Sports: Girls’ Lacrosse Loss Goalie and Game to Lexington

Photo: Belmont’s Anastasia MacEwen Meg Higgins (19) defend the goal in the second half.

Belmont High School’s Girls’ Lacrosse three-year starting goalie Anastasia MacEwen was a rock in net against a slick, fast Lexington High offense. The senior kept the Minutemen at bay early in Wednesday’s home match, April 13, as Belmont’s offense was struggling losing ground balls and being checked off the ball.

On shot after shot, MacEwen stopped balls with the net of her crosse, the crosse’s shaft, her legs, body, glove and even two off her mask as the Marauders rebounded from a deficit to tie the game early in the second half behind the senior netminder’s stellar play.

But in the future, MacEwen might want to limit the number of times she uses her head making the save as the second one off her noggin saw the veteran goalie coming out of the game. (MacEwen was able to walk off the field and was on the sidelines for the rest of the match.) 

With its backstop on the bench, the team went into a bit of a defensive shell in front of substitute goalie junior Ciara Murphy, which allowed the Minutemen a bit more opportunities which the speedy Lexington forwards took advantage to sneak off Harris Field with a 13-10 win over Belmont.

“The girls played very well today,” said Head Coach Aimee Doherty.

“We played a hard game from start to finish and we really stepped up compared to our last two games in getting control of the draw. We are working on protecting the ball because we are forcing it at times and causing turnovers that have led to goals,” she said.

(Wednesday’s loss was sandwiched between an 18-1 drubbing of Stoneham and a road win Friday against Wilmington to bring Belmont’s record to 2-2.).

MacEwen was the standout in the first 25 minutes half, limiting Lexington to “only” three goals as Belmont’s offense was not yet in sync, losing plenty of ground balls and being kept from the front of Lexington’s net.

Attacking wing Julia Martin (1 goal) put Belmont on the scoreboard from a Serena Nally (4 assists) helper after nine minutes. Then in quick succession, strikes by attack Kate McCarthy (3 goals, 1 assist) and Sophie Pollack (3 goals, 2 assists) was culminated by a goal from a cutting McCarthy from a sweet pass from Pollack gave Belmont a 4-3 lead with nine minutes to play in the half.

But Lexington plotted a pair in before the half to lead 6-4. The second half saw Belmont starting on the front foot with junior attack wing AnneMarie Habelow (2 goals, 1 assist) spinning through her defender to score at the 21-minute mark, followed 13 seconds later by McCarthy to tie the game up at six. It was during the flurry of play that saw the Minutemen score the go-ahead goal with 18 minutes remaining during which McEwan was hit by the ball. 

Habelow’s second goal off a penalty start knotted the game at seven just 20 seconds later. And while defensive wing Leah Brams and defender Maija Kubasek disrupted the Minuteman offense, Lexington did keep the pressure on Belmont, which could only close the game to one goal three times – Erin Looney strike (8-9) and two from Pollack (9-10 and 10-11).

Doherty said staying above the .500 mark and be a playoff team “is absolutely doable” with 12 returning players and six seniors. 

“From the first day, they really clicked on and off the field,” she said.

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Foundation Honors Seven Belmont Educators as 2016’s ‘Outstanding’ Teachers’

Photos: The Burbank’s Lisa O’Sullivan was caught up in the moment being named one of seven Outstanding Teachers in Belmont.

Two teach English, one is your children’s first music teacher and they all prepare Belmont students for life-long learning.

And those seven Belmont public school teachers were chosen as recipients of the 2016 Outstanding Teacher Awards, the Foundation for Belmont Education announced today, Friday, April 15. 

“These honorees are recognized for their excellence in the classroom and for consistently making a difference in the lives of Belmont’s children,” said Hannah Fischer, who handles marketing for the foundation.

As it was last year, the teacher’s were visited in their classrooms by members of the Foundation and Belmont School Superintendent John Phelan who handed out balloons, a certificate and congratulations.

Now in its second year, the Outstanding Teacher Award recipients were nominated by students, parents, colleagues, and community members. 

The 2016 honorees are:

Martha Bloom, Belmont High School, English


“She creates an engaging learning environment where the students work as a team and feel safe to share their writing, ideas, and opinions.”

Kathleen Calhoun, Winn Brook Elementary School, Grade 3


“Ms. Calhoun is able to recognize and encourage skills and promote a positive and enriching learning environment.”

