The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of January 23 to January 30, 2020
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

Armed Robbery at the State Line Grocery in Fitzwilliam

Three masked male persons armed with knives and a semi-automatic handgun robbed the State Line Grocery on Route 12 last Wednesday, January 15, the Keene Sentinel reported.

The three suspects, dressed in dark hooded sweatshirts with masks over their faces, ran into the store, jumped over the front counter and demanded that the clerk on duty give them money from the register. They also took nine cartons of Camel cigarettes and three cartons of Seneca cigarettes.

Winchendon police responded to a call for mutual aid at 10:11 p.m., along with the Fitzwilliam, Jaffrey and Rindge New Hampshire police departments and the New Hampshire State Police. The suspects were last seen running toward State Line Circle but were not found in a search of the area.

Fitzwilliam police are pursuing an investigation and ask anyone with information to contact Fitzwilliam Police Chief Leonard DiSalvo at 603-585-6565 or email

Happy Hollow Road Tree Cutting Looms

The ongoing hearing on proposed tree cutting next to the Borrego Solar solar array off of Happy Hollow Road convened for its third continuance on Tuesday, January 21. Abuttors Richard and Doreen Ames were in attendance along with an engineer from Borrego Solar. No representative from the company had appeared at the December 17 hearing, due to weather conditions.

The Borrego Solar representative brought maps and a list of trees and shrubs to be replanted in place of the tall trees which have now been tagged for removal. Specifically addressed were a list of concerns that Winchendon Town Planner Alison Manugian had forwarded to Borrego Solar in writing after the December meeting.

Borrego Solar stated that their software cannot produce a detailed analysis of exactly how the trees impact the solar panels and their production levels without an extensive survey of individual trees' precise height. They have used a general model based on the site plan.

The landscape architect, Tom Benjamin, has marked approximately 300 trees for removal and staked out locations for proposed plantings.

Borrego Solar assures the abuttors that cutting in winter will disturb the ground as little as possible. Only trees over 30 feet tall will be cut, cutting will be almost flush to the ground, and no stumping or grubbing will be done. Lower growth will be left in place.

In response to abuttor concerns about chipping the downed wood and leaving it on the ground as mulch, resulting in pests such as carpenter ants and termites proliferating, Borrego states that all trees and debris will be removed from the site.

Trees planned for replanting include shadbush, eastern redbud, pagoda dogwood, balsam fir, fraser fir, red cedar, white spruce and pitch pine. Possible shrub varieties include inkberry, mountain laurel, bayberry, beach plum, rhododendron, Virginia rose, nanny berry and highbush cranberry.

Ms. Manugian reiterated that Borrego Solar will be offering a $20,000 surety bond to cover the costs of replanting in the spring.

Abuttor Richard Ames raised concerns about the large gap in time between the tree cutting, which could start as early as next week, and replanting, which has no definite date attached to it. "I think the Planning Board ought to have a real plan, and not just a loose, we're going to get to it," Mr. Ames said.

Abuttor Doreen Ames raised concerns about blowing sand from the open gravel pit areas, and how long it would take the new plantings to be thick enough to block the sand from the homes on Happy Hollow Road. The Borrego Solar representative said that the new plantings will have much more diversity than the "monoculture" of all white pines currently in place, and that broad-leafed deciduous plants will block sand more effectively than long needled evergreens.

The Planning Board voted 3-1 to close the public hearing.

After some discussion, the Planning Board agreed to add another condition to their approval of the plan: that all replanting be completed by the end of September, 2020. The Board voted unanimously to approve the proposal with conditions.

(For previous Winchendon Courier coverage on this situation, see "Happy Hollow Road homeowners not happy with Borrego Solar" in the October 17-24 edition, "Happy Hollow Road Homeowners still concerned about proposed tree cutting" in the November 21-28 edition and "Borrego Solar a No-Show for Continuance of Happy Hollow Road Public Hearing" in the December 19-26 edition.)

Local Grants Awarded for Winchendon

State Representative Jonathan Zlotnik and Jill Nicholson Sackett, Chair of the Winchendon Cultural Council, have announced the award of 17 grants totaling $9,330.00 for cultural programs in Winchendon. A complete list of recipients and grant amounts can be found below.

