Friday, August 22, 2014

Upcoming Events in Franklin, MA Area: FRI 8/22/14 - THU 8/28/14

FRI 8/22   10:30am   Liquid Nitrogen Demonstrations at Franklin Public Library
FRI 8/22  12-6pm   Farmers Market at Franklin Common
FRI 8/22   3pm   Whale Mobile at Franklin Public Library. Registration required.
FRI 8/22   6:30pm   Art Night Uncorked at Franklin Art Center

SAT 8/23   1-4pm   Farm to table cocktails with Corey Bunnewith and Akin Bak Farm at Pour Richard's in Franklin

SUN 8/24   8am   Yoga on the beach - free event at Beaver Pond, Franklin

MON 8/25   4-7pm   Farmer’s Market at Whole Foods Plaza in Bellingham

WED 8/27   3pm   End of Summer Party at Franklin Public Library. Barn Babies, Balloon Animals, Glitter tattoos and more.  (Teen end of summer party on 8/29)
WED 8/27   4-8pm   FSPA Open House, 38 Main St., Franklin.
WED 8/27   5pm   Grand Opening of Franklin Sculpture Park  (Panther Way next to the Police Station)

For all the Town of Franklin Public Meetings click HERE.

For event details click HERE.

*If you have any suggestions or events for the calendar, please email

FHS - new policy on Food in School

A posting by Elizabeth's Bagels is making its way around Facebook. I saw it on Thursday and answered one of the points as to why outside food is being restricted at the new FHS building by posting the following:
Outside of the cafeteria and the designated area in the Media Center food and drink WILL NOT be allowed in the classrooms or hallways. Students will not be allowed to bring any outside beverage other than water into the school. 
The school cafeteria is a vital part of the daily operation of our school.
The following regulations govern student behavior during the lunch period:
(Violations of cafeteria rules will result in progressive discipline.) 
1. Food or drink may not be taken from the cafeteria.
2. When lunch period is over, students are to deposit paper and other trash in the proper
3. Students are expected to enter the cafeteria at the beginning of their assigned lunch and
remain for the entire lunch period.
4. Students are not to throw anything at any time in the cafeteria.
5. Cutting in lunch lines is prohibited.
6. The consumption of food in the halls and classes will not be tolerated.

You can find this text on page 76 in the PDF copy here

Video Replay of School Committee meeting

The video replay of the School Committee meeting on Aug 12 is available from the Franklin webpage. You can go directly via this link

(Note: the high school portion of the handbook discussion begins approx. 17 minutes.
The food discussion begins at about 35 minutes)

You can also navigate via the new layout of the Franklin webpage. Choose "Live Meetings and Video", select August and then choose the School Committee meeting for Aug 12.

screen image of the re-designed Franklin webpage
screen image of the re-designed Franklin webpage

Sep 9 - Primary Election

While the official tours of the new High School will be held on September 20, 2014, those who are registered and choose to vote in the Primary Election on Sep 9 will be able to get a close up view as they use the school to cast their ballot.

TIME: 6:00a.m. – 8:00p.m.

Absentee ballots are available from the Town Clerk:

The Democratic candidates for the Sep 9 primary can be found here

The Republican candidates for the Sep 9 primary can be found here

Sec of the Commonwealth's Elections page
Sec of the Commonwealth's Elections page

Security concern? Odd solicitations

From our Franklin Facebook network:
Security concern?
This car was spotted in the Miller St/Briarwood/Blueberry Lane/Silver Fox area. The 2 individuals stopped at several locations and at at least one house claimed to be soliciting for Verizon. They are not registered as solicitors with the Franklin police as required. Their behavior was odd and I personally find it strange that Verizon would employ door-to-door salespeople (who do not give prior notice or appointment) in this day and age. 
Keep a lookout and let the Franklin PD know if you see them behaving suspiciously... dark gray 4-door Ford, license plate 172 ZT8.

Franklin Police station on Panther Way
Franklin Police station on Panther Way

In the News: Emmons St

The Milford Daily News reports on some changes in the proposal for what the RFP should look like for the Emmons St property:

"At what point did you decide this?" said Jane Curran, owner of the downtown business Jane’s Frames. "When the meeting ended and the public left?" 
Susan Sheridan, a member of the Franklin Art Association, noted, "We had pie in the sky dreams in the beginning, but little by little it’s been chipped away." 
Gateway Committee members in a recent petition lobbied the town to consider developing the parcel into a public space to bring out the best of Franklin’s art and food. 
That idea has not been well received, though, with one member of the Economic Development Committee remarking Wednesday that the property will "undoubtedly" become a bank.

