Our feature family for the premiere May Issue is the Blomquists, who have combined for 21 championships between parents, Scott and Sheila, and four kids, Brian, Hannah, Kendall and Sean.
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By: Tom Leyden
Like a skier navigating a slalom course, Westwood senior Kendall Blomquist weaves across the ice through a maze of humanity, eyes focused forward, legs operating at a speed unmatched by anyone nearby. There's a target on her back, yet no opponent slows her pace long enough to get a good look.
Kendall narrows her scope and snaps a blistering shot over the right shoulder of a frozen goaltender. It's a move she's polished through years of competition and perfected during countless battles with her siblings on the family’s backyard rink. For the Blomquists, a legacy of excellence dates back decades.
This June, Kendall will graduate, destined one day to join her father, Scott, in the Westwood High School Athletics Hall of Fame, immortalized for the many wins she's stacked up wearing green and white. Winning is a tradition in the Blomquist family, a hard-earned reward for the hours of dedication and discipline that has consequently maximized the genetically unique talent passed from one generation to the next.
For a pair of champion parents - Scott and Sheila - and their quartet of gifted children - Brian, Hannah, Kendall and Sean - the expectations discussed around the dinner table are loftier than most mortals dare to reach.
This tale of transcendence began In the mid-eighties, with Scott Blomquist etching his own Westwood legacy by leading the Wolverines hockey team to four straight Tri-Valley League titles and an undefeated regular season in 1988. He graduated as the school's single-season record holder in points, a mark since broken. In his senior yearbook, Scott wrote, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression," and as captain he never failed to impress, once scoring three short-handed goals in a single game.
Twenty miles away, in Belmont, Sheila Lyons blazed her own trail of dominance. The daughter of legendary Belmont coach Paul Lyons, Sheila was a multi-sport athlete, a part of Belmont High School's state soccer championship in 1984. Before playing basketball at Providence College, Sheila's final high school game paired the Marauders against Westwood in the 1985 state semifinal, a matchup the Wolverines won.
Who would have known, more than 30 years later, Sheila's children would star at the same school that squashed her own dreams of winning a second state title?
Scott and Sheila met at work following college, became great friends and ultimately tied the knot. Despite the lingering bad taste from losing to the Wolverines in her high school finale, Sheila agreed raising their family in Scott's hometown was a sound decision.
"We picked this town primarily because Scott grew up here," said Sheila. "He loved it here. To see our kids succeed in the same high school that Scott played in is special. We've always taught them to work as hard as they can and leave it all out there every time, whether it's a practice or a game. Eventually, things will start happening as long as you're giving it your all."
Brian, 20, is a sophomore at Clemson University. He captained the golf team at Westwood and was on the hockey team that won a TVL title in 2019.
"My dad's a Hall of Famer at Westwood and my mom played hoops in college, so I had some big shoes to fill," said Brian. "Being the oldest, I've always been able to support my younger siblings. When I come home from college, I'm always going to their games. It's been great growing up in such a supportive family."
Hannah, 19, is a freshman at Bentley University, a member of the Falcons storied field hockey program. She captained both the field hockey and ice hockey teams at Westwood, winning seven league championships along the way while eclipsing the 100-point mark in ice hockey (52 goals, 50 assists) - a Hall of Fame resume, for sure. Sadly, she missed out on making a legitimate run to the state field hockey final in 2020 due to the pandemic.
"I think something I love most about being in Westwood is the great culture," said Hannah. "There are so many connections. It seems every person I meet knows someone I know. I had no choice but to play sports and I could not thank my parents any more for that. We've always been an athletic family and having pressure, in a good way, to want to perform and want to get better has brought us closer together."
Kendall, 18, is the most decorated of the Blomquist family. She captained the field hockey and ice hockey teams and took home two state crowns in 2021 - the latest lacrosse championship for Westwood and the first-ever field hockey title in school history. On the ice, she scored 35 goals while leading the Wolverines to four Tri-Valley League championships over the course of her career.
Kendall signed a letter-of-intent to play field hockey at Holy Cross and will join the Crusaders program this summer.
"Personally, I"m very self-motivated, which helps out," said Kendall. "My parents always told us some of the best memories you ever create will come from playing high school sports, even better than college sports sometimes, because you're surrounded by the kids you grew up playing with.
