More than 100 Exhibits At 2014 Meet Belmont

The 2014 edition of Meet Belmont – taking place tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 26 – will be breaking the century mark; for the first time, there will be more than 100 exhibitors at the yearly community “meet and greet.”

The 12th annual event will take place from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at Chenery Middle School, at the corner of Washington Street and Oakley Road.

Meet Belmont is an opportunity for all residents – from newcomers to those who have lived in town for their entire lives – to come together to discover what the town offers:

• Learn about town departments, local government and the schoolsŸ,

• Get information about recreation and arts programsŸ,

• Find community organizations and activities that may interest youŸ, and

• Register to vote.

Meet Belmont is sponsored by the Vision 21 Implementation Committee and co-sponsored by the Belmont Public Schools with support from Belmont Car Wash and Belmont Light.

For more information, email: meetbelmont@gmail.com

Learn More About the Town at Meet Belmont

The 12th edition of the annual Meet Belmont is just around the corner.  This year’s event will be held in two weeks, on Tuesday, Aug. 26 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the cafeteria at Chenery Middle School, at the corner of Washington Street and Oakley Road.

Meet Belmont is an opportunity for all residents – newcomers to those who have lived here for decades – to come together to discover what the town has to offer:

• Learn about town departments, local government, schoolsŸ

• Get information about recreation and arts programsŸ

• Find community organizations and activities that interest youŸ

• Register to vote.

Meet Belmont is sponsored by the Vision 21 Implementation Committee and co-sponsored by the Belmont Public Schools with support from Belmont Car Wash and Belmont Light.

For more information, email: meetbelmont@gmail.com

Belmontonian Op-Ed: Saving the World

As Americans, living in the First World, our quality of life is pretty much taken for granted. When you wear jewelry, eat food, use your phone, have a drink of water, or even just take in a deep breath of fresh air, you don’t think about how you have all of these things or where you get them from. My World Geography class this year has influenced what I think my role on this planet is.

I had never thought about my effect on people I hadn’t even met before, and I’d never thought about how different other people’s lives could be. For example, before learning about both the slums and wealthy parts of Lagos, Nigeria, I’d never thought about how you could see such a noticeable line between the poor and wealthy. The slums, with dirty sewage water and open pipes in the streets, separated from towering skyscrapers and tourists everywhere, by a wall. How, in Rio de Janiero, people were being forced out of their homes to make room for stadiums built for the 2016 Olympics. I never thought water could be a source of political power, like in the Jordan River in the Middle East, where one side flourishes with water while the other slowly wastes away.

I used to think that my role on this planet would just be to grow up and live my life, not giving a thought about the things that we’ve learned in this class. But, this class has spread awareness to the students, like how workers in China at FoxConn, and at Amazon’s factories aren’t treated right. Big companies trick and deceive to find cheap labor. Smog and pollution threaten megacities of people’s health and oceans underwater. Because of this class dropping reality hammers almost every day, I’ve learned that the world is a cruel place and that things aren’t always fair.

But I’ve also learned that there are people that are fighting against injustice, that knowing and learning about the mistreatment in itself is a form of power. So this class may not have taught us a great world where everyone is equal. What it has given to me is truth. That there isn’t really black and white, that it’s all spread out, alternating tints of gray. There are good things, like saving cultures, technology shaping the world and helping people’s lives, innovation, progress, and cute animals like llamas and yaks. The bad verses the good, sometimes you can’t tell. But knowing and spreading information can start a revolution just like a wildfire. We can stop people’s homes from flooding, save the Bajau water people on the island of Borneo, get rid of plastic from the stomachs of birds, and so much more, if we all know something and pass it on. If it isn’t right, speak up. Let other people know.

My role on this planet is to save the world by learning and teaching. The earth may not be the best place right now, but it’s ours. We have so much power in our own hands, being privileged Americans. We have free speech, the ability to learn and explore, and we should make use of this. Information can save the world, and awareness is the key to changing your life.

Lara Zeng

Student in Andrew Semuels’  7th Grade World Geography class

Chenery Middle School 

What to Do Today: Authors Festival at the Chenery, Butler Sings at the Beech

• The Chenery Middle School’s inaugural Spring Into Summer Book Fair is holding an Authors Festival in the school’s library from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Authors Julie Berry, Loree Griffin Burns, Erin Dionne, Greg Fishbone, Ammi-Joan Paquette, Sarah L. Thomson and David Yoo will be there to talk to students and parents and sign their books. The book fair continues until Friday.

• The Butler Elementary School 4th Grade Chorus will sing a variety of choral works written especially for children from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Beech Street Center. The 42-member chorus has been rehearsing once a week since September. Conductor Rosanne Mili has been a teacher at the Butler for 31 years while accompanist Craig McMahon, who is a recent graduate of Boston University, is the music teacher at the Wellington School and assists Mili with both the 3rd and 4th grade choruses.

• The Belmont Youth Hockey Association is meeting and providing jerseys for players in the Belmont Public Library’s Flett Room (adjacent to the Children’s Room) from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

• On this day in 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman are murdered outside her home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. O.J. Simpson is later acquitted of the killings in 1995, but is held liable in a wrongful death civil suit.

