Santa Is On His Way To ‘Turn On The Town’ Thursday, Nov. 29

Photo: Santa and Mrs. Claus in Belmont!

The Belmont Center Business Association will host its 28th annual ‘Turn on the Town” holiday tree lighting on Thursday, Nov. 29.

The night’s events – including the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus on a Belmont Fire truck, food, singing by the Belmont High School’s  Madrigal Singers and a petting zoo – will take place on Leonard Street between Channing Road and Alexander Avenue from 5:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Santa will arrive and light the tree – located adjacent to the Bellmont Cafe – at 6:20 p.m. He will then ride his sleigh to the Belmont Saving Bank main branch located at 2 Leonard Street to pose for free photos from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Inside the branch, attendees will also have the opportunity to win holiday prize stockings stuffed with goodies provided by local businesses.

Outside the branch, Bank employees will be handing out hot chocolate and offering free train rides on Moore Street. There will also be a petting zoo inside the bank’s garage.

Residents are encouraged to celebrate the season of giving and bring non-perishable food items or unwrapped toys to be donated to the Belmont Food Pantry.

BREAKING: Belmont Savings Bank Acquired By People’s United For $327M

Photo: The headquarters of Belmont Savings Bank in Belmont Center.

Belmont Savings Bank, the town’s largest business with nearly $3 billion in assets, will be acquired by Bridgeport,  Connecticut-based People’s United Bank for $327 million in a stock transaction, according to a press release from People’s United issued today, Tuesday, Nov. 27.

People’s United operates more than 400 branches in Connecticut, southeastern New York State, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire. It is the second largest bank in New England with approximately $45 billion in assets at the end of 2017, one of the largest in the Northeast, and the 46th largest in the US.

While People’s will be introducing its name and management to the bank, “Belmont Savings will be operating business as usual through the closing which is currently anticipated to be in the second quarter of 2019, pending regulatory approval,” according to questions answered by the People’s Corporate Communications Office. In addition, there “are no plans to close any [of the six] branches” including the main branch and now former headquarters in Belmont Center.

The Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, which has been a leading provider of grants to non-profits, community projects and education in its service area, will “remain independent and continue to operate after the People’s United acquisition,” noted People’s. 

“People’s United Bank and Belmont share a rich history in the Northeast and many synergies that will create significant value for both customers and stockholders,” said Bob Mahoney, President & CEO, BSB Bancorp, the press release.

“Our customers will benefit from People’s United’s broader array of products and services, enhanced digital capabilities and expansive branch network. In addition, People’s United’s success with in-store locations will allow for the seamless integration of our Star Market branches.”

The acquisition is a stock transaction in which BSB Bancorp, Inc. stockholders – the parent company of Belmont Savings – will receive two shares of People’s United Financial stock for each BSB share. According to the press release, the transaction is valued at $32.42 per BSB Bancorp, Inc. share, based on the closing price of People’s United’s common stock on Monday, Nov. 26. The stock transaction is expected to close by the second quarter of 2019.

BSB stock was trading at 2 p.m. at $31 per share, up $4.14 or 15.4 percent today.

The sale of Belmont Savings is not unexpected as large regional banks such as People’s and Berkshire Bank have been on a long-term acquisition campaign as they seek to break into the lucrative Boston market.


Marauders Of The Week: A Global View And A Creative Thinker

Photos: Courtesy photos

This week, the Belmontonian presents two seniors from Belmont High whose achievements and passions have earned them the title of Marauders of the Week:

Crystal Nayiga Magandazi

By Lillian Powelstock

Passionate about education and global issues, Crystal Nayiga Magandazi moved to Belmont her sophomore year from a high school with 24 students in the senior class. Crystal said it took her a while to find her niche.

“It was a little more difficult for me to find a group of people that I related with,” she said. “Just because I was in a specific class doesn’t mean that all of my friends would be in that class with me, which means it depends on which classes they took and which level.”

