The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of March 25 to April 1, 2021
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Board of Selectmen Approve Water and Sewer Rate Increases for FY2022

At their meeting on March 22, the Board of Selectmen had a 30-minute discussion on the ongoing shortfall in the water and sewer budget. Interim Town Manager Steve Delaney introduced the discussion, saying, "The Enterprise accounts for both Water and Sewer need an adjustment as there is not adequate retained earnings to balance. If we don't balance it, then it becomes an offset into the General Fund, which is probably not something you want to have happen."

Board of Selectmen Chair Mike Barbaro recapped that last year, a study by consulting firm Wright-Pierce Environmental Services had outlined the problem and recommended either a single large rate increase or an incremental series of annual increases over four years. At that time, the Board voted to raise the rates for FY2021 (this year), but not to commit to the whole series of four annual increases.

(See "Consulting Firm Addresses Growing Deficits in Water and Sewer Budgets," in the June 25-July 2 edition of The Winchendon Courier. Review the Wright-Pierce Presentation and Study (PDFs).)

Mr. Barbaro summarized the dilemma: since the town lost the largest water user in town, the golf course, costs of operating the system fall to the ordinary rate-payers. No new business or enterprise that uses as much water has been established in town to take off some of the burden.

Selectman Barbara Anderson stated that Wright-Pierce was not an independent consultant, but is a company working for Veolia, the company that handles Winchendon's water and wastewater system on contract. "Have we ever had an independent audit, an independent study that is not associated with Veolia, looking at what we're charging and what we intend to charge over time?"

Mr. Barbaro agreed that with Veolia's contract expiring in one more year, it would be good for the town to "get an outside look at that from an independent source. But that doesn't change what is right now in front of us, unfortunately."

"I think it would be irresponsible not to. We have this one year that we should start planning now," Ms. Anderson said. "I understand there are financial ramifications to not raising the rate this year, I am really hesitant to go forward without having some kind of auditors looking at what we're paying. I fear that we're pricing ourselves out and will no longer be competitive with surrounding towns."

Finance Committee Chair Thomas Kane stated that in the last few years, the water and sewer budget has actually decreased slightly. However, he explained, the Enterprise funds have been running at a "structural deficit" where less money was coming in each year than was expended. The surplus funds have now been exhausted.

Selectman Audrey LaBrie pointed out that the advantage of contracting to a big company like Veolia is that they can bring in substitute staff immediately when needed, whereas the town would be in a bind if it was running the system and unexpectedly lost certified employees.

Ms. LaBrie referred to "comments on social media" by residents stating that their bills had been going up over the past year. She pointed out that with the COVID-19 shutdown and schools being closed, people have been at home using their water and toilets all day. The rates were raised last year but have not changed since then. The costs of water and sewer for town and school buildings is incorporated into the tax base, so everyone in town who pays property taxes is contributing equally to those costs, not just the water and sewer ratepayers.

Ms. LaBrie also pointed out that residents who do not use town water or sewer are entirely responsible for the costs of their private wells and septic systems. They should not be asked to share in the costs of the water and sewer systems for other residents.

Selectman Rick Ward stated that the town does not want to face another large debt due to a shortfall in the water and sewer Enterprise funds.

Board of Health Chair Keith Kent reminded the Board that a couple of years ago, DPW Director Al Gallant suspected that a lot of water was being lost via leaks in the pipeline between the Ashburnham reservoir and Winchendon, which Winchendon was paying for. He proposed looking again at how much water is being lost and what to do about it. Mr. Barbaro responded that at that time, the cost of replacing the water line was estimated to be around $5 million, which the town could not consider taking on. Winchendon's population is now over 10,000, which is the cut-off number for USDA grant funding to what it defines as rural communities.

Mr. Barbaro also pointed out that Winchendon has a smaller user base than most area towns. Only about 2,000 households use town water, and about 1,300 use the town sewer system. This drives up the costs for those ratepayers. Mr. Kent said that the former golf course had paid $25,000 a year to the town for its water.

The Board of Selectmen voted 3 to 1 to approve rate increases for FY22 of 6.82 percent for water and 14.28 percent for wastewater. Ms. Anderson voted nay. Selectman Amy Salter was not present.

Ms. LaBrie proposed to form a committee to continue studying this issue. Mr. Barbaro asked Mr. Delaney to make up an Request for Proposal (RFP) for an independent study of water and sewer. The Board approved authorizing Mr. Delaney to do so.

(Video of the March 22 meeting may be viewed at March 22 BoS Meeting Video (rate discussion begins at 50:37 in the recording).

Previous Board of Selectmen meeting minutes discussing the rate increases:

June 22, 2020 (PDF) (item 7.1, page 5)
July 13, 2020 (PDF) (item 7.8, page 7))

Interim TM Recommends Deferring Two Capital Projects for FY22

At the March 22 Board of Selectmen meeting, Interim Town Manager Steve Delaney presented a summary of revisions made to the draft budget prepared by former Town Manager Keith Hickey and presented to the Board two months ago.

In order to close a $500,000 budget gap, Mr. Delaney explained, various line items were reduced throughout the general fund budget, savings from a lower estimate for health insurance were applied, and two large capital expenditures have been recommended for deferral.

A line item of $75,000 to fund an engineering study for upgrading the fire station is recommended for differal. Mr. Delaney stated that the Fire Department submitted budget requests for additional funds amounting to $46,500 for various items without increasing the number of staff. He is not recommending this additional funding. An outside accountant is looking at the Fire Department's budget to gain a better understanding of the expenditures requested by the department. Members of the Finance Committee noted that the Fire Department Budget has increased by 12 percent or more for the last three years, with the increase from FY21 to FY22 being 19 percent, with no additional personnel being hired.

Also recommended for deferral is $250,000 to replace the roof of the DPW building. Mr. Delaney stated that this was worked out with the DPW Director, "who really needed a dump truck more than he needed a new roof."

Other capital improvements in the FY22 budget, including items for DPW equipment, fire equipment, police cruisers, library building improvements and senior center repairs, remain in place.

The Board of Selectmen voted 4-0 to approve the revised budget (Selectman Amy Salter was not present). A public hearing on the budget will be held in late April, after which the Finance Committee will make its recommendation.

Major Stonework Repairs Underway at Unitarian Universalist Church

Spring is here and the scaffolding is going up! The new construction activity at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Winchendon (UUCW) marks the beginning of Phase 2 complex masonry repairs of the imposing granite building. This work is part of the church’s “Set in Stone” capital campaign to repair the aging stonework over several phases and years as funding allows. This Phase 2 work is funded through a Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund grant from the State of Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation and the church’s own fundraising efforts.

UUCW received bids from three masonry firms for the proposed Phase 2 repairs. After careful consultation with Structures North Consulting Engineers and the Massachusetts Historical Commission, UUCW awarded the contract to Joseph Gnazzo Company Inc. of Union, CT. UUCW was well acquainted with Gnazzo as they had ably performed Phase 1 repairs to the front entryway in Fall 2019 and Spring 2020.

Phase 2 repairs will complete the remainder of the East elevation face and then begin earnest work on the church tower, which is in the greatest need of repair. Specifically, Gnazzo will be working on the East tower face, including the clock spire, and Northeast buttress. The buttress work will require dismantling and resetting some of the very large support stones.

UUCW expects the work to continue over the next several weeks and into June. Details, pictures and reports regarding UUCW’s Set in Stone capital campaign may be found at the church’s dedicated website: Donations are gratefully accepted at that website, and questions can be emailed to

Scaffolding on UU Church of Winchendon

Subway Catering for Holidays ad

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.

Gold Award Girl Scout Takes on School Bullies

Amber Wood earns Girl Scouting’s highest award for anti-bullying project

Amber Wood
Amber Wood

WINCHENDON, MA - Nearly half of all students 9-12 years old say they have experienced bullying at school. And all students who experience bullying are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, lower academic achievement, and dropping out of school, according to the PACER National Bullying Prevention Center. To counteract this nationwide problem, Gold Award Girl Scout Amber Wood created a curriculum, website, and Instagram page addressing the problem of bullies in school.

Wood, 19, of Winchendon, participated in a Girl Scout troop in Jaffrey, NH, right across the state border. She created her PowerPoint presentation just as the COVID-19 pandemic began, and had to readjust her plans to present her curriculum to middle-school and high-school-age students.

"I decided this was a good topic because I have personally been bullied and know many people who have," said Wood. "Also, it's a very serious topic worldwide."

Wood learned a lot about organization, leadership, and especially how to handle things when unexpected challenges come her way.

"My original goal was to go out to different places and do hands-on crafts and a presentation but no one ever got back to me or gave me the approval to present, and then COVID-19 came around," she said. "I switched up my project to an online presentation-type platform where I made a website and an Instagram page and also did Zoom meetings."

Project advisor Danna Mirviss of the PACER Center is grateful for her help.

"I was happy to provide Amber with resources from our website about bullying and bullying prevention for her to use to learn more about the issues and to share with others," said Merviss. "All efforts to share information and help others who are experiencing bullying is helping to create a world without bullying!"

"I know that my audience gained skills because after the different Zoom meetings I had many of them reached out to me and wanted to have personal questions and asked for more advice on different situations," said Wood.

Overcoming obstacles taught Wood that she is able to be successful, and that no matter how hard things get, she can’t give up. Seeing her website get several views every week showed her that she was able to provide help.

Wood is now a student at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, but plans to switch to the Florida Universal Technical Institute in Florida this fall for their automotive program, with the goal to become a NASCAR mechanic.

Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9–12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change. They earn college scholarships, demonstrate high educational and career outcomes, and are active in their communities.

Amber Wood has answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change, and her Gold Award is a testament to her remarkable dedication to improving her community and the world. The Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable.

About the Girl Scout Gold Award

  • Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
  • A Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.
  • The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.
  • Since 1916, more than 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.
  • Gold Award Girl Scouts are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military.
  • University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.
  • Eleven young women from New Hampshire and Vermont earned their Gold Award in the 2019-2020 membership year as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
  • The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable!

Central Mass Tree

Local Organic Farmers to Host Workshop: Mushroom Growing

Many Hands Organic Farm will be hosting a workshop regarding Mushroom Growing on April 10th from 10:00 to noon at the farm in Barre. Join the cast and crew at Many Hands Organic Farm for 2 hours of hands on learning. We’ll be hefting logs, plugging them with shitake spawn, and sealing the plugs over with cheese wax. When we’re done with that we’ll start our first ever oyster totems, using poplar logs. Potluck lunch to follow, questions encouraged, comraderie required. Registration is available on the Many Hands Organic Farm website at

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Vaccine and Appointments Remain in Short Supply as COVID-19 Increases Among Younger People

In his press briefing on Thursday, March 25, Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker urged younger residents, especially, to continue safe practices for preventing COVID-19 infections, responding to a rise in cases among younger people. He urged them, along with all residents, to wear masks, stay distanced and take precautions. Gov. Baker also urged younger residents to get tested if they think they may have been exposed to the virus or are experiencing symptoms. Testing and self-quarantine are still essential measures for keeping the state on its downward trend of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

"We're optimistic that the federal government will deliver on bigger shipments of vaccines as we go forward, so that we can continue to make progress in making sure that a vaccine is available to everybody who wants one," Gov. Baker said. Currently, those making appointments are still faced with long wait times and a lack of available spaces. Priority is being given to large scale vaccination sites, none of which are close to Winchendon or easy for people outside of greater Boston to get to.

Massachusetts moved to Step 2 of Phase 3 of the state's reopening plan as of Monday, March 1.

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.

Under Step 1, Phase 4, large capacity sports and entertainment venues may open at a strict limit of 12 percent capacity. Exhibition and convention halls may open, following gathering limits, dance floors may open and overnight summer camps will be allowed to operate this summer. Gathering limits in event venues and public settings will increase to 100 people indoors and 150 outdoors. The limits for private gatherings will remain at 25 persons outdoors and 10 persons indoors in private homes.

Travelers arriving in Massachusetts from other states are now recommended, but not required, to self-quarantine for 14 days unless they have had a negative COVID-19 test within the previous 72 hours. Massachusetts residents travelling to Maine are no longer required by that state to quarantine for 14 days after arrival.

Vaccination appointments are now open to persons aged 60 and up, and persons with at least one 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 25, 1,942,416 persons (28.2 percent of the state population) have received the first dose of vaccine. 1,136,733 (16.5 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 631 (that's total confirmed cases since March). This is an increase of 12 cases from the previous week. As of March 13, 792 tests had been done in Winchendon in the previous 14 days, and 25 tests returned a positive result. This slightly increases Winchendon's two-week percent positivity to 3.16 percent, up from 3.03 percent the previous week. Winchendon still appears as yellow (moderate risk) on the color-coded list of Massachusetts towns. Of surrounding towns, Templeton has returned to "red" status. Ashburnham, Athol, Fitchburg, Gardner, Orange, and Westminster remain yellow or lower. The total number of Massachusetts towns in the highest risk category has increased by 50 percent. 32 towns are now designated as "red" or highest risk.

The MA Department of Public Health announced that as of Thursday, March 25, there have been 586,298 confirmed cases in Massachusetts (12,163 in the previous week), with 16,671 fatalities (245 in the previous week). The rate of new cases across the state is ticking up slightly, largely because of increased cases among younger people. Deaths and hospitalizations remain at a steady level.

Complete Weekly COVID-19 Public Health Report, Thursday, March 25 (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 25. 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 this summer's Camp Clark. Hiring lifeguards and swim instructors. 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.

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

Gabby's Pizza
CLOSED for one more week for renovations. Check their Facebook page for re-opening date. Back open for take-out only. Check their Facebook page for updates. 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. Will be closed Easter Sunday. 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
OPEN for the season, see their Facebook page for info and specials. 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. Trivia night on Wednesday has resumed! 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 Stained Glass
Open to public, appointments available outside general hours. Classes being held at store and Monty Tech. See their website for details. 978-297-7102.

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 open to customers as of March 15. Open for drive-through, ATM, online banking and by appointment for in-person services. See their Facebook page for updates, including current hours. 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

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.

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).

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

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.

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