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Library's Annual Tea Returns June 11
The library Board just could not let another year go by without
some sort of Annual Tea! We are hoping for nice weather next
Sunday, June 11 from 2:00 - 4:00 for our outdoor Tea. We will
also have lemonade and iced tea, and the building will be open
for us to go in and out of, as needed. We hope you will come to
this first-ever June Tea and will also do a bit of baking for
our snack tables.
UU Church June Schedule
Greetings Friends - here is our schedule of church services for the
glorious month of June, ending with the traditional Flower Communion
before we break for the summer. Please join us. Services start at
10:30 in the Sanctuary*, and we gather for coffee and conversation
immediately after each service.
June 4 - Polly Pillsbury - "A Creator on Acting and Song
June 11 - Katja Esser will present an interactive service in the
*NOTE* This service will be held in the Davis Memorial Hall.
June 18 - Kevin Mooney - "Forgiveness"
June 25 - Rini Kilcoyne and Parish - "Flower Communion" (please
bring a flower or two from your field or garden to share)
Carboys For Sale
Four 5-gallon glass carboys in new condition,
three with handles, in their antique wood cases, held fast and
protected from breaking with interior spring-loaded wood slats. Plus
5 dozen heavy-glass champagne bottles to hold your brew.
Last chance $100. 617-930-3274
UU Summer Services
SCHEDULE OF SERVICES
May 21st - Rini Kilcoyne "Activism in the Multiverse"
May 28th - Memorial Day Interfaith Service at the Orthodox
June 4th - John G. Root "The Power of Imagination and
Manifesting vs. the Dumbing Down of Public Education" with Marc
Erwin and Rini Kilcoyne, musicians
June 11th - Open
June 18th - Open
June 25th - "Flower Communion" - Parish members led by Rini,
with Marc Erwin
TRADITIONAL SUMMER BREAK
Center ~ Spring Classes 2023
MAKING COLOR, MIXING MAGIC!
Saturday, May 20, 9-12Noon~with Elaine Griffith. In this workshop,
you’ll learn the secrets to getting exactly the colors you want and
learn how to use a palette knife to make them clean and brilliant.
You’ll make color charts and learn the skills to make all the colors
in the world around you! Cost: $15 members / $35 non-members.
Materials Fee $10.
Sue Morello of Sheldon Farm Baskets will
teach a class on basket-making on Saturday, June 3,
from 9 to 1 p.m.
Participants can make a tobacco basket, or may choose another basket
type. Fee: $20 members, $40 non-members, materials fee $16. Call PAC
To enroll in a class, email
Chris at email@example.com
Two Church Programs
The church is providing
Adult Christian Education on various topics at the Church's Andrew
Hall, 21 N. Main St (Rt. 32), on the Second and Fourth Wednesdays
starting at 6:30 p.m. The current series is “What's the Difference?
Christian Church Edition” exploring the difference between the
various types of churches. Programs simulcast on Zoom and Facebook
Live, details and links on our Facebook page.
The church announced
revised semi-monthly Friday Funday Programming at the Church's Andrew
Hall, 21 N. Main St (Rt. 32) starting at 7p.m. First Fridays of the
Month will feature a Family Movie Night where a selection of options
will be provided and the attendees will vote on which movie. Third
Fridays of the Month will feature a Games Night for all ages and all
types of games, and attendees may bring their own games to share.
Light refreshments will be provided at both programs. Attendees
may bring items as well. Details and updates on our Facebook page.
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
Just for the Fun of It... click here
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Get Some Free Stuff
You Can't Beat These Prices
At the Dump
Transfer Station (DUMP) Fees
Town Committee Meetings
Selectboard Office Hours
Monday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Tuesday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Sen. Anne Gobi
Rep. Susannah Whipps
Official Town Website -
Committee meeting notices and minutes are posted at
If only the river were this blue...
Petersham, Surrey, England
and A Place to
Stay the Night
Harvard Forest - Fisher Museum
"Great Plates, Eat Out."
