Theater evacuated after smoke device set
Juvenile charged; three other suspects remain unidentified
One minor has been cited and three other suspects remain unidentified after smoke-producing devices were released at the Majestic 10 cinemas in Maple Tree Place last Wednesday, causing the evacuation of the theaters and nearby restaurants.
The incident happened about 6:30 p.m. The Williston Fire Department responded to the emergency call from a theater employee with two fire trucks, an ambulance and a utility vehicle with eight firefighters. Williston police officers soon followed.
“Pyrotechnic smoke-producing devices … were maliciously set off in the foyer of the building,”
Capt. Prescott Nadeau of the Williston Fire Department said in a news release.
Regulations take effect on town-owned landBY JASON STARR Observer staff
The Williston Selectboard came up short of a call from a group of about 230 petitioners to ban the use of body-gripping animal traps on town land but did approve limits to the practice in a new policy unanimously approved last Tuesday.
Williston residents submitted a petition two years ago urging the town to prohibit the practice, calling animal traps “inhumane and indiscriminate” and posing a risk to pets and children. The effort to ban the practice mirrors a broader initiative by wildlife activists to enact a statewide ban.
“I am worried about this for my dog,
and all dogs and children who use the town lands,” resident Nancy Kahn wrote on the petition to the selectboard. “This is not a safe or humane way to treat any animal domestic or otherwise.”
Town staff worked with the volunteer conservation commission and a consulting attorney to draft a policy to present to the board. An outright ban on trapping, or a ban of certain types of traps, would not be legal under state law, the town’s attorney advised. But the town is authorized to create rules and conditions for trapping on land it owns — like its many country parks and conservation areas. State law requires trappers to receive landowner permission to trap furbearing animals — such as beavers, otters, raccoons, skunks, coyotes and bobcats.
Under the new policy, town administrators will allow only “essential” trapping, defined as necessary to managing a threat
to public safety, property or infrastructure. It also creates a case-by-case allowance for wildlife research and/or monitoring. The town will deny all other trapping requests, the policy states.
Williston Public Works Director Bruce Hoar worked with the conservation commission in drafting the policy, lobbying to retain the town’s ability to trap nuisance animals. The policy directs the department to contract only with licensed and insured trappers and to be advised of the location of traps set by contractors. Contracted trappers are required to use “the most safe, effective, selective, practical and humane methods and techniques for capturing furbearer species,” the policy states. It also requires contractors to notify the town when a non-target animal is captured.
Signs will be posted alerting the public
Firefighters used fans to clear smoke from the building, and allowed theater and restaurant staff and patrons back inside about an hour after the initial evacuation.
According to Lt. Josh Moore of the Williston Police Department, surveillance video from outside the theaters shows two suspects getting out of a white Honda Pilot and going into the lobby with the devices, with two others remaining in the car.
Police put out a call to the public using video screenshots in a news release and social media post seeking help identifying the suspects. By Saturday, police said they had received numerous tips leading to the identification of one suspect, a juvenile who was charged with disorderly conduct and cited to appear in Chittenden County Family Court. The sus-
see TRAPPING page 5 see THEATER page 5
“I don’t know if it was supposed to be a prank, but it was a way bigger deal than maybe they initially thought.”
Lt. Josh Moore Williston Police DepartmentA trapper sets a trap for beaver during Vermont’s winter beaver trapping season. PHOTO COURTESY OF VERMONT FISH AND WILDLIFE
Former Williston teammates face off in college
Two Williston Little League and CVU alums recently found each other on opposite sides of the baseball diamond in the NCAA
Division 3 regional tournament in Bridgewater, Mass. Baker Angstman of Middlebury College and Ian Parent of Endicott College had
been teammates for many years, winning the high school state championship together in 2019. Endicott beat Middlebury 6-0 in their NCAA matchup.
Little League hosting Hit-A-Thon/Strike Out Hunger event
Williston Little League is hosting its annual Hit-A-Thon/Strike Out Hunger event Saturday, June 3 from 9:30-3 p.m. at Village Community Park. Bring your nonperishable food items for the Williston Community Food Shelf and cheer on the players.
Proceeds from a raffle with prizes from area businesses go to Williston Little League to fund player scholarships, field maintenance, equipment and more.
Enter the raffle online at https://rafflecreator.com/pages/73486/2023-wll-hit-a-thon.
Appraisers evaluate Williston treasures
Last Saturday afternoon, about 50 people turned out for the first ever Williston Antiques Roadshow event at Williston Federated Church, sponsored by the Williston Historical Society. Appraisers from Merrill’s Auction House examined, appraised and provided information about the Williston treasures that people brought in. Some of the items brought in for appraisal:
• A pocket sewing machine from 1868
• Jewelry, including an art deco wedding ring set and a bracelet made of old swimming medals
• Dishes and depressionera glassware
• Grand Army of the Republic mementos
• Sports memorabilia
• Designer pocketbooks
• An African warrior tribal shield
• A Pedrazzinni violin worth several thousand dollars.
Registration open for Deb Beckett Memorial 5K Run/Walk
The 2023 Deb Beckett Memorial 5K Run/Walk, sponsored by the Williston-Richmond Rotary Club, will be held on Saturday, July 1 at the Williston Village Community Park.
Runners and walkers of all levels are welcome. Pre-register by June 18 at https://willistonvt.myrec.com/info/activities/.
All pre-registered runners and walkers are guaranteed a race shirt.
Check-in for all participants will open at 7 a.m. Walkers should arrive for check-in by 7:45 a.m. for an 8:15 a.m. start. Runners should arrive by 8:15 a.m. for an 8:45 a.m. start.
This year there will also be a half-mile Kids Run for children 4-14 years old. No registration is required. Children should arrive for registration by 7:30 a.m. for an 8 a.m. start time. There is no fee for the Kids Run.
Proceeds from the run/walk support numerous Rotary Club community projects.
Independence Day Celebration schedule announced
Williston’s Independence Day Celebration activities will take place on July 1, July 3 and July 4. The parade theme this year is “Growing Community.”
SATURDAY, JULY 1
• Deb Beckett Memorial 5K Race/Walk sponsored by the Williston/Richmond Rotary Club. See registration information to the left.
MONDAY, JULY 3
• Friends of the Dorothy Alling Memorial Library Book Sale, 4-6 p.m. at Williston Central School
• Ice Cream Social, 6:30 p.m. on the Village Green. Sponsored by the Williston Federated Church
• Town Band Concert, 6:30 p.m. on the Village Green
TUESDAY, JULY 4
• Friends of the Dorothy Alling Memorial
see AROUND TOWN page 24
BELOW: Appraiser Linus Leavens, right, of Merrill’s Auction House and Williston Historical Society member Steve Perkins evaluate a Pedrazzinni violin Saturday at the historical society’s local ‘Antiques Roadshow’ event. LEFT: A tea pot featuring a dragon mouth for a spout was brought in for evaluation by Camryn Stanko. The event was held at the Williston Federated Church.
OBSERVER COURTESY PHOTOS
Hinesburg’s SongFarmers put down roots
cians snapped open their guitar cases and began tuning their banjos, a young girl peered into the community room of the Hinesburg library from the bookshelves. The group drew the girl’s curiosity as they chatted, set up music stands and spread sheet music on the floor. Then, the SongFarmers started playing. The strums of their guitars and the twang of the banjos filled the room with a mix of folk, rock and Americana music.
The Carpenter-Carse Library community room door stays open during a SongFarmers jam for this very reason: so kids can “wander in and watch,” said Rik Palieri, leader of the Hinesburg SongFarmers and a longtime fixture in folk music in Vermont and beyond.
“Music is a birthright,” Palieri said following the April 6 SongFarmers jam session. “It’s something that belongs to all of
song, sing a song, tap your foot, clap your hands.”
He added, “This is the way that we can let that spirit out.”
Since summer 2017, the SongFarmers of Hinesburg have gathered from 6 to 8 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month at the Carpenter-Carse Library to let that spirit out and play. The jam is open to anyone who wants to join on an instrument or simply sit and enjoy the music. But it’s not only about the music; it’s about community.
As the name might suggest, the SongFarmers cultivate music. Like some might say of Vermont crops, the value of the group is that it’s organic, with music coming straight from the Hinesburg soil, without embellishment, Palieri said. When the weather gets warm, they play outside in the library yard.
“It really is growing communal music,” said SongFarmer
seas. According to Palieri, the seed of the idea was planted in 2016 during a conversation with fellow folk singer-songwriter Michael Johnathon. The two spoke about the general state of music and the pressures of the industry.
