Sunday, June 16, 2019

FM #166 - Special Town Council Mtg 6/12/19

FM #166

This internet radio show or podcast is number 166 in the series for Franklin Matters.

This recording shares the special Town Council meeting held on June 12, 2019. As I was coming down the stairs from the Economic Development Subcommittee meeting on the third floor of the Municipal Building, I realized that the Town Council was gathering for a meeting that had not yet come to my radar.

Town administrator Jamie Hellen describes the search process
Town administrator Jamie Hellen describes the search process

new Fire Chief James G McLaughlin listens intently
new Fire Chief James G McLaughlin listens intently

A quick search showed that this was a ‘special’ meeting just called for the primary purpose of allowing the Town Council to approve the appointment of James G McLaughlin as the Fire Chief.

The search to replace Chief McCarragher (now retired) I knew had been underway. It turns out that apparently the search finalized since the Council meeting on the 12th and since the new chief was going to be away for the next Council meeting (6/26), they called a ‘special’ meeting for this purpose.

Without further ado, here is the audio recording (approx 40 minutes).





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Additional References:

My notes for the meeting
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/06/franklin-fire-chief-approved-james-g.html

Town Council Agenda
https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/franklinma/files/agendas/june_12_2019_special_town_council_meeting.pdf

Town Council Actions Taken
https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/franklinma/files/news/town_council_actions_taken_for_june_12_2019.pdf


This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but I can't do it alone. I can always use your help.

How can you help?

In particular, if you have an interest in real estate, zoning, or construction, I would like someone to help us by following the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and or the Conservation Commission meetings. I’ll provide the guidance on note taking and sharing. You need to bring an inquisitive, open mind, and willingness to learn and share.

Overall:
If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors.
If you don't like this, please let me know.

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements.
Thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.org/
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!

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You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes = search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"
subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters on iTunes
subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters on iTunes


FM #165 Economic Development Subcommittee 6/12/19

FM #165

This internet radio show or podcast is number 165 in the series for Franklin Matters.

This recording shares the Economic Development Subcommittee meeting held on June 12, 2019.

The notes from the meeting along with the agenda and reference documents are linked to in these show notes.

After a brief update on three grants in process, the main portion of the meeting was the discussion with the Franklin High School students bringing the proposal to ban plastic bags back to the process. They have learned from their predecessors and are more prepared this time around.

Without further ado, here is the audio recording (approx 50 minutes).





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Additional Reference Links:

My notes from the meeting
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/06/economic-development-meeting-recap-june.html

The agenda document for this session
https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/franklinma/files/agendas/edc_agenda_-_revised_6-12-19.pdf

House 771 was referenced during the discussion
https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/H771

The Boston Ordinance
https://www.boston.gov/sites/default/files/final_plastic_bag_ordinance_11.29.17.pdf

WBUR Episode on the plastic bags
https://www.wbur.org/earthwhile/2019/05/08/ehrlich-house-massachusetts-plastic-ban

Plastic Film Recycling
https://www.plasticfilmrecycling.org/recycling-bags-and-wraps/find-drop-off-location/



This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but I can't do it alone. I can always use your help.

How can you help?

In particular, if you have an interest in real estate, zoning, or construction, I would like someone to help us by following the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and or the Conservation Commission meetings. I’ll provide the guidance on note taking and sharing. You need to bring an inquisitive, open mind, and willingness to learn and share.

Overall:

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors.
  • If you don't like this, please let me know.


Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements.
Thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.org/
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!

------------------

You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes = search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"




subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters on iTunes
subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters on iTunes

FM #164 "Exploring Stone Walls" - Robert M Thorson

FM #164

This internet radio show or podcast is number 164 in the series for Franklin Matters.

This recording shares the Robert M. Thorson “Exploring Stonewalls” talk at the Franklin Historical Museum held on June 9, 2019. The presentation copy he used is linked to here so you can follow along.

Robert holding the piece of 'rock' actually melted steel that he talks about at the end of the presentation
Robert holding the piece of 'rock' actually melted steel that he talks about at the end of the presentation

Mary Olsson provides the introduction and closing to the talk at the Historical Museum.

Without further ado, here is the audio recording (approx 1 hour 20 minutes).






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This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but I can't do it alone. I can always use your help.

How can you help?

