After Garden Party, Belmont Girls’ Hoops Sprint For Tourney Spot

Photo: Belmont Girls at the garden.

After a once-in-a-lifetime trip to play on the parquet of TD Boston Garden early Saturday morning, the Belmont High Girls’ Basketball team gets back to the grind of securing a spot defeating arch-rival Watertown, 54-34, on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

With eight wins, the team needs to secure two wins in its final five games of the regular season and could reach that mark in the next week as they’ll be matched up against a team they have previously defeated and one of the streakiest squads in the Middlesex League.

Belmont’s Nina Minicozzi (14) vs Watertown.

The Marauders will take on Reading (6-7) on Friday, Jan. 31 – Belmont defeated the Rockets by 10 earlier in the season before they head off to Wakefield (6-8) which has beaten some of the best teams in the league before losing to some of the weakest squads.

Belmont broke a two game losing streak defeating Winchester, 61-49, on Friday night, Jan. 24 then finding themselves with a 9:30 a.m. tip-off against last year’s Division 2 South champions Pembroke.

The game – which was an MIAA endowment game – will not count against the teams record when it come to seeding or making the tournament. It was a chance for both teams to spend out their bench players who played the entire second quarter. In the end, the Patriots took home a 56-40 victory which was closer then the score indicated.

After starting off the season with a 6-2 record, Belmont played a string of games in which teams began focusing their defenses around stopping Belmont leading and most consistent scorer, sophomore guard Nina Minicozzi.

With junior center Emma McDevitt out of the lineup due to a twisted ankle and the team missing three starters from last year’s North finals squad – two graduating and playing for 19-0 Bowdoin and another recruited away – Minicozzi finds herself facing a double team or physical man-to-man situation resulting on the second year starter prone on the court.

Belmont was back home Tuesday at the Coach Lyons’ Court against the Raiders in a game which took a quarter just to get started. By the end of the first quarter, both teams struggled to score less than one point per minute with the Raiders leading, 7-6.

Watertown, behind sophomore forward Taylor Lambo’s low post shooting, upped its advantage to 14-10 midway through the second quarter before Belmont found an unexpected source for its scoring woes as first year Sophie McDevitt. The forward scored 10 of her career high 14 points taking passes from diving guards for uncontested layups while knocking down a three when given the time and space. Behind McDevitt, Belmont ended the half on a 13-0 run to lead by nine, 23-14, at intermission.

The game was notable as Belmont played an aggressive press defense, constantly doubling the ball and coming up with a slew of turnovers that allowed Belmont to pad its advantage to 37-20 entering the final eight minutes.

With a bit more space on the floor, Minicozzi was able to drive to the basket and also hit a three in the final quarter to finish with a game high 18 points.

Obituary: Clayton Christensen, The Disruptive Guru, Dies At 67

Photo: Clay Christensen

Clayton Christensen, long-time Fletcher Road resident and Kim. B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School who wrote the pioneering book, “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” died last Thursday, Jan. 23 in a Boston hospital.

Christensen, who had been in poor health for more than a decade, died of complications of leukemia, according to Nitin Nohria, dean of the Harvard Business School. He was 67.

“Our family is grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have received over the past few days,” the family said in a statement. “We are humbled by how many lives he has touched. Clayton felt his life would be measured by the individuals he helped and the ways in which he could serve those around him.”

Read Christensen’s obituaries here:

A towering figure in business and life (he stood 6′ 8″), Christensen is known for his 1997 book “The Innovator’s Dilemma” which “The Economist” magazine called “one of the six most important business books ever written.”

The book demonstrates how successful companies can do everything “right” and still lose their market leadership – or even fail – as new, unexpected competitors rise and take over the market. The book hit a chord with many young innovators and took off after the CEO of Intel Andy Grove told an industry conference that “The Innovator’s Dilemma” was “the most important book I had read in 10 years.”

Christensen was born in Salt Lake City and graduated from Brigham Young University after serving two years as a missionary in Korea. After marrying his wife, Christine, he attended Harvard Business School graduating with an MBA in 1979. He joined Boston Consulting Group and later founded a company with several MIT professors.

Just after joining the ranks of academia as a professor at his alma mater Harvard Business, the Christensens bought their house in 1994 on Belmont Hill, expanding the structure 10 years later.

He also dabbled in local matters when in 2012, Christensen promoted the use of internet learning for Belmont High School students in an effort to flatten the expense curve of Belmont’s education costs. 

A person of strong faith, Christensen was active in his local LDS ward, serving as a bishop and as a past member of Area Seventy, Sixth Quorum. After he suffered a devastating stroke, Christensen wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review called “How Will You Measure Your Life?” which became a book on how to achieve a fulfilling life.

Christensen is survived by his wife, Christine, and their children, Matthew, Michael, Spencer, Ann and Catherine Christensen; and nine grandchildren.

