Early Voting For Primary Election Underway In Belmont, Ends Sept. 6

Photo: Belmont Town Hall is open for voting business

Early election balloting is currently underway in Belmont for the state primary election taking place on Tuesday, Sept. 6. There is no advanced application required to beat the rush on Sept. 6.

Early voting began on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Town Hall (the only location being used for early voting) and will continue until Noon, Friday, Sept. 2.

The hours for early voting are:

  • Monday, Aug. 29, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 30, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 31, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, Sept. 1, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Friday, Sept. 2, 8 a.m. to Noon.

Mail-in ballots are also being received at Town Hall. According to Town Clerk Ellen Cushman, 3,600 of Belmont’s nearly 18,000 registered voters sought to vote via mail. They also can place their mail-in ballots into the secure dropbox at the Town Hall entrance. Cushman asks that mail-in voters to send their ballots in asap to avoid missing the Tuesday, Sept. 6 deadline.

Residents who will be out-of-town on Sept. 6, gave a religious or medical reason why they can’t come to their polling station can ask for an absentee ballot.

And voters who prefer the traditional method can show up at their local precinct between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 6. Bring your ID to the polling station; you may be asked for it if you didn’t fill out the annual town census.

•Are you already registered to vote in Massachusetts? Check the website below to confirm whether you are registered and where you are registered. www.sec.state.ma.us/voterregistrationsearch/

•If you are not already registered or you need to change your address and you have a valid Massachusetts Driver’s License or ID Card, you can register to vote online. You must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years old on Sept. 6. Go to www.RegistertoVoteMA.com. Paper forms are available in the Town Clerk’s office.

Registration Open For Covid Vaccine Clinics In Belmont; March 22 & 23

Photo: A pair of vaccine clinics in Belmont this coming week.

You’ll have a pair of opportunities to receive for free a first, second or booster Covid-19 vaccine shot in Belmont this coming week.

Residents will need to resent insurance cards, photo ID, and vaccination cards at their appointment.

On Tuesday, March 22, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. at Belmont Town Hall, 455 Concord Ave., the Belmont Health Department will provide the Pfizer vaccine to one of two groups of residents:

  • Residents 5 to 11 years old can sign up to receive the 1st or 2nd dose* of the pediatric Pfizer vaccine.
  • Those 12 year old and older can register to receive the 1st, 2nd* or booster dose of the adult Pfizer vaccine.

Register for an appointment at Belmont Town Hall at: https://www.appointmentquest.com/scheduler/2180061935?schedule+belmontvaccineclinic

On Wednesday, March 23, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Belmont Council on Aging 266 Beech St., the Beech Street Center is offering Moderna COVID-19 vaccines to individuals 18+ to receive their 1st, 2nd or booster dose of the adult Moderna vaccine.

Register for an appointment at the Beech Street Center here: https://hipaa.jotform.com/220694271484157

*As long as it has been 5+ months since their second dose of Moderna or Pfizer, or 2+ months if they received the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

If there is any difficulty with registering, call 617-993-2977 or email Dbickelman@belmont-ma.gov for assistance

New Date For Holiday Arts Market: Sunday, Dec. 12 In Town Hall Parking Lot

Photo: A new date for the town’s new holiday market

No one wanted to rain on the inaugural Belmont Holiday Market scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 11. But apparently Mother Nature does, with showers forecast during the hours the new market was scheduled to be open.

So, in a last minute change of plans, the first festive arts market has been moved to Sunday, Dec. 12 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Belmont Town Hall parking lot, 455 Concord Ave.

The event is an outdoor market with handmade goods for the holidays including jewelry, fabrics, paintings, pottery and holiday cards. Several of the participating artists are from the Belmont Gallery of Art as well as the Belmont Art Association, with many other locals coming out of the woodwork. What better time to find a unique gift for someone special.

