The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of September 16 to September 23, 2021
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Town Hall Conditions Assessment Predicts Repairs Will Cost Over $4.5 Million Over Time

At the September 13 Board of Selectmen meeting, Town Manager Justin Sultzbach presented the physical and financial details of the just-released September 2, 2021 report from Building Conservation Associates INC, based on its findings and those of Abacus Architects of Boston. Sultzbach informed the Board that the total Town Hall repairs needed, over time, will cost at least $4,535,464 when adjusted for inflation.

The projected repair cost of over $4.5 million arrives on the heels of the Senior Center's needing $5 million in total repairs as a historically protected building which must be preserved and maintained. At the same time, the town is confronting the challenge of how to fund a new and up-to-date Fire Station which meets the current legal codes and requirements the existing building falls far short on. A previous study estimated that the Fire Station could potentially cost as much as $13 million for entirely new construction if additions to the existing building are not sufficient to meet the department's needs. The necessary Town Hall repairs caused by the weather and elements span decades of neglect without a viable financial plan ever being formulated to pay for long term exterior upkeep and maintenance.

The portion of the Town Hall constructed in 1850, housing both the Town offices and private businesses, suffered heavy fire damage in the years 1880 and 1925, as detailed in the report. Currently attached to the north side of the building by a connecting addition built in 1980, the rear of the Town Hall was constructed in 1876 and used by the Fire Department for 102 years, until 1978. From 1980 until 2016 this structure housed the Police Department.

The 32-page comprehensive architectural condition and needs assessment examines the building at all four elevations. North comprises the outer wall of the former Fire and Police Stations facing North on Pleasant Street towards Athol Saving Bank; South, the current front entrance paralleling Front Street; East, facing neighboring Cumberland Farms and Central Street; and finally West, facing Pleasant Street and the Veterans Park across it.

Both the original Town Hall constructed in 1850, and the former Fire Station constructed in 1876, need virtually every single aspect of their exterior facades either repaired or replaced, including parts of the Town Hall where the inner brick wall unit or "Wythe" and the outer Wythe have up to five inches of separation between them.

On the older Town Hall building, the brick, granite, composite materials, wood, windows, and roofing all need serious attention, repairs, and or possible replacement. On the original fire station, again the brick, granite, windows, and roof need heavy repairs, with a heavier emphasis on brick wythe repair. The Town Hall needs the current slate roof replaced in a maximum of 5 to 10 years, again along with virtually every single piece of wood, composite material, brick, granite, mortar, and window framing including storm windows needing either repair or eplacement.

Phasing Options were listed by BCA, ranging from First through Sixth Priority to direct the Town toward most importantly needed structural repairs, to the repairs or sections which can wait until last. As the Town of Winchendon cannot afford or come up with the total amount needed all at once, the prioritization of phasing options was specifically requested by Sultzbach.

The First Priority is listed as the original fire station section of the building. The report states, "It is experiencing the most significant movement and deterioration and is under the greatest threat of accelerated damage. All work on the fire station should occur as one project." As a Second Priority, the report states, "The roof of the Town Hall. Replacing the EPDM, (a form of rubber roofing) slate, and all metal flashing." The Third Priority recommends, "The southerly elevation of the Town Hall due to the ground level stair and entry work. It is also the main facade and restoring it will provide and upgraded image on Front Street."

The lower half of the Priority listings begin with the Fourth, "The East elevation of the Town Hall" which is the side facing Cumberland Farms and Central Street. The Fifth Priority is described as, "The West elevation of the Town Hall" which is the Pleasant Street side of the structure. Finally recommended as the Sixth Priority, "The North elevation of the Town Hall" with any final existing repairs.

In an "Opinion of Probable Costs," the South elevation is listed at a total of $246,360; the West elevation at $158,593.75; the North elevation at $177,887.50; the East elevation at $163,675.00; and the roof at $582,475.00 for a total cost of just over $1,328,999. Additionally, the total "fire station" building costs are listed at $1,371,800 for a subtotal of $2,700,771.

When adding and adjusting for General Conditions, General Requirements, Overhead & Profit, Design Contingency and Construction Contingency, the subtotal before inflation grows to $3,808,116. Year 2022 projected inflation adds an additional $152,325 and Year 2023 adds $158,418 at 4 percent each. General Liability at .006 percent adds $24,713, bringing the total to $4,413,650. Lastly, adding permit fees, performance and payment bonds, the project reaches a total cost of $4,214,115, which adjusted for inflation yields a total current project cost projection of $4,535,464, which continues to grow if the project life continues in extensions.

