Belmont Yard Sales on Sept. 6-7

Here are this weekend’s yard/moving/garage sales (and a free item giveaway event) happening in the 02478 zip code:

37 and 43 Bright Rd.Saturday, Sept. 6, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

27 Common St., Saturday, Sept. 6, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (indoors)
92 Hull St. (near Waverley Square), Saturday, Sept. 6, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• 34 Skahan Rd., Saturday, Sept. 6, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
159 Slade St.,  Saturday, Sept. 6, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

51 Simmons Ave., Sunday, Sept. 7, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

6 Thomas St., Saturday, Sept. 6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

34 Warwick Rd., Saturday, Sept. 6, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

88 Winn St.Saturday, Sept. 6, 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Sunday, Sept. 7, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Nature in Simple Scenes: The Photographs of Will Bielitz at the Beech

You may remember Will Bielitz as being one of the town employees in the Assessor’s Office. What you may not know is that Bielitz has been interested in photography since his teen years. Having learned some of the “old techniques” of dark rooms and wet film developing, he has progressed to digital photography and takes pride in the photos he takes now.

You can see Bielitz’s work in an exhibit at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St., until Sept. 11.

He has had photos published in the 2006 Town of Belmont Annual Report, Massachusetts Municipal Association’s 2012 calendar, the Belmont Savings Bank calendar of 2011, and two years of their Christmas card mailings.

This show highlights his various interests in subject matter, flowers, landscapes and simple scenes with a focus on nature.

This Weekend in Belmont: Powers Open House Saturday, Benton Open Late

• The Benton Library – Belmont’s independent and volunteer-run library – will be open late on Friday, Sept. 5 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Make the Benton a stop on your way home or after dinner; its located at the corner of Oakley and Old Middlesex roads. See the latest New York Times Best sellers. Browse the collection. Buy some of our reasonably-priced sale books; all proceeds go to the Benton. Use our Wi-Fi. The Benton is open the first Friday evening of every month.

• Belmont’s Powers Music School – which is celebrating a half-century of providing music training to children and adults – is holding its Fall Open House and Instrument Petting Zoo on Saturday, Sept. 6, from noon to 3 p.m. at its home at 380 Concord Ave. 

Events include:

  • Free Early Childhood (age 1 to 5) Sample Classes: 9:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. (registration required here)
  • Face painting and drumming: 11:30 am
  • “Puff the Magic Dragon” Musical Story: 12:15 p.m.
  • Instrument Petting Zoo: noon to 3 p.m.
  • Fiddling/Mark O’Connor Method presentation: 1:30 p.m.

The Open House is the perfect opportunity to:

  • talk with our faculty and other students and parents
  • try an instrument
  • sample an early childhood class
  • listen to a fun, musical story
  • learn how lessons, ensembles, or orchestra can help you with other skills
  • register for our Fall semester

No reservations are required for the free petting zoo and musical story while reservations are required for the morning early childhood sample classes. The school’s faculty will be available to answer all of your questions about our classes and programs at the event.

• Sports is on the docket this first week of school for Belmont High teams with three big match-ups with neighboring rivals Watertown: Field Hockey at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5 at Watertown’s Victory Field; on Saturday, Sept. 6 soccer is up with the Girls’ Soccer hosting Watertown at Harris Field at 9 a.m. (that’s right – 9 A.M.!) and the Boys’ Soccer visiting the Red Raiders  at 10 a.m. In addition, Volleyball will host their first home game vs. Bedford on Friday, Sept. 5 in the Wenner Field House.

Belmont’s Studio Cinema, at the corner of Beech Street and Trapelo Road, is holding over the popular foodie film “The 100-Foot Journey” with Helen Mirren. It will be shown on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 3:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. 

Tour de Sustainability: Visit Belmont’s Green Gardens on Sunday

Visit 10 of the most sustainable gardens in Belmont and talk with their caretakers at the 4th annual Belmont Green Garden Tour this Sunday, Sept. 7 from noon to 3 p.m.

The tour – which includes Rock Meadow to a pair of homes on Baker Street – is sponsored by Sustainable Belmont.

Visitors will find everything from hoop-houses to compost know-how; beautiful perennials to delicious annuals along with a bunny tractor. Pick up some new knowledge, commiserate on the dry season and enjoy the day with us.

Printed maps are available on Saturday, Sept. 7 at the Beech Street Center or download the brochure: Sustainable Belmont Green Garden Tour 2014. Participants can follow this link to Google Map of the Green Garden Tour 2014.

A Real World Look at Jobs Coming to Belmont High

The traditional high school career day is seen by many as being a bit … well, bland. It usually consists of a few company representatives discussing “jobs,” firms seeking unpaid interns and lots of brochures handed out to students busy with class work, athletics, SATs and applying to college.

