The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of March 11 to March 18, 2021
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

Toy Towners Homeless After 3-Alarm House Fire on Spring Street

The homeowners and three upstairs tenants are all homeless following a three-alarm fire Monday night, March 8, that required mutual aid from multiple surrounding towns. The building, located at 180 Spring Street near MacDonalds and the center of town, sustained significant damage and is uninhabitable.

The fire was called in at about 5:45 p.m. Winchendon firefighters who responded found flames and heavy smoke at the rear of the building, in the area of the back porch. The flames quickly spread to the front porch and the first and second floors. It took two hours to bring the fire under control. One firefighter was treated for an ankle injury.

Firefighters from Gardner, Ashburnham, Templeton, Westminster, Royalston, Rindge, Jaffrey and Fitzwilliam responded to the call for mutual aid. Complicating matters was the fact that some of the Winchendon Fire Department personnel were involved in a major medical call out of town when the fire was reported.

The homeowners were able to get out of the house with their dogs, and the tenants were not at home. No injuries were reported. Keith Kent, from the Winchendon Board of Health, reported to the Board of Selectmen (who were meeting at that time) that he had arranged for assistance from the Red Cross for the residents of the home.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Winchendon Fire Chief Thomas Smith told the Courier that the fire is not considered suspicious.

Homeowner Tammy Ninteau has started a fundraiser on GoFundMe, asking for assistance in recovering from their loss. The Ninteaus had owned the house for three years and put extensive investment into renovations. Donations can be made at Tammy and Rogers house fire.

Maple Sugaring Open House at Conserved Sunset View Farm

On March 20th in honor of Maple Weekend 2021, Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust is hosting a maple sugaring open house at the recently protected Sunset View Farm with farm owners Chuck and Livvy Tarleton. The event will be held from 10 am to noon at Sunset View Farm located at 156 Gardner Road in Winchendon, MA.

Attendees will have the opportunity to see the Tarletons’ maple tree tapping setup and equipment, as well as learn how weather impacts maple sap production and the steps they take to make maple syrup. Marielena Lima, Communications and Engagement Coordinator says, "It's a great opportunity to learn how maple syrup is made, talk to a sugarmaker, and bring home some delicious maple syrup." Quarts, pints, and half-pints of maple syrup will be available for purchase (cash or check accepted).

This event is weather-dependent and there is a possibility of cancellation. We will be following COVID-19 guidelines: face masks are required, and participants are asked to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet from other attendees. If interested in attending, please email Marielena at to receive updates.

Sunset View Farm Sugarhouse
Chuck and Livvy Tarleton in the sugarhouse at Sunset View Farm

Subway Catering for Holidays ad

Board of Selectmen Directed to Release Minutes of Executive Session Meetings Held in Violation of Open Meeting Law

In the Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday, March 8, the Board responded to a letter from the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General stating its decision on a complaint filed by Mellen Road residents alleging violation of the state Open Meeting Law on July 13, 2020. The AG found that the Board was in violation, and did not have grounds for entering Executive Session to discuss the matter at hand.

At the July 13 meeting, concerned residents of Mellen Road raised strong objections when the Board moved to adjourn to Executive Session at the end of their regular meeting. (See The Winchendon Courier August 13-20, 2020, "Board of Selectmen Respond To Complaint Alleging Violation of Open Meeting Law" and video of Board of Selectmen meeting of July 13, 2020, beginning at 1:54.00 on the video).

Board Chair Mike Barbaro read into the minutes, "The office of the Attorney General in a letter dated February 18, 2021...indicates that the Executive Session of the Board of Selectmen of July 13, 2020 must be released as the purpose of the Executive Session did not comply with the Open Meeting Law. By voting to release the minutes, we will be in compliance with the directive from the Office of the Attorney General. In the interest of transparency, there are two additional sets of Executive Session minutes dated June 1 and June 22, 2020 related to the same topic, which will also be listed on this agenda for possible release."

Selectman Audrey LaBrie stated that she apologized for the error, and emphasized that she had not "done it on purpose" or intended to violate the Open Meeting Law.

Mr. Barbaro stated, "I understand the complaint and it has been adjudicated by the Attorney General. In going to Executive Session, I was being told by legal counsel that we were on good ground to do that. For that, I apologize that a mistake was made. Other than that, we know that by releasing the minutes, it does comply with the law, and we hope to do better in the future."

The Board then voted to release the Executive Session minutes. Concerned residents may read them here:

Minutes of Executive Session, July 13, 2020
Minutes of Executive Session, June 22, 2020
Minutes of Executive Session, June 1, 2020

Following this, resident Marc Dorwart was given a space on the agenda to address the Board of Selectmen regarding his concerns about the Board's use of Executive Session for discussions regarding Mellen Road, and to formally ask the Board several questions.

"My goal here tonight is to enunciate the dire need for a paradigm shift in Winchendon government," Mr. Dorwart began. He went on to explain that he was representing the Mellen Road Action Committee, and that he was addressing the Board on the advice of his late grandfather, who had told him that if he could help improve things for the citizens of Winchendon, he was "morally obligated" to do so.

