Belmont High Girls’ Hoops Start Season With The ‘W’ Giving Marauders’ Coach Her First Ever Victory [VIDEO]

Photo: Smiles all-around as Belmont Head Coach Shantell Jeter (with assistant Jamel Langston) take the victory in her first game as a head coach.

Three Belmont players scored in double digits and a swarming defense provided first-time head coach Shantell Jeter a win as the Belmont High Girls’ Basketball Marauders defeated Stoneham, 58-49, in the ‘22-‘23 season opener on Tuesday, Dec. 14 in Belmont.

“It was very exciting,” said Jeter after her first game in charge of a varsity program.

“It’s just a great way to come out in our first game to send out a message that we are here, we have a new team, fresh start and we’re really excited for the season.”

Belmont High Head Coach Shantell Jeter

Tuesday was a night for the youngsters to shine. Leading the way was first year forward Sophia McClendon who led all scorers with 17 points including a pair of threes as she came up with 7 points in the final frame when Stoneham cut the deficit to four points with less than two minutes remaining.

“At first I was a little nervous, but once I started scoring the nerves just went away,” said McClendon of her debut.

Junior Mia Ferrari ended with 11 points, nailing five free throws in the fourth while sophomore Linda Sheng drained 10 points.

It was a classic first contest out of the gate with a lot of rust needing to be removed by both teams. It appeared Belmont was ready to run away with the game in the first eight minutes, holding the Spartans to a single basket in the final seconds to take a 13-2 lead after one quarter. But Stoneham would benefit from the Marauders’ propensity to commit fouls that put the Spartans in the bonus early in the second quarter and on the line. A late burst saw Belmont leave the court with a 26-16 lead at the break.

An early three from sophomore forward Symone Jackson pushed Belmont’s advantage to 33-22 only for the Spartans to cut the lead to six after three, 35-29. McClendon started the fourth with a three and then bucket from inside to push the advantage to 11, 42-31, and when sophomore guard Brynn Connelly hit the trey from deep, the Marauders looked as if they bagged the win. But Stoneham would creep back in the game from the charity stripe and come within four points, 50-46, with 1:44 left. But Ferrari would hit consecutive free throws at the minute mark to put the game away.

Next up for Belmont will be Middlesex Liberty foe Winchester on Friday, Dec. 16, part of a doubleheader with the boys.

BHS Winter Sports Season Starts With New Faces And Big Goals

Photo: Belmont High’s Colin Galloway scores with his back to the basket during a scrimmage with Cambridge Rindge and Latin High at Wenner Field House.

It was appropriate that the first snowfall of the year would occur on the same week the Belmont High School Winter Sports season begins in earnest.

The biggest changes will be seen at the Coach Paul Lyons court at the Wenner Field House as both boys and girls hoops welcome new head coaches. Shantell Jeter takes the helm of Girls’ varsity while Darren Martinez – who is a BHS and Wellington physical ed teacher – will patrol the sidelines as the Boys’ varsity squad. The girls’ season opener is Tuesday, Dec. 13 vs Stoneham while the boys’ will open its account on Friday against Winchester at 5:15 p.m. with the girls’ taking the court at 7 p.m.

Belmont High’s first year Head Coach Darren Martinez.

Over at the Skip, expectations are running high as the Boys’ Hockey team under Head Coach Tim Foley brings back the heart of the team that went to the state Division 1 quarterfinals. The team, led by 30-plus goal scorer Cam Fici and all-state defensive pairing of Peter Grace and Joe Gaziano, have been in every Top-10 preseason poll as they will battle in one the most competitive leagues in the country, the Middlesex Liberty with perennial powerhouses Arlington, Winchester, Reading and Woburn.

The winter season got underway on Monday, Dec. 12 with the Girls’ Hockey team traveled to Arlington to face the SpyPonders who last year as 18-1-1 and finished the season in the Division 1 state finals. Under the tutelage of Ken Murphy, the Marauders’ (6-10-3 in ‘21-‘22) keep the match tight led by last year’s all-star and team MVP senior co-captain Bridget Gray who stopped 29 of 30 shots as Belmont fell, 1-0.

Belmont Girls’ (and Boys’ Hockey will play their home openers on Wednesday, Dec. 14 against Stoneham. Both Marauder teams will return to the Skip on Saturday, Dec. 17 vs. Melrose.

Boys’ Swimming are in the Higginbottom on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 4:30 p.m. vs. Winchester and Friday, Dec. 16 vs. Watertown and Arlington. Girls’ and Boys’ indoor track will begin its campaign at Winchester on Thursday, Dec. 15 while Wrestling will host Melrose in the Little Gym at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15.

Before The Winter Recess Starts, Get A Boost Against Covid, Flu On Thursday, Dec. 15

Photo: Photo: Pfizer Covid vaccine (credit: Pfizer)

Just before the start of the Winter Recess when families head off to travel and attend family reunions, give yourself a boost of protection from the worst of Covid and the flu. The Belmont Health Department is offering a two-fer: vaccinations and bivalent boosters for Covid-19 and a seasonal flu shot to all eligible residents, ages three and older, on Thursday, Dec. 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Beth El Temple Center, 2 Concord Ave.

What to know about the clinic:

  • Primary vaccine series for anyone ages 3+
  • Bivalent booster of Pfizer (5+) or Moderna (6+) COVID vaccine for anyone who has completed a primary vaccine series of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 2 months after last dose or last booster dose
  • Flu shots will be available for ages 3 and up
  • Find full guidance on booster eligibility here.

Register for a vaccination appointment HERE.

Please bring your insurance (medical and prescription) and COVID-19 vaccination cards to the clinic.

  • COVID vaccines are free for all regardless of insurance coverage
  • Insurance is required for flu vaccines
  • For those covered by Medicare, please bring your red, white, and blue Medicare card in addition to any other insurance cards.

Please present insurance cards, photo ID, and vaccination cards at your appointment.

This clinic will be operated through a partnership between VaxinateRX and the Belmont Health Department. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be available.

Having difficulty registering? Call 617-993-2720 or Email: for assistance

BHS Ellie Shea Takes Second In Champs National HS X-C Championship [VIDEO]

Photo: Belmont High’s Ellie Shea finishing second in the credit: (Credit: Photorun for Champs Sports Cross Country)

Belmont High junior Ellie Shea turned last year’s DNF (Did Not Finish) into an impressive second place finish at the 43rd Champs Sports Cross Country Championships National Finals held Saturday, Dec. 10 , at Morley Field at Balboa Park in San Diego.

Racing in bright morning sunshine with temperatures in the mid-50s, Shea – wearing her trademark sunglasses – was dropped by Karrie Baloga of New Winchester, NY at the final hill on the 5,000 meter course to take the runner’s up position. The result was a reversal of the Northeast Regional race two weeks previous which Shea beat Baloga by 12 seconds.

Shea was running in only her third cross country race of the year coming a week after starting her indoor season for Emerging Elites running club racing over 3,000 meters against mostly professional runners in 9:10. Shea is the defending 5,000 meter national high school indoor track champion and won the 2021 national 5,000 meter outdoor high school championship where she smashed the freshman record by half a minute.

Baloga, a senior from Cornwall Central High School, controlled the early pace across the first loop leading through the mile with a swift 5:17.3 split. At the 1.5 mile mark, the lead group was reduced to four as Baloga, Shea, and seniors Paityn Noe from Huxley, Iowa and Ciara O’Shea of Richmond, Ky.

Quickly O’Shea was dropped and it was the last three who would all shared the lead several times during the remained of the race. Shea took the group through the two-mile mark with a split time of 10:55.4.

The trio ran within strides of each other until the steep uphill/downhill stretch that looms in the final half mile. From there it was all Baloga, who pulled away capping off one of the most competitive girls’ races in recent memory. Shea would dip under 17 minutes crossing the finish line in 16:55.1, six seconds ahead of Noe in 17:01.5. Rounding out the top five were sophomore Abby Faith Cheeseman (Bell Buckle, Tenn.) in fourth at 17:13.4 and O’Shea in fifth at 17:21.5. 

You can watch Shea’s impressive race below: The race begins at the one-hour mark (1:00.00) and a short post race interview with Ellie is at 1:42.30

Letter To The Editor: Historic Clock Tower Needs Community Support

Photo: The clock on top of First Church in Belmont

To the editor:

Over centuries, since the invention of mechanical devices for keeping time, community elders have placed a clock in a prominent building in the village center to announce the local time. This practice traveled from Europe with migrants to North America. In New England, many of the clocks that we see in churches on town greens were bought by town meetings.

