April 18, 2014

Maine trip ends early season tests for boys lacrosse

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Alex Bulla takes a shot on the Essex goal during Saturday’s game. (Observer photo by Al Frey)

Alex Bulla takes a shot on the Essex goal during Saturday’s game. (Observer photo by Al Frey)

April 17th, 2014

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent
Having banked victories against tough foes Essex High and Hanover (N.H.) High Saturday and Monday, the defending Division 1 boys lacrosse champion Champlain Valley Union High Redhawks were poised to visit a veteran 2-0 South Burlington High team Wednesday afternoon, after the Observer’s press deadline.
On Saturday, coach Dave Trevithick’s Red- and White-clads will travel to Cape Elizabeth, Me. for another out-of-state contest.
Then it will be a week off before the first home game of the season, when Mount Mansfield Union High’s Cougars come scratching at the Hawks’ hillside nest next Saturday morning (April 26).
Hanover, a Granite State lacrosse powerhouse, fell 10-6 as Dylan Schaefer (three goals), Matt Palmer (two scores) and Hoyt McCuin (one goal and three assists) paced the scorers.
If there is a Helper-of-the-Month honor, McCuin would be high on the list of eligibles. He now has nine assists in just two games.
Single goals were posted by Elliott Mitchell, Griffin DiParlo, Collin Osbahr and Steele DuBrul. Netminder Owen Hudson made 10 stops.
McCuin, with a goal and six assists, Nevin DiParlo with four goals, Palmer with three tallies, Mitchell with two goals and three helpers and Griffin DiParlo with two scores paced the offensive assault on a young Essex High team Saturday morning at the University of Vermont, which resulted in a 16-2 triumph over last year’s championship runner-up.
CVU broke it open early, taking an 8-0 lead by the end of the first period and boosting it to 12-1 by the half-time break. In that opening half, CVU held a 16-6 edge in shot on goal and a 7-4 advantage in face offs captured.
“We came out strong,” said co-captain Nevin DiParlo. Referencing the Redhawks’ veteran attackers and midfielders, DiParlo added, “Our guys have played together since middle school.”
“I knew we could score, but not like that,” said a mildly surprised Trevithick.
Adding single goals were DuBrul, Alex Bulla, Noah Kiernan and Kyle Jaunich.
Hudson had eight saves including a couple first period spectaculars that kept momentum on the Redhawks’ side. Chris Gronlund took over later in the game and had a pair of stoppers.
Bulla, a co-captain and midfielder, had praise for the UVM turf field and facility, which provided a spectacular season-opening venue for the two lacrosse rivals.

PHOTOS: Firefighters flip flapjacks and find friends

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Firefighter Rik Roberts demonstrates equipment to visitors. (Observer photo by Al Frey)

Firefighter Rik Roberts demonstrates equipment to visitors. (Observer photo by Steven Robert)

Youngsters try their hand at opening a fire hydrant. (Observer photo by Al Frey)

Youngsters try their hand at opening a fire hydrant. (Observer photo by Steven Robert)

Firefighters dished out pancakes, sausage and other breakfast fare.  (Observer photo by Al Frey)

Firefighters dished out pancakes, sausage and other breakfast fare.
(Observer photo by Al Frey)

 Firefighter Nick Carson shows his gear to a small guest during the annual Williston Fire Department pancake breakfast, held on Sunday.  (Observer photo by Al Frey)

Firefighter Nick Carson shows his gear to a small guest during the annual Williston Fire Department pancake breakfast, held on Sunday. (Observer photo by Al Frey)

 The line of hungry neighbors snaked around the firehouse waiting their turn. (Observer photo by Al Frey)

The line of hungry neighbors snaked around the firehouse waiting their turn. (Observer photo by Al Frey)

Fireman's Brkfst 4-13

Fireman's Brkfst 4-13

Fireman's Brkfst 4-13

Fireman's Brkfst 4-13

Observer photo by Steven Robert

Observer photo by Steven Robert

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Observer photo by Steven Robert

Observer photo by Steven Robert

 

