Times Past: July 8, 2020

Published: 7/7/2020 5:25:38 PM
Modified: 7/7/2020 5:25:32 PM

Joseph H. Gionet, 93, of Athol, was honored with a World War I 75th Anniversary Medal. Gionet also served in World War II and in 1992 received a medal for his service in the liberation of the Philippines.

■Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries Fresh Air Camp opened its 89th summer season with the arrival of 119 campers, the first for more than 500 children ages 7-16 during four two-week sessions. Tucked away on a 500-acre panel of land in South Athol, the purposes of the camp are to provide “creative, recreational and learning experiences, foster personal growth and development, create a positive sense of community and foster responsibility for and understanding of the natural environment.”

■Mark Smith left public school three years ago at the age of 12. Today, he owns his own small engine repair business. Mark and his brother Peter, 13, the sons of David and Kathy Smith of Athol, have been homeschooled by their mother since 1992. Homeschooling has enabled Mark, who has never been big on books, to get an early start on fulfilling his dream of owning his own lawnmower dealership. “Ninety-nine percent of what comes in here leaves here running,” says Mark, who also works on chainsaws, weedwackers and riding lawnmowers.

■The beach at Lake Mattawa will continue to be open for swimmers. Orange selectmen made the decision following discussions recently whether it should be turned into a boat ramp. Although there are no funds available for a lifeguard, there is money slated to keep the area clean.

■The Mt. Grace Business and Professional Women held an installation of officers recently at the Fox Run in Phillipston. Honored was Marguerite (Peg) Shannon, a charter member, who was recently named member of the year for her service to BPW and the community.

■Fort Devens is going out with a bang. The soon-to-close Army base is hauling out the howitzers and firing up the fireworks for its final Independence Day celebration — dubbed the “Last Blast.” It will be a tribute to the thousands of soldiers and civilians who have worked at the base, spokesman Walt Day said. “That and to the community that surrounds us, which has been such a very good friend to us in the many years we’ve been here, since 1917.”


Fourteen newsboys and one newsgirl attended the Boston Red Sox-Cleveland Indians baseball game at Fenway Park. The outing was in recognition of service performed by the carriers who make home deliveries of the Athol Daily News daily to subscribers. The carriers had a chance to talk with Red Sox manager Eddie Kasko and outfielder Billy Conigliaro before the game.

■With horns tooting and headlights blazing, a cavalcade of buses bringing the first contingent of 150 campers to Morgan Memorial Camps in South Athol arrived. Boys and girls were split up according to ages and dispatched to their individual camps.

■Wildlife in the Bearsden woods conservation area has dwindled considerably in past years, the conservation commission said. The commission said it will welcome any help to provide feeders and plants to attract bird life to the area. Robert H. Lawton and Kirke B. Lawton have replaced guide signs along Bearsden trails. The signs were recently knocked down or damaged by bullets. Barriers have been replaced on fire roads.

■The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Air Use Management, will set up a sampling station atop Memorial Building in Athol to determine sources, extent and effects of atmospheric contamination.

■Family Fun Day will be held July 4 at Mahar High School in Orange. The Methodist Church will dispense hot dogs and hamburgers. There will also be two food sales, one sponsored by the Order of Rainbow for Girls and one by the North Orange Grange. Cotton candy and candied apples will be available at another stand. There will be an art exhibit and an attic table, the latter sponsored by the St. Mary’s Women’s Club. The Warwick Forestry Camp will display metal and wood craft and the 4-H Club will have a small animals exhibit. The Orange Town Band will present a concert under the direction of Robert Ellison. The midway will feature kiddie rides sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Orange. The Tully Mountain 4-H Horse Club will sponsor pony rides and the Dorcas Society of the North Orange Church will sponsor a hayride. The Orange firemen will have novelties and balloons for sale.

■Orange selectmen have sanctioned use of Lake Mattawa for courses in sailing and canoeing safety in conjunction with the Greenfield Community College summer recreational program.


Athol police and fire department officials report “the quietest Fourth on record,” neither having a call of any kind either the night before nor during the day and night. At times the streets looked deserted. The baseball game between Athol and Orange drew a very good crowd in the afternoon and many took in the American Legion Carnival at Athletic Field.

■The heavy lightning and thunderstorm which hit the Athol area did considerable damage to both the electric and telephone systems, as well as hitting many trees, in some cases close to homes.

■Camp Wiyaka opened with the largest enrollment in the 24 years of operation. It was necessary this season to refuse many applicants due to the fact that accommodations could not be provided.

■Chairman Harry C. Cook of the Athol Salvage Committee stated that the recent salvage drive was a success in every way, and that a total of 23,000 pounds of paper were taken in by the 12 trucks, a large quantity of tin and some rags. The salvage drive in Orange netted approximately six tons of paper and two tons of tin.

■Earl R. Cookman, Jr., of Athol, has been promoted to the grade of staff sergeant. Head of the unit supply section of a C-45 squadron, Sgt. Cookman has been overseas more than 16 months and wears seven campaign participation stars in his European Theatre Ribbon, as well as the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon for meritorious achievement in the D-Day airborne – troop carrier invasion of the Cherbourg Peninsula.

■After six months in a German prison camp, Staff Sgt. William Haskell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Waldo Haskell, engineer and waist gunner on a Flying Fortress with the 384th Bombardment Group, before he was shot down on Nov. 30, 1944, has arrived home in Athol.

■Orange was treated to one of the best Fourth of July celebrations that the town has enjoyed for many years. Between three and four thousand people gathered at the town park in the evening to listen to the Musical Bargerons and to see an unusually fine display of fireworks.

■Lt. John M. Howe, son of Frank A. Howe of Orange, flew 40 combat missions during a tour of duty with patrol bombing squadron 20 in the Pacific. Lt. Howe, now home on leave, flew as navigator on a Mariner, navy search plane operating from island bases.

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