Monday, November 20, 2017

A Remembrance of Alice Wiggin - (1878 - 1966)

Shared by Robert Percy, Franklin Historical Commission:

In 1885, two seven year old girls moved to Franklin, and lived in two newly built houses right next to each other on Crescent St. One was May Fales; the other was Alice Wiggin. They would become fast friends, and remained best friends for the rest of their lives.

Alice Wiggin taught English at Franklin High School for 42 years, starting as a young woman. She had attended Radcliffe College, one of the finest womens’ colleges in the country. By all accounts she was a talented and beloved teacher. The 1929 Franklin High School yearbook, the Oskey, was dedicated to her. In it, her students say:
She is a master of the art of teaching English literature… She is a critic capable of grasping and explaining her subject with clearness and precision by the use of short and simple words… She shows a remarkable breadth of judgment, a patience that never wearies, a quiet enthusiasm which no difficulty can distort or destroy, and great insight which can give richness to literature and new meanings to old dogmas.

This is powerful praise from her students. They go on to say:
As a friend, she loves her pupils for what they are, radiating to them by precept, sympathy and example, what she would have them be. Her creed — “Be a friend; the rest will follow.”
We are here today because of something that happened much earlier. In 1911, an eight year old girl and her four younger siblings were abandoned at South Station in Boston by their mother. This little girl was Sophie Aronofsky, who later came to live with a foster family in Franklin. At first, the soft-spoken Sophie was a student in Alice Wiggin’s English class. 

Because she showed such great promise as a student and as a human being, Alice took a great interest in her, and she came to live at Alice’s house. Alice encouraged Sophie to apply to Radcliffe College, which she attended from 1919 to 1923. Inspired by Alice’s example, Sophie went on to become a high school teacher in Duxbury and Quincy, and teacher of French, Latin, and English in California.

We are honored to have Sophie’s family here today. Sophie’s daughter Sarita Jo Mattson has powerful and loving memories of traveling from California to Massachusetts to stay with Alice multiple times while her mother was battling

cancer: once in 1948 when she was eight, for an entire year in 1952 when she was 12, and again at age 16 in 1956. Alice would also visit Sophie and family in San Diego several times while Sophie was battling cancer there.

Alice had a brilliant and active mind, but she was not the best housekeeper. Items were piled high everywhere, but visitors and neighbors and guests of all kind were always welcome.

In the words of Sarita Jo Mattson, Alice’s house was sort of a mini retirement home. Living with her was another Franklin High School teacher named Doc Fraser. Another was Frank Weaver, a visually impaired piano tuner, along with his wife Florence. The couple lived with Alice for the remainder of their lives. Alice also cared for two other foster daughters: Alice Dutton and Elizabeth Stewart Kubli, and for Sophie’s brother Samuel and sister Lil.

In later life, Alice would read new books for the Town Library and advised them on what to buy. Alice was a good cook and enjoyed cooking and eating. She helped people in need by cooking for them and delivering meals to their houses. She drove neighbors and friends to doctors’ appointments.

Alice passed away from a heart attack in 1966 at the age of 88. The whereabouts of her remains was a mystery for some time. We are honored and humbled that she rests here, in the place she cared so much about, in the town she has done so much for.

Her lifelong friend May lived to be 100, and rests here with her husband, brother… and her dear friend Alice. In this place of remembrance, their close bonds remain.

Union Street Cemetery 
Franklin, MA 
November 18, 2017

A Remembrance of Alice Wiggin - (1878 - 1966)
A Remembrance of Alice Wiggin - (1878 - 1966)

Mary Olsson before the unveiling
Mary Olsson before the unveiling

those who gathered pose for a photo
those who gathered pose for a photo

Alice Wiggin Recognition - 11/18/17

THE BLACK BOX Local Artist Series: DayBreakers with Copilot - Nov 22

THE BLACK BOX Local Artist Series presents DayBreakers with Copilot at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, November 22. Blending folk-rock melodies with blues guitar muscle and rock ‘n’ roll grit, the DayBreakers have crafted their own sound on the backs of bands like the Rolling Stones, The Black Crowes, The Allman Brothers, and the Eagles. Combining rock ‘n’ roll, blues, country, and funk, the band has worked tirelessly to craft a sound that is filled with hard riffs and soulful melodies. 

