Shared Streets Grant to Promote Public Health, Safe Mobility, and Renewed Commerce

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.

Saturday’s Walk-in Flu Clinic

According to Health Director Heidi Porter, 335 Bedford residents received flu vaccine during Saturday’s Walk-In Clinic.

With plenty of parking and pre-set appointments, there never seemed to be a crowd but rather a steady flow of senior citizens, adults, and young people arriving between 9 am and noon.

Porter thanked Bedford’s CERT team and the cadre of volunteer nurses who rounded out Saturday’s staff.

Businesses will Remain Open and Acessible During Shawsheen Bridge Repairs ~ October 2 to 5

In order to repair the Shawsheen River bridge along The Great Road, through traffic will be detoured from 8 pm on Friday, October 2, until 5 am on Monday, October 5.

“Businesses will remain open and accessible at either end of the detour,” confirmed DPW Director David Manugian. “Whether you’re headed to Jiffy Lube or Stop and Shop, you’ll be able to get there.”

Municipal Affordable Housing Trust

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.

DPW Autumn Recycling Events at 108 Carlisle Road

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.

Hydrant Flushing ~ September 29 to October 9

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.

Saving the Planet One Electric Vehicle at a Time ~ Drive Green ~ September 26 to October 4

Bedford’s chapter of Mothers Out Front sponsors a small sub-group to focus on transportation issues in and around Bedford. It has recently been discussing the use of electric vehicles as a necessary transition to reduce fossil fuel use. Electric vehicles are fun to drive, easy to charge, and can save you money!

Bedford Cultural Council Seeks Community Input via its Survey

The Bedford community plays an important role in the types of programming the Bedford Cultural Council (BCC) supports with our annual grants.  To that end, the BCC is asking for community input with the survey below.  Help us understand the types of programs and events that are important to you!!!

Short Takes from the Bedford Free Public Library ~ September, 2020

Although there is still no timeline for the reopening – either partial or full – of the Bedford Free Public Library, curbside pickup of requested books continues to provide highly-valued service to patrons.

Assistant Library Director Noreen O’Gara reported these statistics for the month of August to the Trustees at their September 8 meeting: 6,000 check-outs filled through ‘Hold’ requests; 90 curbside pickup slots/per day; and books delivered to 1,900 unique patrons received books.

High Holy Days in the Time of Pandemic

The holiest days on the calendar begin Friday, September 18, at sundown. Because of the danger of Covid-19, the observance of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur will be unlike anything experienced by Jewish communities over more than three millennia. Whether at limited outdoor services or on computer screens, participants will not be singing together, shaking hands, embracing, or hearing the actual sounds of the shofar – the ram’s horn – an essential part of the holiday repertoire. Jewish residents of Bedford, across the broad ideological spectrum, agree that this year the holidays will be missing one important cornerstone: the literal experience of community. The Chabad Center in Lexington is making the effort with an open-walled tent in the parking lot, where outdoor services are safer, said Joe Siegel.

Town of Bedford Adds More Flu Clinics

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever. The flu season traditionally starts in September and ends in April with a peak in cases from January through March. Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated at least 6.4 million flu illnesses, 55,000 hospitalizations, and 2,900 deaths, including 27 pediatric deaths, from the flu nationally.

In an effort to protect people who live and work in Bedford from getting the flu, the Bedford Board of Health has scheduled FREE flu clinics during the months of September through November at the Town Campus on Mudge Way.

Paving Update for Wednesday, September 16

The Bedford Department of Public Works will pave the intersection of The Great Road and North Road on September 16, 2020. One lane of traffic will be open, but delays should be expected.

DPW will also be paving a portion of Page Road between Brooksbie Road and Springs Road. Page Road will have rolling detours but will be open to local traffic; delays should be expected.

Paving will also occur along the McMahon Road sidewalk.

Mosquito Season is Still Buzzing ~ Bedford Populations Currently Low

To date this year, the EEE virus has been found in 65 mosquito samples and WNV in 87 mosquito samples, including in species of mosquitoes capable of spreading the virus to people. Last year, the Commonwealth experienced its most active EEE season since 1956, with 12 human cases and 6 deaths. EEE is a rare but serious disease caused by a virus that can affect people of all ages. EEE is generally spread to humans through the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. EEE can cause severe illness and possibly lead to death in any age group; however, people under age 15 are at particular risk.

Bedford Police and Fire Respond after Child Becomes Entangled in Seat Belt

Police Chief Robert Bongiorno and Fire Chief David Grunes are today reminding all residents about the importance of seat belt safety after officers and Bedford firefighters responded on Saturday to an incident where a child’s neck became entangled in a seat belt.

On Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020, at 4:16 p.m., Bedford Police were dispatched to a location on South Road near Great Road for a report of a child choking inside a motor vehicle. Upon arrival, officers spoke with the driver of the vehicle who reported that her 8-year-old son called out to her that he could not breathe. She pulled the car over and found that the boy had pulled the seatbelt loose and wrapped it around his neck, apparently activating the belt’s locking mechanism. The mother was unable to loosen the seat belt to free the child, who began to turn blue and lost consciousness.

