Government Greater Gardner MA Local News

Government Around Greater Gardner MA

  • Gardner Panel (5/22/2022)
    Panel of Gardner Five Gardner MA

    Panel of 5 Gardner MA Individuals to Help Select Who’s the Deputy Chief and maybe even Who’s the Chief

    Appearing on WGAW’s Hotline Radio on Saturday, May 22, 2022, Mayor Michael Nicholson was very clear that, “for the position of Chief, nothing’s official until the investigation is done. For the position of Deputy Chief, I can tell you exactly….There’ll be a panel of 5 individuals to review all applicants.  They’ll send the top 2 candidates to my desk.  I will interview them myself and then make an appointment to send up to the Appointments Committee of the City Council for full Council confirmation.

    Mayor Mike Nicholson Gardner MA
    Gardner Mayor :Michael Nicholson

    “The way that appointments of Police Chief and Fire Chiefs work are specifically governed by State law.   And those two positions are protected by State Law, …..same thing with the Deputy chief of the Police Department. …We do have the Dispatch Director position currently posted, so we are receiving applications for that as well.   We have a little different hiring process in that it doesn’t start with the full 5 member board, but rather a couple members from each of the groups of the Gardner Police Department and the Fire Department that the Dispatch Center assists with their operations.” ….“We do have all of the plans in place to move forward, but in terms of the position of Police Chief, specificially, nothing is finalized for that yet as we’re still ongoing in that realm.”

    The Mayor stated that the hiring process typically takes from 30 to 60 days from post to hire. The Mayor was asked about whether Former Chief Braks was still getting paid and Mayor Nicholson responded, “Yes, because by law it is a paid administrative leave. “ Steve Wendell asked, “Has he submitted any information as to whether he wants to come back or not?” The Mayor responded. “That’s something that is still privileged at this point as a personnel matter, but I can tell you we have not received anything yet.”

    The mayor made other comments relating to the Police Department. ““People at the Police Department are still doing a good job, day in and day out, shows the resiliency of who we have working here in the City. …The two lieutenants didn’t receive an extra penny for the work they were doing when they were running the department.”

    Hotline Radio

    Heard on Gardner’s Hit Radio Show!

    Hotline Radio is heard every Saturday from noon to 2pm on Gardner MA WGAW. WGAW is on AM 1340, 98.1 FM, and available 24/7 over the internet. Host Steve Wendell interviews many area newsmakers every week. To hear the station right, now, CLICK for the LIVE STREAM. WGAW has a News/Talk format.

  • Mayor’s Update – Colin Smith (5/20/2022)
    Colin Smith

    Watch the Mayor’s updates on the City of Gardner YouTube page or on our Mayor’s update page. CLICK HERE.

    Executive Aide Colin Smith filled in for Gardner MA Mayor Nicholson Friday May 20, 2022

    Smith reported that the Mayor is on the Cape for the Massachusetts Mayors Conference.  Colin Smith indicated he would be attending the Mount Wachusett Community College Nursing graduation representing the Mayor and congratulated the students.   Smith related his tour of the new Elementary School with the School Building Committee this week –  “It’s incredibly impressive already and it will be absolutely beautiful when it’s finished and I may be more than a little envious of the students who will be able to attend.  It’s been so cool seeing this project come to fruition knowing how many individuals around the City and outside of it have worked so hard to make it happen.”

    Smith stated that Gardner’s City-wide Yard Sale will be held this Saturday from 8am to 2pm Website. 

    “Gardner’s Junior Police Academy is now accepting applications for the 2022 class.  The academy will run from July 18 to July 22nd from 8am to 3pm with graduation on Saturday July 23rd.  This is open to students ages 12 to 17, and you do not have to be Gardner residents, although preference will be given to residents.  Class is limited to 20 cadets.  And they would like to mention that it’s FREE.”

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  • Water Quality (5/20/2022)
    Annual Water Quality Report 2021 Gardner MA
    Water Quality

    Gardner MA 2021 Water Quality Report Shows High Manganese, Water Safe to Drink

    The Gardner MA 2021 Water Quality Report has been released.  CLICK HERE.  For many years, the manganese level in Gardner Massachusetts water has been higher than desired, resulting in some local complaints of bad taste and the visible staining of toilets etc.   While Gardner water overall has been deemed safe, we have obtained detailed information regarding Manganese for those who are concerned about the issue.   Ten years ago, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published a 556 page report on Manganese which you can view from Gardner Magazine.  CLICK HERE.    In 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency produced a Manganese Report.  CLICK HERE.

    Gardner Water Corrosion Issue

    For those concerned about corrosion caused by Gardner water,  Corrosion Testing Laboratories Inc. produced a document dated August 18, 2015 and entitled, “City of Gardner Leaking Copper Coils Failure Investigation”  CLICK HERE.   The reports indicate that “failures were centralized around the water treatment facility that uses surface water as a source.”   For those citizens wondering why Gardner is defending itself against homeowner claims, it is because  the City of Gardner is located in a region of the US that has surface water with a low alkalinity and it is still undetermined whether the City has any liability over the issue.  While City officials are not commenting publicly about Gardner water at all, our investigation shows that over the years Gardner has been making attempts to solve the issue, but just hasn’t been successful.   The truth: Sometimes a problem is not easily solved despite best efforts.  Unfortunately that doesn’t help the homeowners  who have had uncovered heating system expenses and why the problem is the subject of an ongoing court case.

  • City Council 5-16-22 (5/19/2022)
    Gardner City Council
    Gardner City Council Meeting May 16, 2022

    Gardner MA Councilors Debate Scooters and Approve Outdoor Dining Space.

    The first item was according to Councilor Craig Cormier, ““a very simple ordinance, just a move from 9am to 8am, brings into line with how yard sales actually work and brings into line with the City-Wide Yard Sale that’s already been advertised.” City Council approved for first printing.

    Bird Scooters
    Bird Scooters is a company mentioned by Mayor Nicholson

    Watch the Gardner City Council meetings on the City of Gardner YouTube page or on our City Council page.

    The complete City Council and packet is available. CLICK HERE

    The Fiscal Year 2023 School Budget Presentation is available. CLICK HERE.

    Gardner Magazine reached out to Councilor Ron Cormier’s telephone number to ask whether he plans to resign from the Council following his objection to the free speech discussion over the scooters. We are awaiting a reply.

    Scooter Stirs Debate and Discussion, and even an attempt by one Councilor to silence free speech.

    Mayor Nicholson has proposed bringing shareable dockless mobility devices to the Chair City, otherwise known as “scooters”. There was considerable discussion. Councilor George Tyros had concerns., opposing the use of the devices for respect and safety reasons in the cemeteries. 

    Councilor Boone was asked by Tyros about his concerns and Boone stated “there was some question on fees…one of the things is that our DPW is gonna have to pick up these things if they are left, and there was no fee structure for that, ….I think as a City we need more time to absorb what’s going on.  I know these things are coming, do I think it’s gonna be a little chaotic, maybe, maybe not, so I just think we need more time to make a proper decision on the matter.”

    Councilor Nick Boudreau, “ to speak to Councilor Boone’s thought, when I worked in the City of Marlborough, we implemented this during my tenure there, and there was a big  ooh and aah phase at the very beginning, but then it did die down, almost to the point where it was just second nature to these people.  So I don’t think necessarily people are going to be leaving them out for an extended period of time, maybe it may happen a couple of times towards the beginning, and you can find out exactly who it was based off of different apps and different ways of payment and that kind of stuff which would differ based on the vendor that we would use, but I don’t think it’s going to be, we’re not Nashville, so they’re not going to be throwing these scooters everywhere all year, or bikes, of whatever we were to get.”

    Councilor Heath, ”I’ve rented a number of these, when I was out in Baltimore, when I was out in Los Angeles, you do have to be licensed, you’re supposed to be over 18 to go ahead and ride these, so it depends on which ones, my kids rode them with me.  I signed off on all of them.  However, they couldn’t do it themselves, I had to go ahead and do it as an adult. So have they been left around and things and such,  yes, but you’re supposed to go ahead and take a photo of where you leave it, when you get off of it. “

    Councilor Mack, “ I was wondering, seeing he’s present, if the Mayor could just address, he did send us documentation this afternoon addressing Councilor Boone’s concerns, …I would just like to give the Mayor the opportunity to present what’s he’s giving to us in regards to those concerns.”

    In a somewhat bizarre outburst, Councilor Ronald Cormier actually objected to the City Council discussing the matter and had to be reminded by the City Council President that Councilor had an right to discuss it. Councilor Ronald Cormier stated, “this is inappropriate., the conversations.”

    Council President Kazinskas stated, “this is on the motion.  Councilors can speak before the motion is seconded. …  Councilors asked whether the motion had been seconded and Kazinskas responded no, “we’re going to continue with the motion.”

    The motion was seconded to refer to the Public Safety Committee. 

    Councilor Cormier, “To Councilor Tyros, we do intend to have a meeting on this week, and hope to have it back before the Council at our next meeting.

    Councilor Walsh, “I’m going to support the motion to refer.  This is a lengthy amendment …a lot to absorb, when it’s on our agenda for the very first time….I think a little more time to do it right as best we can in advance of these vehicles becoming part of the city’s landscape is a good idea.”

    rendering of outdoor dining
    Outdoor dining rendering

    Motion was approved to temporarily close a portion of Pleasant Street for outdoor dining.

    Craig Cormier  “We did have a chance to discuss this…would give a 3 month closure to Pleasant Street to try out some outdoor dining on the streets for the summer months. If we don’t like it, we can obviously let it expire and not keep doing that.   Businesses involved signed a letter in favor of the motion.”

    The Gardner Police Department indicated the dates of closure would be June 20, 2022 from 7am through October 1, 2022 at 7am.

    letter from Gardner pd

    Councilor Comments

    Councilor James Boone Gardner MA
    Councilor James Boone holds up 100 year old Yearbook he found in attic.
    Judy A. Mack
    Councilor Judy A. Mack suggested Handicapped Parking

    Dana Heath, “ I just want to say thank you to the DPW.  I sent a request today at 12:40 …Ovila Case playground…the bottom floor was busted open, so kids could fall through it.  It was fixed within an hour. So I just want to say thank you” George Tyros, “Nothing this evening.” Alek Dernalowicz, “ I have nothing this evening.” Judy A. Mack, “I just want to mention.  With the planned improvements to the Downtown area including areas of outside seating, I would like to suggest that the traffic commission and the disabilities commission look into creating some handicapped accessible parking spots on Parker, Central, Main, or Pleasant Street for disabled people.  With the recent roadwork downtown there are curb cuts to allow for accessibility for the sidewalks, but we have not made parking accessible., other than what I can see in parking lots. So, I would just like to see this considered for those people who need the accessibility to our downtown businesses.” Craig Cormier, “ I have no Council business this evening.” James S. Boone, “I saw several of the committee members and I discovered this Argus Yearbook, 1922, it was on 76 Osgood Street in an attic we were currently clearing out…” Nathan Boudreau, “Can’t wait till my yearbook is brought to a City Council meeting as a historic relic, I have no new City Council business this evening.” Karen G. Hardern “Nothing new this evening.” James M. Walsh, “Two items.  Councilor Boone might want to consider if he wants it in a safe place to put it back in the attic where he found it.  …The other thing I wanted to mention is a follow up to these National Grid petitions.  It used to be the practice of the City Engineer to review these petitions in advance of their being presented to the City Council so that the kind of errors that occurred in the petitions we just considered would not occur….and I’m happy to say that newly appointed and confirmed City Engineer Mr. Oliver is going to be doing that as we go forward, …” Ronald F. Cormier, “I have nothing this evening.” Elizabeth Kazinskas, “ I have no new Council business.”

  • Strength of Character (5/18/2022)

    A Gardner Magazine Editorial, Mayor Nicholson, Strength of Character.

    During the course of holding Political Office, every office holder encounters that moment when character is tested.  Mayor Nicholson is having his moment with the Gardner Police Department situation.  

    Despite enormous pressure to speak more openly about various details involved in the ongoing Police Department challenges, the Mayor has elected to stick with his plan – protect the taxpayers of Gardner, honor the due process rights of all involved, and stay the course with untold patience.    While the Press may be irritated with the lack of information and citizens speculate about the who, what, when, where, and why, the Mayor is doing what a great manager does – the right thing as he sees it on a daily basis, making sure that the citizens of Gardner have a well-functioning Police Department which serves their daily needs and keeps the citizenry safe.    In our opinion, the Mayor’s actions in this process including his unwavering resolve to handle the situation without giving in to political pressure shows a tremendous strength of character.    It would be easy to do a tell-all interview and it would get lots of attention.   It is much harder to be reserved with information, but in the end what is important is the best interests of the City of Gardner.   So our advice to the community and other members of the press is this:  Be vigilant, hold your leaders accountable, but also recognize when you’ve finally got someone with Strength of Character who doesn’t take the easy way out, but who’s actually looking out for you:  Mayor Michael Nicholson.    

    We reached out to the Mayor’s office on May 18, 2022 and spoke with the Mayor’s aide Colin Smith at length.    The Mayor is committed to following the process to its conclusion and will provide more information when it is in the best interest of the City to do so.   We will publish any Press Release in its entirety when available.  

    Werner Poegel, Publisher.

  • Puzzle Awaits (5/15/2022)
    Gardner MA Police Department Puzzle

    Here we go again! Another Acting Police Chief in the City of Gardner and more speculation as to who, what, when, and where as it relates to the future of the management of the Department.

    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson Holds Key to Gardner Police Department Puzzle

    Update 5-17-22: Gardner has another Acting Police Chief. Mayor Nicholson informed the Appointments Committee –View Meeting – that retired Deputy Chief Phil Kearns from the City of Fitchburg has been appointed Acting Police Chief. He retired from the City of Fitchburg in 2015 and according to Mayor Michael Nicholson, “has been the acting chief in 5 different communities since his retirement.”  According to Mayor Nicholson, he was to start the role on Monday, May 16, 2022, “for a period of 30 days at most.”  However, the Mayor indicated that the official appointment was for 60 days, just in case, “because the ordinance says you can’t have two consecutive temporary appointments…so we did this just as a buffer.”  Mayor Nicholson responded affirmatively when asked by Councilor Walsh if he anticipated a more permanent solution to the Chief’s position within that 30 day period.

    Although publicly leaving the door open in recent interviews, it seems increasingly unlikely that Mayor Nicholson will reappoint Chief Braks. He can also promote from within or search from outside the Department. One thing is certain: 41 hard-working officers of the Gardner Police Department will be affected by the decision, and, the Gardner City Council has final say in approving or rejecting any appointment. Both the Chief and Deputy Chief were placed on paid Administrative Leave at the beginning of February following a no-confidence vote from 40 out of 41 officers. The Deputy Chief has since retired.

    This is the second time this year an Acting Police Chief has been appointed. Management of the Department was handled for a short period by Vincent Alfano as Acting Chief, but for the past two months management duties have been handled by the two lieutenants, who according to Nicholson, have not received extra pay for the extra responsibilities. Gardner Magazine will keep you posted as the Gardner PD Puzzle continues….

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  • Mayor’s Update 5-13-22 (5/13/2022)
    Nicholson gardner ma
    Gardner MA Michael Nicholson with weekly update and well-dressed man captured in reflection and enlarged at upper left.

    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson Updates City with either Secret Service Detail OR Attentive Aide.

    Captured just to the left of Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson is what appears to be a scene out of the movies. Given that the Mayor is still too young to run for President, we believe the individual is hard-working aide Colin Smith. This appears to prove what has been suspected – The entire team at the Mayor’s office is highly committed to working for the betterment of the City. Watch the video update yourself on the City’s YouTube page or on our Mayor’s Update page and see if you can identify the mystery man in the reflection.

    Candor Realty, Mayor Nicholson, Kazinskas
    Picture by Colin Smith- City Council President Elizabeth Kazinskas and Mayor Michael Nicholson stand with Jonathan Bombaci and Matthew Perimian of Candor Realty following the closing of the sale of 25 Main Street

    At the Building: One of the matters discussed by the Mayor is the very building he is standing in front of – the Flat Iron Building by Bull Nose Park which was recently sold to Candor Realty by Dean Marcus and which will soon be rehabbed and returned to its full potential. The Mayor announced that Candor Realty’s other property purchase on 88-98 Main Street will soon feature a Candor Realty office in one of the open storefronts. The City has been involved in facilitating several transactions recently which will result in former blighted buildings in Downtown Gardner becoming productive again, with either business or residential space. The Mayor stated,, “this building has officially been sold.”… “The City Council will vote on my proposal to close a small section of Pleasant Street to increase outdoor seating options.” View Mayor’s complete Press Release, CLICK HERE.

    man escaping grille fire

    Fire Safety: Mayor Nicholson stated, “We had a notice from the Gardner Fire Department asking us to remind people that as the weather gets warmer, do remember to be careful with grilles….or where you are depositing your cigarettes…. We had 4 different fires this past week, 2 of which happened because there were grilles on 2nd or 3rd floor portions that were enclosed, That is actually illegal here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In both of those instances, the grille started a fire on the porch, and in one case causing upwards of $20,000 in damage to the building. Two other locations, we had a mulch fire in which an individual threw a cigarette into some mulch over at Old English Village….or another one left a cigarette on a railing near a building and that caused a fire as well.” Here are some Grille Safety tips from the State of MA. CLICK HERE.

