The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of May 20 to May 27, 2021
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

Lightly Attended Annual Town Meeting Approves Library and Old Murdock Funding,
Fails to Pass Mellen Road Articles

Town Manager Justin Sultzbach
Outgoing Interim Town Manager Stephen Delaney on his last day listens to a response to a question being answered by new incoming Town Manager Justin Sultzbach during his very first day as the new Winchendon Town Manager during the May 17, annual town meeting.
Photo by Keith Kent

130 Voters attended Winchendon's 2021 Annual Town Meeting on Monday night, May 17 in the Murdock Middle High School gymnasium. While most articles passed without discussion, upsets included an article to replace water meters throughout the town and three articles related to accepting Mellen Road as a town way.

Supporters of the Beals Memorial Library and the Old Murdock Senior Center greeted voters outside the front entrance offering information sheets about Article 14, improvements to the library, and Article 15, critical emergency repairs to Old Murdock.

Town Moderator Coral Grout called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m., announcing that a quorum had been reached. (At least 75 voters are required to open a Town Meeting.) New Town Manager Justin Sultzbach was introduced. Board of Selectmen Chair Mike Barbaro read a statement which announced, "The Winchendon Board of Selectmen, as Trustees of the Boston Post Cane, proudly congratulates Mr. Earl W. McQueston and acknowledge that he has the distinguished honor as the oldest resident in the Town of Winchendon and is the recipient of the Boston Post Cane. Mr. McQueston turned 99 in January this year." Presentation of the cane to Winchendon's oldest resident is a tradition begun in 1909 by Edwin A. Grozier, Publisher of the Boston Post Newspaper.

Most articles passed easily with no questions or discussion. (For details, see the official Town Meeting results (PDF) posted on the town website, and the video recording of the meeting.) Some articles elicited questions or arguments from voters, or additional information for voters when the motions were made.

Article 2, authorizing the Town to create or dissolve town committees, is usually approved without discussion. However, Selectman Barbara Anderson moved that Article 2 be passed over. It had been planned to dissolve the Charter Bylaw Review Committee, but this committee will stay in place until changes to the Town Charter and Town Bylaws are approved by the Attorney General and finalized. These changes would be voted on in Articles 21 and 22. The motion to pass over Article 2 was approved, 94 percent in favor, 6 percent opposed.

Article 6, the town general budget, sparked some questions and discussion. Voters were presented with a balanced budget for FY22 of $16,185,796. As Mr. Kane explained, funds from Free Cash were being used to balance the budget. Moderator Grout read through the line items, after telling voters to call out "hold" for any items they wished to discuss. The Fire Department and Recreation line items were flagged by voters.

Selectman-elect Danielle LaPointe rose to ask whether the Fire Department budget amount addressed any of the concerns about the fire station which had been brought up at previous town meetings, such as the lack of separate facilities for male and female employees. Interim Town Manager Steve Delaney replied that those concerns were not included in the budget amount, and that due to budget constraints this year, he had recommended that the fire station issues be deferred until this fall.

Board of Health member Tina Santos rose to ask what would happen to unused Recreation Department funds for the current fiscal year given that Recreation Department activities were cancelled due to COVID-19. Mr. Barbaro explained that funds in the FY21 budget that are not spent by June 30 are rolled over into Free Cash.

Article 6 was approved, 89 percent in favor, 11 percent opposed.

In the discussion of Article 8, the Wastewater Treatment Department Enterprise Fund (sewers) Selectman Audrey LaBrie stated that the Board of Selectmen is putting out a Request for Proposals (RFP) to have an independent survey done on the water and sewer infrastructure, to evaluate the use of funds for the system. The Board of Selectmen hopes to have a report in about three months. The article was approved, 75 percent in favor, 25 percent opposed.

Article 13 asked the Town to approve purchase of two police cruisers for $95,000, replacing two cruisers whose odometers exceed 100,000 miles. Ms. Santos rose to argue that the Town has other "dire needs," mentioning the Department of Public Works' leaking roof and the fire station as examples, and saying that "our projects need to be fair." Mr. Barbaro responded that the funds for the cruisers were coming out of the Police Department budget. He reiterated that the DPW roof had been deferred as a capital project to the fall, and that $75,000 has been reserved for a study for a new fire station, again deferred to the fall. Article 13 required a simple majority vote and was approved, 76 percent in favor, 24 percent opposed.

