Assessor Candidates Inspired to “Give Back” to Town

Both candidates for the upcoming vacancy on the Board of Assessors were moved to seek the position by civic spirit.

Joseph Gilbert and Elliot Lovy told the League of Women Voters candidate forum Sunday that they decided to run because they noticed that there were no candidates.

One of them will succeed retiring Assessor Ronald Cordes on the board after the March 13 town election, joining Rebecca Neale, who was elected a year ago, and veteran Bruce Murphy.

Neither candidate has attended a virtual meeting of the board, and both recognize that they will need a state-mandated training course early in their term.

“We have been on the receiving end of a lot of hard work that goes on in this community. Reading about this opening, I thought this is my time to step up and give back,” said Lovy, a software developer and “statistics guy.”

Gilbert said he also noticed the opportunity. He cited his background and education in real estate and finance and noted, “It is going to be a very important and interesting year.”

The Select Board recently voted against a motion to change the town charter and bylaws which would have made assessor an appointed rather than an elected position. Gilbert and Lovy each endorsed that decision. “Independence is integral” to the position, Gilbert said. Lovy commented, “I came to understand that this position is about curating and governing data, building transparency and trust.”

Each candidate acknowledged that there’s a lot to learn. Gilbert said he has questions about how frequently taxpayers request abatements, how and when the board makes those determinations, and how soon the town expects to hire a full-time professional assessor. Lovy said he will need information about management of the property database, “mechanics of the meetings,” and the board’s role with the Select Board, as well as the abatement process.

New Poll – Vaccine Choices?

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine seems to be very close to being granted emergency use authorization from the FDA.  The two currently available vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are similar:

Two Generations Reflect on the Evolution of Bedford’s Black History

The second in The Bedford Citizen’s series honoring Black History Month, 2021

The fledgling U.S. Air Force began moving toward racial equality even before President Harry Truman’s 1948 executive order integrating the armed forces.

Two decades later, active and retired African-American Air Force personnel and contractors enriched the town of Bedford, diversifying the population to a level unlike most other Boston area suburbs.

Growing up Black in Bedford could be challenging, as the town was not immune from the racism that permeated much of society. But a sampling of voices from the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s also testify to experiences that were rewarding – thanks to family, community, and enlightened educators.

Mail-a-thon 2021 ~ CSF Dollars for Scholars Has a New Look this March

The first week of March is almost here.

But don’t wait for the usual telephone call from Bedford Dollars for Scholars – even though that has been as dependable as crocuses for many years.

Dollars for Scholars is still conducting its fundraiser, but this year it is by mail instead of the annual student phon-a-thon.

World of Music Concert to Honor Black History Month

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the impossibility of presenting live concerts for an audience, MCC’s A World of Music Spring 2021 Concert Series will present a series of live recordings of performances from venues in Bedford and Lowell. These concerts will be released on specific dates, and links will be provided on https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/worldofmusic/

February 26 at 7:30 pm: In honor of Black History Month the series will open with a Celebration of Black Composers from Europe, Africa, the United States and South America.

Michelle Pietrangelo’s Road to Recovery Remains Long

Popular Bedford High School teacher Michelle Pietrangelo is still facing a long road to recovery from serious injuries sustained when she was struck by a delivery vehicle more than five months ago. Pietrangelo, 35, is at Spaulding Rehabilitation Center, as medical specialists nurse her back from a serious traumatic brain injury and broken bones, according to Beth Billouin, who calls her “my closest colleague.”

Billouin said Pietrangelo has been treated at length at Massachusetts General Hospital, but suffered some setbacks over the past several weeks. She said the teacher has been “semi-conscious for much of that time, though “when she is in a good place” she has had animated Facetime conversations with her husband Matt and family members. Doctors have said full recovery may be more than a year and half away, Billouin said. Pietrangelo teaches chemistry, biology and marine biology at BHS.

Visiting Colleges in a Pandemic – Plan B

Visiting colleges was always a big part of the college admissions process.  There is something about being on a campus and seeing students that really lets an applicant get a sense as to what the college experience at a particular campus might feel like.

Dot’s Reading Room: Ideological Extremists Grab Media Attention and Distort Issue Debate

Today’s article from The Conversation says Congressional members who espouse extreme positions get a lot of airtime and exposure but their actual impact on Congress isn’t all that great. The authors write:

“In recent work, we showed that extremely conservative and extremely liberal legislators receive far more airtime on cable and broadcast news than their moderate counterparts.

One If By Land, Two If By Sea …

 One if by land, two if by sea, and as many as you’d like with this fun family craft!

As so many of us are doing this school vacation week, we are spending more time around home. I know it might feel like all activities have been exhausted at this point. But! Here is one more for you that combines both indoor and outdoor fun for you and the kids this week.

These homemade winter lanterns are fun and interesting to make, yes, even for my middle schooler.  After they were finished, we got to take them outdoors for a little twilight winter exploration. 

New Poll – Massachusetts Vaccine Rollout

The Covid-19 vaccine rollout is moving along.  As of February 12, 11.3% of Massachusetts residents received their first shot, and 3.7% of Massachusetts residents are fully vaccinated.

Bedford History Buffs ~ Take Note of the Library’s Bedford Index

Rand Hall, Head of Reference at the Bedford Free Public Library, has had the idea of creating an index to books on Bedford history for a couple of years but in “normal” times his usual duties at the Reference desk kept him from pursuing this task.

Enter the pandemic. Hall now alternates one week at the Reference desk and one week working from home. Ergo, the perfect setup for compiling the index. It’s a side project, said Hall, who has been a Bedford resident since 2014, but one in which he is keenly invested.

Creating Silver Metal Clay Jewelry with Kim Rumberger

The Bedford Arts and Crafts Society will present a 5-week virtual course, Creating Silver Metal Clay Jewelry, meeting from 2 to 4 pm on five Mondays in March (3/1, 8, 15, 22, and 29). In this live online course, students will create a one-of-a-kind silver piece and learn several techniques such as setting fire-safe stones, creating scratch-foam textures, working with coils, and finishing your piece. Experience with using metal clay is suggested but not mandatory. Most of the basic tools needed are probably available in your home. All materials will be provided in a supply kit via curbside pickup from BACS in Bedford prior to the first session. 

New to Bedford ~ Not quite everything you need to know, but close! (Even if you’ve lived here a while you might learn something)

Welcome to our new series, New to Bedford.

Bedford is a great place to live. There’s a lot to offer but it takes time to figure it out.  Here at The Bedford Citizen, we try to keep you informed on the day-to-day things but without any context, it might not be that helpful to a newcomer.

So, we’re trying to imagine ourselves with a house full of boxes, having just moved in.  What would we like to know?