The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of October 7 to October 14, 2021
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

Winchendon Fall Festival

Central Street
Saturday, October 9 ~ 10:00am--4:00pm Rain or Shine

Live Bands ~ Kids' Activities ~ Street Performances ~ Bouncy House ~ Over 150 Vendors ~ Local Businesses and Restaurants/Food Trucks
Winchendon Fall Festival Facebook Page


10:00am-4:00pm: DJ Kayden Gorden Show - 32 Central St.
10:00am-11:30am: Winchendon Winds Concert - 126 Central St., inside the church
10:30am-12:00pm: Safe Routes to Schools Bike Rodeo - Former IGA parking lot
11:30am-3:00pm: THE Big RanDom Winchenstock Encore Performance - Grove St. Ext. parking lot
12:00pm-3:00pm: Heath Lewis - Bull Spit Pop Up Bull Yard, Upper Central St.
12:00pm: K9 Clyde Demonstration - Summer St.
12:30pm: Winchendon FD Demonstration - Summer St.
1:00pm: K9 Clyde Demonstration - Summer St.
1:00pm-2:30pm: Safe Routes to Schools Bike Rodeo - Former IGA parking lot
1:30pm: Winchendon FD Demonstration - Summer St.

Masks not required but encouraged

Ingleside Drive Duplex Becomes Fire Training Exercise as No Funds Available to Save the Structure

Controlled burn at Winchendon Community Park
WFD Tower 1 soaks the surrounding trees with heavy water to contain the fire just to the structure.
Photo by Keith Kent
Controlled burn at Winchendon Community Park
A drone owned and operated by WFD member Lt. Mark Vitale gets up close and personal footage of the intense blaze!
Photo by Keith Kent
Controlled burn at Winchendon Community Park
As Tower 1 contains the fire from above, a brilliant rainbow forms underneath glistening in the sun.
Photo by Keith Kent

A 121-year-old duplex which enjoyed scenic views of both Whitney Pond and the Millers River for over six decades was razed in a fire training exercise conducted by the Winchendon Fire Department on Saturday, October 2. The training included five other departments. The once prestigious structure fell upon hard times without sufficient funding to restore it, as the Town of Winchendon faces $100 million in long term capital needs while generating limited tax revenue from businesses.

The duplex, constructed in 1900 on 43 acres, was sold to the town for the price of $1.00 by The Winchendon School on November 9, 2016 in a virtual property swap for a closed town owned school property on Ash Street, part of a mutually beneficial deal package. According to Town of Winchendon property information, the duplex furnished a combined gross area of 12,750 square feet, with a finished area of 6,078 square feet and basement of 2,784 square feet.

Due to the town needing $5 million to fix the historically protected Old Murdock Senior Center, which also serves as the town's central polling place and coordinates Meals on Wheels for seniors, along with the recently reported $4.5 million needed for Town Hall repairs, urgent calls for a new or remodeled Fire Station, followed by numerous other down-the-road projects including repairing miles of leaky water main pipes at a cost of several million dollars, and possibly a new elementary school, funding to save the former 86 Ingleside Drive duplex was no longer deemed a viable financial option by the Town.

Controlled burn at Winchendon Community Park
Known as "Fire Horns" the building begins to become inundated with flames out the attic.
Photo by Keith Kent

The Department of Environmental Protection licensed and permitted event began with Evolution's "Individual Fire Department training exercises and rotations" going room to room igniting straw bales and other materials, which firefighters then responded to. Winchendon Fire Department crews led the way, accompanied by other departments including Gardner, Ashburnham, Westminster, Royalston and Rindge NH. They were joined by the Town of Templeton Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members, who along with WFD EMS assisted fire fighters leaving the structure with rehab, checking vitals and more. Members gained experience locating the fires, containing and extinguishing, along with saving simulated humans. Prior to the event, all watershed access was also guarded, protected, and maintained as required.

The project has been in the making for quite some time as WFD Chief Thomas Smith explained. "The building was stripped of all hazardous materials for months including asbestos, and then all copper piping, glass windows, and more. Evolution's began in the morning, with four different burn rooms set up in the building to be extinguished. Various crews practiced search and rescue, with a rescue dummy, ventilation, overhaul, extinguishing, ladder components with a ladders station, a door breach station, and more." Smith added, "We per D.E.P. are allowed to exercise one live structural fire training exercise per year per community."

