The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of June 29 to July 6, 2023
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better
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BOS Hire William McKinney as Interim Town Manager

William McKinney
Bill McKinney on his second busy day in Winchendon Town Hall.
Photo by Inanna Arthen

After deliberating in Executive Session on Monday, June 26, the Board of Selectmen offered the position of Interim Town Manager to candidate William McKinney, who interviewed in person on June 20. Mr. McKinney accepted, and started work on Wednesday, June 28.

Audrey LaBrie, Chair of the Board of Selectmen, said, "On behalf of the Board of Selectmen, I'm pleased to welcome Bill McKinney to Winchendon as our Interim Town Manager. Bill brings with him his work experience as an employee for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in both the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance and the Department of Labor Standards. He also previously held the position of CFO and Treasurer/Collector for the town of Weymouth. We look forward to working with Bill during the next months as the Board works towards the hiring of a full-time Town Manager."

Mr. McKinney generously made time to speak with the Courier on Thursday, June 29, in the middle of a busy day meeting with the Winchendon Council on Aging, Superintendent Thad King and department heads in Town Hall.

Asked what he saw as his biggest challenge as he walked through the door here in Winchendon, Mr. McKinney said, "I think it's just getting to meet as many people as possible. I just started yesterday and I've been getting out. I've met with many of the department heads, with the school superintendent, hoping to meet with the rest of the Board and with Audrey yesterday when I started with [Town Manager Justin Sultzbach]. So it's really getting out and getting to know as many people as possible. That to me is the biggest challenge and there's a lot of good things going on that Justin had put in place and so he's gonna give me the list of those so we can continue to move those forward. Also getting a sense from, what else can we be doing?"

Mr. McKinney said DPW Director Brian Croteau had taken him to see the new Amphitheater, which he praised as "a great community asset" that will be built up and added to over time. "I just really want to hear from the residents as well and get a sense of what it is that they're looking for," he said.

Mr. McKinney won't "officially" meet the Town until he attends his first Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday, July 10. He invites town residents to come in and meet him in the Town Manager's office on the fourth floor of Town Hall.

Asked what he'd like to say to Winchendon's citizens, Mr. McKinney said, "I'd like them to reach out to me, let me know, from their point of view, how we're doing as a town or the things that we're doing well, are there things that we're not doing well, are there town employees that they want to compliment. I love hearing that, but if there's negative feedback, I like to hear that as well...I just think it's important that people feel connected to their government. And so I really hope that people come to the Selectmen's meeting, because I'll be there, or come by Town Hall, it'll be fairly quiet, especially Monday [July 3]. So if people want to come by and talk, you know, I'll be here."

To quote the message on the chalkboard on the Town Hall fourth floor landing: "Welcome, Bill!"

BOS, School Committee Hear from Eight Candidates for Vacant Seat on SC

At a joint meeting of the Board of Selectmen and School Committee on Monday, June 26, eight town residents explained why they were interested in filling the seat vacated by departing Committee member Alicia Jordan for the remaining ten months of its term. After a winnowing process by which the eight applicants were narrowed down to five nominees and then voted on, the two boards jointly approved applicant Anthony Findley to the seat.

All eight applicants who had submitted Letters of Interest or resumes to the BOS and/or School Committee were present at the meeting, although this was not a requirement to be considered for nomination. School Committee Chair Ryan Forsythe began by explaining the process. BOS Chair Audrey LaBrie would randomly select names from a bowl to determine the order in which applicants spoke. Each applicant would reply to two questions: first, "please give us one or two examples of what you see the Winchendon public school district is doing right and tell you would strengthen and continue to grow those aspects of the district." The second question was, "please give us one or two examples of what you see the district is doing wrong or areas needing improvement, and tell us how you would address those issues."

Applicants were also asked if they understood the time commitment involved in being on the School Committee, which is not limited to twice-monthly meetings, and if they would be interesting in running for the permanent seat at the town election next May.

The first applicant to speak was Mike Gaspar. For positives, he said, "So some of the schools are coming out of DESE [Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education] oversight. I believe that's a huge success for the district. I believe Mr. King's handling that successfully and I would do whatever support he needs to continue that and hopefully get the middle school out of DESE oversight and continue giving students the opportunities that they deserve. Another good thing, I really liked the dual enrollment program at the high school. I think it gives students a huge leg up on college, they enter college already having credits under their belt. It's not only a financial benefit to them, but it just overall gives them a better position going into college."

