Letter to the Editor: Supporting Armen Zildjian, Planning Board

It is our honor to write to you today in support of Armen Zildjian for Planning Board member.

We’ve known Armen for well over ten years through our church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church here in Bedford. Armen has always been an active participant in all the activities associated with the St Paul’s community. He has brought his style and wisdom to bear as a member of our Men’s Group, Vestry, and Stewardship committee. Armen is pragmatic in problem-solving and works to listen to all the views, engage all the stakeholders and efficiently reach a collaborative solution at all times. Armen’s willingness to take on challenges and achieve success has been demonstrated in the workplace as well. As the Sales Manager for a local company that he has brought leadership and growth to the organization.

Letter to the Editor: Supporting Margot Fleischman for Select Board

Experienced. Dedicated. Fiscally Responsible. Ally & Advocate. Change Agent.  Worthy of Your Vote.

We are writing to express our support of Margot Fleischman for re-election to a fourth term as a Bedford Select Board member, and we encourage you to join us.

Letter to the Editor: Supporting Catherine Van Praagh for Board of Health

We are honored and excited to endorse Catherine Van Praagh for the Bedford Board of Health. As two West Bedford friends, we have spent much of the past year following the complicated health and wellness issues in our town. We realize the challenges facing the BOH this year and believe that Catherine Van Praagh is a great choice during this important time. We will be voting for her on March 13 and encourage you to do the same.

Letter to the Editor: Supporting Fahad Alden for Library Trustee

I am writing this letter in support of Fahad Alden for Bedford Free Public Library trustee. Fahad is a Senior at Bedford High School.

Fahad is a student that stands out among his peers for his maturity, tenacity, optimism and desire to make a difference. I have known Fahad for the past four years and can speak to his maturity and tenacity. Fahad created a student-led book club at the high school and encouraged all students to join. He is a welcoming and open-minded young man, eager to hear the concerns of those around him.

Letter to the Editor: Skating at Fawn Lake

Skating at Fawn Lake brings me great joy. My wife calls it my happy place. In my life, and especially during this pandemic, I put a high value on opportunities to be outside, to be active, and to connect with family and friends safely. When the conditions are right, skating and playing hockey at Fawn Lake is so much fun because it has all of these things. 

So I felt compelled to comment regarding Chief Grune’s advice to stay off all ice and the state report indicating that no outdoor ice is safe.  I appreciate, Chief Grunes, your role and responsibility. I understand that you are interested in the safety of Bedford residents and your firefighters who could potentially get called in for dangerous rescues. 

I’d offer though that a deeper sense of safety comes not from eliminating all risk but from building an understanding of the risk involved and making sensible choices to mitigate the risk.  It also comes from the relationships and sense of community that you build from shared experience. Life comes with all sorts of risks but eliminating all of them does not make for much of a life. 

Letter to the Editor: Volunteer Coordinating Committee Seeks Appointees for Open Board and Committee Positions

The Town of Bedford has many volunteers on Town Committees who donate their time and knowledge.  A number of those committees are looking for new volunteers to lend their enthusiasm and interest to the town to ensure that Bedford remains the special place that it is.  While we have excellent town employees, we cannot express how important it is for town residents to contribute their voices to the functioning of the Town of Bedford.

Community Voices @ The Bedford Citizen:  President Biden’s Action on Diversity and Inclusion Training

A few months ago we wrote a Letter to the Editor decrying the decision by the Trump Administration to bar diversity and inclusion training at federal workplaces and to also prohibit such training at the workplaces of all federal agencies and contractors.  Happily, in our opinion, this Executive Order was revoked on President Biden’s first day in office.  Biden’s revocation included the recently issued report of the former president’s “1776 Commission” promoting what has been dubbed “patriotic education.”

Letter to the Editor: Supporting Maureen Richichi for Board of Health

I was very pleased to read that my friend, Maureen Richichi, announced her candidacy to be a member of the Bedford Board of Health recently in the Bedford Citizen.

Over the last 30 years or so, our families have shared many dinners, holidays, camping trips, bike outings, and one special book club.  But the first time I met Maureen was when she (and Ronnie Gould) spearheaded the community building of a new playground, initially the Tot Lot and now the Center Playground. Many families were involved in all stages of construction. So many have fond memories of how it truly does take a village to build something we can all be proud of.

Letter to the Editor: Regarding the Question of Distancing among Children in Bedford Schools

At the Board of Health meetings on Dec. 12, 2020, and Jan. 4, 2021, the idea of reducing distancing among children in classrooms was discussed.  I would like to address that question.

First, the assertion was made that “There are no published studies on the value of three-foot distancing, rather than six-foot distancing, for children.”

What has been published is that children are perfectly efficient carriers of SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.  They do sometimes get sick from it, but they are more than capable of transmitting it to others, including their families and friends.

I will now address the two problems with reducing distances from six feet to three. They are: that virus-laden aerosols travel even farther than six feet, and that increasing the occupancy in a room increases danger.

Letter to the Editor: Bedford TV Remembers Ann Seamans

On January 12th, we bid farewell to one of Bedford TV’s most beloved members, Ann Seamans.

Ann was a volunteer at Bedford TV for 15 years. She started in January 2006 when she stopped in to borrow a video camera to record her daughter Heather’s life. Former Bedford TV Executive Director, Greg Dolan remembered, “She was incredibly dedicated to telling the story of her daughter, Heather, and I was honored to be able to help her however I could.  In working with her I was able to see how special the bond that they shared was and that project was one of the highlights of my time at Bedford TV.”

