HomeWeekend Wrap-UpService and Awards: Weekend Wrap-Up

Service and Awards: Weekend Wrap-Up

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WESTFORD — Welcome to the July 10 edition of Weekend Wrap-Up. Here, we highlight the most important news you may have missed this week in Westford.

Library renovation and expansion secures funding from provisional grant

The J.V. Fletcher Library has received a provisional grant to fund its planned renovation and expansion.

Over $50 million in funding was awarded in Library Construction Grants, with seven communities receiving grants totaling at least $5 million. Westford is fifth on the list, receiving $7,851,994.

The average grant award is 45-50% of the estimated eligible costs with the remaining cost incurred by the municipality, according to the MLBC. Recipients are expected to secure the local match in funding during the next six months.

Voters will have to approve matching funds at both Special Town Meeting in October and on the ballot in November.

What does permanent mail-in voting mean for Westford?

Permanent mail-in voting is coming to Massachusetts — but what does that mean for Westford voters?

Town Clerk Patty Dubey noted that the changes to voting procedures in 2020 allowed her team to prepare for challenges with the new regulations.

“[2020] was mostly a trial run,” she told WestfordCAT. From an admin point of view it’s a lot more obvious how this works. It just rearranges how we work.”

She clarified that registered voters will receive mail-in ballot applications if they were registered at least 60 days before an election.

“They’re sending an application where you can request a mail-in ballot,” she said. “People can request mail-in ballot but then vote in person. You just have to check with us first to confirm it [on the state database].”

Dubey did note that the new regulations provide more options for voters, while expanding and protecting existing options.

“I had people who weren’t happy with [mail-in ballots] and wanted to go to the polls. That option is still open. It’s the best of both worlds,” she said. “You can vote early in person too, which we have to set up for that. You can register at the same time you want to vote early.”

Dubey said that her office has received higher turnout with the new voting options, but remained cautiously optimistic turnout for the upcoming elections this fall.

“It was my experience with it in 2020, I got a lot of positive feedback from people,” she said. “We used it, but in the Presidential election we had way more people vote by mail than everything else. This fall will be a little more telling.”

Kimball Farm praised for ice cream sundae in new poll

A new boston.com poll ranked Kimball Farm as a top choice for ice cream sundaes in Massachusetts.

Nearly 100 people responded to the June 24 poll, and identified 27 different shops in the state where they go to get their frozen dessert. Kimball Farm ranked second among the top seven choices, with 14% of voters choosing the farm. Cabot’s Ice Cream and Restaurant won first place, receiving 30% of the total vote.

Director of Ice Cream Operations Jill Curran appreciated customers who voted for Kimball Farm.

“It’s exciting,” Curran told WestfordCAT. “We really appreciate our dedicated and loyal fans for voting for us.”

Town Manager Jodi Ross announces retirement, reflects on service

After serving Westford for over 14 years, Town Manager Jodi Ross announced her retirement in a June 28 Select Board meeting.

Ross officially retires from her position on Jan. 3, 2023.

“We could begin and go on until January 2023 and talk about all the accomplishments of Jodi over the last 14 years and all of the changes she has brought to the town,” said Select Board Chair Andrea Peraner-Sweet.

After her retirement, Ross hopes to complete and publish a number of children’s books as well as a novel she has drafted.

Westford student aims to make golf more accessible through charity, service

A local student is using his love for golf to fundraise for families struggling to afford healthcare costs at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Andrew Cao, a rising senior at Middlesex School in Concord began Greens for Dreams in 2019 as a rising freshman, which aims to use golf lessons to raise money for families in need.

“We use various golf events or fundraisers to raise money,” he told WestfordCAT. “We also partner with local businesses, all to raise money for the hospital.”

Cao founded Greens for Dreams to lower the barrier for golf as well as for his love for the environment.

“I wanted to lower the barrier of entry to golf, because as many people know it is a very expensive sport,” he said.

Greens for Dreams will be hosting its third charity tournament on Sunday, August 7 at 12:30 p.m. at Sandy Burr Country Club in Wayland.

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Ben Domaingue
Ben Domainguehttps://www.clippings.me/bendomaingue
Ben Domaingue has previously worked at newspapers in New Hampshire and is the Managing Editor covering Westford. He’s passionate about community journalism, photography and hiking. Email him at bdomaingue@westfordcat.org.