School Committee Hears Cost to Return Elementary Students to School Full Time; Public Hearing on Budget Set for Feb. 2
Superintendent of Schools Philip Conrad told the School Committee Tuesday that elementary school students could return en masse to their classrooms sometime in March for a cost of around $150,000. A decision is likely at the Feb. 23 School Committee meeting.
Conrad also noted that the principals of the middle and high school are evaluating how to integrate struggling students into classroom seats that are currently empty.
* One (1) new COVID-19 positive case at Davis School (DS Case #17) no close contacts.
* One (1) new COVID-19 case at Lane School (LS Case #13) no close contacts.
* There is currently one (1) active COVID-19 positive case in the DS community and 2 (two) active cases in the LS community.
* These cases do not appear to be connected or related to previous cases identified in school.
BySue Swanson, on behalf of Bedford Mothers Out Front |
Mothers Out Front is excited about the climate bill recently refiled by Senate President Spilka and Speaker of the House Mariano. S.9, “An act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy” is the same bill that was passed in early January, after intense negotiations by the Climate Policy Conference Committee, co-chaired by our own Senator Mike Barrett. He talked extensively about this bill at an online event last Sunday, sponsored by Metro West Climate Solutions and First Parish of Weston.
This landmark bill, the strongest climate legislation passed in at least a decade, includes many great initiatives to move our Commonwealth towards a sustainable future with a swift, complete, and just transition away from fossil fuels and their climate-disrupting carbon emissions. I use those three words because they embody the mission of Mothers Out Front.
The Select Board Monday voted unanimously to confirm the town manager’s hiring of Marisa Batista as Finance Director.
She replaces Victor Garofalo, who began working as Dracut’s finance director and town accountant earlier this month.
Town Manager Sarah Stanton touted Batista’s 20 years in municipal finance, both serving as an accountant and auditor for a public accounting firm, and her experience working for the city of Medford and the towns of Winchester and Hamilton.
With seats on several boards without candidates last week, as of Wednesday, Jan. 27, each contest has at least one candidate except the Board of Assessors. (Click this link to learn more about Ron Cordes’s thoughts about serving as an Assessor)
With thanks to the Town Clerk’s office for the list of residents who have visited the Town Clerk’s office to sign a statement of intent and collect a candidate packet that includes nomination papers.
Candidate packets are available through the Town Clerk’s office until 5 pm on Wednesday, February 5, and must be returned for verification of signatures by noon on Friday, February 8.
February 5 and must be returned for verification of signatures by noon on Friday, February 8.
ByRon Cordes, Chair of Bedford's Board of Assessors |
The elected Board of Assessors is composed of three townspeople, each elected for a three-year term. Elected Assessors must pass a training course provided by the state Department of Revenue which teaches, among other things, the state-approved methods for assessing the value of all real and personal property in the Town. From this, you may correctly infer that Assessors are not allowed to use whatever methods they want in assessing property. They are required, both under the order of the State Supreme Judicial Court and Massachusetts General Law, to follow the procedures approved by the Department of Revenue.
Assessors perform two separate and distinct functions.
Gov. Charlie Baker has appointed a Bedford resident to the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council.
Gyasi Burks-Abbott said that in his new role, he expects “I will be giving back as I am gaining more.”
In the official announcement, Burks-Abbott is described as “a writer, speaker, and autism self-advocate who has shared his experiences living with autism at various conferences, both domestically and abroad.”
I was very pleased to read that my friend, Maureen Richichi, announced her candidacy to be a member of the Bedford Board of Health recently in the Bedford Citizen.
Over the last 30 years or so, our families have shared many dinners, holidays, camping trips, bike outings, and one special book club. But the first time I met Maureen was when she (and Ronnie Gould) spearheaded the community building of a new playground, initially the Tot Lot and now the Center Playground. Many families were involved in all stages of construction. So many have fond memories of how it truly does take a village to build something we can all be proud of.
We have all experienced that ‘ugly cry’ a fresh cut onion can cause! You think if you cut the onion fast you’ll escape the inevitable. You won’t. Or you read that putting them in the freezer for half an hour will save the day,
* Two (2) new COVID-19 positive case at Bedford High School (BHS Case #40 & Case #41) close contacts have been identified with one of the cases.
* There are currently three (3) active COVID-19 positive cases in the BHS community.
* These cases do not appear to be connected or related to previous cases identified in school.
When we moved to Bedford in 1975, I did not understand what Regional School Committee was. As my children advanced through the Bedford schools, I learned that it was Bedford’s version of the “voke ed” that I grew up with. But at that time, it meant automotive shop, for boys only. However, things have changed dramatically.
I have always had an interest in vocational education with the belief that every student should find a school community that fits his/her needs and interests and also that some students are not on track for college. Neither of my children expressed any desire to leave Bedford’s schools and my exposure ended then. However, when a position became vacant on the Regional School Committee, I made inquiries and learned a lot fast.
Hugh David Simmons, of Seabrook, NH, formerly of Bedford, died on Tuesday, January 5, 2021. A U.S. Navy veteran of WWII, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam War, Mr. Simmons loved his chair and remote, meteorology, and living by the ocean.
Fire Chief David Grunes on Tuesday, advised residents to “stay off all ice” outdoors.
“Temperatures have been above average through this point in the winter,” he pointed out. “Adding to the hazards, some of our ponds are fed by underground springs that keep the water moving and impact the depth of the ice.”
The chief’s reminder comes a couple of days after a resident rescued a youngster who had fallen through thin ice on Fawn Lake during a pickup hockey game on the Springs Road edge of the lake.
Dan Walsh, who was skating nearby, said he heard the boy’s friends yelling. “He was struggling and couldn’t touch the bottom,” Walsh related. “I told them to all get back and I got on my belly and extended a hockey stick to him. He grabbed the blade and I pulled him. He was soaked right up to his neck.”
Covid-19 vaccinations will soon be available to residents eligible under the second phase of the state’s vaccine distribution plan, according to the Bedford Health and Human Services Department.
This means eligible residents could receive vaccinations as early as February, with the highest priority going to high-risk individuals and those at least age 75.
According to the department’s announcement, town-sponsored vaccination clinics are in their final stages of planning and are expected to be announced in the next few weeks.
“We are prepared to offer clinics two days a week and have the minimum capacity for distribution of 600 doses per week,” said Heidi Porter, Director of Health and Human Services. She said the number of vaccinations available is “100 percent dependent on vaccine availability from the state” and that the town has no direct connection to vaccine manufacturers.
As of January 25th, vaccination opportunities are currently NOT available through the Town of Bedford as we have not yet been allocated vaccine from the state.
To find a location to get vaccinated, for eligible and active priority groups and phases, please navigate to https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-vaccine-locations-for-individuals-in-phase-1#find-a-location-to-get-vaccinated-if-eligible-
If you have ideas or concerns about key issues such as multi-unit housing, accessory dwelling units, commercial, industrial, and residential development, zoning bylaws, even changes to scenic roads-to mention only a few-please consider standing for election to the Planning Board, one of Bedford’s most influential elected bodies.
Current Planning Board member Jeff Cohen is not running again and there are, at this moment, no candidates who have come forward to request nomination papers. Whether you are a long-time resident or a relative newcomer to town, this may be the moment to step up and help shape the future look of Bedford. This is a three-year term. You will join elected members Jacinda Barbehenn, Steven Hagan, Shawn Hanegan, and Amy Lloyd. Professional staff includes Tony Fields, Director, Catherine Perry, Assistant Director, and Admin Cathy Silvestrone who provide support and guidance.
The Planning Board will host three virtual public hearings Tuesday evening, two of them on proposed zoning bylaw amendments and the other a continuation of an earlier session on a request for the removal of trees.
Access to all of the hearings is through this link: https://zoom.us/j/94574493219?pwd=T0lIbnhPbmVUWVZhVTRWT2RRa0F3UT09. The password is 714579.
Both zoning amendments are expected to be included on the May 15 annual town meeting warrant. And for one of them, the context will be dramatically changed.
The Hanscom Field Advisory Commission is increasing the pressure on the Massachusetts Port Authority to address the issue of aircraft that use fuels with lead.
The regional panel met on Jan. 19, 2021, and requested Anthony Gallagher, Massport community relations representative, provide an inventory of aircraft based at Hanscom Field that could be capable of using UL94, which is unleaded aviation gasoline.
Avgas was on HFAC’s agenda because of concerns raised last fall by several residents over their fear of potential lead contamination of airfield neighborhood soil and air by avgas emissions from the thousands of monthly flight operations by piston-engine aircraft at Hanscom Field.
“Why do planes at Hanscom Field fly on leaded gas? The short answer is, that’s the only gas available that they can fly on,” HFAC Chair Christopher Eliot explained. “At this particular airport,” Bedford resident Patty Dahlgren added.
Dahlgren was referring to Eliot’s earlier mention that although Hanscom Field only sells leaded avgas for piston-engine aircraft (jet fuel contains no lead), 60 other airports in the country do sell UL94, including two in Massachusetts at Falmouth and Great Barrington.
“It’s quite difficult, there’s no magic solution,” Eliot said, citing problems inherent in developing unleaded avgas. These include the reluctance of energy companies to invest in research on avgas because of the relatively small market; hesitation of owners of aircraft capable of using UL94 to switch because of its limited availability; federal paperwork required to certify each plane to use UL94; and the inability of certain high-performance piston-engine aircraft to use UL94 without engine modification.
Despite that, Eliot remains hopeful. “I think we should be exploring the possibility that Hanscom Field could obtain the capability to provide that fuel.”
Jan. 19, 2021—The exigencies of being a Bedford teacher during the Covid-19 pandemic are taking their toll.
Principals of Bedford four schools told the School Committee last week that most teachers are hurting. But they are also models of “flexibility, adaptability, resiliency.”
“People are tired and frustrated – and we don’t blame them,” said John Glenn Middle School Principal Kevin Tracy. But he emphasized, “You would not be able to tell that if you were in our schools.” He added that appreciation for town support was clear from staff feedback.
Bedford High School Heather Galante said the feedback was acquired through several channels: surveys at the end of last school year and at the beginning of this one, school council meetings, faculty, and departmental meetings, and, less formally, emails, phone conversations, and principals’ walks through their buildings.
She said general themes emerged from the scores of comments: health and safety, self-care and wellness, expectations and workload, and teaching and learning.
The goal of the summary, Galante said, is to provide a perspective from pre-kindergarten through high school, based on feedback received this year.
Who would have thought that this year of pandemic could be a record-breaker for Bedford Dollars for Scholars Trivia Night?
There are 50 tickets remaining for the first virtual event, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 6, at 7:30 p.m. The organization already has sold 150, and 200 participants would be a record for the seven-year-old fundraiser. Ticket sales end when they are sold out or on Feb. 2
Donald E. Holmstead passed away on January 20, 2021. After a long career as a lead machinist for many companies, Mr. Holmstead enjoyed driving for Bedford Charter Service and playing tennis at the Heritage Club of Concord, where he was a board member and served as president.
The Planning Board on Jan. 12 reviewed and revised the proposed zoning bylaw amendment for assisted living facilities, in response to a proposal by LCB Senior Living on South Road near Evergreen Avenue.
The suggestions from this meeting will be used to create a new draft that will be presented and discussed in a public hearing at the board’s next meeting on Jan. 26.