Belmont Town Election Ballot Set With Three Competitive Town-Wide Races And Two Big-Time Questions

Photo: The town election will take place on April 2

It’s official. Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman announced last week she had certified the candidates who will be on the ballot for the annual Town Election on Tuesday, April 2.

Voters will ponder over three competitive town-wide races with half of the eight Town Meeting precincts along with two big-time questions on the ballot.

In the race for the all-important town body, two well-known members of the town’s financial watchdog will take on an absolute newbie. Colleagues Geoff Lubien and Matt Taylor on the Warrant Committee are out campaigning along with newcomer Alex Howard.

There’s an exciting mix for two seats on the school committee. Incumbent and current chair Meg Moriarty is seeking to return for her second stint on the board. At the same time, first-time candidates for town-wide office, Gen Z Town Meeting member Angus Abercrombie and noted education economist and professor Matt Kraft, are in the three-person race.

In his first competitive race on the ballot in more than 15 years in the post, Mike Widmer will face former school and warrant committee member Mike Crowley for town moderator.

On the legislative side of the ballot, half of the eight precincts – in a weird coincidence, they are the first four precincts, 1-4 – have exactly 12 residents running for a dozen three-year seats. A single precinct, number 5, came up short with only ten on the ballot. Surprisingly, precinct 7, which historically had difficulty finding candidates, will have 14 running with five non-incumbents, while precincts 6 and 8 will have 13 seeking 12 seats. Some of the best races will be for several partial-term seats: three will be running for a single-year post in Precinct 1, with two campaigning for the seats in Precincts 6 and 8.

In many ways, it will be the ballot questions that will bring out the voters in April. The outcome of the $8.4 million Prop 2 1/2 override to supplement the capital budget and the town and school operating budgets – Question 1 – will have long-term consequences for town and school services as well as personal finances. There are advocacy committees for yes and no votes. The second question will change the elected board of assessors to an appointed one. That measure passed at the January Special Town Meeting.

The 2024-25 Belmont School Year Starts After Labor Day As Committee Approves Calendar

Photo: The 2024-5 school year calendar has been approved

Keeping with recent tradition, Belmont schools will open for the 2024-25 school year after Labor Day as the Belmont School Committee voted unanimously to start classes for first to 12th grade on Wednesday, Sept. 4, two days after the holiday.

There will be four recesses in 2024-2025:

  • Thanksgiving: Nov. 28-29.
  • Winter: Dec. 23 – Jan. 1.
  • February: Feb. 17-21.
  • April: Apr. 21-25.

As 2024 is a presidential year, schools will be closed on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Graduation for the class of 2025 will be held on Saturday, June 7.

The final day of the school year for K-11 will be Tuesday, June 24 which includes five “snow” days added. If schools are not postponed during the year due to the weather, the final day will be pushed up to Tuesday, June 17.

On The Road, Again: Just A Single Home Match For Belmont High’s Winter Teams In MIAA Tourneys

Photo: Belmont High Sophomore Jil Costa making the skate save vs. Woburn

Marauder fans will be on the road to see their favorites play as three of the four Belmont High’s Girls and Boys Hoops and Hockey teams will be visitors through out the 2024 MIAA high school state playoffs.

Belmont High Girls hockey (13-2-3) is the sole local entry to host a first-round Division 1 playoff game and it will take place in neighboring Watertown’s JA Ryan rink against Billerica Memorial (6-9-5) on the Leap Day (Thursday, Feb. 29) at 7 p.m. Despite losing a single game in regular time (the best in the Division 1 tourney) and giving up less than a goal a game – 0.833 to be exact – the Marauders just hung on to a home game as the 14th-seed due in no small part to a less than a robust scoring offense, Watch for goalie Jil Costa and first line center Molly Driscoll to stand out. The likely Sweet 16 opponent for the winner will be three-seed Lincoln-Sudbury (17-2-1) up on Route 2 in West Concord.

In a rebuilding season in which the team had a hard time creating an on-ice identity, Belmont Boys’ Hockey (8-11-3) was the first team to miss out on a home game as the 17th seed and will be journeying along Route 128 to meet Wellesley High (14-4-2) on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m. at the Boston Sports Institute in Wellesley. The “lucky” winner will head to Danvers to take on the one-seed St. John’s Prep.

The one Belmont team that had high hopes on obtaining not just one but two home games was Girls Basketball. On Jan. 26, the team suffocated a good Winchester squad to secure a playoff spot with a 10-4 record, sitting just outside the top 10 in the power ranking calculations and having entered the Top 20 in some polls. But in the past month, the squad could not buy a win, losing its final seven regular season games and falling to 10-11. As the 21 seed. the Marauders will be taking its own Leap Day bus ride to the Rhode Island border to meet 12-seed Bridgewater-Raynham – losers of three of its final four games – on Thursday, Feb. 29 at 6:30 p.m.

It’s not how you earned a playoff spot, just that you did it. Just ask a talented but at times uninspiring Belmont High Boys Hoops squad. With a gaudy 37th ranking in the MIAA power rankings, the Marauders needed in the past fortnight a two-point upset of a 14-6 Arlington team and a rally to defeat Billerica at home to remain above the required .500 mark (11-9) to earn a preliminary “play-in” match against Peabody. It’ll be a journey along scenic Route 128 in afternoon rush hour traffic on Tuesday, Feb. 27 with the game starting at 6 p.m. against the Tanners which made the tournament with an impressive 18-2 mark.

Belmont’s Grappler Takes First Ever MIAA Girls’ Wrestling State Championship At 106 Lbs [VIDEO]

Photo: Belmont High’s Ava Svistunov in the first-ever finals of the MIAA D1 State Girls Wrestling Championship at 106 lbs.

When hearing last year there would likely be a separate state tournament for girls’ wrestling, Belmont High’s Ava Svistunov and Craig Janjigian, the team’s head coach, said they knew that if her progression continued in the sport, she would be topping the podium.

“We both said it, that I could win,” said Svistunov.

Svistunov with Belmont High Head Coach Craig Janjigian (left) and assistant Head Coach Andrew McCahill.

One year later, their shared vision came true as Svistunov placed her mark on Belmont High sports history, winning the Division 1 state championship at 106 lbs. at the inaugural MIAA Girls Wrestling tournament.

The 15-year-old sophomore dominated the final against Claire Roney of Wellesley High, shutting out the top seed, 7-0, in the Saturday, Feb. 17 match at Newton South High School.

“It’s a big deal, probably,” said Svistunov, still contemplating what she had done five minutes earlier.

“[Svistunov] got the job done. She dominated this tournement,” said Janjigian, who also brought three male wrestlers to the championships.

Belmont High’s Ava Svistunov won the first-ever MIAA D1 State Girls Wrestling Championship finals at 106 lbs.

Svistunov will next wrestle in the Massachusetts Girls’ All-State tourney in Salem on Saturday, Feb. 20, when the top grapplers from across the three divisions will meet to determine the best wrestlers in each of a dozen weight groups.

It was an impressive run through the tourney for Svistunov, who started early Saturday morning by pinning Jasin Abdella of Leominster in 37 seconds in the opening period. Svistunov would have her most difficult challenge in the semifinals against second seed Abigail Muller, also from Leominster. Muller would go up 2-0 early on a quick counter that landed Svistunov on her back. She would recover and score two points on a reversal just before the period ended. The second (of three 2-minute) period saw Svistunov take down Muller to go up 4-2. And for the next five minutes of the contest, Svistunov would use her weight to secure Muller – who would finish third – to the mat and counter every attempt the increasingly exhausted Leominster wrestler made to escape her opponent’s grasp.

The finals against Roney saw Svistunov being efficient and relentless, going up 4-0 early in the match and never looking back, employing the same punishing ground game she employed with Muller. It may not have been the most action-packed of the finals, but it was certainly the most effective. When the official ended the bout, Svistunov flew into the arms of her coaches and then went to greet her mother mat-side.

“Wonderful!” said Svistunov’s mother after the finals. “If I say anything else, I’ll start crying.”

Belmont Musicians, Singers Ready to Welcome Spring At Concerts March 9, 10

Photo: Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera

Welcome spring with music and song at a pair of concerts performed by Belmont musicians being performed on the second week of March.

The Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church, 421 Common St. in Cushing Square, will present its Annual Spring Concert on Saturday, March 9 at 7 p.m. in support of New England Justice For Our Neighbors (NEJFON), an organization providing free expert legal advice to low- and no-income immigrants.    

Featuring B-WUMC music director, Yilin You, and an outstanding collection of musician friends will perform music ranging from classical to jazz, in forms of violin/piano duo, brass ensemble, and piano four-hands in the church’s sanctuary followed by refreshments in the parlor.

A $20 donation is suggested to NEJFON at the door or give by contacting

On street parking will be available. A handicapped entrance is located off the small parking lot in the back of the church.

On the next day, the Philharmonic Society of Arlington presents the Arlington-Belmont Chorale and Arlington-Belmont Chamber Chorus in An Almost Spring Concert, on Sunday, March 10 at 3 p.m. at First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church, 630 Massachusetts Ave. in Arlington. 

Music Director Barry Singer and Assistant Conductor Ana Zecic Jeffers will lead the Chorale in a diverse musical program including 

  • Missa Brevis by Dietrich Buxtehude
  • Messe Basse by Gabriel Faure
  • Crossing the Bar by Gwyneth Walker
  • O Love by Elaine Hagenberg
  • Celebrations by Vincent Persichetti, accompanied by members of the Arlington Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Chamber Chorus, under the direction of Barry Singer, will reprise a commissioned work, Three Poems of L. M. Montgomery, by Kenneth Seitz, accompanied by Julie Goldberg, flute.

Tickets are purchased at the door. $20 General Admission; $15 Seniors/Students; $5 Children 17 and under. This venue is wheelchair accessible. Masking is optional.

Belmont High Hoops: Girls’, Boys’ Playoff Bound But A Way To Go Before Tourney Ready

Photo: Belmont High Senior Co-Capt. Mia Ferrari and sophomore Sophia McClendon vs. Lexington

The good news: Both Belmont varsity basketball teams are playoff bound having secured their 10th win this season.

The flip side: The Marauders Boys’ and Girls’ are not looking, just quite yet, ready to withstand a tournament game much less going on a playoff run in the MIAA Division 1 post season that starts next week.

Case in point: Seniors Night games on Feb. 9 against Lexington that both Marauder teams hosted at the Wenner Field House. It’s certain Belmont’s girls and boys will be meeting similarly skilled squads as Lexington in the playoffs which gave the games a Cassandra quality peering into the future. And while Belmont was able to keep both games outcome within a couple of baskets, the Minutemen demonstrated just a bit more basketball smart to carry off the wins by the final buzzer.

Too much second quarter Sam

In the opener of last weeks doubleheader, the Belmont Boys’ were coming off a 5-2 stretch to earn its 10th victory demolishing Woburn, 59-29. But despite a 10-6 overall record, Belmont’s all important MIAA Power Ranking – which is used to seed the teams in the playoff – was a paltry 41st in which the first 32 teams automatically make the tournament. Teams with a .500 record or better are added to the post season but must win a play-in game against the lowest automatic teams to make the 32-team tourney.

Friday’s matinee game set two teams with nearly identical records. Lexington’s power ranking was 40th and they were seeking its 10th win. The Marauders took advantage of its tall, physical forwards – senior co-Capt.’s Donovan Holway and Gabriel Meyer-Herron with junior Ryan O’Byrne – to get off to a 15-10 first quarter lead.

But the second quarter quickly turned into “Showtime with Sam” as Lexington’s Sam Myerberg had career eight minutes. The sophomore guard started by hitting consecutive 3’s, then going one for two from the free throw line then hit two more treys finishing the quarter with 17 points and 22 for the half to push the Minutemen to a 35-29 lead after the first half. Belmont relied on its big men specifically Meyer-Herron but too many times on the court the Marauders were not executing with quickness allowing Lexington to hold the advantage to the frustration of Head Coach Darren Martinez.

The Minutemen continued their onslaught this time highlighted by senior co-capt. guard Derin Ongur (19 points for the game) who canned two threes and a straight away jumper to increase the lead to 48-31 with three minutes left in the third quarter. While this could have been a good time to think about its next game, Belmont got back in the game as Meyer-Harron and O’Byrne headed inside the paint to score and drag the team to within nine at the end of three, 48-39.

Belmont up the tempo in the fourth and got to the charity stripe three times only ending up missing the six free throws they were awarded. The Marauders kept chipping away, cutting the Minutemen lead to 57-53 with two to play. But a technical foul on a Belmont player gave Lexington four shots from the line and they didn’t miss to put the lead back to eight, 61-53 with 1:05 to play. And when Myerberg hit for a three – he finished with 32 points – on the next time down the court, that was all she wrote as Lexington eased to a 68-63 win.

Stella stellar for Lexington

The nightcap saw Belmont Girls coming into the game on the wrong end of a three game losing streak, seeing them drop to 14th in the power ranking at 10-7, getting uncomfortably close to the 17th ranking which would result in the Marauders missing out on hosting a home game. Facing them was 12-4 Lexington – 8th in the power rankings- squad that defeated Belmont earlier in the season, 48-39.

After the tipoff, the Minutemen showed immediately their skills, using quick cutting runs through the paint to open space against Belmont’s zone defense for easy baskets to lead 9-4 midway through the quarter. But lead by senior capt. Mia Ferrari and sophomore Sophia McClendon, Belmont fought back to where a pair of free throws from junior Brynn Connolly to tie the score at 13 after one.

Belmont came out with purpose and snatched the lead, 18-17 off a junior co-captain Linda Sheng drive with 6:20 to play in the quarter. But just like the boys’ game, a Lexington player took hold of the game in the second quarter and didn’t let go. Junior guard Stella Crinti started with a three pointer, followed by a stop and shot basket, than a layup on the break and then handing out two pitch perfect assist to take the Minutemen from one down to 10 up before a three from finished a 13-0 run to give the Minutemen at 30-18 lead that the visitors would not give up. Belmont through Sheng would cut the lead at the half to 30-23.

If there was a statistic that showed the advantage Lexington brought to the game occurred early in the three quarter when the Minutemen took down five offensive rebounds on two possessions resulting in two baskets, one courtesy of a Crinti turnaround to up the lead back to 12 at midpoint in the quarter. Lexington led by 18 – 48-30 – when McClendon went on her one run with two in close buckets and a three to pull Belmont back to 11 only to see that Crinti player hit a three to give Lexington a 51-37 advantage with six left in the game. But Belmont made it interesting with McClendon and Sheng cutting the lead to 56-47 before – guess who – Crinti putting the knife in any hope of a miracle comeback with a straight away three making the score 59-47 as the Minutemen put this win to bed, going home 63-55 victors.

The Belmont Girls would subsequently loss their remaining three games of the regular season to finish the campaign at 10-10 and likely miss out on holding a playoff game. The Boys’ went 1-1 since the Lexington game – a loss at Winchester before winning against visiting Billerica. They have two games left this week against Westwood and Malden Catholic before the start of the playoffs.

What’s Open/Closed On Presidents’ Day 2024 In Belmont; Trash/Recycling Delayed A Day

Photo: Presidents’ Day in Belmont, 2024

Two for the price of one. Living in Massachusetts allows residents to have your choice of who we are celebrating on the third Monday of February.

Presidents’ Day is a commemoration of George Washington’s Feb. 22 birthday. And since it fell near the Feb. 12 birthday of Abraham Lincoln, the federal government in 1971 included the two birthdays under one holiday.

And here is a bit of trivia: The Bay State officially celebrates “Washington’s Birthday” on the same day as the federal holiday. So take your pick.

Trash and recycling curbside pick up is delayed by a day.


  • Belmont Town offices – Town Hall, Homer Building – and Belmont Light.
  • Belmont Public Schools are on winter recess.
  • Belmont Public Library at the Beech Street Center and the Benton Library.
  • US Postal Service offices On Concord Avenue and Trapelo Road: No deliveries.
  • Banks; although some branches will be open in supermarkets.
  • MBTA: Operating on a Saturday schedule. See for details.


• Retail stores

• Coffee shops; Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are open

• Supermarkets

• Convenience stores, and

• Establishments that sell beer and wine are also allowed to be open.

Belmont Declares Snow Emergency Parking Ban; Town Offices, Schools Closed Tuesday; Trash Pickup Delayed A Day

Photo: Tuesday will be a snow day

Due to the approaching winter storm, the Town Hall and Belmont Public Schools will be closed on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

A snow emergency parking ban on all roadways, as well as in municipal lots and Belmont Public School parking lots, effective at 11:45 p.m. and continuing until further notice. All vehicles parked in violation of the ban will be towed at the owner’s expense.

