The New Community Band Premiers at Payson Park Thursday

The first-ever concert by Belmont’s new town band will take place at a special free event at the Payson Park Music Festival beginning at 6 p.m. tonight, Thursday, July 31.

Led by Arto Asadoorian, the Belmont Community Summer Band consists of wind and percussion players ages 14 to “too old to ask,” said Asadoorian. The band members – which has a good number of current high school musicians performing – have had three rehearses held over the past week to sharpen their skills. Expect the unexpected!

Opening for the band will be di bostoner klezmer, a trio of talented musicians who are adept at performing authentic, dynamic European and American klezmer music from 19th century European to 1950s “club dates.” Belmontonians will likely know one of the band’s members, Dobe (Dena) Ressler, who works as a Program Coordinator at the Beech Street Center. 

Payson Park is located at the corner of Payson Road and Elm Street.

Art Sprouts at This Week’s Belmont Farmers Market

Market day in Belmont on Thursday, July 31 will feature Art at the Market, which includes a lot of fun art activities for the whole family from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The event, run by local artist Anne Katzeff and volunteer Jeanne Mooney, will take place in the events tent in the center of the market.

Belmont Farmers Market, open on Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., is located in Belmont Center’s municipal parking lot at the corner of Cross Street and Channing Road.

The summer harvest is coming in with corn and tomatoes leading the way. Think about making a cooling rustic gazpacho from the fresh produce at the market this week.

This week’s guest vendors are Still River Winery, Soluna Garden Farm and Bedford Blueberry Goat Farm, joining the market’s weekly vendors.

The food truck this week is Jamaica Mi Hungry, from 3 p.m. until the market’s closing. (Love the curry goat.)

In the Events Tent

Tastings: My Other Kitchen, a new Belmont restaurant that’s gotten great reviews, brings samples from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Storytime: The Belmont Public Library sponsors storytime for preschool and older children. Deborah Borsuk from the Children’s Department will read from 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

SNAP payments: The market accepts and doubles SNAP benefits (formerly called Food Stamps) up to an extra $25 per market day, while matching funds last. Donations help sustain this program.

It Sounds Like the Beatles in Payson Park this Evening

You will think that you’re at Suffolk Downs 48 years ago at tonight’s concert at the Payson Park Music Festival as the “best New England” Beatles tribute band, 4EverFab (shouldn’t that be “4EVAFab”?) comes to play in Belmont beginning just after 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 30.

“Featuring brilliant lead vocals, precise three-part harmonies and outstanding musicianship, 4EverFab plays The Beatles…From The Cavern Club to Abbey Road” reads their website, the group is currently on a 19-date tour of communities that selected them to perform at summer events. (The Beatles also had 19 dates on their 1966 US tour including at Suffolk Downs in Eastie.)

Here’s a Youtube video of the group.

Celebrating a quarter century, the Payson Park Music Festival takes place at Payson Park at the intersection of Payson Road and Elm Street. The concert is free. 

History Lost: Clark House to be Demolished by September

The history of the Thomas Clark House, one of Belmont’s oldest residential homes, will end next month in a pile of boards, bricks, nails and plaster as three years of work to preserve a rare piece of the town’s pre-Revolutionary era past failed to save the 254-year-old structure.

“Numerous attempts were made to find a site, use and the funding necessary to create a viable option for this most historic home; however, each attempt failed,” said Michael Smith, co-chair of the Belmont Historic District Commission, who helped lead the effort to save the structure after the site was sold to a developer in 2011.

Smith said the Clark House’s deed holder, Architectural Heritage Foundation – a Boston-based nonprofit which is committed to the preservation of historic buildings, structures, and spaces – faced a September deadline on renewing a town license to “park” the house across from the Underwood Pool. And next month the foundation would need to raise a substantial insurance payment that would be close to six figures.

With all local options exhausted, it was determined the only avenue for preservationist was to take the building apart under the foundation’s leadership.

Smith said that it was not hard to understand why it was difficult to find a solution for the Clark House.

“Potential sites were very limited because the size of the house is too large to pass through streets without meeting obstructions or requiring significant tree removal,” said Smith in a press release.

“Site, funding and use were all keys needed to save the Clark House,” Smith told the Belmontonian on Wednesday, July 30.

“Potential sites were very limited because the size of the house is too large to pass through streets without meeting obstructions or requiring significant tree removal,” said Smith in the release.

