Go to the Local News Page Check out the local weather forecastClick here for advice on Dining OutClick here to visit the Opinion PageClick here to meet some neighbors Click to learn about our churches See what's for sale in town - post an advert Click to get on our e-mail listWhats open and when
ncaaClick here to ask PC Abby a question Click here to send us an e-mailfor rent in memory of Click to see area heating oil prices Click to read the history bookgif weather services
Check out
Who Are You.  Right here. Meet your Neighbors. Suggest a new name. 

LOCAL NEWS - See a mistake or a typo? Please Let us know.

Petersh a.m.: A Place That's a Few Minutes Early  - Cemetery Rules -  The Link is on our Home Page 

opinion page Click to See What Happened Today in History |  SEND US YOUR NEWS ITEMS - It's Easy. Click here.

Nichewaug Video Tour 1993

Unitarian Church Program on Food

Katja Esser will offer a program on Food, the law of nature, and physical well-being on Sunday June 16 from 10:30-11:30 am at the Petersham Unitarian Church

The service is at the Petersham Unitarian Church on June 16 at 10:30 am at the Davis Memorial on the corner of West Street and the Petersham Common.
Katja Esser is an artist, performer, ceremonialist, videographer, gardener, and creative cook.

University of the Wild Program

The University of the Wild is offering a Sustainable Living Workshop on Backyard Food: Foraging Local Wild Food, with herbalist, Lenore Anderson on Saturday, June 15th from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m.   jeromyThe program starts on the South Common in Petersham and will meander the fields, wetlands, and forests near the center of Petersham. Anderson has a master's degree in clinical herbalism She leads monthly Wild Edible and Medicinal Plant Walks with Earthwork Programs in Conway, MA. For information and registration contact Dr. Larry Buell at (978) 724-0412 (O) (978) 855-1420 (Cell/Text) <larrybuell@earthlands.org> VISIT: www.universityofthewild.org

Zoning Board Meetings Ahead

The Zoning Board of Appeals will hold public hearings  on two projects.

The board rescheduled a hearing on a petition to raise the height of a cell tower planned for 41 Hall Road. The hearing will be at 7:30 p.m. June 27 in the town hall. The petitioner is Tower North Development.mann lumber

Sunpin Solar Development is seeking permission to build a large solar array on New Athol Road. That hearing will be held at 7:30 p.m. May 30 in the town hall Application submitted by Sunpin Solar Development, for land on New Athol Road. Sunpin is based in Irvine, California and has a Boston office.

Community Garden Plots Available

Wondering where to plant those tomatoes? There will be up to five free plots available this spring in the community garden behind the library. The plots arewell domes approximately 40 feet by 50 feet and fertile.They are rototilled. More info: fridaymarket@petershamcommon.com
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 new stickers are yellow.

soapboxGot Something to Say?

Send it here: info@petershamcommon,com

Petershamcommon.com has been putting local Petersham news and information online since 1996. This website averages 10,000 page views each month - more than any stone harvest farm 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 asdf 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

Friday Market Totes Are Here

Sturdy and stylish, reusable Friday Market shopping tote bags that can be used on any shopping trip are now available at The Country Store, at Quabbin Woods and at the Memorial Library. Or request a bag by e-mail to fridaymarket@petershamcommon.com.

These commodious totes are available for a donation of $10 or more to support the 20-week Friday Market music program on the common. The market opens again on June 7, 2019 and each Friday through October.small tote

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

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

Selectboard Meeting Dates 2019

Petersham Selectboard Regular Meeting Dates
Regular start time at 6:30 p.m. unless determined otherwise. Additional meetings may be scheduled as the need arises.

June 11
June 26
July 9
July 23
August 13
August 27

Sen. Anne Gobi
Wednesday June 26th
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."




Town Meeting Voters Say This Town Is Bee Friendly

After a 35-minute wait for a required quorum to materialize, town meeting voters declared Petersham to be pollinator friendly, bought a fire truck, OK'd a new police cruiser and said "yes" to a record breaking school budget.

With 937 residents registered to vote, Moderator Bart Wendell said 94 people must check in before town meeting can take any action. He said the town's 10 percent quorum requirement is one of the highest in the state.rices roots farm

There were few questions and even less debate as voters approved a $280,000 fire truck, a  special services pickup truck police cruiser for $47,065 and other budget items including interest payments on borrowings that could add up to a 9.5 percent hike in property taxes for fiscal 2020.

