Thursday, July 31, 2008

"it's an investment in our town"

Posted Jul 30, 2008 @ 11:10 PM


Property owners could be charged an annual fee of about $40 under a stormwater management plan proposed by the Department of Public Works.

DPW Director Brutus Cantoreggi said the fee would raise about $500,000, which could be used to pay for infrastructure repairs and retrofits, additional catch-basin cleaning, street sweeping and maintenance of stormwater facilities to comply with federal mandates.

Establishing a stormwater utility would provide a stable source of dedicated funding, assist with making long-term improvements, and give a more equitable apportionment from different land uses than the tax base does, he said.

Another goal in the stormwater management plan is to keep water in Franklin, rather than letting it flow into the Charles River, Cantoreggi said.

However, there is a hitch to the proposed plan: It may not be legal.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Listen to my recap of the 3 things you should know from the Town Council meeting 7/23/08

Beaver St: Construction and detour

Posted Jul 30, 2008 @ 10:00 AM


The town will temporarily close a section of Beaver Street starting Aug. 25 in order to replace Mine Brook's deteriorating twin culverts, said Town Engineer William Yadisernia.

"It's a big deal," though a relatively inexpensive job, Yadisernia said, noting that diverting the water is no easy task.

Beaver Pond will stay open while the contractor, Aldore Tetreault & Sons Inc., of Medway reconstructs the culverts, he said.

Beaver Street will be closed from West Central Street to Grove Street during that period, but the pond, recreational facilities, and Beaver Street Recycling Center can be accessed through Grove Street, Yadisernia said.

Drivers can access Master Drive from West Central Street, he said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

Listen to the full DPW update from the 7/23/08 Town Council meeting here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Center Commons makes progress

Center Commons makes progress

In case you haven't peaked through to see what is going on with the Center Commons development behind E Central St, these pix from Saturday shows significant progress from last time I peaked.

"The building showcases Franklin artifacts"

By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff
Posted Jul 29, 2008 @ 10:00 AM

Renovations should begin in late summer on the new home of the Horace Mann Museum, but will not be completed until next spring, officials say. The museum has been housed in a Washington Street church donated to the town in 1972 by Franklin Federated Church and is being relocated to the old senior center which will be revamped.

Four firms have responded to the town's Request for Proposals to make improvements to the future history museum at 80 West Central Street (Rte. 140), Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting said.

Franklin has $400,000 budgeted for the improvements, most of which will
be interior, he said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sunrise 7/29/08

sunrise franklin station 7/29/08

Mobile post sent by shersteve using Utterzreply-count Replies.

"The price was really wrong"

Posted Jul 28, 2008 @ 10:00 AM


America's first public library is getting a makeover.

At its July 9 meeting, Town Council authorized the borrowing of $350,000 to remodel and make "extraordinary repairs" to the leaking library, located at 118 Main St.

The renovations will include landscaping, paving and other site improvements, which should be completed by year's end, said Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting.

"I'm hopeful we can finish during this construction season," he said.

The town received seven bids, with $292,000 as the low bid and $700,000 as the highest bid, he said. The $350,000 bond assumes the town will proceed with the low bidder while leaving funds available for unexpected issues that may arise during the project, Nutting said.

Franklin has the option of paying for the repairs with money from the sale of the former Four Corners School, he said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

FM #7 - 3 Things Town Council Mtg 7/23/08

Another in a series of podcasts on what matters in Franklin, MA. This one focuses on the 3 things you should know about from the Town Council Meeting July 23, 2008.

Time: 19 minutes, 0 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes:

Music intro

My intro

Three things today: What you need to know from the Town Council meeting on 7/23/08
  1. bylaw amendment to adjust notifications
  2. DPW update on projects around town
  3. Storm water presentation/fee or tax
1 – I have recorded the full discussion on the bylaw amendment to adjust the notifications. The discussion includes the Q&A following with Councilors Bartlett and Doak raising questions; Administrator Jeff NUtting and Attorney Mark Cerel providing answers (approx 7:00 minutes)

I want to see the answers to the questions Bartlett and Doak asked.
How much will we save?
What notices does this affect?

Tombstone ads can go away, but with new web site still under transition, I would not bank on that

2 - While waiting for the presentation to be setup, DPW director Robert A. (Brutus) Cantoreggi provides an update (approx 5 ½ minutes)

I hope the insights on the various projects underway and upcoming was beneficial

3 – The presentation on Storm Water provided plenty of good information, too much to include in this podcast. What will come out of this is further discussion on a Storm water fee – tax or good idea?

I sent a question to the DPW to confirm that this is projected to be an annual cost. At $500,000, that is a lot of money. We aren’t spending anything now so going from zero to 500K might be a bit much. Can we do it for less?

PS – It did not make it into the recording but Brutus Cantoreggi did confirm that the 40 dollars and $500,000 are projected to be annual amounts.

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

This podcast has been a public service provided to my fellow Franklin citizens and voters by Steve Sherlock

For additional textual information, please visit

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The musical intro and closing is from the Podsafe Music Network
Jon Schmidt - Powerful Exhilarating Piano Music

Monday, July 28, 2008

FM #6 - 5 Things: SchCom 7/15/08

Another in a series of podcast on what matters in Franklin, MA. This one focuses on the 5 things you should know from the School Committee meeting 7/15/08.

TIme: 26 minutes, 9 seconds

MP3 File

Music intro

My intro

Five things today: What you need to know from the school committee meeting on 7/15/08
  1. Citizens comment
  2. Final budget for FY09
  3. Budget for year end FY08
  4. Fiscal audit status
  5. Late bus returns
1 - My intro what you’ll hear
• Citizen comment from Herbert Hunter, 432 Oakland Parkway; Brick School Assoc
• Questioning agenda items, Asst Supt. Maureen Sabolinski updates the agenda immediately after

Final status on the Brick Classroom remains outstanding

2 - Intro on FY09
• Miriam Goodman updates on the final budget for FY 09 with all adjustments (override, facility transfer, etc.)
• Final budget number for FY09 - $49,940,242

I understand that the School Committee has been over this a number of times before but this is “show time” and a little more information around what the budget means would have been good.

3 - Intro on FY 08
• Miriam updates on the FY 08 budget finish, approx $200K unencumbered, likely to end up about 100K left over

4 - Intro on Audit
• Miriam continues and updates on the Audit report and action items

Again some closing comments to help the viewers would be good to frame the discussion and prevent unanswered questions

5 - Intro on late bus, Supt Ogden provides overview on the four options for the late bus
• Due to increased ridership, above the budgeted amount, the late bus can stay with support from the extra funding from pay-to-ride, Ed Cafasso comments, 41mins

Did you follow that? The budget started with a decline in ridership with the increase in fees. Now that the ridership is higher, the increase in fees will raise more revenue than they had projected. This increase in revenue is enough at this point to allow for covering the late bus. They will continue to monitor the situation closely. We get another update in one of the August meetings (Aug 12th or 26th)


This podcast has been a public service provided to my fellow Franklin citizens and voters by Steve Sherlock

For additional textual information, please visit

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly sending by an email to shersteve @ gmail dot com or by commenting on the Franklin Matters blog

The musical intro and closing is from the Podsafe Music Network
Jon Schmidt - Powerful Exhilarating Piano Music

Sunday, July 27, 2008

"We can speak our minds"

Posted Jul 26, 2008 @ 10:00 AM


A local property owner has donated office space to the Downtown Partnership, and several companies have supplied furniture, technology and equipment, to help the group continue its work to revitalize downtown.

"It's exciting we now have a downtown office," said Jane Curran, secretary of the Partnership and owner of Jane's Frames, 11 East Central St. Her landlords, Diane and Michael Glass, gave the partnership some office space at 9 East Central St.

The Partnership is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making downtown Franklin "an exciting place to live, work, shop and learn," and is comprised of residents, merchants, community leaders and town officials.

Dean Bank donated a computer, printer, desk and chair for the office, and Joel Carrara of Printsmart Office Products at 109 Marvin St., gave office supplies, said Curran, who donated framed art and Web access through her shop.

"We're excited to be downtown, and it's really exciting to have an office downtown and continue to work closely with Brian (Taberner, Planning Department director) and (Town Administrator) Jeff Nutting," said Lisa Piana, executive director of the Downtown Partnership and former downtown manager.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Just words

Wordle, a cool tool that uses submitted text or in this case, the entire Franklin Matters website, to generate this image:

These are just the words here.

Deval Patrick made an important speech during his campaign for Governor where he repeated the phrase "just words".

Franklin Matters because there are more than just words here!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sponsor the Harvest Festival

GateHouse News Service
Posted Jul 25, 2008 @ 07:30 PM


The Franklin Downtown Partnership, a non-profit organization, is seeking sponsors for its annual Harvest Festival on Sunday. Sept. 21, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.. The festival will take place in downtown Franklin center, on Main and East Central streets. The rain date will be Sunday, Sept. 28.
For more information on how to sponsor this event, click through here

704 Washington St

If you are coming here to look for where 704 Washington St is located, here is what the Town Planning Board map site shows:

Click on the image to go directly to the map site, type in "704 Washington" and you should get this as the result. I selected to show the zoning for this image which added the yellowish color to the map. The entry in the zone code box on the scroll for information is actually blank.

If you go to Google Maps, this is the satellite view for 704 Washington St.

View Larger Map

"We're selling it"

By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff
Posted Jul 25, 2008 @ 12:48 AM
About 50 people showed up in vain to a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting last night to protest a prospective development at 704 Washington St. "I know you're going to be disappointed," Zoning Board Chairman Bruce Hunchard said, addressing the crowd and explaining the applicants, Town Councilor Joseph McGann and former Police Chief Lawrence Benedetto, had requested a continuance for a hearing on a request for a zoning variance.
McGann and Benedetto proposed demolishing a 1,400-square-foot
single-family home and adjacent barn at 704 Washington St., and replacing it
with a 20,000-square-foot retail building and a parking lot that would accommodate at least 112 parking spaces.
Members of the group, "It Does Not Fit, Do Not Permit," groaned and yelled out, "Ohhhh," and "Oh God, this is nonsense ... this is ridiculous."
Hunchard told the group continuances are "not uncommon," and that he did not know why the applicants had requested one.
The hearing will be continued to Aug. 21.
Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"We are going back to the dark ages"

The annual New Hampshire camping trip that used to be 14 days is now down to five, and there won't be any side trips to theme parks for Westborough teacher Deborah Harvell and her two teenage daughters.

Deborah Harvell, 42, a speech therapy specialist in Westborough: "Typically I work the summer so that we can have a summer vacation. This year I'm doing it just to pay the bills."

Like many public school teachers in Boston's western suburbs, Harvell - who said she also has doubled her normal summer tutoring workload - said she is economizing and taking on extra work this summer in the face of uncertain times. Her family used to eat out once a week; now, it's once a month. Car trips are kept to a minimum, and it will be nature hikes instead of ATV rentals when they head north for their abbreviated summer getaway.

"Typically, I work the summer so that we can have a summer vacation," said Harvell, a 42-year-old speech therapy specialist. "This year, I'm doing it just to pay the bills."

It wasn't supposed to be this way. After the rigors of the school year, the period from late June through early September is traditionally a time for teachers to relax, regroup, and recharge their batteries. For many, the blissful period is what attracted them to the job in the first place.

Yet after a spring marked by rising gasoline and food prices, voter rejections of Proposition 2 1/2 property tax limit overrides, shrinking revenues, and municipal regrouping, some teachers say this has become the summer of their discontent.

Read the full article in the Boston Globe West section here

Note: Regular readers should recognize that the graphic is incorrect; Franklin ended up restoring 3 teachers so 42.5 will not be returning this September.

More important the article and graphic shows that Franklin is not alone in reducing their teacher population. All these children will see the larger class sizes at a time when their education is critical to their future.

"A good bylaw provides an accessible location"

Posted Jul 24, 2008 @ 12:06 AM


Saying they hope to avoid the same problems area towns are contending with over nude dancing, officials are considering changing town bylaws.

"It seems to be a hot topic in surrounding towns," said Councilor Stephen Whalen at a hearing on the matter last night, and asked Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting whether Franklin has received any applications for adult entertainment venues lately.

"No, nor do we ever want to," he responded.

"It's an issue in two local towns because maybe they were not prepared," Nutting said.

Councilor Thomas Doak noted that Franklin residents worried that the council, by enacting relevant bylaws, would actually encourage adult entertainment companies to come to town.

"Our intention is the opposite," he said, adding that people should not be confused about that.

read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Town Council Mtg Summary - 7/23/08

The collection of writing on the Town Council meeting 7/23/08

Town Council Meeting 7/23/08 - Agenda

The three things you should know about from this meeting were collected in a podcast that you can listen to here.

live reporting - adult entertainment district, old business, new business

2. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 08-616: Adult Entertainment Establishment Districts-1st Reading
approved for second reading

Old business:

Bartlett - are we going to get a presentation on the new Town website?
Nutting - I believe it is scheduled for Aug 20th.

New business:
Whalen - received a projection about home heating oil costs that this year there would be an increase of 70%, last year there was an increase of 50%. Can we do something to help?

Mason - Can we look at doing something to modify the by-law?

Doak - how pervasive is this problem?

Pfeffer - Could we add a tree to the Fire Station near Rick's?
Can we have an update on the 20/20 plan?

Nutting - part of the 5 year plan committee process

Mason - Can we settle on process for delivery of the meeting package?
Discussion on printing local versus delivery, attempting to save the delivery fee.

Bartlett - can you review the museum status?
Nutting - we are doing the work in house, what happened was we started then a few things came together at once, we took over the school facilities, July vacations, etc. We need 2-3 days with DPW to finish the columns, then they can redo the stairs and railings. The sculpture should be here in September.

live reporting - Stormwater

Robert Cantoreggi provided an update on various projects going on around town and coming up.

Stormwater: another unfunded mandate for the Town to handle

Franklin's water is all from ground water, new construction is required to handle 100% recharge within the development

Storm drains simply capture the water and route it without treatment to the nearest water source; i.e. stream or pond. Hence, whatever is captured in the storm drain can flow into the water supply.

Items for homeowners to take action on.

An Eagle Scout project placed the storm drain markers pictured earlier.

Storm water management by-law #153

Recommendation to establish a fee-based household stormwater utility.
Received $15,000 grant to examine the feasibility of a stormwater utility.

Approx. 15,800 single family units would calculate out to about $40 per single family household.

looking at next steps
  • continue public information process
  • refine program costs and budgets
  • review options for fee abatements
  • define process for billing and collection
Discussion - Q&A

Per Nutting, if you did not do a fee, you could do a dedicated override

Vallee - strongly for it
Bartlett - what does the yard clean up do to help this?
Denise Zambrowski - reduces the amount of yard waste that would flow to the storm drains and catch basins

DPW website can be found here

Everyone thinks the basins in the roads go to sewers.

There are three sets of pipes in the roads; water, sewer, and storm drains.

Doak - Federal and state regulations? really two or just one?
Zambrowski - yes, really one.

Doak - How do we know we're done? What are the metrics?
Zambrowski - we have to come up with how to comply with the requirement but it has to pass the "straight face" test at Beacon Hill.

Doak - are new projects sufficiently implemented with appropriate controls.
Cantoreggi - yes, all new ones are covered by the guidelines at this time.

Doak - how is a mandatory fee not a tax?
Nutting - there is an abatement process so it is not mandatory
consultant - needs to be applied broadly, needs to provide credits for proper handling, needs to provide abatement
Nutting - Town of Reading has a procedure in process that has not been resolved. No one has challenged the Newton one.

Doak - some of the commercial sites seem to have a good onsite system even though they have the most impervious area
Zambowski - yes, we have a listing and an inventory

Doak - we are doing a lot of good things to achieve compliance, do we really need another $500,000 to do so.
Zambrowski - yes, we don't have the funding to do the other things that are needed.

Pfeffer - concern about calculation, more than the $500,000 mentioned
Consultant - yes, it adds up to 640,000 but by the time to provide the abatements, you would end up with the $500,000 projected.

Vallee - still strongly for it, especially since our water supply is from ground water

Whalen - Vallee's comments are a good segway to what he is about to say. This is less a tax and more an investment in our town.

Sergey Yurgenson - it is a tax, a hidden tax. Residents just shut down the recent Prop 2 1/2 increase. Residents don't want a new tax. Would the town pay it's share? What about the roads? That creates impervious surface.

Live reporting - Town Council meeting 7/23/08




Joshua Phillips, 472 Maple St
raised an issue with the current by-law restricting cuts in the street after paving which restricts his and other homeowner capabilities to connect to natural gas lines and avoid increasing heating oil costs. Updated with name and address 7/27/08

1. Resolution 08-50: Authorization to Petition General Court for Special Legislation – Underground Utilities
3. Bylaw Amendment 08-627: Chapter 4, Public Notice and Advertising of Public Hearings – 1st Reading
approved for second reading

Discussion on by-law amendment 08-627 to reduce the amount and timing of notifications for municipal communications and actions.
Bartlett - questioned reducing the number from 2 to 1; what would be examples of the type of notifications that would be changed?
Nutting/Cerel to come back with more information on examples
Doak - questioned how much money would be saved?
Nutting to come back at second reading with more information

"Education shouldn't depend on where a child lives"

Posted Jul 22, 2008 @ 10:36 PM

The state's system of funding public schools is inadequate, the Mendon-Upton Regional School Committee charges in a recent letter to local legislators, suggesting several changes.

Ideas include freeing school budget increases from the constraints of Proposition 2 1/2 and increasing state support for special education.

With the change in the Chapter 70 school aid formula a few years ago, Mendon and Upton were directed to make a higher contribution to the school budget than in the past. In other places, such as Milford, the state funding percentage increased.

Last year, Mendon voters narrowly approved a $265,000 Proposition 2 1/2 tax override for the schools. In 2006, Mendon voters rejected two school overrides, while Upton approved one.

Although the district School Committee did not try for an override this year, members said to expect one next year.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

"It was mind-boggling, actually"

Posted Jul 23, 2008 @ 12:00 AM


At first, 12-year-old Erin McGinley thought Liam Galvin "was a little crazy" when he looked around and began uttering words to an invisible presence at Franklin Public Library last night, she said.

"There were 12 spirits around his head. He kept telling me things and he said, 'I don't make this stuff up - the spirits tell me,"' McGinley said.

But in the end, Galvin and Joseph Lynch, psychics and spirit mediums who claim to communicate with those on the "other side," astonished and delighted McGinley and her peers with their tarot card readings.

The library's teen advisory board chose tarot card readings as one of several events for the young adult summer reading program, "X-Pect the Un-X-Pected" - which drew 24 girls from age 10 to 18.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News

"We are taking this action now"

FRANKLIN, MA, July 21, 2008 ---
PLC Systems Inc. (AMEX:PLC) announced today that it will defer the commencement of the U.S. pivotal trial of its RenalGuard™ System in the prevention of Contrast-Induced Nephropathy (CIN). The company continues to support the investigator-sponsored clinical trial now ongoing in Milan, Italy as well as the limited market launch of RenalGuard in Europe, which began in the first quarter of this year, both of which are focused on the CIN prevention market.
PLC Systems was mentioned earlier in our Franklin Industry series

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"people cannot park any vehicle on a sidewalk"

Posted Jul 21, 2008 @ 11:28 PM


It appears town leaders no longer believe they have to officially forbid throwing missiles, frightening horses, driving cattle or swine on sidewalks in Franklin.

Instead, Town Council is considering adding a few new provisions to the Peace and Good Order Bylaw, such as the prohibition of window-peeping, intentionally exposing one's naked body, publicly urinating, spitting, or expelling bodily waste upon a public street, sidewalk, building or place. Nuisance pets which bite, bark, claw, howl, scratch, cry or otherwise disturb the peace or destroy property, would also be forbidden.

The council is taking a "proactive approach" by updating Franklin's bylaws, said Town Attorney Mark G. Cerel, who is recommending removing antiquated provisions and language and appending others to address current issues

Read the full story in the Milford Daily News

Where in Franklin? Answer #48 (better photo)

Where in Franklin? Answer #48

Another one of my phone camera photos; this is an office view of Bullukian Oil which was the subject of Where in Franklin? #48.

Water tagged drains

Franklin: water alert

I am finally getting to some photos taken with my new camera enabled phone. It was easy to take the photos. It was another thing to figure out how to get them off in bulk. Took a little time to think about it but then it dawned on me to try to put the card in the printer and see if it came up as a removable drive; it did. yahoo!

Anyway, the photo was taken back in May as Dolores and I walked one Saturday and found these stickers on the drain curbs all around the downtown area. Some are since gone, the glue apparently not enough to hold them.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Town Council Meeting 7/23/08 - Agenda

1. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 08-616: Adult Entertainment Establishment Districts 7:10 PM
2. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 08-625: Chapter 185-5, Town Code: Zoning Map - Business to Commercial II – 7:10 PM (To be opened and continued to August 20)
q Stormwater Management
1. Resolution 08-50: Authorization to Petition General Court for Special Legislation – Underground Utilities
2. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 08-616: Adult Entertainment Establishment Districts-1st Reading
3. Bylaw Amendment 08-627: Chapter 4, Public Notice and Advertising of Public Hearings – 1st Reading
O. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required

Link to agenda on new Town website

school choice update

Posted Jul 20, 2008 @ 11:55 PM


The Franklin School Department is not accepting any new School Choice applications this year, or at least until administrators get "absolute clarity" on class sizes.

The School Committee made the decision to stop accepting applications at the recommendation of Superintendent Wayne Ogden on July 15.

The program allows students from Massachusetts towns outside of Franklin to attend public schools within the district.

As required by law, Franklin, like all districts, accepts School Choice students at random by lottery, though a district can choose to accept all applicants.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

The headline is deceiving. New applications are not being accepted. 39 students were accepted into the program for the 2007-2008 school year (that just ended) to being the total to 76 (as of October 1 2007). As I recall 10-12 left the program this year, 5 through graduation and the others for various reasons. There are still 60+ students to be served by this program which will still bring in revenue to the School Department. Due to failed override and the reduction of 42 teachers, the analysis on if and where some students could be added to the program remains to be completed. Pending that analysis, new applications may be considered.

This topic was posted here the night of the School Committee meeting.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Where in Franklin? #51

Rainbow_Blue_80621 002, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Continuing a blue theme, can you identify where you would find this building in Franklin?

The guidelines to play Where in Franklin? can be found here .

originally posted 7/9/08 at 9:53 PM

"we're more interested in feeding people"

Posted Jul 16, 2008 @ 10:56 PM


As he grabbed a handmade deli sandwich at Anne's Market and reflected on the return of Anne Brunelli's clan, faithful customer Scott Resley had just one question: "Are you guys doing porketta again?"

Yes, Anne's porketta is back - as are the homemade meatballs, manicotti, hand-stuffed cannoli, and other Italian fare Franklin has been missing since she sold her locally famous store in 2003.

"It's excellent - the best porketta ever," pronounced Resley, who has missed Anne's recipes.

"I'm psyched. I'm really happy they're putting (the store) back in the family," said Resley, who estimated he has been a customer for up to 15 years.

Anne's Market will once again reflect the Brunellis' love of food - Italian in particular, said Mark Brunelli, patting his belly.

You can read the full story in the Milford Daily News here

School Committee Meeting 7/15/08

The collected postings for the School Committee meeting of Tuesday 7/15/08

School Committee meeting 7/15/08 - agenda

The meeting was also summarized in a podcast:
5 Things You Need to Know from this meeting

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"there's a huge appetite for busing"

Posted Jul 16, 2008 @ 12:17 AM


It looks like the School Department will be able to save the late bus, thanks to more students than expected paying to ride the regular bus.

The department's fiscal constraints had threatened to end late bus service this year, but school officials subsequently committed to finding a way to continue offering the popular bus.

At last night's School Committee meeting, Superintendent Wayne Ogden outlined four options regarding late bus service for middle and high school students: using a fee-based system in which all students pay about $10 per ride; partnering with GATRA; eliminating the late bus altogether; or funding the late bus through pay-to-ride bus fees. The late bus costs $40,000 a year to provide, and it runs from Monday to Friday.

Ogden recommended using pay-to-ride revenue to keep the service intact, to which the committee responded favorably.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

live update - subcomittee reports

Kelly and Trahan reported on their participation in the Financial Planning committee. They heard the presentation on the Arlington plan last week.


Armenio - any update on the State EdReform programs?
Ogden - the Governor will be at the Superintendent's meeting

live update - Supt Report

EDNets - glitches with MAC computers which are incompatible with the software, Attorney says the schools could be liable if parent information was exposed. Trying to work with EDNets to provide school what they are looking for, have not yet heard back from EDNets.

Roy - talked with Tim about the cost to the schools, the only cost was a hosting fee. This goes away as there is already work underway to move from the current hosting provider to an in-house system


School choice - historical numbers provided. Program has grown from 14 in 2004 to 76 in 2007-2008. School choice has been approved for this year but no adds are proposed at this time until we are absolutely sure what the numbers will be. Some employees are pending but under the blind draw, we could not guarantee any one in particular.

Sabolinski - The place we would have some slots are in kindergarten but we have not moved at this time.
Mullen - When would you know?
Ogden - I would hold off until mid-August. 50% of the school choice who come in for kindergarten, leave after kindergarten. But if they don't leave, we are committed to keep them. Given the other class size issues we have, accepting additional would only put pressure on the upper grades. If we wait until mid-August, it gives us a little more confidence in the numbers.
Mullen - Can people still apply?
Ogden - We have pulled the application from the web site. We would have to re-open the applications before running the lottery. We would want to put it on and let folks know about it for a couple of weeks.


Annual report
Drafted a template to solicit input from the building principals.

Cafasso - the annual report available from the Town has varied dependent upon participation, timing, etc. This is attempting to be more consistent and informative.


Live update - action items

  • I recommend budget transfers as detailed on the attached memo. Approved
  • I recommend acceptance of Action Plan to implement FY07 audit recommendations. Approved
  • I recommend acceptance of the donation of paperback books from Rose Cafasso for the Oak Street Elementary School. Approved
  • I recommend acceptance of six checks totaling $4,800.00 from the Horace Mann PCC for the HM In-house Enrichment program. The PCC gift to HMMS for in house enrichment was for teacher stipends and therefore was removed from the agenda, due to the fact that it was not inline with the targeted gift policy. As covered in the comments by Asst Supt Sabolinski reported earlier.
  • I recommend acceptance of a check for $2,000.00 from the Parmenter PCC for supplies for the Parmenter Elementary School. This was tabled due to the fact that a description regarding supplies were not provided on the donation form.
  • Based on School Committee policy IJOAB/ Extended Field Trips, the revised proposal for the band trip to Disney World in April 2009 is not in compliance with district policy so I am unable to recommend approval. Would have missed one period (via plane), now would miss a full day (via bus) - Roy and Armenio recuse themselves from the vote as they have students involved. Discussion on approving anyway, tending not to. The policy is to not miss school, saving money is not an alternative, someone else down the road may also push the envelop. Big increase was seen in the cost of transporting the muscial instruments. Issue with public schools and equity. Roy has made reservations that are non-refundable. Motion failed to pass 0-5, 2 recused.
  • I recommend declaring the Remington Middle School inventory list as surplus. Approved

live update - superintendent review process

Cafasso - like last year's overall process, just would like them sooner

Ogden - would also like them sooner than January as last year.

consensus to proceed

live update - building use policy

First reading of the building use policy KF.

Fee schedule will looked at quarterly to see and ensure that the fund breaks even.

Kelly - question on need of inspector to check the connections?
Trahan - will check on, don't believe so

Kelly - does fee schedule cover the custodial services?
Sabolinski - yes, that is built into the fee structure. The building coordinator was not previously part of the fee structure, it is now.

Looking to cover our costs and to provide the buildings for the community to use in a fair way.

Mullen - finds a number of minor typos and inconsistency all minor and no real issue of policy just looking to make the document read well. This is a nice document and well done.

Folks have already been told that the new building use fee schedule will be coming as of July 1.

Rohrbach - have prohibition against alcohol and smoking, what about adding drugs?

Motion to move to second reading

live update - pay to ride/late bus

Supt Ogden reviewing what has been done in these areas.

Pay to ride currently at 1754, just about the same amount as this time last year. There had been a forecast of a ridership loss with the increase. With the current and projected enrollment in ridership with the increase in fee, we could cover the late bus with this additional fee revenue.

Last year 'pay to ride' was 1801 for the year. We might very well be able to break even and cover the late bus.

Cafasso - hard to fathom given the circumstances with the increase, that the ridership is holding strong. This is a good thing though. The recommendation makes sense.

Horace Mann and Remington were the most subscribed for the late bus schedule.

School Dept working with GATRA to see what options they can provide by way of additional route.

Amount of manpower and effort to recover the $1 for the late bus riders who are not on pay-to-ride or reduced lunch. If the funding continues to run as expected (increased ridership and increased fee, totals an overall increase in revenue).

live update - audit update

Miriam Goodman talking about the Town Audit Report and impacts for the school department.

Town Comptroller will make the ledger entry for the School Department
The process currently is for the request to go from Miriam's office to the Comptroller's Office. This has been in place for some time (since last year). It continues under her role now. It will continue under her control.

The auditors findings are for the systematic access to be removed. That will not happen right away but should happen to be in compliance with the audit. The Town controls that overall access.

Overall the findings pertaining to the school department are minor. Amount was against this line item instead of that line item. Meeting to adjust as required to be in compliance going forward.

school committee - Live update

Approx $251,871 unencumbered at this time against the FY 08 budget. Some minor bills are still outstanding and normally will appear to be used against this amount.

Motion to accept line item transfers for FY 08 financial report.

Underbudgeted in classroom teachers, health insurance, maintenance (buildings and grounds and security), curriculum development...

Overbudgeted in substitutes, library media, guidance councilors, athletics...

Fee structure for community use of school facilities was underfunded for the use provided this year. This is on the agenda for discussion later.

Motion approved

School Committee meeting - live update

Miriam Goodman presents the revised budget reflecting the override adjustment and the facilities consolidation adjustment.

No questions

motion to accept the FY09 budget in total for $49,940,242
motion passed

School Committee - Live update

Citizens comment

Mr Hunter - representing Brick School Assoc
checks on agenda appear to be in violation of the targeted gift policy

Asst Supt Sabolinksi
request to modify the agenda, the two checks in question did get on the agenda without prior review of Supt Ogden or herself and should be removed. They do not meet the guidelines of the new policy on targeted gifts and will be returned. The principals have been notified.

In the News - Senior Center, Concerts, Walgreens

Openings at Franklin senior center program

By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff

The Supportive Day Program at the Franklin Senior Center is accepting new clients.


A not-so-common concert series

By Tanya Girgenrath/Daily News correspondent

For most, Wednesday is known as "hump day" - that is, unless you are spending the summer in Franklin.


Walgreens developers give Planning Board overview

By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff

A developer last night gave the Planning Board an overview of its plan to develop a Walgreens pharmacy at the site of former Four Corners School.


School Committee meeting 7/15/08 - agenda

Franklin School Committee Meeting
July 15, 2008
Municipal Building – Council Chambers
7:00 P.M.


Call to order Mr. Roy
Pledge of Allegiance
Moment of Silence

Routine Business
• Citizen’s Comments
• Review of Agenda
• Minutes:
I recommend approval of the minutes from the June 24, 2008 School Committee Meeting.
• Payment of Bills Mr. Kelly
• Payroll Ms. Armenio
• FHS Student Representatives
• Correspondence:
Budget to Actual


Discussion Only Items
  • Review Budget spreadsheets for $49,940,242 FY09 Budget
  • FY08 End of Year Financial Status
  • Summary of Audit Implementation of Recommendations
  • Late Bus Options
  • Policy KF / Building Use 1st Reading
  • Superintendent Evaluation Process

Action Items
  • I recommend budget transfers as detailed on the attached memo.
  • I recommend acceptance of Action Plan to implement FY07 audit recommendations.
  • I recommend acceptance of the donation of paperback books from Rose Cafasso for the Oak Street Elementary School.
  • I recommend acceptance of six checks totaling $4,800.00 from the Horace Mann PCC for the HM In-house Enrichment program.
  • I recommend acceptance of a check for $2,000.00 from the Parmenter PCC for supplies for the Parmenter Elementary School.
  • Based on School Committee policy IJOAB/ Extended Field Trips, the revised proposal for the band trip to Disney World in April 2009 is not in compliance with district policy so I am unable to recommend approval.
  • I recommend declaring the Remington Middle School inventory list as surplus.

Information Matters:
• Superintendent’s Report
a. Ed Nets Update
b. Pay to Ride Update
c. School Choice / Historical Data
d. Annual Report
• School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
• School Committee Liaison Reports

New Business:
• To discuss future business that may be brought before the School Committee.

Executive Session
• Contractual Negotiations


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Franklin Matters: Recap of Week ending July 12, 2008

Another in a series of podcasts about what matters in Franklin, MA. This session covers the Town Council meeting I missed, the Milford Daily News articles on the Arlington Plan and the Brick classroom status. It also looks out to the upcoming School Committee meeting on July 15th.

Time: 11 minutes, 20 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes

Intro - This is Steve Sherlock with another in a series of podcasts for Franklin Matters.

In this session we’ll recap the Town Council meeting, the Arlington plan, the upcoming School Committee meeting, and topics on its agenda including the audit report and Brick classroom status, and finally the new town web site

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

I missed the Town Council meeting this week due to the scheduling problem I already wrote about. I had recorded Jeff and Chris talking about the first meeting in July being the second weds (as it normally is) but for some reason the official schedule (resolution 07-46) said the first meeting is 7/16.

Vallee made a fool of himself again. After declining to participate in any of the override information sessions, he opens discussion on looking to raid the stabilization fund for a million dollars to save some of the teacher layoffs. He was lucky to get enough votes to get it on the agenda. 4 councilors missed that meeting and he only needed a simple majority to get the agenda item. He had two votes, his and McGanns until Feeley put his in to put it on the agenda but with full disclosure that he would appreciate a good discussion on it but could not support it. With 3 of the 5 present he had a simple majority, with all nine present last Wednesday, he did not stand a chance.

Instead of simply withdrawing his motion, he claimed that since no one from the schools were there to support it, he would withdraw it. What a cheap shot? Generates a sound bite with no recourse.

I am beginning to wonder what value he does add to the council? He came back supposedly to lend his expertise. He has shown no leadership. He has shown no expertise in solving problems. He has shown time and again that he might be better off saying nothing.

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

The Arlington plan was reviewed on Thursday night with the special Financial planning committee. Arlington does differ from Franklin in a number of ways. They do have considerably less commercial development within their tax base.

They would not have kept the promise of their five year plan without an unexpected windfall increase of state funds. Read the article in the Milford Daily news. Our planning committee will have their work cut out for them to try and replicate the Arlington plan for Franklin.

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

The school committee does meet this Tuesday July 15th. The agenda is not yet posted for review but that usually is there late Monday so it is still early.

The school dept should be going to the town council meeting on the 23rd to provide an update on the forensic audit. That should be an interesting meeting. New Finance Administrator Miriam Goodman, Superintendent Wayne Ogden, Chairman Jeff Roy, and others from the committee are likely to attend.

The Brick situation remains unresolved. The Milford Daily News reports in Sunday’s edition of the BSA presence at this coming meeting.

Several councilors are quoted in favor of keeping it open but respectful that the decision is in the School Committees hands.

This is a tough choice. The study showed that in sq foot terms, it was the most expensive classroom to operate in the district. The last school committee Asst Supt Sabolinski talked about the fact that it can’t service special needs children in the classroom.

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

New town web site turned on this weekLost some links to the prior meeting agendas. The minutes for the meetings in 2008 up thru May 7th are available but nothing prior to that yet.

The look and layout is cleaner. It will take some getting used to getting aroundWhat do you think of it?

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

This podcast has been a public service provided to my fellow Franklin citizens and voters by Steve Sherlock

For additional textual information, please visit

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve dot gmail dot com

The musical intro and closing is from the Podsafe Music Network
Jon Schmidt - Powerful Exhilarating Piano Music

In the News - McGann Jr, Brick, Gas prices

The Milford Daily News has three articles of interest or reference to Franklin today.

Joseph McGann Jr. hasn't slowed down much since nailing two
state championships in wrestling at Franklin High School and a national title at
Blair Academy in Blairstown, N.J., in 2001.After wrestling for North Carolina
State, McGann kept a low profile, training in Eastern-style fighting at United
States Mixed Martial Arts in Bellingham, under Ultimate Fighting Championship
professional Jorge Rivera.

Read the full article here

Franklin -
Supporters of the Red Brick School are continuing their
efforts to keep the historically distinctive building open for classes this
year.Members of Brick School Association plan to "have a very visible presence''
at the School Committee's July 15 meeting, said association treasurer Herbert
Hunter. "We'll certainly provide plenty of input,'' Hunter said. The group is
not officially part of that meeting's agenda.The School Committee's Subcommittee
on Building Use has said it will likely recommend declaring the Red Brick as
surplus and return it the town, essentially ending the building's standing as a
one-room red brick school in continuous operation, recognized by the National
Historic Register. The School Department has announced there is no money in its
budget to continue running a kindergarten class there. About 1,000 residents
celebrated the school's 175th anniversary this June, said Deborah Pellegri, town
clerk and Brick School Association member.

