In This Time of Crisis, We Can Have Faith in our Local Leaders

Jim Shaw, Publisher

Every so often the resolve of a community is tested. And, with the onslaught of COVID-19 and its potential for great danger, we can take some refuge in the profound way our town leaders have stepped up to contain the situation, and navigate through uncharted waters.

Lexington is no stranger to facing adversity. There’s a reason they call Lexington “The Birthplace of American Liberty.” And, like the citizens of our town who stood their ground on a rainy April morning in 1775, we too will come together as a community to thwart a hazard unseen in any of our lifetimes.

Being a publisher of a community paper for the past twenty-five years here in Lexington has given me a unique perch to watch how well our town is managed. Over the years, I have watched members of the Board of Selectmen—now the Lexington Select Board—manage everything from road maintenance to ensuring prudent spending of local tax revenues. But, in my lifetime, I have never experienced a situation that presents such a serious threat to our well-being as individuals, and as a community. In this unprecedented situation, our town leaders have risen to the challenge of managing the unmanageable.

As a community, we can take com¬fort in the leadership and “steady hand” of our elected boards, our senior-level town managers, all of our town employees from custodial services to public safety, and most especially—our Town Manager Jim Malloy. This group of people being guided by Malloy and Select Board chair Doug Lucente, have exemplified what it takes to manage local government and keep a community calm in the midst of a local, regional and national emergency.

Another unsung hero in this scenario is LexMedia, the company that provides local access television here in Lexington. I have witnessed the commitment of this small group of young producers led by Florence DelSanto, and their willingness to do whatever is necessary to keep the people of Lexington informed and connected to our town government.

This month in the Colonial Times, we asked writers Denise Dubé and Devin Shaw to present how COVID-19 is effecting our town, and how our town leaders are working to stave off the ill effects of the virus. Our managing editor Laurie Atwater has also pulled together information on how to stay informed throughout this crisis. As Denise points out in her article, one of the biggest challenges in managing this situation is the ever-changing nature of an event that seems to unfold on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. With state and federal mandates changing daily, combined with the heavy toll on local business and the need to temporarily halt many public services here in Lexington, our leaders are faced with extraordinary challenges. And, so far, they have managed this situation well, giving people here in Lexington a sense that we are well-positioned.

One indication of the level of seriousness of the COVID-19 situation is the out¬right canceling of Patriots Day in Lexington. This is a first in my lifetime. I have never missed a Patriots Day celebration here in Lexington. From the time that my dad would take me and my siblings to the parade as a child, to current day, Patriots Day has always been a time for me and this community to share a common sense of pride in our role in the founding of our nation. I watched Select Board chair Doug Lucente struggle to say the words, “We must cancel Patriots Day in Lexington.” Given Doug’s years of involvement in organizing Patriots Day activities, I know just how difficult it was to utter those words.

Well, Patriots Day may not be taking place as a community event in 2020, but next month in April, the Colonial Times will publish some fun articles on the history of Patriots Day in Lexington, how some of our traditions were started, and about a couple of Presidential visits marking the centennial and bicentennial of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. We will also republish some of our favorite articles and photos from previous Patriots Day festivities.
LexMedia will also run highlights of past Patriots Day activities like parades, the reenactment of the Battle of Lexington, and other favorite Patriots Day activities.

In closing, I want to extend my gratitude, and the gratitude of all of the citizens of Lexington, to our Town leaders for dedicating the time and energy required to manage such a chaotic and unprecedented situation. Your efforts are truly appreciated.
Finally, I want to personally thank all of our dedicated advertisers here at the Colonial Times. Like every other business, we have been impacted. But, I know we will come out of this stronger than ever. As a free media publication, all of our revenue is generated through advertising. So, if you like and appreciate the information brought to you each month in the Colonial Times, please thank our advertisers and support them as much as possible. We would not be here without them.
Stay safe!

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