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Create a Floral Head Wreath

Sat, June 11, 9 a.m.-11a.m. Create a festive floral head wreath with Heidi Strickland at the Petersham Art Center. All the fresh flowers will be provided. $10 members/$30 nonmembers

The class is filling up fast! Call 978-724-3415 to register.

Music at Mahar Regional School

The Ralph C. Mahar Regional School's performing arts program will hold its Spring Concert Thursday, May 26th at 7 p.m. in the Charlotte Ryan Theater, 507 South Main St., Orange. This concert will feature Middle School and High School music ensembles (bands and choirs) performances. It is free and open to the public.

Take Me Out to a Ball Game

The Age Council is Planning a trip to a Woo Sox game in July.

To reserve your tickets WooSox game,

 make out your check to: Petersham COA

Please write “WooSox Game” in the memo line. 

mail to: The Petersham COA, P.O. Box 486, Petersham, MA 01366.

questions?  call Kathy McCrohon 508-404-7552 

   Date: Sunday July 10, 2022   Price $ 25.00 per person plus gratuity for bus driver      

Bus Boarding  Time: 10:45 a.m

  Bus Departure Time: 11:00 a.m.    

  Game Time: 1:05 p.m.

Lost Towns & the Rabbit Run Railroad

Petersham Historical Society
Friday June 3, 2022
Brief business meeting at 6:30 PM

Ken Levine's program at 7 PM

At Petersham Town Hall, 1 South Main Street

Artist Ken Levine will present his Quabbin Art & History Project, a new diorama focused on the lost towns of the Quabbin Valley. The project is inspired by the Rabbit Run Rail which connected Springfield and Athol from 1871 to 1935. At nearly 25 feet in length, the intricate model depicts the Rabbit Run chugging thru the Quabbin towns as the seasons change.

Join Ken for his program which includes a vast array of historic and contemporary photos, models, information, reminiscences, and video of his research, planning, and model making. The Rabbit Run diorama will be on permanent display at the Swift River Historical Society in New Salem beginning in June 2022.

Heywood Weekly Update May 20

Library Events in May

Youth Dungeons and Dragons Club. Children ages 11-14 are encouraged to register for the Petersham Memorial Library's Virtual Dungeons and Dragons club. Our next meeting is on Saturday, May 28 at 6 p.m. Space is limited, so please email to register. 

Photo Classes at the Art Center

Geoff Smith of Petersham will offer offer two photography classes at Petersham Art Center, one for kids and one for teens to adults. Smith has many years of experience teaching creative photography to youth and adults. Each class will introduce ideas that spark imagination and experimentation. Either a camera or cell phone can be used for the class.

Camera Kids, Ages 8-12
Saturdays, June 4, 11, 18, 25 9:00 - 10:00 am (4) one-hour classes
Cost: $20 mem; $40 non-member
Taking Better Photos, Ages Teen to Adult
Sundays, June 5, 12, 19 1:00 - 3:00 pm (3) two-hour classes
Cost: $30 Members / $50 Non-members
Call PAC at 978-724-3415 for more information and to register.

New Congregational Church Discussion Group

The Orthodox Congregational Church is starting new Adult Christian Education programming with an ongoing Discussion Group Series meeting on the Second & Fourth Wednesdays of the month (except March, which will be the Second & the Fifth) at 6:30p both in-person and remotely via Zoom & Facebook Live.  stinThis Discussion Group will address a variety of topics, the first being "What's the Difference? Christian Church Edition," which will discuss what makes one church tradition different from an other, like pastors or priests, decorations, the layout of the sanctuary, views on the sacraments, and more.  Other topics will follow, like Books Excluded From the Bible, Church Architecture, Congregationalism, Biblical Archaeology, Inter-Faith Topics, Heresy in History (e.g. Gnosticism & Prosperity Gospel), et al.

The transfer station is now open on Wednesdays from 1:30 to 4 p.m. as well as Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

NEW: Local Petersham Telephone Directory


Surgical Pavilion Work at Heywood Hospital

Site work is set to begin on or about February 28th, in preparation of the construction of a new surgical pavilion at Heywood Hospital. Visitors will notice fencing and heavy equipment on site, as phase 1 site preparation includes erosion control, drilling and blasting.

Hospital abutters will be offered pre-construction home inspections, ALPACA TEAconducted by Falvey Associates as blasting of ledge will be conducted on the site. Quarterly abutter forums will provide ongoing communication and information exchange.

