More Greater Gardner MA Local News

News Around Greater Gardner MA (older stories)

  • Gears of Industry (5/4/2022)
    Gears of Gardner Industry

    The State of Massachusetts most recent data as of March 2022 shows the Gardner Labor Force at 9.842 with 9,391 employed and 451 unemployed. Unemployment rate 4.6% vs. the MA rate of 3.8%.

    Gears of Gardner MA Industry Turning as Manufacturers Look for Workers

    A brief look at online postings for manufacturing HELP WANTED in Gardner MA turned up a number of positions as of 5-4-22. Molding Technician at Mack Prototype pays up to $49.7k/yr. Injection Molding, Mold Technician at Advanced Cable Ties pays up to $55.2k/yr.. Expert Staffing advertises Picker/Packer/Assembler jobs at up to $35k/yr. First Mate Printing and Converting is seeking a Press Assistant at up to $40.5k/yr.

    Companies advertising jobs with hourly rates including Garlock Printing & Converting which even offers a retention bonus, Standard Chair, NEWW Packaging and Display, Balance Staffing, Employer Solutions, Monroe Staffing, Expert Staffing, Continental Feed Screw Inc., , and Wood You Build It. Hourly rates range from about $15 to about $30/hr.

    Masshire North Central Career Center

    Gardner Spring Job Fair

    The Gardner MA Spring Job Fair will take place on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 from 2pm to 6pm at the Gardner Senior Center, 294 Pleasant Street, Gardner. Directions. You can Pre-register with a MassHire Career Counselor Website or register at the event. Event is free. Up to 2 dozen employers or more will meet job seekers and conduct on-the-spot interviews. More Information.

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

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

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

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

    George Tyros

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

    Gardner MA City Council May 2, 2022

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

    Dernaliewicz

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

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

    James Walsh

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

    Snow and ice

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

    On Free Cash – City is Flush

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

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

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

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

    James S. Boone

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

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

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

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

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

  • Nicholson Interview (5/3/2022)

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

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

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

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

  • 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 Fields (4/29/2022)
    photo at athletic fields

    City of Gardner MA Athletic Fields

    Gardner is investing over $600,000 to improve School Athletic Fields. Press Release has details. CLICK HERE

    CLICK PHOTO at left for larger view.

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

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

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

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

    100 percent

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

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

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

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

    Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson updates City from Grant Event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Ashburnham MA Holds May 3, 2022 Town Meeting

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

    For the pdf of warrant articles, CLICK HERE.

  • Covid Complete (4/21/2022)
    Covid Seesaw
    Covid Trends 4-20-22

    For the latest Covid 19 data at any time from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, please visit the MA Covid Dashboard. For data for the entire United States, visit the CDC Covid Data Tracker

    Understanding the Covid Seesaw in Greater Gardner MA

    We’re calling it the Covid-19 Seesaw – the ever changing recommendations and rules regarding this pesky virus and the infection rate of Covid going up and down. In an effort to put it all into perspective, we have an 18 page pdf showing current data and information over time. There’s also a PowerPoint presentation with the same data. 18 page pdf report 4-20-22 —– PowerPoint presentation 4-20-22..

    If you need software to open Microsoft office files or simply want a FREE office suite, LibreOffice is a great non-profit source and it’s completely FREE. Website

    Tired of Covid? You’re not the only one. A recent poll by Monmouth University showed 70% of Americans agree with the following sentiment, “it’s time we accept that Covid is here to stay and we just need to get on with our lives.”

    According to the CDC, the Community Level of Covid-19 in Worcester County MA is currently low. View PDF. However, the 7 Day Case rate on 4-21-22 has the state of Massachusetts as a whole listed at the beginning of the high category. See map below: Now you know why we call this the Covid-19 Seesaw – Cases up, cases down, levels up, levels down etc.

    7 Day Case Rate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    So Who Is Right?

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

    .

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

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

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

    Earlier article, CLICK HERE

    Gardner MA City Councilor Boone asks for apology from Mayor Nicholson

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

  • Covid Update (4/19/2022)
    MA Covid Dashboard – CLICK IMAGE for larger view

    With Covid cases low, small increases appear to be large. Here’s actual data.

    Covid Cases Still Low in MA

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Health released its Covid Dashboard on 4-15-22 (which looks back 2 weeks) showing in MA: under 2500 new Covid cases (in last day), under 350 patients currently hospitalized with Covid, and under 40 patients currently in ICU units, with under 10 new deaths reported.   7 day average of percent positivity is 3.89%.  Average age of death was 78.   Gardner Magazine is committed  to not overstate the risk of Covid and still urges proactive measures such as vaccines, boosters, and quick treatment for those afflicted.

  • Time Travel (4/18/2022)
    Center of Gardner MA 100 years ago
    Center of Gardner 100 years ago
    Main Street, Gardner mid to late 20th century
    Main Street Gardner Mid 20th Century
    Main Street Gardner MA 2020s
    Main Street Gardner MA in the 2020’s
    Gardner MA Circa 2200s
    Gardner MA Circa 2200s

    Fictional Time Traveler Journeys to Gardner MA Past and Future

    1900: Our time traveler is on a mission to find the perfect time in Downtown Gardner, Massachusetts. Journeying incognito to the Center of Gardner 100 years ago, he finds commerce in full swing. Some of the buildings exist to this day, some have been replaced.

    1950/60: Turning the crank of his time machine, our Time Traveler finds himself viewing a Gardner police officer directing traffic over 60 years ago, near the intersection people have been fussing about. Traffic existed then as it does now, but ideas of how to handle it have evolved and changed over time. Notice a thriving business district in Downtown Gardner.

    2020s: Our Time Traveler journeys to present day and finds an attractive Downtown Gardner MA with a different traffic pattern and different businesses. The future of Gardner MA is only limited by the imagination and fortitude of its residents, community leaders, and government officials. With the recent progress made and additional projects announced, who knows what the future could hold for Gardner MA.

    2200: Our Time Traveler ends up in the year 2200. History shows that a forwarding-looking Gardner Mayor, City Council, and Business Community in 2022 continued to foster a period of positive growth in the Chair City. By the way, it is said that in the year 2200, Gardner MA is once again the undisputed Furniture Capital of the World.

    Residents of Gardner MA have every reason to believe the future of the Chair City is going to be bright as the community works together.

  • Crossword Puzzles (4/18/2022)

    Gardner Magazine Announces NEW Daily Crossword Puzzle Feature!

    For the Daily Crossword Puzzle page, CLICK HERE.

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

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

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

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

  • Patriot’s Day (4/17/2022)
    Patriot's Day - Remember and Honor

    Patriot’s Day in the Greater Gardner MA area is Monday April 18, 2022

    For more information on Patriot’s Day, CLICK HERE

    Monday, April 18, 2022 is also the 126th Boston Marathon. Official website, CLICK HERE. The race will be covered LIVE on WBZ-TV Channel 4.1 Boston More info, CLICK HERE.

  • H.O.P.E. (4/17/2022)
    House of Peace and Education kids pick up trash in Gardner
    More info about H.O.P.E. on their Facebook page.

    Hero Greater Gardner MA Kids Set Great Example

    From the House of Peace & Education Inc.: ”H.O.P.E kiddos helped out the community yesterday and did a trash clean up! 7 bags of trash and tons of cardboard!”

  • Kids Colds (4/17/2022)
    Sick Child
    Doctor with child

    Are Snot Nose Kids Coming Back in Greater Gardner MA?

    One of the unintended consequences of masking children during the pandemic has been the effect on immune systems and the transmission of other illnesses.  Not only was Covid spread possibly prevented, but also the incidence of colds and flu was greatly diminished.  Less kids were getting sick with other illnesses.  With masks coming off, colds and flu are expected back.

    Snotty noses in babies and toddlers can be treated with saline spray or nose drops available over the counter.   For older children, there’s Children’s Tylenol Cold and Flu or Dimetapp Cold and Cough.   Other items to stock in the medicine cabinet are ibuprofen, acetaminophen, petroleum jelly, hydrocortisone 1 percent, antibiotic ointment, cough syrup, menthol rub, honey, kids vitamins, thermometers, and other over the counter remedies.   Of course, for specific concerns, check with your family doctor or pediatrician.

    Information on Colds and Flu from the CDC. CLICK HERE.

    Family of 3

    CDC Influenza Map
    CDC Influenza Map Week Ending 4-9-22 CLICK IMAGE for larger view

    Good news is actual flu cases in Massachusetts are shown as low on the most recent CDC Influenza Map. Let’s hope the trend continues.

    .

  • Easter Sunday (4/16/2022)
    He Died for Us - Jesus - Happy Easter

    Easter Sunday in Greater Gardner MA is April 17, 2022

    Easter commemorates the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.  It is described in the New Testament of the Holy Bible as having occurred on the third day of his burial after the crucifixion.  The supernatural resurrection from the dead of Jesus is one of the chief tenets of the Christian faith. 

