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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
Editor’s Note: In addition to today’s Bedford case count, Town Manager Stanton announced that Town Meeting, previously rescheduled until today, will be recessed and continued until May 4. There is also a link from the Bedford School so that families and faculty can weigh in about canceling April vacation.
Click the link in the actual story to read the Town’s full update for Monday, April 6, 2020
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.
ByGinni Spencer - Board Member, The Bedford Citizen |
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“I am sorry to report that over the weekend first on Friday evening, and again on Saturday afternoon, Bedford Police discovered offensive graffiti, including swastikas and other inappropriate and racist content, painted along the back of a private building at Great Road Shopping Center, and on a storage shed at Shawsheen Cemetery. Our Police Department, in partnership with the District Attorney, is investigating this incident and will be reviewing surveillance cameras to try to determine who committed these heinous acts. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Police Department at 781-275-1212.
Whether this was done with malicious intent or just out of ignorance, it is an action that must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. This incident is evidence that no community, even one as welcoming as Bedford, is immune from hatred and that we must remain ever vigilant in denouncing these acts and in supporting efforts to combat bigotry and hatred in any form. Five years ago these sorts of despicable acts resulted in the Bedford community coming together to stand up for the value of respecting our neighbors and embracing diversity.
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.
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
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.