Sunday, November 30, 2008

"This is really the kickoff with Franklin"

Town officials are forging ahead with plans to renovate Franklin's aging high school building, while realizing that the economy's downturn could affect their ability to pay for the project.

The town submitted a refreshed proposal to the Massachusetts School Building Authority this month, specifying problems with the 37-year-old building and providing additional details on enrollment projections, the educational goals of a potential renovation, and past examples of the town's commitment to building maintenance.

In addition, several Franklin officials, including Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting and Town Council chairman Chris Feeley, met with the building authority's executive director, Katherine Craven, to identify Franklin's most pressing needs. Craven called the encounter "very positive."

Read the full article in the Boston Sunday Globe West section here

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

"We have to be faithful to our basics"

An earsplitting clanging echoed from the stone bell tower of Mount St. Mary's Abbey in Wrentham, calling to prayer about a dozen nuns ending their morning shift in the convent's Candy House.

The sisters, wrapped in work clothes and aprons, walked down a wooded path and through a clearing as they made their silent way home. By noon, they were wearing the crisp, white robes of their contemplative Cistercian order, and had joined 40 others to chant and pray inside the abbey's airy church.

Up at 3, pray and work all day, retire at 8.

So it goes for these nuns and others in the order that for 900 years has emulated St. Benedict in relying on one's hands for daily sustenance.

Here in Wrentham, off a country lane not far from Interstate 495, that means tending a flock of sheep for wool to make blankets and growing a bounty of fresh vegetables in the summer, and, for these sisters who are rarely seen in public, making Trappistine Quality Candy - and lots of it.

Read the full article in the Boston Sunday Globe West section here

The Abbey web site can be found here

You can order candy via their online web store or make a donation via PayPal.

Postings about the Abbey's wind turbine can be found here

Whoosh Whoosh

Modern wind energy plant in rural scenery.Image via Wikipedia
What if some nuns in Wrentham decided to put up a wind turbine? And then high school officials in Worcester? And a Canton bank chairman? And pretty soon, the question wasn't where do wind farms belong, but how many windmills can we squeeze in to every last available space? That day is coming.

"Wind power is part of that," Schulte says. "It seems to be peppered all over society right now: green, green, green. Well, this is green. This is clean energy. This is 20 years of energy with no emissions. Twenty years of energy with no pollution you have to bury in the ground. I think that's all right."


Remember the nuns? Their turbine -- another SED project -- is scheduled to be built this winter. And Sister Mariann Garrity, for one, can't wait for the moment she sees those pearly white blades spinning. "The wind is just something that we've let caress our faces," she says. "It was not something, up until now, that we had learned how to harness. And when we see that turbine go up, we'll know that we are using a gift of creation in a much more effective way."

It's just like the nuns pray on Sundays. Gathered together, all 50 of them, they thank the Lord for the rain and the dew, for the heat of summer and the cold of winter. They give thanks for the seas and the rivers and the beasts, wild and tame. And they give thanks, of course, for the wind blowing outside the abbey, just waiting for a turbine to spin. "All you winds," they say together, quoting from the book of Daniel, "bless the Lord."

Read the full article in the Boston Globe Magazine here

Previous posting about the Abbey's wind project can be found here and here

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Junior Miss Program


41st Franklin Junior Miss Scholarship Program.

7 p.m.

Thomas D. Mercer Auditorium, Horace Mann Middle School, Oak Street, Franklin.

Tickets available at the door: $15

This year’s theme is "Friends."

Friday, November 28, 2008

"he knows of parents who allow underage drinking"

Posted Nov 26, 2008 @ 07:32 PM


Outraged that some parents think it's OK for their children and friends to drink alcohol at home, a coalition of concerned residents is shedding light on the problem of underage drinking.

Franklin High School Principal Pamela Gould has helped form a group called WASTED, or When Alcohol Starts To Effect Decisions. The group will host a meeting for parents on Tuesday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. at the high school, to share ideas to keep kids from drinking.

Many parents don't believe their children drink, but the problem is pervasive, Gould said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Defaced already

Defaced_already, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Yes, Dolores and I found a sticker placed on the base of the "Hat's Off to Franklin" sculpture on our walk this morning.

It didn't take long for some inconsiderate soul to deface this brand new Franklin gem.

Fortunately, it removed fairly easily.

Hat's Off to Franklin - slideshow

Franklin has much to be thankful for this year. I think the "Hat's Off to Franklin" sculpture helps to summarize all the goodness that the people, businesses, organizations and local government that make up this town is capable of.

Happy thanksgiving!

"you want to help him out"

FRANKLIN - When Gabriel Dut Bethou fled his remote village in southern Sudan 14 years ago, after a raid by soldiers of the faction that controlled the country at the time, it was with fear for his own life and grief for a family he thought had been killed.

Fourteen years later, the 24-year-old is preparing to return to his homeland — this time, with unimaginable joy.

Bethou, a student and employee at Dean College in Franklin, will be reunited with his mother, Ayen Aleer, and 20-year-old sister Akuot Bethou, both of whom he spent more than a decade believing to have been killed in the attack.

He will also meet for the first time two younger sisters born after Akuot and his parents — his father was later killed in other strife — relocated to the Sudanese city of Juba: Aluong, 10, and Nyakong, 14.

Read the full article in the Gazette here

Earlier this year, Franklin Matters had posted on the story as reported in the Boston Globe

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

live reporting - remaining items

Reminder that the ConnectED is to be used for more than just emergencies
The reminder on the completing the survey yielded 800 additional responses, it is a powerful tool.

