The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of April 30 to May 7, 2020
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

COVID-19 Emergency Restrictions Extended Two Weeks, to May 18

Advisory Board Formed to Plan for Re-Opening State

On Tuesday, April 28, Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker formally extended the statewide emergency restrictions an additional two weeks, from May 4 to May 18. This follows up on his decision the previous week to close all public and private schools for the rest of this academic year, and to keep day care programs closed until June 29. (Read the full press release here.)

In addition to extending the restrictions already in place, Gov. Baker announced the formation of a Reopening Advisory Board, co-chaired by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. The 17-member group includes public health officials, business community leaders and municipal government. They are tasked with developing a report by May 18 on strategies to safely reopen businesses and lift restrictions in Massachusetts.

The Reopening Advisory Board members are: Aron Ain, CEO, Kronos Inc & Ultimate Software; Carlo Zaffanella, Vice President and General Manager, Maritime & Strategic Systems, General Dynamics Mission Systems; Corey Thomas, CEO, Rapid 7; Daniel Rivera, Mayor, City of Lawrence; Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, Massachusetts General Hospital; Girish Navani, CEO and Co-Founder, eClinicalWorks; Joe Bahena, Senior Vice President, Joseph Abboud Manufacturing; Kathryn Burton, Chief of Staff, City of Boston; Laurie Leshin, Ph.D., President, Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Linda Markham, President, Cape Air; Mark Keroack, President & CEO, Baystate Health; Dr. Monica Bharel, M.D., Commissioner, Department of Public Health; Nicole LaChapelle, Mayor, City of Easthampton; Pamela Everhart, Head of Regional Public Affairs and Community Relations, Fidelity Investments; Stephanie Pollack, Transportation Secretary and CEO; Steve DiFillippo, CEO, Davios Restaurants; Wendy Hudson, Owner, Nantucket Book Partners.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health is updating its list of the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases by individual town each Wednesday. The list may be viewed here. An interactive state map of the same information is also on this page. As of April 29, Winchendon had reported a total of 51 confirmed cases, an increase of 10 from the previous week.

While the stay-at-home and non-essential business rules remain in place, all residents are asked to respect and comply with ongoing restrictions:

  • Massachusetts residents remain under a stay-at-home advisory.This means that persons should stay at home and refrain from all unnecessary travel and activities that involve physical proximity to other people. Persons over 70, or who have health conditions that increase the danger of serious complications from COVID-19 should limit in-person social interactions with other people as much as possible. The most recent data indicate that the biggest risk factors for COVID-19 complications requiring hospitalization are obesity, diabetes, and advanced COPD. Asthma has been found to increase risk less than was feared, but persons with asthma should still take every precaution.

  • The CDC has recommended that everyone wear non-medical face masks or cloth face coverings of some kind when out in public, along with observing social distancing rules and minimizing direct interactions with others. (See directions below for sewing a DIY cloth face mask.) Masks or other face coverings should completely cover the nose, mouth and chin. Masks should not be touched or pulled down off the face once they've been put on. People wearing masks should wash their hands after touching their mask, if touching is unavoidable.

  • All non-essential businesses are closed to employees and the public. Businesses which can continue operating without putting employees or customers/clients at risk (i.e. they're not in the same physical location) may do so. This can include staff working solo and/or from home, delivering product without contacting customers directly, and working remotely via phone, text, or Internet platforms.

  • Restaurants may sell takeout meals for pickup or delivery only. No customers may be served on premises. Customers picking up orders should maintain a six-foot distance from one another and the restaurant staff, wear face masks, and avoid touching the takeout counters. If possible, order and pay online or by phone.

  • Retail stores selling food, liquor stores and pharmacies are open, but are restricted to a maximum number of 10 customers at a time. Customers must stay at least six feet away from each other. Some stores have marked their floors with tape or signs to keep people in line at the correct distance (so remember to look down).

