Over the summer, the Town of Bedford was awarded $62,666 in Shared Streets grant funding from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to support projects that promote public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted some existing needs and has created new ones, and these projects are intended to maximize opportunities for residents and visitors alike to take advantage of our Town resources including enhanced outdoor dining and other commercial, recreational, biking, and pedestrian facilities while supporting the recovery efforts of local businesses.
This update describes the changes that have been made possible by this grant, in collaboration with several Town Departments, committees, and business partners.
The impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus continues to be evident on the runways and hangars at Hanscom Field.
But there’s an indisputable trend toward recovery.
Amber Goodspeed, Massport airport administrative manager for Hanscom Field, briefed members of the Hanscom Field Advisory Commission on comparative flight operations during a September 15 videoconference.
James S. Rouvalis passed away on September 19, 2020. A long-serving teacher and Science Coordinator for the Bedford Schools, Mr. Rouvalis was renowned for his entertaining lab experiments. He also coached several sports teams and taught driver’s education. Upon retiring to Topsfield, he was “a selfless and dedicated volunteer for the Council on Aging, and Meals on Wheels.
was informed by the Bedford Board of Health that they received a laboratory testing report indicating that a school community member (i.e., student or staff) at Lane Elementary school has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
The Bedford Board of Health immediately began case investigations. The first step in a school case investigation is to determine whether or not the positive case attended school during the infectious period. According to the MA Department of Public Health (MDPH) guidelines, the infectious period for COVID-19 is two days prior to becoming symptomatic or, if asymptomatic, two days prior to testing. The Board of Health determined that the positive school community member at Lane School was not present at school during their infectious period, therefore, no close contacts were identified among the school community in this situation.
Some days it truly is the simplest of things that give us pleasure, amusement, or a smile. Decorating an Easter Egg tree gives me all of those things and has been a tradition of mine for more than three decades – and some of my colorful eggs are clearly now a bit faded, fragile, and vintage.
This year, the eggs went on the tree earlier than usual, in mid-March, as a little something to brighten my Covid mood. With so many neighbors out walking to pass the time, l noticed more and more people stopping to snap a photo and say, “Thank you for this spot of color in what seems like a dark time.”
Easter has long passed and the eggs have remained on the tree for the cadre of neighborhood children (and their parents and others) who stop by daily to count the eggs and identify them by color.
One of our favorite daily visitors is an adorable two-year young lady who lives close by and spends as much time as her family will allow with the egg tree. Bird feeders and a birdbath were added and attract a colorful array of wings and birdsong.
In a marathon session lasting four hours and at times fraught with tension, members of the Zoning Board of Appeals granted developer Amy Coffey the special permit she has sought for months to demolish an existing house at #19 Anthony road and to construct a larger home on a non-conforming lot. ZBA members Carol Amick, Angelo Colasante, Jeff Dearing, and Chair Todd Crowley voted in favor of approval, with member Robert Kalantari opposed.
On Monday, September 14, 2020, I had an appointment in Massachusetts. On the way home, I stopped at Shawsheen Cemetery to pay my respects to my family, interred there; longtime residents of Bedford.
I was appalled at the condition of my family’s gravesites (12 total) at Shawsheen Cemetery. There was no grass and weeds had taken over. The graves hadn’t been weeded (pictures attached). Last Spring I made my stance well known on the Bedford site on Facebook and I wasn’t alone.
The bridge on The Great Road spanning the Shawsheen River near Stop and Shop Plaza will be closed for repairs from the evening of Friday, October 2, to the morning of Monday, October 5.
State Representative Ken Gordon (D – Bedford), Senator Mike Barrett (D – Lexington), and Bedford Town Manager Sarah Stanton remind residents to seek alternate routes, if possible. The work will be contained within one weekend.
The rehabilitation plan was developed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) after a recent Bridge Rating Report found that several of the bridge’s beams have an extremely low carrying capacity. The weekend of important repairs will restore the safety and structural stability of the bridge while minimizing inconvenience to residents and businesses. The bridge will re-open before the Monday morning commute and school bus schedule.
“Given the current structure of the bridge, there is no getting around the necessity of these repairs. However, I am happy that MassDOT will be able to make them so quickly and with such little inconvenience to the town,” said Rep. Gordon when the construction was first announced. “Drivers will be detoured for the weekend, but it is a small price for a safe and stable bridge for years to come.”
ByJennifer Stewart for the Bedford Neighbor Brigade |
Thank you to everyone who donated masks to the Bedford MA Neighbor Brigade Back to School mask drive!
