The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of January 20 to January 27, 2022
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

Winchendon Fire Department begins 2022 with Nearly $200K in Grant Awards


January of 2022 may have been a very cold month so far to start off the new year, but not at the Winchendon Fire Department as its January has been a red-hot month for confirmed grant funding awards. The WFD announces that it has received two separate grants for a combined total of of nearly $195,000.

The first grant of the year announced by the WFD for the sum of $175,904 is through the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA). Administrated by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the nearly $176K award will be applied to the purchase of a new Fire Pumper Apparatus (yet to be selected), targeted to replace the current 26 year old, 1996 model. As the heavy diesel emissions more common among older engines and equipment have been continuously linked by scientific evidence to an association between lung cancer and occupational exposure to diesel exhaust, the newer model pumper apparatus will be healthier for all persons working around the newer equipment, as well as more environmentally friendly with far lower emissions.

The equipment was observed by Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) in a June, 2021 tour of the WFD, which not only demonstrated the need to replace the apparatus for its qualifications under the DERA Act, but also aided in informing Gobi of the department's ongoing issue with finding the proper replacement parts to repair the existing apparatus in a timely manner due to its age, as well as the higher rates of in-house carcinogenic diesel emissions. As part of the DERA Act grant, the Winchendon Department of Public Works was also awarded $43,934 toward the purchase of a new front end loader, replacing a 25 year old 1997 Volvo loader.

In a press release, both Gobi, and State Representative Jon Zlotnik (D-Gardner) were pleased to announce the awarding of the grant through the DERA Act. Gobi said, "I congratulate the Town of Winchendon on these awards. Under the leadership of Chief Smith and Director Brian Croteau, these grants are well deserved." She continued, "Chief Smith and his team have been doing their best to keep an outdated fire truck in service, and Director Croteau has been struggling to even find parts for 1997 Volvo loader." Zlotnik added, "The Winchendon Fire Department and Winchendon DPW have managed to provide quality services, despite the challenges of antiquated equipment. Chief Smith has been innovative in his efforts to maintain the vehicle and keep it in service. With these funds a more appropriate truck can be brought online to respond to the needs of the community."

In the second January, 2022 grant award, the WFD is happy to also announce it has received $18,681 through the Fire Fighter Safety Grant (FFSG), and State Department of Fire Services. The grant award will assist the WFD in purchasing no less than 14 pieces of equipment.

On Wednesday, January 19, Chief Thomas Smith clarified, "We will be completing a full replacement of the Thermal Imagining Camera for Engine 3, which will provide the department with a new model which will bring everything up to current NFPA 'National Firefighter Protection Agency' and OSHA Standards." Smith added, "We will also with this grant be purchasing two RIT Packs [Rapid Intervention Teams]. These are packs which are used to go in and search for a downed firefighter, or retrieve a fire fighter who is injured inside a building. We will be placing one RIT each on both an engine, and a tower, so if something were to happen to one of the members of our team, we can do our best to go in and rescue them if needed."

Smith also announced that through the FFSG, "We will be purchasing eleven personal safety bailout kits, for all department interior firefighters to have in their interior structural gear. In the event firefighters would have to bail out a window, they would use these kits to exit the building. These should be in by June of this year, 2022." Bailout kits usually are composed of anchor hooks, nylon ropes, harnesses and more, including crash pads if desired.

In closing Chief Smith said, "I consider it a privilege to be able to announce these grants because being a Fire Chief here in Winchendon is not just enjoyable but also rewarding. The people in this town are very supportive of their fire department, and it's nice to be able to do what we can when it comes to supporting the community with obtaining additional funding to help the community."

For more information about the January 11, 2022 DERA Grant awards announcement online, visit www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-awards-2-million-in-grants-to-reduce-air-pollution-from-diesel-engines.

To learn more about the requirements of the Fire Fighter Safety Grant online and guidelines followed by the WFD to received its award, please visit https://www.mass.gov/doc/fy22-firefighter-safety-equipment-grant-notice-of-funding-opportunity/download (PDF).

