October 2, 2014

CVU students among National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists


Observer staff report

Five Champlain Valley Union High students are among the approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The seniors have an opportunity to compete for approximately 7,600 prestigious National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered next spring.

CVU semifinalists include Kaitlin R. Clark, Alec J. Collins, Matthew R. Goldsborough, Ingalise G. Kindstedt and Sean M. Yarolin.
Daniel J. Ro of Williston, an Essex High School student, is also a semi-finalist.
Other local semifinalists include Essex High students Nathaniel H. Brennan, Martin T. Deutsch, Vignesh P. Rajendran and Matthew T. Wu, Mount

Mansfield Union High students Madeline G. Besso, Nina A. Lam and David J. Shank and Vermont Commons School student Eli B. Hulse.
About 1.4 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool
of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record through-out high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.
From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance
to the finalist level and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2015.
Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 240 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria. In addition, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards
for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

Town considers new zoning district


A map shows the boundaries of the proposed Gateway Zoning District West on Williston Road, near the intersection with North and South Brownell roads. After its Sept. 16 public meeting, the Planning Commission requested that the boundaries of the Gateway Zoning District West be redrawn slightly to include less of the Robear property on the south side of Williston Road.

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff
The town is looking at establishing a new zoning district that would allow some commercial uses along Williston Road, near the intersection with North and South Brownell roads.
The Planning Commission held a public meeting last week and notified all property owners and residents in the area.
Currently, the area is split between the Industrial West Zoning District and the Residential Zoning District—both of which allow only the uses their names suggest.
Most lots in the proposed district are already developed with single-family dwellings.
The proposed Gateway Zoning District West would allow mixed residential and office or commercial use. Retail commercial and office use would be allowed only on lots that face Williston Road and would be limited to those that are “most likely to be compatible with the existing residential neighborhoods to the north and south,” according to proposed bylaw language.
Commercial uses would include convenience stores, real estate or finance industry offices, veterinary services, administrative offices, health care and social services and more.
The area was flagged in the town’s 2011-2016 Comprehensive Plan as an area for study and possible zoning changes. Zoning Administrator Ken Belliveau said the Planning Commission has been looking at options to adjust the zoning regulations for the past several years.
The Planning Commission still needs to make a decision on whether it wants to hold a public hearing to present possible changes. The proposal would then need to go through the Selectboard before the new zoning district would become official.
“Unless there is really a clear consensus among folks of this area, it won’t move forward. We’re actually pretty close at this point,” Belliveau said. “We have made some progress. Whether something comes out of this or not still remains to be seen.”

All Breed Rescue to call Williston home


By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff
Industrial Avenue is about to be home to man’s best friend, as All Breed Rescue plans a move to Williston.
The nonprofit organization—which brings dogs from high-kill shelters in the South to Vermont to find homes, as well as helping to place local dogs—is seeking to move to Industrial Avenue.
Vice President Caroline Paddock-Moore said she has been looking for new home for All Breed Rescue for about a year, since the owners of its current South Burlington location have a plan to expand an existing business into the space All Breed currently occupies.
“This one is perfect,” she said of the Industrial Avenue spot. “It really is a perfect combination of office space and warehouse and land outside and good walking areas and a good location that’s convenient to folks.”
Currently, she is working through the town’s permitting process, since the business would be a change of use from the previous tenant. She has already submitted a pre-application plan to the Development Review Board and had a discretionary permit hearing on Sept. 23.
Currently, All Breed Rescue has 60 dogs in its program—40 in its South Burlington facility and 20 in foster care. The dogs come in all sizes, breeds and ages—from Labrador mixes to Chow Chows to Boston terriers.
Paddock-Moore hopes to have an indoor play area for the dogs as well as space for obedience training and pack play, a grooming station and a room where prospective owners could meet dogs. The space would also allow for an outdoor play area and a meet and greet area, as well as access to paths for walking dogs.
“We’re just really excited,” she said. “We’ve got to work through the system to make it happen. Personally, I’m going to love being in Williston.”
All Breed also needs plenty of volunteers to help transform the space and to move from South Burlington, as well as donations to provide what is needed for the dogs. Residents can find out more and also donate to the organization at www.allbreedrescuevt.com or by emailing [email protected]

Projects planned to stop school flooding



By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff
Last week’s drizzly weather set an appropriate mood for the Williston School Board, which spent a chunk of its first meeting of the school year looking at water issues at Williston Central School.
Lyall Smith, the district’s new head of building and grounds, told the board that drainage issues in front of the school were one of the first things brought to his attention when he took up his post on July 1.
Poor drainage is causing water that flows off the roof to pool in front of the school and seep into the school itself. The board approved approximately $48,000 to address the issue and awarded a contract to New Haven-based Parker Excavation, based on engineering consulting by Donald L. Hamlin Consulting Engineers.
“This is stormwater that we’re not managing well,” Smith told the board on Sept. 16, as recorded by RETN. “The result is it’s sitting in huge ponds in front of our building and some of it is getting under the slab, the crushed stone under there and working its way into low-lying areas like the auditorium and the kiva.”
A drip drain under the pitched roof—a thin layer of grass with fabric covering crushed stone and perforated pipes—has become compacted over time, meaning it takes a long time for water to saturate the soil and enter the stormwater pipes.
Parker Excavating will install drain basins and catch basins and grade the area to properly drain water to the stormwater system. Officials hope the project can begin as soon as possible.
More water troubles are coming the board’s way, likely for a decision in October. Ventilation problems in parts of the school’s attic is causing ice dams, which in turn cause water to build up under the ice and find its way through the building’s seams—and into classrooms.
Smith said he intends to find the areas in the attic where the most heat loss is occurring and find the best ways to stop the heat loss and improve ventilation. The board will likely see quotes for required work in October.
The Williston schools are also among the properties in town with stormwater permits that are out of compliance with new federal and state MS4 requirements. The school district has agreed to work with the town Public Works Department to satisfy the permit requirements.

Free admission, with a suggested donation to benefit Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity

There is not enough affordable housing for low-income working Vermont families in our community. Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity builds decent, simple and energy-efficient homes and sells them at cost to low-income families who have been living in substandard rental housing. Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity is able to keep the cost of the homes as low as possible by depending on volunteers to help build the houses, to work with our staff of three and to help at our Habitat ReStore.

There is not enough affordable housing for low-income working Vermont families in our community. Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity builds decent, simple and energy-efficient homes and sells them at cost to low-income families who have been living in substandard rental housing. Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity is able to keep the cost of the homes as low as possible by depending on volunteers to help build the houses, to work with our staff of three and to help at our Habitat ReStore.

Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity constructs simple, decent, affordable homes and sells them at cost to  working families who are at or below 60 percent of the median household income and who live in substandard rental housing.

The Community Need

There is not enough affordable housing for low-income working Vermont families in our community. More than half of the renters in Chittenden County lack affordable housing, because there arenít enough rental properties and this results in high rent costs. This shortage of rental properties unfortunately means that some landlords donít  maintain their properties. As a result, many families live in apartments with unsafe electrical and plumbing services, mold, poor insulation and high energy bills. As rents increase, or the rental properties are sold, families often have to move.   [Read more...]

New Trends and Technology in Flooring


Saturday, 4 p.m and Sunday, 2 p.m.

Looking to upgrade your floors but donít know where to start? Join us to learn more about the latest trends in flooring and new technologies that have homeowners excited about reinventing their floors and increasing the overall value of their homes!  [Read more...]

Make over Your Living Space with 10 Easy Feng Shui Techniques


Saturday, 3 p.m and Sunday, 1 p.m.

Our living space is a reflection of who we are, in most cases. Our environment is a constant reminder of our life and our thinking. But sometimes we canít seem to make our space inviting or comfortable enough so that we fully enjoy it, which then makes it difficult to invite others into our space. Feng Shui techniques can help you change this. [Read more...]

Lifestyle/Design Style Workshops with HGTV’s ‘Room Crashers’ star Todd Davis


Saturday, 11 a.m. & 1 p.m and Sunday, 11 a.m. 

Todd Davis, host of the hit show ìRoom Crashers,î will present ìLifestyle/Design Styleî workshops both Saturday and Sunday. [Read more...]

Get the most up-to-date information on products and services for your home


In addition to a wide variety of exhibitors, HGTV star Todd Davis, host of the hit show ìRoom Crashers,î is flying in from California to present ìLifestyle/Design Styleî workshops both Saturday and Sunday. The highly energetic designer will teach visitors how to add value and beauty to their homes and how to have fun doing it! Additional workshops include ìMake Over Your Living Space with 10 Feng Shui Techniques,î and ìNew Trends and Technology in Flooring.î [Read more...]

Library Notes


Please help the library evaluate and improve its services by taking the library survey at williston.lib.vt.us. This survey is a follow up to the library’s strategic plan survey last year. It is confidential. The survey will take about 10 minutes.

Youth News

Pajama Story Time

Monday, Sept. 22, 6:30 p.m. Bring kids in PJs with their stuffed animal for stories, craft and bedtime snack. Make a story treasure box. Sponsored by Building Bright Futures. [Read more...]