Public Safety Greater Gardner MA Local News
Public Safety Around Greater Gardner MA
- Elm St. School (10/5/2022)
Small Electrical Fire at Elm Street School in Gardner MA
From the Gardner Fire Department: “10/5/22 07:07 -1st Alarm Box 543 – 160 Elm St. Elm Street School 1st alarm struck for a small electrical fire in an outside wall.”
- Taxi Service? (10/5/2022)
As far as Uber or Lyft, there is a listing online which quotes basic rates, but we don’t know if there are available drivers. Let us know your experience by sending an email to News@GardnerMagazine.com
Social Media Poll: 89% Would Like Taxi Service in Gardner MA
The question asked in a post was “Would you like to see a taxi company in the Gardner, Templeton, Phillipston area?” There were 99 total votes. 89% responded yes, 7% responded no, and 3% responded unsure.
Online search results are not reliable on this subject as a previous company, Smileys Taxi, which used to operate from Central Street in Gardner some years ago is still listed. Fortunately, the number listed is not in service so no Gardner resident is getting calls for a taxi at that number. The regional bus company, MART, is the first search result on Google. Seniors and disabled individuals are those who typically have the most trouble with driving. The City of Gardner has information on transportation on its website, CLICK HERE.
Opening a Taxi Company
So what do you do if you want to open a taxi company in Gardner? According to the Records Department at the Gardner PD, the company would go through the Building Department for a particular physical location just like any other business. Each taxi vehicle and each taxi driver also goes through a licensing process through the Gardner Police Department.
- Tragic Death (10/4/2022)
Tragic Pedestrian Death In Gardner MA
The individual was walking in the Coleman Street area when they were reportedly hit by a DPW truck Monday morning October 3, 2022. Local and State Police are investigating.
- Kamuda Go Forward (10/2/2022)
Complete Go Forward with Gardner page, CLICK HERE.
Go Forward with Gardner MA Series, We Interview Carolyn Kamuda
As a Gardner icon, Carolyn Kamuda is unique. She has been a Real Estate Broker for decades, has an art gallery, projects a love for the arts and culture, and showcases a deep toolbox of common sense. The interview puts the positives of Gardner’s future in an analytical light with Kamuda’s insight providing valuable considerations for Gardner City Council, the Mayor, and businesses coming to the City. According to Kamuda, Gardner’s best asset of all is ‘its people.”
Watch the embedded YouTube video or Click Play to play the AUDIO in any device.
- Gas Leak (10/1/2022)
Gardner Fire Department and DPW Cooperate Regarding Possible Gas Leak
Another example of Genuine Good Gardner Employees. (GGGE’s). On October 1, 2022 the Gardner Fire Department and DPW cooperated to investigate a possible gas leak at a residence on Foss Road in Gardner. They help Gardner residents all the time, but rarely get recorded in the act of being awesome. They are “Genuine Gardner.”
In related news, paving progress continues in Gardner MA. This is Robillard Street.
- Keep Gardner Beautiful (10/1/2022)
Dianne “Neon” Leblanc in TV Interview with Gardner Magazine on Successful Event October 1, 2022
Dianne Leblanc and many volunteers helped Keep Gardner MA Beautiful on October 1, 2022. Weather cooperated for the annual event which once again attracted civic-minded individuals to do their part in cleaning up the Chair City. Gardner Magazine interviewed Dianne in an uplifting Go Forward with Gardner interview on the event and Gardner’s future. Watch the video by clicking play or listen to the AUDIO on any device.
Complete Go Forward with Gardner page, CLICK HERE.
- Appointments (9/29/2022)
Gardner MA Appointments Committee Meets
Focus of the September 28, 2022 meeting was on appointments to the Cultural Committee. Mayor Nicholson advised that he expects an appointment coming their way for Deputy Chief of Police at the next meeting. Watch on YouTube or listen here on any device. Click Play.
- Paving Update (9/29/2022)
Gardner MA DPW Updates City on Paving on September 28, 2022
Base Coat to be completed in the Robillard Area. Berm is to be completed on Crestwood Drive. Kendall St/Warwick Rd to be pulverized. Thursday/Friday: Raising catch basins in the Robillard Area. Friday: – Base coat of asphalt Kendall Street and Warwick Road. Saturday: – Top/Finish Coat Crestwood Drive.
Paving has been an expensive undertaking for the City of Gardner in 2022 as the cost of asphalt has risen substantially.
- Public Safety Committee 9-28-22 (9/28/2022)
Watch the meeting on YouTube or listen to it here, playable on any device.
This is an important meeting to listen to as there are several issues discussed which concern Gardner Citizens.
Gardner MA Public Safety Committee Hears From Building, Police, and Health Departments at September 28, 2022 Meeting
In an information-packed session, the Gardner Public Safety Committee consisting of Councilors James Boone, Karen Hardern, and Chairman Craig Cormier heard from Building Commissioner Roland Jean, Police Chief McAvene, and Public Health Director Lauren Saunders.
Building Commissioner Roland Jean: He stated that 841 building permits have been issued this year. He spoke of the threat of a recession and rising interest rates. Jean stated that the search to fill a local inspector’s job continues as first applicant was not deemed qualified and 2nd applicant withdrew upon hearing salary amount. The Building Department is also looking for a custodian. Jean reported that they were at School Street School again yesterday for another break-in and stated he hopes the bid goes out for that building soon. The Courts have sent the issue of Park Street Development back to the Zoning Board who will hear the matter on October 20, 2022.
Police Chief Eric McAvene: The Chief spoke of staffing issues and about the training of new officers. Currently the Department has a shortage of 5 officers which will be up to 7 by February. With respect to donations for K-9 Rocky, “the generosity of the community has been flabbergasting, truthfully.” Animal Control also has staffing issues due to injury and illness. Councilor Karen Hardern spoke of speeders being a problem since the Pleasant Street Bridge has been open, stating that “Greenwood Street is like a racetrack.” .
Public Health Director Lauren Saunders: The Director gave a Prevention update speaking of September being Recovery Month. A Prevention Conference will be held at City Hall this year on October 21, 2022. Saunders went on to discuss issues with the pumps at the landfill. A company was out there in the past week and looked at all the pumps. The inspector called it the cadillac of pump systems, however he concluded that the system has been neglected and the maintenance has been shoddy. According to Saunders, “It’s kind of a mess.” The Director stated she will be asking for a maintenance line in her budget which she says does not currently exist. Saunders will be asking for some free cash to take care of the problem as soon as possible and says she has already spoken of the problem with the Mayor. Cost: $100,000 to $200,000 to bring in to full compliance. “This is a big need….We can’t ignore it.” The Director spoke of housing issues, litter enforcement, and the upcoming textile ban. Keep Gardner Beautiful Cleanup is this Saturday, October 1st. Covid cases are up again, Gardner’s positivity rate is higher than the State average, and FREE test kits are still available.
Councilor Karen Harden Comments Regarding Public’s reaction to first-day traffic at Elementary School.
“You go on the internet and you see everybody complaining. …the first day…I just want to say you did a fabulous job, and a lot of times, people, if they’re not complaining, I’m so sorry, they’re not happy.”
Listen to meeting on any device. Just click Play.
- Conservation (9/27/2022)
- Successful Festival (9/24/2022)
Gardner MA Fabulous Fall Festival – Oktoberfest Success in Photos
Hundreds upon hundreds of people attended the September 24, 2022 event in Gardner Massachusetts. Complete Gallery of over 110 photos, CLICK HERE.
The Chair Luge
Gardner Ale House Owner Rick Walton stated that the Chair Luge crowd was the largest ever in its history. There were over a dozen contestants racing their various versions of a Chair Luge. First place: Gene’s Green Mean Machine Second Place: The Knievels Third Place: Gardner Ten Pins
The entire day’s Festival/Oktoberfest event ran from 10am to about 9pm.
The Oktoberfest taking place at the Gardner Ale House included the Moonlighter challenge in which the contestant is challenged with a device and attempts to maneuver the beer to be able to get at least a sip, thus claiming a free beer. More photos in the Complete Gallery, CLICK HERE
The Beer Tent and various other vendors are seen in the Complete Gallery.
The Food Trucks were busy including the Ice Cream Lady at Pops Sweet-Harts, Tata’s Fonda, and Simmy’s Polish Express. People seemed to enjoy the food. And of course, lots more food was to be had at the German Beer Garden at Gardner Ale House.
Hundreds and hundreds enjoyed the food in Downtown Gardner MA.
Merchants will now be getting ready for Gardner’s 100th Christmas Season as a City – Make It a Downtown Christmas coming soon….
One of the popular businesses frequented by Fabulous Fall Festival goers was Dot Line Curve Creations on Parker Street, a relatively new Gardner MA business. Other popular spots were the Velvet Goose and John’s Sport Shop. More photos in the Complete Gallery, CLICK HERE.
The Music Entertainment Ranged from a Bavarian Orchestra at the Oktoberfest to a One Man Singing Ensemble of Favorites on Main Street
Hundreds turned out to hear the music in Gardner on September 24, 2022.
An unfortunate incident did occur. Around 1pm, a vehicle accident occurred due to a medical issue. In our photo gallery, you’ll see the quick response from Gardner, Fire, Police, and Ambulance personnel. The driver was taken to Heywood Hospital. Driver is not shown in photos, just the vehicle and Public Safety Response. It has been reported that the driver is deceased. Our condolences to the family.
- Road Safety (9/17/2022)
Greater Gardner MA Communities to Receive Municipal Road Safety Grant Awards
State Senator Anne Gobi announced on 9-15-22 that just over $300,000 is being awarded to Police Departments across the Worcester and Hampshire District who completed a highly competitive application process which included plans to improve traffic safety training, upgrade equipment and increase enforcement efforts.
The Senator stated, “The data shows that drivers continue operating at high rates of speed, distracted and impair driving puts lives needlessly at risk. ….I look forward to my towns and cities being able to take action to keep our communities safe.”
Area communities receiving funding include Barre, Gardner, Oakham, Princeton, Rutland, and Westminster.
- Cronin Book (9/17/2022)
Former Gardner MA Police Chief Edward Cronin Writes “Just Policing; My Journey to Police Reform.”
The self-published book is dedicated “For Sue, My love and partner.” and acknowledges a number of individuals. Cronin states, “Writing this book has been a very long process that began several years ago. It wasn’t until I met and talked with my co-author Dayna Kendall, that this book finally came to life. “ Cronin met often with Kendall at various coffee shops.
The forward to the book was written in March of 2022 by Dr. Sayra Pinto, the Chief Practitioner of Moon Jaguar Strategies, who writes in part, “I think you should read this book because I had goosebumps the entire time that I read it….story of a man who taught me, over four years, the difference between the police in Honduras and what the police can be in the United States….This book tells the story of what America can be: A land where laws, votes, relationships, and visions count….a teaching tool in the creation of the America that will belong to all of us.”
The kindle version with a short preview of the book is available on Amazon. CLICK HERE
There is also a website for the book: CLICK HERE
Revealing is who Cronin thanks. Chair of the Criminal Justice Program, Dr. Eve. Buzawa at Umass. For inspiring his critical thinking. Friends including Renee Berrian from Project Harmony in Waitsfield, Vermont. Former Fitchburg Police Department supervisor, Captain Joseph Carbone for quietly mentoring, encouraging, and guiding Cronin. Attorney Ed Ryan for critical assistance in becoming a a police officer and for supporting and assuring Cronin’s appointment as Fitchburg Police Chief. To Systems thinking expert Carol Sharicz who he credits to helping reduce crime in Fitchburg. To Board Chair of Moon Jaguar Strategies and Chief Restorative Practitioner Syra Pinto for helping him understand the consequences of systemic racism and applying corrective methods. His daughter Jessica for her birth, love, presence, enjoyment, helping to sustain him and inspire him to lead a life of growth and support of others. To his stepchildren Aaron and Cicely. And to his wife Susan, who has been at his side for 37 years.
Chapters in the book include: 1. Epiphany: A Christmas Nightmare 2. Growing Up: Sorting Through Bedlam 3. Learning Policing: The Real Story 4. Umass Lowell: Putting in the Extra Effort 5. Learning the Job: Trying to Organize Chaos 6. Oxford: What I Thought I Knew 7. Russia: Shock and Awe 8. Gardner Police: Careful What You Ask For 9. Project Harmony: Taking it to the International Community 10. Return to Fitchburg; Executing the Plan 11. Bag Job: Or Who Stole My Cheese! 12. Sayra and Systems: Finally, There was hope! 13. Searching for Answers: Unexpected Results 14. In the Shadows: Negotiating the Pain 15. A Virus Takes Leave: Back to the International Arena 16. My Stay at the Lodge: More Success for Fitchburg 17. Moldovan Life and Politics: Proving Myself Again! 18. The Plan and the Mission: From Corruption to Success! 19. Just Police Reforms: History Tells Us So!
- Women – Gardner PD (9/13/2022)
Gardner PD Celebrated Women in Law Enforcement Day on September 12, 2022
From Gardner PD, “The GPD is honored to have Officer Dorval, Officer Morgan and Officer Laderoute as members of this department. Thank you for your continued service and top notch professionalism. This picture was taken on September 3rd when all three women had worked their first shift together!”
Nationally and in Massachusetts, approximately 1 in 8 police officers are women. More on the history of Women in Law Enforcement in the United States from wikipedia. CLICK HERE.
- Drought Update (9/8/2022)
Drought Conditions Improve in Greater Gardner MA and State
Greater Gardner is now back to a D2 (Severe Drought) according to the Drought Map released by the National Drought Mitigation Center (map shown here) and State of MA on September 8, 2022. What this means: Outdoor watering is permissible again in the evening and overnight.
