Thursday, December 31, 2009

Franklin, MA: Fire Prevention

This was another busy year for Fire Prevention. The annual inspection of the all Liquor License holders, 17 Schools, Day Care facilities, Summer Camps and Multifamily houses along with the daily inspections of homes for resale and new construction, service calls, telephone inquiries, LP gas tanks inspection, oil burner inspection, oil tank removals and plans review is almost too much to be handled by one person.

With this increase of service, I feel that this officer is not making an effective attempt at a fire prevention program. In some cases, the property or business owners do not take code violations seriously enough, which requires many return inspections. When I have to return more than once a year it puts the residents of Franklin in harm’s way, and takes away from my other duties. I recommend that the Town adopt a Non-Criminal Fire Code Violation Notice Ticket Books and a fine fee structure. This would allow the department the ability to fine the more serious offenders.

I have increased the number of commercial business inspections along with helping businesses to formulate evacuation plans for their employees. In turn, this has shown an increase in the number of requests for conducted fire drills by this department in occupied business facilities. It is a good sign that employers are concerned with the safety of their employees.

Over the past year I have attended many classes dealing with the changes in the State Building Code, structures and system, evaluating performance based designs and plans review.

I would like to thank the Building Commissioner David Roche, Gus Brown and their staff for their assistance over the past year. Thank you, also, to the dedicated men and women of this department for their assistance in helping me to perform my duties during the past year.

Code compliance and Inspections
Captain Stephen Parchesky, CFI

Bold for my emphasis

From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.


Franklin, MA: Fire Department

The Franklin Fire Department is divided into two divisions: Operations and Maintenance, which is the larges and responsible for dispatch, emergency medical services, fire suppression and hazardous materials response. Administration and Support Services is responsible for personnel, budget and finance, training, code compliance and coordinating the Town’s emergency preparedness.

Our Mission

The mission of the Franklin Fire Department is to:
…Have a positive impact in the lives of citizens and visitors of Franklin in their time of crisis by providing compassionate, contemporary, community driven services.
…Safeguard human life from the perils of fire, sudden illness, injury or other emergency medical condition, natural and man-made disasters as well as preserve the environment and property from ensuing destruction.
… Be responsible for a safe, productive and pleasant work environment for our employees, and provide them opportunities to gain new skills and advance their personal career goals.

Operational Objectives
  • Initiating advanced life support to patients within 8 minutes of receiving the telephone call at our communications center.
  • To access, extricate, treat and transport and transport trauma patients to a level one trauma medical facility within one hour of the occurrence of the injury.
  • Interrupt the progression of fires in structures within 8 minutes of open flame ignition.
  • To insure response readiness remains greater than 70%.
  • Provide safety and survival skills for all school students in grade K through 5 consistent with the Student Awareness Fire Education (SAFE) initiative of the Commonwealth.
  • Provide educational opportunities for department members to insure optimal performance and safety.
  • To develop and maintain “best practice” to insure personnel and citizen safety.
  • Insure fire safety through timely, consistent code compliance services to all external customers.
  • Provide all department services in a manner that satisfies the needs of our customers.

Message from the Fire Chief

This year marked a year of continued growth of the department to meet the ever increasing needs of the community. This year saw the leaving of a few employees to pursue different career paths. This included Dispatchers Seth Hagerty and Jeff Quinlan as well as Firefighter Paramedics Ted Flanagan and Andy Joseph. We thank them for their efforts in making the department strong and wish them the best of luck on their future endeavors. Due to the looming budget climate neither Firefighter paramedic position will be replaced. This year also saw the retirement of Virginia “Ginny” McLaughlin. Ginny worked for the Town for more than 20 years working for the DPW and Board of Health and completed her career with the Town in the Fire Department. Her presence in our administrative office will be greatly missed and we wish her health and happiness in her retirement.

This year the department responded to more than 3,400 emergency responses – a decrease of about .4% from last year. This reduction in emergency responses followed the decline in the economy in general and is a typical reaction to downturns in the economy. We thankfully saw a minor reduction (1 less) in fires occurring in occupied buildings.

Additionally, the wet spring and early summer seasons provided a substantial decrease in the number of outside fires normally experienced within the Town In addition to emergency response, the department also continued to expand its fire prevention education activities, providing safety and survival education to the most vulnerable population to fire – our children and seniors. Through the dedicated efforts of SAFE Officer Robert Donovan, the department continued to educate over 100 children per month as well as attend various activities at the Senior Center. Firefighters Tom Carlucci and Keith Darling provide dedicated assistance in completing this important service to our citizens.

The department has also continued to develop our system of regular continuing education for fire-rescue services. Under the Direction of Captain Jim Klich, department members complete a total of over 1,000 hours of continuing fire education as well as over 1,200 hours of emergency medical service training. These regular ongoing classes are augmented by various specialty training attended by members.

In conclusion, I would like to thank the members of the Fire Department and their families for their dedicated efforts in serving the citizens of Franklin. The past several years have been challenging due to the decreasing amount of resources available to provide an increasing demand for services. Throughout this time, department members have continued to strive to provide the best services possible. We should all be proud of their efforts and grateful for such a dedicated and skilled workforce.

Respectfully Submitted,
Gary B. McCarraher, Fire Chief

From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.

