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The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of May 5 to May 12, 2022
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

2022 Special and Annual Town Meetings
Monday, May 16, 7:00 p.m.

Murdock Middle High School, 3 Memorial Drive, Winchendon

Below is the Courier's annual "Town Meeting Warrant Cheat Sheet." The Warrants were finalized by the Board of Selectmen at their meeting on Monday, April 25. The final Warrants with recommendations can be viewed or downloaded here: 2022 Spring Town Meeting Warrants (PDF).

Special Town Meeting

Article 1: Finance committee report.
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.

Article 2: Pay bills from prior fiscal year from Free Cash, totalling $8,412.93. These include payment to Gatehouse New England ($1,540.13) for mandated posting of legal notices in the Gardner News, and payment to Walgreens ($6,629.13) for medical supplies purchased by the veterans' agent for veterans' services.
Requires a nine-tenths majority to pass.
BOS recommends 4-0, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 3: Appropriate $35,000 from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to cover the shortfall in the Sewer Enterprise Fund Budget due to increased costs for chemicals and energy.
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 4-0, FinCom recommends 7-0

Annual Town Meeting

Article 1: Finance Committee report and any other committees that may have reports.
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 4-0, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 2: Routine article, authorizing the Town to choose or appoint various Town officers or committee members that are not elected, or to discharge any committees that have served their purpose. There are no committees being discharged under this article this year.
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 4-0, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 3: Routine article. Sets the spending limits for revolving accounts used by various departments, as established by the town bylaws. These have not changed from previous years.
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 3-0-1, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 4: Senior Tax Workoff, $8,800. An annual appropriation for the Senior Tax Workoff program, in which eligible senior citizens may do various light jobs for the town in exchange for an offset to their property taxes. This program is under-utilized and seniors are encouraged to apply. Jobs are highly varied and can be fitted to a senior's unique skills and experience; they include work for the Senior Center, Board of Health or a town office, among others.
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 4-0, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 5: Town grant for the Winchendon Community Action Committee (CAC), $25,000. An annual appropriation to the Winchendon CAC Inc., which is an independent nonprofit corporation, in support of its work to assist low income residents of Winchendon.
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 3-0-1, FinCom recommends 7-0.

Article 6: To appropriate $16,001,424 for the Town budget for fiscal year 2023 (beginning July 1, 2022).
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 4-0, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 7: Water Enterprise Fund. To appropriate $966,204 for direct costs and $145,238 for indirect costs, totalling $1,111,532 for fiscal year 2023. This will be covered by $1,081,705 in Water Receipts from ratepayers and $29,827 in ARPA funds. These are the final numbers after some adjustments for estimated water usage, and are based on projections which could change either way depending on weather, improved water metering and other factors. As discussed in numerous Board of Selectmen meetings, "Water Receipts" represents a 10 percent increase in water rates for fiscal year 2023, with an anticipated deficit that will be covered by ARPA funds.
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 3-1, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 8: Wastewater [Sewer] Enterprise Fund. To appropriate $1,419,952 for direct costs and $135,363 for indirect costs, totaling $1,555,315 for fiscal year 2023. This will be covered by $1,140,820 in Wastewater Receipts from ratepayers and Betterment fees of $414,495. As discussed in numerous Board of Selectmen meetings, "Wastewater Receipts" represents a 10 percent increase in wastewater rates for fiscal year 2023.
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 3-1, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 9: Transfer Station Enterprise Fund. To appropriate $195,297 for direct costs and $9,456 for indirect costs for fiscal year 2023, all of which will be taken from Transfer Station Receipts. The Transfer Station Enterprise Fund is self-sustaining and does not run a deficit. No increases in user fees, such as for pay-as-you-throw bags or resident stickers, are anticipated.
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 4-0, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 10: To approve the Winchendon Public School District fiscal year 2023 budget, of which the town's portion totals $15,604,992.02. (The district anticipates $4,567,620 in grant revenue and $1,041,529 in revenue from other funding sources such as the Robinson Broadhurst Foundation and the Murdock Trust.) The Town receives $12,492,076 (or 80 percent, higher than most districts) of this from the state in Chapter 70 funds. The budget presentation and figures from Superintendent Thad King may be reviewed here. (PDF)
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 4-0, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 11: Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School. To approve the Town's assessed share of the total budget for fiscal year 2023, which is $702,108. This amount is calculated according to the number of Winchendon students allotted space in the school and the number actually attending.
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 4-0, FinCom recommends 7-0

This year, Capital expenses are being grouped by funding category rather than each individual expense being a separate Warrant article.

