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St. Peter’s Christmas Bazaar

Do your Christmas shopping and get your loved ones a beautiful handmade gift.
Saturday - December 8, 2018
10:00am – 2:00pm in the church hall.
St. Peter’s Church - 18 North Street, Petershamwitty funeral home
Items for sale: Christmas cookies by the pound, baked goods, cookies/cocoa in a jar, dog/bird treats, Christmas swags, table greens, dried fruit ornaments, large handing ball and star ornaments, handmade Christmas decorations, grab bags, treats/crafts for children and much more!
Coffee, tea and cider available for purchase.

Contact Islay Boeri 978.724.0205 with questions.

Writing about the Quabbin Region

Join the Earth-based Writing of the Quabbin Region program on Saturday, December 15, 2018 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. at The Petersham Memorial Library and at 3:30 p.m. for a "Reading Aloud" session at the Petersham Country Store. Three local writers will share their inspiration and techniques of writing; including, Allen Young, North Quabbin Revisited; Cathy Stanton, A Quabbin Farm Album; and Larry Buell, A Return to the Meadow: Images and Writings of Place. Come join these writers to learn of their process of writing and gain instruction in Earth Writing techniques. This free event is co-sponsored by the University of the Wild at Earthlands and the Petersham Historical Society with donations accepted. Contact: Dr. Larry Buell for information and registration: <larrybuell@earthlands.org> (978) 724-0412 VISIT: www.universityofthewild.org

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.

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Send it here: info@petershamcommon,com

Petershamcommon.com has been putting local Petersham news and information online since 1996. This website records between 8,000 and 10,000 page views each month - more than anystone 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 polite 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, It 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 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.earthlands

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 8 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.

2018 Selectboard Office Hours

Monday 8  a.m. – 7  p.m.
Tuesday 8  a.m. – 4  p.m.
Wednesday, Thursday
8  a.m. – 4  p.m.
Friday 8  a.m. – 12 noon

Selectboard Meeting  Dates

Tuesday November 13 6:30 p.m.
Special Town Meeting Nov. 19
Tuesday November 27 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday December 11 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday December 18 6:30 p.m.

Sen. Anne Gobi
Petersham Town Offices, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Nov. 26

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


eddies wheels


Harvard Forest - Fisher Museum

"Great Plates, Eat Out."




Voters Approve Broadband Borrowing in Landslide

A special election to decide whether to exempt borrowing $800,000 from Prop 2 1/2 limits and continue the town's broadband project passed Dec. 10 in a landslide with 25 percent of the town's 968 voters casting ballots.

The vote was 231 in favor with only 18 voting No. The measure was approved earlier at a special town meeting 141 to 1 if voters agreed to exempt the borrowing from Proposition 2 1/2 limits.

Voters approved the measure at a special town meeting by a vote of 141 to 1. The broadband committee believes that the state will reimburse the town when the system is completed late in 2019.

Broadband chairman Chip Bull said votes by two state agencies to set terms for reimbursing the town when the system us up and running are expected in the next several days. Bull called the vote a "huge step" in the town's effort to build a broadband system. An equipment room has been build in the lower town hall. Applications for utility pole "make ready work have been filed with utiity companies and Matrix Design of New Jersey has determined where new firberoptic cable will be installed. The town has already spent some $560,000 on the work but Bull said with state reimbursement and an investment from Matrix that Petersham's broadband will be installed sooner that similar systems planned for other Western Mass communities and at a much lower cost.

Annual Town Election Set for March 4

The Annual Town Election will be held on Monday, March 4, 2019.

Nomination papers are available through the Town Clerk's Office at 3 South Main Street. The office is open on Monday evenings 5:30 p.m.; 7:00 p.m.

The following offices (all 3 year offices) are up for reelection: Board of Selectmen currently held by Nancy Allen, Board of Assessors currently held by Jean W. Robinson, Board of Health currently held by Fifi Scoufopoulos, Constables – Denis N. Legare, Richard N. Bartus, Larry A. Robinson (3 positions), Mahar Regional School Committee; Heidi Shortis, Petersham School Committee currently held by Lynn Jones Peredina, Planning Board currently held by Donna K. Byron and Trustees of Public Library currently held by Hilary L. Loring. The last day to obtain nomination papers is January 14, 2019.

The last day to return papers is January 14, 2019. The last day to register to vote is February 12, 2019. Any questions may be directed to the Town Clerk.

town wood bank
Winter Improvements to Harvard Farm in Petersham

Travelers on Route 32 in Petersham will soon see changes the former Petersham Country Club property, now a working cow pasture, ecological research site, and outdoor classroom owned by the Harvard Forest.

