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Neighbors: 2014 calendar features villages destroyed to create Quabbin

Hello neighbor.

I get to talk about my favorite place again today: the Quabbin.

Athol historian J.R. Greene has issued the 29th edition of his Quabbin History Calendar; he sent me a copy and it is wonderful.

The spiral-bound calendar features photos from villages that were destroyed in the 1930s to create the reservoir.

Photos include views of a factory, summer camp, school, sawmill, property auction and a train at the Greenwich village railroad station. One of my favorites is a photo of Dana center, which I have walked to many times over the past few years.

There is such a rich history there — you can almost feel the place and the people of the past as you walk through cellar holes and the common, which is about a mile in on Gate 40.

Anyway, J.R. will hold a calendar signing on Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Bruce’s Browser bookstore, 1497 Main St. in Athol. There will be a brief slide program about the “Rabbit RR,” which connected Athol with Springfield through the Swift River Valley until 1935, and copies of many of J.R.’s books about the Quabbin will be available for sale and signing. I have several of his books.

The event is free and open to the public.

The calendar is $14.95 and may be found at Haley’s and Bruce’s Browser bookstore, both in Athol, Pocket Saver Market in Erving, Federal Street Books and World Eye Bookshop, both in Greenfield, New Salem General Store in New Salem, and Boswell’s Books in Shelburne Falls.

The calendar can also be ordered from J.R. by adding an additional $2 for shipping and sales tax. Send your check to J.R. Greene, 26 Bearsden Road, Athol, MA 01331.

On to what’s happening throughout the county:

UNITY SKATEPARK COMMITTEE will be at Jake’s on Avenue A in Turners Falls tonight from 5 to 9 to raise money to build a skate park. A portion of what the bar makes that night will be donated to that worthy cause.

PIONEER MARCHING PANTHERS will be fundraising for the group’s trip to Nashville, Tenn., in April with a gift basket raffle at Scarecrow in the Park on Saturday and Sunday. The basket contains an assortment of more than $200 worth of gift certificates and cards to local area restaurants and businesses, as well as homemade jams and compact discs and items donated by Marching Panthers friends. Look for the Panthers’ booth at Scarecrow in the Park. Tickets are $2 each or three for $5.

FOR THOSE OF YOU who have yearned to contribute to climate solutions, Eric Toensmeier, the co-author of “Edible Forest Garden,” and “Paradise Lot,” among others, will speak at Greenfield Community College on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Main Commons dining hall.

The talk is co-sponsored by Farm and Food Systems program and GCC’s SAGE (Sustainable Agriculture and Green Energy) Education Center, as well as Heifer International.

The evening is intended to be a fundraiser for Heifer International, so donations of $10 to $20 are suggested, but no one will be turned away because of lack of funds. Parking will be available in Lot A.

GREENFIELD’S NATIVE SON PENN JILLETTE will be at Greenfield Community College on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. to talk about his new book, “Every Day is an Atheist Holiday!” The event is co-sponsored by World Eye Bookshop. Penn will answer questions after a 45-minute talk and will be signing copies of his new book.

If you would like to reserve a copy, call World Eye at 413-772-2186. You will receive two tickets with your purchase. Otherwise, tickets are $10 at the door.

BETHANY LUTHERAN CHURCH on Cheney Street in Orange is putting the final details on its Fall Fest, which will be held Nov. 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

There is going to be a coffee can auction and baked goods, including some gluten-free items. There will also be Swedish meatballs for sale, as well as handcrafted items, books and “attic” treasures. Hamburgers, hot dogs and baked potatoes will also be available for purchase. A raffle will be held for a handmade quilted wall hanging.

MONTAGUE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH will hold a roast pork supper on Nov. 2 at 5:30 p.m. at the church. Adults are $10 and children are $5. The menu will be roast pork, gravy, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, applesauce, breads, beverages and strawberry cake.

Walk-ins will be seated as space allows, so call for reservations at 413-863-2398. Take-out orders will be available. The dinner will benefit the church’s leaking roof.

THE SALVATION ARMY IN GREENFIELD will be taking applications for Christmas assistance, including food baskets or toys for children up to 14 years old on the following days and times: Nov. 12 and 13 and Dec. 2 and 3 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Bring a photo ID, proof of income and expenses and birth certificates for each child in the household.

The Salvation Army is located at 72 Chapman St. in Greenfield.

ALSO, THE SALVATION ARMY in Greenfield needs volunteer bell ringers to work throughout the holiday season. Contact the organization at 413-773-3154.

I RECENTLY TOLD YOU about a benefit that was going to be held for Jenn Wall, the founder of Franklin County Relay for Life. Well, it was held last Sunday and $4,500 was raised for Relay for Life and cancer research.

Relay for Life presented Jenn with an award and Alfy Riel, a member of the Eagles, said there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. Alfy said he learned last week that Jenn has raised $4 million for Relay for Life over the past 20 years.

Congrats to all who participated and made the day extra special for our neighbors living with and recovering from cancer.

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: or call 413-772-0261, ext. 280. You can also reach Anita on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: up to noon two days before you want it to run.

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