The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of October 1 to October 8, 2020
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Article to Repair Old Murdock Misses Two Thirds Vote by 4 Percent at Monday's ATM

Articles Related to Unaccepted Roads Spark Lengthy Debates

A request that the Town approve funding for the first two phases of three recommended phases of repairs to the 136-year-old Old Murdock Senior Center failed by four percentage points when the Article did not receive the two-thirds (66 percent) majority vote required to pass.

171 Winchendon voters checked in at Murdock Middle-High School for a controversial in-person Annual Town Meeting on Monday, September 28. 19 non-voters with a stake in various articles also attended. Annual Town Meeting usually takes place in early May, with the town's fiscal year beginning on July 1. Concerns about COVID and state restrictions on gatherings caused a delay this year, and the town submitted one-twelfth monthly budgets to the state until the official FY2021 budget could be approved by voters.

Chairs were placed at six-foot intervals in the gymnasium and masks were required for entry. Masks and hand sanitizer were available at the main door. Voters were asked whether they had a fever or had recently traveled to any location with a high rate of COVID infections before they were admitted. A projection screen had been set up in the gym for presentations. The meeting achieved quorum and was called to order by Town Moderator Coral Grout on time at 7:00 p.m.

Most of the 29 Warrant articles (two on the Special Town Meeting and 27 on the Annual Town Meeting Warrants) passed easily without discussion. (For an overview of the Warrant articles, see the Courier summary, "Town Meeting Warrant Articles Overview"). All articles on the Annual Town Meeting Warrant passed except Article 14.

Finance Committee Chair Thomas Kane Jr. began his presentation of the Finance Committee's report by explaining that this year, with the impact of the pandemic, they focused on where the town's revenues come from, rather than how the town is spending money. The largest source of the town's revenue, 46.5 percent, comes from state aid. The next largest source of revenue, 43.2 percent, is property taxes, with local receipts (license fees, excise taxes, and so on) providing 9.1 percent. The state is facing a revenue shortfall of roughly $6 billion due to the economic impact of COVID-19. State aid is almost level-funded this year, but that isn't sustainable if the pandemic continues. Local receipts and property taxes are both lower than last year. Altogether, the town anticipates 1.2 percent less revenue in FY2021 than last year. The town's budget has been reduced by a corresponding 1.19 precent from FY2020.

While the town currently expects a fairly healthy balance in the Free Cash, Stabilization and Reserve Funds, it also needs to anticipate higher financial needs in future years due to the ongoing pandemic and its economic impact.

Following this explanation, the town budget, Winchendon Public Schools budget and Monty Tech budget all passed with almost no questions or debate. Voter Tina Santos rose to ask about an item in the town budget giving $10,000 to the Clark Memorial YMCA. The Board of Selectmen explained that this fee is paid annually to the Clark to keep the field open for Medivac flights should they be required.

Article 14 requested $3,762,000 to be appropriated and funded through a debt exclusion (borrowing) and Proposition 2-1/2 override for repairs to the Old Murdock Senior Center building.

Voter Richard Lucier raised a question about the amount in the Warrant and the motion, which was higher than the amounts given in the Tighe and Bond engineering report for Phases 1 and 2 of the recommended repairs. The motion was consequently withdrawn and a new motion was made for the amount of $3,510,000, in accordance with the report.

Mr. Lucier then asked if the town had exhausted all possible means of funding the repairs. He asked if the Robinson Broadhurst Foundation had been approached about applying community development funds to the Senior Center repairs. Board of Selectmen Chair Mike Barbaro responded that the town did talk to Robinson Broadhurst, and Robinson Broadhurst wanted to use the community development funds for "something new" and not repairs.

Ms. Santos rose to comment that she felt this was a "bad time" for this expenditure. "I think we have other priorities in town, we have a lot of town buildings that really need our attention. Our firefighters, our last Town Meeting we talked about a fire station. We have a lack of women's quarters, which is against the law, we had a woman breast-feeding in a closet, but we have concern about giving a quarter million, close to a quarter million, towards a senior center," Ms. Santos said. "Our seniors can get services no matter what...but we also have EMTs, firefighters and such that work under very poor circumstances.

