Well my foot-thing or my Achilles-tendon-thing is really a pain-thing at this point. It was a nuisance. Now it it is a downright inconvenience. I am on crutches. I am back at work, but on crutches. Rather than have a ruptured Achilles tendon which can be crippling, I am doing the right-thing and taking care of it with no weight on it. What a pain in the... well the ankle. It hurts, but I will survive, actually thrive. Farming on crutches is a bit of a challenge. I was out back (good thing my new jeep has an automatic) with the chainsaw. Exhausting.

My editorial piece in the town newsletter will be distributed to all the towns folks on May 2nd. It reads as follows:

Conservation of our most important assets.

Community pride is a real thing. I believe in the potential of any town or community that understands and senses the power of community pride. Two years ago I was fortunate enough to be selected to participate in the United States Antarctica Program. I spent four months in Antarctica working with science teams establishing radio communications to support science work on the most desolate and forbidding continent on earth. During this time I learned a lot more of what “community” is all about. Having to work very closely with hundreds of other folks in an extremely remote location we absolutely had to rely on each other. Each person knew that there was no one else there to help us. We had to get every task done by ourselves. It was all work, thankless or not, boring or exciting, it all had to be done by ourselves. I believe the same is true in our town. After all, Berkshire is almost as remote as Antarctica.

It is surprising to me that today, in the United States, only three hours away from NY City, we have property that resembles third world conditions. We see property in our town that is unsafe, unstable, unsightly and deteriorating. Often times, we see several of these structures on the parcel of land and the property owner is living in a structure nearby.

In a recent visit to Kidron, Ohio, I stayed with Amish people in the heart of Amish country in Ohio. The Amish are (of course) extremely poor. In fact, most live below the national poverty level. I also noticed that their property was not deteriorating, unsightly, unstable or unsafe. Staying with the Amish people helped reinforce my understanding that there is little or no direct correlation between poverty and living in squalor.

No amount of laws, legislation, fines, or other punishments will be totally effective in making our town’s property safe, stable, attractive or in good repair. These countermeasures will in fact increase your taxes as the level of government involvement increases. It is a natural fact that the individual property owner needs to ensure the condition of their property is up to the standards of the community.

Next time, when you are driving home, ask yourself as you approach your property. “What kind of person lives in that house?”

Do you need help? Ask your community.

Charles Dowdell

888 N. Ketchumville Rd.

Berkshire

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