Letter to the Editor: Dash’s Experience, Temperament Ensures Strong Selectman

Photo: Adam Dash

To the editor:

I am writing to urge you to vote for Adam Dash for Selectman on Tuesday, April 4. The combination of Adam’s skills, experience, and temperament will ensure that he is a strong and effective selectman. 

As the senior governing body for the town, the Board of Selectmen should reflect the culmination of a progression of leadership in town governance, rather serve as an entry level position. And, in that regard, Adam has been actively involved in town governance, as a Town Meeting member since 2008, and, more importantly, as a member of the Warrant Committee, the town’s primary financial watchdog, since 2009.

Over the past six years, I have had the opportunity to meet with the Warrant Committee on multiple occasions.  On those occasions, as well as at numerous Town Meetings, I have been impressed by the insightful questions that Adam asks and the well-reasoned positions that he takes. His questions and comments are invariably right on the mark.    

I was also impressed by the approach Adam took in building support for the new Underwood Pool project in 2013. He sincerely solicited public input throughout the design process, making it clear that listening carefully to the citizens was more than just a pro forma exercise. Someone who views his role as a steward for the citizens of the town, not someone who personally wants to control the decisions, is precisely what we need in the position of selectman.  

I urge you to vote for Adam Dash. He has a wealth of experience in town matters and the genuine temperament that we need in a selectman.

Jack Weis

Chenery Terrace, Town Meeting Member, Precinct 1   

School Committee OKs Creation of Later Starting Time Task Force

Photo: Freshmen Ella Serrano-Wu and Kate Devitt before the Belmont School Committee.

The Belmont School District is pushing forward with plans that could lead to a later starting time for Belmont High School students.

Last week, the Belmont School Committee heard Belmont Superintendent John Phelan layout a blueprint for forming a task force to review a proposal presented by a local chapter of a national group advocating starting the beginning of the school day for teens at a later hour.

“A realistic timeline would be to form a team by June with a game plan and allow it to work through the fall with a hope of presenting its findings to this body in late Fall,” said Phelan.

“I think there are parts of [the task force] that can move quickly such as an executive summary of the literature and best practices from comparable districts and identify the local ‘variables’ that could affect the proposal including the future grade alignment of the high school,” said Phelan.

Delaying the beginning of the school day is being prompted by Belmont Start School Later, which argues that high school students’ physical and mental health are impacted by the lack of deep sleep the majority receive, due in part to the early start time.

“If students only have sleep buttons that we could press so they would go to bed early would be perfect. But unfortunately, they don’t,” said School Committee member Andrea Prestwich, who started SSL in Belmont a few years ago.

In Belmont, the high school day begins at 7:35 a.m.

School committee members expressed support for the superintendent’s way forward.

“There are lessons learned from other communities that the task force can look at and sees what works for Belmont,” said Committee member Susan Burgess-Cox.

While there was uniform approval on the board to move forward, opposition to the time change was present at the meeting in the guise of two freshmen who brought a cardboard display board to explain their position. 

Freshmen Ella Serrano-Wu and Kate Devitt who started Belmont Same Start Time in January called the time change a “band-aid” approach to the issue of students being overburdened with homework and studying for highly challenging classes such as AP-level courses.

“We just don’t think the other side of the issue was being heard,” said Serrano-Wu, who hopes that either she or Devitt will be asked to participate some way in the task force.

While Prestwich said, the two ninth-graders raised “some very valid concerns that were raised in other districts” she reiterated that “[s]tarting school early has a huge number of advantages” that can not be ignored.

According to Phelan, the task force will “look into this with a very open mind and listening to all voices, especially to students, is the way forward.”

Early Warning: Storm Watch Already Issued For Tuesday’s Nor’easter

Photo: Winter Storm Watch issued for Tuesday’s Nor’easter.

It is more than 24 hours away but the National Weather Service has already issued a Winter Storm Watch for Belmont and the region for a classic Nor’easter that will arrive late Monday night and remain in the area for 24 hours.

Issued at 9:58 p.m. on Saturday, March 11, the NWS statement warns of heavy snow with accumulations of greater than six inches of snow will occur between the night hours of Monday, March 13 and throughout Tuesday, March 14. 

“The heavy snow will make many roads impassable. In addition, strong winds may lead to blowing and drifting snow, reduced visibility, and power outages,” reads the report.  

