August 23, 2014

Essex-CVU legion champs bow out of New Englands


By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Helped by at least three former Champlain Valley Union High players in its run to the Vermont State Championship, the Essex American Legion baseball team lost an elimination game, 4-3, to Bangor, Maine Saturday at the New England Regionals in Middletown, Conn.
The Vermont champions had a 1-2 record in the annual event.
Essex did not go easily. Bangor took a 3-1 lead into the top of the ninth when Essex tied it. But the Mainers pushed over a run in the bottom of the frame to advance.
After losing 4-2 to host Middletown on Thursday, Essex bounced back Friday with a 7-5 victory over Dover, N.H. after grabbing an early 5-0 lead.
Davis Mikell pitched a five-hit, eight-strikeout game in the opening loss and also cracked a pair of hits to drive home a run.
During the season, Mikell batted .366 with three homers and 28 RBIs. He also had a 6-1 record with an 0.84 earned run average on the mound.
Fellow former CVU player Hayden Smith had a .364 batting average and Deagan Poland was also a standout.
Essex completed the campaign with a 28-11 record.

NESN appearance for Little Leaguers


By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

The Williston Little Leaguers (ages 11 and 12) are back home after going 1-3 in the New England Regional Tournament last week in Bristol, Conn.
Coach Paul Angstman’s charges bowed out of the event last Wednesday with an 8-5 loss to Bangor, Maine, a game televised on the New England Sports Network (NESN), the Boston Red Sox channel.
The game had high drama.
Williston trailed 4-0 when Aiden Johnson crushed a three-run homer over the fence in center to bring the locals within a run of Bangor.
“That home was nearly 300 feet,” said Angstman in an e-mail. He said the ball went over the scoreboard, which was 25 feet beyond the fence.
But Bangor pushed over four runs in the bottom of the inning and a two-run rally by Williston in the final frame fell short.
Along with Johnson, Angstman said Jonah Roberts and Griffin McDermott “hit consistently well the entire tournament.”
He credited pitcher Ben Herskowitz for “keeping us in the (final) game.”
The coach praised the work of Jim Neidlinger’s clinics at Bases Loaded and son Nick, his assistant.

Public Safety


Annual Rabies Bait Drop
Eighteen of the 31 animals that have tested positive for rabies so far this year have been in the state’s most populated region, Chittenden County. The 18th Annual Rabies Bait Drop will take place (weather permitting) Aug. 11-18, targeting eight Vermont counties, including all of Chittenden County, to help stop the spread of the potentially fatal viral disease.
Baits will be dropped into rural parts of Vermont, primarily across the northern region along the Canadian border, from low-flying planes for two days. Hand placed baits will be distributed in urban areas as part of a nationally coordinated effort led by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services (USDA).
One reason so many cases are being detected in Chittenden County, said State Public Health Veterinarian Robert Johnson, is that police in Burlington and South Burlington are doing a good job of capturing animals that are acting strangely and making sure they are tested.
“The USDA may increase the dose of vaccine in the baits this year due to the number of cases in densely populated areas,” Johnson said.
The Health Department expects no adverse health effects for people (including children) or pets that may come into contact with the baits and vaccine. The bait cannot cause rabies, but people should keep their dogs on a leash during the bait drop period.
Anyone who finds the bait should leave it untouched, unless it is discovered on a lawn or driveway. Remove the bait with a glove and wash your hands with soap and water.
The sweet-scented baits are slightly larger than a quarter and come in blister packs covered by a dark green waxy coating.
Rabies is a fatal viral disease found mainly in raccoons, foxes, bats and skunks that can infect domestic animals and people, as well. The virus can spread through the bite, or contact with saliva, from an infected animal. Rabies vaccine – if given soon after a human is bitten by a rabid animal – is highly effective. Once the signs and symptoms of rabies start to appear, there is no treatment and the disease is almost always fatal.
Avoid any animal that shows strange behavior. Do not try to trap or capture the animal, but instead call the state’s Rabies Hotline at 1-800-472-2437 (1-800-4-RABIES), or in-state 802-223-8697.
For more information, visit

First Detection of West Nile Virus in Vermont
The Vermont Department of Health has announced that mosquitoes in St. Albans City have tested positive for West Nile virus. The mosquitoes collected from a pool on July 29 were Culex species – the primary species responsible for spreading West Nile virus. Late summer is when the risk of human cases is highest.
“The first detection this summer is a reminder that West Nile virus is around – and Eastern Equine Encephalitis probably is too – and people should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites,” said Patsy Kelso, state epidemiologist for infectious disease.
Twenty-eight of 1,328 mosquito pools tested positive for West Nile virus in 2013. The Health Department confirmed one human case of a West Nile virus infection last year in a Lamoille County resident, who recovered.
Symptoms of West Nile virus are often mild, but can include high fever. Approximately 1 percent of people who are infected develop severe illness affecting the central nervous system, such as encephalitis or meningitis, which can be fatal.
The Health Department recommends that people take the following precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
Wear long sleeves and pants and avoid outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are active.
Reduce mosquito breeding habitats by getting rid of standing water, and by draining areas where water can pool such as rain gutters, wading pools and old tires.
Use repellents containing no more than 30 percent DEET for adults and no more than 10 percent for children age 3 and older.
Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.

