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Art Classes at the Memorial Library
Pre-K Story & Craft Hour:

Starting on Monday, August 22nd, Pre-K Story and Craft Hour will be offered to local students ages 3 to 5 years old in collaboration with the Petersham Memorial Library. Taught by local artist and art educator, Kate Walsh, students will have the opportunity to listen to the story of the day, create a story-related craft, and spend time with other Pre-K families from the area. Thanks to the Petersham Cultural Council, these classes are FREE to attend! Please register by August 15th. 

Classes will be
Monday, August 22nd 9:30-10:30
Tuesday, August 23rd 9:30-10:30 
Wednesday, August 24th 9:30-10:30
On the library lawn.
Sign up for Pre-K class at this link:
or contact Kate:

Elementary Art Series: 

Starting on Monday, August 22nd, Elementary Art Class Series will be offered to local students ages 6 to 10 years old in collaboration with the Petersham Memorial Library. Taught by local artist and art educator, Kate Walsh, students will be provided with art materials, instruction on techniques, and the artistic license to create unique, one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Students will be exploring clay, printmaking, and drawing techniques. Thanks to the Petersham Cultural Council, these classes are FREE to attend. Please register by August 15th. pro v

Classes will be on:
Monday, August 22nd 11:00-12:00
Tuesday, August 23rd
Wednesday, August 24th 11:00-12:00 11:00-12:00

 On the  library lawn

Sign up for Elementary Art Class Series at this link:
or contact Kate:

Congregational Church Holds Games Nights

Orthodox Congregational Church is holding open Games Nights on Thursdays this summer from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. in their Andrews Hall at the back of the church.  This is open to all ages, and any are welcome to bring their own games to share, while there are a number of games, cards, and other activities on hand.  Light refreshments provided, and bringing stuff to share accepted.


Exploring Nature at the Memorial Library.

The library and the EQLT have joined forces once again for their Nature Program Series! Join the library and the East Quabbin Land Trust on the library lawn for fun and educational events geared toward early elementary aged children throughout the summer. The programs include stories, activities, and crafts. Please register by emailing . These events are free and open to the public. 

Mark your calendars:

Pollinator Power Tuesday, July 12 @ 10:30 a.m.

All About Clouds Tuesday, July 19 @ 10:30 a.m.

New Congregational Church Discussion Group

The Orthodox Congregational Church is starting new Adult Christian Education programming with an ongoing Discussion Group Series meeting on the Second & Fourth Wednesdays of the month (except March, which will be the Second & the Fifth) at 6:30p both in-person and remotely via Zoom & Facebook Live.  stinThis Discussion Group will address a variety of topics, the first being "What's the Difference? Christian Church Edition," which will discuss what makes one church tradition different from an other, like pastors or priests, decorations, the layout of the sanctuary, views on the sacraments, and more.  Other topics will follow, like Books Excluded From the Bible, Church Architecture, Congregationalism, Biblical Archaeology, Inter-Faith Topics, Heresy in History (e.g. Gnosticism & Prosperity Gospel), et al.

The transfer station is now open on Wednesdays from 1:30 to 4 p.m. as well as Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 Local Petersham Telephone Directory


Surgical Pavilion Work at Heywood Hospital

Site work began about February 28th, in preparation of the construction of a new surgical pavilion at Heywood Hospital. Visitors will notice fencing and heavy equipment on site, as phase 1 site preparation includes erosion control, drilling and blasting.

Hospital abutters will be offered pre-construction home inspections, ALPACA TEAconducted by Falvey Associates as blasting of ledge will be conducted on the site. Quarterly abutter forums will provide ongoing communication and information exchange.

The new surgical pavilion is designed to improve local and regional access to surgical services, expanding from the current four undersized operating rooms to a total of six operating rooms. It will include modernization and technology upgrades designed to optimize access to high quality, low cost, surgical care. Completion of the surgical pavilion is anticipated in the fall of 2023.

Become a Local Volunteer
It Is Often said ...

That there is a shortage of people who are willing to accept positions - to make a   contribution - to small town governments like ours. It may be easy to believe that.

