The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of December 23 to December 30, 2021
What makes Winchendon what it is...How we're making Winchendon even better

"Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused--in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened--by the recurrence of Christmas. There are people who will tell you that Christmas is not to them what it used to be; that each succeeding Christmas has found some cherished hope, or happy prospect, of the year before, dimmed or passed away; that the present only serves to remind them of reduced circumstances and straitened incomes--of the feasts they once bestowed on hollow friends, and of the cold looks that meet them now, in adversity and misfortune.

"Never heed such dismal reminiscences. There are few men who have lived long enough in the world who cannot call up such thoughts any day of the year. Then do not select the merriest of the three hundred and sixty-five for your doleful recollections, but draw your chair nearer the blazing fire--fill the glass and send round the song--and if your room be smaller than it was a dozen years ago, or if your glass be filled with reeking punch, instead of sparkling wine, put a good face on the matter, and empty it offhand, and fill another, and troll off the old ditty you used to sing, and thank God it's no worse."

~ ~ Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz ~ ~

Merry Christmas to All
from the Winchendon Courier

Former Streeter/Poland School Buildings Slated to Become 44 Units of Veterans Housing

Schematic for veterans housing
Finished Product
As provided by the MVOC, this projected future site photo shows the complex once completed to current design plans at a cost of $20 million, proving necessary future veterans housing.
Image courtesy of MVOC of Gardner

The Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center (MVOA) of Gardner has announced that the former Streeter and Poland school buildings of Winchendon are now targeted to become 44 single resident apartments for veteran housing, and will play a vital role in an ever-growing need for veteran-specific housing, providing valuable additional options especially for some who may not have many.

Currently in the early fundraising stage, the 44 single-unit project will utilize both former school buildings, and add a large center connecting structure to the future facility. Total project cost on the 3.8 acre site is projected to be $20 million by the time of completion. Once finished, the buildings will have 14,870 gross square feet (GSF) in the Streeter School building, 8,230 GSF in the Poland School building, and an additional 16,631 GSF between the center and rear additions of the Streeter structure, for a total of 39,731 GSF on three levels of structure.

On the Gardner Floor level there will be thirteen units, two gathering areas or pods, one laundry area, a Day Room, Case Manager Office, Storage Room, and security cameras at all entrances, exits, and elevator. On the First Floor there will be fourteen units, a combined Laundry/Pod Room with a TV and sitting area with a table and chairs which will also serve as a game and or puzzle room, and also one small common area. On the Second Floor will be the remaining 17 living units, another combined Laundry/Pod Room, another Pod Room for gaming or puzzle making, a small common area, and elevator access.

The plans also include activity areas, with equipment and furnishings to invite residential use, including a court yard, recreation area, grill area, and even raised planting beds for gardening. The design plans also allow for a columbarium memorial, to provide in recognition a final resting place if chosen for residents, regardless of discharge status. As the site will be low income housing, it can serve veterans who are financially challenged with a place for final stay near their home.

Stephanie Marchetti is the MVOC Executive Director. The MVOC provides a variety of Veterans resources such as Benefits Advisement, Mental Health and Wellness, Housing Programs, and more, such as a Food Pantry for eligible area veterans and their families, Transporation Services, Community Outreach Services, and a Drop-In Center at the 268 Main Street, Gardner location, Mondays through Fridays during the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

When asked for building and individual unit details, Marchetti explained, "We expect when completed that older veterans to live at the location, but really it's any veterans as veteran priority, and then it would open up to veteran family members as well such as widows and children. The units are smaller apartments about 450 to 550 square feet and that is by design as well as if we are serving an older population we want it to be manageable as well. While all units will be designed for aging in place, there will be six units of the 44 units that will be specifically ADA accessible."

At this time still in the "Pre Funding" Stage, the project up to now has been funded by Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC), with all future project funding resources still in the early stages, according to Marchetti. Marchetti clarified that CEDAC has provided $500,000 in funding to this point which has gone to items such as architectural designs and development. Applications are in process at the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for $2 million in funding, along with harnessing low income housing credits which are hoped to provide $7 million to $8 million in funding. Other funding will be applied for through both founders and donors. Marchetti also explained, "We are seeking those such as large scale donors who may like to fund 'In-Memoriam' areas of the building to have named after a veteran or loved one. This will be a Federal, State, and Private Organization multifaceted funding project, and it's coming together."

