The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of August 11 to August 18, 2022
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

IT Team Heroes Stop Ransomware Attack on Town Computer Network

In a message sent out and posted to the town website on Monday morning, August 8, Town Manager Justin Sultzbach informed Winchendon citizens that the town had successfully fended off an apparent "ransomware" attack last week. Mr. Sultzbach reassured residents that "we experienced no data loss, and at this time have no reason to believe that any personal data was compromised. Additionally, there were not any significant financial implications tied to this attack beyond staff hours to restore our systems. We would like to thank our IT team for all of their efforts to restore our network."

Don O'Neill, the town's IT manager, told the Courier that the attack came from an IP number located in Russia. "There's no more expertise than Russia" in computer and internet attacks, he said, keeping ahead of them is challenging. On Thursday morning, August 4, he explained, town staff came in to find that their email was down and email service was disabled. The town has its own servers, and the email server was "completely compromised."

All servers were immediately shut down along with every individual town computer connected to them. The email server was recovered via a backup which had been scanned and checked--"good backups are the key," Mr. O'Neill said. Robert O'Keefe, who is also the IT manager for Gardner, assisted in the emergency crisis response.

Because the top priority was to remediate the system from being "taken over" further by ransomware, the IT specialists didn't pause for forensic investigation. "We'll never really know" how the system got compromised, Mr. O'Neill said. It could have been a bad link in an email or a bad website someone visited. Hackers have become so crafty, it can be extremely easy to click a bad link by mistake--and it only takes one click.

All log-ins have now been changed to 14-character randomized passwords which are very difficult to crack, according to Mr. O'Neill. Passwords had been changed every 90 days but with the longer passwords, they won't need to be changed as often (you can change a password every day and it won't help if it's easy to crack). The town does not use two-factor authentication, but Mr. O'Neill feels the longer passwords will be very secure. The servers have updated anti-virus software.

The incident makes Tony Roselli, the auditor who recently reported to the Board of Selectmen on the town's finances, weirdly prescient: he advised taking precautions against ransomware attacks, which have struck numerous municipalities, school systems and other public networks. A ransomware attack locks down an entire computer network and all its data and files, and the hackers demand a large sum of money to release the system. "You don't want to be that town" that makes news for being held for ransom, he warned. Thanks to Mr. O'Neill and Mr. O'Keefe, Winchendon isn't one of "those towns." Thank you from the Courier!

Through COVID, Weather Extremes and Falling Masonry,
Old Murdock Senior Center Never Falters

One of the most vital Winchendon institutions in a community whose average age is steadily increasing, the Winchendon Senior Center, located in the former Old Murdock High School, continued to provide services even while its building was closed to the public during the COVID mandated shutdown. Fully open now and available to all residents aged 55 and older, the Senior Center provides meals, recreation, socializing, exercise options and important education and counseling services to hundreds of Toy Towners. The Courier recently sat down with Senior Center Director Sheila Bettro in the Old Murdock dining hall to talk about how things are going, now that COVID closures and restrictions are past.

About a dozen seniors were chatting in the dining hall waiting for lunch to be served. The building has no air conditioning, but large fans, high ceilings and thick masonry meant the space was quite comfortable even after days of heat and stifling humidity.

"Since COVID, our lunchtime for in-house has dropped," Ms. Bettro said. "We were doing anywhere from forty to sixty people on a daily basis. Now we're doing twenty-five to thirty." When the building first re-opened for in-person lunches, only about ten brave diners ventured in, but the numbers have slowly increased. "We still have what's called Grab and Go lunches. There's still elders who want to get the lunch, but they just have the fear of coming in. So our Grab and Go, they meet us at the steps, we have their lunch packed and then they're all set," Ms. Bettro said.

The lunches are prepared and delivered by the Montachusett Opportunity Council, Inc. (MOC), packed in sealed containers. The Senior Center occasionally uses its full commercial kitchen for breakfasts and special events, but COVID regulations set by the Massachusetts Department of Elder Affairs require that home-delivered and in-house lunches be outsourced until further notice.

The same lunches are delivered to local seniors via the Meals on Wheels program, which serves 65 to 118 seniors each day. "So at the end of the week, we have serviced over 500 elders in town with Meals on Wheels, and then about another 125 in house. So we're averaging 550 to close to 600 a week," Ms. Bettro said.

