This Week in Belmont: Preventing Fraud Lecture, Cartooning for Kids, Decision on PARCC

• Belmont Police Department Lt. Kristin Daly, joined by representatives from the Massachusetts Bankers Association and Springwell, will present a timely lecture on “Preventing Fraud” at the Beech Street Center on Tuesday, June 24, from 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Learn about the types of scams and fraud that exist and financial exploitation of seniors. Get practical advice about how to prevent becoming a victim.

• The School Committee will meet on Tuesday, June 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Chenery Middle School, 95 Washington St. to discuss and vote whether to accept using the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test in place of the MCAS test to assess Belmont students’ learning progress.

• The Belmont Public Library is providing one-on-one Digital Library Help on 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in the Reference Room. Learn how to download eBooks from the library and set up a device. Get started with Zinio to read free digital magazines. E-mail and Internet basics, social media, or basic computer skills. Registration is required; register online or call 617-993-2870 to register by phone. Some services require downloading an app. Please come prepared with your Apple ID, Adobe ID, Amazon Account information or other password and log in information for your device.

• On Thursday, June 26, the Belmont Public Library will be holding a “Create Your Own Comics” for kids 10 and up with cartoonists Veronica and Andy Fish. Learn about comics history, character design and the comic creation process. Leave with material and resources to create your own comic. It takes place from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Assembly Room. Those interested can sign up here.

• The Planning Board will meet with the Underwood Pool Building Committee on Thursday, June 26, at 7 p.m. at Town Hall on parking issues at the new pool complex.

Friday, June 27 is a staff development day at the Belmont Public Library staff.  The library will be closed to the public from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The library will be open to the public from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Belmont Car Wash Celebrates 50th Anniversary with 1964 Prices

It’s like “Hot Tub Time Machine” but for your car.

Belmont Car Wash & Detailing in Waverley Square will be marking a half century in business today, Saturday, June 21, by returning to 1964 prices; a buck for a Soft Touch wash (regularly $9.99) and $2 for the Super Shine wash (a $13.99 value) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The ribbon cutting at the renovated facility at 521 Trapelo Rd. – adjacent Shaw’s Supermarket and the MBTA commuter rail line – will occur at 10 a.m. kicking off a full day of activities including food, entertainment, music, giveaways and a display of 1964-vintage autos.

One of Belmont’s longest running family-owned businesses – run today by Paul and Adam Tocci – recently finished a massive renovation to both the interior and exterior of the facility, making improvements to the wash-tunnel equipment as well as the customer waiting area. It is also known for activity supporting school and charitable causes by allowing them to fundraise at the site.

“This is an exciting time, and we are thrilled to be able to celebrate our anniversary with our community,” said General Manager Adam Tocci in a press release.

“Our father established this wash in 1964, and my brother and I continue to do everything we can to make sure Belmont Car Wash and the Tocci name are synonymous with good neighbors and strong business partners for the town.”

Yard Sales in Belmont, June 21-22

Here are this weekend’s – the first this summer! – happening in the 02478 zip code:

3 Beatrice Circle, Saturday and Sunday, June 21 and 22, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

55 Bartlett Ave., Saturday, June 21, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

100 Elm St.Saturday, June 21, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

14 Gilbert Rd.Saturday, June 21, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

68 Glenn Rd.Saturday, June 21, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

35 Raleigh Rd.Saturday, June 21, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For Sale in Belmont: Four New to the Streets

Houses for sale in Belmont; a little something for every price range:

• 252 Common St. (at the corner of Long Avenue), Brick Colonial, 1925. 10 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. 2,634 sq.ft., On a quarter acre corner lot. Sale price: $1,039,000. 

• 14 Harris St. (a block from Town Field), Colonial, 1927. 11 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths. 1,980 sq.ft., One of the bathrooms has a jacuzzi tub and double vanity. Sale price: $699,000. 

• 267 Waverley St. (near the Belmont Tennis Club), Antique Colonial, 1890. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. 1,697 sq.ft. It has a front porch where to watch the sun setSale price: $619,000. 

• 107 Slade St. (a walk to CVS and the 73 bus), Two-family, up and down, 1925. 6 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. 1,103 sq.ft. Second floor living.  Sale price: $409,000. 



On Trail: Habitat Creates Path to Accessibility

Alex Nolin has been a big “birder” –  those whose hobby is bird observation – since middle school.

“I’ve liked birds ever since I was a kid watching a lot of nature films,” said Nolin.

But for a person who travels exclusively in a motorized wheelchair, the woods and meadows Nolin would like to travel to make his observations is fairly limited. That included Belmont’s own Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary off Juniper Road on the top of Belmont Hill.

The routes through the Habitat were tough ones to maneuver over with large roots, very narrow sections, stones and no way to get very close to areas such as wetlands.

“It was very hard to transverse. I had to go off the trails. It was pretty bad since I don’t have a very high clearance with my wheelchair,” he said.

That was before Sunday when Nolin, who returned for the first time in about 10 years, used the newly-installed accessible trail constructed this spring.