A PETERSHAM Phone Book
Voters Will Face a $5 Million Budget at June 5 Town Meeting
Voters will face a $5 million
budget for the coming fiscal year at the annual town meeting at 7 p.m.
Monday June 5 in town hall.
The budget contains a request to make up an $87,000 deficit in payment
for the Maria Assumpta demolition and is a scant few hundreds of
dollars shy of requiring a tax override. Copies of the budget are
available around town and online at
The meeting will also
consider whether to accept a gift of a solar powered lighting system
that would illuminate the American flag on the south common and allow
the flag to fly both day and night.
A second citizen petition would expand the board to five members to
increase the board's base of experience, share the workload and
allow greater voter contact with town government. It would also limit
select board members to only serving in that position. More than half or
142 Massachusetts towns have 5-member boards today.
A third petition would provide a small fund to the Friday Market that
will expand the market's local no-cost edibles coupon program in the
wake of government cutbacks in food stamp benefits.
The Friday Market Returned May 26
The Friday Market will launch its
20 week 2023 season on the town common at 3 p.m., May 26.
Vendors including Coolidge Hill Farm in New Salem and Rick Wilkey
Produce will be on hand with fresh local produce. Other edibles include
local ice cream from Thompson Maple Farm in New Braintree. Stone Harvest
Farm is scheduled to bring local fresh eggs and Kate Morreale of Golden
Egg Farm in Hardwick promises to bring blue-ribbon award-winning Silkie
Petersham's Little Chicken Factory will debut a new line of Alpaca-based
organic plant food. Other vendors will have edibles and craft items on
display including bat and bird houses and local Girl scouts are
scheduled to bring Girl Scout cookies. Social service agencies are
invited to present information about their services
The Petersham Jams house band was on hand to provide its unique
brand of musical entertainment.
On June 2, the OverEasy Jazz band, a five-piece acoustic group,
plays traditional jazz music from the 1920s and 1930s. Artists of the
era included Joe "King" Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Scott Joplin, Louis
Armstrong, W.C. Handy, and Duke Ellington.
Supported by the banjo
and tuba rhythm section, the line of trumpet, clarinet, and trombone
a mix of traditional melodies, harmonies, and improvisation. The
band repertoire also includes second-line parade tunes, ragtime
pieces, and tango music. Quiet enough to allow people to talk but
lively enough to be the subject of conversation, the band plays
mostly instrumental music with occasional vocals.
On June 9, Second Chance Animal Services is offering a walk-in
animal vaccination clinic for pets on leashes from its mobile van.
Rabies shots are $5. microchips are $22 -- cash only.
Sen. Gobi to Leave State Senate
State Sen. Anne Gobi will leave the Legislature to become the
state’s first director of rural affairs, a newly created post in the
Gobi will start her new job June 5, according to Healey’s office.
Her Senate departure date is unclear. The move will trigger a
special election in the central Massachusetts district she
a Legislator of the Year Award
(D-Northampton) was honored at the 2023 Annual
Foster/Adoptive Parent Recognition Awards Brunch by the
Massachusetts Alliance for Foster Families (MAFF), the state
association working to enhance the well-being of children in
out-of-home placements and the families who care for them, with its
Lisa Anne Jenkins MAFF Legislator of the Year Award for her work on
behalf of children and for her perseverance in securing passage of
the Foster Parent Bill of Rights.
Talking History Comes to Petersham
The Petersham Historical Society has initiated
"Talking History Corner" at the Petersham Memorial Library. The first
of this series of monthly gatherings will take place on Wednesday, May
17th from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. at the Library.
Using a range of historic photographs and videos, attendees will be able
to recall and share their own understandings and memories of events that
happened in the Town of Petersham.
To stimulate memories and discussion of topics like the
disasters, like the Hurricane of 1938 and the tornado of 1953; major
community events like Petersham Agricultural Fairs in the middle 1900's;
and famous and infamous residents and guests like Dorthy Eaton, artist
and John Fiske, internationally known Historian will be presented. The
informal and interactive conversations will be achieved through the Oral
History Project of the "People's History of Petersham. The creator of
the program, Barbara Hanno said, "I have lived in Petersham for a number
of years and do know there are many amazing stories held by residents
which must be told. I look forward to learning more history from those
who lived it."