Subcommittee reports

building use met earlier

communications need to met to review some advertising and to prepare the enxt steps on the EdNets

Liaison reports

A small group from the DOE will visit the high school on Dec 18th to visit and assess the needs as submitted in the recent statement of interest

Wasted - lecture on Dec 7th, impact of alcohol on students at Franklin High School

live reporting - action items

4. Action Items
  1. I recommend approval of the budget transfers as listed on the attached. - covered earlier
  2. I recommend approval of the Horace Mann Middle School’s School Improvement Plan - approved 6-0
  3. I recommend approval of the Remington Middle School’s School Improvement Plan - approved 6-0
  4. I recommend approval of the Annie Sullivan Middle School’s School Improvement Plan- approved 6-0
  5. I recommend approval of the request of the FHS Music Dept. for the April 18-20, 2009 field trip to New York City as detailed.- approved 6-0
  6. I recommend acceptance of the donation of science equipment valued at $8,000 from Vacumet Corp. for the FHS Science Department. - approved 6-0
  7. I recommend approval of the authorization of the Superintendent to create and administer the FPS 403B Plan document in accordance with the IRS Regulations as detailed in the attached memo. covered earlier
  8. I recommend acceptance of the annual donation of $50.00 from Leuder’s Environmental, Inc to be used for library books for Davis Thayer Elementary School. - approved 6-0
  9. I recommend approval of the MS Trip to NY City on May 9, 2009 as detailed on the attached. approved 5-0, 1 abstain

live reporting - modulars

Are you going to vote to give any direction to Paula and Ed to take to the Building Committee?

Take modular down because
  • of the condition of the modular
  • you have space within the building to absorb the students
  • you want to restore the building to a good condition
Davis Thayer, FHS and Remington-Jefferson

The action item should be an all inclusive package (removal of modular, restoration of grounds, re-wiring, etc. within the facilities).

live reporting - school calendar survey

The top part of the table reflects the survey responses by percent, the bottom part by number of responses. The highlights in green show agreement between the staff and the parents/guardians. The highlights in yellow show the disagreements between the staff and the parents/guardians.

The summary will go out with the school newsletters after the Thanksgiving break.

There are three points of disagreement between staff and parents.
  • Teachers want start before Labor Day, parents want to start post Labor Day
  • Teachers support the current calendar scheduling of professional day, parents do not
  • Teachers want professional development days during school year, parents want professional development days scheduled during the summer

There was agreement on the other five questions on the survey.

The administrator team will incorporate these findings into the next calendar when they bring that before you next Feb/Mar.

live reporting - technology capital

Tim Raposa presenting the technology capital for the Town and the Public Schools

Looking at a sharing laptop project for the high school

The document for the Technology Update can be found here.

The Technology department now covers all Town functions except for the Police Department.

Food service revenues would cover cafeteria automation software.
Nursing software avoids paper copies, integrates into student record keeping system.

Halleluiah! The Cable Commission is bringing streaming video within 3-4 months for all meetings, indexed and archived.

Hopefully close to resolving the legal issue with EdNets and should be able to bring that in within a couple of months.

approx 18-20 smart boards district wide about to be purchased with money already approved.

Armenio - can we get software where a parent can check their students homework or grades from yesterday's test?

Raposa - that software would be about $15,000 per year. I can consider moving it up in the priority listing.

Cafasso - I would echo Sharon Jackson's memo, I hear no complaints from the consumers.

Raposa - Thank you!

Rohrbach -What about the number of smart boards? Is there really a need in the elementary levels?

Raposa - If I could bring in more of them, I would.

Rohrbach - I have been to other high schools where they have multiple smart boards, why do they only have one?

Raposa - It is not a technical limitation at the high school. I was spreading the money around to be fair.

Ogden - You answered it but may not have made the point fully, the survey of the faculty of the high school for what they needed did not reveal smart boards. They do want the wireless and the networking. We may need to do some familiarization amongst the high school faculty to bring their familiarity with smart board technology.

Roy - with regards to the laptops at the high school, about 200 for loan, would also be able to get a deal for parents?

Raposa - It is an option, I can do that, need to work out how to buy them and then in turn sell them within the School Department finances.

Roy - is a laptop in the hands of every student on the radar?

Raposa - the amount of money is the problem, even at the high school with 400 incoming students and a $400 system that adds up. I have focused less on providing the laptop and more on focusing to provide the network to let them access the systems.

live reporting - MCAS Q&A

Cafasso - what about the difference in the longitudinal studies?

Kingsland-Smith - remember that longitudinal looks at different populations of students, so as long as we stay within a small range of variance we are okay.

Cafasso - the cohort numbers are increasing

Kingsland-Smith - the population is also a factor here with significant students moving into ot out of the district, the numbers in the aggregate can change reflecting that. To really be sure of cohort progrsss, you need to look at an individual level and see how they have progressed within the district.

Gerlits - The DOE database next year will provide the analysis for a true cohort study, focusing on students who have been in Franklin for all their education

Kingsland-Smith - an 8th grade ISSP will follow the student through to the High school. The transfer of information occurs between the teachers at the transition time.

EPP educational proficiency plan is specific to the 10th grade test results

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Live reporting - MCAS

Michelle Kingsland-Smith
Bobbi Gerlits

AYP - adequate yearly progress is a state measurement towards the overall target; four status category; no status, improvement (no improvement for 2 years running), corrective action (state interaction to provide assistance), state restructuring

performance highlights
  • district vs. State
  • 98 Adams scholarship recipients
  • school recognitions
  • grade level recognitions
Biology, a new standard, the only one where Franklin did not score high, first time for this test

Davis Thayer, top five performance in Grade 4 mathematics
Helen Keller, grade 5 mathematics, 94% of the students scored high
Grade 3, 4, 5 received very high scores in mathematics

Elementary made AYP in all groups and rankings

Middle School did not make AYP in subgroups
  • Horace Mann made AYP
  • Remington ELA improvement year 1 - subgroups
  • Annie Sullivan ELA improvement year 1 - subgroups
FHS made AYP

Middle schools
  • Math, Science - Low Income in subgroup
  • Math -Very Low in special education subgroup
possible factors for this
1 - idea of developmental learning process, state identifies a constant rate of change, we know from research and experience that students do not learn at a constant rate of change, compound that with the social and emotional challenges of the middle school age group

2 - when we talk about subgroups we usually talk about students with learning disabilities, progress usually is one year of growth per year, students with disabilities however need more time to make the development step; by the time they finish high school they meet the standards, having taken the time necessary to develop

3 - the test materials, learning standards increase exponentially in the middle school over the levels in the elementary schools. There is a ceiling in the 10th grade testing material, at an adult reading level.

High School
  • Math - low income made moderate improvement
  • Biology for both Low income and Special Education subgroups, they were in the Low performance rating category
Addressing the issues, mostly talked to in the Middle School improvement plans discussed earlier this evening

RTI - response to intervention, a framework to identify readers and reading levels

ISSP - individual student success plans, any student with a score between 220 and 238 has a plan to focus on their instruction and progress

Graduation requirements are changing for the students graduating in 2010, the passing score increases from 220 to 240 for both Math and English

Class of 2012 in addition to the Math, English and Science, they will also be required to pass a US History test

live reporting - middle school improvement plans

1 - Ms. Beth Wittcoff, Principal of Annie Sullivan Middle School

developed mission statement, culture and other foundation items when the school opened

need to tackle annual yearly progress especially within the special education students

their document has already served the building very well this year as the school year started

2 - Mr. Paul Peri, Principal of Remington Middle School

Goal 1 - reading, writing, literacy
Goal 2 - targeting skills of two sub-group populations, all three middle schools rank in the Very High or High categories, except for the low-income or special needs students
Goal 3 - connecting to the Franklin community

3 - Dr. Anne Bergen, Principal, Horace Mann Middle School

Goal 1 - writing, literacy
Goal 2 - focus on the highest performing students, wrote a grant application to submit to the state (which unfortunately the state is unable to fund). Surveyed the students to determine their interests, so they could at least get planning for some of the materials, putting together a personal finance course; mosaic tile project with Worcester Art Museum; etc.

analysis of reading rate, analysis on note taking (some kids are faking it)

Armenio - what are the implications of AYP?
Armenio - touch base with Kathleen Woods they took part at the High School in a Credit for Life fair and have some good information

live reporting - Miriam Goodman

Miriam provided an update on the following items.

1 - I recommend approval of the budget transfers as listed on the attached.
Approved 6-0

7 - I recommend approval of the authorization of the Superintendent to create and administer the FPS 403B Plan document in accordance with the IRS Regulations as detailed in the attached memo.

Approved 6-0

(will copy the details of the memo referenced later)

Live reporting - School Committee meeting 11/25/08

Present: Armenio, Cafasso, Mullen, Roy, Rohrbach, Trahan
Absent: Kelly

1. Routine Business
  • Citizen’s Comments - none
  • Review of Agenda - move action items #1 and 7 up to Guests & Presentations section
  • Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the November 18, 2008 School Committee Meeting - approved 6-0
  • Payment of Bills Mr. Kelly
  • Payroll Ms. Armenio
  • FHS Student Representatives
  • Correspondence:

"who might have provided the alcohol"

Milford Daily News
Posted Nov 25, 2008 @ 12:33 AM
Last update Nov 25, 2008 @ 01:42 AM


Police busted another underage drinking party Friday, arresting 20 youths at a gathering where many wore keepsakes honoring a teen who died following another beer bash, police said.

"We just arraigned all 20 (yesterday)," said Wrentham Police Sgt. William McGrath.

He said at the party Friday, many of the teens were wearing pink bracelets in memory of Taylor Meyer, the 17-year-old Plainville girl who drowned in a Norfolk swamp last month following an underage drinking party in the woods.

"Additionally, in the driveway was at least one car with a memorial painted in the back window," he said.

The rear window message read: "R.I.P. Tay. Best Friends Always. I love you angel."

McGrath said Kathi Meyer, the mother of the deceased King Philip High School senior, showed up at the arraignment and asked the teens to return the pink bracelets. Some of them were at the Oct. 17 party where Taylor Meyer was last seen alive, as well as at her funeral.

"I don't speak for the mother, but I did sense her disappointment," McGrath said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Looking for FHS Alumni artists

FRANKLIN - The Franklin Art Department is hoping to highlight the work of Franklin High School alumni who continued making art after high school graduation.

Anyone who participated in the art department and is still involved with art or design is welcome to exhibit examples of their work for the students and community of Franklin to appreciate.

The department is seeking architects, industrial designers, graphic artists, photographers, illustrators, apparel designers, fine artists in any medium, as well as college students currently studying in any art related field to participate in this first-ever alumni show.

To exhibit your work in the new Gallery 218, or to volunteer to help, send an email by Jan. 5 to: Rosanne Walsh ("Mrs. Gosch"), class of 1982 at or Mike Caple, art director at

Originally posted on the Gazette web site

Monday, November 24, 2008

School Committee - AGENDA - 11/25/08

Franklin School Committee Meeting
November 25, 2008
Municipal Building – Council Chambers
7:00 P.M.


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

1. Routine Business
  • Citizen’s Comments
  • Review of Agenda
  • Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the November 18, 2008 School Committee Meeting.
  • Payment of Bills Mr. Kelly
  • Payroll Ms. Armenio
  • FHS Student Representatives
  • Correspondence:

2. Guests/Presentations:
  • Horace Mann, Remington & Annie Sullivan Middle School’s School Improvement Plans
  • MCAS
  • Technology Report and Capital Needs

3. Discussion Only Items
  • Budget to Actual
  • School Calendar Survey Results
  • Modular Classrooms

4. Action Items
  1. I recommend approval of the budget transfers as listed on the attached.
  2. I recommend approval of the Horace Mann Middle School’s School Improvement Plan
  3. I recommend approval of the Remington Middle School’s School Improvement Plan
  4. I recommend approval of the Annie Sullivan Middle School’s School Improvement Plan
  5. I recommend approval of the request of the FHS Music Dept. for the April 18-20, 2009 field trip to New York City as detailed.
  6. I recommend acceptance of the donation of science equipment valued at $8,000 from Vacumet Corp. for the FHS Science Department.
  7. I recommend approval of the authorization of the Superintendent to create and administer the FPS 403B Plan document in accordance with the IRS Regulations as detailed in the attached memo.
  8. I recommend acceptance of the annual donation of $50.00 from Leuder’s Environmental, Inc to be used for library books for Davis Thayer Elementary School.
  9. I recommend approval of the MS Trip to NY City on May 9, 2009 as detailed on the attached.