Article 12: Capital improvements for fiscal year 2023 to be paid out of Free Cash, totaling $650,847. These include:
Repairs to the Town Hall Cupola, $35,000
Supplemental funding for road paving, $129,823
Beals Memorial Library, additional Phase 2 repairs, $314,500
Police Department, Radio Project Match, $154,649
Police Department, Livescan Fingerprint Scanner, $16,875
Town Manager Justin Sultzbach explained to the Board of Seelctmen that the library repair costs for plastering were adjusted down significantly as the scope of the necessary work was scaled back, but then rose again due to inflation in the cost of materials and labor. The Police Department Radio Project is the town's matching funds for a two-phase Robinson Broadhurst grant.
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 4-0, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 13: Approve borrowing the total sum of $969,220 for capital improvements for fiscal year 2023. These will be five-year loans at 4 percent interest and include:
Repairs to the roof of the DPW building, $315,000 - annual payment, $63,000
Excavator and trailer for the DPW, $160,125 - annual payment, $32,025
Fire Department, pumper truck replacement, $494,095 - annual payment, $102,772
Winchendon Fire Chief Tom Smith was able to reduce the cost of the pumper truck by $60,000 by shopping around and obtaining grant funds from Mass DEP.
Requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 4-0, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 14: Approve borrowing $54,697 from the Transfer Station Enterprise Fund for a transfer station vehicle.
Requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 4-0, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 15: Approve appropriating the total sum of $544,968 from grant sources for capital improvements. The Town does not need to approve spending ARPA funds, but the town is responsible for future maintenance on the items after they are purchased. They include:
For the DPW, a Front End Loader, $146,000 from ARPA
For the DPW, a Wheeled Excavator, $205,216 from ARPA
For the DPW, a Trailed Vactor, $98,834 from ARPA
For the Police Department, replace a Cruiser, $54,918 from 911 Grant
For the Planning Department, Project Design Funding, $40,000 from ARPA
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 4-0, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 16: Appropriating $60,405 from Free Cash to pay the final year of debt service on an ambulance purchased in 2016. This pays off the debt service early so it will take this annual line item off the general budget.
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS will give its recommendation at Town Meeting, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 17: Town Charter Amendment. These are "housekeeping" updates rather than actual changes to the substance of the document. The "Board of Appeals" should correctly be called the Zoning Board of Appeals; this change adds the word "Zoning." The words "or State Statute" are added because the Town Charter and Bylaws must comply with any and all state statutes. The Capital Planning Committee is not one of the appointed committees so it is being removed from the list of appointed committees in the Charter.
Requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 3-1, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 18: General Bylaws Amendment. To approve amending the General Bylaws of the Town of Winchendon as indicated. These are also "housekeeping" or clarification changes. Section 2.9 specifically defines the membership of the Capital Planning Committee, which will have five members: one member of the Board of Selectmen, appointed by the Board of Selectmen; one member of the School Committee, appointed by the School Committee, one member of the Finance Committee, appointed by the Finance Committee, one member of the Planning Board, appointed by the Planning Board, and a registered voter of the Town appointed by the Town Manager.
Article 38, defining a Group Insurance and Benefit Committee established in 2015, is being removed in its entirety. The committee has never met and its functions are handled by union representatives.
Article 24, defining the Recreation Commission, increases the maximum number of adult members from five to seven, clarifies that the student members do not need to be students of the Winchendon Public Schools, only school-age students living in town, adds that students may not hold an adult seat on the Commission, clarifies that the term of three years applies to adult members, while student members will be appointed annually, and adds that no more than two persons from the same household may serve on the Recreation Commission at one time.
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 3-1, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 19: Zoning Bylaws Amendment. To approve deleting Chapter 9 of the Zoning Bylaws of the Town of Winchendon in its entirety and replacing it with a new chapter regulating the use of signs in Winchendon. The new Bylaw was written as part of an audit of the entire Zoning Bylaw, and has been adjusted or modified in response to much discussion and a public hearing.
Text of draft of the proposed new sign bylaw (PDF)
Text of the existing bylaw by itself for comparison: (PDF)
Requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass.
BOS voted NOT to recommend 3-1, FinCom recommends 7-0, Planning Board recommends 4-1

