The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of August 13 to August 20, 2020
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Board of Selectmen Respond To Complaint Alleging Violation of Open Meeting Law

At their meeting on August 10, the Winchendon Board of Selectmen responded to a complaint filed on July 28 alleging that the Board violated Massachusetts Open Meeting law when it went into Executive Session during their July 13 meeting to discuss matters concerning Mellen Road.

Reportedly, residents of Mellen Road had been expressing concern for some time as to the provenance of the road, and whether it comprised a private way, or was a town way which the town was obligated to maintain. Some residents engaged an attorney who sent a letter to the Board of Selectmen requesting action on this question.

At the July 13 Board of Selectmen meeting, Item 13 on the agenda read, "13. EXECUTIVE SESSION: Exemption No. 6--To consider the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real estate, if the Chair so declares. Subject: Mellen Road."

Chair Mike Barbaro asked for a motion to enter Executive Session "under exemption number Six, To consider the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real estate, if the Chair so declares, which I have, the subject being Mellen Road, and not to reconvene into public session." Selectman Audrey Labrie made the motion. Selectman Rick Ward seconded the motion. With a roll call vote, all attending members of the Board--Ms. Labrie, Mr. Ward, Selectman Amy Salter and Mr. Barbaro--voted to enter Executive Session. Selectman Barbara Anderson, who had stepped away, returned to the meeting and cast an affirmative vote on the motion a few minutes later.

As the regular meeting was about to recess, Mellen Road resident Marc Dowart spoke and was recognized by Mr. Barbaro. Mr. Dowart said, "I'd like to challenge the body to demonstrate a reasonable basis for this being a closed meeting."

Mr. Barbaro asked Town Manager Keith Hickey to respond. Mr. Hickey said, "As I did prior to the Executive Session occurred at the last Board of Selectmen meeting, I spoke to our legal counsel on the appropriateness of Purpose Number Six. He concurred that Number Six is appropriate, because the discussion we'll be having this evening will concern the value of real property, and our legal counsel feels that it is certainly legitimate and appropriate."

Mr. Dowart asked, "Can you demonstrate that here at this meeting at this time?" When Mr. Hickey replied that the Board didn't need to, Mr. Dowart asked, "Are you considering purchase, sale, lease or value of Mellen Road itself?"

Mr. Hickey replied that they would be considering the claim by Mellen Road residents that the town has failed to maintain the roadway. Mr. Dowart continued to protest the legitimacy of the Executive Session for several more minutes. "He's already said what the meeting is about," Mr. Dowart said. "It's about the letter that our lawyers sent to you, he's already said that the meeting is not about the purpose of Number Six." Mr. Dowart asked what needed to be "negotiated, that the meeting needs to happen behind closed doors."

The debate continued to repeat the same points for several more minutes. Mellen Road resident Bill Shea spoke, saying he saw the process as "a bit of a railroad job." Mr. Barbaro abruptly terminated the regular Zoom meeting. The video of the meeting may be viewed here. The discussion about entering Executive Session starts at 1:55:38 in the recording.

At the Board of Selectmen meeting on August 10, Chairman Mike Barbaro read into the minutes a letter from Town Counsel in response to an "Open Meeting Law Complaint dated July 28, 2020 filed by Marc Dowart."

According to the letter read by Mr, Barbaro, the complaint claims the Board did not have the proper purpose for Executive Session held on July 13, 2020, and that the Board did not make a motion to enter into Executive Session.

"The Board denies the allegation of the complaint," Mr. Barbaro read. The letter goes on to describe the discussion, motion and vote on entering Executive Session as detailed above. "There is no basis, therefore, for this aspect of the complaint," Mr. Barbaro read.

"This leaves the use of Purpose Number 6 as the remaining point of contention," Mr. Barbaro read. "This has been debated over the past two years [by] the town and the residents of Mellen Road, specifically middle Mellen Road, stemming from the Board's determination of 2018, where the records of Mellen Road were discontinued as a Public Way as long ago as 1914 [leaving] neither an obligation nor an appropriation for the town to spend public funds to maintain or plow the roadway. By the letter dated April 21, 2020, an attorney retained by some residents of Mellen Road submitted arguments to the Board that in summary either the road is public now or the town is obligated to accept it."

The letter goes on to state that the April 1 letter did not "raise to the level of imminent threat of litigation" but it did concern the value of Mellen Road for purpose Number 6 to apply.