For improvements, Mr. Gaspar mentioned the Special Education department and what seems to be a high turnover of staff and teachers. "My family's had difficulties with the Special Ed Department that's led me into becoming a layman's expert in special education. So I have some awareness of what DESE requirements are as well as student requirements. So I think I could be helpful in implementing policies and procedures that help students, administrators follow guidelines and achieve goals set out for them," he said.

Mr. Gaspar said he has children in the district who will be entering 7th and 9th grades. He was motivated to apply by the "issues" he saw, but he wants to help fix "all aspects of things."

The second applicant pulled from the bowl was Mike Barbaro. For positives, he said, "there's more than one thing that have gone right, and I think you need to point that out our early literacy program that the superintendent has been pushing the last couple of years. As you watched it the last couple of School Committee meetings, the success is coming through. You see the kids learning how to read and write and I think that is going to be big time benefits for the district going forward. Because the kids, there's been a huge emphasis on getting them to read and write and an earlier age. That's a huge success for the district going forward." He also cited grant money that paid for sports, food and other things.

For improvements, Mr. Barbaro also spoke about the numerous problems with Special Education. "I'm sorry, if the person that's [directing Special Ed] can't do the job, we need to put someone in there that can do the job. I'd like to see that position separated from Director of Pupil Services because Special Ed is Special Ed and that needs to be on its own," he said. He also cited staff turnover and the effect it has on morale among remaining staff. "One of the things that the state always identified as Winchendon having a problem with, we need to maintain our administrators," he said.

The third applicant to speak was Mike Gaynor. For positives, Mr. Gaynor praised "excellent administrative leadership including Dr. Jonathan Landman. Dr. Landman as you know, was hired mostly to be like a turnaround agent, a change agent for this district. He's the director or Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Planning and Instruction, I believe. So, those are the areas that we need to work on, how to get a standards based curriculum that's rigorous, challenging for our students, but we use them for their MCAT testing, and for college and career readiness."

For improvements, Mr. Gaynor echoed the concerns with Special Education, saying that he's been a teacher for ten years and a special educator for five years. He also said, "we need to keep our students safe. We need to build relationships with them. We need to understand where they're coming from, that social-emotional piece, and promote equity and inclusion. It's so important that our students feel like they're valued, that they're important, because it's all about them." Mr. Gaynor said he would be interested in the permanent seat. He teaches in the Nashoba Regional School District and believes a school committee needs to have teachers involved.

Fourth to speak was Kevin Nelson, who ran for a School Committee seat in 2022. He explained that he has had three children in the district in the past year, two of whom receive services from the Special Education department. For positives, he said that his children's school performance and grades spoke well for the quality of the teaching. For improvements, Mr. Nelson echoed the negative effects of staff turnover, and also mentioned the reported problems with bullying in the schools. "We recently went through a situation where a staff member that my daughter had reported bullying to went to the other child's parent and said, 'well, she's just exaggerating. I don't think it's a big deal.' Well, my wife and this child's mother have conversations. And you can imagine after that point, my wife had a conversation with the teacher who was like a deer in the headlights."

Fifth to be called forward was Adam LeBlanc. For positives, he said that much had already been said, but he added, "I believe that the last presentation with the Toy Town Elementary principal and teachers coming up with your analysis on how their students [are] doing, it's progressively getting better. I think that is excellent...we have the majority of teachers that want to be here, that want to teach, that have the enthusiasm and the drive to teach and I think that's what is needed."

Mr. LeBlanc cited the same improvement areas as the other applicants: Special Education, and staff turnover. He suggested that the staff situation be looked at methodically, rather than rushed into, so the district could understand how much salary and what kind of contract would attract good candidates.

As Mr. LeBlanc had spoken during public comments at some recent School Committee meetings, School Committee member Greg Vine asked, "you made it sound as though the district were just falling apart at the seams, and you suggested a wholesale change in administration. I'm just wondering, if you were to get this position, can you come in and maintain an objective assessment or be objective in the assessment of the people that you're going to be coming in to work with, including the superintendent and the principals that are still here?"

Mr. LeBlanc said he would be honest and admit if he was wrong, but call it as he saw it. "At the end of the day, it's for the kids. It's not just for my opinion, his opinion, her opinion. It's the children's futures what we're looking for," he said.

The sixth applicant to be drawn from the bowl was Anthony Findley, who has coached sports at Murdock High School. He graduated from Murdock and has children in the district. He saw the district's greatest strength as its teachers, and the small classroom sizes. "The teacher retention is good at the school," he said, despite the lower pay rates compared to other districts. "I'm there every day. Monday through Friday, I see the interaction with the teachers that stay after late with the kids day in and day out, because that was in the halls after the fact or during the classroom breaks in between. So there are fantastic teachers at all levels...So I've seen the teaching aspect and I love the teachers that are there."

