Friday, April 18, 2008

Franklin Blogger: Martinator's Bicycling Blog

The Hitchhiker Team found Martinator's blog in January. Martin lives here in Franklin and writes of himself:
I am a Web Designer. Actually, I am more on the interface coding side of web design. I like to bike and ski, though I haven't skied in quite a while. I am also a gadget freak and I try to incorporate technology into everything I do.
If you are interested in bike riding, this is one site to check out regularly.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

In the News - let voters decide, luxury tax

Posted Apr 17, 2008 @ 12:51 AM


Taxpayers will have an opportunity to vote for a tax override early this summer, the majority of the Town Council decided last night.

Every seat in the Town Council chambers was filled, and about 20 more people stood at the back of the room at last night's meeting, all in favor of an override.

No one but Councilor Judith Pond Pfeffer spoke against the permanent tax hike, which would be used to prevent about 45 layoffs in schools, program cuts, and possibly boost other town departments' budgets.

School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy, as well as a handful of residents, including Finance Committee members, Town Council Chairman Christopher Feeley, Vice Chairwoman Deborah A. Bartlett, and members Stephen Whalen, Shannon Zollo, Joseph McGann and Thomas S. Doak all spoke in favor of putting an override question on the ballot.

Councilor Robert Vallee, who had gone on record as being opposed to an override, passed at the chance to voice his opinion last night.

Finance Committee Chairman Jim Roche, who spoke as a taxpayer and father, urged the council to let the town vote.

"This is more than just a school problem - it's a townwide problem," said Roche.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.


The MetroWest Daily News
Posted Apr 17, 2008 @ 12:50 AM

My first thought was to drop a dime to Susan Wornick.

I know my rights. I know the law. Clearly, the sporting goods store was no authority on clothing tax.

But after a teenaged manager took the $1 off my bill, I calmed down enough to see involving Channel 5's consumer guru wasn't the way to go.

Instead, we need to make the state tax code even more confusing.

Conventional wisdom on Beacon Hill has been to balance the budget on the backs of the monkeys on Massachusetts residents' backs.

Got a vice? We'll tax it. Then we'll tax it some more. And when that isn't enough, we'll just push Lottery tickets a little harder.

Look, we don't want you to gamble if you're an addict. No, seriously. See, we put all sorts of disclaimers on Keno broadcasts and around convenience stores that sell scratch tickets. Here's the number for Gamblers Anonymous. Call if you think you have a problem. Just wait until after you buy another Megabucks ticket before you call, OK?

Casinos may be off the table for the moment, at least casinos of the state-run variety, but an extra tax on smokers is all but a done deal.

Dirty, rotten smokers. Make them pay for miscalculations in what it takes to run a state.

There was some talk about upping taxes on wine, but so far that hasn't gotten much traction. It'll likely be revisited when the number of people who buy cigarettes in Massachusetts dwindles to financially unacceptable levels.

Meanwhile, there's a sensible solution no one's talking about.

Read the remainder of the article to see the sensible solution in the Milford Daily News

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Attention Franklin: Override ballot question coming

Per Chris Feeley this evening, there will be a new Town Council meeting added on April 30th to vote on the override ballot. Between now and then various subcommittees and committees will be working on what number should be put forward to address this town problem.

The vote should occur in June, I heard him say June 15th, that is a Sunday so it is likely he meant either June 14th to go with a Saturday vote, or June 17th to stay with a traditional Tuesday vote.

Either way, the voters of Franklin will have an override to decide to maintain their Top 10 rankings or not.

Our choice. Listen. Learn. Be prepared to cast an informed vote!

Councilor Comments: Shannon Zollo (audio)

From the Franklin Town Council meeting 4/16/08, Shannon Zollo lays out the argument for the override vote so the town can decide and recommends how each can prepare for the vote.

Time: 11 minutes, 42 seconds

MP3 File

Editorial Comment: Remember this one, come back here to listen to this often. I have not heard as complete and compelling an argument put forth as convincingly as this was. Thank you Shannon!

Town Council Mtg Summary 4/16/08

Attention Franklin: Override ballot question comin...

Councilor Comments: Shannon Zollo (audio)

--- 2 minutes break ---

6 - Citizen's Comment: Andy Donaldson (audio)

5 - Citizen's Comment: Kaitlyn Cronin (audio)

4 - Citizen's Comment: Jim Roche (audio)

3 - Citizens Comment: William Hawes (audio)

2 - Citizen's Comment: John Niece (audio)

1 - Citizen's Comment: Jeff Roy (audio)

Town Council Agenda 4/16/08

additional segments of the meeting will be posted as I have time to process them.

