July 30, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: Opponents of the Vermont Gas pipeline staged a sit-in protest at the Williston staging area Wednesday morning, attempting to stop work on the pipeline extension project. Look for the story in tomorrow’s Observer.

Everyday Gourmet: Easy as pie

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By Kim Dannies

Nothing makes me happier this time of year than a pie bursting with local summer berries enveloped in a buttery, flaky crust. The strawberry rhubarb season was one of the best in recent memory, and now sensational raspberries, peaches, and blueberries are taking their turn on the pie carousel.

There are a couple of easy secrets to a really good piecrust. The single most important thing is to use white pastry flour. Regular flour makes a decent crust, but pastry flour makes a sublime one.

Typically I buy pastry flour from a bin, but I recently splurged on a bag of local Nitty Gritty Grain white pastry flour. I was astonished at the superior quality of my crust. It formed and rolled out beautifully, held the oozing fruit in check, and melted in my mouth. I couldn’t stop eating the pie. I even did a side-by-side bake off with my traditional flour just to be sure, and there really was no contest. At $12.50 for a five-pound bag, it is dear—but definitely worth it.

The next secret is really good butter. Use the best butter you can afford in your crust, you WILL taste the difference. Vermont’s Cabot unsalted butter is a good place to start; if the pie is a super special one, go all the way with Vermont Creamery’s 86 percent butterfat butter.

The rest is easy. Add three generous cups of pastry flour to a food processor. Cut 1- pound of cold butter into 8 pieces and add to flour. Add a pinch of salt and pulse mixture 20 times to create a coarse mixture. Add 1/3 cup of cold water and hit long pulses until a ball forms in the bowl, about 1 minute. Add more flour if the dough sticks to the sides, or add more water drops if the mixture is not forming into dough.

Wrap dough in plastic. Chill for at least an hour or freeze until needed. I like to roll out my crust for a 9×12-inch rectangle baking dish leaving wide flaps all around the edges.

I add my filling, then pull the flaps up, crostata-style, with an rough opening in the center. I lacquer on some egg yolk and dust with raw sugar. The result is an earthy brown-berry-oozing wonder that serves 12.

Kim Dannies is a graduate of La Varenne Cooking School in France. She lives in Williston with her husband, Jeff; they have three twenty-something daughters who come and go. For archived Everyday Gourmet columns go to kimdannies.com.

Chittenden County Roadwork

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Bolton
The Route 2 repaving project between Waterbury and Bolton will cause lane closures with alternating one lane travel during the week. Traffic control will be present, and motorists should expect traffic delays.

Burlington
Motorists should be aware of paving operations on Appletree Point Road, Balsam Street, Farrington Parkway, Vest Haven Drive, Wildwood and Leddy Park Road through Aug. 8. One-way travel will be maintained, but delays are expected in and out of Leddy Park during the work.

Essex
Paving will start on Route 15 at Butlers Corners in Essex and continue north to just past Browns Trace Road in Jericho. Traffic control will be present and motorists should expect delays. This project should be completed by the end of July.

Essex-Westford
Work repaving Vt. Route 128 from the intersection of Route 15 in Essex extending north on Route 128 for 5.7 miles into Westford will cause one-lane travel in areas and reduced speed limits. Weather permitting, there will be paving from Weed Road north to the end of the project. There will be guardrail and curb work on the Essex end of the project during the week. Traffic control will be present and motorists are asked to use extreme caution. This project will be completed by Aug. 1.

Interstate 89 – Between Richmond and Colchester
Nighttime work on I-89 between Richmond and Colchester continues. Work hours are Sunday through Thursday between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. and work is weather dependent. Motorists should expect lane closures and traffic delays. The speed limit is reduced and fines are doubled for speeding within the construction zone. Motorists should use extreme caution while driving through the construction areas. This project is expected to be completed at the end of August.

 Interstate 89 – Milton Lamoille River Bridges Project
The northbound right shoulder at the Milton Bridge is closed. Motorists should be aware of the possibility of unplanned lane closures to conduct maintenance during the week.
Jericho
The bridge on Browns Trace near the intersection with Lee River Road is closed through Aug. 15. Traffic is detoured until the project is completed.
Culvert replacement on Hanley Lane will reduce travel to one lane. Motorists should expect minor delays and this project should be completed by Aug. 21.

 South Burlington
Construction on the realignment of U.S. Route 2 between East Avenue and the ramps for I-89 by the Sheraton Hotel continues on the north side of U.S. Route 2 by the Sheraton Hotel and UVM property. The sidewalk on the north side of Route 2 is closed from the Holiday Inn to East Avenue. Pedestrian traffic is detoured. The bus stop remains open on the north side of Route 2 by the Sheraton. Regular work hours are Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. with no lane closures expected during peak hours. This project is expected to be completed July 31, 2015.