More from the State of MA Drought Status, CLICK HERE.
Watering with hand-held hoses and watering cans can now be done again between 5pm and 9am. Under the previous Level 3 Drought, all non-essential outdoor watering use was prohibited.
- The Chief Speaks (9/7/2022)
Appointments Committee Hears new Gardner MA Police Chief
Chief McAvene appeared before the Gardner Appointments Committee on September 6, 2022. Sitting with him in support was Mayor Michael Nicholson and former Acting Chief Phil Kearns. Both Nicholson and Kearns spoke in support of the appointment. Confirmation of the appointment was recommended unanimously.
Watch the meeting on YouTube or listen to it here by clicking PLAY.
The Gardner City Council takes up the appointment at its Wednesday September 7, 2022 meeting. CLICK HERE.
- Finances 8-31-22 (8/31/2022)
Gardner MA Finance Committee Discusses Donations, Selling Schools, and Reviewing Fire Department Audit
The Gardner Finance Committee met on August 31, 2022. Subjects discussed including the acceptance of donations for K9 Rocky and for the Gardner Animal Shelter, the Mayor’s request to sell the Prospect Street School and School Street School as they are not being used by the City and are frequent items of issue for the Police Department, and the recently completed Fire Department Audit.
Mayor Nicholson would like the City to put up the Prospect Street School for sale well under the $295,000 appraised value due to the substantial cost a purchaser would have in converting the building in to something other than a school. He also stated that the School Street school is in disrepair and a hazard and there are already various people interested in purchasing the building.
Council President Kazinskas suggested that the Gardner City Council hold an informal meeting at 6:30pm prior to its second meeting in September to allow for a presentation on the audit.
Watch this meeting on YouTube or listen to it right here on any device. Just click Play.
- Fire Danger (8/26/2022)
Fire Danger very Real in Greater Gardner MA
From the Gardner Fire Department August 26, 2022: “A few photos from Gardner Engine 3 responding with the Mass District 8 tender task force to Ashby. Crews battled a fire in a very large stump and debris dump. 19 water tankers hauled well over 600,000 gallons of water up to the scene so crews could maintain a flow onto the fire of 1750 gallons a minute!”
Gardner FIre Dept. continued,, “That’s a very impressive task to be able to maintain in an area with no fire hydrants. Gardner’s Engine 3 was dispatched at 8 a.m. and was back in the City by 3 p.m.
Unfortunately due to our extreme drought and dry conditions, the fire has re kindled and Ashby and surrounding towns are back fighting the fire again today. We need rain and lots of it!!”
- Majestic Flag (8/22/2022)
American Flag Flying majestically at Gardner MA Police Headquarters
The recently replaced flag outside Gardner PD was truly a sight to behold on Sunday August 21, 2022. Gardner honors the flag at the beginning of many of its meetings with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance – such as every Gardner MA City Council meeting.
Learn more about the American Flag from Britannica, CLICK HERE
- Gardner Promotes from Within (8/18/2022)
Gardner MA Now Has New Police Chief Eric McAvene
As of August 17, 2022 it is now Gardner Police Chief Eric McAvene. (appointment is official as of Monday August 22nd) McAvene, who has served as Lieutenant is getting a temporary appointment, and rather than utilizing a 60 day probationary period, the Mayor will immediately ask for City Council confirmation of a 3 year permanent appointment. Mayor’s reason: McAvene already showed his ability to perform the job when he and Lieutenant Maroni stepped in and performed Chief’s duties. Appointment will be before the City Council during the month of September. The Chief has been on the Gardner force for two decades. View Mayor Nicholson’s letter to Gardner City Council – pdf – CLICK HERE – Text, CLICK HERE
The position of Deputy Chief will be posted next week according to Mayor Nicholson comments at the Appointments Committee meeting of 8/17.
This announcement was made during a Gardner Appointments Committee meeting of August 17, 2022 at which Sergeant Walter was recommended for reappointment. During the discussion, both Walter and the new Police Chief McAvene told of the hostile work environment experienced during the tenure of the previous Chief and Deputy Chief. Listen for yourself. CLICK PLAY.
- Questions Answered 8-17-22 (8/18/2022)
Gardner MA Mayor Nicholson Answers Questions on Pending Matters in the Chair City
New Gardner MA Elementary School
Question: “School Construction is now in week 3 of the contemplated “two more weeks.” How much longer realistically? And when does the school have to be done to be in line with the already contemplated delay?”
Mayor Nicholson, “The two weeks was the delay for the start of the school year (if I am understanding your question correctly). In order to get people into the school building, the working in the building would have to be completed about a week before teachers move in, which for the Elementary School would be on September 6th. The exterior work, such as landscaping and final playground work, will likely be done the week or two after school starts. For now our priority is to finish the items necessary for the school to receive its temporary occupancy certificate so that we can begin school in the building, even if the grounds need a little work still at that point.”
Question: “In light of the drought, does the City of Gardner intend to enforce the local ordinance which provides potential penalties and possible water shutoff for offenders?”
Mayor Nicholson, “We are meeting on this to discuss how best to move forward with the City’s DPW Director and City Engineer as well as representatives from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. A Code-Red call reminding people of the drought will likely go out this week as a final reminder to people of the current critical drought status, and then enforcement will begin if people are still not abiding by the restrictions.”
Question: “What led to the sudden shutdown of Pleasant Plaza without notice to the public? To date, nothing mentioned on City of Gardner website.”
Mayor Nicholson: “We (Colin, Jess DeRoy, Trevor Beauregard, Roland Jean, and myself) met again with the business owners and Parker House of Pizza, Turks Barbershop, and Priscilla’s voiced concerns over the impacts of the plaza on their business. Taco Rey and Prestige Barbershop, all had positives, and Hope and Vibe Studios had mixed feelings on it. With the paving of Parker Street next week and the concerns that were taken into account, we opened the road up to ensure we were supporting the business community as much as possible for the last month of the summer with construction coming back to the area soon.”
- Inconsiderate Driver (8/17/2022)
Residents took to Social Media to Express Outrage at conduct.
Gardner MA Inconsiderate Driver Gets Ticket
An inconsiderate driver on August 16, 2022 will probably have to pay a fine for using 2 parking spaces.
License plate number hidden as driver is innocent until proven guilty.
It appears either space would have given driver ample room to park.
- Water Use Penalties (8/16/2022)
Illegal Water Use Could Lead to Water Shut Off and Monetary Penalties in Gardner MA
According to Chapter 636 of the City of Gardner Code, adopted by the Gardner City Council on 9-7-1999, the City of Gardner has authority to regulate water use upon a declaration of a water supply emergency issued by the Department of Environmental Protection. “This chapter is adopted by the City under its police powers to protect public health and welfare.” Public notice must be given before it can be enforced which has been done through the City’s website and various signage throughout the City. It has also been given through various media outlets. Currently all non-essential outdoor water use and outdoor watering is prohibited due to the Level 3 Drought Declaration by the State of MA.
From the state of MA, “Essential uses are defined by MassDEP as uses required: a) for health or safety reasons; b) by regulation; c) for the production of food and fiber; d) for the maintenance of livestock; or e) to meet the core functions of a business. Nonessential uses are those other than essential uses.”
Penalties To Be Imposed
Penalties specified include $50 for first violation and $100 for each subsequent violation, each day constituting a separate offense. “The Director of Public Works may terminate or restrict the water service serving the property of any person constantly violating this chapter until such time as the state of water supply conservation is terminated.”
Reports on Social Media
Various reports on Social Media over the past week seem to indicate that there are isolated instances of businesses and/or people violating the ordinance. We have reached out to the Mayor’s office for comment and will post Mayor Nicholson’s comments if/when we have some.
- Stolen Vehicle (8/15/2022)
Need Readers Help in Catching A Crook
From Gardner Police Department: “Picture of the truck and trailer below were stolen from the Oak St shell at approximately 11:10 this morning. If seen contact the Gardner Police Department at 978-632-5600 ext. 0 Update the truck has a “Salvadores” sticker on the back window and white lettering on the side windows.”
- 3 Choices (8/14/2022)
Gardner MA Michael Nicholson Has 3 Keys – One Leads to a PD Chief
Selection narrowed to 3 candidates. Mayor will choose 1 to be Police Chief. Decision as soon as end of week of 8/15/22. 60 day Temporary appointment may lead to City Council confirmation of full 3 year term. You’ll know when we know.
- Update 8-12-22 (8/12/2022)
Watch the Mayor’s Updates on the City of Gardner YouTube page or on our Mayor’s Update page, CLICK HERE. Or listen, just click Play below. Starts in about 5 seconds.
In a witty weekly update Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson Focuses on “Time.” 8-12-22
Trash Delays: The Mayor advised residents to “Keep Your Toters Out” as he spoke of E.L. Harvey trash delays.
Paving Schedule: The Mayor went over various paving updates.
Time for an end: Last week of Recreation program – had 250 students participating, thanked Athletic Director Dan Forte and Camp Counselors.
New time at Monument Park: Traveling Jones will be playing Saturday August 13, 2022 starting at 5pm which is an hour earlier than the rest of the summer has been.
Time for Rain: Mayor Nicholson went over the Level 3 Critical Drought that Gardner is under with a complete ban on all outdoor watering stating, “One day of rain doesn’t account for 30 days of drought.”
Time for a probationary period: Police Chief search committee has narrowed it down from the original applicants down to 3. Mayor to interview each of the 3 candidates, expects to make a choice before the end of the month. Will do a 60 day temporary appointment prior to putting appointment before City Council.
Time for a break: No Mayor’s Update on 8/19 due to staffing, next update August 26, 2022.
- Oppressive Heat (8/5/2022)
Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Issues Statement on Oppressive Heat and Fire Danger
The statement was issued just before noon on August 4, 2022 because of heat indices of from 95 to 105 degrees Thursday and Friday AND, from 95 to 100 degrees Saturday through Monday.
There is a potential impact of heat-related issues for at risk populations and those doing outdoor physical activities AND the ongoing drought conditions may increase risk of wildfires.
- Departments Interview (8/3/2022)
City of Gardner Department Links:
Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson Interviewed on Citizen Concerns and City Departments
On August 3, 2022, Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson answered our questions regarding Citizen Concerns and the Interaction of City Departments with Community Members. We present the AUDIO of the complete interview in mp3 format. Listen on any device.
Subjects covered included National Night Out, the Timeline of Gardner Public Schools, Social Media Posts, Water Pooling Issues at the Dog Park, the DPW, Addressing Citizen Concerns and needs, Parks and Recreation, Job Openings with the City, DPW Vacancies, Gardner Housing Authority, Department Heads and the Press, the Building Department, Animal Control, Reappointment of City Treasurer, Assessor/Tax Collector and Taxes, City Clerk, Various Departments working together, Public Safety, Health Department, Funding for positions, Purchasing Department, Human Resources, School Staffing, Gardner Sludge, and Praise for Departments.
Complete Article with text of entire interview, CLICK HERE.
- City Council 8-1-22 (8/2/2022)
Watch Gardner MA City Council Meetings on the City of Gardner YouTube Channel, or on our City Council page, CLICK HERE.
You can also listen to this meeting as we publish the AUDIO. Click Play below. AUDIO and articles on older meetings, CLICK HERE.
Meeting starts at 1:27 in. You can move slider to advance. There is a recess a few minutes in to swear in Rocky. Meeting is called back to order at 10:25 in.
Transfer Station Trends
Free Cash 2022
Gardner MA City Council has Meeting on First Day of August
The Complete Agenda, CLICK HERE
The Highlight of the meeting occurred at the beginning as Rocky was confirmed unanimously to a permanent appointment at a Police K-9. Interim Police Chief Philip Kearns was recognized at the podium to speak about Rocky. He spoke of Rocky’s successful first day in aiding the capture of 4 suspects charged with theft of property from an apartment. Rocky barked loudly to the City Clerk to confirm the acceptance of his permanent appointment.
Mayor Nicholson stated, “looking forward to seeing him to continue the good work that he has already done.”
The agenda references the following items the Council considered at the meeting: Various routine money transfers, 14 different communications to the Council, 6 appointment items, the State Primary, and the reports of standing committees.
Efficiencies at the Transfer Station.
Mayor Nicholson reports success in staffing and procedure adjustments made to try to increase efficiencies in operations and better monitor what is being dropped off. The average is approximately $50,000 more a year in revenue at the transfer station. (see chart at left)
Free Cash Expenditures for Fiscal Year 2022 shown at left.
In another communication, Mayor Nicholson informed the Council the state had reimbursed the City $255,573.00 for the Commonwealth’s Fiscal Year 2021 Ambulance Certified Public Expenditure cost Settlement program. Last year, the city received 230,000. The MA program is in place to offset the low patient transport rates paid by Medicaid.
Open Meeting Law Complaints
An open Meeting law complaint filed by Gregory Deehan (covered in previous article), Letter from Mayor on matter -pdf. Letter from Attorney General on matter -pdf and a Ruling from the Attorney General relative to an Open Meeting Law complaint (finding in favor of City)
City Treasurer Re-elected
Current City Treasurer and Collector of Taxes Jennifer Dymek was elected unanimously to a 3 year term to commence August 19, 2022. She was praised for the City’s recent perfect audit. Letter to City Council from Jennifer Dymek.