Sultzback stated, "There are some folks out there, and I've talked to a lot of people in town, that think it's naive to point out some of these issues, especially if there's no funding in place. I would counter and also argue that it's naive to ignore these issues and pretend that they'll just go away. Realistically, when it comes to capital planning issues, with every year that goes by that you don't address it, it automatically becomes more expensive because of estimated construction costs."

Sultzbach informed the Board that "inaction" will cost the town roughly $160,000 per year in increased costs due to inflation. He also said the report focused on moving on to the Capital Planning Committee so the 5, 10, and 15 year capital plans could be addressed, and that anything the town owns would be classified as a capital asset with a plan in place moving forward.

Selectman Rick Ward said, "This town for the most part ignores its buildings, and then wonders why they have to pay for these things, it's because they are falling apart...Even if we are dealing with a small piece, we are going to have a major major cost when we have to build a whole new Town Hall, or a whole new Senior Center. You can't just keep putting these things on the back burner. We have to do it piece by piece. I like the report, and I thank you for that."

Selectman Barbara Anderson added, "I don't want to say it to be perfectly honest with you. But to Mr. Ward's point, we have the Senior Center, which is a very expensive project, we have the Fire Department, the DPW, we have this building, and then the fire station next door...When I talk to some's overwhelming, it takes your breath away. There isn't money for all of these, there just isn't. Why can't we just consolidate, use a different building, like the police station-slash-fire station, why fix it, let it go, nobody is in it. What are we using it for, storage? It doesn't seem very practical to people in town. I think you have to address that, why fix it? Why not find a different building."

Ward pointed out the higher cost of trying to build new buildings, and Anderson explained she felt residents didn't want the town to "continue throwing good money after bad. The concern around town is that we're over-spending trying to hang on to history, it breaks my heart to say would be cheaper to find something that houses everything."

Board of Selectmen Chair Audrey LaBrie replied, "Yes, I understand what you are saying." Selectman Amy Salter followed with, "For me personally, I can't consider these types of options until I know that we have a plan for the Fire Department. To me that's a top priority, and we can't seem to come together on a plan together for the past couple of years and when you look at this, and I think also when we have projects like this when we go to Town Meeting, it's going to be a no...I don't know what the solution is, but for me personally the focus is the Fire Department, we need to get that. The whole set up there is unacceptable. You have priorities and you have luxuries. We need priorities."

Ward replied, "The priority is the responsibility of the Capital Planning Committee with the Town Manager to set those priorities. As far as the Fire Station we spent about $100,000 on studies for a proposed new Fire Station, or redoing the Fire Station. Town Meeting overwhelmingly turned that down and said no. So if we are listening to the people out there, we had better re-sell that Fire Station and get some better plans because it's not going to sell. They've already said no." Ward added, "I have to disagree with the history. What makes Winchendon unique is its historical features. If you're going to let those go, let those all fall apart, then you're just going to be another blip on the road as people pass through because there's going to be nothing unique about this town. This is what makes Winchendon, Winchendon. The buildings we have, the Toy Town reputation, we can't let those buildings go. That might be emotional, but that's the way I feel."

LaBrie asked Sultzbach if the old fire station part of the building could be torn down as an option if needed. Sultzbach informed LaBrie it could be, but there were be significant hurdles to be able to make it happen as the old fire station section of Town Hall is on the National Historic Register and historically protected. LaBrie clarified that just to fix the outside portion of that building was going to cost roughly $1.4 million, and that it was important to know what they can or can't do with it when looking at a particular project.

Selectman Danielle LaPointe said, "I see no reason why this isn't something that with proper capital planning that Mr. Sultzbach wants to implement, having a one, three, five, and ten year plan, this is something totally do-able and manageable as long as you prioritize what this is recommending and have that strategy and stick to that strategy. It's not saying that we have to start it all now and get it all done this year. It's looking at what can and needs to be done when, gives ample time to find alternate means of funding for it...I personally don't see it as un-doable if we do the proper planning, and the proper procedures and the research and the thought that needs to go in to it."

