Things to Do Today: Library Foundation Meeting, Create Your Own Cartoons

• The Board of Library Trustees and the Belmont Library Foundation – the group that exists to promote the construction and endowment of a new public library in Belmont – will be holding a special meeting at 7 p.m. in the Assembly Room of the Belmont Public Library to update the public on the foundation and the future of the organization.

• The Benton Library, Belmont’s independent library at the corner of Oakley and Old Middlesex, is open today from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Come by this community jewel and stay a while.

• Anyone interested in residential solar power should come to the meeting of the Belmont Municipal Light Advisory Board at 7:15 p.m. in the Community Room of the Chenery Middle School, 95 Washington Street (parking is on the Oakley side) where the board will discuss “solar distributed generation policy and pricing.”

• Heads up: A week from today, 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!

Belmont Community Summer Band Seeking Musicians for July Concert

Summer is the season for being outdoors.

And if your are a woodwind musician or percussionist, you can still enjoy being outside and perform with some of your neighbors with a new group, the Belmont Community Summer Band.

According to Arto Asadoorian, the Belmont Public School’s Director of Fine & Performing Arts, the band is open to wind and percussion players ages 14 to “too old to ask.”

The BCSB will rehearse three times in late July:

The culminating performance will take place at Payson Park in the evening on Thursday, July 31 at 6 p.m.

Anyone interested in signing up can do so by completing this Google Form or go to the link below:

For information about the Belmont Community Summer Band, contact Asadoorian at

Fond Farewell for the Temporary, Interim, Long-Term Superintendent

When State Sen. Will Brownsberger read the proclamation for the Massachusetts Senate honoring Dr. Thomas Kingston, Belmont School District’s longest serving caretaker superintendent, it declared Kingston being “the semi-permenant, interim superintendent” of the school system he ran for the past three years.

“It says that,” said Kingston, before members of  the Belmont School Committee, town officials, educators and residents who came to the Belmont Gallery of Art on Monday, June 16 to thank the educator for his service to the town’s schools.

“It’s been a great three years in Belmont although I didn’t expecting three years in Belmont,” said Kingston, who received a proclamation from the House of Representatives from State Rep. Dave Rogers.

Kingston, who spent seven years as Chelsea’s Superintendent of Schools, was hired in June 2011 for a single year as interim superintendent who file the gap left with the departure of his predesessor George Entwistle.

Yet due to the lack of qualified candidates, his leadership skills and willingness to remain in the position, Kingston’s tenure stretched from one to three years, a time in which observers praised Kingston for his steady hand overseeing the district’s educators and steadying influence during three budget cycles.

“I really enjoyed the opportunity to work in this kind of community with this kind of dedication to education which in many ways was a complement to what I was doing in Chelsea,” said Kingston.

“One of the most meaningful things for all of us has not just been the counsel you gave to us but also that you sought the advice of school committee members, the leadership council and people in town about what this community is and that’s a very profound experience,” said Laurie Graham, school committee member who thanked Kingston’s wife, Sue, “for letting us have Tom for the past three years.”

After his extended stay in neighboring Belmont – Kingston is an Arlington resident – he will be working part-time with new superintendents, an experience he likens to being a “utility infielder.”

The celebration included parting gifts – a “Belmont Rocks” T-shirt, an altered magnet that now says “‘Exiting’ Belmont”, and a daily calendar of literary phrases – in addition to a cake that Kingston supervised its distribution.


Payson Park Music Festival Begins 25th Season with Battle of the Bands

Bring the kids, a picnic and enjoy the first days of summer by attending the Payson Park Music Festival which opens tonight, Wednesday, June 18, celebrating a quarter of century of offering an outdoor musical venue for Belmont residents and those from surrounding communities.

The first concert of the season will be a “Battle of the Bands” with groups mostly made up of students from Belmont High School. The concert is sponsored by the Belmont Savings Bank.

The show gets underway at 6:45 p.m. at Payson Park at the corner of Payson Road and Elm Street. 

The season runs every Wednesday evening until Aug. 27. In addition to the evening programs, four children’s concerts will occur on consecutive Fridays at noon beginning July 12.

There will also be a special Thursday concert on July 31 by the Belmont High School Community Band led by Arto Asadoorian, the fine arts director at Belmont High.

Things to Do Today: Digital Help at the Library, Bridge at the Beech

• The Belmont Public Library is providing one-on-one Digital Library Help on Wednesday, from 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.

• Duplicate Bridge Club meets from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Beech Street Center at 266 Beech St. Every Wednesday the club holds American Contact Bridge League-sanctioned games. All are welcome to play. Cost is $7. Phone: 339-223-6484 for more information.

One hundred and ninety-nine years ago, one of the great battles in history took place near the town of Waterloo where a French army under Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by the combined British and Prussian forces led by the Duke of Wellington and Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher. Napoleon would soon be sent into exile on the South Atlantic island of Saint Helena.

Zoning Board Tells Developer to Finalize Starbucks Move Before Returning

Eric Smith had enough.

The Zoning Board of Appeals member had been unhappily listening to the representatives of Cushing Village – the proposed 186,000 square foot, three building residential/retail/parking complex in the heart of Cushing Square – who is seeking to temporarily relocate the popular Starbucks Coffee Cafe at 112 Trapelo Rd. up the street while the development is being built.

He, his fellow board members and about 40 residents who filled the Belmont Gallery of Art in the Homer Building Monday night, June 16, were hearing from Development Consultant Gerry Pucillo, representing Cushing Village developer Chris Starr’s Smith Legacy Partners, discussing a last minute agreement with Belmont officials to construct temporary parking spaces – how many remains a matter of dispute – on the traffic island across from Moozy’s Ice Cream in an attempt to resolve concerns of parking and traffic many in the nearby residential neighborhoods have with Starbucks coming to the new location across from Trapelo Road and Pine Street.

(Smith Legacy Partners is representing Starbucks before the ZBA in requesting a pair of special permits at 6-8 Trapelo Rd., the first to retrofit the facade and window and the second is to operate a restaurant in a non-conforming zoning location.

But as Pucillo and Cushing Village architect Peter Quinn discussed the proposed parking solution which was “agreed to” earlier in the day with Belmont’s Town Engineer Glenn Clancy, it became apparent to White that the board’s request to the development team at the May public meeting to return with solutions that could be discussed and voted on would not be forthcoming at Monday’s June meeting.

“From what I was hearing, we were going to spend a lot of time and end up going nowhere again,” said Smith to the Belmontonian after the meeting.

About 25 minutes into the discussion, Smith spoke up, suggested to ZBA Chairman William Chin that despite what was being said, Pucillo was not presenting “an actual parking proposal in front of us right now” nor was he addressing Board of Health  concerns on placing a second dumpster in the area.

“We have spent a lot of time this evening hearing a lot of comments but it seems to me that we don’t have a concrete enough plan to act upon,” said Smith, asking that Smith Legacy return once again to the ZBA at which time they can finally resolve the ongoing concerns from neighbors and town boards and officials of the propose move.

It was a decision that Chin wasted little time in agreeing to, asking that, once again, a parking plan be developed, the issue with trash collection, deliveries

What was learned during Monday’s meeting was:


• A proposed parking solution agreed to between Smith Legacy and the Office of Community Development would create a limited number of angled parking spaces – the developer is claiming they only need six spaces to meet zoning requirements while the ZBA believes the number closer to eight – in the town-owned traffic “island” that borders the entry to Watertown’s Oakley Country Club and is across from Moozy’s. No trees will be harmed in the construction of the spaces – which would be on the Oakley side of the island – according to Pucillo, and the spaces would be removed after Starbucks is relocated.

But as a town official noted to the Belmontonian, while Community Development can suggest this solution, it would ultimately be up to the Belmont Board of Selectmen whether to approve the use of town-owned land for this proposal.

• Once Starbucks returns to its new “home” in Cushing Village, the site will “revert back to retail spaces” and not remain a site for a new restaurant or cafe, said Pucillo.

• Starbucks employees will be reserved five parking spaces at the VFW lot, at 310 Trapelo Rd., across from the Belmont Fire Department headquarters and take the MBTA’s Route 73 bus to the relocated site.

• Pucillo said that construction on Cushing Village will begin in October, the same month Starbucks “must relocate at the latest.”

