Letter to the Editor: Supporting Dan Brosgol for School Committee

I fully support Dan Brosgol as a candidate for school committee.  He is passionate about Bedford and our schools, always available to discuss questions and concerns, and has the best interests of our students at heart.  I look forward to voting for him on March 13.

As a current member of the school committee, Dan drives action towards the continuous improvement of our district.  At the beginning of October the Special Education Parent Advisory Council approached the school committee noting that our special education kids were really struggling on their home days and there was space for more students in the classrooms.  Dan had an immediate and enthusiastic response of “Let’s do this!”  As the school committee chairperson, Dan requested that the administration determine what it would take to get more special education kids into classrooms four days per week.  Four weeks later, the school committee voted unanimously to offer four days per week in school to more special education and higher need students, as well as to bring back kindergarteners four days per week.

Letter to the Editor: Supporting Mike Pulizzi for Library Trustee

During my two terms on the Board of Library Trustees, I came to know Mike Pulizzi as a conscientious and dedicated promoter of Bedford’s Public Library.  He has knowledge of the challenges and issues facing libraries in these difficult times and has done an excellent job as a Trustee in helping to guide the Library in new and interesting directions.  He has acted as Chairperson of the Board several times and is a willing assistant to the Director and staff.  As a teacher, he is especially understanding of the importance of a public library to children and teens.   

Letter to the Editor: Supporting Armen Zildjian for Planning Board

I am writing to highly recommend Armen Zildjian for membership on the Bedford Planning Board. 

I have lived in Bedford since 1968 and have, like many other long-time residents, seen the many changes in town that have occurred over the years.  These changes have sometimes brought about new business, housing and recreational opportunities to our community.  However, far too often those very same changes also resulted in unintended consequences like classroom shortages and the traffic concerns that we all share.  That is why the management of growth and change is so important for our small town.

Letter to the Editor: Supporting Chris Gittins for Planning Board

I am supporting Chris Gittins for Planning Board at the Town Election, Saturday, March 13.

I have known Chris for many years. He has consistently served in a leadership role in the community. I have observed his effectiveness as a member of the First Parish Church, the Democratic Town Committee, and the Conservation Commission. He is a good listener and seeks input from others before making decisions.

Letter to the Editor:  Supporting Margot Fleischman for Select Board

I’m honored to support Margot Fleischman for the Town of Bedford Select Board.

When my family moved to Bedford, we didn’t know a soul here. A neighbor encouraged me to contact Margot. My then middle schooler and I met with Margot at Starbucks to talk about Bedford and ask a specific question about how to start a project in support of the Middlesex Community College Food Pantry. Margot was so knowledgeable and generous with her time. She connected us to MCC and set up an email introduction with the Bedford Police Department to help store donations. She offered creative suggestions about a random small project idea we brought to her and it was because of her that it succeeded.

Letter to the Editor: Supporting Armen Zildjian, Planning Board

It is our honor to write to you today in support of Armen Zildjian for Planning Board member.

We’ve known Armen for well over ten years through our church, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church here in Bedford. Armen has always been an active participant in all the activities associated with the St Paul’s community. He has brought his style and wisdom to bear as a member of our Men’s Group, Vestry, and Stewardship committee. Armen is pragmatic in problem-solving and works to listen to all the views, engage all the stakeholders and efficiently reach a collaborative solution at all times. Armen’s willingness to take on challenges and achieve success has been demonstrated in the workplace as well. As the Sales Manager for a local company that he has brought leadership and growth to the organization.

Letter to the Editor: Supporting Catherine Van Praagh for Board of Health

We are honored and excited to endorse Catherine Van Praagh for the Bedford Board of Health. As two West Bedford friends, we have spent much of the past year following the complicated health and wellness issues in our town. We realize the challenges facing the BOH this year and believe that Catherine Van Praagh is a great choice during this important time. We will be voting for her on March 13 and encourage you to do the same.

Letter to the Editor: Skating at Fawn Lake

Skating at Fawn Lake brings me great joy. My wife calls it my happy place. In my life, and especially during this pandemic, I put a high value on opportunities to be outside, to be active, and to connect with family and friends safely. When the conditions are right, skating and playing hockey at Fawn Lake is so much fun because it has all of these things. 

So I felt compelled to comment regarding Chief Grune’s advice to stay off all ice and the state report indicating that no outdoor ice is safe.  I appreciate, Chief Grunes, your role and responsibility. I understand that you are interested in the safety of Bedford residents and your firefighters who could potentially get called in for dangerous rescues. 

I’d offer though that a deeper sense of safety comes not from eliminating all risk but from building an understanding of the risk involved and making sensible choices to mitigate the risk.  It also comes from the relationships and sense of community that you build from shared experience. Life comes with all sorts of risks but eliminating all of them does not make for much of a life. 

Community Voices @ The Bedford Citizen:  President Biden’s Action on Diversity and Inclusion Training

A few months ago we wrote a Letter to the Editor decrying the decision by the Trump Administration to bar diversity and inclusion training at federal workplaces and to also prohibit such training at the workplaces of all federal agencies and contractors.  Happily, in our opinion, this Executive Order was revoked on President Biden’s first day in office.  Biden’s revocation included the recently issued report of the former president’s “1776 Commission” promoting what has been dubbed “patriotic education.”

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: