Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A new edition of The Franklin Connection is available

A new edition of The Franklin Connection has been published on the Town of Franklin web site.

Click the link below to read the latest edition.
http://town.franklin.ma.us/Pages/FranklinMA_Senior/sept16connection.pdf

Franklin Senior Center
Franklin Senior Center

For more about the Senior Center, visit their page on the Town of Franklin website
http://town.franklin.ma.us/Pages/FranklinMA_Senior/index



  • You can also get a copy of the Sep 2016 Connection here

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0wjbnXDBhczMmN1dEtLVjl5R0k/view?usp=sharing

In the News: back pack drive success, Walgreens recognized

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

"Thanks to a robust backpack donation drive, more than 250 needy students in the area now have the supplies necessary for the new school year. 
The effort - held this summer - was organized by the Hockomock Area YMCA, in partnership with the Franklin Elks and the Franklin School District. Drive leader Michell Branche said 274 backpacks full of supplies were distributed to families in the area. 
Branche said the partnerships helped the drive acquire more supplies than last year's iteration, which garnered 64 backpacks. 
"It certainly grew from last year's total," she said. "We got quite a lot of support from the community ... I thought we could get a couple hundred backpacks. This is perfect."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20160830/franklin-ymca-backpack-drive-success


"Area officials, emergency personnel and elected representatives were on hand Tuesday afternoon to recognize the local Walgreens pharmacy for providing access to overdose-counteracting drugs. 
The award, according to Norfolk County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Rowe, came as the result of a survey of area pharmacies. Undercover visitors, she said, went to the county's 120 pharmacies and provided the results of their trips. The Franklin pharmacy rated highly in providing Narcan, which counteracts the effects of an opioid overdose. 
While the district attorney's office has recognized pharmacies before - for things like vigilance in rooting out forged prescriptions - Rowe said this is the first Narcan-availability award given out."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20160830/franklin-walgreens-rates-highly-in-providing-anti-overdose-drugs

Walgreens - at the corner of happy and healthy
Walgreens - at the corner of happy and healthy

Franklin Police sets hiring exam for Nov 5

The Town of Franklin is currently seeking interested and qualified candidates for full-time Police Officer positions.

A great place to live, work and do business! One of the “Best Town’s for Families” The Town of Franklin was named one of Family Circle’s 2007 "Ten Best Towns for Families" in the United States. This honor was bestowed on Franklin and nine other towns and small cities "that offer what parents and children want most - affordable homes, good jobs, top-rated schools, open spaces and a lot less stress".

Franklin is located 28 miles south of Boston, 26 miles north of providence, RI and is bounded by the towns of Medway, Norfolk, Wrentham and Bellingham. The town has a residential population of 33,590 and spans 27.01 square miles.
Franklin Police Dept, 911 Panther Way
Franklin Police Dept, 911 Panther Way

Franklin enjoys good transportation networks with Route 140, two exits to Interstate 495, and easy access to major routes such as Interstate 90 (Massachusetts Turnpike), Interstate 95, Route 1 and Route 126. In addition to a well integrated roadway system, Franklin is host to two MBTA commuter rail stations, and has fixed route bus service through the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority.

The mission of the Franklin Police Department is to work collaboratively in partnership with our community to enhance the quality of life in our town, while maintaining order and protecting the people we serve. We will accomplish this mission by providing high quality law enforcement service, doing so with professionalism, honor and integrity.

The Franklin Police Department currently employs 47 sworn officers, 8 full-time and 4 part-time civilian personnel who provide telecommunication and administrative services.

The essential functions of a Franklin Police Officer are:

  • Perform a variety of duties involved in the enforcement of laws and prevention of crimes;
  • Control traffic flow and enforce State and local traffic regulations;
  • Participate in and conduct a variety of criminal investigations;
  • Provide a high level of customer service and integrate the community into policing activities;
  • Participate in community based police activities and programs; and
  • Perform a variety of technical and administrative tasks in support of law enforcement services and activities.


The work of this position involves responsibility for the protection of life and property, and prevention of crime, apprehension of criminals and the general enforcement of State laws, and local ordinances.

Duties normally consist of routine patrol, preliminary investigation, and traffic regulation and community policing. Patrol officers also may be assigned duties as detective, school resource officer, field training officer, K-9 handler, bicycle patrol, motorcycle patrol, Drug Recognition Expert, etc. The work involves an element of personal danger and the employee must be able to act without direct supervision and to exercise independent judgment in meeting emergencies.

The Franklin Police Department is partnering with Police Exam Solutions to host a police officer entrance exam on Saturday, November 5, 2016. This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in beginning a career in law enforcement. The department expects to have several patrol officer positions available in the near future for qualified candidates. For more information and to register, please click the link below.