Mr. Barbaro continued to read, "While the complaint alleges that the Board changed the reason for entering Executive Session, the reason for the session was that the abuttors feel the April 21st letter claiming that either Mellen Road is a public way, in which case the town would be liable for the cost of repairs based on the value of Mellen Road, or the town is obligated to establish the roadway as a public way. Establishment of a public way on private property requires that the public authority laying out the way to acquire real estate property rights within the layout of the road sufficient to provide for the public use."

Obtaining such rights, the letter states, require purchasing land from private owners or taking it by public domain. This requires establishing the value of the property to determine a fair compensation, and decide what the town can pay. This qualifies as a reason for Executive Session under Purpose Number 6.

Selectmen Barbara Anderson stated that she was not sure the Board met the qualifications for entering Executive Session on July 13. The Board voted 4:1 to accept the Town Counsel's response as presented.

Several residents of Mellen Road attended the August 10 meeting. Mr. Barbaro did not allow public comment or questions during the discussion. Resident Marc Dowart asked several questions in the Public Comment portion of the meeting, which Mr. Barbaro said would be answered by Town Counsel's letter. Mr. Dowart continued to argue that the town was in violation of Open Meeting Laws. In the meeting's chat window, Mellen Road resident Bill Shea disputed the account of the July 13 meeting and commented, "Please know that the residents of Mellen Road do not want to foster an negative relationship with the town however we are not going away. I encourage those of you that we know think that the residents of our road are being railroaded to stand up and do the right thing!"

For the town to accept Mellen Road as a public way, ultimately an article will need to be placed on a Town Meeting warrant to be approved by voters.

The Board of Selectmen will meet on Monday, August 17 at 6:30 p.m. Agenda item 8.1 is "Discussion on the Possible Options to Repair/Upgrade Mellen Road." (View the complete agenda here (PDF).)

The video of the August 10 meeting may be viewed here. The discussion begins at 11:25 on the video.

Town Manager Updates BoS on Fire Department Grants, Lincoln Avenue and MVOC Project

Town Manager Keith Hickey reported on several updates at the August 10 Board of Selectman meeting.

The Winchendon Fire Department has been awarded two grants. One for $59,000.20 which will pay for about 95 percent of the department's turnout gear, with the town paying for the remaining 5 percent (about $3,100). Another grant will pay for Personal Protective Equipment.

The EPA has completed their work at the Lincoln Avenue Extension demolition site, and will be removing their equipment from the site in the next couple of weeks. The fencing will be taken down. "They've done an amazing job, and they've been very good to work with," Mr. Hickey said. "We appreciate their support and guidance over the last several months."

The Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center (MVOC) will submit a revised design for the renovation of the Poland and Streeter Schools into veteran's housing. They will come to a future Board of Selectman meeting to present the design to the Board and the public.

Central Mass Tree

Beware of Mystery Seeds in the Mail

Residents of Massachusetts have reported receiving "mystery packages" mailed from China, sometimes labeled as containing jewelry but instead containing unmarked and unidentified seeds.

The Winchendon Police Department warns residents against planting these seeds, or discarding them, as they may be invasive or harmful plants.

So far, seeds tested by the USDA have been common domestic species including mustard, cabbage and morning glory, herbs like mint, sage, rosemary and lavender, and hibiscus and rose seeds. Authorities suspect a scheme for generating fake user reviews on Amazon.

If you receive a mystery package, follow the instructions at Receipt of Unsolicited Seeds on

Board of Selectmen Vote to Hold Annual Town Meeting on September 28

At the August 10 meeting of the Winchendon Board of Selectmen, Winchendon Town Manager Keith Hickey presented a timeline for holding the 2020 Annual Town Meeting/Special Town Meeting on Monday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. The meeting would convene in the Murdock Middle/High School gymnasium to allow space for proper social distancing.

Mr. Hickey said that the state has released Chapter 70 funding amounts, allowing the town to continue developing its own final budget for FY2021.

The timeline, which Mr. Hickey described as "very aggressive," requires a draft budget to be prepared by August 24, with the Board finalizing the budget on August 31. The Finance Committee will then review the budget and make their recommendations, and the Board of Selectmen will review the Finance Committee's response and make their own recommendations. The warrant would be posted on September 14, two weeks in advance of the September 28 Annual Town Meeting/Special Town Meeting.

Selectman Audrey Labrie asked if the school department would have time to prepare a final budget on this timeline. Mr. Hickey replied that he had shared the timeline with the school department, and had not heard that it the schools would not be able to meet the deadline.

