Free COVID-19 Testing for Residents – Four Dates in January

The Town of Bedford is pleased to announce four dates in January for free COVID-19 PCR testing for Bedford residents. The testing clinics will take place at the rear of 12 Mudge Way, Town Center building (big yellow building).

The following are the dates/times for testing (weather permitting) and the registration window:

Saturday, January 16 from 9 am to noon
* Registration Opens on Wednesday, January 13 at 9 am 
* Registration Closes (*sooner if filled) on Friday, January 15 at 9 am

Tuesday, January 19 from 2 pm to 5 pm
* Registration Opens on Friday, January 15 at noon
* Registration Closes (*sooner if filled) on Tuesday, January 19 at 9 am

Saturday, January 23 from 9 am to noon
* Registration Opens on Wednesday, January 20 at 9 am
* Registration Closes (*sooner if filled) on Friday, January 22 at 9 am

Monday, January 25 from 2 pm to 5 pm 
* Registration Opens on Friday, January 22 at noon
* Registration Closes (*sooner if filled) on Monday, January 25 at 9 am

Residents are invited to use the link below to make an appointment for a COVID-19 test. There are a limited number of tests offered each day. Registration is first-come, first served until capacity is reached.

Scenic Road Hearing Moved to Tuesday, January 26

The Planning Board Scenic Road Hearing will take place at 7 pm on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The board will immediately indicate that the hearing will be moved to Jan. 26 to allow interested participants sufficient time to comment on the application, relevant statutes, and rules governing the process.

Virtual Public Hearing to Consider the Community Preservation Committee’s FY22 Proposals

Ten modest projects and services for the next fiscal year are on the agenda of the Community Preservation Committee’s virtual public hearing at 7:30 pm on Thursday evening. 

The Zoom link for the meeting is  https://www.bedfordma.gov/community-preservation-committee/agenda/cpc-agenda-15.

Community preservation funds are collected as a surcharge of 3 percent of the real estate tax. A percentage of local collections is matched by state funds. Spending is limited to three categories: affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space-recreation.

Community Preservation Committee Chair Fields Innovative Affordable Housing Proposals

Christina Wilgren is a drum major for affordable housing opportunities in the town.

A member of the town Housing Partnership since 2004, she is a tireless advocate for expanding the inventory of government-managed units.

Wilgren presented and explained five innovative ideas for expanded affordable housing at last Wednesday’s meeting of the Community Preservation Committee. And although none of them was added to the fiscal 2022 preservation plan, fellow committee members were open-minded about longer-term prospects.

Affordable housing is one of the statutory pillars of community preservation expenses (open space, recreation, and historic preservation are the others.)

Proposals for assistance through community preservation funding were:

Optimal Social Distancing in Schools Debated at Board of Health Meeting

Optimal social distancing in the school environment (including but not limited to classrooms, hallways, lunchrooms, school buses) was discussed at length at the meeting of the Board of Health on January 4. 

Board member Ann Kiessling, consistent with the position taken at prior meetings, argued that there is no published data that clearly establishes the relative value of 6’ over 3’ of social distancing between students as a way of slowing or preventing virus transmission.  After the Board’s last meeting on December 21 during which the issue was discussed, Kiessling asked that Health Director Heidi Porter and Community Nurse Mark Waksmonski research the question further.   Based on the information they provided, Kiessling noted that “The bottom line is that there are no public studies on the relative value of 6’ vs. 3’ for children…Nobody has looked at it.  Nobody has studied it.  And there is quite a bit of evidence that 3’ of distance is probably ok….I am not advocating either but I am advocating that there is no science that drives 6’ is better than 3’ in a child’s classroom.” 

Bedford 2021 ~ A Town Election in the Time of Pandemic

Editor’s Note—Breaking News: At least four town offices on Bedford’s March 13 ballot are wide open on the night when the citizens caucus would have taken place if it was a virus-free year.

Planning Board member Jeffrey Cohen, Assessor Ronald Cordes, Housing Authority member Lewis Putney and Glenn McIntyre, a member of the Shawsheen Valley Technical High School Committee, have all confirmed that they are not running for re-election.

Two others said they are unsure of their plans: Anta Raj of the Board of Heath and Library Trustee Dennis Ahern.  Another Board of Health member whose term is expiring, Sarah Thompson, could not be reached.

Only three office-holders are currently candidates for re-election: School Committee member Dan Brosgol, Select Board member Margot Fleischman, and Michael Pulizzi of the Board of Library Trustees.

If these were normal times the Town Election season would start tonight January 5 with the annual Town Caucus.  Bedford registered voters would gather in the Reed Room in Town Hall to hear nominations, statements of support, candidate statements and vote to designate two candidates for each position as a “Caucus Nominee.” 

Additional candidates as well as those who were not nominated by the Caucus would still have the option of appearing on the ballot, but would need to complete nomination papers requiring the signatures of fifty registered Bedford voters.

Bedford Embraces Diversity’s MLK Jr Day Observance Scheduled for Monday, Jan. 18

An award-winning University of Massachusetts Lowell historian will keynote Bedford Embraces Diversity’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day community observance, planned for Monday morning, Jan. 18, 2021, on Zoom.

