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Nichewaug Video Tour 1993

Right to Farm By-Law Session

The Selectboard has scheduled a public information meeting at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 1 in the lower town hall to explore whether the town could benefit from implementing a proposed Right to Farm bylaw. Attendees will get a chance to review a proposed draft of such a bylaw and talk about next steps. More than 45 of the state's 351 cities and towns have implemented such bylaws as part of a state sustainable communities initiative

Petersham Jams Open Mic Returns

The next Petersham Jams is Saturday, February 1st starting at 7 p.m. at the Davis Memorial Hall (next to the Unitarian Church in Petersham). Show up to play, to sing, to listen, to dance!

Future Jams! are planned for Saturday, March 14 and Saturday, April 18, so mark your calendars. We will send out reminders as those dates get closer.

For musicians: we will be continuing to use the old school “first come-first served” sign-up. All musicians are asked to sign up that night. The sign-up board will be open at 6:30 p.m. and each musician can be assigned a spot of their choosing – again, on a first come-first served basis. Many musicians wish to play early, and those spots are at a premium. Please note that musicians will be limited to two songs and no more than ten minutes in total (including set-up).

Want to sing or play a song but need backup? Just email Robert Plotkin at rplotkin@alum.mit.edu the name and key of the song, and any chords you might have and the regular backup musicians will be there to play it with you!

If you want to use your own amp, please show up by 6 p.m. for a sound check. After the sound check, no new amps will be allowed on stage. Please feel free to share this email with family, friends and fellow musicians. .

Swift River Valley History Program

There will be a program on The Biography of Place: Understanding the Swift River Valley of Petersham on Thursday, January 23rd at 4:00 p.m. at the Country Store. The program will be led by Larry Buell, who is collecting material to write a book on the East Branch of the Swift River from its headwaters in jeromyPhillipston to Pottapaug Pond in the Nichewaug region of the Quabbin Reservoir. The program will give an overview of the river valley and invite those in attendance to share stories and information from those who know and care for the great Swift River Valley. Invited quests include, Robert Clark, ecologist; Tom Conuel, local author; Candace Anderson, former resident in the Valley; Lucy Allen, Barre Historian; and others. The program includes timelines, maps, and pictures of the region. The program is free and open to the public For information contact Dr. Larry Buell at <larrybuellearthlands.org> (978) 724-0412..

This Program Is for the Birds

Stop by the Petersham Memorial Library on Saturday, February 22 at 10:30 a.m. for an up-close encounter with up to six live owls! Owls of the World - Who's Watching You? introduces you to the owls of New England and beyond. Presenters Mark and Marciagodin Wilson share the field marks, signs, and skills that you can use to find wild owls without disturbing them. Meet six live owls (from small to huge) up close. Everyone participates in a hooting lesson and learns tips on how to attract and protect owls near you. This is an all-ages event for winter vacation week sponsored by the Petersham Cultural Council. For more information, call (978) 724-3405 or visit petershamlibrary.net...

Broadband Update Meeting Jan. 25

Bucket truck crews are working in the center of town installing pole hardware and stainless steel cable designed to support multiple fiber lines.  Matrix and Matrix subcontractors are now scheduled to worksolar installations every day until final completion of the network late this spring.

At last night’s Zoning Board of Appeals hearing the application for a 160′ Petersham cell tower was denied. Broadband chairman Chip Bull said, "... keep in mind that once your home is connected to high-speed Broadband your cell phone can automatically route all your calls through your fiber-optic connection to the Internet with consistent “five bar” coverage. Just one of the many benefits of our new Broadband network.

Petersham Broadband Board will hold a citizens'witty funeral home information meeting at 4p.m. January 25 in the lower town hall. The board will provide project updates and scheduling information on customer service, connections, hardware, conduit and to answer questions from the public. Time will be made available for one-on-one review with Matrix Connected Fiber representatives.  The board will meet at 7 p.m. January 15 in the Selectboard office for an update on the   project.

Burning Brush Starts Jan. 15

Permits to burn brush will be available starting January 15. Here's the link http://c8burnpermits.com/ for everything you need to know and to request a one-day permit.

UU Church Schedule of Services

Listed below is the schedule of services and for January and February at the First Congregational Parish Unitarian..

Sunday worship services start at 10:30 unless otherwise noted. All services with Rev. Arthen includes music by Cathy Tyng or Marc Erwin. Lay-led services may oratholhospital may not include music. Services from 1/12 through March will be held in the Davis Memorial Building

The 2020 Budget Hearing will be held 1/12/20 immediately following the service. The Annual Meeting is scheduled for 1/19/20 at noon, snow date 1/26/20. Please plan to attend so that we have our quorum.