Dead people can vote in MA
As ballots are processed before Election Day, the law against counting the ballot of someone who dies before Election Day has been repealed. Ballot can be counted as long as the voter was alive when it was cast, which means as of the postmark date or when it was hand-delivered or deposited into a drop box. This is from an election advisory of June 23, 2022 from William Francis Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth.
The Next Meeting of the Gardner City Council will be on Wednesday, September 7, 2022 due to Labor Day being on Monday 9/6 and Election Day being on Tuesday 9/7.
- Dog Park Problems (7/29/2022)
Photos at Gardner Dog Park taken Friday, July 29, 2022 show persistent drainage and water puddling issues.
Puddling Water Persistent Problem at Gardner MA Pulaski Dog Park
For a couple years now, puddles of water, sometimes muddy, have been problematic at the Gardner Dog Park. Owners have consistently complained to the DPW, but nothing has been done. Recently, park visitors were hopeful as new mulch was spread in the agility area. However, as is now apparent, no drainage work was done ahead of time, so the rainstorm of July 28, 2022 created a stream across the section and the pond of water is back. Gardner Magazine has reached out to Mayor Nicholson, seeking comment.
In the other section of the large dog area near the water station, pooling water has continued to be a problem and has never been addressed, despite dog owners reporting calls to DPW. We have attempted to reach out to the DPW Director for over a year now and have yet to receive a return call. Dog owners report high vet bills due to Guardia transmitted by bacteria in the standing water, and some have openly stated they have avoided coming to the Gardner Dog Park as a result of the unresolved issue.
In an interview on August 3, 2022, Mayor Nicholson responded to our questions regarding these issues. The text of the Dog Park portion is below. Complete Interview, CLICK HERE.
Poegel: Mayor Nicholson, as you are aware, citizens have raised concerns about continued water pooling issues at the Dog Park. Did it rattle your Nicholson that you were not fully informed about continued challenges of water issues at the Gardner Dog Park? Nicholson: You know it is something that we are going to continue looking at. I think it was just an oversight that was done on the construction work there. We do have some money that’s left over in the grant that we can certainly put towards addressing those drainage issues that are there. We did receive more from the Stanton Foundation than the cost came in under for those Shade Pavilions that you have there. So we’ll certainly be taking a look at it, and, be sure to make sure that those issues get fully addressed that’s over there. Poegel: So aside from grant funding in these types of situations, does the City have its own funds to, for example, buy crushed stone for drainage, repair a fence at one of the other parks… Nicholson: Yep. Poegel: Or could the City for example, ask Heywood Hospital, can we have some of that crushed stone from all that stuff you blew up and can we use it at the Dog Park? Nicholson: I mean, all the above. We always accept donations from different people, especially if there is you know, surplus items, like we just talked about with Heywood Hospital. Whenever we go out and we repair a road, we dig up something up or something like that, we save all of that over at the City’s gravel mine that we have. So all of that we have in house too, on hand, and if we need to pay for a fix, we certainly can use money in our own budget, but if we can get someone else to pay for a project that we have going on, …that’s always certainly the best option. But we won’t have to wait and rely on that for something like this.
- Public Safety (7/29/2022)
Watch the meeting on YouTube, CLICK HERE or listen to this meeting by clicking PLAY below.
Gardner MA Councilors Hardern and Boone in Hot Seat After Admitted Open Meeting Law Violation
An Open Meeting Law Violation was filed regarding a conversation Councilor James Boone had with Councilor Karen Hardern outside of a Public Safety Committee meeting. The conversation concerned scooters, a subject which came before the committee. Both Councilors admitted to the violation and were asked to recreate the contents of the discussion for the public.
- Junior Police Academy (7/28/2022)
Gardner PD – Junior Police Academy – Why It’s Such a Big Deal
20 students have been congratulated for completing the Gardner Police Department Junior Police Academy and the officers have been thanked for putting it on. This is the third year the Gardner PD has run the program and its largest class to date. The Academy was fully funded from the Commonwealth’s Shannon Grants, which totaled $11.2 million dollars across the State of Massachusetts.
Community Safety Initiative Grant
In February, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the Senator Charles E. Shannon Jr. Community Safety Initiative Grant (CSI) would fund 15 municipal grants consisting of 27 cities and 14 research partners. Governor Baker in February 2022 stated,” “The long-term positive impacts of the programs funded by Shannon grants demonstrate the importance of a collaborative approach to addressing youth violence and improving the safety of our communities.” And Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito stated, “Shannon grants support the collaborative spirit and vital teamwork that achieves safer communities, violence reduction, and sustained positive life decisions for at-risk youth.” The 2022 award for Fitchburg with Gardner as a partner community was $416,812.00 More details, CLICK HERE.
Why Demographics Prove it is so Important to Engage Youth
The percentage of the population which lives in poverty in Massachusetts is: 9.4%, Fitchburg: 15.7%, Gardner: 13.9%. There have been changes in crime for young people ages 10 to 24 from 2017 to 2021. Simple assaults in Massachusetts decreased 25%, but in Fitchburg/Gardner decreased 37%. Aggravated assaults in Massachusetts decreased 20%, but in Fitchburg/Gardner decreased 61%. It’s important to productively engage youth as the High School Dropout Rate in Massachusetts was 1.6%, Fitchburg 3.7%, and Gardner 3.6%. Details in pdf, CLICK HERE.
The OJJDP Comprehensive Gang Model is “a set of five core strategies—community mobilization, opportunities provision, social intervention, suppression, and organizational change and development—that offer a comprehensive, collaborative approach designed to prevent and reduce gang violence.”
Here’s an overview of the Five Core strategies, CLICK HERE. And here is a Law Enforcement Guide, CLICK HERE. Fortunately, Gardner is blessed with a community not filled with all of the negative experiences of elsewhere, and even discussing it may come as a surprise to some, but as much as Gardner would wish it, it’s not totally crime free. That’s why efforts like the Junior Police Academy are such a Big Deal – Gardner wants the character of the Chair City to continue moving in a positive direction and for there never to be a huge gang problem.
Handouts for Cadets from the Junior Police Academy are intense and include many aspects of law enforcement training. CLICK HERE. Graduates certainly have an appreciation for the rules of society and perhaps some will decide to become Greater Gardner MA Police Officers as adults.
- Night Out (7/26/2022)
Greater Gardner MA National Night Out 2022 Taking Place at Gardner High School Tuesday August 2, 2022
The Greater Gardner National Night Out is being held Tuesday August 2, 2022 from 5:30pm to 9:00pm with a rain date of August 9th. The event is a cooperative effort among the Gardner Community Action Committee, the Gardner Police and Fire Departments, and the City of Gardner.
The event has been held nationally since 1984 and is aimed at heightening crime and drug prevention awareness in the community. This will be Gardner’s 9th year participating. It’s slated to be an evening of fun for the entire family. There will be a live band, resource tables, a pizza contest, raffles, kids games, an obstacle course, a climbing wall, helicopter landing, touch a truck and more. —- Printable poster pdf, CLICK HERE.
Wachusett Mountain has agreed to sponsor bus transportation from Monument Park to Gardner High School.
National Night Out is meant to increase awareness about police programs in communities such as drug prevention and other anti-crime efforts. According to the National Night Out website, “National Night Out culminates annually on the first Tuesday in August. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.” For the website, CLICK HERE To support the national effort, there’s even official merchandise. CLICK HERE.
- K-9 Death (7/26/2022)
K9 Frankie Killed in Line of Duty – Massachusetts State Police
Statement of Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason on the July 26, 2022 K9 Line-of-Duty Death of MSP K9 Frankie: “It is with tremendous sadness that I announce that a Massachusetts State Police K9 was killed in the line of duty today. K9 Frankie was fatally shot during an attempt to apprehend a wanted fugitive who had barricaded himself inside at residence. Frankie’s handler, Sergeant David Stucenski, was not physically injured.
Sequence of Events
The sequence of events that led to this tragic line of duty loss of a member of the Massachusetts State Police family began this morning. Shortly before 9 a.m. today members of the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section established surveillance of a three-story multi-family house at 40 Oliver St., Fitchburg after developing information that fugitive suspect MATTHEW MACK, 38, was at that location. MACK was wanted on warrants charging him with firearms offenses and accessory after the fact stemming from a shooting incident July 21 in Fitchburg. State Police fugitive unit Troopers joined the investigation to assist Fitchburg Police locate MACK.
Fugitive Unit Troopers made verbal contact with MACK, who refused to exit the house. Based on information developed by Troopers indicating that MACK was currently armed, as well as current intelligence that indicated a propensity for violence, the Massachusetts State Police Special Tactical Operations responded to the scene at approximately noon and established tactical positions. Negotiators from the State Police Crisis Negotiation Unit also responded to the scene and established communication with MACK via telephone. Negotiators had multiple conversations with MACK, as well as with members of his family whom they contacted, in an attempt to persuade him to surrender peacefully.
At approximately 2:48 p.m., MACK was observed at a rear exit of the residence and a decision was made to try to apprehend him. Sergeant Stucenski and K9 Frankie, who are assigned to the STOP Team, approached the area where MACK was observed. During the attempt to apprehend him, MACK fired multiple shots toward team members and struck Frankie. The suspect then retreated back into the residence. STOP Team members immediately picked up Frankie and evacuated him from the scene to an ambulance, at which point he was transported to Wachusett Animal Hospital in Westminster, where he was pronounced deceased.
Meanwhile, negotiators were not able to establish further contact with the suspect. At approximately 5:20 p.m., while the STOP Team was planning further operations to resolve the situation, the State Police Drone Unit deployed an unmanned aerial vehicle on the exterior of the building at 40 Oliver St. The drone made visual observation of the suspect deceased inside the house from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot. No police officers fired their weapons during this incident.
Frankie was a Belgian Malinois. He would have turned 11 years old next month. He was a member of our Department for about nine years. Frankie was a highly decorated member of the Massachusetts State Police. In 2017, he and Sergeant Stucenski were awarded the Medal of Valor at the state’s annual George L. Hanna Awards for Bravery, the state’s top law enforcement award ceremony. They were honored for apprehending a hit-and-run suspect who, during a foot chase, turned and fired a shot at Sergeant Stucenski and Frankie as they pursued him on a Springfield street. The shot missed the Sergeant and Frankie and Frankie apprehended him. Sergeant Stucenski and Frankie won the State Police Medal of Merit for that same incident.
In 2014, then Trooper Stucenski and Frankie won three awards from the United States Police Canine Association for evidence recovery, agility, and other law enforcement skills. And only last month, our Department honored Sergeant Stucenski and Frankie and other members of the Special Tactical Operations Team for apprehending an armed child pornography suspect who had opened fire on them when they went to arrest him at a West Springfield motel in 2019.
When Frankie was transported by Fitchburg EMS via ambulance to an animal hospital this afternoon, it was the first instance of such emergency care made possible by Nero’s Law, which was passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Baker last year. Frankie is the first Massachusetts State Police canine killed in the line of duty. His sacrifice will never be forgotten. Frankie had every trait we seek in a good law enforcement officer, canine or human: intelligence, immense courage, and dedication to protecting the public. He was as loyal a partner as any Trooper ever had. He was a beloved member of the Massachusetts State Police family and the Stucenski family. He was, as much as any human of the member of the Department, one of us and part of us.
When one of our K9s pass – until today, never in the line of duty – our K9 handlers have a saying. “Free Time.” It means that these brave dogs who work so hard to protect the rest of us have earned their eternal peace. Free time and Godspeed, Frankie.”
- Mosquitos (7/26/2022)
Mosquito Control Team Back Again to Greater Gardner MA
The Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project is sending its team to the area on August 4, 11, 18, 25, and September 1. Dates are tentative and weather permitting. Requests for service may be recorded by calling the CMMCP office at (508) 393-3055 between 7am and 3:30pm weekdays. For more info visit the website. CLICK HERE.
- Eaton Street Paving (7/25/2022)
Eating Eaton: The Challenge of Paving – Battling Stubborn Trees in Gardner MA
Sometimes when trees put down their roots, they’re not ready to leave without a fight. Such is the case on Eaton Street in Gardner. The street near the Gardner Municipal Golf Course was paved 5 years ago, but according to Mayor Nicholson, “right now it looks like the surface of the moon.” Stubborn tree roots near the road push up the pavement causing potholes. However, these trouble-making trees are still taking in carbon dioxide and producing oxygen for us to breathe.
Mayor Nicholson says they’ve actually had the pothole issue studied, “…we had an environmental consultant come out and the number of trees that line that street, the way that the roots have grown, has pushed the soil out of the way, that have artificially created potholes there, brings the pothole situation that we have there. So I could go back and have them pave that road again this year, but then in two year’s time we’re going have the same situation , because the roots are still there. So we have to come up with a longer plan solution there. “
Paving in Gardner – Interview with Mayor Michael Nicholson.
Gardner Magazine Publisher Werner Poegel asked Mayor Nicholson on 7-6-22 about paving in Gardner:
Poegel: One of the complaints that residents constantly come out with is about paving. And of course, that’s been a challenge with the budget. It’s been a challenge getting the product. How many miles of roads does Gardner have, and realistically, how many miles of roads can Gardner pave every year?
Nicholson: We have 101 miles of roads and we can probably do, if we’re lucky ,3 ½ miles per year, because it does cost us about a million dollars per mile to pave. And that covers all the costs of police detail, that’s the trucks, equipment, and labor, to put the pavement down, pull the old pavement up, haulaway costs, the cost of asphalt. It costs about a million dollars per mile. We can probably do about 3 ½ miles a year, of that 101 miles that we have.