911 outage caused by equipment failure
The statewide emergency 911 system in Vermont experienced a 40 minute outage on Aug. 6. During that period, callers seeking emergency assistance in Vermont were not able to reach the 911 call centers. The system failure was corrected and the system has been fully operational since the outage was resolved around 1 p.m.
The 911 system in Vermont is a fully hosted system provided by Intrado, based in Longmont, Colorado. In a statement from Intrado regarding the reason for outage, Intrado Senior Vice President Steve Lowe said, “Intrado goes to great lengths to design networks with multiple layers of redundancy. On August 6, 2014 we experienced a double equipment failure in our network. During system restoration, we discovered another error that caused the network to be temporarily unavailable.”

HGTV’s ‘Room Crashers’ star to appear at Vermont Fall Home Show

Todd Davis works on a design during the week 3 challenge, as seen on HGTV Design Star. (Observer courtesy photo)

Todd Davis works on a design during the week 3 challenge, as seen on HGTV Design Star. (Observer courtesy photo)

The Vermont Fall Home Show in September promises the most up-to-date information on products and services for your home.

“You can learn about the latest design and remodeling trends from industry experts and explore innovative ideas for every area of your home,” said show producer Paul Apfelbaum.

In addition to a wide variety of exhibitors, HGTV star Todd Davis, host of the hit show “Room Crashers,” is flying in from California to present “Lifestyle/Design Style” 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.
The Vermont Fall Home Show will be held Saturday, Sept. 20 from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 21 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the Sheraton Burlington Hotel & Conference Center in South Burlington. Admission is free, with a suggested donation to benefit Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity.
For more information, contact Paul Apfelbaum at 872-9000 x11 or [email protected] or visit
The show is produced by Williston Publishing & Promotions, which also publishes the Williston Observer.

Little Details: Lessons for the living


By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

Australian writer Bronnie Ware spent years tending to hospice patients. Caring for the dying extends beyond administering palliatives and checking vital signs. Caring for the dying is about keeping vigil, bearing witness to the parting thoughts, words and deeds of people facing their final stop on the continuum of life.
Ware enumerates the lessons, small wisdoms imparted by the terminally ill in her book, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.” I’ll resist the temptation to detail all five here, focusing instead on the one that has been bouncing around my brain for weeks: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
What does that mean? To me, it’s about living an authentic life. In Polish, this is zycie autentyczne. In French this is une vie authentique. Authentic refers to being genuine, to being real. It’s the opposite of fake. This is no room for an imposter in a life lived deliberately.
When I consider likely ingredients of an authentic life, the following thoughts come to mind: how you spend your time; who you spend your time with; and what risks you are willing to take…to be happy.
Time is finite and fleeting. None of us knows exactly how many grains of sand remain in our personal hourglass. Reading obituaries as I often do, I discover vignettes depicting lives, some lived in length, others in brevity. I’d argue that one should always aim for depth given the uncertainties of length.
Living deeply is living thoughtfully and deliberately. It’s not simply allowing waves of time to gently wash over and sometimes thrash. It’s about seizing the sail, riding the current towards a destination you define. It’s about not yielding to fears and criticisms of those who doubt you. They are simply projecting frustrations at their inability to be true to themselves.
Destination may be a place, an aspiration or a bona fide adventure. Destination may be the journey itself, a way of living.
Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes, in his work, “Harlem,” asks “What happens to a dream deferred?”  Let’s just say his eloquent response isn’t pretty. The poem is well worth a Google search.
Who you spend your time with significantly impacts quality of life. I get it. We all have to spend some time with people who aren’t particularly affirming. These may be family members, co-workers, roommates and folks I refer to as “pseudo-friends.” Pseudo-friends may appear friendly in a superficial sort of way, but they are more likely to undermine your dreams than encourage them.
I once attended a speech by a female founder of a successful business employing well over one hundred Vermonters. She was a single mother raising her son while working towards a college degree. Once graduated, she set out to build her own company which she did, with plenty of elbow grease and the stuff of determination.
“In life, all you really need are two or three people who really believe in you,” she said.
I believe this, because I have seen it.
Developing keen radar for people worth spending your precious time with takes practice and, sometimes, a few emotional bruises while refining your sense. Being able to detect warning signs is key. Similarly, recognizing and cultivating relationships with positive folks who enrich your life is worth the investment of time.
Risky behavior is generally not a positive. The phrase is often associated with irresponsible use of drugs and alcohol or inappropriate sexual activity.
Risk-taking, of the calculated and carefully-considered type, with goals in mind is something quite different. Sir Edmund Hillary took a risk when he planned his ascent of Mount Everest, accompanied by Tenzing Norgay. Franklin Delano Roosevelt took a risk when he ran for president despite lower limb paralysis from polio. Little Ruby Bridges took a very scary risk when she became the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South in 1960.
The happiest, most contented people I know include a friend who gave up a lucrative business career to teach, an engineer who entered college late and stayed on to earn a Ph.D., and a very special Roman Catholic priest who, at age 80, told me he realized his childhood ambition and never looked back.
What does living an authentic life mean to you? It’s worth a ponder.