Cordial Rallies on Bedford Common

Some two dozen demonstrators arrayed themselves at the north boundary of the town Common at 6 pm on Friday, facing The Great Road. And as they began their weekly rally in support of Black lives, a man and a woman dashed down the line, bumping elbows in lieu of high-fives and offering encouragement: “We support you guys, too.”

The boosters were Geoff Chase and Lee Lavi, organizers of a 3 o’clock rally that took place in the same spot, in support of the Bedford Police Department.

And although those two positions have resulted in acrimony and tension when crossing paths in many area towns, the confluence of rallies here, while not exactly a love-in, proved that each could deliver their messages positively.

Bedford Police and Rotary Sponsor Bicycle Helmet Safety Event for Student Cyclists ~ September 19, 10 am to Noon

The Bedford Police Department, in conjunction with the Bedford Rotary Club,
will host a back-to-school bicycle helmet safety event on Saturday, September 19 from 10 am until noon.

Residents are encouraged to stop by the Police Department parking lot on Mudge Way, where Bedford Rotary volunteers will distribute free, fitted helmets for child cyclists.

The free helmets, made possible through the sponsorship of the Bedford Rotary Foundation are all U.S. safety certified for Bike CPSC, and fit children ages 8-14.

Bedford Firefighters Honor Their Fallen Brethren on September 11

Under threatening skies with a brisk breeze out of the northeast, Bedford firefighters joined fire departments across the Commonwealth to pay tribute to their fallen brethren on the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The ceremony followed a familiar pattern that has evolved over the year, shared by State Fire Marshall Peter J. Ostroskey.

Firefighter Dana Pike at the bell on Ladder One, ready to ring four sets of 5-5-5-5 – Click to see the full-sized image

Freshly washed fire apparatus rolled onto the apron in front of the Bedford fire station shortly before 10 am and the fire bell rang 5-5-5-5, a code in use since 1870 that tells firefighters to lower the flag to half-staff. Rung in four sets, the chimes honor ‘all lost and never found.’

Firefighter Dana Pike rang the Bedford’s fire bell this morning. Mounted on the front bumper of Ladder One, the bell has moved to the newest apparatus in turn for many years.

That would be at least three generations of apparatus since Chief David Grunes joined the force. He noted, “We have moved it from the 78 Maxim to the 97 Piece, and it now resides on the 14 KME.” The bell’s journey indicates the importance of history and tradition within the Department.

After the 5-5-5-5 chimes rang, Firefighter Matt Busa lowered the flag to half-staff and after a moment of silence, he read the Firefighters Prayer.

When I am called to duty, wherever flames may rage, give me the strength to save a life, whatever be its age.  Help me embrace a little child before it is too late, or save an older person from the horror of that fate.  Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout, and quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.  I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me, to guard my every neighbor, and protect his property.  And if according to God’s will, I must answer death’s call, bless with your protecting hand, my family, one and all.   AMEN.

The 5-5-5-5 code rang again, the flag returned to the top of its pole, and the firefighters returned to service 

Bedford’s Gold Star Families Speak Out

The Route 225 bridge that spans the Concord River is dedicated in memory of two Bedford High School graduates killed in action in Iraq – Army Pfc. John D. Hart in October 2003 and Marine Lance Cpl. Travis R. Desiato in November 2004.

It is hallowed ground for the town’s two Gold Star Families, and they chose the boat launch area in the shadow of the bridge to express their outrage and hurt, responding to President Donald J. Trump’s reported disdain for military service and for those who choose that path.

Trump has denied the report, first published in the Atlantic magazine, and confirmed by several other media outlets.

Brian Hart told the gathering, attended only by invited media and a few friends, that when he heard of Trump’s characterization of deceased veterans as “losers,” there was a flashback to the emotions he felt when learning of his son’s death. “It has taken us a week to pull our thoughts together because it was so beyond the pale.”

Dr. Joseph Desiato, who remarked that he was “making the most important speech of my life,” declared, “We are outraged and offended, but more deeply saddened, by what Donald Trump did.”

Great Road Detour for Bridge Repair ~ Weekend of October 2 – 5

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) will be replacing the Great Road (Route 4/225) bridge deck over the Shawsheen River as part of its emergency bridge repair program.

During the weekend closure, currently scheduled for Friday evening, October 2 to Monday morning, October 5, there will be no access across the bridge; vehicles and pedestrians will be detoured along Brooksbie Road, Page Road, and Shawsheen Road as shown on the attached map.  Access to local businesses and residences will be maintained at all times.

Bedford Offers Mental Health Resources to Families, Individuals, and Senior Citizens

“This has been a challenging time for a lot of people,” acknowledged Devorah Garfield, LICSW, director of Eliot Community Human Services in Concord for 24 years. “Life as we know it just changed and affected all people in different ways,” she said.  “People’s level of anxiety has increased dramatically.”

The cumulative mental health impact of the ongoing restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic concerns the professionals in the field who direct and carry out local services.  And they continue to promote and emphasize the resources available to those in need.