Belmont Yard Sales: July 29-30

Photo: Yard sales in Belmont.

Here are this weekend’s yard/moving/garage sales happening in the 02478 zip code:

64 Becket Rd., Saturday, July 29, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

76 Dean St., Saturday, July 29, 9 a.m. to noon.

8 Francis St., Saturday, July 29, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

9-11 Lawndale St., Saturday and Sunday, July 29 and July 30, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

19 Linden Ave., Sunday, July 30, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

5 Lodge Rd., Saturday, July 29, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

290 Orchard St., Saturday, July 29, 8:30 a.m. to noon.

State Rep Rogers’ Bill Protecting Pregnant Workers Signed Into Law

Photo: State Rep. Dave Rogers speaking at the bill signing.

Pregnant workers in Massachusetts now have a new law providing them more protections in the work place thanks to Belmont State Rep. Dave Rogers.

Saying the legislation was “overdue,” Gov. Charlie Baker signed on Thursday, July 27 the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act written and championed by Rogers and State Sen. Joan Lovely, which requires employers offer “reasonable accommodations” to pregnant workers and makes it illegal to fire or refuse to hire a worker due to a pregnancy.

Accomondations expecting workers can expect include is provided a temporary transfer to a less strenuonus position, be given a chair to sit on and provided increased restroom visits. After they give birth, businesses are required to provide time and a location for nursing mothers. 

Massachusetts joins 18 states which have similar legal protections.

Day School Ready For Planning Board Vote, But When Is Up In The Air

Photo: Brit Dewey, Belmont day School’s Board of Trustees president speaking before the Belmont Planning Board.

After nearly half a year and more than a half-dozen public hearing, the Belmont Day School’s proposal to build a new athletic and classroom building and a driveway/road on its property will be decided in early August by the Belmont Planning Board after acting Chair Barbara Fiacco said that when it holds the next meeting, “we are looking at a near final if not final plan.” 

But just which day the Planning Board will vote on the 90-year-old private K-8 school plans remain uncertain as the applicant is facing a dicey choice: move quickly and risk a devastating defeat or be patient and delay the development’s groundbreaking date.

With planning board member Karl Haglund unavailable to make the next hearing on Aug. 1, the Day School will face the bare minimum of three members to form a quorum.

As Belmont Town Planner Jeffery Wheeler noted, the Day School would need a unanimous “yes” vote for approval to move on the project. That could be a risky move since “It’s much easier to get a 3-1 decision than a 3-0 vote,” said Wheeler after the meeting.

But waiting for Hagland’s return would force the school to have to wait a fortnight for the subsequent Planning Board meeting. At issue is whether the school can afford to wait an additional two weeks before gaining the town’s OK to meet its commitment to its construction firm to begin work.

The frustration of supporters of the project of the longer-than-expected approval process came to the fore last week when Brit Dewey, the school’s Board of Trustees president, spoke formally for the first time since April when introducing the project.

“This project is about children,” said Dewey, with the school’s primary goal “to make an outstanding educational experience for children even more compelling.”

Dewey said the school had “consistently engaged in good faith and as an earnest and active partner with the Town of Belmont to move this project forward successfully” adding that the Day School had reached out to neighboring residents and the elected commission that oversees the cemetery.

“It’s time to make a decision in support of the project,” she said, adding that approving the development “is a vote to support excellence in education in Belmont; it’s a vote to support children.”

Opponents continued to focus on the proposed road that will skirt the boundary of the town’s Highland Meadow Cemetery. Those owning plots said the noise of what they contend would be 1,000 vehicle trips would destroy the serenity of the location and devaluing the burial sites.

Bellevue Road’s Joel Semuels asked that if approved, the roadway running close by a pair of burial spots he and his wife own be designated for emergency vehicles use only.

“This is not your ordinary ‘Not-In-My-Backyard’ NIMBY situation,” said Semuels, asking it’s unknown what will occupy the site of the school in 100 or 150 years, “but a cemetery … has its permanent residents and visitors to those residents and is forever.”

A homeowners group believes the added entryway to the school increase traffic and set back safety on a busy section of the upper Concord Avenue. 

The remainder of the meeting centered on construction schedules and the amount and type of landscaping that should be placed in the roadway and the graveyard, with an emphasis to “ameliorate the effect on the road to the cemetery,” said board member Charles Clark, joining Haglund in saying that the landscaping must provide a “peace of mind” to the town and residents. 

