Boys Soccer Hits High On Soccer Night But Find Scoring Wanting Since

Photo: Belmont’s Jake Carson celebrate his goal vs. Winchester.

Jake Carson sure knew how to end “Soccer Night In Belmont” on a high note.

The Belmont High senior co-captain broke an offside trap from the Winchester High School back line and slotted the ball by goalie Justin Polcari – who was spectacular in net making three full stretch saves – in the final eight minutes of the game for the winning goal as the Marauders defeated the  Sachems – at the time ranked 7th in the Boston Globe’s weekly Top 20 poll – 2-0 on Saturday night, Sept. 23.

“The ball came across and [Winchester’s defenders] stepped up to put Andre [Duda] offsides, but that move let me run into space,” said Carson. With only Polcari between him and the net, Carson cut the ball back “and placed it into the corner and hoped for the best.” The pass that sent Carson away came from sophomore Will Hoerle. 

Oh, just so you know, “Soccer Night in Belmont” – the wildly successful soccer festival that brought more than 800 players, parents, and spectators to Harris Field – was founded by Jake’s dad, John Carson.

“It was probably one of the best feelings I had this soccer season, if not my whole career,” he said.

Belmont sealed the win when Duda himself beat another trap, catching up to a pass from the senior defender and co-captain Kostas Tingos and put the ball by Polcari with three minutes remaining. 

For Head Coach Brian Bisceglia-Kane, while the match was special because it was played before a large crowd – about ten times the size of a regular season game – “but it’s just one-sixteenth of our season and then into the playoffs hopefully.”

“You have to temper the expectations of the players thinking that this means more, but whenever you play Winchester … they are always great to play against. It was just a fun overall match,” he said.

Bisceglia-Kane said this associate head coach, Matt Berk – who was Bisceglia-Kane’s teammate at Brandeis – has made a big difference in freeing up the team’s practices for specialized training sessions. 

After the high of Saturday – which led to Belmont being named the 9th ranked team by the Globe – the weekend’s scoring boom turned into a bust as the Marauders lost at home Monday to winless Reading, 2-1, (giving up a pair in the second half) before being shut out 1-0 to league leader, Arlington on Wednesday, Sept 27. At midweek, Belmont’s record stood at 4-3-1.

Bisceglia-Kane said that scoring ultimately comes down to the scoring chances the team creates. “And sometimes it’s just luck.” 

Tzom Kal: Yom Kippur Begins Friday at Sunset

Photo: The painting is a detail of “Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur” by the 22-year-old Maurycy Gottlieb c. 1878.

Yom Kippur, also known as Day of Atonement, is the holiest day of the year for the Jews.

Yom Kippur begins at sundown on Friday, Sept. 29.

The day’s central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this holy day with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days or sometimes the Days of Awe.

Two years ago, the Belmont School Committee approved a pilot program to close school for one day in observance of the Jewish High Holidays beginning in the 2015-16 school year. A year later, after complaints from residents who declared the policy disruptive to the educational process and did not reflect the growing diversity within Belmont’s schools, all religious holidays were removed from the school calendar. 

With Two Days Left, Friends Of PQ Park Nears Fundraising Goal

Photo: Putting up the new sign at PQ Park.

With a deadline of Saturday, Sept. 30, to meet the town’s requirement for private funding of $35,000 for the renovation of PQ Park, the Friends of PQ Park announced today that it is $5,000 shy of its goal in these final days.  

This grassroots effort, led by a team of volunteers called Friends of PQ Park, has been very successful thanks to the generosity and support of the Belmont community. Donors consist primarily of those who feel connected to PQ and to preserving our playgrounds and fields. This funding will supplement Community Preservation Act funds approved for the renovation. 

“If we can raise the remaining funds, we can act upon our design team’s plan that is going to be delivered earlier than expected,” says Ogden Sawyer, Friends of PQ Park treasurer.

“This is fantastic news, making it possible to break ground in early spring of 2018,’ said Sawyer.

“While the effort to raise $30,000 in 30 days has been an ambitious undertaking, we are thrilled with the success of this campaign.  We really need to push these last two days,” Ogden continues.  “We are making this plea today to our community to help us raise the last $5,000 before this Saturday’s deadline.  Any and all donations are welcome!”

“We are making this plea today to our community to help us raise the last $5,000 before this Saturday’s deadline. Any and all donations are welcome,” he said.

