The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of July 27 to August 3, 2023
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School Committee Members Walk Out as Winchendon Public Schools Turmoil Continues

Superintendent King Paid Over $180K As Part of Separation Agreement

The Winchendon School Committee has at least one empty seat and a new Chair and Vice Chair, while Superintendant Thad King's separation agreement has been rescinded and Mr. King placed on administrative leave, following a meeting of the Committee on Tuesday, July 25.

The unusual Tuesday meeting was called primarily to consider the search process for an interim Superintendant, since Mr. King planned to conclude his term as of Monday, July 31. The meeting was not broadcast, as the town's broadcast equipment has been dismantled in preparation for a major upgrade to the system, funded through the town contract with Comcast and approved by voters at Town Meeting in May. The new equipment should be operational in several more weeks; in the meantime, meetings should be recorded and the videos made available on the Town Hall YouTube channel (publicly accessible at this link:

As of Thursday night, the video was not yet available, and staff at Town Hall told the Courier there were "technical problems" with the recording, which the IT team was working to resolve.

A citizen who attended the meeting posted a detailed report of what took place, which has been verified by a member of the School Committee.

New Committee member Anthony Findley, who was appointed out of a field of eight interested candidates to take Alicia Jordan's unfinished term, was seated slightly earlier than planned due to Ms. Jordan departing ahead of July 31 when her resignation took effect. With a new Committee member, the Committee customarily does a "reorganization" by which a new Chair and Vice Chair are elected--this is standard procedure.

During the public comment period at the beginning of the meeting, citizens rose to question Mr. King's separation agreement, and how it would be funded, and to raise concerns about the athletic program and the lack of an athletic director, only a month before the start of the new school year.

Following this, a motion was made to re-elect Committee Chair Dr. Ryan Forsythe to continue as Chair. Dr. Forsythe stated that he declined the nomination, and in fact, was resigning from the Committee that night. Following this, Committee member Greg Vine, who had served the longest of any current Committee member, also stated that he was resigning, effective that night. Dr. Forsythe and Mr. Vine then left the meeting.

Remaining Committee members Karen Kast-McBride, David LaPointe and Anthony Findley elected Ms. Kast-McBride Chair and Mr. LaPointe Vice Chair. Mr. LaPointe made a motion to reconsider the separation agreement made with Mr. King, on the grounds that the funding for the agreement had not been approved, and without funding being approved the agreement was invalid; and that the wording had been changed slightly from the version the Committee voted on in Executive Session. The three Committee members unanimously voted to reject the separation agreement.

The Committee then voted unanimously to place Mr. King on adminstrative leave, and to engage an independent person or body to investigate Mr. King's actions as Superintendant, as well as personnel hiring and terminations over the past several years.

On Thursday, July 27, School Committee Chair Karen Kast-McBride provided the Courier with a public statement which she had prepared for immediate release to the community of Winchendon, whose tax dollars fund the school district, with permission to publish it.

To Our Winchendon Community

From The Winchendon School Committee

July 28, 2023

At noon on Wednesday, July 26, 2023, I, as Chair of the Winchendon School Committee (WSC), received an email informing me that a payout to Mr. Thaddeus King in the amount of $180,795.14 had already been disbursed by the Town of Winchendon. This disbursement occurred subsequent to the WSC's action taken at the July 25th School Committee meeting which effectively voided the Separation Agreement (SA) entered into between Mr. King and WPS on July 14, 2023 which should have saved the District, and taxpayers, that money.

All members were not provided a copy of the signed Separation Agreement by former Chair, Ryan Forsythe, before July 25th even though it had been executed on July 14th, despite various requests. Upon receipt of that signed Agreement, it was noted the actual agreement was not materially the same with what was approved by the full board during Executive Session on July 13th, 2023. The Separation Agreement was supposed to be discussed in an open meeting to identify which budget line item would carry the payout to Mr. King. It was stated in the Executive Session that the Separation Agreement would not be executed until that open discussion had happened.

Before the matter of the Separation Agreement could be brought to the full WSC at the meeting both Mr. Forsythe and Mr. Vine resigned from the Winchendon School Committee and did not stay to participate in their final meeting. Motions were made and passed by votes of the remaining three WSC Members to reconsider the Separation Agreement, as well as place Mr. King on Administrative leave pending a third party investigation of the actions taken by Mr. King.

