Sold In Belmont: Let The Fall Selling Season Begin

Photo: A beautiful Old-Style single family near Town Field sold below list but still near seven figures.

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

• 39 Davis Rd., Two-family (1925). Sold: $810,000. Listed at $819,000. Living area: 2,098 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 64 days. Last sold: Dec. 2006, $534,000

• 14 Gale Rd., Hip-roof Colonial (1935). Sold: $980,000. Listed at $925,000. Living area: 1,860 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 50 days. Last sold: a long time ago (no on-line record with Assessors Dept.)

• 22 Troy Rd., Garrison Colonial (1935). Sold: $869,000. Listed at $930,000. Living area: 1,574 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 97 days. Last sold: Aug. 2002, $545,000.

• 76 Claflin St., Sort of Dutch Colonial-ish that was expanded (1929). Sold: $1,525,000. Listed at $1,550,000. Living area: 3,217 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 3 full, 2 half baths. On the market: 24 days. Last sold: April. 2012, $1,005,000.

• 72 Upland Rd., Old-Style (1911). Sold: $915,000. Listed at $925,000. Living area: 1,856 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 85 days. Last sold: Oct. 1993, $263,000.

Sports: Trio Of Belmont Teams Shut Out Red Devils In Season Openers

Photo: Carey Allard on the ball

Three Belmont High School fall sports team opened their 2017 seasons on Thursday, Sept. 7 with impressive shut out victories on the opening day of their campaigns.

Girls Soccer: Belmont 6, Burlington 0

This is a warning for teams in the Middlesex League; don’t get Belmont’s Carey Allard angry. She’ll just score more goals.

That’s what an undermanned Burlington High squad discovered when they attempted to cover and mark the All-Star left forward a bit too aggressively. After being her ankles clipped and body pushed off the ball during the early moments of the first half, the Marauders’ Division 1-commit (she’s heading to UNC-Wilmington next fall) was determined to answer the physical play by punishing the defense.

With Belmont already dominating the game leading 2-0, Allard put her distinctive stamp on the game by scoring a true hat-trick within a 16-minute span, to put the match out of reach by the half.

“[Allard’s] going to score,” said Paul Graham, who has coached the team for the past quarter century.

“When she shoots from the outside like that, there’s no goalie is going to stop her.”

Allard wasn’t finished, scoring her best for last, driving by three defenders and sidestepping a fourth before placing a sharp shot deftly just inside the right post to give Belmont a 6-0 opening day win over Burlington.

“I thought all 23 players played well,” said Graham, using everyone on the bench in the home opener. 

He pointed to midfield co-captain Emma Sass’ mastery of the middle of the pitch leading to Belmont controlling the game. “She’s just so strong, controls the ball well and sees the field so well,” said Graham.

Belmont wasted no time showing its dominance scoring at the one minute mark with senior co-captain Courtney Gray spinning and dropping a shot over the head of the Burlington goaltender and into the net. Ten minutes later, Morgan Krauss doubled the lead with a shot from the right side of the goal. 

Graham also praised his back three of juniors Meagan Tan and Emily Dexter and senior Natalie Marcus-Bauer. “They played superior. They dominated when they got the ball and passed it around,” said Graham.

The true test of Belmont’s potential will come when it goes toe-to-toe with the power teams in the Middlesex League. One of those is Wilmington which the Marauders will battle away from home on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 6 p.m.

Field Hockey: Belmont 9, Burlington 0

Six Marauders scored as Coach Jessica Smith’s field hockey squad opened the flood gates against host Burlington as Belmont seeks its third consecutive Middlesex Liberty Division title.  

“It was a great team effort,” said Smtih, who used each of the 21 players on her roster.

Leading Belmont offensively was sophomore Katie Guden and junior Morgan Chase who ended the night with three points with two goals and an assist, joining Hana Powers who also pocketed a pair. Co-capt. Senior Bridget Gardiner also had three points with a goal and two assists while her fellow captain senior Alexa Sabatino had a goal and an assist. Jordan Lettiere completed the scoring with her first strike of the campaign.

