Saturday, March 1, 2008

Goodbye - Anonymous Comments

I have gone back and forth on this issue of anonymity a number of times in my own mind and after reading here, I have decided to remove anonymous comments from the various blogs I control. This change is effective 3/1/08.

This is not turning away conversation.

This is ensuring that the conversation is based in honesty and real identity.

It also helps that Google has enabled additional accounts to be used to comment.

If you have any issues with anonymity, you can email me (as you won't be able to comment) after March 1. Email to shersteve at gmail dot com

Note: as part of an overall comment policy, all comments must be phrased in respectful words. If they are not, they will be summarily deleted just like all s*p*a*m comments.

FY 2009 - Franklin School Budget info

The full budget can be found here (PDF)

The budget presentation made 2/26/08 can be found here (PDF)

The audio for the Q&A from the 2/26/08 meeting will be available here
Due to technical difficulties, I missed recording most of the actual presentation

An update on the Forensic Audit can be found here.

You can also go directly to the Schools page to find these budget files.

Attention Franklin Train Commuters

I almost missed this article but it does affect us on the Franklin line:

... a fresh source of delays and hassles this spring and summer for riders taking Acela and other Amtrak trains to New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and other Northeast corridor destinations. It could also mean trouble for MBTA commuter rail riders on the Attleboro/Providence, Franklin, Needham, and Stoughton branches, which use segments of the Amtrak Northeast Corridor.

Although some of the work is not directly related to the concrete tie problem, Amtrak has decided to shut down a T commuter rail track between Back Bay and Readville stations for maintenance June 14-17, T spokesman Joe Pesaturo said late yesterday. That four-day period coincides with when Amtrak plans to shut down all service between Boston and New Haven and run bus shuttles while crews complete a $76 million replacement of an 89-year-old bridge over the Thames River between New London and Groton, Conn.

Read the full Boston Globe article here.

June 14-17 may be a good time to plan to either work from home or plan an alternate route to Boston. Saturday, Sunday (6/14-15) will affect the weekend travelers. Monday, Tuesday (6/16-17) will affect the regular commuters.

In the new - Washington St accident, China protest, immigrant legal advice

Man killed in crash

By Joyce Kelley/Daily News staff

A 49-year-old Rhode Island man driving an 18-wheel tractor trailer died in a crash on Washington Street yesterday morning, police said.

Police declined to identify the man or his hometown until his relatives are notified, said Lt. Thomas Lynch. No one else was involved or injured in the accident, he said.

The man was dead when police arrived at the accident near 890 Washington St., in front of Temple Etz Chaim about 11:15 a.m., said Lynch. A driver behind the truck saw the accident and alerted police, he said.

The truck snapped two utility poles in half, said Fire Captain James Klich.

"We don't know exactly what happened, but ... it took out three utility poles," Lynch said.

Read the remainder of the article here


Human Rights group to use Marathon route to protest

By Michael Morton/Daily News staff

Three weeks before the Boston Marathon grabs the world's attention, a group alarmed by China's alleged human rights abuses plans to use the same Hopkinton-to-Boston route to publicize its cause: protesting this summer's Olympic Games.

"We believe the Olympic Games represent something universal and good," said Steve Gigliotti, the Massachusetts spokesman for the Human Rights Torch Relay. "The Olympics and human rights violations cannot coexist within China."

Seeking to expose alleged abuses ahead of the games, protest supporters lit a torch in Athens, Greece, in August and have since carried it to Europe, South America and Australia. The group has chosen Boston and its Marathon route to introduce its initiative to the United States and North America.

"Boston symbolizes the birthplace of freedom and liberty in the U.S.," Gigliotti said. "We decided it was a nice fit."

While he will have help carrying the torch, triathlete and marathoner Paul Guzzi, who lives in Franklin and works in Wellesley, will run the entire 26-mile route for the March 30 event. He volunteered after being told of abuses in China by his mother, who practices Falun Gong's tenets and became involved with the torch effort.

