Times Past: Oct. 27, 2020

  • This old postcard of downtown Athol features the York Theater. Old Postcard

Published: 10/29/2020 9:41:30 AM
Modified: 10/29/2020 9:41:25 AM

Each Tuesday and Thursday afternoon the YMCA offers activities for Middle School students, including weightlifting, basketball, racquetball, board games and swimming.

■Students in Mitchell Grosky’s fifth-grade class at Riverbend School recently visited Bearsden Woods as part of their unit on trees. Students have “adopted” or chosen a tree to study over the course of the year.

■Just about a year ago, behavior problems with some youngsters at Riverbend School led to rumors of gangs taking over the playground that drew fear from students and concern from parents and the school staff. Thanks to changes made by the administration and faculty, the playground is peaceful this year. The changes, which include separating the fifth and sixth graders on the playground, are designed to deter bullying problems.

■The U.S. Commerce Department’s Telecommunication Information Infrastructure Assistance Program has awarded the Commonwealth of Massachusetts a $400,000 federal grant to help pay for the creation of an integrated video, data and voice network called the Information Superhighway “points of presence” in Athol along with 19 other Massachusetts locations. A goal of the grant is to develop connections among the local K-12 public school system, the public library, public institutions of higher education and educational components of municipal government.

■The Orange Fire Department recently hosted a Massachusetts Firefighting Academy regional fire training weekend. Nearly 100 firefighters spent two days in training at Orange Fire Station and Butterfield School. Classes included incident command, safety and survival for company officers, pumps and hydraulics, ladders, salvage and overhaul, firefighting foam and interior fire attack.

■The second hamster race was held at Mount Tully Kennels Pet Store and Hotel in Orange recently. Twenty-seven hamsters raced in Grand Prix hamster cars. Grand prize winners were Alicia Bedard with hamster Reggie and Matthew Kingsbury with a hamster called Fudge.

■With overcrowded classrooms in the Warwick Center School putting the students’ quality of education at risk, the School Council decided to ask the town for $5,000 to rent a modular unit to use as temporary space. More than 25 parents met with the council to discuss the space problem and complaints were heard about children being taught in the kitchen and in the basement.


At a Boy Scout Troop 18 court of honor in CCD Center of the sponsoring Church of Our Lady Immaculate, the Life rank award was presented to Paul Watkevich, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Watkevich of Athol.

■Four Athol youths, one a 16-year-old juvenile, are scheduled for arraignment in Athol District Court charged with willful and malicious injury to personal property in the shooting damage to windows at the post office, the L.S. Starrett Co., Butler’s, Inc., the vacant First National Store, the town barn, Bruce’s Pharmacy and the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant.

■Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has assured Orange residents in a telegram received by Mrs. Esther Howard that he will work to increase funding of the Head Start program. The telegram was in response to a petition signed by some 85 Orange persons. Mrs. Howard is chairman of the Head Start policy advisory committee.

■An estimated 200 persons attended the 100th anniversary service at the First Baptist Church in Orange.

■The siren shrieked and the lights flashed as the fire truck made its annual trip from the Tully Fire House to the City Council Club. Following the truck were approximately 125 ghosts, witches, scarecrows, mummies, devils, sailor, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, bunny rabbits, and you name it, it was there. Games, movies and lunch were provided by the City Council Club.

■Mrs. Elizabeth H. Backman, a Greenfield Community College professor, has given her home in Northfield center to trustees of the Brotherhood of the Spirit Commune in Warwick. The renovated home, built in 1795, was used as a youth hostel until Mrs. Backman acquired it in 1952. The status of the Warwick commune is currently in the courts, where members are fighting an order of eviction by Warwick officials who contend their building has insufficient sanitary facilities.

■Mrs. Marguerite Langlois of Royalston was installed to her fourth consecutive term as president of the Edward H. Phillips Post, American Legion Auxiliary, at ceremonies attended by 125 members and guests at the Legion Home.

■The number of persons who drew unemployment compensation checks last month in Massachusetts was 93 percent higher than a year ago. The report showed unemployment among men increased 121 percent in a year, and among women 73 percent.


State Representative Charles H. Cooke, 67, in many activities Athol’s leading citizen, passed away at Heywood Memorial Hospital in Gardner, following coronary thrombosis. The Mercantile Committee of the Athol Chamber of Commerce voted unanimously that all stores and business establishments close during the funeral services of the late Mr. Cooke.

■Sixteen local riders of the Pioneer Horse Association took advantage of the warm evening weather and went for a moonlight ride. The group started from the Truehart stables, and rode to South Athol, where they were joined by three more, and the ride was continued by way of Flat Rock Road and Tom Swamp Road to the Harvard Forest, and around the Harvard pond trail in Petersham.

■Major Wyman R. Stone, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry S. Stone of Athol, who for the past three and one-half years has been in charge of sanitary construction in the city of Quito, Ecuador, has recently been decorated with the Honorary Order of the Knight of Quito, Sebastian de Benalcazar, by Dr. Carlos Andrade Marin. Major Stone is director of the Inter-American Service of Public Health, and this honor came to him for his distinguished cooperation in the hygienization of the City of Quito.

■Pfc. George J. Blanchard, son of Mrs. Emma M. Blanchard of Athol, has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal “for meritorious service in sustained frontline combat operations against the enemy.”

■Lease of the second story of the Orange Town Hall for motion picture purposes was entered into by the Orange Board of Selectmen with Joseph Mathieu of Winchendon. The town is to provide seats and projection booth and will furnish heat and water.

■First Lt. Richard Heckman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Elroy Heckman of Orange, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for action which took place on April 9 of this year. Lt. Heckman is a Seventh Air Force pilot and has served in the Pacific area since June 15, 1944. He completed his 40th mission just before V-J Day.

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