May 25, 2015

Williston Recreation & Parks News


Track and Field Program
After several successful seasons, the Track & Field program will continue its affiliation with the Parisi Speed School. Also back for another season is Coach Tova Tomasi. Participants will learn the basics of running, jumping, throwing and relays. There will be a state meet in August, as well as dual meets with other recreation departments. Practices are held at CVU High School. This program is for 7-15 year olds as of Dec. 31, 2015. Mondays and Wednesdays, 6:15-7:45 p.m. June 17- July 25, $45 per person.

July fourth Celebration
The theme for this year’s July Fourth celebration is “Community Begins Here.” The two-day celebration will begin on Friday, July 3 with the library book sale, ice cream social and the town band concert. On July 4, festivities include the parade at 10 a.m., followed by activities and vendors on the village green, the library book sale and the frog jumping contest. There will be music, activities and fireworks on Saturday night. If you or your group would like to be in the parade, be a vendor or would like to offer an activity, visit for details on how to register.We ask that everyone register this year, so that we can plan for those that are participating.
The Recreation Department is looking for July Fourth Parade grand marshal nominees. If you know of someone, email [email protected] the reason you think they should be grand marshal and their contact information.

Summer Sports Camps
The Recreation Department will offer a variety of sports camps this summer. The lineup includes camps in tennis, field hockey, basketball, flag football, lacrosse, rugby, baseball and soccer. Camp offerings vary in grades from K-8. Visit for more information.

Summer Trips
Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles
Thursday, June 25. $79 per person. All ages. Afternoon game, 1:35 p.m. start at Fenway Park. A Premier Coach bus will leave Williston around 8:20 a.m. and return around 9:15 p.m. Seats are in section 2, rows 12-15, seats 1-14. There are a limited number of seats, so register today. Price includes bus fare and ticket to the game.

Saratoga Racetrack
Thursday, Aug.13. $77 per person. Ages 50+. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Join us and other area recreation departments for an exciting day at the racetrack. We will board a Premier Coach bus for the journey to New York, stopping for lunch at Maestro’s in the heart of Saratoga Springs before making our way to the historic racetrack with reserved seating and program at the track. Come meet new people and enjoy a day at the track. Price includes transportation by coach bus, lunch reserved seating and program at racetrack.

To learn more about the Williston Recreation and Parks Department, visit or email [email protected]

Artsy stormwater management: I-89 northbound rest stop gets new rain barrel


By Betsy Tharpe

Those passing through Williston on Interstate 89 can expect some stormwater education with an artistic flair at the northbound rest stop.
Last Thursday, Lake Champlain Sea Grant (LCSG) Program Director Breck Bowden and Williston Stormwater Coordinator James Sherrard installed a new rain barrel to collect roof runoff from the I-89 rest area roof. The barrel will store stormwater from the roof during rain events to be used for irrigating landscaping during dry periods — reducing runoff to local streams and conserving potable water.
In 2009, LCSG partnered with the Vermont Agency of Transportation, The Lake Champlain Basin Program, the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District and others to install rain gardens, a rain barrel and educational stormwater signage at the rest area. The installations aim to capture runoff from the building and walking path’s impervious surfaces, restoring pre-development water flows and reducing the harmful effects of stormwater on area streams and ponds. After years of high use, the rain barrel on site was in need of replacing. Sea Grant contacted local artist Tara Goreau, who painted a new barrel with a playful depiction of Lake Champlain, the Green Mountains and the farms and streams that dot the landscape. If you look closely, you may spot Champ on the barrel, too.
The Town of Williston has instituted significant changes to address the impacts of stormwater runoff this year, most notably the establishment of a townwide stormwater program to manage the town’s stormwater infrastructure and help meet state permit requirements. Williston’s Stormwater Coordinator James Sherrard notes, “Like many growing municipalities, portions of Williston are experiencing higher stormwater runoff volumes as a result of increased development. This higher flow leads to increased pollutant loading, localized stream channel degradation and land erosion. Mitigating the impacts of development on our waterways has become a central focus for Vermonters as the health of the tributaries in our cities and towns directly impact the overall water quality of valued natural resources, such as Lake Champlain.”
Installing rain barrels and rain gardens to capture stormwater flow from residential rooftops and driveways are small efforts that can add up when implemented across a landscape, according to Sherrard.
Lake Champlain Sea Grant Program Director Breck Bowden says that even though rain barrels are small, they can make a big difference. “In a quarter inch rain event, one rain barrel can capture runoff from 350 square feet of roof. If rain barrels are installed at every downspout of a residential home, that can translate into total runoff capture in these smaller rain events — and that’s good for the aquatic environment.”
The Lake Champlain Sea Grant program funds scientific research in the Lake Champlain Basin and offers watershed education to K-12 students, adults, professional groups and municipalities.
This year, Williston is hosting the third annual “Connecting the Drops” rain barrel exhibit. In partnership with the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District, the Chittenden County Regional Stormwater Education Program and Lake Champlain Sea Grant, Williston will display seven hand-painted rain barrels courtesy of local artists. They will be installed in the Williston Community Park with accompanying panels depicting the Kids Vermont Stormwater Story – an illustrated tale of how rain water becomes stormwater and what each of us can do to reduce the flow. The barrels and story will be on display until July 3, when lucky winners will be selected at the Town’s Fire Cracker Fun Run and ice cream social event. To learn more and to sign up for a chance to win one of the painted rain barrels, visit:
Becky Tharp is the land use planning & water quality educator for Lake Champlain Sea Grant at the University of Vermont.

