Belmont Is The Gold Standard – For Solid Waste; Town Set To Vote On New Five-Year Trash Contract

Photo: Waste Management automated truck (credit: WM)

When the Belmont Solid Waste and Recycling Committee and representatives of the town’s Department of Public Works visited Waste Management’s Material Recycling Facility in Billerica in May – the place where your recycling goes – the group witnessed one of the bales of recycled material was audited for contaminates. That would demonstrate how careful Belmont households are in placing the proper materials in the 96-gallon barrels.

While most communities are in the 30 percent range – examples of contaminates from other towns include cider blocks, aluminum bats, and a boa constrictor thrown in recycling bins – Belmont is at seven percent. “We are one of the towns with the lowest contamination rates. Waste Management is very proud of that,” gushed Mahesh Jayakumar, the chair of the collection committee.

With Belmont being the ”gold standard” with its recyclables program and demonstrating a double-digit percentage reduction in trash collection in the past half-decade, “we are doing very well over the past five years,” Jay Marcotte, DPW director, told the Belmont Select Board during a presentation on the next five-year solid waste contract on Nov. 14.

It’s been since 2018 that the town signed its first contract with Waste Management – the largest US waste removal company with about a quarter the market – involving automated collection, with recyclables, are processed as a “single stream,” which allows residents to mix paper, cardboard, glass, and plastics.

Besides the automated collection of trash and recycling, the current contract includes picking up one “bulky” item a week, yard waste collection from April to December, Christmas tree removal for two week in January and a fee-based removal system for TVs and appliances.

Category Old Contract in FY ’18New Contract in FY ’22
Trash 7,326 tons or 1,465 lbs. per dwelling6,215 tons or 1,243 lbs. per dwelling
Recycling2,118 tones or 423 lbs. per dwelling 3,209 tons or 642 lbs. per dwelling
Credit: Belmont Department of Public Works

In the five years since the switch from manual to the automated collection, Belmont is a recycling juggernaut, increasing the amount it recycles by nearly 52 percent to about 642 lbs. per household – while other communities that also changed saw about half the gains. During the same time, the trash removed from Belmont dwellings has been reduced by 15 percent, double what other communities have seen. WM also removed an estimated 2,500 “ex”-Christmas trees and 3,200 “bulky” items.

Yet, while Belmont will receive a premium rate from WM for being a recycling-friendly community, the town can expect a steady increase in the price to remove trash in the coming five years. That’s because there is a Brave New World of recycling economics, so much so that “we have to pay for it, and it’s now more expensive than trash [removal],” said Marcotte.

The market changed radically in early 2018 when the Chinese government suddenly banned accepting recyclables from the rest of the world. Today, Belmont’s “recyclables are subject to market swings and commodity prices,” said Jayakumar. The recycling processing fee was affected the most, which increased from $45 per ton in fiscal year ’18 to $101 per ton in fiscal ’23. In the proposed contract extension, the processing fee will jump 36 percent to $137 per ton in fiscal ’25, with 3.5 percent increases in the remaining four years.

Belmont will also face two significant cost increases under the WM extension: a 23 percent jump in the prevailing wage for WM employees and annual inflation rates of eight-to-nine percent. To spread out expenses over the five years, the group has worked with WM on a plan which would see a 4.5 percent increase in the first year, fiscal ’24, with years two to five, increasing 3.6 percent annually.

In the proposed five-year WM contract, curbside collection expenses – which includes trash, recycling, and yard waste collection along with Christmas trees and bulky items – will increase from the current $2.449 million in fiscal ’23 to $2.948 million by fiscal ’28.

After reviewing the data, the committee recommended on Oct. 18 that the best option would be a five-year contract extension with WM. An extension will ensure no disruption in service for five years while providing a “reasonable rate” of increase given the expected elevated inflation.

While the Select Board decided to push back a vote on the recommendation to its Monday, Nov. 21 meeting, it appears ready to follow the advice of the Collection committee and DPW.

Performing Art Company’s ‘Love’s Labor Lost’ Thursday-Saturday In The Black Box Theater [Photos]


The greatness of Shakespeare in the intimacy of the Black Box Theater will be treat for residents who attend “Loves Labor Lost”, the fall production of the Belmont High School Performing Arts Company.

The PAC Production features a send up of high school stereotypes, and mixes into the comedy some modern day slang, contemporary pop music and even some viral internet trends.

The show features a cast of 18 actors and the tech crew includes more than 40 students working on lighting, scenery, costumes, props, sound and stage management.

The production will take place Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Nov. 17, 18, 19 at 7 p.m. at the Belmont High School Black Box theater. 


