IN THIS ISSUE: VOL. II NO. 09 5/1/2021
Stockbridge History: 1897 Sewage Report
by Rick Wilcox
Stockbridge 2030? Part One
by Larry Ackerman
100 Years on Yale Hill
by Carl Sprague
More than forty years ago, I attended my first Town Meeting. I was giddy. I lived in Washington, D.C. I voted, I knew my representatives, I visited Congress, but I never saw pure democracy in action. It was the Agora of ancient Athens. It was precious in every nuance of that word's meaning. It was Stockbridge.
Norman Rockwell's painting came alive; speech tumbled out and over the room. It was brought to order by the same moderator we would have for the next forty plus years.
There was sharp disagreement, but in an era before this fractious time, it was without rancor. It was with the knowledge that after the meeting, the relationship with a neighbor was more important than the outcome of the debate. Eventually decisions were made. The minority was not bitter. The majority ruled, and the minority honored that because they honored the essence of our form of government.
One warrant item was the same — this year and forty years ago — the Children's Chime Tower. Less expensive, less complex, without benefit of consultants, it was a simple proposal to paint the Tower. Then as now Stockbridge honored a gift given by caring for it.
Expenditures in Stockbridge were always approved by the people. They attended closely to the economy and the utility. They showed no fear of turning down "foolishness". It was New England. They were never stingy but always frugal. They balanced obligations: the best for Stockbridge against the purse of Stockbridge. So, as the warrant item to paint the Tower was presented, the outcome was uncertain.
The people rose to ask their questions, better understand the issue, and state their views.
A woman rose and asked, "What color will we paint it?"
The answer came. Once and for all time, I was introduced to Stockbridge. It was not for lack of imagination. It was allegiance to Stockbridge history and respect for its elders and progenitors. It was an expression of simple satisfaction with how Stockbridge is and always was.
The selectman answered, "Same color as it always was."
Afterthought: Often attendees see the warrant items for the first time when they walk into Town Meeting. Stockbridge Updates was founded to familiarize the people of Stockbridge with the issues long before Town Meeting. I hope we are and will continue to succeed in doing that.
Carole Owens, Managing Editor
NEWS: 2021 TOWN ELECTION
Candidates Q & A
1. Charlie Kenny Board of Health
Why are you running? I am running because I have been Chair of the Board of Health for the last several years and therefore have been at the forefront of several important Board efforts that involve other boards, committees, and groups in town and that continue to be challenging. I am a team player. I think I would be dropping the ball if I quit now.
What is your Prime Focus? Obviously, working with the Town Emergency Management team to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic has been top priority, but hopefully, with full vaccine penetration, its importance will subside. Management of the Stockbridge Bowl to prevent another cyanobacterial bloom was the top priority before Covid, and still requires my active participation on the Stockbridge Bowl Stewardship Committee, which has actively begun to study and intervene to promote long-term water quality and watershed security. The recent revelation that mosquito sprays have inadvertently contained long-lasting contaminants has raised a new focus: are we going to let the Mosquito Control Program spray all over town without any formal notification to near-by residents? Are we going to continue to allow them to spend $30,000 of town allocated funds to spray primarily for not for-profit benefit? Are we going to continue to allow the program to use all those funds and NEVER give us an adequate accounting about where the monies went? This issue, like the others, is being actively discussed in cooperation with your Select Board and Town administration. Again, I believe that I should strive for reelection because I would be failing my fellow teammates if I gave up.
What would I like to say? I love this Town. I practiced orthopaedic surgery here for 40 years. I raised my family here and they love it. My sons don't live here, but they are close, and they love to come home. Anyone who visits Stockbridge loves it.
2. Gary Johnston, Town Moderator
Answer to question #1: I have been honored to have been elected to the post of Moderator for over 40 years. My wish to help the town while also running my own business and being involved in many other community activities left me with limited time to do so. My knowledge of parliamentary rules made the Moderators position the logical choice for me.
Answer to question #2: I always strive to conduct my duties as Moderator in a fair and efficient manner to ensure each voter has an opportunity to express their viewpoints, while also following proper procedures and getting the business of the town completed in an expeditious manner. I will continue to do so if I am elected.
Answer to question #3: I wish to thank the voters for supporting me for these many years. I hope that support will continue as long as you feel that I am competent to perform the duties of Moderator.
3. Don Chabon Town Select Board
What prompted you to run?
These have been seminal, transitional, trying times everywhere and for everyone. Stockbridge like many communities has faced, and will be facing, multiple complex changes and challenges. We need Selectmen who can deal with that.
What is your prime focus?
Many subjects need our focus and Select Board members must be able to multi-task. Currently, 33 items are on my watch list and I've compiled them with perspective, explanation and discussion for review on a Web Page: donforstockbridge.godaddysites.com. Let's talk specifics — check-out the web page: agree/disagree and comment to me at email@example.com. Let's see what can be worked out. I continue to value the opinions of all our citizens, and actively solicit your input.
What would you like to say to voters?
4. Ernest (Chuck) Cardillo Select Board Incumbent
I thought it over for a while. I decided to run for a few reasons. We have a good board and we are getting things done like the highway garage, bridges, bylaws and the everyday operations of the town. I have a very good working relationship with the office employees.
Here are a few of the items on my agenda:
I want to work along with the parks department to bring our playgrounds up to date with more options for different age groups. Hoping this will attract and bring more families into town.
I would like to continue to work on the bylaws and finish the projects that we are working on.
We need to make sure our older population can afford to stay in town. This will take a lot of effort from the select board and planning board working together.
I want to thank the residents of Stockbridge for their support of me as selectmen. I always try to keep the voters involved in the decisions that we are making. I value their opinions
I have made a few mistakes during my two terms as selectmen. I have learned from those and I feel it made me a more effective and passionate selectmen.
I would like to have the opportunity to serve the town as selectmen again.
Looking west towards Yokun Ridge.
NEWS: TOWN ELECTION
Candidates on the Ballot
Town Election — The following candidates will appear on the ballot.
- Donald Schneyer, Water & Sewer Commissioner, incumbent
- Charles Kenny, Board of Health, incumbent
- James Welch, Housing Authority, incumbent
- Gary Pitney, Board of Assessors, incumbent
- Even though uncontested, vote for all candidates you support; the final vote count is important.
- Gary Johnston, Moderator, incumbent
- Jamie Minacci, Moderator
- Mark Faber, Tree Warden
- Hugh Page, Tree Warden
- Ernest J. (Chuck) Cardillo, Select Board, incumbent
- Donald Chabon, Select Board
- (Planning Board — vote for two)
- Gary Pitney, Planning Board, incumbent
- Carl Sprague, Planning Board
- Mark Mills, Planning Board
- John M. Henderson, Planning Board
Democratic Town Committee
The Stockbridge Democratic Town Committee held a caucus on April 14th and endorsed the following candidates:
- Moderator: Jamie Minacci
- Select Board: Don Chabon
- Board of Assessors: Gary Pitney
- Board of Health: Dr. Charles Kenny
- Sewer & Water: Don Schneyer
- Planning Board: Gary Pitney
- Planning Board: Carl Sprague
Laurel Hill Association's new signs have been installed at a number of their properties around town.
NEWS: TOWN ELECTION
- In-Person Early Voting: May 8, 2021, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Senior Center
- Absentee and Vote by Mail Ballot Applications are available at the compactor or Town Offices, inside the downstairs lobby. You access an application for an absentee ballot by clicking here or a vote by mail ballot by clicking here.
- The last day to apply is Wednesday, May 12 @ 5 pm.
- Applications can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org mailed to PO Box 417, Stockbridge, MA 01262, or put in a drop box located either outside front door or downstairs lobby at Town Hall.
- Last day to register to vote is Wednesday April 28 from 9 am – 8 pm, downstairs lobby of town offices.
- In-Person Early Voting is May 8 from 9 am – 1 pm in the Senior Center. In-Person Voting will be Tuesday May 18 in the Senior Center, 8 am – 6:30 pm.
Vote!!! Thank you. Carole Owens Managing Editor
The barn at Naumkeag.
NEWS: OUT AND ABOUT
Opening and Closing in the time of COVID
In the spirit of optimism, Stockbridge Updates is making a change. The new title of this section (next issue) will be:
Openings, Closings, and Events Around Town
Stockbridge Cultural Council awards 2021 grants
State Representative Smitty Pignatelli and Karen Marshall, Chair of the Stockbridge Cultural Council, awarded $6,600 to cultural programs taking place in or serving Stockbridge. The recipients are:
- Greenagers/Climate Action;
- Laurel Hill Association/Laurel Hill Day;
- Indigenous People's Day Walk;
- IS183/Berkshire Artists Residency Program;
- Berkshire Theatre Group/BTG Plays summertime classes;
- Tom Truss/Rewritten; Chester Theatre 2021 season;
- Shakespeare & Company 2021 Fall Festival;
- Mass Audubon/Bringing Nature to You;
- Berkshire Pulse Outdoor Dance Festival;
- Pooja Prema/Rites of Passage 20/20 Vision;
- Berkshire Ukulele Band & Berkshire Sings!;
- Berkshire Music School/Global Influence on American Music;
- Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives/History of Ice Glen and Ice Harvesting in Stockbridge;
- SculptureNow/IceFire; Arts in Recovery for Youth; Cantilena Choir summer concerts; and
- Berkshire Children's Chorus/Take the Lead Program.
The members of the Stockbridge Cultural Council are Karen Marshall, Lionel Delevingne, Lynn Edelstein, Janet Egelhofer, Mary Flournoy, Ed Lane, Andrea Sholler, Rebecca Weinman, and Rena Zurofsky. To apply for a grant, contact Karen Marshall at email@example.com
Berkshire Botanical Garden
The exhibition called "Flights of Fancy" featuring jewelry designed by Mindy Lam opens in the Leonhardt Galleries ion Center House on May 1. You can choose from hundreds of brooches on exhibit through June 6th and are available for purchase. Proceeds benefit BBG. To see Lam's work, go to: https://mindylamcouture.com/berkshire-exhibition/
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
You are also invited to join Berkshire Community's "One Book One Community" county-wide read. The book is Stop Telling Women to Smile by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.
"Join the effort to make all public spaces — including the streets, restaurants, parks and public transit — free from sexual harassment and safe for all people at all times."
Covid vaccinations open to all over age of 18
Tanglewood Season 2021 — July 9 – August 16
Favorites Yo-Yo Ma, John Williams, and the Boston Pops will perform. There will be a focus on
Beethoven. Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, May 17 at www.tanglewood.org and 888-266-1200, $15-$160.
Congregational Church Fundraiser
May 2 — The First Congregational Church will host a fundraiser from 1-6 p.m. in the Edwards Room. Admission to the Art Show is free. Proceeds from sales will help with restoration of the historic building.
Footprints of our Ancestors conducts a Mohican History Walking Tour of Stockbridge.
NEWS: TOWN BOARDS & COMMITTEES
Notes from the Select Board Meeting: April 15 via Zoom
- Chuck Cardillo, Chair
- Patrick White
- Roxanne McCaffrey
- Michael Canales, Town Administrator
In addition: Others may have been present but could not be seen.
- Patrick White read a proclamation signed by SB Chair Cardillo in celebration of the 100th birthday of Stockbridge resident David Resnick born April 17, 1921.
- Minutes from March 25th and April 1 meetings accepted.
- Early in-person voting May 8 from 9am – 1pm
- Michael Canales reported the following:
- Schedule for the Averic Bridge demolition and reconstruction: August and September; reopening October 2021
- Larrywaug Bridge anticipated completion October 31, 2021
- Curtisville Bridge — moving of utilities completed. Next step to determine what to do with bridge. One suggestion was to replace it with a modular bridge — deemed a quick and efficient but a temporary solution.
- All that remains to complete the Highway Garage is the "punch list"
- Swap Shop to reopen — repair step and address handicapped accessibility.
- Stockbridge has a vehicle for seniors and those with disabilities. Canales suggested we join the regional program and lend the use of our vehicle. Roundtrip fares will average $10-15, spouses and companions ride for free.
- Forestry Grant to facilitate treating trees (Hemlock, Ash and Aspen) in Ice Glen. White explained this grant ($1000) is focused on making Stockbridge eligible for a more significant Forestry Planning Grant. White was informing SB of this as good first step. McCaffrey thought it too early in the process.
- Building toward a Town Meeting warrant, Canales presented the following warrant items that involved spending. They were:
- $40,000 for Planning Board professional
- $50,000 for funding OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits)
- $35,000 for Rest of the River legal expenses
- $35,000 for water testing in Stockbridge Bowl
- $ 8000 for Regional School district study
- $95,000 to resurface all four tennis courts and basketball court
- $15,000 for street light consultant
- $12,000 for Underground camera for pump station
- $ 3690 for water storage
- $ 30000 for Ice Glen
- There was "cleanup" item from last fiscal year — Canales explained $97,717 debt service was spent last year but not approved. For this year, $96,918 in debt service. Both have to appear on warrant for approval.
Discussion by SB members
- Before placing the $40,000 for PB consultants on warrant, White requested a joint PB/SB meeting to learn of the $40,000 granted last year how much was spent and on what. What PB anticipates spending an additional $40,000 on?
- PB Chair Vogt was present and said he estimates about 50% of the $25,000 requested for Phil Arnold, Planning Consultant, was spent. Of $15,000 for Jeff Lacy, Vogt unsure how much was spent. PB member Rasmussen, also present, said that one item for which additional funds are needed is review of all Stockbridge bylaws and compliance with State bylaws.
- However, according to White, current Stockbridge bylaws were reviewed by Joel Russell, a previous consultant, Michael Canales, and Donna Brewer, Town Counsel and found to be in good order.
- McCaffrey agreed PB should come up with list of needs for additional funds. Cardillo said such joint meetings might occur periodically for better coordination and updating the public more often on big issues. Both members mentioned the proposal to switch permitting authority from SB to PB as an item to be discussed. The joint meeting was agreed upon.
- White made a correction to the Community Preservation Committee awards. CPC did not approve funding for $15,000 to repair/replace roof at 17 Willard Road.
- With that correction, all "money" items were placed on the warrant by SB except for the $40,000 for PB pending joint meeting.
- To discuss at next meeting: $600,000 to repair Children's Chime Tower; $960,000 to reconfigure "Red Lion" intersection; $145,000 for town trucks/plows; restructuring debt to make it a consistent figure and constant item on warrant vs. paying cash from funds put aside.
- White mentioned he wants SB to have the capacity to spend money for the benefit of town put aside. "As a general rule, I do not want to be a bank account for the taxpayers."
- Meeting adjourned
Ice Glen rock face.
NEWS: TOWN BOARDS & COMMITTEES
Notes from the Planning Board Meeting: April 20 via Zoom
- William Vogt, Chair
- Marie Raftery
- Christine Rasmussen
- Katherine Fletcher
- Nancy Socha
- Wayne Slosek
- Jennifer Carmichael, secretary
- Consultant: Philip Arnold
In addition: added when they spoke.
- Vogt recapped conversation with Patrick Sheehan, owner-developer of DeSisto/37 Interlaken. Vogt invited Sheehan to a PB meeting. Sheehan declined and said he felt mistreated in Stockbridge. Vogt pointed out there had been an election in between. Sheehan said he probably would not attend a PB meeting but might send his lawyer. Vogt's communication by phone with Sheehan or his email to Sheehan copied to all PB members, Jim Balfanz, and Select Board member Roxanne McCaffrey, apparently was another OML violation and this report to the PB was the correction to the violation, as suggested by Town Attorney Donna Brewer.
- Sign application for 5 East St., David Vanslette, contractor, agenda item skipped.
- Mike Parsons presenting on behalf of Stone Ridge Assoc. — agenda item skipped.
- Update from consultant Phil Arnold
- Driveways — Public Hearing on May 4th
- Signs — bylaw determines size, number, and location of signs in both residential and business districts. Discussion followed. White: be sure this bylaw is consistent with new house number bylaw. Question from attendee: does the number sign now required at residences count as one of the signs? Question from attendee: does the bylaw govern political signs? White: there appears to be an inconsistency with size allowed in same zone in the bylaw. Rasmussen said rewrite of this bylaw was prompted by Lost Lamb Bakery requesting more signs than permitted.
- There was a question and discussion among PB members with respect to moving permitting authority from SB to PB. Who is permitting authority for projecting signs? SB For temporary signs? SB For permanent signs in business district? Want to change to PB. For Special Permits? Want to change to PB.
- Parking — recommendation — abandon it as no business would/could be in compliance.
- ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) Discussion prior to Arnold writing bylaw. In what districts are ADUs allowed — business and residential? If in business what about new bylaw that restricts a residence on ground floor? Could an 800 sq.ft. or smaller ADU be "By Right". PB member asked, if a Special Permit is required, who is the permit granting authority? McCaffrey asked if the size takes into account handicapped accessibility. Another PB member asked, does an ADU have to be detached or could it also be in a residence?
- Discussion of NRPZ deferred because the latest version was not on web site. It was mentioned that the percent preserved in a development was changed to 50% and the "devisor" (the number by which developable acres is divided into building lots) was changed. Both changes would increase density.
- Rasmussen suggested a presentation May 12 with Jeff Lacy and Randall Arendt. PB members wanted a discussion instead to fully understand NRPZ before any presentation or public information session. Final decision PB meeting Monday April 26 via Zoom
- Rasmussen asked approval to read something into minutes. Refused until it could be emailed to PB members so they would know what they were approving.
- Suggestion made to shift communications re: scheduling meetings from Rasmussen to Carmichael; evidently it is more common for the secretary rather than a board member to do that task.
Editor's note: If permit granting authority is taken from SB, would that remove a governmental check and balance? Comment: Long kerfuffle at end of meeting about SU policy for submissions. The policy is printed in every issue and requirements are the same for everyone: 400 words or less, no personal attacks, and no anonymous submissions — letters signed and articles attributed.
Butler Bridge today.
Butler Bridge circa 1995. Photo: Library of Congress
NEWS: TOWN BOARDS & COMMITTEES
Notes from the Select Board Meeting April 22 via Zoom
- Chuck Cardillo, Chair
- Patrick White
- Roxanne McCaffrey
- Michael Canales, Town Administrator
Others present will be named as they speak since Zoom image only shows 3 Select Board members
Public hearings for Special Permits
- Special permit for 3 Housatonnuck Rd: Attorney Lori Robbins presented for Donna Wolfe and Jeffery Heisler. It is a nonconforming lot. The request for a 5x6' addition is "not a greater nonconformity" — "is in harmony with general intent of bylaw — not detrimental to character of the neighborhood, and [thereby] meets the criteria for a Special Permit." Public meeting closed — Permit approved.
- Special permit for 19 Lakeview Drive: Attorney Lori Robbins for Ann Marie and David L. Minz for building on nonconforming lot in the Lake and Pond District. Plan approved by Conservation Commission. The new house designed by David Potter would be no bigger than present house and would "actually be less nonconforming". Public meeting closed and Permit approved.
- 15 Mahkeenac Heights Rd: Attorney Alexandra Glover for Joe Sharp. Request for new build — "lot coverage slightly decreases, setbacks no more nonconforming, and house in character with neighborhood". Hearing closed and Permit approved.
- Canales reports:
- Search committee to find candidates for Town Accountant position approved. They are Michael Canales, Jay Bikofsky, Bronley Boyd, Christine Rasmussen, and Jorgia Marsden.
- Larrywaug Bridge lowest bid, submitted by Maximillian, was $1,350,537.04. Maximillian is approved and meets state requirements. However, the town is required to have the funds set aside before it can sign off. Stockbridge is $175,000 short of lowest bid. Necessary to approve low bid and to approve transferring funds necessary from free cash to meet the deadline of bridge opening by fall.
- $7000 for "Rest of River" legal costs
- Report from Gregg Wellencamp and Michael Nathan re: Stockbridge Bowl
- Wellencamp described the dredging process and the two choices for removing the silt. There are three permitted areas: town beach, the causeway, and from the island to the diversion pipe.
- The amount of silt anticipated is equivalent to 13 acres of silt.
- Tubes 8-10' wide would bring the silt up onto barges.
- To "dewater" the silt it would be deposited on private property around the lake and then trucked to Bullard Woods.
- Alternatively, the silt could be pumped from barge to barge and into Bullard Woods.
- The decision would be based on cost.
- Michael Nathan reinforced need to dredge citing a 2008 news article warning the lake could "disappear" and become a wetland. Then, due to state law that forbids touching wetlands, the lake could never be reclaimed. He also wanted to point out the ten-year effort of SBA (Stockbridge Bowl Assoc) to raise money for this venture.
- Anita Schwerner asked why stop the dredging at diversion pipe? Wellencamp said there was no need as no silt beyond that area and too many gas and sewer lines. Hugh Page stressed the number of truck loads created (3000-3500) and pointed out the wear and tear on the roads. He said cost of road repair should be factored in. Art Krieger was also concerned about that many trucks and noise pollution.
