Second Time A Charm: Sanderson Appointed To Planning Board

Photo: The Planning Board earlier this year.

For Edward “Sandy” Sanderson, the second time was a charm as the planning professional was appointed as an associated member of the Belmont Planning Board by a unanimous vote of the Belmont Board of Selectmen on Monday, Oct. 30. 

Sanderson’s selection came six weeks since the Selectmen voted 2-1 to deny him a seat on the Board. The change now is the Planning Board has undergone a radical transformation since the mass resignation of three long-serving members this month. 

The Planning Board Chair Charles “Chuck” Clark asked the same board that skipped over Sanderson to select two other candidates – re-appointing sitting member Raffi Manjikian and selecting Dalton Road’s Stephen Pinkerton on Sept. 11 – recommended Sanderson for the associate membership as being “the most qualified candidate” of the resumes he had seen. 

Sanderson was a city planner for the City of Los Angeles and is currently an urban and transportation planner in the Boston office of a New York-based civil engineering firm.  Sanderson matriculated at Worcester Polytech and earned a master’s in planning from the University of Minnesota. 

The change in the composition of the Planning Board occurred after former chair Liz Allison and Barbara Fiacco resigned last week, following Manjikian’s lead leaving the board earlier in the month.

Manjikian fired off a heated letter to Williams accusing Clark of creating a hostile workplace after he accused Allison and Manjikian of abusing their positions in forwarding a public/private plan which included moving the Belmont Public Library to Waverley Square without speaking the Board of Library Trustees.

In an aside, Williams criticized the three former members for leaving their positions without providing notice of their actions.

“As far as I’m concerned, if someone is appointed, not only do they have a personal obligation but they have an obligation to the town to allow a more organized departure,” said Williams. “It’s not fair to the community to do it any other way.” 

Clark told the Selectmen adding Sanderson to the Planning Board’s will allow the body to reach a quorum to vote on issues brought before them, including requests for “special permits” – which includes superseding the town’s zoning bylaws – that requires a “super majority” decision that requires four votes. Clark said his board had four applications waiting to move forward but are at a standstill until Sanderson was appointed. 

This points to the reason why we need to move on this expeditiously,” said Selectman Adam Dash. 

As for filling the remaining two members, Selectmen Chair Jim Williams suggested opening the application process to a new round of resumes for ten days as the current ones on file “are stale.” 

Applicants can send resumes to the Town Administration Office until Nov. 9. The final decision on the two positions – one will be for a single year term and the other three years – will be made at the Selectmen’s Nov. 13 meeting. 

Field Hockey Seeded 5th, Host Playoff Tussle With Natick Thursday 6PM

Photo: Seniors will have one more game on Harris Field.

With a strong finish to the regular season – three shutouts in as many games – Belmont Field Hockey dodged playing the top three squads in potential quarterfinal matchups in the Division 1 North Sectional Playoffs by securing the fifth seed, after the MIAA rankings were released on Monday, Oct. 30. 

The Marauders’ reward for a 12-2-2 campaign – its only losses were to two top five teams in the Boston Globe Field Hockey Poll – is an opening round home game at Harris Field against Natick High at 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 2. 

“When you earn a home game, you want to win it,” said Belmont Head Coach Jessie Smith. “So my only goal so far is just win the first game, but I would like to see this team go even further and I think they can.”

“If they can put together those small moments when we are dominating the game into bigger moments, I think we are a very strong team,” she said.

After taking it on the chin, 5-0, from Middlesex League Liberty champions Winchester (17-0-1) at Harris Field on Friday, Oct. 20, the team quickly righted the ship with a 1-0 squeaker against Lexington who held the Marauders to a 1-1 tie in Lexington the previous week.

Senior forward and co-captain Lilly Devitt scored in close from a pass by sophomore defender Emma Donahue at the mid-point of the first half. The initial 30 minutes was mostly played in Lexington’s end of the field with the Marauders getting several good looks at steering the ball into the box but just could not connect.

The improvement in Belmont’s game came after Smith reviewed the Winchester game which the Marauders were able to stay competitive with the Globe’s number one ranked team – Belmont is the only team to take a point from the Sachems holding them to a 1-1 tie in September – but could not sustain its attacks due to Winchester’s physical play.

“[Winchester] was winning 90 percent of the 50/50 balls, and that was the difference in the game,” said Smith, who started incorporating the same in close marking against Lexington.

Belmont survived a final Minuteman attempt to even the score only to have a pair of hard low efforts stopped by senior goalie Christine MacLeod, who posted ten shutouts this season. 