But here are the facts. Three people stepped up to run for a single seat on our Selectboard recently. Not one or two but three.ELDREDGE And if you look a bit  more closely at the numbers, there are 25 municipal committees at the helm of our town government. We have a Board of Health, Zoning Board, Planning Board and more.

Together, those committees have a combined membership of 85 residents all willing to serve, to attend meetings and deliberate important town issues. That is almost one in ten of us. Nearly 200 residents attended a recent special town meeting.

And the numbers do not include churches and fraternal groups like the Lions Club and the Petersham Grange or trustees of the library and the craft center.

So the next time someone tells you that nobody is willing to serve, feel free  to correct them.

Heywood Hospital and Barre Covid Testing

Heywood Hospital Damon Building. ** Appointment required **

Call 978-630-6186

Testing available Monday-Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm.
Closed on Sundays. Physician order/referral is not required.

The Heywood Hospital Damon Building (234 Green Street, Gardner, MA) is located across from Heywood Hospital (242 Green St. Gardner, MA).Enter through Matthews Street.


Barre Family Health Center, Rte. 122 in Barre.  Call 978-355-6321.

Info for Residents Seeking Help With Heating Bills

A website that answers frequent questions is right here

A New Feature
An Occasional Column of  Pastoral Thoughts:

"Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

"But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour."

-Luke 12:32-40

Constant Vigilance. That is good advice for any time. Like Scouts being prepared. Nobody truly knows when things are going to happen, so we should be ready for anything. I once lived for a time in a condo that routinely flooded. When it happened, some people panicked and flailed about, some of us put on galoshes, grabbed a floor squeegee, and got to work.

When I was training to be a chaplain at a Level 1 Trauma Center, the rest of my class was reading the Harry Potter books in the downtime of our 36 hour shifts, and to fit in, I started to read them as well. The book that came out during the training featured a colorful character who often yelled, “constant vigilance!” to his students That phrase became the watchword for our class, because that was what they were training us to be: Prepared; And ready for anything. Because we don't know what we will be called upon to do. We meet people on their worse days and enter their nightmares. We cannot run away from it, we can only be prepared to serve God through service to those in pain.

My first solo shift was right after an 8-hr shift of classroom and rounds, and I went 12 hours straight, averaging a call an hour, conducting end-of-life rituals for every religion we were trained for. I am told that many have only been called upon a couple of times for non-Christians or types of the Christians with special ritual needs...and I got all of them in a single shift. I was only able to serve because I was prepared.

My own first pastor, Rev. Raymond Shoup, learned about being prepared at church during his student internship at a Methodist church. One Sunday, during the service, the pastor had a heart attack. The deacons inconspicuously carried him out, and turned to then-Seminarian Shoup to continue on with the service. He was always prepared for anything after that day.

My father told me a story about Rev. Shoup's preparedness verses that of an associate pastor. The Sunday that the associate pastor preached, something came up during the Moment of Concern. An announcement about a death [of a son]. Now, during the associate pastor's sermon, he used a literary device where he repeated a phrase[, “...and I lost my boy”] at the end of every paragraph, which was obviously going to be upsetting to that congregant, but he gave the sermon as he had written it.

Rev. Shoup, on the other hand, always had multiple sermons for each scripture, so he could shift gears mid-service, and it would not even interfere with what was written in the bulletin. And that is what he did in similar situations. I hope to be so prepared in my ministry!

But how can a church be prepared and ready? Every church for nearly two thousands years have been considered a place of shelter in times of emergency. To offer disaster relief and safety to the displaced. How has your church been ready?

I remember a bitterly cold night with blizzard conditions one winter in the last town I served, where there was a car accident on Colebrook Road. That church opened up to give hot drinks and a place to warm up for the first responders. Their Food Pantry offered emergency food aid as it is needed. And one day, there was a knock on the Parsonage door, and it was an old friend, who knew of a Colebrook resident in dire need, and she left with a box of food.

Being prepared can be accomplished in many ways. It can be by being ready to meet any situation. It can be by planning ahead to serve in the best way one can. It can be by a willingness to be responsive to the needs of others in a bad situation. By being watchful, constantly vigilant, and prepared, we can be ready when any disaster happens.

Pastor Geoffrey

 Congregational Pastot

Handy Transfer Station Recycling Guide

Mike Seitz, transfer station assistant, provides this short guide to recycling.

