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Go Fund Me for the Friday Market

You can help. Planning and fund raising for the 2023 Petersham Friday Market has begun. The 20-week market season will begin at the end of May, 2023. The market is supported by grants, a town meeting appropriation, private foundations and the local Cultural Council. The majority of our annual spending is for live music performances from acoustic folk to klezmer to zydeco.

You can help with a donation in any amount.
Just click here to reach our Go Fund Me page.

Fall Classes at the Art Center

"Painting: Getting to the Nuts and Bolts", with Jeannette Martin. Sundays, Nov 13, 20, and Dec 4, 1-3 p.m. Jeannette Martin is a talented artist who has created outstanding artwork in many fine media. Using a simple palette, the class will use a step-by-step approach to creating and “building” a painting. We will explore the variety of tools and techniques used, including brushes, kinds of paint, canvas, and safety rules. This class is meant for beginner and intermediate levels, but is open to anyone interested in art. A supply list will be sent out before the class. Mem - $30. / nonmem - $50. Material fee - $10.

Sue Morello, of Sheldon Farm Baskets, has offered another basket-making session, on Sat, October. 29, from 9am-12 Noon. Participants will make a Holiday Hostess basket, to carry casseroles, cakes, and other goodies to all your holiday events. Cost is $15 Members/$35 Non Members/$16 materials fee, payable to the instructor. Call PAC at 978-724-3415 right away, space is filling fast.

PAC will host two wreath classes in November.

On Sat, November 12, 1-3PM, "Holiday Wreath Making" with Rachel Gonzalez. The class will use an assortment of fresh mixed greens, create a welcoming wreath, incorporating ribbons, pinecones, & holiday decorations. Cost: $10 members / $30 non-members, plus $25 Materials Fee, paid directly to instructor

On Sat, Nov 19, 10-12Noon, “Making a Boxwood Wreath” with Lynn Hartman. Lynn has been making wreaths at Hartman’s Herb Farm for decades and this is her most popular wreath. Bring home a gift or decorate your own house! $10 members/$30 nonmembers/$25 materials fee

Call PAC at 978-734-3415 for more information and to register. Email Chris Eaton at     

Roast Pork Dinner Rescheduled

The Orthodox Congregational Church of Petersham will be holding a Roast Pork Dinner as a To-Go meal, with pick-up starting at 5:30pm on Saturday November 19 at the Church, 21 N. Main St (Rt. 32). Menu includes: roast pork, baby potatoes, carrots, and raspberry bars as a dessert. Cost is $15 per meal, proceeds to help repair weather damage to the Church. Reservations required, call Janice at 978-724-3362.

Petersham Jams to Wrap Up 2022

Petersham Jams announced three dates for the Petersham Jams this fall. First up was Saturday, October 8th at 7:00 p.m., back in the Davis Hall (3 West Street, Petersham), just off the town Common, adjacent to the Unitarian Church). The other scheduled dates are Saturday, November 12th and Saturday, December 17th

Support Local Youth Soccer

Here is a link to the youth soccer schedule of games at the center school.

Petersham Library: A Busy Place

Six hundred seventy-five Petersham residents were library cardholders in Fiscal Year 2022. Petersham Memorial Library’s total circulation of materials was 11,630 items, which included 7,276 books, print periodicals, audiobooks, and DVDs. We checked out 4,354 audio and Ebooks via Overdrive and the Libby smartphone app. Digital materials circulation more than doubled for the second year in a row! It is becoming one of the most important and necessary services we provide.


2,396 Inter-Library Loans were received for Petersham residents from surrounding libraries. The library provided 1,143 Inter-Library Loans to patrons of other libraries in the CW Mars system. People came into the library building close to 3,000 times last year. Community members used library computers or wifi more than 300 times through the year.

The library held curbside services during the height of the Omicron surge in January and February, when COVID numbers were high. It was open for in-person browsing for 804 hours and answered more than 615 reference questions via phone, email, and in-person interactions.


The shelves currently hold 15,404 items: 8,779 books for adults, 1,067 books for young adults, and 5,558 books for children. Our community has access to 190,000 digital ebooks and audiobooks through our Libby app.


Programs and events during the 2022 Fiscal Year included 8 programs for adults, 22 programs for children, and 3 young adult programs, with a total of 360 attendees. These were a mix of virtual and in-person programs.  pro vThe Town of Petersham for providing three air purifiers for the library this summer from their covid CARES grant money.