Justin Chiu, Butler Elementary School, Grade 4


“There aren’t outliers in his class, there are unique students, each of whom brings a relevant perspective.”

Michelle Connors, Chenery Middle School, Grade 8, English


“When I walked away from her class…I had learned things that applied not just to an English class, but to every aspect of my life.”

Cheryl Lyons, Wellington Elementary School, Grade 1


“Her students are loved, they are cherished, they are safe, they are understood, and most importantly, they learn.”

Lisa O’Sullivan, Burbank Elementary School, Grade 3 


“She has the natural insight and sensitivity to connect with her students on multiple levels.”

Sharon Phipps, Multi-School, Music


Ms. Phipps is a wonderful, energetic, enthusiastic and encouraging teacher who sees potential in students and turns it into self-esteem and success.

A ceremony to honor Belmont’s Outstanding Teacher Awards winners will be held on Wednesday, April 27, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Chenery Middle School. The award celebration, sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, is open to the public. 

For more information about this event or the Foundation for Belmont Education, please visit the foundation’s web site or send an email to

Belmont High’s Wind Ensemble Plays Symphony Hall Saturday, And You’re Invited

Photo:Belmont High School Wind Ensemble

The old vaudeville chestnut goes:

“A stranger asks a New Yorker, ‘How do you get to Carnegie Hall?'”


But for the Belmont High School Wind Ensemble, its path to the stage of Boston’s historic Symphony Hall was paved with gold … a gold medal.

The Wind Ensemble has been invited to perform at Symphony Hall on Saturday, April 16, as a result of its winning performance at the recently-completed Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association festival. 

And Belmont residents can join in the achievement as its gig is open to the public for free. 

The Wind Ensemble will take the stage at 1:30 p.m. sharp, and its performance will last about 20 to 30 minutes.

“If you are looking for a wonderful way to kick off your April vacation, please consider coming to hear this performance by our Wind Ensemble,” said Arto Asadoorian, director of Fine & Performing Arts for Belmont’s public schools.

Asadoorian said this year’s Wind Ensemble is an unusually wonderful group of kids, most of whom are seniors.

“This will be a fitting capstone to their music years at Belmont High School, and something that they’ll remember forever. Having a large, supportive audience made up of their teachers would make the day even more special,” he said.

“Let’s pack the place!” said Asadoorian.

Financial Watchdog Committee OK With Funding for New HS Design, Modulars

Photo: Belmont Superintendent John Phelan at the Warrant Committee.

The Warrant Committee unanimously supported proposed funding sources for two outstanding school capital needs: the purchase of six modular classrooms to be located at the Chenery Middle School and the hiring of a project manager and funding for a feasibility study and schematic designs for the renovated/new high school.

The vote by the committee, which is the financial “watchdog” for the Belmont Town Meeting, came after short presentations by school and town officials at the Chenery Middle School Wednesday night, April 13.

What makes the funding approach different from the traditional method of issuing bonds to raise the funds, the town is arranging to pay for these needs via in-town financing.

The $1.4 million proposed by the School District for six modular classrooms to be located on the Chenery Middle School tennis courts will come from the town’s “free cash” account; the $1.75 million to pay for creating plans and hiring a property manager for the new Belmont High School project will come from the proceeds of the sale of town-owned property off Woodfall Road to a luxury residential developer.

The new classrooms – which will be ready for the start of the upcoming school year in September – are needed as the district grapples with continued overcrowding as enrollment levels continue to skyrocket, with a projected 400 additional students entering the system from Oct. 2015 to Oct. 2019.

“And we have a very real need at the Middle School” when it comes to finding space to use for teaching, said Belmont School Superintendent John Phelan, pointing out that classes are being taught in areas previously used as offices and storage rooms.

The modular classroom will be purchased rather than leased after an analysis conducted by the town’s Facilities Department found it is cost beneficial to own the pre-hab structures if held for more than three years, according to Belmont School Superintendent John Phelan.

According to the superintendent, “we will be in need of this space for some time,” upwards to a decade, said Phelan.

“If I could find the money and the space, I would ask for six more classrooms,” he said.

The direct transfer of the $1.75 million from the sale of the Woodfall Road property to the newly created Belmont High School Building Committee “just made sense” as the sale was a “one-time funds from the sale of a capital asset,” said Sami Baghdady, chair of the Board of Selectmen and the board’s representative on the committee

These funds will pay for the initial stages of the renovation/new construction of the high school including feasibility and design studies that are required to be financed within 220 days after the project is approved by the Massachusetts School Building Authority in January.

