Belmont High Athletes Honored For Assisting Chenery Runner to Compete

Photo: A representative of the MIAA with (not in order) Danielle Baiany, Reagan Haight and Jenna Magno and Natalie Peterson last week. 

A quartet of Belmont High athletes was honored by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association for allowing a visually impaired Chenery Middle School runner to compete in her sport this fall.

Seniors Danielle Baiany, Reagan Haight and Jenna Magno and junior Natalie Peterson were recognized with the MIAA Educational Athletics Achievement Award for Community Service and Leadership at last week’s Pep Rally.

The four worked together to support a 7th-grade runner so she could not just participate in the races but to practice with her peers, making themselves available so she could be a member of the team. The high schoolers would talk to the runner and help her navigate courses that were more tactical and challenging for a runner with limited vision.

“They embraced the opportunity and had been a reliable support so that the athlete has been able to participate … without hindrances,” noted the MIAA.

“These four student-athletes are models of how their service not only impacts the individual they are supporting and their community but also benefits them as well.”

School Committee to Ponder Pre-Labor Day District Opening in ’17

Photo: The Belmont School Committee

Long standing end-of-summer activities of Belmont families could be put on hold next year as a majority of the Belmont School Committee spoke favorably of opening the town’s six public schools the week before Labor Day next September.

The committee’s unofficial consensus came as the school administration presented a draft of next school year’s calendar to the group at its scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

Under the proposed timetable, the 2017-18 school year would begin on Wednesday, Sept. 6, one of the latest opening in many years as Labor Day will be celebrated on Monday, Sept. 4. The late start will also mean kindergarteners would not have a full day until Monday, Sept. 11.

“That’s a long way before classes start,” said Belmont Assistant Superintendent Janice Darias.

The final day of school without snow days included will be Wednesday, June 13. With the traditional five snow days added, the school year ends on Wednesday, June 20, the day before summer.

High School graduation would be on Sunday, June 3, 2018.

While praising the preliminary Almanac, the late start allowed Superintendent John P. Phelan to reiterate a long-standing personal preference that students and teachers benefit from a pre-Labor Day start to the school year.

Phelan said holding two full days of classes on the Wednesday and Thursday before Labor Day allows students “to get all the hot air” out of their systems before the long holiday weekend.

Psychologically, the “first-day worries” experienced by students and teachers are out of the way, and the students are “in school” during the first full week in September, said Phelan.

While traditionally the case against a pre-Labor Day start was predicated on families being on long vacations and in camp up until the holiday, many students, especially in the high school, are active with school events before the holiday. All the fall sports programs have begun training with many scheduling scrimmages and attending pre-season tournaments while the 100-plus member marching band is perfecting their routine during the same period.

And due to the lateness of Labor Day, many local and out-of-state camps will have shut down weeks before and sent the children home.

An earlier start “helps working parents” who have two to three weeks to fill before traditional school starts.

Phelan also noted teachers and staff “liked starting before Labor Day” as it allows them to finish perfunctory classroom matters during the short week and start original studies on the Tuesday after the holiday.

For the majority of school committee members, the change – which would go against district policy to start the school year after Labor Day – is well worth considering.

“I’m more than willing to explore” changing the start of the school year, said Committee member Tom Caputo. Susan Burgess-Cox noted in her family her daughter, entering first grade in September, “had a stomach ache” over the Labor Day weekend due to the anxiety attending a new school while her niece in Acton benefited from two days before the long holiday to explore her new school.

Darias said she would present at least one alternative calendar with students in classes on Wednesday, Aug. 30, (teachers and staff would begin Monday, Aug. 28) at the next school committee meeting on Dec. 13.

Belmont Police Seek Help In Belmont Street Hit and Run Tuesday

Photo: Location of the hit and run incident on Tuesday, Nov. 29. (Google map)

The Belmont Police Department is seeking the help of the public to identify the operator of a motor vehicle that struck a pedestrian on Belmont Street near the intersection of Belmont and Worcester streets.