    Thanked Nurses: Mayor Nicholson thanked nurses at Heywood Hospital and noted that this week was Nurses Appreciation Week. “We really do owe our nurses a great deal of thanks.” The Mayor also congratulated various other individuals. Here is some more information on Nurse’s Week from Nursing World. CLICK HERE.

    Art Shows: “Gardner High School and Middle School joined together this past week to host an Art Show for our students, just like we had the Gardner Elementary School Art Show that took place this past Thursday.” At the Gardner MA School Committee Meeting of 5-9-22, several members commented on students and the Art Show. View article.

  • School Committee 05-09-22 (5/12/2022)

    Watch the meeting on the City of Gardner’s Youtube page or on our School Committee page. CLICK HERE.

    Great Students Focus of Hour-long Gardner MA School Committee Meeting on May 9, 2022

    During the meeting, a number of students from the Elm Street Student Council were recognized by Superintendent Mark Pellegrino. There’s was even a quick recess for a photo op with the students.

    Various reports were heard including from Robert Swartz of the Facilities Subcommittee: “Work on high school athletic fields continues, vendor is working very hard trying to bring them back to life again.  I’m getting reports that they’re looking better and better.” Mayor Nicholson noted that the painting in the Landry auditorium began on 5-9-22, hope is it will be done in time for concert next week. John Lafrieniere reported from the Finance Subcommittee,”We discussed student/staff meal pricing.   Will wait for more info to vote on possible price increase at June meeting.” Superintendent Pellegrino spoke about his goals including District improvement, increasing school and family partnerships, and creating a culture of dignity in the schools.

    School Committee Member Comments

    anne hurst

    Anne Hurst during meeting stated, “As a disability advocate for more than 30 years, these are the types of things with special education and inclusion of students, the social-emotional learning, has been stuff than I and many other parents have been advocating for many, many years, and I am thrilled to see this coming to fruition, finally, and everybody has really done a lot of work to make this happen.  And I just think people ;need to know the history too, that this has been a long time coming.  … There are a lot of districts who don’t have anything like this.  We are lucky to have the dedicated people that we have.”

    Anne Hurst in comments stated “ I just want to congratulate the guidance counselors and all the students who were here tonight.  It is just, it makes me feel so good to see kids being involved in taking initiative, and you know, they’re gonna be our future leaders, and that’s, it’s very impressive what’s been going on.  I also did want to mention that May is Mental Health Month, you know, don’t ever think that it can’t happen to you or someone you know…people kinda suffer in silence.  I lost my brother about 7  years ago now to suicide, and don’t be one of those people who says, I never saw it coming, ‘cause there’s things you can do, there’s resources out there, and people are not going to reach out to you. Thank  you.”

    ward leighton

    Shannon Ward Leighton stated “Echoing the same thing.  Just really happy to see all the positive things that are happening and I did want to mention: last week the Gardner Elementary School PTO put on at Art Show and it was huge, it was busy for the full 3 hours that I was there, and I know that there was a lot of funds raised to kind of pad the account next year, so when we open the new Elementary School, we have some resources available to do fun events for the kids, and just a big shout out to Missy Torez and Kelley Perkins, who it was kinda like, their baby to put this together and it was really cool. It was very cool, there was a lot of good raffle baskets.  There were bikes and a lot of parents donated a lot of money for their kids artwork which is very cool.  And the photo booth was a really big hit… “

    Jennifer Pelavin” I also want to thank the Elm Street School student council.  My daughter was a part of it, so obviously I know what little projects they did.  It was amazing how much they got to do.  I think they met for like an hour, maybe, I think it was every other week, and it was amazing what they accomplished in that short time period.  And also I did attend the art gallery last week and it was amazing to see how many parents, were there, I mean, it was packed.  For the people walking around purchasing the art, and I think it was a great idea and hopefully we can do it, hopefully yearly, would be nice, because I think it’s something that you know it’s neat for the kids to go and see somebody pay for something they created too.  It really gave them a sense of worth that way, so, that is all, thank you.”

    Robert Swartz

    Robert Swartz “I’m looking forward to… when I’ll be attending the Special Olympics on Watkins Field, I’m looking forward to that.  Special Olympics of May,… well the 26th.  I hope those kids don’t lose their ambition to volunteer.  As they’ll get older, they’ll be interested in other things, but I just hope the momentum keeps going. And it’s great for them to do all that volunteering.  Thanks for Seaman Paper and Garlock Industries for donating $5500 each to Junior/Senior Prom.  We haven’t had a prom for a couple of years, so it’s great to see the train rolling down the track again. That’s all I have.”

    John LaFrieniere, “Just thank the Elm Street School Student Council, that was really nice to see, and motivating I think, you know. To see that young and all they’re doing, is great.  Hopefully it does continue. And I know Rachael didn’t make it here tonight, but just let her know if she’s watching, she’s got some homework….a stack of things to sign.

    Mayor Nicholson

    Mayor Nicholson, “On my end I also want to thank the Elm Street School Student Council for coming tonight.  It was great to have that pizza lunch with them the other day too.  They went through a list of 22 questions that they have previously prepared beforehand, and they were very thoughtful in those questions too, I’ll say that.  It’s nice to see them getting involved.

    Just to give people an update as they are planning their commutes to and from school.: We did have to adjust our paving schedule to a more condensed season this year due to gas prices and our contract expiring at the end of June, which would cause the prices to go up further.  For us, we were locked in at a lower rate, but where that ends at the end of the fiscal year, ….work on Pearl Street will be completed by May 19th, Central Street, West Lynde, West and Monadnock will have work done between May23rd and May31st. Parker Street, West, and Monadnock will be paved on June 1st. And Woodlawn Avenue will have work done between June 13th and June 17th, so that’s a lot more condensed than we normally have our paving season. Our price of asphalt is going up 40% on July 1st.

    Nicholson continued, “Congratulations to all of our alum who are graduating from college over the next couple of weeks here…You can come home to Gardner after you graduate college, we have a lot waiting for you here. I want to thank the 30 to 40 volunteers from Gardner High School who helped in the citywide litter cleanup this past weekend. It was great to see so many of our students out, not only just around the schools but also on Rear Main Street and several other places around the City. it was really nice to see the younger generation of our city to be getting involved like that and having that be the example of other people to follow in the community.”

    Nicholson continued, “I did go to Boston today for the governor’s new Forward Bill…In the 3.5 billion dollars in ARPA funding…. there’s also increased funding for innovative pathways and early college programs that we’ll be looking at. I also plan to put up the money for the Snack Shack bathrooms, or at least a substantial portion at the June City Council meeting. And the City Budget will also be presented for that first June meeting as well.”

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  • Winchendon 5-6-22 (5/6/2022)
    Winchendon MA

    Winchendon MA 2022 Warrant Articles for Special and Annual Town Meeting on 5-16-22

    Special and Annual Town Meeting Warrant:  CLICK HERE

    Winchendon Proposed Zoning Bylaw Provisions CLICK HERE

    In other Winchendon Items: Winchendon is actively seeking a full-service grocery store.  “Our Food Retail Working Team has been working hard and we need your input one more time” Survey Form

    Winchendon is hiring a Treasurer/Collector   More Details.

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  • Westminster 5-6-22 (5/6/2022)
    Westminster MA

    The Westminster MA Special and Annual Town Meetings will be held on Saturday May 7, 2022 at 1:00PM at the Westminster Elementary School.

    Special Town Meeting warrant:  CLICK HERE

    Annual Town Meeting warrant: CLICK HERE

    Annual Town Election 4-26-22 official results CLICK HERE

  • Templeton 5-6-22 (5/6/2022)
    Templeton MA

    Templeton MA Annual Town Meeting is May 11, 2022 at 6:00pm at the Narragansett Regional Auditorium.

    Voter’s Guide to Annual Town Meeting Warrant  CLICK HERE

    Templeton MA 2022 Town Meeting Warrant  CLICK HERE

    The Grand Opening of the River’s Edge Conservation Area hosted by the Town of Templeton is being held on Monday May 9th, 2022, at 10:00 am at the River’s Edge Conservation Area: 4 Elm Street in Baldwinville.

  • Rutland 5-6-22 (5/6/2022)
    Rutland MA

    Rutland MA Annual Town Meeting Saturday May 7, 2022 4pm at Glenwood School

    Town Meeting Warrant: CLICK HERE

    Map for town warrant article number 27: CLICK HERE

    The Annual Town Election is Monday May 9, 2022 with polls open from 7am to 8pm

  • Royalston Results (5/6/2022)

    Annual Town Election Results, held on April 4, 2022 CLICK HERE

  • Princeton 5-6-22 (5/6/2022)
    Princeton MA

    Princeton MA Annual Town Meeting

    Princeton Annual Town Meeting is May 14, 2022  at 10am in the Thomas Prince School Gymnasium, 170 Sterling Rd., Princeton. For the Town Meeting Warrant, CLICK HERE.

  • Phillipston Town Meeting (5/6/2022)
    Phillipston MA

    Phillipston MA Town Meeting

    Annual Phillipston MA Town Meeting May 4, 2022 7:00PM
    Phillipston Memorial School
    20 The Common
    Phillipston, MA 01331

    For the annual Phillipston Town Meeting Warrant, click here.

  • Hubbardston update (5/6/2022)

    Hubbardston MA Town Election

    Town Election will be held on June 14, 2022 for various positions. CLICK HERE.

    On another note: Deadline to apply for the Country Hen Scholarship is June 1stCLICK HERE.

  • Hardwick 5-6-22 (5/6/2022)

    Hardwick MA News of Interest

    Memorial Day Schedule for Sunday, May 29, 2022:  CLICK HERE. Town of Hardwick Annual Election results from April 11, 2022 CLICK HERE.

    Other Hardwick MA news from the Town of Hardwick website;

  • Athol Update 5-6-22 (5/6/2022)

    Some Athol MA Matters

    Would you like an exciting 2022 Athol Street List?  It’s only $10 per book.  CLICK HERE. How is the water quality in Athol.  View the 2021 Water Quality Report released on 4/1/22. CLICK HERE

    Athol MA is conducting an anonymous health survey of the community’s inhabitants for the purposes of completing a Public Social Services Plan.  CLICK HERE. Athol election information:   CLICK HERE. Athol works in progress:  CLICK HERE.

  • Mayor’s Update 5-6-22 (5/6/2022)
    Nicholson 5-6-22

    View the Mayor’s update on the City of Gardner YouTube page or on our Mayor’s update page. CLICK HERE.

    With the City Seal behind him, Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson updated the Chair City on May 6, 2022.

    Mayor Nicholson spoke about a commitment to Children’s mental health in the Gardner School system.  The mayor went over paving updates and sidewalk updates.  Heywood Hospital and the UMass Memorial System have entered into a letter of intent to explore aligning in the future.  However, he stated, “Heywood Hospital is still the same-old Heywood Hospital.”  The Mayor did not mention the Gardner Police Department in his update.

  • Ashby 5-6-22 (5/6/2022)

    Unofficial Election results of the Town Election April 25, 2022 CLICK HERE

    The Town of Ashby website is a useful source for updated information:  https://ci.ashby.ma.us/

    The 2021 Annual Town Report is available online. CLICK HERE.

  • Ashburnham 5-6-22 (5/6/2022)

    Official Ashburnham MA Election ResultsTrails – Meetings

    Official Ashburnham Town Election Results for 4-26-22 Results pdf; CLICK HERE Looking to do some things in Ashburnham.  Here’s the Ashburnham Trail Map.  It’s called the Ashburnham MA: Formal Trail Inventory. Here is the Ashburnham Rail Trail from 2017: CLICK HERE Here’s a list of upcoming meetings in Ashburnham on the official website.

  • Town Election Results (5/6/2022)
    Results, meetings, 2022 Greater Gardner MA

    This time of year, many communities in the Greater Gardner MA area have town meetings and elections. We have compiled pdfs of warrants and results when available and posted them at right.

    Some Election Results In, Some Meetings Coming Up in Greater Gardner MA

    Ashburnham 4-26-22 Election Results: CLICK HERE.Ashby 4-25-22 Election Results: CLICK HERE.Athol Election Information: CLICK HEREHardwick 4-11-22 Election Results: CLICK HEREHubbardston election is coming up 6-14-22 CLICK HERE – Phillipston Annual Town Meeting 5-4-22 Warrant CLICK HERE Princeton Annual Town Meeting 5-14-22 Warrant CLICK HERERoyalston 4-4-22 Election Results CLICK HERERutland Town Meeting 5-7-22 Warrant CLICK HERE (Rutland town election is 5-9-22) – Templeton Annual Town Meeting 5-11-22 Warrant CLICK HERE – Templeton Voter’s Guide, CLICK HEREWestminster Special and Annual Town Meetings 5-7-22 Special Warrant, CLICK HERE, Annual Warrant, CLICK HERE Westminster 4-26-22 Town Election results, CLICK HERE. Winchendon 5-16-22 Special and Annual Town Meetings Special and Annual Warrant, CLICK HERE Winchendon Proposed Zoning Bylaw Provisions, CLICK HERE.

  • City Council 5-2-22 Agenda (5/3/2022)

    Complete Agenda and Packet. CLICK HERE. View the meeting on the City of Gardner YouTube page or on our City Council page. CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA City Council Met Monday, May 2, 2022 at 7:30pm

    Public hearings on a total of 7 new telephone poles – Various mayoral appointments – The completed FY2021 Outside Audit Report – Use of ARPA Funds – Info Tech – Snow and Ice Removal – PARC Bailey Brook Project – Second-hand licenses

    George Tyros

    Various proposed Appointments were referred to appointments committee on motion of Councilor Tyros.

    Gardner MA City Council May 2, 2022

    A Typo was discovered in the petition for poles – vendor will review and correct.

    Dernaliewicz

    On the completed FY2021 Outside Audit Report – report from the Finance Committee – Councilor Dernaliewicz –  “The first time since at least 2004 which is as far back as records go, with no findings or recommendations…which is amazing work…in his final paragraph the Mayor wanted to thank the Financial Department Heads, City Treasurer, City Assessor, Direct of Purchasing, and City Auditor for making this a reality.”   City Council voted to place the report on file. More on this from previous article.

    The appropriation of $11.700 to the Info Tech Cyber Security Account passed.

    James Walsh

    $335,000 for snow and ice removal – Councilor Walsh stated, “ a certain amount is funded in the budget with a certain expectation that more money will be needed by the end of the fiscal year.” Motion to fund using free cash – passed.

    Snow and ice

    PARC Bailey Brook Project: Councilor Heath wanted to read communication from the Mayor about this. “Funding is only for the athletic court and the playground for children under 5 years old.  The portion of this project does not in any way relate to the previous proposal that at one point contained a soccer field… Back in September, me and the Mayor and a couple other residents had a big meeting, so the fact that he went ahead and did this, I want to make sure that people know that this is a great thing and I’m favorable for it.” – Ronald F. Cormier reported for the Finance Committee as favorable.  2 motions passed. 

    On Free Cash – City is Flush

    Councilor Walsh, “Wondering where our free cash stands?”  Councilor Cormier passed Walsh a document and Walsh stated, “assuming all of these orders pass, just over $1,255,000. So we’re still flush.”

    New Business before the Council – Each Councilor has an opportunity to speak.

    George Tyros: “No new council business this evening. ” Alek Dernalowicz: “Nothing new this evening, Nathan R. Boudreau, “No new city council business this evening. ” Karen G. Hardern: “Nothing new this week.” James M. Walsh: “Nothing this evening.” Ronald F. Cormier. “Nothing this evening.” Elizabeth J. Kazinskas, “I have nothing new this evening.” When they say something, we‘ll publish it here.

    from Councilor Judy A. Mack, ” I just want to remind the public that on Saturday on Pearson Boulevard Shopping Center is the start of our annual City Wide cleanup. It starts at 8:30 and I really hope that people will get out and participate to help clean up the city and it’s great to show  your kids community service and giving back.” More info below.

    James S. Boone

    from Councilor James S. Boone, “On Saturday I sent an email to the Mayor asking if I can get financial information on what the cost is for the Chief and Deputy Chief to still be offline, I forget the word for it, but anyways, and also what the cost is for the interim chief, and I haven’t got any response. Me and the public are kinda wondering what’s going on.  I’d like to get some information, the public’s asking me for information, I’m hoping we hear something soon.”

    from Councilor Dana M. Heath – “The month of May is Mental Awareness Month.”

    Gardner Magazine looked into this further and is providing some links as a public service. Seize the Awkward website, CLICK HERE National Alliance on Mental Illness website  CLICK HERE– Mental Health America website   CLICK HERE. – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration  website  CLICK HERE. – American Hospital Association website:  CLICK HERE.  Fact Sheet from HHS, CLICK HERE.

    Thank you Gardner City Councilor Dana Heath for mentioning this. Gardner Magazine reached out to Councilor Heath to ask why he happened to bring up this issue. Heath explained that in the course of his day he often encounters people who could use some help and he wanted to call attention to the issue. The Councilor is active in his ward, reaching out to constituents and eager to be of service. He’s also humble. He says, “I’m new, and I’m learning, that’s why I don’t always say too much at City Council meetings. “

    Keep Gardner Beautiful “Nip Hunt” Fundraiser and Citywide Litter Cleanup Event. Saturday May 7, 2022 8:30am to 1pm, 20 Pearson Boulevard Gardner. – 8:30-9:00am – Volunteers receive a litter cleanup kit. 9:00am to noon – “Nip Hunt” and Litter Cleanup – all nips and litter brought to the plaza. Noon to 1pm – Shane’s Hot Dog Truck will donate Hot Dog, Chips, and Soda to volunteers. Register here. – Curious about Shane’s menu? CLICK HERE.

