Friday, July 23, 2021

Franklin's Event Outlook: July 23 - July 29, 2021

Hopefully, a good weather weekend as there are outdoor activities today with the Farmers Market and Concert on the Common which includes "movie night". THE BLACK BOX also offers a concert choice Friday and Saturday nights. The Historical Museum is open both Saturday and Sunday so you can check out the new 'parlor' exhibit as well as the Davis Thayer exhibit. And consider stopping by the Toys for Tots Festival (at the Alumni Restaurant) during the day Saturday as well as the Franklin United Methodist Church for a cookout Saturday evening.

Friday, July 23
2:00pm - Farmers Market
3:30pm - Kids craft activity by Library Youth Services
5:00pm - Concerts on the Common: "Kendo"
6:00pm - Concerts on the Common: "Frank Padula Band"
7:30pm - Exit 17
8:00pm - Movie Night: Spider Man into the Spider-Verse

Saturday, July 24
10:00am - Historical Museum (always free)
12:30pm - Toys for Tots Festival
5:30pm - FREE Community Cookout 
7:30pm - The Zajac Brothers Band

Sunday, July 25
1:00pm - Historical Museum (always free)

Tuesday, July 27
9:00am - Pamela Hines – Jazz Journey
12:00pm - Pamela Hines – Jazz Journey
6:00pm - Pamela Hines – Jazz Journey

Wednesday, July 28
10:00am - "The Wonderful World of Wine" – Mark/ Kim
1:00pm - "The Wonderful World of Wine" – Mark/Kim
7:00pm - "The Wonderful World of Wine" – Mark/Kim
7:30pm - Let’s Laugh Today is Free on ZOOM!

Thursday, July 29
10:00am - "Frank’s Music" – Frank Falvey
11:00am - "Talkin’ the Blues" – Jim/Todd
1:00pm - "Frank’s Music" – Frank Falvey
2:00pm - "Talkin’ the Blues" – Jim/Todd
5:00pm - Historical Museum (always free)
7:00pm - "Frank’s Music" – Frank Falvey
8:00pm - "Talkin' the Blues!" - Jim/Todd

If you have an event to add to the calendar, you can use the form to submit it for publication:

The Town meeting calendar is found
The School district meeting calendar is found
Community Calendar
Community Calendar

Franklin Food Pantry appoints 3 new Board members

Franklin Food Pantry Bolsters Board with Three New Members

Experienced Leaders Join Board of Directors

The Franklin Food Pantry today announced three new members to its Board of Directors. Community Members Vicki Coates, Susan Dewsnap, and Chris Kilburn have joined its Board to further The Franklin Food Pantry's mission to provide immediate hunger relief and healthy sustainable solutions within the Franklin area as well as guide The Pantry to its next stage of services.

"Our Board of Directors is comprised of a dedicated team of community leaders committed to relieving food insecurity within our community," said Franklin Food Pantry Executive Director Tina Powderly. "Vicki, Sue and Chris bring a variety of experience that round out our Board of Directors and we are excited to have their talents available as we look to fully fulfill our mission."

Vicki Coates
Vicki Coates
Vicki Coates has over twenty-five years of senior leadership experience in product development, operations and contracting for various Massachusetts health and dental insurance carriers. She received her master's from Clark University and her undergraduate degree from Colby College. She was a co-founder of the Franklin Education Foundation and the former Partners in Education program at the J.F. Kennedy School in Franklin. She and her husband have resided in Franklin for over 30 years and raised two children, both graduates of the Franklin Public Schools.

Susan Dewsnap
Susan Dewsnap

Susan Dewsnap is a Vice President and Relationship Manager at Rockland Trust. She is a graduate of The University of Massachusetts Amherst (B.B.A.) and Bryant University (M.B.A.). Her professional financial experience includes both corporate and personal financial planning.  Her volunteer involvement includes 10 years on the Franklin Finance Committee and Treasurer of Tockwotton Home in Providence, RI. She also enjoys helping at school events and cheering for her kids at sports and music events. Dewsnap lives in Franklin with her husband and two children.

Chris Kilburn
Chris Kilburn
Chris Kilburn recently retired from Fidelity Investments, where he was a Senior Vice President and Head of Technology Architecture. In that role his responsibilities included the strategic vision, design and delivery of technology, enabling customers to confidently make decisions that drive better health and financial outcomes. Previously he held several technology leadership roles across Fidelity's market-leading workplace retirement business. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science & Marketing at Boston College Carroll School of Management.

