The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of February 22 to February 29, 2024
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

Second Draft Budget for Schools Proposes Staff Reductions, Adjustments to Class Sizes

After presenting a first draft budget for Winchendon Public Schools for Fiscal Year 2025 (academic year 2024-2025) to the School Committee and hearing their feedback, Interim Superintendent Dr. Ruthann Goguen presented a second draft with some revisions to the Board of Selectmen, School Committee and Finance Committee at the Tri-Board budget meeting on February 12 and to the School Committee again on February 15. The presentations explained at length the financial situation facing the school district in the coming year and plans for changes in staff, scheduling and services.

The second draft budget has total expenses of $21,315,140.87, representing an increase of 5.62 percent over the current year. That is a smaller percentage increase than the previous two years. After offsets, the school district would be requesting $17,861,878.73 from taxpayers.

Dr. Goguen began her presentation to the Tri-Board meeting by saying, "I am proposing a budget that I believe is fiscally responsible, transparent, and based on looking deeply at numbers and efficiencies within the school district." She emphasized that proposed staff reductions did not mean cutting programs for students. Class sizes are being adjusted upwards, and some teachers will be shared between buildings.

"The goal for me as your Interim Superintendent is to help get the district on solid ground and help be able to put some sustainability in the budget and be able to have money and funding for student programming," Dr. Goguen said. She added, "Before I go into this presentation, I will let you know that there are a high number of students that live in Winchendon that do not come to this district. We have over 90 homeschool students, and well over 100 students going to other schools." This number is voluntary school choice such as Monty Tech, Sizer School, and other districts, not out-of-district placement for special needs students, which is a separate number (currently 26).

(In an email to the Courier, Dr. Goguen stated that 114 students voluntarily attend other schools, and 10 attend Charter Schools. If these students attended Winchendon Public Schools, the district would see an increase in Chapter 70 funding, Dr. Goguen confirmed. According to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education [DESE], there are 1,219 students enrolled in the Winchendon Public Schools. By the Courier's calculation, over 15 percent of school-age children and youth in Winchendon are receiving education elsewhere than the WPS district. The district pays $799,120 in school choice tuition and $146,274 in Charter School tuition for these students.)

Dr. Goguen told the Boards that there is a new Admin Team which is working on a new district strategic plan, including a mission and vision "based in reality."

"Basically what we're trying to do is build a culture of achievement where our students are really the thinkers and doers in the classroom. And that they're engaged in their learning," Dr. Goguen said. The ongoing improvements include lots of staff training, new curriculums, better collection and analysis of student achievement data, and numerous grant applications. Improved student support includes medical and mental health support, daily "specials" (art, music, P.E.) for grades K through 8, athletic and enrichment programs at the Middle and High School, and online courses and dual enrollment at the High School.

Dr. Goguen explained that the district's challenges are staff recruitment, reconciliation of the accounting, and budgeting for limitations given what the schools receive from the town. It's important to make sure that funds are used where the funding sources intend them to be used.

Staffing changes are based in efficient scheduling of staff and realistic class sizes, Dr. Goguen explained, moving to slides displaying charts of projected enrollment, current class sizes and target class sizes. Classes in grades K through 4 are somewhat small and can be increased to around 20 to 23 students.

"High school is a little different because every class is different, but what we have seen is we have a very small high school and we have seen very small numbers of certain classes," Dr. Goguen said. "So what we want to do is be more efficient with scheduling. For example, we don't want an English 9 class on period one with six students and then period two have English 9 with four students. That should be one class. So in a deeper dive and looking at the schedule this year in high school, we did uncover that there were at least 11 classes that could have been combined to be reasonable."

The goal is to put the Middle and High Schools on the same schedule and have both teachers and classes shared more with both schools, Dr. Goguen said. The number of teachers would be reduced, but those that remained would have a more varied schedule and more teaching opportunity. "The sharing of staff for specialists--art, music, technology should be in that--would enable students to have specials, they get one special a day, specials are designed to cover the teachers' prep. And there's still an extra period with sharing the staff between the two buildings. So again, it's a fiscally responsible model without impacting the student programming."

