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Twice Daily Covid Updates from Heywood Hospital

Heywood Hospital president Win Brown is providing morning and evening hospital system video updates on Covid-19 Click
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Nichewaug Video Tour 1993

Local Spring Art Show at Town Hall -- CANCELLED

The Petersham Cultural Council will host a local art show in the Petersham Town Hall April 3 through April 5. The theme of the show is “Spring Thaw,” and amateurs and professionals alike are encouraged to participate by submitting up to 4 pieces by March 25th. An opening artists reception will mann lumbertake place on Friday, April 3rd from 7-9 p,m. The show is free and open to the public. More information and the application form may be obtained by emailing petershamculturalcouncil@gmail.com.  The Petersham Cultural Council is a local agency funded by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Psychology Course at Mahar Regional

Greenfield Community College will offer an evening course, Principles of Psychology, in the spring semester 2020, on the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School campus. robinson lumberThis 3-credit course is open to high school juniors and seniors, and to community members. Tuition and fees apply and prospective students must meet Accuplacer requirements. If you are interested, please contact the GCC email: gcc.mass.edu or call 413-775-1808, for more information.

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 flexible 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.

Burning Brush Started Jan. 15

Permits to burn brush will be available starting January 15. Here's the link http://c8burnpermits.com/ for everything you need to know and to request a one-day permit.

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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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 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

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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
Wednesday Mar. 25

1:30 p.m. -2:30 p.m. Petersham Town Offices

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."




Departments Meet to Discuss Local Covid Response

Selectmen met with town officials Wednesday evening to coordinate town responses to the current virus crisis. The meeting was based at the town hall with several participants connected in by  telephone. Board chair Nancy Allen said town boards are getting tons of information and updates.

Bob Pasic, Board of Health chairman, said Renee Wingertsman is available to take questions at the town offices. Other town department staff are working flexible scheduleshardwick coop

Allen said the spring town election has been postponed from March 30. The scheduled town meeting date of June 1 is  being evaluated. "We are getting tons of information. We have all worked together but we never have all talked together at the same time. We are all in stress mode but you (residents) can all reach out to us individually."

Pasic said the Covid impact is severe in more congested communities. "We seem to be doing OK. We have information from the state Department of  Public Health and from the state. We really do need to say our hellos and keep our distance and move along. being in Petersham. We are lucky we have distance between us but the worst is yet to come. Stay home if you can. We will help anyone we can in any way that we can."

Kay Berry from the Council on Aging said the newly formed Petersham Partners group is recruiting volunteers to help with errands (contact Deb Bachrach for more information bachrach2@verizon.net or 978-724-0078) Bachrach said as Animal Control  Officer she may be able to arrange to shelter pets if residents need hospitalization.

Police Chief Dana Cooley and Fire Chief Dana Robinson said members of their departments are well-equipped and well trained. Cooley said, "It is relatively quiet. Hopefully things will go well." Robinson said.

Cases listed by county:

Barnstable County: 133
Berkshire County: 119
Bristol County: 179
Dukes and Nantucket Counties: 8
Essex County: 472
Franklin County: 39
Hampden County: 183
Hampshire County: 30
Middlesex County: 842
Norfolk County: 490
Plymouth County: 272
Suffolk County: 843
Worcester County: 291
Unknown location: 356

Swap Shed Closed Until Further Notice

 The Board of Health has closed the swap shed at the transfer station until further notice to help minimize possible exposure too possible COBID-19 contaminants.  The Board also reminds residents that by state orders, residents should not bring returnable containers atholhospitalto the shed for redemption. Likewise, stores are not allowed to accept returnables for now by state decree.
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.

Petersham Connects to Overdose Network

Petersham and other Worcester County cities and towns are now linked to a county-wide system intended to notify local police when a town resident suffers a drug overdose in another community.

Chief Dana Cooley welcomed the new system, modeled after one developed first in Plymouth County. Cooley said when an overdose is recorded by any police department in the county, a notice is now automatically sent to the hometown police department.

He said the local department and staff from Quabbin Retreat (local treatment center) will follow up with a plain-clothes visit to the individual or family to offer information about treatment options. "We will knock on the door and offer them information and support.solar installations Sometimes people aren't aware of the available resources. We will sit there and explain them." Cooley said.

"We have some individuals in town that have (addiction) issues. My guys have had to use the Narcan. The officers have to be prepared."