These items should go in the regular trash bin: plastic bags, styrofoam, black plastic, glass and ceramic kitchenware, plastic or combination coat hangars, all medical devices. Any other items not marked for recycling. Questions? Ask          Paul or Mike.curling

Single-use household batteries go in the trash bin. Give rechargeable batteries to the transfer station monitors along with laptop batteries and button batteries. Auto batteries and the like can often be returned to auto parts stores or scrap yards for store credit or cash.


Switch to Amazon Prime and the Petersham Friday Market can get a small donation for our music program from each purchase.




Food Pantries Serving Petersham Residents

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.

Nichewaug Video Tour 1993

Just for the Fun of It... click here

soapboxGot Something to Say?

Send it here: info@petershamcommon,com has been putting local Petersham news and information online since 1996. This website averages 7,500 page views each month - more than any  other source of local Petersham news. It is a good place to spread the word about community events so all can see. There is an Opinion Page open for  thoughts and comments from everyone -- just like Letters to the Editor in a newspaper.

 This website is NOT an official outlet for town government. It presents fact-based reporting about town government and news about local events. The site is updated nearly every day, so please put us on your list when sending out your news. Simple text e-mails listing who, what, when, where and why do nicely - no PDFs and no posters please. Send it here: info@petershamcommon,com

Get Some Free Stuff
You Can't Beat These Prices
At the Dump

Transfer Station (DUMP) Fees

Calendar of Town Committee Meetings

what's open
Selectboard Office Hours

Monday 8  a.m. – 4  p.m.
Tuesday 8  a.m. – 4  p.m.
Wednesday, Thursday
8  a.m. – 4  p.m.
Friday Closed

Sen. Anne Gobi

Rep. Susannah Whipps

 our hisory

Official Town Website -

Committee meeting notices and minutes are posted at


Colorful Fish

If only the river were this blue...
Photos from Petersham, Surrey, England

and A Place to Stay the Night

Harvard Forest - Fisher Museum

"Great Plates, Eat Out."




demo picbrett ahlstrom photo

Nichewaug Demolition Nearing Completion

Demolition machinery toppled the cupola and large cross atop the former Maria Assumpta school building Aug. 4, smashing a large copper-clad cross that once graced the former school. Nearly a dozen residents looked on and recorded the event as the cross tumbled to the ground and broke into pieces.  See Curtis Upshaw's video.  And Jim Dowd's North Side video.

Equipment and a crew from Stamford Wrecking are nearly done demolishing buildings on the site and will begin removing rubble in the next several days. Demolition is scheduled to be complete by September. The state Department of Environmental Protection said it will continue observation to make certain that proper disposal rules are followed.

Originally planned to cost $721,000, the total actual cost will not be known until  loan interest rates are announced, A first attempt to borrow for the project was rejected by the town's bank as paperwork procedures were not followed. The delay in re-filing will be impacted by recent federal interest rate hikes.

Also, the cost of hauling away refuse was left open ended in the contract and could be affected by new and inflated fuel prices. A portion of the cost is  to be paid using $100,000 of Covid relief money.


How Petersham Is Spending 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

Like many other communities, the Petersham Selectboard is taking full advantage of that additional language.

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.

The largest appropriation from the Covid funds ($100,000) will pay part of the cost of demolishing the Nichewaug complex. Other spending to benefit the general public includes $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, $9.860 for bandstand upgrades and $5,000 for the Memorial Library.

The remaining balance in the Covid fund is shown as $58,680.

Cultural Council  Funds Area Arts Projects

Name Project Title Amount
Petersham Friday Market, Inc. Petersham Friday Market music program $800
Jordan O'Connor Petersham JAMS $800
The Athol Historical Society, Inc. Uniquely Quabbin magazine $250
Friends of the Stone Church, Inc. Concerts at the Stone Church Despite Hard Times $250
Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary Birds - What Amazing Creatures! $450
Petersham AntiRacism Coalition Nipmuc History, Culture, and Living Presence in Petersham $750
Andrew Bain Spring awakening shakedown! $400
Kaitlin Walsh Petersham Monthly Art Program $400
Petersham Historical Society, Inc. THe Rabbit Run Rail: A Quabbin History and Art Project $150
Haley Bain "When The Roots Grew Shoots" Book Project $750