Potential locations included land at the First Armenian Church of Belmont on Concord Avenue, the Belmont Public Library and an open lot adjacent the Underwood Playground on School Street. Possible uses for the site included as a home of the Belmont Historical Society or as commercial space.

“Without any one of those keys opportunity was shut out. In every attempted exercise at least one of the keys was missing – frustratingly so near, so many times but never able to satisfy all the needs,” he said to the Belmontonian.

Built in 1760 by Thomas Clark, a “minuteman” member of a local militia who reportedly fought in the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill; the house was later occupied by his son, Peter, the first person to cast a vote in the newly-formed town of Belmont in 1859. The house was subsequently owned by members of the Underwood and Sifneos families who retained most of the historic features of the house including doors, windows, floors, hardware, fireplaces along with possible evidence of a secret hiding place for escaping slaves traveling on the Underground Railroad.

The most dramatic effort to save the Clark House came on a bitter Saturday morning in February 2012. The two-story, two-and-a-half century old structure was taken off its original foundation located between Clark Street and Dunbarton Road and slowly moved down Common Street onto Concord Avenue and to its current location.

“We won’t lose the written history and important documentation of the Clark House; what we lose is the house itself,” Smith told the Belmontonian.

But rather than dwell on the fate of the Clark House, Smith said he is looking towards preserving other historic sites in town.

“There were many people who worked hard toward saving the Clark House.  The goodwill of everyone involved is what kept the momentum going. While we don’t like the idea of losing such a treasure, we know there are many other important preservation causes to pursue. Let’s compare it to a doctor losing a patient; that doesn’t end the pursuit toward care,” he said.

Belmont Real Estate Taxes Due by Friday, Aug. 1

It’s that time of the year: Belmont Real Estate taxes are due once again.

First quarter Real Estate and Personal Property Taxes will need to be in the town’s Treasurer’s Office by Friday, Aug. 1, at 1 p.m. so not to be deemed late.

There are several methods a ratepayer can use to submit their bill:

• In person at the Treasurer’s Office which is located on the first floor of the Homer Building in the Town Hall complex in Belmont Center. Just a reminder that the office closes at 1 p.m. on Fridays during the summer.

• Payments for Real Estate, Personal Property, and Excise Tax bills can be submitted after hours using the secured drop box located to the left of the Homer Building entranceway. Tax bills will be considered “on time” if they are placed in the drop box before 7 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 4.

• Go to the Town of Belmont’s website to make an online payment or to sign up for paperless billing.

If you need assistance, please call (617) 993-2770.

Belmont Light Reminds Residents Summer is Outage Season

Belmont Light wants to remind its customers that strong wind and rain events, like those that often occur throughout the summer, may lead to electric power outages.

Its reminder comes following a stormy July 4th weekend during which Light crews were busy restoring service to local residents who were left without power in the aftermath of heavy downpours and stiff winds.

According to Belmont Light Operations Manager Ed Crisafi, several outages occurred prior to and throughout the holiday weekend, beginning during the evening hours of July 3, continuing into the following day, and happening again at the end of the weekend.

Crisafi said the longest outage on both days lasted only about an hour and a half.

“We were able to quickly restore power to those affected on Thursday evening, with cleanup efforts occurring during the early morning hours of July 4th,” Crisafi reported.

He added that, “because our staff was on hand and working so effectively, we were very well prepared when Hurricane Arthur passed to our east later in the day on the 4th.”

A separate event related to an underground cable caused outages on Saturday, but all permanent repairs were resolved by Monday evening.

Belmont Light General Manager James Palmer attributed the swift resolution of the outages to the reliability and dedication of town employees.

“Once again, our crews, public safety, and public works did a great job,” he stated.

