THIS WEEK: Curbside Yard Waste Collection ~ April 20 to 23

Bedford’s spring curbside yard waste collection begins Tuesday, April 20, and runs through Friday, April 23. Residents should place the yard waste out at the curb in tall paper bags or open barrels with no lids by 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Curbside Yard Waste Collection ~ Next Week ~ April 20-23

Bedford’s spring curbside yard waste collection begins Tuesday, April 20, and runs through Friday, April 23.

Residents should place the yard waste out at the curb in tall paper bags or open barrels with no lids by 7 a.m. Tuesday. Republic’s employees will not remove bags that are line up along a driveway.

Acceptable yard waste for curbside collection consists of leaves, pine needles, grass clippings, garden trimmings, and tree material up to one inch (1”) in diameter.

School Committee Praises Superintendent Conrad

The School Committee Tuesday took a few minutes to laud first-year Superintendent of Schools Philip Conrad for his performance.

After he spent several minutes updating the committee on progress toward professional goals for the year, committee members took turns thanking and saluting Conrad.

Considering that his tenure has been shadowed by the Covid-19 virus and all of its consequences, “I’m impressed that you have managed to get this much done,” said committee member JoAnn Santiago.

Parents Hear Bedford High School’s April 26 Reopening Plans

Bedford High School leadership is leaving no stone unturned in its preparation for full reopening planned for April 26.

But there’s only so much school officials can do to deter the spread of the coronavirus. For maximum safety, it will take “collective responsibility.”

That message was delivered during a Zoom webinar for BHS parents and caregivers Wednesday, presented by Principal Heather Galante, Assistant Principals Thomas Casey and Daniel Hudder, and Brian DeChellis of the Counseling Department.

Good News! Library Planning for Gradual Opening in May

Director Richard Callaghan outlined plans for “restricted” access to the building at Tuesday’s meeting of the Trustees of the Bedford Free Public Library.

Phase One is to make the computers, printers, and study carrels available to users, with May 13 as the target date for this service.  The Library staff is keenly aware of the need to begin providing these services to residents who may not have internet access at home. To make an appointment patrons may call the Library at 781-275-9440 and press 3 for the Reference Desk.  Patrons will also be able to email the Reference Department at bedmail1@minlib.net. The hours will likely be mornings from 10 a.m. to noon and afternoons from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Director emphasized that safety for both patrons and staff is paramount. Many staff members have not yet been vaccinated, so caution is the watchword.  Outdoor curbside pickup of Library materials, which resumed on April 5, will continue into the future.  This service has proven so popular with users that Callaghan sees it continuing even though, as the building gradually reopens, the need for it may dwindle over time.

METCO Program Director Relays Parents’ Concerns to School Committee

Several parents of Bedford METCO students are anxious that if there is a Covid-19 outbreak in a school, their children will be blamed,  program director Akil Mondesir told the School Committee Tuesday.

Particularly when the city was a hot spot, “Even with the understanding and appreciation for all of the principals and teachers, a lot of those concerns grew as the parents saw Boston numbers grow,” Mondesir reported.

He never suggested that there was actual finger-pointing. “A lot of my parents truly appreciate all the work by the administration, the School Committee, and the town. They wanted me to make sure this message is relayed to everyone. Their concerns are the same as everybody else’s.”

Tips for COVID-19 Talks with Friends & Family

COVID-19 vaccines are new, and it’s normal for people to have questions about them. The sheer amount of information and misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines can be overwhelming to anyone. You can help friends and family make an informed decision regarding their health by following the tips below.

DPW Begins Drop-Off Collection of Glass Items

The Department of Public Works is expanding its recycling program by offering Bedford residents the opportunity to drop off glass at the Compost Center at 108 Carlisle Road beginning Saturday, April 10.

Glass is being collected in a container across from the compost piles. Accepted glass items are jars, bottles, beverage glasses, and window panes. Lids and caps should be removed; windows should be removed from metal and wood frames.

