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Apple Howling Jan. 17

Petersham Grange No. 95 invites all to the annual Apple Howling and Waking of the Trees celebration at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 17, 2019. Meet at the Country Store for refreshments provided by the Grange. Then walk to the apple trees on the southmillers river Common for singing, music, and the Green Man. Free, for all ages. Sheet music will be provided, musical instruments are welcome.
Also known as Wassailing, this ancient ceremony occurs in winter just as the light begins to return for longer days. The fruit trees are celebrated and asked to provide a good harvest for the coming year with music, song, banging of pots, and the arrival of the Green Man.

Art Center to Sing the Blues

A Musical Journey Thru the Blues
A performance at Petersham Art Center
Sunday, January 27 from 2–4 p.m.
Free. All welcome. Refreshments.original tire co
Join musician Barrett Anderson as he tas a unique journey through the history of America’s music -- the blues -- with live music, song, stories, and art. Question & Answer session follows. Enjoy one-on-one conversation and refreshments with Barrett after the program. Made possible by a grant from the Petersham Cultural Council, a local agency of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Card Jamboree Planned

The Petersham Council on Aging will sponsor a free Card Jamboree the second Monday of the month on January 14, February 11, and March 11 starting at 12:30atholhospital in the lower Town Hall. Everyone is  invited to play whist, cribbage, gin  rummy or any other games of choice. Beginning and experienced players are all welcome. The Senior Lunch will precede the card games at 12 Noon. Anyone who would also like to attend the lunch must call ahead by the preceding hardwick coopFriday to reserve a spot by calling 978-724-6610. There is a $3 charge for the lunch. The Card Jamboree is free to all and no reservations are required.

Dump Stickers Available

Resident stickers for the transfer station are available at the Selectboard office. The cost is $25.00 cash or check made out to Town of Petersham for 2 stickers only. The new stickers are yellow.

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Send it here: info@petershamcommon,com

Petershamcommon.com has been putting local Petersham news and information online since 1996. This website records between 8,000 and 10,000 page views each month - more than anystone harvest farm 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 polite 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, It 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 please.
Send it here: info@petershamcommon,com

Friday Market Totes Are Here

Sturdy and stylish, reusable Friday Market shopping tote bags that can be used on any shopping trip are now available at The Country Store, at Quabbin Woods and at the Memorial Library. Or request a bag by e-mail to fridaymarket@petershamcommon.com.earthlands

These commodious totes are available for a donation of $10 or more to support the 20-week Friday Market music program on the common. The market opens again on June 8 and each Friday through October.small tote

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

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.

2018 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

Selectboard Meeting Dates 2019

Petersham Selectboard Regular Meeting Dates
January 2019–April 2019
Regular start time at 6:30 p.m. unless determined otherwise for circumstances.
Additional meetings may be scheduled as the need arises.
January 2019
Tuesday January 8 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday January 22 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday January 29 6:30 p.m.

February 2019
Tuesday February 12 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday February 26 6:30 p.m.

March 2019
Tuesday March 12 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday March 19 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday March 26 6:30 p.m.

April 2019
Tuesday April 9 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday April 16 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday April 23 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday April 30 6:30 p.m.

Sen. Anne Gobi

Rep. Susannah Whipps

 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


eddies wheels


Harvard Forest - Fisher Museum

"Great Plates, Eat Out."




Solar Guidelines for Historic District Discussed

The Historic District Commission Jan. 10 began a review of proposed guidelines for prospective solar panel installations on buildings in the center of town. Changes to buildings in the district, which runs north and south along Main Street from the common, are evaluated by the commission.

Board members said they have been talking about such guidelines for some years and have studied such rules in other communities. The review was prompted when East Quabbinwitty funeral home Land Trust, which owns the Country Store building, told the commission it is planning a solar array at the property. Cynthia Henshaw from the land trust said in an e-mail, "We are preparing an application right now. Not sure if I'll have it together for the (January) 17th or the February meeting date."

Chair Nancy Allen said the commission will likely require property owners to demonstrate that they have made other energy-saving improvements. Members said the Commonwealth advises cities and towns to allow solar installations in historic properties. Allen said some communities impose no oversight over solar installations, some have added solar permissions to existing by-laws and some have adopted guidelines.  "It seems we might land on guidelines. This is always going to be on a case-by-case basis," she said.berube real estate

Accessibility Grant Moves Ahead for Town Hall

The Selectboard Jan. 8 voted to sign and accept a state grant from the Massachusetts Office on Disability for $70,000 to install a lift that will connect the upper and lower town halls. The project must be completed in six months and will provide access to both halls and from the outside. It and will allow removing a temporary ramp to restore the exterior look of the building to its original classic appearance.

