EEE, School Start Times Top BoH Agenda

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.

Annual Town Meeting 2020, Part III ~ A Special Town Meeting within the Annual Town Meeting

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 Bedford Day Take Place in Person on September 19?

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.

School Committee Confirms Y2020-21 Budget Cuts

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.

Select Board Moves Toward Annual Town Meeting

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.

Reopening Library Services ~ “Grab and Go” to Begin Next Week

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: bedmail1@minlib.net.

BARC Revisits Tree Removal at JGMS

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.

Bedford Town Hall and Department of Public Works Reopened to the Public on June 15 y Appointment Only

On Monday, June 15, Town Hall at 10 Mudge Way, and the Department of Public Works, 314 The Great Road, reopened to the public on an appointment-only basis.

Town Center Building, 12 Mudge Way will remain closed to the public until further notice. The Bedford Free Public Library looks to begin curbside book pickup the week of June 22nd. More to come!

Speaking Out at Recent Anti-Racism Demonstrations ~ An Update from the Bedford Health Director

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.

Phase One (1) Board and Committee Meetings May Resume on Zoom

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.

First Steps Toward Re-Opening Businesses in Bedford

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.

Annual Town Meeting ~ Scheduled for 1 pm on Saturday, June 27 at Sabourin Field

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.

Proposed School and Municipal Budgets will be Reduced Due to Declining Revenue

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.

Town of Bedford ~ Update on Covid-19 ~ Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Editor’s Note: In addition to today’s case count, Town Manager Sarah Stanton shared important decisions about Annual Town Meeting 2020 from this afternoon’s Select Board meeting.

Click this link in the actual story to read the Town’s full update for Wednesday, May 13, 2020

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

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.

Board of Health Provides Updates on Town’s Covid-19 Situation

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.

Town Plans Steps to Reopen Amid Uncertainty

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.

School Committee Hears Report on Co-Teaching

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.