The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of November 4 to November 11, 2021

Audit Makes Recommendations to Improve Cybersecurity Awareness Training at Attorney General's Office

BOSTON (October 29, 2021) - Today, in a review of the Attorney General's Office's (AGO) information technology (IT) security practices, the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) showed not all AGO employees were offered or required to take cybersecurity awareness training during a portion of the audit period. The audit, which examined the period of July 1, 2018 through July 31, 2020, found that AGO employees hired after September 28, 2018 did not receive any training until June 30, 2020, when the agency implemented a new cybersecurity training system.

The audit notes AGO's transition to its new cybersecurity training system resulted in a period where the office had no training system for employees in place. Since then, AGO has implemented the new system and has made updates to its cybersecurity awareness policy to ensure employees undergo training.

"As the work of state government increasingly relies on technology and remote access, public employees must be keenly aware of how to keep their cyber systems protected. Today's audit shows that although there was a gap in training, the Attorney General's Office has taken the necessary steps to ensure all of its employees go through the cybersecurity training program," Auditor Bump said. "I commend the office for making these critical improvements."

The audit notes that the Massachusetts Executive Office of Technology Services and Security requires all state employees working in executive agencies to participate in IT security training when they are hired and thereafter on an annual basis. Today's audit recommends AGO ensure that initial cybersecurity awareness training takes place for new hires and annual training thereafter is available for existing employees. It also recommends that an interim training plan should always be in place when the AGO may be transitioning to a new training program.

AGO is composed of six bureaus: the Executive Bureau, the Criminal Bureau, the Government Bureau, the Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau, the Health Care and Fair Competition Bureau, and the Energy and Environmental Bureau.

The full audit report is available here.

New Statewide Coalition Seeks Alternative to Gardner's Planned Sludge Landfill Expansion

The Millers River Watershed Council (MRWC), an Athol-based environmental non-profit organization, is pleased to announce the creation of a new statewide Coalition for a Sustainable Alternative to Expanding Gardner's Sludge Landfill. Comprised of local, regional and statewide groups, the Coalition aims to garner support for an approach to managing Gardner's sewage sludge that will keep the City's air and water clean and will not disturb environmentally sensitive City forest land.

"Just about everyone wants to find an economical solution to dealing with Gardner's landfill sludge that is also environmentally friendly, and we are confident the City would find such a solution if it chose to look for one," said MRWC director Ivan Ussach. Some City Councilors, along with hundreds of Gardner residents, have been trying to get the City to do just that since 2016, when, during a City Council hearing attended by many residents, the only voice in favor of the current plan was then-mayor Mark Hawke. "Hawke is gone, but the City Council has not been eager to take a fresh look at the options," said Ussach.

The Coalition currently includes MRWC, Gardner Clean Air, Athol Bird and Nature Club, Clean Water Action, Connecticut River Conservancy, MassPIRG, Mass Rivers Alliance, Mount Grace Conservation Land Trust and North County Land Trust. It's efforts will help ensure that alternatives to dumping more sludge get the attention they deserve--such as anaerobic digestion, composting and hauling out. Various public, private and hybrid funding mechanisms could be considered by the City.

"Threatening water supplies and stinking up the Cummings Conservation Area that the City, State, and Federal Government paid to protect is not the way to go," said Alan Rousseau of Gardner Clean Air, who is also an abutter. "Neither is destroying rare geological features and vernal pools in the City-owned Wildwood Forest," he added.

"No other municipalities in the state are planning to open or expand sludge landfills, and that should tell you something," said Ussach. "If the City thinks this is some sort of economic windfall to handle sludge from the entire state--well, all I can say is, that idea stinks worse than the landfill itself. That's not the legacy the Chair City needs or deserves," Rousseau said. More information can be found on the MRWC website at

Gobi Announces Office Hours for November

Spencer (November 1, 2021) - State Senator Anne M. Gobi (D-Spencer) is announcing office hours for the month of November. She invites community members to meet with her Communications and Intergovernmental Affairs Director, Lucas McDiarmid, at locations across the Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire and Middlesex District.

Office hours will last for a period of one hour at each location and are scheduled by region. All residents are invited to attend at any location. If you have questions or wish to make a special appointment with the Senator or her staff, outside of scheduled hours, please call 413-324-3082. You may also email

Tuesday, November 2
Office Hours Templeton Tue 11/2/2021 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM Location: Templeton Town Hall

Wednesday, November 3, 2021
Office Hours Athol Wed 11/3/2021 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM Location: Athol Senior
Office Hours Phillipston Wed 11/3/2021 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM Location: Phillipston Town Hall

Monday, November 8, 2021
Office Hours Barre Mon 11/8/2021 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM Location: Barre Senior Center
Office Hours Hubbardston Mon 11/8/2021 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Location: Hubbardston Town Offices

Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Office Hours Hardwick Tue 11/9/2021 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM Location: Hardwick Town Hall
Office Hours New Braintree Tue 11/9/2021 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM Location: New Braintree Town Hall

Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Office Hours Oakham Wed 11/10/2021 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM Location: Oakham Senior Center
Office Hours Paxton Wed 11/10/2021 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM Location: Paxton Senior Center
Office Hours Rutland Wed 11/10/2021 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Location: Rutland Community Center

Monday, November 15, 2021
Office Hours Spencer Mon 11/15/2021 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Location: Howe Village
Office Hours East Brookfield Mon 11/15/2021 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM Location: East Brookfield Municipal Offices

Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Office Hours Sturbridge Tue 11/16/2021 10:30 AM - 11:30 AM Location: Sturbridge Senior Center
Office Hours Charlton Tue 11/16/2021 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Location: Charlton Senior Center

Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Office Hours West Brookfield Wed 11/17/2021 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Location: West Brookfield Senior Center
Office Hours North Brookfield Wed 11/17/2021 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM Location: North Brookfield Senior Center
Office Hours Brookfield Wed 11/17/2021 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Location: Brookfield Town Hall

Thursday, November 18, 2021
Office Hours Wales Thu 11/18/2021 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Location: Wales Senior Center

Monday, November 22, 2021
Office hours Monson Mon 11/22/2021 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Location: Monson Town Hall
Office Hours Holland Mon 11/22/2021 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM Location: Holland Town Hall

Tuesday, November 23, 2021
Office Hours Warren Tue 11/23/2021 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Location: Warren Senior Center
Office Hours Brimfield Tue 11/23/2021 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM Location: Brimfield Senior Center

Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Office Ware Wed 11/24/2021 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM Location: Ware Senior Center
Office Hours Palmer Wed 11/24/2021 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM Location: Palmer Public Library