Belmont Police Holding Take-Back Prescription Drug Program

The Belmont Auxiliary Police and the US Drug Enforcement Agency will host a prescription drug Take-Back Initiative to prevent the abuse and theft of old, unused and expired prescription drugs.

The Auxiliary Police will have a collection point set up at the town’s DPW yard, 37 C St., on Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Old or unused prescription drugs (no liquids) may be dropped off for free with no questions asked. You won’t even have to get out of your car. Please take some time to check your medicine cabinet and visit us on the 26th. Unfortunately, these drugs are highly susceptible to misuse by family and friends. In addition they can be improperly disposed of and end up in our environment, posing a potential health hazard.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic, according to the White House. While there has been a marked decrease in the use of some illegal drugs like cocaine, data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically.

For more information on the Rx Drug Take Back Initiative or a list of additional collection sites visit . You may also contact Lt. Kristen Daley. The Belmont Police also has a permanent Rx drug collection kiosk located in the lobby of Belmont Police Headquarters that is accessible at any time, day or night.

The Week to Come: Passover, Good Friday, Easter and Spring Recess

Passover, פֶּסַח, in which Jews commemorate their liberation from slavery in Egypt by the Pharaohs as told in the Book of Exodus, begins Monday night, April 14, at sunset. A bit of seder trivia: The Maxwell House Haggadah was first distributed with cans of coffee in 1932?

• Music lovers will converge on Belmont High School’s auditorium Tuesday, April 15, at 7 p.m. for Jazz Night at the High School. This is a “don’t miss” opportunity to hear great ensambles performing.

• The Powers Music School’s Faculty Concerts series continues on Monday, April 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the School’s Cabot Room with “The French-American Connection,” featuring clarinetist Todd Brunel and pianist Kathryn Rosenbach presenting the work of Camille Saint-Saens, Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky and Leonard Bernstein. Brunel and Rosenbach will premiere their own original compositions.

• The Planning Board will be meeting on Tuesday, April 15 at 8:15 a.m. (yes, in the morning) in Conference Room 2 where they will discussing among other matters Town Meeting Article 9, an amendment to the zoning code effecting dog kennels, doggie daycare and canine-related activities as a result of the rewriting on the Board of Health’s regulation on all things relating to handling and keeping of pets.

Spring recess begins on Good Friday, April 18 as there will be early release at all Belmont schools: High School 10:30 a.m., Middle School 11 a.m. and the elementary schools at 11:40 a.m. with the exception of the Winn Brook whose students will need to wait an extra 10 minutes before they are sprung free.

Easter is this Sunday, April 20, with Christian houses of worship holding extended services.

It’s Official: The ‘Old’ Underwood Pool Gets One Last Season

The 102nd consecutive summer of the Underwood Pool, the nation’s oldest community pool in continuous operation, will be its last as the Belmont Board of Health approved variances to town regulations allowing the oval-shaped facility to open in the final weeks of June.

“We approved it for one season only,” said Donna David, chair of the Board of Health at a meeting held Thursday evening, April 10.

Town officials have said they expect the state’s Health Department will go along with Belmont’s recommendation on opening the pool for 2014 with the knowledge that a new $5.2 million two pool complex is all but a certainty after town voters overwhelmingly passed a $2.9 million debt exclusion on April 1. The final piece of the pool financial puzzle is Town Meeting approval of a $2 million Community Preservation Committee grant in May.

Construction of the modern structure is anticipated to begin in September.

Belmont Baseball, Softball Sweep Watertown in League Openers

The wind was howling out of the northwest Wednesday, April 9; it was not a day that a home run was going to decide the games at the softball and at Brendan Grant Field at Belmont High School as the school’s softball and baseball teams got their Middlesex League seasons underway against arch rivals Watertown High.

But the Belmont teams didn’t need the long ball as both squads saw their lead pitchers make opening day statements as the Marauders swept the visiting Raiders.

Senior co-captain Brendan Shea gave up a single run to the Raiders as his teammates made Watertown pay for some sloppy early season play to win 7-1. The southpaw, who has signed a letter of intent to play for Div. 1 UMass-Lowell next year, struck out 11 while limiting Watertown to a handful of hits.

“[Shea]’s our number one and pitched out of a couple of tight spots. He’s a gamer and that’s why he’s a scholarship player,” said Head Coach Jim Brown.

