December 2, 2015

Letters to the Editor

Thank you for your generosity
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the most generous Williston community for its response to Saturday’s Turkey Day at the Williston Community Food Shelf. You donated 276 turkeys, many carts full of “fixins” and $1,425 in gift cards. Because of your generosity, the Williston Community Food Shelf has given a turkey to every client who wanted one for Thanksgiving, and we will be able to give every client a turkey for Christmas as well. [Read more…]

GUEST COLUMN: Our enemy is ISIS, not refugees fleeing ISIS

By Patrick Leahy
Last Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to make it almost impossible for people from Syria and Iraq, fleeing the brutality of ISIS and Bashar al-Assad, to find refuge in the United States. It is worth reflecting on what this means for our country.
Just a few weeks ago the world came together, stunned and heartbroken over the image of a three-year-old Syrian child’s lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach. His tragic death focused our attention on the desperate plight of so many Syrians who have fled the horror of ISIS and Assad’s army. We called it the humanitarian issue of our day. We called forth images of the Statue of Liberty and our proud history as a safe haven for those fleeing persecution and war.
Just days later, we hear calls to slam the door. To shut down our borders. To ignore that great symbol of refuge standing in New York Harbor. [Read more…]

Harvesting Happiness one meal at a time

Three Guatemalan women wait for lunch to be served at the Harvesting Happiness feeding program. Keller said the ladies are some of the regulars. (Observer courtesy photo)

Three Guatemalan women wait for lunch to be served at the Harvesting Happiness feeding program. Keller said the ladies are some of the regulars. (Observer courtesy photo)

By Karen Sturtevant
Observer correspondent
Full-time college student and part-time worker, Emily Keller has more on her mind than your typical millennial. While sitting in bio-chemistry class, it’s not unusual for the Williston native to receive an emergency text sent from 3,400 miles away in Central America, asking for guidance on the crisis of the day. Keller’s organization, Cosechando Felicidad (Harvesting Happiness), works with the people of Santa Maria de Jesús in Guatemala, providing food, resources and hope for a better life. She co-founded the organization with her friend Brennan McMillen in June. [Read more…]

Keeping holiday commerce local

Some stores, like Gardener’s Supply Co. in Williston, compete with online retailers by creating rich visual displays to wow customers. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

Some stores, like Gardener’s Supply Co. in Williston, compete with online retailers by creating rich visual displays to wow customers. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

Vt. stores battle online retailers for business

By Greg Elias
Observer correspondent
As the holidays approach, Vermont’s small retailers decorate their stores, stock inventory and bolster staffing, bracing for a few weeks that can determine the entire year’s profitability.
In the past, small stores competed with each other for shoppers’ dollars. These days, the fiercest foe can be a website instead of the store down the street. [Read more…]

HEALTHY FOOD FR TWO: Cleansing after the holiday feast

By Ania Robertson
This simple, and quick-cooking soup is excellent after the “overeating” that we all experience during holiday seasons.
Asparagus contains a lot of fabulous nutrients such as folate, chromium and vitamins A, C, E and K. Furthermore, it is a particularly rich source of glutathione, a detoxifying compound that helps break down carcinogens and other harmful compounds like free radicals. This is why eating asparagus may help protect against and fight certain forms of cancer, such as bone, breast, colon, larynx and lung cancers. [Read more…]

SAVVY SENIOR: Senior-friendly furniture aids

By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,
I am interested in purchasing a recliner that lifts and lowers off the ground, or some other type of senior-friendly furniture that can help my elderly father. He’s arthritic and overweight and struggles mightily with getting up from most of the cushioned furniture in the house. What can you recommend?
—Need a Boost

Dear Need,
The task of sitting down and/or getting up from soft cushioned furniture is a problem for many seniors who struggle with excessive weight, arthritis or other mobility issues. Here are some different product solutions that can help. [Read more…]

Volunteer Opportunities

Choose one of the options below or go to to check out more than 300 other volunteer options from local nonprofits, schools and public partners, or call United Way at 860-1677.
A number of agencies provide holiday gifts for those who might otherwise go without and need volunteers to donate these much appreciated items. This is a great holiday activity for families, workplaces, clubs and other groups: [Read more…]


Keeps the Bond Spirit Alive

3 & ½ popcorns

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer


Director Sam Mendes’s “Spectre,” the twenty-fourth James Bond film produced by Eon Productions, is a snazzy, action-filled hoot…a nearly $300 million extravaganza that pays dutiful homage to the franchise’s past while passionately bringing 007 into the techno-charged present. It is a grand synthesis of all things Bond…a blend of man, machine and moral heroism again sublimely evinced by Daniel Craig.


Perhaps a tad more anticipatory than the two teen-aged boys to my right, I was there not just to be entertained, but to see that right was done by my man…the secret agent every guy wants to be, and every woman wishes to be romanced by, or so I’m told. I mean, I was there for “Goldfinger” (1964), man. Thus I was gratified when the absorbing excitement quelled the kids’ chatter and brought them into the fold. The baton successfully passed, our future is safe.


Gosh knows there’s always work to be done, what with evildoers forever popping up all over the planet, determined to strip us of our inalienable rights. In this particular go-round, Max Denbigh, a.k.a. C, head of Joint Intelligence, seeks to close down the 00 program and merge everything into “Nine Eyes,” an international information sharing hub. You know: Big Brother. It’s a metaphor for what threatens our sovereignty and ails us in the pocket, and as scary an example of outsourcing as our poor, travel-weary chickens going back and forth to China for processing.