Visit the website to learn more and make your donation. Alternatively, checks should be sent to “Friends of PQ Park,” 31 Walnut St, Belmont MA, 02478.

The Friends of PQ Park, Inc., is a non-profit organization formed in 2017, following the favorable recommendation of funding for the revitalization of PQ Park by Belmont’s Community Preservation Committee.

Belmont Educators Come Out In Mass To Support Contract Negotiations

Photo: Kristen Bell speaking before the School Committee and her colleagues.

Approximately 125 teachers and educators jammed into the Community Room at the Chenery Middle School Tuesday night, Sept 26, to demonstrate its support of its union – the Belmont Education Association – before the Belmont School Committee as the two sides attempt to hammer out a multi-year contract in the next month.

“As educators and union members … we stand with our negotiators in support of our vision of the schools our students deserve,” said Kristen Bell, a first-grade teacher at the Wellington, Belmont resident and an official with the union, who spoke before a sea of colleagues in red T-shirts and school committee members during its scheduled meeting.

The past contract between teachers and the town ended on Aug. 31, just days before the school year began.

The BEA and the school committee have two remaining agreed-to negoitating sessions to resolve salary and benefit differences and craft a contract for the 500 union members, of which 330 are teachers in Belmont’s six public schools.

Bell said the union is seeking to:

  • Ensure curriculum-based learning is free from distractions and excessive mandates.
  • Allow time for educators to think, plan and collaborate in meaningful ways.
  • Provide educators the appropriate level of influence over decisions with their schools.
  • Maintain consistent and qualified instructional coverage for students, and 
  • Ensure the town continues to attract and maintain “exemplary educators.” 

While neither side would reveal how far apart they remain on wages and benefits, the union and school committee have only encouraging words about the talks. School committee members and teachers greeted each other with smiles and the amenity of friends. 

“We have faith and hope [the school committee] will reach agreement before the end of October,” said Bell. 

In a statement from the School Committee, Chair Lisa Fiore said she was glad to hear that the BEA supports the work on both sides.

“As with all union negotiations, the balance we always try to strike is supporting our educators and being accountable to our taxpayers,” she said.

After Loss in League Opener, Belmont Football Readies for Reading Thursday

Photo: The Belmont defensive line.

Belmont High School Football Head Coach Yann Kumin will be looking for the offensive line to spring the running game as the Marauders play host to the Reading High Rockets on Thursday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m.

The game was pushed up a day from the traditional Friday Night start due to the Jewish High Holiday of Yom Kippur that begins Friday at sunset.

Kumin is looking to build a balanced attack as Belmont seeks its first victory of the season after going 0-3, losing it’s Middlesex League opener last week to an improving Woburn team, 27-14.

“We were excited to run the ball and they got a little blitz happy on us and we could not take advantage of that until later in the game,” said Kumin. 

“I thought we threw the ball decently but we have to balance our offense,” he said after the Woburn game.

“Going into the Reading game, we have to be able to consistently run the ball for positive yardage” in what Kumin described as “the dirty areas” in the middle of the field. 

As with the previous two games against Milton and Framingham, Belmont’s defense was able to play competitively against strong offenses. But the Marauders’ offense in each of the three games could not find its rhythm until the final half. By then, it was attempting to climb out of a very deep hole. 

Senior running back Tyler Reynolds scored both touchdowns last week, the first a 77 yard gallop up the gut of the defense with seconds to play in the third quarter and the second a five-yard plunge with 49 seconds to play. 

Reading (2-1) is coming off its first loss of the season, a 41-21 drubbing by Lexington. For the Marauders, it will be up to keeping the ball for as much time as possible with a mix of runs and passes for the hosts to stay in the game.

“We’re excited to be meeting Reading again after last year’s game when we kept it close for most of the game there,” said Kumin.

The 411 On The Town’s New Trash Collection System

Photo: A 64-gallon bin being lifted into an automated trash collecting truck.

Note: Below is a letter from the Belmont Department of Public Works with details on the new automated trash collection system approved by the Board of Selectmen.

At their meeting this past Monday, Sept. 25, the Board of Selectmen voted in favor for the Department of Public Works to obtain competitive bids for automated trash collection. This change in service will require residents to place their trash in the provided 64-gallon wheeled cart and set in front of their residence. After the RFP is put out in October and a hauler is chosen there will be information on more specific details. However at this time here are the known details: 

This change in service will require residents to place their trash in the provided 64-gallon wheeled cart and set in front of their residence. After the Request For Proposal is put out in October and a hauler is chosen there will be information on more specific details.