Selectman Barbara Anderson asked if it would still be possible to change the date of Annual Town Meeting "if we have to." Mr. Hickey said that the town could change the date.

The Annual Town Meeting warrant will open on Tuesday, August 11 2020 at 8:00 a.m. and close on Wednesday, August 19 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

The Board voted to accept the timeline.

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Governor Baker Tightens up COVID Rules as Cases Rise in State

Winchendon Among Lowest COVID Risk Communities for School Reopening in MA

In response to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state, a reversal of the slow decline before the beginning of Phase 3 of the re-opening plan, last Friday Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker tightened up some restrictions.

Starting on Tuesday, August 11, the limit on outdoor gatherings in a single space is reduced from 100 to 50 persons. Any gathering, indoors or outdoors, where the space does not allow individuals to maintain six feet of social distance will be in violation of the rules, regardless of the number of persons present. This rule applies to programs, celebrations, social outings and "any other events that bring people together." It does not set limits on outdoor public spaces, political rallies or religious activities.

In any gathering of more than ten people who don't all live in the same household, every person over the age of 2 is required to wear a face covering. This applies to all venues and locations, public and private. Persons may be fined for not wearing a mask where required.

Alcoholic beverages may only be served in restaurants when accompanied by food prepared on site (not packaged snacks). Food must be ordered at the same time as an alcoholic beverage.

The new rules may be enforced with a fine of up to $500 per violation, which may be imposed by the Department of Public Health, local boards of health, State Police and municipal police departments.

As school departments plan to open with all remote learning, or a "hybrid" combination of remote learning and in-person classes, Gov. Baker stated that schools in communities with low rates of new COVID-19 cases should open for in-person classes this fall, and not open on a fully remote-learning basis. All-remote learning is strongly urged by state teachers' unions. Winchendon Public Schools are planning for a hybrid model. Winchendon is in the lowest tier of COVID risk according to the color-coded map released by the Baker administration. The map will be updated weekly.

Winchendon reported no new cases of COVID-19 this week. The total stands at 91. 266 Winchendon residents have been tested in the last 14 days, with a total of two positive tests returning. (See updated town-by-town reports from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, including an interactive map, here.)

The MA Department of Public Health announced that as of Thursday, August 13, there have been 113,198 confirmed cases in Massachusetts (1,827 more than the previous week), with 8,547 fatalities (109 in the previous week).

Massachusetts is requiring visitors from every state except Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Hawaii to quarantine for 14 days when they arrive in Massachusetts, unless they have had a negative COVID test in the past 72 hours. Rhode Island has been added to the quarantine list due to an increase in cases in that state. The negative test or quarantine rule will apply to college and university students returning to Massachusetts campuses. Some colleges will be holding classes entirely online, but others will be welcoming students for in-person classes and student housing.

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.

In the meantime, modified Phase 3 guidelines continue to be in effect, as follows:

All residents are required to wear face masks when in proximity to other people, in private or public settings, indoors and outdoors, and maintain a distance of at least six feet from other people. Those at high risk should continue taking additional precautions to avoid infection by the virus. Face coverings must be worn by everyone over the age of 2 years who does not have a legitimate health exemption from wearing a mask. A fine of $500 may be imposed on persons not wearing masks when and where required.

Retail stores may open with a maximum number of eight customers, or 40 percent of the building's occupancy limit, allowed inside at one time. Shoppers should wear face masks and maintain a six-foot distance from one another and from store employees. Fitting rooms are open by appointment. No sampling of personal products such as cosmetics will be allowed.

Restaurants will be open for indoor and outdoor dining, with tables six feet apart or separated by solid barriers. Parties will be capped at six persons, and menus must be disposable or electronic. Tables and chairs must be sanitized after each party leaves, and tables will have no place settings; tableware must be rolled or packaged. Employees must wear face masks, and diners should wear masks except when they are seated at the table. Self-serve stations are closed, no condiments will be left on tables, and no bar seating is allowed.

Hotels, inns, and other lodgings may open to general guests. Function rooms will remain closed, and all movable items (pens, directories, and so on) must be removed from rooms.

Day camps may open with safety guidelines, including temperature checks for children and staff, face masks, and a size limit of 10 campers on groups. Overnight camps may not open until Phase 4.

Libraries may open to patrons, with restrictions to be announced. Close-contact services such as nail salons, massage therapy, makeup salons, personal training, tattoo and piercing parlors, hair removal services, and tanning salons may open, with rules about sanitizing equipment and surfaces between clients. Funeral homes, warehouses, distribution centers, golf facilities, outdoor recreational facilities including pools, playgrounds and spray decks, and outdoor historical sites and spaces may open.