    What about Easter eggs?  The egg is an ancient symbol of new life and rebirth.  In Christianity it became associated with Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  Happy Easter!

    For the churches in the Greater Gardner MA area, please visit our CHURCHES page. CLICK HERE.

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  • Noise Complaints (4/16/2022)
    When Noise is Too Loud
    Sound Meter
    No Noise graphic

    Be Kind. Have fun, but limit noise to appropriate hours. You will keep your neighbors happy.

    Solutions to Excess Noise in Greater Gardner MA

    A situation which occurs often is the NOISE COMPLAINT. When is the line crossed from when someone is simply enjoying some music on their own property having a good time to when they are infringing on someone else’s rights. According to Massachusetts Environmental Protection Regulations, there is a clear line and it is measurable and also enforceable by local police under 310 CMR 7.52. In fact, there was a Virtual Seminar conducted on the subject and we have the 49 page pdf. Air Quality Nuisance Complaints Concerning Noise CLICK HERE. Here’s a link to sound level meters on Amazon. CLICK HERE.

    Measuring the Problem

    Utilizing the above regulations through sound measurement can be done at any time of day, irrespective of any other local ordinances limiting complaints to, for example, loud noise between the hours of 11pm and 7am such as some communities do with ordinances. Keep in mind you can’t complain about circumstances for which individuals have a valid permit such as a parade, public gathering, or sporting event, a licensed Fireworks Display, or Band Concert. You can’t complain about Emergency vehicles or national defense activities. And, you can’t complain about domestic equipment such as lawn mowers and power saws used between the hours of 7:00am and 9:00pm. – these uses are specifically permitted by statute.

    Local Ordinances

    Your local community may have a local ordinance establishing a quiet time between certain hours, such as 11pm and 7am. In those cases, common sense applies and Police officers can easily step in and get the music turned down without having to do specific measurements. The evidence is that you heard it and it bothers you. We advise the City of Gardner to either enact a simple local excess noise ordinance or have officers carry Sound level meters which would allow them to take action at any time of day when noise levels exceed the ambient noise present at the complainants property line by 10db.

  • Water Line (4/16/2022)
    Water Treatment Plant at Crystal Lake Gardner MA
    Water Treatment Plant at Crystal Lake Gardner MA
    Water reflection - Clark Street, Gardner MA
    Water Reflection – Clark Street, Gardner MA
    World Water
    Water main break

    Gardner MA Applying for funds to replace main Water Transmission Line

    Gardner MA Mayor Nicholson says the City of Gardner is making a $1.2 million dollar application to replace the main water transmission line for Gardner as it was identified as a weakness by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in a 2002 report. We have obtained a copy of the Federal Government’s Infrastructure Report Card from 2017 which showcases U.S. needs.   REPORT.

    Nationwide, drinking water is delivered via about one million miles of pipes, many of which were laid in the early to mid 20th century with a lifespan of 75 to 100 years.   There are still over an estimated 200 thousand water main breaks per year in the United States wasting over 2 trillion gallons of treated drinking water.  With these facts noted, it is anticipated that Gardner will have competition for the needed funds from other municipalities around the country.   Mayor Nicholson is seeking sufficient funding to not only replace the current main water transmission line, but also construct a simultaneous spare line.

    Gardner MA would like to preemptively replace the main water transmission line as its breakage would compromise the delivery of water to thousands of Gardner residents.

  • Breaking News (4/16/2022)

    BREAKING NEWS:; Mayor Nicholson just announced in a Hotline Radio interview on WGAW taking place right now just after noon on 4-16-22 that the 3 individuals contemplated in the Gardner Police Department investigation have copies of the report. Meetings are scheduled this Tuesday and Thursday this week to discuss report. Mayor says they were supposed to receive copies of report while he was away in Washington D.C., but due to an issue with the redaction service the City uses, this did not occur. Once meetings take place this week, the report will be released to public in another week after that.

    .

  • 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.”

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

    Gardner PD 2022 Issue Timeline:

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

    Gardner MA Mayor Nicholson Updates City, Police Report not addressed

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

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

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

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

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

  • 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.

  • Good Friday (4/15/2022)
    Good Friday April 15, 2022

    Good Friday is 4-15-22 in Greater Gardner MA

    Thank you Jesus for what you did for us. More on Good Friday, CLICK HERE.

    Our article on Easter, CLICK HERE.

    Our Churches page, CLICK HERE.

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

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

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

    A Real **** Show! and Head Shaker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Joint Convention to Address Allegations of Wrongdoing

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

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

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

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

    NO WONDER EVERYONE WAS CONFUSED!

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

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

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

    ….

  • 4th of July (4/14/2022)
    4th of July Independence Day Initiative

    Gardner Magazine launches 4th of July Independence Day Initiative for Greater Gardner MA

    In anticipation of more community celebrations, functions, activities, and events this year, we have created a page called The Independence Day Initiative with listings from 19 different communities. We’re seeking info from communities, organizations, businesses, and individuals.  You tell us, we’ll tell the region. For the 4th of July page, CLICK HERE.

  • Recreation (4/13/2022)
    Gardner MA Recreation
    Daniel Forte recognized
    Daniel Forte receiving both honors.

    Gardner Athletic/Recreation Director Daniel Forte was recently recognized for excellence by both the School District and the City of Gardner.

    Reach Athletic/Recreation Director Daniel Forte at (978) 632-1600 ext. 1800

    Gardner Police Explorers: Website

    Gardner Youth Commission: Website

    Greater Gardner MA Recreation in Full Play

    Whether it’s a Summer Program or an individual sport, there’s plenty to do in the Greater Gardner MA area.

    Chair City Soccer – The Chair City Soccer Club provides spring & fall soccer programs for Gardner, Templeton, Baldwinville, Phillipston and surrounding communities. Chair City Soccer has teams for both girls and boys from grade 3 through high school. Website

    Greater Gardner Street Hockey – The 2022 season will run from April 25, 2022 through 6/25/2022 with Finals and Cookout. Website

    Gardner Youth Baseball and Softball.– Children between 4 and 18 can play baseball or softball at both developmental and competitive levels. Website

    Ice Sports – Opportunities to Learn to Skate and/or play Youth Hockey. Website

    Scouting – Gardner Boy Scouts – Website OR Gardner Area Girl Scouts – Website

    Gardner Summer Recreation Program 7/5/22 to 8/12/22

    The Gardner Recreation Summer Program plans to offer specialty camp activities to children on a week-to-week basis. The general camp experience will still be available to all participants, but if a camper chooses to opt into one of the specialty camps for the week, they will have the opportunity to engage in a half-day segment of that specific activity for the duration of the week. Offered are: Soccer, Basketball, Baseball/Softball, Track & Field, Dek/Field Hockey, Gardening, Art, Drama, Building/Robotics, and Nature. Cost is $25/week for Half Day or $50/week for Full Day with additional options available. For more information, CLICK HERE.

    ….

  • Finance Committee (4/13/2022)
    Gardner MA Finance Committee 4-13-22
    Mayor Michael Nicholson. who just returned from Washington D.C. is masked at Finance Committee meeting.
    Paving
    The price of asphalt has soared,, requiring more money for previously approved Gardner MA paving projects.

    Who’s at fault? ASPHALT.

    Gardner MA Finance Committee Confronts Asphalt at 4-13-22 Meeting

    The Gardner MA Finance Committee met on Wednesday 4-13-22 and approved various recommendations  to the City Council including $10,000 in additional funding for Downtown trash receptables due to price increases, the $75,000 annual amount to maintain the former dump, and $1.8 million in additional paving costs for various streets where water lines were recently replaced.   Asphalt is now at a high of $83 per ton.  Nationally it has ranged from just over $30 almost 20 years ago to about $70 in 2015, down to about $60 in 2016, and more recently about $65 per ton.   Watch the meeting on YouTube.  CLICK HERE.

  • Furniture Turnings (4/13/2022)
    Furniture Turnings Plaza

    Furniture Turnings Plaza Conceived for Gardner MA

    Furniture Turnings Plaza is an inspirational concept. CLICK HERE.

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

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

    Gardner MA Appointments Committee sifts through more than 20 appointments.

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

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

    .

  • School Committee 4-11-22 (4/12/2022)
    school committee 4-11-22
    Gardner MA School Committee 4-11-22 Watch the meeting on the City of Gardner YouTube channel or on our School Committee page. CLICK HERE.
    Reading Success

    Busy Gardner MA School Committee Meeting on April 11, 2022

    As is often the case, the School Committee opened the meeting with recognitions. It was noted that out of 10 School districts participating in the Winter Reading Challenge, Gardner students read 1/3 of all the books. Students were awarded gifts. And, older students who took the MCAS Exam found success, with several students winning scholarships for tuition.

    Robert Swartz

    The Finance sub-committee’s report was made by Robert Swartz who reported that the athletic director was pleased that the athletic field work was underway. The locker contract has been signed. During the next school year, 5 pre k classes are anticipated. The School Committee unanimously voted to raise the rates from $220 to $260 per month for full day, and from $110 to $130 for half day.