They envisioned getting back to the root of “real music,” Palieri said — “this idea of the front porch, of bringing the music back, right into the community.”
Out of this grew the Front Porch Music Association, created to facilitate an inclusive and community-oriented jam — an improvised, unrehearsed session of musicians playing together.
“It sort of was like wildfire because all of these different people started these SongFarmer gatherings in their houses,” Palieri said. “They started it in libraries, they started it in all
see SONGFARMERS page 4
continued from page 3
different types of venues — and now they’re all over the world.”
This year, the 67-year-old Palieri is marking his 50th year of performing on a tour and is scheduled to play in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee and Europe.
“I wanted to go back out on the road and visit those places that I spent most of my life,” he said.
Originally from New Jersey, the Hinesburg resident received a Lifetime Achievement Award on April 29 from the New Jersey Folk Festival for his contributions to folk music. It’s nice to see the world, but Palieri said he’s always happy to play close to home.
“It was really important for me to
be able to have a community right here where I live, instead of having to go and travel somewhere to play music.”
“There are a lot of people who come to our gathering in Hinesburg that are professional musicians,” he added. “They choose to come to our gathering to make our community a better place.”
SongFarmers, though, make room for anyone who loves music, even those who are just starting out. They can practice a new piece or fall back on the comfort of familiar songs.
“We’re not performers here, we’re facilitators and cheerleaders,” Palieri said.
Yarwood, 60, has played with about half of the circle for 30 years, he said, but “it’s really nice when people you don’t know show up.”
Jordan Buntain, 47, joined the SongFarmers for the first time at the April jam. He met some of the musicians at another event about a month earlier —
Crumbl for a Crowd AT FINNEY CROSSING
when he picked up his guitar for the first time in five years. He said it felt good to play again, “especially with these guys, it’s simple. It’s easy stuff.”
NO MICS, NO AMPS
Every jam has its own set of rules –often unspoken ones. Some focus on certain genres of music or types of instru -
trol the volume for library goers, but also to allow everyone to hear one other.
The other rule: Everyone in the circle has a chance to choose a song to play, but they can pass to the next person. This month, the group picked tunes by Willie Nelson, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Johnny Cash.
Many of the SongFarmer musicians
ments. Yarwood recounted his very first jam, at the now-defunct Daily Bread in Richmond, where he brought an instrument that didn’t fit the genre.
“I walked in with a five-string banjo to an Irish session,” he said, recalling the eight musicians who “looked at me and glowered and went right back to what they were doing without saying a word.”
At some bluegrass jams, ukuleles are frowned upon, Yarwood said. “Whereas here, everything is fine. It makes no difference as long as you don’t have to plug it in.”
At April’s jam, the SongFarmers played ukuleles, stand-up bass, violin, guitars, mandolins and banjos.
The SongFarmers do have rules. One is no microphone. That’s mostly to con -
fill the time between the monthly jam with other groups. For Kendrick Kite, a Montpelier guitar player, the April session was his second jam of the day. Carol Jean Suitor, 84, and Jim Wick, 82, live in Wake Robin Retirement Community and have a group that meets once a week.
“There’s another little group that practices once a week with a fiddle,” Suitor said. “We’re all pretty much beginners, but we have fun.”
The SongFarmers’ nonmusical interaction, Palieri said, is as important as the music — the bantering between songs, lingering afterward to make plans for the next jam, cracking of jokes and subsequent laughing.
It’s the music, though, that brings everyone together in the first place.
“It sort of was like wildfire because all of these different people started these SongFarmer gatherings in their houses. They started it in libraries, they started it in all different types of venues — and now they’re all over the world.”
Rik Palieri Hinesburg SongFarmers leader
continued from page 1
to stay on trails when trapping is taking place. There is an exemption from the signing requirement in areas where town infrastructure is located but where there are no town trails.
Hoar “expressed concerns that … signs notifying people of trapping occurring on a property will lead to traps being stolen,” Town Planner Simon Myles wrote in a memo about the policy to the selectboard.
“We had a lot of back and forth with the Department of Public Works,” Myles said.
People who disregard the pol-
continued from page 1
pect is not a resident of Williston, Moore said.
“I don’t know if it was supposed to be a prank, but it was a way bigger deal than maybe they initially
icy and trap on town-owned land without permission will be subject to trespassing charges, the policy states. That includes people who use town land to access a stream to set a trap.
Meanwhile, state wildlife officials are currently taking public comment on possible new statewide regulations on trapping and hunting with dog packs, which wildlife advocates, led by a group called Protect Our Wildlife, have long lobbied state lawmakers to ban. The Legislature directed the Department of Fish and Wildlife to create new rules for both practices with the passage of Act 159 and Act 165 in 2022.
Public hearings are planned
thought,” Moore said.
One commenter on the department’s Facebook post about the incident said he is the father of the theater employee who made the emergency call and, along with other employees, helped evacuate the building — “Pretty traumatic for a 17-year-old,” he wrote.
for June 20 in Rutland, June 21 in Montpelier and online via Microsoft Teams on June 22. To participate in the meetings, visit https:// tinyurl.com/trappinghearing. Public comment is also being accepted by email through the end of June at anr.fwpubliccomment@vermont. gov. Write “trapping and coyote regulations” in the subject line of your email.
Brenna Galdenzi of Protect Our Wildlife said any new rules that fall short of a statewide ban of trapping and dog pack hunting will be “toothless, unenforceable recommendations that will result in no meaningful changes to lessen the suffering that animals endure as a result of these cruel activities.”
Officer Kyle Brooks continues to investigate the incident. The suspect who has been charged has not cooperated with the investigation, Moore said, and police have not been able to identify the three other people in the car.Jason Starr
AND ERIN BRADY
Just before midnight on Friday, May 12, the Vermont House of Representatives adjourned for the 2023 session. We are grateful to the Williston community for trusting us to represent you in Montpelier. We look forward to hosting another community conversation in the next couple of weeks (details to come) and appreciate this opportunity to share some of the highlights of the session.
Of course, there is much more nuance than we can fit in this column and are happy to answer questions and talk further.
When we knocked on hundreds of doors last fall, one of the most common issues people voiced support for was making Universal School Meals permanent (H.165). The pandemic put extraordinary strain on our schools that continues to this day. One “bright spot” is that free breakfast and lunch have been available to all students for three
GUEST COLUMN Notes from the Legislature
years now, reducing hunger and accelerating a much-needed culture change.
Universal meals in schools remove stigma for low-income students but ultimately support all families. Nourishing school meals are as essential as instructional materials, transportation and extracurricular activities.
Food is not just nutrition, it is also about community, identity and belonging.
We strongly support the commitment to children and families we made through robust childcare legislation (H.217). This investment — the first in a multi-year system transformation — will make childcare more affordable for families, raise rates to provide financial stability for childcare providers, and boost pay for our valued early childhood workforce. The early years are essential for children’s well-being, and access to affordable, high-quality child care has positive ripple effects throughout our state. In the coming years, we look forward to expanding access to full-day public pre-kindergarten.
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Another issue we heard most passionately about from people when we knocked on doors was protection for reproductive healthcare. We were proud to support measures protecting abortion care and gender-affirming healthcare (H.89/Act 14 and S.37/Act 15). These bills ensure that medical providers and patients will not be prosecuted by other states for providing or receiving legally protected health care in Vermont. They also require health insurance coverage, protections against deceptive medical information, and plans for public colleges to assist students in accessing care.
Gun violence, including suicide, shatters families and communities. After heart-wrenching testimony, we passed suicide and community violence prevention (H.230). The legislation includes three main components that build upon the common sense gun safety regulations enacted in 2018. It expands access to existing red flag laws and institutes a 72-hour waiting period for the purchase of a firearm.
monters — and especially those with fixed, low or moderate incomes — do things like weatherize, install heat pumps or switch to cleaner fuels at a lower price.
In May, the Legislature gave final approval to S.5 by overriding Gov. Phil Scott’s veto. The Public Utilities Commission will now spend the next two years researching and designing the proposed Clean Heat Standard. This public process will include reports that analyze the cost of the program (including any impact on fuel prices), the estimated savings for Vermonters and much more.
In 2025, this information will be presented to the Legislature in the form of a new bill, for testimony, any necessary revision and votes in both the House and Senate. If it passes the Legislature in 2025, the Clean Heat Standard would begin its gradual rollout in 2026.
these rates will help us attract and retain this workforce, meet demand for services and free up hospital emergency rooms.
