Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Editor’s Note: Today’s update marks one month (and one day) from the start of the  Town’s Covid-19 messages. In addition to Bedford’s and Hanscom’s active cases, there is information about the patients now housed in the VA’s new Covid-19 ward. Among today’s other news — Memorial Day is canceled; there are new limits on the number of shoppers allowed in grocery stores at the same time; results of the School Department’s survey about April vacation that will be considered at tomorrow evening’s School Committee meeting (7:30 pm, remotely).

Go to the full story and click this link to read the Town’s update for Wednesday, 8 April 2020

HUZZAH: There’s a New Book in Town! ‘Bedford History for Kids’ by Town Historian Sharon Lawrence McDonald

With a publication date scheduled to coincide with this weekend’s sadly-canceled Pole Capping ceremony, Town Historian Sharon Lawrence McDonald’s new book for elementary and middle school readers, Bedford History for Kids, arrived from the printer on Monday.

It contains fun facts and historic tales—from stone tools to an alleged witch, from trains and trolleys to a new airport. McDonald believes the time is right for younger readers to be able to enjoy learning more about the town where they live. The book is appealingly filled with photos of artifacts, postcards, hand-drawn maps—and pictures of local children.

Precautions at Carleton-Willard Village

Carleton-Willard Village in Bedford is taking special care to protect its residents from Covid-19. Regular updates are posted via a link on the Village’s home page, www.cwvillage.org

School Committee to Meet Remotely on Thursday Evening, April 9

The Bedford School Committee will meet remotely at 7:30 pm on Thursday, April 9, 2020.

In addition to other business, the Committee will decide on a proposed change to the 2019-2020 School Calendar and whether to cancel April Vacation.

Bedford’s 2020 Memorial Day Ceremonies Are Canceled

The Patriotic Holiday Committee is disappointed to announce that Bedford’s Memorial Day activities, scheduled for Monday, May 25, 2020, have been canceled.

All Town ceremonies, events, and the annual parade will be canceled. The overriding concern for canceling these events is the safety and well-being of all Memorial Day participants and attendees.

Community Voices @ The Bedford Citizen: Behind the Glass

It dawned on me today, while looking through my kitchen window at the birds on the feeder and the chipmunk scurrying underneath for fallen tidbits of seeds, that as much as I love to sit and observe nature, the roles now seem to have been reversed. Is the bird now looking at me through the window? Is the chipmunk coming up to the sliding door and peering in to observe my actions? Is the hawk circling overhead watching my movements that are limited by the railing on the back deck?

In many ways nature must be breathing a sigh of relief at the freedom from the relentless activity of humans. Cars barreling down roadways, airplanes and leaf blowers, toxins flowing into rivers, smokestacks spewing, the incessant chatter of our voices, our constant rush to get from one place to the next and the frenetic energy unleashed into the air from the pursuit.

Passover 5780 – Differently Different

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Passover snuck up on me this year. After a March that came in like a lion and went out with a quarantine, and seemingly went on forever, I lost track of time. (After all, didn’t you hear- we are down to only three days a week: yesterday, today, and tomorrow.) But here it is, and here we are.

One of the most cherished traditions at the Passover Seder is the recitation of The Four Questions, when the youngest child present asks a series of questions to the group about Passover and its rituals- eating matzah, eating bitter herbs, dipping vegetables, and eating while reclining. The beginning line of The Four Questions, which is perhaps the most famous, is traditionally translated as “How is this night different from all other nights?”, from the Hebrew “Mah nishtanah halaylah hazeh mikol halaylot?”

But here’s a little known fact- that first word of The Four Questions- “mah”, is less of a question than a rhetorical exclamation. A better translation of that opening line is “”How different this night is from all other nights!” And that’s not really a question at all, it’s a reminder to the participants that the Passover Seder is far different from any other meal we have during the year. 

This year, though, it’s worth adding an element of reflection to the opening line of The Four Questions. This time around, Passover is not just unique among the other nights of the year, but in truth there has never been a Passover like the one we are about to celebrate, where we will attempt to celebrate a holiday so predicated on gathering together by gathering separately. Most years people boast about their Seders and how many people they will be with, but this year I’m ready for photos on Facebook of computer screens filled with face tiles of all of people’s remote Zoom or Skype Seder participants. This Passover will be, for lack of a better expression, differently different. We have literally never tried this before.

Win-Win Initiative Supports Frontline Hospital Staff and Bedford Restaurants

A motivated network of hundreds of Bedford residents and donors is working daily with local restaurants to prepare and deliver meals and snacks to workers at hospitals in the area as well as Boston, the Merrimack Valley and the North Shore.

“We each take at least five hospitals and make sure we get something to them at least once a day,” said local realtor Suzanne Koller. “We raised more than $14,000 in a very short time. It’s the most beautiful thing.”

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Editor’s Note: In today’s update, Town Manager Sarah Stanton announces that plans for Bedford’s second Summer Solstice Festival have been scrapped because, “the Covid-19 crisis may require focused attention to public health and safety well beyond stay at home orders and advisories. Social distancing measures may be required for several months.”

