July 28, 2014

Stream work paying off


Section of Muddy Brook removed from ‘impaired’ waters list
By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff
After years of work, Williston waterways are getting closer to removal from the state’s list of impaired waters.
The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation last week released its 2014 list of impaired waters in Vermont, which is still pending Environmental Protection Agency approval.
The report proposes that a section of Muddy Brook—from its mouth to seven miles upstream—be removed from the list. Muddy Brook runs between the border of Williston and South Burlington.
This list, known as the 303(d) Impaired Waters List, is issued every two years in compliance with the Federal Clean Water Act. [Read more...]

Very Merry Theatre wagon rolling into Williston

Students in the Very Merry Theatre traveling summer camp prepare to put on a show.

Students in the Very Merry Theatre traveling summer camp prepare to put on a show.


By Stephanie Choate
Observer staff
A wagon full of fledgling actors will roll into town next week to perform the Rogers and Hammerstein classic “The King and I.”
Twenty-seven students ages 7 to 13 in the Very Merry Theatre summer camp will perform in Williston—one of four stops on their tour next week. The performance is set for Thursday, July 17 at noon on the lawn in front of the library. [Read more...]

POPCORN: “Jersey Boys” Working its Way Back to You

3 popcorns

3 popcorns

“Jersey Boys”

Working its Way Back to You

3 popcorns 

By Michael S. Goldberger

Special to the Observer


Point of disclosure: I’m from Jersey. I knew guys of the sort depicted in Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of the Broadway hit, “Jersey Boys.” They were called baddies or greasers, and generally wore black leather jackets, high roll collar shirts and shiny pants. My clique, a subset of the penny loafer, white jeans and madras shirt faction, took pride in echoing those words from the Beach Boys’s “I Get Around”: “Yeah, the bad guys know us and they leave us alone.” Well, they did for the most part.


Thus, this very well written, produced and directed chunk of musical sociology is old home week for me…a walk down memory lane, albeit glorified and sprinkled with stardust. Even when Frankie Valli (nee Castelluccio) and some of his pals who would evolve into The Four Seasons run afoul of the law and do revolving door stints in prison, it’s treated humorously. The really heavy stuff lies ahead.


Mr. Eastwood, aided and abetted by writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, who also coauthored the stage production, manages a fine balance of elements…keeping it real and yet for the most part happily optimistic and jaunty.


Uh, I see you have your hand up, the lady in the third row wearing the Carmen Miranda hat. Yes?


“So, you already wrote three paragraphs and didn’t say yet…how does it compare to the Broadway show? I was supposed to see it when the national tour came to Pasadena but I had to have a gallstones procedure, etc., etc….don‘t ask. ”


Well, I’m glad you feel better. I was going to get to that in paragraph # 8, but here goes. While there’s nothing better than the live experience, even if you mortgaged the farm to pay a fortune for tickets and an obscene sum to park your car, this is pretty darn good…a close second. What’s more, if you’ve seen the show and figure this would just be repetitious, know that Mr. Eastwood, retaining the documentary format, makes sure his art medium of choice does what the show could not: tell the details.


Whereas the emphasis in the Great White Way version was, of course, the music…specifically showcasing the hits with which Mr. Valli and company enchanted a generation … here it plays a strong yet correlative role. Oh, you’ll hear all your favorites, all right, but more often they’ll be attached to an event in the tale, either happy or sad, that supposedly inspired them. The clichéd mainstay, while a tad overstated, pleases a romantic sense.


But by the same token, we’re confident Eastwood takes few liberties in recounting the group’s nascence and rise to fame. Counseled by Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio, who serve as executive producers, he establishes an authenticity you can almost touch. OK, so the outdoor New Jersey scenes are filmed in Kearny and not Belleville and Newark. It’s just across the Passaic River.


More importantly, the filmmaker nostalgically captures the temper of the times, evoking the sociocultural traits of its personalities without opportunistically pandering to the popular stereotypes of the demography propagated in TV shows. Auto buffs are sure to kvell from the beauteous array of cars lining the streets in 1950s and 60’s Belleville, N.J.


But let’s face it. ‘Twas the music emanating from this burg that brought attention and focus to it…just as it did to numerous urban hamlets where young folks with dreams of stardom cemented friendships through harmony under streetlamps. Even if the director merely had this foursome sing the iconic hits, I’d still probably have to give it a 2 & ½.


Granted, the rise, flourish and fall of a rock group has practically become a theatrical genre unto itself. All the same, this version adds poignant nuance to the confluence of battling egos, artistic differences, irksome idiosyncrasies and the musical camaraderie that initially formed the band and then held it together for as long as it could.


While lead player John Lloyd Young doesn’t impress on first blush, he ultimately morphs into Frankie Valli and wins you over. Likewise, while none of the four main performers has one uttering comparisons to Olivier, Hoffman or Pacino, as an ensemble they are award-worthy. And if it weren’t that it just isn’t done anymore, you’d swear the toe-tapping stream of memorable hits was dubbed from the originals.