Hoping to provide something of a compromise to the board, the Day School decided to sacrifice 17 parking spaces it had planned to place along the roadway to allow a greater buffer area between the road and the cemetery’s border.

By the end of the 75-minute meeting, it appeared the next time they will meet could produce a final site plan or just another delay. 

Belmont Resident In Running To Co-Own Big League Ball Club

Photo: The hapless Miami Marlins.

What does a former-Presidential candidate, New York Yankee’s greatest shortstop, Donald Trump’s son-in-law, a Yale-educated baseball-obsessed New York city art dealer, Pitbull (not the dog), a basketball GOAT (not the animal), HOF pitchers and Belmont’s own Tagg Romney have in common?

Not much? Au contraire!

They are all in a battle royale to become part of America’s national past time as owner(s) of the Miami Marlins. And in one week’s time, we’ll know if Romney will be a part-owner of a Major League Baseball team.

With a July 31 deadline by Major League Baseball looming, the competition between two or three sets of bidders is a free-for-all who will spend millions take control of one of the most miserable franchises in recent baseball history.

The Grennsbrook Way homeowner and private equity manager and life sciences investment fund owner Wayne Rothbaum are bidding approximately $1.1 billion to buy the Marlins from art dealer to the New York elite Jeffrey Loria who many in sports circles consider the worst professional sports owner in the US for rarely investing in the product on the field. 

Since making their initial offer a few months ago, the Romney/Rothbaum tandem has added a truly incongruous mix co-partners to strengthen the their team including former Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, Pitbull – the popular Miami DJ – three great former starting pitchers (Tom Glavine, Dave Stewart, Al Leiter) and the CEO of Shoney’s (some kind of Southern regional restaurant chain) David Davoudpour.

For Romney, being owner would be a return to the sports business, having been head of marketing for the Los Angeles Dodgers before becoming vice president of onfield marketing at Reebok.

Romney will need the help as they are up against Yankees superstar Derek Jeter, who is the personal favorite of Loria, who is a big Yankees fan. Two months ago it appeared that Jeter along with his partner Jeb Bush – yup, the same Bush – to beat out the Romney/Rothbaum team with a $1.2 billion offer. But when Jeter struggled to finance the bid, Jeb pulled out. Since then, it is reported that Jeter traded a Bush for a GOAT: basketball superstar Michael Jordan has joined the Jeter squad that includes its own slew of money men.

Add to the mix is Florida cable-laying tycoon Jorge Mas who is making a late run for the team, yet there is evidence he is not as enthusiastic about the bid as the other two.

The sale process began in February when members of Jared Kushner’s family engaged in talks to purchase the franchise. The Kushners abandoned their pursuit of the team when the price peaked at $1 billion. 

Any sale will require the approval of Major League Baseball.


West Nile Virus Now A Moderate Threat In Belmont

Photo: A Culex mosquito.

Following two consecutive weeks of WNV positive mosquito detections in the Boston area, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has raised the West Nile Virus risk level to moderate for residents living in Belmont, Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Newton and Watertown. 

“Over the next few weeks, the Belmont Health Department will continue to work with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Eastern Middlesex Mosquito Control Project to monitor the mosquito populations for WNV. EMMCP crews recently started to treat [more than] 2,000 catch basins to reduce the mosquito population,” said Angela Braun, Belmont’s Director of Health.

WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.

The Culex mosquitoes that carry the virus are prevalent throughout the state and are found in urban as well as more rural areas. While most mosquito species develop in wetlands, Culex mosquitoes prefer to lay their eggs in catch basins, clogged rain gutters, unused tires, buckets and other water holding containers. 

Residents can help combat this disease by mosquito proofing their property. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to develop by either draining or getting rid of items that hold water.

  • Check rain gutters and drains, empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change the water in birdbaths frequently.
  • Install or Repair Screens: Some mosquitoes like to come indoors. Keep them outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.

Avoid Mosquito bites by following these simple steps:

  • Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours: The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning. Otherwise, take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing.
  • Clothing can help reduce mosquito bites. Although it may be difficult to do when it’s hot, wearing long-sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
  • Apply Insect Repellent when you go outdoors. Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m- toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] according to the instructions on the product label.

Information about WNV and reports of WNV activity in Massachusetts during 2017 can be found on the MDPH website.

Brownsberger To Co-Host Airplane Noise Discussion Tuesday in H2Otown

Photo: Aircraft taking off from Logan International Airport.

Belmont State Sen. Will Brownsberger will join State Rep. Jon Hecht, and Watertown elected officials in a community meeting to discuss the ongoing issue of noise from aircraft leaving Boston’s Logan International Airport that fly over Belmont and surrounding municipalities. 

The meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 25, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Apartments at Coolidge School, 319 Arlington St. in Watertown.

“Your legislators and municipal officials and several volunteer organizations have been working hard to address this increase for the past few years,” said Brownsberger.

Speakers include Myron Kassaraba, Belmont’s MassPort Community Advisory  Committee Member, will talk about a recent study on reducing airplane noise and Andrea Adams, Watertown Senior Planner who will discuss the history of the issue.

Brownsberger, Hecht and Watertown District Councilor Angeline Kounelis will then discuss legislative efforts to help decrease the sound coming from passenger aircraft over Belmont and  Watertown.

The meeting will conclude with a public discussion.

Belmont Yard Sales: July 22-23

Photo: Help out a young couple with their wedding!

Here are this weekend’s yard/moving/garage sales happening in the 02478 zip code:

64 Betts Rd., Saturday, July 22, 9 a.m. to noon 

5 Bow Rd., Saturday, July 22, 9 a.m. to noon (Estate sale) 

256 Brighton St., Saturday, July 22, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m

300 Common St., Saturday, July 22, 9 a.m. to 5;30 p.m

84 Creeley Rd., Saturday, July 22, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m

48 Vincent Ave., Saturday and Sunday, July 22 and 23, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Proceeds go to a wedding fund!)

Vehicle Break-ins Break Out in Belmont

Photo: Nearly all the cars broken into were left open by their owners.

July has been designated National Vehicle Theft Prevention Month, but that hasn’t stopped a rash of break-ins of autos and trucks throughout Belmont in the past 30 days.

According to Belmont Police, the latest series of breaking and enterings occurred between Thursday night and Friday morning, July 20-21, many in the Grove Street area near the playground. Three cars were pilfered with easy to carry items – change, sunglasses and a charger – taken. 

This is the second time the area was targeted; the previous event happened over the weekend of July 8-9. 

Last week, cars across town in the Kendall Garden neighborhood off Mill Street were broken into overnight.

Belmont Police report that each break in had one thing in common; the vehicles were left unlocked by their owners.

“Lock up – don’t become a victim,” said the Belmont Police, who are asking residents to call 617-484-1212 with any information.

Letter to the Editor: Farmers Market Could Use Your Help

Photo: The Farmers Market
The Belmont Farmers’ Market and its parent organization, the Belmont Food Collaborative (BFC), have a food assistance program to help people in need. A big part of that is matching SNAP benefits at the Market (formerly called food stamps).

Each week, we match up to $25 of the amount that a SNAP shopper spends. For example, we’ll debit $20 from a shopper’s account and give $40 to spend on eligible products at the Market. This has been a very popular program, helping many households enjoy healthy, local products – we’ve matched over $12,000 since we started in 2011. 

SNAP matching has grown dramatically this year. So far, we’ve spent twice as much as we budgeted. To continue the program, we have been asking our supporters to help fund our food assistance programs with a donation at the BFC website. They’ve been very generous, allowing us to continue providing this important assistance.
This year, the Commonwealth began a new program called Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) for SNAP recipients. When SNAP shoppers buy fruits and vegetables from a participating vendor, the amount is immediately refunded to their account. (There is a monthly maximum, based on household size.) HIP only applies to fruits and vegetables, while SNAP applies to that, plus most of the rest of the products at the Market, such as meat, pasta, eggs, cheese, cookies, bread and more.
As one of our shoppers said recently, “Wow! That’s great.” And it is! These programs are a great way to help people eat fresh, local foods and support local agriculture at the same time.
Because HIP is new and SNAP has grown in popularity, we’ve written a brief handout to explain how they work at our Market. Volunteers have helped by translating it into Chinese and Russian, and we expect to have an Armenian version soon. Download the SNAP/HIP handouts on our website.
Shoppers get SNAP certificates at our Market Manager tent. For the HIP benefit, they can go right to a participating produce vendor. So far, Hutchins Farm is our only HIP vendor, but we expect that the others will be getting their card-swipe terminals from the Commonwealth very soon.
Many farmers’ markets match SNAP, but not all do. Boston no longer matches SNAP benefits; they’re encouraging shoppers to use HIP instead. We match state benefits and encourage our vendors to participate in HIP because food assistance is a big part of the mission of the Market’s parent organization, the Belmont Food Collaborative.
Our matching program also includes WIC and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FNMP) certificates. Another part of the BFC’s food assistance program is growing produce to donate to the Belmont Food Pantry (volunteers can help by watering and weeding).
Stop at the Manager’s tent for SNAP coupons, full details and answers to your questions. See you at the Market!
Hal Shubin
Chairperson of the Market Committee,
Belmont Food Collaborative, a 501(c)(3) organization, and the parent organization of the Belmont Farmers’ Market.