Paving It All More Than a Year’s Budget
Poegel: So the total City Budget is what $74 million? Nicholson: Yes. Poegel: So you’re telling me that you’d have to spend the equivalent of more than a year’s city budget to do all the roads, like instantly. Nicholson: Yup. Poegel: You’d have to more than double everybody’s taxes to do all the roads all at once. Nicholson: That’s 100 percent true. Poegel: So, obviously, you can’t do that. Nicholson: Yeah, that’s it. Would we love to have all the roads done in one year, it would be a great two year project. In the year, everyone would be complaining about the traffic detours that come from it. But, we’d like to get all the roads done, it’s just cost prohibitive. We do what we can, every year since 2012, Gardner has received $600,000 from Chapter 90 State funding for road surfacing. Well, $600,000 in 2012 is probably half the purchasing price of what it is in 2022. But, we’ve received the same flat line amount every year for that decade. Poegel: So that’s basically a half a mile. Nicholson: It is, it is. And so we’ve lost that purchasing power, while our costs have just continued to go up. We do what we can with what we can. I was happy to see Governor Baker put in the winter recovery funding this year which added an additional $313,000 to what we’re able to do, but we will never be able to fully catch up to what we need to.
Photos at left show the challenge of having mature trees near a road with a root structure extending underneath.
How Roads Get Prioritized
Poegel: So how does it work. Obviously you interact with the DPW. How do roads get prioritized? Is there some sort of system in place? Nicholson: There is. It’s a formula that the DPW Director and the City Engineer go through, it’s based off of the number of houses on a street, average number of cars that drive over that road, that’s why we have those ticker lines that we count those, the number of cars that go over a road, and the length of the road itself as well. So all of those are compiled into priority lists that we have. I receive an updated version from the DPW and City Engineer’s office every July, around July 15th. When we get that this year, I can certainly send that to you. … The number of businesses on a street, the number of houses on a street, the number of cars that travel that street, and then the length in miles of that street. So those are the different factors in the formula that determine the priority list the we have. And then, the final factor of that is: when was the last time that we paved that road? “ Gardner Magazine will publish the Gardner MA Paving Priority List as soon as it is released.
The Cost of Paving
Curious about the cost of paving various types of roads and highways? The U.S. Department of Transportation has a dedicated page. CLICK HERE.
- Gardner Fix It (7/23/2022)
I CAUGHT FIX IT Fever Gardner MA printable pdf.
Gardner MA Hit with “Fix It Fever”
The condition is highly contagious and is prevalent throughout the Chair City. Grant money, Investor money, Taxpayer City money – it’s being spent. First it’s the roads and the sidewalks. Then entire buildings are getting complete overhauls. New buildings are being built. Parks are being constructed. Lighting is being enhanced. Even fire hydrants are being repurposed. Building Permit Applications – setting records. It’s all at a fever pitch. What’s happening in Gardner? Everybody’s noticing it and everybody likes it. Gardner MA doesn’t need a cure for “Fix it Fever.” This contagion is actually a blessing.
- Critical Drought (7/23/2022)
Current Drought Status from the State of MA, CLICK HERE.
Greater Gardner MA now in Critical Drought – Non essential water use banned July 23, 2022
From the State of MA, “With the majority of the state currently experiencing elevated temperatures and forecasts predicting little to no meaningful precipitation, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Beth Card today declared a Level 3-Critical Drought in the Northeast and Central Regions of the state. The Southeast, and Connecticut River Valley Regions will remain at a Level 2-Significant Drought, and the Cape Cod Region will join the Islands and Western Regions at Level 1-Mild Drought.”
Non-essential Water Use is Completely Halted
What this means is people who were watering their plants or lawns after 5pm or before 9am have to stop that too. No non-essential water use is advisable during a Critical Drought. Water Restrictions Map from 7-6-22
- Storm (7/21/2022)
Severe Thunderstorm with Tornado Warnings Hit parts of Worcester County including Greater Gardner MA on July 21, 2022
Orange Airport had a wind gust of 58 miles per hour. Athol MA had a storm producing up to 1 inch hail. Route 2 West near Warwick MA closed due to trees falling across highway. The storm passed over many of the towns in the Greater Gardner area including the City of Gardner. A tornado warning was in effect until 4:15pm, having been issued an hour earlier. Tornado Warning now expired. Severe Thunderstorm Warning Eastern Worcester County and Southern New Hampshire until 4:45pm
Strong storms are expected in other areas of Massachusetts including Middlesex County and Southern New Hampshire until early evening. It is unknown at the time of this report whether a tornado actually touched down. In Eastern Franklin County there were downed trees and some power outages.
- Satellite Internet (7/19/2022)
Unlimited Satellite Internet now available in Gardner MA and some area towns
Elon Musk’s venture Starlink Satellite Internet is available to Gardner residents, and other area towns such as Winchendon, Phillipston, and Templeton. Currently, the price is $110 per month for residential plus the cost of equipment. Other satellite services are available to Gardner, but here is the difference: the bandwidth limit and latency. Starlink offers unlimited internet while others have considerable limits, making the use of streaming apps not feasible in the past. With Starlink, you can do whatever you did before with Cable internet. Cost is not cheap, but it is a viable alternative, and a great backup for any business relying on the World Wide Web. Note that Fitchburg and Leominster still have to wait. There is more information on their website and you can check your exact address for availability. CLICK HERE.
We checked out exact cost. You’ll pay a total of $686.44 upfront for equipment and then billing will start within about 2 weeks of shipping out to you. Currently $110 monthly.
- 988 Lifeline (7/18/2022)
Nation including Greater Gardner MA has new number for National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
The new number, 988, is easy to remember and is designed to save lives. The number is accessible across the United States and will connect callers with a trained counselor at any time. You can even text the number and get a response.
Gardner Magazine found it difficult to find a high quality image, so we’re making it available here in a pdf you can print for the office or workplace. CLICK HERE. — Note: even if you have only a B/W laser printer, print and display this and you may just save a life.
Note: To avoid confusion, we are not publishing the old longer number which is still working for now.
- Drought (7/17/2022)
Greater Gardner MA in a Significant Drought
The Greater Gardner Area is experiencing a LEVEL 2 – Significant Drought. According to the State of MA, this means that rain has been well below normal for over 2 months, streams are low, nearing extreme low flows in some areas, the Fire Danger is steadily increasing, and the Strain on some water supplies is greater.
In this instance, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Bethany Card made an announcement after lower than normal rainfall for the past 4 months. According to the State, “Stream flow is severely impacted with dry stream beds and ponding visible in many locations. Fire Danger especially in the northern half of the state is steadily on the rise, with noticeable drought stress in shrubs and grasses. Also drought conditions are starting to impact our farms, with losses in soil moisture, more heavy irrigation needed in some areas due to lack of precipitations, and some initial signs of crop loss.”
Massachusetts Drought Status Map and U.S. Drought Map – locally Level 2 – Significant
Maps Show the level of drought in Massachusetts and the National Map shows other sections of the United States are in worse shape. More from the state of MA, Drought Plan CLICK HERE. MA Drought Status History, CLICK HERE Printable U.S. Drought Map (with legend) pdf, CLICK HERE. U.S. Drought Monitor website link, CLICK HERE.
How you can help: Minimize overall water use. Limit outdoor watering from 5pm to 9am, and temporarily stop installing new landscapes and plants. To minimize fire hazard, exercise caution when using charcoal grills, backyard fire pits, and other open frame outdoor activities.
- Nicholson Super Heroes (7/15/2022)
Watch the Mayor’s Update on the City of Gardner’s YouTube page or on our Mayor’s Update page, CLICK HERE.
Or listen to the audio – short 8 second delay before it starts:
Play Audio File of any 2022 Mayor’s Update. CLICK HERE
Gardner MA Michael Nicholson Reveals Community Super Heroes in Weekly Update July 15, 2022
He didn’t say those words, but he revealed the Best of the Gardner Community in this week’s Uplifting Update just the same. Mayor Nicholson complimented his Super Hero Aide Colin Smith who organized this year’s successful Gardner Food Truck Festival. The Chair City Mayor also thanked all those who helped make it possible.
Mayor Nicholson spoke of the Phoenix Cross Fit Class held Tuesday Nights at 7:30pm this summer at Fitness Concepts for “those who are in recovery, those who want to support those in recovery, or those who just want to live a sober lifestyle.” Nicholson was invited this past Tuesday by the Alyssa’s Place Recovery Center (Super Heroes).
Nicholson told of the Heywood Surgical Pavilion Progress. He also mentioned a Super Effort, the new island in place at the intersection of Woodland Avenue and Green Street to help cut down on accidents. (by DPW Super Heroes)
NoWoCo Pride held an event at Gardner City Hall attracting dozens of people. (NoWoCo Super Heroes)
Mayor Nicholson explained that several Eagle Scout projects have made a difference in Gardner this summer including from newest Eagle Scout Quinton Lemmick (Scout Super Heroes)
Turns out the DPW has some Super Heroes of their own. We call them the “Mulch Makers”, turning trees they’ve had to take down into wood chips to be used at the Dog Park and at the Golf Course, saving the City lots of money by not having to purchase them.
The DPW has also been instrumental in other Super Hero work including starting construction of 2 new Shade Pavilions at the Gardner Dog Park, replacing 4 dead ash trees at Monument Park with new trees, and replacing Downtown Gardner sidewalks. However, the City was faced with a Super Villain who went under the caution tape to walk on the wet concrete. The Villain was promptly arrested by Gardner PD Super Heroes and will be held financially responsible for the repairs which needed to be made.
Many in the community who serve Gardner are Super Heroes, don’t you think?
Let us showcase your Gardner MA Super Hero. Email News@GardnerMagazine.com
- Top 10 (7/14/2022)
To watch the July 12, 2022 meeting of the Appointments Committee on YouTube, CLICK HERE.
Panel of 5 starts with 10 applicants for Gardner MA Police Chief
According to statements made by Mayor Michael Nicholson at an Appointments Committee Meeting on July 12, 2022, the Panel of Five has received a total of 10 applications and will review them later this week. First round of interviews will come sometime next week. At some point, the top 2 candidates will go to the Mayor, who anticipates making a recommendation to the City Council prior to the September meeting. The Mayor has previously stated that once he makes his pick from the top 2, he will make a 60 day temporary appointment.
Assistant City Solicitor Has Resigned
While Mayor Nicholson stated that the resignation was not due to the recent City Council vote denying a large raise, but instead due to an offer made by a different law firm out of the area, the departure was not a big surprise. Despite at least one City Councilor expressing his concern that denying the raise would lead to a departure, the City Council unanimously voted on July 5, 2022 to restrict the raise to the same 2% given to other City employees. The reason given for the raise request was a substantial increase in workload.
One of the other topics discussed was the reappointment of Sergeant Lauren Walter, who could not be present for the meeting due to working a double. Councilor Walsh said he would like to postpone decision on the reappointment until another meeting as he had some questions. The Committee agreed. Also, Paulette Burns came up for a reappointment to the Board of Assessors and was widely praised and easily approved for a reappointment recommendation. There was also a discussion about a Civil Service bill being considered by the Massachusetts House.
- Municipal FM (7/10/2022)
Because of the relatively low power involved, cost would not be a huge factor as the transmitter and antenna would be fairly inexpensive. Engineering is relatively simple and the F.C.C. engineers in Washington D.C. could help for FREE. Gardner already has a television studio at the High School on Catherine Street. Gardner MA produces high quality video of City Council, School Committee, and other Municipal Meetings, and a weekly Mayor’s update. Visit the City of Gardner YouTube page here.
Gardner MA may consider its own Low Power Municipal Radio Station
Last year, an F.C.C. window closed on applications for regular licenses on the non-commercial band. Sometime soon, a window will open for additional low power FM applications on the 92 -108 part of the band. That’s where the interests of Gardner come in. Does Gardner want to have a station like the City of Leominster has had since January 26, 2017, which is licensed for 21 watts with an antenna 210 feet above average terrain? See what Leominster is doing with it. Website.
How Far would it Transmit?
If the license was granted, Gardner High School on Catherine Street could serve as a transmitter site as it’s roughly in the middle of Gardner geographically. Gardner City Hall might also cover the City. According to the Federal Communications Commission, Low power FM has a radius of about 3.5 miles. Gardner is only 23 square miles which in this case presents an advantage – less square footage to cover with a transmitter. The calculated coverage area would be A=πr2=π·3.52≈38.48451mi² using 3.5 as the radius of a circle and calculating the area of the circle. The math shows much of the Chair City could be covered, perfect for emergencies or whatever Gardner would deem to be in its interests. Due to the low power, the coverage might have dead spots due to terrain. That is why commercial stations which cover more than one community operate with substantially more power.
We asked the Mayor in an interview on many subjects July 6th:
Poegel: “Mayor, so sometime soon, an FCC window is going to open, allowing the City of Gardner to apply for a low power FM license, similar to what the City of Leominster already has. Does the Chair City have an interest in pursuing this to protect its interests?”
Nicholson: “I know we’ve talked about that with our Emergency Management Director Paul Topolski, because we do have a radio transmitter that we can use when we have larger events, but we don’t have a signal that is our own. So it is something we preliminarily looked at, but it’s not something we’ve had on the radar until we just heard the rumblings that the F.C.C. might be opening up a little more, so it’s a very recent conversation that we don’t have any details on yet on our end, but it is something that did spark a conversation.” Listen to the entire interview.
What frequency would it be?
Low power FM is between 92 and 108 on the FM dial. You find out what’s available by doing a search on the FCC website. You need to know the latitude and longitude of the proposed transmitter location. Finding a frequency is as simple as going on the F.C.C. site, inputting latitude and longitude specs, and doing a search. Gardner City Hall at 95 Pleasant Street is at 42 34 26, -71 59 45 and Gardner High School is at 42 34 39, -71 58 45. Both searches yield the same available frequencies, 97.3 and 102.9. However, Steve Wendell, owner of WGAW has a construction permit for a commercial station at the 97.3 frequency for Orange MA, so our bet is the City would pick 102.9 if it’s interested in pursuing the project.
As the Crow Flies
If we each had a flying car, we could make it to work much quicker because the distance “As the Crow Flies” is always shorter. There’s an online tool to calculate the straight line distance between two locations. CLICK HERE.
- Gardner PD Chief (7/10/2022)
It is unknown how long exactly it will take the Panel of Five to review applications, conduct interviews, and then send the final two picks to Mayor Michael Nicholson’s desk, but it is in the works and the Mayor won’t be told any of the candidate’s names until the end of the process.
Gardner Magazine recently published an article on the positive Community Outreach of the Gardner Police Department, much of it publicized by the Department since March of this year. See article.
Will Gardner MA PD Promote from Within? Applications Closed.
At least one member of the Gardner PD wants to be its next Chief of Police. Question is: Will the Panel of Five reviewing the applications end up choosing someone already on the Force as one of its two final picks?
Before the applications closed on Friday, July 8, 2022 at 4:30pm we asked Mayor Nicholson: “So moving on to the Gardner PD. There was a period of challenges earlier this year, when both the Chief and Deputy Chief were on paid Administrative Leave, and it appears the Gardner Police Department thrived, with a huge increase in the documentation of its community outreach efforts and a lot of positive accolades for the Gardner PD members. Does this mean it’s possible the new Chief will be a promotion from within?”
Nicholson: That’s always a possibility. To be honest with you Werner, I have removed myself from knowing who has applied for the position, just because I know who are current officers are, I’ve appointed some of them. But, I just want to make sure that there’s no appearance of a favoritism or anything like that. With that said, there’s always a chance that someone from inside could absolutely be promoted. Basically what happened is, the panel that’s going to be doing the preliminary review of the applicants, and I believe we have 8 or 9, I do get the numbers, I don’t get the names, we have 8 or 9 applicants so far, some are internal, some are external. Whoever the top two are from that panel, I’ll get them and do a final interview here and make the appointment based off of that final second interview. But there’s always a chance that someone from inside, it doesn’t have to be someone from the outside, but it could be. And I think that’s the chance we’ve given the City options to go off of rather than restrict one way or the other.”
Mayor Nicholson has previously stated that he intends to make a temporary 60 day appointment of the person chosen, with a full 3 year appointment to follow, requiring approval of the Gardner City Council.
- Rocky on Duty (7/6/2022)
Gardner MA PD Canine Rocky Helps Catch Some Crooks
Thanks to Rocky the K9 Cop, his handler Officer Josh Willis, and other members of the Gardner Police Department, some crooks got caught and some property got recovered.
From the Gardner PD, “K-9 Rocky made a grand entrance! Today (July 5, 2022) was Rocky’s first patrol shift and he walked in with a statement. Less then an hour into his shift he was deployed on a track after a break in. Rocky wasted no time and successfully tracked the suspect. This along with the excellent teamwork of everyone working (especially Rocky) we are happy to report we have suspects in custody and recovered most of the stolen items.”
Rocky might have a second career as a Social Media star as the post about his successful first day drew lots of likes as of 6:30am on 7/6/22:
According to Officer Josh Willis, the much sought-after K-9 tee shirts will be available during an appearance this Saturday during the Gardner Food Truck Festival.
- Templeton Swim (7/5/2022)
Town of Templeton MA Red Cross Learn to Swim Program
The Town of Templeton’s Red Cross Learn to Swim Program. Sign-ups are Wednesday July 6th & Thursday July 7th, 2022 4pm – 6:30pm at Town Hall. Hunter Marion, Program Director (WSI American Red Cross Certified) Brianna Nunez, Assistant Director . Lessons run: Monday July 11th through Thursday August 11th, 2022. Templeton Recreation Learn to Swim Classes No Fees to Town Residents. Lessons will be held at Templeton Fish & Game Club (Club road off of Partridgeville Rd.)
Classes as follows:(Monday/Tuesday/Thursday) ages 4.5-15 yrs. Lessons start at 1PM and run on the 1/2 hour ending at around 4 PM. Limited student space per class Level.
1-1:30 for Beginners (Level 1) Children who haven’t put their heads under water. MUST BE 4.5 / 5 YRS OLD. (Potty trained) 1:30-2 for Advanced Beginners (Level 2) Children putting their heads under water and starting to float comfortably with help. 2-2:30 Intermediate (Level 3) Stroke Development (Participants with rudimentary swimming skills and floating on their own front and back.) 2:30-3:00 Advanced Intermediate (Level 4) Stroke Improvement (Focus on technique.) 3:00-3:30 Swimmers (Level 5) Stroke Refinement (Feedback is given as participants swim longer distances and over their heads.) 3:30-4:00 Advanced Swimmers (Level 6) Fitness and Water Safety (Knowledge of strokes and safety is a must as participants build to a mile long swim.)
No lifeguard on duty at the club so children are the responsibility of their parents or their Guardian at all times and may not be dropped off.
- Gardner PD Genuine (7/4/2022)
Gardner MA PD Featured in Genuine Gardner
The Gardner Police Department epitomizes the positivity of Gardner we want to showcase in Genuine Gardner. Full Article with lots of photos, CLICK HERE.
Search for the Chief
In an interview with Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson on July 6, 2022, the Mayor commented on the search for the new Gardner Police Chief stating that while he does not know the identities of the applicants, he has been informed that there are already 8 or 9 applications, both inside and outside of the Gardner PD. The panel of five will review the applications. When the choices are narrowed down, the Mayor gets to see those submissions and make a decision. Mayor Nicholson has previously stated he intends to make a 60 day temporary appointment. If all goes well, a full 3 year appointment would be made, to be reviewed by the Appointments Committee of the Gardner City Council and then sent on for confirmation by the full Council. Deadline to submit an application is Friday July 8, 2022 at 4:30pm.
- Ashburnham Chief Retires (7/1/2022)
Ashburnham Police Chief Loring Barrett Jr. to retire effective July 15, 2022
In a letter to Ashburnham residents, Chief of Police Loring Barrett Jr. announced his retirement. The chief has spent 35 years in law enforcement with close to half of that time spent in Ashburnham as its Police Chief since October of 2005. View pdf of resignation letter.
The chief wrote, “As I walk away from the profession that I have so much passion for, I am confident that you have one of the best police and dispatch departments with some of the most committed employees.”
- Hubbardston Police Chief Retires (7/1/2022)
Chief Dennis Perron Retires, Sergeant Ryan Couture Interim Chief Effective July 16, 2022
From the town of Hubbardston:” The Hubbardston Select Board on Monday accepted the retirement of Police Chief Dennis Perron, ending more than 16 years of senior-level leadership and service to the Town of Hubbardston. His last day will be July 15, 2022.
“Chief Perron’s more than 37 years in law enforcement and 16 years of service to the Town of Hubbardston is a remarkable accomplishment and testament to his commitment to public service,” Town Administrator Ryan McLane said. “Chief Perron excelled despite budget challenges, recessions, community storms, changes in government structure, the Great Recession, and COVID-19. His experience and adaptability provided the town with much needed stability. But most impressive was his dedication to schools, safety, and building a sense of community.”
The Board Monday appointed SGT Ryan Couture as the Interim Chief of Police for a six-month period effective July 16, 2022. SGT Couture has been a member of the Department for 21 years, serving in Dispatch, Patrolman and Detective roles. He has extensive leadership training to include graduating with the FBI’s Trilogy Award. During the interim period, SGT Couture will lead the department, develop goals, and evaluate members for their ability to serve in future leadership positions. The Select Board stated on Monday that they will organize a formal search for the next Hubbardston permanent Chief of Police in the coming months. “SGT Couture has my full confidence having demonstrated leadership and community service during is more than eight years as a Hubbardston Police Sergeant,” McLane said. “SGT Couture has already begun working on goals for improving the department and ways to further connect with the community.”
- Gardner Celebrates (6/26/2022)
More Event Photos, CLICK HERE.
Gardner MA Residents and Visitors Share FUN on Gardner’s Birthday Saturday June 25, 2022.
It was a super day in Gardner MA with perfect weather. The food was abundant throughout the Chair City. Smiles were to be found on many a face as residents and visitors enjoyed the FUN in Downtown Gardner and elsewhere in the City. The Greenwood Swim Club had Swim Meets. Retailers forgot about inflation and discounted prices to the delight of savvy shoppers. It was another Small Business Saturday in Downtown Gardner from 10am to 4pm with sales, demonstrations, performances, giveaways, games, and activities. It was FUN! The formal opening of Pleasant Plaza was held. Popular host Steve Wendell of WGAW did a LIVE Man-on-the-Street broadcast LISTEN to it. The Gardner PD set up a popular safety demonstration which simulated the effects of impaired driving. Monument Park and the Lithuanian Club had FREE concerts and FIREWORKS were enjoyed by hundreds at Kendall Pond. Gardner MA is a Great Place to Live, Work, Play, and Visit. View our complete list of June 25, 2022 events.
Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson and others get Dunked for Charity
Pythons Played in Public
Downtown Stores Held Sales
Popular Downtown Gardner Merchants such as the Velvet Goose and John’s Sport Shop delighted shoppers with merchandise specials. Attracted to Downtown were customers of all ages. People could be heard cheering at the time of the Fireworks Grand Finale.
Fireworks Brought in Hundreds of People to the Chair City
Fireworks were held at Kendall Pond about 9:30pm and lasted for about 15 minutes in celebration of Independence Day and Gardner’s 237th birthday.
Downtown Gardner MA has been the recent subject of many positive announcements including upcoming building renovations and projects, new sidewalks, fresh paving, storefront grants, the just-approved new Maki Park to be across from the Gardner Ale House, and so many more ideas becoming reality. Today may have been the start of Downtown Gardner’s new found positive trajectory towards the future. More June 25, 2022 Photos, CLICK HERE.
- Braks Retires (6/22/2022)
A no confidence vote of 40 of 41 Police Department Employees earlier this year resulted in the immediate resignation of the Gardner Dispatch Director. The retirement of the Deputy Chief followed a couple months later. This latest announcement of the retirement of Chief Braks brings this chapter of the Gardner PD to a close.
Once a new Chief receives a temporary appointment, the Mayor plans to post the Deputy Chief position.
Chief Braks Retires from Gardner MA PD – Panel of Five to Convene
Mayor Nicholson sent this email to the Gardner City Council around 3pm on June 22, 2022: “I am writing to inform you that Chief Richard Braks of the Gardner Police Department has decided to retire from the City after 23 years of service. I’d like to thank Chief Braks for his years of dedicated service to the Department and the City and wish him well on his retirement and next endeavors.”
The Mayor has appointed a search committee of five to conduct the review and preliminary interview process for applicants for the position. This Panel of the Gardner Five will submit the top two or three candidates to Mayor Nicholson for a final interview. “This committee will be comprised of Human Resources Director Debra Pond, Retired Chief Vincent Alfano – who served as Gardner’s Acting Chief for a time, Chief Richard Briggs of the Ashland Police Department, Chief Ralph LeBlanc of the Westminster Police Department, and Director Michael Moriarty of the Rutland Regional Emergency Communications Center.” The Mayor intends to make a 60 day temporary appointment of the successful candidate before asking the Gardner City Council to approve a full 3 year term.
Read the Mayor’s complete email to the City Council here.
- More Paving (6/18/2022)
Positive Paving Postulations Possible in Gardner MA
More paving means more roads will be looking better in Gardner. Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson is advising residents of plans for Tuesday June 21 through 24 in a “Traffic Advisory” so people can “plan for traffic delays or seek alternate route.”
Route 140 Winchendon Line to Green Street
Nicholson states, “MassDOT Rt. 140 paving will begin Tuesday June 21st through Friday June 24th. Paving will occur form the Winchendon town line to Green St. in Gardner. Traffic will be reduced to an alternating single travel lane for large portions of the roadway.”
Pearson Boulevard, Gardner
MassDOT will also be resuming work on Pearson Blvd shortly following a recent pause in the work caused by granite curbing supply issues.
Other Gardner MA Street Work
Mayor Nicholson stated, “Gardner crews will also be raising structures on Parker St., West St., Central St., West Lynde St., and Woodland Ave. and will be installing crossing ramps at the intersections of Oak and West Street and along Woodland Ave by Heywood Hospital.”
- Braks Done (6/16/2022)
Update from Mayor Nicholson 6-17-22: Mayor Nicholson responded to our email with the following: “I’m actually away this week but he was not terminated and there’s nothing official on that at this time. I will look into who said this at the meeting so I can reach out to them to correct this.” Mayor Nicholson followed up again with “I do expect the public announcement on the conclusion of the police situation to be announced mid next week.”
Chief Braks had been on Administrative Leave since February after a No-Confidence vote by 40 out of 41 officers in the Gardner Police Department.
Gardner MA Hits Brakes on Chief Braks – no longer employed by City?, apparently we’ll find out next week…
Update: Mayor Nicholson has informed us that Dr. Hemman made a poor word choice. The Mayor stated, “The confusion came that since Chief Braks had a voting appointment on the School Building Committee, that position was not represented since the Chief was placed on Administrative leave.To fill that structural vacancy, I appointed Officer Lawrence, the School Resource Officer, to the position so that the Police Department could have a say in the decisions of the Committee. The not employed by the City was a misnomer and word choice error in reference to the administrative leave. That said, I do expect the public announcement on the conclusion of the police situation to be announced mid next week.”
