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The Winchendon Courier

This is the new version of the Winchendon Courier,

the print publication was in place for 140 years

but as technology has changed so have we. Welcome.


Ruth DeAmicis

As the managing editor of the print Winchendon Courier for 18 years, the newspaper was the heart of the town in so many ways; when the decision to end the print version was made, it just couldn't end. There are advantages to daily uploads, and we welcome your input.



Sixth graders get preview of middle school

By Jerry Carton

Incoming sixth graders and their parents got an early look at Murdock Middle School Thursday and the event included a tour of the building, and lunch.

Before both of those though, Principal Jess Vezina ran through a slide presentation in the auditorium, reviewing information students will need when school begins next Wednesday. Vezina discussed academics, athletics and culture and wrapped up the session right at her targeted time of 10:30. 

"I know, I talk fast," she laughed.

But the presentation was thorough and when the group left the auditorium, Vezina had delivered a comprehensive introduction.

The subsequent building tour included stops in the office, a visit to the sixth grade wing (rooms 201, 202, 203, 205), the computer lab, the nurse and guidance offices as well as the art room, library, music room, and gym.

Engineering and technology teacher Mike Fontaine was among the faculty and staff preparing burgers and hot dogs on a steamy late-morning.  

"We're ready for them," he assured.

Impact of skyrocketing drug prices broken down


BOSTON — AARP Massachusetts released new state data and an infographic illustrating the impact of high prescription drug prices for Massachusetts residents, specifically those living with cancer, prediabetes or diabetes, and heart disease. AARP unveiled the infographic at the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) annual conference as part of AARP’s nationwide Stop Rx Greed campaign to lower drug prices for all Americans.

“While prescription drug prices continue skyrocketing, Americans are being forced to choose between filling life-saving medications or paying rent and buying food,” said AARP Massachusetts State Director Mike Festa. “So far in 2019, 29 states have passed 46 new laws to rein in drug prices. It’s critical that state and federal lawmakers continue this momentum to stop Rx greed.”

In 2016, 16% of Commonwealth residents stopped taking a prescription drug as prescribed due to cost, as shown in the infographic. The (attached) infographic also highlights recent price increases for select prescription drugs commonly used to treat cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Between 2012 and 2017, the retail price of:

Revlimid, used to treat cancer, increased from $147,413 per year to $247,496 per year. In Massachusetts, 660,525 people are living with cancer.

Lantus, a form of insulin used to treat diabetes, increased from $2,907 per year to $4,702 per year. There are 581,680 people with diabetes in Massachusetts.

Aggrenox, a heart disease medication, increased from $3,030 per year to $5,930 per year. In Massachusetts, 196,320 people have heart disease.

To learn more about AARP’s Stop Rx Greed campaign and view the national infographic, visit www.aarp.org/rx.


Robinson Broadhurst hosting info meeting


The Robinson Broadhurst Foundation will host a workshop on Thursday, Sept. 19 at 7:00 pm in Winchendon at the American Legion, 295 School St. for the entire community. 

This would include all past and present "not for profit" organizations that the Foundation has funded and we encourage you to send representatives to attend. Community members interested in the work of the Foundation are also invited. 

The Foundation hopes to open communications between the Foundation and the community organizations. The Foundation will give a brief background and history of the Foundation and its m1ss1on.  

We will review the grant process and will open the floor to any questions or suggestions that you may have. 

We ask that you register for the workshop by Sept. 9 by calling (607) 652-2508 or emailing our office at rbfi@stny.rr.com


Do it on line, or print it and mail it

The Winchendon Cultural Council is collecting information to help set funding priorities for the next several years. Please take the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/W27KZ6K, or send feedback to: 

Winchendon Cultural Council

Town Hall - 109 Front St.

Winchendon, MA 01475

The Cultural Council would like the surveys back by Sept. 1.


1. What current arts/cultural programs are you aware of, and what should be maintained?


2. What do you consider to be important issues relating to culture in the Winchendon community? (i.e., neighborhood revitalization, artists' live and work spaces, special population group needs, school system needs, etc.)? 


