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Recreation Notebook: WRJ Martial Arts Studio Relocates

  • Instructor Colin Treem, of Claremont, N.H., plays a version of the game Red Light Green Light near the end of the Saturday morning Kids Karate class at White River Budokon in White River Junction, Vt., on May 13, 2017. From left are Grayson Sinclair, 6, of Quechee, Vt., AnaElizabeth Nielson, 9, of Hartford, Vt., and Sam Farris, 6, of Lebanon, N.H. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • Sam Farris, 6, of Lebanon, N.H., and his father John enter the White River Budokon in White River Junction, Vt., on May 13, 2017, for the Saturday morning Kids Karate class. The school opened in its new location earlier in the month after moving from the nearby Tip Top Building, its home for the past 15 years. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • Instructor Kevin Comeau, of Hartford, Vt., works with Mia Montas Antigua, 5, of Lebanon, N.H., on her technique during the Saturday morning Kids Karate class at White River Budokon in White River Junction, Vt., on May 13, 2017. The school opened in its new location earlier in the month after moving from the nearby Tip Top Building, its home for the past 15 years. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/15/2017 12:08:40 AM
Modified: 5/15/2017 12:08:43 AM

White River Junction — White River Budokan is hoping a new location for practicing its traditional methods of Okinawan karate and other martial arts will help translate to a higher profile.

After 15 years on the second floor of downtown White River Junction’s Tip Top Building, the center has relocated to the plaza on Maple Street next to Corner Drug and the Co-Op Food Store.

Founded as Wilder Budokan in the mid-1980s by chief instructor Ron Treem, the facility relocated to Claremont in the 1990s before settling in the Tip Top building shortly after renovations there in the early 2000s.

White River Budokan now has five instructors and around 35 student members, who practice karate, jujutsu, judo, kobodo, aikido and other martial artforms. Treem has achieved eighth dan status in Goju-Ryu karate, aikido and jujutsu.

Colin Treem, Ron’s son, is a manager and instructor at White River Budokan.

“The Tip Top Building is a great commodity, but we kind of ran our course there,” said Colin Treem, a fifth dan in Goju-Ryu karate-do, third dan jujutsu, second dan judo and first dan aikido. “We’re hoping to expand our programs, and we’ve noticed, over the last several years, that people seem to have a hard time finding us. We’re hoping to have more visibility here, facing a main road.”

The floor space at the Maple Street facility, the former site of a dry cleaner and linen service, is around 1,400 square feet, nearly 400 larger than White River Budokan’s previous location.

With some help from a building contractor, Colin and his wife, Angela, performed much of the work necessary to open the new facility. It includes new changing rooms and three coats of wall paint, with Angela taking on much of the design duty. Homemade benches, a decorative table and a book case are also in the works.

The response to the new setting has been favorable so far. White River Budokan held its grand opening on May 6 and a soft opening the previous weekend.

“A lot of of our old friends and students came to the soft opening, and a lot of them commented about how the feel of the place is much more like a traditional dojo,” said Colin Treem. “There’s an archway that my dad was given as a gift that provides an entrance to the dojo, for example. The feel of the new place was something that was very important to us.”

Cross Vermont Trail Trials: The Cross Vermont Trail is getting closer to becoming more wooded — and achieving part of its goal to connect as many villages and schools as possible.

A 90-mile scenic bicycle and pedestrian route, the Cross Vermont Trail spans from the Connecticut River in Wells River to Lake Champlain at Burlington and is marked with sufficient signage, but two-thirds of the current route is on paved roads.

The nonprofit Cross Vermont Trail Association is dedicated, in part, to assisting municipalities, recreation groups and landowners to help move those sections of the path to wooded or natural areas. Its latest keystone project targets a section in East Montpelier that would include 2.75 miles of new trails and a 200-foot-long bridge over the Winooski River at the site of a former Montpelier & Wells River Railroad crossing.

Valued at $1.6 million, CVTA has raised $1.3 million through federal grants and another 10 percent of the total cost through state grants. That leaves $90,000 in local match funds that must be secured through alternate sources such as municipal funding or private donations, and $20,000 of that was committed in March by the city of Montpelier and the Vermont towns of Calais, Plainfield, Worcester and East Montpelier. Montpelier has pledged $1 per resident, totaling a little more than $8,000, along with $5,000 from its bicycle/pedestrian fund. East Montpelier pledged $3 per resident.

The towns of Worcester, Middlesex, Calais, East Montpelier and Berlin send their middle and high school students to U-32 High, whose campus would abut the CRTA path as Blue Mountain Union School in Wells River does.

While portions of the Cross Vermont Trail course through heavily wooded, destination recreation areas such at Groton State Forest, the Cross Vermont Trail Association aspires to also provide practical means of alternate transportation and nature access near village centers.

The keystone project would also connect the Cross Vermont Trail with a planned extension of Montpelier’s bicycle path.

“My motivation in being involved with the project is so that people have access to trails near where they live and spend most of their time,” said CVTA executive director Greg West. “It’s to give people a chance to enjoy the richness of nature and exercise without having to travel too far.”

In Wells River, the Cross Vermont Trail follows Route 302 for about two miles before entering the woods near the Wells River Wildlife Management Area, intersects with the Blue Mountain Nature Trail and remains wooded for another two miles to the village of Boltonville, in the northwest corner of Newbury.

It then primarily follows the defunct Montpelier and Wells River rail bed alongside U.S. Route 302 until becoming paved again while coinciding with U.S. Route 2.

“We call it a trail because it sounds cool, but as it stands right now it’s actually more of what’s known as a scenic route,” said West. “Route 302 and Route 2 are scenic, but they’re high-traffic routes, and the shoulders are often used (by motorists) for passing.”

The Cross Vermont Trail Association hopes to break ground on the trail portion of the project this year and finish construction of the bridge by 2019. It continues to seek donations to help make up its $70,000 gap in funding.

For more information, visit or call 802-223-1977.

Goodwin Keeps Going: Gary Goodwin, who in 2015 founded a nonprofit devoted to erecting a hydro/aquatic therapy and fitness center in the Woodsville area, recently had a feasibility study conducted by a Concord-based firm.

Its conclusion, according to Goodwin: There is, in fact, a need for the type of facility Goodwin desires.

“They studied the area and determined that there are enough people and patrons that would use this kind facility. In fact, they agreed with me that it is very much needed,” said Goodwin, 72. “The next step in the process is finding the right plot of land for it.”

Goodwin hopes to construct a center that would offer hydro and aquatic therapy at little or no cost to seniors and fixed- or low-income individuals, including transportation services for those in need. He has drawn up 36,000- and 90,000-square-foot versions of the envisioned facility; the latter would include a greenhouse walking area along with a lap pool, up to three smaller pools and a fitness studio.

“Greenhouse environments are being used more and more to create a tropical-type setting to help with depression when it’s cold and gray out in the wintertime,” said Goodwin. “You’ve got bird sounds, goldfish pools, things of that nature, and walking paths.”

Goodwin estimates the cost of such a facility could run as high as $35 million, but he remains confident it will come to fruition.

“Everywhere I go, I find a lot of support for this idea,” he said. “It’s going to happen. It’s a matter of time.”

Jared Pendak can be reached at or 603-727-3225.

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