On Seniors Night, Friday, Oct. 27, Belmont’s speed and stick skills were too much for Arlington as junior forward Hannah Power‘s hat trick was the highlight of the 4-0 victory. 

“It was all good vibes, and I was feeling good out there,” said Power. “Our team was doing amazing in midfield and on defense especially with passing the ball to the forwards.”

And the key to scoring a hat trick? “Just keeping in mind, what [Smith] said ‘stop the ball and shot it. It’s that simple’,” said Power. 

Just 11 hours after the Arlington victory, Belmont was in Reading to meet the Rockets Saturday morning. And despite the early morning hour and a nearby hornets nest, the Marauders methodically pressed the ball up the pitch, scoring twice in each half for the 4-0 victory. Sophomore midfielder Katie Goden got the brace with sophomore mid Marissa Cecca and senior co-captain Bridget Gardiner each pocketing one apiece.

Of special note was senior Tina Noonan, a dedicated role player who used her opportunity to take a penalty corner outlet pass, spin and pass to Guden who scored in the final minute. 

“I was a little nervous when they had me taking the pass, but I did my job,” admitted Noonan. “It’s really encouraging and helps me to play better when [my teammates] want me to score.”

For Smith, the final three games was an excellent warm-up leading into a playoff season that she believes the team can go on a run. 

“I have high hopes for the tournament. It’s like March Madness. You never know who’ll end up in the Final Four. Why not us?”

A Window Into Halloween In Belmont Center

Photo: Third-grader Julia Zipkin with a four-eyed cat.

Kids and their parents brought brushes and watercolors to the fifth annual Belmont Center Halloween Window Painting Contest sponsored by the Belmont Center Business Association on Saturday, Oct. 28. 

Belmont Center businesses up and down Leonard Street saw their windows transformed into pumpkin patches, ghostly havens and other scenes of specters and ghouls by Kids from second to eighth grade – with parents in tow – paid for the privilege to express their scary vision of Halloween on the town’s main drag. 

Halloween-season window painting has a long tradition in other towns – several of Newton’s villages have participated for the past 20 years – and was brought to Belmont with the help of the owners of A Chocolate Dream.

Sponsored by the Business Association, the event’s proceeds were donated to the Foundation for Belmont Education.

They’re Here To Stay: Controlling Rats with Education, Money and Garlic

Photo: Joey’s Park, ground zero for rat removal.

Take equal parts garlic and white pepper then add a dash of paprika and mix.

Sounds like an excellent dry marinade you can rub on chicken or steak before grilling to give the meat a bit of a punch.

In fact, the mixture is an excellent organic rat repellant. That’s correct: rat repellant. 

That spicy recipe is currently being pushed into the rodent lairs under Joey’s Park in the Winn Brook neighborhood, according to Jay Marcotte, the town’s Department of Public Works director as he came to update the Belmont Board of Selectmen of his department’s battle with the rodents.

The popular playground adjacent to the Winn Brook Elementary School has been closed for the past fortnight after workers discovered the vermin living in and around the play structure.

Currently, the town is seeking “a safe and swift resolution to the issue,” said Wesley Chin, Belmont’s Health Department director,

Marcotte said he decided to approve a non-chemical approach – at the cost of $2,300 – as “the safest possible” method as the playground is very popular with children and families from around town. The natural repellant that comes in a gel is intended to irritate the rats’ skin which will hopefully have them scurry into one of the 40 traps laid out in the park.

The park will stay closed for another three weeks when the firm applying the solution believes the job will be complete, said Marcotte.

Even if this method does the job in the Winn Brook neighborhood, Belmont will not be as fortunate as the Town of Hamlin which found a pied piper to drive off the pests – and unfortunately a large segment of the German town’s school-aged population – as the rodents have been seen congregating near the port-a-potties at Town Field, on Beech Street, and along Pleasant Street, said Chin.

“They’re not going away,” said Dr. David Alper of the town’s Health Board, advising the board to create a new line item in the upcoming fiscal 2018 budget to tackle the rat issue in the future.

“Short money for long-term gain,” said Alper.

The town will expand its current rat removal campaign in all of the town’s parks which will include removing trash cans from those public spaces to rid the rodents of their food source, said Marcotte.

But the most effective method of controlling the rodent issue is information and data, including calling the Health Department when rats are found so the town can track their migration.

“The best tool is educating the public,” said Alper.

A Coyote Eyed A Pomeranian ‘Snack’ Until Cooper Turned The Corner

Photo: Reed Bundy and Cooper.

Let’s call it the Bow Road Incident.

Reed Bundy and his four-year-old black Labrador Retriever Cooper were on their usual route around the Burbank neighborhood at 6:45 a.m. about 15 minutes before sunrise on Friday, Oct. 27.