"Our DPW building, that has been leaking for how long?" Ms. Santos continued. "We have a lot of priorities in town, and that's a lot of money to be spending." Ms. Santos stated that we'd love to repair the Old Murdock clock tower "but I don't think the clock tower has anything to do with the senior services continuing. I think we need to look for grants" and other funding sources.

Responding to a comment from voter Karen Veilleux that the increase in taxes would be a twenty-year commitment, Mr. Barbaro read a list of the amount taxes would increase for homes of various assessed values, beginning with $68 per year for a home assessed at $200,000. He pointed out that with inflation, the estimated construction cost would go up $180,000 for each year repairs were delayed.

Somewhat burying the lede, Mr. Barbaro went on, "Also, the town entered into an agreement in the 90s with the state of Massachusetts, to repair and keep the heat on in this building. The state has the right to come in and demand that we fix it. We're working to avoid all that." This was the only mention of the permanent Preservation Restriction on the Old Murdock building that was made by any speaker.

Asked why the Selectmen and FinCom members who had not recommended the article had voted nay, Mr. Kane, Selectman Barbara Anderson and Selectman Amy Salter stated that they felt the town needed to take a long view with large capital expenses and that it was a bad time to ask voters to take on a major commitment.

Selectman Rick Ward, who had voted to recommend the article, said that he hoped everyone had read the draft Master Plan posted by the Master Planning Committee. He pointed out that Winchendon has an aging population and the services offered by the Senior Center will only become more important to the town as time passes. "40.7 percent of all the households in town have at least one resident over the age of 60," Mr. Ward stated.

A motion was made from the floor to amend the article to only fund repairs to the roof, with no dollar amount specified. As Mr. Barbaro and Mr. Ward were explaining that doing the roof repairs alone would not solve the immediate problems, such as falling bricks, Ms. Santos rose without being recognized to demand, "what about the DPW roof? Are we going to be concerned about that for how many years?" Disregarding Moderator Grout's admonitions, Ms. Santos raised her voice, asking the Selectmen "How about the DPW roof? Can that be fixed? How long did that take?" as at least one of the Winchendon Police officers present to keep the peace moved closer to the microphone. Mr. Barbaro told Ms. Santos that the DPW roof repair "has been funded." Ms. Santos returned to her seat. The motion was withdrawn.

Moderator Grout called the question. Because the article dealt with a capital expenditure, a two-thirds majority (66 percent) was required to pass. The vote was 62 percent in favor, 38 percent against. The article failed.

Article 15 asked voters to approve $106,125 to pave the unaccepted section of Mellen Road and survey the metes and bounds so that the road can be accepted at a future Town Meeting. This article also evoked a long discussion which reiterated points repeated several times at multiple Board of Selectmen meetings (and reported by the Courier). Numerous residents of Mellen Road rose to describe the history of the problem and the state of the road. The article passed, 82 percent to 17 percent.

The next article to elicit any comment or debate was Article 22, which asked voters to approve accepting Bayberry Circle and Pinewood Drive as town ways. Mr. Lucier rose to ask if developer Robert Van Dyke had left anything unfinished, or if the roads were complete. The Board of Selectmen stated that the roads were complete.

Voter Wayne Crespo rose to state that a 480-foot section of Bayberry Circle was not finished, but was unpaved and in poor condition. He asked if the motion could be amended to reflect that the town was not accepting the unfinished portion, because as made the motion was to accept "the whole thing." Selectman Audrey LaBrie stated that the developer had come before the Board and amended his plan to exclude that section because a utility pole was obstructing the road.

