Hoops: Boys’ Behind MVP Yardemian Takes Comcast Title; Girls’ Fade In Championship Match

Photo: Belmont’s Danny Yardemian leads the Marauders to the Comcast Tourament title.

Belmont High Boys’ and Girls’ Basketball did themselves proud at last weekend’s Comcast Tournament taking on some of the best hoop teams in the state at Woburn High School. 

The boys’ defeated Brighton, 72-69, and handled 17th-ranked St. Mary’s of Lynn, 72-61, to win its division as junior Danny Yardemian was named Division MVP. The Belmont Girls’ defeated 2015 state champions Bishop Feehan, 60-57, in overtime and was leading the number 1-ranked Westford Academy by nine points at the half before fading down the stretch and losing in the finals, 54-47. 

Belmont Boys’ came into the tournament on a roll, defeating highly-talented rivals Winchester, Woburn and Arlington to end the regular season on a six-game winning run. In the tourney opener, Belmont faced Brighton, the team which unceremonially knocked off a strong Marauders team in the first round of the 2016 Division 2 North sectionals. It was close early with Belmont up 12-10 after the first quarter with junior guard Ben Sseruwagi leading the way with 6 points. The Marauders upped the lead to five at the half (35-30) as senior forward Will Ellet (16 points) knock down three threes in the quarter. Belmont would keep a margin of between 6 to 10 points through most of the second half when Yardemian scored 13 of his 17 points. A late comeback by Brighton cut the lead to two with 12 seconds to go when sophomore Mac Annus hit one of two and the Panthers missed a pair of treys.

Against St. Mary’s, Belmont followed the same script as before, close in the first while stretching the lead in the second. With Yardemian lead the offense both pointwise and dishing the ball, the Marauders went on a tear, scoring 29 points in the second, hitting four threes to go with a good number of drives to the basket as Annus and Yardemian had six while Ellet threw in a pair of threes scoring nine in the quarter. Up 43-27 at the half, Belmont would stay in the lead by double digits into the fourth when St. Mary’s Stephen Fama (23 points) got the Spartans within nine, 68-59, with a little more than two minutes to play. But Yaremian would seal the victory at the line, hitting 8 for 10 from the charity stripe to end the game with 31 points and the MVP trophy. Sseruwagi joined Yaremian on the all-tournament team and senior Tomas Donoyan was the recipient of the team/scholarship.

The Belmont Boys sits at 15-8 overall and 15-5 in regards to its placement in the tournament.

The Belmont Girls’ used a tenacious defense and clutch play by senior Carly Christofori to take down the top-10 Shamrocks from Bishop Feehan in extra time. Both teams held their own in the first quarter with the Marauders up 12-10 which could have been a larger lead if not for a few missed shots in close. Senior Jenny Call’s two threes and fellow co-captain Greta Propp work inside kept the game tight in the second and when Jane Mahon made a mid-range bucket with seconds left in the quarter, Belmont took a slim one-point lead, 28-27, into the break.

Bishop Feehan took its largest lead of the game at 5, 42-37, late in the third on threes from seniors Nicole Smith and Anna Shaughnessy only to see a trey from Christofori with five seconds left tied the game at 42 entering the final eight minutes. Down by four midway through the fourth quarter, a pair of threes from Call and Christofori (a game-high 21 points) swung the lead back to Belmont, 50-48. A steal and layup by Smith with 80 seconds left knotted the score at 52. The Shamrocks had the better chances to win the game in regulation – including a missed one and one – but Belmont hung on to send the game into extra time.

Tan’s three and yet another Mahon mid-range jumper gave Belmont a 57-54. A Tan free throw with 24 seconds left upped the lead by one, 58-54, only for junior Sarah John make a line-drive three to cut the lead to one with 8.3 seconds remaining. On the inb0unds, the Shamrocks fouled Giorgio who had gone 0-6 from the charity stripe. But the junior center nailed the two shots to give the game to the Marauders.

