Times Past

Published: 12/26/2019 1:00:40 AM


Jolly Old St. Nick came to town to assist the Athol Daily News Santa Fund elves in delivering gifts to needy youngsters in town. Christmas is just around the corner and the holiday spirit is overflowing in the Tool Town this week. Santa Fund donations climbed to $11,812, surpassing the $10,000 goal.

Students in Mrs. Kathy Miller’s first grade class at Pleasant Street School have been studying holiday celebrations from different countries.

Athol senior meal site volunteers have knitted 50 mittens and 15 scarves over the past several months and have donated them to the Quota Club for the annual mitten tree.

The Orange Santa Fund is over the top of the goal of $6,500 with total contributions of $7,941.74.

On Daniel Shays Highway, sitting back a few hundred feet is a manger with live animals and statues of the nativity scene. It’s a step back in time to when Christ was born, lying in the manger in Jerusalem. Sandy and Butch Whitmore have owned the farm and equestrian center since 1971 and for the past six years they have recreated the Nativity scene.

Seventh grade students in Sylvia Jamros’ Life Skills class at Mahar Middle School made holiday decorations, bought gifts and food and sought donations for the Athol-Orange Family Inn residents.

Jocelyn Songer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Songer of Orange and a junior at Mahar Regional School, received a Certificate of Merit from Dr. Francis Zak, principal, on being selected the School Sylvan Scholar in the Century III Leaders Program. Miss Songer has demonstrated involvement in community affairs, a leadership role in the understanding of America’s past and the needs and challenges of today and our nation’s future. She will continue in state competition for the Century III Award.

Third-and fourth-graders from the South Royalston Elementary School offered songs from Switzerland, France and Israel during the winter concerts.

New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe passed for 278 yards and three touchdowns in the Patriots 41-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills.


“Athol folks are A-OK,” said Santa Claus when he was informed that residents of the Mt. Grace Region zipped the Santa Fund to purchase toys for underprivileged children over the top of the $700 goal. He added, “Hurrah and Hallelujah! You did it! And some 150 kids who depend on me, as I depended on you, will, I hope, be happy Christmas Eve.”

Several businesses were complimented by selectmen for their Christmas decorations in keeping with the community improvement program. Cited were the Ellinwood Insurance Agency, Colonial Bank and Trust Co., Athol Savings Bank, DePratti’s Package Store, Public Finance Co., Uptown Variety, Summit Lunch and Athol Memorial Hospital. Also commended were homeowners who have set up attractive displays.

In response to an item that appeared in the Athol Daily News, Mars Bargainland in Mohawk Plaza on Route 2A has donated a typewriter to the Gardner State Hospital rehabilitation program. The news item stated the hospital program was in dire need of a typewriter.

Effective Jan. 5, the L.S. Starrett Co. no longer will pay bonuses twice yearly, but will increase rate ranges 6 percent. Employees will received a final bonus, on earnings of the past six months, early in January, according to Douglas R. Starrett, company president.

Stanley L. Holland, president of UTD Corporation, Litton Industries, announced that, as part of the company’s continuing program to strengthen its competitive position in the metalworking industry, UTD will build a new drill manufacturing plant in Gaffney, S.C. He said the new automated drill plant is designed to complement, and will be in addition to, the current UTD Corporation drill manufacturing facilities at Athol.

The Orange Santa Claus Fund has reached a total of $251.76 and Santa claims to be very happy with the response of the community. Ralph Robbins of the Orange Fire Department, general chairman, said Santa was especially pleased to receive a contribution from Dept. 8 of the L.S. Starrett Company, the first time the Orange fund has received an out-of-town contribution from a factory. Last week they received a contribution from St. Petersburg, Fla.

At the recent meeting of the Orange selectmen, the South School building and a portion of adjoining property was sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, represented by Rev. John J. Loftus of St. Mary’s Church in Orange.


Special certificates, printed in color from originals by Walt Disney, were on hand at the four Athol banks to be presented to children under seven years of age whose parents have bought war bonds in their names since Nov. 1.

Athol Lying-In Hospital announced it will close March 1. Approximately 500 babies have been born at the hospital, located on Brookside Road, since its opening on April 1, 1940.

A total of nearly 200 Christmas packages have been forwarded to wounded veterans at Lovell General Hospital, Fort Devens, from local church groups and community organizations, which donated the gifts.

Stanley A. Rustausky, Sgt. in the U.S. Army, was killed in Italy on Nov. 26, according to a telegram received by his father, Joseph Rustausky of Athol.

First Lt. Robert E. Titus, 25, son of Mrs. Edson A. Titus of Athol, was killed in action on Dec. 10 in France, according to a telegram received by his mother from the War Department.

It was learned in Orange that the new industry which proposes to locate in the former New Home Building is the Independent Lock Co. of Fitchburg, a large concern which manufactures hardware supplies.

T/5 Frank Jirkovsky, U.S. Army Medical Department, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Jirkovsky of Orange, was awarded the Bronze Star for “exceptionally meritorious conduct in action against the enemy on Aug. 10,” in France.

Mr. and Mrs. Olaf Johnson of Orange received word that their son, Pvt. Elwyn Johnson, 18, infantryman, was seriously wounded in action in France on Dec. 4.

Mr. and Mrs. Steven Laskoski of Erving received word of the death of their son, Cpl. Joseph Laskoski, tail gunner, in a plane crash, according to the War Department. He is the first Erving boy to be killed in the service.

Pvt. Gordon E. Dexter, 31, formerly of Orange, died of wounds in France on Dec. 8. He was serving in General Patton’s Third Army.

Lt. Gen. Courtney H. Hodges’ U.S. Army struck back at advancing German columns of infantry and armor in Belgium and Luxembourg in a fierce battle which may prove to be one of the most decisive of the war. The Allied command accepted the challenge of Field Marshal Karl Rudolf Gerd von Rundstedt who was attempting his greatest counteroffensive against American troops in Europe.

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