For improvements, Mr. Findley said he's "seen a revolving door at the administrative level." He added, "it's really difficult because most people use this as a stepping stone. [Superintendent Thad King] is probably the longest person I've seen at a top level in the school in a very long time. And I think it's really fixable, in that you find people internally instead of going externally, because it has shown over the last 20 years that these people take this job and then they go elsewhere." He suggested a system for training people up into higher positions. "Teachers are always getting education. They're always bettering themselves. Maybe somebody wants to take that next step," he said.

The seventh applicant was Brandice French, who said she has two young children in the district, one of them in Special Education and one who is gifted. For positives, she said, "my son is exceptionally bright and I can say the work that the teachers have given him to make sure he was engaged in school--it was phenomenal. I didn't even have to ask. And I really enjoyed that. So one of the things that I think we could work on is [staff] retention." She also praised "all the activities they have outside of school for the kids." For improvements, she mentioned the Special Education department.

"I have kids, but our school system isn't just about my kids. It's not just about your kids. It's about the future of our town of our state and of our country," she said.

Last to speak was applicant Ed Ford, Jr., who ran for the Board of Selectmen in the recent town election. "I was actually asked from some of the student body to apply for the position," he said. For positives, Mr. Ford mentioned the Dual Enrollment program, and the school district's partnership with the Winchendon CAC, HEAL Winchendon and the Youth Changemakers. He agreed with everyone else that the Special Education department needs improvement. He also mentioned the reported problems with communications between parents and the superintendent, suggesting a special staff position to make sure parents were responded to.

With all eight applicants having spoken, the Board and School Committee members offered their nominations for the slate of candidates to be voted on. The nominees were Anthony Findley, Brandice French, Adam LeBlanc, Mike Gaspar and Mike Gaynor.

Each member of the Board and School Committee then cast their vote for a final candidate, resulting in a three-way tie: Anthony Findley, Brandice French and Adam LaBlanc each received three votes.

The Board and Committee members explained why they voted the way they did, and a second vote for just the three tied candidates was held, with the same result.

At this point, Mr. LeBlanc graciously rose to break the impasse by saying he would withdraw his application, and run for the seat next May. "That way we can get an answer tonight," he said.

Following a discussion about a possible conflict of interest with Mr. Findley serving on the School Committee when he was an athletic coach for the district--it was determined that his position as coach did not disqualify him from the School Committee--both bodies voted again for the two remaining candidates on the slate, Anthony Findley and Brandice French. Mr. Findley was chosen with the vote 6 to 3.

All the applicants were thanked for their willingness to serve on the Committee, and invited to run for a seat in the future.

Wild Flowers of the YMCA

Click image to see larger view
flowers outside the Clark
Click image to see larger view
flowers outside the Clark
Click image to see larger view
flowers outside the Clark
Click image to see larger view
flowers outside the Clark

While the Clark YMCA may have practiced "No Mow May" to try to help the pollinator population by not mowing its grounds this past entire month of may, its best results for assisting the local Bee population and others have actually been all month long in June and entering July. The grounds of its northerly facing hillside property bordering the adjacent track displays for those passing bye a brilliant kaleidoscope of natures colors for those only willing to simply observe its beauty, where nearly countless pollinators can be seen hovering from flower to flower and plant to plant.
Photos by Keith Kent

BOS, BOH Appoint Monique Connor to Board of Health Seat

At a joint meeting of the Board of Selectmen and Board of Health on Monday, June 12, two candidates were considered for a seat left vacant on the Board of Health after the 2023 Town Election on May 1. After hearing both candidates--former BOH member Ed Bond and Monique Connor--the boards voted to appoint Ms. Connor to the seat.

The seat was left open after only one incumbent, Tina Santos, ran for Board of Health as an official candidate. Two write-in candidates, Keith Kent and Ed Bond, received 13 votes each and were tied. According to Ms. Santos, this constituted a "failure to elect." All those interested in the seat needed to submit a Letter of Interest to the Board of Health and/or Board of Selectmen so that the seat could be filled by appointment until the next town election in 2024. At that time the seat will be filled by ballot vote, and candidates will need to pull nomination papers and go through the election process to be placed on the ballot.

At the Board of Health meeting on Monday, June 5, both candidates spoke before the Board about their Letters of Interest. Mr. Bond said, "I've been on the Board [of Health] for a few terms already. I've been a Selectman for a time. And I probably was a little lazy in getting my nomination papers in and it costs me this undue to the Board of Health and the Board of Selectmen. At the last minute, I decided I would seek appointment for the Board again."

Ms. Connor, who was a new face to the Board, explained, "I have recently semi-retired if you want to call it that. So I have more time on my hands. And I've actually wanted to get more involved with the Board of Health for quite a while. And now I feel it's my opportunity to do it. I have over thirty years experience in the healthcare system, between working at Heywood Hospital and also being a town EMT. Not anymore, I retired a while ago. I also have experience with construction. I'm aware of several laws and regulations. Do I know them off the top of my head? No, but I know where to find them. And I've been here in Winchendon all my life. And I've raised three kids. They've all graduated from Murdock. I graduated from Murdock. My husband graduated from Murdock, so we're lifelong Winchendon people."

Asked if she was related to Winchendon Housing Authority Executive Director David Connor, Ms. Connor said, "Actually, he's my brother in law."

The Board members agreed that they would vote on the candidates at the joint meeting on June 12.

At the June 12 meeting, BOS members raised some concerns about missing paperwork, saying they had not received Mr. Bond's Letter of Interest (Ms. Santos was out of town and not present at the meeting). BOS Vice Chair Rick Ward said, "this is a little problem I'm seeing with this whole process, that there was no word between the town and the Board of Health on this. And we asked for submissions to be sent to two different places. We got one in the town, and they got one at the Board of Health. We didn't get the Board of Health one. Nobody checked early to get this. So now we don't have the information we should have had. So I am hoping because we have the same situation coming up the end of this month, we're going to be picking a School Committee member."

Mr. Ward also asked Mr. Bond why, as an incumbent for the seat, he didn't turn in his nomination papers for the election. Mr. Bond replied, "I was taking it for granted, that I've been elected last two terms without turning the papers in, I guess."

The Board of Health members recommended Ms. Connor for the seat.

Mr. Ward said, "I want to thank Eddie Bond for the years he's put in on the committee. But I do feel that when you're on these committees, sometimes you take your duties for granted. And as Mr. Bond said today, 'I took it for granted that I would win.' You never ever take it for granted. You owe the citizens of this town the opportunity to see your name on a ballot. And it the fact that it ended up this way is probably a good thing. Because I know by law, you can do write-ins, but it's not fair to the public, you need to take get those 30 signatures, get on the ballot and let everyone see who's running. So with that, I thank him for his service."

The rest of the BOS agreed to follow the recommendation of the Board of Health as "they're the ones that have to work with this individual." Both Boards voted to approve a motion to appoint Ms. Connor to the seat for one year, until the next town election.

1,000 Attendees Fill G.A.R. Park as Winchendon Hosts 2nd Annual Food Truck Festival

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2023 annual Food Truck FestivalPhoto by Keith Kent
Click image to see larger view
2023 annual Food Truck FestivalPhoto by Keith Kent

With some 18 vendors on tap providing offerings ranging in everything from traditional North American fare to South American cuisine and more, there was something for everybody of all ages to enjoy no matter what your palate.

The threat of rain never materialized to the happiness of many this past Friday, June 23, as Toy Town celebrated its 2nd Annual Food Truck Festival at GAR Park. What once beginning with an early slow start, quickly picked up filling the historic grounds with people of all ages as many made merry with food, drink, and music on a warm summer night kicking back with satisfied appetites and live entertainment beginning their weekends with a very fun night.

Beginning at 4:00 p.m., things started out slow, with a lite crowd. However by 6:30 p.m. with people now out of work for the day, the rain slightly off both the east and west, "People started pouring in!" By 6:30 p.m., the crowd in attendance could easily be estimated at over 1,000 strong. Parking along all local streets, Toy Town Elementary, the Senior Center, and even a good 1/4 of the field behind the soon to be upcoming Veterans Housing, all visibly full. Good for the town, great for the Food Truck Festival, and even greater for the Winchendon Parks & Recreation Commission who again, put so much hard work in behind the scenes to make it all happen.

There was no shortage of food selections to say the least with some roughly 18 vendors on tap. From "Extreme Mac & Cheese" specialties by Mac Daddy to South American cuisine such as tasty provider Sabrosa Venezuela. Cannolis of all kinds via Uncle Joey's Cannoli, and even your favorite tacos from either the Taco Dude or Easy Street Tacos. Looking to go more traditional, how about a Trolley Dog special hot dog or a really dressed up potato other options from Potato Potato. Even other choices around the park such as loaded Tostones & Quesadillas, if you couldn't find it, you may have simply not been checking hard enough. No matter if from Atrévete a Probar with more south of the border delights, or downright delicious Polish foods from Simmy's Polish Express such as Pierogi's, Kaposta, or even their Lazy Golumpkies, many are most likely sure to go back for more!

Around the center of the park, there were vendors selling various items ranging from clothing to jewelry, children's stuffed animals and even skin care products. Even the Murdock Middle School Cheerleaders had a booth set up for their fundraising efforts taking full advantage of the event to their credit.

Click image to see larger view
2023 annual Food Truck FestivalPhoto by Keith Kent
Click image to see larger view
2023 annual Food Truck FestivalPhoto by Keith Kent

Seen in these photo, are just some of those in attendance who watched the battle of the bands participants during the Friday, June 23, Winchendon Recreation Commission Food Truck Festival which by 6:30 p.m. realized over 1,000 people at GAR Park.

During the festival, there was also a "Battle of the Bands" being held on stage via a four-band live music playoff during the hours of 5:00 - 9:00 p.m. The competition was paid for by both the Winchendon and Templeton Cultural Councils, along with the Winchendon Parks & Recreation Commission.

Contestants this year were Hit the Bus Band, Sheep Dip, The Mighty Suicide Squirrels, and Kuusi Palaa. Bands would be voted on by those attending for who played the best to be chosen won t-shirts declaring such along with bragging and advertising rights. At the events end the people had spoken, and the winner was announced by the Recreation Commission as the band "Sheep Dip" who collected some 53 of the roughly just over 150 votes submitted by those who took the time to submit.

As the event drew near its scheduled ending at its 9:00 p.m. close, there were still several hundred attendees purchasing their last food to take home, finishing their last beverages from Bull Spit Brewery, and the last band had wrapped up its act. The Second Annual Food Truck Festival was now in the books, and thankfully for all, "The rain held off!"

Many vendors on hand said they again had a positive experience attending the Food Truck Festival in Winchendon for their 2nd time. One vendor, Simmy's Polish Express, paid Toy Town a very nice compliment when operator Andrew Simkewicz said, "The people of Winchendon are incredibly nice to serve. Two years running at this event, and not one person at our truck that is unable to be pleased. My wife Lauren and I had a conversation about this and this is not a common thing. Hats off to the people of Winchendon!"

Recreation Commission Chairperson Debra Bradley was pleased with both the event and turnout. When asked, Bradley said, "First I would like to say thank you to all the people who came out to support the event, because without the attendance, we would not be able to keep these events going. There was a great variety of Food Trucks to pick from, and the event started off as a 'Battle of the Bands' to our Friday night opening of our GAR Park concerts in the park."

Bradley went on to add, "This had ballooned into a full annual event now, so we have already gotten requests already looking in to next years event so we can get a date down, to expand on more collaboration with more vendors and more organizations within town. It's been a great received event and we look forward to doing more. We would also like to thank Brian Croteau and his staff from the DPW and also Town Manager Justin Sultzbach for all their assistance behind the scenes in helping make this work. We look forward to seeing people at many more of the Recreation Commission's events!"

Tiffany Newton who serves as Winchendon Recreation Coordinator was also very pleased with the events outcome. Newton explained, "When I spoke with the vendors on hand, they said it went great! They had gotten rained out at other events during the month, so they were very happy the rain had held out and the numbers came and showed up with a good amount of people. I thought it went really well, and I got a lot of positive comments throughout the night that they thought it went better than last year. It's not that last year went bad, just that things ran smoother so it was very positive in that way."

Newton was also additionally asked about the recent June 10 Grand Opening celebration of the Robinson Broadhurst Performing Arts Amphitheater, where the Ahimsa Haven Animal Rescue held a large raffle prize fund raiser, of which it announced it would donate 50 percent of all profits raised to the Winchendon Parks & Recreation Commission. Newton was happy to confirm, "Ahimsa Haven Rescue donated $555.00 to the Winchendon Recreation Commission from their fundraiser and yes we are very thankful."

In closing, Newton wanted to share gratitude. "I want to give a shoutout to my Recreation Committee. They helped with all the event planning. I would also like to thank Brian Croteau and those at the DPW because we can't do all these events without them being on hand to help with things like moving all the heavy stuff and then all the cleaning up. There is no way we have done it without them. I can now also say, we are really excited to move on to next years event planning as well."

If you would like to see an upcoming schedule of events at the Town of Winchendon Recreation Commission website on the internet, please visit

To sign up as a Parks & Recreation Community Days volunteer, please visit:

To sign up as a Parks & Recreation Amphitheater volunteer, please visit:

Click image to see larger view
2023 annual Food Truck FestivalPhoto by Keith Kent
Click image to see larger view
2023 annual Food Truck FestivalPhoto by Keith Kent

Battle of the Bands. Seen providing the crowd with musical talent during the 4 contestants of the "Battle of the Bands" are in the first photo and first to play of the evening, "Hit the Bus Band," and seen in 2nd photo and rocking hard pumping up the volume are "The Mighty Suicide Squirrels," who were the 3rd offering of the night. Others were "Sheep Dip," who went on to win the contest, and "Kuusi Palaa."

"Funny Money" Discovered at Local Business

Tom Konan, Sr., a New Hampshire resident, contacted the Courier to alert readers to an experience he recently had with "copy money," as it is called, mistakenly being given to him at a local business. Mr. Konan wanted to emphasize that he is "NOT pointing the finger or trying to cause any financial loss to any local businesses or their employees. I have life long friends in this town and I value these friendships and doing business here."

Mr. Konan reported that on Saturday, June 24, at 5:49 a.m., he purchased coffee and a breakfast sandwich at the Winchendon Cumberland Farms, a purchase he makes almost daily. He paid with a $100 bill and received change in twenty dollar bills. Not long afterwards, Mr. Konan gave one of the twenty dollar bills to a sales associate at Market Basket in Rindge, who told Mr. Konan that the bill was "copy money."

"Copy money" is imitation currency designed to look absolutely authentic, except for having the words "copy money" printed on both sides. It is used by filmmakers and theatres, among others, and can be purchased in packs from It can easily be mistaken for real currency without a close look.

Mr. Konan had never heard of "copy money" before. He contacted Winchendon Police via their business number. Winchendon P.D.'s Sgt. Gerald Gagne responded, examined the bill and the store receipt and took a full report. Sgt. Gagne said that the police would review the store security video and follow up.

On Sunday, June 25, Mr. Konan returned to Cumberland Farms and found that staff were all aware of the incident and the ongoing police investigation. Mr. Konan was reimbursed for the bad bill, and the store manager spoke personally to Mr. Konan and offered him a complimentary breakfast purchase for his inconvenience. Mr. Konan told the Courier, "Now, that's great customer relations right there! Kind of a lost art in today's world. I'm not one to be greedy or take advantage of a situation or person as I'm "Old School" and have been conducting business for 46 years. All the people at all the Cumberland Farms stores are consistently friendly and professional. Again, this sets them apart from the average 'convenience store.'"

Mr. Konan, himself a former "first responder," said, "I would also like to thank the WPD and Sgt. Gagne for a very prompt professional response." He hopes to "spare a lot of other unsuspecting honest hard working people of Winchendon and surrounding communities inconvenience and waste of time and money."

Scam artists who pass counterfeit money tend to be extremely clever about choosing the ideal times and circumstances (very busy store, early morning, and so on), using misdirection and "palming" methods, and other scam techniques. They often have a partner who will create a disruption while the transaction is being made, to distract the sales associate.

Winchendonians who sell retail, whether you have a store, vend at markets and fairs, or accept cash in any venue--forewarned is forearmed! Pay close attention to cash bills. Law enforcement reports that "copy money" scams (and other forms of counterfeit money crimes) are increasing.

Anyone with any information about where this "copy money" may have come from should contact Sgt. Gagne at Winchendon P.D., 978-297-1212.

Subway November 2022 Catering deals

Troy Laundromat

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

Central Mass Tree

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

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Sign up for the Summer Season of Dek Hockey!

The summer season of Dek Hockey begins June 28 at 6:00 p.m. at Mylec Rinks for ages 4 to 16. The Rink is located at 37 Commercial Drive (off of Rte 140/Gardner Road), Winchendon.

You can call 978-297-0089 to sign up now, or you can sign up in person on June 28. Please feel free to give us a call if you have any questions! We hope to see you there.

Senior Shuttle Service to Summer Events

If you are a senior (over 55) and need a ride to some of the events this summer at the Winchendon Community Park Performing Arts Amphitheater, contact Sheila at the Senior Center, 978-297-3155, to reserve a seat. Rides are available for the following scheduled events (all these events are free of charge to the public):

July 1: 11:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. All-American Community Day with Winchendon Winds Concert Band playing on the stage.
August 18: 6:00-8:00 p.m. Winchendon Music Festival with Andrew Arceci playing on the stage.
August 27: 2:00-4:00 p.m. Winchendon Music Festival sponsoring the Worcester Jazz Orchestra playing on the stage.