  • Adults: $12 
  • BHS Students: $5 
  • Children: $7

Ticketing for the shows is all online, and advance purchase of tickets is strongly encouraged, as the Black Box has limited seating capacity. Tickets can be purchased at

Breaking: Dash Will Not Seek Re-Election To Select Board In April Town Election

Photo: Adam Dash

Two term Belmont Select Board member Adam Dash announced he will not seek re-election to the three-member body in the upcoming Town Election this coming April 2023.

Dash made the statement in a press release on Thursday, Nov. 17.

“When I was first elected, I knew that I wanted to serve more than one term because three years was not enough time to accomplish my goals, but that I did not want to serve indefinitely because new people should get a chance to serve,” Dash said in his announcement.

“Today, I am comfortable with what we have done, and I am ready to turn over my seat to someone new.”

Dash’s decision creates an opening on the board that oversees Belmont’s town government as it begins the process of implementing recommendations from the Collins Center report on structural changes to town governance and as Belmont enters a period of fiscal uncertainity.

Known for his lawyerly demeanor – Dash is an attorney with a practice in Cambridge – and someone who argues points in a cordial manner, the Goden Street resident has created effective partnerships with each of his board colleagues.

Dash’s tenure will be known for his leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic which occupied most of his second term (Dash was re-elected in June 2020 when the election was pushed back by two months; he ran unopposed).

“Having been re-elected during the height of the COVID pandemic in 2020, I spent untold hours helping our dedicated team navigate the medical and financial crises, and I am proud to say that we adapted and continued to serve the community,” he said.

Dash was first elected in 2017, defeating Guy Carbone, 63 percent to 37 percent as Dash won seven of eight precincts. A member of the financial watchdog Warrant Committee since 2009, Dash’s profile rose to prominence in 2015 as the public face of the “Yes for Belmont” campaign, successfully arguing the need for a $4.5 million multi-year override.

Dash pointed to the board’s accomplishments in the past six years including, as a member of the now defunct Light Board, to bring Belmont Light to the brink of 100 percent green energy; increased the number of women and people of color on Town boards and committees; built a new High School; renovated and added onto the Police Station and DPW buildings.

In addition, there was the hiring of new Town Administrator, Police Chief, Fire Chief, Town Accountant and Belmont Light General Manager; chose a route for the Community Path; re-designed the Town’s health insurance plan; passed a Housing Production Plan and new liquor license regulations; banned plastic bags; while successfully maintaining Belmont’s “coveted AAA bond rating.”

“I want to thank everyone who put their trust in me. I also want to thank the Town’s dedicated employees who have worked through difficult times to continue making Belmont the town we love.  We would not have accomplished anything without them,” said Dash.

Belmont High Fall Sports Wrap: Field Hockey, Girls’ Soccer, Volleyball, X-C

Photo: Senior Bridget Gray running onto the pitch in Franklin during Belmont High Girls’ Soccer’s first round MIAA Division 1 match against the Panthers

Field Hockey

After an exciting 1-0 win over Arlington in the first round of the MIAA Div. 1 playoff, Belmont High Field Hockey traveled to the cold and windswept hill country west of Worcester to take on fourth-ranked Wachusetts Regional.

But there wasn’t anything sweet in the Sweet 16 match against the Mountaineers. Despite trailing 2-0 at the half, the 13th-ranked Marauders were still in the game as they stepped up their midfield play in the second quarter. But minutes into the third quarter, a Belmont player was hit on the head by a rising, high stick resulting in the injured player being taken off the field via an ambulance. (The player is OK, as she was well enough to attend homecoming later in the week, albeit with three stitches on her forehead.)

A team member recalled,” We were so freaked out that all we wanted to do was pack up and go home.” The final 25 minutes was a proforma affair and the Marauders’ season ended in a 4-0 loss and an 11-6-3 record.

Despite all the drama of the last game, the team finished the season nearly doubling the six wins from 2021 while securing its first tournament victory since 2017. The team will bring back a substantial selection of high-impact players in 2023, said Jess Smith, who completed her 19th year as head coach.

“This team of multi-sport hardworking athletes surpassed how well I thought we’d do this year,” said Smith.

“They were a group of unselfish players who used speed, endurance, will, and aggression to get it done out there. They were led by a fabulous trio of captains [Layne Doherty, Devin Kelleher and Willa Sama] who kept things fun but goal oriented. They went into every game believing they could get it done. Eleven wins in a Middlesex season is phenomenal. I’ll miss this graduation class and I’m pumped for next year,” said Smith.

Girls’ Soccer

It’s tough enough for a new coach to take the reins of a successful program, but Belmont High Girls’ Soccer Head Coach Jemmy Cange would have to do it with an injury list that would make a physical therapist rich. Nearly half of the team’s projected starters and other past varsity players sat out the entire season or significant portions of 2022.