Finance Committee Proposes Fiscal Policy Amendments


The Winchendon Finance Committee proposed amendments to the town's fiscal policy at the January 11, 2022 Tri-Board meeting of the FinCom, School Committee and Board of Selectmen, regarding both Reserve Accounts and Reserve Funds based on a report by the Massachusetts Division of Local Services.

FinCom Chair Tom Kane explained that the DLS report recommended the town create and adopt financial policies, and noted that "Previously in 2016, the members of the BOS then voted to adopted the policies the Finance Committee then had proposed, but failed to provide clarity and language on how the Reserve Account would be funded." Kane advised the boards in attendance that the Finance Committee, "Has made a proposal to come up with language to ensure the town fund the Reserve Accounts so they serve the purpose that the town has for them." DLS promotes sound municipal finance management practices and supports local officials by providing guidance, training, and oversight.

Under the "Stabilization Fund" Kane read a proposed language addition of, "The Town shall allocate at least 10 percent of its Free Cash to the Stabilization Fund annually whenever the balance of the fund is less than 10 percent of the Town's general operating budget." It has been the feeling of the committee for some time that the Stabilization Fund has needed a stronger position regarding a more consistent level of contributions.

Next, on behalf of the FinCom, Kane addressed the Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) Reserve Fund. Kane stated while there is currently about a $12,000 balance with a beginning contribution of only $10,000 many years ago, the current town liability to OPEB is about $30 million. Kane explained OPEB is mainly to cover what the town is expected to need to cover future retirees' health insurance costs. Kane explained that the FinCom proposed that the Town Manager would include in the General Operating Budget an allocation to the OPEB trust fund. The allocation should be equal to 5 percent of the cost of health insurance in any given year. As an example, Kane pointed out current employees' health insurance costs were about $1.5 million this year, with retirees costing $500,000. At the proposed 5 percent, the town should be contributing at least $100,000 if considering both figures, and $25,000 if only considering the current retirees' costs, to get back on track with its current $30 million in OPEB long term liability.

School Committee member Ryan Forsythe asked Kane if the proposed contribution would be enough based on how far behind the town currently is on its total current liability. After short discussion, both Kane and Forsythe agreed that while more research is needed to determine if this starting proposal is enough, something is far better than the nothing the town is currently making in contributions.

In another recommendation, the FinCom addressed the creation of a "Contractual Separations Liabilities Fund", which would cover the costs of paying for "Buyback Benefits" when town employees retire, such as unpaid earned vacation or sick time. Kane pointed out there is currently about a $300,000 liability owed to current employees when they retire who are still covered on older preexisting contractual agreements. The creation of the proposed account would prevent the town from taking large individual or multiple lump sum hits when one of more of those current employees retire. The recommendation states, "The Town will allocate $50,000 from Free Cash annually, until the total funds equal the total liability of the contractual buyouts to the Town."

The proposed policies will be placed on a Board of Selectman agenda, for a BOS vote to accept or not accept the proposed Finance Committee policy recommendations, with any potential BOS questions for the FinCom to be asked and answered at that meeting. BOS Chair Audrey LaBrie then asked Town Manager Justin Sultzbach to place it on the agenda for either the next meeting or a future meeting.

It was also announced by FinCom member and Winchendon resident Dr. Maureen Ward, a former Superintendent of Schools in New Hampshire school districts, that Ward was stepping down at the end of the current school year as Winchendon's representative to the Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School School Committee. Ward has formally served as a teacher, principal, Superintendent of Schools, Consultant, and Evaluator. Ward notified all in attendance that if anybody had interest in applying to fill the position, to please inform the town and apply for consideration. The Town of Winchendon thanks Dr. Ward for her volunteer service in that capacity.

To learn more about the Mass Division of Local Services on the internet, including but not limited to recommended municipal best practices, please visit https://www.mass.gov/orgs/division-of-local-services.