Sunday’s championship game was a tale of two halves as Belmont’s suffocating defense and opportunistic offense took the Gray Ghosts by surprise as Tan came out smoking, scoring 6 points and grabbing three offensive rebounds to lead the Marauders to a 15-2 lead after the first quarter. After Belmont built its biggest lead at 15, 17-2, Westford would finally score its first basket at 5:30 in the second quarter. The rest of the quarter saw each team rely on defense as Westford paid close attention on Christofori at times triple teaming the four-year starter. After Giorgio made two free throws with less than a minute in the half, Belmont stretched its lead to 23-11. But a last-second three-pointer from senior Brooke Pillsbury cut the advantage to 23-14 and was a harbinger of things to come.

Belmont’s third quarter was a polar opposite to its stellar play in the first half, with tentative and questionable shooting and being outrebounded better than two-to-one, the Marauders saw their lead melt away quickly. Westford’s senior guard Emily Bramanti’s trio of threes in the quarter (11 points in the third) led the way for the Gray Ghosts as they outscored the Marauders 18-4 to take a 32-27 point lead into the fourth. Belmont did marshal a comeback behind Giorgio’s eight points in the final quarter (the center led the Marauders with 15 points), cutting the lead to two, 42-40, with 2:19 left. But a three by junior guard Carolyn Graham (her only points of the game) put Belmont down by 7 with a minute to play. 

Christofori and Tan were selected to the all-tourney team and Propp was the recipient of the scholarship.

Belmont finishes the season at 17-3 and awaits the seeding for the MIAA Division 1 North sectionals on Friday, Feb. 23. 

Town Election 2018: Town Meeting Needs Diversity At The Table

Photo: Belmont Town Meeting 2017

[Editor’s note: The Belmontonian encourages all candidates for Town Meeting and Town-wide office to submit a letter on their platform or motivation for running.]

My name is Dovie Yoana King and I’m a candidate for Belmont Town Meeting in Precinct 7. I live on Oxford Avenue with my son, Noah, who is a fourth-grade student at Roger Wellington School. I’m a parent volunteer and PTA member. I’m also a progressive woman of color and survivor of domestic violence who brings a unique perspective to local government. I believe Town Meeting needs diversity at the table, and I hope to be that voice.

A bit about my background. I was born in San Diego and grew up in a low-income neighborhood comprised mainly of Latinos. My mother was a domestic worker and my father was a fisherman and restaurant worker. Neither had much of a formal education, but both taught me the value of hard work. In 1994, I obtained my BA at Brown University and my JD at Northeastern University School of Law in 1999. I am a first-generation college and law school graduate. After several years of representing low-income workers and Spanish-speaking immigrants in New York and California, I was admitted to practice law in Massachusetts. I accepted a job at Harvard Law School and drove cross-country with my son and puppy in tow to make Belmont our home. 

Belmont is a sanctuary to me. I’m a survivor of domestic violence and I relocated 3,000 miles in search of a safe place to raise Noah and rebuild my life after ending an abusive marriage. Belmont has provided exactly that. By speaking openly about my personal story, despite all the costs associated with it, my goal is to advance the discussion about systemic sexism and violence against women. As a Town Meeting member, I will work to ensure that Belmont is a sanctuary for others and that eradicating gender inequality is a top priority. 