Despite an injury cloud that hung over the team, the Belmont Girls’ returned to the playoffs with a 9-9-1 record and a tournament victory. It’s a team with some impressive results in the year – an away 4-0 victory over 12-win Arlington and capturing the title on Soccer Night In Belmont – which will return a solid defense that will join two of the best young attacking forwards in the Middlesex League.

Belmont started the postseason hosting Brockton in a play-in match, coming away with a dominant 3-1 victory with sophomore Anna Santos scoring the brace. The first of her goals came in the opening half when she directed the ball into the net. The second will be Santos’ easiest in high school as the inexperienced Boxer goalie whiffed on a clearing attempt which dribbled to a surprised Santos, who flicked it into the wide-open net. Finally, Gray scored from the corner kick when the goalie bundled her cross into the net.

Ranked 25th in the 32 MIAA Division 1 field, Belmont’s round of 32 match was at 8th-seeded Franklin. The teams were evenly matched in the first 20 minutes, with Belmont having the first shots on the net. But the Panthers would gradually take control before scoring midway through the half on a shot just out of the reach of Belmont’s ‘keeper Yuval Golani. Belmont’s best chance came from star freshman Danica Zicha who, despite tight marking, hit a shot heading for the low left corner that took a superb parry by Franklin’s goalie to keep Belmont off the scoreboard. The shortest player on the pitch, Franklin’s junior striker Anya Zub, would finish off the Marauders with the hat trick to secure the 4-0 win.

“It was tough. With all our injuries, this was going to be hard to pull off, and we just got beat up by a tougher team. But I am so proud of them, the way they kept being positive,” Cange said of the game.

The injuries may not have allowed the Marauders to reach their true potential, but Cange is optimistic about next season’s team.

“We have many sophomores and juniors that have a lot of talent and energy. I’m just hoping in the next year everyone can come back healthy, and let’s shoot for another great season.”

Senior Capt. Bridget Gray said she always wanted to play on the same team as her two older sisters.

“And being on it was even more than I could have ever dreamed of. All these girls are my best friends in the world. I’m so upset right now because we all just want another practice, another game with each other,” she said as the team left the field for the final time.

“We all just loved spending every minute of every day together, and we’re going to miss it a lot.”


Volleyball is a game that involves sending the ball back and forth over a net. And for Belmont High, Volleyball was a season of moving back and forth over the .500 mark as the Marauders attempted to continue participating in the Division 1 tournament since 2017. Unfortunately, renovation delays made it all the more difficult as the team’s home court at the Wenner Field House was unavailable for games and practices for more than a month. However, the Marauders would finally punch its playoff ticket with clutch victories in the season’s final two games – both at home – to finish the season at 9-8.

Once securing a spot in the tournament, the Marauders would find themselves slouching towards Cape Cop during afternoon rush hour traffic to play a first-round contest against perennial powerhouse Barnstable.

“We weren’t all having an ‘on the game’ against Barnstable, which we would’ve needed to win,” said Head Coach Jen Couture, as Belmont lost in straight sets, 25-19, 25-10.

“But we still put up a decent fight,” said the long-time coach. “In the first set, we were down 2-14 after a tremendous serving run by Barnstable. But we shook it off and came all the way back to 19 which made things pretty exciting,” said Couture.

Cross country

Belmont High Sophomore Jared Rife emerged as the team leader of the Boys’ Cross Country, qualifying for the Division 1 state championship by taking 6th – breaking 16 minutes (15:55.8) on the 5K course – in the Division 1B qualifier, the youngest runner of the top 10 finishers of the race. As a result, Rife is the sole Belmont High harrier at the state championships being held on Nov. 19.

The Boys’ team finished the Middlesex League duel meet season at 4-2 while placing 4th in the League meet. Seniors Ronnie Rubinshtein and Jason Kim were consistent 2-3 scorers, while sophomores Mark Chumack, Ian Hettenbach, and Ben Palmer – each scoring in the Middlesex meet – gained varsity experience for a team that next year has the potential of being a junior-fueled juggernaut.

The Belmont High Girls season finished in 9th in the Middlesex League meet with junior Keira Healey leading the way, followed by two youngsters, 9th graders Alyssa Kresse and Riley Morgan while at the qualifier, juniors Northanna Strautmann and Clara Roth secured points.

The season’s other highlight wasn’t a race or result but the team’s new home course at Rock Meadow Conservation Land. The double figure eight three mile course allows ample viewing opportunities and is an esthetic winner.

Q&A: Residents Standing Firm Opposing Belmont Hill School’s Parking Proposal As Project Comes Before Planning Board [VIDEO]

Photo: Rutledge Road’s Tanya Austin whose family house abuts a proposed 150-vehicle parking lot on property owned by the Belmont Hill School.

