Belmont DPW Recycling Event, Saturday, May 14

Photo: Recycling event, Saturday, May 14.

Belmont is holding its annual town-wide Recycling Event this Saturday, May 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Department of Public Works Town Yard, 37 C St.

It will be a one-day drop off of the following items:

  • Rigid plastics
  • Textiles
  • Styrofoam
  • Paper shredding (with a secure mobile document shredding)

For more information: call 617-993-2689 or learn more online at:


Spring Clean All Electronics at Butler Elementary’s Recycling Day

Photo: Recycle all electronics.

The annual Butler Elementary PTA Electronics Recycle Day will take place this Saturday, May 14, from 8:30 a.m. at the school, 90 White St.

It’s time to “Spring Clean”, so head out to your garages, into the forbidden closets and damp and scary basements. Prices charged are:

  • $10 each for computer monitors
  • $15 each for TVs 27” diagonal or less
  • $20 each for TVs more than 27” diagonal or wood console TVs
  • $25 each for projection TVs
  • $15 each for large appliances (examples: washers, dryers, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, etc.)
  • $35 for “all you can bring”: laptops, CPUs, cameras, CD-ROM/DVD drives, servers, speakers, iPods & accessories, computer accessories, mice, keyboards, video equipment, copy/fax/scanner/printers, wires and parts, plugs, audio equipment, phones and phone systems, DVD players, stereos, UPS (backup systems), VCRs, walkmans & microwaves

Prices are lower than the town, and no need to purchase pickup stickers. Don’t miss this opportunity to de-clutter and free up space. We look forward to seeing you there! Please share with others!

We accept cash or checks only!

44th Annual Belmont POPS On Friday and Saturday


It’s one of the best nights of music each year: The POPS is here.

Parents of Music Students is proud to present the Belmont High School Department of Fine and Performing Arts’ 44th annual Belmont POPS concert on Friday and Saturday, May 13 and 14 at 7 p.m.

The concert takes place in the Belmont High School cafeteria which is transformed into a “Pops”-style arrangement with table seating where audience members will be entertained by Belmont High musicians while having light snacks and other refreshments.

The yearly fundraiser to benefit POMS features the high school bands, chorus’ and orchestras with tickets available at the door: $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens.

To the Editor: Plymouth Congregational ‘Still Very Much A Church’

Photo: Joe Zarro, pastor of Plymouth Congregational Church.

To our neighbors and friends in Belmont:

Over the past two years, the members of Plymouth Congregational Church have considered proposals from multiple carriers to install cell antennas in our church steeple. There are immediate benefits to the community from this installation:

  • improved reception in the town center and area neighborhoods,
  • improved access to emergency services from people without landlines in the home,
  • improved wireless for health and other devices, and
  • an interior installation that is not visible from the street and neighborhood.

We have one current lease agreement with Verizon, and Verizon has pursued approvals in accordance with town laws and regulatory processes. Our neighborhood discussions made clear that some people objected, mostly on health grounds. Town boards have made clear that health cannot be a reason to deny permits in this case. Multiple health professionals and scientists in our church and this community have assured us of the safety of these antennas. Experts have assured us that these antennas are safe and well within existing standards. Multiple residential and commercial buildings have these antennas in Belmont and surrounding towns, hospitals, educational and other institutions. It is not an experimental technology, but something that has been implemented worldwide for decades.

Plymouth leadership wrote abutters Danny Morris, Ron Creamer and Glenn Herosian, who claim leadership in a group opposed to our project, in January telling them we did not think Community Preservation Act funds were an appropriate or realistic source of funds for the church, but that we were happy to meet to share our research and decision-making. They would not meet with us unless we abandoned the project, a demand we considered unreasonable.

Their recent charge that because of this lease we are not a church, but a cell phone business, is simply wrong. We are being singled out because we are a house of worship. Belmont Savings Bank is still a bank with antennas at their main branch. 55 Hill Rd. is still an apartment building (far more densely populated) with its antennas. The Belmont Police Station in Belmont Center is still a police station with its antenna installation. We will still very much be a church. 