The Harvard Forest Woods Crew has been clearing brush and pruning dead tree branches. This spring, the large equipment shed will be painted and upgraded to match the style and color of the historic saltbox-style clubhouse building.

Interpretive signs will be installed to explain the Forest’s ecological research at the farm, which includes studies of how the timing and intensity of grazing and haying affects plants, soils, carbon, water, and wildlife, especially birds, small mammals and butterflies. The cows on the site are owned by local farmers, who use the land free of charge while the Forest maintains the fences. Each year, hundreds of local students learn from research at the Farm.

The most prominent change to the roadside view will be a new art exhibit – a 5-ton sculpture to be installed in mid-December after a 6-week stint at Harvard University’s Science Center Plaza in Cambridge. The exhibit, called “Warming Warning,” depicts global temperature data and shows several potential futures of carbon dioxide emissions – aiming to spark conversations about local actions that can be taken now to combat climate change. It was built from wood harvested and milled by the Harvard Forest Woods Crew, and framed by a local timber framer.

The sculpture will be installed in an opening on the road that is left by the removal of a small 1920’s era house that fell into significant disrepair in the years before the Country Club sold the property to the Forest. The demolition of the house will begin in mid-December and be complete within a few days.

“The Forest has a commitment to restoring and maintaining historic buildings,” says Clarisse Hart, Outreach and Education Director for the Forest, noting the Forest’s renovation of the Bryant Farmhouse on Pierce Road in 2008. “But the house’s basement has been flooded for years and its foundation is crumbling. We need to focus on maintaining the farm property as a conserved working landscape for research and education, and as a resource for the community.”

Broadband Borrowing Vote Set for Dec. 10

A special election to decide whether to exempt borrowing $800,000 from Prop 2 1/2 limits and continue the town's broadband project will be held on Dec. 10. Voters approved the measure at a special town meeting by a vote of 141 to 1. The town's broadband committee believes that the state will reimburse the town when the system is up and running. If the measure passes, the committee says most of the town will be wired for high-speed internet service by late 2019.

Problem Porcupine -- and the Bunny May Go to School

Animal Control Officer Call Log 10/2018

10/02@8:30a Resident call regarding cat crossing Route 122, seen several times in same location. Trap set; removed after 3 days.berube real estate

10/03@6:30p Attendance, annual MDAR update event, Amherst

10/04@4:30p Resident brought injured bunny for advice about best course of action. ACO transport of young rabbit to Tufts Wildlife. (Diagnose of fractured femur, animal recovered, will be released in spring or put into educational school program.)

10/09@7a Multiple calls regarding dog in road off Route 122. Dog restrained, returned to owner.

10/12 Several resident calls regarding coyote sightings. Advice given.computer repair

10/14@3:30p Resident call for found Maltese like dog in road. Dog picked up, photos taken, small dog held at home of ACO. Collar, no ID, no microchip. All local ACOs and dispatch notified. Social media and local postings activated.

10/15@5:45p Resident has dog in yard. Owner identified and dog reunited.

10/21@5:30p Resident call, two dogs escaped fenced yard. One dog returned upon contact, owner items left in yard for second dog, dog returned at 6:15p

10/22@9a Assist with farm inspection

10/24@3p Bring found dog for veterinary appointment and rabies vaccination at Family Pet Vet.

10/26@12p Resident would like to know options for porcupine causing problems in yard. Met with owner, advice given.

10/30@8a Via PD Chief, dog wandering on West Road. Dog with owner on arrival. OwnerWATERWHEEL advised of leash law.

10/31@8a Call and emails regarding dogs wandering in fields near town center. On site, one dog was able to be leashed. Potential owner contacted. Both dogs secured and fencing issue addressed.

Note: Sheltered dog 10/14-10/31. Given situation, dog was held with ACO in setting that allowed frequent observation and attention.

Animal Control Officer Call Log November 2018

11/02@4p Resident call regarding concern heard in the wood near home, west side of town. Met homeowner.

11/06@3:30p Report of cat bite via PPD notification. Follow up with AMH and owner. Owner advised of required protocol.

11/09@8a Report of unknown cat (to homeowner) staying on property.

11/09-15 FB and other social media contact put in play for found dog from 10/2018. Several potential owners interviewed.

11/09@8a Resident reports unknown black cat in yard.

11/10@6a Barking dog complaint

11/15 Maltese type dog re-homed!!

11/16@2p F/U with owner of cat bite situation

11/18@1p Found dog brought to shelter. Owner identified, dog reunited.

11/21@9p Resident concerned about sound in wood. Spoke with homeowner, follow up not needed.