When Tanya Austin and her family were looking to decamp from Central Square two years ago, they wanted a location near the bustle and restaurants of Cambridge but with more living space and where she could set up shop to continue working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Harvard Law grad, with her husband and daughter, found what they were looking for in a 1940s-era garrison colonial on Rutledge Road, just two doors from their good friends who move to Belmont years before.

“We were scoping this place online three weeks before it actually went on the market. We really wanted this house,” Austin said.

A big bonus buying on Rutledge for Austin is the ramble of brush made up of shrubs, old trees, and vines left for years to run wild that occupies the land adjacent her small backyard.

“In the summer, there are raspberry bushes which are great, and sunlight comes through the trees on sunny days. It’s just a beautiful, quiet whole area out there,” said Austin.

It was also the location of the Belmont Hill School, the nearly century-old prep school located south of the Prospect Street rotary, aiming to create a 150-space parking lot and above-ground fuel tanks, a building for the school’s facilities department. It is part of a parking plan that includes formalizing and adding spaces behind its sports facility on Marsh Street and reconfiguring the parking and drop-off area at the school’s main entrance.

Primarily a day school, 437 of the school’s 464 pupils commute daily from 84 communities across New England to attend; a new parking scheme will allow the school to manage its long-term parking goals better.

Over the past decade, the school has been purchasing parcels just north of its campus to develop the land and finalize parking.

The parking lot proposal by the Belmont Hill School (credit: Belmont Hill School)

Where now Austin sees deer bound through the underbrush, there is a thin white pole that demarcates the property line where, if the school prevails, an eight-foot-tall wooden wall will run the length of the lot.

It was then when the proposal became real, said Austin.

The neighbors and residents across Belmont Hill have been mobilizing to bring the proposal to a halt. Nearly every property along Rutledge and throughout the area has become home to lawn signs questioning the proposal. In addition, an ad hoc group of residents have created a website ( detailing the opposition, while a internet petition has collected more than 2,000 supporter signatures.

As critics have been organizing, the school is moving forward with its efforts as it has formally introduced its plans before the town in September in a detailed, one-hour-long presentation before the Belmont Planning Board.

While the school sought a quick turnaround, unforeseen delays hit the proposal. Due to the sudden departure of the Planning Board’s chair and while finding replacements – the newest member will be voted by the Select Board on Monday – the proposal is coming before the board on Tuesday, Nov. 15, for the beginning of the design and site plan review.

The link to the virtual meeting is:
Webinar ID: 880 2534 2855

With a white pole indicating the property line with the Belmont Hill School, Tanya Austin speaks about the school’s proposal that will place 150 parking spaces into the Rutledge Road neighborhood.

Speaking along the property line, Austin spoke about the proposal and its future.

Q: Why is this land of brush and old trees important to you, your neighbors, and the wider community?

A: The seven acres of woods are important not only for what they are – a stand of decades-old trees, a habitat for all kinds of wildlife, and a safeguard for the adjoining protected wetlands – but for what they represent. The area is one of the few remaining open, wooded spaces in Belmont, and our Town should be committing to the long-term preservation of our environment, rather than to fulfillment of the short-term wants of the Belmont Hill School.

Q: What would the destruction of the land into a parking lot mean to abutters and the neighborhood?

A: For immediate abutters, the replacement of the woodlands with a 150-space parking lot and equipment maintenance facility would of course be devastating. No one wants that kind of noise, light, and pollution mere feet from their backyards.

But it doesn’t just affect us, it affects everyone who drives down Prospect Street or Park Avenue, where commuter traffic is already at a standstill during rush hour; it affects all residents of Belmont, since the school will not be paying taxes on the adjoining houses it demolishes to complete its plans, thus reducing funds available to the Town; and it affects our children, who will learn the unfortunate lesson that environmental and community concerns apparently do not outweigh the short-sighted plans of a private school with money to spend.

Part of the land which the new parking lot for the Belmont Hill School is being built

Q: When did it become apparent to you and the neighbors that Belmont Hill School was determined to move forward with the proposal for a 150-space parking lot, a facilities building, and above ground fuel tanks?

A: We first became aware of the proposed project in November 2021, and actually attended two meetings that winter, one public and one private, with the school at which they presented their plans. We were hopeful at the time that the school would be willing to work with us, or at least give due consideration to our stated objections: the environmental impact, the effect on traffic, and of course the consequences to immediate abutters.

But it wasn’t until our third meeting with the school on May 25, 2022 that it really became clear that they were not at all interested in hearing what we had to say. We were literally told that no changes would be made to their plan unless the Town forced the school to make them, and at that point we knew we had to take action.