The structure was set on fire by participants shortly after 1:00 p.m., with the building burning for several hours before finally being extinguished after collapsing into the former basement area. Parts of the building, including a second floor vertical main roof support, burned long after the roof collapsed over and around it, as the structure seemed reluctant to give up its old bones and cease allowing the fire to spread. The center of the duplex had long collapsed before both the far northerly and southerly ends became the last to give up their fights. Participants on both sides of the structure regularly sprayed heavy water on to the surrounding trees and vegetation making sure the fire never had a chance to jump from the building to the surrounding woodland areas.

Controlled burn at Winchendon Community Park
A last view of 86 Ingleside Drive before it's scheduled demolition.
Photo by Keith Kent
Controlled burn at Winchendon Community Park
The northerly side of the duplex property becomes the last part of the structure to finally succumb to the fire.
Photo by Keith Kent

Controlled burn at Winchendon Community Park
The southerly duplex side of the structure finally collapses as its old bones become to brittle to sustain the weight.
Photo by Keith Kent

Controlled burn at Winchendon Community Park
Fire Department members of Winchendon, Gardner, Ashburnham, Westminster, Royalston, Rindge, NH, and the Templeton CERT team pose for a group photo as the roof begins to implode behind them.
Photo by Keith Kent
Training at the facility began last year, according to Smith. Smith explained that training, due to the pandemic and its legal requirements, picked up in 2021 as requirement and restrictions were lowered, with non-fire training being conducted all this past summer. Also due to DEP requirements, the town building inspector had to inspect the building prior, to make sure the structure was sound and would not endanger any fire fighters while conducting training. "D.E.P. has a pretty extensive check list you must follow for safety precautions to be able to conduct the burn and training exercise in a safe and successful training environment," Smith said.

Smith also wanted to thank Captain Bryan Vaine for helping to set up the training exercise. "Captain Vaine put a lot of work in to this training exercise, and took the lead on it. The departments taking part in all the training, they benefited from him for it."

In closing Chief Smith said, "Any time you have the opportunity to train the younger fire fighters and refresh the skills of the senior fire fighters, it's really good to be able to seize that opportunity. Being able to actually feel the heat, and experience the smoke in a controlled environment is rare. We want to teach all fire fighters to train as you work, so how you're going to respond to a fire and actual emergency is how you should respond in your training. It's something very invaluable to be able to train like that."

Winchendon Town Manager Attends National Conference

Winchendon Town Manager Justin Sultzbach recently attended the 2021 107th International City/County Management Association (ICMA) conference from Sunday, October 3 through Wednesday, October 6 for the purpose of seeking the newest ideas, techniques, and procedures regarding everything from grant funding applications to municipal management, joint inter-municipal agreements and much more. He is happy to say it was an eye-opening conference which provided him with enthusiasm in moving forward for town funding and fundraising efforts.

In a scheduled live phone interview with the Winchendon Courier fresh off his flight arriving at Logan Airport Wednesday evening, October 6, Sultzbach enthusiastically said, "The conference was actually this past Sunday through Wednesday, but I left earlier on Wednesday and didn't stay for the last full day so I could be back in the office this Thursday, October 7, as there is plenty of work to be done!"

When asked what his motivations were and what he hoped to gain by attending the ICMA conference, Sultzbach explained, "The biggest takeaway which you gain from these conferences is that you quickly find out every community you run into attending always has the same issues that you run into in your own town, so the biggest value is being able to have all those people in the same room at the same time, talking about these issues and sharing their individual creative solutions, so you get that knowledge in return to both bring home and implement it. No matter if it's about town hall culture, ARPA Funding--American Rescue Plan Act--and the best way to leverage those funds and put them to work for your community, or about communities which have a history of being reactionary which our town has seemed to always have had a culture of versus being proactive in capital planning in particular. All these topics and much more help each person attending to return with new ideas gained and shared by all the professionals attending. You learn how so many other communities changed the culture over time because it's not something any community can do overnight."

