February 27, 2015

CVU alpine skiers state meet bound 


By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Next up for the Champlain Valley Union High Alpine ski team: the state interscholastic meets at Bromley Mountain Monday and Okemo Mountain Resort Tuesday.

Coach Mike Minnerly’s Redhawks concluded their two-event district competition Tuesday with the giant slalom at Middlebury Snow Bowl.

CVU’s boys team won the overall two-day team event in the 13-team field. The Redhawk girls took third behind winner Harwood Union and runner-up South Burlington High.

The victorious boys team was led Tuesday by Nate Coffin (third), Ted Hadley (ninth) and Trent Smith (10th).

Abby Harrington (fifth) and Emma Putre (seventh) were the leading CVU giant slalom performers.

CVU gymnasts are third in state meet 


By Mal Boright 
Observer correspondent

As expected, a deep and talented top-seeded Essex High gymnastics team rolled to its 10th straight Vermont championship Saturday, while an injury-plagued second-seeded Champlain Valley Union High team wound up in third place.

The Redhawks were nosed out of their usual runner-up slot by a young South Burlington High team. The Essex team’s winning points total was 144.42 to South Burlington’s 130.4 and CVU’s 128.95. Eight teams competed.

Sophomore Kylie Svarczkopf of the Hornets was the all-around champion after victories on the bars, balance beam and vault.

If that last name is familiar, there is a reason. Kylie’s sister Kayla was the all-around champ last year.

CVU was without top performer freshman Emma Lieberman (hand injury), and Julia Higa was dealing with a troublesome ankle. The Redhawks were led by Jackie Casson, who was fourth on the bars and sixth in all-around.

Co-captain Taylor Filardi was the lone senior on the CVU squad, with Lieberman one of four freshmen on the roster.

CVU boys hockey team in title defense


By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

The defending Division 1 Champlain Valley Union High boys hockey team opened defense of its crown Wednesday night (Observer press time) on its home Cairns Arena ice against Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans.

The two teams finished the regular campaign with 12-7-1 with CVU snagging the home ice of the number four seed, thanks in part to a 2-1 Cairns Arena victory over the Bobwhites Jan. 31. BFA had whipped the Redhawks in an early-season encounter in St. Albans and held the fifth seed.

Wednesday’s winner would meet the victor of a match the same evening between top-seeded Essex High (16-1-3) and eighth-seeded Rice Memorial (6-14-1). The Green Knights gained the quarterfinals with a 5-0 Saturday playdown win over North Country Union.

CVU tangled with the Essex Hornets twice during the season and lost 2-1 on both occasions, including the regular season finale a week ago Wednesday.

The Hornets, playing at home, grabbed a 2-0 first period lead. Matt Palmer scored in the second reel to get the Redhawks within a goal, but the equalizer never came.

Shots on goal were nearly even as CVU netminder Greg Talbert had 24 stops while Essex’s Erik Short was called on for 21 saves.

Upstart CVU hoop guys eye Rutland next


By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Having shocked fifth-seeded Middlebury Union High Tuesday night in the opening round of the Division 1 playoffs, coach Mike Osborne and his 12th-seeded Champlain Valley Union High Redhawks will travel to Rutland Friday night at 7 p.m. for a collision with fourth-seeded 18-3 Rutland High.

The Red Raiders earned their way to the quarterfinal with a 62-44 home triumph over 13th-seeded Mount Anthony Union Tuesday.

Rutland’s showcase effort this season was a January win at Rice Memorial, the number one-seeded Green Knights’ lone loss.

CVU, now 10-11, rumbled to the victory over the Tigers, racking up a 15-point lead over the first 16 minutes and cruising from there.

Sophomore guard Walker Storey, who has blossomed into a solid all-around performer, led CVU with 18 points. Senior co-captain Chris Reiss was his usual prominent self with 17.

The rare CVU playoff victory ended Middlebury’s season at 16-5.

In the regular season finale last Friday at Jericho Center, the Redhawks bowed to then 15-5 Mount Mansfield Union, 50-43. The Cougars’ chief liquidator of CVU hopes was the athletic forward Alec Eschholz, who swished 24 points and tore 15 rebounds off the glass.