The Winchendon Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils (LCC) serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The LCC Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences, and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community.

Decisions about which activities to support are made at the community level by a board of municipally appointed volunteers. The members of the Winchendon Cultural Council are: Jill Nicholson Sackett, Miranda Jennings, Andrew Arceci, Tina Santos, Linda Hofhaug, Greg Vine, and James McCrohon.

"It's the local volunteers who really make this system work," said Representative Zlotnik. "They make limited resources go as far as possible, and they make the tough decisions about which projects should be supported. Thanks to them, the arts, sciences, and humanities are part of people's everyday lives in every community across the state.”

Statewide, more than $3.3 million will be distributed by local cultural councils in 2020. Grants will support an enormous range of grass-roots activities: concerts, exhibitions, radio and video productions, field trips for schoolchildren, after-school youth programs, writing workshops, historical preservation efforts, lectures, First Night celebrations, nature and science education programs for families and town festivals. Nearly half of LCC funds support educational activities for young people.

The Winchendon Cultural Council will seek applications again in the fall. For guidelines and complete information on the Winchendon Cultural Council, contact Jill Sackett at or through the Town website: Applications and more information about the Local Cultural Council Program are available online at

This year's grants include:

Winchendon Music Festival--$2,435
Winchendon Public Schools: Theater at the Mount--$1,320
Winchendon Winds 2020 Concert Series--$1,000
Growing Places: Bee a Pollinator Lab--$800
Art for the Future: Building Community Through Art--$500
Beals Library: Animal Adventures--$450
Beals Library: Whalemobile--$400
Beals Library: 3rd Thursday Movies on the Library Lawn--$300
Beals Library: Beals Prize for Poetry--$250
Beals Library: Mr. ViNNY's Shadow Puppet Show--$250
Beals Con: Fan Fiction 101 Panel--$150
Beals Con: Historical Swordsmanship Demonstration--$100
Beals Con: Alchemy Laboratory--$350
Senior Center: A Musical Journey Through The Years--$325
Senior Center: Dan Kirouac Concert--$200
GALA Annual Spring Show 2020--$300
GALA Annual Spring Show 2020: Musical Performance by Mary Carfagna and Tim Loftus--$200

Early Voting for Presidential Primary Scheduled in Winchendon

The Massachusetts Presidential Primary election will be held on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. Early voting for Winchendon residents who wish to participate will be conducted at the Winchendon Town Hall, 109 Front Street, 4th floor conference room at the following times:

Monday, February 24 - 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 25 - 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, February 26 - 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 27 - 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Toy Town FYIs

Be sure to complete, sign, and return your Town Census form in the enclosed envelope to the Town Clerk's office as soon as possible. Keeping your census up-to-date ensures your voter status remains active. If you don't receive a census form, you may request a form from the Town Clerk's office, located in Town Hall at 109 Front St.

Outdoor burning season begins on January 15 and runs until May 1. A permit for outdoor burning is required; you can purchase your permit online following the instructions in the link below:
2020 Burn Permit Application Made Easy (Google Doc)

Town of Winchendon
Office of the Town Clerk
Nomination Papers for Annual Town Election
May 4, 2020

Nomination papers will be available Monday, January 13 2020 at 8:00 a.m.
Nomination papers must be obtained and turned in on or before Monday, March 16, 2020 by 6:00 p.m.
Available terms:
ONE 3-year term for the Board of Selectmen
TWO 3-year terms for the School Committee
ONE 2-year unexpired term for the School Committee
TWO 2-year terms for the Board of Health.

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.

Riverside Cemetery Headstones Damaged

Unknown persons trespassed into Riverside Cemetery, which is closed for the season, and damaged numerous headstones. The stones have been repaired and put back into their correct positions, but the Town of Winchendon reminds residents that the cemetery is closed according to town Bylaws. The paths in the cemetery are too narrow to plow, and snow hides smaller markers and decorations. The cemetery is not only vulnerable to damage, it's a hazard for people walking there. Please respect the posts and chains blocking the entrances and do not enter the cemetery.

Anyone with concerns or questions may call the Town Manager's office at 978-297-0085 ext. 5.

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.

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!

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