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

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opinion page
The Opinion Page

Here Is What We Think About the Nichewaug

HERE is a link to results of a recent town-wide survey seeking voter opinions about what the town should do about the Nichewaug property... CLICK HERE.

Yes Virginia, You Can Check Out Library Books

Need something from the library? The Petersham Library continues to offer safe curbside pickup! Simply go to petershamlibrary.net and browse the catalog. When you find something you'd like to check out, call (978) 724-3405 or email PetershamLibraryRequests@gmail.com with the author and title and your contact information.

When the librarians locate your items, they will call you back and arrange a pick up time. Don't know what to check out? The librarians can put together book bundles for you based on your interests or even arrange for a live "virtual self tour" via Facebook Messenger or Google Duo.  Currently, curbside hours are Tuesdays and Fridays from 2-5 p.m. or by arrangement. 
Are you looking to enhance your health in 2021?

Join the Petersham Memorial Library in welcoming Petersham resident and Certified Health and Nutrition Coach, Annette Ermini, who is here to help. Join us virtually on Wednesday, January 13 at 7 p.m.
Many people are tired and experiencing exhaustion, especially in the age of Covid. Annette shares her healing journey and how she overcame chronic fatigue. In this webinar, she shares simple, practical, and effective holistic tips that can boost your energy, too.

Every positive endeavor begins with a single step. Join our online workshop to regain vibrancy, vitality, and radiant health in living your best life.
Pre-registration is requested. Please email Annette at happyradiantlife@gmail.com by Wednesday, January 13, at 12 p.m. to register. Confirmation and online access information will be emailed to you.

Materials are available fo
r pickup on Tuesdays and Fridays from 2-5 p.m.

Covid Updates from Heywood Hospital

eywood Hospital provides updates on Covid-19 Click HERE to see the  updates

Congregational Services Have Resumed

Sunday services have resumed at the Congregational church at 10 a.m. each week. Members are wearing masks and only every other row of pews is to be occupied. Long-time Petersham resident and church member has died. Click here to read Peter's obituary.

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 tune updisease 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.

Quabbin Woods Holiday Hours
Friday: Closed
Saturday: Closed
Sunday: Open 9am-1pm

Nichewaug Video Tour 1993

Just for the Fun of It... click here

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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 averages 7,500 page views each month - more than any  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 aearthlands newspaper.




This website is NOT an official outlet for town government. It presents fact-based  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

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 solar installationsPetersham 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

 our hisory

Official Town Website -

Committee meeting notices and minutes 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."





Heywood Healthcare Weekend Covid-19 Update

Covid in Massachusetts Cities and Towns Map

Petersham Has Lost a Great Friend

Selectman Frederik (Rik) Marsh died in the morning hours of January 7, 2021 while recuperating from a fall and after spending several days in the hospital.
Whether Rik was supervising and helping residents at the transfer station each week or stopping at the Friday Market for an ear of fresh corn to eat on the spot or taking notes as clerk of the Selectboard, Rik was a central figure in the life of our small town. He kept our July 4 parade, begun as a neighbors' walk around the Old Maid's Mile by the late Beth Cummings, alive and he ran a private stray cat rescue at his West Street home.

An election to fill the vacancy will me held May 17 and will    include incumbent Henry Woolsey's re-election bid as well. Selectboard chair Nancy Allen commented as follows:
"The Selectboard is saddened by the unexpected death of fellow Selectman Rick Marsh after a brief illness and our thoughts are with his family at this time.

The Selectboard will be reviewing next steps as allowed by law -- filling the seat by either holding a Special Election or at the next Regular Annual Election which has been set for May 17. Petersham's local election is held on the first Monday of March, but due to COVID19 and as allowed by law, the Town Clerk requested moving the date to May 17, and the Selectboard concurred with that recommendation.

As reviewed with the Town Clerk at the time of taking that action, the hope is that the COVID19 vaccination programs will be further along and surges will have quelled, plus it provided a much-needed break for election workers from the rigorous election processes of Fall 2020. It is unlikely that a Special Election will be inserted into the timeline given the original reason for moving the date and how close any Special Election date would end of being to the May 17th Election.

The key focus of the Selectboard from January thru April is the town's budget. That annual work is a joint effort between the Selectboard and the Advisory Finance Committee working with all town departments and committees. With that primary focus, it is likely that waiting until May to fill the now open seat will work out with no harm done and is logistically best for all including the Town Clerk for her process and for her team of poll workers. This process will be further reviewed at an upcoming Selectboard meeting."
-Nancy Allen
Chair, Petersham Selectboard

Hospitals Must Now Post Their Prices

Good news for anyone who has ever been surprised by medical bills - hospitals must now post their prices for all to see. Kaiser Health News and others are reporting the new requirements.

Hospitals face the new year with new requirements to post price information they have long sought to obscure: the actual prices negotiated with insurers and the discounts they offer their cash-paying customers.  That could allow consumers to shop for the best price for nearby services.market

The move is part of a larger push by the Trump administration to use price transparency to curtail prices and create better-informed consumers.

As of Jan. 1, facilities must publicly post on their websites prices for every service, drug and supply they provide. Next year, under a separate rule, health insurers must take similar steps.

With the new hospital rule, consumers should be able to see the tremendous variation in prices for the exact same care among hospitals and get an estimate of what they will be charged for care — before they seek it.

Reports:As  many as one third of all Americans reportedly struggle to pay medical charges.