• Workforce and Higher Education ($74 million) — $47 million package to attract and retain workers in fields with severe shortages, including nursing, dental hygiene, teachers, psychiatric care and the skilled trades. This budget also funds successful scholarship programs like 802 Opportunity and adult education, and allocates funds to help small business, rural industry and working lands enterprises.
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Because suicide is an impulsive act, a waiting period puts critical time and space between the intention and the act, which can make a life-saving difference. The final component of the bill establishes a path to accountability for gun owners when children gain access to a gun and use it to hurt someone (including, possibly, themselves). It is our hope that future legislation will make it the law in Vermont that guns are to be stored securely, separate from ammunition.
INVESTING IN OUR FUTURE
The complex work we face as a society on climate change is not just about reducing emissions and repairing harm, but also making our communities more climate-resilient and prepared for changes in energy markets that are already happening. The goal of the Affordable Heat Act (S.5) is to help Vermonters save money and reduce pollution by transitioning away from fossil fuels to cleaner, more sustainable heat.
We’d accomplish this not by taxes or mandates, but by requiring fossil-fuel dealers to earn credits. Dealers would earn these credits by helping interested Ver-
The most essential and challenging work of government is how we invest our public dollars. Good tax governance requires regularly and predictably adjusting fees to track with inflation, developing a progressive, equitable tax system, and ensuring we have a solid mix of revenue sources.
While federal Covid funds are winding down, they have bolstered the economy so much that Vermont is in a healthier financial state than before the pandemic. The state budget (H. 494) is a values-based budget that invests in our state’s most critical needs and our collective future. Highlights include:
• Housing ($211 million) — $109 million to expand affordable housing and $102 million for emergency shelter and support services for unhoused Vermonters, recovery housing, transitional housing for Vermonters exiting prison, and housing for young people exiting the foster care system.
• Raising Provider Rates ($99.7 million) — Major updates to rates (underfunded for years) that support our medical and human services programs.
These essential workers do the critical work of caring for the sick, Vermonters with disabilities, the elderly and those fighting addiction. Increasing
• Human Services, Prevention and Recovery — $20 million to expand the “hub and spoke” treatment system for opioid use disorder; funds a statewide expansion of mobile crisis units and invests in recovery center and housing; invests in prevention through after-school, youth mentoring and substance misuse prevention programs.
Many of these bills still await the governor’s signature before their positive impacts can be felt by Vermonters. The Legislature is prepared to return for a veto session in late June, if needed, to complete this important work. We continue to learn and grow as members of our citizen Legislature. The people we encounter in the legislative process – fellow legislators, state government employees, advocates, statehouse staff, legislative counsel, and so many more — are incredibly thoughtful and hardworking. We are grateful for the unflappable leadership of Speaker Jill Krowinski (D-Burlington) and Minority Leader Patty McCoy (R-Poultney) who model respect and empathy even amidst the most challenging conflicts.
We will each publish a more detailed end-of-session report on our respective websites, www. erinbradyforwilliston.com and www.angelaforwilliston.com, and welcome questions and conversation anytime.
Erin Brady and Angela Arsenault represent Williston’s Chittenden 2 District in the Vermont House of Representatives.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
A place to live and love
I would like to make a comment on the new hotel building reported on in last week’s Observer (“A[nother] new hotel planned for Taft Corners”).
Can we turn that space into truly affordable housing for the people of Vermont? I mean affordable condos or apartments to buy instead of rent? With minimum homeowners association fees that won’t put us out of the bid to buy?
I’m a local direct support worker and can’t afford to live in the county that I work in. I’m being forced to relocate elsewhere so that I may even try to purchase a home.
I love Vermont, but it doesn’t seem like Vermont loves me.Andrea DiMedio Williston
Living free across the border
With the largest state budget on record recently passing both Vermont houses, a comparison of Vermont to our neighbor, New Hampshire, is quite interesting.
New Hampshire has 1.4 million people and its budget is less than $8 billion per year. Vermont has 650,000 people with a proposed budget of $8.5 billion. New Hampshire’s budget is 6 percent smaller to support twice the number of residents.
Obviously, New Hampshire spends much less per person than Vermont resulting in a much lower tax burden.
Folks fixate on New Hampshire’s “larger” property tax, but it’s only one part of
the total tax burden. New Hampshire’s median property tax rate, reported by the Vermont Department of Taxes, is 2.13 percent; Vermont’s is 1.91 percent. Only 0.2 percent more is a good deal when paying no income tax (compared to Vermont’s rate of 3.3-8.8 percent), no sales tax (compared to Vermont’s rate of 6-7 percent), and lower excise taxes (Vermont collects $1,156 per capita where New Hampshire collects $711 annually).
Vermont taxes interest and dividends as regular income. New Hampshire taxes it at flat 5 percent after $4,800 on a joint return and after $2,400 for individual returns. New Hampshire also allows an exemption of $1,200 for seniors. Their interest and dividends tax phases out by 2027. New Hampshire does not tax capital gains or Social Security. Vermont taxes both.
Vermont has the fourth highest tax burden in the U.S., where New Hampshire ranks toward the lowest at 34th. New Hampshire ranks No. 1 for most effective use of and best return on taxes. Vermont ranks 44th.
New Hampshire has a balanced legislature; Vermont has a liberal supermajority able to push through whatever agenda they “feel is best.” In Vermont, legislative discussions are limited, and the threat of a Governor veto override clouds the process.
The New Hampshire Legislature is certainly doing something really right. There’s a great view of Vermont from there, too.Bruce Roy Williston
The childcare debate that wasn’tBY JACK HOFFMAN
Expansion of Vermont’s childcare subsidy program with an infusion of $120 million in new revenue will be a signal achievement of the 2023 legislative session if it survives a gubernatorial veto. There is more to be done, but this will be transformative for Vermont. Not just for families currently using paid childcare and any family thinking about having a kid or another kid, going back to work or moving to Vermont, but also for the well-being of all our kids.
That means a better state for all of us.
Unfortunately, in the rush to adjournment, public debate about how to fund childcare expansion got short shrift. Yes, there were headlines about an impasse between the Senate and the House. The Senate wanted to levy a new payroll tax; the House wanted to increase personal and corporate income taxes.
But the Senate threatened to scuttle the reform effort if it didn’t get its way, so there was no public debate and Vermonters never got a chance to weigh in on how they wanted to pay for improving the state’s child care system.
The choice between a new payroll tax or increasing income taxes was primarily a choice about who should pay. The House proposed a progressive tax increase. Tax rates would have been raised for all income brackets, but the increases would have been proportionally higher for those with higher incomes. And the increase would have applied to sources of income that tend to go to wealthier taxpayers, such as capital gains and other nonwage income.
The House plan, in other words, would have spread the cost of childcare reform across a broader base of Vermont taxpayers. Proponents of the House plan took the view that early care and education of children,
like pre-K-12 education, is a general good that benefits everyone, and therefore should be supported by all Vermonters according to their ability to pay.
The Senate took a narrower view and treated childcare more as a workforce development program — one that primarily benefited employers and working parents. From this narrower perspective, it made sense
to levy a tax on wages that would be paid by both employers and employees. It would be more like a user fee, but one that included employers rather than just parents, like the current system does.
There was no progressivity built into the rate, which would be the same for the minimum-wage worker or the CEO. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) analyzed Vermont’s child care funding plans and found the Senate plan was generally regressive while the House plan was progressive.
Vermont’s entire tax system — again, based on ITEP analysis — is one of the least regressive in the country. When looking at taxes as a share of income, most other states favor the wealthy more than Vermont does. That suggests that people might have preferred the progressive House proposal for funding child care reform over the Senate’s approach. But we’ll never know.
Unlike the plan for spending new
childcare funds — which followed years of planning and research, relied on stakeholder input all along the way and focused on how best to support providers and parents and invest in childcare workers — how to raise new childcare revenue was less deliberative. Things happened quickly, under time pressure, and largely out of the public view until the last minute. Most Vermonters weren’t aware of what was at stake in the late-session stand-off between the House and Senate. And they never got a chance to weigh in.
The push for major investment in childcare succeeded because it had broad public support. Those supporters deserved a seat at the table when the discussion turned to taxes.
Jack Hoffman is senior analyst at Public Assets Institute, online at www.publicassets.org. He is a resident of Marshfield currently living in France.
People might have preferred the progressive House proposal for funding child care reform over the Senate’s approach. But we’ll never know.
