Archive - Jun 9, 2008 - Page
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY —State and local nonprofit groups are working on a deal to buy the development rights to the 99-acre Bingham Farm off Creek Road, property that would fortify a large block of land that has already been conserved at Middlebury’s southern gateway.
“The boys have enjoyed growing up here and I didn’t want to see it developed,” said Marilyn Bingham, whose family has owned the farm since 1959. “I enjoy living here. I like the view, and the quiet.”
While nursing has been her main occupation, Bingham raised five sons on the farm and the oldest, Alpine, lives on the farm and runs a small, diversified vegetable business. Alpine Bingham had previously managed several farm businesses on the spread, including a milking herd of 50-55 Holsteins. He sold the cows several years ago, and has focused on growing vegetables on around three acres while renting the balance of the cropland to a nearby dairy farmer.
The Middlebury Area Land Trust (MALT) and Vermont Land Trust (VLT) are now working on a conservation deal with the Binghams that would allow the family to invest in their farm while keeping it open, in agricultural production and available for possible inclusion in a larger “Trail Around Middlebury.”
Officials at MALT and the VLT are now working to raise around $200,000 for the Bingham Farm deal. Middlebury selectmen have agreed to tap the town’s conservation fund for $10,000 to go toward the transaction. That $10,000, according to VLT Champlain Valley Co-Director Alan Karnatz, will be used to leverage approximately $190,000 in grant money through the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB). Karnatz said he is very optimistic the VHCB will approve the grant this month.
By LEE J. KAHRS
BRANDON –– The Vermont Tubbs furniture company here has been sold after an unsuccessful five-year bid by the previous owners to turn a profit. But the town of Brandon and the state of Vermont are committed to keeping the company here and retaining the 90 jobs at stake.
“We’re willing to work with whichever owner wants to work with us,” said Brandon Town Manager Keith Arlund. “The town stands ready to assist in the transition in any way possible.”
A June 4 press release that was vague on details said that BSF Transition LLC, an affiliate of Brownstreet Furniture of Whitefield, N.H., had bought “certain assets” of Brandon-based Vermont Tubbs.
The 168-year-old Vermont Tubbs specializes in handcrafted, hardwood beds and other bedroom furniture, as well as custom-built office furniture. Brownstreet Furniture manufactures high-quality, solid wood cherry, pine, maple, and ash furniture. Tubbs officials stated that they will continue to manufacture in the existing facility on Arnold District Road while Brownstreet assesses future production plans.
“The entrance of Brownstreet couldn’t come at a more opportune time,” said Tubbs partner Jon McNeill in the release. “My partners and I will continue to be involved to provide assistance for a successful sale.”
Calls for further comment from Tubbs officials were not returned by the Friday afternoon deadline for this edition of the Independent.
The move comes after months of wrangling to secure $580,000 in state and local economic development grants intended to preserve the 90 jobs at Tubbs by providing needed operating capital. The Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP) award was announced April 15.
By KATHRYN FLAGG
ADDISON — Jeff and Julia Gosliga are expecting not one but two children this summer — the first, their fourth child, due in just two and a half weeks, and the second, a seven-year-old resident of the Bronx, N.Y., returning for her second summer vacation on Gosliga Farm in Addison.
Despite the busy summer ahead, the Gosligas are welcoming their out-of-state visitor with open arms. When she arrives in August, Naomi, who spent two weeks with the family last year, will join 50 other children visiting Addison County this summer through the New York City-based Fresh Air Fund. The Fund, an independent nonprofit organization designed to create opportunities for children living in disadvantaged communities to enjoy free summer vacations, has served more than 1.7 million children from low-income households since its inception in 1877.
For Naomi, the Gosligas’ farm — home to not only the Gosliga clan but also the 450 cows they milk daily — could not be more different than the hustle and bustle of her home in the city. The open spaces — and yes, fresh air — are a welcome change of pace for many of the children the organization serves.
“If you think about where these kids come from, you say, ‘Man, these kids deserve a break to just be kids and have fun,’” Jeff Gosliga said.
A trip to the farm, he continued, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of these children.
“They love it,” he said. “They have so much fun.”