26 Rev Inanna Arthen

2 Rev. Inanna Arthen
16 Iva Kazda - Northern Exposure
23 Rev. Inanna Arthen.

Art Center Greets 2020 - New Classes

Alice Zanga presents her popular rug braiding class on eight consecutive Wednesdays, starting January 8th to February 26th, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. The class will takerobinson lumber place in the Davis Memorial building at the Petersham Unitarian Universalist church to give room for the projects. Ms. Zanga is a juried fiber artist and has been teaching about and creating hand-braided rugs for decades. The class is suitable for beginners to advanced. A list of supplies needed will be available from the Art Center. Some supplies will be made available to the class to use or purchase. The cost is $60 for members and $80 for non-members

Sara Deponte's class is filled, but people are welcome to call and be put on a waiting list.

The rug class still has openings.Sara Deponte, fine artist from Petersham, will teach four consecutive classes on “Highlights and Shadows with Water Color” on Saturdays, February 1st, 8th, 15th, and 22nd from 9 am. to 10:30 a.m. Ms.mann lumber Deponte is known for her love of painting flowers and animal portraits. She has exhibited her work throughout New England. A list of supplies needed will be available from the Art Center. The cost is $30 for members and $50 for non-members. Class size is limited so students should call soon to reserve a place.

Call the Art Center at 978-724-3415 for more information and to register...

Dogs and Cats - Get Ready

The town will hold its annual rabies clinic at the Highway Barn in South Street on Saturday, January 25, 2020 (snow date) January 26,2020. Cats in cages from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Dogs on leashes from 11:15 to 12:30 p.m. Suggested donation is $12.

Just for the Fun of It... click here

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 stickers are red.

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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.

February 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

Wednesday Jan. 22
1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. Petersham Town Offices

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

and A Place to Stay the Night


eddies wheels


Harvard Forest - Fisher Museum

"Great Plates, Eat Out."




Petersham Partners Group Delivers an Update

Nearly 30 residents stopped in at the Country Store on Jan. 17 to hear members of Petersham Partners report on progress to create a volunteer group that supports services for town seniors.

Committee members said they have been recruiting volunteers and identifying service providers and hope to launch their service later this year. The Partners committeequabbin retreat comprises Sandy and Marc Page, Deborah Bachrach, Karen Davis, Lynn Shaw, Jim Regan and Kathleen Geary.

Members said the service will be modeled after the growing "village" movement that works to keep   seniors living in their homes by providing volunteers and needed services. The groups will focus on transportation to appointments and shopping, home support,  wellness checks and on connecting residents to necessary services in the region.

The group plans to launch the service in late spring or early summer with a social event.


Taller Cell Tower Rejected by Zoning Board

Zoning Board members January 9 said "No" to a request from Tower North Development to allow an increase in the permitted height of a proposed cell tower at 41 Hall Road.  A 90-foot tower was approved previously but has not been built. Tower North Development applied to modify the height saying that a 160-foot tower would provide more and better cell service and could allow up to four cell carriers and state emergency communications to share the cost of the tower.

A local zoning bylaw limits the height of cell towers to 90 feet. The developer was seeking a waiver of that limit. Tower North had told the board that a tall tower with several service providers hardwick coopon it could help prevent other developers from considering Petersham tower locations. Nearly 20 residents attended the meeting even though a public comment period closed last month.

Board member Maryanne Reynolds opposed allowing a taller tower. She said, "There is an interest in having a cell tower here but not with consequential adverse impact."

Board Chairman Don O'Neil and member Brian MacEwen both said the board could waive the 90-foot height limit set by  a  local bylaw and would vote for a 140-foot tower. Reynolds said she would vote No. The local zoning bylaw and state law require unanimous votes to waive restrictions when a town has a three-member zoning board

Michael Dolan, a lawyer for Tower North, did not respond when asked if the company can     appeal the board's decision.

Mahar Supt. Search Committee Selected

The School Committee Chairs for Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District, Orange Elementary School District and Petersham Center School District met and determined that the Superintendent Search Committee would be comprised of the following people:

Ralph C. Mahar Regional School Committee – Sunday Lefevre
Orange Elementary School Committee – Alex Schwanz
Petersham Center School Committee – Lynn Peredina
Petersham Town Official – Nancy Allen
Orange Town Official – Gabe Voelker
Administrator from one of the 3 Districts – Eric Glazier
Director of Finance and Operations – Michele Tontodonato
Director of Curriculum or Special Education – Marie Cole
Ralph C. Mahar Faculty member – Kelley Allen
Orange Elementary Faculty member – Ben Herk
Petersham Center School Faculty member – Nichole Ruggles
Parent from one of the 3 Districts – Sharon Gilmore
Student Representative from Ralph C. Mahar – Kylie Hedges
Representative from New Salem/Wendell –

Supt. Teri Thomas is retiring at the end of this school year.

Annual Town Election March 30

The Petersham Town Election will be held on Monday, March 30, 2020 from 10 a.m.
– 8 p.m. at the Petersham Town Hall – Lower Level.

The last day to register to vote is Tuesday, March 10. Incumbent candidates for rices roots farmre-election wishing to sign the blanket nomination paper must sign by Monday, February 10th at 5 pm.

