Public Safety Greater Gardner MA Local News

Public Safety Around Greater Gardner MA

  • Bear Spotted (5/26/2022)
    Bear in Backyard on Clark Street Gardner MA

    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.

    Mama bear and cubs
    Mama Bear and Cubs
    Black Bear Range in Massachusetts
    Black Bear Range in Massachusetts – CLICK IMAGE for larger view
    Bears in hammock
    Mama bear and cubs

    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.  

    Bear Tips

    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.

    Some other resources in printable pdf format: Prevent Negative Encounters with BearsCoexisting with black bearsLiving with black bears fact sheet

    If you need to reach Gardner MA Animal Control, here is the page. CLICK HERE.

  • Sewage Sludge (5/25/2022)
    Gardner MA Landfill
    Gardner Landfill Gardner MA

    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.

    Sewage Sludge

    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.

    CONCLUSIONS:

    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.

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

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

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

    Mayor Mike Nicholson Gardner MA
    Gardner Mayor :Michael Nicholson

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

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

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

    Hotline Radio

    Heard on Gardner’s Hit Radio Show!

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

  • Mosquitos Out (5/21/2022)
    out they go

    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.”

    Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project

    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)
    Annual Water Quality Report 2021 Gardner MA
    Water Quality

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

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

    Gardner Water Corrosion Issue

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

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

    Gardner MA Councilors Debate Scooters and Approve Outdoor Dining Space.

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

    Bird Scooters
    Bird Scooters is a company mentioned by Mayor Nicholson

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

    The complete City Council and packet is available. CLICK HERE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    rendering of outdoor dining
    Outdoor dining rendering

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

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

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

    letter from Gardner pd

    Councilor Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Police update 5-8-22 (5/8/2022)
    Gardner MA Police Headquarters

    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

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  • Gardner’s Big Oops (5/1/2022)
    Epic Failure at Gardner Dog Park
    sorry

    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)

    Water station at Dunn's Park
    dog drinking water at Dunn's Park

    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.

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

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

    Gardner MA Gets Rid of Potential Russian Security Risk

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

  • Gardner PD – Next Chapter (4/28/2022)

    Gardner MA Police – Producing the Next Chapter

    Executive Summary of Police ReportCLICK 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 honored

    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

    Mayor Nicholson of Gardner

    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

    distracted driving month

    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 reach out to boy

    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.

    School Resource officer

    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 Autism Awareness

    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.

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  • Police Report Public (4/23/2022)
    Gardner MA Police Report Details

    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.”

    Conclusions Reached

    “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.

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  • GPD Drone (4/16/2022)
    Gardner MA Police Department drone

    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.

    Dispatch and animal control appreciation week

    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

    It's North worth your life
    one text or call could wreck it all

    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)
    public record who will be the chief

    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.“

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  • 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)
    Graham Street Gardner MA Fire
    Graham Street Fire photo posted on Social Media

    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.

    Report a pothole in another town: WinchendonWestminsterTempletonPhillipston – or contact your town’s highway department.

  • Gas Line Struck (3/24/2022)
    Gas Line struck 3-23-22

    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.

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  • 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.”

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  • Who’s the Chief (3/15/2022)
    Gardner MA Police Headquarters

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

    Watch the entire meeting on YouTube. CLICK HERE

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

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

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

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

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

    Athletic Fields

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Orange PD (2/11/2022)
    Orange Police Department Drug Bust 2-11-22
    From Orange Police Department 2-11-22

    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)
    Motor vehicle accident route 2 on 2-1-22

    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)
    Flooded building

    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)
    Snow well-cleared on Parker Street
    Theme in Window “Shop Local”

    Gardner MA Accessibility 2 Days After Snow

    Most areas accessible, However Bullnose Park not cleared – Entrance to Dog Park not open

    Gardner Fire Department
    Gardner Fire Department
    Happy 2022 at Velvet Goose
    Gardner Post Office and City Hall on the side
    Post Office and City Hall
    Priscilla Candy Shop Gardner MA
    Priscilla Candy Shop
    Gardner MA Bullnose Park
    Bullnose Park
    Gardner MA Dog Park
    Gardner Dog Park – Wright St. side
  • Fire Dept. Request (1/30/2022)
    Fire Department Hydrants

    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)
    Saturday Blizzard

    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.

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  • Weather (1/27/2022)
    Gardner ma temperature map

    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)
    How cold temperatures affect your car

    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. “

    For more safety information and various Driver Training resources, visit the Central Mass Safety Council website: CLICK HERE.  Facebook page  CLICK HERE.

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  • 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)
    Burn Permits

    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.

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  • Fire Department (1/8/2022)
    Gardner Fire Department 2021 chart
    Gardner Fire Department Incidents 2021 Chart

    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)
    code red

    Sign up for Gardner MA Code Red

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

  • Road Ice (1/5/2022)
    Ice on the Road 1-5-22

    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.

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  • 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.

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  • Water Main Break (12/28/2021)
    Water Main Gardner MA
    barthel, leamy, baker street water main break gardner ma

    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.

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  • Travel Safety (12/22/2021)
    Gardner MA Travel

    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)
    Massachusetts Department of Fire Services

    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)
    Gardner Elementary School

    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)
    Crime and Safety Gardner MA

    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.

    Save Lives and slow down

    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.

     

    Fatality with Speed

      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. 

    Braking Distance with Speed, Gardner MA

    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.

    MA Speed Laws