The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of December 19 to December 26, 2019
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

poinsettia flower poinsettia flower Happy Winter Solstice / Yule
Chag Sameach / Happy Hanukkah
Merry Christmas
Happy Kwanzaa
The Winchendon Courier wishes you a safe, healthy, peaceful and happy holiday week whatever you choose to celebrate!

Borrego Solar a No-Show for Continuance of Happy Hollow Road Public Hearing

No representatives from Borrego Solar attended the scheduled continuance of the public hearing before the Planning Board on December 17 to address concerns about trees being cut down above the Happy Hollow Road solar installation.

Planning Board Chair Guy Corbosiero said, "You know, the last time they were here, I asked them to show us the angle of the sun as compared to how it hits the panels and when the trees are actually in the way, instead of just saying, hey, we need twenty-feet trees. I don't see any of that information."

Homeowners Richard and Doreen Ames appeared before the Planning Board for the third time to discuss their objections to the planned clearing of trees. They reported that they met with Borrego Solar representatives as agreed during the public hearing discussion on November 19, but were not entirely satisfied with what they'd heard.

Because no engineer or representative from Borrego Solar was present, the Planning Board could do little besides listen to the concerns of the homeowners. Planning Board member Burt Gould expressed some frustration, saying, "How can we have a public hearing when the engineering firm didn't show up? It's unfair to the abuttors. I suggest that the office send a strongly worded letter saying, look, you're not going to get anything unless you show up here and satisfy the people.

"They submitted a plan in the first place. And their problem basically is, at this time of year when the sun just isn't getting up, and they're not going to be generating any juice. That's what this thing is all about, it has nothing to do with the abuttors, they could care less about the abuttors and you know it.

"I've been down there for a couple of years, the lot itself frankly looks like a dump, if you take a look at it from Happy Hollow Road, and I think we ought to make them clean it up, and I think we ought to make them satisfy the abuttors who've got to put up with this."

Doreen Ames reiterated her comments at previous hearings, saying that she only agreed to the proposal two years ago because Borrego Solar promised they would not touch the trees on the hilltop. Removing the trees, she said, would allow sand from the open sand pit to blow onto abuttors' property, as well as harming the environment and the rural character of the property. "Personally, I don't care about them making millions of dollars," she said. "As a homeowner, how is this going to make my life better? It isn't." She stated that the solar array is "in a hole" in the gravel pit site and the problem of shading should have been obvious before now.

Richard Ames agreed with the Planning Board that Borrego Solar's plans for removing trees and replanting are "deliberately vague." He argued that the company is "going to do what they want to do." He stated that at the meeting between Borrego Solar and homeowners, "they were very vague, too," saying they would have a plan with diagrams showing the replanting. "I think solar's great if you can get cheaper electricity," he said. "I do have a problem with people thinking that we're fools."

Planning Agent Alison Manugian explained that it was less harmful to the environment for the trees to be cut in winter when the ground was frozen hard, but replanting would have to be done in the spring. She displayed a list of plant and tree varieties that would be planted on the screen. She reported that Borrego Solar has offered a $20,000 surety performance bond to cover the cost of the replanting. They will cover the landscaping architect separately.

The Planning Board and homeowners agreed that little more could be done without Borrego Solar present to answer questions and clarify concerns. The Board voted to continue the hearing to January 21, 2020 at 6:35 p.m..

(For previous Winchendon Courier coverage on this situation, see "Happy Hollow Road homeowners not happy with Borrego Solar" in the October 17-24 edition, and "Happy Hollow Road Homeowners still concerned about proposed tree cutting" in the November 21-28 edition.)

Toy Town FYIs

2020 dog licenses are now available in the Town Clerk's office (in Town Hall, 109 Front Street), online (click here), or by mail. You must provide a valid, up-to-date rabies certificate.

Effective December 1

Winter Parking Ban
Town of Winchendon Bylaw
SECTION 7.18; WINTER BAN Parking is prohibited on all public ways between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., annually from December 1st through April 15th. In addition, any vehicle, other than one acting in an emergency, parked, day or night, on any street in the Town, so as to interfere with the work of removing or plowing snow, removing ice, or sanding the street may be removed or towed away under the authority, discretion and direction of the Chief of Police or the Chief’s designee. The registered owner of a motor vehicle which is removed pursuant to this bylaw shall be fully responsible for all charges and expenses incurred for the removal and storage of said motor vehicle.