- Approval of members to the Agricultural and Forestry Commission — three members and one alternate
- Shelby Marshall, past president of Laurel Hill association asked to be the alternate.
- Chuck Cardillo volunteered to be the SB liaison.
- The SB voted to appoint three members: Erik Rasmussen, Lisa Bozzuto, and Mathieu Boudreau.
- Town Meeting Warrant
- Police Chief Darryl Fennelly further described the "Bear Bylaw", it is purpose is "to keep bears and people apart." He corrected a misconception about bird feeders. White apologized as he put the misinformation on the record. "Don't blame others for quoting me." Fennelly explained bird feeders are not forbidden unless they become an "attractant". If they become an attractant, then they are. He described this situation: if the bear goes into yard, eats seed in feeder and leaves, ok. If the bear exits through a neighbor's yard, perhaps forages for food there, and that neighbor complains, then the bird feeder has become an attractant and has to be taken down. Fennelly did not think it would rise to level of fining the bird feeder owner as "99% of time a conversation" generally works. Bear bylaw added to warrant.
- Lisa Thorne presented information about the reopening of the Talbot Center.
- Hope to reopen the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.
- Open Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays
- Ned Baldwin and Hugh Page will have work done and inspected in time (related to handicap entrance and repairing step). Painting exterior may be done after opening.
- Lisa Thorne encouraged anyone who wishes to volunteer to get in touch with her (SU does not print personal emails or phone numbers).
- "Dog bylaw"
- Dogs required to be on leash or "under control", in kennel or behind electric fence.
- Cardillo asked if could be on leash on public streets and "under control" in Gould Meadows (for example)
- Posted to town web site for comment.
- Bylaw establishing Stockbridge Bowl Stewardship Commission (rather than committee) posted to town web site
- Right to Farm Bylaw posted to town web site
- "Beachwood article" Beachwood requested that it become a "Maintenance District" so that fees to repair roads and beach would be part of tax bill (enforceable). Art Kreiger wanted SB endorsement. Cardillo explained by SB placing it on warrant, endorsement implicit.
- Pump Station on warrant
- $40,000 for PB consultants not on warrant pending joint meeting. White asked what was rationale for changing Cottage Era bylaw and could that be part of discussion at joint meeting?
- Intersection reconfiguration postponed.
- Establishing a gift account for Ice Glen so contributions for saving Ice Glen old growth forest would be tax deductible.
- Opt out of Mosquito control on warrant
- A railing at Butler Bridge fell into the water. The problem was reported to White who spoke to Highway Dept. It was immediately repaired (see photos) and White wanted to thank the Highway Dept.
- Take action on one-day all-alcohol license for Berkshire Botanical Gardens: May 1, 5 – 7 pm, May 28, 5 – 11 pm, May 29, 4 – 11 pm, June 11, 5 – 7 pm and June 12, 4 – 11 pm — All dates approved.
- White pointed out that limit in harvesting weed in Stockbridge Bowl is a function of the Milfoil treatment and asked — if not enough Milfoil to treat this year, the (a) can we use harvester in a wider area? (b) If no Milfoil two years in a row, do we extend testing another year or does that end agreement?
- Meeting adjourned
Jamie Minacci, chair of the Stockbridge Bowl Stewardship Committee, met with Dan Miraglia, a member of the Board of Directors of the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen, to discuss the League's suggestions for the Bowl and ways to make the Boat Ramp easier to use for motorized boats and kayakers.
State Updates Town's Endangered Species Lists
The state has published proposed updates to their listed rare, threatened and endangered species, for every city and town in the Commonwealth.
You can comment on this list by clicking here.
Here is the complete list for Stockbridge:
|COMMON NAME / SCIENTIFIC NAME||TYPE||STATUS||LAST SEEN|
|Adder's Tongue Fern / Ophioglossum pusillum||Vascular Plant||Threatened||1920|
|American Bittern / Botaurus lentiginosus||Bird||Endangered||2017|
|Arborvitae / Thuja occidentalis||Vascular Plant||Endangered||2017|
|Bald Eagle / Haliaeetus leucocephalus||Bird||Threatened||2016|
|Boreal Marstonia / Marstonia lustrica||Snail||Endangered||2016|
|Bridle Shiner / Notropis bifrenatus||Fish||Special Concern||2018|
|Bristly Buttercup / Ranunculus pensylvanicus||Vascular Plant||Special Concern||1902|
|Brook Snaketail / Ophiogomphus aspersus||Dragonfly/Damselfly||Special Concern||2008|