Town Meeting Voted Nichewaug Demo Loan

Town meeting easily met a 10 percent quorum requirement and voters agreed to borrow $621,000 to tear down the former Nichewaug property on the common. No estimate of the borrowing cost was provided. The vote included using $100,000 of Covid relief cash for a total of $721,

In other business:
Voters passed a $4.7 million budget for fiscal 2023
Covered a $437,000 Center School deficit
Revised bylaws to eliminate "Selectmen" in favor of "Selectboard"
Favored a citizen petition to revise the state flag
Provided $1,800 for 6 Sunday brass band concerts and $1,000 for Friday Market music.

A Plan to Cover $437K Budget Gap

The Advisory Finance Committee  recommended steps to cover a $437,000 budget gap created when the last town meeting failed to include state reimbursements in a vote to appropriate money for the Center School budget.

The Committee plans to use money ordinarily set aside for property tax abatements ($73,923) and draw down the town stabilization fund to 2.4 percent of the total budget from its customary 8 percent matrixlevel ($276,041) and also apply $87,559 from free cash to fix the problem.  Selectboard chair Nancy Allen said the budget "glitch" occurred when she neglected to include state money with the $1.2 million in the local taxation vote that pays for the Center School budget, creating a deficit for the school.

The committee said other effects of the mistake will be dropping a request for a new police cruiser ($89,000) from consideration and cutting $10,000 for  preservation of town documents. The committee also asked Selectboard for assurance that a proposed Nichewaug Inn demolition - also delayed when bond counsel  rejected the town's borrowing due to procedural errors - will not create principal or interest charges in fiscal year 2023 which begins in July.

A Bat in the House, a Bear on the Porch and Two Turtles
Animal Control Call Log Summary - June 2022

6/1 @2p Motorist call for 2 loose dogs running south on Hardwick Road, to area, dogs picked up, owner notified

6/2 @3:30p Call from resident regarding a bite cat received while outdoors, contacted veterinary facility that rendered services for paperwork, cat placed on quarantine

6/4 @6p Resident call regarding HBC large snapping turtle, to area, found to be deceased, removed

6/5 @8a Motorist call for HBC turtle at Harvard Pond, to area, transported to rehabber

6/6 @11:15a Resident call regarding how to file an official barking dog noise compliant, information given

@1:45p Resident call regarding goats and noise concern from large equipment operating near farm, information given

6/7 @9:30a Resident call for 2 loose dogs in yard that don’t look familiar, to area, while dogs being loaded to transport to shelter owner arrived looking for dogs

@8:30p Resident call regarding bear seen repeatedly in yard, advice given

6/11 @10a Barking dog compliant and general loud noise compliant

@3p Resident call for HBC turtle, to area to pick up, Tufts Wildlife unable to admit until next morning, advice given for care

@3:15p Discussion with resident regarding dog under foster care at home, contact made with rescue organization regarding the need for pickup and relocation of the dog currently under foster care in town

6/12 @7-11a Round trip-Tufts Wildlife Clinic, above turtle dropped with staff member

@12:30p Follow up meeting with resident of foster dog from above

6/13 @8:30p Follow up with North Quabbin Regional AC regarding possible dog bite situation and the location of owner and dog

@9:15p Barking dog compliant

6/17 @11a Resident call regarding lost elderly dog, suggested starting a gas grilling and cooking something with BBQ sauce, dog back in the yard 20 minutes later

@8:15-10:45p To home with foster dog from above, regarding an additional incident, rescue called to come pick up the dog immediately, option given for long term quarantine, rescue to area @10:30p

6/19 @2:30p Call for loose cows, to area, owner called

@3:30p Dispatch call for porcupine on the walkway of a home, homeowner states the animal has been there for an extended period and seems unable to move, to area, PPD also on way, animal appears healthy, with the assistance of PPD officer animal gently escorted into the woods

@4:30p Resident call for loose dog, to area, no contact

6/20 @9a Follow up with previous loose dog issue

@11a Resident call regarding bat in house (not in a sleeping area), advice given to encourage bat to exit, homeowner to call if additional suggestions needed (bat did exit home later in evening)

