BREAKING: Foodie’s Closing Thursday After Failing To Attract Customers

Photo: Au revoir, Foodies

The rumors have been swirling around Belmont Center for the past few months: Foodie’s Market was on its heels financially. Business owners on Leonard Street heard the number of customers coming to the store had never materialized as the Roxbury-based business and landlord, Locatelli Properties, had hoped. Recently, the market suddenly removed an application before the Zoning Board of Appeals to place a small cafe in the store to attract people to have lunch and dinner in the store. 

“It’s not a good sign,” said Gerry Dickhaut, owner of Champions Sporting Good and president of the Belmont Center Business Association, said just last week. 

Today, the scuttlebutt proved true. According to a spokesperson at Foodie’s headquarters in Boston, the supermarket in the former Filene’s’ store will close on Thursday, May 31, nearly a year after opening in the center. 

“All I can say is we are closing our Belmont operation. That’s it,” the spokesperson said.

No reason was provided, yet a person who works closely with Foodie’s speaking on background said a highly-competitive food marketplace – a Whole Foods, a Trader Joe’s, and two Star Market locations are within two miles of the smallish (15,000 square feet) Foodie’s outlet – and the market’s challenging layout in the basement of the new building which forced shoppers to climb down a long stairwell from the Leonard Street storefront proved a “hard nut to crack.” 

Breaking: Belmont’s Mr. Hockey, Dan Kelleher, Dead

Photo: A banner honoring Dan Kelleher for his 40 years volunteering with Belmont Youth Hockey.

Daniel “Dan” Kelleher who for five decades volunteered as a coach and mentor with Belmont Youth Hockey and was the first coach to generations of Belmont hockey players, has died. 

The long-time resident with his wife, Maura, of Long Avenue, was in frail health for the past few years. Yet he was frequently seen rink-side during Belmont High School’s playoff run this past season, having coached the majority of players a decade earlier.

“Belmont Hockey and the entire town have lost a legend,” twitted Belmont High Hockey. “40 plus years of volunteering for hockey and baseball. Had an impact on thousands of young athletes. Will be missed but never forgotten.”

“On the ice or off, Dan Kelleher was the kind of guy you wanted your kids to learn from,” wrote Kevin Kavanagh, executive director at Massachusetts Hockey.

Kelleher will best be remembered as the coach of Belmont Youth Hockey’s Mites, the eight-year-old and under players who play in their first competitive games against other towns. He hosted the annual holiday Mite tournament over the Christmas break that attracted teams from around eastern Massachusetts to Belmont. 

Kelleher also coached baseball with the Middlesex Senior Babe Ruth League.

Kelleher is a member of the Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame (2001) and the 2001 recipient of the William Thayer Tutt Award, USA Hockey’s highest volunteer award.

He is survived by five sons, all of who played college hockey. Last year, his son Patrick was named the executive director of USA Hockey, the sport’s national governing body.

Opinion: Let’s Do The Right Thing; Vote ‘Yes’ On Town Meeting Article 23

Photo: Belmont Police Headquarters

Have you visited the Belmont police station lately? Or dropped recyclables off at the Department of Public Works yard? Have you noticed the condition of those buildings? Have you tried to climb the 21 stairs to meet with Police Chief Richard McLaughlin? Do you know that our plow drivers have no place to eat or rest after eighteen hours of plowing snow? Have you experienced a sewer back-up in your basement? Do you know that DPW workers have no place to shower or change clothes after wading through raw sewage? Do you know that the female police officers who work in our neighborhoods and schools have only tiny locker space crammed into a bathroom?

Many professional evaluations over the years have determined that the police station and DPW facility are in far worse condition than any other town buildings. The time is now to finally meet the urgent needs of our employees by providing safe, accessible, gender appropriate working space.

The November 2017 Special Town Meeting authorized a building committee to address both the police and DPW. The committee has been working all out since December to present schematic designs to Town Meeting on May 30th.

The proposed solution for the DPW facility has two-prongs. In the short-term, renovate a small section of the DPW main building and add modular units which will house locker rooms, shower and laundry space, room for training and quiet rest and a small amount of office space. Renovations to the existing space will provide a more suitable kitchen and break room space and additional restrooms. This first phase will provide greatly improved working conditions for about $1.2 million. Long-term, the Town must pledge to construct a totally new facility on the existing site within ten years.

The solution for the police station is a brilliant design to renovate and add to the existing building on Concord Avenue. This will meet the department’s needs indefinitely. This extraordinary proposal includes additional construction on the back of the station as well as a sally port on the Pleasant Street side. The completed addition and renovation will provide new locker room space for both genders, new holding cells, safe and secure entry and booking space for prisoners, an elevator and second stair, evidence storage, meeting space and more. The proposed design respects the historic features of the building, provides an accessible entrance and additional parking. The permanent solution can be accomplished for between $6.2 and $7.5 million, which is a quarter of the cost of a new facility.

