Still Time To Register For Becca Pizzi 5K On Sunday, Aug. 27 At 9:30 AM

Photo: Belmont’s Becca Pizzi with former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chára with their medals after finishing the 127th B.A.A. Marathon (credit: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)

Runners, don’t miss joining Belmont’s own World Champion for a last of the “summer” road race this Sunday, Aug. 27, as Becca Pizzi holds her annual Becca Pizzi 5K road race at Harris Field on the grounds of Belmont High School.

The race celebrates Becca, a two-time World Marathon Challenge Champion in which athletes ran seven marathons on seven continents all in seven days. Repeating her 2016 victory in 2018, Becca impressively crossed the finish line, setting another World Record, putting her in the Guinness Book of World Records. Pizzi is also an inspirational runner, finishing a marathon in each of the 50 states in the calendar year. At this year’s Boston Marathon, she helped train and ran with former Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chára to help him finish his first marathon.

Becca is a lifelong Belmontian who attributes her success to the love and support of her community. She proudly remembers her early running days at Belmont High. As a result, Becca is dedicated to giving back to the community that supported and influenced her throughout her running career.

All race proceeds benefit Belmont High student/athlete scholarships and the Belmont High School athletic programs. This event is organized by Becca and Fitness Together of Belmont. The foundation has awarded Belmont High School athletes over $50,000 in scholarships and sports equipment. Last years scholarships were awarded to Molly Plunkett, Gabriella Athanasiou, and Andy Bello

Race day starts with a Kids Run, with youngsters running a mile (four laps) of the Harris Field track at 9 a.m. The 3.1-mile road race course begins on the track, proceeds to the Winn Brook neighborhood, and then turns back to the high school track. Come early to insure a race bib and a lot of fun.

Chenery’s Soap Box Derby Racer In The Spotlight On National News Broadcast

Photo: Belmont’s Myles Heller-Baptista was in the spotlight on a national television network’s feature story on the All-American Soap Box Derby

It was a thrill for Chenery Middle Schooler Myles Heller-Baptista to travel to far-off Ohio to participate in the 85th annual FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby this past July.

A Chenery Soup Box Derby club member coached by teacher Leon Dyer, the so-to-be sixth grader got his opportunity to participate in the historic by winning a regional competition held in Arlington.

“Dad” Ade Baptista and Myles Heller-Basptista at the All American Soap Box Derby

The trip was even more memorable when a national television network put Myles in the spotlight on its report of the young racers taking part in the historic event in Akron.

The NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt: Kids Edition is a digest of the top headlines, broken down for kids to best understand the world today. The weekly newscast presents feature stories in which kids are the subject. Recent segments explored using musical tips to help retain what kids learned in school over summer break, hip-hop sports, and the Barbie re-phenomenon.

It turned out the network heard through news reports that Myles was on his way and decided that an articulate 11-year-old was just the kid to speak about the his experience driving at the derby.

The link to the feature story is below:

And Myles wasn’t the only member of the family in the report. “Dad” Ade Baptista, town meeting member and noted electric car enthusiast, was interviewed for the report.

State Rep Dave Rogers’ Office Hours In Belmont For August

Photo: State Rep Dave Rogers (right) with State Sen. Will Brownsberger

State Rep. Dave Rogers has announced his August office hours in Belmont.

Belmont’s Purple Heart Observation At Vets Memorial, Monday, Aug. 7

Photo: A detail of the poster of the Purple Heart Day Observation on Aug. 7

At 7 p.m. on Monday, August 7, the Belmont Veterans Memorial Committee will host the National Purple Heart Day Observations at the Belmont Veterans Memorial on Claypit Pond at the corner of Concord Avenue and Underwood Street.

Belmont residents, veterans, and their family members, particularly those who are Purple Heart recipients, are invited to attend this special event. 

The event commemorates the date of General George Washington’s commissioning of the first Purple Heart Medal during the Revolutionary War and honors recipients of the medal. 

The Purple Heart is awarded to members of the United States armed forces who an enemy wounds and posthumously to the next of kin in the name of those who are killed in action or die of wounds received in action.

Town Sets Up Cooling Centers During Current Heat Wave, Thursday Through Saturday

Photo: It’s gonna be like down south for the next three days

Beat the heat at a pair of Belmont Cooling Center this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; July 27-29.

Due to the upcoming period of high heat and humidity, the Beech Street Center at 266 Beech St. and the Belmont Public Library at 336 Concord Ave. will be open as cooling centers.

The hours will be as follows:

  • Beech Street Center: Thursday, July 27: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday, July 28: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Belmont Public Library: Thursday, July 27: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.,  Friday, July 28: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, July 29: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The town encourages everyone to stay cool and hydrated, and check on elderly friends and neighbors who, along with others, may need help during this period of high heat and humidity.

