Belmont’s Shea Places 15th In Under20 World XC Championships; Top American For Consecutive Years [Video]

Photo: Belmont’s Ellie Shea finishing 15th at the Under20 World Cross Country Championships held in Belgrade on March 30, the first American to finish the race. (Photo credit: CITIUS MAG)

After a quiet seven months since winning races in the Under20s at the US National and Pan American Games, Belmont’s Ellie Shea put her stamp on the international cross country scene for the second time, finishing 15th at the World Athletics Cross Country Under 20 Championships held March 30 in Belgrade, Serbia.

The 18-year-old Belmont Middle and High School senior was the first American athlete across the finish line held under bright, sunny skies in Belgrade’s Friendship Park, repeating as the top American at the world championships. Last year in Australia, Shea finished 10th to lead the US to its first ever podium finish in the championships, earning a team bronze medal.

”I just wanted to make the most of it and just really be competitive,” said Shea after the race during an interview with

Wearing her trademark white framed cobalt sunglasses – which has its own on Google search page – Shea settled into the back of the large pack of front runners in the first of three laps, running the 2.1 kilometers in 6 minutes, 49 seconds. Notably, Shea was one of the few participants who hurdled the hay bale barriers to shave a few seconds on each loop.

The lead group, comprised of Ethiopians, Kenyans, and Ugandans, showed their quality in distance races as they pulled away during the second lap with Shea and fellow American Allie Zealand – teammates on last year’s U20 team – running in 16th and 17th, behind the UK’s Innes Fitzgerald who pulled away by seven seconds over the Americans with one lap remaining.

In the final loop, Shea returned to the top class runner she was last year, as she sped away from Zealand, catching and dispatching Fitzgerald before nearly nipping a pair of Ugandans and a Kenyan who were fading fast down the home stretch.

Shea finished in 20:50, completing the final lap and the home stretch (2.2K) in 7:29, finishing outside the top 12 by seven seconds. The race was won by 15-year-old Marta Alemiayo crossing the line in 19:29, leading a dominate Ethiopian team performance to sweep the first three places.

Zealand would overtake Fitzgerald to finish 16th in 21.08. The US team of Shea, Zealand, Mary Dalton (28th), Zariel Macchiato (29th), Jolena Quarzo (41st), and Maddie Gardiner (49th) would take 4th place in the team event with 88 points, edging out the UK (90) and Japan (98).

Town Raises Senior Property Tax Work-Off Amount To $2,000

Photo: Flag with the town seal of Belmont

After discussing the move for a better part of a year, the Belmont Select Board voted unanimously Monday, March 25, to raise by $500 to $2,000 the amount seniors can work for the town to pay off a portion of their local property tax bill.

The town’s Senior Citizen Tax Work-Off program is available to seniors 60 or older, Under this “work” initiative, cities and towns appropriate funds to employ seniors who perform needed work for the community at an hourly rate equal to the state’s minimum wage of $15 per hour, according to state documents.

Currently, eight homeowners participate in the program. The additional $4,000 expended in a full year with the same participants will come out of the overlay/free cash line item.

Details of the expanded program will be sent to seniors via inserts in town bills and through contacts at the Beech Street Center.

The state has recently given select boards and city councils the local option to raise the exemption to the $2,000 threshold amount without requiring Town Meeting approval, Patrice Garvin, town administrator, told the board.

When Board member Mark Paolillo, in his penultimate meeting before leaving the board after serving 12 years, asked what other municipal programs are available for senior tax relief, fellow board member Elizabeth Dionne said creating such a plan would require “the full and active participation of the Board of Assessors.”

“We would need to know what the cost shift [from seniors to the greater taxpayer base] and how many [seniors] are likely to take advantage of it,” she said. Since such a proposal would change every property owners’ tax rate, the town would need to send a home-rule petition to Beacon Hill for state legislature approval and finally for it to be placed on the town ballot for an up or down vote.

Even though the shift would likely be small, unless there is a specific dollar amount attached via the Assessors, “it’s probably dead in the water.”

Board Chair Roy Epstein said senior tax relief was actually a doable proposal in the past two years, only to falter due to inaction by the assessors in drafting the language to present to the legislature which was promised to Epstein.

“I think this is a question for, maybe, after April 2,” said Epstein, referring to after the town’s annual Election where a ballot question will determine whether the Board of Assessors will remain an elected committee or revert to an appointed one.

Opinion: To Save Belmont High School Sports, Vote Yes on April 2

As Building Takes A Final Tumble, New Library Moving Along As Trustees Near Fund Raising Goal

Photo: The demolition of the former Belmont Library building is underway

Nearly 50 years after opening its doors to generations of patrons, the red-brick and wood framed Belmont Public Library is coming down on the first days of Spring as part of the demolition process that will soon be followed by the construction of a new library on same site.

