The Aftermath: How to Get Rid of All That Holiday Cardboard in Belmont

Now that all your holiday presents are unwrapped, the Highway Division of the Belmont Public Works Department asks that residents recycle all of their cardboard in the following way:

  • All boxes must be flattened with a dimension smaller than 3 feet by three feet (3’X3′) about the size of your average four year old.
  • The cardboard must be cut, not folded, to make the above measurement.
  • If you have a great deal of cardboard, tie or tape them in stacks not higher than nine inches wide. Residents can leave an unlimited number of stacks for pickup.

Town Offices and One Library Closed on Boxing Day in Belmont

Town offices and the Belmont Public Library will be closed today, Boxing Day, in Belmont.

Belmont’s other library, the independent and volunteer-run Benton Library at the corner of Oakley and Old Middlesex, will be open today, Friday, Dec. 26, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for families and individuals to use and enjoy.

Thursday’s trash collection will occur today due to Christmas. 

The MBTA is running regular weekday service.

Cats LOVE Boxing Day.

You all should know by now that Boxing Day is not the annual organizing of rounds of fisticuffs to settle scores – you are likely thinking of the “Airing of Grievances” that is part of the Festivus Celebrations – but commemorating the custom in which tradespeople and servants received “Christmas boxes” of money or presents on the first weekday after Christmas as thanks for good service throughout the year. 

A paid holiday in the UK and most Commonwealth countries – the day is spent fox hunting, recovering from “making merry” the day before and watching “football on the telly” – the tradition was popular in Boston until the 1920s as my grandmother recalled receiving on the 26th a small, gold-colored wooden box with her yearly bonus in cash. She didn’t get to keep the box.

Humanity’s Victory: Commemorating the Christmas Truce of 1914

One-hundred years ago today, one of the most miraculous, magical events in the history of modern warfare occurred along stretches of the Western Front during World War I; soldiers on both sides of the conflict put aside their weapons and spontaneously ventured out onto “no-man’s-land” in a gesture of goodwill and peace associated with Christmas.

Watch the 2014 English video advertisement on The Christmas Truce of 1914.

In an examples of the facts being as true as the story told, in many locations along the 450 miles of trenches stretching along the French and Belgian countrysides, German and British soldiers declared an unofficial Christmas armistice of the fighting that began just four months before.

The first inkling of  began around midnight late Christmas Eve (the day most German’s celebrated the holiday) as German’s shouted out holiday greetings and could be heard singing Christmas songs and carols well known and loved by British including “Silent Night, Holy Night.” British soldiers began singing along through the night. British troops could also see the German’s decorating the wire with evergreen branches and candles.

According to countless accounts, letters and reports, on Christmas morning, Germans emerged from the shelter of the trenches to first wave, then cautiously cross onto the strip of land barely one hundred meters wide separating the two foes.

Writing to his mother, Capt. A. D. Chater of the 2nd Battalion Gordon Highlanders described “one of the most extraordinary sights anyone has ever seen.”

About 10 o’clock this morning I was peeping over the parapet when I saw a German, waving his arms, and presently two of them got out of their trench and came towards ours.

We were just going to fire on them when we saw they had no rifles, so one of our men went to meet them and in about two minutes the ground between the two lines of trenches was swarming with men and officers of both sides, shaking hands and wishing each other a happy Christmas.

I went out myself and shook hands with several of their officers and men,” wrote Chater wrote.

From what I gathered most of them would be glad to get home again as we should – we have had our pipes playing all day and everyone has been walking about in the open unmolested.”

Cigarettes and rations were exchanged, photos taken, in one instance a Brit gave a German a haircut and conversations took place about the war, home and loved ones. Unit buttons were traded and addresses provided. It was also a time for both sides to recover the remains of comrades who were killed earlier.

There is also references to soccer matches between the two sides at different locations with the writer’s side always winning.

It would be the one and only day-long truce to occur during the war that continued for almost four more years, resulting in the deaths of 37 million civilians and soldiers.

Many historians believe the truce took place as many of the combatants in the first few months of the war were professional soldiers rather than conscripts which came after the wholesale slaughter to tens of thousands in single day battles that would begin in the spring of 1915.

Both sides in the trenches saw the men across “No-Man’s Land” almost as respected, brave colleagues in the prosecution of battles.

And for one glorious day, the common humanity within all men triumphed over the call of war.

Boys’ Basketball Starts Fast, Races By Stoneham, 82-47

Simply put, this edition of Belmont High School Boys’ Basketball was too quick, too big, too skilled and too good for Stoneham High on Tuesday, Dec. 23 at the Wenner Field House, downing the visitors, 82-47.

