Wednesday’s Comm. Path Feasibility Meeting: $ and Rating the Routes

Photo: Community path in Somerville.

The penultimate public meeting of the Belmont Community Path feasibility study will finally focus on how much each of the possible routes running across Belmont will cost and how to find the Benjamins to pay for it.

The meeting, at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 26, in the Chenery Middle School’s auditorium, will feature the work of Pare Corporation, the firm hired last year by the Belmont Board of Selectmen to be the study’s project manager. 

Wednesday’s gathering – dubbed “Hot Topics” by Pare – is the final public meeting before Pare presents its recommended path route to the Board of Selectmen in May. 

Wednesday’s event, the ninth feasibility study public meeting held by Pare, will focus on presenting four major components in evaluating and analyzing the routes that transverse the town from the Waltham border outside of Waverley Square to the Cambridge city line just off Brighton Street at the Fitchburg Cutoff Bikepath.

The night’s agenda includes:
        • The “Full” Matrix,
        • The study’s evaluation criteria,
        • Cost summaries for the route options, and 
        • Potential funding sources.

Pare will present what it is calling “the Full Matrix”, which is a spreadsheet in which each of the more than two dozen paths evaluated are ranked on a series of criteria, i.e. user experience, design attributes, cost, to determine the suitability of each route.

Belmont Police to Collect Old, Unused Prescription Drugs Saturday, April 29

Photo: Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative this Saturday.

The Belmont Police Department in conjunction with the Belmont Auxiliary Police and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency will host a Prescription Drug Take-Back Initiative to prevent the abuse and theft of old, unused and expired prescription drugs.

The Belmont Police will have a collection point set up at the DPW yard, 37 C St., on Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Old or unused prescription drugs – no liquids, please – may be dropped off for free with no questions asked. You won’t even have to get out of your car

Unfortunately, these drugs are highly susceptible to misuse by family and friends. In addition they can be improperly disposed of and end up in our environment, posing a potential health hazard.

Please take some time to check your medicine cabinet and visit us on the 29th

For more information on the Rx Drug Take Back Initiative or a list of additional collection sites, visit  the DEA’s webpage.

Residents may also contact Lt. Daley at We also have a permanent Rx drug collection kiosk located in the lobby of the police headquarters in Belmont Center that is accessible 24/7. 

King Of Ks: Belmont High Southpaw Sets Strikeout Record [VIDEO]

Photo: The Belmont High battery of junior Nate Espelin (right) and senior Cal Christofori that set a school strikeout record. 

“Nothing special.” 

That’s how Belmont High junior southpaw pitcher Nate Espelin described his day on the mound last week, Wednesday, April 19, against an undefeated Wilmington High Wildcats. 

Coming off a no-decision in his first start of the season – a two-run, six strikeout performance in the home opener against Melrose – Espelin was seeking his first win of the junior campaign pitching away from home against a league rival.

Espelin did get his first victory last week, and more. Much more.

In a game of a lifetime, Espelin registered a school record 19 strikeouts in a 1-0 complete game (7 innings) shutout of host Wilmington. What was amazing – besides getting all but two batters out (19 of 21) via the K – is that Espelin struck out the final 18 batters he faced. 

While the state’s interscholastic athletic association does not keep individual game pitching records, it appears that Espelin’s showing was a rare one, with just a few example of a pitcher striking out 21 batters in a game, without knowing the competitiveness of the opposition. 

In explaining his extraordinary effort, the soft-spoken, unflustered junior shrugged and said he had not done anything differently.
His battery partner, senior captain catcher Cal Christofori, didn’t even know the number of Ks until he was told after the final out.
“I was trying to mix up (the pitch selection),” said Christofori, saying Espelin was hitting his glove on nearly every pitch. Because he was hitting the corners of the plate, many of Espelin’s victims were sent back to the bench without a swing at the third strike. 
While he did admit the day was a special one, Espelin hopes he has the confidence to return to the mound “to challenge the batters the same way I did [in Wilmington].”

Second Becca Pizzi Family Run Fun Set For Sunday, April 30

Photo: Becca Pizzi Family Fun Run 2017

The second annual Becca Pizzi Family Fun Run organized by the Belmont Boosters and sponsored by Belmont Savings Bank will take place on Sunday, April 30, starting at the Belmont High School track at Harris Field. 

