The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of May 13 to May 20, 2021
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

Winchendon Voters Asked to Decide on 24 Articles
at Annual Town Meeting May 17

Winchendon's 2021 Annual Town Meeting will convene in the Murdock Middle-High School gymnasium on Monday, May 17 at 7:00 p.m. The Warrant includes 24 Articles. Following is a brief explanation of the Warrant articles.

Article 1: To hear and act on the report of the Finance Committee. The Finance Committee will give its annual report as part of the discussion on this article. This is a standard article.

Article 2: Authorizing the Town to choose or appoint officers and committee members not elected by the citizens. This is a standard article. (Current list of vacancies on Town committees, volunteers earnestly encouraged to apply.)

Article 3: Setting the maximum amounts that may be expended by departments out of their revolving funds, before expenditures need to be brought before the Town for approval. Revolving funds are funds containing revenue from fees and fines, and do not come out of tax dollars. This is a standard article.

Article 4: Appropriates money for the Senior Tax Work-Off Program. This program allows senior citizens to work in part-time jobs for the town in exchange for an offset on their property taxes. Seniors apply for the program through the Town Manager's office. This is a standard article.

Article 5: appropriates money to the Winchendon Community Action Committee (CAC), at 273 Central Street, to support its work in assisting the lower-income residents of Winchendon and providing numerous services. This has been a standard article for several years. (See the in-depth profile by Keith Kent, below.)

Article 6: Approving the Town budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), from July 1 2021 to June 30 2022. This budget does not include the schools but does include school transportation. The FY22 budgets were prepared by former Town Manager Keith Hickey and completed by Interim Town Manager Steven Delaney, working with department heads and the Finance Committee. It represents an increase of 0.53 percent (one half of one percent) over the FY21 budget.

In order to close a $500,000 budget gap, Mr. Delaney recommended deferring two large capital expenditures: $75,000 for an engineering study for upgrades to the fire station, and $250,000 to replace the roof of the DPW building on Glenallen Street.

Article 7: Approving the budget for the water department. This is paid entirely from water users' fees, which go into the Water Department Enterprise Fund, and does not come from general tax dollars.

Article 8: Approving the budget for the wastewater (sewer) treatment department. This is paid entirely from sewer users' fees, which go into the Wastewater Treatment Department Enterprise Fund, and does not come from general tax dollars.

Articles 7 and 8 do not change or affect the actual water and sewer rates assessed to users, which are determined by the Board of Selectmen. These articles simply authorize the Town to use the funds collected for the programs they pay for.

Article 9: Approving the budget for the transfer station department. This is paid entirely from Transfer Station receipts (stickers, bags, disposal fees), which go into the Transfer Station Enterprise Fund, and does not come from general tax dollars.

Article 10: Approving the Winchendon Public Schools budget for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), from July 1 2021 to June 30 2022. Links to full information about School Budget which was developed by Superintendent Joan Landers working with the Town Manager and the Finance Committee.

Article 11: Approving the Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School budget assessment for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), from July 1 2021 to June 30 2022. Winchendon pays a portion of the Monty Tech budget based on the quota set aside for Winchendon students by the school and the number of students Winchendon sends to the school. The Town has a representative on the Monty Tech School Committee, but little control over the assessment.

Article 12: Lease purchase agreement for a ten-wheel dump truck, with plow and sander insert, for the Department of Public Works (DPW). These trucks are key pieces of equipment for the DPW. This article requires a 2/3 majority to pass.

Article 13: Purchase and equipping of two new police cruisers. The Police Department is replacing two 2018 vehicles whose mileage is approaching 100,000.

Article 14: Approving electrical system upgrades and a fire suppression system for the Beals Memorial Library. The library still has very old knob-and-tube wiring in the upstairs of the building. Most rooms have a single electrical outlet. The library lacks an effective fire suppression system. Upgrading the wiring is essential both for safety and to allow the ongoing modernization of the building and expansion of technical services to residents. The library has applied for a Robinson Broadhurst grant to help with some of the cost. This article requires a 2/3 majority to pass.

Article 15: Approving critical repairs to the Old Murdock Senior Center Building. The Senior Center clock tower began shedding bricks last fall. The 2020 Annual Town Meeting in September voted against funding repairs to the masonry and roof at a cost of $3.5 million. It was a very close vote. Over the winter more bricks began to fall, and the clock tower is now encased in heavy plastic shrink wrap to hold the masonry in place. This article requests voters to authorize the Town to borrow funding for the most critical of the three tiers of repairs recommended by Tighe and Bond last year, at a lower immediate cost.