Library Notes

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Youth news
Movie
Friday, April 18, 3 p.m. When Charlie finds a golden ticket he wins a tour of the ultimate candy factory in this original version of Roald Dahl’s classic tale. Rated G. Grades 1 and up. Free popcorn.
Story Time and Crafts
Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Preschoolers are introduced to a variety of books and authors while gaining early literacy skills. For children ages 3-5.
Fairy Stories and Drop-In Craft
Make a Fairy House Tuesday, April 22, 11 a.m. Fairy Stories with Natasha; 12-2 p.m. Fairy Houses: Make a fairy dwelling using natural materials. All ages. Children 8 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
Welcome Baby Social
Wednesday, April 30, 6-7:15 p.m. Do you have a new member of the family? Join us for this free event open to all Williston/St.George residents with babies born in 2013. Light refreshments and music with Ellie from Ellie’s Preschool Parties. Pre-register at [email protected] or contact Danielle at 876-7555. Sponsored by Building Bright Futures and Dorothy Alling Memorial Library.
Spanish Playgroup
Saturday, May 3, 10:30 a.m. Spanish rhymes, books, and songs for children birth to age 5. Includes a craft activity and snack. Music with Constancia and crafts with Natasha. Sponsored by Building Bright Futures.

 

Programs for adults
Spring Centerpieces
Wednesday, April 16, 6:30 p.m. Arrange a spring bouquet with Sharon Niquette of “Buds and Roses.” Materials provided. Pre-registration required.
Tech Tutor
Thursday, April 17, 3-6 p.m. Guarantee a time by pre-registering for a 15-30 minute appointment.
Brown Bag Book Club
Friday, April 18, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Meet others who love to discuss books. This month we will discuss “Orphan Train” by Christina B. Kline. Books are available at the front desk. Coffee, tea, juice & dessert provided.
Shape and Share Life Stories
Monday, May 5, 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. Learn to craft engaging stories from life experiences. Led by Recille Hamrell.
Turn Your Job Search Inside-Out to Find the Perfect Work for You!
Saturday, May 5, 6:30 p.m. Jim Koehneke teaches a unique approach to creating career happiness and living the life you have dreamed of. Whether you are unemployed, underemployed or not satisfied with your job, discover results in work you love.
Gentle Yoga with Jill Lang
Tuesdays, May 6, 13 and 27, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Presented by Williston resident, Jill Lang. Come and enjoy free classes. Please bring your own mat.

New in Youth Literature
Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award nominees and Green Mountain Book Award nominees
The 2014 lists of nominees for these two prestigious children’s literature awards have recently been announced and the Youth Room has many selections available, including:
“Twerp” by Mark Goldblatt (a DCF book for juveniles)
“The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail” by Richard Peck (a DCF book for juveniles)
“’The president has been shot!’ the assassination of John F. Kennedy” by James Swanson (a non-fiction DCF book)
“The Caged Graves” by Dianne Salerni (a young adult GMBA book)
“The Coldest Girl in Coldtown” by Holly Black (a young adult GMBA book)

New in Adult Fiction
“The Collector” by Nora Roberts. The latest novel by this favorite author is a romantic murder mystery thriller.
“The Target” by David Baldacci. Will Robie in a newadventure.
The Dorothy Alling Memorial Library is located at 21 Library Lane in Williston, and can be reached at 878-4918. All events are free. www.williston.lib.vt.us

Letters to the Editor

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Thanks for the support
Once again, the voters of Williston have supported the school budget. Great thanks go out to all of you who took the time to vote, and especially everyone who was involved in the budgeting process.
Special thanks go out to our teachers. Enough cannot be said about their creativity, flexibility and resourcefulness. The impact of the changes in this year’s budget will affect them all, some more than others. So thank you all for the wonderful work you do. Three cheers for the administrators who have created a collegial environment among teachers and staff that made the task of putting this budget together possible. Last but not least, thanks to those of you who were in any way involved in the process. No matter how minor you think your contribution was, please know that it was much appreciated. Whether you took the time to talk to one of the school board members at the store, sent out an email or a text message with your suggestions, posted your thoughts on Facebook, attended a school board meeting or devoted hours of family time as a one of our “budget buddies” – we truly appreciate your involvement.
We are grateful for the strong community support. We recognize that voter support of our schools is earned, and that it comes with an obligation to deliver world-class education to our children. We acknowledge that we need to set the bar high for what we expect our children to learn today, so that they can become successful and productive members of society tomorrow. We know that we have to hold ourselves accountable for their academic achievement, and for motivating them to realize their full potential. Achieving excellence is hard work. But we owe that much to both our community who endorsed us in this recent election, and to our children, who are our future.
So thank you all again for your support. We pledge to continue to work hard to earn it.
-Kevin Brochu
Williston School District Board

