Friday, January 4, 2008

Task force wants Brick to stay open

A task force mulling the fate of the Red Brick School recommended last night to keep the historic building open, with supporters gaining the majority but failing to convince other members.

Red Brick Task Force members Francis Molla, Paula Sandham, Joseph Kapples and Town Clerk Deborah Pellegri all voted in favor of the school. But Paula Scafati recommended that it be closed because of her continued concern over future funding and accessibility for the physically disabled, while Kevin Walsh, Carole Geer and Lisa Oxford abstained from voting.

"I came in here with an open mind, contrary to what people think, what I've heard around town," Scafati said.

Walsh said he abstained from the vote because the Brick School Association, a nonprofit group that has promised money for future school operations, declined to provide financial information he asked for. Geer and Oxford, meanwhile, did not offer an explanation but might do so before the task force goes before the School Committee Tuesday.

4-1 with three abstentions.

Read the full Michael Morton article in the Milford Daily News here.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Out of Africa, and on a mission

Gabriel Dut Bethou doesn't take his education for granted, nor the knowledge that he'll have enough to eat when he wakes up each morning.

Bethou, 23, is one of the "Lost Boys of Sudan," a name given to the thousands of youths who were displaced or orphaned in the Second Sudanese Civil War, which broke out in 1983 and lasted until January 2005.

Thanks to the United Nations and the International Rescue Committee, Bethou was able to come to America in June 2001. He now works in Dean College's information technology department, and is enrolled in a program that allows students to attend classes at Dean for credit toward a four-year degree at Suffolk University.

Read more of Gabriel's story here in this Boston Globe article.

If you would like to contribute to his fund raising efforts to bring his family out of Sudan, you can visit Out of Sudan.

We're not alone

Across the Commonwealth, cities and towns are considering laying off staff, cutting services, and preparing to make cuts to school sports programs as they struggle to close multimillion-dollar budget deficits in the coming fiscal year. Some municipalities are once again considering property tax overrides, even though voters in a majority of towns have rejected tax increases over the last two years.

And it could get worse, officials say, if a state budget deficit projected at more than $1 billion in fiscal 2009 gives communities even fewer dollars to pay for the services that people have come to expect.

"The writing on the wall, to me, is that we shouldn't be looking to the state for any additional aid, so it's a little sobering," said Tom Koch, who will be sworn in as Quincy's mayor next Monday. "It's a challenge to run local government without hitting the citizenry for increases in taxes, and that's always going to be a challenge, whether it's Quincy or Weymouth or Boston or wherever you go."

The remainder of the Boston Globe article continues here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Where in Franklin? #26

Where in Franklin? #26, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Where would you see this?

Guidelines for playing "Where in Franklin?" can be found here.


Where in Franklin? Answer #25

Where in Franklin? Answer #25, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Ken Norman hinted that this building would be quite busy today as the children returned to school from their winter break.

The answer to picture #25 is the Davis Thayer Elementary School. The original doorway pictured was partially re-done when the modular rooms were added on.

There are a number of these modular rooms added to existing schools. They will need to be replaced. A line item for their replacement was put on the Town Council meeting capital requirements outlook as discussed in the 12/19/07 meeting.

If you missed the meeting (and the re-broadcast via local cable) you can still listen to the meeting at this link here. The meeting is broken up into sections so you can get to listen to the part you want to.

Tough choices this year

"I think that it'd be optimistic to get a level-funded budget," Nutting said of Franklin's finances. "In other words, I anticipate the town will have to make some very difficult choices about where cuts will be made."

Read the Milford Daily News article about local town leaders and what 2008 will bring here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

Thank you for coming here to read and continue the conversation.

Wishing you and yours all the best this year!

old - 'Why Franklin Matters' text - now retired

The 'old' Why Franklin Matters page text that was retired on March 29, 2015

You can find updated text here


What do you do?
I attend as many Town Council, School Committee, and other Franklin meetings as I can. I usually will report on the full and complete meeting publishing my notes as the meeting progresses. Weekly, I create a summary of what happened the prior week including an outlook on the coming week. You can subscribe to the daily newsletter delivered to your email address. Spend about 10 minutes a day to keep up with what matters in Franklin.
Franklin Matters
Franklin Matters

Why do you do this?
This is my public service effort to give back to Franklin because accurate information matters. All too often a conversation or opinion includes incomplete or inaccurate information. I find that the local newspapers cover very little of what actually occurs at a meeting. That won’t change, their objective is to sell papers and advertising. I don’t have that objective so I can focus on the complete story and all the details that go with it.

How did you get started?
The Sherlock Family moved here at the end of 1995. Franklin was a good choice to return to New England. Both Dolores and I grew up in Rhode Island so this is 'close' to home. We have enjoyed our stay here and plan on staying for sometime. As my daughters grew up, graduated from Franklin High, and went off to college, I had more time at night to find out how and why we had a budget problem. I started attending Town Council and School Committee meetings.

I had already begun blogging at Steve's 2 Cents in 2004. After attending PodCamp Boston in 2006, I realized that I had the tools available and could start writing and publishing my notes during the meetings. The timely publication of information is important. Decisions could be made with incomplete or inaccurate information and we would regret it.

I attended, wrote, and shared this information with my fellow citizens and voters up through the Town election in 2007 on Steve's 2 Cents and split off this site: Franklin Matters in November, 2007. I will continue to devote time and effort here utilizing the social media tools as they become available (and where appropriate) to help fulfill the information needs of the Franklin community.

