January 20, 2018

Volunteer opportunities

By Sue Alenick

United Way volunteer coordinator


Lund is seeking volunteers to provide supervision and support during planned visits between children and their incarcerated mothers at the Chittenden County Regional Correctional Facility on Saturday mornings. Volunteers should be able to commit to a once or twice a month, 2-3 hour visit for a minimum of one year. There are also opportunities to provide activities during the visits so that families can create something together. Background check required. Contact Julie Richards at 864-1619 or email julier@lundvt.org.


The ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain needs volunteers to help the visiting public learn about the wildlife, culture and history of the Lake Champlain Basin in Vermont’s only aquarium. Volunteers help bring the exhibits alive for visitors and share ECHO’s mission to preserve this wonderful resource. One four-hour shift per week for three months. Contact Phoebe Townsend at 864-1848, Ext. 116 or email volunteer@echovermont.org.


Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce needs volunteers to help stuff its bi-monthly newsletters. Come in from 8:30-11 a.m. on Jan. 30 and prepare the mailing over coffee and doughnuts. Contact Victoria Colarusso at 864- 3489, Ext. 201 or email Victoria@ vermont.org.


The Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity needs greeters for their volunteer income tax assistance program to aid low income, senior and New Americans with their tax returns. Volunteers welcome clients and help them fill out forms. Feb. 1 through April 16, Mondays-Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Contact Travis Poulin at 863-6248, Ext. 736, or email tpoulin@cvoeo.org.


Bayada Hospice is looking for volunteers to make friendly visits, help prepare light meals, play music or games, run routine errands, help with office administration and more. Even half an hour can make a huge difference. Contact Howard Hoffman at 448-1610 or email hhoffman@bayada.com.


Burlington Dismas House is seeking passionate gardeners to co-chair its 16th Annual Perennial Plant Sale. Volunteers will work in teams potting plants and marketing the sale. Ten hours a week for four weeks from April 25 to May 25. Contact Kim Parsons at 658-0381 or email kim@dismasofvt.org.


Lucy’s House for the Prevention of Homeless Pets will be making tug toys, tennis ball rope toys, and catnip sock toys to distribute to local food shelves to help keep pets in their homes. Help make toys and bring gently used socks for these projects. Volunteers can also bring a can or small bag of pet food to donate. Contact Sierra Ellis-Clements at 879-0898 or email lucyshouseforpet@yahoo.com.

Ski Vermont announces new president

The Vermont Ski Areas Association Board of Directors has named Molly Mahar as the new president of the non-profit trade group representing 20 alpine ski areas and 30 cross country centers.

Mahar is currently the vice president of marketing and sales at Loon Mountain Resort in Lincoln, N.H.

She previously served as director of marketing at Sugarbush Resort and director of marketing and sales at Bolton Valley Resort. The new position is a return for Mahar to the Vermont Ski Areas Association, where she previously worked as marketing director.

She is a past president of the Western White Mountains Chamber of Commerce and has served on Ski New Hampshire’s marketing committee.

She lives in Waitsfield with her husband, Brian, and is a graduate of the University of Vermont. “I am excited to return to Vermont, and grateful for the opportunity to promote and advocate for the state’s ski industry, a key tourism and economic driver for the state,” said Mahar. “I look forward to working with the Ski Vermont membership and staff, government agencies and other groups toward collaborative solutions to make Vermont a better place for everyone to live, work and play.”

Mahar’s focus as president will be on governmental affairs, lobbying at the Statehouse in the interest of Vermont ski areas and overseeing VSAA staff, programs and operations.

Federal disaster funds approved for October wind storm

The Trump Administration has approved federal disaster funds for Addison, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Washington and Windham counties in response to wind damage suffered on Oct. 29-30, Gov. Phil Scott announced Wednesday.

A preliminary assessment by the Federal Emergency Management Agency identified $3.7 million in public infrastructure damage statewide, exceeding the $3.68 per capita threshold needed to qualify communities and public utilities for assistance.