Proposed staff reductions are, at the elementary level, 3 FTE (full time equivalent) classroom teachers, of which two are retirements; 3 FTE Specialists (Art, Music, P.E.) with the remaining Specials instructors shared between buildings; 1 FTE Kindergarten Paraprofessional; 1 FTE Counselor. At the High School level, 2 FTE teachers (English Language Arts [ELA] and History).

10 FTE positions posted for the current academic year have not been filled. Some additional positions were put into the FY2025 budget, including a full time Athletic Director for the Middle and High Schools.

Budget reductions have been made in other areas besides instructional staff, including custodial, maintenance and educational subscriptions.

There was further discussion about the various funding sources the district draws on, in addition to the main block of state Chapter 70 funds via the town. For several years, COVID emergency ESSER funding has been available; it is now discontinued. Revenue from the town's solar fields, under PILOT agreements, had been diverted for a couple of years, and the district is looking to return these to the schools. Grant money comes from a number of sources, including the state, the Robinson Broadhurst Foundation, and Murdock Trust funds. State Circuit Breaker funding assists with costs for special education services.

At the School Committee meeting on February 15, Dr. Goguen began by addressing concerns being heard from the public, parents and the School Committee about proposed reductions in staff. A number of residents and school staff had spoken during the public comments section of the meeting about proposed changes and reductions they were hearing about.

"I would like to start with just clarifying a couple things," Dr. Goguen said. "I certainly understand that there is the perception that students would not have Art, Music, P.E. and Library and Technology. Currently we share a Technology teacher between Memorial and Toy Town so students don't have Technology, they have it on an every day four day rotation. Currently we have wonderful paraprofessionals who are doing a great job with our librarian doing the library." It's very hard when the town is in financial straits and everyone has to draw from the same small pot of money. It means difficult decisions are made. The decision to have Specialists shared among the schools isn't "personal," it's a way of being fiscally responsible and sustainable, Dr. Goguen said.

"Teachers can teach 20 percent out of their content area. So that library block certainly is a very valuable block," she went on. "No one's trying to take that away from kids. No one's trying to take art or music or P.E away from our kids. And I want you to understand that that was not the mission."

Much of the discussion with the School Committee focused on the uncertainties of revenue and funding. The state budget will not be finalized until June, but the school district must approve a budget in March. Both the town and the school budgets are dealing with many unknowns. Some items, such as the solar PILOT money and funds from a long-ago Prop 2-1/2 override, have been tugged back and forth between the town and the schools in recent years. The ending of COVID emergency funding that has been available since 2020 is also a factor impacting both the town and schools now.

There will be a third draft of the school budget soon, with more adjustments. Nothing is yet final and no specific staffing decisions or cuts have been made. The final budget must be approved by the School Committee.

In an email to the Courier on Thursday, February 22, Dr. Goguen answered a few questions about details in the second draft summary budget. Some of these will be adjusted further in the next draft budget. However, Dr. Goguen explained that the high amount for Special Education Consultants was due to the district's inability to hire qualified speech and language pathologists, and having to rely on contracted services. The Murdock Academy for Success has been moved back to the High School (it was at Toy Town) and is supervised by the High School Principal, so it does not need its own Director, hence that $96K line item being zeroed out. There will be a Dean at the High School rather than an Assistant Principal.

For those who wish to look closely at the second draft budget information and discussions (bearing in mind that Ver. 3.0 is on the way), they may be found at the following links:

Superintendent's presentation slides, 2-15-2025

FY25 School Budget Summary Sheet (second draft)

Video of Superintendent Goguen's Presention to the Tri-Board Meeting, 2-12-2024 (beginning at 1:21:30 in the video)

Video of School Committee Discussion, 2-15-2024 (beginning at 1:59:15 in the video)

Residents Voice Concerns About W.L. French Landfill Capping Work on River Street

At the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday, February 12, David Watkins of Mellon Road rose to speak to the Board during the public comment period, saying that he and other residents had been placed on the agenda for the meeting and then notified that they had been removed. Mr. Watkins wanted to bring the Board's attention to concerns about the ongoing landfill capping work at the former Mabardy landfill on River Street.

As reported in the Courier three years ago ("W.L. French Announces Purchase of Winchendon Landfill" in the February 4-February 11, 2021 edition), Billerica-based company W. L. French Excavating Corporation, a site excavation and soil management firm, bought the Winchendon Landfill from the former Mabardy group with the stated intention of "performing closure activities on the landfill, including installing a permanent cap. As part of the capping project, the site has been permitted by MassDEP to accept up to 800,000 tons of COMM-97 Unlined Landfill grading and shaping materials."

