The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of September 24 to October 1, 2020
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

Special and Annual Town Meeting
Monday, September 28, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.

Murdock Middle High School Gymnasium
3 Memorial Drive
Face masks/coverings REQUIRED
Social Distancing Guidelines will be adhered to

Final Warrant with BoS and FinCom Recommendations (PDF)

Town Manager's Review of Warrant Articles (video)

COVID-19 Safety for Town Meeting (PDF) Please read!

Town Meeting Warrant Articles Overview

Before attending Town Meeting on Monday, voters are advised to read over the Warrant (see link in box, above, and Warrants have been mailed to all households) and think about the pros and cons of the various Articles beforehand. Some of the Articles, such as Article 14, requesting funding to repair the Old Murdock Senior Center, and Articles 15, 16 and 27 related to the state and status of Mellen Road, have been subjects of numerous Board meetings, presentations and reports in the Courier for the last few months. The following is a brief summary.

Special Town Meeting

It's normal for Annual Town Meeting to be preceded by a short Special Town Meeting. Special Town Meeting generally has two kinds of business: "housekeeping" Articles in which small amounts of money are moved around to complete projects or pay bills from the current fiscal year; and business that is too urgent to wait until Annual Town Meeting (those are typically on the Fall Special Town Meeting Warrant).

Article 1, accept reports of town boards and committees.
Standard "rubber-stamp" article. The Town always has to do it and they always have to get it approved first, as a legal technicality. This one will be passed over because the same Article appears in the Annual Town Meeting Warrant.

Article 2, transfer funds from Free Cash to pay some remaining bills.
Wrapping up leftover business from fiscal year 2020.

Annual Town Meeting

Article 1, accept reports of town boards and committees.
Standard "rubber-stamp" article. The Finance Committee will present their report.

Article 2, authorize Town to fill positions on boards and committees.
Standard "rubber-stamp" article. Will include authorization for a seven-person Town Bylaw Committee to review the Town Bylaws and Town Charter, which is done every ten years, and recommend any changes.

Article 3, spending limits on revolving funds.
Revolving funds receive money from user fees, licensing fees, fines, tuition, and so on for each program. They aren't funded from tax levees like the general fund. This just sets the limit that each fund can spend. It's the same as last year.

Article 4, Senior Tax Work-Off.
The Senior Tax Work-Off program allows low-income senior citizens to work in part-time jobs for the town to earn offsets on their property taxes. Seniors may apply at Town Hall.

Article 5, Grant to the Winchendon Community Action Committee (CAC).
A grant given to the CAC to assist it in running its programs. This is the same amount they received last year.

Article 6, Town Operating Budget (General Fund).
The total represents an increase of 1.19 percent from last year's budget. An increase in unemployment insurance is to pay half the unemployment benefits to school staff who were laid off due to COVID.

Article 7, Water Enterprise Fund.
The Water Enterprise Fund comes entirely from water users' fees, which are paid only by residents who are on town water (many residents have private wells). The article authorizes using those funds to pay for the Water Department budget. Passing or failing this article will not affect the pending rate increases.

Article 8, Wastewater Enterprise Fund.
The Wastewater Enterprise Fund [i.e. sewer] comes entirely from town sewer users' fees, which are paid only by residents who are on the town sewer system (many residents have private septic). The article authorizes using those funds to pay for the Wastewater Department budget. Passing or failing this article will not affect the pending rate increases.

Article 9, Transfer Station Enterprise Fund.
The Transfer Station Enterprise Fund comes entirely from transfer station users' fees, which are paid only by residents and services who use the transfer station and buy permits and bags. The article authorizes using those funds to pay for the Transfer Station budget.

Article 10, Winchendon Public School District budget.
Same amount that the school district requested in March. The town is helping with unemployment benefit expenses.

Article 11, Montachusett Vocational Technical School Budget.
Winchendon's share of the Monty Tech budget based on Winchendon's student quota and number of students enrolled (slightly more than quota). Down from last year.

Article 12, Accepting Layout of Central Street.
This is a "housekeeping" article costing nothing. As the plans for next spring's Central Street Reconstruction Project were being put together, it was discovered that some parts of Central Street had never been formally accepted as town ways by voters. This article simply "cleans up" that unexplained (and probably inexplicable, at this point) anomaly.