COVID Positivity Rates Continue to Surge Upward to New Record Levels for Winchendon, Surrounding Towns

For the fifth consecutive week in a row, Winchendon has continued to experience an increasing COVID positivity rate, rising from 20.00 percent positivity as of January 13, to yet another town record of 21.74 percent testing positivity rate as of the newest Massachusetts Department of Public Health report, released Thursday, January 20, 2022.

The ten town area surrounding Winchendon and south of the New Hampshire state line also realized increases with many towns also achieving new record positivity levels and the entire area now realizing a 22.9 percent positivity level across the board with between one fifth and a quarter of all people tested returning a positive result.

Locally, Ashburnham increased from 14.30 to 18.87 percent. The town of Ashby dropped slightly from 24.56 to 23.62 percent, and Westminster increased from an already dangerously high 25.94 percent, to 26.89 percent, the highest in the area. Gardner, with a population of approximately 21,000, increased dramatically from 20.72 percent positivity, to 26.05 percent. The towns of Templeton and Phillipston realized mixed results, with Templeton increasing from 20.54 to 21.34, and Phillipston decreasing only by a tiny measure, dropping from 21.20 to 20.56 percent. Athol, which shares the Athol Royalston Regional School District with Winchendon's western neighbor, Royalston, dropped slightly from last week's 25.18 percent, to 23.74, and Royalston increased from 23.30 to 25.00 percent. Hubbardston, adjacent to Gardner, increased from 18.94 to 20.97 percent.

Regarding Winchendon's vaccination status, of a Massachusetts DPH listed 10,756 residents, Winchendon continues to remain well below both the Worcester County and Commonwealth of Massachusetts vaccination averages per population, as listed on line 3,026 of the municipality by county vaccination report. As a town, Winchendon as of the Thursday, January 20, 2022 report, yields only 5,815 of is residents fully vaccinated, for just 54 percent. In the category of partially vaccinated, Winchendon again registers low at 6,618 of residents for just 61 percent receiving just one dose of a vaccine.

The Winchendon Public Schools District yields very low results, with the age group of ages 5 to 11 registering at 22 percent partially vaccinated and 12 percent fully vaccinated. The age group of 12 to 15 years registers at 43 percent partially vaccinated, and only 38 percent fully vaccinated, and those aged 16 to 19 years register as 50 percent with one dose, and 44 percent fully vaccinated, in a DPH revision of the previous week's data. All percentages can be found on lines 3019, 3020, and 3,021 of the DPH municipality by county vaccination report for Thursday, January 20, 2022.

Both local hospitals and all Massachusetts Hospitals at this time are at full capacity for COVID treatment facilities, with almost all hospitalizations continuing to be non-vaccinated persons. While vaccinations will never be full proof against infection by the virus, if one is vaccinated and becomes a "breakthrough case" the symptoms are almost guaranteed to be highly lessened and not requiring any hospitalization. As Chair of the Board of Health, I ask that if you are not already vaccinated, and are healthy enough to become vaccinated, that you consider getting vaccinated as the vast majority of current infections are of those who are not vaccinated.

In closing, please talk to your medical doctor regarding any questions you may have about vaccinations, as science has proven that biological natural immunity due to infection does not provide either the T-cell or antibody resistance provided by current vaccinations. If you have pre-existing conditions or are immunocompromised, please take all necessary precautions to protect yourself, as the Omicron variant while statistically less deadly than the Delta variant, is far more contagious and can still make a person very ill depending on their potential genetic predispositions.

Keith Kent
Chair
Board of Health
Town of Winchendon

Free at-home COVID-19 rapid tests are available for order and shipment through the United States Postal Service®. Each order will contain 4 tests. There is a limit of 1 order per residential address. Additional tests cannot be ordered regardless of the size of the household.
This effort is part of a federal program to provide free at-home COVID-19 tests with free shipping to every residential address and residential PO Box in the United States. Orders cannot be shipped outside of the United States, but we do ship to APO/FPO/DPO addresses and U.S. territories and possessions. Tests cannot be ordered for business addresses or business PO Boxes. Orders will ship free starting in late January. Tests will usually ship within 7-12 days. Click link below to order.
COVID Home Tests | USPS


To schedule a free COVID-19 vaccination, including a booster, at any time, go to www.mass.gov/covid-19-vaccine.