Mr. Dorwart went on to summarize the situation, arguing that he and other Mellen Road residents had been treated "adversarily," and that there had been other Executive Sessions which violated the Open Meeting Law. (His full comments may be viewed on the video of the March 8 Board of Selectmen meeting, beginning at approximately 2:31:00 in the video). He concluded by asking a lengthy series of questions as to whether the Board would continue to trust Town Counsel's advice, whether they would apologize, and whether they agreed that the Board should comply with the Open Meeting Law. Referring to evidence that documents, including past letters from the AG's office, had not been given to Board members, and that some Board members had admitted to not reading material from Mellen Road residents in full, Mr. Dorwart asked if the Town Manager's office would commit to disseminating materials, and if the Board would commit to reading them.

In response to Mr. Dorwart's questions, Selectman Barbara Anderson said that she did apologize to everyone from Mellen Road, and that she felt the Board did need to discuss the advice they had gotten from Town Counsel that they had justification for going into Executive Session. "This letter from the Attorney General is very serious. They do not take kindly to Open Meeting Law violations."

Selectman Audrey LaBrie said again that she apologized for her part in any Open Meeting Law violation. "I've been on the Board now, six-seven years. My intent when I first ran for the Board was to help, not to hinder and not to damage." She added that the Mellen Road situation had been "painful and uncomfortable for everyone" but she was glad that it had been resolved. Ms. LaBrie pointed out that the Town Manager answers to the Board of Selectmen, but it's the Town Manager who does the day-to-day work, and the Board relies on that person.

Selectman Rick Ward stated that he regretted the situation that led to the AG's letter. He stated that when he became a Selectman he took an oath to always do the best he could for the town.

Mr. Barbaro read a statement into the minutes: "As a volunteer board elected by citizens, I feel that all members of this Board work diligently for the best interests of this town. The Board has accomplished a lot and has always tried to be as transparent as possible, balancing the interests of the citizens and the constraints of the town budget. It's not always been an easy line to walk. But I feel that we have always made an effort to keep the best interests of the town in the forefront."

Selectman Amy Salter did not respond to Mr. Dorwart.

COVID-19 Vaccination Information - Gardner Clinic

As of Thursday, February 18, Winchendon seniors aged 65 and up are now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination.

Clinics for the Gardner Regional COVID Vaccination Center will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, dependent on the delivery of the vaccine from the State.

Registration for clinics will take place on Mondays and Fridays beginning at 10:00 a.m. To register online, visit or by calling the City's Registration Call Center at 978-958-9057. Open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Clinics will take place at the Polish American Citizens Club (PACC), 17 Kendall Pond Road West, Gardner MA 01440.

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Board of Selectmen Deny National Grid Permission to Install Pole in Old Centre

At their meeting on Monday, March 8, Winchendon Selectmen held a public hearing in which a representative for National Grid (who identified themself only as Laura) presented a request to install a utility pole on the Common in Old Centre to help support lines leading to 30 Old Centre, on the west side of the Common, from a pole in front of 70 Old Centre on the east side. The distance involved required an additional pole to keep the wire high enough from the ground for safety.

Several Old Centre homeowners attended the hearing and raised objections.

Old Centre resident Yvonne Harrington said, "The Historical Commission has made some effort to have all the wires up here buried...the Historical Commission needs to be consulted about what stage that is at before any replacement poles happen. We want to get them all underground...we don't want to get funding for having all the wires buried, and each of the residents having to participate in funding to do this, and then have National Grid having just replaced new poles."

Interim Town Manager Stephen Delaney said that he had not heard from the Historical Commission about burying wires, and he saw this as a safety issue because of the droop in the wire across the road.

Old Centre resident Mary Harrington said, "The Historic Commission has not had a chance to convene and discuss [the pole] and we would like an opportunity to do so, we could do an emergency meeting" within 48 hours. "I just received notification of this." Ms. Harrington also pointed out that National Grid had taken down a lot of trees in Old Centre twenty or thirty years ago to clear the wires, and residents had planted replacement trees which they did not want to see taken down.

Laura said that "the arborist was not involved in this design" and no trees were mentioned. The line cannot be moved from its current position between the existing poles in front of 70 Old Centre and 30 Old Centre.

Resident Mary Lee Harrington stated that the Common is used for recreational purposes, including "kids flying kites" and playing ball, and town yoga classes, and more wires crossing the Common would be a safety risk to the public using the space.

Residents suggested alternatives to the new pole, including burying the wire and running a line down the west side of the Common to 30 Old Centre, but the job would have to be re-designed to make such changes.

Selectman Barbara Anderson said, "I feel that because it is in the Historic District, the fact that they did not first go to the Historic Commission, it does concern me. I feel like the first people they should have approached would be the Historic Commission."

Yvonne Harrington pointed out, "To live in Old Centre, or any historic district, especially a National Historic District, you have to get permission from the Pope, to paint your house, to do any kind of repairs, to do solar panels, there are all kinds of restrictions that people have to adhere to. And then a major company comes in and just needs the Board to say yes or no. I understand the need for safety. But safety is a very broad scope."

Laura said that National Grid's first obligation is to their customers, and if there is an issue with the town, then they reach out to the town.

Board Chair Mike Barbaro stated that he felt that National Grid should return to the Board with alternative plans to running a wire across the Common.