Despite this, Crystal eventually managed to find not only a group of friends but a level of personal fulfillment in classes such as Modern World History and Global Capstone. She cites Dr. Jeffrey Shea, teacher of Modern World History, as “one of my favorite teachers just because he is so encouraging and I can tell that he’s very passionate about his job.”

Crystal went on to take Global Capstone, another history elective taught by Jamie Shea (to whom Crystal says Dr. Shea has no relation). This class allowed her to focus on a specific subject throughout the year, which in Crystal’s case was global education. This makes perfect sense given that Crystal has made it her mission to spread understanding for individuals with a diversity of experiences.

Crystallk expresses a focus on immigrant and African American narratives, demonstrated by her enrollment in globally-oriented history electives and her heavy involvement in the club, Black in Belmont. Living in Belmont, Crystal describes her experience as very different from that of black students living in Boston, but aims to create more awareness in the form of giving them space to share their stories.

For those interested in Black in Belmont, the club meets every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. in room 134.

Phoebe Derba

By Claire Svetkey

Senior Phoebe Derba is creative, passionate and kind. Her favorite subjects are those that allow for creative thinking, especially chemistry and art because they are the only subjects where she tends “not to be discouraged by failure.”

The teacher Phoebe cites as being the most influential in her time at the high school is, unsurprisingly, the art teacher, Mark Milowsky, whom she has had as a teacher for her four years of high school. She credits him with not only improving her art skills but also teaching her not to take life too seriously.

Phoebe’s creativity extends outside the classroom: she has been the color guard section leader in marching band for the past two years, and this is her fourth year playing bass in the Rivers Youth Symphony in Weston. She is proud of her work in the marching band because “it’s very rewarding to see the success of the band arise in part from [her] own enthusiasm and willingness to help others,” and tries to help keep the environment of the marching band as positive as it was when she was a freshman. She feels that she learns the most about others through their taste in music, which inspires her when she plays bass.

In addition, Phoebe is passionate about movies – she said she could talk about them for “days on end” – and wants to be a filmmaker when she’s out of school. 

Phoebe has two pieces of advice for other students: The first is to not forget to be a kid; in her opinion, a lot of high schoolers waste their time thinking that they’re grown up. She reminds them to “please take the time to jump in a huge puddle.” Phoebe follows her own advice about being a kid; she says that if you hear someone screaming in the cafeteria, it’s probably her and she’s sorry. Her second piece of advice is that disliking a teacher is a waste of time because almost all teachers are trying to pass on the passion they have for their subject.

“If you’re not inspired by a subject, be inspired by their passion.”

After Nightmare Start, Belmont Football Freeze Outs Watertown, 33-20, On Turkey Day

Photo: Belmont’s Senior RB Kilian O’Connell finishing off the scoring in Belmont’s 33-20 victory over Watertown.

After surrendering three touchdowns in the first two minutes of the 98th edition of the Turkey Day tussle with Watertown, the Belmont High football team was asked to complete a 13th Herculean task; to climb back from the nightmare start with its holiday archrival and accomplish one of its main goals this season and win on Thanksgiving.

“It was a rough start, no doubt about it,” said Belmont Head Coach Yann Kumin. “But we have a football team that hasn’t quit this year and they weren’t today.”

After falling behind 20-0, Belmont (5-6) rode its impressive running attack to five consecutive touchdowns while a dominating defense shut out Watertown (4-7) for the game’s remaining 41 minutes as the Marauders overpowered the Raiders, 33-20, ending a six-game Thanksgiving Day losing streak on the coldest holiday observance in more than a century.

A touchdown by senior running back Rhaki Joseph and two from his backfield partner senior Kilian O’Connell coupled with a pair by junior QB Avery Arno including the go-ahead score on the first play of the fourth quarter nullified Watertown’s first quarter onslaught. 

After being blitzed by Watertown, Belmont’s defensive front seven – led by seniors Sam Sagherian, Kamyar Nouri and Connor Shea, junior Ryan Hoffman and junior standout Derek Brown along with linebackers senior Mike Delhome and junior Ryan Santoro – kept the Watertown offense which came into the match on a three-game winning streak under wraps. 