Article 14 was written to approve $597,247 to fund upgrades to the Beals Memorial Library, consisting of replacing outdated knob-and-tube wiring and installing a fire suppression system in the building. $300,000 of the funds would come from Free Cash and the Town would borrow up to $300,000 for the remainder. After making the motion, Mr. Barbaro proposed an amendment reducing the amount the town was authorized to borrow to $100,000. He explained that the Robinson Broadhurst Foundation had awarded the Beals Memorial Library a grant of $200,000 for this project. There was no discussion. The amendment was approved, 92 percent in favor, 8 percent opposed. The amended article, which required a 2/3 vote, was approved, 93 percent in favor, 7 percent opposed. (Fact Sheet about the project with breakdown of expenses (PDF))

Selectmen and Town Managers at Town Meeting
In an uncommon photo, both town managers are seen accompanied by members of the Winchendon BOS awaiting a vote to be tallied on the big screen during the May 17, annual town meeting. From left to right, Interim Town Manager Stephen Delaney, new Town Manager Justin Sultzbach, Select Board members Audrey LaBrie, Barbara Anderson, Michael Barbaro, Rick Ward, and Amy Salter.
Photo by Keith Kent
Article 15 was written to authorize the Town to appropriate or borrow $1,560,000 in funds to make critical emergency repairs to the Old Murdock Senior Center. The Senior Center began shedding bricks last fall. Following an engineering study by Tighe and Bond, voters were asked to approve $3,510,000 for two phases of repair at the 2020 Annual Town Meeting on September 29, 2020. That article was defeated as simply being too large an expense for the town to take on. The Senior Center clock tower continued to deteriorate and drop bricks, and was wrapped in plastic shrink wrap over the winter as a crisis intervention measure. Although closed for usual activities due to COVID-19, the Senior Center staff worked in the building every day, and Town Elections were held there, along with two COVID-19 vaccination clinics.

As with Article 14, after making the motion, Mr. Barbaro proposed an amendment reducing the amount to be borrowed to $956,000. The Robinson Broadhurst Foundation had awarded the town a grant of $604,000 over two years for this project. Although the Board of Selectmen verbally gave their recommendation as 5-0, the recommendation printed in the Warrant was 4-1. Ms. Santos rose to ask which Selectman had voted not to recommend and what their reasoning was. Selectman Amy Salter responded that she had voted not to recommend the original article, but with the Robinson Broadhurst grant lowering the cost, she had changed her recommendation to a yes. The Courier rose to ask about the status of a $50,000 preservation grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission which the town was approved for last year. This was a matching grant dependent on the town approving funding, which did not happen at the 2020 Annual Town Meeting. Mr. Delaney responded that the grant was held back last year because the town did not approve the project, but the Town will now re-apply for the amount.

Article 15 required a 2/3 vote, and was approved as amended, 85 percent in favor and 15 percent opposed.

Article 16 asked the town to appropriate from Free Cash $100,000 for an emergency generator at the Toy Town Elementary School. Selectman Audrey LaBrie explained that this will be a stand-alone generator which could theoretically be installed in another location should Toy Town Elementary be retired as an active building in the future. Currently Toy Town Elementary houses the district administrative offices with the central computers and communications for the district, but it is the only building without an emergency generator. The article required a 2/3 vote and was approved, 88 percent in favor, 12 percent opposed.

Article 17 asked voters to approve the Town borrowing $800,000 to replace water meters throughout the town. The new meters would connect to a phone app alerting property owners to unusual water usage, as well as alerting the water department. DPW Director Brian Croteau stated that the meters being replaced are around 12 years old. Ms. Santos rose to ask which Selectman had opposed the article, and how long the new meters would last--would the town be facing a similar expense 12 years from now.

Ms. Anderson responded that she had not recommended the article. She stated that the water and sewer bills "have been rising astronomically" and until the study was done on the Water and Wastewater Enterprise funds, she didn't think it was advisable to spend this amount. Mr. Croteau responded that the lifespan of the meters depended on the vendor, electronics and so on, but it was customary for them to last from 15 to 20 years. The article required a 2/3 vote. The vote was 62 percent in favor, 38 percent opposed, so the motion was narrowly defeated.

