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The Opinion Page

Bag a Book or Two for Those Stay at Home Days

The Memorial Library is offering curbside pickup of books, audios, and movies. Look for specific titles by viewing the online card catalog by clicking here. Please be sure to select Petersham Memorial Library as items are only available from our town's collection.  

If you would like some suggestions, feel free ask us to put together a selection of titles you might like based upon your reading preferences -- we would be glad to assist. When you find books you want, email your request to marketPetershamLibraryRequests@gmail.com  or call  978-724-3405 and we will process them in the order they are received.

In your message, please provide your name, phone number, book title, author, and, if possible, the item's call number. This will make our turn-around time much faster. Once your materials are pulled and processed, we will call you to let you know when you can pick up. Materials are available for pick up on Tuesdays and Fridays from 2-5pm. Petersham Library is now also accepting interlibrary loan requests, as well as items from its own collection. Delivery may be slow as the system is handling backlogs.

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 attune up 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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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 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

 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

and A Place to Stay the Night


eddies wheels


Harvard Forest - Fisher Museum

"Great Plates, Eat Out."




Cell Tower Court Suit Settled With Developer

The town and Tower North Development have agreed to settle a federal court  lawsuit over the Zoning Board's refusal to raise the allowed height of a planned cell tower at  Chimney Hill Farm. The company had permission to erect a 90-foot cell tower but was seeking to build a taller 160-foot tower for improved cell service. The zoning board refused and the company took the matter to court.

After several weeks of bargaining, the parties have agreed on a 135-foot tall tower disguised as a pine tree. Two major phone carriers and the State Police radio system will take space on the tower. Construction is set to begin in the fall after court approval. Chair Nancy Allen declined to specify town legal fees associated with the caseoriginal tire

The Selectboard agreed to declare the handicap ramp in front of town hall to be surplus property. The ramp is not needed since an elevator system has been installed that provides access  to both upper and lower halls and entry from the exterior. The town is seeking bids from anyone who wants the existing ramp.

The $15,000 ramp was donated by Stephanie Selden of Phillips Drive as a temporary access solution and is being offered for resale on www.munibid.com  at a starting bid of $300.

Removal is planned for August along with repaving the area outside the building and adding two handicap parking spaces. The elevator system was installed on time and under budget by Stephen Kieras of Clearview Contracting in town. It was paid for with a $140,000 grant from the Massachusetts Office on Disability.mann lumber

Selectboard and Board of Health members voted to appoint Rebecca Jackson MD of 230 West Road to replace Robert Pasic, member for a dozen years, who resigned for personal reasons.

Nichewaug  Committee Plans Town-wide Survey

Members of the Nichewaug Inn and Academy Committee spent more than two hours July 27 putting near final touches on a survey designed to ask residents for input on the future of the town-owned Nichewaug  property on the common. After the draft is reviewed  by other  municipal boards, the committee plans a September mailing.


A Bear on the Deck and Turtles in the Road

ACO Call Log Summary June 2020

06/02 @3p Caller reports possibly injured turtle near Highway Barn. Snapping turtle safely moved to pond area
North Quabbin AC requests assistance trapping loose dog. To area and equipment set up

06/03 @4p Resident call to report a bear on his deck; requested advice about what to do

06/04 @4p Resident call regarding loose dog in yard. Dog picked up and brought to shelter.
         @6p Owner of above dog located.

06/09 @8a Phone conversation with emergency veterinary facility regarding cat seen with a wound of unknown origin. (Note: Documentation not received from facility until 06/22) State paperwork completed

@3:30p Report of loose horse, no owner appears at home. To area and horse returned to pasture area, owner contacted

06/11 @6:15p Resident call regarding loose dog that is not recognized and will not come near anyone. To area, known owner, dog returned to owner

           @6:45p Large snapping turtle in road with motorist diverting vehicles. Turtle has old injury deemed to be not of concern. Turtle moved to side of roadsolar installations

06/16 @1p Assist resident with re-homing kittens.
Caller from earlier in the month states bear is on his deck. Advice given, info forwarded along to MA Wildlife with location

06/20 am Calls with livestock owner regarding a grazing animal killed and another seriously injured in field setting. Owner to forward additional information

                      pm Assist with re-homing out of town, in need dog with a family in Petersham

06/21 @4p Resident call regarding dog kennel regulations/requirements

06/22 pm Two calls for moose sightings

06/24 @7:30p PPD contact for loose dog. To area, dog secured, owner came to area

06/26 @11a PPD contact regarding call received for resident concern about raccoon in yard. To the home and spoke with owner

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.jeromy

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

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.

OPINION: Send Us Your Opinions About the Nichewaug MORE

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