5. Information Matters
• Superintendent’s Report
  1. Calendar Survey
  2. Teacher Award
  3. Connect Ed Update

• School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
• School Committee Liaison Reports

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

7. Executive Session
• Contractual Negotiations

8. Adjourn

"This further opens the door"

Milford Daily News
Posted Nov 23, 2008 @ 11:46 PM


Agreeing to establish an area in town for industrial development was called a "no-brainer" for Town Council when the decision came before them last Wednesday.

The council unanimously voted to opt into Chapter 43D and establish a priority development site on two parcels of town-owned land adjacent to Pond Street, in the office zoning district.

Chapter 43D, signed into Massachusetts law in 2006, guarantees local permitting decisions on priority development sites within 180 days, and increases the visibility of a community and the target development site.

There are a lot of vacancies in Franklin's two industrial parks, said Bryan Taberner, Franklin's director of planning and development. He said Town Council could designate each, or portions of them, as priority development sites.

"The key benefit to having priority development sites is, the state will help you market that site. They will actually put us on the map, even internationally. That's a huge benefit," Taberner said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

This was part of the live reporting of the Town Council meeting November 19, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sign spinners for Jenny Craig

Have you sign those crazy guys spinning signs at the 140/I495 exits or near the entrance to the Franklin Village Shopping Center?

I caught up with Justin Brown today to find out a little more about them and to record this brief video in case you missed their performance. Saturday is their last day advertising for the Jenny Craig opening at Franklin Village.

Justin was at the entrance and is pictured in the video here. He was joined by Charles "Chaz" Bryant, Ray Rivera, and Michael "Rex" Rexrode.

If you would like to enlist the sign spinners to help advertise your company, the contact information is available on the AArrow Advertising web site.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friends of Mel

Friends of Mel, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Eileen Mellor, Chris Sullivan and Sharon Whalen at Stop & Shop fund raising for Friends of Mel.

They will be at Stop & Shop this afternoon, if you have a chance, stop by and help them.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Happy Birthday To Franklin Matters

Happy Birthday To Me, originally uploaded by .bullish.

A belated birthday wish to Franklin Matters!

How quickly a year passes! I created this site to separate the Franklin posts from the rest at Steve's 2 Cents. The first post on this site was November 9, 2007. Over 1200 posts later, it is still going.

That question you can help me answer.

What should there be more of?
What should there be less of?

Public hearing notice


The details on the tagged and green ribbon trees indicate that there is a public hearing scheduled for 11/24/08 to review the plans for removing these trees as part of the construction/upgrade of Pulaski Blvd in Bellingham.

"The Bellingham Tree Warden will conduct a public hearing on November 24, 2008 at 7:00 PM in the Cafeteria of the Paul J. Primavera Education Center, 80 Hairpin St, to review proposed tree removal and plantings along the Pulaski Blvd right of way related to the Pulaski Blvd Improvement Project, Chapter 87, section 3 for cutting of public shade trees."

Mobile post sent by shersteve using Utterli. reply-count Replies.

Tie a green ribbon?


I recall the lyrics being something like "tie a yellow ribbon".
What does it mean when all these trees get green ribbons?

If you have had the opportunity to drive down Washington St into Bellingham, where the road changes name to Pulaski Blvd, there are dozens of trees tagged with green ribbons and these plastic cards.

Mobile post sent by shersteve using Utterli. reply-count Replies.

"It's what the town needed"

Seniors party for center's one-year anniversary

By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff

Yesterday, seniors - and public officials - proved they know how to have some fun.

The laughs kept rolling among nearly 150 senior citizens celebrating the one-year anniversary of the new Senior Center at 10 Daniel McCahill St.

Impersonating Frank Sinatra, Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting wooed the ladies with "Fly Me to the Moon" as he cradled a glass of (allegedly fake) hard liquor on the rocks.

Between Nutting, the zany kitchen crew's act, a police show with officer Jamie Mucciarone as "the King" sliding across the stage doing "Jailhouse Rock" with four "inmates" that included Police Chief Stephen Williams, the crowd got a few chuckles.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Open for business:

As part of our continuing series on businesses located here in Franklin, I find out that is now open for business via this notice.

Founded by Paula And William Ross, has about 1,000 products to help pet owners enhance the health and relationship with their pets. offers a business opportunity in the $40 Billion Pet Industry and an on-line Pet Store for each affiliate. affiliates have a fully equipped customer service center at their disposal, ready to take customer orders.

For more info, you can buzz them at 888-303-7775, visit their website (, or stop in at their Franklin, MA headquarters.

For information on other businesses in Franklin check out the prior postings here

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Friday, November 21, 2008

In the news - Financial Planning, Downtown Partnership, chambers unite, schools reduce paper

Posted Nov 21, 2008 @ 12:09 AM


In its ongoing efforts to create a three-year financial forecast for the town, the Fiscal Planning Committee last night considered the School Department's future.

The committee kicked around the possibility of regionalizing services with nearby towns, and member Stephen Whalen asked whether anyone has thought of asking the teachers union to agree to a moratorium on step increases (but keeping cost-of-living increases) now that "times are really tough."

"If we're asking taxpayers to make sacrifices, maybe we could ask our employees to make sacrifices" to reduce the chances of their colleagues getting laid off, he said.

Committee member and Town Council Vice Chairwoman Deborah Bartlett argued that teachers would just leave Franklin for other districts.

Matt Kelly, another member from the School Committee, whose wife is a teacher, said the big question teachers always ask during budget season and when layoffs loom, is whether they have the seniority to keep their job.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

For my live reporting from this meeting check the notes here


Posted Nov 20, 2008 @ 10:35 PM


Now that the town-commissioned statue has been unveiled at Franklin's relocated historical museum, the Downtown Partnership is preparing to beautify downtown on Sunday and start a merchants subcommittee to help breathe life into the center of town.

The new merchants committee, spearheaded by three businesses, Jane's Frames on East Central Street, ArtBeat on Summer Street, and Fitness Together on Main Street, will have a special event every third Thursday of each month, likely starting in January, said Jane Curran, a partnership member and owner of Jane's Frames.

