Lions Roaring Back With Trees, Wreaths This Christmas Time

Photo: Selecting the right tree at the Belmont Lions Club tree sale

Alright, yes, I know Halloween is more than a week away and Thanksgiving’s turkey and football game is still off in the distance. But Monday, Oct. 18, residents were reminded Christmas is just around the corner as the Select Board approved the annual license for the Belmont Lions Club to sell trees and wreaths outside of its clubhouse on Royal Road at the commuter rail station.

The club will sell Nova Scotia gown trees – from the same farm since the sale began in 1957 – and wreaths, mantle pieces, baskets and many other holidays items from Friday, Nov. 26 through Friday, Dec. 24. But don’t dawdle: last year the trees sold out early so get them as soon as they come off the truck.

Lions Secretary Felix Firenze told the board it will continue the Covid-19 restrictions and contract tracing from last year at the site at the corner of Common Street and Royal Road just outside of Belmont Center. It will also keep last year’s hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weeknights.

“We have all the protocols that we needed to get through this pandemic and it was very successful for us [in 2020],” said Firenze.

In addition, the club will keep the revamped parking and pickup practice caused by the rerouting of the MBTA bus last year.

“It sort of ran right through [the site] but you soldiered on and worked your way through it and I’m thanking you for that,” said Adam Dash, Select Board chair.

In addition, the Lions have already set the date for the 2021 Traveling Santa: Saturday, Dec 18. So be good.

“It’s a wonderful operation, Felix, and a great service for our community,” said Board Member Mark Paolillo.

Preforming Arts Co.’s ‘Broadway Night’ To Show Off Belmont High’s New Black Box

Photo: The finale of BHS PAC Broadway Night (thanks to BHS PAC)

The Belmont High School Performing Arts Company is returning after a year-and-a-half in the virtual sphere to all live performances with its annual “Broadway Night: Musical Theater Cabaret” this weekend, Oct. 22 and 23 at 7 p.m.

To celebrate its homecoming, the in-school group will welcome the audience to its new home: The Black Box Theater on the first floor of the recently opened high school wing of the Belmont Middle and High School. The space has professional lighting and sound as well as flexible seating configurations that will allow for a greater audience experience.

Students artists will perform classic and contemporary works of musical theater consisting of solo/duet/small groups songs which are primarily self-directed which will showcase the acting, singing and dancing talents of the PAC members. And with every year, there will be a final song and dance performed by the entire company.

Tickets are $5 for students/children and $12 for adults. Tickets can be purchased online, and advance ticket purchase recommended: shows, as always, are expected to sell out!

Details about the show and ticket sales at bhs-pac.org

Due to As we prepare to invite audiences back into our schools, here are some guidelines for those who plan to attend theater events this year:

  • MASKS WILL BE REQUIRED for all audience members.
  • Food/drinks will not be allowed in performance spaces.
  • The size of our Black Box Theater means that there is not a guarantee of distancing for audience members. We encourage family units to sit together, but at sold out shows, you will be seated directly adjacent to others.
  • Some students performing on stage for theater events will be unmasked. These students have been required by the Belmont School Committee to be vaccinated.
  • Anyone experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19 should not attend performances. You can reference the BPS Student Symptom Checker here.

Foundation For Belmont Education Thanks Record Number Of Runners, Supports For Successful 2021 Apple Run

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For the first time in two years, the Foundation for Belmont Education’s Apple Run returned to its five kilometer tour of Belmont schools on the first Sunday of October.

With close to 800 runners – 689 pre-registered and 109 day-of registrations – the support of 60-plus event volunteers, the race committee, multiple sponsors, many in-kind donors and the Partners in Education made the annual community event a unmitigated success.

“We truly love this annual community-wide event and would like to thank the following community members for their generous support: Triogo owner Donna Ognibene, who expertly got everyone warmed-up and ready to race; DJ Paul Madden for keeping the motivation and excitement going all morning with his music; and Belmont High School senior Emily Kaiser for her amazing rendition of the National Anthem. Thank you to Belmont Center Business Association and Moozy’s Ice Cream & Yoghurt Emporium for their incredible generosity with prize donations,” said the statement,” said the FBE in a statement.

The FBE also thanked the Belmont Police Department, Belmont Department of Public Works, and Belmont High Volleyball Team for their tremendous support.

Platinum sponsor: Cityside Subaru of Belmont

Results sponsor: Belmont Orthodontics

Bib sponsor: Didriks and Local Root

Water table sponsor: East Cambridge Savings Bank

T-shirt sponsors: Anne Mahon, Shant Banosian and Rogaris Law

FBE Investors in Education: Belmont Orthodontics, Belmont Savings Bank Foundation, Cityside Subaru of Belmont, and People’s United Bank.