Read the remainder of the article here.


Rocky road to citizenship

By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff

Immigration lawyer Chris Lavery sees the problem too often: an employer who hasn't paid his illegal worker for four months. Lavery has to tell the illegal immigrant what the law says: they have no recourse.

"I'd like to see some sort of cure for that," he said, responding to Librarian Margaret Ellis' question about what immigration issue he'd like to see examined during elections.

Ellis invited Lavery to speak about modern immigration law to draw out the theme in "Dark Tide," by Stephen Puleo, a non-fiction book that she urges the whole town to read.

"The book deals with immigration in the early part of the 20th century. I wanted to (see) how different is immigration today? In some ways, it's the same, just a different group of people," Ellis said.

Read the remainder of the article here.

Franklin Industry: Arthrosurface

A recent press release brings this to my attention
Franklin, MA-based Arthrosurface, a developer of less-invasive joint resurfacing systems with some 7,000 of its devices now implanted in patients, announced today that is has taken in roughly $4 million in Series F funding. With the new round, the company has raised approximately $31 million in equity from repeat investor Boston Millennia Partners and private investors.
So what does Arthrosurface do?
Arthrosurface is entering its fourth year of commercial launch with approximately 7,000 devices implanted by more than 2,000 surgeon users in the various joint applications of the HemiCAP(R) system. Last year, US implant sales were up 55% with strong growth across all key product lines. In particular, sales of the company's first US knee device, the Patello-Femoral HemiCAP(R), grew 237% year on year. "We have found that within the first year of clinical launch, implanting surgeons closely monitor patient progress and, once they have confirmed positive results, sales begin to rise significantly. An excellent example of this was our great toe product. Cases went from a few hundred in the first year to thousands within two years. We expect similar adoption with the release of our new products," commented company president Steve Tallarida.

The company's HemiCAP(R) systems consist of a range of contoured
articular prosthetics and instrumentation intended for the repair of significant lesions and cartilage damage in the major joints. Arthrosurface continues to grow its line of shoulder, great toe, patello-femoral and hip products in the US. These same products are sold in Europe in addition to its knee femoral condyle and talar dome devices.
Imagine that. Franklin used to be known for textiles and straw hats. Someday it may be known for joint repair products.

For more info on Arthrosurface you can visit their web site. Select patient and follow the links to see what they can do for your hip, shoulder, great toe, etc.

Check out the video coverage they have received here.

And most importantly, their customer testimonials can be found here.

They are located at 28 Forge Parkway.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

In the news: Brick classroom

Red Brick School may close
By Joyce Kelly/Daily News staff

Throughout its 216-year history, the Red Brick School was nearly closed on at least four occasions, but the "overwhelming support" of townspeople kept its doors open each time, according to the town's Web site.

But the Red Brick School, which is on the National Historic Register and is considered one of the oldest one-room schoolhouses still in use nationwide, may not survive another year.

On Tuesday night, the School Committee voted 6-1 to pass a new policy prohibiting targeted gifts for operational expenses, including the ones that the school depends on to run the one-classroom kindergarten.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

By the way, this is the least of Franklin's school and town budget problems. With 45 teachers going out the door, we all should be focusing on how to prevent that.

Rep Vallee Q&A (audio)

Rep James Vallee in a good question and answer period with members of the School Committee. Chairperson Jeff Roy, Cora Armenio and Ed Cafasso have questions during this discussion.

Time: 19 minutes, 30 seconds

MP3 File

Rep James Vallee (audio)

Rep James Vallee brings the Chapter 70 update to the school committee.

Time: 10 minutes, 21 seconds

MP3 File

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

School Committee Meeting Summary 2/26/08

School Committee meeting agenda

The FHS Renovation options (audio)

FHS Renovation options Q&A (audio)

Pictures of the FHS renovation options

Rep James Vallee statement (audio)

Rep James Vallee Q&A (audio)

--- 5 minute break ---

School Committee meeting FY 09 budget highlights

-- Note: there is a gap here, due to some fat fingering I missed recording the budget presentation itself. I pick up with the Q&A following the presentation.