This proposal can be paid for out of the operating budget and will not require a debt exclusion. The advantage of this funding approach is that the work can begin immediately and will not interfere with either the library or high school plans for debt exclusions. The plan is the result of tremendous creativity by the building committee, the architect and owner’s project manager, the Town Administrator, and the Town Treasurer as well as the enthusiastic support of police and DPW personnel.

This proposal is a significant step forward for the Police and DPW who have languished in substandard working conditions for decades. As a town, we depend on our police department to keep us safe. We depend on our DPW to plow the snow, keep clean water flowing to our homes, and maintain our playgrounds.

Please urge your Town Meeting Members to vote YES on Article 23. It is the right thing to do.

DPW/Belmont Police Department Building Committee
Kathleen Cowing, Secretary
Roy Epstein
Anthony Ferrante, Vice-Chair
Anne Marie Mahoney, Chair
Stephen Rosales
Judith Ananian Sarno, Treasurer
William Shea
Michael Smith

Belmont Drives Electric Returning To The Chenery On June 24

Photo: The last Belmont Drives Electric brought out the crowds.

Belmont Drives Electric’s next event will be held on Sunday, June 24 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Chenery Middle School at Washington and Oakley. Anyone who is interested is invited to come view and test drive electric vehicles (EV), including the Tesla Model 3, the Chevy Bolt and Volt, and many more.

The recent Belmont Drives Electric Ride and Drive event at the Chenery was a great success with a number of EV owners and interested residents taking test drives while also learning about the benefits and affordability of driving electric.

Sponsored by Belmont Light, in partnership with Sustainable Belmont, Belmont Energy Committee and residents of Belmont, Belmont Drives Electric is a local initiative designed to highlight the benefits of driving electric vehicles and connect Belmont residents to rebates, incentives, and free test drives.

For more information, visit, email, or call 617-855-5405.

Memorial Day In Belmont, 2018: In Words and Photos

Photo: Larry and Janet MacDonald salute the flag as it passes by on Memorial Day 2018 in Belmont on Monday, May 28.

It was a drizzling and cool Memorial Day as Belmont prepared to honor residents who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the freedoms and protect the citizens of the country.

Despite the weather and the long holiday weekend that signals the unofficial start of summer, residents came out to watch their veteran neighbors, the High and Middle schools marching band,  trucks, the police and fire department, town and state officials and seemingly every kid between four and eight left in town march from Cushing Square, down Trapelo Road and Belmont Street to Grove Street and on to the Belmont Cemetery for the annual service to remember the honored dead.

Speaking for the town, Selectmen Chair Adam Dash noted that the world will mark in November the centennial of the armistice ending the First World War, the “War to End All Wars.” After facing industrial war with poison gas and mechanized killing with airplanes, submarines, tanks and machine guns, it was felt at the time “that no future men and women would have to live through it again,” Dash recalled.

But rather than finalizing conflict, World War I “was the precursor to an even greater conflict a generation later, as well as the numerous other conflicts around the globe over the past 100 years.”

But while peoples have fought peoples since time began, “[w]e have shown the ability to follow the biblical command of Isaiah to turn swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks … We have turned airplanes into civilian modes of travel. We have used submarines to scientifically explore the ocean depths. While we have waged wars, we have also used diplomacy to prevent wars.”

“It is up to us, who are living right now, to create that utopia dreamt of a century ago by soldiers trapped in trenches year upon year. Sustained peace would be the ultimate gift to those soldiers of yore who made the ultimate sacrifice. We are up to the task if we simply want to make it happen.”

“We remember that they rest in peace so we can live in peace,” said Dash.

The day’s keynote speaker, Belmont Board of Library Trustee Elaine Alligood, was one of the few women honored to be the main speaker at the service. She spoke how over a quarter century working as a Veterans Administration Librarian, veterans “have taught me way more than I can ever claim to have done for them. Each veteran – more than 21 million in the US including 2 million female vets – “has a unique journey back to their world, often compelling, instructive, and complicated.”

Alligood highlighted two veterans she got to know on their journeys. One was convinced he was going to die from an intestinal condition he didn’t have. She drew him out of his shell by finding material in the library related to his Ph.D. in Russian Literature. The vet soon began telling her a story that as an intelligence officer during the invasion of Grenada in 1983, he believed his faulty analysis led to the death of 19 soldiers, “each death weighed on him even now, decades later.”  

“He simply could not forgive himself even though he’d done his job. [He] taught me about the almost unendurable burden of a soldier’s commitment to his brothers in arms; the awful and powerful affliction he couldn’t shake at their loss,” said Alligood.

The other veteran was in recovery and on probation, “endur[ing] much, and lost much, during combat and once home, he couldn’t stop remembering and re-living it. His experiences fueled his unfocused rage, and his addiction. All utterly de-railing his life plans, destroying his relationships, landing him in a world of consequences.”  