  • Nicholson Interview (5/3/2022)

    Despite Standout Status Among America’s Young Mayors, Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson Wants to Stay in Gardner

    Mayor Nicholson says he is fulfilled, loves the job and will be here as long as the voters are willing to keep him. During the past two years, the Mayor has seen a growth in community partnerships, an increase in businesses coming to the community despite a challenging pandemic, and plenty of projects either underway, planned, or being sought.

    Gardner Magazine Publisher Werner Poegel recently had the opportunity to conduct a lengthy interview with Mayor Nicholson in light of him finding out about another success, a perfect outside audit of City Finances. Complete Article, CLICK HERE.

    The mayor discusses recent meetings, Downtown trash receptacles, paving projects, pothole reporting, MART bus stops, attracting business to Gardner, the City Centennial, Arts, Music, Recreation, Gardner Academics, bringing furniture manufacturers to Gardner, Gardner attracting business, the Mill Street Corridor, lawsuits against Gardner, Open Meeting Law, Package gate, The Mayor’s personal goals and future, evolving as Mayor, and partners in the community. Complete article, CLICK HERE.

  • Security Risk (4/29/2022)
    Computer Security

    This is just one item on the agenda for the upcoming Gardner City Council meeting on Monday May 1, 2022. For the complete agenda and packet, CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA Gets Rid of Potential Russian Security Risk

    At the City Council meeting May 1, 2022, Mayor Nicholson is asking for about 12 grand to fund the new security software for the City’s IT needs.   Gardner is replacing Kaspersky software with a variety of items from Crowdstrike.   On March 30, 2022, the threat was deemed severe as Kaspersky was added to the Federal Watchlist and every City Hall employee was asked to reboot their computer before going to lunch so that Kaspersky could be automatically removed.    The default Microsoft Antivirus automatically turned on after the offending software’s removal.   However, it is not deemed sufficient and therefore Crowdstrike is being implemented to keep the City secure.

  • Update 4-29-22 (4/29/2022)
    Mayor's update 4-29-22

    For the Mayor’s weekly update, visit the City of Gardner YouTube page or our Mayor’s update page. CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA Finances Get a Perfect Score, First time at least in Decades

    This week, Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson delivered his weekly update from the site of the new Community Health Connections medical building on Timpany Boulevard. While the Mayor maintained his composure, his pride in the City’s Finance Team was evident: Here’s why. Gardner received its annual independent outside audit this week as required by Mass. General Laws.

    100 percent

    This is the first known year in the City’s history that not only were there no findings found, but also no suggestions of how things could go better. It’s the best audit result Gardner could possibly have received and objectively shows that the Chair City is well-managed. Mayor Nicholson said, “Big congratulations to our City Auditor John Richard and to the other Department Heads who are part of our Finance Team.   It will  help improve our bond rating as we move forward as well.”

    Gardner PD Investigation Executive Summary released. Nicholson stated, “As things are finalized, we’ll be sure to let the public know.” Gardner Magazine has 2 stories on the matter if you scroll down.

    Other items included in the weekly update were: At airport: The Mayor related the excitement of the plane which noticed it had a bullet on the wing near its gas cap.  Gardner was closest airport.  Airport is actually located within the Town of Templeton and that’s why Templeton PD responded. Paving: Mayor Nicholson went over various paving updates. Pearson Boulevard to be milled on May 3rd.  Pearl Street to be milled on May  9th. Congratulations: Congratulations to Isaac Knight and his family on the ribbon cutting for Knight’s Nutrition in Downtown Gardner.  Congratulations to Gardner’s own Dawn George who works for the Department of Corrections, who was recently inducted into the Women’s Boxing Hall of Fame. Light the Town Purple: Light the Town Purple Event coming to Gardner this coming Monday right before the City Council meeting at Gardner City Hall at 7pm.  This is the kick-off event for the Gardner Relay for Life event to be taking place in June. Keep Gardner Beautiful: Keep Gardner Beautiful Nip Hunt and litter cleanup  event taking place Saturday May 7th beginning at 9am.   Register through Keep Gardner Beautiful Facebook page. 

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  • Mayor Nicholson 4-22-22 (4/22/2022)
    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson
    Trahan program at Williams Restaurant
    From left to right: Gardner City Council President Kazinskas, Patti Bergstrom, State Rep. Zlotnik, Congresswoman Trahan, and Mayor Nicholson
    Patti Bergstrom
    Patti Bergstom
    Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson in closing remarks, ““There’s never been this much opportunity in the City…”

    Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson updates City from Grant Event

    Once again not addressing the Gardner Police Investigation at all, Mayor Nicholson opened his update by speaking about growth in the Chair City, releasing that 300 Building permits have been pulled so far in 2022, a faster clip than 2021, which was a record-breaking year. He thanked residents and businesses for continuing to invest in the City and spoke about progress regarding blighted properties.

    Among his announcements: The Gardner Dog Park will get a 10 foot by 12 foot shade pavilion with grading issues and water improvement addressed. Various road projects were detailed. A new MART bus stop with be available soon in South Gardner in front of the old Prospect Street School. Knight’s Nutrition smoothie and tea shop in Downtown Gardner will have its ribbon cutting Thursday, April 28, 2022 at 1pm.

    Mayor Nicholson stated that he was doing the update from in front of William’s Restaurant because Congresswoman Lori Trahan was there for an event with various Grant announcements. 3 different programs offer funding for business impacted by Covid 19 from April 1, 2020 to the end of 2021. Details on the Economic Development page.

    Lori Trahan recognized the various individual leaders she works with stating, “small businesses are the the heart of any community.”

    Representative Zlotnik spoke on State Resources  which have been available to the City of Gardner.  He praised the Federal Government’s response to the Covid crisis is helping make funding available.

    Council President Elizabeth Kazinskas spoke and praised those who have worked on behalf of the City.  She specifically spoke about outdoor restaurant seating.   Restaurants had showed interest and an ordinance was passed by the City Council.  Permitting process is now live.

    Gardner Square Two President Patti Bergstrom spoke and stated she has had her shop (the Velvet Goose) for 35 years. She opened by stating, “It is a beautiful day in the neighborhood, made more beautiful by Congresswoman Trahan coming with all this grant funding.”    She stated there are 9 businesses in Downtown Gardner with agreements for changes in ownership, 6 businesses have opened since the start of the pandemic, “we have so much positivity in Downtown, it is just a beautiful day every day in our downtown.”

    Mayor Nicholson closed by stating that “this is how government should work.  A group of people at the local, state, and federal level coming together …our theme through all of this has been coming together to grow Gardner, and that’s really what this is.  It’s all of us coming together to build a place that people are proud to call their home, proud to open a business in, and proud to stay in.”

    Nicholson spoke on the number of businesses which have come to Gardner in the past 2 years and the opportunities coming with building renovations happening at various Downtown Gardner buildings. “There’s never been this much opportunity in the City to grow what we have here, to build on what we have here, and just put our next foot forward and set us forward into the next decade let alone generation and beyond here.” View the Mayor’s weekly update on the City of Gardner YouTube channel or on our Mayor’s update page. CLICK HERE.

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  • Ashburnham Town Meeting (4/21/2022)
    Spotlight on Ashburnham MA

    Ashburnham MA Holds May 3, 2022 Town Meeting

    To be held at 7pm at Oakmont Regional High School Auditorium

    For the pdf of warrant articles, CLICK HERE.

  • Gardner City Council 4-19-22 (4/20/2022)
    Joint Session City Council 4-19-22

    Two Sessions, 4 Lawsuits, 2 million bucks takes up Gardner MA City Council 4-19-22

    The Gardner MA City Council held two separate sessions on April 19, 2022.   First was a Joint Convention of the City Council and School Committee.    The only action taken at the joint session was to approve sending a response to the Scott Graves complaint identified in the packet.  Passed by unanimous vote.

    Following the joint session, the Gardner City Council held its regular meeting which lasted for one hour until the cameras went dark for an Executive Session to discuss various matters including 4 lawsuits against the Chair City.

    Watch City Council meetings on City YouTube page or on our City Council page. CLICK HERE.

    During the regular City Council meeting, an extra $10,000 was approved for trash receptacles to be installed in Downtown, $75,000 was approved from free cash for landfill expenses, and $1.8 million was unanimously approved to borrow for completion of paving of certain streets. A large slate of appointments was also approved.

    Dispute over language in Mayor Nicholson’s request drew some comments from City Councilors

    Councilor Boone questioned whether blaming the Russian invasion of Ukraine for the increase was factual. Councilor Boone stated he thought it was wrong to make this political as it is obvious oil prices had gone up well before the Russian invasion. “Why are we bringing this political Russian invasion into our discussion.  It happened way before.  Everybody knows it.  They just don’t want to say it.”

    Mayor Nicholson responded that asphalt has recently increased in price from $70 per town to $94 per ton.   He said the cost would have been $104 per ton, but the contract signed 2 years ago had offered some price protection due to an escalation clause. 

    Councilor Boudreau stated “Political or not, left, right, or center, I don’t like spending money either, but it’s a dead fact that things are more expensive than they were 2 years ago.  Whether that’s because of a politician or a policy is really unknown.   Some of it is the war, and some of it is Covid, but at the end of the day, we are in the middle of a job and we budgeted a certain amount, and outside factors changed that.  I know I am not a war strategist or a Covid doctor, but I know that we do have to deal with a ongoing and open project where the cards fall. And that’s what we’re doing here tonight.”

    Councilor Dernalewicz “I just like to make it clear to Councilor Boone the point was to mention the existing factors that are in the world that led to the increase, not to make any political statement. I’m not sure where you’re getting that, but the point was to say that this is what led to the increase in costs and I’m not making any comment on it any further.

    So Who Is Right?

    Answer: All. The average closing price of oil per barrel was just under $40 in 2020, up to $68 in 2021, and about $96 in 2022. As we all know from seeing the price of gas and home heating oil climb in the last year, the War in Ukraine simply made already high prices even worse. Oil is used in the production of asphalt and therefore any increase in the price of oil will increase the cost of paving. The Mayor was explaining that due to smart contracting on the part of the City of Gardner, the City is protected somewhat from higher prices of asphalt (about $10 less per ton) until the beginning of the next fiscal year. Therefore, any projects completed before July 1st stand to save Gardner money.

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  • Monty Tech School Committee (4/19/2022)
    Boone’s appointment in 2020

    We wrote an earlier article on this subject with more information on the timeline, and facts supporting that James Boone has been showing up at Monty Tech School Committee meetings.

    The article contains the complete agendas for both meetings scheduled on 4-19-22 and the packets the Councilors receive.

    Earlier article, CLICK HERE

    Gardner MA City Councilor Boone asks for apology from Mayor Nicholson

    At a February meeting of the Gardner City Council, James Boone was almost replaced as a Representative to the Monty Tech School Committee despite having been confirmed to an additional 4 year term in 2020.    Up for two positions that night were two relatives of the Mayor, one was given the term which was actually open.   To be fair, Councilor Boone admits he never got sworn in to the new term in 2020, that’s why he was sworn in on March 1, 2022.   However, Gardner holds 2 seats on the Monty Tech School Committee and the terms have always been staggered, so Boone feels they should have known and he still feels hurt, saying he doesn’t think the Mayor should resign over it, but, “an apology would be nice.”   The Gardner School Committee and City Council will meet tonight to discuss various allegations regarding the matter and the Gardner City Council will have a regular meeting as well. We gave Mayor Nicholson an opportunity to be interviewed on this and other issues, but have not heard back.

  • Council Agenda (4/18/2022)
    Gardner City Council Tuesday 4-19-22

    Gardner City Council to confront Rising Costs at Meeting of April 19, 2022

    Faced with the rising costs of trash containers for Downtown Gardner and  a shortage of almost 2 million dollars for the upcoming water infrastructure project, the Gardner City Council will need to take action at this meeting for the projects to go forward as planned.   Meeting Agenda, click here.

    Meeting Agenda of Joint Session of School Committee and City Council, CLICK HERE.

  • Mayor’s Update 4-15-22 (4/15/2022)
    Nicholson update 4-15-22

    Gardner PD 2022 Issue Timeline:

    2/1/22: Chief Braks and Deputy Chief Trifiro placed on Admin. leave following no confidence vote of 40/41 officers. Public not informed. 2/18/22: Published Reports that Vincent Alfano is Acting Police Chief. 2/25/22: In weekly update, Mayor discloses investigation by retired State Police Detective Paul L’Italien. 35 of what would end up totaling approx. 50 interviews already conducted. 3/2/22: At Finance Committee meeting, Mayor states vacancy of Police Dispatch Director will be filled when “everything’s ironed out with Chief and Deputy Chief.” Alfonzo Acting Chief through 3/11/22. Target date for report, ,”Potentially two weeks.” 3/12/22: 2 Lieutenants fill in to share Chief’s duties. Police issue not addressed in weekly updates of 3/4, 3/11, 3/18 announces Police Dog, not addressed 3/25, 4/1, 4/8, and 4/15. Where’s the report?

    Gardner MA Mayor Nicholson Updates City, Police Report not addressed

    Doing his update from the practice fields, Mayor Nicholson reported on the various meetings he had in Washington D.C. seeking monies on behalf of the City of Gardner to “make sure we that we can get as much of that Federal grant funding into Gardner so that we can really boost some of the programs we’ve had on the backburner for several decades now, to see if we can move Gardner forward and increase what we have to offer in that way.”  

    The Mayor offered various congratulations, reminded regarding road work and that water main tie-ins would be done before paving work, spoke of the Keep Gardner Beautiful Nip Hunt on May 7th, and mentioned Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce Award Winners.

    Wondering when the Police Investigation Report will be released? Contact the Mayor’s office.

    To reach the Mayor’s office at Gardner City Hall, Call (978) 630-1490 or via fax at Fax: (978) 630-3778 or via email at mayor@gardner-ma.gov

    Watch the Mayor’s Weekly update on the City of Gardner YouTube page or on our Mayor’s Update page, CLICK HERE.

  • Upcoming Meeting (4/14/2022)
    CLICK IMAGE for larger view

    Gardner MA City Council Facing Costs at Tuesday 4-19-22 Meeting

    Due to unanticipated increases in costs, the City of Gardner repaving project needs an additional $1.8 million dollars and the Gardner City Council will tackle this at the upcoming session.  Complete Agenda, CLICK HERE.

    A Real **** Show! and Head Shaker

    Monty Tech sent letter to Gardner’s Mayor, but can’t seem to spell his name correctly, referring to Mayor Nicholson as “Mickelson”

    letter to Gardner from Monty Tech
    letter from Monty Tech confirming James Boone’s term began in 2020 and thus expires in 2024

    Joint Convention of February 18, 2020 clearly shows Boone got 4 year appointment to 2024.

    Joint Convention Feb 2020
    Gardner City Council Joint Convention of 2-18-2020 showing Boone’s appointment was until 2024

    Boone sent email questioning whether he wanted to continue as Rep to Monty Tech.

    Boone to city clerk
    Boone Email to City Clerk questioning whether he wants to keep the appointment

    Boone advised City Council he already had the post through 2024.

    Boone affirming desire to serve
    Boone communicates prior to meeting that he wants to keep the appointment he already has and thus does not need to send letter expressing interest to be re-appointed..

    Monty Tech claims they didn’t have a record of the February 2020 reappointment. However, records show he was admitted to the March 4, 2020 meeting and would certainly have been remembered as he was the only member to vote Nay on the budget. SEE BELOW.

    Joint Convention to Address Allegations of Wrongdoing

    Also on 4-19-22 will be a Joint Convention of the Gardner City Council and the Gardner School Committee.   One item to be addressed are allegations by Scott Graves of Open Meeting Law violations which the City of Gardner states are untrue.   Graves allegations and the City’s proposed response(s) are contained in the Complete Agenda.  CLICK HERE. 

    Another item is the confusion over James Boone’s position on the Monty Tech School Committee which has been confirmed to expire in 2024.    Graves alleges wrongdoing occurred with respect to an attempt to fill Boone’s vacant seat which apparently was not vacant after all.  It appears communication from Mayor Nicholson indicating the term had expired in January 2022 was in error. Graves alleges the Mayor was illegally trying to replace Boone with the Mayor’s cousin and makes other allegations which are in the meeting agenda documents.

    Monty Tech states they did not have an official record of the 2020 appointment. But, the official minutes of a March 4, 2020 Monty Tech meeting clearly show James Boone in attendance after the reappointment took effect. See below. People would clearly remember him as he was the only member voting NO on the budget at that time. Later communications show Monty Tech informed Gardner that information on Gardner’s own website showed Boone’s appointment was through 2024. It’s possible the Mayor may have relied on incorrect information he thought was accurate, but Boone actually voted at a Monty Tech meeting on February 2, 2022. But, Boone himself may have added to the confusion by sending an an email to the City Clerk on February 7, 2022 casting doubt on whether he wanted the position or was up for it again, only to send a contradictory note to the City Council two weeks later confirming his appointment was through 2024.

    Following a letter from Monty Tech, James Boone was sworn in again on March 1, 2022.  Certificate of appointment Presumably someone at the upcoming meeting will explain all this further.  Complete Agenda, CLICK HERE

    NO WONDER EVERYONE WAS CONFUSED!

    The Complete Agenda linked to above shows the complete communications involved in these matters and details from the State of MA on the actual OPEN MEETING LAW.