Sultzbach went on to say, "There were other presentations such as how to attract retail to small urban communities such as Winchendon which is valuable and hits close to home for us, as we are trying to rebuild Central Street, or other valuable conversations such as broadband in 'Internet deserts' which some areas of our town fall into the category of which were really exposed during COVID. Then you discuss how to obtain some kind of staffing to execute problem solving for issues such as broadband extension, and the conversation for that extends towards forms of regionalization and other communities banding together to try to steer those regional funds for the perks of that expansion. So the ICMA covers a lot of important topics, and it become a really valuable exercise."

"Then there is the downtime in-between, where you don't have the distractions of home or the office, so you can plug away on your laptop and get work done without any interruptions. So with the Special Town Meeting coming up I made really good strong use of that time finalizing our warrant and presentation for the Special Town Meeting so I can explain the nuances of some of these special articles residents will be seeing. There wasn't an ounce of time wasted. Even on the plane I was working on the laptop so I could just keep plugging away," Sultzbach repeated with enthusiasm.

When asked if Sultzbach left the conference feeling far from alone on difficult financial fronts he replied, "Oh absolutely! You have days when you feel like you are just fighting uphill battles, and it's nice to see that you are not alone and many other communities are fighting those very same financial battles and struggles. So if there is any value in comfort, I will take that was well," Sultzbach joked.

With the ICMA this year held in Portland, Oregon, and being "International," Sultzbach said the number of managers attending, including Town Managers, Town Administrators, Assistants, departmental supervisors, and others, easily came to thousands in attendance. "It doesn't matter if it's Managers or even Policy Administrators, you get a really good mix of professional talent, especially from the larger communities who can send more employees, such as a team of five as you see from time to time. With the smaller towns you typically see just one representative, so I was particularly happy to fill that slot for Winchendon."

Asked how Sultzbach would rate the ICMA on a professional development scale and the type of guest speakers, Sultzbach replied, "Absolutely a ten! You got to draw on knowledge from a lot of people who have had forty or fifty different careers in municipal management which is always great to get their insight because they have seen pretty much everything that can be thrown at you. Even trying to navigate the waters of cannabis legalization, where you find many other communities and states where we were as far back as ten years ago. So for managers there who were in this line of work for forty years, but for the first time attempting to tackle the cannabis issue, other managers such as myself were able to help them navigate and answer their questions. Everybody has something to gain from the experiences of everybody else. Even as a relatively young newcomer, I was able to bring something to the table as everybody is there to learn from and help each other with either ideas or knowledge to take home to their communities."

While far from home, Sultzbach often found ways to still feel near to home saying, "Often times I would be walking across the room and looking even a hundred feet away or more, I would see people with Boston Red Sox polo shirts on! People from New England are very passionate and wear their hearts on their sleeves, and I ran into a lot of people from here at this conference thousands of miles away." Part of that balance allowing the Town Manager to feel close to home, he said, is the support of his wife and family. Sultzbach proudly added, "Every single night I made sure I made it back to my room to call home for bed time on the east coast. The time difference made it hard as many know, but if I could rush out at five PM when the seminars wrapped up, I could get back and get on the WIFI so I could share face time with my young son before he went to bed. I am a husband and a father first, and then I say I am a town manager."

In closing, Sultzbach was asked how attending the ICMA will benefit him and the town in the future as Winchendon's Town Manager? Sultzbach replied, "First and foremost, I just want our community to know that I am very appreciative to know that it's invested in my professional development, it really means a lot to me as a professional. The other piece which I think everybody in town knows is, any opportunity I have to try to bring some resources or insight back home to Winchendon, I am never going to leave that opportunity on the table. I am always fighting for Winchendon, it's on my mind all the time, trying to think of ways we can do things better, and get a jump on potential future issues. This is just another piece of hitting the goal of just trying to push and move Winchendon forward."

For more information on the 2021 ICCMA conference on the internet please visit

Applications Underway for Winchendon Cultural Council Grants

Applications are being accepted now through October 15 for grants administered by the Winchendon Cultural Council. The Winchendon Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCC) serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The LCC Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences, and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community. Decisions about which activities to support are made at the community level by a board of municipally appointed volunteers. The members of the Winchendon Cultural Council are: Jill Nicholson Sackett, Miranda Jennings, Linda Hofhaug, Deanne Keddy, Nicole Elias, Linsey Laserte, Molly Velasco and Camille Hart.

The Winchendon Cultural Council prioritizes programs that have secured a venue within the greater Winchendon Community. Past awards have ranged from $100 - $2000 and include Beals Library programs, senior center entertainment, the Winchendon Music Festival, Winchendon Winds, school field trips, and the GALA Spring Art Festival, to name a few.

