Boys’ Hoops Playoff Bound Thanks To Hitting Threes; Girls’ Back To Winning Ways

Photo: Danny Yardemain driving to the hoop against Winchester.

When Belmont High Basketball Head Coach Adam Pritchard heard his team threw in 13 three-pointers in its 79-73 home victory Friday, Feb. 9  against 13-win Winchester High, the long-time leader of the Marauders responded: “That few?”

“I’m not kidding when I think we can score more from [three-point range],” said Pritchard.

Not that the long ball has been the only reason Belmont has been on an impressive four-game winning streak defeating two playoff-bound teams (including a no-contest 85-57 beatdown of Woburn on the Tanners court) and clinching a spot in the postseason with its win over Lexington on Tuesday, at the Wenner.

Included with the three-pointers has been combining a sneaky quick fast break, a better than most threat in the offensive end (i.e., they hit more than just threes) and a bend-but-not-break defense that can make a game more interesting than Pritchard would like as what occurred against the Sachems Friday. 

Belmont used its break in the first half to build an eight-point lead (22-14) led by the senior forward Tomas Donoyan. The Marauders defense was holding Winchester in check with the glaring exception of the Sachems’ Mario DiBenedetto who came in as Winchester’s third-leading scorer. While the guard is averaging 13 points a game, he matched that number midway through the second quarter rattling in 19 points by halftime, keeping his team close to Belmont, 41-34.

With Yardemian yet again garnering the attention of the other team – having senior guard Liam Fitzgerald on him like a cheap suit – Belmont relied on the dual deep threats of sophomore shooting guards Mac Annus and junior Ben Sseruwagi and veteran senior forward Will Ellet who took up the scoring load.  

Belmont built up its lead to double digits, 54-43, on three free throws by Sseruwagi with 3:22 left in the quarter, only to see DiBenedetto once again cut the lead to seven and reaching 27 points. At 54-47, and as he was heading to the hoop, DiBenedetto stepped on a shoe and went down. He would return from the locker room on crutches. With its leading scorer on the bench, Belmont quickly built an 11 point lead.

But the Sachems would not go away, cutting the lead to 62-61 before an Ellet three, a Donoyan block and Ellet’s second three in the fourth quarter gave Belmont nine-point lead with 3:05 left. But on three consecutive trips down the court, Fitzgerald drained a three, and suddenly the comfortable Belmont margin evaporated with the game tied at 70.

But a Yardemian driving layup and an Ellet three gave the Marauders lead of five, 75-70. While Winchester’s Joe McCarron’s basket and one cut the lead to two with 65 seconds remaining, Belmont would seal the deal when Ellet faked a three and completed a behind the back pass to Annus to cooly knocked the corner three to effectively end the contest. 

On Tuesday, Belmont did what they couldn’t a week earlier when they visited the Minuteman, hit the open shots. Revenging that loss, the Marauders took a workmanlike approach to the game, grabbing offensive rebounds while putting down 11 threes for the game to win going away, 86-75.

Despite having a defender in his face for most of the game, Yardemian led Belmont with 20 points followed by Ellet who drained four of the teams seven threes and Annus who both scored 19 points. Sseruwagi ended with a career-high 14 including 10 in the first half.

Close early, 15-13 at the end of the first quarter, Belmont put up 23 in the second to lead at the half, 38-29. Belmont would keep the margin in the 12 to 8 point range for the remainder of the game. 

The win gave Belmont its 10th victory of the season and securing a place in the sectional playoffs.

“Every year getting into the playoffs is our goal for the season,” said Assistant Head Coach Tim Stratford. “This is a team that works hard and the past few games they really distributed the ball really well. When your leading scorer [Yardemian] leads the team with assists, that when things are working well.” 

Belmont at 11-6 and ranked 21st in the Boston Herald’s Top 25 poll will be away against Reading on Tuesday as it prepares for Thursday’s big-time encounter with Middlesex League-leading Arlington (15-2) on Seniors Night. The SpyPonders, ranked 18th by the Boston Globe, have a Watertown Field Hockey-like 31 game league winning streak going back three years. 