Thank you for your interest in the Franklin Police Department.

Registrations accepted online here -->>


This was shared from
http://www.policeexamsolutions.com/#!franklin-pd-exam/otv9u

Meeting to focus on Regional Transportation Challenges


The 495/MetroWest Suburban Edge Community Commission, co-chaired by Senator Karen Spilka, Representative Kate Hogan, and Assistant Secretary for Communities and Programs Juan Vega, will hold a meeting focused on regional transportation challenges.

The 495/ MetroWest Suburban Edge Community Commission was established by the Legislature in Section 233 of Chapter 165 of the Session Laws of 2015. The commission will study development challenges experienced by edge communities, including transportation, water, cellular, and energy infrastructure, transit services, residential development, reuse of former industrial facilities and historic mills, brownfields reclamation, downtown redevelopment and other such constraints. 

The commission will then develop policy responses and recommendations to ensure that edge communities can participate in state development initiatives and benefit from state resources. The commission will focus its investigation and study on the 35 municipalities served by the 495/MetroWest Corridor Partnership, Inc. and develop a pilot program to address the issues to be studied and investigated by the commission.


WHEN: 
Friday, September 16, 2016, 11:00 am

WHERE: 
Warren Conference Center
529 Chestnut St,
Ashland, MA 01721

WHO: 
Senator Karen Spilka
Representative Kate Hogan
Assistant Secretary for Communities and Programs Juan Vega
Senator James Eldridge
Senator Richard Ross
Representative Carolyn Dykema
Representative David Muradian

http://www.mass.gov/hed/economic/initiatives/metrowest-suburban-edge-community-commission.html
http://www.mass.gov/hed/economic/initiatives/metrowest-suburban-edge-community-commission.html


  • Additional info on the Commission can be found her

http://www.mass.gov/hed/economic/initiatives/metrowest-suburban-edge-community-commission.html

School Wellness Advisory Council: "Nutrition Nuggets"

The School Wellness Advisory Council has published "Nutrition Nuggets" and shared here:




Remington Middle School
Remington Middle School

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Dancing Principal 1st day dance 2016

And what has become a tradition on the first day of school at Remington Middle School happened again this morning. Principal Brian Wildeman danced for the first day and some brave students joined along!





For more about Remington visit their webpage
http://remington.franklin.k12.ma.us/Pages/index

Remington Middle School, Franklin, MA
Remington Middle School, Franklin, MA

Facing Addiction Across America (Part 3 and 4 - YouTube series)

"In recovery, community and support are such major factors"


"Join Ryan Hampton and Garrett Hade on their journey into Denver, CO in Part 3 of our Facing Addiction Across America docuseries. Watch and meet even more inspiring individuals at Young People in Recovery and Peter Hamilton from Freedom From Addiction. Tune in now and join their#ISupportRecovery movement. Learn more: http://bit.ly/29QcpCu"




Ryan and Garrett arrive in Texas where they meet with Michael Dadashi and KC Davis of Infinite Recovery, both people in long-term recovery. Watch and comment.





I'll continue to post a pair of episodes until the series completes. If you want to feel free to find the next in the series by clicking through to YouTube.

You can help support the SAFE Coalition which works to provide support for those of our neighbors who need it.  http://safecoalitionma.com/

S.A.F.E. is a coalition of community partners who have come together to provide support, education, treatment options, and coping mechanisms for those affected by substance abuse disorder.
S.A.F.E. is a coalition of community partners who have come together to provide support, education, treatment options, and coping mechanisms for those affected by substance abuse disorder.

FPAC Announces Open Auditions For 26th Season


The Franklin Performing Arts Company (FPAC) will hold open auditions for several fall and holiday productions featured as part of the company’s 26th season. FPAC proudly presents the musical theater masterpiece Fiddler on the Roof, Neil Simon’s hilarious The Odd Couple, Tchaikovsky’s timeless ballet The Nutcracker, the FPAC family-favorite musical Humbug!, and an original American panto with a twist on a fairy tale classic.

Opening FPAC’s season, Fiddler on the Roof will be presented on October 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23 at THE BLACK BOX, FPAC’s home and performance venue in downtown Franklin. The iconic musical, winner of nine Tony Awards for the 1964 premiere production, features the beloved classics “Sunrise, Sunset,” “Miracle of Miracles,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Tradition,” and “Matchmaker.” Auditions will be held on Wednesday, September 7 at 5:30 p.m. for children ages 8 and older (limited roles), 6:00 for teens, and 7:00 for adults. Please prepare 16 measures of a legitimate musical theater song in the style of the show. A dance combination will be taught at the audition. 
Franklin Performing Arts Company (FPAC)
Franklin Performing Arts Company (FPAC)

The Odd Couple auditions will take place on Tuesday, September 13 at 8 p.m., with performances scheduled for November 4-6 at THE BLACK BOX. The two-person comedy is an epic mismatch of personalities as an incompatible pair of suddenly single pals becomes roommates. Please be prepared for cold readings; a monologue is optional.

