Liquor, Beer & Wine Licenses to be Heard Thursday, Beech Street Center

The Belmont Board of Selectmen will hold a public meeting on Thursday, May 1, at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St., at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the four applicants for the full-liquor and beer and wine retail licenses.

These are the first new permits to be made public after the State Legislature voted to approve a 2013 town meeting bylaw increasing the number of licenses.

The meeting is a continuation of the hearings held at 8 a.m. on April 22 that brought more than 50 residents to show their interest in the four applicants.

There are three applicants for the single all-alcohol license available this year are:
• Nicolas Market and Deli doing business as The Loading Dock; 11 Brighton St.
• Craft Beer Initiative doing business as Craft Beer Cellar; 51 Leonard St.
• D&L Wine and Spirits Inc. doing business as D & L Wine Shop; 334 Pleasant St.

For one of the two wine and beer licenses available this year is:
• Shri Manohar Corp. doing business as LC Variety; 326 Trapelo Rd.

Those interested residents are invited to attend the meeting and provide public comment on the retail liquor licenses under consideration.

If an individual or organization is unable to attend the hearing but wishes to express a comment or concern for the record, they must do so in writing, send it to the Selectmen’s Office, 455 Concord Ave., Belmont, Ma or via e-mail to:

Written comments and concerns must be received in advance of the hearing if they are to be included.

Town Clerk’s Office Closed Monday for Recount Vote

The Belmont Town Clerk’s office is closed today, Monday, April 28, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. to perform a recount of the April 1 town election results.

“We will not be monitoring e-mail or telephones during this time,” said Ellen Cushman, town clerk. 

The recount will begin at 9 a.m. in the Town Hall auditorium on the second floor. The public is invited to come watch the proceedings inside a designated area in the hall. 

Cushman said the Belmont Board of Registrars of Voters received a valid petition signed by the requisite number of registered voters seeking to recount the votes cast in Precinct 3 for town meeting member seeking a three-year term. 
While the Town Clerk’s office did not release the name of the person seeking the recount, it appears that long-time Town Meeting stalwart and frequent speaker at the biannual event Martin Cohen is seeking the recount. Cohen came in 13th with 320 votes, three behind another current Town Meeting representative, David Chase.
Cohen will be seeking a four vote swing to recapture his three-year term.

Residents having an emergency that requires immediate attention by the Town Clerk should call the Town Administrator’s office at 617-993-2600.


Higher Gas Prices Set to Increase Belmont Light Bills

Despite a record amount of natural gas being pumped out of wells in the US, the combination of higher world-wide demand for the energy source and a colder than expected winter is about to have a very local impact on Belmont homeowners in the coming months.

In what he is calling “unprecedented” increases in gas prices throughout New England, Belmont Light‘s General Manager Jim Palmer is predicting an “immediate escalation in electric rates” in the six-state region, and that includes customers of the municipal utility.

“Unfortunately, customers will see an increase in their bills during the next several months as a result of this unprecedented surge in the winter demand of natural gas. As always, we encourage all our customers to conserve electricity whenever possible,” he said in a recent press release.

The reason for the cost spike is two fold; first, natural gas has recently become the primary resource for electric generation, power and heating throughout New England as homeowners and energy companies transition from “dirty” fuels such as coal and oil. In addition, world-wide demand for natural gas is increasing by about 65 percent for the next quarter century, according to the outlook released by ExxonMobil.

Second, it was cold. During this year’s extremely cold winter, demand for natural gas reached record levels and the region suffered capacity constraints, resulting in drastic price volatility for gas-fired generation, said Palmer.

The result was that regional energy generation costs reached historically high levels, with the average price of natural gas in New England approximately eight times higher than those in other areas of the country.

According to Independent Service Operators of New England (ISO-New England), New England wholesale electric prices in January and February 2014 were the highest they have been in more than a decade. These high wholesale energy production prices have in turn caused increased supply costs for all New England electric utilities.

In the final analysis, Belmont Light customers can expect to see higher-than-usual electric rates in their upcoming bills, said Palmer.

“Belmont Light will continue to monitor the situation with ISO-New England to ensure that our rates remain stable as we deal with the increased costs of purchasing wholesale electricity from the electric grid,” said Palmer.

Palmer is advising customers to visit the Belmont Light’s website for information on financial assistance and energy efficiency programs that might help residents offset some of the costs of the rising electricity prices. 