Getting to the ROOTS

Above, middle school students to learn how solar power and water can power vehicles.

Above, middle school students to learn how solar power and water can power vehicles.

Champlain College reaches out to middle school students with science and technology program
More than 110 middle school students from six schools, including Williston Central School, attended a daylong science and technology event at Champlain College on Friday. The Reaching Out On Technology & Science (ROOTS) program is sponsored by the Champlain College Division of Information Technology and Science, with college professors leading workshops for students in areas ranging from website design to mobile forensics to cryptography and game design.

Lawmakers adjourn tough, unprecedented session


By Anne Galloway
For Vermont Digger

“It’s finally over.”
Rep. Brian Savage, R-Swanton, summed up the way many lawmakers felt about the legislative session, which adjourned a little after 11 p.m. Saturday.
Legislators couldn’t leave the House chamber fast enough. By the time the House Speaker and the governor made final remarks, about a third of the seats were empty.
The 73rd biennium began with an unprecedented (in modern times) legislative vote for governor and ended with the first arrest of a lawmaker on Statehouse grounds for alleged sexual assaults.
In the Senate and the House, lawmakers forged a compromise education reform plan that will force small school districts to join forces and share resources. Property tax relief could take several years.
Lawmakers passed child protection measures, a same day voter registration bill, controversial childhood vaccine requirements, restrictions on gun ownership and renewable energy targets.
They took on funding for a water cleanup bill, and at the governor’s behest they attempted to address the health care premium cost shift before they realized they couldn’t raise the money to pay for it.
Shumlin and the Legislature were faced with a structural budget and tax problem that has resulted in a spending and revenue gap that has widened over a seven-year period.
Lawmakers made $53 million worth of cuts in state spending and raised $35 million in new taxes. At the end of the session, legislators learned that they will face yet another $50 million to $70 million budget gap.
As senators listened to the governor’s closing remarks on Saturday night, the tone was muted. Several sat with their arms crossed, and there was no applause during the speech when Shumlin paused. In the House, clapping was spurred by the governor’s staff.
Even the speeches lawmakers gave thanking each other were lifeless.
They were just ready to go home, several legislators said.

Local groups to march in Memorial Day parade


Observer staff report

Williston residents can head one town over to take part in the annual Essex Memorial Day festivities.
Several town groups plan to join the parade—the Williston Fire Department, Williston Jazzercize and the Williston Wheezers.
Essex Memorial Day events begin Friday with a 7:30 p.m. service at the First Congregational Church in Essex, followed by an 8:30 p.m. candlelight vigil at Veterans Memorial Park in Five Corners.
The parade, set for Saturday, begins at 10 a.m., preceded by a 9:30 service at Veterans Memorial Park.
The parade begins at gate F of the Champlain Valley Exposition and runs along Route 2A South to Essex Junction’s Five Corners before heading down Pearl Street and back to the Exposition grounds.
At noon, there will be a chicken barbeque at VFW Post 6689, located at 73 Pearl Street.

