This Week: Yom Kippur, ADHD Talk, Fall is Here


On the governmental side of “This Week”:

  • Early Monday, Sept. 21 at 8 a.m. in Town Hall, the Planning Board is holding a meeting where it will elect officers, discuss a citizen’s petition from the Dalton Road neighborhood and potential projects that will come before the board. The Board will hold its regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall. 
  • Community Path Implementation Advisory Committee Agenda will create a finalized list of identified challenges at its meeting on Monday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. in Town Hall.

• Music & Movement with Rubi is an active program that will get kids – for children ages 2 to 5 –   moving, dancing and having fun. There will be two sessions held on Monday, Sept. 21: 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., held in the Belmont Public Library’s Flett Room.

• The 9th-grade book group will be held Monday, Sept. 21, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Young Adult Room. 

Tuesday is kids time at both of Belmont libraries. 

  • Pre-School Story Time at the Benton Library, Belmont’s independent and volunteer run library, at 10:30 a.m. Stories and crafts for children age 3 to 5. Parents or caregivers must attend. Siblings may attend with adults. Registration is not required. The Benton Library is located at the intersection of Oakley and Old Middlesex.
  • Pre-School Storytime at the Belmont Public beginning at 9:30 a.m. We’ll read longer books, sing and dance, and make simple crafts. For 3-5 year olds with a longer attention span.

• Storytime for 2’s & 3’s on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 10:30 a.m. in the Flett RoomCome and listen to stories and rhymes, sing and even dance. For 2- and 3-year-olds.

• In her talk, “Add a Little Color to Your Life,” at the Beech Street Center on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 1:15 p.m., Maralin Manning will help participants understand how and why your color decisions are so important. Manning, a graduate of Mass. College of Art, is a former fashion director of Jordan Marsh Company and currently serves on the faculty of the Fashion Department at Mount Ida College.

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement which is the holiest day of the year in Judaism, begins at sunset, Tuesday, Sept. 22 until nightfall, Sept. 23. Belmont Schools are closed on Wednesday, Sept. 23.

• The autumnal equinox – the beginning of the fall season – happens on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 4:21 a.m. The word equinox means “equal night”; night and day are about the same length of time. 

• Dr. Jolene Ross of the Foundation for Wellness Professionals will give a free educational lecture on “Natural Solutions for Executive Function Struggles and ADHD” on Wednesday, Sept. 23, from 7 p.m. in the Belmont Public Libray’s Flett Room.

• The Belmont Storm Water Working Group will be meeting beginning at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24 in the Belmont Public Libray’s Flett Room.

Literacy Playgroup is a parent and child group that supports child’s language and literacy development on Friday, Sept. 25, 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in Flett Room. You’ll play, read, sing and take home new ideas. Presented by educators from the CFCE grant program; for children age 4 and under.

• Explore opera with La Traviata on DVD, at the Beech Street Center on Friday, Sept. 25, at 1:15 p.m. Hosted by the center’s own Rosemary Cancian and Barbara Dillon, there will be program handouts and English closed captioning.

Sports: Girls’ Soccer Falls to Steel of League to Drop to .500

Photo: Belmont’s Emma Sass (10) and Kristen Gay (24) attempt to head the ball during the team’s match with Arlington. 

It was a learning experience for the young Belmont High School Girls’ Soccer team as they met the steel of the schedule, falling to the Middlesex League’s dominant teams this week.

The Marauders lost to host and defending Middlesex/Liberty champs Wilmington, 5-1, on Thursday, Sept. 17 before greeting Arlington High for a noon matinee at Harris Field on a hot Saturday, Sept. 19.

But home cooking did help Belmont (2-2) as they fell to Arlington, 3-1.  

While Belmont played well in spurts, it could not control the midfield against a physical SpyPonder crew who were able to string short combination passes through the heart of the field to put Belmont’s young back line (two freshmen, a sophomore and a junior) on the back foot.