  • 7:30 a.m.: Registration/Bib Pick Up Open
  • 9 a.m.: 1-Mile Kids Race begins
  • 9:30 a.m.: 5K Race begins

Register on RaceMenu.

The race will include a 5K run. It will also include a 1-mile run for kids around the Belmont High School track. Registration fee is $25 for 5K runners and $10 for kids running in the 1-mile race (ages 12 and under).

The Becca Pizzi Family Fun Run celebrates Becca Pizzi, the first American woman to win the World Marathon Challenge, in which contestants run seven marathons in seven days on seven continents.

Registration for the 5K will be $35 the day of the race. Proceeds will benefit the Becca Pizzi Scholarship Fund and Belmont Boosters.

Bibs can be picked up on site or at Belmont Savings Bank in Belmont Center on Saturday, April 29 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Check out our Facebook event page.

Town Meeting Preview: Warrant Briefing Monday Night at the Beech

Photo: Warrant Committee Chair Roy Epstein

The Belmont League of Women Voters and Warrant Committee is co-sponsoring the annual warrant briefing to acquaint Town Meeting members and residents with the non-financial articles on the Town Meeting warrant.

The meeting will take place Monday evening, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.

This is an opportunity for Town Meeting members and the general public to ask questions of town officials and department heads concerning any of the warrant articles prior to the 2017 Town Meeting beginning in one week on Monday, May 1. 

Warrant Committee Chair Roy Epstein will preside.

This year, Town Meeting Moderator Michael Widmer will hold an orientation/information session for new Town Meeting members at 6:30 p.m. immediately prior to the warrant discussion. All Town Meeting member is welcome to attend this session.

Cafe Society a la Belmont: ZBA OKs Eatery at Center’s New Bookstore

Photo: Chris Abouzeit (standing) and Kathy Crowley, owners of the Belmont Bookstore, before the ZBA

The famed “lost generation” of American artists and writers living in Paris in the 1920s – Hemingway, Stein, Eliot, Fitzgerald, Pound and Gershwin – would leave their dark and cold apartments and head to the lively bistro/bars on the Left Bank such as Le Dôme Café and Café de la Rotonde, drop a few centime for a coffee or brandy and spend hours reading, writing and creating a cafe society that would transform American literature.

While Belmont residents Chris Abouzeit and his wife, Kathy Crowley, the owners of the Belmont Bookstore – set to open in the next few weeks in the former Macy’s department store on Leonard Street in Belmont Center – aren’t anticipating to have the same impact on the literary landscape as what occurred 90 years ago in France, they will provide customers with a bit of the ambiance of the La Rive Gauche after the Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously granted the pair a “fast food” licence to include a cafe in the store.

“We see this as a vibrant spot in the store,” said Abouzeit. 

The vote which took place early in April grants Abouzeit and Crowley the right to build a 1,000 sq.-ft. cafe in the 5,000 sq.-ft. store. The 17-seat eatery will serve “coffee shop” fare, none of which will be prepared at the location, said Abouzeit, who is an author and manager at the Porter Square Bookstore in Cambridge. 

The cafe will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. with one to two weekly deliveries taking place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Trash will be put in a dumpster located on the Alexander Avenue side of the location provided by the landlord, Locatelli Properties.

After the vote, Abouzeit t0ld the Belmontonian the store should be “quietly” opening in the middle-or-end of May a few weeks after its neighbor, Foodies Urban Market. 

“We are looking at Town Day (this year on Saturday, May 20) but I’d like to open tomorrow. Everyone is excited that we will open the doors soon,” he said.

Crowley said the store would have special events for kids in June – a “Find Waldo” type event in partnership with the store’s other retail neighbor, The Toy Shop of Belmont.

The store will also host a series of author events, including talks by Crystal King, the author of the new novel (a late April release), “Feast of Sorrow” and “The Salt House” author Lisa Duffy (out in June) while the owners hope to have Sebastian Junger and Tom Perrotta in the store during the summer. 

“We are planning more events as we speak,” said Crowley.

Housing Trust’s Meeting On Increasing Housing Options Thurs. Apr. 27

Photo: Housing affordability thrust of Housing Trust’s meeting.

Next week, the Belmont Housing Trust will host a public meeting to discuss its Housing Production Plan, which provides a five-year framework and strategy for the development of a variety of housing options to meet the needs of the Belmont residents.

Cosponsored by the League of Woman Voters, the meeting will be held at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 27 at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St.

