The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of April 29 to May 6, 2021
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

Town Election Monday, May 3

The Winchendon Town Election will be held on Monday, May 3 in the second floor auditorium of the Old Murdock Senior Center, 52 Murdock Avenue, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. There is an elevator available. Information provided to the Courier by candidates appears below. (The Courier was not able to reach Lionel Cloutier, who is running for re-election to the Board of Health, or Nancy Romanowski, who is running for the Housing Authority board, by press time.)

Tina M. Santos
Board of Health

How long have you lived in Winchendon?
My husband I moved here in 2004.

What inspired you to run for the Board of Health?
I have been very active in my community throughout my years living here in Winchendon and am looking forward to putting the health and safety of our residents as a priority as a member of thr Board of Health.

What skills and experience will you bring to the Board of Health?
I am a caring, people person, and willing to go that extra mile. I have volunteered on several town boards and programs, such as Recreation Commission, Cultural Council, Womens Auxiliary Legion Member.
Since my children were in Preschool, I have volunteered in and helped raise funds for our schools, held several titles in the school PTOs, help with field days and other events, ran the Murdock middle school store. Coordinated and raised funds in order to install fencing, upgrade the playground area and swings at Toy Town Elementary school (Project Playground) I also help with Recreational/Babe Ruth softball league and Murdock Varsity softball here in Winchendon.

What health-related issues do you feel Winchendon most needs to address?
We need to focus on and work on mental health. Many people have been affected due to the Covid pandemic. Bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear are triggering mental health conditions.

What do you see as the greatest health-related challenges faced by Winchendon in the next three years? How will you help the Board of Health deal with them?
Suicide prevention. I will work with community to bring more awareness.
I also feel as though we need to help domestic violence individuals and/or families by providing them with the local resources, program information and services that is available to them. We need to help guide them with a safe place to stay, away from the violent situation.

I've been very active with the annual Earth day event collecting trash each year and now I am looking forward in helping to plan and coordinate the event as well. I love our town, I love our schools...
Thank you so much for your support! :)

Barbara L. Anderson
Board of Selectmen

My name is Barbara Anderson and I have lived in Winchendon for almost 30 years. I was originally drawn to town because of the fun atmosphere and tight knit community. I felt this was a great place to raise my family. I have always followed local politics and became politically active in 2015, as the unrest and dissatisfaction in town grew. I first ran for the Board of Selectmen in 2015, and won with the support of the Stand Up For Toy Town political action committee. I strongly believe that local government should serve and protect the residents and businesses in the community, but a local government is only as good as the residents that are willing to serve. I have decided that I would love the opportunity to serve for 1 more term, so that I can continue working on projects and issues that have yet to be completed and/or resolved.

I am a retired History teacher, with a minor in political science. I am knowledgeable about how town government works; I have 6 years experience on the Board of Selectmen, and remain actively engaged with state and national leadership. I know how to advocate for my community and garner support, and try to remove some of the burden off the tax payer base. I am always available to listen to residents when they have concerns, or complaints; and I am more than happy to advocate for them.

I still think that Winchendon’s greatest strength is our sense of community. We have so many people that are willing to volunteer their time and energy to work for the common good. I have seen this town weather some pretty serious storms, and we always stick together and work out a solution that helps everyone. We have so many amazing features in town, and so many fabulous people who are willing to work to engage the community in activities, events, and highlight the areas of interest.

Winchendon needs to continue to work on investing in the community. We need to be more inclusive and open to everyone. We need to encourage community participation and community engagement. We need to work harder at taking the burden off the tax payers by encouraging more business opportunities and applying for more state and federal funding. We have a crumbling infrastructure in dire need of upgrading and we cannot, in good conscience, expect to just increase taxes and fees to make that happen.

I am very proud to have had the opportunity to serve the Town of Winchendon for the past 6 years, and am looking forward to facing the challenges that await us in the next 3. I would love to see some new faces step up and begin serving in various capacities as well. I feel like it is too easy to get stale and unmotivated and fresh voices and perspectives are always welcome.