Due to the pressure, the Marauder midfielders were required to help out which left Belmont’s forwards on their own to bring the ball upfield. 

“Our midfielders have to be more aggressive to the ball,” said Belmont Head Coach Paul Graham who remains a game away from his 300th victory. 

“For two games in a row, we lost the midfield and we can’t our attack right because we are on our heels when we need to go forward. When we did that, we had some great plays because we are pushing it where we should be going,” said Graham. 

Arlington scored in the first 10 minutes on a flukish shot by forward Mackenzie Roy that floated over Belmont goalie Georgia Parson into the net. 

Arlington was comfortable to keep the ball in the middle of the field while Belmont’s best offensive target was sophomore left wing Carrie Allard who was out sprinting the SpyPonder defenders. But Arlington alway appeared to have players coming back to help out at any semblance of a Marauder attack. 

Graham praised the play of sophomore defender Natalie Marcus-Bauer who he said was able to dictate the play in front of her, forcing the Arlington forwards to take shots and passes they didn’t want to. 

“She’s a leader back there,” Graham said. 

While Belmont started the second half with a couple of deep runs toward’s Arlington’s goal, it would be short lived as Arlington’s physical play – challenging each pass or run with a legal shove or bump – appeared to put the Marauders’ off its rhythm.

“That seemed to bother us,” said Graham.

With 10 minutes remaining, Arlington’s Anna Kohlberg scored an open net goal coming off the wing to tap in a pass from the corner. notched two goals for the Spy Ponders, and Anna Kohlberg had a goal and two assists. Roy would collect her brace five minutes later as a result of three rapid passes that allowed the forward to turn and shot from 15 meters. 

Belmont would end the shut out when a penalty was called in the box with a minute left and Julia Rifkin buried a penalty kick inside the right post beyond the goalie’s hands.

Belmont is at Woburn on Monday, Sept. 21. 


Sports: Belmont Defeats Medford in Final Minute, 31-28, to Go To 1-1

Photo: Joe Shaughnessy celebrating the winning touchdown in the 31-28 victory over Medford.

Belmont senior wide receiver Joe Shaughnessy pulled in an 19-yard over-the-shoulder pass from junior QB Cal Christofori with 45 seconds left in the game to give the visiting Marauders an emotional 31-28 victory over Medford under the Friday night lights at Hormel Stadium, Sept. 18. 

“I knew I was going to catch it. I knew I had it,” said Shaughnessy of the pass the receiver caught over a defender just in bounds. “I just had to go up and catch it; Cal made a great throw. There was no way we were going to lose this.” 

The game, which had eight lead changes, came down to Belmont’s final drive as Christofori hit Shaughnessy twice before the game-winning pitch. 

“It was a minute left, and we had Shaughnessy who’s 6’4″ on the go pattern, so I just went for it. There was nothing to lose here, so I just threw it up for a big play,” said Christofori. 

“Every win is important. It wasn’t the way we wanted it since we thought we could push this team. We aren’t necessarily pleased with the result or how we got there, but a win is a win,” said Belmont Head Coach Yann Kumin. It is the first regular-season victory for Belmont (1-1) in two years and the second over Medford in as many years.

The last-minute dramatics was made possible by a break-out performance by senior running back Mekhai Johnson who rushed for 238 yards and scored three touchdowns (80, 63 and 1 yards) to earn one of the “Stars of the Week” by the Boston Herald. 

“We wanted to get [Johnson] going last week but for a lot of reasons we couldn’t do it,” said Kumin. 

“We felt that we could run the ball against this team, and we talked a lot this week about running downhill and hard and he did that for us. We’re about as proud of him as you can be,” he said.

Sick with a sinus infection that required him to visit the hospital Wednesday, Johnson said he was still “throwing up dinosaurs” during the game. But it didn’t hamper his day running that matches 

“I’m humbled, that’s all I can say,” said Johnson. 