A First Look: Four Vie for Full Liquor, Beer and Wine Licenses

Despite the early hour –  8 a.m. – and school vacation, the Board of Selectmen’s Room at Town Hall was filled with residents as the selectmen met on Tuesday, April 22, for the first of two public meetings in which four businesses presented their applications seeking a license to sell either beer or wine or a full slate of liquor in Belmont.

And this year, three of the four applicants are seeking the golden ticket from the Selectmen; a full-liqour license that will allow the sale of spirits in town, becoming the first licensed “liquor” store in the town’s 155 years.

“This is the first of two public meetings to discuss the available licenses,” Selectmen Chair Andy Rojas told the 50 residents who squeezed into the board room.

The next public meeting will take place on Thursday, May 1 at 6:30 p.m. Because the board expects a considerable number of residents to attend the next meeting, a larger location has yet to be selected.

And while each of the three – The Loading Dock on Brighton Avenue, Belmont Center’s Craft Beer Cellar and D&L Liquors of Waltham – presented well-thoughout presentations (all would emphasize training their staffs on state laws controlling sales to those under 21), at first glance there already appears to be a front runner for the coveted full permit, the only establishment to win praise from the audience during the meeting.

Kate Baker and Suzanne Schalow, owners of the Craft Beer Cellar at 51 Leonard St. in Belmont Center, came before the board with a proposal to expand “very lightly” their craft beverage concept to include small artisanal liquor companies such as Belmont’s Damnation Alley distillery as well as allowing their store to sell beers, such as Sam Adams’ Utopias, that exceed 12 percent alcohol content which they are currently barred from handling by state law.

They anticipate selling about 30 to 40 bottles each of liquor and strong beers taking up 200 to 250 square feet of the 1,500 sq.-ft. main

The two self-proclaimed “beer geeks” have overseen the store’s rapid success since opening in November 2010 – winning a Best of Boston award from Boston Magazine – to where now the business is franchising their craft beer concept across the state and around the country.

Belmont residents, Baker and Schalow discussed cultivating relations in Belmont’s business community, among residents and with local government, with Schalow stating she and Baker “feel very, very blessed” that they have the opportunity to build on their retail model from “our mothership” store in their hometown.

When asked by Selectman Sami Baghdady how much attention they can give managing the store with its new products if they are expanding their concept across the country, Schalow said the “one place that I really want to be is in my hometown,” saying that she and Baker will continue to be in the main store.

Of the four applications, which included LC Variety located on Trapelo Road which is seeking one of two beer and wine only licenses available, supporters of Craft Beer Cellars – including former Selectman Ralph Jones – hailed the business and the owner’s commitment to customer service and the town in calling for the town to provide them the license.

First customer speaks for Belmont business

Darryl King of Long Avenue said as the first person in line when the Cellar’s doors initially opened three and a half years ago, the owners have been “exemplary” in their service and training of employees.

“They even shoveled the sidewalk before they were told to. They have done everything right,” said King, who urged the selectmen to favor the two women.

On the other end of the spectrum, what would appear to be a strong candidate for the license brought out the largest contingency of residents seeking to block the proposal. D&L Liqour has been in the business since the first day after Prohibition in 1933 when Peter Dion’s grandfather took out a license.

Now in its fourth generation, the Dion family has grown the business to three locations in Needham, Woburn and its home in Waltham. The store would be less a traditional liquor store then a full-service retail operation with expanded educational services especially in wines which they are now emphasizing. A good corporate neighbor, the Dion family has garnered the support of Waltham town officials who vouch to the business’ cooperation with law enforcement in preventing underaged drinking.

Yet despite 80 years of experience and a good business record, many residents waited to speak out in opposition to the Waltham’s business from opening in Belmont. While the residents said they were not opposed to D&L or any similar company coming to town, they wanted the board to reject the proposal due to its location.

Homeowners and at least one business owner told the selectmen the proposed building D&L would renovate – currently the Mini-Mart at the corner of Pleasant and Brighton streets – is in the midst of an active residential neighborhood with many families with small children.