"I think athletic success comes from good leadership and having a positive mindset. My senior year, we had already lost so much because of COVID, so we all knew we just had to put everything out there. Winning two state championships is definitely something special to me and my family. Most people don't get an opportunity to do that. I'm very appreciative, and super excited for lacrosse."
The Blomquist caboose is Sean, a 15-year-old freshman who played golf, hockey and baseball this school year. He's well aware of the footsteps he's following.
"There's a lot of pressure because all of my siblings played," said Sean. "I think it has prepared me. When we used to skate on the backyard rink there would be a lot of fights and a lot of arguments because none of us like to lose. That made me a more competitive person growing up in this family."
Living in a familiar hometown, regularly playing in front of Scott's parents, Bonnie and Dave, while adding to the Blomquist legacy of success - it's been a perfect recipe.
"Growing up in Westwood was really enjoyable," said Scott. "I always knew this would be a great place to raise my family. The fact my parents are still here and we have their support, it made Westwood an easy decision for us. Sheila's parents are at just about every game, too. Having my kids wear Westwood colors has been really rewarding."
When you're born to win, life offers many rewards.
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The Blomquist Family - Born To Win
By Theresa David
Gibson Sotheby's International Realty
Welcome to the spring market of 2022. The most frequently asked question: “Will more homes be coming on the market?”
We are all aware we have been in a whirlwind real estate market since March 2020 when COVID-19 hit. In the beginning, as the world shut down, Governor Baker declared a state of emergency for Massachusetts. Life as we knew it changed. All the medical professionals dedicated their time to help those in need. Public and private schools were ordered to close, gathering sizes were limited and our beloved Boston Marathon was postponed. There wasn’t much to watch on TV, no restaurants to dine in, no shops to browse. Yet, real estate agents were deemed essential workers.
During the pandemic, real estate rose to the forefront of many homeowner's minds. With everyone home, 24/7, they noticed what their home may be lacking, whether it be an office, a bedroom, a larger kitchen and so on. Many went online to look at houses.
I myself had a few listings on and off market, so with the state guidelines and uncertainty of how COVID-19 was spreading, I had to make adjustments. I added Matterport 3D videos to my listings, along with professional photographs and floorplans, to give buyers an accurate portrayal of the home. Sellers wanted to limit showings and risk with potential buyers coming through their home. So with booties, masks and gloves, appointments were scheduled and homes were sold.
The next phase happened when open houses were allowed. I’m sure you all drove by an open house and saw the long lines. With limited inventory and a surplus of buyers flocking to our fabulous town of Westwood, it continues to be a seller’s market. Westwood is mainly known for our high-ranking schools, easy accessibility, proximity to commuter rails, highways, Hale Reservation, University Station, Islington Center, and so much more! (We all know why we love Westwood!)
The term “energy pricing” continued, where many realtors would price a new listing slightly under what they thought it would go for. What happened was beyond expectations. Buyers offering prices much higher than asking, removing contingencies, offering cash, waiving inspections, even willing to lease back to sellers. Real estate was and still is the talk of the town. Who knows… maybe there will be a spread on the final sale prices.
Well guess what? Even with interest rates on the rise, simply put, there are still more buyers than homes for sale. Great, right? If you have a plan it is. You need to ask yourself a few questions. At what price would we sell? Where would we move? Are we willing to rent until we find something? Will we be paying for storage? Everyone has their own specific needs and requirements.
The answer: You need to make the decision that works for you and hire an experienced Realtor to guide you through the process.
By Dr. Andrew Chase
1) How old do you have to be to get braces or orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics is an important health decision for everyone, the benefits extending beyond just a beautiful smile. Orthodontics influences oral health, systemic health, airway function and is a foundation for improved quality of life, confidence, success and longevity. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends the initial visit for everyone to occur by age 7 so that proper growth and development can be assessed and treatment rendered at the most appropriate time.
2) How much do braces cost?
An investment in your oral health is priceless. View your care this way, as it benefits you for the rest of your life. The range of investment varies based on a few factors: 1. The type of treatment: early/interceptive, limited, or comprehensive. 2. The modality of treatment: braces, Invisalign, or Brius (an advanced “lingual” system). 3. The severity of the case and whether it involves other doctors, such as oral surgeons. Find a provider who offers no interest financing and works with any insurance benefit you have.
3) How long will I be in treatment?
Each patient’s treatment time is different based on severity of case and modality of treatment.
4) Do braces hurt?
Like a new pair of shoes, adjusting to your teeth moving takes time, about a week or so. Over the counter pain medications like Tylenol help with discomfort.
