October 24, 2014

Macaig, McCullough running unopposed for Vermont House of Representatives

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Terry Macaig (above) and Jim McCullough (below), are running unopposed to represent Williston in the Vermont House.

Jim McCullough

By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Williston residents will see two familiar names on the ballot for representatives to the Vermont House on Election Day.

Terry Macaig and Jim McCullough, both Democrats, are running unopposed—a rarity in Williston.

There is typically good competition for House seats, said Town Clerk Deb Beckett. The last time there was an uncontested House race was 1978, when Republican Howard Lunderville held a seat. That was back when Williston had only 1,891 registered voters (773 of whom cast a vote for Lunderville)—less than a quarter of what it has now.

Macaig is running for his fourth term.

Though he has no competition this go round, he said his experience and years of town service make him fit for the task.

“While I’m sure I haven’t voted the way everyone wanted me to every time, I’ve done my best to try to represent the people in the town, and I’ll continue to do that,” he said.

Macaig, who has lived in Williston for 48 years, has also served 12 years on the Selectboard, the last nine as chairman. He is a justice of the peace, member of the Board of Civil Authority and president of the Williston Historical Society.

In his six years in the legislature, Macaig has served on the House Corrections and Institutions Committee.

“We’ve hopefully turned the curve around in corrections spending, saving some money by keeping people out of jail and having them serve time in their house or in a transition type of housing,” he said of his accomplishments in the committee.

He decided to run again because “there’s a lot of unfinished business that needs to be taken care of,” he said.

“I’ve been a proponent of health care reform, whether it’s going to be single payer or universal coverage or something else, something needs to happen,” he said.

He also listed property tax reform as a major task facing the legislature, as well as setting the state budget.

“In the years I’ve been there the budget has always been a problem,” he said. “Over the course of six years, we’ve had to reduce the budget by a couple million dollars. That’s not been easy and it’s not going to get any easier.”

McCullough is running for his seventh term.

A lifelong Williston resident, he co-founded the Catamount Outdoor Family Center and serves as a Justice of the Peace. He is a member of the Williston Historical Society and vice chairman of the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources.

McCullough said he wanted to thank voters for the trust they put in him 12 years ago when he first ran for the House.

“I hope that I have demonstrated a responsibility to that trust,” he said.

“I’m doing a good job and I love it,” he said when asked why he wants to run again. “That good job is not just for the town of Williston, but for the whole state, which every thinking legislator really does.”

Most recently, McCullough has worked to get groundwater preserved as a public trust.

“Now all Vermonters own the groundwater and there are restrictions on how much of it can be used by any one entity or person,” he said.

He also worked on other water quality issues, including a ban on hydraulic fracturing and the Shoreland Protection Act.

More broadly, he has been proud of his work for marriage equality and health care access.

Some of those same issues will be important in the next term, along with ones the legislature has been working on his entire tenure.

“We are today on the precipice of deciding whether or not we can afford to have universal health care, or you might say whether we can afford not to have something different than what we’ve got today.”

The education funding system is also a top issue.

“Twelve years ago, I agreed with people on their front porches that we needed to do something about our education financing program,” he said. “In 12 years, the legislature has not been able to come to grips with it and figure out how to make that work. There is, I believe, now the political will to do that, and I want to be a part of that.”

Voters will have the final say, though not many choices, at the polls on Nov. 4.

Jay Michaud leaving Selectboard

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By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

After nearly four years on the Williston Selectboard and four decades in Williston, Jay Michaud is moving on.

Monday marked his last Selectboard meeting. Michaud, who grew up in Burlington and moved to Williston in 1973, is moving to North Carolina to take on the role of Delta Airlines general manager for the Wilmington International Airport.

“I’ve established deep roots and ties here,” Michaud said. “I’m a native guy, so this is kind of a scary thing for me to leave the state.”

Michaud, formerly Delta’s station manager at the Burlington International Airport, has been commuting to North Carolina since mid-August.

While he said he will miss “everything” about his home state, he’s a little less enthusiastic about Vermont’s winters, making this a good time to move. He’ll be less than 10 miles from two beaches.

“I guess the economics and the climate had a lot to do with it,” he said of his decision to take the North Carolina job.

Selectboard Chairman Terry Macaig said the board has appreciated Michaud’s service.

“He’s been a good asset to us,” Macaig said. “The perspective from his business (experience) is one we might not have had otherwise…. We certainly wish him well in his new endeavors.”

Michaud joined the Selectboard in 2010. After working to start Champlain Valley Union High’s football program and a youth football program and planting more than 500 trees in Burlington, he had a remaining goal—“to serve the greater good,” he said.

“I thought the Selectboard was a good match for me,” he said.

After four years, he’s finally seeing some of the things the board worked for during his tenure come to fruition—grid streets in Taft Corners, bike paths and sidewalk continuations, the new public works facility. Crafting a responsible budget was also a major part of the task, though one Michaud said he enjoyed as “a numbers guy.”