The most formidable challenge to the Dion’s efforts to come to the location a block from Route 2 came from a fellow business owner and resident. Representing Dr. Iris Chin Ponte who runs the four-year-old Henry Frost Children’s Program less than a block away, Adam Ponte of the Boston law firm Kenney & Sams said his client (and sister) would hope the board would invoke a Supreme Judicial Court decision to deny the sale of alcohol within 500 feet of a school or child care business.

Ponce added that due to its location near a highway and with the recent spate of panhandling at the intersection, a liquor store would “be another avenue for criminal activity.”

Homeowners who spoke worried that vehicle traffic from the site’s 12-space parking lot will significantly increase leading to congested streets and making it more difficult to cross these already busy main streets.

Former Boston school administrator Edward Mabardi, who said he built his house nearby 40 years ago in a residential area, asked “what value does a liquor store here give Belmont?”

Katherine Nelson of Bradford Street said of the 49 homes in her area – which 75 percent have “small kid” – 42 homeowners have expressed opposition to the proposal and 65 signatures on a petition to the board. 

In support of a “vital new business”

As a counter to the prevailing view, former Selectman Angelo Firenze said he supports D&L “a new and vital new business to Belmont” since it would rehab “a very, very tired building.” He noted that the decision will be a difficult one for the board, “so good luck,” said Firenze.

The one full-license applicant that did not elicited a public response from the public would be a newcomer to selling alcohol. The Loading Dock is undergoing an extensive renovation at its Brighton Street location which will be across a parking from the new Belmont Light substation.

Fuad Mukarker, who first managed the former White Hen Pantry then buying the store in 2010, said he wants to add a new 500 square-foot section of the 3,000 square-foot footprint for liquor sales as he moves away from the current convenient store business to “a family market that sells liquor” as a compliment to the food they purchase.

When asked by Rojas on the close proximity of Belmont High School (which has a troubled reputation of student drinking for the past three decades) to the store, Mukarker said he has been diligent in keeping students from “hanging around” the store and from attempting to purchase cigarettes.

“We are very, very careful with these things,” said Mukarker.

Only one applicant is seeking a beer and wine license in this cycle but there were concerns with this limited proposal. LC Variety at the corner of Trapelo Road and Walnut Street in Belmont’s Central Square will add 400 square-feet of space for alcohol sales, said owner and Belmont resident Pankaj Ghai.

“It’s a convenient store and this is [an added service],” said Ghai who has owned the store for the past 12 years.

Baghdady, who is a neighbor of Ghai and has been a customer of the store since he was a child, said the store continues to be frequented by small children and teenagers.

“You will locate the beer and wine in the back and you only have one employee in the store. How will you establish controls?” he asked.

“I know the parents and they all talk to me so they know I am watching what is going on. I know my duties,” said Ghai, who said his staff has not made any sales of cigarettes to minors since he’s owned the store.

Yet Rojas said the town’s health department has had issues over the years with the management and the store has been victimized twice by armed robbers in less than 12 months. And neighbors did not give Ghai much comfort on his application.

“This is a store that sells cigarettes, lottery tickets, pornography and potato chips,” said Jean Cabral of Walnut Street who said the garbage and trash are not kept in containers.

With a preschool in the VFW building down Trapelo Road and Pequosette Park nearby, this is not the time “to add beer and wine to a variety store,” said Cabral.

Belmont Takes Advantage of Low Rates to Bond $29 Million

While the low-interest rate environment promoted by the Federal Reserve over the past five years has dampened residents appetite for bonds, the same condition has been a boom for municipalities with good credit ratings when selling their debt on the open market.

Using its top-ranked “triple A” credit rating, Belmont’s Treasurer and Tax Collector Floyd Carman was able to receive eight bids for nearly $29 million in municipal bonds that will include financing construction and upgrades to the Belmont Light substation that will be located on Flanders Road.

The winning bid for Belmont’s bonds came from Morgan Stanley offering an average interest rate of 2.951 percent, Carman told the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, April 22.

“That is a good deal for the town,” said Carman, noting the low rates will result in a significant savings to taxpayers which will be felt on Belmont’s fiscal bottom line.

The bond will pay for:

• $26,100,000: Belmont Light substation construction.

• $482,000: Water main replacement.

• $30,000: A school department vehicle.

• $890,000: a ladder truck for the Fire Department.

• $500,000: a new fire engine.

• 960,000: Harris Field replacement.