5) What can I eat with braces?
Eating carefully is key. Avoid hard, sticky and very chewy foods/snacks to protect your braces from breakage. Limiting sugars and starches like chips helps prevent white spots or decalcification (early cavities) from forming.
6) What options are available to fix my teeth?
Three great options for properly aligning teeth: -Braces. “Clear” or metal, fixed to outside of teeth, can treat most every issue -Clear Aligners. Invisalign is most popular; they’re removable and depend heavily on patient compliance for success. Very good at most issues, other than posterior extractions, and impaction cases -Brius. Completely invisible, fixed behind the teeth, independent tooth movement for faster results, most advanced technology in tooth movement.
7) How long does it take to put braces on?
Putting braces on typically takes about an hour - a very simple and straightforward appointment.
8) How do I care for my braces?
Brushing properly 5 times a day, (wake up, after breakfast, lunch, dinner, before bed), and flossing daily. Fluoride rinse is recommended to help prevent against cavities.
9) How often do I have appointments?
Depending on modality, the interval between appointments is usually 6 to 12 weeks.
10) What happens when I finish my orthodontic treatment?
You smile…BIG TIME! Then you need to hold the teeth where you worked so hard to put them, so you will get retainers to do that. Retainers should be worn full time at first, then nightly for as long as you want your teeth to stay straight.
By Jay Resha
WESTWOOD – So, I heard there was a new publication being delivered to a bunch of folks in the 0-2-0-9-0, and they were looking for a writer.
Let’s just say that I couldn’t believe what I saw. Words were exchanged. Faces reddened. Tears were shed. There was anger and pleading and even some groveling. But no matter what I did, the gas station attendant would not lower the price – can you believe the nerve of some people!?
But anyway, back to Westword. HELLO everyone, I’m back! Those of you who remember my Westword column for the Westwood Press…yes, both of you, go ahead and raise your hands…it’s great to see you again; I can’t wait to catch up, we have so much to cover!
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Jay Resha, Westwood High School Class of 1993 – lifelong Westwood resident and, obviously, failed comedian. I wrote for the local broadsheet for four years starting in 2010, and chronicled all things Westwood and beyond. I made them laugh. I made them cry. I may have gotten some power lines cut outside my father’s house, but let’s save that little anecdote until we really get going, shall we?
So what brings us together here today? Well, in a word, BUSINESS. Did you know there are over 200 businesses in our town, and that’s just in the commercially zoned areas? This doesn’t include people working for themselves out of their homes, or web-based operations that don’t require an office, or my buddy’s side hustle that he often alludes to without ever giving specifics (yes, I know, it’s probably best that I don’t pry.)
What is it about these 200, 300, who-knows-how-many-it-actually-is businesses, that makes them unique? There are restaurants, real estate brokers, clothing stores, convenience stores, banks, etc., in every town.
But there is only one of OUR town – Westwood, Massachusetts – and that is where we start.
Westwood today is not the same as the Westwood I grew up in, and in almost no way resembles the woody, dairy West Dedham of generations past. Change was gradual but incessant. Farms and forest became residential developments with ranch houses. Typical small-town stores sprung up, mostly along our two main thoroughfares through town. Then, factories and warehouses grew up along University Avenue and other commercial zones. Split-levels and colonials became more numerous than the ranches.
All this and a great school system helped boost us up those coveted “most desirable suburb” lists.
Nowadays, both traffic jams and large million-dollar homes are seen with growing regularity. West Dedham exists just in history books, especially while at University Station. With shopping, restaurants, gym, residential, medical and much more, it’s nearly a little city unto itself, along the Southwest Expressway that was never built, in the southwest shadows of the Big City.
So, we move forward in our hometown. Listen, we need our businesses here and they need us. These days, instant contact – hey, the fax machine my father once lauded is already a relic – is easy. But maximizing our potential, whether as consumers or businesses, is hard.
Questions we seek to answer: Where do we go from here? How do we all interact and connect? How does the new generation gibe with those who came before? We hope some of the answers are found on these pages.
Westwood Living? More accurately, thank YOU for living in Westwood. We have much to do, and I look forward to hearing from you and continuing to watch our evolution. See you next issue.
You can reach Jay by emailing email@example.com
By Tom Leyden
WESTWOOD - "I'm sorry to hear that happened. How's the pain?"
