A Note from Patrick White/June 16, 2023
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Happy Juneteenth

Monday is our newest federal holiday, and as such Town Hall will be closed. I was asked today what Juneteenth is. This, from Wikipedia:

Juneteenth (officially Juneteenth National Independence Day) is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans. Deriving its name from combining June and nineteenth, it is celebrated on the anniversary of the order, issued by Major General Gordon Granger on June 19, 1865, proclaiming freedom for slaves in Texas.[7] Originating in Galveston, Juneteenth has since been observed annually in various parts of the United States, often broadly celebrating African-American culture. The day was first recognized as a federal holiday in 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.

Patrick White

Short-Term Rentals Update

Town Administrator Michael Canales and I are planning next week to review our STR Bylaw and list the key components we are hoping to track with the new monitoring platform approved at Town Meeting. My goal is to get solid data to track both historical trends, such as overall number of STRs offered at a given date from one year to the next, and compliance information, such as ensuring that rentals do not exceed sewer/septic ratings in terms of occupancy/number of folks advertised. We will hopefully present this information at Thursday's Select Board meeting.

Housing Production Plan Update

On Tuesday at 4pm, our consultant, Karen Sunnarborg, will be present to discuss her initial observations on ways to address affordability in Stockbridge. Should be interesting, you should attend either in person at Town Hall or via Zoom. See the agenda for Zoom login information.

The June 8, 2023 Select Board Meeting

Heaton Court Community Building

At Heaton Court, there are 53 units, of which 52 are singles. I have the pleasure of working fairly closely with Executive Director Andrea Lindsay. We're both focused on ways to create and improve a sense of community. With that in mind, Andrea and the Stockbridge Housing Authority proposed to the Select Board the funding of external planters outside the units to foster community gardening, as well as the addition of a large-screen TV to the Community Room. Private donors, Allen and Valerie Hyman, funded the Community Room upgrade. The Select Board funded the investment in community gardening via the planters. Both efforts are intended to keep folks interacting with each other as much as possible!

Regional School Districts Merger

For the past few years, I've been one of the Stockbridge appointees to the RSDPB, which is exploring the merger of Berkshire Hills Regional School District and Southern Berkshire Regional School District. The imperative for the merger is declining enrollment, which, as you may know, is especially pronounced in South County. Beyond that, the School Committee has worked very hard on the design of a new high school, whether the merger proceeds or not. This includes an incredible expansion of our vocational offerings. With 50% of South County students either not attending or not finishing college, improved career training can provide the lifelong skills necessary to make a decent living. The full board is meeting on Wednesday via Zoom. You can find the agenda and login information here.

Of Interest... Perhaps!

Laurel, In Bloom

The Laurel at Laurel Hill Park is in full bloom. Stop by Town Hall and walk up the path, past the Rostrum, and you can see lots of lovely Laurel blooms.

Canoeing on the Bowl

Now's a great time to be out on the Bowl! There are lots of ducks and ducklings and geese and goslings. I keep a canoe down by the water. If you ever want to join me, give me a call at 413-441-5231!

Trails by Town Hall

When I find myself at Town Hall, it's sometimes just an excuse to take a break walking our nearby trails. This is the view from the trail that begins by the old ball field and goes along the Housatonic River, connecting to Park Street and Memorial Bridge, the foot bridge to the Mary Flynn Trail, Laura's Tower, and Ice Glen.

Charging Stations Nearly Complete

The good folks from Guardian have been busy installing our first four electric charging stations. They've completed the transformer work in the basement of Town Hall, and are installing the hook-ups. Expect to be able to charge your electric vehicle at Town Hall in the next few weeks. Progress!

Last Thoughts: The Library's Bement Room
Please join me Wednesdays at 10am to read the paper!

There are so many things to love about the Stockbridge Library. The great programming for all stages of life, the fantastic Museum & Archives... One of my favorites, though is the Bement Room, where you can read The Berkshire Eagle, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, and The Wall St. Journal daily!

You know, in this day of 24-hour cable news, which I find very divisive, it's wonderful to get your news flipping the pages of a printed newspaper. I simply love stopping by the Library and taking a few minutes to read the paper. In fact, please join me! Every Wednesday at 10am, in the Bement Room. Feel free to say hi... quietly!

Patrick White

Just so it's said...

This email represents my personal thoughts. It's not from the Town of Stockbridge, it's from Patrick White. It isn't an "official" communication!

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Patrick White
81 Hawthorne Street
Stockbridge, MA

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