Bruce Farm a brilliant opportunity
Thank you for the article regarding the potential conservation of the Bruce Farm. I would like to emphasize how brilliant an opportunity this is for our town.
As sprawl gobbles up more of Hinesburg and spreads along the periphery of Williston, this is a chance to keep open some of the farmland that defines Vermont’s character, maintain a wildlife corridor and expand the best natural trail system in Williston: connecting Five Tree Hill to the Isham Farm.
These trails, once protected, will bring pleasure to generations of our townspeople.
Preserving this farm also protects Allen Brook and various vanishing Vermont bird species.
As a town, let’s support this with all our enthusiasm!
-Page Hudson
Williston

CCTA board committed to employees and community

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April 17th, 2014

By Tom Buckley
CCTA’s mission is to promote and operate safe, convenient, accessible, innovative and sustainable public transportation services in the northwest and central Vermont region that reduce congestion and pollution, encourage transit-oriented development and enhance the quality of life for all.
The CCTA Board of Commissioners—the thirteen member volunteer board that sets the policy and financial direction of the organization—is fully committed to CCTA’s mission. Each of us is appointed by the elected board in our home community or our county’s regional planning commission and understands our obligation to ensure our fellow residents are served with safe, reliable and affordable transportation. These priorities guide our decisions.
Through the hard work of our drivers and administrative staff, CCTA is recognized as one of the highest performing small transit agencies in the country, with a strong safety record and a 70 percent increase in ridership since 2000. The Board is committed to nurturing an environment where this success can continue.
The recent strike demonstrated that important work needs to be done within CCTA to improve employee relations. To improve communication and show respect for our drivers, CCTA is creating an Employee Committee to focus on workplace enhancements, which will include multiple driver representatives. CCTA and the Union have also agreed to participate in the Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service’s most intensive interactive training program, known as “Relationship by Objective,” in which labor and management will work collaboratively towards an improved work environment.
The board has also taken action to respond to the concerns expressed by drivers in a thorough and respectful manner. At its meeting on March 31, the board passed a resolution establishing a new Operations Committee. The Operations Committee will focus on operational and human resources policies and procedures and will evaluate where adjustments and updates are warranted.
But we won’t stop there. The CCTA Board understands its obligation to passengers and the communities we serve. As chair of the board, I intend to work collaboratively with my fellow commissioners, the drivers and CCTA administrative staff to move CCTA forward so we can continue to expand and improve public transportation in the region.
Tom Buckley is the CCTA Board of Commissioners chair. Members of the CCTA Board of Commissioners are: Tom Buckley, representing the City of Winooski; Bob Buermann, representing Grand Isle County; Denis Barton, representing the Town of Shelburne; Catherine Dimitruk, representing Franklin County; Harold Garabedian, representing Washington County; Steve Magowan, representing the City of South Burlington; Karla Munson, representing the Town of Hinesburg; Brian Palaia, representing the Town of Milton; Marti Powers, representing the Town of Essex; Chapin Spencer, representing the City of Burlington; Al Turgeon, representing the Town of Williston; Bonnie Waninger, representing Lamoille County; Bethany Whitaker, representing the City of Burlington.