Alligood saw that the vet was diligently trying to re-build his life, repair his relationships, and make amends to his fractured family so took him in a VA work-therapy program. He showed up in her dusty basement library, “enthusiastically re-organized and re-shelved our old, pre-digital print journal collection without a complaint.” When he asked Alligood to write a letter to his probation officer documenting the work he was doing, “I realized then, the depth of his dedication to his road back. [He]. knew it was long and tedious, yet central to his journey, and he was not stopping.”

“[He] taught me about forgiveness and endurance, acceptance, the power of commitment and hope; no matter how long or bumpy the road back home might be, he was committed to the journey,” said Alligood. 

“Here’s to all our Veterans, all you’ve sacrificed, all you’ve given and done, for all of us, all across America. Thank you for your service, and Godspeed on your journey,” she said.

Underwood Pool Funding Surplus To Keep Patrons In The Shade


After all had been set and done, the Underwood Pool Building Committee which led the private/public funding partnership to build the $5.3 million pool facility at Cottage Street and Concord Avenue in 2015 discovered a bit of change in the back of the couch.

With all the bills paid, a $68,400 surplus was found floating in the committee’s bank account. That bit of remaining cash will be used to help patrons to remain in the shade.

Committee representatives, who literally handed the check to Town Treasurer Floyd Carman during last week’s meeting of the Board of Selectmen on May 21, said the extra funds will be used to replace, repair and add the large “umbrellas” that dot the pool’s deck and replace plants and flowers surrounding the facility.

“[The umbrellas and plantings] are quite expensive. This account will free [the pool] from seeking money from the capital budget or the recreation department,” said Building Committee Chair Anne Paulsen.

Krafian Smash EMass Division 2 Pentathlon Record

Photo: Anoish Krafian (far right) with her fellow competitiors.

Belmont High School Senior Anoush Krafian destroyed the EMass Division 2 record in the multi-event pentathlon at Greater New Bedford Voc Tech High School on Thursday, May 24.      

The Dartmouth-bound trackster compiling 3,409 points, nearly 500 points greater than the record set last year by Tyler Orlandella of Beverly. Krafian’s dominance was seen by finishing first in three of the events (100-yard hurdles, long jump, shot put)  and second (high jump, 800 meters) in the other two. 

Also competing on Thursday were Belmont’s two pole vaulters, sophomore Soleil Tseng and freshman Sarah Firth. Tseng, a member of the 2018 All-American indoor 4X400 mix relay, vaulted 8 feet and a half for 7th place, while Firth just missed on her attempts.

Krafian now looks to Monday, May 28, where she’ll compete in the individual events in the EMass D2 championships. Having run in Division 3 last year, Krafian will be seeking her first titles in her dominate event, the 100 hurdles, and compete in high jump and long jump. 

Next Thursday at Fitchburg State, Krafian will seek to defend her All-State pentathlon title as she meets last year’s runner-up Natalie Marshall of Newton North. Marshall set the Division 1 record on Thursday with a season leading 3,426 points.

Selectmen To Ask Residents: What Should Go Into The Former Incinerator Site?

Photo: The entrance to the former Belmont incinerator site.

The day before town residents are asked to provide their thoughts on limits on the place and time of retail marijuana sales, the Board of Selectmen is holding a meeting inviting citizens to discuss the future use (also known as post-closure) at the closed incinerator site off Concord Avenue on the Lexington Town Line.

The meeting to take place on Monday, June 18 at 8 p.m. at Town Hall will seek ideas for future use since whatever is selected will determine the type of “cap” or cover that will secure the contaminated land below the surface. For instance, a “passive” use such as trails will require a less intrusive and less expensive cover than a cap on which a structure is built.

A description of capping by the EPA can be found here.

Uses brought up in the past include a solar farm, trails, municipal use, a location for a skating rink, athletic fields and as a marijuana farm.

A pot far will be eliminated as an option if Belmont voters approve the “opt-out” bylaw in the September special town election. Lexington opened a solar facility on a closed landfill site in May 2017, reportedly saving $19 million in municipal energy expenses. While Belmont Youth Hockey has developed preliminary plans for a two full-sized rink facility on the site, the group has said it prefers to locate the public/private development close to Harris Field on Concord Avenue.

One use that many residents feel will continue is Department of Public Works including the location of its brush and composting piles.

Whatever the selected use is finally determined, it will be years before it is opened as the site is the likely staging area for equipment and material for the construction of the new Belmont High School which will not be completed until the mid-2020s.

Are You One Of The Lucky 13? Town Selects Baker’s Dozen For Street Repair In 2019


A lucky 13 town streets will undergo renovation and repave a year from now in 2019 as the Office of Community Development released the annual list of roads to be reconstructed under the Pavement Management Program. The streets are selected through a set of criteria that includes the condition of the road and it all infrastructure work has been completed.