Voters approved a resolution (absent any rules or regulations) that encourages folks to adopt practices that encourage the health of pollinators like bees. and the planting of the plants, shrubs and trees on which pollinators depend. The resolution originated in Petersham Grange 95 and was submitted for a vote by the Conservation Commission. Chair Bob Clark promised programs and demonstrations to help make Petersham "Pollinator Friendly."


Petersham Friday Market Opens June 7 for 20 Fridays


The Petersham Friday Market returned to the town common from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on June 7 featuring local produce, meat and eggs, craft items and healthcare information.


Northampton band Lunar Carnival provided the first performance of the market's 20-week live music series. rices roots farm

More than a dozen local vendors offer organic and other produce from local farms and within the Pioneer Valley. Offerings include started plants of many kinds, locally raised meat, chickens, local eggs, baked goods, home-baked dog cookies, local honey, handmade soaps and other craft items. Friday Market vendors vary weekly and include Petersham's Chimney Hill Farm and Sweetwater Farm (organic produce, meat), The Little Chicken Factory (mobile chicken coops), Bob Hayward's local garlic, Pick and Shovel Farm (plants and produce), Kiwi Meadows Farm (organic produce), Rick Wilkey (Valley produce) and other local growers. Dry Brookcaledonia Garden offers tubers and cut flowers. Starfire Bakery and Sweet Cottage Farm bring baked goods.   Elzire’s Acre goat milk soap. Other vendors offer greeting cards and wood carvings. Mindful Garden farm also provides organic vegetables.

The market is open without charge to both regular and occasional vendors and to information booths staffed by health care agencies and social services who share information about their programs. The market relies on donations and grants to cover expenses.

Petersham Friday Market music is offered with support from town meeting voters, Heywood Healthcare, the Wild Geese Foundation, Petersham Cultural Council, Petersham Grange 95 and from local donors. The town common is handicap accessible.

In appreciation for their organization's support, up to 50 employees of Heywood Healthcare will receive a "Fabulous Five Dollar Coupon" on June 7 to spend at the market when they present their employee IDs at the Market Coordinator's booth.

For information, contact Roy Nilson (978-724-6662) or by e-mail:
fridaymarket@petershamcommon.com or visit www.petershamcommon.com.

Boards Get Ready for June 3 Town Meeting

Selectmen and Finance Committee members met May 22 to answer questions about the coming fiscal 2020 budget and about spending items in a proposed $4.4 million town budget. Two members of the public attended the session.

Fin Comm Chair Ross France said the 2020 local tax appropriation will rise by about $77,000 and will amount to a 9.5 percent increase over this year's tax rate or about $18.11 per one thousand oforiginal tire assessed value. A property assessed for $450,000  will pay about $8,100 in property tax. The actual tax rate will be set by the Board of Assessors.

France said the Fincom's primary goal is to craft a budget within Proposition 2 1/2 that provides for essential services, to treat employees fairly, to avoid using free cash to pay general operating expenses and to plan for future expenses.

Selectboard Chair Nancy Allen said going over final spending plans "... has benefits even if there are no residents in the room. The tax rate is the big issue this year." Contributors to the local tax burden this year  include flat state reimbursement for education costs, payments due on various borrowing for schools, the Nichewaug and broadband expenses and proposed new vehicles for police and fire.

Fire Chief Dana Robinson is seeking a replacement fire truck for $280,000. The police department is seeking $48,205 for a pickup truck equipped to serve as a cruiser/emergency vehicle. Somegodin $103,195 is due for principal and interest on center school construction; $22,253 is due on Ralph C. Mahar construction; $47,065 will pay principal and interest on Nichewaug asbestos removal; and $60,000 is due for payment on two loans for the broadband project.

In all, voters will consider 42 articles on the town meeting warrant.

property taxes

Selectboard Turns Down State Handicapped Grant

The Selectboard voted May 15 to turn down a $70,000 grant from the Massachusetts Office on Disability to install a handicap lift system intended to connect the upper and lower town halls.

The grant was approved in January, but the town is not able to complete the project on time or within budget, Chair Nancy Allen said. In a letter to the state office, the board said the town willsolar installations forfeit its grant. "... in the project, we are not able to successfully bridge an  unforseen construction budget gap. ... we have determined that there is a funding shortfall." The work was required to be completed by June 30.

