The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of January 30 to February 6, 2020
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

Armed Robbery, Clerk stabbed at North of the Border store

The popular North of the Border grocery and convenience store on Rte 202, just over the state line from Winchendon, was robbed by two masked male suspects armed with a knife and a gun on Friday, January 24.

North of the Border co-owner Ahmad Mortada told the Monadnock Ledger Transcript that his brother and the store's co-owner, Ali, was working alone in the store at about 9:30 p.m. Two males wearing dark clothing and masks entered the store, jumped over the counter, and demanded money from the register. They also demanded that the store safe be opened, and they threatened to kill Ali. After Ali turned the money over to them, one of the suspects stabbed him in the abdomen. As both suspects fled, Ali fired shots after them with his personal handgun. It is unknown whether either of the suspects was injured.

Rindge police responded to a call at 9:39 p.m. Ali was taken to Heywood Hospital in Gardner where he underwent surgery. His injuries were non-life-threatening and he has already returned to work.

A search of the area, including with the New Hampshire State Police K9 unit, did not locate the suspects, and how they left the area is unknown.

This incident has strong similarities to the robbery of the State Line Grocery in Fitzwilliam, NH, only a fifteen-minute drive away from North of the Border, on January 15. Police have not ruled out the possibility that the same suspects are responsible for both robberies, or that the third man involved in Fitzwilliam may have been driving a getaway vehicle in Rindge.

Anyone with information about the Rindge robbery is asked to call Sgt. Rachel Malynowksi at 603-899-5009, extension 15.

Anyone with information about the Fitzwilliam robbery is asked to contact Fitzwilliam Police Chief Leonard DiSalvo at 603-585-6565 or email

Focus Group Offers Feedback on Plans for Amphitheatre in Winchendon Community Park

map of park
Winchendon Community Park showing location of the proposed amphitheater

Over fifty people gathered in the downstairs hall of Winchendon American Legion Post 193 on Thursday, January 30 to discuss plans for developing the Winchendon Community Park off of Maple Street.

Winchendon Community Park Committee David Romanowski began the forum with a recap of the project's history. The Winchendon Community Park began with a community forum held by the Robinson Broadhurst Foundation in September, 2013 to identify ideas that most appealed to Winchendon residents, community organizations and businesses, with a focus on community participation, town pride and economic development. A ten-member Winchendon Enhancement Committee formed to propose a practical community project.

It was suggested that the town look into acquiring the 43-acre property on Whitney Pond known as the Ingleside property, which was owned by The Winchendon School and had been on the market for some time. In the fall of 2016, the town negotiated a swap of the Marvin School to The Winchendon School in exchange for the Ingleside Property. The WEC became Ingleside Utilization Committee.

The IUC began promoting use of the property. With the help of countless volunteers, the area was transformed into a park with picnic tables and trails. The ongoing work has been extensively supported by the Robinson Broadhurst Foundation, the Converse Fund and local businesses and individuals. In 2018, the property was officially named the Winchendon Community Park.

In the fall of 2019, the Robinson Broadhurst Foundation approached the Town Manager and the Winchendon Community Park Committee with a proposal to fund the construction of an outdoor amphitheatre and related infrastructure at the park.

David Pollak and Julia Patten of Abacus Architects prepared a detailed presentation. Photographs, schematics and small models gave representations of several possible options for the amphitheatre, parking and use of the existing buildings on the site, and community input was needed before final decisions were made.

The amphitheatre itself will feature tiers of natural earth and stone cut into the bank of the slope, facing toward the water. The stage and its sheltering structure will be close to the water facing up the hill. Several possible designs for the amphitheatre shelter range from enclosed and sturdy enough to support lighting, rigging, sets and electrical, to a simple canopy-like roof over an open stage. A simpler structure will allow audiences to see the water beyond the stage.

Considerable discussion was devoted to parking options, of which three were shown. In the simplest, head-in parking spaces would be constructed along the access road between Maple Street and the turnaround near the water. Another plan involved the clearing of two parking lots, each with a capacity of about fifty vehicles, on either side of the access road, with a strip of woods between the road and each lot. The third, "hybrid" suggestion proposed some head-in parking, one lot, and a smaller handicap-accessible lot. With any of these, it might be possible to arrange overflow parking in town with Park users walking in on the Carriage Trail path.

As a long-range plan, ideas are being developed for a Life Long Learning Center as part of the Park, offering crafts, classes, demonstrations, and other learning experiences. The potential of the three existing buildings on the site to serve the Park were discussed at length. The garage and the barn can probably be remodeled and upgraded to code; the house is likely to be removed and possibly replaced with a new structure.

Abacus and Ground Landscape Architects are working now on schematic design and a master plan, which will be followed by construction plans. Bids for the construction work are slated for the end of this year with ground-breaking on the work to commence in 2021.

Anyone with feedback or suggestions should contact the Winchendon Community Park Committee.

Public Comments Open for Winchendon ADA Public Right of Way (PROW) Self-Assessment

The town's fundamental goal is to ensure that individuals with disabilities are afforded an equally effective opportunity to participate in, or benefit from, all of its programs and services, subject only to the limitations of fundamental alteration and/or undue burden. Therefore, the town continues to make changes to increase accessibility.

The Public Right of Way (PROW) document specifically covers accessibility within the public rights of way and does not include information on Winchendon's programs, practices, or building facilities not related to public rights of way. Public rights of way include roadways, sidewalks, curb ramps or sloped areas, accessible pedestrtian signals and bus shelters. These areas must provide equal access to all.

Please send comments to: Tracy Murphy, Director of Planning & Development at 109 Front St Winchendon MA 01475 or

Please follow the link below to view the document (PDF):

Books wrapped up for their dates

Valentine's Day Fun at the Beals Memorial Library

Love is in the air at the Beals Memorial Library! Head over to the library in Winchendon this February for some fun Valentine’s Day activities for kids, teens, and adults.

Blind Date with a Book is back! Starting February 1st and continuing through February 22nd, teens and adults are invited to participate in the library’s fun, annual activity where they’ll be matched up with a surprise book bae. Books from all genres, including everything from mystery, romance, classics, horror, adventure, science fiction, and young adult are wrapped up with only an intriguing pick up line to allude to the book inside. This year, to shake things up, the library is asking their patrons to recommend books for the event, and will continue to accept submissions through January 31st.

For kids, there will be a Valentine Craft Hour on Saturday, February 8th at 11 AM. Children of all ages are invited to take part in a fun hour making Valentine cards to gift to their friends and family. Registration is required and spots are available until February 5th, so please call the library to reserve a spot.

The Beals Memorial Library is located at 50 Pleasant Street in Winchendon. For more information or to register for the Valentine Craft Hour, please call the library at 978-297-0300.

Winchendon to Elect Delegates to Democratic State Convention

Registered Democrats in Winchendon will hold a caucus on March 11, 2020 at 108 Ipswich Drivem Ipswich Drive Community Building, Winchendon, MA, at 6:30 p.m. to elect Delegates and Alternates to 2020 Massachusetts Democratic State Convention.

This year's state convention will be held May 30 at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, where thousands of Democrats from across the state will come together to discuss Party business and celebrate our successes as we prepare for the upcoming elections.

The caucus is open to all registered and pre-registered Democrats in Winchendon. Pre-registered Democrats who will be 16 by February 15, 2020 will be allowed to participate and run as a Delegate or Alternate.

Youth, minorities, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ individuals who are not elected as a Delegate or Alternate may apply to be an Add-on Delegate at the caucus or at

Those interested in getting involved with the Winchendon Democratic Town Committee should check out their website at

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.

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

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.

village school open house

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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