On that day, the 22-year-old Belmont resident easily traveled to Habitat’s Turtle Pond where, sitting on a platform overlooking the water, he spotted a Kingfisher, a small-sized brightly coloured bird, one of the birds that he has wanted to spot for a long time.

“It’s now off my life list,” said Nolin.

Roger Wrubel, director at Habitat Education Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, said contributions and a $41,000 state grant raised the $108,000 over two years to paid for the trail’s construction. Trail builder Peter Jenson designed and built the half-mile long loop that transverses the sanctuary’s meadow and the Turtle Pond.

The trail is compacted half-inch and smaller rock with a boardwalk near the wet lands and an observation deck at the pond, which is the most popular spot in the Habitat, said Wrubel.

“It’s smooth with a nice grade without steep inclines or descents,” said Wrubel, who said it is now a different experience for those who like the more “wild” trails.

The trail – which takes walkers and riders through the sanctuary’s different ecological areas – also has spurs allowing a variety of traveling options.

Making the trail wheel-chair accessible to American with Disability Act code is also advantageous for seniors who may not be as agile and parents who are pushing a stroller.

“This trail is now navigable for people who have trouble with the narrow bumpy trails,” said Wrubel.

Students from Lexington’s Cotting School, which accommodates pupils with mild to severe learning disabilities, and the Belmont Senior Center have been invited to use the trail for a “test run,” said Wrubel.

“[The Cotting School students] couldn’t wait to get onto the next stop. It’s a real blessing,” said Chadine Ford, one of Habitat’s walk leaders and teachers.

“It’s gotten good reviews,” said Wrubel, including one from Nolin.

“I really appreciated it. [The trail] was very smooth and much wider. It’s now appropriate for my wheelchair,” said Nolin.

“Now I can come visit more often as I live so close by and enjoy it,” he said.


School’s Out! Summer Recess Begins; Town Clears Out

The calendar says that summer begins on Saturday, June 21.

But every Belmont parent or student knows that summer officially starts late in the morning of today, Friday, June 20 as the six public schools close their doors for the summer recess.

Several schools will have ceremonies on the final day of the school year with fourth graders and eighth graders marking their last day in elementary school and at the Chenery Middle School.

Today is an early-release day of the public schools. Here is the schedule:

• 10:30 a.m. for High School,

• 11 a.m. for Chenery Middle School and

• 11:40 a.m. for elementary schools with the exception of the Winn Brook which releases at 10 minutes until noon.

Today also marks the unofficial start of the summer get away as families and residents begin the annual extended vacations and trips away from the “Town of Homes.” It is reported that upwards of 10 percent of the population will be away from Belmont from July 1 to Aug. 31.

Belmont Weekend: Pool Blast Off Sunday, Bright Corner Fair, the ‘Chef’ at the Studio

• The Belmont Recreation Department will be holding the 6th annual Summer Blast Off Party at the Underwood Pool on Sunday, June 22, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Join the celebration of the Underwood Pools’ farewell season with music, games and fun.

• The Bright Corner Summer Fair will be held in the strip mall at 70 Concord Ave. on Saturday, June 21, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event is sponsored by the three businesses – East Boston Savings Bank, Indigo Fire and Mathnasium – in the mall and Belmont Dental Group.

• Blockbuster, smockbuster; forget all the loud, visually-maddening mega-films aimed at stuffing young people in movie theaters. Playing at Belmont’s Studio Cinema is “Chef,” a “small” film directed, co-produced, written by and starring Jon Favreau with co-stars Robert Downey, Jr.Scarlett JohanssonSofía VergaraDustin HoffmanOliver Platt and John Leguizamo. Show times are 3:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m Friday, Saturday and SundaySee the trailer here.