Both the upper and lower halls are handicap accessible but there is no connection between them for the disabled. The main hall is served by a temporary exterior ramp at the front of the building. The proposed lift project would  provide access from outside of the building and allowed entry to both the upper and lower halls without intruding  on the historic presence of the building. A five-member volunteer access committee helped produce the original grant application and solicited architectural drawings and a bid from a local contractor. Allen did not say when an opportunity to apply for the money again might materialize.

Broadband Information Meeting Held May 11

Nearly two dozen residents attended an update meeting  on the town broadband project from 4 to 5 p.m. Saturday May 11 in the Lower Town Hall. Matrix representatives were on hand to answer questions. Utility companies are upgrading poles around town. Half of homes could be connected to high-speed service by September with the rest hooked up by year's end.

Broadband chairman Chip Bull says, "This is the most complex project Petersham has everquabbin retreat undertaken - More than 47 miles of fiber-optic cable will be installed - More than 375 customers will be connected - More than 1900 utility poles have been individually surveyed - Estimated investment by our Broadband partner Matrix Design of $1.75 million dollars - $880,000 is (expected) from the State as Petersham's share of grant funding - This project represents more than nine years of effort and thousands of donated hours by Town residents.

Help Wanted -- New Petersham Librarian Needed

The Petersham Memorial Library Board of Trustees is seeking a dedicated and knowledgeable part-time, 20-hour per week, Director to manage the operations of the Library. The successful candidate will have a Bachelor’s degree, demonstrated leadership abilities, and work experience within the field of library science, or a position with comparable responsibilities. MLS encouraged.

Candidates without an MLS must obtain a Sub-professional Certificate of Librarianship from theatholhospitalMassachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) upon appointment and must complete the MBLC’s special training in Basic Library Techniques. Experience with Evergreen ILS and CW MARS a plus. A job description is available at the library or view the MBLC webpage at
https://mblc.state.ma.us and look under Library Jobs.

Our library is a center for culture, education, and community enrichment and we look forward to finding a new leader. Send cover letter and resume by May 31st to: Library Search Committee Petersham Memorial Library 23 Common St Petersham, MA 01366 or submit via email to: resume@petershamlibrary.net

Mostly Dogs, a Squirrel, a Cat and One Bear

Animal Control Call Log Summary
April 2019

04/01@9a Resident call for sighting of a medium black dog on 32A. To area, described dog seen. Humane trap, food, and satellite camera placed in area.

04/01@6p Resident call to request meeting regarding an incident that occurred while out walking. Resident stated two dogs, off leash, came aggressively toward them as they were walking their dogs on leash. Meeting with resident held to discuss event.

04/02 Phone call to owner of off leash dogs described above. Letter and notice sent.

04/03@6p Resident call regarding bear in backyard. Discussion about bear activity.

04/04@6:30p Resident call regarding sighting on Route 122 near New Salem line of an unidentified large animal, movement more cat like than dog like. Animal appeared the size of a very large dog. Tan in color, long tail. Additional information recorded.

04/08@9:50a Resident call regarding cat that has been in tree for 24hrs. Advice given and owner of cat returned call they were able to secure. Additional advice given about warming and feeding the cat.

04/14@9a Resident call to report several sightings of a large black cat in yard and no neighbors have a similar cat. Cat gone upon arrival. Resident will call if cat seen again and humane trap will be placed.

04/14@3:30p Resident call to request a deceased, unidentified animal in stream near house bewitty funeral home removed. Deceased porcupine, likely HBC, removed.

04/14@4:45p Resident call to report loose small dog on West Road. Description given. Area searched, no sign of described dog.

04/15@10:30a Call from out of town resident requesting advice. He almost hit a dog in road that appeared to have an injury. The incident did not occur in Petersham. Caller reports he has been unable to obtain a response from local ACO or PD. Advice given.Above caller updated. He brought the dog to S Deerfield ER, injuries treated and ER will follow up with local AC and town where dog was found.

04/15@12:30p Resident call regarding loose dog at construction site. Owner of said dog identified.

04/15@5:30p Resident call to report loose dog with 2 collars on Hardwick Road. Dog gone upon arrival.

04/17@7:40p Dispatch call regarding barking dog complaint. Area driven, no barking heard. On third trip to area one bark heard. Spoke with additional residents. Email exchange with reporting party.