Danielle R. LaPointe
Board of Selectmen

How long have you lived in Winchendon?
I moved to Winchendon during a blizzard when pregnant with my second child...and she's going to be 16 in less than a month!

What inspired you to run for the Board of Selectmen?
It is time.

When I became politically active in town seven years ago, it was because of my strong belief that if you want to complain you must be willing to do. As a town resident I was dissatisfied and concerned with many ways in which our town was being led, and I worked very hard with others to make leadership changes. Believing that I must also be willing to do, that involved serving on our school committee. I would have liked to serve on the Board at that time, but I simply felt I was not ready for that yet, having far too much to learn to be able to serve well. During my term on the Committee, I had two more children--yes, bringing the total up to five! Having three pre-teen/teenagers, a toddler, and an infant, while working and going to law school full-time meant I had to prioritize. I was doing everything, but nothing well, and something had to come off my plate for a while. So, when I left the Committee, it was with the promise to serve again when the time was right.

Now is that time. The kids are getting a little bit older, life is settling some, and I have more capacity. In all honesty, I ideally would have liked to wait just one more year. I will be finishing my degree in December and sitting for the Bar the following February, so running in 2022 would have been the perfect timing for me. But I see town residents' discontent and concern now. I am nothing if not an advocate--my activism seven years ago helped me to discover that my passion is for helping citizens use their voices and power. Perception is reality, and the perception out there--whether factually-based or not--seems to be that we have once again strayed away from open, honest, transparent communication in the workings of our town government. I demand nothing less that that.

I also see the need to bring us back to striving for balance. The Board is here as the CEO of our town, with each member chosen by our residents as a representative of all of us. The Board's job is not to be “yes men”-- not to a town manager and not to residents. I believe the Board's job is to work diligently to oversee and be sure our decisions and actions are best serving both aspects of our town – being fiscally, ethically, and socially responsible as it pertains to running a municipal government/budget, while at the same time making sure our residents' needs are being best served. Board members cannot and should not be "yes men," and they also most certainly should never be starting from a place of no. Board members must always, always, openly and transparently consider the stance of residents--even when that might be uncomfortable.

I guess that's a long way to say that the time is now to bring transparency and openness back to our local government, and I am one of the people to make that happen.

What skills and experience will you bring to the Board?
My varied experiences both professional--customer service, project management, emergency services, substitute, paraprofessional, health insurance, legal services, real estate, mediation--and personal--college, law school, PAC leadership, School Committee, married homeowner, divorced single mother renter, stay at home parent, working parent, stay at home/working parent, dual incomes, single income, doing okay money-wise, wondering where mortgage/rent payments would come from, commuting for work, working locally, being healthy, having health challenges...I could go on, but I won't... All of these experiences have only served to fine-tune my skills beneficial to this role, particularly leadership, communication, empathy and compassion, negotiating, delegating, and prioritizing. I am determined to use these particular skills to my advantage and work to bring communication, transparency, openness, understanding, and compromise to the forefront of the Board's efforts.

What do you see as Winchendon's greatest strengths? What do you see as the areas most in need of improvement?
Winchendon has such a great love of our heritage and history, and I find us to be a resilient and adaptable town. I see a desire to keep that love strong, but to do that there has to be an effort to get buy-in, from both residents and our officials alike. To get that we really need to focus on strategy, information-sharing, education, and advocacy of the various projects we feel are desired and important. We can't just keep saying we need more money so we can do xyz, we have to really show why, how, and what can be expected to come of it. The second, and almost more important piece to getting there, is to make sure we think about how we're marketing ourselves--both residents and public officials. We need to make sure those people in our elected and appointed positions are truly advocates for Winchendon. While there are certainly areas for improvement in Winchendon--there always will be--we absolutely need our spokespeople in whatever capacity to be stewards for our town, not naysayers. If we focus on these things--no small feats, I realize--I believe we can get much more community involvement, a broader presence, and accomplish so much.

