January 28, 2015

Tough BFA to test CVU girls hoop five Thursday at home


By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent
Tuesday night’s 50-30 triumph over St. Johnsbury Academy in the northeaster corner of the state got the Champlain Valley Union High girls basketball team safely past their second serious road challenge in four days.
Now the defending Division 1 champions return to the home court for another challenge: Thursday night’s invasion by the 12-1 Comets from Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans.
The 12-0 Redhawks (now with 59 straight victories) scored a 46-29 thumbs-upper over BFA at St. Albans in late December. But that was then and this is now.
BFA bumped off visiting Burlington High 48-42 Tuesday
CVU, in popping the usually difficult Hilltoppers (3-10), got 16 points from center Laurel Jaunich, while guards Sadie Otley and Caitlin Grasso flipped in 11 and nine respectively. Otley also collected six steals and passed for five assists.
The double road test for the Redhawks began Saturday afternoon at Burlington High, from where they emerged with a 48-39 win after a never being quite able to keep the Seahorses down.
Burlington, 5-8 for the season following its Tuesday loss, presented a challenge in the exceptional heights of its frontcourt people.
“They are one of the tallest teams in the state,” said CVU coach Ute Otley of the Seahorses after the Redhawks’ nine-point victory. CVU had led by as many as 16 (47-31) in the final reel.
Despite the advantage in height of its starting front line, Burlington still lost the glass-grabbing battle to CVU 25-24 as the Hawks took over in the second half.
Leading 22-16 at intermission, the Redhawks went to an enhanced offense that opened Jaunich under the basket. The Hawks hit seven of 11 third quarter shots. Jaunich sank four-for-four in the period and eight-for-eight in the second half, all of her buckets, and was the game’s high point person with 22.
Otley was one of the outside agitators (from BHS point of view) with 12 points including a pair of treys, six assists, four rebounds and two steals. Her backcourt partner in mischief, Grasso, hit for seven points, passed off for five helpers and copped two steals.
The Seahorses may have been taller, but that did not bother CVU’s Rejection Brigade as Jaunich blocked seven BHS shots and Annabella Pugliese knocked away six to go with her team-leading six rebounds.
Not to let the bigs have all the fun, backcourter Otley also blocked a shot to become a member of the Blocksters.
A prime BHS troublemaker was senior guard Ahla Medic who unloaded four three-point blasts from City Center, which kept the Seahorses hanging around for much of the game. She finished with 16 points on five of 10 shooting.
Burlington for the game was limited to 13 cord snappers in 35 attempts and was stymied by 18 turnovers. CVU, after going 12 for 20 in the second half, was 19 of 44 for the game with 14 turnovers.
The junior varsity hiked its record to 8-2 with a 54-37 triumph in the prelim.

On to St. Johnsbury for 5-6 CVU boys quintet


By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent
A second opportunity to finally reach the .500 mark is at hand for the 5-6 Champlain Valley Union High boys’ basketball team when it travels to St. Johnsbury Academy Friday night to tangle with the 3-6 (entering this week) Hilltoppers.
St. Johnsbury, beset by injuries, has had a slow start, but CVU coach Michael Osborne expects the Toppers to be at full strength Friday.
The Redhawks then return to their home Bremner Gymnasium Tuesday to greet Colchester High (2-9). The Redhawks popped the Lakers 45-41 two weeks ago in Colchester.
Tuesday night, at the friendly Hinesburg House of Hoopery, the Redhawks never trailed in their 65-55 victory over visiting 8-3 North Country Union High. On the other hand, CVU never felt comfortable, despite a 20-point third quarter lead from which the Falcons (yes, a flapping of feathery friends) recovered to get within seven points midway through the final period.
CVU bagged nine-of-10 free throws in the closing eight minutes to attach the W to the evening.
Senior co-captain Chris Reiss was the primary Falcon tamer with 22 points including seven out of nine hit from the free throw line as he drew fouls (and bruises) with quick and hard drives to the basket. Reiss also chipped in three assists, four steals and five rebounds for one of those nifty potpourri evenings.
Eight CVU players scored and 12 collected rebounds as Osborne went to his bench early and often. The reserves produced 15 points for the victors.
Off the bench with nine points was muscular Sam Lewis, who bucketed all four of his tries from out of the elbows under the basket.
Junior guard and co-captain Jed Morris had three assists and drained seven points. Nick Lynn and Drew Fisher also netted seven tallies.
Senior Richard Baccei, back in action after sitting out several weeks with an injury, played limited time but twined a three-point bomb in the second quarter in his four-point total and captured three fourth quarter rebounds.
A problem early for CVU was North Country’s dashing, slashing and long range firing Matt Duncan, who rallied the Falcons from an early 10-1 hole with nine first quarter points that helped the visitors close to within 14-13.
They never got closer, and the Redhawks limited Duncan to six points the rest of the way for his team-high 15.
The Redhawks were sizzling from the floor, nailing 22 of 39 shots for 56 percent. They were limited in field goal tries thanks to 19 turnovers. North Country was 22 for 57 with 13 turnovers.
The jayvee affair was a thriller between unbeaten teams. CVU trailed by nine points early in the final period, but came back to tie, only to have the Little Falcons hit a driving layup to win 53-51 at the final buzzer. CVU is now 10-1.