Sultzbach told the Board, "This is not insurmountable and the purpose was not for it to be jarring. It's factual. And I think, part of what I was charged with when I came into town and I think what everybody knew was that I had experience in capital planning and Winchendon had capital planning needs. This is a type of scenario where I think it benefits everybody to put all the cards out on the table so that we know what we're looking at and we can prioritize as a community, what you feel is important. Four and half million dollars seems like a big bite. When you break it down, it's not quite as bad. But I think the impotant piece in terms of capital planning is, and maybe this is what has happened as much in the past but what I'm looking to in the future, is that we address a hundred thousand dollar problems when they're a hundred thousand dollar problems and not million dollar problems.

"And I think something like this building, if over the past twenty and thirty years of proper maintenance the Town probably could have invested over thirty years, one and half million dollars, and the building would be standing fine today. And I think unfortunately, it's easy to kind of put these things aside and that's what happens, instead we're standing here today looking at a four and a half million dollar problem, when this could have been a much smaller issue, spread out over the past two or three decades. I think that's the important take-away that I'm trying to stress to this Board, is that the situation we're in today is the situation we're in today, we can't go back in time. But if we can address the problems that we have in hand presently, and then get a plan in place moving forward in the future, so the community isn't in this situation, that's my hope, and that's my intention."

Sultzbach recently informed both the BOS and the Finance Committee that the Town's long term capital needs were listed at $100 million. For every year the total repairs to the Town Hall are put off, the price adjusted with inflation increases the total project cost by roughly $160,000 over the projected $4.5 million project cost by 2023, all of which is added to the overall long term capital needs the Town is facing.

WFD holds September 11 Remembrance on Twentieth Anniversary of Terrorist Attack

9/11 Memorial at WFD
Members of the Winchendon Fire Department both past and present together honor all those lost both civilian and in the line of duty, during the September 11, 2021 remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks attacks in New York City, the Pentagon, and near Shanksville, PA which took place on 9/11/2001. Not all on duty were able to attend as some WFD members were out on a call.
Photo by Keith Kent

Members past and present of the Winchendon Fire Department, attending in full dress uniform, paid heartfelt and solemn respects on September 11, 2021 to all those lost in the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. Remembering the 2,997 lives tragically lost, the WFD honored all the fallen both civilian and in the line of duty, as 343 New York City firefighters, 23 New York City police officers and 37 Port Authority officers ran together toward the danger and not away from it and paid the ultimate price. They represent the greatest qualities of what it means to serve both their country and humanity.

While hard for some to believe, and for others seeming like just yesterday, the tragic loss of human life at the New York City World Trade Center attack is now two decades in the past. Lost that day were the lives of 2,997 people--mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, Fireman, Law Enforcement Officers, and many more--when terrorists flew two large passenger air buses, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, from Boston, in o the Twin Towers of New York City. At the same time, American Airlines Fight 77 was flown into the Pentagon killing 184, and United Airlines Flight 93 was believed to be forced down in a legendary heroic effort by passengers near Shanksville, PA before it could potentially reach the White House, killing another forty passengers and crew.

The lives needlessly lost ranged from just 2 years young to 85 years old. Some 206 Massachusetts residents flying out on that fateful day would never see their loved ones again. An attack not just shocking the Uitied States, but all nations around the world, prompted the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and other legislation including but not limited to the controversial Patriot Act.

On what quickly became a dark day in our nation's history, American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower of the New York City World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. Barely 18 minutes later at 9:03 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175 struck the neighboring South Tower, horrifying the city with a cry heard instantly around the world. Both flights had departed from Massachusetts' Logan Airport, bound for Los Angeles. Shortly afterwards at 9:37 a.m, American Airlines Flight 77, which was en route from Dulles, Virginia to Los Angeles, flew into the side of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., directly attacking our nation's military leadership.

At 9:59 a.m., after thousands of gallons of jet fuel burned thoughout the building's impact zone for 56 minutes, the quarter-mile tall South Tower collapsed to the ground in just ten seconds. At 10:03 a.m, United Airlines Flight 93, believed to be headed toward the White House, crashed near Shanksville, PA. Finally at 10:28 a.m., the North Tower, after burning for 1 hour and 42 minutes, also collapsed to the ground, releasing massive amounts of deadly smoke, chemicals, and debris into the air, which to this day continues to take lives from cancer and other illnesses. A total of 102 minutes on September 11, 2001 were tragically scorched into the very fabric which binds together our nation for all time.

