Author’s Note: I wanted to share this email that I sent to my band, Soul of Boston. It has been a devastating time for black musicians. No work and too much fear.
To the Soul of Boston:
Last night was my all-time New Year’s Eve holiday and one profound moment.
I have watched in horror as the country became polarized into Black Lives Matter vs Support The Blue. Biden said, “to heal you must remember.” I have recognized the evil forces in America and been praying for the pendulum to swing towards an honest remembrance of our country’s past evils and a reckoning of our present evils. I continue to pray for the country to understand and support the inherent worth and dignity of every person. I have been committed to this principle my whole life.
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.”
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
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.
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%.
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.
I believe some of the information Dr. Kiessling presented in her slides at the December 21 Board of Health meeting is potentially somewhat misleading, and I would like to provide what I believe is some useful additional context.
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.
ByLorraine Griecci, Bobbie Ennis, Christine Jesensky Bennett, Jennifer Stewart, Christine Smith, and David Dalrymple |
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.
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.
On Sunday 12/13 my family participated in the Holiday House Tour: Front Steps Edition, hosted by Suzanne & Company. Families from around the Bedford community transformed their front steps and yards into beautiful and creative holiday displays with festive lights and decorations. This event was organized not just to spread cheer among neighbors, but also to support my family as we face an incredibly challenging time. My husband was diagnosed with ALS back in February of 2019. Since receiving this difficult diagnosis, we have been met with uncertainty after uncertainty. Mike Rosenberg told our story in October through The Bedford Citizen.
I think we should outlaw the sale of nips in our town. Because there is so much litter and no matter how much we pick up there is just as much and most if it is nips. And littler is bad for animals and the environment and neither deserve to be polluted.
ByAlison Cservenschi, Director, Bedford Council on Aging |
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.
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:
Another day with 60,000 to 70,000 new virus cases reported, although there may be more. We are numb to this situation but the case total represents the equivalent of 3 or 4 towns the size of Bedford each day!
On Monday, September 14, 2020, I had an appointment in Massachusetts. On the way home, I stopped at Shawsheen Cemetery to pay my respects to my family, interred there; longtime residents of Bedford.
I was appalled at the condition of my family’s gravesites (12 total) at Shawsheen Cemetery. There was no grass and weeds had taken over. The graves hadn’t been weeded (pictures attached). Last Spring I made my stance well known on the Bedford site on Facebook and I wasn’t alone.
I want to thank the members of our school committee in regard to the current decisions they are faced with. This is an extremely difficult task and one that would have great consequences on all of our students, families, teachers, staff, and administration.
Thank you for acknowledging and providing families multiple options to meet their needs. Thank you for having vision, expectations, and not settling for a good enough approach by accepting the state’s LMS option. Thank you for listening to the parents’ and teachers’ concerns for a remote option that is taught by the wonderful and talented teachers within our own schools.
Sunday, July 26, marked the 30th anniversary of the ADA, the Americans with Disabilities Act. A long fought-for piece of legislation, President Bush signed what amounts to the first civil rights law for people with disabilities. Thanks to the ADA, communication systems have to be accessible to those with disabilities. Employment discrimination based on disability is illegal. New public buildings have to be built to standards that permit access to all parts of the buildings.
As a Bedford resident, I have many things to be grateful about, but the recent outdoor Annual Town Meeting has to be one of the best! I was really impressed with the care that everyone put into this unusual event. Everything seemed well thought-out and successfully executed.
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.
I would like to express my sincerest appreciation for your voice, advice, and direction during the recent school committee budget meetings. While there is a strong community voice being heard for the gifted/talented programs and 3rd-grade world language, there is an equally strong and needed voice (but not as vocal) for our struggling and at-risk students and their needed supports. As a parent that has been an advocate for these students over the past 8 years, I was relieved and proud of our leadership that stood up for these students. Unless one walks in the shoes of special education, a struggling student or an at-risk student, it is truly hard to understand how critical early interventions are to their academic, mental health, and life-long successes. These interventions are most impactful when consistent and supported throughout their days – at home, at school, and within the community. Thank you for understanding this.
I recently read the Town’s statement against the violence and brutality during the murder of George Floyd. While I am sure the town leaders were sincere, I could not help but laugh at some of the statements.
I recommend that Bedford open the high school tennis courts on a limited basis with on-site supervision to provide some exercise for our citizens. The high school facility includes a tennis backboard suitable for one player, a singles court good for two or four players from a self-quarantining group, and two doubles court which could be made available for one game each. The town could offer on-line registration or first come first served.