When she thought about holding a career night at school, Belmont High School Junior Tess Hayner felt there had to be a better way of introducing the wide variety of careers to 11th and 12th graders who may have a limited view of the possibilities before them.

That’s when Hayner came up with a novel approach: why not ask those who attended the high school and are in the job market to come back and tell their own stories?

Hayner has been recruiting young professionals who graduated from Belmont High and any other public or private high school between 1999 and 2010 to participate in an evening of short, informal talks with upperclassmen to share their stories and discuss possible career paths with juniors and seniors.

“Just picture speed dating without the dates,” says Hayner.

That original idea is now a reality as the Belmont High School Real World Career Night will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 23 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the school’s cafeteria.

“It will be a fun way for them to revisit their school … and help younger kids out,” said Hayner who hopes that by the end of the night juniors and seniors will be inspired, and less intimidated at the prospects of finding a career.

Recent BHS and other high school grads who wish to volunteer can email Hayner at

“I am hoping that we can get a core group of recruits who will pass the recruiting message on to their high school and college classmates in different professions,” said Hayner.

Sold in Belmont: New Construction Tanks, Ol’ Standards Best List Price

A weekly recap of residential properties bought in the past seven days in the “Town of Homes.”

• 134 Beech St. New townhouse condominium (2014), Sold for: $609,000. Listed at $649,900. Living area: 1,400 sq.-ft. 6 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 82 days.

 63 Oak Ave. Turn-of-the-century Colonial Revival (1906), Sold for: $1,290,000. Listed at $1,250,000. Living area: 2,648 sq.-ft. 8 rooms; 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 44 days.

 16 B St. New townhouse condominium (2014), Sold for: $876,525. Listed at $998,000. Living area: 1,103 sq.-ft. 6 rooms; 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 47 days.

 3 Colonial Terrace. Gambrel/Dutch Colonial (1917), Sold for: $800,000. Listed at $799,000. Living area: 1,570 sq.-ft. 9 rooms; 4 bedrooms, 1.5 baths. On the market: 36 days.

 307-309 Beech St. Multifamily (1922), Sold for: $803,000. Listed at $799,000. Living area: 2,732 sq.-ft. 13 rooms; 7 bedrooms, baths. On the market: 50 days.

 237 Brighton St. Center-entrance Colonial (1940), Sold for: $760,000. Listed at $735,000. Living area: 1,652 sq.-ft. 7 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 35 days.

• 136 Beech St. New townhouse condominium (2014), Sold for: $600,000. Listed at $649,900. Living area: 1,400 sq.-ft. 6 rooms; 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 78 days.

 34 Oxford Ave. Condominium (2014), Sold for: $458,000. Listed at $429,000. Living area: 1,315 sq.-ft. 4 rooms; 2 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 104 days.

First Precinct Meeting On Monday, Sept. 8

The Belmont Board of Selectmen has organized informational Precinct Meetings for Town Meeting members to provide detailed information on the Belmont Center Reconstruction Project and Belmont’s Pension and Other Post Employee Benefits (OPEB) costs.

Belmont Center Reconstruction Project

Monday, Sept. 8, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Town Hall Auditorium, Town Hall, 455 Concord Ave.

Parking is available in the Town Hall Lot, along Concord Avenue, Moore Street and Pleasant Street as well as in the Claflin Street Parking Lot located behind Belmont Center.


Monday, Oct. 20, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.

During these informational sessions, Town Meeting members and others will have the opportunity to provide feedback and to share specific issues or concerns related to these topics. The comment section of the meeting will be structured to keep within the allotted time scheduled for the session.

Town Meeting members can e-mail any questions to prior to the meeting.

For more information, please contact the Board of Selectmen/Town Administrator’s Office at 617-993-2610.

Belmont Farmers Market Begins Fall Closing Time

Market Day in Belmont will close a half-hour earlier as it starts its Fall hours on Thursday, Sept. 4. The market will now be open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. The season lasts until Oct 30.

This week, the managers of the Belmont Farmers Market are asking shoppers to bring donations of non-perishables food and sundries for the Belmont Food Pantry to the Manager’s Tent. 

The market’s guest vendors this week are Still River Winery, @ DC Farm Maple Syrup, Sugar + Grain, Underwood Greenhouse and Seasoned and Spiced. They join the market’s weekly vendors:

No food truck this week, but stay tuned for Benny’s Crepe Cafe next week.

In the events tent

  • Tasting by Belmont’s own Cafe Burrito restaurant, 2 p.m.
  • The Farewells return with their mix of acoustic pop, folk and rock on voice and guitar, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The Belmont Public Library sponsors storytime for preschool and older children, 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

 The Farmers Market is located in Belmont Center parking lot at the intersection of Cross Street and Channing Road.