Selectman Audrey LaBrie made a motion to approve the pole. There was no second made, killing the motion without a vote. Ms. Anderson made another motion, to disapprove the request for the pole, and to not authorize the Town Manager to act on the Board's behalf on the issue. This motion was seconded by Selectman Rick Ward, and passed 4-1, with Ms. LaBrie casting a "no" vote against the motion.

Local Grants Awarded for Winchendon

State Representative Jonathan Zlotnik and Jill Nicholson Sackett, Chair of the Winchendon Cultural Council, have announced the award of 12 grants totaling $9,634.00 for cultural programs in Winchendon. A complete list of recipients and grant amounts can be found below.

The Winchendon Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCC) serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The LCC Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences, and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community.

Decisions about which activities to support are made at the community level by a board of municipally appointed volunteers. The members of the Winchendon Cultural Council are: Jill Nicholson Sackett, Miranda Jennings, Andrew Arceci, Tina Santos, Linda Hofhaug, Deanne Keddy, Nicole Elias, Linsey Laserte and James McCrohon.

"It is wonderful to see the numerous grants that were awarded to the Winchendon Cultural Council," said Representative Zlotnik. "With COVID-19 greatly affecting this sector, I'm thrilled that these awards will help to keep the arts, sciences, and humanities thriving throughout the region and the Commonwealth."

Statewide, more than $4.35 million will be distributed by local cultural councils in 2021. Grants will support an enormous range of grass-roots activities: concerts, exhibitions, radio and video productions, field trips for schoolchildren, after-school youth programs, writing workshops, historical preservation efforts, lectures, First Night celebrations, nature and science education programs for families and town festivals. Nearly half of LCC funds support educational activities for young people.

The Winchendon Cultural Council will seek applications again in the fall. For guidelines and complete information on the Winchendon Cultural Council, contact Jill Sackett at or through the Town website: Applications and more information about the Local Cultural Council Program are available online at

This year's grants include:

Winchendon Music Festival--$2,020
Winchendon Winds 2020 Concert Series--$1,845
Winchendon Cultural Council Project--$1,549
Beals Library: 3rd Thursday Movies on the Library Lawn--$1,200
Unitarian Universalist Church of Winchendon Pipe Organ Concert--$730
GALA Light Fixtures--$600
Dr. “The Machine” Jesse Rock n Roll Live--$500
Senior Center: Hip Hop Dance Chair Exercises--$350
Beals Library Jumpin’ Juba Concert--$350
Beals Library Tails and Tales: Lore of the Night Sky--$250
Beals Library May Day International Poster Exhibit--$140
Fitchburg Art Museum 85th Regional Exhibition of Art and Craft--$100

Beals Memorial Library Reopening

Do you miss being able to go inside the library and browse the stacks? Well, then you’re in luck! Beginning this month, the Beals Memorial Library in Winchendon will be reopening to the public in a limited capacity.

Starting on Monday, March 22, the library will begin Phase 2 of their reopening plan, allowing patrons to come inside and browse the collection. Entrance to the library is strictly by appointment and due to limited capacity, only four patrons may enter the building at a time. Any children who enter the library must be accompanied by an adult. Social distancing and masks are required and hand sanitizer is available upon entry.

Some library services and spaces will be unavailable or limited until further notice. Computers will not be available for public use. Patrons will be able to have items printed by sending them to the library’s email address, Patrons who need copies or faxes must request staff assistance for use of the copy/fax machine. The library’s restrooms will not be open to the public. Patrons should continue placing return items in the drop box, rather than bringing them into the building.

Appointments are limited to 30 minute time slots. Call or email the library to book your spot. Time slots can be scheduled in advance for the week March 22 - 27.

The Beals Memorial Library is located at 50 Pleasant Street in Winchendon. For more information about the reopening, call the library at 978-297-0300 or visit the library’s website,

Beals Director Manuel King
Library Director Manuel King welcomes patrons back into the library after a year of quarantine.

Local Organic Farmers to Host Workshop: Organic Small Fruit Production

Many Hands Organic Farm will be hosting a workshop regarding Organic Small Fruit Production on March 20th from 10:00 to noon, at the farm in Barre and via Zoom. We have a plethora of small fruit that we distribute in our CSA and preserve for home use. In the workshop, we will start with a powerpoint on small fruit culture, pruning, and fertility. Once we move outside we will try our hands at pruning blueberries, grapes, red raspberries, black raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, and elderberries. Registration is available on the Many Hands Organic Farm website at

Central Mass Tree

Massachusetts Marks One-Year Anniversary of COVID State of Emergency and Shutdown

Massachusetts marked one full year in a state of emergency as of Wednesday, March 10. COVID numbers continue to decline in the state as vaccination levels slowly rise.

Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker is facing increasing criticism for all aspects of vaccination procedures in the state, which change each week. The latest developments include moving teachers to the head of the line for vaccinations, and a "pre-registration system" for scheduling appointments. Gov. Baker blames the failure of the federal government to send adequate doses of vaccine for the state bottleneck. The state is receiving about 250,000 doses per week. On Wednesday, March 10, 40,000 appointments for vaccinations were opened, and had been assigned within a few hours.

