The Bedford Citizen’s 7.5-Year Decade: Looking Back before 2020 Gets Underway

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The Bedford Citizen began publishing on June 30, 2012, with a story about the departure of School Superintendent Maureen LaCroix. Since then, thanks to scores of writers and volunteers, we have published more than 7,800 stories (incorporating a staggering 16,000+ images).

Thank you to our readers, our writers, our donors, and YOU as The Bedford Citizen heads into a new iteration of the Roaring Twenties.

Stick with us; the best is yet to come!

But first, please join us in a look back at where we’ve been — it’s not a comprehensive list of the topics The Citizen has covered, but it hits at least some of the high points through links to our most widely-read articles.

2012

Our first year’s top stories included a view of Bedford Common on Christmas Eve, and an update on the Bedford Fire Department’s annual Toys for Local Children drive. An early announcement that Michael McAllister was running for School Committee, proposed changes to the status of the Coast Guard housing on Pine Hill Road, and the start of a short series on Housing in Bedford indicated that The Citizen‘s intent to cover Bedford news was serious.

2013

Housing concerns took center stage during 2013 with articles about homeless families housed at the Bedford Plaza hotel after a September report by School Committee to the Finance Committee about increases in kindergarten and homeless students. That story was followed by answers to questions about Bedford’s affordable housing, Rep. Ken Gordon’s heavily attended office hours,  a public forum on the current use of the Bedford Plaza Hotel, a Letter to the Editor sharing housing concerns, and a response by the State.

Lighter news included the dedication of Sabourin Field, and Footloose, the 2013 BHS musical. The year was snowy, thanks to the Blizzard of 2013. But the story that continues to garner page views? Plan now for the coming winter moth infestation!

2014

Diversity messages from Superintendent of Schools Jon Sills and resident Dan Brosgol drew attention in March. Changes to Bedford’s housing stock were noted in Brosgol’s concerns about teardowns and a possible tipping point for teardowns.

Residents turned out in force for a charrette to consider the future of Bedford’s Coast Guard housing on Pine Hill Road.

Shopping in Bedford began to change when the Planning Board reviewed a set of 2008 plans and approved changes that led to the eventual construction of the Bedford Marketplace. The Planning Board issued a statement as the construction moved forward, and the old Post Office building became a memory.

A rush-hour storm with rain and high winds battered Bedford, and NOAAA confirmed a microburst with straight-line winds in excess of 100 mph.

2015

Restaurant stories topped the list in 2015. Bedford bade farewell to Luigi’s, a long story covered both Ken’s NY Deli expansion in the Blake Block, and Red Heat Tavern receipt of Bedford’s last liquor license. Space on North Road was renovated, and Holi moved in, then plans for a restaurant at 120 The Great Road were discussed, Bella Maria Cucina opened in the Blake Block, and Sparta closed.

Curiosity about the Bedford Marketplace continued as demolition was scheduled. A year-end update showed visible changes, including the temporary kiosk where the post office was located for nearly a year.

Personnel from neighboring communities collaborated with the Bedford Police in a late-night search for suspects in a commercial break-in on North Road on the night after Christmas. The Town remembered David Timperio and Pete Sullivan.

It was a year of extremes – heavy snowfall brought a Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency staging area to support snow removal in the region, and Bedford held its every-five-year fireworks celebration in early July. There was a gallery of images from Bedford Day.

2016

The Town signed a purchase and sale agreement for the Coast Guard land on Pine Hill Road. A planned residential community on Fox Run Road “came knocking” in September and received unanimous final approval in December. Construction of the Bedford Post Office hit a snag.

After Bedford voted ‘no’ to the Massachusetts ballot question about marijuana sales, the Selectmen and Planning Board reviewed the Town’s options. A medical marijuana dispensary was proposed for Bedford in June, and in September, the Selectmen proposed a moratorium.

School Superintendent Jon Sills celebrated Bedford High School after the 2016 Boston Magazine ratings came out.

Residents shared vivid tales of traffic problems along North Road, and the Bedford Dash began a two-year pilot program. Mothers Out Front called attention to Bedford’s oldest gas leak, first reported in December 1990!