On June 1, 2020, representatives of Mabardy, operating as 580 River Street LLC, appeared before the Board of Selectmen to discuss plans to close and cap the landfill, which was mandated by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Pursuant to ongoing discussions with then Town Manager Keith Hickey, Mabardy said that Mass DEP was "requiring the Mabardy group to bring all fill necessary over a two year agreement that begins when the agreement is authorized by all parties. The shape of the landfill must be consistent with engineer plans approved by the DEP. After the two year period allocated to bring in all fill, the Mabardy group will have one year to shape the landfill and place the required 2-3" covering over the landfill." Mabardy estimated 350 tons of fill, requiring 64 round trips by vehicles carrying 40 tons, would be brought in each day of operation (Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). They would pay the town one dollar for each ton of fill. Mabardy also held a $300,000 bond to restore the road.

(For more details, see the minutes of the Board of Selectmen meeting of June 1, 2020, at, beginning on page 5.)

Material began to arrive at the landfill in early January of 2021.

At the most recent BOS meeting, Mr. Watkins stated, "It's very concerning to me, that this has been going on for the length of time that it has. I was privy to some of this information. The board voted on accepting this with the previous Town Manager. And I know that was actually a difficult acceptance, there was some problems. So I believe everybody's on board with the French capping project. I know the town's making some money off of it. I think we need to end this."

Mr. Watkins referred to the upcoming hearing scheduled for February 28 before the Zoning Board of Appeals in which Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. is requesting a Special Permit Renewal and Modification "to renew the existing permit to continue the pre-existing non-conforming earth removal operation. Also request for increase of allowable hauling vehicle trips per day from 64 to 75." (The application and the Assessor's database describe the property as still being owned by 580 River Street LLC, which now appears to be an entity of W.L. French, having switched over from Mr. Mabardy in December, 2020.)

"So I have some pictures here with a picture that I took personally you know, from the roadway, public property, and it's downed trees," Mr. Watkins said. "This is recent. And this is like, large growth trees that's just laid down. Are they intending on burying these trees? I don't know." He gave the photo to Board Vice Chair Rick Ward.

Mr. Watkins continued, "I think the Board of Selectmen needs to really take a hard look at this. Have you folks driven by, anybody driven by this? It's a mountain. I know over the last three years, I have seen pictures that was not taken from public property. I really don't know where they came from, but I saw plastic buckets. I saw stuff being dumped. Once again, I'll talk with [Department of Public Works Director] Brian Croteau, I have in the past about, is there anybody overseeing this? I know the original project was halted because they were down in the water table. Now does that mean that French just keeps dumping and dumping on this water table? Is there water testing being done? This is potentially getting into the wells. I think it needs to be really looked into, certainly before they can issue any more permits."

Mr. Watkins pointed out that the citizens wishing to speak to this issue are now on the BOS agenda for February 26, only two days before the ZBA meeting of February 28. "I think that you need to rethink this," he urged. "I think it's time to wind this down. I mean, it's a mess. I don't know how to recover from it, I couldn't imagine being a homeowner looking at it, I mean, this is going straight up."

In the past couple of months, the firm doing the project (whether this is W.L. French or Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. or some other entity) has been blasting on the site, requiring notifications from the town to alert residents. The blasting has been to create more clean fill material from rock and earth on the site, Mr. Croteau told the Courier.

Board Chair Audrey LaBrie, who was joining the meeting via Zoom, said that she had spoken to Mr. Croteau and asked him to reach out to W.L. French and ask them to attend the BOS meeting on February 26 and give a full presentation on the project so far, what they intend to do if they are given the Special Permit renewal, and what their timeline is for being finished. Mr. Croteau had confirmed to Ms. LaBrie that he spoke to W.L. French and the Board expects them to be at the meeting. On Thursday, February 22, Land Use and Planning Coordinator Nicole Roberts spoke to Mr. Croteau and conveyed his confirmation to the Courier that two representatives from W.L. French will attend the February 26 meeting.