80 CVS pharmacies in Massachusetts are now offering vaccination appointments to educators. The pharmacies receive their vaccine directly from the federal government.

Massachusetts moved to Step 2 of Phase 3 of the state's reopening plan as of Monday, March 1. If current trends continue, the state will be able to move to Phase 4 as early as March 22. Gov. Baker emphasized that this will depend on residents continuing to take all precautions, including wearing masks or face coverings, maintaining recommended distancing, socializing and eating only with household members as much as possible, and washing hands, even after receiving the vaccine.

In Phase 3, Step 2 of the plan, indoor performance venues such as concert halls, theaters, and other indoor performance spaces may re-open at 50 percent capacity with a maximum of 500 persons. Indoor recreational activities with greater potential for contact, such as laser tag, roller skating, trampolines and obstacle courses may open at 50 percent capacity.

The following businesses or sites may open at 50 percent capacity, not including staff and employees:

  • Arcades & Other Indoor and Outdoor Recreation Businesses
  • Close Contact Personal Services
  • Driving and Flight Schools
  • Fitness Centers and Health Clubs
  • Golf Facilities (indoor)
  • Libraries
  • Operators of Lodging (common spaces)
  • Museums, Cultural & Historic Facilities, Guided Tours
  • Office Spaces
  • Places of Worship
  • Sectors not Otherwise Addressed
  • Theaters and Performance Venues
  • Relevant EEA Industries – Youth sports spectators and so on
Restaurants will have no capacity limit, but must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between tables. Parties are limited to six persons per table and can remain at the table no longer than 90 minutes. Open food courts (such as in malls) must remain closed. Musical performances will be allowed in restaurants with appropriate distancing.

Retail stores selling clothes may re-open fitting rooms.

Gathering limits in public and private settings remain unchanged: 25 persons maximum outdoors and 10 persons maximum indoors.

Vaccination appointments are now open to persons aged 65 and up, and persons with at least two of the following eligible medical conditions: Asthma (moderate-to-severe), Cancer, Chronic kidney disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Down Syndrome, Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies, Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, Obesity and severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher), Pregnancy, Sickle cell disease, Smoking, and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.

As of Thursday, March 11, 1,504,144 persons (21.8 percent of the state population) have received the first dose of vaccine. 784,789 (11.4 percent of the state population) have received two doses (or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine) and are fully vaccinated.

Winchendon's official case count is now 603 (that's total confirmed cases since March). This is an increase of 11 cases from the previous week. As of March 9, 856 tests had been done in Winchendon in the previous 14 days, and 30 tests returned a positive result. This reduces Winchendon's two-week percent positivity to 3.50 percent, down from 4.43 percent the previous week. Winchendon still appears as yellow (moderate risk) on the color-coded list of Massachusetts towns. Only one surrounding town, Westminster, has been returned to "red" status. Ashburnham, Athol, Fitchburg, Gardner, Orange and Templeton remain yellow or lower. The total number of Massachusetts towns in the highest risk category has gone down for the last eight weeks in a row. 14 towns are now designated as "red" or highest risk.

The MA Department of Public Health announced that as of Thursday, March 11, there have been 562,394 confirmed cases in Massachusetts (9,174 in the previous week), with 16,176 fatalities (251 in the previous week). The rate of new cases across the state is receding steadily, with deaths and hospitalizations also slowing down. The same trend is occurring nation-wide.

Complete Weekly COVID-19 Public Health Report, Thursday, March 11 (PDF, 79 pages)

Gov. Baker stresses the vital importance of wearing masks and face coverings at all times, in public or private, whenever people are not alone or in the sole company of their immediate household members. Employees must wear face masks at work except in individual work spaces or alone, and communal break rooms should be closed or limited. Persons using gyms must wear face masks at all times, even while exercising.

Face masks are required for anyone over the age of 5 in any public setting, indoors or outdoors, whether they are maintaining a six-foot distance or not. Anyone who steps outside their home anywhere must be wearing a mask.

As with existing rules, fines of up to $500 may be imposed for failure to comply with protocols in force. Full details are available in the following documents:

Revised Governor's Order Required Face Coverings (PDF)

For full details and updates on Massachusetts state-wide COVID-19 news and restrictions, see There is a new state webpage on stopping COVID, You Have the Power to Save a Life. The Montachusett Public Health Network COVID-19 Hotline number, answering questions about the COVID-19 situation, is 1-844-968-3323.

For complete details, see the overview on the website. Download the complete, 29-page report at Reopening Massachusetts (PDF).

Below is an updated list of the COVID-19 arrangements made by Winchendon community services, centers, organizations and businesses, as far as the Courier was able to determine as of Thursday, March 11. Changes have been happening very quickly and without notice, so call or check the websites or Facebook pages of a business or organization for the most up to date information. (Winchendon businesses or organizations who would like to be added to this list, or change their information, should email with details.)

Winchendon Public Schools
All elementary school students will return to full day regular classes as of April 5, by mandate of the Commissioner of Education. Parents may opt for all-remote learning if they don't wish their children to attend in-person class, but there will be no hybrid classes. Middle school students will return to full day classes as of April 28, and high school students at a later date. Elementary classes will be meeting at Murdock Middle High School as the HVAC system at Toy Town is still being repaired.