Read the full article here

Franklin -

In Franklin, developer John Marini is mixing downtown
apartments with shops and office space, all a stone's throw from a downtown
commuter rail stop. Westborough's Bay State Commons, which opened last year,
combines everything from a Roche Brothers supermarket to 44 luxury

Read the full article here

Friday, July 11, 2008

Another Social Networking Site - Wicked Local

WICKED LOCAL: Social networking comes to New England sites GateHouse Media New England has entered into an agreement with TownConnect to introduce family-based social networking and a variety of other community-building tools on GateHouse’s 159 Wicked Local town web sites in Massachusetts.

Through the co-branded Wicked Local People sites, residents of the 159 eastern Massachusetts communities served by GateHouse newspapers can participate in a free, secure, private network and easily organize online communities of friends, neighbors and extended families; coordinate schedules; share photos and files; and connect families, friends, and neighbors.

“When we launched the Wicked Local network last fall, we wanted to combine professional journalism, lots of community information, and lots of opportunities for residents to interact with us and with each other,” said Kirk Davis, president of GateHouse Media New England. “Working with TownConnect allows us to take that interaction to the next level - immediately.”
Read the full article in the Franklin Gazette here

If you have followed our web 2.0 series, you should have some idea of what this site can do. I did sign up but don't have the time just now to continue to fill out the info required. There were about 20 or so other Franklin folks to do so when I signed up. It will need to have more to be worthwhile.

"Each worked really hard"

Posted Jul 11, 2008 @ 12:57 AM


The newly formed Financial Planning Committee spent most of its second meeting getting details from Arlington Deputy Town Manager Nancy Galkowski about the $6 million Proposition 2 1/2 tax override her community passed in 2005 with the promise of not asking for another for five years.

Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting invited Galkowski because Franklin town leaders had expressed interest in proposing a similar scenario in the future: asking residents to approve a sizable override and not seeking another for an established number of years.

"We're completely different than Franklin," Galkowski told the group, which last night included Finance Committee Chairman Jim Roche, Finance Committee member Rebecca Cameron, School Committee members Matt Kelly and Roberta Trahan, Town Council Vice Chairwoman Deborah Bartlett, and resident Douglas Hardesty.

Aside from a strip of Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington has a negligible commercial base, she said, particularly compared with Franklin.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Schedule error persists

If you missed the meeting last night, you may not be alone. I also missed it due to a persistent schedule error. Both the old town web site and the new one contain the resolution 07-46 with the approved schedule of Town Council meetings for 2008. Both schedules show meetings on the 16th and not the 9th.

Oh well.

Schedule of Town Council meetings:

Oh by the way, there is a new look to the Town web site. Check it out!

"a bit disingenuous"

Posted Jul 09, 2008 @ 11:56 PM


Displeased that school officials did not rally behind his idea to give schools $1 million from the town's stabilization account, Councilor Robert Vallee withdrew the proposal last night.

"It appears it's not important enough of an issue for them to get involved in, so, as far as I'm concerned, the case is closed," Vallee said.

School Committee members, several of whom have previously stated taking stabilization funds is unsound fiscal practice but would still accept the money, did not attend the meeting, but heard Vallee's comments as they watched the televised meeting at home.

Three committee members, Cora Armenio, Roberta Trahan, and Susan Rohrbach, jumped in their cars and rushed to Town Hall to respond to Vallee's comments, which they said they felt were inaccurate and unfair.

A bit breathless from the mad dash to Town Hall, Armenio explained that tapping into the stabilization account is "fiscally irresponsible," and would still leave 22 teachers laid off. The School Committee members spoke outside the doors of Town Council chambers because the topic and the citizens comments portions of the meeting were closed.

"I find it a personal affront to say we do not care," Armenio said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Where in Franklin? Answer #50

Where in Franklin? Answer #50, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Maybe due to vacations, we did not get an answer to picture #50.

So getting back into the swing of things (after some of my own vacation), here the answer to #50 was found on Dean Ave with the blue shuttered/white clapboard building belonging to the Franklin Lumber Co.

Stay tuned for the next opportunity.

"three options for its future"

Posted Jul 08, 2008 @ 10:33 PM


There yet may be a ray of hope for proponents of keeping an active classroom at the historic Red Brick School, though it appears likely the School Department will hand the building to the town.

Last night, the School Committee's Subcommittee on Building Use decided to invite Town Council Chairman Christopher Feeley, Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting and School Superintendent Wayne Ogden to its Aug. 12 meeting to solicit input regarding the school's future, rather than voting to recommend school officials give the brick school to the town.

"To be fair to everyone, we should ask for input," said Roberta Trahan, a School Committee and subcommittee member.

"I've given a lot of thought to this. It's been a tough situation, and I had hoped the community" could reach an agreement on what to do with the Brick School this year, said Trahan.

Trahan outlined three options for its future: using the building for something else, such a learning center or museum; treating it as surplus and giving it back to the town; or waiving the School Committee's new policy prohibiting targeted gifts (for operational costs) to keep it open as a school.

The subcommittee hopes to come up with a recommendation for the School Committee at its Aug. 12 meeting (at 5:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building), said School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily New here

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Meeting schedule

During the last Town Council meeting, the talk of the "next" meeting was that it was going to be July 9th; the second Wednesday. Apparently, neither Chris Feeley nor Jeff Nutting had their real schedule handy at the time or recalled that the first meeting this month is actually July 16th. I carried forward that error in my reporting (and podcast) until I finally checked the Town website to find out otherwise.

School Committee meeting - 7/15/08 7:00 PM
Town Council meeting - 7/16/08 7:00 PM