Plymouth will be far from the first church to enter into a lease with a telecommunications company: Trinitarian Congregational Church in Concord is a nearby example of a historic building, in a historic district, with a nursery school, which has antennas hidden away in a similar manner. 

Plymouth has been part of this community since 1899, and our commitment to mission and ministry here is much deeper than a couple hours of worship on Sunday morning. We support the Belmont Food Pantry, food assistance at the Farmer’s Market and the annual community-wide Belmont Serves. We run a soup ministry out of our kitchen for the homeless and for those in transient housing. I’m president of the Belmont Religious Council and work with other houses of worship to address important issues, such as assistance for refugees being resettled in Massachusetts. Support for these kinds of ministries was in our minds when we signed the lease with Verizon. Our 2016 church budget will give away more than $40,000 to our mission partners, more than we receive from this lease and more than enough to paint the church steeple, for which Creamer and Herosian propose we use CPA funds. We are not a dying congregation trying to keep the lights on; this has always been about doing more as a faith community.  

We regret that a small minority of our neighbors have resorted to tactics like questioning our integrity as a church simply because they disagree with the church’s decision to lease space to Verizon. Angry letters have been put on parishioners cars while they are in worship, and I was jeered at by two neighbors when leaving the May 3 Planning Board meeting.

I am saddened that a church like ours, filled with good-hearted people trying to do what is best, has not been afforded more respect during this process. We hope that peace can be restored to our neighborhood and that civility can prevail going forward.

Rev. Joe Zarro

Pastor, Plymouth Congregational Church

It Is Friday the 13th: Vehicle Climbs To New Heights During Morning Commute

Photo: Up in the air (by permission Lucas Tragos)

It’s bad enough getting into an accident, but to do it in such a unique and spectacular fashion as one driver did in Belmont on Friday, the 13th; now that’s seriously bad luck. 

Thankfully, the driver of this late model sedan was not injuried in this single car crash on Hittinger Street that caused traffic delays in the area of Belmont High School. 

While there is nothing amusing about a collision with a pole, some of the comments on the Belmont Police Department’s Facebook page are rather astute.

Jeff Levy Oh yea….The old “stuck on a utility pole while popping a rear lighty” happens all the time to me.

William Brimmer Nice driving skills. Wish I could park my car sideways at that angle without shattering the windshield or the laws of physics.

Dave Osterberg an electric car desperate for more juice????? BHS’ new parking plan???? Drivers ed snap quiz on parallel oops sorry perpendicular parking????

And my favorite:

Tom Griffiths Viral marketing campaign for the all-new 2017 Chevy Wallenda?

Sports: Softball Blowouts, Baseball Stumbles, Boys’ Lacrosse Missed Opportunity

Photo: Belmont High Varsity Softball. 


In the past few days, Boston sports media has been all worked up that the Boston Red Sox scored 27 runs in two games vs. the hapless Oakland A’s.

Well, Belmont High Softball scored 34 in their last two complete games, and they won both with shutouts.

So there!

After a rough patch in which the team faced the established teams in the Middlesex League, Belmont righted the boat with a 22-0 victory over a very young Watertown squad and took some revenge from Arlington, beating the SpyPonders at home, 12-0 (called after 5 innings) on Wednesday, May 11 after losing the first encounter of the season, 13-1.

The wins – in between the finish of a halted contest with Burlington (a 10-1 loss) – brings the Marauders up to 5-7 and within a realistic chance of making the playoffs for the first time in several years.

“We certainly have a chance of breaking through into the postseason,” said first-year coach Melissa O’Connor, who praised the girls for bringing “great intensity to the game, from the first inning to the fifth.”

Taking part in Wednesday’s slug fest was senior catcher Meghan Ferraro who collected two doubles, a triple along with a single to go 4-4 and 5 RBIs, second base Katrina Rizzuto (three singles, three runs), third base Lia Muckjian (3-4 with 3 RBIs) and first base Irini Nikolaidis whose 4th inning bases-loaded triple sealed the victory. Sophomore pitcher Christine MacLeod struck out five Arlington batters for the win.