    Monty Tech minutes
    Screenshot from 3-4-2020 official Monty-Tech meeting minutes showing they knew James Boone was there. Monty Tech School Committee Agendas and Minutes are available online. CLICK HERE
    Monty Tech February 2, 2022 screenshot
    We didn’t check every meeting, but minutes from February 2, 2022 meeting show James Boone in attendance. He had continued as an active member of the Monty Tech School Committee and it was obvious his appointment had not expired in January.

    The upcoming Tuesday April 19, 2022 meetings will most likely be available the next day for viewing in their entirety and we will post on our City Council page. You can subscribe to the City of Gardner’s YouTube page for FREE if you want to keep abreast of public meetings.

    ….

  • Appointments (4/12/2022)
    Gardner Appointments Committee
    Watch the Meeting on YouTube. CLICK HERE.

    The Appointments Committee consists of George Tyros, Chair, and members Judy Mack and James Walsh.

    Gardner MA Appointments Committee sifts through more than 20 appointments.

    Mayor Michael Nicholson attended via phone. The Mayor has been out of the office, but according to his aide Colin Smith, “he’ll be back in the office tomorrow,(4-13-22) bright-eyed and bushy tailed.”

    When the Mayor was asked by Councilor Walsh if there would be any appointments submitted within the next 30 days or so, he responded. “There will be at least 5.  There’ll be a Youth Commission appointment, 2 license commission appointments, and I forget what the other 2 are off the top of my head, but I’ll try to trim them down to once a month so you don’t have the large agenda such as the one you had today.”

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  • Inflation Impact (4/10/2022)
    Rising Prices

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    The Gardner City Council will meet again on Tuesday April 19, 2022. For our City Council page and to view the most recent meetings, CLICK HERE.

    Rising Prices Impact Gardner MA Current and Upcoming Budget

    Where possible, Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson has attempted to take advantage of lower contracted prices on certain items such as road materials.   However, the Chair City is not immune to inflation, and the current budget is impacted by rising prices.   And the budget for the next fiscal year which the Mayor reportedly will submit to the City Council next month has the same challenges.  In an interview Saturday 4-9-22 on WGAW AM 1340 and 98.1 FM, City Council President Elizabeth Kazinskas specified a few specific areas of immediate concern which will be discussed at the next meeting on Tuesday, April 19, 2022: 

    Fat Budget

    Kazinskas stated, ““The City Council voted at our February 22nd meeting to install new trash receptacles downtown….The mayor has an order on the agenda to revisit that,….appropriate 10 thousand dollars…due to the increase in prices….The Department of Corrections has increased the price of the trash receptacles.”   “Another item…water infrastructure throughout the city, replacing old pipes and valves…due to rising price of asphalt…original loan is no longer sufficient to cover costs. So there is a request for an additional $1.8 million to be borrowed from the water enterprise account in order to complete the project…still within the city’s debt limit…another effect of what’s going on throughout the world on our cities..”

    Kazinskas praised the current Mayor, the previous mayor, and the Economic Development Department for their abilities to obtain various grants to help cover city costs. “They helped get money, whether it’s state or federal.” Kazinskas stated that it was important to note that the City Council can’t add to the City budget, it can only cut from the budget. “Any amendments that we make would be a cut to the budget, not an addition to the budget… By the time we vote on the budget, we’ve had the budget in front of us for over a month.”  On a lighter note, the Council President stated she was happy to be celebrating the 98th birthday next Saturday of her grandmother who is “100 percent Polish.”

    To hear the Hotline Radio program from Saturday  4-9-22, please visit the WGAW Hotline Radio page: CLICK HERE   The program featuring local interviews airs every Saturday from 12:10pm to 2:00pm on WGAW AM 1340, 98.1 FM, and on a live stream.

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  • Smith 4-8-22 (4/8/2022)

    Watch the Gardner MA Mayor’s update on the City of Gardner’s YouTube page or visit our Mayor’s update page, CLICK HERE.

    *On the film “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”, click here.

    While Mr. Nicholson goes to Washington, *Mr. Smith Fills in for Gardner MA Weekly Update

    The Mayor’s aide, Colin Smith stepped in with Mayor Nicholson in Washington, D.C. – Smith announced that the Gardner Municipal Golf Course is open for the season. He reminded citizens about the Small Business Assistance Program, the July 9th Food Truck Festival, the Keep Gardner Beautiful Nip Hunt on May 7th, and the Monument Park Concert Series.

  • City Council 4-4-22 (4/5/2022)
    City Clerk opens meeting
    City Clerk opens meeting
    Pro Tem elected
    City Council elects a President Pro Tem for the meeting
    Ronald Cormier takes the gavel
    Ronald Cormer takes the gavel

    Watch this meeting on the City of Gardner YouTube page or our City Council page. CLICK HERE

    What the Gardner City Clerk’s office does:

    Issues Birth, Death, and Marriage Certificates. Issues Marriage Licenses. Issues Business Certificates. Issues Dog Licenses. Issues Raffle and Bazaar Permits. Elections Administration and Supervision. Administers the Annual Street Listing. Administers the Voter Registration Process. Provides administrative support to the City Council and its 4 Standing Committees. Certifies Municipal documents as Keeper of the Seal.

    Titi Siriphan proved once again at this meeting just how valuable she is to the Chair City.

    Gardner MA City Council met on Monday April 4, 2022

    The meeting started off in an unusual fashion. The YouTube recording shows a placeholder for the first minute or so. City Clerk Titi Siriphan opened the meeting and then the City Council elected Ronald Cormier as President Pro Tem to act as Chair for the meeting due to the absence of President Kazinskas.

    18 appointments from the Mayor were combined in one motion and unanimously referred to the appointments committee.

    In new business, 3 councilors had comments:

    Councilor Craig Cormier “I would just like to thank Councilor Ronald Cormier and the Mayor who have been helping Holy Family Academy continue their tradition of Student Government, it goes way back, I sat in my father’s chair in 8th grade many years ago.   Assembly April 13th in Perry Auditorium at 9:30.”

    Councilor Boudreau. “Public welfare committee will be attending a pledge presentation and tour of Monty Tech tomorrow at 5 (4-5-22 5pm)”

    Councilor Walsh, “Just as a follow up to appointments committee matters.  We will be scheduling a meeting I expect for next Monday where most, if not all of the appointments will be considered. We hope to have a report on most, if not all of them for our next meeting.”

    The meeting closed with a prayer and adjourned.

  • Last March Mayor’s Update 2022 (3/25/2022)
    Mayor Nicholson update 3-25-22
    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson 3-25-22 update

    Watch the Gardner MA Mayor’s Update on the City’s Youtube channel or on our Mayor’s Update page. CLICK HERE.

    Progress in Business Property
    Progress in Business Property
    bird scooters gardner ma
    Bird Scooters Visit website

    Paving, Property, and Pedaling Posited in Gardner MA Mayor Nicholson’s Update

    Paving Gardner MA

    Paving: Downtown areas will start to be paved during third week of May. State of MA will start paving near William’s Restaurant on May 1st. Also, State DOT investing over 9 million dollars from June 2022 to June 2023 in paving project going from Pearson Boulevard, Gardner through last Leominster exit. This will necessitate detours through City of Gardner as work progresses.

    Property: The Mayor stated Ryan Corcoran is under agreement to purchase Gauthier building that housed the old Cruiser’s Malt Shoppe ( now Gardner Thrift Shop) all the way down to Hometown Barbers. Tony Molina has fully purchased the old Wheelen Supply Buildings and the Old Gardner News Building. The Mayor stated these purchasers and Castor Realty who bought the Garbose Building and Flat Iron Building are looking for citizen ideas.

    Pedaling: City is planning to partner with a company known as Bird Scooters, they also do bicycles as well, to become one of the three Massachusetts pilot programs to have these automated scooters in the City.  They are like the old Razor scooters some of us may have had as kids, however they have a motor on them and can go up to 15 miles per hour. Gardner will be need to develop a city specific ordinance for those vehicles in order for the plan to officially move forward.

  • Home Improvement (3/24/2022)
    Home Improvement a to z gardner ma

    Know whether you need to carry Workmen’s Compensation Insurance. Fill out the Workers Comp Affadavit. CLICK HERE

    Considering Home Improvements in Gardner MA for 2022?

    There are a couple ways you can go. You can hire a General Contractor who will take care of everything including permits and Workmen’s Comp. Or you can apply for a building permit as a homeowner and assume the responsibilities and liabilities.

    The City of Gardner is now using online permit and license tracking via Viewpoint Cloud for all building, electrical, plumbing, gas, and vacant/abandoned property permits. CLICK HERE. For Viewpoint cloud, click here. Other Links: Zoning RegulationsZoning MapMA State Building CodeBuilding Department page

    The majority of citizens signing the Homeowner’s Exemption Form are not aware of the responsibilities that go along with assuming the construction responsibilities.   You are now personally responsible for all work on this project.  You are responsible to see that all work meets the Massachusetts Building Codes. You must supervise all work.   You must call the Building Department to schedule all required inspections.  You have waived all rights to the Massachusetts Guaranty Fund.  You are the General Contractor of the project and a court of law will view you as such if you are sued, or if you should have the need to sue another party.   Your subcontractors may lien your property.   Any worker injured on your  project may sue you if you do not carry Workmen’s Compensation Insurance. – Failure to carry Workmen’s Compensation insurance may result in criminal penalties, i.e. fines and/or imprisonment.

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  • Awaiting Report (3/23/2022)

    The Report on the Gardner MA Police Department is expected at any time. Details as soon as they are available.

    Gardner MA Police Report Soon To Be Released

    The Gardner MA Community is eagerly awaiting the report on the Gardner Police Department Investigation and Review which could be released at almost any time.     Police Chief Richard Braks and Deputy Chief James Trifiro have been out on paid Administative leave for about two months.     Gardner utilized Acting Chief Vincent Alfano until March 11th when two Gardner Police Lieutenants were then tasked to temporarily run the Department.  

    Retired State Police Detective Paul L’Italien conducted an external review, including interviewing all members of the Gardner Police Department.   According to previous statements by Mayor Michael Nicholson, these interviews were completed weeks ago.   Procedure would be for a report to be reviewed by the City Solicitor prior to being released to the public.   It is unknown whether the released report will contain any redactions.   However, once it is public record it will answer many of the public’s questions including Who’s the Chief?

    Braks and Trifiro were placed on leave following votes of no confidence by four Gardner Police Unions who voted no confidence 41-1.  Gardner Dispatch Director Jennifer Law who was also the subject of the no-confidence vote left her job voluntarily following the vote.   At this time, no information has been released indicating the reason for the overwhelming vote of no confidence.

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  • City Council 03-21-22 (3/22/2022)
    Gardner MA City Council meetking 3-21-22

    Meeting on 3-21-22 was routine with various items unanimously approved for second printing. Watch the meeting on YouTube or on our City Council meeting page. CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA Council President Kazinskas Rescues Meeting Timing with cellular phone

    Council President with phone
    Council President Kazinskas keeping time with phone.

    There was a prolonged delay at the beginning of the Gardner MA City Council video. The Council President advised that the clock in the City Council Chambers needed its battery replaced. Phone used as timekeeper.

    And Compliments Were Made

    Under new business, Councilors made compliments: Dana Heath complimented the Mayor on the sale of various buildings downtown. “that’s huge.” James Boone echoed Dana Health’s comments “about us being able to hopefully improve downtown by getting some responsible owners….that’s just absolutely wonderful, congratulations on that.” Previous story, CLICK HERE.

    Nathan Boudreau,,”incredibly impressed with Public Welfare Committee’s tour of the Senior Center a couple of weeks ago….It’s a great place for the Senior community,..there’s a lot going on.”

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  • Spring Has Sprung (3/21/2022)

    Many Gardner Project Listings have this message.

    Pageholder on Gardner MA projects without information.

    The Map of Gardner MA projects is listed here.

    Gardner MA Projects

    With Spring here, Gardner is eagerly awaiting more information on various projects currently showing “Information on Project Coming Soon!” including: Sampled 175 Stormwater Outfalls, Keyes Road Culvert Replacement, 2020-2022 Water Main Replacement and Paving Project, Downtown Table and Chairs, Rome Square Development, Seaman Paper/Garlock Commercial Expansion, Chelsea Summer Bridge, Wayside Pond Dam Design, and others…. It’s going to be a busy Spring in Gardner MA!

    Other Projects in the works include:

    New Community Health Center

    New Community Health Center

    For more details, CLICK HERE

    Park Street Park and Parking Lot

    Park St. Park and Parking Lot

    For more details, CLICK HERE

    Timpany Crossroads

    The Timpany Crossroads Construction project has already produced the new 99 Restaurant and the new Starbucks, with more storefronts coming soon. For more details, CLICK HERE.

  • Mayor’s Update 3-18-22 (3/18/2022)
    Watch Gardner MA Mayor’s Update on YouTube or visit our update page. CLICK HERE

    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson update on 4 Furry Legs

    While not bringing up the pending Gardner PD investigation, the Mayor reported that the Gardner Police Department welcomed a new member, police dog “Rocky”, who will be assisting in patrol efforts, drug assignments, and tracking missing people. 

    Office Willis and Rocky will be attending an 18 week canine training course.   Cost of Rocky and associated expenses are being covered by the Stanton Foundation.

    Downtown paving will begin during the third week of May.  Unitil will also be digging up Central Street to repair and replace gas lines.  The Mayor assures residents that the utility will be paying to repave the area from curb to curb as this is City policy when work was recently done. 

    Other paving projects are in the works before the end of the fiscal year.  Mayor wants to get as much done as possible to take advantage of the lower rates contracted before recent oil price increases.

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  • Triple Play (3/15/2022)
    Downtown Gardner MA Triple Play
    Garbose Bldg. – Flat Iron – Blue Moon Diner
    Downtown Gardner MA is a great place to stop
    Downtown Gardner MA is a great place to STOP.

    Triple Play Win for Downtown Gardner MA

    Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson has announced that Candor Realty has purchased 2 properties in Downtown Gardner MA and is under agreement for a third, a Triple Play Win for Downtown Gardner.

    The Garbose Building and The Flat Iron Building have been purchased with intentions to renovate and the Blue Moon Diner building is under agreement. The business itself has not been sold and plans to stay open as the Blue Moon Diner after the sale of the building.   Mayor Nicholson has a stated mission of improving Downtown Gardner and has had a number of noteworthy successes since assuming the office.

  • Mayor- Chair (3/12/2022)
    Mayor Nicholson brought the “Magic Mike” to Landry Auditorium at Gardner High School for his 3-11-22 Weekly Update. He is showing one of the chairs now made at Gardner High School.

    Watch the Mayor’s Updates on YouTube or on our Mayor’s Update page. CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson Shares the Chair, Highlights Gardner Manufacturing, Focuses on Improvements, and Channels Gardner Culture.

    Mayor Nicholson reported on a visit to Vivitide in the Suffolk Industrial Park on the Gardner/Ashburnham line. (previous name: New England Peptide).

    Vivitide – Gardner MA Website: CLICK HERE

    Notable Gardner Industry

    The Mayor reports that the company is notably currently working on  targeted chemotherapy for cancer treatments.    Gardner might do a manufacturing month during the month of May to highlight Gardner manufacturers.

    Construction/Improvements

    Mayor Nicholson reminded the Chair City that soon construction will be underway again in Gardner. Map of Gardner projects, CLICK HERE.

    There’s various roadway improvements, development starting at Parker and Connors Street, the rear Main Street corridor, and other existing buildings. There will be contractor bids requested for 14 Leamy Street, and a City-owned land sale on April 13th. Should be a busy Spring in Gardner MA.

    Gardner Massachusetts Live, Work, Visit, and Play

    Ordinances of Note

    Mayor Nicholson reviewed the various ordinances passed by the Gardner City Council at its last meeting including an increase in fees for the Fire and Building Departments, updates to Animal Control, options for Blighted Buildings, Restaurant Outdoor seating, and getting rid of an archaic arcades code.

    He reminded citizens that ordinances are only FINAL after the second printing, which is simply the term for a second vote. The Mayor thanked Acting Chief Alfano, says the investigation is wrapping up, “should have public resolution to everything that’s happening at the Police Department by the end of next week.”

    Channeling Gardner MA Culture

    Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson channeled Gardner culture, remarking that the first musical will be held at Gardner High School in 3 years. He mentioned the Community and Culture Festival coming up on March 16th and other events. To view the complete Gardner High School Calendar with details of upcoming events, CLICK HERE.

    You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

    The Gardner High School Spring Musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” will be held Thurs. March 17, Fri. March 18, and Saturday March 19, all shows start at 7pm at Landry Auditorium. Tickets at the door: Adults $10, Students and Seniors $8. Advanced tickets: Adults $8, Students and Seniors $5.

  • City Council Meeting 3-7-22 (3/8/2022)
    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson makes his case to Gardner City Council for increase in fees for Fire and Building Departments at informal session 3-7-22
    Gardner City Council 3-7-22

    To watch the two City Council meetings of 3-7-22, watch on YouTube or please visit our City Council meetings page, CLICK HERE.

    Complete Meeting Packet, CLICK HERE

    Gardner MA Fire and Building Department Fee Hikes Approved Unanimously

    Mayor Michael Nicholson stated, “I do not believe that this is going to have a substantial impact on the marketability of the City.” The mayor made a lengthy presentation in an effort to demonstrate that fees used to cover 90% of expenses in 2009, but by 2018 only covered about 60% of expenses, and stated that the State Division of Local Standards recommends 90% as the standard.

