November 23, 2014

Letters to the Editor


Thank you
Thank you to the 3,158 voters in Williston who did their civic duty. We appreciate the votes we received as state representatives and pledge to represent you to the best of our abilities for the next two years. Although we were unopposed for re-election, we visited about 2,100 houses and spoke to many of you about your and our, concerns. We will do our best to address them. Politics is a participation sport. Please contact us with your ideas and support, or opposition to, proposed legislation.
— Representatives Jim McCullough, [email protected] and Terry Macaig, [email protected] [Read more...]

What’s in a name? An integrated health care network


By Howard Schapiro, MD

The University of Vermont Health Network—formerly Fletcher Allen Partners—recently got a new name and a new look and feel. The University of Vermont Medical Center (formerly Fletcher Allen Health Care) and the UVM Health Network’s other three hospitals—Central Vermont Medical Center, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital and Elizabethtown Hospital—have also changed their names to more clearly reflect their relationship. Why is this important, or even necessary? It matters because this change marks a significant step in the evolution of health care delivery in Vermont and northern New York. [Read more...]

Stipends for dual enrollment students


Vermont Student Assistance Corp. is reminding juniors and seniors that there is a $150 stipend available to eligible students who plan to take a dual enrollment course next semester.
The stipends help eligible high school students cover the costs of books, fees and travel associated with dual enrollment courses. Students who plan to take a dual enrollment class, are eligible for free- and reduced-price lunch and need additional financial assistance to cover the costs of books, fees or travel, will be automatically considered for an annual stipend. Funds are limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Vermont’s dual enrollment program allows high school students to take two college courses tuition-free while still in high school. Dual enrollment courses are offered on college campuses, online or on-site at a participating high school.
For more information on the dual enrollment program and obtaining a voucher, visit or email Marcia Corey at [email protected]

CVU to host presentation on state mandates


Observer staff report
Champlain Valley Union High School is hosting an information night on Thursday, Nov. 13 for parents and community members who have questions about how the school is addressing the state mandates for Personalized Learning Plans and standards-based graduation requirements.
Principal Jeff Evans and special speaker Rick Wormeli—a nationally recognized educator known for his teaching innovations, powerful presentations and thoughtful writing on educational practices—will provide the presentation at CVU from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in room 160. No RSVP required.

Young Writers Project: Write a Letter


Young Writers Project: Write a Letter
Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages Vermont and New Hampshire students to write, helps them improve and connects them with authentic audiences in newspapers, before live audiences and on web sites,,, and Young Writers Project also publishes a monthly digital magazine, The Voice. YWP is supported by this newspaper and foundations, businesses and individuals who recognize the power and value of writing. If you would like to donate to YWP, go to
This week’s prompt: “Letter: Write a letter to someone to say thanks for something special they do – or for everything. Or write to describe a special person in your life.” [Read more...]

Around Town


NEFCU hosts sock drop
New England Federal Credit Union is collecting socks as part of its annual Sock Drop during the month of November. The Sock Drop’s goal is to collect warm socks that can aid the Community Health Centers of Burlington patients, primarily the homeless in the Burlington area, during Vermont’s long, cold winters.
“NEFCU’s Sock Drop has continually played a huge role in the care we provide to the community,” noted Kim Anderson, CHCB development manager. “CHCB offers the only homeless health care program in the state and these types of donations directly affect the health of our most vulnerable patients.” [Read more...]

Friday’s Brick Church concert to benefit food shelf


Patti Casey (above) and Colin McCaffrey will perform Friday at the Old Brick Church, the second concert in the Brick Church Music Series.

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff
Popular local musicians Patti Casey and Colin McCaffrey will take the stage Friday for the next concert in the Brick Church Music Series.
Bluegrass performer and songwriter Casey has performed on “A Prairie Home Companion” and has won multiple songwriting awards.
McCaffrey is a songwriter, performer and teacher. [Read more...]

Uncoding how Vermonters choose to spend last days


By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff

Most Vermonters say they would rather spend the last days of their lives in their own homes, surrounded by loved ones and familiar comfort.
Despite that preference, Vermont has the third lowest rate of hospice utilization in the country, followed only by New York and Alaska, according to the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care. Only 30 percent of Vermonters receive hospice care at the end of their lives.
Vermont’s Visiting Nurse Association is trying to find out why such a small percentage of Vermonters uses hospice care at the end of their lives. It recently launched a new statewide study commissioned by the VNA Madison-Deane Initiative.
The study will try to determine what is holding Vermonters back from using hospice care, as well as shed light on how the VNA can increase utilization and improve the quality of end-of-life care in Vermont. [Read more...]

Local legislators weigh in on vote, look to future


By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff

After an unexpectedly close governor’s race that is still not completely settled, Williston legislators are getting ready to focus on the priorities of the people they represent.
According to official results, finalized Wednesday, Gov. Peter Shumlin was ahead of Scott Milne by more than 2,400 votes. Since no candidate secured 50 percent of the vote, the state legislature will elect the next governor by secret ballot when it convenes in January.
Though Shumlin declared victory, Milne had yet to concede by the Observer’s press deadline on Wednesday afternoon, though he decided against a recount.
“It’s clear that 54 percent of Vermonters want a new Governor, and a new path forward,” Milne said in a statement after the vote. [Read more...]

PHOTOS: CVU Field Hockey vs. Essex

Senior tri-captain Katherine King stays ahead of her Essex defender during Saturday’s championship game.

Senior tri-captain Katherine King stays ahead of her Essex defender during Saturday’s championship game. (Observer photos by Al Frey)

[Read more...]