Belmont’s First Town-Wide Yard Sale Set For Sept. 23

Photo: Belmlont Town-wide Yard Sale ready for the first weekend of the fall

The Belmont Public Library, the Council on Aging, and the Recreation Department are hosting what they hope is an annual Town-wide Yard Sale.

The event is scheduled for the first Saturday of fall, Sept. 23, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (the rain date will be Sept. 30). Households will register online at; the cost is $15 per house address. A map will then be produced with every location of a participating household.

What is a Town-wide Yard Sale? Think of it as Porchfest, but instead of musicians at locations across town, you’ll clean out your garage and basements and sell the contents on a specific day with everyone else in the community. Belmont will join municipalities across Massachusetts and the country hosting these tag sales, including Watertown, Burlington, Wellesley, North Reading, and Wilmington.

“This will be an event focused on the recycling of goods, community fellowship, and highlighting of the local business community,” Peter Struzziero, Belmont Public Library director, told the board. He also said, coincidently, the library will be holding its annual book sale that weekend.

Fall Special Town Meeting Likely A Multi-Night Affair, ‘They Know What They Signed Up For’

Photo: The Belmont Select Board

The first week in November is when the leaves in Belmont start to fall, the high school teams head into the playoffs, the sweaters come out of the armoire, and people begin preparing for Thanksgiving.

No one envisions spending countless autumn (late) nights in endless debates with 300 of your fellow residents at the fall Special Town Meeting. As the number of possible articles piles up and at least two – if not more – citizen’s petitions are making their way to the Town Clerk’s office by mid-September when the meeting warrant will be open.

But don’t go moaning to the newest member of the Select Board about this fall’s ever growing Special Town Meeting agenda. All you’ll get from Elizabeth Dionne is some tough love.

“They know what they signed up for,” Dionne said as the board discussed the articles to be presented over several November nights at the Belmont Middle and High School auditorium. “I think they care that we address pressing issues” which the board grudgingly agreed will take up three nights.

“These are substantive articles … and I support conducting substantive business [at this meeting].” said Board Member Mark Paolillo.

The 2023 Special Town Meeting’s tentative start date will be Nov. 6.

A draft list of warrant articles includes:

  • Transfer the undesignated fund balance (free cash) to the general stabilization fund and transfer new FY ’24 revenue to the generalization stabilization fund.
  • Pay the prior year’s bills
  • Current year supplemental budget for operating, capital, and Community Preservation Act
  • Removal of Civil Service for Belmont Police personnel
  • Change the Board of Assessors from an elected board to an appointed one
  • Amend Zoning Bylaw: Hotels as a permissible use
  • Amend Zoning Bylaw: business signage
  • Amend Zoning Bylaw: restaurants
  • Replace the general bylaw codifying the stretch code for construction with a Specialized Energy Code.

The citizens petitions include a home rule petition to the Massachusetts legislature that Belmont be exempted from Massachusetts General Law 61B regarding golf courses and specifically the 75 percent tax break course are granted. There is another that town officials have heard about which could also be related to zoning.

While the current number of articles, several such as Civil Service and rewriting zoning bylaws could, on their own, easily take several hours or a single night to debate and vote on, both the board, town and Town Moderator Mike Widmer would like to see a good number of them held off until the annual Town Meeting in either April or May 2024. One of those articles included removing Belmont Police from the state’s civil service law. A similar article during a special Town Meeting in September 2020 was withdrawn before it came to a vote.

A Special Civil Service Debate

Despite the heavy lifting expected to pass civil service reform, Board Member Mark Paolillo would like to schedule a public forum on civil service with the Belmont Police Chief James McIsaac and the town’s labor attorney in September. If there appears support for the measure, “we’ll move forward with it” in November.

“I’m just thinking how busy the spring [Town Meeting] will be, that would be a good step forward,” said Paolillo.

Patrice Garvin, Belmont Town Administrator, said the Vision 21 Committee will put its efforts into rewording the restaurant bylaw with the assistance of a town consultant for the November meeting, while the Planning Board said it will work on revamping the signage bylaw for the fall meeting “it’s not the highest or best use of their time,” said Dionne who spoke with the new Planning Board Chair Jeff Birenbaum. Roy Epstein, the board chair, said he can see a new sign bylaw before the special if the Planning Board is assisted by the bylaw consultant.

As for a new hotel bylaw, which would make those structures a permissible use in Belmont, Dionne said it would best for that measure to come before the annual town meeting. “We can’t afford that one to fail,” she said, referring to the multiple revenue sources it provides. Supporters will need time to “educate and advocate” on the benefits and disspell stereotypes the last time a small hotel came before the Planning Board in 2016.

“There were some arguments that I thought were ridiculous and specious made against hotels last time, but they will absolutely come back again” including attracting drug use and sex workers to the Town of Homes.

