April 27, 2015

Lt. gov., senators explore alternative to Vt. Health Connect 


By Anne Galloway

For Vermont Digger

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott led a mini fact-finding mission recently to learn more about components of the Connecticut health care exchange that could help Vermont save money.

The cost of fixing the dysfunctional Vermont Health Connect website will be roughly $200 million, and maintaining it on an annual basis will be about $51 million a year.

Read the full story at, www.vtdigger.org.

Shining a light on invisible differences


By Stephanie Choate

Observer staff

For those living with invisible conditions like autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, the lack of any outward sign of their differences can lead to snap judgments and isolation.

Williston eighth grader Bia Mele said she thinks and learns differently from her fellow students. Some peers—and adults—can be mean or rude without intending to be, and she attributed it to a lack of awareness.

“They treat me like I’m stupid, and the thing is, I’m not stupid,” she said. “People that are different, they treat them like aliens, I guess. They don’t get that we have the same wants and feelings and emotions and expressions as everyone else…. That’s what really frustrates me. Just because I think differently doesn’t mean I’m not human, it doesn’t mean I’m stupid and it sure as heck doesn’t mean I don’t feel rejection.”

Bia’s mother, Lori Mele, is working to bring awareness to those invisible conditions, developing a program to present to middle school students across the state.

Mele, whose three children fall on the autism spectrum, [Read more...]

PHOTOS: Easter parade and egg hunt

Easter Egg_034 Hunt 04-04-15

(Observer photos by Al Frey)        Williston residents Alison and Andy Duback with their children Fiona, 3, and Evlyn, 6, are ready for the Bill Mikell Easter Parade and Egg Hunt, held April 4 in Williston.

[Read more...]

POPCORN: “Deli Man” Knows from Chopped Liver


3.5_popcorns “Deli Man”

Knows from Chopped Liver

3 & ½ popcorns

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer


Warning! Do not see director Erik Greenberg Anjou’s mouthwateringly delicious documentary, “Deli Man,” without planning to immediately follow it up with a visit to your favorite Jewish delicatessen. Failing to do so would surely be far more injurious to your health and wellbeing than the artery clogging ecstasies you will therein imbibe. Make it a theme day…like the film, a glorious celebration of a cultural tradition that came to thrive in the New World. Now faced with changing realities, it is proudly championed by a dying breed. [Read more...]

PHOTOS: Pancake breakfast



Observer courtesy photos
by Steven Robert


Nearly 1,000 residents from Williston and the surrounding communities turned out for the Williston Fire Department 23rd Annual Pancake Breakfast, held March 29 at the fire station. [Read more...]

What’s Cooking: Maple syrup & mud season


By Lucy McCullough

Vermont Mud Pie represents this time of year. This was a favorite dessert we served at the Catamount Tavern in the early 1980s. If you prefer just the mud, I have also included an amazingly delicious non-dairy, non-gluten and no added sugar Chocolate Mousse recipe.

Vermont Mud Pie 

(serves 8)

20 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies (Oreos) crushed into crumbs

⅓ cup butter, melted

1 pint (2 cups) dark chocolate ice cream, slightly softened

1 pint (2 cups) coffee ice cream, slightly softened

2 tablespoons coffee liqueur (optional, but highly recommended)

¼ cup pure maple syrup

⅓ cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Combine the cookie crumbs with the melted butter. Mix well. Press mixture into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie pan to form a crust (Caution! Don’t pack it too much or it will be hard to cut). Place in freezer until very firm. Spoon chocolate ice cream into crust; press gently to make an even surface. Replace in freezer until firm. Mix coffee ice cream with liqueur, if desired.  Spoon coffee ice cream over chocolate layer. Replace in freezer until firm.

Drizzle maple syrup over the ice cream, sprinkle with chopped nuts. Store pie in the freezer. Take out a few minutes before serving.

Chocolate Mousse

(serves 4)

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate bits (60 percent cocoa such as Ghirardelli)

3 tablespoons water

4 eggs, separate egg whites*

Pinch of salt

Melt chocolate bits in water in top of double boiler or in microwave for 30 seconds or until chocolate has melted, stir to blend. Let cool. In a small bowl beat egg whites until stiff. Stir egg yolks and salt into the melted, cooled chocolate.  Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites. Fold in remaining egg whites. Place in serving dishes. Chill.

* Note: Eating conventional eggs raw, if not pasteurized, may cause foodborne illnesses. Pasteurized Safest Choice eggs in the shell can be purchased at Price Chopper on Shelburne Road. They do not whip into stiff peaks thereby creating a more dense mousse, but just as tasty.

“Let’s eat!”

Lucy McCullough and her husband, Jim, started Catamount Outdoor Family Center on the family farm in 1978 and have been operating Catamount’s B&B since 1996.

Easier colon cancer screening tests


By Jim Miller

Dear Savvy Senior,

Are there any easier alternatives to a colonoscopy to check for colon cancer? I hate the idea of drinking all that laxative solution and being sedated for the procedure. 

Squeamish Jim

Dear Jim,

It’s a great question. While a colonoscopy is considered the gold standard screening test for detecting colon cancer and is widely recommended once adults reach age 50, only about half of Americans who’ve passed that milestone ever get tested.  [Read more...]

Five life lessons fostered by camp


By Lucy Norvell

American Camp Association, New England

1. Resilience. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Sound like a cliché? Well, at camp, it’s not. Letting children learn from their mistakes (when safe and possible) and try again creates memorable and solid learning opportunities.  [Read more...]

Conservation camp applications available


The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is hosting Green Mountain Conservation Camps for those 12 to 14 years old who want to learn about Vermont’s wildlife and gain outdoor skills.

The one-week camp program is held at two locations—Lake Bomoseen in Castleton and Buck Lake in Woodbury. Campers participate in hands-on learning experiences about fish and wildlife conservation, ecology, forestry, orienteering, safe firearm and archery techniques, swimming, canoeing, fishing and more in an attractive outdoor setting. Natural resource professionals come to the camp during the week to share information on their programs and take campers out for field activities. [Read more...]




Loretta Benoit

Loretta Benoit

Loretta M Benoit, 95, died March 26, 2015 at home in Williston surrounded by family after a short illness.

She was born in Three Rivers, Quebec, Canada on June 20, 1919 the daughter of Eugene and Geneva (Rondeau) Tremblay. As a young girl she moved to Vermont. She was one of 10, with her being the only girl. She married Arthur J Benoit on July 31, 1939 and is predeceased by her husband, a granddaughter Susan (Benoit) Roy and by all of her brothers. Loretta was a homemaker and raised her six children and lovingly took care of her husband of 74 years. [Read more...]