Belmont Savings’ Mahoney Leading Boston Catholics to See Pope in Cuba


When Pope Francis visits Cuba in mid-September, there to greet him will be Belmont Savings Bank CEO Bob Mahoney with a group of approximately 135 Catholics from the Archdiocese of Boston.

“It should be just an amazing experience,” said Mahoney, Belmont Savings’ president and chief executive officer in an interview with the Boston Pilot. 

Mahoney, a member of the Archdiocesan Finance Council who is helping to organize the trip,, said the group will attend the Mass Francis will celebrate Sept. 20 in Havana’s Revolution Square. The group will also sightsee Old Havana, attend local musical performances and visit the Caritas Cubana mission at Iglesia San Agustin, where a previous Boston delegation donated a new kitchen.

It will also be opportunity for the Boston delegation to visit and travel to the island nation during a time of monumental change as the United States and Cuba normalize relations after more that a half century of isolation. 

“It’s just an amazing experience, getting to go to Cuba while Cuba is still Cuba,” Mahoney said as the communist country begins to welcome American investment and tourism.

Mahoney told the Pilot there is a possibility the delegation could be on the first direct flight from Boston to Havana when they depart on Sept. 18.

“That would be pretty cool,” said Mahoney, who has visited Cuba twice, once when Pope St. John Paul II traveled there in 1998, and when Pope Benedict XVI visited the island in 2012.

Pope Francis will visit Cuba Sept. 19-22 for his tenth trip abroad since becoming pope in 2013. He will meet with Cuban President Raul Castro, local religious groups and families, and will celebrate Mass in Revolution Square that Mahoney compared to “four Boston City Hall Plazas.”

“There will be well over a million people,” Mahoney told the Pilot. 

The pope will then visit the United States for a five-day visit, Sept. 22-27, which includes attending the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, meeting with President Obama and giving the first papal address to a joint session of Congress.

Pope Francis and the Vatican played a key role in engineering talks between Cuba and the United States. The pope wrote letters to the presidents of both countries and tasked the archbishop of Havana to act as an intermediary.

Mahoney said there are still about three-dozen available slots for the trip, which costs $4,500 per person, or $8,000 per couple. That includes airfare, rooms, tourist activities and meals. There are  special group discounts, inquire for details.

“It’s an amazing opportunity,” Mahoney said.

For more information, contact Donis Tracy, Educational Travel Alliance, Inc. (, at 617-610-3776 or

Just Add Water: New Underwood Pool Gets Filled Friday as Opening Nears

Photo: Anne Paulsen, president of the pool’s building committee, at the nearly completed new Underwood Pool. 

All day Friday, July 31, an armada of approximately 25 tankers trucks will be traveling to Concord Avenue at Cottage Street to deliver the one missing component required to make the recently constructed New Underwood Pool a success: Water. Lots of it.

According to Anne Paulsen, chair of the Underwood Pool Building Committee, the town can’t simply turn on a few hoses and sprinklers to fill the two pools created over the former site of the original Underwood Pool which served the town for 101 years until 2013. 

“The pools need filtered water which the town can’t provide,” said Paulsen.

For residents who remember the ground breaking on a bitterly cold day in November 2014, the transformation of the site in the past nine months is fairly remarkable, said Paulsen.

“I think this has turned out to be a marvelous project,” said said, praising her fellow committee members, the architecture, contractors and general manager. 

With a little more that a week remaining before the doors are opened to the public, the location remains an active work site, with sheet metal being shaped and nail guns firing inside the three pool buildings – two bath houses and a pump station – as final details are completed.

Outside, the slide at the kiddy pool was being assembled, the final sidewalks are being laid and landscaping continues with the planting of sod and plantings.

But Paulsen said it’s almost certain that the pool will be operational at 9 a.m. on Monday, Aug 10,   “and not a minute before.” 

The Belmont Board of Selectmen will lead the official ribbon cutting at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 8, beginning with an open house from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

“I think the result is one that the town can really be happy with,” said Paulsen. 

“And it’s under budget and on time,” she added. 

Beginning Aug. 10, the pool will be open from 9 a.m. to dusk. Day passes can be purchased at the pool (cash or check), or in a three-pack from the Belmont Recreation Department office at a discounted rate. Pool memberships are $150 and will get holders into both the Underwood and the Higginbottom.