The many alternatives to gas-powered carsBY MELINDA SCOTT AND REED PARKER
Mass production of the automobile, which began a century ago, enabled mobility for the average person unlike any other invention preceding it. But here is the rub: The automobile may be the most amazing invention of all time, until you start the engine.
The very rural nature of Vermont dictates that we drive long distances and often. The consequence is that currently, 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont is due to all forms of transportation, according to the Energy Action Network’s 2022 Report. Reducing this amount is certainly daunting, but there are opportunities to transition to more sustainable mobility options.
Sustainable mobility means prioritizing low- and zero-emission, energy efficient, affordable modes of transport. Planning for and implementing measures that support and expand sustainable mobility options has multiple benefits, such as reducing transportation costs, reducing carbon emissions, enhancing energy security and independence, reducing air pollution and improving health.
Electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles are increasingly common sights on our roads and are one of the primary modes of sustainable mobility. Considering all the environmental impact from manufacturing, use and fuel, electric vehicles are much less polluting over their life span than comparable vehicles using gasoline powered internal combustion engines.
As electric vehicles may not be an option for everyone, sustainable mobility prioritizes using other options besides driving in a vehicle, such as walking or biking. These options can present challenges, especially due to the distances we travel in Vermont. The ability to effectively walk or
bike to work and services is dependent on the development of affordable housing near places of employment, food stores and other amenities. Most importantly, those developments need to have safe infrastructure for walking and biking so that people will have an alternative to driving.
For those who lack experience commuting by bike, Local Motion is an organization whose mission is “making it safe, accessible and fun for everyone to bike, walk and roll in Vermont.” Their work encompasses advocacy, workshops and classes for all ages, and bike-friendly resources for businesses and communities.
Electric bikes are a great mode of transport as they extend the riding distance of a traditional bicycle. This summer (mid-June through end of July), Williston will host Local Motion’s “Traveling Chittenden County E-Bike Library.” This program will give you a chance to use an e-bike for several days to experience the ride before making any decision to purchase one. Look for upcoming information about the program on the town website.
Here’s what one borrower last year had to say about her experience: “Fun! I couldn’t stop smiling when I was on it. Made it less stressful to do simple trips around town — no hassle of paying for parking, traffic, etc. I didn’t use my car for like three days in a row. That never happens for me.”
Reliable and affordable public transit and sharing of vehicles are critical components of sustainable mobility, most benefiting youth, seniors, those with disabilities and people with low incomes. Did you know that a substantial number of adult Vermonters do not have a driver’s license and many households do not have access to a vehicle? For Vermonters in these situations, a lack of affordable, reliable transportation of any type means losing access to employ-
ment and education, the ability to go to medical appointments and even to go grocery shopping.
Furthering equity and sustainability in transportation will require improving public transit options. With only two Green Mountain Transit fixed bus route services in Williston – the No. 1 running from Burlington to Williston and the No. 10 from Williston to Essex Junction/Essex — access to services is severely limited for many people. Currently, Special Services Transportation Association (SSTA) offers transportation by reservation to the elderly and people with disabilities. On demand microtransit service, similar to Uber but operated by a public agency, is one option the town has been exploring to expand mobility to more people. Currently several towns throughout Vermont are piloting microtransit services like MyRide in Montpelier.
Williston hopes to follow their lead in the future, to offer more comprehensive, equitable and integrated mobility options throughout town.
It is our hope that this article will invite you to think about alternatives to traditional modes of travel and how the Town of Williston can move to a more sustainable transportation future.
To participate in Williston’s energy future, reach out to your Williston Energy Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org or attend a public meeting held on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month. The agenda for upcoming meetings is posted on the Town of Williston website (www. town.williston.vt.us). For more information, visit www.willistonvtenergycommittee.org.
Melinda Scott is the energy and community development planner for the Town of Williston. Reed Parker is the chair of the Williston Energy Committee. www.WillistonObserver.com
South Burlington implements climate action planDENIZ DUTTON Community News Service
South Burlington officials want to eliminate 60 percent of the city’s carbon footprint by 2030, and with transportation accounting for two-thirds of that figure, the city’s climate action plan is pushing for more electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.
However, local officials can only do so much to regulate emissions from the more than 17,000 people commuting daily from out of town to work in the city (only 13 percent of residents work in town) making that task even more difficult.
What the city can control is its own physical layout. To discourage driving, officials have proposed ambitious new infrastructure projects that would increase walkability and the capacity for biking through South Burlington’s public and commercial areas.
Voters approved one such proposal on Town Meeting Day — a tax increment financing bond that will put $15 million toward a pedestrian and bike bridge over Interstate 89 between the University of Vermont and University Mall, bike lanes in the city center and streetscape improvements on Williston Road.
“We probably need to be moving towards more dense development, and South Burlington is kind of a logical place to be concentrating more development,” said Ethan Goldman, chair of the city’s energy committee and member of the task force that wrote the climate action plan.
The plan also calls for preserving open space and natural resources.
Goldman worries that “sometimes the equivalency of trees sequestering carbon … is used as a reason to oppose development,” when in actuality, transportation emissions cannot be balanced out by local greenery alone.
“People like the fields around them,” he said, adding that “we need to make some sacrifices in the short-term in order to have a long-term to worry about.”
Construction may not be pleasant to live near, but in the long term, engineering a more walkable city could be a big step toward mitigating South Burlington’s emissions.
While 42 percent of potential emissions reductions would come from electrifying three-quarters of cars in the city by 2030, an additional 25 percent could be gained just from reducing miles traveled, according to Andrew Chalnick, city councilor and
member of the task force.
“You have to build homes in places where people don’t have to get into their cars,” he said.
South Burlington is already doing this to some extent. Paul Connor, director of planning and zoning for the city, said there are minimum requirements in place for both open space and new development. By requiring a minimum density of homes per acre, land is more efficiently used, he said.
Another reason cited for a minimum required housing density is economic — by ensuring enough people live near small businesses, those businesses acquire consistent clientele.
The practice of placing large new developments near destinations like businesses has been termed traditional neighborhood development by the city, and it has served as a guiding principle as South Burlington works toward compact development.
Additionally, natural climate change solutions and compact development goals
are being reconciled under an initiative that many can likely get behind: planting more street trees.
According to a report compiled by the University of Vermont’s spatial analysis lab in 2016, only about a third of the city’s tree canopy cover was in residential areas, despite those areas having the highest potential for increased canopy cover.
For example, one new development, the Cider Mill neighborhood, had only 6 percent canopy cover in 2016, but the assessment determined it could attain 85 percent canopy cover –– though the report didn’t give a time period for the hypothetical 14fold increase.
However, before the tree canopy in South Burlington increases, it will likely have to decrease, something noted in the report. As new neighborhoods are built up, existing trees will have to be cut down. However, those new communities would represent an opportunity to plant a new generation of urban trees to shade the city
“You have to build homes in places where people don’t have to get into their cars.”
South Burlington city councilor
Cleaning out your closets — responsibly
Spring cleaning often includes getting rid of unwanted or outgrown apparel. If you want to avoid sending items to the landfill, there are many options right here in Williston.
SELL OR CONSIGN TO RESALE SHOPS
Current styles in very good condition are candidates for purchase or consignment by resale shops. Check policies online at these local businesses:
• Boho Baby – 34 Blair Park Rd, www. bohobabyvt.com
• Once Upon a Child – 38 Taft Corners Shopping Center, www.onceuponachild.com
• Plato’s Closet – 34 Taft Corners Shopping Center, www.platoscloset. com
• Style Encore – 31 Taft Corners Shopping Center, www.style-encore.com\
Support a nonprofit organization by donating your items. These locations are accepting in-season, usable clothing and footwear:
• Goodwill – 64 Harvest Ln, https:// goodwillnne.org
• Habitat for Humanity ReStore – 528 Essex Rd, https://vermonthabitat.org/ restore/
• ReSource – 329 Harvest Ln, https:// resourcevt.org/ Additional locations within Chitten-
den County that accept donations can be found at the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) website: https://cswd.net/ reduce-and-reuse/reuse-options/#clothes.
As a last resort, if items are no longer appropriate for resale or donation, CSWD now accepts clothing, shoes and accessories for recycling as part of a pilot program. Look for specially marked collection boxes at the Williston DropOff Center, 1492 Redmond Rd., and at all other CSWD drop-off centers, except Burlington. A list of acceptable items can be found at https://cswd. net/a-to-z/ clothing-other-textiles/.
continued from page 10
long into the future.
