The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of November 21 to November 28, 2019
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

Winchendon CAC distributes Thanksgiving dinner baskets

The Winchendon CAC distributed all the ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner, including a turkey, fresh vegetables, canned and boxed foods, and dessert, to 133 Winchendon families this Monday and Tuesday.

Multiple volunteers pitched in to stage the food, which came from many sources. Fifty-pound bags of onions and potatoes, and cartons of squash, sweet potatoes and carrots came from the Worcester County Food Bank. Town residents donated non-perishable food, turkeys and gift cards. Sutton Homes stepped up to provide the last needed turkeys and gift cards at the eleventh hour. Cumberland Farms donated loaves of bread. Hannaford donated desserts and bread.

Volunteers greeted CAC clients who had signed up for baskets and directed them to the Haven of Hope shelter area where food was staged ready to pack. Each family received a turkey and a choice of the vegetables, canned and packaged food and desserts available. Recipients were asked to bring their own box or bags, but a few boxes were available. Along with the food, some recipe sheets were on the table for those who needed them.

Volunteers called clients to remind them about the food pickup, to make sure no one missed out.

According to CAC Director Jennifer Sibley, about the same number of Christmas dinner baskets will be distributed. Families must choose one of the two holidays to receive a basket, so a total of nearly 270 holiday dinner baskets will be given out.

It's a drop in the bucket for the CAC. Ms. Sibley reports that more than 500 people are served by the CAC Food Pantry every week, as it distributes fresh produce, canned goods, meats, desserts, bread and other food from the Worcester County Food Bank and generous donors. Hannaford regularly donates bread, meats and desserts. Ms. Sibley said that when she does the year end reports, the amount of food given out, in pounds, is staggering. All of it goes to qualified families in need who would have difficulty getting enough nutrition without the CAC food pantry. The CAC also supports Our Neighbor's Kitchen community supper.

The Winchendon CAC is located at 273 Central Street and is open Monday through Thursday. See their website or Facebook page for details, or call them at 978-297-1667.

food basket food
food basket food
food basket food

Happy Hollow Road Homeowners still concerned about proposed tree cutting

In a continuance of the hearing which began on October 15 (see the October 17-24 Winchendon Courier), on Tuesday November 19 the Planning Board heard again from Borrego Solar and Happy Hollow Road homeowners about plans to cut trees shading the solar panels.

Dean Smith, a civil engineer with Borrego Solar, appeared for David Albrecht who was not available. Mr. Smith went over the proposed plans, explaining that a 3.11 acre area will be "thinned" of trees over 20 feet in height. Smaller trees and understory vegetation will be left in place, as well stumps and the earth itself, to minimize erosion. A skid steer and hydraulic axe will be used rather than larger equipment. The cutting will be done at the top of a ridge that rises thirty feet above the homes on the other side, so residents will not see the solar installation.

Mr. Smith stated that the trees are shading the solar panels and the cutting was intended to "increase the efficiency" of the energy production. No trees would be cut within a 50-foot buffer zone at the boundary of the solar property and the neighbors' properties.

The Planning Board had done site walks with Borrego Solar personnel and several of the concerned neighbors. It was noted that during the site walks, the Planning Board and abutters had been told that only trees over 30 feet in height, not 20, would be cut. Planning Board member Burt Gould asked who did the original clearing of the property "because it doesn't look so good." Mr. Smith said the owner, John Fletcher, had done the cutting before Borrego Solar began their project and that they "were aware it was a problem." Mr. Gould asked what type of trees would be cut down. Mr. Smith said the only criterion was height, but they were willing to discuss any restrictions on the types of trees.

Planning Board Chair Guy Corbosiero asked if Borrego Solar had done any studies showing exactly how much the shading was affecting energy production and how cutting the trees would change that. Mr. Smith said they usually don't have that information, but they do studies and models for every project and "we could do that study if you require it." He said they would not be cutting within the 200-foot river set-back or the buffer zone for the wetlands north of the solar installation.

Planning Board member Joseph Sackett said that on the site walk, he could see that the trees on the ridge were clearly shading the solar panels. But, he said, even if only trees over 30 feet were taken down, "that's still almost all" of the trees. If everything over 20 feet were cut, "they'd pretty much all be gone."

Resident Richard Ames came forward with a prepared statement on behalf of the Happy Hollow Road property owners. He began by pointing out that worldwide, 15 billion trees are destroyed every year and only 5 billion of them are replaced or replanted. He showed the Planning Board and Mr. Smith photos of uprooted trees that had been bulldozed and left lying on the ground by John Fletcher "or a person acting on his behalf." He also passed around photos taken during the site walks showing the trees on the ridge shading the solar panels.