Town Hall
During Phase 3, Town Hall remains closed to the public for general business, except for some Boards and committees that have resumed in-person meetings which the public may attend (masks are required). Most staff will continue to work from home, but are responding to emails and phone calls (expect a delay). Most bills can be paid and applications submitted online, and payments can be dropped off in the dropbox by the Front Street entrance to the building. See agendas for Board and Committee meetings for detailed information on whether meetings will be in person or held remotely via Zoom, and how to attend.

The transfer station is OPEN for regular hours. Residents using the transfer station should complete their visit quickly and maintain a six-foot distance from each other and from attendants.

The Police Station and Fire Station are fully staffed but closed to walk-in visits by the general public. Call 911 for emergencies only and the business numbers for general questions and calls (Police: 978-297-1212; Fire: 978-297-2324). See each department's Facebook page for ongoing updates and information.

Old Murdock Senior Center
Closed to the public. The Center is starting an Intergenerational Pen Pal program in collaboration with The Winchendon School to help seniors and younger people connect. Call the Center for more information. Staff are at work and continue to deliver lunches to seniors, as well as bags of groceries. The Center is also delivering loaner books and jigsaw puzzles to seniors. Essential transportation offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contact them if you're a senior and need groceries or medications. See their Facebook page for updates. 978-297-3155.

Beals Memorial Library
Will be allowing the public inside the building by appointment only as of March 22. Only 4 people inside at one time, 30-minute appointments. Restrooms will not be open and computers will not be available. See their Facebook page for more details.
Interlibrary Loan is now available. Copying and Fax service is available: make an appointment for dropping off and picking up materials. Payment due at drop-off (b/w copies $0.10 per side, color copies $0.25 per side, faxes $1.00 per page).
Building remains closed to the public, all programs, events and meetings suspended until further notice. The library is waiting for air quality tests and approval from the state and there is a long backlog of libraries and public buildings ahead of them. Library materials may be borrowed via pickup in the library lobby or curbside. Patrons can reserve items over the phone (978-297-0300), by email or online. Pickup will be by appointment. Patrons must be wearing masks to enter the side door lobby, one at a time. Only physical items owned by Beals Memorial Library are available until further notice (no interlibrary loans). You can borrow library e-resources through the Beals website. (If you have a library card, you can use the Libby app to borrow ebooks via your cell phone.) Library materials can be returned in the outside drop box. Overdue fines are waived for the time being. Check the Beals Facebook page for video book readings by Library Director Manuel King.

Used book and media sale on Thursday evenings, 6:00-8:00 p.m. by appointment. Books and magazines by free donation, puzzles for $5, DVDs, music, video games and audio books $1. All proceeds go to future library programs and events. Call for an appointment.

BealsCon has been rescheduled to June, 2022 as it appears uncertain that the pandemic will subside enough in 2021 for an event of this kind.

Clark Memorial YMCA
Open under Phase 3 guidelines. Registration open for spring sessions. For full details, see their Facebook page or website.

Full day child care for school age children starting September 14, 6:30 a.m.- 6:30 p.m., $150 per week. Call 978-297-9622 or email Kyle Scrivines at with questions.

Winchendon Community Action Committee (CAC)
Clothing room is now open to the public--limit of 4 persons at a time, masks required.
Produce Market each Thursday, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Accepting SNAP/HIP and cash payment, open to all.
The CAC frequently has excess food at the end of the week and puts out last minute calls asking people to come get food--watch their Facebook page, especially Thursday and Friday.
Tutoring/mentoring program for WPS students in conjunction with The Winchendon School. Limited space, call 978-297-1667 to get on the list.

NEW HOURS. CLOSED MONDAYS. Open Friday 8:00-3:00 with pantry 9:00-1:00. Public is allowed inside the building by appointment, three appointments per 30 minutes. NO ADMITTANCE WITHOUT MASK AND HANDS SANITIZED IN AND OUT WITH PROVIDED SANITIZER. CAC Haven of Hope is open to provide services during business hours, including showers, laundry, pre-made meals and relaxation area. Accepting donations, see new guidelines. See their Facebook page for hours, updates and information, or call 978-297-1667.

Winchendon American Legion Post 193
Building closed until further notice, due to COVID restrictions. See post on their Facebook page.

Winchendon History and Cultural Center
Seppie's Ice Cream Parlor remains closed until further notice. See their Facebook page for updates about future events. 978-297-2142.

The Dance Center
Studios open for in-person dance classes. Online virtual dance classes and activities continue. See their Facebook page for more information. 978-297-5678.


Carriage House Restaurant
Open for indoor dining. See their Facebook page for menus, hours and specials. 978-297-1089.

Christo's Place
Open for take-out only. Note temporary new hours: Mon-Tues-Wed-Thurs 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. & Fri-Sat-Sun 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. Pay-by-phone, curbside pickup and free delivery available. Christo's family and staff ask that as few people as possible come inside the store to pick up orders, to help keep everyone safer. 978-297-1142.

C & S Pizza
Open for take-out only. 978-297-2202.

Dunkin Donuts
Open for take-out and drive-through only. Lobby was closed temporarily for extra cleaning and sanitizing.