Presented with live professional orchestra on December 3 and 4 at the Franklin High School auditorium, FPAC’s magical journey of The Nutcracker features more than 100 area dancers and special guest artists. Open auditions for The Nutcracker will be held on Sunday, September 18. Students, ages 6 and older, from all area dance schools are welcome. Ballet attire is required. Audition times are 9:30-10:00 a.m. for ages 6 and 7, 10:00-10:45 for ages 8 and 9, 11:00-11:45 for ages 10 and 11, 11:45-12:45 for ages 12 and 13, 1:00-2:00 for ages 14+ (off pointe), and 2:45-3:45 for ages 12+ (pointe audition; must be on pointe for at least one year). Off-pointe callbacks are scheduled at 2:00-2:30 p.m., with pointe callbacks from 3:45-4:45.

FPAC’s original American panto follows in the British tradition, retelling a well-known fairy tale in an exaggerated style filled with audience participation, popular songs, slapstick comedy, jokes, dances and more. The production will be staged at THE BLACK BOX on December 10 and 11. 

FPAC’s large-cast holiday musical, Humbug!, will be presented on December 17 and 18 at Franklin High School auditorium. A family favorite since debuting as part of the company’s 2008 season, Humbug! is a contemporary adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Open auditions for both holiday musicals will take place on Saturday, October 8 at 1 p.m. for ages 6-8, 1:30 for ages 9 and 10, 2:00 for ages 11 and 12, 2:30 for teens, and 3:30 for adults. Students must be 6 years of age or older on the audition date to participate. Beginners and all levels are welcome. Please prepare 16 measures of a musical theater or pop song. A simple dance combination will be taught at the audition.

All FPAC auditions will take place at THE BLACK BOX, located at 15 West Central Street in downtown Franklin. For more information, call (508) 528-3370 or visit www.FPAConline.com

Welcome back to School

The 2016-2017 school year begins today. 

"The first day of school for Grades 1 - 12 is Tuesday, August 30, 2016 
First day for Kindergarten is Wednesday, August 31, 2016 
Please note that Friday, September 2nd is a Professional Development Day for all staff and there is no school for students."

The school calendars can be found here
http://franklindistrict.vt-s.net/Pages/FranklinDistrict_SchoolCalDocs/index


Other information about the Franklin School District can be found here
http://franklindistrict.vt-s.net/Pages/index


Remington-Jefferson School sign on Washington St
Remington-Jefferson School sign on Washington St

School Committee begins search process for new Superintendent

My coverage of the School Committee meeting on Tuesday, Aug 23 was interrupted by my own work commitment. (Yes, I do this part time in my spare time and sometimes my work for a global company takes priority). 

I did catch up to the Franklin TV recording of the meeting to view the remainder of the ECRA presentation and then the balance of the committee meeting.

The Committee decided to 

  • have Central Office do some reference checks on the two companies that presented. 
  • find out why MASC did not show up and have them try again at the next meeting
  • adjust the next meeting agenda to split the school improvement plans (FHS and middle schools one night, elementary schools, the next)

ECRA Group – John Connolly
ECRA Group – John Connolly

Dr Carolyn Burke, Dr. Art Bettencourt, Executive Director, Dr Sally Diaz - NESDEC
Dr Carolyn Burke, Dr. Art Bettencourt, Executive Director, Dr Sally Diaz - NESDEC

"4. Action Items
a. I recommend moving the following policies to a second reading at the next School Committee meeting: 
  1. DJE – Bidding Requirements
  2. DKC – Expense Reimbursements
  3. JJF – Student Activity Accounts
  4. JJF-R – Student Activity Accounts
  5. JJFG – Disposition of Student Activity Accounts"
motion to move to a second reading, seconded, passed 7-0

b. I recommend approval of the budget transfers as detailed. 
motion to approve, seconded, passed 7-0

c. I recommend acceptance of a check for $2705.29 from the Parmenter PCC for supplemental supplies at Parmenter Elementary School. 
motion to approve, seconded, passed 7-0

5. Information Matters
Superintendent’s Report 

  • Enrollment Update
enrollment down in Elementary and up in middle and high school as expected
3 days of academic training conducted last week for administrators, budget balancing exercise was revealing and worthwhile
worked on the District and School improvement plans

new staff orientation begins, instructional expectations being set
total of 41 new staff starting this year, one of the smaller groups in several years
a really engaged group, wide range of experience some new and some with 10-15 years elsewhere

