An Illuminated Evening in the Neighborhood

Noreen Drive may be one of Bedford’s ‘far-flung’ neighborhoods, but what it lacks in proximity to the center of town, it makes up for in warmth and spirit. Long known for summertime end-of-the-driveway gatherings, the first snow of 2020 brought the neighbors together early Saturday evening.

Christine Rabinowitz, one of the organizers, said, “Success! Everything seemed perfect!”

Jim Pray Looks Back on His More Than 50 Years in Bedford

Change has come gradually over the past half-century to the cluster of close-knit residential streets near the town’s southeastern boundary known as Bedford Gardens.

Last month, however, there was a major transition, when Jim Pray went to live with one of his children after more than 50 years in a Neillian Street duplex.

Pray, who as a senior citizen has been a walking marketing campaign for the neighborhood, greeting motorists and children day after day, said, “I would like to thank all of those people who have been so nice to me over the past several years.”

New Bulk Waste Pick-Up Policy in Effect January 1, 2021

In March, 2020, the Bedford Select Board approved pick-up/collection fees on certain bulk items.

When calling to schedule a pick-up of a bulk item, appliance, and television/monitor, or electronics, residents will have to provide a credit card number to Republic Services Customer Service for the fees listed on the Town’s flyer.

Breakfast with Santa, 2019 and the 2020 ‘Light Up Bedford’ Decoration Celebration

Writing this today, Monday, December 7, 2020, as the Coronavirus pandemic rages around us, memories from a happier, more normal time come to mind.  

One year ago to the day, it was a Saturday. Rotary club members were in the last minute scramble of preparations for their signature event of the year. The next day, Sunday, Bedford Rotary’s 33rd annual “Breakfast with Santa” would bring families and children to the decoration transformed Santa’s Village inside Bedford High School’s cafeteria. That was last year.

The End is Near?

The news of two coronavirus vaccines recently approved by the FDA and already being. distributed gives us all a sense that things will improve soon.  “Improve” and “soon” are admittedly a bit ambiguous.  

Laughter, The Best Medicine: The Line is Around the Block

Please join The Bedford Citizen and (as of Saturday) over 100 others who read and support The Citizen for An Evening of Comedy at 7:30 pm on December 26.  Jim Colliton is a professional comedian enjoyed for, among other things, his recently successful podcast Lawn and Disorder.  Born and raised in Bedford and now living with his family in Wakefield, his humor includes a riotous take on small-town and family life.  Check him out at

Bedford Center on A Snowy Evening in December 2020

With thanks to Bedford photographer Bob Bass who made his way to the Common on Thursday evening to capture a winter wonderland. Click each image to see it at full size.

Holiday Activities for the Whole Family

Winter Break begins with a short school day on December 23 and runs through the start of the New Year.

Anticipating that housebound feeling? Bored? Running out of things to do with the kids?  Are you sad that the holidays won’t be the same as in years past?

Here are some ideas on how to make this season a little brighter, how to make memories you probably never would have made otherwise (‘cause you would be too busy attending parties, carting the kids to after school sports and events, stressing out over planning big family gatherings…).

Enjoy some of these activities with your family, they are sure to keep the phones and devices at bay, create lots of conversation and bonding time, and make memories to last a lifetime.  With each topic, I’ve included some links you might find helpful.

My Last Hurrah

I have been involved as a Political Activist for over 60 years. I have voted in every National, State, and Local election since 1960.

On December 14, 2020, I cast my most important vote, as a member of the Massachusetts Electoral College for Joseph Biden and Kamala Harris.

How did I become an Elector?

The Democratic State Committee, (DSC), which has about 400 members, selects the Democratic Party Electors, every 4 years. Any Registered Democrat can apply to the DSC to become an Elector. In September, I campaigned successfully, at a virtual  DSC meeting, to become one of the 11 Electors from Massachusetts. There were about 25 candidates. Each state gets the number of Electors equal to its total number of Congressional seats.

Emerson Hospital Begins to Administer Covid Vaccine

“Covid-facing” personnel at Emerson Hospital in Concord will begin receiving inoculations of the new vaccine early Thursday and continue over the next week.

This includes not only medical personnel but also any staff members who have “front-line” exposure to known or suspected Covid patients — emergency, inpatient units, intensive care, and, off-campus, urgent care, and testing personnel.

The announcement was made at a briefing Tuesday afternoon by Dr. Barrett Kitch, the hospital’s chief medical officer. He said Emerson is following federal and state guidelines regarding the early vaccine rollout.

Laughter, The Best Medicine: An Interview with Comedian Jim Colliton, Performing for Bedford on December 26

There are several meaningful holidays coming up in the next month: Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa.   Don’t forget to add yet one more date to your calendar: The Bedford Citizen invites you to be our guest at a special one-night virtual event on December 26 featuring comedian Jim Colliton. 