The pedestrian was struck at 4:45 p.m. while crossing Belmont Street near Linda’s Donuts. After striking the individual, the suspect vehicle did not stop and continued heading eastbound towards Cambridge.

“The pedestrian was transported to the hospital and is expected to recover,” said Belmont Asst. Chief James MacIsaac.

If you have any information pertaining to the vehicle in question or its operator, please contact the Belmont Police at 617-993-2501 or leave a message on our tip line: 617-993-2569 or email:


Turn Out to Turn On the Town’s Center This Thursday

Photo: Santa and a tentative fan.

Belmont Savings Bank and the Belmont Center Business Association are hosting the 26th annual ‘Turn on the Town” holiday tree lighting on Thursday evening, Dec. 1.

The night’s events – including the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus on a Belmont Fire truck at 6:20 p.m., food, singing and a petting zoo – will take place on Leonard Street between Channing Road and Alexander Avenue from 5:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

After turning on the lights on the holiday tree located next to the Bellmont Cafe, the Claus’ will head over to the Belmont Savings Bank – the event’s main sponsor – headquarters at 2 Leonard St. where children (and adults and a few pets) can have free photos taken with Jolly Ol’ St. Nick.

In this season of giving, RE/MAX Leading Edge is sponsoring the annual Belmont Food Pantry Drive where it will match any cash/check donations that they collect for the Belmont Food Pantry with a matching gift to the Foundation for Belmont Education. RE/MAX will be collecting donations in front of Il Casale at the former fire stationaa

Join Plymouth Church’s Great Holiday Cookie Bake Off This Saturday

Photo: A classic from the Great British Bake Off Show (credit BBC)
Calling all bakers; here is your opportunity to claim the title of cookie champ of Belmont. 
On Saturday, Dec. 3, Plymouth Congregational Church will be hosting a Christmas Cafe and Holiday Cookie Bakeoff from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Boston Foodies photographer and blogger Tiffany Lopinsky – who has more than 80,000 Instagram followers – will take on the Mary Berry role as the special guest bakeoff judge along with the public for the cookie tasting.
Professional and amateur bakers may submit entries here before noon, Friday, Dec. 2. Winners will have photos of their cookies posted on Boston Foodies.
Food offerings include home baked breads, luncheon with soup, sandwiches and salad and cookie tasting for dessert. Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the church, located at 582 Pleasant St.
Kids crafts and games will be available from 10 a.m. to noon. Kids can make a gift for someone special for $2. Boy Scouts will be selling wreaths at the Cafe entrance.

Letter to the Editor: ‘Belmont’s Poll Workers and Election Staff are Amazing’

Photo: Belmont poll workers this November.

To the editor:

Dear Neighbors and Belmont voters: 

While many Americans are focused on the results and change of power as a result of the Nov. 8 Presidential election, I call special attention to our fellow Belmont neighbors who served as election workers to guarantee the rightful exercise of our treasured right to vote. They did a fabulous job and need to be recognized for their work:

The official election results for Belmont have been finalized:

82.41 percent of Belmont’s voters cast ballots in the Nov. 8 election. That’s 14,691 residents – of whom more than 6,100 voted during the 11-day Early Voting period. The conclusion – a vigorously active electorate and even more amazing election workers and staff. We enjoyed expert assistance from many town departments, but most particularly the Police, Public Works, Fire, Library, Council on Aging, School Department, Facilities, Treasurer, Information Technology, Community Development, Selectmen’s office, even the Health Department. Lastly, the members of the press/media covering Belmont, each of our media outlets, got the word out to our residents to let them know the details of voting which really made a difference.