In particular, if you have an interest in real estate, zoning, or construction, I would like someone to help us by following the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, and or the Conservation Commission meetings. I’ll provide the guidance on note taking and sharing. You need to bring an inquisitive, open mind, and willingness to learn and share.

Overall:

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors.
  • If you don't like this, please let me know.


Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements.
Thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.org/
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!

------------------

You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes = search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters on iTunes
subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters on iTunes

Franklin Public Schools: Safety Concern - Alert and Information

Dear Franklin Families,

Our apologies if you get this message twice, as we are experiencing technical difficulties.

We are writing to alert you of a situation that occurred in Franklin yesterday. The Franklin Police Department has issued a press release related to suspicious activity involving an encounter between a juvenile and a stranger on Oak Street. We want to be sure that you see it: https://www.franklinma.gov/police-department/news/media-release-stranger-encounter-oak-street

We encourage you to hold a family discussion regarding personal safety and we ask that you have a heightened awareness of safety precautions for your children at this time.

The BFCCPS has kindly shared these resources with us, which may be helpful to you:

An article regarding child abduction prevention tips ranging from young children to teens from Parents Magazine.
https://www.parents.com/kids/safety/stranger-safety/talking-to-kids--teens-about-safety--abduction/

Parent tips on this site provided by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children  https://www.kidsmartz.org/ParentTips

We have taken measures to inform our crossing guards and our transportation company so that our crossing guards and bus drivers are aware and can be on heightened alert. If you would like to use an alternative form of dismissal for your child on Monday, please contact your child’s school.

Sincerely,
Franklin Public Schools

Franklin Public Schools: Safety Concern - Alert and Information
Franklin Public Schools: Safety Concern - Alert and Information

“It’s like the foundation of a building. If you remove the foundation, the whole building is going to fall down”

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

"It’s estimated there are about 200,000 species throughout the world that are considered pollinators - animals that transfer pollen grains from one flower to another. Pollination leads to the production of fruits that people eat, and seeds that will create more plants. 
From the plump bumblebee to the chirpy hummingbird, the delicate monarch butterfly to the wide-eyed fruit bat, pollinators of all kinds play an important role in helping maintain the Earth’s biodiversity and agricultural systems. 
It’s estimated there are about 200,000 species throughout the world that are considered pollinators - creatures that transfer pollen grains from one flower to another. Pollination leads to the production of fruits that people eat, and seeds that will create more plants."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
https://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20190615/pollinator-week-in-massachusetts-time-to-celebrate---and-protect---animals-and-plants-that-fuel-biodiversity

The Franklin Agricultural Commission has recently created a "pollinator pasture" at Dacey Fields:




Pollination Tips to help Horace
https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/franklinma/files/uploads/pollinator_pastures_with_horace_-_untitled_page.pdf

a "pollinator pasture" at Dacey Fields
a "pollinator pasture" at Dacey Fields

Franklin (MA) Police: Stranger Encounter on Oak Street

On June 14, 2019 the Franklin Police were alerted to suspicious activity involving a juvenile student of the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter School. The juvenile reported that while walking on Oak Street, a male party in a vehicle approached her and motioned for her to come to the vehicle.

Thankfully in this incident a neighbor recognized the situation, and called the juvenile over to her. The child was not harmed in any way.

Over the last few weeks there have been reports in Franklin, and area communities of similar type occurrences. At this time we cannot say with any degree of certainty that these incidents are related other than they all involve school age children. Descriptions of suspects and vehicles are not consistent.

The Franklin Police are actively investigating these incidents. We encourage all parents to talk to their children about what to do if approached by strangers, and to practice safe strategies such as always having a friend with them, or moving with groups of people who they know.

At this time we are not issuing any alert for a specific vehicle or suspect. This message is just to alert the community of these incidents, and to remind parents and children to have a plan about what to do in the event they are approached by a stranger.

This was shared from the Town of Franklin page
https://www.franklinma.gov/police-department/news/media-release-stranger-encounter-oak-street

Franklin Police - 911 Panther Way, Franklin
Franklin Police - 911 Panther Way, Franklin

Saturday, June 15, 2019

"Thank You Leo!" (video)

"This year an FHS student performed a thoughtful act of kindness EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. We wanted to show him how much we appreciated him, and say "Thank You Leo!" https://youtu.be/N_45JHmmicg via @YouTube"

https://twitter.com/fhspanthertv/status/1138511398739353605




IRS reminder: Taxpayers should do a Paycheck Checkup now

IRS reminder: Taxpayers can help determine the right amount of tax to withhold from their paychecks by doing a Paycheck Checkup now

The Internal Revenue Service encourages taxpayers to look at their tax withholding now to take charge of their tax situation and avoid a surprise at tax time next year. Doing a Paycheck Checkup now using the IRS Withholding Calculator means taxpayers have the majority of the year to spread out any changes they make to their withholding.



Paycheck Checkup:   https://www.irs.gov/paycheck-checkup
Withholding Calculator:  https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator

The agency said the average tax refund was $2,729 for tax year 2018. While some taxpayers may find it advantageous to get a large tax refund, others may wish to have more of their money in their paychecks throughout the year. Whatever the goal, the IRS wants taxpayers to know that while taxes must be paid as income is earned during the year, either through withholding or estimated tax payments, they can make adjustments that will influence the size of their refund.

Tax reform changes

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 made significant changes that affected almost every taxpayer. Most changes took effect in 2018 and taxpayers first noticed them on the tax return they filed earlier this year.

The new law increased the Child Tax Credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per qualifying child, while also raising the income limits for the credit. This means more people will now qualify for the Child Tax Credit. There is also a new $500 credit for older dependent children and qualifying relatives. While the tax-law changes nearly doubled the standard deduction, they also suspended personal and dependency exemptions that existed in the past. Because of these changes, fewer taxpayers itemize their deductions, and new limits apply to many of these deductions. These restrictions apply to state and local taxes, mortgage interest and miscellaneous itemized deductions, and higher limits apply to charitable contributions.

As a result, many taxpayers ended up receiving 2018 refunds that were larger or smaller than expected. Others found they owed additional tax when they filed. For that reason, taxpayers may need to raise or lower the amount of tax they have taken out of their pay.

While a withholding check is a good idea any year, the IRS also encourages taxpayers who have a change in life circumstances to do a Paycheck Checkup. Personal changes that may affect taxes include marriage or divorce, birth or adoption of a child, or the ‘aging out’ or loss of a dependent.

Using the Withholding Calculator

The Withholding Calculator helps taxpayers get their tax withholding right by making sure these and other tax changes are taken into account. Taxpayers enter their deductions and credits into the online tool, as well as estimate income from other sources, such as a spouse, bank interest, second jobs and gig-economy employment. To use the Withholding Calculator most effectively, taxpayers should have a copy of their 2018 tax return, as well as a recent paystub for themselves and their spouse if married and filing jointly.

The Withholding Calculator will recommend the number of allowances that a taxpayer should claim on a Form W-4. In some instances, it will recommend that the employee also have an additional flat-dollar amount withheld from each paycheck.

Form W-4  https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-w-4

While the Withholding Calculator is primarily designed for taxpayers who earn wages, it can also benefit those with pension and annuity income.

If the Withholding Calculator suggests a change, the employee should fill out a new Form W-4 and give it to their employer as soon as possible. Similarly, recipients of pensions and annuities can make a change by filling out Form W-4P and giving it to their payer. They should not send these forms to the IRS. For more information, visit the Withholding Calculator, available on IRS.gov

Form W-4P  https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/about-form-w-4-p

Estimated taxes

Some workers are considered self-employed and are responsible for paying taxes directly to the IRS. Often, this includes people involved in the gig or sharing economy. One way to pay taxes directly to the IRS is by making estimated tax payments during the year. The next deadline for tax year 2019 estimated taxes is June 17.

Gig or Sharing economy  https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/sharing-economy-tax-center

The TCJA also changed the way tax is calculated for those with substantial income not subject to withholding. As a result, many taxpayers may need to raise or lower the amount of tax they pay each quarter through the estimated tax system.

The revised estimated tax package, Form 1040-ES, on IRS.gov is designed to help taxpayers figure these payments correctly. The package includes a quick rundown of key tax changes, income tax rate schedules for 2019 and a useful worksheet for figuring the right amount to pay.