While the TD pass and Johnson’s running were significant, the game’s biggest moment came when Kumin decided to punt with 4:44 left in the game and relied on the Marauder defense to halt the Mustang offense that was unstoppable in the second half.

But the defense held Medford to zero yards on three plays and got the ball back with 1:50 remaining in the game, setting up the final drive. 

The game started with the Marauders in a hole as Medford took the opening kickoff for a touchdown to go up 8-0. But Johnson cut the lead to two with his 80-yard romp in the first offensive series. 

Belmont took the lead through a 25-yard field goal by Aidan Cadogan midway through the second quarter. But Medford would score on a pass from QB Ben Antonie to Myles Olivier to take a 14-9 lead at half time.

The Marauders stuck to the ground in the third quarter, using Johnson and backfield partner Ben Jones to go 67-yards in seven and a half minutes to score from the one via Johnson to lead 16-14. 

Medford quickly countered through the air to go up 22-16 with 54 second left, but it was Johnson again who took control, romping 63 yards with 0.1 seconds left in the quarter to regain the lead at 23-22. 

The Mustangs would take their final lead, 28-23, as the Antoine to Olivier combo connected. Then came the heroics. 

”For us, it’s a big deal,” Kumin told the Belmontonian about the win.

“It’s a big victory for us since it’s a gratification of what we preach; don’t think about the end of the game or what the scoreboard says, just do your job each and every single play and come down on that last drive and execute … it’s football at its best,” said Kumin. 

Belmont will travel to Arlington to meet the SpyPonders on Friday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. 

Two Massive Belmont Neighborhood Yard Sales, Sept. 19-20

Photo: Yard sale in Belmont.

Yard sales in the “Town of Homes.”

This week two of Belmont’s largest combined yard sales of the year take place:

“Shop Around the Block,” is being held on Saturday, Sept. 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Located a short walk from the Chenery Middle School parking lot on Oakley Street, 18 homes will be participating in the sale include:

• 12 Hurd Rd. Saturday, Sept. 19, noon to 2 p.m. 

• 18 Hurd Rd. Saturday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

• 21 Hurd Rd. Saturday, Sept. 19, 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

• 36 Jackson Rd. Saturday, Sept. 19, 8:30 a.m. to noon.

• 179 Oakley Rd. Saturday, Sept. 19, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• 185 Oakley Rd. Saturday, Sept. 19, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• 201 Oakley Rd. Saturday, Sept. 19, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• 54 Selwyn Rd. Saturday, Sept. 19, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• 53 Selwyn Rd. Saturday, Sept. 19, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• 65 Selwyn Rd. Saturday, Sept. 19, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• 66 Selwyn Rd. Saturday, Sept. 19, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• 96 Washington St. Saturday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Kendall Gardens Annual Neighborhood Yard Sale also takes place on Saturday, Sept. 19 and Sunday, Sept. 20. Participating homes include:

• 73 Brookside Ave. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• 112 Brookside Ave. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• 115 Brookside Ave. Saturday, Sept. 19, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• 127 Brookside Ave. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• 139 Brookside Ave. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• 145 Brookside Ave. Saturday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m. to noon.

• 10 Lorimer Rd. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• 11 Lorimer Rd. Saturday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• 12 Lorimer Rd. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• 59 Lorimer Rd. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• 64 Lorimer Rd. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• 82 Lorimer Rd. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• 87 Lorimer Rd. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• 88 Lorimer Rd. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• 94 Lorimer Rd. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

•  12 Mayfield Rd. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

•  24 Mayfield Rd. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• 3 Regent Rd. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

• 5 Regent Rd. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• 23 Regent Rd. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• 15 Standley Rd., Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• 3o Standley Rd., Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• 33 Standley Rd., Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• 36 Standley Rd., Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• 39 Standley Rd., Saturday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• 3 Vernon Rd., Saturday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• 10 Vernon Rd., Saturday, Sept. 19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• 72 Vernon Rd. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


21 Wiley Rd. Saturday, Sept. 19, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

236 Brighton St., Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

This Weekend: US Rep. Clark In Belmont for Coffee Saturday

Photo: Let’s have coffee.