The program, co-sponsored by the Petersham
Historical Society and the Petersham Memorial Library, is free and open
to Petersham and friends from other communities. For information
contact Barbara Hanno, vice-president of the Petersham Historical
Society at <firstname.lastname@example.org>
or (978) 724-0219
Grange Retunes Margarine the Musical
The Petersham Grange will celebrate the 150th
anniversary of the Massachusetts State Grange with a performance of
MARGARINE THE MUSICAL - AN AGRARIAN MELODRAMA.
On June 4, 2023, at 2:30 in the upstairs Town Hall,
Sing with us as we follow farmers in their eternal search for or land,
community and real food. Meet the first climate changers (hint - not
humans) outside the gates of Hell in Eleusis and follow them through the
end of the end of history right into the future. You will come to
understand how the Grange has managed to stay relevant from its
beginnings after the Civil War until the present day.
The songs will be
from the original Grange Melodies song book supplemented by a few modern
songs about the farmers' struggles in the modern world.
Parts are still available though preference will be given to Grange
members. First meeting of the Margarine group will be at the Upper Town
Hall at 2:30 on April 30th. Subsequent meetings (aka rehearsals) will be
on the following Sundays right up until the actual performance on June
4th. For more information contact Ellen Anderson at email@example.com
Petersham Sued Over Solar Project
SunPin Energy Services, a $5.1 million revenue California-based solar facilities
company, is suing Petersham for denying permission to build a solar farm on
land off New Athol Road. The 20-plus acre project was approved by the local
Conservation Commission but stumbled when the Zoning Board of Appeals failed
to vote unanimously in favor.
The ZBA vote was two in favor to one opposed in a case
where a unanimous vote is required. The case will be heard at 2 p.m. on July
19 at Land Court in Boston.
In a court filing, the developer, argues that the
"no" vote was arbitrary and capricious and that the project will not be
"...detrimental or offensive to the present or future character of" the
neighborhood or the community. And asks the court to
overrule the local vote and allow the project. The company argues that the
ZBA exceeded its authority by denying a special permit.
ZBA members Donald O'Neil and Brian MacEwen voted to
approve the project. Member Maryanne Reynolds voted no and chose not to
comment on the matter. Town officials held a recent closed session to
discuss the court suit.
The wooded property is owned by Ralph Lapinkas Jr. of
Internet Outages Were Discussed April 11
Eight members of the community met
with the Broadband Committee to review four recent internet
outages at its April 11 meeting in the lower town hall.
Chair Chip Bull said the local internet network performs well an has
achieved 99.84 percent uptime in recent months.
Members discussed Matrix data logs showing the average Petersham
network up/down time since going fully operational in 2021.
Matrix representative Chris Lynch said two of four outages had to do
with equipment that failed at a Cambridge company that provides internet
services to Matrix.
The outages in question began on;
Tuesday Feb 21,2023 at 10.00.02 AM
Sunday March 26, 2023 at 4.20.32 PM
Monday April 3, 2023 at 5.16.23 PM
Tuesday April 4, 2023 at 12.10.30 PM
Bull said, " There will always be outages, always.
What we need to do is how do we respond to them."
Lynch said Matrix is planning to issue a small rebate and will work to
promote its existing system of using cell phone text messages to keep
customers up to date. Some 477 local homes or 90 percent use the
Matrix service, he said
Fire Chief to Retire after 35 Years
Chief Dana Robinson of West Street is retiring June 30
after 35 years with the local fire department. He also serves as forest
warden and as town treasurer.
In a letter to the Selectboard, Robinson said: It has
been my pleasure to serve as your f ire chief over the past 35 years.
I am proud of all of the men and women who currently
serve and have served the Town and the Department during my tenure.
Over the years, I have tried to keep our department equipped with the
necessary tools to safely perform the job. I have advocated for replacement
apparatus where needed and utilized alternative funding sources to stretch
the tax dollars further.
I believe I will leave the Fire Department in a much better condition today
than it was 35 years ago.
Town Offices Returned to Normal Hours on March 1
The Selectboard voted Feb. 16 to restore
normal access to all town offices on March 1. The brick building
has been operating a patchwork of various open times and
different times and days for different offices for more than a
year. No mention was made of the more than 50 heated comments
about limited access to town services posted recently on the
Chair Nancy Allen said the staggered hours and locked front door
were an attempt to protect part-time employees during the
Covid-19 emergency. She said the "hybrid approach has been
functioning pretty well" and said previously that the board had
heard no complaints from residents.
Several weeks ago Jennifer Dejackome and Tina Leslie attended a
board meeting to let board members know that the arrangement was
inconvenient and upsetting to residents. Documents for town
committees were dropped in a collection box. Residents picking
up paperwork could find them in envelopes taped to the outside
front door. Departing board member made a motion too
"fully open" the building effective March 1. The vote was 3 to 0
Food Stamp Benefit Cuts on the Table
State House News Service
BOSTON — Residents all over Massachusetts are scheduled to absorb a
significant decrease in food assistance aid in just over two weeks, with
more than 630,000 households facing a loss of about a third of what they
have received in SNAP benefits over the past two years.
As low-income families and individuals who rely on the Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to put food on the table and make
ends meet prepare for the reduction, the state Legislature has before it
a proposal to continue, at least in part, the pandemic-era emergency
SNAP allotments. But with the federal declaration that assistance tied
to COVID-19 will be phased out this spring, the state has before it an
aid cliff and slowing revenue growth to fill those gaps after several
years of elevated spending.
Massachusetts residents have received extra SNAP dollars to help
combat the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020.
A Possible Tax Windfall From
New Program Planned
Petersham could realize
some $100,000 in new annual tax collections due to the transfer of ownership
at Quabbin Retreat, 211 to a for-profit owner. The Board of Assessors
recently voted to send the new owners a bill for $45,000 to cover the last
half of the current tax year and to seek cost estimates for having the
property assessment updated for the following year.
Heywood Hospital, a
non-profit, was making a $30,000 annual payment in lieu of taxes but
the new owner, Waterstone Properties Group is a for-profit taxpayer. The
complex is presently assessed at $5.6 million and the new owner took a $5.4
million mortgage to cover the sale and renovations according to Ellen
Anderson, assessor's chair. A revised assessment in that range could produce
an annual tax bill of nearly $100,000.
Renovations are complete on
a building at the Quabbin Retreat on North Main Street. The plan is to house
12 to 24 mothers and children participating in a new substance abuse recovery
program. The Gardner Athol Area Mental Health Association plans to operate
the program. Heywood bought the property in 2017 and sold it last year.
Dawn Casavant, Heywood
Hospital vice president of external affairs said previously that two other
substance abuse programs currently operate at the former Catholic nuns
residence. Heywood recently transferred ownership of the facility to
Waterstone Properties Group, Inc. of Needham in August of 2022. The facility
houses – Heywood’s Dana Day Treatment Center and
Belmont-based McLean Hospital’s Addiction Treatment Center at Naukeag.
Petersham town officials
have expressed private concerns that children whose parents are in the
planned residential program could be enrolled at and bring new expenses to
the Center School.
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.
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.
Now Berry and Bill Purple, a long-serving former
selectman, are proposing to light the flagpole with a solar lighting
They presented their proposal to the Selectboard on
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
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 Spent 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 funds.
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
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.
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
Should Petersham offer this convenient service to residents? Tell us
what you think.
Send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject line "E-Payments" stating simply
Yes or No or include more thoughts.
Covid Updates from the State Dept. of Public
Link to town by town data
Join the PetershamCommon.com e-mail List
Petershamcommon.com 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
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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
in Orange. Treatments will include a
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
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: 978-724-3223.
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.
Tuesday 10-5 p.m.
Wednesday 2-7 p.m.
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.