Girls Back On Track

After the gut punch by Woburn last week, the 58-55 loss on a three-point shot with eight seconds left in the game, Belmont got back to its winning ways defeating Lexington at home, 55-31, on Tuesday and Winchester away, 67-18, on Friday.

“The girls responded well. It was nice they were able to come back with that kind of intensity,” said Head Coach Melissa Hart after the Lexington game. The Marauders are 14-2, and 13-1 in Middlesex League play and ranked 5th in the Boston Herald and 12th in the Boston Globe polls.

Unlike the game a week previous where the Minutemen were able to keep the contest close for most of the game at Lexington, Belmont expanded on an early lead and steadily increased the margin, outscoring the Minutemen 18-6 and 17-7 in the first two quarters to lead 35-13 at the half. Juniors center Jess Giorgio and guard Meghan Tan each tallied 10 points with senior Jenny Call hitting a pair of treys to extend her Belmont career three-point scoring record.

Against Winchester, Hart was able to use her bench for most of the game with something of a record 12 Marauders scoring against the undermanned Sachems. Hart pointed to junior Ella Gagnon who hit for a career-high six points and grabbing seven rebounds. Senior co-captain Greta Propp had 11 points to lead the team while Kylie Rhone (7 points), Alex Keefe (downtown for 3 points), Breah Healey (2 points) and Audrey Christo (4 points) contributed to the victory.

Tuesday, Feb. 13, the Girls’ host Reading on Seniors Night. After playing Arlington on Thursday, Belmont heads directly to the Comcast Tournament on Saturday where they meet South Shore powerhouse, Bishop Feehan.

“With the postseason coming next week, it’s good to realize what we need to do to be successful. The captains spoke to the players that they need to up the intensity. The loss rejuvenated their desire.” said Hart

Belmont Farmers Market Ready To Park Itself In Belmont Center For 13th Season

Photo: Hal Shubin (left) and Suzanne Johannet of the Belmont Food Collaborative before the Belmont Board of Selectmen.

What a difference two weeks can make.

The last time the leadership of the Belmont Food Collaborative – the group that runs the Belmont Farmers Market – was before the Board of Selectmen on Jan. 22, it was a slightly frosty reception as it comes to secure the board’s OK to bring the market back to Belmont Center for a 13th season.

Suzanne Johannet, collaborative’s president, and Hal Shubin, the chairman of the farmers market, were seated next to Kevin Foley, manager of Locatelli Properties and landlord of many businesses along Leonard Street in Belmont Center. For the second year, Foley came to the board to bring up a continuing sore point of the Farmers Market taking nearly 20 parking spaces in the rear of the Claflin Street Municipal Parking Lot on what he describes as “one of our busiest days of the week.” 

“Before we talk where and when the Farmers Market is located, that we look at this issue carefully each year and look at parking demand and adjust accordingly,” said Foley at the January meeting. In the past, Foley suggested either moving the market to another location away from the center or changing the markets’ operation times and the day it takes place such as Monday, noting that several new businesses have opened in the center with a new restaurant scheduled to arrive this summer.

For the Collaborative, Foley’s continued criticism of the markets’ use of the public lot was baffling. “What do you want, Kevin?” said Johannet, saying that Market customers bring business to his tenants, specifically during the summer when business drags.  

While open to the market returning for its second decade at the site, the Selectmen were “frustrated,” according to member Mark Paolillo, that long-standing agreement for the collaborative and Locatelli to sit down at a meeting “discuss” the parking issue had not taken place for well over a year. Due to the dispute, the Selectmen delayed acting on granting the Collaborative the right to set up shop in the parking lot “until you get together as was promised,” said Paolillo.

Fast forward to Monday, Feb. 5 and the much warmer encounter between the board and collaborative. 

