Sports Update: Softball Earns Big Win, Baseball Rolls Along

Photo: Senior Bryan Goodwin driving in a run vs. Winchester.

After a rough start, Belmont High Softball got off the snide and earned a 9-4 home victory over Winchester High at the Concord Avenue Field on Friday, April 28. The girls are now sporting a 1-4 record but with progress coming on a daily basis under first-year coach Kristin Ciappina.

• How wet has it been? So dank that despite a day of drying, Branden Grant Field, the home of the undefeated Belmont High Baseball Marauders remained soaked requiring the game played Thursday, April 27 against Winchester to be switched to the JV/Freshman field adjacent Harris Field. The nearness to the ball field of the school’s all-purpose turf field caused a few nervous moments as about four foul balls landed into the midst of the Girls’ Lacrosse contest vs. Woburn. Yikes.

But the return to the old field did not faze the Belmont Nine as they came away with a comfortable 7-1 victory to extend the team’s opening season win streak to six games (6-0). Southpaw whiz kid Nate Espelin (2-0) pitched five strong innings, striking out nine while surrendering a double in the fourth.

Junior reliever Jake Pollock gave up an earned run in the sixth, escaping further damage by an outstanding 6-3-2 relay out as senior centerfielder Bryan Goodwin fielded a single up the middle and fired a bullet to junior first base Ryan Noone who turned and delivered a strike to senior catcher Cal Christofori to nail the runner who took off from second at the plate.

Offensively, Belmont continues to put runs on the imaginary scoreboard, seeing four runs score on four solid hits in the fourth, finishing with eight knocks led by Connor Dacey’s two leadoff doubles and a pair of runs scored. 

While liking to see the bats come alive this year, Head Coach Joe Brown is more impressed with the team’s excellent pitching.

“Our pitchers have given up five runs in six games,” observed Brown. “You’re going to win a lot of games if you do that.” 

Next up for the team will be a match of undefeateds Monday; the first of two games this season with last year’s Middlesex League champion Reading Memorial which comes into the game unbeaten at 5-0. The game is scheduled for May Day at 3:45 p.m.

From the Herald

From the Boston Herald’s MIAA Top 25 Baseball Rankings – Week Four (4/26/17)

Let’s take a look at our most recent high school baseball poll as we approach the beginning of May.

#4 Belmont High School – (5-0) – Led by Cal Christofori the Marauders are off to a hot start and look to prove to be one of the best teams in the state.

So Long, Cushing Village; Say Hello to ‘The Bradford’

Photo: Otto Weiss, the “Bradford’s” project manager.

A sly smile crossed Bill Lovett’s face like he had a secret he wanted so badly to tell.

So he did.

Lovett, a senior development manager at Toll’s Apartment Living which owns the 168,000 sq.-ft. apartment/retail/parking complex set to be built in the heart of Belmont’s Cushing Square told the 40 residents who flocked to the Belmont Gallery of Art on Thursday afternoon, April 27, came to hear the latest on the project, that a significant change had occurred in the development.

The name. Goodbye to Cushing Village, the moniker was first given the project nearly a decade ago by the project’s initial development team.

Welcome to Belmont: “The Bradford.”

“Like the pear or tree,” said Lovett, likely referring to the Bradford pear tree, the ornamental fruit tree known for its snowy white spring blossoms and sweet smell that lasts for a quite a long time.

“Hold your applause,” said Lovett, as the residents reacted rather nonplus to the announcement. 

Oh well.

Lovett, who was joined in the meeting by Otto Weiss, the project manager, and architect Peter Quinn, said the name change was proposed by the project’s marketing team to provide a new image to the project. 

Apparently, the marketing team didn’t know of the tree’s increasingly horrific reputation among garden club enthusiasts, city planners, and arborists, all who have increasingly come to hate the Bradford with a passion. As the New York Times noted last year, “Today, the Bradford pear may be the most despised tree in this part of the world.”

Apart from the name change, most of the news that came from the Toll Brothers team were updates on the construction of the three building project and minor alterations to the development.

Regarding development, Weiss told the audience that the excavation of the municipal parking lot adjacent to Starbucks and Trapelo Road would begin Monday, May 1 and last three to four weeks.

After the digging is finished, laying of the foundation for the retail/residential building known as the Winslow will begin. Simultaneously, the evacuation of the former CVS/First National site (dubbed the Hyland) will commence, said Weiss. That location will house a portion of the parking garage.