Help Create a Local Makerspace!

HEAL Winchendon Makerspace
In December 2021, we had a kickoff meeting with local makers and stakeholders to listen to what their aspirations and needs are.
Photo courtesy of HEAL Winchendon


f you live in Winchendon, you know that we have an abundance of dedicated entrepreneurs and small businesses that make a wide array of products, crafts, and foods. But too often the barriers of required permits, expensive equipment, and adequate space and storage prevent local entreprenuers from growing and thriving. Since H.E.A.L. Winchendon (Hope, Empower, Access, Live) began, local makers and residents have shared their dreams of having a space in town to create their products, cook food for commercial sale, utilize equipment, offer classes, and have a shared space for the community to come together to create and learn. Our Youth Changemakers are hard at work designing a Teen-Led Community Cafe for the makerspace too! In addition, our local schools are hoping to offer more skill-based classes that a community makerspace could provide a fantastic hands-on learning space for. That momentum is growing and local makers, financial experts, entrepreneurs, and interested residents are coming together to make this a reality! This is where YOU come in.

We have kicked off 2022 with a regional "tour" (virtual for now) of makerspaces in the region. We have already visited with The Franklin County Food Coorporation and CommonWealth Kitchen in Boston. In the near future, we hope to also visit the Lowell, MA and Manchester, NH Makerspaces in person (COVID permitting). The goal is to learn from them to help develop a vision and model that fits Winchendon. Then in early spring, we will begin looking at potential locations here in town.

Perhaps the most important thing we've learned so far is that the key ingredient to making a makerspace successful is resident leadership and involvement in the planning and creation. So please get involved! You can join one of our makerspace tours- sign up using this form: https://forms.gle/4tu19N1upd9Ezuxw8, or contact the H.E.A.L. Program Manager, Miranda Jennings to discuss your ideas and get involved (miranda.jennings@healwinchendon.org).

Training and guidance for creating a business plan, conducting market studies, and doing all of these site visits are possible because of the grant support through H.E.A.L. Several local financial experts and the Wachusett Business Incubator have also stepped up to offer their guidance. It is heartening to see residents and organizations working so collaboratively on this large project.

What is H.E.A.L. Winchendon? H.E.A.L. is a community coalition of organizations and folks in Winchendon working in Economic Empowerment, Healthy Food Access, and Social Inclusion to improve the health and quality of life for Winchendon residents. The Winchendon CAC, Heywood Hospital, Winchendon Public Schools, The Winchendon School, Growing Places, The Town of Winchendon, The Health Equity Network, and Three Pyramids are the organizations that serve on the Steering Committee of H.E.A.L.. For more information or to sign up to volunteer in one of many different ways visit www.healwinchendon.org

HEAL Winchendon Makerspace
Boston Commonwealth Kitchen
Photo courtesy of HEAL Winchendon
HEAL Winchendon Makerspace
Lowell Makerspace
Photo courtesy of HEAL Winchendon



Winchendon Orders Additional COVID Test Kits to Help Residents and Lower Hospital Testing Burdens

COVID test kit
One of the recently provided 2,250 Commonwealth of Massachusetts COVID-19 viral testing kits delivered to Winchendon as part of the very first initial round of Commonwealth provided tests targeted to communities and areas with the highest positivity averages in public health problematic areas. Some 2,000 testing kits similar to this are now on order as a recent purchase by the town for its residents to help lower testing burdens at local hospitals.
Photo by Keith Kent


The Town of Winchendon has ordered 2,000 COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Testing kits as part of a large block purchase agreement with five local municipalities, in an attempt to better aid local residents unable to find testing kits, as well as lower the massive testing burden at local hospitals.

Town Manager Justin Sultzbach confirms that the town of Winchendon has ordered the tests to supplement a current lack of market availability to Winchendon residents, at a cost of $10,000, or $5.00 each, far cheaper than what would normally be paid at a pharmacy or online.