But don’t worry, at least not too much, for our James is on the case, even if he’s once again under strict orders by the new M (Ralph Fiennes) to stay put, stop leaving an expensive trail of destruction behind him and quit meddling in world threats his sixth sense perennially foresees. Alas, 007 knows the drill. But first things first, the methodic separating of the good ladies from the treacherous ones. Someone’s got to do it. That accomplished, the noble mission is afoot.

Added to the familiar template of deceit, corruption and derring-do, there’s a personal tie-in. For me to know and you to figure out, supervillain Ernst Blofeld, architect of the global crime syndicate, Spectre, and James have history. Never mind that the malevolent archenemy diverges significantly from previous appearances. Portrayed with notable aplomb by Christoph Waltz, he is the distilled essence of evil, an unfathomable scourge who, if he went to college, doubtless majored in making people’s skin crawl. Put him on the short list of great Bond adversaries.


All these elements, spread across the travelogue-like landscape that is 007’s playground make for an opulent eyeful. But our interest stretches beyond adventure and the mere saving of humanity. You see, while he’s our hero, Daniel Craig’s James is more than ever an enigma wrapped in a paradox. Surely slaying bad guys simply can’t be enough for a man. It’d please our vicarious sense to know he’s found fulfillment in something other than his license to kill.


Okay, so he’s not Sean Connery. Well, I’ll confide I’m still uncertain whether Taffy, the perfectly black-eyed mutt of my childhood, or Muffin, the family’s Yorkie of recent years, was my favorite dog. Both were great. But it’s time we moved on and, truth be told, while Connery’s good looks and élan set the tone, orthodox Bond aficionados will tell you that Mr. Craig more correctly embodies the cloak-and-dagger fellow Ian Fleming conceived. Possessing a rugged handsomeness, he’s a bit angry and, per the script here, we get a peek into why that is.


Christoph Waltz’s villain extraordinaire, in one of those self-justifying soliloquies the classic bad guys inevitably feel a need to deliver, explains his utter loathing for the storied champion of democracy. That the devil-may-care cause of Blofeld’s long-brewing ire couldn’t give a darn about his hateful obsession only angers the bum more. There’ll be no mercy. So, it’s somewhat heartening to know that, in traditional Bond fashion, there’ll be a pretty love interest to help James through some of the more difficult patches.


She is Dr. Madeleine Swann, sweetly evoked by Léa Seydoux. Granted, she’s the daughter of a former enemy. Still, one imagines that James’s mom, may she rest in peace, would be happy to know that her son was seeing a nice doctor. It also doesn’t hurt that the psychologist is a quick study when it comes to learning weaponry and other things that help a fellow plying a hazardous occupation.


Equally stellar supporting players extend across the thespic spectrum, from Ralph Fiennes as the steadfast M, to Ben Whisaw as the appropriately quirky Q, to Naomie Harris’s ever-loyal Eve Moneypenny, and right down to Dave Bautista as Blofeld’s chief goon enforcer, Mr. Hinx. The gang’s all here and in fine fettle, fully credentialed to grant “Spectre” its license to entertain.

“Spectre,” rated PG-13, is a Columbia Pictures release directed by Sam Mendes and stars Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz and Léa Seydoux. Running time: 148 minutes




How to guard against deadly aortic aneurysms

By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,

My father died several years ago, at the age of 76, from a stomach aneurysm, which now has me wondering. What are my risk factors of getting this, and what can I do to protect myself, as I get older?

—Just Turned 60

Dear 60,

Stomach aneurysms, also known as “abdominal aortic aneurysms,” are very dangerous and the third leading cause of death in men over 60. They also tend to run in families, so having had a parent with this condition makes you much more vulnerable yourself. [Read more…]

What’s Cooking?

By Lucy McCullough

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. The turkey is the guest of honor and every family has their own traditions. We choose a fresh, organic turkey that is not only healthier, but tastes so much better than the commercially grown and processed birds. Our family looks forward to the leftovers in turkey sandwiches. Turkey pie is almost always on the menu in the following days. The question of whether I should call this a turkey potpie or if it is indeed a turkey pie came to me recently. While some think if it has only a top crust, it is a potpie but if it has a top and bottom crust it is considered a pie. Upon Googling this, I found many differing opinions, but came to the conclusion it can be called either. Since this recipe has a bottom crust and a lattice top crust, I will call it a turkey dinner pie.

Turkey Dinner Pie (6 servings)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.


Two crust pie pastry

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 to 2 small celery ribs cut crosswise 1/4-inch thick

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon thyme

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup light cream or half-and-half

1 to 2 tablespoons sherry (optional)

2 cups cubed cooked turkey

1 package of frozen peas and carrots, cooked and drained

In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and celery; cook until tender. Transfer to a large bowl along with the turkey; set aside. Heat butter over low heat. Blend in flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in chicken broth and cream. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly for 1 minute until thickened. Remove from heat and add sherry (if desired). Stir in turkey and vegetables. Pour into pastry-lined pie plate. Place lattice type-top (see below). Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until browned.

For lattice top: Trim bottom crust just beyond rim. Cut top crust into strips 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch wide, by 12 inches long. Lay strips at 1-inch intervals. Fold back alternate strips to weave strips over and under. Trim and crimp crust.

“Let’s Eat!”

Lucy McCullough and her husband, Jim, started Catamount Outdoor Family Center on the family farm in 1978.