Article 20: Drinking Water and Sewer Asset Management Project. To appropriate $125,000 for the Winchendon Drinking Water and Sewer Asset Management Project which is on the Massachusetts 2022 Clean Water State Revolving Fund Asset Management Planning Project List. This project is a professional tool which will enable the town to keep track of all the hard assets in the water and sewer systems--pumps, mains, lines, equipment and so on--by age, expected useful life, anticipated time of repair or replacement and other factors. This will help the town plan its spending in a focused and data-driven way and ultimately, save money, because the unexpected is always expensive. "It's pretty much like our existing capital plan, significantly augmented," Mr. Sultzbach told the Board of Selectmen. The state will reimburse the town a total of $75,000 (60 percent) and $25,000 will be taken from the Water and Wastewater Enterprise Funds.
Requires a simple majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 4-0, FinCom recommends 7-0

Article 21: Transfer of Webster Street Parcel. This is a town-owned piece of land behind the Walgreens building extending northwest between Webster Street and Spruce Street. It will be conveyed to the Winchendon Redevelopment Authority for potential development. It may be used to extend the Rail Trail system from New Hampshire, as the former rail line passes through the parcel.
Requires a two-thirds majority vote to pass.
BOS recommends 4-0, FinCom recommends 7-0

TTE's Nicole Landry Recognized for Receiving National LifeChanger of the Year Award

Nicole Landry wins award
Landry Awarded! Receiving her "Life Changer of the Year Award," Nicole Landry of TTE is presented the prestigious award by Matt Logan, CEO and Managing Partner of Rise North Capital of Braintree, MA, and Yen Silvia, Financial Representative of Rise North Capital of Braintree, MA.
Photo by Keith Kent
Nicole Landry wins award
Brenda Keney, Mother of Nicole Landry, speaks of how proud she is of her daughter Nicole Landry, during the award presentation at Toy Town Elementary, Wednesday, May 5.
Photo by Keith Kent

There is being recognized locally, by state, regionally, nationally, and then there is being recognized as exemplifying the very best of the best. Nothing less than that happened at Toy Town Elementary School on Wednesday, May 4, as Nicole Landry of TTE was honored with a surprise recognition of her winning the highest national educator's honor of distinction, the National Life Changer of the Year Award in competition with teachers nominated from all around the nation!

The award, which according to the Winchendon Public Schools District Office was selected out of 850 submissions from all fifty states and the District of Columbia, recognizes only 18 recipients. Landry, for her excellence in teaching, nearly countless random acts of human kindness, caring and understanding, and much more, took home the top honors out of all educator submissions from sea to shining sea, bringing home one of the highest of possible teaching honors to her family, Toy Town Elementary School, and the Town of Winchendon. For her efforts and recognition, Landry will receive a $3,000 prize, which will be awarded as a $1,500 individual prize, and a $1,500 donation to her school, Toy Town Elementary.

The District Office said, "Landry has been recognized for the kindness and care she shows her students and community. She goes above and beyond to support her students, whether it's through free tutoring at her home over the summer or secretly providing funds for field trips, prom dresses, and school lunches. Landry believes that every student, regardless of background, deserves a chance to succeed. Every year, she also provides a scholarship for a graduating high school senior. Landry also has a reputation for building strong relationships with students and being able to 'reach' difficult ones. They know they can come to her at any time with personal challenges and rely on her guidance and support."

At the beginning of the award celebration TTE Principal Anne Diaz praised Landry for her countless acts of both professionalism and kindness. Diaz noted Landry began her career six years ago as both a 6th and 8th grade math teacher, and 6th grade science teacher, also worked for a time at the high school teaching Geometry, and also taught at the 5th grade level. Diaz said, "Nicole brings her passion for academics alive, supporting all students and staff at Toy Town Elementary School as a Third Grade Special Educator. I had the pleasure of meeting Nicole at the family kickball game with parents at the beginning of the year, and I gave Nicole the important job of having to also play, with me, because I am competitive, and if I got too competitive, it was her job to rein me back in," to the crowds laughter. Diaz continued, "Nicole embodies, 'If you have their heart, you have their mind.' She always finds ways to reach students and pays special attention to them as individuals, and knows the value of greeting students every day with a positive fresh page."

Attending the presentation were Matt Logan and Yen Silvia of Rise North Capital, representing the National Life Group and the National Life Group Foundation's Life Changer of the Year program. Logan is also the CEO of Rise North Capital, a financial planning firm with offices throughout New England that are dedicated to helping educators. The program, in its eleventh year, has recognized over 6,700 educators and school district employees, in nearly 3,000 school districts over all 50 states and the District of Columbia. By the end of the 2021-22 program, over $650,000 will have been awarded to school employees.

