Town To Peer Review Toll Bros. Plan To Clean Cushing Village Land

Revised on Tuesday, Jan. 24 to update status of RAM material.

Photo: A public meeting Tuesday will discuss how the land of the future Cushing Village be cleaned to allow construction to begin.

The Belmont Board of Selectmen voted Monday, Jan. 24, to hire an environmental firm to peer review the state-approved plan developer Toll Brothers will use to clean the contaminated property where the 167,000 sq.-ft. Cushing Village project will be built.

The remediation plan along with an initial schedule for the project will be presented at a public meeting scheduled for tonight, Tuesday, Jan. 24, at the Beech Street Center. The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m.

The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m.

Selectmen Chair Mark Paolillo said he and some residents felt it would be prudent for the town to have an independent licensed site professional (LSP) conduct “a town-sponsored review” of the developer’s Release Abatement Measure (RAM) Plan. The plan details the environmental contaminates in the property located in the heart of Cushing Square and how the firm’s contractors will remediate the land, so it is safe to build the three building development. 

An LSP oversees the assessment and cleanup of contamination property. More information on what an LSP does can be found at the LSP Association website.

The plan details the environmental contaminates in the property located in the heart of Cushing Square and how the firm’s contractors will remediate the land, so it is safe to build the three building development. 

Besides retail stores, a supermarket and a municipal parking lot, the property also was one home to dry cleaners.

The draft Cushing Village RAM will be sent to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection by Toll Brothers’ LSP after the 20-day comment period. It would then take a week for the state to approve the RAM.

“I’d like [Belmont’s LSP] to look at the RAM” that will occur during a state-mandated 20-day comment period that starts when the plan is presented to residents and business owners Tuesday night, said Paolillo.

While the state prohibits additional language or requirements from being added to the abatement plan, Toll Brothers “have expressed to [the town] it wants to be collaborative” and would seriously consider concerns from the town’s professional, said David Kale. Belmont town administrator. 

“The RAM is what the RAM is,” said Paolillo, “we just want to provide our comments.”

Belmont Under Wind Advisory til’ Tuesday, Outages Possible

Photo: Trees could be coming down due to high winds.

The National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for Belmont as a power storm that swept through the Southeast US will be blowing through New England beginning Monday afternoon, Jan. 23, 

The advisory, which was issued at 5:11 p.m. Monday, will remain in effect until 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Steady winds from the northeast between 20 mph and 30 mph with gusts up to 55 mph will occur between 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

“These winds will be capable of downing a few trees and may result in isolated power outages … [and] may also cause localized property damage,” said the NWS advisory.

Belmont Light customers who are experiencing an outage should call Belmont Light’s emergency line at 617-993-2800

Town Election 2017: Dash Enters Selectmen’s Race, Shuster Pulls Papers for School Committee

Photo: Adam Dash delivering nomination papers to the Town Clerk’s Office.

Early Monday morning, Jan. 23, saw the usual hustle and bustle at the Town Clerk’s Office in Belmont: the Town Clerk was upstairs at Town Hall officiating at a wedding, the staff were staying busy in coats and sweaters as the building’s new boiler was on the fritz for the third time in a month, and numerous town officials were stopping by to ask questions.

In among the beehive of activity, Belmont voters were rewarded with a competitive race for the Board of Selectmen. Adam Dash presented Town Clerk Ellen Cushman – back in the office with newlyweds in tow – with 154 signatures from resident registered voters, all but assuring the Goden Street resident will be on the April 4 ballot with Woodfall Road’s Guy Carbone to battle it out for the single Selectmen’s seat up for grabs this year.

“It was fun knocking on doors and speaking to the residents,” said Dash, a longtime resident and an attorney with a practice in Somerville. Dash will officially launch his campaign on Saturday, Jan. 28, 3 p.m. at Patou Thai restaurant in Belmont Center.

Who hasn’t taken out nominations papers? It is the incumbent for Selectman, Sami Baghdady. Baghdady has been steadfast in not being pressured to say one way or another if he will seek a second  three-year term.

Who has taken out papers is Elyse Shuster, one of two incumbents – the other is Thomas Caputo – currently on the board. It’s not known if Shuster – who has been reluctant to make a public announcement on a return to the committee – will be seeking to challenge Caputo for a full three-year term or run for the two years remaining on her seat.

As for Dash, he finally got to meet his very experienced challenger as Carbone “crashed” the dropping off event – actually, he just came to do some research. A handshake, and then another for the cameras. 

