Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Electric Youth Announces 2019 Debut at THE BLACK BOX - Jan 5

Electric Youth 2019 will debut at THE BLACK BOX on January 5 with two shows at 6:30 and 8:30 PM. The 2019 group of talented young singers and dancers includes Laney Dragsbaek, Hayley Driscoll, Tatiana McAlpine, Kelly McCormick, Emma Nicholson, Hannah Rezendes, Madison Rezendes, and Lindsey Wyner of Franklin, Susauna Wickstrom of Wrentham, Griffin Wilkins and Caroline Wilkins of Walpole, and Cassidy Baratta and Kelsey Breslin of Hopkinton.

Electric Youth delivers high-energy, fully choreographed performances of classic rock, contemporary pop, Broadway, and country hits for audiences of all ages. The American touring ensemble of talented singer-dancers, ages 14-18, is backed by the eight-piece Boston Show Band — world class musicians who’ve worked with music legends Tony Bennett, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, B.B. King, Diana Ross, The Temptations, Van Morrison and more. Electric Youth is trained at the Franklin School for the Performing Arts. 
Electric Youth Announces 2019 Debut at THE BLACK BOX - Jan 5
Electric Youth Announces 2019 Debut at THE BLACK BOX - Jan 5

The group has toured Europe 15 times, performing in such renowned venues as Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Musikverein and Schonbrunn Palace; Sanremo’s Ariston Theatre; England’s Arundel Festival; Disneyland Paris; and professional theatres in Bristol, London and Windsor. EY has also headlined Fourth of July shows for U.S. troops stationed in Italy at Camp Ederle, Camp Darby, and Aviano Air Force Base. 

The ensemble has performed on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, on Fox-TV and WBZ Radio, and at Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium, the Smithsonian Museum Theater, the United Nations and the U.S. Embassy in Vienna. Electric Youth has released six albums, including 2014’s Power Chord, available on iTunes. This summer, they will tour France, Italy, the U.K., and Switzerland.

Collectively, the members of Electric Youth 2019 have performed with Broadway stars, sung the National Anthem for Boston sports teams, been selected to perform at “Broadway Sessions” in NYC, won national gymnastics titles, worked with choreographers from So You Think You Can Dance, performed on televised dance specials, and more. Alumni of Electric Youth have gone on to appear on Broadway, in national and international tours, television, regional theater, feature film, professional dance companies, cruise ships, and more.

Tickets for the January 5 Debut shows are available at or by calling the box office at 508-528-3370.

In the blink of an eye

Franklin Food Pantry  

   Holiday Edition 2018
In the blink of an eye  

 Thankful for you.

Dear Friends,
In the blink of an eye, it will all be over. The harried pace of the next few weeks will roll into a post-holiday calm that will be welcomed by many of us. We, at the Pantry, will take pause and look back at all that we have accomplished, thankful to our generous community of supporters who made it all possible.

Many nonprofit organizations appeal to their donors for support during the holiday season and encourage end-of-year giving. We are no different. We offer a variety of ways to engage our supporters to capture the spirit of giving that abounds this time of year. The gifts that are made now will help us get through the leaner months ahead, when giving subsides and food drives are less frequent.

There are so many ways you can support the Pantry. However you choose, we are grateful.

When the season of giving ends, the need continues. Your gifts now will help us care for the 1,000 individuals who count on us long after the holidays are over. 

Franklin Food Pantry
THANK YOU for your support, however you choose to help the Pantry. Wishing you and your families a very Happy Thanksgiving!  



Franklin Food Pantry

Our facility is generously donated by Rockland Trust.
We are located at 43 West Central Street, Franklin, MA,
on Route 140 in the Rockland Trust parking lot, 
across the street from the fire station.

Rockland Trust 

Franklin Food Pantry, 43 West Central Street, PO Box 116, Franklin, MA 02038

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The newsletter was shortened for publication here, to view the full contents

"it is an opt-in program"

From the Mass Consumer Affairs blog we find out about a new credit score becoming available in 2019.