These are the issues that matter most to me for Town Meeting:

  • Gender Inequality. #MeToo is not a passing fad, but a lasting movement spearheaded by courageous women and truth seekers. I firmly believe that victims deserve to be believed and now’s the time to eradicate gender inequality at all levels of society. As an award-winning victim’s rights attorney and the founder of the organization, Survivors of Abuse Rising for Justice (“SOAR for Justice”), I will continue to advocate for policies that combat sexual harassment, discrimination and gender-based violence.
  • Diversity. Belmont is a diverse community with a significant population of people of color, immigrants, renters and non-English speakers, but this is not reflected in local government. I will add diversity to our Town Meeting with an approach of building coalitions to get things done, together. 
  • Schools. Our schools are the cornerstone of the community and should be adequately funded. As a former public school educator and faculty union member, I’m committed to improving Belmont schools. Further, as a mother of a child who suffers from an “invisible” disability (as a result of domestic violence), I understand the importance of offering special education and after-school programs— all students deserve an equal opportunity to learn and thrive.
  • Affordable Housing. Belmont’s home-ownership rate is solid, but many residents are renters, like me. Others are veterans, seniors and low-income families at the brink of being priced out of the neighborhood. I’m sensitive to the needs of community members facing economic uncertainty and displacement. We need more affordable housing opportunities to keep Belmont’s families safe and intact.
  • Small Businesses. I support small businesses because they are an important part of the fabric of our town and represent an untapped source for increased tax revenue. As a former small business owner of a law firm, I will push for incentives to attract businesses and stimulate economic growth. 

In conclusion, I’m honored for the opportunity to represent Precinct 7 as a Town Meeting member. I’m a life-long Democrat and was recently elected delegate to the Massachusetts Democratic Convention where I will proudly represent Belmont and add a diverse voice. 

I invite you to contact me at dovieking@hotmail.com or on Facebook at @Dovie4TownMtg with your concerns or ideas for improving the quality of life in Belmont. 

Thanks in advance for your vote on April 3, 2018. As a reminder, Precinct 7 voters should go to Mary Lee Burbank School to vote, 266 School Street, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Dovie Yoana King

Oxford Avenue

Cybersecurity And The ‘Internet Of Things’ Topic Of Belmont IT Fireside Chat Feb. 27

Photo: Fireside chat on cybersecurity and the Internet of Things

With the rise in the use of Smart devices, such as voice-activated home assistants – the popular Alexa device – remote cameras and smart technology like Wi-Fi enabled thermostats and the potential risks posed by the Internet of Things, the Belmont Information Technology Advisory Committee invites to public to attend the second “fireside chat” concerning cybersecurity to be held in the Assembly Room of the Belmont Public Library on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

Scott Donnelly, vice president of technical solutions at the threat intelligence company Recorded Future and a former officer with the Central Intelligence Agency will be the featured speaker. He will be joined on the panel by Det. James Siracusa of the Belmont Police Department.

Cyber Security Fireside Chat_Internet of Things_02272018

Town Election ’18: Ballot Set For Town Meeting; A Race For School Committee

Photo: Pam Eagar readies to run for Town Meeting.

Pam Eagar has spent 40 years in Belmont, raising seven children (all attending the Belmont schools) and taking care of her mother in her home on Claflin Street near Belmont Center. 

Now, with the kids away and with time on her hands, Eagar wants to make a difference in the governing of Belmont with an eye on Town Meeting.

“I’m interested in [town government] but I had always been really busy for a lot of years with kids and grandchildren. But now seems a good time to get involved,” she said Eagar who came to the Town Clerk’s office Tuesday, Feb. 13 to make sure her nomination papers to run for one of the 12 available seats in Precinct 8 had been certified. 

She took her time debating whether to run down to the deadline on Tuesday. 

“I didn’t decide until the other day that I thought, ‘Oh if I want to do this I have to do this right away!”

When the clock struck 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13, the ballot was set for Belmont’s 2018 Town Election to take place on Tuesday, April 3. See the candidates for town-wide office and all Town Meeting races in Belmont’s eight precincts here.

There is one townwide race as three candidates have been certified for the two, three-year seats on the Belmont School Committee as incumbent Susan Burgess-Cox will face off against a pair of newcomers; Winchester teacher Tara Donner and Jill Souza Norton, the director of Education Policy at Abt Associates. 

Over on the Town Meeting side, it’s a bit of a topsy-turvy year as precincts that have been historically light on candidates have filled the ballot with the 12 seats available while others will have open seats.