The Senior Center has two van drivers and a part-time van driver. Transportation service has increased and is running five days a week. In July, the Center did 58 medical runs, 36 shopping trips (including grocery shopping) and two additional errands trips, which vary. The food pantry usage has also increased since COVID, with about 30 elders per month utilizing the Senior Center food pantry (donations always appreciated!).

But there's a lot more going on at the Senior Center than lunch. "This group," Ms. Bettro said, nodding toward the two full tables of lively conversation, "they're social butterflies, they want to come in and socialize. We bring in music...they love their music." There are several guest performers scheduled in August and September. "And bingo. We have well over forty, sometimes fifty people in here on a Wednesday for bingo. We still do our continental breakfast Monday through Friday, that starts about 8:30 and we shut it down around 10:30. It's not as popular as it was but people still come in and utilize it. We do pickleball Monday, Wednesday and Fridays and that is getting used. We still have the full exercise room which also is being used. We have three pool tables...they are still getting some usage."

Interest in educational programs is not as strong, but there is a one-on-one computer class available, while classes in crocheting, knitting, and chocolate making will be offered. The yoga class is very popular.

The Winchendon Council on Aging is an "advisory board" to the Senior Center Director, Ms. Bettro explained. Some of the funding for the Center comes from a formula grant from the state, which runs for five years at a time. The Senior Center's Fiscal Year 2023 (July 1 2022 through June 30 2023) appropriation from the town, as approved at the 2022 Annual Town Meeting, is $221,236, about 85 percent of which goes to staff salaries. Ms. Bettro started as Senior Center Director in 2003 and is coming up on her 20th anniversary in the position.

All the staff except the Director are part-time positions, and all positions are filled at this time. Ms. Bettro said that the Center was short staffed last summer, but "we got through it. We're thankful to the other staff members who stepped up and stayed later and came in earlier...I'm grateful for my staff because they are an excellent, excellent group of people to work with. They really are, and fun."

The Center could still use some more volunteers, Ms. Bettro said. From a former pool of 48, she now has about ten volunteers. "I would love to have a volunteer to come in and do our food pantry and clothes closet a couple hours a week. That would free me up because I'm usually the one who's packing and stacking, but that would probably be one of my goals, to get somebody to come in and volunteer for the food pantry." (Anyone who would like to run the food pantry, contact Ms. Bettro at the Senior Center any time.)

Her biggest challenge, Ms. Bettro said, is getting more seniors into the building on a daily basis. "We've tried many, many different things, but I'm finding that a lot of the elders are now working until they're 75 or 80. And they don't have the time to come in to the Senior Center. That's what we're finding...we're doing outreach, and that's what we're hearing. They're just working longer."

Asked what the number one item on her "wish list" would be, Ms. Bettro stopped and thought for a long time. "You know, I have to say that this is a very contented Senior Center. We work with what we have and we try to work within our means, we stay within our budget. I don't know that I do have a wish list," she finally said. "We have a beautiful kitchen. We have a beautiful Senior Center." Fixing the masonry on the clock tower is a goal, and maybe the air conditioning in the Meals on Wheels van. But, she said, "I don't think any of the staff really have a wish list. We have what we need here and we make it work."

The Senior Center is critical to the lives of some of the seniors who come there, Ms. Bettro said. "I'm looking at three or four people who have nobody, nobody. They have no family. They have no car. If it wasn't for the Senior Center, they would just be sitting at home all day long. They have no way to get into shopping. They have no way to get down to CVS to pick up their meds." Even with three vans, sometimes the Center has to postpone a non-medical transportation request. "I don't think the community realizes the impact that it might have on some of these elders with no transportation and no family member" if the Senior Center wasn't there, she said. "You know how grateful these people are for the Senior Center? Because we lose track. We're so much into ourselves that we don't look at the big picture."

Ms. Bettro didn't have to pause when asked what she'd like the community to know about the Senior Center. "This is like [the seniors'] second home. And if you can hear, they all sit and chat, they all get along...It's been so depressing, with COVID and everything else that's going on that they come in here, they laugh...And I just would like the community to know that you don't have to be 55 to come here. It's open...We're more than happy to greet you and treat you just like we treat any of our elders.

