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A Unitarian Garden Service on July 19

A special July service will be held Sunday, the 19th, in the Unitarian church garden at 10:30 a.m.. In case of rain, the service will be held on the 26th. If you choose to attend, please remember to wear a mask and practice physical distancing. Rev. Inanna Arthen will continue her "Four Freedoms" series with "Freedom of Worship." Marc Erwin will provide live music, with solos by Rini Kilcoyne. 

Covid Testing Available Fridays in Orange

The Community Health Center of Franklin County has opened a COVID-19 testing site in Orange where anyone throughout the county and beyond who wants a test for the disease can get one, even if they don’t have insurance or symptoms. Testing is done in the center’s 450 West River Street parking lot every Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Advance registration is required. For more information and to register, call 413-325-8501.

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.

Covid Updates from Heywood Hospital

Heywood Hospital president Win Brown is providing video updates on Covid-19 Click
HERE to see the  updates on YouTube.

2020 Census Is On Hold But You Can File Online

Work on the decennial 2020 Census was halted earlier this month due to Covid-19 virus but if you want to help get the job done you can fill out a census form online at https://my2020census.gov/ The form is simple and can be completed in less than 10 minutes. Nearly 60 percent of US residents have already filed online.  No official announcement has been made about when census takers will resume delivering census forms or query non-filers.

Quabbin Woods Open for Takeout Orders

Beginning Wednesday April 29, 2020, Quabbin Woods is open for take-out service from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Call 978-724-3288 to order and pay. Look HERE for menu and specials. Pay by debit or credit card or pick up and pay at the front door.

Extra Time to Pay Your Local Taxes

The town has extended the deadlines for property, personal, and auto excise taxes to June 1, 2020.

AG Healy says 'Hands Off' Covid Relief Money

Attorney General Maura Healey April 13 told debt collectors to keep their hands off Covid relief money. Under state law, Healy said. the emergency funds that will be issued to consumers starting this week are exempt from seizure or garnishment by creditors. She and other attorneys general called on the Trump Administration to take immediate action to ensure these payments go to American families and not debt collectors.robinson lumber

“These payments are supposed to help individuals and families put food on the table during this crisis, not enrich debt collectors,” AG Healey said. “... my office is putting the debt collection industry on notice that these payments are off limits.” The AG’s instruction does not apply to any actions taken by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, including past due child support.

A Thoughtful FB Post From One Big Box Store Employee

Just because we are open doesn't mean we are here for you to spend your time BROWSING around. We are designated as an ESSENTIAL SERVICE. We are not here for you because you have nothing else to do. We are not here for you because you feel like getting out of the house for awhile. We are in a STATE OFrices roots farm EMERGENCY. This is NOT A VACATION! Every customer who walks in our doors PUTS US AT RISK. We really don't want to be here, but we realize that we are needed. YOU don't see how many times a day we wash and sanitize our hands to try to keep ourselves safe. YOU don't see our upset co-workers in the break room struggling to keep their composure. YOU don't see our spouses who worry about us every minute we are at work and who are our strength when we get home. We have our jobs to do and we realize the IMPORTANCE OF OUR JOB TO YOU. The LEAST you can do is come in with a sense of purpose, get what you need, and get yourselves HOME.

Please share, maybe we can get the message out there.

Nichewaug Video Tour 1993

Sweetwater Opens 2020 CSA Ordering

Sweetwater Farm, an organic farm on Maple Lane, has opened its 2020 CSA for ordering. Customers can order up to 20 weeks of fresh local produce with flexibleasdf share sizes and pickup times. The CSA offers market-style pick-up or pre-packaged box options. Deliveries are available. Call 610-858-4499 or e-mail sweetwaterfarmMA@gmail.com for more information.

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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At the Dump

Transfer Station (DUMP) Fees

Calendar of Town Committee Meetings

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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

Rep. Susannah Whipps

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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


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Harvard Forest - Fisher Museum

"Great Plates, Eat Out."




The July 4 Parade That Never Happened

flag bikers
Bill Berry raised the flag.                             Motorcycles gathered around the common.

The 24th annual 4th of July Parade was cancelled by safety concerns associated with the Covid          virus.

There was no color guard, no fire trucks, no reading of the Declaration of Independence and no country music on the bandstand. There was no Petersham Grange float with a goat, no marching  little leaguers, scouts or other groups. There was no parade of flag-bearing equestrians.

The event, now organized each year by Selectman Rik Marsh, began when the late Beth Cummings organized a neighborly July 4 walk around the Old Maids' Mile and grew into the North  Quabbin's only Fourth of July parade.

Instead, Vietnam veteran Bill Berry of North  Main Street came to the common as he does each morning to raise the American flag above the town common. About 9:30 a.m., a group of about 30 motorcycle rider and a few motorists, invited via Facebook, joined Martha  Cole of Shaw Road and formed up at 10 for one circuit of West Street, Hardwick Road, Spring Street and Main, the usual parade route, as their tribute to the nation, Vehicles festooned with flags and a few marchers joined in.

There was  no apparent need for police to direct traffic. Members of the Board of Health, which issued the cancellation order, were not present to object. A handful of neighbors along the route came out to observe.


Town Meeting Part One - a $3.8 Million Hour


It is official. A town meeting was held June 29 with just a few more than 44 voters present under reduced quorum rules. Nine chose outdoor seating for the one-hour session.

