Times Past 1-30

Published: 1/29/2019 10:00:02 PM


The temperature was the big topic in most coffee shops and workplaces in the North Quabbin region as old mother nature blessed the area with what may well be the coldest day of the year. Bill Clark, manager of Chartered Buses Inc., reported -31 at his home while Wayne Newton said it was -33 in Royalston. Officially it was 21 degrees below zero at Tully Dam.

Athol schools are facing a space crunch, and Acting Superintendent Allen Hodgdon may rent space around town to ease overcrowding.

Winners of Athol-Royalston Regional School District’s geography bee were Charles Prusik, first place; Adam MacLean, second; Joshua Aldrich and Andrew Tibbs, tied for third.

Elwyn Bacon is spearheading a petition to ask Athol selectmen to put a non-binding question on the upcoming election ballot seeking to eliminate the present system of town meeting representatives in favor of open town meetings.

“Act Out,” a series of theater workshops for teens, parents and adults concerned about conflict and creating positive ways for people to interact will be held at the North Quabbin Adult Education Center on South Main Street, located next to the Orange Courthouse. Act Out uses role play, scene improvisations, theater games and scriptwriting. Through newspaper articles, personal stories, song and poetry, ideas are shared about the way teens live and how the community can be made a better place to live.

Artist Ralph Henley presented the town of Orange with three paintings of scenes in Orange at the recent selectmen’s meeting. The paintings are the Eastern Star Home and the Shawmut Bank building on East Main Street, the dam in the Millers River facing east, and the Orange Fire Station on Water Street.

After haggling for days over who is responsible for the cost of removal of ice on the roof of the Warwick Center School, the regional school district or the town, a trio of residents took it upon themselves to get up on the roof and clear it off.

State officials have kicked off a drive to redevelop the 5,000 acre Fort Devens to attract major employers once the Army leaves. The Devens Enterprise Commission will coordinate efforts to convert the closing Army base to other uses.


The Parmenter Patient Center, out-patient and emergency facility in the new $1.4 million wing at Memorial Hospital opened its doors to full staff operation. The wing, which encompasses a large examining and treatment room, minor surgical unit, admitting, waiting and auxiliary treatment rooms, is supervised by Mrs. Mary Perkins, R.N., former chief surgical nurse at the hospital.

Area blood donors established two record highs for the Athol Chapter, American Red Cross when 269 pints of blood were collected and 55 persons were first-time donors.

Schools in both Athol and Orange were closed due to the icy conditions of both roads and sidewalks. Sanding operations in Athol, which have kept the Department of Public Works working overtime the past two days, were slowed down when the two sanders both broke down.

The Orange Chamber of Commerce will sponsor a forum on the problem of rising school costs and explore possible solutions to the problem.

A veteran state legislator tried for the eighth straight year to hike the minimum age for a driver’s license from 16 to 18 — this time with the aid of the Registry of Motor Vehicles. “It’s abundantly clear the age group from 16-18 is far and away the leader in accident frequency,” Sen. David H. Locke (R-Wellesley), told the committee on Public Safety.

Sixty years after it chugged off into oblivion, the steam-powered automobile may be tuning up for a comeback. If the country gets really serious about licking air pollution, says Resources for the Future, Inc., it might take a look at modern-day versions of the Stanley Steamer, the White and the Locomobile. Electric autos also would help the smog problem, the report said, but would need “a decade or so” of development to become high performance vehicles matching gasoline-fueled internal combustion engines. The steam car, by contrast, could quite rapidly be developed into a fully-powered, long range vehicle equivalent to today’s ordinary motor cars in response, acceleration, power and fuel economy.


Children of Athol were sledding and their elders were admiring the snowscapes which have succeeded last summer’s Victory Gardens, but Chief of Police William J. Callahan warned that light snowfall is just one disguise in which Winter creeps upon motorists to sabotage their war-essential transportation. “Don’t skid your car into the junkpile while transportation is so vital to victory,” Chief Callahan warned. He declared that careful driving was more than an elementary precaution in the motorist’s own interest; that it was a patriotic duty of the highest order.

Charles H. “Sandy” Cooke, 3rd, five-year-old son of Capt. Charles H. Cooke, Jr., killed in the Sicilian campaign, stood stiffly and proudly on the Fort Devens drill field as Col. H. M. Estes, post commander, pinned on his breast the Soldier’s Medal, awarded posthumously to his father. The boy was dressed in an Army officer’s uniform, complete with captain’s bars.

One of the amazing things which emerged in this war is the swift and efficient manner in which industries, large and small, started to turn out war goods, even though sometimes the new articles were nothing like the peacetime items. One local industry which converted part of its machines and manpower to war work is the N.D. Cass Co., on Canal Street, a factory primarily devoted to toys. The War Department needed medical hypodermic needle cases, so the Cass Company took on an order and started to turn them out by the thousands for the Medical Forces in the field. Another item that the toy factory makes for the war industry is a chipboard box for manufacturers of precision tools. These are made in the millions, and large numbers of boxes are purchased by the L.S. Starrett Co. in which to pack their tools.

Athol Chapter of the Red Cross shipped 105 U.S. Army kit bags made by the community group of workers. In addition, the chapter shipped 144 hand-knitted garments for the Army, including sweaters, mufflers and helmets. The year’s total for such articles, made by knitters throughout the chapter areas, totals 861.

The Orange Boy Scout Air Squadron received its charter at Orange High School auditorium from Field Executive Arian Cota of the Monadnock Council, which was accepted by First Vice-commander Carl Wallen, of the American Legion, which sponsors the group.


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