While residents did get to speak on many of the same issues they expressed a month before, Oak Avenue’s Rickland Powell and David Alper both asked if Starbucks will benefit from the special permits, that it should come before the residents to “give concrete answers” to their questions, said Alper. 

Fathers Day a Home Run for Runners, Grant Foundation

You couldn’t have asked for a nicer Fathers Day in Belmont this past Sunday, June 15; a cloudless sky, warm temps with a cooling breeze.

Perfect weather for more than 500 runners and walkers to head to Harris Field to take part in the 13th annual Brendan’s Home Run 5K Race and Walk, celebrating

“What a great celebration of this town and all the people who came not just to walk and race but who volunteer every year, who ask ‘what can I do’,” said Casey Grant, the founder and president of The Brendan Grant Foundation.

The race saw former champions (Ryan McCalmon, Jessica Minty, Dan Vassallo) and veterans of the race toe the line with a pair of newly-minted national track champions – Belmont High School alumnus Chris Stadler (5,000 meters) and Andrew Carey (800 meters) who finished first in the NCAA Div. 3 track championships last month in Ohio – and a slew of other younger speedsters, many with Belmont roots.

But for the vast majority of runners and walkers, the event was just a perfect way to begin the day went families get together to allow for the feting of “dear ol’ dad.”

It was one of those youngsters, 22-year-old Louis Serafini from Brookline who took the lead at the two-mile mark and brought home the win (along with a $500 winner’s check) in 15 minutes and 15 seconds. Vassallo (who is hardly an old-timer at 29) caught 21-year-old Stadler in the final 300 meters to take second over the eight-time All-American from Haverford College also won the indoor 5,000 meter Div. 3 championship in 2013.

“I ran pretty conservatively and hung behind [Vassallo and Stadler] until two miles then I made my move which ended up being enough for the win,” said Serafini, who graduated from Boston College last year (he ran four years at BC and finished second in the inaugural Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon in Newton last week) and is the manager of the Heartbreak Hill Running Company in Newton.

Stadler’s former team mates, Paul Green and Carey, finished in fourth and fifth to round out a top five averaging 22.2 years old.

“We are particularly proud that three of the top five runners are graduates from Belmont High, and two of those national champions who have grown up with this race in their background. So we feel that we are cultivating the great runners in our community,” said Grant,

No such luck for the youngsters on the women’s field as returning champion Minty beat out Somerville’s Lindsey Willard by more than half a minute in 17 minutes and 24 seconds as Belmont’s Jamie Shea, who at 40 has ten and five years on the two women before her, finished third in 18.54.

“This is the third time I’ve come back for the race. I love the energy, how well organized the race is and how much of a community event it is,” said Minty, a former Colby College All-American who ran the 2012 Olympic Marathon Trials who lives in Concord.

It is that sense of community which Grant hoped would become the lasting legacy of his son, Brendan, who died in an on-field accident playing baseball in June 2001. 

“We started this 13 years ago on the heels of my son passing away … and that was also a community tragedy,” said Grant.

“At the time I felt it was a wonderful way for everybody to do something,” he said.

“And now, we still feel that way, that this is a win-win for Belmont because we are doing great things for the community,” said Grant.




Honoring Six Who Served In Belmont’s Schools

They taught, administered, kept the snow off outside stairs and brought the always interesting Belmont School Committee meetings to the public.

For six members of the greater Belmont Schools family, their long service for or to the district were honored by the Belmont School Committee on Tuesday, June 10 at the annual ceremony saluting their careers at their retirement with salutations and cake.

(from left) Paul Carey, Meg Hamilton, Gwen Irish and Robert McCorkle at the Belmont School Committee's annual reception for educators, staff and the public retiring from working for the public schools.

(from left) Paul Carey, Meg Hamilton, Gwen Irish and Robert McCorkle at the Belmont School Committee’s annual reception for educators, staff and the public retiring from working for the public schools.

The first person honored was a non-educator who brought the schools and the committee to the greater community. Paul Carey, who was the government and community producer at the Belmont Media Center, was faithfully behind the camera at nearly every School Committee meeting. Carey, who had a long career in media and advertising before becoming a producer, will be best known for his booming voice requesting both committee members and the public “to speak clearly into the microphone.”

Steven Chung Hau Wongassistant custodian at the Burbank Elementary for 12 years, will best be remembered for clearing snow from the back stairs leading to Gale Road. He was noticeably pleased when the stair were condemned a few years ago. 

A teacher in Belmont since 1981, Robert McCorkle, whose last position in the district was teaching third graders at the Winn Brook, brought poetry into the classroom and made it a regular ritual while being the school’s grammarian, a math whiz and history buff. He will end this years as in the past, leading a play in which “children behave as children; singing, giggling and assuming the identity of folk tale characters and occasionally forgetting a line … as Bob sings along.”

Gwen Irish has held just one position in her 42 years serving the Belmont School District: second-grade teacher at Wellington Elementary. There is no one who has as much tacit history about the schools or the town as Irish. Her knowledge in teaching and how to teach has been an ongoing asset to the children she taught and to the countless colleagues she has helped over the years. “She has always been willing to go the extra mile … and after 42 years that still rings true.”

Carol Cormier had two swings of the bat with the district, first as an office manager, then, after raising her family, coming back in 1994 first as a financial clerk where she processed the weekly accounts payable warrant entering $15 million of invoices over the year. She also lead the way in installing and using new financial software systems. 

Preschool Coordinator Marguerite “Meg” Hamilton began her service in the district in 1989 working part-time before becoming a preschool teacher for a decade. She then became a inclusion specialist, helping to create and implement the elementary autism inclusion program. In 2006, Hamilton became the early childhood coordinator working tirelessly to instruct educators and the public on the issues facing students.

“Most of all, Peg has represented what is truly best about special education; efforts to intervene early, efforts to include all children into the educational process regardless of challenges … and consummate dedication and professionalism working not only with some of our most vulnerable students but also their families.”

Things to Do Today: US Rep Clark at the Beech, Parking Reviewed for New Pools

 US. Rep. Katherine Clark will be holding Belmont office hours at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St., on Tuesday, June 17, at 1 p.m. to  2:30 p.m. Meet with the Representative or one of her staff. They will also be bringing coffee.

• The Planning Board will be meeting at 7 p.m. in Town Hall for a site plan review of the new Underwood Pool complex – they will primarily discuss parking issues – and discuss modifying an original site plan for the new headquarters of the E.F. French Construction and Mahoney Oil at 40-42 Brighton St.

• There will be music from the Chenery Middle School at the Beech Street Center on Tuesday, June 17, at 1:15 p.m. with the the Flute Ensemble, Double Reed Ensemble and the Sixth Grade Jazz Combo.

• The Belmont Art Association will be meeting at 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the downstairs Staff Room in the Belmont Public Library. This is a new group seeking to pulling together the arts community in Belmont.

Starbucks Temporary Relocation On Zoning Board Agenda Tonight

The Belmont Zoning Board of Appeals tonight, Monday, June 16 will reconvene its hearing from last month on the temporary relocation of the Cushing Square Starbucks Coffee Cafe to the intersection of Belmont Street and Trapelo Road, a meeting that brought out nearly 40 residents voicing concern on the possible increase in traffic and parking as well as questioned trash migrating into the abutting neighborhoods.

The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in the Belmont Gallery of Art, on the third floor of the Homer Building, located in the Town Hall complex in Belmont Center.

The original meeting, held on Monday, May 19, brought out residents who heard the popular Cushing Square Starbucks would temporarily move for about a year from its present location at 112 Trapelo Road up the road to 6-8 Trapelo which is less than a block from the intersection of Belmont and Pine streets. 

The move is necessary due to the construction of Cushing Village, the 186,000 sq.-ft. multi-building residential/retail/parking complex being constructed by developer Chris Starr of Smith Legacy Partners. Starr’s company also owns the two storefronts which the cafe would move into.

Smith Legacy is seeking a pair of special permits for the relocation; one to performs renovations to the exterior and the second to run a restaurant at the site.

Residents of the nearby neighborhoods told the board at last month’s meeting of their worries that the cafe, with nearly 50 seats, will aggrandize parking problems facing the adjacent residential streets that are currently being used by commuters. They also voiced worries of greater trash and litter in their community and other nuisances.