Announcing ‘A Moment in Time: College Life in the Time of the Pandemic’ ~ A New Series

A few years back The Bedford Citizen initiated a special column for student writers from Bedford High School and Shawsheen Valley Technical High School.  We invited students who wished to write their opinions or describe their experiences and perspectives to submit essays to us for publication under the banner “Student Voices @ The Bedford Citizen.” 

Since then, a dozen or more students have written diverse articles running the gamut from their charitable involvements to their views on gun control, hate speech to their thoughts on growing up in a small town.  Reader response has been positive and The Citizen is proud to continue to provide these young people a place to make their voices heard.

Local Veterans Share Strong Messages with BHS History Students

A panel of five military veterans in their 60s and 70s will deliver a strong Veterans Day message to Bedford High School history students this week: military service was central to the success and meaning they have found in life.

The five were interviewed on the Zoom platform by Ryan Doucette, a BHS senior and student representative to the School Committee. Doucette organized a similar Veterans Day program last year, only with in-person presentations.

The interviews were recorded and the video will be played in all the BHS history classes Thursday and Friday, Doucette said.

Elizabeth Bagdonas, Bedford’s Retired Conservation Administrator ~ An Update



About nine months ago, Elizabeth Bagdonas retired after 30 years as Bedford’s conservation administrator. Since that transition, even with the limitations of Covid-19, she hasn’t been rearranging the living room furniture. “I’m a little disoriented because I’m not a very-good goal-setter,” she chuckled. “What I really want to be doing is I want to be outside more.” She knows she will need a knee replacement to maximize that goal. Still, she is working on developing a trail system in Bolton, where she lives.

Community Voices: 13-Year-Old Civics Essay Remains Relevant

Every morning newspaper has at least one medical bulletin. A team of scientists has found a clue, a step forward, or even a breakthrough on another disease. I long for another kind of breakthrough: an immunization against the assault of cynicism on our body politic. Author’s note from Meredith McCulloch:  This article was written about thirteen years ago. Unfortunately, it continues to be relevant.I was given partial immunity in my seventh-grade civics class, and in spite of disillusioning wars and political scandals, I have never caught the disease.

Town Mulls Adding Toll Booth to Help Defray Cost of Lantern Lane Bridge

The Lantern Lane Bridge is a hit.  Since its installation over the summer, the reviews have been great. 

“It’s a nice bridge,” said one of the only known people to cross it. The bridge can be found at the end of Lantern Lane and heads directly into the swamp along the edge of Wilderness Park.   “Getting into the swamp is so much easier,” the unnamed person continued. “The old wooden bridge was fine, but this has some style that you seldom see in a swamp bridge,” he said.

When asked why he was entering the swamp, he quickly muttered “no comment” and receded into the swamp.

Bedford Artists in the Time of Pandemic

Creating art is often a solitary experience, yet most artists want and need contact with other artists. The usual forums include on-site classes, art shows, critique groups, and visits to art museums.  The coronavirus at first left many local artists alone in their studios.  As the pandemic has stretched on, though, artists have reached out to one another in creative ways.

Bedford Explained ~ A Narrow Gauge Railroad Once Connected Bedford and Billerica

We had a request.  A fan of Bedford Explained was curious about the narrow gauge railroad bed that runs from Depot Park all the way to Billerica. 

It’s a great rail-trail now, but our fan, Adam, was curious about the history. So we went right to the expert, Jim Shea.  Jim is the president of  Friends of Bedford Depot Park.  Below is the fascinating history he shared with us. 

Our “Two Footer” Was the Country’s First
By:  Jim Shea, Friends of Bedford Depot Park

Alternate Route Sought to Concord

With all the paving projects going on, one seems particularly impactful.  On Route 62, from Bedford to Concord there is an orange construction sign saying “Construction- seek alternate routes.” Which begs the question – what is the alternative?

