Vol. I No. 10 12/15/2020
by Patrick White
This has been a tough year everywhere, yet somehow our town government continued not only to function, but to do so with excellence and even improvement. I want to take a moment and personally thank the folks who make this happen, who show up and lead, no matter what.
First, thanks to Michael Canales and Theresa Zanetti. You keep the town running smoothly, and you have helped me immeasurably understand the issues and do a better job. Thanks as well to my friend Mark Webber, who kept the ship of state afloat as we searched for a permanent town administrator.
Thanks to Town Clerk Terri Iemolini and all of her volunteers who ran not one but two elections during COVID this year, managing them as smoothly as if we weren't in a once-in-century crisis.
Thanks to Building Inspector Ned Baldwin and to Greg Pillory, Nick Fredsall and Jennifer Carmichael. Readers should know that over 500 permits were applied for in the past year, and these are the people who make sure what is built is built safely to everyone's benefit.
Thanks to Tony Campetti, Mike Buffoni and the Sewer and Water Commission, led by Don Schneyer, who keep the pipes flowing in ways we never notice because we take for granted their amazing work.
Thanks to Hugh Page and the entire Highway Department. You keep our roads safe, our town lawns mowed, our cemeteries maintained and our sidewalks cleared. Thanks as well to our Tree Warden, Peter Curtain, who keeps an eye on dangerous trees and manages them on a tight budget.
Thanks to our financial team that includes Karen Williams, Ray Ellsworth and Christine Goretti for keeping the town's finances in order.
Thanks to Peter Dillon, our Superintendent of Schools and the entire BHRSD team, and especially our teachers, who have kept our children safe while confronted with this unprecedented pandemic. Every day you put your commitment to your profession before all else and we have noticed and for which, the people of Stockbridge are eternally grateful.
Thanks to Animal Control Officer John Drake for his hard work and for always brightening my day anytime I see him on Elm St.
Thanks to our Principal Assessor Michael Blay and Clerk Tammy Touponce for their hard and fair work of assessing our taxes, and for the Board of Assessors lead by Gary Pitney, who make the calls every month to keep our Assessor's Office on track.
Thanks to Chris Marsden, our Facilities Manager and our Emergency Management Director, for his diligence at keeping our buildings operating smoothly, for dealing quickly with our emergencies and for his insight into the repair of our historic structures like the Children's Chimes Tower.
Thanks to our Chiefs, Vincent Garofoli and Darrell Fennelly, as well as all of our police officers, our EMTs and volunteer firefighters, who every day show up and without a moment's notice are willing to put themselves in harm's way to rescue and protect the people of Stockbridge.
Thanks to the Conservation Commission, led by Ron Brouker, who show up week after week to protect our wetlands and other natural resources and are the frontline of defense in a town of extraordinary natural beauty. Thanks as well to our Gould Meadows volunteers, also led by Ron, who keep this amazing park well maintained. And thanks to Laurel Hill Association and outgoing President Shelby Marshall, who quietly maintain the trails all around town that have been so important to us during this pandemic.
Thanks to Laura Dubester and our Green Communities Committee for helping us save energy and in doing so, help the environment. Thanks as well to Laura for spearheading the MVP project to address climate change impacts.
Thanks to Liz DiGrigoli and our entire Council on Aging, who, in an especially-tough year for seniors, have helped reinvent The Stockbridge Senior Center as an outreach organization and provide a vital lifeline to so many of our elderly in town.
Thanks to Dr. Charlie Kenny and the entire Board of Health as well as Jim Wilusz and the team over at Tri-Town Health, for performing your normal duties in addition to being our frontline of defense against the COVID pandemic here in town. Your efforts have truly been extraordinary.
Thanks to the Community Preservation Committee, led by Sally Underwood-Miller and the Cultural Council, led by Karen Marshall, both of which oversee the fair allocation of limited resources to help our cultural, open space and housing needs.
Thanks to our amazing Parks and Recreation team, led by Steve Knopf, and our town lifeguards who were able to safely keep our town beach open this year when many other towns couldn't.
Thanks to the Stockbridge Housing Authority, led by Andrea Lindsay and Jim Welch, who have made our public housing the envy of the county and who manage housing vouchers for much of the rest of South County.
Thanks to our Historical Commission, led by Linda Jackson, our Historic Preservation Committee, led by Carl Sprague, and our Cemetery Commission, newly led by Karen Marshall, for protecting our historic structures and keeping intact the character and charm of our town year after year. I also want to personally thank Peter Williams for the wise counsel and institutional memory he provides to me whenever I call him, which, for him, may be annoyingly often.
Thanks to our Planning Board, led by Bill Vogt and our Zoning Board of Appeals, led by Tom Schuler, for ensuring that proposals for land use meet the requirements of our bylaws, among many other contributions and tasks.
Thanks to the Zebra Mussel Committee and the Stockbridge Bowl Stewardship Commission, led by Jaime Minacci, for protecting Lake Mahkeenac and for stewarding the lake and working with its many stakeholders to protect it now and in the future. Thanks as well go to Gary Kleinerman, our Harbor Master, who keeps a watchful eye on all things Stockbridge Bowl to all of our benefit.
Thanks to Bronly Boyd and all of our volunteers who have helped us manage searches for a new town administrator and new town treasurer/collector. Your expertise was instrumental in recruiting and vetting candidates for these important positions. Thanks as well to Jorja Marsden for her wise counsel and institutional memory of town hall.
Thanks to Kate Fletcher and the entire Fountain Committee for leading the preservation of the Watering Trough and Cat and Dog Fountain.
Thanks to our Finance Committee, led by Jay Bikofsky, who provide us with sage advice and counsel as we review the town's budget. I would like to personally thank Jay as well as Bill Vogt, Steve Shatz and Jim Balfanz for always being available to me to answer questions and help me do the best job I can. Thanks as well to Gary Johnston, our Town Moderator, for not only running an effective annual town meeting, but for assembling this talented group of individuals.
Thanks to Barbara Zanetti and our Chamber of Commerce for making the best of a tough year and keeping us in the news. Thanks as well to CTSB and Steve and Rich, who have done an amazing job helping us conduct public meetings remotely. And thanks to the staff and volunteers of the Stockbridge Library, the Trustees, Tanglewood, Norman Rockwell Museum, Berkshire Botanical Garden, Berkshire Theatre Group, Chesterwood, Stockbridge Bowl Association, Marian Fathers, Waldorf School and all of our other non-profits for keeping the flame lit during a trying year.
Thanks to Chuck and Roxanne, my colleagues on the Select Board, for showing up every week to make the tough calls necessary to run this town, and for serving the town with honor, integrity and wisdom. At a personal level, thanks for, well you know, everything. I would also like to thank all of our prior selectmen, including John Beacco, Don Chabon, Terry Flynn, Chuck Gillett, Deb McMenamy and Steve Shatz for the wise counsel you have provided me. I have so much respect for all of you and for your service on behalf of the town.
Finally, thanks to Carole Owens, who has created this wonderful newsletter and kept it humming with new issues twice a month. I cannot overstate the importance of an informed community. This volunteer effort on the part of you and your contributors is really quite amazing.
This list is purposefully long and hopefully comprehensive, to demonstrate all of the people, many of whom are volunteers, who give their time to keep this town running smoothly. Happy holidays to all, and once again, my heartfelt thanks.
Patrick White is a member of the Stockbridge Select Board.