Bottom line, this is more an event movie than cinema…a celebration of the American dream. I’ve checked the movie times in Kearney (Nebraska, that is); Mobile, Alabama; and Anchorage, Alaska. So now, folks who never got to see the play can discover what all the shouting is about, while fans who simply can’t take their eyes off “Jersey Boys” will be able to walk like a man, or woman, to a nearby theatre and again hear Frankie beseech Sherry to come out tonight.

“Jersey Boys,” rated R, is a Warner Bros. release directed by Clint Eastwood and stars John Lloyd Young, Vincent Piazza and Erich Bergen. Running time: 134 minutes



PHOTO: Stunning sunset over Williston

The sunset lit up the sky on Sunday, seen here from the intersection of Mountain View and Redmond roads in Williston. (Observer photo by Al Frey)

The sunset lit up the sky on Sunday, seen here from the intersection of Mountain View and Redmond roads in Williston. (Observer photo by Al Frey)

PHOTOS: Radio Amateurs of Northern Vermont Field Day


Radio enthusiasts gathered in Williston this weekend for the Radio Amateurs of Northern Vermont Field Day. The field day is held each year at the end of June and demonstrates nationwide emergency communications preparedness by the amateur ham radio community. The goal is to set up efficient, self-contained stations and contact as many other emergency-powered stations as possible.



Jeff Bonn (radio call sign N1YD) operates a station that, under the rules, allows less active hams and even unlicensed people to join the fun. Kathi Walbridge (K1WAL), Carl Dow (AB1DD) and Jeff Laughlin (N1YWB) are there to help. (Observer photo by Al Frey)

[Read more...]



Dorothy (Degree) Martell, 74, passed away on Saturday, June 28, 2014, in the Burlington Health and Rehab Center. She was born on Oct. 21, 1939, in Williston, the daughter of Frank and Delia (Jarvis) Degree. She grew up in Williston, and graduated from Essex Junction High School in 1960. Dorothy married Louis Martell Jr. on Sept. 30, 1967. He predeceased her on May 31, 1999. She worked at UVM for many years. Dorothy enjoyed CB radios, her handle was “Pokadot,” and traveling with her family. She is survived by her brother, Harold Degree; sister, Dale Booska; sisters-in-law, Arlene Degree, Louise Spence, Lynda Montroy, and Isabelle Kinney; several nieces, nephews, cousins; and many lifelong friends. Besides her husband, Dorothy was predeceased by her brothers, Wayne and Paul Degree; and sister, Norma Crosby. Visiting hours were held on Wednesday, July 2, 2014 at the Gifford Funeral and Cremation Service, 22 Depot St., Richmond. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, July 3, 2014, at 2 p.m. at the Williston Federated Church. Burial will follow in Holy Rosary Cemetery in Richmond. Memorial contributions can be made to the Vermont Heart Assoc., 434 Hurricane Lane, Williston, VT 05495.

Recipe Corner: Strawberry-rhubarb season


By Ginger Isham

Every year, when it’s time to pick strawberries, I am reminded of my days of youth when my mother would make my sister and I get up early in the morning to go picking wild strawberries in the pasture. What a chore this was, as the berries were so close to the ground and so small and usually it was a hot day. My favorite cookbook is “The Best of Country Cooking” by Reiman Publications, as it has many old-time recipes.

Strawberry Sauce Supreme
1 1/2 quarts strawberries, sliced
1/3 cup sugar
1 package frozen raspberries, thawed (10 ounces)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons orange liqueur or 2 teaspoons orange rind
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Combine the strawberries and sugar, mix well. Add raspberries, sugar, orange liqueur. Put in frig for at least 4 hours. Serve over ice cream, angel food cake or pound cake. [Read more...]

Savvy Senior: Travel discounts for seniors


Dear Savvy Senior,
What types of senior discounts are available to older travelers? My husband and I are approaching retirement and love to travel, but love to save money, too.
Almost Retired [Read more...]

Vermont Hickory Golf Association sets sights on museum and hall of fame

Members of the Vermont Hickory Gold Association use their hickory shaft clubs, typically made before 1935, and sometime dress in period outfits while playing. (Observer courtesy photo)

Members of the Vermont Hickory Gold Association use their hickory shaft clubs, typically made before 1935, and sometime dress in period outfits while playing. (Observer courtesy photo)

By Phyl Newbeck
Observer correspondent

The game of golf is at least 600 years old and in that time there have been some significant changes in equipment. Club shafts have gone from wood to graphite and club heads from persimmon wood to titanium. Golf balls, gloves and shoes have also been transformed over time. [Read more...]

Trio of twin bills await the baseball Outlaws


By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

With just one day off after four games in three days (they were 1-3) at a Saratoga, N.Y. tournament, the busy Vermont under-17 baseball unit (5-5-1) opened a busy, busy week Tuesday with a visit to St. Albans and the Vermont Jays.
Coach Tim Albertson’s Outlaws traveled to Lake Placid, N.Y. Wednesday before returning home Thursday to their Rice Memorial High field for a double header against the Colchester Junior Cannons with the first game slated for 3:30 p.m. [Read more...]