Eventbrite is handling tickets for this virtual event. While there is no charge for tickets, please register everyone who will be watching. It’ll give us a good idea of the audience, and they’ll be able to use separate devices if they wish. Click

Jim Colliton is one of our own – born and raised in Bedford, BHS Class of 1988. Perhaps being the youngest of six children with five older sisters had something to do with shaping his sense of humor and love of performance.  One of his bits describing an impulsive plan to “borrow” a Bedford school bus when he was a teenager is a beloved story for many locals who have seen him perform in and around the Boston area.  Jim also does corporate events and has appeared as a featured act on Royal Caribbean cruise lines.  You can find out more about his experience at

Toys for Local Children ~ Second Drive-Thru Drop-Off Scheduled for Sunday

Captain Mark Sullivan and Regina Sullivan thanked nearly 50 individuals who brought toys to the BHS back parking lot between 10 am and noon in last Sunday’s drive-by drop-off to benefit Toys for Local Children.

The toy drive has been an honored tradition at the Bedford Fire Department for many years, and in this pandemic year it’s even more important than ever.

A Good Year for Friends of the Library, Pandemic or No!

When the Bedford Free Public Library closed in March, the Friends of the Library “bookies” were hard at work preparing for the annual Spring book sale, a major source of revenue for the group.

Enter the pandemic and everything came to a halt.  But, in the words of Friends’ Treasurer Joel Shwimer, “We can survive even a pandemic.”

Shwimer’s report, delivered at the Friends’ annual meeting on December 5, showed a net worth of $119,000 for the organization.  And despite losing the three major book sales of the year –the Spring, Bedford Day, and December holiday sales-the Friends will continue to provide support for many Library programs, including the ever-popular Professor Dan Breen lecture series that will start at the end of January (by Zoom.)

Jupiter and Saturn Over Bedford

Maybe you’ve already noticed them. You’ve certainly heard the hype.

Look southwest around the end of twilight. There you’ll see two bright “stars,” one brighter than the other. They’re the planets Jupiter and Saturn. Jupiter is the brighter one: Saturn is just to its upper left.

They’ve been in the evening sky since last summer, but now they’re creeping closer together from Earth’s moving point of view. On December 21st they’ll pass by each other super-close. In fact, this will be their closest conjunction easily visible since the year 1226.

Excitement is building. You may have read that they will “light up the sky.” That they will form the “first double planet” in centuries. Even that they will form “a new Christmas Star” of the same kind as the old one.

Horse patooties. That’s the work of headline writers who live by clicks and gullibles repeating it. The real doings in the sky are cool enough! Here’s your guide for what to watch.

VA Bedford rolls Community Living Centers back to Phase 1

VA Bedford Healthcare System has moved the Community Living Centers (CLCs) back to Phase 1 of the Opening Up America Again plan due to the rise of positive COVID-19 diagnoses in the facility and surrounding communities, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Veterans Health Administration (VHA) guidelines.

“The CLCs will remain at this highest level of vigilance until they meet all criteria to move to Phase 2, particularly, recording no new nursing home onset COVID cases for 21 days” said Kelley Saindon, Deputy Nurse Executive. 

An Obituary: Ann Thoron Hale

Ann Thoron Hale passed away on November 25, 2020.  A resident of Carleton-Willard Village since 2012, Mrs. Hale’s ‘true home’ was Martha’s Vineyard. She spent summers on the Vineyard as a teenager and lived there year-round for 10 years before coming to Bedford. She will be remembered for her steady leadership on the board of Seven Gates Farm.

Somerville’s Alpine Restaurant Group Continues Expanded Menu Offerings at Posto

Joe Cassinelli explained why, in the midst of a pandemic, he is creating new menu opportunities at his Posto restaurant in the Bedford Marketplace.

“I built this company boot-strapping myself, and along the way created a family of people,” he said. “We are all doing everything we can to make sure we have a home to come back to. Employees are the most important aspect, and my job is to create as much opportunity as possible.”

Cassinelli is chef and owner of Alpine Restaurant Group, which was born in 2009 in Somerville and today has eight outlets in the area, including Posto. The growth of a restaurant group is evolutionary, Cassinelli said. “You’ve got to build your reputation and build trust.”

So now he is integrating the specialties of two of the other restaurants into the Bedford business, at least throughout the winter.

Pandemic Couldn’t Cancel ‘Vettes to Vets’ 2020 Gift to Veterans at Bedford VA Hospital

The annual Vettes to Vets fundraiser was canceled this year due to the pandemic, but even though the Corvettes couldn’t run, participants managed to raise funds by selling a special edition pin to support VA Bedford’s Veterans.

According to Blandini, the event began as a simple idea, to bring a few Corvettes to the hospital for Veterans to view.

“We had about 25 Corvettes that first event,” Blandini said. “The following year, it grew to about 50 Corvettes, and the third year, 102 Corvettes!”