Winds will come out of the northeast 20 to 30 mph with gusts 40 to 50 mph.

A Winter Storm Watch means there is a potential for significant snow, sleet, or ice accumulations that may impact travel. Continue to monitor the latest forecasts. Be prepared to modify travel plans should winter weather develop.

Spring Forward: Daylight Savings Time Returns Sunday


It’s literally time to spring ahead as Daylight Savings Time returns early Sunday morning, March 12.

At 2 a.m., time rushes ahead – springing forward – one hour as clocks change to 3 a.m. Sunrise and sunset will be about one hour later on Sunday than the day before. There will be more light in the evening.

Benjamin Franklin first proposed something like daylight savings time in 1784, but the one used today was first suggested in 1895 by George Vernon Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand. Germany was the first country to use Daylight Savings Time 101 years ago on April 30, 1916.

Less than 40 percent of the countries in the world use Daylight Savings. 

Community Path Feasibility Study Winding Down, Recommendation in April

Photo: Anne Archer of PARE Corporation leads residents in the latest round of the Community Path Feasibility Study on Wednesday, March 8.

Before approximately 50 residents in the Belmont Town Hall auditorium on Wednesday, March 8, the consultants conducting the feasibility study on a proposed multi-use community path running through Belmont said the review is “winding down” with a final recommendation from the team coming in about six weeks time.

PARE Corporation‘s Amy Archer and Kathleen Fasser, a ‎Principal at K3 Landscape Architecture,  unveiled several routes and their estimated costs associated with the third segment of the trail which runs from the commuter rail bridge in Belmont Center to Brighton Street adjacent to the Cambridge city line.

Information on the trail and costs have been placed in the Town of Belmont website. Questions and comments made up the remainder of the night. 

Archer said a final public meeting would be held in the next weeks to go over “hot topics” – issues such as privacy and public safety – which produced the most comments or raised matters in the previous three meetings.

Archer added the review team would include comments and suggestions into a recommendation report presented to the Board of Selectmen sometime in mid-to-late April, between town elections on April 4 and the first day of Town Meeting on May 1. 

“It will take about a month to incorporate what the community tells us is important to them into the final report,” she told the Belmontonian. 

Hired last year by the Community Path Implementation Advisory Committee, PARE will recommend to the town a single route that, according to the firm, will “best serve the Town’s residents AND function as a segment of the Mass Central Rail Trail.” 

The MCRT is a 104-mile former railroad line from Northampton to Boston that is being restored as a rail trail, a path to be used by bicyclists, walkers, runners, baby strollers and young cyclists with training wheels, wheel chair users, cross-country skiers, equestrians (in areas out west) and nature enthusiasts.

Free for 30: Town Release New Belmont Center Parking Plan [Video]

Photo: A pay-by-plate kiosk in Pittsburgh.

In an effort help to increase on-street parking turnover and availability for shoppers in Belmont Center, drivers parking along Leonard Street will need more than just change in their pockets; they’ll need to remember their license plate number. 

According to a press release from the town dated Friday, March 10, Pay-By-License-Plate parking stations will go into effect in Belmont Center on March 27,  primarily along Leonard Street. 

The stations, currently under wraps, were installed this past fall. The new system goes into effect about a month before the opening of Foodie’s Urban Market, the popular grocery which is expected to increase parking demand in Belmont’s principal business center.

The new multi-space meters will allow for 30 minutes of free parking and the ability to pay for up to an additional hour for a total of 90 minutes of parking per day on Leonard Street. The stations will accept cash and credit card payments. 

Patrons will be required to input their license plate number even if they intend to only take advantage of the 30-minute free period. 

Here is a video from Deerfield Beach, Florida (with Jim “Chiefy” Mathie, the local dive shop owner) on how to use the system.

Parking in the Claflin Street Municipal Parking lot, located behind Leonard Street, will continue to offer two free hour parking spaces, as well as metered parking spaces – which were installed in August 2015 – for a dollar per hour. Credit card and cash payments are accepted. 

Parking by plate number was first installed in Calgary, Canada in September 2007 and in Denver in 2008. The largest US pay-by-plate program is in Pittsburgh which has installed 800-plus terminals.

Belmont High Musical Talent Spotlighted to Help Homeless Friday

Photo: Last year’s WTHH performers.