About the Franklin Food Pantry

The Franklin Food Pantry offers supplemental food assistance and household necessities to more than 1,400 individuals. During the Covid-19 pandemic, The Pantry has moved to a curbside distribution. Clients receive a bag of shelf-stable items, fresh produce and a choice of proteins along with specialized bags for children under 18. The Franklin Food Pantry receives no state or local funding for our operational costs. As a private, nonprofit organization, we depend on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and other strategic partners. We are grateful for our many partnerships, including that with the Greater Boston Food Bank, that allow us to achieve greater buying power and lower our costs. Donations and grants fund our food purchases, keep our lights on, and put gas in our food truck. Other programs include delivery, Weekend Backpack Program for Franklin elementary and middle school children in need, emergency food bags and holiday meal packages. The Pantry is located at 43 W. Central St. in Franklin on Route 140 across from the Franklin Fire Station. Visit for more information.

Recap: Town Council approves Dean alcohol license and executes right of first refusal for Maple Hill open space

Quick Recap:
  • The Town Council recognized two retirees Patti Wyllie, Treasurer-Collector's Department and Tommy Grundstrom, DPW and Ndoumbe Ndoye, Franklin High School, Commonwealth Heroines Award
  • Reconsideration of the alcohol license for Dean College per their ABCC appeal resulted in approval by a 7-2 vote
  • The right of first refusal for the Maple Hill property was funded and approved by a unanimous 9-0 vote (via roll call). This is the first time the time has accepted its right of first refusal as it was in position to do so with the funds from the Pond St sale ($1.6M) and use of the Community Preservation Act funds now available. It will take time to complete the purchase, then the planning for trails, access parking, etc. can begin. Funding for this improvement work remains to be determined.
  • Town Administrator contract approved with minor revisions to extend for 5 years (from 3), increase aligned with that of other town employee commitments, and formalized the annual review with an ad-hoc subcommittee to provide a report to the full Town Council.


As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session
The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #tc0721 

Photos captured during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one album


Citizens comments
  • Citizens comments, Dale Kurtz announcement of purple heart day, Aug 7, recognition of 18 recipients. Contact veterans office to confirm participation. Monument repair project starting.
  • Kerri Bertone treasurer collector announcing paperless billing option, also waiving ACH charge for electronic payments. #tc0721
Approval of minutes
  • Motion to approve mins of 5/26 meeting; 5/27 minutes approved also by voice vote; June 9 meeting mins, Jun 23 minutes, approved also via voice vote - 2 abstentions for last vote #tc0721
  • Patti Wyllie recognized at retirement after 33 years of service to Town of Franklin #tc0721
  • Tommy Grundstrom, DPW sewer dept now retiring after 26 years, #tc0721
  • Ndumbe Ndoye, recognition for her selection as a commonwealth heroine. #tc0721
  • Public hearing opened for bylaw amendment on tasting rooms, no Public step to comment, EDC subcommittee chair Hamblen speaks for, hearing closes ... up for vote later in meeting #tc0721
Dean College all alcohol license
  • Next up, dean college alcohol license up for approval after denial last year by council. ABCC determined no legal reason for denial. Back for approval... #tc0721 
  • If TC does deny again, the applicant could appeal, would be heard by superior court which would review the hearing by the Council. Not a public hearing, applicants can respond to questions clarification on points. Students would not be tending bar, only Sodexo employees #tc0721
  • Councilor Chandler pulled records of last 4 years of police incidents. College may not notify of all incidents, can be handled internally, major ones or per student request do get reported. Alcohol events are well managed by college personnel and Sodexo tip certified #tc0721
  • Chandler concerned with 'capricious' comment by ABCC. Council does have broad authority, the applicant does have broad authority. "It is not that simple" #tc0721
  • Bissanti Council should not be bullied by ABCC or threat of lawsuit. Dellorco how much have we spent? Just over $2k to defend the community for the prior decision. Jones adds that this is a simplification of the 30 one day licenses with this they did have no incidents #tc0721
  • Mercer important to clarify the license for events, no a pub open in the campus center, faculty, college business. #tc0721 Cerel "do you want to take their advice or not?" Hellen State ABCC acts to provide guidance and oversight on the legality of the process.
  • Events only license not a liquor license? Kelly - Dean needs to do better community outreach on any number of the other issues, parking etc. #tc0721 a further amendment to add a condition of req 21+ to serve at the events. Bissanti calls this a recipe for disaster
  • Exception made for citizen comment which is not part of the public hearing. Another citizen complaining about the student behavior as neighbors. #tc0721
  • Confusion between what is allowed per license for the special events vs. general alcohol already on campus from other Franklin establishments. This license doesn't allow for those type purchases. #tc0721
  • Roll call vote: Chandler, Bissanti no, all other 7 Councilors voted to approve. 7-2 vote, it passes. #tc0721
Legislation for Action
Maple Hill right of first refusal
Town Administrator report
  • Many happy people out there voted for this historic vote. #tc0721 TA Hellen report, grant for $20k for complete streets for chairs, lighting, barriers for outdoor dining downtown. Thanks to the 4th of July committee for their work. Quiet zone study money rec'd.
  • Thanks to Chrissy Welton for her work, she is moving to FL, best wishes. #tc0721 Dean Ave parking for future agenda. Thanks to those who voted for CPA, put us position to make the purchase of Maple Hill. Last word "awesome" for Chrissy. Dean relationship does need to improve
  • #tc0721 thanks to prior Councils for identifying the Maple Hill space and helping to work towards the purchase today. Executive session, will return to open session, subject to what happens for final adjournment. Negotiate with TA, motion and 2nd passes via roll 9-0
Executive session

