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. 

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

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

Annual Water Main Flushing Program Begins on Tuesday, March 24

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 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM from March 24th into early May. The program starts at the Lexington meter vaults and moves northwesterly across Bedford.  Signs will be set out the day before flushing in each specific area of town. If you experience rusty water please let your cold water tap run for several minutes.  If the water does not clear, or if you have any questions, please contact the Bedford Department of Public Works at (781) 275-7605, ext. 4255. Thank you for your cooperation through this annual program.

Bedford Interfaith Clergy Network responds to Public Health Emergency

The Bedford Interfaith Clergy Network has been informed that the local public health department has issued an emergency order requiring houses of worship to suspend all public gatherings, services, or other activities in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  We appreciate the hard work of our public health leaders in this time, and support this decision wholeheartedly.  We encourage everyone in our community to follow all recommendations and directives from our public health and other governmental officials to help us stem the tide of this pandemic, including important social distancing practices.  

Bedford State House Delegation Shares Update Regarding COVID-19 Outbreak

Senator Michael Barrett (D-Lexington) and Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford)  joined their legislative colleagues and Massachusetts Health and Human Services officials Tuesday on a conference call to discuss the Commonwealth’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Following this discussion, they issued an update for Bedford residents.

Temporary Suspension of Free Tax Preparation

All sites suspended operations effective Monday, March 16, 2020 for a minimum of two weeks. That was the email that was sent out to all Tax-Aide sites on Saturday, March 14, 2020. Once we receive permission to resume this service, we will add extra days and hours and provide this service until the end of tax season, whenever that might be

Coronavirus and COVID-19 ~ Information and Reliable Sources  

Whenever there is a crisis, accurate information is critical. There is so much information and it’s not always easy to distinguish fact from rumor. To make matters worse, social media rumors get amplified and are often repeated. So how is one to know truth from fiction?

At The Bedford Citizen, we strive to keep you up to date on how Bedford is reacting to the pandemic.

Sustainable Middlesex holds a Carbon Countdown

Two weeks ago (way back when groups were still meeting in person), Sustainable Middlesex hosted a “Carbon Countdown” in Winchester.  Sustainable Middlesex fosters collaboration and communication among local climate-conscious grassroots organizations.  About 120 people attended, from 26 communities, including four members of the Bedford Mothers Out Front team. 

Local Businesses Step Up to the Challenge of COVID-19 Constraints

With senior citizens at higher risk for contracting serious cases of COVID-19 and Governor Charlie Baker limiting restaurant food service to take-out only, six indigenous Bedford businesses have risen to the challenge.

Chip-in Farm, and current dine-in only restaurants  ~ Minuteman Diner, Ginger, Flatbread, Peppers Grille, Ken’s NY Deli, and Bedford Farms ~ have earned The Bedford Citizen’s praise for supporting the community by offering take-out service during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Screening Visitors Entering the Bedford VA Medical Center for COVID-19

To date, the Bedford VA Medical Center has not encountered anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The facility is following CDC guidelines for intake precautions. 
 
While the Centers for Disease Control still considers COVID-19 to be a low threat to the general American public, the Bedford VA Medical Center is paying special attention to it.  
As part of this process, everyone who enters the campus will be pre-screened. This may lengthen entry times, so patients are advised to allow for that when arriving for their appointments.

Mental Health and Coping during COVID-19

The outbreak of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) may be stressful for people and communities.  Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. 

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations.  The emotional impact of an emergency on a person can depend on the person’s characteristics and experiences, the social and economic circumstances of the person and their community, and the availability of local resources. 

People can become more distressed if they see repeated images or hear repeated reports about the outbreak in the media.

Suggestions and resources to consider:

Bedford VOTES Saturday, March 14 ~ EVERYTHING You’ll Need to Know

Bedford’s annual Town Election will take place as scheduled on Saturday, March 14 in the gymnasium at the John Glenn Middle School, 97 McMahon Road.

The Bedford Citizen began posting articles about the upcoming Town Election several months ago. For your convenience as you prepare to vote, read along to see links to everything that has been posted.

Town of Bedford Announces First Presumptive Positive COVID-19 Case ~ Updates on Town/School Response ~ March 11, 2020

The Bedford Health Department, the Town Manager, and the School Superintendent would like to provide an update on the status of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in Bedford. We recognize that these are trying times. Our thoughts are particularly focused on our family members, friends, neighbors, and colleagues who are of a vulnerable age, or who themselves or loved ones close to them have an underlying condition that puts them at risk.

Editor’s Note: This is a very long and important message from the town. Please read through to the end.

The League of Women Voters of Bedford Hosts Election 2020 Candidate Forum

Joan Bowen of the League of Women Voters of Bedford welcomed members of the community to a Candidates’ Forum on Sunday afternoon in the Shawsheen Room of the Town Center Building.  The meeting began with opening statements from the three candidates competing for two open seats on the Board of Selectmen: Bopha Malone, Ed Pierce, and Mark Siegenthaler.  This was followed by a question and answer period for the trio and then each was allowed a brief closing summary.

Important COVID-19 Update ~ Saturday, March 7, 2020

Late Saturday,  March 7, 2020, Town health officials were notified that a Bedford resident has been in direct contact of a recently identified presumptive positive COVID-19 case.

The resident underwent testing and is awaiting results. The resident is currently under quarantine at home, and being monitored by the Bedford Board of Health. As a precaution, the Town has also advised that the family members of the resident quarantine at home until test results are received. 

Bedford Cultural Council Announces 31 Awards

State Senator Mike Barrett, State Representative Ken Gordon, Town Manager Sarah Stanton, and Barbara Purchia, Bedford Cultural Council Chair, have announced the award of 31 grants totaling $11,610 for cultural programs in Bedford or for Bedford residents. A complete list of recipients and grant amounts can be found below.