A Note from Patrick White/July 23, 2023
Read on the Web

The Span of Time

Some big news in Town this past week, beyond just the weather!

1. The Regional School District Planning Board (RSDPB) overwhelming approved a recommendation on July 19 to the eight towns to merge the two south county regional school districts. There are three clear benefits to this merger. First, it will improve educational opportunities, both in terms of academic and vocational offerings. Second, it will provide the Town with significant financial savings vs. go-it-alone with our three town district. Third, it ensures there will be enough students to offer more extracurricular activities such as sports teams and clubs as enrollment declines. It's a clear win for the Town and I urge voters to show up and support this merger at the Special Town Meeting in a few months.

2. Something like 50 people showed up in person and on Zoom to brainstorm on July 17 on our housing challenges. It was a very productive session and we will synthesize the ideas into priorities in the coming months.

3. Michael and I met, at Alan Wilken's recommendation, with an engineering firm from Salem, MA on July 20 that specializes in historic bridges to review options for the Curtisville Bridge. The Curtisville, located at the intersection of Interlaken Crossroad and Route 183, is one of the oldest in the state, and was constructed in 1842. We may have a way to save this historic arch bridge and potentially save the taxpayers some money as well!

The new high school/new housing and the old bridge represent two sides of the same coin. How do we protect our historic traditions? How do we embrace change to ensure that, for generations to come, we remain a well-rounded community and teenagers have the best opportunity to succeed? Let's invest in both monuments to our past—and our future. Finally, on a personal note, it is a great honor to serve on the Select Board, the RSDPB, and on the Affordable Housing Trust to help make progress on these issues that have languished for far too long.

Patrick White

Housing Challenges: By the Numbers

In case you couldn't make it, here are five of the data slides prepared by the Affordable Housing Trust and our consultant, Karen Sunnarborg. They outline the challenges not just for Affordable Housing, which is subsidized, but also the missing middle housing that keeps working families in our community.

A very special thanks to Jan Ackerman, who is leading the Housing Production Plan Effort.

Thunder and Lightning Tips for Outdoor Recreation

I scraped these tips from the Centers for Disease Control website.

If you are caught in a lightning storm while attending a concert, camping, hiking, playing sports, or during other outdoor activities, it is often difficult to find a protected place. However, you can avoid lightning injuries by taking certain precautions.

Check the forecast
Before participating in outdoor activities, always check the weather forecast. Thunderstorms with lightning in the mountains occur most often during the summer months, in the late afternoon or evening. If you are heading to the beach or other water-related activities, check the forecast to know what to expect during the day.

When thunder roars, go indoors
Find a safe, enclosed shelter when you hear thunder. Even if you see blue sky, you could still be in danger. Tents, picnic shelters, gazebos, baseball dugouts, and other open shelters DO NOT provide protection from lightning. Don't resume outdoor activities for at least 30 minutes after the storm. The beginning and the end of a storm are the most dangerous times.

Seek shelter immediately, even if caught in the open
If you are caught in an open area, act quickly to find adequate shelter. The most important action is to remove yourself from danger. Crouching or getting low to the ground can reduce your chances of being struck, but it does not remove you from danger.

If you are caught outside with no safe shelter nearby, the following actions could reduce your risk of being struck by lightning:

  • Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges, or peaks.
  • Never lie flat on the ground. Crouch down in a ball-like position with your head tucked and hands over your ears so that you are down low, with minimal contact with the ground.
  • Never shelter under an isolated tree. If you are in a forest, shelter near lower trees.
  • Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.
  • Immediately get out of and away from ponds, lakes, and other bodies of water.
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity, such as barbed wire fences, power lines, or windmills.
  • Separate from others: If you are in a group during a thunderstorm, separate from each other. This will reduce the number of injuries if lightning strikes the ground.

Don't carry metal
Don't carry any metal objects, such as golf clubs, fishing poles, umbrellas, or backpacks with metal frames. Metal doesn't attract electricity, but it is a good conductor. Your chances of a direct hit are higher when you are carrying a conductor above shoulder level. Be sure to avoid other metal objects as well, such as wire fences. You are more likely to be burned if you are in contact with metal when you are struck by lightning.

Did You Know?
The best place for shelter during a storm is inside a structure with four walls and a roof or an enclosed vehicle. Small, open shelters and tents do not provide protection. Large caves and valleys are protective. Small caves, overhangs, and wet stream beds are likely to be more dangerous than open areas because water conducts electricity and electricity can jump gaps between rocks.

If you are caught in an open area, Do NOT lie down. Lightning causes electric currents along the top of the ground that can be deadly more than 100 feet away.

Of Interest... Perhaps!

Backyard Brood

A few turkey moms escorted around 20 new arrivals around my backyard. Moments like this are the reason I love living here!

Even the Swans are Friendly in Stockbridge

Swans in Stockbridge are so friendly you can even pet them. I was surprised, however, at how hard their feathers are... Yeah, ok, I should probably mention they are plastic decoys to avoid the angry emails. I get quite enough of those!

Last Thoughts: Letters of Support

One of the fun and rewarding aspects of serving as your selectman is when I receive a request for a letter of support, as well as letters of thanks I receive in return. I like writing them, and thought I'd share three from this year.

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! You can read all issues of this newsletter at www.patrickwhitestockbridge.com

Feel free to forward this email and let me know if you like it, or not. You can also sign up to receive it at: www.patrickwhitestockbridge.com

Patrick White
81 Hawthorne Street
Stockbridge, MA

I value your privacy. If you wish to be removed from my mailing list, just click this unsubscribe link. You will be immediately removed from my list and no further emails will be sent.