Final Cut: Frank’s Barber Shop Closes as Commercial Market Shifts

Frank Cannalonga has been a Belmont barber for the past half century.
And if you count the first ten years spent with his brother-in-law’s shop in Watertown, it’s been 60 years “cutting hair,” Cannalonga said.
“I have been here 50 years at this barber chair. That’s a lot of standing,” said the 84-year-old Robinwood Road resident.
As satirist Fran Lebowitz observed that “you’re only as good as your last haircut,” then you couldn’t come to a better place than Frank’s Barber Shop at 113 Trapelo Rd. across the busy street from Starbucks and the town’s municipal parking lot.
Frank or his long-time partner, Fred Sacco, sits you down and gets to work, with a razor and scissors, sometimes both in the same hand. They show the efficiency of more than a century as barbers, cleanly making the unruly presentable with a preference to the “high and tight” style that has become fashionable again.
On one recent Saturday, a Watertown kid’s thatched thick hair is buzz cut into shape.
“He’s one big cow lick,” said the pre-teen’s mother to Frank as Fred puts the finishing touches on a regular, explaining he can now go home to his wife.
“I don’t know if I want to now,” he said laughing.
Not a “hipster” barber salons with names such as Gentlemens Choice or The Barbershop Lounge where cuts run up to $50, Frank’s doesn’t have on-line appointment scheduling (“Oh no,” said Frank when asked if the store has a Web page. “They know when we are open.”), leather couches or alternative music booming in the background.
Just a couple of threadbare chairs where customers or an appreciative parent can sit and talk in the two-chair establishment. A television is in the back “when the game is on,” lollipops nestled adjacent to the cash register at the ready for anyone who needs one, a plaque of appreciation from the Lions Club and a family photo on the shelf.
And the prices: $16 for the “regular”, three more of the “razor” cut. You can get your hair styled but “most come in for the regular,” said Cannalonga.
This coming Saturday, June 21, Frank’s will close like it always does around 4:30 p.m. but only after the last customer has been dusted with talcum powder and Frank rings in the sale.
It will also be the final Saturday for Frank’s, as the traditional barbershop shuts its door for the last time.
“And that will be it. I’ll come by a few days later to clean up the place and that will be it,” said Cannalonga.
In a trend that is becoming more familiar in Belmont this spring, as the state economy has recovered and the town awaits major development and infrastructure projects to start, commercial leases are either shooting skyward or existing businesses are not given the opportunity to renew their leases as landlords sights have turned to more lucrative enterprises.
Customers still park in the lot at what was once One Stop Market at the corner of Pleasant Street and Brighton Street only to be surprised to find the long-time convenience store locked and empty.
“Thanks for everything!” reads the sign at the front door.
Others are feeling the pinch. Gustazo Cuban Restaurant & Cafe at School and Trapelo is leaving for Waltham while other mom and pop shops wait to see what their owners are thinking.
Frank’s is one of those casualty of Belmont’s changing commercial scene.

“Well, I wasn’t quite ready. I could have worked another year or two before getting out. But I wasn’t even offered the chance so that’s where it is,” said Cannalonga. 

Frank’s landlord, Harry Misakian of Misakian Belmont LLC, which owns the commercial block that runs along Trapelo onto Common Street, could not be contacted.

Frank’s and his neighbors including the Christian Science Reading Room and  are leaving months before the first shovels are anticipated to hit the ground for the construction of Cushing Village, the 186,000 square foot development that will bring nearly 35,000 square feet of new retail and more than 110 high-end residential units to Cushing Square, across the street from Frank’s.
Rumors have an up-scale man’s salon occupying Frank’s spot.

What he will miss the most is the customers, “because after 50 years you build up quite a few friends,” said Cannalonga.
Sacco will soon be working for “our competitor across the way, a nice kid,” he said.
But there is no bitterness from Frank on leaving before he had hoped.
“It’s been a good run,” said Cannalonga.

Sold in Belmont: Townhouse on Warwick Clears $930K

A weekly recap of residential properties bought in the past seven days in the “Town of Homes.”

4 Warwick Road. Townhouse condominium (2005), Sold for: $930,000. Listed at $869,000. Living area: 3,164 sq.-ft. 8 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 125 days.

1041 Concord Ave. Extended Cape (1941), Sold for: $699,900. Listed at $699,900. Living area: 1,474 sq.-ft. 6 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 2 bath. On the market: 54 days.

15 Barbara Road. Colonial-ish “mishmash” (1992), Sold for: $1,850,00. Listed at $1,875,000. Living area: 4,403 sq.-ft. 12 rooms; 7 bedrooms, 4.5 bath. On the market: 63 days.

56-58 Gilbert Road. Multi-family (1992), Sold for: $750,00. Listed at $650,000. Living area: 2,274 sq.-ft. 10 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 2 bath. On the market: 71 days.

33 Winter St. Ranch (1992), Sold for: $899,00. Listed at $939,000. Living area: 2,330 sq.-ft. 5 rooms; 3

bedrooms, 2 bath. On the market: 134 days.

Belmont Market Day: Jamaica Mi Hungry Food Truck and Late-Spring Greens on the Menu

Summer is almost here, but there’s still time to enjoy spring’s bounty at this week’s Belmont Farmers Market.

After a long winter and a wet spring, assorted greens are bursting out of the fields and into the market. Check out our vendors for their early-season chard, radishes, spinach and other fresh goods like honey and eggs.

Weekly vendors: 

C&C Lobsters and Fish, Carlisle Honey, Dick’s Market Garden, The Farm School, Fior d’Italia Pasta, Foxboro Cheese Company, Goodie’s Homemade, Hutchins Farm, Kimball Fruit Farm, Mamadou’s Artisan Breads, Sfolia Baking Company, Stillman’s at the Turkey Farm

Occasional and guest vendors: 

Bedford Blueberry Goat Farm, Belmont Municipal Light Department, Rad Urban Farmers, Soluna Garden Farm, Sugar + Grain, Westport Rivers Winery.

Food truck: Jamaica Mi Hungry, 3 p.m. to closing. The truck’s owner, Chef Ernie, was at the Belmont Day School for three years. 

In the events tent:
2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Music by Bridget Curzi
4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Storytime with the Belmont Public Library
4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.: Music by The String Beans

Learn about all of our vendors on our website.