FY09 Budget Q&A part 1 (audio)

FY09 Budget Q&A part 2 (audio)

FY 2007 2008 Budget Transfers (audio)

Some of the Action Items (audio)

KCD Policy (gifts) passes 6-1

KCD Policy (gifts) (audio)

FHS Accreditation Warning Received (audio)

Completing the Superintendent's Report (audio)

This completes the meeting for 2/26/08

Pictures from the FHS presentation

Option One - the new auditorium and science wing would be added to the right of the existing facility

Option Two - the auditorum would be added to the right (as in One) but the science wing would be added to the left

Option Three - the auditorum and entrance would be re-done up front, the science wing wold be added on the right and more would be done in the central sections of the building

This a rendering of what the new school would look like from the air above Oak Street for Option Three

This rendering depicts the new school option building on the left of the existing field house, coming into the tennis courts and baseball/softball fields (but not to the new track). The fields used in this new building option would be relocated to the space where the old building stands now (after it was torn down).

FHS Renovation - Q&A (audio)

Question & Answer section following the presentation by Kaestle Boos on the options for renovating Franklin High School. Questions from committee members in order of appearance: Roy, Mullen, Armenio, Trahan, Kelly and Cafasso.

Time: 15 minutes, 0 seconds

MP3 File

My notes from the discussion:

Michael McKean (?) representing Kaestle Boos on the Franklin High School renovation options.
  • approximately 30 months for total renovation
  • approximately 24 months to build a new school keeping the existing field house
  • students will adjust quickly during the construction, the teachers and parents generally have more of an issue adjusting
  • in the renovation options, the traffic flow remains mostly the same other than attempting to separate the parent drop offs from the buses
  • the auditorium would be about $7 million (as sized at 26000 sq foot)
  • all the options would connect on the second level, for brevity of the presentation they were not shown here
  • this is not simply building on the roof as the existing building was done before the current seismic codes were put into place
  • the new building option would locate the building further away from the existing homes

Franklin High School Renovation Alternatives (audio)

The presentation by Kaestle Boos on the options for renovating the existing building or building a new school around the existing field house.

Time: 13 minutes, 28 seconds

MP3 File

In the news - school cuts looming

School cuts looming in Franklin

By Joyce Kelley/Daily News staff

After explaining how Franklin spends about $2,200 less per pupil than the state average, Superintendent Wayne Ogden told the School Committee why he will have to cut 45 positions next year.

The department needed a 6.7 percent budget increase to provide level service, but is slated to receive 1.5 percent, which includes the loss of about $400,000 in projected revenue from Medicaid that the town is now keeping, said Ogden.


Read the full article here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gift policy passes 6-1

The School Committee passed the KCD policy (otherwise known as the "gift policy") by a 6-1 vote.

This could eliminate the Brick classroom from operation next year by restricting gifts for targeted educational purposes. The budget is not final but the writing appears on the wall.

Additional info can be found here and here.

SchComMtg 2/26/08

SchComMtg 2/26/08, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Superintendent Wayne Ogden, Interim Finance Director Paul Funk, Asst Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski during the presentation on the outlook for the school department FY 09 budget.

Short summary: not good

  • Approx. 45 teachers cut
  • Class sizes rise
  • Eliminates the late bus
  • Bus fee increases from $225 to $325
  • No programs are eliminated but most are "changed"

Why these cuts?
While the Commonwealth of MA is increasing the funding to the schools by 9%, the level service budget for the schools would call for a 7.4% increase, the town is currently limiting the schools to a 1.5% increase overall.

Stay tuned, this is the first pass. The budget season is upon us. There is much more discussion to come before the budget is final.

Franklin School Committee Agenda 2/26/08

Franklin School Committee Meeting

February 26, 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 February 12, 2008 School Committee Meeting.