"Your credit score has long been determined by a standard measurement known as FICO. Your score is determined using the information in your credit report, such as your payment history and how much debt you owe, and creditors and lenders, along with insurance firms and landlords, use your score to determine your credit-worthiness. The lower your score, the higher interest rates you will pay on your loans and credit cards, if you are approved for them at all. 
Starting in 2019, however, a new opt-in credit score system, UltraFICO, is being implemented and consumers could see a boost to their credit scores. 
Here are the important differences you should know: the original FICO score takes into account debt levels, new credit, payment history, length of credit history, credit mix, and several other factors. UltraFICO will also focus on cash behaviors, such as how much you keep in your checking, savings, and money market accounts, and how you use this money; how long you have maintained a bank account; and whether you’ve had negative balances."
Continue reading the article online

Other resources on this topic

From Consumer Reports

From Lifehacker

From the FICO site

It is a good thing that this new scoring is an opt in program which means you have to sign up for it. I would really think about it before doing so. Given the history of data breeches, you would effectively be giving the credit agencies, more of your data. What could go wrong with that?

"it is an opt-in program"
"it is an opt-in program"

MassBudget: Massachusetts taxes on par with U.S. average

MassBudget  Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center  Democracy.

November 20, 2018

Massachusetts taxes on par with U.S. average
Education, transportation, public safety, and other essential services are possible because of state and local taxes.
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) notes, in a pair of new briefs, that Massachusetts' level of combined state and local taxes are about average compared with the rest of the United States in Fiscal Year 2016, the year for which most recent data are available.
MassBudget: Massachusetts taxes on par with U.S. averageSince 1977, Massachusetts has cut taxes more than most other states - by 26.2 percent. This directly affects the amount of revenue that the Commonwealth and local communities are able to collect and, therefore, the services they can provide.
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MA 02108

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, 15 Court Square, Suite 700, Boston, MA 02108

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In the News: social media diet is beneficial; student loan servicing company adding to student debt

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"If you were considering going on a social media diet, new research backs up the benefits. 
According to a paper in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology’s December issue, tightening Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat use can lower loneliness and depression. 
University of Pennsylvania psychologist Melissa G. Hunt led the study, which surveyed 143 students at Penn. Researchers divided the undergrads into groups that limited social media use and groups that continued to use the platforms as they pleased. Participants, who were predominately female, were offered academic credit for their time. 
The study did not ask students to abstain from social media. The researchers explained this choice in the paper, noting, “It is unrealistic to expect young people to forgo this information stream entirely.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

"One of the nation’s largest student loan servicing companies may have driven tens of thousands of borrowers struggling with their debts into higher-cost repayment plans. 
That’s the finding of a Department of Education audit of practices at Navient Corp., the nation’s third-largest student loan servicing company. 
The conclusions of the 2017 audit, which until now have been kept from the public and were obtained by The Associated Press, appear to support federal and state lawsuits that accuse Navient of boosting its profits by steering some borrowers into the high-cost plans without discussing options that would have been less costly in the long run. 
The education department has not shared the audit’s findings with the plaintiffs in the lawsuits. In fact, even while knowing of its conclusions, the department repeatedly argued that state and other federal authorities do not have jurisdiction over Navient’s business practices."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Franklin Turkey Trot Rescheduled to Saturday, Nov 24

Due to freezing weather conditions, we are rescheduling the Franklin Turkey Trot to this Saturday, November 24th. The race will start at 8:00 AM.

Unfortunately, entry fees and shirt purchases cannot be refunded. All proceeds from the race will go to the Franklin Food Pantry; we appreciate your generosity and understanding.

We will STILL have bib pickup, registration, and free sunglasses on Wednesday, November 21st.


NO DOGS ON THE COURSE - Our race insurance does not allow for animals on the course. Please don't bring them as we will pull you out of the race.

Avoid long lines on Thanksgiving morning and pick-up bibs, free sunglasses, etc. at 91 Jordan Road, Franklin on Wednesday night. Pickup times:

-WEDNESDAY NIGHT - 7 - 9:00 pm
-SATURDAY morning - 6:30 - 7:40 am

8:00 am! The race will start on time. We encourage you to pick-up your bib Wednesday night to avoid lines.

