December 21, 2014

Police Notes

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911 disruption
On Nov. 28 at approximately 3 p.m., network problems caused by a fiber cut of key FairPoint Communications infrastructure resulted in many Vermonters not being able to place any outbound calls, including to 911. During the outage, some callers were able to get through to 911, while others were not. The outage was resolved around 8:45 p.m.
FairPoint data indicated that approximately 45 unique calls to 911 were attempted but unsuccessful during the outage period, according to a press release.
“While this outage affected more than just 911 service, the critical nature of such calls requires a swift response. Too much time transpired between when we learned of the outage and when we got any call back numbers from FairPoint,” said David Tucker, executive director for the Enhanced 911 Board. “It’s bad enough when there is any kind of outage to this critical safety system, but it is very concerning that our ability to respond to those callers who didn’t get through during the outage was delayed.” [Read more...]

Winter parking ban in effect

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Observer staff report
Williston’s winter parking regulations went into effect Dec. 1.
The town has a winter parking ban on any town road or highway from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. The ordinance will be in effect until April 1, 2015.
In addition, owners of equipment or unregistered vehicles are prohibited from parking or storing those items within the town’s right of way.
Keeping the roads clear allows plow trucks to maintain the streets and roads. Vehicles parked in the road during winter storm events cause delays in performing winter maintenance operations by either causing operators to wait or requiring second trips to clear the streets.
Officers will providing warnings and/or parking tickets to vehicle owners about these ordinances beginning this week.
Residents should also avoid blowing, plowing or shoveling snow into the street, as it is a safety hazard.

Going green this holiday season

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Observer staff report
Chittenden Solid Waste District presented some ways residents can keep their holiday spirit out of the landfill this year.
Choose live, local Christmas trees
The average artificial tree lasts six to nine years, but will remain in a landfill for centuries. When families are ready to dispose of their real Christmas trees, CSWD’s Yule Fuel uses them as fuel to generate electricity and heat.
Artificial trees are also a bigger fire hazard. They are made with polyvinyl chloride, which often uses lead as a stabilizer, making it toxic to inhale if there is a fire.
Every acre of Christmas trees produces enough daily oxygen for 18 people. There are about 500,000 acres of Christmas trees growing in the U.S.—as well as a few farms here in Williston.
Because of their hardiness, trees are usually planted where few other plants can grow, increasing soil stability and providing a refuge for wildlife.
North American Christmas tree farms employ more than 100,000 local people, while 80 percent of artificial trees worldwide are manufactured overseas. [Read more...]

Vermont Symphony Orchestra announces winter and holiday concerts

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The Vermont Symphony Orchestra recently released its lineup for the month of December. For more information, visit www.vso.org or call Amy Caldwell at 864-5741, Ext.16.
Masterworks Series
The VSO offers a five-concert Saturday Masterworks series at the Flynn Center in Burlington, with additional select Sunday Matinee performances in Rutland (beginning at 3). All Flynn concerts begin at 8 p.m. and are preceded at 7 p.m. by Musically Speaking, a free pre-concert discussion that provides entertaining insight into the evening’s program.
Tickets are $16-$61, $9 for students. For tickets, visit www.flynntix.org. [Read more...]

CVU soccer players score in postseason honors

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By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

Eight members of Champlain Valley Union High’s undefeated Division 1 girls’ championship soccer team and five from the boys Division 1 semifinalists have been accorded various All-State and /or All-Metro recognition.
Topping the list is veteran senior midfielder Paige DuBrul, who has been named the Vermont High School Girls Soccer Player of the Year by the Burlington Free Press.
DuBrul, who led her team to an 18-0 mark and helped set up the lone goal in the 1-0 championship game victory over Burlington High, made it four-for-four in that all of her varsity seasons resulted in Division 1 crowns, an extremely rare accomplishment. In her career, the Redhawks were 68-2-2, with a current 44-game win streak. [Read more...]