“They did a great job up front the entire game,” said Kumin. 

While ultimately winning the game, Belmont could not have placed themselves further behind the 8-ball than it did to start the game. A pair of squib kicks bounced off two Marauder up men resulting in an “oops” touchdown when Watertown senior Mange Camara picked up a fumble to ran untouched for six followed by a three-yard rush by sophomore David Manoukian. A hard tackle off a pop-up kickoff saw Watertown gain the ball again. On the next play Camara sneaking behind the Belmont defensive backs to score off a pass from QB Nick McDermott. Five offensive plays, three touchdowns.

But rather than see the start as a disaster in the making, Kumin said Watertown’s unconventional kickoffs were “a good thing because it showed that they were nervous to give us the ball.”

“We knew once we had the ball in our hands, our game plan was going to be hard to stop,” he said.

On Belmont’s second play from scrimmage, Joseph found a hole in the line than rounded the corner and with an outstanding block by senior wide receiver Jared Edwards danced down the right sideline 61 yards to put Belmont on the board as the bundled-up crowd saw four touchdowns in the game’s first three minutes and nine seconds.

After the monster start, the Raiders found themselves bottled up for the rest of the first half, with Belmont defensive backs created a coverage sack on McDermott finished by Nouri and Sagherian and a big sack on the quarterback by senior co-captain Delhome to finish off the Watertown drive.  

On the subsequent possession that began on Belmont’s three-yard line, O’Connell romped for 23 and 27 yards on consecutive plays to bring the ball deep into Watertown territory. On fourth down and three from the 26 and with Belmont showing a four-receiver set, Arno faked the pass and with a critical block by Santoro ran through a Watertown tackle for Belmont’s second touchdown with 6:31 showing in the second quarter.

In the true meaning of the saying “what comes around, goes around,” on the subsequent kickoff, junior Hampton Trout’s kick hit the back of a Watertown player and was recovered by the Marauders. A play after O’Connell broke tackles for 23 yards to the Watertown 12, the senior running back recovered from running into Arno during the handoff and sprinted 12 yards to the end zone to tie the game at 20 at 4:17 before halftime.

Watertown began the third quarter on the march as McDermott broke the Raiders’ longest run, 31 yards to the Belmont 39 as Belmont’s 20 put on a touchdown-preventing tackle. But with a first down on the Belmont 27, Belmont’s defense rose to the occasion as Brown took down McDermott for a five-yard loss and Delhome disrupted a screen pass for limited yards. A Watertown miscue on the center/QB exchange on fourth down ended the threat.

Belmont took over and methodically ran the ball – Arno would not attempt a pass during the game – down the field, eating up nearly eight minutes and scored on the first play of the fourth quarter on an Arno one-yard sneak. 

Watertown began its next drive with consecutive first downs only to see another exchange mistake go over McDermott’s head leaving the Raiders in a deep hole before punting. 

With six minutes to go, Belmont gave the ball right back to the Raiders on a fumble. But a sack by Brown – who has become one of the best defensive linemen in the Middlesex League this year – on first down led on a fourth down and nine and tight coverage by junior Justin Rocha stuffed out a Watertown drive once again. The coup de grâce came one play after Joseph rumbled 32 yards to Watertown’s one as O’Connell kicked to the outside to run unchallenged for his second touchdown. 

After taking a well deserved but ill-advised victory bucket of water on a day the temperature didn’t rise above 17 degrees, Yumin was emotional – or just freezing – talking about the squad’s total effort in the game and for the season.

“Never gave up. I’m so proud of this group of players,” he said.

Photos by Lisa Sotir.

What’s Open (Coffee,CVS), Closed In Belmont On Thanksgiving

Photo: “Saying Grace” Norman Rockwell

Coffee and  in Belmont on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is a national and state holiday – one of only ten recognized by the federal government – and while most businesses along with federal, state and town offices are closed shut, there are a few places where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen or pick up a coffee or hot chocolate (you’ll need it today!) before the annual Belmont/Watertown high schools football game, this year at Harris Field (kick off  at 10:15 a.m.)