Bundy, who lives with his wife and kids on School Street, and Cooper were swinging around Bow Road onto Randolph when they caught the sharp panic cry in the still morning air. 

“We heard a woman screaming ‘Hey! Hey! Hey!’ over and over again,” he said, noting that high pitched yelling was “really out of the ordinary, especially that early in the morning.”

“At first I thought she was trying to get her dogs under control,” said Bundy. But as he and Cooper turned the corner, they saw the senior woman but also came face to face with a coyote, one of two on the street. While the second was lurking some distance away on Randolph, the first – a large animal bigger than Cooper – was no more than 10 feet from Bundy. But its attention was not on them, but the pair of small Pomeranians was hiding behind the older neighbor’s legs less than five feet away.

“This coyote was coming right at her dogs, stalking them and ignoring her,” said Bundy. “It looked like he was ready for a snack.”

Usually, Poms don’t realize just how small they are, and have no fear challenging bigger dogs. But the coyote made the two quiet and anxious. “She had her dogs on a leash and was trying to move away, but the coyote was not backing off,” said Bundy, who has seen a coyote one time previous in Belmont near Beaver Brook at the Waltham line.

When he saw what was happening, Bundy started yelling while Cooper was strongly pulling on his leash “more curious than anything.”

“Cooper’s a very social animal, but he was approaching what was happening like he knew he had to be careful,” said Bundy. 

The Lab’s move towards the canine was enough for the bigger coyote. 

“When they saw Cooper, that spooked them and both ran off into a backyard,” said Bundy, who took the woman and her dogs – all three quite shakened – back to her house.

“Honestly, I’m glad I had [Cooper] with me as he allowed me to be a little bit more forceful yelling at them,” he said. “But it was unsettling, to say the least.”

Bundy gave a statement to the Belmont Police and also rang up John Maguranis, the town’s long serving Animal Control Officer of the incident. 

“I know [coyote sightings] have come a big issue in town and I wanted people to know what happened,” he said.

The Bow Road Incident came less than 12 hours after Maguranis gave a public talk on coyotes and how people should interact with them. Residents can see a rebroadcast of the talk at the Belmont Media Center. Part of Maguranis’ discussion was on resident and pet safety when encountering a coyote. 

A simple precaution for dog owners to know is keeping pets leashed at all times. Coyotes have a healthy fear of humans, so keeping your dog close by should keep coyotes at a safe distance. When letting your dogs out in your yard, always turn a light on and look out there first. Never let them out without keeping an eye on them if you don’t have a fenced in backyard. Large breed dogs are somewhat safer in regards to surviving an attack, but not small breed dogs.

Maguranis said that coyotes have been spotted in almost every area of town. So despite being far from wooded areas where they have their den, a coyote on Bow Road shouldn’t be seen as an unsual event. 

For Bundy, the encounter Friday morning “has made me more aware that coyotes coming to our neighborhood is not going to change and probably only get worse.”

“It’s all about awareness. If you have a little dog, kept it close by and maybe wait for the sunrise before letting [your dogs] out,” said Bundy.

As for Cooper, “he was the hero today. He certainly earned his keep.”

Belmont Football Ends Frustration Running By Cambridge, 28-21

Photo: Tyler Reynolds on his game-winning TD run vs. Cambridge.

Seven weeks of frustration for Belmont High Football came to an end on a last minute 40-yard touchdown dash by senior running back Tyler Reynolds gave the Marauders a 28-21 victory over host Cambridge Rindge and Latin School on Friday night, Oct. 27.

Reynold’s sprint – sprung by a critical block from senior wide receiver Luke Hopkins – up the gut of the Falcon’s defense with 59 seconds remaining came after Cambridge tied the score at 21 with 4 minutes remaining, negating a Belmont 21-7 halftime lead. 

“Even when [Cambridge] tied it back up in the fourth quarter, my O line kept blocking for me. Then we scored, it was the best feeling in the world,” Reynolds told the Belmontonian after the game.

“Even after all the adversity we’ve faced to go 0 and 7 in our first seven games to come out and win this game on the road just shows a lot about what we do here and all the heart this team has,” said Reynolds. 

“I’m so proud of these guys. They never quit, not in our previous games and not here when they tied it up late in the fourth [quarter],” said Belmont Head Coach Yann Kumin, whose team piled up 408 yards in total offense, most of that on the ground.

Belmont (1-7) is on the road again Friday as they take on Burlington (1-7) which won its first game of the season Friday, 21-20, over Revere. 