“We know we can score runs, 10 to nine a game, so we are going to be in every game for the rest of the season,” said O’Connor.


Just about ten days ago, Belmont High Baseball was undefeated (8-0) and ranked 16th in the Boston Globe’s top 20 baseball poll. It looked like clear sailing the rest of the way into the playoffs.

Well, not so fast, Marauders.

Since that red hot start, Belmont Baseball has allowed themselves to flutter into the wind and lost its early momentum, going 1-3 in their last four, as ace pitcher Cole Bartels struggles with his release point and patient hitting by their opponents is paying off.

On Wednesday, Belmont played host to Arlington High and played that role to perfection, allowing the SpyPonders to take an early lead, stretch it with some key errors – leaving a good performance by sophomore pitcher Max Meier out to dry – and never finding any offensive punch with the exception of a Bartels double that this the base of the wall in deep center.

The final was an 8-0 drubbing; the first shutout of Belmont this season.

“You would expect with first place in the Middlesex League on the line, we would have responded,” said long-time head coach Jim Brown.

“We didn’t show anything today. Errors killed us, and our hitting was non-existent as we were upper-cutting everything,” said Brown.

Belmont will attempt to tack the boat back into the wind Friday, May 13 away against Woburn behind sophomore righty Nate Espelin.

Boys Lacrosse

Tuesday night, May 10 was going to be a celebration of a resurgent Belmont High Boys’ Lacrosse team with a late afternoon game to allow parents and fans to fill the stands at Harris Field.

But it was visiting Watertown which left with a good feeling, upending Belmont, 11-10, to send the Marauders to 5-8 and likely end their pursuit of a playoff spot. 

Religion Or Business: Neighbors Say Church Traded God For Cell Money

Photo: Plymouth Congregational Church on Pleasant Street.

Ron Creamer did not mince words.

In the view of the Pleasant Street resident, what occurs inside the historic Plymouth Congregation Church on Sundays no longer represents the main purpose of the long-time house of worship.

When told by the chair of the Belmont Historic District Commission that for federal oversight review to halt the placement of telecommunication equipment in the Pleasant Street church’s steeple,  opponents would need to show how an interior cellular tower would “change the character [of Plymouth Congregation] in a “fairly major” way, Cramer responded by declaring the congregation’s pursuit of thousands of dollars in rental fees from telecommunication giant Verizon Wireless is transforming the church “from a religious institution into a cell phone business.”

“It’s a significant change” of what church was initially built to be, Creamer told the commission, a statement the chair, Lauren Meier, deemed “subjective.” 

The rather strident proclamation – reiterated later by another leader of nearly 250 neighbors who currently oppose the plan on aesthetic and health reasons – came at the tail end of Tuesday night’s meeting which saw yet another barrier to Verizon’s plan to place an array of antennas in Plymouth Congregational’s white steeple fall to the wayside.

On Tuesday, Verizon’s attorney Mike Giaimo of Boston’s Robinson & Cole presented the six-member commission a set of new plans – approved by the Planning Board a fortnight before – which no longer required modifications to the exterior of the steeple. Earlier proposals called for removing wooden louvers and creating openings in the steeple. 

Since the purview of the Historic District Commission is to investigate and question exterior changes that can be seen from the public way, the commission determined it had no standing to question the revised plans and was left with little to do than simply sign off on the project using either a certificate of appropriateness or one of non-applicability.

Once the project has received the OK from all town bodies, a building permit could then be issued when requested, Glenn Clancy, director of the Office of Community Development, noted earlier this year.

While Verizon was seeking a quick resolution, the commission pondered whether to hold a public meeting in June before issuing the notice, which Giaimo was adamant was unnecessary and that the certificate be issued sooner-than-later.

