Garden Party 2.0: Girls’ Hoops to Play At TDGarden Sunday, Jan. 8. Get Your TIX Now

Photo: Last year was a Belmont Garden Party.

On Sunday, Jan. 8, at 9:30 a.m., the Belmont High School Girls Basketball team returns to the Boston TD Garden to face neighboring SpyPonders from Arlington High School in the Good Sports Invitational Day of high school games in the Garden.  

The proceeds of this event benefit Good Sports, a non-profit organization that provides athletic equipment and opportunities for kids and programs who cannot afford it.

Last year, Belmont upset Division 1 Chelmsford, 50-36, on the parquet court, home of the NBA’s Boston Celtics.

“We would love for you to come to our game and support the girls as they take on league foe Arlington High,” said Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart.  

“It is an excellent chance to experience Boston Garden while supporting our team.  As well, there are 18 high school teams playing throughout the day, both boys and girls (see below), and your ticket allows you entry to any and all games (including re-entry). There will be plenty of great high school basketball to see!” she said.

“Part of the team’s commitment to be part of this great event is selling 400 tickets so if you are coming, please buy the tickets from us,” said Hart.

Each ticket purchased benefits Marauder Girls Basketball and Good Sports. 

“Even if you cannot go, you can support by purchasing tickets to donate to others as it will enable us to get more fans there, particularly students from the high school who would like to go! We do also have youth players playing at halftime of our game.”

“So, I humbly ask to please consider supporting our team by purchasing/donating tickets (and hopefully coming too),” said Hart.

Information to do so can be found at:

Tickets cost $15 (+$1 fee if paying online). If you want to pay by check, please email to indicate how many tickets you would like and we can arrange getting them to you. Tickets are also available for purchase at the door.

Belmont Youth Basketball is selling tickets at

SCHEDULE FOR Good Sports Invitational, Jan. 8:

  • 8:00 am Austin Prep vs Lowell Catholic (boys)
  • 9:30 Belmont vs Arlington (girls)
  • 11:00 Wellesley vs Lincoln Sudbury (girls)
  • 12:30 pm Wellesley vs Needham (boys)
  • 2:00 Newton North vs Waltham (boys)
  • 3:30 Malden Catholic vs. Cardinal Spellman (boys)
  • 5:00 Bedford vs Concord Carlisle (boys)
  • 6:30 Pingree vs. Thayer Academy (girls)
  • 8:00 Pingree vs. Thayer Academy (boys)

Going Out New Year’s Eve Night: MBTA No Fare After 8 PM

Photo: Taking the MBTA to Boston? It’s free after 8 p.m.

Thinking of heading off to Boston’s First Night celebration and witness the fire works at Copley Square at 7 p.m., the MBTA will be running a special schedule for the final night of 2016 and the first morning of 2017. 

First thing to know: The MBTA will not collect fares after 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.

• The Fitchburg/South Acton Commuter Rail Line will operate a modified Saturday schedule with an additional train leaving North Station at 1:15 a.m.

• Buses from Belmont Center and along Trapelo Road/Belmont Street will operate on a Saturday schedule.

• The Red Line will operate on a Saturday schedule with additional trains operating at rush-hour levels of service throughout the evening from 3 p.m. until approximately 2 a.m. 


After Tax Dispute Resolved, Town’s Substation Sold to Eversource for $45M

Photo: The 60-megawatt Blair Pond substation off Brighton Street.

After being delayed for several days to resolve a last-minute tax dispute, the most expensive transaction in the Town of Belmont’s history was approved Dec. 15 when the Light Board OK’d the sale of the newly-constructed Belmont Light’s 60-megawatt Blair Pond substation off Brighton Street and three new 115kV transmission lines to utility giant Eversource for $45 million.

The push back of the agreement’s closing date was due to an objection initiated by Selectman Sami Baghdady – the Board of Selectmen makes up the Light Board – who questioned Eversource’s assumption it was exempt from paying local taxes on contractual services which would reduce its tax burden to the town by nearly 90 percent.