Fire Damages East Street Homehouse fire
On Dec. 31, fire damaged a home at 21 East Street. Mutual aid from Athol, Barre, Hardwick, New Salem, Orange, Phillipston and Woods Ambulance saved the structure and the 4 cats in the house. No one was injured.

Polly Pillsbury, whose mother Bina (Mary) Pillsbury, 94, lives in the home, said she was just arriving at 9:30 a.m. for a visit and to feed the cats when the fire broke out in a power strip at the Christmas tree. Polly said she put her mother out of the house with her dog and was prevented by smoke from finding the cats as she called 911.

While still working the structure fire, crews were diverted to put out a working chimney fire at 51 Birch Drive in Petersham.

Animal Control Call Log Summary
December 2020

12/01 Contact from resident regarding stray cat in the area, trap loaned out to homeowner. (Trap subsequently returned as it appears cat has left the area.)

12/03 @7:30a Resident request to remove HBC rabbit located in front of home on East. Services rendered.
12/03 @8a Call from PPD regarding resident at the station to file complaint related to dog issue. Situation discussed with officer and subsequent follow up plan reviewed.

12/04 @10a Call for loose goat. Goat was found shortly after call placed

12/08 Several messages regarding loose horse, to area, owner previously identified

12/10 @1:30p Resident call regarding loose dog near Post Office. To area, dog returned to owner, discussion regarding ongoing concern

           @5p Call from dispatch regarding call received from resident. Caller is requesting animal control look for what they believe is an injured cat crying in the woods behind the home. To area, nothing found.

12/11 @5p Trap dropped at residence for above situation with cat.

          @6:15p Cat successfully trapped and transported to animal shelter.

12/16 @7:30a Discussion with Chief Cooley regarding animal issue and health of owner in town. Over the course of the day, several conversations ensued.

12/17 Multiple calls to various agencies regarding resolution options for above.

12/19 @9:30-11a Site visit to above location to discuss plans with others involved.

12/21 @9-11:30a Meet with outside agency to crate and move multiple animals for evaluation and medical care at a veterinary facility.

@6:30p Call for loose dog on the Common. To area, owner identified, dog returned to owner.

12/27 @8:30p Resident call for two dogs that left yard unattended. PAWS FB alert posted. Animals returned on their own during the night/early morning.

12/28 @9a Teleconference with outside agency regarding animals previously removed from home.

12/31 @9a To shelter to prepare housed cat for veterinary appointment. Transport provided by others.

         @9:30a To house fire location. While awaiting PFD okay to go in to home to look for cats, prepared small triage area. Dog was previously secured and with owner.

        @11:15a Permission given by PFD Chief Robinson to enter home. The four cats were located in various locations in the house, safely captured, placed in carriers, and brought to triage area.

        @12p Cats transported by animal control to veterinary facility for evaluation

        @2:30p Three of four cats transported to home of family member. Family member to transport one animal to Angell for further medical intervention.

        @5p Transport homeowner of above and dog to temporary housing here in Petersham

        @7:30p Call from PPD regarding ongoing issue with loose dog

Notes: Daily cat care for animal in shelter from 12/11-12/31.

Open Burning Can Start January 15
Depending on wind and weather, open burning of brush may start January 15. Open burning permits will be available between 7:30 AM and 12:00 Noon, January 15 through May 1.

Permits are only issued between 7:30 AM and 12:00 Noon.
Permits are only issued on the day that you wish to burn.
No permits are issued in advance due to the potential for changing weather conditions.

Massachusetts allows residents to burn brush between January 15 and May 1, depending on weather conditions. You must obtain permission from the town in which you plan to burn brush.

Some towns served by the New Braintree State Police Dispatch office offer burning permits online at c8burnpermits.com. If you are burning in Petersham, visit the site between 7:30 a,m. and noon to obtain a permit on the day you want to burn brush. Permit availability on a given day will depend on weather conditions.


  • You may only burn brush. All other materials are illegal. No leaves, grass, hay, stumps, building debris or any other materials are allowed to be burned.
  • All open burning must be a minimum of 75 feet from buildings or structures.
  • Burning will be allowed to start at 10:00 a.m. and extinguished by 4pm.
  • Any open fire must be attended at all times by the permit holder.
  • No person shall set, maintain or increase a fire in open air at any time except by permission.
  • You must be 18 years or older to apply for a permit and/or set, maintain or increase a fire once permission has been granted by the Fire Department.
  • You must have an appropriate means to extinguish an open air fire completely at the end of the day or if requested by the Fire Department.
  • The Fire Department can refuse or cancel a permit at any time. (Example: Violation of permit regulations, or change in weather conditions.)
  • Open burning season is January 15 - May 1.

lmost 90 Percent of Petersham Voters Cast Ballots

Final national results of the presidential election are not decided but Petersham voters mainly supported Joe Biden according to Town Clerk Diana Cooley.jeromy
Eighty seven  percent of the town's 1,009 registered voters cast ballots, either voting early or in person. Approximately 460 early votes were cast early either by mail or in a drop box. The rest were cast on election day. Cooley said that adds up to an  87 percent turnout.

Joe Biden received 528 votes. Donald Trump got 321 votes.

Covid Updates from the State Dept. of Public Health

Link to town by town data

Mass Public Health Covid Info and Updates

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.  Masks required. These steps are aimed at minimizing exposure to possible Covid- 19 contaminants.

OPINION: Send Us Your Opinions About the Nichewaug MORE

The Friday Market  -- MORE

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