    Not only did the Mayor recommend the fee increases to make up for lost time during the past 15 years where fees have not been reviewed, but also he emphasized he believed sound fiscal policy suggests ongoing reviews every 5 years are in order. Nicholson stated, “Not making a commitment to make increases every 5 years, but just constantly review to make sure we are being as fiscally responsible as we need to be based on the best practices.”

    The Mayor acknowledged citizen concerns about the fee increases stating, “My office did receive some questions about these proposals that I thought it was worth sharing…from our constituents about the impact that this may have on any potential economic growth, or growth that the City may see, are we doing our part to make sure that we’re still marketing the City in a good way even if we are increasing our fees.  And that’s something I think that’s keeping in line with what the area is, but you’re still going to get a lot more in Gardner than you’re going to get in a  place like Worcester, or Fitchburg, or Leominster, for that matter….”

    Other Items Approved

    Outdoor Restaurant Seating and Services had strong support from City officials and restaurants who submitted the above signatures in support. CLICK IMAGE for larger view.

    Approved: Order appropriating $121,905.00 from Free Cash to the School Department Athletic Field Improvement Account and balance of funding to come from School Choice Reserve Fund as total project cost will exceed $600k. Approved first printing: An ordinance to amend the Code of the City of Gardner, Section 44 of Chapter 171, entitled, “Compensation in Lieu of Paid Holidays”  Approved: Amends various and adds a new chapter 500 to be entitled, “Blighted, Nuisance, Vacant, and Abandoned Properties”. Approved first printing: Amend Code of City of Gardner by adding new chapter 501 entitled, “Outdoor Restaurant Seating and Services” Approved first printing: Amend Chapter 312 entitled “Animals.”  Approved first printing: Ordinance deleting Chapter 318, entitled “Arcades”

  • Council Tonight 3-7 (3/7/2022)
    Gardner City Council at last meeting in February, 2022

    Read the packet for the informal 6:30pm meeting provided on the City of Gardner website. CLICK HERE.

    Read the packet for the formal 7:30pm meeting provided on the City of Gardner website. CLICK HERE.

    City Council Debates Wiseness of Raising Fire and Building Department Fees

    The Gardner MA City Council meets Monday, March 7, 2022 and once again will take up the issue of whether to raise Building Department and Fire Department Fees as requested by Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson. We wrote a previous lengthy article on this. CLICK HERE. Fees are lower than what is charged in area communities with many unchanged for more than a decade. While the packet shows other fee examples, it does not address the issue of whether higher fees in other communities have slowed growth in those towns to the benefit of Gardner with the lower fees.

  • Magic Mike (3/5/2022)

    “Magic Mike” Mayor Nicholson of Gardner MA Honored in special Gardner Magazine section.

    He was reelected with 80% of the vote. Nevertheless, Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson is criticized just like every leader, but today we bestow a special accolade, that of “Magic Mike” Nicholson for his work as a Communicator to the Chair City during recent challenges and a thank you for his efforts in helping to keep us all together during the pandemic. For the special section, CLICK HERE

    12 Mikes
  • Quick Update (3/4/2022)
    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson with 3-4-22 update
    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson 3-4-22 update

    Watch the Mayor’s update on YouTube or on our Mayor’s Update page. CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson provides unusually short weekly update

    In the face of huge citizen interest as to who will be Gardner Police Chief on March 12, 2022 and with the Gardner City Council taking up Fire and Building fee increases at next Monday’s meeting, the Mayor addressed neither of these issues in an under 6 minute update.

    Mayor Nicholson did note that Dog licenses and Excise taxes were due, all mask mandates have been lifted, and that a Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Service will take place on March 29th on the front lawn of Gardner City Hall.

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  • Police Update (3/3/2022)
    Gardner MA Finance Committee
    Gardner Finance Committee 3-2-22 – That is Council President Kazinskas in front of Judy Mack’s placard.

    Watch the entire meeting on YouTube. CLICK HERE

    Gardner Magazine had to use extraordinary amplification to hear the audio. The Council President even has the microphone turned away from her.

    Acting Gardner MA Police Chief Alfano is done on March 11th – Report may be out in 2 weeks.

    When asked about the vacant Police Dispatch Director position, Mayor Michael Nicholson responded, “we are waiting to hire for that position and search for that position until everything’s ironed out with the Chief and Deputy Chief because they are the appointing authority for the position.” Who will be Gardner Chief of PD on March 12th was not announced.

    Councilor Kazinskas asked if there was someone in the Acting Chief position. The Mayor responded that Chief Alfonzo was still the “Acting Chief while the investigation continues.” Councilor Dernalowicz then said he thought the Acting Chief was a 30 day appointment. Mayor Nicholson responded, “It was a 30 day appointment that expires tomorrow. He will continue on through March 11th.” Dernalowicz then asked, “Do we have a target date for the report?” Nicholson responded. “Potentially two weeks. The interviews are concluding tomorrow, and it’s just compiling the report based on the interviews.” The Mayor did not say who will be the Police Chief on March 12th.

    The Finance Committee heard from Athletic Director Dan Forte and voted to recommend the $120K athletic fields proposal to the full council.

    Athletic Fields

    The first item regarded the proposed appropriation of just over $120,000 to bring the Gardner Athletic Fields up to par in concordance with current uses. Athletic Director Dan Forte spent several minutes going over details regarding the large number of individuals using the fields for the various sports including football, soccer, baseball, and field hockey. Plus 300 kids spend summer camp on the fields. Youth football programs use all corners of the field. Forte said, “It really does become a destination for kids 5 years old til the day they graduate. Councilor Dernalowicz praised Forte’s statement.

  • Gardner 100th (3/2/2022)
    Gardner 100th as a City

    Page Added for Gardner MA 100 Years A City Birthday Bash

    Incorporated as a town in 1785, Gardner will celebrate 100 Years A City on January 1, 2023. We have added a page to share news throughout the year about upcoming celebrations. CLICK HERE.

  • Gardner E-Commerce (2/28/2022)

    E-Commerce with Gardner MA

    There are many ways for individuals and businesses to interact with the City of Gardner MA online. We have a complete article with lots of links. CLICK HERE.

  • City Council and Fees (2/28/2022)
    Gardner City Council at last meeting in February, 2022

    Read the packet provided on the City of Gardner website. CLICK HERE.

    Mayor Nicholson’s letter to Gardner City Council regarding Fire Dept. fees. CLICK IMAGE for larger view.

    Are Higher Fees needed in Gardner MA? Not so Fast…

    The Gardner MA City Council meets informally March 7, 2022 and once again will take up the issue of whether to raise Building Department and Fire Department Fees as requested by Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson.

    How Much Money is Coming in Now?

    Note that while the fees Gardner has been charging may be less than other communities, they are certainly not less than planned for in the budget. For example, Fire Department fees for fiscal year 2021 were planned to be about $5500, but more than double that , $12,975.00 was actually collected. Calendar year 2021 construction was valued at $12.5 million and the Building Department collected almost $377,000 in fees on this, or a little over 3 percent. Does Gardner really need a larger slice of the pie? The Gardner City Council will decide.

    The Mayor’s Position on Fire Dept. Fees

    Mayor Michael Nicholson took the position in a January 19. 2022 letter to the Gardner City Council entitled RE: Ordinance Proposal – Fire Department Fees “increase the fees for permits to reduce the amount that the taxpayers – who are not benefiting from the work being done – subsidize the work individuals and companies undertake by their own choosing.”   However, it is noted that contrary to the Mayor’s position in the Fire Dept. letter,  the mayor himself has spoken in favor of the benefits of the growth in the Chair City, some of which has made more Fire Department inspections necessary.

    City Auditor Email

    It is noted that according to a provided communication by the City Auditor John Richard,  the 2021 Revised Fire Department Budget had a line item planning for 5,539.00 in fees, but actual fees were $12,975.00, more than double what was anticipated. And that was for fiscal year 2021.

    Email from City Auditor John Richard

    It is also noted that the Mayor states “the functions of the inspections required by these permits took up approximately 50% of the time put in by our two fire departments inspectors, which equates to a time value of approximately $101,811.14.”  If that statement is accurate, it means each Fire Department inspector in total costs the City over $100,000 per year each.  Is that figure accurate?

    Mayor Nicholson’s letter to Gardner City Council regarding Building Dept. fees. CLICK IMAGE for larger view.

    The Mayor’s Position on Building Department Fees

    In another letter of the same January 19, 2022 date entitled, “RE: Ordinance Proposal – Building Department Fees.” Mayor Nicholson stated, “With the large increase in permit applications and the larger request for inspections, we are looking to increase the fees for permits to reduce the amount that the taxpayers – who are not benefiting from the work being done – subsidize the work individuals are doing on their homes. “ Once again, it is noted that contrary to the Mayor’s position,  the mayor himself has spoken in favor of the growth in the City and its benefits to citizens, and citizens who were not part of the over 1000 building permits in the last year will benefit from the lower tax rate, and the fact that their neighbors who did improve properties will pay a higher share of overall property taxes.

    Building Fees Gardner MA calendar year 2021
    from Roland Jean, Building Commissioner

    According to Roland Jean, C.B.O. Building Commissioner/Zoning Enforcement Officer, for the calendar year 2021, there was $12.5 million in construction value, of which $2.4 million was new residential, over $1.5 million was new commercial, and $8.6 million was additions/renovation.   The Inspectional Department Revenues on this was $366,916.00, or 3 percent of the construction value.   This represents fees higher than a year’s of interest on a mortgage and far exceeds the amount in points banks are charging.   Some citizens argue overall fees are too high, not too low.

    construction value Gardner MA calendar year 2021
    from Roland Jean, Building Commissioner

    Commentary: Time will tell whether the City Council will raise the Fire and Building Departments fees either because they legally can or because they haven’t been raised in years, OR whether they will consider the very real positive  financial benefits Gardner citizens have enjoyed as a result of these long-running subsidies.  It may have been an inadvertent experiment in fiscal policy, but there are those citizens who would argue the lower fees have been an overall HUGE BENEFIT to the city which is in danger of having its positive growth trajectory being severely undermined by a 180 degree policy change.

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  • Mayor’s Update 2-25-22 (2/25/2022)
    Mayor Nicholson update 2-25-22

    Watch the entire Mayor’s Update on YouTube or on our Mayor’s update page. CLICK HERE

    We took the time to transcribe the Mayor’s comments on the Gardner Police Department situation. They are below.

    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson comments on Review/Investigation of Gardner Police Department.

    The Mayor stated that it was announced this week that there are personnel changes at the Gardner Police Department, going on to state that those are personnel matters so we can’t say too much, but stating the Chief and Deputy Chief have been placed on paid administrative leave for non-disciplinary reasons. And then the mayor said quite a lot and we quote exactly what he said below:

    “We want to highlight that it is a non-disciplinary reason.  It’s following votes of no-confidence taken by the 4 police unions.  That’s the Patrol officers, the superior officers, so the sergeants and lieutenants, the dispatchers, and the animal control officers.   So what’s currently being done is we have currently have someone doing a review of the department’s operations, they’ve interviewed the employees of the department. We’ve just completed interview 35 with that individual.  The chief and the deputy chief are also being interviewed as part of this so they are in the process as well.  And it’s just a way to find out what’s going on, what could be changed, and how to make the department better.  In the meantime, retired Police Chief Vincent Alfano, who used to be the Police Chief in Bolton and Ashland is helping lead the department there. And there was a story and a profile about him in the Gardner News this past week as well. So we want to thank you for  your patience.  And particularly,in,  we’re asking people to remember, that these are personnel matters.  That we have to make sure that the review and the  investigation that’s happened  is done as fair and objectively as possible.  So that’s why the specifics of the investigation and what was, the issues that were raised and things like that can not be made public until after the investigation is done, at which case the investigation report will be considered public record and can be obtained at that point.  But we want to make sure that everything between what’s happening now and when that report gets released is as fair, honest, and objective as possible and isn’t swayed by some public opinion by the rumour mill  going by once the story gets out about something and changes and changes.  So that’s why things in terms of the details in terms of  the investigation can’t be released now.  But we want to let you know that we are doing everything we can to make sure that everything gets done in a quick and efficient manner that’s also effective and fair for those involved.  So thank you very much for your patience on that matter as well.”

    Mayor Nicholson gave his usual thanks, praise, and condolences during his weekly update. The Mayor has proposed waiving all student athletic fees in the upcoming School Budget. Previously, the fees estimated to be about $100 per student have been covered by various grants and according to Nicholson no Gardner High student has had to pay fees in the last two years..

  • City Council Fees 2-22-22 (2/23/2022)
    Balance of City Fees

    Watch the February 22, 2022 Gardner MA City Council meeting on YouTube or visit our Gardner MA City Council page. CLICK HERE.

    The subject of fee increases will come up again at a meeting of the whole in March with input for the Gardner MA City Council.

    Will the Gardner MA City Council Increase Fees and shut off the valves of Growth, Progress, and Community Improvement or would it be a much- needed course correction?

    The Gardner MA City Council is not moving hastily on the matter. A meeting of the committee as a whole will gather additional input in March regarding Fire Department, Building Department, and other fee schedules before increasing them. We have a section going in to more detail on the pros and cons of fee increases. CLICK HERE.

    More NewsApproved Items of Interest

    The City Council rescinded its order to spend free cash for a new police department vehicle as the funds can come instead from the American Rescue Plan funds. Downtown Gardner trash containers will be replaced at a cost of $15,000. Money for the athletic fields at the high school was not immediately approved as councilors wanted more information on the project. The Witches Wardrobe was granted a second-hand goods license and now also has the first fortune teller license in the Chair City. The Ordinance increasing fines dramatically for not clearing snow in Downtown was sent to a second printing, making it a done deal.

    Much Disagreement over S. Graves Lawsuit

    Councilor James Boone explained that the scope of the S. Graves lawsuit against the City of Gardner concerns desired information about heating unit coils allegedly damaged by questionable city water. Boone asked why zero information is being released and why doesn’t anybody question why there are no answers. Boone motioned to ask the City Solicitor why it’s a conflict of interest to represent the City – it was defeated 4-6. The overall motion to transfer $5000 to the S Graves lawsuit account passed 6-4. Issues with Gardner water causing premature failure of heating coils continues to this day as evidenced by disgruntled residents who comment in news on Social Media.

    Other Matters Before the Gardner City Council

    Eric Commodore sworn in
    School Committee & City Council

    During a brief joint convention of the City Council and School Committee, Eric Commodore was appointed to a 4 year term on the Monty Tech School Committee.

    It was disputed whether the other appointment on the meeting agenda, that of an unexpired 2 term was actually a valid vacancy. The recording of the meeting was corrupted at this point so we don’t have details on how that vote turned out. Play the video, CLICK HERE

    More News on the Fees

    Business growth columns

    Growth Formula or Fees Too Low?

    Some would argue that when things are going your way, you don’t mess with the formula.  For years, the City of Gardner’s winning recipe kept various Fire Department and Building Department fees below the actual cost of the work involved, sometimes far below. Packet from last meeting with examples of other towns

     In fact, when the matter was brought before the City Council, examples of fees charged by other area communities demonstrably proved that Gardner was charging far lower fees than it could.   Documents proved that the fees simply were not covering the cost of the work.  Gardner was subsidizing almost every building built and every home improvement made.  The Chair City had its highest year ever of building permits recently with over one thousand in the recent year.

    Will business enthusiasm change

    Unprecedented growth with the Subsidy

    Whether it was a major contributing cause or not, the fact is the City of Gardner did have unprecedented growth during the period of this fee subsidy.  The Chair City had highest total number of building permits of any year, ever.  

    …Many announcements of businesses choosing Gardner.   …Government leaders choosing Gardner in approving grants.   …The City of Gardner had begun a snowball of success with the valves of Growth, Progress, and Community Improvement seemingly wide open with a very good future ahead of the Chair City.  

    House and Money

    Argument for Increasing fees

    The argument for increasing fees was this:  The business desiring the service should pay for it, not the citizens of the city. And the cost of services provided by the Fire and Building Departments was not being covered by the fees charged.

    Department budgets had to be increased to cover the costs.  And similarly, the homeowner desiring the renovation should pay fully for the cost involved in inspections etc., which could be garnered through increased fees.   Lastly, Gardner was so far below what other area communities are currently charging that  the City’s success shouldn’t be affected negatively if it simply brought fees up to par.

    Will homeowners improve less?

    Argument for Leaving Fees alone and continuing subsidy

    The argument against increasing fees included this: The cost of subsidizing fees impacting business was far outweighed by the huge benefit to the City of Gardner MA from getting more business in a community which had been losing it before.  

    And the argument against increasing fees for homeowners is that when a property is improved, its assessment goes up.  Those who choose not to improve or who can’t afford to improve get the benefit when their taxes are lowered, such as when the tax rate dropped substantially this year.  Arguably, citizens who didn’t improve had a net financial benefit by the City incentifying others to improve with the lower fees.  Arguably, the lower fees charged business was more attractive policy than some believed.

    The Future will be the Judge

    Time will tell whether higher fees impact negatively the amount of business or industry attracted to Gardner.   History will be the judge of whether increasing fees to homeowners negatively affects the number of those who choose to improve.  The future will be the judge of whether subsidizing fees for the Building and Fire Departments was pure genius that demonstrably helped Gardner, or whether the City was just flushing money down the drain.

