The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of October 17 to October 24, 2019
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Winchendon Fall Town Meeting ~ October 28, 2019, 7:00 p.m.
Murdock Middle/High School Auditorium. 3 Memorial Dr.

Warrant (PDF)
Presentation (PDF)
Town Manager's Video Presentation on Articles

Fall Fest Rocks Winchendon

Cloudy skies and cool temperatures didn't discourage exhibitors or attendees from turning Central Street into half a mile of food, entertainment, information and artistry on Saturday, October 12.

Beginning before dawn, exhibitors--numbering some 200 altogether--began filling the blocked-off street with tables, tents and displays. While Winchendon businesses, organizations and entrepreneurs were showcased, artists and craftspeople from around Massachusetts and from as far as Rhode Island and Vermont offered their wares. Several local authors had books for sale; crafts included pottery, wooden signs and home decor, fiber arts, jewelry, food products, local honey, kitchen wares, paintings, photography, clothing, candles, stained glass and 3-D art (this is not an exhaustive list). Mathieu Ford brought several new vehicles to display. Local banks and real estate offices had tables and offered information and freebies to passers-by. Winchendon restaurants, including the Harbour and C&S Pizza, set up tents or sidewalk tables, while the Smith's Country Cheese tent had a spread of cheeses to sample.

Winchendon non-profit and community organizations were well-represented. The Council on Aging, Winchendon CAC, Winchendon Public Schools, Scout troops, and the Winchendon Housing Authority were all there. Ahimsa Haven offered information about rescuing animals and the Mill Circle Equestrian Center explained their equine therapy programs. The Clark YMCA hosted kids' inflatable entertainments, including a bouncy house and an inflated "soccer" arena with giant beach balls. The Winchendon Fire Department gave a demonstration and the Winchendon Police Department put "K9 Clyde" through his paces. Winchendon churches including United Parish, Immaculate Heart of Mary and Bethany Bible Chapel had tables. Festival-goers could talk to volunteers from the American Legion, the VFW and the Montachusett Veterans' Outreach Center.

Numerous health groups had tables, as did Mount Wachusett Community College. The Winchendon Democratic Town Committee offered voter information. The Shen Yun Symphony Orchestra table invited festival-goers to listen to music clips through headphones. Quabbin Valley Paranormal provided an early taste of Halloween with information on ghost-hunting. Live bands and a DJ provided open-air music from several points along the street.

UUCW Food Tent

Fall Fest to the horizon line!

Jenny's Farm

Toy Town Market vendor Jenny's Farm

K9 Clyde

K9 Clyde and his handler, Officer James Wironen

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Winchendon filled its front lawn with even more vendors and crafters, including henna hand painting by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, fresh farm produce, fine art, home decorations, photography, and UUCW's food tent, which totally sold out of pulled pork street tacos and hand-made apple turnovers.

Winchendon Winds concert band started the day's events with a concert at 10:00 a.m. inside the UUCW sanctuary. By 11:30 a.m., so many people had poured into downtown Winchendon that it was a challenge to walk in the street! Many attendees were from outside of Winchendon, and some people traveled quite a distance to visit Fall Fest. It took a couple of hours for the numbers to start thinning out a little. Fall Fest officially ended at 3:00 p.m.

The Courier had a table, but we spent several hours going up and down the street talking to exhibitors and attendees. It's apparent to us that Fall Fest has become a serious event attracting vendors from all over New England and attendees from all around our region, and seems to be putting Winchendon on the map. To everyone who worked hard making Fall Fest a success: great job! It was a triumph.

UUCW food tables

A place for weary Festival-goers

henna hand painting

Henna hand painting


Ryan Photography

Happy Hollow Road homeowners not happy with Borrego Solar

Several homeowners came before the Planning Board on Tuesday, October 15 to express their concerns about the gravel pit property at 38 Happy Hollow Road, now the site of a new solar farm developed by Borrego Solar.

David Albrecht, principal civil engineer for Borrego Solar Northeast region, came before the Planning Board with a request to remove more trees from the existing site, on land formerly owned by John Fletcher and operated as a gravel pit. Mr. Albrecht stated that pine trees at the top of the cliff (or edge of the gravel pit excavated area), were 80 to 90 feet in height, and with the height of the cliff, shaded the solar installation. The distance between the installation and any tall source of shade needs to be three times the height of the shade source. Since the installation can't be moved, the height of the shade source must be reduced, in order to increase energy production.

In response to questions from Planning Board members, Mr. Albrecht said they had not yet directly measured the installation's energy production. They're basing their data on models. Mr. Albrecht said that in past versions of the models, "errors were made at some point." He stated that stumps and root systems would be left in the ground to mitigate erosion of the sandy soil.

Rosalie Cody, her mother Irene Cody, Doreen Ames and Richard Ames all rose to speak as abutting property owners to the solar farm site. All four residents described long-standing problems with the development of the Fletcher property over the last two years. They reported that large numbers of downed trees were left lying on the ground as deadwood, with debris pushed up into piles along the road. The quantity of deadwood, especially being pine, is attracting infestations of termites, ants and other pests that are impacting dwellings and getting into the well water supply. Irene Cody reported that the road isn't being maintained, and that heavy equipment is going over the unpaved road and culvert even though it isn't supposed to. Doreen and Richard Ames spoke about heavy erosion on the slopes of the gravel pit, saying this will only be made worse if more trees are removed.