Storey and Nick Lynn knocked down nine points each for the Hawks.

Redhawks and Rice set for annual tourney contest


By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

For three winters now, the defending Champlain Union High girls’ basketball team and Rice Memorial High have collided in the Division 1 championship game at the University of Vermont’s Roy L. Patrick Gymnasium, with CVU winning the last two.

Saturday, the 22-0 Redhawks and 15-6 Green Knights will once again engage in an exchange of baskets on the UVM court, this year in a semifinal battle. Game time is 5 p.m. with the winner going to next week’s title test against the victor of a 7 p.m. clash between Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans (19-3) and Essex High (17-5).

Sharp memories remain of the championship goings-on last March, when the 24-0 Redhawks nipped 21-3 Rice on two free throws in the final seconds by Amanda Lougee, one of six seniors graduated from CVU.

Rice lost three starters from that squad, including Hailee Barron, a four-year standout guard.

The Redhawks, who have won 69 straight games since bowing to the Knights in the championship match three years ago, got past Rice twice during the regular season. CVU won 47-35 Dec. 19 at the Knights’ castle, and then scored a 49-29 triumph Jan. 8 at Bremner Gymnsium.

The Redhawks bolted their way to the semifinal with a first round 49-17 smackdown of Spaulding High. Last Saturday, in a quarterfinal, CVU surged past 14-8 Brattleboro Union High, 60-27.

Rice bopped Colchester High 65-26 in the opening round before knocking out Rutland High 36-26 in Saturday’s quarterfinal. Guard Sierra Combs with 15 points and forward Rachel Chicoine with nine paced Rice scorers.

In repelling Brattleboro’s invasion from deep southern Vermont, the Redhawks struck in the first few minutes with one of their best quarters of the year. They dropped nine of 16 shots through the cords while producing five Colonel turnovers, coughing up the ball only once themselves.

The scene and the difficult immediate Brattleboro future were set as CVU opened the game with a 12-point run. The rout began on guard Caitlin Grasso’s layup on a pass from backcourt mate Sadie Otley, who picked off the game-opening tap. (Two quick points following the winning of the opening center jump has become a CVU expectation.)

Amanda Daniels followed up with a thee-point blast after a pass from Grasso. Then came a Laurel Jaunich layup, all occurring while the visitors were desperately trying to find their offensive end of the court.

The Redhawks rolled up leads of 24-8 by the end of the initial eight minutes and 35-14 by halftime.

For the game, CVU shot 45 percent (24 of 53) from the floor and held a 34-18 edge in rebounds. The perplexed Colonels were 9-43 from the field for 21 percent. The CVU trapping defenses resulted in 18 Colonel turnovers.

Jaunich and Otley canned 17 points each to lead the scorers and did it with little more than a half of playing time each. Annabella Pugliese popped eight points and hauled down a team-leading eight rebounds. Jaunich grabbed six rebounds, as did reserve Amari Boyd.

Grasso had six points and some of everything else including four steals, four assists and a pair of rebounds.

Brattleboro’s scoring leader was guard Abbie Lesure with eight points, including a pair of treys.



David ‘Button’ Isham (3/8/35) 80th birthday card shower celebration

David Isham

David Isham

1935 was the era of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. FDR was president, Elvis Presley was born, Monopoly was first introduced, the Social Security Act became law, the #1 car on the road was a Ford and the cost of a gallon of gas was ten cents. David Isham was born in the family farmhouse, which he still calls home. The Jersey cows were milked that morning and evening; the smells of sugaring scented the air. Baby David was “as cute as a button,” and the name stuck.

The family of David Isham requests that his birthday be celebrated with a card shower. Friends, family and neighbors are encouraged to send birthday wishes to 3517 Oak Hill Rd., Williston, VT 05495.

Vera Bruce

Vera Bruce

Vera Bruce

Vera Bruce of Williston is turning 90 on March 10. Happy Birthday from your children. We love you, Mom!

Library Notes


For Adults and Kids

Makerspace: Circuit Board Clocks

Monday, March 9, 6 p.m. You’ll use power drills and other tools to create wall clocks using old computer parts. See what’s inside and tear it apart to make your own design. Presented by Andy Mosedale of MISmakers. Ages 9 and up. Pre-register.