Ingleside Woods Disc Golf Course Now Open!

The Ingleside Woods Disc Golf Course at the Winchendon Community Park (86 Ingleside Drive) is now open to the public. This friendly 3-hole course, which is situated in the woods of the Winchendon Community Park, is meant to be fun and challenging for players of all types. The entrance to the course can be found across from the parking lot, and is marked with a sign. We hope you and everyone that you bring enjoy.

Without this small community of people, this volunteer project would not have made it to this point. With that, this is just the beginning of our disc golf adventure, as we are working to finalize a design for 18 holes. The hope being we will have another half dozen completed by the end of the year. Additionally, we will be working with the Beals Memorial Library and Disc Golf 978 to establish a "disc rental" program so new players can try the sport without having to buy discs. More info to come in the coming weeks.

As you enjoy this course and the property as a whole, remember the general rules of disc golf: respect each other, respect the environment, teach one another and above all else, have fun!

Residents Invited to Serve on "Destination Winchendon" Project Committee

The Town is seeking residents to serve on a new committee/project - "Destination Winchendon." You can see a presentation on the vast possibilities that will be discussed at (PDF). We are seeking forward thinkers to envision what Winchendon can be in the next five, ten and twenty years from now. Considerations include Encouraging Community Involvement and Ownership, Preserving & Enhancing Downtown Character, Ensuring Economic Vitality, Promoting Downtown Assets, Getting Into and Around Downtown, Living Downtown and Keeping Downtown Safe.

If you'd like to serve on the committee, please send in a letter of interest to Mary Calandrella -

Winchendon Farmer's Market is Open for the Season!

Undaunted by looming rain showers, the Winchendon Farmer's Market opened on schedule last Saturday, May 20. It will be open every Thursday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and every Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., barring truly dismal weather. The Market sets up at the corner of Pleasant Street and Front Street, right across from the Winchendon Town Hall.

Vendors this year include 7 Acre Farm, Haley Farm, High Springs Farm, Rosehawk Farm, Shelly's She Shed (jams, preserved food and baked goods), Spinning Ginny (hand knitted goods and hand-spun yarn), and Olde Soul Jewelry. Right now, the Market is selling plants customers can set out in their own gardens, including all kinds of vegetables and some herbs. There are some unusual varieties available to try your hand at growing.

Co-managed by Sherry Haley and Janet Lee, the Market has been running for 14 years. It will be open until the end of October or as late as weather allows. SNAP and HIP payments are accepted. For more details, see

Parks & Rec Department Needs Volunteers!

Sign-ups are now open for volunteer opportunities with Parks & Recreation. Stop by the office in Town Hall, email, or call if you are interesting in helping out with events. Jobs include ticket taking, entry attendant, parking attendant, table help, set up, clean up, general help and others (depending on the event). Volunteer for an amphitheater concert and get free admission to that concert! Call 978-297-5410, email or visit Town Hall, 109 Front Street, Winchendon (in the Planning office).

Love 'N Local Farm Stand

Don't forget to check out the Love 'N Local Farm Stand located at the Winchendon CAC. We're open to the public 11am-4pm Tuesday and Wednesday and 9am-2pm Thursday and Friday. We accept SNAP, HIP, cash, credit and debit!

Use this form to order produce:

Need a Ride to a Medical Appointment, but You're Not a Senior? The CAC Can Help!

In partnership with the Winchendon Senior Center the Winchendon CAC will provide Winchendon Residents under 55 medical rides! Rides will be available Monday - Thursday between 8:30am and 4:00pm. We need you to provide us with a minimum of a one week notice in order for us to facilitate this ride! Appointments need to be located in the North Central Mass area. Reminder, you will be responsible to provide a car or booster seat for any babies or toddlers required to use them. Use this form to request a ride:

Tell the Winchendon CAC What You'd Like From the Love 'n Local Farmstand!

Please let us know if you are interested is getting produce from the CAC Love 'n Local Farmstand and how often! All produce is from local farmers and all proceeds go to benefit the Winchendon CAC as well as local farmers.

The Winchendon CAC has been offering seasonal produce at the Love 'n Local Farm Stand since 2022. The winter weather has moved the farm stand operation indoors but fresh seasonal produce has continued to be available! We often have produce like potatoes, squash, onions, apples, carrots and beets. Greens have been available occasionally due to local greenhouse and tower garden operations.

Click here to fill out the Google Form

Volunteers Needed for the Sunshine Café!

