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Times Past: 1945, 1970 and 1995

Published: 1/9/2020 10:13:55 PM
Modified: 1/9/2020 10:13:17 PM

The winner of the 61st North Quabbin Regional New Year Baby Contest is Master Christopher Glen Ross Gordon. He is the son of Duncan and Melissa Gordon of Athol and he joins a sister, Jessica Lynne.

Nineteen boys and five adults from Boy Scout Troop 72, sponsored by the St. Francis of Assisi Church recently hiked to the top of Mt. Monadnock.

Henry Howard Higgins, 94, was born in 1899 but he can still vividly remember when he served in World War I back in 1919. Higgins is the oldest charter member of the Athol American Legion Post 102. He has been a member since the Legion’s beginnings in 1919 and he holds a Victory medal from World War I.

“The community bears a certain responsibility in making the Teen Center a success,” said Mary Forristall, chairperson for the Teen Task Force. A house donated by Athol-Orange Television was a hopeful location, but became an unsuitable and unrealistic opportunity because the house needed to be moved from its current location on South Main Street and money for the move and a site are not available. A second option is more acceptable, a 17-room complex above Subway is for rent. About half of the projected $60,000 house moving cost could renovate and furnish the rooms with pool tables, vending machines and arcade games. Also planned for the center is a counseling facility for drug abuse, school drop-out and teen pregnancy, along with G.E.D. tutoring and tutoring for high school students.

After 65 years in existence, the Athol Rod and Gun Club has closed their doors and begun liquidation of assets which included turning over their liquor license to selectmen.

Gov. William F. Weld says a law to preserve rent control for certain tenants won’t hurt landlords and probably will prevent the Legislature from passing even broader protections for renters. The bill signed by Weld extends rent control for two years for people who meet specific income guidelines.


Although he was two days overdue, Master Richard E. Shortis, Jr., who arrived at Memorial Hospital, was the first born of the New Year to residents of the Mt. Grace Region. As such, he was declared the official winner of the 35th annual baby derby sponsored by The Athol Daily News and 21 participating merchants. Master Shortis is the first child of Mr. and Mrs. Richard E. Shortis of Phillipston.

The Athol Bird and Nature Club, tabulating its seventh annual Christmas count, made sightings of 36 species and 3,503 individual birds, the highest number ever recorded by the club. Seen this year for the first time were two barred owl, a saw-whet owl and three purple finches.

Don Capman, a psychological social worker at the Gardner State Hospital, told Athol Quotarians that Athol and surrounding areas have a drug problem, with many youngsters experimenting with various types of drugs although hard-core users are mostly confined to the Worcester-Leominster area at the present time.

Although ice still shrouds every branch and snow banks remain virtually unmelted, Petersham has returned to a generally even keel following the post-Christmas storm. Having been declared a disaster area, Petersham residents found themselves the object of a good bit of attention. Known for its beauty, especially in trees, Petersham suffered lasting damage that cannot be properly assessed before the coming of spring. Elms, of which the town center abounded, have in many cases been reduced to stubs.

President Nixon, planning to make an antipollution program one of his major 1970 goals, foresees that New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles soon will be “unfit to live in” unless something is done. Nixon said “it is literally now or never” if pollution is to be halted.


Athol was visited by one of its worst fires in some time when a disastrous blaze, which started in the basement of the Thompson New Room, 546 Main St., swept the east end of the Rubin Brothers Block, causing damage estimated by Fire Chief Ernest L. Smith, from $12,000 to $15,000, to the building, stores and contents. For a time during the early part of the morning, the fire disrupted the Daily News Associated Press wire and telephone service in both the Rubin and Dillon blocks.

Two Orange youths were cut about their faces and hands when they plunged through one of the large plate glass windows at the Fishman store at 413 Main St., Athol. The young men told police that they “were fooling” in the doorway of the store when the accident occurred.

Orange High School had a premature graduation ceremony in the school gymnasium when Principal Hamilton R. Bailey presented a fully signed diploma to James Botti, president of the senior class and well-known O.H.S. athlete who reported at Fort Devens the next morning to begin training as an Army Air Corps aviation cadet. The occasion of the diploma presentation was a surprise farewell party given to Botti by classmates and friends.

Pfc. Edwin D. Smith, son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Smith of Orange, was seriously wounded in France on Dec. 14, according to a telegram received by his parents.

The White House directed Selective Service to press “to the full extent permitted by law” the drafting of deferred farm workers in the 18 through 25 age class. Acting with President Roosevelt’s authorization, War Mobilization Director James F. Byrnes called on Selective Service Director Lewis B. Hershey to draw as much as possible on this largest remaining reservoir of potential fighting men.

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