Boston newspaper cane goes to oldest town resident

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. (AP) - December 28, 2009

Hazel Burdick turned 101 in August. She received the gold-tipped cane this week in a ceremony in Williamstown, a rural community of about 8,000 residents in the heart of the Berkshire Mountains.

The publisher of the now-defunct Boston Post gave hundreds of the canes in 1909 to towns in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It was a publicity gimmick and a way to honor the communities' oldest residents.

Williamstown revived its tradition 10 years ago after Burdick pushed officials in the town to find its lost cane, which was discovered later in a resident's attic. Burdick says she'd been hoping for decades for her turn to receive it.

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