CVU gymnasts at Harwood Union Wednesday

CVU gymnasts bowed to an always-strong Essex High team on Friday at Green Mountain Gymnastics. (Observer photos by Al Frey)

CVU gymnasts bowed to an always-strong Essex High team on Friday at Green Mountain Gymnastics. (Observer photos by Al Frey)

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Come Wednesday and the Champlain Valley Union High gymnastics team will be en route to Duxbury and Harwood Union High for a meet with the Highlanders.
CVU will be looking to get back on the victory side of the ledger in the wake of last Friday’s 142.40 to 135.65 loss to many times defending state champion Essex High in their annual regular season meet at Green Mountain Gymnastics.
The Redhawks’ top performers were: Jessie Johnson, second on the vault; Jackie Casson, tied for second on the balance beam; and Emma Lieberman, tied for second in floor exercise.
Lieberman’s 9.2 score in floor exercise was just one-tenths of a point off winner Kylie Svarczkopf’s 9.3. The Essex veteran also captured the all-around title.

Tide’s in for boys hockey team Saturday

Senior forward Cam Rivard lines up a move toward the goal during Saturday’s game against undefeated Essex High. The Redhawks lost 2-1. (Observer photo by Al Frey)

Senior forward Cam Rivard lines up a move toward the goal during Saturday’s game against undefeated Essex High. The Redhawks lost 2-1. (Observer photo by Al Frey)

By  Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

The Champlain Valley Union High boys hockey team returns to Cairns Arena Saturday (6:10 p.m.) to take on the Crimson Tide of Spaulding High.
The Redhawks hit the road for Colchester High at Burlington’s Leddy Park Wednesday (Observer press time) to test the Lakers, a team they handled 3-0 in the Beech Tournament at Leddy at the start of the season.
CVU took a 5-5-1 record into the Wednesday game, having bowed at home Saturday to undefeated Essex High, 2-1. The Hornets came away with a 10-0-2 mark.
Veteran Kaleb Godbout scored the lone goal for CVU in the first period and the Hornets’ Jeremy LeClair snapped a 1-all tie in the second period with the final reel scoreless.
Saves by the goalies were nearly even as CVU’s Greg Talbert made 22 stops and Essex’s Erik Short had 23.



Dorothy, “Dot,” “Dottie,” Lois (Wellwood) Peden Howe, 86, of Whitney Hill Homestead in Williston, died on Jan. 16, 2015, surrounded by her family following a long illness. She was born on Aug. 13, 1928, in Worcester, Mass., the daughter of Joseph Russell and Susan Leona Wellwood. She was a graduate of Commerce High School, Class of 1946. Dot came from the age of lifelong work. She started out helping to roast coffee at her grandfather’s shop when she was 15, and continued with post WW2 start-up banks in Massachusetts. After moving with her family to Vermont in 1969, she worked as the Champlain College Registrar. Later, she worked at Penn Mutual for many years, retiring from there. Working was part of who she was, so she continued her work career until the age of 81, as the office manager at HomeShare Vermont. She loved work, never considering retirement an option. Dot loved her Grampa and Grammy Millett having grown up with them and they were in her thoughts until the very end of her life. She loved family gatherings, large and small, and was always the first to organize, cook and to wash the dishes. Dot also took any opportunity to visit the ocean and sit by the water, taking in its smells and sounds. Visits to her brother on Cape Cod often included beach excursions. Over her life, she mastered numerous crafts from stenciling to knitting to sewing – and she frequented many craft fairs. As often as she could, she traveled in the northeastern U.S., and even made trips to the British Isles, a place of fascination for her. Dot was also a gamer, loving to play scrabble and cribbage, taking on challengers any time and any age. She was known by many names including Dot, Dottie, Mum, Grammy, Neemie, Mimi and Miss Dorothy and she happily answered to them all. She unconditionally loved her family and she was their heart. She was famous in the family for making the best cranberry bread in the world, for her ever-welcoming smile, and for being the best mom and grandmother. She is survived by her brother, David Wellwood and wife, Elaine, of Yarmouthport, Mass.; daughter, Kerry (Peden) Cassone and husband, Dominick, of Northborough, Mass.; son, Keith Peden and wife, Patti Spear, of Jericho Center; four grandchildren, Sarah Nieman-Albrycht and partner, Barbara Nieman, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Benjamin Leopold and wife, Shana, of Farmington, Conn., Ryan Peden-Spear and Ceilidh Peden-Spear, of Jericho Center; two great- grandchildren, Madelyne Albrycht and Eva Leopold; dear childhood friends, Audrey Brown and Shirley Carter, of Worcester; and several cousins, nephews and nieces. She was predeceased by her parents; sister, Gail Boucher of Worcester, Mass.; first husband, the Rev. James Peden; and second husband, Laurence Howe. The family extends a special thank you to the many friends and family who visited Dot at home and at the Burlington Health and Rehab. They would also like to thank the staff at the Rehab for their support during her stay there. The family especially thanks her companions, Donna, Caroline, Victoria and Mary Kate, who provided her company when her family couldn’t always be with her in the last months of her life. A family and friends celebration of Dot’s life will be held on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, 12 p.m., at the Whitney Hill Homestead (Community Room), Williston. Parking is available on the hill and in the cul de sac. Arrangements are in the care of the Cremation Society of Chittenden Country, a division of the Ready Family, Burlington. To send condolences, please visit www. cremationsocietycc.com. In lieu of flowers, donations in her name can be made to HomeShare Vermont at www.home sharevermont.org/ donate-2/.

Letter to the Editor


Dog options survey
There is a survey circulating to explore a variety of recreation options for dogs and their owners to exercise canine friends off-leash without disturbing others. Possible options to consider include specific off-leash hours, certain paths, a dog park. Please add your voice by going to http://goo.gl/forms/v0OplAL2cG
As society migrates to stricter leash laws, we must keep in mind that dogs are not designed to be sedentary. Lying around and going for a walk just a couple times a day is neither healthy nor fun for most dogs, especially young dogs and high-energy dogs. A small dog can run around the house to exercise, but what about the larger dogs? I personally would like to see options for canine exercise beyond walking. Dogs get the opportunity to be dogs off-leash. They can be more natural and comfortable socializing with other dogs… exploring and playing. Retrievers get joy from retrieving. Dog training is augmented outdoors. I understand and appreciate that there are people who need/want to walk feeling safe that a dog won’t knock them over, but I also understand and appreciate responsible dog owners that want to continue walking/running/playing with their dog off-leash. I think designated hours for allowing dogs off-leash is the win-win situation. A dog park is expensive to create and maintain, but another good option to consider. I encourage exploring options in consideration of all.
— Sharon Gutwin

Seasoned candidates, newcomers throw hats in ring for town elections


By Matt Sutkoski
Observer correspondent
By Monday’s filing deadline, it will be clear who is running for which positions on the Williston Selectboard and School Board.
But there is already some confirmation, since incumbents on some of Williston’s boards and commissions have announced their intentions for Town Meeting Day 2015.
Other candidates have already turned in petitions announcing their candidacy, or are gathering signatures.
Selectboard Chairman and mainstay Terry Macaig says he’s running for another three-year term on the panel. He said his continued goal is to keep the municipal tax rate, as compared to other towns in the region, as low as possible. He said right now, the tax rate is the second lowest in the region, after Charlotte.
Jeff Fehrs, another longtime member of the Selectboard, said he is running for re-election, seeking another two-year term. He has been on the Selectboard for 15 years.
Fehrs said there is no one particular issue that is tops on his radar screen regarding big issues facing the town.
“The town is in a good place in terms of our ordinances and town plan,” he said.
Fehrs said he will watch carefully how Williston’s new stormwater enterprise fund is working, and he is concerned that road improvement plans instigated after the Shumlin administration pulled the plug on the Circ Highway do not seem to be moving forward yet.
Another member of the board, Jay Michaud, has resigned and moved to North Carolina.
The remaining year in his term will have to be filled by a candidate, said Town Clerk Deborah Beckett.
Williston attorney Joy Karnes Limoge said she is seeking to fill Michaud’s seat on the Selectboard.
“I just dropped off my petition this morning,” she said Tuesday.
Limoge said she was inspired to run because she thinks it is important to have a local business person on the board “who cares about what’s going on in Williston and what’s going on in the community.”
Anthony O’Rourke, another new face on the town’s political scene, has confirmed he is seeking a two-year term on the board.
“My decision to run was primarily based on a community-wide sentiment that costs in the town of Williston need to be controlled,” he said. “It is imperative that every dollar of spending be reviewed and discussed in light of its value, need and financial impact on the taxpayers of Williston. My goal is to be a voice for those that have a concern or suggestion.”
Another Selectboard contender, who cited the town’s fiscal health as a main reason for his candidacy, is Ted Kenney, who told the Observer of his intent to run on Wednesday morning.
“I am concerned about sustainability of the town budget. The Selectboard has done a good job in the last few years controlling costs, but the long-term issues the town faces still need to be addressed. I have a lot of experience as a former Selectboard member, former School Board member and former member of the town Planning Commission, and I would like to serve.”
Deborah Baker-Moody, whose three-year term on the Williston School Board is expiring, will not be seeking re-election. “I put in nine years on the board. It’s been a good run, but I should turn it over to someone else,” she said.
Another incumbent, Kevin Mara, said he would seek re-election for another two-year term on the Williston School Board.
He said he wants to continue working to establish responsible school spending plans. Mara said he has been on the school board for the past five years.
On the Champlain Valley Union High School Board, Jonathan Milne, whose three-year term will expire in March, will not seek re-election. He was out of town and unavailable for comment, but his wife told the Observer her husband has decided not to run to spend more time with his family.
CVU Board member Gene McCue could not be reached for comment. He had been appointed to the board to fill the term of David Rath, who resigned and moved to Dubai.
Of course, more candidates could emerge for any of these positions.
The deadline to file for a candidacy is 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 26. Candidates need to submit petitions with the names of 30 registered Williston voters in order to qualify to run.
In addition to the Selectboard and school boards, Williston voters will pick three candidates for positions on the Board of Listers, a library trustee and a first constable.

Local author publishes second children’s book

Karen Sturtevant recently published her second book, ‘The Rainy Day Adventures of Gert & Stu and Zippy Too.’

Karen Sturtevant recently published her second book, ‘The Rainy Day Adventures of Gert & Stu and Zippy Too.’