Citizen Comments: Andy Donaldson (audio)

From the Franklin Town Council meeting on 4/16/08, citizens comment. Andy was the last of the citizen comments, the council took a two minute break after this.

Time: 1 minute, 5 seconds

MP3 File

Citizen Comments: Kaitlyn Cronin (audio)

From the Franklin Town Council meeting 4/16/08, citizens comment.

Time: 35 seconds

MP3 File

Citizen Comments: Jim Roche (audio)

From the Franklin Town Council meeting of 4/16/08, citizens comment. Jim Roche of the Finance Committee advocating for an override vote for the town wide problem for the full set of voters to decide.

Time: 1 minute, 45 seconds

MP3 File

Citizen Comments: William Hawes (audio)

From the Franklin Town Council meeting 4/16/08, citizen comments

Time: 55 seconds

MP3 File

Citizen Comments: John Niece (audio)

From the Franklin Town Council meeting of 4/16/08, citizens comment. A Benjamin Franklin Charter school parent speaking for an override vote to be held.

Time: 59 seconds

MP3 File

Citizen Comments: Jeff Roy (audio)

From the Franklin Town Council meeting on 4/16/08, Jeff Roy, School Committee Chair, addresses the Town Council during the citizen comments portion of the meeting advocating for an override vote to be put before the town so the town can decide what level of service they want for their schools and other services.

Time: 5 minutes, 25 seconds

MP3 File

The text of the full statement can be found at the School Committee blog here.

Town Council Agenda 4/16/08

The agenda for the Town Council meeting can be found here

Proposed FY 09 budget (PDF)

Proposed budget information page

FINCOM Meeting Summary 4/14/08

FINCOM votes to adjourn (audio)

FINCOM: Mike D'Angelo's statement (audio)

FINCOM: School Budget vote (audio)

FINCOM: Ken Norman (audio)

Additional segments from the meeting will be posted as I have time to prepare them

FINCOM: Ken Norman

After the 5 minute break, the Franklin Finance Committee returns to business missing two members. Ken Norman opens the discussion on the override with his statement calling for a multi-year plan.

Time: 2 minutes, 24 seconds

MP3 File

In the News - override, Council meeting

Posted Apr 15, 2008 @ 09:36 PM


Tonight, Councilor Joseph McGann and School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy will both urge the Town Council to put an override question before voters this year to prevent layoffs and cuts in schools and town departments.

"I would like to see the people express their voice on it," said McGann, adding, "I don't think it's going to fly."

Still, McGann wants the council to put feelers out in the community to get a sense of whether people want to pay more to keep the 45 teachers and school staff expected to be laid off in the budget proposed by Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting, which the Finance Committee voted to support Monday night.

Individual members of the Finance Committee supported a tax increase. Chairman Jim Roche and Pat Goldsmith both made motions to recommend the Town Council place a $1.5 million override question on the ballot. The board as a whole, however, did not take action because they had no time to prepare an adequate plan, they said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

FINCOM: Mike D'Angelo's statement

From the Franklin Finance Committee meeting of 4/14/08, this segment is the statement (very well done, by the way) of Mike D'Angelo laying out what is really going on with the schools providing the support for the town wide facilities already and recommending NOT to go ahead with the consolidation.

Time: 8 minutes, 20 seconds

MP3 File

My notes made during Mike's statement:

One facilities dept already, the school manages the town facilities
Four people on facilities, all happen to be school employees
Part time custodians and trade staff are town
1M vs. town 200,000 sq ft
School required to for certifications, schools are in a lot of business
Tim (Raposa) runs town technology
School runs the food services
Town gets a lot of benefit from the schools
School grounds staff does a good job
Took town employee to a seminar for the first time
Schools are a different entity, 38 folks work hard today
Reduced staff from last year, work around children every day
They want to be involved in schools, cleaned areas that are larger due to cuts
Folks are working harder

Reality is school is doing a lot for the town
Really is the tail wagging the dog

Jeff Nutting knows my opinion
School guys there to do the floors
Debate on the 29th will be good
No MOA to let Mike do what he is doing
His recommendation is not to move, to keep it as is
All this was done out of good will for last five years

FINCOM: School Budget vote

From the Franklin Finance Committee meeting on 4/14/08, this segment skips ahead of all the discussion and get right to the motion for the School Committee budget. They approved the Town Administrator recommended level funded budget with this vote.