Article 18 asked voters to approve $40,000 in appropriated funds for design costs for grant applications. Ms. LaPointe rose to say that the Town should wait until there were actual costs that need to be covered, and that the funds might be better used for other things and not allocated up front. New Town Manager Justin Sultzbach responded that plans are often required with grant applications and having funds approved for that purpose was useful.

The article was approved, 75 percent in favor, 25 percent opposed.

Articles 21 and 22 asked voters to approve changes to the Town Charter and Town Bylaws respectively. The Courier asked when the new Bylaws would take effect and when the final versions would be posted for the public. Moe Ward responded that the changes need to be approved by the Massachusetts Attorney General and the legislature, while we were promised it would go before the legislature before it recessed, "there's no guarantee." If the AG requests any changes, the Charter Bylaw Review Committee will convene to make adjustments. Town counsel Brian Riley explained that the new Bylaws need to be approved and published, at which point they are legally in effect. Article 21 required a 2/3 vote, and was approved with 88 percent in favor, 12 percent opposed. Article 22 required a simple majority vote and was approved with 89 percent in favor, 11 percent opposed. (Town Charter and Bylaws with New Revisions (PDF))

When Article 23 was considered, asking voters to authorize the town to accept several small parcels of land in a Deed in Lieu of Foreclosure agreement, voter Susan Burdsall rose to ask if the Board of Selectmen had walked any of the parcels in question to make sure they wouldn't be a liability to the town. Mr. Barbaro responded that the parcels are so tiny, it's difficult to be sure exactly where their boundaries are. The parcels can't really be used for anything except adding square footage to an abuttor's lot. The article was approved, 82 percent in favor, 18 percent opposed.

The longest debates and biggest upsets of the night involved Articles 19, 20 and 24, all dealing with the proposed acceptance of Mellen Road as a town way. (For the background to these articles, see "Three Articles Concerning Mellen Road will be Presented to Voters at Annual Town Meeting" in the May 6-13 edition of the Winchendon Courier.)

Residents of Mellen Road spoke at length, reiterating the arguments which they had previously made at Board of Selectmen meetings and public hearings before the Finance Committee, Planning Board and Board of Selectmen, and which have been extensively reported by the Courier. Voter and Mellen Road resident Marc Dorwart first rose to speak to Article 19, which had been composed by Mellen Road resident David Watkins and submitted to Mr. Delaney. Article 19 asked voters to accept Mellen Road as a town way pending the acquiring of easements. Mr. Dorwart stated that he could not support Article 19. He pointed out that the article is unclear as to which side of 215 Mellen Road would be the boundary of the accepted portion of the road. Article 19 required a 2/3 vote. It was defeated with 49 percent in favor, 51 percent opposed.

Article 20 asked voters to authorize the town to acquire easements for Mellen Road from property owners and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, to which the town deeded the state forest abutting Mellen Road in 1965. The Board of Selectmen stated that it was necessary to pass Article 20 in order to move forward on either Article 19 or Article 24. The debate on Article 20 became heated, with allegations of conflicting explanations for missing documents (shredded, lost in a basement flood) and some confrontational comments. Selectman Rick Ward said, "There's nothing personal with this...the reason that I think we should pass 20, is because that's the first step in doing this right." He went on to say that the voters chose to discontinue Mellen Road in 1914, and he did not believe we should give authority to the Board of Selectmen to decide what roads will be accepted or not accepted by the town. "I'm asking you to support 20 so we can get on with this," he said. Article 20 was defeated, 37 percent in favor, 63 percent opposed.

Mr Dorwart rose to make the motion for Article 24, which was placed by Citizens Petition. Article 24 was identical to Article 19 in asking voters to accept Mellen Road as a town way, but included a "non-waiver of rights" statement by the residents of Mellen Road, and also specified which side of 215 Mellen Road was the boundary of the accepted part. Initially there was some confusion as Moderator Grout stated she did not the same text before her as Mr. Dorwart was reading from the Warrant, and asked Mr. Dorwart to put his motion in writing. This was reconciled. Debate on Article 24 continued to be fervent.