In order to receive the maximum grant amount listed above:

  • The work must be completed after the contract execution date, but before June 30, 2019. solar installations
  • The date that all forms are properly completed, signed, and returned to MOD by the municipality will be considered the contract execution date.
  • MOD must receive and approve detailed, itemized invoices showing incurred expenses (between said dates); also, the invoices must represent approved expenditures as authorized
  • Invoices should be sent as soon as they are available, and prior to June 30, 2019, or shortly thereafter.godin

The lower town hall is presently accessible but without an accessible connection to the main hall. Town Hall Access Committee Chairman John Woolsey told the board the committee will reach out to two architects and begin preparing bid documents. The project will be brought to the Historic District Commission on Feb. 17. The main hall is now served by a temporary outdoor ramp donated to the town by Stephanie Selden of Phillips Drive.

A Squirrel in the Stove, an Owl Near the Road

Petersham Animal Control
December 2018

3Dec@7a Resident request for help with known dog that is in yard and will not come in to house. Assistance given.

6 Dec@7p Nichewaug resident reports lost dog. Alerts sent. Assist resident in search. Dog located at 10:30p. Owner to bring to vet, appears fine.quabbin retreat

7 Dec@11a Call from motorist with report of injured large bird on Monson Turnpike, caller states owl. Owl located, appeared fine, though not leaving area. Owl flew off several minutes later.

12Dec@3:15p School bus driver and motorist report loose dog on Route 122. En route, another resident call to say they had picked up a dog near 32 and 122. Met finder and retrieved dog. Alerts sent, possible owners called. Owner to pick up dog at 5p.

12Dec@9p Dispatch call regarding dog bite to another dog. Follow up with residents and veterinary hospital.

13Dec Additional follow up regarding above. Quarantine order placed on biting dog (10 day). Reviewed requirements with owner.

13 Dec@8:15a Resident reports cat running between 122 and surrounding roads.

19 Dec@10p Resident call to report dogs ran off. (Early 20 Dec dogs appeared at PPD)computer repair

22 Dec@12:15p Owner returned home to find squirrel in unlit woodstove. Attempts to remove failed. Suggested a small trap or contact PAC. Owner will contact PAC agent.

23 Dec@12p Quarantine lifted for dog held for dog bite issue. Paperwork exchanged with owner.

28Dec@10a ACO from surrounding town needs immediate transfer of dog from area to a safe holding zone. Canine moved to shelter for temporary housing.

29Dec@1p ACO from surrounding town to pick up dog housed in shelter.

 State Broadband Repayment Details Not Yet Settled

After updating the Selectboard on Dec. 18, members of the Broadband Municipal Light Plant voted Dec. 19 to make a $40,850 payment to Verizon and National Grid from available funds that is intended to keep utility pole "make-ready" work on track for now. The committee plans to spend more than $1 million to have the utilities upgrade about 25 percent of the town's 1966 utility poles to carry fiber optic cables for  the broadband system. The cost of the make-ready work is higher than expected because a detailed survey of the poles found almost 600 more poles than originally counted by an earlier state survey.

Chip Bull told the committee that work to install an equipment room in town hall is nearly done.WATERWHEEL

Bull, chairman of the town's broadband project, told Selectmen Dec. 18 that final details of the state's promised $880,000 repayment to the town for broadband are still in the hands of the lawyers. But he said he has a verbal commitment from a top state official to sign the agreement soon. "I don't think it can be derailed," he said.

Bull urged the town to move ahead with an $800,000 loan for the project to prevent the town falling behind  on payments due to utility companies for their pole work. Town meeting voters approved borrowing the money on Nov. 19 only after the state signs an agreement to pay the town. That means the borrowing -- and more payments for utility work -- cannot proceed until the agreement is signed.althea bramhall

Selectboard chair Nancy Allen said the repayment agreement is with Town Counsel for final review and should be in hand soon. Town Treasurer Dana Robinson is talking with banks about the proposed borrowing, she said.

Reading to Selectmen from a prepared statement, Bull said, "...we have become seriously past due in our Pole Application payments to our two utilities, Verizon and National Grid.  I urge the Selectboard tonight to vote to immediately request the Petersham Town Treasurer to begin the process  of completing the short-term borrowing..." Asked how overdue the utility payments are, Bull was not able to offer specifics. He said he worries that the utilities could derail the planned work as winter closes in if the payments are not made. They could require the town to restart the entire application process, he said.