Working with new Town Administrator Patrice Garvin, the Collaborative met with Foley and representatives from the Belmont Center Business Association and as Johannet told the board, it appears the Farmers Market was a lesser concern to Foley than the overriding worry of providing an adequate number of “core parking spaces” for patrons of the center’s retail operators. 

Johannet said Foley had been using the market “as a football” to express his frustrations with the town over the broader issue of parking supply and demand.

Garvin said Foley would like the town to create some “reprieve” for the employees to take pressure off of shoppers and those eating at the center’s restaurants. In an effort to help the business community, the town and market will continue to monitor parking levels and hold ongoing discussions with all sides, said Garvin. 

Despite Foley’s protestations, the Selectmen were solidly in the market’s corner. “The town owns the parking lot, not Kevin Foley,” said Selectmen Chair Jim Williams. In the end, the board voted unanimously to allow the Belmont Farmers Market to use the 19 spaces each Thursday, 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (6 p.m. in September and October) from June 7 to Oct. 26 to bring fresh produce and locally made goods to residents, to the applause of supporters in the audience.

According to Shubin, the collaborative is reviewing options that would allow the market to avoid being caught between the parking needs of businesses and the town, which could include asking for a multi-year approval.

“We can now get excited about our 13th year,” said Johannet.

Alper Withdraws From Race To Keep Seat On Health Board; Leaving With Two ‘Victories’


Saying he felt he should go out on top – “like David Ortiz” – Dr. David Alper announced today, Saturday, Feb. 10, he was withdrawing his nomination for election to a record 11th term on the Belmont Board of Health.

“I want to leave before people started saying ‘What’s with that old guy? Get him out of there,'” said Alper, after meeting with Town Clerk Ellen Cushman at 1 p.m. Saturday with formally withdraw from the race.

With Alper leaving the race, the sole resident who has submitted nomination papers for the board is Stephen Fiore of Van Ness Road, an attorney in civil litigation with the Cambridge firm of Foster & Eldridge. Alper said one reason he wanted his decision known over the weekend was to allow anyone interest in serving 48 hours to gather the 50 signatures required to run for the seat.

First elected to the board in 1988, Alper said he several events occurred in the past week that led him to reconsider running for another three-year term on the three-member board. On Monday, Alper was selected to the Board of Trustees of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), the Bethesda, Maryland-based professional medical organization representing 80 percent of the 15,000 podiatrists in the United States.

Saying his inclusion on the national board “an amazing honor,” Alper said the time commitment to the organization “is enormous” with travel and paperwork taking up most of his free time.

Alper and his wife will also become empty nesters as their son will be heading out of the house by the end of the summer, “and I wanted to spend more time with her.” Add his thriving practice from his Oak Avenue residence, “laying all that together, maybe it’s time to say goodbye to the board.” 

But before he leaves in the final eight weeks, Alper said he’ll be completing two major initiatives he’s been heavily involved. By April 1, the board will have created comprehensive health regulations on the future retail sale of marijuana in Belmont, with a final vote on March 26.  

“Useless [residents] votes to withdraw from sales, Belmont will be prepared with common scene rules and regs,” said Alper, as applications for state-issued retail licenses will be accepted on April 1.

Alper said through the work by new Town Administrator Patrice Garvin, funds have been found to allow the town to hire a Youth Coordinator for a revitalized Belmont Youth Commission which Alper has been advocating for several years. 

“So there are a few victories to have before I leave,” said Alper who said he’ll remain a Town Meeting member and “be there when something else needs to be done.” 

“It was really a perfect of storm of events. So I’m happy to be moving on,” said Alper. 

Opinion: Belmont’s #MeToo Problem


By Wendy Murphy

In the throes of relentless news stories about the #MeToo movement, Larry Nassar’s sexual victimization of more than 250 girls, and widespread abuse of women by celebrities, businessmen, lawmakers, etc, it seemed an appropriate time to examine the status of females in Belmont. So I asked several young people to comment because they are in the midst of developing core ideas about what it means to be female in Belmont and beyond.