Cultural Council Seeking Grant Applications

Massachusetts Cultural Council is now accepting Local Cultural Council grant applications for 2023. go to for all grant information If you need help please email or feel free to call the chair at 978-790-7107

Transfer Station Permits on Sale Now

Effective October 1, residents are required to have 2022-23 
Permit stickers on their vehicles for transfer station use.
Click here for Procedures & Form for purchasing your sticker.
Stickers can be purchased at the transfer station on Sept. Wednesdays and Saturdays. 

Meals on Wheels Volunteer Drivers Needed

Make a big difference in someone's day by delivering a hot noontime meal and a wellness check in your own community. Stipend and mileage reimbursement available. We are looking for volunteer drivers in many communities and especially Greenfield, Athol, and Orange.  Call 413-773-5555 or 978-544-2259, Ext. 2216, or visit

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

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. marketAnd 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

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."





Final Cost of Nichewaug Demo Uncertain

The Selectboard added another $30,000 of Covid-19 relief cash to the Nichewaug demolition account on November 17. Chair Nancy Allen said the final cost of the project, now at $840,000 plus interest, won't be known for some time.  The town has borrowed $610,000 for the project and augmented that with $230,000 in Covid relief money, Loam has been spread but cold weather dictates waiting until spring before seeding the area. Repairs to a right of way driveway along the north side of the property are also pending.

The board approved letting residents pay the transfer station disposal fee for mattresses by check at the transfer station. New state disposal rules went into effect on Nov. 1; appointed Timothy Flaxington to a one-year probationary position as a police patrolman and renewed four local liquor licenses.

Apply for Fuel Assistance Here

all done

Stamford Wrecking has removed the heavy equipment used to demolish the Nichewaug buildings.

Cellar holes have been filled and loam has been spread across the now flat lot.


Ecologist to Speak at Harvard Forest Cancelled

Harvard Forest will not host Dr. Susan Trumbore for a free public lecture in the Fisher Museum on Friday, October 28, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  The presenter has contracted Covid and cannot travel.

ACO Call Log Summary

August 2022

8/5 @8:30a Call from Urgent Care in Athol regarding dog bite to Petersham resident. Facility unable to scan report and requests in person pick up of document. Trip to Athol to retrieve paperwork, resident informed of quarantine requirements, dog is UTD on rabies vaccination and eligible for home quarantine

@9:30a Call from PPD for loose dog report, to area, dog picked up and returned to owner

@1:30p Barking dog complaintALPACA TEA

8/7 @4:45p Report of loose dog near school, owner identified and called, dog returned to owner

@7:30p Resident call regarding a bite of unknown origin to a vaccinated cat, cat has been seen by veterinarian, quarantine requirements reviewed with owner

@7:45p Resident call for their missing small dog, to area to assist, owner feels someone took dog as they went to retrieve dog as it walked down driveway and it disappeared.

@8:30p Call for missing large dog, gave resident suggestions, dog returned home

8/8 @8a Call from resident regarding ill dog missing after escaping from porch, suggestions given, to area, dog located, owner to bring dog to emergency facility for treatment During the day, several trips to follow up on missing small dog.

@7p Call from Worcester resident with a found dog that fits the description of the above missing small dog. Caller states boyfriend found the dog at a work site in Rutland at 5:30a, individual kept dog with him at work all day, likely owner of above lost dog contacted and phone numbers exchanged, owner to meet individual in Worcester, dog returned with owners to Petersham

8/11-12Multiple calls for 2 found dogs

8/14 @7:45a Owner call to report loose/lost goats. Animals located at 9a

@11a Dispatch call for loose dog wandering around the west side of town, to area, dog picked up and returned to owner

8/18 @11a Dispatch call regarding dog a homeowner found and would like picked up as the dog is not familiar, to area, owner identified, returned dog to owner and had discussion regarding keeping the dog secure as this is a repeat offender pup

@10:15a Resident left message that a call be returned between 7-9p to discuss issue with dogs in neighborhood

8/19 @8a Barking dog complaint

@9a call from PPD regarding an update about an ongoing equine issue

8/20 @6:30p Two loose dogs appear at the home of ACO, owner called

8/21 @9p Dispatch call regarding message received regarding porcupine that motorist hit, motorist to stay on site until ACO arrives since animal appears to be in pain, to area, animal found to be deceased and removed

8/22 @11a Farm visit to discuss civil matter

@3:45p Call regarding the protocol for relocated 2 swans, referred to other agency