You can read the full article here (subscription may be required)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Solar Challenge: Informational Meeting Summary

The Milford Daily News reported on the informational meeting on Wednesday writing in part:
The Franklin Department of Planning and Community Development held an informational meeting on Wednesday night to call attention to its "Solar Challenge," a program modeled after the state’s Solarize Massachusetts that aims to boost the use of photovoltaic energy in town. 
The more residents who sign on to have solar panels installed, the more the cost for the work drops. People can purchase a solar energy system directly or enter into a lease or power purchase agreement in which the installer will own and maintain the panels while the home or business owner purchases the power generated at a reduced rate. 
Planning Director Bryan Taberner said the department will continue marketing the program and eventually hire a solar contractor. Residents seeking more information about the program can call 508-520-4907. 
Nearly 80 people attended the meeting, underscoring the level of interest that town officials have seen so far.

Continue reading the full article (subscription maybe required)

the solar farm at Mount St Mary's earlier this year
the solar farm at Mount St Mary's earlier this year

My reporting on the presentation can be found here

the Q&A section of the meeting can be found here

the actual presentation documents used can be found here

2014 Franklin Harvest Festival Planning Under Way

The Franklin Downtown Partnership is currently planning the 12th annual Harvest Festival and is looking for crafters, entertainers, vendors, volunteers and sponsors. The festival is scheduled for Sunday, October 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will take place rain or shine.

Organizers expect more than 6,000 visitors to attend this year’s event in downtown Franklin, where they’ll be treated to delicious food options, a live DJ and local entertainers on several stages, games and activities for the kids, and more than 100 crafter, artist and organization booths to browse through. Local businesses will hold sales and special promotions, and the Fire Station and the Historical Museum plan displays and activities.

“The Harvest Festival is one of the best opportunities we have to bring the community together and show off all that downtown Franklin has to offer. Year after year our visitors discover great shopping, new restaurants, helpful resources and talented local artists,” says Executive Director Lisa Piana.
Franklin Downtown Partnership
Franklin Downtown Partnership

There is still time for crafters, organizations, performers and interested groups to participate. Booth space is limited and registrations must be received by September 5. Registration forms and more information can be found at or by contacting Booth Chairperson Terri Frank at
Sponsors are needed to support this festival. The FDP relies on sponsors to run this and other events, including the Strawberry Stroll, Holiday Stroll and its beautification days. Businesses and individuals interested in sponsorship can contact the FDP office at or (774)-571-3109. Sponsorship forms and a full list of opportunities can be found on the website under the Sponsors tab.

The Franklin Downtown Partnership is a 501(c)3 organization made up of more than 200 business owners, community leaders and residents working to revitalize downtown Franklin through events, education and communication. For more information about the Partnership or any of its efforts please contact the office at or (774)571-3109.

Click on these links to download and print these important forms:

Sponsorship Registration Form

current Committee openings

The Town of Franklin is looking for Members for the following committees: If you are interested in becoming a member, please complete the attached form and return the Town Administrator's Office.

Conservation - Conservation Commission 
Council on aging - COA 
Cultural Council - Cultural Council 
Disabilities Commission 
Historical Commission - Historical Commission 
Municipal Affordable Housing Trust - Contact Maxine Kinhart 508-520-4949 
Zoning Board of Appeals - Associate Member ZBA

Franklin Municipal Building
Franklin Municipal Building

Town of Franklin volunteer form  can be found on the Franklin webpage here:

This was re-shared from the official Franklin page here

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Solar Challenge: presentation copies

The introductory slides for the Solar Challenge meeting held in Franklin on Aug 20, 2014

Solar in Franklin

You can also view/download the document via Google Docs:

The 'solar 101' presentation copy

You can also view/download the document via Google Docs:

the solar farm at Mt Saint Mary's
the solar farm at Mt Saint Mary's

Live reporting: Solar Challenge - Q&A

question on insurance?
there is insurance available per an insurance agent in the room