Saturday Sing-Along with Liz Buchanan 

Well-loved local musician Liz Buchanan performs original songs and traditional favorites.  For all ages on Saturday, Sept. 19, 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Belmont Public Library’s Assembly Room.

Girls Soccer matinee on Saturday 

For everyone who can’t make the weekday games, here is your chance to see the Belmont High School Girls Soccer team take the home pitch as the Marauders take on a tough Arlington High squad at Harris Field on Saturday, Sept. 19 at noon. Head coach Paul Graham will be seeking his 300th win with a victory over the SpyPonders.

US Rep Clark in Belmont Saturday for coffee

U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark invites Belmont residents to have “Coffee with Katherine” on Saturday, Sept. 19, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Bellmont Caffe, 80 Leonard St. Join the Congresswoman to share your ideas, opinions, and concerns. 

Winslow Homer’s Women Exhibit

Don’t miss the Winslow Homer’s Women exhibit and tour at the 1853 Homer House, 661 Pleasant St.,  which ends Sept. 30. Tours this Saturday, Sept. 19 are at noon, 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. and by appointment, 617-484-4892. Belmont residents have free admission.

Saturday afternoon at the Benton

Make the Benton Library, Belmont’s independent and volunteer run library, your Saturday afternoon destination for the entire family from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19. The collection has books suitable for every age. Gently-used sale books will be available to buy; all proceeds benefit the library. The Benton is open on the third Saturday afternoon of every month. The library is at the corner of Old Middlesex and Oakley. 

Old School Head Coach: Graham Closing In on 300th Win

Photo: Paul Graham, head coach of the Belmont High Girls’ Soccer team.

Two years ago, a representative of the Eastern Mass Soccer Coaches Association asked Paul Graham, the long-time head coach of Belmont High’s Girls’ Soccer program, just how many wins his teams had compiled in his nearly a quarter of a century at the helm of the Marauders.

Just one problem: Graham never thought to compile his wins record.

“People kept asking me how many wins I have, and I had no clue,” he said, just that it was a significant number since his teams had made the playoffs every year but one since he took over the position in 1993.

“I did know it was a lot,” Graham told the Belmontonian last week on Harris Field during a team practice.

After going through countless high school yearbooks, memorabilia and plaques, Graham discovered he was creeping towards a milestone: 300 victories.

While it’s taken a bit longer to reach that peak – Graham thought he would have crossed the line last year – Graham stands a single victory from the mark.

(Belmont host Arlington at noon, Saturday, Sept. 19) 

And while Graham can’t recall the very first win, in doing the research, Graham was flooded with memories of his three decades in charge. 

“I’d see a photo and say, ‘I remember his game and I remember this player.’ It was awesome,” he said.

“It was great to reminisce about kids like Linsey Nohl sand Sarah Hilgenberg from days way, way back,” rolling off names and families such as the O’Briens and Muzziolis that he coached for nearly a decade. 

“That’s what it’s all about.”


Paul Graham’s first year coaching at Belmont High School in 1993.

A proud “townie,” Graham was born, raised and educated in Belmont (Belmont High, ’64) before heading to Norwich University (class of 1970 and in the school’s Hall of Fame as a goaltender and iii) and then teaching high school for five years in Milton, Vt.

He returned home after marrying his wife of 45 years, Patricia, and raised two boys – Timothy and Micheal – and two girls – Courtney and Katelyn – as Graham begin a career in the food services business. He is currently New England General Manager at Woburn-based Preferred Meal Systems New England, one of the largest suppliers of school meals in the region. 

Graham kept his interest in sports, as a coach starting in 1976 in Belmont’s youth programs – helping bring soccer to town – as a referee and on the Recreation Commission.

Graham was assisting the boys’ program when the girls’ team position became available.