Belmont High School’s Working to Help the Homeless Club is hosting its annual benefit musical event, showcasing talented student performers on Friday, March 10 (snow date: Friday, March 17).

Tickets are $5 for students and $8 for adults at Champions Sporting Goods in Belmont Center, as well as at the door. The Coffeehouse begins at 7 p.m. in the high school’s cafeteria.

In its 4th year, the Coffeehouse for a Cause features varied music genres, from improvisation to pop, on instruments ranging from those of a string quartet to electric guitar, and from ukulele to percussion. In addition to the music, WTHH members will share their baking skills, as homemade desserts and hot chocolate are included in the ticket price.

“This incredible event brings together the most talented Belmont High School musicians and caring community members, united by their passion for music and for aiding those in need.” said Senior Co-President Sophia Windemuth.

“The performers absolutely blew me away at the rehearsal. With performers like these, I am convinced that not only are we helping those in need, but we are also uniting the community to appreciate our local talent,” she said.

This will be the third WTHH coffeehouse to benefit Y2Y (Youth to Youth) Harvard Square, a new shelter for homeless youth in Greater Boston. Noting that young adults often do not feel safe in shelters with older adults, former Harvard students Sarah Rosenkrantz and Sam Greenberg decided to open their own youth shelter, dedicated to those from ages 18-24.

Opened in December 2015, Y2Y is located in the basement of a Harvard Square church and is staffed by Harvard volunteers.  In January, the founders were named to Forbes list of 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs.

“I think Y2Y can best be described as inviting. I saw not a shelter, but a safe place to call home. It is this vision that pushes us as a club to make a difference in the lives of those around us. said Senior Co-President Michael Guyumdzhyan who visited the shelter last month.

Sports: Belmont Girls Hoopsters Go Out Fighting Losing Playoff Semis to AC

Photo: After the game.

With less than two minutes remaining in its electric semifinal slugfest against Arlington Catholic, the Belmont High Girls’ Basketball squad was facing a 10-point deficit, 45-35, that had been building since the start of the final quarter.

Arlington Catholic’s tight, man-to-man defense stymied Belmont’s offense for most of the quarter leaving the Marauders in a hole that appeared was too deep to climb out. Usually, at this point, a team will concede to its fate, that defeat is inevitable. Throw in the towel. Put on a good face. Surrender.

But Belmont came out and did what was brave; and fought. 

In front of a large and noisy student section that made the neutral-site Wilmington High School gym feel like a home game, the Marauders’ began its comeback on the back of junior point guard Carly Christofori (a team-high 19 points) who drilled a 3 point shot with 1:50 remaining to nudge Belmont closer at 45-38.


Down on the other end of the court, sophomore center Jess Giorgio grabbed one of her dozen rebounds (a playoff double-double with 13 points) and rushed down to be fouled by AC’s center Lena Perez (a game-high 21 points) at 1:34. One of two free throws cut the lead to six, 45-39.

The Cougars couldn’t extend the lead as Christofori stole the ball and raced to the basket. Despite contact on her way up by Dolan, no foul was called, and Giorgio’ toes step out of bounds after wrestling the ball from Perez with 66 seconds remaining.

But Belmont got the ball right back as junior Jenny Call (7 points) tied up senior Alexandra Ball (5 points) for a jump ball with the arrow pointing in Belmont’s direction. Then sophomore guard Meghan Tan (5 points) rammed home a 3 from the corner as the student section erupted with the game was down to a single possession, 45-42, with 50 seconds left.


It appeared Belmont had stopped the Cougars with a missed shot, but a foul was blown (with Tan fouling out), and Dolan (15 points including 9 in the final stanza) made two shots to put the lead up to five, 47-42, with 47 seconds left on the clock. Down on the other end, Call was fouled going through the lane but missed the front end of a one and one with 40 seconds left. 

Needing to foul, Gorgio received her fifth (and fouling out), and Donlan made one of two from the charity stripe to up the advantage to six with 21 seconds to go. But AC’s lead was cut in half, 47-45, after Christofori nailed her fifth 3 in the game with 10.6 seconds left.

And it was here that a mysterious time out took the ball from Belmont’s hands.

After a score, a player has five seconds to put the ball into play, or it’s a turnover. And Belmont pulled out all the stops to find a way to retake possession, employing a press across the court with Call in front AC’s Ball attempting the inbounds pass. With the ball in Ball’s hands, the officials began counting up: one, two, three – Call jumping up and down giving Ball nothing to aim at as Marauders took away any option to get the ball to a teammate.