Will Belmont Day School’s Extended Stay With The Planning Board End Tonight?

Photo: Barbara Fiacco, the Planning Board’s acting chair

Amidst the months of deep-in-the-weeds technical reports and legal speculation associated with the Belmont Day School’s proposal before the Belmont Planning Board, there was a “Miss Emily Litella” moment at the most recent public hearing held on Tuesday, July 10.

A person who owns a burial plot in the town-owned Highland Meadow Cemetery adjacent to where the school, spoke of the impact the development could have on his last resting place including displacing the wildlife while creating a great place “for kids to do drugs and have sex.” 

But his concern also extended to the construction of the school’s newest structure, a 25,000 sq.-ft, building known as the “Barn.”

“I thought we weren’t allowed to have farm animals in the town, horses, and everything. Do they have permits for this type of agricultural use? Am I going to go there and hear the roosters crowing, am I going to smell the cow’s feces?” the longtime resident proclaimed, as a quiet tittering made its way around the Beech Street Center.

“We can’t have a barn in Belmont,” he said.

For residents who have been following the extended stay of the private K-8 school on Day School Lane off upper Concord Avenue during its Design and Site Plan Review, the new gymnasium and classroom space is being dubbed the “barn” because, well, it resembles from afar a large grange.

When informed by the Day School’s lead spokesperson Kelly Durfee Cardoza from Avalon Consulting that it’s just called “the barn,” the resident didn’t say “Never mind,” but quipped that “that sounds awful cute to me.” 

While likely unintentional, the resident’s confusion has been the comic outlier from what has been hours of back and forth between the board, the school, two sets of residents opposing the plan, a town board and discussions between the town’s attorney and the school’s legal rep which has extended the school’s stay before the board well past the initial date the school had hoped to have the review completed.

That may change tonight as the board, and the school is expected to come to a possible agreement on what appears to be the final two components of the project that require a resolution.

At the end of the July 10 meeting, Barbara Fiacco, the Planning Board’s acting chair, requested the school’s representatives to provide a more extensive landscaping plan in an effort to shield the proposed roadway from the cemetery and provide a more detail plan on how Shawmut Design and  Construction – the school’s general contractor – will ferry workers on the site and where trucks and other heavy equipment vehicles will be parked during the construction.

For the school, the end of the public process is likely needed soon for the school to begin construction by the fall. The school recently accepted a $15.5 million tax-exempt bond from the state’s economic development and finance agency, MassDevelopment to begin construction with a construction team waiting for the word to proceed.

While many of the technical issues – including the building and maintenance of the proposed roadway running from Concord Avenue to a school parking lot – have been argued over to some level compromise, there remains one major sticking point that could continue to hold up closing the public meeting and issuing a ruling.

State General Law 40a (3) (2) – known as the Dover amendment – protects education and religious entities from land use regulations and limiting the town to “reasonable regulations” to mitigate the development’s effect on surrounding areas.

What would appear to be a straight forward legal issue remains somewhat muddled as the school’s attorney, Robinson & Cole’s Katherine Bailey, and town counsel George Hall have differing views on whether the roadway is protected by the Dover amendment, with Hall arguing there are not enough rulings to definitely say one way or another.

How the legal issue of the roadway’s status will be resolved could put another roadblock before the school with the new academic year ready to begin in six weeks.