Article 13, acquiring property rights for Central Street Reconstruction Project.
As the project evolves, the Town may need to acquire easements and rights-of-way (permanent or temporary) from private property owners to allow for the construction. This article simply authorizes the Town to negotiate on all that; just exactly what will be needed (if anything) is still unknown.

Article 14, funding to make repairs to the Old Murdock Senior Center.
See article in this edition, below, and detailed coverage in the Courier ("Background: ATM Warrant Article 14, Funding Repairs at Old Murdock Senior Center"). The funding requested covers the first two phases of three recommended phases of repair. This will be funded by a debt exclusion and will require a Proposition 2-1/2 override vote by ballot at a later date.

Article 15, funding to pave the middle portion of Mellen Road.
This article has been substantially amended since it was first placed on the draft Warrant. Initially it covered reverting Mellon Road to an unpaved road by removing the badly deteriorated surface. It now requests funding to pave the road with a single two inch coat of asphalt and survey the road so it can be accepted as a town way, possibly at the May 2021 Annual Town Meeting. Paving will be completed before this winter. (see Courier coverage "Final Town Budget for FY2021 and Draft Warrant for Annual Town Meeting Presented to Board of Selectmen and FinCom" and "Board of Selectmen Substantially Amend Mellen Road Warrant Article 15")

Article 16, funding to make emergency repairs to Mellen Road.
This article will be passed over if Article 15 passes. If Article 15 fails, this article requests funding to make emergency repairs to the badly deteriorated and hazardous surface of Mellen Road. Repairs will be completed before this winter.

Article 17, transfer additional money from Free Cash to cover the Wastewater (sewer) Department.
Housekeeping. The Wastewater Department ran out of money for the past fiscal year's operation (which is why rate increases are happening).

Article 18, transfer money from Free Cash for some expenses.
Bundled article with several capital expenses for the town included together.

Article 19, transfer money between reserve accounts.
Housekeeping. Funds are from a bonded deficit account the state required the town to keep until the town paid off its deficit, which it has done, ahead of schedule. This is being moved to a new reserve account as a contingency buffer for unexpected expenses that might come up. Controlled by the Finance Committee.

Article 20, transfer balances of prior capital appropriations into General Fund.
Housekeeping. Balances from financing past purchases with debt exclusions.

Article 21, transfer balance from past sale of town property into General Fund.

Article 22, Accepting new town ways.
Voters must approve accepting roads as town ways. Bayberry Circle and Pineview Drive were laid out as part of a development and the development is done. The town now takes on responsibility for maintenance of the roads. The town will receive slightly more Chapter 90 money from the state for the additional miles of road.

Article 23, Accepting town property.
Grout Park, at the intersection of Spring and Glenallen Streets, was owned by the Winchendon Redevelopment Authority and is now being turned over to the town (which will now be responsible for maintaining it).

Article 24, Authorization to convey town property.
Authorizes the Board of Selectmen to sell or otherwise convey a parcel of land owned by the town from a tax taking. See Article 25.

Article 25, Authorization to convey town property.
Same as Article 24. Both parcels are on Summer Drive, down by the pond near the bowling alley and Doody Burial Vaults.

Article 26, Gold Star Parent Full Tax Exemption.
Authorizes the Town to accept and implement the property tax exemption for families of veterans killed or disabled while on active duty. Eligibility for this exemption is defined in the Mass General Laws (c. 59 §5 clause 22H) but individual towns must vote to accept the provisions. There is an eligible family in Winchendon requesting the exemption.

Article 27, Citizen Petition for Mellen Road.
Asks that the Town of Winchendon recognize the unaccepted section of Mellen Road (the subject of Articles 15 and 16) as a town way by prescription. (see discussion in Courier article "Board of Selectmen Substantially Amend Mellen Road Warrant Article 15")

Old Murdock Senior Center

The Old Murdock name has been synonymous with the support of education in Winchendon since its beginnings. Ephraim Murdock bequeathed the Winchendon Academy (formerly located at the triangle of School and Front Streets) to the town. His son, Ephraim Murdock Jr., through his will, bestowed a trust fund to be used for the establishment of a school to serve the population of Winchendon over ten years of age. Murdock became the Town’s first public high school.

Murdock School was ceremoniously dedicated on June 21, 1887 and opened for the education of Winchendon’s youth on August 31, 1887. Constructed of pressed brick and finished in quartered oak, the architectural quality was considered outstanding and, at the time of dedication, it was the finest and best equipped building in Massachusetts. The building contained four ‘recitation rooms’, a library, art studio, physical and chemical laboratories, cloak rooms, basement, assembly hall, trustee and committee rooms and a principal’s office.