“It was really fun to watch this young team in action. The passing and shots on net were fabulous,” said Smith.

“[Katie] Guden was fantastic. She is a force when moving the ball and her passes were outstanding. Gardiner also played a fabulous game.  The midfield, in general, was very involved both defensively and offensively. They including Lillie Devitt were key in all transitions,” said Smith.

While Belmont lost two Division 1 College players – midfield/sweeper AnnMarie Habelow (Louisville) and defender Julia Chase (UNH) – and a three-year starter on defense (Molly Goldberg) to graduation, it appears Smith has found a solid back row with Meri Hana and Johanna Crowley as fullbacks and sweeper Emma Donahue (niece of Watertown legionary head coach Eileen Donahue) playing in front of veteran goaltender Chrissy MacLeod. 

Boys Soccer: Belmont 3, Burlington 0

Marauder senior goalkeeper Nate Espelin stopped a penalty and earned the 3-0 shutout as Belmont High’s Boys Soccer started the 2017 season beating host Burlington on Thursday afternoon, Sept. 7.

Leading 2-0 ten minutes into the second half, a tripping foul by Belmont’s Kostas Tingos within the penalty area gave the Red Devils the opportunity to half the lead with plenty of time still to play. But like a good poker player, Espelin saw a big time “tell” from the Burlington player as he approached the ball sitting at the 11-meter mark.

“He pointed to the left side of the net like he was going to kick it there. But I guessed that’s where he wanted me to go, so I moved to the right,” said Espelin, who preserved the two goal margin.

During the match, it held the majority of possession and momentum,  Belmont ­– ranked 15th in the Boston Globe pre-season Top 20 poll – jumped into the lead when junior midfielder Seamus Dullaghan tucked in a rebound of a Jake Carson shot with eight minutes left in the first half.

The Marauders doubled its advantage when Andrew Karalis converted a penalty kick four minutes into the second half.

Belmont final score belongs to the highlight reel as Carson scored from beyond 30 meters on a direct free kick midway through the final frame.

Belmont will play its home opener on Friday, Sept. 8 at 3:45 p.m. against Wilmington.

Selectmen Chair Williams Not Seeking Re-election (Caveats Included)

Photo: Jim Williams

The question to Belmont Selectman Jim Williams was straight forward as was his answer.

Are you running for re-election?

“No, I am not,” said the chair of the selectman.

But, as Williams would tell the Belmontoian as he was walking home from attending the welcoming session for teachers and education staff at Belmont High School on a warm, Tuesday morning, Sept. 5, his answer has three parts. 

“The second sentence is everything is subject to change,” said Williams with a chuckle.

OK, so is the former Wall Street banker just hedging his bets? What gives? 

“But honestly, I don’t want to run. Guess how old I’ll be in June? I’ll be 72 years old. That means serving until I’m 75,” Williams said, adding the job puts limits on his travel and family plans.

“So what I’m saying is that I’m not running. I’m not forming a committee, not raising any money,” said Williams

But it was the third part of his announcement that turned out to be the most intriguing 

“It’ll also depend on who’s running,” said Williams. He would not name names of those who would run which would trigger his re-entry into the political fray. 

Williams said he felt that he’s accomplished much since winning a seat on the board in 2015 with a major upset of Andy Rojas, beating the incumbent by 500 votes while topping the 4,000 vote mark. The Indiana native and US Navy veteran point to the number of homeowners who have installed solar arrays with his promotion of alternative energy and the restructuring of the town’s pension funding structure which will save Belmont $15 million.

“I think those are significant changes to the town,” said Williams.

Planning Board Member Blasts ‘Big Idea’, Calls For Chair’s Resignation

Photo: Pointed exchange; Charles Clark (left) calls for Chair Liz Allison’s resignation as Raffi Manjikian looks on.

In a fiery and personal rebuke, Planning Board member Chuck Clark called for the immediate removal of board’s chair, Liz Allison, for what he alleged has been the abuse of power in presenting a controversial proposal dubbed the “Big Idea” that would move the Belmont Public Library from Concord Avenue to Waverley Square as part of a public/private revitalization of the business center.

