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Orange, MA Food Pantry
118 East Main Street (across from the Armory)
Open Thursdays 10-3
Evan Manning - coordinator
Salvation Army Athol
Food Pantry 107 Ridge Ave.
Open Tuesday, Friday | 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
This food pantry is available twice a month or on an emergency basis.
Please call 978.249.8111 for details.
Take out meal program Tuesday nights.
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If only the river were this blue...
Final Cost of Nichewaug Demo Uncertain
The Selectboard added another $30,000 of Covid-19 relief cash to the Nichewaug demolition account on November 17. Chair Nancy Allen said the final cost of the project, now at $840,000 plus interest, won't be known for some time. The town has borrowed $610,000 for the project and augmented that with $230,000 in Covid relief money, Loam has been spread but cold weather dictates waiting until spring before seeding the area. Repairs to a right of way driveway along the north side of the property are also pending.
The board approved letting residents pay the transfer station disposal fee for mattresses by check at the transfer station. New state disposal rules went into effect on Nov. 1; appointed Timothy Flaxington to a one-year probationary position as a police patrolman and renewed four local liquor licenses.
Stamford Wrecking has removed the heavy equipment used to demolish the Nichewaug buildings.
Cellar holes have been filled and loam has been spread across the now flat lot.
Ecologist to Speak at Harvard Forest Cancelled
Harvard Forest will not host Dr. Susan Trumbore for a free public lecture in the Fisher Museum on Friday, October 28, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The presenter has contracted Covid and cannot travel.
ACO Call Log Summary
8/5 @8:30a Call from Urgent Care in Athol regarding dog bite to Petersham resident. Facility unable to scan report and requests in person pick up of document. Trip to Athol to retrieve paperwork, resident informed of quarantine requirements, dog is UTD on rabies vaccination and eligible for home quarantine
@9:30a Call from PPD for loose dog report, to area, dog picked up and returned to owner
8/7 @4:45p Report of loose dog near school, owner identified and called, dog returned to owner
@7:30p Resident call regarding a bite of unknown origin to a vaccinated cat, cat has been seen by veterinarian, quarantine requirements reviewed with owner
@7:45p Resident call for their missing small dog, to area to assist, owner feels someone took dog as they went to retrieve dog as it walked down driveway and it disappeared.
@8:30p Call for missing large dog, gave resident suggestions, dog returned home
8/8 @8a Call from resident regarding ill dog missing after escaping from porch, suggestions given, to area, dog located, owner to bring dog to emergency facility for treatment During the day, several trips to follow up on missing small dog.
@7p Call from Worcester resident with a found dog that fits the description of the above missing small dog. Caller states boyfriend found the dog at a work site in Rutland at 5:30a, individual kept dog with him at work all day, likely owner of above lost dog contacted and phone numbers exchanged, owner to meet individual in Worcester, dog returned with owners to Petersham
8/11-12Multiple calls for 2 found dogs
8/14 @7:45a Owner call to report loose/lost goats. Animals located at 9a
@11a Dispatch call for loose dog wandering around the west side of town, to area, dog picked up and returned to owner
8/18 @11a Dispatch call regarding dog a homeowner found and would like picked up as the dog is not familiar, to area, owner identified, returned dog to owner and had discussion regarding keeping the dog secure as this is a repeat offender pup
@10:15a Resident left message that a call be returned between 7-9p to discuss issue with dogs in neighborhood
8/19 @8a Barking dog complaint
@9a call from PPD regarding an update about an ongoing equine issue
8/20 @6:30p Two loose dogs appear at the home of ACO, owner called
8/21 @9p Dispatch call regarding message received regarding porcupine that motorist hit, motorist to stay on site until ACO arrives since animal appears to be in pain, to area, animal found to be deceased and removed
8/22 @11a Farm visit to discuss civil matter
@3:45p Call regarding the protocol for relocated 2 swans, referred to other agency
8/23 @10:30a Phone call from MSPCA Sergeant regarding a formal complaint made by an out of town resident after being present at a home in Petersham, additional information provided to Sergeant
@4:40p MSPCA Sergeant phone call to follow up on above after a home visit was made, plan in place for ongoing follow up and additional site visits
@6p Resident found a deceased possum and requests pick up, to area
8/26 @6p Resident reports loose dog running around the center of town, to area, owner located
8/28 @7p Resident call to report wandering loose dog, appears elderly, suggested caller speak to owner of house where sighting occurred as it is likely their dog, all set
8/29 @10a Resident reports one of their two dogs is missing, to area, dog located approximately 2 hours later
8/30 @9a Resident would like it recorded, a few days prior, they were chased by a dog while bike riding
Selectboard Signs Nichewaug Demolition Loan
Selectboard members inked a $621,000 loan agreement. Town Treasurer Dana Robinson said the loan will cost the town some $776,589 over 10 years. That brings the cost of demolishing the Nichewaug property to $976,000 when $200,000 of Covid money that was allocated to the project is taken into account.
