Let's Toast Mick Huppert
Come celebrate with Mick Huppert. Meet under the community tent on the Petersham Common, Saturday, July 1 at 10am. We will toast Mick and his many community-oriented accomplishments - championing community health care, local food production and landmick huppert conservation among others. Punch and cake will be provided. Hosted by the East Quabbin Land Trust. Mick is a long-time board member of the East Quabbin Land Trust, providing invaluable insights, asking tough questions and thinking strategically about our role and actions. Mick's energy and enthusiasm made real change in our communities. He is a member of Petersham Grange 95.

Last year, Mick was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Recently his treatment plan shifted to hospice care to provide a better quality of life for the coming months. Please join us for a toast if you are healthy and have not been recently exposed to others with a cold or flu.

first 4 july parade
Twenty Years Ago, Beth Cummings Started a Parade

Beth Cummings of West Street passed away on January 3, 2017. but the parade that she began as a neighbors' stroll around the Old Maid's Mile continues and will celebrate its 20th anniversary in her honor on July 4 this year.

In 1997, Beth thought there should be "something to do" on the holiday so she rounded up some family and the neighbors and took them for a Fourth of July walk.  Since then, she was joined by more townspeople, by new and antique fire trucks,hardwick  farmers cooppollice cruisers, politicians, antique cars, parade floats including the Petersham Grange "float with a goat," social groups, family groups, a horse color guard from Crimson Acres and a sizeable roadside audience. Beth's little neighbors' walk has turned into the North Quabbin's only Fourth of July parade. Marchers will celebrate the parade's 20th anniversary this year.

Since the beginning, the parade route begins on the town Common and travels down West Street. Marchers turn onto Hardwick Road and onto Spring Street before returning to the Common via South Main Street.atholhospital

Organizer and Selectman Rik Marsh said he has not yet finalized the parade lineup. Belchertown's Swift Kick band will play on the bandstand after the parade. Check back here for more details.

Town Meeting Quietly Votes $3.95 Million Budget for 2018

It took 30 minutes and cell phone calls to enough neighbors to muster a quorum, but when the annual town meeting finally began at 8 p.m., a 41-article meeting warrant sailed quietly through the meeting with few questions from voters. Ten percent of town voters must attend to start a town meeting, a higher requirement than in most towns.

The meeting was held at the Center School because the main town hall cannot be used for  meetings until it is made handicap accessible.
quabbin woods

After hearing brief reports from Selectmen, Advisory Finance, about asbestos remediation at the Nichewaug property and a Broadband  update, Moderator Bart Wendell moved the first 20 warrant articles as a block, a  "consent calendar" designed to speed the meeting along.

Article 19 covered spending $313,599 for general town office expenses, $376,279 for protection of persons and property, $63,882 for health and sanitation, $264,294 for highways and $12,854 for veterans' benefits. It passed unanimously. School budgets including $742,371, $27,801 for Monty Tech and $1,452,046 for the Center School were likewise passed without debate.beremco

Article 20, setting salaries for elected town officials including treasurer, town clerk, the moderator, tax collector and others was passed as submitted after Wendell turned back an attempt to raise those salaries submitted from the floor by Assessors Chairman Dana Kennan. Kennan said people in those those positions need to be better compensated because they handle all of the town's finances. Wendell blocked the proposed amendment by saying they added to more than 10 percent of the article as proposed and thus were "outside the four corners of the article."

As in past years, voters approved spending $1,800 for six Sunday night summer brass band concerts on the common. Later in the meeting, voters approved $1,000 to help with the cost of providing 21 weekly live music performances at the Friday Market. The music program is mainly supported by sponsorships, by the localwitty funeral home Cultural Council and by private donations.The motion, a citizen petition submitted by market coordinator Roy Nilson, passed on a vote of 48 to 23 over the unanimous objection of the Selectboard and Advisory Finance Committee.

In other business voters approved adding $122,000 to the stabilization fund and spending $144,559 to cover the interest on a loan to  build the Center School. They approved spending for new hoses and new turnout gear for the fire department. The Town Hall will  be getting a new coat of paint ($62,000) and refurbished shutters ($10,000). All together, approved spending will add twenty two cents to the 2018 tax rate. The fiscal year begins in July. The meeting ended at 9:30 p.m.