For more information, visit

Town approves partial settlement with Churchview Estates developer


By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff

The Selectboard on Monday approved a partial settlement with the developer of Churchview Estates after years of unaddressed zoning violations and neighborhood complaints.
The settlement would allow Churchview Estates LLC to sell two completed units while requiring the developer to set aside money from the sale to complete road paving, sidewalks and landscaping.
Due to zoning violations, the town had denied applications for the permits required for developer Rene Thibault to complete several units. Two units are finished, but need a final town inspection before they can be sold. Two other duplex units are in various stages of construction.
Last year, Planning and Zoning Director Ken Belliveau issued notices of zoning violations, the most serious of which was that there was no financial security to ensure the completion of road and landscaping work, a requirement.
“The notices of zoning violation cited the appellant for multiple violations of the conditions of approval for the development of this site including failure to maintain an active suitable letter of credit or escrow agreement guaranteeing the completion of all of the required public and private improvements (the original had expired), and the construction of two duplex buildings without the issuance of valid administrative permits,” Belliveau wrote in a memo to the Selectboard.
In December, the DRB upheld Belliveau’s decision to issue the violations. Thibault is appealing the DRB’s decision before the Vermont Superior Court.
The violations were not the first on the property. The developer had already received a notice of zoning violation in July 2013 for “improper storage of construction materials and equipment,” according to the memo.
While the settlement would allow the two finished units to be sold, it does not change the permit status of the unfinished duplexes, and the litigation will likely continue.
During a May 4 Selectboard meeting, Churchview Estates homeowners shared a lengthy list of complaints about their experiences with the developer.
Some of them were neighborhood concerns—including the lack of homeowner association meetings or homeowners on the association board, cracked sidewalks and incomplete and substandard landscaping. Others reiterated town zoning issues—lack of financial security and improper storage of construction equipment.
While homeowners said they generally agreed with the settlement as a way to move forward, they also pushed for stronger terms that address concerns of the residents and require work to be completed.
On May 18, the Selectboard authorized the town manager to sign an agreement with Thibault that would require $50,000 be put in an escrow account to complete the infrastructure of the development. It also required Thibault to remove and properly dispose of construction debris.

A weekend of fine arts: Annual Open Studio Weekend May 23-24

Contributed image Nancy Stone’s watercolor ‘Loon’ will be one of the pieces on display at her Williston studio during the upcoming Open Studio Weekend.

Contributed image
Nancy Stone’s watercolor ‘Loon’ will be one of the pieces on display at her Williston studio during the upcoming Open Studio Weekend.

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff
Hundreds of artists are throwing their studio doors open to the public during the 23rd annual Open Studio Weekend, set for May 23 and 24.
Bright yellow signs lead the way to the studios of glassblowers, jewelers, printmakers, potters, furniture makers, weavers, ironworkers, painters, sculptors, quilt makers and wood carvers. Many galleries will host gallery talks and feature special exhibits in conjunction with this event.
“Open Studio Weekend is a statewide celebration of the visual arts and creative process, offering a unique opportunity for visitors to meet a wide variety of artists and craftspeople in their studios, some of which are only open to the public during this event,” according to a press release.
Williston artist Nancy Stone will participate in this year’s event.
Located at 294 Old Creamery Road, Stone’s studio will display boldly colored paintings, collage, hand-made books and cards.
“Unlike visiting a gallery or museum, when people visit an artist’s studio, they hear personal stories and learn about the techniques, adding much more depth to the creation process. When artisans open their studios to the public, they get feedback, meet neighbors, and articulate their inspiration. Everybody wins!” Stone wrote in an email to the Observer.
To see all participating artists, visit or call 223-3380. The Vermont Crafts Council also publishes a free map booklet with directions to participating sites.

Group seeks Williston medical marijuana dispensary


By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff

A group is eyeing Williston for a potential medical marijuana dispensary site.
A group called Rutland County Organics—which operates a dispensary in Brandon—submitted an application to the Williston planning office on May 15 to open a medical marijuana dispensary in town.
Under current state law, up to four dispensaries can operate in Vermont at any one time. There are already four dispensaries in the state, located in Burlington, Montpelier, Brandon and Brattleboro. Rutland County Organics’ license allows it to open a second location, said Alexandra Ford of Rutland County Organics.
Ford said she looked at a Williston location because there are more patients living in northern Vermont.
The proposed dispensary, called Grassroots Vermont, would be located at 4540 Williston Road near the South Burlington town line, just west of Industrial Avenue.
The group is set to appear before the Development Review Board on June 23 for a public discretionary permit hearing—one of the town’s requirements for medical marijuana dispensaries.
The dispensary would be limited to one patient at a time, by appointment only. It would be open only to patients with a state issued identification card and patient caregivers with state issued ID. Chittenden County has 336 registered patients, according to the Vermont Department of Public Safety.
Marijuana could only be taken from the site in a secure lock box, as required by the state.
In 2013, after months of discussion, the town set parameters for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Dispensaries must follow the restrictive state guidelines, and state law allowed towns to further restrict the dispensaries or prohibit them completely. While Williston opted to allow dispensaries, it did set additional guidelines.
Williston allows medical marijuana dispensaries in a small section of town—the industrial zoning district west, which is located on the northwestern edge of town and accommodates industrial and some commercial uses.
The dispensaries cannot be located within 1,000 feet of a daycare or 2,000 feet of a school, among other regulations. Williston also decided to restrict allowed hours of operation—between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays—and signs may not include any non-letter graphics.
State guidelines already require that dispensaries be inspected at least once a year by authorities, and that authorities have the right to spontaneously inspect the premises at any time.
Williston also requires a security plan to be submitted as part of the application. Grassroots Vermont’s security plan includes monitoring by a security firm, video surveillance, shatterproof windows and secure after-hour product storage.
Typically, a new business moving into a commercially zoned spot would not require a hearing if the owners did not intend to make significant changes. However, the town wanted to make sure residents would be aware of a potential medical marijuana dispensary by using a publicly held approval process.