Opening the ceremony and honoring the memories of all those lost, WFD Chaplain and pastor of the United Parish church Calvin Miller began by reading a prayer of remembrance, saying, "Oh God, We remember before you this day our brothers and sisters lost on September 11, 2001. We thank you for their example of courage and sacrifice. In your boundless compassion, console their families, friends, co-workers and all who mourn their losses. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our journey and serve with honor, dignity, and courage. Amen."

Miller went on to say, "This is a difficult day, but a day we must all remember what happened on that terrible day, when hatred tried to take us over, but there were those with the courage, to reach out a hand to help each other. So many of those lost, were our first responders." Miller then read the "Firefighters Prayer" which reads, "Whenever I am called to duty, wherever flames may rage, Give me the strength to save a life, whatever be its age. Help me embrace the little child before it's too late, Or save an elder person from the horror of that fate. Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout, And quickly and efficiently to put the fire out. I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me, To guard my every neighbor and protect his property. And if it's according to God's will, I must answer death's call, bless with your protecting hand, my family one and all."

WFD Chief Thomas Smith said to those in attendance, "We gather here in remembrance of this terrible even which happened twenty years ago today. One thing I have always been told was to learn from history. On that tragic day it wasn't about being a Democrat or Republican. It was about coming together. I really hope at some point we as a people and country we can work on achieving that again. That day you couldn't find a flag. There wasn't a flag to be found that following week, we were all working together. I hope and pray that we can start working together from this day forward, and learn from this event."

After the ceremony Chief Smith was asked: knowing how how many firefighters', police, and civilian lives were lost in the attacks twenty years ago this very day, what does it mean to you, reflecting back on the event, about how many in service gave some, and how many gave and lost all? Smith replied, "To me it means those serving were doing what they needed to do, they didn't ever hesitate. They were going to protect lives which is the first goal, and protect lives and property and save as many lives as they possibly could. They had no way of knowing the eventual outcome, and in no way did it have any effect in how they were all doing their job. We respect them all with great honor for that, and that's something that anyone who signs up for the job as a firefighter, police officer, or first responder would not hesitate to do."

9/11 Memorial at WFD
The WFD lowers the flag to half-staff, in honor of all those lost in the terrorist attacks of 09/11/2001 with a full minute of complete silence in respect.
Photo by Keith Kent
9/11 Memorial at WFD
United Parish Pastor and WFD Chaplain Calvin Miller is seen reflecting in respect during a moment of silence after reading the "Firefighters Prayer."
Photo by Keith Kent

Winchendon Experiences Slight Drop in COVID Viral Positivity, Rates Still High

The Town of Winchendon realized a 14 day viral positivity testing average of 6.24 percent, down just slightly from the September 9 figure of 6.40 percent, according to numbers released by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Thursday, September 16. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts average remains low compared to most of the nation, at just 2.35 percent, with the vast majority of those hospitalized consistently being people who chose not to become vaccinated.

Locally, the surrounding towns yielded mixed results. Neighboring Ashburnham to the east dropped from 3.11 to 2.35 percent, while Westminster which shares the Ashburnham-Westminster Regional School District with dropped only sightly from 7.06 to 6.74 percent. These rates are based on 1,319 and 653 tests performed, respectively. To Winchendon's south, the Narragansett Regional School District partners Templeton and Phillipston have again bounced back up. Templeton's average increased in one week from 4.27 to 6.03 percent, and Phillipston from 2.40 to 3.97 percent based on 863 and 151 tests respectively. Also to our south, in the past 7 days, the City of Gardner with a higher vaccination rate and twice the population and density of Winchendon, dropped from 5.26 to 4.36 percent based on 2,224 individual tests.

In the neighboring towns and school district of Athol and Royalston to the west, both the towns' individual and combined numbers realized considerably large increases. Athol, a town of roughly 11,500 residents, spiked up in 7 days on its 14 day testing average, from 4.44 to 6.57 percent based on 1,370 tests, and school district partner Royalston realized a dramatic increased as a small town rising from just 1.06 to 6.30 percent. However it should also be noted the testing pool size in Royalston was 127 tests.

These viral infections thrive on population density. The higher your community vaccination rates, the more the virus is kept in check, and the testing average numbers decrease accordingly. Proof of this is in some of Massachusetts' largest cities. Boston which has a high vaccination rate, and the highest population density, contains just under 700,000 regular full time residents, and 1.5 million residents during college and university school semesters. Boston has remained consistently low, dropping from 1.41 to 1.24 percent, and well below the state average despite its population numbers and density, proving vaccinations do work. The City of Worcester in the past week dropped from 2.35 to 2.12 percent with a population of nearly 200,000 regular residents, and many more during the college and university academic year.

