With Flu, Covid On The Rise, Belmont Health Dept. Holding Vaccine Clinic Wed., Nov. 2 At Beth El

Photo: Doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be distributed at the clinic on Nov. 12 (photo credit: Pfizer)

With the flu expected to be especially nasty this season and Covid is coming back for its annual winter surge – and don’t get us started on the respiratory syncytial virus – 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 Wednesday, Nov. 2 from 11 a.m. to 3 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 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: Lsharp@belmont-ma.gov for assistance

Elected Or Appointed: Hybrid Public Forum On The Future Of Town Treasurer, Thursday Oct. 27

Photo: The poster for the hybrid public forum this Thursday.

The Belmont Select Board will be holding a public forum on Thursday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. to discuss an article that will be voted on at the Special Town Meeting – running from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 – concerning the proposal to have future Town Treasurers be appointed rather than elected.

The article comes from a recommendation of the Collins Center in its report on the government structure of Belmont.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the meeting in-person at Belmont Town Hall, 455 Concord Ave., in the Select Board Conference Room or participate remotely on Zoom. Belmont Media Center will be broadcasting and live-streaming the event. 

To view the meeting agenda and Zoom information please click here or visit the Select Board page of the Town website.  

Final Farmers’ Market Of The Season This Thursday; Added Venders, Knife Sharpening, Kids In Costumes

Photo: The final farmers’ market until June.

The final Belmont Farmers’ Market of the 2022 season will take place on Thursday, Oct. 27 in the Claflin Street Municipal Parking Lot (a block from Belmont Center) from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Children that come to the Market dressed in their Halloween costume should stop by the manager’s tent for a special gift bag!

This final market day will have four extra vendors in addition to the normal lineup, for a total of 22 vendors. So empty out those freezers so you have room to stock up on awesome local products. Remember, Thanksgiving is less than a month away.

Siraco Sharpening will also be in the parking lot just outside the market on Thursday. Siraco will be in the parking lot at 9 a.m. for early drop-offs. They’ll sharpen your knives, scissors, garden tools, and more.

Belmont High Football Back Over .500 Dismantling Arlington, 37-6; Woburn Contest Could Determine Playoff Berth

Photo: Belmont High senior receiver Chris Cogliano shows that he came down with the catch from QB Jayden Arno to score a touchdown against Arlington in the Marauders’ 38-7 victory on Oct. 21.

When a football team is ahead by 30 points in the fourth quarter in Massachusetts, the officials will let the clock run without stopping as it usually does when a player goes out of bounds or a pass is incomplete as the outcome is fairly certain. For many seasons, the Belmont High School football squad has been on the wrong end of that situation.

But not this past Friday, Oct. 21.

Against visiting Arlington High, the score board read “Belmont 38, Arlington 7” with 8 minutes on the clock after the Marauders score 37 unanswered points and recorded its third consecutive win, creeping closer to a Division 2 playoff spot. That pre-season goal will be determined against the 4-3 Woburn High Tanners on the final Friday in October.

Belmont stands at 4-3, having beating Winchester, 32-30, and dominating Lexington, 35-20, during its three game win streak.

Belmont High senior lineman Asa Rosenmeier (77) helps junior Ryan Halloran (54) bring down Arlington’s Kayden Mills for the loss.

“This victory is what this week [of practice] was about; no excuses, just results,” said Belmont second year Head Coach Brian McCray to his team after the game.

“We’re working hard and trying to be the best we possibly can and it’s really paying off because we’ve gotten better as the season goes on,” he said.

The game at Harris Field didn’t start out brilliantly as Belmont’s initial drive of the game was halted on an interception which the Tanners quickly drove in for a touchdown. The Marauders’ then marched down to the Woburn goal line only to lose the ball on the fumble. Belmont defense – which has over the three games has been growing in stature – forced a three and out and then a muffed exchange between center and punter resulting in a safety.

Belmont would take the lead as quarterback Jayden Arno and fellow junior, running back Adrien Gurung, scoring on runs of 15 yards in the subsequent drives, giving the Marauders a 16-7 half time edge.

It appeared the Spy Ponders would close the deficit early in the third quarter as they drove to the Belmont 16 yard line when Gurung striped Arlington’s Kayden Mills of the ball and recovered it on the 23. On the very next play, Gurung scampered down the right sideline for an 84 yard TD at the 10 minute mark.

Belmont High running back Adrien Gurung coming off the right side of the line against Arlington.

Belmont’s defense bailed out the team after a fumbled punt midway through the quarter when junior Ryan Halloran intercepted a Mills pass. Less than two minutes later, senior receiver Chris Cogliano out battled the Arlington safety to grab Arno’s pass to up the score to 30-7. Cogliano would score at the eight minute mark after Gurung solo run of more than 40 yards set up the Marauders. And the home crowd was treated to 6’4”, 300 lbs. lineman Asa Rosenmeier – one of best young rugby players in the country – lining up in the backfield and scoring the two-point conversion.

McCray said next week’s away game against an always strong Woburn team will give his team a chance to make the playoffs.

