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Local Vigil Against Violence

Concerned residents of Petersham are inviting all citizens of the town and surrounding communities to join in a silent vigil on Saturday, March 24, in solidarity with the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC. The vigil will be held from 12 noon to 1 p.m. on the South Common of Petersham. The bells of the Unitarian Church will ring out 17 times in honor of the victims who perished in a recent Florida school shooting.

The vigil will include a march around the Common to honor events in Washington DC that day. Those who wish to join in for a peaceful tribute are encouraged to attend.

The Bunny Is Coming

The Easter Bunny will be at the Center School at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 24 for an Easter Egg Hunt and a photo op. Bring the kids.

 Building the Quabbin

The Petersham Historical Society will hold its annual meeting at 6:30 p.m. Friday April 6 in the Town Hall andquabbin woods will present a program at 7 p.m. called "Engineering the Exodus: Building the Quabbin and Disassembling the Swift River Valley 1927-1939 with speaker  Jeffrey Egan from the UConn History Department. Historic photos and displays. Light  refreshments. Free and open to all.

Art Center Welcomes Spring

Petersham Art Center is presenting two classes in March to welcome springtime.
On three consecutive Saturdays, March 10, 24, and 31st, Karen Healey of the Dappled Ewe in West Brookfield will helpquabbin retreat students welcome spring by making woolen nests to hold handcrafted felted wool eggs. These colorful folk-art creations can be used for Easter decorations, gifts, or for your own collection. Karen has been practicing the craft of rug hooking, appliqué and other fiber arts for over a decade. She is a member of the Wachusett Mountain Chapter of the Association of Rug Hooking Artists. This class will run from 10AM-1PM.
On Saturday, March 17th, from 1-4PM, Ed Lesage and Marc Hamel will return to teach the art of Pysanka egg decorating. Using wax, dye, and heat, intricate designs and colors are imprinted onto the eggs. The decorated eggs that result are a treasure of jewel-like beauty. This method originated in the Ukraine, where the eggs represented the coming of spring and imparted good luck to the household for the coming year. Lesage and Hamel are stained glass artists who are also well known for creating cloth vestment art. The class is open to ages 8 and above.
Call the Petersham Art Center at 978-724-3415 for more information and to register. There is a fee for each class.

Fitness Classes at Town Hall

Fitness Classes - Mon. & Fri. Time is 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Suggested donation is $3.00mallet rubbish
Jan. 22, 26 and 29. Feb. 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 23 and 26. Mar, 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19 23, 26 and 30.

Yoga Classes - Tuesdays Time is 10:30 to 11:45 a.m.
Suggested donation is $5.00
Jan. 23 and 30
Feb. 6, 13, 20 and 27
Mar. 6, 13, 20 and 27
T’ai Chi Classes - Monday Time is 4 to 5 p.m. Suggested donation is $5.00 per class Jan. 22 and 29; Feb. 5, 12, 19 and 26; Wednesday - Mar. 5, 12, 19 and 26; Apr. 4
Classes are held in the Town Hall.
Anyone is welcome to attend these classes, regardless of age. Kay Berry is coordinator. If you have questions call 978-724-6610 or email PshamCOA@gmail.com.WATERWHEEL

Earth Day and Farming

The Village Lyceum at the Unitarian Church is planning an “Earthday Celebration of Local Farms” for Sunday, April 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

 The purpose of the day-long event is to examine the importance of local farming. Interested farmers and sponsors should contact, Genevieve Fraser at FraserGenevieve@gmail.com or phone (978) 544-1872.

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Transfer Station (DUMP) Fees

Calendar of Town Committee Meetings

what's open
Grange Education Programs

Today’s Pests & Parasites

RESCHEDULED TO Sunday, April 8,  2:00 p.m. Petersham Town Hall  Free.

Will ticks survive the polar weather? Are the gypsy moths returning this year?
What can we do to combat Lyme disease ingodin ourselves? How do we identify and manage parasites in livestock?  These questions and more will be addressed, reviewing the growing season ahead and what resources & tools are available.  After the program enjoy refreshments, and piano & singing.

\The Fruits of Our Labor

Saturday," April 21, 2:00 p.m. Petersham Town Hall  Free.
Orchardist Michael Phillips' latest research reveals how fungi and plants work together to create healthy soils. 
Michael draws connections between home orchards and perma-culture. He stresses the importance of native pollinators and beneficial allies and sees the apple as the final frontier of organics. After the program enjoy potluck supper and piano & singing.

 educational seminar to help adults of all ages interested in learning more about state government and the legislative process. Seats are limited.


Free Property Valuation Booklet

The Valuation and Taxes of the Town of Petersham for the Year 2016 booklet is available at the Petersham Town Offices at the Board of Assessors Office, the Selectboard Office and the Petersham Memorial Library during regular business hours. Interested Petersham taxpayers are invited to pick up a free copy.