Glenn Herosian, one of leaders of the opposition and who lives across Pleasant Street from the church, sought answers to the Verizon design changes. Herosian said he was concerned the removal of an air condition unit to cool the equipment could possibly do long-term damage to the structure, which then could affect the overall integrity of the steeple.

But Verizon’s Giaimo would not take the bait, saying he would only speak on the items on the Historic Commission’s agenda, despite Meier’s pleas that it would be “polite” if he or the Verizon representatives would speak on the neighbors’ worries.

In the end, Meier said the committee would work with Community Development on the necessity for a public meeting. 

Tuesday was also an opportunity for Verizon to proceed with a Section 106 review mandated in the requires consideration of historic preservation in the multitude of projects with federal involvement, such as the Federal Communications Commission which licenses telecommunication operations. 

While usually a fairly standard appraisal – Meier said she had done “hundreds” in her 30-year career – Creamer took the opportunity to fire questions at the employee of EBI Consulting, which manages the Section 106 processes for Verizon, resulting in a rhetorical exercise of competing interpretations of the review.

Creamer soon directed the commission’s attention to the section of the review that specified how a project could be altered that would diminish the integrity of the property, approaching Meier to show a screen on his cell phone asking if she agreed that “change in the character of the property’s use or setting” would trigger federal involvement and a lengthy public process of gathering information and actions. 

After contending the church should not be viewed as a structure of worship but of commerce, Creamer noted that the religious component for the church is “only a few hours a week” while the cell tower transmits continuously. 

For the opponents of the project, any means of delaying the installation of the equipment is seen as beneficial to their cause as the number of process roadblocks has dwindled to nearly zero.

The neighbors are now pinning their hopes of halting the interior cell tower with a favorable Special Town Meeting. Initiated via a citizen’s petition, the opponents are seeking a change to zoning bylaws to require telecommunication firms to obtain a Special Permit to install an interior cell tower throughout most of Belmont.

The opponents believe forcing an application before the Zoning Board of Appeals – which has been highly suspected of high profile businesses entering Belmont – will effectively add months to the process as the neighbors, according to Herosian, are prepared to present a significant amount of technical and scientific data before the ZBA, challenging existing federal standards on radiofrequency levels.

In addition, Herosian said the neighbors will ask the Belmont Board of Selectmen to hire a technical expert to determine the adverse effects of cellular transmission in a densely populated residential area. 

Herosian said since the church initially broached the idea of placing mobile communication equipment in the steeple, the neighbors have been eager to help the church secure funds to allow it to continue its social ministry and discussed partnering the church leaders to approach the town to use Community Reinvestment Committee grants to repair and upgrade the building.

“But they never came back to us with an answer,” Herosian told the Belmontonian after the meeting.

“They’ve turned their backs to their neighbors and our real concerns.” 

Sports: Christofori Steps In To Put Belmont Baseball Back On Winning Ways

Photo: Another unearned run in the second for Belmont.

After losing its first two games of the season in the past week, and with upstart Watertown breathing down its neck midway through its game on a blustery Monday afternoon, May 9, Belmont High School Baseball Head Coach Jim Brown was wondering who could spark the Marauders to put them back on track 

And in true baseball tradition, it was a player who came off the bench to, literally, save the day.

After tweaking his ankle and sitting out the past two, starting catcher/reliever junior Cal Christofori took the ball from team ace Cole Bartels in the top of the fourth and proceeded to pitch four shutout innings to allow Belmont to take its only meeting of the season against its archrivals, 7-4.

“[Christofori] wasn’t supposed to play today but [Bartels] was struggling a bit and Cal said his ankle could go, and we got a huge effort out of him in relief,” said Brown.

Christofori gave up only four hits (one double) while striking out four, the final one a third out with Raiders on third and second in the 6th.

“I only sprained my ankle, so it wasn’t too big of a deal. They needed someone to throw, and I was there and just stepped in,” said the three-sport star. 

The victory puts Belmont (9-2) one game from securing a place in the sectional postseason.