Board member Danielle LaPointe said that it appeared that the February 26 BOS meeting was listed as cancelled due to early voting for the Massachusetts primary election being set up in the Town Hall Auditorium. Mr. Ward said, "looking to me, we're going to have to uncancel it."

As of Thursday, February 22, the meeting will be held at Beals Memorial Library, 2nd floor, 50 Pleasant St., Winchendon, at 6:30 p.m.

Rikku the Siberian Husky promotes Paws for Reading
Rikku the Siberian Husky and his human, Dorothea Hasselmann, will be at the Winchendon Library on March 11 for Paws for Reading!
Photo courtesy of Beals Memorial Library

Paws for Reading at the Beals Memorial Library

Do your little readers love dogs? Then sign them up for the Winchendon library's Paws for Reading this March! Paw-ticipants will have the chance to meet a new, furry friend and enjoy the calming experience of reading to a friendly dog!

On Monday, March 11, at 3:30 p.m., Rikku the Siberian Husky will be at the Beals Memorial Library to listen to little readers in ten-minute, one-on-one sessions for an hour-long Paws for Reading program. This free program is designed to give children of all ages the opportunity to gain confidence and improve their reading skills by reading aloud to a friendly animal. Rikku and his human, Dorothea, are a certified therapy dog team with Alliance of Therapy Dogs. Your little readers are sure to have a pawsome time reading with Rikku!

Registration is required to join this program.

The Beals Memorial Library is located at 50 Pleasant Street in Winchendon. For more information or to sign up for this program, contact the library at 978-297-0300 or visit

Updates on Water Main Replacement and Whitney Pond Dam

The Courier reached out to Department of Public Works Director Brian Croteau to ask about the status of two major concerns from 2023: the main water line from Ashburnham, and the Whitney Pond Dam.

In April of 2023, the town was awarded a $9.5 million 30-year fixed rate loan from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, at 2.4 percent interest with more than 19 percent forgiveness on the loan repayment by the state (as long as conditions are met), in order to replace the main water line running from Ashburnham to Winchendon which supplies all the town's water. Mr. Croteau told the Courier that the town is "working through the paperwork with the state" and hopes to advertise for a contractor in the next couple of months, with construction work beginning in late spring. Per discussions last year, this will be an entirely new line installed adjacent to, and completely replacing, the old line.

In March of 2023, voters at the Extra Special Town Meeting on March 13 were presented with a non-binding referendum (basically a poll), and indicated a preference for the less expensive (but still costly) option for repairing the Whitney Pond Dam. This option will not raise the water level of the pond. There was some unused money in a state fund for the dam. Mr. Croteau told the Courier that the state money is being used to pay for engineering designs, and when those are complete, the town will look into grant money for the dam repairs.

Winchendon Parks & Recreation Seeking Volunteers and an Intern

Winchendon Parks & Recreation is seeking volunteers to assist with the two-day-long Wyndonshire Renaissance Faire which will transform the Winchendon Community Park (86 Ingleside Dr) on Saturday and Sunday, April 27 and 28. There are many volunteer roles, as well as openings for vendors. For complete details, and to sign up, go to

The Parks & Recreation department also has an unpaid part-time internship opportunity, which will train the intern in how to run events with a municipality. Skills learned include program coordination and social media/marketing. The internship is 10 hours per week with nights and weekends required (you must be available at the times that events happen). Application deadline is March 11. For a full job description, email or see The standard employment application is on the town website at

Subway Sidekicks Ad

Troy Laundromat

Be sure to check out our Classified and Employment Ads on the Events Page!

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Central Mass Tree

Click Here for Community Directory

Winchendon Businesses, Organizations, Services, and Government

Winchendon CAC Asks Members to Answer Survey

The Winchendon CAC has a new survey they would like their members to fill out. It's available in multiple languages and is completely anonymous. The responses will help the CAC in improving and developing its programs going forward. At the end of the survey, members can put their names into a raffle for a $50 gift card. You can find the survey at this link:

Warrant for Annual Town Meeting Open Until April 8

The 2024 Annual Town Meeting has been officially scheduled for Monday, May 20, 2024 at 7:00 p.m., to be held at the Murdock Middle High School Auditorium at 3 Memorial Dr, Winchendon.

As of Tuesday, January 23, the Warrant is open. The Town Manager's office will be accepting warrant articles through Monday, April 8, 2024 at 5:00 p.m. when the warrant will officially close.