For additional detail on the Fire Dept, check out their reports found here

For additional information on each fire station and the equipment operating from there, check this link

For answers to the "Frequently Asked Questions" check this link.


Franklin, MA: Finance Committee

Year in Review

Change is inevitable. In a progressive country change is constant. Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister spoke those words in 1867. They ring true in Franklin today. On behalf of the Franklin Finance Committee, it is my pleasure to submit our annual report.

Our fiscal year, which started July 1, 2008, saw much in the way of change. We started the year with three openings on the committee. We were, once again, fortunate to have more volunteers than openings available. We added three very sharp members, Tina Powderly, Juan Rivera & Robert Teixeria. I count myself fortunate to have worked along side all those who served on the committee.

During the year the committee met eleven times. Five of those meetings were focused on the fiscal 2010 budget. We continue to encourage folks to be involved in the budgeting process. And while the council chambers are not overflowing we are encouraged by the questions and emails from interested parties.

Budget Process Changes


There were many unanticipated changes in the budget process this year. Franklin is fortunate to receive nearly forty percent of our funding from state sources, however, delays at the state level can complicate planning at the local level. Changes at the state level can dictate changes at the local level.

The Governor proposed changes in lottery distributions that were additionally changed by the legislators. Legislators proposed and passed several new taxes, all the while delaying any firm estimate of revenue to the town until well into June.

The economy also continues to change. Many residents as well as businesses and municipalities are directly impacted in an economic downturn. So we all continue to squeeze expenses and be creative with ways to maintain services or raise revenues.

Some things that remain constant are limited resources available to provide desired services, committed employees and volunteers willing to serve and Franklin continuing to be a desirable community in which to live.

Financial Planning


Members of the Finance Committee, along with members of Town Council, School Committee and citizens, continue to project and forecast future needs. This process continues to be a moving target, largely due to changes at the State level, however we will continue to reach out, inform residents and receive input from all as the process evolves.

Expect Change

In closing I implore you not only to expect change, but embrace change. I am confident there will be new & different residents who get involved. I am certain there will be budget challenges next fiscal year. I am also convinced that through dialog and debate between elected officials, employees, volunteers and residents changes will be made that continue to serve the best interests of our town.

Respectfully Submitted,
Jim Roche
Chairman, Franklin Finance Committee
Brett Feldman, Vice Chairman
Phyllis Messere, Clerk
Rebecca Cameron
Mark Cataldo
Jack Caulfield
Pat Goldsmith
Craig Maire
Tina Powderly (elected to Town Council on Nov 3, 2009)
Juan Rivera
Robert Teixeira
From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.


Note: I would quibble with the statement above that there were "many unanticipated changes in the budget process this year". In the process itself, no. In the dollars that flowed through the process, yes. The amount of money from State and Federal funding was quite fluid this year. The process itself did not change. The Town Administrator and the department heads prepared their budgets, presented them to the Finance Committee for review and approval before the Town Council reviewed and approved the budget for 2010.

For the notes of the Finance Committee meetings reported upon by me, check here:


For the notes of the Financial Planning Committee reported upon by me, check here:


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Franklin, MA: Design Review Commission

The Design Review Commission (DRC) has had numerous projects come before them this year. The Commission is currently composed of Jennifer Peters, Chair; Lenley Rafuse, Vice-Chair; Richard Tobin, Jr., Jill Bedoya and James Esterbrook, as well as associate members, Mark Fitzgerald and Robin Stamp.

This past year, the Commission reviewed several Site Plans as to landscaping and lighting and Building Plans as to elevations, colors and materials, including, the Franklin Housing Authority's Plain Street facility; renovations to the 12-36 East Central Street block; Walgreen's Pharmacy; the landscaping and lighting added to the area between 12-36 East Central Street and Summer Street. Signage and awnings were reviewed and approved for many additional locations, including the above, as well as Rockland Trust, Daddario's Hardware and many more throughout the year.

Work on the Town's new sign by-law has been in progress throughout the year and hopefully will be presented to the Town Council prior to the year end.

Meetings are held at the Franklin Municipal Building, Room 205, 355 East Central Street, at 7:00 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Meeting times and dates are posted at the Town Clerk’s Office. Meetings are usually less than an hour and a half in length.

Respectfully submitted,
Jennifer Peters, Chair
Design Review Commission


From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.



Franklin, MA: Cultural Council

The Franklin Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The Local Cultural Council program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the
Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community. We are a volunteer board that believes that the arts, science, and humanities have the power to build a healthier and more vital community in Franklin.

Grants

The Franklin Cultural Council reviewed proposals from artists, organizations, schools, and organizations for arts, humanities, and interpretive science projects. The FY2009 grant awards totaling $10,550 were awarded to twenty-five projects that best provided a public benefit to Franklin residents including the Franklin Art Association, Family Concert Series, Senior Citizen Musical Show,
LiveArts, Concerts on the Common and many more. Various awards to the Franklin Schools were made so that children could enjoy performances by artists such as the Hampstead Players for a production of Prince Caspian, Steps Off Broadway, as well as educational programs including Journey Back in Time’s, “Pioneer Living” Program. The Franklin Cultural Council has also been generously funded by the Town of Franklin in the amount of $2,000. For a complete list of the artists funded this year, please visit our web site at: http://franklinma.virtualtownhall.net/Pages/FranklinMA_BComm/cultural.