Four … and five. The official along the baseline raised his arm to signal the violation and pointed in Belmont’s direction as the student section exploded. This was the break that would allow the Marauders’ at least a final chance to take a three-point shot to tie the game. 


But … 

At the other end of the court came the chief official of the three-member crew. While it did not appear a time out was official signaled anywhere on the court, it appeared something had occurred 80 feet away. The two officials huddled for 10 seconds. The verdict: a time out no one saw or heard. Arlington Catholic’s ball under the basket as Belmont’s players, coaches but not their fans were left speechless.

Given a second opportunity, Ball passed to Donlan who was fouled with 9 seconds left. She would make one of two to give AC a four-point lead. And for the sixth time, Christofori dropped in a 3, a 3 point bucket which could have, would have tied the game, if … 

But it only drew Belmont within a single point of the Cougars as the final buzzer sounded. 

For Melissa Hart, Belmont’s head coach, there wasn’t much she wanted to say about the controversial play other than she disagreed with the mystery call.

But she did want to talk about her team, which ended the season at 17-5, the same record as the 2008 team.

“They really fought hard; they gave everything they got. Things just didn’t go our way,” she said, noting that for one of the few times in the season its free throw shooting was lacking, going 7 for 16 and missing 3 of 4 in the critical fourth quarter. 

‘You’ve got to make your free throws to move on at this stage,” she said.

“Give it to [Arlington Catholic] they make the shots down the stretch. It was a one-point game,” said Hart as AC hit 8 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter. 

It was a game in which Belmont’s zone defense stood in mark contrast to AC’s man, as both teams struggled to find an offense early in the contest.

After knotted at 5, AC began working the give and go with its centers to gouge out a 13-9 lead after one quarter with Giorgio scoring six points. 


With the inside clogged for Belmont, Christofori used what she was given, scoring consecutive 3s at the start of the second to give Belmont the lead at 15-13. Despite some trouble with poor shot selection, AC would go on a 7-0 run just past the midway mark only to see Christofori make her third 3 to come closer and then a fourth 3 to bring Belmont within one, 23-22, as the half ended. 

While Christofori excited the crowd with her shooting performance, Hart said it was troubling that Call’s single free throw was the only other Marauder point in the quarter.

“Carly and Jenny are great players but you can’t just rely on them or just one player making all your baskets. Everyone has to start scoring,” she said. 

The third saw Belmont final lead of the game as Call scored from a distance, 25-23. Arlington Catholics would twice move ahead by five (the last being 32-27 only for Giorgio to power home with two baskets to cut the Cougars’ lead to one, 32-31 in AC’s favor at the end of three quarters. 

The fourth quarter was the first time AC would not struggle with their shots, going up 41-35 at the four minute mark and finally by the 10 point margin with only 120 seconds left. 

As AC, the number 5 seed, meets Hamilton-Wenham, the 6th seed, in the north sectional championship on Saturday, Belmont goes out with the knowledge that next season it will return its entire starting lineup and most of its bench on a team that won 17 games. It will also face the challenge of moving up to Division 1 – due to increased student enrollment – in which Belmont will be placed against a slew of large suburban and city schools.

Next season is only eight months away.


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Sports: Final Quarter Fall Off Ends Playoffs For Belmont Boys Hoops

Photo: Point guards Classical’s Jaylen Johnson and Belmont’s Danny Yardemian.

For the first three-quarters of its sectional quarterfinals match with favorite Lynn Classical, Belmont High School’s Boys’ Basketball were not just holding their own against the Rams, they were taking the measure of their hosts.

During the Saturday afternoon matinee, on March 4, the 6th-seeded Marauders driving, dishing and overall hustle appeared to surprise the Classical players and coaches as Belmont kept a steady five-point advantage throughout the game.

But all the 24 minutes of great work against the Northeastern Conference champs ended up for naught as the Rams used their quickness and athleticism to outscore the visitors 19-7 in the final eight minutes to leave their home court winners, 57-50, and end Belmont’s post-season.

The Marauders finish the season 17-7.

“Both teams have their strengths, and they were able to create some turnovers in the fourth quarter and converted them into baskets. For me that was really it,” said Adam Pritchard, Belmont’s head coach after the game.

