Belmont High Football Opens Season With Emphatic Win Over Cambridge, 43-24

Photo: Belmont High senior WR Chris Cogliano on his way to the first of two TDs in the Marauders’ 43-24 opening win vs. Cambridge R&L

Where the offensive and defensive lines put their stamp on the game, Belmont High’s football laid down a marker for the season with a solid victory over Cambridge Rindge and Latin, 43-24, in the 2022 opener held under the Friday night lights, Sept. 9, at Harris Field.

“This year, it’s ‘No excuses, just results,” said Belmont’s second-year Head Coach Brian McCray, whose team comes out of the gates at 1-0.

“We practice hard every day and we’ll take that into the games. There are no starters, just guys playing football and we are going to play as many guys as we possibly can.”

Junior QB Jayden Arno showed greater confidence running the offense with a full pre-season under his belt, revealing a nice touch on mid-level passes and the ability to scamper when needed.

“I worked so hard this offseason, and it showed today,” said Arno after the win. “I came out here with no pressure on me because I know I had a good team, and I trusted everyone.”

The night was highlighted by the play of the offensive/defensive lines anchored by senior Asa Rosenmeier. A member of USA Rugby’s U18 national team, Rosenmeier’s size (listed at 6’4″ and 315 pounds) and quickness made him a menace on D and a presence in the running game and in pass protection. Joined by juniors Max Cornelius, Nate Moss and Harry Carlson and sophomore center Dan Martin, the Marauders’ demonstrated they will be a handful for most Middlesex League teams.

Along with showing a growing maturity running the team, Arno has the benefit of a string of offensive weapons at his disposal. In the backfield are returning starters junior Adrien Gurung and senior Jake Cornelius while the receiving corp is loaded with tall talent made up of seniors Ben William (6’2″) and Chris Cogliano (6’3″) and junior Brian Logan (6’5″).

Belmont’s first offensive series started on the ground with four straight running plays before Arno connected with William and junior Austin Lassiter to place the Marauders into the red zone before Gurung punched it in from 2 yards out for the opening TD mid-way through the first quarter. The score also brought Belmont’s first penalty of the season, an unsportsman-like call on Rosenmeier for a “Gronk”-like spiking of the ball as if the six points needed punctuation.

After the Falcon’s first drive effectively ended when Max Cornelius sacked the Cambridge QB, Belmont next score came on the first play when Gurung broke three tackles as he sprinted 84 yards for the Marauders’ second TD in the quarter. While known for his work on the lines, Rosenmeier got to show his running skills, lining up in the backfield (likely scaring a few facing him across the line) and scoring on the two-point conversion. Not that carrying the ball into the end zone is foreign to him, as Rosenmeier scored Belmont’s first try in the MIAA rugby championship game.

Cambridge came back with a great score of their, a 40-yard pitch and stretch, to cut the lead to 14-6. Belmont returned the favor when after a heavy dose of Jake Cornelius, Arno found Cogliano downfield and with a timely block from William took the ball 45 yards to the end zone to reup the lead to 22-6 after Lassiter passed to junior Bryce Hubbard. While Cambridge came close to cutting the lead in the final seconds of the half, the Marauders made a stance, halting the Falcons’ progress at the 2 on four plays.

After both teams spent much of the third grinding up the middle of the field, Arno called his own number to up the score to 29-6 before finding Cogliano again early in the fourth quarter for a strike down the right sideline to effectively end the game at 35-12. Cambridge scored twice as Belmont began pulling starters, allowing junior QB Isais Arce-Villon to march down the team downfield (with some outstanding passes) before handing off to junior Jayden Rodriquez to end the drive with a TD.

Next for Belmont will be a Thursday game, Sept. 15, at Harris Field against Wakefield, a Warriors team that laid it on the Marauders last season by a 41-7 tally.

“Wakefield is a big game for us because we honestly because we haven’t beat them in six years. So we want this game,” said McCray.

Belmont Police Chief To Parents: Don’t Drive Those Kids To School!

Photo: Congestion near the Wellington on Common

Belmont Police Chief James MacIsaac has something to say to parents of school-age children: Tell your kids to take a walk! As in take a walk to school each day.

With vehicle trips returning to pre-pandemic levels and changing traffic patterns and street repairs leading to congested roadways during weekday mornings and afternoons, MacIsaac is asking parents to consider NOT driving the kids to school.

“Every week during the school year, we receive complaints that pertain to motor vehicle traffic around our schools” with “[t]he vast majority of violators we identify are parents,” said MacIsaac.

The troubles start with the realization that the parking lots of each school and the adjacent roads “are not conducive to the amount of traffic that occurs around start time and the end of the school day,” Belmont’s chief said in a press release.

Add to that road construction and new traffic patterns at the new Belmont Middle and High School, Chenery Middle School and the Wellington and Burbank elementary schools and the sum total equals a significant amount of traffic challenges that police are facing each day.

So MacIsaac is putting the question to parents: consider alternatives to the usual drive to and from school such as have children take the bus, ride a bike or walk with their child to school.

Rather than taking them to the schoolhouse door, parents can also park a block or two away so a student’s walk will be a short one. And if driving to school is the only option, parents should exercise patience and be considerate to walkers and other motorists while driving Belmont roads, said MacIsaac.

First Covid, Flu Vaccination Clinic Of School Year Set For Thursday, Sept. 15

Photo: Have your vaccination card ready!

The Belmont Health Department is offering a two-fer: vaccinations and bivalent boosters for Covid-19 and the seasonal flu shot to all eligible residents, ages three and older, on Thursday, Sept. 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Beth El Temple Center, 2 Concord Ave.

Register for a vaccine 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

Election Results: Quarter Of Belmont Registered Voters Placed Ballots in State Primary

Photo: Belmont Town Clerk Ellen Cushman retrieving the final ballots in the town’s drop box

Despite the day-long rain and coming off a Monday holiday that tapped down the number of in-person voting, Belmont still saw more than a quarter of registered voters cast ballots in the 2022 state primary election on Tuesday, Sept. 6.

Just a hair short of 5,000 votes were registered (4,995) with the bulk coming from early and mail-in votes as more than 3,600 residents requested ballots using the “I Want To Vote!” postcards (see photo below). A good number of residents also utilized the drop box outside the Town Hall over the weekend and up until the last minute of voting at 8 p.m. when Town Clerk Ellen Cushman fished out the last of the ballots with her smart phone being used as a flashlight.

With the added options to vote and the need for ballots to be couriered over to the respective precincts to be counted, the night’s tallying took a considerable time with the final results coming in well past 10 p.m.

“We’ve discovered we have a lot more to do” now, said Cushman as she sent three volunteers with the last batch of votes to the town’s eight polling stations.

In the election results – you can find them here – Belmont was a bellwether among those towns known for past progressive voting patterns. In one of the competitive races closely followed by voters, Democratic candidate for state Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell received 59 percent of Belmont’s tally, a significant upgrade from her 50 percent she garnered statewide in her win.

In the Democratic state auditor’s race, Belmont voters backed the more progressive Chris Dempsey over Methuen state senator Diana DiZoglio, 59 to 40 percent, while state-wide DiZoglio bested the transportation advocate, 54 to 46 percent.

On the Republican side of the ledger, the Donald Trump-backed Geoff Diehl – who won the primary for governor over challenger Chris Doughty, 55 to 45 percent – could only muster 44 percent of Belmont voters (and less than 400 actual votes) to Doughty’s 56 percent.

As Middle School Preps For Next Year, There Are Changes In Leadership At Chenery And District

Photo: Karla Koza at the topping off celebration of the new middle school section of the Belmont Middle and High School.

With the one-year countdown is underway for the opening of the new Middle School on Concord Avenue and the transformation of the Chenery into a town-wide 4-6 grade elementary school, there has been some major shuffling going on at the Middle School on Washington Street this summer.

In a series of press releases from the Belmont School District, Karla Koza has moved from being principal of the 5-8 grade school and is the working as director of the newly-created District Configuration Transition post effective Sept. 1. Koza was the Principal at the Chenery for the past two years.

The purpose of this one-year position was to dedicate a single “point person” to focus all of their time and attention on leading the evolution of a 9-12 Belmont High School building to a 7-12 Belmont Middle and High School building by September, 2023. 