The Class of 1961 was the last graduating class at Murdock, leaving the building in June. In September of that same year, students entered the newly constructed Murdock Junior-Senior High School across the street from “Old Murdock”. While no longer a high school, Old Murdock remained in use as an educational facility for students over age ten in 1995, when it was closed. While vacant, the building fell into such disrepair that demolition was considered. Voters rejected this idea, but the building continued to fail. By 1998/1999, Old Murdock had become one of the Ten Most Endangered Buildings in Massachusetts.

The Community Development Commission sought funds for repairs to the building through Community Development Block Grants, the Massachusetts Historical Commission, the Robinson-Broadhurst Foundation and the Town of Winchendon. From this funding, the roof was re-slated and the clock tower restored to its glory by James Abare. The building housed the Top Fun Aviation Museum on the first floor. In October, 2005, The Town of Winchendon assigned use and control of Old Murdock to the Council on Aging for use as a senior center. An architectural study done that same year concluded that the building was in good structural condition. The Winchendon Council on Aging moving into the building in December 2005. Through the funding from the above mentioned groups, this majestic building continues to implement the dream of Ephraim Murdock in the education of Winchendon’s citizens over age ten.

Part of the Old Murdock’s charm is this historical significance to the town. Many of our current seniors attended Murdock at some point in their educational careers. The ability to re-enter Old Murdock now gives our seniors a sense of “coming home”. To see this grand building still in use, invokes a continued feeling of pride for the town and its elders. The staff of the Center take great joy both in sharing the history of the building and in showing off its glory.

Taking Old Murdock from “near demolition” to the grandeur of today, several considerations were taken to retain as much of the character as possible, to ensure both historical accuracy and safety. Great care has been taken both inside and outside. In continuing the building’s maintenance, further care will be taken to keep the building safe while maintaining historical integrity as much as possible.

The Old Murdock Senior Center addresses many issues facing our seniors such as how to live on a fixed income, dealing with the rising costs of housing, medicine, and health insurance premiums, transportation, food and fuel. Many programs dependent on state and federal funding are faced with lowered available funds. Transportation is a big issue for many seniors--being able to provide safe and reliable transportation has been a long time goal of the Center. We need to plan ahead for our seniors’ needs. A large percentage of our elders want to remain in their homes as long as possible. Seniors expect a certain level of town resources to be available to them. While it is impossible for the Center to address every need, we strive to be a one stop resource for our seniors and offer assistance with those needs and services.

We want to continue providing this level of service to our seniors now and for generations to come. Currently the Old Murdock Senior Center provides on-site meals, meals on wheels, medical transportation, insurance counseling (including Mass Health and Medicare), applications for fuel assistance and SNAP (food stamps). We also provide resource information (nursing home care, in-home care and housekeeping services), health screening (blood pressure clinics), fall prevention classes, and seminars on elder law, financial planning and preparing for retirement. We also have a food pantry and clothes closet available.

While our focus is on the seniors of Winchendon, as a service-oriented group, we have provided needed services for members of our community. We have provided emergency medical transportation, food pantry, and meals to those in need, as well as housing for homeless individuals.

The Old Murdock Senior Center is a nationally registered historic building. It would be a great loss to the town and its residents if funding is unavailable. us keep the Old Murdock building available for seniors now and for generations to come. Plan to attend the Town Meeting on Monday September 28th at 7:00p.m. in the Murdock High School Gym. We need your support to continue supporting our seniors!

Central Mass Tree

Town Now Soliciting Public Input for Proposed Master Plan

The Planning / Community Development Office is now seeking public input on the proposed Master Plan. Public comment period is from September 16, 2020 – October 15, 2020.

Please send written comments to:

Tracy Murphy, Director of Planning & Development
109 Front St.
Winchendon MA 01475

or to:

To see full information and the Volume 1 Draft Master Plan, click the following link:

MRPC Announces Small Business Grants Available Up To $1,000

This program will assist small businesses that need access to funding due to hardship stemming from the outbreak and subsequent economic decline.