Voter Ms. Jean-Pierre, a resident of Bayberry Circle, rose to describe the hazards of the road, saying that drivers use the unpaved portion as a shortcut and go through at high speed, and that puddles freeze over in the winter and make the road treacherous for children meeting school buses there. She stated that she didn't want to be liable for any injuries, since her property is next to the unfinished section.

Town Planning Director Tracy Murphy explained that as soon as the road is accepted, that section will be graded and maintained. The unpaved section will be gated off and will only be an emergency exit from the road. Ms. Jean-Pierre suggested that some kind of speed bump be installed to prevent drivers from speeding through.

Ms. Santos rose to ask, "Is there any way that we can stop that man from developing? Because it seems like there are so many problems with so many of these developments and such." Voter Fran Murphy rose to comment that it had taken sixteen years for these roads to be accepted, "is this normal?" He asked who would have been liable for any accidents on the roads.

Ms. Murphy said that the town has no responsibility for accidents on unaccepted roads. Winchendon put a moratorium on building after this development was permitted, then the markets crashed. The project received several extensions, then Mr. Van Dyke passed away. His widow has been working with the town to finish the project.

The article passed 94 percent in favor, 6 percent opposed.

Article 27, the Citizen's Petition to proclaim the unaccepted portion of Mellen Road as a town way by prescription, evoked a thirty-five minute debate, punctuated with frequent applause, which largely reiterated arguments that had been repeated in several previous Board of Selectmen meetings (and reported by the Courier) without the citizens and the Town Boards coming to any agreement. The residents of Mellen Road, and other voters, agreed that the road should be accepted as a town way. The Board of Selectmen and Town Counsel continued to state that, with the approval of Article 15, Mellen Road would be paved and accepted as a town way at next spring's Annual Town Meeting.

School Committee member Karen Kast rose to ask whether the vote on the petition was binding or whether the town could simply ignore it. She argued that the town should accept the road and "stop putting money into fighting the people of this town." Mellen Road resident David Watkins expressed doubt that the road will be accepted in the spring if Article 27 was not approved.

Ms. LaBrie stated that the Board of Selectmen cannot guarantee that any road will be accepted, because that's up to the voters at Town Meeting.

Ms. Santos rose to say, "it sounds as though that a lot of people buying homes are getting information that their home is on a public road, an accepted road. So perhaps the DPW or Town Manager needs to say, the realtors in town get a list of all the accepted and unaccepted roads, so they can go through their database or their listings and update it and correct it, so this does not happen."

Moderator Grout called the question. The article passed, 86 percent in favor, 14 percent opposed.

Town Meeting adjourned at 9:40 p.m.

Central Mass Tree

Town Seeking Volunteers to Serve on Charter Bylaw Review Committee

In compliance with the Town Charter, Section 7.6, the Town Manager’s Office is seeking 7 volunteers to serve on the Charter Bylaw Review Committee.

SECTION 7-6 PERIODIC REVIEW, CHARTER AND BYLAWS (a) Charter and Bylaw review - In years ending in a 5 or in a zero (0), the Town Moderator shall appoint a special committee of 7 members charged with the responsibility to review the then existing Charter and Bylaws of the town for the purpose of determining if any amendments or revision may be necessary or desirable. Such review shall be conducted in consultation with town counsel or, if the Town meeting so directs, by special counsel retained for that purpose. A report, with recommendations, shall be submitted to the Town meeting not more than 10 months following the date such committee is appointed.
Positions are appointed by the Town Moderator.

Please send letters of interest to the Town Manager’s Office, 109 Front Street, Winchendon, MA, 01475, by October 22.

Bylaws of the Town of Winchendon (2015) (PDF)

Charter of the Town of Winchendon (2016) (PDF)

Town Invites Public Comment on MVOC Plan for Former Poland and Streeter Schools

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is currently reviewing the Poland & Streeter School Redevelopment Project Eligibility (PE) Application submitted by the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center, Inc. (link below) DHCD has asked that the Winchendon Board of Selectmen offer comments regarding the proposal by October 30, 2020. Comments need to be submitted to the Town Manager by noon on October 21, 2020.