Please feel free to contact the Town Manager's office with any questions you may have concerning this Annual Town Meeting, or about placing articles on the Warrant. 978-297-0085 ext. 5.

Applications Open for Vendor Spaces at the 2024 Fall Festival

The 8th Annual Winchendon Fall Festival, to be held on Saturday, October 12, 2024 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., is now accepting applications for vendor spaces on Central Street. Contact Nicole Roberts at or 978-297-3537 with any questions or if you wish to volunteer on the day of the event. (We always need more help!) Again, we wish to express our gratitude to everyone for their continued support of this great event.

Access the application information here:

Affordable Connectivity Program Helps Low Income Households Pay for Internet

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a new government program that helps low income households pay for broadband service and internet connected devices, and helps students succeed in the classroom and online (those students with a Federal Pell Grant are eligible) along with folks that participate in certain government assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, etc. This program is available NOW and if you qualify, you can save $30 a month off your internet service bill and a one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet or desktop computer.

The application process is simple and can be found at

If you prefer to mail in a hard copy, the application is listed below for you to print out or please stop by the Town Manager's office for a hard copy.

More information about the ACP is in the documents below.

ACP Flyer

Printable Application Form

ACP and Free School Lunch program

In Person Early Voting for the March 5, 2024 Primary Election

In-Person Early Voting will be held in the 2nd Floor Auditorium at Town Hall, 109 Front Street, Winchendon, as follows:

Saturday, February 24: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Monday, February 26: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 27: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, February 28: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 29: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

DCR Recreational Advisory: Lake Dennison Day Use Area

(Tuesday, December 12, 2023) Effective immediately and continuing until further notice, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has closed roadways within the Otter River State Forest and Lake Dennison Recreation Area in the Town of Winchendon due to flooding. Conditions are being monitored and roads will be reopened when water levels drop sufficiently.

This applies to roadways within the Otter River State Forest and Lake Dennison Rec Area in the Town of Winchendon.

The closure is effective immediately and continuing until further notice.

Winchendon Energy Program Announces New Reduced Rate

The Town of Winchendon has signed a twenty-four month contract with its current supplier, Constellation NewEnergy. Beginning with the December 2023 meter reads, the Winchendon Community Choice Power Supply Program will have a new rate of $0.14965 per kWh. For complete details and information on how to switch your electric provider, see

Winchendon Lions Want to Welcome You!

The Winchendon Lions meet at the Winchendon American Legion Post 193, 295 School St., downstairs hall, 7:00 p.m.

Meetings are on the third Tuesday of each month, September through June. Dues are used for all Administrative cost, which is why we can say "All money received through fundraisers go back to the community, eye research, or other natural disasters around the world!"

Feel free to join us and try it out. We would love to see you!

If you have any questions feel free to call Joni 978-297-2753. Please leave a message if no answer!


FY24 Senior Tax Work-Off Applications Now Available!

Once again this year, we are pleased to announce the Senior Work-Off program was approved at our Annual Town Meeting. 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 ($15.00/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 aides, 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 December 14, 2023

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 - 3 vacancies
Cultural Council - 9 vacancies
Fence Viewer and Field Driver - 1 vacancy
Historical District Commission - 2 vacancies
Library Board of Trustees - 1 vacancy
Zoning Board of Appeals - 1 alternate member 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.

For a description of each board or committee, see: (PDF).

Information Sessions for HEAL Mini-Grants in March

Are you ready to make a difference in Winchendon? We're thrilled to announce our Mini-Grant Funding Opportunity, designed to bring your innovative ideas to life! If you have a project that can uplift our community, aligns with one of our 5 Community Heart & Soul Statements, and costs $1,000 or less, we want to hear from you!

This is your chance to impact Winchendon positively! Whether it's a community garden, an art installation, or something entirely new - if it can be completed by December 31, 2024, and it resonates with our town's spirit, you could be the one to make it happen.

Residents of Winchendon, this is your call to action! Collaborate, create, and submit your proposals. Let's work together to enhance our community.

To find out more, join us at one of these information sessions:

Monday, March 4 at the Winchendon Senior Center, 52 Murdock Ave., from 6:00-7:00 p.m. (RSVP at OR Saturday, March 9 at the Winchendon CAC, 5 Summer Dr., from 10:00-11:00 a.m. (RSVP at This is your chance to dive deep into how the HEAL Mini Grants can support your community projects and initiatives.

