Archive - Jul 7, 2008
By JOHN FLOWERS
RIPTON — Addison County officials are anxiously awaiting word from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the White House on whether Ripton, Middlebury and Lincoln will be awarded aid for repairs to roads, culverts and other public infrastructure damaged by a major storm last month.
Gov. James Douglas, a Middlebury Republican, formally requested the federal disaster declaration from the FEMA on July 1. The request is for declarations in Addison and Franklin Counties.
Tim Bouton, a senior emergency planner with the Addison County Regional Planning Commission, was one of several state and local officials who gathered in Middlebury on July 2 to go over a final tally of storm-related damage. Bouton said Vermont’s total estimated damage from the June 14-16 storm is $960,000.
That $960,000 means that Vermont falls $40,000 short of the $1 million threshold required to qualify for a “federal disaster declaration” from FEMA, a declaration that would funnel in grant money from the nation’s capital to cover up to 75 percent of the storm-related damage.
Still, Bouton and other officials said Vermont could qualify for aid based on a per-capita calculation of the damage. On that score, Vermont would qualify, with a per capita damage assessment of $1.24.
In essence, the declaration hangs in the balance at a time when dollars are tight and the feds are processing massive aid requests from the Midwest (major flooding) and California (fires).
“It’s unknown what the response will be from Washington,” said Bouton, who added the all-important verdict is likely to be handed down within the next two or three weeks. “We are hoping that with help from our congressional delegation, we will be successful.”
By KATHRYN FLAGG
SALISBURY — On a sunny Tuesday morning, Karen Rockow and her cousin John Marlin sat on the porch of the North Cove Cottage’s front office — a red house hunkered down beside Lake Dunmore Road among a smattering of cozy white cottages.
“It’s just a fantastic place,” said Rockow, a 59-year-old Brooklyn native who has been vacationing at the lake since she was four years old.
She sat facing the water, looking out at a lone paddleboat on the cove and two small girls swimming at the water’s edge — imagining, perhaps, the north cove of Lake Dunmore as it was 50 years ago. Rockow, whose family bought these cottages in 1958, is celebrating the business’s 50th anniversary this year — an especially notable occasion for a business Rockow believes is the oldest group of cottages under continuous ownership on the lake.
“We’re really a relic,” she said. “These are retro vacations.”
Rockow made her first trip to the lake in 1954 in the two-tone, green-and-white Buick that her parents bought that year. The car — a lemon, Rockow said, that knew the inside of every Buick repair shop from Atlantic City north — ferried the family to Vermont for that first summer vacation. The weather was gorgeous and the accommodations filthy — and her family, Rockow said, was hooked.
They spent the next several summers returning to the lake, pleading with the owners of the cottage that now serves as the business’s front office to sell them the house.
They succeeded at long last, and soon also owned the half-dozen cottages south of the main office. Rockow’s parents set to fixing up their little resort, painting the cottages and hauling furnishings from New York. Motels were still a novelty in those days, Rockow said, and her parents caught the bug early, throwing themselves into the work of upkeep and hospitality.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Josh Phillips had been looking for an opportunity to return to his home state of Vermont and continue his work in the field of land conservation.
He got his wish on both counts last month when he began his job as the new executive director of the Middlebury Area Land Trust (MALT).
Phillips, 31, takes over for former MALT leader Gioia Kuss, who stepped down last year, and Robin Scheu, who had been heading the organization on an interim basis.
Until recently, Phillips worked as director of preservation services at Preservation Maryland, a nonprofit conservation organization in Baltimore. While there, Phillips administered grants, created a preservation easement program and did most of the organization’s local advocacy outside of the city of Baltimore — namely, 23 counties.
After four years with Preservation Maryland, Phillips and his wife, Julie, found themselves on the move this spring. Julie Phillips, a physician, had been offered a fellowship at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington. The couple decided it would be a good move, so Josh Phillips began to look for employment opportunities in the Green Mountain State, where he had grown up and gone to school. Phillips is a graduate of the University of Vermont’s historic preservation master’s program.
He was ecstatic to land the top job at MALT.
“I grew up in Milton, and my family is in Benson, so I was very familiar with Addison County,” Phillips said. “This job really represents an opportunity for me to combine my interests in environmental conservation, open space preservation, sustainable agriculture and cultural/historic preservation. All those things come together in a community land trust, so I was excited that this opportunity was available.”