3. What might artists and arts organizations do to make ours a more livable, prosperous community? 


4. How do you hear about cultural activities that interest you? 

______ Local paper

______ Town website

______ Notices at the library

______ Cable access channel

______ Local arts newsletter

______ Word of mouth

______ Other:_____________________________________


5. What should the council prioritize?

____ Professional development of local artists through community projects

____ Nature, science, environmental education projects

____ Arts education in the schools

____ Restoration or preservation projects

____ Community wide gatherings: festivals, concerts, plays

____ Field trips for students to museums or performances

____ Projects celebrating local history, cultural diversity

____ Local cable programming

____ Other:_____________________________________


Other comments/suggestions:



Brown named VP of marketing at GFA

GARDNER — GFA Credit Union is pleased to announce Christal C. Brown has joined the GFA Federal Credit Union team as assistant vice president, director of marketing.  

In this role, Brown will lead the marketing department to continuously evolve member engagement and overall growth within both the personal and business banking markets. Working to strengthen the existing GFA brand by expanding on both traditional and digital opportunities in addition to community engagement all aligning with the overall strategic objectives of the credit union.

“I look forward to being part of the collaborative efforts to bring the products, services and personal experiences that make up ‘Better Banking’ within GFA to the next level. It is an exciting time for GFA and I am thrilled to be part of a forward thinking institution,” said Brown.

“Christal is invested and rooted in our community and is an excellent addition to our team. We are confident in Christal’s ability to direct the marketing efforts needed to position us well for the future. She is working within an industry that is ever changing and a foot print that is proudly growing. Marketing holds a significant piece of the strategic objectives here at GFA and we are excited to have her lead the team,” said Tina M. Sbrega, GFA Federal Credit Union’s president & CEO.

Brown holds a Masters in business administration, marketing and new media design from Southern New Hampshire University, and previously worked at Clinton Savings Bank. She is a current resident of Athol where she resides with her husband, and one year old son.

Established in 1938, GFA Federal Credit Union stands as one of the last original financial institutions in the Gardner area, with more than $532 million in assets and ten convenient full service branch locations throughout Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. GFA offers personal and business banking, home mortgages, student loans, investment and insurance services. For more information please visit gfafcu.com.

2019-20 BUS ROUTES

Please note that all bus routes are subject to change.  

Call First Student Bus Company for any questions or concerns.

Telephone: 978-630-3860

Elementary Bus Routes



It’s BACK!!  


Join the Winchendon History and Cultural Center for its annual night of fun, gambling, and mingling! As usual, we will feature blackjack, roulette, money wheel, 50/50 raffle, silent auction, and hors d'oeuvres. Come join us for our biggest fundraiser of the year - now held at the MURDOCK WHITNEY MANSION. Tickets are $25 per person. Formal or semiformal attire is encouraged!

Tickets are available by contacting Vice President Peg Corbosiero at (561) 459-9484 or online at winchendonhistory.com.

As Seth Silver deals with medical problems, the River's Edge will be open Saturday and Sunday only, 7 a.m.-2 p.m. until further notice. 

Contact us for Advertising

 New! Advertising Rates New!

Opinion Page

The Winchendon Courier welcomes Letters to the Editor. Space limits us to no more than 250 words please. Email to admin@thewinchendoncourier.com.


 When those bad things pile up


The cliche' goes that bad things seem to happen to good people. It does seem that way sometimes. The other day, I learned my friend Seth Silver, who runs the River's Edge restaurant in town, has been diagnosed with lymphoma. The doctors are optimistic and say Seth's kind is very treatable but still, you know? It's going to be a tough journey for he and Amber and the kids and it just feels unfair.  

As some readers may know, after Courtney passed two years ago, Seth and Amber donated proceeds from meals they'd named after Courtney (her favorites) to the scholarship fund we'd launched in her memory at Smith. They obviously didn't have to do that but it was typical of their class, generosity, and kindness that they did. Seth has a huge support system. Attitude and optimism matter and he's always positive and upbeat so that will help. Day at a time, right?

