(Happy 90th, Artie.)
It was Artie Schiemann's 90th birthday today. It was also declared Artie Shiemann day in Middletown, Monday January 5th 2009.
Shiemann, who was brought up on his family farm, since he was just over a year old, and only left to serve his country during World War II in North Africa and Italy, and still resides on, and works the field of his farm, was honored for deeding the development rights to the 32 acres to Middletown.
Middletown, which purchased the development rights at a fraction of market value ($250,000), sees the Schiemann farm as another way to preserve farmland and open space in town.
"I did it because I thought about my mother and father and how much they loved the farm," Schiemann said. "And I did it because it made me feel good."
Schiemann's father actually purchased the first 25 acres of land in October 1920, and then bought an additional 38 acres. During the Great Depression the farm kept the family in produce, milk, meat and eggs, helping them survive a rough decade. When Art purchased the farm from his family, he sold off all but 34 acres. But on those acres he kept a dairy herd of 25 cows and sold milk commercially from 1950-1981.
Mayor Sebastian Giuliano read the proclamation and awarded it to Sheimann.
"Middletown is able to do more than other cities in preserving open space," the mayor said. "Because of people like Artie, we're able to strike a balance between development and conservation."
Middletown's Cultural Council was also awarded a tribute on its thirty years of service, particularly that of longtime music teacher, and culture promoter Santo Fragilio who has served the city as a cultural ambassador and educator for 60 years.