Obituary

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WALLACE P. ‘WALLY’ BENOIT
Wallace P. “Wally” Benoit, 80, of Williston, passed on to be with the Lord, with his wife and family by his side, on Saturday, July 5, 2014. Wally was born in Burlington on Oct. 11, 1933, the son of Sylvester “Sonny” and Mabel (Bergeron) Benoit. He graduated from Burlington High School in 1952, and served his country for the United States Army. Wallace worked as a Class A Tool-maker at General Electric in Burlington for 35 years, retiring in 1988. During retirement he enjoyed fishing, hunting and spending time with his family. He grew grapes and made excellent wine and beer. Wally is survived by his wife of 59 years, Michaelena (DePaul) Benoit; their children, daughter-in-law, Deborah, wife of Peter, and their children, Shara and husband, Eugene Messier, Mariah and Phillip Benoit; Paula Fitzgerald and husband, John, and their children, Jacob Fitzgerald and wife, Grace, and Ryan and Emily Fitzgerald; and Scott Benoit and wife, Mary, and their children, Vincent and Weston; great-grandchildren, Kayla, Lyric and Eloise; brothers, William Benoit and wife, Ruth, and Douglas Benoit; and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents; son, Peter Benoit; and sister-in-law, Marie Benoit. Visiting hours will be on Thursday, July 10, 2014, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the LaVigne Funeral Home and Cremation Service, 132 Main St. in Winooski. A graveside memorial service was held on Friday, July 11, 2014, at 11 a.m. at Resurrection Park Cemetery on Hinesburg Road in South Burlington. Online condolences can be shared with the family atwww.lavignefuneralhome.com. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the ALS Association, Northern NE Chapter, 110 Ferry St., Suite 309, Concord, NH 03301; or to Williston Rescue, 7900 Williston Road, Williston, VT 05495.

Library Notes

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Vermont Reads ‘Wonder’
All month. Join in the town-wide read for all ages, “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio. Stop by any time and pick up a copy of the book. Sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council.

Youth News
Slime Science with Dr. Einstein
Friday, July 25, 11 a.m. Join us for a humorous look at the scientific properties of slime, followed by slime-making session. Presented by Gillian Ireland and kid scientists,

Ethan and Jonathan Ireland, aka “Dr. Einstein” and “Dr. Dynamite.” All ages. Pre-register.

Vermont Reads ‘Wonder’ Book Discussion
Monday, July 28, 6:30 p.m. Join Laurel Sanborn of Vermont Family Network for a discussion focusing on family issues presented in the book “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio. Copies of the book available at the library. All ages welcome. Refreshments provided. Sponsored by Vermont Humanities Council.

Firefighter Story Time
Tuesday, July 29, 11 a.m. Meet members of the Williston Fire Department and learn about fire safety. All ages.

Teens Make-It Series: Toy Hacking—Because your Toy is More Fun on the Inside
Wednesday, July 30, 1-4 p.m. Take apart old toys and make something new. Ages 11 and up. Pre-register. Sponsored by Vermont Makers and Libraries “Sparking a Culture of Innovation” grant.

Build a Balloon Car
Thursday, July 31, 2-4 p.m. Watch air pressure demonstrations and construct your own air-powered rocket car. Presented by Create It Lab, mobile creativity lab. Ages 8 and up. Pre-register.

Spanish Stories & Music
Thursday July 31, 10:30 a.m. Sing and dance with Constancia Gomez. For children up to age 6.

Meet Vermont Lake Monsters Baseball Players
Friday, Aug. 1, 10:30 a.m. Lake Monsters baseball players read stories and autograph baseballs. All ages.

Adult News
Gentle Yoga with Jill Lang
Tuesday, July 22, 29 and Aug. 5, 5:30-6:30 p.m. Presented by Williston resident, Jill Lang. Come and enjoy free classes. Bring your own mat.

The Tech Tutor
Tuesday, July 22, 3- 6 p.m. Stop by anytime during tech hours for one-on-one technology help from a teen. Guarantee a time by making a 15-minute appointment 878-4918.

Vermont Reads ‘Wonder’ Ice Cream Social, Art Show and Movie
Friday, August 8, 1 p.m. Eat ice cream while showcasing your art, poetry, or songs inspired by the themes of acceptance and kindness found in the book “Wonder.” Followed by the movie “I Am Sam” rated PG-13. Art exhibit participants may enter a drawing for a $50 gift certificate to Majestic 10. Sponsored by the Vermont Humanities Council and Dorothy Alling Memorial Library.

New in Adult Audiobooks
“Cop Town” by Karin Slaughter. Popular novelist Slaughter veers from her traditional series format with her first stand-alone tale of a serial killer targeting police officers. On MP3 CD format.
“The Church of Mercy” by Pope Francis. This new audiobook is a compilation of the papers, speeches and homilies created by the Pope during the first year of his papacy.