|Bur Oak / Quercus macrocarpa||Vascular Plant||Special Concern||2016|
|Climbing Fumitory / Adlumia fungosa||Vascular Plant||Special Concern||2009|
|Clustered Sanicle / Sanicula odorata||Vascular Plant||Threatened||1912|
|Common Gallinule / Gallinula galeata||Bird||Special Concern||2009|
|Creeper / Strophitus undulatus||Mussel||Special Concern||2009|
|Culver's-root / Veronicastrum virginicum||Vascular Plant||Threatened||1902|
|Dion Skipper / Euphyes dion||Butterfly/Moth||Threatened||2009|
|Downy Arrow-wood / Viburnum rafinesqueanum||Vascular Plant||Endangered||2013|
|Downy Wood-mint / Blephilia ciliata||Vascular Plant||Endangered||1916|
|Dwarf Scouring Rush / Equisetum scirpoides||Vascular Plant||Special Concern||2015|
|Fen Cuckoo-flower / Cardamine dentata||Vascular Plant||Threatened||2012|
|Fen Sedge / Carex tetanica||Vascular Plant||Special Concern||1985|
|Few-flowered Spike-sedge / Eleocharis quinqueflora||Vascular Plant||Endangered||2002|
|Gattinger's Panic-grass / Panicum philadelphicum ssp. gattingeri||Vascular Plant||Special Concern||1983|
|Giant St. John's-wort / Hypericum ascyron||Vascular Plant||Endangered||1899|
|Great Blue Lobelia / Lobelia siphilitica||Vascular Plant||Endangered||2020|
|Handsome Sedge / Carex formosa||Vascular Plant||Threatened||2005|
|Hemlock-parsley / Conioselinum chinense||Vascular Plant||Special Concern||2009|
|Hill's Pondweed / Potamogeton hillii||Vascular Plant||Special Concern||2002|
|Hitchcock's Sedge / Carex hitchcockiana||Vascular Plant||Special Concern||1912|
|Jefferson Salamander (complex) / Ambystoma jeffersonianum||Amphibian||Special Concern||2013|
|Labrador Bedstraw / Galium labradoricum||Vascular Plant||Threatened||2017|
|Large-bracted Tick-trefoil / Desmodium cuspidatum||Vascular Plant||Threatened||1993|
|Long-leaved Bluet / Houstonia longifolia||Vascular Plant||Endangered||2010|
|Longnose Sucker / Catostomus catostomus||Fish||Special Concern||2010|
|Lyre-leaved Rock-cress / Arabidopsis lyrata||Vascular Plant||Endangered||2013|
|Marbled Salamander / Ambystoma opacum||Amphibian||Threatened||2013|
|Mossy Valvata / Valvata sincera||Snail||Endangered||2019|
|Northern Wild Comfrey / Cynoglossum virginianum var. boreale||Vascular Plant||Endangered||1904|
|Ogden's Pondweed / Potamogeton ogdenii||Vascular Plant||Endangered||2006|
|Pied-billed Grebe / Podilymbus podiceps||Bird||Endangered||Historic|
|Pink Pyrola / Pyrola asarifolia||Vascular Plant||Endangered||1983|
|Pitcher Plant Borer Moth / Papaipema appassionata||Butterfly/Moth||Threatened||2020|
|Purple Giant Hyssop / Agastache scrophulariifolia||Vascular Plant||Endangered||1902|
|Purple Milkweed / Asclepias purpurascens||Vascular Plant||Endangered||1920|
|Rich Woods Sedge / Carex oligocarpa||Vascular Plant||Threatened||Historic|
|Round-leaved Shadbush / Amelanchier sanguinea||Vascular Plant||Special Concern||1985|
|Sedge Wren / Cistothorus platensis||Bird||Endangered||2008|
|Sessile Water-speedwell / Veronica catenata||Vascular Plant||Endangered||1925|
|Skillet Clubtail / Gomphurus ventricosus||Dragonfly/Damselfly||Threatened||2008|
|Slender Cottongrass / Eriophorum gracile||Vascular Plant||Threatened||2016|
|Small Bur-reed / Sparganium natans||Vascular Plant||Endangered||1991|
|Small Dropseed / Sporobolus neglectus||Vascular Plant||Endangered||1983|
|Smooth Rock-cress / Boechera laevigata||Vascular Plant||Special Concern||2016|
|Swamp Birch / Betula pumila||Vascular Plant||Endangered||2017|
|Tiny Cow-lily / Nuphar microphylla||Vascular Plant||Endangered||1902|
|Tuckerman's Sedge / Carex tuckermanii||Vascular Plant||Endangered||2008|
|Tule Bluet / Enallagma carunculatum||Dragonfly/Damselfly||Special Concern||1917|
|Wapato / Sagittaria cuneata||Vascular Plant||Threatened||1922|
|White Adder's-mouth / Malaxis monophyllos ssp. brachypoda||Vascular Plant||Endangered||1984|
|Whorled Water-milfoil / Myriophyllum verticillatum||Vascular Plant||Endangered||2017|
|Wood Turtle / Glyptemys insculpta||Reptile||Special Concern||2002|
CONTRIBUTORS: TOWN HISTORY
Stockbridge History — 1897 Report of the Committee on Sewerage and Sewage Disposal for the Village of Stockbridge
Contributed by Rick Wilcox
Engineer Freeman C. Coffin's Report: On Jan. 1, 1897 The necessary surveys were made by Mr. C.A. (Charles Augustus) Bidwell, civil engineer of Stockbridge. Lacking information as to the precise elevation above the sea, all elevations are based upon an arbitrary datum plane, which is 100 feet below the top of a stone monument on the road from Stockbridge to South Lee, at the boundary line of the two towns.
The report covered: Method of Disposal, Quantity of Sewage to be Treated, Area of Filtering Surface Required, Construction of the Beds, System of Sewers, Manholes, Flushing, House Connections, Limitations of the System.