Transportation update
2681 to be bussed as of 8/20/16
160 signed up in the prior 14 days, 50 on waiting lists (primarily on FHS buses)
1832 in 'pay to ride'; 849 are bus eligible
reduced ridership brought about consolidation of some routes
responding to changes and requests as soon as possible 
probably additions can be made towards the end of September as bus counts normalize


School Committee Sub-Committee Reports 

  • Community Engagement

Policy sub committee to meet on Monday, Sep 19 to address the dress code policy

274 backpacks were prepared and 170+ distributed already
Y and Elks coordinated with the School District
backpacks going to schools in the Hockomock area
thanks to the community for stepping up to make a difference for the kids

7. Motion to Adjourn 
– Dr. O’Malley 
approved, 7-0


Note from the earlier sections of the meeting can be found here:


You can view the Franklin TV video

Walgreen’s Pharmacy to receive award from SAFE Coalition and Norfolk County DA


WHAT: Community Participation Award to Walgreen’s
WHERE: 160 E CENTRAL ST in Franklin MA
WHEN: 1:30 pm, Tuesday, August 30, 2016


The S.A.F.E. Coalition of MA and Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office are pleased to present the first award for proficiency in providing Narcan to the community to Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Franklin, MA. 
The presentation will occur at 1:30 PM, Tuesday August 30, 2016 at the Walgreen’s Pharmacy, 160 East Central Street, Franklin MA. S.A.F.E. goals are to empower those affected by substance abuse disorders, including their families, with the tools necessary to succeed on their journey to recovery. 
Walgreen’s is a primary example of community involvement in providing the tools for medical detoxification by health professionals. Representatives S.A.F.E. Coalition will be present.

The S.A.F.E. Coalition of MA is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization.

S.A.F.E. is a coalition of community partners who have come together to provide support, education, treatment options, and coping mechanisms for those affected by substance abuse disorder. We do so by empowering those affected, including their families, with the tools necessary to succeed on their journey to recovery. We understand that while I can't, we can.
S.A.F.E. is a coalition of community partners who have come together to provide support, education, treatment options, and coping mechanisms for those affected by substance abuse disorder. We do so by empowering those affected, including their families, with the tools necessary to succeed on their journey to recovery. We understand that while I can't, we can.





Representative Roy and fellow members of the SAFE coalition will be hosting a small event on Wednesday August 30, 2016 at 1:30PM to honor the Walgreens in Franklin. Walgreen’s is being honored for their dedication to safety and well-being of their community and for receiving the Naloxone “Best Practices” award. Representative Roy and the coalition will be joined by Norfolk County District Attorney, Michael Morrissey. 
“The amount of support that everyone in Franklin has shown in combating the Commonwealths opioid epidemic has been truly remarkable,” said Representative Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin) “I am pleased to be able to acknowledge the hard work that another local group is doing to keep our community safe and healthy.” 
The Franklin Walgreens is located at 160 East Central Street. Anyone interested in celebrating Walgreens achievement are welcome. 
Store manager: Brian Votolato, Pharmacy manager Tricia Ngyuen.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Pick a date/time to hear about Easy Walks in MA

Leaf peepers in south Central Massachusetts can learn about the best places to admire the fall colors, from local cemeteries to off-the- beaten-path hideaways, when Bellingham author Marjorie Turner Hollman visits eight libraries in September.

Hollman's slide show features photos of vivid fall color, and she will point out simple things to look for while exploring, and the best places to take the kids and the dog. Peak color in eastern Massachusetts is generally the first two weeks in October.

"Seek out local cemeteries," she said. "You will often find spectacular sugar maples that look like they're ablaze. No power lines to obscure the view, the neighbors are peaceful, and the walkways are often paved."

Here's the schedule:

  • Douglas Sr. Center/Douglas Library, 331 Main St. Douglas, MA slide show, brownbag lunch, then take an Easy Walk on the SNETT in Douglas, Sept. 12, 11AM
  • Upton MA Library, Upton Town Hall, slide show of Easy Walks Sept. 14, 6:30PM
  • Medway MA Library, 26 High St., slide show of Easy Walks Sept.15, 7PM
  • Blackstone, MA Library, 86 Main St., slide show of Easy Walks, Sept. 20, 1PM
  • Franklin, MA Library 25 Kenwood Circle, slide show of Easy Walks, Sept.20, 6:30PM
  • Milford, MA Library, 80 Spruce St., Foliage detectives slide show of Blackstone Valley and Upper Charles river watershed, Sept. 21, 7PM
  • Weston, MA Library, 87 School Street, “Fall Foliage is right around the corner” slide show of Easy Walks in the Upper Charles, Neponset and Sudbury River Watersheds, Sept. 22, 2:30PM
  • Millville, MA Library, 169 Main St. Slide show of Easy Walks, Sept. 28, 6:30PM

Easy Walks in MA
Easy Walks in MA

Her favorite spot for leaf peeping?
"An overlook in the Blackstone Valley National Historical Park," she said. "It's an easy quarter-mile walk from parking to the overlook, then a little scramble onto the rock to enjoy the view. I’m a sucker for a view, even if it's a little challenging."

Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and has completed two guides to easy walking trails in Massachusetts: the just released, Easy Walks in MA 2nd edition https://www.amazon.com/Easy-Walks-Massachusetts-2nd-Northbridge/dp/0989204340 ($21.95) and More Easy Walks ($20), both available on Amazon. The two books together include location maps, information on where dogs are welcome and much more about 80+ local trails in 31 surrounding communities. Hollman will sign copies of her books at each library.

http://marjorieturner.com/2015/07/30/find-fantastic-fall-foliage/

Franklin Garden Club meets Sep 6

The Franklin Garden Club, which is now affiliated with the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts, will hold its first meeting of the 2016-17 season on Tuesday, September 6 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Franklin Senior Center, located at 26 Daniel McCahill Street. Membership is open to all members of the community. Those interested in joining the club are invited to attend this meeting to learn more about the club’s activities and services. Attendees are encouraged, but not required, to bring a perennial to swap with others.

A highlight of this year’s programming will be a joint program with the Millis and Norfolk garden clubs on November 1 that will focus on “Pots with Pizzazz,” presented by Enchanted Gardens. Other programs scheduled for this year are: October 6 - Native Plants and Pollinators; February 7 – Cooking with Winter Vegetables; March 7 - A Sustainable Enough Garden; April 4 – Pruning 101; and May 2 – Cooking with Gardening Herbs. Other activities for the coming year include field trips to Borderland State Park in Easton, MA and Blithewold Mansion and Gardens in Bristol, RI.
Franklin Garden Club
Franklin Garden Club

The Franklin Garden Club was founded in 1987 and became a member of The Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts, Inc. in 2015. Activities include a combination of education and service. Speakers provide information on different garden related topics. Members volunteer to plant and maintain the Veteran’s Memorial Garden at the Town Common, distribute pine tree seedlings to all first graders in Franklin schools, and provide a scholarship to a graduating senior pursuing an education in horticulture or environmental studies. Members also participate in a yearly fundraiser, enjoy field trips to area gardens, plan a holiday dinner and auction and provide helpful support to each other with gardening problems and questions.

In the News: Sep 8 turnout, FDP plans Gala, Principal Peri ready for FHS new year

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

"With few contested races across the region, area town clerks anticipate a light turnout for next month’s state primary, but some candidates are hopeful lots of voters will cast their ballots Thursday, Sept. 8. 
Across MetroWest, only a handful of contested races will appear on voters’ ballots. In the 7th Middlesex District, Phil Jack, Jack Lewis and Brett Walker are vying to represent the Democratic Party in the House of Representatives. The winner will face Republican Yolanda Greaves in the general election."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20160828/low-turnout-expected-for-sept-8-state-primary

The sample ballot for Franklin shows no contested races.
http://www.franklinmatters.org/2016/08/ballot-sample-for-sep-8-primary.html


"The Franklin Downtown Partnership will host an anniversary fundraiser gala on Saturday, Nov. 12, 6 to 11 p.m. at THE BLACK BOX, 15 West Central St., Franklin, to celebrate 15 years of service to the residents and businesses of Franklin. 
Franklin Downtown Partnership logo
Franklin Downtown Partnership logo
Participants will enjoy entertainment, dancing and mingling, and a chance to win auction and raffle items from local merchants as they view the new look of downtown Franklin. Meet FDP members, learn more about the non-profit organization, and see what future plans hold for downtown Franklin. 
Tickets are $100 per person and will go on sale in September. Sponsorships are welcome; contact the FDP office at downtown.franklin@yahoo.com if interested."


Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20160828/franklin-downtown-partnership-to-host-anniversary-gala


"It was just short of a week before the start of school, and new Principal Paul Peri was walking the halls of Franklin High School, stopping to talk and joke with students preparing for tests, football players taking part in early practices and alumni readying the building for the school year. 
He had to be careful of where he walked, however - a complete cleaning of the building was in progress, and parts of the first floor were still being scrubbed down. 
Peri is excited - though he admits to a few "pregame jitters" - as he prepares for his first year at the helm of the school, which officially commences Tuesday. He said he's inspired by the sheer number of opportunities available."
FHS in the rain which we have not had, sorely need and is not in the forecast
FHS in the rain which we have not had, sorely need and is not in the forecast


Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20160828/new-franklin-high-principal-ready-for-first-bell

10th Annual WMRC Radiothon to Benefit the Oliva Fund for Cancer Care



10th Annual WMRC Radiothon to Benefit the Oliva Fund for Cancer Care
WMRC Radiothon

"The Oliva Fund for Cancer Care was established in honor of the Milford’s Oliva family for their ongoing commitment and generous support to Milford Regional Medical Center, Milford Regional Healthcare Foundation and our community through charitable donations. 
The Oliva Fund for Cancer Care helps support expenses related to services beyond medical treatment for cancer patients at Milford Regional Medical Center and the Dana-Farber Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center at Milford Regional."

http://www.wmrcdailynews.com/


10th Annual WMRC Radiothon to Benefit the Oliva Fund for Cancer Care
10th Annual WMRC Radiothon to Benefit the Oliva Fund for Cancer Care

Sunday, August 28, 2016

"the toll structure may not meet the Legislative intent to ensure equitable tolling"



"State Sen. Karen Spilka is taking the lead in questioning the rates and privacy of the Mass. Pike's new All Electronic Tolling System by sending a letter to state transportation officials. 
The system is set to go live on Oct. 28. 
In the letter sent to Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack Friday, the Ashland Democrat says many in Legislature worry about the impact to drivers based on recent news reports. The letter is signed by 10 other senators."


Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20160826/ashland-state-senator-takes-aim-at-tolls



  • The text of the letter from Senator Spilka:


Dear Secretary Pollack,

Based on a series of articles over the past week related to the transition to an All Electronic Tolling System (AETS) on the Western Turnpike, Metropolitan Highway System, and the Tobin Bridge, we are concerned about the impact of changes to the toll structure and the privacy rights of those traveling on Massachusetts roads.

In particular, we are surprised to read about proposed changes to the toll rates on the Western Turnpike. According to these articles, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation noted that some drivers will see increases while others will see decreases depending on where they enter and exit the turnpike. As you know, the Legislature has long advocated for toll equity and we are deeply concerned about the impact of any toll increases either overall or individually on our constituents. In fact, the 2013 transportation finance law includes language prohibiting revenue collected from toll increases from counting toward the Massachusetts Department of Transportation's own source revenue benchmarks unless an equitable system is established to place tolls on other non-tolled roads. As currently proposed, the toll structure may not meet the Legislative intent to ensure equitable tolling on the Western Turnpike and other roads.

In order to get a better understanding of the proposal, please provide a response to the following questions:

  1. What are the exact locations of the gantries as compared to the current toll plaza locations?
  2. How do the toll rates compare based on the location of each current toll plaza and each gantry, including differences based on having a Massachusetts-issued transponder, an out of state transponder, and no transponder (including processing fees)?
  3. Will there be a grace period to give travelers time to obtain E-ZPass transponders?
  4. What is the proposed amount of the assessment, in addition to the toll, for drivers who do not obtain a transponder?
  5. How will the new toll rates be conveyed to drivers? Will there be signs or other forms of notification posted at the gantries?
  6. What was the methodology used to determine the location of the gantries, the number of gantries, and the amount each toll proposed at each gantry compared to the current toll plazas?
  7. If the hearings result in significant feedback, will the timeline for the new toll structure be delayed or comments incorporated?
  8. Will all current toll plazas be taken down at the same time? What is the cost of tearing the toll plazas down?
  9. What is the expected cost of the early retirement incentive program for toll collectors?
  10. What is the expected savings of the AETS broken down by fiscal year?
  11. What is the expected toll revenue collected on the Western Turnpike under the AETS compared to the current toll revenue collected on the Western Turnpike?
  12. When will the bond obligations be paid in full? If, in January 2017, the bonds are fully paid how much is expected to be required on a fiscal year basis to deem the turnpike in good condition and repair?
  13. How much toll revenue was collected in fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2016? How much of that toll revenue was used to pay the bond obligations and how much was used for maintenance and repair on the turnpike? Was there any surplus from the toll revenue on the turnpike in any of the previous 5 years?
  14. What region or district on 1-90 from the New York state border to mile marker 122.6 will face the greatest impact, either an increase or a decrease, as a result of the proposed changes to the toll structure?
  15. What specific driver and vehicle information be maintained? 
  16. How long will driver and vehicle information be maintained?
  17. Will the data be maintained by a third party or by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation?
  18. Who will have access to the data collected by the gantries?
  19. How will gantry data collection differ from current data collection?


Following receipt of the above-referenced information, we request a meeting to discuss the proposal in detail. Thank you for your time and consideration in regard to this request. We look forward to hearing from you on this matter.