CVU boys JV soccer had second unbeaten season

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By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

The future looks very good.
That’s the view of Champlain Valley Union High boys junior varsity soccer coach Seth Emerson who guided the youthful Redhawks to a second straight (12-0-1) campaign this fall.
The juniors went 13-0 in 2013. This season’s tie came at Essex High.
This season had some thrillers the Redhawks had to work through to keep that zero in the loss column. One game Emerson recalled in particular came at Mount Mansfield Union in the hills of Jericho.
“We got down 1-0 early in the game and did not tie it until there were about six seconds left in regulation,” Emerson said.
Kyler White-Hansen knotted the game in those closing seconds. Owen McCuin then scored the winning in overtime following a lengthy upfield advance and setup pass from Kai Cormier.
Cormier and McCuin were the team’s leading goal getters along with twins Max and Dillon Hamrell.
The Hamrill’s were solid midfield performers along with Nate Coffin, Ivan Llona and others.
Up back was the defensive hangout for Cormier, White-Hansen, Joey Francescetti, Silas Skiff, Ryan Trus, Will Hubbard and Ted Turneau.
George Davis and Jack Scotnicki were the defense’s last bastion in goal.
With the varsity losing some 12 seniors, Emerson sees several of his players ready for the move up next autumn.

CVU winter sports season opens Friday

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By Mal Boright
Observer Correspondent

This weekend brings the season lidlifters for four Champlain Valley Union High sports teams.
Opening on its home Cairns Arena ice surface will be the defending Div. 1 champion boys hockey team, which takes on Loyola of Montreal Friday at 7:40 p.m.
Also on Friday, the reigning Division 1 champion girls basketball team meets Rutland High in the annual Spaulding High tournament in Barre. The CVU-Rutland contest is set for 5:30 p.m.
The boys basketball combine on Friday kicks off its season with a 7:30 p.m. game at Essex High. [Read more...]

Little Details: America, how can this be?

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By Katherine Bielawa Stamper

“I sometimes feel unsafe riding the bus home at night when I’m the only white person on board,” I said.
“I sometimes feel unsafe riding the bus to work in the morning when I’m one of only a few black people on board,” Yancy said.
That was 1990. Pittsburgh’s municipal busses were racially mixed, although predominantly white, during traditional (i.e., “professional”) commuting hours. If I worked late and rode the bus home in darkness, ridership shifted to mostly African American passengers. [Read more...]

School contract negotiations in CSSU

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By the CVU School Board
In October, the CSSU school boards (Charlotte, Hinesburg, Shelburne, St. George, Williston, CVU and CSSU) and the CSSU Teachers Association ratified a three year contract, effective July 2014 through June 2017. The negotiation of school contracts is a complicated business, and involves much more than arriving at mutually acceptable employee wages and benefits. Defining working conditions that can be afforded by the community, that support best educational practices and that retain highly qualified educational staff requires thoughtful, creative and respectful collaboration between educators and the community, especially in a rapidly changing landscape of K-12 education. In a time when economic recovery has been frustratingly slow and national debates frustratingly partisan, we want to take a moment to share with you some of the “behind the scenes” values-driven thinking that informed this year’s negotiations work.
At the end of the 2010-2013 negotiations session, it is safe to say that there was widespread dissatisfaction with the process. The negotiations structure at the time was partly responsible for members of both parties feeling unheard, and, at times, disrespected. The CSSU board identified a need to address frustrations within the current system and to work with the Association to develop mutual solutions that were within each party’s control to address. As a result, a joint committee was negotiated into the 2013-2014 contract with the association›s agreement that improvements were a common goal. [Read more...]

Young Writers Project: Winter Tales

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Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages Vermont and New Hampshire students to write, helps them improve and connects them with authentic audiences in newspapers, before live audiences and on websites, youngwritersproject.org, vtdigger.org, vpr.net and cowbird.com. Young Writers Project also publishes a monthly digital magazine, The Voice. YWP is supported by this newspaper and foundations, businesses and individuals who recognize the power and value of writing.
More than 200 students from across Vermont responded to a prompt to write about winter. Fourteen pieces were selected by Vermont Stage Company for presentation at the 10th annual Winter Tales at FlynnSpace in Burlington, Dec. 10-14. For more information and for tickets, go to http://www.vtstage.org/winter-tales.html. To see the complete list of YWP writers and to read all submissions to this prompt, go to youngwritersproject.org
The following pieces are from local writers. [Read more...]