  • Mayor’s Update 2-18-22 (2/18/2022)

    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson releases weekly update

    View on YouTube or on our Mayor’s Update page. CLICK HERE. Mayor Nicholson did not address the Police Department situation in this week’s update.

    Community Development Block Grant

    The Mayor reports that the City has received a $825,000 Community Development Block grant.  It is Federal money State of MA divides among communities for development projects including infrastructure improvements and social programs.   600 grand is allocated towards infrastructure in Downtown Gardner, 30 thousand towards design of next  year’s investments, and the remaining almost $200,000 is going towards assistance in homelessness programs, domestic violence counseling, substance abuse prevention programs, and other counseling services.

    FREE Covid 19 Test Distribution

    There will be another Covid 19 test distribution day at the PACC  Thursday, February 24, 2022 from 12 noon  until 7pm at the Polish American Citizens Club., 171 Kendall Pond Road West, Gardner.   CLICK FOR DIRECTIONS.   3 kits each containing 2 Rapid tests.  Gardner and Westminster MA residents eligible.

    CLICK IMAGE for larger view

    Mask Mandates

    Gardner Board of Health votes next week regarding mask mandate for public buildings and mask advisory for rest of City.

    As far as masks in Gardner Public Schools, the Mayor made reference to the statewide lifting of the mask mandate on Feb. 28th. Later in the day, Gardner School Superintendent Mark Pellegrino issued a letter lifting the mandate as of 2/28/22. See Full letter. CLICK HERE.

    The Gardner School Committee approved a new program of studies for Gardner High School requiring Gardner Juniors to take a financial literacy course.

    Upcoming Items

    The Gardner City Council is meeting Tuesday next week because of the Presidents Day holiday – Mayor has submitted various proposals. Agenda packet includes items from Inaugural and is a huge 437 pages. CLICK HERE.

    Food Truck Festival is back on Saturday, July 9th with 20 food trucks confirmed to date.

    Gardner High School has an upcoming musical entitled, “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown” March 17,18, & 19, 2022 7pm at Landry Auditorium and Gardner Middle School has upcoming concerts 3/8 and 3/9.

  • Gardner Police (2/18/2022)
    Gardner MA Police Headquarters
    Gardner MA Police Headquarters

    Gardner MA Police Chief Braks and Deputy Police Chief Trifiro out on paid Administrative Leave

    According to published reports, the two men were placed on leave following a group of no-confidence votes by Gardner PD members represented by all four unions in the Department.  Jennifer Law, who served as Gardner Dispatch Director also got a no-confidence vote and voluntarily left her position. Former retired Bolton Chief of Police Vincent Alfano is acting Gardner Police Chief.  An outside investigation is underway.

  • Dog Laws (2/17/2022)

    With Dog Licensing now FREE in Gardner MA for residents over age 70, Gardner Magazine posts all MA Dog Laws.

    For a PDF of Massachusetts General Laws in Effect on February 17, 2022 concerning dogs, CLICK HERE. Good info to know.

    Note: It appears that Service Animals are included in the NO FEE provision under Section 139 (c). Also, if you are over 70 and you pay the dog licensing fee by mistake, the law states you don’t get a refund.

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  • Gardner Zoning Board of Appeals (2/16/2022)
    From left: Randall Heglin, Raymond F. LaFond, and Michael Gerry

    In Gardner MA, the approval process regarding construction and property improvements is designed for a result fair to all concerned parties. Input is possible from the public at Meetings.

    Inside the Gardner MA Zoning Board of Appeals

    During the meeting of February 15, 2022, the Gardner Zoning Board of Appeals is chaired by Raymond F. LaFond.   Michael Gerry is the Clerk.  The other member is Randall Heglin.  Rachael Taylor is the Administrative Coordinator. To watch the meeting on YouTube  CLICK HERE.

    We’re highlighting this meeting because it showcases just how carefully and just how seriously this Board takes their duties to advance progress while at the same time protecting the community.  The main topic in this meeting was a multi-family property located at 163-165 Pine Street in Gardner – CLICK FOR MAP – for which Gardner Holding Company was seeking a special permit.   Essentially, the contractor will be bringing one of Gardner’s blighted buildings back into use, benefitting potential renters and the tax rolls. 

    However, citizens of Gardner should be aware of the careful process.   There are nine requirements for special permits:  In summary, it shall be suitably located in the neighborhood, provide convenient and safe vehicular and pedestrian movement, provide adequate space for parking etc., provide adequate and appropriate facilities and utilities etc., shall not constitute and nuisance etc., shall not be a substantial inconvenience or hazard etc., shall not have a significant detrimental impact on city etc., and be consistent with City’s community development plan or master plan.    For complete official list of  9 requirements, CLICK HERE.

    The Board approved the variance after reviewing each of the required elements and even hearing from the applicant again.  This was also after a site visit which the Board did on its own time on a weekend day. The Board can take 14 days to write its decision.   Once the applicant receives a time-stamped decision, it must wait 20 days to allow for potential appeals from others. Once 20 days has expired, the applicant can move forward.   Often an applicant may work with various other City Departments including the Planning Board, Building Department, and others. For the official page of the Gardner Zoning Board, CLICK HERE

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  • Poem – Presidents (2/13/2022)

    We have a love of everything history including that of the Greater Gardner MA area. For more on Presidents of the United States, please visit our special page for the holiday. CLICK HERE.

    Poem of the Presidents released in Templeton MA

    Gardner Magazine publisher Werner Poegel has released an original 50 Stanza poem entitled “Poem of the Presidents” as a tribute to the service of our nation’s Chief Executives on the occasion of Presidents’ Day 2022. For the complete poetic work, CLICK HERE

  • Mayor 2-11-22 (2/12/2022)

    Watch the Gardner MA Mayor’s Updates on YouTube or via our Mayor’s Update page. CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA Mayor Nicholson Delivers List of Reminders This Week

    Dog Licenses now available. Fees waived for residents who are 70 or turn 70 this calendar year. However, all must register dogs by March 31 to avoid late fees.

    Excise tax bills recently mailed out. Reach out to City Hall if bill not received in next week or so.

    Sign up for Code Red to get notifications regarding parking bans and other announcements.

    Second printing of increased fines for non-compliance with Downtown Gardner snow removal ordinance to occur February 22, 2002 at next City Council meeting. Action deemed needed due to some property owners not clearing snow.

    Next FREE Covid Rapid test distribution day to be Saturday February 26, 2022 from 1 to 7pm. Available to residents of City of Gardner and town of Westminster.

    FREE Salt and sand available at DPW if you bring a bucket.

    Chamber Super Raffle now going on

    Catholic Charities Housing assistance program – Grand Opening on Lake Street February 17, 2022 at 4pm

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  • Dog Licenses (2/9/2022)

    Gardner MA Dog Licenses Now Available

    From the City of Gardner, “2022 Dog Licenses are now available. For more information please call the Clerk’s Office at 978-630-4058 or visit https://www.gardner-ma.gov/702/Dog-License.” Please note: Due to a City Council vote 2 days ago, if you’re over 70, your dog license(s) are FREE.

  • Citizens’ Caucus (2/8/2022)
    Caucus

    Westminster MA Citizens’ Caucus

    From town of Westminster. “The Citizens’ Caucus will be held on Monday, February 28, 2022 at 7 PM at the Westminster Senior/Community Center, 69 West Main Street.  Come join your neighbors and help nominate candidates for Town Offices.”

    POSITIONS TO BE NOMINATED AT THE CAUCUS INCLUDE:   Board of Selectmen (3 year term)  Board of Health (one 3 year term and one 1 year term)  Assessor (3 year term)  Library Trustees (two positions for 3 year terms)  Hager Park Commission (3 year term)  Planning Board (two positions for 3 year terms)  Housing Authority (two positions – one – 2 year term and one – 4 year term)  Constable (3 year term)  Cemetery Commission (3 year term)”

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  • City Council 2-7-22 (2/8/2022)

    Watch Gardner MA City Council meetings on YouTube or on our City Council page. CLICK HERE.

    Complete Meeting Agenda and Complete Packet, CLICK HERE.

    Read our Editorial opposing Fee Increases. CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA City Council Bunch Has Busy Monday Meeting

    The Gardner City Council met virtually on 2-7-22. Jim Boone was sworn in. Various mayoral appointments were confirmed. Councilor Heath attended via a combination of audio and sometimes video as well. The meeting recessed for swearing in of airport commissioners, and the rest of the meeting was presented as a second YouTube recording.

    Take the Sliver, or not

    A motion to put $30,000 of free cash in reserve was approved for the purpose of purchasing some small slivers of land near uptown rotary if needed. A related eminent domain proposal was also approved. It is believed the City of Gardner owns the land. Money to be returned to free cash if not needed.

    Free Dog Licenses for 70+

    Gardner residents aged 70 and over no longer have to pay for dog licenses. Proof of vaccinations still required, but license fees are gone. Cost to city up to about $5,000 per year.

    Praise for DPW and Appeal for Patience

    Councilors Heath and Boudreau praised the work of the DPW. Councilor Boudreau asked for citizens to be patient.

    Fortunes in Your Future?

    Applications by Witches Wardrobe for license to deal in second hand articles and for a Fortune Teller License were sent for further review.

    Feeling the Heat

    A motion to abate asbestos and design a new heating system for the South Gardner Fire station drew considerable debate as it was discussed that heat was needed mostly per FEMA requirements. Others suggested FEMA equipment could be stored at Prospect Street School. However, Mayor Nicholson explained FEMA storage is actually three trailers which require garage access and Gardner actually stores a fire engine with a water tank on it. The motion did pass with an appropriation of $22,200.00. Note: State is requiring boiler replacement after a failed inspection.

    Certain Fees May Be Going Up

    Council voted to have Fire Chief appear before full council to explain proposed new fees and to review new proposed fees from Building Department. According to the packet provided to the City Council, Fire Department collected $12,975.00 in service fees in last fiscal year. However, the 2 fire department inspectors put in time worth more than 8 times monies collected. Some fees would double. One fee, that for a plan review of less than 7500 square feet would go from $10 to $50, an increase of 400%.

    View agenda and packet document for current and proposed new fees as well as documentation that Gardner fees are in some cases much lower than some other communities. CLICK HERE. Current City fees are dated December 2013. To view CLICK HERE. Regarding Building Department Fees, Mayor Nicholson in a letter to the City Council stated “The last time the City adjusted building department fees was in 2007…revenue we collect on permits is much lower than surrounding and other comparable communities.”

    Clear the Sidewalk

    After announcing a letter was received on the topic by Gardner Square Two President Patti Bergstrom, a proposal to increase fines for property owners not clearing sidewalks in Downtown Gardner was approved and sent to first printing. It was pointed out that the current fine of $25 does not provide sufficient incentive to comply. New approved fine is up to 12 times as much: First offense: $100, Second offense $200, Third and subsequent offenses: $300.

    Appointments Approved

    Christine Oliva Kumar: City Assessor, term expiring January 19, 2025 – James Wood: Airport Commission Member, term expiring January 19, 2025 – Robert R. Swartz Jr.: Airport Commission Member, term expiring January 19, 2025. David Urquhart: Airport Commission Member, term expiring January 19, 2025. Ethan Kolodny: Assistant City Solicitor, term expiring January 3, 2023..

  • First February Update (2/4/2022)
    Mayor Nicholson in update of 2-4-22
    Area not cleared in Downtown Gardner after storm

    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson personally observes “Shovel Rage” and ADA violations

    In his Mayor’s Update of 2-4-22, Mayor Nicholson mentioned the challenges of recent weather. Desiring a first-person view, the Mayor did a ride along during snow clearing with a DPW plow driver. He observed a citizen throwing a shovel at the plow and reports that the shovel was crushed.

    Watch the updates on YouTube or on our Mayor’s Update page. CLICK HERE.

    Mayor Nicholson reminded Downtown Gardner property owners that snow needs to be cleared within 24 hours to meet ADA compliance and that a few tickets were issued to violators in the past week. He also passed along a request by the Fire Department to all citizens to please clear around Fire hydrants for everyone’s protection in the event of fire.

    Mayor Michael Nicholson reported that the FREE Covid Test Distribution was a successful event.   Gardner had reached out to 13 area communities regarding participation in a bulk order to help alleviate testing challenges faced by the communities.  

    Gardner, Athol, and Westminster did joint distribution that day. Others who elected to be included will announce separate dates. Gardner residents can pick up FREE Covid tests at the Board of Health in the basement of City Hall.

    Willie Gillis in Convoy 1943

    Rockwell Grants

    Mayor Mike Nicholson announced that grants from the William Rockwell Educational Gift Fund amounted to over $99,000 this year, for a 6 year total of $548,000. Benefits to the school system include new art display cases so art shows can be held, coverage of sports program user fees for students receiving free or reduced lunch, and a unique Book Vending machine.

    Vending machine

    The Book Vending machine at the new Gardner Elementary School will accept special tokens and change. This will allow teachers to reward children for good behavior by giving out tokens with which the kids can buy books and will allow all children to purchase books out of the vending machine to take home and read.

    The painting Willie Gillis in Convoy was produced in 1943, depicting Gillis, in combat gear, in the back of a covered military vehicle with his rifle in hand. Rockwell donated the painting to the Gardner High School for the graduating class, where it hung in the principal’s office until 2000.  The painting was sold in 2014 for $1.9 million with the proceeds used to create a foundation to benefit the schools in Gardner, the William Rockwell Educational Gift Fund . For more on the fictional character Willie Gillis created by Norman Rockwell, click here:

    Coach Don Lemieux Gardner MA

    Death of Don Lemieux

    Mayor Nicholson offered condolences and reflection on the death of Don Lemieux who coached the Gardner Swim Team and the Greenwood Memorial Swim Club and was still a Gardner City employee at the time of his death.

    Excise Taxes

    The Mayor advised citizens to contact the City Treasurer’s office if excise tax bill is not received in the next two weeks so late fees can be avoided. The concern is that apparently some bills get returned due to problems with addresses, the recipient doesn’t get the bill, and fees and penalties get added.

  • Test Distribution (1/31/2022)

    UPDATE 1/31/22: Other towns benefitting from the Gardner Purchase of Antigen tests have just been notified today that they can pick up the tests. That is why these towns have not yet announced individual distribution times, because they may not yet even physically have the tests. We will update you as this information becomes available. In the meantime, those eligible today at the PACC are citizens of Gardner, Westminster, and Athol. Gardner apparently took a risk and purchased more tests than needed (because of the 15,000 minimum purchase required) and then contacted certain area towns after the purchase decision was already made in the hope other towns would want some of the tests. One community administrator told me, “we kind of got in on this late – that’s why we don’t have more information, we just got the call to pick up the tests today.”

    Watch Mayor’s update on YouTube or on our Mayor’s update page, CLICK HERE.

    Increase in State Funding for City and City Schools Projected in Baker 2022 Budget.

    Budget Dog Likes This News Story.

    In this week’s update, Mayor Nicholson announced that Gardner is expected to get a net increase in both City aid and School aid reflected in the next fiscal year’s budget.

    Gardner may receive an increase of over 2 million dollars in Chapter 70 School Aid, $200,000 in City aid, and a $100,000 reduction in state assessment (net city increase $300,000) in the new State budget to be voted on by State Legislature by June 2022

    Gardner Relay for Life

    relay for life american cancer society

    Mayor Nicholson stated that Gardner has a firm commitment from the American Cancer Society:

    The Relay for Life will be held in person this year at Mount Wachusett Community College. The Gardner Relay for Life had a recent kickoff meeting in Perry Auditorium. Relay for Life has been an annual Chair City event since 1994.

    In Sports

    Gardner Cheerleaders

    Gardner High School Wildcat Cheerleaders were congratulated for placing 5th overall in National Competition, Dallas Texas.

    Soccer Ball

    Online signup is going on right now for the Indoor Soccer Clinic to be held by the Gardner Recreation Department.

    Critical Blood Shortage

    Blood Donation

    The Mayor stated that area hospitals and the American Red Cross have a critical shortage of blood. There is an urgent call to donate blood at the Red Cross in Worcester or Keene.

    FREE Covid Test Distribution at Gardner MA PACC Mon. Jan. 31.

    iHealth Covid 19 antigen rapid test

    A large number of Covid 19 rapid antigen tests will be distributed at the Polish American Citizens Club on Monday January 31, 2022: 1-7pm. (Yes, the time is double that reported in the Mayor’s Weekly Update.)

    Mayor Nicholson had advised us that the good news regarding increased distribution time reflects an increased amount of available tests. Looking for FREE tests? Report to the PACC, 171 Kendall Pond Rd. W, Gardner MA. between 1-7pm on Monday January 31, 2022. Directions, CLICK HERE.

    Citizens of Gardner, Westminster, and Athol can go to the PACC, others at locations announced by the individual communities who also participated in the group purchasing effort. Proof of residence will be required.

    The event will be drive-up. Up to 4 kits will be given to each vehicle. There are 2 tests per kit. The goal of the event is to alleviate some of the testing burden being felt by other agencies including Heywood Hospital.

    Regarding Storm of Saturday January 29, 2022

    The Gardner MA Mayor suggested citizens sign up for Code Red to get parking ban advisories. For those needing sand and salt, it is available at DPW, just bring a bucket.

    Dog License Delay

    Nicholson announced that even though dog licenses were ordered in November, they still have not arrived. Citizens can apply for a 2022 license, but your check can’t be cashed until the City can give you the actual license. Meanwhile, the City Council will take up a proposal at its February 7, 2022 meeting specifying that dog licenses will be free for residents over 70. No word on what would happen if dog was over 70.