Friends Garden
OPEN for take-out only as of May 1. 978-297-2277, 978-297-2278.

Gabby's Pizza
CLOSED FOR TWO WEEKS due to COVID exposure. Check their Facebook page for re-opening date. Back open for take-out only. Check their Facebook page for updates. New temporary hours, Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Occasionally close earlier. Offering "make your own pizza" kits: pound of fresh dough, pound of cheese and 1 oz of sauce, enjoy baking pizza with your kids! Note: customers MUST wear a mask to come inside to pick up orders. 978-297-3909.

The Glen Caffe
CLOSED March 11-13, back open Thursday March 18. Open for dine-in and take-out, Thurs-Sat 4:00-8:00 p.m. 978-297-0800. Still preparing take-out meals for sale at Not Just Produced, 290 Central St.

Gourmet Donuts
Open for take-out and drive-through only. No refills of reusable cups for sanitary reasons. You can call ahead with your order and it will be ready to pick up. 978-297-9700

The Harbour Sports Bar
Indoor seating for meals. Check their Facebook page for hours, menus and updates. Customers are encouraged to order online at 978-297-2133

Hometown Cafe
Limited indoor dining as of June 22. Outdoor seating for meals as of June 8. Menu, including daily specials, posted on their Facebook page. Customers are asked to wear masks when picking up orders, and to call in orders ahead if possible. 978-297-2233.

Lickity Splitz
RE-OPENING within next two weeks, see their Facebook page for updates. 978-297-1777.

Little Anthony's & Little Lizzie's
New hours, see their Facebook page. Open for indoor dining. Open for take-out, pickup at Little Lizzie's ice cream window. Menu and online ordering may be done here. Beer and wine available for take-out. Local delivery available. Local ice cream now available. 978-297-2669, 978-297-1880.

Murdock Farm and Dairy Bar

Ruschioni's Cruisin' 12 Diner
Outdoor seating, limited indoor dining. Parties cannot be seated until everyone is present, due to space limitations. Customers are asked to respect protocols for sanitizing tables and keeping distance. Open for take-out. Will have some outside tables available. See their Facebook page for daily menus and specials. Grocery food (cheese, butter, bread, etc) available to order, cash only, delivery available. List with prices on their Facebook page. 978-616-8956.

Open for take-out only, see Facebook page for hours, weekly specials and ordering information. 978-297-0011.

Zoe's Restaurant and Pizzeria
Outdoor seating open, weather permitting. Open for indoor dining, take-out and delivery. Also offering take-out for beer and wine. See their Facebook page for menus and specials. Order on Wednesday and get a trivia question to answer! Hiring server/bartender, apply in person. 978-297-5200.


Beaman's Bait Shop
OPEN. Ring for admittance.

Belletetes Winchendon
Open to customers.

Cumberland Farms


Family Dollar

Horse & Buggy Feeds
Garden plants, supplies. See their Facebook page for news and specials. Only eight customers inside at a time, customers are asked to maintain social distancing. 978-297-2518.

Mystical Magical Marketplace
Open Thurs-Sat, looking for vendors. Classes beginning soon. 978-297-9790.

Not Just Produced
New and additional inventory. Deli is now open. Locally grown produce and beef, local cheese. Hosting the Winchendon Mobile Market on Fridays, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Packaged meals ready-to-go prepared by the Glen Caffe. Organic produce from Charlie's Redhouse Farm. Only ten customers can be inside the store at one time. New phone number: 978-297-7142. Call and order ahead for curbside pickup.

Pattie's Jewelry
Store open to the public, with limits on number of people inside at one time. See their Facebook page for daily specials and information. Hand delivery of local purchases, layaway available. 978-297-3536.

The Perennial Patch
Watch their Facebook page for updates about new season opening. 978-297-0604.

Powell Stone and Gravel
Open with Phase 3 occupancy limits. 978-297-5600.

Reflections Country Collections
See their Facebook page for hours and updates. 978-297-2411.

Rescued Treasures Second Hand Shoppe
Open Saturdays 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., or by appointment. All proceeds benefit Ahimsa Haven Animal Rescue. See their Facebook page for fundraising events and updates.

Robin's Retro Dolls
PM Robin for an appointment. Store currently closed to customers but Robin is buying and selling dolls by appointment, mail order, and on eBay. Contact her at 978-912-1688 with inquiries. If you have a doll to sell, text a photo to 978-912-1688 and she'll get back to you. Watch her Facebook page for updates.

Smith's Country Cheese
OPEN. Call for curbside pickup. 978-939-5738.

Sunset View Farm

To Each His Own Design
Store is open to customers. Taking orders by phone or over the internet, delivering. See their Facebook page for news and specials. 978-297-3959.

Toy Town Treasures
Open with Phase 3 precautions. No more than eight customers inside at one time, face masks required. See their Facebook page for updates and specials. 978-297-4474.


Winchendon Furniture
Winchendon and Keene showrooms now open. Customers asked to wear face masks. Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout the store. See their Facebook page for hours, updates and specials. 978-297-0131.


Athol Savings Bank
Branch lobbies closed to customers as of November 20, due to COVID surge. Open for drive-through, ATM, online banking and by appointment for in-person services. See their Facebook page for updates, including current hours. All branches will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 26-27. 978-249-3200.