Count Me In! Preschool Math Night

Wednesday, March 11, 6-7 p.m. Introduction to hands-on activities that families can use in everyday life. Open to any parent or caregiver and their preschool child. Pre-register.

Heliand Consort: A Brick Church Concert Benefitting the Friends of the Library

Friday, March 13, 7 p.m. Tickets $12 in advance. A woodwind trio will perform engaging classical music, from the baroque era through 20th century. Opening music by cellist Ben Kulp and art display by Dan Donnelly.


Saturday, March 14, 12 p.m. Based on a memoir about the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife. Drama and romance. Snacks provided. PG 13

Geek the Library Photo Booth

Mondays after 4 p.m. If you missed our photo booth, additional times are available. Come get your photo taken while sharing with us what you geek. Whatever you geek (to love, to enjoy, to have a passion for), serious or fun, Dorothy Alling Library supports you!

Youth News

Babytime Playgroup

Wednesday, March 4, 6-7:30 p.m. For children birth-2 years and their caregivers. For information call 876-7555. Sponsored by Building Bright Futures.

Food For Thought Teen Library Volunteers

Thursday, March 5, 4-5 p.m. Grades 7-12. Pizza, discussion, and library projects for teens. first Thursday of each month.

Toddler Yoga and Stories

Saturday, March 7, 10:30 a.m. Simple yoga and books for children ages 1-5. Presented by Karen Allen.

Teen Tech Week

March 8-14. “Libraries are for Making.” See what’s available for teens at the library. Playaways, Wi-Fi, computers, magazines, graphic novels, manga, movies, Food for Thought Teen Group, teen blog, travel and job hunting resources. Teens in grades 7-12 may enter to win prizes.

Preschool Story Time

Tuesdays at 11 a.m. Includes a simple craft activity. For children ages 3-5. March 3: Get Messy; March 10: Feelings; March 17: Pirates; March 24: Science Story Time with Kristen Littlefield— “Beautiful Beetles” (Sponsored by Friends of DAML); March 31: Spring Stories.

Read to a Dog

Tuesdays, 3:30-4:30 p.m. All dogs registered with Therapy Dogs of Vermont. All ages. Call 878-4918 to pre-register for one-on-one sessions.

Adult News

Gentle Yoga

Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. Presented by Williston resident Jill Lang. Please bring your own mat.

Quit Tobacco

Fridays, March 6-April 3, 12 p.m. Support group with local specialist. Free NRT available to participants. Open to all. Preregistration.

The Tech Tutor

Wednesday, March 11, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Stop by anytime during tech hours for one-on-one technology help from a teen. Guarantee a time by making a 15 to 30 minute appointment 878-4918.

Shape & Share Life Stories

Monday, March 16, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Learn to craft engaging stories from life experiences. Led byRecille Hamrell.

Brown Bag Book Club

Friday, March 20, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Looking to meet others who love to discuss books? This month we will discuss “Orange is the New Black” by Piper Kerman. Books available for loan. Dessert provided.

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

Little Details: Southern diversion


By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

High Tea it was for my 50th birthday. We reserved a table at The Gryphon where a Savannah College of Art (SCAD) student sated us with pots of Earl Grey and English Breakfast. We sampled tasty tea sandwiches with cukes and creamed cheese. We treated ourselves to the prettiest little petit fours—eye candy first, food second.

I’d had a week to ponder the setting for my birthday meal. Savannah, renowned for its Southern cooking, offered many choices. My vegetarian palate narrowed the field considerably. I’d forgo crab cakes, fried corn dogs and the Queen of Southern Cuisine—Paula Deen—whose Lady and Sons restaurant resided nearby.

The Gryphon Tea Room drew me in with its architecture. The imposing, triangular structure’s exterior boasts Roman columns, arched windows and ornate trim in blue and gold filigree.

The café, run by SCAD, occupies the first floor of a former pharmacy. High ceilings embellished with stained-glass depictions of mortars and pestles encircled the dining room. An enormous chandelier, suspended from the ceiling, radiated warm light through amber glass. A corner booth, cheerful service and beautifully displayed edibles made for a memorable meal.