2017 Selectboard Office Hours

Monday 8  a.m. – 7  p.m.
Tuesday 8  a.m. – 4  p.m. Wednesday, Thursday
8  a.m. – 4  p.m.
Friday 8  a.m. – 12 noon

Sen. Anne Gobi

Tuesday, February 13th Petersham Town Offices, 10:30 to 11:30 AM

Rep. Susannah Whipps-Lee

 our hisory

Official Town Website -

Committee meeting notices are posted at  www.mytowngovernment.org

Colorful Fish

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

 Harvard Forest - Fisher Museum

Millers River Environmental Center

Local Farms and Pick Your Own

"Great Plates, Eat Out."



New England’s General Stores: an American Classic

Channel 5 “Chronicle” reporter Ted Reinstein will visit the Petersham Memorial Library at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 27 to talk about his latest book, “New England’s General Stores: Exploring an American Classic.”

The general store is as old as America itself. It evokes a homey, country-like setting where kids pored over penny candy and adults could purchase everything from fabric to fresh vegetables to four-penny nails. It was a place to pick up the mail and chat with neighbors on a cold winter morning by the warmth of the wood stove.  althea

In his illustrated presentation, Ted Reinstein will share the history of this iconic institution that recalls a simpler time in this free program. Told with anecdotes from a variety of local landmark stores across the region, the presentation is accompanied by the award-winning photography of Art Donahue. The presentation runs about 50 minutes, followed by Q&A.
Space is limited. To register for this program please call 978-724-3405 or stop by the Library.


Police Departme
nt Seeking Budget Hike

Police Chief Dana Cooley delivered his Fiscal 2019 budget request to the Selectboard on Feb. 27. The chief is hoping to add one full-time officer to the budget, increase training and improve equipment to make the police response to  any emergency more robust. He said several residents have asked if the department is well equipped to respond to school or other emergencies and is planning a town Open Forum to answer those questions.He said the department has to be prepared  for emergencies at the Center School, Montessori School, Harvard forest and two local convents. An addiction treatment center, Quabbin Retreat, will also have an impact on the department, he said.earthlands

Finance Committee chair Ross France suggested that Cooley "sharpen his pencil" and return for a further discussion in March. If approved as presented, Cooley's request would bring the police department budget to $296,955 from $206,975 now. The town budget will come before town meeting voters in June.

Charter Communications Chimes in on Broadband

Nearly two years ago, when the town sought proposals for a broadband system, only Matrix Design responded even though the state was already suggesting big cable TV providers like Charter Communications and Comcast would provide a preferred solution for un-served towns.

Now, Charter Communication has reached out to the town with an inquiry that says Charter is preparing a proposal for the state that includes both Barre and Petersham. The Selectboard has received a Feb. 21 e-mail from Charter that says in part, "... we are in the process of finalizing a new multi-town proposal to the Mass Broadband Institute (MBI) to bring broadband hardwick coopservice to un-served towns in the Commonwealth. As the town of Petersham abuts Charter's existing system in Barre, we plan on including Petersham as a town of interest in our new proposal..." The note came from Anna Lucey, director of government affairs at Charter in Worcester.",,, if it is not too late, we would appreciate the opportunity for Petersham to review our proposal once it is submitted." newsletter

Chip Bull, who chairs the town's broadband project, said, "It's absurd at the best. If you look at the note that Peter Larkin sent you would read it as if he thinks its a good idea. We have a signed contract with Matrix. Every time a cable offer appears the MBI is 100 percent on-board.
It's a non-starter. For 100 reasons that makes no sense. We are in the middle of a contract. I think we are very close to getting our money (state reimbursement)."

Broadband Reimbursement Still Not Certain

After a Feb. 23 conference call with the state agency charged with helping rural towns pay for extending  broadband to un-served towns like Petersham, the Selectboard voted Feb.  27 to send  an "expression of interest" letter to the state instead of  sending a grant application seeking  full payment of a promised $880,000 reimbursement for the town's planned broadband system.original tire co

The town plans to have Matrix Design of New Jersey build its broadband system under a lease/purchase contract. The state is asking towns to buy, build, own and operate their own systems. Petersham asserts that a lease purchase is just the same as ownership. Town voters in June of 2017 approved spending $560,000 to get the work started and local officials said they would rely on state promises to recover that money. More than 360 residents have also put $250 each on deposit to help fund the project and sign up for the service. With local cash in hand, work can go ahead on the system.

Meanwhile, Mass Broadband Institute, the state agency  handing the reimbursements, has listed nine towns that will work with Comcast or with Charter Communications to extend broadband services. MBI says it has also supported projects such as the completed town-owned network in Leverett, as well as projects in Alford, Otis, Warwick, and Mount Washington
. Hinsdale, Lanesborough, West Stockbridge, New Salem and Princeton.

State to Town: Try Again for Broadband Reimbursement

The town's Broadband committee got a quick "No" Jan. 15 from one state agency that is to be handing out reimbursements for money spent to build local broadband systems. Work on the local system is going ahead with local cash and borrowing totaling $560,000.