When asked for a timeline, Marchetti clarified, "I am pushing hard for breaking ground in the Fall, 2022. It will then be once ground is broken, looking at a timeline of fifteen to eighteen months for construction. We already have our architects in communication with a construction company, which will very likely be Commodore Builders who is a veteran owned construction company, as well as we are already sharing plans and doing cost reconciliations. The only thing currently holding us up is waiting for the rest of the funding to drop. Other than that, we are ready to rock. We have been working hard on this project, and we will find the funding. We look forward to seeing the project advance, and creating more affordable housing options for veterans who served our country."

The Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center is located at 268 Central Street, Gardner, MA. The MVOA can be reached by phone at 978-632-9601, and Faxed at 978-632-9476. Business hours are listed on its website as Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. If ever needed, the Veterans Crisis Line is 800-273-8255, then press option 1. To visit the MVOC online for more information, please go to

Poland and Streeter Schools future veterans housing Poland and Streeter Schools future veterans housing Seen in these photos, the former Streeter School, left, and Poland School, right, will be saved from demolition, and once remodeled and connected, create a 39,731 square feet structure providing 44 single housing units for veterans.
Photos by Keith Kent

American Legion Post 193 Quilt Raffle Raises Funds for Kathy's House

Kathy's house quilt fundraiser
Kathy's House Quilt Raffle Winner!
Seen left in this photo, Robert Tibbetts of Winchendon poses behind his hand made designer military quilt, created by Dierdre Clonan, for the American Legion Post 193 fund raising raffle, which raised $1,255 for Kathy's House, a home for female veterans in Winchendon. Standing in photo from left to right are Tibbetts, Dierdre Clonan, quilt designer and creator, Karin Wyson, Post 193 events coordinator, and Stephanie Marchetti, Executive Director of the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center
Photo by Keith Kent

Gardner - A custom designer military quilt raffled off to help raise much needed funds for Kathy's House of Winchendon, a home for female military veterans, was presented to its winning ticket holder at the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center (MVOC) of Gardner on Friday, December 17. The sale of raffle tickets through the American Legion Post 193 of Winchendon for the custom hand made quilt, along with additional funds, raised over $1,200. The funds, along with three baskets of goods arriving just in time for the holidays, displayed the combined efforts of many caring people who just wanted to honor those who patriotically served their country, placing both it and others before self.

When asked about her thoughts making the quilt, quilt creator Dierdre Clonan said, "This meant a lot to me. My boyfriend is a Marine, my father was in the Army, I have family in all the branches. So just that I was going to be able to make and donate this quilt and the money was going to serve our veterans in some way, shape, or form, it really meant a lot to me being able to do this."

Asked about the process of constructing the military quilt, Clonan replied, "It was an absolute pleasure to make, and I have had so many compliments on it. It was a struggle at times, taking it apart and putting it back together correctly was tedious work, but it was worth it. I went with red, white, and blue colors and at first wasn't sure how it was going to come out. Once finished I realized the emblems really stand out, and I am very happy with how it came out for the cause."

Robert Tibbetts of Winchendon, a member of American Legion Post 193 who served in the United States Army, was not only the winner of the quilt raffle fund raiser, but against all odds was actually the first person to purchase a ticket to support the cause, and then had his ticket drawn at random for the prize! Asked how he felt when notified he had won, Tibbetts replied, "I was shocked and very humbled. I recently joined the Legion to give back because I never had the time when I was younger bringing up a family. It was really humbling to win this as it's very nice. I sent a letter thanking Deirdre for making this, and yes, it's just very humbling."

MVOC Executive Director Stephanie Marchetti was also very pleased with the outcome adding, "Obviously it's overwhelming how kind and generous everyone is towards our residents and clients. This is something we couldn't do as a small nonprofit. To see this provided by their brothers and sisters is awesome and amazing and it makes them feel remembered which also makes them feel like the time they served was valid and helps make them remember they are important. It's really nice to see this."

Karin Wyson, American Legion Post 193 Event Coordinator and bartender who organized the raffle fundraiser said, "There is humanity out there still, that is the biggest thing. There is a lot of anger in this world today. I see in it the stores, and on the streets. But when it comes down to the nitty gritty, there are still a lot of caring people in this world who want to help and give back and just help out."