“We get to meet. Wonderful,” said Carbone to Dash.

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One Dead in Three-Alarm Fire at Trapelo Road Two Family [VIDEO]

Photo: Firefighters inspecting the house at 606-608 Trapelo Rd. where a man died in a fire.

An early morning three-alarm fire that gutted a two-story house on Trapelo Road killed a person, according to the Belmont Fire Department.

The 4 a.m. blaze at 606-608 Trapelo Rd. located at the corner of Agassiz Street just outside of Waverley Square took the life of a man who possibly lives there, according to Belmont Fire Chief David Frizzell.  

“Tragically, fire deaths do occur due to preventable causes. Fire alarms do help, but they need to in the correct location and operating,” said Frizzell at the scene. 

Fire units from Cambridge, Arlington, Waltham, Lexington, and Watertown assisted Belmont in fighting the blaze.

Frizzell said when fire units arrived at the scene, the attic and second floors were fully involved with flames coming out of the windows. 

Initially, the building’s occupants reported that everyone had escaped the fire, but it was soon determined a person who reportedly resided on the top floor did not make it out.

After the flames had been knocked down, firefighters found the man’s body in the third floor/attic space.

Belmont Fire and Police are in the process of determining the man’s relationship to the building, said Frizzell. 

Frizzell said it appeared the building had fire alarms, but it will have to determined later if they were functioning at the time of the fire. His department will also be investigating the cause of the fire as well as the relationship of the third-floor living space was to the second floor. 

The 2,500 sq.-ft. structure built in 1913 included a fully finished attic, according to the Belmont Assessing Department. 

Frizzell said the third floor was heavily damaged and there was significant water damage to the second and first floors. 

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Sports: Boys’, Girls’ Hoops Push To Playoffs By Rocketing By Reading

Photo: Sophomore guard Daniel Yardemian scoring against Reading.

After a brief respite for midterms from Middlesex League play, Belmont High Basketball teams got back on the court Friday, Jan. 20, to continue their march towards the playoffs with dual victories over Reading Memorial High.

Boys batter Charlestown, out work a physical Rocket squad

Belmont Head Coach Adam Pritchard said when he looks to out-of-league games to play, he tries to schedule the toughest teams he can.

“I have to play the best to be the best,” he said targeting “city” teams the squad would be punching-up in games.

Earlier in the season, the Marauders took on Everett (83-67 loss) and New Bedford (55-52 win) before heading to Boston’s Cathedral High School for a match on Sunday, Jan. 15, against an 8-3 Charlestown team. In the pregame warm-ups, the Townies had three players demonstrating various dunk shots in front of a Belmont team that might have a single player who could slam the ball on the rare occasion.

But the BABC Winter Classic matchup proved to be a showcase for Belmont’s captain and senior center Paul Ramsey who scored 19 points in the first quarter, hitting five baskets and nine free throws in just eight minutes as Belmont took a 28-19 lead over the Division 1 powerhouse.

But equally as important was Ramsey play against Charlestown’s big men putting them in foul trouble and forcing them to sit for long stretches.

“[Ramsey] is a special player because he plays both ends of the court,” said Pritchard.

Ramsey stayed hot in the second with nine more points (of a game-high 34 points) followed by eight from junior forward Tomas Donoyan (19 points) and exciting sophomore Daniel Yardemian (12 points) with six as the Marauders built its lead to 15, 52-37, at the half.

Belmont bombed away with three 3s from Donoyan, senior Cal Christofori (4 points) and senior guard Nick Volante (3 points) while its swarming defense left Charlestown with only 12 points in the third quarter giving Belmont a big cushion of 22 points entering the fourth. 

“It was a satisfying win against a class team,” said Pritchard. 

Belmont came home on Friday and dealt a physical and tall Reading squad an 11 point loss, 71-60, in a tight game until the final four minutes of the fourth quarter.

Belmont relied on Christofori who scored 14 points that included several spinning drives and one long range 3 to give the Marauders an 11 point margin at the half. Belmont outscored Reading 9-1 in the final 2:17 of the second as senior guard Bryan Goodwin (3 points) drained an NBA-range 3 pointer and junior forward Will Ellet (7 points, 4 in the second) came off the bench to spark the offense.