Copilot is an American Pop duo based in Norfolk, Massachusetts. As Copilot, Ry McDonald and Maggie Quealy explore their passion and unique Americana music through their popular covers and original songs in a way that many listeners haven’t heard before. 

Tickets are $10 if purchased in advance or $12 at the door. For tickets and more information, visit or call (508) 528-3370

THE BLACK BOX Local Artist Series: DayBreakers with Copilot - Nov 22
THE BLACK BOX Local Artist Series: DayBreakers - Nov 22

THE BLACK BOX Local Artist Series: DayBreakers with Copilot - Nov 22
THE BLACK BOX Local Artist Series: Copilot - Nov 22

Accomplishments this weekend for FHS cheerleaders, Unified basketball, basketball, and hockey students

Via the Twitterverse, I find that there were some key accomplishments this weekend for FHS cheerleaders, Unified basketball, basketball, and hockey students.

Did I miss any? Please add +Franklin Matters  to the tweet/retweet so I'll find it and share

Wrapping up the @fhs_unified bball jamboree by winning the sportsmanship award.   It doesn't get better than that!!
Wrapping up the @fhs_unified bball jamboree by winning the sportsmanship award. It doesn't get better than that!!

Franklin Federated Church: Christmas with All the Bells and Whistles! - Nov 25

Franklin Federated Church presents "Christmas with All the Bells and Whistles!," a concert featuring the New England Ringers and organist Richard Bunbury, on Saturday, Nov. 25 at 7:30 PM at the church at 171 Main Street.

This concert is a great opportunity to get in the mood for the season! The church will be decorated with lights and greens, and the concert will feature such favorites as Joy to the World, Greensleeves, Angels from the Realms of Glory, Silent Night, The First Noel, and Go Tell It on the Mountain.

This concert will mark the first time that the New England Ringers - the region's premier handbell ensemble - will perform accompanied by an organ (which, after all, is a big whistle.) The 14 ringers perform with a 6 octave set of Schulmerich Handbells.

Tickets for the concert are $15 each. They can be purchased at the door, or in advance by calling the church office at 508-528-3803. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the mission and ministry of Franklin Federated Church, a welcoming and affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ and American Baptist Churches.

Franklin Federated Church is accessible to the disabled via a ramp off the left driveway next to the church. 

Christmas with All the Bells and Whistles! - Nov 25
Christmas with All the Bells and Whistles! - Nov 25
For more about the New England Bell Ringers, visit their web page

For more about the Franklin Federated Church, visit their web page

Register O'Donnell Reports Flat Real Estate Sales in Norfolk County for October 2017

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

Register O'Donnell Reports Flat Real Estate Sales in Norfolk County
Register of Deeds William P. O'Donnell reported flat real estate sales in Norfolk County for the month of October as well as the continuing decline in mortgage activity.

Register O'Donnell stated, "There were a total of 1,537 real estate sales, both residential and commercial, in Norfolk County for October, representing a 1% increase year over year. The average sales price, again for both residential and commercial, was $716,650 for the month, a 5% decrease compared to October 2016. Additionally, the total dollar sales volume for these properties was $682 million, a 1% decrease compared to the previous year."

October mortgage activity showed a sobering picture with a sharp decline. O'Donnell noted, "A total of 2,403 mortgages were recorded during the month of October, a 23% decrease from the previous year. Total mortgage indebtedness also decreased significantly by 48% to $1.09 billion. This number was impacted further by a $600 million mortgage taken out by Steward Norwood Hospital back in October 2016. With that said, there is no questions consumers are wary of committing large sums of money for items such as home improvements and other capital expenditures."