Police departments in all 60 of Worcester County’s cities and towns will begin tracking overdoses in real-time. The program was implemented by District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.

The new system allows law enforcement to collect overdose data and make it available in real-time to all police departments in the county. The information is then used to have a plainclothes police officer and a recovery coach reach out to the non-fatal overdose victim and offer services within 48 hours. The program allows police to identify those with substance use disorder who are most at risk and offer them treatment.

The program was developed with law enforcement and the District Attorney’s office in Plymouth County. After implementing the program in 2017, Plymouth County had a 26 percent reduction in overdose deaths in 2018. The program is in use or being implemented in Bristol, Essex, Middlesex and Norfolk counties, as well.godin

The Worcester District Attorney’s office purchased the software using drug forfeiture funds. “I am proud that we are bringing the program to Worcester County,” Early said. “This model has proven effective in Plymouth and we hope to see the same success here. I’m glad to partner with so many who are helping us address this deadly disease. We are stepping out of our silos to use a model proven effective in another part of our state.”

Central Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association President and Fitchburg Police Chief Ernest F. Martineau worked to get all of the departments in Worcester County signed up to use the program.

“Critical Incident Management Systems have shown to make substantial gains with providing hope for those suffering with addiction,” Martineau said. “Positive reductions to overdoses have been reported in Plymouth County and that same technology is soon to be a reality in Worcester County. 

"The program will break down the silos and allow law enforcement to effectively collaborate its response."  Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis has also agreed to partner on this program by identifying those reentering the community who may be at a high risk for overdose.     

The Nipmuc Story Presented in Petersham

This program has been postponed. A New Date will be announced.

The Nipmuc tribe has persisted in Central Massachusetts for nearly 8,000 years.

The cultural history of the Nipmucs will be shared through story and native American teachings by Larry "Spotted Crow" Mann, a Nipmuc story teller, in a program entitled "When the Land Speaks" on Sunday, March 15th at 2:00 p.m. in the Petersham Town Hall.

The free program will explore the relationship between land, people, and nature through the eyes of the Native Americans of New England. Many of the stories can beoriginal tire related to the Nichewaug Section of land area surrounding the Quabbin Reservoir which was original Nipmuc land.

Larry "Spotted Crow" Mann is a member of Nipmuc Tribe and resident of Massachusetts. He is an award winning writer, poet, cultural educator, traditional story teller, tribal drummer /dancer and motivational speaker. His work has taken him across the United States, Canada and parts of Europe.

Mann is a board member of the Nipmuk Cultural Preservation Trust, an organization set up to promote the Nipmuc Tribe.  His work with Cultural Preservation Trust draws a special connection to Petersham where the trust now has title to twenty-one (21) acres of Earthlands land in the Eastern section of town and where they will create a Native American cultural and education center for both native and non-native people.

Mann's Tales from the Whispering Basket, is a collection of short stories and poetry. Mann brings forth the Oral Tradition in this collection of legends, that beckon the Spirit of the Land, and the Ancient Voices that still have so much to Teach us all. jeromy

A number of local environmental related organizations like, Harvard Forest, Trustees of Reservations, Mass Audubon, Quabbin Visitor Center, Millers River Environmental Center, and the Nolumbeka Center in Turners Falls have been invited to share their work at the Sunday Program.

Funding for the program came from the Petersham Cultural Council and is sponsored by the University of the Wild, a special project of the Wild Earth Institute, Inc. The program is free and open to the public. For more information on Larry "Spotted Crow" Mann visit www.whisperingbasket.com For information on the program contact Dr. Larry Buell at <larry@UofWild.org> (978) 855-1420 and visit www.universityofthewild.org..

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 thewitty funeral home 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.

Dogs and a Few Cats and Not Much More

Animal Control Officer Call Log Summary
January 2020

01/06 @2p Report of roaming dog near center of town. Dog located and returned to owner

01/08 @11a Resident reports repeated sightings of what appears to be a single coyote. Information provided and advised to not approachrices roots farm

01/10 @4p Resident reports a missing dog. Dog returned home at 8:30p

01/12 @9a Athol resident living near the Petersham line reports missing cat. PAWS alert and FB post completed

@11a Report of two wandering dogs on the east side of town. One dog located at 1p, second at 4p

01/15 @9a Resident call regarding deceased wildlife in yard/driveway, HBC animal removed