Also at the market will be Sweetheart Gluten-free baked goods for sale, performances by the Belmont High School Madrigal Singers and donations of hot beverages from Belmont Bookstore’s Black Bear Cafe and Bellmont Caffe.

Breaking: Belmont Town Hall, Offices Set To Open Tuesday, June 1

Photo: Belmont Town Hall is ready to open on June 1

The return of normalcy after 15 months of COVID restrictions continues as Belmont Town Hall and offices will be open for business on Tuesday, June 1. The opening comes as the Massachusetts intends to lift its COVID-19 restrictions, though masks will still be required in schools, at transportation hubs, and at health care facilities.

Town Administrator Patrice Garvin made the announcement during the Belmont Board of Health’s Monday, May 24 meeting. While the town offices will be open to the public, anyone who is unvaccinated will be required to wear a mask.

The one exception to the openings will be the Beech Street Center, due to the large number of older residents who congregate in the building. A set date for its opening will be announced in the future.

Garvin called in to recognize the Board of Health and all in the Health Department for its work during “this crazy year.” “You were so vital with your guidance and thoughtful response to residents and staff,” said Garvin.

“When I look back years from now about this time, that’s what I’ll remember first,” said Garvin.

In-Person Early Voting For State Primary Begins Saturday, Aug. 22

Photo: Early voting starts Aug. 22

In-person early voting for the Massachusetts State Primary will take place statewide from Saturday, Aug. 22 to Friday, Aug. 28., according to a press release from Ellen Cushman, Belmont’s Town Clerk.

In Belmont, all early primary voting will take place at Town Hall, Concord Avenue in Belmont Center. Only voters who are registered as Democratic, Republican, Green Rainbow or Libertarian will be able to vote.

On Election Day, Tuesday, Sept. 1, voters must go to their precincts to cast ballots that day.

Belmont’s in-person hours are:

  • Saturday, Aug. 22        10 a.m. – 2 p.m. 
  • Sunday, Aug. 23           10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Monday, Aug. 24          8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Aug. 25          8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 26    8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, Aug. 27        8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • Friday, Aug. 28             8 a.m. – NOON 

CLOSED: Belmont’s Town Offices, Library, Senior Center Shut Down Monday, Meetings Held Online

Photo: Belmont Town Hall which will be closed on Monday, March 16

Belmont has hung up the “Closed” sign.

Belmont’s government including Town Hall, the Public Library, its schools and the senior center will be shut down for the foreseeable future beginning on Monday, March 16, according to town officials.

“In accordance with guidance from Governor Baker and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), and in an effort to balance the ability to continue to provide important services and to protect the health and safety of the residents of Belmont, the Town is taking the following measures,” read an email from Assistant Town Manager Jon Marshall dated Saturday, March 14

Effective Monday, March 16, services and closures are as follows:

TOWN HALL OFFICES
Beginning Monday, March 16, Belmont Town Complex Offices are CLOSED to the PUBLIC until further notice. Access will be limited to staff only at this time. Essential services will continue but are subject to change as circumstances change. Town Hall and Homer Building office hours will remain the same: Mondays 8 a.m. – 7 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Fridays 8 a.m. – noon. If you need assistance please contact Town offices via email or phone.

PUBLIC SAFETY

Police and Fire emergency response will continue to operate as usual. However, administrative services have been amended as follows:

  • Fire Stations are closed to the public. For Fire Prevention issues please call 617-993-2210.
  • Police Headquarters will remain open. No one will be turned away. However, we would prefer that if you need to visit the police station you call first at 617-484-1212In the event of an emergency please call 9-1-1.

BELMONT PUBLIC SCHOOLS
The Belmont Public Schools are CLOSED through Friday, March 27. This timeline may change as we learn more from our federal, state and local boards of health. Although school administration central offices will remain open, in an attempt to limit person to person interactions, all questions should be sent via email or phone.