“Our offense and defensive lines have been improving each week and will have a big impact this coming week,” he said.

Belmont Light: Residential Customers To See Electric Rates Jump On Avg. $14/Mo

Photo: Utility bills will be increasing this winter

The typical Belmont Light residential customer will see their electric rate rise on average $14 a month, according to a consultant’s report provided to the Belmont Municipal Light Board at its Oct. 12 meeting.

The upward adjustment to electric rate design will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023 after an affirmative vote by the board.

“The new rate design allows Belmont Light to keep up with skyrocketing prices in the energy markets, sparked by a dramatic increase in natural gas costs, among a number of other factors while continuing to upgrade its electric delivery system and improve upon its reliability,” said a recent press release from the town’s municipal utility.

The increase comes after more than a decade of stable rates with little fluctuation in an average bill.

The local increase is far less than what one of the major state-wide utilities is proposing.

“In total, the monthly bill of a typical residential electric customer using 600 kWh (kilowatt-hours) will increase from $179 in the winter 2021-2022 season, to approximately $293 for the winter 2022-2023 season,” National Grid said in a press release this month, a jump of 64 percent year-over-year.

The Belmont Light report was provided by PLM Electric Power Engineering, a highly-specialized electric power consulting and design firm based in Marlborough.

The overall revenue increase for all classes is 13.5 percent in 2023. For residential customers with an average usage of 500 kWh, their bill will increase from $111.19 to $125.18 or just about 12 percent. Residential low income customers will see charges jump $8.81 ($69.82 to $78.63) a month which is about a 12.6 percent.

Those who purchase from the utility for commercial heating will see a 12.2 percent increase while large municipal users will see its average bill increase by 5.7 percent, or $552 – $9,624 to $10,176 – with an average 60,000 kWh bill.

While the distribution increase is estimated to be just north of four percent, purchase power is expected to jump by 18 percent.

At these rates, the anticipated revenue in both 2023 and 2024 will be able to fund the utility’s debt repayment and PILOT – payment in lieu of taxes – to the town. But distribution rates will need to increase another six percent to meet the anticipated 2025 overall revenue needs.

Before it votes on approving the new rates, the Municipal Light Board is holding a public forum where it will present in less technical terms the need for an increase while answering any customer’s questions.

The public forum will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Belmont Media Center will also air the public forum on its TV and internet channels, Channel 96 on Comcast, Channel 30 on Verizon, and belmontmedia.org/watch/infotv

Click Here to Join the Public Forum

Four Roads To Be Dug Up To Add New Water Mains

Photo: Gorham Road

Approximatly a mile of new 8-inch water mains will be laid starting in “a matter of weeks” after the Belmont Select Board approved the fiscal year ’23 Water Main Replacment project at its Oct. 18 meeting.

Department of Public Works Director Jay Marcotte told the board portions of four roads will be dug up to replace the existing pipe. They include:

  • Sycamore Street
  • Chandler Street
  • Gorham Road
  • Chester Road

Estimated by the town to cost $1 million, the town accepted a low bid of $790,070 from Cedrone Trucking of North Billerica. Marcotte said Cedrone has done “acceptable work for many years” having installed more than 11 miles of new pipeline.

Marcotte said three of the streets will be completed before the building season ends with one – still to be determined – beginning in the spring.

Library Friends Annual Book Sale Has Returned Indoors; Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22-23

Photo: The annual Belmont Library book sale is indoors once again

The Friends of the Belmont Public Library’s annual Book Sale is back indoors after last year’s alfresco event. So come check out all the great, new-to-you titles.

The sale will take place on Saturday, Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 23 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the Assembly and Flett rooms of the Belmont Public Library, 336 Concord Ave.

The sale’s proceeds allow the Friends to purchase museum memberships, bring authors and demonstrations to the library while adding to the technology available to all patrons.

VOTING: In-Person Early Voting Starts Saturday, Oct. 22; 5,300 Vote By Mail Ballots Have Been Sent To Residents

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Election Day, Nov. 8, Is three weeks away but way wait until then to vote: Belmont voters have two easy and early ways to case their ballots in the upcoming election.

Early In-Person Voting

Get ready to vote in person as Belmont residents will cast their ballots early beginning Saturday, Oct. 22 through Friday, Nov. 4.

Early in-person voting takes place in only one location in town: Belmont Town Hall, 455 Concord Ave. No advance application is required. If you intend to vote early in-person, please do not file a Vote By Mail application.

The dates for early, in-person voting are:
• Saturdays Oct. 22 and 29, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• Mondays Oct. 24 and 31, 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
• Tuesdays October 25 and Nov. 1, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• Wednesdays October 26 and Nov. 2, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• Thursdays October 27 and Nov. 3, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
• Fridays October 28 and Nov. 4, 8 a.m. – NOON

Early voting ends at Noon, on Friday, Nov. 4.

Early Vote By Mail

Vote Early By Mail ballots have been sent to approximate 5,300 residents who requested them, according to the Town Clerk’s Office.