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Reading came out for the third going to their big man, 6’4″ senior center Corey DiLoreto (who like Christofori plays football, hoops and baseball) who scored four of his 10 points in the third, which allowed guard junior guard Matt Panacopoulus (14 points) to slash to the basket, scoring twice and going to the free throw line twice going 4-4. Reading cut the lead to 2, 49-47, with 10.5 seconds remaining, which was 10.4 seconds enough for Yardemian to hit a 15 footer with no time on the clock. 

The rough and tumble game resulted in a confrontation for the ball midway through the quarter in which Chistofori and senior Joe Bradley got a bit too physical resulting in Bradley being assessed a technical foul.

Reading cut the lead to 2, 49-47, with 10.5 seconds remaining, which was 10.4 seconds enough for Yardemian to hit a 15 footer with no time on the clock. 

“We were playing one-on-one basketball which allowed [Reading] which is a very good team to come back,” said Pritchard. “But this team has shown they can regroup without panicking.”

The fourth quarter was a tightly fought affair until midway through when a Yardemian stop and pop, a Hamparian 3 pointer, one of two from the line by Ellet and a pair of free throws from Christofori basically put the game on ice, 64-57, with two minutes to go. 

“It’s great to have a sophomore [Yardemian] who can come off the bench as a point guard and wants to drive to the basket,” said Pritchard.

Next up for Belmont is a home game vs. Burlington on Tuesday, Jan. 24 at 6 p.m.

Another game, another player steps up for Marauders as Girls’ push back Rockets

Someone should tell junior captain and all-star point guard Carly Christofori about the concept of  “bulletin-board material.”

It all started when the Belmont High Girls’ basketball team won a contest – the High School Hoops Challenge – to appear on a Boston radio station 103.3 AMP Radio. While there, which included Jenny Call beating the DJ (that would be “JD” the DJ) in a free-throw contest, Christofori was asked to predict the score of the upcoming match with Reading.

“170,000 to 3,” said Christofori.

“I thought, ‘Let’s hope Reading’s not listening,'” said Belmont Head Coach Melissa Hart.

This edition of Reading is nothing like the team Belmont met two years ago when the Marauders nearly shut out the Rockets, allowing a single three-pointer to lead 23-3 at the half and then stretching it to 37-3 advantage midway through the third quarter in the 2015 game.

This season Reading found a shooter in sophomore forward Haley Lightbody and plays a very physical game on both ends of the court, bringing in a 5-3 record as it hosted Belmont Friday.

Belmont ran off to a slim 17-15 lead after one quarter before Lightbody (with a game high 18 points) started scoring as it looked that Reading would take a three point lead into the half before junior forward Greta Propp scored to keep the game within one.

It was Propp on the inside (who finished with a team-high 14 points) and sophomore center Jess Giorgio (12 points and numerous rebounds) dominating the key that brought back Belmont to retake the lead by four points entering the fourth, 43-39, before pulling away through Christofori going to the free throw line, winning by 11, 56-45.

Propp’s breakout performance – after having been sick for a few weeks – was the second time in two games in which player came off the bench to top the team in scoring; senior guard Riley Haight scored a game-high 13 (including a trio of 3s) in Belmont’s doubling up of Winchester, 68-34, last Friday.

Belmont will be away at Burlington on Tuesday before come home for a homecoming Friday night against 9-1 Wakefield.

Search to Replace Town Administrator as Kale Heads for Home

Photo: David Kale

The novelist Thomas Wolfe famously said, “You can’t go home again.”

Apparently, David Kale is ignoring that advice.

The lifelong Cambridge resident will decamp as Belmont’s Town Administrator in mid-March to become his hometown’s Assistant City Manager for Finance, according to a press release issued late Thursday, Jan. 19 by Cambridge City Manager Louis DePasquale.

Kale returns to Cambridge city government having served previously as the city’s Director and Deputy Finance/Budget Director from 2003 to 2012.

Kale was in the final six months of a second three-year contract ending in July 2017.

While sudden, the news of Kale’s departure was not shocking to most in Belmont government circles.

“It was really no surprise that [Kale] would be leaving,” said Selectmen Chair Mark Paolillo Thursday, noting Kale’s strong ties to Cambridge and the knowledge that Belmont’s neighbor would be seeking his expertise in finance and budgeting for its operation. 

“It’s a great job for him, a real step up in his career,” said Paolillo.

While saying Kale’s departure “will be a real loss to the town,” Paolillo said a committee would be assembled “soon” to begin the search for Kale’s replacement.