For guidelines and complete information on the Winchendon Cultural Council, visit the Town website: Applications and more information about the Local Cultural Council Program are available online at

Cultural Council beneficiaries
A future musician tries out a baritone at the Beals Library "Instrument Petting Zoo"
Photo courtesy of Beals Memorial Library
Cultural Council beneficiaries
The Winchendon Music Festival performs at the History and Cultural Center
Photo courtesy of Winchendon Music Festival
Cultural Council beneficiaries
Winchendon Winds performs at the Unitarian Universalist Church
Photo by Joe Sackett

Construction Projects Underway on Maple Street, Railroad Street

This week, construction began on Railroad Street, and next Tuesday, October 12, road work will commence on the stretch of Maple Street from Vine Street (the entrance to the Winchendon Community Park) up to Glenallen Street (the Harbour restaurant). Drivers should seek alternate routes to minimize congestion and delays.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is doing the work on Maple Street, which consists of resurfacing "and related work" of the section of the road that is a state highway. It does not involve the town, and appears to be entirely funded by federal monies. The project listing may be seen here--it is not very detailed, but does indicate that this project has been pending for four years, since 2017.

The Railroad Street project is funded by a 2020 Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) and was the subject of several past public hearings as well as a "walk-through" which the public was invited to attend. One block of Railroad Street will become a one-way street--east to west, or from Central Street to Pleasant Street only--with angled parking spaces. Work will include new sidewalks and curbs and repaving of the street. Improvements on the wastewater mains under the street will be tied into the Central Street project in the spring.

Diagram of the planned improvements (JPEG).

For previous Courier coverage of the project, see "Selectmen Discuss Community Development Block Grant for Reconstruction of Railroad Street" in the December 12-19 2019 edition of the Winchendon Courier and "Railroad Street Business Owners Express Concerns about Reconstruction Project" in the February 13-20 2020 edition of the Winchendon Courier.

UUCW Joins Fall Festival to Raise Funds for Building Repairs

Saturday, October 9 marks the biggest annual event in Winchendon--the Fall Festival. The Festival returns to much anticipation after a year-long COVID hiatus. The entirety of Central Street from Cumberland Farms to CVS will be closed for pedestrians only, and filled with vendors and entertainment options.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Winchendon (UUCW), located in the heart of all the action, is joining in the fun by hosting a free band concert, filling their lawn with vendors, and offering a variety of warm concessions.

Winchendon's own professional concert band, the Winchendon Winds, will kick off the Fall Festival at 10:00 a.m. in the church's heated sanctuary. Their program, titled "From the Stage," begins with a fanfare and technically brilliant piece aptly named "Festive Overture." The band will then play a variety of familiar tunes from Broadway, film and dance. The concert is free, ADA accessible and family-friendly. The music will be broadcast out to the front lawn for anyone wishing to listen outside.

Shoppers can take a turn through the church's circle drive and admire wood and resin art, hand-made wreaths, homemade dog treats, clothing, unique crafts, and hand-sewn blankets and totes. Collectors will want to pore over hot wheels, computer games, electronics, toys, cards, vinyl records and CDs.

UUCW will be curbside selling their signature homemade chili, served over baked potatoes, hot dogs, or straight in a cup, with add-your-own toppings. Autumn favorites such as hot chocolate and pumpkin spice muffins will help keep everyone warm. Diners can rest their feet at tables and chairs set up on the front lawn.

As with their Lawn Fairs last summer, this weekend's proceeds will be dedicated to UUCW's Set in Stone Capital Campaign to repair the building's masonry. The church, built in 1866, is a National Historic Landmark and was recently placed under Preservation Restriction with the State of Massachusetts. Visitors to downtown Winchendon have likely noticed the elaborate scaffolding erected in front of the church, first during Fall 2019, and again last Spring. The church is about one-quarter of the way through a multi-year, multi-phase project to preserve the building for generations to come. The repairs have ranged from extensive re-grouting to complete disassembly and rebuilding of one of the tower buttresses. For more information, visit or visit the church's display at the Fall Festival.

