Belmont Under Winter Storm Warning; Phone Number to Have Close at Hand

Photo: At least it’s taking place on Saturday.

Belmont will see anywhere between six inches to a foot of snow by midnight, Sunday, Jan. 8, according to the National Weather Service.

At 11:40 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 7, the NSA issued a Winter Storm Warning that will remain in effect until 1 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 8. Snow will fall moderately to heavy at times into the early evening hours before tapering off around midnight with gusty winds that could reach 35 mph.

Here are the phone numbers and information that you should keep close during the storm:

Belmont’s SNOW EMERGENCY HOTLINE: 617-993-2698.

Belmont Light’s Outage Line617-993-2800.

See winter storm information from the Department of Public WorksWinter Weather Brochure

Snow Removal Bylaw:

Selectman To Solicit No Transfer Vow As Loading Dock Seeks New Alcohol License

Photo: At the initial meeting on the transfer of a full alcohol license with Selectmen Williams (left) and Paolillo.

The Loading Dock‘s owner Faud Mukarker will be before the Belmont Board of Selectman on Monday seeking a second town-issued alcohol license for his Brighton Street establishment, coming less than four months after his controversial transfer of his town-issued retail all-alcohol liquor license for a $400,000 “compensation fee” to the regional supermarket chain Star Market.

And when the Belmont businessman makes his request before the board at its Jan. 9 meeting, one selectman will be asking Mukarker to voluntarily place a “no transfer” restriction to the license.

“I’ll ask [Mukarker] to prospectively put a limitation on the transfer of [a new] license,” said Selectmen Chair Mark Paolillo at the board’s final working session of 2016 in December.

Mukarker is seeking an On-Premises retail liquor license – commonly referred to as a “pouring license” – which the Selectmen can grant to restaurants, hotels, clubs, taverns, or war veterans clubs. The license fee and its annual renewal is $4,000. 

Paolillo said due to the use and then “sale” of the all retail license issued by the board to Mukarker in May 2014; he has “concerns” a new permit would become principally a financial asset to the businessman rather than a license to serve beer and wine. 

“I’m only asking that the license stays at least with the property,” said Paolillo.

Mukarker did not respond to a pair of requests for comments this past week.

What makes Mukarker’s current application noteworthy is the Belmont entrepreneur’s history with board-issued alcohol permits. A year after being awarded a retail liquor license at a public meeting in May 2015, Mukarker sought and received permission from the Board of Selectmen to use the license as collateral for a $300,000 loan to keep his new business solvent.

Around the same time, Mukarker requested the town to add a pour license to the existing retail permit but was informed existing state law prevented the town from issuing more than one license to a single entity. That law was changed this summer by the Legislature.

During the spring and summer of 2016, Mukarker began “shopping around” the retail license, according to Belmont retailers, seeking to transfer the permit which he described 

Mukarker was able to attempt the transfer his license when it was discovered that the enabling legislation granting the town additional licenses failed to have language written in a 2006 bill establishing alcohol sales in Belmont placing limitations on the movement and “sale” of licenses.

After two public meetings, the Board of Selectmen voted on Oct. 6, 2-1, to approve the transfer. Selectmen Jim Williams and Sami Baghdady voted for the Star Market acceptance stating there was no legal impediment to the move. Paolillo said at the time he believed the license should have been returned to the town. At that time both Star Market and Mukarker could apply for permits, starting the public application process which would required hearings and public meetings.

In December, the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission OK’d the transfer. Later that month, Star Market opened its new alcohol department in the Waverley Square store.

Mukarker’s transfer raised hackles from residents and town businesses who noted the licenses were created by Town Meeting to be issued to small locally-owned retailers. 

The mostly negative reaction by residents to the transfer is one of the impetus for a possible Special Town Meeting in February to address the question of transferability of town-issued liquor licenses.

But before a Town Meeting convenes. Paolillo said the board could only ask Mukarker to voluntarily impose a ban on any future transfer of the license. 