A preponderance of the damage involved power restoration: line work, power pole replacement, and contractor assistance. The federal declaration allows communities and public utilities to receive 75 percent federal reimbursement for storm response and recovery.

The Vermont Emergency Management Agency will hold applicant briefings to start the process for municipal leaders seeking federal assistance. The briefings will outline the requirements for receiving federal awards and maximizing eligibility of repairs. State agencies will guide applicants through the process. More information is available at vem.vermont.gov/funding/pa.

Macy’s announces closure of Burlington store

Cory Dawson

For VTDigger

Macy’s store in downtown Burlington is closing in March, according to the company. The store closure is part of a larger company plan to close 100 stores nationwide, according to company spokesperson Emily Hawkins. Store employees were told about the closure Wednesday, she said.

“Macy’s, Inc. has been reviewing its real estate portfolio across the country to see if there are opportunities to improve the use of our assets.

After careful consideration, Macy’s has decided to close the Burlington Town Center store in March,” read a company statement Hawkins sent VTDigger.

The company is going to make an effort to relocate employees, but seasonal employees and employees who are unable to move will be eligible for severance, according to the statement.

The Burlington closure comes as much of the Burlington Town Center, where Macy’s is one of the anchor tenants, is being torn down to make way for Burlington City Center, a major, $220 million redevelopment of the property.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger quickly reacted to the news, issuing a statement Wednesday afternoon focusing on the wellbeing of the Macy’s employees who will likely lose their jobs.

“The city will work with the state and in particular the Department of Labor in the weeks ahead to organize job fairs and publicize retraining programs to increase access to those opportunities for Macy’s workers,” Weinberger wrote.

The news was not wholly unexpected, Weinberger noted, writing that it has been clear for years from national retail trends and from Macy’s previous closure announcements that today’s news was a real possibility. The new Burlington City Center development will create about 1,200 permanent jobs, he wrote.

Redhawks skate to a win at Beech Tournament

Observer photo by Al Frey
CVU won the yearly CSB Cup game, after a seven-year drought, against South Burlington on Dec. 23 at Cairns Arena.

The Champlain Valley boys hockey team used its first two wins of the season to win the Beech Tournament at Leddy Park in December.

The Redhawks topped Colchester 4-1 in the final game with three power play goals. Charlie Averill tallied twice for CVU, while Jake Schaefer and Jennings Lobel each added a goal. Cody Logan stopped 26 shots to earn the win.

Earlier in the tournament, Champlain Valley coach J.P. Benoit earned his first-ever win behind the bench as Champlain Valley topped Rice, 6-3. Quinn Francis had two goals to pace the Redhawks, who scored four goals in the third period to pull away. Averill, James Bernicke and Schaefer all had a goal and an assist, while Lobel added three assists. Reed Dousevicz stopped 35 shots in the win. The team followed up the tournament win with a 6-0 loss to Essex on Saturday. Jacob Kindestin had 34 saves in a losing effort for the Redhawks. The loss evened their record at 3-3.

Girls hockey

Rutland 3, MMU-CVU 2: The Mount Mansfield-Champlain Valley girls co-op hockey team took second place at the Middlebury’s Fletcher “Buster” Brush Holiday Classic after falling to Rutland, 3-2, in the championship game. Lydia Maitland and Emily Zambrano each had a goal for the CougarHawks (3-3-1), while Joanna Wright made 27 saves in net. CVU-MMU advanced to the final of the tournament with a 4-0 win over Middlebury. Maitland had a goal and an assist in the opening game, while Jackie Ryan, Kayleigh Bushweller and Katie Peck each tallied for the CougarHawks. Wright made 14 saves to earn the win. Earlier in December, the team topped Missisquoi 4-3 in overtime as Peck scored a power play goal with 2:45 left in the extra period. Jackie Ryan added a goal and two assists, Maitland chipped in with a goal and an assist and Kiley McClure also found the back of the net for CVU-MMU. Joanna Wright had 24 stops to earn the win in goal.

