The Opinion Page
It Is Often said ...
Art Classes at the Memorial
Pre-K Story &
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
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.
Classes will be on:
Monday, August 22nd 11:00-12:00
Tuesday, August 23rd
Wednesday, August 24th 11:00-12:00
On the library lawn
Sign up for Elementary Art Class Series at this
Holds Games Nights
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
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
PetershamLibraryRequests@gmail.com . 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. This 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.
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, conducted by Falvey Associates as blasting
of ledge will be conducted on the site. Quarterly
abutter forums will provide ongoing communication and
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.
a Local Volunteer
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. 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
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
Testing available Monday-Saturday
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
A New Feature
An Occasional Column of Pastoral Thoughts:
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."
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
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
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.
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.
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
Switch to Amazon Prime and the Petersham Friday
Market can get a small donation for our music program from each
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
Just for the Fun of It... click here
Something to Say?
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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
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thoughts and comments from everyone -- just like Letters to the Editor in a
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
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Simple text e-mails listing who, what, when, where and why do
nicely - no PDFs and no posters please.
Send it here:
Get Some Free Stuff
You Can't Beat These Prices
At the Dump
Transfer Station (DUMP) Fees
Town Committee Meetings
Selectboard Office Hours
Monday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tuesday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sen. Anne Gobi
Rep. Susannah Whipps
Official Town Website -
Committee meeting notices and minutes are posted at
If only the river were this blue...
Petersham, Surrey, England
and A Place to
Stay the Night
Harvard Forest - Fisher Museum
"Great Plates, Eat Out."
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
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 funds.
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
Cultural Council Funds Area Arts Projects
|Petersham Friday Market, Inc.
||Petersham Friday Market music program
|The Athol Historical Society, Inc.
||Uniquely Quabbin magazine
|Friends of the Stone Church, Inc.
||Concerts at the Stone Church Despite
|Wachusett Meadow Wildlife Sanctuary
||Birds - What Amazing Creatures!
|Petersham AntiRacism Coalition
||Nipmuc History, Culture, and Living
Presence in Petersham
||Spring awakening shakedown!
||Petersham Monthly Art Program
|Petersham Historical Society, Inc.
||THe Rabbit Run Rail: A Quabbin
History and Art Project
||"When The Roots Grew Shoots" Book
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 $721,000.
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
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
($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,
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
6/4 @6p Resident
call regarding HBC large snapping turtle, to area, found to be deceased,
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
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
@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,
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
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
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
Link to town by town data
Join the PetershamCommon.com e-mail List
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Join the E-mail list
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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
in Orange. Treatments will include a
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
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: 978-724-3223.
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.
Tuesday 10-5 p.m.
Wednesday 2-7 p.m.
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.