May 25, 2018

Letters to the Editor

Dugouts for softball field

Hello, my name is Isabel Geffken and I am an eighth grader at Williston Central School. I have been very active in my elementary school for as far back as I can remember and, in particular, I have played softball on the girls Williston Central team since sixth grade and as part of the Williston Little League since I was 7 years old. I was an all-star for the past four years for the Williston All-Star 9-10 and 11-12 teams! In particular, I played first base (my favorite position) and third base. In all the years I have played at Williston, there has been a discrepancy that has always bothered me. The girls’ softball field does not have dugouts. All of the boys’ fields at Williston, the Majors and Babe Ruth have dugouts, but the girls softball field just has metal temporary benches.

The reason I am writing this letter is in optimism that I can find others in our wonderful Williston community to help rectify this unfortunate situation. I would like to build dugouts for the girls softball field with your help, whether it is with materials, volunteers or donations! This has been a dream of mine for the past four years! I am using this opportunity as my eighth grade challenge and part of my Girl Scout Silver Star Award to bring awareness to everyone of this need. I would so appreciate your assistance in helping the future of girls softball players have the appropriate, fair and equitable dugouts in our proud town of Williston. If you are interested in making this dream a reality, please contact me at 879-0489 or via email, Thank you for your consideration and support in advance of the Williston girls softball program.

Isabel Geffken


Praise for okonomiyaki

Thank to Kim Dannies for the wonderful okonomiyaki recipe in last week’s paper. As she promised, they were simple, fun to make, with healthy ingredients and an Asian flavor that my whole family loved. It also brought back a great memory of a fantastic restaurant that I went to in Japan, where you choose your favorite ingredients, and then grill up your own okonomiyaki at your table.

Keep the great recipes coming!

Deborah Miuccio


Syrup grading thoughts

I guess I am in my own Vermont world when it comes to maple syrup. Until recently, I did not realize that our neighbors in Maine and New Hampshire had a different yet similar grading system. I did some research into how these three states’ grading systems differ, and it helped me decide how I would vote.

I was disappointed to learn that Maine does not sell a Grade B maple syrup. I do like its system, and New Hampshire’s, calling maple syrup Grade A Light Amber, Grade A Medium Amber, Grade A Dark Amber and Grade B. In Vermont we use terms Fancy, Medium Amber, Dark Amber, Grade B and Grade C. Adding the letter A in the light, medium and dark grades seems appropriate, as it describes a superior product, no matter what color the syrup is.

The Grade C, made at the end of our sugaring season, is very dark and strong tasting. This happens because a certain amount of bacteria grows in sap as it is collected and cooked. Maple syrup made early in the season has a good grade of sugar called sucrose. Syrup made later in the season that is darker in color may have sugar that is more like fructose and glucose. The season’s beginning temperatures—20 degrees at night and 45 degrees in the daytime—make the lightest syrup. As the season progresses and temperatures get warmer, the grades change.

I would vote that the Vermont and all of the U.S. use one grading system: Grade A Light Amber, Grade A Medium Amber, Grade A Dark Amber (like Maine and New Hampshire) and allow all states to sell a Grade B and a Grade C.

Since Canada is another country, let them use their own grading system. Here in the U.S. we need to distinguish our product from another country’s.

Ginger Isham


School Board seeks input for budget

The Williston School Board met on March 13 and began planning for a revised budget. There will be a community forum on Wednesday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m.  at Williston Central School. This is an opportunity for community members to voice concerns, share thoughts and ask questions. The board will reconvene on April 2 to adopt the revised budget and a second budget vote will be held in early May.

Board members may also be contacted via phone or email. Contact information is listed in the Williston Observer (page 6) and on the website. We welcome your suggestions as we work to provide a quality education for our students at a cost the community can support.

We would like to welcome Kevin Brochu to the board. He is serving a three-year term.

Williston School Board members Kevin Mara, Giovanna Boggero, Josh Diamond, Kevin Brochu and Deb Baker-Moody


The real cost of the 1-to-1 iPad proposal

Our Williston School Board as part of the budget proposal for next year has included the so-called 1-to-1 iPad initiative to provide every child in grades 5 and 6 (260 students) with their own personal iPads. It is the intention to expand that program next year to include grades 7 and 8 (another 260 students).

The administration stated that the first year cost of this initiative would be $93,000, however, after a needed $70,000 from the current year budget surplus, the actual cost is $163,000. This same amount would be required next year to implement the program in grades 7 and 8. When further pressured, the administration conceded that these iPads would need to be replaced every three years to keep them current.

The administration stated that the objective was for these iPads to have Internet access 24-7. The item which was not identified was the cost of the necessary data package. The cost of a minimum data package would be projected to be around $30 per month or $360 per year per iPad.

If one does the math, the first ten-year cost for this program would be $2,919,400 ($1,141,000 for the iPads, $1,778,400 for the data plan). This does not include the cost of the insurance to cover lost and damaged units, the cost of special software required for each unit or the cost of a staff member who would be required to support these 520 iPads.

With this kind of deceptive presentation from the administration, one has to wonder what else there is in the proposed budget that might be misleading. I urge the voters to resoundingly reject this budget until this initiative is removed and further significant cuts are made.

Gil Rodes


Death with dignity

At Town Meeting, several people asked me about the status of the Death With Dignity legislation. I share with you what I know. I was pleased that we finally got to a full discussion of the issue in the Vermont Senate (S.77). It is a major step forward to have the bill be passed by that part of the Legislature. I am less than jubilant however, over the fact that the amended bill, which was passed and sent on to the House, omitted safeguards that I have long felt important and have worked so diligently to include in a Vermont bill.

The bill as passed by the Senate is not fashioned after the safe and successful practices that have been followed in Oregon for 15 years. I am hopeful that the House will take up the amended bill in committee. I encourage you to ask your representatives, Macaig and McCullough, to work for the bill and restoration of the protective measures gutted from the bill by the Senate.

It is important that a Vermont bill afford true end-of-life choices to patients, as well as provide appropriate legal guidelines and protections.

Safeguards are essential to patients, medical practitioners and families. I continue to believe that a restored Death With Dignity bill will serve as an instrument that strengthens and improves medical care for all seriously ill persons. Patient Choices Vermont is a strong advocate for a bill with these essential features. Visit for more information.

Robert Ullrich


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