Boys basketball

The Champlain Valley boys basketball team traveled to Rutland to take on defending D-I champion Rutland on Saturday in a rematch of last year’s title game. Different game, same result as the Raiders pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Redhawks, 44-32. Graham Walker and Will Burroughs each had eight points to pace CVU, which fell to 2-2 on the season. Jamison Evans had 11 points for Rutland, which pulled away in the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run. In another close call, the Redhawks also fell to Rice, 53-50, on Wednesday afternoon. CVU put up a 21-14 fourth quarter push for the comeback win, but the Green Knights held on. Walker had 16 points to lead CVU, while Burroughs added 10 points and Bennet Cheer chipped in with eight.

Girls basketball

Champlain Valley 42, Burr and Burton 34 Lindsey Albertelli neared a triple-double on Saturday afternoon to lead the Champlain Valley girls basketball team to a win over host Burr and Burton. Kaylee Beyor added a threepoint play late in the game to help the Redhawks (5-0) pull away from the Bulldogs. Harper Mead added six points and seven steals for CVU, while Emily Bleakie paced the Bulldogs with 17 points. The Redhawks also earned a win earlier in the week, topping Brattleboro 62-26. Shannon Loiseau had 14 points and five rebounds to pace CVU, while Beyor added 11 points. Before the New Year, the Redhawks also beat Fairhaven, 45-34, with Makenna Boyd scoring 12 points for the Redhawks. Catherine Gilwee added nine points and Louiseau chipped in with eight points, nine rebounds and five assists.


Hinesburg field fundraiser party on tap

Local rock group Quadra will team up with The Growlers for a show this Friday at the Old Lantern in Charlotte to benefit the Bissonette Recreation Fields project in Hinesburg.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. at the Old Lantern, 3260 Greenbush Road in Charlotte. About $500,000 has been raised for the fields over the past five years.

The project includes two full-sized soccer fields and a Little League baseball diamond. It is under construction off Shelburne Falls Road near the intersection of Route 116.

The fields sit on roughly 9 acres of land donated by Wayne and Barbara Bissonette in 2013. A driveway and parking area have been installed, and the first of the two soccer fields, Millie’s Field, named in honor of Millie Eddy, will open this spring. Construction of the final two playing fields and associated landscaping will take place this spring and summer.

Friday’s event will feature hours of live music and dancing, food from local vendors, cash bar, raffle and a live auction.

For the full auction listing, visit facebook.com/ BissonetteField/. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Advanced tickets can be purchased at the Hinesburg Jiffy Mart or online through the Hinesburg Recreation office at hinesburgrec.com. Contact Tom Ayer at 482-5163 for more information.

Brick Church Concert Series goes classical

Ann Maurer

Jan. 12 show features flutist, pianist

The Williston Brick Church Concert Series continues its 10th season Friday, Jan. 12, with an evening of classical music featuring flutist Laurel Ann Maurer.

Based in Vermont, Maurer is both a performer and a teacher who has appeared as a flute soloist throughout the United States and Europe.

She is the artistic director of the chamber music ensemble, Vermont Virtuosi. Pianist Sash Lewis will open for Maurer. The show takes place at the Old Brick Church in Williston Village.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are $13 in advance and $15 at the door ($11 in advance and $13 at the door for seniors and children under 12).

The evening’s beneficiary is the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library.

The featured visual artists are Tony, Esther and Aidan Palmer, whose exhibit is called “Portrait to Peace: An Inside Journey to Outward Change. Art with Heart.”

The Brick Church Concert Series is supported by the Williston Observer and continues through April on the second Friday of the month. For more information visit, town.williston.vt.us.