Types of eligible businesses, with up to 20 employees, include:

  • Food service and/or production facilities
  • Restaurants
  • Bed and breakfasts
  • Housecleaners
  • Laundromat or dry-cleaners
  • Car repair/garages
  • Barber shops/beauty salons
  • Health care and social assistance providers
  • Small retail shops
Eligible uses of Small Business Assistance Grant Program funds include:
  • Fixed debt payments (such as on real estate and machinery and equipment)
  • Payroll
  • Accounts payable
  • Lost sales
  • Lost opportunities
  • Other working capital expenses that could have been recognized had the COVID-19 pandemic not occurred (i.e. purchase of personal protective equipment [PPE])
To qualify under this program, an eligible business must:
  • Have been in existence on March 10, 2020
  • Have demonstrated adverse financial impact on the business from the current economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Be one of the types of eligible businesses listed
Additional program requirements apply.

See full application and program requirements at

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Lake Monomonac Annual Draw Down to Start October 15th

The annual drawdown for Lake Monomonac will commence on October 15, 2020. It will be done slowly concluding by December 1, 2020.

The drawdown will begin on the West Monomonac Rd. spillway and conclude at the Great Dam on Beachview Drive.

This 3 foot drawdown has been approved by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Winchendon’s Conservation Commission.

Subway Its Footlong Season

Mill Farm Initiative Plans Grocery Store at White's Mill Facility

Town Manager Keith Hickey sent a letter to Mill Farm Initiative, Inc. acknowledging that the Town welcomes their plans to open a full-service grocery store in the 7,000 square foot metal building on the south side of the former mill complex. The store will sell dry goods, protein and fresh foods, and will offer delivery service, curbside pickup and in-store shopping with COVID-19 protocols in place. The project will require:

  1. Connection to Town water until the Aquifer is developed;
  2. Connection to National Grid;
  3. Insulation of the current structure, including installation of windows;
  4. Electrical upgrades;
  5. Installation/improvement of the septic system, requiring Title 5 approval from the Board of Health;
  6. Installation of biomass heating and air conditioning;
  7. Installation of a commercial kitchen;
  8. Site plan approval from the Planning Board for the change in use to a retail store; and
  9. a Building Permit from the Building Inspector for construction of the store.
The date for work to commence on the grocery store construction has not been announced.

November General Election

Date: Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Polling Place: Old Murdock Senior Center
Second Floor Auditorium
52 Murdock Ave.
8:00 a.m.- 8:00 p.m.
Wear Mask or Face Covering
Follow Signs for Entering and Exiting

Saturday, October 24, 2020
2:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m., Town Hall 2nd Floor Auditorium
7:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m., Police Station, 80 Central St.

Early Voting will be held at Town Hall, 109 Front St, Pleasant Street Entrance, 2nd Floor Auditorium, from October 17 to October 29, during the following times:

Saturday, October 17 & 24--12:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 18 & 25--8:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m.
Monday, October 19 & 26--8:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 20 & 27--8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Wednesday, October 21 & 28--8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Thursday, October 22 & 29--8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

Gov. Baker Strongly Urges School Districts in Low Risk Communities to Resume In-Person Learning

In his briefing to the press on Thursday, September 24, Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker strongly urged school districts in Massachusetts communities with the lowest COVID-19 infection rates to open schools for in-person learning. Accompanied by Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner Jeffrey Riley and the Superintendent of the Quincy, MA public school district (upheld as a model for reopening schools safely), Governor Baker stated that in-person learning is "something we believe is critically important," especially for special needs students.

Winchendon remains in the next to lowest category of risk, with the entire surrounding region of north central Massachusetts and Quabbin in the lowest or next to lowest categories. The Winchendon School District plans to begin hybrid learning for elementary and middle school students on October 19. Murdock High School students will remain on all-remote learning until further notice due to insufficient staff to teach both hybrid and remote classes.

There were no new cases of COVID-19 reported in Winchendon this week.The total number of cases in Winchendon stands at 91. As of September 23, 399 tests had been done in Winchendon in the previous two weeks, and none of the tests returned a positive result. (See updated town-by-town reports from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, including an interactive map, here.)

Most Toy Town businesses are open, with safety protocols requiring masks, distancing, and caps on the number of people in a space. The Senior Center, Beals Memorial Library and Town Hall remain closed to the public.

The MA Department of Public Health announced that as of Thursday, September 24, there have been 126,408 confirmed cases in Massachusetts (2,688 more than the previous week), with 9,135 fatalities (99 in the previous week).