Wednesday, July 26th, I, as Chair of Winchendon School Committee, was informed that the payout to Mr. King was processed via the normal payroll run pursuant to the directive of Mr. Forsythe. I was also informed that the monies were taken directly from the Superintendent's salary line of our budget. We have contacted legal counsel of the Winchendon School Committee and legal counsel for the Town of Winchendon. All possible and appropriate action will be taken in the coming days. It is not feasible to retract the payment made, but as appropriate legal action is needed, we as the Winchendon School Committee are prepared to take that action.

As promised by me, when I accepted the position of WPS Chair, I will continue to show transparency on the actions of the Winchendon School Committee as deemed acceptable by law.

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me at

Karen Kast-McBride
Mary Calandrella, Executive Assistant to the Town Manager's office, told the Courier that only one written resignation had been received, from Committee member Greg Vine. The following posting, inviting citizens to apply for appointment to the seat, has been made by Town Hall as of Thursday, July 27:
The Winchendon Board of Selectmen and the Winchendon School Committee are seeking qualified candidates to fill one vacancy on the Winchendon School Committee. The term is through Town elections in May 2024. Applicants interested must be registered voters of the Town of Winchendon. Letters/resumes, including the candidate's background information, are due to be received by 1pm on Thursday, August 10, 2023, to the Board of Selectmen Office, 109 Front Street or via email at Said position will be jointly appointed by the members of the Board of Selectmen and School Committee at a jointly held meeting scheduled for Monday August 14, 2023.
Mr. Vine provided the Courier with the statement he prepared to read at the School Committee meeting but did not read in full. It appears below:
I hereby announce my intention to resign from the Winchendon School Committee effective at 12:01 a.m., Wednesday, July 26.

First, I would like to address those who, on Facebook and in some of these meetings, have either implied or said outright that Ms. Jordan, Mr. Forsythe, and myself don't care about the children of this school district. Nothing could be further from the truth. I know Ms. Jordan and Mr. Forsythe want nothing but the best for our students and our community.

As for myself, I was hired in 1994 as news director of the local radio station, WINQ-FM, a position in which I served until the station was sold some eight years later. From 2013 to 2018 I worked as a reporter for the Winchendon Courier until it ceased publication as a paper. Since moving here in 1997 I have served on the Planning Board, the Master Plan Committee, the Ingleside Utilization Committee (the forerunner of the committee that brought you the new amphitheatre), the Communications Committee, and the Cultural Council. I have also served as a member of this school committee, having been given the opportunity to represent it as a member of the Capital Planning Committee and the committee that worked out the arrangement to have the DPW director and school facilities manager combined into a single position. For most of the past 30 years I have done what I could to contribute my time and my talents to this town.

I don't say this to be boastful, but I would challenge almost anyone on Facebook or in this room to say they have spent more time supporting this community in general, or the children of this school district in particular than have I. And I am proud of what I have contributed to Winchendon.

As for those who believe I have "underperformed" as a member of this committee, well, I think most would disagree. In 2015, I finished first in a three-way race for two seats on the school committee, nearly 200 votes ahead of the second-place finisher. In subsequent elections I had no opposition and, in one election, not even a single write-in vote was cast against me. I took these elections as a sign that the most people in this town felt I was doing a good job in my position.

I am one of those people who believes that voters elect their representatives to make what they believe to be the best decisions regarding any given issue, not to simply vote as the majority of people may want you to. Nor was I, I believe, elected to vote the way the loudest, angriest, most activist residents wanted. Had this been the case I would have urged that the district abandon the Summit curriculum at the middle school, as one group of parents had urged. Nor would I have voted to require our students to wear masks during the COVID pandemic, as one very large, very angry group of parents had wished. In both cases, despite what "the people" appeared to want, I made what I thought was the best decision for the students of the district...and I believe then, as I do now, that I was right.

But I have reached a point where I feel like the man who repeatedly bangs his head against a wall because it feels so good when he stops. I have been a member of this committee for a total of 11 years and eight months. The first 11 years and 4 months have truly been among the most enjoyable and rewarding of my life. The last 4 months have been excruciating, resulting in too many sleepless nights. The respect and good will that I gave to and got from my colleagues over these many years seems to have disappeared. It seems that the goal has been to win at any cost--whatever "winning" means.

I want you to know that I believe those parents who spoke at recent meetings had very legitimate concerns regarding special education in our schools. But I also believe the personal attacks on school personnel was uncalled for. Facebook can be a great tool for organizing, but it also seems to magnify grievance and anger.