5K MALE WINNERS:

Russell Leino, 39 – 16:41
Jackson Coelho, 17 – 17:12
William Ronchetti, 25 – 17:59

5K FEMALE WINNERS:

Francesca Kitch, 17 – 20:42*
Meredith Mikell, 39 – 20:57*
Heidi Kimberly, 46 – 21:10*
* The top 3 women broke the previous course record!

FASTEST 5K PER AGE GROUP:

U12 M – Fridolin Meichsner, 20:07
U12 F – Sasha Romig, 25:58
13-19M – Giulio Valfre Zaydenman, 20:56
13-19F – Sarah Yu, 22:50
20-29M – Sam Belcher, 19:29
20-29F – Olivia Sedita, 21:46
30-39M – Yuxiao Wang, 21:24
30-39F – Menfru Li, 21:35
40-49M – Lixin Qin, 18:57
40-49F – Becca Pizzi, 22:00
50-59M – Kevin Hettenbach, 21:29
50-59F – Lili Zhang, 23:30
60+M – Roger Tobin, 25:42
60+F – Mary Ciampa, 30:10

2K WINNERS (U12):

Fastest F – Elise Tandy, 10, 8:38
Fastest M – Will Olmstead, 11, 7:59

TEAM WINNERS:

Largest team – Belmont Public Library Road Warriors
Fastest M team – BCAA (Belmont Chinese American Association)
Fastest F team – Belmont High School Field Hockey
Fastest mixed team – Trombone Gang

MOST FESTIVE RUNNING OUTFIT:

Kara and Campbell Sassone

Trustees Want Residents To Take A Tour Sunday Through Belmont’s ‘Failing’ Library [Video]

Photo: Deteriorating infrastructure at the Belmont Public Library

On Oct. 4, the Belmont Select Board and Board of Library Trustees agreed a solution is needed for the failing library building. The constant failures – big and small – in critical library building systems are urgent, according to the Trustees; floods, leaks, electrical issues, an antiquated fire alarm system, and unreliable heating, air conditioning and elevators have put the building in a dire situation.

On Sunday, Oct. 17, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Belmont residents can take one of two tours of the inner workings of the library and see the condition of the building.

INDOOR OPTION: Take a small group guided tour to see the failing parts of the library building.

OUTDOOR OPTION: The committee has recreated the tour experience outdoors, using posters, video, and knowledgeable guides to walk through.

The tours are led by members of the Board of Library Trustees, Library Building Committee, and Library staff.

For more information, visit www.NewLibraryFund.org

Police, Schools Holding Open House/Tours Of Their New Buildings In October

Photo: There will be three opportunities next week to view the new high school wing of the Belmont MIddle and HIgh School.

Residents will have the opportunity to take a look inside of Belmont’s newest municipality buildings as they fling open the doors for the public in the coming weeks.

On Saturday, Oct. 16 at 1 p.m., the DPW/Belmont Police Department Building Committee invites the town to celebrate the dedication and ribbon cutting of the nenovated Police Headquarters with guided tours of the station located at the intersection of Pleasant Street and Concord Avenue will follow.

“Come see the successful renovation of the historic 1931 station and construction of the modern additions,” said the Building Committee chair Ann Marie Mahoney.

“I know it’s been slow but there have been small and annoying things at the end that we are still wrapping up. We are in the black and giving money back to Community Preservation and Warrant committees so that’s all that matters!” she said.

And the public will get their first look inside of the new Belmont Middle and High School on Concord Avenue as the district is holding three days of public tours of the high school wing:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 20; 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Oct. 23; TBA
  • Wednesday, Oct. 27; 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“It’ll be a very exciting day on Saturday. There will be some words spoken by students and there’ll be the marching band to welcome folks, said School Superintendent Phelan at Tuesday’s School Committee meeting, Oct. 5.

“We’re glad that we can open the doors with the majority of our spaces complete and ready to be seen and enjoyed by our community. We appreciate your funding of this beautiful new facility that’s completed phase one. And we’re prepared to move into our phase two for the seventh and eighth grade over the next two years,” said Phelan.

Belmont’s First Indigenous Peoples’ Day Celebration Monday At Winn Brook

Photo: The first Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration in Belmont will take place at the Winn Brook Playground on Monday, Oct. 11 at 9:30 a.m.

Belmont will celebrate its first Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration on Monday, Oct. 11 beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Winn Brook Elementary School Field.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day replaces Columbus Day through a vote of Town Meeting at the annual meeting in May.

Town officials and leaders of local organizations will make speeches as BOMBAntillana, practitioners of the oldest living musical tradition of the people of Puerto Rico, will entertain with music and dance drawn from the enslaved West African and Taino people who were forced to labor in sugar cane plantations.