Seth's not my only friend battling cancer. So is Lyn, a fellow journalist (okay, retired!) out in the Midwest. She's a lot farther down the road than Seth is, and I've been impressed by her fighting spirit and I love that she began a journal which many of us have been reading throughout her fight. I like to think I'm a decent writer. Lyn's better. Much better. You never stop learning your craft and reading her work makes me better I hope. In any event, she and Seth are in my thoughts every day.

Speaking of writing, our industry took more hits recently when several Gatehouse-owned papers in Massachusetts laid off more reporters and editors, this following purges at papers in Florida and Oklahoma. This of course continues a very alarming trend which shows no sign of stopping and is almost certain to accelerate. I presumably don't have to tell you this is bad not only for the industry but bad for democracy. It's local media which pays attention to school committees and zoning boards and city councils. I have friends who continually ask me about my thoughts on whatever DJT did that day and my response is almost invariably that I'm more focused on local school issues.  t's true, too.  

I'm obviously not oblivious to the larger picture but my job is to tell Courier readers about, say, the transfer of the Murdock Academy for Success from the high school to an elementary school. Voters/taxpayers, deserve to know how and where (and why) their money is being spent. Every time a local paper shuts down or cuts staff, that community is lessened.

This isn't happening only in small towns either. My hometown of Baltimore has a single daily morning paper. One. That's not healthy. I look next door and see how the Gardner News has been emaciated by Gatehouse. I have friends who work there, serious, dedicated journalists who don't deserve to get shafted. This is true for thousands of people in this business.    

We're a better society when we have a vigilant local media. Support our paper. We're online at, thewinchendoncourier.com. And support every paper you can. Thanks. See you next time.


Jerry Carton writes regularly for The Winchendon Courier. He has a background in both journalism and in politics; including a stint teaching journalism and one advising state level government politicos. 


Keeping our eyes open 


Yes, the official announcement was made through the superintendent’s letter this week about the Academy for Success move.

Anyone who is not on the mailing list of course, did not get that information.

But we did.

So it’s here. 

We are considering running the entire weekly update on the news site. Would that be helpful for people? We can certainly do that. 

Since it seems only some people are kept in the loop at the schools, we need to be particularly vigilant, and we will print and add to our Facebook page any and all information we are provided.

The next school committee meeting isn’t until Sept. 5, after school begins for the year. We will make every effort to be there.

We will also be running the bus routes as usual, once they have been posted. Of course, in the past, we were graciously supplied those routes by the central office so we could edit them and then print them in the Courier the week before school began. 

One advantage of having the website is, we can leave the routes posted for as long as we want. But we have no way of getting them ahead of time, so be patient. 

Doing the site daily is, of course, a challenge but it has its advantages. We can get things in quicker, especially if someone did not get information to us. We don’t have to wait a full week to post that information.

Such as the children’s Art in the Park event this Saturday at the Winchendon Community Park on Maple Street. The publicity on it didn’t get out until the weekend, but we got it in starting yesterday, and we hope parents will take their kids to this family friendly event.

We do also want to comment on the policy change made by the Selectmen Monday night; raising the limit on purchases by departments without needing a purchase order from $250 to $500. In this day and age, with the costs of supplies and equipment being what it is, this make sense. Especially for departments like the DPW or the accounting department that might need office supplies or building supplies quickly. Waiting on paperwork when a job needs doing is frustrating. 

There are plenty of checks and balances, signing off by the accounting department and the town manager, with documentation required such as receipts, so we doubt we will see anyone rampaging around on that $500. Making an employee’s job easier just makes sense.

    Our emails are admin@thewinchendoncourier.com and thewinchendoncourier@gmail.com. You can reach journalist Jerry Carton at pimtim@aol.com. And we still have the same phone number: 978 297-0050.

`Let' stay in touch shall we?

Winchendon Police Department

Editor’s Note: The information contained in this police log was obtained through public documents kept by the police department, and is considered to be the account of the police. All subjects are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Police agencies can no longer print the names of people who are arrested or charged with domestic assault related charges. The new law is designed to protect victims, so they are not re-victimized through indirect identification




12:06-3:24 a.m.: extra patrols & building checks, secure; 12:34 a.m.: ambulance (Central Street) transport; 12:42 a.m.: harassment (River Street) report taken; 1:25 a.m.: unknown alarm (Front Street) refer to FD; 3:46 a.m.: runaway (Hillside Terrace) report taken; 7:20 a.m.: burglar alarm (Beals Library) false alarm; 7:41 a.m.: MV lock out (Gourmet Donuts) assisted; 7:51 a.m.: ambulance (Baldwinville State Road) transport; 9:36 a.m.: summons service (Cottage Hill Academy) served; 9:54 a.m.: summons service (Monadnock Avenue) unable to serve; 10:03 a.m.: summons service (Pearl Street) served; 10:06 a.m.: officer wanted (Maple Street) assisted; 10:21 a.m.: summons service (Royalston Road North) served; 10:39 a.m.: animal complaint (Lincoln Avenue) refer to ACO; 11:12 a.m.: harassment (Hall Road) report taken; 11:18 a.m.: MV operating erratically (Gardner Road) unable to locate; 11:45 a.m.: MV operating erratically (Gardner Road) unable to locate; 12:18 p.m.: investigation (Ash Street) spoken to; 12:29 p.m.: officer wanted (Main Street) spoken to; 12:48 p.m.: animal complaint (Cross Road) refer to ACO; 2:02 p.m.: officer wanted (Main Street) returned to home; 2:08 p.m.: missing person (Pleasant Street) unable to locate; 2:24 p.m.: ambulance (Ash Street) transport; 2:35 p.m.: animal complaint (Baldwinville Road) refer to ACO; 3 p.m.: ambulance (Lakeview Drive) transport; 4:37 p.m.: missing person (Pleasant Street) unable to locate; 4:55 p.m.: suspicious person (Hill Street) spoken to; 6:24 p.m.: MV stop (Gardner Road) traffic citation; 7:05 p.m.: larceny (Otter River Campground) report taken; 7:09 p.m.: automatic fire alarm (Ready Drive) accidental; 8:41 p.m.: mental health issue (Lincoln Avenue) assisted; 11:05 p.m.: vandalism (Front Street) spoken to.


12:10-2:04 a.m.: extra patrols & building checks, secure; 12:39 a.m.: MV stop (Central Street) traffic citation; 5:11 a.m.: MV stop (Gardner Road) traffic citation; 5:23 a.m.: MV stop (Gardner Road) verbal warning; 5:30 a.m.: MV stop (Gardner Road) written warning.

Gobi August office hours

Lucas McDiarmid, aide to Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), will be holding office hours throughout the district during the month of August. Constituents and town officials are invited to meet to express any concerns, ideas and issues they have. Attendants should RSVP to Lucas at Lucas.McDiarmid@MASenate.govor by phone at (413) 324-3082. Town attendance is not restricted to residents of those towns.

Monday Aug. 26

11:30 an-12:30 pm Charlton Senior Center; 2:00-3:00pm Monson Town Hall

Tuesday Aug. 27

12:00-1:00pm Athol Senior Center 

Wednesday Aug 28

11:00am-noon Templeton Town Hall; 1:30-2:30pm Petersham Town Hall; 3:00-4:00pm Phillipston Town Hall.


North County Pop Warner is still accepting registrations!!!

For football 5 through 10 year olds can play!!! Cheer 5 through 12 year olds can cheer!!

All practices and home games are in Winchendon!!!

Registration is $150. BUT there are still scholarships available for families with financial hardships and lots of payment plan options!! Contact Ashley Kehti or Friends of Winchendon Schools for more information.


Jack and a new format


Jack Whitaker died Sunday at the age of 95. In an era of truly great sports television before the screeching 'analysts' saturated the screens, Whitaker was a poet and most of his enormous writing and rhetorical skills graced coverage of golf and horse racing, though he did other sports as well, including Super Bowl 1 for CBS. 

In the summer of 1975, the fabulous filly Ruffian, still considered by many to be the greatest of her gender to ever set hoof on a racetrack and among the greatest of either gender, tragically broke down in an ill-conceived match race with Foolish Pleasure, the winner of that spring's Kentucky Derby. This is what Whitaker wrote about her demise:

"A false step here and the years of planning and breeding and training and loving came to an end. A horse with speed and stamina. A horse, like the Bible said, whose neck is clothed in thunder."

Try imagining any of today's commentators coming up with that. These days on TVG the horse racing network, the emphasis is primarily focused on selling betting products along with incessant commercials for Runhappy, a young Kentucky sire. NBC covers racing too and while analysts Randy Moss (not the football player) and former champion rider Jerry Bailey are good, I can't envision them reaching the eloquent high water marks which Whitaker scaled. Back in the pre-simulcasting days, at both CBS and ABC, Jack Whitaker (with some help from Frank Wright and Charlsie Canty) provided the soundtrack for racing's brightest decades. Go to You Tube and check out Whitaker on Secretariat's Belmont Stakes and his essay on St. Andrews, the 'home of golf'. Spellbinding.  

Plus, he had the guts to call a mob a mob, which mightily displeased the snooty powers that be at Augusta National. That alone would have been worth remembering him for!  RIP Jack.

Speaking of golf, give the PGA Tour credit for the innovative way it structured next weekend's season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta. In fact, before we even get to that, let's credit the Tour with shortening the season, concluding the playoffs in August rather than late September.  Other sports should take note. 

Anyway, when the 30-player tournament begins Thursday with the Fed Ex Cup on the line, Justin Thomas will start with a two-stroke lead. That's because he's ranked first in points after the regular season and the first two of the three playoff events. Until this year, that leader wasn't given any advantage. But the rules are different and better now. Jason Kokrak was the 30th and final qualifier for the Tour Championship. He and the guys who qualified from 25th through 29th as well begin nine shots behind Thomas. Second ranked Patrick Cantley starts those two shots back and third ranked Brooks Koepka is another back and so on. You get the idea. Thomas gets rewarded. That doesn't guarantee anything of course but this way the winner of the final event of the season and the season-long Fed Ex Cup will be one and the same which simplifies the viewing experience. Good move. 

Tiger? He didn't qualify (finished 42d, I think) but at 43 with that chronically bad back, he still managed to claim his 15th major and 5th Masters. Pretty damn good for a guy who often can't play and can hardly ever practice. He gets to rest now and mull over who he'll add to the US President's Cup team in December, of which he's the captain. This week he can watch like the rest of us. See you next time. 



Are you having a yard sale? Email the information to thewinchendoncourier@gmail.com and we will post it here FREE of charge!

Be sure to include dates, times and address.


Indoor yard sale now open

Were you wondering if Old Murdock Senior Center was having its indoor yard sale? 


The indoor yard sale is now officially open! In the words of Ariel, we've got gadgets and gizmos aplenty, whos-its and what's is galore...thingamabobs...we've got plenty! 

Come check it out any day (Monday-Thursday 9:00 am to 2:00 pm and Friday 9:00 am to noon)



Immediate openings in the Winchendon and Gardner area

Packing, Assembly, Quality Control, Forklift and More 

Please call for more details


Walk ins are welcome  

Monday through Friday 9am-2pm

At 174 Gov. Dukakis Drive Orange, Ma 01364


Immediate openings for CNA/LNA staff  


Broadview Inc. a Senior Living Community at 547 Central St., is searching for experienced, enthusiastic, and caring individuals to join our team. We are looking to expand our resident care staff and are seeking CNA's and LNA's to fill part-time 11p-7a and 3p-11p shifts! We have a unique, employee friendly environment, competitive wages, and we include free meals during every shift. Broadview Inc. is family owned and operated community that has been serving the elderly community for over 22 years.



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