BELMONT PULIC LIBRARY
Beginning Monday, March 16, the Belmont Public Library will be CLOSED to the PUBLIC until further notice. Belmont Public Library building access will be limited to staff only at this time. Hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you need assistance please contact the library via email or phone. Information regarding available services can be found on the library website

BEECH STREET SENIOR CENTER
Beginning Monday, March 16, Beech Street Center will be CLOSED to the PUBLIC until further notice. The Beech Street Center building access will be limited to staff only at this time. Essential services such as food, social work counseling and transportation for seniors will continue to be available. If you need assistance please contact the senior center via email or phone at 617-993-2970.

BELMONT ELECTRIC LIGHT
Beginning Monday, March 16th, Belmont Electric Light will be CLOSED to the PUBLIC until further notice. All questions should be sent via email or phone. Belmont Electric Light building access will be limited to staff only at this time.

FOOD PANTRY

The Town is working on modified procedures to allow for the Food Pantry, which is located in Town Hall, to operate and provide this critical service to the community. We anticipate having the Food Pantry open on its regularly scheduled day, Saturday, March 21. Food will be provided by volunteers handing out bags outside of Town Hall. If you need assistance, please contact the Food Pantry at belmontfoodpantry@gmail.com. We anticipate further updates mid-week.

BOARD AND COMMITTEE MEETINGS

The Governor’s Executive Order suspended portions of the Open Meeting Law to allow for remote participation for boards and committees. The Select Board is meeting Monday, March 16 at 7 p.m. The Select Board recognizes that this is a public meeting, but given current circumstances is encouraging residents to view the meeting from home. The Town is actively working to provide residents with remote capability that allows for participation at home. We will provide more information on how to access the meeting on Monday, during the day.

TOWN ELECTION

The Town is evaluating, in collaboration with the state, the potential impacts of COVID-19 on the local Town Election scheduled for Tuesday, April 7. We will update the community as circumstances change.

COVID-19 INFORMATION PHONE LINE

Please call or email the informational line if you have questions: Monday through Friday 8am -4pm.

617-993-2222

belmonteoc@belmont-ma.gov

page2image48678976

The Board of Health continues to recommend the following actions to limit the spread of COVID-19:

  • Cover your mouth – when you cough or sneeze use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.
  • Wash your hands – with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based sanitizing gel.
  • Practice social distancing – when in public spaces try to remain at least 6-feet away from others.
  • Actively Promote Social Distancing – encourage children to practice social distancing and goodhygiene when interacting with family and friends of all ages.
  • Stay home if you are sick – and avoid close contact with others.

This situation is constantly evolving, and we are receiving updates throughout the day. We will continue to provide updated information as it becomes available on our website. www.belmont-ma.gov

Ready For Your Close-Up, Mr. Williams

Photo: Behind the scenes with Mr. Williams at Town Hall.

One, if not the sole, perk of being an ex-Belmont Selectman – if that title can be used one final time – it’s the honor of having a “goodbye” portrait hung in the Select Board Room of Town Hall.

Going back a century, the photos of residents who were elected to the executive branch of town government are placed in perpetuity on the walls overlooking the current members as the proverbial “judge over their shoulder,” giving wise guidance to those following them.

On Tuesday morning, Jim Williams, who served one eventful term on the board, arrived in the board room for his appointment with Belmont photographer Beth Ann Fricker of BAF Photography.

While he selected a more traditional tie rather than his favorite with sharks details, Williams – who is moving to Florida in the next few months – didn’t select a pair of paints for the session. If it’s a portrait they want, shorts will do the job just fine.

It’s not known if fellow ex-Select Board member Sami Baghdady showed up in shorts for his portrait later in the day.

Belmont Food Pantry Reopens At Town Hall

Photo: The ribbon cutting.

The Belmont Food Pantry has a new home, one its founder hopes will remain for years to come.

On its first Saturday, Feb. 16, at its new location on the first floor of Town Hall, the pantry’s volunteers welcomed a large number of the 200 families which are served by the nonprofit which for more than a quarter century has been serving those Belmont residents in need.