Belmont’s Combined Water, Sewer Rate to Increase 4.6 Percent

The typical Belmont resident will need to dig a bit deeper into their pockets to pay the quarterly water and sewer charges as the combined rate for both services will increase by 4.6 percent in the coming fiscal year that starts July 1.

The average Belmont homeowner who uses 20 HCF (hundred cubic feet) of water every three months will see their expenses jump by a little more than $17 – from the current $372.48 to $389.77 in fiscal 2015 – in their quarterly bill from the town, topping $1,500 for the fiscal year, according to Peter Castanino, director of the town’s Department of Public Works.

Speaking before the Belmont Board of Selectmen on Monday morning, April 22, Castanino told the members the department was successful in keeping the rate hike under the five percent benchmark on all future increases set by the 2010 Water and Sewer Rate Study, this year using retained earnings from the water and sewer accounts above a set minimum amount to run the systems operations and maintenance for 75 days.

Castanino said the rates are greatly influenced by the fixed rates imposed by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority which supplies the town with water and takes its sewage. That rate is just north of 50 percent of the average bill Belmont residents receive.

He also noted the rate from the MWRA will spike upwards (specifically in 2017 and 2020) due to increases in debt services it took on from the state when it was created.

In addition, the rate increases come as Belmont residents have steadily reduced their consumption of water usage over the past two decades.

But Castanino said with households being more efficient, “when we sell less, water will cost more.”

“Those fixed costs must be covered,” said Castanino.


Castanino said it is likely the department can continue to maintain its five percent limit on annual increases by decreasing the town’s capital reinvestment into the water and sewer infrastructure.

But a temporary decrease in the pace of the town’s effort to replace the 91-miles of water mains and sewer pumping stations crisscrossing town can be accomplished without doing long-term harm to the upgrade, said Castanino.

He said in 1995 the town began replacing every main installed before 1928 or about 38 miles of pipes and the work is now 59 percent complete. In addition, a pair of sewage stations have been replaced and upgrades to the sewage system has been ongoing. Castanino said many towns and cities have yet to establish as program to replace aging mains.

Selectman Sami Baghdady asked Castanino if there could be someway for the town to reward residents for the drastic decrease in water consumption by further dampening rate increases.

Castanino said the one way to do flatten the rate jumps is for the MWRA – which only uses 2/3 of the water it has on hand – to increase the number of communities within its membership so that debt can be spread around a greater number of cities and towns.

Goose Busters Program Coming Back to Belmont

When your fields and playgrounds are fouled by fowls, who are you going to call?

Goose busters!

In an effort to control the waste left on Belmont’s fields and common areas by Canada geese, the most common waterfowl species in North America, the Belmont Health Department will be establishing a new, more formalized “off-leash” registration program for residents and their pet pooches, according to members of the Belmont Board of Health at an informational meeting held last week and in subsequent interviews.

A past attempt to register dogs to run on the tows playing fields was less organized or controlled, resulting in an ineffective scheme. The existing “Off-Leash Program for Dogs on Belmont Athletic Fields” run by the Recreation Department is $40 per resident dog for 2014.

“[O]ver the recent years we have found residents made  little or no attempts to actually have their dogs involved in chasing geese,” Belmont’s Health Director Stefan Russakow told the Belmontonian Thursday, April 17.

Under this new initiative, the town’s Recreation Department in conjunction with Belmont’s Animal Control Officer John Maguranis, will create a registration program that will allow dogs to be “off leash” outside their owner’s property.

Under the proposed guidelines (Article 8) for animals that will be voted on by Town Meeting in May, no dogs will be allowed “to run free” without permission from the Board of Health.

One important part of the new program will be determining if those dogs “are good citizens,” said Board Vice Chair Dr. David Alper, that they can be controlled by their owners while on the fields and playgrounds.

According to Russakow, his department will not be issuing ‘licenses’ for off-leash activities on the fields, but creating a laminated card similar to the former “goose buster” card of the past indicating the owner has paid the fee and their pet was evaluated by Maguranis.

The new program “will be looking at activities for dog owners and their animals to increase animal and human health through exercise in the future,” said Russakow.

In fact, Russakow said as a result of the expanded nature of the initiative, his department will not be using the term “goose busters.”

“Any secondary benefit like keeping geese off the fields is a plus,” he said.