Mr. Ames quoted from Borrego Solar's website about their years of experience and the large number of solar projects they had completed. He then asked how it was that during all the planning phases and two years of construction, no one involved with the project had ever noticed that the trees on the ridge shaded the solar panels before now.

Mr. Ames named the three property owners affected by the proposed tree cutting: Shawn Herr, who has lived there for 20 years and whose wife runs a business in town; Irene Cote, who has lived in her home for 65 years, and Doreen Ames, who lived on Happy Hollow Road for more than 20 years. All of them valued the peace and natural beauty of the location and felt that their quality of life was being harmed because "a multi-million dollar corporation" wants more profits.

Ames stated that when Borrego initially proposed leasing the property in 2017, the abutters approved the plans because they were specifically promised that the trees on the ridge would not be touched.

Mr. Ames offered three proposals to Borrego Solar to resolve the issues with the property owners. The first would be for Borrego Solar to buy the properties. The homeowners are willing to sell for market value plus twenty percent. The second is for Borrego Solar to pay each homeowner $300 a month or $3,000 a year for the duration of Borrego's twenty-year lease of the Fletcher property. The third proposal would be for representatives for the three homeowners and Borrego Solar to all sit down together and come up with a resolution that will work for everyone.

Mr. Ames said that he's "not a tree-hugger," but the environment is our children's future, and "shame on us if we allow multi-million dollar enterprises to destroy future life as we know it now for the profit of today."

Mr. Smith questioned whether there would have been a specific agreement about the trees in 2017 when there were no plans to cut any trees at that time.

Property owner Doreen Ames rose to speak. She stated that they were "assured that those trees on the top of the hill would not be cut down." She described the amount of sand that blows and drifts from an active sand and gravel pit. The trees keep the sand from blowing and filter the air. "It's not just the view, it's for our own health," she said. She predicted that when the storms come, Borrego Solar will find their panels being covered with wind-blown sand.

Property owner Irene Cote rose to say "all you're doing is raping the land." She stated that they had been burning stumps left by previous cutting "for weeks and weeks" and it can take three days to burn one stump. She asked what would happen to the branches and debris left from the cutting.

Property owner Charlaine Cote rose to say that in the past two years, all the local wildlife they used to see has disappeared. They no longer see deer, raccoons or skunks around their homes. "When the trees come down, we won't have chipmunks," she predicted. Irene Cote added that they had just seen a bobcat in their yard.

The Planning Board voted to continue the hearing to December 17 at 6:45 p.m., with the understanding that Borrego Solar and the homeowners would meet to discuss a workable solution.


Notices have been sent out this week (Nov. 12-14) to Winchendon residents and businesses announcing the new supplier of the Community’s Choice Power Supply Program. Dynegy Energy Services has been selected and in December will provide electric power supply for all consumers participating in Winchendon’s Program.

If you are a current participant, you will not notice any change in your electricity service. You will see Dynegy printed under the “Supply Services” section of your monthly bill beginning after the first read of your December bill.

If you are a basic National Grid service consumer who has been mailed a notification, you do not need to take any action to participate. You will be automatically enrolled.

If you do not wish to participate, you may OPT-OUT by returning the postage free OPT-OUT card you received in the mail or at, click the OPT-OUT button or call Dynegy at 866-220-5696.

If you wish to join the program, you may OPT-IN at OR call Dynegy at 866-220-5696.

The following links have been provided for information on the program:

1. For complete information, visit
2. Winchendon Notice to Consumers Nov. 12. 2019 (PDF)

Lincoln Avenue Extension Property Cleanup to be Closed for the Winter

Contractors for the EPA will be shutting down the cleanup on two Lincoln Avenue properties on November 22nd for the winter. The contractor needs wet down the building materials as the building is demolished and the water has begun to freeze. Work will begin again in the spring of 2020. Many thanks to the EPA and Mass. Department of Environmental Protection for your efforts and funding.
Lincoln Avenue Extension demolition Lincoln Avenue Extension demolition

Stone-Ladeau Funeral Home

Northern Heights Drive homeowner returns to Planning Board seeking relief from sun glare from solar installation

In a continuance of the October 8 hearing (see the October 10-17 edition of the Winchendon Courier), resident Anthony Kurylo appeared before the Planning Board with John Perry of Dynamic Energy to discuss Mr. Kurylo's concerns about sun glare from the Lincoln Avenue Solar Project.