Moderator Bart Wendell said he hoped the meeting would be the quickest on record as the warrant contained mainly items needed to keep town operations operating and paid for until state reimbursements for the year are determined.hardwick coop

Non-controversial items 2 through 18 in a "consent" section of the warrant were dispatched as a group. The Ralph C. Mahar Regional School budget of $792,500 10.5 percent less than a year earlier) passed without debate as did the Center School budget of $2,033,110 (a 2.4 percent hike). Monty Tech's budget jumped to $39,037 as enrollment has increased.

Finance Committee Chair Rich Cavanaugh said the town is about a quarter million dollars below what it could raise before hitting its Prop 2 1/2 tax limits, "...but that could change" as state reimbursement levels are announced. The state, which provides nearly one quarter of town funds via reimbursements, is suffering a massive revenue shortfall because of Covid business shutdowns and layoffs. atholhospital

In a Special Session before the main meeting, voters agreed to cover a $70,000 overrun of the broadband system project and an $11,354 deficit in the snow and ice removal account. Other  items will be voted at a fall Special Town Meeting.

Covid Updates from the State Dept. of Public Health

Link to town by town data

Mass Public Health Covid Info and Updates


Dogs, Stray Cats, Goats and a Snapping Early Turtle

April 2020 Animal Control Report

04/01 @3:30p Resident call regarding dog that chased when walking in road. Resident felt it was a GSD. To area, owner of dog identified, spoke with dog’s owner. Dog placed on leash, warning

04/06 @6a Resident call stating two dogs went missing when someone opened a barn door while animals in barn were being feed. PAWS FB, Missing Dogs Massachusetts postings, assisted with getting flyers up in areatune up

@2p Resident call regarding large snapping turtle in middle of the road, advised. To area to assist turtle to move on its way

@2:30p Report of loose goats on Route 32. Potential owner notified and goats returned to yard.

04/07 @3p Call from owner of lost dogs (04/06), both dogs located and safe. As a precaution both dogs to veterinarian for exam

04/17 @10:30a Resident call regarding unfamiliar cat seen at locations on the east side of town. Discussed placing trap if cat is seen again, resident to notify asap if seen

@5p Resident with unfamiliar dog in yard, advised to open garage door, resident able to secure dog in garage. Likely owner identified and dog picked upjeromy

@6:30p Contact from North Quabbin Animal Control regarding Athol dog that went missing when out with owner on Petersham land. PAWS, Missing Dogs Massachusetts postings, gave additional advice to owner. Additional ACOs from surrounding towns notified. Feeding station set up in area where dog went missing, item of clothing and dog bed left, satellite cam set

04/18 @2p Dog from above located in Barre. Owner to area to secure dog solar installations

@3p Resident call regarding domestic cat that has moved new born kittens into a wall that is not easily accessible, suggestions given

@4p Cat previously seen on the east side of town successfully trapped and moved to shelter

04/19 Begin care and assessment of cat in shelter. Notifications to PAWS FB page and additional local lost pet pages, local ACOs notified, several response contacts made with no match for trapped cat

@10:30a Resident call regarding a very small bunny brought in house by domestic cat, suggestions given. Family member able to transport to rehab facility

@1p Resident call regarding livestock questions, to area to discuss issueoriginal tire

04/23 Assist homeowner and carpenter in removing section of wall where kittens were relocated by the mom. Kittens (and mom) successfully removed from within wall and set up in home

04/24 @9a Resident call regarding porcupine that is staying in barn, suggestions given is animal remains

04/26 Trap delivered to above location for porcupine and baited

04/30 Cat trapped earlier in the month re-homed. Owner understood, given the current status, the cat was not fully vetted.

Additional Notes:

  1. Daily care of cat in shelter (2-3x/day) from 04/18-04/30

  2. In general, marked increase in calls for wildlife sightings near roadways

Counterfeit Cash Found by the Roadside

Police Chief Dana Cooley said April 20 that nearly $20,000 of counterfeit money was found scattered along Shaw Road earlier this month. Cooley said the bogus cash was spotted by a local fisherman who called the police.mann lumber

Cooley said the cash appeared to be US currency but, "...looking at it, you could tell" that it was not real money. 

Cooley said, "We gathered it up. It was mostly $100s (bills) and a few $20s." Later, local landscaper Chris Barnes found another "... $2,300 or $2,400 on Glasheen Road near East Street," Cooley said.

The department notified local retailers, area law enforcement and the Secret Service, Cooley said, and is investigating. "Right now, all we have is a charge of littering," he said.

Swap Shed Closed - Transfer Station Hours Normal

 The Board of Health has closed the swap shed at the transfer station until further notice to help minimize possible exposure too possible Covid-19 contaminants.  godinThe Board also reminds residents that by state orders, residents should not bring returnable containers to the shed for redemption. Do not leave returnable cans/bottles or swap items at the shed. Returnables may be kept at home  storage or put in the town recycle bin.  These steps are aimed at minimizing exposure to possible Covid- 19 contaminants.

Town Sued Over Cell Tower 'No' Vote

TowerNorth Development, which was denied a cell tower permit by the local Zoning Board in January, has filed suit in federal court seeking to overturn the decision.

The court filing says the town's vote violates the federal Communications Act and was not based on evidence. The act guarantees that cell companies can build towers designed to fill gaps in service and coverage. The board voted not to allow the company to extend its approved tower from 90 to 160 feet.

The suit asks the court to undo the board vote and allow the tower project to proceed. The tower is meant to fill a "gap in service" in the area.

Denying the permit prohibits area cell service in violation of federal law and  causes TowerNorth  irreparable harm, the court papers assert. The company is seeking court costs and legal fees.

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