Closer to home, Fitchburg with a population of just under 40,000 dropped from 4.02 to 3.54 percent. Neighboring Leominster, again with more people and a higher human density at roughly 43,000 residents, is also comparatively lower than Winchendon, dropping from 4.03 to 3.49 percent, giving it four times Winchendon's population and only just over half the positivity rate. Again, vaccinations work.

Many towns have gone up and down regarding viral infection data. Shirley, MA, not far to Winchendon's east, previously at 13 percent, is now just 2.08 percent. Lunenburg also to our east, last week was at 7.15, and this week is slightly less than Winchendon at 6.11 percent. Other small towns around the state near the Connecticut border and in the Berkshires range from 13 to 16 percent, while others neighboring them only experience the one to two percent range.

As Winchendon's vaccinated portion of residents continues to be nearly stagnant, hovering at 50 percent, the other 50 percent will continue to generate higher positivity rates. Those who are not vaccinated should have the common courtesy to wear a mask in public places. Even if you have previously contracted the virus naturally, scientific studies of human antibody counts continue to prove you will have a greater resistance to viral mutations which there will always be occurring if you are vaccinated versus getting the virus naturally. This is not personal opinion, this is documented scientific data.

In closing, Massachusetts has increased from 4.5 million to 4.6 million of its 6.9 million residents vaccinated. If you believe your medical updates should come from medically uneducated people on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media, you are part of the problem. If you have any questions, you should speak with your personal Primary Care or health care physician for honest, scientifically proven data. As long as 50 percent of Winchendon chooses to ignore science, our numbers will not go down, and the children of our town will continue to have to wear masks in school. The choice is yours, and if you refuse to become vaccinated claiming it's still experimental, with over 160 million people in our nation fully vaccinated, based on false social media information and inaccurate personal beliefs, your not helping your community, you're harming it. The power to have the choice to not do something, doesn't always equate to the right thing to do.

Keith Kent
Board of Health
Town of Winchendon

To schedule a free COVID-19 vaccination at any time, go to

Monthly Book Clubs at the Beals Memorial Library

Are you an avid reader? Do you enjoy discussing your thoughts and reactions to a book with other readers? Well, the Beals Memorial Library in Winchendon is hosting two monthly book clubs that are open to new members!

After a long hiatus, the Beals Book Club will resume meetings again on Thursday, September 23, at 4:00 p.m. The Beals Book Club is a discussion group that allows readers to exchange ideas, observations, and reactions to the plots, characters, and themes of selected books. They are open to reading books of all genres, from historical fiction to mysteries and thrillers, and members take turns picking the monthly selection. For their upcoming September meeting, the club has chosen the book, What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty, about a woman who loses the last decade of her memory and must put the pieces of her memory and her life back together, while deciding whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse. Future meeting dates and times will be voted on during the September meeting.

Meeting the following Thursday, September 30, from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m., is the new On the Same Page Book Club. Open to teens and adults, this group focuses on bringing members of the community together through culturally diverse stories. Their September selection is A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini. The novel is about two women in Afghanistan, born a generation apart, who bond with one another amidst the dangers of war. On the Same Page Book Club meets on the last Thursday of every month.

Copies of books for both clubs are available at the library Circulation Desk in regular, large print, and audiobook format.

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

Beals Book Club organizers
On the Same Page Book Club's organizers, Camille Hart and Molly Velasco, welcome anyone in the community to join their group.
Photo courtesy of Beals Memorial Library

Murdock High School Bottle and Can Drives Coming Up

Murdock High School will be sponsoring bottle and can drives on Saturdays this fall. The drives will run from 9:00 a.m. until noon, weather permitting, and will be in the Winchendon CAC parking lot at 273 Central Street. Any returnable bottle and can is welcome. The funds collected go to various student groups. The metal tabs are collected and donated to Shriners' Hospitals. Coca-Cola codes are collected and entered to benefit Murdock Middle School. Then the plastic caps are donated to a project that recycles them into plastic benches and playground equipment.

Dates are:
Saturday, September 18
Saturday, October 16
Saturday, November 20

Beals Library Invites the Town to Its Birthday Celebration on October 2

At the Board of Selectmen's meeting on Monday, September 13, Beals Memorial Library Director Manuel King spoke during the Public Comments portion of the meeting to extend an invitation to the Board and the Town.

