November a time for elections, new staff
Nov. 24, 2010
The Williston Observer, formerly the Williston Whistle, is celebrating its 25th year providing news to the community. Here are some stories from past months of November:
• The Whistle provided an update on the Circumferential Highway in its November 1986 edition, with information based on discussions from an Oct. 14 Board of Selectmen meeting. The highlights included the following: the federal government would pay for approximately 90 percent of the project; 3 miles of the 16-mile Circ would be in Williston; the “limited access” highway would have minimal exits and entrances.
Nearly 25 years later, Williston’s portion of the Circ has yet to be built, though the Vermont Agency of Transportation hopes to begin construction by 2013.
• In November 1987, the Whistle reported on the Vermont Nature Conservancy’s purchase of 295 acres, including the 30-acre Mud Pond. The Whistle reprinted an article about the purchase that originally appeared in The Oak Log, the Nature Conservancy’s newsletter. The article called Mud Pond “an area of importance to local wildlife, as well as an ecological research area used by the University of Vermont.”
• Vice President George H. W. Bush visited Williston shortly before Election Day in 1988, the Whistle reported in its November issue of that year. Three thousand ticket holders lined a parade route along U.S. 2, with another 500 gathered in the firehouse, the Whistle reported. Bush’s visit, made during his campaign to become president of the United States, lasted approximately one hour.
• The front page of the November 1991 Whistle contained a mysterious headline: “Who Shot Ward Johnson’s Cow?” The article beneath the headline detailed how a 3-year-old “prize milker … was discovered lying in the field. She had been shot by four arrows, two on the right side and two on the left.” The cow bled to death from its wounds. Johnson was the Town Moderator at the time, with a long family history in Williston. Police had not made any arrests when the paper went to print.
• On Nov. 24, 1993, the Whistle reported that the town had appointed three people to leadership positions in the Williston Volunteer Fire Department. Ken Morton would become chief on Jan. 1, 1994, replacing Howard Lunderville. John Tymecki and Gary Keefe were appointed as assistant chiefs. All three men had a long history with the fire department; Morton, Tymecki and Keefe had been with the department for 11, 14 and 22 years, respectively. Morton still serves as chief of the Williston Fire Department.
• The Williston Planning Commission gave conceptual approval to the shopping center Maple Tree Place on Nov. 2, 1994, the Whistle reported in its Nov. 10 issue that year.
• The Nov. 22, 1995 issue of the Whistle featured a picture of Williston Central School students breaking ground on Nov. 17 for a future school on Talcott Road — the new school became Allen Brook.
• On Nov. 5, 1998, the Whistle reported on “a pipe bomb (being) left — apparently to explode — in a Williston driveway” on Old Stage Road the evening of Oct. 30. The bomb was disarmed on Old Stage Road, but local, state and federal officials participated in the investigation.
• Allen Brook School was honored in November 2000 for placing first in the America Recycles Day contest, the Whistle reported in its Nov. 16 issue that year. The contest was sponsored by the Chittenden Solid Waste District. The school had encouraged recycling efforts by having students collect bottles and compost food scraps, as well as take tours of local recycling facilities. CSWD said the school recycled 50 percent of its waste.
• Williston Police reached a new contract agreement with the town in November 2000. The Whistle reported on Nov. 23, 2000 that the contract would increase police officer pay by 6.5 percent over two years — 3.5 percent in the first year of the contract, and 3 percent in the second year. The agreement came after months of negotiations.
• Voters in Williston and other Chittenden South Supervisory Union towns rejected a school bond proposal on Election Day in 2001. The $27.5 million bond would have been used to renovate and expand Champlain Valley Union High School, the Whistle reported on Nov. 8, 2001. Between Williston, Charlotte, Hinesburg and Shelburne, 61 percent of voters said no to the bond proposal.
• The Whistle reported on Nov. 28, 2002 that the town would no longer list the names of delinquent taxpayers in its annual report. Town Manager Rick McGuire said the act of humiliating those who did not pay their taxes in any given year served no constructive purpose. The report also stopped listing the year’s births, deaths and marriages.
• As reported in the Observer on Nov. 17, 2005, Chittenden South Supervisory Union Superintendent Brian O’Regan announced his intention to step down from his position at the end of the school year. O’Regan was hired in July 2000 and helped centralize operations at CSSU. He was replaced the following year by current Superintendent Elaine Pinckney.
• On Nov. 22, 2005, a small plane crashed near Oak Hill Road, killing the Connecticut-based pilot, according to the Dec. 1, 2005 issue of the Observer. The plane, flying low into the Burlington International Airport, narrowly missed houses on Partridge Hill. Nearly a year later, as described in the Nov. 9, 2006 copy of the Observer, a report by the National Transportation Safety Board cited pilot and air traffic control errors as contributing factors in the crash.
• An historic presidential election occurred in 2008, with large numbers of voters turning out across the country. Williston was no exception, with 71 percent of registered voters casting their ballot on Nov. 4, 2008. Sixty-seven percent of Williston voters backed a freshman senator from Illinois, Barack Obama.
Locally, incumbents ruled the day, including Gov. Jim Douglas, who earned himself a fourth term.
• On Nov. 16, 2009, the town Selectboard banned hunting at the 57-acre Five Tree Hill Country Park. Nearby residents cited safety concerns over hunting at the town-owned land. Those who turned out at various Selectboard meetings expressed fear that continued hunting in the area could lead to a deadly accident with hikers. The Five Tree Hill ban began a town-wide study of other municipal parcels in Williston where hunting may be forbidden. The Conservation Commission has been making suggestions on the matter.