Katherine Bielawa Stamper, a Williston resident, was a 2013 finalist for the Coolidge Prize for Journalism. Reader comments are welcome at [email protected] or [email protected]

Letters to the Editor


Less government, more choices
After reading the article regarding CSWD’s plan to control who picks up garbage (“CSWD eyes pickup changes,” Williston Observer, Aug. 7, 2014), I could only think…here we go again with more government. The most important factor being “choice” would be removed by the proposal being looked at by CSWD. Several examples were provided that would supposedly support their concerns about wasted fuel by multiple trucks picking up garbage and I appreciate their concerns. However, many of you may not know that thousands of gallons of fuel are wasted weekly by CSWD because there is no landfill in or around Chittenden County. Tractor trailer trucks (MBI) move garbage 24/7 on Route 15 from Chittenden County to the far north of the state, wasting huge amounts of fuel because CSWD and other government entities have not done their job and located a landfill here. So, when I hear the CSWD having a concern about wasted fuel, it strikes me as being a joke. Secondly, this effort on the part of the CSWD is for bigger government, which means less control by you and me of the end product and a growing CSWD. You will be forced to pay whatever price is dictated by CSWD while now you can change haulers whenever you want. There is no way the haulers (large and small) who will not be awarded contracts will remain, and thus people will be laid off. Now, when the CSWD pushes for new rules and regulations they may have some push back from the haulers, but with a one-contract deal there is nothing you or I can do. I want less government and more choices and CSWD does not provide that opportunity and in fact wants to reduce and eliminate choice. Fix the garbage hauling to a distant part of Vermont and then come back with your ideas to save fuel.
—Jim Barrett

Support Cafferty for sheriff
Ed is our brother-in-law, friend, and next-door neighbor (married to Susan Krasnow), but we support his bid to become Chittenden County sheriff for many, more important reasons. Well-qualified, he will be proactive in modernizing the office, hiring women deputies (currently none), effectively advocate for more community drug prevention programs along with drug treatment facilities and give strong support to universal background checks for gun purchases. Ed also will make good on his promise to institute transparency in the sheriff’s office by establishing a Community Advisory Committee, providing oversight and advice on the use of your tax dollars, and employing his renowned administrative expertise.
This race will hinge on “turnout,” and your vote effect will thus be multiplied 5-6 fold due to an expected 10 percent historical record. Seven or eight thousand votes from the entire county could win this race. You can vote early at the town office or request an absentee ballot now. We sincerely hope the CVU district represents Ed’s winning margin.
Please consider a look at Ed’s website ( to learn more about his impressive efforts and qualifications, and please join us in giving our vote to Ed anytime before or on Aug. 26.
—Michael Krasnow,
Sumru Tekin, Eddie Krasnow,
and Jane Krasnow

Partnerships power conservation efforts


By Tom Vilsack

When USDA launched the Regional Conservation Partnership Program several months ago, we talked about our hope that this new way of doing business would build coalitions of unlikely partners and bring new money and resources for conservation projects to the table.

The overwhelmingly positive response to this new approach has far exceeded our initial expectations. Over the past several months, nearly 5,000 partners have come together to submit nearly 600 pre-proposals to USDA. All told, these coalitions of partners requested more than six times the $394 million in funding available from USDA for the first round of conservation projects, in addition to bringing their own matching resources to the table.

The pre-proposal process has the added benefit of already completing the work of matching up potential partners and developing the mechanics of new conservation projects. While USDA itself won’t be able to fund every one of the proposals received this year, these fully developed projects could attract funding from other sources or be eligible for USDA funding in the future—further expanding the total impact of the program.