Here’s the gist of what I heard.

1. The boys treat the girls as if they get to decide who deserves their attention based on who is willing to do sexual things.

2. The girls who kiss up to boys are the ones boys pay attention to.

3. The boys basically rank the girls as good or bad based on how willing they are to do what they want. Girls who stand up for themselves are called bitchy, and ugly.

4. I think girls should start ranking boys, and telling the boys they’re not worth anything unless they do whatever we tell them to do – so we can show them how it feels to be treated like a servant.

5. This starts in Middle School but nobody ever talks about it – teachers and principals know it happens but they never talk about it as a bad thing.

6. It was great that the high school had a community gathering when a racist Instagram message was sent last year, but how come they never do anything like that when boys call girls sluts, or bitches, or worse?

7. Sexism is such a huge issue at the high school and when we try to talk about it, it isn’t respected.

They (and some parents) also talked about other things they see as unfair:

1. The cheerleaders suffered many concussions last fall, but nobody made an issue about it. There are so many stories about football players suffering head trauma. How come cheerleaders’ head trauma gets no attention.

2. Female athletes were asked by the Boosters to help with a fundraising drive, even though the money was primarily intended for the press box and the press box is used almost exclusively for football. Girls are happy to help other school teams but they already see excess favoritism directed at football.

3. Female athletes were recently made to store their gym bags on the second floor, while male athletes were allowed to keep their bags with them on the first floor.

4. Male athletes who play hockey and football have their names on individual signs on Concord Avenue, but there are no individual signs for female athletes of any sport.

5. Cheerleaders are unofficially required to bake cookies for football players before the games.

6. When female athletes are on the turf at the same time as the football players, they often get pushed back to 25 percent of the field space.

7. Diversity week programming at the high school at the end of January ignored sex/gender as a category worthy of attention. There were events on race, LGBT, Armenian Genocide, and even a “medium” who talked about feeling the presence of dead people, but no program was dedicated to issues important to girls, such as sex discrimination, dating abuse, and harassment. [Belmont could face state and federal civil rights investigations, or lawsuits for money damages, for subjecting sex/gender to different treatment in this or any other context.]

Belmont is hardly the only community that isn’t getting sex/gender right. But we claim to be ahead of the pack on social issues. We became a welcoming community on behalf of immigrants, and we have a very active group against racism. We also expect young people to volunteer for community service projects. Why are issues related to women and girls invisible? They suffer far more abuse because they are female than does any other class of people suffer abuse because of who they are in society.

Belmont should aggressively be teaching students about women’s oppression and the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Most people don’t even know that women are not yet equal under the United States Constitution. This is the result of a failed education system. Thirty-six states have ratified the ERA. Nevada ratified in 2017. When two more states ratify, women’s full equality will be established once and for all. Until then, females will continue to be abused with impunity no matter how many #MeToo movements we have, because equality – not hashtags – will prevent disproportionate harm against the underclass.

Between now and when equality finally happens, Belmont and all communities should make every effort to teach young people that sex discrimination, including harassment and all forms of abuse, is the same type of civil rights violation as race discrimination, and none of it is welcome here.

A copy of this was shared with Belmont High School Principal Dan Richards and John Phelan, superintendent of the Belmont School District. I met and communicated with both men about some of these issues, and I asked them if they wanted to respond before publication. I offered to include any such response in this piece. Richards indicated a willingness to meet with me, again, in an effort to address the issues, and he offered to speak with guidance counselors and others to obtain information from them about their views on the issues raised.

Murphy is a former child abuse and sex crimes prosecutor who teaches at New England Law/Boston. Wendy specializes in the representation of crime victims, women, and children. She also writes and lectures widely on victims’ rights and criminal justice policy. She also serves on the Belmont High School Parent Teacher Student Organization and Advisory Council and is co-President of the  Belmont Woman’s Club. 