Call the Belmont Recreation Department at 617-993-2760 for more information about passes and memberships.

Seeking Added Revenue, Moozy’s Expands to Breakfast Hours

Photo: Moozy’s in Belmont. 

When it’s July and the temperatures reach 90 degrees, owning a successful ice cream store like Moozy’s at the intersection of Trapelo and Belmont is the easiest business around, said owner Dante Muzzioli. All he  has to do is open the doors and the crowds follow.

But in February, when record winter snow levels made finding his front door a challenge, Moozy’s’ business literally freezes in place.

“It’s a ghost town when the weather gets cold. It gets really rough for six months,” said Muzzioli. “It’s a nice spot and it looks beautiful but I’m still trying to recoup the money I lost over the winter.”

In an attempt to expand his revenue base, Muzzioli came before the Belmont Board of Selectmen on Monday, July 27, seeking to expand the hours on his Common Victualler license to allow the popular ice cream shop to compete in the breakfast trade.

The former long-time head coach of the Belmont High School boys ice hockey team – in May, Muzzioli was inducted into the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame – said while he has been keeping Moozy’s – located at 2 Trapelo Rd. – afloat by transferring funds from his other businesses, “it really has to stand on its own” to continue in operation over the long term. 

“It’s all about survival and that place can not survive without a change,” said Muzzioli.

Muzzioli, who runs a successful landscaping firm and other businesses, was seeking to open the store beginning at 6 a.m. during the week to compete with nearby eateries and coffee shops such as Starbucks, Aram’s Cafe and Teddy’s Kitchen, each in nearby Cushing Square. 

The breakfast trade would include coffees, bagels, pastries and plates for sit-down service, serving residents on their way to work – the store is located on an inbound stop for the bus to Harvard Square – and those seeking a weekend morning meal. 

“I think the town needs a nice high-end breakfast place,” he said. 

Yet those living in the residential neighborhoods across Trapelo Road worried that new hours would exacerbate parking issues on their streets in addition to an earlier start to commerce in the area. 

Oak Avenue’s Rita Butzer Carpenter said there would not be enough parking at the store – there is no lot parking for the store – to accommodate a high-volume coffee shop-type operation, suggesting language be included with any approval that would prevent the store from accepting a Starbucks “kiosk” selling that brand of coffee at the location. 

Carpenter’s neighbor Dr. David Alper said a 6 a.m. start would be “egregious” to the neighbors especially on the weekend. He sought a compromise in which the store would open at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on the weekend.

Selectmen Chair Sami Baghdady, who said that he would hate to see the town possibly loss an independent store and risk seeing a chain coffee shop take its place, voted with his two fellow members to allow the store to open at 6 a.m. during the work week and 7 a.m. on weekend.

Muzzioli said the vote will allow him to see the operation moving into the future on a more stable financial footing. 

“This will help because now we have something that isn’t weather impacted. Breakfast is everyday,” said Muzzioli.

Sold in Belmont: A Housing Solution on the Beech, A Premium in Bricks

Photo: 101 Beech St. 

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

9 Audrey Rd., Brick ranch (1954). Sold: $810,000. Listed at $ 775,000. Living area: 1,483 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bath. On the market: 77 day.

29 Stults Rd. Brick Tudor (1924). Sold: $1,135,000. Listed at $1,100,000. Living area: 2,514 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 4 baths. On the market: 63 days.

43 Hillcrest Rd., Georgian Brick Colonial (1925). Sold: $2,225,000. Listed at $1,980,000. Living area: 4,564 sq.-ft. 12 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 2 full, 2 half baths. On the market: 49 days.

101 Beech St., #2, Condominium in a six-unit, self managed building (1911). Sold: $420,000. Listed at $449,900 (reduced to $424,900). Living area: 1,007 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 64 days.

27 Winthrop Rd. Colonial (1928). Sold: $1,115,000. Listed at $1,125,000. Living area: 2,211 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 77 days.

11 Broad St., Late Split-level ranch (1964). Sold: $820,000. Listed at $749,000. Living area: 2,000 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 bath. On the market: 63 day.

29 Worcester St., #2, Condominium in two family (1916). Sold: $565,000. Listed at $539,900. Living area: 1,532 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 78 days.

5 Simmons Ave., “Old Style” Brick Storybook (1937). Sold: $945,000. Listed at $960,000. Living area: 2,589 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 63 days.

One of the major reasons the medium home price in Belmont will likely reach $900,000 by the end of 2015 is the lack of new housing supply that could satisfy the demand of people seeking to live in town. So far, with the exception of the two major projects in Belmont’s future – Cushing Village and the Belmont Uplands with approximately 414 apartment-style homes to be in the supply chain by 2020 – most new construction is oversized with an appeal towards wealthy clients.

But a recent sale in a location one called “Central Square” – the intersection of Trapelo Road and Beech Street – could be a great example of solving the sacristy of moderate-priced homes. 101 Beech and its twin next door at 105 are six-unit condominiums – a pair of singles on each floor – that use space wisely with long, narrow rooms with parking hidden in the back. While they appear at first glance to be a pair of triple deckers joined at the hip, they were constructed with the idea of sharing the building as equal units – about 16 percent of the condo is common space. Built 105 years ago, they retain some great exterior features such as the street-facing balcony that’s reminiscent of the three-story buildings lining downtown New Orleans. Photos of the inside  show great architectural detail remaining for a starter home. These buildings will never be more than what they are, the first housing purchase of someone’s life; affordable with enough space to not feel cramped. 

Now just see a long line of these buildings running along Belmont Street, Trapelo Road, near parks, in high traffic areas where young homeowners are drawn. Rather than a high density development such as Cushing Village, this design is far more welcoming for the people you want to reside in Belmont, the young – maybe even hipsters. Just think of Waverley Square with this model along the roadway rather than the squat single-story retail or those stunning horrible townhouses Edward Hovsepian built at the site of the First Congregational Church.

But would residents be willing to change zoning bylaws to allow, as of right, this sort of building to be constructed? That’s the question to be answered.

The split-level ranch at 11 Broad St. should be placed on someone’s list of historic places needing protection. It is a beautiful late, 1964, ranch built as that style house began losing its popularity. While its a bit lacking in height – my 6-foot, one-inch tall son would always be ducking entering rooms with the ceiling so low – the general sweeping layout is of a bygone era. The best feature is the bay window; rounded and huge, it dominates the front of the house.

With most Belmont homes built of wood, you sometimes loss the realization that many wonderful houses on the Hill or in the Presidents neighborhood off Washington Street made of brick. And from the prices they are receiving, it appears buyers are placing a premium on the construction material. 


Belmont Light Urge Customers to Reduce Power Usage During Peak

Photo: Turn it down!

With temperatures today forecasted to reach the 90s again, Belmont Light has a request to its 11,000 customers: Lighten up on the power, please. 

With today, Thursday, July 30, expected to be another high electricity use day, the town’s electrical utility is urging users to save energy and money by reducing electricity consumption during the hottest (or peak) part of the day, between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

“Every bit of electricity reduced during peak times will help Belmont mitigate rising electricity costs,” read a press release dated Wednesday, July 29, from Sagewell, Inc., the Woburn-based firm that is administrator of Belmont Light Energy Efficiency Programs.

“Nearly one-third of your electric bill is for the cost of procuring sufficient capacity for peak days and these costs are continuing to increase for all utilities across New England.” 

And Belmont Light is providing tips to reduce peak electricity consumption:

  • Adjust the air conditioning between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and turn off the air conditioning in rooms that are not used. Adjusting the thermostat even by two-to-three degrees helps.
  • Use a microwave oven or an outdoor grill instead of a stove or a regular oven.
  • Shift laundry and dishwasher use to after 7 p.m.
  • Run pool pumps or use hot tubs before 2 p.m. or after 7 p.m. Shift other electricity use at those times.

If customers have any questions or would like advice on how to decrease peak energy consumption, contact Sagewell at 617-963-8141 or at

Strike Up The Summer Band: Belmont’s Once-A-Year Musical Get-Together

Photo: On stage with the Belmont Summer Community Band.

“You’re playing great,” said Arto Asadoorian as he directs a collection of amateurs and students in a hurry-up rehearsal of an overture from the Disney movie, “Frozen.” 

Yet the drummer has yet to get a feel for the piece, which Asadoorian found a bit amusing.

“What, am I the only person to have seen that film a thousand times?” he wonders aloud from the stage of the Belmont High School auditorium last Tuesday afternoon. 

Unlike the orchestra and bands he directs as Belmont Public School’s Director of Fine and Performing Arts, Asadoorian is putting about 40 residents, students and alum through the paces as the Belmont Community Summer Band prepares for its once-a-year concert on Wednesday, July 29 beginning around 7:30 p.m. at the Payson Park Music Festival.

Now in its second season, the band – filled with brass and woodwinds accompanied by percussions – will be preforming along with “Frozen” several works that are band standards, including those pieces that you’d likely hear at sitting in the town green somewhere in England.

For Asadoorian, who came up with the idea of creating a local band, it’s a chance to keep some of the high schoolers practicing and playing during the summer, an opportunity to welcome back former students and meet skilled amateurs who are looking to spend a few hours for a month – a total of three rehearsals – learning works to enjoy performing.

“In Belmont, we’re fortunate to have such a wealth of musical talent,” said Asadoorian.

“It’s a really nice way to all come together as a community of music makers and have come fun together,” he said. 

There’s an easy rapport between players and conductor; the ensemble takes the music to heart and Asadoorian attempts to shape it into a concert piece despite the limited time together.

There are more hits than misses, with Asadoorian keeping the tempo and atmosphere light.

When a particular passage of music hits the mark, Asadoorian quipped, “Band director of the year – tell them to play what’s on the page.” 

IMG_9858 IMG_9850 IMG_9849 IMG_9840 IMG_9832 IMG_9836 IMG_9837 IMG_9809 IMG_9831 IMG_9826

Tearin’ Up the Wenner Floor! Installation of New Court Underway

Photo: Crew from American Sport Floors preparing for a new surface at Belmont High School’s Wenner Field House.

When former athletes heard that the basketball courts at Belmont High School’s Wenner Field House was being torn out, former players began coming to see the crew taking the surface out with requests.

They wanted their own section as a keepsake.

OK, the slippery, threadbare vinyl surface was deemed by Belmont players and opponents alike as the worst court in the Middlesex League. But Ryan, the supervisor of the crew from Rockland-based American Sport Floors, said students and alum were asking for floor samples as souvenirs, especially the painted section around the free-throw line. 

As of Tuesday, July 28, the only recognizable section remaining of the former court was the Marauders logo that once stood at center court, cut out to be saved as a memento.  

Since last week, Ryan and his workers have been physically peeling off the nearly three-decade old vinyl surface as part of a private/public partnership financing the installation of a new textured and padded synthetic surface at Belmont High School.

As the workers heap strips of the former floor in piles, Ryan points to places on the bare cement foundation.

“You can see where the glue never took hold,” he said.

“There was nothing holding the old surface in place since it was laid,” said Ryan.

Led by Belmont Savings Bank, Belmont Youth Basketball and Belmont Boosters, the removal and installing of the new varsity volleyball/basketball court began with the official groundbreaking held this past Monday, July 20.

At the event, Belmont Schools Superintendent John Phelan and Belmont High Principal Dan Richards were thankful and appreciative of all the donors and especially for the additional time and effort put in by the original committee made up of John Carson, Paula Christofori, Jon Baldi, Chris Messer and David Ramsey.

The new stone grey and dark blue court – which will be inaugurated by Belmont High’s Volleyball team in September – is being financed with private funds, including a pair of $35,000 contributions, one from the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation and the other from the Belmont Youth Basketball Association. An additional $5,000 was collected at a fundraiser held at Hopkinton Country Club.  

A $100,000 appropriation from the Capital Budget Committee was approved by Town Meeting to complete the adjacent JV court and the surrounding area in 2016.


Originally the focus was just the varsity court but a substantial contribution of $15,000 by the Belmont Boosters will allow the the surface surrounding the court, out to the inner track, to be completed.

According to American Sport Floors, the court should be installed and painted by the start of the new school year in late August/September.

Ground breaking-2

Those responsible for the new court at Wenner Field House: John Carson; Committee Member, Michael DiMarco; Belmont Savings, Jim Reynolds; Belmont Boosters President, David Ramsey; Committee Member, Chris Messer; Committee Member, Hal Tovin; Belmont Savings, Matt Cubstead; BYBA President, John Phelan; Superintendent of Schools, Dan Richards; Belmont High School principal. Absent from the organizing committee are Jon Baldi and Paula Christofori.