Animals were in the news: the police warned of aggressive wild turkeys, and a peripatetic piebald deer made several appearances in local woods.

2017

The Municipal Affordable Housing Trust rejected three of the four development proposals for the Coast Guard housing property in January, then work began at the newly-named  Pine Hill Crossing in April, and the first homes were expected to be ready in the autumn.  Further concerns were raised about residential teardowns.

Long-dormant plans for a boardwalk alongside Davis Road were reactivated, and Massport announced plans to resurface the main runway at Hanscom Field, touching off a storm of continuing community response and attention to issues at the airfield that are still covered each month in reports about HFAC, the Hanscom Field Advisory Commission.

Pictures from the Class of 2017’s Prom Stroll and Senior Prom reached hundreds of readers, and 11 BHS athletes were inducted into the Bedford Athletic Association’s Hall of Fame.  Bedford celebrated Pole Capping Day in style. The Lion King drew appreciative local audiences, then along with Children of Eden scored prestigious METG awards.

Some years are more poignant than others – there were appreciations for Annette Brown, for Christopher Weisz by Dan Brosgol and Peter Ricci, and for Michael Hughes. And a body was discovered along the banks of the Concord River.

There were also multiple robberies – in July at Bank of America, in August at the Bedford Motel, and in September at the Middlesex Savings Bank.

2018

2018 was clearly the Year of the Bear, with several stories reaching more than a thousand unique page views. There was Tourist in Our Town, along with A Beary Busy Day, and multiple bear sightings in West Bedford on a single evening.

Bedford Farms captured the top spot in NBC10’s contest to name Boston’s favorite ice cream shop, and a grand celebration brought the community together for free scoops.

Town Manager Rick Reed retired in 2018 after a notable 30-year career in Bedford; there were multiple accolades, including a retirement party where Mike Rosenberg sang “This Town is My Town” with apologies to Woody Guthrie. After a rigorous interview process, the Selectmen chose  Sarah Stanton as Bedford’s new Town Manager.

The Bedford boys varsity basketball team spoke out for justice by wearing hoodies with the words ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere‘ at the start of their January 26 game. In a connection to wider issues, Rev. John Gibbons’s Letter to the Editor mourned the shooting at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue.

Bedford parents Meeta Mathur and Sonja Feit Wang, Superintendent Jon Sills and Middle School Principal Kevin Tracey, wrote letters about National School Walkout Day in the wake of the Parkland school shooting, and several BHS students responded.

Then, as often happens, Prom Stroll and Bedford Day were recalled in popular photo essays.

2019

When mosquitoes trapped in Bedford turned out to be infected with the EEE virus, the Town canceled all outdoor activities between dusk and dawn until a hard frost finally brought the mosquito season to an end in the late fall.

The solar panels first proposed by First Parish for the roof of the historic meeting house on Bedford Common in 2016 were finally installed in 2019 after litigation and a special town meeting vote. Recycling carts were introduced on July 1, and an ongoing series of Recycling Know-No columns helped residents understand what’s trash and what can be recycled under new guidelines.

Andy Woods’s Letter to the Editor suggesting solutions for Great Road traffic dilemmas was widely read. Our correspondent Bob Dorer covered the Middlesex 3 Coalition’s regional traffic policy discussion.

Bedford mourned the deaths of two young men, Ethan Miller and Tyler James Green, as well as a fatal crash on North Road. A local domestic violence incident became national news in February. Bedford firefighters offered mutual aid during a recent, devastating house fire in Concord.

Photographer extraordinaire Jeff Hoyland was named Citizen of the Year, to the delight of the thousands of young athletes, musicians, actors, students, and kids around town whom he and CAMERA have photographed for his Bedford Snapshots Facebook page.

For the newest in community fun, Bedford hosted biergartens at the first-ever Summer Solstice and Oktoberfest on Bedford Common.

And the Minuteman Diner was introduced by the Cohen family in July. Are you hungry yet?

2020

The best is yet to come. Stay tuned!


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