Currently, the project area, which has the appearance of a strip mine, is undergoing “dewatering” as the ground water is being decontaminated on the site before being released into the public system. The soil is also being treated and being sent to offsite locations. 

Once all the necessary regulatory “is are dotted and ts crossed” construction will begin in earnest with the Winslow being completed and ready for both residential and commercial occupancy in July/August of 2018. It will also be the new home of Starbucks, the only retail lease the firm has signed so far.

The Hyland is scheduled to be open in December 2018, with the centrally located Pomona building, which includes 20,000 sq.-ft. of retail, opening in June 2019. The development is expected to be fully occupied and all detail work finished by the first day of 2020.

(As an aside, Lovett said other than the Winslow, the names of the two other buildings could be given new names. “We didn’t want to call them Building 1,2,3. But there could be changes in Phase 2.”)

In other news concerning the Bradford:

  • The number of apartment units in the three buildings has been decreased from 115 to 112, and the total number of bedrooms have fallen by ten as the units have slightly increased in size in some locations. 
  • Changes have been made to exterior design features on each of the buildings – larger, more prominent windows, new material, removal of some architectural segments – “but we have not increased the size or scope of the building as noted in the Special Permit,” said Lovett.
  • The rooftop area on the Winslow has been removed, leaving only the Hyland to have a common area on its roof for residents. But don’t expect to see wild, 20-somethings partying hardy on the deck as “those elements” do “in Alewife or East Cambridge” noted Lovett. “It’s going to be a different feel” at the Bradford, “a more refined” lifestyle from a “different demographic.” 
  • The rents for units have not been set “as it will adjust to the market” with the opening of each building. 
  • Parking for construction workers will be provided off-site.
  • While it’s a certainty that Trapelo Road will need to be dug up to supply utilities to the project, all repair work to the roadway will be extensive including milling and resurfacing an entire segment of the street. 
  • When asked if bars or other alcohol-related businesses could go into the 34,000 sq.-ft. of retail space, Lovett said commercial areas are condominiums like the rental units and “we’re very restrictive on retail uses.” 
  • Yes, dogs and cats will be welcomed in Cushing Vil …. oops, The Bradford.

Three Routes Presented As Finalists for Belmont’s Community Path

Photo: Screenshot of the presentation from Pare Corp of one of the three top-ranking routes.

And now there are three.

After more than a half a year of analysis and study, the project management team conducting a feasibility study of a community path in Belmont presented to the public three possible routes that “scored” the highest.

“It was listening to the public and performing a great amount of analysis to come up with the highest ranking routes,” said Amy Archer of Pare Corp. who presented the top three trails to about 70 residents who braved a windy, rainy Wednesday night, April 26 to attend the ninth public meeting held by the firm.

Archer said Pare will return in June to present its recommended route to the Belmont Board of Selectmen which will either accept, reject or ask for more options. If it approves the route, the path could be completed by the fall of 2021.

The feasibility study was approved by Town Meeting in May 2016 to recommend a single route that would best serve residents and function as a segment of the Mass Central Rail Trail, a proposed 104-mile rail trail from Northampton to Boston that can be used by bicyclists, walkers, runners, and nature enthusiasts.

In the previous eight meetings, the study explored the dozens of segments of a possible route, graded each using criteria based on engineering standards, cost and comments from the community on what it wanted the path to be. The firm also rejected proposed spans determined “fatally flawed” due to high cost or chronic safety issues.

The three selected routes are similar regarding length – about two miles long – and in the “score” each achieved: the best option with a score of 76 would cost $27.9 million, the second and third – both with scores of 75 – are priced at $31.8 million and $25.1 million.

Each route travels along the northern edge of the commuter rail from Belmont Center to a proposed pedestrian tunnel at Alexandra Avenue where the paths then travel along the south side of the tracks adjacent Belmont High School.

Archer said diverting the paths to the southside rather than continue on land owned by the Belmont Community Forum takes the paths away from the majority of Channing Road homeowners who have long opposed a path adjacent to their property lines. The southside also has the option of not being “squeezed” at its end at the crossing at Brighton Street at the FE French Building.

A major issue confronting the path transversing the southside of the commuter tracks is it will be in the same location as the site of a proposed renovated/new Belmont High School and encroaches on the property of Crate Escape, the dog daycare business at the corner of Brighton.