Devices on new gantries above the Massachusetts Turnpike will soon collect tolls. For now, they’re capturing data on driving speeds.- ARAM BOGHOSIAN FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE
Devices on new gantries above the Massachusetts Turnpike will soon collect tolls. For now, they’re capturing data on driving speeds.- ARAM BOGHOSIAN FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE


A PDF copy of the letter including the ten signatures




Facing Addiction Across America (YouTube series)


"Facing Addiction Across America is a web-series that chronicles the journey of two best friends as they take to the road and travel from their home state of California to Philadelphia. Ryan and Garrett met in addiction treatment and have experienced first-hand the struggle of addiction and the opportunities that comes from living in recovery."






"Ryan Hampton and his best friend Garrett Hade are traveling from California to Philadelphia where Ryan is serving as an elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Along the way, they'll be talking with people in the Facing Addiction Action Network about the urgency of making addiction and recovery a top priority for both major political parties in this election year. Follow their journey on social media with #AddictionXAmerica."





I'll continue to post a pair of episodes until the series completes. If you want to feel free to find the next in the series by clicking through to YouTube.

You can help support the SAFE Coalition which works to provide support for those of our neighbors who need it.  http://safecoalitionma.com/

S.A.F.E. is a coalition of community partners who have come together to provide support, education, treatment options, and coping mechanisms for those affected by substance abuse disorder.
S.A.F.E. is a coalition of community partners who have come together to provide support, education, treatment options, and coping mechanisms for those affected by substance abuse disorder.

News and upcoming events for Charles River Meadowlands

We have two important upcoming events to mention and we would also like to continue to offer kudos to Rep. Roy, Rep. Kuros, and Rep. Fernandes for passing our $25,000 line item!

The long summer included all kinds of action on Beacon Hill. First, the effort to get the line item through both chambers and then, the equally difficult effort to restore it to the budget after Governor Baker removed it. Our friends in the House managed it all!

At present, Franklin Town Manager Jeff Nutting is working with the Department of Fish and Game to try to move forward and ensure that the money is used appropriately.

Locally, we have spent much time meeting (back in July) and planning for our Charles River Meadowlands Workshop, scheduled for Sept. 27 at 6 pm at the First Universalist Society, 262 Chestnut St, Franklin, MA 02038. (Thanks to Sue Bencuya for helping with that!). 

The event will include a brief intro and overview for those new to "the Meadowlands" and will then have some presentations about how other similar efforts have been organized in the past. Then we are looking to tap into the "wisdom of the crowd" by engaging everyone present in a lively conversation about what and where to focus, how to move ahead, etc. Please come and bring a friend!

We also have a meeting schedule for Aug. 30, 6:30 pm at the Arcand room of the Bellingham Town Hall. This will mostly focus on planning for the September 27 event. But, as always, everyone is welcome and we are anxious to hear from you.

Finally, kudos for Marjorie Turner Holman, who has helped us get some good visibility in local media, including the Milford Daily News!

Keep in touch. Alan Earls can be reached at 508 528 6930 or via email at alan.r.earls@gmail.com and our Website is updated from time to time, as well: www.charlesrivermeadowlands.org​

http://www.charlesrivermeadowlands.org/
image from http://www.charlesrivermeadowlands.org/

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Nemo found amidst smiling faces (photo essay)

There were lots of smiling faces on the Beaver St field Friday night for the showing of "Finding Nemo." Dozens of #shopFranklin businesses came together along with Franklin TV and the Franklin Recreation Dept. to sponsor and conduct the event for free. 

Over $500 in raffle tickets were sold to help benefit the SAFE Coalition.

the raffle and information table for the SAFE Coalition
the raffle and information table for the SAFE Coalition

the big screen gets set up
the big screen gets set up

free gift bags for the first 50 families
free gift bags for the first 50 families

the crowd gets settled for the movie. A preview roll touted the #shopFranklin businesses helping to put on the event
the crowd gets settled for the movie. A preview roll touted the #shopFranklin businesses helping to put on the event

and before the movie, Beaver Pond looked very inviting!
and before the movie, Beaver Pond looked very inviting!
Thanks to Sarah Mabardy for leading the #shopFranklin effort to make this a wonderful night.