A recent check of both the Walgreens and CVS websites found each retailer selling tests such as BinaxNow, QuickVue, and other single box kits of two tests each at $23.99 and up. At an average of $5.00 each in the five-town large block purchase, the town will save an average of 79 percent versus both the in-store and online market price.

Sultzbach stated that the large block purchase has been placed by the City of Gardner for delivery there, with each of the five municipalities then able to pick up their individual town purchases in Gardner. The delivery date is not confirmed at this time. Sultzbach said, "State Rep Jon Zlotnik has been assisting with the coordination efforts for the local communities to help make this happen. The intent is to make this happen as a supplement while towns are waiting for the deliveries of home tests from the federal government to come through and be delivered, which should be happening any week now."

Sultzbach added, "Heywood Hospital is at capacity dealing with infections, and the hope was if we can do anything as our part as a town to take some of the pressure off Heywood as they are not only full, but also receiving many people going there for COVID-19 testing because they either can't find a test, or can't afford one due to various reasons. So if we can do our part as a town to take some of the pressure of the hospital, anything will help until more tests come in the mail while waiting for the federal government to deliver on their promise."

According to Sultzbach, Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson confirmed the order has been placed, and that Winchendon, Gardner, Westminster, Templeton, and Athol are all jointly in the purchase program, creating volume purchase to help reduce product costs.

In closing Sultzbach said, "This having to happen is an important reminder that the COVID-19 issue has not gone away, and it continues to be an ongoing process. The town hall is trying to do everything within its power to help ease both the burden for the people in our community, and the hospital."

Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts seeks applications for Racial Equity Grant Program

FITCHBURG, Mass. - The Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts (CFNCM) is currently accepting applications for its new 2022 North Central Massachusetts Racial Equity Grant Program. The program will distribute $58,500 in grants to selected nonprofit organizations serving the 33 communities of North Central Massachusetts.

The North Central Massachusetts Racial Equity Grant Program is focused on advancing racial justice and equity in the region by providing grants to nonprofit organizations that serve and empower communities of color and address systemic and institutional racism. The program will support nonprofit organizations working to advance racial equity in North Central Massachusetts through:

  • Youth empowerment
  • Social justice
  • Awareness, education and training around implicit and explicit racial bias in employment, services and community engagement
  • Other innovative programs or approaches that serve and empower communities of color and address systemic and institutional racism
"Our intention is to promote racial equity in the region and draw attention to our new Racial Equity Endowment," said Stephen Adams, president of the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts. "Beyond the grants we are awarding this year, we hope that people and institutions with an interest in racial equity and justice will help us grow the endowment so that the investment in making North Central Massachusetts a welcoming region to all continues far into the future."

The grant application deadline is Friday, February 18, and award decisions will be announced by April 8. The Community Foundation has established an advisory committee of community members to advise on the structure and distribution of the grants.

Interested grantees can apply online at cfncm.org/nonprofits/grant-opportunities/racial-equity. Grants will range from $2,000 to $10,000. An informational session for interested grantees will be held on January 26 at 10 a.m. via Zoom at zoom.us/j/9452255403.

The Racial Equity Grant Program is made possible by Rollstone Bank & Trust, Enterprise Bank, Fidelity Bank, the Board of Trustees of the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts and The Klarman Family Foundation, which partners with the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts and other community foundations across Massachusetts to meet urgent community needs.

To contribute to the Racial Equity Endowment Fund of North Central Massachusetts, contact Linda Mack at lmack@cfncm.org or donate online at cfncm.org/donate?fn=racial-equity-and-justice-fund.

About Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts
The Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts manages charitable funds established by individuals, families, businesses and non-profit organizations. We help philanthropists invest in the communities and causes they care passionately about. For more information, visit cfncm.org.

Murdock Middle High School Band and Choir Winter Concert

The Murdock Middle High School Band and Choir will hold their previously postponed winter concert on Friday, January 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the MHS Auditorium. Admission is free, but donations are accepted at the door. All are welcome! Masks are required for entry.