Archer said talks are ongoing concerning the high school property. Also, the portion of the Crate Escape property that would be used by the path is the loading dock, which is not essential for the business.

The three paths are quite similar traveling from Waverley to Belmont Center, staying on the north side of Pleasant Street. The primary difference is how the trail transverses the Waverley Square Center and the commuter rail station. The higher cost options rely on covering the opening over the location and building walls to support the new construction as opposed to using ramps.

The relatively good news for Belmont is that Archer anticipates that the entire project will be “fully funded” by grants from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the MBTA, in part, to the popularity of rail trail projects and that Belmont is a significant segment connecting two sections of the Mass Central Rail Trail.

Any of the paths would most likely qualify for funding if the were direct route and one supported by local officials, noted Archer.

Money could also be coming from the MBTA, according to Community Path Implementation Advisory Committee member Vincent Stanton, as the path would solve a “big problem the MBTA is facing” with making the Waverley Station handicap compliant with the installation of a ramp system that would be part of the community path.

But  the town will be required to pony up “a substantial amount”  for the initial design stage which will cost just under 10 percent of the total cost or about $2 million, funding that could be obtained through grants from the town’s Community Preservation Act account, a request for capital funds, a state legislative earmark, private funds or any combination.

If the route is accepted, it will take nearly four years from the point the design of the path begins to a grand opening, with the final two years the construction phase.

Annual Lone Tree Hill Volunteer Day Takes Place Saturday, 9AM-1PM

Photo: Working at the Pine Allee
On Saturday, April 29, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Belmont Citizens Forum in conjunction with the Judith K. Record Memorial Conservation Fund is sponsoring its fifth annual Lone Tree Hill Volunteer Day. 
High school and middle school students can earn community service credits.
This year, there is a pair of volunteer efforts:
Pine Allee Tree Planting Work
If you’d like to work on the Pine Allee, meet at the Belmont Citizens Forum white canopy in the Lone Tree Hill parking lot on Mill Street. Please bring a shovel and gloves to plant the trees along the Allee. The Judith K. Record Memorial Conservation Fund and Land Management Committee are currently funding the Allee project to replace the trees that were either diseased or not viable in some other way.  The Tree Specialists, Inc. will be supervising the work.
Trash Cleanup at South Pleasant Street
If you’d like to work on the much-needed trash removal along South Pleasant Street, meet at the green-and-white “Belmont Bikes” Belmont Citizens Forum tent at the bottom of Coal Road, basically opposite the Star Market. Star Market has generously given us permission for volunteers to park at the Pleasant Street end of their lot. 
This volunteer event is made possible by our corporate sponsors, including:
  • Platinum Level Sponsor: Northland Residential
  • Gold Level Sponsors: Ann Mahon Realty, Cityside Subaru, East Boston Savings Bank and Watertown Savings Bank 
  • Silver Level SponsorsArtefact Home and Garden, Belmont Land Trust, Belmont Savings Bank, Cambridge Savings Bank, Century 21 Adams Lawndale, East Cambridge Savings Bank, Middlesex Savings Bank, Renaissance Realty and The Great American Rain Barrel.
  • Our Community Cosponsors include Belmont Land Management Committee for Lone Tree Hill, Mass Audubon Habitat Sanctuary, and Sustainable Belmont.
Visit for details, or e-mail us at

Belmont School Budget Tops $60 Million With Town’s Share $53 Million

Photo: The fiscal 2018 school budget

It got a bit more pricey to educate the kids in Belmont as the School Committee unanimously approved the fiscal 2018 school budget that tops $60 million.

Saying that there were “no surprises” in the final numbers, the School District’s Director of Finance, Business, and Operations Anthony DiCologero said the school department would request $52,969,484 million from Town Meeting in June when the town’s legislative body takes up financial articles.

With anticipated state and federal grants along with revolving fees, the total budget for the coming fiscal year just tops $60 million – actually $60,003,414, DiCologero told the board.

Compared to fiscal 2017, the town’s portion of the school budget increased by 5.7 percent, from $50.1 million to $53 million, an increase of $2.8 million.

Regarding total dollars, salary and wages increased by $2 million with cost of living increases and STEP adjustments moving higher from $185,903 in fiscal 2017 to $773,662 in the proposed 2018 budget, a $588,000 increase between the two years.