Belmont scored four runs in the first three innings on a single hit – a single by sophomore shortstop Cole Bartels –  capitalizing on four miscues by the Raiders. That was more than enough support for Shea who got out of a fifth-inning bases loaded, no out jam with a strike out and a double play created by a base-running mistake by a Watertown player.

“We did some small ball stuff but could have done a little better in our execution. That’s how we are going to win this year, with bunting players over and sac flies,” said Brown.

Over at softball, a very familiar athlete was having her way with the Raiders; senior pitcher Kendel Brown – the stellar defender on both field hockey and Girls’ ice hockey – simply kept Watertown batters off balance while the Marauders’ batters had a field day as Belmont swamped the visitors, 22-4, in a shortened five-inning game.

“We had played one non-league game before this (a 16-2 loss to Cambridge Rindge and Latin) and we weren’t ready having only been outside twice before that game,” said first-year coach Steve Price.

“But I had a good feeling coming into this game after a week of practice and we had our line up ready to go today,” he said.

On the offensive end, sophomore shortstop Julia Rifkin had an inside-the-park home run and batted strongly during each at bat as did senior Micaela McKay and sophomore Lia Muckjian had a pair of hits.

“Really, the entire line up swung the bat very well today as evident by the score,” said Price.

IMG_0205 IMG_3769 IMG_3754 IMG_3752 IMG_3738 IMG_3732 IMG_3725 IMG_3719 IMG_3714 IMG_3708 IMG_3696

Get Your Hands Dirty Cleaning Up Lone Tree Hill

Known for its trails, bike paths and open spaces, Lone Tree Hill – Belmont’s newest open space managed by the Town for conservation and passive recreation – is needing a little love after a long winter.

On Saturday, April 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., residents and students seeking community service credits can come to the entrance to the land on South Pleasant Street for Lone Tree Hill Volunteer Day sponsored by the Belmont Citizens Forum. And there will be a lot to do to spruce up this section of the Western Greenway: there is trash pick up, trail maintenance and spreading woodchips. Volunteers are asked to bring gloves, water, big garden clippers, loppers and apply bug spray before coming.

Volunteers can park in the Star Market parking lot near South Pleasant Street; you’ll see the entry to Lone Tree Hill at the green and blue BCF tent.

Hard Winter on Your Car? Get It Washed and Help Kids in Need

Take the winter salt and grim off your car this Saturday, April 12 at the Belmont Car Wash in Waverley Square and  at the same time help children in need.

Members of the Belmontian Community Service Club of Belmont High School will be at Belmont Car Wash drying off your cars and all tips for their work will go to benefit Cradles to Crayons, the Boston-based non-profit that provides children from birth through age 12, living in homeless or low-income situations, with the essential items they need to thrive at home, at school and at play.

The day of service, sponsored by Belmont Car Wash, will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

One Book One Belmont Marches Up Bunker Hill Saturday

For history buffs, participants of this year’s community-wide read of “Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution” by Nathaniel Philbrick or just those who want to know more about the sacrifices by local residents in securing the nation’s independence, One Book One Belmont 2014 and the Belmont Public Library will be leading a walking tour of Bunker Hill in Boston’s Charlestown neighborhood on Saturday, April 12 at 10 a.m.

Join National Park Service for a half mile, 45-minute walk to the Bunker Hill Monument, retracing the footsteps of the British soldiers and Marines who assaulted the hill on June 17, 1775, routing the patriots but losing half their troops to injury and death in the first major battle of the Revolutionary War.

After the tour, the Battle of Bunker Hill Museum is open to explore or you can climb the 294 steps to the top of the monument for a panoramic view of Boston.

Tour is free but you will be responsible getting to the Naval Yard where the tour begins on your own.

Registration is required. Where to meet and other details provided after registration.  To register, go here or call 617-993-2870.

Things to Do Today: Bunker Hill, Playtime, Learning to Dance, HS Sports

Another sunny, spring day in Belmont today, Friday, April 11:

• In conjunction with One Book One Belmont 2014, the Senior Book Discussion Group at the Beech Street Center will discuss” Bunker Hill” by Nathaniel Philbrick. The author of “Mayflower” and “In the Heart of the Sea,” tells the story of the first, and perhaps bloodiest, major battle of the Revolutionary War. All are welcome to attend this book discussion that begins at 11 a.m. at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St. 

