December 22, 2014

Bristol next for girls basketball team


By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

It was happy hooping for the Champlain Valley Union High girls’ basketball quintet at the Spaulding High pre-holidays Tournament in Barre as the two-time defending Division 1 champions opened the new season with a pair of victories, including Monday night’s 44-29 triumph over South Burlington High.

Next up for coach Ute Otley’s combine is a trip to Bristol and 1-0 Mount Abraham Union Friday (7:30 p.m.). [Read more...]

Reiss leads CVU boys hoops into new season

Senior Chris Reiss is one of the Redhawks' three co-captains. (Observer courtesy photo by vtsportsimages)

Senior Chris Reiss is one of the Redhawks’ three co-captains. (Observer courtesy photo by vtsportsimages)

By Mal Boright 

Observer correspondent

Senior Chris Reiss, one of the team’s tri-captains, is optimistic that the Champlain Valley Union High boys’ basketball quintet is on the upswing.

“I am excited for this season,” Reiss said during an interview with the Observer last week. “Unity on the team is better and there is more intensity.” [Read more...]

Slimovitch looks for snow, cold and team unity

Senior Rachel Slimovitch is focusing on Nordic skiing this year. Like skiers everywhere, she is hoping for a little more snow.

Senior Rachel Slimovitch is focusing on Nordic skiing this year. Like skiers everywhere, she is hoping for a little more snow.

By Matt Sutkoski

Observer correspondent

Heaven on Earth for Rachel Slimovitch is a snowbound Nordic ski racing course deep in the Vermont woods.

The Champlain Valley Union High School senior is a must-watch member of the school’s Nordic team this winter. Like all good competitors, she’s in it to win it, but her focus is largely on the simple joy of the sport.

Whether it’s a practice session or a highly competitive race, Slimovitch regards the experience as a pressure relief valve, rather than something that adds stress to her life through the need to win.

“It’s definitely one of my favorite sports,” she said. “After you finish skiing out there with your teammates, you’ve had a blast and all the stresses are gone.”

Slimovitch says her family is outdoorsy and athletic, and she’s participated in numerous sports, including track and field and soccer.

Slimovitch got hooked on Nordic skiing when her older brother was on the CVU team. As her years at CVU went by, the joy of Nordic skiing pretty much turned the sport into an exclusive relationship.

Soccer went by the wayside first. This year, she didn’t compete in track and field. Those competitions led to ailments like shin splints. This year, her last at CVU, she didn’t want such lingering distractions when she’s on the Nordic trails.

Slimovitch knows the goal is to win every race, or at least do as well as possible. But she’s cognizant of the sport’s joyousness, taking the edge off.

“I think it’s a different type of pressure. The goal is to have fun and to have a good time,” she said. “I like racing. I wouldn’t say it’s pressure at all.”

This is something of a rebuilding year on the CVU Nordic women’s team. A bevy of talented seniors last year led both the boys and girls CVU Nordic teams to state championships for the second year in a row.

“We definitely had some depth to the team,” she said.

This year, Slimovitch said she’s enjoyed seeing incoming freshmen and sophomores who just got into the sport last year blossom.

The atmosphere on the team helps the racers grow and build on their strengths.

“It’s a really big team and really inclusive,” Slimovitch said. “The coaches are awesome. That’s a big reason why I like Nordic skiing.”

Slimovitch thinks it’s probably pretty tough to coach a team that is so big, but the coaches do well and make the group welcoming.

“That’s why we end up doing so well, because we genuinely like doing it.”

Coach Sarah Strack said the coaches always promote the joy of skiing and competition.

“We stress pushing yourself to be the best you can be for yourself and for your team,” she said. “We celebrate our individual successes and our teammates’ success equally.”

“Rachel is completely on board with this,” Strack added. “I meet with skiers at the beginning of the season to discuss individual and team goals. When asked about team goals, every kid talked about more inclusion and how to make every member of our team feel included. Winning States was not mentioned. Being a team and working together was what the kids wanted as their team goal.”

On a recent gloomy Friday afternoon, the Nordic team, faced with a lack of snow, ran drills at the CVU track and field area. The students jogged for certain lengths, then broke into all out sprints, slowed to a jog, sprinted again and repeated the process over and over.

It’s impossible to read minds, of course, but each team member seemed to at least tolerate the drills, if not embrace them as being good for their competitiveness. Slimovitch, staying amidst the largest pack of runners—her friends, obviously—seemed blissful, even as she broke into fast sprints.

Still, there was an element of frustration. Like most winter sports enthusiasts, Slimovitch was impatient for decent snow.

The team often trains at Sleepy Hollow in Huntington, an inn and winter resort with extensive Nordic trails and a short loop where inn owners make snow when Mother Nature comes up short.

