By Sarah Scoville
Last March instead of putting the Bedford Town Warrant directly into the recycling bin I sat down and read it. With a highlighter, no less! I was specifically looking for the article explaining the Lane School Expansion. While searching for the Lane article I was surprised to find that there was another article proposing new sidewalks in front of my house. I was ready to go to Bedford Town Meeting with a big knitting project and informed about what I cared about. Then I started thinking about how to get others there.
By Karen Sturzenacker:
I’m torn about how to vote on Article 10. As I read various opinions from residents of Bedford and other towns that are considering the same ban on plastic bags, I see both sides.
I’m left with two questions. First, are we really trying to regulate behavior? Second, where will it end?
By Frances Bigda-Peyton
Bedford citizens will have an opportunity to vote on an amendment at town meeting next week aimed at reducing plastic bag use in local businesses. If it gains approval, we will be among the 30 Massachusetts cities and towns that have already instituted their own version of the legislation. This matters because a statewide single-use plastic bag bill will be voted on this year; our action will help build momentum toward approving this important legislation.
By Carol Reynolds
I’ve been hearing pros and cons lately regarding this proposed General Bylaw Amendment. My friends and I are generally aware of all the negative aspects of disposable plastic bags in the environment: that they’re harmful to our health, they harm wildlife, and they create unsightly scenes along our roadsides. Our town cannot recycle these thin bags. Our town pays for the clean-up of these windswept bags.
By Sarah Dorer
Robert and I moved into Bedford in the spring of 1983, and have been loyal and active members of Town Meeting every year since. We wouldn’t miss the opportunity to be directly involved in the important decisions that affect our daily lives in our adopted town. The concept of Open Town Meeting, where every registered voter can actually attend, ask questions, speak, listen to others and actually vote, was entirely new to me when we moved to town. I had never experienced this kind of democracy in action before, where every person can really make a difference. It is powerful! It was the one annual event for which we always tried to find a babysitter every year that we needed one.
By Angelo Colao
At first, I wasn’t concerned about the outcome of Article 10 at Town Meeting. We use cloth bags with handles when we go shopping. That is until I saw an elderly man walking with a cane in one hand and a plastic bag with handles in his other hand.
He wanted to cross the street and was walking up to the traffic light pole to press the walk switch. He raised his hand and slid the bag onto his wrist and stabilizing himself with his cane pressed the button with the hand that was carrying the bag. If he had a paper bag, with or without handles, he would have had to put the bag down on the walkway wet with melting snow.
By Lois Pulliam
As a longtime Bedford citizen (since 1960), I have been wondering why more local residents don’t attend Annual Town Meeting. To me, it’s one of the highlights of living in Massachusetts, and–especially–we are fortunate to be one of the towns still to enjoy open instead of representative Town Meeting. Bedford really DOES have one- person-one-vote!
My husband Brown and I had to sit on the stage in March,1960 because we were very new residents, [not yet registered to vote], but now you will sit in a roped-off space on the auditorium floor if you’re a brand-new “local”.
By Dan Brosgol
Were you at Town Meeting last March?
I hope you were, because something amazing happened when the article about the Lane School addition came to Town Meeting floor. After six months of the project being reviewed and vetted by a variety of town boards and committees, School Committee chairman Mike McAllister presented the project to the voters. Following his review, the Selectmen and Finance Committee endorsed it, and then the vote passed.
The silence of the no votes was broken only by the applause that filled the auditorium, and I know I wasn’t the only one who got the chills. Why? Because the town took a clear and unequivocal vote in support of Bedford’s children and their future.
By Renu Bostwick
I am heartened to see that there is an article in the Annual Town Meeting Warrant proposing the reduction of single-use plastic bags in Bedford. I feel fortunate to live in a town where the Selectmen are forward thinking in this regard rather than waiting on state or federal legislation.
By Richard Daugherty
Follow the money. That’s largely what is done at Bedford Town Meeting. My early local politics orientation came from overhearing adult remarks around the pot belly stove at the local Farm Bureau usually on Saturday mornings. The comments often came from loud and gruff farmers complaining about decisions made by the Township trustee, or County Commissioners, or School Board Members. About 30 years later it struck me that following the money around that pot belly stove was much more difficult than following it at Bedford Town Meeting. Around that stove, it seemed like the adults were always complaining about how money was spent and since they were not directly involved it always seemed a surprise.