Nichewaug Abatement Work to Start May 1

Selectman Henry Woolsey notified neighbors to the Nichewaug property that work to remove asbestos floor and ceiling tiles and other asbestos from the Nichewaug will begin May 1.  Associated Building Wreckers will begin on site  preparation for the project which is largely inside the building.  The project is scheduled to be completed in August.  The project is meant to reduce hazards to neighbors and the rest of the center of the town if something should happen with the building. 

  library maples       Piano Concert Series at the Village Lyceum

Adam Bergeron’s five-part Village Lyceum concert series, “What’s in a Name?” opens Sunday, April 30 at 3:00 p.m. with an overview of Preludes & Fugues composed over the past 300 years. The concert series is sponsored by the Unitarian Church on the Petersham Town Common and funded, in part, by a grant from the Petersham Cultural Council.

The concerts will be performed on the grand piano in the church sanctuary. Sunday’s program will illustrate how preludes and fugues have evolved since the 1700's.
quabbin woods Featured composers include Bach, Chopin, Skriabin, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin, and Shostakovitch. The Sunday afternoon performance series will feature classical music by Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Bach, Beethoven, Schubert and Grieg.

The Village Lyceum “What's in a Name?” concert series will continue with programs scheduled for Sunday, June 18 at 3:00 p.m. with Nocturnes featuring composers: Field, Chopin and Paderewski; Sunday, August 6 at 3:00 pm with Two-Step Dances featuring composers: Beethoven, Schubert and Grieg; Sunday, September 17 at 3:00 p.m. with Three-Step Dances featuring composers: Chopin, Strauss and Brahms and on Sunday, October 15 at 3:00 p.m. with Sonatas featuring composers: Scarlatti, Mozart and Beethoven.
beremco Tickets for "What’s in a Name?" are $10 for the general public, and $5 for seniors, veterans and students. Children 14 and under are free. Proceeds from the concerts are used as a fundraiser for maintenance of the historic Petersham Unitarian Church and Davis Center. Refreshments will be served.
For further information, contact Genevieve Fraser at or telephone (978) 544-1872, or contact Rini Kilcoyne at Tel. (508) 735-1411.

Broadband Numbers Hit 3/4 Mark

Broadband Municipal Light Plant committee members continued to urge residents to sign on to the project at the transfer station Saturday, but they left by noon, quabbin retreatleaving several later arrivals with unanswered questions.

Broadband chairman Chip Bull said at least 270 residents must sign up before the project can begin.  The committee held a public information meeting  April 8 in the lower town hall. The committee has since reported that 204 residents - 76 percent of the total needed to start work on the project - have now signed up for the service.

Matrix Design said it could begin survey, design and construction work as early as the first week in April if 270 residents signed up by then, Bull  said, but only 111 met the deadline. "The good news is that we are halfway there. Most of you here today have already signed up. If you can talk to a neighbor, do it. I believe we are going to thermbuild this network at a net cost to the town of zero," when hoped for state reimbursement  takes place, Bull said. "We have to get to that magic number (270) to start the work."  Annie Woolsey has organized a telephone solicitation for the proposed service.

Residents can send or bring completed subscription forms to the Selectboard office get a blank form from this website, or at the Selectboard office.

Download and print out the subscriber form here,

Residents will return their subscriber forms and initial payment of $250 to the Selectboard offices. The money will be held in a town escrow account until broadband service is activated. Residents will pay a second $250 when their service is about to be turned on, Bull said. Residents near the town center may see broadband service as soon as the fall of this year with outlying homes connected as cables are strung over the next 18 months or so. After June 9, subscribing for the services will cost $1,500.witty funeral home



Arbor Day Scavenger Hunt On the Common

On Sunday, April 30, the public is encouraged to come to the Petersham Common for family-friendly activities that celebrate trees. Activities from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. will include tree planting on the Common, an ask-the-arborist table, a cider press donated for the day to make fresh cider from local apples, and tree-themedtuneup games and snacks. Attendees will receive a free tree seedling (either Sweetgum or Rose of Sharon) while supplies last.

 The featured activity of the day will be a family-friendly scavenger hunt called the Trek des Trees. The Trek can be walked or driven, and will take visitors around the Common and surrounding streets to answer questions about trees and local history. Prior knowledge about tree biology and identification is not required, but will help with the more difficult questions. Group participation is encouraged. All who finish before 11:45 a.m. will receive a small prize. The three finishing groups with the highest scores will receive larger prizes, including a gift certificate from a local nursery, a pruning supply prize package, and tree-themed art.

 The event is hosted by the all-volunteer Petersham Forest and Shade Tree Committee, with support from an Urban and Community Forestry Challenge Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Art and Tea at the Art Center

The Petersham Art Center will host an afternoon of talk and tea, on Saturday, May 13, at 4 p.m., as artist Candace Anderson of Petersham reminisces about “Journeys with Barbara Ellis: Art Adventures and Life Wisdom.” Ms. Anderson will share stories about her personal and artistic relationship with Barbara Ellis, the artist for whom the gallery at Petersham Art Center is named. Ellis and Anderson often traveled on painting adventures together and treasured their friendship and mutual inspiration for many years. Ms. Anderson will weave in her own artistic journey as she herself developed and matured as an artist. sone harvest farm

Barbara Ellis (1910-2005) was a well-known artist in Athol, Petersham and beyond. She attended the Springfield (Ma) Art School and eventually settled on a hilltop farm on the Athol and Petersham line, where her family still lives. Ms. Anderson is an artist and teacher who has earned Signature Membership with the New England Watercolor Society and exhibits her paintings at the Society’s gallery on Newbury Street in Boston. Most recently, Anderson was the Artist and Director of a program that provided workshops and education in support of cancer care at hospitals in New England. She has served as Artist-in-Residence at The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden in Harvard, MA.

Guests will enjoy tea and refreshments at the session. A donation basket will be available. Reservations are a must. Please call the Art Center at 978-724-3415 to make a reservation. The Art Center is located at 8 North Street, just off Route 32, near the Petersham Common.

Local Tax Rate Could Rise by $1

Unless something changes in the next few weeks, residents could be facing a $1 hike in the current property tax rate of $16.19 per thousand or $400 a year for a $400,000 home. Finance committee members told Selectmen the jump is due to the Center School budget. The school will hold a public budget hearing at 6 p.m. on April 13 at the school. Most town departments have submitted level-funded budget requests for the coming fiscal year.

Ross France, Fincom chair, said his committee has not yet received a line by line budget from the school and will be asking for more details at the hearing. Committee members said the Center School budget, proposed at about $1.8 million this year, has been creeping steadily toward a $2 million annual figure for several years.

France said the Fincom may "not recommend" the proposed school budget at the town meeting June 5.

The board voted to go ahead with plans for a cooperative purchasing arrangement with Phillipston and Royalston for highway materials. Kevin Flynn  of Phillipston, a grant writer, will manage the trial program. Greg Waid, Highway superintendant said the towns hope to attract more bidders and get lower prices if they work together. Flynn said the town will pay $700 to join the group and that he will get a  one percent fee from the winning bidders as payment.

Town accountant Jean Joel said her proposed budget includes a pay raise for her part-time work from $15,590 this year to $20,000. Joel, who has worked for the town for 25 years, said increasing time devoted to more state requirements and reports make the request necessary.

The Selectboard opened the warrant for the town meeting at its April 11 meeting and will close the warrant to changes at noon on May 6.