In the end, the town’s contention made by Town Assessors’ Chair Robert Reardon that Eversource would be required to pay the full tax won the day as the utility will send an estimated $350,000 in annual taxes to the town.

The $45 million for the new cables and the 10,000 square-foot electrical substation off Brighton Street on Flanders Road on the Cambridge line will be used to pay off the $26 million in short-term loans used to construct the project.

The town’s new system that is connected to New England Electric Grid at Alewife will provide “an effective energy distribution solution for Belmont residents and businesses for the next forty years,” stated a press release from Belmont Light

In February 2012, Belmont Town Meeting voted unanimously to authorize $53.7 million in new bonding capacity to finance the new system which doubled electrical capacity increasing reliability for Belmont customers.

In its Joint Development Agreement, Eversource reimburses Belmont $45 million for the cost of constructing the transmission line and for the utility to take permanent ownership and maintenance responsibilities for the transmission line moving forward.

With the transfer of ownership, Belmont’s construction costs for the Blair Pond Substation and Transmission Line project, anticipated to be $53.7 million, closed out at $26.1 million, a $27.6 million savings for Belmont ratepayers.

A corresponding rate increase associated with the cost of this project that was initially anticipated to be approximately 14 percent for Belmont Light customers is instead 6 percent, an increase that has already been factored into rates, according to Belmont Light calculations.

“At the end of the day, in working with Eversource, we [can] deliver a critical project for Belmont electric users that addresses our serious capacity concerns, skyrocketing maintenance costs and power quality issues, in the most modernized and efficient manner,” said Belmont Light General Manager Jim Palmer in the press release.

“Just as important, due to our agreement with Eversource, we are able to do so substantially under the original cost estimates approved by Town Meeting and save the Belmont ratepayers $27.6 million while providing the best possible solution for our future needs.”

GOP Stalwart Guy Carbone Pulls Papers for Selectmen Race

Photo: Guy Carbone (courtesy photo c. 2010)

Guy Carbone, a perennial candidate for statewide and congressional offices, is eyeing a much more down ballot race in 2017 as the former head of the Metropolitan District Commission has taken out nomination paper to run for Belmont Board of Selectmen.

If he submits signatures from 50 registered voters by Feb. 14, the octogenarian attorney will join incumbent Sami Baghdady and challenger Adam Dash as likely candidates for the one Selectmen’s seat up for grabs this year.

The 2017 town election takes place on Tuesday, April 4.

A call to the Woodfall Road resident was not returned as of 5 p.m.

While a bit of a surprise for Carbone to run for the seat – he made no recent statement on issues or concerns he had that would prompt him taking out papers – earlier this year Carbone was part of a contentious hearing before the Belmont Zoning Board of Appeals in 2015-16 when a relative sought a special permit to replace a large bay garage on Holt Street with a storage space. After challenges by neighbors, the ZBA denied the permit which Carbone took considerable issue.

Carbone, who holds several engineering degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a degree from Suffolk University Law School, is a long-time member of Belmont’s Republican Town Committee who served as commissioner of the Metropolitan District Commission for two years, from 1979 to 1980. He also served on the Noise By-Law Review Committee in 2002.

He is best known for committing to several quixotic runs for statewide office, campaigning as a Republican in a very blue state. He ran – and lost – three times for the Republican nomination for Attorney General, was barely defeated by Jonathan Raymond in the Massachusetts’s 5th congressional district Republican primary in 1996 (Raymond later was dispatched by Barney Frank), and lost 75 percent to 25 percent in the 1998 Middlesex and Suffolk Massachusetts Senate district general election to Steven Tolman.

Belmont Under Wind Advisory Through Friday AM; Increased Chance of Outages

Photo: Trees could come falling down.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for Belmont and Eastern Massachusetts from 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29 to 6 a.m. Friday, Dec. 30, with near gale force winds buffeting the region and creating conditions that could lead to electrical outages.