I do have concerns that we may see infringement on the autonomy of whoever is hired to serve as both interim and permanent superintendent. Yes, the superintendent does answer to the committee but he or she does not--I believe--work for the committee; he or she works for the students--the children of Winchendon. Whoever serves in the position must be free to make the decisions they feel are in the best interests of the district--including personnel decisions--without interference or micromanaging from the committee. I trust that those left on this committee and those who will soon be appointed will let the leader of the Winchendon School District do their job without fear of public retribution or recrimination. People being people, there are bound to be disagreements from time to time.

Finally, I want to thank those who have supported me these many years. To those who have not, especially recently, I want you to understand that I did hear you--I simply disagreed with what you may have wanted. While I am leaving this committee, don't think I am done with my involvement in the district. It may prove liberating to be one of those people sitting in the audience and taking advantage of the public comment period from time to time.

And my thanks to all of the educators and support staff in this district who do their best to educate our children and keep them safe.

With that, I wish you all well.

(Greg Vine, July 25, 2023)

HEAL Collaborative Expands to Gardner with Programs for Healthy Food Access, Diversity, Youth Engagement and Economic Empowerment

The HEAL initiative, made up of community organizations, non-profits, institutions, town/city government and engaged citizens, has expanded to the city of Gardner and has been officially renamed The HEAL Collaborative. Begun in 2017 with projects aimed to increase healthy food access to Winchendon residents following the sudden closing of the IGA grocery store in Central Plaza, HEAL has evolved to add programs and goals for Diversity, Equity and Social Inclusion, Economic Empowerment, Community Wealth Building, and Youth Engagement. HEAL itself is not an organization but a movement, incorporating numerous different aims, with the overreaching goal of increasing health, equality, inclusion, opportunity, and community engagement for all citizens in Winchendon and Gardner.

To reflect its growth and expanding mission, The HEAL Collaborative has a brand new website and URL:

HEAL has a Steering Committee that meets once each quarter. Core fiscal sponsors for grants and funding include Growing Places of Leominster, the Winchendon CAC and Heywood Hospital, but many local groups are HEAL partners, including the Town of Winchendon, the Winchendon Public Schools, the Winchendon Council on Aging, the private Winchendon School, Three Pyramids of Fitchburg, HOPE in Gardner, and others. HEAL has received funding from the Robinson Broadhurst Foundation, the Community Foundation of North Central Mass, the United Way, the USDA, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Winchendon Cultural Council, and numerous other sources.

In both Winchendon and Gardner, a team of Resident Leaders receive stipends for dedicating a minimum number of hours per month to HEAL projects and goals.

At their quarterly meeting on July 10, the HEAL Coalition Steering Committee reviewed progress and accomplishments in several focus areas.

In the area of Healthy Food Access, HEAL is working with Local Food Works, a developing system for producing and distributing locally grown food to consumers, institutional bulk buyers (such as schools and hospitals) and retailers. This "farmer first" initiative will include a processing center in Gardner for processing freshly harvested, direct from the farm produce so it can be stored and marketed. The center is currently being equipped and prepared. A Retail Grocery Store working team meets weekly with representatives from Heywood Hospital, Growing Places and the Winchendon CAC, along with a consulting firm, to create a complete business plan for a sustainable local retail store. Enrollment of qualifying local residents for SNAP and HIP has continued, with plans to expand the enrollment campaign to Gardner. The "Fresh Box" program is distributing boxes of fresh produce, with a value of about $45 each, with about 2,000 pounds of local produce going to Winchendon and Gardner every week. A Community Learning Garden in Winchendon not only grows produce which is distributed to residents, but gives local youth hands-on experience in farming and vegetable growing.

In the area of Social Inclusion, the major goal is, "Build a shared, asset-based culture for the town that welcomes diverse voices, values the ideas and input of all residents, and builds community across generations and socio-economics." The projects in this area include the Community Heart & Soul analysis, which is now getting feedback from Winchendon residents on five statements refined from over 800 lines of survey data. This area also includes the Skillshare program, summer stipends for youth interns, the youth-run Sunshine Café, the youth-run Taste of Winchendon Festival which was held for the third year in 2023, the Pride Kickball Game in June, ongoing leadership trainings for Youth and Resident Leaders, and outreach to diverse communities. One of the newest projects is translating Gardner City Hall documents into Spanish and Arabic, for which translators are paid a stipend.

In the area of Economic Empowerment, a Winchendon-based Maker Space is being planned. Financial coaching continues to be offered to residents, and initiatives are being developed to assist youth in improving their business skills through hands-on experience.