Download a map of UUCW's vendors (PDF)

Winchendon COVID Viral Positivity Rate Increases to 5.64 Percent

COVID incidence map

The Town of Winchendon has realized a positive viral increase, increasing from 5.09 percent on Thursday, September 30, to 5.64 percent as of the newest released data from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) on Thursday, October 7, 2021. Just several towns away, the Town of Athol, the largest town in North Worcester County with a population of 11,500 versus Winchendon, the second largest town in North Worcester County with a population of 10,765, has also realized yet another increase, extending from 8.12 percent on last week, to 8.39 percent this week according to the MDPH. Templeton on our southerly border is again over 6 percent at 6.31 percent, and the City of Gardner, also sharing our southerly border, which held out for many weeks in the 4 percentile range, is now 5.20 percent, as infections among the unvaccinated continue to increase. The Commonwealth average at this time is just 1.92 percent.

As Chair of the Board of Health and as previously stated in public health updates, I have been in contact with Winchendon Town Manager Justin Sultzbach every single Thursday immediately after all newly released data is published by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, advising him of case counts, local and inter-municipal numbers, hospital data, and more.

Almost immediately after the 5:00 p.m. weekly release of the most up-to-date information from the MDPH, a call was again placed to our Town Manager advising him of all mitigating factors. At this time the following points of view, among others, were discussed. I am speaking only as Chair of the BOH, not officially for the board.

Based on our surrounding area and not just our Town of Winchendon, as the City of Gardner, Town of Templeton, and Town of Winchendon have strong personal and business interaction between our municipalities, along with the Town of Athol being close by, and because of the need to protect the health of both public employees and the residents of Winchendon, the Chair of the Board of Health has strongly recommended to the Town Manager the mandatory wearing of masks in all town-owned public buildings regardless of vaccination status. As Winchendon at this time is far behind both the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and County of Worcester vaccination percentage averages, with many exercising their right to refuse to become vaccinated for their own personal and legally accepted reasons, I advised the Town Manager I felt there is no other choice, and I must recommend masking in public municipal buildings at this time.

We then discussed what we as a municipality would recommend for standards and best practices if masking is mandated, as the Town Manager also conveyed he also strongly felt the time had come based on the newest updated data provided by the Commonwealth to himself through the BOH Chairperson.

During the warmer summer months and leading into the fall, Winchendon consistently realized a viral positivity rate in the 3 to 4 percentile range. Additionally, if the town was to designate a number for when masking would be deemed no longer necessary as 48 to 50 percent of the town is vaccinated according to the MDPH, what would that number be and how long would a minimum standard requirement be for doing such. Add to this that October 9, Winchendon is hosting a gathering expected to be in the low thousands for its outdoor October Fall Festival contained to just Central Street, creating close personal contact, plus upcoming indoor gatherings for Halloween parties, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Eve, and you have the perfect scenario for both COVID and its Delta variant to see large potential increases mainly among, but not limited to, the unvaccinated which represent half our town.

After many discussions and considerations which have been taking place for some time, and marking the higher end of the warmer seasonal town viral average, the Chair of the BOH recommended to the Town Manager, who is Winchendon's Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, that masking in all indoor public owned buildings should remain in place moving forward at this time and subject to change if necessary, mandatory regardless of vaccination status, until the Town of Winchendon can realize a minimum of two consecutive weeks below 4.50 percent municipal viral positivity. Any higher would mostly likely provide both inconsistency and a yo-yo effect, serving only to cause confusion and more frustration than already exists among the public at large. If the town was to realize an increase after such period of two consecutive weeks or more at 4.50 percent or above, the masking at all public buildings must be reinstated.

It was also recommended that as with the former town building masking policies, if municipal employees who are vaccinated could maintain six feet of separation or more at their individual work stations, they be allowed to remove their masks, but if serving or interacting with the public at large in said town buildings, they must put their masks back on while doing so.

Town Manager Justin Sultzbach said he would strongly consider all possibilities and considerations upon this recommendation by the Chair of the BOH, based on the Commonwealth and County data provided in the most recent viral updates. Again, all considerations are based on data, information provided by the MDPH, hospital and emergency room populations, and more.

On a different note and as a reminder far ahead of time, as the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has mandated masking in all public schools, all adults will be required to wear masks at the upcoming November Special Fall Town Meeting inside the Murdock High School building.