Officials would look at planting trees on meridians, along sidewalks and driveways, in storage areas and across large expanses of lawn. Trees can reduce the “heat island” effect that pavement and buildings have in urban areas, along with absorbing some excess carbon dioxide and slowing down stormwater. Having enough trees might also help serve as habitat for animals — though it would remain a far cry from an intact natural area.
Chalnick sees the necessity for difficult decisions to be made in the present for the sake of a more resilient future.
“Ultimately, it’s going to be the will of the people and the will of the council,” he said. “Either we’re going to stay on top of it and we’re going to do it because we care, or we’re going to fail.”
Should farmers be exempt from town stormwater fees?ABBY CARROLL Community News Service
Whether towns and cities can charge farms for stormwater utility fees is at the center of a bubbling debate between state agriculture officials and municipal leaders around Vermont.
The debate was sparked during discussions of S.115, a miscellaneous agriculture bill
that began in the Senate before moving to the House. The bill originally aimed to allow municipal stormwater utility operators to create bylaws to implement stormwater control but prohibit them from assessing fees on agricultural land.
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets officials say municipalities legally cannot regulate land subject to
a set of state standards called required agricultural practices that outline how farms manage agricultural activities to improve water quality.
“Municipalities do not have the authority to regulate stormwater on farms, and therefore cannot assess stormwater utility user fees,” said Ryan Patch, the agency’s agriculture climate and land use policy manager.
But officials from some towns and cities believe they should have the right to regulate property and how it’s used within their borders.
“One of the reasons why many of our communities have implemented a stormwater utility is that these permit obligations are held by the entire community,” said Chip Sawyer, director of planning and development for St. Albans city. “Every landowner in the community, as a member of our municipality, is on the hook for these obligations.”
So the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy changed course: The bill now commissions a yearlong report to determine what municipalities can and can’t do with farms and stormwater.
The report would specifically focus on whether a property that is subject to the state’s required agricultural practices should also be subject to municipal stormwater utility fees. If towns are allowed to bill farmers, the report also aims to decide whether farmers should get a discount from towns for work they’re required to do under state law.
The bill would also mandate a one-year suspension of any fees currently being assessed while the report is put together.
Some of the concern around the fees is how much it will cost towns to not charge farms — but also how much extra fees cost farms. In a meeting with the Senate natural resources
committee in March, Dylan Zwicky of Leonine Public Affairs spoke about the costs on behalf of St. Albans town.
“We estimate our obligations between now and 2036 to be roughly $16 million in investments and stormwater upgrades and infrastructure,” Zwicky said. “The hit if agriculture were to be exempted
municipalities cannot regulate agricultural practices via bylaws, many towns still assess fees on agricultural land under their stormwater permits. Those permits come from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and require towns and cities to monitor their stormwater systems to meet water quality goals, reduce the amount of stormwater flowing into streams and reduce the amount of phosphorus that flows off municipal lands.
“A stormwater utility provides the service of making sure that we are meeting our permanent requirements but also operating a functional stormwater system and increasing water quality for the betterment of the public good,” said Sawyer, the St. Albans city official.
The city is subject to one of those permits, and even though there isn’t any farmland in the city, Sawyer believes that farms should not be exempt from stormwater utility fees.
would be … significant.”
State officials worry about the hit, in turn, for farmers.
“We are losing so many farms because of the viability crisis,” Patch said, “and we’d rather have them put their money into water improvement projects on their farm, rather than paying for the town to clean up their stormwater needs.”
The goal of stormwater management, especially in terms of runoff from farmland, is to improve the quality of Vermont’s water. One of the main aims is lowering the amount of phosphorus in water sources — something that is also a focus of the state’s required agricultural practices.
Even though state law says
“They are similarly situated with every other property that has to pay a utility fee, and there’s nothing in law that would exempt them unless the Legislature specifically just wants to exempt them from the utility fee,” Sawyer said.
Under the state’s required agricultural practices, farmers have been responsible for most of Vermont’s phosphorus reduction.
“Vermont farmers since 2016 have been responsible for over 95 percent of all of the reported phosphorus reductions from the state,” said Patch, the state official. “So farmers are doing their part, and they’re in crisis because of farm food pricing, which is making more and more farms go out of business.
“They do not need to be paying for municipalities to manage their stormwater systems,” he added.
“We’d rather have them put their money into water improvement projects on their farm, rather than paying for the town to clean up their stormwater needs.”
Ryan Patch Vermont Agency of Agriculture
Vermont begins process to find and remove lead lines from public drinking waterBY EMMA COTTON VTDigger
With $140 million of federal money in hand, state officials have launched a sweeping process to inventory and remove lead service lines that connect public drinking water systems to homes, businesses and other entities.
Officials with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation have asked people who use community water sources to keep an eye out for messages from water system professionals who may reach out to schedule a water line check. Vermont must complete the statewide inventory by October 2024.
If officials find lead pipes, the municipal water system would contact the homeowner or business to walk them through funding programs available to help replace the pipe, said Bruce King, the department’s sustainable infrastructure section supervisor.
“It’s a quick inspection,” King said. “It only takes five to 10 minutes for the water system professional to come in, take a look at the pipe, determine what type of material it’s made out of, maybe take a picture and then move on to the next home so they can meet this requirement.”
When consumed, lead is associated with a wide range of negative health impacts, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. In children, even low levels of lead can cause behavioral and learning problems, slowed growth, problems with hearing and anemia. During pregnancies, it can impact the growth of the fetus and cause premature birth. In adults, it can cause cardiovascular, kidney and reproductive problems.
The state’s effort also comes as a response to new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency aimed at reducing exposure to lead in drinking water.
Across the country, federal actions have helped to lower levels of lead in children’s blood, according to a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to state governors. From 1976 to 1980, the median concentration of lead was 15 micrograms per deciliter, but by 2013, the median concentration
had decreased to 0.7 micrograms per deciliter.
The federal government has allocated $140 million for Vermont from the 2021 infrastructure law to use on lead line replacements over a five-year period.
“The bipartisan infrastructure law is unique in that it allows water systems to use the funds to replace both utility-owned and the customer-owned portion of the service line, which is not typical,” King said. “Usually, it’s only the utility-owned portion.”
The state’s 70 largest public water systems are eligible for partially forgivable, low-interest loans. The department is funding contractors for water systems serving 1,000 or fewer people and offering staff support for schools and child care facilities.
King estimates that around 176,000 service lines will need to be inventoried throughout the state.
Asked whether the $140 million would cover all of the necessary replacements, King said he isn’t certain because the state doesn’t yet know how many of those 176,000 lines contain lead. Communities may also be eligible for funding through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, which helped the town of Bennington replace its lead lines.
Of the federal funds, 49 percent are required by federal law to be spent on marginalized communities.
“We are prioritizing schools that are in towns that are disadvantaged communities first, to reach out to them to complete their inventories first,” King said. “However, we do believe we’ll have enough time and enough funds to address all communities in Vermont. And we don’t think any communities are going to get left behind with the assistance strategies that we have.”
Officials may reach out to people who get water from municipalities, homeowner associations, manufactured housing communities, schools, child care facilities, office buildings, factories and other public water systems.
The inventory does not apply to those who have private wells or those who have non-community water systems, such as restaurants, hotels and fitness centers with separate water sources.
CLOCKWISE ( l to r): CVU’s Jacob Lepple sandwiches the disc in a running catch during the Redhawks’ win over the Middlebury Tigers May 15 in Hinesburg. Toby Wilczynski takes to the air to make a sure two-handed catch in the clear. Despite the efforts of his Middlebury defender, Jonan Story stretches out for a leaping catch. Sawyer Falkenbush beats Middlebury’s defender to the catch. Logan Masson flicks the disc down field past the outstretched arms of a Middlebury player.
TOP TO BOTTOM : CVU’s Ziggy Babbot hits a forehand return during the Redhawks’ win over the Colchester Lakers last Thursday in Colchester. Dash Tota serves the ball while his doubles partner Rusty Zia guards the net in their winning match. Jacob Graham uses a two-handed backhand to return a volley. Kyle Krieger hustles to return a Colchester ground stroke.
In the ballpark
CLOCKWISE (L TO R): CVU’s Travis Stroh barrels up a pitch during the Redhawks’ win over the Essex Hornets on Saturday in Essex. Elise Berger pitches the seventh to earn a save. Robert Fragola lines up to make the play at second.