Return to open session

  • Council returns to open session, contract for Jamie, FY 22 same salary (2% COLA) no new financial commitments, removes auto increases, replaced by increase inline with other municipal employees, also reqs ad hoc sub comm to do review and bring to full council. #tc0721
  • No comments on new contract, motion to approve, passes 9-0 Motion to adjourn, passes 9-0 #tc0721

Audio recording of meeting to be available in couple of days 

Dean College officials answering questions during the alcohol license discussion
Dean College officials answering questions during the alcohol license discussion

Rep Roy's recap of Franklin Historical Museum reopening

State Representative Jeff Roy writes: 

"Delighted to be a part of the grand re-opening of the Franklin Historical Museum last week. The re-opening brought back to life our local laboratory for history and culture and offered residents a chance to see Franklin over the years since 1778.  
It was also a treat to hear James Johnston describe the new federal parlor display and hear Jamie Barrett sing his ode to Davis Thayer (brief video included below). Check out the newly re-opened and expanded museum. Thank you Mary Olsson for making it all happen."

Shared from Facebook:

ribbon cutting of the Franklin Historical Museum reopening
ribbon cutting of the Franklin Historical Museum reopening

The YouTube link to Jamie Barrett's Ode to Davis Thayer

Franklin to get a piece of the MassTrails Grant Program announced

Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) tweeted on Thu, Jul 22, 2021:
Glad to join state + local officials today in Sandwich to award nearly $4M in MassTrails Grant Program funding to 52 trail projects to support construction, maintenance + improvement of public trails across the Commonwealth.

Full press release ->  🏞️
Press conference video -> 📺  or
Shared via Twitter ->

The 52 project awards can be viewed in this PDF ->

On the first page we find:
Community: Foxboro, Wrentham, & Franklin
Organization: Department of Conservation and Recreation
Project Title: F. Gilbert Hills/Wrentham/Franklin OHV Trail Repair and Improvements
Brief Project Description:
"This project builds off previous trail repair work aimed to protect wetland and soil resources, repair poor trail conditions, and enhance user experience for all visitors. Years of repeated motorized use with a lack of substantial trail repair have resulted in a trail which is up to fifteen feet wide in various locations. Fall line trails with poor drainage potential have left some areas eroded to almost two feet below the original trail surface. Conditions addressed as part of the project include braided hill climbs, mud pits with standing water, and needed trail relocation"

MassTrails Grant Program
MassTrails Grant Program

Invisible Stories - #10 - "Homelessness is NOT a Choice (featuring LAHSA)"

"In CA, there are only 22 affordable housing units for every hundred extremely low income households" - in Franklin, the wait list for state provided affordable housing is multiple years long.

Mark Horvath (@hardlynormal) tweeted on Sun, Jul 11, 2021:

Invisible Stories is a mini-doc series that goes beyond the rhetoric, statistics, political debates, and limitations of social services to examine poverty in America via a medium that audiences of all ages understand and can't ignore. 

Link to the 10th and last episode of the series:

More about the Shower of Hope =

Link to the series: 

Shared from Twitter:

Note: I met Mark at a social media conference many years ago and have been following his work. This series is very well done. Yes, the series is set in LA but homelessness is an issue all around us whether visible or not.