Q: What has been the relationship between the neighbors and the school? Has the school been receptive to neighbors concerns? Can you point to one incident that would highlight the interaction?

A: Until about a year ago I would have said that the neighborhood had a good relationship with the school, which has always touted its openness to community concerns and its collaboration with neighbors. But despite its claims to wanting to work with us and adapt its plans to our needs, the school has done nothing substantive towards that goal– instead, it has made cosmetic changes that have no real effect on the scope of the project, and attempted to pass them off as compromise.

One of the most egregious examples is the school’s oft-repeated claim that in response to our concerns that the curved driveway into the parking lot would cause approaching vehicles’ headlights to shine into neighbors’ yards, the school took the significant step of purchasing the property at 20 Park Ave., allowing the driveway to be straightened. However, it’s our understanding that the school had been attempting to purchase that property for years, well before anyone expressed concerns about the driveway, characterizing their purchase now as an act of benevolence is just disingenuous.

Q: Has the neighbors and supporters reached out to town officials such as the Town Administrator, Community Development and the Planning Board? What has been their response?

A: We have repeatedly reached out to the Planning Board, Select Board, and the Town Administrator to discuss this issue. In fact, they are probably tired of hearing from us! In general they have been very open to hearing us out. Several board members and the Town Administrator have come out to view the property in person, rather than relying on the maps submitted by the school, and have encouraged us to attend and speak out at board meetings to make our voices heard in the review process. However, I’m not sure that this will be enough if the school isn’t willing to compromise.

Q: What is the neighbors seeking from the school, such as reduction in size or placing the parking on the main campus? Has the neighbors communicated with the school on these areas of compromise?

A: As a group, the neighbors have made many suggestions, both general and specific, as to how the school could revise its plans in a way that would be satisfactory to both the school and the Town. Unfortunately, the school has flatly refused to consider them, instead making minor changes that pay lip service to the idea of compromise, while accusing our group of being inflexible. Many of our suggestions have been met with the claim that the school has already deemed them to be impossible or impractical– without any further discussion of how they arrived at that conclusion.

At this point, the problem is not so much the specific details of the plan– though obviously increased setbacks from residences, reduction in the number of old-growth trees cut down, and significant reduction in size and use of the parking lot and maintenance facility would be welcome– but the school’s dogged adherence to its original plans without room for discussion.

Q: The Belmont Hill School has many tools as they move forward: the land parcels were purchased from willing sellers in an open market, it has a proposal that meets the town bylaws, and they can use the Dover Amendment as the sword of Damocles to any opposition. Are the neighbors playing with, as they say in poker, a Devil’s Hand (a set of weak card)?

A: I don’t believe that the school, for all that it claims to be within its rights under the law, can necessarily claim to have a trump card (to use a different card game analogy) in the Dover Amendment. Even under the Dover Amendment, the school has the burden of demonstrating that its proposed use of the land has an educational purpose, and even if it can meet that burden the Town is entitled to impose “reasonable regulations” on things like setbacks, open space, and parking. Perhaps in tacit acknowledgment of this fact, the school has not yet formally invoked the Amendment. The bottom line is that the Town has the power to regulate the school’s project if it sees fit– we are simply asking the Town to exercise that power if the school cannot come to a compromise.

Q: While not giving away any future plans, I understand an attorney has been advising the neighbors of their rights. Is litigation a possibility? 

We have indeed retained counsel to assist us in this matter. As one would expect, we are hopeful that litigation will not be necessary– no one wants a protracted lawsuit, which could take years to resolve. That being said, we are not afraid to file suit if it comes to that point; this issue is too important to let go after only token resistance, and we believe we have the public support necessary to take this as far we need to. Our petition has 2,000 signatures, which just goes to show how widespread people’s interest is in opposing this project.

Q: What should the greater Belmont community to know about this issue? 

A: We can’t emphasize enough that this is not just a localized issue, that only matters to our immediate neighborhood. It’s not even a “Town of Belmont” issue, though of course Belmont residents will feel the most immediate effects. It’s bigger than that; how we (and by “we” I include the Belmont Hill School) act here is an indicator of how we will act in the future, when the next choice has to be made between sustainability and convenience; between looking to the future or remaining mired in the past. Belmont Hill School has been educating children for almost a century. We should all think about what they’ll learn from this, and act accordingly.

Belmont Health Dept. Holding Covid Vaccine/Flu Clinic Wed., Nov. 17 At Beth El

Photo: Pfizer Covid vaccine (credit: Pfizer)

Belmont Health Department is offering vaccinations and bivalent boosters for Covid-19 and a seasonal flu shot to all eligible residents, ages three and older, on Wednesday, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Beth El Temple Center, 2 Concord Ave.

