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Property Values Under Review

During June, an appraiser from Vision Solutions is visiting properties and reviewing assessed values for the Board of Assessors. If residents have any questions, please contact the Assessors at 724-6658, the Town Office at 724-3353, or the Police Department at 724-3330

Get a Little Bit Batty at the Library

Tuesday, June 26, 2018
1:30 p.m.

Petersham Memorial Library will present the wonderful world of bats with amazing photos, echolocation recordings, stories and games. Presenter Jerry Schneider has been educating audiences about the vital roles of bats in our environment for over 15 years. A make your own Bat Tee Shirt Project is included in this program. Children may bring their own tee shirt to design or purchase one for $4.00 at the library.

The free program is 50 minutes long and most appropriate for children 5 and over. Tee shirts may be purchased for $4.00. Call the library at 978-724-3405 to reserve your place.

Legion Plans Flag Disposal Ceremony

Petersham American Legion Post 415 will be conducting a flag disposal service at 6:30 pm on Thursday June 14, 2018.  The ceremony will be held near the flag pole on the South Common.  All are invited to attend and bring unserviceable flags for proper disposal

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Petershamcommon.com has been putting local Petersham news and information online since 1996. This website records between 8,000 and 10,000 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 polite 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, It 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 please.
Send it here: info@petershamcommon,com

Rep. Whipps Seeking a Third Term

ATHOL — Independent State Rep. Susannah M. Whipps announced on May 30 that she will seek re-election in the Second Franklin District. The district includes Athol, Belchertown (A), Erving, Gill, New Salem, Orange, Petersham, Phillipston, Royalston, Templeton, Warwick and Wendell. Whipps was first elected in 2014 and is serving her second term in the legislature. She is on the Joint Committees on Elder Affairs; Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development and Municipalities & Regional Government.stone harvest farm

Electronics Recycling in June

The transfer station will be accepting household electronics for recycling during the month of June. All electronic items must be pre-paid at the Town Offices before they are dropped off. Accepted items will include computers, televisions  including wooden consoles, electric lawn equipment, microwave ovens and more. Get details at the town offices.

New Friday Market Totes Are Here

Sturdy and stylish, reusable Friday Market shopping tote bags that can be used on any shopping trip are now available at The Country Store, at Quabbin Woods and at the Memorial Library. Or request a bag by e-mail to fridaymarket@petershamcommon.com.

These commodious totes are available for a donation of $10 or more to support the 20-week Friday Market music program on the common. The market opens again on June 8 and each Friday through October.small tote

quabbin woods

Get Some Free Stuff
You Can't Beat These Prices
At the Dump

Transfer Station (DUMP) Fees

Calendar of Town Committee Meetings

quabbin retreat

Plants You Can Eat in the Wild

The University of the Wild at Earthlands, a Petersham Earth-education Center is joining with the Petersham Grange 95 for a "hands-on"  late afternoon program on "Wild Edible Plants of Petersham" on Friday, June 15th from 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. on the Town Common    Beginning with a wild edible food walk through the fields and forests near the center of Petersham, John Root, noted naturalist and educator will identify local plants and their food and medicinal uses.  Participants are welcome to join an optional "potluck meal" of foraged foods and items brought from home. The program is free and open to the public.  For information on the University of the Wild go to www.universityofthewild.org.  For information and registration contact:  Larry Buell at (978) 724-0412  <larrybuell@earthlands.org>

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.

2017 Selectboard Office Hours

Monday 8  a.m. – 7  p.m.
Tuesday 8  a.m. – 4  p.m. Wednesday, Thursday
8  a.m. – 4  p.m.
Friday 8  a.m. – 12 noon

Selectboard Meeting  Dates

MAY 2018
Tuesday, May 8 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 15 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 22 6:00 p.m.

JUNE 2018
Monday, June 4 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday, June 12 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 19 6:30 p.m.

Sen. Anne Gobi

Tuesday, June 12th
Petersham Town Offices, 10:30 to 11:30 AM

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

Harvard Forest - Fisher Museum

"Great Plates, Eat Out."

mann lumber



Hillary Chase at the Friday Market  June 15 -- MORE

friday market

Watch Out for Those Ugly Little Bugs

Reducing exposure to ticks is the best defense against Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and other tickborne infections. You and your family can take several steps to prevent and control Lyme disease. Here is a Publication from the Mass Dept. of Public Health on Preventing Diseases Spread by Ticks. Click on the hyperlink below to access it.