"It's a friendly atmosphere and it's such a caring place. I have such a great staff. My staff is there, they're wonderful. They're all compassionate, they all care about each other. They care about the elders. Even without the air conditioner, none of them complain. They come in, they do their job. I've said to the elders, guys, it's gonna be like 90 degrees in here. Do you want us to deliver your meal? 'No, we want to come in.'" Ms. Bettro urged town residents to check the Senior Center out--"It's more than just a bingo hall. It really is."

By now, the seniors were enjoying their lunch of chili cheeseburger on a wheat bun, sweet potato tots and veggies, but they were happy to give the Courier some comments.

Arthur Mowry wanted people to know that when the Senior Center opened in Old Murdock in 2006, he went through the entire building from the basement crawl space to the attic, and it's sound, he said. He misses the pre-COVID days when the Center was full of people. At one time, he said, they used to bring in old bicycles and repair them to give away to kids.

Claire Chase says she comes to the Senior Center "for the socialization, and the love." She added, laughing, "The meals are pretty good."

John Corby put in, "The food and the company is very good."

Many Toy Towners have been aware of the Old Murdock Senior Center mostly because of the crumbling masonry on the clock tower, which has been wrapped in industrial-strength plastic for months. The front of the building is barricaded off to protect passers-by from falling bricks. Last month, engineers from Russo Barr Associates Inc. toured the building with Town Manager Justin Sultzbach and will be creating the designs which will provide the basis for grant applications for repairs. The building is under a Historical Preservation Restriction due to Massachusetts Historical Commission funding for repairs twenty years ago.

In an article she wrote for the Courier before the 2020 Annual Town Meeting (delayed by the COVID shutdown to September 28 that year), Ms. Bettro recounted that the Murdock High School was dedicated on June 21, 1887, at which time "it was the finest and best equipped building in Massachusetts." Named for Ephraim Murdock Jr. who bestowed a trust fund to establish the school, Murdock School's last graduating class left the building in June, 1961. (for more, see "Old Murdock Senior Center" in the September 24-October 1 2020 edition of The Winchendon Courier)

The building was closed in 1995 and fell into such disrepair that by 1998/1999, "Old Murdock had become one of the Ten Most Endangered Buildings in Massachusetts." Ms. Bettro wrote, "The Community Development Commission sought funds for repairs to the building through Community Development Block Grants, the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Robinson Broadhurst Foundation and the Town of Winchendon. From this funding, the roof was re-slated and the clock tower restored to its glory by James Abare. The building housed the Top Fun Aviation Museum on the first floor. In October, 2005, The Town of Winchendon assigned use and control of Old Murdock to the Council on Aging for use as a senior center. An architectural study done that same year concluded that the building was in good structural condition. The Winchendon Council on Aging moved into the building in December 2005."

Ms. Bettro told the Courier that the Council on Aging was using the Old Murdock building fully as the Senior Center by 2008. Prior to that, senior services and meals were hosted by the Winchendon Housing Authority at Ipswich and Hyde Park, "which meant we had to bounce the staff back and forth with all of our equipment." Sometimes the community hall was in use and the seniors were bumped out. WHA Executive Director David Connor and the WHA "were wonderful to us," Ms. Bettro said, "but we were very grateful to get this building. We utilize the whole building right now," except for the third floor for the time being, because of the masonry issues. But from the unheated basement which provides storage space, to the auditorium, community room, dining hall, exercise room, sitting room and more, "it's all being used."

The Old Murdock auditorium also serves as the town's polling place during elections, and has been the location for several COVID vaccination clinics. HEAL Winchendon is discussing some possible shared use of spaces in the building.

The Old Murdock Senior Center is located at 52 Murdock Avenue, facing the G.A.R. Park. It can be reached at 978-297-3155. Its hours are Monday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Friday 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. For more information about programs, services and scheduled events, visit the Center or see:

PJ's Slush Stop Opens as Toy Town's Newest Business

Winchendon has three beloved ice cream stands that do a land office business every summer. But what if you're feeling like something cold, sweet and refreshing, but a little different? Something non-dairy? Something like a classic, sidewalks-of-New-York (or Boston's North End), premium Italian Ice?

Say hello to Amy Marcus and her brand new PJ's Slush Stop, which just had its "soft opening," in defiance of construction work, on Sunday, July 24 at 308 Central Street right across from CVS. Selling Richie's Slushies in two sizes, PJ's offers a wide variety of unique flavors, such as (to give a handful of examples) Blue Vanilla, Coconut Cream, Cotton Candy, Swedish Fish, Strawberry Lemonade and Rootbeer.

The shop is tiny, but pristine, with a new floor and interior, put in by the previous tenant, Amy told the Courier. The space has been occupied by several different small businesses/sole proprietorships over the last few years; the last one, a massage therapist, did not use the space during COVID and eventually vacated the unit. It's so small, the chest freezer holding the product doubles as the front counter.

Amy explained that she and her family are new to Winchendon, having moved here about a year ago. A slushie shop seemed like something the town would enjoy. She'd had "a couple of traveling businesses" selling slushies, Amy said, but this is her first fixed location. The timing "just felt like serendipity." Business has been good, and Amy has felt welcomed. She plans to keep the shop open year-round.

Amy buys her product in one gallon tubs, and varies the flavors she sells. Each week's specials can be seen on the shop's Facebook page at

Along with the slushies, the store has art, books, and crafts on sale. Customers can try to guess the number of straws in a jar to win a $10 gift certificate.

The business is still expanding and responding to customer feedback and interest. Currently, it's open from 2:00 to 8:00 on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 3:00 to 8:00 on Thursday (closed Monday and Tuesday). Come on down and try an authentic Italian Ice slushie at Winchendon's newest business!

Amy Marcus in PJ's Slush Stop
Amy Marcus is ready to welcome you for a delicious cooling slushie!
Photo by Inanna Arthen
Amy Marcus in PJ's Slush Stop
Amy Marcus scoops up a slushie for a customer.
Photo by Inanna Arthen

More Outdoor Movie Magic at the Beals Memorial Library

Join the Winchendon library for a bunch of hocus pocus! This month, the library is inviting the community to three Thursday evenings of outdoor movies and magic where they'll be showing some bewitching, family-friendly films paired with an exciting, live magic show! Here's what's happening on the second Outdoor Movie Magic night of the month:

On Thursday, August 18, the library will be screening Disney's cult classic, Hocus Pocus, starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. In this fan-favorite film, a teenager who doesn't believe in witches or magic moves to Salem and struggles when he accidentally brings a trio of wicked witches back from the dead! The movie will begin at sundown.

At 7:00 p.m. and before the movie begins, come enjoy some magical entertainment provided by professional magician and illusionist, Jason Purdy. Jason combines magic and illusions with comedy and music for a fun, interactive experience!

Also prior to the start of the show, the Friends of the Beals Memorial Library will be running their book sale and concession stand from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Purchase some used books and media for low prices or grab a tasty treat to enjoy during the show. Popcorn will also be provided by the Winchendon Recreation Commission and the Youth Changemakers' Sunshine Cafe will be selling lemonade.

This year's Outdoor Movie Magic nights are sponsored in part by the Winchendon Cultural Council and the Friends of the Beals Memorial Library. In the event of rain, the movie will be rescheduled to the following day.

The Beals Memorial Library is located at 50 Pleasant Street in Winchendon. For more information, contact the library at 978-297-0300 or visit their website at

Magician Jason Purdy performs at the Beals
Enjoy some magical entertainment with magician and illusionist, Jason Purdy, and a fun showing of Hocus Pocus at the Beals Library on Thursday, August 11.
Photo courtesy of Beals Memorial Library

Winchendon PD's K-9 Clyde Retiring

After nearly seven years of service (49 dog years) with the Winchendon Police Department, K-9 Clyde will enjoy his retirement starting in August. K-9 Clyde came to the Winchendon Police Department as the town's first K-9 in September of 2015 and was partnered with Officer Wironen. The team completed the Massachusetts State Police K-9 School for patrol and narcotics that year. K-9 Clyde has assisted the Winchendon Police Department, neighboring agencies, and the North Worcester County Drug Task Force locate missing/endangered people, criminals, and narcotics.