Anyone who wants to share information or concerns can contact Murphy anonymously at:

You Still Have Time To Get On The Town Election Ballot; Deadline is Feb. 13

Photo: Nomination papers

Nomination papers for the Annual Town Election on April 3, (Town Meeting Member and Town-wide offices) are available now at the Town Clerk’s Office, and are due back to the Town Clerk for certification by Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 5 p.m. Fifty certified signatures of registered Belmont voters are required for Town-wide office, 25 certified signatures of Belmont registered voters dwelling in the appropriate precinct are required for Town Meeting. It is always wise to obtain and provide at least 20 percent more signatures than the requirement to meet the certification minimums.

Click here for ballot info.

Getting Your Name on the Ballot

Running for election is simple. Pick up nomination papers in the Town Clerk’s office and have your neighbors and friends who are registered voters sign your papers and submit the signed forms to the Town Clerk by the deadline.

Town-wide Offices

To be considered a candidate for town-wide office, you must be at least 18 years old and a registered voter in Belmont.

There are many Town-wide elected offices that will appear on the annual Town Election ballot.

Signatures of at least 50 registered voters of the Town are required on the nomination papers.

Representative Town Meeting: Representatives from Each of the Eight Voting Precincts

In addition to the 12 Representative Town Meeting Members that are elected for three-year terms from each of our eight voting precincts, there may also be openings for one (1), or two (2) year terms.

There are partial terms in the following precincts:

  • One 2-year term in Precinct 1
  • One 1-year term in Precinct 2
  • Two 2-year terms in Precinct 5

Incumbent Town Meeting Members

Incumbent Town Meeting Members who intend to run for re-election have missed the deadline of Jan. 23 to return the Intention Letter. Missing the return date means having to collect signatures on nomination papers.

New Candidates for Town Meeting Member

To be considered a new candidate for Town Meeting Member, you must be at least 18 years old and a registered voter of the Town of Belmont. If you are currently serving as a Town Meeting Member who was elected at the caucus, not by Town ballot, you will need to submit nomination papers as a new candidate.

Signatures of at least 25 registered voters of your precinct are required on the nomination papers. The Town Clerk must certify these signatures so we always suggest obtaining about 20 percent more just to be safe.

Withdrawing Your Name From the Ballot

If you have taken out nomination papers and the signatures have been certified, but you change your mind, you may remove your name from the ballot by notifying the Town Clerk in writing by Feb. 13.

Size Matters: Committee Recommends Selectmen Increase Number On Board

Photo: Not enough according to the committee set to review the number of selectmen.

Just how thorough the Committee to Study the Number of Selectmen took its mission, the appendix which documents the details of studies, interviews and raw data comprises more pages, 41, than the 32-page final report.

“It’s a big relief to finally get this report out after so much work by the members of the committee,” said Committee Chair Paul Rickter.

After seven months of discussions with the 16 current and past selectmen, speaking to countless elected representatives from outside of Belmont, leaders from municipalities that went through a similar process as well as gathering copious amounts of data – one of the first set of facts it compiled was a set of data from the 44 towns in Massachusetts with populations between 19,000 and 31,000 residents – in January the committee voted 9 to 4 to recommend increasing the number of selectmen from three to some number to be determined by Town Meeting

“My sense of the committee is that we found the town to be generally well-run, but that some felt that there are opportunities to improve town governance by increasing the size of the Board,” said Rickter.

Read the committee’s recommendation here.

The committee was created at the annual Town Meeting this past May and made up of 13 members – selected by Town Moderator Mike Widmer – representing each of the town’s eight precincts. Its charge was straightforward: to recommend whether or not the Board of Selectmen should be expanded from three members. After months of meetings – starting in June and really got going in October – the committee produced 11 arguments both pro and con on changing the status quo which has been in affect since Belmont’s founding in 1859.