At a School Building Committee Meeting on June 15, 2022, Steve Hemman stated, “As a matter of public record, Richard Braks is not employed by the City any more, therefore he does not serve on the Building Committee, he’s a non-voting member and the Mayor has appointed John Lawrence to take that spot to be on the building committee, and we have filed that paperwork with MSBA which we are required to do. There’s no action required by this committee, but just to have it in our minutes that that change took place.” Gardner Magazine will provide more information as we receive it. Watch Meeting
- Elks Safety (6/15/2022)
- Firefighters’ Memorial (6/9/2022)
Ceremony at Gardner Firefighters Memorial
From Gardner Fire Department: “The Gardner Fire Department and the Gardner Firefighters Benefit Association would like to invite you to the 2022 Firefighters Memorial Sunday Ceremony to be held on June 12th at Fire Headquarters. It is requested that members, retirees, and guests begin to assemble at 08:00 hours. The ceremony will begin at 09:00 hours. Family members and guests are welcome to attend.”
- Officer Honored (6/9/2022)
Officer John Lawrence is shown to the right of the D.A.R.E. mascot.
Gardner MA PD and Gardner Public Schools Honor School Resource Officer
School Resource Officer John Lawrence was honored during the DARE graduation ceremony on June 8, 2022 with a Lifetime Achievement Award for 22 years as a School Resource Officer and DARE instructor.
Lawrence got a standing ovation from fellow officers, school staff, community leaders, and students. The officer has plans to retire in January 2023.
Gardner PD stated, “Officer Lawrence congratulations, you will be deeply missed by the schools, the PD and youth of the community. The positive impact you have had on the city’s youth will not be forgotten.”
- Bear Spotted (5/26/2022)
Bear Spotted in Clark Street, Gardner MA Backyard and all about Bears in Massachusetts
On May 26, ,2022, a bear was spotted on Clark Street in Gardner. A resident posted the picture to Social Media. The post has received plenty on interest with dozens of likes, wows, and love expressed by other members.
For those interested in Bear pictures, there is actually a public Facebook group entitled, “Awesome Bear lovers.” Members post Bear pictures and even Bear videos.
The rest of our article is about Bears in Massachusetts with Bear tips for Greater Gardner MA residents.
Bears in Massachusetts
According to the State of Massachusetts website Mass.gov, black bears have been increasing in numbers and distribution for the past 50 years, with an estimated current statewide population exceeding over 4,500 animals. Black bears live and breed in Worcester County, northern Middlesex County, and west to the Berkshires. Black bears are black overall, typically with a brown muzzle and sometimes with a white chest patch. Males weigh from 130 to 600 pounds and females are 100 to 400 pounds. Bears eat both vegetation and meat. They are often attracted to yards by bird feeders and unsecured trash.
Mass.gov has some tips for residents: Remove bird feeders if you live in an area with bears. Put out your trash the morning of trash pickup rather than the night before. Feed your own pets indoors. Clean barbecues and grills after each use and don’t leave any food scraps around. If you see a bear in your yard, yell, and make lots of noise and the bear and its young will usually leave. If you see a bear in the wild, make the animal aware of your presence by clapping, talking, or making other sounds while slowly backing away. Obviously, don’t approach bears, especially a female bear with her cubs, keep a respectful distance away.
If you need to reach Gardner MA Animal Control, here is the page. CLICK HERE.
- Sewage Sludge (5/25/2022)
Sewage Sludge Decisions in Gardner MA
A byproduct of the Gardner Wastewater Treatment Plant is Sewage Sludge, a solid material which has been disposed of at the Gardner landfill. Gardner has proposed to increase the size of the landfill to allow for more sludge. Environmental groups oppose the move due to concerns over how the sludge might affect the surrounding area.
The first step in understanding the issue is to understand what Sewage Sludge is and what can be done with it. Penn State offers the most complete explanation we can find, and it’s useful because it offers a number of solution alternatives… View Sewage Sludge Guide.
We reached out to the Gardner DPW to get Gardner’s perspective on the matter, but have yet to receive a response. The Millers River Watershed Council opposes the expansion of the Gardner Landfill to add more sludge because they state, “this ill-conceived project, which will, if approved, have substantial negative consequences for our region and beyond.” They have devoted an entire webpage to the issue. CLICK HERE. Printable pdf, CLICK HERE.
Gardner needs to decide whether it wishes to store the Sewage Sludge locally or have it trucked elsewhere. If stored locally, it needs to choose from various available options. In order to proceed with any of these local storage options including a landfill expansion, it must receive approval from the State of MA. Given opposition from Environmental Groups, it is reasonable to assume an eventual decision will take some time to reach. Gardner Magazine will update you when more information becomes available.
- Gardner Panel (5/22/2022)
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.
“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.”
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.
- Mosquitos Out (5/21/2022)
Mosquitos to be Evicted by the Spraying of Central Mass. Mosquito Control Project
Gardner Dates are May 31 and June 9, 16, 21, 30. CMMCP says the dates are subject to change due to weather conditions, mosquito populations, mosquito virus activity, and/or special event spraying.
From CMMCP site, “Mosquito control in Massachusetts operates under M.G.L. Ch. 252 (Improvement of Low Land & Swamps) and the State Reclamation and Mosquito Control Board. The Project was created by the Massachusetts State Legislature in 1973, and currently consists of 44 cities and towns in Central Massachusetts, from both Worcester and Middlesex Counties, covering over nearly 810 square miles.”
Information about the service area: CLICK HERE.
For more information on the project, view the website, CLICK HERE.
Mission statement, “The objective of the Project is to attain an efficient, economic mosquito control operation which will provide the best results possible and be consistent with all ecological aspects and the best interests of the member towns.
From the CMMCP website, “Our goal is to reduce mosquito exposure to the public, and the potential for disease transmission by mosquitoes, by utilizing proven, sound mosquito control techniques. CMMCP believes the best way to accomplish this task is by practicing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach as it relates to mosquito control in Massachusetts. IPM utilizes a variety of control techniques and evaluation procedures. Control efforts are undertaken only after surveillance data has been collected and analyzed. Training, experience and common sense dictate our response in any given situation. It is our desire and responsibility for this Project to have the best mosquito control for the communities that we serve.”
- Water Quality (5/20/2022)
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 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.
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.”
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.
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.”
- Puzzle Awaits (5/15/2022)
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….
- Police update 5-8-22 (5/8/2022)
Deputy Police Chief Trifiro retires, Chief Braks Fate still up in the air in Gardner MA
Interviewed by host Steve Wendell on WGAW’s Hotline Radio (airs Saturdays noon to 2pm on AM 1340 and 98.1 FM) Mayor Michael Nicholson stated, ” As we do move forward here, there are still some processes that are currently being done.”
“However, I can tell you that our Deputy Chief Jim Trifiro has decided to retire from his time here at the Gardner Police Department after 27 years of service. He just felt it was time to move on. With everything that was going on. There was communication that happened that led up to this, he just decided to step back and retire there. So I do wish him well on his retirement and his endeavors there, and everything else is still continuing as we move forward, and we’ll let the public know as things progress even further.”
Host Steven Wendell asked if there will be a Commission set up to actually study the situation? The Mayor responded, “It is being studied now as we speak. We will review the best way to move forward as things continue. We’re working constantly with the City’s law department and Human Resources Department as well as keeping all the stakeholders involved in this abreast of different conversations that we’ve had here.” Wendell asked, “Now what happens if the city offers Chief Braks an opportunity to come back. Is that a possibility? Nicholson responded: “Yes, it is. There’s always a possibility.” Wendell asked, “We should hear something when?” The Mayor responded, “I believe by next week.”
Gardner’s Hit Radio Show
Readers please take note: WGAW is a local radio station licensed to Gardner MA since 1946. Hotline Radio airs every week on the station on Saturdays from noon to 2pm and features a number of local guests from around the area. Radio station website: CLICK HERE. Listen on AM 1340, 98.1 FM or through the live stream on the station’s website. To listen to the station live right now, CLICK HERE
- Gardner’s Big Oops (5/1/2022)
Gardner MA Big Oops – Epic Failure at Gardner Dog Park
UPDATE 5-3-22 1pm: We have reports that the water is on at the Gardner Dog Park. Many thanks to Gardner DPW.
In a City of big successes, this failure is a big OOPS, an avoidable stain on the reputation of a great City, an affront to public policy, a health hazard, and outright cruelty. The issue: No water for our thirsty dogs. Visitors to the park report that water is turned on at dog parks in other communities and Gardner residents report water is even turned on at Dunn’s Park. So what’s the excuse here? Park visitors are visibly outraged and report they have often cut visits short not only for this reason, but also for another one, the drainage issue contributing to high vet bills for some due to bacterial contamination in some standing water. Rather than taking some petty cash and a dump truck up to a local company selling cheap rock and dumping it over the standing water to instantly eliminate the hazard last Fall, this winter, and this Spring, the issue has been ignored. Dogs got sick and owners had big vet bills. And now, regular visitors to the Gardner Dog Park are demanding answers and their dogs are demanding a simple, refreshing drink of water. It’s that too much to ask? Ooops!
Mayor Nicholson has announced that partly due to funding from the Stanton Foundation which was approved last year, the park will get a covered enclosure, drainage work, and additional water work. Park visitors who report the Dog Park has had no running water since July 2021 are outraged and demanding priority status for this project And sad, thirsty dogs – well, they just want a drink.
What the Community thinks about this issue
What I learned from posting this article on Social Media is that not everyone agrees. Many responses included suggestions that people bring their own water and/or comments about the quality of Gardner water. Many suggest that they bring water for their kids when they come to the playground, so why should the dogs get special treatment? There were also unfounded allegations that the DPW hasn’t fixed the problem because vandals caused it – this was simply a false rumor. At one point last year the DPW was scheduled to fix the issue and turn on the water, but then it was overburdened by water main breaks in the City. The water stations were returned to the park before winter and signs placed on them that water would be off until Spring. For the record, Gardner water has been deemed safe to drink. Here’s a report. CLICK HERE.
How it’s done at Dunn State Park (thanks to Claude Vautour for photos)
Dunn’s Park provides water station for dogs and humans alike:
This is the bubbler that they have at Dunn’s Park where you can fill bottles, humans have a bubbler to drink out of and dogs can drink out of a bowl which is attached.
Thank you to all the people who responded on Social Media to my post. (both those who agreed and those who disagreed.) Everyone was respectful. If we could implement the above water solution at the Gardner Dog Park, it seems we might make everyone happy.
- Security Risk (4/29/2022)
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.
- Gardner PD – Next Chapter (4/28/2022)
Gardner MA Police – Producing the Next Chapter
Executive Summary of Police Report – CLICK HERE.
For the past 3 months, the Gardner Police Department has been without an appointed Chief and Deputy Chief. But it hasn’t stopped working to “first and foremost, protect all citizens who live or visit this community.” A new K-9 officer was appointed, a drone program was utilized, partnerships were still undertaken, such as the Drug Take Back Program taking place this Saturday 4-30-22 at Price Chopper from 10am to 2pm. Officers have stepped up including Lieutenants Eric McAvene Jr. and Nicholas Maroni who together have helped manage the department. While the future of the leadership of the department is still unclear, according to Mayor Nicholson, “It’s something that’s now a discussion that needs to be had, until any finalized plans happen.” Complete 4-28-22 interview with Mayor Nicholson below:
Dispatchers Adrianna LeBlanc, Taryne Swan, Nicholas Gray & Natalie Andrews were honored about a week ago by the state 911 Department for their outstanding service and dedication to the profession of 9-1-1.
The dozens of individuals who comprise the officers and staff of the Gardner Police Department serve the Chair City of Gardner MA in all seasons at all hours of the day and night. Despite some of the negative press due to the recent Police Investigation, these community members continue to serve “With Pride and Integrity.” When you see a Gardner Police employee this week, tell them, “Thank you for your service. You are appreciated. We love you.”
An interview with Mayor Michael Nicholson
Gardner Magazine publisher Werner Poegel asked Mayor Nicholson a number of questions regarding the Chair City including some regarding the Gardner Police Investigation and Review: Link to Executive Summary of Report – CLICK HERE
Poegel: First of all, in what way do you believe that Gardner benefitted by your insistence that the investigation be conducted above board with an outside investigator?
Nicholson: “Anytime situations like these come up, we want to make sure things are done right because our jobs is to make sure we are watching the best interests of the taxpayers who are here.” “We want to make sure all the I’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed …we just cover our bases…remembering that even the people who are subjects of investigation…in this case have decades of service to the City…that they have all their due process rights”
Poegel: The administrative leave was described as “non-disciplinary.” With facts now in hand, does that characterization still hold true?
Nicholson: “It still holds true. It still holds true. It’s something that’s now a discussion that needs to be had until any finalized plans happen…It’s not disciplinary in nature, but it’s problem-solving in nature.”
Poegel asked about names on the City of Gardner website.
Nicholson: ““Jennifer Law can certainly be removed because she resigned from her position. … Everything else, the changes will be made once everything gets completed. Any potential changes I should say because there are no one way or the other, whenever we do investigations,…”
Poegel: Let me ask it this way: Obviously you have to appoint someone to the job of Chief of Police and someone to the job of Deputy Chief of Police. Is it fair to say that Richard Braks and James Trifiro are still potential candidates for those positions or have you ruled them out completely?
