At their July 20 meeting, the Bedford Board of Health discussed an emergency order regarding reusable bag use, heard updates from community social worker Chris Bang, discussed school start times, and planned for the expected Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) outbreak.
The Bedford Arbor Resources Committee is searching for homes with street-side locations suitable for planting a town-purchased, town-planted tree as soon as autumn 2020
Tree-lined, canopied streets add more than beauty and character to a town. They do more than make our streets safer, more than raise property values, more than contribute to a vibrant business community.
At their June 30 meeting, the School Committee amended the 2020-2021 School Calendar, conducted an evaluation of Superintendent Jon Sills, and heard an update on school reopening. The Committee also reorganized to name Dan Brosgol as Chairperson, Sarah Scoville as Vice Chairperson, and Brad Morrison as Secretary of the Board.
Every Town Meeting is called by the Select Board issuing a Warrant. That warrant is mailed to all households. The warrant informs voters where and when the meeting will be and “the subjects to be acted upon.” No action at Town Meeting is valid unless the voters are informed about what is to be acted upon.
The Warrant for Bedford’s Annual Town Meeting, originally scheduled for March 23, 2020, was issued by the Select Board in mid-February. That Warrant is what will be considered at the rescheduled Annual Town Meeting on July 11, 2020.
Since that Warrant was issued, a matter of urgency has arisen that requires the action of Town Meeting. Therefore, on Wednesday, June 10, 2020 the Select Board issued a Warrant for a Special Town Meeting to be held on July 11, 2020.
Will it be safe to hold a conventional Bedford Day parade and street fair on September 19?
If there will be a cancellation, the Select Board will decide no later than August 1.
“It’s very much on people’s radar, but is it safe? Is this the right thing to do?” said Town Manager Sarah Stanton.
Select Board Chair Ed Pierce said, “we’re in a gap period right now, but groups need to order supplies, and if we wait too long some vendors may not be able to react in time.”
Recreation Director Amy Hamilton, who with her department has coordinated Bedford Day activities for many years, said she told the town manager she could wait until August before a decision is necessary. “People sign up online, and it does not take us that long to get things organized,” she said.
At their June 16 meeting, the School Committee approved the 2020-21 school year budget, approved changes to the JGMS and BHS handbooks, and approved a two month contract for retiring Superintendent Jon Sills to assume an associate superintendent position from July 1 through August 31, 2020.
Annual Town Meeting’s streamlined warrant has been bulked up just a bit with the addition of a concurrent Special Town Meeting (STM). The Special Town Meeting will be held to address a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) agreement with biomedical company Ultragenyx. If approved, the STM would grant the Select Board the ability to negotiate the development of the TIF and to amend an existing development agreement for the site.
Among the most eagerly awaited re-openings is that of the Bedford Free Public Library, set for a ‘soft’ resumption of services during the week of June 22.
Library Director Richard Callaghan said he and his staff are working on contactless (curbside) pickup of materials. The Library is working with a vendor now on software that will be accessible from a user’s phone or desktop to make online reservations for materials. Details will be released by the end of this week. Watch for the announcement! Meantime, patrons can still call or email the Library and the staff will make a reservation for them and will continue to answer questions via email: email@example.com.
The Bedford Arbor Resources Committee (BARC) met remotely last Wednesday, June 20, 2020, to review proposed changes to tree removal plans around the parking lots of John Glenn Middle School and to discuss monitoring of gas leaks that harm trees. Chair Jaci Edwards ran the meeting. In addition to the committee, those present were DPW Director David Manugian, Facilities Director Taissir Alani, Tree Warden Dennis Freeman, and members of the engineering/architectural firm tasked with executing the project.
At the June 5 School Committee meeting, Superintendent Jon Sills, joined by Business Director Julie Kirrane, outlined budget reductions that the district will likely have to face in the FY21 School Budget due to a revenue shortfall at the state level.
The town’s health director Heidi Porter said Friday that she plans to reach out to leaders of the spontaneous local anti-racism demonstrations about the importance of practices that will mitigate the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
And Porter also emphasized that there are other public health dimensions to the protests – specifically, the mental health benefits of speaking out against the epidemic of racism.
The Town of Bedford greatly values the participation of its residents and their spirit of volunteerism and is thankful for the patience that all our boards and committees have shown during this strange time of Covid-19. We know how much board and committee volunteers enjoy serving our community, and working hard to make Bedford a better place.
There is good news for anyone who has put a haircut at the top of their wish list for when the pandemic is over. The emergency is not over, but restrictions on some personal services and other enterprises have been lifted as of May 25.
At their May 12 meeting, the Bedford School Committee approved a 3-year contract for Superintendent nominee Philip Conrad, set the last day of school for students as June 18, heard updates from current Superintendent Jon Sills, and voted not to allow students from neighboring districts to attend Bedford Schools through school choice.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Annual Town Meeting has been on many residents’ minds. Open to every voter in Bedford, the meeting will still require social distancing, a challenge for residents who have been under stay-at-home orders since March and wish to greet neighbors and friends from across town.
At the Select Board’s May 13 meeting, the Board voted to hold Annual Town Meeting on Saturday, June 27 at the High School’s Sabourin Field at 1 PM. Town Meetings are exempt from Governor Baker’s order against large gatherings as they serve as legislative bodies. Town Manager Sarah Stanton and Heidi Porter Director of Health and Human Services, among many others, have placed the highest priority on safety for both town staff and residents in attendance.
When an abbreviated annual town meeting finally convenes in late June, voters will be asked to reduce the proposed fiscal year 2021 school and municipal budgets by as much as $2.2 million in response to declining revenue.
And those cuts will be relatively easy compared to the prospects for the following fiscal year, Town Manager Sarah Stanton told members of the Select Board at their virtual meeting Wednesday afternoon.
Mental Health Awareness Month was started in the United States in 1949 by the Mental Health America organization (then known as the National Association for Mental Health). Its purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about mental illnesses, the realities of living with these conditions, and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. It also aims to draw attention to suicide, which can be precipitated by some mental illnesses.
What is mental health?
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being and contributes to our overall physical health. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
The Board of Health meeting on May 4 painted a clear picture of the extensive work being done to combat Covid-19 not just head-on, but in addressing the numerous consequences stemming from it. Director of Health and Human Services Heidi Porter, Assistant Health Director Katharine Dagle, and Community Nurse Mark Waksmonski provided detailed reports on the town’s current situation.
Rear Admiral Clarke Orzalli, USN Retired, presented the School Committee with a proclamation from Governor Charlie Baker, recognizing Bedford’s contributions to the children of military families. April was the Month of the Military Child.
The scope of planning for a hoped-for phased reopening of the Town was made clear in the Town Manager’s report to the Select Board on April 29. Every department is actively exploring how to move forward when the time is ripe.
The School Committee’s April 22 meeting focused on the district’s co-teaching model and development of a revised job description for art teachers. Superintendent Jon Sills also delivered an update on the district’s calendar revision, which is pending details from the Commonwealth’s Department of Secondary Education.