Economic Development Bill ~ Its Effect on Zoning Density for MBTA Communities, and a Change to Simple Majority Zoning Votes

Recently-signed state legislation designed to expand housing opportunities presents some challenges for Bedford.

The law, which affects MBTA communities, requires a zoning district of “reasonable size” in which at least 15 housing units can be situated on an acre of land, located no more than a half-mile from a commuter rail or bus station.

The provision was part of Gov. Charlie Baker’s economic development bill, which he signed in January.

Vaccination Rates, Covid Testing, & Other Topics Discussed at Monday’s Board of Health Meeting

The director of the town’s Health and Human Services Department told the Board of Health Monday that 18 percent of Bedford residents have been fully vaccinated to protect from the Covid-19 virus.

Heidi Porter said the percentage is consistent with state and national trends. On Tuesday, Porter said the most recent report by the state Department of Public Health, as of April 1, noted that 2,831 out of 14,995 residents have been fully vaccinated – that’s 18.9 percent. She added that not all residents are eligible yet.

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety ~ Myths & Facts

Many people are becoming eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts. It is critical for all residents to have accurate vaccine information to be able to make an informed decision regarding their health.

Health Department Warns of Tick Menace

More than a year into a global pandemic, the town Health Department wants to make sure residents remember the little things.

Like ticks.

“Tick season is upon us and with the nice weather you may be spending more time in potential tick environments,” the department said in a statement this week. “Spending more time at home is leading residents in search of fresh spring air and outdoor activities.”

Talented Milton High School Football Team Wins Saturday Match-up 35-21

Bedford High School scored 38 minutes into the game, but a deep, talented Milton High School football team tallied the next five touchdowns, as the visitors emerged from their first trip to Sabourin Field with a 35-21 win Saturday afternoon.

The matchup was less than three days old, as the original opponent, Malden Catholic, had to bow out because of issues with Covid-19.

Ventilation in Schools Meets High Standards

Facilities Director Taissir Alani continues to assure the Bedford School Committee that ventilation equipment in the school is meeting the highest standards.

Alani presented contractor’s documents indicating levels of airflow in classrooms and other school spaces, comparing the designed capacity and the actual flow.

Select Board Details Personnel Moves and Hiring Practices

A public communication by retired Town Manager Richard T. Reed that implicitly criticized his successor’s supervisory and hiring practices has been refuted by Select Board members.

Reed, in a letter to The Citizen published on Thursday, called for “a public explanation given by the Selectmen of the reasons for the mass exodus in the Finance Department as well as the inconsistent recruitment practices presently in place.”

“Within a few weeks of each other in January, four members of the professional staff holding key positions within the Finance Department all resigned,” he wrote. “In my experience, this level of turnover within one department in such a short time span is highly unusual for any municipal government.”

Select Board Chair Margot Fleischman issued a brief statement Friday morning in response. “The Select Board has complete confidence in Town Manager (Sarah) Stanton and her department heads to recruit highly qualified candidates and make hiring decisions in the best interests of the town.”

The statement pointed out that “the Town Charter gives the town manager responsibility for making hiring decisions subject to the Select Board’s approval… I am sure that during his tenure, Mr. Reed would have vigorously defended his exercise of this responsibility, and it is disappointing that he has chosen to criticize his successor for doing the same.”

Recent Bedford Tragedy Puts Focus on Domestic Violence

The recent murder of a Bedford woman in York, Maine shook our community. Here is a link to the Boston Globe story: Bedford woman who was beaten died on her favorite beach in Maine —The Boston Globe, March 29, 2021

Resources Available in Bedford  include

BHS & JGMS on Track for Full-time, In-Person Learning before State’s April 28 Deadline

Bedford High School and John Glenn Middle School are on track to reopen for full-time learning before the end of April, administrators told the School Committee at its virtual meeting Tuesday. “My expectation is that we will be either on time or ahead of schedule,” said School Superintendent Philip Conrad. “Our planning committee continues to work and will come back. We will definitely beat the 28th.” April 28 is the state-imposed deadline for all public schools to reopen grades 6-8.