  • Winchendon Town Meeting (1/26/2022)
    Strategic Planning

    Winchendon MA Upcoming Special and Annual Town Meeting

    From the Town of Winchendon: “The Winchendon Board of Selectmen have scheduled a Special and Annual Town Meeting for Monday, May 16, 2022 at 7:00 PM to be held at Murdock Middle High School, 3 Memorial Drive. The Town Manager ‘s Office is accepting warrant articles now through Monday, April 4, 2022 at 12:00 noon when the warrant will officially close.If you have any questions on warrant articles or citizen petitions, Please reach out to the Town Manager’s office at (978)297-0085 x5”

  • Board of Health (1/25/2022)

    In the meantime, the Gardner Board of Health had taken no action as of end of yesterday’s meeting to assure that the resident has appropriate heat. Options such as putting the tenant up at a hotel and billing the owner were discussed, but not voted on at the meeting. The Board was going to seek guidance from the City Solicitor on the entire matter. Watch the Meeting, CLICK HERE

    We’ll update you on this story as more information becomes available.

    Eldorado Properties LLC information from the Open Corporates database, CLICK HERE.

    Complete Gardner Property Record Card, CLICK HERE

    Board of Health Meeting in Gardner MA Real Life Detective Story

    The Gardner Board of Health met on January 24, 2022 and took up the matter of alleged violations at 35 Graham Street, Gardner, Unit 1. According to Rick Rossi, a comprehensive inspection revealed heat not coming up, no working smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, and various other needed repairs. He also stated that the Fire Department and Building Department had concerns. and are either in contact or would be in contact with the property owner.

    Here’s the problem:

    During the meeting, the Board took a call from a man claiming to be the brother of a woman who manages an LLC listed as the owner of the property. He claims that a previous recorded owner, the Patricca Trust, is still collecting rents and is asserting ownership rights. Therefore, he says, the current listed owner, Eldorado Canyon Properties LLC is reluctant to do anything without some clarification from the housing court. Board members stated that as the legally recorded owner, he could have someone make necessary repairs with a police escort if needed. The man on the phone said he’d need to talk with his sister and would talk to Rick Rossi today. We don’t know if anything developed.

    It’s gets weirder from here

    Property was purchased by the Lawrence & Leonard Petricca Trust in 1985 for $90,000. Records show it was sold to Graham Trust in 1990 for 10 dollars, again in 1997 to R A Realty Trust for 10 dollars, and to the current recorded owners, Eldorado Canyon Properties LLC on 11/13/2020 for one hundred dollars. Also interesting: The Record card shows 35-39 Graham Street and shows 2 buildings on the property. The assessment for this property recently purchased for 100 bucks: $315,000.

  • Clerks Conference (1/24/2022)
    Spotlight on Winchendon MA - The Toy Town

    Winchendon MA Town Clerk’s Staff Going to Conference

    From Winchendon’s website, “The Town Clerk’s office will be closed all day February 3rd while the staff attends an all-day out-of-town conference.  Sorry for the inconvenience.”

  • Library Survey (1/24/2022)
    Spotlight on Westminster MA Historic Places

    Westminster MA Surveys Citizens About the Library

    The Town of Westminster is asking its citizens to provide feedback about the library’s digital resources, website, and social media.     According to the town website, “We need input from our patrons so that we can better serve you. “  To access the online survey, CLICK HERE

  • ARPA Funds (1/24/2022)
    spotlight on Templeton MA

    Templeton MA ARPA Funds input.

    The Town of Templeton is asking its citizens to provide input on how to spend the approximately $2.4 million allocated to the town in American Rescue Plan Act funds.  There is a public input form on the Templeton website.  CLICK HERE. There is a list of ARPA Projects submitted thus far  CLICK HERE:

  • Princeton Elections (1/24/2022)

    Schedule Princeton MA Spring Town Election

    The Office of the Town Clerk is pleased to announce the schedule for the upcoming Spring 2022 Town Meeting and Election. View schedule PDF, CLICK HERE. Those who wish to run for office may obtain papers in the Town Clerk’s Office beginning February 7, 2022. Any questions can be forwarded to Town Clerk Nathan Boudreau at (978) 464-2103 or by email at townclerk@town.princeton.ma.us   For more information, visit this page. CLICK HERE.

  • Phillipston GIS (1/24/2022)

    Phillipston MA GIS/Property Resource

    The Town of Phillipston has an interactive resource for property maps. CLICK HERE

    For more on Phillipston MA taxes, visit the town website page. CLICK HERE.

  • Millers River (1/24/2022)
    Millers River Waterfront Project

    Millers River Waterfront Project – Orange MA

    Field work is underway on the Millers River Waterfront Project.

    From the Orange MA website “The Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) is working with the Town of Orange on a plan for the Gulf Brook watershed and parts of the Millers River waterfront that will document existing conditions and identifies potential locations for storm water management and water quality improvement projects.

    FRCOG staff will be doing fieldwork at the end of January. Once completed, the Watershed-Based Plan will be submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s 319 Program. With an approved plan, Orange is eligible for grant funding for water-quality and storm water management/flood resilience projects.”

    Visit the Orange MA website for more information, CLICK HERE

  • FREE YouTube (1/24/2022)
    YouTube

    Subscribe to Gardner’s YouTube

    Goal: 2000 by Feb.1, 2022. Read Editorial. CLICK HERE

  • Ashby Election (1/24/2022)

    Ashby Town Election April 25, 2022

    List of town offices involved, CLICK HERE

  • Work for Ashby (1/24/2022)

    From the Town of Ashby website dated 01-21-22: “The Town of Ashby Police Department is seeking a highly motivated, proactive and community-oriented full-time Police Officer. A letter of interest and resume should be submitted to: Ashby Police Department893” 01-17-22 “The Town of Ashby Highway Department is accepting job applications for a full-time Highway Mechanic, starting immediately. Complete an employment application and submit it to: Steve Beauregard Highway Superintendent92 Breed Rd Ashby”

  • Ashburnham Caucus (1/24/2022)
    spotlight on ashburnham ma

    Ashburnham MA Annual Town Caucus

    Annual Town Caucus for the purpose of nomination of candidates will be held Monday February 28, 2022 at 7pm at Stevens Memorial Library, 20 Memorial Drive, Ashburnham in the Malcolm Stewart Room.   For specific offices and details, CLICK HERE

  • South Gardner (1/23/2022)
    parking ban

    South Gardner MA Parking Ban

    City of Gardner initiated an Emergency Notification just after 7pm on 1/23/22 to inform citizens that the DPW will be clearing snow in South Gardner MA from 11pm 1/23/22 to 7am 1/24/22. Area affected: From West Broadway Pizza to the First Baptist Church. No vehicles may be parked in this area during the cleanup.

  • Gardner Mayor 01-21-22 (1/21/2022)
    Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson in January 21, 2022 update

    Watch the weekly update on YouTube or use our Mayor’s Weekly Update page, CLICK HERE.

    Congratulations in Order as Gardner MA Wins Municipal Innovation Award!

    Mayor went on to congratulate certain individuals in the city who have worked hard on a particular project.  Once a year the Massachusetts Municipal Association selects one of the 351 cities and towns as a recipient of a “Municipal Innovation Award” for projects they believe used innovative thinking to help increase public awareness of what’s going on in their location and increase transparency efforts.  This year Gardner is the winner!  The award is for the new Interactive Map which shows details about the City’s projects over the last 12 months. For all the City of Gardner Interactive Maps, CLICK HERE.

    Covid Still Striking Down Citizens

    The Mayor remarked that “we did have 3 people in the City pass away this past week because of Covid 19, all cases of the Delta variant. So again, we’re asking people to just remember that the Covid pandemic is still a thing that’s ongoing here, and please do remember to just keep that in the back of  your mind and be careful and stay safe as you go out and about and do what you need to do here in the City and around our area”

    A regional distribution date for free Covid tests will be announced at next week’s Mayor’s update.

    In other Covid related News: 9 additional National Guardsmen are assisting at Heywood Hospital for a total of 18.

    Current Covid Storm Affected Winter Storm Response in City of Gardner MA

    Mayor Nicholson made a statement regarding the recent snowstorm and the challenges of meeting the City’s needs while short staffed because some DPW employees were sick with Covid. The Mayor acknowledged storm clean up issues in the South Gardner area, explaining each truck’s plow route takes two to three hours to complete.  9 out of 30 individuals were down with Covid.  Attempting to compensate, the City arranged for an outside contractor to try to fill the void. But the outside contractor also had Covid issues.  Therefore the 2-3 hour plow route became a 4 to 5 hour plow route.   Then, frozen water pipes struck in another area of Gardner, taking away the DPW employees who were assigned to South Gardner to handle the frozen pipes, thus delaying plowing service until about noon the next day.

    code red

    The Mayor explained the recent Code Red confusion:

    The City Parking ban went in effect 4 hours later than the timing of the weather advisory publicized through Code Red by the National Weather Service, explaining City of Gardner communications are clearly identified as such.

    Cars off the Road

    The Gardner MA Mayor suggested that folks proactively get cars off the road prior to a parking ban when the forecast calls for an impending storm.  On Tuesday, January 25th there will be a parking ban in sections of the Downtown area to allow for snow removal.  Timing for the same activity in South Gardner will be announced.

    Brief reminder from both the DPW and the Health Department

    If your Christmas tree was not picked up, you can drop it off at the transfer station for free.  In the meantime, the mayor has asked citizens to remove trees from the sidewalk so that damage is not caused to plows in the event of snowstorms. 

  • Municipal Innovation Award (1/21/2022)
    Map of the City of Gardner MA Projects

    All About the Maps from Gardner MA which got the Award

    Central to Gardner MA winning the Massachusetts Municipal Association Pickard Innovation Award is the Map of City Projects.  We’re showing a static screenshot at left, but the actual map is interactive where  you can zoom in or out. CLICK HERE. Gardner was one of only 3 communities in the State of MA to win the award in 2022. For more info from MMA, CLICK HERE.

    CLICK on any of the small images in this article for a large view.

    Property viewer Gardner MA

    Public Property Viewer

    Other Gardner maps include the Public Property Viewer.    For example, we show the City Hall Avenue area at left and then a zoom in view at right.  You can look at the property card for any property in the Chair City. CLICK HERE

    Parcel info Gardner MA
    Map of Gardner MA Parks, open spaces, and trails

    Map of Parks, Open Space, and Trails

    The Map of Gardner Parks, Open Space and Trails is very useful, with detail about each area.   CLICK HERE

    Gardner MA Playgrounds and Recreation Map

    Playgrounds and Recreation

    The Playgrounds & Recreation Map is an overview of the City of Gardner’s Playground and Recreation sites, with details about each area: CLICK HERE

    City of Gardner Zoning Map

    Zoning Map

    The Gardner MA Zoning Map comes with a disclaimer that it “is for general information purposes. In the event of any discrepancy, the vote of the City Council establishing or amending boundaries and the text of the City Code governs.”  The map is highly detailed and allows you to zoom in on whatever area you desire. CLICK HERE

    PROPERTY CARDS

    City of Gardner Property Cards can be viewed at: CLICK HERE. The City of Gardner Fiscal Year 2022 tax rate is explained at: CLICK HERE. The City of Gardner Assessor’s office advises “To get the most up to date and complete property card, please contact the City Assessor at (978) 630-4004 or at ckumar@gardner-ma.gov

  • Pole Approved (1/20/2022)
    Telephone Pole

    Telephone Pole Approved by Gardner MA City Council January 18, 2022

    A public hearing was held relating to to the installation of one single pole on Church Street by National Grid.  Purpose: to provide more reliable power service for 116 Church Street.   A representative from National Grid appeared.  No one from the public appeared in favor or in opposition to the pole.  Public hearing was then closed without further comment.  Later, a vote was held and the motion to approve the pole passed  unanimously.

    Watch meeting on YouTube or on our City Council page. CLICK HERE.

    Other matters Before the City Council

    Various Mayoral appointments were placed on file. Mayor’s Executive Secretary Rachael J. Roberts was praised. Two new firefighters were announced and sworn in. It was noted there are now 18 National Guardsmen at Heywood Hospital. Council President Kazinskas announced that Mayor Nicholson has received the Innovation Award from the Massachusetts Municipal Association for Gardner’s Interactive Map showing active projects.

  • Furniture – Fixtures (1/20/2022)
    Gardner Elementary School furniture fixtures equipment bid opening

    Bids opened for Gardner MA Elementary School Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment

    Bid Opening relating to Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment for the Gardner Elementary School was held at noon at January 19, 2022. Watch the bid opening video, CLICK HERE

  • Test Reimbursement (1/19/2022)

    UPDATE: Free Covid-19 Test Kits and Reimbursement for Greater Gardner MA

    The Federal Government has a website in effect NOW from which Americans can order free COVID-19 tests. This began on January 19th. For the site CLICK HERE. These kits are absolutely free (limited to 4 tests per address) and don’t require any payment upfront.

    In addition, private insurers must cover the cost of up to eight at-home Covid-19 tests per month. (This started   January 15, 2022.) Consumers pay for the tests up front and get reimbursed by insurance. Previous purchases don’t count and tests must be on approved government list: Rapid Antigen —- Molecular (PCR).

    The Biden Administration has also announced that FREE masks will soon be available through your local pharmacy. Ask your pharmacy for details.

    Additional suggestion: With many venues requiring proof of vaccination, we suggest the purchase of an inexpensive all-in-one printer (less than $70 from any major retailer) so you can scan your vax card. Back up any documents and keep a file on your phone. Now an even easier suggestion: Get a digital Vax Card through the State of Massachusetts. To visit the portal, CLICK HERE.

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  • Equipment Grant (1/17/2022)

    Winchendon MA Receives Grant for Winchendon Fire Department and DPW

    Winchendon Fire is receiving over $175,000 towards a new Fire Pumper Apparatus. Winchendon DPW is receiving about $44,000 towards a new Front end load. State Senator Anne M. Gobi, State Representative Jonathan Zlotnik, Fire Chief Thomas Smith and DPW Director Brian Croteau were on hand for the announcements. For details, CLICK HERE

  • Royalston Election (1/17/2022)

    Royalston Annual Town Election 2022

    The Royalston Town Election will be held Monday April 4, 2022 from 10am to 8pm at the Town Hall. For details, CLICK HERE

  • Nichewaug Hearing (1/17/2022)
    Nichewaug Inn Petersham

    Public Hearing Thursday, January 20 at 6pm re Nichewaug

    Hearing is being held for the purposes of reviewing application from the Historic District Commission for demolition of the Nichewaug Inn and Academy. For more information, CLICK HERE

  • Smokin’ Sewer (1/17/2022)

    Smoking the Sewers in Orange MA

    The Town of Orange MA will be performing Smoke Testing as part of a Sanitary Sewer Evaluation Survey on January 19, 2022 between the hours of 7am and 4pm. Non-toxic smoke is blown into sewer mains to determine any areas where storm and surface water may be entering the sewer system. Residents should not get smoke in their homes if they have proper plumbing, ventilation, and water traps containing water – should smoke occur inside, report to crews on site or call (800) 268-0281

  • Hardwick Elections (1/17/2022)

    Hardwick MA 2022 Town Election – Monday April 11, 2022

    Last day to obtain and submit nomination papers is February 18th. Various offices are being decided. For details, CLICK HERE

  • Ashby Resources (1/17/2022)

    Ashby MA Natural Resource Protection Zoning Presentation Online, January 20, 2022 At 7pm

    From Ashby website, “On Thursday, January 20, at 7:00 pm the Planning Board invites the Select Board, other Town officials, and the general public to attend a presentation on Natural Resources Protection Zoning (NRPZ).  The meeting will be held by Zoom. The proposed NRPZ bylaw seeks to protect the rural landscape and rural character of town. If accepted by Town Meeting, the bylaw would only apply to new subdivisions; it would not change the frontage and acreage requirements on lots created on existing roads. The meeting will include a power point presentation and provide ample time for questions and answers.  We look forward to seeing you on January 20.”

  • Ashburnham Elections (1/17/2022)

    Ashburnham MA Election Year 2022

    There’s open voter registration at the Town Clerk’s Office at 32 Main Street from 7am to 5pm Monday through Thursday (Ashburnham Town Hall is closed on Friday).  Tuesday February 8 is the last day to register to vote for Citizen’s Caucus which will be  held on Monday, February 28 at 7pm at Stevens Memorial Library, 20 Memorial Drive.   Town Election is Tuesday, April 26.  For a complete list of Ashburnham MA election-related dates, CLICK HERE.

  • First 2022 update (1/14/2022)
    Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson delivers weekly update of 1-14-22 Watch the update on YouTube or via our page, CLICK HERE.

    In other matters:

    Gardner Fire Department: The Mayor reported that the Fire Department received an 11 thousand dollar State grant to replace portions of their breathing apparatus.

    Police Dog for Gardner PD: The Stanton Foundation is providing funds through a grant to purchase a new Police Dog for the Gardner PD. 

    New Road Salt Formula: With respect to SALT on the roads, this year the formulation is different and contains Molasses, giving the product a brown color , the mayor assuring residents that it is SALT, not dirt. 