Logan clarified the Life Change award program awards the very best K-12 public and private school educators across the USA who are making a difference in the lives of students and who exemplify excellence, positive influence, and leadership in schools. All employees are eligible, from bus drivers to Superintendents of Schools.

Logan honored Landry, saying, "Nicole, we are all here to celebrate you, and the life changing impact you've had, the hours of dedication you bring into this community, the positivity and kindness you bring into work every day, the way that you have gone above and beyond to care for your community, staff, and students has not gone unnoticed. Your dedication has impacted every single school here at Winchendon Public Schools, and over the years you have built a reputation for flexibility, positivity, and a natural ability to reach students. Of course your dedication isn't only limited to the classroom. You spend summers providing free tutoring giving people the confidence they need to succeed academically, you provide an ear and shoulder to lean on for the students who are going through a tough time personally, and they know they can come to you with anything. Your commitment to every child deserving full and enriching backgrounds regardless of their experiences over the years means that you have funded school lunches, field trips, prom dresses, sports, extra-curriculars, and even a scholarship for a deserving graduating high school senior."

Logan then read a comment from a student. "Without Nicole Landry, students would lose that one person who inspires them to give it their all. I can't thank her enough for always helping me. I wasn't always the easiest student, but her spending that extra time and effort shows just how much she cares. Thank you Nicole from the bottom of my heart for everything that you had done for me."

With that, Logan presented Landry with the Life Changers of the Year Award.

Landry's mother and former educator, Brenda Keney, next spoke in honor of her daughter's accomplishment. "I know I could write this kind of speech about many of you as teachers and educators, but she is my daughter and obviously it just so happens that I am close to her. I see what she does on Labor Day and other days for all these kids, and I see her own son sitting there and I say 'Nicole come on!' but Nicole just keeps on plugging away and doing and doing what she does. I just want to say I am so very proud of you, and I couldn't ask for a better daughter. I love you and I am very very proud of you."

Praise from Landry's fellow Grade 3 teachers was nothing short of the award itself: the very best. Melissa Pandiscio accurately summed it up as, "It's amazing, and it makes me proud because she is on our team, and she does her best work, all the time and is great with all the students!" Heidi Puutio followed with, "I have known Nicole for a long time, and she even had my mother in Winchendon as a teacher. Nicole is always positive and always happy. It's so nice to seen Nicole recognized for all she does, and honestly Nicole never wants this kind of recognition. There is nobody more deserving. She would do anything for anybody, she is truly amazing. We all love her, how could you not."

Grade 3 teacher Jen Belanger added, "I'm not surprised to see her get this award. I have not known her very long, but in the short amount of time that I have worked with her, the impact she has had on me as a colleague is tremendous. She is always there to step up and help me if she sees I may be struggling with something and even ask me if I need to take a quick break and even go for a short walk. She isn't there for just the students, but also her colleagues." Kim Chambers added, "Mrs. Landry is a bright light for both students and colleagues alike. Her can-do attitude is contagious and the high expectations she believes we can all exceed inspire us all to be the best we can be."

In attendance representing the WPS School Committee was Ryan Forsythe. When asked what it meant to both him and the School Committee to see one of their own district teachers win the national distinction of Life Changer of the Year Award, Forsythe replied, "There is no doubt the Winchendon Public Schools have some of the very best teachers in the world. They give of themselves every single day, their time, their lives, their treasures, to improve the lives of the youth of Winchendon every single day. Today is about a nation's recognition of one of those very special teachers who is very deserving of this honor and we are absolutely thrilled that Nicole Landry could be recognized in this way!"

After the award ceremony was over, a very quiet and surprised Landry did exactly what her colleagues said she always does, playing it down like it was just another day at work, and acting like she hadn't done anything different than anybody else she works with. Landry kept it simple, saying, "This was really quite the surprise, and I am very humbled by all this, and never expected it. We all love what we do and it's about the children and the students."

Posing at the end for a few photos with her family, Landry went home with a large banner, a framed award, prize money, and many compliments from her fellow teachers. But you go home with something far more valuable, Mrs. Landry: the respect of your town and your school district, a national award, honor and recognition, and for those honorable accomplishments, Winchendon thanks you!

To learn more about the Life Changer of the Year nomination process LifeChanger of the Year: How it Works. To see more about Nicole Landry's award, see LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile: Nicole Landry.