“It’ll be good to clinch it against Arlington on Wednesday, but they have been playing much better than they were at the beginning of the year,” he said.

Bartels struggled a bit in the game as Watertown’s batters showed a great deal of patience at the plate, sending Bartels’ pitch count up into the 60 after three innings. Watertown appeared to have scored in the top of the first on a fielder’s choice but the home plate umpire called the runners on second and first out on a rarely called interference play for not sliding into second. 

Belmont took advantage in the bottom of the second of sloppy Watertown fielding to score five times on four errors and two singles by Bartels and shortstop Connor Dacey.

But the Raiders came right back, scoring four times in the third, the big blows by Watertown pitcher Kyle Foley who walloped a Bartels fastball far over the right field fence and Mike Giordano’s double that scored a pair. 

But after facing Bartels’ fastballs, Christofori threw a healthy portion of lazy curves that kept the Raiders off balance for the remaining four innings. 

Belmont got the insurance they were looking for in the fifth and sixth as Paul Ramsey (on a single) and  Bryan Goodwin (sacrifice) batted runners in. 

“We were going to make Watertown throw us out. Even in the last inning getting the final run, we were going to make sure they made the play in front of us,” said Brown.

Belmont Goes Solar Program Extended Until June 30

Photo: Rebecca McNeill with her daughter was the first homeowner to sign up for solar panels in the Belmont Goes Solar campaign. 

Due to popular demand, the Belmont Goes Solar community-run program is being extended until June 30, according to a news release from Belmont Goes Solar, the ad hoc group supported by the Board of Selectmen, and formed by members of the Belmont Energy Committee, Mothers Out Front, Sustainable Belmont and Belmont Light.

Since its kickoff in January, more than 175 Belmont homeowners have signed up for a rooftop solar system, more sign-ups over a four-month period than any other community in the state that has run a solar campaign. And those 175 solar systems will produce 1,000+ kW of pollution-free electric capacity. This is the same carbon reducing effect as planting 780,000 trees or taking 200 cars off the road for 30 years.

The town will also benefit as the program’s selected installer, Direct Energy Solar, has committed to installing a free solar system valued at $25,000 on a town school or municipal building due to selling 100 solar arrays in Belmont. If 200 solar systems are sold in Belmont by June 30, Direct Energy Solar will contribute towards an electric car and a charging station for the town.

The average cost of a rooftop solar system is about $15,000 but financial incentives significantly offset that cost. The Belmont Goes Solar negotiated discount pricing, combined with a thirty percent federal tax credit and a state rebate up to $1,000 reduces the cost significantly. 

Additionally, a solar system will create solar renewable energy certificates that can be sold to utilities to provide another revenue stream in ten years, reducing the cost further. In total, these financial incentives mean that the typical Belmont homeowner will recoup the cost of purchasing their solar system in just five to seven years. After that, they will have free electricity for the 25-year life of the system. If financing is needed, many homeowners tap a home equity line of credit; Direct Energy Solar and the state (through its Mass Solar Loan program) also offer low-interest loans.

With all the benefits for homeowners and the Belmont community, now is the time to consider solar. 

For a free, no-obligation solar evaluation of your Belmont home or business, call 800-903-6130 or visit

Belmont Facilities Dept. Has Summer Temp Work

Photo: Facilities Department seeking summer workers.

The Belmont Facilities Department at 19 Moore St., is seeking residents who are interested in applying for temporary summer positions working within the department.

The anticipated salary for the jobs is minimum wage. 

The Facilities Department maintains town and school buildings including the restored historic buildings of the Town Hall Complex; T0wn Hall and the Homer Municipal Building. The department also services various other town buildings including the Police Station, the two fire stations, the Beech Street Senior Center, the former Municipal Light Department Building on Concord Avenue, and the buildings located at the Town Yard.

The department is responsible for maintenance and repairs at the town’s six school buildings and the School Administration Building on Pleasant Street.               

For more information/application send email to Fred Domenici, supervisor of building maintenance at: