Around Amherst: Town’s oldest resident honored with Gold Cane

  • Fred Filios, who turned 100 Tuesday, celebrated his birthday a couple days early by receiving the Boston Post Gold Cane honoring him as Amherst’s oldest resident. Submitted Photo

Staff Writer
Thursday, November 01, 2018

AMHERST — Fred Filios, who turned 100 Tuesday, celebrated his birthday a couple days early by receiving the Boston Post Gold Cane honoring him as Amherst’s oldest resident.

A Westfield native who first came to Amherst in 1938 to study at the Massachusetts Agricultural College, before it became the University of Massachusetts, Filios had his birthday party at the Newman Center.

“It really means a lot to him,” said daughter Beth Tyler, one of Filios’ eight children. “Amherst is his home and he’s been invested in the town.”

The cane and a plaque were presented by Select Board Chairman Douglas Slaughter and Senior Center Director Nancy Pagano.

This marked the 23rd time the gold-tipped, ebony cane, provided to communities across New England by the newspaper’s editor, has been given to an Amherst resident.

Filios earned a degree in 1942 in agronomy and, after serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps as a radio operator through World War II, worked for the U.S. Soil Conservation Service for 16 years. He settled in Amherst after marrying Norma in 1952, a marriage that lasted until she died in 2015.

Except for a two-year period when he was doing soil mapping in Panama, Filios has remained in Amherst. He also worked as a steam engineer at Amherst College and then at UMass, retiring in 1982, and founded his own company Filios Enterprises Inc., doing percolation tests and septic system designs until 1996.

Tyler said over 75 people, including family and friends, came to her father’s party, and later that evening he celebrated the Boston Red Sox winning a World Series, something that also happened the year he was born.

“He’s certainly pleased they won in 1918 and this year,” Tyler said. “He’s been a longtime fan.”

CDBG meeting

The Community Development Block Grant Advisory Committee is inviting the community to participate in the 2019 CDBG application process beginning with a public hearing Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Glass Room at the Bangs Community Center.

As a mini-entitlement community, designated by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, Amherst can receive up to $825,000 in CDBG funds.

This money supports housing, community development projects, and social service activities benefiting low- and moderate-income citizens.

The meeting seeks input on the community priorities for social services, non-social services such as housing and public infrastructure, and target area neighborhoods where non-social services can take place.

More information can be viewed on the committee’s webpage at: https://www.amherstma.gov/1122/CDBG-Advisory-Committee.

Trivia Bee victor

Knowing that the Treaty of 1898 ended the Spanish-American War clinched a win for The Rotary Club of Amherst in this year’s Amherst Education Foundation Trivia Bee.

The Rotary defeated 22 other teams in the 24th annual event, which serves as one of key fundraisers for the organization.

Comcast office closing

Comcast’s customer service center at 160 Old Farm Road will close Nov. 10, two days before a new Xfinity Store opens at Holyoke Mall at Ingleside.

When the town negotiated a new 10-year contract with the cable provider two years ago, Comcast wrote a letter explaining that even if the office closed, customers could still pay bills online or by mail, as well as at the Western Union at Big Y Supermarket on University Drive, and return equipment at the UPS Store, also on University Drive.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman said the letter was part of the contract and spells out Comcast’s obligations. “We got the best language we could in the contract renewal,” Bockelman said.

Woman’s Club speaker

“Emily Dickinson: Riddles and Definitions” is the title of a free talk by Chris Benfey, a professor of English at Mount Holyoke College, taking place at the Amherst Woman’s Club Monday.

The presentation, which begins at 1:30 p.m. at the 35 Triangle St. site, focuses on Dickinson’s so-called riddle poems as a way into her life and work.

Refreshments will be served after the talk.


WEDNESDAY: CDBG Advisory Committee, 7 p.m., Glass Room, Bangs Community Center; Planning Board, 7 p.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall.

THURSDAY: Board of Assessors, 11 a.m., First Floor Meeting Room, Town Hall.