MA News: Gov Baker says no changes; BPS says masks for students; MA House passes sports betting

Gov Baker: No plans to change COVID policies 

"ALTHOUGH COVID-19 CASE numbers are rising in Massachusetts and nationally, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday that he does not intend to reinstate any statewide COVID-related rules. 
“We’re not looking at changing any of our existing rules or policies,” Baker said, speaking at a press conference in Sandwich."
"In one of the first signs the resurgence of COVID infections is causing concern among officials, Boston Acting Mayor Kim Janey on Thursday said all public school students in the city will be required to wear face masks when they return to classes in September. 
Already this week, officials in Cambridge, Provincetown, and Nantucket urged residents and visitors to wear masks in indoor public spaces as new outbreaks have been reported; Cambridge, for example, said that 42 percent of the 83 confirmed and probable infections in July so far are “breakthrough” cases involving people who are fully vaccinated."
Continue reading the article online (subscription maybe required)

MA House passes sports betting

"THE HOUSE OVERWHELMINGLY approved a bill to legalize sports betting in Massachusetts on Thursday evening, but even before the vote, the question of whether to allow wagers on college sports emerged as a major sticking point between the House and Senate."
Continue reading the article online

"The state House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a bill that would legalize sports betting in Massachusetts, allowing people 21 and older to place wagers on professional and collegiate athletic events.

The House endorsed the measure 156-3, sending it to the state Senate, which has been less enthusiastic about legalizing the practice."

Continue reading the article online (subscription maybe required)

Toys for Tots Festival => July 24

3rd Annual Toys For Tots Festival. More details as the we get closer to the event. More vendors and more raffles, with special guests.

As of now (July 19) here is Christmas in July setlist. (*Subject to change if need be)
Event will be CA$H only No Credit Cards at bar!!! ATM inside as well as across the street at Big Y.
% of sales goes to Toys For Tots

For additional updates follow the event on Facebook

Toys for Tots Festival => July 24
Toys for Tots Festival => July 24 

Let's keep it going Franklin

"The Department of Public Health released new town-by-town data for coronavirus cases on Thursday, the latest set of such data showing how the virus has impacted individual communities throughout Massachusetts."
Continue reading the article online (subscription maybe required)


only 10 positive cases in this report
only 10 positive cases in this report

Thursday, July 22, 2021

THE BLACK BOX Summer Series: Exit 17 and The Zajac Brothers Band

Friday, July 23
EXIT 17 is a four piece Classic Rock Band based in Franklin, MA, Playing all the hits you know and love, from Aerosmith to U2!

Saturday, July 24
The Zajac Brother’s band specializes in psychedelic blues rock music, influenced by the counterculture movement of the 60’s and 70’s. Tyler Zajac on Vocals and Keys, Luke Okerlund on Guitar, Ryan Philipps on Bass, and Matt Zajac on Drums.

The Zajac Brothers Band will be performing songs by both The Beatles and The Grateful Dead. These two juggernaut bands are major influences to the Zajac brothers. Join us at THE BLACK BOX while they pay homage to their heroes by performing this tribute night featuring creative medleys, improvisational jams and deep cuts from The Beatles and The Grateful Dead.
Tickets can be purchased online

In case of inclement weather these events will be moved inside. 

THE BLACK BOX Summer Series: Exit 17 and The Zajac Brothers Band
THE BLACK BOX Summer Series: Exit 17 and The Zajac Brothers Band

Massachusetts House, Senate Passes $261.6 Million FY 2021 Supplemental Budget

Massachusetts House, Senate

Massachusetts House, Senate Passes $261.6 Million FY 2021 Supplemental Budget

Today, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a $261.6 million supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) that addresses time-sensitive deficiencies, extends expanded voting options, provides supports for the implementation of the 2020 landmark police reform law and makes investments to support the Commonwealth's continued recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we continue to pave the way to an equitable recovery, the supplemental budget passed today includes $191 million to provide support and stability for our early educator workforce, $27.9 million for one-time economic relief payments to families on transitional assistance, and $12.5 million for costs associated with the implementation of last session's landmark police reform bill.

"As we carefully emerge into a post-pandemic world, we must continue to keep a close eye on areas which are critical to our Commonwealth's wellbeing," stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). "This supplemental budget provides us additional tools to ensure such areas as voter access, early education, public health, veteran and family services and transportation remain resilient as we get back to better. I want to thank Chair Rodrigues, his team at Senate Ways and Means, Speaker Mariano, Representative Michlewitz, their staffs and my colleagues for their work and collaboration on this important legislation."

"This supplemental budget continues to support the critical needs of those most impacted by the pandemic and includes many of our shared priorities, such as child care, voting, transportation and the implementation of our police reform law," said Speaker of the House Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). "I would like to thank Chair Michlewitz and his team, as well as Senate President Spilka, Chair Rodrigues and their teams for their work as we position our Commonwealth towards a strong recovery."