Visitations will be held:

  • Friday, Jan. 31 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 15 Ledgewood Pl. in Belmont
  • Saturday, Feb from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 65 Binney St., in Kendell Square, Cambridge

A funeral service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 1 at 11 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 65 Binney St, Cambridge.

Principal McAllister Leaving Chenery For Central Office [Video]

Photo: Mike McAllister.

Micheal McAllister, the popular principal of the Chenery Middle School, will be heading to the Belmont School District’s Central Office to become the director of the newly named Office of Human Capital.

Entering his 20th year in the Belmont Schools, McAllister has been the Chenery principal for the past four years after spending seven years as principal of the Butler Elementary School in the Waverley neighborhood. He began his career as a sixth-grade social studies teacher at the Chenery in 2000.

McAllister earned his BA from Northeastern and a master’s in education from Harvard. He lives with his family in his hometown of Bedford where he served on the School Committee for six years (2013-2019) and was Chair from 2015 until 2018.

“We will welcome Principal McAllister to his new role after we post and search for an interim principal to replace him for the remainder of the 2019/20 school year,” said Belmont District Superintendent John Phelan announcing the news on Tuesday, Jan. 28.

The district will post for the permanent principal position for the Chenery that would start on July 1.

“I think that the district is about to undergo a lot of change, to be able to have a hand in helping steer that in a good direction is an amazing opportunity,” McAllister told the Belmontonian. He noted that bringing the new Belmont Middle and High School “online” in the next five years will require a great deal of time and effort on his part.

McAllister will handle the district’s human resources duties, including the recruitment and hiring staff and educators, negotiating contracts, benefits, professional development opportunities, retirement, and other related employment issues. 

After 20 years as a classroom teacher and a school leader, this will be McAllister’s first time working in the central office.

“When I saw the job description, one of the things that struck me was that I’ve done a lot of those duties already, so I think I can parlay the skills and experiences that I’ve had,” he said.

“I think the central office is really closely connected to the schools, and I think that I can help do that. I am one of those rare people that has experienced at the elementary, middle and high schools, and I have relationships at all those schools and I’m hoping that we can build on this,” McAllister said.

McAllister said it will be a major adjustment to go from daily managing hundreds of students and educators to an office on Pleasant Street.

“I get fired up by the interaction. I love being in a place where 1,500 people know me and I know 1,500 people, I love that, you know, so it’ll be a big, but it’s just a different type of leadership. You know, and I think that as a leader, you’re always trying to move into a place where you’re being challenged. And this is this will definitely be a challenge.”

BHS PAC Trivia Night 2020 Fundraiser, Friday, Feb. 7

Photo: Poster of BHS PAC Trivia Night.

The Belmont High School Performing Arts Company’s fourth annual Trivia Night will take place on Friday, Feb. 7, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.

Event-goers can form a team of six to eight people prior to the event, or join a team upon arrival. The event includes free wine, beer, and delicious food from local vendors, with plenty of time to socialize between trivia rounds. 

This event will be a great opportunity for the Belmont residents, friends, and colleagues to participate in an entertaining evening of friendly competition and community building to support the high school’s Performing Arts Company.

Attendees will be have the chance to meet and mingle with the staff who work on the PAC shows, including producer/director Ezra Flam and choreographer Jenny Lifson. All funds raised will support the purchase of new technical equipment for the PAC and the Dan Scharfman College Scholarship Fund, which is awarded to two graduating PAC students each year.

DATE: Friday, February 7, 7-10 pm 
LOCATION: Beech Street Center
PRICE: $45 per ticket

Participating vendors include: Comella’s, Fiorella’s, Anna’s Taqueria, Magnolia Wine, Conley’s Pub, Wilson Farm, Star Market, Iggy’s, The Spirited Gourmet, Spice Delight, and many more!

Tickets are $45. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or email Carolyn Boyle, Chairperson of Patrons (the PAC parent group), at

School Committee OKs ‘20-‘21 School Year Opening Before Labor Day

Photo: The calendar for the coming school year.

Despite past complaints by parents fearing squashed holiday plans and previous votes, the Belmont School Committee approved the 2020-2021 calendar in which the first day of school will occur the week before Labor Day.

The official opening day for 1st to 12th graders will be Wednesday, Sept. 2. Half of kindergarteners will begin classes on Sept. 3 and the remainder on Sept. 4. The last scheduled day of school will be Tuesday, June 22 but could be shortened as that date includes five “snow” days.

And parents should be prepared to have their late summer holiday plans reflect a pre-Labor Day opening day of school for the next three school years ending in 2023-2024.

