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University of the Wild Program July 3

Petersham will welcome back Brother North Star, A Pilgrim Peace Walker, musician, writer, and earth & social justice activist to share his stories on Sunday, July 3rd at Noon on the South Common of Petersham.  

For the last twenty-five years (25) Brother North Star has walked the Earth, for Peace and Social and environmental justice, including the MIDDLE PASSAGE WALK through USA, South America, and countries of Africa “Retracing the Journey of Slavery” - One People, One Earth.  

One of North Star’s many homes is Petersham where he has spent many days in the Earthlands and University of the Wild  communities teaching and sharing his  story.  Brother North Star is now committed to telling his story and offering his perspective on the “State-of-the-World” and how we all can become better Global Citizens.

The program is free and open to the public with donations being accepted for the work. Sponsored by University of the Wild of Petersham where Brother North Star is an Advisor, Mentor, and Instructor CONTACT: Dr. Larry Buell <> (978) 724-0412 (O) (978) 855-1420 (Cell) To see North Star's resume and program details, VISIT: 

Sunday Band Concerts Are Back

The Petersham Brass Band opened its summer concert season at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 26, from the Bandstand on Petersham Common. The concert will be under the direction of former conductor Stuart Britton, who led the band for more than 15 years.

The band was established in 1914 and has been presenting a summer concert season for more than a century, with the exception of part of  World War II and the COVID-19 shutdown of 2020. The band has also participated in town anniversary celebrations, the agricultural fairs and has performed at the Big E.

Alpaca Summer Festival

The New England Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association will hold an Alpaca summer festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 9 at the Middlesex County Fairgrounds, 55 South Chelmsford Road in Westford. The event will showcase Alpacas and Alpaca products. The festival is open to alpaca owners and to the public. Vendors are also welcome. For more information contact Keith Tetrault at or visit


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.

Take Me Out to a Ball Game

The Age Council is Planning a trip to a Woo Sox game in July.

To reserve your tickets WooSox game,

 make out your check to: Petersham COA

Please write “WooSox Game” in the memo line. 

mail to: The Petersham COA, P.O. Box 486, Petersham, MA 01366.

questions?  call Kathy McCrohon 508-404-7552 

   Date: Sunday July 10, 2022   Price $ 25.00 per person plus gratuity for bus driver      

Bus Boarding  Time: 10:45 a.m

  Bus Departure Time: 11:00 a.m.    

  Game Time: 1:05 p.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.

NEW: 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

All Communities

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:

At the recent Annual Meeting of Orthodox Congregational Church, a Bicentennial Committee was formed, as the Church will be celebrating that milestone next year. What does history mean to you? In general, and in relation to our Church.

During the worship service before the Annual Meeting, I gave a sermon that was about the Church's history and then the vignette of the “Discipline Committee.” It was the supposition of one of my predecessors who was relating those events in a speech, that a couple hundred years ago, recording history was not a big concern to the original congregation, and so they did not see much need to record many milestones, but did record the disciplinary issues. pro v

Now, records of that sort of thing would be useful to historians for a snapshot of society and culture at that time, but it is hardly something to celebrate. For example, it took a major series of renovations and a knowledge of Congregational architectural terms to confirm that there used to be a balcony in the sanctuary, even!

These details were not forthcoming, and the oldest members had not even heard about this. I find this interesting because of my background studying religious art & architecture, but in reality may not be so important or profound to other people.

Anyway, this is why I ask, as Orthodox Congregational Church prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary, what does the history of this Church mean to you (assuming it is)? What is important? What should be showcased? What should be highlighted for the larger community of Petersham? and What has this Church meant to Petersham?

Please feel free to let me know! There is the front light & a sign on the front door denoting when I am in the building, so drop in; call the Church; message me via the Church's Facebook page; or email me at

Pastor Geoffrey

 Congregational Pastot

 Missing Dogs and Cats? Click Here


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."




Parade Returns on the 4th of July


Fertilizer Enhancer Collection Specialists, aka Pooper Scoopers.  Highly prestigious VOLUNTEER position.  Expert wheelbarrow driving skills required, shovels provided.  Send text to Sue Dougherty 832-499-1670

Petersham is pleased to bring back a favorite tradition—the July 4 Parade on July 4. It is the first since the pandemic began in 2020. The parade begins at 10 a.m., Breakfast snacks and beverages will be available on the Common beginning at 9:30 a.m. Live music by Drew Paton also is featured from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on the town’s bandstand.

The parade route begins at the historic and picturesque Town Common and travels the “Old Maid’s Mile,” a one-mile residential loop that circles back to the town center.

The parade line-up includes a color guard, Grand Marshal “Smilin’ Ernie” Richards, decorated horses and members of the New England Equestrian Center of Athol, Petersham historical figures, participants from the Petersham Grange and the Orthodox Congregational Church, Candidate for State Representative Aaron Saunders, antique cars, ATVs, motorcycles, and fire trucks for the conclusion.

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.

Loose Dogs Loose Cows and a Hurt Turtle

Animal Control Call Log Summary

May 2022

5/3 @9a Resident call regarding loose dogs on the west side of town, owner contacted and dogs secured until owner arrived

5/6 @9a PPD contact regarding likely hit by car, deceased possum on the west side of town, to area, animal removed from area and buried

5/9 @11a Resident call for lost dog, new adoption, reviewed tips for safe recovery with owner, to area to assist

5/10 @7a To area to set up feeding station for lost dog

@5p Trap and cell transmission camera set for lost dog

@6:45p PPD call for injured porcupine, to area, porcupine determined to have life limiting injuries, call Tufts Wildlife to discuss, PPD dispatched animal, ACO removed and buried

@10p To area for lost dog to rebait trap

5/11 @10p Lost dog safely trapped, to area to assist owner in bringing dog to house in trap, dog assessed and no injuries noted, owner to call vet

5/12 @1p Email and subsequent follow up call with resident regarding ongoing issue with barking and loose dogs in neighborhood. Caller reports dogs from two different households have been in his yard today.

@2p Meeting with owner of one set of the above dogs

5/14 @2p Call from North Quabbin Animal Control regarding found dog that was picked up near Petersham town line, photo sent. Outreach to Petersham resident and confirmed dog was missing, dog safely returned to owner at 7p

computer5/22 @3p Call regarding loose cows, advised owner neighbors would be notified with a number to call if sighted

@5p Caller reports loose dog in the northern section of town, to area, no contact made

5/25 @7:15a Resident call regarding two coyotes in yard that are not leaving, advice given

5/27 @9:30a Resident call regarding dog bite that occurred while playing with owned dog, protocol reviewed, owner to contact MD, dog eligible for 10 day home quarantine

5/29 @6:45p Dispatch call for injured turtle, advised dispatch rehab facilities would be contacted, to area to move to rehabber

@8:30p Resident call for found dog, caller states the dog must be picked up immediately, dog move to shelter, owner identified, dog safely returned to owner at 9:30p

5/30 @2:45p Resident call stating dog is not in yard and appears to have wandered off and they are unable to locate, advice given

@3:15p Out of town motorist call for a found dog, connected finder with owner of above, dog safely returned home

5/31 @1p Follow up phone conversation with owner of dog that is repeatedly out of home unattended, action plan discussed

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

. Send a comment.

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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.