While there are other financial avenues the town could have traveled to pay for the project – free cash and a special account known as the Kendell Fund which has more than $3.3 million – a discussion among town leaders and the Treasurer’s office that the Kendell fund should preserve to finance studies of future capital projects including a Police Station, DPW Yard, and town library.

While there will be a need for additional funds down the road, the Woodfall Road money should be “enough funds to get the Belmont High Building Committee through the initial feasibility phase.”

Authors Springs Into The Chenery for Summer Reading/Book Fest

Photo: Young Adult authors and Belmont residents Diana Renn (left) and Ammi-Joan Paquette who will participate in the “Spring Into Summer Reading” Author Festival & Book Fair.

The Chenery Middle School is where the action will be this afternoon, Thursday, April 14, as seven Young Adult book authors will meet readers and answer questions at the “Spring Into Summer Reading” Author Festival & Book Fair from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the Chenery Middle School cafeteria.

The fair is open to all students, especially those from the town’s four elementary schools.

The authors attending the fair include: 

  • David Yoo, 
  • Erin Dionne, 
  • Josh Funk, 
  • Julie Berry, 
  • Kekla Magoon, 

And a pair of Belmont resident authors 

  • Diana Renn
  • Ammi-Joan Paquette

In addition to meeting the authors and asking them questions, participants can attend workshops and presentations – Dionne will speak about writing a catchy beginning to stories to “hook” the reader – and buy books that the authors will sign. Each book sold will help support the Chenery library!

Town Meeting Preview: Warrant Briefing Thursday Night at the Beech

Photo: The warrant briefing from October 2014.

Think of today’s Warrant Briefing as a movie trailer; attending will give the public the “coming attractions” of Belmont’s annual Town Meeting in three weeks time.

Tonight, Thursday, April 14 at 7 p.m., the Belmont League of Women Voters and the Warrant Committee is co-sponsoring this briefing at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.

This is an opportunity for Town Meeting member and the general public to ask questions of town officials and department heads each of the warrant articles prior to the annual Town Meeting beginning on May 2. 

Michael Libenson, Warrant Committee chair, will preside. 

Unfinished Business: Caucus Set In Precinct 7 To Fill Still Empty Town Meeting Seats

Photo: Caucus to be held to fill remaining Town Meeting seats.

There is some unfinished business to complete in Precinct 7 as voting in the Town Election failed to select a pair of one-year Town Meeting seats in the district located in the southeastern section of Belmont which will result in a caucus being called to fill them, according to Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman.

First the good news. Despite only nine residents electing to run for 12 three-year slots to represent the neighborhood at Town Meeting, three residents received write-in votes that secured their places in the town’s legislative body.

They are: 

Kathleen Lowrey Bonnin, Sarah Jackson and Paul Nelson who received 26,25 and 22 votes. 

But only one of the three single-year seats was filled as write-in candidate Claire Crawford received four votes to win. (Crawford was not the Town Meeting member with the least number of votes to be elected; Elaine Alligood was elected to a one-year term in Precinct 5 with just three write-in votes cast.)

Since the two seats are known as “failure to elect,” a caucus for Town Meeting Members will be held on Tuesday, April 26 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, Room 2.

Any voter of precinct 7 is eligible to run.

Sports: Bartels’ Arm, Bat Lead Marauders Over Concord Carlisle in Opener

Photo: Cole “Stone” Bartels

You knew that senior pitching sensation Cole Bartels can win a game with his right arm. Yesterday, Monday, April 11, the senior captain showed that he could win a few with his bat.

In Belmont High’s season opener (move over, Red Sox) at Grant Field, the Division 1 commit showed mid-season form as he mowed down the Concord-Carlisle Regional nine, striking out 13 over five innings – five of final six victims caught looking – while going 4-4 at the plate including a first-inning homer as Bartels led the Marauders to an 11-2 drubbing of the Patriots.

“I’ll take a Cole Bartels the way he was pitching today,” said Belmont’s long-time head coach James Brown, who is looking to improve from finishing the past three seasons with a 11-9 record. 

After punching out two of the first three batters to start the game, Bartels came to the plate with center fielder Bryan Goodwin (who reached base on an error) on second when he took a non-breaking ball over the fence in left to give Belmont a quick 2-0 lead. DH Ryan Noone brought home catcher Cal Christofori (single) and first bagger Dennis Crowley (double) on an sharp hit ball that was kicked around by the third baseman to give the Marauders a big four run lead. 