However, there was good news when it came to foreclosure activity. A total of 26 foreclosure deeds were recorded in October compared to 34 recorded during the same time in 2016, a 23% reduction. Another positive sign was the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage recordings, the first step in the foreclosure process. Fifty-nine Notice to Foreclose Mortgages were filed in October compared to 77 year over year, a drop-off of 24%.

Register O'Donnell stated, "Foreclosure numbers are continuing to trend in the right direction, which is excellent news. With that said, we must remember that foreclosure activity has a human face, even during these good economic times. My office remains committed to partnering with the Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-8181 x376, and NeighborWorks Southern Mass, 508-587-0950 to help homeowners who have received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage document. A third option is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General's Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at 617-727-8400."

The number of Homesteads recorded during the month of October was also flat. A total of 1,034 Homesteads were filed compared to 1,010 during the previous October. O'Donnell reiterated the importance of filing a Homestead, "A Homestead provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual's primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000."

Register O'Donnell concluded, "Real estate sales activity in Norfolk County is in a bit of a holding pattern. We will not see any significant breakthrough until available inventory increases. Another issue to keep in mind is the potential of interest rate hikes and its impact on both real estate sales and lending activity. My office will continue to monitor the situation very closely throughout the balance of calendar year 2017."

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at or follow us on and

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street, Dedham. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. All land record research information can be found on the Registry's website at Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center at (781) 461-6101, or email us at

Register William P. O'Donnell
Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

phone: 781-234-3336

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, 649 High Street, Dedham,, MA 02026-1831

Sent by in collaboration with
Constant Contact

Sunday, November 19, 2017

School Committee Recap - Nov 14, 2017

This was the first meeting of the new School Committee. The first order of business was to be sworn in by Town Clerk Teresa Burr. Six members were present. Monica Linden, participating for part of the meeting remotely, had been sworn in previously.

The next order of business was to formally organize. Ann Bergen was nominated for Chair and with no other nominations, voted in unanimously. Denise Schultz was nominated for Vice-Chair and with no other nominations, voted in unanimously.  

There was a recess for '5' minutes that ran long as Teresa Burr gathered several forms and documents from each of the Committee members.

Superintendent Ahern announced that she has completed the series of school parent forums (elementary, middle and high school). Attendance was light. She has scheduled a community forum for Thursday, Nov 30 at the Municipal Bldg, 2nd floor Council Chambers to begin at 6:30 PM.

Two additional coaching positions were recommended and approved.
"1. Girls’ Varsity Ice Hockey Coach Assistant 2 -- This position is recommended based on the anticipated size of the team (40-45 students). Currently there are 2 paid coaches for the team, whereas the boys’ team has 3 paid coaches for the same number of athletes, practices, and games. This would address equity concerns and provide for better supervision/coaching of the team. This position would be in Tier 2 of the Coaches Stipend of the Collective Bargaining Contract with a salary of $2,657 for a candidate with no experience. 
2. Gymnastics Assistant Coach -- The team is anticipating 14-18 athletes after surpassing last year’s expectations of 6-10 athletes with a total of 11 competitors in 2016-2017 school year. The recommended ratio of coach to gymnasts is 1:8 and other Hockomock League gymnastics teams have two coaches. If we were to forgo this assistant coach, we would have to pay a spotter for all of our meets (at a cost of $120/meet). An assistant coach will do more than spot at meets, including spotting at practices and developing a relationship with the athletes. This position is proposed to be in Tier 4 of the Coaches Stipend section of the Collective Bargaining Contract with a salary of $1,057 for a candidate with no experience"
The proposal doc can be found here:

For the benefit of the new members, there was a brief overview of each of the sub-committee's focus point and in some cases accomplishments. Creating awareness of the work being done 'behind the scenes' to help move the overall work of the committee and district forward. 

if the new committee members have interest in these arenas, they should let the chair know so that (1) the work can continue and (2) those most interested can help to drive that forward.