01/16 @1p PPD call for injured red tail hawk that flew into vehicle. Driver on scene with officer. EPO contacted. ACO on scene with transport carrier and recommendation to observe since bird was improving. EPO arrived at 2:15p, agreed to transport to Tufts Wildlife

01/17 @12p Resident request for help with their dogtune up

01/23 @10a Assist resident with pet issue
@11a Resident report there is a loose dog and feels owner is away. Additional conversations with resident during the day

01/24 Additional conversation with resident regarding above

01/25 Annual Petersham Rabies Clinic 10:15-12:30p

@1p Call for loose dog near center, dog returned to owner
@3:45p Call for found dog located at Country Store, dog returned to owner

01/28 @3p Assist resident with cat issuestone harvest farm

01/29 @11a Notified by PPD of two missing dogs on the Barre/Petersham. Owner contacted, as well as Barre ACO. One dog located in Petersham at 2p. Worked with owner to search and cover areas in Petersham and contact with homeowners in area.

01/30 @8a Second dog from above located in Greenfield
@6p Resident call for dog running in road, east side of town. No sighting when in area

Petersham Partners Group Delivers an Update

Nearly 30 residents stopped in at the Country Store on Jan. 17 to hear members of Petersham Partners report on progress to create a volunteer group that supports services for town seniors.quabbin retreat

Committee members said they have been recruiting volunteers and identifying service providers and hope to launch their service later this year. The Partners committee comprises Sandy and Marc Page, Deborah Bachrach, Karen Davis, Lynn Shaw, Jim Regan and Kathleen Geary.

Members said the service will be modeled after the growing "village" movement that works to keep   seniors living in their homes by providing volunteers and needed services. The groups will focus on transportation to appointments and shopping, home support,  wellness checks and on connecting residents to necessary services in the region.

The group plans to launch the service in late spring or early summer with a social event.

Annual Town Election March 30   - POSTPONED

The Petersham Town Election will be held on Monday, March 30, 2020 from 10 a.m.
– 8 p.m. at the Petersham Town Hall – Lower Level.

The last day to register to vote is Tuesday, March 10. Incumbent candidates for re-election wishing to sign the blanket nomination paper must sign by Monday, February 10th at 5 pm.

Anyone wishing to take out nomination papers must take out and return papers by Monday, February 10th at 5 p.m. from the Town Clerk.

Offices to be filled are Moderator – currently held by Bart Wendell, Board of Selectmen – currently held by Fredrik Marsh, Treasurer – currently held by Dana
Robinson, Board of Assessors – currently held by Ellen Anderson, Board of Health
– currently held by Stephen Loring, Petersham School Committee – currently held
by Angela Danielson, Planning Board (2 seats) – currently held by John Lawson
and Fraser Sinclair, Trustees of Public Library – currently held by Kent Byron. All
the seats are 3 year positions.well domes

Mahar Regional School Committee has a 2-year vacant seat. Anyone wishing to run for this seat should see the Town Clerk to take out papers.


State Grant Approved for Town Hall Lift System

The Massachusetts Office of Disability has approved the town's request for $140,000 to install a handicap lift system in Town Hall. Selectboard chair Nancy Allen announced the grant award.

The Selectboard accepted a low bid for the work from Clearview Contracting of Petersham. opened project bids on December 16. Clearview Contracting of Petersham was the  lowest of three bidders with two versions of the proposed work. Clearview Contracting bid $139,000. Vs. 1– Re-use of existing concrete foundation for exterior pathway and $148,500. Vs. 2 – Construction of new footings for exterior pathway. The work must be complete by June 30 to comply with grant terms.

The project design calls for installing an interior lift system at the south front side corner of the building that will connect the main floor to the lower town hall and allow access to the building from outside as well. Total budget for the project is $160,000 and that includes alteration to exterior parking spaces.

Selectboard, Assessors Set 2020 Tax Rate

In a brief October 30 meeting, Selectmen and Assessors set the fiscal 2020 tax rate at $17.37 per thousand of assessed value. an increase from the current rate of  $16.93. Assessor Dana Kennan told the board the town's total valuation increased $6.7 million as properties were revalued and rose to $159,310,618. Kennan said the average home, is now assessed at $251,312, up from $241,830 and an average home will pay $271.11 more in taxes in the coming tax year. Some 89 percent of the total tax base is found in residential property, he said.

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