Koza experience and expertise in Grades 7-12, especially, will serve her well as she works to ensure that all stakeholders involved with the district reconfiguration feel supported and successful.  Having already built strong relationships with many in our school community, she represents a trusted point of contact.  She is a valued member of our leadership council and we have confidence that she will be successful in this new capacity. 

In proposing this role, the district said it emphasized the importance of:

  • Taking input from stakeholders
  • Focusing on timelines, scheduling, and logistics
  • Handling all public communication

Koza joined the Belmont Public Schools in 2020. Prior to her Chenery principalship she was an educator in the Grafton Public Schools, working as a classroom teacher (15 years), English Department Head (6 years) and Assistant Principal (5 years), from 2003-2020. She also underwent a similar transition into a new building in that role, which she spoke about passionately during her interview. 

“Her experience and expertise in Grades 7-12, especially, will serve her well as she works to ensure that all stakeholders involved with the district reconfiguration feel supported and successful. Having already built strong relationships with many in our school community, she represents a trusted point of contact,” said the release.

Taking Koza’s place, Chenery’s former assistant principal Nicolette Foundas has been named the Interim 5-8 Chenery Middle School Principal for the 2022-2023 school year which is the final year for the Chenery as a middle school. The one-year appointment began effective Aug. 8. But Foundas will not need to clear out her desk when the one-year appointment ends as she was named the future Principal of the Chenery Upper Elementary School, Grades 4-6, which will start in the 2023-2024 year beginning next September.

Nicolette Foundas

Foundas began her career in public education as a Grade 4 classroom teacher in Hartford. She joined the Belmont Public Schools 2008 and has served as a Grade 5 classroom teacher for 10 years and as a member of our leadership team overseeing encore programming and Grades 5 and 6 for the last four years. 

Foundas’ prior experience in a similar interim capacity as the Chenery Principal in May and June of 2020, will serve her well as she works to ensure stability for students, family, and staff through this period of transition. 

“We have seen her work up close as a member of our own leadership council and have confidence that she will continue to thrive in this new role,” according to the release.

And the school district will soon be seeking the first leader of the new 7-8 middle school in the Concord Avenue facility.

In January, 2023, the district will post for a permanent principal for a July 1, 2023 start. The hiring for that position will follow our traditional process, including a screening team made up of teachers and parents/guardians, public interviews, and community input.

Partridge Lane To Be Closed Off At Winter As An Incremental Step In Larger Traffic Project

Photo: The intersection at Partridge Lane and Winter Street which will soon be blocked off

Construction barrels are coming to close off a dodgy intersection as the town takes a first, gradual step in a much bigger project.

At its Aug. 25 meeting, the Belmont Select Board approved a temporary six-month closure from Partridge Lane to Winter Street while the town’s transportation oversight board evaluates whether the action should be made permanent. The move comes as an “incremental” improvement to a section of road which could see major changes to improve traffic and pedestrian safety.

According to Glenn Clancy, the director of the Office of Community Development, work has been going on for several years between the town and the Transportation Advisory Committee on improving Concord Avenue at the intersections at Winter and Mill streets.

“It’s a challenging project,” said Clancy, telling the board the town and committee have settled on a concept plan in which roundabouts (traffic circles) will be constructed at each location. While calling it “a great plan,” there are two significant “hurdles” facing the project: to fit the circles at the sites. First, it will require taking “a sliver” of land from the Rock Meadow Conservation Area, which will necessitate getting approval from the town’s Conservation Commission and the state legislature. The second barrier is having a funding source, which Clancy admits, the town doesn’t have for the project.

It was during “robust” conservations at public meetings about the project that neighbors brought up the speed of the traffic coming off Concord Avenue, which makes the side street junctions “tricky” to maneuver at best, said Clancy. He noted that closing off the nearby side streets is part of the project.

So while the more significant project is delayed without a timetable, “there is no reason we can’t address this issue independently” of the roundabouts.

Clancy said the street closure would eliminate the “point of conflict” for motorists who access Winters Street from Concord Avenue. It will also appease the pleas of residents along Partridge and Rayburn Road who complain commuters are using the streets as a “cut through” to jump the queue at the corner of Winter and Concord.

If it is decided to make the roadblock peIf the roadblock is made permanent, the barrier will be similar to the island-like border at the end of Winslow at the Cushing Village complex, significant enough to stop vehicles but allowing fire equipment to drive over.

David Coleman, chair of the Transportation Advisory Committee, said his group unanimously approved the concept for the next six months. Clancy admitted that some residents in the newly closed-off streets “weren’t pleased with this. But I think the consensus was that this was probably a good idea and that we’re going to do it as a trial would allow the residents to determine whether or not it was effective and had value.”

Thieves Target Belmont High End Vehicles With Telling Feature: An Open Side-View Mirror

Photo: A BMW with a power folding side mirror (BMW)

In poker, a “tell” is when a player makes a subtle physical gesture – repeatedly glancing at their cards – that betrays the strength of their hand. A good opponent will quickly jump on what they see and act accordingly to either win the pot or cut their losses.

And it turns out that vehicles – especially the expensive late model kind – have a “tell” of their own, one of which certain unsavory types took the ultimate advantage at the expense of four Belmont households.

According to a media release from the Belmont Police Department released on Aug. 29, unknown perps stole four vehicles from their owner’s property in the final weeks of August. Besides being high end recently built autos, they had one other thing in common: a conveyance that turned out to give a vital detail away to the thieves – that they were unlocked and ready to be stolen.

The tell? The side-view mirrors were in their normal outward position.

“Certain model vehicles that are equipped with side-view mirrors that automatically fold in when the vehicle is locked are being targeted by thieves,” read the report. “The perpetrators drive late at night, scanning the streets for open side-view mirrors. The open mirrors on certain makes and models is a telltale sign that the vehicle is unlocked.”

A popular feature in many models of vehicles – including from Tesla, BMW, Lexus, Cadillac, Ford and Hyundai – power folding side view mirrors can be folded inward to decrease the size of a car, helping to fit a car into tight spaces such as in parking lots, or as a safety feature when driving through an automatic car wash, or parking on a busy street.

But a number of auto owners either are inattentive or careless when parking their vehicles especially at their homes.

Last year, the Fairfield Police, CT twitted that “[i]n certain luxury vehicles side mirrors fold in when the key fob is not in the vehicle. Suppose side mirrors are still open on a parked car. In that case, thieves know the key is in the vehicle, making it an easy theft target, said the Fairfield Police using information from the North Miami, Florida Police Department and the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators.

An informational notice from the North Miami Police Dept.

According to the website locksmithspro, “thieves will either take advantage of this vulnerability and try to steal the car using various engine start tricks or even the key that has also been left behind in the ignition.”

While these incidents are likely the first ones in which vehicles were stolen in Belmont under these circumstances, this theft is becoming better known over the past few years. First seen in Staten Island around 2017, it’s becoming more prevalent along the Jersey shore.

In Avalon, New Jersey, police urged people to lock their vehicles and homes after four luxury cars were stolen a week after the July 4th holiday. Avalon police say a group of suspects wearing masks and gloves stole the vehicles – a Bentley, a Mercedes, a BMW, and a Porsche – between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. Three high-end cars were also stolen over the Memorial Day weekend.

Avalon detectives believe the suspects are from the Newark area and drove around before the thefts to scout their targets.

Nor is this just an east coast problem: England is suffering from this US import.

In a recent story in The Telegraph, Dr. Keith Floyd, a former police chief inspector and a criminologist at Huddersfield University, who interviewed convicted car thieves in prison, said most of their thefts stemmed from what participants described as “lazy” motorists failing to lock their cars even when they had valuables inside.

Floyd said opportunistic thieves could easily bypass all the alarms, keyless defenses, and other hi-tech security that car giants have spent millions of pounds developing.

“With many modern cars nowadays, open door mirrors equate in the thief’s mind with an open door because by default, many are set or can be modified by software to close when the car is locked as a lock confirmation. It’s as simple as that. Open door mirrors can be a green light to theft,” said Floyd.