Palmer went on to say that while weather-related outages are inconvenient, they should be anticipated—especially during hurricane season. Belmont Light customers should be prepared for severe weather during summer months by taking the following precautionary steps:

Prior to an Outage

  • Make sure you have enough emergency supplies on hand in case you are without power for an extended period of time.
  • Have plenty of fresh batteries and flashlights; don’t use candles during a power outage unless absolutely necessary.
  • Use a portable, battery-powered radio and/or television to be aware of any updates.
  • Get a wind-up or battery-powered clock.
  • Stock up on nonperishable food and plenty of bottled water.
  • Keep cash on hand, ATMs may not work when the power is out.
  • Make sure that everyone knows how to manually open and close any electric security or garage doors.
  • Protect electric equipment, such as computers, FAX machines, televisions, DVD and Blu- ray players and microwaves, by installing surge suppressors or other power protection (smart strip) devices.
  • Have a battery back-up system if your smoke alarms are wired to your home’s electrical system.
  • Have an emergency plan in place if a member of your household depends on life-support or needs other medical equipment. This may include a back-up power source or transportation to another facility.
  • Know how your gas appliances operate. Appliances with electronic ignitions will not work because electricity is needed to ignite the natural gas. Appliances that require fans or other electric devices to run – such as central heating units and gas clothes dryers – won’t work.
  • If a storm is expected, make sure your cell phone, laptop computers and tablet devices are charged.

During an Outage

  • Don’t call 911 to ask about the power outage. Check the neighborhood to see if everyone is without power and then call Belmont Light at 617-993-2800 to report the outage.
  • Stay indoors, but if you do need to go out, use extreme caution, especially on roads without working traffic signals. Be cautious of any downed power lines – they may be live.
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to prevent food spoilage.
  • Never use your gas grill or charcoal grill indoors for cooking.
  • Shut-off any electronic equipment that was operating when the power went off.
  • Shut-off all your major electric appliances to stabilize the electric system when power is restored.
  • If the power is still on when you go to bed, shut-off electronic equipment such as computers, televisions, DVD/VCRs, microwaves and fax machines.
  • Leave one light on so you know when power is restored.
  • Belmont Light crews will be out in force to restore power as quickly and safely as possible which may not be until the storm has passed.

When Power is Restored

  • Wait a few minutes before turning on major electric appliances. This will help eliminate problems that could occur if there’s a surge in demand immediately after power is restored.
  • If you think that electric power has been restored to your area but your home is still without power, call Belmont Light at 617-993-2800.

If You Own a Generator

  • Never plug a generator into any electric outlets. Generators can feed electricity back into the power lines, causing dangerous conditions for our repair crews. You could damage your appliances or your neighbors’ appliances.

Should you experience an outage, please call Belmont Light at 617-993-2800.

Belmont Fire Log: Humming Sound Brings Out the Crew

Defective part spoils dinner
July 20 just before 3:30 p.m., Engine 1 was sent to Longmeadow Road where a backyard chef could not close the valve on the propane tank of his grill. Fire crews successfully disconnected the tank from the grill without creating a leak. The cook was advised to exchange the faulty tank for a new one and notify the dealer of the malfunctioning valve.

Ummmmm, it’s nothing

On July 21 at a few minutes before noon, a crew from Engine 2 arrived at a two-family on Whitcomb Street to investigate what residents called a “humming” sound in the building. Checking all the household appliances and utilities that could create a “humming” sound, the company were unable to hear any “abnormal” sounds.

And there will be … fire

On July 21 at 8:22 p.m. firefighters arrived at a Clifton Street house for a reported “smoking driveway gate.” The homeowner told the arriving company that some debris had got caught under the lens of a landscape lighting which caught fire. She removed the offending debris and put out the blaze herself.

Smoker’s butt likely culprit 

On July 25 at a quarter past 2 p.m., an employee at the Starbucks Coffee in Cushing Square noticed that a small fire had erupted in the mulch near the establishment’s front door. The crew from Engine 1 brought the smoldering brush under control. The location is a favorite haunt for smokers to puff away before entering the store.


Belmont Savings Reports Solid Second Quarter

The money keeps funneling into the vault of the Belmont Savings Bank as BSB Bancorp, Inc., the bank’s holding company, reported on Thursday, July 24, net income of $1 million, or 12 cents per basic and diluted share, for the quarter ended June 30, compared to net income of $361,000, or 4 cents per basic and diluted share, in the second quarter of 2013.

At June 30, the bank’s total assets topped $1.2 billion, an increase of $167.2 million or nearly 16 percent from $1.1 billion at December 31, 2013. The asset growth was funded by customer deposits and borrowings from the Federal Home Loan Bank, according to the bank’s press release.

“The bank is benefiting from positive operating leverage as revenue growth outstrips expense growth. Credit quality remains good,” said Robert M. Mahoney, the bank’s president and CEO. The bank is headquartered on Leonard Street in Belmont Center.