Anyone wishing to take out nomination papers must take out and return papers by Monday, February 10th at 5 p.m. from the Town Clerk.

Offices to be filled are Moderator – currently held by Bart Wendell, Board of Selectmen – currently held by Fredrik Marsh, Treasurer – currently held by Dana
Robinson, Board of Assessors – currently held by Ellen Anderson, Board of Health
– currently held by Stephen Loring, Petersham School Committee – currently held
by Angela Danielson, Planning Board (2 seats) – currently held by John Lawson
and Fraser Sinclair, Trustees of Public Library – currently held by Kent Byron. All
the seats are 3 year positions.well domes

Mahar Regional School Committee has a 2-year vacant seat. Anyone wishing to run for this seat should see the Town Clerk to take out papers.


State Grant Approved for Town Hall Lift System

The Massachusetts Office of Disability has approved the town's request for $140,000 to install a handicap lift system in Town Hall. Selectboard chair Nancy Allen announced the grant award.

The Selectboard accepted a low bid for the work from Clearview Contracting of Petersham.opened project bids on December 16. Clearview Contracting of Petersham was the tune up lowest of three bidders with two versions of the proposed work. Clearview Contracting bid $139,000. Vs. 1– Re-use of existing concrete foundation for exterior pathway and $148,500. Vs. 2 – Construction of new footings for exterior pathway. The work must be complete by June 30 to comply with grant terms.

The project design calls for installing an interior lift system at the south front side corner of the building that will connect the main floor to the lower town hall and allow access to the building from outside as well. Total budget for the project is $160,000 and that includes alteration to exterior parking spaces.

Mostly Dogs Unless One Counts the Snowy Owl and the Truck

ACO Call Log Summary
November 2019

original tire
@2:30p Resident call for found dog in yard, east side of town. Dog recognized; owner notified.

@2p Resident call for found dog in yard, east side of town. Homeowner requests dog be picked up. Dog brought to shelter. Messages left for owner.

@3:45p Owner contact made. Met owner at shelter.

@3:50p Petersham PD contact for found dog on Old East Street. To address given; finder had tried numbers on collar with no response. Dog brought to animal shelter for care.
Several calls made to attempt to locate an owner for above. Post to PAWS and FB, local ACOs notified.

Additional calls to local veterinary facilities for above dog. Dog cared for at shelter.

Above dog cared for at shelter.
@1:30p Potential owner of above dog returned calls. Arrangements made for owner to bring dog to local veterinary facility as rabies information and other medical documentation was not available.
@3p Dog picked up by owner; veterinary facility phoned to confirm dog did arrive for scheduled appointment.

@12p Resident call for loose dog on Common. Calls made to likely owner. Dog picked up by owner.

@12:15p Report of black cat on North Main. Gone upon arrival.
@1:15p Resident call of dog in road near Rt 122. Likely owner contacted, dog picked up and returned to owner.
@5:30p Call from out of town passerby with a found dog. Dog brought to shelter. Limited notifications posted as dog required medical attention.
@9a Spoke with local veterinary office regarding above dog. Contact made with local breed rescue. Dog will remain at shelter for care during holding period.
@2:30p Call from resident regarding owl that was acting oddly, east side of town. Advice given. To area to observe and consider transport; bird beginning to act normally. Owl ultimately flew off.

@6:30p Resident call to report snowy owl flew into truck near Harvard Pond. Advice rendered. Bird monitored on site, recovered without incident.
stone harvest farm

@9a Resident call regarding unfamiliar cat on property, south area of town. Unable to approach animal. Plan discussed with homeowner.
@1:15p Dog in shelter back to veterinary office for procedure.

@10a Out for farm inspections.
@1p Dog in shelter transferred to breed rescue.

@9:30a Resident call for found dog on Route 122 near Barre. Dog brought to shelter for care. PAWS and FB posts placed
@11a Caller reports lost dog from near New Salem area. Return call unanswered.
@2:30p Additional calls placed, likely owner identified. Above dog returned to owner.

@1p Barking dog complaint, south area of town.
@2p Spoke with owner regarding previous avian noise complaint; agreement reached.

@3-4p Spoke with owner and neighbors regarding above dog issue, agreement reached.

@10:30a Call from out of town resident regarding temporary /foster pet care that had been provided in Petersham. Info taken.
@2p Found dog on Route 122 near Barre town line. Dog admitted to shelter. Calls to ACOs and postings completed/
@3p Follow up on two noise complaints
@6:30p Dog at shelter returned to pet sitter.

Selectboard, Assessors Set 2020 Tax Rate

In a brief October 30 meeting, Selectmen and Assessors set the fiscal 2020 tax rate at $17.37 per thousand of assessed value. an increase from the current rate of  $16.93. Assessor Dana Kennan told the board the town's total valuation increased $6.7 million as properties were revalued and rose to $159,310,618. Kennan said the average home, is now assessed at $251,312, up from $241,830 and an average home will pay $271.11 more in taxes in the coming tax year. Some 89 percent of the total tax base is found in residential property, he said.

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