Race Day Parking
No parking on Jordan Road! Again, No parking on Jordan Road! If the church parking lot is full, please park across the street in new neighborhood or down the street on Pearly Lane or Burning Tree Road. We will have a van circling those streets offering rides until 7:45 am.

Race Map
To view the race course map:

Awards will be given to the top three places in each age category. Gift certificates will be given to the best overall places.

Free Raffle Items
We will be having a free raffle at the end of the race after the awards ceremony.

Free Breakfast
Breakfast items are available in the gym throughout the race. These items include muffins, bagels, fruit slices and beverages.

Expiration Dates
Please check the expiration dates on your donations; the food pantry has to throw away ALL expired donations.

Dress Warm  
It looks like it will be a chilly morning!

Franklin Turkey Trot rescheduled to Saturday, Nov 24
Franklin Turkey Trot rescheduled to Saturday, Nov 24

Franklin Historical Museum: Many happenings in December!

The Holidays are upon us which of course means Mrs. Claus will return again this year for her annual visit to the museum from the North Pole. She’ll be reading to wide eyed children from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM on Saturday December 8. We’ll also have Kid’s Crafts in the museum library, all part of this year’s Holiday Happenings sponsored by the Franklin Downtown Partnership.

Our Second Sunday Speaker Series continues on Sunday December 9 as Jim Johnston returns for part two of his talk on the Oliver Pond Home and his antique collection. Town Historian, former History teacher at Franklin High School and lifelong Franklin resident, Jim brings his vast knowledge and unique humor to his interesting and intriguing presentation which includes photos of the Oliver Pond Home interior and his beautiful collections. Doors open at 1:00 PM and the presentation starts at 1:15 PM. 

Holiday Christmas ornaments
Holiday Christmas ornaments
Our speaker series was such a success this year, we are planning to continue these interesting and informative talks for the upcoming year. Our schedule for the 2019 Second Sunday Speaker Series will be finalized and published soon.

Holiday Christmas ornaments and 2019 Calendars are available at the Museum gift shop while they last. Choose from a Gazebo globe ornament for $15.00 or a Brick School ornament for $10.00. Each comes in its own handsome gift box. 2019 wall calendars, full of vintage photos from the Museum’s photo collection are available at the gift shop for $5.00 each. Proceeds benefit the Friends of the Franklin Historical Museum.

The museum is located at 80 West Central Street. Our winter hours are Saturday mornings from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM and Sunday afternoons from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM. We are wheelchair accessible and always free. Come in and find your history.

You can also visit the Historical Museum on the web at   

or on Facebook at

Franklin Federated Church to host New England Bell Ringers on Nov 24

Franklin Federated Church presents "A Few of Your Favorite Things," a concert featuring New England’s premier community handbell ensemble, the New England Ringers, on Saturday, Nov 24 at 7:30 PM at the church at 171 Main Street.

The 2018 holiday program will be like none other! This will be a completely audience driven performance, with every concert being different. The 13-member ensemble has prepared over 18 different pieces for audience members to choose which selections they would like to hear! 

The program is filled with a diversity of style -- music rich in grand symphonic moments plus delightfully light and airy carols and tunes reminiscent of snowy winter days. Some fan favorites will definitely be included, such as Angels We Have Heard on High, The First Noel, and God Rest Ye Merry, Gentleman. There will be FUN and Surprise!

With its commitment to musical excellence, focus on eclectic programming to appeal to a variety of musical tastes, and a healthy dash of showmanship, New England Ringers has been entertaining audiences of all ages for seventeen exciting years throughout New England, New York and Pennsylvania. 
Franklin Federated Church to host New England Bell Ringers on Nov 24
Franklin Federated Church to host New England Bell Ringers on Nov 24

The highly energetic performers showcase their talents in a uniquely varied program playing with sensitivity, discipline and skill to achieve their signature artistry on a handbell instrument comprised of six octaves of both Schulmerich handbells and Malmark handchimes along with other instruments.