Certainly, the progress we’ve made to date could never have happened without our traditional partners—local conservation districts, land trusts, wildlife and habitat preservation groups, and farmers, ranchers and foresters, among others—but the resource challenges of today require an expanded stable of resources and allies. USDA itself has invested more than $12.5 billion in conservation efforts since 2009, but we know that we will need everyone on board in order to make true headway against the water, soil and air quality issues that threaten the productivity and security of our nation’s farms and forests.

The Regional Conservation Partnership Program is part of the answer. The program takes the concept of “strange bedfellows” and turns it on its head. Rather than strong coalitions of conservation partners across communities, government, private landowners, for-profit companies and conservation organizations being the exception, this program will help to make them the norm. The program gives non-traditional partners a vehicle and a structure to work together towards common conservation goals. It provides a certain amount of government resources to get them started, but requires partners to think creatively about how to leverage additional funding and resources. It’s an approach that makes good sense. Rather than serving solely as an investor in conservation projects, USDA can also serve as a catalyst for private investment to help meet the specific needs of local communities. The Regional Conservation Partnership Program allows us to both elevate fresh, new approaches to conservation, while at the same time offering continued support for proven, successful conservation methods.

We expect to provide $1.2 billion in funding for projects through the program over the next five years. With partners investing alongside USDA, we hope to double that investment, leveraging a total of $2.4 billion for conservation. Given the response thus far, we should have little trouble meeting that goal.

We can’t meet the challenges of the new century without partners of all kinds—farmers, ranchers, family forest private companies, universities, local and tribal governments, non-profit organizations and businesses—at the table. Together, we will forge a new era of conservation partnership that more effectively confronts the growing threats to our natural resources and keeps our land resilient and our water clean for generations to come.

Tom Vilsack is the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

Local 14-year-old poet Pintair shares hope in new book


Light Cover5 copy

By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff

A 14-year-old Williston poet is using her writing to spread hope, unity and inspiration to others.
In the spring, Olivia Pintair self-published an eBook of poetry, titled “When All That’s Left is Light,” on
The poems focus on the connection between Pintair and Afaa Awidi, a 14-year-old friend from Uganda whom she has sponsored since age 9. The poems were written over the course of the girls’ friendship, beginning when they were both 9.
“I’ve always believed that everyone has a story, but not every one has a voice,” she wrote in en email to the Observer. “The book, while on the surface, being a collection of my poetry, is also the story of a connection shared by two children who are worlds apart. It’s my attempt to share the beauty of a rare friendship with the world, and to honor the voiceless by using my voice to support and recognize them.”
Awidi was orphaned as a young child and lives with her uncle. Pintair’s assistance has helped her receive medical care and continue her education, and, in return, Pintair said Awidi has inspired her with her strength.
“When she grows up, she told me, she wants to be a teacher,” Pintair wrote.
The book contains 44 poems telling the story of a girl coming of age.
“Not every poem is obviously about Afaa or even myself, but behind every one of them, she is the inspiration,” Pintair wrote. “My goal in creating this was to show people that though we live completely different lives, and were, at one point, quite foreign to one another, we have discovered, together, how similar we are.”
Pintair said that once she started sponsoring Awidi, she was constantly looking for ways to earn money. One summer, she sewed and sold baby blankets. For the past several years, she has created and sold greeting cards. Proceeds from the book will go to further support Awidi.
“Last fall I came up with the idea to publish a book,” she wrote. “I had always dreamed of publishing my own book. I thought it would be a great way to raise money and awareness for my cause, share some of my writing, and thank Afaa for inspiring me.”
Terri Parent, a Williston resident and poetry fan who is friends with Pintair’s mother, purchased the book online.
“I was just impressed with the level of maturity with which she writes,” Parent said. “She seems to have an emotional maturity beyond her years. It’s impressive but it’s also very moving. She has a command of the language that I’ve never seen in a person her age…I think she has a bright future in writing ahead of her.”
Pintair, who will begin her freshman year at the Emma Willard School in the fall, said she always loved poetry. She has already won several awards for her writing, including two Silver Key Awards from The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, a prestigious recognition program for creative teens.
“I’ve always been drawn to poetry,” she wrote. “I guess I love it because it’s a way for me to tell an abstract and powerful story in just a few lines. I love the fact that there are no rules in poetry. That kind of freedom really inspires me as a writer.”
Pintair said the work was inspired by hope. When she was young, her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and it was hope that got her through the ordeal, she said.
“Through my own experiences, I have been fortunate enough to find a powerful hope and share it with Afaa,” she wrote. “Now, I really hope that people check my book out because, through my book and my voice, I strive to share hope and unity with the world.”