Belmont Planning, Health Boards to Make Changes to Kennel Rules

The Belmont Planning Board and the Board of Health will be working together to make changes to a pair of Town Meeting articles that, if passed, would force Crate Escape, the doggie day care center located on Brighton Street, to close its doors, leaving 300 customers and 150 dogs – 75 percent from Belmont – without a home of the day.

“The intent [of the articles] were not to effect day care, only overnight kennels,” said the Planning Board’s Elizabeth Allison, who said she will be sitting down with the Health Board’s Vice Chair Dr. David Alper and the town’s Health Director Stefan Russakow to replace the current static number of dogs that can stay in a “kennel.”

“Is this a backdoor way to eliminate doggy day care in town? No,” said Allison at a Planning Board meeting on Tuesday, April 15, at Town Hall.

The two Town Meeting articles, number 8 and 9, updates Belmont’s decade-old animal bylaw to meet state standards and the zoning code on the definition of what is a “kennel”; the current regulations specify a kennel as being an outdoor shelter. Under the existing code, that facility could only hold up to 25 dogs at one time.

Under the new proposed code, the definition of kennel is expanded to include commercial entities such as overnight and extended-stay as well as day care businesses. But the Town Meeting article that would amend the Health Code did not change the maximum number of 25 dogs that could be kept in a licensed location.

According to Crate Escape’s owner Bradley Hastings, he would be forced to close his Belmont site if the articles passed Town Meeting early in May.

In response to Hastings’ concern, the Allison group is considering replacing the 25 dog limit with a formula establishing a square-footage percentage of dogs that can be safely held in an interior site such as Crate Escape.

“We will come up with something to keep [Hastings] here,” said Allison, who said she will be seeking the help of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in creating the formula.

Town Meeting Articles Could Force Dog Kennel to ‘Take a Walk’

Sadie, a blue-nose bull dog, isn’t shy to say “hello” to anyone after spending a day at Crate Escape, Belmont’s “doggy day care” center at the corner of Brighton and Hittinger streets.

Her owner, Chris of Acton, said he has been taking his pet to the facility located hard by the commuter rail tracks for the past three years which is convenient as he works in neighboring Arlington.

“It’s awesome. She loves it here,” said Chris who has owned Sadie for the past five years.

“She runs around all day and comes home tired. He usually naps on the trip home,” he said, calling himself a “very satisfied” Crate Escape customer.

But Chris and Sadie along with approximately 300 customers and nearly 150 dogs on an average day will need to look for a new canine provider if next month Belmont’s Town Meeting passes a pair of articles forcing the six-year-old facility to shut down for exceeding the maximum amount of dogs a kennel can house under the new regulations.

“This will bankrupt me if this passes,” said Crate Escape’s owner Bradley Hastings, who opened his current Belmont facility last year after moving from his original location across Brighton Street on Flanders Road (which opened in 2008) that will be used for the new Belmont Light substation.IMG_3798

Chris was more succinct.

“It would [stink],” he said.

Hastings attended an informational meeting by the Board of Health Thursday, April 10 at Town Hall on the changes to the town’s health codes in Article 8 to amend the general bylaws effecting animals.

Hastings, who has 55 employees and a $1.2 million payroll at stake, said first heard about the meeting and the warrant articles that morning when clients spoke to him advising him to attend. What he heard was sobering for the Belmont resident.

“People don’t like services taken from them and this is what will happen. But it will also do such damage to a business that is successful and wants to do what’s right for everyone,” said Hastings to the Belmontonian.

Located in a 15,000 square foot single-floor commercial building, Crate Escape is a big open play space for your pooch. On a visit, some dogs were running around, others playing with plastic toys, a few napping and several extremely curious of a 35mm camera.IMG_3778

Dogs are segregated by temperament and social “skills” in one of the seven pens with a handler on hand so everyone “plays safe,” said Nikkilee Condon, Crate Escape’s general manager, who said there is also grooming and boarding at the facilities.

“There’s a lot of running around and mental stimulation for the dogs. They have to figure their way through a new hierarchy each day,” said Condon, who said their are 30 dogs in each enclosed area.

Calling the business’ clients “very loyal,” Condon said more most dogs, a half-hour walk “is not enough” activity and leaving them alone is troublesome for both pet and owner.

“We have the right balance here,” said Condon.

Yet for Hastings, the services he provides the community is just two votes away from being banned in Belmont.