The NWS is forecasting sustained winds out of the West between 10 to 20 mph with gusts reaching 50 mph with the strongest winds coming between 7 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Gusts have the potential of downing trees and large limbs possibly causing isolated power outages.

While a major winter storm is expected to dump up to a foot of snow in the western part of Massachusetts into Friday morning, Belmont and the Boston region should only see a few inches of the white stuff before precipitation ends late Thursday night.

Below are telephone numbers to keep at the ready during the storm:

Belmont Light (to report outages): 617-993-2800.

The Town of Belmont SNOW EMERGENCY HOTLINE: (617) 993-2698.

Unless it is an emergency, do not call 911.


Sports: Girls’ Hoops Fall Into Loss Column After Lowell 4th Quarter Blitz

Photo: Belmont could not stop Shyan Mwai (#5) in the fourth quarter.

For the first 25 minutes of its Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 28, game with Lowell High School, Belmont High girls’ basketball was cruising to a huge (YUGE!) early season “statement” win.

Fast breaks, sharp passing, team defense, three pointers, free throws; it was all going the Marauders’ way as the team took an 11 point lead, 48-37, over the visiting Red Raiders, a Divison 1 powerhouse which last season took an 18-2 record to the number one seed in the tough North Sectionals.

“We did look good. Everything was clicking,” said Head Coach Melissa Hart, as her team outscored Lowell in each for the first three-quarters.

But in high school basketball, a game consists of 32 minutes, and for Belmont, Wednesday’s final seven turned into a reality check. Lead by star junior point guard Shyan Mwai – who is considered one of the top ten female non-prep players in the state – Lowell simply ran over their hosts, outscoring Belmont 27-10 in the final seven minutes to finish with an emphatic 62-58 come-from-behind victory.

It didn’t help matters that Mawi scored her 1,000 career point (still a junior, mind you) from the free throw line – the game was halted for a presentation and celebration – in the middle of Lowell’s 9-0 run to erase the Marauders’ hard-earned advantage in just 90 seconds.

The loss is Belmont’s first of the season while Lowell matches the Marauders with a 4-1 record.

“I think we got tentative and a little scared and [Lowell] is too good of a team to let up on,” said Hart.

For the Marauders, the loss swept aside some of the best basketball from a Belmont team since last season’s wild four-game postseason run when Belmont defeated the two, three and four seeds in the Division 2 North Sectional tournament.

Quarterbacked by all-star junior point guard Carly Christofori (18 point, 6 steals), Belmont saw seven players score in the first quarter led by junior forward Jenny Call (10 points including two 3s) and sophomore guard Megan Tan (9 points and 5 steals) with five points each.

Coming into the game with a height advantage, the Marauders’ big players contributed on both ends of the court with senior forwards Margaux d’Arbeloff and Riley Haight (4 points each) scoring a pair of baskets off offensive rebounds in the first half and sophomore center Jess Giorgio (7 points, 6 rebounds) grabbing misses under the Marauder basket.

With Giorgio, fellow sophomore Ella Gagnon and starter Riley Haight making life difficult for Lowell’s forwards, the Raiders were forced to rely on Mwai who kept Lowell within striking distance scoring 16 of her team’s 28 first half points as Belmont lead by seven, 35-28, at the midpoint.

The third quarter turned into a one-on-one battle between the two junior point guards as Christofori defensively matched up on Mwai as each attempted to maneuver around the other for open shots.

With Mwai shut down for the moment (3 points in the third), Belmont grew its advantage. A Giorgio free throw, a Tan steal and basket followed by a Christofori driving bucket then a big three from the top of the key gave Belmont its first double-digit lead at 44-33. Junior forward Greta Propp’s uncontested shot with less than a minute in the quarter upped the Marauders lead to a dozen, 46-34.

And when junior guard Alexa Sabatino (4 points) hit a pretty mid-range jumper in the first minute of the final quarter to increase the lead to 48-37, it appeared the Marauders were on their way to a big time victory.

But Sabatino’s hoop was the last basket Belmont would make Wednesday (scoring on eight free throws) as Lowell showed why it returns to be a force in the top division. Lowell began to double and at times triple team the ball in the forecourt just as Belmont players started passing up shots to move the ball around the perimeter.

As the Marauders’ cooled off, Lowell turned up the heat to “high” as junior forward Yodelis Paulino scored 8 of her 15 points in final quarter joining Brittany Mota (two big baskets during the 9-0 run) who stepped up.

But it was Mwai who dominated Belmont. Moving smartly from teammate picks which threw off Christofori, Mwai used her quickness to hit layups or be fouled, ending the quarter with 15 points and a game-high 34.

The Marauders didn’t help themselves when they could not get a shot off on four consecutive trips down the court just as Lowell tied the score at 52 on a Mwai runner with 2:20 remaining.

Two free throws from Paulino and a quick steal, bucket and foul on junior guard Princess Emenogo with just 1:49 to go found Belmont looking up at a four-point deficit, 56-52. A pair of free throws by Mwai to increase the lead to 58-52 with less than 90 seconds remaining effectively ended the afternoon for the Marauders.

“We need to play against good competition. All the credit to them, they had great energy in the fourth quarter. We just lacked a certain confidence and energy down the stretch,” said Hart.

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Residents Give Good Tidings (and Coffee) to Town Crews Working Christmas

Photo: Brighton Street on Christmas Eve.

It was already a cold and dank Christmas Eve afternoon as the sun was setting on two crews from Belmont Water Department’s Distribution and Maintenance services.

After spending hours digging up Brighton Street next to the Hill Estates seeking a major water main leak, the workers discovered the break was not in the 10-inch main but a six-inch pipe – bearing the date “1888” – on the other side of the street.

“It occasionally happens that our best guess is wrong,” said Mike Bishop, the Department of Public Works’ Water Division manager on Tuesday, Dec. 27. It would mean filling in the first trench and dig a new one in the dark hours before Christmas.

Around the same time, homeowners on Washington Street called the town to report a “geyser” of water was gushing out of a manhole cover directly across from the entry of the Chenery Middle School.

‘That turned out to be an eight-foot long slit in a 10-inch main,” said Bishop, likely caused by air in the system introduced into the pipe from recent work along Common Street.

“That pocket of air was just looking for a weak point in the system,” said Bishop.

Two major breaks at the same time which just happened to be on Dec. 24th.

“Unfortunately we can’t predict when these will happen. We just have to send the crews out and get the job done,” said Bishop.

As the employees began breaking up the street for the second time, word got out among those living on Pond Street, Hill Road and Brighton Street of those workers preparing for a long night to provide town services.

First one, then another and still more came by to drop off coffee, pastries, food and a “thank you” to the half-dozen or so digging for a pipe in the dark. The Brighton Street work was completed just before St. Nick flew into Belmont around midnight.

When the crews came to make the repairs on Washington in the late morning of Christmas Day, residents from around the site stopped to wish them Merry Christmas and leave off gifts of food and drinks.

For Bishop, the response of residents was gratifying.

“It was phenomenal,” he said of the gestures of good will.

“It’s the little things that go a long way for the crews,” said Bishop, who used social media to thank the town folks.

“Sometimes [the employees] don’t see how appreciated their work is. But this one time that [residents] just coming by did a lot of good.”

A Yontif a Sheyner! Hanukkah Begins Sunset Saturday

Photo: A menorah. 

Hanukkah, the Jewish observance celebrating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt, begins on sunset tonight, Saturday, Dec. 24, with the lighting of the first candle on the nine-branch menorah, continuing through Sunday, Jan. 1, 2017. 

It is also a time for playing dreidel, collecting Chanukkah gelt and eating oil-based foods such as jelly doughnuts and latkes.

Christmas Eve, Christmas Services in Belmont

Photo: St. Joe’s in Belmont.

St. Joseph’s, 130 Common

  • Dec. 24: 4 p.m.
  • Dec. 25: 10 a.m.

St. Luke’s, 132 Lexington

  • Dec. 24: 4 p.m.; 6 p.m.
  • Dec. 25: 8:30 a.m.; 11:30 a.m.