The big surprise is the typically underrepresented Precinct 7, the Harvard Lawn neighborhood along Belmont Street to the Cambridge line, which has filled the ballot with 12 candidates. And over at the usually politically active precincts 3 and 4, could only muster 10 candidates each for the dozen three-year slots. 

And one of the 13 seek a seat in Precinct 8 is Eagar who said she sees “a lot of growth in the town and I think we need to be really careful how things are regulated. Financially the town needs a lot of good planning in place because money doesn’t go on forever.” 

Belmont’s Krafian Takes Three State D2 Track Titles; Perkins Runs Away with 600 Crown

Photo: Belmont’s Anoush Krafian after winning the 55-meter hurdles in the Division 2 State Championships.

Belmont High’s track star Anoush Krafian is finishing her high school indoor track career with a bang by winning three events at the MIAA Division 2 state championships held at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center in Boston on Saturday morning, Feb. 17.

The Dartmouth bound senior easily took her specialty, the 55-meter hurdles, finishing by more than half a second over Chelmsford’s Meghan Stagnone, 8.49 seconds to 9.04. 

The defending state outdoor pentathlon champion then showed her versatility in the field events, winning the high jump by two inches over pre-meet favorites the Jordahl-Henry twins from Wellesley with an outstanding 5 foot, 6-inch effort before heading to the jumping pit where she uncorked a 17 foot, 6-inch leap to place first by 3/4 of an inch over Woburn’s Brooklyn Manna.

Krafian’s three titles provided 30 points of Belmont’s 37 total securing fourth place in the team competition. 

Joining Krafian on the top of the podium was fellow senior Calvin Perkins who ran away with the 600 meters crown, taking the title in 1 minute, 22.51 seconds, a full half-second over Mansfield’s Mike Shannon. 

The girls’ 4×400 meters relay made up of seniors Emily Duffy and Carey Allard, freshman Rachel November and sophomore Soleil Tseng broke the school’s indoor record with 4:05.33 to take third.

Belmont finished fourth in the D2 state championships: Belmont’s relay team (top left, clockwise) Cary Allard, Rachel November, Soleil Tseng (also 8th in the 600) and Emily Duffy. Anoush Krafian is in the background running to get into the photo.

The boys’ 4×400 meters relay – seniors Max Serrano-Wu, Mel Nagashima, Bryan Huang and Perkins – did the girls’ one better by taking second place by the slimmest of margins, one-one hundredth of a second, 3:27.46 to 3:27.47, as Perkins outleaned North Andover’s Trevor Nassar at the tape.

Securing a point for the Marauders was 10th grader Tseng who finished 8th in the Girls’ 600 meters in 1:40.87.

The boys’ team took 11th place with 18 points.

Belmont’s top performers will now be heading to the MIAA Auerbach All-State Meet at the Reggie Lewis on Saturday, Feb 24.

新 年 快 乐!: Happy Chinese New Year 2018 “Woof!”

Photo: Jim Williams celebrating the Year of the Dog.

The Lunar New Year, the most important holiday in the Chinese’s community calendar, begins on Friday, Feb. 16 as people around the world including in Belmont celebrate the Year of the Dog, one of the 12 animals in the Chinese astrological chart.

Every year, the Chinese New Year starts on the new moon occurring between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20. The celebration lasts 15 days. It is tradition to set off fireworks and firecrackers, hoping to keep away bad luck. Families also clean their house to sweep away any ill-fortune and make way for incoming good luck. Windows and doors are decorated with red paper strips and couplets about good fortune, wealth and longevity. Red symbolizes good fortune in Chinese tradition; children are given red envelopes of money called “hongbao.”

This past Sunday, the Belmont Chinese American Association held its annual Spring Festival Gala at the Chenery Middle School. At the celebration were a number of town and elected officials in attendance, including Board of Selectmen Chair Jim Williams who provided these remarks:

“It’s my privilege and pleasure to be here with you today to help celebrate the Chinese New Year of the Dog, the 11th animal in the Chinese zodiac and the symbol of loyalty and honesty.