    Anne Hurst

    The Policy sub-committee’s report was made by Anne Hurst. The school district will be changing policy to include a provision that regardless of age, if a child has completed kindergarten in another school district, the child can attend first grade. Previously, an age requirement applied.

    Gino Divito reported for the Student Advisory Board. He commented on the success of the music programs and the start of spring sports.

    Dr. Goguen

    Dr. Goguen had a Covid update and referred to the bi-weekly dashboard of covid cases in the district and noted that the number of positive cases had dropped in the past week.

    Gardner Bi-weekly dashboard
    Gardner Public Schools Dashboard – CLICK IMAGE for larger view

    Dr. Goguen also remarked on Kindergarten registration: As of today 88 students are registered and we try to plan for 200. There are 176 students in current kindergarten.

    There was a special education update and member Shannon-Ward Leighton praised the proactive approach to in-class behavior issues, rather than waiting for things to happen.

    School Committee Member Comments

    Shannon War Leighton

    Shannon Ward-Leighton  regarding Diversity event in March, “I walked in and didn’t realize it was going to be as big as it was…it was wonderful though.  The musical was great, all the concerts were great. It was just good to see the kids faces.”

    Anne Hurst

    Anne Hurst “went to the cultural events and the school play and I saw one of the concerts…it was so much fun…it’s good to see everybody out and doing things….it feels a little more normalcy.  Very proud of the students who won the awards for reading and the students with the scholarships. There are a lot of good things that happen in this district.”

    Gino Divito

    Gino Divito “ So, I wanna say, parents for the graduating class this year, we are putting on baccalaureate again.  I was told to formally invite everyone here including everyone who’s not here….It will be May31st at Annunciation Parish….NHS is also trying to bring back recycling at the high school.”

    Robert Swartz

    Robert Swartz, “Like Mrs. Hurst I saw the high school play.  It was great. To see the students do their theatrical skills, it was really wonderful, to see that again.  This Thursday the facilities committee will meet at the Helen Mae Sauter School, hopefully for the last time.”

    Rachael Cormier

    Rachael Cormier, “I want to recognize all the students that were honored…it’s no coincidence we have so many high school students honored when we have the great reading programs for the younger grades.  It’s starts there.  We can’t expect them to succeed in high school if we’re not starting in kindergarten and first grade.”  

    Jennifer Pelavin

    Jennifer Pelavin, “…I did attend the Elm Street School play which was adorable.  The kids did such a great job… I’m so glad that everybody is getting to do this all again.”

    ..

  • Covid Seesaw (4/12/2022)
    Covid Seesaw

    Should you have Covid symptoms, your best source of advice is your family doctor who can advise of appropriate treatments and protocols.

    Covid in Context, Cases Up, Hospitalizations Relatively Low in MA

    The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reports that 243 people are in the hospital right now in Massachusetts with Covid 19 and the 7 day positivity percent average is 3 percent.  For the Massachusetts Covid Dashboard giving you the latest data at any time, CLICK HERE.

    Massachusetts Covid Cases
    Massachusetts Covid Cases Up. Positivity at 3%, however hospitalizations still relatively low.
  • Grilled Cheese (4/12/2022)
    Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day

    April 12, 2022 is Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day in Greater Gardner MA

    Enjoy a grilled cheese sandwich today at home or at your favorite restaurant. For more on this day, CLICK HERE.

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

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

    Rising Prices Impact Gardner MA Current and Upcoming Budget

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

    Fat Budget

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

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

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

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  • 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.”

  • Package Gate (4/9/2022)

    Fedex has promised to reach back out to us for further comment once the investigation is complete.

    Investigation into Gardner MA Package Drops

    Gardner Magazine reached out to Fedex regarding Gardner resident complaints about packages being delivered to incorrect locations in the Chair City and accusations that Fedex refused to pick up the packages once contacted. One resident reported receiving 9 packages, all with different destination addresses on them.

    Thanks to the resident who posted the photo on Facebook, we were able to provide one of the tracking numbers shown in the photo. The Fedex spokesman we contacted offered to look in to the matter and put us on hold several times during our interview, presumably to check with superiors on the matter. The spokesman admitted Fedex has received numerous complaints and “Fedex is investigating what happened.” As to whether the driver will be terminated, “Can’t give an answer.” The spokesman was also asked why Fedex does not pick up packages in a timely manner once notified and replied that it was due to package volume.

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  • 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

  • Smith 4-8-22 (4/8/2022)

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

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

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

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

  • Surgical Pavilion (4/7/2022)
    Operating room
    Surgeons
    Heywood Hospital postcard
    Heywood Hospital historical postcard
    Health and Medical Gardner MA

    Surgery to be State-of-the-Art at Heywood Hospital in Gardner MA

    Construction crews are visible daily at Heywood Hospital, laying the groundwork for the new Surgical Pavilion being built in the coming months.

    The current surgical area at Heywood Hospital in Gardner MA was built over 50 years ago and is utilized for thousands of procedures every year.   After construction, the Surgical Pavilion will be approximately 22,000 square feet and feature 6 operating rooms, 2 minor procedure rooms, 2 endoscopy rooms, and other areas.  The improved facility is expected to help Heywood’s bottom line and help keep good physicians.   While construction is going on for up to a 6 month period and possibly in to 2023, employees are parking on Green Street and Mathews Street due to construction affecting available parking. The projected cost of the project is over $30 million.

    More on the Heywood Hospital Website. CLICK HERE. Original public announcement

    More Health stories on our Local Health page

    Covid stories on our Covid page.

  • Egg Hunt (4/7/2022)
    Templeton MA Easter Egg Hunt

    Templeton MA Lions Club Easter Egg Hunt

    The Templeton Lions Club spent an evening stuffing nearly 2000 eggs for their annual Easter Egg Hunt to be held April 16, 2022 at 10am (Weather permitting) Updates will be posted on their Facebook page. CLICK HERE

  • Food Truck (4/7/2022)

    Printable poster PDF format CLICK HERE

    Printable poster jpg format CLICK HERE

    Google Interactive Map

    Gardner MA 5th Annual Food Truck Festival to be Saturday, July 9, 2022

    According to Gardner City Hall, “Gardner MA will be hosting it’s 5th Annual Food Truck Festival on Saturday, July 9th from 1pm until 8:30pm in downtown Gardner. With over 20 trucks there is bound to be something for everyone in your family. Some of the trucks include The Dogfather, Minuteman Kettle Corn, Nom Nom Hut and Shishkaberry’s. Gardner Ale House will be on site to provide your favorite beverage. The trucks will be parked along the front of City Hall on Pleasant Street and will continue along City Hall Avenue. Live entertainment! Mark your calendar”

    Within 24 hours of posting the announcement on Facebook, there were about 150 Likes or Loves, dozens of positive comments, and 104 shares.   This is a popular Gardner MA event.  Last year there were 14 participating food trucks – an increase of 6 with 3 months to go suggests the event will be even bigger this  year.  The City of Gardner Food Truck Festival is handled through the Economic Development Coordinator Jessica DeRoy who can be reached at (978) 630-4074 ext. 1.

  • Zoe’s on the Green (4/6/2022)
    Gardner License Commission

    Watch this 5 minute meeting on YouTube. CLICK HERE.

    The Gardner MA License Commission held a special meeting on 4-5-22

    Discussed was the seasonal alcohol license for Zoe’s on the Green to operate at the Gardner Municipal Golf Course.  It was approved subject to a facility inspection.  Angela DiPrima commented that it shouldn’t be a problem as the facility is City-owned and assumed to be in compliance.

  • National Pet Day (4/6/2022)
    National pet day in greater gardner ma

    Hug your pet with love on this day and every day!

    National Pet Day in Greater Gardner MA is Monday April 11, 2022

    This day is dedicated to our pets and is also a day to highlight pet adoption. It’s a day to schedule missed veterinary care or grooming. National Pet Day is a day to make your pet a special meal or treat, buy your dog a new collar/leash or toy, or even take your canine to the local dog park to play with friends.

    Adoptable Pets

    To search for dogs available for adoption within 25 miles of Gardner MA, CLICK HERE.

    To search for cats available for adoption within 25 miles of Gardner MA, CLICK HERE.

  • Job Scene (4/6/2022)
    Apply now

    Gardner MA Employers looking for Workers

    Jobs are available in the Greater Gardner MA area. The lion’s share of these positions are in the hospitality/restaurants/and retail arena with many open positions. More than a half dozen local manufacturers are looking to hire. Other positions are in construction, health/medical, and recreation.