“After coaching boys for 23 years, I was getting burned out,” he said.

With his daughter Courtney on the team, Graham decided to take on the challenge of managing a talented, but subpar program with a total of seven victories in the previous three years.

“I was sick seeing that they weren’t more successful,” he said.

Graham recalled telling Belmont High School Principal Foster Wright that while he could not “promise wins, but I can promise you they will play as a team. The rest will come.”

That change came quickly. Thet first year, the team – with Nohl (who played at William & Mary) and Hilgenberg (an All-American at Wellesley College) – won 12 games and made the tournament, the first of a run of 19 consecutive seasons in the playoffs, three Middlesex League titles, twice named Eastern Mass. Coach of the Year and is in the Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame.

Over that time, Graham and his girls have won eight Div. 2 North Sectionals, and subsequently lost each of their semifinal matches, never reaching a state finals.

“I’m 0 for 8, and that’s not good,” Graham said with a smile.

“Someday, it’ll come,” he said.

But if it doesn’t, the cap for Graham for nearly a quarter century of coaching is less the wins then the success his players have on the field and after they graduate.

“Yeah, it’s a great accomplishment, 300 wins, but like I told you, I’m here for the kids,” said Graham.

“I’ve had a ton of honors and thankful for that. But I can’t stress enough if I can help a child reach a goal than I’ve done my job. Wins are great, everything is easy when  you‘re winning, but I want to have some part of kids’ success while they’re attending Belmont High,” he said.

Sold in Belmont: Allen House on Concord Ave. Tops $3 Million

Photo: 580 Concord Ave.

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

• 6 Hurd Rd. Colonial (1930). Sold: $782,000. Listed at $779,000. Living area: 1,767 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 71 days.

• 182 Channing Rd. Modern reconstruct (1959/2015). Sold: $1,345,000. Listed at $1,389,000. Living area: 2,570 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3 full, 2 partial baths. On the market: 56 days.

• 52 Unity Ave. #1. Condominium (1920). Sold: $460,000. Listed at $459,000. Living area: 1,652 sq.-ft. 5 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 106 days.

• 580 Concord Ave. (1987). Colonial. Sold: $3,300,000. Listed at $2,500,000. Living area: 3,850 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 108 days.

• 50 Slade St. #1. Condominium (1925). Sold: $467,500. Listed at $429,000. Living area: 1,100 sq.-ft. 5 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 65 days.

Simply put, the nearly 30-year-old box Colonial on Concord Avenue which was home to the late Anne Allen is an example of good taste in design and dimensions, a house built to impress through traditional residential architecture. There are no grand gestures or sweeping over-the-top statements that too many new construction attempts to do. There is symmetry both in the exterior – the six over six windows align, main entry centered, a balanced rear extension which is actually a separate wing  – and the interior where rooms are square with high ceilings, the kitchen doesn’t overpower the ground floor, details are refine. This is a Belmont classic, joining the “White House” on Alexander as wonderful residences in the Town of Homes. 

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Real Estate Firms Lawndale, CENTURY21 Adams Merge

Photo: Lawndale Realty in Belmont Center.

Two well known real estate brokerages serving Belmont – an independent firm in Belmont Center and a local office of a national franchise – have merged to combined two of the longest-running firms in the “Town of Homes.” 

CENTURY 21 Adams Realty – located in Cushing Square at 486 Common St. – announced today, Thursday, Sept. 17, it has combined forces with Lawndale Realty of Channing Road, and will be known as CENTURY 21 Adams Lawndale.

“Led by Jim Savas, CENTURY 21 Adams Realty was established in 1989 and quickly became one of the top CENTURY 21 Real Estate Offices in New England, consistently earning two annual national awards for both sales and customer satisfaction. Lawndale Realty, Inc. was created 1984 by lifelong Belmont residents, Fred and Sue Pizzi, and has enjoyed continued success as the leading independent home seller in Belmont, specializing in residential sales and rentals,” read the press release issued on Sept. 17.