“People born in the year of the dog are said to possess the best traits of human nature: they are honest, friendly, faithful, loyal, smart, straightforward, venerable and have a strong sense of responsibility. Since I was myself born in 1946, I leave it to each of you research what can their negatives as I prefer to only announce our best traits this evening.

“These traits are especially important in the coming year given the tough times we are facing in the current global circumstances. The year ahead of us promises to bring many challenges, but a new year also brings with it the opportunity to work hard, smarter, and to be problem solvers and opportunity takers.

“The Belmont and greater Boston Chinese community have also enriched the lives of all Bostonians and Belmontians through the celebration of Chinese arts, cuisine, and traditions as well as contributing to our local economy. Welcome and thank you. I especially embrace the teaching of Lao Tzu, as a principled way to do business and for governments to behave.

“Chinese celebrations like the one we have gathered together for this evening have become an important part of Belmont’s and Boston’s cultural calendar.” 

Belmont Households To Receive 96-Gallon Recycling Barrels This Fall

Photo: An example of recycling barrels from Cambridge.

In the past, whenever the topic of trash and recycling was on the Board of Selectmen’s agenda, it was likely the board’s second-floor meeting room at Town Hall would be overflowing with interested residents. So with the future of recycling collection as the only item before the Selectmen on Monday, Feb. 12, the board decided to move the meeting into the cavernous Town Hall auditorium anticipating a good number to attend.

But times have changed in the past few months as the special meeting began with only four citizens in attendance and that was cut in half by the end of the 80 minutes of deliberation and discussion. 

Whatever the reason for the lack of interest in what was once a hot topic in town, at the end of the meeting, the Selectmen unanimously approved the recommendation of the Belmont Department of Public Works that by the fall all recyclables – paper, plastic, glass, metal cans and cardboard – will be collected biweekly using a 96-gallon wheeled barrel that will be issued to every household in Belmont.

And like the weekly trash collection, recyclables will be collected curbside by a truck using an automated “arm”. 

“This is a major sea change for the town,” said Selectman Mark Paolillo.

The move to an automated system was out of necessity and economics, according to DPW Director Jay Marcotte. From radical changes in what type and condition recyclables will be accepted by China – which for the past two decades has been called “the world’s garbage dump” – to the sudden collapse in the secondary materials market, haulers and recycling facilities are streamlining their operations to remain in business.

One area that new efficient methods are taking place is with recyclables, where Belmont’s long-standing dual stream recycling – paper in one bin and everything else in another – is being replaced with the one-barrel system as recycling facilities will no longer maintain two separate staging area at its plants. 

“There’s not debate, it will be single stream” recycling going forward into the future, said Marcotte. 

Marcotte pointed out that over a decade, the cost of the automated pickup will fall below the current-used manual method (in which person throws the recycles into the back of a truck) as the cost of approximately 10,100 barrels is paid off. In the initial fiscal year, 2019, the manual pickup would cost $688,200 compared to $716,850 under the automated system, while in fiscal 2024, which would be the option year with a five-year contract, automated costs dip to $747,400 while the manual method would soar to $817,300. 

In addition, the automated system with the large containers have several advantages over the manual mode, according to Recycling Coordinator Mary Beth Calnan including less liter – windy days wreak havoc with the uncovered bins as papers and other recyclables are blown around neighborhoods – the covers keep the material dry lessening contamination, and the barrels will prevent rodents and squirrels from rummaging through the recyclables. 

And why did Belmont select the sizeable 96-gallon barrel for recycling? “It’s the industry standard,” said Marcotte.