On Thursday, the Board of Health’s vice-chair Dr. David Alper told the sparsely-attended meeting the language change to the existing bylaw was effectively mandated by the state’s Board of Health which issued language in 2012 in an effort to bring uniformity to the hodgepodge of hundreds of regulations existing in each of the Commonwealth’s approximately 350 municipalities.

Changing regulations, static numbers

Under the “tweaking” of the regulations, the town’s Health Department will only have the power to enforce the safety and welfare of the animals by inspection and licensing facilities; it is unable to determine where a facility can be located which is left up to the zoning bylaws, said Stefan Russakow, director of the town’s Health Department.

Yet in the proposed new bylaw, the town’s terminology for what is a “kennel” has been expanded and specified  to the determent of doggy day care facilities.

In addition to requirements on licensing pets and dealing with “dangerous” dogs, Article 8 states that “[n]0 Kennel may keep more than 25 dogs on the premises at any time.”

And under the language in Article 9, a kennel in Belmont will include “[a]n establishment used for boarding, holding, day care, overnight stays or training of animals.”IMG_3795

This regulatory double play would force Hastings’ facility to close down as he could not meet the drastically-altered licensing requirements.

“There is just no way we could do business here,” said Hastings.

Yet the new amendments were not being proposed to drive kennels out of Belmont, according to town officials, but rather an oversight when transforming existing bylaws and zoning regulations.

According to Jeffrey Wheeler, the town’s Planning Coordinator, the history of the current animal regulations goes back to 2003 when residents along Pleasant Street complained of noise coming from an animal clinic’s outdoor kennel and petitioned the town to regulate those facilities by limiting the number of dogs to 25 in any kennel.

Under the bylaw that has been in existence for the past decade, a “kennel” did not included a section for canine care facilities such as Hastings’ but will under the amendments.

“And the Board of Health did not change the number of animals in their regulations when the zoning changes were made,” said Wheeler.

If in the first week of May Town Meeting votes to amend the bylaw (Article 8) and the zoning code (Article 9 ), Create Escape will be forced to close.

Yet the articles are far from being death sentences to Hastings’ business, according to both the Board of Health and Wheeler. Crate Escape will need a little help to revise the articles with the stroke of the copy editor’s blue pencil.

One of two measures would need to take place to save Sadie’s daytime home: the submission of a so-called “amendment to the amendment” (the articles are, in fact, amendments; they do not create new bylaws or codes) doing one of two things: either excluding the terms “day care”; or change the number of dogs a specific facility can handle.

Those who hope to change the articles are required to submit an amendment to the amendment.

Town Clerk Ellen Cushman told the Belmontonian that one Town Meeting member can file the proposed amendment in writing with the Town Clerk by the close of the business three days prior to the session of Town Meeting the article is expected to be voted.

“Related to animals, [that is] expected to be heard and voted on May 5; amendments are due by 4 p.m. April 30. No additional signatures are required,” she said.

“It behoves you to go to the zoning, planning to discuss this,” said Alper to Hastings.

But for Hastings, the last-minute way and how he was informed of the two Town Meeting articles he said could do severe damage to a decade-old service with 4,000 current customers in three locations was deplorable.

“There has been this anti-business feel since I’ve been here. No one could think of calling me? I’m disappointed,” said Hastings.

Belmont Police Holding Take-Back Prescription Drug Program

The Belmont Auxiliary Police and the US Drug Enforcement Agency will host a prescription drug Take-Back Initiative to prevent the abuse and theft of old, unused and expired prescription drugs.

The Auxiliary Police will have a collection point set up at the town’s DPW yard, 37 C St., on Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Old or unused prescription drugs (no liquids) may be dropped off for free with no questions asked. You won’t even have to get out of your car. Please take some time to check your medicine cabinet and visit us on the 26th. Unfortunately, these drugs are highly susceptible to misuse by family and friends. In addition they can be improperly disposed of and end up in our environment, posing a potential health hazard.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic, according to the White House. While there has been a marked decrease in the use of some illegal drugs like cocaine, data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically.

For more information on the Rx Drug Take Back Initiative or a list of additional collection sites visit . You may also contact Lt. Kristen Daley. The Belmont Police also has a permanent Rx drug collection kiosk located in the lobby of Belmont Police Headquarters that is accessible at any time, day or night.