Mr. Kurylo stated that the sun glare is now entirely gone, but he anticipates that it will return again in the spring. He described the glare, at its peak, as being like "multiples of the sun," and "100,000 lumens or more," shining directly into his windows. Because the installation is downhill from his home, it would take a "fifty-foot fence" to block the glare, which he asserted shines through 600 feet of woods. He suggested that Dynamic Energy cover the panels with tarps or in some other way mitigate the glare.

Mr. Perry said that the installation can't be moved or changed as it is built on steel pillars. He stated that he visited Mr. Kurylo's property, along with the Planning Board which did a site walk, and he "didn't find it the extreme described."

Planning Agent Alison Manugian said that she wasn't sure the Planning Board has any jurisdiction over this situation any longer.

Mr. Kurylo asked who he should go to--is there a mechanism for addressing something that happens after the installation is all finished, approved and in operation? He stated that the glare was "100% in violation of the spirit of the zoning bylaws," because it was affecting the value of his property and his ability to enjoy it. He noted that the zoning bylaws have regulations for glare at night, but these concern illumination from commercial areas. He asked what would happen if a solar array created hazardous sun glare for drivers on a road.

The Planning Board did not have any solutions for Mr. Kurylo. They agreed that when the glare returns in the spring, the situation can be re-examined, since the Planning Board and Dynamic Energy may not have observed the glare at its peak.

Lower Tax Rate for Winchendon homeowners in FY20

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue has set the residential tax rate for fiscal year 2020 at $16.28 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. This is a reduction of 2.57 percent from the FY19 tax rate. To calculate your FY20 total tax bill, multiply the assessed value of your home by the tax rate and divide by 1000. For example:

Assessed Value: $200,000
Multiply 200,000 x $16.28 = 3,256,000
Divide 3,256,000 / 1000 = Tax bill for FY20: $3,256.

To find out what your property's FY20 assessment is, see this full list of Winchendon's property assessments for FY19 and FY20 on the town website: FY20 Property Assessments (PDF). You'll need to zoom in since it fits the whole town onto 14 pages. It's alphabetical by the recorded property owner's name.

Winchendon has one of the lowest tax rates in north central Massachusetts. For a complete comparison, see this list of FY19 tax rates state-wide.

Scouts BSA Troop 193 For Boys and Girls

Girls of Scouts BSA Troop 193

In Scouts BSA Troop 193, there’s something for everyone! On November 13, 2019, Winchendon welcomed girls into the Boy Scouts of America as Scouts BSA Troop 193 for Girls joined Troop 193 for Boys at the American Legion, Wednesday evening to begin their Trail to Eagle.

Four girls have pioneered the new Troop and are excited to do everything the boys have been able to do for over a century. Lead by Scoutmaster Jenna Susman and Assistant Scoutmaster Alicia Trickett, the Troop is eager to blaze the trail for all girls in Winchendon. Troop 193 plans on going on many adventures, camping out each month, hiking the mountains in the area, visiting historic places and are planning on going whitewater rafting in the spring. Part of Scouts BSA is offering community service, so be on the lookout for the girls throughout town making the community better.

The girls had their first campout last weekend where they cooked over an open fire, hiked Mt. Watatic, braved the cold temperatures and stated down their Trail to Eagle Scout. When asked about their first campout, all of them loved it and wanted to start the Camping and Hiking Merit badges.

The girls and boys in Troop 193 meet every Wednesday, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM at the American Legion, 295 School Street, Winchendon in the downstairs hall.

For more information on Scouts BSA Troop 193 for boys and girls, contact Scoutmaster Andy Spivey at or Scoutmaster Jenna Susman at

Weekly Dates and Times for the Units

Cub Scout Pack 193 (Boys and Girls K-5)
Thursdays, 6:30 PM (Last Thursday of the month at the American Legion)
Toy Town Elementary School, 175 Grove Street, Winchendon, MA
Cub Scouting is a family program for all youth in grades K-5.
For more information, visit or contact us at

Scouts BSA Troop 193 for Boys and Girls
Wednesdays, 6:30 – 8:00 PM
American Legion Post 193, 295 School Street, Winchendon, MA
Scouts BSA Troop 193 offers something for everyone! We welcome all boys and girls ages 11-17 to come check us out.
For more information, email for boys and for girls

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.

Winchendon Subway

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