However at this time here are the known details: 

  • Only trash will have automated collection 
  • The Town will provide wheeled 64-gallon containers. There will be a consideration for residents that have concerns maneuvering their carts to the curb. DPW will set up a home evaluation to determine the best method to accommodate the resident. 
  • The option to buy an overflow bag will be available. 

The selectman also voted for the following curbside services to be bid on the next contract. All of the services will remain the same except for bulky items. Residents will now only be allowed one bulky item per week and it must be scheduled through the DPW Office. Residents are now doing this for CRT’s and appliances. 

  • One bulky item per week 
  • Every other week dual stream recycling collection 
  • CRT’s (televisions, computer monitors and laptops) 
  • Appliances 
  • Yard waste collection 

The Belmont DPW feels that the automated collection with 64-gallon carts will balance Belmont residents’ expectations between services, costs and environmental impacts. This will put the Town in a better position now and in the future. 

There will be additional detail information with more specific details in the months after the RFP is awarded. Any questions or suggestions, please contact Mary Beth Calnan/Belmont Recycling Coordinator at or 617-993-2689.

Town’s New 25 MPH Speed Limit Begins Sunday, Oct. 1


Getting across town will take just a bit longer starting on Sunday, Oct. 1 as the speed limit throughout most of Belmont will be lowered to 25 mph which the Belmont Police will begin to enforce.

This past spring, Belmont Town Meeting voted to lower the speed limit in a thickly settled area from 30 mph. The roads that are exempted from the new limit are:

  • Concord Avenue from Robinwood Road to the Lexington town line.
  • Winter Street from Belmont Country Club to Route 2
  • Mill Street from Trapelo Road to Concord Avenue.

Belmont joins Arlington, Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, Lexington and Somerville which have switched to the lower speed limit.

The Office of Community Development and the Belmont DPW have removed the 30 mph speed signs and have replaced them with 25 mph speed signs. 

Any questions regarding the speed limit or enforcement plans should be directed to Assistant Belmont Police Chief James MacIsaac at 617-993-2574.

Schools Asking $2.6 Million For Burbank Modulars At Special Town Meeting

Photo: Modular classrooms.

The Belmont School Committee will seek $2.6 million from November’s Special Town meeting to purchase and install four modular classrooms and pay for long-anticipated repairs at the Burbank Elementary School.

The classrooms are expected to be up and running by the first day of the 2018-19 school year in September 2018, according to Belmont Schools Superintendent John Phelan who spoke before the Belmont School Committee Tuesday night, Sept. 26.

Phelan told the school committee his talk ‘is a preview of the presentation” he will be making to the 290 Town Meeting members on Nov. 13, which is an update of a report in June after the Burbank was selected to receive the modulars. 

The added short-term space is needed due to the rapid growth of student enrollment throughout the district. In the past year, 132 new students entered the system taking the school population to 4,540 as of September 2017. Additionally, there are more teachers in the elementary schools to help reduce class sizes that reach into the mid to high 20s.

The Burbank’s four modulars, which will cost $1,070,400, will be sited adjacent to the rear of the school building which will allow for a covered walkway between the two structures. A good chunk of the money – $1.1 million – will be dedicated to utility work including bringing electrical, water and gas from School Street to the rear of the school. 

The funds will also pay for the repair and expansion of the parking lot and the overhaul of the asphalt playground area, including possibly adding a turf playing surface at “Maeve’s Corner” a shaded area whose grass surface is turned muddy throughout the year.

“These upgrades at the Burbank were overdue. That back playground should have been replaced years ago. The parking has been insufficient,” said Phelan. 

As in June, the furniture, instructional materials and technology will be paid out of the department’s account rather than add to an already substantial request. 

‘We are asking a lot from the town by asking more money for the modulars, said Phelan. “We want to be mindful that we are advocating for the schools as part of the larger community.”                                    

Selectmen OK Automated Trash Collection, Pay As You Throw Set Aside For Now

Photo: Kim Slack speaking before the Board of Selectmen, DPW Director Jay Marcotte looking on.

Belmont residents will soon have their curbside trash picked up by an automated trash collection truck requiring each household to use a 65-gallon wheeled barrel to place their garbage after the Belmont Board of Selectmen voted 2 to 1 to back the recommendation of the Department of Public Works Director Jay Marcotte to make a move towards mechanization.