Even more exciting was a table showing: Location, Length, Size and Cost of Sewers and Underdrains (To separate storm water from the sewer lines). An estimated price tag for that portion of the work, $21,264.37. In addition eight flushings, connections from water mains $120.00. Filter beds No. 1.2.3 and 4, $4,500. Total $29,767.02. Adding 15 percent for engineering and contingencies for a grand total of $29,767.02. The report then laid out an annual cost estimate of maintenance with four scenarios ranging from $843.33 to $2,530.00 to be borne by the users.
On May 1, 1900 an ordinance was passed Regulating Plumbing, Drainage and Connections with the Sewerage System. The Selectmen acting as a Board of Health having the power to stop and prevent the discharge from any premises in the town into or upon ay public highway, stream, water course or public place, or into any cesspool or private drain or sewer, and to order a connection to be made with the public sewer... fines of not less than ten dollars nor more than fifty dollars. The ordinance covered seven pages providing the requirements relating to things underground and above ground. Section 3, article 7a: No water-closet shall be used unless its walls are fully and freely washed by the said discharge of said water-closet at each operation. No water-closet shall be set up in any room which has no direct opening for light or air to outside of building.
1968 Town Report: Report of the Selectmen. Park Street Sewer: At present the Park Street Sewer in Stockbridge discharges into the Housatonic River. At the request of the State the Selectmen agreed to request the town install an interceptor pumping station. Between 1972 and 1984 there was talk, meetings, and planning. In 1984 ground was broken for a new sewer system.
The satyr at the Horse Trough.
Stockbridge 2030? Part One
By Larry Ackerman
Over the past many months, I've read numerous letters and listened to several town meetings, which address the zoning question, how should we move forward in terms of land development? Clearly, there's no consensus.
What strikes me is that there doesn't seem to be much attention being paid to how that question relates to what we want Stockbridge to be in, say, 10 years. The debate seems to revolve around whether we adopt a laissez-faire attitude toward development (anything goes), or keep development to the bare minimum (if any).
I'd like to propose that we change the conversation. Let's put community, not just property, at the center of a discussion about the future of Stockbridge. What kind of community do we want to be? What do we want it to look like? If we do absolutely nothing with open, available land — leave it entirely untouched — what are the potential risks? If we do absolutely everything with it — develop it without restrictions — what are the potential risks? How much is too much? Too little? And, most important, why?
I've heard the argument that more development will further lower property taxes. Yet, Stockbridge already enjoys a lower tax rate than our neighboring towns. Is there really a pressing need to make it even lower?
In the spirit of community, it seems to me that private property ownership rights need to be balanced with a shared responsibility to maintain Stockbridge as the asset it is:
Stockbridge is a lifestyle asset. In its more rural nature, our town is an oasis that gives comfort to its residents — no small benefit in the context of our fast-paced world.
Stockbridge is an environmental asset. We are blessed with beautiful forests, fields and lakes, which contribute to what makes our community special.
Stockbridge is an historical asset. Our town's history is rich and significant, not just locally, but nationally too. Norman Rockwell is a leading example. It's a history we can all take pride in.
Stockbridge is a cultural asset. We offer world-class music and theater; some of the finest in the country.
Stockbridge is an economic asset. For all of these reasons, the town has become a magnet for tourism and the tremendous benefits it provides to our local businesses. (Summer traffic, notwithstanding.)
Tree blooms by Town Hall.
100 Years on Yale Hill
by Carl Sprague
I hoped to throw a party to celebrate the centennial of my wife Susan Merrill's grandparents Grenville & Pauline Merrill moving to our house on Yale Hill. Instead, I'm cleaning out the attic.
The Merrill's threw nothing away, so we have correspondence dating back to 1880s, Sarah Bernhardt programs from 1890s Paris, and Wrigley chewing gum wrappers from the 1930s.
The Merrills moved to Stockbridge in 1911, when Grenville took on the rectorship of St. Paul's. They fit easily into Stockbridge. They both grew up in France. Grenville's brother Stuart was a French symbolist poet and is buried in Père-Lachaise, catty corner from his friend and collaborator Oscar Wilde.
Pauline's family was very Gilded Age. Her sister married George Vanderbilt; Pauline married her childhood friend who was going into the ministry. We have one sister's house, and the Vanderbilts still retain Biltmore.
There's a big crop of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Many grew up on Yale Hill. Sometimes they visit and it's always good to have family here to warm the place up.
The original house dates to 1800. It was the home of the Yale family, who ran the waterwheel mill across the street. When the Merrills moved in they converted the old back barns and sheds into dining and sitting rooms. They added bedrooms upstairs and put on a kitchen extension working with architect Joe Vance.
Pauline always said, "The dog chose the architect" because they met when Grenville's dog tangled with Mr. Vance on North Street.
The Merrills created extensive formal gardens using old barn foundations and retaining walls. I think we may still have some of the "world peace" evergreens distributed after WWI. There were elegant luncheons. Probably the biggest event ever held here was my aunt Margery's wedding to Buzz Cuyler in 1932. 400 people came to the reception. Pauline and Grenville erected a marquee. I found a hand painted cardboard sign in the attic stating, "parking for automobiles without chauffeurs only".
We're still here. I'm continuing to draw scenery for film and theatre. Susan's legacy is ongoing, and her studio is our real showplace. My son Ruslan lives here too, creating and helping me keep the lights on. We have so much space but it's overflowing. Sometimes I feel like I'm running an annex to the Stockbridge Historical Room. Come on over for a tour.
It's good to clean the attic. It lends perspective and maybe a soupcon of wisdom.
THE LAST WORD
Reader to Reader — We Got Mail
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Thank you for covering all things Stockbridge. Neighbors and out-of-town friends have told me how much they value keeping up on town news and events. I particularly value getting town updates without pesky advertising pop-ups and would be willing to subscribe. The daffodil picture in the last issue is beautiful!
Regarding the Select Board discussion on lighting covered in the last issue, I thought I would add that the lights on Main Street are the standard Dept of Transportation cobra lights. Years ago, Mary Flynn had negotiated with the utility company that maintains them to have them painted "Mary Flynn green," as a certain color of dark green that Mary favored was known locally.
The one light by St Paul's Episcopal Church that is newer and not painted was not forgotten (Mary was quite attuned to details), it was knocked down in the past ten years by a vehicle. It was replaced quickly and Mary wasn't here of course to "encourage" National Grid to paint the pole, hence the shiny aluminum that unfortunately will never recede into the treeline until it is painted "Mary Flynn green."
Thank you for taking the time to write and for the additional information. I love Mary Flynn stories — 93 years of going forth and doing good. And Kate, thanks for all you do for Stockbridge.
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Your work on Stockbridge Updates is so very appreciated — such a rich trove of history, ecology, and the hard work of all of our Town Committees.
Laurie (Laurie Norton Moffatt)
Praise indeed from so accomplished a woman.
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I was disheartened when I listened to the April 20 planning board meeting and witnessed the co-chairs take gratuitous swipes at Updates. Chair Vogt said you refused to publish a letter by consultant Jeff Lacy. Of course, he did not mention that the letter was so long that it far exceeded the conspicuously published 400-word limit that holds for everyone. Vogt and co-chair Rasmussen spoke about "correcting misinformation in the Updates". Why don't they simply say what the misinformation is and correct it? If they did, I'm sure it would be immediately clear to all who really was misinformed and about what.
Speaking of refusing to publish things, none of the unfounded smears they uttered are published in the minutes of the April 20 meeting, even though the meeting was not adjourned for several minutes thereafter.
Keep up the good work and don't pay attention to people who have their own agenda.
Sincerely, Charlie Kenny
You are right, the piece was over 1000 words long. I made a number of suggestions for cutting, but Christine responded, "Dear Carol[e], No, the response cannot be cut".
You make a good suggestion, and it might have been helpful if Bill and Christine just made their clarification or correction in the meeting. Probably it is no longer relevant as it was written about version 2 (I think) of NRHPZ (Natural Resources and Historic Preservation Zoning), and the PB is now on version 5 of NRPZ (dropped historic preservation).
Thanks for the supportive words for SU and thanks for all you do for Stockbridge.
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I know we share an interest in early Stockbridge documents. I attended a presentation given by Rob Hoogs at the Bidwell House regarding the history of maple sugaring in the Berkshire's. He described the Indians use of various resources and touched on the subject of the deed from the sachems to the colonists and what happened AFTER title passed to the colonists. I asked if the Bidwell House had a copy of that deed, and indeed they did. He sent it to me. See attached. I knew you would be interested and might want to share with Stockbridge Updates readers.
Lori A. Robbins, Esq.
HELLER & ROBBINS PC
With your vast knowledge of real estate law, I can understand your interest. Thank you so much for sharing these foundational documents with SU.
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Sorry for the delay: we were checking about citation and permissions... documents are held at Williams College.
In terms of citing this document, please cite the Williams College Archives as the custodian of the material. [Williams] does not ask for permission for use or reproduction. You are free to use with attribution. I look forward to seeing these in Stockbridge Updates.
Thank you for the information and for all you do for Bidwell House and local history.
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Please be advised that the statistical comments attributed to Patrick White in the April 1st edition of Stockbridge Updates are not factually accurate according to our Town Assessor.
In addition, although Patrick did mention 550-650 primary residences, I cannot find in the video of the meeting any mention of 1,700+ residential properties.
From Stockbridge Updates:
"White made an opening statement about the number of houses in Stockbridge that are still primary residences. Of 1700+ houses, only 650 are primary residences, quoting an analysis by Town Assessor Michael Blay. If it dips lower, White said, that will signal a crisis."
The public should be aware of the more accurate estimates of primary residences (725) and residential parcels (actually slightly less than 1400) in Stockbridge as reported to me by Michael Blay, Town Assessor, resulting in a second homeowner percentage of 51-52%. This percentage, according to our Town Assessor, has remained "pretty steady" over recent years.
The accurate representation of the statistics does not detract in any way from the concern that Patrick White was expressing but the public should be aware of the actual percentage of second homes.
Roxanne McCaffrey, Selectman
As you know, Patrick's remarks were made in context of the Short-Term Rental Bylaw (STR) discussion continued from the March 25th SB meeting. You preferred the registration process, and he preferred the permit process.
I don't know whose figures were correct since you both cite the same source, Michael Blay. However, Patrick was discussing "a trendline" that if it went in the wrong direction could indicate a "crisis", that is, a threat to "the residential character of Stockbridge." My guess is the "trend" was the point. You appear to argue that there is a trend. Perhaps you two could sort out the numbers?
We all want our three Select Board members working together with mutual respect in the best interest of Stockbridge. Thank you for your service.
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