We learned that the pharmacy was once owned by the Solomons family, members of Savannah’s longstanding Jewish community, which reaches back to the 18th century. We came upon the family’s burial plot at Laurel Grove Cemetery just days before. So moved was I by an inscription on one of the graves, I noted it on a piece of paper: “Our brother Washington Emmanuel (Solomons) died August 29th 1864 in the 20th year of his age from wounds received in battle in front of Atlanta…” I imagined this young man, a Jew whose ancestors came to the American South seeking freedom, who died a son of the Confederacy. I learned on this trip not to judge harshly Confederate soldiers, many of whom felt their cause was just.

Months earlier, my husband and daughter asked me to compile a list of possible places to spend my dead-of-winter, 50th birthday. I’ve explored Tokyo on foot, studied in Krakow, wandered beaches in Rio and lived in Wellington. I realized—as my first half-century loomed—there are places in America I should visit and experience. As a child of immigrants, my travel compass so often directs me to the Old World. It was time to explore my country—the New World—more deeply.

This is the list I came up with: Birmingham, Alabama; Portland, Oregon; Santa Fe, New Mexico; Seattle, Washington; St. Augustine, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Savannah, Georgia. I threw Chicago on the list since a visit years ago was far too brief. History, natural beauty, vibrant culture and walkability were qualifying factors for places making my wish list.

I presented the list to my family and left them with their task: plan a week-long trip and let me know how to pack prior to departure. Cities were researched. Airfares were compared. Websites were scoured for just the right rental. Savannah won.

We rented a sweet apartment in an 18th century brick building in Old Savannah, within walking distance of the museums, restaurants, parks and shopping. We loaded up on groceries at Kroger’s for relaxed breakfasts and dinners in the apartment. We ate lunch out where serving sizes were smaller and costs were lower.

Savannah, a planned city, is a grid with highly walkable streets and gorgeous pocket parks that appear every few blocks. White oak, cypress, magnolia, dogwood and green-leaved oak trees festooned with Spanish moss provided a festive canopy in late December. Holly bloomed, dotted with winter red berries.

We toured art museums and historic homes, marveling at the diverse architectural styles. From Colonial, to Federal, to Georgian, to Gothic, to Greek Revival, to Italianate to Second Empire and oodles in between, it’s all there. SCAD’s historic preservation program is credited with saving many a crumbling edifice from the wrecking ball.

Savannah played significant roles in the American Revolution, the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement with historic sites galore. It’s also considered a highly haunted town with kid-friendly and adult-oriented ghost tours offered in the evenings.

The coffeehouse scene was vibrant, with ample cafés to catch a caffeinated cup while lingering with the newspaper. Our favorite spot, The Sentient Bean, hosted locals and tourists alike. It was a great place to eavesdrop on Southern etiquette as regulars chatted—sometimes loudly and casually—across tables.

My daughter quickly associated commencing a new decade with a trip. She promptly asked: “When I turn 20, can we do a trip?”

The apple doesn’t fall far.

Whatever your age, may you take time to ponder what it is YOU wish to see and experience. May you then find a way to do it, even if it requires some sacrifice. What we see, live and experience cannot be taken away. That’s worth a ponder on a cold Vermont day.

Katherine Bielawa Stamper, a Williston resident, is a former finalist for the Coolidge Prize for Journalism for writings on civility. Reader comments are welcome at [email protected] or [email protected]

Working together to clean up Vermont’s waters


By Deb Markowitz 

This past month, Gov. Peter Shumlin opened the legislative session with an unprecedented focus on the environment. Understanding that global climate change threatens our way of life, the governor announced new initiatives aimed at continuing to expand our renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors—creating jobs, saving Vermonters money and doing our part to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. He also talked at length about our Clean Water Initiative and Lake Champlain restoration plan.

 While it is true that the EPA has told Vermont that we need to take significant steps to clean up Lake Champlain, a water body that is plagued by nutrient pollution, it is also the right thing to do. Lake Champlain alone brings in hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity each year. Protection of this lake is critical to protecting our economy, and it is also the right thing to do for our children and grandchildren. Future generations of Vermonters deserve the same opportunity we have had to swim, fish, boat and drink the waters of Lake Champlain.

Our plan to clean up Lake Champlain focuses first on areas of greatest pollution where we can make the most impact with our finite resources. It focuses on polluted stormwater runoff from farms, developed land (ex. parking lots and rooftops), roads and from streambank erosion. The cleanup plan also contemplates improving pollution controls on wastewater treatment facilities as a secondary priority since only a small portion (3 percent) of the pollution comes from these sources.

Tools for addressing this pollution will vary by region depending on the nature of land uses and pollution sources in that region, but will include education and outreach, technical assistance, planning, regulation and financial support. For example, there will be new and expanded stormwater management permits required in our built areas to minimize pollution from state and local roads, new construction and from existing built areas. Updated accepted agricultural practices will apply to all farms and a new focus on addressing pollution from small farms will be put in place, along with a focused enforcement program. We will expand investments in protecting and restoring critical natural resources like wetlands, forests, river corridors and floodplains in order to prevent erosion, reduce pollution and reduce flood damage.

Of course, all of this costs money. Over the past few months, significant new federal support has been announced through existing federal programs such as the Lake Champlain Basin Program, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But we also have to do our part. That is why the governor announced new revenue in his budget to support expanding existing state programs that provide resources and technical services to farmers, watershed groups and municipalities, including the Ecosystem Restoration Program, the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund, the Better Backroads Program, and Agriculture Best Management Practices.

The Clean Water Initiative will be supported by a variety of water related permit fees, mitigation payments, a new fee on fertilizers and a small assessment on commercial, industrial and possibly other non-residential properties as well as philanthropic contributions such as the $5 million donation announced by Keurig Green Mountain. As the governor noted in his address, Vermonters have, “lost patience with finger pointing about who is to blame for poor water quality. We are now working together across the divides that can exist among advocates, businesses, farmers, neighbors and government to get the job done.”

Deb Markowitz is secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.

Around Town


Kindergarten registration April 6-9

Pre-registration has begun for Williston and St. George students who will be 5 years old by Sept. 1, 2015. Parents and guardians can go to the school district’s website, wsdvt.org, and click on a link at the bottom of the page called “Kindergarten Pre-Registration” to provide the school with your student’s information. Registration appointments can be made during the month of March by following instructions that will be mailed with the registration packet. Bring a copy of your child’s current immunizations, birth certificate and proof of residency to your appointment. Registration will be held at Allen Brook School. For more information, call 871-6200.

NAMI Vermont hosts education program 

The National Alliance on Mental Illness of Vermont will sponsor the NAMI Family-to-Family Education Program for family members, partners and significant others of individuals with major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, borderline personality disorder, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. The free 12-week series of classes will start on March 2, meeting once a week for 12 weeks from 6-8:30 p.m. at its Blair Park location in Williston.

The course will cover information about the major mental illnesses, coping skills, basic information about medications, listening and communication techniques, problem-solving skills, recovery and rehabilitation and self care.

 For more information or to register, call Program Director Carla Vecchione at 800-639-6480, ext. 102 or email [email protected]

Girls on the Run seeks members

Girls on the Run, a program for third through fifth graders designed to allow every girl to recognize her inner strength, is signing up participants for this year. The 12-week after school program encourages positive emotional, social, mental and physical development. 

Physical activity is woven into the program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health. At the end of each three month session, the girls participate in a celebratory, non-competitive Girls on the Run 5k event. 

Registration runs through March 23 or until the program is full. Sign up at girlsontherunvermont.org/girls-registration/

Little League registration open

Williston Little League t-ball, baseball, softball and Babe Ruth registration is now open online at www.eteamz.com/wllbaseball. 

Fees go up March 1 and registration closes March 10. Volunteer coaches and umpires are also needed. A morning of skills assessment, games and drills will be held March 7 from 9-11 a.m. for baseball players league age 8-10, all players (baseball and softball) who are new to the league, and 8-year-old softball players who wish to be considered for Minors softball. 

For more information, contact [email protected]