    Impressive Gardner Cheerleaders: The Mayor says that we should be impressed with the performance of the Gardner Cheerleading squad making it to nationals in Texas, especially since there was no cheerleading last year and thus no seniors on the squad.  There will be a special send-off ceremony for the Gardner Cheerleaders on January 18, 2022 at 6pm in Gardner City Hall Auditorium with a 5 dollar suggested donation at the door to help cover their travel costs to Dallas.  The Cheerleaders will be performing their Dallas routine at the ceremony.

    Gardner MA Mayor Nicholson Delivers First Update of 2022

    Gratitude: Mayor Nicholson started off with gratitude: Heaps of praise for all those who were part of the Inauguration Ceremonies in any way and thanks to all who contributed to the successful vaccine clinic at Gardner Middle School.

    Pandemic Concerns: The mayor indicated he was asked by Heywood Hospital to speak about the Covid pandemic in the City of Gardner, relating that the hospital has “well over 25 patients admitted to the hospital testing positive for Covid 19, the intensive care unit is full, …they have started for the first time to  double up on beds in the intensive care unit….the other day they had 13 beds in the hallway of the emergency room…it’s really getting to become an issue here. “

    Testing Issues: The mayor stated, “We’re also seeing a very big strain on the amount of testing that has to be done….the amount of people who are calling for a test has been such a large amount that Heywood Hospital’s phone system crashed 3 times in the past week.” Nicholson said that in order to help alleviate the testing load, about one thousand testing kits have been distributed to private physician offices in the city.  He also stated that he has spoken with neighboring communities about hosting a rapid test distribution day to help with the problem.

    Weekly Updates: Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson generally releases an update each week which is posted on the City of Gardner’s YouTube Channel.- CLICK HERE We also maintain a Mayor’s update page on Gardner Magazine, CLICK HERE.

  • Community Park (1/12/2022)
    Winchendon  MA Community Park lgo

    Winchendon MA Community Park Performing Arts Center Closer to Reality

    Winchendon MA is inviting sealed bids from contractors for the $2 million Arts Center slated to be built at 86 Ingleside Road in Winchendon. Along with site work, the project consists of the construction of an outdoor amphitheater with covered stage.

    Winchendon Amphitheater

    A pre-bid conference and site visit is taking place Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 10am in front of the existing barn at 86 Ingleside Road, Winchendon.

    The Winchendon Community Park has a website. CLICK HERE View the complete plans for the project. (12mb) CLICK HERE.

  • Winchendon Election (1/8/2022)

    Nomination Papers for Annual Winchendon MA Town Election available January 10, 2022

    Nomination papers for the Annual Winchendon MA Town Election to be held on May 2, 2022 will be available starting Monday, January 10, 2022 at 8:00am. Nomination papers must be obtained and turned in on or before Monday, March 14 at 5:00pm. Available Offices:  ONE – 3-year term for Moderator, TWO – 3-year terms for the Board of Selectmen, ONE – 3-year term for the School Committee, ONE-2-year unexpired term for the School Committee, and ONE – 3-Year term for the Board of Health.

  • Junkmobile (1/8/2022)

    This may be one of the best bargains or one of the biggest clunkers in the Greater Gardner MA area.

    Old Athol MA Bookmobile put up for bid

    Some call it a Junkmobile, others an old Bookmobile with great potential to serve the public. The town of Athol MA is seeking proposals from non-profits who wish to acquire this 1985 GMC Box Truck. Please note: The town has no key for it, says it is non-operational, and they are applying for the title. If all that excites you, hurry, deadline is Wednesday, January 26, 2022. Minimum bid is 50 bucks. Complete details, CLICK HERE.

  • Dog Licensing (1/7/2022)

    UPDATE January 7, 2022 from City of Gardner: ” Dog Licenses Are Not Currently Available Due To Production Delay. Please be advised that 2022 dog licenses are not available at this time due to a production delay with our tag manufacturer. If you have mailed in your license request, your check will not be cashed until we receive the new tags, which could be as late as some time in February. We will periodically update the website or you can feel free to contact the City Clerk’s office at 978-630-4058. The time frame for late fees will be adjusted accordingly.”

    Dog with license Gardner MA

    Greater Gardner MA Dog Licensing 2022

    Dog licensing in the Greater Gardner MA area needs to be done every year. In Gardner MA, Fees are: Males/Females not fixed – $15, and neutered/spayed $11 Due dates, fees, and late penalties vary by community. All communities require proof of rabies. Wearing a dog license tag protects your dog, as your pet can be traced back to you in the event your dog gets loose. Here are the dates and dog licensing web links by community:

     

    Ashburnham  – by 5/31/22, — Ashby – by 1/1/22, — Athol  – by 2/28/22, — Barre – by 3/31/22,Gardner by 3/31/22, — Hardwick- by 4/1/22, — Hubbardston – by 5/1/22, — New Salem -date not listed , —Oakham  – 4/1 to 3/31, late after 6/1, — Orange  – by 3/31/22, — Petersham – by 1/1/22  (website as of 12/31/21 only listed 2020 info), — Phillipston  – by 3/31/22, —Princeton  by 4/28/22 (last business day in April), — Royalston – date not listed, — Rutland   by 3/31/22, — Templeton  by 3/31/22, — Warwick  by 6/1/22  a new town website is in progress  Old town website Fees were at this link, — Westminster by 4/15/22, —  Winchendon  by 3/31/22 

  • Inauguration Gardner MA (1/7/2022)

    Video of Inauguration is inspiring with words of encouragement, hope, praise, and faith. Watch it. CLICK HERE

    Inaugurations Gardner MA

    The legal swearing-in ceremony was held in Gardner MA January 3, 2022 and the ceremonial inauguration took place January 6, 2022. Distinguishing this year’s ceremony was the presence of several state officials including Governor Charlie Baker and Associate Justice Serge Georges, Jr. of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court who administered the oath of office to Mayor Michael Joseph Nicholson, a former student.  CLICK any image for larger view. Watch Inaugurations

    legal inauguration gardner ma
    Legal Inauguration January 3, 2022
    inauguration ceremony Gardner MA
    Inauguration Ceremony January 6, 2022
    nicholson being sworn in gardner ma january 6, 2022
    Mayor Nicholson, Governor Baker, Justice Georges
    music at inauguration
    And the Band played at Inauguration
  • $5,000,000 Bike Bridge (1/6/2022)

    Gardner $5,000,000 Bike Bridge

    Now in the design phase, the more than $5 million bike bridge to go over Route 140 for the North Central Pathway is slated to begin construction in 2026. We have all the details. For the complete article, CLICK HERE.

  • Code Red (1/6/2022)
    code red

    Sign up for Gardner MA Code Red

     Be notified in the event of emergency situations or critical community alerts. It’s easy and FREE to sign up. CLICK HERE

  • City Council (1/4/2022)
    Start of Gardner MA City Council meeting held on January 3, 2022

    The inauguration of the Mayor, City Council, and School Committee took place on January 3, 2022 at City Hall. Program is below. CLICK IMAGE for larger view.

    Inauguration program January 3, 2022

    Watch meeting on YouTube or our Gardner MA City Council Meeting page. CLICK HERE

    Faith-Based Gardner City Council Meeting is held January 3, 2022

    After Elizabeth Kazinskas recused herself, she was unanimously elected Gardner MA City Council President. Thereafter moderating the meeting, she started with a prayer and then the Pledge of Allegiance. Since Gardner’s inception in 1785, City Officials have traditionally asked for guidance from the Almighty in making good decisions for Gardner citizens.

    The Council voted unanimously to establish the standing committee on appointments suggested by Mayor Nicholson due to the anticipated large number of appointments coming up in the next 2 years. New business consisted of counselors congratulating new Ward Two City Councilor Dana M. Heath and congratulating Kazinkas on her re-election to City Council President. Meeting adjourned after a prayer.

  • Gardner Reassessment (1/3/2022)
    Vision Card Gardner MA
    Gardner MA Property Card
    House with solar and wind
    House with Solar and Windmill

    Gardner MA has begun Reassessment

    From Gardner MA City Hall, ““ATTENTION: Rob Tolland works for Vision and has been contracted by the City to assist with data collection as part of our 5-year reassessment program, as required by the Division of Local Services. He has a Vision ID badge and the “Gardner Assessors Office” car door magnets. He will be out 2 days a week for the next 3 – 4 months. If nobody is home, he will leave a note from our office asking the homeowner to call our office so we can confirm the information on their property record card.”

    If you own property in Gardner MA, it’s to your advantage to make sure your property card is accurate. There’s a convenient database from Vision. CLICK HERE

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  • Mayor and Council (1/3/2022)
    Gardner City Hall

    New Gardner MA Terms

    Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson started his first full term on January 3, 2022 after being administered the oath of office at Gardner City Hall, along with the Gardner City Council, and Gardner School Committee. Public Ceremony is January 6, 2022 6pm at Perry Auditorium, City Hall. Governor Baker is expected to attend.

  • Saluting Covid Progress (12/31/2021)

    Greater Gardner MA Covid 19 Progress

    We made substantial progress with Covid 19 in 2021. Just how much impact did the efforts of so many have? Please read our complete article crediting efforts of the heroes who helped so many survive. CLICK HERE.

  • Year of Covid Progress (12/31/2021)
  • City Fees (12/28/2021)
    Green checkmark Gardner MA

    Efficient City Government or what?

    Even with rising costs, the City of Gardner has endeavored to keep its fees the same. In fact, the Gardner MA City Clerk’s office confirms that the schedule of fees dated 12/1/13 (over 8 years ago) is still accurate. In these days of rising costs and inflation, we thought it was appropriate to acknowledge the efforts of Gardner City Government in keeping costs down for citizens and the business community. Here’s a copy of current fees. CLICK HERE.

  • Guardsmen Deployed (12/27/2021)

    Guardsmen to Assist Gardner MA Heywood Hospital

    Gardner Mayor Nicholson and Council President Kazinskas were part of the welcoming team at Heywood Hospital on Monday December 27, 2021 as 9 members of the Massachusetts National Guard were deployed to the facility for the next 12 weeks.   The guardsmen who are all from the North Central MA area will assist in operations due to  Hospital staffing shortages.

  • Joint Convention (12/27/2021)
    Government building Gardner MA

    A “joint” convention in Gardner MA and it’s not marijuana!

    The Mayor-Elect, City Councilors- Elect, and School Committee Members-Elect will meet in Joint Convention for the purposes of taking the Oaths of Office for the term beginning on January 3, 2022 and ending on January 1, 2024.   This takes place January 3, 2022 at 10am – Gardner City Council Chambers at Gardner City Hall, 95 Pleasant Street, Gardner MA where the Gardner High School Select Choir will sing “God Bless America”. Ceremonial swearing in will take place on January 6, 2022 at 6pm

  • Christmas Eve Update (12/24/2021)

    ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas with Mayor Nicholson

    Gardner MA Michael Nicholson’s Christmas Eve update included various Holiday thanks, a reminder of the Caroling with the Mayor video, an enumeration of the Covid rapid antigen test allocations, and a reminder of the upcoming January 6 Chair City inaugurations. The mayor also mentioned the Board of Health’s indoor mask advisory and the municipal buildings mask mandate. Watch on our Mayor’s update page. CLICK HERE

  • Princeton Advisory Committee (12/15/2021)
    Princeton Advisory Committee Vacancy

    Town of Princeton Seeks to Fill Vacancy

    Due to the recent resignation of Helga Lyons, the town is seeking applicants for the vacancy.

    Applications will be considered beginning December 28, 2021, and will be considered until the position has been filled. Although the position is for a term ending June 30, 2022, the Selectboard hopes that the selected candidate will re-apply for a full three-year term during the 2022 spring annual appointments. The SB seeks residents who are skilled in the areas of communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and will take an open-minded and unbiased approach to dealing with town issues. Per Town Bylaws, no elective or appointive officer or full-time town employee shall be eligible to serve on the Advisory Committee. Therefore, if someone who has a current elected or appointed position within the town should apply and get chosen, they would have to resign from their current role. Applicants are encouraged to contact members of the Selectboard and/or Advisory Committee if they have any questions about the Committee.

    To be considered to serve in this capacity please fill out the Board/Committee/Commission Online Volunteer Application

  • Planning Board (12/14/2021)
    Tim Slocum and engineer

    Gardner MA Planning Board Takes up Slocum

    Board met December 14, 2021 to receive presentation by Slocum Inc. and approved site plan for 6 commercial buildings off of Matthews Street. Watch the meeting, CLICK HERE.

  • Roundtable Discussion (12/14/2021)
    Congresswoman Lori Trahan

    Infrastructure Roundtable

    Congresswoman Lori Trahan was in the Chair City of Gardner MA Wednesday December 15, 2021 for a roundtable discussion regarding how the Federal Infrastructure bill will affect the city such as Internet connectivity etc. Underserved areas of Gardner MA which currently only can get internet from satellite will benefit.

  • Industrial Park (12/11/2021)
    Pictured from left to right are: Jessica DeRoy (Economic Development Coordinator), Neil Janssens (Assistant Treasurer – Gardner Redevelopment Authority), Ronald Cormier (City of Gardner – Councilor At Large), Rob Swartz (Rob’s Dyno Service & Energica of New England Electric Motorcycles owner), Michael Nicholson (City of Gardner Mayor), Trevor Beauregard (Director – Dept. of Community Development & Planning), and Carol Jacobson (President & CEO – Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce

    A Sign of the Times

    New signage recently erected at the Gardner Industrial Park is celebrated with officials and business leaders. The 132 acre site features such businesses at Rob’s Dyno Service and Energica of New England whose owner Rob Swartz is in the picture at left. Energica of New England is setting the trend of Gardner being home to Eco-friendly companies. Energica is a 100% solar facility and claims to sell the world’s most advanced zero-emission motorcycle. Visit the very interesting Energica website. CLICK HERE.

  • Ashby Administrator Search (12/10/2021)

    An online meeting will be held December 14, 2021 at 5:15pm. For details, CLICK HERE

  • Ashburnham results (12/10/2021)

    Earlier, Gardner Magazine featured a lengthy Safety Zones article. CLICK HERE

    Ashburnham MA Town Meeting Approves All Articles

    On Tuesday, Ashburnham voters approved the acceptance of Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter  90, Section 18B permitting the establishment of designated safety zones, in the interest of public safety….such safety zones shall have a posted  speed limit of 20 miles per hour. Other articles regarding public safety vehicles also passed. Complete results, CLICK HERE

  • FREE TV (12/8/2021)

    The City of Gardner MA’s YouTube channel is a great source of information about the Chair City. Residents find out about things almost as fast as they happen. CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA Free TV Deal

    It’s time to tell you about the City of Gardner FREE TV deal!  Yes, the City of Gardner has a FREE TV channel on YouTube.  Monthly cost: FREE.  You receive instant updates whenever new content appears. You get access to Gardner City Council meetings to learn where your money’s going, a front-row seat to the Weekly Mayor’s update, Freebie extras like the MassWorks Grant Awardees Ceremony, and intriguing  FREE nuggets like the Finance Committee, Zoning Board, License, Golf, Airport, Aging, New Building Committee, and so much more!  It’s worth 100’s, but to you it’s FREE!  You can even give a  FREE gift subscription, just share the link, CLICK HERE

  • City Council (12/7/2021)
    Free parking downtown Gardner MA
    Gardner City Council virtual session

    Watch the meeting. Click here.

    Free Parking through Dec. 31

    The Gardner MA City Council met in virtual session on December 6, 2021, extending free parking through the end of the year. In other actions, the 2021 re- precincting plan was approved. Various new, used, and junk auto license renewals were sent to the public safety committee for further study and report. A donation of $2000 from Yen Yen Restaurant was accepted and directed to the Gardner High School backpack program which seeks to help undernourished youth. View complete meeting.

  • Free Parking (12/1/2021)

    Save your Quarters for the Kettle!

    Mayor Nicholson signed an Executive Order suspending Parking Meters in the City of Gardner MA from Dec. 1st to Dec. 7th. The City Council will consider a further suspension at its regular meeting on Dec. 7, 2021. VIEW PDF of Mayor’s order.

  • More Money! (11/30/2021)
    officials in Gardner MA at announcement of grants
    Temptations Boutique June 2008
    Temptations Boutique June 2008 during prime Wedding season in Gardner MA

    Watch the entire MassWorks Grant Awardees Ceremony. Includes many State and Local officials. For video, CLICK HERE.

    And then there was more!

    MA Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and other officials showed up in Gardner on Giving Tuesday to formally announce the $4.1 million MassWorks Grant, plus an award of over $900,000 for the NEW Underutilized Properties Program Grant.  The look of Downtown Gardner will improve again as some funds will be used to rehab the Temptations and Ryan Block Buildings at the corner of Parker and Connors Streets.

    Mayor Nicholson has a stated goal of renovating buildings when feasible. When this solid building is put back into service it will enhance the look of Downtown. However, some citizens have expressed concerns that not enough effort is being made to directly support more retail store fronts.

  • Petersham Demos (11/29/2021)
    Petersham MA demo tools

    Petersham voters to choose 1 of 3 demos

    At a town meeting scheduled for Monday, December 6, 2021 at 7pm, voters will receive reports on the demolition of the Nichewaug Inn and choose among 3 different demo plans.   Town warrant, CLICK HERE.

  • Mask Mandate (11/29/2021)
    Mask Mandate New Salem MA

    New Salem issues Mask Mandate

    The New Salem Board of Health voted on a mask mandate at their monthly meeting on November 22, 2021. The mandate states that a mask or facial covering must be worn in all public indoor spaces in New Salem effectively Sat. Nov. 27th.