While agreeing to the change in the coming contract – Marcotte said the town is very close to signing a five year agreement with one of the three firms that submitted acceptable proposals – the Selectmen advised the DPW to conduct an extensive public outreach on the recyclables  especially targeting older residents so they will be comfortable with the changes coming, including providing smaller recycling barrel options as the DPW is doing with garbage collection containers.

Marcotte said while the new garbage and recycling collection contract begin on July 1, the new containers will not be delivered to residents for about two months so the current system will continue until that time.

Paolillo said he believes household recycling rates through town will increase as residents have a single container to store their recycables.

Allard, Deese Make Their Athletic Futures Official On Signing Day

Photos: Cary Allard (left) and Adam Deese.

The signing of a National Letter of Intent – also known as Signing Day – is one of the highlights of a high school athletes career, as those students officially commit themselves to a college or university where they will continue their athletic careers.

Last week, Belmont High School seniors Carey Allard and Adam Deese signed their National Letters of Intent to play at the highest level of college sports at Division 1 programs.

Allard will attend and play soccer at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington while Deese will heading for UMass Amherst to continue his football career as a fullback with the Minuteman.

Bare Minimum Of Resident Show Interest In Running For Town Offices, Meeting


With a little more than 24 hours remaining to submit nomination papers for the 2018 Town Election, the overriding question would appear to be: anyone out there?

With the deadline of Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 5 p.m. fast approaching, Belmont voters could be rubber stamps on April 3 when eligible voters head for the polls as for the first time in more than a decade, the town could lack a competitive race not just for town-wide offices but also Town Meeting in each of Belmont’s eight precincts.

While a number of residents have taken out nomination papers, many have yet to be submitted for certification as of Monday morning.

According to Town Clerk Ellen Cushman, as of Feb. 12, the potential ballot for the 2018 Town Election sets up to look as below:

  • Town Moderator Michael J. Widmer 
  • Board of Selectmen (three-year term) Thomas Caputo
  • Board of Assessors (three-year term) Martin B. Millane, Jr.
  • Board of Cemetery Commissioners (three-year termEllen O’Brien Cushman
  • Board of Health (three-year term) Stephen Fiore
  • Housing Authority (three-year term) Gloria Leipzig
  • Trustees of the Public Library (two three-year terms) Elaine C. Alligood and Corinne McCue Olmsted
  • School Committee (two three-year terms), Susan Burgess-Cox and Tara Donner
  • School Committee (one single year term) Lisa B. Fiore

Unless stragglers come in with their papers, there will be open seats without a declared candidate in each of Belmont’s precincts. The current ballot looks as below:

  • Precinct 1: 11 candidates for 12 three-year seats; no candidates for two two-year term.  
  • Precinct 2: 10 candidates for 12 three-year seats. one candidate for a single year term.
  • Precinct 3: 7 candidates for 12 three-year seats;
  • Precinct 4: 10 candidates for 12 three-year seats;
  • Precinct 5: 11 candidates for 12 three-year seats; no candidates for two two-year term.  
  • Precinct 6: 11 candidates for 12 three-year seats;
  • Precinct 7: 11 candidates for 12 three-year seats; and 
  • Precinct 8: 11 candidates for 12 three-year seats.

Belmont Community Chorus Welcomes All Singers To Join Spring Session

Photo: Belmont Community Chorus, Spring 2016 (Photo courtesy of Bob Schecter)
The Belmont Community Chorus welcomes all who love to sing!
For beginner to experienced singers alike, we seek to provide an opportunity to gather regularly to sing with an ensemble, to improve our vocal skills – no matter the starting point – and to perform at local venues. No auditions required. We sing a variety of exciting vocal music from yesterday to today.
The spring session begins Monday, Feb. 26 and runs through May 7, with our spring concert scheduled for May 8. Rehearsals are Monday evenings, 7:30 p.m. to  9 p.m., in Chorus Room #141, at the Chenery Middle School, 95 Washington St..

 For more information, contact belmontcommmunitychorus@gmail.com, or visit www.belmontcommunitychorus.org.