On the pro side, the committee saw greater stability for town government in policy, planning, and hiring; an increased representation, diversity, and viewpoints; less likelihood of one Board member being isolated or dominating others; the potential for wider range of skills and experience on the Board; and permits members to use one other member as a sounding board.

For those in favor of keeping the current board size all Board deliberations remain transparent and open to the public; elections would remain competitive; three members are more apt to reach a consensus, meetings are efficient and reasonable in length; and there is too much at stake for a change of this magnitude right now.

For Rickter, the most convincing arguments that swayed the majority were “the ideas that a larger board could be more broadly representative of the town as well as the potential for a wider variety of skills and experience benefiting a larger board.”

“The minority also saw those ideas as … benefits, but they thought they were only potential benefits,” he said, while expressing concern about the transparency of board deliberations – the state’s Open Meeting Laws requires a quorum of three for the three-member board to legally discuss issues brought before it – and competitiveness in elections with a larger board.

“As we said in the report, we all see valid arguments on both sides — we simply weighed them differently,” said Rickter, who added that the committee will attend Town Meeting in May to answer questions rather than “holding any advocacy role … going forward.”

Rickter said an important byproduct of the report is that a majority of members on both sides of the size question believe the town must consider strengthening the role of Town Administrator, whether or not Town Meeting increases the board’s size.

“But that topic was outside of our charge, so we limited ourselves to making only observations in that area,” he said.

For Rickter, the committee’s comprehensive reporting will allow for an honest discussion on the issue without the specter of bias.

“This was a conscientious group that worked together well, gathered tons of information, and engaged with the work of compiling this report in a truly collaborative way,” he noted. Even though the decision was not unanimous, “we never wavered from the goal of giving Town Meeting members a detailed snapshot of both sides of the issue.”


Global Disruption in Recycling Market Has Belmont Over The Trash Barrel

Photo: Recycling will be changing after a rewriting of the RFP.

Belmont Selectman Adam Dash was blunt when Jay Marcotte, director of the Department of Public Works, gave him and the other Selectmen the news at its Monday, Feb. 5 meeting of a proverbial dumpster fire of a dispute with the town’s trash hauler.

The town’s long-time collecter F W Russell & Sons Disposal recently issued a demand that the town either begin picking up the cost of taking away household recyclables – the cans, paper and all other stuff that has cost the town nothing in the past – or be threatened with “either disruption in service or litigation,” according to Belmont’s counsel Mina Makarious. 

While the town sent several messages noting its “displeasure” concerning the ultimatum by the company, the town has “tried to resolve this dispute at a reasonable cost,” said Makarious, noting the contract with Russell runs for only five more months. 

With the short time remaining on the current curbside agreement and without many alternatives before it, the board reluctantly voted to alter the existing contract and agreed to pay half the cost of the recycling collection up to $45 per ton. Marcotte told the Belmontonian the new change would cost his department about $24,000, funds the department had set aside for community education.

While the board approved the new language, Dash said the sudden demand from the hauler was unacceptable. “I’m not happy with this,” he said casting a symbolic “no” protest vote.

The demands by Russell are indicative in how Belmont and other communities around the US have suddenly found itself in the middle of a worldwide recycling surplus in which the value of mixed material has plummeted due to changes in packaging, low oil prices and a drop in paper fiber waste. A study by the State Recycling Program in the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality found that the average market value of a ton of mixed recyclable material fell from $180 in 2011 to less than $80 by the end of 2015.

But the most dramatic shock to solid waste prices is coming from the demand end half a world away in China, which until recently imported half of the world’s waste paper, metals and used plastic totaling 7.3 million tons in 2016. According to an article in the New York Times, starting Jan. 1, China – in an attempt to stem pollution and environmental issues related to being since the 1990s the “world’s garbage dump” – has placed a ban on a wide range of waste, including unsorted paper and plastic bottles while setting new limits on the levels of impurities in other recyclables.