“We’re excited to gather final public input and comments on Belmont’s housing future. The high level of interest in this month’s town election suggests people are really thinking about what we need to do, going forward, to make Belmont a more livable place for all,” said Judie Feins, co-chair of the Housing Trust.

In community meetings over the past year, residents participated in discussions about “imagining Belmont’s housing future,” identifying their interests and concerns about housing in Belmont. Their input was combined with a Housing Needs Assessment based on demographics and economic data to develop the Housing Production Plan, which details production goals and strategies aimed at meeting those needs.

The draft Housing Production Plan is available here.

Participants Thursday will provide additional input before the Plan is finalized and submitted to town officials for approval and action.

The Housing Needs Assessment noted that Belmont’s population continues to rise modestly, with a forecasted need for housing for seniors and new families, including rentals and community housing. Housing costs in Belmont have increased more than 40 percent since 2009, making Belmont less accessible for lower and moderate income households. 

In addition, while nearly a quarter of Belmont households are eligible for affordable housing, only seven percent of Belmont’s housing units are considered affordable. Belmont’s housing is also generally quite old and may have significant maintenance needs.

Massachusetts requires cities and towns to have affordable housing of at least 10 percent of total housing units.  Affordable housing is defined as housing that is affordable to households earning less than 80 percent of Area Median Income – $51,150 for a single person household. 

Once the town’s newest and largest housing developments, Royal Belmont and Cushing Village, are completed, the town will remain 337 units short of the 10 percent benchmark. 

The primary goal of the Housing Production Plan is to identify opportunities to create these 337 affordable units. Those units should, however, meet the needs reflected in the recent assessment. Thus the Plan proposes to create housing for seniors, new families, and for lower income households.


The Plan has identified several strategies, including the development of housing near transportation centers, leveraging opportunities on public land, supporting redevelopment of industrial sites, revitalizing existing community housing, and networking with Belmont residents, organizations, property owners and local businesses. 

Former Star Now Coach Has Girls’ Lax Playing Beautiful Music

Photo: Head Coach Katy Ananian with her Belmont team.

Katy Ananian. Remember her? 

Unlike former Belmont High sports stars whose playing careers were so long ago they played on grass and action photographs are in black and white, it was less than a decade Ananian – along with her talented sister Abby who played Division 1 lacrosse at St. Joseph’s  – nearly singlehandedly made Marauder girls’ lacrosse into an annual playoff contender, a League All-Star and Boston Globe All-Scholastic goaltender whose unorthodox style stonewalled opponents securing victories for a then young program.

Well, she’s back on the Harris Field sidelines this spring, now as a first-year head coach in the hope of rekindling a team that has spent four years out of the Division North sectional tournament. So far, so good as the Marauders entered the week-long Spring Recess break at 3-0, 2-0 in Middlesex League play.

For Katy, a 2011 Belmont High graduate, leading the Marauders is where she always wanted to be.

“When I was playing for Belmont, in my mind I was thinking “I want to coach Belmont one day,’ and that’s a true statement,” said Ananian, who regularly flashes a big smile she had during her playing days.

“There were moments when I took a step back and said ‘I love this program, I love this town. There’s a lot of pride here. So as soon as I saw that there might be an opening, I was like I have to jump on it,” she said after the team’s 18-7 win vs. Wilmington last week. 

It’s a good transition for Ananian having been an assistant coach at Wheelock College in 2016, a year after finishing an outstanding college playing career.

As a four-year varsity starter in goal at Wheaton College in Norton, Ananian led her team to an ECAC title as a freshman and an appearance in the NCAA Division 3 Championships her junior year after winning the NEWMAC tourney.

Having played the sport in college and with recent coaching experience, “so this was the perfect opportunity to take this program forward,” Ananian said.

Belmont’s Athletic Director Jim Davis said Ananian had all the qualities he was looking for in a new coach “who can jumpstart the sport.” 

“She’s enthusiastic with a real knowledge of the game. It’s a great fit,” he said.

What Ananian brings to the program is an approach to playing that incorporates the mindset and physical play of the college game to the high school stage. 

“Katy, who is fresh out of college, brings this modern way to play lacrosse to Belmont,” said senior captain AnnMarie Habelow. “She is bringing so many new ideas here that she’s flipping the program around right from the start.” 

“My big thing is teamwork,” said Ananian who said she last year she attended a few Belmont games where she saw a great deal of individual talent “but it didn’t come together.” 