If you are interested in applying for a grant from the Franklin Cultural Council, all information and forms are available at www.massculturalcouncil.org. You may also pick up a grant application at the Municipal Building or the Franklin Public Library. Deadline is October 15, 2009 for an application to be submitted to Franklin Cultural Council, PMB 284, 279 East Central Street, Franklin, MA 02038.

Membership

Membership on the Council is open to all Franklin residents that are interested in working for the cultural enrichment of Franklin. Meetings are held monthly (second Monday of the month) from September to June. We welcome and need new members. Please contact Sue Sheridan at 508-533-1917 or email at  FranklinCulture@hotmail.com or P.O. Box 284, 279 East Central St., Franklin, MA 02038 1917 if you are interested in serving in this vital community volunteer activity.

Council members for 2008-09: Amy Kessler Welsh and Nathaniel Packard, Co-Chairs, Jodi Kanadanian, Treasurer, Sue Sheridan, Membership, Kim Rezendes, Secretary, Claire Griffin and Kathy Stankard.


From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.



Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Franklin, MA: DelCarte Conservation Area

The Conservation Commission continued their on-going effort to address deficiencies with the DelCarte Conservation Area dam system (known as the Franklin Reservoir). This area was donated to the Town and offers a network of walking trails along a number of ponds and wooded areas.

The Commission chose PARE Corporation from Foxboro, MA, to conduct a review of the DelCarte Conservation Area, specifically the condition of seven structures in the area. PARE completed their initial Study and presented their findings to the Commission in late 2008. Following the Commission’s review of PARE’s findings, it was determined that an additional phase to the Study, which would focus on three potential repairs options, would be required in order for the Town to determine the most beneficial approach to addressing deficiencies at the Site, while taking into consideration both the environmental sensitivity of the Site and cost to implement the repairs. The Commission anticipates PARE to complete the next phase of the Study and present their findings by end of calendar year 2009.

Update: As 2009 is closing, the update is really more likely to come before the Town Council during Jan-Feb-Mar 2010.

Where is the Delcorte property?
You can find it on Google Maps referenced as the "Franklin Reservoirs"


View Larger Map


Franklin, MA: In house Attorney - Mark G Cerel

The Town has an in-house attorney, Mark G. Cerel. Attorney Cerel has an office in the Town Administration offices and works three days a week. In addition, he attends regular Council sessions and meetings of town boards and commissions on an as-needed basis. His responsibilities include providing legal advice to the Town Administrator and other town officials, review and drafting of legal documents, and representation of the town in negotiations and litigation other than labor-related matters. Having an in-house attorney has enabled town officials to obtain prompt legal review and advice; it has also expedited various town projects which require legal input.

During the past year, Attorney Cerel has continued to be successful not only in resolving actual litigation but also in resolving disputes prior to litigation on terms favorable to the Town; he has also continued to draft proposed legislation and to be involved in contract and real estate negotiations. In addition, he has continued to work with the staff to review and update the Town's zoning and general bylaws.

An in-house attorney plays an essential role in limiting the town’s legal exposure. He assists in resolving matters before they result in legal action and he provides the town with a strong legal presence that discourages people from filing frivolous lawsuits.

The Town Attorney represents the town and is only available to consult with individual residents if the Town Administrator’s prior approval is obtained.

Respectfully submitted,

Mark Cerel
Town Attorney


From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Four Corners remembered

The Walgreens has made great progress finishing construction and getting ready to open (April, is what I recall but it could be sooner by the looks of it?).


Out front on the triangle of "public space" that they will maintain, there is a historic marker with information on the Four Corners School which stood on the grounds.





A close up of the marker shows this:



When you go by the corner some time, stop and read the history of Four Corners School.


Year end activities

As 2009 winds down and we get ready for 2010, I'll spend sometime making adjustments to the site. For example, the meeting summaries for 2009 will move from the center column to the far right column. There will be a new box for the 2010 meeting summaries in the center column.

I will continue to feature items from the 2009 Annual Report while I work on my review of 2009. Each month will appear as it is ready.

I have some other changes I want to make to the web site to help make it easy to use. I'll announce those as they appear. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to drop me a line and let me know.

In the meantime, I anticipate overall activities will be light here. I will be sending time enjoying the holidays with family and friends. I trust you will take advantage of the time to do so with your circles.

Enjoy!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Who lost their shoe?

Who lost their shoe?



This was found Saturday morning in front of 188 King St.




FRANKLIN HEALTH DEPARTMENT H1N1 FLU CLINIC Jan 6, 2010

FRANKLIN HEALTH DEPARTMENT H1N1 FLU CLINIC ANNOUNCEMENT

December 23. 2009

The Franklin Health Department will be holding an H1N1 flu clinic for Franklin residents on Wednesday January 06, 2010 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at the Franklin High School, 218 Oak Street.  Please enter the clinic through the school’s front main entrance.

The following persons are eligible to receive the H1N1 vaccine consistent with Massachusetts Department of Public Health and CDC guidelines for vaccine administration:

Children in 9th through 12th grades.
All other Franklin residents who wish to receive the H1N1 Vaccine.

Please be advised, the Health Department has received nearly 70% of our vaccine allocation in the nasal spray form.  Because this is a live attenuated vaccine, this formulation is only for healthy individuals aged 2 to 49 years of age.
All individuals to be vaccinated in the 2-49 age groups without a contra-indicated medical history will be administered the nasal spray.

All individuals to be vaccinated are to present a completed consent form.  No vaccine will be administered without a completed and signed consent form.  A downloadable consent form is available on both the Health Department and School Department websites as well.

All residents will be asked to produce a valid driver’s license or other identification at the time of registration.

We ask all residents to please be patient and to anticipate some waiting, as we institute our large-scale public vaccination plan.

David E. McKearney, R.S.
Public Health Director
Franklin Health Department

Franklin Board of Health

Bruce Hunchard, Chair
Paul Cheli
Donald Ranieri, JR.


Student safely navigating online

Through the Google Public Policy Blog I just learned about a series of three videos created by YouTube for the purpose of educating students about online behavior. Each of the three videos are roughly two minutes in length. Each video provides clear narration and visual aids. The three videos are Detecting Lies and Staying True, Playing and Staying Safe Online, and Staying Safe on YouTube. These videos could be used in any classroom, but they really seem aimed toward a middle school audience.
From Free Technology for Teachers is written by Richard Byrne and read by a daily audience of more than 15,000 subscribers.



Franklin, MA: Building Inspection Department

The Building Inspection Department is a multifunction office responsible for the construction, demolition, alteration, repair and occupancy of all residential, commercial, business and industrial use for both existing and new construction in accordance with the Massachusetts State Building Code. The department is responsible for the administration, interpretation and enforcement of the following codes:

Massachusetts State Building Code - 780CMR
Town of Franklin Code - Zoning – CH 185
Zoning Board of Appeals Agent
Fence Viewer
State Electrical Code – 527 CMR
State Plumbing & Gas Code – 248 CMR
Sealer of Weights and Measure – G.L. CH 98
Architectural Access Board – 521 CMR

Hours of Operation
The Building Inspection Department is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 8:00a.m. until 4:00p.m., Wednesday 8:00a.m.until 6:00p.m. and Friday 8:00a.m. until 1:00p.m. For your convenience, you may contact our website: at www.franklin.ma.us/inspections. This site contains a series of forms easily accessible and available to download. The website provides permit applications, sample plot plans, sign regulations, swimming pool instruction manuals. Shed/barn instruction manuals, complaint forms, zoning criteria and other information necessary to process a permit or to simply provide information to the public.

Building Department Staff

Building Commissioner/Zoning Officer: David A. Roche

Inspectors:
Local Inspector: Lloyd “Gus” Brown
Local Inspector: Everett “Andy “ Williams
Wire Inspector: Bernard Mullaney
Plumbing/Gas Inspector: Richard Cornetta
Plmb/Gas Inspector: Richard McCormick
Asst Plmb/Gas Inspector: Jay Palermo
Sealer of Weights & Measurers:
Comm. of Mass./Div. of Standards

From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas! (video)

In the spirit of Christmas and having fun, here is a short video of the ImprovEverywhere group providing some assistance to one of the Salvation Army bell ringers.

It would have been really cool if this was one of the bell ringers when Ashley helped

Enjoy!



Read more about this group and how they prepared this event here

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view this video.

Information Revolution (video)

Before you celebrate Christmas today, spend 5 minutes to view the latest on the information revolution:



Enjoy!

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view this video.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"the community really cares for its own"

 Milford Daily News reporter, Ashley Studley spent time ringing the bell for the Salvation Army kettle and writes about it:
Some people acknowledged us with a smile and comment about the weather while other shoppers walked away briskly and avoided eye contact. I suddenly felt guilty for doing the same thing in the past - avoiding the interaction due to a lack of cash or time.

I asked her if such reactions are ever discouraging.

"This is the time of year a lot of people don't have the money to contribute to the cause," she said with understanding. "Some people do, some people don't."
 Read the full story online here




Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Narrow sidewalks downtown

Narrow sidewalks downtown






TED Talks to view over the holiday week

TED Talks provide viewers with insightful and thought-provoking commentary and ideas. The contents of many TED Talks can be directly or indirectly applied to your classroom practices. While you're on holiday break, you may want to watch one or all of these TED Talks. If you're interested in learning more about using TED Talks in your classroom, check out Teaching With TED.


Free Technology for Teachers is written by Richard Byrne and read by a daily audience of more than 15,000 subscribers.


Franklin, MA: Zoning Board of Appeals

The Zoning Board of Appeals currently consists of three (3) members and two (2) associate members appointed by the Town Administrator, subject to the confirmation by the Town Council, for terms of
such length and so arranged that the term of one member shall expire each year. There is currently one (1) opening for an associate member.

The Board of Appeals holds Public Hearings, as advertised, for Variance(s), Special Permits (including gravel removal), Findings and Chapter 40B applications. The Board also renders
determinations on land use and zoning issues. All necessary forms and applications may be obtained through the Building Inspection Department and via Board of Appeals website at http://franklinma.virtualtownhall.net/Pages/FranklinMA_ZBA/index.

The Zoning Board of Appeals meets in Town Council Chambers at the Franklin Municipal Building on Thursday evenings usually twice a month, at 7:30pm. The calendar may be viewed via website at http://franklinma.virtualtownhall.net/Pages/FranklinMA_ZBA/index. All meetings are open to the public.