"I just want to invite you and everybody in the community to the Beals Library's 108th Birthday Bash we're going to celebrating on Saturday, October 2nd from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.," Mr. King began. "The celebration is going to kick off under the giant elm tree just to the southwest of the library where we're going to be dedicating a park bench to Barbara Lafrennie, former Trustee, former member of the Friends group, and also a long-time advocate of the library. So that's going to be happening right at 10 a.m. Then from there we're going to be having tours of the library, we'll talk about its history, its future, we'll also be doing activities for the kids, and the teens. Ethan Stone's going to be playing the piano, our grand piano, and so should be a special thing. We're going to have a giant extra-large cardboard cutout of a birthday cake where people can come and put their ideas for the future of the library."

He added, "We'll have a very special and delicious library-themed birthday cake to share for everybody. So I just wanted to take a minute of your time to let you know this is happening, and hope you will come, have a piece of cake, and celebrate the library with us."

Immediate Vacancy on Finance Committee - Volunteer Needed

This is a volunteer position, with meetings typically held once a month with more frequent meetings as we approach the Spring Town Meeting. The Finance Committee is charged with the following:

It shall be the duty of the Committee to investigate the financial affairs of the town, including receipts of and expenditures by the different departments, or any Town Officer; the methods in which the town business is conducted; the general conduct of the town affairs; and all the articles in town warrants for town meetings referred to it; and, in the discharge of its duties, shall have free access to all books of accounts, books of record and all accounts, bills, and vouchers on which money has been or may be paid from the town treasury.

This position is appointed by the Town Moderator, Coral Grout. Apply in writing to Coral at

Subway August 2021 Fresh Refresh

Central Mass Tree

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

improvements at Lake Dennison
improvements at Lake Dennison

Lake Dennison State Park gets updates
Seen in these photos of work completed at the Lake Dennison State Park on Monday, September 13, Sections of both New Boston Road beginning at the bridge between the public beach and picnicking area, and ending at the Royalston Road South public boat ramp, much needed roadwork was completed with new asphalt applied for the first time in several decades. While the lower main parking lot also received an update, workers on site confirmed the boat ramp will soon also be filled in and covered in new grey drainage stone.
Photos by Keith Kent

Clark Memorial YMCA

Winchendon Resident Coral Grout Elected National Secretary of the American Legion Auxiliary

Dr. Coral Grout

INDIANAPOLIS - Dr. Coral May Grout of Winchendon, Mass., was elected national secretary of the American Legion Auxiliary at the organization's 100th National Convention. In her role, Grout will serve as a corporate officer to maintain constant and continuous control of all trademarks, trade names, patents, and copyrights of the American Legion Auxiliary.

Grout joined the American Legion Auxiliary through the military service of her father, Charles E. Grout, who served during World War II, and her grandfather, Stanislas Laplante, who served during WWI. She is a longtime, active member of Auxiliary Unit 193 in Winchendon.

Having held numerous positions at the unit, district, department (state), and national levels within the American Legion Auxiliary, including department president for three terms, nine national chairmanships, and national historian, Grout also served as an elected director on the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation Board of Directors.

Grout holds a bachelor of arts degree from Mount Holyoke College and a master of education degree from the University of Massachusetts. Throughout her professional career, Grout has dedicated her talents and leadership skills to the education sector and is a retired superintendent of schools.

The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) is a community of volunteers serving veterans, military, and their families. Our members also support the mission of The American Legion in improving the quality of life for our nation's veterans. Proud sponsor of ALA Girls Nation, National Poppy Day® and recognized for advocating for veterans on Capitol Hill, the more than 600,000 ALA members across the country volunteer millions of hours annually and raise millions of dollars in service to veterans, military, and their families. Founded in 1919, the ALA is one of the oldest patriotic membership organizations in the U.S.A. To learn more and to volunteer, join, and donate, visit

Celebrate Banned Books Week with the Beals Memorial Library

If you're looking for something entertaining to do this month, then join the Beals Memorial Library for a fun night celebrating the freedom to read with a game of Banned Book Bingo!

On Wednesday, September 29, at 6:00 p.m., the library will be hosting Banned Book Bingo in the library auditorium, a fun twist on the classic game that celebrates the most frequently banned and challenged books of the last decade. The winner of each round will receive a banned book as a prize! All prizes have been selected by the library staff from among the top 100 Most Frequently Banned and Challenged Books: 2010-2019, a list compiled by the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom. This event is open to both teens and adults. All participants must wear masks while inside the library.

