Bedford Fire Chief David Grunes congratulated Dias and Class 282, “Firefighter Charlie Dias completed an intense nine-week training program in fire behavior, firefighting equipment and control methods, hazardous materials, vehicle extrication, and additional job-specific topics. His academy class was especially challenging as it began at the end of February just as the pandemic gained traction in Massachusetts.
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.
A little over a month in, the food bank is going strong at JGMS and hoping to reach as many residents as possible. The food bank opened on March 20 to serve families of Bedford Public School students, senior citizens, vulnerable residents, and previous clients of the Bedford Food Pantry.
Bedford’s Food Bank hopes to continually increase the number of residents they are able to serve as the pandemic persists and financial burdens grow. The Food Bank is now open to more residents.
Any member of the Bedford community facing food insecurity may utilize the Food Bank. Pre-registration is not required, residents should simply follow the same directions listed below, arriving at JGMS between 1 and 3 pm on Fridays.
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 East Middlesex Mosquito Control Project will be conducting a helicopter application of the biological larvicide, Bti, to control mosquito larvae over large wetlands located in Bedford near Davis Rd. and South Rd at Town Forest. Helicopter applications will take place between April 29 and May 8.
National Library Week is being celebrated this year from April 19 through April 25. Usually, The Citizen posts a tip of the hat to the Bedford Free Public Library during the official week but Y2020 is altogether different.
We’re giving a fervent thanks to the Library staff, headed by Director Richard Callaghan, who continue to come up with innovative ideas to ease the boredom of isolating at home. We also acknowledge the support from the Town of Bedford that reflects the value our residents place on the Library and the many contributions from the Friends of the Library.
Bedford School Superintendent Jon Sills is scheduled to retire in about 10 weeks. But who’s counting?
Sills probably doesn’t have time. He is navigating the greatest challenge of his eight years at the helm: leading the transition to and implementation of remote learning necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Director of Health and Human Services Heidi Porter presented her department’s wide-ranging responses to the Covid-19 pandemic at the April 13 meeting of the Board of Health. The Board unanimously approved an amendment to the Town’s Declaration of Public Health Emergency to include regulatory citations as recommended by Town Counsel. Sarah Thompson was elected Board chair with Anita Raj as Vice-Chair.
Staying connected to support and services during the COVID-19 pandemic is critical for the millions of people who are struggling with substance use disorder (SUD) and recovery.
Social support is crucial for people trying to recover from SUD, whereas social isolation is a risk factor for relapse. Even though the social distancing measures being implemented nationwide are important for reducing disease transmission, they may be especially difficult for people in recovery because they limit access to meetings of peer-support groups or other sources of social connection.
Groups such as AA or SMART Recovery have been shown to increase members’ ability to cope with risky social contexts and negative emotions, reduce impulsivity and enhance well-being, among other positive effects.
Editor’s Note: To clarify Bedford’s statistics in the Department of Public Health’s by-town list of confirmed cases of Covid-19, Town Manager Sarah Stanton wrote this open letter late on Wednesday, April 15
Good evening –
In an effort to be transparent while being protective of resident’s privacy, The Town has been reporting out COVID-19 positive case data over the past several weeks. Late this afternoon, the Department of Public Health, and a subsequent article by the Boston Globe, reported out COVID-19 positive data by each individual city/town. Unfortunately, this data reported by the state doesn’t jive with the numbers that many communities have been reporting out for weeks. The following serves to explain how the Bedford positive case numbers are generated.
Bedford’s Select Board voted on April 15, 2020, to accept the following local option provisions of Massachusetts State Law recently enacted to help municipalities address financial challenges that residents may be facing from COVID-19, as well as extend the due date on Water/Sewer Bills.
World Autism Month is celebrated each April and includes outreach, education and autism-friendly events throughout the month to increase understanding of autism and foster worldwide support. The focus of the 2020 campaign is the Year of Kindness.
Editor’s Note: In today’s Active Cases report the case count has increased and there has been one death of a Bedford resident who was living at an out-of-town longterm care facility and passed away in the hospital. And Town Manager Sarah Stanton thanks her colleagues in the Town for their tireless efforts to ensure that Bedford residents (and businesses) are well informed and safe.
Click this link to read the Town’s full update for Friday, 10 April, 2020
At their April 1 meeting, the Select Board heard updates on the town’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, postponed Town Meeting due to the constraints of the pandemic, and discussed the organization of the Select Board for the coming year.
Editor’s Note: In today’s update, Town Manager Sarah Stanton announces that plans for Bedford’s second Summer Solstice Festival have been scrapped because, “the Covid-19 crisis may require focused attention to public health and safety well beyond stay at home orders and advisories. Social distancing measures may be required for several months.”
Click the link in the full story to read the Town’s full update for Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Bedford feels like a ghost town – which is a good thing. There are only 20 confirmed cases of Covid-19, according to the most recent report relayed by town officials from the state.
But there is also a price to pay for many people engaged in disciplined social distancing and disconnection from normal activities, events, and culture.
Professionals in government and private practice who are trained to address issues like isolation, insecurity and information overload have a handle on who is most vulnerable, and what steps can be taken to mitigate the mental health impact.
Editor’s Note: In addition to the number of current cases of coronavirus in Bedford, today’s update includes a change to Federal reporting requirements for Food Bank recipients, and teachers’ efforts to rekindle a sense of community among students in the online learning, all the while acknowledging that school closing is particularly difficult for the Class of 2020.
Click the link in the posted story to read the Town’s full update for Friday, April 3, 2020