Ten Years Celebrating Chenery’s ‘Magical’ Courtyard

For about 10 minutes on a bright and warm early June afternoon, a small section of the Chenery Middle School was transformed into a forest outside Athens occupied by actors, musicians and spirits telling a midsummer tale.

As part of the celebration to celebrate a decade of a “magical” transformation, guests and students gathered in the school’s garden courtyard for a short performance of Shakespeare’s “Midsummer’s Night Dream” in the space that 12 years ago was a concrete and brick space.

Today, trees and plants grow near gardens in elevated planters while a small pond allows wetland flora to bloom while a patio space allows for classes to take place.

In the shade of one of the trees, Belmont Senior Center’s The Bellaires serenaded the attendees while just inside the nearby hallway, artwork by the Chenery students inspired by the courtyard garden fill the space. After the concert, Morning Glory and sunflower seeds were handed out as tokens of the courtyard that residents could plant in their own homes.

“This project is a plus for anyone who comes here, from seniors to the children,”  said Phyl Solomon of the Massachusetts Audubon’s Habitat Intergenerational Program and one of the inspirations behind the project’s creation and growth from an abandoned and forgotten interior space.

Over the years, most everything has been carried into the site including the trees, brush, dirt and other items that makes a garden. Now when visitors arrive, they are greeted by a view of shaded park benches, stone walls, small pond, a bird’s house (and a nest) and trees, ground covering along with flowers and vegetables which is used by the school.

During its transformation, the school has begun a “Courtyard Club” so students can lend a hand in the maintenance and care of the garden and space.

“The one thing I really like about the Courtyard Club is that it’s open to anybody and that’s very special to me,” she said.

Ian Svetkey, a Chenery 6th grader and Club member, said “I like digging up things and chop things and pull things up and lots of other stuff.”

The site is increasingly being used for educational learning. Chenery Visual Arts Teacher Kathleen Byrnes said the courtyard is a wonderful classroom because it’s “incredibly inspiring” in allowing her students to “connect to nature and the science part of learning.”

“It’s exciting to have this huge spider web and my students sees nature in action for our science sketchbooks and journals,” said Byrnes.

“I love this space so much,” she added.

For Solomon, the 10th anniversary is hardly a time to think the courtyard has reached its zenith.

“This is an on-going project,” said Solomon. “This will never be a finished project because there is always something new coming in,” she noted.

“I think its amazing,” she said.

What to Do Today: Chenery Courtyard Celebration, Butterflies and Library Tech Help

• The Belmont community is invited to the 10th annual Chenery Courtyard Celebration of the Arts, taking place from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., come rain or shine, in the Chenery Middle School courtyard. Theatrical and musical performances by Chenery students and the Belmont Senior Center’s The Bellaires will accompany the artwork by the Chenery students inspired by the courtyard gardens. Refreshments will be served.
• Attract butterflies and other pollinators to your garden by choosing host plants at “Pollinator Gardens – Buzz and Flutter” hosted by the Massachusetts Audubon’s Habitat Sanctuary’s Barbara Brown at the Beech Street Center  from 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Learn a bit about some common plants and flowers and their connection to butterflies. This talk is open to the entire community.
• Both today and tomorrow, Wednesday, June 4, the Belmont Public Library will give tech challenged residents an opportunity to sign up for 30-minutes of one-on-one tech help and start accessing your 24/7 digital library. Today the sessions begin at 7 p.m. and 11 a.m. on Wednesday. Here are a few things they can help patrons with
  • eBooks & eAudiobooks,
  • Sign up to read free digital magazines,
  • Get Database help or an orientation to online library research and
  • Manage your Library Account online, place holds, freeze holds, pay fines with a credit/debit card.

Call 617-993-2870 for an appointment, or sign up online at the events calendar.

Belmont Town Meeting Reconvenes With Budgets on the Agenda

Belmont’s annual Town Meeting, 2.0, will commence tonight as the town’s yearly legislative gathering will reconvene after a three week hiatus to take on the $95 million town and school budget.

The meeting, known as Section B, will take place at the Chenery Middle School, 95 Washington St., at 7 p.m., Monday, June 2, having decamped from Belmont High School.

The meeting members will review and vote on budget articles including general government, school district, capital improvements and all other sundry financial items.

The order of the articles will be 18 through 27 and then non-budgetary articles 3 and 14, according to Town Clerk Ellen Cushman. 

Budget information can be found on the Town Clerk’s web page on the town’s web site.

But before the meetings articles are taken up, the 300-odd member will pick up “response cards” – or voting devices – before the start of Town Meeting. There will be a brief overview as well as a hand-out to familiarize members with the new technology. It’s anticipated all voting will be cataloged electronically tonight and at future Town Meetings.

If time permits, members will debate two non-financial articles:

  • Articles 3 proposes action regarding a proposed amendment to the Minuteman Regional Vocational High School Regional Agreement, and
  • Article 14 seeks to amend the Town’s Zoning By-law to Address Citizens’ Petition from 2013 Special Town Meeting.