For complete details, see the overview on the website. Download the complete, 29-page report at Reopening Massachusetts (PDF).

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, August 13. 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
At the August 6 School Committee meeting, the committee voted 4-1 to approve a hybrid plan for reopening schools, which will combine alternating half-days in school for groups of students with remote learning the rest of the week. The School Committee also approved the revised academic calendar for the 2020-2021 school year. Grades 1-12 will begin classes on Monday, September 14, while kindergarten will begin on Monday, September 21. Teachers and staff will have ten days of training and professional development from August 27 to September 11. Parents may opt out of using school transportation and arrange alternative ways of transporting their children to school. The final reopening plan for the 2021 school year may be viewed here (PDF).

Town Hall
During Phase 3, Town Hall remains closed to the public. Most staff will continue to work from 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 extended hours (see "Toy Town FYIs, below). Residents using the transfer station should complete their visit quickly and maintain a six-foot distance from each other and from attendants.

Winchendon Fall Fest, originally scheduled for Saturday, October 10, has been cancelled.

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. Outdoor Yoga session planned for Monday, August 17--call for more information. There are still Farmer's Market coupons available for pickup; call for an appointment (coupons cannot be delivered). Seniors may sign up for a grocery shopping trip on September 8th or September 29th--the van is limited to four persons each trip. Staff are at work and continue to deliver lunches to seniors, as well as bags of groceries. The Center is also delivering loaner books and jigsaw puzzles to seniors. Essential transportation offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Contact them if you're a senior and need groceries or medications. See their Facebook page for updates. 978-297-3155.

The Annual Wellness Day event scheduled for October has been cancelled.

Beals Memorial Library
The library continues to maintain Phase 1 procedures until further notice. Building closed to the public, all programs, events and meetings suspended until further notice. Library materials may be borrowed via pickup in the library lobby or curbside. Patrons can reserve items over the phone (978-297-0300), by email or online. Pickup will be by appointment. Patrons must be wearing masks to enter the side door lobby, one at a time. Only physical items owned by Beals Memorial Library are available until further notice (no interlibrary loans). 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.

Outdoor Movie Nights begin on Thursday, August 13 with a screening of The Princess Bride at 8:00 p.m.

The 2020 Summer Reading Club for kids, teens and adults is underway. The library is providing "grab and go" bags of supplies for at-home crafts projects that can be picked up on Fridays. There are also 5-minute and 10-minute Experiments with Melissa and Friends activities ongoing. See the library Facebook page for details.

The 2020 Toy Town Tree Festival will be run as an online virtual event. Watch the library Facebook page for updates.

BealsCon, originally scheduled for May 16, has been rescheduled to Saturday, June 5, 2021, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. It will be held at the library as a scaled-back event.

Clark Memorial YMCA
Open under Phase 3 guidelines. Exercise classes have resumed in the gym (please bring your own water bottle and mat). Gymnastics and swim lessons will not resume until a later date. For full details and the new handbook for members, see their Facebook page or website. Camp Clark is running, although current sessions are filled. To get on the waiting list or apply for a later session, contact the Clark. 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 daily workout challenges.

There have been no cases of COVID-19 at Camp Clark, nor any cases reported by campers or families. Rumors of cases on social media are unsubstantiated and false.

The Clark is hiring; see listing on "Your Town" page, with employment ads.

Winchendon Community Action Committee (CAC)
Produce Market each Thursday, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Accepting SNAP/HIP and cash payment, open to all.

NEW HOURS. CLOSED MONDAYS. Open Friday 8:00-3:00 with pantry 9:00-1:00. Public is allowed inside the building by appointment, three appointments per 30 minutes. NO ADMITTANCE WITHOUT MASK AND HANDS SANITIZED IN AND OUT WITH PROVIDED SANITIZER. CAC Haven of Hope is open to provide services during business hours, including showers, laundry, pre-made meals and relaxation area. Summer clothes donations are being accepted, and are available to those in need. See their Facebook page for hours, updates and information, or call 978-297-1667. The CAC is participating in the International Overdose Awareness Day on Monday, August 31. See their Facebook page for more information.

Winchendon American Legion Post 193
Chicken Barbeque Dinner outside or to go on Saturday, August 8. Outside Pavilion is open on weekends, Friday and Saturday. The monthly spaghetti dinner fundraiser is starting again as of July 9. See their Facebook page for updates.