Massachusetts is requiring visitors from every state except Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and Colorado 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. Colleges welcoming students back in person are housing some of them in hotels to allow single-occupancy, socially distanced residences, and are cracking down hard on parties and risky gatherings among students.

For full details and updates on Massachusetts state-wide COVID-19 news and restrictions, see There is a new state webpage on stopping COVID, You Have the Power to Save a Life. 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.

Outdoor gatherings in a single space are limited to a maximum number of 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.

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.

As of August 11, these 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.

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, September 24. 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
Remote classes began on September 14 for all students grades K-12. Murdock High School students will be on the remote learning plan for the entire school year (or until further notice). All elementary and middle school students will be on the remote learning plan until at least October 19, when hybrid plan students may return to school buildings for in-person classes. The school situation remains "fluid" and subject to changes, depending on guidelines from the state and whether COVID-19 cases surge or decrease.

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.

The Winchendon Fire Department will hold its annual remembrance ceremony for those who perished on 9/11 on Friday, September 11, 2020 at 9:55 a.m. at the fire station, 405 Central Street. The public is welcome to attend. Please wear masks and maintain safe social distancing.

Old Murdock Senior Center
Closed to the public. Seniors may sign up for a grocery shopping trip on September 8th or September 29th--the van is limited to four persons each trip. There will be a pasta and sausage drive-through lunch on September 16, and Outdoor Bingo on September 30, weather permitting. 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
Interlibrary Loan is now available. Copying and Fax service is available: make an appointment for dropping off and picking up materials. Payment due at drop-off (b/w copies $0.10 per side, color copies $0.25 per side, faxes $1.00 per page).
Building remains 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.

Used book and media sale on Thursday evenings, 6:00-8:00 p.m. by appointment. Books and magazines by free donation, puzzles for $5, DVDs, music, video games and audio books $1. All proceeds go to future library programs and events. Call for an appointment.

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). Private and semi-private swim lessons beginning this fall. Youth fall soccer clinics have been scheduled. Fall gymnastics classes will start October 5. For full details and the new handbook for members, see their Facebook page or website.

Full day child care for school age children starting September 14, 6:30 a.m.- 6:30 p.m., $150 per week. Call 978-297-9622 or email Kyle Scrivines at with questions.

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.

Tutoring/mentoring program for WPS students in conjunction with The Winchendon School. Limited space, call 978-297-1667 to get on the list.

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. See their Facebook page for hours, updates and information, or call 978-297-1667.

Winchendon American Legion Post 193
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. 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 re-open for in-person dance classes on September 14. 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
URGENTLY SEEKING delivery drivers, apply in person. 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. September 27 will be last day of the season.
Special through September 18: Free Scoop and Topping for all teachers.

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!) September 27 will be the last day of the season.

Ruschioni's Cruisin' 12 Diner
Closing at 11:00 a.m. this weekend, Sept. 19-20. 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! Hiring server/bartender, apply in person. 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. New phone number: 978-297-7142. 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
OPEN. See their Facebook page for hours and 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. 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 have resumed as take-out meals on first and third Thursdays of the month. 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. Accepting donations of clean, good condition clothing, shoes, linens, blankets, accessories through October 22, drop-off container in church parking lot.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Winchendon
Our Neighbor's Kitchen suppers are being distributed as “drive-through/take-out" from the church circular driveway every 2nd and 4th Thursday from 5:30 - 6:00 p.m. until further notice. AA Meeting has resumed on Monday nights at 7:45 p.m. in the church parish hall. For more information about these and other events, visit their Facebook page or website:

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. Sunday School has resumed--pre-register on the church website. Zoom meetings and at-home study materials are also both available for Sunday School.

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

Please Do Not Flush Sanitizing Wipes Down the Toilet
Wipes Clog Pipes!

The Department of Public Works is asking all users of the public sewer system to please be careful not to flush santizing wipes down the toilet. These wipes collect in the pumps and destroy them, causing the Town to be forced to replace two pumps just in the last month alone. If a pump at the wastewater treatment plant were to burn out from wipe accumulation, it would cost the Town $30,000 to replace it. Please throw these wipes into your rubbish instead.

The annual drawdown for Lake Monomonac will commence on October 15, 2020. It will be done slowly concluding by December 1, 2020.
The drawdown will begin on the West Monomonac Rd. spillway and conclude at the Great Dam on Beachview Drive.
This 3 foot drawdown has been approved by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Winchendon’s Conservation Commission.

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.

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