  • Starbucks in Belmont Center is open from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • The signs in the windows at the Dunkin’ Donuts (which is being re-branded as Dunkin’) at Trapelo Road and Beech Street and on Church Street (in Waverley Square) read that the stores are operating under “normal hours”: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • CVS at 264 Trapelo Rd. is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. while the pharmacy is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • CVS in Belmont Center on Leonard Street is operating from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The pharmacy is closed.
  • Star Market in Waverley Square: Closed all day.

Belmont’s Student Musicians Excel At Senior District Festival

Photo: Belmont High School musicians at MMEA NE Senior District Festival.

By Arto Asadoorian, Belmont Public Schools’ Director of Visual and Performing Arts.

This past Saturday, Nov. 17, 134 students from the Belmont High Music Band, Chorus and Orchestra programs auditioned for the 2019 Massachusetts Music Educators Association (MMEA) Northeast Senior District Festival.

Each student was asked to perform excerpts from a selected solo or choral work, as well as to demonstrate technical proficiency on a variety of scales and sight-reading exercises. Jazz musicians were also required to improvise solos to the selected piece for their audition.

The process of preparing for auditions like this is rigorous, and it takes a great deal of courage to walk into an audition room and put your work on display. Congratulations to all 134 BHS students who took the opportunity to audition on Saturday for your hard work and determination.

The following 74 students were selected to participate in the 2019 MMEA-Northeast Senior District Festival Band, Chorus, Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble, which will take place in early January 2019. It is worth noting that many of the students who were not accepted to participate were only within one or two points of being accepted, and we know that they are certainly Senior District-caliber musicians regardless of the outcome of this one audition.

In addition, 37 students earned the opportunity to audition for the MMEA All-State Festival. Those auditions will take place at the end of January, and students will compete for the chance to perform at the All-State Festival in Boston at the beginning of March.

Angus Abercrombie Chorus
Idris Abercrombie Trombone (All-State Recommendation)
Rebecca Anderson Tuba (All-State Recommendation)
Katherine Arkin Oboe
Zoe Armstrong Chorus
Pierre Ayer Chorus
Eli Barnes Chorus (All-State Recommendation)
Lot Bates Cello (All-State Recommendation)
Owen Chan Percussion
Alyssa Chen Violin (All-State Recommendation)
Jason Chen Clarinet (All-State Recommendation)
Katarina Chen Viola
Caleb Christensen Chorus
Grace Christensen Chorus (All-State Recommendation)
Liam Cmok-Kehoe Chorus
Andrew Cubstead Chorus
Margo Danahy Viola
Phoebe Derba String Bass
Chantal Dunn Chorus
Garrett Eagar Trombone
Joia Findeis Viola (All-State Recommendation)
Mariko Findell Euphonium
Jessica Giorgio Chorus
Christopher Giron Bassoon (All-State Recommendation)
Anthony Haddad Jazz Bass (All-State Recommendation)
Lydia Haddad French Horn (All-State Recommendation)
Honor Hickman Flute (All-State Recommendation)
Aditya Jain Jazz Trombone (All-State Recommendation)
Allen Jang Chorus
Seiyoung Jang Trumpet (All-State Recommendation)
David Jen Chorus
Ethan Jin Jazz Trumpet (All-State Recommendation)
Nate Jones Jazz Trombone (All-State Recommendation)
Tilly Jones Flute (All-State Recommendation)
Daniel Joh Kang Violin (All-State Recommendation)
Emily Kim Violin
Isabelle Kim Violin (All-State Recommendation)
Francesca Kitch Violin
Megan Kornberg Oboe (All-State Recommendation)
Isaac Laing Cello (All-State Recommendation)
Edward Lee Chorus (All-State Recommendation)
Gaeun Lee Clarinet
Miro Leeb Viola
Philip Lynch Trumpet (All-State Recommendation)
Yatin Mankan Chorus
Jackson Mann Chorus (All-State Recommendation)
Clare Martin Alto Saxophone (All-State Recommendation)
Colin Martin Bassoon (All-State Recommendation)
Elizabeth Mason Chorus
Noah Merfeld Chorus
Matthew Miller Clarinet
Charlotte Nilsen String Bass
Lora Ovcharova French Horn
Alex Park Jazz Trumpet (All-State Recommendation)
Chloe Park Trombone (All-State Recommendation)
Jessica Peng Flute (All-State Recommendation)
Lila Searls Alto Saxophone (All-State Recommendation)
Irene Son Clarinet (All-State Recommendation)
Ian Svetkey Chorus (All-State Recommendation)
Jason Tang Clarinet
Soleil Tseng Violin
Cooper Valentine Chorus
Shankar Veludandi Chorus
Joshua Wan Trumpet
Albert Wang Cello
Andy Wei Flute
Alex Wilk Viola (All-State Recommendation)
Bianca Windemuth Viola
Andrew Xu Bass Clarinet (All-State Recommendation)
Alex Yang Cello
Jimi Yao-Smith Trumpet
Daniel Zhang Tenor Saxophone (All-State Recommendation)
Kenneth Zhou Tuba (All-State Recommendation)
Henry Zuccharello Trombone (All-State Recommendation)