The application to receive a ballot can be sent to the Town Clerk by 5 p.m. on Nov. 1. Be sure to sign the application, OR write and sign a note with the following information: Name, Belmont address where you live, your mailing address (if different). Then mail the application to Belmont Town Clerk, 455 Concord Ave., Belmont, MA 02478, or drop into the secure dropbox at Town Hall. A voter should submit only one request/application for a Vote by Mail ballot

Check the status of your application and ballot by visiting: www.VoteInMA.com and use “Track my mail in ballot” “Pending” means we have received your application.

When you receive the ballot, VOTE RIGHT AWAY! Sign the inner envelope and mail to: Town Clerk, 455 Concord Ave. Belmont, MA 02478 or drop it into the secure dropbox at Town Hall.

With Chair’s Departure, Planning Board Left Short And Belmont Hill School Parking Project Delayed

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A few weeks ago, Planning Board’s Vice Chair Matthew Lowrie had just finished writing his resignation letter from the board. The longtime Belmont resident was preparing to move from the Town of Homes “in the not so distant future” and wanted to provide the board’s chair, Steve Pinkerton, time to fill his post on a committee facing a heavy agenda for the year ahead.

But as Lowrie prepared to press ”send” on his letter, “a funny coincidence occurred,” as he noticed an email from Pinkerton. The subject of that correspondence: Pinkerton’s own resignation.

Pinkerton’s sudden resignation along with Lowrie’s pending departure has highlighted the shortage of members and has brought to a halt a proposal by the Belmont Hill School to install a parking lot and facilities building near its central campus that was going before the board for a vote at the Planning Board’s Oct. 11 meeting.

Lowrie said Pinkerton had ”very good reasons” to leave his post on the board which he has led for the past two years with ”[grace] and aplomb,” noting his leadership as ”one of the real drivers” in changing town bylaws to address the trend of “supersizing” residential properties.

With Pinkerton’s departure, Lowrie has decided to step into the chair role – “we’ll see for how long” – until new members are appointed to allow the board to move forward with some semblance of continuity.

With so many changes over the past weeks, the proposal by the Belmont Hill School to add to and revamp its campus parking got caught up in the board’s turmoil.

“I think we’re highlighting that we’re in a little bit of a tenuous place at the moment,” Lowrie told the Zoom audience.

The parking plan – made up of a new parking lot and Facilities Building on land east of Prospect Street, a more formalized parking area adjacent to the Athletic Center and redesign of existing parking and drop off site at the front of the school at Prospect and Marsh streets – has received “a lot of input from abutters and others,” said Lowrie, noting that a greater number of participants were attending via Zoom.

The delayed vote was to begin the design site review, which requires three ‘yes’ votes to proceed. The site plan review process provides a level of review that ensures the project will meet development policies and regulations as defined in the town’s bylaws as well as design practices that are commonly accepted within the community.

With Pinkerton resignation, member Karl Haglund not at Tuesday’s meeting and member Renee Guo recusing herself from the process, the school would need to receive an unanimous vote from the remaining three members to move the project forward.

While that was likely, the board and the town began talks with the school to withdraw the application for the time being to “let us get our planning board back in order” said Lowrie with the Select Board adding at least one full-time member in the next weeks.

“Do you think it would be cleaner and neater if you were to withdraw?” Lowrie asked Kelly Durfee Cardoza, a principal of the Avalon Consulting Group who was representing the school at the meeting. “I don’t see it in anybody’s best interest for there to be a vulnerability to whatever decision we reach based on the composition of the planning board,” he said.

Cardoza told the board that while the school wished to proceed with the review vote rather than having to wait an undetermined amount of time, Lowrie’s suggestion along with the board’s assurances that the delay would be a short one, the school will withdraw the current application without prejudice to refiling at the board’s next meeting on Oct. 18.

The next step is to seat a full-time member and be prepared to once again accept the school’s plan in the first weeks of November.

“Sounds like a plan,” said Lowrie.

First Sign Of The Holidays: Town OKs Lions Club Christmas Tree Sale Starting Nov. 25

Photo: Let’s get a tree!

The first inkling of Christmas has arrived in Belmont as the Select Board approved the Belmont Lions Club’s 65th annual Holiday Tree and Wreath Sale to take place at the War Memorial Delta across from the MBTA commuter rail station at 1 Common St.

The sale, which began in 1957, will begin the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, Nov. 25, at approximately 2 p.m. While the final day will be on Christmas Eve, Saturday, Dec. 24, it will actually closes when the last tree and wreath is sold which occurs well before the final day.

Lions’ Co-President Tom Hevey said despite inflation and the high cost of transportation, tree prices will see only small increases from last year.

In addition to the tree sale, the club is making a donation of holiday tree lights that will be added to two
mature trees on the Delta, to be installed by Belmont Light.

As one of the largest retailer of Christmas trees in the area, the Lions Club sale includes wreaths, mantle pieces, baskets and many other holidays items. The trees come from the same farm in Nova Scotia since 1957, has been supplying the club.