Recreation and Parks


If your New Year’s resolution is to get fit, check out 50-plus Strength and Gentle Yoga. Details on these programs can be found at willistonrec.org.


The Williston Recreation Department is looking for instructors for the upcoming session of program and camp offerings. We have begun work on the Spring/Summer Program Guide, which is distributed in mid-February, and are looking for people who have an interesting, fun, educational or fitness-related program or camp to offer. If you would like to be considered as an instructor, visit willistonrec.org and return the Instructor Proposal form by Jan. 5.


Register now to learn how to play the viola or violin. You know what a violin is, but what is a viola? In the violin family, the viola falls between the violin and cello. You will learn about maintenance of the instrument, then move on to learning how to read music and play songs. Vermont Violins is offering discounted rentals for participants. Viola and bow are $40 plus $5 for rosin; violin and bow are $35 plus $5 for rosin. The instructor is Sharon Waxman. This program is for adults and runs Tuesdays, Jan. 9- Feb. 20, 7-8 p.m. The cost is $100.


This coed, parent/child clinic is designed to teach the fundamentals and rules of the game. Youngsters will be provided with the opportunity to learn, practice and develop their individual skills. Each Saturday will consist of a clinic introducing new skills and activities. An adult is required to be on the court with their child. Saturdays, Jan. 6-Feb. 10, 8:30-9:30 a.m. Cost is $40.


This program is a collaboration between Williston’s recreation department and schools. The emphasis is for participants to learn and/or improve their skills in downhill skiing or snowboarding. Each week all participants have a lesson and then are provided time to practice what they have learned. The program is for Williston students in grades K-8. Kindergarten students may participate if transported by an adult and accompanied by an adult during the lessons.


Add some creativity to your child’s afterschool time with a Young Rembrandt drawing class. Children at Allen Brook School will focus on developing basic drawing skills and concepts. Children at Williston Central School will focus on more advanced artistic concepts, color theory and drawing techniques. The instructors are from the Young Rembrandt staff. Wednesdays, Jan. 10-Feb. 14. The cost is $78. Grades K-2, 2:40-4 p.m.; grades 3-6, 3-4:20 p.m.


This Open Gym program runs Friday evenings through March for kids in grades 3-12 at Williston Central School’s old gym. Open gym is open when school is open and there are no school functions. This program is open to Williston residents only. If no one shows by 6:30 p.m. the program will be cancelled for that day. The next open gym is Jan. 12. This program is free.


Referees are needed for the grade 1-8 basketball programs. Referring is on Saturdays from Jan. 6 through Feb. 17. Approximate time is 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Referees are needed from games at Allen Brook School and Williston Central School. To apply, fill out and send in an employment application, which is available at willistonrec.org. This can also be a volunteer position.

Essex man charged with Christmas Day burglary

Observer courtesy photo
A suspect stacks pallets in a Christmas Day burglary at Walmart in Williston. Police have charged an Essex man with the crime.

The Williston Police have charged Nathan L. Giffin, 32, of Essex with two counts of burglary, accusing him of breaking into Walmart and Toys ‘R’ Us in Williston on Christmas Day.

Williston Officer Travis Trybulski reported that a suspect broke through a back window of Walmart and the back door of Toys R Us about 3:30 p.m. last Monday.

Surveillance video shows a man carrying a baseball bat and a bag stacking pallets behind Walmart. Police released an image from the video last Tuesday, requesting help from the public identifying the person and vehicle in the video.

The next day, Trybulski reported that Giffin had been charged. Giffin is scheduled for arraignment in Chittenden County Court in Burlington on Jan. 18.


Wendell R. Barry

Wendell R. Barry

Wendell R. Barry, 86, passed away December 23, 2017 at Starr Farm Nursing Center after a long illness. He was born in Woodsville, NH on January 28, 1931, son of the late Ray Barry Sr. and Maefred Barry.

He married the former Betty Woodward on December 30, 1952. He was a member of the U.S. Army having served in the Korean War.