The new surgical pavilion is designed to improve local and regional access to surgical services, expanding from the current four undersized operating rooms to a total of six operating rooms. It will include modernization and technology upgrades designed to optimize access to high quality, low cost, surgical care. Completion of the surgical pavilion is anticipated in the fall of 2023.

Become a Local Volunteer

All Communities

It Is Often said ...

That there is a shortage of people who are willing to accept positions - to make a   contribution - to small town governments like ours. It may be easy to believe that.

But here are the facts. Three people stepped up to run for a single seat on our Selectboard recently. Not one or two but three.ELDREDGE And if you look a bit  more closely at the numbers, there are 25 municipal committees at the helm of our town government. We have a Board of Health, Zoning Board, Planning Board and more.

Together, those committees have a combined membership of 85 residents all willing to serve, to attend meetings and deliberate important town issues. That is almost one in ten of us. Nearly 200 residents attended a recent special town meeting.

And the numbers do not include churches and fraternal groups like the Lions Club and the Petersham Grange or trustees of the library and the craft center.

So the next time someone tells you that nobody is willing to serve, feel free  to correct them.

Heywood Hospital and Barre Covid Testing

Heywood Hospital Damon Building. ** Appointment required **

Call 978-630-6186

Testing available Monday-Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm.
Closed on Sundays. Physician order/referral is not required.

The Heywood Hospital Damon Building (234 Green Street, Gardner, MA) is located across from Heywood Hospital (242 Green St. Gardner, MA).Enter through Matthews Street.


Barre Family Health Center, Rte. 122 in Barre.  Call 978-355-6321.

Info for Residents Seeking Help With Heating Bills

A website that answers frequent questions is right here

A New Feature
An Occasional Column of  Pastoral Thoughts:

At the recent Annual Meeting of Orthodox Congregational Church, a Bicentennial Committee was formed, as the Church will be celebrating that milestone next year. What does history mean to you? In general, and in relation to our Church.

During the worship service before the Annual Meeting, I gave a sermon that was about the Church's history and then the vignette of the “Discipline Committee.” It was the supposition of one of my predecessors who was relating those events in a speech, that a couple hundred years ago, recording history was not a big concern to the original congregation, and so they did not see much need to record many milestones, but did record the disciplinary issues. pro v

Now, records of that sort of thing would be useful to historians for a snapshot of society and culture at that time, but it is hardly something to celebrate. For example, it took a major series of renovations and a knowledge of Congregational architectural terms to confirm that there used to be a balcony in the sanctuary, even!

These details were not forthcoming, and the oldest members had not even heard about this. I find this interesting because of my background studying religious art & architecture, but in reality may not be so important or profound to other people.

Anyway, this is why I ask, as Orthodox Congregational Church prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary, what does the history of this Church mean to you (assuming it is)? What is important? What should be showcased? What should be highlighted for the larger community of Petersham? and What has this Church meant to Petersham?

Please feel free to let me know! There is the front light & a sign on the front door denoting when I am in the building, so drop in; call the Church; message me via the Church's Facebook page; or email me at

Pastor Geoffrey

 Congregational Pastot

 Missing Dogs and Cats? Click Here


Handy Transfer Station Recycling Guide

Mike Seitz, transfer station assistant, provides this short guide to recycling.

These items should go in the regular trash bin: plastic bags, styrofoam, black plastic, glass and ceramic kitchenware, plastic or combination coat hangars, all medical devices. Any other items not marked for recycling. Questions? Ask          Paul or Mike.curling

Single-use household batteries go in the trash bin. Give rechargeable batteries to the transfer station monitors along with laptop batteries and button batteries. Auto batteries and the like can often be returned to auto parts stores or scrap yards for store credit or cash.


Switch to Amazon Prime and the Petersham Friday Market can get a small donation for our music program from each purchase.




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.

Nichewaug Video Tour 1993

Just for the Fun of It... click here

soapboxGot Something to Say?

Send it here: info@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 a 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
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


Colorful Fish

If only the river were this blue...
Photos from Petersham, Surrey, England

and A Place to Stay the Night

Harvard Forest - Fisher Museum

"Great Plates, Eat Out."




A Plan to Cover $400K Budget Gap

The Advisory Finance Committee has recommended steps to cover a $400K budget gap created when town meeting failed to include state reimbursements in a vote to appropriate money for the Center School budget.