Indigenous Peoples Day honors the past, present, and futures of Native peoples throughout the United States. Belmont sits on the original homeland of the Pequosette Tribe.

The day is being sponsored by Belmont Against Racism, Belmont School Department, Belmont Select Board, Belmont Public Library, Belmont Religious Council, Belmont Human Rights Commission, Community Organized for Solidarity, Belmont High School PTSO, Burbank School PTA, Butler School PTA, Chenery Middle School PTO, Wellington School PTO, Winn Brook School PTA, and Belmont Books.

Trustees Presents ‘Dire’ Status Of Library Building To Select Board Monday

Photo: Belmont Public Library

When the Belmont Board of Library Trustees comes before the Select Board on Monday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m., it will with a simple request concerning the building on Concord Avenue that has for more than a half century housed the books, services and collections that is the Belmont Public Library: What’s the next step?

For more than 25 years, the trustees and volunteers have pointed to the aging building – opened in 1965 – with increasing concern that one of the most popular libraries in its population group in Massachusetts was falling into a condition of disrepair of its infrastructure and the lack of space to meet the library’s programming needs.

Since then, the deterioration of the building has accelerated to the point where the options facing the town going forward has dwindled to a stark pair in the view of the trustees: be a town without a library or commit to a new future.

”We are at the end of the road,” said Kathleen Keohane, the Trustee’s vice chair. “We have kicked this can down the road so many times. And unfortunately, we are about to hit the wall. It’s that dire.”

Trustee Chair Elaine Alligood ran down the list of structural failings: when it rains, there are leaks that pop up everywhere, a fire alarm system is out-of-code since 1992, heating and electrical systems whose useful life ended 20 years ago and are chronically in disrepair, a roof that is so fragile it can’t accept a modern HVAC system while the elevator has to checked at the end of each day to see if anyone is stuck inside because the alarm doesn’t work.

Any significant and needed repair in any part of the building will almost certainly create a cascade of required alterations which would accelerate the cost past the point of reasonable expenditures.

“We’ve deferred those big ticket items because if you repair one system, it pulls a thread that requires another expensive repair,” said Keohane, who said if one or two repairs exceeds a certain amount, it activates a trigger that requires the entire building to meet millions of dollars of American Disabilities Act-mandated improvements “which would be fiscally irresponsible for the trustees to ask the town to meet.”

The trustees said the time has come for a clear eyed decision on the future of a centerpiece of the Belmont community.

“It is a challenging time and if there were any other time to do it don’t you know we would do it then,” said Ellen Schreiber, a member of the non-profit Belmont Library Foundation that promotes and fundraisers in behalf of the library. “But we have no choice. The library is an urgent situation.”

Despite its popularity – during the pandemic the library’s circulation remained steady at 474,000 items – the trustees attempts to spur the construction of a building that would meet the needs a modern library failed to garner town and community support or the cooperation of the school committee in the latest attempt nearly a decade ago.

On Oct. 4, the trustees will present to the Select Board with the facts.

The latest Library Building Committee – authorized by Town Meeting in 2017 – spent two years holding meetings with the community and focus groups using a 2016 feasibility study to determine the best way forward on the future of the library building. In November 2019, the committee presented a final schematic design created by Ogdens Ella Architecture that took into account public and stakeholders feedback that revealed a plan of a modern library that would meet its patrons and the community’s needs.

“The new building design is focused on giving us more space [25 percent increase in square footage], will be ADA compliant and address all the failing infrastructure and business systems that are decades in the making,” said Keohane.

The trustees and the foundation will present what has been raised for a new library, a community fundraising initiative that will take place this month and an estimated cost for a new building. The last price tag was in the $34 million range.

Now nearing two years since the report’s release, the trustees say the building’s decline can not be halted with stop gaps or unrealistic hopes that renovations can add years to the building’s lifespan.

“So it’s up to the Select Board with our assistance to decide what is the next step,” said Keohane.

A High School Doubleheader Headlights Soccer Night In Belmont On Saturday, Oct. 2

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The Belmont High School Boys and Girls Varsity soccer teams will headline a doubleheader of top-notch soccer at the sixth annual Soccer Night in Belmont on Saturday, Oct. 2.

joined at the event by hundreds of younger players from Belmont 2nd Soccer and the Belmont Soccer Association, their coaches, and other members of the Belmont soccer community.

The games, to be played under the lights at Harris Field, will see the Marauders meet Middlesex League rivals Winchester: the Boys game at 4:30 pm followed by a Girls game at 6:30 pm. The teams will vie for the Phoenix Cup and the honor of having their team’s name engraved on it.  

Belmont youth soccer players will participate by parading out with players during the pre-game ceremonies, acting as ball-boys and ball-girls, and competing in mini-games on Harris Field during halftime of both games. Winchester Soccer Club youth soccer players will also participate in the pre-game ceremonies and other activities.

