Times Past


Standing for hours in raw, rainy weather greeting voters may not be one’s idea of a good time, but Jane Peirce, newly elected member of the Orange selectboard and the first woman to serve in that position, said she enjoyed doing just that at the polls.

A team of students from Mahar Regional School recently placed third in the junior engineering technical society teams competition at the University of Massachusetts. Students were tested in biology, chemistry, physics, math, computer literacy and English, answering 40 questions in each subject in the allotted two hours.

Lester Scafidi, song and storyteller of Orange, entertained 125 teachers, parents and children at the Pleasant Street School. The program was sponsored by the Chapter I and Special Education Parent Advisory Council.

Efforts may be underway to have teen activities available in Orange. At the selectmen’s meeting, Tom Jordan, a teacher at Mahar, discussed the possibility of starting up activities for students, particularly for Friday and Saturday nights. He said there are students saying there is nothing to do in the town and that they want to do something about it.

Superintendent of schools, James P. Kelley, told school committee members that preliminary fiscal 1992 cherry sheet figures released by the state are “very misleading.” Figures published in the media indicate Athol will receive an increase of $144,629 in local aid. That figure is correct, Kelley said, but the proposed state local aid figures for the Athol-Royalston School District show a total of $502,416 less than fiscal 1991.

Mahar Regional School Committee member Karl Bittenbender and principal Francis Zak voiced concern over the fiscal problems facing both the regional school system and taxpayers when they presented Wendell’s share of Mahar’s budget for fiscal year 1991-92. “Essentially the budget is sitting at one percent over the budget of last year,” explained Bittenbender. “We have tried to hold faculty positions intact and see what we could do about everything else. We have made a significant attack on the budget for special education. In the past, we kept money for students we anticipated coming — we estimated that. This year every dollar is tied to a student’s name.”

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is nearly broke, state Treasurer Joseph Malone is warning. He said the government will be out of money by the end of the month at the current rate of spending.


At a recent meeting of stockholders, the corporate name Rodney Hunt Machine Co., was changed to Rodney Hunt Co. The change in name was prompted by the conviction that the previous corporate name did not accurately reflect the product line and services offered by the company. Through its three product divisions, Rodney Hunt designs, makes and sells specially engineered textile machinery, industrial rolls, sluice gates and other water control equipment. Rodney Hunt, its namesake founder, formed the company in 1840. At that time the company made farm implements and textile equipment.

Ten Latin-American girls from Maria Asumpta Academy in Petersham entertained approximately 100 mothers, daughters and guests at Phillipston’s annual Girl Scout mother-daughter supper. The girls performed a number of South American dances and songs. Four of the girls are from El Salvador, five from Mexico, and one from Colombia.

To help raise money for their “Dollars for Scholars” program, the Narragansett Chapter of the Citizen’s Scholarship Foundation will present a pageant entitled, “Our Schools — Yesterday and Today.” The pageant will depict scenes of schools from the 1700 Dane School to the present time. The pageant is one of several fundraising events by the chapter to help attain their goal of $4,000 for 1966 graduate scholarships.

Timothy J. Cookman, 16, son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald E. Cookman of Petersham, topped contestants and was awarded the first grand prize at the eighth annual science fair in Mahar Regional High School with a project called “Synthesis of Uracil.”

Athol police recovered three cars that were reported stolen by owners who left keys in their cars and ignitions out of lock position.

At the annual town appropriations meeting, less than 200 Orange voters approved expenditures of $1,304,319, the money to be raised by taxation. Rejected was a request for $8,000 for a new garage and tool house at South Cemetery. Articles calling for expenditures of $46,000 for a new roof and $2,250 for preliminary plans and cost estimate of a second floor expansion, both at Dexter Park School, were also rejected.

The cast of this year’s Athol High School Senior Play, “You Can’t Take It With You” is now busily rehearsing the three-act comedy classic. The cast is one of the largest in years.


Athol and Orange, together with other communities from Virginia to Maine, are still digging out from the worst snowstorm of the season, although most of the streets have been plowed or cleared. Various stores reported a large drop in sales as farmers, marooned in the country, could not get into town to do their usual Saturday shopping.

The possibility that Athol and Orange will have air mail an air express service was advanced by All American Aviation, Inc., of Wilmington, Del. The aviation company announced that it has filed with the civil aeronautics board formal notice of intention to apply for a certificate of public convenience and necessity for six new air mail pickup routes. It is expected that should the proposed plans go through the airline will make its stops at Orange Airport.

Need for a hospital to serve the Athol-Orange area was stressed at a meeting of Edward H. Phillips Post, American Legion, at Liberty Hall. An effort will be made to arouse public opinion on the hospital question which has hung fire for many years, with the project being suspended several times. If the Legion finds that there is general agreement that a hospital is necessary, it will sponsor the drive. It was pointed out that the nearest hospital is 17 miles away in Gardner, and that in serious accident or illness cases, such a long trip might be fatal through lack of immediate medical attention.

Phyllis Hamilton, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dayle Hamilton of New Salem, will represent Franklin County at the National 4-H Club camp at Washington, D.C. She is one of four youths in the state to receive this honor.

While Athol-Orange housewives keep busy planning and preparing meals for their families, consider Miss Muriel Graham, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Graham of Athol, who plans meals for about 900 persons daily at Trinity Hospital in Minot, North Dakota. Miss Graham, assistant dietitian at the hospital, plans with her chief dietitian hundreds of meals of all varieties for all types of persons, for the healthy and sick, patients on special diets, those who “won’t eat” or are “fussy” about their food. She reports there are 10 to 12 different menus which must be prepared daily.

Athol Daily News

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


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