What to know about the clinic:

  • Primary vaccine series for anyone ages 3+
  • Bivalent booster of Pfizer (5+) or Moderna (6+) COVID vaccine for anyone who has completed a primary vaccine series of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 2 months after last dose or last booster dose
  • Flu shots will be available for ages 3 and up
  • Find full guidance on booster eligibility here.

Register for a vaccine appointment HERE.

Please bring your insurance (medical and prescription) and COVID-19 vaccination cards to the clinic.

  • COVID vaccines are free for all regardless of insurance coverage
  • Insurance is required for flu vaccines
  • For those covered by Medicare, please bring your red, white, and blue Medicare card in addition to any other insurance cards.

Please present insurance cards, photo ID, and vaccination cards at your appointment.

This clinic will be operated through a partnership between VaxinateRX and the Belmont Health Department. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be available.

Having difficulty registering? Call 617-993-2720 or Email: for assistance

In OT Thriller, Belmont High Boys’ Soccer Falls To Franklin On Long Distance Stunner

Photo: At the end …

During the interval before the start of the first overtime, the Belmont High Boys’ Soccer team were feeling it; the first round MIAA Div. 1 Soccer Tournament encounter against favorites Franklin was there for the taking.

In the final ten minutes of the second half in a 0-0 game, Belmont had hosts Franklin holding on for dear life as the Marauders had the Panthers scrambling in front of their net. A missed break away, a ball that trickled across the goal line, and several last second diving blocks as Franklin desperately fought off the relentless Belmont attack.

“Let’s go, boys!” said a player as the team returned to the pitch. “It’s ours!”

Belmont’s confident play continued into extra time as they started on the front foot. So a counter by Franklin 30 meters from the Marauders’ goal didn’t appear to be too troubling.

With just the slightest of opening between three Belmont defenders, Franklin senior Trey Lovell blasted what he called “a chance” from 25 meters. Once the shot came off his foot, the ball cut right like a golfer’s slice eluding the outstretched arm of Belmont’s goalie Thomas Borkowski before nestling into the upper right corner of the goal.

It was a gut punch that sent several Marauders to the turf in disbelief and despair.

And just like that, the game, the team’s playoff run, and many senior careers ended.

The finale was beyond disappointing. It was filled with tears and downcast heads, a sense that a season of promise shouldn’t be finished by a ‘bad beat’ on a chilly and windy pitch located off a far away Route 495 exit ramp.

“This was by far our best game of the season,” said Belmont’s second year Head Coach Niman Kenkre after the game. “Everyone played their hearts out. We played our style … and in the final minutes we had them reeling. We were definitely on top and then they got one against the run of play.”

“Credit to [Franklin], they played a good game. But this is a painful one. We were so close,” said Kenkre.

Belmont (6-6-7) came into Monday’s match 23rd in the power rankings, hampered by a Div. 1 leading seven ties, a result of not being able to finish off teams despite having Middlesex League’s leading scorer, Sachil Kenkre.

But the team, which has employed a refined multi-pass system that frustrated many opponents, felt they could dampen Franklin’s countering attacks and static defense. What had been a warm pleasant full-moon evening for the earlier Belmont/Franklin girls’ playoff match (a 4-0 Franklin win) became breezy with a chill which required any effective passes to stay close to the pitch.

While the 10th ranked Panthers (held the territorial advantage in the first half, Belmont were the far more dangerous in front of goal; a Kenkre rocket required a full stretch save from Franklin’s keeper while the subsequent corner was flicked on and struck the far post. Belmont’s defensive trio – anchored by senior Peter Grace with sophomore Andrew Schreiner and junior Bjorn Bindslev on either side – and sophomore Borkowski never looked overly troubled as they limited challenges by a quick Franklin front.

The Panthers got off to the better start in the second half but Belmont would soon hold the momentum with stellar movement in the midfield led by seniors Lucas Alvarez-Fernandez and Andy Bello as Franklin began feeling the effect of chasing Belmont especially down the wings where junior Alex Cook and senior Steffen Manjikian frustrated the Panther backs to the point where both were taken down with less than allowable tactics.

By the final 10 minutes, it was just one-way traffic as the Marauders began breeching the Panthers defense, starting with forward Daniel Chang – a freshman starting his first game as striker – who stole a ball from a downed defender in the box only to pushing his breakaway shot by the left post. Two minutes later, it was Chang again who sent a shot by an out-of- position which dribbled slowly along the goal line only to slide across untouched to the screams of the Belmont girls’ team in the stands.

It was a shooting gallery for Belmont as Franklin literally threw bodies in front of drives at the Panther goal – notably a chance out in front by Bello and a collision between the goalie and Cook – until the full-time whistle sounded allowing the visibly exhausted Franklin team to walk over to the sideline as Belmont felt they were just one chance away from the upset.

