April 19, 2015

Hoop honors include CVU girls and a guy

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By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

The postseason basketball awards keep coming in for Champlain Valley Union High basketball athletes and a coach.

High honors indeed for junior forecourt player Laurel Jaunich, who has been named Vermont’s 2015 Miss Basketball by the Burlington Free Press.

It is the third straight Miss Basketball honor for a CVU player in a time of three straight Division 1 titles. The 2013 and 2014 awards went to Emily Kinneston. Jaunich’s former teammate was a freshman player at American University in Washington, D.C. this past season as it made the NCAA Division 1 tournament. [Read more...]

Little Details: Crack in the windshield

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By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

Smack came the rock against the glass. Crack came the incision on my previously pristine windshield. The chip was small, but determined. It spread slowly in glinty sunshine as I travelled south along I-89. I’d spend part of my day off at a local repair shop.

I settled into the waiting area and pulled out my iPad to read. Two men also waited, one in his 20s, the other in his 40s. They were dressed similarly, in work clothes and steel-toed boots, the kind my father wore. Their skin was noticeably darker than my late-winter, creamy-Caucasian white. The younger man wore a hoodie pulled over his head. [Read more...]

Letters to the Editor

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Sugary drinks

As a former teacher, I witnessed first-hand the effects sugary drinks have on children.

Students purchased 20 oz. bottles of soda during their lunch period and I always cringed at teaching the classes after lunch. Invariably, these classes contained more disruptions and behavioral problems.

Children have access to alarming amounts of sugar these days. Sugar sweetened beverages are the single largest category of caloric intake in children, surpassing milk in the late 1990s. [Read more...]

Clean water bill is a vital step forward

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By Chuck Ross 

The clean water bill currently under consideration in the Vermont House of Representatives (House Bill 35) is a vital step forward for Vermont’s efforts to address the problem of polluted stormwater runoff into our lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. This bill addresses the problem of excess nutrients and sediment that flow off of our parking lots, roofs, roads, driveways, yards and farm fields when the snow melts or the rain falls. As Secretary of Agriculture, as a farmer, as a father and as someone who takes great pleasure in enjoying swimming, boating and fishing on Lake Champlain, I could not be more pleased with the direction that the legislature is headed with this important piece of legislation. The health of our state’s economy, including our farm economy, depends upon finding a solution to our water quality challenges. [Read more...]

Around Town

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Krasnow of CVU’s Access Program recognized for excellence

CVU Access program founder and director, Eddie Krasnow, is the first recipient of an award given by the Excellence in Education Foundation. Miles Heller, fund trustee, presented Krasnow with a $5,000 honorarium “in recognition of the fact that Mr. Krasnow places responsible, balanced teaching ahead of his own beliefs and that he is recognized by his peers, students and the community as being among the elite educators in Vermont,” according to Heller. [Read more...]

Williston’s new planner settles into role

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By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Williston’s new environmental planner has settled into her new role and is turning her attention to the town’s upcoming challenges.

Jennifer Murray began in mid-January, replacing Jessica Demar, who left last August. 

Murray spent 10 years as an environmental consultant in upstate New York before deciding to get a Master’s degree in planning at SUNY Albany. [Read more...]

Half-cent per ounce tax on sweetened drinks expanded 

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By Morgan True

For Vermont Digger

The House Ways and Means Committee approved a tax package Thursday that will raise $22 million for health care spending.

The package combines a half-cent per ounce excise tax on sweetened beverages coupled with increases in tobacco taxes and the removal of a sales tax exemption for dietary supplements. Previous versions of the package taxed only beverages sweetened with added sugar, but the Ways and Means Committee expanded it to include artificially sweetened diet drinks. The bill exempts milk products, 100 percent juices and beverages sweetened with maple syrup.

For the full story, visit: vtdigger.org

House approves education reform bill 

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By Amy Ash Nixon

For Vermont Digger

House lawmakers gave preliminary approval last week to a bill that would require Vermont’s nearly 300 school districts to study mergers with neighboring districts.

The House Education Committee’s “big bill,” H.361, passed 88-55 after about six hours of debate on the House floor.

The legislation seeks to improve educational opportunities while at the same time forcing cost efficiencies in response to growing taxpayer unrest about rising education spending and property taxes.

For more on this story, visit: vtdigger.org

Adam Bunting to be CVU’s new principal

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By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Adam Bunting is heading home.

“For me, CVU has always represented a home, and it’s also, I think as a result, represented some of the qualities that I find most important in education,” Bunting said.

After three years as principal of Montpelier High School, the Champlain Valley Union High graduate and former teacher and administrator will return to Hinesburg to become the high school’s principal. [Read more...]

Town mulls stormwater fee changes

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By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

Residents with the highest stormwater bills could get a reprieve as the town mulls eliminating the stormwater fee’s tier system.

Under the current ordinance, most homes in town are charged $51 a year for one Equivalent Residential Unit, or ERU, based on the average amount of impervious surface on Williston residential properties. The residential properties with the largest amounts of impervious surface—those in the top 10 percent of parcels in Williston—were billed for two ERUs, $102 annually. [Read more...]