What happens after the life of the warranty?
panels are 25 year warranty
National Grid took 2 months to put a reverse meter on for one install

photo of presentation in Council Chambers
photo of presentation in Council Chambers

what assurance do we have that the companies are still in?
open to speculation

What is payback?
one homeowner is getting a payback in 5 years

Has seen some info on a chemical reaction that can cause hazardous waste?
there are no hazardous issues, can be disposed of industrial waste

In the winter, when it snows do you have to clear the snow?
in the winter, generally speaking, the bottom layer of the snow melts and it slides off all at once
in terms of the panels themselves, there is no maintenance required

maintains spreadsheet on production, 8,000 KW hours per year
saw same results in Concord program, a 4-5 year payback on a 25 year system
better return than the stock market
key factor is the SREC, a guaranteed revenue

can you bank the SRECs?
there are companies that will broker or manage the SRECs
the aggregator will play the market to gain the revenue

How long can you stockpile SRECs?
up to one year
SREC should last for some time
managed growth category SREC II is open for the 10 years

have an app on the cell phone to see status up to the minute

Can I ask about net metering?
generally the credits generated are not paid for by the electric companies
there are three load zones in the state, can use the credits to virtually net meter

Does pay $6 something a month for using the grid as an electrical resource
Electric companies will likely look to get that changed but it will take time

Panels were spec'ed out to cover two electric cars

Quick example with rounded dollars

stepping down for a 6 KW system
one third eligible for tax credit
down to 16,000
1,000 for MA CEC credit
1,000 for State
down to 14,000

saving 1,000 on electric
gaining 2,000 on SRECs
so you have 3,000 per year income

14,000 up front expense with a 3,000 year income calculates a less than 5 year payback

Can you clarify what the Franklin Solar Challenge will do?

will be using an agreggator, one installer to get the buying power as a group

next steps to process the RFP to choose the installer
start on Sept 10 to community outreach for the installers, etc.

great low group pricing to take advantage of
a community effort, maybe 10-15 hours a week to help spread the word

what if 1,000 residences signed up?

there is a pre-qualification process, use the suneye to evaluate
consider the design, think about financials, make a decision
then the installations will occur, it can take from 2 to 6 months

once the contract is signed, the rebates can be used
can't get rebate after system being installed

Will installer check roof for assessment?

yes, installer will be able to do that

There are options for everyone to do something

Live reporting: Solar Challenge

The Town of Franklin has at least 75 individually owned solar panel projects that generate over 6.2MW.

Brett Feldman, Town Councilor

In Franklin for 10 years, now a homeowner and looking to go solar. Has been a driving influence behind the community effort to get a group project for solar going. It will help to control costs that are within the individuals realm.
A quick poll of how folks heard revealed Milford Daily News, Gazette, Franklin Matters, town website, Twitter, etc.

Derrick Mathieu, Planner

only 58 projects in the state over 7M cost, 2 are here in Franklin
looking to coordinate with a local solar provider, proposals are due back from the vendors this Friday. Would evaluate the proposals and determine the successful vendors.
one person needed to work 10-15 hours per month
a rebate is available but expiring soon
social media coordination, event planning all to be done before the end of the year

Elizabeth Youngblood, project manager, MA Clean Energy Center (CEC)

to present a 'solar 101'

MA CEC funded by renewal energy trust from each power bill
looking to grow this area of clean energy
work with interns and other energy companies
they operate the commonwealth solar rebate program
MA is looking to do their own solar challenge

solar by comparison with other energy sources renewal or otherwise - solar is huge
MA is good for solar
MA has 9th highest energy prices in US, a reason to go solar

cost of systems had been about $8/watt (2009)
now with rebates it has come down to about $5/watt

comparison of maps from 2006 to 2013 shows a dramatic increase in individual solar systems

what makes a good site?