More than 115 election workers were trained and ready to go; 99 actually wound up working during the Early Voting Period or on election day itself along with the fantastic, hard-working staff of the Town Clerk’s office:

  • Rising before the sun to arrive at the polls by 6 a.m. and be open to voters by 7 a.m.;
  • Happily greeting every voter;
  • Checking in and out thousands of voters (14,691 to be exact), some routine, some needing extra help;
  • Researching voter information so voters who needed to go to a different precinct or community to vote could do so;
  • Helping voters who needed a little physical help or extra time;
  • Expertly responding to hundreds of phone calls from precinct election workers and voters from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Election Day and many days before and after;
  • Discreetly opening and tabulating more than 6,000 Early Voting ballots, while ensuring a secret ballot for voters;
  • Posting signs, now-famous blue arrows for Early Voting;
  • Giving up hours at home with family in the evenings and even holiday weekends;
  • Scheduling the workers like an air traffic controller;
  • Processing and mailing 1,300 absentee ballots, including those to members of the military and overseas citizens;
  • Registering  2,500 new voters since Jan. 1, 2016 and deleting many more so they could vote in their new communities;
  • Keeping everyone’s spirits buoyed, even when face-to-face with an angry voter when we made a mistake;
  • Closing out the polls, accounting for every ballots and all the legal requirements so we could post Belmont’s results to the website;
  • Hand counting 2,000 ballots for the state’s mandated Post-Election Audit when Belmont’s Precinct 2 was randomly selected, with fabulous result.
  • Most importantly, enjoying one another’s company and looking forward to working the next Belmont election.

We are extremely proud of the work these folks accomplished to make Belmont’s election a huge success with accurate results and we thank them sincerely for their efforts, their attitude and their willingness to participate so wonderfully in this open election process.  When you see them around town, we encourage you to thank them in person.

With thanks and in awe of: Janet Bauer, Ann Beaudoin, Bruce Bell, Lily Benderskaya, Will Bielitz, Walter Bishop, Deborah Blumberg, Dorothy Boyle, Terrence Boyle, Carolyn Bunyon, Mary Butler, Katherine Chaprales, Rick Chasse, Meg Cole, Melinda Comeau, Elaine Crisafi, Elaine Dalaklis, Nancy Davis, Peg Demeritt, Janet Demers, Sheila Doctoroff, Mary Dominguez, Marjory Doyle, Theodore Dukas, Hildy Dvorak, Brenda Dzierzeski, Ron Eckel, Mary Ehler, Naomi Ellenberg-Dukas,  Deborah Falvey, Eilen Farrell, Ernest Fay, Angleo Firenze, Jenna Flanagan, Mary Gavin, Andreas Geovanos, Angela Giovannangelo, Carolyn Geenberg, Suzanne Greenberg, Viktoria Haase, Jane Haverty, Steve Hodgdon, Eleanor Howe, Phil Hughes, Priscilla Hughes, Martha Jacovides, Michael Jacovides, Barbara Johnson, Frances June Jones, Ed Kazarian, Maura Kelley, Elizabeth Kenrick, Janice Knight, Loretta Kravitz, Charles R. Laverty, III, Katy Liang, Warren Logan, Theresa Lorden, Paula Lyons, Janet Macdonald, Anne Marie Mahoney, Patricia Maloney, Zenda Mancini, Ann Marinelli, Markar Markarian, Marshall McCloskey, Robert McKie, Joan McLaughlin, Charlotte Millman, Robin Moore, Gerard Morin, Michael Nasson, Linda Oates, Christine O’Neill, Diane Orfanos, Jennifer Page, Mary Paolillo, Cindy Papa, Dawn Perry, Judy Rizzo, Anne Rosenberg, Phil Rossoni, Brian Saper, Joseph Scali, Maryann Scali, Carolyn Scarbro, Ruth Scarfo, Catherine Sclafani, John Robert Scordino, Judy Singler, Barbara Skelley, Clare Stanley, Hope Stone, Elizabeth Sullivan, Matt Sullivan, Susan Sullivan, Michael Trainor, Paula Van Horn, Dolores Vidal, Wei Wang,  Michael Wissner and Catherine Zevitas.