We have a fiduciary obligation to do a broad search for a replacement,” said Paolillo. 

Paolillo said he hopes the board will appoint Assistant Town Administrator Phyllis Marshall as interim Town Administrator until a new chief administrative officer for the town is selected. Paolillo said Marshall would be welcomed to apply for the position. 

Kale was named Belmont’s town administrator in June 2012 after a contentious decision. Paolillo said Kale was instrumental in implementing the successful “one town, one budget” process in which schools and municipal departments worked collaboratively in creating the annual budget.

“[Kale] was politically astute … and he really tried to work towards a consensus on what was best for Belmont,” said Paolillo. 

“He was not a reactive town administrator. David was always thinking about the next step and working towards filling the needs of the town. I’ll miss that the most,” he said. 

Paolillo said Kale would stay to lead the town through the initial part of the budget process which is currently underway.  

According to the town’s website, the town administrator serves as the Chief Administrative Officer of the Town and has three primary responsibilities:
  • Directs and manages the delivery of municipal services, except those under the jurisdiction of the independently-elected authorities;
  • Provides leadership to the Selectmen for strategic planning; and,
  • Serves as the Director of the Office of the Board of Selectmen. 

Cushing Village Update: Municipal Lot Closed To Public Wednesday

Photo: From parking lot to construction site.

In the first tangible indication construction on the long delayed Cushing Village development is about to commence, signs notified the public the municipal parking lot adjacent Starbucks was official closed to vehicles.

“THIS PARKING LOT Located on the corner of TRAPELO ROAD and WILLISTON ROAD WILL BE CLOSED EFFECTIVE JANUARY 18th, 2017” read several signs in the near empty lot.


At the Williston Road entry, another sign said “Construction Entrance Only” and “Lot Closed 1/18/17,” placed by Nauset Construction, the Needham-base constructon management firm hired by the project’s national developer, Toll Brothers. 

Toll Brothers officially took possession of the town-owned lot on Oct. 19, 2016 after purchasing the parcel for $1.335 million, according to town records.

Despite assurances the lot would be closed within days of the sale, it would take three additional months for the Pennylvania-based Apartment Living subsidiary to secure the first of several permits from the town and state’s environmental protection agency to allow construction to precede and to finalize a long-term lease with Starbucks to secure a space in the project.

Cushing Villiage is a 165,000 square foot, three building development with approximately 38,000 square feet of commercial space, 115 apartments – 60 two-bedroom units and 55 one-bedroom units – and 225 parking spaces including 50 municipal spaces.

Bill Lovett, a senior development manager at Toll Brothers’ Apartment Living, said in August the earliest date for construction to begin on Cushing Village is late spring of 2017 with a completion date of the summer of 2019.

Sports: Boys’ Hockey Focusing On First Playoff Berth in Six Years

Photo: Junior goaltender Kevin Dacey has a .951 save percentage at the midpoint of the season.

By William Findlay

Belmont High School Boys’ Ice Hockey Head Coach Fred Allard had a few words for his team as it takes aim for a playoff spot at the midpoint of the season. 

“We just need to stay focused on what we do well and keep pushing towards our [tournament] goal, and to not take anything for granted,” said Allard, as the Marauders seeks its first playoff berth since 2011. 

Entering a de-facto bye-week (Jan. 16-20), the Marauders (6-2-2 overall, 4-2-0 in the league) will look to hone its skills on the practice ice before a tough stretch of games; facing perennial league leaders Reading High (5-3-0, 5-0-0 in the league) league twice in a week and playing away to a strong Burlington High team (3-4-1 overall)

“The Middlesex League is the toughest public school league in the state year in and year out so the strength of schedule is no surprise to us.” said the second-year coach on the difficulty of the upcoming games. 

Despite a rigorous upcoming game schedule for the Marauders, efforts to meet their season goal of making the tournament have become significantly easier following a 4-1 win over Middlesex League opponent Winchester. Although a physical game throughout, the Marauders used their overwhelming speed and skill to outplay the Sachems last Saturday, Jan. 14 at Skip Viglirolo Rink.

“We knew they would be physical but also that [we] would be able to match the physicality and felt we had a slight advantage in team speed.” said Allard on the brand of hockey played by the Marauders.

The Marauders totaled 103 hits in the game, with the hard-nosed Junior defenseman Dennis Crowley leading the team with 12, followed closely by Sophomore blueliner James Nally, who tallied 11. Crowley also leads the team in total hits with a solid 70.