Chenery To Address Racist, Homophobic Graffiti At School-Wide Response Wednesday

Photo: Chenery Middle School.

Every class at Chenery Middle School will spend a portion of the Wednesday, Nov. 21 school day to address the discovery of racist and homophobic graffiti in one of the building’s bathrooms.

In correspondence to parents sent on Tuesday, Nov. 20, Chenery Principal Michael McAllister said the profane and offensive markings were found last week in a first-floor bathroom by staff. McAllister said he was “stunned” finding “[r]acist language, homophobic language, and profane language adorned the side wall and the mirror.”

“[I]t was difficult to read such hateful language,” said McAllister.

Hate graffiti has been on the increase at nearby school districts. Reading Memorial High School has been plagued by someone who has been drawing swastikas more than 30 times in the past year and a half with eight in the past few weeks. Malden High School, Melrose Veterans Memorial Middle School and middle schools in Reading have recently seen this sort of vile vandalism. A recent study by the Anti-Defamation League reported that hate crimes at all schools that includes graffiti have increased by more than 100 percent in the past year. 

But for McAllister, until last week’s incident, “Belmont had been the exception.” McAllister said despite an ongoing investigation, no one has been identified “responsible for such vitriolic language and disregard for the values we hold as a school community.”

McAlister said while the “culprit” may be hard to identify, the school will have a substantial response. “In times like these, we are reminded of the wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr that, ‘We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly,'” wrote McAlister.

“We cannot simply do nothing. As your school leader, I cannot let this incident be swept under the proverbial rug. A statement needs to be made that we are not a community that will simply let this kind of thing slide,” said McAlister.

On Wednesday, students will remain in their homerooms as teachers will review the facts of the incident. Educators will start a conversation with the students, emphasizing how the hate vandalism impacts each pupil and what message should be sent to the student who wrote the graffiti with the aim to show students the large-scale impact of a single action.

Responses will be written and posted throughout the school, especially in the bathroom in which the hate occurred.

“As one colleague stated, ‘We could post words of hope on that same wall where there were once words of hate. We can take back that wall,'” said McAlister. 

“We remind students every day in our school motto that we are all expected to be “Respectful, Responsible, and Ready to learn.” Actions like that clearly violate the expectation of respect. Actions like that violate the responsibility we must all feel towards each other in a community. Actions like that impact our ability to learn with a free and open mind, forcing us to focus on protecting ourselves from threats before all else,” said McAlister.

Belmont High Athletes Sign Letters Of Intent To Play In College

Photo: Signing the letter of intent.

A pair of Belmont High School students signed National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, Nov. 14 which commits the student-athletes to participate in their sports at National Collegiate Athletic Association colleges and universities. Nov. 14 was the first day that students can sign their letters of intent.

  • Cassandra Reed signed her National Letter of Intent for Rowing at Division 1 University of Virginia. Reed is joining the nine-time ACC champions which finished fifth in the 2018 NCAA national championships.
  • Nicoletta Kalavantis signed her National Letter of Intent to Swim at Division 1 College of Holy Cross in Worcester. Kalavantis currently swims for the Gator Swim Club and will be joining the Crusaders which competes in the Patriot League.

All Sides Prepping For Possible Ultimate Vote Monday On Community Path Route

Photo: The crossing at Brighton Street.

Paul Roberts is determined for one more time to rouse supporters to save the proposed community path as it nears a possible pivotal vote on its future course by the Belmont Board of Selectmen on Monday, Nov. 19.

“Once again into the breach, my friends,” declared Roberts, paraphrasing Shakespeare’s Henry V [“Once more unto the breach, dear friends”] on Twitter directing those to an impassioned post dated Sunday, Nov. 18 on his community-oriented Bogging Belmont site.

“[T]he Community Path faces a critical vote Monday evening by the Board of Selectmen and there’s at least a passing chance that staunch and sustained opposition to a common sense route along the Commuter Rail tracks by abutters on Channing Road will force a decision that could doom the construction of the path,” warned Roberts.

Monday’s agenda calls for the selectmen to review the draft application for the path and “possible discussion and vote on the path route,” which has been the most contentious issue facing the bike/pedestrian trail for the past two decades.

(In a rather interesting detail from the agenda, the selectmen are setting aside a mere 10 minutes on the item, apparently not taking public comment or conduct a lengthy discussion on the matter before a possible vote.)

For supporters and opponents of a northern route, until late this summer, it appeared the route was all but finalized. The recommendation by the consultant, Pare Corp., which produced the path feasibility study earlier this year was for the trail to stay on the north side of the commuter rail tracks than transitioning to a southern path via a new pedestrian underpass near Alexander Street than travel along the southern side of the tracks to Brighton Street. From there, travelers would need to cross over the tracks to meet an existing bikeway leading to the Alewife MBTA station.

As supporters of what is called the “direct” path observed, two important changes have occurred since the study was released; the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) declared the underpass and the route from Belmont Center to the Cambridge line would not longer be seen as a single but two distinct projects, thus decoupling the funding for each project.

In addition, during discussions in August with town officials, selectmen and Belmont’s elected reps – State Sen. Will Brownsberger and State Rep. Dave Rogers – MBTA and MassDOT stated clearly they would seriously object to doling out upwards to 90 percent of the estimated $10 million construction cost of the path if the town’s plans continued to show people crossing the tracks at Brighton Street, deeming the action “unnecessarily unsafe,” according to MassDOT. It became clear, to path supporters, that only one viable option remained, the path staying on a northern side of the tracks.

In recent comments made at open meetings, it would appear the Selectmen are leaning heavily on the route hugging the commuter track’s north side s from Belmont Center to Brighton Street where it will hook up with the existing trail. Speaking in favor of a $1 million request from the Community Preservation Committee to pay for an engineering study of the path last week, Selectmen’s Chair Adam Dash said he envisioned the study to determine “what is required to make the northern route viable.”

“You’ll make the Selectmen’s ‘tough vote’ a lot easier by showing up to their hearing room Monday evening and voicing strong support for a compromise with the MBTA that will send the path along the North side of the tracks,” wrote Roberts.

Widely sent email claim “clandestine” actions

While Roberts is issuing the clarion call for supporters of the route, email correspondences from those opposing the northern route is asking residents for pushback to the selectmen’s likely rejection of the conclusions of the $200,000 feasibility study and the recommendation of the Community Path Implementation Advisory Committee, a town-committee created to develop to move forward the preferred Community Path route, after a heated meeting in October. 

