WESTFORD — Welcome to the March 26 edition of Weekend Wrap-Up. Here, we highlight the most important news you may have missed this week in Westford.
RESULTS: What passed and what failed at the 2023 Annual Town Meeting?
WestfordCAT tracked the results of each article at Annual Town Meeting. The official vote count may vary slightly as the Town of Westford certifies the results.
View the results here.
Voters rejected the proposal 241-162 with 403 total votes cast. Residents cited a number of concerns with the scope of the project, believing additional meeting space was unnecessary for town departments.
“This is piecemeal work,” said resident Doug Burns. “What’s wrong with all of the meeting space that we have at Westford Academy? We keep adding meeting space that doesn’t get used around the whole time.”
Resident and Finance Committee member Heather Fitzpatrick acknowledged a need for greater space but believes funding should be used on other projects that may arise in the future.
“There’s no denying that we need extra space for our town employees but after many years of delay, it only provides a solution for a few of the people in the Millenium building that need space,” she said.
She continued, “in a few short months, we will have answers from the school feasibility study, I am not privy to what those results may be, but there may be room in a school for some of this administration.”
Select Board Vice Chair Tom Clay noted the board was “disappointed” with the outcome of the vote.
“We feel there are some important town needs [to address]. We’ll have to take a step back to meet with our town partners to continue to discuss their needs.” Select Board Vice Chair Tom Clay told WestfordCAT.
A question of whether or not to create a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion for the project will still appear on the May 2 town election ballot.
Curious when Kimball Farm plans open this season? We can see on our website that it is a popular topic for Westford residents.
Kimball Farm in Westford plans to open its ice cream counter on March 30. The driving range will open shortly after, but WestfordCAT was not provided with an exact date.
A representative told WestfordCAT that all activities “should be open” by school vacation in April.
In an effort to increase transparency and accessibility to our readers, I will be hosting weekly “office hours” at the J.V. Fletcher Library.
Office hours will be hosted from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. each Wednesday, with rare exceptions due to scheduling conflicts. Changes will be announced on the prior Friday.
During these office hours, we can discuss the reporting process, chat about local events or address any questions, comments or concerns you may have with our work or methodology. No appointment is necessary.
Office hours for the following week will be publicized each week in “What’s Happening at the Library,” which is published on WestfordCAT.org every Friday. Office hours will be held in the common area on the second floor of the J.V. Fletcher Library.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, concerns or just want to connect, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the studio at 978-692-7152 x105.
The School Committee voted 4-1 during a March 13 meeting to support the ballot question. Committee member Mingquan Zheng voted against supporting the question.
“This is a little more complicated than it seems,” Zheng said. “We have to recognize history but on the other hand the way the ballot question is worded doesn’t tell the complete story.”
He continued, “I think the ballot question itself is one-sided. The story of Columbus should be told in full, like his contributions during the Age of Exploration but also the harm done to the native people in Central America to be specific.”
Zheng noted that he does not believe the question tells a fair or complete story.
“I don’t think we should undermine or underestimate contributions,” Zheng said. “I just don’t think it’s fair to blame what’s happened in the United States of America on someone who died 200 years before.”
He continued, “I think Columbus is being singled out.”
Zheng hopes the committee will follow the will of the voters, regardless of the outcome on May 2.
“The town will have a vote and we let the voters decide,” he said. “My position is we’re elected leaders of the town, we respect the vote.”
“Not a motorcycle club,” American Legion Riders present Purple Heart plaques
Riders hope to dispel misconceptions about their organization and their work. The national organization has raised millions for local, state and national charities.
“As soon as people see us on motorcycles, they think we’re a club. We’re not a club,” American Legion Riders Chapter 273 President Paul “Ghost Rider” Lewis told WestfordCAT. “When they see us on a motorcycle, we’re on a quest to raise money for a veteran or veteran organization.”
He continued, “doing this here, it helps me deal with my demons of Vietnam. For every veteran and community help, it makes us feel better.”
The family of Sgt. William J. Woitowicz says they are grateful for the community support.
“The most important thing for me is seeing Bill’s name not forgotten,” Kevin Woitowicz, William’s father, told WestfordCAT. “Whenever I’m approached by someone who wants to honor his memory, it’s a big deal for me. It brings home that people do remember and people do see his name and see what he did.”
Woitowicz’s personal decorations include a Silver Star, a Purple Heart, a Combat Action Ribbon and a Good Conduct Medal.