“We as a board can only deny a license for established reasons including traffic, noise, and proximity to schools and houses of worship,” he said.

“Right now, we can’t impose restrictions to collateralize or transfer a license,” said Paolillo. 

Snow Emergency Parking Ban Starts 9PM Saturday

Photo: It’ll get snowy soon.

The Belmont Police has issued a Snow Emergency Parking Ban in Belmont on all roadways and municipal parking lots and schools effective at 9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7 until 9 a.m., Sunday, Jan. 8. 

Vehicles parked in violation of the ban will be towed at the owner’s expense.

Residents who have any questions call the snow emergency hotline at 617-993-2698.

DPW Accepting Holiday Cardboard Recycling Saturday, Jan. 7

Photo: Cardboard collection.

With all the holiday presents and gifts received, the one lasting memory most residents have from the holidays are the stacks and piles of cardboard boxes they came in.

But rather than spend time cutting up and wrapping them into bundles so they can be collected during the weekly trash/recycling collection, this weekend all you’ll need to do is take a drive to the Department of Public Works Town Yard at the end of C Street.

On Saturday, Jan. 7 between 9 a.m. and noon, the Belmont’s Highway Department will accept uncut but folded cardboard packaging for recycling. 

Residents will be able to drop off folded cardboard

While Belmont’s trash and recycling contractor collects cardboard, it must be cut into pieces no larger than 3 feet by 3 feet and tied or taped together to make a stack no more than nine inches high.

The new pilot program will take place one last time on Feb. 4. The DPW will then evaluate the scheme to determine if it will become an annual service. 

Belmont Cultural Council Awards 13 Local Grants for 2017

Photo: Storytelling was one part of Literacy on the Lawn.
Lectures at the Beech Street Center, the secret lives of honeybees and concealed poetry are just some of the 13 grants totaling $5,450 awarded to arts, science, and humanities programs in Belmont in 2017  by the Belmont Cultural Council.  

This year’s award recipients include: 

  • Howie Newman providing music for seniors.
  • Bates and Tincknell with songs based on earth rhythms for families.
  • Delvena Theatre Company offering an intergeneration theater experience.
  • Evening lectures at the Belmont Council on Aging.
  • Musical storytelling at the Powers Music School.
  • Literacy on the Lawn providing a children’s story hour and petting zoo at the Belmont Woman’s Club.
  • A honeybee presentation sponsored by the Wellington PTO. 
  • Massachusetts Audubon Habitat sponsoring a science program on birds and insects.
  • Kate Bowen organizing a hidden poetry of Belmont program.
  • Belmont World Film Family Festival.
  • Jenn Houle offering a searching for life exhibit at Massachusetts Audubon Habitat.

“It’s the local volunteers who really make this system work,” said Laurie Gianotti, chair of the Council.

“They make limited resources go as far as possible, and they make the tough decisions about which projects should be supported. Thanks to them, the arts, sciences, and humanities are part of people’s everyday lives in every community across the state,” she said.

The Belmont Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The LCC Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences, and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community.

Decisions about which activities to support are made at the community level by a board of municipally appointed volunteers. The members of the Belmont Cultural Council are:

  • Laurie Gianotti, chair
  • Annette Goodro, treasurer
  • Sarah Frieberg Ellison, secretary
  • Jennifer Angel
  • John Baboian
  • Jirair Hovespian
  • Juliet Jenkins
  • Nancy Linde
  • Rebecca Richards
  • Arlyn Ruffman

The Belmont Cultural Council will seek applications again in the fall. For local guidelines and complete information on the Belmont Cultural Council, go to are due Oct. 15, 2017.

Sports: Belmont Boys’ Hoops Left Out In The Rain By SpyPonders

Photo: Sophomore guard Daniel Yardemian vs. Arlington.

Why when the Belmont High School Boys’ Basketball team crosses Route 2 to visit its neighbors Arlington High, it’s always raining? Tuesday’s game, Jan. 3, marked the fourth time in five years that the Marauders have been met with a downpour entering the Arlington High gym.