At times during the contest, the chippiness of this Middlesex League clash got out of hand, starting with a big scrum in front of the Winchester net at the end of the second period resulting in Winchester’s Chris Wilson receiving a game misconduct penalty.

“For the most part we did a good, job restraining ourselves in order to take advantage of power-plays,” Allard commented on his team’s overall grittiness in the game.

At the start of the third period, the Marauders found themselves a man up. Unfortunately, Connor Dacey and Kevin Quirk, members of the Marauders first power play unit, were themselves in the penalty box. Allard decided to add Austin Cole and Junior Asst. Captain Ben Brody to the power-play unit.

“For the boys to respond with a power-play goal [by Junior winger Will Domeniconi] so early in the third [period] was just awesome,” said Allard. 

“We are pretty deep at forward and Alec Morin stepped in for Connor [and moved Domeniconi to center] and gave us some quality minutes!”

The Marauders power-play goal was one of two they scored in the final frame, and the second of a two-goal performance by Domeniconi. Domeniconi also chipped in with an assist, placing him second on the team point totals behind his linemate Connor Dacey, who also scored and had an assist versus Winchester. Domeniconi played a hard-working, two-way game, finishing with nine hits for the Marauders. Junior Stevie Rizzuto used his speed and size to score a goal and assist for one, putting him at seven points on the year.

Junior goaltender Kevin Dacey played a stellar game between the pipes, facing 40 shots with 39 saves, bringing his season save percentage up to a .951. A key moment for Dacey was a kick save in the second, pushing left to right to rob Winchester of what could have been a momentum-shifting goal.

“Kevin has always been a great goalie but the extra, time he spent in the gym during [the] off-season has allowed him to be even stronger. He is our backbone.” noted Allard.

The win against Winchester has been particularly momentous for players of this year’s graduating class. 

“We awarded [the player of the game] to our seniors Cam Jefferson, Adam Cronin, Austin Cole, Kevin Quirk Mike Pergamo, Kevin Martin and Curtis Marusiak. This is their first win vs. Winchester in their careers, with a low-light of 10-0 loss at home to close out their freshman year. The senior leadership is a big reason for our early success.” commented Allard. 


The seniors were big factors in the win over the Sachems, with blue-liners Kevin Quirk and Adam Cronin making their presence felt on offense. Quirk had two assists and eight hits, bringing his total to 59, while Cronin assisted on a goal and bruised the Winchester wingers for nine hits.

The Marauders 4-1 win over the Sachems moves them to just six points out of the playoffs, and Allard looks poised to take the Marauders there for the first time in his career.

The Marauders play next at “The Skip” on Monday, Jan. 23 against Reading, another powerful Middlesex League foe. 

Grand Gesture Allows High School To Purchase a Special Piano

Photo: What $35,000 will get you on the market.

If you have attended a concert or the spring musical in the Belmont High School auditorium, you’ll have heard the school’s grand piano accompanying choral and singing groups and soloists for nearly 80 years, moving from the former high school (the site of the old Wellington Elementary School on School Street.)

It was also used to begin annual Town Meetings with Sandy Kendall’s rendition of “God Bless America.”

But eight decades of nearly daily use had affected the instrument’s sound quality and tuning mechanism to the point now where the piano needed to be retired

The cost of replacing the existing instrument will not come from a capital budget request but the generosity of a Belmont resident. Last week, Belmont Superintendent John Phelan accepted an anonymous gift of $35,000 allowing the High School’s Visual and Performing Arts Department to purchase a new grand piano for the school.

Phelan – who hopes one day to thank publically the person who made the gift – said groups like the Foundation for Belmont Education, the Belmont Savings Bank Foundation and people who time to time want to help the schools in ways big and small “makes this such as great community.”

Belmont High Medical Club Has Good Taste In Fundraiser Wednesday

Photo: Poster for Wednesday’s fundraiser.

Belmont High School junior Mahima Sindhu is the founder and president of MedExplo, an initiative created to educated her peers about the opportunities in the medical field through guest speakers, fundraisers, tours, and experiments. 
Sindhu’s club is hosting a fundraiser for the Boston Children’s Hospital at the Alewife/Fresh Pond Chipotle in Cambridge on Wednesday, Jan. 18, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. where 50 percent of a purchase goes to the hospital. All you have to do is mention the fundraiser “MedExplo Helps BCH.”