04/18@11a Follow up phone calls regarding above. Problem resolved.

04/18@5p Call from AMH regarding dog bite treated earlier in the day. Dispatch call regarding same. Information sent via FAX to PPD and received. Dog UTD on all vaccinations and placed on home quarantine.

04/22@6a Resident call regarding hearing cat crying. Area visited, caller reports a cat ran from garage. Unable to give clear description.

04/27@8:20a Message from resident regarding injured squirrel. Area visited, nothing found.

04/27@5p Home visit for dog under quarantine. All well, dog released from quarantine.

04/30@3p Resident call, 2 loose dogs running in North Common Meadow. Additional calls received. Call made to additional resident for assistance in securing dogs, owner on scene to retrieve dogs.

Supt. Thomas to Retire at Mahar, Menard Leaving Center School

Mahar Regional School Superintendent Tari Thomas has announced her retirement in August 2020. Thomas has been superintendent since July 2011.She is entering her 37th year as an educator, having started as a second grade teacher in rural Maine in the 1980s, then teaching inrobinson lumber Lenox before becoming principal of Shutesbury Elementary School and then Clifford M. Granger School in Agawam.

"I have announced my retirement for the summer of 2020.  Thought I might give the school boards ample time to find my replacement," Thomas said.

As superintendent of three school districts, Thomas is administrator of Petersham elementary Orange elementary school and middle and high school students from Orange, Petersham, New Salem and Wendell — around 1,500 students. Thomas has pressed for combining the three districts and central administration from an office at Mahar in Orange.

supports regionalizing area schools in a way that would add the Orange elementary schools and Petersham Center School to the district. Thomas also supports more state funding for rural schools, which face high costs in areas like transportation. Thomas is about to reach her full maximum benefit under the Massachusetts Teachers’ Retirement System.

Menard will leave at the end of the school year to take a similar post at Gill-Montague schools. She has been principal here for four years.

Proposed Center School Budget Pokes Through $2 Million

As presented to Selectmen on April 16, the fiscal 2020 Center School budget will exceed $2 million for the first time at $2,020,105. The current budget is $1,946,442. The budget is nearly double the sum suggested by the state as sufficient to provide an adequate education to 70 local and more althea bramhallthan 30 school choice students from other towns who attend the school. The fiscal year begins July 1.

Dan Hayes, director of finance and operations, told the board that the separate Mahar Regional budget will be presented on April 30. For the Center School, Hayes said all expenses for the school are up $73,000 or just 3.78 percent. State aid support has been flat for several years so local taxes have covered increases, he said. School salaries account for about half or $1,020,000 of the total budget.

Contract negotiations with teachers and other employee unions are nearly completed and could include two percent pay increases, School Committee member Lynn Peredina said.

Peredina, also a member of a regionalization study sub-committee said plans to completely regionalize the school district will likely not be ready to present to town meeting in June because there is not enough time to schedule required public hearings.

Pole Work Underway for Broadband System

Utility company crews have begun working to upgrade selected utility poles along Route 32 (North Main Street) to make way for the town's planned broadband system. The "make-ready" work began on April 3.

Chip Bull, broadband committee chair, said the make-ready work is set to be completed by the middle of June now that the state has promised an $880,000 reimbursement when the system is fully up and running. The town has borrowed more than $1 million to fund the work and expects to be repaid.at the end of the project.

The town's broadband contractor, Matrix Design, has built an equipment room in the lower town hall and will begin installing actual fiber optic cable for the system in June. Work to connect more than 350 pre-paid subscribers is scheduled to begin in late August. The committee is planning to hold a broadband information meeting at 4 p.m. on Saturday May 11th and promises project updates every two weeks on www.connectingpetersham.com

OPINION: Send Us Your Opinions About the Nichewaug MORE

State Certifies 2019 Local Tax Rate

Mass Department of Revenue has certified the town's fiscal year 2019 Tax Rate at $16.93 per thousand. The 2018 rate was $16.37 per thousand of assessed value. The increase is .56 cents per thousand of value.

The Friday Market  -- MORE

Town Hall Access Committee Report

Send a comment.

 Read PCAbby Here

Let us know about your event
Here for Free.


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 e-mails from petershamcommon.com will be occasional.  They won't often be long-winded. E-mail addresses will not be shared with any third party - not ever.