A group of boys was seen in January of 1981 playing hockey on Soucie's Pond, off Williams Avenue and Sanders Street in Athol. Photo courtesy of Richard J. Chaisson/ taken for Worcester Telegram & GazatteThe Athol Area YMCA girls basketball team gathers around to listen to Coach Fes Amsden, far right, in 1941.  Photo courtesy of Richard J. Chaisson

Times Past


Athol Memorial Hospital is being contacted daily to determine availability of beds for military personnel. The contact comes from the Worcester-based Central Massachusetts Emergency Medical System. The procedure will remain in effect until the resolution of the Gulf crisis. The hospital is one of 53 acute-care hospitals in the state that is part of the National Disaster Medical System. AMH is licensed for 52 beds and in recent weeks the hospital census has been running approximately 10 beds short of full occupancy. Because of Athol’s proximity to Cutler U.S. Army Hospital at Fort Devens in Ayer, the local facility may be used to treat casualties if hostilities break out.

President Bush praised Israel’s initial restraint in the face of an Iraqi attack, and promised “the darndest search and destroy mission that’s ever been undertaken” to wipe out what’s left of Saddam Hussein’s mobile missile force. “This guy is not going to pull a victory out of this by waging terrorist attacks,” Bush said. He said the allied effort was proceeding well, but cautioned that it “will take some time” to complete the task of liberating Kuwait. “We must be realistic. There will be losses, there will be obstacles along the way and war is never cheap or easy,” he said.

Chris A. Sawyer of Phillipston was the grand prize winner in the Rodney Hunt Company Annual Safety Contest. He received a four-day all expense paid trip for two to Bermuda. A hydraulic assembler, he has been employed at Rodney Hunt Company since 1980.

The music department at Mahar Regional School in Orange has announced that middle school students have been accepted into the Western District Band and Chorus. The students are Brian Stockwell, Maria Capolongo, Kate Robins, Jessie Kurtiles, Christina O’Connor and Rebecca Silver for chorus and Stephanie Brooks, Jennifer Rice, Kerri Lyman and Nick Brightman for band.

A question submitted by Eric Lawrence, 9, about color blindness, was selected by the Associated Press and appeared in the Junior Editor’s Quiz. The fourth grader at Riverbend School is the son of Walter and Jane Lawrence of Athol.

Gov. William F. Weld says Massachusetts, like a family overextended on its credit cards, must swear off debt and get its finances in order. “We in Massachusetts have been borrowing against our future for far too long and like a family trying to work its way out of debt, there will be choices and sacrifices we have to make along the way,” Weld told the Executive Club of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.


The Metropolitan District Commission has filed a preliminary report on expanding the Quabbin Reservoir capacity by diverting the Millers River into Quabbin. MDC Commission Howard Whitmore, Jr. submitted to the Legislature his initial report on expanding the great water reserve for the Metropolitan Boston area. The report is not optimistic. Whitmore has indicated that the Millers River diversion probably provides less suitable water than originally contemplated. The report is part of a $500,000 survey of the Millers River and its tributaries ordered by the Legislature in 1964. He has emphasized that “extensive sanitary work will be required to improve the quality of much of the water to suitable standards.”

The Athol Franklin County Regional Vocational Technical School Committee announced the appointment of Paul R. Wilbur of New Salem as superintendent-director. Wilbur is presently serving as director of New Salem Academy. He will assume his new duties March 1, 1966. Wilbur graduated, received his master’s of science and is presently enrolled in the advanced graduate study program at the University of Massachusetts.

Donald B. Woodard said he has tentative plans to move Woodard’s Drug Store from 8 South Main St., Orange, to the Verney Building at 2 West Main St. by March 1. Also moving from the Lamb Block at South and West Main Street will be Donelan’s Package Store which James F. Donelan purchased from Carbone’s Package Store Inc. after Valley Gas and Oil Company Inc. of East Longmeadow, took an option on the Lamb Block. Donelan announced in conjunction with discontinuance of trading stamps at his supermarket, moving of the package store to remodeled space at the East Main Street market.

Petersham Grange is launching plans to complete the proposed camping area on property to the east of the present hall. At present, there is no such place for the convenience of travelers in a wide area with the exception of one in Orange. The project would represent a community service contribution by the Grange and would be entered in the National Grange-Sears and Roebuck community service contest.


School Supt. William A. Spooner announced that all Athol schools will be closed until further notice, following a series of conferences in which school board members, school officials, members of the board of health and Dr. Walter Lee, state district health officer, because of the high incidence of grippe among teachers and children in the schools. School will remain closed until the school board is notified by the board of health that the number of grippe cases has lessened substantially. Best protection against further spread of the grippe epidemic is through concerted action by parents and the public. Parents should make sure their children do not congregate in public places. Children under 18 will be excluded from YMCA activities and barred from attending shows at local theatres during the emergency period.

An iron lung will be purchased with the receipts of past Presidential balls in Athol and installed in the Henry Heywood Memorial Hospital in Gardner for the use of patients from Athol, Phillipston, Royalston and Petersham.

First prize for excellence of first page make up among daily newspapers in Massachusetts was awarded to the Athol Daily News at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Press Association held at Boston University. The contest which was open to all newspapers published in Massachusetts was divided into just two classifications, dailies and weeklies, with no limitations as to size nor circulation. A total of 51 papers were examined by the board of judges which chose winners for general excellence, editorials, front page makeup, general makeup and locally produced advertising.

The name of the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church of Orange will be changed to the Bethany Evangelical Lutheran Church it was decided at the recent annual meeting.

Total welfare expenses in Athol for the year 1940 were the lowest of any year since the depression started, according to the annual report of the Athol Board of Public Welfare. Expenses for the year just completed were $50,932.06, as compared with $54,734.14 for the preceding year.

A gain of more than 1,000 juvenile readers at Athol Public Library during 1940 was reported by Miss Gladys Greene, librarian, in her annual report of the library’s activities. A decrease in adult readers was attributed to better business conditions, since more people are working and finding less time for reading. The library circulated about 73,000 books during the year.

Athol Daily News

PO Box 1000
225 Exchange Street
Athol, MA 01331
Phone: (978) 249-3535


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