(See "Background: ATM Warrant Article 14, Funding Repairs at Old Murdock Senior Center" in the September 10-17 2021 edition of the Winchendon Courier.)

The amount borrowed will be reduced if the Robinson Broadhurst Foundation awards the Town a grant for the requested amount of $600,000 to help cover the costs. The Town has received a $50,000 preservation grant for this project if the Town matches the funds.

This article requires a 2/3 majority to pass.

Article 16: Approving purchase and installation of an emergency generator in the Toy Town Elementary School. Toy Town Elementary includes the school district offices, which are a "command center" during emergencies. The building could also be available as an emergency shelter for citizens with a generator in place. This article requires a 2/3 majority to pass.

Article 17: Approving the Town to borrow funds to replace water meters throughout the town. Current meters are 12 years old and do not have up-to-date technology for alerting rate-payers to unusual usage levels that might lead to large water bills. Meters are being replaced as they wear out, but the DPW would like to get the whole system up to a consistent level. This article requires a 2/3 majority to pass.

Article 18: Approving funds for design costs for grants. The Town applies for many grants to assist in capital projects. Most require design plans to be done as part of the application package. Currently these funds are taken from Chapter 90 funding, which pulls money that the DPW could use for repairs and maintenance of roads. This article would set aside funds to pay for required engineering or architectural designs included with grant applications.

Articles 19, 20 and 24 were discussed in detail in last week's Courier. See "Three Articles Concerning Mellen Road will be Presented to Voters at Annual Town Meeting".

Article 21: Approving changes to the Town Charter. Changes are minor. Some language is clarified. Five town committees were added to the list of committees appointed by the Board of Selectmen. This article requires a 2/3 majority to pass.

Article 22: Approving changes to the Town Bylaws. Most changes are minor. More substantive changes include: discontinuing sending the Town Meeting Warrant to every household, instead mailing a postcard with information about accessing the Warrant online; replacing all of Article 12 regulating watercraft; adding language to clarify what a nuisance dog is; and replacing all of Article 31 with a Storm Water Management bylaw as required by state law.

Town Charter and ByLaws with Changes (PDF)

Article 23: Approving a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure. John Walker has been trying to give five (very small) parcels of land on Central Street back to the town since 1967. The parcels have no value unless abuttors wanted to add them to their lots, as the parcels are too small for any independent use. Mr. Walker would like to resolve the situation by deeding the parcels back to the town.

View the final Warrant with BoS and FinCom recommendations (PDF)

Winchendon COVID-19 Clinic Realizes Over 200 Fully Vaccinated

It was a productive day for local public health as part two of a follow-up Moderna vaccination clinic succeed in the completion of fully vaccinating nearly 230 people at the Winchendon Senior Center on Wednesday, May 12 embracing all who entered with a warm and welcoming greeting.

Staff on hand ranging multiple agencies was composed by members of the Wachusett Medical Reserve Corps, Blackstone Valley Technical School nursing trainees, Community Health Connections nurses through the W.M.R.C., local volunteers, various town department workers, and the local Board of Health.

Judie O'Donnell who serves as a WMRC Coordinator couldn’t praise enough of all those who volunteer in so many communities for efforts such as the clinic.

O'Donnell said, "Close to 700 volunteers overall have joined with about 477 in the state data base, and a few hundred more who work in their own areas. The people working in these efforts come from all backgrounds such as teachers, childcare providers, nurses, and many more."

Describing what the WMRC provides O'Donnell said, "We do a lot of both public health and emergency preparedness education, with another piece being able to just get out there and able to serve the 22 communities we are covering from New Salem to Clinton, and from down in Rutland up to Winchendon. Our goal is to try to get in to the communities and establish what their needs are, how can we help, and try to work with their Boards of Health."

She went on to add, "No matter if it’s presentations in public health, or emergency preparedness, diabetes, children's nutrition, or other. Just get out to these communities, and bring a message as we are here to help."

In closing O'Donnell was asked what it meant to her being part of providing these services and see all the people getting vaccinated. She responded, "I think this is just great but what worries me is that other 50 percent who hasn't turned out. We really need to get everybody vaccinated because I spent 30 years as a hospital nurse on an oncology unit so I know how possibly devastating any little virus can be. I would really like to see everybody get vaccinated because we shouldn't have to be hassling with this virus month after month, and we really need to be able to get back to enjoying life! The only way to do this is for people to step forward and get their vaccination."

Senior Center Director Sheila Bettro was very pleased with how both events proceeded. Bettro said, "I think it all went well. We had help with Jim Abare from the Board of Health, we had help from the Housing Authority who let staff member Maureen Hall attend and work both event days with us, and I have to thank my staff and the volunteers because they were just excellent in getting everything in order. The police department let Dave Plummer come over and work the two days, the town hall let Kevin Cormier come over and also work the two days. In all I think everything worked very well."