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

Beals Book Bingo challenge
Beals Library Director, Manuel King, is ready to celebrate Banned Books Week this September with just a few of the books that you might find on your Banned Book Bingo card!
Photo courtesy of Beals Memorial Library

Mount Grace to Hold Annual Meeting at Captain's Farm in Winchendon

Mount Grace annual meeting
The view from Captain's Farm in Winchendon.
Photo Credit: Norm Eggert Photography

On Saturday, October 2nd, the public is invited to celebrate Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust's 35th Annual Meeting at Captain's Farm in Winchendon. The celebration will be hosted by Liz and Nate Schroeder on their conserved land at 106 Elmwood Road starting at 11:00 a.m.

Since 1986, Mount Grace has protected over 35,000 acres across North Central and Western Mass. Thousands of those acres have been conserved in Winchendon, including Murdock Farm & Dairy Bar, Fern Glenn Conservation Area, and most recently Sunset View Farm, now Mount Grace's 4th Whole Farm Forever. Mount Grace will celebrate these conservation projects as well as upcoming plans to add a trail at Whitney Memorial Forest on Benjamin Hill.

"We invite everyone to join us and are excited to take this opportunity to announce the increased capacity of our Climate and Land Justice program," said Executive Director Emma Ellsworth. "We acknowledge the shared histories of Indigenous and Colonialists and are hopeful that by coming together we can find a way to move forward through our shared love of the land." To highlight this history and collaboration, Fred Freeman of the Nipmuk Cultural Preservation, Inc. will give a keynote speech and Andre StrongBearHeart Gaines Jr. of the Nipmuc Nation with youth will perform a traditional dance that honors the land and our relationships.

The day will also feature locally sourced lunch and drinks, kids' activities, a guided walk of the property by Eric White, and more.

In 2007, Mount Grace worked with then-owner Eric White to protect Captain's Farm, a 41-acre property. Since then, Liz and Nate Schroeder have purchased the property and have made it their home. "It certainly was attractive to us that all this land could never be developed and added to the beauty of the property," said Nate Schroeder. Pre-registration is required and can be done at or by reaching out to James Holcomb at or at (978) 541-1768. Tickets are $35 including lunch and one drink ticket, children 12 and under eat for free. For any questions regarding the event, please contact Marielena Lima at or (978) 541-1762.

Take Part in Winchendon's First Annual Family Bike Tour: the "Tour de Winchendon" on September 18

On Saturday, September 18, starting at 10:00 a.m., the Winchendon Recreation Commission in partnership with HEAL Winchendon and the Winchendon Community Park, invite you to participate in the first annual "Tour de Winchendon," a family bike tour around the heart of Winchendon.

Bikers will start at the Winchendon Community Park at 10 a.m., where everyone will receive their official Tour de Winchendon Map and an event backpack.

Locations along the way will stamp each map, and "Tourists" will get samples of food, drinks and/or prizes to stuff in their backpacks. The Tour will finish at the Winchendon Community Park's Picnic in the Park with free ice cream for participants who have collected at least five stamps on their map.

There is a registration fee of $10.00 per individual or $20 per family of two or more. (Persons with questions about the registration fees should contact Register at

Exlore what Winchendon has to offer and support local businesses!

Templeton Goes Back to the 1960s with
Sept 19 Concert on the Common

TEMPLETON - The Templeton Cultural Council will present a concert by "Throwback to the '60s" on Templeton Common at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 19.

The concert will feature sounds from that great musical era -- and the audience is invited to wear tie-dye T-shirts, bell bottom jeans, sandals or go-go boots (and don't forget the flowers in your hair!) for this fun event. Admission to the two-hour concert is free.

There's plenty of room to space out on the Common for this outdoor event; to enjoy the show, it's a good idea to bring a blanket or lawn chair.

The "Throwback to the '60s" band has performed at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut; Plainridge Park Casino; the Hampton Beach Seashell Series; the Woodstock Fair; and the Eastern States Exposition (The Big E), among other venues. The show includes non-stop medleys that "fire the '60s hits so intertwined you'll never know where one stops and the other begins." The concert promises to offer "true to life memories of all those great jangly/psychedelic '60s bands."