The ceremonial cutting of a red ribbon (with some oversize scissors) “officially” opened the pantry’s location was a welcomed event for Patty Mihelich, who along with an ad hoc committee and a grant from Project Bread, founded the pantry which opened in the Waverley Square Fire Station in December 1992.

“It’s a great day that we now have a place that gives us the stability to serve [residents] ,” said Mihelich on Saturday.

The pantry began a frustrating journey in search for a long-term site after the fire station was sold in 2005, moving to a modular building behind Belmont High School than to the former Belmont Light Department headquarters across from Town Hall in 2009. The pantry returned to the high school site in 2012 before moving to its latest  location at Mount Hope Church on Lexington Street in 2016. 

Seeking a permenant location, Town Administrator Patrice Garvin and the Board of Selectmen (Chair Adam Dash help celebrate the opening) worked with Mihelich after seeing an opportunity at Town Hall when space became avaliable after the Retirement Board moved to larger space on Concord Avenue. With two rooms that were largely unused, the decision was made to allow the community asset to come to Town Hall.

Mihelich said the new location has the advantage of parking, public transportation and a familiar, central location – many using the pantry remember when the pantry was at the Light Department – that will help assist residents in obtaining the food and sundries they require to stay feed and healthy. 

“This means a lot to be [at Town Hall] and we hope that it will be a long stay,” she said.

The pantry monthly hours are:

  • 1st and 3rd Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
  • 2nd and 4th Tuesday: 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 
  • 4th Sunday: 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

 

Ghoulish and Creepy: Belmont Town Hall Turns Tricks Or Treats

Photo: The Scarecrow greeting her constituancy at Town Hall. 

A slew of kids and a fair number of adults were given a bit of a fright coming to the Town Hall complex in Belmont Center as the entire staff provided an early Halloween trick with the treats on Monday, Oct. 29.

The Town Administrators Office was transformed into the Addams Family (Glenn and Patrice made a wonderful Gomez and Morticia) while the Department of Public Works took the Disney route with Snow White and the Seven Dwarves – with a particularly fetching princess – while there were competing Wizard of Oz offices with stuffed Totos in the Homer Building and Town Hall. You could touch eyeballs and brains in the HR department whose director was mirroring Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly (although she admitted only residents and staff of a “certain” age recognized the costume) while a mad scientist was conjuring up budgets out of thin air at the Homer. 

Official town business continued as usual in the Town Clerks office where a resident was helped by the Tinman to determine whether the post office had notified the Scarecrow of the resident’s change of address in time so she could vote on a ballot question – alas, they did not. Just another rock in the sack of voting for some at Town Hall. 

 

New Hours Of Operation At Town Hall, Homer Building To Better Serve Residents

Photo: The Homer Building.

In an effort to better serve Belmont residents seeking services, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Monday, June 4, to implement on a trial basis new operating hours at town offices in the Town Hall complex including Town Hall and the Homer Building.

Beginning this coming Monday, June 11, and running through Friday, Nov. 2, Town Hall and Homer building offices will remain open until 7 p.m. on Mondays after opening at 8 a.m. Hours on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will remain at the current 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday’s will see offices closing at noon. 

Offices in Town Hall include the Town Clerk, Town Adminstrator, and human resources. Over in the Homer Building is the Treasurer’s Office, Assessors, Recreation Department, Public Works, and Office of Community Development where building permits are issued.

“This is a trial change,” stated Patrice Garvin, Belmont’s town administrator. In October, the selectmen will review the operation and make a final determination on extending Monday hours permanently.

“The [selectmen] welcome your feedback on this change,” said Garvin in an email who added the town appreciations Belmont’s town employees, the workers impacted by the change, for working to resolve this matter to better serve the people of Belmont.

Questions related to this change can contact the Selectmen at 617- 993-2610 or e-mail to selectmen@belmont-ma.gov