The Youth Changemakers Sunshine Café is seeking youth (age 14-18) volunteers to help staff and run the Café, and adults to help supervise during open hours. All adults must be CORI checked by the CAC prior to volunteering. ServSafe® certification for adults is not necessary but a huge plus! Also needed are volunteers who can help cook and bake pastries for the Café to sell (all food preparation takes place in a certified commercial kitchen with ServSafe® supervision).

The Café is open on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Wednesdays from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.. It is located in the Winchendon CAC upper level, 273 Central Street.

If you'd like to help the Café prosper and grow, fill out the volunteer signup form below.

FY 23 Senior Tax Work-Off Applications Now Available!

Once again this year, we are pleased to announce the Senior Work-Off program was approved at our Annual Town Meeting. 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 aides, cable station operator, Bike Path clean up, painting, light outdoor work and classroom volunteers. Click here for more information and a downloadable application.

Fresh Box is Here!

Healthy Meal Kits for Local Families

The Winchendon and Gardner CACs are both recipients of the biggest coordinated local produce distribution effort our region has ever seen thanks to Growing Places. With a Local Food Purchase Assistance USDA grant administered by the MA Department of Agricultural Resources, Growing Places (GP) and regional partners have launched a year-long program distributing free boxes of produce ($40 and $50 value) weekly. GP will pack and distribute 212 boxes weekly, with 80 going to Gardner and Winchendon CACs! This equates to about 2,000 pounds of local produce JUST to Winchendon and Gardner every week! Farmers are receiving retail prices for their produce, making this a huge win for our region's food economy and our residents. To sustain this boost in the local food system, HEAL partners will work to transition box recipients to GP's SNAP/HIP-eligible home-delivered produce program. All box recipients will receive a sheet on the benefits of buying local, a recipe, SNAP/HIP information, and a CSA enrollment form.

Time to Sign Up for Youth Baseball and Softball!

Spring is around the corner, and youth baseball & softball registration is now open! Click the link below to go to the registration page.

If you have questions, contact the following:

For Baseball: Kevin Southwell, 603-209-1603 or

For Softball: Randy Tenney, 978-895-3334 or

Winchendon Farmer's Market Accepting 2023 Vendor Applications

The Winchendon Farmer's Market, which is organized by the Winchendon Agricultural Commission, is accepting applications for vendors for the 2023 season. "This is a producer only market. We know that there are many small farmers, gardeners and handcrafters who would love to show off your hard work."

The Farmer's Market sets up at the corner of Pleasant and Front Streets across from Town Hall, 109 Front Street. Hours are Thursdays, 4:00-7:00 p.m. and Saturdays, 10:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.

A space is $20 for the entire season, or $5 for just one day. Vendors must supply all their own tables and set-up.

Download the application at If you have questions, contact the Winchendon Agricultural Commission.

Toy Town FYIs

Transfer Station Summer Hours

The Transfer Station has begun extended summer hours:
Thursday 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Saturday 8:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m.

653 River Street
Sticker price: $70
Pay-As-You-Throw bags required
2023-2024 Transfer Station sticker now on sale in Town Hall and at the Transfer Station.

2023 Street Lists Available

The 2023 Town of Winchendon Street List of Residents is now available at the Town Clerk's office in Town Hall, 109 Front Street. Cost is $11.00 each, $8.00 for seniors.

2023 Dog Licenses Now Available

2023 Dog licenses are now available on-line, in person, mail, or dropbox. Spayed and Neutered are $10, Non-spayed and Non-Neutered are $20. Please provide a valid rabies certificate with payment. If purchasing on-line, please email rabies certificate to
After May 1, a $20 late fee will be assessed.
After June 1, an additional $50 failure to license fee will be assessed.

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. Click the link below for information and sign-up.

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.

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).

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.

Senior Center Seeking Food Donations

We've been so successful we need your help. We love helping our seniors, so now our Food Pantry is running low. If you can do it, we'd love your help replenishing it with such commodities as: Hormel 'Compleats' meals; Chef Boyardee ravioli, spaghetti & meatballs, etc; applesauce; canned vegetables; juice boxes; Ensure; spaghetti sauce; Cookies; Crackers; small (individual) packages of cereal, etc. And anything you think would help. Thank you very much! Bring donations to the Old Murdock Senior Center, 52 Murdock Ave., Winchendon.

Town Committee Vacancies
as of May 24, 2023

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 - 12 vacancies
Fence Viewer and Field Driver - 1 vacancy
Recreation Commission - 1 vacancy
Zoning Board of Appeals - 2 alternate member 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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