The Templeton Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCCs) across the state, representing every city and town in the Commonwealth. Other upcoming events funded by the Council include a storytelling program at the Templeton Farmers' Market at 4 pm on Thursday, September 16, and the Narragansett Historical Society's Motorpalooza on September 26.

Organic Farmers to Host Workshop: Poultry Management with Chicken Tractors

Many Hands Organic Farm will be hosting a workshop regarding Poultry Management with Chicken Tractors on September 18th from 10:00 to noon at the farm in Barre. We will discuss the benefits of a mobile house where chickens can pasture and get some hands-on experience building a new house. Egg collection, feeding and watering, and security from roaming dogs and wildlife will also be discussed. Registration is available on the Many Hands Organic Farm website at

Click Here for Community Directory

Winchendon Businesses, Organizations, Services, and Government

trackless train ride at Hampton Beach
Hampton Beach festival

Going trackless!
Recently seen running virtually non-stop at this past weekend's Hampton Beach, NH Annual Seafood Festival, a trackless train similar to this will soon be providing rides to Central Street passengers in Winchendon at the upcoming Winchendon Fall Festival on October 9. Also seen at the Seafood Festival, Hampton Beach's famous Ocean Blvd which had hundreds of vendors and stores participating, experienced tens of thousands of people per day for the three-day event, with vehicle license plates seen from 16 states ranging from Florida to Minnesota, west to California.
Photos by Keith Kent

Murdock High School Class of 1971 Plans 50th Reunion Celebration

Members from the Murdock High School Class of 1971 have been planning a two-day celebration of their 50th Anniversary of their Graduation. The weekend of events is planned for September 24th and 25th. Information will be mailed to all members of the class on or about August 8. The reunion committee has mailed 95 Save the Date postcards. Classmates who did not receive a postcard can send a current mailing address and email address to

The class also posts information on a closed Facebook private group: Murdock Jr Sr High School Class of 1971.

You must already be a Facebook member to join the private group. Send a request to join to Marc Brouillette at, or request to join from the page.

The Committee is requesting help in locating several members of the Class. Anyone with information is asked to contact any member of the Committee. The following people have not been located: Roy D. Carr; Michael Connors; Mary Ann Gouslin Dunchus; John Keane; and Linda Berardi Ghize.

MHS class of '71
(Front Row, Left to Right). Bonita (Fortunato) Drew, Susan (Vaine) Martin-Scott; Susan Giardini; Coral May Grout; and Judith (Duplease) Moriarty.
(Back Row, Left to Right). Noel Veilleux; John Goan; Glenn Hunt; Marc Brouillette
Photo courtesy of Coral Grout

Applications Available for Senior Tax Work-off Program

The Senior Work-Off Abatement Program is a program allowing the Town of Winchendon the opportunity to utilize the knowledge and skills of its senior residents in exchange for credit toward the resident's property tax bill. The purpose of this program is:

  • To employ qualified senior citizens who will apply their earnings toward payment of a portion of their property taxes;
  • To increase senior citizen involvement in local government; and
  • To enhance municipal service by using the skills of resident senior citizens.
Qualified and income-eligible residents will accrue the Commonwealth's minimum wage per hour ($13.50/hr) toward a maximum credit of $1,100.00 per household during the fiscal year. The criteria for this program is:
  • You must be 60 years old or older
  • Homeowner in Winchendon and occupy property
  • Annual income below $40,150 if single; or below $45,900 if married.
Applications for the program are now available in the Town Manager's office or on the town website, and will be accepted until the eight slots are filled. There are different types of positions that are available depending on the preference and qualifications of the resident and the needs of each department. Types of past and current positions have been: Custodial services, clerical help for both School & Town, library aides, Senior Center aids, cable station operator, Bike Path clean up, painting, light outdoor work and classroom volunteers. Click here for more information and a downloadable application.

STILL 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

HEAL Winchendon Offering Financial Coaching Workshops

HEAL Winchendon, in conjunction with the Winchendon CAC, is offering a free financial coaching program to any residents who are interested. The program runs for eight weeks with a flexible schedule and is available in both English and Spanish. Coaching will be scheduled at the Winchendon CAC, 273 Central St. To enroll, fill out the form at HEAL Financial Coaching Sign-Up (Google form) or call 978-621-4524.

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 Committee Vacancies
as of August 30, 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 Committee - 1 vacancy
Cultural Council - 11 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 student vacancy
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).

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