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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.

2020 Community Garden Plot Is Available

Grow your own. There is one more large tilled plots available in the 2020 community garden behind the library. Contact Roy Nilson @ 978-724-6662 or email fridaymarket@petershamcommon.com for details. First come, first served.

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 at 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.

LaRose Challenges Whipps for State Rep. Seat

Will LaRose of Athol, a Democrat,  announced he is a candidate for the 2d Franklin Country District seat in the Hous of Represenattives. Rep. Susannah Whipps (D-Athol) is the incumbent. Athol, atholhospitalBelchertown (Precinct A), Erving, Gill, New Salem, Orange, Petersham, Phillipston, Royalston, Templeton, Warwick, and Wendell make up the Second Franklin State Representative District.

LaRose is an Army veteran, graduate of Cornell’s Institute for Public Affairs, and 4th generation resident of Athol, The state primary election is presently scheduled for September 1st, 2020 and the general election on November 3rd, 2020. For more information and to volunteer on the campaign, please call 978-790-4948, email wlarose124@gmail.com or visit www.willlarose.com

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.

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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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."




Officials Agree: Reduce the Town Meeting Quorum to 1 Percent

The town clerk, town moderator, Finance Committee members and Selectboard agreed June 2 that the town meeting quorum, currently 10 percent of all 930 registered, to one percent (about 10 voters) of the total. Legislative approval is needed and is pending for the Covid virus-inspired change.

During the discussion, conducted by telephone conference call, members said they support the move so long as the first  meeting session agenda contains only essential spending items and loan obligations. All other articles would be moved to a later meeting, likely in the fall.

Town Clerk Diana Cooley said, "You should go to 1 percent. You might not get 5 percent attendance. It is not going to hurt to do it once."  Chair Nancy Allen said if more voters show up than the proposed minimum quorum, none will be turned away from the June 29 meeting.

Allen said a final decision could be delayed until a board meeting next week.

 flag ceremony

No Words Yet on State Reimbursement for Towns, Cities

The Selectboard and Finance Committee said May 12 they will wait two weeks to put final touches on the 2021 town budget. There is no word yet on whether the state will fund reimbursements which cover about a quarter of Petersham's annual operating costs. The state is facing an estimated $5 billion revenue shortfall this year. State Sen. Anne Gobi reported during a previous recession, state revenues went down $4 billion over two years and caused a 28   percent drop in aid to cities and towns. hardwick coop

Selectboard Chair Nancy Allen said, "If we weren't dealing with Covid, we are in really good shape." She said as proposed, the 2021 budget is about $100,000 smaller than 2020. "Because of the Covid it is like we are pushing on Jello. We have to take a deep breath and wait out the state." Outgoing finance chair Ross France said, "We really don't know what the state numbers are going to be. Reimbursements were cut 28 percent during the last recession."

Board members said they will consider a state-recommended plan for fiscal 2021, which begins on July1 to peg monthly spending at one twelvth of 2020 spending.

The board said the delayed town election will be held June 22 and the annual town meeting will be June 29. Locations for the town meeting that will preserve social distancing are being considered. The warrant may be limited to money items only with the remainder taken up at a special town meeting later in the year.

Work on a handicap lift for town hall continues and has not been delayed by the Covid    epidemic. It is planned for completion by June 30

Covid Update from the State Dept. of Public Health May 31

Health officials announced 50 more state residents have lost their lives to corona virus.

State officials also confirmed another 789 case of the virus, bringing the total number of cases statewide to at least 96,301. The new positive cases are based on 10,774 tests reported on May 30.

As of Saturday, 6,768 people have died from COVID-19, officials said. Of those deaths, 4,217 were reported out of long-term care facilities.

Since April 15, there’s been a 74% decline in  positive coronavirus cases, according to a seven-day weighted average; a 44% decrease in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, according to a three-day average; a 67% decrease in the number of hospitals using surge capacity; and a 62% decrease in the number of corona virus deaths, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Link to town by town data

Mass Public Health Covid Info and Updates


Dogs, Stray Cats, Goats and a Snapping Early Turtle

April 2020 Animal Control Report

04/01 @3:30p Resident call regarding dog that chased when walking in road. Resident felt it was a GSD. To area, owner of dog identified, spoke with dog’s owner. Dog placed on leash, warning

04/06 @6a Resident call stating two dogs went missing when someone opened a barn door while animals in barn were being feed. PAWS FB, Missing Dogs Massachusetts postings, assisted with getting flyers up in areatune up

@2p Resident call regarding large snapping turtle in middle of the road, advised. To area to assist turtle to move on its way

@2:30p Report of loose goats on Route 32. Potential owner notified and goats returned to yard.