The streets that will see repairs begun in the spring of next year include:

  • Alma Avenue (from Bartlett to Belmont)
  • Newton Street (Belmont to Fairview)
  • Ridge Road (Belmont to White)
  • Juniper Road (Somerset to Fletcher)
  • Carleton Road (Washington to Chester)
  • Harriet Avenue (Bartlett to Belmont)
  • Indian Hill Road (Old Middlesex to Oakley)
  • Essex Road (Benton to Old Middlesex)
  • Preble Gardens Road (Old Middlesex to Oakley)
  • Old Middlesex Road (Oakley to Benton)
  • Benton Road (Payson to Oakley)
  • Townsend Road (Payson N to Payson S)
  • Alexander Avenue (Leonard to Claflin)

Like New: ‘Innovative’ Designs Upgrade Police HQ, DPW At Fraction Of Cost, Time

Photo: Police Chief Richard McLaughlin in the current crowded police headquarters.

Last fall, the first cost estimates to replace the outdated and dilapidated police department headquarters and crumbling Department of Public Works building came in at a staggering $50 million for both projects over 10 years.

But through the innovative work of a talented Cambridge architect and the cobbling together of a financing plan by town officials, the police and DPW can expect upgraded and improved facilities at a fraction of the initial price tag and with the work completed in a tenth of the time.

“The architect has done a fabulous job,” said Belmont Police Chief Richard McLaughlin of Ted Galante of The Galante Architecture Studio in Harvard Square whose design plan based on renovations, creative land use and additions has the project coming in at just under $9 million with both updated facilities operational by 2020.

A public presentation by Galante on the design of the Police Headquarters and DPW building will be given on Thursday, May 24 at 7 p.m. at the Beech Street Center. 

The current police headquarters across from Town Hall at Pleasant Street and Concord Avenue is nearing its ninth decade of use and shows it; space is at a premium, there is no safe transfer of prisoners into the lockup from the outside, female officers have no lockerroom facility, paperwork and supplies are stored willy-nilly throughout the building and the second floor lacks handicap access.

Last November, the Special Town Meeting approved a new committee, the DPW/BPD Building Committee, which in one of its first moves hired Galante to lead the design of the project. 

“He’s been very creative and very ingenious. Every week he came up with something new and [the committee] said ‘Wow!”, said Ann Marie Mahoney, chair of the committee. To the surprise of the group, Galante “found a way to achieve everything … in the current location in such a way that we no longer see a need for a new police station,” said Roy Epstein, chair of the Warrant Committee and member of the building committee.

“He’s taken this to another level because I really didn’t think it could be done. I said we need to have the facilities here to be able to support all our work and this design does that. He made believers out of me and other people,” said  McLaughlin.

Galante’s design is the functional equivalent of a new station, said Epstein. The plans call for a new second floor located in the rear of the station adjacent to the commuter rail tracks that will hold office space and a new elevator. There will be a three-vehicle garage that will increase parking. The current garage will be transformed into large locker rooms and showers for male and female officers. The building will have a new electrical system along with air conditioning, updated plumbing and other upgrades.

On the left side of the headquarters, a new interior sally port to facilitate the transfer of arrested individuals will be located. To the right of the port will be a two-story addition with storage on the first floor and new prisoner holding cells and a processing center.

With work scheduled for the back and the side closest to Pleasant Street will leave intact the historic Georgian-style front facade along Concord Avenue. The renovation and additions will be done in stages so not to require officers to be housed off-site. 

“We are anticipating that construction will be completed on the police station in the fall of 2020,” said Mahoney.

The upgrade at the Department of Public Works will use modular units, similar to those at town schools. In the front of the main building will be a small unit which will be dedicated to much-needed office space. In the rear of the building will be three connected “mods” housing men and women’s showers and locker rooms, training rooms and a rest area for workers who are plowing snow or fixing broken pipes round the clock.

There will also be washing machines and other areas for cleaning services “because if you’re out there working on a sanitary sewer all day, currently there is no facility to clean your clothes before going home,” said Epstein. In the interior of the building will be an expanded break/cafe area and more office space. If approved, the DPW fix can be done by the fall of 2019.

The total bill for both buildings will be $8.9 million ($6.7 million for the Police headquarters, $1.2 million for the DPW); $7.4 million requires a vote by Town Meeting to issue bonds with $1.5 million covered by reserves. Best yet, “by inspired work” by Town Treasurer Floyd Carman and Town Administrator Patrice Garvin, the total cost can be done without a need for a debt exclusion,” said Epstein. Carman said the town has “sufficient monies” in revenue coming from capital turnbacks, premium dollars and retiring debt “to cover the debt service of $440,000 for the next 30 years.”