Nicole Landry wins award
Posing for a group photo with a banner also presented to Nicole Landry at the TTE Library, are Matt Logan, Nicole Landry, Brenda Keney, and Yen Silvia.
Photo by Keith Kent
Nicole Landry wins award
Family celebration!
Standing together in the TTE Library after the Life Changer of the Year Award presentation was completed, the family of Nicole Landry posed for a group photo. Left to right: Nicole's mother and father, Brenda and Mark Keney, Nicole and her husband Michael Landry, Joe Rouleau "Pepere" and Nicole and Michael's 9 year old son, Parker Landry.
Photo by Keith Kent

Fire & Iron Station 857 Donates to Winchendon Veterans Housing Cause

Fire & Iron donates fundraiser proceeds to MVOC
Veterans Housing one step closer in Winchendon
During a meeting on Wednesday, May 4, local Fire & Iron Station 857 presented Stephanie Marchetti of the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center of Gardner with a check for $1,600 earmarked for the Winchendon Veterans Housing Project, with an additional check for $500 in the memory of former member "Uncle Pete" donated by his family towards the project as member Ricci Ruschioni holds his photo.
Photo by Keith Kent

As the old saying goes, slow and steady can win a race. Such is being proven true when it comes to the Winchendon Veterans Housing Project slated to occupy the extensively renovated and remodeled former Poland and Streeter Schools on Murdock Avenue next to the G.A.R. Park. Local Fire & Iron Station 857 recently made a donation to the cause, as Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center Inc. (MVOC) Executive Director Stephanie Marchetti says that major project funding has arrived, and more could soon be on the way.

At a Wednesday, May 4 club meeting, Fire & Iron Station 857 presented Marchette with a check for $1,600, targeted for the Winchendon housing project. In addition, the family of former club member "Uncle Pete" donated an additional $500 to the project in his name, for a total of $2,100.

The funds were raised at the club's 15th Anniversary breakout party at the Gardner Polish American Citizens Club held on the evening of April 23. Not only did the PACC provide the building and everything else for free, knowing the funds raised were going to the cause of Veterans Housing in Winchendon, but some 54 raffle donations were provided by local businesses and residents. Despite many having some concerns with rising COVID-19 numbers, around 130 people attended the anniversary party and veterans housing fundraiser.

Marchetti told the Courier, "Obviously the monetary donation is great and does a lot for both us and the organization. But ultimately, what we appreciate is the community support, and one brotherhood supporting another brotherhood. Working to rally together to support a great cause like housing people who deserve housing, is overwhelming, and an amount of kindness you don't see every day, so it's really special when you do."

Club member Tim "Wrecked" Bissonnette explained the club's support. "People who served need to get the support they deserve. Many are often quiet because they don't get the support they need, so we need to help them get that support."

Asked how the Winchendon Veterans Housing Project was coming along, Marchetti replied, "It's coming along great! We actually just a few weeks ago just received a $1 million commitment from a grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program. We now hope in the next few weeks to receive confirmation on a much larger sum of funding that will allow us to keep on track, so all positive news so far. The funding we are looking for is from the DHCD, or the Department of Housing and Community Development. We applied for several million dollars of funding through them that connects with low income housing tax credits, and if fortunate enough to be awarded, we will break ground this fall."

More upcoming club fundraisers towards the project include a Fire & Iron Station 857 "Covered Bridge Motorcycle Ride Tour" taking place on July 23, with 100 percent of the entry fees going towards the Winchendon Veterans Housing Project through the MVOC. The event will begin at the Winchendon American Legion Post 193, with a cost of $15 per bike and an additional $5 per rider. Registration is at 9:00 a.m., and kickstands go up at 11:00 a.m. There will be a meatball and sausage grinder for each rider upon return to the American Legion after the ride. If you don't want to ride or don't have a motorcycle, you can still donate, or buy a grinder for $10 and support the cause along with the riders at the American Legion.

Fire & Iron Station 857 also wanted to point out that the Winchendon American Legion Post 193 is allowing them to use the pavilion and the kitchen at no cost, as the event is a fundraiser targeted for the local veterans housing project, and wanted to again express their thanks to the American Legion. Also on July 23, as part of the Covered Bridge Ride Tour fundraiser, a raffle drawing for a Henry Military Service Tribute 2nd Edition .22 S/L/LR Rifle will be held, with all proceeds going to the Veterans Housing Project. (The winner must have a valid Massachusetts FID card to claim their prize.)

The Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center can be reached by phone at 978-632-9601, and is located at 268 Central Street, Gardner. You can also visit their website at www.veterans-outreach.org/

To follow Fire & Iron Station 857 on Facebook for ongoing fundraiser updates, visit www.facebook.com/toytowncrew

Winchendon COVID-19 Positivity Nearly Doubles in One Week, Gardner and Athol Also Going Up

The Town of Winchendon which reported a COVID positivity rate on April 28, one week ago, of 3.54 percent, in just the past seven days has increased to 6.75 percent based on 578 molecular tests, according to the newest Mass Department of Public Health report released on Thursday, May 5, 2022.

Also increasing are Gardner, going from 3.34 to 4.05 percent, and Athol, increasing from 3.07 to 3.88 percent positivity. More than doubling its rate is Hubbardston, jumping all the way from 3.57 to 8.64 percent. Ashburnham also increased from 4.67 to 7.88 percent.

Local communities seeing decreases in the past week are Royalston, dropping from 2.82 to 1.33 percent, Ashby going down from 7.26 to 6.92 percent, Phillipston dropping from 1.39 to 0.00 percent, and Templeton going down from 4.57 to 4.34 percent. Westminster increased very slightly from 4.64 to 4.84 percent.

In the nearby North Quabbin Region, while the towns of Orange, Warwick, and New Salem are now all under 3.5 percent positivity, Petersham has spiked up to 10.61 percent based only 66 tests in the last two weeks.

To Winchendon's east, Fitchburg now registers at 4.65 percent, and Leominster at 4.91 percent. Directly east of Winchendon, Townsend now registers at 6.33 percent, Pepperell at 6.53 percent, and Dunstable at 8.40 percent. Southeast of Gardner, Barre is 8.07 percent, and Princeton is now at 6.77 percent.

At this time, the Massachusetts 14 day viral testing average has increased from 4.39 to 5.11 percent.

In closing, despite warming temperatures, it's clearly obvious the Omicron BA.2 Subvariant virus continues to mutate, and the numbers are proven by the data to be trending upward. However to date, the majority of cases documented are flu-like symptoms. The Board of Health at this time continues to recommend vaccinations if healthy enough to do so, especially if one has pre-existing conditions, or is immunocompromised.

Keith Kent
Board of Health
Town of Winchendon

Be On the Lookout! Police Seeking Peter Baldini

Peter Baldini

The Winchendon Police Department and Massachusetts State Police are attempting to locate Peter Baldini, with a listed address on Brooks Road, Winchendon, age 31 (DOB 05/31/1990). Warrants have been issued for Baldini for home invasion, kidnapping, strangulation, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault & battery on a family member.

Baldini is approximately 5'11" tall and weighs 150-170 pounds. If you have any information that would help locate him, please contact the Winchendon Police Department at 978-297-1212.

If you see Baldini, call 911 immediately.

In June of 2014, Baldini, then residing at 230 Spring Circle, was arrested and ordered held without bail after being arraigned on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a shod foot), assault and battery on a police officer, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon (a knife), assault and battery, resisting arrest, two counts of vandalizing property, and two counts of threatening to commit murder. He was alleged to have beaten his girlfriend, chased her with a knife, threatened a police officer with a knife, brawled with police during and after his arrest and damaged a police cruiser and jail cell.

In April of 2016, Baldini was arrested after gunshots were reported at a Maple Street home. Police arrived to find Baldini theatening with a large knife, after which he attempted to evade arrest on a bicycle but was caught after a chase on foot. He was combative with police, and was deemed too dangerous to be allowed bail in a hearing in late May, 2016.

Please Respond by June 1 to Make Your Thoughts Heard!

The Toy Town Community Partnership (TTCP) received grant funds from the Robinson Broadhurst Foundation to explore and install public art throughout our downtown. This goes hand in hand with our effort to rebuild a family friendly and economically vibrant downtown. Known as the "Large Toy Project", this project kicked off with the installation of the large bicycle at Grout Park. The TTCP, in conjunction with the Gardner League of Artists (GALA), is looking to install more large sculptures in the future and would like input from the people of Winchendon! Please reply to the survey below to provide your thoughts on this initiative.

Help Brighten Up Winchendon! (Google Form)

Explore the Outdoors with the Beals Memorial Library

Get some fresh air and enjoy nature this month in the park around the Winchendon Library! In partnership with HEAL Winchendon, the library is offering a fun, afternoon Library Hike with Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust, on Friday, May 13, at 4:00 p.m.

