Planning Begins for Fiscal Year 2022

As town officials begin planning for next fiscal year’s municipal budget, much of the financial landscape is hazy.

Town Finance Director Victor Garofalo and the Finance Committee last week reviewed the initial financial model for fiscal year 2022, spotlighting specific projections as well as some question marks.

The Guild for Human Services Plans a Pair of Residences in Bedford

A Concord agency has purchased two Bedford residences and hopes to begin using them as group homes for children with intellectual disabilities in December.

The Guild for Human Services will sponsor up to 14 residents, as well as adults who are on-site at all times, at 245 Concord Road and 321 Old Billerica Road.

The children currently are at the Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield, NH, which will soon close its day and residential school.

Dr. Amy Sousa, CEO of the guild, said the children will be transported in vans daily to a special education school the agency operates in an office park off Virginia Road near Hanscom Field.

Community Voices @ The Bedford Citizen: Reflections on an Executive Order

On September 22, 2020 President Trump issued Executive Order 13950 titled “Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping.”  This Executive Order followed a previous communication to all executive departments and agencies that: “It has come to the President’s attention that Executive Branch Agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date “training” government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda.”  According to the memo, “…employees from across the Executive Branch have been required to attend trainings where they are told that “virtually all White people contribute to racism or where they are required to say that they “benefit from racism.”  It appears that the Executive Order is targeting any training that suggests white privilege and unconscious racial bias are legitimate concepts that can be used to teach sensitivity about differences that may exist between one’s own and another’s experience and point of view.

Performing Arts in the Bedford Schools ~ Music and Drama in the Time of Pandemic

Performing arts teachers in the Bedford schools are relying on energy, creativity, and technology to build a meaningful academic year despite debilitating virus-imposed restrictions.

And there’s another key ingredient: collegiality.

“The Performing Arts Department works really well together and enjoys collaboration. We are very supportive of one another regularly checking in and offering moral support,” said Nicole O’Toole, program director for kindergarten through high school.

Superintendent Conrad’s Friday Update – October 23, 2020

Thank you to everyone for all of your hard work and your tireless efforts on behalf of our students! We all recognize that our success is due to the hours and hours of preparation and learning that our teachers, parents, administrators, and other school staff are spending preparing for students in person and in the hybrid model.

Our teachers are learning to instruct and instructing our students through technology simultaneously. An amazing feat when you think about the fact that they have done this in less than a year. Our families are creating positive learning environments at home too. This is without a doubt a Herculean task and I am so grateful to all of you for your efforts.

Thank you to our parents who continue to collaborate with all of us to do what is best for students. Our community efforts are inspiring. In these unprecedented times, our community has risen to the challenge. For that I am grateful.

Bedford Statistics on Mass.Gov’s Covid Map ~ October 22, 2020

Mass.Gov updates the Commonwealth’s community-level coronavirus data every Thursday and displays it for each town on a map of the state.

On the October 22 map, Bedford appears as a “yellow” or “moderate risk” community

Bedford Rotarians at Work, Removing Invasive Vines at 9/11 Memorial

A minor transformation is underway at Bedford’s Rotary September 11 Memorial Park, and you are invited to visit and enjoy the results!

The Rotary 9/11 Memorial Park, created as a place of remembrance and reflection, was initiated by the Rotary Club of Bedford following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The park is located at Springs Brook Park, on the right, just beyond the entrance gate, and is open to the public year-round.

OpEd: Write-in Candidate for State Senate, Peter G. Hill

Senator Michael Barrett is running unopposed for State Senate here in Massachusetts.  I am asking voters to write in my name Peter G. Hill for State Senate.  One asks why I would ask you to do this.

Letter to the Editor: An Open Letter to the Bedford School Committee and Superintendent Conrad

Thank you to the teachers, administration, committee members, and volunteers for the hard work and many hours it’s taken to develop our reopening plans and safely enable some form of in-person learning this fall. This letter’s intent is to share the dialogue that many concerned parents have had privately with various members of the school administration, School Committee members, and Town staff. There is a growing group of Bedford School District parents (the Facebook group Bring Bedford Back Safely currently has almost 70 members) who find remote instruction unworkable despite everyone’s best efforts. We are asking the collective decision makers in Bedford to prioritize the development of a data-driven, metrics-based plan to safely enable a return to full in-person learning. 