In 1889, Belmont’s Town Meeting voted to purchase a clock to be installed in a new church – today, the First Church in Belmont, Unitarian Universalist – being constructed on the Belmont Town Green. That clock is still there, keeping time dependably until the early 2000’s. It stopped only from an accumulation of environmental dust over the years.

Based on several quotes from qualified craftspeople, the cost of the cleaning and renovation of the clock will be about $29,000.

In Autumn 2021, the First Church and the Belmont Citizens Forum teamed up to seek funding to fix the clock.

This past June, Town Meeting appropriated $26,100 in Community Preservation Committee funding for the clock project. None of the funds will end up in the reserves of the church. The money will be paid to contractors and craftspeople who do the work of repairing the clock.

As part of the CPA approval, $2,900 – or 10 percent of the cost of the project – must be raised privately. The church has created a special account to receive community donations to the project cost. The fund has received approximately $1,050 to date.

Please consider contributing to this historic town restoration. Contributions can be made using this link:

Michael Fleming

Belmont High’s Big Winter Concert Set For Wednesday, Dec. 14 In The BHS Theater

Photo: Belmont High School’s Concert Chorale along with Watertown High’s chorus at Fenway Park.

The musicians of Belmont High School have been working hard throughout the fall and are excited to present the first musical event of the school year, the Belmont High School’s Winter Choral/Orchestral Concert on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. in the school’s theater.

The concert will consist of performances by the Concert Chorale, Chamber Singers, Jazz Ensemble, Belmont High Combined Orchestra, and the Belmont High Wind Symphony.

The snow date for the concert will be Tuesday, Dec. 20.

Belmont Center Will Be Home To A Menorah For The Holiday Season

Photo: It’s menorah time in Belmont Center

Belmont Center will be home to a Hanukkah menorah as the Belmont Select Board unanimously approved on Dec. 5 having a public display of the chanukkiyah over the eight nights of the holiday.

The first lighting will occur on Sunday, Dec. 18 from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the delta in from of M&T Bank. It is open to the Belmont community with dreidels, donuts and menorahs for the public.

The menorah will stay on the delta with an additional candle – it is an electrical candelabrum – is lit until the final candle lights up on Sunday, Dec. 25.

Luna Bukiet, co-founder at Center for Jewish Life of Arlington-Belmont, told the board there was a really nice showing last year – even though it was a ”very last minute event” – “so much so that community members and Belmont members have been asking us already if we were planning to do this again.”

“It’s cool. I support that,” said Board Chair Mark Paolillo.

Belmont’s Property Tax Rate Drops But Average Yearly Bill Will Jump $900

Photo: Belmont property owners will see an increase in next fiscal year’s tax bill

Property owners would see Belmont’s property tax rate decrease as the Board of Assessors presented a series of recommendations at a public meeting before the Belmont Select Board at its Dec. 5 meeting.

The Assessors propose a property tax rate for fiscal year 2023 of $11.25 per $1,000 of assessed value, a drop from the current rate of $11.56 per $1,000, according to Robert Reardon, long-time chair of the Board of Assessors. The Select Board voted unanimously to adopt the new rate.

But due to a hot residential real estate market that resulted in escalating home values, the average property tax bill for households will increase. According to the Assessors, the average value of a single family house in Belmont rose to $1,463,000, up a robust $116,800 from $1,346,300 in fiscal year 2022. The average value of a single family house statewide is $525,788.

With the Proposition 2 1/2 increase of the tax levy and the impact on the tax rate of nine debt exclusions – which includes the Senior Center, the Wellington Elementary School and three segments of the new Middle and High School – which makes up 12 percent of the total tax rate, the expected property tax increase on an average house will be approximately $900 for this coming fiscal year, according to Reardon. Without that additional debt, the tax rate would be $9.90 per $1,000.

In addition, the Assessors are recommending the town not create a split tax classification where commercial property would be taxed at a higher rate than residential homes., Reardon said since commercial real estate makes up just five percent of Belmont’s property base, a split rate would not raise any more in taxes while businesses would be hit with a significant rate increase while homeowners would see a very small reduction. The Select Board supported the recommendation.