“It’s almost like they turned the spigot off overnight,” said Jim Fish, president of Waste Management, a Houston-based company that is the largest recycler of residential waste in North America, as reported in a November article in the Times. Where once recycling was a cash cow, today its dead weight.

The combined impact of supply and demand is being felt in Belmont with who are bidding on the town’s trash contract. At Monday’s meeting, Marcotte told the board that haulers and the material recycling facilities which process solid waste are finding their profits cut significantly or eliminated.

“The recycling market has completely flipped,” said Marcotte, told the board. “Once it was no cost [to the disposal companies], now its become a significant one.”

And those new realities are being felt in the rewarding of the town’s new trash collection contract.

When the selectmen OK’d the blueprint of the next five-year contract in September, it insisted on maintaining the town’s 1991 bylaw that committed the town to a “dual stream” recycling system which separated by paper and other recyclables such as plastic bottles and cans. While the town is moving to an automated trash collection system, homeowners would keep their blue and green bins to place paper in one and bottles and cans in another as a lasting pledge to recycling.

But the town’s nearly 30-year recycling program is being swept aside by cold hard economics. On Monday, the Selectmen changed the contract’s Request for Proposal to allow for a “single” stream recycling which all material – cans, bottles, glass, paper, packaging, paper bags – will be lumped into a single bin after the three companies which recently submitted proposals to become the town’s hauler would only accept a single stream recycling program. 

Marcotte said the new recycling collection regime [see the town release below] will be run biweekly with the recyclables either collected manually as they are now or by an automated system where residents will use their new 96-gallon recycling barrels – to be issued by the town in the next few months – for that week’s curbside recycling pickup. 

While acknowledging changes to long-standing town recycling policy is “regrettable,” Marcotte told the board the realities of the marketplace makes “a dual stream system no longer an option.” 

Town’s release on the new single stream recycling program

Because of the decreased values in the recycling markets, Material Recycling Facilities (MRF’s) are no longer accepting dual stream recycling.

What does this mean for Belmont?

Belmont will continue to RECYCLE…For the remaining five months, our hauler will continue to pick-up DUAL STREAM recycling at the curb. The change for Belmont is our recycling will be processed and charged as SINGLE STREAM.

In the next five months, there will be comprehensive community outreach and education on all the changes that will happen for TRASH AND RECYCLING.

This July 1st, the Town will be converting to AUTOMATED TRASH & SINGLE STREAM RECYCLING.

SINGLE STREAM RECYCLING will be collected every other week one of two ways:

  • Manual, using existing barrels/bins and placing all recyclables mixed.
  • Automated, using a Town issued 96-gallon container and placing all recyclables mixed.

This is an unfortunate situation that we are faced with and one in which we have no control. We apologize for this change and are working diligently to minimize disruption. If you have any questions, please call the Department of Public Works. 617-993-2680

Town Election ’18: Logjam For School Committee As Three Take Out Papers

Photo: Town Clerk’s Office

Here’s a little math for those seeking a seat on the Belmont School Committee:

If four possible candidates run for two available seats, that result will likely be an exciting Town Election this spring as the potential field to fill the pair of committee slots has doubled as more residents have taken out nomination papers with just eight days remaining to submit 50 signatures to the Town Clerk.

As of Monday morning, Feb. 5, three newcomers to town-wide elections have taken out nomination papers for School Committee:

  • Claus Becker, Poplar Street
  • Tara Donner, Payson Road
  • Jill Norton, Clark Street

Becker is a Town Meeting member from Precinct 5 who is an active campaigner to increase the use of alternative energy in town.

Donner represents Precinct 6 in Town Meeting and is an English teacher at McCall Middle School in Winchester.

Norton is director of education policy at Cambridge-based Abt Associates, and previously was a senior policy adviser for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Education.

Incumbent Susan Burgess-Cox is the only candidate to submit her nomination papers to Town Clerk Ellen Cushman.

Current School Committee Chair Lisa Fiore is seeking a partial one-year term rather than defend her full three-year seat on the board.