Little Debate, Lots of School Spending

About 100 voters voted "yes" on a  majority of 48 warrant articles at the June 4 annual town meeting. The result was a $4.1 million budget for fiscal 2019 and a pending tax increase of $1.83 per thousand of valuation for a total rate of $18.20, up from $16.37.

Selectboard chair Nancy Allen said school and town officials worked very hard to reduce requests for school spending and came in with a center school price tag of $1,509,171 to educate the 100 or so students at the school. Advisory Finance Committee (AFC) members said earlier in the year that state education funding has remained flat for years while cost of wages, insurance, transport and utilities continue to rise. The town's share of the Mahar Regional budget will be $758,307.althea

The meeting began about a half hour late while neighbors called neighbors to bring out enough voters for a quorum of 94. Bart Wendell, moderator, said Petersham's 10 percent quorum requirement is among the highest in the state.

AFC chair Ross France said the budget will not require a Prop 2 1/2 override this coming fiscal year (July to June 2019)  but making payment on loans take out for broadband and Nichewaug asbestos removal projects will put even greater pressure on town finances next year. A state-promised reimbursement for the cost of building out the broadband system could help if it materializes, France said.original tire co

On the advice of Allen, voters turned aside articles intended to pay assessors, the town accountant, clerk and treasurer for getting certified by the state. Assessor chair Dana Kennan said these posts do not pay well and the people in them are essentially paid volunteers. If these jobs are handed to paid professionals over time the town will pay much more for the services rendered, Kennan said. The articles were posted to the warrant by citizen petition and not by the Selectboard, Kennan said. Allen said the Selectboard was not consulted before the motions were handed in to the town clerk with voter signatures for certification. Kennan said the issue was brought to the Selectboard more than a year ago but got no response.

Voters agreed to use $20,000 previously earmarked for a town hall ramp as a matching fund for a proposed grant application and put the rest of the money for that ramp project into the stabilization fund where it can be used for other purposes. A town hall access committee recommends applying a second time for an interior lift system that will connect the upper and lower town halls and provide access from outdoors without changing the exterior look of the historic building. Voters also set aside $10,000 to improve handicap parking spaces on the north side of the building.

Voters also approved $1,000 for Age Council activities, $1,800 for  six Brass Band Sunday  concerts and $1,000 to help fund the Friday Market music series.


fun games

Police Chief Plans to Retire on October 31

Dana Cooley, Petersham police chief for the past eight years, has notified Selectmen that he plans to retire from the position at the end of October. The police department has two full-time and 10 part-time officers. The Selectboard accepted Cooley's letter of retirement on May 8 and said they will begin searching for a replacement.

Dogs, Cats a Snapping Turtle and a Beaver in the Road

Animal Control Log - May 2018

1 May@5p Glasheen Road resident reports an orange cat has been seen on

Property for two days. Agreed to set trap, homeowner to monitor. (Note: cat not seen again)

2 May@11:50p Caller reports finding an opossum that has been struck and killed on Nichewaug Road. Asked owner to check pouch for young. Resident reported back, one had crawled out and was a distance away and another possibly moving in pouch, two deceased. Call to Tufts suggests the body temp had likely dropped too low at this point. At 1a, caller agreed to move animal.

4 May@2p Orange resident heading out for a hike off Monson Turnpike reports his dog jumped from the truck and bolted. FB and PAWS alert messages sent. @5:45p, West Road resident called to state they had a found dog in their possession. Owner notified and reunited with dog.hardwick coop

7 May@8:15a New Salem resident report she picked up a dog near the New Salem line, running on 122 in Petersham. Dog, with Worthington tags, transported to animal shelter. Attempts made to ID dog, town clerk unavailable until Saturday, town admin agreed to help. Owners on vacation, contacted in CA, dog sitter info given, dog reunited with Wendell pet sitter @11:15a.

7 May@11:30 Clinton resident found dog running on 122 near Harvard Pond, contacted workers in area, dog onsite and held for pickup. Dog reunited with owner @2p.

