The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of March 30 to April 6, 2023
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

Winchendon PD Assist in Corraling Totally Out of Control Driver

According to the Ashburnham Police Department, on Thursday, March 30, at approximately 8:00 a.m., a vehicle [described by some witnesses as a black Dodge Ram pickup truck] failed to stop for Winchendon police and headed through town and down Rte 140 at a high rate of speed. Local residents reported on social media that police had closed southbound lanes on 140 and were putting down spiked stop sticks. The vehicle disregarded Winchendon and Ashburnham cruisers and turned onto 101 north, heading for Ashburnham center.

Ashburnham police stated, "The vehicle traveled onto School Street [Ashburnham], which is a dead end Road on the Cushing Academy campus. Due to the fact that the vehicle could not exit the area, the vehicle traveled on a sidewalk between two buildings and entered the playing fields at Cushing. Several people had to flee sidewalks and field areas during this time. The truck then exited the fields where it returned to Center Street at the intersection of Willard Rd. The vehicle, unable to make a right turn onto Willard Rd, continued straight down a private residential driveway and into the woods where it became stuck. During the attempt to stop, the suspect vehicle attempted to strike several Ashburnham Police Units and did strike a Winchendon Police Unit."

The driver barricaded himself in his truck and refused to cooperate with officers. The Massachusetts State Police Patrol, Negotiation and STOP teams responded to the scene. At around 9:45 a.m. the suspect was placed in custody, and transported by Ashburnham Fire Department to an emergency medical facility for evaluation.

Ashburnham PD stated, "No injuries were sustained by the suspect, pedestrians or Police involved," which is amazing.

The driver was suspected of possibly being involved with an unarmed robbery in Fitzwilliam (possibly a Dunkin' Donuts) and was fleeing that location. Ashburnham PD asks that anyone with information or videos of this incident to contact Det. Les Holgerson at

How much damage was sustained by the Winchendon cruiser that was struck is unknown.

Ashburnham PD thanks "the many agencies involved which included, Winchendon, Gardner, Westminster, Ashburnham DPW, Ashburnham Fire, and teams from the Massachusetts State Police STOP and Negotiation Teams."

Bull Spit Brewing Moves Forward with Plans for Summer Season

Although work on the property and building at 4 Summer Drive is still in progress, Bull Spit Brewing Company appeared before the Board of Selectmen on Monday, March 27 to jump through several more hoops allowing them to use the premises for outdoor entertainment and general business through the coming summer and fall. After operating the outdoor "Pop-up Bull Yard" on Central Street in the summer and fall of 2021 (in the space now occupied by the new Walmart store), Bull Spit offered music and beverages outdoors at 4 Summer Drive during September and October of 2022. This year they plan to expand their offerings with their own food truck. Jim Hunt of Bull Spit came before the Board seeking a Common Victualler License (to sell food), a Mobile Food Vendor Permit (for their food truck) and a 7-Day Entertainment Permit (for music performances). The permits were for Thursdays through Sundays.

Asked about a proposed start date, Mr. Hunt told the Board, "We are going for licensing next month. So we're hoping in May, I would hope sometime in May we get it back from the state and are good to go. And then we usually run through as far as we can. So sometimes we made it to mid-November."

Selectman Barbara Anderson said, "I'm just trying to anticipate maybe some problems with noise being right on the water. It'll carry, I'm assuming, and should there be any complaints, there's not a whole lot of neighbors near you which is fortunate, but it will go across the water pretty easily."

Mr. Hunt replied, "We operated last year out there with our live music on Saturdays and Sundays and we don't anticipate having live music on Thursdays or Fridays in the immediate, we're gonna stick with our Saturdays and Sundays. We did much better I think in that location, noise-wise than we did when we were on Central Street. We didn't get nearly the amount of concerns about noise or noise traveling. We ended up having a great relationship with a lot of our neighbors down there." He assured the Board that they would be in touch with the Town Manager and Police department so any concerns would be addressed promptly.