New Underwood Pool Out to Bid Again, With Fingers Crossed

Belmont Board of Selectman Chair Andy Rojas was not happy.

At a joint meeting Wednesday morning, Sept. 3, of the Selectmen and the Underwood Pool Building Committee – the citizens group organized last year to manage the design and development of a $5.2 million pool complex to replace the historic 102-year-old Underwood Pool – Rojas and his colleagues heard that due to the dubious last-minute withdrawal of the construction firm which submitted a below budget bid and other auxiliary issues, the budget for the voter-approved two-pool facility is currently $400,000 short of the new “low” bid.

“We weren’t expecting this,” said Adam Dash, vice chair of the Building Committee. “We had a bidder who meets our estimates and you think you’re done. Then the guy backs out.”

Because of the failure to secure a bid within the building committee’s $4.16 million construction budget and since the second round of bidding will occur, at the earliest, early in the New Year, any chance of Belmont residents wading into a new pool in the summer of 2015 is all but dead.

“I’m sorry to say that we will not have a pool next year,” said Anne Paulsen, chair of the Building Committee.

Conversations with the Belmont Health Department earlier this year said safety variances for the existing century-old Underwood Pool were approved by the town and OK’d by the state on the assumption a replacement facility would be up and running in 2015.

In an attempt to salvage the pool, the committee is moving to put the project – in a slightly different arrangement to satisfy state legal requirements – back out to bid for a second round in January. They will have their fingers crossed a new crop of builders will be eager to take the job within the budget.

“It’s a big bet, and I’m opposed to casinos,” said Paulsen.

“But we have been put into a corner, and we’re hoping to get out of the corner with some redesign and some assistance from the Board of Selectmen,” she said Tuesday night, Sept. 2 as the building committee met to prep for the joint meeting.

As for Rojas, he did not mince words placing a good proportion of the blame for this developmental “fail” square on the shoulders of the pool’s architect, Thomas Scarlata, principal at Bargmann Hendrie + Archetype, and the building committee’s project manager, Deborah Marai of Pinck & Co.

“There were only two people that are trained to have the experience necessary to [create a plan]; Scarlata and Pinck,” said Rojas, pointing specifically at the amount allocated to contingency costs – an amount in a project’s budget set aside to account for errors and omissions in the plans and to pay for unknown conditions such as an overheated market – as the prime culprit in the failure to secure a builder.

“I thought the contingency was way low, and if the contingency were higher, quite frankly, we’d be building a pool right now,” said Rojas, saying the pair’s financial assumptions were “well-below industry standards.”

According to committee documents, the construction contingency was $250,000 or about six percent of the total construction cost.

“Scarlata swore up and down that his contingency was high enough. I have no confidence in them anymore,” said Rojas.

“I hate to be correct on things like this,” Rojas said after the meeting. He said his experience, as a landscape architect, with state and federal projects of a similar size, requires 10 to 15 percent contingency “because they know there is a volatility in the bid environment.”

“[Scarlata] miscalculated the project. It was that simple. Just think if we had $600,000 in reserve. We would not be here,” said Rojas.

Yet Pinck’s Marai told the building committee Tuesday night the cost estimates, performed by two independent and veteran estimators, “were solid.”

In addition, the project did attract the interest of a bidder who was willing to work with the town’s numbers and two others “were really close,” said Marai.

Paulsen did express support for BH+A and Pinck, saying that while there are some who are disappointed with the contingency amount, “they have not said they haven’t done great work on this project.”

“We discussed the contingency with them ahead of time, and they thought they were quite responsible,” she said.

Just swimmingly until last week

Just a month earlier, it appeared to the Building Committee that the new municipal pool was proceeding swimmingly as Seaver Construction placed a bid of $3.84 million, well within the budget. And well below the two nearest bids, including one from New England Builders and Contractors, Inc. at $4.55 million.

Then within the past fortnight, the Woburn-based contractor suddenly withdrew its bid, stating it had made an error in its calculations, saying it had inadvertently left a “0” off – using $17,500 instead of $175,000 – for winterizing the site.

While correcting the mistake would allow Seaver to remain under budget, it told town officials that it would withdraw its bid rather than lower their profit margin.

Several in attendance Wednesday viewed Seaver’s claim as dubious, at best; the assumption is the company believed it was undercutting its profit margin severely after viewing the other bids that came in at approximately $4.6 million.

By Tuesday, Sept. 2, as the Building Committee gathered at Town Hall to prep for its meeting with the Selectmen, Paulsen informed the committee that she was “sorry we’re here with such grim news.”

