a loss to Hartford in a suspended game and then a 13-12 nudging in 10 innings by eventual champion Colchester in the double elimination tournament at Castleton University.
Some six Champlain Valley Union High players were on the Essex combine which won Thursday and Friday (5-0 over Brattleboro) before the Saturday and Sunday trials.
Hayden Smith, a 2014 CVU graduate, took bat in hand and connected for three hits while driving home four runs in the finale against Colchester.
Other Redhawks on the Essex nine included Deagan Poland, Sam Mikell, Henry Provost, Tanner Smith and Chris O’Brien.

—Mal Boright, Observer correspondent

Summer camps highlights

By Todd Goodwin

Summer camps are wrapping up for the 2015 season, but there are a couple of camps the week of Aug. 3-7—Harry Potter Camp and Garden Camp. The day camps still have spaces available and registration is accepted up to the Friday prior. Weeks left for the day camps are Aug. 3 and Aug. 10. Visit the Recreation and Parks website, www.willistonrec.org, to check out the camps and to register.

Saratoga Racetrack
Thursday, Aug. 13, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. $77 per person. Ages 50-plus. Join us and other area Recreation Departments for an exciting day at the racetrack. We will board a Premier Coach Bus for the journey to New York, stopping for lunch at Maestro’s in the heart of Saratoga Springs before making our way to the historic racetrack with reserved seating and program at the track. Come meet new people and enjoy a day at the track.

Fall/Winter Program Guide
The Recreation Department’s Fall/Winter Program Guide is coming. It will be an insert in the Aug. 6 edition of the Observer. It will contain programs for all ages for September through January. Registration will begin for all programs in the guide on Friday, Aug. 7. All registrations now require a household account and registration through www.willistonrec.org. You have the option to pay online with a credit card or offline with a check or cash.

Fall Rec Soccer
You haven’t missed it! The Fall Recreational Soccer registration will open Friday, Aug. 7 on the recreation department website. There will be programs for 3-5 year olds, Kindergarten and Grades 1-8. The season will begin in early September. Parents and volunteers are needed for coaching. If you will have a child in the program this fall and you are interested in coaching, please sign up when you register your child. If not, please contact us at the Rec office about volunteering your time as a coach this fall

Great Escape Tickets
Discount amusement park tickets and parking passes are available for the Great Escape at the Clerk’s Office in the Williston Town Hall. Park tickets are $37 each, a 30 percent savings. Parking passes are $16 each, $20 at the gate. Tickets can be purchased Monday- Friday, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Six Flags New England and Bromley discounts tickets are also available online for purchase. Visit the website for discount information.
To learn more about the Williston Recreation and Parks Department, visit www.willistonrec.org or email [email protected]

Moving Vermont forward

By Jim Douglas
Moving Vermont’s economy forward requires investments in both innovation and infrastructure.
There’s no shortage of innovation in Vermont—we’re fortunate to have legacy industries and cutting edge entrepreneurs eager to contribute to our economy and provide good jobs. It’s not easy for them, however. Costs are higher here than in many other places. And too many areas of our state lack critical energy and telecommunications infrastructure necessary to compete in the 21st century economy.
Many of the challenges our employers face also exacerbate the trials of working families. As the cost of living in Vermont continues to rise, Vermonters in the middle struggle to keep pace.
It’s a policy-driven economic cycle—not a temporary trend—that we must break. You can see its impacts in anemic state tax revenue, employment and income data, the decline in our student population and the growing number of working age Vermonters leaving our beautiful, peaceful state to pursue opportunities elsewhere.
Thankfully, though the hurdles are high, the solutions are well within our reach. As I’ve frequently noted, there is no challenge we cannot meet if we work together.
We should start by focusing on the fundamentals of economic growth like infrastructure. And we must insist that the voice of the majority is heard, not drowned out by a small faction willing to yell louder, or behave poorly, just to make their point.
The proposed expansion of natural gas service is a good example. This project will bring new infrastructure to communities in Addison County along with the benefits of natural gas, which is substantially cleaner than heating oil or propane.
Reducing emissions from heating homes and businesses will make our air cleaner. It also moves us closer to realizing our carbon reduction goals set when, during my administration, Vermont became the first state to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and subsequently enhanced in the state’s comprehensive energy plan.
Speaking of green, natural gas is more affordable than alternatives. Bringing natural gas to more communities will allow them to save money. For families, those savings can be as much as $2,000 per year or more depending on the type of fuel they are using today. Businesses, municipalities, hospitals and colleges all save, too. The farmers of Agrimark, for example, expect to save more than $1 million a year when they have access to the pipeline.
And these are only some of the benefits. Testimony from one of Vermont’s most respected economists indicates that extending the choice of natural gas to communities between Chittenden County’s existing system and Middlebury will generate more than $70 million in economic benefit over the next 20 years. This is millions of dollars in energy savings, property taxes and construction employment. The same analysis shows the benefits growing to $191 million over 35 years.
It’s a smart investment. The appeal of a cleaner, more affordable heating source for businesses looking to grow and relocate and the appeal to families looking for a place to live, work and raise their children are important considerations.
Put another way, the range of energy choices in Chittenden and Franklin Counties—where they’ve been expanding the natural gas system for nearly 50 years—is one reason that area enjoys more economic stability and growth than other parts of Vermont. Expanding proven economic infrastructure to other areas of Vermont helps to equalize economic opportunity. The Northwest part of our state enjoys a substantial competitive advantage—and it shows.
Vermont Gas has reset its approach to the management of this important project. Let’s not forget this is a Vermont-run company that employs many hardworking Vermonters in good-paying jobs and has provided decades of great service to dozens of communities. Though the company made mistakes, they’ve owned up to them and made changes to ensure they don’t happen again.
Vermont needs to make a similar change. As a state we should focus more on the merits of a project than its politics. While every proposal requires rigorous review, we need to get serious about improving our economy.
Economic infrastructure is essential to a thriving, innovative economy that moves Vermont forward. And moving forward is the only alternative to continuing to fall behind.

Jim Douglas is a former four-term governor of Vermont and currently an executive in residence at Middlebury College.