Winchendon Public Schools Offers Second Vaccination Clinic

A second vaccine clinic will be offered by the WPSD on February 2, 2022 from 3:00-7:00 p.m. If interested, please click the link below and fill out the registration form to sign up for the clinic. This is open to anyone, aged 5 and up. Children do not have to be enrolled at Winchendon Public Schools. If you have any questions, please contact Mona Sergi at msergi@winchendonk12.org.

home.color.com/vaccine/register/transformativehealth?calendar=2cb026fa-02cf-4368-a958-45e72ac09106

Clark YMCA January 2022 membership offer

THE TOWN OF WINCHENDON IS HIRING!
Be sure to check out our Classified and Employment Ads on the Events Page!

Subway October 2021 Sub of the Day

Central Mass Tree

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home


Click Here for Community Directory

Winchendon Businesses, Organizations, Services, and Government


Nomination Papers for the Annual Town Election Will be Available January 10

Nomination papers for the Annual Town Election to be held on May 2, 2022 will be available starting Monday, January 10, 2022 at 8:00 a.m.

Nomination papers must be obtained and turned in on or before Monday, March 14 at 5:00 p.m.

Available Terms:

ONE 3-year term for Moderator
TWO 3-year terms for the Board of Selectmen
ONE 3-year term for the School Committee
ONE 2-year unexpired term for the School Committee
ONE 3-Year term for the Board of Health

Senior Center Hiring Van Driver

The Town of Winchendon seeks to hire a Van Driver for 25 hours per week, to work out of the Winchendon Senior Center. This person will serve as a Van Driver for transportation of the elderly and/or handicapped residents.

Duties will include (but are not limited to):

  • Driving the elderly to various destinations
  • Assisting clients who use wheelchairs, walkers, and canes
  • Maintaining the vehicle through regular cleaning
  • Maintaining Trip Logs for all activities
A more detailed description is available from the Winchendon Senior Center. Those interested should submit a resume and cover letter to:

Sheila Bettro, Director; Winchendon Senior Center, 52 Murdock Avenue, Winchendon, MA 01475.

Applications will be accepted until a suitable candidate is hired. The Town of Winchendon is and Equal Opportunity Employer.

Applications Available for Senior Tax Work-off Program

The Senior Work-Off Abatement Program is a program allowing the Town of Winchendon the opportunity to utilize the knowledge and skills of its senior residents in exchange for credit toward the resident's property tax bill. The purpose of this program is:

  • To employ qualified senior citizens who will apply their earnings toward payment of a portion of their property taxes;
  • To increase senior citizen involvement in local government; and
  • To enhance municipal service by using the skills of resident senior citizens.
Qualified and income-eligible residents will accrue the Commonwealth's minimum wage per hour ($13.50/hr) toward a maximum credit of $1,100.00 per household during the fiscal year. The criteria for this program is:
  • You must be 60 years old or older
  • Homeowner in Winchendon and occupy property
  • Annual income below $40,150 if single; or below $45,900 if married.
Applications for the program are now available in the Town Manager's office or on the town website, and will be accepted until the eight slots are filled. There are different types of positions that are available depending on the preference and qualifications of the resident and the needs of each department. Types of past and current positions have been: Custodial services, clerical help for both School & Town, library aides, Senior Center aids, cable station operator, Bike Path clean up, painting, light outdoor work and classroom volunteers. Click here for more information and a downloadable application.

Town Committee Vacancies
as of January 10, 2022


If you'd like to be an active participant in decision-making and management for your community, consider joining a town committee or board. There are a number of vacancies currently open.

Communications Committee - 1 vacancy
Cultural Council - 11 vacancies
Fence Viewer and Field Driver - 1 vacancy
Historical Commission/Historic District - 1 Alternate vacancy
Open Space Preservation Appraisal and Survey Revolving Fund Advisory Committee - 1 vacancy
Planning Board - 1 Alternate vacancy
Recreation Commission - 1 student vacancy
If you'd like more information about any of these positions or are interested in being considered for an appointment, contact the Town Manager's office at 978-297-0085, or send a letter to Town Manager, 109 Front Street Dept. 1, Winchendon MA 01475.