In the News: Taste of the Towns, Rise and Shine food drive, Tri-County gardens produce

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"The 11th annual Taste Of The Towns will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Sept. 15 at The Portuguese Club, 119 Prospect Heights, Milford. Proceeds of this year’s event will support the Medical Center’s Palliative Care Service. 
Participating restaurants include 3 Restaurant, 110 Grill, Alicante, Atria Draper Place, Bamboo Express, British Beer Company, Candy Cottage, Dinner & Company, Dunkin’ Donuts, Hay Wagon, Jalapeno’s Grill, Jr’s Diner, Little White Market, Miss Mendon Diner, Milford Regional Medical Center’s Atrium Cafe, Oliva’s Market, Price Chopper, Restaurant 45 and Wanokura. There will also be prize raffles, a 50-50 cash raffle and a cash bar. 
Tickets are limited, and are on sale now. To purchase tickets: 508-473-4493. 
Tickets cost $35 in advance and $40 at the door."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20160826/taste-of-towns-set-for-sept-15



"The St. Vincent DePaul Society of St. Mary’s Parish, 1 Church Square, will host the Rise and Shine food drive Sept. 3-4. 
Donations of breakfast foods, especially instant oatmeal, dry cereals, Pop-Tarts, protein bars, granola bars, pancake mix, maple syrup, corn muffin mix, peanut butter, juice boxes, tea, coffee and school snacks will be accepted. 
All items must be in the original packaging. Donations can be left in the boxes at the doors of the church at any time."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20160826/st-vincent-depaul-society-to-hold-food-drive



"Dry conditions presented new challenges to the teacher and student volunteers responsible for maintaining the garden at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School this summer. Despite the drought, the garden yielded 300 pounds of fresh produce by Aug. 23. The garden yielded 325 pounds by the same time last year. 
All of the produce harvested from the garden is donated to local food pantries. 
Culinary arts instructor and garden coordinator Nancy Haney said plants were wilting at a faster rate than in the past, but the garden was still enveloped in red tomatoes and yellow sunflowers. This year’s newest additions to the garden were cabbage, kale and corn."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
http://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20160826/tri-county-garden-yields-produce-despite-drought

Culinary Arts Instructor and Garden Coordinator Nancy Haney
Culinary Arts Instructor and Garden Coordinator Nancy Haney

Berry Insurance Gives $5,000 to Boston Children's Hospital as Winner of 2016 Safeco Insurance® Make More Happen Award

Berry Insurance in Franklin has earned a 2016 Safeco Insurance Make More Happen Award for its community work with Boston Children's Hospital.

The award includes a $4,000 donation to Boston Children's Hospital from Safeco Insurance. Berry Insurance agent, Amanda Spittell, and Boston Children's Hospital also had a story featured on Safeco.com, which awarded the hospital an additional $1,000. For the hospital to win the extra money, at least 50 different individuals had to leave a virtual "cheer" on the Safeco.com story.

Photo Left to right: (L to R)- Kaitlyn Pintarich, President of Berry Insurance; Megan Leibovitz, Child Life Specialist at Boston Children's Hospital; Lauren Wilson, Child Life Specialist at Boston Children's Hospital and Christopher Pintarich, Vice President of Berry Insurance.
Photo Left to right: (L to R)- Kaitlyn Pintarich, President of Berry Insurance; Megan Leibovitz, Child Life Specialist at Boston Children's Hospital; Lauren Wilson, Child Life Specialist at Boston Children's Hospital and Christopher Pintarich, Vice President of Berry Insurance.

Safeco's Make More Happen Awards recognize independent agents who demonstrate extraordinary volunteerism for a nonprofit organization. These awards focus on nonprofits in the areas of health and safety, education and civil service. Berry Insurance was selected for the Make More Happen Award based on a photo and application demonstrating its commitment to Boston Children's Hospital, which serves Boston and the surrounding area by providing care, leading research and educating the next generation.

For 10 years, Berry Insurance employees have collected Halloween costumes for children to wear during the hospital's parade and trick-or-treating events. The insurance agency has provided nearly all of the approximately 400 patients, and their siblings, the chance to participate in Halloween.

"Safeco is committed to encouraging agents to make a difference in their local communities, and through the Make More Happen program, we enable them to directly support the programs where they personally see the greatest need," said Meghan Chase, Safeco Insurance northeast territory manager. "We are thrilled to see so many agents participating in this program, and we're proud to help them support the local charities they care about most."

Throughout 2016, Safeco will select a total of 66 independent agencies for the awards and donate up to $330,000 to the nonprofits they support. The Make More Happen Awards are a part of Safeco Insurance's Agent Giving Program.


About Safeco Insurance

In business since 1923 and based in Boston, Mass., Safeco Insurance sells personal automobile, homeowners and specialty products through a network of more than 10,000 independent insurance agencies throughout the United States. Safeco is a Liberty Mutual Insurance company.

Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance is a diversified insurer and the fifth largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S. based on 2015 direct written premium data as reported by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Liberty Mutual is ranked 73rd on the Fortune 100 list of largest corporations in the U.S. based on 2015 revenue.

For more information about Safeco Insurance, go to www.Safeco.com.