He was also a member of the American Legion post No. 35 Cambridge for 49 years. Wendell was employed by Munson’s Earth Moving and Pizzagalli Construction Company before retiring in 1991.

He enjoyed hunting, fishing and playing cards. He is survived by his wife Betty, son Michael Barry and wife Jennifer of Belvidere, daughter Belinda Thibault and husband Paul of Williston and daughter Lisa Farrell and husband Randy of Richmond, five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, his two sisters Marietta Corse and Macy Flynn and her husband Richard, several nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was predeceased by his brother Ray Barry Jr. and his wife Leoda, brother-in-law Dean Corse. The family wishes to extend a special thank you to the the staff at Starr Farm Nursing Center. Per Wendell’s wishes, there will be no visiting hours or services held. Memorial contributions in Wendell’s memory may be made to a charity of one’s choice.

The family also invites you to share your memories and condolences by visiting awrfh.com.

Timothy Comolli 

Timothy Doyle Comolli, beloved and legendary South Burlington High School educator, passed away on December 7, 2017, at his home in Williston.

He was 74. 

Mr. Comolli began his teaching career in South Burlington in 1965, and over the next 40 years built a reputation as an extraordinary teacher and visionary educator who introduced legions of South Burlington students to newly emerging technologies within the walls of the Imaging Lab, which he created and worked tirelessly to fund through grants, awards, business partnerships and donations.

Mr. Comolli’s ability to respect and understand the limitless potential of every student, coupled with his endless empathy and good humor for their individual life circumstances, ensured that his impact was very often life-changing.

This deep and abiding understanding of both the art and science of teaching allowed him to encourage and guide his students to discover, believe in, and pursue their own unique paths in life.

Tim brought over $2 million worth of equipment and resources to the South Burlington Imaging Lab, always with the intention of providing state-of-the-art opportunities for his students.

Tim attended schools in Montpelier, graduating from St. Michael’s High School in 1961. He received his bachelor’s degree in education from Johnson State in 1965, followed by a master’s degree in communications from Norwich University in 1985.

While beginning his teaching career in South Burlington, Tim also continued what would be a lifelong passion for all forms of communication, from radio and theater to TV, and ultimately, electronic arts.

He worked as an announcer for a number of Vermont radio and TV stations, and brought this experience back to the classroom as he developed classes in public speaking and video production.

His dedication and commitment to excellence were rewarded in the plethora of teaching awards bestowed upon Tim over the years. Among the most prestigious were the Christa McAuliffe National Teaching Award in 2003,

National Technology Teacher of the Year Award (Technology and Learning magazine) in 1999, the NFIE Excellence in Education award in 1998. He was also one of the first recipients of a Bill Gates “Road Ahead” grant in 1995.

Outside of the classroom, Tim was an avid gardener who loved nothing more than to “play in the dirt.” Tim’s love of gardening was surpassed only by his love for his students and his friends.

A lasting tribute to this talent can be found in his creation of the South Burlington High School Memorial Garden, where every retiring teacher received a planting in their honor.

The garden is another manifestation of Tim’s nurturing and caring nature, and his ability to help all living things grow and flourish.

 Tim was born in Montpelier on May 26, 1943, the son of Americo Joseph Comolli and Mary Anne Doyle Comolli.

In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by a sister, Claire Louise Forbes, a brother, Richard Comolli, and two nephews, David and Peter. He is survived by a nephew, Gordon Forbes, of Spencerville, New York.

Tim also leaves the legions of former students whose lives he has touched, and a vast family of friends who will miss him dearly.

A Celebration of Life was held December 30 at South Burlington High School. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the SBEA Timothy D. Comolli Scholarship Fund. Contact Joanne Abate at the Alumni Office, SBHS, 550 Dorset Street, South Burlington, VT 05403.

 To send online condolences to his family, please visit cremationsocietycc.com.