The Committee plans to use money ordinarily set aside for property tax abatements ($73,923) and draw down the town stabilization fund to 2.4 percent of the total budget from its customary 8 percent level ($276,041) and also apply $87,559 from free cash to fix the problem.  Selectboard chair Nancy Allen said the budget "glitch" occurred when she neglected to include state money with the $1.2 million in the local taxation vote that pays for the Center School budget, creating a deficit for the school.

The committee said other effects of the mistake will be dropping a request for a new police cruiser ($89,000) from consideration and cutting $10,000 for  preservation of town documents. The committee also asked Selectboard for assurance that a proposed Nichewaug Inn demolition - also delayed when bond counsel  rejected the town's borrowing due to procedural errors - will not create principal or interest charges in fiscal year 2023 which begins in July.

Memorial Day May 30

Petersham Post 415 American Legion will join forces with several  other local groups for Memorial Day on May 30. The line forms at 9:30 a.m. on the common. Honor rolls will be read.

The Petersham Brass Band provides the music for  the Legion Auxiliary, veterans of all wars, matrons and daughters clergy, police, fire, Boy Scouts, Frontier Girls, Cub Scouts, Brownies, little league, school children and citizens.  Interfaith service at the congregational church on May 29 at 10:30 a.m.

Parade Returns on the 4th of July

Lynn Scott of East Street and Susan Dougherty of West Street will be organizing a return of the town's annual Fourth of July parade this year. The event was formerly planned by the late Beth Cummings and by the late      Selectman Rik Marsh. Save, fill out and return this form.

Preparing for This Year's Town Meeting

The Capital Improvement Planning Committee told Selectboard members on May 3 that it has approved buying two new police cruisers at $85,952, a $27,900 replacement for Center School rain gutters and $10,000 for a continuing project to restore and preserve town records. The items will be presented to town meeting in June for consideration.

It remains uncertain whether spending plans will force a Proposition 2 1/2 override. Selectboard chair Nancy Allen said, "'s a work in progress." The proposed Center School budget is up seven percent to $1.32 million and Mahar Regional is claiming a 19 percent hike  to $1.034 million in Petersham's share of expenses  .

Highway Superintendant Greg Waid was named Tree Warden to fill a vacancy. Ed Simms resigned his long-held post as a member of the Montachusett Vocational school committee. Rich Nicoletti was appointed to the Cemetery Commission and Rebecca Davis was named to the Council on Aging.

The board approved a new utility pole location to accommodate bridge construction on Quaker Drive.

University of the Wild Spring Programs

The University of the Wild has returned with a creative slate of timely programs.

The UofWild is a 22 year-old-environmental program and educational curriculum that offers “hands-on”, direct experience, and self-directed learning for those seeking to live, learn, and act for the Earth and all life. For Larry Buell, founder of the UofWild and the Earthlands community, “the work of the UofWild is a continuation of the historic roots of the local
matrix environmental initiations of Harvard Forest, Trustees of Reservations, and Massachusetts Audubon and is so important at this time”.

The spring programs offer a range information from local edible wild foods to pre-European history and Ancient living skills to creating Earth-based community. Programs include:

Thursday, June 16
th 8:00 PM PODCAST Building a WECHI Community Wild Earth Communities and Households International encourages individuals and groups who already live and learn with sustainable and regenerative lifestyles join together in a global network to support, learn, and act for the Earth. ZOOM CALLMeeting ID 861 1777 3148 PassCode: 188249;

Saturday, June 18
th Shamanic Retreat – Re-Rmerging into Life!”with Cathy Pedevillano to reconnect to Earth, Self, Spirit, and Tribe. For information and registration VISIT:

Loose D
ogs and a Word of Caution About Bears

Animal Control Call Log Summary

March 2022

3/2 @11a Resident call regarding loose dog often seen on South Common. Discussion about bylaws, encouraged caller to report any future incidents at the time of occurrence

3/11 @3p Extended conversation with resident regarding several dog issues on street, including barking dogs at night, wandering dogs in road, and unknown dogs in yard. Each topic discussed, with action plans as appropriate

3/15 @8p Barking dog complaint, action takenmarket

3/18 @7p Resident request for animal welfare check as barking heard in a house and no one has been at the location for a few days. Area checked

3/19 @5p Follow up on above

3/20 @12p Resident call with questions regarding avian flu and information read online. Additional information provided to caller

3/22 @7p Resident reports loose dog running in an area and would like someone to come out to locate dog and restrain. Caller reports the dog is not one previously seen in the area

@9p Above dog located, owner contacted, dog escorted home

3/25 @5:15p Dispatch call for loose dog, PPD asking for assistance. Upon arrival dog returned home

3/26 @11:40a Dispatch call and text regarding dog incident at PCS, PPD requests assistance. To area, spoke with parties involved and info taken. Information passed on to animal control in another jurisdiction.