Public hearing Monday for new stormwater fee

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April 17th, 2014

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff
After working to develop an ordinance and fee structure for required stormwater system upgrades, the town plans to hold a public hearing on the issue.
The hearing is set for April 21 at 8 p.m. at the Town Hall, during the regular Selectboard meeting. It is intended to gather public comment on the proposed stormwater ordinance, which will establish rules, regulations and fees for stormwater services in Williston.
Almost all landowners in Williston would be charged the fee, which would be used to pay for state and federally mandated upgrades to Williston’s stormwater system—part of an effort to address water pollution from runoff and avoid flooding. Undeveloped properties—those with less than 500 square feet of impervious surface—would be exempt.
If approved, the fee would go into effect Jan. 1, 2015.
The ordinance and fee structure is based on other stormwater utilities across the country, Bruce Hoar told the Selectboard.The user fee—charged to all landowners in Williston—would be based on Equivalent Residential Units, or ERUs. An ERU represents the median amount of impervious service on a single-family residence. Impervious surfaces include roofs, paved or gravel driveways, patios, decks and parking lots. Rain and snowmelt runs off these impervious surfaces, carrying sediment and pollutants into streams.
Most single-family homes would equate to one ERU. Single-family homeowners whose property has an impervious surface area in the top 10th percentile of all Williston properties will be billed for two ERUs.
Non-single family residences—such as businesses and town- or state-owned property—will be charged based on the amount of impervious surface on the property using a tier system.
The ordinance also includes a credit system. Credits could be awarded for significant stormwater systems, facilities, activities and services, though credits would not be available for single-family residences.
Stormwater user fees would be billed quarterly.
Town Manager Rick McGuire estimates that the town will need to spend a total of $6 million to bring the town’s stormwater systems up to date. Approximately $2 million of that is required for townwide capital projects and administrative costs to develop a plan to control polluted runoff into waterways, then implement that plan within 20 years. Williston’s Allen Brook is on the state’s list of waterways impaired by stormwater.
Williston also has 31 holders of expired stormwater discharge permits—26 of which are housing or commercial developments, two are schools, two are VTrans properties and one is the town—which will need to spend an estimated $4 million to bring their systems into compliance. The town is working on ways to help those permit-holders.
Copies of the ordinance are available at the town manager’s office in the Town Hall or online at town.williston.vt.us. Click the General Information tab, then select Legal Notices.

Traffic snarls after man steals car, leads police on chase

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April 17th, 2014

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff
A Burlington man was cited on seven charges after leading police on a car and foot chase and crashing into several vehicles, blocking traffic on U.S. Route 2A for nearly four hours.
Police say Anthony Grasso, 49, raced down Route 2A Monday afternoon, crashing into three cars. He then leapt over the bridge into the Allen Brook before police caught him.
Williston Police cited Grasso on charges of driving with a suspended license, attempting to elude, gross negligent operation, excessive speed, leaving the scene of an accident with injury, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest.
South Burlington Police put out an area-wide alert at 4:31 p.m. on Monday, advising that Grasso had stolen a car from a South Burlington business. A minute later, Sgt. Keith Gonyeau said, they updated the alert, saying that there was a box cutter in the vehicle and Grasso was on “escape status” with the Vermont Department of Corrections.
Six minutes later, a Williston Police officer on patrol spotted the vehicle on Route 2A at Taft Corners.
“What we had at this time was a stolen vehicle where the person could possibly be armed and was wanted on escape status,” Gonyeau said. “That obviously caused us to want to attempt to initiate a traffic stop.”
From there, Gonyeau said, things happened very fast.
The officer attempted to stop the vehicle at 4:38 p.m.
“A brief chase of less than a mile ensued, with speeds reaching over 70 miles per hour on Essex Road,” Gonyeau said.
At 4:39 p.m., the officer—whose name has not yet been released—called in saying a crash had occurred.
Grasso had collided with two vehicles, causing the car he was driving to spin. Grasso hit a third car before coming to a stop. The driver of one of the cars was injured.
“After the crash, Grasso climbed out of the driver’s window and jumped off the bridge into the Allen Brook,” Gonyeau said.
After a brief chase on foot, Williston Police officers apprehended Grasso, with the help of South Burlington Police officers. Vermont State Police were called in to investigate the crash.
Route 2A was closed between Blair Park and Industrial Avenue for approximately four hours, snarling rush hour traffic.
Grasso was lodged at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility.
According to previous police reports, Grasso was arrested in 2008 and cited on charges of assault and robbery after an incident at Clark’s Sunoco in Williston in 2007.