It was a simple, empathetic question asked by office manager Gary Moldaver, but a perfect example of what makes the office of iLove Dental Care so special. A patient had cracked a tooth and needed immediate attention. Unsuccessful in her attempt to get an emergency appointment at her usual dental practice, she called iLoveDental Care and was seen that day.
With a personal touch, Dr. Yali Lou, D.M.D., Ph. D, and her team approach each day at work following a simple philosophy - If you have a good heart and do the right thing, you'll see many happy, smiling faces.
Dr. Lou opened her practice at 541 High Street in Westwood in May of 2021 and was, at first, a bit unsure of what to expect.
"I was seeing a lot of fresh faces, but I soon learned how intelligent the people of Westwood really are," said Dr. Lou. "My patients ask lots of questions and I like that. I'm happy to explain what I'm doing and their questions are very professional. I educate them, they learn to make judgments for themselves and then they can judge my job. I'm happy to be judged by patients."
Dr. Lou is a perfectionist, focused on thorough treatment for people of all ages. She earned her Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry degree at Peking University in Beijing, graduating from the top school in China with highest honors, and followed that up by earning a second D.M.D. at Boston University.
"She wants to make everybody happy," said Moldaver. "But what really makes a doctor great? She's extremely knowledgeable and detailed. Dr. Lou's been published many times. It all matters - the shade, the margin. When a patient leaves, everything is top of the line. Their teeth are the best they can be."
As dental assistant Latavia Thomas pointed out, the staff enjoys working together and that chemistry is vital to their success. Specialists are regularly brought in to handle more complex procedures, including dental implants and bone grafts.
The office features a state of the art Cone Beam CT Scan machine, which provides 3D imagery for a comprehensive view of a patient's jaw. That high-level diagnostic quality helps alleviate potential issues early.
"When you're a dentist, you can't think about only today," said Dr. Lou. "You have to think five, 10, sometimes 30 years into the future. Healthy gums are paramount and cleaning is so important to maintaining structure."
Working with families keeps her fresh and focused.
"I love kids," said Dr. Lou. "I enjoy happiness. I like to make up stories for them about a different world. It makes me feel younger. And with elderly people, many of them have serious problems. I understand how they've suffered and I'm really motivated by helping people."
A dentist with a good heart, who invariably sees many happy, smiling faces.
Learn more about Dr. Lou and her team by visiting ilovedentalcare.com
Michael Gillis, a Westwood resident, has once again spearheaded a massive effort to raise money and provide food for the underprivileged in Haiti.
Working together with Feed the Hunger to provide support through the Crudem Foundation, Gillis organized a three-day "Feed Haiti Packathon" at the Knights of Columbus in Needham. Gillis and his family have made many trips to Haiti to provide relief and care for residents over the last 15 years. Food supply became a major issue during the COVID-19 pandemic because the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti was closed.
Feed The Hunger provides the logistical support necessary to transport the many pallets of food by boat to Haiti.
"For the past 15 years, I've been working with the Justice and Peace Committee here at St. Joseph's and I'm the liasion with Crudem," said Gillis. "I've been probably about seven times to Sacre Couer Hospital in Haiti. We built a neo-natal intensive care unit. We built a new medical library, a dental clinic. Then we went to building houses, went to sponsoring kids in school. After that, because of the food insufficiency and insecurity last year with the border of the Dominican Republic being closed, we decided to try something new and had no idea how to do it.
"We found this group 'Feed The Hunger,' they came in, we got people. Before you know it we had over 200 volunteers. We packed 92,000 meals here, 30,000 meals at St. Sebastien's and 20,000 meals at Montrose."
"All of these meals are going to Haiti," said Marty Helton of Feed The Hunger. "However, we serve in 20 different countries around the world - Haiti, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka. We have 250,000 meals that are going to be arriving any day in Poland for the Ukraine."
Saturday and Sunday in Needham, volunteers apportioned close to 153,000 dry meals that were individually vacuum sealed and packed in boxes, organized to be sent to Haiti and scheduled to arrive in six-eight weeks.
You can learn more about Crudem by visiting the foundation's official website at crudem.org
FEED HAITI PACKATHON PREPARES MORE THAN 150,000 MEALS FOR THOSE IN NEED
Chiara Bistro hosted the annual Gala of Giving on Sunday, April 3, with proceeds benefiting the Westwood Community Chest. The Westwood Community Chest is a community-based, non-profit organization that works to improve the well-being & quality of life for residents of Westwood in need.