· Payment of Bills Mr. Kelly

· Payroll Ms. Armenio

· FHS Student Representatives

· Correspondence:

1. Letter to Oak St. School from Franklin Food Pantry

2. Letter from Franklin Recreation Advisory Committee

2. Guests/Presentations:

a. Representative James Vallee – Foundation Budget

b. Kaestle Boos – FHS Feasibility Report

c. FY 2009 Budget Presentation

d. FY 2007 & FY 2008 Budget Transfers

3. Discussion Only Items

· FY 2009 Budget

4. Action Items:

1. I recommend the School Committee enter into an agreement with Dr. George Ladd/Lynch Graduate School of Education, Boston College to collaborate on the Strategic Plan and district improvement.

2. I recommend approval of School Committee Policy KCD – Donation of Non-Budgeted Gifts.

3. I recommend acceptance of two checks from Follett Educational Services from surplus books: $13.32 for the Parmenter Elementary School gift account and $22.00 for the JF Kennedy gift account.

4. I recommend acceptance of budget transfers to close out FY 2007 as detailed.

5. I recommend acceptance of FY 2008 Budget of $54,626,000.

6. I recommend acceptance of FY 2008 budget transfers as detailed.

7. I recommend acceptance of two checks from Ohiopyle Prints, Inc. for the FHS gift account in the amounts of $88.12 and $22.26.

5. Information Matters:

· Superintendent’s Report


b. FY2009 Budget

c. FHS Feasibility Study

d. MetroWest Health Survey Update

e. Audit Recommendation 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

· Personnel Matters

8. Adjourn

Monday, February 25, 2008

In the news - Annarella Cookie Company

At newly opened Italian bakery, Annarella Cookie Company, there's more than the aroma of spice filling the air - there's tradition, a little bit of magic, and a lot of love.

After a lifetime dreaming about owning a bakery, but being busy working and raising three young children, Suzanne Gendreau did it: She opened the shop at 1 Crossing Plaza in January.

Every aspect of the bakery, from its start to its recipes, staff, atmosphere, and even its name - Annarella - is filled with family.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Train Schedules

The Boston Globe City & Region section today has an article on comparing how the train schedules have changed over time. While it also notes that real comparisons are not available; trains that ran in the 1920's were not regulated like they are today, the schedule into Boston years ago was faster than today.

I have ridden the Franklin line for most of the 12 years I have lived here but that is probably a short time compared to others.

What was it like riding the train to Boston before?

Where in Franklin? #32

Where in Franklin? #32, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Where would you find this entrance? What would you do inside this doorway?

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


Where in Franklin? Answer #31

Where in Franklin? Answer #31, originally uploaded by shersteve.

The answer to picture 31 is the Glen Meadows Apartments and Condominiums located along Chestnut Street in this photo but also with an entrance off RT 140.

Stay tuned for the next photo!

In the news - deficit ahead, museum name

Despite passing a $2.7 million override last year to prevent drastic cuts in schools, the town is again facing an estimated $3-$4 million deficit this year, according to Finance Committee Chairman Jim Roche.

State leaders say Franklin, when compared with other towns, is in good fiscal shape and receives more state aid than many of its counterparts.

They have been doing well. My district is one of the highest communities in terms of getting money (from the state),'' said state Sen. Scott Brown, R-Wrentham.

Likewise, state Rep. James Vallee, D-Franklin, said, ``Franklin gets more state aid than almost any other community in Massachusetts, especially with six or seven new buildings.''

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News


As part of its move to the former senior center on West Central Street, the Horace Mann Museum is getting a new image.

For starters, Horace Mann is getting the boot in favor of a less confusing title that does not imply a museum for the historical figure, said Carol Harper, chairwoman of the Historical Commission. The Historical Commission, which runs the museum, wants the public to know the building showcases Franklin artifacts - such as straw hats manufactured here by the same company that supplied hats for the movie, "Gone with the Wind," Harper said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News