K-9 Clyde was also a popular member of the department, doing demonstrations for the public at the Summer Solstice, Fall Festival, and for students at the local schools.

In November 2019, K-9 Clyde was diagnosed with lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer in K-9's. With the help of such great community supporters as well as doctors and technicians at the Gardner Animal Care Center in Gardner and the Animal Cancer Care Specialists in Westford, K-9 Clyde was able to undergo treatments while remaining on duty and successfully fight his cancer into remission multiple times.

K-9 Clyde has earned his retirement and will enjoy his time at home with his family. He will remain available to answer calls until a new K-9 completes its training.

Congratulations, K-9 Clyde.

Jandris employment ad

Subway June 2022 New Steak Teriyaki Sub

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

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

Faceless Hobos play at Friday Night Concert
Dave Romanowski, Maggie Neff and Pat Townsend, the "Faceless Hobos," entertain the crowd at the Winchendon Recreation Commission's final 2022 Friday Night Concert at G.A.R. Park on August 5.
Photo by Jill Sackett

Fire & Iron Raise $3000 for Veterans Housing Project

Fire & Iron donates $3,000 for veterans housing
Fire & Iron Station 857 presents MVOC Executive Director Stephanie Marchetti with a $3000 check at their station meeting.
Photo courtesy of Stephanie Marchetti

On Saturday, July 23, Fire & Iron Station 857 hosted a covered wagon bridge ride in continued support of MVOC's Housing Expansion Project. The ride, coupled with a raffle, raised a $3000 donation for the organization. Fire & Iron has raised over $20,000 for MVOC over the years, earning the group a name dedication in the housing project once it opens.

Missing Fireworks Shows in the Winch? Join the Fireworks Subcommittee!

The Winchendon Recreation Commission wants to get the community involved in a subcommittee to discuss bringing back town fireworks in Winchendon. All interested residents are invited to a meeting on Tuesday, August 23 at 6:00 p.m. in the 4th floor conference room in Town Hall (109 Front Street). The subcommittee will discuss options and come up with a best action plan to present to the Recreation Committee. Call Tiffany at 978-297-5410 with any questions.

Winchendon Fire Department Report for July

The Winchendon Fire Department would like to remind everyone to stay hydrated during these hot summer days and please check on your neighbors. In the month of July our department responded to 209 calls for emergency service. These calls were broken down the following way:

  • 145 Ambulance Calls
  • 14 Mutual Aid Ambulance Calls
  • 12 Investigations or Alarm Calls
  • 12 Service Calls
  • 11 Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • 4 Miscellaneous Fire/CO calls
  • 3 Mutual Aid Fire Calls
  • 3 Dive Team Activations
  • 2 Illegal Burns
  • 2 Search Activations
  • 1 Hazardous Materials Incident
In between all these calls, members were able to add in 26 scheduled inspections. Daily chores, equipment checks and EMS and Fire trainings were also completed. Our first department movie night was held showing fire prevention videos and The Lion King. Those in attendance were treated with popcorn being served in plastic fire hats. Many members of the community enjoyed this event and future movie nights are already being planned.

Central Mass Tree

The Select Board in the Town of Royalston is currently accepting applications for the full-time position of Department of Public Works Superintendent. Starting salary $70K to $80K commensurate with experience. Official job description and details are available at, or in person at Royalston Town Hall, 13 On the Common, Monday thru Thursday between 9am and 2pm. Submit resumes to the Royalston Select Board Office before noon on August 17, 2022 in person at the above address or by email to Preliminary interviews will be held during the evening on August 29th and 30th, 2022. Royalston is an EEO/AA Employer.

Click Here for Community Directory

Winchendon Businesses, Organizations, Services, and Government

Letter to the Editor

Winchendon elevates to nine percent viral positivity.

The town of Winchendon's 14 day viral average which is recalculated every seven days by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, as with every other municipality in the commonwealth, as of the newest update dated Thursday, August 11, 2022 at 5:00 pm, has risen over just the past week from 6.72 to 9.09 percent viral positivity.

Our immediate "Ten Town Area" traveling two towns in any direction south of the State of New Hampshire, has now also risen over the last seven days from 5.34 to 5.98 or a virtual six percent. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts in this same time frame after spending the last two consecutive weeks at 8.13% positivity, registers this Thursday, August 11, at 8.03 percent viral positivity, nearly unchanged.

