County Fare: Lee woman, 101, presented with Boston Post Cane

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The town of Lee continued the tradition of passing on the Boston Post Cane to its oldest citizen, during a special ceremony Jan. 30 at the Senior Center.

Surrounded by her family, friends and devoted neighbors, 101-year-old Dorothy Mary Mottarella was presented with a replica of the Golden Cane by Patricia DiGrigoli, director of the Lee Council on Aging and Senior Center.

Mottarella was born March 30, 1918, to Louis and Florinda Ciullo. Her parents were immigrants from Italy who met in Torrington, Conn., and settled in Lee. Mottarella continues to live in the homestead that has been on the site since 1881.

According to her nephew, Michael Fern, Mottarella and her husband, Richard, lived simply, had a strong sense of right and wrong, and treated everyone they encountered with respect, generosity and compassion.

DiGrigoli compared Mottarella to a modern-day "superhero" and that she could be a great storyteller for today's youths.

Mottarella was surprised at that and said while she did have a lot of stories, she was just a homebody.

"Bottom line, the lady is a hoot," Fern said.

State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox, awarded Mottarella with a proclamation and the Rev. Brian McGrath, pastor of St. Mary's Church in Lee, delivered a blessing.

The tradition of the Boston Post Cane began in 1909, when Edward A. Grozier, publisher of the Boston Post, distributed the gold-headed canes to 700 towns (no cities included) in New England, to be presented to the oldest male resident to hold until his death.

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The honor was extended to women were declared eligible for this presentation in 1930.

Grade 5 Arbor Day poster contest

"Trees Please" is the theme for this year' s Fifth Grade Arbor Day Poster Contest sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation's Urban and Community Forestry Program, with support from the U.S. Forest Service.

Fifth graders from around the state enrolled in public and private schools, as well as home-schooled students, are encouraged to participate in the contest by creating posters highlighting this year's theme. Schools are then asked to host a poster contest to determine the winner. The winning poster from each school then can be submitted to the agency for review.

Home-schooled or nonparticipating school students can submit their posters and enter the contest individually.

First-place prizes include a tree-planting ceremony at the winner's school, a certificate for art and science supplies and more. Second-place, third-place and honorable mention winners also will receive art and science supplies.

This year's theme is designed to highlight the importance of trees within Massachusetts communities and diverse landscapes throughout the state. Additionally, the Arbor Day Poster Contest combines art and science in an effort to instill the vital role trees have on the public's daily lives.

Posters must be submitted by March 15. For information, search for Arbor Day at mass.gov or contact Mollie Freilicher at 413-577-2966 or mollie.freilicher@mass.gov.

County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.


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