Just how dominate was the Marauders? In the first four minutes of the game, the starting five outscored the Spartans, 15-0 (the squad was ahead 13-0 two minutes in) and Belmont Head Coach Adam Pritchard had five subs on the sidelines ready to give his starters an early Christmas-Eve Eve rest.

While Stoneham did cut the lead to 7 (15-8) with a minute left, a pair of threes from junior forward Cole Bartels upped the lead to 21-10 at the end of the half.

Then the starters came back in and senior point guard Ben Lazenby knocked down the next 7 points (a drive through the lane, a break away and a deep three) as the defense clamped down on Stoneham led by big man senior center Adam Kleckner who either harassed or rebounded everything that came his way.

A drive by Kleckner and a rare four point play (hitting the three while being fouled) from junior guard Matt Kerans saw led grow to 38-15. In came the subs and soon the lead expanded to 29 (48-19) thanks to a pair from Bartels just before the half and a game high of 32 (58-26) midway through the third.

“Yeah, we were good out there,” said Pritchard, noting that Stoneham is not a walkover as it defeated a strong Winchester team last week.

When asked what did the team gain in a blow out, Pritchard said “[o]ur goal is to get better with each game and what I saw tonight is that [the team] played unselfishly and every game you do that, you benefit.”

Pritchard was able to clear the bench for an extended period allowing reserve senior forward Pablo Reimers and sophomore Bryan Goodwin to hit towering threes and injured senior captain Tom Martin the chance to bang in his first basket of the year to the cheers of the crowd.

Belmont Girls’ Basketball ‘Niks’ Stoneham with Smothering ‘D’ in Win

Photo: Belmont’s sophomore guard Irini Nikolaidis drives to the basket in the Marauders’ 55-42 victory over Stoneham, Dec. 23, 2014. 

If one player on the Belmont High School Girls’ Basketball team epitomizes the style of defensive intensity that is becoming the team’s identity, it is an off-the-bench, in-your-face 10th grader.

“I just love playing defense,” said sophomore guard Irini Nikolaidis after being a spark-plug in the Marauders’ 55-42 victory over Stoneham at the Wenner Field House on Tuesday, Dec. 23.

The second-year varsity player is fast becoming a game-day headache to opposition point guards who challenge the Marauders. With a doggedness and athletic Esprit on the court, Nikolaidis faces up to opponents with long arms threatening to poke the ball or deflect a pass as she uses her quickness to stay in front of them.

“I tell the girls on the bench if they want to know how to play defense, they should watch [Nikolaidis],” said Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart, as the Marauders now stands at 2-1 with a match away with Reading High School on Friday, Jan. 2 next on the schedule.

Belmont took control of the game early as the team’s big front line of senior center Linda Herlihy, junior Sarah Stewart and senior Elena Bragg dominated the boards and transitioned nicely on offense as Stewart (6 points) and Herlihy (a double-double with 10 points and numerous rebounds) benefited from assists from freshman point guard Carly Christofori (6 points) who attacked the Spartan defense from inside and from the wings.

Up 16-11 after the first, Belmont spread the scoring around in the second with Nikolaidis hitting four of her 9 points, freshman Jenny Call (3 points) hitting a three for consecutive games and junior Samari Winklaar – who sang a wonderful rendition of the “National Anthem” before the game – buried a jumper for her 2 points to give Belmont a 32-21 lead at the half.

The Marauders’ team defensive pressure forced Stoneham to take outside shots and not able to utilize its best player, senior center Olivia Gaughan, who was held to 12 points.

The Marauders quickly upped its advantage to 17 points (38-21) in the first three minutes of the third quarter, led by forward Bragg who scored from inside, on the outside and via a great pass from fellow senior Sophia Eschenbach-Smith (2 points) to score six of her team-high 13 points in the third quarter, building Belmont’s lead to 45-28 at the end of the eight minutes.

The two-digit advantage allowed Hart to play the entire bench with scrappy junior guard Meghan Ferraro (1 point) scoring for the second of three games while the third freshman on the team, Gretta Propp (3 points), got on the scoring sheet with a basket and a made free throw.

As for Nikolaidis, the game comes down to going all out so not wanting to let down her teammates.

“I say to myself, ‘I have to get that ball,'” she said.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Services in Belmont

All Saints’ Church (Episcopal)
17 Clark St. (on Common Street)

Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 24

5 p.m.: Festival Holy Eucharist, children’s homily and children’s procession to the Creche. Seasonal music by the church’s choirs.

Christmas, Thursday, Dec. 25

10 a.m.: Quiet Contemplative Holy Eucharist

Belmont-Watertown United Methodist Church
421 Common St. (Cushing Square)
617-489- 0730

Christ Lutheran Church
597 Belmont Street (on Common Street)

Cornerstone Baptist Church
54 Brighton St.

Crossroads Evangelical Church

51 Lexington St.

First Armenian Church
380 Concord Ave.

Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 24

7 p.m.: Joint Christmas Eve Candlelight Service with Armenian Memorial Church at in Watertown.

First Baptist Church of Belmont
129 Lexington Street
(617) 484-1310

Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 24

5:30 p.m.: Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols.

First Church in Belmont, Unitarian-Universalist
404 Concord Ave.
617 484-1054

Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 24

Christmas Eve Candlelight Services: 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 6 p.m., 11 p.m.

Christmas, Thursday, Dec. 25

10:30 a.m.: Worship Service and Brunch with Rev. David M. Bryce

Payson Park Congregational Church
365 Belmont St.

Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 24

5:30 p.m.: Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

Plymouth Congregational Church
582 Pleasant St.

Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 24

5 p.m.: Family Christmas Service

11 p.m.: Candlelight Christmas Service

Saints Joseph and Luke Collaborative
130 Common St. and 132 Lexington St. 

Christmas Eve, Wednesday, Dec. 24

4 p.m.: St. Joseph (Church)

4 p.m.: St. Joseph (Hall)

4 p.m.: St. Luke

6 p.m.: St. Luke

Christmas Eve Midnight Mass
Midnight: St. Joseph

Christmas, Thursday, Dec. 25

8:30 a.m. St. Luke 

10:00 a.m. St. Joseph

11:00 a.m. St. Luke

Ambulance Base Approved for Pleasant Street, January Start Likely

Photo: Armstrong Ambulance Service’s CEO Richard Raymond speaking before the Belmont Zoning Board of Appeals, Dec. 22.

At a “special” meeting on Monday, Dec. 22, requested by the applicant, the Belmont Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved a Special Permit allowing Arlington’s Armstrong Ambulance Service to open a satellite base at 1010 Pleasant St. situated between Belmont Motors and Star Market.

The five vehicles – four basic medical transports and one advanced life support unit – stationed at the Belmont location are likely be ready to roll from the company’s ninth base sometime in January, according to ZBA staffer Ara Yogurtian.

The meeting was the continuation of the discussion earlier in the month at which the board asked for information on traffic impact and possible use of sirens from vehicles at the site.

The town requires a Special Permit since the zoning bylaw doesn’t cover this use and Armstrong would need to show how their operation would benefit the town, said Eric Smith, the ZBA chair.

Armstrong officials assured the board the vast majority of the vehicles activity takes place away from the office site.

“They will only be at Pleasant Street either in the garage or at the beginning and end of a shift. Other than that, they will be away from the base,” said Richard Raymond, Armstrong’s CEO.

Once leaving the Pleasant Street site, the four transports will be located in or near area hospitals such as the Lahey Clinic in Burlington or Cambridge’s Mount Auburn, nursing homes and dialysis centers handling non-emergency trips during their eight or sixteen hour shifts.

“Many of calls are from hospitals to transport patients back home and to other facilities,” said Raymond.

The single paramedic unit – which responds to emergencies and calls for medical assistance – will also be away from the base situated in and around Watertown pre-positioned in locations such as at Target and Stop & Shop. The unit is operational 24 hours a day and 365 days a year and “is fairly busy,” said Raymond.

Raymond told the ZBA members sirens are only used to “open the flow of traffic,” which doesn’t appear to be a problem on Pleasant Street. In addition, the “backup” alarm can be turned off by a member of the crew placing the ambulances in the garage bays.

The facilities for the ambulance crews at Pleasant Street will consist of a room with couches, chairs, television and a kitchenette. Vehicle maintenance is performed in Woburn. Oxygen tanks are stored in the garage as will medical equipment which will be delivered three times a week.

A legal requirement under state law is washing the vehicles after a shift, which the site allows as it has an existing oil/water separator, said Raymond.

There will be no public access to the office nor will there be signage. Fifteen reserved parking spaces next to the building are for Armstrong employees.

Once the Special Permit is written and submitted to the Office of Community Development – which could be completed in the next few days or within the week – a 21-day review begins after which the company can being operations.

Boys’ Ice Hockey Solid in Shutout Victory Over Stoneham for First Win

Sophomore goalie Cal Christofori backstopped a shutout Saturday afternoon, Dec. 20, as the Belmont High School Ice Hockey squad kept the lid on Stoneham’s forwards for a 2-0 victory at the “Skip.”

The win put the Marauders at .500 coming after a tough 3-2 home loss to Melrose High School in the season opener.

“It was easy for me since my [defense] played so well,” said Christofori.

The defense, led by top pair Adam Cronin and Trey Butler, took charge in clearing the front of the slot.

“Most of the shots I saw coming which is important and there was a lot that were blocked. Everyone did a great job,” Christofori.