@1:30p Resident call regarding odd acting porcupine. General discussion about behavior; follow up calls during the afternoon, animal continued into woods and did not

3/27 Several phone calls regarding follow up on above situation that occurred at PCS on 3/26.

Over the course of the month there were several random calls of bears at bird feeders (callers advised as to best course of action) and coyote seen during the day. It is the time of year to take in bird feeders and not leave any food out of doors that could attract other wildlife.

Nichewaug Demolition Project Update

The Capital Improvement Planning Committee April 21 approved sending a $721,0000 Nichewaug property demolition proposal to town meeting. The committee is the last stop to review large spending items on the way to town meeting.

The committee took no action on a request for funds to replace wooden rain gutters at the center school and a police department request to purchase one or two new police  cruisers and will get more information on those items in a week. One cruiser could cost $59,500 -- two $119, living farm

Committee member Jim Dowd asked Police Chief Peter Buck if the department could get along without one or two new vehicles this year since the upcoming budget could force a $200,000 Proposition 2 1/2 override due to increased regional and local school appropriations. Buck said the department could make due if necessary.

Town Treasurer Dana Robinson told the Selectboard April 13 that an error and an oversight will prevent the town from borrowing for Nichewaug demolition until the loan is approved at our next town meeting.  He said bond counsel noticed that voters were not informed about the Dec. 6 meeting as required by local bylaws and the proposal was never sent to the Capital Improvement Planning Committee - also a bylaw requirement.

Committee chair Nancy Allen said she would inform the contractor about the problem on April 13. Robinson also said any delay could raise borrowing costs as the Federal Reserve will be raising interest rates again soon.

Should Petersham Take Online Payment for Taxes?

More than 300 small and large communities across the state have easy systems to accept online payments for town fees (dog licenses and dump permits, etc.) and for tax payments (excise and property taxes). godinShould Petersham offer this convenient service to residents? Tell us what you think.

Send an email to with a subject line "E-Payments" stating simply Yes or No or include more thoughts.

Covid Updates from the State Dept. of Public Health

Link to town by town data

The Friday Market  -- MORE

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Join the e-mail List keeps you informed. Join the E-mail list to receive very occasional updates and reminders of important dates like meeting times, elections, when to get a new dump permit and so on. The e-mails from will be occasional.  They won't often be long-winded. E-mail addresses will not be shared with any third party - not ever.

Monthly Foot Screening for Seniors

The Council on Aging now offers monthly “Foot Screening” for seniors. The treatment will be provided by Melinda Powling, owner of “Nails to Envy” in Orange. Treatments will include a 15-minutesolar installations foot soak, then clipping toenails (no polish). Melinda will then inspect your feet, and let each person know if they should consult a doctor about anything.

The Foot Screenings
will be available on the first Thursday of each month in the lower town hall. Each person will pay $5.00 directly to Melinda when the appointment occurs, with the balance of $10.00 being paid by the COA. Appointments are required. Appointments will be available from 8:15 a.m. until 10 a.m. Clients must bring their own towels. Melinda will follow Petersham Board of Health approved guidelines. For Questions or Appointments: Contact Marilyn Fisher at: 978-724-

The Memorial Library Is Open
The Petersham Memorial Library welcomes patrons back for in-person browsing with no appointment necessary. The library would like to thank the community for bearing with us as staff adjusts to providing service during this complicated time. pump
Tuesday 10-5 p.m.
Wednesday 2-7 p.m.
Friday 2-5 p.m.
Saturday 9-1 p.m.

Curbside Pickup Service is also available. Please call (978) 724-3405 or email to make arrangements. 

The library requires everyone over the age of two to properly wear masks or face coverings in the building at all times in order to help ensure the health and safety of our patrons, community, and staff. Without vaccine coverage for our youngest patrons, a large indoor footprint for people to really spread out, or an HVAC system, masking remains a useful and important health and safety tool at the library. The staff looks forward to continuing to safely serve the Petersham community.