  • Larger stores are not limited to 10 customers, but most have set their own limits based on the size of the store. If the limit is reached, customers must wait outside the store, maintaining a six-foot distance from each other, until staff admits them inside. Some supermarkets have created one-way aisles to help keep shoppers moving and minimize face-to-face encounters.
For full details and updates on Massachusetts state-wide COVID-19 news and restrictions, see The Montachusett Public Health Network COVID-19 Hotline number, answering questions about the COVID-19 situation, is 1-844-968-3323.

The daily increase in number of cases has not slowed down. The MA Department of Public Health announced that as of Thursday, April 30, there were 60,265 confirmed cases in Massachusetts, with 3,405 fatalities. Nationwide, the death toll from COVID-19 is more than 60,000, exceeding the total number of American casualities for the entire Vietnam War.

Below is an updated list of the COVID-19 arrangements made by town community services, centers, organizations and businesses, as far as the Courier was able to determine as of Thursday, April 30. Changes have been happening very quickly and without notice, so call or check the websites or Facebook pages of a business or organization for the most up to date information. (Winchendon businesses or organizations who would like to be added to this list, or change their information, should email with details.)

Winchendon Public Schools
All schools closed until for the remainder of the school year. Remote learning will continue and report cards will be issued. There will be no summer school programs. A continuously updated page of information may be found here.

There will be no school-related events on or off campus, including sports events.

The school year will not be extended for COVID-19 closings. The last day of school will be June 15.

Online home schooling, learning and study programs are available from the schools and many other sources. A FAQ of detailed information can be found here (the situation may change rapidly so keep checking back).

The state MCAS examinations for this academic year have been cancelled by the Department of Education.

Town Hall
Closed to the public. Most staff has been sent home, but are responding to emails and phone calls (expect a delay). Most bills can be paid and applications submitted online, and payments can be dropped off in the dropbox by the Front Street entrance to the building. Board and committee meetings are rescheduled or meeting virtually (see individual pages for each Board or committee on the town website).

The transfer station is OPEN for regular hours. Residents using the transfer station should complete their visit quickly and maintain a six-foot distance from each other and from attendants.

The Police Station and Fire Station are fully staffed but closed to walk-in visits by the general public. Call 911 for emergencies only and the business numbers for general questions and calls (Police: 978-297-1212; Fire: 978-297-2324). See each department's Facebook page for ongoing updates and information.

Old Murdock Senior Center
Closed to the public. Staff are at work and delivering lunches to seniors, as well as bags of groceries. The Center is also delivering loaner books and jigsaw puzzles to seniors.Contact them if you're a senior and need groceries or medications. 978-297-3155.

Beals Memorial Library
Closed to the public, all programs, events and meetings cancelled until further notice. Staff has been sent home until further notice for their safety. You can borrow library e-resources through the Beals website. (If you have a library card, you can use the Libby app to borrow ebooks via your cell phone.) Library materials can be returned in the outside drop box. Overdue fines are waived for the time being. Check the Beals Facebook page for video book readings by Library Director Manuel King.

BealsCon, scheduled for May 16, has been postponed to a later date to be determined.

Clark Memorial YMCA
All programs are cancelled until further notice, including regular after school programs and day care. The Emergency Child Care program for grades K-5 is available to families of essential workers, and families at risk who lack other options. Email Kyle Scrivines at with questions. See the Clark YMCA Facebook page for video exercise lessons and workout challenges.

Winchendon Community Action Committee (CAC)
The building is closed to the public. Staff is at work and answering phones. Food, and some other supplies as available (for example, diapers) are being distributed curbside by appointment only--call to set up a pickup time. Their new hours for distributing food and other supplies are Monday through Thursday, 12:00-3:00 p.m. See their Facebook page for updates and information, or call 978-297-1667.

The CAC is one of eleven agencies to recently be awarded grant monies by the United Way of North Central Massachusetts. Thanks to assistance from Heywood Healthcare and Growing Places, they have a good supply of food to distribute, and are getting deliveries of produce and groceries. They have some hand-sewn face masks available (donations of masks are welcomed). The CAC is also helping residents impacted by the COVID-19 situation apply for resources and assistance. Contact the CAC for more information.

The Dance Center
Studio is closed for classes. There are online virtual dance classes and activities, see their Facebook page for more information.