The earlier start is due to language added to district policy authorized by the school committee in June 2017: “When Labor Day occurs on or before September 3 , the start date for students will be the first Wednesday after Labor Day. When Labor Day occurs later than September 3 , the start date for students will be the Wednesday before Labor Day.“

The wording came into effect after the 2017-18 school year that began on Wednesday, Sept. 6, one of the latest opening in many years as Labor Day was celebrated on Monday, Sept. 4. The late start resulted in kindergarteners not having a full day in classes until Monday, Sept. 11.

The committee voted to approve the late date in January 2017 but with a proviso to revisit the question.

The pre-Labor Day opening has long been advocated by Belmont Superintendent John Phelan who in 2016 told the committee holding two full days of classes on the Wednesday and Thursday before the holiday allows students “to get all the hot air” out of their systems before the long holiday weekend.

Psychologically, the “first-day worries” experienced by students and teachers are out of the way, and the students are “in school” during the first full week in September, said Phelan.

5th Pizzi 5K Set For April 26

Photo: A new logo for the annual road race.

Becca Pizzi is preparing to make it five in a row as Belmont’s runner of renown is back with the fifth annual Becca Pizzi 5k and kids 1 mile Run set for Sunday, April 26.

Earlier in the month, the Select Board approved an application for the race that will start and finish at Belmont High School’s Harris Field track. The race begins at 9:30 a.m.

All proceeds benefit the Becca Pizzi Scholarship Foundation for the purpose of awarding scholarships to Belmont High School students.

FT Belmont is co-directing the race.

Dogs And Mini Horses – But Not Pets – OK’d As Support Animals In Belmont Schools


In Sarah Hale’s nursery rhyme, Mary’s lamb followed her to school one day and “[t]hat was against the rule.”

While that remains the case for lambs, snakes, rodents, llamas and most other mammals and reptiles, Belmont students can now bring dogs or miniature horses to class after the Belmont School Committee approved policy allowing “service animals” to assist pupils inside the town’s six school buildings.

According to School Superintendent John Phelan, the policy was driven by a request from a student and their parents, the first time anyone has sought to use a service animal in Belmont schools.

Following existing guidelines in use at nearby towns and state and federal law, the committee’s policy subcommittee created very specific wording on what constitutes a service animal, so the family pet is unlikely to make the grade. “A service animal performs some of the functions and tasks that individuals with disabilities cannot perform themselves,” reads the new policy. Under the new rules, these animals will need to certified and trained to handle their duties.

Examples include guiding the blind, alerting the deaf, pulling a wheelchair, assisting those who hav’e seizures and alerting a diabetics who experiencing the effects of low blood sugar.

If the animal’s task is not readily apparent, such as those that provide emotional and anxiety assistance, the parents of the student will be required to answer a pair of questions: 1). Is the animal required because of the student’s disability, and 2). What work and task has the animal been trained to do for the student with the disability.

The role of animals as emotional support services has come under fire this week as the US Department of Transportation is ready to permit airlines to stop accepting those animals on planes, only allowing service dogs. Airlines have argued that many passengers are using the currently loose rules to claim household pets are service animals which allows them to ride for free.

The school district is requiring that all animals comply with rules and standards:

  • the animal must be harnessed, leashed or tethered unless those interfere with do its job.
  • the district doesn’t assume or take custody of any part of the animal’s care – it won’t feed it on school grounds.
  • And it must be housebroken for obvious reasons.

The mini horses will have their own regulations including if the equine is too big or heavy for the building and if it ”compromises the legitimate safety requirements” necessary for the safe operation of certain schools. In addition, if the horse causes others to have an allergic reaction, the animal will be located in a specific area of the building.

As for other animals, future requests for an emotional support peacock (United refused the bird from flying in the cabin) or pot-belly pig (Websites exist to do just that), Phelan said each request would be handled individually and only if they are accepted, will the school’s policies be altered.

Cardboard Drop-Off On Saturday, Jan. 25, At Town Yard

Photo: Cardboard drop-off on Saturday.

Do you have too much cardboard for your recycling cart? Then come to the DPW cardboard drop-off event on Saturday, Jan. 25 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Town Yard at the end of C Street off Waverley Street.

This drop-off is for Belmont residents only, so bring ID verifying your address.

It is important to flatten all cardboard to keep the line moving. The DPW will not take cardboard that has been wet or not flattened. Details below.

Bidding Opens For New Skating Rink, Decision On Winning Offer In May

Photo: A new rink will replace the five decade old “Skip” Viglirolo Skating Rink.

In the same week the Belmont’s Skip Viglirolo Skating Rink was forced to shut down due to “unseasonably warm” temperatures – in January(!)– the town and schools OKed opening the bidding process to build a next-generation private/public partnership skating facility on school property west of Harris Field.

“This is actually a big moment in the development of this project,” said Jeffery Wheller, Belmont’s senior planner before a joint meeting of the Select Board and School Committee as each group voted unanimously to approve the release of the final version of the request for proposal on Jan. 15.