PHOTOS: Iditarod adventure

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Sixth grade students (from left) Blaine Martin, Corey Gaudette and Eric Lackey experiment with musher Gwenn Bogart’s gear during her visit to Williston Central School last week. The students have been studying the Iditarod, and teacher Andrea Griffin said meeting a real musher was like meeting a ‘celebrity.’

Sixth grade students (from left) Blaine Martin, Corey Gaudette and Eric Lackey experiment with musher Gwenn Bogart’s gear during her visit to Williston Central School last week. The students have been studying the Iditarod, and teacher Andrea Griffin said meeting a real musher was like meeting a ‘celebrity.’

Gwenn Bogart (right), the first Vermont woman to qualify for the Iditarod, dresses sixth grader Olivia O’Neal in the gear she will wear for the famed Alaskan race.

Gwenn Bogart (right), the first Vermont woman to qualify for the Iditarod, dresses sixth grader Olivia O’Neal in the gear she will wear for the famed Alaskan race.

Iditarod boots

Iditarod hat

Iditarod Jacket

Iditarod student

 

Iditarod adventure a cool topic at Williston Central

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Iditarod outfit

Gwenn Bogart (right), the first Vermont woman to qualify for the Iditarod, dresses sixth grader Olivia O’Neal in the gear she will wear for the famed Alaskan race. (Observer photo by Stephanie Choate)

April 17th, 2014

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff
Spring is finally bringing warmer temperatures to Vermont—for the most part—but the climate was far chillier in Williston Central School last week, to the tune of 40 below zero.
Students who have been studying the Iditarod—the grueling long-distance sled dog race in Alaska—met with Gwenn Bogart, the first woman from Vermont to qualify for the overland race.
A group of eight students had been studying the Iditarod for more than a month. Before the race started in March, each student chose a musher to follow, closely tracking his or her progress, obstacles, strategy and ultimate finish or scratch.
“To them, this was like meeting a real life celebrity,” said Special Education Teacher Andrea Griffin, who led the project. “They went home and talked to their parents about it. They’re still talking about.”
Mushers and teams of 16 sled dogs race from Anchorage to Nome, more than 1,000 miles, usually in 9 to 15 days. Mushers face blizzards, debilitating wind chill, desolate landscapes, disorienting whiteouts, utter exhaustion and whatever else the brutal conditions of the Great White North throw at them.
Bogart showed students her gear, described her dogs and training, and detailed her experiences in distances races. The students were riveted for the hour and a half presentation, throwing out musher names and statistics and answering Bogart’s questions, as well as asking her questions of their own.
The students were studying the race as part of their language arts curriculum. Griffin said each student reads various articles and websites about the Iditarod, researches mushers, studies grammar and writes about their research.
“When students are engaged in the content, they’re willing to do the work,” she said. “I have a lot of students who reading isn’t easy for, but when you get them a topic they’re interested in, it’s amazing to see what they’re willing to do.”
Principal Jackie Parks said interest and engagement can motivate students to study and learn, and other topics can be integrated into the lessons, including social studies, science and math.
“I think the more integration and the more connections we help students make between the disciplines, the more they benefit,” she said. “That’s really what the real world experience is like. We don’t go out into the world and say, ‘Now I am going to do language arts….’ It’s a good way to show kids how to wrap around a project.”