“This event showcases our varsity teams and recognizes the role of the Belmont Soccer Association in nurturing the talent that makes our high school teams year in and year out,” said event organizer John Carson. “We hope for a big crowd for a really fun night that builds bonds between our “little kid” players and “big kid” high school players, virtually all of whom came up through the Belmont youth program. In fact, one great highlight is always that our high school players wear wristbands during the game that match the color of their Belmont youth soccer team.”

Admission to Soccer Night in Belmont is free. Concessions including pizza, hot dogs, snacks and drinks will be available for purchase, provided by Parents of Music Students (POMS) so families can come for the games and feed the kids at the same time.

Soccer Night in Belmont is sponsored by the Belmont Soccer Association, Friends of Belmont Soccer (FOBS), and The Phoenix Landing.

One Week To Run The Apple 5K/2K: Tour Belmont Schools In Race To Help Enrich Education

Photo:The start of the 2019 FBE Apple 5K.

There’s one week to go before the running of the Apple 5K/2K this Sunday, Oct. 2, the annual road race that lets runners take part in Belmont’s first in the fall favorite event while supporting the Foundation for Belmont Education and the Belmont Public Schools.

The money raised funds grants to educators in the Belmont Public Schools to implement innovative programs and advanced technology that result in richer and deeper learning experiences for Belmont students. Visit the FBE website to learn more about how the FBE makes a difference in the Belmont Public Schools www.fbe-belmont.org/impact

Register here for the race.

The FBE Apple Run sponsors are:
Platinum Sponsor 2021: Cityside Subaru of Belmont
Results Sponsor 2021: Belmont Orthodontics
Bib Sponsor 2021: Didriks & Local Roots

About The Race  
The FBE Apple 5K and 2K races are events that are a celebration of education in Belmont. Passing four of Belmont’s schools (Burbank, Chenery, Wellington, and the High School), the race funds the FBE’s Education Innovation Fund that works with residents and businesses to raise private funds that are used to enrich the education provided by the Belmont Public Schools. 

Race Day Schedule: Sunday, Oct. 3

  • 8 a.m. – 9:15 a.m.: 5K and 2k bib pickup & race day registration 
  • 9:30 a.m.: The Apple 5K 
  • 10:15 a.m.: 5K Awards Ceremony 
  • 10:45 a.m.: The Apple 2K
  • 11:15 a.m.: 2K Awards Ceremony 

The Course  
Starting and ending at the Belmont High School Harris Field track on Concord Avenue, the 5k course winds uphill for the first half of the race, passing the Burbank Elementary school and the Payson Park Reservoir. The course turns downhill just past the midway mark and then passes both the Chenery Middle School and Wellington Elementary. It finishes on the Belmont High School track. 

The 2K is a timed race suitable for runners of all ages and abilities. It follows a flat, loop course starting on the Belmont track and going over by Clay Pit Pond ending back at the track.

Awards & Post-Race Events  
An awards ceremony will follow the running of both the 5K and the 2K race. Awards will be given to the top three male and female finishers of the 5K and 2K races. 

Race T-Shirts  
T-Shirts will be available for both the 5K and 2K races. 

Parking  
The Belmont High School’s Harris Field is located on Concord Avenue, adjacent to Belmont High School. The track can be easily reached by car and public transportation and there is ample parking available for runners on the surrounding streets (Please obey parking signs). 

About the Foundation  
The Foundation for Belmont Education engages the community in supporting the excellence and enrichment of the Belmont Public School System. Through the generous support of private donors, the FBE ensures that all Belmont schools have the resources to inspire and prepare students for success. 

Since 1993, the FBE has awarded more than $2.8 million in grants to finance over 614 projects initiated and organized by principals, teachers, and staff. Resources are distributed through Learning Excellence Grants, which provide up to $1,000 for small projects and up to $5,000 for those benefiting a wider group of students. The Special Initiatives program funds large-scale projects that enhance the educational experience for the entire student body. The Foundation is also committed to supporting teachers and staff through ongoing Professional Development programs.

Tzom Kal: Yom Kippur Begins Sunset Wednesday

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

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

Yom Kippur begins at sundown on Wednesday, Sept. 15 and concludes a few hours after sunset on Thursday, Sept. 16.

The day’s central themes are atonement and repentance. Jews traditionally observe this period with a 25-hour period of fasting and intensive prayer, often spending most of the day in synagogue services. Yom Kippur completes the annual period known in Judaism as the High Holy Days (the Days of Awe) that includes Rosh Hashanah, the New Year celebration.

High School athletic events and after-school activities at Belmont High School are typically curtailed for the holiday.