Carriage House Restaurant
Open for take-out only, Thurs-Sat starting at 4:00 p.m. and continuing as long as orders come in. See their Facebook page for menus and specials. 978-297-1089.

Christo's Place
Open for take-out only. Note temporary new hours: Mon-Tues-Wed-Thurs 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. & Fri-Sat-Sun 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. Pay-by-phone, curbside pickup and free delivery available. Continuing to offer free bagged lunches to Winchendon public schools students who qualify for free or reduced school lunch--message them on Facebook in the morning to reserve a lunch. Christo's family and staff ask that as few people as possible come inside the store to pick up orders, to help keep everyone safer. 978-297-1142. Hiring part-time delivery drivers; apply in person.

C & S Pizza
Open for take-out only. 978-297-2202.

Dunkin Donuts
Open for take-out and drive-through only.

Friends Garden

Gabby's Pizza
Back open for take-out only. Check their Facebook page for updates. New temporary hours, Monday-Saturday 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Occasionally close earlier. Offering "make your own pizza" kits: pound of fresh dough, pound of cheese and 1 oz of sauce, enjoy baking pizza with your kids! 978-297-3909.

The Glen Caffe
Closed, but preparing take-out meals for sale at Not Just Produced, 290 Central St., until further notice.

Gourmet Donuts
Open for take-out and drive-through only. No refills of reusable cups for sanitary reasons. You can call ahead with your order and it will be ready to pick up. 978-297-9700

The Harbour Sports Bar
Will be re-opening for take-out only on May 6. Check their Facebook page for updates and details.

Hometown Cafe
Open for take-out only. Menu, including daily specials, posted on their Facebook page. 978-297-2233.

Lickity Splitz
OPEN for the season on April 9. Take out only, call in orders in advance for pickup. See their Facebook page for menus, hours and information. 978-297-1777.

Little Anthony's & Little Lizzie's
Open for take-out only, pickup at Little Lizzie's ice cream window. Menu and online ordering may be done here. Beer and wine available for take-out. Local delivery available. Local ice cream now available. 978-297-2669, 978-297-1880.

Ruschioni's Cruisin' 12 Diner
Open for take-out only. See their Facebook page for daily menus and specials. Grocery food (cheese, butter, bread, etc) available to order, cash only, delivery available. List with prices on their Facebook page. 978-616-8956.

Open for take-out only, see Facebook page for hours, weekly specials and ordering information. 978-297-0011.

Zoe's Restaurant and Pizzeria
Open for take-out and delivery only. Also offering take-out for beer and wine. See their Facebook page for menus and specials. Order on Wednesday and get a trivia question to answer! 978-297-5200.


Beaman's Bait Shop

Belletetes Winchendon
As an essential business, Belletetes Winchendon is open to customers but asks that you place orders for curbside pickup, or delivery, if at all possible. The new email address for ordering is Reduced hours, closed Sundays. For details, see the most recent customer update (March 27) on their Facebook page.

Cumberland Farms


Deedee's Treasures
Postponing their spring re-opening. Can arrange purchase and pickup of fabric by appointment only. Call 978-413-0415. See their Facebook page for further updates.

Family Dollar

Horse & Buggy Feeds
OPEN. See their Facebook page for news and specials.

Not Just Produced
OPEN. New and additional inventory. Hosting the Winchendon Mobile Market on Fridays, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Packaged meals ready-to-go prepared by the Glen Caffe. Organic produce from Charlie's Redhouse Farm. Only ten customers can be inside the store at one time. 978-413-8518.

Pattie's Jewelry
Store closed to the public, open for business by phone and internet. See their Facebook page for daily specials and information. Hand delivery of local purchases, layaway available. 978-297-3536.

Powell Stone and Gravel
Buildings closed to public. Open for phone orders with curbside pickup or delivery. Order by phone, email or text. See complete information here (PDF). 978-297-5600.


Robin's Retro Dolls
Store closed to customers but Robin is buying and selling dolls by appointment, mail order, and on eBay. Contact her at 978-912-1688 with inquiries. If you have a doll to sell, text a photo to 978-912-1688 and she'll get back to you.

Smith's Country Cheese
OPEN. Call for curbside pickup. 978-939-5738. (Please note that the CheeseFest and CheeseChase events planned for May 17 have been postponed to a later date TBD.)

To Each His Own Design
Store closed to the public, OPEN for business. Taking orders by phone or over the internet, delivering. See their Facebook page for news and specials. 978-297-3959.


Athol Savings Bank
Building closed to walk-in customers. Open for drive-through, ATM, online banking and by appointment for in-person services. See their Facebook page for updates, including current hours. 978-249-3200.

Brooks Automotive
Open for essential repairs and towing services. Closed on Saturdays. Inspection bay is closed. Call or check their Facebook page for updates and occasional inspection times. 978-297-2561.

LaPoint Law Office
Office is closed to the public, but attorneys are responding to queries and serving existing clients. Contact them at 978-297-2390, 978-297-3673, or by fax at 978-616-8491, or by email at:,, or See their Facebook page for more information.

Mylec has been deemed an essential business and is manufacturing durable, easy-to-clean flooring material for emergency tents being set up nationwide for triage centers and other purposes. The portable polyethylene flooring was developed for tennis courts and most lately was employed for dek hockey rinks and NASCAR track garages. Mylec has been running overtime shifts to fill orders.


The Chapel, The Chapel Downtown
All in-person worship, meetings and gatherings suspended until further notice. Virtual and video services and meetings being arranged--see their Facebook page or website for more information.

Cornerstone Church
All in-person worship, meetings and gatherings suspended until further notice. Holding virtual prayer meetings online. See their Facebook page for more information.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Church
All public mass suspended until further notice; building closed. Church office closed to the public, staff at work and answering phones and emails. The community is encouraged to share streamed televised mass on Contact the office at, Fr. Henry at, or call 978-297-0280.

All events, including Our Neighbor's Kitchen suppers, are cancelled until further notice.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Winchendon
Our Neighbor's Kitchen suppers are cancelled until further notice. AA meetings on Monday nights are suspended until further notice. Contact the church via Facebook message with any questions.

United Parish of Winchendon
Worship services, programs and activities suspended until further notice. See their Facebook page for daily videos, Bible readings and prayers.

Old Murdock Senior Center Working Hard to Support Winchendon's Stay-at-Home Seniors

The Courier spoke with Sheila Bettro, Director of the Old Murdock Senior Center, about the Center's activities through the COVID-19 emergency shutdown. The Senior Center has been closed to the public for the last five weeks. Ms. Bettro said that no staff have been cut, and all three staff members are working every day providing services to Winchendon's seniors in their homes.

"This month we cooked, packed and delivered 2,208 meals in town, and we delivered 250 bags of food, perishable and non-perishable," Ms. Bettro told the Courier. "Right now the medical runs are very low because most doctor's offices are not open. We did seven medical runs.

"We're staying quite busy. We're trying to stay as safe as possible. We're keeping the building pretty clean, we clean it three times a week. We walk through and do all the doorknobs and that sort of thing. We're only using the first floor, so it's only a few staff members that are here.

"We are sanitizing the van on a daily basis. When we get back at the end of the day, that van is wiped down thoroughly."

Food donations have come from Heywood Healthcare, Growing Places out of Leominster and the Montachusett Opportunity Council (MOC).

The Courier asked Ms. Bettro how Toy Town seniors are holding up. "They want to get out, they want to get back to the senior center, is what we keep hearing. For the most part, they seem to be doing okay. They're not really requesting a lot." She said the Center has done some food shopping for seniors and picked up medications or a particular item, such as cat treats for a pet. The Center is lending out books and puzzles and had twenty-one requests for those in April.

Ms. Bettro says that a major need is non-medical face masks for seniors to wear. They have a volunteer making some, but they need a lot more, as most of the seniors don't have masks.

Ms. Bettro urged the Courier to tell readers, "If there's anybody in the community that they know of, that needs assistance, have them get in touch with us." The Senior Center may be reached at 978-297-3155.

Central Mass Tree

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.

Do You Have a Garden in Winchendon?

You can help the Winchendon HEAL Project bring affordable, whole food back to town by telling us about your garden! Fill out this online survey:

What is the HEAL Winchendon Food Project?

Make DIY Cloth Face Masks

Many people are sewing cloth face masks for themselves and for health care workers. There is even a Facebook group supporting this effort, Mask Makers.

There are a number of patterns available on the Internet. The Courier is sharing the PDF pattern below, which includes templates and clear, photograph-illustrated sewing directions, for the convenience of our readers. The pattern is being distributed by Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, NH and may be copied and shared freely.

The CDC has issued a nationwide advisory asking people to wear face masks at all times when out in public. COVID-19 is spread primarily through the air, and infected persons are the most contagious before they have any symptoms. It's estimated that as many as 50 percent of infected persons may never show symptoms or get sick, but still are able to infect others. Wearing face masks will significantly reduce the chances of infected people spreading the virus.

Face Mask Pattern and Directions (PDF)

DPW Director Reports A Very Busy FY20 for Winchendon's DPW

At the April 27, 2020 Board of Selectmen meeting, conducted online via Zoom, Winchendon Department of Public Works Director Al Gallant presented his annual report for fiscal year 2019-2020. The DPW manages construction and maintenance of roads, winter plowing and sanding, maintenance of town fields, cemeteries and other properties, the Transfer Station, the town water system, the town sewer system, and town street lights.

Paving projects completed include the lower end of West Street, Front Street, Royalston Road North, Murdock Avenue and Otter River Road. The DPW received 142 work orders for pot holes to be filled, and used 396.52 tons of cold patch and 668 tons of hot top to repair pot holes.

Major projects completed include the construction of Grout Park, putting in more than 300 feet of gravel road in Ingleside Park (Winchendon Community Park), and replacing the sidewalks on Grove and Lincoln Streets. The DPW also removed many dead trees and installed or replaced culverts on West Street and Happy Hollow Road. To do the Happy Hollow Road project, the DPW diverted the river for two days.

The DPW went out 56 times during the winter to plow or treat roads, utilizing 1,862 tons of sand and salt.

The town has signed with a new company to handle recycling at the Transfer Station because prices had risen sharply. Winchendon is now contracted with Charles George Company for recycling.

The Water Department replaced 15 hydrants over the summer and installed a water main and manhole at Grout Park. Meters are read four times each year and 86 meters were changed. There were seven water main breaks and three service breaks repaired.

This is the first full year that Veolia has managed the Sewer Treatment plant and it has been very successful. The plant is running well and efficiently with repairs and upgrades made to the facility.

The full report can be read here (PDF).

Mr. Gallant said that possible future paving projects include River Street, Monomonac Avenue, Kemp Street, Hale Street and Brown Street, depending on how much Chapter 90 money Winchendon is awarded by the state. Selectman Barbara Anderson suggested that East Monomonac Road needs paving, as it is used frequently as a short-cut for through traffic between 119 and 202, and is in poor condition.

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Toy Town FYIs

Town Elections originally scheduled for May 4 have been postponed to a later date still to be determined. In an effort to protect voters and election workers from social contact, Town Hall encourages registered voters to apply for an early ballot to be mailed to them. The early ballot application can be found on the Town Clerk's page:

Please print and complete the form and send to the Town Clerk's office using postal mail (mail to Winchendon Town Clerk, 109 Front Street, Dept. 3, Winchendon, MA 01475) or the dropbox in front of Town Hall (109 Front Street, by the Front Street entrance), or email to: As soon as the ballots arrive at the Town Clerk's office, they will be mailed out to the Early Voting applicants.

Real estate taxes normally due on May 1 will be due on June 1. The deadline for applications to apply for exemptions on taxes has been changed from April 1 to June 1. Interest and penalties will be waived on any property and excise tax, betterment assessment, water or sewer bill with a due date on or after March 10, 2020 if payment in full is made by June 30, 2020.

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.

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!