Roy Nilson is the publisher/owner of this petershamcommon.com website.

Broadband Subscriptions Easily Top 270 Goal

Broadband Chairman Chip Bull said June 5 that 332 people have now signed up in advance for the town's planned service -- more than enough to kick off work on the project
. Friday June 9 is the last day to sign up and save $1,000 on the cost of installing the service.tuneup

The Broadband Board, has signed a pole survey agreement with Matrix Design. Utility pole survey work will begin on June 12th. There will be about four Matrix crews in town carrying out the pole survey during June. All vehicles will be clearly marked "Matrix/Millennium." All workers will wear ID tags.

Polly Pillsbury probably had no idea when she went to town hall to sign up at the end of May that she and her mother would be subscriber numbers 269 and 270 for signing up their East Street homes -- arguably making her "Queen for a Day" as broadband supporters breathed a sigh of relief that preliminary work on the high-speed internet system can now begin.millersriver

In an e-mail, Polly wrote, "Yes, Mom and I were the last two (subscribers needed to hit the 270 mark). A bit reluctant because money is tight, and I have to admit, I still don't really understand what we get in the end! OMG, I used to be allowed to watch Queen for a Day when I was sick and stayed home from school in elementary school!"

Matrix Design said it will start working on the system as soon as at least 270 customers were signed up. The $250 refundable deposit from each subscriber will be held in escrow by the town until each subscriber is connected. Subscriptions on deposit in escrow now total more than $70,000

The rest of the $500 service connection fee will be due from each broadband subscriber when each service is turned on. That discount offer remains open until June 9. After June 9, subscribing to the service will cost $1,500. The committee launched a phone campaign and targeted mailings urging residents to sign up. Members also campaigned for subscribers at the transfer station for several Saturdays.

When town meeting voted last year to spend $560,000 as the town's share of building a local broadband system, it was with the understanding that the town was penciled into state plans to reimburse the money. Voters approved taking $300,000 from the stabilization fund and borrowing $260,000 more. Bull said then that Petersham is on a list to get that money back from the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI).

Since then, Bull has been working to clarify the town's reimbursement status. He said, "We have since confirmed that roughly half the state's approved grant funding money has been retained by the MBI for Broadband network proposals based upon private and public/private models. Petersham's position remains unchanged and we plan to seek the full reimbursement of our 'make-ready' expenses ... once networkconstruction reaches the point where we begin connecting subscribers in the late Fall 2017.

"As expressed by our state Broadband Liaison Bill Ennen, 'It would hard to imagine that Petersham... could be the only town not to receive its share of Last Mile funding.' I remain very optimistic that the final cost to the town will be very minimal," Bull said.

Chris Lynch of Matrix Design said when a utility pole survey identifies which utility poles need correcting, utility companies must be contacted. Residents near the town center may see broadband service as soon as the fall of this year with outlying homes connected as cables are strung over the next 18 months or so. Utility poles must be surveyed and any needed corrective action taken before fiber optic lines can be installed, Lynch said. There are about 26 poles in each mile of roadway, he said.

Dana Day Treatment Center Opens at Quabbin Retreat

The Dana Day Treatment Center, phase one of Heywood Healthcare's Quabbin Retreat Project, is now accepting patients and providing outpatient services for adults with mental illness and substance abuse disorders.

The program offers care coordination and family support in small-group settings to address specific patient concerns and needs.

Local transportation is provided, and most insurance plans are accepted. The Dana Day Treatment Center is a non-smoking facility, but smoking cessation resources are available.

Quabbin Retreat is Heywood Healthcare’s solution to a lack of mental health and substance abuse treatment resources in the North Quabbin. When fully open, the project will be an 86-bed facility providing outpatient, residential and inpatient services for adults and adolescents struggling with behavioral health and substance abuse.

Four phases of the project include an adult residential substance abuse center, slated for the fall of 2017, and a residential adolescent substance abuse treatment program. The final part of the project will include an inpatient detox center.

Once completed, the Quabbin Retreat will offer services including group-based support therapies, life skills training, family education and vocational assistance.