We were able to collect or purchase, wash, iron, individually bag, sort by size, label, and deliver 455 masks in time for school to start. We brought 230 masks for distribution at the Bedford Food Bank, and 225 masks to the BPS Guidance Department in every color and pattern from tiny preschool to high school appropriate sizes.
At their September 22 meeting, the Planning Board endorsed the latest iteration of the proposed “Friendly 40B” development at 330 South Road, although the Board stopped short of offering a “blanket” approval, saying that certain details still need to be worked out.
In a conversation with Select Board chair Ed Pierce on September 22, he confirmed that there is no current plan to hold a Special Town Meeting this fall. He reiterated that a Special Town Meeting will not be scheduled unless there is an urgent need such as additional funding for the schools.
Typically, Bedford holds its Annual Town Meeting in late March and a Special Town Meeting in October or November.
Bedford renters who have been financially affected by Covid-19, including loss of employment, may now apply for emergency rental assistance grants, to maintain housing stability over the next four months.
The program was approved by the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust at a recent meeting, after consultation with the Select Board. The trust has its own resources, separate from the municipal budget. The first round of payments was capped at a total of $40,000.
At the first School Committee meeting Tuesday since the start of school on Sept. 16, the focus shifted from understanding the intricate details of the reopening plan to ensuring success under the hybrid format and other administrative tasks.
Reflecting on the start of school, Superintendent Philip Conrad said it was nice having students back at all four schools.
Fall interscholastic sports return to Bedford High School next week.
But like everything else, this year is different.
Keith Mangan, BHS director of athletics, said varsity golf, girls’ and boys’ cross-country, girls’ and boys’ soccer, and field hockey teams have been practicing and will compete against other Dual County League Small Schools Division opponents on Wednesdays and Saturdays. (Golf games are off-site so they are on other days as well.)
Mangan stressed that everyone realizes this scenario is not normal. “We are trying to get kids out of their homes, playing and competing. We are trying to meet their social-emotional needs. And we’ve got kids who are just happy to be here.” Mangan acknowledged that there are some student-athletes who have opted not to play this season.
There will be many changes in rules and practices, some of them dramatic, as directed by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. Players, coaches, and officials are wearing masks all the time except for designated breaks.
The Department of Public Works is providing Bedford residents the opportunity to recycle or reuse a myriad of materials on two Saturdays, October 3 and 10. Both events are open to Bedford residents only and will take place from 9 am to 12 noon at the Compost Center at 108 Carlisle Road.
The Bedford Water Division will be flushing hydrants to ensure clean, clear water throughout the distribution system. The work will be done on weekdays between 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM from September 29 to October 9. Signs will be set out the day before flushing in each specific area of Town.
Robert A. Barton, as chairman of Bedford’s Board of Selectmen, cut the ribbon to officially open Middlesex Community College in Bedford on September 24, 1970. The 570 students were accommodated in two rented buildings at the VA Hospital on Springs Road.
What a half-century it has been.
On Thursday the college marks its 50-year anniversary, with an overall enrollment of 10,957, comprising secondary school and traditional college-age students, adult learners, and senior citizens.
MCC offers more than 80 degree and certificate programs – with 11 degree programs and six certificates fully online – and hundreds of courses for credit and non-credit purposes. The class of 2020 graduated 1,073 students between the ages of 17 and 58 whose families were from 51 countries of origin. Over five decades there have been some 26,000 matriculated MCC students,
Despite the pandemic postponing in-person events, the college plans to celebrate its 50th throughout the 2020-2021 academic year. Visit www.middlesex.mass.edu/50for50 for more information.
Barton, a retired Superior Court judge, was an MCC trustee for 10 years and now serves on the board of the college foundation, which is launching a fundraising campaign supporting a variety of student and college needs.
“What they’ve done up there is magnificent,” he declared. “Nobody ever dreamt it would expand as it has. I really got to know the inner workings of the place and I’m really impressed with the whole idea of community colleges.”
Indeed, he recalled that the fledgling college, part of the teeming hospital campus, didn’t seem particularly significant to town officials at the time. “It didn’t affect the town; there was no traffic problem,” said Barton, adding that Lexington Selectman Robert Cataldo was instrumental in the establishment of Middlesex — the 13th in the 15-school network to open — and locating it in Bedford.
Now the college is a point of pride for Bedford, “no question about it,” he said. “It’s teaching a lot of skills to a lot of people, to a cross-section of society.”