Winchendon History and Cultural Center
Seppie's Ice Cream Parlor remains closed until further notice. Thursday Nights on the Porch resumed as of July 9, and the museums will be open to visitors. Some fall activities are being planned including an escape room and a spooky tour of the Old Centre burial ground. See their Facebook page for updates and details. 978-297-2142.

The Dance Center
Studios now open for in-person dance class. Online virtual dance classes and activities continue. See their Facebook page for more information. 978-297-5678.


Carriage House Restaurant
Open for indoor dining starting June 24. See their Facebook page for menus, hours 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.

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

Dunkin Donuts
Open for take-out and drive-through only. Lobby was closed temporarily for extra cleaning and sanitizing.

Friends Garden
OPEN for take-out only as of May 1. 978-297-2277, 978-297-2278.

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! Note: customers MUST wear a mask to come inside to pick up orders. 978-297-3909.

The Glen Caffe
Open for dine-in and take-out as of Thursday, July 9, Thurs-Sat 4:00-8:00 p.m. 978-297-0800. Still preparing take-out meals for sale at Not Just Produced, 290 Central St.

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
Indoor seating for meals. Outdoor meals will be served Wed-Sat, 4:00-8:00 p.m. Check their Facebook page for hours, menus and updates. Will be closed on July 4th. Customers are encouraged to order online at 978-297-2133

Hometown Cafe
Limited indoor dining as of June 22. Outdoor seating for meals as of June 8. Menu, including daily specials, posted on their Facebook page. Customers are asked to wear masks when picking up orders, and to call in orders ahead if possible. 978-297-2233.

Lickity Splitz
Limited indoor seating, two tables available. See their Facebook page for menus, hours and information. Now open seven days a week.978-297-1777.

Little Anthony's & Little Lizzie's
Outdoor dining in pavilion area as of June 10, full menu and beverages. No indoor seating yet. Open for take-out, 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.

Murdock Farm and Dairy Bar
Open for the season. Daily 1:00-9:00 p.m. Check their Facebook page for specials and updates. (Please keep your dog leashed so it won't chase the free-range chickens!)

Ruschioni's Cruisin' 12 Diner
Outdoor seating, limited indoor dining. Parties cannot be seated until everyone is present, due to space limitations. Customers are asked to respect protocols for sanitizing tables and keeping distance. Open for take-out. Will have some outside tables available. 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
Dining with outdoor seating. Open for take-out and delivery. 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
OPEN. Ring for admittance.

Belletetes Winchendon
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
Store closed to walk-in customers for health reasons. Can arrange purchase and pickup of fabric by appointment. Customers are asked to wear masks and maintain distancing during appointments. Call 978-413-0415. See their Facebook page for further updates, including new stock and announcements.

Family Dollar

Horse & Buggy Feeds
Garden plants, supplies. See their Facebook page for news and specials. Only eight customers inside at a time, customers are asked to maintain social distancing.

Not Just Produced
New and additional inventory. Deli is now open. Locally grown produce and beef, local cheese. 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. Call and order ahead for curbside pickup.

Pattie's Jewelry
Store open to the public, with limits on number of people inside at one time. See their Facebook page for daily specials and information. Hand delivery of local purchases, layaway available. 978-297-3536.

The Perennial Patch
Open for the season. 978-297-0604.

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.

Reflections Country Collections
Closed until further notice, but according to their Facebook page, they'll be back. Watch their page for updates. 978-297-2411.


Robin's Retro Dolls
Re-opening for appointments starting August 7. PM Robin for an appointment. Store currently 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. Watch her Facebook page for updates.

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.)

Sunset View Farm
Open for the season. Corn is in, peaches, blueberries, raspberries. Only one family in the stand at a time, please wear face masks. 978-297-2305. See their Facebook page for hours and updates.

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

Toy Town Treasures
Open with Phase 3 precautions. No more than eight customers inside at one time, face masks required. Closed on July 4th. See their Facebook page for updates and specials.

Winchendon Furniture
Winchendon and Keene showrooms now open. Customers asked to wear face masks. Hand sanitizer stations are available throughout the store. See their Facebook page for hours, updates and specials. 978-297-0131.


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 Inspection stickers during business hours, no appointment needed. Open for repairs and towing services. Call or check their Facebook page for updates and hours. 978-297-2561.

Clifford P. Beauvais Insurance Agency
Open Mon-Thur 9:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Fri 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. For emergencies outside these hours, email If possible, call or email before coming to the office. Must wear a face mask to come inside. 978-297-0472.