Breaking: CPC’s Chair Elizabeth Dionne Pulling Nomination Papers For Open Select Board Seat

Photo: Elizabeth Dionne

The first resident to declare their intentions to run for the Belmont Select Board will do so on Wednesday.

“I will be forming a candidate committee and pulling nomination papers for Select Board on Wednesday, Dec. 7,” said Dionne, ready to fill the post currently held by Adam Dash, who said he will not seek re-election for a third three year term.

Julie Wu is Dionne’s campaign chair, and Fiona McCubbin is the campaign’s Treasurer. 

“Yes, I am considering it, but I won’t make any final decisions until after speaking with key people in Belmont,” Dionne told the Belmontonian two weeks ago. “My decision depends heavily on whether or not another qualified candidate steps forward, one whom I could support.”

“Being a member of the select board is a demanding position, especially given the serious fiscal challenges that Belmont faces,” she said. “I am sorry that Adam Dash chose not to run again, although I very much understand his decision. He has served Belmont faithfully and well. He will be missed.”

The Wellesley Road resident is the chair of the Community Preservation Committee and a long-time member of the Warrant Committee. She was also treasurer of Roy Epstein’s 2019 and 2022 successful campaigns for Select Board.

A glimpst into Dionne’s mindset when it comes to local issues can be found in a past article where she describes herself “as an agitator for reform in the public schools, resident-friendly zoning, and revamping the city’s governance structure.”

Dionne’s move into elected politics is following in her father’s footsteps. Dionne’s father, John L. Harmer, served as a California state senator for seven years before resigning to become Gov. Ronald Reagan’s last Lt. Governor for the final four months of Reagan’s second term in 1974-5.

She is in her third term on Town Meeting in Precinct 2

For more on Dionne’s thoughts found in an article she wrote in 2009 and from her League of Women Voters’ Candidates’ Survey for the 2022 election

One of ten children from a prominent Latter Day Saints family from California and later Utah, Dionne matericulated at Wellesley College where she received her B.A., in 1992. After spending two years on a Marshall Scholars grant (her fellow 1992 scholar grantee was Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch) at King’s College, Cambridge University where she earned a Masters in Philosophy, she attended Stanford University Law School where she graduated with a JD in 1998. She continued her involvement with Wellesley as a Visiting Lecturer in Political Science and has been a Harvard Law Olin Fellow.

Dionne has been a general practice attorney for nearly 25 years, but has called herself “a happily retired attorney” stepping away from a career in the law so she could raise her four chidren.

Before moving to Belmont a little more than a decade ago, Dionne was a resident of Hancock Park in Cambridge and a member of the Ward 6 Cambridge Republican City Committee.

Belmont Resident Arrested In NH For Voting Twice In 2016 General Election

Photo: Richard Rosen’s arrest photo

A Belmont resident was arrested by New Hampshire law enforcement Friday, Dec. 2 for allegedly voting in both Belmont and New Hampshire in the 2016 general election.

In a press release dated Dec. 2, NH Attorney General John Formella said, Richard Rosen, 83, of Washington Street, Belmont, and Route 175, Holderness, N.H., was indicted on one felony count of wrongful voting related to voting twice in that election, a class B felony. Rosen is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 21 in Plymouth Circuit Court.

“Mr. Rosen knowingly checked in at the checklist at the Belmont, Mass., polling place and cast a Massachusetts ballot after having already cast an absentee ballot in the same election in Holderness, N.H.,” Formella said in a separate presser.

Formella said a Class B felony charges carry a penalty range of 3½ to seven years in prison and a fine of up $2,000. Additionally, pursuant to the New Hampshire constitution, anyone convicted of a willful violation of the state’s election laws will lose the right to vote in the state.

Since 2009, Rosen has been the CEO of Belmont-based American Ag Energy and through a subsidiary has been working since 2017 to build a high tech commercial greenhouse complex in Berlin, NH. He hopes to grow eight million pounds of tomatoes and 15 million heads of lettuce annually while creating 80 jobs. The firm is attempting to build a second greenhouse complex in Rhode Island.

Rosen, who earned a Ph.D in Engineering and Forest Science and Ecology from Harvard in 1974, purchased his Washington Street home in 1975 which is currently under his wife’s name. In 2010, Rosen ran for one of two open seats on the Belmont School Committee. He finished fourth behind Laurie Slap and Dan Scharfman.