OverNight Work Set for Commuter Rail Bridge Until Friday

Photo: The Belmont Center Commuter Rail bridge.

Much needed gas work will require National Grid to spend the overnight for most of this week tearing up and repairing infrastructure under the Belmont Center Commuter Rail bridge.

Glenn Clancy, director of the Community Development Office, told the Belmont Board of Selectmen Monday, July 27, said the construction is part of the wider work involving long-delayed repairs and the Belmont Center Reconstruction Project.

With work required on the eastern section of the roadway (the left side as one leaves Belmont Center) under the bridge to be completed, Clancy said National Grid requested an overnight shift from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., lasting from Tuesday, July 28 to Friday, July 31, as being the most effective and least disruptive way of completing the job.

“Unfortunately, the work needs to be done,” said Clancy.  

Foodie’s Snags Final Beer/Wine License for Belmont Center Store

Photo: Victor Cruz, Jr. speaking before the Belmont Board of Selectmen.

Nearly nine months before it opens its doors to residents, the owner of the supermarket anchoring the renovated Macy’s space in Belmont Center is the holder of the town’s final beer and wine license as the Belmont Board of Selectmen awarded the permit to Foodie’s Market.

Victor Cruz, Jr., told the Belmontonian today’s customers anticipate well-run markets to stock beer and wine as a matter of course.

“Like I said to the selectmen, people have become accustomed to expecting it at their local market,” said Cruz, after the board voted unanimously to award the Boston-based independent chain the license. 

It was this “new reality” among its customers that brought Cruz to the Selectmen on Monday, July 27, seeking the final of the four beer and wine licenses Town Meeting approved and the legislature OK’d for retail establishments three years ago. 

“We feel its critical for us to have since other” markets also sell beer and wine including Star Market on Mt. Auburn Street and Trader Joe’s on Memorial Drive in Cambridge. 

Cruz said his family’s fourth operation – to be located in 15,000 sq.-ft. on the lower level of the renovated site of the Macy’s department store at 75 Leonard St. – will be located in the lower portion of the remodeled site. 

The beer and wine section will take up four percent of space near the customer service area in the back of the store, “so we can keep a close eye on the site.” 

He noted that he will sign a “no craft beer” agreement in the lease in which Foodie’s will not sell the same beverages currently being sold by Craft Beer Celler, the artisanal beer store down the block. 

“Our intent is not to hurt anyone, but rather drive business of the center of Belmont rather than away from it,” said Cruz, noting the Cellar’s owners, Kate Baker and Suzanne Schalow, approve of the store coming to the center. Cruz will also speak with Carolyn Kemp, co-owner of Vintages in Belmont. 

Diane Malcolmson of Pinehurst Road said it is important for town leaders and residents remember that retail owners such as Kemp “that took a chance on this town five years ago when we needed that alcohol revenue.”

“We just expect you to be a good neighbor and encourage you to speak to all the businesses” in the center, said Malcolmson.

Belmont Resident ‘Stable’ After Being Seriously Injured at Acadia National Park

Photo: The accident scene at Acadia National Park where a Belmont resident was seriously injured on Monday. (Acadia National Park photo).

A Belmont resident is in “stable condition” in a Bangor, Maine hospital with a collapsed lung and several broken ribs a day after she was run over by her family’s SUV when it began rolling backwards at a popular site at Acadia National Park on Monday, July 27.

The 38-year-old, whose name or address was not provided by the National Parks Service, was hurt near the trail head of the north ridge of Champlain Mountain, according to Chief Ranger Stuart West on Tuesday, July 28.

West told the Belmontonian the victim – who was also the driver – was with her family when they stopped their vehicle on the side of the road on an up-slop. When they got out, the woman forgot to place the vehicle in “park” and it began to drift down the the road towards a group of people and parked cars.

The woman attempted to get back into the moving vehicle to apply the brake. At that moment, the SUV quickly picked up speed and the front end swung to the side. The victim only got half way into the vehicle before the open driver’s door knocked her to the ground.

West said the front wheel ran over the woman before ended up in a ditch by the side of the road.

West said a park ranger was on the scene almost immediately and an ambulance from nearby Bar Harbor was there within minutes, likely saving her life.

Due to fog on the coast, the woman was evacuated to the airport in Trenton then taken via LifeFlight helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

Administrators at EMMC could not provide any health updates without the woman’s name.