Lead by demolition contractor American Environmental which bid $873,711 for the job, a great deal of the work is being done by a heavy-duty excavator, pushing down walls and ripping out floors placing the debris in piles that will soon take what remains of the two-and-a-half story structure away to landfill. A large industrial misting fan sprays a cloud of water over the site to keep the dust from enveloping Concord Avenue.

As the former library comes down, the Library Building Committee is preparing to accept bids by the end of March from firms to lead the construction phase and award the contract in early April.

Kathy Keohane, the chair of the Belmont Board of Library Trustees is optimistic the construction bids will follow the pattern of the demolition and moving contracts coming in “a bit under” the estimated cost.

“There’s been strong interest out there from firms, so much so we pushed the timeline out a week at the request of one of the bidders because they wanted more time,” said Keohane.

As the 42,500 sq.-ft. project – which will take an estimated 18 months to complete – will soon get underway, Keohane came before the Select Board on March 18 to present the town with $30,000 in contributions from Belmont residents, library patrons, and businesses towards building the library. So far, more than 1,000 individuals and groups, as well as funds from a state American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant, have raised a total of $3.2 million towards the trustees’ stated goal of raising $5 million to defray the cost of the new library.

“The money flows through a fund that was set up by the library trustees … to ensure that all funds that come in designated for the project are given to the project,” Keohane told the board. After the presentation, Keohane said she is hopeful the remaining $2 million will be secured soon.

People can still donate,” said Keohane. “There’s still an opportunity for them to have their name on the wall or to sponsor a certain area of the library.”

Brownsberger Seeking Applicants For Summer Internships

Photo: State Sen. Will Brownsberger is accepting summer internship applications (The Massachusetts State House on Beacon Hill, Boston (Credit: Upstateherd – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The Office of State Sen. Will Brownsberger is accepting applications for part-time, unpaid general office and legislative internships for the summer of 2024. Applications are due Monday, April 8.

Read our website post for details about the internships and how to apply. 

Questions? Contact Eric Helmuth – – Brownsberger’s chief of staff.

Some Good News As Rink Project Avoids Environmental Surprises; Next Up, A Budget

Photo: All that remains of the former “Skip” rink is a large puddle.

There was a collective sigh of relief from the Municipal Skating Rink Building Committee last week as the $29.9 million project dodged two potentially worrisome environmental issues that turned out to be duds.

“We have two pieces of good news,” Rink Building Committee Chair Mark Haley told the committee.

In the first case, an underground fuel tank that was punctured during the building’s demolition had leaked “a small amount” of oil, which was mitigated as the soil was shipped off to an EPA-registered landfill. A second potential setback involving untreated asbestos discovered during the building’s tear-down was also limited to a part of the old rink’s slab where the ice was made.

“We hauled it away last week,” said Haley.

The meeting came as the committee is preparing to receive a first set of firm cost estimates from the builder Skanska—the general contractor for the Middle and High School project—on the cost of the rink’s construction, which has been a point of contention for several committee members.

“I have to ask a basic question: What’s the bottom line? I haven’t seen any numbers. What is the bottom line here?” asked Ann Marie Mahoney, a veteran of several building committees who has been requesting an overview.

Skanska – an international project development and construction company with a major office in Boston – has a typical construction contract with the town, as does Galante, the project’s architect. The building committee has employed CHA as the OPM (Owners Project Manager) to handle the project.

Over the past months, Skanska has been seeking cost estimates on some of the project’s major components, such as building the concrete foundation, ice surface, and mechanicals. Currently, the committee is working with broad estimates on each of the building’s components. Only with the cost estimates in hand can the building committee “understand the value of each of these elements, and then can we assess whether or not it’s worth the value to keep it or take it out,” said Haley.

Anticipating the likelihood of cuts, the rink’s architect, Ted Galante, has begun an early round of value engineering, a process of reviewing the building’s designs to reduce costs while increasing functionality to increase the product’s value. Haley points to “accouterments and adornments” that were added to spruce up the pre-engineered metal building, pointing to an overhang/canopy that is adjacent to the building’s entrance or a concrete masonry wall that runs along the base of the structure.

One area that will see a reduction in seating capacity is currently 400. “In a perfect world, we would have more seats, but state building codes would then require additional plumbing fixtures,” which would hike the overall cost, said Galante.

One decision that could affect long-term savings – but with a higher upfront price tag – is the system used to refrigerate the ice. Most of the building committee is leaning toward a CO2 system popular in Canada and at professional hockey rinks. Currently, the direct competitor to CO2 is Freon, a chlorofluorocarbon that is a highly potent greenhouse gas that faces increasing restrictions on its use by the federal government. While CO2 is low, the mechanical system tends to be more expensive as it relies on high pressure to work efficiently.