  • southern facing
  • roof pitched at 30-45 degrees
  • at least 4-6 hours of direct sun
  • open roof area of ~100 sq ft per 1KW
  • open space for a pole mounted system

brief explanation of net metering
use of power within the house from the panels, when not being used, it can be passed out to the electrical grid and purchased by the electric company

during a power outage, the system does turn off, unless there is a battery backup system installed

solarmetric suneye

tool that will evaluate the tree coverage to help determine the sun exposure you have
Info on suneye

photo of presentation in Council Chamber
photo of presentation in Council Chamber

solar incentives in MA

  • Federal and state tax credits available
  • MA CEC rebate available
  • net metering

quarterly funding blocks
around 1,000 applications per quarter approx.
$1.5M available
looking at systems up to 5KW
rebate approx 25 cents per watt
go to www.MassCEC/solar to learn more about this program

last funding block opening in October, once fully subscribed the program will close

minimum technical requirements for installers, UL and California standards to be met

40-60% of homes may not be good for solar
go energy efficiency first, or consider solar hot water which is less forgiving

Solar Renewable Energy Certificates (SREC)
SREC II started this year

Ownership models

  • individual
  • third party ownership

shifting to Q&A session

Concerts on the Common - 6:00 PM

It is that time of year, school preparations are underway and the last concert of the summer will be held on the Town Common.

6:00 PM - Mike Rutkowski DJ

Concerts on the Common
Concerts on the Common

In the event of rain, the concert will be held across the street at the Benjamin Franklin Charter School

Franklin Solar Challenge - information meeting tonight

Join us for our kick-off meeting, Wednesday August 20 at 7PM in Town Council Chambers! 
The Dept. of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) wants to know if Franklin wants solar panels. The Franklin Solar Challenge will help residents and business owners obtain solar panels for less. The more residents and business owners that sign up, the cheaper solar panels become. 
Right now, DPCD is speaking with other communities who have run their own Solar Challenge, in order to see how best to move forward.
solar panels at Mt Saint Mary's
solar panels at Mt Saint Mary's

DPCD Needs Your SupportPlease help get the word out about the Franklin Solar Challenge. DPCD will contact those interested to organize a meeting date and discuss next steps. 
Concord recently engaged in their own Solar Challenge and now 160 residents and business owners have their own solar panels. Save money and go green! Contact Franklin’s DPCD today!

Interested in the Franklin Solar Challenge?
Please Contact the Town of Franklin’s Department of Planning & Community Development at:
(508) 520 – 4907 or

Mothers, hold the date - Sep 15th

The Franklin MOMs Club will be holding our Annual Fall Kick Off Social at the Hockomock Area YMCA in Franklin on Monday September 15 at 10:00am. 
Any interested moms living in Franklin are invited to attend with their children. The MOMs club is a non-profit international organization comprised of stay at home mothers and their children. Our primary goal is to offer mother support. 
All activities and events are scheduled M-F during the hours of 9-5 with the occasional special event falling on a weekend day or evening. 
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at this email or at 908-380-7668. 
Thank you so much! 
Siobhan Lewis
Membership Vice President
MOMS Club of Franklin

International MOMs Club website
International MOMs Club website

Additional information on the International MOMs Club can be found here

The Franklin, MA chapter webpage can be found here

In the News: FHS enrollment, artist-in-residence

As posted here on Sunday, the new Franklin High School will open with more students than it closed with it June. The Milford Daily News writes:
While the high school enrollment continues to climb — three more ninth grade students joined on Monday — district-wide enrollment has decreased over the last few months: from 5,776 in June to 5,628 as of July 30. 
School officials expected that with a new school opening, more students would enroll in the high school program. At the elementary school level, however, enrollment has declined. 
Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski said the numbers aren’t surprising. 
"During the spring, we sent out several surveys to parents of grade eight students to see what options they were considering for HS," Sabolinski wrote in an email. "In the past we had a consistent number of students opt to attend private/parochial school and about 90 percent of the grade 8 students indicated they intended to enroll at FHS."
Continue reading the article in the Milford Daily News here (subscription may be required)

Dean gets an extra special guest teacher in dance as artist-in-residence
Dance majors at Dean College this year will have the opportunity to learn from a master of the craft, a man who created his own technique and who has been called one of the top four tap dancers in the world. 
William Evans, known internationally as a successful author and choreographer, joins the college beginning this semester as an artist-in-residence who will teach and advise students of Dean’s Palladino School of Dance. 
Evans, 73, founded his own dance company in 1975 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has choreographed more than 200 works. The company has performed in all 50 states.
Continue reading the article in the Milford Daily News here (subscription may be required)