Locally, while Ashburnham lowered slightly from 5.75 to 4.46%, its school district partner, Westminster, jumped from 9.46 to 11.17 positivity. To Ashburnham's east, Ashby only dropped slightly from 9.46 to 9.33%. The City of Gardner to Winchendon's south, increased from 5.90 to 6.55% positivity testing based on 672 molecular tests over the 14 day testing period applicable. Templeton lowered from 5.73 to 3.56%, and its school district partner Phillipston, increased slightly from 2.17 to 2.94%. In the towns of the Athol Royalston Regional School District, Royalston to Winchendon's western border, registered at zero percent for the 2nd consecutive week, while the Town of Athol with 11,500 residents, increased slightly from 4.35 to 4.63% positivity based on 620 molecular tests. Lastly, to Gardner's south, Hubbardston registered increasing from 6.25 to 8.08% positivity.

Around the Commonwealth, locally in the Twin Cities, Fitchburg lowered from 7.23 to 6.94%, and Leominster lowered just slightly from 9.22 to 8.98, or virtually 9 percent. For tourists looking to travel, Cape Cod still remains high throughout, the Island of Nantucket is over 10 percent across, and simple terms the Vinyard is lower in viral positivity in the middle, and very heavy positivity on it's eastern and western sides.

There are additional heavy pockets around the state. If traveling to destinations such as the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield or are performing regional college visitations, the entire city and surrounding 12 municipality-area currently registers high in viral positivity at this time, so plan accordingly if one has health concerns. Other cities and towns as the Lowell - Lawrence area of the 495 corridor, also currently realize consistent high density viral concentrations.

In closing, please continue to practice common sense measures such as washing your hands frequently, using hand sanitizer when hand washing is not available, and coughing on or in your sleeve and covering your mouth. Do not rub your eyes with your fingers or hands. The Winchendon Board of Health continues to recommend becoming vaccinated, if one is healthy enough to do so, especially if one is either immunocompromised or has one or multiple pre-existing conditions.

Keith Kent
Board of Health
Town of Winchendon

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.

Winchendon Farmers Market Accepting Applications for 2022 Vendors

The Winchendon Farmers Market is accepting applications for vendors for the 2022 season. You can download the form at Winchendon Farmers Market Application (PDF), fill it out and mail the form with the table fee to the address on the form, or drop it in the dropbox at Town Hall. The market days and times for 2022 are Thursdays from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. For more information, see

United Way Day of Caring September 16

Local non-profit agencies should start planning potential projects now for the United Way's 27th annual "Day of Caring" event on Friday, September 16, 2022. Agency project registration opens on June 13. To register, visit

Qualifying agencies have teams of volunteers assigned to their site to assist with various projects. For updates and further information, see

Town Committee Vacancies
as of July 25, 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
Community Preservation Act Exploratory Committee - 1 vacancy
Conservation Commission - 1 vacancy
Cultural Council - 13 vacancies
Fence Viewer and Field Driver - 1 vacancy
Library Trustee - 1 vacancy
Open Space Preservation Appraisal and Survey Revolving Fund Advisory 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).

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

Help the Town of Winchendon Update its Housing Production Plan by Sharing Your Input

The Town of Winchendon has requested assistance from the Montachusett Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) to update its Housing Production Plan (HPP). The purpose of the HPP is to develop a proactive strategy for planning and developing affordable housing consistent with the state's Chapter 40B statute and regulation. The HPP is required to include a comprehensive housing needs assessment, a list of affordable housing goals, and an implementation plan to realize the goals.

This survey has been developed to assist with the housing needs assessment and solicit public input to be included in the HPP. We appreciate your opinions and want to assure you that all answers are anonymous. In addition to the survey, MRPC will be collecting and analyzing demographic, housing, and income data to determine needs of the population of Winchendon. Results of the data analysis and survey will be presented at a Planning Board meeting in the fall where goals and objectives will be discussed.

Please see link below to complete. Thank you for your participation!

Toy Town FYIs

Transfer Station Summer Hours

Beginning June 2, the Transfer Station hours are:
Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 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.

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.

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.

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

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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.

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