That moment wouldn’t come.

“It’s really cruel in a knock out tournament like this. Everything was going in our favor, but that’s the way sports is, you know,” said Kendre.

Speaking to the team as the stands quickly emptied, Kenkre told his charges how proud he was to coach them and how they should be proud of their effort during the season and especially in the match.

“I’m glad that we went out with such a performance. If we had gone out with a whimper, that would have left a sour taste. When the pain eases, we’re going to walk away with our heads held high. This is what being an athlete is about, nights like this when everyone of these guys did themselves proud.”

What’s Opened, Closed In Belmont On Veterans Day

Photo: Veterans at the Belmont Veterans Memorial

Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938.

Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

What’s Closed:

  • Belmont Town offices and Belmont Light are closed. 
  • US Postal Service offices and regular deliveries.
  • Banks; although some branches will be open in some supermarkets.

MBTA: Operating on its regular weekday schedule. See for details.

What’s Opened:

  • Retail stores
  • Coffee shops; Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts are serving
  • Supermarkets
  • Convenience and drug stores (CVS) open regular hours
  • Establishments that sell beer and wine are also allowed to be open.

It’s Prep School Drama In BHS-PAC’s Production Of Shakespeare’s Comedy ‘Love’s Labors Lost’

Photo: The production poster of BHS-PAC’s 2022 fall play Love’s Labors Lost

The Belmont High School Performing Arts Company’s 2022 Fall Play is Love’s Labors Lost, an early William Shakespeare work which in PAC’s production updates the comedy from the mythical medieval Kingdom of Navarre to a modern day Prep School with gender-mixed casting, some modern day language, contemporary pop music and even some viral internet trends.

“The goal of our production is for Shakespeare fans and first timers to follow along and enjoy the show,” said Ezra Flam, the Performing Arts Company Producer/Director. 

The production will take place Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Nov. 17, 18, 19 at 7 p.m. at the Belmont High School Black Box theater.


  • Adults: $12
  • BHS Students: $5
  • Children: $7

Ticketing for the shows is all online, and advance purchase of tickets is strongly encouraged, as the Black Box has limited seating capacity. Tickets can be purchased at

The PAC Production features a send up of high school stereotypes, and mixes into the comedy some modern day slang, contemporary pop music and even some viral internet trends.

One of the highlights of this production has been the PAC’s update of the Shakespeare setting to the modern day. The show is now set in Navarre Academy, where the Student Council President (Ferdinand) convinces their three best friends to sign on to a pledge to study seriously and avoid romance. Just as they sign the pledge, four exchange students from the French Academy arrive at Navarre Academy for the term. One by one the members of the Navarre Academy Student Council fall in love with one of the exchange students and go to great lengths to keep secret from the others that they have broken their pledge.

Meanwhile, the other students of Navarre Academy get mixed up in the action, and drag the four couples into all of the other drama at school: Mathlete drama, Sports drama, Class Clown drama, Hall Monitor drama, Cool Kid drama, Skater Punk drama and even Drama Club drama.

“In rehearsal students have been tasked with first understanding and mastering how to deliver the Shakespearean language, and then make it accessible to audiences who may not be familiar with the show. The cast has done a great job of using staging and physicality, as well as careful placement of some contemporary-language and music to tell the story,” said Flam in a press release.

The other fun thing to explore in the show is the way in which our modern-day telling upends many of the gender-norms present in the original script. Shakespeare’s version of Love’s Labors Lost featured for “boys” falling in love with four “girls,” and played on many of the familiar expectations of those stories. Our casting mixes up gender and sexuality, and has allowed us to explore more fully some of the relationship dynamics that present day BHS students actually experience.

The tech crew has been hard at work creating the world of the show. Under the guidance of Scenic Designer Anna Moss, Costume Designer Lila West and Technical Director Ian O’Malley, students are building the grand lobby of a prep school built in the 1800s, constructing school uniforms that
showcase the personalities of the characters and filling the show with fun props, music and lighting.

The show features a cast of 18 actors and the tech crew includes more than 40 students working on lighting, scenery, costumes, props, sound and stage management.

Belmont Election Results: New Library Wins Big, Rink A No … For Now

Photo: The old and the new: The existing building and a rendering of the new structure.

Belmont voters gave a rounding “yes” to a new public library building as the debt exclusion to pay for the new structure passed by more than 1,800 votes on the Nov. 8 state election ballot. The final tally was 6,763 yes against 4,916 no votes.

The same voters narrowly defeated a separate debt exclusion for a new skating rink/athletic facility to replace the delipidated ‘Skip’ Viglirolo Rink. More than 300 votes defeated it; 5,613 yes to 5,978 no.