Ken, a homeowner on Russell Farm Road, told the Planning Board that trees were cleared on the north side of the solar farm, more than was needed for the installation.

Mr. Albrecht responded that Borrego Solar was not involved with any clearing on other parts of the property. He said Borrego pushed aside downed wood "so that the owner could make use of it as he wanted." Mr. Albrecht said they would look into the erosion problems.

Charlaine, a homeowner on Happy Hollow Road, asked how Borrego contractors will get to the area slated for clearing without going through her property, as it appears from the map they would have to do. Mr. Albrecht stated that all access would be through the Fletcher property, and they would do "hand cutting" to open up an egress for large equipment.

Planning Board member Burt Gould suggested that the Planning Board make a site visit and examine the situation for themselves. The Cody family asked to be informed so they could participate in the site walk.

Mr. Gould commented about the lack of input the Planning Board has had from the Conservation Commission about this project. "Somebody needs a kick you-know-where to get this thing done, maybe we need a chat with the Town Manager," Mr. Gould said. "I haven't seen a damn thing from Conservation. What has Conservation said? Do they approve the plan?"

The hearing was continued to November 19.

Vandalism and theft at UU Church on Central Street

Volunteers arriving to prepare that night's Our Neighbor's Kitchen community dinner at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Winchendon on Thursday, October 10 found a vandalized interior door and cash missing inside the building.

There was no evidence of forced entry from outside. A door leading from the downstairs parish hall into a small office had been damaged. One panel had been kicked or forced until the intruder could reach the deadbolt lock and turn it.

Once inside, the intruder took a cash box from a high shelf, removed cash from the box and put the box back in place. The intruder then exited by the back stairs, leaving an interior door into the sanctuary and the side exit door to Summer Street standing wide open. Nothing else was found to be missing or damaged.

UUCW is putting increased security into place. All cash and valuables will now be secured off-site at all times, according to the UUCW Governing Board.

The Courier is aware of a similar incident on Central Street in June. The front door of a storefront was kicked or forced open, splintering the door frame into pieces, and the door left slightly ajar. In that case, nothing appeared to have been disturbed or taken from inside the storefront, leaving the motive for the damage a mystery.

Anyone with information about the October 10 theft is urged to contact the Winchendon Police Department at 978-297-1212.

Stone-Ladeau Funeral Home

Winchendon Subway

The Winchendon Water Department is flushing hydrants starting October 9th and continuing through the end of the month.

Tap water may be discolored for a day or two, but it will clear up.

We appreciate your patience in this matter.

Grout Memorial Park Dedicated on October 12

The Grout Memorial Park and Morton E. Converse Flagpole Dedications were held Saturday, October 12 before Fall Fest in the Grout Memorial Park, located at the junction of Glenallen and Spring Streets. Burt Gould officiated for the ceremonies, which started with an Invocation by Rev. Francis Roberge of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Baldwinville.

Susan Cross Munroe, great-granddaughter of Morton Converse, raised the flag for the very first time, followed by a rifle salute by the American Legion Post 193 Firing Squad. The flagpole was funded by the 100 Year Converse Fund, which was given to Winchendon Selectmen in 1917 by Morton Converse. The impressive flagpole is made of fiberglass and stands 70 feet tall. It is set eight feet deep in concrete supplied by Graves Concrete. The flagpole will be illuminated at night so it can be seen 24 hours a day. A granite bench, donated by American Legion Post 193, Auxiliary Squad 193 and Sons of Auxiliary Squad will be placed in front of the flagpole in the spring.

Coral Grout spoke about the beautiful park that she and her mother Rachel made possible and which they dedicate to her father, grandparents and all Veterans. The Grout family have been residents of Winchendon for 120 years. Coral shared many wonderful memories of her family and their involvement with Veterans all the way back to the First World War. There was a beautiful display of her parents wedding clothing, including her fatherís army jacket and her motherís wedding dress which was made from her fatherís military parachute.

Coral and Rachel hope the park will be used by all Winchendon residents for picnics, reflection, or just sitting and enjoying. Beautiful grass, benches and tables are already in place. The Christmas tree will be lit up during the holiday season. In spring there will be poppies planted around the park sign in remembrance of World War I Veterans, and a gazebo will be installed.

Former Senator Stephen Brewer, Senator Anne Gobi, Representative Jon Zlotnik, Board of Selectmen Chairwoman Audrey LaBrie and Town Manager Keith Hickey attended. Each one spoke briefly, giving accolades and sharing stories.

The park was designed by Planning Director Tracy Murphy and was completed with the help of many others. The entire project cost $98,000 and did not utilize any taxpayer money.

Senator Anne Gobi and Coral Grout

Senator Anne Gobi presents a certificate to Coral Grout

Grout Memorial Park

Sign and flower box at Grout Memorial Park

Grout Memorial Park flagpole plaque

Plaque commemorating Morton E. Converse

Toy Town FYIs

Tuesday, October 15: The annual draw-down of Lake Monomomac will begin and will continue until it reaches the new winter draw down level of 3 feet on or around December 1st. The drop in the water level during the winter months allows property owners to do maintenance to their waterfront, including docks, walls, and beaches. It also helps with the weed control.

Be aware that the lower level increases the danger of hitting submerged rocks, trees or other hidden obstacles. Extreme caution should be taken by boat owners if you are planning to get in some late fall boating or fishing.

Thursday, October 31: Winchendon Trick-or-Treating, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

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