That limited amount of snow during pre-season can be trying.

“It’s great when there’s enough snow. When there’s only 600 meters of snow with 80 kids, it can be kind of tough.”

Being in the Northeast, the snow doesn’t always cooperate. Even when there is a lot of snow, a race on a thawing day can mean the snow is frustratingly sticky. “It’s hard to get a kick when it’s like that,” she said.

She dreams of those perfect ski days. The ones when the sky is shockingly blue, packed powder on the ground is measured in feet, not inches, and the temperature hovers at a wonderfully brisk 20 degrees.

Slimovitch says people her age who don’t embrace the outdoors, even the cold outdoors of a Vermont winter, are missing out.

“I don’t know how that’s possible. I love going out,” she said.

Police Notes


Multiple charges

Jason A. Dominy, 32, of Milton was arrested on an outstanding warrant on Nov. 29 after police stopped the vehicle in which he was a passenger for a “loud exhaust leak,” according to police reports. Dominy had “a used needle, some empty heroin bags, etc.,” the report states. He was also cited for unlawful trespass, according to the report. He was taken to Chittenden County Correctional Center.

Driving under the influence

Brian R. Mahoney, 45, of Essex Jct. was cited on a charge of driving under the influence on Nov. 26, according to police reports. His blood alcohol concentration was .128, the report notes. The legal limit for driving in Vermont is .08. He was cited to appear in court. [Read more...]

CVU, Rice release first quarter honor rolls


CVU, Rice release first quarter honor rolls

The following students were named to Champlain Valley Union High School’s honor roll for the first quarter.

High Honors

Megan J. Ammon, Casey J. Ammon, Aliza C. Anderson, Isabelle M. Angstman, Kyla L. Antonioli, Chiara J. Antonioli, Benjamin T. Apfelbaum, Renee L. Benoit, Samara G. Bissonette, Max H. Brown, Julia E. Bryant, Jade A. Byrne, Natalie F. Casson, Delan S. Chen, Alec J. Collins, Maddie I. Collins, Lily M. Cote, Julia C. Cronan, Amanda V. Daniels, Jacqueline R. Davies, Rebecca M. DeCamp, Katherine M. Dempsey, Molly C. Duncan, Brigitte N. Durieux, Laura A. Durkee, Eliza L. Fehrs, Caleb M. Geffken, Sarah E. Gelin, Katherine E. Gingras, Gregory H. Goldman, Jeffrey M. Goldman, Matthew R. Goldsborough, [Read more...]

Around Town


Brick Church concert Dec. 12

Grammy-nominated flutist Karen Kevra and Vermont-based harpist Rebecca Kauffman will perform holiday-themed music in the next installment of the Brick Church Music Series on Dec. 12. Attendees can also chime in during a community sing-a-long.

The concert’s proceeds will benefit the Children’s Advocacy Center.

The event’s featured visual artist will be Williston resident Phil Laughlin. He will present an art show titled “On My Way,” turning ordinary settings into extraordinary visual subjects.

The music begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 dollars in advance and $14 at the door; for seniors it is $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Children under six get in for free. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at and at the Williston Town Hall. [Read more...]

Library Notes


Does your employer offer directed giving or a matching gift program? The library is raising money for a new bookmobile. Donations are tax-deductible. Contact Marti Fiske at the library if you need more information.

Holiday hours

The library will be closed Dec. 24, 25 and Jan. 1. It will close at 3 p.m. on Dec. 31. [Read more...]

Letter to the Editor


Caregivers: our silent army

Every day, a remarkable group of Vermonters performs a great labor of love: caring for aging parents, spouses, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and friends so they can remain in their homes. They are on duty 24/7, and often cannot take a break. Yet they wouldn’t have it any other way. These caregivers are truly unsung heroes. [Read more...]

Real property tax relief


By Gov. Peter Shumlin

This week, we released an estimate that property taxes used to pay for public school education will increase once again this year to pay for a projected increase in school spending. While this year’s projected property tax increase of around 2 cents is half of last year’s, it is hardly good news. We all know that rising property taxes to fund education have put an unsustainable burden on Vermonters. Despite a steady decline in school enrollment over the last two decades, property tax payers have not seen a decline in their property taxes; they’ve seen the opposite. But while rising property taxes are one clear indication of the higher cost of education in Vermont, they are only the most visible aspect of the money Vermonters spend on our public education system. [Read more...]

Williston schools request support programs, staff


By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Supportive programs and staff took center stage at the last Williston School District budget meeting.

Williston School District administration presented its requests for additions to the budget on Dec. 4. Board members and budget buddies—community members providing input to the board—will rank the additions they see as most important. From there, the board will decide what, if any, items to add to or cut from the baseline. [Read more...]