Superintendent’s Update ~ Positive COVID Test at BHS ~ October 21, 2020

I was informed today that a school community member (i.e., student or staff) at Bedford High School has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

One New COVID-19 Positive Case at BHS (9th case) – One case still pending Close Contacts Identified – Cases not connected to previous BHS positive cases No in-school transmission identified with positive cases to date

Dot’s Reading Room: As Local News Dies, a Pay-for-Play Network Rises in Its Place

What kinds of news stories would you expect to find in a publication called Maine Business Daily? Most likely you’d think there would be articles about local enterprises and other business coverage of interest to Downeasters.

But no! In a disturbing news story from the New York Times it appears that publications from such innocuously titled sources are really a coverup for paid political coverage. Here’s the headline: As Local News Dies, a Pay-for-Play Network Rises in Its Place

Fawn Lake Update – Dredging is Complete, Work to Begin on New Dam

As of Friday, October 16, the Dredgit crew completed the dredging operation at Fawn Lake, and removed the dewatering equipment.

The materials storage bin has been dismantled and the lawn area will be regraded, leaving a level area for a nice overlook to the lake. A total of 8,076 cubic yards of bottom sediment and 350 cubic yards of floating/submerged aquatic vegetation were removed from the site. In addition to complying with all the environmental conditions, Dredgit is also proud to report 3,060 accident-free man-hours on the project.

Looking Ahead to Bedford’s Annual Citizens’ Caucus and Town Meeting, or Not

Town Manager Sarah Stanton told the Finance Committee last week that her office is beginning to consider the wisdom of canceling the annual citizens’ caucus and postponing annual town meeting by about two months so it can take place outside.

“It’s still very early, and the Select Board and the moderator haven’t weighed in,” she stressed.

The town charter directs that town meeting begin on the third Monday in March, which “would be tough to hold indoors,” Stanton said. “The Select Board and I haven’t talked about it, but in working with the health director the informal idea is to have it potentially in May.”

Tourist in Our Town: Fox on the Field

A large fox trotted across the entire field from one side to the other, smack dab in the middle of the Bedford girls’ softball game on Monday afternoon.

Players, parents, and bystanders alike ooohed and ahhhed, but the fox paid no attention and boldly cut through, right into the game.

Perhaps he wanted to help catch in the outfield or take a swing at bat!

Superintendent’s Update ~ Positive COVID Tests at BHS ~ October 19, 2020

I was informed today that three school community members (i.e., student or staff) at Bedford High School have been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Three New COVID-19 Positive Cases at BHS ~ 6th, 7th, and 8th positive cases to date ~ Close Contacts Identified for one of the cases ~ Cases not connected to previous BHS cases Two pending cases at BHS, close contacts are under investigation

Reserve Accounts Expected to Help Offset Schools’ Covid-19 Costs

Three-and-a-half months into the fiscal year, most additional expenses for local education in response to the Covid-19 pandemic will be covered by two reserve accounts, according to the schools’ director of finance.

Julie Kirrane, finance director for the Bedford schools, presented that update to the School Committee at its meeting on Oct. 13.

Superintendent’s Update ~ Positive COVID Test at BHS ~ October 16, 2020

Today [October 16], I was informed that a school community member (i.e., student or staff) at Bedford High School has been diagnosed with a confirmed case of COVID-19. This is a separate school community member than what was reported a couple of days ago. Please note that this case is not related to any of the previous cases at BHS and is not a contact of those previous cases.

New COVID-19 Positive Case at the BHS – 5th positive case at BHS to date. No Close Contacts in Bedford Schools – Not Related to previously identified cases

Superintendent’s Update ~ Friday, October 16, 2020

Thank you for all of the continued support as we continue in our hybrid and remote learning models. I appreciate that everyone is working together to make the very best of the current situation. If you or your children are in need of support please check out the Counseling Department’s BPS Health and Wellness Website which contains a number of wonderful resources for all of us.