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Around Ashland Town News

Jan 29, 2021 09:45AM ● By Cynthia Whitty

Special Town Meeting and Election for Building Projects

At the time of this writing, a special town meeting and special town election, delayed from December, are scheduled for late January. The meeting, Jan. 23, and election, Jan. 27, will ask residents to fund the Public Safety Building and Mindess School Building projects. To read the warrant and for updates and results, visit the town website, www.ashlandmass.com.

Covid-19 Vaccine Rollout

The town began distributing the FDA- and CDC-approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in three phases, a town spokesperson reported. Phase one began in December when the vaccine was distributed to health care workers and first responders and in long-term care facilities and congregate care settings.

The second phase, February to April, includes distributing the vaccine first to individuals with a high-risk for Covid-19 complications, including those with two or more comorbidities and/or who are 75 years of age or older. The second phase also includes professionals, such as teachers, transit workers, grocery employees, utility workers, food and agriculture employees, sanitation and public works employees, and public health workers. Adults 65 years and older, as well as individuals with one comorbidity, are also included in this second phase. 

Phase three runs from April to June when the vaccine is administered to the general public.

For more information, call the town’s Covid hotline, 508-532-7900, email [email protected], or visit ashlandmass.com/765/Coronavirus-2020, which is updated as new guidance is mandated by the state and on Thursdays with local case data.

State-funded Energy Efficiency Enhancements

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) awarded the Town of Ashland last September $71,021 in Green Communities grant funding. The grant funded an electric vehicle charging station at the Ashland Community Center, installed in December 2020, and energy efficiency upgrades at Town Hall, completed in January 2021. The town says the charging station is publicly accessible for electric vehicle drivers visiting the community center, Ashland State Park, or businesses along West Union Street. These Green Community projects will help meet both the Commonwealth’s Clean Energy and Climate Plan targets and the town’s goal of being a net-zero community by 2040. 

Adopt a Fire Hydrant

The Ashland Fire Department is asking residents for their assistance in maintaining accessibility to the town’s fire hydrants. During the winter, hydrants can become buried by snow. If you have a fire hydrant near your home or business, consider helping make it visible and accessible for use in an emergency. Precious seconds can be lost searching for the hydrant or removing snow to gain access to it. To adopt a fire hydrant, take a picture of yourself and your adopted fire hydrant shoveled out and email it to [email protected], post it to Facebook.com/AshlandFire, or tweet it @AshlandMAFire.

Library Director Retiring

Ashland Library director, Paula Bonetti, recently announced her retirement after a 32-year career, serving 19 years in Ashland as the director and 13 years in her hometown of Milford as the circulation librarian and circulation supervisor. Her last day will be Feb. 23. Library trustee and a member of the selection committee Carolyn Bell said, “We guessed and hoped she would be the right director for us: competent, open to all kinds of roles a small library required, and seeing the library as a community. She brought more than we even knew we wanted—kindness and respect for everyone.”

Bonetti guided the library through a major renovation and expansion, completed in 2005; the 2008 recession and job losses; new hires and strategic planning; and today’s pandemic. Trustee Carol Ambacher recalled: “From the get-go I watched Paula cope with the daily running of a library-in-waiting and the overwhelming decisions that had to be made about the new building. Amazingly in control of all the pieces, she led the many players—staff, board, Friends, and Building Committee—through the transition to a library for the future.”

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