All Saints Episcopal Church, 17 Clark (at Common)

Dec. 24: 5 p.m. 

Dec. 25: 10 a.m. 

First Church in Belmont, UU, 404 Concord

Dec. 24:

  • 2 p.m.: Junior Choir 
  • 4 p.m.: Chancel Choir
  • 6 p.m.: Youth Choir (lessons, pagent)
  • 11 p.m.: Alumni Choir (lessons, carols)

Belmont-Watertown United Methodist, 421 Common

Dec. 24: 

  • 5 p.m.: Led by Light service
  • 7 p.m.: Candlelight service

First Armenian Church, 380 Concord

  • Dec. 24: 5:30 p.m.
  • Dec. 25: Joint service with Armenian Memorial Church, 32 Biglow Ave. Watertown

Payson Park Church, 365 Belmont

  • Dec. 24: 5:30 p.m., Candlelight seervice 
  • Dec. 25: 10:30 a.m.: Combined service with Plymouth Congregational Church

Plymouth Congregational Church, 582 Pleasant

Dec. 24: 

  • 4 p.m.: Family service with Brass Quintet
  • 11 p.m.: Candlelight service

Dec. 25: 10:30 a.m.

Schools Move to Remediate Faucets With Elevated Lead Levels

Photo: 14 taps and faucets have been shut off at Belmont schools for action level of lead in the water.

With a total of 14 school-based water faucets identified with elevated lead levels under specific conditions, the Belmont Public Schools has begun working with town and state resources to remediate the problem.

“We will continue to work together as a [t]own to provide healthy school environments for all students in Belmont,” Belmont Superintendent John Phelan in a letter sent to parents and guardians on Dec. 19.

The school district is joining with the Belmont Board of Health, Water Department, Facilities Department and the state’s Department of Environmental Protection to review the tests and come up with steps to resolve the worrisome spigots located in five of six public school buildings.

In a Friday, Dec. 16 email sent to parents; Phelan revealed that the second round of testing of all faucets used by staff or students showed nine taps exceeding “action limits” for lead exposure.

They included:

Butler Elementary School, 6
Wellington Elementary, 1
Chenery Middle, 1
Belmont High, 1.
On Monday, Dec. 19, an additional five faucets were placed on the list of troublesome outlets:

Belmont High, 3
Burbank Elementary, 2
Only Winn Brook Elementary was free of suspect faucets.

The 14 taps were shut down, and the town departments led by the Facilities Department are determining if each valve can be brought within state safety standards or if any needs to be replaced or decommissioned permanently.

The School District compiled a spreadsheet with specific health data from the 14 effected faucets in addition to information from each of Belmont’s six schools

Phelan noted that of the 14 problem taps, water from 10 faucets fell below the “action level” once they are “flushed” by allowing the water to run through the pipes for “some time.”

“This tells us that those ten faucets … are producing ‘clean’ water” after the flushing process, said Phelan, who said the town’s Board of Health has determined that the town’s water source “has a good and clean sources.”

Belmont is one of 164 public school buildings in the state reported at least one sample with lead levels above regulatory limits, the DEP said.

With water quality regarding lead contamination – the most prominent being the crisis in Flint, Michigan – making headlines across the country, the Belmont school department in the Spring 2016 requested the town’s Facilities Department test the water at Belmont’s school buildings.

Fifty faucets were randomly tested throughout the school buildings, with all coming back to safe levels.

Around the same time, the DEP sponsored $2 million in grants for municipalities to have their water levels tested. Belmont applied for and received this award, said Phelan.

The second sampling was conducted this fall testing all 180 drinking water and food preparation faucets in Belmont schools using more detailed DEP guidelines. On Wednesday, Dec. 14, nine were found to have results exceeding “action levels” for lead.

“I appreciate that support of all the [t]own departments that work together every day, year-round, to support our school children and staff,” said Phelan.

For questions or concerns, please contact the Belmont Health Department at 671-993-2720 or email the district at