Along with the hotel bylaw, being shuffled off to the annual Town Meeting will be changing the Board of Assessors to an appointed committee. While there is no great public or town urgency to implement a Specialized Energy Code, the board agreed at the 2023 annual Town Meeting to bring the bylaw change before the meeting in the fall.

But Dionne is eager to get as many of the zoning and administrative changes done as soon as possible.

“Rome is burning,” said Dionne, speaking of the town’s chronic fiscal deficit that will require a multi-million dollar override vote in April 2024.

“So we are in for three nights,” said Paolillo. “Maybe four.”

“Really, really, really late the third night,” added Dionne.

Touch-A-Truck Returns For A Second Year On Oct. 7 In Belmont Center

Photo: Living the dream at last year’s Touch-a-Truck event in Belmont.

It’s back: The second annual Belmont Touch-a-Truck event is on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Bulldozers, snow plows, garbage trucks, police vehicles and motorcycles, fire and EMT apparatus, and a whole assortment of large vehicles will be open for children – and their parents – to climb into and explore at the Claflin Street Parking Lot in Belmont Center.

“Last year it exceeded all our expectations, the honking notwithstanding,” said Stephen Rosales, formerly of the Belmont Select Board and a member of the board of Belmont Youth Activities, who is sponsoring the event along with the town’s D.A.R.E. chapter.

“But honking [the vehicles’ horn] is what all the kids and some of the adults wanted to do, quite frankly,” Rosales told the Select Board at a recent meeting.

According to Rosales, talks are also underway with the Belmont Lion Club to have a mobile eye examination clinic that can test kids’ vision in 30 seconds to detect early signs of problems.

Attendees can expect refreshments – it was hot dogs and water last year – and there was a request from the Select Board.

“Stephen, can Touch-a-Truck include touching a food truck? That would be good too,” said Board Chair Roy Epstein.

Belmont First Cannabis Dispensary Opens Its Doors To Newcomers And Seasoned Patrons

Photo: They’re open (Credit: Cal Verde Naturals)

For all you “seasoned” customers out there, the Town of Homes is now a place for people to find a righteous time.

Belmont’s first cannabis dispensary, Cal Verde Naturals at 1010 Pleasant St., has officially opened its doors to adults – it is 21+ to get inside – and will have a grand opening celebration on Saturday, July 8.

Store hours are Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“I am so thrilled to bring the Cal Verde vision to life in Belmont,” said Cal Verde owner Kelly Tomasello. “It has been a labor of love for [more than] four years.”

And from reading the press release, Cal Verde is all in with their products and services. Saying it is staying true to its motto, “Nurture with Nature,” the adult-use dispensary is focused on curating a “unique, worthwhile experience” for “seasoned consumers and newcomers alike,” as the store provides “exceptional cannabis products through a hands-on, first-class retail experience.”

“We are happy to serve the communities in which we operate. We believe that cannabis can enhance any lifestyle … [we have] all the products and strains to meet your needs,” said Tomasello.

With the Massachusetts cannabis marketplace getting more crowded by the day, Tomasello hired Belmont resident Emma Thurston as the firm’s Chief Operating Officer, saying their quarter century cumulative experience in the retail industry is more relevant than ever.

“Cannabis consumers are seeking not only exceptional products but an exceptional shopping experience, something which [the executives] believe they are set to deliver on,” said the release.

“Emma and I have created what we believe to be a first-class operation. We are looking forward to being able to contribute to the town through our business and volunteer work. We can’t wait to meet all of our new patrons,” said Tomasello.

Widmer Honored At State House Ceremony As A Commonwealth Heroine

Photo: State Rep. Dave Rogers honors Belmont’s Jeanne Widmer (Credit: courtesy photo)

State Rep. Dave Rogers honored Belmont’s Jeanne Widmer as the 24th Middlesex District’s Commonwealth Heroine Award on the Status of Women at the State House on June 23.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the award recognizes the often-unsung heroines who devote their time, talent, and civic spirit to make a difference in their communities and enrich the lives of others.

“In her personal and professional life, Jeanne has exemplified what it means to be a Heroine,” said Rogers. “She is driven by her kindness and desire to give back. I was delighted to honor Jeanne with this award and to participate in a day dedicated to uplifting the women who help build and improve our communities.”

Rogers nominated Widmer for her varied and passionate work in Belmont. Soon after moving to the “Town of Homes, Widmer worked on the town’s campaign for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and has since volunteered on dozens of local campaigns. She was elected three times to the Belmont School Committee, serving two years as its chair, and has been a Town Meeting Member since 1981.  

Widmer also founded the Belmont Women’s Resource Center, which provides monthly programs on issues of concern to women. For 20 years, Jeanne has worked as a tutor and counselor, helping students access education and unlock their potential. She was awarded for volunteer work with Belmont Parent Teacher Organizations, METCO, and youth sports teams.