Michaud thanked Williston residents for electing him to the board.

“I am just very humbled that the townsfolk elected me not once but twice,” he said. “I appreciate their support…. What a great opportunity it’s been for me and I hope I served them and represented them well.”

Michaud’s resignation is effective Oct. 31, but his term expires in March. The board opted to not fill the position, waiting for residents to vote in a new candidate at Town Meeting in March. The board could have appointed a candidate, but with advertising and interviews, the position likely would not have been filled until December, right in the middle of budget season, Macaig said.

PHOTOS: Fire Department Open House

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Hannah Daudelin, 5 and her brother, Evan, 2, take a turn at the wheel during the Williston Fire Department’s Open House earlier this month. ‘Evan would go to the fire station every day if we let him,’ said his mother, Jen Daudelin.

Hannah Daudelin, 5 and her brother, Evan, 2, take a turn at the wheel during the Williston Fire Department’s Open House earlier this month. ‘Evan would go to the fire station every day if we let him,’ said his mother, Jen Daudelin.

[Read more...]

POPCORN: “Gone Girl” Gives you a Run for your Money

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4 popcorns

“Gone Girl” Gives you a Run for your Money

4 popcorns

By Michael S. Goldberger

Observer correspondent

 

Even the twists have turns in David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” an extremely well written sleuther about a woman who goes missing. Starring Rosamund Pike as the lady who mysteriously vanishes and Ben Affleck as her flummoxed husband, this film will have you guessing right up until the closing credits and beyond. It’s the thinking person’s whodunit. Not simply content to have you figure out the puzzle, the highly sophisticated thriller also sprinkles the scenario with all sorts of emotionally compelling life issues that demand pondering. Yep, this is a good one. [Read more...]

Everyday Gourmet: Umami bomb

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By Kim Dannies

Always on my to do list is to lose the five stubborn pounds that perpetually come and go, and recently, I did (again). Not to humblebrag, but it was easier this go round. Instead of strictures and restraint, I focused MORE on food, not less. This notion, counter-intuitive to anyone who has ever dieted, came as a revelation to me. The fresh thinking was sparked while reading about chefs who have lost a significant amount of weight while on the job. Much of the advice was simple common sense — portion control, exercise, knock off the booze. [Read more...]

Essex Tech students invite seniors to free service days

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Observer staff report
Center for Technology, Essex students and staff invite those age 60 and older to benefit from their skills on Thursday, Nov. 6 or Friday, Nov. 7. [Read more...]

SAVVY SENIOR: How to do a check up on your hospital

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Dear Savvy Senior,
What resources can you recommend for researching hospitals? I need to get a knee replacement next year and want to find a good, safe hospital to have it done in.
­— Shopping Around

Dear Shopping,
Most people don’t give much thought when it comes to choosing a hospital, but selecting the right one can be as important as the doctor you choose. Here are some tips and resources to help you research and check up on your area hospitals. [Read more...]

Soccer guys face Cougars in regular season wrap

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By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Riding fourth in Division 1 soccer rankings, the Champlain Valley Union High boys soccer team defended the home pitch Wednesday (Observer press time) against a challenge from 7-4-1 Bellows Free Academy of St. Albans.
The 8-3-1 Redhawks needed a victory over the Bobwhites and another at Mount Mansfield Union Saturday morning to clinch at least fourth place in the seedings for postseason play. Mount Mansfield was 3-6-2 entering the week.
The Redhawks can use some scoring punch. [Read more...]

Hawks youth wrestling signups begin

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The Champlain Valley Hawks Youth & Junior High Wrestling Program is signing up athletes for its winter season.
The non-profit program offers wrestling to students from the Hinesburg, Charlotte, Shelburne, St. George and Williston who would like to learn or refine their wrestling skills. The junior high season starts Nov. 18 and signups are underway.
Teams practice out of the United Fighting Arts Institute on Williston Road in South Burlington Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Registration is $75 per child, not including tournament fees.
The Hawks will host an open house on Oct. 22nd at the United Fighting Arts Institute from 6 to 7:30 PM with a sign-up option. Registration is open, the coach can be reached at [email protected] or call 999-4200. For more information, visit www.champlainvalleyhawkswrestling.com or find the program on Facebook.

CVU field hockey out to tank some Tigers

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CVU’s Kate Burke scored Tuesday, her third goal in a week.

CVU’s Kate Burke scored Tuesday, her third goal in a week.

By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent
They bagged visiting Mount Abraham Union for the second time this season 2-0 Tuesday at their Hinesburg nest. Now, the Champlain Valley Union High field hockey Redhawks must get a road victory Thursday over the Middlebury Union High Tigers to assure a number two seeding in the Division 1 playoffs starting next week. [Read more...]