‘THE LAST GREAT RACE’
Bogart—who now lives in Wasilla, Alaska—is set to compete in the 2015 Iditarod, though her path to the start line isn’t quite certain yet.
Bogart has completed the notoriously tough Copper Basin 300 and the Sheep Mountain 200. To qualify, rookies must complete 750 race miles, including two races of 300 miles or more.
Typically, mushers can’t compete in qualifying races the same year they are set to be in the Iditarod, but a lack of snow in Alaska meant several qualifying races were canceled. So, Bogart must complete one of the two 300-mile races she is signed up for in January.
More than 60 mushers enter the race each year—the vast majority of them Alaskans.
Iditarod competitors carry everything they need with them and stash the extra food and equipment at checkpoints. They can have no two-way communication with the outside world apart from handlers at checkpoints, and can’t receive anything from anyone.
That makes it a solitary effort—just the musher and their dogs against the elements.
Bogart is working on training 20 dogs. She’ll narrow that down to a team of 16 for the Iditarod.
When the dogs are training, they burn 10,000 calories a day, she said.
“How many Big Macs is that?” she asked, to the great enjoyment of the students.
Aside from dry dog food, the sled dogs consume large quantities of raw meat—ground beef, fish, chicken, pure fat doled out with an ice cream scooper and studded with vitamins, and moose and beaver when she can get it.
Bogart also showed the students what she would wear to face the brutal Alaskan conditions, and dressed one lucky, soon-overheated student in the full getup.
First, on went the custom-made snowpants, which Bogart would typically wear over down pants. Then, a fur-lined parka, which would go over two down jackets. Then, a baseball hat to keep a headlamp from slipping down, and a large fur hat. Small, cotton gloves slide on under massive beaver skin mittens. With the parka’s hood up, the student was obscured by fur and layers of technical waterproofing gear.
“Fur in Alaska is the name of the game,” she said. “It really keeps you warm. It’s very insulating and wind-proofing, and those things are really important. And the long hairs catch frost and keep it off your face.”
Bogart also passed around her boots—space-age looking monstrosities with a down liner and several layers of insulating foam liners.
She also has coats and little booties and blankets for her dogs.
“They’re all dressed up,” she said.
Bogart said she has no illusions that she’ll be in the front of the pack, and said her goal is to finish the race.
She said the weather and obstacles mushers face are always unpredictable. In the 2014 Iditarod, warm conditions on one end of the trail caused sleds to break apart and crash. At the other end of the trail, a brutal white-out blizzard on the banks of the Bering Sea caused veteran racer and four-time winner Jeff King to accept help, getting himself and his dogs to safety.
“It’s incredibly hard,” she said. “I just got a taste of it in the 300 mile race.”

CVU School Board member to step down

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April 17th. 2014

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff

Williston resident sought to fill position
David Rath, Williston representative to the Champlain Valley Union High School Board and former chair, is stepping down from his position at the end of the school year, trading mountains and maple syrup for sand and the Burj Al Arab.
The Rath family is moving to Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates, for two years. Michelle Rath, director of guidance at Essex High School, obtained a two-year position as a guidance counselor at the American School of Dubai. Their daughter, Mikaela, will attend the school for her senior year of high school.
Rath has been on the CVU board for six years, two of them as chairman.
“It’s been tremendous,” he said of his experience on the board. “CVU is a great school. The board represents a range of talents and perspectives and is very good at working collaboratively. There are, of course, differences of opinion but the board members are very conscientious about trying to work out differences of opinion and focusing on what’s best for the children at CVU.”
Following state statute, the Williston School Board will appoint a Williston resident to fill the position Rath is vacating. Interested residents should submit a letter of interest to Kevin Mara at [email protected] by May 2. The Williston board will interview applicants during the week of May 5 and make an appointment at its May 14 meeting.
“Interested applicants should possess a strong commitment to work with other board members towards the goal of providing the best possible education for students in Chittenden South Supervisory Union,” according to the board’s description.
Anyone with questions should contact CVU or Williston board members. Contact information is listed on page 6 of the Observer every week.
Located less than a mile from both the Palm Jumeira and Burj Al Arab, The American School of Dubai is an independent, not for profit American school offering elementary through high school education.
“This is going to be a great adventure,” Rath said. “We’re looking forward to seeing what the cultural differences are and taking a look at Dubai, which we understand is a pretty amazing place. The government is working very, very hard at taking their oil money and transforming Dubai into an international finance and business center and destination.”
Michelle Rath recently completed a Fulbright scholarship in Israel, and her family members spent some time with her there, but the Raths have never been to Dubai.
“We’ve never been there, but we’ve heard from a variety of people that it is just a fascinating place,” Rath said.
The Raths head for the Middle East at the start of the 2014 academic year.
“We’re delighted that we’re going on this adventure,” Rath said. “We remain Williston residents and we come back in the summer between the academic years… The great part is we get to come back for the Vermont summer.”