Robinson declined to estimate the impact of recent Federal Reserve Board interest rate hikes that likely more than doubled the interest rate on the borrowing to 4 5/8 percent after the town's first attempt at borrowing last January was denied because chair Nancy Allen failed to seek required approval from the Capital Improvement Committee as required by town bylaws.
At its September 22 meeting, the board appointed Deb Poodry of South Main Street as an alternate member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and named Sara Deponte and Jeanette Martin to the Cultural Council.
How Shall We Honor the Flag?
You can find Bill Berry on the common each day around dusk. He is there to lower the American flag that graces our town common as he has done almost every day for the past 34 years. Unless a flag is illuminated, the rules say it should be raised at the start and lowered at the end of each day.
Now Berry and Bill Purple, a long-serving former selectman, are proposing to light the flagpole with a solar lighting system. They presented their proposal to the Selectboard on Oct. 22.
Board member Becky Legare asked whether the proposed system would change the amount of light in the center of town at night. Chair Nancy Allen suggested that forming a volunteer group to take care of raising and lowering the flag might be a better solution and said the board members would spend the next several days informally seeking public opinion and possibly visiting some lit-up flagpole sites in other towns. "I like the ritual of raising and lowering the flag," she said.
Purple said the lighting
would be beautiful. "This is not going to be a blast of light at the
top of the flagpole. Lights would be pointed downward, he said.
"This is not going to cost the town anything. I am going to pay for
it. It will allow the flag to fly 24 hours a day." he said.
How Petersham Is Spending Its Covid Aid Money
When President Biden announced the $4.3 trillion federal Covid assistance plan, he said the money would "... put food on people's tables." Guidelines directed assistance to "disadvantaged families, small businesses and non-profits" with subordinate beneficiaries. The same guidelines then offered cities and towns "broad discretion" in allocating the money.
Permitted uses include "Health and safety of the public and town staff... Upgrades improving remote access to Town business and Upgrades and support for recreational activities for healthy living." The guidelines then offered cities and towns "broad discretion" in dispersing those funds.
Like many other communities, the Petersham Selectboard is taking full advantage of that additional language. There is no process that allows individuals, small businesses or non-profits to apply for Covid assistance.
The town has so far received $376.632 in Covid relief according to an official review of its own ARPA spending plan. It has not announced the availability of any funds for families, small businesses or non-profits. There is no mention of aid to families, businesses or local charities in the end of July overview. Only one 501c3 charity has directly applied for funds and that application has not been discussed by the board.
Several of the first-promised allocations are being reworked to provide a second round of Covid money for the Nichewaug demolition. The largest appropriation from the Covid funds ( now $200,000) will pay part of the cost of demolishing the Nichewaug complex. Other spending is being reduced as a result, including a planed $63,500 for the fire department including a commercial drying system for protective gear, $35,638 for police department equipment, $18,000 for new elementary school playground equipment, $32,000 for fire department building painting and upgrades. $13,000 to upgrade assessors' software, $11,000 for a walk-in freezer at the school, $6,000 for a nature program at the school $9,500 for a transfer station roll off container and $5,000 for the Memorial Library.
Occasional Area News
200 Tanks of Covid Oil for Athol Residents
By GREG VINE For The Athol Daily News
Published: 9/16/2022 1:22:35 PM
ATHOL — Rebecca Bialecki, vice chair of the Athol Selectboard, announced at the board’s meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 13, that the committee that oversees the use of ARPA (American Recovery Plan Act) funds was recommending the use of those federal funds to help Athol residents heat their homes this coming winter. The advisory committee consists of Bialecki, board member Stephen Raymond, Town Manager Shaun Suhoski, Finance and Warrant Advisory Committee Chair Ken Duffy, and several department heads.
“We had a substantial amount of money still available that was unused in our ARPA monies, which is federal dollars that came to the town that had to meet specific criteria, and we have two recommendations for the board’s consideration this evening,” Bialecki began. “One is to support the local fuel assistance program for $200,000. That would allow for a one time, up to $1,000 for fuel oil or propane to low- and moderate-income families. That would include seniors, for the most part.
“The program,” she continued, “would be run through the Salvation Army...
At current prices, the program could deliver 200 full tanks of heating oil.
Nichewaug Complex Falls to Demolition Crew
Should Petersham Take Online Payment for Taxes?
More than 300 small and large communities across the state have easy systems to accept online payments for town fees (dog licenses and dump permits, etc.) and for tax payments (excise and property taxes). Should Petersham offer this convenient service to residents? Tell us what you think.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject line "E-Payments" stating simply Yes or No or include more thoughts.
Covid Updates from the State Dept. of Public Health
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