New in Adult Fiction
“The Good, the Bad, and the Emus” by Donna Andrews. The avian-themed author returns with popular character Meg Langslow and a new tale of mystery and intrigue.
New in

Adult Non-fiction
“Neil Armstrong; a life of flight” by Jay Barbree. This biography of the American hero features a forward by fellow astronaut John Glenn.

The Dorothy Alling Memorial Library is located at 21 Library Lane in Williston, and can be reached at 878-4918. All events are free. www.williston.lib.vt.us

Moving forward without the Circ

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By Brian Searles
Over the past months, there have been many attempts to link the Circumferential Highway project in Chittenden County to the global business decisions of IBM that may affect the Essex Junction plant. That the Circ is being used for political posturing is not surprising or new. What is surprising is the lack of facts in the narrative that is being put forward. The Circ was a dinosaur of a project that languished for more than 30 years. In the meantime, cost estimates had ballooned, nearly doubling to $200 million. And in the end every stakeholder, including IBM, agreed it was best to move in another direction with a realistic plan that addresses Chittenden County’s transportation concerns for nearly half the cost.
When Governor Shumlin took office in 2011, no construction had taken place on the Circ project in nearly 18 years. Yet between 1993, when the 4-mile segment in Essex was opened, and 2011, nearly $32 million was spent on the Circ. Significantly, during that time, transportation investments changed direction. Urban ring roads fell out of favor nationwide, new capacity projects became limited, average daily traffic fell, new technology in intersection control and demand management emerged. A sharper understanding of environmental concerns was shared by all, and federal dollars became more constrained. A bloated $200 million investment in outdated technology was simply not in the cards.
As a result, the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission led a task force at the governor’s request that included all of the Circ stakeholders. The group met for 30 months and reexamined the problems that needed to be fixed and used all of the new available tools to create an array of projects designed to have a much more positive impact on traffic issues than the Circ ever promised. The task force included membership of state and federal transportation partners, the Circ towns, GBIC, the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Conservation Law Foundation, the Vermont Natural Resources Council, IBM and others.
In the end, the Task Force voted unanimously to approve 34 projects with an estimated cost of about $100 million, half the cost of the Circ. Twelve are short-term (3-5 year horizon) projects such as the Crescent Connector in Essex Junction and Exit 16 improvements in Colchester; nineteen medium-term (5-10 years) such as a grid street system near Exit 12 of I-89 in Williston and Severance Corners improvements in Colchester; and three are longer-term projects (more than 10 years) that include major work on Exit 12 and improvements to Redmond Road and Mountain View Road, both in Williston.
In addition to costing half as much, these projects differ from the Circ in another important way: They will actually be completed. The 34 projects have all been approved by the Vermont Legislature and are part of the state’s capital program. Several even received funding in the 2015 budget. Those are the facts. And that’s progress of which Vermont and Vermonters should be proud.

Brian Searles is the secretary of the Vermont Agency of Transportation.

Around Town

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Williston Fire Department neighborhood visits
As in previous years, the Williston Fire Department will conduct neighborhood visits throughout the summer, scheduled for every Wednesday beginning at 6 p.m. A different neighborhood will be visited each week. At each neighborhood visit, residents can go through vehicles and meet the members of the Williston Fire Department. If you would like to schedule a visit for your neighborhood event, contact the Williston Fire Department at 878-5622.

Discounted theme park tickets available
The Vermont Recreation and Parks Association is offering discounted amusement park tickets to the Bromley Mountain Adventure Park in Manchester, Great Escape/Splashwater Kingdom in Lake George, N.Y. and Six Flags New England in Agawam, Mass.
The discounted prices are $28 ($45 at the gate) for Bromley, $35 ($54.99 at the gate) for the Great Escape, and $38 ($59.99 at the gate) for Six Flags New England. Tickets are good any day for the duration of the 2014 season.
Stop by the Parks and Recreation Department in participating locations, including Williston. Tickets can be purchased during normal business hours. Not every community sells tickets to all 3 parks. Go to www.vrpa.org to find the list of ticket outlets under the “programs” tab and call ahead.
You can also buy Great Escape and Six Flags New England tickets online. For online tickets to the Great Escape, go to www.sixflags.com/greatescape and use “VTREC” for the promo code. For online tickets to Six Flags New England, go to www.sixflags.com/partnerlogin and use “VTParkandRec” for the username and “sixflags2” for the password.

BBB warns of IRS scam
Callers to Better Business Bureau say they have received voicemail messages stating they need to contact the IRS immediately or they would face legal consequences. Other messages threatened arrest by U.S. Marshals for failure to pay the correct amount of taxes.
According to the IRS, the agency never contacts taxpayers by phone requesting money. They also never contact taxpayers by email. If there is an issue with the IRS that requires your response, the contact would be made by U.S. mail. Consumers should never give out personal information over the phone or through email.