Earlier this month, Resident Leader Molly Velasco and Youth Leader Abby Bradley gave a presentation to the Winchendon Board of Selectmen asking for their support for a proposed Community Engagement and Belonging Committee, which would encourage and mentor citizens of all ages to become more active and engaged in their town's government processes and leadership.

This is all just a sampling of what the HEAL Collaborative is working on. Anyone in Gardner or Winchendon, of any age, who would like to get involved is welcome, encouraged and even urged to do so. You can contact HEAL through its new website or the existing HEAL Winchendon Facebook page, To give feedback on the five Community Heart & Soul statements, go to this Google form:

Beals Summer Blast and Other Programs at the Beals Memorial Library

Beals Library summer blast events
Join the Winchendon Library for a number of fun programs the week of July 31 to August 4, including the Beals Summer Blast, an afternoon of outdoor, family-friendly fun!
Photo courtesy of Beals Memorial Library

Fun in the sun and after dark at the Beals Memorial Library! Each week, as part of their ongoing Summer Reading Club, the library is holding programs based on the theme "Find Your Voice" that are sure to be fun for the whole family, including the main program of the upcoming week, on Wednesday, August 2: The Beals Summer Blast! Here's everything happening the week of July 31 - August 4:

On Tuesday, August 1, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 PM, take a walk with a story for the final Storywalk of the summer. Join the Beals Memorial Library and the Winchendon Coordinated Family and Community Engagement Grant (CFCE) for a fun, interactive outdoor reading adventure by following the path of poster boards set up throughout the library lawn. The final story of the month will be I Like Myself! by Karen Beaumont. A fun rhyming book about self-acceptance following a little girl who knows all about it! Each child who participates in this program will receive a book while supplies last!

Also on Tuesday, August 1, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., the library will be holding a Zine Workshop for tweens and teens! Come create your own DIY, self-published magazine in this two-part workshop and share your finished zine with the group and guests at a final showcase. The second workshop will be held on Tuesday, August 8 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. and the showcase will be on Tuesday, August 15 at 5:00 p.m. This workshop is brought to you with federal funds provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners.

On Wednesday, August 2, at 2:00 p.m., come enjoy some fun in the sun at the Beals Summer Blast! Celebrate the summer with family-friendly outdoor activities, music, crafts, and water fun! Don't forget to bring your swimsuit to beat the heat with the library's slip and slide and sprinkler! In the event of rain, the Beals Summer Blast will move to Monday, August 7, at 2:00 p.m.

On Thursday, August 3, at 6:30 p.m., join the library for an out-of-this-world evening as the Aldrich Astronomical Society presents One Earth, One Sky! Explore how our shared views of the night sky and space exploration bring us closer together. The Aldrich Astronomical Society is one of the oldest amateur astronomy clubs in the United States, dedicated to promoting astronomy education. A night sky viewing will happen after the program if weather allows. This program is funded in part by the Winchendon Cultural Council and the Friends of the Beals Memorial Library.

On Friday, August 4, at 2:00 p.m., join Melissa the Mad Scientist and explore the science of sounds with the library's Junior Scientists program! Kids ages 6 to 10 will have the opportunity to participate in hands-on experiments, watch others, and learn interesting things about the world of science! This program is funded by the Friends of the Beals Memorial Library.

The Beals Memorial Library is located at 50 Pleasant Street in Winchendon. All programs at the library are free to attend! For more information or to sign up for programs, call the library at 978-297-0300, email at or visit their website at

"Theater Squad" 4-day Workshop Wraps With a Performance at the Beals

Click image to see larger view
Theater Squad performance
Click image to see larger view
Theater Squad performance

from left, Ava, Esme, Jasper and Piper on stage in their original play, "The Magical Forest".
Photo by Inanna Arthen

As part of the 2023 Summer Reading Club, with its theme of "Find Your Voice!", Beals Memorial Library sponsored a four-day workshop for young persons age 11 to 14 called "Theater Squad," which was held Monday, July 23 through Thursday, July 27. Four students--Ava, Piper, Jasper and Esme--signed up for the workshop taught by Ali Coes of Little Spark Theater, to brainstorm ideas, write the script for their own play, and finally perform it before an audience.

The performance was held before an invitation-only audience on the stage in the Beals' second floor auditorium. Family members and caregivers were joined by Beals staff, Recreation Director Tiffany Newton and the Courier.