Playtime, a drop-in, informal playgroup for toddlers and preschoolers, where both children and adults can meet new friends, will meet in the Children’s Room of the Belmont Public Library at 10:30 a.m. Call the Children’s Room at 617-993-2880 with any questions.

A free demonstration on Learning to Dance will be held at 1:15 p.m. at the Senior Center at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St. Dance instructor Paul Hughes ( will lead the demonstration. Participants will not need a partner to take the class.

• Lots going on in Belmont High sports: Girls’ Tennis takes on Winchester at the High School courts at 3:30 p.m., Baseball host Wakefield at 3:45 p.m. at Brandon Grant Field adjacent the High School and Boys’ Lacrosse return to Harris Field after defeating Stoneham to take on Reading at 4 p.m.

On they day in 1727, Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” premiered at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig.

Under Construction: Cushing Village, Trapelo Corridor a Work Zone

It’s a child’s dream and a driver’s nightmare: construction workers using drills, in trucks and excavators digging up the street and property with police officers directing traffic through narrowed roads and onto detours.

It is spring and that means construction season has arrived to Belmont.

And two large operations are getting underway this season. All along Trapelo Road, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Trapelo/Belmont Corridor Reconstruction is committed to repairing or replacing infrastructure before the expected roadwork begins.

Today, Wednesday, April 10, major roadwork is being conducted adjacent to the Belmont Fire Department Headquarters and in the midst of Waverley Square near the commuter rail bridge. Further work will begin early next week when Church Street and the Waverley Square municipal lot are closed until the end of May and gas pipes will undergo work on Monday.

While Waverley Square is difficult to maneuver, Belmont Car Wash has decided to close to do a bit of repairing of its own.

In Cushing Square, workers are taking sounding readings around the Starbucks Cafe and in the municipal lot while a large excavators is digging in the former site of a dry cleaners as initial work gets underway for the proposed Cushing Village development, the three building, 180,000 sq.-ft. housing, retail and parking complex.

IMG_0208 IMG_3672 IMG_3673 IMG_3674

To The Rescue: High School Auditorium’s ‘Worst’ Seats Under Repair

While Town Meeting representatives all across Massachusetts have the burden of sitting through endless committee explanations, Powerpoint presentations and public debate on the minutia of town governance, Belmont Town Meeting members have an additional hardship: the seats themselves.

With the majority of Town Meeting sessions held in the Belmont High School auditorium, reps had little option then to take their chances with the infamous seats in the hall.

Some of the seats – installed in 1970 – squeak, others poke, more twist lumbars into pretzel-like contours, most do all three at the same time.

“I don’t see how they expect us to conduct the business of the town in such conditions,” Nancy Reppucci, a Precinct 1 Town Meeting representative told the Belmontonian after speaking on the matter to the Belmont Board of Selectmen on March 31.

Reppucci said the five-decade old chairs, built on steel frames and secured to the floor in rows, have deteriorated to the point where it is impossible for many members with weak backs to attempt sitting on them.

It has gotten so bad, said Reppucci, that dozens of the approximately 300 representatives are requesting straight-back chairs for their use. But that number is limited due to the auditorium’s fire code.

Yet, as then-Selectman Chair Mark Paolillo noted to Reppucci, any attempt to replace the seats with new or used rows would be considered a major renovation and immediately require the town to make the auditorium compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act code, which would cost the town untold money it doesn’t have.

In addition, the town is seeking the renovation of the High School which would include the auditorium.

But since Reppucci’s plea, a temporary solution to sore backs and other body parts has been hatched to cushion the blow to high school students, parents who attend events at the school and, of course, Town Meeting members who are spending time in the auditorium.

In conjunction with Belmont Town Administrator David Kale and Belmont School Superintendent Dr. Thomas Kingston and under the leadership of Gerald Boyle, the town’s joint Facilities Manager, 222 of the worst of the worst chairs will be repaired in an attempt to resolve the “ongoing issue” that “has impacted the functionality of the auditorium,” said Boyle.

The town has received a bid from South Shore Upholstery Service to re-upholster a total of 222 seat cushions at the High School Auditorium, at a cost of approximately $72 each, explained Boyle, for a total of approximately $16,000.

“The total of 222 represents all the seats in the lower center section, but we will rearrange seat cushions from the entire auditorium so the “worst” 222 are re-upholstered. We will do them in three phases of about 75 each,” said Boyle.

And to Reppucci’s and many of the Town Meeting members relief, the work is expected to be completed prior to the first night of Town Meeting on May 6.