The Board has been very active this fiscal year and the following agenda is a list of all applications filed, indexed and recorded with the Town Clerk.

Respectfully submitted,

Franklin Zoning Board of Appeals

Bruce Hunchard, Chairman - 1991*
Robert Acevedo, Vice Chairman - 2003*
Bernard Mullaney, Clerk - 1988*
Todd Alexander Associate - 2007*
Seth Jackson, Associate Member - 2007*
Barbara Curran, Administrative Secretary

* indicates Member since

From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.


Franklin Voters can come out in numbers

September 16, 2008 - State wide primary election saw only 1,442 Franklin voters come out to cast their ballots.

November 4, 2008 - for the presidential election 16,793 (86%) Franklin voters came out to cast their ballots.

November 3, 2009 - for the town election 3,244 (16.4%) Franklin voters came out to choose their local Town Council, School Committee and other elected Board positions.


From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009 Annual Report of the Town Administrator

From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.


You will recall, in recent years, Franklin was named in Fortune – Small Business Magazine, Money Magazine, and Family Circle as among the best places to live and raise a family and start a business. This past year, Franklin did not make it into any major publications. You might think that your town government is resting on its laurels, but the real truth of the matter is, 99% of what we do right goes unnoticed. It is something that we, as administrators, local elected officials, and employees struggle with on a continual basis. How do we let the citizens know about what we do on a daily basis that goes unnoticed?

Today’s citizens have busier lives than ever before. As long as the trash gets picked up every week, the water flows when you turn on the faucet or flush your toilet, and your kids come home from school with good grades and have recreation and cultural activities to participate in, everything is just fine. You get your tax bills and utility bills and you pay them and you think to yourself, life in Franklin is good.

We need you to know that there is so much more that makes those things and others happen.
 
This past year, the town sold the property at the corner of King Street and Rt 140 known as the Four Corners School for 2.5 million dollars. After paying the debt on the property, 1.5 million dollars is available to fund capital projects and a vacant property will be back on the tax rolls. We continue to replace older water and sewer pipes and resurface roads paid by the water and sewer fees. We adopt financial efficiencies as opportunities arise. This year the town assumed the care of the school facilities and grounds. The town now maintains all town buildings and grounds and the schools can focus on education. We negotiated the regionalization of some services with the Town of Medway. Regionalization is difficult to achieve, but in the long run serves both communities well and reduces costs. Currently, we are, on a limited basis, sharing a recreation director and programs with Medway and our Library Director is servicing both Franklin and Medway and that allows Medway’s citizens to utilize our library facilities and our citizens to utilize their facilities. In a remarkable example of cooperation and sacrifice, all of Franklin’s town and school employees volunteered to forego their raises this year to save fellow employees’ jobs.

In a public/private collaboration, The Franklin Veterans Memorial Foundation commissioned an Iraq/Afghanistan memorial for the Town Common that was dedicated on Memorial Day, 2009. The ceremony was attended by hundreds of Franklin’s citizens and was a memorable tribute to all of Franklin’s veterans and in  particular, two of our sons who were killed in action: Lance Corporal Shayne Cabino, and Staff Sgt. Robert Pirelli.

We continue our mission to make available affordable housing opportunities for senior citizens and families in Franklin in developments such as Eaton Place and Meadowbrook Heights, senior developments, and Franklin Heights and Brandywine Village, family residential developments.

We constantly review and update our website to provide you with up to date information that we think you want and need to know. We publish a quarterly Municipal Services Guide that is mailed to every household and contains information on what is happening in Franklin, coming events, recreation opportunities, and helpful hints, and articles from various town departments.

These are just a few examples of what we routinely do. We will continue this work and we will develop new ways to share our good deeds with you so that you can continue to be proud of your community, even when it doesn’t make major publications.

It is my pleasure to submit my annual report for your review, and please feel free to write, e-mail, or stop by with any questions, concerns, or comments.

Respectfully submitted,

Jeff Nutting
Town Administrator



Monday, December 21, 2009

Plenty of snow

For the first round of shoveling on Sunday, actually when I fired up the Sear Craftsman snow thrower for the first time, we had almost a foot in the middle of the driveway. It had drifted higher against the garage door but that is normal.




The schools will open 2 hours late today to provide time for the sidewalks and parking lots around the school properties to get cleared. There is no budget for overtime to clear the snow on the off hours.



Franklin's TJ Maxx to close

A reliable source amongst the Franklin Matters community passed along word that employees of the TJ Maxx store in Franklin were notified that the store will be closing Jan 16th.

With stores in Plainville, Milford, South Attleboro, Framingham and Natick currently on the map, Franklin will lose the convenience of having a location in town. Plainville, the newest store, likely would pick up some of the Franklin traffic.

If you have information to add to this story, please let me know.



Sunday, December 20, 2009

FM #52 - Week ending 12/20/09

This is #52 in the series of podcasts for Franklin Matters. Take about 10 minutes to keep up with what happened this week in Franklin, MA.


Time: 9 minutes, 35 seconds





MP3 File


Session notes:

This internet radio show or podcast is number 52 in the series for Franklin Matters.

Take about ten minutes to keep current with what matters in Franklin, MA as the week ends December 20, 2009.
FM #52

In this session I’ll cover the
  • School Committee
  • Town Council
  • Outreach events for both groups took part in
  • And then close with some reflections on what I think we can take away from these events 
The School Committee meeting this past Tuesday was their annual self assessment session. On non-election years, this would work well as the full SC would have been together for the whole year. In this election year, two of the members were new and therefore disadvantaged in commenting on what the SC did during the year. Now, they could provide a view from the outside (and to their credit they did). I also took time to speak up on several points to provide my 2 cents as an observer and reporter of the School Committee.

The School Committee does produce several good information streams; the school department website, the School Committee website and separate blog, the Superintendents page, and each school has their own page. The various websites have been disconnected from the Town for over a year now. There were plans to do an upgrade but the issues around content management and then problems with the proposed vendor (which went out of business as I recall) have halted that work. They are now back to square one to start over and find web site technology that can enable regular and timely updates for all those within the district; Teachers, administration and School Committee.

There is plenty of information available. I don’t think that is a problem. How easily it is found is one problem. I would posit that the second problem is that there is not a clearly defined feedback loop enabled. The Superintendent gets phone calls and the individual members of the School Committee get emails and phone calls. However, the correspondence acknowledged as part of each SC agenda only covers printed items that come through regular mail.

Now as voters, you and I get a chance to provide feedback every two years. In this most recent election, there were seven candidates for seven positions. I believe the voters gave their feedback by (1) voting in the two newcomers with more votes than any of the incumbents (2) by not casting ballots for more than 3-4 individual candidates. This voting pattern said that voters were not pleased with the existing committee.

And then the School Committee holds their self assessment in a room where it is not broadcast to the community via cable or internet as their other meetings are. It is still an open meeting, Ashley Studley (Milford Daily News reporter) and I participated and were the only non-school district personnel to do so.

Now don’t construe what I say as negative about the School Committee. The School Committee is a fine set of engaged and competent people very much interested in doing what is right to provide the very best education for all of Franklin’s youth. For all that they do well; I believe that there is room for improvement.

More on what they do well was highlighted in a couple of other activities this week.

First: Jeff Nutting and at least three members of the Town Council (Scott Mason, Judy Pfeffer and Tina Powderly) held an open information session at the Senior Center on Tuesday morning. The event was well received, good discussions were conducted. The Town Council will return in February to do a similar session.

Second: Five of the seven members of the School Committee joined with six of the nine Town Council to visit the State House as a guest of Rep Jim Vallee. During the time there, they obtained insights into the operation of the state government as well as information on the current issues and future budget for the Commonwealth. In particular, how the budget could affect local aid for Franklin.

Third: The School Committee and Superintendent coordinated a tour of the ten schools in the district for any one of the School Committee, Town Council and Finance Committee who chose to participate. While targeted for the new folks on both boards, it was a well attended event. They made visited all the schools including a stop for lunch at the High School Cafeteria. The feedback from folks who participated included comments like “amazing” “eye-opening”. This kind of outreach is important. The folks who will be shortly determining budget priorities were able to see the schools, administration, teachers, support staff, and students in action.

The Town Council meeting on Wednesday evening was a short but important one to close out the calendar year. The TC took action to approve the Financial Guidelines that have been developed by the Town and accepted by prior TC’s. The TC also approved the meeting schedule for 2010. The important item was approval for the Housing Trust to proceed with creating affordable housing by using $400,000 from the Housing Trust Fund. Potential home owners could qualify for up to $80,000 to be used at their closing to purchase a home in Franklin. The amount would not be paid back. In return, there would be a rider attached to the deed to keep the house in an affordable state for the years to come. This helps the Town create affordable housing from existing properties (hence avoiding new housing).

While the School Committee struggles with the feedback loop as I discussed earlier, their activities working with the Town Council, Finance Committee, and Town Administration is all good. To the Town Council’s credit they have started their outreach with the Senior center session, I look forward to seeing more of this.

I am comfortable with how the groups have started doing business since the election. The budget year ahead of us will be a challenge. I am glad that these groups have started as they have, there is hope that we will get through the budget with improvement in the flow of information and substantial respectful discussions.

There are no more Town Council or School Committee meetings this year. I can take a break. You’ll probably appreciate the break as well. I have reported on a total of 65 meetings this year, all but one of them live and in real time. I hope that the information shared has been helpful for you to keep abreast of what is happening in Franklin.

As we close this year 2009, let me wish you all a joyful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or what ever holiday you choose to celebrate at this time of year.

Finally,

If you like what I am doing, please tell your neighbors

If you don’t like something, please tell me

Thank you for listening

For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.blogspot.com/

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana" c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission

I hope you enjoy!

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to the website to listen to the audio version.


Smalley's Cookies now on the web

I found and bought some Smalley's Cookies at the Franklin Farmers Market this summer. They are great tasting cookies!



As I talked with John in his tent at the market, I asked if they had a website I could link to. Alas, it was under development.

Until recently that is. You can now find them on the web at Smalley's Cookies.

From their About page:
Smalley's Cookies is founded on the principles of life, love and the unending pursuit of joy. We hope our cookies bring a sigh of happiness to everyone who takes a bite.


At Smalley's we are cookie fanatics. Our goal is to create the most amazing cookies on the planet! We searched the globe for the most delectable ingredients we could find: dark and semi-sweet chocolate from Switzerland, fresh pecans with just the right amount of "snap" from Georgia, Dutch-processed cocoa from The Netherlands, sweet dates, all-natural coconut, whole eggs, sea salt and unsalted butter and not one drop of trans-fat or artificial anything!


We know you'll delight in our cookies and feel good knowing that they're all-natural. And what breeds happiness more than reaching out to lend a helping hand? Nothing! That's why a percentage of our profits are donated to organizations which protect our natural resources, and which serve children and adults across our globe.


In the words of Simon Raven, "Life is short and the world is wide," so stop and enjoy a Smalley's Cookie and spread a little happiness along the way.
Some of the cookies I could get at the Franklin Farmers Market are no longer available. Although they tasted tested well, they did not sell well. This is likely because they contained nuts. You may have noticed that there has been an increase in nut allergies amongst the youth. Folks have decided to play it safe by buying cookies without nuts.




I talked with John recently to prepare this update and he was pleased with the company's growth. They went to five Farmers Markets during the summer. People liked the cookies. Word of mouth has enabled them to get into The Fruit Centers in Milton, MA. and Hingham, MA and recently, the Daily Bread Bakery in Whitinsville, MA.

I like their saying "Life is Hard, Have a Cookie!"

Keep up the good cookie making John!

Abbey turbine gets wings

The wind turbine at Mount St Mary's Abbey in Wrentham was installed this week. It is quite impressive even from a distance against a gray sky with the blades not turning.

It looks like a giant bird

or a funky hang glider

coming over the trees

until you get closer and the white tower appears.



It will be tested before turning on to generate power for the Abbey.

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to the website to view the slide show.

In the News - cards for kids

Franklin junior designs cards for children in need

from The Milford Daily News Homepage RSS

Since the project began in November of this year, Burgess has successfully completed and delivered over 150 cards to children around the globe. Now more people are showing interest in helping her project grow.

"Since I made the Web site, lots of people have wanted to help me," Burgess said. "Girl scout troops, youth groups and senior centers. Every wants to get in on it."

For more information about helping Haley, visit the Cards for Kids Web site at cardsforkids.weebly.com or contact her directly by e-mail at cardsforkids524@gmail.com.

Cards for kids is looking for handmade cards made from construction paper or card-stock that include a personal, handwritten message. Burgess asks that you please refrain from including identifying information or asking questions as the children will most likely not have the opportunity to write back.





Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jane's Frames

Need a last minute gift?

Still looking for ideas?

How about framing that certificate, award or great photo?



Check out Jane's Frames for a great selection.

Jane Curran is very active in Franklin as part of the Downtown Partnership. Support your local businesses this holiday season.


Pulaski Blvd Construction in Spring 2010

Heads up for those who travel Washington St to Pulaski Blvd in Bellingham:

Bellingham- Pulaski Boulevard

The $13 million federal stimulus Bellingham project will reconstruct 2.2 miles of Pulaski Boulevard from Moody Street to the Franklin town line, including rehabilitation of the bridge over Peter's River.  The project will improve safety and enhance convenience for motorists along the Boulevard, an important commuter route to I-495 in Franklin.  Construction is expected to begin in the spring.


From the Commonwealth Conversations Transportation website
Follow the link to read more about the announcement yesterday and follow links from that story directly to the project details website.

In the News - Food Pantry, Senior Center

Fund raising for the Franklin Food Pantry


Christmas concert to raise funds for Franklin Food Pantry

from The Milford Daily News News RSS


-----



The annual Christmas lunch provided by the Franklin Police at the Senior Center


Franklin seniors enjoy police luncheon

from The Milford Daily News News RSS




Historical Commission is looking for help

The Historical Commission is in need of your help.

The Historical Commission is in the process of planning the move of the Franklin Historic Museum from Washington Street to West Central Street and they are looking for assistance.

On December 29th, they are planning a work session at the Washington St. Museum. Your assistance is requested to help pack, label and box items for transfer to the new museum.

If you are able to offer some time, please contact Alan Earls at 508-528-6930 or alan.earls@comcast.net or Del Arnold at 508-528-0867 or delarn@aol.com for more details. Thank you.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Laughter will keep you warm

One way to keep warm is with laughter. Laughter comes naturally with fun. Bernie DeKoven, the Funsmith, has a collection of quotes on fun that is purely delightful:
"Ask not what fun does for you. Ask rather what you do for fun." - the Oaqui

"The more fun you have, the greater your value to yourself and to your society. The more fun you share with others, the more fun you have." - the Oaqui

"For every Way there's a way of following that Way that's fun" - the Oaqui

"The Path that is best for you is the Path that keeps the best of you in play" - the Oaqui
For more quotes from the Oaqui, click through here.

If you have a quote that could be redone to make it more fun, please send it on to Bernie.


Cold and frosty

The window at Berry Insurance provided a holiday scene on the cold and frosty Thursday morning:





Meeting summaries

The last official Town meeting I will attend during 2009 completed Wednesday evening. If you need to recall some detail from a meeting of the Finance Committee, Financial Planning Committee, School Committee or Town Council, the archives are available here.