Wyson clarified that in total $1,255 was raised in raffle ticket sales, with tickets either $10 each, or 3 tickets for $25. Wyson said about $700 was raised on the 3 for $25 deal, with the remainder being the $10 single tickets. Wyson then added, "A gentleman who will not give me his name who is a local and member of the Legion, supplied the materials and made 500 raffle tickets for us for free to use for the cause and I have no idea who it is but we are very thankful."

Adding to the funds raised from the quilt raffle, Wyson said she and her fellow Post 193 bartenders helped pitch in with items so each of the Kathy's House residents would have their own individual goodie baskets. With a $1,000 check earmarked for Kathy's House, generated from funds raised to help the veteran residents with their rent costs, the extra $255 left over was targeted and accessed to help pay for the individual goodie basket items.

Scarfs, gloves, hats, wool socks, regular socks, razor blades, tooth brushes, toothpaste, shampoos, conditioners, journals, pens, calendars, notepads, candy, tea bags, bandaids, nail files, laundry detergent, cookies and much more filled the large baskets right to their very tops! Wyson herself chipped in an additional $145 as she explained the cause was very important to her and she wanted to help the veteran residents get that extra something to show thanks for their service. All together, Kathy's House veterans received an additional $400 worth of items in their three goodie baskets adding additional heartfelt thanks for their service to their country. "All our bartenders signed the cards, and then we also signed it American Legion Post 193. We understand anonymity so each basket with a card was addressed to each resident by their first initial only both on the card and on the outside so we could make it personal for them," Wyson added.

In closing Wyson said, "We really want to thank both Dierdre for making the quilt, and all those who bought tickets to support such a great cause. Thanking our veterans who were there for us is important. With all those who contributed to this, it really does show there is humanity out there."

Winchendon COVID Positivity Rate Spikes from 11.38 to 14.13 Percent

The Town of Winchendon has again realized a significant viral spike of nearly 3 percent in one week, increasing along with many towns in the region to levels not seen since the beginning of the pandemic, dating back to the March, 2020 Massachusetts statewide shutdown.

Traveling two towns in any direction from Winchendon, the local ten-town area has also jumped on average in the last week from a 10.5 percent regional average positivity, to 11.25 percent positivity based on all municipal molecular testing data.

Locally Winchendon is 14.13 percent positivity based on 1,246 tests. Ashby after two weeks has finally dipped below 20 percent at 14.89, Ashuburnham is at 10.31, Royalston at 11.94, Westminster at 14.05, Gardner at 9.91, Templeton at 7.80, Phillipston at 9.60, Athol at 9.80, and Hubbardston at 10.09, again for a regional average of 11.25 percent.

Almost every single municipality east of Winchendon and continuing eastward along the Massachusetts / New Hampshire state line is 10 percent or higher, with only a few exceptions. Additionally, there is a spike line directly south of Winchendon that continues with high rates straight down to Connecticut, along with cluster in both northwestern and southwestern Massachusetts, and the South Shore to the southeast.

Please be advised that if you are attending large indoor gatherings, and either have a compromised immune system or are not vaccinated, you are advised to take any precautions necessary to stay safe during holiday indoor gatherings in close contact, not just for yourself, but those around you.

Keith Kent
Board of Health
Town of Winchendon

To schedule a free COVID-19 vaccination at any time, go to

Andrew Arceci Selected as New Artistic Director by Arcadia Players

Arcadia Players, the western Massachusetts-based Early Music ensemble, has named Andrew Arceci as its next Artistic Director. Arceci is a well-known performer, teacher, composer, and scholar who has appeared with Arcadia Players playing viola da gamba, violone, and double bass. He holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory, The Juilliard School, and the University of Oxford. He directed the Collegium Musicum at Wellesley College from 2015-2020, and since 2016, has led the Winchendon Music Festival in Winchendon, Massachusetts. He succeeds Ian Watson, who led Arcadia Players for 10 years, departing after the 2018 concert season.

Jon Solins, President of the Board of Directors of Arcadia Players, noted that "after a long and complex audition process, in which we had to make a very difficult choice among three gifted and creative finalists, we are delighted that Andrew Arceci will be joining us as we move into the new realities and new opportunities of the post-COVID era. We look forward to working with Andrew to continue our long tradition of bringing inspired historically-informed performances of great music to audiences in the Pioneer Valley and beyond."

COVID-19 Rapid At-Home Tests Now Available

Residents wishing to take a COVID-19 test may now obtain free rapid, take-home tests at the following locations:

The Community Action Center, 273 Central Street
Business hours: Thursday, 8 AM - 3 PM. Friday, 9 AM - 5 PM. Saturday and Sunday, Closed. Monday, 8 AM - 3 PM. Tuesday, Noon - 6 PM. Wednesday, Noon - 6 PM

Old Murdock Senior Center, 52 Murdock Avenue
Business hours: Monday - Thursday: 9:00 am to 3:00 PM. Friday: 9:00 am to 1:00 PM.

Police Station Lobby, 80 Central Street
Open 24/7

Wreaths Across America Volunteers Decorate Graves at Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Wreaths Across America

Several hundred people gathered at the Massachusetts Veterans' Memorial Cemetery on Glenallen Street on Friday, December 17 at 2:00 p.m. to place wreaths on veterans' graves as part of the Wreaths Across America initiative. Veterans and enlisted military, students from multiple school districts including from Murdock and Narragansett high schools, Gold Star mothers, Blue Star families and many more attended. As each wreath and ribbon is placed, the name of the veteran on the grave marker is read out loud. "It's a beautiful view and a great memorial to our deceased veterans," said Coral May Grout. "The wreaths are purchased, more than 3,700 of them, through donations from organizations, individuals, and school groups. It wouldn't be Christmas without Wreaths Across America!" The local event is coordinated by Bridget Marinelli.
Photo courtesy of Coral May Grout

Subway October 2021 Sub of the Day

Be sure to check out our Classified and Employment Ads on the Events Page!

Holiday Hours at Town Hall and Transfer Station


Wed Dec 22: 8:00 a.m. - Noon
Thur Dec 23: CLOSED

Mon Dec 27: 8:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
Tues Dec 28: 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Wed Dec 29: 8:00 a.m. - Noon
Thur Dec 30: CLOSED


Thur Dec 23: 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Fri Dec 24: 8:00 a.m. - Noon
Sat Dec 25: CLOSED

Thur Dec 30: 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Fri Dec 31: 8:00 a.m. - Noon
Sat Jan 1: CLOSED

Town of Winchendon Seeking Conservation Agent

The Town of Winchendon seeks to hire a Part-time Conservation Agent for 18 hours per week to assist the Conservation Commission by performing the administration and enforcement of the Wetlands Protection Act, MS4 and all related Town conservation rules and regulations. Work includes administrative and technical support to the Town Planner/Director of Planning & Development and the Conservation Commission, review applications, and compliance inspections, attend monthly meeting of the Conservation Commission, prepare agendas, an issue decisions. The rate is $22.19 to $23.31 per hour. See this detailed job description (PDF). Please submit a cover letter and resume to: Justin Sultzbach, Town Manager 109 Front St. Winchendon MA 01475 or email to: Applications will be accepted until a suitable candidate is hired. The town of Winchendon is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Vacancy on School Committee

The Winchendon Board of Selectmen and the Winchendon School Committee are seeking qualified candidates to fill one vacancy on the Winchendon School Committee. The term is through Town elections in May 2022. Applicants interested must be registered voters of the Town of Winchendon. Letters/resumes, including the candidate's background information, are due to be received by the end of the day Tuesday, January 4, 2022 to the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, 109 Front Street via email at and/or to the School Committee via email to Liz Latoria, Executive Assistant to the Supt. of Schools at Said position will be jointly appointed by the members of the Board of Selectmen and School Committee at a jointly held meeting scheduled for Tuesday, January 11, 2022.

Central Mass Tree

Stone Ladeau Funeral Home

Click Here for Community Directory

Winchendon Businesses, Organizations, Services, and Government

Applications Available for Senior Tax Work-off Program

The Senior Work-Off Abatement Program is a program allowing the Town of Winchendon the opportunity to utilize the knowledge and skills of its senior residents in exchange for credit toward the resident's property tax bill. The purpose of this program is:

  • To employ qualified senior citizens who will apply their earnings toward payment of a portion of their property taxes;
  • To increase senior citizen involvement in local government; and
  • To enhance municipal service by using the skills of resident senior citizens.
Qualified and income-eligible residents will accrue the Commonwealth's minimum wage per hour ($13.50/hr) toward a maximum credit of $1,100.00 per household during the fiscal year. The criteria for this program is:
  • You must be 60 years old or older
  • Homeowner in Winchendon and occupy property
  • Annual income below $40,150 if single; or below $45,900 if married.
Applications for the program are now available in the Town Manager's office or on the town website, and will be accepted until the eight slots are filled. There are different types of positions that are available depending on the preference and qualifications of the resident and the needs of each department. Types of past and current positions have been: Custodial services, clerical help for both School & Town, library aides, Senior Center aids, cable station operator, Bike Path clean up, painting, light outdoor work and classroom volunteers. Click here for more information and a downloadable application.