What do you see as the greatest challenges faced by Winchendon in the next three years? How will you help the Board of Selectmen deal with them?
In my mind this and the previous questions are grouped together. I think one of our greatest, most pressing challenges, is to get that buy-in and community involvement so we can start heading where we need to go. I see infrastructure as an integral part of this. How do we address our private buildings, our public buildings, our roads, our essential services, our various initiatives, and do that within our budget and not creating an excessive burden on our residents, particularly while dealing with a pandemic economy?

I am excited to continue work that a couple others have only recently started, for example, with an emphasis on grant opportunities and working with our state representatives to make sure Winchendon gets and stays on the funding map. I am a vocal advocate, and I will continue to do that here--by researching, asking questions, working through scenarios, and not just simply accepting the status quo.

What else would you like the voters of Winchendon to know?
I will always be interested in and want to hear what you have to say. I may not always agree with you, but I will always respect your right to have your opinion and advocate for your position. I will always do what I can to stay open-minded and find a way to best serve everyone's needs, with a balanced approach whenever possible. And I will always, always, share information and the basis for my decisions.

Ryan G. Forsythe
School Committee

How long have you lived in Winchendon?
My wife, three children, and I have lived in Winchendon for just under 10 years. We moved here from Tennessee in 2011.

What inspired you to run for a seat on the Winchendon School Committee?
I believe in the power of education and want to serve my community. Serving as a school committee member will allow me to support the students, families, school system, and teachers of Winchendon, while giving back to my hometown.

What skills and experience will you bring to the School Committee?
I have worked with youth-serving educational programs for years. I have run a youth leadership camp, worked with numerous school districts on unique academic and extra-curricular programs, and other educational programming. I have dedicated my career to helping students and families enroll in and complete college at institutions like Mount Wachusett Community College and Worcester State University, while supporting students' selections of varied paths after high school. In my work, I manage budgets and projects that often involve the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education, Department of Higher Education, and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, among other public and private educational organizations. I hope to put these skills and experiences to work with the other school committee members to contribute to our school system and enhance student experiences.

What do you see as the Winchendon school district's greatest strengths? What do you see as the areas most in need of improvement?
The greatest strength of the Winchendon school district is its people. The students, families, teachers, and staff of the Winchendon Public Schools are the lifeblood of the town and the future of our community. The dedication and pride of the people in the schools are worthy of celebration.
The most immediate need is to get students back to in-person learning safely. With the pandemic coming to a close, it is time for students to learn in-person for their academic, social, and emotional well-being. Students are beginning to return to the school buildings now and should return safely and completely before next year.
Equally as important is the need to assure that students have the academic programs and academic support services needed for success. Strong core academic curriculum and resources, access to the arts, athletics, opportunities for advanced coursework, special education supports, and more contribute to progress for students and the district.

What do you see as the greatest challenges faced by the School Committee in the next three years? How will you help the School Committee deal with them?
At the school committee level, the greatest challenge is the district's fiscal health. Inequities in school funding exist and state funding is inadequate. New and creative solutions are needed to assure that the students of Winchendon receive the comprehensive and effective education that they deserve.

What else would you like the voters of Winchendon to know?
I have never run for any type of public office before (this is all very new!); however, in another lifetime as a high school student, I was on the school committee of my alma mater. I am looking forward to getting back to the great work that school committees do to provide high quality education to students. I hope everyone will consider casting their vote on May 3rd, between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm, at the Old Murdock Senior Center. Thank you.

Keith M. Kent
Board of Health

How long have you lived in Winchendon?
My dear and better half Jennifer Smith and I moved to our Mason Street home in March of 2014. Jennifer previously growing up in town helped her family manage Smith's Country Cheese for nearly 20 years, and wanted to stay in Winchendon. We moved back to this historic community and found a beautiful home with which to grow together that we truly appreciate and enjoy. I am very thankful to have her support in public service.