The Williston Observer is mailed to every home and business in Williston and St. George every Thursday. In addition, we provide rack distribution to locations in Williston, Richmond and Essex.
Williston Adams Farm Market Belle’s Café Dorothy Alling Memorial Library Fairfield Inn
Gardener’s Supply Green Mountain Bagel
Hannaford Healthy Living Williston
Korner Kwik Stop Marriott Courtyard Men At Wok
People’s United Bank
Ramunto’s Rehab Gym Shell Gas Station (Essex Rd)
Simon’s Mobil Williston
Simply Divine Café
Sunoco Station Town of Williston Offices UPS Store Williston Coffee Shop
If you would like copies for your location call Rick Cote at (802) 373-2136 or email Rick@WillistonObserver.com
Essex Junction Essex Automotive Five Corner Variety Hannaford (at Essex Shoppes)
Richmond Free Library Richmond Market Richmond Mobil Mart
Dorothy Alling Memorial Library hours:
• Monday and Wednesday: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
• Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
• Saturday: 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Visit www.damlvt.org to apply for a library card, renew materials, access digital offerings and register for programs. Need help? Call 878-4918 or email email@example.com.
Please note, the library will be closed on Monday, May 29, in observance of Memorial Day.
FOURTH OF JULY BOOK SALE
Support the Friends of the Library annual Fourth of July book sale by donating books during the month of June. Donation drop-off times, starting June 1, are:
• Monday and Wednesday: 12-2 p.m., 5-7 p.m.
• Tuesday, Thursday, Friday:
• Saturday: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Please do not drop off materials when the library is closed or place items in the book drops. Limit three boxes per day. We accept youth and adult books, foreign language books, DVDs, audiobooks on CD and travel books less than 5 years old. We do not accept anything damaged, old, moldy or dirty; magazines, puzzles, music CDs, games, condensed books, VHS or cassette tapes; computer software or manuals; maps; sheet music; textbooks; dictionaries or encyclopedias.
Children in fourth grade and younger must be supervised by someone over 16 years of age.
SATURDAY PRESCHOOL MUSIC
Saturday, May 27, 10-10:30 a.m. Wiggle and dance with Linda Bassick on the Town Green.
Saturday, May 27, 12-1:30 p.m. Suggested ages 5-8. Join a littles Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Caretakers should stay to help their campaigners. Registration required.
Tuesdays, May 30 and June 6, 10:30-11 a.m. Join Danielle for stories and fun on the Town Green.
TEEN GAME NIGHT
Tuesday, May 30, 5-6 p.m. Ages 12-plus. Stop by to play (and chat about) games at the library.
AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITY
Wednesday, May 31, 2-3 p.m. Relax with some meditative coloring.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Wednesday, May 31, 5-6 p.m. Ages 12-plus. Join our teen advisory board. You bring the thoughts, we bring the food.
PRESCHOOL MUSIC AND PLAYTIME
Thursdays, June 1 and 8, 10:3011:30 a.m. Enjoy music, then stay to play on the Town Green.
Saturday, June 3, 10:30-11 a.m.
Enjoy storytime with Cindy on the Town Green.
Wednesday, June 7, 10:30-11 a.m. Socialize and bond with gentle activities.
AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITY
Wednesday, June 7, 2-3 p.m. Enjoy games and LEGOs after school at the library.
PROGRAMS FOR ADULTS
To join a book club or for Zoom link, email programs@ damlvt.org.
ADULT MEDITATION (ONLINE)
Fridays, May 26 and June 2, 12-12:30 p.m. Reconnect with your peaceful body and breath in this online meditation led by Maryellen Crangle.
WRITE TIME WITH MARY ANN FULLER YOUNG
Friday, May 26, 1:15-2:45 p.m. Drop-in writing group at South Burlington Public Library. Open to DAML patrons.
BIRD WALK AT CATAMOUNT COMMUNITY FOREST
Saturday, May 27, 8-10 a.m. Join Vermont Master Naturalist
Terry Marron at the Catamount parking lot. Explore the trails and enjoy watching our feathered friends. Bring binoculars if you have them and wear appropriate shoes. Register at www.damlvt. org
Thursday, June 1, 2-3 p.m. Driftwood Wind Chimes. Come play with driftwood and brass bells and create something delightful. If you made suncatchers in May, bring them in to add to your creation. Register at www.damlvt.org.
Friday, June 2, 1-3 p.m. Drop in to play this popular tile game.
Wednesday, June 7, 5-6 p.m. Brush up on your Spanish conversation.
MUD POND EXPERIENCE
Thursday, June 8, 3-5:30 p.m. Dr. Steven Shepard will lead a walking workshop at this Williston conservation area. Meet at the bike path parking area behind the Korner Kwik Stop at 3 p.m. to carpool to Mud Pond, as parking is extremely limited. Register at www. damlvt.org.
were unable to locate the male.
May 17 at 1:17 p.m. — Report of a male causing a disturbance at the Citizens Bank. Male was moved along.
May 12 at 1:07 a.m. — Following a traffic stop, a male, age 40, was issued a citation to appear in court for possession of heroin, possession of cocaine and violating conditions of release.
May 12 at 5:23 p.m. — Retail theft reported at Home Depot. A male, age 32, was issued a citation to appear in court.
May 13 at 2:14 a.m. — Report of a suspicious vehicle on the interstate. A male, age 57, was issued a citation to appear in court for negligent operation and resisting arrest.
May 13 at 10:58 a.m. — Report of a male causing a disturbance at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Male was issued a notice of trespass.
May 14 at 2:53 p.m. — Report of gunshots near Williston Woods. Nothing found after investigation.
May 14 at 4:47 p.m. — Female reporting her phone, credit cards and ID stolen. Case is still under
May 15 at 1:58 p.m. — Retail theft reported at LL Bean. Case is still under investigation.
May 15 at 6:38 p.m. — Retail theft reported at Marshalls. Case is still under investigation.
May 15 at 7:06 p.m. — Retail theft reported at Best Buy. Case is still under investigation.
May 16 at 7:31 a.m. — Stolen vehicle located in the Shaw’s parking lot. A female, age 32, was issued a citation to appear in court for violating conditions of release. A male, age 28, was also involved and had an active arrest warrant and was transported to court. The male was also issued a citation to appear in court for operating without consent, driving with a criminally suspended license and violating conditions of release.
May 17 at 8:02 a.m. — Report of a male that took property from The Courtyard hotel. Police
May 17 at 6:24 p.m. — Assisted Williston Fire Department with report of smoke in the building at Majestic 10. Investigation showed individuals throwing smoke bombs in the building. Case is still under investigation.
May 18 at 3:38 a.m. — Assisted Essex Police Department with vehicle pursuit.
May 18 at 2:22 p.m. — Retail theft reported at Lenny’s Shoe and Apparel. A male, age 47, was issued a citation to appear in court for retail theft.
May 18 at 2:45 p.m. — Retail theft at Shaw’s. Case is still under investigation.
Officers from the Williston Police Department also conducted 52 traffic stops and responded to seven false alarm activations and 10 motor vehicle crashes during this time frame.
CROSSWORD • SOLUTION ON PAGE 22ANDREWS MCMEEL
• In 1787, the Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia, with George Washington presiding.
• In 1935, Jesse Owens set three track and field world records and tied a fourth at the Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy announced his plan to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
• In 1977, the first “Star Wars” movie was released in American theaters.
• In 2020, George Floyd was murdered while being arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
• In 1986, an estimated 5 million people in the United States joined hands to form a human chain in support of the Hands Across America charity campaign. The event raised $31 million to combat hunger and homelessness.
SOLUTION FOUND ON PAGE 22
We’re proud of our smiles! We believe that our state-of-the-art, impeccable skills; cheerful, approachable attitudes and ability to handle all your dental needs under one roof means a visit with us will always leave you with a beautiful smile.
Welcome to Connecticut
Connecticut became the fifth state to join the Union in 1788. Before that, Algonquian Indian tribes such as the Pequot were the first to live in the area. The word “Connecticut” comes from Quinnetuket, a Mohegan-Pequot word for “long tidal river.”
The first European explorer was Adriaen Block, who claimed the area for the Netherlands in 1614. The Dutch and British both settled there in 1633. England claimed the whole area in 1674.
American history owes much to the state. In 1787, the Constitutional Convention delegates from Connecticut came up with a compromise about how many representatives each state could send to the new Congress. This is one reason it is called the Constitution State.
