Times Past: 25, 50 and 75 years ago

Published: 2/20/2020 10:31:46 PM
Modified: 2/20/2020 10:31:35 PM

Undeterred by selectmen’s hesitation to support its plans for improving the area teen environment, the Youth Issues Taskforce has redoubled its efforts to establish a Youth Resource Center in Athol. The taskforce held an emergency meeting to plan strategy for March 7, when selectmen will hear their revised proposal. In the past week, chairperson Mary Forristall canvassed Main Street business owners to gauge support for the center. Ms. Forristall reported that of the 35 business owners she surveyed, 31 supported the idea.

Penelope J. “Penny” Kleinhans of Hamburg, Wisc., was appointed superintendent of the Athol-Royalston Regional School District by a unanimous decision. Mrs. Kleinhans is the second woman superintendent in the history of the school system. The other was Flora E. Kendell, who served from 1893-1897.

A motor vehicle stop on Route 2 near the Athol-Phillipston town line led state police to a cache of stolen weapons and resulted in the arrest of four persons. In a second case Athol police arrested an Athol man for possession of a stolen weapon and other items.

Athol Fire Chief Lee Lozier recently instructed firefighters on the use of the new personal safety alarms for firefighters which were purchased with funds donated by several local banks in cooperation with the Athol Lions Club. The alarms will be worn on the air packs and will assist others in locating a firefighter who is in trouble in a burning building.

Dave Goerlitz, the former Winston Man spoke to the eighth grade students at Mahar Regional School in Orange as part of their health education and to help stop the invasion of tobacco into their lives. The program was funded by the grant for Drug Free Schools.

Selectmen in Orange accepted conditions set by the Federal Aviation Association that will allow the airport to be closed the day of the Pearl Jam concert. Negotiations are underway for the rock group to perform one, possibly two, concerts. Selectmen said the board will seek a host fee for the town which they will negotiate with Don Law Co., sponsor of the concert. Many of the 20 people attending the meeting, some of them students, voiced support for the concert in Orange, and the board made their decision following lengthy debate.


Regardless of the change in the date for observance of Washington’s Birthday in Massachusetts, young people of Athol and vicinity remembered the YMCA hatchet hunt and turned out in good force for the fun and frolic in the new fallen snow. Fire Chief Armand Dugas was greeted by approximately 250 eager youngsters at the starting point, junction of Green and Kennebunk streets. As one neared the search area, the smell of wood smoke floating through the woods became pronounced, announcing a blazing fire for heat and comfort just ahead. At arrival off came knapsacks, areas were chosen for individual cooking fires, and all was ready for the search. Thrown in for good measure was a snowball fight or two. Bruce Winters, 12, son of Mr. and Mrs. Atwood Winters of Athol, reached under the stump of an old birch tree by the side of a brook and pulled out the hatchet.

Lt. Col. Francis Andriliunas, U.S. Marine Corps, and a former Athol resident, has received the Legion of Merit “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service while serving with the First Marine Division in connection with combat operations against the enemy in the Republic of Vietnam from 14 August 1968 to 12 September 1969.” He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jonas Andriliunas of Athol. At present he is assigned to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

At the request of the Conservation Commission, a battery-operated electric automobile will be on display at Whelpley’s School Street garage. The car was shown to Athol High School students and will be shown at the junior high school and possibly at Mahar Regional School in Orange, according to Sidney Perkins, manager of the Massachusetts Electric Co. Perkins said the vehicle, made by Mars Company in Detroit and owned by the New England Electric System, does not pollute the air. The car, which cost $6,000, can travel at speeds up to 79 miles per hour and has a range on each charge of approximately 120 miles.

Orange selectmen met with the finance committee, planning board and the school committee in closed session to discuss disposition of Central School, now vacant, and the possibility of new construction to be brought before the town meeting.

Initial construction of a sewage treatment plant on Millers River in Orange will cost $1.7 million, according to a preliminary report prepared for the town.


The Pioneer Upholstery business and building on Lumber Street, has been purchased by William F. Cass of the N.D. Cass Co. who has taken over the business and will continue manufacturing in the plant. Other lines will be produced at the factory.

The War Department announced the award of the Silver Star to Sgt. Patrick W. McGuirk, 20, Army, son of Mr. and Mrs. Patrick L. McGuirk of Athol. The citation, accompanying the award, reads in part: “On July 17, 1944, in Italy, when his company was counterattacked at night while reorganizing on a newly won position, he displayed outstanding courage in the face of almost certain death to repel the attack with machine gun fire. […] Their positions were about to be overrun when he rose, picked up his machine gun and ran forward to meet the attacking Germans. Standing alone in the face of machine gun and machine pistol fire which killed one and wounded two of his comrades behind him, this gallant soldier met the full fury of the attacking enemy. […] By his courageous deed at great risk to his life, the newly won positions were secured and the lives of many comrades were saved.”

Mrs. Elizabeth Wright of Athol has received the Purple Heart for wounds her husband, Pvt. Anton Wright, infantryman, received in action in France on Dec. 24. Mrs. Wright has not received any notification from the War Department concerning her husband or of the wounds he received.

Mrs. Charlotte Adams of Athol received a telegram from the Navy Department confirming the fact that her son, Robert Edwin Adams, who would have been 18 this week, is missing following an accidental explosion on Nov. 10, 1944, and now the department has “given up hope of his survival.”

Orange High School’s fifth annual musicale, directed by Malcolm Hall, was presented to a capacity audience in the school auditorium. The entire musicale program was very well received, with the snappy new dance orchestra going over especially well.

Miss Lorraine Duval, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond A. Duval of Orange, has been selected to receive the annual D.A.R. Good Citizenship award, given each year to an outstanding Orange High School senior girl by Mount Grace Chapter, D.A.R., with selections being made on a basis of dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism.

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