Also, health insurance premiums are budgeted to increase by nine percent – a little more than $500,000 – over the fiscal 2017 amount.

DiCologero told the committee the district were carrying forward all teaching positions from 2017 while adding five full-time equivalent positions as provided in the third year of the Financial Task Force Committee budget created the year of the $4.5 million override passed by town voters in April 2015.

Other budgetary issues of note:

  • One additional regular education school bus has been added to the seven bus fleet to accommodate the increase in enrollment.
  • User fees will remain the same in fiscal ’18.
  • General funds were increased by the index the Financial Task Force created.
  • All federal grants in fiscal ’18 are level funded from fiscal ’17 with small contractual increases for staff allocated to the subsidies.

Toll Bros Update of Cushing Village Development Thursday, April 27

Photo: Under construction.

The developer of the Cushing Village project now under construction in Cushing Square will hold a public meeting this week to provide residents an update on where the development is at and where it is going.

Toll Brothers Apartment Living, the apartment development division of Toll Brothers, Inc., the nation’s premier builder of luxury home, is hosting the meeting on Thursday, April 27, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Belmont Art Gallary on the third floor of the at the Homer Municipal Building

Toll Brother officials will discuss the status of the project and construction schedule. The Cushing Square project calls for construction of three mixed-use buildings, which will include retail space on the ground floor and 115 apartments above.

It’s Official: The Final Day of School For Belmont Students Is …

Photo: The day has been set.

How appropriate the final day of school for Belmont students is the first day of summer.

The Belmont School Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday, April 26 to approve Wednesday, June 21 as the last day of classes for all grades in Belmont. With a mere three snow days used this school year, families will get a bit of a jump on the summer season.

The 21st will be a half-day/early release for K-12 students while it will be a full-day for staff and teachers, said Janice Darias, Belmont’s assistant superintendent. 

Sports: After Rough Start, Youthful Boys’ Lax Finds a D That Works

Photo: Belmont’s Jackson Pullman vs. Tewksbury

In its first two matches of the season, Belmont High Boys’ Lacrosse looked really good … for the first 12 minutes. 

In each game, Belmont outplayed two tough, experienced teams in Melrose and Newton South, outscoring them 2-1 and 1-0 in the first quarter.

But Boys’ Lacrosse games are comprised of three 12 minute quarters, during which Belmont’s young players were overrun like the humans by the zombies in “World War Z” to the tune of 16-4 (Melrose) and 13-6 (Newton South). 

But Belmont’s Head Coach Josh Streit saw something in those games that gave him a lot of hope in the matches to come.

“We are a very young team, mostly juniors, and sophomores. We are taking some time learning a new offense and finding our positions. But what we are is very, very talented and that’s why we could stay with those teams,” said Streit.

And wouldn’t you know it, change for the better arrived in the next four games. An opening win vs. Stoneham (17-5), then a pair of defensive standout games away at Wilmington (7-3) and Dracut (4-2) before returning home on Monday, April 24 against non-league Tewksbury in which the team continued its winning streak with a 14-3 walk over to bring the team’s overall record to 4-2 as it enters league play this week.

“I told the guys that our first quarter and the first half has been unbelievable,” said Streit.

While praising his newly-found offense led by attacker Alec Morin (8 goals vs. Tewksbury) and a pair of sophomores, James Nally and Jacob Smialek, Streit targeted his defense and goaltending for the recent run of success.

“We’ve only given up 14 goals in four games, and it starts with Micheal Delhomme in net who have been lights out in net,” said Streit, who said the sophomore netminder was become much more aggressive facing up to the opponents (including one play against Tewksbury where he leaped and nearly mugged the attacker) and has been the “quarterback of quarterbacks” clearing the ball to the offense.

He said over the stretch the team’s long poles (the central defenders), Caleb Henman, Avery Gartland and the 6’4″ junior Thomas Ballard, have been gaining possession of the ball and making quick clearing passes “that gets to our attackers.”

The team now heads into the Middlesex League gauntlet facing very skilled teams – weather permitting – from Arlington, Woburn, Burlington, Arlington Catholic, Wakefield.

“It’s boom, boom, boom, boom. One playoff team after another” said Streit.

While cognizant of the difficult few weeks before them, Streit said he is still building a program that started four years ago.