In an email that mirrors several others being sent to residents, the letter is urging the selectmen to “endorse the exhaustive, fully transparent public process of both the [CPIAC] and the Pare Corporation.”

But the letter also trumpets its own call to arms, predicting that despite a large number of public meetings which residents allegedly preferred a southern route, there [are] “subtle suggestions” that the “selectmen will ignore the vote of the Committee and the Consultant in favor of some unclear, undisclosed reason.”

And the opponents have taken to pointing fingers specifically at State Sen. Brownsberger as being part and parcel in “clandestine discussions” with the MBTA and Mass DOT to promote alternative route that “both the Consultant and the CPIAC [said] have no merit.”

Along with a litany of past “problems” facing a northern route – environmental, needed easement, safety and possible legal action by a number of opponents – the letter also hones onto the premise the southern route is “a much more pleasant choice,” a point driven home by Belmont resident and developer Brian Burke at the October meeting of the CPIAC which ended in a bitterly divided vote.

It is Burke who is also promoting a “solution” to the need to cross the tracks at Brighton Street, predicting that a developer of a large commercial complex in Cambridge will build sometime in the next decade a pedestrian “bridge” over the commuter rail tracks allowing a southern route that will eventually connect with the current bike path to Alewife. 

What was noted at the October CPIAC meeting was Burke’s proposed solution has not passed further than the idea stage, as the development and bridge lacks a plan, an architect, a design or an OK from the MBTA and Mass DOT. 

Belmont’s Butte Powers To State Div. 2 Championship in 50 Free Sprint

Photo: Belmont High’s Sophia Butte with her Middlesex League champions banner from 2017 which she finally received in September.

In her final high school meet, Belmont High’s Sophie Butte goes out a state champion as the senior co-captain out-touched the two co-favorites to capture the 50-yard freestyle sprint at the MIAA State Division 2 Swimming and Diving Championships held at Harvard on Sunday, Nov. 18.

Seeded third, Butte completed the up-and-back race at Harvard’s Blodgett Pool in 24.59 seconds to edge out Wellesley High’s junior Nellie Thompson (24.68 ) and number-one seed Reading Memorial High’s senior Alana Loughman (24.79) to win the title in the “splash and dash.” Butte took more than 2/10th of a second off her time (24.80) finishing third in the North Sectionals last week at MIT.

After winning the 50, Butte returned to the pool to finish fourth in the 100-yard freestyle in 54.40, showing the best improvement over her seeding time of 55.08 of all the finalist. 

Just as impressive as the 50 individual was, Butte topped her effort in the first event of the day, the 200-yard medley relay (with teammates Angela Li, Luisa November and Samantha Fogel) where she anchored the Marauders home swimming the final 50-yard leg in 24.19, the fastest sprint time during the meet, as she overtook two teams to take eighth in 1:57.14.

Butte ended her night leading off the 400 free relay (with Chloe Park, Anna Bauerle and Li) with a 55.13 split to set the team up to finish seventh, the Marauders best relay performance. 

Co-captain Li was also a two-time scorer in individual events. She stayed in contention for third in the 200 individual medley until the final 50, finishing in fourth in 2:14.42. She would come back to repeat in fourth in a Belmont specialty, the 100 breaststroke, nearly catching Natick’s Helen Zhao in the run in only to be out touched, 1:10.20 to 1:10.21. Alicia Lugovskoy (1:12.27) and Katarina Chen (1:12.61) gave Belmont three in the top 10 as they finish 9th and 10th.

The team of Park, Meredith Chasse, Lugovskoy and Mayura Thomas took 10th (1:47.43) in the 200 free relay. 

Belmont’s trio of sophomore divers showed promise through the rounds as Marina Cataldo (359.25), Sophie Cormier (359.05) and Sarah Firth (345.85) finished in 12th, 13th, and 14th. 

Under second-year head coach Gretchen Turner, Belmont finished in 7th with 153 points, trailing Reading which won its third consecutive D2 title with 402.5 points.