Weekly Town Manager Newsletter

Dear Ashland Residents & Friends

Thank you to all of the voters who attended both the Special Town Meeting and the Special Town Election and favorably voted for both the Public Safety Building and Mindess School Building projects!

When we started the discussions about both of these projects, we didn't anticipate them being on the ballot together. Thanks to both obstacles and opportunities, that plan was thrown out the window. We knew there were risks in putting them on the ballot at the same time. Although we have made great strides in the relationship between our schools and municipal organization, this had the potential to split that relationship apart if both failed or one failed and the other passed. That was my biggest fear going into today.

But Ashland proved that those fears were wholly unfounded. 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐚 𝐝𝐞𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐲.
Thank you to all the Ashland voters that rallied around these projects, and didn't think of them as school or police/fire facilities, but 𝐓𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐀𝐬𝐡𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝 facilities. The work that you put in, the social media posts, text chains, and phone calls were instrumental in today's results.

Thank you to our two building committees, chaired by Paul Kendall and Joe Magnani, for their hard work throughout this process. Paul not only helped with the data and information for the Mindess School but the Public Safety Building as well.
And thank you to all of today's staff and volunteers. It was seamless.

To our police, fire, teachers, and school personnel both past and present who have had to work in substandard conditions for years, we are one step closer to showing you the respect that you deserve. Our schools, children and our first responders will now have facilities that reflect the pride that we have in our communities. Thank you again.

I also want to give a special thanks to all who made Special Town Meeting a success. Unless you work in local government, it's hard to comprehend just how unique and innovative this Town Meeting was. In the 400+ years of New England Town Meeting, I'm not sure if any had been run this way. Town Moderator Adam Shuster deserves our thanks and credit for conceptualizing this Town Meeting. I also wanted to thank Paul Carpenter, Jon Murray, Tara Ward, Cindy Livingstone, Ed Burman, Jenn Ball, and the many others who helped make this meeting a success.

Finally, I wanted to take a moment to let everyone know I share in their frustration with the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. The fact is that Ashland, like many communities, are waiting for answers and approvals from state officials before we can move forward. Sgt. Ed Burman, our Board of Health, and our Senior Center are working diligently to obtain concrete info from the state and trying to obtain vaccines. Please reach out to the community center or email us at covid19@ashlandmass.com and we will try to answer your questions. More information can be found below.

Thank you,

Michael Herbert
Town Manager

Special Town Meeting &
Special Election Recap
Ashland Voters attended both Special Town Meeting and Special Town Election and favorably voted for both the Public Safety Building and Mindess School Building projects!

Special Town Election Unofficial Results
1- Public Safety Building Project: 1557 yes, 205 no
2- Mindess School Building Project: 1542 yes, 219 no

View the unofficial results here
Latest COVID-19 Updates
COVID-19 Vaccine in MA

Right now, the State of MA offers vaccines for all eligible priority groups in the initial first phase.

Phase 2, begins next week, on February 1st with individuals 75 and older, followed by the individuals 65+ and individuals with 2+ comorbidities, eligible professionals, and individuals with 1 comorbidity. If you meet the criteria for Phase 2, you are able to book your appointments now.

Eligible for the vaccine- Find a location, book your appointment, and fill out your attestation form HERE. Appointments are based on the number of vaccines at the given location. At the state vaccination sites, appointment slots will be posted on Thursdays for the following week. For the smaller locations, check the websites frequently for appointment availability.
Local Cases in Ashland
The following information as of January 28, 2021
Local Confirmed Cases in Ashland = 1012

Ashland has 1012 positive confirmed cases for COVID-19 with 908 cleared cases, 160 probable cases, and 143 The Ashland Board of Health team and volunteer nurses are diligently working to keep our community safe at this time.

Click to enlarge image
Click to enlarge image
Massachusetts Data
Global Data
Local Information
Ashland Public Library Hours

Open for browsing (30 min) and computer use (45 min)
Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:00 a.m- 6:00 p.m.