Nicholson: ““Until the investigation’s done, there’s a 100% absolutely chance that that’s still in the running.”
Poegel: How do you feel the two lieutenants have done filling in?
Nicholson: ““I honestly feel they’ve been doing an excellent job over there. We checked in with some of the different agencies who interact with the Police Department …Since the two lieutenants have been in charge, we’ve checked in with some of the subordinate employees…., we’ve checked with people who have had interactions with the police since then , we’ve gotten very good feedback with how the department has been run since.”
Poegel: Do you intend to get involved with drafting future policy with regard to how the Gardner PD is managed, so that consistent with the report, praise can be imparted publicly and criticism privately, in an effort to maintain the highest morale of officers and staff?
Nicholson, ““Absolutely. We should always be working to improve the morale of the people here,…It helps us improve our operations in the end. So there will be a complete review of the policies of the Police Department no matter what the investigation process is.”
Poegel: How do you feel about the Gardner PDs usage of drones?
Nicholson: “It’s been a strong tool, helpful in missing persons cases there, particularly the infrared camera in locating people in a wooded area. It’s something that several other police departments across the state have already used, so we’ve been able to kind of not reinvent the wheel, but build off of what they’ve been able to learn…It’s not something that goes out every day. It goes out when needed and when a tool is required to be utilized. Between the drone and Rocky coming to the Police Department, it’s really gonna help us, that if ever there is a situation where someone’s missing or there’s someone who’s run away from the police,…caught doing something they shouldn’t be doing, it severely reduces the time our officers are on the street…it helps get the individuals being looked for quicker. It is efficient and more safe for the public involved”
Poegel: Do you have some other additional tools you believe the Gardner Police could use to enhance services, and if so, where would that funding come from?
Nicholson: ““One of the jobs Lieutenant Maroni has is as the police department’s grant writer…we’re constantly, probably 3 or 4 times a week submitting grant applications for new equipment. One of the highlights of my next goals for the Police Department is to upgrade our radio system.” The city uses a single band radio system currently while other departments in the area use dual band or multi-band.” The Mayor says the City looks towards the COPS grant, the Office of Community Oriented Policing, a federal agency. To learn more about the COPS OFFICE, CLICK HERE
FYI: The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) is the component of the U.S. Department of Justice responsible for advancing the practice of community policing by the nation’s state, local, territorial, and tribal law enforcement agencies through information and grant resources.
Poegel: During all of this, the Gardner PD still had to do its job over the last 3 months. Are there individuals you’d like to single out publicly for praise?
Nicholson: ““The two lieutenants have really stepped up in running things there. We’ve gotten several different thank you letters re officer Dennis Siaw to thank him for really introducing himself. Alot of these times, particularly with Officer Siaw and Officer Alexa Morgan, the officers were doing details and just reached out when they saw something that was happening. The sergeants have all stepped up to make sure their communication has increased…. Dispatcher Adrianna Leblanc is currently filling in as the person overseeing the dispatch department….Adrianna’s done a great job…even the Fire Chief Greg Lagoy has checked in, making sure that things seem to be going OK, particularly with the dispatch department. “
Gardner PD – A Department of Pride and Integrity
Officers put in an extra effort during Distracted Driving Month in April to help prevent car accidents and save lives.
More on distracted driving from the NHTSA, CLICK HERE.
Officers continued to reach out to the community to even their smallest fans.
The Gardner PD even has a Police Explorers unit. For more information, CLICK HERE.
Lieutenant Maroni and Officer Lawrence were honored as part of School Resource Officer Appreciation Day.
For more on the School Resource Officer of the Gardner PD, CLICK HERE.
Gardner PD participated in Autism Awareness, showing their concern for the mental health of citizens and situational awareness of circumstances they may come across in the course of their work.
For more about Autism resources, visit the Autism Speaks website. CLICK HERE.
- Police Report Public (4/23/2022)
In very clear wording, the Executive Summary of the Gardner Police Investigation Report states that the votes of no confidence were either substantiated or had merit.
Gardner MA Releases Executive Summary of Gardner Police Report
The Executive Summary of the Gardner Police Investigation Report has been released. For the document, CLICK HERE. In addition, the Mayor’s Office released a response to a public records request by another member of the local media. CLICK HERE.
What the Report Shows
The Executive Summary dated April 26, 2022 is in the form of a memo from Gardner’s Director of Human Resources Debra A. Pond to Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson. She indicates that she has “reviewed the investigation file and findings for the Police Department investigation as provided by Paul J. L’Italien, Licensed Private Investigator. …the report cannot be produced publicly so I am providing the following executive summary…”
Beginning of the Investigation was January
The summary shows that the investigation dates back to Wednesday, January 20, 2022 when the Investigator spoke with City Solicitor John Flick regarding certain complaints received by the City “so that the City could properly address the personnel issues raised.” “The complaints received by the City consisted of votes of no confidence by all four (4) unions in certain Police Department personnel.
Subjects of Inquiry
As reported previously, the Chief of Police, Deputy Chief of Police, and Head Police Dispatcher all received no confidence votes. The Head Police Dispatcher subsequently resigned and the Chief of Police and Deputy Chief were both placed on administrative leave on or about the beginning of February 2022. “The investigative directive was to conduct interviews of the employees…to hear their concerns and reasons for participating in the vote(s) of no confidence….During the course of the investigation, the Investigator interviewed forty-eight (48) current and, in some cases former employees.”
“The Investigator reported that after careful review and consideration of all available materials from the vote(s) of “no confidence” and the interviews of forty-eight (48) current and former employees of the Department it is his opinion that the vote(s) of “no confidence” against two of the employees are substantiated. The Investigator also reported that the vote of “no confidence” by the Dispatch union against a Dispatch employee also has merit.”
The Investigator provided the following conclusions
“The Investigator provided the following conclusions: Inconsistent management is a problem in itself, but more importantly it delivers a message to the officers and employees which causes confusion, has an adverse effect on morale and most importantly can negatively impact the delivery of safe, efficient and effective police services to the community.
Day to day management should be a hands-on, face to face opportunity to direct, guide, oversee and supervise. Interactions should include praising good performance in public and taking appropriate corrective actions for poor performance in private. Both need to be done contemporaneous to the event to have a maximum impact.
The current management approach in place at the Gardner Police Department is not working. It has exasperated the work environment and has caused a negative effect on the work product of high-quality police services, emergency communications and animal control services to the Gardner community.
It is the Investigator’s opinion that the current management approach needs to be abandoned as a continuation of the current management approach would further exasperate the workforce and the city would be faced with the strong probability that additional employees (sworn and non-sworn) would leave the police department.”
Gardner Magazine will publish more information on the future of the Gardner PD Chief and Deputy Chief as it becomes available.
- GPD Drone (4/16/2022)
Gardner MA Police Department using drones to catch crooks or find people.
From Gardner PD 4-15-22: “Today the GPD drone operators were out getting flight hours in and took a picture of the drone in flight high above the PD. The drone program allows to the PD to quickly deploy to aid in locating missing persons and suspects.”
- MassDot (4/15/2022)
MassDOT commencing resurfacing and rumble strip work
The project will begin on April 18th and will involve Green Street, Gardner MA to Winchendon MA. Delays are expected.
- Awaiting Police Report (4/9/2022)
As Gardner MA Awaits Investigative Report…
As Gardner residents await the results and consequences of the Investigative Report on the Gardner Police Department, the dozens of serving officers help keep Gardner safe Day and Night. Many thanks for your service.
For the Gardner Police Department Facebook page, CLICK HERE
From the Gardner Police Department. “This week, April 10-16, is Dispatch and Animal Control Officer appreciation week. This week and every week GPD is appreciative of the hard work and dedication our Dispatchers and Animal Control Officers do day in and day out. We will post pictures throughout the week showcasing our great employees.”
- Distracted Driving (4/9/2022)
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month in Greater Gardner MA
Distracted driving kills thousands in the U.S. every year. Drivers both young and old use handheld devices while driving. Other distractions which take time away from the seconds needed to avoid an accident can be talking to others in the car, setting navigation, adjusting what you’re listening to, drinking a beverage, or even applying makeup.
You may see increased law enforcement presence on the road in the next several days to help prevent injuries and save lives. Social media posts indicate an increased law enforcement presence in Gardner MA today. More from the NHTSA, CLICK HERE. More from the State of MA, CLICK HERE
- Mayor on Hotline (4/2/2022)
Approximately 50 people were interviewed for the report on the Gardner Police Department. Both the Chief and Deputy Chief have been on paid Administrative leave for the past couple months. Until March 11th, an Acting Chief was running the Department. Currently, two lieutenants share the duties.
Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson provides Police update on WGAW’s Hotline Radio
In a live interview on Saturday April 2, 2022, the Gardner Mayor addressed the progress of the report on the Gardner Police Investigation. Individuals involved will be able to review report. Executive Summary might be out at the end of next week. If the Chief and Deputy Chief would like to return to their posts and if the Mayor wants them, they would need to be reappointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council as their 3 year appointments expired in January.
Mayor Nicholson stated, “Have received draft from investigator. It is currently in redaction stage. The Police Chief, Deputy Chief, and Dispatch Director will each get a chance to review the document. However, they’ll only be able to review their specific sections of the document, and then the executive summary will be prepared and released after they have a chance to review the full report, that way they get their full due process rights there, so they can be able to fully understand everything that’s in the report…and then after that the official confidentiality items of the executive summary can be released.”
What will be released: “There will be an executive summary of the report released to the public. The full investigation materials are considered personnel records. Those will have to remain confidential in their own specific personnel files. However, there are certain portions of it, the findings of the report in particular that will be public.”
Regarding whether individuals will return to work, “That’s a decision I think that will start with the individuals themselves after they read the report. I’d rather not make too many judgments before they get a chance to be able to read the report themselves and be able to defend themselves on their own, so those will be discussions that happen after they get a chance to read all the report.”
When report will come out: ”probably end of this week, as long as we can schedule times for them to come and read the report. Now that we have it on hand, making sure they have an opportunity to review everything themselves.”
On appointments: “They are actually not contracted employees, they are appointed employees, just like any other department heads in the city, and those appointments expired in January.” The dispatch director is an employee at will… and deputy chief and chief are appointed employees for a period of 3 years and that time expired this past January.”
Nicholson Goes to Washington: The Mayor stated, ““I’m going to be out of the City this coming week. I’ve been invited down to the White House to have a couple of meetings with the Biden Administration Intergovernmental affairs office. We’ll be meeting with several different secretaries of the President’s cabinet.“
- Illegal Dumping (4/1/2022)
Don’t illegally dump in Gardner. You will get caught. You will pay for your crime.
Illegal Dumpers in Gardner MA soon to get Rude Awakening
The fine is $250 for the first offense. The problem has been capturing the crooks in the act. That’s about to change. The Gardner Board of Health is going high-tech, employing sophisticated cameras rotating throughout the city to capture license plates of people dumping illegally.
At a recent Board of Health meeting, Director Lauren Saunders said “looking to catch people who are illegally dumping in the city. It’s a big problem. I think we’ve talked about it before. …There are certain hot spots that people are continuously dumping furniture, televisions, electronics, big items like that. “ Have one camera, will work with PD and DPW to get it up, will move locations. “ Board member Susan Avalon also commented saying she walks down Betty Spring Road “and there’s toilets, chairs, all kinds of things.”
- Graham St. Fire (3/30/2022)
Fire on Graham Street, Gardner MA Displaces 8 people
3 families including 6 adults and 2 kids were reportedly displaced on the morning of Tuesday 3-29-22 as fire struck 20 Graham Street in Gardner MA. Firefighters from 10 communities fought the blaze until late afternoon. Cause is under investigation. No injuries were reported.
- Pothole Portal (3/29/2022)
Gardner MA has an active Pothole Portal
The City of Gardner makes it easy to report that pesky pothole with an online form CLICK HERE.
Just tell them where the pothole is and provide some contact information. You can even provide a photo of the pothole.
- Gas Line Struck (3/24/2022)
While evacuations of patients or staff were not necessary, ambulances had to transport patients to other hospitals during the incident. Engine companies from Westminster and Ashburnham assisted at scene, while Hubbardston and Templeton covered Gardner Fire station.
Gardner MA Fire Department Dispatched to Heywood Hospital for Broken Gas Line
A Construction Crew working at Heywood Hospital on the morning of 3-23-22 apparently damaged a 1 ½ inch high pressure line that services the kitchen. The rear of the Hospital campus was evacuated due to a strong odor of gas. Subsequent testing of entire building by Firefighter teams showed no dangerous levels. More from the Gardner Fire Department on Facebook, CLICK HERE.
- 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.
- K-9 Rocky (3/17/2022)
Gardner MA Police Department gets K-9
From Gardner PD: “The Gardner Police Department would like to introduce the newest member of the department K9 Rocky. The last K9 for the GPD was back in 2008-2009. The GPD was able to bring back the K9 program through the Stanton Foundation K9 Grant that covers costs to implement the program.
K9 Rocky’s Handler is Officer Josh Willis who was selected by an interview panel. K9 Rocky’s name has a very special meaning to the GPD as he is named after the late Deputy Chief Rock Barrieau. Officer Willis and K9 Rocky start their 14 week training at Boston Police Academy starting March 28th. The GPD will post periodic updates on the team throughout the 14 weeks. Pictured is, Mayor Nicholson, Officer Willis, Rocky and Lynn Barrieau.”