    Do your own search at Indeed.com where you can easily narrow your preferences by zip code and type of employment desired. Some of the Gardner jobs currently available are listed below:

    In Hospitality/Restaurants/Retail: Friendly’s is looking for restaurant crew members and paying from $14.25 an hour.  Dunkin’ Donuts is looking for part-time crew members and paying $14.25 to $15.25 per hour.  Colonial Hotel is looking for a part-time Restaurant Hostess and paying from $14.25 per hour.  Ninety Nine Restaurant is looking for a part-time server and states they are paying $20 to $40 per hour. Southside Grille and Margarita Factory is looking for a part-time dishwasher and paying $15 per hour. Anthony’s Liquor Mart pays $14 to $18 per hour and is looking for a full-time liquor store associate. Dow Shoe Store is hiring a part-time footwear fitting sales associate and paying $15 to $16 per hour. A. Jandris & Sons is looking for a full-time Store Associate and paying $17 to $19 per hour. Price Choppers is looking for part-time cashiers and paying an estimated $26.5k to $33.5k per year. Walmart is looking for part-time Mid shift cashiers, cart associates, sales floor associates and paying $15 to $17 per hour.Other places looking for associates and cashiers but not posting wages include Hannaford, Walgreen’s, Dollar Tree, GameStop, Family Dollar, Wendy’s, Tractor Supply, and Cumberland Farms.

    In manufacturing: Standard Chair of Gardner is looking for a full-time order entry person and pays $16 to $16.50 per hour and full-time Assemblers at $15 to $16 per hour. Advanced Cable Ties, Inc. is looking for a part-time picker/packer and paying $14.75 per hour. Garlock Printing & Converting is looking for full-time Press Assistant Machine Operator for all shifits and paying $17.50 to $18.50 per hour.   Gardner Screw Corp. is looking for a full-time Shipping and Receiving person and paying $18 to $20 per hour. NEWW Packaging and Display is hiring full-time General Laborer for 2nd and 3rd shift at $18.40 per hour. Seaman Paper is looking for a full-time Customer Service Associate and paying from $18 per hour.

    In construction: Seney Construction is looking for part-time laborer at up to $25 per hour.  Aho Seamless Gutters LLC is looking for full-time Gutter Technician and paying $16 to $28 per hour.

    In Health/Medical: The Gardner Animal Care Center is looking for a part-time boarding/dog daycare attendant and paying $14.25 a hour. Care Central VNA & Hospice is looking for a full-time receptionist and paying $30.4k to $38.6k a year. Butterfly Effects is looking for a part-time  Child Interventionist and paying $18 to $25 per hour. The Eye and Lasik Center is looking for a  full-time Medical front desk receptionist and paying $13.50 to $18 per hour. GAAMA, Inc. is looking for a full-time recovery coach and paying from $19 per hour.

    In recreation: The City of Gardner is looking for part-time Recreational Support Staff for the summer recreation program and paying $14.25 per hour.

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

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

    What the Gardner City Clerk’s office does:

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

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

    Gardner MA City Council met on Monday April 4, 2022

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

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

    In new business, 3 councilors had comments:

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

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

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

    The meeting closed with a prayer and adjourned.

  • Covid 4-1-22 (4/4/2022)
    Massachusetts Covid Positivity 4-1-22

    Massachusetts Covid Positivity under 2% as of 4-1-22

    Trends bode well for the Greater Gardner area as shown by the map at left. The City of Gardner is identified by the red G.

    CLICK MAP for larger view.

  • Rietta Opening 2022 (4/4/2022)
    Jay Greene booth Rietta Flea Market

    Rietta Flea Market opens for another season

    Rietta Flea Market of Hubbardston MA opened for the 2022 season on 4-3-22. Even around noon time the parking lot was busy. Admission to the flea market is FREE. Vendors pay $35 for a space. Rietta celebrated its official 50 year anniversary in 2016. It started as a small music venue in 1966. Later, the flea market was added and has operated for well over 5 decades.

    Thousands of people visit Rietta Flea Market every week. There are usually hundreds of dealers offering a wide range of merchandise. People go to Rietta for “pleasure or treasure.” Rietta is also known for the quality food at its concession stand where you can get Fried Dough, Hot dogs, Burgers, French fries, and more.

    ALERT 4-4-22: Rietta Flea Market management has reached out to us to report that online crooks are attempting to sell Online Rietta Gift Cards. Please do not purchase as this is a SCAM. Rietta does not honor online gift cards. If you encounter any of these scams, please report to POLICE. Thank you.

    For the official Rietta Flea Market website, CLICK HERE

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  • Construction (4/4/2022)
    Community Health Construction underway

    The facility is just to the right of the Gardner Walmart.

    Construction Season is Well Underway in Greater Gardner MA

    Community Health Connections anticipates December 2022 opening.

    Community Health sign
    Route 2A Home Construction facing Gardner MA
    Route 2A Home Construction facing Templeton MA

    Home Construction

    Home construction is humming along on Route 2A at the Gardner/Templeton line. Some of the homes are in Gardner and others are in Templeton. Groundbreaking happened last fall, but construction continued over the winter. Some of the properties are already noted as under agreement.

  • South Gardner (4/3/2022)
    Gardner Spirits

    Growth in South Gardner MA

    South Gardner MA is experiencing growth and revitalization. At left is the soon-to-open Gardner Spirits location. Below are photos of the South Gardner Laundromat and the South Gardner Fire Station.

    South Gardner Laundromat
    South Gardner Fire Station
  • Mill Street Corridor (4/3/2022)
    Former Garbose Metal site
    former site of Garbose Metals

    Mill Street Corridor in Gardner MA a mix of Success and Unfinished Business.

    Almost 10 years ago, the Mill Street Corridor Renewal Plan was published in August 2012 as prepared for the City of Gardner Redevelopment Authority.  As you read the report, you will see that a lot has been accomplished with some of the goals still to be achieved.   The website url highlighted on the sign no longer exists, but the report still does. Mill Street Report, CLICK HERE

    Success on Mill Street

    Superior Kitchens Gardner MA

    The Gardner Manufacturing Tradition is alive and well at Superior Kitchens of Gardner.

    Superior Kitchens at 166 Mill Street, Gardner just celebrated its 30th anniversary in February 2022. Their website states,”Superior Kitchens Designs often works as part of the team of contractors building new construction. We use our extensive experience and design knowledge to produce modern kitchens for new homes.” Visit the Superior Kitchens website: CLICK HERE

    Unfinished Business

    At the site of what was once the S. Bent Furniture Factory on Mill Street, Gardner, a sign indicates it will be the future home of Tetramed.  Almost 3 years ago, the company’s CEO stated Tetramed planned to invest 16 million dollars in the facility.  The company reached an agreement in 2018 with the Gardner Redevelopment Authority to buy the property in order to build a marijuana cultivation facility.

    So what’s happening with the project?   The Tetramed Facebook page was last updated in January of 2020. A domain mentioned on the Facebook page leads to a default landing page, but no website.

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  • 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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  • WGAW (4/2/2022)
    WGAW Programs – CLICK for larger view

    WGAW Programs can be heard on 1340 AM, 98.1 FM, and through a LIVE STREAM

    Gardner MA Radio Station WGAW Now available Everywhere

    Pictured is popular local host Steve Wendell of the Weekday Morning News program and Hotline Radio which airs Saturdays noon to 2pm. WGAW is now in its 76th year of service and can be heard on 1340 AM, 98.1 FM, and through Live Streaming. Programming is News and Talk 24/7.

    For the website, CLICK HERE. To Listen Live, CLICK HERE.

  • 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.”

  • Update 4-1-22 (4/1/2022)
    Mayor's update gardner ma 4-1-22

    To watch the weekly Mayor’s update, utilize the City of Gardner Youtube channel, or go to our Mayor’s update page. CLICK HERE.

    No word on Gardner MA Police, Good news on construction and Grants

    The status of the Gardner Police Department and/or the Investigative Report remains unclear with no mention of the topic in this week’s update by Mayor Michael Nicholson. It is believed the report is currently being reviewed by the City Solicitor and will be released at some point very soon.

    Mayor Nicholson outlined various construction projects including the 12 month Route 2 paving which will start in June and end next year at the same time. After 11 years in the pipeline, the State of MA will be paving Pearson Boulevard from the rotary just past William’s Restaurant – work starts May 1. And Route 140 gets paved up to the Winchendon border beginning in May. A brand-new Small Business grant program was announced for businesses of 50 employees or less, providing up to $25,000 in Covid impact funds. Past recipients not eligible.

  • Stop and Buy (4/1/2022)

    Cloud Hanging over Stop and Buy in Gardner MA

    The Gardner Board of Health met at length on 3-28-22 regarding repeated violations of the food code at Stop and Buy, 56 Union Square Gardner. Specifically, inspections going back 5 years have revealed expired food at every inspection. Watch meeting on YouTube

    Inspector Rick Rossi said he told manager. “next time I come here, I don’t want to find anything expired.” And then he picked up a random item and it was expired. Board of Health Director Lauren Saunders suggested that the store license be suspended if further violations occur. Some inspections have found over 20 expired food items.