With regard to the Food Truck, Mr. Hunt said he had been in touch with Health Inspector James Abare "and he gave me a punch list of things to get done and we're working on getting those and this is one of those items we had to do." For their food truck, which they operated in Lancaster in 2020, Mr. Hunt said, "We used a lot of our meats from our farm which was nice. So a lot of grass-fed options. We had a nice pork taco that was very successful. Of course our eight ounce hamburger or grass-fed burger was a massive hit. Our pulled pork sandwich is nice, but we also are going to do some farm-made meatballs that are big success, our meatball subs are really good...we're looking at some other creative ideas to have on there, something different outside of what you can get in town already, is kind of the thought process there."

Asked whether this food truck would be moving around to other locations, the Board was told the truck will almost entirely be parked right at Summer Drive. "I think we did commit to moving it for Fall Fest and then possibly the Food Truck Fest but those are the only other two commitments in town that we've had other than that it's going to be at our location," Mr. Hunt said.

Recreation Director Tiffany Newton added that she handles the permits for any large events and makes sure that individual vendors have gotten their licenses and permits from the Health Inspector as needed, so the individual vendors don't have to come before the Board of Selectmen for every event.

The Entertainment permit application led to some discussion about times and the balance between what was too early and what was too late. The entertainment permit listed Friday, Saturday and Sunday for outdoor music. Mr. Hunt explained, "In the past we've done 5:00 to 8:00 on Saturdays last year. We were hoping to work with the Police Department to bump that to 6:00 to 9:00 this year. And Sundays we will stick with around 2:00 to 5:00, mid-afternoon time. And if we did something on Friday, and we don't have any immediate plans for that, it would fall in that same Saturday timeframe."

Mr. Hunt said that they'd like the music to stop about an hour before closing so people have time to finish their food and beverages and leave without a rush or a crush. If they started too early, people were still at work or finishing dinner. On summer nights, people might like to stay out later enjoying the music. Town Manager Justin Sultzbach put in that eventually Bull Spit would have a taproom open in the building and people could go inside after outdoor activities ended.

The Board agreed to approve all three permits, and to approve the Entertainment permit without specifying absolute times. Board Chair Audrey Labrie said, "I think [Bull Spit] showed us last year that they're very, very conscientious about how the townspeople feel about things and the hours and the noise and such like that. I'm fine with play it by ear." Ms. Anderson added, "I feel like we need to give you every opportunity to be successful that we can, and by limiting it too much, we're encroaching on that."

With the permits approved, Mr. Sultzbach introduced the proposal for a one-year lease of the 4 Summer Drive property to Bull Spit so they could continue their operations there. "Part of the issue that we are running into, I think collectively, is that remediation is still ongoing," he explained. "That did go to bid, it came out about $100,000 over. So we have applied for an additional $100,000 to address that. But in order to get us between where we presently are and where we want to be, we need something kind of inbetween to bridge us. So that's the intention of this short-term lease, is to just formalize a document that will allow Bull Spit to continue operating there in such a way that will protect the interests of all parties involved."

No motion from the Board was needed immediately, Mr. Sultzbach said. The lease would dissolve and terminate when the property was formally turned over to Bull Spit.

Town Manager Updates BOS on Old Murdock, Beech Street Projects

At their meeting on Monday, March 27, the Board of Selectmen heard updates from Town Manager Justin Sultzbach about several ongoing projects in town.

Phase One bid documents for work on the Old Murdock Senior Center were released on March 22. Sealed bids are due by Thursday, April 6 at 2:00 p.m. Andy Barr, the architect from Russo Barr Associates who is working with the town, will appear at the Board's meeting on Monday, April 10 to review the bid responses. "Hopefully we'll have a low qualified bid in hand at that time, and he will walk you all through the nitty gritty of the scope of work that we're going to be doing in Phase One," Mr. Sultzbach said. "We don't have a set schedule on construction yet because it's partly dependent on the selected low bidder's availability. Also the availability of materials and the other staging requirements. So we are, with that set, anticipating work to begin as early as May but no later than June, and to be wrapped up before we go into the winter."