My published notes are not perfect as they are captured real time (and updated as necessary). If you don't find the detail you are looking for, please ask me.

You can also view the video archive for most of these meetings on the Town website here

My meeting summaries:



By the way, the meeting summaries for 2008 are contained in the far right column.

Express LIne #4

The latest Express Line is available.


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You can subscribe to this newsletter and other email notifications on the Franklin Town website here

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Town Council Mtg Smry 12/16/09

The live reported posts from the Town Council meeting on Wednesday, Dec 16 can be found here:




In the News - affordable housing, Abbey wind power

A good use for the money that has accumulated in the Housing Trust Fund. This creates affordable housing for folks wanting to live in Franklin by using houses already on the market rather than creating new housing.


Franklin to offer grants to first-time homebuyers

from The Milford Daily News News RSS





Abbey has wind turbine installed

from The Milford Daily News Homepage RSS







Wednesday, December 16, 2009

live reporting - closing items

K.  TOWN ADMINISTRATOR’S REPORT
Express Line #4 published
Maxine did good work on this

recycle holiday wrappings, etc
Tree pick up Jan 9th

H1N1 Flu clinic
last week and today, thanks for all helping
well attended moving smoothly
a huge success


10-12 year history on snow budget

highlight in Express Line
in 1998 vs 2009 police statistics
more calls with less folks
thanks to the employees for doing this

Fire Dept calls are up, DPW road miles have grown

DPW is down 6 positions so handling the snow will be a little be slower this time around
trying not to fill jobs until the budget picture clarifies in a couple of months

belt tightening across many departments
some positions are critical and can't go unfilled but for others we are waiting to see what the numbers from the State will be

Community Development
application scoring increased from 83 to 89 (need to check the numbers)
this helps with grant applications


L.  OLD BUSINESS - none

M. NEW BUSINESS
Powderly - request to examine tax waiver and see if this can be increased from $20K to 40K

N.  COUNCIL COMMENTS
Powderly - tour of the schools today, very amazing and eye opening
Zollo - thanks to Rep Vallee for the visit to the State for insight into State finances
Pfeffer - holiday wishes to all
Jones - thanks to Rep Vallee for lunch and the info yesterday, thanks to Roy and Sabolinski for the world wind tour of the schools today
Vallee - Merry Christmas to all
Mason - Senior Center first councilors forum, was a great event. Will be back. This Senior Center is so well liked, it draws seniors from other towns. We will be back in February

O.  EXECUTIVE SESSION – Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required

P.  ADJOURN
motion to adjourn, passed 8-0

Live reporting - Legislation

H. PRESENTATIONS/DISCUSSIONS  - Municipal Housing Trust
funding to create at least six low income housing units from existing housing not to be used for new housing

I.  SUBCOMMITTEE REPORTS - none

J.  LEGISLATION FOR ACTION
1. Resolution 09-82: Legal Notices
motion to approve - passed 8-0

2. Resolution 09-83: 2010 Town Council Meeting Schedule
motion to approve - passed 8-0

Whalen - question on the April schedule
Nutting - this was done to avoid the school vacation schedule, it can be changed

Mason - there are no special meetings scheduled
Nutting - we can schedule them as needed, rather than schedule them and cancel them if we don't need them

3. Resolution 09-84: Endorsement of Fiscal Policies
motion to approve - passed 8-0

4. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 09-637: Amendment to Chapter 185-3. Definitions – 2nd  Reading
motion to approve - passed 8-0 (via roll call vote, all yes)

Beth Dahlstrom, Nick Alfieri attending to answer questions


vote re-done to clarify the motion
 
5. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 09-638: Amendment to Chapter 185-39. Uses Accessory to Dwelling – 2nd  Reading

motion to approve - passed 8-0



Live reporting - Town Council

Attending: Kelly, Jones, Vallee, Whalen, Mason, Pfeffer, Zollo, Powderly
Missing: McGann

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – November 18, 2009
motion to approve, passed 7-0

B.  ANNOUNCEMENTS  - none

C.  PROCLAMATIONS/RECOGNITIONS - none

D. CITIZEN COMMENTS - none

E. APPOINTMENTS - none

F. HEARINGS - none

G. LICENSE TRANSACTIONS – Change of Manager – Shaw’s
motion to approve - passed 8-0 (Vallee arrived)



K12 Online Conference

There is a great conference om K12 education occurring using the Internet this week. Three good links for presentations that occurred yesterday can be found here. Each link will take you to the individual page where you can see the video or listen to the audio of the presentation along with additional reference links.

1 -

Parallel Play or Collaboration–Leveraging the Wiki Platform for High Quality Work

from K12 Online Conference 2008


Thriving in a Collaborative Web 2.0 Classroom: The “Great Debate” and “Student News Action Network”

from K12 Online Conference 2008


Engaging Our Youngest Minds

from K12 Online Conference 2008







School Committee Mtg 12/15/09

The live reporting post from the School Committee meeting on Tuesday Dec 15th can be found here:



This was the annual self evaluation session for the Committee. 5 of the 7 had filled out the form prior to the meeting. Jeff Roy presented what the feedback on the survey was for each point. Then it was open for discussion to add anything.

The self evaluation form:

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Note: email subscribers will need to click through to the website to view the document.