CVU pitchers hurl two straight no-hitters

Observer photo by Al Frey It was a race for the bag during CVU’s win against Burlington High School last Friday. For more photos, visit the Web Extras section at

Observer photo by Al Frey
It was a race for the bag during CVU’s win against Burlington High School last Friday. For more photos, visit the Web Extras section at

Road games next for 11-1 Redhawks
By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

A trip to St. Albans and always challenging Bellows Free Academy Thursday and a Saturday morning eye opener at 9-2 Milton High are in the immediate future for the Champlain Valley Union baseball Redhawks.
The 11-1 Redhawks will be out to extend a rare pitching streak of two straight no-hit  performances, the latest a five-inning masterful perfect game hurled Tuesday by Will Potter in a 12-0 home victory over Middlebury Union halted after five frames.
This gem came just days after Rayne Supple blanked Burlington High 8-0 with a no-hitter Friday.
Potter’s workday was 15 Tiger batters up and 15 down. He struck out eight of those swingers.
“He had all his pitches working,” said CVU coach Tim Albertson. “He mixed them up very well, keeping their hitters off balance.”
But not by flinging alone did Potter make his day. He was a bruiser in the batting box, going three-for-three and driving in two runs. Kyle Hinsdale, Shea Ireland and Deagan Poland had two hits and two RBIs each.
Friday, Supple, the Rapid One, befogged the Seahorses with a seven-inning gem. In his masterpiece, Supple fanned 11 batters while walking six.
“I felt good,” Supple said after the game, noting that he got stronger as the contest went on.
Using mostly mitt-popping fast balls mixed with occasional slithering curves, Supple controlled the BHS batters so that only three balls were lofted to the outfield.
The only near hit came in the sixth inning when Burlington leadoff batter Jack Lenihan slapped a wrong-field humpbacked fly close to the right field foul line that CVU’s Jack Dugan snared with a well-timed dive.
While unwilling to use the old bromide, “I had it all the way,” Dugan did say he had a good look and was able to time his productive dive and reach.
Supple then whiffed four of the last six batters, getting the final out on a soft grounder to third baseman Sam Mikell.
Burlington was ouch-for-21 at the plate. The Seahorses had something going only in the first inning, when Supple issued a pair of walks around two strikeouts, but emerged unscathed after a ground out to third.
Mikell, the Swat Man, went three-for-three at the plate. He smacked a double and two singles and drove home three runs. Poland also bashed three hits and opened the Redhawks’ three run first inning with a leadoff two-bagger.
Supple rapped a pair of singles and drove in a run. Catcher Shea Ireland helped his battery mate with two singles and a walk.
In last Thursday’s 9-1 victory over visiting Missisquoi Valley Union, Potter collected three hits and drove home three runs. Dugan stroked a pair of hits and had a ribbie.
Beneficiary of the whacking was winning slinger Andrew Bortnick, who worked four frames and allowed the Thunderbirds just three hits.
The no-hitters were the second and third for CVU this season. Mikell and Thomas Stevens combined for a gem in a 17-1 triumph at Spaulding High in Barre.

PHOTOS: CVU Girls Lacrosse vs. Bellows Free Academy



Photo by Al Frey CVU junior Caroline Hern potted a pair of goals and passed for two assists in a win over Essex on Saturday.

Photo by Al Frey
CVU junior Caroline Hern potted a pair of goals and passed for two assists in a win over Essex on Saturday.

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