A New England state
Connecticut is the third-smallest state in area, measuring only 110 miles east to west and 70 miles north to south. It has about 600 miles of coastline. It is the 29th mostpopulated state, with about 3.6 million people. Many insurance companies have offices in Connecticut. The first U.S. sea shipping insurance was sold there about 200 years ago. The first accident
Mini Fact: The mountain laurel is Connecticut’s state flower.
insurance policy in the U.S. was sold in Hartford in 1864.
The state is also known for jet engine, nuclear submarine and helicopter manufacturing, along with plastics, metalworking, electronics and medicines.
Connecticut is home to Yale University, which was founded in 1701, and several other major universities. The U.S. Coast Guard Academy, founded in 1910, is in New London.
Fun in Connecticut
•The first family theme park in the United States was Lake Compounce, built in 1846 in Bristol. It started as a picnic park, but today families enjoy five roller coasters and 13 water rides, along with other attractions.
•In Mystic, visitors can explore the Mystic Seaport Museum with its huge collection of ships and boats and a re-creation of a seafaring village from the 19th century.
•At the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry in Storrs, Connecticut, more than 2,500 puppets are on display, and the museum hosts festivals and performances, along with puppet-making workshops.
Next Week: World Ocean Day
•People vacationing in Connecticut enjoy the state’s beaches, rivers and lakes. They go hiking, fishing and kayaking when it’s warm out, and snow skiing during the winter months.
• President George W. Bush was born in New Haven, Connecticut. His father, President George H.W. Bush, grew up in Greenwich.
• Author Mark Twain lived in Hartford for nearly three decades. He wrote “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” while living there.
• Noah Webster is famous for putting together the best English-language dictionaries of the early 1800s. Updated versions of his dictionaries are still being published. He was born in West Hartford and graduated from Yale College.
On the Web:
At the library:
• “The Ghostly Tales of Mystic” by Beth Landis Hester
•“Connecticut” by Audrey Harrison
Geologists say they have discovered rocks made of plastic debris and natural sources on a remote Brazilian island,
shipping insurance was sold there about 200 years ago. The first accident
Try ’n’ Find
Words that remind us of Connecticut are hidden in this puzzle. Some words are hidden backward or diagonally, and some letters are used twice. See if you can find:
ALGONQUIAN, BRITISH, BUSH, COAST GUARD, COMPOUNCE, CONNECTICUT, CONSTITUTION, DUTCH, INSURANCE, LAKE, LAUREL, MYSTIC, PUPPETS, RIVER, TWAIN, WEBSTER, YALE.
H Z Y X H C O M P O U N C E U S R A X C O N N E C T I C U T I B L N O I T U T I T S N O C T O E H I N S U R A N C E E D I N S I T U S T E P P U P K U R U Y J M Y S T I C U D Y A T B I A D R A U G T S A O C L C R E V I R K A L E R U A L E T B R W N A I U Q N O G L A L H W E B S T E R J J T W A I N G photo
Connecticut, more than 2,500 puppets are on display, and the museum hosts festivals and performances, along with puppet-making workshops.
•1 box yellow cake mix
•1/2 cup vegetable oil
What to do:
• 1 (15-ounce) can Mandarin orange segments, drained •vanilla or cream cheese frosting
1.Combine cake mix, eggs and vegetable oil in a large bowl. Mix until smooth.
2.Stir in orange segments. Mix well.
3.Pour into a greased and floured 9-by-13-inch pan.
7 Little Words for Kids
1.ringing clock that wakes you (5)
2.hammer or saw (4)
3.what a cat’s claws do (7)
4.it has swings and slides (10)
5.colorful plastic shoes (5)
6.your sneakers have them (5)
Cameron: Can you name the capital of Connecticut? Casey: C!
Geologists say they have discovered rocks made of plastic debris and natural sources on a remote Brazilian island, which is also a turtle refuge. Fernanda
Avelar Santos, a geologist at Brazil’s Federal University of Paraná, says melted plastic has become fused with sedimentary granules to create “plastiglomerate” rocks. The plastic “mainly comes from fishing nets, which is very common debris on Trinidade Island’s beaches,” said Santos. She added that as those nets accumulate on the beaches, the plastic melts in the hot sun and becomes embedded in natural material.
For later: Look in your newspaper for items that mention Connecticut.
Teachers: Follow and interact with The Mini Page on Facebook!
©2023 Blue Ox Technologies Ltd Download the app on Apple and Amazon devices At the library: • “The Ghostly Tales of Mystic” by Beth Landis Hester •“Connecticut” by Audrey Harrison
BY DAN THOMPSON
How Medicare covers physical therapy
Dear Savvy Senior, Does Medicare cover physical therapy, and if so, how much coverage do they provide? My 66-year-old husband was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and will need ongoing physical therapy to help keep him moving.
Dear Worried, Yes, Medicare does indeed pay for physical therapy along with occupational and speech therapy, if he needs it, as long as it’s prescribed by his doctor. You’ll also
be happy to know that Medicare has no limits on how much it will pay for therapy services, but there is an annual coverage threshold you should be aware of. Here’s what you should know.
To get Medicare Part B –which covers outpatient care – to help cover your husband’s physical therapy, it must be considered medically necessary and will need to be ordered by his doctor. The same holds true for occupational and speech therapy. He can get these services as an
outpatient at a number of places, like a doctor or therapist office; in a hospital outpatient department; at an outpatient rehabilitation facility; at skilled nursing facilities if he is being treated as an outpatient; and at home through a therapist connected with a home health agency when he is ineligible for Medicare’s home health benefit. For outpatient therapy, Medicare will pay 80 percent of the Medicare-approved amount after you meet your Part B deductible ($226 in 2023). You will be responsible for the remaining 20 percent unless you have supple-
But be aware that if his therapy costs reach $2,230 in a calendar year (2023), Medicare will require his provider to confirm that his therapy is still medically necessary. Medicare used to set annual limits on what it would pay for outpatient therapeutic services, but the cap was eliminated a few years back.
You also need to know that treatment recommended by a physical therapy provider but not ordered by a doctor is not covered. In this situation, the thera-
continued from page 20
pist is required to give your husband a written notice, called an Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage or ABN, that Medicare may not pay for the service. If he chooses to proceed with the therapy, he is agreeing to pay in full.
If your husband happens to need physical therapy at an inpatient rehabilitation facility, like at a skilled nursing facility or at your home after a hospitalization lasting at least three days, Medicare Part A – which provides hospital coverage – will pick up the tab.
To be eligible, his doctor will need to certify that he has a medical condition that requires rehabilitation, continued medical
Edward Raymond Burnett Jr.
Edward Raymond Burnett Jr., 73, formerly of Williston and Burlington Vermont died peacefully at home May 11, 2023 in Rouses Point, N.Y.
Ed was born in Colchester Vt. May 19, 1949 to Jean and Edward Burnett Sr. He grew up in Williston with his nine siblings. He graduated from C.V.U. High School in 1968. He enjoyed bowling, softball and basketball in the Essex men’s league.
Ed married the love of his life, JoAnn Leboeuf, in Burlington on August 9, 1974, and in 1979 welcomed their son Ryan. Ed was self employed in construction and land development. They later moved to Rouses Point N.Y., Ed attended Clinton’s Community College
supervision and coordinated care that comes from his doctors and therapists working together.
Whether you incur out-ofpocket costs such as deductibles and coinsurance, and how much they are, will depend on the setting for the treatment and how long it lasts.
For more information on inpatient therapy out-of-pocket costs, see Medicare.gov/coverage/inpatient-rehabilitation-care.
MEDICARE ADVANTAGE COVERAGE
If your husband is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan (like an HMO or PPO), these plans must cover everything that’s included in original Medicare Part A and Part B coverage. However, some Advantage plans may require a person to use services from physical therapy practices within an agreed network. If he has an Advantage
where he received his associates degree. He owned and operated an antique store in Plattsburgh until suffering a stroke, forcing him to retire.
Ed leaves behind his loving wife JoAnn and their son Ryan and six brothers and three sisters. Gary and Judy of Colchester, Wayne and Jeanne of Williston, Carl of Essex, Brian and Don-
plan, you’ll need to contact his specific plan before selecting a physical therapy provider to confirm they’re within the network.
If you have other questions about coverage and costs for therapeutic services, call Medicare at 800-633-4227 or contact your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), which provides free Medicare counseling. Visit www.ShipHelp.org or call 877839-2675 to connect with a local SHIP counselor.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.