Dr. Elizabeth Herbin-Triant, associate professor of history, plans to speak on one of her research concentrations: residential segregation, and why it has persisted.

Also featured at the event will be vocalist Aniyah Certain, a Bedford High School senior, whose selections will include familiar inspirational music. The agenda includes a tribute to unarmed African-Americans killed during 2020.

Thanks for the Memories ~ Bud Koor and Great Road Gallery & Framing

Thirty-two years ago this week, Jan Koor opened Great Road Gallery & Framing. Known to more than one generation of artists as ‘Bud,’ Koor has become Bedford’s go-to source for framing and fine art conservation ever since.

Toward the end of 2020, it seemed that the gallery and framing business would close at the end of the year when Koor decided to retire. But then, Julie Schaeffer-Santarelli happened to visit the store.

“Bud was doing what he does best: He was so welcoming and it was clear that he loves what he’s doing — making people happy, making connections in the community, and surrounding himself with what he loves.”

Board of Health to Continue Important Discussions in its January 4 Meeting

The Bedford Board of Health on Monday, Jan.4 will continue its discussion of social distancing and criteria for school closings and classroom quarantining in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The virtual meeting, which begins at 7 pm on Zoom, will spotlight a topic launched by member Dr. Ann Kiessling at the last board meeting Dec. 21. The agenda allows for a possible vote.

Kiessling maintains that the key to successful management of the virus is testing, especially as the only way to identify and isolate asymptomatic people.

Complicating her presentation was a 3-1-1 vote by the Board of Health earlier in the meeting calling for an opinion from the state Ethics Commission on possible conflict of interest. Kiessling is director of Bedford Research Foundation, which has been testing for Covid-19 since responding to a federal plea to private laboratories several months ago. (As of Thursday afternoon, it could not be confirmed that the request has been filed with the Commission.)

Short Takes from the December 2020 Hanscom Field Advisory Commission Meeting

Aircraft operations at Hanscom Field are leveling off after a partial recovery from pandemic-driven declines last spring. However, the November total is still almost 8 percent below the same month in 2019.

Members of the Hanscom Field Advisory Commission reviewed the data with Massport officials at their December 15th virtual meeting.

Monday’s Mystery Noise Wasn’t All That Mysterious

Did you hear that droning noise emanating from the direction of Hanscom Field for more than an hour late Monday afternoon?

You’re not the only one.

Anthony Gallagher, community relations representative for the Massachusetts Port Authority, said Hanscom received several complaints about what turned out to be a turboprop aircraft “running up” its engine.

Click to read more

Bedford Shaped My Worldview, Says Biden’s OMB Choice

Neera Tanden, the 1988 Bedford High School graduate who is President-elect Joe Biden’s choice to head the Office of Management and Budget, has literally helped frame national policy from a front-row seat for well over two decades.

Tanden is president of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress. She previously served as senior adviser for health reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Before that, Tanden was director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign. She was policy director for Hillary Clinton’s first presidential campaign, legislative director in Sen. Clinton’s office, issues director for Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, and an associate director for domestic policy in former President Bill Clinton’s administration.

If you peel back the pages of her resume far enough, there’s a Bedford childhood story that pretty much shaped her worldview – because it was an experience of people and programs helping others in need.

“I have such wonderful memories of growing up in Bedford,” Tanden said in a telephone interview from Washington Tuesday. “I am incredibly grateful to the community for being such a supportive place.”

Bedford Comedian Jim Colliton Played to a Full House

What do blueberry picking, phone chargers, grocery bagging, “free” college laundry, and a new Bedford fire station have in common?

They were all story components or punch lines during comedian Jim Colliton’s performance on YouTube last Saturday night, presented by The Bedford Citizen.

The show is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehgRThdz8k0.

Colliton, a 1988 Bedford High School graduate who is now a full-time comedian with a national market, presented a hilarious 45-minute set as The Citizen’s end-of-the-year gift to the community.

Almost 200 devices were tuned into the live broadcast, facilitated by Katie Duval, director of Bedford TV. Colliton was actually on a Zoom platform with a live audience of about 15. Duval channeled that via live stream through YouTube to hundreds of viewers at home.

Click to read more .. .. ..

Free COVID-19 Testing for Residents on Wednesday, December 30 ~ 9 am to Noon

On Wednesday, December 30, 2020, the Town of Bedford will be offering free COVID-19 PCR testing for residents. The testing clinic will take place at the rear of 12 Mudge Way, Town Center building (big yellow building), from 9 AM to 12 PM.  This testing program, run by the Bedford Fire Department, Pro EMS and the Broad Institute, will be free for all Bedford residents aged 4 and older. The testing program will run via a drive-through model. Residents are asked to remain in their vehicles when attending the testing clinic.

The testing is available for all residents, symptomatic or asymptomatic, and will use the “shallow nasal swab” sample collection method and analysis will be by PCR testing methodology. You do not need to be a close contact, have a note from your doctor, or any other condition to be tested…you just need to be a Bedford resident.

Residents are invited to use the link below to make an appointment for a COVID-19 test. Registration is first come, first served. Please note, there are a limited number of tests available on this date.