Ms. LaBrie pointed out that there is a difference between a public road and an accepted road, and the matter before Town Meeting was to accept Mellen Road so it would qualify for Chapter 90 funds. Voter Lisa Barbaro rose to question the references to "damages and attorneys' fees" in the article's statement of nonwaiver, asking what the town might be leaving itself vulnerable to if voters approved the article. Mr. Kane rose to say that "we've come a long way from just wanting to get the problems fixed," adding that Article 24 was the same as Article 19 except that the residents were "reserving the right to sue the town...if they don't do it our way." Mr. Dorwart responded that the residents of Mellen Road "are not trying to sue the town, we're not trying to get the town to do it 'our way,' we're trying to get it done any way that will work."

The vote was called. Moderator Grout stated before the vote that Article 24 required a 2/3 majority to pass. The article failed with 59 percent in favor, 41 percent opposed.

There were several calls for "point of order" and a general outcry in the hall. Moderator Grout stated that town counsel advised her that a 2/3 majority was required. Atty. Riley stated, "By statute, if a town meeting is approving a public way, accepting a public way, that is on a subdivision plan per the Planning Board, that is a majority vote. Any other time is a two-thirds vote." Ms. Santos rose to say that the Warrant as printed said that Article 24 required a simple majority vote and she felt that this should be respected.

Moderator Grout called for a motion to adjourn. A motion was made and several voices seconded it. Moderator Grout announced that the meeting was adjourned, as questions and protests continued on the floor. Some departing voters commented to the Courier that they were confused as to whether Article 24 had failed, and whether there had been a vote for adjournment. The Courier spoke to Moderator Grout who stated that there had been a vote to adjourn.

Winchendon Earth Day Celebration Yields 40 Cubic Yards of Waste!

Earth Day cleanup
A full container ending the day with 40 cubic yards of waste collected from all areas of town.
Photo by Keith Kent

After being delayed over 2 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and consistently high town realized infection rates in the red zone, Winchendon residents united and celebrated a delayed Earth Day town wide cleanup on Saturday, May 15 under sunny skies and favorable event conditions.

With the previous Earth Day celebration taking place April 27, 2019, accumulating roadside rubbish and illegal dumping had reached both very unsightly and unhealthy levels.

The event while taking place on May 15, was actually started the afternoon before with members of the B.O.H. reporting to the W.P.D. it had started getting an early jump on things in the Lincoln Ave Extension area finishing operations around 8:00 p.m.

What quickly began to be discovered was nothing short of concerning. Several couches, a day bed, television, 3 mattresses, propane tanks, and even 15 used tires all coming from just the Lincoln Ave Extension area alone, up to the solar array entrance road. All items were unlawfully deposited by those not willing to pay their fair share for proper humane disposal.

By 10:45 a.m., the 40 cubic yard open-top container was already half full. Items were being stacked, interlocked, and tightly packed in an effort to make sure space would be available and the public's effort would not be in vain.

Loads of bulky waste coming from multiple areas of Lake Monomonac were picked up by Stan Smith and Paul Barnicle. Tires, trash, and other objects were collected by David and Carol Smith in the vicinity of Town Farm Road and Smith's Country Cheese. A lady delivering heavy soaked rugs from Alger Street, Richard Lucier bringing multiple loads from the town Ingleside Property down to the Millers River--one after another the loads kept coming.

Cans of paint, both rusty and newer, removed by Tom Kane and others littered roadsides and woods, while Selectman Barbara Anderson chipped in with much needed cleaning down along the side and parking areas of Tannery Hill. Teenager and GHS student Gavin Strom from Gardner even chipped in, showing regional dedication caring for his planet. From large furniture and inflatable swimming pools to thousands of whisky nips, unlawfully dumped waste of all sizes ran the gamut.

During the event there were shining spots which stood out brightly. Local Boy Scouts of America Pack and Troop 193 worked diligently. Ryan Forsythe and James Smith led young members Jaxson and Kaylee Smith, Michal Maine, along with Carson and Mason Forsythe in working hard and displaying the best of what 193 had to offer. From Lake Street between Spring and Front, to behind Walgreens, no job was to big for our towns smallest voluntary workers.

As thanks for their efforts desert and ice cream coupons donated by businesses McDonald's and Lickity Splitz were handed out. Belletetes of Winchendon also donated much needed trash bags, gloves, and more to the vital Earth Day cause.