Highway Positions Available
This is a supervisory position that is responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the town’s highway infrastructure. A valid VT issued CDL Class A license is required. Required skills include proficient operation of a road grader, excavator, front-end loader, backhoe, and tandem plow truck. Starting pay is $32.00 - $38.00 an hour depending upon qualifications.
This is a semi-skilled position of moderate complexity in highway maintenance and equipment operation. The Highway Maintainer II performs a wide variety of manual and automotive equipment operation tasks involved in municipal road maintenance. Work extends to responsibility for maintenance and servicing of assigned automotive equipment, requiring strong mechanical and trouble shooting skills. A valid Vermont issued Class B CDL is required. Starting pay is $22.00 - $25.00 an hour depending upon qualifications.
Both positions provide health, dental, vision and disability insurance; paid time off; pension plan; and 13 paid holidays.
na of Richmond, James and Sue of Monkton, Mark and Kristy of Williston, Judy Ashley and Dale Woods, Darlene Ashley and Ruth and John Chandler of Plymouth Massachusetts. Ed also leaves behind many nieces and nephews. Ed will not have a traditional funeral per his request. In the future the family will gather to celebrate his life.
A highway application can be found on the town’s website www. hinesburg.org under “employement.” Applications can be emailed to Todd Odit, Town Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Community Bankers – Chittenden County
Temporary Positions Available
BUILDERS | MAKERS | DOERS®
There is no better time to join our Team!
Even better… if you have prior banking experience, we encourage you to apply!
Northfield Savings Bank, founded in 1867, is the largest banking institution headquartered in Vermont. We are committed to providing a welcoming work environment for all. Consider joining our team as a Temporary Community Banker!
• Customer Service • Cash Handling (we’ll train you!)
Even better… if you have prior banking experience, we encourage you to apply!
If you are 18 or older and have a high school diploma, general education (GED) degree, or equivalent, consider joining the NSB Team!
The practice of natural or “green” burials dates back thousands of years. The principle behind this practice is to follow the natural cycle of life. Green burials provide a reduced environmental impact, as well as the benefits of land preservation and affordability. To learn more, contact us today.
Please send an NSB Application & your resume in confidence to: Careers@nsbvt.com
Equal Opportunity Employer / Member FDIC
Award-winning group of community weeklies with offices in Stowe, Morrisville and South Burlington seeks a sales person. Ideal candidate should have a basic knowledge of the local towns, business and communities we serve. A proven track record in sales and an ability to offer topnotch customer service is a required. In addition to servicing established accounts, candidate must be able to generate sales from qualified leads as well as establish new ones. Our company offers health benefits, vacation time, and provides on the job training in newspapers sales. Generous base salary during training and ideal hours (few nights or weekends). If you possess these qualifications and would like to be considered, please send your resume and cover letter to: Bryan Meszkat at email@example.com.
Community Bankers - Chittenden County BUILDERS I MAKERS I DOERS
There is no better time to join our team!
Northfield Savings Bank, founded in 1867, is the largest banking institution headquartered in Vermont. We are committed to providing a welcoming work environment for all. Are you looking to start or continue a career in the finance industry? Consider joining our team as a Community Banker!
Job Responsibilities & Requirements
This frontline position is crucial in creating a positive, welcoming and inclusive experience for NSB customers. The successful candidate for NSB customers. The successful candidate will have exceptional customer service and communication skills.
The Community Banker will be responsible for receiving and processing customers’ financial transactions as well as opening and maintaining customer accounts and services. We are looking for someone who can develop and maintain relationships with our valued customers, protect bank and customer information, and uphold customer confidentiality. A high school diploma, general education degree (GED), or equivalent is required.
PUZZLE FOUND ON PAGE 17
If you have customer service, previous cash handling, or banking experience we encourage you to apply!
Opportunity for Growth
NSB has training opportunities to engage employees and assist with professional development within our company. The average years of service for an NSB employee is 9! If you’re looking for a career in an environment that promotes growth, join our team!
What NSB Can Offer You
Competitive compensation based on experience. Well-rounded benefits package. Profit-Sharing opportunity. Excellent 401(k) matching retirement program. Commitment to professional development. Opportunities to volunteer and support our communities. Work-Life balance!
We understand the importance of having evenings and weekends with our friends, families, and the communities we serve!
Please send an NSB Application & your resume in confidence to: Careers@nsbvt.com or mail to:
Northfield Savings Bank Human Resources PO Box 7180, Barre, VT 05641
Equal Opportunity Employer / Member FDIC
COMMUNITY YARD SALES—
Friday & Saturday, June 2 & 3 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Grilled hot dogs lunch on Friday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Williston Woods is located off North Williston Rd.
WILLISTON ROAD — Tons of gardening stuff including terracotta & ceramic pots, plant supports; bird feeders, wicker baskets, backpacks, lots more, all priced to move. Saturday May 27 at 8475 Williston Rd.
NEIGHBORHOOD YARD SALE
Old Stage Estates (the Southfield Drive/Paddock Lane neighborhood located off Old Stage Road in Williston - across the street from Windswept Farm) is hosting its annual yard sale on Saturday, June 3, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Items include kids’/baby toys, kids’ clothes, books, garden items, vintage furniture, exercise equipment, keyboard, artwork, kitchenware, and lots more.
YARD SALE — Saturday, June 3, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Residents of our 40+ home neighborhood on Wildflower Circle, Williston are holding a yard sale. Stop by, you never know what you might find.
92 PADDOCK LANE — Friday and Saturday, June 2 -3 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. Multi families; antiques, tools, toys, books, bikes, numerous household items.
TOWN OF WILLISTON DEVELOPMENT REVIEW BOARD AGENDA
Tuesday, June 13, 2023 – 7:00 PM
Town Hall Meeting Room (Town Hall, 7900 Williston Road, use rear entrance) or
Zoom Meeting ID 846 5863 3532 on zoom. us/join or call 1-646-558-8656
DP 23-16 CVSD c/o Jeffrey Kershner requests a discretionary permit for the proposed 1904 sq. ft. modular building and associated site work to serve as temp. classrooms at the Allen Brook School at 497 Talcott Rd. in the RZD.
Project details and site plans are available on the website, town.williston.vt.us, under “Public Records and Documents”, then “Agendas & Minutes”, and “Development Review Board”. Contact Planning & Zoning Office for more information: 802-878-6704 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In print and online: we’re your neighbors, committed to keeping you informed on what’s going on in Williston.
continued from page 2
Library Book Sale, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
• Independence Day Parade, 10 a.m., along Route 2
• Activities on The Green: 11 a.m.1 p.m., Village Green. Sponsored by Crosspoint Church
• Stovepipe Corners Schoolhouse Open House: 9-10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.1 p.m., Village Green. Sponsored by Williston Historical Society
• Fire Department Open House, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Williston Fire Department
• Evening Celebration: 6-9 p.m., Village Community Park. Activities sponsored by Crosspoint Church. Food trucks/booths sponsored by Adams Farm Market
• Fireworks, 9:20 p.m., Village Community Park
To register for a spot in the parade, go to https://willistonvt.myrec.com/info/activities/.
Shakespeare comes to Isham Barn
The Vermont Repertory Theater presents Shakespeare’s “A Comedy of Errors” this week at the Isham Barn Theatre on Oak Hill Road. Performances are at 7 p.m. May 25-27 with a 2 p.m. matinee on Mary 27. For tickets, visit vermontrep.com/comedy-of-errors. The play’s promotional materials describe: “The Isham Barn Theatre, beautifully transformed into an exotic spice market, provides an exquisite theatrical background for exactly that — a
stage full of gorgeous costumes, live music and whacky comedy, ultimately allowing this hilarious play to stand on its own two feet, exactly the way Shakespeare intended.”
Farmers market season begins
The Richmond Farmers Market on Bridge Street in Richmond and the Isham Farmers Market at the Isham Family Farm on Oak Hill Road in Williston both begin in early June.
Richmond’s weekly Friday farmers market kicks off June 2 at 3 p.m. on the Volunteer’s Green and runs until 6:30 p.m. The market is held every Friday through Oct. 13.
On June 6 from 4:30-7:30 p.m., the Isham Farmers Market starts its season of Tuesday evening events, running through September.
Both markets feature fresh fruit and vegetables, baked goods, prepared food, ice cream and live music. For more information visit www.richmond-farmers-market.square.site and www.ishamfamilyfarm.com/burlington-farmers-market.
The birds and bees
Some of Williston’s spring residents caught busily going about their business include a pair of nesting blue birds and a bumble bee exploring spring blueberry blossoms.