If the cost estimates come in on the high side in April, Haley said the committee will need to “take more of a cleaver” to the project, impacting the programs the rink was heralded to undertake for the school athletics and the town’s recreation department. But as of the meeting, he was hesitant to make any major adjustments to the new rink until he has the numbers in hand.

“We’ve been looking at how to effectively build the rink in a way that can navigate the budget and make sure we get the project we want,” said Haley. That’s why we don’t want to cut things out of the project now and then find out later that when we buy it all, we have to put things … back,” he said.

The committee continues to believe the rink will be ready for the start of the fall recreation department programs in 2025 and the high school hockey season of 2025-6.

[Correction: In an earlier version of this article, the project is a “design-build” project. That description was in error.]

The League Of Women Voters Annual Candidates’ Night A Virtual Event March 21


Belmont residents will be able to don their pajamas while having dinner as they are introduced to the contestants for town-wide office and Town Meeting seats as the Belmont League of Women Voters is holding its third virtual Candidates’ Night on Thursday, March 21 at 7 p.m.

The evening will begin with a “parade” of Town Meeting Member candidates from each of the town’s eight precincts, followed by short speeches and a round of Questions and Answers with the town-wide candidates including those running for Town Moderator, Select Board, and two seats on the School Committee.

The night will conclude with information on the two ballot questions: the proposed $8.4 million Proposition 2 1/2 override and a change from an elected to an appointed board of assessors.

And the league wants residents to remember that the Town Election takes place this year on Tuesday, April 2.

Al Fresco Dining Returning To Belmont Center But Only Three Restaurants Want Spaces

Photo: Il Casale is one of three restaurants seeking sidewalk dining this summer in Belmont Center

A hubbub is happening in Boston’s North End where restaurant owners and their employees are upset that certain historic neighborhoods like theirs face more restrictions and limits on outdoor summertime dining than other less frequented parts of the city.

There are no such complaints from eateries in Belmont as the Select Board approved earlier in March al fresco dining on sidewalks and in designated parking spaces walled off by jersey barriers along Leonard Street.

But unlike Boston where there’s a voluminous number of applications for sidewalk and curbside space, Belmont Center has seen a dramatic drop in spaces being set aside for dining from 15 last year to just six this coming summer, according to Glen Clancy, town engineer.

The biggest impact on space requests is the recent closure of the popular Trinktisch Beer Hall and from eateries that don’t feel the need to have an outdoor option, said Clancy.

Two of the eateries, sister establishments il Casale and the Wellington, have reduced their ask to just two parking slots each as “they want to have a more impactful look to their spaces,” said Deran Muckjian, owner of Toy Shop of Belmont, and president of the Belmont Center Business Association.

The other eatery seeking added space is Stone Hearth Pizza. There will be one dedicated area in Cushing Square for Savinos Grill on Common Street and the town will support a request from Watertown’s Conley’s Pub since the roadway up to the restaurant’s curb is located in Belmont.

Muckjian said early in the year he sought feedback from merchants and restaurants “and everyone is comfortable” with the smaller plan for outdoor dining.

Unlike past years, the establishments will be footing the bill installing, then removing the jersey barriers.

In addition, the season has been reduced from the Mothers’ Day weekend in May to Sept. 15.

Al fresco dining was established in 2020 as an attempt by the town to assist restaurants which found their indoor dining areas shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first year, Leonard Street became a single lane, one-way road – from Alexander Ave. to Channing Road – with much of the curbside set aside for chairs and tables.

But from the start, many of the Center’s brick and mortar retail businesses were less than pleased losing about two dozen parking spaces in front of their establishments. In the subsequent years, Leonard would return to a two-way road and the number of dining spaces reduced at the urging of storefront retailers.

The BHS Performing Arts Company Will Be Staging ‘Something Rotten’ This Week

Photo: The poster of this year’s musical “Something Rotten”

The tale of how the world’s very first musical was staged, the Belmont High School Performing Arts Company presents its Spring Musical “Something Rotten” this week in the Belmont Middle and High School Main Theater.

Showtimes are:

  • Thursday, March 14 at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, March 15 at 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 16 at 2 p.m. (matinee) and 7 p.m. 

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

It’s 1595, and brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are desperate to write a hit play but find themselves stuck in the shadow of William Shakespeare, the Renaissance rock star known as “The Bard.” When a soothsayer foretells that the future of theater involves singing, dancing, and acting – all at the same time – Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical. Amidst the scandalous excitement of opening night, the Bottom brothers realize that reaching the top means being true to their own self.

The book is by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell. Music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick, who also conceived the work.