“My philosophy also includes a ton of team bonding. If they like each other on and off the field, we will play better.” she said, noting that the team’s chemistry on the pitch is “fantastic.” 

And she gave the players a unique music analogy on playing as units on the field, that playing defense is like classical music while being on offense is hard rock. 

“They looked at me like I was a crazy person. But then I heard a couple of them say, ‘classical,’ ‘heavy metal’ and it really makes sense when you put it together,” she said.

Defense is “pretty, very mechanical and you have to communicate in a calm way. While offense is you want to attack, be loud and go hard at the goal.” 

While the season has just begun, the start has been encouraging as Belmont has outscored the opposition by double figures in each of the first three games. Against Wilmington, Belmont took an early ten goal lead only to see it reduced to seven before goals by Habelow and Sophie Pollock stemmed the tide.

Ananian is realistic about games to come against more accomplished, experienced teams in the Middlesex League, five which made the postseason last year.

“I told them that not every game is going to come easy for us. We need to take advantage of opportunities where we can play as a team and pass the ball around and come up with ‘pretty’ plays that will beat these strong defenses,” said Ananian. 

But Ananian remains confident that her first campaign will be a success. 

“My idea for this season was a clean slate. I didn’t want to pay attention to anything that happened last season. I see us going wherever our teamwork can take us,” said noted.

“As long as we want it as a collective team, I could see us competing with the Readings and the Winchesters,” she said.

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Finding Belmont’s Honored Dead Made Easier By Eagle Scout’s Work

Photo: Belmont Eagle Scout Oliver Leeb with the Belmont Board of Selectmen.

In Belmont’s two burial grounds, those interned who served the country hold an honored place in the town.

But for relatives and historians, locating one of the 1,800 military service dead was haphazard at best as individuals would need to hunt between several sources and town departments then having to scour the sites to find the precise location.

Now those seeking the resting places of veterans have a new resource to make the task easier, all thanks to the effort of a Belmont Eagle Scout.

Belmont High School Senior Oliver Leeb of Troop 304 have created a system that will allow loved ones a database/map that reduces what formerly took three or four tasks to just one.

“It was a great project because it has a practical application,” said Leeb, before being presented a certificate of appreciation from the Belmont Board of Selectmen last wee. 

The work began as Leeb sought a local project as part of his Eagle Scout requirement which led him to Belmont’s Veteran’s Agent Bob Upton. After discussing what was on Upton’s wish list, they came up with a badly needed updating of the existing catalog. 

Before the new system, there was a rudimentary list of the dead in alphabetical order that gave only a general location of the grave. 

“It really needed to be updated especially with the number of veterans buried here and the lack of specific locations of the graves,” said Leeb, who will be graduating in June and heading to Brandeis in the fall. 

Under Leeb’s initiative, individual graves were given specific numbers that created a database corresponding to a map of the grave sites. 

“So now using the map and the database, you can find the grave of any veteran that you wanted to find,” he said.

Leeb leaves a system that can be expanded to use GPS coordinates to pinpoint a grave on a digital map and also include the history of the veteran such as dates and where they served.

“There is so much history that can be included. We have veterans from the Grand Army of the Republic who fought in the Civil War,” said Leeb, noting it could be a project for another scout to consider.

18 Belmont Runners Cross Boston Marathon Finish Line


On a race day that proved to be a challenge for the elite and the back of the pack runners, 18 Belmont residents gutted out the 26.2 miles from bucolic Hopkinton to bustling Boston in the 121st running of the BAA Marathon on Monday, April 17.

Despite warm conditions – temperatures topped out in the low 70s – and a tail wind, the cadre of Belmontians joined 26,393 other runners to finish the Patriots Day race.                                                              

The results are “net” times which is when the runner crosses the start line and not when the gun goes off.

Emily Adams    3:49:28

Jennifer Ausrotas    4:28:37

Justin Bakule    4:35:31

Sarkis Chekijian    4:04:51

Scot DeDeo    3:26:07

Paul Firth    4:36:22

Satomi Kato    4:21:07

Tony Luongo    3:27:12

Samuel Millen    5:20:10

Jana Montoya    4:00:02

Laurie Nahigian    3:29:32

Stephen Najarian    5:14:21

Damien Pinault    3:47:04

Becca Pizzi    3:39:38

Peter Tagge    4:05:29

Peter Thomson    4:48:59

Konstantin Tyurin    3:23:43

Peter Walker    5:16:03