Town Clerk Staff: Dan Cane, Nancy Casale and Meg Piccione.

Belmont Savings’ ‘Turkey Brigade’ Made Deposits at Local Branches

Photo: (from left) Belmont Savings’ Hal Tovin, COO; Sam Murphy, executive customer support; Katie Conachy, branch manager; and Bob Mahoney, president and CEO.

On Tuesday, Nov. 22, Belmont Savings Bank President and CEO Bob Mahoney under the guise of Plymouth Pilgrim took his annual Thanksgiving tour of the bank’s branches in Belmont, Waltham, Watertown, Cambridge and Newton as he and his “Turkey Brigade” delivered turkeys to employees for the holiday.

The turkeys were fresh from Bob’s Turkey Farm in Lancaster, Mass. Turkeys that colleagues opted to donate went to the Waltham YMCA.

Belmont High Musicians, Singers Selected To High Level Ensembles

Photo: Musicians from Belmont.

After recent outstanding performances, Belmont High School music students were selected to appear in senior district festivals, recommended for state-wide ensembles and accepted to a national regional chorus, according to Arto Asadoorian, director of visual & performing arts for the Belmont Public Schools.

“Congratulations to all of the students listed above for the hours of practice that led to this honor, to the teachers whose dedication and expertise helped to guide them, and to their families for their continual support and encouragement over the years,” said Asadoorian.

“It is rare for a school district to have so many music students achieve at such a high level,” said Asadoorian.

  • Belmont High School vocalists Mary Galstian, Georgia Parsons and Connor Quinn were accepted to perform in the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) All-Eastern Festival, in April in Atlantic City. This festival selects the most accomplished musicians from high school programs in the east coast to perform together during this four day event. 
  • On Saturday, Nov. 19, 128 students from Belmont High School auditioned for the Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) Northeast Senior District Festival, which takes place in January at UMass Lowell. Students who are selected to perform in these ensembles are recognized as the most outstanding vocalists and instrumentalists in the region. This year, 51 students from Belmont High School were accepted, and that 20 of those students received All-State Recommendations. This allows them the opportunity to audition for the MMEA All-State Festival later this winter. The following students were accepted to perform in the Senior District Festival. (*denotes All-State Recommendation).
  • Idris Abercrombie            Trombone
  • Charlotte Alexin                Bassoon
  • Merrill, Barnes                  Chorus
  • James Boyle                       Chorus
  • Samantha Casey               Trombone
  • Jessica Chen                      Viola
  • Ben Crocker                       Chorus
  • Ziyoung Cui                        Violin
  • Eleanor Dash*                   Trumpet
  • Justin Dong*                      Clarinet
  • Joia Findeis                        Viola
  • Mary Galstian*                  Chorus
  • Chris Giron                         Bassoon
  • Hisako Gutterman*          Trombone
  • Anthony Haddad*             Jazz Bass
  • Sammy Haines*                 Chorus
  • Eva Hill                                Chorus
  • Wonyoung Jang*               Euphonium
  • Eliza Jones*                        French Horn
  • Nate Jones*                        Jazz Trombone
  • Daniel Klingbeil                 Cello
  • Elizabeth Knight*              String Bass
  • Daniel Lay                           Violin
  • Oliver Leeb*                        Chorus
  • Raffi Manjikian                  Chorus
  • Kevin Martin                      Chorus
  • Andrew Mazzone               String Bass
  • Linnea Metelmann*          French Horn
  • Matthew Miller                  Clarinet
  • Tina Noonan*                     Chorus
  • Alex Park*                           Jazz Trumpet
  • Georgia Parsons                 Chorus
  • Calvin Perkins*                  Trumpet
  • Olivia Pierce                       Chorus
  • Audrey Quinn                     Violin
  • Connor Quinn                    Chorus
  • Paul Rhee                            Violin
  • Josh Ryan                           Chorus
  • Becca Schwartz                  Chorus
  • Lila Searls                           Alto Saxophone
  • Ned Searls                           Trumpet
  • Edward Stafford*              Chorus
  • Ian Svetkey                         Chorus
  • Gillian Tahajian                 Flute
  • Walker Thomas*               Trumpet
  • Evan Wagner                     Trumpet
  • Amanda Wan                     Violin
  • Alan Wang                          Bass Clarinet
  • Alex Wilk*                          Viola
  • Amy Wu*                            Oboe
  • Yanzhe Xu*                        Bass Clarinet