Click the link in the full story to read the Town’s full update for Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Social Services Offer a Variety of Support for Bedford Residents

Bedford feels like a ghost town – which is a good thing. There are only 20 confirmed cases of  Covid-19, according to the most recent report relayed by town officials from the state.

But there is also a price to pay for many people engaged in disciplined social distancing and disconnection from normal activities, events, and culture.

Professionals in government and private practice who are trained to address issues like isolation, insecurity and information overload have a handle on who is most vulnerable, and what steps can be taken to mitigate the mental health impact.

The Bedford Citizen Welcomes Interim Reporter Jordan Stewart

The Bedford Citizen extends a warm welcome to Jordan Stewart who joined us as an interim, part-time reporter on March 30.  Regular readers may recognize Jordan’s name from the previous reporting he did for The Citizen in 2019.  Most recently The Citizen published his account of his abrupt return from Scotland three weeks ago where he was enjoying a semester abroad through UMass Amherst when Covid-19 arrived. 

An Unexpected Return

Like countless others, I’ve spent the past week at home. A week before, I, like countless others, watched Covid-19 begin to spread around me. For me, however, getting sent home was a bit more of a journey, and watching the pandemic unfold was from a bit more of a front-row seat. I’d been studying in Edinburgh for the past two months and was supposed to continue there until late May.

A Plethora of Online Museums and Activities from Around the Wold

During a pandemic, few people will be able to explore a new or favorite museum. Most museums are closed and we are asked to stay at home. However, using your computer you can still see and learn about the collections of many museums large or small all over the world.  Over the years many museums have made their collections accessible online and that investment is especially valuable now in our current situation.

A Visit to Los Alamos, New Mexico, and the Manhattan Project

Any visitor to the Taos and Santa Fe area of New Mexico should consider a trip to Los Alamos, home of the Manhattan Project National Historic Park.  Shortly after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941 during the Second World War, the United States began hiring scientists to work on a ‘better bomb’ to end the war.  Secret sites were set up starting in 1942 across the country, with the beginning being in New York City, thusly named the “Manhattan Project.”  Los Alamos was chosen as the main site for a new laboratory due primarily to lead scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer’s house in nearby Albuquerque and familiarity with the region.  The new, secret town of Los Alamos was built in 1943 and called “Site Y.”  Hanford, Washington, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, hosted secondary labs.

Helping Bedford Businesses During the Lockdown

As the Covid-19 mandatory business lockdown continues, our local Bedford businesses are making do the best they can, but it is not easy.  I reached out to officials and Bedford businesses to see how they are doing and how Bedford residents can help them through this tough time.

Resources for Businesses

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Saturday, 4 April 2020

Editor’s note: In addition to a correction about the number of coronavirus cases in Bedford, a reassuring message about overdue fines from the Bedford Free Public Library.

Click the link in the article to read the Town’s full update for Saturday, April 4, 2020

How the Business Shutdown is Affecting … Doing Your Business

Covid-19 has changed everyone’s life, it’s scary and very disruptive.  A pandemic is not something most households really ever plan for.  One of the rather strange things happening is the run on toilet paper.  Toilet paper?  Really?  Soap, Purell, Food, Masks… these all make sense. But toilet paper?!?

Apparently the “run” (pun intended) on TP is not completely without justification.  The current scarcity of toilet paper is a residential scarcity. There seems to be a glut in the commercial market, specifically the 15 inch rolls. 

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Friday, 3 April 2020

Editor’s Note: In addition to the number of current cases of coronavirus in Bedford, today’s update includes a change to Federal reporting requirements for Food Bank recipients, and teachers’ efforts to rekindle a sense of community among students in the online learning, all the while acknowledging that school closing is particularly difficult for the Class of 2020.

Click the link in the posted story to read the Town’s full update for Friday, April 3, 2020

More Trusted Sites for Coronavirus and Covid-19 Information

This is an update to “Coronavirus and Covid-19 ~ Information and Reliable Sources” by Gene Kalb, published in The Bedford Citizen on March 17. 

The Bedford Citizen publishes current local information about the Covid-19 pandemic, and efforts to help by your town and neighbors. Click this link to read everything gathered in a special section

Bedford’s All-Ages Quarantine Art Challenge

The Getty Museum in California recently challenged its social media followers to re-create their favorite artwork with what they found laying around the house.

LET’S TRY IT IN BEDFORD!!

Collaborate with your family, do it on your own, introduce the kids to a little art history, brush off the art history books from college, and GET CREATIVE!

Bedford VA Converts Nursing Home Ward to Accommodate Covid-Positive Veteran Residents

The Bedford VA Medical Center has completed the conversion of one full ward zoned for treatment of patients with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis ahead of schedule.

Slated to open early next week, the 22-bed Community Living Center ward was completed last night, just in time to accept several COVID-positive Veteran residents that the state-run Chelsea Soldiers’ Home proactively identified as needing a higher level of care in light of the pandemic.

These will be Bedford VAMC’s first COVID-positive inpatient Veterans. Previous safeguards such as the visitor restriction policy, active screening process and proper preventative measures have helped prevent Bedford’s CLC patients from getting a COVID-19 infection.