The next meeting (Nov 28) will begin an hour earlier to hold a workshop to review the agenda format and other school committee meeting business.

The documents released for the meeting were posted to the School Committee web page (hooray!)

My notes reported live from the meeting can be found here

Franklin School Committee (L to R) (back row) Feeley, Douglas, Scofield, Zub;  (front) Schultz, Bergen) Linden not present for photo
Franklin School Committee (L to R) (back row) Feeley, Douglas, Scofield, Zub;
(front) Schultz, Bergen) Linden not present for photo

Town Council Recap - Nov 15, 2017

After getting sworn in, the Town Council set about to organize themselves for the new term of office.
  • Nomination for Chair,- Kelly, seconded, unanimous
  • Nomination for Vice Chair - Mercer, seconded, 8-0-1 (8 for, 0 against, 1 abstain (Padula) )
  • Nomination for Clerk - Jones, seconded, 8-0-1 (8 for, 0 against, 1 abstain (Padula) )

The appointment of Christopher M Sandini Sr as Finance Director/Comptroller was approved unanimously. Christopher replaces Susan Gagner who has retired.

A good portion of the meeting was devoted to an update and overview of the open meeting, public records law, and the ethics requirements now in effect for the Town Council. Attorney Mark Cerel led the presentation and answered the questions from the Councilors. You can view the document used here

In legislation for action, the Council approved the current Procedures Manual. They have the option to revise it if there are changes they would like to see.

The Council approved the Veterans Walkway formally proposed for this meeting after being previewed at the prior session.

The Council approved the allocation of $325,000 in new revenue for the Budget Stabilization Account. The new revenue is over and above the estimate used for the FY 2018 budget. The move was required before the tax hearing set for the next Council meeting.

The official Action Taken document was published by the Town of Franklin and can be found here

My notes recorded live during the meeting Wednesday can be found here
the newly elected Franklin Town Council was sworn in on Nov 15, 2017
the newly elected Franklin Town Council was sworn in on Nov 15, 2017

Voices of Franklin: Ed Hurley - President, Hockomock Area YMCA

At the Hockomock Area YMCA we are proud of our cause driven mission to enhance the quality of life of our members and enrich the communities we serve through partnership and collaboration. Our doors are open to everyone in the 15 communities we serve regardless of ability to pay and at our core we are about kids and families.

From November 20th – November 26th YMCAs across the country will recognize and celebrate National Family Week. At all of the branches of our Hockomock Area YMCA we will be acknowledging and celebrate not only the families that are members of our Y, but any family who would like to experience what our Y has to offer.

During this week all families in our service area are invited to come to our Y at no charge and enjoy a sense of belonging, and the benefits of membership. The Hockomock Area YMCA is a place where cause meets community, where family moments matter, where camaraderie thrives, where inclusion is welcome, and where you belong.

Please visit our website to see the schedule of special family week offerings at all our branches. All families are welcome.

So from November 17th through November 26th let our family be part of your family. For more information and to enjoy this free week of membership, visit the member service desk of any of our branches in North Attleboro, Foxboro and Franklin.

Ed Hurley
Hockomock Area YMCA

FPAC’S The Nutcracker To Feature Guest Soloists, Professional Orchestra And Area Dancers

Franklin Performing Arts Company (FPAC) proudly presents The Nutcracker, bringing special guest artists, a 27-piece orchestra, and some 100 area dancers to one suburban stage. FPAC invites audiences to fall under Drosselmeyer’s dreamy spell and join Clara and her Nutcracker Prince on a journey full of surprises and wonder. 

A popular holiday tradition for more than two decades, The Nutcracker remains a highly anticipated and treasured part of the FPAC season. Set to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score, the timeless ballet delights the imaginations of audiences young and old with festive magic and colorful splendor. FPAC presents The Nutcracker on Saturday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 3 at 2 p.m. at the Franklin High School auditorium, 218 Oak Street, in Franklin.