Mr. Sultzbach continued, "Ultimately, it's going to be about just shy of a million dollars in construction cost repairs. The remainder is spent on soft costs. So that includes the OPM [Operations Project Manager], the architect all of these drawings and bid documents as well as the temporary repairs that we did in late fall early winter of last year."

The scope of Phase One will include repointing, repairing and replacing masonry all around the higher parts of the building--the most visible problems now wrapped up in tarp. "What will follow after is some more substantial replacement of the slate roof and the last phase is going to be window replacement," Mr. Sultzbach said. "It may not be an actual full blown, like take all the windows out. But it could be the installation of storm windows or something like that on the exterior to help cut down so you'd save on energy costs as well. But that's something that we'll be developing out in the next year or two."

Selectman Barbara Anderson asked if the town was still seeking additional grant monies. Mr. Sultzbach replied yes, but "it's slim pickings for this type of project." The town will continue to work with the Robinson Broadhurst Foundation. The Mass Historic Preservation Fund typically caps its construction grants at $50,000. The town would have to "get creative" in seeking ways to pay for these projects.

"So structurally, it is a rock solid building, by all accounts that's what we've heard," Mr. Sultzbach assured the Board. "And I think it's slightly deceiving. We actually had one gentleman call about a year ago in a panic when the tarp had blown off and he saw the structure underneath. And he was of the impression that the entire tower was going to fall off. The substructure is fine. Within reason. It's a very old building, but it's strong and what people are seeing fall off is a facade. It's decorative, it effectively hangs on to the structure, so I think that's important to highlight.

"But we'll continue to look at the building. It has come up in some conversations about the possibility of doing some type of building survey to maybe try to identify the best future use. Obviously, it's the home of the Council on Aging, but I think making this type of investment in that structure. I think inevitably that's a conversation that comes up so I would anticipate that to maybe come forward shortly."

With regard to the Beech Street projects, Mr. Sultzbach said, "We are going through the necessary Conservation Commission procedures to initiate the demolition of the Beech Street garage. Thank you to Mr. Croteau for the work that he's been putting into that. And we're on track for our goal to have that structure down in the early spring. Realistically it would be pulling it down to the foundation and then potentially addressing the foundation itself with grant funds or doing that work in house but charging it back to the cost of the project."

The sale of the two-unit house next to the garage had fallen through, but the town has entered into a new purchase and sale agreement which hopefully with be finalized, Mr. Sultzbach told the Board.

Arts Review

2023 MHS Tournament of Plays Serves Up a Four-Pack of Fun

Tournament of Plays casts
The casts and directors of all four Tournament of Plays shows wait for Tournament Director Stephanie Rondeau to announce the award winners on closing night.
Photo by Inanna Arthen

The Murdock High School Classes of 2023, '24, '25 and '26 presented their entries in the annual competitive Morton E. Converse Tournament of Plays on Friday and Saturday, March 24 and 25. The judges based their deliberations on both nights' performances, and awards were presented at the conclusion of Saturday's show. The decisions couldn't have been easy--all four classes did an energetic, enthusiastic and highly entertaining job, despite having about a month to rehearse and prepare following the production of the MHS musical.

Each class chooses a contemporary one-act play to produce, usually with a comic or humorous tone, and accommodating a good-size cast to allow as much participation as possible. Although the cast members of each play gave their all to their parts, not all the plays were equally deserving of their talent. Plays were presented in a different order each evening.

The senior class of 2023 presented "Container of Sharks!" by Don Zolidis, directed by Kristi Iannacone. This short play riffs on the TV show Shark Tank (and a little bit on its predecessor, The Apprentice). A series of hopeful entrepreneurs come onstage to pitch their business ideas before a panel of billionaire investors...and one actual shark. If they convince the panel to back them, they'll get start-up money; if they don't, they'll be eaten alive--literally.