And for the third time in four years, the outcome of the match was a dreary as the weather.

Playing catch-up throughout the game that saw Arlington make the last shot in the first three-quarters – including a 3-point prayer by junior Adrian Black at the end of the critical third quarter – the Marauders could not put together a consistent offense against the SpyPonders, falling 64-57.

It was not the game Belmont (4-3, 2-2 in the Middlesex League) was expecting to play after defeating a top-ranked Division 1 New Bedford team during the holiday break. Arlington remains undefeated at 5-0. 

Belmont’s only lead came with the game’s opening basket from game-high scorer senior captain Paul Ramsey (25 points) before two consecutive three-point bombs from Nick Karalis (8 points) and all-star senior Colin McNamara (with an all-around great game with 22 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds) had Belmont Head Coach Adam Pritchard calling a timeout just a minute into the match.

While Ramsay kept Belmont in the game, the team just wasn’t clicking on any of their shots, ending the first quarter with an anemic 5 points and down by 10.

The second eight minutes saw a more familiar Marauder team – up tempo sparked by senior forward Cal Christofori (8 points, all in the second quarter) who used his athleticism to start the comeback.

Sophomore guard Daniel Yardemian (2 points) was quite effective driving to the basket then dishing the ball to Ramsey and Christofori. A Christofori putback of a Yardemian miss ended a 12-2 run to tie the score at 17 with 4:30 to play.

But the Marauder momentum was short-circuited by consecutive traveling calls, one not called on the SpyPonders and the other a phantom infraction on Belmont. The subsequent 3 by Karalis and a jumper by Dominic Black upped the lead to seven at 26-19.

For the second time in the quarter, Belmont race back behind a 360 spinning layup by Christofori, Yardemain’s drive in the lane and a Ben Jones 3 pointer to tie it up at 27 with Belmont in possession with 20 seconds left in the quarter. But an unforced error on the inbounds gave the ball right back to the hosts which McNamara scored as the buzzer went off.

After tying the game for the third (and final time) at 29, it was Arlington which forced the issue. While Belmont missed several chances in close, the SpyPonder went inside to sophomore big man James Gascoigne (8 of his 14 points in the third) and outside to the Black brothers (juniors Dominic and Adrian) who scored a couple of long range 3s as Arlington raced to a double-digit advantage at 42-31 with 3:10 left.

Despite senior Bryan Goodwin (11 points with three 3s) hitting a three in transition and a hoop on the drive inside, Belmont could not mount a run they had in the second quarter. Down 9 with a second left, Dominic Black’s buzzer beater sent Arlington into the fourth up by a dozen.

Arlington kept up the pressure and extended the lead to 16 after two minutes and cruised to the victory.

Belmont will be on the road in Woburn on Friday.

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Wallace and Gromit Animator Highlights 14th Belmont World Film’s Family Fest

Photo: Animator Merlin Crossingham

A talk and workshops from the animator responsible for the award-winning Wallace and Gromit films and the movies “Chicken Run” and “Shaun the Sheep” will highlight this year’s Belmont World Film’s 14th Annual Family Festival, “Where Books Come Alive,” Jan. 13-16.

The festival offers nearly four days of some of the world’s best films for children and adults, screened in English, or their native language with subtitles. Many are being shown in the US or on the East Coast for the first time; it might be your only time to see them in New England.  

A list of this year’s movies and workshops can be seen here.

“Where Books Come Alive,” features films based mostly on books: from Robert McCloskey’s American favorite Make Way for Ducklings, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, to a new film version of Heidi starring Bruno Ganz, based on Johanna Spyri’s Swiss classic childen’s book.

There are films about new siblings, friendship in South Korea, Vietnamese immigrants in Germany, Little League Baseball in Uganda, three 12 year-old boys from Brooklyn with a $1.8 million record deal, and so much more!

