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: 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: 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. 

Letter to the Editor: Current State, Federal and Global Guidance Supports Bedford Kids Returning to In-Person Learning in January, 2021

On December 10, Jeffrey Riley, Commissioner, Massachusetts Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), issued “emergency” amendments to Student Learning Time  (https://mailchi.mp/doe.mass.edu/commissioners-weekly-update-12-21-20-board-recap-student-learning-time-updated-quarantine-guidance#updatedquar) in response to  “…a distressing increase in the mental health challenges our students are facing.”  The amendments will be effective January 19, 2021.

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Bedford Santa Thanks its Many Volunteers

As it observed its 75th year, the 2020 Bedford Community Santa Claus Project had to resort to a different scheme due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

Planning began as usual in August.  After many individual meetings and consultations with a member of the Select Board, the Town Manager and the Bedford Board of Health, many options were discussed and discarded. 

Letter to the Editor: Question 1 was a Bigger Deal, and Victory, than You Thought

Amid the enormity of this year’s election and an exhausting four years, it’s hard to argue with political fatigue. It can also be safe to say the down-ballot from this year’s election was far from the front of our minds on election night.

Bay Staters have seen all sorts of mundane and surprisingly niche ballot measures over the years, so no one would be blamed for missing the seemingly small victory that occurred this election day in Massachusetts.

But Ballot Question 1 was a big deal. The successfully-campaigned initiative will now require manufacturers that sell vehicles with telematics systems in Massachusetts to equip them with a standardized open data platform. A mouth full, I know, but millions of dollars poured into the state from both auto manufacturers on one side and auto-parts manufacturers on the other—all for this esoteric policy.

Letter to the Editor: A Thanksgiving Thank You to American Legion Post 221

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Commander Jon O’Connor, staff and volunteers of the American Legion Post 221 who provided an alternative drive-through Thanksgiving Senior Luncheon this Sunday for the residents of Bedford.

Every year, since 1974, the American Legion, has provided this very special event that brings together our 3rd generation, veterans, volunteers, staff, and Town leadership. I am honored to have been a small part of the last 5 years and always enjoy seeing everyone spending this important time together.

Letter to the Editor: Jim Shea – Bedford Cable TV and Depot Park Pioneer

On Monday night October 26th the Bedford Select Board voted 4-1 not to reappoint Jim Shea to the Community Media Committee (formerly Bedford Cable TV Committee). That was a big disappointment for those of us who know Jim and have seen his enormous accomplishments over four decades for the Town’s cable TV system and Depot Park. Here is a brief history:

An Open Letter from Philip Conrad, Bedford Superintendent of Schools

Hi Everyone,

I am looking forward to seeing you at the Town Meeting tomorrow morning.  Please note that as I write this at 4:30 on Friday afternoon, the meeting is scheduled for Saturday, July 11, 2020, at 10:00 a.m. on Sabourin Field at BHS.