The bank experienced net loan growth of $148.3 million, or 18 percent, from December 31. Commercial real estate loans, residential mortgage loans, home equity loans and indirect auto loans increased by $38.7 million, $61.2 million, $18.4 million and $16.4 million, respectively.

On June 30, deposits totaled $891.9 million, an increase of $127.1 million or 17 percent from $764.8 million at December 31, 2013 with core deposits – which include all deposits other than CD’s and brokered CD’s – increased by $92.1 million.

“Q2 was another good quarter for deposit growth. The maturing of our three InStore branches and the ongoing growth of our municipal banking program drove both checking and savings deposits. In addition, new and expanding small business banking and commercial real estate customer relationships continue to be important contributors to this strong performance,” said Hal Tovin, executive vice president and COO.

Three of the bank’s six branches are located in Shaw’s or Star supermarkets in Waltham, Newton and Cambridge.

As of Monday, July 28, the bank’s stock – which is traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol BLMT – is about a dollar off its 52-week high of $18.20.

The Week Ahead: Yoga for All on Tuesday, Animals at the Library Wednesday

Noon movies for children on Tuesday, July 29, noon to 1 p.m., in the Assembly Room of the Belmont Public Library.

  •    The Empty Pot
  •    The Mysterious Tadpole
  •    Caterpillar and the Polliwog
  •    Bats at the Library
  •    Cook-a-Doodle-Doo

The Massachusetts Senior Medicare Patrol, a state-wide consumer educational organization that helps Medicare and MassHealth (Medicaid) beneficiaries to protect against, detect and report healthcare errors, fraud and abuse, will be at the Beech Street Center on Tuesday, July 29, 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. MSMP provides education, guidance and assistance to beneficiaries and their caregivers to navigate the system such as help with issues such as resolving billing and healthcare quality queries and providing referrals as needed.

• Einstein’s Workshop program for Young Adults will be exploring hydraulics on Tuesday, July 29, from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Belmont Public Library’s Assembly Room. Each participant will make and take home their very own hydraulics lift. To register, go online or call 617-993-2870.

• Yoga for everyone at the Beech Street Center from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28: join Susan Harris, a registered yoga teacher and associate professor of Nutrition at Tufts University for this Iyengar-inspired class which practices yoga postures slowly and with attention to alignment and safety, adapted to the abilities and needs of individual students. Practice is done with bare feet; mats and props are provided. Cost: $15/class. Non-seniors, beginners and experienced are welcome. This is a non-Council on Aging class held at the Beech Street Center. For more information, call Susan at 617-407-0816.

Visit with wondrous animals from all over the world with the program Creature Teachers on Wednesday, July 30, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Belmont Public Library’s Assembly Room. This live animal program will educate and entertain. 

• The Belmont High School Teen Techs are back at the Belmont Public Library to help residents and patrons who are looking for help with computers, the internet, e-readers, tablets and the hows and whys of the social media world. The crew will be doing their tech wizardry from 11 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, July 30 in the Young Adult Room. Register online, stop by the reference desk to register in person or call 617-993-2870 to register by phone.

Beloved local musician Liz Buchanan performs original songs and traditional favorites on Thursday, July 3110:30 a.m. in the Belmont Public Library’s Assembly Room.

Three Nights of Construction on Trapelo Road Begins Monday, July 28

For the next three nights, from Monday July 28 to Wednesday, July 30, Waverley Square will be “under the lights” as Trapelo Road is repaved as part of the $17.2 million Trapelo/Belmont Corridor reconstruction project.

From 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., trucks and repaving equipment will be on Trapelo Road from Mill Street to White Street as well as on Lexington and Church streets.

The construction work was approved by the Belmont Board of Selectmen a week ago to lessen the impact on approximately 30,000 daily commuters and businesses in the area, according to Glenn Clancy, director of Community Development and the town’s engineer.

“We appreciate your patience and cooperation during this operation. As you are aware this work is very much necessary and every effort will be made to minimize impacts to residents while work is occurring,” said Clancy in a press release. He stated that residents with any concerns can call he at 617-993-2659 or by e-mail at

Clancy said that homeowners and residents who have questions or concerns during construction hours can contact Ryan Gleason of Newport Construction at 603-765-2173.