What was supposed to be a short recap by Allison of her observation of an Aug. 23 meeting of the Library Board of Library Trustees she attended quickly ignited where Clark made a series of Zola-esque accusations at the chair.

Raising his voice and pointing his finger at both Allison and fellow member Raffi Manjikian, Clark said the controversial proposal was being presented as a board plan when, in fact, it was the invention of the pair he charges of offering to the public a false narrative. 

“It’s not a ‘Big Idea.’ It’s a big lie,” said Clark, adding “I also think as a result [of] the actions that you’ve taken, you should resign as chair of the Planning Board and remove yourself from this process because I think you violated your responsibilities.” 

Clark’s declaration, which came as a surprise to everyone in the room – a quick poll of those in the room and via instant message by the Belmontonian found that no one could remember a similar outburst and call for a chair to vacate their position in Belmont in more than two decades – came shortly after he questioned Allison’s alleged overreach of the board’s mandate and jurisdiction in determining the library’s future.

“I didn’t think the Planning Board had any authority over the library. It has elected trustees. It’s their fiduciary responsibility to take care of the library. It’s not ours. It’s also not our place to post things and push something forward without thinking about it,” said Clark. 

After being accused of abuse of power and asked to resign, Allison matter-in-factly responded by noting that “[i]t does make it a little bit harder to move along to item 2b” on the agenda.

“Well, you can stay or go. It’s up to you,” Clark shot back. 

Just as it appeared that Clark and Allison would be continuing their tête-à-tête, Manjikian interjected by scolding his male colleague for infering that the bringing forward ideas such as public/private partnerships would lead to “your vigorous finger pointing is not the way to go.”

Clark then alleged Allison was “hijacking of the agenda” as an attempt not to discuss the issues at hand. 

“We’ll talk about this on the [Sept. 19],” said Clark. 

Clark would not speak after the meeting, only to say that he will continue to call for Allison to recuse herself as chair.

After completing work on the two scheduled agenda items, Allison circled back to the library, allowing Manjikian to say he hoped that future meeting could move from “affec-laden attacks” to “some point we can talk about the idea,” referring to the private/public development at the heart of the debate.

Allison said she would seek to make the Sept. 19 meeting “the most constructive discussion” on the proposal. 

Clark suggested that rather than focus on the “Big Idea” “we talk seriously about how do we begin to look at planning Waverley Square” noting there are a number of developments moving forward including a major commercial/residential project by developer (and former Planning Board member) Joseph DeStefano adjacent to the commuter rail bridge along Trapelo Road.

The Planning Board’s Karl Haglund said the small working group discussions – which produced the “Big Idea” – which have been popular for many government boards “have gotten off the rails.”

“I want to get back to where any two members of the Planning Board are meeting with anyone else that the full board be notified, so we are not surprised when a major proposal comes out,” he said.

Tuesday’s meeting was by far the most emotional associated with the suggested move of the library to Waverley Square since the so called “Big Idea” was first presented in July. Almost from the start, residents have questioned the Planning Board’s authority to submit this proposal. The opposition has been led by the Board of Library Trustees, the elected council that runs the library for the benefit of the town. 

At Tuesday’s night, Trustee Chair Kathleen Keohane made public a letter, dated Aug. 31, which requests the Planning Board to “dismiss” the Waverley Square proposal saying it “would not be in the Town’s or its citizen’s best interests.”

Keohane – who has led the charge against the proposal – reiterated points she made to the Planning Board and the public, that a suggested transfer of the library to Waverley Square (which Allison admitted comments her board has received on the move were running 90 to 10 in opposition) “is a distraction.” 

The Board of Library Trustees approved a new building after a feasibility study was completed on the present site.

“We prefer not to wait (until Sept. 19),” said Keohane. Despite favorable votes by Town Meeting and the Board of Selectmen endorsing the current site for a new library, Keohane said having a competing proposal as well as agreeing to present an article for the creation of a new library building committee to the fall Special Town Meeting rather than in May has been damaging future private fundraising critical to the construction of the new structure.