    Not the only problem at the location

    The attorney for the business owner indicated, “client was in a tough business, and he’s also been hammered by the pandemic.”  Members of the Board did not find this a valid excuse for expired food, especially since it has been a problem at every inspection over past 6 years. Other problems at the location included a clogged sink, a 3 bay sinking leaking at a drain, a leaking roof, and Honey Buns not labeled for individual sale were being sold separately without any date code. The attorney for the landlord stated that according to a lease, the tenant is responsible for repairing the roof. Board member Geoffrey Tobia indicated there’s “not much tolerance for any further violations.” The Board voted to wait until after Thursday 3/31 when a plumber is supposedly scheduled for do repairs. “Mr. Rossi will go in and reinspect regarding hot water and sink and the plumbing in the 3 bay sink area and any food expiration dates.  As far as the roof, attorney for business and landlord will discuss and have some sort of agreement or plan within 2 weeks to get back to Board of Health”

    Property is on the Market

    In a surprising revelation considering the property’s condition, it was noted that the property is on the market for $1 million. See the listing here.

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  • Tops in Coffee (4/1/2022)

    Gardner MA Residents Love Their Coffee

    Whether it’s making coffee at home, getting coffee to go, or drinking coffee at an area establishment, each has their own opinion. 

    We asked the following on  Gardner, MA, What’s going on Facebook page, “So many in Gardner LOVE Coffee. My question is: Where do you get your best cup of coffee in Gardner? I will put all of your positive comments in an article on Gardner Magazine. Let’s showcase another great part of the Chair City.” Here are the comments:

    “Home but otherwise dunkins.” – “I was just gonna say my kitchen LOL” – “Starbucks! Love their lattes!!” – “Café Edesia, Dunkin, Starbucks…all good” – “The new Starbucks is great! Coffee is amazing, inviting space, and cheerful staff!” – “Cumberland Farms. You make it the way you like it and it’s only a $1.” – “Home or dunkins” – “Dunkin’s” – “Home” – “Starbucks” – “The Dunkins…” – “My own!! Grind the beans and slow drip…” “Happy Trails on Parker St. also sells bags of their coffee. I can’t drive so I do the next next thing.” “Cumberland Farms. Exactly how you want it for $1.” “Our kitchen it’s perfect everytime” “Cup of Hope, they serve Dean’s Beans. My favorite  and I love that it supports something good.”- “29 pleasant St. Gardner http://www.hopegardner.org/ ” – “Home and Starbucks. Coffee is always made correctly, and is great, staff is excellent, and friendly!!” We’ll keep adding comments as they come in.

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  • April Fools (4/1/2022)
    Broccoli Harvest

    It’s April Fools Day in Greater Gardner MA

    Not to be outdone by their Southern Neighbors, Greater Gardner MA Consumers got together for the Great Broccoli Harvest held every year on April Fool’s Day. A few carrots took part as well.

    Cat Reading

    Greater Gardner MA Consumers have Smart cars, smart homes, and smart phones. But how many have taken the time to provide books for their cats? We advocate for Cat Literacy. What’s the problem? You don’t want your cat to read what’s in their daily cat food, or are you hiding something else from your feline friends?

    Giant coffee cup

    A giant coffee cup has taken over the water tower. There is no word on what this means for Gardner water and we certainly will not be spilling the beans. However, you might be interested in our real story on how Gardner MA Residents Love Their Coffee.

    Organic tomatoes have lined up outside Gardner City Hall. They won’t leave until City Employees promise to eat more salad.

    April Fool's Day
  • Time for Golf (3/31/2022)
    Greater Gardner MA Golf Courses

    Enjoy a round of Golf in the Greater Gardner Area!

    Golf swing

    Spring Brings Greater Gardner MA Golfers to the Greens

    There are more than 8 golf courses in the immediate area: Gardner Municipal Golf Course, 152 Eaton Street, Gardner    Website: Rates: FacebookTemplewood Golf Course, 160 Brooks Rd., Templeton, MA Website: Rates: Facebook:Westminster Golf & Country Club, 51 Ellis Rd., Westminster MA Website: Rates: Facebook:The Woods of Westminster, Woods of Westminster Course, 23 Rock Maple Lane., Westminster MA Website: Rates: Facebook: – Ellinwood Country Club, 1928 Pleasant St., Athol MA Website: Rates: Facebook: Camp Coldbrook RV Resort, Camp Coldbrook Course, 864 Old Coldbrook Rd., Barre MA Website: Facebook: – Quail Hollow Golf & Country Club, Quail Hollow Course, 1822 Old Turnpike Rd., Oakham MA Website: Rates: Facebook:Bedrock Golf Club, Bed Rock Course, 87 Barre Paxton Rd., Rutland MA Website: Rates: Facebook:

  • Spring Art Show (3/30/2022)

    33rd Annual Spring Art Show in Gardner MA April 22-23-24, 2022

    The Greater Gardner Artists Association holds its annual main event, an art exhibit at the Boland Room, located at Heywood Place at 65 Lake Street, Gardner.   The organization expects almost 200 pieces to be on display in oil, water, pastel, bookmaking, pencil, photography, and other art.  Special Awards, Live Music, and Refreshments.   Friday opening reception is 7-9pm, Saturday and Sunday noon to 4pm  Directions.

  • Muscleworks (3/30/2022)
    Muscleworks Gym ribbon cutting gardner ma

    Muscleworks Gym Gardner MA in new location

    A ribbon cutting was held at the new location of Muscleworks Gym, now located at a larger facility at 34 Sanborn Street, Gardner behind CubeSmart. Directions.

  • 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.

  • Monument Park 2022 (3/29/2022)
    Live Music Monument Park Summer 2022 Gardner MA

    Gardner MA Announces Monument Park Summer 2022 Music Schedule

    Monument Park 2022 band schedule
    More info on City website: CLICK HERE
  • Yard Waste (3/27/2022)

    The City of Gardner states, “If your yard waste is not removed by the end of your scheduled day, please call EL Harvey Call Center within 48 hours to report at 1-800-321-3002.”

    Gardner MA Residents to Enjoy Unlimited Yard Waste Pickup Buffet

    During the week of April 5 -8, 2022, Gardner residents can put out an unlimited amount of yard waste for pickup on their regular trash pickup day. That is, if you follow the simple rules: Grass clippings and leaves may be placed in paper yard waste bags, loose in open barrels with no lid, or in open cardboard boxes. Sticks less than 2 inches thick and up to 3 feet long may be placed in bundles. All bundles and containers must weigh less than 50 pounds each. The NO NO’s: Don’t put the stuff in plastic bags. Don’t include rocks, gravel, or dirt. Don’t procrastinate, how often do you hear the word “unlimited”?

    2022 Yard Waste Dates: Yard Waste is picked up the first full week of each month during the months of April-October.  In November, there are two weeks of yard waste pickup, the first full week and the third week of the month.

  • FREE TV (3/26/2022)
    live stream now gardner ma

    FREE TV options in Greater Gardner MA

    Want to save on TV? Our article explores the varied options available to residents of the Greater Gardner MA area, including FREE! CLICK HERE

    If 5000 households just in Gardner MA saved $25-$40 per month, that would add up to $1.5 million to $2.4 million dollars per year.

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

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

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

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

    Paving Gardner MA

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

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

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

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

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

    Considering Home Improvements in Gardner MA for 2022?

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

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

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

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  • 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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  • Rabies Clinic (3/23/2022)
    Gardner Rabies Clinic and Microchipping
    Sick as a dog

    Keep your pet healthy. Attend the clinic.

    Rabies Vaccine Clinic for all Dogs and Cats in Greater Gardner Area

    The Gardner Rabies Clinic will take place Sunday April 3, 2022 from 10am to 1pm outside at the Gardner Animal Shelter, 899 West Broadway, Gardner   DIRECTIONS.   Fee is $20, exact change only. Micro chipping is free.  Open to residents and non-residents.   You must pre-register ahead of time by filling out a form and dropping it in a lock box at the animal shelter or you can scan the form and email it to animaladoption@gardner-ma.gov.  Form is available at: CLICK HERE.

    Dogs must be leashed, Cats must be in sturdy carriers.  In order to receive 3 yr. rabies certificate, you must bring your old rabies certificate. (even if expired.)  For questions please contact the Gardner Animal Shelter at (978) 630-4950.

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

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

    Gardner MA Council President Kazinskas Rescues Meeting Timing with cellular phone

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

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

    And Compliments Were Made

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

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

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  • Spring Has Sprung (3/21/2022)

    Many Gardner Project Listings have this message.

    Pageholder on Gardner MA projects without information.

    The Map of Gardner MA projects is listed here.

    Gardner MA Projects

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

    Other Projects in the works include:

    New Community Health Center

    New Community Health Center

    For more details, CLICK HERE

    Park Street Park and Parking Lot

    Park St. Park and Parking Lot

    For more details, CLICK HERE

    Timpany Crossroads

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

  • Covid Story (3/19/2022)
    Covid 19

    Publisher’s Covid Story Gardner MA

    I’m sharing my story  to encourage folks to test quickly after symptoms and to get immediate proactive treatment if appropriate to hopefully save lives. Complete Article, CLICK HERE.