The committee heard that the possibility of asking the November Special Town Meeting to approve an appropriation to make up the funding difference as well as creating a new set of design changes and calculations “is not realistic due to the tight time frame,” said Pinck’s Marai.

Marai presented three options to move forward; the committee rejected one – abandon the project and return the money to the town and CPA – out of hand.

The option to reduce the cost of the pool by the $400,000 gap was deemed so draconian that it would render the pool a shadow of the town resident’s expectation.

“The workarounds are just not worth it,” said Committee member Joel Mooney pointing out that even making significant cuts would result in added fees for new designs and consulting expenses.

The committee’s preferred alternative is to take a second bite of the apple by rejecting the current suitors, make just enough changes to the pool’s design to satisfy the state regulations requiring a second bid to be significantly different than the first and send the project out once again.

One major change being floated by Mooney is altering the number of pools from two to one, saving on pumps and filtration systems.

“But that is not a fait accompli,” said Paulsen, saying that is just a suggestion on reaching the state’s benchmark.

There is some belief that a January rebid will be more successful in ferreting out contractors who will be eager to work within a budget, said Marai. But, as stated at Tuesday’s meeting, the bidding process is unpredictable at the best of times.

“It could have been that the estimates were off because they weren’t anticipating a hot market or it’s just a bad time to bid. That’s the trouble. Once you go back out, you can’t anticipate what’s going to happen even if you make changes,” said Peter Castinino, director of the Department of Public Works.

“Darn this improved economy,” said Dash.

Selectman Mark Paolillo, who did not want to see the pool reduced in size and scope, suggested a public/private partnership be seriously explored to reduce the difference.

On Wednesday, the Selectmen were also eager to bring a wildcard into the mix, Town Meeting. The selectmen want the building committee to present a report at November’s Special Town Meeting and possibly to the general public this fall that includes scenario on changes, from minor alterations, significant cost reductions, and some which lie in the middle.

“If there are changes to the design, it must go to Town Meeting since they approved a specific design,” said Selectman Sami Baghdady.

As of now, the town can accept either of the two remaining bids until Sept. 26.

Belmont Town Administrator David Kale quipped that the town would welcome any resident making a grant for $400,000 to the project before the deadline.



Reminder from Belmont’s Town Clerk: There’s an Election Next Week

A reminder from Ellen Cushman, Belmont’s Town Clerk: The polls will be open in Belmont for the State Primary Election, Tuesday, Sept. 9 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please check the Town Clerk’s web pages for more information

Voting Locations

Precinct 1: Belmont Memorial Library, Assembly Room, 336 Concord Avenue

Precinct 2: Belmont Town Hall, Selectmens’ Meeting Room, 455 Concord Avenue

Precinct 3: Beech Street Center (Senior Center), 266 Beech Street

Precinct 4: Daniel Butler School, Gymnasium, 90 White Street

Precinct 5: Beech Street Center (Senior Center), 266 Beech Street

Precinct 6: Belmont Fire Headquarters, 299 Trapelo Road

Precinct 7: Mary Lee Burbank School, Gymnasium, 266 School Street

Precinct 8: Winn Brook School, Gymnasium, 97 Waterhouse Road (enter from Cross Street)

Did You Receive a Postcard from the Town Clerk This Summer?

Each voter in a household that did not return the 2014 Town Census was mailed a postcard asking for confirmation that the voter is still living in Belmont per Massachusetts General Law C. 51 §4. Those voters is now labeled as “inactive”, meaning that the voter must provide proof of identification and address prior to voting.  If you received that postcard and have not yet returned it, please do so immediately to re-activate your voting status if you’re still living in Belmont.  Returns received by Monday, Sept. 8 at noon will be recorded in the Sept. 9 voting list.

Absentee Voting Deadline Monday, Sept. 8 at Noon

Registered voters of Belmont who qualify to vote Absentee for the upcoming primary election may take advantage of the “in person absentee” option at the Town Clerk’s office or file an application to be mailed an absentee ballot. The request/application must contain the voter’s signature and must indicate the party of the ballot the voter requests if the voter is unaffiliated as a Democrat or Republican. Applications must be received by the Town Clerk by noon, Monday, Sept. 8.

Enforcement of the Pet License Law Underway

Per Belmont’s Bylaws, every dog and cat in Belmont must be licensed annually by March 15. Issuance of  $50 Non-Criminal Violations to owners of pets not licensed for 2014 is currently underway.  If you haven’t yet licensed your pet, please submit your license application, late licensing fee and required documents in person or by mail to the Town Clerk’s office at Town Hall, 455 Concord Avenue.  Renewals of licenses for pets with up-to-date Rabies Vaccinations can be performed online for a $1. 22 processing fee.  For application and complete information , please see the Town Clerk’s web pages and select the applicable pet license option.