ADULTS: $15 in advance / $18 at the door
BHS STUDENTS: $5 Thursday and Saturday Matinee, $10 Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m.

Sweet 16 Shocker: Belmont Girls’ Hockey Upset Three-Seed Lincoln/Sudbury In Quarters, 4-1, As Costa Stops 44 Shots

Photo: Belmont/Watertown goalie Jil Costa readies to pounce on a loose puck during her team’s game vs. Lincoln/Sudbury

It was a nightmare start for Belmont/Watertown Girls’ hockey goalie Jil Costa against heavy favorites Lincoln/Sudbury Regional High in the MIAA Division 1 state championship quarterfinals.

In its first rush up the ice, Lincoln/Sudbury’s junior Ally Quinn split the defenders and sent a wrist shot to Costa’s glove side, handcuffing the sophomore netminder. The puck sneaked by and rolled on its side into the back of the net.

1-0, Warriors, after 50 seconds.

After this goal, Belmont’s Jil Costa stopped the next 44 in the 4-1 upset of Lincoln/Sudbury

“Once it went in I was a little confused, to be honest,” said Costa, one of the standout goaltenders in the state allowing less than a goal a game – 16 goals in 20 games – this season.

But rather than replay the goal in her mind, “I immediately just got it out of my head. I ignored it as if it didn’t happen and I just had to focus on the next shot,” she said.

And from that point onward, it was lights out as Costa would stop all 44 shots she faced while her teammates scored three goals in the final four minutes of the first period propelling 14th-ranked Belmont to a thrilling upset over third-seed Lincoln/Sudbury, 4-1, in the Sweet 16 contest on a rainy Saturday night, March 2, in West Concord.

Belmont Senior Mia Taylor scored the game winning goal in the first period

“We played our game, relying on [Costa] to keep it close and help her out by scoring just enough to win,” said first-year head coach Brendan Kelleher.

Belmont (15-2-3) will next meet fellow upstarts Archbishop Williams (11-10-2) from Braintree in an Elite Eight matchup on Thursday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m., 53 miles from Belmont in far-flung Kingston (which is basically west Duxbury). The 11th-seed “Archies” sent sixth-ranked Methuen packing, 2-1, on a late goal Saturday.

Saturday’s game was decided in the initial 15 minutes as Belmont withstood a continuous onslaught from the quick Warrior forwards. But it was Belmont’s approach to Lincoln/Sudbury’s overtly-aggressive game plan that proved to be the Warriors’ undoing.

Belmont’s first goal came courtesy of senior co-Capt. Lola Rocci on the power play as she slotted a Gigi Mastrangelo pass by L/S eighth grade goalie Lauren Kennedy to level the score at one.

Belmont’s Lola Rocci circling the L/S net during the team’s 4-1 upset victory

With less than 90 seconds remaining in the period, Belmont struck for a pair. Despite defending a Belmont power play, the Warriors kept pushing players into the Belmont end. But when the Warriors lost the puck in the neutral zone, second line seniors Mia Taylor and Ruby Jones jumped to create a two-on-one counter with Taylor capping the break with the game winner.

“it was just keeping that intensity up no matter who’s on the ice … and always go for it and that created the goal” said Taylor.

And it wouldn’t be a Belmont game without an outstanding solo rush and goal by Marauders’ leading scorer, senior center Maddie Driscoll, who hit the back of the net while shorthanded in the dying seconds of the opening frame to leave the ice leading 3-1.

Up by two with a half hour to play, Lincoln/Sudbury kept the pressured on Belmont’s back line and Costa yet the Marauder defensive pairs – with a great deal of assistance from the forwards – withstood each Warrior rush without surrendering ice in front of the Belmont goal and pushing Warrior forwards outside the slot so shots were taken from a safe distance.

“We were told ahead of time they had an aggressive forecheck,” said senior co-Capt. Aislin Devaney. “Our defense did a really good job blocking shots, getting the puck out, and keeping bodies on them which made it easy for [Costa] to make saves.”

Through it all, Costa was as cold as the ice surface making save after save, leaving Lincoln Sudbury players slamming their sticks onto the ice in frustration or looking to the heavens for Divine Intervention that never came.

“A lot of practice just [having a] laser focus on the puck and … just make the save,” said Costa.

Belmont’s Evie Long (second from right) scoring the fourth goal of the game late in the third

It was left up to sophomore Evie Long to put a ribbon on the upset. After receiving a pinpoint drop pass from Driscoll, the winger scooped up her own rebound and backhanded Belmont’s fourth tally high into the net with four minutes left in the game.

“We’re keeping the rink open,” said assistant coach Josh Gilonna, borrowing a phrase used by Belmont Boys’ Hockey during a recent deep run in the tournament. “We’re going to play again.”