Coming Soon: The Bedford Guide 2021

The Bedford Guide 2021 – A look back at 2020 – A typical year, it was not!

You just know you’ll remember some years more than others. Significant events help recall such memories: the Blizzard of ‘78, the Summer of Woodstock, or 9/11. Each has been defined as a turning point. But the year 2020 seems different.

Wildfires, a presidential impeachment, double-digit unemployment, a pandemic that has taken the lives of over 200,000 fellow Americans, massive street protests for racial justice, and the year 2020 is not over yet.

The Bedford Citizen is about to memorialize this incredible year in The Bedford Guide 2021.

This look back will juxtapose what’s going on in the world and what’s going on locally.  More than that, we will also show how our community came together and all the incredible efforts that were displayed: drive-by birthday parades, feeding healthcare workers, thousands of home-sewn masks, and so many other things, large and small, that make Bedford such a special place.

The Bedford Guide 2021 will be mailed to every Bedford address — both residential and business. Look for it in your mailbox in about a month.

For those businesses that are looking to place an ad, there is still time … not much though.

Boston Bridges Initiative is Designed to Build Relationships

Students and families in the Bedford schools will serve as the pilot for a groundbreaking initiative designed to build relationships among people of different races by bringing them together in special social and educational settings.

Boston Bridges Initiative (BBI) “seeks to build meaningful cross-racial relationships within and between suburban and urban communities in the Greater Boston area,” according to its founders, including former Superintendent of Schools Jon Sills, parents Kim Dunsmore and Jessica Castro, and the METCO director, Akil Mondesir.

Covid-19 Testing Tuesdays at First Parish on Bedford Common

The small testing tent can be seen along Elm Street, on First Parish’s part of Bedford Common. Tuesday’s testing will take place in the historic meeting house’s narthex.

For the foreseeable future, there will be COVID-19 testing at First Parish on the Bedford Town Common, 75 The Great Road, every Tuesday (with the exception of October 13). ALL are welcome regardless of town of residence, affiliation, symptomology, or ability to pay.

Register on-line at https://www.bedfordresearch.org/product/first-parish and you’ll be given a time-slot and number.

DPW Announces Compost Center’s Autumn Schedule

Editor’s Note: A robocall to the town on Tuesday, September 29, noted that the Compost Center will be closed on Wednesday, September 30, due to heavy rains in the weather forecast.

The Department of Public Works has announced the fall schedule for the Compost Center.

Click to view the full-size image

Starting October 7, the Compost Center, located at 108 Carlisle Road, will be open every Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., except for Veteran’s Day (November 11) and the day before Thanksgiving (November 25).

The Compost Center will also be open on Saturday, October 10, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and then starting on Saturday, October 24, the center will be open every Saturday through December 5. Normal hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., but during November the hours will be 8 a.m. to 3 p.m

The schedule is available at www.bedfordma.gov/recycling under the Calendar tab.

Pursuant to the Town’s EPA Stormwater Permit, the DPW urges residents to properly dispose of leaves and yard waste and to not dump leaves in wetlands or waterways. Also, residents are asked to keep storm drains clear of leaf litter and pine needles. Fallen leaves are loaded with natural fertilizer and are a source of stormwater pollution.

Per state regulations, yard waste is prohibited from regular trash. Residents may either compost yard waste on their own property or bring the yard waste to the Compost Center where it will be turned into loam products for Public Works projects.

Acceptable yard waste consists of leaves, pine needles, grass clippings, garden trimmings, weeds, and tree material up to one inch (1”) in diameter. Tree limbs more than one inch (1”) in diameter can be placed in the brush pile. Only paper biodegradable bags, available at a variety of stores, are allowed to be dropped off. Residents should empty plastic trash bags or containers of yard waste and bring them home for reuse.

Compost bins are available for $45 from the DPW at 314 Great Road. Contact Ed McGrath, Bedford’s Recycling Coordinator, at emcgrath@bedfordma.gov.

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.