At issue is a promised state reimbursement that is stuck on a state requirement that towns must buy, build, own and operate their own systems. Petersham's Selectboard and Broadband group have signed a lease/purchase deal with Matrix Design of New Jersey in hopes of getting the work completed late this year. They argue that arrangement is just like owning the system.
Apparently the state does not agree. millersriver

Bull said, "We thought we had a clear path to this funding. We heard back last week. They said they were not reviewing (our application) that our only option is to go back to the Massachusetts Broadband Institute flexible funding grant." The committee voted to send the same application to MBI and authorized member Nancy Allen and Chair Chip Bull to have a conference call with MBI. Bull said the committee should  then meet with MBI and include Rep. Susanna Whipps and state Sen. Anne Gobi .

"We will apply for an MBI flexible funding grant. This is our only way forward." Member Andre Pierre said  the town should register a protest.  On Jan. 18, Peter Larkin, who chairs the MBI board of directors, wrote
 to Bull to say MBI has not yet received a funding proposal from  Matrix Design or Petersham  for any of its open programs. The letter said the town should encourage Matrix to submit one. 
In other business, the committee reviewed a network construction schedule that calls for work on an equipment room in town hall during March and issuing an RFP for an underground line from West Road along Monson Road to connect the Flat Rock Road area to the system. The schedule calls for homes to be connected starting in July through March of 2019 with the network completed by November 2018. witty

Petersham to State: Pony Up for Broadband Costs

The Selectboard Feb. 5 licked the stamps and sent a request for $880,000 to the state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, The money is the town's share of state cash set aside to help 40 western Mass towns that have little or nothing in the way of high-speed internet get such systems up and going.

Petersham has been working with a New Jersey company and voters last year put up the town's share of money to build the system from a stabilization fund transfer and a loan. More than 350 residents have also put $250 each on deposit for broadband connections. The system should be partially operating by fall 2018.

The Petersham system will be built by and leased from Matrix Design and later purchased by the town. But the state decided to change the rules after the deal was done and now requires towns to build, own and operate such systems on their own. The town's grant application asserts that a lease purchase is the same as an outright purchase and got a certified public accountant to agree.

With the loan and cash already in hand, chair Nancy Allen said construction can proceed while the town waits to see if repayment from the state materializes. If the request is denied, she said, the town will apply instead to the Massachusetts Broadband Institute. That agency was originally set up to sort the rural broadband issue but has got little done in nine years of trying.mann lumber

Broadband chair Chip Bull steadfastly maintains that the state cannot leave the town off the reimbursement list for broadband money it has long since promised to Petersham.and other towns.

Snow Budget Slips into the Red

Highway Boss Greg Waid told the Selectboard Feb. 13 that his budget for plowing and sanding is overdrawn, an annual event.  The snow account is the only town account that can be overdrafted. Waid said December was a quiet month but storms in January caused the town to overspend by about $11,000 in an account that started with $55,000 set aside for the winter. Final numbers are not yet available, he said. "We are kind of right on track historically," Waid said.

The board spent about two hours considering proposed budgets for small town departments. All of them have been asked to level fund spending plans for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and most have done so. The Cemetery Commission is asking for a $3,000 increase to pay for repairs.

Chair Nancy Allen said a look at 2018 spending shows small surpluses in several accounts that add up to about $30,000, money that could be used for other purposes. Allen said she has no plan to include $47,000 originally set aside for a town hall accessibility ramp in that total. "We are going to re-apply for a grant (for a handicap lift system). Rather than going back to the voters, I say let that account sit," Allen said.

Health and other insurance premiums and budgets for  the center school and Mahar could all show increases in the coming year, members said.

Town Hall Access Committee Report

Nichewaug Proposal Deadline Extended to June 28

With no redevelopment proposals in hand, the Selectboard voted Jan. 19 to keep trying and extended the deadline for proposals to June 28.

A request for proposals and two walk-throughs of the property generated interest but eight individuals and architects from Amherst, Cambridge, Watertown and North Carolina sought more time to come up with plans to redevelop the town-owned property.eddies wheels
Vice chairman Henry Woolsey said issuing an RFP in late November with a January deadline for responses was "... a mistake" and unrealistic. "I think we should vote for a significant extension." Selectman Rik Marsh agreed. As an abutter, Chairman Nancy Allen cannot participate in Nichewaug matters.

"We have owned the property for 10 years. It is a problematic property. We are making progress but it is slow," Woolsey said.

Stephanie Selden of Phillips drive said, "I don't see the harm in an extension. That's how you get good proposals."

The town took ownership of the property after several private owners failed to redevelop it and has since spent more than a half million dollars to remove asbestos from the property to make it more attractive to developers.

OPINION: Send Us Your Ideas for the Nichewaug MORE

stone harvest farm

Get Brush Burning Permits Online

Massachusetts allows residents to burn brush between January 15 and May 1, depending on weather conditions. You must obtain permission from the town  to burn brush.If you are burning brush in Petersham,  visit www.c8burnpermits.com  between 7:30 a.m. and noon to obtain a permit on the day you want to burn brush. Permits depend on weather conditions.

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