Brooks Automotive
Open for Inspection stickers during business hours, no appointment needed. Open for repairs and towing services. Call or check their Facebook page for updates and hours. 978-297-2561.

Clifford P. Beauvais Insurance Agency
Open Mon-Thur 9:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Fri 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. For emergencies outside these hours, email If possible, call or email before coming to the office. Must wear a face mask to come inside. 978-297-0472.

LaPoint Law Office
Office is closed to the public, but attorneys are responding to queries and serving existing clients. Contact them at 978-297-2390, 978-297-3673, or by fax at 978-616-8491, or by email at:,, or See their Facebook page for more information.

Tip Top Nails
Open as of June 22. 978-297-0400.

Toy Town Barber Shop
Open with precautions as of Tuesday, May 26. Customers are asked to wear masks and stay six feet apart while waiting. Advance appointments preferred. Call Sharon Esper at 603-554-2402 (cell) or 978-297-7354 (shop) to make an appointment.


The Chapel, The Chapel Downtown
Holding worship services in the chapel. Attendance limited, all attendees must follow guidelines. Services will be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube. See their Facebook page or website for more information.

Cornerstone Church
In-person Sunday worship services with a limit of 65 attendees. Online services will continue to be offered. Holding virtual prayer meetings online. See their Facebook page for more information. NOTE: some posts on this Facebook page contain false information and/or are shared from unreliable sources.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Church
Open for mass at 6:30 p.m. Services will return to normal schedule with guidelines in place. Attendance will be limited and all attendees must wear masks. See the church Facebook page for more information. Contact the office at, Fr. Henry at, or call 978-297-0280.

Our Neighbor's Kitchen community suppers have resumed as take-out meals on first and third Thursdays of the month.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Winchendon
Our Neighbor's Kitchen suppers are being distributed as “drive-through/take-out" from the church circular driveway every 2nd and 4th Thursday from 5:30 - 6:00 p.m. until further notice. AA Meeting on Monday nights at 7:45 p.m. in the church parish hall. For more information about these and other events, visit their Facebook page or website:

United Parish of Winchendon
In-person worship services resuming Sunday, June 28. Pre-registration required; check their Facebook page for registration form and further updates. Sunday worship being streamed online, see their Facebook page for information, as well as for daily videos, Bible readings and prayers. Sunday School has resumed--pre-register on the church website. Zoom meetings and at-home study materials are also both available for Sunday School.

Now Seeking Volunteers to Serve on Master Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC)

At their February 22, 2021 meeting, the Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to adopt the Master Plan presented to them, and to establish a Master Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC) for the purpose of overseeing the execution of the Master Plan as outlined.

The Winchendon Master Plan describes the will of the people of Winchendon. All town boards, commissions, committees, staff and citizens should use this Plan to guide their work in creating the future everyone seeks. The Master Plan Implementation Committee (MPIC) is charged with overseeing its execution and will work with the Town Manager and Responsible Leads. Members of the MPIC have a demonstrated interest in and knowledge of the Master Plan, are a Winchendon resident or have vested interest in the community, are a demonstrated team player, are reliable and have at least one of these qualifications:

  • Project management
  • Communications
  • Town history
  • Knowledge of "how things work"
MPIC specific responsibilities include:
  • Coordinate and monitor implementation
  • Collaborate with players to develop and track execution goals
  • Assist with goals that require additional resources
  • Encourage ongoing citizen engagement
  • Assess status of specific actions, evaluate priorities, and suggest new implementation techniques where appropriate
  • Identify successful strategies and barriers to progress
  • Periodically evaluate the plan
  • Create a mechanism to provide updates and progress reports to the Board of Selectmen
To see the full Master Plan, click here.

The Board of Selectmen is currently accepting letters of interest to serve on this committee. If you are interested, please send your letter of interest to the Town Manager's Office, 109 Front Street, Winchendon MA 01475 or to Taylor at

2021 Town Meeting Set for May 17

At their meeting on Monday, January 25, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to set the date for the 2021 spring Annual Town Meeting and Special Town Meeting for Monday, May 17, at 7:00 p.m., to be held at Murdock Middle High School. The warrants will be open from January 25 until April 6.

The location within Murdock Middle High School, such as the auditorium or the gym, will be decided at a later date depending on the situations around the pandemic later this year.

Town Committee Vacancies
as of February 8

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 Commission - 1 vacancy
Council on Aging - 1 vacancy
Cultural Council - 9 vacancies
Fence Viewer and Field Driver - 1 vacancy
Library Trustees - 1 vacancy
Open Space Preservation Appraisal and Survey Revolving Fund Advisory Committee - 1 vacancy
Recreation Commission - 1 regular vacancy, 1 student vacancy
Toy Town Community Partnership - 4 vacancies
Zoning Board of Appeals - 2 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.

A complete description of each committee's responsibilities, updated for July, 2020, may be found here (PDF).

Winchendon CVS One of 21 COVID-19 Test Locations in Massachusetts

Beginning Friday, May 22, the Winchendon CVS will be offering COVID-19 tests to residents who meet CDC criteria for testing and age requirements. The tests will use a self-swab system, and residents must register for an appointment in advance and drive to the drive-through window to be tested. No tests will be administered on a walk-in basis for safety reasons. The CVS store is located at 301 Central Street.