While the game was a mostly even affair with equal numbers of scoring chances for each side, Belmont capitalized on their opportunities. With five minutes to go in the first, senior captain Brian Garrett pounced on the puck a Stoneham player whiffed clearing from a face-off to the left of Stoneham goalie Peter Barry and sent a snap shot by Barry’s stick hand blocker.

Belmont scored on the power play only two minutes into the second period when Garrett’s line mate, big senior center Joe Paolillo rocketed a shot by Barry to double the lead.

After the goal, the game got a bit chippy as penalties began piling up and emotions got the best of some players.

In the midst of that, Chistofori stayed calm, coming up with many routine saves along with a few tough ones including coming across and out of his crease to take a one-timer from the stick of Stoneham’s Mike Halpin in the final 90 seconds of the second period.

While Stoneham took the game to Belmont in the final 15 minutes seeking the equalizer, Belmont’s collective defense plan only allowed the Spartans a few clear cut chances in the period.

Former Macy’s Site On Schedule for Spring/Summer 2016 Re-Opening

Kevin Foley is a man on a mission; telling Belmont the former Macy’s site in Belmont Center will return from its current mothball state and will be filled with tenants.

But not in 2015.

The manager of Locatelli Properties who oversees the significant stake the company has in Belmont’s commercial hub, Foley came before Belmont’s Board of Selectmen last week to reiterate what he told the Belmontonian in October: the historic building which opened in 1941 to house a Filene’s Department Store and then Macy’s (Macy’s closed in January 2013) will soon be transformed  inside and out to attract at least four and up to eight commercial tenants.


“We are all excited about the future of the [site],” Foley told the board.

“My goal is to renovate the building and bring back the details,” he said, pointing to plans to re-establish large windows  along Leonard Street that were boarded up in the 1980s, as well as add architectural details to the facade.

“We are essentially bringing back … more store fronts to the street,” Foley told the board.

As he told a public meeting on Oct. 30, Foley said there will be “no substantive” exterior alterations to the building other than the creation of a vestibule on the parking side of the building to assist people entering the top and lower floors of the complex.

Locatelli has received the go-ahead from the Zoning Board of Appeals to move forward on the plans.

When asked about possible tenants – there will be nearly 50,000 square feet of retail space in the new structure – Foley remained mum, only saying “that everyone is asking me the same question.”

Foley does not rule out either national, regional or independent retailers or a restaurant becoming tenants. He has time to ponder which business will be coming to Belmont Center.

“Right now, I’m hoping spring or summer 2016 to open,” he said.




Belmont Boys’ Basketball Throws 6s, Again, in Home Opener Win Over Melrose

Photo: Belmont High School’s senior center Adam Kleckner grabs an offensive rebound vs. Melrose in the Marauder’s 66-50 win on Dec. 19, 2014. 

The number 66 is a spheric, triangular, hexagonal and a semi-meandric number. And being a multiple of a perfect number, 66 is itself a semiperfect number.

It is also been the number of points the Belmont High School Boys’ Basketball have averaged in their first two victories of the 2014-15 season. That calculation is a simple one as the Marauders have scored 66 points in those consecutive games.

On Friday afternoon, Dec. 19, at Belmont’s home opener against a scrappy Melrose High team, the Marauders led from start to finish, going ahead 11-1 before exploding for 27 points in the third quarter to win easily, 66-50, at the friendly, linoleum court confines of Wenner Field House.

“Don’t take anything away from Melrose. They are a good team with a great shooter [Cody Andrews, who topped all scorers with 23 points),” said Belmont Head Coach Adam Pritchard.

“We got our break going and grabbed the rebounds we needed to play our game plan,” said Pritchard.

And that game over the first two matches this season is speed and muscle as junior guard Matt Kerans came off a sub-par game (for him) at Watertown to match senior All-Star center Adam Kleckner in scoring both from the outside and close to the basket. While Kerans connected for a trio of treys for 9 of his 17 points, the big man (6-foot, 5-inches) Kleckner buried a pair from beyond the arc to round out a workman-like 13 points and a gaggle of rebounds.

After jumping out to a 10 point lead midway through the opening frame, Belmont kept the 10 point margin through the first half with starting third guard Jaemar Paul (12 points) sinking two treys and senior sub Peter Durkin going four-for-four from the line.

After Andrews’ five baskets in the second quarter cut the lead to eight at the half, 30-22, the Marauders displayed an ability to step on the gas and put the breaks on the opponent’s offense in the third quarter as Belmont outscored the Red Raiders, 27-11, as the team hit six threes, lead by the two-way play of senior guard Ben Lazenby (13 points) who scored 10 points (including two threes), dished out assists and created two steals.

By the end of the quarter, the benches started emptying for both teams.

“I wish I could say that it was all coaching that gives us the edge in second halfs  but I would be lying,” said Pritchard.

“[The players] know what needs to be done and they push themselves. There’s no big secret,” he said.