The new shop will be an independently owned and operated franchise affiliate of Century 21 Real Estate LLCthe well-known brand comprised of approximately 6,900 franchised broker offices in 78 countries and territories worldwide with more than 100,000 independent sales professionals.

Recipients: Medal of Honor Greater than Acts of Bravery

Photo: US Army Capt. William Swenson at Belmont High School. 

The Blackhawk helicopter kicked up a cloud of debris, sand, and dirt as it descended from the cloudless sky to touched ground on Hittinger Field adjacent to Belmont High School on a warm, midmorning on Wednesday, Sept. 16.

The sophomore class, the school’s band and students with “frees” came to the parking lot to create a corridor for the day’s special guests who got out of the ‘copter with several people in uniform.        


The pair – an older gentleman and his much younger bearded companion – didn’t appear out-of-the-ordinary, both in business casual attire and ties as they greeted town and state officials, school personnel and administrators, teachers and student.

But there was one item each was wearing that distinguished them from everyone else; a distinctive sky-blue ribbon around their neck which hung a small, detailed star-shaped medal. 


For US Army Capt. William Swenson and Thomas Norris, a moment of valor and bravery during the chaos of battle, in which their selflessness preserved the lives of their fellow soldiers, have allowed them to wear the nation’s United States of America’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor.

The recipients of the award were visiting Belmont as part of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s annual convention, in Boston this week, where honorees spoke at 10 high school locations through eastern Massachusetts.

In the high school’s auditorium with approximately 300 10th graders who are taking current US History their sophomore year, the men spoke how the award is greater than the events that earned them the honor.

While many call them Medal of Honor “winners” assuming that the award is handed out as a sporting event, said Swenson.

“The reality is quite different. This award, with my name on it, allows me to fly around in helicopters. But this award is about everyone I fought for that day,” he said.


This award is representation of what is inside of each and every single service member and when they are called upon to serve, they push and they push and every single on of them has the ability, when called upon, to reach this status of heroism as a team,” said Swenson,

“So this award with my name on it, is a recognition of everything we do as a country. This is a representation of us, of our capabilities … and what each and every one of you can do with your future lives,” he said. 

“People think we are really something amazing, something special, but we aren’t any different than you,” said Norris, who would serve for 20 years as an FBI agent after his military career ended.

“We grew up the same way as you, went to school like you did; we just did something someone thought was incredible, put ribbons on us and everyone thinks we’re really super. But we’re not,” he said.

Norris emphasized that students should not just think of themselves but as a member of a greater team. 

“Don’t just always think about yourselves. Think of others around you and try to help them gain their goals they set.” 

For former Selectman Ann Marie Mahoney – whose husband was an Army Ranger in Vietnam while a son and daughter currently are serving their country – the visit from recipients was exciting for each student in attendance. 

“It’s good for another generation to hear what these guys did, the sacrifice and bravery, and to see them and talk to them. That is so important to understand what they did and why. It’s very impressive,” she said. 

Belmont Could See One, Both MBTA Commuter Stations Closed In Favor of New Stop

Photo: Waverley Square station in Belmont.

Since before the Civil War, Belmont has been home to a pair of stations along the rail lines running through town – one at Belmont Center and the other in Waverley Square – serving commuters and commerce from nearly the beginning of the town’s incorporation.

But that arrangement is under threat as a two-year-old state mandate ordering the MBTA to make one of the stations accessible to the handicap will likely lead the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to close one or both stations and construct a new facility with parking, likely along Pleasant Street.

Belmont has “to contemplate the possibility that we may eventually need to close at least one of our commuter rail stations,” said State Sen. Will Brownsberger in an email to constituents.

The public process on determining the closing and construction of stations will begin soon as the MBTA is preparing to come before the Belmont Board of Selectmen in the near future, according to Brownsberger.