As of Thursday, December 5, the Winchendon Fire Department will no longer be performing inspections at residences with excessive amounts of snow preventing access to the property. If a residence is found to be inaccessible the inspection will not be performed and an additional re-inspection fee will be charged.

The Winchendon Fire Department urges residents to take all safety precautions with candles and generators.

  • Generators should always be used outside, never in your home, garage or basement. Carbon monoxide is odorless and invisible and can reach lethal levels even if you don't smell exhaust or fumes. If you have a permanent emergency generator professionally installed, make sure its ventilation is clear of snow or other obstructions.
  • Candles should never be left unattended, and must always be at least a foot away from anything else flammable--including other candles.

Winchendon Holiday Schedules

Town Hall
Tuesday, December 24: closing at 12:00 p.m.
Wednesday, December 25: CLOSED for the holiday

Transfer Station
Regular Business Hours

Beals Memorial Library
Tuesday, December 24: closing at 4:30 p.m. for holiday.
Wednesday, December 25: CLOSED for the holiday

Old Murdock Senior Center
Wednesday, December 25: CLOSED for the holiday

Power Outages Surprise Winchendon Residents

Numerous Winchendon residents experienced loss of electrical power over the weekend, apparently due to issues with transformers. The outages were unexpected given the mild weather.

On Saturday morning at about 9:10 a.m., resident Jill Sackett spotted and reported a transformer in flames on a pole on Mill Circle. Residents on Lakeview Drive and around Lake Monomonac lost electrical service for approximately four hours, with power restored at 1:10 p.m.

On Sunday, residents in the neighborhoods around the fire station reported losing power, again because of issues with a transformer.

CENSUS 2020 is coming, we need your participation!

CENSUS 2020 is coming! Your participation is important because your answers make a vital difference. When you respond to a survey or census, you are helping your community and the nation. Your answers, combined with others, become the statistics that businesses, governments and people like you use to make informed decisions about education, emergency preparedness, employment, international trade, health, housing, and other important topics.

More information can be found at:

The US Census Bureau is hiring thousands of people for the 2020 Survey. For more information go to:

Narcan Training at the Winchendon CAC

Beginning in January, the first Tuesday of the month the Winchendon CAC will be offering Narcan Training in affiliation with the Worcester Aids Project. You will learn to administer Narcan and receive a Narcan dispenser. Class space is limited--pre-registration is required. Please come into the office or call 978-297-1667 to register. The first class will be held on Tuesday, January 7. The Winchendon CAC is located at 273 Central St., Winchendon.

Winchendon Fire Department to Bolster Fire Prevention Efforts with FM Global Grant

The Winchendon Fire Department has received a $2,200 fire prevention grant from FM Global, one of the world’s largest commercial property insurers. The award will be used to assist with prefire planning to efficiently collect and track data related to local community buildings. The information will help the fire service respond in an emergency situation.

Through its Fire Prevention Grant Program, FM Global awards grants to fire departments—as well as national, state, regional, local and community organizations worldwide—that best demonstrate a need for funding, where dollars can have the most demonstrable impact on preventing fire, or mitigating the damage it can quickly cause.

Because fire continues to be the leading cause of property damage worldwide, during the past 40 years FM Global has contributed millions of dollars in fire prevention grants to fire service organizations around the globe. Locally, the company has awarded grants to a number of Massachusetts-based organizations A formal check presentation will be conducted in the near future between Chief Thomas Smith and FM Global Representatives at the Winchendon Fire Station.

Clear Those Fire Hydrants!

If there's a fire hydrant near your's the fire hydrant the Fire Department will need if your house is on fire. With that in mind, help keep hydrants clear of snow and accessible this winter, for everyone's safety!

Hydrants should be completely clear of snow and ice, with an open area of three feet on all sides and clear open access from the street. It's a little extra work, but if the hydrant is needed, every second counts!

Stone-Ladeau Funeral Home

Winchendon Subway

Enjoying the new Winchendon Courier Online? We're just getting started! But wow, is this a lot of work. The best work in the world, but still a lot of it! Please consider supporting us with a small donation. We'd so appreciate it. Thanks!