"This budget allows us to pay our bills and address time sensitive needs, while meeting the immediate challenges facing our Commonwealth by investing in our early educator workforce, helping vulnerable families, and fulfilling our funding obligations to ensure timely implementation of the police reform law. I am also glad that this budget will close the loophole in line of duty death benefits so the families of fallen police officers can get what they are owed," said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues, Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways & Means (D-Westport). "Thank you to Senate President Spilka for her steady leadership and continued support and to my colleagues in the House and Senate for their tireless work to aid Massachusetts' equitable recovery and set the state on the path toward a new better."

"This supplemental budget includes a number of critical investments crucial to the Commonwealth's future such as funds for early education, police reform, and increased aid to families in need" said Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Chair of the House Committee on Ways & Means (D-Boston). "This legislation also provides much needed clarity on the future of the MBTA's governing structure and extends our meaningful voter access laws for the reminder of the year. I want thank Speaker Mariano, Senate President Spilka, Chair Rodrigues, and all my colleagues in the Legislature for their tireless work and advocacy on these issues."

Notable components of the funding package include:

Extended Voting Options

The legislation passed today allows for the popular practice of voting early by mail to continue through December 15, 2021, giving eligible voters the ability to exercise their right to cast a ballot while protecting their health and safety. The bill further allows cities and towns the ability to offer early in-person voting for such elections.  The extension of these additional voting options come as the Commonwealth continues to grapple with COVID-19 and its related variants and on the heels of elections in 2020 that saw record participation using these same methods.

"Passage of the Supplemental Budget today with provisions to extend mail-in and early voting options sends a strong message that both the Senate and the House are committed to ensuring that all voices are heard in our democracy. This is particularly critical in light of recent laws passed by many states to restrict voter access," said Senate Majority Leader Cindy Creem (D. Newton). "In addition, today's action providing for a temporary extension of these provisions, provides the Legislature with the opportunity to take up more comprehensive voting reforms later this session, and I look forward to that debate." 

'The voting provisions put forward in the supplemental budget will allow cities and towns to offer safe, accessible election options this fall while we continue to work on their permanency. I thank Speaker Mariano for his commitment to expanded voting access," said Representative Dan Ryan, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Election Laws (D-Boston). "I congratulate Chairman Michlewitz and the Ways and Means Committee on a thoughtful supplemental budget."


The supplemental budget passed today establishes a new seven-member Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Board of Directors. The new oversight body, which takes the place of the Fiscal Management and Control Board, will comprise of seven members and consist of the Secretary of Transportation, serving as ex officio; five members appointed by the Governor; and one member appointed by the MBTA Advisory Board. The bill requires that one of the Governor appointees to the board be a rider that is a resident of an environmental justice population. Of the seven members, the bill also requires a board seat be given to a member of the labor community.

Child Care

To support early educators who have been on the front lines throughout the pandemic, the supplemental budget invests $131 million of federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) funding for early educator stabilization grants, workforce supports and system-wide technology upgrades. Additionally, the bill directs $60 million from Early Education and Care (EEC) COVID-19 Stabilization and Workforce reserve established in the FY21 General Appropriations Act for direct grants to state-subsidized providers.

Safety Net Supports

In addition to supporting early educators, the supplemental budget takes meaningful action to combat the lingering effects of the economic crises the Commonwealth has faced over the last 15 months and ensure families receive the economic supports they need to live, work and provide stability for their children. To that end, the budget passed today invests $27.9 million to provide for one-time payments to families that receive Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) benefits, totaling $525 to $580 per child.

Public Safety

Additionally, the supplemental budget provides $12.5 million to cover costs related to the implementation of last session's landmark police reform bill. These funds will be used to support bridge academies for reserve officers and special state police officers previously not subject to the same training requirements as the general law enforcement population, to support the first diverse state police cadet class, and to meet municipal police training requirements on mandatory training on de-escalation, use of force, and school resource officers. The bill also includes $5 million to stand up the Peace Officer Standards & Training (POST) Commission.

The legislation will also allow the pension of a police officer who dies while performing their duties in certain emergencies to be paid to their surviving spouse. This change, which closes a loophole, was made to honor the service of Officer Manny Familia, a Worcester police officer who died in June while heroically attempting to save a 14-year-old boy from drowning.

Other notable highlights of the FY 2021 supplemental budget include:

  • $31.9 million for the Medical Assistance Trust Fund;
  • $13 million for National Guard activations, including pandemic-related work;
  • $11 million for the Department of State Police for pandemic-related costs;
  • $9.9 million for increased COVID-19 costs at the Department of Public Health
  • $7.8 million for home health aide rate increases;
  • $5.4 million for the Chelsea and Holyoke Soldiers' Homes for pandemic-related costs.
  • $1 million for the Supplier Diversity Office.

The legislation now moves to the Governor's desk for consideration.