- Who’s the Chief (3/15/2022)
Gardner is waiting to hear the results of an Investigation into the Gardner Police Department which started with the suspension of both Chief Richard Braks and Deputy Chief James Trifiro following a no-confidence vote of 4 Police Unions. Report is expected as early as the end of this week.
Who’s the Police Chief in Gardner MA?
Update 3-15-22: The Mayor’s office has informed us that Lieutenants Eric McAvene Jr. and Nicholas Maroni are sharing the duties of Chief of Police in Gardner. They have been doing so since the departure of the Acting Chief last Friday 3-11-22. The Police Department Investigation Report is anticipated any day now (The Mayor has said possibly by the end of this week). It is anticipated that further developments regarding the future of WHO’S THE CHIEF? will be made public at that time.
Previous story: Mayor Nicholson previously announced that the Acting Chief’s last day was to be Friday March 11, 2022. So our question is: Is the Acting Chief staying on? Or is the Chief back? Or is someone else the Chief? We’ve reached out via fax to the Gardner Police Department and are awaiting the answer to WHO’S THE CHIEF?
- Firefighter Fundraiser (3/7/2022)
Gardner MA Firefighter Benefit at Wachusett Brew Yard
The Benefit features music by Jared Moore, raffle baskets, and a 50/50 raffle. Open to the public, Thursday, March 24th from 6pm to 10pm at the Wachusett Brew Yard, 175 State Road East, Westminster, MA. Directions, CLICK HERE.
- Police Update (3/3/2022)
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.
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.
- Mayor’s Update 2-25-22 (2/25/2022)
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..
- Gardner Police (2/18/2022)
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.
- Orange PD (2/11/2022)
Orange Police Department Announces Drug Bust
“After a lengthy investigation into the sales of illegal narcotics, stemming from complaints of concerned citizens and proactive police work, the Northwestern Anti-Crime Task Force, along with assistance from the Orange Police Department, executed a search warrant on February 9, 2022 at a residence in the town of Orange. Among other evidence, investigators located and seized the following illegal narcotics: • Approximately (181.5) grams of suspected cocaine;• Approximately (770) bags / DU of suspected fentanyl;• Approximately (84) tablets of suspected MDMA;• Various prescription pills; and• Approximately $1,558 US currency.As a result of the investigation, one male party was placed under arrest and charged with the following:◦ Trafficking a Class B Substance Greater than 100 grams (cocaine) ◦ Trafficking a Class A Substance Greater than 10 grams (Fentanyl)◦ Possession of a Class B Substance with Intent to Distribute (MDMA)◦ Possession of a Class E Substance with Intent to Distribute ◦ Possession of a Class B Substance ◦ Possession of a Class C Substance ◦ Possession of a Class E Substance. This investigation is still on-going, and more specific details are unavailable at this time.” Orange MA PD Facebook page. CLICK HERE
- Accident (2/2/2022)
Gardner MA Fire Department Responds to 5 Car Motor Vehicle Accident.
From Gardner Fire 2-2-22 “Yesterday morning around 07:30, Gardner Fire Group 2 responded to Rt. 2 Eastbound for an MVA. On arrival they had a 5 car MVA, with one car rolled over on its roof in the middle of the highway.
Gardner Fire apparatus were immediately positioned to shut the highway down to protect the civilians out on the highway and those still in the vehicles involved in the crash. In total, 9 people were involved in the accident with only one being transported to Heywood Hospital with minor injuries. Rt. 2 was shut down for about two hours until the vehicles could be towed away. A group recall was requested for station coverage while the on duty Fire and EMS crews were operating on Route 2.”
- Library Flood (2/1/2022)
Ashburnham MA Library Damaged by Water
On January 31, 2022, the Stevens Memorial Library in Ashburnham MA had to close due to a flood. The Library announced: “We will be closed Wednesday 2/2 and Thursday 2/3 while we continue to address damage caused on Monday. The craft program scheduled for tomorrow night has been rescheduled for Wednesday 2/9.”
- Snow Removal – CLICK on any image for larger view (1/31/2022)
Gardner MA Accessibility 2 Days After Snow
Most areas accessible, However Bullnose Park not cleared – Entrance to Dog Park not open
- Fire Dept. Request (1/30/2022)
Gardner MA Fire Department Requests – Keep Hydrants Clear!
From Gardner Fire Department “After this storm we need your help. Please help us by clearing out your local Hydrants. Most hydrants are buried in the deep snow and snow banks now and we won’t be able to find them quickly if there is a fire. We truly appreciate it!”
- Saturday Blizzard (1/28/2022)
Is Greater Gardner MA in for a Saturday Blizzard?
We’re ready at the Greater Gardner Weather Center. CLICK HERE We have several forecast services plus Interactive Maps which show you the various forecast models.
PARKING BANS: Many communities will have parking bans in various areas. Times will vary, but the intent is the same, KEEP CARS OFF THE ROAD so plows can clear the snow.
- Weather (1/27/2022)
Gardner MA Weather, Weather Maps, and Climate Change
For Weather enthusiasts and for those who just want a good forecast, we have some Comprehensive Reports for you. Our Weather Center has 5 services, Info from 4 airports, a new Meteo Blue Interactive Weather Map, and detailed National Weather Service Map and Forecast. CLICK HERE.
And, our Weather Outlook shows the Meteo Blue seasonal outlook for January to March 2022, NOAA Winter Outlook, and a comprehensive CLIMATE CHANGE section showing Gardner temperatures and precipitation from 1979 to now, AND 12 separate charts with monthly temperatures in detail for 40+ years. CLICK HERE.
- 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.
- Cold Cars (1/24/2022)
Cold Temps Affect Greater Gardner MA Cars
The Central Mass Safety Council reminds us. “Kinda cold out there, keep an eye on your car.”
“If the car gets too cold, the battery can freeze. Don’t forget to check your oil if it gets cold outside—it will get thicker, which can mess with your vehicle’s performance. The air in your tires contracts as the temperature changes and can cause low tire pressure. “
- 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
- Burn Permits (1/11/2022)
Fire must be supervised at all times and be at least 75 feet from any dwelling. Be aware of all other requirements prior to burning.
Burning Season Greater Gardner MA – January 15, 2022 to April 30, 2022.
Open Burning Season runs from January 15, 2022 to April 30, 2022. You must apply for a burning permit each season. In Gardner MA, once you have the permit, you must call (978) 630-7019 between 8:30am and 1:00pm to activate your permit each day you plan on burning. (and to ensure burning is allowed that day.)
Burning can take place between 10am and 4pm only. Here’s what you can burn: tree branches, brush, and garden debris. You can’t burn trash. Note: The Fire Department can cancel burning on any day due to change of wind or other conditions. And, if you burn rubber tires, you can not only be fined, but also go to jail. City of Gardner info, CLICK HERE. Gardner Burn permit, CLICK HERE.
Links to burn permit information from each community: Ashburnham, Ashby, Athol, Barre, Gardner, Hardwick, Hubbardston, New Salem, Oakham, Orange, Petersham, Phillipston, Princeton, Royalston, Rutland, Templeton, Warwick, Westminster, Winchendon.
- Fire Department (1/8/2022)
For the complete 2021 Gardner Fire Department Activity Report in printable pdf, CLICK HERE
96% of Gardner MA Fire Department Calls NOT FIRE.
While the Gardner Fire Department had over 5 thousand calls in 2021, only 4 percent were for fires or explosions. 70 percent of all calls were Rescue Calls. Unfortunately, more than 10 percent of all calls were False calls. False calls can be a crime, here’s a link to the law. CLICK HERE.
- Code Red (1/6/2022)
- Road Ice (1/5/2022)
Ice on Greater Gardner MA Roads
At around 9am on Wednesday January 5, 2022, Gardner DPW issued the following, “Please stay off the roads this morning. The DPW is asking residents to limit travel to necessary travel. The conditions are extremely dangerous. Pedestrians should be aware that sidewalks are also extremely dangerous.”
Numerous reports of accidents were posted on Facebook including one report of a multi-vehicle accident on Route 101 in East Templeton. Other posts refer to several accidents in Gardner and bad conditions on Route 140. More details as they become available.
- Accidents (1/5/2022)
PLEASE DRIVE CAREFULLY! – Numerous accidents have been reported throughout the area January 5, 2022 as rain apparently froze on area roads this morning.
- NRSD Water Main break (12/29/2021)
Narragansett Regional School District Templeton/Phillipston, MA is resuming office hours Thursday December 30, 2021 after being closed Wednesday December 29th due to a water main break. Dec. 29th Boys Basketball, JV & Varsity games at Narragansett have been postponed to Monday, January 17th.
- Water Main Break (12/28/2021)
Gardner MA Water Main Break, again…
Citizens on social media have reported yet another water main break, apparently occurring at the Leamy, Barthel, Baker intersection the morning of December 28, 2021. Gardner Magazine called the DPW for any information. We asked if the Water Department had any staffing shortages which would impede response and the staff member indicated there were none. We were referred to email Dane Arnold, Director of Public Works, who is out of the office and we will pass along any information which we receive.
Gardner MA has had its share of water main breaks over the past year and has replaced some very old pipe in the repair process. In many cases, the Water Department has been proactive in replacing pipe to avoid potential water breaks. However, some citizens are frustrated over the ongoing issue. To report a water main break, please call the department at (978) 630-8195. The water/sewer department has a dedicated page on the City of Gardner site. CLICK HERE.
- Travel Safety (12/22/2021)
Gardner MA Travel Safety
Wherever you travel within the Greater Gardner MA region or beyond this Holiday, you can take certain precautions. It may be relatively safe locally, but that’s not true everywhere. Here’s a few travel tips:
Pay attention to your surroundings, not your phone. Lock valuables in your car trunk. Keep your phone, purse, or wallet out of easy reach. Have copies of important legal documents and upload scanned digital copies to a secure online location you can access if ever needed. Be aware of possible safety risks at your destination in advance. Keep money in multiple locations. Let your family know where you are going. And because of the pandemic, bring along a supply of masks. Have a safe trip!
- Fire Safety (12/20/2021)
Best Winter Fire Safety Practices
This time of year is a good time to write about best Fire Safety practices. The Massachusetts Department of Fire Services “provides the fire service, regulated industries, and citizens with training, education, prevention, investigation, and emergency response services.” Download Winter Holiday Safety pamphlet. CLICK HERE. For more information on the Department of Fire Services, here’s a link to the official website, CLICK HERE.
- Fire Scare (12/6/2021)
Fire Scare at New Gardner Elementary School
The emergency call was received just after 8am about a fire at the building site located off Pearl Street. The accidental fire caused at least several thousand dollars in damage. According to an online post by former Gardner Mayor Mark Hawke, “They were cutting some steel on the roof and some sparks caused some debris to ignite. The fire was out very quickly. There was no massive blaze, there were no injuries, all is well.”
- Emergency CheckList (12/5/2021)
Build a Gardner MA Emergency Kit
It’s always a good idea to be prepared for a possible emergency, even in the Greater Gardner MA area. You may need food, water, and other supplies to last several days. We have a downloadable version on PDF from FEMA which you can take with you to the store. CLICK HERE.
- Gardner Bus Safety (12/4/2021)
Gardner MA Bus Safety
Appropriate Bus Safety in Greater Gardner MA is important to protect children from death and injury. While on the bus, children are very safe, but there is great risk to children when approaching or leaving buses. We have tips for parents and children and best safety practices for drivers. Read complete article, CLICK HERE.
- How Safe Gardner MA? (11/16/2021)
Statistically speaking, Greater Gardner Massachusetts is a relatively safe place compared to the rest of the nation.
Violent Crime Lower in Massachusetts
According to the FBI, there were 387 violent crimes reported per 100,000 people nationally in 2011 compared to 427 in Massachusetts. By 2020, violent crimes per 100,000 people nationally was at 399 with Massachusetts at 309. So what does than mean? 10 years ago, Massachusetts was 22% more violent than the national average. Now, Massachusetts has flipped to 23% safer than the national average. While any violent crime is bad, we have made substantial progress in MA. The numbers are not a fluke either. They have been gradually falling every year. Explore the data yourself: CLICK HERE
- Lower Speeds (7/26/2021)
Lower Speeds. Save Lives.
Gardner Massachusetts area cities and towns can immediately save lives by designating more side streets as safe zones. MA MGL C.90 S17C allows “thickly settled” cities and towns to adopt a 25 mph default speed limit by ordinance for all streets unless otherwise posted.
MA Cities and towns can also set 20mph safety zones, which they can use their own criteria to create. Many people don’t know that an 85 percentile rule has been used for ages in determining road speeds, effectively letting what speed a super majority of drivers drive to set the road speed. View NACTO 50 page report pdf. Many cities and towns indicate a desire to set road speeds based more on actual objective safety criteria.
Unfortunately, people tend to drive as fast as the law allows, so this hasn’t worked. Why are some proposed changes a good idea? It’s simple physics. According to the NACTO report, a person hit by a car at 35 miles per hour is 5 times more likely to die than a person hit by a car at 20 miles per hour. And “The Highway Safety Manual” cited by NACTO found that a 10% reduction in the average speed resulted in 19% fewer injury crashes, 27% fewer injury crashes, and 34% fewer fatal crashes. View Highway Safety Manual pdf. (1000+ pages)While they have been defeated in legislatures, proposals have been made in states such as Maryland to limit speed to 15mph in some residential areas.
Sadly, the U.S. has the highest traffic fatality rate in the industrialized world, double that of Canada, and quadruple that of Europe. So, is it unreasonable to ask folks to slow down in Greater Gardner MA residential areas and save some lives? Many would say, I think not.