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

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

Town Council meeting - Summary Nov 14, 2018

The Town Council reorganized itself with the selection of a new Chairman - Tom Mercer; vice-chair, Matt Kelly and Clerk, Glenn Jones.

Dale Lippert, 8 Beth Road, spoke during citizens comments about drain problems in and around his property that he claims the Town is at least partially responsible for.

Two appointments were made to the Design Review Commission

The parking problems in the arena along the East-West-Nason-Church streets area were reviewed. Franklin Police provided the results of their survey. Some improvements (i.e reduction in parking) was observed and some could be attributed to towing one car with 6 outstanding tickets. Some of the residents are still not happy. Dean College can do more to help as they at least appear to be contributing to the problem. Town administration to set up a meeting to review the matter with Dean. Multiple residents spoke during this segment of the meeting.

Legislation for action recorded unanimous votes, even when roll call was required. The Actions Taken document has not yet been published but the details on the votes can be found in my notes linked below.

Actions Taken (updated 11/21/18)

Franklin TV has made the video replay available

The agenda and documents for the meeting can be found

Turn on terrain view to understand the problem for 8 Beth Road

demolition of the buildings of the former Thompson Press (Oct 2018)
demolition of the buildings of the former Thompson Press (Oct 2018)

Down the rabbit hole to a fortune teller, but what does it say?

1 - The internet can bring you down a rabbit hole very quickly. I saw this tweet from @FranklinPSArt

The FHS sculpture classes' take on the social advocacy artwork of Ai Weiwei. Look for these fortune tellers in the lobbies tomorrow morning. Take one, follow the directions, and pass it on!

Link to AI Weiwei article:

2 - Followed the article link to read about Ai Weiwei and his "Sunflower Seeds"
"More than 1,600 artisans worked to make the individual porcelain seeds by hand in Jingdzhen, the city known as the “Porcelain Capital,” where artists have been producing pottery for nearly 2000 years. Porcelain, first produced during the Han dynasty in about 200 B.C.E. and later mastered during the Tang dynasty, is made by heating white clay (kaolin) to a temperature over 1200 degrees Celsius. 
The fusion of the particles within the clay during firing allowed artists to create vessels with thin but strong walls. Porcelain— a symbol of imperial culture in China—was also made for export via the Silk Road and became important to the creation of the idea of China in the West."
3 - Found this video on the Tate Modern Gallery web page

4 - Now, who got one of the fortune tellers?

5 - How does it work? How does it tie back to Ai Weiwei?

Library of Congress: Letters About Literature Contest Opens

Writing Contest for Young Readers Across the Country Announced

Letters About Literature, the Library of Congress reading-and-writing contest now in its 26th year, is accepting applications beginning Nov. 1 for the 2018-19 cycle. For the first time, letters will be submitted electronically. 

Letters About Literature asks students in grades 4-12 to read a book, poem, speech or essay by an author, living or dead, to think about how that work affected them and to write to the author on the work's impact.

Click here for more information

“You’d think there’d be a bigger interest but the numbers are never as large”

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

"Early voting and polarizing political views helped fuel robust turnout across Massachusetts, even though fewer people are voting than past decades. 
More than 2.7 million Massachusetts residents cast ballots on Nov. 6, representing the highest amount for a midterm election in two decades. Early voting accounted for 21.6 percent of total votes and proved popular for the second consecutive election. It was first allowed in 2016. 
“People were able to vote any way they wanted,” explained Marlene B. Chused, town clerk of Sharon, where overall turnout totaled 70 percent of registered voters. 
Statewide turnout totaled at least 59 percent of registered voters, marking the highest turnout for a midterm election since 1994 when Republican voters across the country turned out in droves in a rebuke to then-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

I love the quote from the Waltham City Clerk that opens this posting. It comes from the same conclusion that I reached when looking at our voter turnout results over the years. It is no surprise that Franklin is not unique. Controversy and money drives election turnouts more than civic duty. It will help if early voting can be continued for our local election in 2019.

Election Information for Nov 2018
Election Information for Nov 2018

The election collection for 2018 can be found here