Onstage for the entire 35 minutes were Donovan Whitaker as The Voice, (who emceed the interviews and between entries, napped or read a giant newspaper), Brook Zabik as icy businesswoman Ramina Mountjoy, Jason Vivieros as Vispan Jack (an Elon Musk/Jeff Bezos style tech bro) and Dylan Monette as Yagtar, a hungry shark. Cast members Camille Hart, Tiana Graessle, Abigail Guerra, Yang Yu Chen, Angelina Dellasanta and Calvin Tenney each played dual or even triple roles as the dozen aspiring entrepreneurs--all of whom have lots and lots of issues. Some of the interviewees came on in pairs and some individually.

The actors had a lot of fun with the entrepreneurs, who had emotional meltdowns over their grandmothers' cookies, outright fights, and almost killed their partners with inventions like a snore suppressor (if you don't breathe, you can't snore!). One adoring couple proposed a device to record their wedding day and replay it every single day for their rest of their lives. It's not surprising that the panel decided to fund an invention that can destroy any annoyance with an orbiting space laser (a certain radius of inaccuracy applies).

While the cast was great, and the costumes very creative, this was the weakest of the texts--playwright Zolidis' work is derivative to the point of rip-off, too quickly outdated as parody, and the long procession of entrepreneurs starts to drag.

The junior class of 2024 presented "A Cut Above the Rest" by Claire Demmer, directed by Candace Frye. This short play has fun with a "Who's on First" style gag, with one character really named John Smith and three more using "John Smith" as an alias. The characters have assembled for the funeral of a wealthy 80-something lady, but not everyone has the same motive for attending--a priceless diamond necklace is in play.

Mark Quinn and Patrick Bouchard gave a nice Abbott-and-Costello vibe to the two jewel thieves, Snake/not-really-John Smith and Harry/not-really-John Smith, crashing the funeral. Alex Leblanc and Colin Rowe (really John Smith) were the pseudonymous cops aiming to prevent larceny. All four alternated between searching the house and lying to suspicious guests. McKenzie Lafreniere and Alyssa Belliveau played the bereaved sisters of the deceased. The family's female attorney, described in the script as a "vamp" who hits on one of the thieves, was played with elan by Steven Gauthier, in a long spangled gown, red wig and full beard. Jeff Alisauskas played Rev. Waters in a robe, stole and gray wig.

This play had one of the more elaborate sets, with chairs, tables, plates of cake, art work on stands, a lectern and a casket. The cast, who were all onstage for most or all of the play, did a very good job staying in character and keeping ongoing "business" in motion continuously--miming conversation, eating, moving around, etc.--while speaking characters interacted individually in various pairs. This is not easy to do!

The sophomore class of 2025 got a bit film noirish with "Death of a Dead Guy" by William L. Bowman, Jr., directed by Kelly Fitzpatrick. In the posh Bascombe home, circa 1940s, a high-strung maid discovers her boss, Reginald Bascombe III, slumped over his desk with an enormous knife sticking out of his back. While the unruffled butler attempts to contact the police for sudden widow Mrs. Bascomb, in walks Pete Cannon, "the meanest, roughest, toughest, ace private eye in the business" to helpfully inform everyone "ya got a stiff in yer library." From there, everyone is trying to solve the crime--or has there been one?

This work had the smallest cast list, with just six characters (one of them mostly dead). The leading role of Pete Cannon was shared by two actors, Jayden Lindsey and Bradley Wightman, with Bradley playing the part on Saturday, complete with trench coat and fedora. Madison Scortico was bedecked in a dinner gown and pearls as Mrs. Bascombe, Quinn Richards wore a tux and the appropriate gravitas as butler Bertram, Aria Cantor shrieked well as the maid, Collette, and Madelyn Santos vamped around the stage as the possible suspect Toots, even with handcuffs on. Wiley McKay played the murder victim, who still reacted to events onstage despite being a corpse. The costumes were period and detailed, and the set included tables, chairs, a telephone, two standing mini flats representing windows, and the Desk of Death.

The actors did a good job but were a little harder to understand than the other three casts, making the dialogue harder to follow. The text, true to its source material, is wordy, heavy on tough-guy dialect and has less action, other than the entrances and exits. It's a cute take-off on film noir but a little dated. Wiley McKay had the final line in the play, but on Saturday it was drowned out by the audience applauding the exit of the non-dead characters.

The freshman class of 2026 concluded the Tournament with "Bad Auditions by Bad Actors" by Ian McWethy, directed by Kevin Robertson. This play was the best written of the four, and is the shorter of two versions--it's also a running actors' in-joke, although just as funny for the audience. A stressed-out casting director for a community theatre, and her assistant, hold open auditions for the leading roles in Romeo and Juliet. What seems like a slam-dunk turns into a parade of artistic license, including an actress who arrives with her acting coach, another with her agent demanding Skittles in the dressing room, a method actor, an angry Brando clone, one who says he never knows what to do with his hands, and an actor who comes in wearing a dinosaur costume.

Autumn Oyola played the tightly wound casting director with a combination of incredulity and despair, while Connor Tribou played her down-to-earth assistant, Roger. Abigail Paton, Romeo Medeiros and Kaya Stinehart all played dual roles, and the rest of the hopeful thespians were played by Shannon Connolly (hysterical as the baseball-capped, whistle-blowing acting coach), Jack Varca, Sophia Boisvert and Liam Egan in the dinosaur suit.

This play had the simplest set of the four, consisting of only the table and chairs the auditioners (and briefly, the acting coach) sit at, but there was a lot of movement, some of it quite vigorous. The method actor came in whipping a sword and speaking in Elizabethan patois, while another would-be Romeo assumed the production would be modernized like "the diCaprio version" and bounded around firing a mimed gun. Director Kevin Robertson told the Courier that the freshmen had a late start with their play and had to pull it together even faster than the rest of the casts. You'd never have guessed!

Backing up the casts and directors were their crews, who (among other things) coordinated getting each play's set into place in the pitch dark, following luminous taped marks on the stage, in one to two minutes. The Class of 2023 crew was Rickelle Divoll-Tieu and Karen Vongchairueng, the Class of 2024 crew was Alexyss Brown, the class of 2025 crew was Ian Hart on lights and sound, Cody Beauvais-Michaud on props and costumes, and the class of 2026 crew was Kylieann Brown and Brendan Girouard.

After about fifteen minutes of deliberation, the casts and crews of all four plays were called onstage for the announcement of the nominees and awards by Tournament Director Stephanie Rondeau, who opened actual envelopes, just like the Oscars, and teased the students by pretending to forget about the Best Play Award. Without teasing, the nominees and winners appear below. Small trophies, certificates and one big trophy were given out.

Founded in a speech contest sponsored by Winchendon toy manufacturer Morton E. Converse in 1938 or 1939, and running as a one-act play class competition since 1941, Murdock's annual Morton E. Converse Tournament of Plays is the longest-running one-act play festival in Massachusetts.

2023 Nominees and Winners

Most Entertaining Performer

from the freshmen class - Liam Egan as "Edmond" (the Dinosaur), Romeo Medeiros as both "Joe" and "Amy"
From the sophomore class - Wiley MacKay as "the dead guy"
From the junior class - Colin Rowe as "John Smith"
From the senior class - Angelina Dellasanta as "Joyce" and "Jordan", Dylan Monette as Yagtar the shark

Senior Angelina Dellasanta, Freshman Romeo Medeiros

Best performer in a supporting role:

Freshmen - Abigail Paton as "Melissa" and "Charlize", Kaya Stinehart as "Martin" and the "Agent"
Sophomores - Madelyn Santos as "May Fielding", Quinn Richard as "Bertram" the butler
Juniors - Patrick Bouchard as "Harry/John Smith"
Seniors - Tiana Graessle as "Trista" and "Madison", Calvin Tenney as "Tripp" and "Todrick"

Senior Tiana Graessle, Junior Patrick Bouchard

Best Performer:

Freshmen - Connor Tribou as "Roger", Autumn Oyola as the "Casting Director"
Sophomores - Madison Scortico as "Mrs. Bascombe", Bradley Wightman as Pete Cannon
Juniors - Mark Quinn as "Snake/John Smith"
Seniors - Donovan Whitaker as "The Voice", Camille Hart as "Sasha" "Ellie" and "Spence"

Senior Camille Hart, Junior Mark Quinn

Best costumes - Juniors, "A Cut Above the Rest"
Best Set - Juniors, "A Cut Above the Rest"
Best Ensemble - Juniors, "A Cut Above the Rest"

BEST PLAY - Juniors, "A Cut Above the Rest"

Special mentions
Best Couple - Steven Gauthier and Patrick Bouchard
Best Stage Fight - Tiana Graessle and Camille Hart
Best Stunt Fall - Sophia Boisvert
Best Hand Gestures - Jack Varca
Best Voice - Donovan Whitaker
Judges' Choice Award - Madison Scortico
Most Improved Performance (from Friday to Saturday) - Sophomore Class

Black Bridge Bird Life!

Among the hawks, ducks and their ducklings, occasional eagles and much more, this past Saturday, March 25, and its cold rains offered yet another winged visual delight, as this fully matured heron hunted the shallow exit waters of the Black Bridge Dam for small fish and other forms of food allowing the few who walked the bike path in bad weather to yet again enjoy its many forms of beauty offered to the public.

Bird life at Black Bridge
The Heron stands motionless for quite some time waiting for prey to cross its shallow watery path, as the large bird remained in the area for nearly 2 hours due to there being less people in the vicinity.
Photo by Keith Kent
Bird life at Black Bridge
Slowing moving from spot to spot, the graceful Heron gently searches for a new spot to find additional food extending its head up high for a better view of the area without having to take to the air.
Photo by Keith Kent
Bird life at Black Bridge
Not to happy about geese invading its perceived feeding grounds of the day, the Heron begins to become focused directly on the two nearest geese as of to say "come no closer"!
Photo by Keith Kent
Bird life at Black Bridge
Geese which have been gathering edible items laying around both below and above the water begin to take notice of the angered Heron in the cove to the left of the exit waters of the Black Bridge Dam, which at that point noticeably continued to keep their distance.
Photo by Keith Kent

Candidates for May 1 Town Election Ballot

The Town Clerk has confirmed the following candidates for the ballot for the annual Town Election on Monday, May 1, 2023.

Board of Selectmen, one three year seat

Melissa S. Blanchard (U)
114 Oak St

Edward W. Ford, Jr. (U)
662 Spring St

Sharon LaRochelle (U)
99 Elm St

School Committee, two three-year seats

Karen E. Kast-McBride (D) (incumbent)
256 Ash St

Michael Barbaro (D)
375 Brown St

David A. LaPointe (U)
518 Central St

Board of Health, two three-year seats

Tina M. Santos (U) (incumbent)
117 Mill St

Housing Authority, one five-year seat

Leston J. Goodrich, Jr. (U) (incumbent)
141 Mill St

Beals Memorial Library will sponsor a Candidates' Night on Wednesday, April 19 at 7:00 p.m. in the Town Hall 2nd floor auditorium, 109 Front Street.

The Town Election will be held on Monday, May 1, 2023 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Old Murdock Senior Center, 2nd floor auditorium, 52 Murdock Ave., Winchendon. The facility is fully accessible via elevator.

Is your New Year's Resolution to get a new job? Be sure to check out our Classified and Employment Ads on the Events Page!

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Central Mass Tree

Subway November 2022 Catering deals

Click Here for Community Directory

Winchendon Businesses, Organizations, Services, and Government

Council on Aging Seeks Senior to Join the Board

Please join the COA and become a volunteer. If interested please call Mary Calandrella @ 978-297-5431 or email

Tell the Winchendon CAC What You'd Like From the Love 'n Local Farmstand!

Please let us know if you are interested is getting produce from the CAC Love 'n Local Farmstand and how often! All produce is from local farmers and all proceeds go to benefit the Winchendon CAC as well as local farmers.