But isn’t your wife a teacher?
Yes, you should be aware that my wife is a kindergarten teacher here in Franklin. She teaches at the Oak St School. But what has that got to do with my sharing information? I realized while my two daughters were going through Franklin High School that the students coming after them were not getting the same opportunities. So I believe that there are over 6,000 reasons for me to focus on the school budget. I also believe that there are over 30,000 reasons for me to focus on the Town budget.

Are you preparing to run for office?
From time to time, a number of folks have asked me if I would consider running for a local office (either Town Council or School Committee). The answer has always been “No”.  I do not expect that the answer will change anytime soon.

Community Information Director?
Yes, this is a title I assumed to reflect the role I see myself playing. Franklin could have someone doing this work, it is required but they can’t afford it. So I’ll volunteer my time and effort to do so.

How can you afford to do this?
I do this as my hobby. I am fully employed and do my blogging/writing, etc. in my "off hours". I expect to be fully employed again. Until that time, I will be working and networking to identify that opportunity.

Updated 9/28/09 - I have accepted a contract position with Veritude to work on a project at Fidelity Investments. As this is only a short-term contract position, I will continue to identify a longer-term position.

Updated 2/1/10 - The contract position has completed its term. I am back looking for full employment where I can add value.

Updated 9/9/10 - I have taken a contract position with Modis working on a project at Citizens Bank in East Providence, RI.

Updated 2/1/11 - I have successfully converted my contract project manager position to a full time management position at RBS Citizens Bank. I remain working at the East Providence, RI location.

Updated March 2015 - I have resigned my position with Citizens Bank to assume a new role with John Hancock in Boston, MA.

What are you doing with the Food Pantry?
I have accepted a role on the Board of Directors and created the title of Community Information Director. I will look to help the Food Pantry in a couple of ways. One, they have expanded the membership of the Board and are embarking on a strategic planning initiative. I believe my project management skills and my work creating a good customer experience can help in this effort. Two, I will work to help the Food Pantry in their communication efforts. Drawing upon the experiences I have had using and implementing social media tools, I will help to spread the word about the good work of the Food Pantry.

You can read the full announcement of my role with the Food Pantry here

My role with the Food Pantry changed in April of 2011 when I assumed the role of Chairperson of the Board of Directors. I have been re-elected as Chair each year since (2012, 2013) and have been chosen as well for the 2014 calendar year. 

In October 2014, we selected Chris Feely as Chair of the Food Pantry effective for Nov 2014. I remain on the Board as "Secretary" and still lead the Communications Committee.

Disclosure Statement

  • This blog doesn't accept ads or sponsorships.
  • I don't own stock or accept royalties from any company or product mentioned on this blog.
  • I don't serve on the board of any ‘for profit’ company.
  • If the occasion were to come up, I would consider accepting samples of stuff with a nominal value (under $20 or so).
  • I will tell you that there is no correlation between mentioning stuff and whether or not someone sent it to me.
  • I write about what I find and think matters in Franklin.

My goal in maintaining this blog is to share my ideas and create a conversation that will generate something more than we each started with.

I have received compensation for my monthly articles for the Franklin Town News that is delivered to each Franklin residence. This began with the inaugural December, 2010 issue and will continue for the foreseeable future. (Why only update now? I can confirm that I have received the first check. Small but significant in its own way!)

My success will be determined by your readership and comments (or lack thereof).

I consider myself an amateur semi-professional writer and a lifelong learner. I start each day to learn something new. I look to share something with someone in a way that matters. I also look to have a laugh during the day. The more I can do all these three things (Learning, Sharing, Laughing), the better my day is.

My LinkedIn Profile can be viewed here:

If anything changes with what I have said here, I will let you know.

I promise.

Note: this was revised 2/2/11 11/17/13

Monday, December 31, 2007

Comment policy

I welcome your comments here at Franklin Matters. To maintain a respectful dialogue, I've posted the guidelines of the comment policy below.

  • Stay focused. All viewpoints are welcome, but comments should remain on the topic set by the original blog post, discussion question or other type of initial entry.
  • Be respectful. Ad hominem or personal attacks, profanity, and aggressive behavior are prohibited. Instigating arguments in a disrespectful way is also prohibited.
  • Tell the truth. Spreading misleading or false information is prohibited.
  • No spam. Repeated posting of identical or very similar content in a counter-productive manner is prohibited – this includes posts aggressively promoting services or products.

I retain the discretion to determine which comments violate this comment policy.
I reserve the right to remove violations.
I expect all contributors to be respectful.

This comment policy is valid for all discussions hosted on the Franklin Matters website and/or Facebook page.

Thank you for taking the time to review our comment policy. I encourage your participation in a healthy and respectful discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

This comment policy is valid for all discussions
This comment policy is valid for all discussions

This comment policy was modeled after that for which can be found here

Franklin, MA

Franklin in the News

In Michael Morton's recap of top stories on the political front during 2007, Franklin finds a couple of entries amongst them; the first operational override passes, agreement is reached with the developer on the Center Commons project, and the school departments fiscal woes continue.

Read Michael's full story here.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

wikis in Plain English

Continuing our series on web 2.0 tools, we have this one from the folks at Common Craft on wikis. The most common wiki is wikipedia which has more entries and is more accurately updated than a printed encyclopedia.

How could Franklin use a wiki? If we created our own, we could do any number of things with it.

You could create an account on wikipedia and edit the entry for Franklin, MA.