A Note from Patrick White/September 9, 2023
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Conversation Starters

You might have read the back and forth between Carole Owens and me in the latest issue of Stockbridge Updates on the topic of sewer expansion.

Look, by now you must know, I have an opinion on a lot of issues surrounding the management and future of the Town. I often express them with a wee bit of passion. Like anyone, however, my viewpoint is informed by my experiences. On the sewer, for example, my views are informed by my past: I was on the Conservation Commission, I was co-chair of the Cyanobacteria Working Group, I served on the Stockbridge Bowl Association board, and now for 3+ years I have been on the Select Board.

Experience matters, but experiences also create bias.

Issues like the potential expansion map of the sewer system, like merging our school districts, like shared services, these are really important decisions where the trade-offs must be weighed, and where we need a range of perspectives to inform the debate.

Here's my point: weigh in on these issues. Agree with me, disagree with me, either way I want to hear your perspective, either privately or in a public forum. I love it when you agree, and I welcome it when you don't. Either way, when the future of the town is at stake, let's make sure there is room for all voices and perspectives in our discussions. And let's not hold grudges when some of our neighbors express views that may be in opposition to our own. Chime in!

Patrick White

Speaking of Chimes...

Town Administrator Michael Canales tells me the bells are coming out of the Chime Tower later this month, and should be reinstalled, along with the fully-repaired instrument, sometime in October. The chimes are coming back! This project has involved highly specialized work and even required the Attorney General's office to weigh in on procurement issues due to the dearth of qualified contractors nationwide who could perform it. That said, I hope that our chime players can be playing the instrument come this fall sometime. And a big thanks to Michael for managing this and many other projects on behalf of all of us.

Speaking of Carole...

For the past 80 issues, I have had a front-row seat in what it takes to produce each issue of Stockbridge Updates. The hard part of course is the words and the incredible photography. Over 100 folks have submitted perspectives, letters, photos, and more. Sometimes I submit photos myself, but mostly mine are just fillers when Carole needs a few extra shots for a given issue. My role has been and continues to be formatting the words and photos and preparing them for the website and the email that goes out. For a now-weekly piece that takes 15 minutes to read, hours go into each issue, and let's congratulate Carole for the herculean effort she puts in to keep us all informed week after week, as she embarks on her fourth year. Thank you!

Carole (right) with Ramelle Pulitzer

Josh Billings Canceled...

Sunday's Josh Billings Runaground is canceled due to the chance of thundershowers during the day. I talked this afternoon with both Race Director Abby Chaput and Board Member Larry Lane. For now, the plan is to not reschedule the race in 2023. However, the Josh board will meet this week to consider whether they can pull it off in October some time, but the chances are low. Chalk it up to another impact of the more severe storms we are experiencing with the craziness that climate change is bringing to our world.

Even though is all for naught, I wanted to thank all of the folks who have worked so hard to prepare the town for the Josh. Larry called me yesterday morning to talk about an issue with road pavement on 183. I immediately patched in Highway Superintendent Hugh Page, who already had the department patching the roads, clearing the debris from Thursday's storm, removing gravel that is a safety issue for bicyclists, mowing the grass along the roads, and generally preparing the town for the athletes. Also a thank you to Michael Nathan and Stu Yurman, the volunteers who have been busy harvesting the lake vegetation for the canoes and kayaks. Finally, a big thanks to our Chiefs Vinny and Darrell and our entire public safety team who work behind the scenes to ensure all of our events go smoothly. What seems like an effortless production actually requires tremendous effort on a lot of folks' part. Thanks to everyone.

Josh past.

Prado de Lana

I stopped into Prado de Lana to talk with Amanda about her family's plans to move their farm to Rattlesnake Mountain Road. I made a short video to capture her thoughts. Click to watch on Youtube.

Speaking of Farmers...

Thanks to my favorite farmer and colleague Chuck Cardillo, as well as Michael Canales, George Manley, James "Mac" McDonald, and Vin Garofoli, for their work on the Fire/EMS opportunity with our neighbors in Lee. This evaluation is a ton of work, and thankfully we have a team on it whose combined experience rivals that of any group of professionals in the Berkshires, if not the entire state. Make sure you thank them for their hard work.

Laurel Hill Day Celebration

I got to drive the golf cart once again this year, and in between the ferrying of friends up Laurel Hill, I witnessed the award Laurel Hill gave to celebrate Peter Berle, Lila Berle, and the entire Berle family.

Here's a photo of Lila accepting the award.

Of Interest... Perhaps!

Thanks to Senators Paul Mark and Lydia Edwards

I had the chance to sit in on a discussion of Berkshire County housing needs, organized by Sen. Paul Mark with special guest, the chair of the Joint Committee on Housing, Sen. Lydia Edwards of East Boston. Also in attendance were Steve Bannon and Leigh Davis of the Great Barrington Select Board, as well as reepresentatives of Berkshire Housing, Construct, CDC, and other advocates with tremendous expertise on the challenges our community faces. It was a great afternoon to weigh in on an important topic and learn from the experts around the table.

Last Thoughts: Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohicans

What an honor it was for the Town to host Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll, Stockbridge-Munsee President Shannon Holsey, the Secretary of Energy, Undersecretary for Climate, Undersecretary for Environmental Justice, and so many others for the Municipal Vulnerabilities Preparedness announcement a few weeks ago right here in Stockbridge.

Stockbridge was asked to host this forum because the Stockbridge-Munsee application to purchase the Swann's 351-acre parcel for preservation scored highest of all the MVP applications for the entire state.

Many thanks to Shannon and her team in Wisconsin, including Joe Miller and Monique Tyndall, for working tirelessly on this grant application. Thanks to Bonney Hartley, who works from right here in the Berkshires to educate and inform, while advocating on behalf of the Tribe. And thanks to Rich Bradway and Jess Toro of the Stocbridge Land Trust who worked so hard on this grant, as well as Jenny Hansell and Beth Mills of Berkshire Natural Resources and consultant Sandra Prytherch for their work on supporting the application. Finally, thanks to Laurie Norton Moffatt and the entire Norman Rockwell team for pulling off a lunch for 50 with just 48 hours notice! It was amazing.

Finally, a special thank you to Oleander Stone, the state contact/climate guru who has helped me and the entire town navigate the MVP process from day one three years ago. Oleander is an example of an extraordinary public servant, someone who cares deeply and passionately and helps the rest of us understand the challenges before us. Like so many others, she has helped me immeasurably as I get up to speed on the issues the Town faces.

This acquisition marks a turning point in the Town's relationship with the Tribe. It has been literally over two centuries since the Mohicans left Stockbridge in sorrow. I for one welcome them back to Town with open arms and an open mind. In our country today, reconciliation seems so hard and yet I am hoping that it's not so hard here at home. Let's listen and learn and make some new friends and recognize that Stockbridge is big enough for all of us. Welcome home, my new friends.

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

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Patrick White
81 Hawthorne Street
Stockbridge, MA

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