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

    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson update on 4 Furry Legs

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

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

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

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

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  • Covid Rate (3/18/2022)
    Covid 19 incidence rate chart
    Covid Incidence per 100,000 population by community. CLICK IMAGE for larger view.

    Gardner MA Covid Rate just under State Average

    The Covid 19 Incidence Rate in Gardner for the past 2 weeks is 9.3/100,000, or about 2 cases for a City of just over 21 thousand people. (State average is 9.7)  Some communities in the region have rates as low as zero, while others in Massachusetts have higher rates such as Boston at 12.9, Amherst at 37.6, and Cambridge at 53.3. 

  • Blue Moon (3/17/2022)
    Blue Moon Diner Gardner MA

    Meals are still being served every day at this Gardner MA Historic Landmark.

    Blue Moon Diner News in Gardner MA

    Blue Moon under agreement: The Blue Moon Diner property was listed for sale at a price of $300,000 in October 2021 by owner Jamie Brouillet who has owned it since buying it on July 13, 2000 from Dennis P. Scipione for $100,000.

    In an announcement of the sale of two other properties, Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson related that the Blue Moon was “under agreement.” It was also stated that it was expected the diner would continue operations. This is especially likely considering the Blue Moon’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places as “Miss Toy Town Diner.”

    Blue Moon interior from public real estate listing.

    Blue Moon Facts

    The Blue Moon Diner was built in 1949 by the Worcester Lunch Car Company.   Originally located in Winchendon and called the Miss Toy Town Diner, it was moved to Gardner in 1954 and became known as the Blue Moon.  

    The Blue Moon Diner has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2003, with the historic names of Miss Toy Town Diner – Blue Moon Diner and the common names of Bernier’s Diner – Skip’s Blue Moon Diner.    Map to Diner.  Here is the link to the historical building detail from the Massachusetts Historical Commission. CLICK HERE. Gardner Property Record Card. CLICK HERE. Wikipedia Article, CLICK HERE. Google search including customer reviews, CLICK HERE.

    Historic Places in Gardner MA and the Nation

    Historic Places listed in Gardner include: Miss Toy Town Diner, First Minister’s House, Gardner News Building, Levi Heywood Memorial Library Building, Jabez Partridge Homestead, F.W. Smith Silver Company, Lake Street Fire Station, Elm Street Fire Station, Garbose Building, Heywood-Wakefield Company Complex, West Gardner Square Historic District, and Gardner Uptown Historic District. We have obtained a complete list of the almost 100,000 historic places on the list in the entire country and you can download it. CLICK HERE

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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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  • Saint Patrick’s Day (3/17/2022)

    Saint Patrick’s Day in the Greater Gardner MA area was Thursday March 17, 2022

    For more information on St. Patrick’s Day, CLICK HERE.

  • Budget Approved (3/15/2022)

    Gardner MA School Committee Approves Budget

    We have all the details on the meeting. For the complete article, CLICK HERE.

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

    Triple Play Win for Downtown Gardner MA

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

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

  • Oil and Gas (3/15/2022)

    Greater Gardner MA Oil and Gas Prices still up there

    Home Heating Oil and Gas prices are still up there.     Gas price map: CLICK  HERE.    Fuel Oil prices: CLICK HERE.

  • 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?

  • Gardner Yard Sale (3/13/2022)

    We will promote the City of Gardner City-Wide Yard Sale with the new website AND with banner ads here. With our circulation of more than 10,000 households, we hope to increase attendance and encourage households to participate. In Gardner, Yard Sale permits are FREE.

    Gardner MA Spring City-Wide Yard Sale

    GardnerMagazine.com has registered GardnerYardSale.com and is donating web space to promote the Spring City-Wide Gardner Yard Sale taking place Saturday May 21, 2022 from 8am to 2pm. Visit site. CLICK HERE – On the site, we will also be listing links to Public and Private Facebook Marketplace pages and Craigslist listings.

  • Gardner on the Move (3/12/2022)

    Spread the Word – Greater Gardner MA

    Gardner Magazine is interested to know what your company, business, or group is doing so we can spread the word to the region and the rest of the nation. Many great products are produced, many great businesses are found, and many groups do good. The growing Chair City has Industry on the Move, Progress in Business, A Community Working Together and Growing Together, with a Formula for Success.  A Mayor with the courage to challenge the status quo, a City Council open to change, a Healthcare system meeting today’s challenges, and a Community of Thinkers.   

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

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

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

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

    Vivitide – Gardner MA Website: CLICK HERE

    Notable Gardner Industry

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

    Construction/Improvements

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

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

    Gardner Massachusetts Live, Work, Visit, and Play

    Ordinances of Note

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

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

    Channeling Gardner MA Culture

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

    You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown

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

  • Gas Prices (3/11/2022)

    Greater Gardner MA & U.S. Gas Prices over 3 years.

    36 month average retail price chart
    Gas Prices 3/11/2019 to 3/11/2022
  • Daylight Savings (3/10/2022)
    24/7 Clock

    Daylight Savings Time in the Greater Gardner MA area began on Sunday March 13, 2022

    Daylight Savings time will end on the first Sunday in November.

    For more on Daylight Savings Time. CLICK HERE

  • Covid Cases Down (3/9/2022)
    MA Covid Dashboard

    Gardner MA Covid Cases are down

    Gardner MA Covid Cases are down more than 90% from one month ago. UPDATE 3/12/22:   The current incidence rate per 100,000 is 10.8, (just a few days ago is was reported as 17.3) as reported by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  Rate was 119.3 just over a month ago. Click Image at left for larger view.  For the current MA Covid Dashboard, CLICK HERE.

  • Oil Prices (3/8/2022)
    Screenshot from local oil company websites 3-8-22

    Local Oil Prices Hit the Roof Topping $5 per gallon!

    Wow! We just got these screenshots from local oil company websites in the Greater Gardner area. Lowest price just over 5 bucks per gallon. UPDATE 3/12/22 – Local home heating oil prices have dropped a bit to around $4.50 per gallon.

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

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

    Complete Meeting Packet, CLICK HERE

    Gardner MA Fire and Building Department Fee Hikes Approved Unanimously

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

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

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

    Other Items Approved

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

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

  • Gas Price Tool (3/8/2022)
    Gas Prices 3-8-22

    Looking for cheap gas in Greater Gardner MA?

    Try this tool from Gas Buddy to find some of the lowest prices in the area.  CLICK HERE

  • 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.

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

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

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

    City Council Debates Wiseness of Raising Fire and Building Department Fees

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

  • Magic Mike (3/5/2022)

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

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

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

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

    Gardner MA Mayor Michael Nicholson provides unusually short weekly update

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

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

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

    Watch the entire meeting on YouTube. CLICK HERE

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

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

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

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

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

    Athletic Fields

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

  • Spring Projects (3/3/2022)

    Spring’s Coming for Projects in Greater Gardner MA

    With Spring just a couple weeks away on Sunday March 20, 2022, construction companies are once again getting ready to work on Chair City projects.   Just what are those upcoming projects?  The City of Gardner’s interactive Map of City Projects (which won a Municipal Award recently, CLICK HERE)  is very helpful in this regard. 

    A Number of Interactive Maps  

    Gardner has a number of highly useful map resources including the Assessor Parcel Viewer, Map of City Projects; Parks, Open Space & Trails, Playgrounds & Recreation, and Zoning Map.

    Assessor Parcel Viewer
    Assessor Parcel Viewer, CLICK HERE

    Assessor Parcels

    Zoom in or out, look up a particular address. Explore advanced functions. CLICK HERE.

    City Hall Parcel
    City Hall Parcel
    Parks, Open Space & Trails, CLICK HERE

    Parks, Open Space, & Trails

    This section welcomes you to an overview of the City of Gardner’s open space areas including hiking trails and scenic picnic areas.

    Described in detail are the Alisauskas Conservaton Area off Howard Street, Baily Brook Conservation Area & Park, Cowee Pond Open Space, Crystal Lake Park, Dunn Pond State Park, High Ridge Wildlife Area, Lake Wampanoag Wildlife Sanctuary, Monument Park, North Central Pathway, Perley Brook Reservoir, and Rome Conservation Area. CLICK HERE

    Playgrounds & Recreation, CLICK HERE

    Playgrounds and Recreation

    This section welcomes you to an overview of the City of Gardner’s playground features and recreation area.

    Described in detail are Jackson Playground and Skatepark, Bickford Playground, Pulaski Playground and Dog Park, Greenwood Park and Playground, Ovila Case Playground, Greenwood Outdoor Pool & Spray Park, Muncipal Golf Course and Driving Range, DCR Gardner Veterans Skating Rink, North Central Pathway, Dunn Pond State Park, and Monument Park. CLICK HERE

    Zoning Map
    Zoning Map, CLICK HERE

    Zoning Map

    The Zoning Map shows the various Commercial, Industrial, and Residential areas in the City of Gardner MA.

    The Map is Interactive and has a number of overlay options. CLICK HERE

  • Atlantic Fog (3/3/2022)
    Atlantic Fog at Gardner Ale House
    Atlantic Fog Release Party Sun. March 6, 2022 at Gardner Ale House

    For complete information on Massachusetts Beer Week and participating breweries, CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA Gardner Ale House Celebrates Massachusetts Beer Week

    Known for its original beers under the Moon Hill Brewery brand, Gardner Ale House is introducing a new beer this Sunday at noon. Atlantic Fog is described as, “a hazy New England IPA” Food customers from noon to 2pm on Sunday March 6, 2022 have a chance to win Moon Hill Swag, Baseball Hats, and gift cards.

  • Family Dollar (3/3/2022)
    Family Dollar on West Street, Gardner is closed temporarily while a broken sewer system is repaired.

    Gardner MA Family Dollar Closed for Sewer Repair

    Speculation was prevalent on Social Media 3-3-22 as Family Dollar on West Street closed. Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson responded by stating, “Their sewage system in their building broke and was backing up into both Family Dollar and O’Riley’s, so the Board of Health was required to shut them down until it’s repaired- per the state sanitary code.”

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

    Page Added for Gardner MA 100 Years A City Birthday Bash

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

  • Ukraine Support (2/28/2022)

    Supporting Ukraine: Gardner MA Liquor Store Pulls Russian Products from Shelves, City Hall Changes Colors

    Anthony’s had the following statement on Facebook, “Anthony’s Liquor Mart 12 Pearson Blvd. Gardner, Massachusetts has removed all Russian made and Russian “Branded” products from our store. We ask our colleagues in the liquor industry, both on and off premise to do the same.

    Gardner City Hall had the following statement, “Gardner City Hall is illuminated blue and yellow, joining many other buildings across the country in support of the people of Ukraine.”

  • Gardner E-Commerce (2/28/2022)

    E-Commerce with Gardner MA

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

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

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

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

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

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

    How Much Money is Coming in Now?

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

    The Mayor’s Position on Fire Dept. Fees

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

    City Auditor Email

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

    Email from City Auditor John Richard

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

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

    The Mayor’s Position on Building Department Fees

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Heywood 2-25-22 (2/27/2022)

    Watch the Heywood update on YouTube. CLICK HERE.

    Heywood Hospital of Gardner MA changes some Covid Policy

    According to statements made in a video update by Heywood CEO Win Brown, each patient not under precautions can have one healthy visitor. Visitors must still go through screening, wear masks, and use gel in and out. The CEO says he’s a little nervous with the dropping of mask mandates locally and school vacation and encourages residents to still wear masks inside when going to different places. Brown stated that as of 2-25-22, there were 10 Covid positive patients at Heywood.

    In good news for Heywood employees, Win Brown explained that while some employees have not received raises since the hospital raised its minimum starting wage to $18/hour, they will soon. starting with some employees getting increases in February and continuing until all commensurate increases have occurred.

    Massachusetts Covid Data as of 2-24-22
    Massachusetts Covid Data as of 2-24-22 – Cases by age, Percent Positivity, Hospitalizations

    Surgical Wing Construction

    Win Brown also announced that parking will be soon limited due to the start of construction of the new surgical wing. He says permission has already been obtained for staff to park on Green Street and the hospital is inquiring whether the use of Mathews Street will be possible. The new Surgical Wing is expected to be completed sometime next year and add to Heywood’s capabilities.

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  • Toothpicks (2/26/2022)
    Gardner MA Toothpicks

    Gardner MA Citizens React to the Toothpick Question

    With so much serious news, we thought it would be nice to take a break and venture into the world of triviality, in this case TOOTHPICKS. So I posted this on social media. “I’m doing an investigative article on toothpicks. Just what are these insidious objects up to in Gardner? I’d like to have the inside scoop on any of you who might know. We must get to the bottom of this.”

    Toothpicks are not a very controversial item, but nevertheless, the question drew a huge variety of comments.   Some took the question seriously, others thought I was completely out of my mind or was hacked, and others took it as humor.   While it was popular on one group, another social media group moderator censored the post and took it down because it was considered spam.  But, Gardner’s largest social media group seemed to have fun with it, even providing me with some fun graphics for this article.

    Gardner MA Toothpick Comments

    …I’m amongst the lost and confused here. If you mean why do folks ‘chew’ on them, or if they are an oft littered item, or if old Gardner furniture is being whittled or some other point (no pun intended) you didn’t quite make that clear…

    ….This made me laugh today THank you!

    ….Were you hacked?

    …Remember mint flavored toothpicks in individual packs with a point on each end?

    …Rietta Ranch has booth 26 , claims to be homemade

    …Just when we thought FB had become useless

    …I have enjoyed the use of a tooth pick or 2. When you get food jammed between your teeth you will appreciate having a tooth pick.

    …They are waiting patiently for some appetizers to pierce into and a bunch of friendly visitors to enjoy it with a few beers or glasses of wine.

    …I use them to color my buttercreme frosting with gel colorant when decorating cakes.

    …I’ve pricked by fingers because of these nuisance pieces of wood being stuck in the hor d’oeuvres

    …Most people who are paranoid about getting something stuck in their teeth carry dental floss and or dental picks!

    We thank Tammy for sharing this. “The Yankee tradition was to whittle a toothpick on demand. It did not make sense to spend money on something one could make for oneself, let alone for something that would be used once and then discarded. But Forster came up with ingenious marketing schemes. He first targeted stationers, who dealt in small items. When he could not place his product in their stores, he hired personable young people to go to those same retailers and ask for wooden toothpicks. Naturally, the retailers had to turn away the potential customers. Shortly afterward, Forster would make return visits to the stores, where he easily sold his wares. To reinforce the wisdom of the shopkeeper’s decision, Forster’s shills soon came back to ask again for toothpicks, and this time the sales were made. The boxes of toothpicks were then returned to Forster, who could resell them to the retailer, who now was prepared to talk them up to real customers.”

    Known in all cultures, the toothpick is the oldest instrument for dental cleaning. Hominin remains from Dmanisi, Georgia, dated to about 1.8 million years ago, bear lesions indicating the repeated use of a “toothpick”. Toothpicks made of bronze have been found as burial objects in prehistoric graves in Northern Italy and in the East Alps. More on toothpicks from wikipedia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • FREE TESTS GIVEN (2/25/2022)
    test kit

    Over 3000 FREE Covid Test Kits distributed February 24, 2022 at PACC in Gardner MA

    According to Mayor Nicholson, “We gave away about 35 cases (each case has 90 kits) there’ll still be some available for free at the Health Department in City Hall”

  • Board of Health News 2-23-22 (2/24/2022)

    Watch the entire meeting. CLICK HERE.

    Gardner MA Board of Health Lifts Mandate and Advisory

    With Gardner’s Covid positivity rate of 26% in January having dropped to 8.9% and continuing to fall, the Gardner MA Board of Health has immediately lifted its mask mandate for municipal buildings and senior housing.  The community mask advisory was also immediately lifted.

    Graham Street Property

    Property changed hands in 2020 according to the Worcester Registry of Deeds. But, a previous owner is somehow collecting rents from tenants and somehow interfering with current owner’s desire to make repairs to property for benefit of renters.It’s all headed for COURT!

    Update on Graham Street Violations and Owner Dispute

    According to the Gardner MA Board of Health, the currently listed owner and landlord attempted access to the property to address a tenant’s heat problem. However, Gardner Police were summoned to the property by a man who was a previous owner and is somehow collecting rents illegally according to the current owner. To avoid confrontation, owner left and repairs were not made. Board of Health states tenants are using space heaters to stay warm. In an attempt at remedying the problem, The Board of Health has filed in Housing Court. Gardner MA City Solicitor Flick will represent the City on Friday, March 11th. No reason was given why previous owner on property illegally was not arrested and why current owner was not assisted by Gardner PD in helping tenants, as suggested by Board of Health at January meeting.

    Board Doing Right Thing to Help Citizen

    Board did not identify property involved in another situation apparently involving the Gardner MA Building Department, Fire, EMS, and police. A property was condemned due to no electricity, no running water, ceilings falling in, and lots of mold. Individual received temporary housing and was signed up for Mass Health.

    The Honey Buns and Expired Food Scandal

    Board did not identify a local business it is calling before the Board of Health at its next meeting March 28, 2022 in person at Gardner MA City Hall. Business is accused of having expired food on the shelves despite numerous inspections uncovering the same, having leaks in the ceiling, illegally splitting up packages of Honey Buns, and maintaining a store temperature of 48 degrees. No explanation as to why the business was not immediately cited and closed down. Board of Health Administrative Coordinator Angela DiPrima stated to Gardner Magazine that the business would be identified in the agenda for the upcoming March meeting, generally released about a week before.