Also in attendance was WFD Firefighter / EMT Troy Ashmore for the events entirety in case of any potential emergency medical response if needed.

Winchendon Health Agent James Abare was also very pleased with proceedings. Abare said, "This went very smooth. The nurses and volunteers did an excellent job. Nobody had to wait very long and each person who attended transitioned quickly and everything flowed through nicely."

If you are interested in joining or volunteering for the Wachusett M.R.C. with assisting in events such as COVID-19 clinics, projects, and more, it can be reached by phone at 978-928-3834, via email at and visit their website at

Vaccination Clinic volunteers
Workers are seen gathering at the Senior Center for a photo in celebration of a vaccination clinic completion. Nurses from Community Health Connections, local volunteers, Senior Center Director, Health Agent, and WFD member were all smiling under their masks. Not seen in photo are trainees from the Blackstone Valley Tech nursing program, and other volunteers who had to leave prior to the photo due to their schedules.
Photo credit: Keith Kent

Town of Winchendon
Public Notice
Montachusett Regional Vocation Technical School
District Representative Appointment

In accordance with the Agreement establishing the Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School District (as amended), notice is hereby given that letters of interest are being accepted for appointment of the Town of Winchendon's representative to the Regional District School Commitee. Winchendon residents interested in being considered for appoinment are asked to forward a letter of interest to the Selectman's Office, Winchendon Town Hall, 109 Front Street, Dept. 1, Winchendon MA 01475 or email your letter to the Board of Selectmen's Executive Assistant, Linda Daigle, at The deadline for accepting letters is June 1, 2021. Said position is jointly appointed by the members of the Board of Selectmen, Town Moderator and local School Committee.

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

Community Action Committee Seeks to Continue Current Town Fiscal Support

With trying to meet consistent and increasing demands caused by local food insecurity, jobless rates and loss of income at high levels, and both a national and global pandemic well over a year in existence, the Winchendon Community Action Committee continues to experience near constant increasing requests for assistance in groups of all ages.

Looking to continue its current level of financial support, Article 5 to be read at the upcoming May 17 annual town meeting, would seek approval of the voters to allow the town to level fund the WCAC the sum of $25,000 in financial tax payer supported assistance for a 3rd consecutive fiscal year, by a simple majority vote.

Article 5 reads, "To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from other available funds the sum of $25,000 as a grant to the non-profit, Community Action Committee, Inc., 273 Central Street, Winchendon, in consideration of the numerous services provided to the Town, or act in relation thereto."

Jennifer Sibley serves as Director of the WCAC. In her several years at the helm, she has continued to seen a consistent annual increase in those applying for assistance.

When asked what could be identified as a positive coming out of such a negative pandemic Sibley quickly replied, "One of the big causes which really came out to light because of the pandemic is hunger 'Meaning food insecurity' which while tragic is really wonderful because it really forced the country to open up it's eyes to an issue which honestly has been ongoing for ever, but sadly many times just fell to the crack and wayside."

Sibley went on to explain, "In regards to us in Winchendon due to this awareness, there is so much money for food funding right now, people here going without food is not going to happen. Agencies are just giving so much money and donations, grants and other options, so I have never had to have an issue with giving people food who need help."

Other highly necessary items have also been provided such as toilet paper, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, and all the essential PPE "Personal Protective Equipment" for households. At the holidays donations specific to celebrations such as Thanksgiving often including Supermarket food gift cards and children's Christmas toys are humbly donated by caring people and organizations from all walks of life.

Sibley when asked for various examples of case type increases said, "In 3 years the number of people we help serve with assistance, working families, families going through unemployment, families where a spouse became injured, has increased 100 percent. During this pandemic we reached a high point and have been consistently assisting up to 408 families, and 950 individuals.

The numbers for local need are staggering. With a town population of roughly 10,500 people and at current projections, the Town of Winchendon could realize entry level double digit and 10 percent or more of all residents requesting assistance by the end of 2021 channeling through the WCAC.

"People who are getting full SNAP Benefits are probably living on about $8,000 annually. That's not USDA guidelines. So say you take a family of 5 where the mother and father both work part time, and you're going to tell them that because they try to go to work every day and do what they are supposed to do that they don't get food stamps and I can't give them any food, NO, THAT IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN" Sibley emphasized.

In closing Sibley said, I love my job and I love people. We all here love helping people."

The Community Action Committee is located at 273 Central Street, Winchedon and is open Tuesday - Wednesday during the hours of 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM, and Thursday - Friday from 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM. It can be reached by phone at 978-297-1667, or on the Internet at

Jennifer Sibley and CAC volunteers
Always happy to help!
Seen in this WCAC provided group photo, Jennifer Sibley and some of her faithful volunteers pose for a moment of rest sharing the same cheerful smiles regularly seen by those they assist.
Photo credit: Winchendon CAC

Winchendon Earth Day -
Town-Wide Cleanup!

Help Clean up Toy Town on May 15

Greetings from the Winchendon Board of Health!

For the first time since April of 2019, the Town will be physically celebrating Earth Day with a town-wide cleanup on Saturday, May 15th, during the hours of 8:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Bags and gloves will be available to volunteers at 8:00 a.m. on Pleasant Street, across from the Town Hall, where we will have a 30 cubic yard dumpster placed for your findings as in previous years. There are many areas which need much attention due to roadside waste, and we have some areas that we can direct volunteers to if you are looking for ideas.

Please come out and show your Toy Town pride by supporting our Earth Day event on May 15th - it's the first Earth day in over two years, due to COVID-19. We need your help!

Thank you and we look forward to seeing you there!

Yours truly,
Keith Kent, Chair
Winchendon Board of Health

Central Mass Tree

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

CDC Recommends Relaxed Mask Protocols As Numbers Slowly Recede

As of Thursday, May 13, the Centers for Disease Control issued new guidance for mask wearing, recommending that fully vaccinated persons could participate in indoor and outdoor activities, "large or small," together without wearing masks or social distancing. Persons are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving a second dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Masks are still recommended on all forms of public transportation, including planes, trains and buses.

Massachusetts still has a mask mandate in place, requiring masks in indoor public spaces and outdoors when social distancing cannot be maintained.

Massachusetts moved into the final phase of its re-opening plan, Step 2 Phase 4, as of Monday, May 10. While almost half of the state population has not received a first dose of vaccine, demand for vaccination appointments has gone down.

Winchendon's official case count is now 749 (that's total confirmed cases since March). This is an increase of 9 cases from the previous week. As of May 13, 917 tests had been done in Winchendon in the previous 14 days, and 36 tests returned a positive result. This slightly reduced Winchendon's two-week percent positivity to 3.93 percent, down from 4.60 percent the previous week. Winchendon still appears as yellow (moderate 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 6 towns are now marked red in Massachusetts. The New York Times has been designating Worcester County as "very high risk" for weeks; as of May 13 it is designating Worcester County "high risk."

The MA Department of Public Health announced that as of Thursday, May 13, there have been 655,350 confirmed cases in Massachusetts (5,495 in the previous week), with 17,366 fatalities (55 in the previous week). The rate of new cases across the state has remains fairly consistent. Deaths and hospitalizations have also continued at an even rate.

As of Thursday, May 13, 3,870,892 persons (59.5 percent of the state population) have received the first dose of vaccine. 3,088,699 (44.8 percent of the state population) have received two doses (or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine) and are fully vaccinated.

As of May 11, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health records Winchendon at 40.7 percent of its population having received at least one vaccination dose, and 30.7 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, May 13 (PDF, 51 pages)

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.

Face coverings remain required in indoor public spaces, and outdoors when social distancing is not possible.

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.

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 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, May 13. 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 Camp Clark staff. Hiring summer staff, various shifts and hours. 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. Free "Farm to Family" food boxes (meat, milk, dairy, some produce) available to all residents on Thursdays through May.
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
"Porch Nights" on Thursday nights are resuming as of May 13. 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. Hiring kitchen help and drivers, apply in person. 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
OPEN. 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
OPEN for the season.

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.

Toy Town Pub
Opening May 29. 978-297-9889.

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. 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
OPEN for the season. 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. 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 May 10, 2021

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 - 8 vacancies
Fence Viewer and Field Driver - 1 vacancy
Historical Commission/Historic District - 1 Alternate vacancy
Master Plan Implementation Committee - 7 vacancies
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 Alternate 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.

Complete description of each committee's responsibilities, updated for May 10, 2021 (PDF).

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.

2021 Town Meeting Set for May 17

The 2021 Winchendon Annual Town Meeting will convene on Monday, May 17, at 7:00 p.m., in the Murdock Middle High School gymnasium.

View the final Warrant with BoS and FinCom recommendations (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 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.

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

Enjoying the new Winchendon Courier Online? We're just getting started! But wow, is this a lot of work. The best work in the world, but still a lot of it! Please consider supporting us with a small donation. We'd so appreciate it. Thanks!