Join the Beals Memorial Library for a fun afternoon of exploration of the park while using the materials from their new Nature Adventure Backpacks. These awesome backpacks include a selection of useful items for an adventure out in the wild, such as binoculars, a compass, tick remover, and some handy wildlife and plant booklets to help explorers identify the things they observe, and more! All of the Nature Adventure Backpacks have been made possible by grants from the Community Foundation of North Central Massachusetts and the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation and were provided by the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust.

This event is free and open to kids of all ages. Registration is required.

The Beals Memorial Library is located at 50 Pleasant Street in Winchendon. For more information or to sign up for this program, call the library at 978-297-0300 or visit their website at bealslibrary.org.

Nature Adventure backpacks at the Beals
Participants in the Library Hike will get to explore the outdoors using some of the neat supplies in the library's new Nature Adventure Backpacks.
Photo courtesy of Beals Memorial Library

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Central Mass Tree

Subway October 2021 Sub of the Day

Area Fire Crews Respond to Fire at Local Business

On Tuesday, May 3, a fire broke out in the boiler room area of M.H. Parks at 30 Brown Street, one of Winchendon's oldest and most venerable businesses.

Winchendon Fire Department reported that they were dispatched to the address shortly after 7:30 a.m. First units found heavy smoke in the boiler room, and a second alarm was sent out by Deputy Fire Chief Bryan Vaine. Fire Departments from Gardner, Ashburnham, Templeton, Westminster, Royalston and Jaffrey NH assisted at the scene, while personnel from the Phillipston FD covered the Winchendon station, responding to two medical calls.

The fire was located in the roof above the boiler room and extinguished after "a labor intensive battle." No injuries were reported.

Todd Parks, owner of M.H. Parks, told the Courier that the damage to the old wooden building was not serious and staff were back at work the following day.

M.H. Parks has been owned and operated by seven generations of the Park family since 1827 and manufactures fine wooden products, including custom orders of chairs, engraved recognition chairs, tables, lecturns, cabinets, case goods, and occasional furniture.

Official Town Election Results Delayed

Three days after the Town Election on Monday, May 2, official results have not yet been posted by the town. The Town Clerk's office told the Courier that they are waiting on two provisional ballots to be certified. The Registry of Motor Vehicles has been requested to confirm that the two persons who cast the ballots were registered to vote in the town of Winchendon within the deadline for voter registration for the Town Election.

Two ballots would not change the outcome of the vigorous contest for the two-year unfinished term on the Winchendon School Committee, for which candidates Michael Barbaro (incumbent, who had been appointed to fill the vacated seat), Kevin M. Nelson and Alicia Jordan all vied. Out of 545 ballots cast, Mr. Barbaro received 59 votes, Mr. Nelson 190 votes, and Ms. Jordan 288 votes. Mr. Nelson congratulated Ms. Jordan on social media.

All other candidates ran unopposed.

The Courier will publish the official results when they are released.

Grocery Store

You said you want a full-service grocery store in Winchendon and we listened! The HEAL Winchendon/Growing Places Food Retail Working Team has been working hard and we need your input one more time. Please fill out our Google Form survey and be entered to win a $10 Farm Stand coupon!

Community Grocery Store Survey (Google Form)

Appreciative Living Learning Circles Program at the Winchendon Library

Do you want to feel happier and more alive in your life and relationships? If you're going through some major changes or challenges and need some guidance getting through them, then join certified life coach, Paul Hackett, at the Beals Memorial Library for an Appreciative Living Learning Circle experience.

On Wednesday, May 11, at 6:00 p.m., take part in a four-week program designed to help you overcome extreme challenges, navigate major life transitions, rebuild relationships, and more. The first week focuses on building an appreciative mindset. Participants will learn what an appreciative mindset is, why it matters, and how to develop it.

The second week, Wednesday, May 18, will focus on getting unstuck. Discover how to move past limiting thoughts and fears holding you back in order to see new possibilities.

The third week, Wednesday, May 25, centers on creating your ideal day. Learn how to simplify and get clear about what you want, and then how to help make it happen.

The final week of the program, Wednesday, June 1, is all about transforming your relationships. Learn a powerful process to positively shift your relationship experience.