In closing, the Town Manager may or may not make an announcement after the upcoming holiday, upon municipal workers returning to work on Tuesday, October 12. No decisions are taken lightly, and we know we will never be able to please everybody. We are working with an imperfect system during both challenging and unprecedented times, especially while Commonwealth leadership leaves much decision making up to each individual municipality. If you are attending this upcoming October 9 Winchendon Fall Festival, hand sanitizer has been mandated at each vendor table by the BOH, and the BOH will have a table at both ends of Central Street handing out free masks to any person or persons who desires such. If you are either not vaccinated, or even vaccinated but immuno-comprimised, I strongly consider requesting a free mask, which we will be more than happy to provide at each end of the event. Until then, I remain.

Keith Kent
Board of Health
Town of Winchendon

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

Fall Special Town Meeting will be held on Monday, November 8, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at Murdock Middle High School.

Be sure to check out our Classified and Employment Ads on the Events Page!

BOS to finalize STM Warrant on October 12

The Board of Selectmen are meeting on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. to finalize the Special Town Meeting warrant. Immediately following, the Finance Committee will be hosting the Public Hearing on the warrant at 7:00 p.m. in the Town Hall Second Floor Auditorium, 109 Front St.

The public is invited and encouraged to attend and comment on the articles for the Special Town Meeting which has been scheduled for Monday, November 8, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. at Murdock Middle High School.

Read the draft STM Warrant (PDF).

Monthly Book Clubs at the Beals Memorial Library

Are you looking to connect with other readers? Do you enjoy discussing your thoughts and reactions to a book with others? Then why not join a book club? The Beals Memorial Library has two book clubs that are always welcome to new members.

This month, the Beals Book Club will be meeting on Thursday, October 28th, from 3:30 - 4:30 PM. 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 a wide variety of books and the members all take turns picking each month's selection. This month's book is Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng. The novel follows the seemingly-perfect Richardson family and the new tenants who begin to stir things up in their lives. The Beals Book club meets monthly and future dates are chosen at the meeting.

Also meeting on October 28th at 6:30 PM is the 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 choice for October is the young adult novel, Sanctuary, by Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher. The novel takes the immigration debate in a dystopian direction. Set in a future where citizens are chipped by the government, a broken counterfeit chip forces a family to go on the run in hopes of reaching a sanctuary state. 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.

PLEASE NOTE: Masks are required for all persons in the library building.

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

Subway October 2021 Soup's On

Movies are Back at the Beals Memorial Library

Are you looking for something fun to do indoors this month? Then head over to the Beals Memorial Library! After a long hiatus, the library will resume their monthly indoor movie series with four different films throughout the month of October, including a film for adults, a documentary, a classic film, and a family-friendly movie. So grab your friends and family, pack some popcorn, and go enjoy a good show!

The library will be starting the month with their Adult Movie Night on Thursday, October 14th at 6 PM, when they'll be showing the Danish action flick, Riders of Justice. The movie stars Mads Mikkelsen as a soldier who returns home to his teenage daughter after losing his wife in a train accident. When it turns out to be more than an accident, he teams up with a group of misfits to find those responsible.

On Saturday, October 16th at 11 AM, the library will be screening this month's Family Matinee, Disney's Luca. Set on the Italian Riviera, the movie follows Luca, a young boy, on his adventurous summer alongside his new best friend. The only catch? His new friend is a human and he's a sea monster in disguise!

On Thursday, October 21st at 6 PM, the library will host DOC & TALK, their documentary film and discussion series, with a screening of the film, Roadrunner. The documentary is a look into the life of celebrity chef and world traveler, Anthony Bourdain, and his journey from chef to writer and television host.

The final movie event of the month, on Thursday, October 28th at 1:30 PM, is the Classic Matinee. Get ready for Halloween with Alfred Hitchcock's chilling classic thriller, Psycho. Starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, the movie follows a secretary who goes on the run after embezzling funds and winds up at a remote hotel run by a young man and his domineering mother.

PLEASE NOTE: Masks are required for all persons in the library building.

All movie screenings at the Beals Memorial Library are free and open to the public. All indoor movie events are held in the library's auditorium. For more information, call the library at 978-297-0300 or visit their website at

Central Mass Tree

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

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Winchendon Businesses, Organizations, Services, and Government

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.

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

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.

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 - 2 vacancies
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
Planning Board - 1 Alternate 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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