04/07 @3p Call from owner of lost dogs (04/06), both dogs located and safe. As a precaution both dogs to veterinarian for exam

04/17 @10:30a Resident call regarding unfamiliar cat seen at locations on the east side of town. Discussed placing trap if cat is seen again, resident to notify asap if seen

@5p Resident with unfamiliar dog in yard, advised to open garage door, resident able to secure dog in garage. Likely owner identified and dog picked up

@6:30p Contact from North Quabbin Animal Control regarding Athol dog that went missing when out with owner on Petersham land. PAWS, Missing Dogs Massachusetts postings, gave additional advice to owner. Additional ACOs from surrounding towns notified. Feeding station set up in area where dog went missing, item of clothing and dog bed left, satellite cam set

04/18 @2p Dog from above located in Barre. Owner to area to secure dog solar installations

@3p Resident call regarding domestic cat that has moved new born kittens into a wall that is not easily accessible, suggestions given

@4p Cat previously seen on the east side of town successfully trapped and moved to shelter

04/19 Begin care and assessment of cat in shelter. Notifications to PAWS FB page and additional local lost pet pages, local ACOs notified, several response contacts made with no match for trapped cat

@10:30a Resident call regarding a very small bunny brought in house by domestic cat, suggestions given. Family member able to transport to rehab facility

@1p Resident call regarding livestock questions, to area to discuss issueoriginal tire

04/23 Assist homeowner and carpenter in removing section of wall where kittens were relocated by the mom. Kittens (and mom) successfully removed from within wall and set up in home

04/24 @9a Resident call regarding porcupine that is staying in barn, suggestions given is animal remains

04/26 Trap delivered to above location for porcupine and baited

04/30 Cat trapped earlier in the month re-homed. Owner understood, given the current status, the cat was not fully vetted.

Additional Notes:

  1. Daily care of cat in shelter (2-3x/day) from 04/18-04/30

  2. In general, marked increase in calls for wildlife sightings near roadways

Outdoor Broadband Installation Resumes

The Broadband Committee posted the following notice on April 29

Matrix and subcontractor crews will restart the street-side construction phase
of the town-wide Broadband Project on Tuesday, April 28.jeromy

When the home activation phase begins in approximately late May–June,
subscribers will be contacted directly by Matrix to arrange the individual
interior installation schedule. At all times, Matrix will strive to meet the
needs of each homeowner’s situation and appreciates the cooperation of
subscribers to ensure a safe, efficient, and successful installation for all.

The Matrix crews will be following a corporate-wide COVID-19 Safety Program
at all times; this includes following the recommendations of the U.S. Centers
for Disease Control (CDC) and U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration
(OSHA). While crews are working on Petersham streets, it is important that
residents maintain their distance so the contractors can remain focused on
their work. At the time of home installation, all crew members will be wearing
full personal protection equipment.

As always, any questions about the project may be directed to the town at
978-724-3353. Matrix and the Broadband MLP Board will endeavor to answer all
questions. For ongoing project updates, visit www.connectingpetersham.com"

Counterfeit Cash Found by the Roadside

Police Chief Dana Cooley said April 20 that nearly $20,000 of counterfeit money was found scattered along Shaw Road earlier this month. Cooley said the bogus cash was spotted by a local fisherman who called the police.mann lumber

Cooley said the cash appeared to be US currency but, "...looking at it, you could tell" that it was not real money. 

Cooley said, "We gathered it up. It was mostly $100s (bills) and a few $20s." Later, local landscaper Chris Barnes found another "... $2,300 or $2,400 on Glasheen Road near East Street," Cooley said.

The department notified local retailers, area law enforcement and the Secret Service, Cooley said, and is investigating. "Right now, all we have is a charge of littering," he said.

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. 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. Sometimes people aren't aware of the available resources. We will sit there and explain them." Cooley said.

The Worcester District Attorney’s office purchased the software using drug forfeiture funds.  

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 the 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.

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