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.

Tip Top Nails
Open as of June 22. 978-297-0400.

Toy Town Barber Shop
Open with precautions as of Tuesday, May 26. Customers are asked to wear masks and stay six feet apart while waiting. Advance appointments preferred. Call Sharon Esper at 603-554-2402 (cell) or 978-297-7354 (shop) to make an appointment.


The Chapel, The Chapel Downtown
Holding worship services in the chapel. Attendance limited, all attendees must follow guidelines. Services will be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube. See their Facebook page or website for more information.

Cornerstone Church
In-person Sunday worship services with a limit of 65 attendees. Online services will continue to be offered. Holding virtual prayer meetings online. See their Facebook page for more information.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Church
Open for mass at 6:30 p.m. Services will return to normal schedule with guidelines in place. Attendance will be limited and all attendees must wear masks. See the church Facebook page for more information. Contact the office at, Fr. Henry at, or call 978-297-0280.

Our Neighbor's Kitchen community suppers will resume as take-out meals on Thursday, June 18. Backpack program for students aged Pre-K though high school every Thursday 5:00-6:00 p.m. in the parking lot, no one turned away.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Winchendon
Our Neighbor's Kitchen suppers will be distributed as "take-out" from the church circular driveway in May. AA Meeting has resumed on Monday nights at 7:45 p.m. in the church parish hall. Contact the church via Facebook message with any questions.

United Parish of Winchendon
In-person worship services resuming Sunday, June 28. Pre-registration required; check their Facebook page for registration form and further updates. Sunday worship being streamed online, see their Facebook page for information, as well as for daily videos, Bible readings and prayers.

Town [Still] Seeks Volunteers for Town Committees and Boards

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 Commission - 3 vacancies
Council on Aging - 1 vacancy
Cultural Council - 10 vacancies (can have up to 19 members)
Fence Viewer and Field Driver - 1 vacancy
Library Trustees - 1 vacancy
Open Space Preservation Appraisal and Survey Revolving Fund Advisory Committee - 1 vacancy
Recreation Commission - 1 regular vacancy, 2 student vacancies
Toy Town Community Partnership - 2 vacancies
Winchendon Community Park Committee (formerly the Ingleside Utilization Committee) - 5 vacancies (can have up to 15 members)
Zoning Board of Appeals - 1 regular vacancy, 2 alternates 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.

A complete description of each committee's responsibilities, updated for July, 2020, may be found here (PDF).

Winchendon CVS One of 21 COVID-19 Test Locations in Massachusetts

Beginning Friday, May 22, the Winchendon CVS will be offering COVID-19 tests to residents who meet CDC criteria for testing and age requirements. The tests will use a self-swab system, and residents must register for an appointment in advance and drive to the drive-through window to be tested. No tests will be administered on a walk-in basis for safety reasons. The CVS store is located at 301 Central Street.

Patients should make an appointment at, and bring the appointment confirmation, proof of identity and date of birth, and an insurance card with them. Most patients will not have any out-of-pocket costs, as health insurance will cover the test, but patients can check with their insurer to confirm that the test is covered.

This test is for active COVID-19 infections. It is not an antibody test to discern a past infection.

Full details are on the CVS website.

CVS plans to open 1,000 test sites across the country.

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)

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?

Toy Town FYIs

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.

The 2020 Town Street List is now available at Town Hall. Printed copies may be purchased for $8.00 ($5.00 for seniors). Call the Town Clerk's office at 978-297-2766 and one will be brought outside for you. The complete list may be downloaded as a PDF, here.

There will be a $20 late fee for unlicensed dogs beginning July 15.

The 2019 Annual Town Report may be downloaded as a PDF from the town website. Printed copies are available at Town Hall, and will be distributed at Annual Town Meeting as usual, when Town Meeting takes place (still to be determined).

Transfer Station Open Extended Hours

From June 1st to October 1st, the transfer station will be open as follows:

Thursday - 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Friday - 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Saturday - 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Water Conservation Restrictions in Place

Beginning on May 1st and ending October 1st, the Town will be under a mandatory even / odd water conservation schedule.

Outdoor watering by water users with odd numbered addresses is restricted to odd numbered days. Outdoor watering by water users with even numbered addresses is restricted to even numbered days. Watering is only permitted from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

Please direct any questions to the DPW at 978-297-0170.

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.

Annual Town Meeting, originally scheduled for Monday, May 18, has been postponed to a future date still to be determined by the Board of Selectmen.

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