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

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

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

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

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

    More NewsApproved Items of Interest

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

    Much Disagreement over S. Graves Lawsuit

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

    Other Matters Before the Gardner City Council

    Eric Commodore sworn in
    School Committee & City Council

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

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

    More News on the Fees

    Business growth columns

    Growth Formula or Fees Too Low?

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

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

    Will business enthusiasm change

    Unprecedented growth with the Subsidy

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

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

    House and Money

    Argument for Increasing fees

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

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

    Will homeowners improve less?

    Argument for Leaving Fees alone and continuing subsidy

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

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

    The Future will be the Judge

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

  • Paycheck Protection (2/23/2022)

    According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Paycheck Protection Program is an SBA-backed loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Covid-19 crisis.  U.S. Government page, CLICK  HERE.   Information from the U.S. Treasury Department – CLICK HERE.

    Paycheck Protection Program for Greater Gardner MA Gets Watchdog

    Who in Gardner got PPP loans and how much?   A searchable website called PPP Detective was started to make sure businesses who received the money actually existed.  The paycheck protection program was intended to offset the dire consequences many businesses faced due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Search

    While most all of the names on this list obviously exist, the PPP detective asks that citizens flag any which were made to non-existent businesses or to businesses who grossly overstated the number of employees. Here’s a link to PPP Loans for Gardner.  You can customize the search for your community. CLICK HERE We also have pdfs of all the Gardner MA loans. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7

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  • School Vacation (2/20/2022)
    February Vacation Week

    What to do during Greater Gardner MA School Vacation Week of February 21-25, 2022

    Take a trip to the Movie Theater and see a flick. Use or get a library card at your local library. Buy some stuff at a local store. Stay home and stream something. Or go on an adventure like below:

    ecotarium worcester

    Ecotarium, Worcester  Tues. 2/22 to Fri. 2/25

    Their education team cooks up creative ways to learn and have fun — all designed especially for school-age kids and their families. Visit Site.

    wachusett mountain

    Wachusett Winterfest Science on the Slopes – February Vacation week Mon 2/21 to Friday 2/25

    This is NOT the week to sit at home! Come enjoy a full list of activities with your friends and family here at Wachusett! In addition to skiing, enjoy a fun week of programming at the mountain. Visit Site.

    dcr massachusetts

    Massachusetts State Park Programs

    There are February Vacation Week programs at Massachusetts State Parks. Visit Site.

    Most all programs are free unless noted. Parking fees may apply. Dress for the weather, carry water and snacks, and cell phones.

    Enchanted Forest at Fruitlands, Harvard through Sun. February 27, 2022

    The Frost King has come to spend the winter at the Fruitlands Fairy Forest and he has brought all sorts of new enchantment. Visit Site.

    Ice Castles

    Ice Castles, New Hampshire

    Ice Castles is an award-winning frozen attraction built using hundreds of thousands of icicles hand-placed by professional ice artists to create breathtaking LED-lit sculptures, frozen thrones, ice-carved tunnels, slides, and fountains. Visit site

  • Help Wanted (2/19/2022)
    Employment in Words

    A great site to use in looking for work is Indeed.com as you can easily search by area and type of job desired. CLICK HERE. Another great source for employers and job seekers is the MassHire North Central Career Center. CLICK HERE

    Here's why you should work for our company
    Gears of Gardner MA Industry

    Gardner MA Employers Competing for Workers

    If you are a hard worker or have unique talents, right now might be a great time to look for work as many Greater Gardner MA employers want you! See links to resources at left.

    On February 19, 2022 there were a number of Administrative jobs available:

    Seaman Paper Company is looking for an Executive and HR Administrator, Mount Wachusett Community College is looking for Clerk IV ACT (Academic, Career, and Transfer), Patient Scheduler, Secretary -Radiology at Heywood Hospital, After School Program Coordinator at House of Peace & Education, Inc., Transfer Station Monitor for city of Gardner, Transportation Coordinator at NRT Bus Inc., Payroll Administrator at Temp-Secure Staffing, Maintenance Clerk at Garlock Printing & Converting, Furniture Warehouse Manager at Lachance Interiors, and Clerk III Box Office at Mount Wachusett Community College, Database Administrator at Gardner Public Schools

    If you’re looking for Healthcare, we found these:

    Patient Registrar, Patient Registration at Heywood Hospital, Lab Assistant at vivitide in Gardner, Dental Office Manger at Javad Mirzai DMD  PLLC, Dental Assistant at Gardner Family Dental Care, and Behavior Technician at Behavioral Health Links.

    Do you like to be involved in the making of things? Manufacturing Jobs available include:

    Packer at Garlock Printing and Converting, General Laborer at Titan Transportation Services, Packers at Advanced Cable Ties, Machine Operator at Standard Chair of Gardner, Polisher at Continental Feed Screw, Door and Window Manufacturing at Specialty Wholesale Supply/Maki Building Centers in Gardner, and Wood Department Group Leader at Standard Chair.

    apply now

    Customer Service, Retail, and Food Industry Jobs are available at a number of locations in Gardner MA:

    customer service

    KFC Team member, Cashier at Price Chopper, Barista at Starbucks, Crew Team member at McDonald’s, Retail Store Associate at CVS, Store Associate/Stocker at Big Lots, Crew member at Dunkin Donuts, Ice Cream Preparer at Friendly’s (16+), Footwear Fitting Sales Associate at Dow Shoe Store, Entrance Screener at Heywood Hospital, Store Associate at Hannaford, Greeter and Customer Service Representative at SpeeDee Oil Change & Auto Service, Host Staff, Bartender, Dish Machine Operator, and Servers at Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub, Retail Sales Associate at Staples, Wedding Hostess, Restaurant Server, and Banquet Server at Colonial Hotel, Domino’s Pizza Delivery, Retail Staff at Gamestop, Sales Floor Associate at Dollar Tree, Delivery Driver at Papa Gino’s, Asset Protection Coach Trainee/Manager at Walmart, Team Member at Tractor Supply, Furniture Delivery Driver at Lachance Interiors, Verizon Wireless Sales Consultant, T-Mobile Retail Sales Associate, Lumber Yard Worker at National Lumber.

    Work force

    Interesting Jobs available outside of the City of Gardner MA include a Radio Show Morning Host, a Library Director, an Athletic Director, or a Surveillance Investigator

    Radio Show Morning Host at WPKZ Radio in Fitchburg, Library Director for the City of Fitchburg or Town of Erving, Hall Monitor at the Ralph C. Mahar School District in Orange, Landscape Gardener at Fassett Farm Nursey in Jaffrey NH, Reading Tutor at the Village School in Barre, Railroad Laborer in Worcester, Middle High School Athletic Director in West Boylston, Board Clerk/Secretary – Town of Lunenburg, Camera Shader, Worcester Red Sox, Worcester – , Photographer for the Worcester Red Sox, also Technical Director and Broadcast Audio Operator, Automotive Detailer at Bouchard Automotive Group in Fitchburg, Barn Help at Highland Hill Farm in Berlin, Heavy Equipment Operator at Accura Construction Corp in New Ipswich, NH, Police Officer at Barre Police Department, Doggie Daycare Attendant at Destination Pet LLC, Shrewsbury, Entry Level Surveillance Investigator at DigiStream New England, Fitchburg and Worcester, Athletic Director at Camp Atwater in North Brookfield, Director of Finance and Operations, Winchendon Public Schools, Horseback Riding Instructor at Century Mill Stables in Bolton, Academic Recruitment Counselor at Fitchburg State University, Canine Center Attendant at NEADS World Class Service Dogs in Princeton, Bridal Consultant at Country Bridals and Formal Wear in Jaffrey, Art Model at SharonKnettell in Worcester, and Crew member at Sisco Timber in Winchendon.

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  • Celebrating Presidents’ Day (2/18/2022)

    Gardner MA February 22, 2022.  – Presidents’ Day

    Our Special Presidents’ Day page Chronicles all of the U.S. Presidents. CLICK HERE. Our “Poem of the Presidents”  is a tribute to the service of all of U.S. Presidents.   CLICK HERE.

  • Mask Mandate Gone (2/18/2022)

    Read 2/28/22 letter from Gardner Superintendent of Schools Mark Pellegino. CLICK HERE.

    Not so Fast! Greater Gardner Mask Mandate only Partially Rescinded.

    While on February, 28, 2022, masks will no longer be required in Gardner Public Schools and other schools in area communities, all students and staff must still wear masks on school buses. There are other requirements and recommendations, and changing circumstances could bring the masks back.

  • Win 10 Grand! (2/18/2022)

    Huge Drawing Looms in Greater Gardner MA Super Raffle

    On February 23, 2022 at 7pm, 11 lucky tickets will be drawn out of no more than 400 tickets sold.  Top prize is $10,000.   See image at left. For more information, you can visit the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce website. CLICK HERE.