The play, titled "The Magical Forest," ran for about 15 minutes, and involved a social media Influencer named Katie and a Spy (who enters with appropriate theme music) who venture inside the forest and encounter a giant "evil worm" (we know he's evil because he's wearing a black hat) and Rubi, a talking owl. Heard but not seen--well, mostly not seen--is a "monster" whose great stomping footsteps shake the stage. The script is certainly topical--"don't believe everything you see on TikTok," Rubi advises Katie and the Spy (who ask the owl, "How do you know about TikTok?!"). At one point Katie falls flat on the floor, because as an Influencer who's lost her phone, she's "socially dead." (Only temporarily.)

The set was minimal--it consisted of the back stage curtains--but lighting and sound effects included thunder and lightning, scene breaks, music and footsteps. Costumes were cleverly done with Toby the worm encased in a pink full body tube, while Rubi the owl was festooned with multi-colored feathers. All of this was planned and created by the students.

Following the performance, the students answered a few questions. Director Ms. Coes said the group had done "a lot of improvisation" and ran through many possible ideas. They would take a "blank scene and put styles on top of the scenes"--doing ballerinas, or opera singers, trying out different things. As ideas came together, the students thought of ways to introduce conflict, and decided on a location. By the end of the second day, Ms. Coes said, their play had a shape. Characters evolved in the same way, trying out all different things, no matter how silly. One student explained that she'd almost come onstage as a giant cupcake. Esme said that the first talking animal they tried wasn't an owl, but they were inspired by the Harry Potter owls.

It was obvious that the young people had a lot of fun with the workshop, and their enthusiasm was contagious. "The Magical Forest" was a most enjoyable quarter hour!

Winchendon Cultural Council Seeks Your Feedback

The Winchendon Cultural Council (WCC) is conducting a survey to gauge what types of arts, humanities and sciences programs the town would like to see funded. WCC receives all its funding from the State and the National Endowment for the Arts. What would you like to see funded in our town? Please take this anonymous online survey and let your preferences be known!

Troy Laundromat

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Central Mass Tree

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

Winchendon CAC is Moving to a New Building!

The Winchendon Community Action Committee (CAC) is moving from its current building at 273 Central Street (next to CVS) to brand new digs at 5 Summer Drive (the former Playaway Lanes bowling alley, between Bull Spit and the Clark YMCA tennis courts). Preparations for the move will begin over the next several days and the move itself will commence on Monday, July 31. The CAC posted to Facebook,

"Next week [July 31-August 4], the pantry will be closed as we move the refrigeration, food and everything else over. We appreciate your patience and flexibility during this transition. If you'd like to volunteer to help move food this week or help organize next week, please let us know and we will reach out! We love our community and are happy to begin creating the Winchendon Works Community Hub to provide a bigger space with lots more parking to serve all of you. More details about the WW Community Hub coming soon!"

Winchendon Sponsors "Ice Cream Sundays" in August

Buy a $5 punch card at the Parks & Recreation Office in Town Hall (109 Front Street) after July 24 (cash sale only) and use it to get discounted ice cream every Sunday in August at participating local businesses! Just show your punch card on a Sunday at:

  • Murdock Dairy Bar, 62 Elmwood Rd. - 50% off any ice cream cone (and see the famous Texas Longhorns!)
  • Lickity Splitz, 231 Main St. - 20% off all ice cream
  • PJ's Slush, 136 Front St. - buy any small slush, get one free
  • The Kitchen Garden, 268 Baldwinville Rd., Templeton - 50% off any ice cream cone or dish
On Sunday, August 27 visit the Winchendon Community Park (86 Ingleside Drive) from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. for ice cream themed activities and show your punch card for a FREE ice cream sundae. Enjoy ice cream while you listen to the Worcester Jazz Orchestra!

Subway November 2022 Catering deals

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Would you love to see a Ren Faire in Toy Town?

Winchendon Parks & Recreation is looking for individuals interested in bringing a Renaissance Faire to the Winchendon Community Park in 2024! Any and all persons who'd like to participate should attend the Parks & Recreation meeting on Tuesday, August 1 at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 109 Front St., fourth floor conference room (accessible by elevator). You can also send a letter of interest to

Fall Softball Sign-up Open

Sign-up for ages 8-11 for Fall Softball with Winchendon Youth Baseball & Softball is open from July 11 through August 1. Cost is $75. For more information, contact Randy Tenney at Sign up at this link:

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).

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:

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 July 3, 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 - 3 vacancies
Cultural Council - 13 vacancies
Fence Viewer and Field Driver - 1 vacancy
Historical District Commission - 1 vacancy
Library Board of Trustees - 1 vacancy
Parks & Recreation Commission - 3 vacancies
Zoning Board of Appeals - 3 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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