Patients should make an appointment at, and bring the appointment confirmation, proof of identity and date of birth, and an insurance card with them. Most patients will not have any out-of-pocket costs, as health insurance will cover the test, but patients can check with their insurer to confirm that the test is covered.

This test is for active COVID-19 infections. It is not an antibody test to discern a past infection.

Full details are on the CVS website.

CVS plans to open 1,000 test sites across the country.

Make DIY Cloth Face Masks

Many people are sewing cloth face masks for themselves and for health care workers. There is even a Facebook group supporting this effort, Mask Makers.

There are a number of patterns available on the Internet. The Courier is sharing the PDF pattern below, which includes templates and clear, photograph-illustrated sewing directions, for the convenience of our readers. The pattern is being distributed by Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, NH and may be copied and shared freely.

The CDC has issued a nationwide advisory asking people to wear face masks at all times when out in public. COVID-19 is spread primarily through the air, and infected persons are the most contagious before they have any symptoms. It's estimated that as many as 50 percent of infected persons may never show symptoms or get sick, but still are able to infect others. Wearing face masks will significantly reduce the chances of infected people spreading the virus.

Face Mask Pattern and Directions (PDF)

Do You Have a Garden in Winchendon?

You can help the Winchendon HEAL Project bring affordable, whole food back to town by telling us about your garden! Fill out this online survey:

What is the HEAL Winchendon Food Project?

Dog Licenses Due March 31st

Dog licenses are due by March 31st. You may purchase dog license on-line through the Town Clerk's page, mail, dropbox, or in person by calling our office at 978-297-2766 when you arrive, we will meet you outside. Please provide valid rabies certificate. $10 for spayed and neutered dogs. $20 for unspayed and unneutered dogs.

Now Accepting Proposals from Food Vendors for Grout Park

The Town of Winchendon issues this Request for Proposals ("RFP") for a commercially operated food truck vendor to be located at Grout Park on the corner of Route 12 and Glenallen St. in Winchendon, Massachusetts. The successful party will be responsible for concession operations in accordance with the terms and conditions set forth in the RFP and subsequent contract entered into between the Town of Winchendon and the successful Food Truck proposer. It is the Town’s goal to promote a vibrant, yet relaxing atmosphere at this location. The goals of permitting food vendor concession privileges at the Park are: to offer high quality, tasty, value-based menu items to visitors; to create a casual, engaging experience; to complement the North Central Pathway; to attract new visitors to the Park and Pathway; to support local area businesses and providers. Healthy, locally sourced food options and use of compostable, recyclable serving materials are a plus.

Copies of the RFP may be obtained for no charge by sending written request to the Town Managers Office, 109 Front St., by email request to or by telephone at (978) 297-0085. Winchendon Town Hall is not open to the public due to COVID-19. The town must receive all proposals no later than March 15, 2021 at 1pm.


MAY 3, 2021

Nomination papers will be available Monday, January 11, 2021 at 8:00am.
Nomination papers must be obtained and turned in on or before Monday, March 15, 2021 by 5:00pm

Available Terms:
TWO – 3-year terms for the Board of Selectmen
TWO – 3-year terms for the School Committee
TWO – 3-Year terms for the Board of Health
ONE - 5-Year term for Housing Authority

Charter Bylaw Review Committee Open to Suggestions from Residents

In compliance with the Town Charter, Section 7.6, the Town Moderator has established a Charter Bylaw Review Committee. This committee will be meeting in the coming months to recommend changes to the current Charter and Bylaw. The final product will be presented at Town Meeting for approval.

All public suggestions for changes are welcome. For those who would like to submit input, please email Please cite the relevant Bylaw Section with the suggested change in your email to the committee.

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.

Toy Town FYIs

Be sure to clear snow away from all heating system vents around your home, and around fire hydrants nearby. Minutes can be wasted if responding fire trucks must search for and dig out the nearest fire hydrant! Snow covered vents can result in carbon monoxide buildup or fires. Be safe!

2021 Dog Licenses are now available. You may purchase through the mail, 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 & Neutered dogs are $10 and Non-Spayed & Non-Neutered dogs are $20

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.

Please Do Not Flush Sanitizing Wipes Down the Toilet
Wipes Clog Pipes!

The Department of Public Works is asking all users of the public sewer system to please be careful not to flush santizing wipes down the toilet. These wipes collect in the pumps and destroy them, causing the Town to be forced to replace two pumps just in the last month alone. If a pump at the wastewater treatment plant were to burn out from wipe accumulation, it would cost the Town $30,000 to replace it. Please throw these wipes into your rubbish instead.

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.

The 2020 Town Street List is now available at Town Hall. Printed copies may be purchased for $8.00 ($5.00 for seniors). Call the Town Clerk's office at 978-297-2766 and one will be brought outside for you. The complete list may be downloaded as a PDF, here.

The 2019 Annual Town Report may be downloaded as a PDF from the town website. Printed copies are available at Town Hall (call the Town Clerk's office and arrange a time for one to be brought out for you).

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!