For complete details about these grants, see

Got questions? Shaina is here to help! Contact her at for all your queries.

Let's come together to plan, learn, and grow for a healthier Winchendon. See you there!

Pull Your Nomination Papers to Run for a Town Board Now!

Nomination papers may be picked up in the Town Clerk's office in Town Hall (109 Front St.) Monday through Thursday, for those wishing to run for an open seat on a town board or committee in the Town Election on May 6, 2024. Candidates must be registered voters in the town of Winchendon, and get 35 signatures of registered Winchendon voters on their nomination paper. Papers must be turned in to the Town Clerk's office by Monday, March 18 at 5:00 p.m. All signatures will need to be certified by the Town Clerk as valid.

Available terms for elected boards are:

2 three-year terms for Board of Selectmen
2 three-year terms for School Committee
1 one-year unexpired term for School Committee
2 three-year terms for the Board of Health
1 two-year unexpired term for the Board of Health
1 five-year term for the Housing Authority

For information about what each role entails, speak to any current committee or board members, read the descriptions of the board or committee's responsibilities on the town website, or watch some of the board or committee's meetings on the Winchendon TV channel.

Do You Want a Fresh Financial Start?

Up to $500 of match funding towards a specific goal upon course completion!

For more details go to our website at

If you are interested in being considered for this program please fill out the interest form and someone will get back to you.

Informational meeting on Wednesday, November 1 from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. at the Winchendon CAC, 5 Summer Dr.

Fresh Box is Here!

Healthy Meal Kits for Local Families

The Winchendon and Gardner CACs are both recipients of the biggest coordinated local produce distribution effort our region has ever seen thanks to Growing Places. With a Local Food Purchase Assistance USDA grant administered by the MA Department of Agricultural Resources, Growing Places (GP) and regional partners have launched a year-long program distributing free boxes of produce ($40 and $50 value) weekly. GP will pack and distribute 212 boxes weekly, with 80 going to Gardner and Winchendon CACs! This equates to about 2,000 pounds of local produce JUST to Winchendon and Gardner every week! Farmers are receiving retail prices for their produce, making this a huge win for our region's food economy and our residents. To sustain this boost in the local food system, HEAL partners will work to transition box recipients to GP's SNAP/HIP-eligible home-delivered produce program. All box recipients will receive a sheet on the benefits of buying local, a recipe, SNAP/HIP information, and a CSA enrollment form.

Enjoying the Winchendon Courier Online? We love doing it, but it's a lot of work! Please consider supporting us with a small donation. We'd so appreciate it. Thanks!

Make a secure donation through PayPal
(no PayPal account required)

Make a secure donation with your credit card using Square!

You can send a check payable to:
By Light Unseen Media, LLC
325 Lakeview Dr.
Winchendon, MA 01475

If you'd like to make a donation with Venmo, send an email to and we'll send you the information.

Toy Town FYIs

Transfer Station Hours

As of December 1, 2023:
Wednesday 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m.

653 River Street
Sticker price: $75 ($25 for additional stickers)
Pay-As-You-Throw bags required
33-gallon, $4.25 per bag, 16-gallon, $2.25 per bag
2023-2024 Transfer Station sticker now on sale in Town Hall and at the Transfer Station.

2024 Dog Licenses Now Available

2024 Dog Licenses are now available in the Town Clerk's office. Please provide valid rabies certificate. Spayed and Neutered dogs are $10. Non-Spayed and Non-Neutered dogs are $20. Dog Licenses can be obtained in person, mail, drop box, and online.

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. Click the link below for information and sign-up.

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.

Report a Pothole to the DPW

You can report potholes directly to the DPW using this form on the town website:

Winchendon Town Hall & Transfer Station Now Accepting Credit/Debit Payments

We are excited to announce that the DPW, Treasurer/Collector's Office and the Transfer Station can all now accept in-person credit and debit card payments. This means next time you need to purchase or pay for:

Trash bags
Transfer station stickers
Excise bills
Tax bills
Water & Sewer bills
And more

You can pay with a credit or debit card! (subject to a convenience fee).

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.

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

Send an email to and you'll be added to the email list!