FPAC’s The Nutcracker is choreographed and directed by Cheryl Madeux, who also dances the role of Sugar Plum Fairy. Ms. Madeux formerly danced with the Joffrey Ballet, Hartford Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre (ABT) companies. A summer faculty member for the ABT Young Dancers Program and an examiner for the ABT National Training Curriculum, she is Ballet Director at the Franklin School for the Performing Arts. 

Joseph Jefferies will perform the role of the Cavalier. Jefferies, who also choreographed the Arabian and Waltz of the Flowers dances for this production, danced professionally with Pittsburg Ballet Theater, Ballet Arizona, Ballet Memphis, and Les Ballet Trockadero de Monte Carlo. He is an award-winning choreographer, creating more than 30 works for companies including Ballet Memphis, Miami City Ballet, Ballet Trockadero, and Ballet Yuma. 

FPAC performs The Nutcracker Dec 2-3
FPAC performs The Nutcracker Dec 2-3

Rosario Guillen, a student of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, will dance the part of the Nutcracker/Prince, and Aaron Andrade of Lincoln, Rhode Island will perform the role of Dr. Drosselmeyer. FPAC’s The Nutcracker also showcases the talents of scores of area students, ages 6 and older, from many regional communities and local dance schools. A choir will sing the ethereal choral parts that accompany the enchanting Snow Scene that closes the ballet’s first act.

The production features a professional orchestra under the direction of Broadway conductor/arranger Eric Stern. With 19 Broadway shows to his credit, including Shrek, Xanadu, Follies, Parade, and Candide, Stern has recorded over 30 albums. He has performed in concert with renowned artists Audra McDonald, Mandy Patinkin, Barbara Cook, Dawn Upshaw, Dianne Reeves, Deborah Voigt, Jesse Norman, Thomas Hampson, the Irish Tenors, and many others. 

Stern has conducted many of the world’s top orchestras including the Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Boston Pops. He won an Emmy for his work for PBS, and his albums have been honored with a Grammy and two Gramophone Awards. He has enjoyed a long association with the National Orchestra of Wales as frequent guest conductor, and he currently teaches conducting at Berklee College of Music.

Founded in 1991, the nonprofit FPAC supports educational arts experiences, quality entertainment and outstanding performance opportunities for professional artists, community performers and students of the arts. With a focus on youth development and a commitment to live music, FPAC celebrates its 27th season. Middlesex Savings Bank and Waters Corporation are FPAC 2017 Holiday Sponsors. 

Tickets are $32-$36. For tickets and more information, visit or or call (508) 528-3370.

"Nearly 60 Massachusetts municipalities have passed plastic bag measures"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"Soon more businesses around the region will be unable to give out single-use plastic bags at checkout counters. Buoyed by a desire to reduce littering and improve the environment, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Sudbury and Wayland are among communities that have adopted regulations on plastic bags through Town Meeting or the Board of Health. Some of the rules have yet to take effect. 
Franklin town councilors considered a measure, but worried about how businesses would be affected. The council has not adopted the proposal, Deputy Town Administrator Jamie Hellen said. 
Rules differ from community to community. In general, the regulations prohibit businesses from offering thin-film, single-use plastic bags at checkout counters and allow paper and reusable bags that meet certain requirements. Businesses can use plastic bags for products such as dry cleaning and produce as well as ones that meet other stipulations."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

From the archives

A petition online had been created in May 2016

FHS students brought their plastic bag proposal to the Town Council in Sep 2016

After the Town Council presentation in September, the Economic Development Committee picked up the matter for their meeting Nov 30, 2016 (audio file of the meeting available)

Plastic Bag Bylaw
After some contentious discussion and nitpicking, the plastic bag measure was declined to move forward by a unanimous vote. Additional work was acknowledged as required to be done. To the students credit, they took this in stride and are prepared to do the work and bring the measure back.

The text of the proposed bylaw can be found here

FHS students discussing the proposal with the EDC Nov 30, 2016
FHS students discussing the proposal with the EDC Nov 30, 2016