“We’re just trying to get better in each quarter, getting more looks at goal. I know it’s cliche but it is the next play, the next move, the next pass. That’s how we’ll be a winning program.” 

Belmont High Dems Screening Oscar-Nominated Documentary ’13th’ Thursday

Photo: The poster for the documentary 

The Young Democrats of Belmont High School invite the town to join them for a panel discussion featuring local politicians and others on the criminal justice system, following a screening of the 2017 Oscar-nominated documentary “13th”.

The 2016 documentary will be shown on Thursday, April 27 from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Belmont Studio Cinema, 376 Trapelo Rd. 

Directed by Ava DuVernay, “13th” explores the intersection of race, justice and issue of mass incarceration in the United States. It is titled after the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which freed the slaves and prohibited slavery, unless as punishment for a crime.

“This is an incredibly important event for the citizens of Belmont and surrounding towns to attend in order to educate themselves on the criminal justice system in the context of race,” said Rebecca Turner of the Belmont High Young Democrats.

“Also, this is a unique opportunity to be able to discuss our justice system and learn how to start these important conversations outside of the event. 13th is a stunning movie, and raises crucial questions on the nature of American society since slavery,” said Turner.

Tickets for the screening is $5 for students and $10 for adults. Bring your friends and family for an enlightening experience. All proceeds go to ACLU Massachusetts.

Belmont’s 2017 Outstanding Teachers Named With A Surprise Visit and Balloons

Photo: (from left) Janice Darius, Assistant Superintendent, BPS; Jennifer Pressey, OTA Honoree; and Danielle Betancourt, Principal, Butler Elementary School.

The Foundation for Belmont Education announce t0day, Tuesday, April 25, the recipients of the 2017 Outstanding Teacher Awards and of the S. Warren Farrell Award for Educational Excellence, sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank Foundation. The teachers received their notification with a surprise visit from administrators and foundation members carrying the certificates and balloons. 

The ceremony to honor this year’s recipients of the Outstanding Teacher and the S. Warren Farrell Awards will be held on Tuesday, May 2, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Chenery Middle School. The award celebration, sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, is open to the public.

Outstanding teachers are recognized for their excellence in the classroom and for consistently making a difference in the lives of Belmont’s students. Recipients were selected from nominations submitted by students, parents, colleagues, and community members. 

In addition to the teaching honors, a newly-established award for educational excellence named after S. Warren Farrell in recognition of a teacher or other educator for their longstanding dedication and leadership in Belmont’s public schools.

This award honors Farrell, a former managing director for Smith Barney and an independent director at BSB Bancorp., for his many years of volunteer leadership in Belmont and its public schools.

The 2017 Outstanding Teacher Honorees are:

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 4.31.15 PM

Meaghan Clow, Wellington Elementary School, Grade 3

Fun, interactive, energetic, clever, and engaging are only a few words that describe
Ms. Clow’s personality and ability to engage students in the classroom.

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 4.33.00 PM

Kathryn Doyle, Winn Brook Elementary School, Kindergarten

Ms. Doyle works with each student’s needs, knowing that each child arrives in kindergarten with a wide range of skills in reading, writing, and math.

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 4.33.57 PM

Cliff Gallant, Burbank Elementary School, Grade 4

Mr. Gallant consistently delivers and maintains the highest quality teaching in a way that meets the individual needs of each of his students.

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 4.34.37 PM

Daniel Moresco, Belmont High School, Mathematics

As a student in AP and honors courses, I am under a lot of pressure. Mr. Moresco genuinely cares about my well-being and helps manage my work and stress.

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 4.35.26 PM

Jennifer Pressey, Butler Elementary School, Grade 1

It is evident that Mrs. Pressey has acquired a wealth of tools over the years and yet she has maintained the joy of sparking ‘aha’ moments in young minds.

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 4.36.13 PM

Dorothy Pulizzi, Chenery Middle School, Grade 5

Ms. Pulizzi consistently goes above and beyond to support her students’ learning and social and emotional health, and she connects with students at numerous after-school and extracurricular events.

2017 S. Warren Farrell Award Honoree is:

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 4.36.56 PM

John McLellan, Chenery Middle School, Music; and Saturday Morning Music School

Thousands of young people have benefitted from Mr. McLellan’s ingenious methods of instruction. Students display the utmost respect for his experience, direction, and wise and witty words.

For more information about this event or the Foundation for Belmont Education, please visit its website or contact