“Hopefully after tonight’s presentation we’ll get some exciting responses to the project,” he said.

The town’s Community Development Office also released a seven-month timeline of important milestones the RFP will undergo before a deal is struck.

  • Wednesday, Jan. 15: RFP is released to the public.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 29: Site visit and preliminary meeting with interested parties.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 25: Select Board/School Committee discuss review process.
  • Friday, March 20: Proposals are due.
  • Tuesday, April 7: School Committee/Select Board review top proposals.
  • Tuesday, April 28: School Committee/Select Board interview best proposals.
  • Tuesday, May 12: School Committee/Select Board selects the winning proposal.
  • Monday, June 1: On the second night of the 2020 annual Town Meeting, a Special Town Meeting will be convened to vote: 1). To lease school property to a private developer(s) and 2). amend the definition in the town’s zoning bylaw on municipal recreational uses.
  • Tuesday, June 9: School Committee awards a contract to the winning proposal.
  • Between June 10 to July 8: School Committee negotiates a long-term lease with the selected developer(s).

The town is predicting the design and site plan review process managed by the Planning Board will take between six to nine months. Only when that is completed can the developer seek a building permit.

The existing rink – known as “The Skip” – will remain in operation until the new facility is up and running and will be taken down by the town unless the area that the rink currently occupies will is needed to fulfill the town’s programmatic needs.

The RFP is fairly similar to earlier drafts, although a proposed tennis complex has been removed from the proposal.

The main features of the RFP include:

  • The facility – which may be expanded to be a year round operation – will need to share the land west of the existing rink and Harris Field with three athletic fields, a pair of throwing circles and 110 parking spaces (90 reserved for students on school days) that will be built at town expense.
  • The facility – with a maximum height of two-and-a-half stories – can contain a full-size and one half-size sheet of ice. The building will have at least 300 seats for spectators, public restrooms, a skate shop and food concessions.
  • The building will have a minimum of four locker rooms with two containing 35 lockers for boys’ and girls’ varsity and the other two with 45 lockers for the junior varsity teams. Each room will have a coaches room, showers and storage. The facility will also have a refs room, an athletic trainers room and wet area.
  • Two locker rooms will also be used by high school fall and spring sports, one each for the home and visiting teams. The restrooms will also have outdoor accessibility.
  • The town would “prefer” a zero-net energy facility i.e. avoiding fossil fuels to power the site.
  • The high school’s ice hockey teams will have four consecutive hours of ice time Monday to Saturday, during the 15-week season. Games will be played over two hours. Belmont Youth Hockey will have hours and times that meet its growing needs as will programs linked to the town’s Recreation Department.
  • The hours of operation will be negotiated with the winning bidder and the town.

Each candidate will be evaluated and ranked based on a matrix in which the town will grade the four comparative evaluation criteria the town has selected.

For example, those bidders that can show experience designing and building a significant number of similar rinks that have been successful and with similar goals as Belmont is seeking will receive a “very advantageous” ranking; those who have built only “some” facilities will be seen as being “advantageous” while those with no experience constructing rinks will be deemed “non-advantageous.”

BYBA, Marauder BBall Appreciation Night Tuesday; Girls Back To The Garden Saturday

Photo: The girls at center court at the TD Boston Garden.

Belmont will celebrate its basketball community on Tuesday, Jan. 21 as the Belmont High vs. Lexington High Girls’ Hoops game will be Belmont Youth Basketball Association and Marauder Basketball Appreciation Night at the Wenner Field House. The varsity game starts at 6:30 p.m.

There will be FREE admission for all players wearing BYBA or Marauder Basketball gear. During halftime of the girls’ varsity game, a Team Spirit Showdown where teams and individuals will come on center court to show their basketball spirit.

On Saturday, Jan. 25, the Belmont High School Girls’ Basketball team returns to the Boston TD Garden to take on Pembroke High in the Andrew James Lawson Foundation Invitational. This is the third time the girls have played at the Garden in the past five years, defeating Chelmsford and Arlington in their past two visits.

Tip off is at 9:30 a.m.

BYBA and Marauders Basketball players who interested in playing at halftime of the Belmont High Girls Varsity game at the TD Boston Garden on Saturday should let their BYBA coaches know and/or sign up here:

Tickets for the “Garden” party is $20 for general admission to games all day  (re-entry permitted). If you cannot attend but would like to support the girls basketball efforts, you can purchase tickets to donate.

You can support by buying tickets from Belmont Girls Basketball in the following ways and coming to cheer them on:

Checks should be made out to “Marauder Basketball Association” and sent to Attn: Girls Basketball, Coach Melissa Hart, Athletic Department, Belmont High School, 221 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA

Thank you for supporting our Belmont girls team! Hope to see you there!For further questions or help getting tickets please email: