Letter to the Editor, March 23, 2017: Annual Town Meeting, Bring the Neighbors by Sarah Scoville

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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.

I did two things to help other people get to the meeting. The first was to volunteer the space in my minivan to pick people up who couldn’t drive at night or didn’t have a car. The other thing I did was reach out to my friends, mostly with young families like my own who I knew would be concerned about the Bedford schools. The problem was that they needed childcare so they could get to the meeting. Or they had to rush back from gymnastics or drop off at hockey or wait for the piano lesson to be done. I thought if I could alert them exactly when the article about the schools came up maybe it would increase the chances more would come and the Lane School Expansion article would pass. I started collecting cell phone numbers.

I arrived at the 2016 Bedford Town Meeting with my highlighted Bedford Town Warrant, knitting, and my cell phone with two long text chains set up. The first night I sent a text late saying “Go to bed the Lane article will be tomorrow.” Then the second night when the meeting was 2 articles away, I texted “Come on down”. And many did! I heard later that it was the first time many had gone to a town meeting and they were intrigued. It gave them a taste of how small town government works and how their vote made a difference. I hope they will come back this year.

I encourage you to check out the Town Warrant that arrived in the mail. Who knows? There might be something you care about. Check in with your neighbors – do they care too? Is one neighbor going to town meeting anyway and can alert you when the article comes up? Can you go and drive a neighbor?

I’m thrilled my kids are and will go to a school with plenty of space for them to learn and I have beautiful new sidewalks that make it much safer for my family and neighbors. I hope to see you at next week’s town meeting.

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