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WESTFORD — Welcome to the July 31 edition of Weekend Wrap-Up. Here, we highlight the most important news you may have missed this week in Westford.
Westford Fire Department battles blaze on North Main Street
Firefighters battled a large blaze on North Main Street on Sunday afternoon.
The fire impacted residents at 62-68 North Main Street, with much of the rear section of the building burned.
Littleton, Tyngsborough, Ayer, Groton and the Department of Fire Services were on scene to assist Westford Fire Department.
No injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire is currently unknown.
Westford Remembers, GoFundMe fundraisers for displaced families after ‘total loss’ of North Main Street building
Westford Remembers is collecting donations on behalf of the displaced families.
One family is seeking clothing for an adult woman, elderly woman and teenage boy.
Cash donations can be sent to Westford-Remembers on Venmo. Checks and gift cards can be sent to Westford Remembers at PO Box 896 Westford, MA 01886.
A GoFundMe page was also created by Dan Kelley, second-floor resident of 62 North Main St. Kelley is seeking donations for his family to find new housing and purchase necessities. Over $2,866 has been raised so far. Donations can be made here.
“Me and Hunter Cantin have no question lost all of our personal belongings from the house fire on July 24th, me and hunter practically have lost everything we own,” Kelley wrote on GoFundMe.
He continued, “we would like to see if anybody would be will to donate to us so we can both find new living, new clothes, new electronics, new kitchen ware, etc. We don’t want to ask for much, but anything helps. We have a goal of one dollar because anything helps.”
An additional GoFundMe fundraiser was created by Will Steiner of Westford, a family friend of an impacted family. The fundraiser has raised $3,180 of its $5,000 goal as of reporting. An additional fundraiser, created by Hannah Tello of Tyngsborough, has raised $8,050 of its $11,000 goal as of reporting.
Ride/Run for Liv returns in-person after two years
After two years, Live for Liv’s annual event, Ride/Run for Liv, returned in-person for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
The event is held in honor of Jody Marchand’s daughter, Olivia for the last 12 years.
Bikers and runners raced along a scenic loop just outside the 4H fairgrounds, crossing through nearby towns and trails. Food trucks, vendors, and activities such as face painting and arts and crafts were available for attendees and their families throughout the day.
Despite high temperatures, many Westford residents and volunteers flocked to the event in support of Live for Liv.
Westford government meetings can remain remote, for now
The legislature could not reconcile both bills in time for the July 15 deadline, and a temporary measure was passed on July 16 to extend the provisions until March 31, 2023.
Multiple boards have already begun hosting in-person meetings, such as the Conservation Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals, which returned in-person in late spring of last year. The Select Board and Board of Health have continued to meet online.
Town Manager Jodi Ross expressed support for the recent extension, citing convenience as boards compete over meeting space.
“Many of our town boards are delighted the State Legislature voted to approve the Remote Meeting Extension Bill so we may retain the option to hold public meetings remotely through March 31, 2023,” she told WestfordCAT in an email. “The convenience of allowing public bodies to meet remotely has helped our approximately 80 plus boards/committees hold numerous public meetings without trying to find limited meeting rooms.”
Westford student wins national award for environmental stewardship
A Day Elementary School student has received national acclaim for a recent project at a local community garden.
Rahul Ram, a fifth grade student from Westford’s Day School received the President’s Environmental Youth Award for his work on sustainability within the garden.
The PEYA was established by the Environmental Education Act of 1970 and recognizes outstanding community-led environmental projects by youth. These projects promote awareness of natural resources and encourages positive community involvement, according to the EPA.
Westford ranked among ‘safest places’ in Massachusetts
Westford has been ranked as one of the safest towns in Massachusetts. In a report from SafeWise, Westford ranks sixth among the top 10 safest towns in Massachusetts.
The report was based on crime statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as population and demographic data to rank cities and towns. Cities and towns with less than 2,500 residents are excluded.
The report found Massachusetts residents enjoy the lowest property crime in New England. Property crime dropped 11% from last year, with 10.5 property crimes per 1,000 residents.
Statewide violent crime rates continue to drop year over year, with violent crime rates in Massachusetts at approximately 3.1 crimes per 1,000 residents.
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