What is inspiring you to run for re-election to the Board of Health?
The Board of Health is extremely important to me as public health serves the greater good in such an incredible variety of ways. Our community, our children who are our priceless next generation of leaders, trying to aid in keeping people healthy, their homes healthy, being productive, positive, and able to help serve others before self which is a key part of my religious belief, mean more to me than any words can say. It's my hope to be able to continue to give back to our community, with positivity and dedication to public health with the support of our fellow community members.

What skills and experience do you bring to the Board of Health?
When I was first granted the privilege of serving the town and Board of Health, I felt I had no business working at the capacity of a public health member without obtaining some level of education. I earned my Certificate in Public Health, which was offered by both the Boston University School of Public Health and the Local Public Health Institute of Massachusetts. While just scratching the surface of public health, it greatly aided my knowledge and helped me to see things in perspectives I had not imagined. Our Health Agent James Abare who has been serving our town for some two decades, informed me I was the first elected member he could think of to obtain that certification. It's now my goal to earn a cert in Emergency Management for emergency shelters. I would like to thank our Health Agent for letting me shadow him on many inspections to help increase my understanding of how things work and what to look for. Lastly there are 30 certificates obtained in the National Incident Management System "NIMS" in the ICS 100 through 800 level.

What health-related issues do you feel Winchendon most needs to address?
Winchendon in my humble opinion needs to work hard stopping the illegal dumping of trash and waste, and has an extensive problem with people who walk their dogs and do not pick up after them. One gram of dog waste can yield up to 23 million fecal coli-form bacteria. This year so far, I have sadly removed over 160 piles of dog waste left behind on just the first 3/4 miles of our beautiful bike and walking path. It bothers me deeply that little children who by nature learn through touching things are exposed to this public health hazard, let alone adults.

What do you see as the greatest health-related challenges faced by Winchendon in the next three years? How will you help the Board of Health deal with them?
One of our towns greatest challenges we face over the next three years is how we continue as a people and a community deal with the future challenges of of COVID-19. While many are seeking vaccination, this virus will continue to mutate as it currently is and not just go away as with all viruses. We need to be to be more tolerant of our mutual differences of opinion, and learn to talk and listen to each other better. There will always be another virus, another strain. It biological world history. We all also need to do our part and pitch in with keeping our town clean. If you see something, please pick it up. We must address cutting back on roadside waste. I see so many homes where people won't even pick up trash in front of their residence. While to much personal pride is a bad thing, pride in your community can be a great thing. We also need to be conscious of the air quality in our schools and continue to monitor it closely as time goes on. These structures are not a fine wine, and will not improve with age.

What else would you like the voters of Winchendon to know?
In closing I want our residents to know I ask for your support in our upcoming election, and please help me so I can continue to help you. There is no I in team, and together our many tiny shovels can and will move mountains! We are all in the game of life together, and share the same space. We all have something to offer. Even if you don't vote for me, please come out and vote, because for that very right, all gave some, and some gave all.

Shauna B. LaPointe
School Committee

How long have you lived in Winchendon?
I have lived in Winchendon since 1989 and attended Winchendon public schools for all of my k-12 education.

What inspired you to run for a seat on the Winchendon School Committee?
As an educator and parent, I wanted to be more involved in the local schools.

What skills and experience will you bring to the School Committee?
I would bring a variety of educational experiences to the table. I started in education as an elementary teacher but have taught up through 8th grade. Currently, I am an instructional coach working with teachers and educational leaders to enhance learning experiences for students. I teach five graduate courses for Fitchburg State in the middle and high school masters program.

What do you see as the Winchendon school district's greatest strengths? What do you see as the areas most in need of improvement?
The greatest strength of the Winchendon public schools is the teachers and paraprofessionals. They work tirelessly to educate the students of Winchendon.

As an outsider to the schools, I can not say what needs improvement yet. As a parent, I have only had wonderful experiences at Memorial School. No system is perfect, and there is always room for improvement, but joining the school committee would allow me to share my voice as an educator and community member.

What do you see as the greatest challenges faced by the School Committee in the next three years? How will you help the School Committee deal with them?
The greatest challenge of the school committee in the next few years will be dealing with the post-pandemic changes in education. State-level funding allocations will not be the same as before the pandemic. Additionally, there is a pending retirement opportunity that could lead to many open positions. The committee needs to enable the schools to be competitive in the hiring process to secure highly qualified candidates. As someone knowledgeable about current educational trends and needs, I will collaborate as a school committee member to understand educational implications.

Central Mass Tree

Town Adopts Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, May 3rd to May 8th

Light the Town up Green to Support This Important Cause!

The Board of Selectmen voted a proclamation in support of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which is next week. There will be a brief ceremony in front of Town Hall on Monday, May 3, at 7:00 p.m. to read the proclamation and to Light up Town Hall in green in conjunction with other municipalities that are supporting this observance and raising awareness. All are invited to join the ceremony, wear green, and light up your own home in green next week!

For more information, click the following link:>

View the official Winchendon Proclamation of Children's Mental Health Awareness Week (PDF).

109 Front Street
Winchendon, Massachusetts 01475-1758
6:30 PM
109 Front St., Winchendon, MA

The purpose of the meeting is for the Board of Selectmen to consider the plan of the "Mellen Road Roadway Acceptance Plan" as drawn by McCarty Engineering, Inc., said plan dated April 23, 2021. The Board of Selectmen will consider voting to accept the layout and send such plan to be filed with the Town Clerk prior to consideration by the Annual Town Meeting on May 17, 2021.
A copy of the plan can be accessed via a link on (at the bottom--PDFs)
In the event the meeting has to be switched to a Zoom meeting, please see the Town’s website calendar for Zoom information to join the meeting remotely

CFNCM Awards Enviromental Preservation and Animal Welfare Grants to Local Organizations

The Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts has awarded $73,172 to regional organizations under the Enviromental Preservation and Animal Welfare Grant Program, including two that directly benefit Winchendon.

Mass Audobon's Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary received $5,000 for its Nature and Social-Emotional Learning program which is offered in conjunction with the Athol, Gardner and Winchendon Head Start programs.

Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust was awarded $7,500 for the Winchendon Trails Initiative. "We’re very excited that the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts has chosen to support Mount Grace's work in Winchendon and we look forward to partnering with the library and local scouts to encourage more people to enjoy Whitney Memorial Forest," Mount Grace Executive Director Emma Ellsworth told the Courier.

The Community Foundation’s grant programs seek to improve the quality of life in North Central Massachusetts by supporting initiatives that have a capacity for long-term viability, offer thoughtful plans of action and outcome measurements, and leverage collaborations.

Local Organic Farmers to Host Workshop: Starting Seeds and Seedlings in Greenhouse and Field

Many Hands Organic Farm will be hosting a workshop regarding Organic Small Fruit Production on May 8th from 10:00 to noon at the farm in Barre. We will take you through our seed starting and planting protocols from greenhouse to hoophouse to field. We will all together start seeds inside, plant in the field and also spend some time on our theories and practice (which don’t always conform with the norm) on how to get plants off on their best footing and keep them thriving throughout the season. Registration is available on the Many Hands Organic Farm website at

Signal Boost: Master Plan Implementation Committee Volunteers Still Needed

The Board of Selectmen are still seeking volunteers to serve on the Master Plan Implementation Committee. Details about the committee and the qualifications for volunteers may be found lower down on this page.

Subway April 2021 Steak Sub Ad

Water Use Restrictions Begin May 1

Water use restrictions for users of Winchendon town water will be effective as of Saturday, May 1, 2021 and will remain in effect until October 1.

Outdoor water use is permitted for odd-numbered addresses on odd-numbered days, and for even-numbered addresses on even-numbered days. Watering is permitted only overnight, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., to minimize water loss from evaporation.

Call the Department of Public Works at 978-297-0170 if you have any questions.

According to the National Weather Service, the Monadnock region is currently experiencing "moderate drought" with below normal amounts of spring rainfall.

May is Mystery Month at the Beals Memorial Library

Do you enjoy the twists and turns of a heart-racing thriller? How about the amatuer sleuthing of a cozy mystery? Are you fascinated by the gritty details of true crime stories? Or do you prefer the detective-led investigations of a classic whodunit? If you’re a fan of mysteries or true crime or are looking to give them a try, then join the Beals Memorial Library in Winchendon as they celebrate Mystery Month with a fun reading challenge!

Starting on Monday, May 3rd and running through Friday, May 28th, the library will be holding their annual Mystery Month reading challenge for participants of all ages. During the month of May, patrons who check out a mystery will be entered for a chance to win a novel of their choice. To participate, just fill out and submit a Mystery Month bookmark or enter your books on Beanstack at

Do you want to add an extra layer of suspense to this fun challenge? Then let the library staff pick your books for you through a Beals Mystery Bundle for some real-life mystery! Beals Mystery Bundles are an easy way for patrons and their families to access the wide variety of mystery fiction and true crime available in the library’s collection. By filling out a short online form found on the library’s website,, the staff at the library can expertly curate a selection of three to five items that patrons are sure to enjoy.

The Beals Memorial Library is located at 50 Pleasant Street in Winchendon. For more clues about participating in the thrills and chills of Mystery Month, call the library at 978-297-0300 or email at

Mystery Man at the Beals Library
Beals Library Director-in-Disguise, Manuel King, dares you to get clued in to the library's Mystery Month reading challenge!

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Town of Winchendon Hiring Multiple Positions

The Town of Winchendon is seeking applicants for several positions, including a part-time Veterans' Agent, a full-time Department of Public Works Foreman, a full-time Department of Public Works Highway Laborer and a full-time Department of Public Works Cemetery Laborer. For complete details and an application, go to: Town of Winchendon Job Opportunities or call 978-297-0085.

Organic Farm Opens CSA Shares for 2021

Many Hands Organic Farm will be hosting its largest organic community supported farmshare yet, with a goal of 200 shares! MHOF focuses on maximum fertility through soil carbon-sequestering techniques that grow the tastiest and most nutrient-dense vegetables. The summer fruit and vegetable CSA starts on May 24 and runs through October 22. Become involved in the local food movement by signing up for a share at

Governor Baker Announces Next Steps of Re-Opening Plan, Relaxes Some Rules

On Tuesday, April 27, Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker announced that the state would move to the final phase of its re-opening plan, Step 2 Phase 4, as of Monday, May 10.

All remaining capacity and operating restrictions on businesses and industries (except for face covering and health/safety protocols) may be lifted on August 1 provided that the current downward trends in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths continue.

Effective Friday, April 30, "face covering will only be required outside in public when it's not possible to socially distance or as may be required by sector-specific guidance, such as event guidance. Face coverings will remain required in all indoor public places," Gov. Baker stated.

The state moved to Step 1 Phase 4 on March 22.

As of May 10, large venues such as indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks, which opened at 12 percent capacity under Step 1, may increase capacity to 25 percent. Amusement parks, theme parks and outdoor water parks may operate at 50 percent capacity. Road races and large sports events will be permitted with staggered start times and submission of safety plans to the local board of health or the Department of Public Health.

Singing will be permitted indoors at performance venues, restaurants, event venues and other businesses with strict distancing protocols.

Effective May 29, gathering limits will increase to 200 people indoors and 250 people outdoors for public and private settings. Street festivals, parades and agricultural fairs may be held at 50 percent of their usual capacity. Bars, beer gardens, breweries, wineries and distilleries, will be subject to restaurant rules with seated service only, a 90 minute limit and no dance floors. Restaurants will no longer be required to serve food with alcohol, and the maximum party size at a table will increase to 10.

Until May 29, gathering limits in event venues and public settings will remain at 100 people indoors and 150 outdoors. The limits for private gatherings will remain at 25 persons outdoors and 10 persons indoors in private homes.