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff
Gert, Stu and their tortoise friend Zippy are back for more adventures in local writer Karen Sturtevant’s second children’s book.
In December, Sturtevant published “The Rainy Day Adventures of Gert & Stu and Zippy Too,” a follow-up to last year’s tale about the trio.
The story follows the three friends as they use their imaginations and a cardboard box to go on adventures.
“No high tech involved here, only rhymes and creativity,” Sturtevant wrote in an email to the Observer. “Each chooses where they want to go and use a rhyme to get them there. For Zippy, it’s a super playground with all his friends, for Stu it’s a busy construction site and Gert gets a surprise when Zippy changes course to bring her to a fun place.”
Sturtevant teamed up with Underhill artist Susan Bahr, who created watercolors to illustrate the book.
“I love writing, especially children’s stories,” Sturtevant said. “The Gert and Stu stories are ones children can identify with, the rhymes are easy to remember and the characters are so visually appealing. Susan Bahr is an incredibly skilled illustrated and with her help we made these friends come to life to share their adventures with little readers.”
Sturtevant said fans of the series can look forward to a third book.
“These adorable characters are ready to explore and have unlimited energy and imagination,” she wrote.
She also has another project in the works—a series of alphabet, counting and color books featuring illustrations of English bulldogs from Williston-based Vermont English Bulldog Rescue. All proceeds from the books will benefit the organization.
The book is available for $9.95 at Buttered Noodles in Williston and online at www.gertstuzippy.com.

EPA to complete town Superfund site study soon


By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff
After five years of study, the Environmental Protection Agency hopes to release its report and action plan for a Superfund site in Williston this spring.
A plume containing high levels of compounds used to clean metals, including trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene, has contaminated groundwater beneath Commerce Street and South Brownell Road. The area became a federal Superfund site in 2005. Quebec-based Mitec has been named as the source of at least some of the contamination, and has helped pay for some of the remediation efforts.
Buildings in the area use municipal water rather than wells, however, so there is little current health risk, according to the EPA.
The EPA began studying the site in 2008. Since then, it has collected groundwater, surface water, soil, sediment and vapor samples.
Remedial Project Manager Karen Lumino said a remedial investigation report and human health risk assessment are nearly complete, and the EPA is working on a feasibility study.
“Once we have that complete, we can select a remedy that we think is the right thing to do,” she said.
The EPA hopes to present the report to the public in the spring and collect public comment, she said.
There is little current risk, Lumino said, but the report is examining the possibility of risk in the future.
“The state of Vermont’s goal for groundwater across the state is that it be potable,” Lumino said. “Their goal, and therefore our goal, is to restore all the water in the state to drinking water. Currently, there’s no risk—we’re not aware of anybody drinking that contaminated water—but in the future if we didn’t clean this up, there would be a risk.”
Lumino said it would be premature to discuss details of the findings, but did say that if they had found an immediate risk to human health at any point, they would have dispatched a remedial team.
“The fact that (the contamination) is at depth and nobody is drinking it or using it to fill up their swimming pools makes us all feel pretty good about where it is right now,” she said. “Had that not been the case, we would have been out there with our emergency removal folks doing something right away. It’s the potential for risk in the future that we need to consider.”

Bomb threat causes CVU evacuation


By Marianne Apfelbaum
Observer staff
“Bomb 2 pm.”
So read the note found written on a “Stall News” poster in the boys bathroom at Champlain Valley Union High School at approximately 11 a.m. Tuesday morning. A student brought the note to the attention of a staff member, who immediately notified school officials.
After CVU Principal Jeff Evans conferred with Hinesburg and Vermont State Police, a decision was made to evacuate the school at 12:40 p.m.
“It’s a big decision to evacuate the school, a school with 1,400 students, but we have to err on the side of safety,” Hinesburg Police Chief Frank Koss said.
Evans used the school’s new Blackboard Connect notification system to alert parents, who were told that the school had been evacuated due to a “situation,” and that buses would be bringing students home. Those who don’t take the bus and were waiting for rides were moved to the school’s annex building after it was deemed safe by police, according to Evans.
Law enforcement officers, aided by school staff, then did a “grid search” of the main building, checking every classroom and looking for “anything out of the ordinary,” Evans said.
“We needed people familiar with the classrooms” to aid in the search, Koss said. Vermont State Police also had a bomb-sniffing dog on the property in case something suspicious was found, Koss added.
At 2:20 p.m., the school was “deemed safe” by police and afterschool activities were allowed to resume.
Evans praised the students for their response to the emergency.
“I was very impressed with how well the student body handled the situation…it made the response easier and more productive,” he said. “It’s now in the hands of Hinesburg Police and we’ve asked the student body to share any information with us.”
Koss said the investigation is continuing to try and find out who wrote the note. “We have a few names we’re going to start with,” he said. “We haven’t had a bomb threat like this in about four years.”