At tip-off, it was Belmont pushing the play with junior forward Tomas Donoyan scoring inside and outside along with a big block all in the first two minutes. It was then up to sophomore point guard Danny Yardemian to show off his smooth skills by twice brutalize Rams’ guard Erick Solis by driving the length of the court for a pair of baskets, part of his 6 point quarter and 10 point half.

On the other side, Classical had its sophomore point, Jaylen Johnson who matched Yardemian with six in the quarter.

A jumper from Belmont’s league all-star senior captain Paul Ramsey at the end of the eight minutes left the game knotted up at 14.

Pritchard added a little height to the game by injecting junior forward Jake Pollard who contributed by driving by the Rams’ big man Alek Bogavac followed by a 3 from senior Daron Hamparian gave Belmont the lead they would hold for most of the game.

The Marauders pressure gave Classical fits as they were hurrying shots offensively. The Rams one saving grace was a near magnetic attraction they had with the ball on the offensive boards, allowing for a number of second chance hoops.

Belmont was scrapping together baskets on their end with good ball rotation along with another Yardemian coast to coast bucket. A 3 from senior guard Bryan Goodwin gave the Marauders its biggest lead at eight, 34-26, in the final minute of the half. A late Classical hoop ended the scoring after 16 minutes at 34-28.

The third quarter was a slog, as both teams were trying to keep up the pace of the first half. Only the point guards were putting the ball through the net with Yardemian scoring seven to Johnson’s six points. After a three-minute stretch that the score remained at 41-34, Lynn Classical hit a pair in between Belmont’s final points by Yardemian to give Belmont a five-point lead, 43-38, entering the final stanza.

The fourth quarter soon became a clinic by Classical who swarmed the Belmont player with the ball and either caused a turnover or simply stole the rock. When Belmont ventured inside, the Rams’ junior center Edwin Solis – coming back from an injury – was grabbing rebounds and being fouled (he would go 4 for 4 from the line).

Just after midway through the quarter, Johnson, who ended with 17 points, made a layup to give the Rams and with it, the lead changes hands for the first time since the opening minute of the second quarter. Unfortunately for the Marauders, it was the final lead change of the game.

“We lost composure. They’re quick kids so when you try to dribble against them, and you throw floating passes, that’s what happens,” Pritchard said.

The next three Belmont possessions ended with the ball being stolen by the Rams. Yardemian’s 3 (he would end with a game-high 22 points) cut Lynn Classical’s advantage to 51-48 with two minutes to go, but the Rams’ would hit just enough shots from the charity stripe to head for the semifinals. 

Pritchard praised his team that nearly always came to the court undersized but would outwork its opponents for the entire season.

“We’re proud of our players. They certainly didn’t disappoint their coaches and parents. We were probably not a team picked to be fighting in the state tournament. It was a lot of credit to our senior class to get here,” said Pritchard.

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Fundraiser For Grove Street Fire Victims This Sunday at Conley’s

Photo: Bringing some comfort to Grove Street fire victims

On the evening of Sunday, Feb. 26, two residents fled from their burning home located in Grove Street with little to no possessions. While all are safe and healthy, they are in urgent need of financial help to put their lives back together. 


Alyssa Morley and Erin Lubien invite the public to Conley’s Pub & Grille on Belmont Street in Watertown on Sunday, March 12 beginning at 4 p.m. onward for a fundraising event. Surprises are guaranteed throughout the evening, including a fabulous raffle. All proceeds will be split equally among the fire victims.

“All are welcome and encouraged to participate in this fundraiser. With good music, food and an amazing raffle, I hope Conley’s can be that gathering spot for our community to feel as one while supporting our neighbors in need,” said Stephen Conley, owner of his namesake restaurant.

“While we are all relieved to know that the tenants in the fire are OK,” Steve continued, “it is daunting to think of the amount of rebuilding each of these people has to accomplish. I hope this event helps raise enough to get them back on their feet.”  

Here is how you can help:

  • Monetary donations are most graciously accepted at GoFundMe.com/p/rvb6z.
  • Checks made out to Grove Street Fire Fund can be mailed to 38 Unity Ave, Belmont, MA 02478.
  • Join us for the fundraising event at Conley’s Pub & Restaurant on Sunday.
  • Donate to our raffle by contacting Morley via email at alyssa@thegrommet.com