Winchendon's official case count is now 719 (that's total confirmed cases since March). This is an increase of 12 cases from the previous week. As of April 29, 867 tests had been done in Winchendon in the previous 14 days, and 44 tests returned a positive result. This slightly reduced Winchendon's two-week percent positivity to 5.07 percent, down from 5.18 percent the previous week. Winchendon still appears as red (high risk) on the color-coded list of Massachusetts towns. Of surrounding towns, none are at "red" status. Ashburnham, Athol, Fitchburg, Gardner, Orange, Templeton and Westminster are now yellow or lower. Only 26 towns are now marked red in Massachusetts.

The MA Department of Public Health announced that as of Thursday, April 29, there have been 644,688 confirmed cases in Massachusetts (8,212 in the previous week), with 17,243 fatalities (75 in the previous week). The rate of new cases across the state has slowed significantly. Deaths and hospitalizations have also decreased.

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.

As of Thursday, April 29, 3,518,215 persons (51.0 percent of the state population) have received the first dose of vaccine. 2,479,914 (36.0 percent of the state population) have received two doses (or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine) and are fully vaccinated.

As of April 29, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health records Winchendon at 36.8 percent of its population having received at least one vaccination dose, and 24.4 percent of its population fully vaccinated. Winchendon is still lagging substantially behind the state overall.

As of April 19, vaccination appointments are open to all residents aged 16 or above who have not previously been eligible, with no restrictions.

Complete Weekly COVID-19 Public Health Report, Thursday, April 29 (PDF, 50 pages)

As with existing rules, fines of up to $500 may be imposed for failure to comply with protocols in force.

For full details and updates on Massachusetts state-wide COVID-19 news and restrictions, see There is a 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 on the re-opening plan, see Reopening Massachusetts on the website.

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, April 29. 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 have returned 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 have returned to full day classes as of April 28, and high school students as of May 17. Elementary classes will be meeting at Murdock Middle High School as the HVAC system at Toy Town is still being repaired. Details about Murdock High School graduation will be forthcoming.

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 4 guidelines. Registration open for this summer's Camp Clark. Hiring lifeguards and swim instructors. Lifeguard training course beginning May 23. 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 but planning to re-open soon. Hiring bartenders. 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
Open. 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
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
CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. Jesse has pneumonia, has had to go back to the hospital. Check their Facebook page for updates. 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. Little Lizzie's ice cream open for season. 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
Will open for the season on May 1.

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 4 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 4 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.- 4:00 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
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.

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.

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

Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce Seeks Information on Available Commercial Properties in the Region

Carol Jacobson, President and CEO of the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce has announced that the Chamber is compiling a list of available commercial and industrial properties in the region. This list will be included in a data base that will be made available to the public in an effort to help market the region and facilitate economic development initiatives.

Tracy Murphy, Director of Planning & Development is currently compiling a list of available properties in Winchendon. Property can be existing structures or buildable land but must be zoned for commercial or industrial use(s). If you own or know of properties that are available for purchase or lease please send an email that includes details and photos, if available, and pertinent facts about the property that you wish to be included such as price, lease terms, contact info, etc. to: Feel free to reach out to the Planning & Development Department if you have any questions at: 1-978-297-3537.

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 - 7 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 Town Election to be Held Monday, May 3

The Annual Town Election will be held on Monday, May 3, 2021 at the Senior Center, 52 Murdock Avenue, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The sample ballot and a Vote-By-Mail application may be found at 2021 Annual Town Election on the town website. The following candidates or incumbents are on the ballot:

Barbara L. Anderson
Danielle R. LaPointe

Ryan G. Forsythe
Shauna B. LaPointe

BOARD OF HEALTH (three year term)
Lionel C. Cloutier
Keith M. Kent

BOARD OF HEALTH (two year term)
Tina M. Santos

Nancy F. Romanowski

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.

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 overdue. All dogs were required to be licensed by March 31. You may purchase a license 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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