Thanks to a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the festival is bringing Aardman Animation’s Creative Director Merlin Crossingham “across the pond” from the UK to talk and sign autographs after a screening of the Oscar-winning “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” on opening night and to lead two workshops on model making – with Shaun the Sheep and Gromit – on Saturday, Jan. 14, hosted by the Belmont Media Center.

Donate a new or gently used children’s winter coat to Cradles to Crayons and receive a $1 discount on shorts programs and a $2 discount on feature length films.

Sponsors include:

Continent Sponsors: Jackson Walnut Park Schools, Henry Bear’s Park

Nation Sponsors: German International School of Boston, Dutch Culture USA

Province Sponsor: swissnex Boston

Capital Sponsors: Arlington Center for the Arts, Belmont Media Center, Guard Up

This program has also applied for support from the Arlington, Belmont, and Watertown Cultural Councils and Cambridge Arts.

Youthbuild’s Stoneman Headlines 23rd MLK Community Breakfast

Photo: The poster for the 23rd MLK Breakfast.

Dorothy Stoneman, founder of the nationally-recognized YouthBuild program, a Belmont High School graduate and Marsh Street resident will be the featured speaker at Belmont’s 23rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Breakfast that takes place at 9 a.m. on Monday, Jan 16, in the Belmont High School cafeteria.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the METCO program, and its 49th year in Belmont. Donations will be accepted at the Breakfast for the Belmont Schools’ and Belmont Against Racism’s METCO Support Fund.

Noted civil rights activist Stoneman grew up in Belmont and was educated in its public schools before earning a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and master’s and doctoral degrees from Bank Street College of Education in New York City. She joined the Civil Rights movement in 1964, and worked in East Harlem for decades in education and community development, where she started the first YouthBuild program in 1978 in partnership with local teenagers.  

YouthBuild, a fulltime program for low-income unemployed youth between 16-24 who lack high school diploma, offers an opportunity to work toward their GED or diploma while building affordable housing for homeless and low-income people. Youth enroll in the program for 6-24 months, and are supported by staff who emphasize personal responsibility, mutual support, and leadership development. Graduates go on to jobs or college or both.  

From its grassroots beginning in Harlem, YouthBuild has now expanded to more than 273 programs in the U.S. Stoneman is founder and former CEO of its national support center YouthBuild USA, Inc., its national, and the sponsor of YouthBuild International, which has generated 102 YouthBuild programs in 14 other countries including Mexico, South Africa, Haiti, and Israel.

Stoneman is a recipient of a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship (1996), the Harvard Call to Service Award (2011), the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship (2007) and the John Gardner Leadership Award (2000).

She has been married to John Bell for 40 years and they have two children who also attended Belmont schools and 13 godchildren.

Registration at the door will take place from 8:45 a.m. to 9 a.m.  at the cafeteria located at 221 Concord Ave. Tickets are $5 per person/$10 per family at the door. 

Preregistration is appreciated, (but not required) by emailing the Belmont Human Rights Commission at or by calling 617-993-2795. Please clearly state or spell your name and any title if desired. Those who preregister will have name tags waiting for them.

Join with old friends and meet new friends.

Pastries, fruit and beverages will be served. Student musical entertainment will be provided. Ample parking. Accessible to persons with disabilities. Children of all ages are welcome and childcare and gym activities will be provided for children 2-12 during the program.


Running for Office/Town Meeting: Belmont’s Nomination Process [VIDEO]

Photo: The steps to get you on the ballot.

Thinking about running for Belmont Town Meeting? Or maybe taking a step up and seeking town-wide office?

What eligible voters need first to understand is the nomination process to place your name on the ballot for the 2017 Town Election which takes place on Tuesday, April 4.

And the person to ask those and other questions is Belmont’s Town Clerk, Ellen Cushman. In this video, Cushman gives interested residents the basics of getting on the ballot.

More information can be found at the Town Clerk’s web page located on the town’s website.