11/22@4p Resident calls to state known dog seems to have escaped enclosure. Caller able to get dog back to yard. Owner notified.

11/25@9a Trap placed at location frequented by cat and previously reported.

11/27@4a Cat from above trapped and brought to shelter.

11/28@7a Caller reports raccoon in middle of road and moving slowly. Two visits to site over 3 hours, no contact.
Daily cat at care at shelter beginning 11/27.
Daily dog care (Oct found dog/home shelter) 11/1-11/15

Fourth Nichewaug Community Meeting Dec. 12

Thirty members of the community met informally in town hall Dec. 28 to review suggestions for the Nichewaug property on the common. Submitted by residents, the proposals ranged from demolition to senor housing to a description of a phased,  low density redevelopment including accessible town offices, senior housing and more. It was the third such meeting.original tire co

Moderator Bart Wendell has asked residents to present their favored one-page plans for the property. Fifteen submitted their ideas and Wendell asked residents to focus on benefits of each. Negatives will be taken up at a later meeting,  he said. The meetings are informal and conversational. All three Selectboard members attended to listen in.

The vacant property has been town-owned for a decade. Previous efforts to attract a developer have come to naught. Demolition has been estimated to cost $500,000. A like amount has already been spent to remove asbestos floor and ceiling tiles from the property.

High on the list of concerns are f ire safety and a desire to preserve the historic nature of the town common area. Wendell said he hopes the group can come up with a proposal for the property that could be taken to a town meeting for approval. He said he hopes the group can work together to improve each other's proposals.millers river

A follow-on open meeting to discuss the proposals is set for 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12 in the lower town hall.

Roy Nilson, who publishes this web site, is a Nichewaug neighbor.

Unitarian Church Holiday Programs

Here are our December services. All services except Christmas Eve are at 10:30 a.m. and will be followed by coffee, tea, treats and conversation.

December 2nd in the Dining Room - "Building Community Resiliency in Response to the Opioid Crisis and Other Dependencies" - Morgan Ban-Draoi, Substance Use Treatment Program Manager, Quabbin Retreat. This is part of our continuing series of discussions about the challenges to our community in our present circumstances and what we can do now and in theatholhospital future to counter those challenges. It follows up on an earlier presentation by Rebecca Bialecki on the history of the opioid crisis and will provide an update on the programs offered at Quabbin Retreat.

December 9th in the Sanctuary - "We Need a Temple?" - Rev. John Pastor - The story of Hanukkah is about the restoration of the temple as the central place of worship in Ancient Israel. This sermon speaks to the temple tradition and reflects on the need for a temple today. (Marc Erwin, music)

December 16th in the Sanctuary - "Winter Solstice" - Rev. Inanna Arthen

December 23rd in the Sanctuary because it's decorated! Come share your favorite childhood holiday stories and feel free to bring props, act it out or sing about it.

December 24th at 7 p.m. in the Sanctuary - "Christmas Eve Candlelight Service" of love, hope, peace, song and community with Rev. John Pastor and Organist Cathy Tyng.hardwick coop

December 30th in the Sanctuary - "How to Get Psyched Up for 2019" - Rini Kilcoyne

Voters Greenlight More Broadband Borrowing

On Monday, Nov. 19, 2018 voters approved borrowing an additional $800,000 to build a town-wide broadband internet system in advance of a promised state reimbursement by a vote of 141 to 1. The borrowing also requires a Dec. 10 ballot to exclude the amount from Proposition 2 1/2 limits.

Broadband committee chair Chip Bull said the town has already spent about $500,000 to pay utility companies to make their poles ready for new fiber optic cables. He said the new loan could cost the town $40,000 for one year and will be repaid with an anticipated $880,000  reimbursement from the Commonwealth. That repayment will not materialize until after the broadband system is built and operating, he said.godin

"We have to spend it to get it back," Bull said. "Your affirmative vote will enable the Petersham broadband project to move to a completion date in the fall of 2019, he said.

Bull said National Grid and Verizon expect to be paid in advance for work to upgrade their poles. Selectboard chair Nancy Allen said State Rep. Susannah Whipps, Sen. Anne Gobi and the governor are all working to assure the reimbursement is paid.

Finance Committee chair Ross  France said his committee would only recommend the measure as a debt exclusion measure because of the "lack of certainty" that the state will reimburse the town. If no state payment comes in, the load will raise the local tax rate by as much as $.80 per thousand of assessed valuation, France said. The current tax rate is $16.93 per thousand.quabbin retreat


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.

property tax chart

The Friday Market  -- MORE


Town Hall Access Committee Report

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