Willistonian buys Church Street Marketplace store

Luke and Ashley Wight of Williston, new owners of the Burlington kitchen supply store Kiss The Cook. (Observer courtesy photo)

Luke and Ashley Wight of Williston, new owners of the Burlington kitchen supply store Kiss The Cook. (Observer courtesy photo)

By Matt Sutkoski
Observer Correspondent

Luke Wight of Williston said he loves to cook, even if he’s just OK at it. He also has a lot of business experience on his resume.
So when the venerable Kiss The Cook store — a fixture on the Church Street Marketplace for more than 20 years — went up for sale, he jumped at the chance to buy it.
A locally owned “kitchen and gift market,” according to its website, Kiss The Cook is chockablock with kitchen equipment, tools, gadgets and fun stuff for people who like to spend time in the kitchen. The store also provides a knife sharpening service using its “Tormek sharpening system.”
The store was previously owned by Marie Bouffard and Mike Soulia until Wight, 29, took over on July 1. Bouffard and Soulia also own Apple Mountain, a Church Street gift and specialty store.
“It’s not every day that a great and well established business in Burlington becomes available,” Wight said.
All of the six people who work at Kiss The Cook have stayed on, which is fortunate, Wight said. “They’re incredibly knowledgeable,” he added. “It helps us learn the ins and outs of what they’ve been doing.”
He said Bouffard and Soulia have also been quite supportive during the transition to Wight’s ownership, which he said has been a big help.
Wight said he has no immediate plans to make major changes at Kiss The Cook. The formula for the store is working well. “We have a loyal customer base and they continue to shop here,” he said.
Eventually, things might change in the store, but that would depend upon what customers like and any trends in the kitchen equipment industry. “In the long term, we will continue to grow the business,” he said.
Wight has a Masters in Business Administration from Champlain College and has previous business experience working for Keurig Green Mountain, the Waterbury-based nationally known coffee roaster, and at WB Mason, a Brockton, Mass.-based provider of office supplies and furniture.
Wight does enjoy time in the kitchen when he’s not at work.
“For me, it’s an amateur appreciation, more of a hobby. After a long day, it’s fun,” he said.

Construction continues after building collapse

Workers were 21 feet off the ground when a Town of Williston salt shed that was under construction gave way last week.

Workers were 21 feet off the ground when a Town of Williston salt shed that was under construction gave way last week.

By Matt Sutkoski
Observer correspondent

Three of the four people injured in last week’s collapse of a Town of Williston salt shed are out of the hospital as investigation into the cause of the accident continues.
Work has resumed on a new public works building on the site, but rebuilding of the collapsed salt shed is still on hold for now.
On Aug. 7, workers were almost finished installing roof trusses on the salt shed that was under construction when the structure collapsed.
Workers were 21 feet off the ground when the shed gave way, the Williston Fire Department said. One person was entrapped and subsequently freed by rescuers. Four people were taken to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington.
The project’s contractor is South Burlington-based Neagley & Chase Construction Co. Company president Mark Neagley said Tuesday that one of the injured employees will return to work soon.
Three others are recovering from various injuries. One of the employees was still in the hospital Tuesday afternoon, with blunt trauma injuries.
All are expected to make a full recovery, Neagley said. “We’re thankful everybody is on the road to recovery,” he said.
Nobody is sure what caused the accident at 291 Avenue A, just off Industrial Avenue. “There are a lot of people trying to figure that out right now,” Neagley said on Tuesday, noting that his company is investigating, as are Vermont state labor officials and insurers.
Williston Public Works Director Bruce Hoar, responding to an email inquiry, said he is not sure whether the incident will affect the public works complex construction cost and completion date. He said insurance and VOSHA investigators had cleared the site for debris removal so work could begin soon on the salt shed.
Hoar declined further comment.
VOSHA officials did not immediately return a Tuesday phone call seeking comment.
Neagley said construction is continuing on the main public works office and maintenance building, comprising more than 32,000 square feet of space.
The salt shed is a relatively small component of the entire project, he said.
The entire project’s cost is nearly $6 million, with about $4 million of that going to construction and site work.
The new public works complex will largely replace the town’s current town garage on James Brown Drive. That site is roughly 40 years old and will be sold.
Hoar had said during the planning process for the new complex that the town needed a bigger space to store equipment and better organize the department.
At the time of the Aug. 7 accident, the Williston Fire Department responded with Engine 2, Rescue 2 and Car 1. South Burlington Fire and Rescue, Essex Rescue and St. Michael’s Rescue also responded to the incident.