Held at Russell Field in the Alewife neighborhood, Belmont’s game plan changed from a pass-oriented system to pounding the ball at the Falcons’ after both Reynolds and junior back Killian O’Connell took “huge chunks of yards” on the initial offensive series, Kumin said.

“We were really anticipating to be that heavy in the run. But we came out, and it was clicking. So we said ‘forget the plan’ and keep feeding them the ball,” said Kumin.

Reynold’s scored the game’s first in the first quarter before Cambridge lit up the scoreboard with a 50-yard over the top reception by Cyrus Singh from QB Jovan Harding

In the second half, Belmont relied on junior back Killian O’Connell who scored a pair of TDs, from 19 yards and from 6 yards with 40 seconds remaining in the half to increase Belmont’s lead to 14 points.

Belmont was on the march again until midway through the third quarter when they fumbled the ball. Cambridge would capitalize through the air as Lucona grabbed his second TD pass from 11 yards out to cut the Marauder lead to 21-14 with 2:46 left in the third quarter. 

After a Belmont punt, Cambridge was on the move when sophomore outside linebacker Justin Rocha recovered a fumble on the Cambridge 28 with 6 minutes left in the game. But an attempted field goal from 30 yards out by senior kicker Aidan Cadogan hit the right upright with 5:41 remaining. And it was that man Lucona who grabbed a simple sideline pass and scampered 63 yards before scoring on the next play on an 11-yard catch to tie the game at 21 with 4:31 left.

Taking over at the 10 yard line, Belmont converted a third and five (on a 15 yard pass from senior QB George Fitzgerald to senior wide receiver Jake Pollard) and a fourth and four on a Reynolds’ 11 yard carry one play before the senior co-captain took the ball to the house for the winning score. 

High Winds, Hazardous Weather for Belmont Into Monday

Photo: Wind damage in Belmont, winter of 2016.

Belmont has been placed under a High Wind Warning from 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29 to 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 30.

The town and region will also be impacted by moderate to heavy rain producing between one to three inches of rainfall into early Monday morning, according to the latest news release by the service at 4:34 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 29 that also issued a Hazardous Weather Outlook for eastern Massachusetts.

Winds from the Southeast will be steady at 30 to 40 mph with gusts up to 65 mph through early Monday morning. The area can expect tree damage and down power lines due to fall limbs from trees. The NWS advises homeowners to take action to secure loose outdoor objects.

If the power goes out during the storm, call the Belmont Light outage line at 617-993-2800.

Low lying areas and streets that typically became waterlogged in Belmont will likely to flood resulting in localized urban flooding due to the heavy rain.

A Cyber Security ‘Fireside Chat’ for Residents Monday at 7PM

Photo: Poster for Monday’s event.

Belmont’s Information Technology Advisory Committee invites all residents to a “fireside chat” about cyber security with security expert Scott Donnelly on Monday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. in the Belmont Public Library on Concord Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

Topics will include:

  • The latest news in cyber security and why it matters to you
  • Cyber threats you might face at home
  • Tips for protecting yourself online

About the speaker: Tackling national and corporate security issues for over a decade, Scott Donnelly is the Director of Technical Solutions at Recorded Future and a former officer with the Central Intelligence Agency. Scott and his team work closely with leading cyber security teams at Fortune 1000 companies and government organizations, where they help develop cyberthreat intelligence capabilities for threat hunting, risk mitigation, and incident response. Scott is a sought-after speaker at cyber security events and regularly contributes to‘s blog. He holds an MBA from Georgetown University and a BA in Political Science from Villanova University.

For more information about this event, please contact ITAC member Glenn Wong,

Tour Belmont High School At Building Committee’s Engagement Meeting


How long has it been since you’ve been inside Belmont High? Last week? Not since your youngest has gone off to college? How about never?

Saturday morning is your chance to take a facility tour as part of the Belmont High School Building Committee‘s Community Engagement Meeting set for Saturday, Oct. 28, at 10 a.m. at the High School’s auditorium, 221 Concord Ave. The tour of the school will take place at 9 a.m.

The tour will allow residents to see the condition of the nearly 50-year-old building and what a new/renovated school will provide staff, students, and the public.

The agenda for the committee’s first weekend public meeting is:

  • High School Building Project Updates
  • District Alternative Solutions
  • Existing Conditions and Space Summary
  • Traffic Update
  • Exploring Site Options
  • Questions & Comments

The next Community Meeting will be Tuesday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. at Belmont High School with optional facility tours starting at 6 p.m.

The committee also has an online Community Input Survey at:

To sign up for email updates and to learn more about the Belmont High School Building Project, including project timelines, videos, meeting schedules, presentations, and more, visit Questions? 

Questions can be sent to