But rink supporters may get a second bite of the apple as at least one of the three Select Board members said the debt exclusion could be back before voters at the annual Town Election in April 2023.

The two debt exclusion questions increased interest in the election as nearly two-thirds of Belmont’s 18,187 registered voters cast 11,974 ballots in person or via mail.

Preliminary results for all state-wide races and the four ballot questions can be found on the Town Clerk’s website here

Due to changes in state law, the public got their first look at a new two-stage voting process. The first vote tally – a long tape with results posted at each of the eight precincts – was day-of-the-election voting. A substantial number of votes from early and mail-in voting were calculated after the polls closed.

When the eight precinct tallies were counted, the library inched ahead, with the rink holding a slim 17-vote lead. A dozen supporters and interested residents hovered around the second-floor vestibule of the Selectmen’s Room as Town Clerk Ellen Cushman announced the more complete but still preliminary results.

(Final results will be certified when remaining votes from overseas, military personnel, and mail-in ballots with postmarks of Nov. 8 and earlier are tabulated.)

The third time was a charm for the supporters of the new library after two failed attempts to bring debt exclusions before voters in the past two decades. The new building, designed by Oudens Ello Architecture, will be built on the library’s current location at 336 Concord Ave. to replace the existing 56-year-old structure.

“This a huge victory for Belmont to get this library passed,” said Paul Roberts, who is associated with the “Vote Yes Library” campaign and was active on social media platforms presenting facts on the library project. He praised the work of the Board of Library Trustees, trustee Kathy Keohane and Library Director Peter Struzziero for “keeping a new library and bringing it back again and again so that we could bring this across the line.”

“It’s going to be a treasure,” said Roberts of the new library.

The cost of the 41,500-square-foot building is $39.5 million, with at least $5 million of that price tag reduced by an aggressive fundraising campaign from the Belmont Library Foundation.

An 11th-hour campaign to defeat the debt exclusion vote did not catch traction with the broader community.

What helped get the new library project to perform so well was its time before the community. The campaign began in 2017 with dozens of public meetings and forums over the past five years to review programming, design, and financing. The committee spent two years evaluating the current library’s building infrastructure and usage data, interviewing library staff and patrons, conducting wide-reaching community surveys, facilitating focus groups, meeting with community members, town organizations, and other key stakeholders, and holding multiple community forums, according to the trustees.

“[The library project] was very well known. Everyone who heard about the new building knew something about it,” said Roberts.

From treasure to disgrace

The defeat of the new rink proposal was surprising because there was no organized opposition. Of the two projects, the rink requires replacement, with the structure’s infrastructure and interior in dire condition.

Reactions from rink supporters to the vote were a mix of exasperation and despondency.

“It’s going to cost the town (an additional) $250,000 a year to field four high schools [hockey] teams,” said Mark Haley, chair of the Municipal Skating Rink Building Committee, after the vote was announced. “That’s a disgrace. This is disgusting.”

If the library proposal could be described as a marathon taking several years to present the plan to the public, the rink project was a sprint, having five months to finalize the design and finances and holding a handful of meetings with the public.

But Cheryl Grace, who headed the “Yes For Rink” committee, didn’t believe the project needed additional time before what was a large number of residents who were reluctant to support the proposal.

“There were a lot of people who were saying, ‘it’s not used by many people, so why should we put our money as a town into something that a small group uses’ and there’s nothing we can do to convince them. Time wouldn’t change those opinions,” Grace said.

What hampered the rink proposal was being on the same ballot as the library debt exclusion.

“I think the decision to put both of these (questions) on the ballot created some complexity, and clearly, there were voters who chose one and not both,” said Roberts. “Clearly, there were voters who said, ‘I can support one of these, I can’t support both of them’.”

And finally, there was the question of voter exhaustion, according to Lucinda Zuniga of the Belmont Youth Hockey Association.

“I think there’s fatigue from all the other projects, from the library, Middle and High School, police station, DPW, and the rest. And we were the last capital project remaining,” she said.

But as the sting of defeat was felt by supporters, a ray of hope that the proposal could be resurrected was provided by Belmont Select Board Chair Mark Paolillo who was in attendance at Town Hall.

“I think you have to think about [putting the rink back before the voters] long and hard, but it’s so close that it’s a split vote in town,” said Paolillo as Town Hall cleared out.

Paolillo said once the final tally in late November is certified and if the margin remains at 300 votes, “it’s pretty much a tie,” he said, noting that the Select Board – which placed the two debt exclusions on the same ballot – will need to talk to Town Moderator Mike Widmer to see if the Rink Building Committee can continue “for now.”

“So perhaps we go back out in the spring and continue to educate the residents about the need,” said Paolillo. “Clearly, we need a new building.