Times Past: 25, 50 and 75 years ago

  • Linda Knapp

Published: 3/26/2020 6:09:53 PM
Modified: 3/26/2020 6:09:45 PM

A 10-month-old golden retriever, Raider, was out for a walk with his master, Douglas A. Starrett when he took off on a trip of his own. That trip landed him in the waters of Lake Ellis when the mushy ice he was walking on gave way. A Vine Street woman spotted the pooch in the water and called Athol Police who notified the fire department. Fire personnel responded to find the exhausted dog hanging on by a paw. Everard Hayes, the lightest of the crew present, donned a wet suit with safety line attached and headed onto the ice after the dog. Not one to pass up a little help from a friend, Raider splashed into the arms of his rescuer.

Athol Town Hall employees, with the exception of police department personnel, evacuated the Town Hall because of toxic gases. Investigation revealed that a chemical company working at the L.S. Starrett Co. removing chemical solvents was responsible for the escape of the toxic fumes. The fumes entered the Town Hall and several police and civilian personnel were treated for inhalation poisoning at Athol Memorial Hospital.

Students in David McCaffrey’s sixth-grade class at Riverbend School have been studying Ireland in observance of St. Patrick’s Day. They have been immersed in Irish literature, language, culture and history.

More than 400 people turned out to the benefit to help defray medical costs for 10-month-old Rodger Hart II awaiting a liver transplant. The evening netted $5,266 to bring the total, including donations to the transplant fund at the Athol Credit Union, to $9,789.83.

Three students at Mahar Regional School were suspended for having weapons in the school. Two brothers were found to have an old, inoperative BB gun. A middle school girl was in possession of what is legally described as a switchblade.

Dwight and Dick Cooley showed second grade students at Petersham Center School how to tap maple trees on the school grounds. Children have been collecting, measuring and boiling sap.

The government approved the nation’s first chickenpox vaccine. Merck & Co.’s long-awaited Varivax vaccine, called a milestone by the Food and Drug Administration, will be available in doctors’ offices within eight weeks. Varivax is 70 to 90 percent effective at preventing any chickenpox and even those who are stricken by the virus after taking the vaccine have a milder case, the FDA said.


The Athol High School athletic field will be renamed in honor of the late Thomas J. O’Brien who served as teacher, coach and athletic director at Athol High School from 1930 to 1969. O’Brien, who died last week at the age of 65, will be honored as a man who was “a great influence for the good of a good many boys throughout the years,” according to members of the Athol-Royalston Regional School Committee.

Declaiming in no uncertain terms that patriotism is not old hat, but the real thing, the cast of the Elks Minstrel will wrap up their 1970 show with a finale dedicated to America.

Athol Council Camp Fire Girls held their annual father-daughter banquet in the Athol High School cafeteria with Robert Gray of the conservation commission as guest speaker. More than 100 fathers and daughters heard Gray encourage use of facilities in the Bearsden area. He said there are more than 100 campsites and ample opportunity for hiking over trails cut out by the commission and scout troops.

Mrs. Edna Raymond of Orange, who has devoted 48 years to Girl Scout work, was honored at a Neighborhood 16 “Memories” program at Mahar Regional High School. She was presented red roses in appreciation for her service to the community. The program of photographs of various scout activities and camp songs was narrated by Mrs. Ruth Songer, teacher and long-time Scout worker.

The Mahar School Committee, the Orange Community Action Committee and the Orange Kiwanis Club will meet at Mahar Regional School to discuss establishment of a drug education program in grades 5-12.

The Orange Elementary School Committee voted to commence kindergarten classes in September if adequate facilities can be found. It is estimated 120 will be enrolled.

Orange selectmen named Clifford Fournier and Edward Billiel of the Orange Elementary School Committee, Arthur Bickford of the finance board, Roger Mallet, selectman and William Schmick, member-at-large, as a committee to study and report on the school space problem and new construction proposed for elementary housing at Dexter Park School.


Union Twist Drill Co. workers have contributed a total of $748.12 to the 1945 Red Cross War Fund.

With gasoline supply almost exhausted, radio and navigational equipment destroyed, First Lt. Douglas R. Starrett, 24, of Athol, B-17 Flying Fortress pilot and his crew recently felt their way through a heavy cloud layer and then struggled through bad weather to bring their Fort in for a safe, but “last minute” landing on an emergency field not far from Paris.

S/Sgt. Joseph R. Armienti, 24, son of Nicholas Armienti of Athol, was awarded the Bronze Star for “meritorious achievement in connection with operations against the enemy in the European theatre” from 6 June to 15 Dec.ember 1944. He has been overseas for the past 18 months, and is now serving with the 26th Infantry Regiment in Germany.

Orange Cub Scouts, Packs 7 and 8 collected 500 pounds of waste fat.

Word has been received from Pfc. Lawrence Baker, 19, son of Lewis Baker of Orange, who is fighting on Iwo Jima. This is the first that has been heard from Pfc. Baker in a long time. He states that the “going has been pretty tough” and that he doesn’t have much time to write since the little time off he has he spends sleeping.

Sgt. William Robinson, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jason Robinson of Orange, was recently awarded the Bronze Star Medal for “heroic action against the enemy on Jan. 11, 1945, in the Philippine Islands.”

Artemus M. Jardine of Tully has just received two letters from his son, Corp. Artemus Jardine, who will be 19 next month, disclosing the news that he was wounded at Iwo Jima while fighting with the U.S. Marines.

Plans for more than 30 post-war flood control projects in the basins of the Connecticut, Merrimack, Thames, Blackstone and Housatonic rivers – capable of providing large-scale employment, are under preparation or study, New England division army engineers disclosed. One of the new reservoirs planned is the Tully dam at Orange, on the Tully river.

A new slash in civilian meat supplies is expected on the heels of President Roosevelt’s projection of more belt-tightening on the home front. The reduction is in line with President Roosevelt’s statement that Americans would have to share a larger portion of their food with hungry peoples in war-liberated areas.

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