Once the payments are made, the utilities' schedule calls for completing all make-ready work by April, 2019. Current schedules call for finishing system installation and applying for the state reimbursement "... by this time next year," he said.asdf

The broadband group also discussed ways to keep town residents up to date on broadband progress through its website and by circulating handouts and flyers.

The Selectboard board meeting was the last one in 2018. The next scheduled meeting is set for January 8.

solar panels

Take Care: Bears Love Chickens for Lunch and Dinner

The Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) is alerting poultry owners and related groups about the need to protect their birds and coops from hungry bears. Black bears killing chickens and damaging chicken coops is becoming one of the most frequently reported human-bear conflicts in the state. Common in central and western Massachusetts, black bears are expanding their range east to Route 495. Poultry loss, coop damage, and other bear conflicts have been reported in all of these regions and calls have increased lately as bears fatten up before winter hibernation. Many poultry owners have no idea their birds and coops could be at risk. Protect your livestock from black bears webpage here.

Help spread the word to poultry owners or related groups and individuals by sharing  tips and resources for protecting birds and coops from bear damage. Consider using newsletters, email blasts on distribution lists, local newspapers, social media, and relevant meetings to help reach poultry owners.  If possible, please let the division know what action you were able to take; contact David Wattles at david.wattles@mass.gov or Marion Larson at marion.larson@mass.gov.

Rotary Funds Heywood's Weekend Backpack Lunch Program

The Gardner Rotary Club presented Heywood Healthcare with a check for $3,500 to support the Weekend Backpack Food Program on Friday, January 4. These funds were raised by the Rotary Club through community support of Rotary’s Annual Wine, Cheese and Chocolate Event.

Held in September, the Wine, Cheese and Chocolate event features restaurants, food service companies, pastry shops, and cheese and chocolate vendors from throughout the North Central Massachusetts Area. Anthony’s Liquor Market was the featured wine vendor in 2018.

Heywood Healthcare, the Gardner Rotary Club and the Athol/Orange Rotary Club in partnership the Gardner and Athol Royalston Public School Districts, and with support of the community, provide backpacks filled with nutritious foods to eligible third and fourth grade students every Friday, helping students and their families with food security issues over the weekend, when students are not receiving free or reduced-cost breakfast and lunches.
Currently, the Heywood Healthcare Weekend Backpack Food Program supports more than 275 food-insecure youth in the Gardner and Athol-Royalston Public Schools.

Annual Town Election Set for March 4

The Annual Town Election will be held on Monday, March 4, 2019.

Nomination papers are available through the Town Clerk's Office at 3 South Main Street. The office is open on Monday evenings 5:30 p.m.; 7:00 p.m.

The following offices (all 3 year offices) are up for reelection: Board of Selectmen currently held by Nancy Allen, Board of Assessors currently held by Jean W. Robinson, Board of Health currently held by Fifi Scoufopoulos, Constables – Denis N. Legare, Richard N. Bartus, Larry A. Robinson (3 positions), Mahar Regional School Committee; Heidi Shortis, Petersham School Committee currently held by Lynn Jones Peredina, Planning Board currently held by Donna K. Byron and Trustees of Public Library currently held by Hilary L. Loring. The last day to obtain nomination papers is January 14, 2019.

The last day to return papers is January 14, 2019. The last day to register to vote is February 12, 2019. Any questions may be directed to the Town Clerk.

Voters Greenlight More Broadband Borrowing

On Monday, Nov. 19, 2018 voters approved borrowing an additional $800,000 to build a town-wide broadband internet system in advance of a promised state reimbursement by a vote of 141 to 1. The borrowing also requires a Dec. 10 ballot to exclude the amount from Proposition 2 1/2 limits.

Broadband committee chair Chip Bull said the town has already spent about $500,000 to pay utility companies to make their poles ready for new fiber optic cables. He said the new loan could cost the town $40,000 for one year and will be repaid with an anticipated $880,000  reimbursement from the Commonwealth. That repayment will not materialize until after the broadband system is built and operating, he said.

OPINION: Send Us Your Opinions About the Nichewaug MORE

State Certifies 2019 Local Tax Rate

Mass Department of Revenue has certified the town's fiscal year 2019 Tax Rate at $16.93 per thousand. The 2018 rate was $16.37 per thousand of assessed value. The increase is .56 cents per thousand of value.

property tax chart

The Friday Market  -- MORE


Town Hall Access Committee Report

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