These workshops are in partnership with HEAL Winchendon's Skillshare Program, whose goal is to bring the community together through a series of skill and knowledge sharing learning opportunities. If you have any skill you would like to share, please contact HEAL Winchendon at 978-621-4524 or healwinchendon@gmail.com

This event is free and open to anyone 18 and older. Supplies will be provided and participants will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the fourth week. Registration is required.

The Beals Memorial Library is located at 50 Pleasant Street in Winchendon. For more information or to sign up for this program, call the library at 978-297-0300 or go to www.bealslibrary.org/skillshare.

Paul Hackett
Join certified life coach Paul Hackett at the Beals Memorial Library for a four week workshop on Appreciative Living Learning Circles, as part of HEAL Winchendon's Skillshare Program
Photo courtesy of Beals Memorial Library

May Movies at the Beals Memorial Library

Make the most of your May with some fun, free movies! Each month, the Beals Memorial Library in Winchendon hosts a few indoor film events, showing a variety of movies new and old, fit for varying ages. Here's what's playing this month:

On Thursday, May 19, at 6:00 p.m., the library will be screening the coming-of-age comedy-drama, Licorice Pizza. Set in the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s, the film stars Alana Haim and Cooper Hoffman, telling the story of a young couple growing up and navigating the ups and downs of first love.

On Wednesday, May 25, at 1:30 p.m., the library will be showing the 1969 film Midnight Cowboy for this month's Classic Movie Matinee. Starring Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, and Sylvia Miles, this buddy drama follows Joe Buck, a young man who travels from Texas to New York to seek personal fortune as a sex worker, and forms an unlikely friendship with a con artist in the process.

All movie screenings at the library are free and open to the public. Bring some popcorn and come and enjoy the show!

The Beals Memorial Library is located at 50 Pleasant Street in Winchendon. For more information, contact the library at 978-297-0300, email at bealsmemoriallibrary@gmail.com, or visit their website at bealslibrary.org.

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

Click Here for Community Directory

Winchendon Businesses, Organizations, Services, and Government

Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten This Fall? Registration is Open NOW

The Winchendon Public Schools has informed the Courier that parent response to Kindergarten registration has been very low so far. Parents should be aware that your child must be registered with documentation of required immunizations and physical to attend school. See detailed information with links to forms and dates for parent orientation and screenings here, on the Schools Page.

Winchendon Farmers Market Accepting Applications for 2022 Vendors

The Winchendon Farmers Market is accepting applications for vendors for the 2022 season. You can download the form at Winchendon Farmers Market Application (PDF), fill it out and mail the form with the table fee to the address on the form, or drop it in the dropbox at Town Hall. The market days and times for 2022 are Thursdays from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. For more information, see www.winchendonfarmersmarket.org.

Report a Pothole to the DPW

You can report potholes directly to the DPW using this form on the town website:


Winchendon Town Hall & Transfer Station Now Accepting Credit/Debit Payments

We are excited to announce that the DPW, Treasurer/Collector's Office and the Transfer Station can all now accept in-person credit and debit card payments. This means next time you need to purchase or pay for:

Trash bags
Transfer station stickers
Excise bills
Tax bills
Water & Sewer bills
And more

You can pay with a credit or debit card! (subject to a convenience fee).

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.

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.

2022 Annual Town Meeting Set for Monday, May 16

The Winchendon Board of Selectmen have scheduled a Special and Annual Town Meeting for Monday, May 16, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. to be held at Murdock Middle High School, 3 Memorial Drive.

If you have any questions on warrant articles or citizen petitions, Please reach out to the Town Manager's office at 978-297-0085 ext. 5

Toy Town FYIs

2022 Dog Licenses Now Available

2022 dog licenses are now available. You may purchase at the Town Clerk's office using check or cash, or you may purchase through the mail, Town Hall 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 and neutered dogs are $10.00. Non-spayed and non-neutered dogs are $20.00.

Winter Parking Ban Now in Effect

From December 1st through April 15th, it is illegal to park your motor vehicle on the streets of Winchendon between the hours of 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. This is to allow the snowplows to do their jobs in case of a snow storm. Violations may incur fees up to $50 and/or a tow.

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 April 11, 2022

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
Council on Aging - 1 vacancy
Cultural Council - 14 vacancies
Fence Viewer and Field Driver - 1 vacancy
Historical Commission/Historic District - 1 Alternate vacancy
Library Trustee - 1 vacancy
Open Space Preservation Appraisal and Survey Revolving Fund Advisory Committee - 1 vacancy
Recreation Commission - 2 regular vacancies, 1 middle school student vacancy

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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