Curbside Pickup hours:
Monday – Thursday 11:00 a.m. -6:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Everyone entering the library will be required to properly wear a mask and sanitize their hands upon entering. Masks are available if you need one. Staff will gladly pull items to be picked up curbside for anyone who cannot wear a mask for medical reasons. Curbside pickup will also be available, weather permitting, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

If you plan to come into the Library, please note that the entrance (Concord Street side) will remain locked and you will be required to call the library at 508-881-0134 ext. 2 for the adult area and ext. 5 for the Children’s Room when you arrive in the parking lot. You will be:
  • asked health-related questions about Covid 19 symptoms and personal or household exposure within the past two weeks.
  • asked for contact information for the Town of Ashland’s contact tracing needs.
  • advised of time you will be allowed in the library (30 minutes for browsing/per day in the adult or children’s area, photocopying, and 45 minutes for computer use/per day)
  • You may be asked to wait if the library has reached capacity. Please note that only one family will be allowed in the Children’s Room at a time.

Visit the library's website for more information here
Local Taxes Upcoming Deadlines
Real Estate & Personal Property Taxes due this upcoming Monday, February 1, 2021

Please note that taxes can be paid online using the town's website. If you would like to drop off your payment, we have a payment drop box located at the exit onto Main Street at Town Hall.

Learn more at the Treasurer/ Collector webpage here
Ashland Senior Center Writing Contest
January 25, 2021- March 10, 2021

Ashland Senior Center hosts a short story contest! Click the picture to view the full flyer.

First prize- The winner receives 2 free Monday Grab-n-Go lunches and their story will be beautifully illustrated and printed as a gift edition. Second Prize- The winner will receive one free Monday Grab-n-go Lunch.

Stories must be 2,000 - 2,500 words in length. Email your entries to Ana, avladimirov@ashlandmass.com as an attachment to the email, submit your hard copy can be submitted with a cover page with the title of the work, the author's name, telephone number. You can drop off the hard copy of the story to the Senior Center, or mailed to 162 W. Union St.

Contact Ana Vladimirov for more information, or to participate in this program:
508-532-7955 or email, avladimirov@ashlandmass.com
Upcoming Meetings & Events
Visit the Town of Ashland Website Calendar for committee meetings and agendas

Visit the Town of Ashland Event Calendar for upcoming events
Surviving to Thriving: Supporting your Family's Stress, Sadness, and Loss through mindfulness
February 8th at 9:30 am and 6:30 pm

DAET, Ashland Public Schools, and the Ashland Human Services Department are excited to welcome back Linda Price, M.Ed., CAGS, on Monday, February 8th, for two virtual presentations (9:30 AM and 6:30 PM) of Surviving to Thriving: Supporting your Family's Stress, Sadness, and Loss through mindfulness. The pandemic has amplified our need to redefine health and recognize areas that need attention. Linda will teach parents/caregivers strategies and techniques for supporting yourself & your family today and beyond this challenging year.

Shout Outs!
Ashland Public Library's long-time director, Paula Bonetti, plans her retirement

It's with mixed emotions that I have to announce the retirement of our Library Director, Paula Bonetti. Paula first became Ashland Public Library's Director in the early 2000s, just before the State picked Ashland for its competitive building project program. Paula navigated the expansion of the library building and economic downturns. She maintained positive relationships with both the Trustees of the Ashland Public Library and Friends of the Ashland Public Library board members throughout her 19 years of service. We will miss the positive and welcoming environment Paula created at our public library, and we will miss her influence on the community. We wish you a very happy retirement!
Local Business Information
Shop Local Ashland!

Don't forget to support our Ashland businesses! This pandemic is making it so difficult for our favorite places to stay open and provide with goods and food we love to have in our own backyard. If you are a regular diner or if you want to treat yourself to dinner out this week, please choose Ashland! Our restaurants and business owners need your help- pick up your favorite meal or family-style dinners to go, purchase gift cards, and leave positive reviews on social media. During these difficult times, think ASHLAND! Support all of the business owners who have supported our community groups throughout the years.

Click below for a quick list of shopping and dining options!

Updates from Economic Development
The Economic Development Department put together resources to help business owners establish a location in Ashland, maintain their business, and help reopen their establishment in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

To see a full list of possible grants and loans available to you visit the Economic Development Page of the town website:

Read the latest newsletter from Beth Reynolds,
Ashland's Economic Development Director's newsletter here
Stay informed with the Town of Ashland