More information:

FS-2019-4: Tax withholding: How to get it right
https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/tax-withholding-how-to-get-it-right

FS-2019-6: Basics of estimated taxes for individuals
https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/basics-of-estimated-taxes-for-individuals

In the News: Franklin mulling retail marijuana shop, breweries

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"A retail marijuana store is on the agenda for consideration by the Planning Board next week, along with two proposed breweries. 
The board will hold public hearings on each proposal on Monday in the Town Council chambers at the Franklin Municipal Building, 355 East Central St. 
The hearing on the first brewery convenes at 7:05 p.m., followed by the second brewery at 7:10 p.m., and a hearing on the retail marijuana shop at 7:20 p.m. 
“This is our first retail marijuana (proposal),” Town Planner Amy Love said, noting the proposal is for a 5,000-square-foot facility at 1256 West Central St. “It’s in a marijuana overlay district.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
https://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20190614/franklin-mulling-retail-marijuana-shop-breweries

The public hearing notifications were posted here
https://www.franklinmatters.org/2019/06/public-hearings-planning-board-june-17.html

The complete Planning Board agenda can be found on the Town of Franklin page
https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/franklinma/files/agendas/june_17_2019.pdf

As Built Brewing (Facebook image)
As Built Brewing (Facebook image)

“No one wants it but the town doesn’t seem to care about that"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"Plans for a new cell tower are causing a stir in Franklin. 
Homeowners near the proposed site of the 116-foot tower, on Edwards Street, say the project will hurt property values and pose a safety risk. They’re also accusing a town official of unethical behavior. 
“It’s going to be an eyesore. My house value is going to go down,” said Christine Maguire. “And even the thought of it possibly being a health hazard is bothersome to me.” 
Vertex Tower Assets, LLC, needed special permission from the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals to build in Maguire’s neighborhood, which is not zoned for the 116-foot tower. At a public hearing in early May, and over the protests of a few residents, according to meeting minutes, the board granted that approval."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
https://www.milforddailynews.com/entertainment/20190614/cell-tower-angers-franklin-neighborhood

Where is the cell tower to be located?




With the Police Station so close, why couldn't the Town get the additional revenue?


In the News: Massachusetts Walking Tour; marijuana cultivation facility changes ownership

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

Massachusetts Walking Tour - Ten Mile River Watershed
"The Massachusetts Walking Tour -- this year highlighting the local area’s Ten Mile River Watershed -- runs June 17 through 29. All on foot, the traveling musicians give a free concert in each community they stop at and host daily community hikes to bring awareness to local natural resources. In each town, they invite local performers to share the stage with them, promoting local arts and culture in the process. 
Like traveling minstrels of old, songwriters Mark Mandeville and Raianne Richards are getting ready to pack up their instruments and other gear and take their show on the road. 
The pair is marking the 10th year of their Massachusetts Walking Tour - this year highlighting the region’s Ten Mile River Watershed."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
https://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20190613/traveling-musical-concert-highlights-local-arts-trails

Visit the Mass Walking Tour page for details on the route and concert schedule
http://masswalkingtour.org/2019-tour/

Massachusetts Walking Tour - 2019
Massachusetts Walking Tour - 2019


marijuana cultivation facility changes ownership
"The Cannabis Control Commission on Thursday approved the sale of New England Treatment Access, which operates a marijuana cultivation facility in Franklin, but not before commissioners raised concerns about the buyer’s track record in Florida. 
The vote was unanimous in favor of the sale to Georgia-based Surterra Wellness, led by the former head of the Wrigley chewing gum empire William “Beau” Wrigley Jr., but commissioners added conditions to require Surterra to submit plans to comply with Massachusetts regulations around edible products, advertising and marketing. 
Those conditions, requested by Commissioner Kay Doyle, stemmed from reports that a Surterra facility that processes marijuana products was shut down for having not completed a food safety inspection and that the company violated Florida restrictions around advertising and marketing of medical marijuana products."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)
https://www.milforddailynews.com/news/20190614/operator-of-franklin-marijuana-facility-to-be-sold

MBTA: Franklin Line shuttle weekend - Jun 15-16

Bus shuttles replace train service from Forge Park to Norwood Central stations June 15-16 to allow for track improvement work. 

Buses will operate close to the train schedule but may experience delays up to 20 minutes.

Affected stops:

  • Norwood Central
  • Windsor Gardens
  • Walpole
  • Norfolk
  • Franklin
  • Forge Park/495

https://www.mbta.com/schedules/CR-Franklin/timetable
Last Updated: Jun 10 2019 11:58 AM


MBTA: Franklin Line shuttle weekend - Jun 15-16
MBTA: Franklin Line shuttle weekend - Jun 15-16