Town Committee Vacancies
as of November 22, 2021

If you'd like to be an active participant in decision-making and management for your community, consider joining a town committee or board. There are a number of vacancies currently open.

Communications Committee - 1 vacancy
Cultural Council - 11 vacancies
Fence Viewer and Field Driver - 1 vacancy
Historical Commission/Historic District - 1 Alternate vacancy
Master Plan Implementation Committee - 7 vacancies
Open Space Preservation Appraisal and Survey Revolving Fund Advisory Committee - 1 vacancy
Planning Board - 1 Alternate vacancy
Recreation Commission - 1 student vacancy
Zoning Board of Appeals - 1 Alternate vacancy

If you'd like more information about any of these positions or are interested in being considered for an appointment, contact the Town Manager's office at 978-297-0085, or send a letter to Town Manager, 109 Front Street Dept. 1, Winchendon MA 01475.

Complete description of each committee's responsibilities, updated for May 10, 2021 (PDF).

Would you like to be notified each week when the new Courier is online?

Send an email to and you'll be added to the email list!

Residential Water and Sewer Assistance Program Opens For Winchendon Residents

The Town of Winchendon is offering a one time grant of $100.00 (water user only) or $250.00 (water and sewer user) toward your current water and sewer bill. (Commercial properties are not eligible under this program.)

Eligibility: Households who are under 80% (LMI) of the FY2021 Income Limits as determined by HUD qualify for assistance. The Income limits used to determine qualification can be found here.

Proof of income is required.

Program will run from October 4, 2021 through December 30, 2021. Applications received after that date will not be accepted.

The applicant MUST live in the residence and be the/a responsible party named on the account.

All awards will be credited to current bills. Users remain responsible for any past due payments and associated fees due to the town.

All information will be kept confidential to the extent allowed by M.G.L. Chapter 66.

Applications are available here (PDF). Questions? Contact Nicole at or by calling 1-978-297-3537

Funding provided by The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) Details of this program can be found here (PDF).

HEAL Winchendon Offering Financial Coaching Workshops

HEAL Winchendon, in conjunction with the Winchendon CAC, is offering a free financial coaching program to any residents who are interested. The program runs for eight weeks with a flexible schedule and is available in both English and Spanish. Coaching will be scheduled at the Winchendon CAC, 273 Central St. To enroll, fill out the form at HEAL Financial Coaching Sign-Up (Google form) or call 978-621-4524.

If You Call for Emergency Services...

...the Winchendon Fire Department asks that you let the dispatcher know if you have flu-like symptoms, are quarantined or are under self-quarantine. This will allow the first responders to take all necessary precautions to avoiding spreading COVID-19 and to protect themselves and you.

Toy Town FYIs

Winter Parking Ban Now in Effect

From December 1st through April 15th, it is illegal to park your motor vehicle on the streets of Winchendon between the hours of 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. This is to allow the snowplows to do their jobs in case of a snow storm. Violations may incur fees up to $50 and/or a tow.

Sign up for Code Red Emergency Alerts
Sign up for our emergency notification program today! Receive up-to-date information before, during and after an emergency in your neighborhood. You can choose to be notified via voice, text and email notifications of emergency and inclement weather alerts.

Is Your House Number Clearly Visible from the Street?
The Winchendon Fire Department reminds all residents to make sure their house number is clearly visible for first responders who may need to find you. Numbers should be at least four inches high and facing the street, with lighting if possible. Put numbers on a contrasting background so they will stand out. If your driveway is long, put the number on a mailbox or pole on the street or at the end of driveway, facing in both directions. (Reflective numbers are helpful.) Check your house numbers to make sure foliage has not grown up in front of them without your being aware of it.

Enjoying the new Winchendon Courier Online? We're just getting started! But wow, is this a lot of work. The best work in the world, but still a lot of it! Please consider supporting us with a small donation. We'd so appreciate it. Thanks!