8/23 @10:30a Phone call from MSPCA Sergeant regarding a formal complaint made by an out of town resident after being present at a home in Petersham, additional information provided to Sergeant

@4:40p MSPCA Sergeant phone call to follow up on above after a home visit was made, plan in place for ongoing follow up and additional site visits

@6p Resident found a deceased possum and requests pick up, to area

8/26 @6p Resident reports loose dog running around the center of town, to area, owner located

8/28 @7p Resident call to report wandering loose dog, appears elderly, suggested caller speak to owner of house where sighting occurred as it is likely their dog, all set

8/29 @10a Resident reports one of their two dogs is missing, to area, dog located approximately 2 hours later

8/30 @9a Resident would like it recorded, a few days prior, they were chased by a dog while bike riding

During the month of August a surrendered dog was housed at the shelter while under medical care. The dog was transported to a veterinarian 3 times and attended to multiple times per day.

Selectboard Signs Nichewaug Demolition Loan

Selectboard members inked a $621,000 loan agreement. Town Treasurer  Dana Robinson said the loan will cost the town some $776,589 over 10 years. That brings the cost of demolishing the Nichewaug property to $976,000 when $200,000 of Covid money that was allocated to the project is taken into account.

Robinson declined to estimate the impact of recent Federal Reserve Board interest rate hikes that likely more than doubled the interest rate on the borrowing to 4 5/8 percent after the town's first attempt at  borrowing last January was denied because chair Nancy Allen failed to seek required approval from the Capital Improvement Committee as required by town bylaws. 

At its September 22 meeting, the board appointed Deb Poodry of South Main Street as an alternate member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and named Sara Deponte and Jeanette Martin to the  Cultural Council. 

How Shall We Honor the Flag?

You can find Bill Berry on the common each day around dusk.  He is there to lower the American flag that graces our town common as he has done almost every day for the past  34 years. Unless a flag is illuminated, the rules say it should be raised at the start and     lowered at the end of each day.ELDREDGE

Now Berry and Bill Purple, a long-serving former selectman, are proposing to light the flagpole with a solar lighting system.  They presented their proposal to the Selectboard on Oct. 22.

Board member Becky Legare asked whether the proposed system would change the amount of light in the center of town at night. Chair Nancy Allen suggested that forming a volunteer group to take care of raising and lowering the flag might be a better solution and said the board  members would spend the next several days informally seeking public opinion and possibly visiting some lit-up flagpole sites in other towns. "I like the ritual of raising and lowering the flag," she said.

Purple said the lighting would be beautiful. "This is not going to be a blast of light at the top of the flagpole. Lights would be pointed downward, he said. "This is not going to cost the town anything. I am going to pay for it. It will allow the flag to fly 24 hours a day." he said.
The board will revisit the issue at their October 6 meeting.

How Petersham Is Spending Its 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. There is no process that allows individuals, small businesses or non-profits to apply for Covid assistance.

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.

Several of the first-promised allocations are being reworked to provide a second round of Covid money for the Nichewaug demolition. The largest appropriation from the Covid funds ( now $200,000) will pay part of the cost of demolishing the Nichewaug complex. Other spending is being reduced as a result, including a planed $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 and $5,000 for the Memorial Library.

Occasional Area News

200 Tanks of Covid Oil for Athol Residents

By GREG VINE  For The Athol Daily News

Published: 9/16/2022 1:22:35 PM

ATHOL — Rebecca Bialecki, vice chair of the Athol Selectboard, announced at the board’s meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 13, that the committee that oversees the use of ARPA (American Recovery Plan Act) funds was free living farmrecommending the use of those federal funds to help Athol residents heat their homes this coming winter. The advisory committee consists of Bialecki, board member Stephen Raymond, Town Manager Shaun Suhoski, Finance and Warrant Advisory Committee Chair Ken Duffy, and several department heads.

“We had a substantial amount of money still available that was unused in our ARPA monies, which is federal dollars that came to the town that had to meet specific criteria, and we have two recommendations for the board’s consideration this evening,” Bialecki began. “One is to support the local fuel assistance program for $200,000. That would allow for a one time, up to $1,000 for fuel oil or propane to low- and moderate-income families. That would include seniors, for the most part.

“The program,” she continued, “would be run through the Salvation Army...

At current prices, the program could deliver 200 full tanks of heating oil.

Nichewaug Complex Falls to Demolition Crew


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.