40B Comprehensive Permit Project Eligibility (PDF)

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:

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Beals Bundles Begin at the Beals Memorial Library

Are you missing the ability to browse the shelves at the library to find a great book or movie that’s right up your alley? Do you want something new to try out, but don’t want the bother of endlessly searching the library’s online catalogue for something that interests you? Then let the staff at the Beals Memorial Library do the work for you through their new Beals Bundles program, starting Monday, October 5.

A Beals Bundle is an easy way for patrons and their families to access the wide variety of books, movies, and audiobooks in the library’s collection. By filling out a short online form based around format, topic, and genre, the staff at the library can expertly curate a pick-up order of three to five items that patrons are sure to enjoy. The Beals Bundles form can be found on the front page of the library’s website,, by selecting the icon titled ‘Beals Bundles’.

Please allow up to two days for requests to be fulfilled. When a bundle is ready, patrons will be notified by either email or telephone and will have one week from the time of notification to make an appointment for pickup. Additionally, when a Beals Bundle is checked out, each item is being borrowed individually, so patrons can return items separately at any time on or before their respective due date.

The Beals Memorial Library is located at 50 Pleasant Street in Winchendon. To request a Beals Bundle, visit the library’s website,, or call the library at 978-297-0300.

a Beals Bundle
Get a bundle of books, DVDs, or audiobooks to match your preferences through the Beals Memorial Library’s Beals Bundles.

Subway Its Footlong Season

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 Signs Order Moving Low-Risk Communities Forward to Step 2 of the Third Phase of Reopening

On Tuesday, September 29, Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker announced that towns and cities in the lowest risk categories for COVID-19 transmission could return to the relaxed restrictions of the second step of Phase 3 in the Massachusetts reopening plan. The state began Step 2 in July but guidelines were rolled back on August 11 when the relaxed protocols were followed by a rise in COVID numbers and several outbreaks.

Under the Phase 3 Step 2 guidelines, low-risk communities may increase the maximum capacity in indoor and outdoor recreational venues. Indoor and outdoor performance venues may accommodate 50 percent of their capacity, up to 250 persons; open air attractions may operate at 50 percent of their capacity, and museums, libraries, driving schools and flight schools may also operate at 50 percent of capacity. Fitting rooms may be opened in retail stores.

The limit for indoor gatherings remains at 25 persons, while gatherings in private back yards are limited to 50 persons.

Should a low-risk community experience an outbreak or increase in cases that moves it into a higher risk category, that community will be rolled back to tighter limits on groups.

According to the map displayed by Gov. Baker, Winchendon is now in the lowest category of risk, due to the length of time since the last positive test here, with the entire surrounding region of north central Massachusetts and Quabbin in the lowest or next to lowest categories.

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 30, 387 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, October 1, there have been 129,753 confirmed cases in Massachusetts (3,345 more than the previous week), with 9,242 fatalities (107 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, Step 2 of 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.

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 ten persons, and menus are preferably disposable or electronic. Laminated plastic menues must be sanitized after each use. 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 no more than fifty percent of maximum capacity. 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, October 1. 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 November 2, when hybrid plan students may return to school buildings for in-person classes. This date has been pushed back since work on the HVAC systems will not be completed by October 19. The school district is looking for alternate locations where the youngest students could meet for in-person learning. 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 hours. 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. 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. Call before October 20 to set up a SHINE appointment for assistance with health insurance. There will a flu shot clinic on October 28. 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

Little Anthony's & Little Lizzie's
Open for indoor dining. 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

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! 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.

Blessing of the Animals for St. Francis' Feast Day on Sunday, October 4 at 2:00 p.m. in the church parking lot. Children's Religious Education classes will be resuming soon.

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.

The 2019 Annual Town Report may be downloaded as a PDF from the town website. Printed copies are available at Town Hall (call the Town Clerk's office and arrange a time for one to be brought out for you).

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