The Winchendon CAC has been offering seasonal produce at the Love 'n Local Farm Stand since 2022. The winter weather has moved the farm stand operation indoors but fresh seasonal produce has continued to be available! We often have produce like potatoes, squash, onions, apples, carrots and beets. Greens have been available occasionally due to local greenhouse and tower garden operations.

Click here to fill out the Google Form

Beals Memorial Library Will Unveil Mural Project in May

At an Artists' Reception on Tuesday, May 16, Beals Memorial Library will unveil a mural created from 72 individual 8 by 8 inch panels painted by teens and youth in Winchendon. The Frame by Frame Large Mural Project is funded through a federal Library Services Technology Act (LSTA) grant. The panels, when combined, will form an image representing the grant theme of "Journeys: Identity, Culture and Community."

Participants are given a pre-printed design which they transfer to canvas using carbon paper, and then paint in colors they choose. All materials are provided.

50 of the panels are being painted by students selected by MHS art teacher Nicole Elias, including students from Mrs. Ellis' ALL class. 22 panels are being painted by members of the HEAL Youth Changemakers and the library's Dungeons & Dragons group. The library has about 7 panels which local teens can come to the library and paint. (Contact the library for more information.)

The reception will be held in the library auditorium at 6:30 p.m. on May 16. Beals Memorial Library is located at 50 Pleasant St., Winchendon and can be reached at 978-297-0300.

Vendors Wanted for the Spring Fling Vendor Fair

Memorial & Toy Town PTO is looking for vendors for the Spring Fling Vendor Fair, which will be held on Saturday, April 29, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Memorial Elementary School Gym. Spaces are $30 for "first come, first served" or $40 for a preferred space. Vendors must bring their own table and set-up. Pre-registration required by April 14. Set-up will open at 8:00 a.m.

Vendors are asked to donate one item for a raffle. All proceeds go to Memorial & Toy Town PTO.

To register for a spot, or for more information, contact the PTO at

Volunteers Needed for the Sunshine Café!

The Youth Changemakers Sunshine Café is seeking youth (age 14-18) volunteers to help staff and run the Café, and adults to help supervise during open hours. All adults must be CORI checked by the CAC prior to volunteering. ServSafe® certification for adults is not necessary but a huge plus! Also needed are volunteers who can help cook and bake pastries for the Café to sell (all food preparation takes place in a certified commercial kitchen with ServSafe® supervision).

The Café is open on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Wednesdays from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.. It is located in the Winchendon CAC upper level, 273 Central Street.

If you'd like to help the Café prosper and grow, fill out the volunteer signup form below.

Beals Young Adult Prize for Poetry

Submission Deadline: Friday, April 21, 2023
Prize Money: $100 First / $50 Second / $25 Third

Competition Rules:

  • The contest is for teens in grades 9 - 12 who live or go to school in Winchendon, Massachusetts
  • Your poem must be on the theme of journeys, the interpretation of which is left up to you
  • Only one poem may be submitted
  • Only original, unpublished poems will be accepted submissions must be emailed to: (Word documents preferred)
  • Notification of receipt will be via return email
  • Ten finalists will be chosen to compete for the prize money on Wednesday, May 24, 2023.

Get Your Burn Permits at WFD Before You Burn!

Just a reminder that burn season runs Jan 15-May 1. If you haven't purchased your burn permit yet, there's still time! Go to:

REMEMBER - There's 2 parts to the application. STEP 1 is payment. Write down the confirmation number. You'll need it. STEP 2 is the application. Fill it out, and and put the confirmation# in the payment section. Each time you wish to burn, call 978-297-6346 to initiate the permit for that day.

FY 23 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 ($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 aides, cable station operator, Bike Path clean up, painting, light outdoor work and classroom volunteers. Click here for more information and a downloadable application.