Rain, Thunder To Greet Students On First Day Of School in Belmont

Photo: Off to school.

In addition to the new backpack, pencils and lunch boxes, parents should add umbrellas, slickers and rain boots to the list of item students will bring to the first day of the 2017-18 school year in Belmont that commences today, Wednesday, Sept. 6. 

The need for added weather protection is due to the National Weather Service issuing a flash flood watch at 10:25 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Periods of showers and embedded thunderstorms are expected to begin in the late morning and lasting into the night with pockets of localized torrential rainfall. Hourly rainfall rates of one to two inches per hour will be possible with the strongest storms, which may lead to localized flooding of streets and low lying areas. 

Day one: 
  • It is a full day for students grades 1-12.
  • There will be no bus service available for Kindergarten students on Sept. 7, 8, and 9. Busing for Kindergarten students will begin on Monday, Sept. 12.
  • It is a Wednesday schedule for all students, meaning an earlier than usual dismissal time.

Purchase meals and plans online here.

Belmont High School

Wednesday is Opening Day for Grades 9, 10, 11, and 12: All grades will report to school at 7:35 a.m. for homeroom. After homeroom, students will attend each class on their Wednesday schedule and meet with teachers.

A Quick Reference Guide, including a list of items for Opening Day and the first week of school, has been uploaded to each ParentPlus and StudentPlus accounts. 

Dismissal times this year are:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday2:25 p.m.
  • Wednesdays1:25 p.m.
  • Wednesday Early Release will be at 10:30 a.m.

Chenery Middle School

Start Time: 7:55 a.m.

Dismissal Times:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday2:25 p.m.
  • Wednesdays1:15 p.m.
  • Wednesday Early Release will be at 11 a.m.

BurbankButlerWellington Schools:

Start Time: 8:40 a.m.

Dismissal Times:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday2:50 p.m.
  • Wednesdays1:40 p.m.
  • Wednesday Early Release will be at 11:40 a.m.

(1/2 Day Kindergarten: 8:40 a.m. to 11:55 a.m.)

Winn Brook School

Start Time: 8:50 a.m.

Dismissal Times:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: 3 p.m.
  • Wednesdays1:50 p.m.
  • Wednesday Early Release will be at 11:50 a.m.

Choate Road Two-Family Damaged in Two-Alarm Fire

Photo: The aftermath of the fire on Choate Road.

A Choate Road two family was heavily damaged after a two-alarm fire ripped through the rear of the structure and into the attic on Friday afternoon, Sept. 1.

A Belmont firefighter suffered a non-life threatening injury fighting the fire. None of the occupants at 3-5 Choate Road near the corner of Dalton Road were hurt; two who lived in the top condo unit escaped the fire while the occupants of the second were not home.

According to Belmont Fire, the 1:44 p.m. fire began in the rear of the two-and-a-half story structure built in 1928 and shot up the back of the building and into the attic via the eaves. First responders from Belmont Ladder 1 witnessed a blaze along the exterior of the building and coming through the roof. Firefighters from Belmont and Cambridge fought the fire as ladder trucks allowed crews to cut a hole in the ceiling to access the attic blaze. The fire was put out and the building secured.

Belmont received mutual aid from Cambridge, Watertown and Arlington departments.

Photos of the fire can be viewed on the website of the Belmont firefighters’ union, Local 1637.

Belmont Yard Sales: Sept. 2-3; Helping Houston on Rutledge Road

Photo: Garage sales in Belmont.

Here are this weekend’s yard/moving/garage sales happening in the 02478 zip code:

• At the corner of Blanchard Road at Mannix Circle (across from Fresh Pond golf course), Saturday, Sept. 2, 8:30 a.m. to noon. 

257 Rutledge Rd., Saturday, Sept. 2, 8:30 p.m. to 10 a.m. All proceeds go to support hurricane relief efforts in Houston.