But so far, the Selectmen had yet to receive word from the MBTA on the future of Belmont’s stations. 

“All I know is what I read in Will’s note,” said Board Chair Sami Baghdady, after attending the School Committee meeting earlier in the month.

While the MBTA would finance renovations to the existing structure or the creation of a new station, Baghdady said he is prepared to work with the Authority on reaching a final plan that incorporates the community’s concerns and viewpoint.

“We need an open and public process in which many questions will be answered,” said Baghdady.

The MBTA is within its rights to build a station along the rail lines on property it owns without the city or town’s OK, “but I believe they will understand they’ll need to be responsive to the community during the planning phase,” Brownsberger told the Belmontonian on Wednesday, Sept. 16. 

No specific location has been advanced for a new station, yet in the past, officials have pointed to the location of the depot for North America Central School Bus at 1000 Pleasant St., within a few hundred feet from Star Market.

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Brownsberger said MBTA management inform him the state’s Architectural Access Board has ordered the transportation authority to improve access to the Waverley Square commuter rail station to allow handicap citizens to take public transportation.

Brownsberger wrote the AAB determined more than two years ago “that recent improvements to Waverley station trigger an obligation to make the station accessible. Under state disability access law, structures can remain inaccessible indefinitely, but if an owner improves a public facility substantially then they need to make it accessible.”

And time is running out for the MBTA to get the job done, originally being told by the state to fix the problem by Jan. 1, 2015.

While the order only applies to the station at Church and Trapelo, the question of inaccessibility will soon be an issue at the Belmont Center station. While there has not been significant improvements at the stop on the commuter rail bridge adjacent to Concord Avenue has not had any improvements that would trigger an overhaul, the MBTA said the station’s platform is falling part and will need to be repaired.

Because of its state is disrepair, “the MBTA expects to need to make investments that would require an accessibility upgrade,” said Brownsberger, noting the cost to upgrade Belmont Center station would be expensive since the stop is on a curve, creating dangerous gaps between the platform and the doors, making accessibility a challenge.

With the estimated cost of bringing the Waverley Station – which lies several dozen feet below the street grade – up to code is estimated at $35 million, and likely just as expensive at Belmont Center, the MBTA is floating an idea that the town had once examined in the 1990s.

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Rather than spend millions on restoring both stations, it would be advantageous for the MBTA to build a modern station at a point along Pleasant Street between Belmont Center and Waverley Square where the tracks are both straight and close to the surrounding grade. A new station could also include parking and could also be combined with development along Pleasant Street, said Brownsberger.

A Pleasant Street Station is not a new idea, said Brownsberger.

“Twenty years ago, I chaired the South Pleasant Street Land Use Committee. We considered the possibility of a new single station to replace the two existing Belmont stations,” said Brownsberger, a plan the committee ultimately recommended against at that time.

A single station, argued the committee, would mean longer walks for many commuters. People were also concerned that a parking lot on Pleasant Street would be used primarily by out-of-town commuters, bringing more traffic to town.

Also, a pedestrian overpass would be needed to allow residents and commuters to access the station from across the tracks within easy walking distance of many Belmont neighborhoods, some kind of pedestrian overpass would be needed, said Brownsberger.

An overpass would bring more foot traffic and probably drop-off vehicles to the areas off Waverley Street between the town field and the town yard — neighborhoods who already feel pressured by traffic from the town yard, the committee concluded. 

While there are challenges facing a new station, Brownsberger said that Belmont has “to contemplate the possibility that we may eventually need to close at least one of our commuter rail stations.”

Brownsberger said the MBTA is scheduling a meeting with the Selectmen to “discuss the challenges and options in greater detail and to design an appropriate public process for decision-making.”

“State Rep. [Dave] Rogers and I are committed to assuring the MBTA moves in a deliberate and transparent way on this issue, and we look forward to working with the Board of Selectmen and with all concerned,” said Brownsberger.

“We need to go through a transparent and public process to examine all the potential options,” he said.