CORRECTION: Belmont High Principal Richards Leaving

Photo: Dan Richards.

Editor’s note: While Mr. Richards is leaving Belmont High School, he is not leaving to become principal of Newburyport High School as previously noted in the headline and in the first paragraph of the original story. The Belmontonian regrets the error in content.

Long-time Belmont educator Dan Richards will be stepping down after five-and-a-half years at the helm of Belmont High School as its principal.

Richards, who made the announcement in a short email announcement to the Belmont community on Monday, Feb. 5, said it was “with mixed emotions” that he decided to look outside of Belmont to “peruse other leadership opportunities.” 

For nearly a decade and a half, Richards career has been centered at Belmont High, spending seven years from 2004 to 2011 as assistant principal for instruction before being named principal at Melrose High School in 2011. Richards made a surprising return to Belmont High in 2012 after then-principal Dr. Michael Harvey left to become superintendent of the Hamilton-Wenham Regional School District. He previously worked at Peabody High and Newton South High.

He said moving to a North Shore community a few years ago had him looking for the right set of circumstances in the area that would all0w him to spend more time with his family. 

“The past 12 years in Belmont have been very rewarding for me. I have enjoyed the privilege of working with an amazing faculty, staff, community, and most of all, the students,” Richards said.

“Belmont High School will always remain a special place in my heart. Thank you for the privilege and honor to be part of such a wonderful community,” he said.

Richards replacement will be selected by Belmont Superintendent John Phelan. It is unknown if the next principal will be in place by the beginning of the school year in eight months.

Lickety Split: New Town Administrator Secures $30K In State Funding In Her First Week

Photo: (from left) Patrice Garvin, Mark Paolillo, Jim Williams, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, State Rep. Dave Rogers, Adam Dash.

The Board of Selectmen’s Room at Belmont Town Hall was packed Tuesday, Jan. 30 with town and public safety officials, staff and residents for the dual purposes of greeting the state’s Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and to recognize the town being the 327th grant recipient to join the state in supporting “best practices.” 

Polito and Board of Selectmen Chair Jim Williams signed the Community Compact agreement, a voluntary, mutual agreement in which cities and towns choose to implement method or techniques that reflect needed areas of improvement which the Commonwealth helps accomplish by providing grants, resources, and incentives. 

Belmont will use a total of $30,000 in grants to develop a set of formal financial policies and practices and create a long-range financial forecasting model which could be used to review pensions and other retirement obligations.

“It’s a hallmark of the cooperation between state and local government that is so important,” said State Rep. Dave Rogers of the state program that dates back to January 2015.

But the state funds would likely have stayed on Beacon Hill if Belmont Town Administrator Patrice Garvin’s had not made a quick decision to apply for funds from a program she had used in her previous position.

“You should talk to the real hero,” Williams said pointing to Garvin.

Less than two weeks on the job, Garvin was able to secure the $30,000 by using her own initiative and past experience with the state program. 

Being a member of the compact “benefits you on every grant you apply for,” said Garvin.

When she was being interviewed for the Belmont position, Garvin told the selectmen and staff she would seek to increase outside sources of funding as to diversify the town’s revenue stream, critical in a town that relies heavily on residential real estate taxes.

Garvin got her chance to mobilize Belmont to procure state grants soon after arriving on the job on Jan. 16 when she discovered while the Selectmen approved joining the pact with the state, it hadn’t moved forward with the implementation

“When I came in, someone casually said the board had just agreed to join.”

“For me, it’s just a no-brainer. Even though the board hadn’t yet begun the application process, I decided to do so,” said Garvin. “I went online [to the compact’s website] that day to apply and the next day we had a day that the Lt. Governor was coming. It was really quick,” said Garvin. 

Garvin said in her experience, municipalities need to be active in seeking intergovernmental or private funding sources. 

“It’s a piece of the toolbox that you need to get more money in the future,” she said.