Letter to the Editor: New Support for In-Person Learning from United Nations and Brown University School of Public Health

Thank you to Bill Knox, Abigail Hafer, Anne Caron, Dave Caron, Clare Shawcross, Andrew Van Praagh, and Catherine Van Praagh for reaching out with published references relating to statements I have made at BoH meetings about fully opening Bedford schools.  I have been enormously frustrated by the lack of public dialogue — and review of published, peer-reviewed data — in the decisions being made for the hundreds of Bedford school children being deprived of the in-person education we all value so highly.  

Relative to my statement:  “Schools can stay open perfectly safely in communities with very high COVID numbers ” new evidence was reported in yesterday’s Globe report about Massachusetts budgeting millions of dollars for SARS-CoV-2 testing in schools:  “The effort follows the lead of a handful of districts, including Watertown, Wellesley, and Salem, which have been routinely testing students and staff since the fall.  Watertown has administered more than 6,400 tests, which as of Thursday had uncovered nine positive cases among students and five among staff.  That’s very few cases in a community where the two-week positivity rate is 5.1 percent, putting the community in the red.”   This information not only supports my view that surveillance testing is the best, and probably most cost-effective, safety approach for schools to take, it highlights the now global experience that schools are not fueling the pandemic, and education of children should receive the high priority it deserves

Letter to the Editor: Further Comment Regarding the Board of Health Meeting on January 4, 2021

Jan. 8, 2021—During the Board of Health meeting on January 4, 2021, in the section to discuss social distancing and the criteria for school closings and classroom quarantining, Dr. Ann Kiessling asserted multiple times that the level of COVID-19 in the local community should not be a consideration in the decision, stating that “those guidelines are gone” and that they “were in the spring”. She made this position very clear in the following statement: “One point I want to make really strongly here. It’s the guidance that community, the incidence of positive cases in the community should guide whether the school closes or not, that guidance is over. Schools can stay open perfectly safely in communities with very high COVID numbers.”

We find this statement to be at odds with the information that we can find from numerous resources, which still strongly assert that the levels of community transmission are a key indicator that should be considered in this decision.

Letter to the Editor: A Call for Participatory Local Government

We have been inundated and consumed with the politics of our democracy at the national level for the last year or more. But what of the local level? Former MA Congressman and Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neil, famously said “All politics is local.” By extension, if our democracy is to thrive at the national level, it must also thrive at the local level.

Bedford’s “Open Town Meeting” form of government, is a “direct democracy” – every resident registered voter has a say and vote at Town Meeting. While we rightly take great pride in this tradition, it does not afford the individual voting resident much power or influence regarding the direction and creation of town policy. That work is done well in advance of discussions that take place on Town Meeting floor – in committees and board meetings throughout the year – when the greatest impact can be had.

Letter to the Editor: Preferential Treatment for Some Americans is Denied to Others

Like all Americans, I was disheartened by today’s events at the Capitol. As a Black American, I was deeply disturbed by what can only be viewed as the preferential treatment reserved for some Americans and denied to others.

This past summer, peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters arrived in the District and were met by a battalion of police and military determined to protect the city, the government, and the people from these savage marauders. I remember those protestors—Black, White, old and young, but mostly peaceful—being bulldozed along by police in full-body armor as they were peppered with teargas and shot with rubber bullets so that that man could lumber across Lafayette Park to St. John’s Episcopal Church holding someone else’s bible. As I recall, there was absolutely no possibility that they might breach Capitol Hill thanks to the phalanx of armed police installed around its perimeter.

Letter to the Editor: Not Seeking Another Planning Board Term

I am writing as a follow up to the announcement I made at the Planning Board’s December 15, 2020 meeting to inform residents that I have decided to not seek another term on the Planning Board.

My decision is based on a personal need to find more time to devote to my growing family, my career, and other personal interests. Considering the projects currently on the horizon will require even more of the board’s time to properly vet, I believe it would be unfair to my fellow board members and residents that I would not be able to give it 100%.

Letter to the Editor: A Word from Members of the Bedford Interfaith Clergy Network

Jan. 8, 2021—Like many of you, we watched Wednesday’s events unfold in Washington DC with hearts full of sadness, anger, and deep concern.  We accept that public protests of strongly felt grievances can at times become disorderly and chaotic.  But what can never be tolerated in civil society is the use of violence to threaten, intimidate, or disrupt the functioning and continuity of elected representatives doing the People’s business. That is not protest.  That is an effort to undermine the very sources of our common liberty: our Constitution and those sworn to uphold it on our behalf.  We condemn such violence in no uncertain terms.

Our prayers today are with all those who live and work in our nation’s capital.  We give thanks for those who helped restore safety and order, allowing our representatives to continue their work on all of our behalf.  We pray for the recovery of those injured in body, mind, or spirit.  We mourn for those who have died.  We commend this nation to God in our prayers in the coming days. 

A Message of Deep Concern from The Bedford Citizen

Although The Bedford Citizen does not ordinarily comment on events happening outside of Bedford, we, the Editorial Committee, feel compelled to express our shock and dismay at the threat to our democracy witnessed at the US Capitol yesterday.

Whatever your political views, and we respect and acknowledge a range of opinions among our readers, we hope you will join with us in condemning the mob violence that threatens our democratic institutions.  How can we teach our children to uphold the rule of law when the very heart of our government was held hostage yesterday?

Letter to the Editor: Regarding Recent Important Board of Health Issues

We wanted to address an issue that has surfaced at the last three Board of Health meetings.
 
We stress that these comments are not meant to distract from the important agenda items before the Board of Health this evening [Jan. 4]. The hope is that these comments result in the Chair and the impacted Board member working directly and collegially with Town Counsel between now and the next meeting to resolve the “Testing” conflict issue that has surfaced at the last three meetings.