"We want to have the 'third Thursdays' to encourage the public to come and see what's going on in downtown," which may include discounts and special promotions, Curran said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Help decorate downtown Franklin Sunday, 11/23/08 from noon to 4:00 PM


Posted Nov 20, 2008 @ 10:33 PM

Franklin's United Chamber of Commerce is merging with the Attleboro Area Chamber of Commerce, which members of both organizations hope will expand their clout and marketing reach.

The two had been discussing a merger for the past few months, as the United Chamber found itself in a tight financial situation and searched for a partner.

Attleboro's president, Jack Lank, will become president of the newly formed and re-named United Regional Chamber of Commerce, which will span more than 800 businesses in 14 towns along Interstate 495.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here


The refrigerator doors at students’ homes may appear more barren these days as school administrators try to distribute fewer hand-outs and disseminate more information through the Web.

Several school officials who send newsletters via e-mail and post grades online said recently they are looking to be both environmentally friendly and cost conscious.

Margaret Cole, a mother of three students in Bellingham schools, says less paper has come home this school year so far, although she still sees her "fair share."

With two children attending South Elementary School last year, she said she received duplicates of every hand-out.

"I would love to see more notices and homework assignments put online," Cole said. "It helps me monitor (their work) and makes it so much easier."

Read the full article in the Gazette here

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Energy $ense: Sustainable Business Leader Program

The Friends of the Franklin Public Library sponsored the 2nd installment of The Franklin Area Climate Team’s “Energy $ense” Series on Thursday, November 13th. The seminar: “How Businesses Get Help Going Green” with Alex Chamberlain, Director of the Sustainable Business Leader Program.

The Sustainable Business Leader Program (SBLP) offers assistance to small to medium sized businesses in Boston and the surrounding areas to improve their current practices in energy and water conservation, pollution prevention, waste reduction, transportation efficiency and sustainability management. The program provides: guidance in assessing your company’s current sustainability condition, help in developing an Action Plan to improve it and on-going assistance and monitoring.

A diverse group of businesses is participating currently in Boston; Boston Duck Tours through to Mom/Pop type shops. A listing of the 27 businesses in the program can be found on the SBLP website here. (

What is the Sustainable Process? The process starts with the sustainability assessment form (PDF). It is rather extensive and detailed with 94 questions. Completion of the form is followed by a site evaluation. The evaluation confirms answers to the survey questions and results in research that produces an assessment. The assessment provides recommendations for an action plan. The business creates the plan. SBLP personnel are available to work with the business to help develop the plan. Ultimately the SBLP reviews plan and approves.

How else can SBLP help your business? The SBLP held a gathering for restaurants and cafes to review sustainable practices. Sustainable practices are hard to do effectively as the business are small operations and are heavily driven by the immediate needs of their customers. The roundtable conversation was successful. The ripple effect of the discussion around locally sourced food was impressive and unexpected. Not only were the restaurants and cafes interested, but other companies were looking for local food for their cafeterias and break rooms.

They are exploring similar events for other groupings of companies to better meet their needs. SBLP has scheduled a “greentech” event for Dec 10th

How much of an opportunity is there? In 2006, it was estimated that there were 650,000 small businesses in Massachusetts alone. It is likely there are more today than then, therefore the work opportunity is great.

What does the program cost? The SBLP program costs $500. The individual company would pay $250 and the local chamber or other sponsor group would contribute $250.

What is the key to success? Whether the program starts at the top leadership of the company, or starts at the bottom, or anywhere in between, having a champion to keep the initiative going usually ensures a successful program.

Somerville has a similar program for the Davis Square area. The local businesses got together and determined to create a sustainable environment as a way of differentiating themselves from Harvard Square. For more information on the green effort you can visit their web site here. (

For more information on a sustainable process for your Franklin area business, please email Ted McIntyre of the Franklin Area Climate Team at or call 508-528-7765

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]



A meeting of the Financial Planning Committee was held on October 16,2008 at the Franklin Municipal Building. Members present were James Roche, Deborah Bartlett, Roberta Trahan, Matt Kelly, Rebecca Cameron, Doug Hardesty and Gwynne Wilschek..
Absent were Steve Whelan and Shannon Zollo. Also present were Wayne Odgen, Jeffrey Nutting and Tina Powderly.

The meeting was called to order at 7:03 p.m.

Discussion Items:

1. A general discussion was held on how to proceed.
2. The schools will present their model on November 20th.
3. Since the revenue picture will be unclear until February, it is the hope of the Committee to make a report by March, 2009.
4. Discussion on how to reach out to the citizens for input.

Doug Hardesty agreed to begin work on formatting the model; Jeff Nutting agreed to obtain comparison information about past versus current expenses; and Deb Bartlett agreed to work on a timeline. It is hoped that the report could have a range of financial options ranging from low to high.

The meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Jeffrey D. Nutting

Financial Planning Committee 11/20/08

The collection of posts from the Financial Planning Committee meeting on 11/20/08

Thursday, November 20, 2008

live reporting - school budget continued

Discussion on step/level changes versus the across the board rate increase.

The union both teachers and others in town would really fight hard on changing the step/level changes.

The Franklin teachers were cooperative in the most recent deal in accepting the 6.5% over three year increase.

Police, fire do this step/level thing too, the teachers are not alone. After 13 years, when you are theoretically at the top of your game, you only get an annual cost of living increase (i.e. the 2/2/2.5%). In other industries, you get opportunities for bonuses, etc.

What percent of the SPED budget is transportation?
At least 25-35%.

For the total SPED population we are about 70 students. That fluctuates from year to year depending upon the overall student population.

School employment equals 471 professional teaching staff, plus administrators, secretarial, to total approx 620.

Supplies were frozen overall. We equalized the amount at each level elementary, middle and high school levels to work out to be $210, $225, $355 respectively.

There are a 159 at the masters level, 75 will be at the top of the guide next year.
Typically English, Social Studies, Music we could get at an entry level. For Science, most likely would need to get at something higher than the entry level.

Class size charts reviewed to depict where the district is today.

Science class sizes were kept at around 24 due to the physical space, the labs were set for 2 students per station and 12 stations per room. To do more than that runs risk of additional dangers in handling the scientific materials.

Elementary sizes suffer from a distribution problem unless we re-district every year to make the adjustments.

Can we compare how successful we were at higher class sizes versus lower class sizes?
Yes, and no, not easily. There is a lot of national research on class size. New England Association of Schools and Colleges has asked the high school what impact the increase in class size will have. The comparative is a trailing indicator. You find out when it is too late.

We have a one shot deal here.
The past committees have really tried to preserve class size as the one major educational item of significance.

Could you experiment with different models of the mix of younger vs. older teachers?
Tenure vs. professional teaching status. The first three years the school district has a whole lot of flexibility. For the fourth year, there is now a right for that position.

With the three year starting process and then the flatness over 13 years, you really don't have any flexibility with teachers salary.

Not sure that you can track AP classes from year to year like we can with MCAS scores.

What else can we look at, turn over some rocks to find?
Probably don't have time tonight to look at that.

Next meeting: Dec 4th, Dec 18th, Jan 15th, Feb 5th

Discussion on "free cash", get started on the financial model

Think about all that we have heard and start to synthesize.

FY 10 salary numbers will be available in January, the out years should be discussed. Collective bargaining will be coming, Jan 2010 on the town side. Teachers will start negotiation in Sep 2009. We did secure some energy contracts so we can update those numbers in January. The pension numbers fluctuate and we need a better number. We'll still have a hugh budget gap.

live reporting - School Budget continued

The summer program where the students took classes on line away from the facilities. These things need to be listed out.

Has anyone dropped athletics? No, others have higher fees.
Has anyone dropped co-curricular? No, others have higher fees.

Theoretically, our teachers could teach course on line and students from around the nation could be paying us for that. During the summer, this was piloted. It would dramatically change the nature of what a teacher would do and what a student would experience. We're looking at what kinds of revenue could be generated. This would also have union contract ramifications. There is a thing called Virtual High School but that is a non-profit. We are probably the only public high school looking at this.

Would this be for home schoolers or for those looking for a specific course?
There already are home school packages out there, it would more likely be the specific courses. There could be advanced classes to accelerate graduation. So if a student goes through in three years instead of four, that in itself would be a cost savings.

There is a certain kind of kid that would thrive in that kind of environment.
Part of our drive is to get our kids exposed to this before they go to college.

French 5 as an example would be a way to provide courses that we couldn't provide but could still offer as part of the curriculum.
Virtual High School works in two ways. You could pay a per student charge and therefore offer a class for less than providing a part teacher to provide. You could also provide a teacher to support a course and as compensation for that the district would gain some number of seats so students would take whatever courses would be available.

Review of PowerPoint charts depicting the forecasted drivers for the 6.4% increase noted before.

Health percentage that they employee pays and co-pays are negotiated. They employees have been working with us on this. The change in these numbers usually affects the premium so there are savings available. We have an older population so that drives so of our flexibility.

to be continued...

live reporting - Financial Planning Committee 11/20/08

Attending: Jim Roche, Roberta Trahan, Doug Hardesty, Rebecca Cameron, Jeff Nutting, Wayne Ogden, Miriam Goodman, Matt Kelly, Steve Whalen, Deb Bartlett, Gwynne Wilschek, Joyce Kelly

Not Attending: Shannon Zollo

Minutes for meeting of 10/16/08 - approved

3.2 Million or 6.4% would be required to provide the "level service" equivalent to this years services (which is down from prior years).

154 8th graders more than graduating seniors. likely to keep some number of them. Some will be "lost" to Tri-County or to private high schools.

What we charge for pay to ride is not sufficient to fully fund the operation.

Governor looking to provide incentives to regionalize. Push is aimed at communities west of Worcester. Depending upon what kinds of carrots they dangle for regionalization, that may be something we would look at.

Q - If we found a community to join with, what timeframe would we look at?
A - If we found someone willing to dance, it could be done as early as 18 months, or it could go 3 years or longer (if politically a tough road).

Our size may be a consideration against doing it. Outside of New England, size is less an issue. Think of school districts in FL and CA.

You need to advance the discussion to provide an alternative to an override.

to be continued...

Hat's Off to Franklin

The complete video of the ceremony unveiling the "Hat's off to Franklin" sculpture is now available here.


"This was truly a community project,"

Posted Nov 19, 2008 @ 11:45 PM


With reddening ears and freezing fingers, more than 100 local dignitaries, volunteers and the entire fifth-grade class at Davis Thayer Elementary School gathered yesterday morning in the frigid cold to see the unveiling of a town-commissioned statue of a 19th century Franklin boy.

The life-sized bronze sculpture, titled "Hats Off to Franklin," depicts a young Franklin boy, whose waving arm welcomes people to the new Franklin Historical Museum, located at the old senior center at 80 West Central St. The museum is slated to open in the spring.

The Downtown Partnership found a talented sculptor, Washington, D.C.-based artist Marcia Billig, whose daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren live in Franklin, through a fox sculpture she made that she donated to Oak Street Elementary School for its grand opening.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Review video from the complete ceremony here

"they would favor a single tax rate"

Posted Nov 19, 2008 @ 11:59 PM


Town Council last night unanimously voted to put $600,000 of the town's $2.3 million recently certified free cash into reserves.

Before approving the appropriation, Councilor Tom Doak observed that the move seemed to be "rushing to take the money off the table."

"I'm just trying to be conservative given what I see coming down the road," said Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting, who proposed the move.

The council's policy is to keep at least $5 million in the town's stabilization account, which had $4.1 million in it prior to last night's appropriations, Nutting said.

The council also transferred $300,000 from hotel tax revenue into the stabilization, putting the total back at $5 million.

The $300,000 can be used in the case of a mid-year reduction in fiscal 2009 local aid, to pay for unemployment costs, or to pay off the library repairs, for instance, Nutting said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Town Council Mtg Summary 11/19/08

The collection of posts covering the Town Council meeting on 11/19/08

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

live reporting - Town Administrator

NationalGrid will be sending a notice to abutters of the power lines as an alternative route, not one they want. There will be a public hearing to review the details

Winter parking ban now in effect.

Museum, I could go on and on, good work by all involved.

Old business:

New business:

Doak: question on gas contract?
Nutting - was for one year

Councilor comments:
Bartlett - thanks for the help running a well organized election, unveiling of the statue was a wonderful event, FEF Casino night this Friday

Zollo - thanks for all those involved in the Museum effort, a key piece to the puzzle that we are putting together downtown. Thanks to the Downtown Partnership for their work.

McGann - thanks to the DPW workers and all the others who worked on it.

Pfeffer - wonderful veterans breakfast, 11 vets over the age of 90. Over 150 attended the breakfast, paid for by the Franklin elders.

Clara Lodi honored for long years of service to the library.

Historical museum did a great job.

live reporting - Action items

1. Resolution 08-72: Acceptance of Deed of Open Space in Old Grove Street Open Space
Residential Subdivision - approved, unanimous
2. Resolution 08-73: Authorizing Establishment of Pond Street Priority Development Site -
By doing this, the state will help us market the property. By picking Pond St, our property we can set the process into motion and then get to the owners of the industrial parks to get the owners permission to use their industrial parks for similar marketing efforts. It does streamline the process of the applications which doesn't mean that the individual boards and the approval processes change, it just means there is a single point of contact to verify that everything is in order once things get started. Franklin already generally approves permits within the 180 days unless the project is major. - approved, unanimous

3. Resolution 08-74: Amendments to FY 2009 Budget - approved, unanimous
The revenue to fund these are using new sources of revenue that were not in the budget that are confirmed as coming in

4. Resolution 08-75: Appropriation – School Department Budget (Information Technology)
actually a transfer from Town budget to School Dept budget, approved by Finance Committee 10-0 (with one abstain) - approved, unanimous

5. Resolution 08-76: Appropriation – Stabilization Fund (Hotel/Motel Tax Revenues)
Finance committee voted 11-0 for - approved, unanimous

6. Resolution 08-77: Appropriation - General Stabilization Fund (Free Cash) - approved, unanimous

Free cash totaled 2.3 Million from the FY 2008 year. This would put us up to $5 million in the Stabilization Fund which is the Councils goal.

Feeley - Why don't we use "free cash" for operating expenses?
Nutting - averaged over the last five years is just about 2 million, about 2.1% variation, so we are hitting the target at 98%. You don't want to hit the budget at 102%. Some of the turn backs are personnel related. New position is authorized but may not be filled for the full year due to the hiring process. Even though it is a regular revenue but because it a variable revenue it really doesn't make sense to depend on it for operating budget. If you were to do so, you would expand the budget beyond the ability to maintain that level.

Doak - "free cash" is really a function on how much we are conservative in forecasting revenues?
Nutting - When EdReform came in, they tightened up the ability to underestimate receipts. There is a municpal growth factor that you need to meet.

7. Resolution 08-78: Appropriation – FY 2009 School Supplemental Budget - approved, unanimous

Finance committee voted 11-0; there has been discussion at the Federal level to do away with this. It is currently dead until the new Congress comes in. At the state level, there is talk of having this go direct without appropriation to the schools.

8. Resolution 08-79: Appropriation – Water Capital Projects - approved, unanimous

This continues the program started 8 years ago. Some of these projects have already started, others would get started.

9. Resolution 08-80: Appropriation – Sewer Capital Projects - approved, unanimous

10. Bylaw Amendment 08-629: Amendment to Chapter 25: Personnel Regulations, Appendix A – Classification Plan- 1st Reading; moved to second reading, related to the re-organization of the DPW, this puts jobs into categories - approved, unanimous

live reporting - tax rate

Part one of the two part hearing process to set the rate

Franklin around an 80/20 split between residential/commercial

Need to get the valuation to combine with the rate to determine the tax bill

Likely that the assessed valuations will decline, so a rate increase may not equate to an increased tax bill.

Q - would like to highlight that with a rate increase the valuations may be going down so there really wouldn't be an increase in the actual bill.
A - over 10 years the average bill has increased $134/135 dollars and that includes the debt exclusions for the three schools that are rolled into that amount.

Q - how much we can spend is capped by the commonwealth
A - yes, that is correct

Board of Assessors: Kevin Doyle, Vincent Debaggis, Bob Avakian, Ken Norman

Decided to offer a workshop to the board to help provide information on the process as to how the numbers are calculated. Offer still out there.

Evaluation done in accordance with MA Dept of Revenue

Market data generally available for residential properties (single family and condominiums). Commercial and industrial properties are also based upon market value but with less volume other considerations come into the calculations.

Values as of January 2007.

Discussion over the next several weeks will be on a single versus split tax rate
50% of the commercial/industrial base is comprised of the mall and the two industrial parks.
Doesn't necessarily mean that mom/pop shops account for the other 50% as East Central, Grove St and other sections of town do contain other commercial/industrial properties.

Estimate on Commercial/Industrial assessed value change has already changed from the printed copy. Updated numbers will be available for the next meeting.

Doak - So the amount of new revenue which is the only way we can increase revenue without going over the 2 1/2 % is going down.
Nutting - yes, that is correct.

Bartlett - do you have a sense for the vacancies?
Doyle - The survey data is collected early in the year and available by the summer. We do receive foreclosure deeds when they are recorded.

Doyle - getting about 66% return on the survey, up over the last 5 years from about 50%. The owners have an incentive to provide the data otherwise they loose standing if they attempt a challenge. The form is easier to read.

Doyle - about 500 commercial/industrial entities, about 11,000 single family residences

Whalen - how strong is the correlation between delinquencies and vacancies?
Norman - that is really a tax collector question
Nutting - I think they are sending out less delinquency notices. We are making 12-14% interest and at the end of the day, we collect 100% of our taxes. Eventually we get it all as we are first in line.
Cerel - Even if you have vacancies, you need to be paid full and current in taxes to challenge, you also have to have provided the input required in order to have standing to challenge it.

Feeley - Why are you not providing a position as a board on the split vs. single tax rate?
Norman - we as a Board decided not to make a formal recommendation starting this year

McGann - why the change this year?
Avakian - A prior concilor challenged the board recommendation, since there no clear direction on whether the Tax Assessors should really make a recommendation. It is clear that the Town Council has the final decision. If you ask us, we will provide our personal recommendations but we will not make a recomendation as a Board.

McGann - what is your recommendation?
Avakian - I would go single
Debaggis - I would go single
Norman - If I were in your shoes, I would go single
Doyle - I would go single

Live reporting - Town Council Mtg 11/19/08

Attending - Whalen, Mason, Vallee, Bartlett, Feeley, Pfeffer, Doak, McGann, Zollo


G. LICENSE TRANSACTIONS – Uptowne Pub – Change of Manager, Officers & Directors

approved, unanimous

Town Council Agenda 11/19/08







G. LICENSE TRANSACTIONS – Uptowne Pub – Change of Manager, Officers & Directors

H. PRESENTATIONS/DISCUSSIONS - Board of Assessors – Tax Classification


1. Resolution 08-72: Acceptance of Deed of Open Space in Old Grove Street Open Space
Residential Subdivision
2. Resolution 08-73: Authorizing Establishment of Pond Street Priority Development Site
3. Resolution 08-74: Amendments to FY 2009 Budget
4. Resolution 08-75: Appropriation – School Department Budget (Information Technology)
5. Resolution 08-76: Appropriation – Stabilization Fund (Hotel/Motel Tax Revenues)
6. Resolution 08-77: Appropriation - General Stabilization Fund (Free Cash)
7. Resolution 08-78: Appropriation – FY 2009 School Supplemental Budget
8. Resolution 08-79: Appropriation – Water Capital Projects
9. Resolution 08-80: Appropriation – Sewer Capital Projects
10. Bylaw Amendment 08-629: Amendment to Chapter 25: Personnel Regulations, Appendix A – Classification Plan- 1st Reading





O. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required


Hat's Off to Franklin - video

The unveiling ceremony was held Wednesday morning in front of the refurbished town hall building soon to be the new museum.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Hat's off to Franklin

The steps in the making of the scuplture - "Hat's off to Franklin" by Marcia Billig.

Mobile post sent by shersteve using Utterlireply-count Replies.

"open the store in April 2010"

Posted Nov 17, 2008 @ 09:45 PM


The Planning Board will hold the first public hearing Dec. 1 for Arista Development's request for a permit to build a Walgreens pharmacy at the former Four Corners School.

At the same time, Arista will also apply for a special permit from the Conservation Commission for a drive-through window, said Town Planner Beth Dahlstrom.

In mid-May, Town Council voted to sell the former school to Arista Development LLC of Norwood for $2.5 million. Arista plans to build a Walgreens there, at the intersection of King Street and Rte. 140.

Through Town Administrator Jeffery D. Nutting and Town Attorney Mark G. Cerel, the town recently entered into a purchase-and-sales agreement with Arista, said Richard R. Cornetta Jr., the attorney representing Arista.

Nutting has said he expects the sale to be finalized in the spring.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

"It'd be nice to get climate control"

Franklin: Public LibraryImage by shersteve via Flickr
Posted Nov 19, 2008 @ 12:29 AM


The public library's precious murals, once threatened by leaky ceilings, are now safe from rain and the elements, said Mike D'Angelo, director of facilities for the town and schools.

Water had seeped through crevices and created bubbles and peeling in the wall plaster just above the paintings, which includes a mural depicting parts of the day by Italian artist Tommaso Juglaris, D'Angelo said.

In September, contractors began making repairs to the library, built in 1903, and have completely repointed the main building, meaning they cut out all the mortar joints between stones and put in new mortar, D'Angelo explained.

"That's where it was leaking," he said. "Some joints were just totally gone."

Workers also replaced about 70 percent of the caulk in the library addition, built in 1987, where the children's room is located, he said.

Now they are restoring the windows in the original part of the library, D'Angelo said.

Finally, contractors will install snow rails on the roof to prevent snow from sliding off, he said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

"It is old, but it's not a horrible place to be"

Posted Nov 19, 2008 @ 12:36 AM


Assistant Superintendent of Schools Maureen Sabolinski told the School Committee last night she is a bit more optimistic this time around after resubmitting a statement of interest to the state to help fund the renovation or construction of a new high school.

The application included a new projection for school enrollment, building permits in town, an update on the district's priorities, and a systems overview detailing the age of Franklin High, its walls, furnace and boiler, for instance, as well as health and safety issues, she said.

"What was remarkable in looking at this, was how old (everything is) at Franklin High School - the wiring system, the breakers, the stairs, the floors, are all 37 years old," Sabolinski said.

"When you do the math, 37 years of students walking on the floors ... It's pretty astonishing the building is in such good shape," she said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

School Committee Meeting 11/18/08

The collection of posts for the School Committee meeting of 11/18/08

went to meeting without laptop power cord and both batteries eventually ran dry leaving me to report the remainder of the meeting the old fashioned way (Note to self, if you are going to bring an extension cord, it would really be helpful to have the power cord itself!)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Information matters

Superintendents report

Information matters
Enrollment report, one item of significance, 154 more 8th graders than seniors, will increase HS population next year

Complexion of student body changing over time

Did fight in court to prevent student from coming to FHS instead of King Phillip
Will cost several thousands, final number not yet available
Residence of student changed from Franklin to Wrentham, decision was upheld

commenting on the student enrollment projections, we now have 3 differnt student enrollment projections, where we are is actually in the middle of those projections

Action items

Action Items
  1. I recommend acceptance of a check for $83.03 from Target’s Take Charge of Education Program for Remington Middle School for classroom supplies. unanimous
  2. I recommend acceptance of the gift of folding chairs and chair truck and 4 overhead projectors from Resh, Inc. valued at $3,276.00 for the Davis Thayer Elementary School. unanimous
  3. I recommend approval of the recurring field trip for the FHS Wrestling Team to Greenbush, NY for a meet from 12/26 to 12/27/08. unanimous
  4. I recommend approval of the recurring field trip for the FHS Wrestling Team to Salem, NH for a meet on 12/23/08. unanimous
  5. I recommend approval of the recurring field trip for the FHS Wrestling team to Warwick, RI for a meet on 1/17/09. unanimous