The Suffragists Who Lived Next Door ~ The 19th Amendment in Bedford


They were called “Soapbox Suffragists.” They would arrive in a town with a wooden box to stand on, set up on a busy corner, and take turns lecturing the crowd that gathered.  Sometimes they would speak from the town common or the steps of a public building or standing in the back of an open car. Once, when she was warned out of a seaside town as a public nuisance, a speaker went down to the beach and waded out into shallow water — neutral territory — and gave her call to action from there. Sharon McDonald serves both as Bedford’s Town Historian, and as Historian for First Parish, Unitarian Universalist, on the CommonA group of suffragists came to Bedford from BESAGG – Boston Equal Suffrage Association for Good Government — one Saturday afternoon in 1909. They wanted some practice before they went on their speaking tour. “Go out to Bedford,” they were advised.

Honoring John Lewis and Reflecting on One Book One Bedford in 2017 ~ ‘The MARCH Trilogy’

Just a week ago, on Thursday, July 30, Rep. John Lewis’ funeral was held at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, GA.  The congressmen and civil rights hero died on July 17 from pancreatic cancer.  His passing and the recent focus on systemic racism and bigotry in our country, has made the 2017 One Book, One Bedford community-wide read of Lewis’ MARCH trilogy even more pertinent and meaningful.

Three events from the series of activities that year are particularly worth re-visiting.  If you did not attend them, please consider watching the videos from those talks – they pose questions that we still wrestle with, and offer possible solutions that are more important now than ever.

….and the answer is

Sports are back……yawn.   Apparently readers of The Bedford Citizen are not all that excited about professional sports being back. 

An Appreciation: Jeff Hoyland

Several Bedford High School seniors and their family members took a detour on the way home from Sunday morning’s outdoor graduation to personally salute Jeff Hoyland, whose declining health precluded his covering the event with his camera – a ubiquitous feature on the students’ landscape for several years.

And there he was at his front door, acknowledging his admirers with a wave and a flicker of the outside light.

A few hours later, he succumbed to an 11-year battle with cancer.

Hoyland, who during his illness reinvented himself into an authentic local folk hero, was 59. He is survived by his wife Randi, children Alec and Sienna, his parents, and six brothers and sisters.

His death engendered a massive outpouring of sadness, admiration and gratitude, primarily on social media, which was Hoyland’s constant communication vehicle.

Click here to read more

Covid-19 ~ When Life Gives You Lemons? Make Lemonade!

All right, there is a lot, I mean a lot of things wrong with life in our pandemic world.  Healthwise, economically, socially, and worry, are just the big ones.  There are countless other terrible aspects of all this.  I’m lucky, I know, knock on wood, but everybody in our house is healthy, and no one has lost their job

New Hands Unite in Separation

In a year of much change and turbulence, Bedford welcomes two new pastors to the community. Interim pastor The Rev. Leah Goodwin joined First Baptist Church in late May, and The Rev. Jonathan Manor became pastor at The Lutheran Church of the Savior (LCS) in mid-March. The two have been presented with unprecedented circumstances in the religious community amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

What’s Bedford Thinking? A Snap Poll ~ Reopening Houses of Worship

Here’s the second What’s Bedford Thinking snap poll, this time about reopening houses of worship.

In Phase One of Massachusetts reopening, houses of worship can open with restrictions.  Assuming your house of worship chooses to open, how likely will you be to return to services within the next month?

What’s Bedford’s Thinking?  The Bedford Citizen’s Snap Poll

There’s a lot going on.  Big issues that affect us all, both directly and indirectly. Although The Bedford Citizen is focused on Bedford news, what happens in the broader world affects us all.

For instance, what do you think about Gov. Baker’s plan for reopening Massachusetts?

That is why we are launching a weekly poll, What’s Bedford Thinking?

You’ll find the poll on the main page of The Citizen’s website, alongside every story you read on the website or after you scroll through the news or read a story on your phone.

Bedford Explained: The 1918 Influenza Epidemic

It is thought that when the influenza epidemic arrived in Massachusetts in late August of 1918, it was brought by Navy men returning from World War I. The disease felled sailors on a receiving ship docked at Commonwealth Wharf in Boston and spread to the dockyards and naval station. It began to sicken Camp Devens, in Ayer, where there were thousands of soldiers waiting to be posted to France. Inevitably, it leaped to the civilian population.