Health Agent James Abare was very pleased with the event. Abare said, "We had great weather versus the regular date in April. For different reasons the board did the right thing delaying the event. It went very well and this was a great day for our town. I am very pleased."

By the end of the event people ages 5 to 80 and over 30 strong showed up to display their Toy Town Pride by completely filling one 40 cubic yard dumpster, resulting in a great day for the town, its people, and the planet.

Earth Day cleanup
Ryan Forsythe seen far right in photo, is accompanied by Carson Forsythe of Troop 193 and Mason Forsythe of Pack 193 delivering one of their multiple loads of collected waste. Not seen in photo is Girl Scout member Reagan Forsythe who along with others also assisted in the Earth Day town wide cleanup efforts.
Photo by Keith Kent
Earth Day cleanup
James Smith along with his children Jaxson and Kaylee accompanied by Michael Maine, all members of BSA Winchendon Pack 193 delivered many bags of waste showing pride and loyalty to their community.
Photo by Keith Kent
Earth Day cleanup
BOH members Tina Santos and Ed Bond work to remove heavy junk furniture and much more along Lincoln Ave Ext.
Photo by Keith Kent

HEAL Winchendon
Community Partnership Meeting
Tuesday, May 25
3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

The Community Partnership, made up of local organizations and residents, works together to design and grow the HEAL Winchendon Initiative.


Join us to learn about what's happening with HEAL, share your ideas and find out how you can get involved!

Register Here to Get Zoom Link

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.

Winchendon Music Festival Postponed Until 2022

While the state is progressing with the vaccine rollout, many people have not been vaccinated—including children. After exploring options, the Winchendon Music Festival (WMF) board and I believe it would be unwise to gather this June.

Postponing WMF for another year was a difficult decision, but we plan to offer several virtual programs over the next several months. WMF will return with live music once we can guarantee a safe return.

Andrew Arceci
Director, Winchendon Music Festival

Subway April 2021 Steak Sub Ad

Central Mass Tree

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

All Massachusetts COVID Restrictions Will Be Lifted As of May 29

On Monday, May 17, Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker announced that COVID-19 restrictions will be entirely lifted as of Saturday, May 29. All industries will be permitted to open, and the mask mandate will be rescinded. New guidance will be issued for masks or face coverings in specific circumstances, such as sports events or on public transporation.

The state of emergency will be ended on Saturday, June 15.

Until May 29, 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 752 (that's total confirmed cases since March). This is an increase of 3 cases from the previous week. As of May 20, 797 tests had been done in Winchendon in the previous 14 days, and 14 tests returned a positive result. This slightly reduced Winchendon's two-week percent positivity to 1.88 percent, down from 3.93 percent the previous week. Of surrounding towns, none are at "red" status. Ashburnham, Athol, Fitchburg, Gardner, Orange, Templeton and Westminster are now yellow or lower. Only 2 towns are now marked red in Massachusetts.

The MA Department of Public Health announced that as of Thursday, May 20, there have been 658,441 confirmed cases in Massachusetts (3,091 in the previous week), with 17,442 fatalities (76 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 20, 4,250,576 persons (61.7 percent of the state population) have received the first dose of vaccine. 3,330,308 (48.3 percent of the state population) have received two doses (or one dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine) and are fully vaccinated.

As of May 18, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health records Winchendon at 42.2 percent of its population having received at least one vaccination dose, and 33.1 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 20 (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 20. 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)
Check their Facebook page for new hours and events. 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
Opening May 29. Still hiring bartenders. See their Facebook page for hours and updates.

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
Outdoor seating is now open. 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
See their Facebook page for daily menus and specials. 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

Gracie's Clothing & Home Goods Store
New store, now open. See their Facebook page for info and updates. 978-297-7038.

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.

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

The 2021 Town Street List is now available at Town Hall and on the town website. You can download a PDF copy at You may purchase the hard copy of the book for $8.00 or $5.00 for seniors. Please call Town Clerk's office at 978-297-2766 to arrange pick up/payment.

The 2020 Annual Town Report is now available at Town Hall and on the town website. You can download a PDF copy at 2020 Town Report PDF. Hard copies are available, free of charge, and can be picked up at the Town Manager's Office during regular business hours (Monday 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. and Tuesday through Thursday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.). To request a copy, call the Town Manager's Office at 978-297-0085, extension 5, or email

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

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