Complete description of each committee's responsibilities, updated for May 10, 2021 (PDF).

Would you like to be notified each week when the new Courier is online?

Send an email to editor@winchendoncourier.net and you'll be added to the email list!

Open Air Burning Season Starts January 15, 2022 and Ends May 1, 2022

Don't miss out on this whimsical time of year where you can spend time in the great outdoors becoming one with nature, all the while freeing your yards of all the unsightly winter debris.

Permits are available for purchase online (that's right you don't even have to leave the house)!

For assistance, the link below provides step-by-step instructions:
2020 Burn Permit Application Made Easy

THERE ARE 2 STEPS TO COMPLETE THE PERMIT PURCHASE:

Step 1: Pay & obtain confirmation number.
Step 2: Apply for the permit using the confirmation number as proof of payment.

www.townofwinchendon.com/fire-ems/pages/burn-permits

Residential Water and Sewer Assistance Program Opens For Winchendon Residents

The Town of Winchendon is offering a one time grant of $100.00 (water user only) or $250.00 (water and sewer user) toward your current water and sewer bill. (Commercial properties are not eligible under this program.)

Eligibility: Households who are under 80% (LMI) of the FY2021 Income Limits as determined by HUD qualify for assistance. The Income limits used to determine qualification can be found here.

Proof of income is required.

Program will run from October 4, 2021 through December 30, 2021. Applications received after that date will not be accepted.

The applicant MUST live in the residence and be the/a responsible party named on the account.

All awards will be credited to current bills. Users remain responsible for any past due payments and associated fees due to the town.

All information will be kept confidential to the extent allowed by M.G.L. Chapter 66.

Applications are available here (PDF). Questions? Contact Nicole at nroberts@townofwinchendon.com or by calling 1-978-297-3537

Funding provided by The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) Details of this program can be found here (PDF).

HEAL Winchendon Offering Financial Coaching Workshops

HEAL Winchendon, in conjunction with the Winchendon CAC, is offering a free financial coaching program to any residents who are interested. The program runs for eight weeks with a flexible schedule and is available in both English and Spanish. Coaching will be scheduled at the Winchendon CAC, 273 Central St. To enroll, fill out the form at HEAL Financial Coaching Sign-Up (Google form) or call 978-621-4524.

If You Call for Emergency Services...

...the Winchendon Fire Department asks that you let the dispatcher know if you have flu-like symptoms, are quarantined or are under self-quarantine. This will allow the first responders to take all necessary precautions to avoiding spreading COVID-19 and to protect themselves and you.

Toy Town FYIs

2022 Dog Licenses Now Available

2022 dog licenses are now available. You may purchase at the Town Clerk's office using check or cash, or you may purchase through the mail, Town Hall drop box, or online through the Town Clerk's page. The licenses will be mailed to you. Please be sure to provide a valid rabies certificate. Spayed and neutered dogs are $10.00. Non-spayed and non-neutered dogs are $20.00.

Winter Parking Ban Now in Effect

From December 1st through April 15th, it is illegal to park your motor vehicle on the streets of Winchendon between the hours of 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. This is to allow the snowplows to do their jobs in case of a snow storm. Violations may incur fees up to $50 and/or a tow.

Sign up for Code Red Emergency Alerts
Sign up for our emergency notification program today! Receive up-to-date information before, during and after an emergency in your neighborhood. You can choose to be notified via voice, text and email notifications of emergency and inclement weather alerts.

Is Your House Number Clearly Visible from the Street?
The Winchendon Fire Department reminds all residents to make sure their house number is clearly visible for first responders who may need to find you. Numbers should be at least four inches high and facing the street, with lighting if possible. Put numbers on a contrasting background so they will stand out. If your driveway is long, put the number on a mailbox or pole on the street or at the end of driveway, facing in both directions. (Reflective numbers are helpful.) Check your house numbers to make sure foliage has not grown up in front of them without your being aware of it.

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