Breaking: Belmont, Region Under Flood Watch ’til 5 PM Tuesday, Sept. 6

Photo: Flood Watch in effect in Belmont

The National Weather Service has issued a Flood Watch for Belmont and communities in eastern Massachusetts that will last until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Rainfall amounts of three to five inches are expected over much of southern New England with localized amounts of five to seven inches or more.

During this period, flooding caused by excessive rainfall continues to be possible.

Earlier Monday, the NWS issued a Flash Flood Warning for most of northern Massachusetts before downgrading it at 10:47 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 5. A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.

Flooding of small creeks and streams, urban areas, highways, streets and underpasses as well as
other poor drainage and low-lying areas is possible and citizens should stay vigilant.

Locations that will experience flash flooding include Belmont, Cambridge, Newton, Somerville, Waltham, Arlington, Watertown, Lexington, Tewksbury, North Andover, Melrose and Saugus.

The NWS warns drivers to “Turn around, don’t drown” when encountering flooded roads. Most flood
deaths occur in vehicles. Be especially cautious in early morning hours when it is harder to recognize the
dangers of flooding.

Belmont Public Schools Opens The Doors On Wed., Sept. 7

Photo: On the way to school

Parents may want to add a sweater to their children’s outfits as temperatures are predicted in the high-50s on the first day of school this Wednesday.

The 2022-3 school year begins at Belmont’s six on Sept. 7 for grades 1-12 with an early release – there will be no lunch – while kindergarteners will be attending school either on the Sept. 8 or 9 with each school communicating the student schedules.

The 2022-2023 school year calendar will provide information regarding religious holidays, school hours and when the vacation break occur.

Free breakfast/lunch continues: On the lunch front, the state has extended the pandemic-based free school meals for all students through the 2022-2023 school year. Every student is eligible to receive one free breakfast and one free lunch each day. All additional meals outside the first breakfast and lunch will be charged along with the school’s current meal rates. 

It should be noted that while every student may get one free breakfast and one free lunch per day, it is still very important for families to complete the household Application for Free and Reduced Price Meals for the 2022-2023 school year. The application can be found on the district website. 

Driving and parking changes at the BMHS: The Belmont Traffic Working Group has issues an update list of information concerning student parking and drop off/pick up news for 2022-2023.

Parents and guardians can continue to pick up and drop off on the campus in front of the high school, and that student parking will remain on Concord Avenue with restrictions on side streets. The biggest change is indicated by new striping that supports new bike lanes along the curb of Concord Avenue so that parking will now be located in a middle section.

Be aware that the traffic on and around Concord Avenue will be very heavy in the morning and afternoons.

Belmont Votes: 2022 In-Person State Primary Election

Photo: The state primary election will be held in Belmont from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6

Voting in the Massachusetts State Primary will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

All voters wishing to cast their ballot on Election Day must go to their assigned voting precinct.

This election will determine who will be the Democratic and Republican candidate in the general election. On Ballot: Representative in Congress, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, State Auditor, Governor’s Council, State Senator, State Representative, District Attorney, Sheriff.

Belmont’s voting precincts:

  • Precinct One: Belmont Memorial Library, Assembly Room, 336 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct Two: Belmont Town Hall, Select Board Room 455 Concord Ave.
  • Precinct Three: Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct Four: Daniel Butler School Gym, 90 White St.
  • Precinct Five: Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.
  • Precinct Six: Belmont Fire Headquarters, 299 Trapelo Rd.
  • Precinct Seven: Burbank School Gym, 266 School St.
  • Precinct Eight: Winn Brook School Gym, 97 Waterhouse Road, Enter From Cross St.

Inactivated Voters

Voters who have been informed that their voting status has been changed to Inactive should be prepared to present identification before being permitted to vote.

If You Requested a Vote By Mail Ballot But Prefer to Vote In Person

Voters who have requested an absentee or an early vote by mail ballot should expect that the precinct will check with the Town Clerk to determine if a ballot has already been received for that voter.

Voters who Need to Return their Mailed Ballot for Counting

Any voter who would like to return a absentee or vote by mail ballot  to be counted, must return the ballot  to the Town Clerk by the close of polls on election night, 8 pm.  It cannot be delivered to a voting precinct. There is a dedicated drop box for the Town Clerk at the base of the steps to Town Hall along the driveway at parking lot level.