The decision came after nearly four hours of presentations, discussion and debate before approximately 70 residents in the Town Hall auditorium on Monday, Sept. 25. Marcotte will now create a request for proposal (RFP) for a five-year contract by the end of October which will allow the winning bidder to purchase new equipment and acquire the nearly 10,000 bins that will go to each household in Belmont.

While “there is no panacea” when it comes to waste collection, Marcotte told the board the automated system – which is fast becoming the industry standard – strikes “a happy medium” regarding cost and the reduction of trash the town will collect.

He noted that using the barrels with the automated collection trucks – which has a mechanical arm that grabs the cans and flips them into a collection area – is the “right-sized for a majority of similar municipalities.” He pointed to the reduction in the trash in towns such as Burington (24 percent), Wilmington (26 percent), Dracut (19 percent) and  Dedham (35 percent) who have recently turned to automation.

According to Marcotte, Belmont’s new collection program – which will begin in 2018 – is similar to the one operated by the town of Wakefield which began its automated system in 2014.

Marcotte said data the department has gathered indicates the 65-gallon bins will meet the capacity needs of three of four Belmont households.

In a compromise to residents and board members, the DPW will accommodate residents who find using a 65-gallon barrel to be unwieldy, difficult to move, or more than they need by providing a 35-gallon barrel as an alternative.

Adam Dash voted against the motion because it did not have a provision to research the viability of using 35-gallon bins rather than the bulkier one.

While many of the current curbside services will remain in place in the next contract – the town will continue a separate recycling pickup and yard waste collection – large “bulky” items such as mattresses and furniture will now be limited to one free removal a week.                                                                                           

While selecting a traditional pickup and haul collection system, the selectmen said they had not abandoned the Pay-As-You-Throw method from future discussion. The PAYT approach was one of the most hotly debated of the items discussed. A presentation by Kim Slack of Sustainable Belmont focused on the dual benefits of reducing trash while cutting the town’s carbon footprint by undertaking this program. 

PAYT is just that, requiring households to purchase biodegradable bags for between $1 and $2 a bag for trash collection. Slack said that nearly 40 percent of Bay State communities have undertaken this system and have seen trash reduced from 25 percent to 50 percent. 

“Why not encourage more recycling,” quired Slack, noting that Belmont’s rate has not budged from the current 22 percent of total recycling, compared to Arlington’s 30 percent.

But several residents spoke against PAYT, calling it a hidden tax on residents, many who approved a 1990 override that paid for the current system of unlimited curbside collection. 

“I’m suggesting this is an underhanded way of an override,” said former Selectman Stephen Rosales who said recycling rates could be increased with more education, rather than a regressive “tax.” 

At the end of the meeting, the selectmen suggested discussing in the next two years whether to implement the PAYT method with the automated system.

Sold In Belmont: Ranch (House) On The Hill Sells For $1.14 Million

Photo: A ranch house built on a slab of concrete with oil heat and with a town grade of C+; that’s worth a cool million in Belmont.

A weekly recap of residential properties sold in the past seven days in the “Town of Homes.”

49 Robin Wood Rd., Ranch (1957). Sold: $1,140,000. Listed at $1,129,000. Living area: 2,144 sq.-ft. 7 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 50 days. Last sold: June 1989, $325,000. 

• 100 Common St. Apt. 2, Condominium (1880/1980). Sold: $430,000. Listed at $420,000. Living area: 1,278 sq.-ft. 3 rooms, 1 bedroom, 1 bath. On the market: 47 days. Last sold: June 2004, $379,000.

• 483 Pleasant St., [George Varnum Fletcher House] Second Empire/Free standing condo (1868). Sold: $1,770,000. Listed at $2,000,000. Living area: 4,776 sq.-ft. 10 rooms, 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths. On the market: 104 days. Last sold: Sept. 2009, $1,305,375.

• 18 Woodland St. Unit 1, Condo in two-family (1910). Sold: $552,000. Listed at $525,000. Living area: 1,100 sq.-ft. 5 rooms, 2 bedrooms, 1 bath. On the market: 55 days. Last sold: New condo conversion.

• 39 Woods Rd., expanded Cape (1955). Sold: $910,000. Listed at $899,000. Living area: 1,546 sq.-ft. 6 rooms, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths. On the market: 54 days. Last sold: June 1991, $230,000.