8 May@10:15a Quaker Road resident reports 2 missing dogs.

9May@6:10a PPD contact stating unknown dog at station. Dog picked up and returned to owner.

9 May@8:20a PPD contact stating unknown dog seen at PFD. Dog picked up and returned to owner.

9 May@4p Shaw Road resident called to report missing cat. FB and PAWS messages sent.

11 May@9p Athol resident with missing dog received a call stating her dog was being held at the shelter in Petersham. Explained to caller there are no dogs currently at shelter. Gave advice regarding further reporting and additional local shelter phone numbers.

12 May@9:30a North Main Street resident reports finding a small dog with TX ID tags. After a few calls to rescues in TX, owner identified. Just prior to contact with owner, dispatch called. Dog reunited at 12:30p.

14 May@3p Resident LM regarding possible beaver like animal in road south of the Common.

14 May@5:30p South Street resident reported a beaver in road near highway barn. Animal does not appear injured.

17 May~6p Conversation with officer on duty regarding dog concern on Nichewaug Road.

20 May@12p While attending to an issue on Popple Camp Road, young raccoon found in middle of road. Tufts Wildlife consulted, advice given. Upon return to pick up animal for transport to Tufts, a second animal was found. Using rabies precautions as directed by Tufts, animals transported to Tufts for testing.

26 May@10a Nichewaug Road resident reports mother Robin flew into window and passed. There is a nest with young. Nest and hatchlings transported to Tufts Wildlife. (Follow up conversation on 27 May revealed the week old birds doing very well and expected to survive.)

26 May@10p Report of lost cat from Hardwick Road residence.

27 May@12:15p Dispatch call reporting a coyote acting in an odd manner on North Main Street. Upon arrival, animal gone. PPD on site and will periodically patrol area and update as needed.

27 May@1:30p Trap set for missing cat on Hardwick Road.

30 May@8:15a Call from New Athol Road resident concerned about large snapping turtle digging in yard. Advised resident.

Broadband Reimbursement Still Not Certain

After a Feb. 23 conference call with the state agency charged with helping rural towns pay for extending  broadband to un-served towns like Petersham, the Selectboard voted Feb.  27 to send  an "expression of interest" letter to the state instead of  sending a grant application seeking  full payment of a promised $880,000 reimbursement for the town's planned broadband system.

The town plans to have Matrix Design of New Jersey build its broadband system under a lease/purchase contract. The state is asking towns to buy, build, own and operate their own systems. Petersham asserts that a lease purchase is just the same as ownership. Town voters in June of 2017 approved spending $560,000 to get the work started and local officials said they would rely on state promises to recover that money. More than 360 residents have also put $250 each on deposit to help fund the project and sign up for the service. With local cash in hand, work can go ahead on the system.godin

Meanwhile, Mass Broadband Institute, the state agency  handing the reimbursements, has listed nine towns that will work with Comcast or with Charter Communications to extend broadband services. MBI says it has also supported projects such as the completed town-owned network in Leverett, as well as projects in Alford, Otis, Warwick, and Mount Washington
. Hinsdale, Lanesborough, West Stockbridge, New Salem and Princeton.

Town Hall Access Committee Report

Nichewaug Proposal Deadline Extended to June 28

With no redevelopment proposals in hand, the Selectboard voted Jan. 19 to keep trying and extended the deadline for proposals to June 28.

A request for proposals and two walk-throughs of the property generated interest but eight individuals and architects from Amherst, Cambridge, Watertown and North Carolina sought more time to come up with plans to redevelop the town-owned property.eddies wheels
Vice chairman Henry Woolsey said issuing an RFP in late November with a January deadline for responses was "... a mistake" and unrealistic. "I think we should vote for a significant extension." Selectman Rik Marsh agreed. As an abutter, Chairman Nancy Allen cannot participate in Nichewaug matters.

"We have owned the property for 10 years. It is a problematic property. We are making progress but it is slow," Woolsey said.

Stephanie Selden of Phillips drive said, "I don't see the harm in an extension. That's how you get good proposals."

The town took ownership of the property after several private owners failed to redevelop it and has since spent more than a half million dollars to remove asbestos from the property to make it more attractive to developers.

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