Trash, recycling, bulk pickups, scheduled cart repairs, and appliance pickups will be delayed a day due to the storm. The town is asking residents to remove carts, appliances, and bulky items from the public way on Tuesday to allow the plows to clear the roadways.

The last day for candidates to submit papers for town office remains Tuesday. Candidates must deliver their nomination papers to the Belmont Police Station, 460 Concord Ave., instead of Town Hall. Those picking up blank nomination forms may collect them from the Police Department. The deadline to submit all signed nomination papers is 5 p.m. Feb. 13.

The Town’s residential snow removal bylaw requires sidewalks along residential property to be cleared of snow and ice by 8 p.m. the day after the storm ends. Snow and ice should be cleared or treated from sidewalks to a width of at least 36 inches. We appreciate your attention to this very important public safety matter.

Please refer to the Town’s website for further information regarding winter weather, trash removal, and the Town’s snow removal bylaw.

Be Prepared For Tuesday’s Nor’easter With Important Belmont Safety Numbers

Photo: Get ready for a parking ban on Tuesday.

If you thought you wouldn’t need to use the snow shovel or salt on the sidewalk this warmer-than-usual winter, you would be in for a rude surprise on Tuesday morning as an old-fashioned nor’easter will slam into Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service, which has issued a Winter Storm Warning for most of the region.

For Belmont residents, Tuesday will be about parking restrictions and having town resources close at hand.

“A significant winter storm will continue impacting the Southern Rockies and High Plains today before turning northeast and aiming for the Northern Mid-Atlantic, New York, and New England early this week,” said an NWS press release sent out at 3 a.m. Sunday, Feb 11.

“Heavy snow is possible. Total snow accumulations of 4 to 8 inches are possible. Winds could gust as high as 40 mph,” predicts the NWS on Sunday. The storm will start late Monday night and last through late Tuesday night. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening commute.

Residents should expect the Belmont Police to issue a Snow Emergency Parking Ban just before the storm arrives. During the ban, vehicles parked on town roadways, and in municipal and Belmont Public School parking lots will be towed at the owner’s expense.

Residents should visit the town’s website for information on winter weather and the snow removal bylaw.

With high winds expected, there is a possibility power to residences will be impacted. Residents should contact Belmont Light to report outages – do not call 911 unless it is a true emergency.

  • Call Belmont Light at 617-993-2800 to report an outage.
  • To text an outage report, message your information to 617-993-6006 (message and data rates may apply) with your name, address, and outage information. 

In Mike Widmer’s Final Election For Moderator, A Challenger Emerges For The First Time

Photo: Mike Widmer

Mike Widmer will have a challenger – his first ever – in his final campaign to return as Town Moderator.

Filing his paperwork with the Town Clerk’s Office on Feb. 5, former school committee member Michael Crowley will seek to replace one of Belmont’s longest-serving public officials in what Widmer told the Belmontonian will be the last time his name will be on the ballot.

First elected to the one-year term in 2008 when he ran to fill the open seat previously held by Henry Hall, Widmer has been unopposed in 15 subsequent town elections. Before his current post, Widmer has been a member of the Warrant Committee from 1993 until 2008 – three years as chair – and a Town Meeting Member since 1981.

Crowley was a school committee member for four years, eight years on Town Meeting, and six years on the Warrant Committee. He also served on the Long Term Capital Planning Committee, which drafted the recommendation to form the Comprehensive Capital Budget Committee.

Mike Crowley (courtesy photo)

One of the best descriptions of Town Moderator’s functions is by Town Meeting Member Paul Roberts in his “Blogging Belmont” preview of the 2023 town election.

“In addition to presiding over the annual Town Meeting, the Moderator plays a critical role in setting the agenda for Town Meeting – working with the Town’s various committees and professional staff, residents and Town counsel to set the warrant.”

“In Belmont, the Moderator also has substantial appointment powers. They appoint all members of the Warrant Committee – the Town’s main financial oversight committee – as well as three members of the seven person Capital Budget Committee, a majority of the Bylaw Review Committee and members of the Permanent Building Advisory Committee. The Moderator is also tasked with appointing members to special purpose committees, such as [building committees].”