Senior Center Seeking Food Donations

We've been so successful we need your help. We love helping our seniors, so now our Food Pantry is running low. If you can do it, we'd love your help replenishing it with such commodities as: Hormel 'Compleats' meals; Chef Boyardee ravioli, spaghetti & meatballs, etc; applesauce; canned vegetables; juice boxes; Ensure; spaghetti sauce; Cookies; Crackers; small (individual) packages of cereal, etc. And anything you think would help. Thank you very much! Bring donations to the Old Murdock Senior Center, 52 Murdock Ave., Winchendon.

Town Committee Vacancies
as of February 27, 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 - 2 vacancies
Community Preservation Act Exploratory Committee - 1 citizen vacancy
Cultural Council - 14 vacancies
Fence Viewer and Field Driver - 1 vacancy
Master Plan Implementation Committee - 1 vacancy
Zoning Board of Appeals - 2 alternate member vacancies

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).

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

Enjoying the new Winchendon Courier Online? We're just getting started! But wow, is this a lot of work. The best work in the world, but still a lot of it! Please consider supporting us with a small donation. We'd so appreciate it. Thanks!

Time to Sign Up for Youth Baseball and Softball!

Spring is around the corner, and youth baseball & softball registration is now open! Click the link below to go to the registration page.

If you have questions, contact the following:

For Baseball: Kevin Southwell, 603-209-1603 or

For Softball: Randy Tenney, 978-895-3334 or

Beals Prize for Flash Fiction

Submission Deadline: Saturday, April 15, 2023
Cash prizes for the top winners in each age group

Open To:

Children Grades 3 - 5
Children Grades 6 - 8
Teens Grades 9 - 12
Adults Ages 18+

Competition Rules:

  • Participants may enter only one previously unpublished story.
  • The contest is for anyone who lives or go to school in Winchendon, Massachusetts
  • The top 3 finalists in each category will be selected to read their story at the awards ceremony on May 17 at 6:30 PM.
  • Submissions must be sent to Please include you name, age or grade, and home address with your entry.

Winchendon Farmer's Market Accepting 2023 Vendor Applications

The Winchendon Farmer's Market, which is organized by the Winchendon Agricultural Commission, is accepting applications for vendors for the 2023 season. "This is a producer only market. We know that there are many small farmers, gardeners and handcrafters who would love to show off your hard work."

The Farmer's Market sets up at the corner of Pleasant and Front Streets across from Town Hall, 109 Front Street. Hours are Thursdays, 4:00-7:00 p.m. and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.

A space is $20 for the entire season, or $5 for just one day. Vendors must supply all their own tables and set-up.

Download the application at If you have questions, contact the Winchendon Agricultural Commission.

Beals Memorial Library Operations Moved to Ground Floor

Library operations at Beals Memorial Library have been moved to the ground floor for the duration of the Infrastucture Project. It's the room to the right as you enter, across from the elevator, which formerly held the Friends' Book Sale (on hiatus until the Infrastructure Project is complete). For more information, see

The library announced, "Library operations have been moved to the ground floor until further notice. We have most of our collection, a public computer, printing/copying, and comfy seating. We are open during normal library hours, and we can't wait to see everyone!"

Beals library ground floor setupPhoto copyright © Beals Memorial Library

Toy Town FYIs

The final, official results of Winchendon's Midterm Election on November 8, 2022 may be viewed at: State Election 11.8.2022 OFFICIAL RESULTS.

Transfer Station Winter Hours

The Transfer Station has returned to its regular hours:
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: $70
Pay-As-You-Throw bags required

2022 Street Lists Available

The 2022 Town of Winchendon Street List of Residents is now available at the Town Clerk's office in Town Hall, 109 Front Street. Cost is $8.00 each, $5.00 for seniors.

2023 Dog Licenses Now Available

2023 Dog licenses are now available on-line, in person, mail, or dropbox. Spayed and Neutered are $10, Non-spayed and Non-Neutered are $20. Please provide a valid rabies certificate with payment. If purchasing on-line, please email rabies certificate to
After May 1, a $20 late fee will be assessed.
After June 1, an additional $50 failure to license fee will be assessed.

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.