“This level of student recognition is a testament to the commitment our school district and community have made to music education over several decades, and should serve as a source of pride for the entire town,” he said.


Belmont Garden Club’s Holiday Garden Tour on Saturday, Dec. 3

Photo: Arrangement for the holidays.

This Saturday, Dec. 3, the Belmont Garden Club is hosting a Holiday House Tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m..

Five Belmont homes will be beautifully decorated for the season with greens, floral and craft designs by club members. Come and enjoy a self-guided tour filled with creative and inspiring ideas.

Advance tickets are on sale for $35 at Champion Sporting Goods or by calling 617-484-4889. On the day of the tour, tickets may be purchased for $40 at the Belmont Public Library from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. where all ticket holders can pick up tour maps. 

The Holiday House Tour is Belmont Garden Club’s biggest fundraiser for the year with proceeds supporting civic programs such as community plantings, hospital therapy with the residents of Belmont Manor, college scholarships and the Woodland Garden at the Belmont Public Library.  

For more information please visit the club’s website.


Sold in Belmont: Double the Size, Double the Price

Photo: Bulking up on Cedar.

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


 222 Prospect St., Brick/frame modified Colonial (1936). Sold: $1,210,000. Listed at $1,100,000. Living area: 2,914 sq.-ft. 9 rooms, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths. On the market: 61 days.


96 Winter St., Ranch/Cape (1950). Sold: $700,000. Listed at $789,900. Living area: 1,885 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 160 days.


64 Channing Rd., Second-floor condo (1952). Sold: $450,000. Listed at $459,000. Living area: 952 sq.-ft. 5 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 baths. On the market: 68 days.


69 Cedar Rd., Renovated Colonl (1920). Sold: $1,880,000. Listed at $2,100,000. Living area: 4,588 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths. On the market: 109 days.


90 Wellesley Rd., Split-level ranch (1963). Sold: $1,400,000. Listed at $1,289,000. Living area: 4,149 sq.-ft. 8 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 5.5 baths. On the market: 74 days.

• • • 

One year ago this month, the near-century-old house on Cedar Road just off Goden – midway between the Chenery and the Wellington schools – caught the attention of a friendly developer who bought the structure with an idea of building big.


But rather than knocking the current structure down and constructing some monster truck version of a residential house on the site, the team had another option on hand: an ample backyard. With a lot size of 9,000 sq.-ft. – as opposed to the 7,000 sq.-ft. the developer of 185 Dalton Rd. (that hideous blue whale of a house) was able to use – the developer was able to expand outward into a lawn. In fact, the addition cobbled onto the rear of the original house at 2,500 sq.-ft. is a bit more than your average Belmont colonial.

screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-12-49-24-pm screen-shot-2016-11-28-at-12-49-53-pm

Let’s look at the tale of the tape:

House sq.-ft.:

  • 2015: 2,024
  • 2016: 4,588

Total Rooms/Bed/Bath:

  • 2015: 8/4/1.5
  • 2016: 11/5/5.5

Assessed value/Final sale price

  • 2015: $869,000/$891,000
  • 2016: N/A/$1,880,000

The end result, within a year’s time, the sales price for the newly-renovated house doubled.

So you can commend the developer’s effort to use the existing facade/frame to keep the house in the same scale from at least the street as its neighbors while providing wealthy buyers all the unnecessary space and soon-to-be-empty rooms they demand. Unless you have half a dozen kids, why do you need 4,500 sq.-ft?