@11:30a Resident call for juvenile bear that is on porch, to area, loud noises made, bear left the area, owner advised to take in all bird feeders, discussed the danger of bears crossing busy roads

@12p Conference call with Tufts Wildlife Clinic

6/21 @9a Call to MA Wildlife for follow up on several previous bat situations

@12-2p MDAR/ACO Zoom meeting; changes and clarifications for kennel inspections and licenses, update on avian flu in MA, additional information regarding wildlife calls

6/22 To Charlton to transfer dog to ACO for quarantine

6/24 Met with homeowner regarding issues in neighborhood and various dog complaints

6/25 @9a Call with VESH (Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Hospital) regarding dog bite case, requested paperwork sent, information forwarded to ACO in another town

6/30 @9:30a Resident call for loose dog, dog located, transported home

Nichewaug Demolition Project Update

The Capital Improvement Planning Committee April 21 approved sending a $721,0000 Nichewaug property demolition proposal to town meeting. The committee is the last stop to review large spending items on the way to town meeting.

The committee took no action on a request for funds to replace wooden rain gutters at the center school and a police department request to purchase one or two new police  cruisers and will get more information on those items in a week. One cruiser could cost $59,500 -- two $119, living farm

Committee member Jim Dowd asked Police Chief Peter Buck if the department could get along without one or two new vehicles this year since the upcoming budget could force a $200,000 Proposition 2 1/2 override due to increased regional and local school appropriations. Buck said the department could make due if necessary.

Town Treasurer Dana Robinson told the Selectboard April 13 that an error and an oversight will prevent the town from borrowing for Nichewaug demolition until the loan is approved at our next town meeting.  He said bond counsel noticed that voters were not informed about the Dec. 6 meeting as required by local bylaws and the proposal was never sent to the Capital Improvement Planning Committee - also a bylaw requirement.

Committee chair Nancy Allen said she would inform the contractor about the problem on April 13. Robinson also said any delay could raise borrowing costs as the Federal Reserve will be raising interest rates again soon.

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). godinShould Petersham offer this convenient service to residents? Tell us what you think.

Send an email to with a subject line "E-Payments" stating simply Yes or No or include more thoughts.

Covid Updates from the State Dept. of Public Health

Link to town by town data

The Friday Market  -- MORE

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Join the e-mail List keeps you informed. Join the E-mail list to receive very occasional updates and reminders of important dates like meeting times, elections, when to get a new dump permit and so on. The e-mails from will be occasional.  They won't often be long-winded. E-mail addresses will not be shared with any third party - not ever.

Monthly Foot Screening for Seniors

The Council on Aging now offers monthly “Foot Screening” for seniors. The treatment will be provided by Melinda Powling, owner of “Nails to Envy” in Orange. Treatments will include a 15-minutesolar installations foot soak, then clipping toenails (no polish). Melinda will then inspect your feet, and let each person know if they should consult a doctor about anything.

The Foot Screenings
will be available on the first Thursday of each month in the lower town hall. Each person will pay $5.00 directly to Melinda when the appointment occurs, with the balance of $10.00 being paid by the COA. Appointments are required. Appointments will be available from 8:15 a.m. until 10 a.m. Clients must bring their own towels. Melinda will follow Petersham Board of Health approved guidelines. For Questions or Appointments: Contact Marilyn Fisher at: 978-724-

The Memorial Library Is Open
The Petersham Memorial Library welcomes patrons back for in-person browsing with no appointment necessary. The library would like to thank the community for bearing with us as staff adjusts to providing service during this complicated time. pump
Tuesday 10-5 p.m.
Wednesday 2-7 p.m.
Friday 2-5 p.m.
Saturday 9-1 p.m.

Curbside Pickup Service is also available. Please call (978) 724-3405 or email to make arrangements. 

The library requires everyone over the age of two to properly wear masks or face coverings in the building at all times in order to help ensure the health and safety of our patrons, community, and staff. Without vaccine coverage for our youngest patrons, a large indoor footprint for people to really spread out, or an HVAC system, masking remains a useful and important health and safety tool at the library. The staff looks forward to continuing to safely serve the Petersham community.