The early advantage – a rare occasion last year – gave Bartels the upperhand over the Patriots, which went to the Division 2 North semifinals last season, and he took advantage by mixing up his fast and breaking balls which left the batters guessing what was coming next. 

Bartels helped his own cause in the second as he drove home left fielder Trevor Kelly (who singled and took second on a wild pitch) on a single to center. 

While he did experience some wildness in the third – going to full counts on four of the five batters and allowing a walk and an unearned run – Bartels was in control for his five innings on the mound, registering the six final outs by strikeout while giving up two walks and a hit over that stretch.

Second base Noah Riley nearly joined Bartels with an opening day dinger as his fourth inning blast hit the bottom of the fence in dead center for a double. He came home (Riley reached third on an error) in a cloud of dust as he slid/flopped on home plate beating the throw on Kelly’s fielder’s choice.

Other Marauders doing things in the box was David Bailey who went 2-2 with a run after coming in in the fifth.

Belmont is on the road Tuesday, April 12 against the Big Red Machine of Melrose which went 13-7 last season. 

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Obituary: Dan Pergamo, Retired Acting Belmont Police Chief


Daniel Patrick Pergamo, who served in the Belmont Police Department for more than four decades retiring as its acting Police Chief, died Saturday morning, April 9, 2016.

He was 80 years old.

Pergamo was born in the Kerry Corner neighborhood of Cambridge which once stretched along the Charles River and Putnam Avenue. After serving in the Navy on a submarine, he joined the Belmont Police Department where he spent 33 years on the force, moving up the ranks to end his career as the acting police chief. He attended school nights to earn his undergraduate degree from Northeastern University and then his master’s degree in Criminal Science from Anna Maria College in Paxton.

When asked what he did before he retired, he would say “I worked for municipal government.”

Daniel and his wife, Helen – with whom he raised four children – loved to dance and would spend Saturday nights either at the Canadian American Club in Watertown, the Irish American Club in Arlington, or Hibernian Club in Watertown with their many friends dancing the nights away.

Daniel leaves his wife of 57 years, Helen (Poirier), and his children; Carole Sceppa and her husband Joseph of Burlington, Patti Naylor and her husband Michael of Billerica, James and his wife Susan of Belmont and Joanne Shortell and her husband John of Burlington. He is the grandfather of Michelle Proehl, Daniel Naylor, Kristen and Nicole Sceppa, Michael and David  Pergamo, and Brendan and Erin Shortell and great-grandfather of Matthew Proehl.  He was predeceased by his siblings; Joseph Pergamo, Mary Mercer, and John Pergamo.

Visitation will be held at the Edward V Sullivan Funeral Home (which supplied the information for the obituary) in Burlington (Exit 34 off Rt. 128/95, Woburn side) this morning, Tuesday, April 12 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Margaret’s Church, 111 Winn St., Burlington at noon Tuesday. Burial will be private.

Instead of flowers, memorials in Daniel’s name may be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation

Belmont High Sheltered in Place During Bomb Hoax That Struck The Region

Photo: Belmont High School.

In a more innocent time, pulling the fire alarm on the day the Red Sox opened the season in Boston – so they could sneak out in the confusion – was considered par for the course in student stupidity.

That is no longer the case in the world today.

When Belmont High School officials received a robocall this morning just before 9 a.m., Monday, April along with more than a dozen high schools in greater Boston, the school’s students were sheltered in place for 50 minutes until the threat was declared over. 

“We just remained in classes,” a student text to the Belmontonian. “No one could leave the class but there was no learning disruption,” the student added.

While the school was in place, Belmont Police officers along with Belmont Fire conducted a sweep of the school, searching trash cans and closet spaces. Belmont’s K9 Grim also was used. The students were not evacuated during the threat assessment. 

Coincidentally, Grim along with several other K-9 teams from area police and public safety agencies conducting a routine sweep of Belmont High School on Friday morning, April 8.

“We knew that other schools were being called so we knew it was some kind of hoax,” said another BHS student who contacted the Belmontonian.

Belmont High Principal Dan Richards sent an e-mail blast to parents advising them of the situation.

“[Public Safety officials] have deemed the threat to not be credible. At this time I am lifting the “Hold in Place” and students should report to their … class,” said Richards.