Time: 3 minutes, 2 seconds

MP3 File

Ed Cafasso - Citizens Comment Appeal

Any parent who supports a level service school budget issue should try to attend the 7 p.m. Town Council meeting on Wednesday (tomorrow) and use the “Citizen Comment” period right at the start of the meeting to ask the town councilors to look into their hearts and find a way to help the schools fund a level service school budget -- either through existing resources, an override or some combination of both.

The schools are not on the meeting agenda, so “citizen comments” will be the only chance to be heard on this issue. Committee Chairman Jeff Roy will make a statement, and the vocal support of parents would be appreciated.

Ed Cafasso

Member Franklin School Committee

in the News - FINCOM Meeting - 2 articles

Posted Apr 15, 2008 @ 12:30 AM


Despite support from most individual members of the Finance Committee, last night the group collectively decided against recommending an override to Town Council because they did not have enough time to properly plan.

After School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy requested the board discuss putting an override question to the public to prevent 45 layoffs in the schools, Finance Committee members spoke in favor of a tax hike.

Finance Committee Chairman Jim Roche made a motion to ask the Town Council to place a $1.5 million override question on the ballot to support the school, police, and fire departments. No one seconded his motion.

Read the full article here


Posted Apr 15, 2008 @ 12:46 AM


After a lengthy presentation from school officials advocating for a $58.6 million budget, the Finance Committee last night voted to recommend the $55.4 million budget proposed by Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting.

Finance Committee Chairman Jim Roche said he wanted to be clear that the school budget is not being cut, "it's just not getting increased by as much" as officials say is necessary to maintain teachers, other staff and programs in schools. Nutting's recommended budget represents a 1.5 percent increase, or about $800,000 over this year's $54.6 million budget.

Even if the School Department gets the $58.6 million it is seeking, schools will not be able to hire new teachers, Superintendent Wayne Ogden said.

Read the full article here

Monday, April 14, 2008

FINCOM votes to adjourn

Yes, that was one major highlight of the long evening Monday 4/14/08.

After hearing and reviewing the school budget and the need for an override,
with two members not returning from a five minute break,
the eight remaining could not reach an agreement on two motions for an override,
both motions ended up being withdrawn,
which quickly lead to the motion to adjourn at approx 10:20 PM.

So the FINCOM has yet to vote a full budget (schedule to be determined).

The Town Council probably won't get the budget until their second meeting in May (at this rate).

Which cuts it almost impossible to schedule a town vote for an override before June 30th.

So as it stands the school budget voted is the level funded Town Administrator approved budget which is short $3.3 Million and will result in 45 folks going out the door in June to not return in September.

Oh, and the school committee has yet to vote on their final budget. That comes on April 29th.

more details and recordings to be made available as I have time to process them

In the News - override views mixed, FINCOM to hear school budget

Posted Apr 13, 2008 @ 09:08 PM


Dale Lippert, a retired instructor from Dean College, didn't pause before expressing his thoughts on a tax override to save the schools from drastic layoffs and cuts this year.

Sitting at the Honey Dew Donuts on Rte. 140, Lippert shook his head, and looking to his friend, another senior, said, "It's not going to happen."

"The bucket is only so deep. I don't think it's a Franklin issue - I think it's a U.S. issue, an economy issue," said Lippert, lamenting the rising cost of gas, milk, and bread.

People on fixed incomes can't meet their basic needs, and others are losing their homes, he said.

"I was a teacher, and I'm 150 percent in favor of education, but there has to be fiscal responsibility. They can't just keep asking people (for more)," Lippert said.

If Franklin puts a tax override question on a ballot this year, he predicted, "a gray revolution" - the senior generation organizing to fight it - adding that he'd be "on the front line."

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News


Posted Apr 13, 2008 @ 08:33 PM


Tonight, School Committee Chairman Jeff Roy will make two financial requests of the Finance Committee: To support a tax override and agree to a $58.6 million budget for schools - $3.2 million on top of Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting's proposed $55.4 million budget.

The School Committee is seeking the tax hike to fund a budget sufficient to maintain the same level of services, teachers and staff at schools.

An adequate tax override would prevent 45 layoffs (mostly teachers) in schools and increased pay-to-ride fees, and save the late bus.

"I'm hoping the Finance Committee will support an override, or at least an override question. I think it's the only real option, because there aren't any real sources of (additional) revenue," he said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Poll #2

Thank you for your feedback to the first poll.
My second one is now along the right column under the subscription options.

How do you prefer to catch up on what happens with a meeting?

You have three options and can choose one: audio files, audio and text, or text.

I have experimented with all three delivery methods over the last several months. I have my preference. Now you get to express your choice.

Letter From Ed Cafasso

Hello everyone!

I hope you had a restful weekend. As promised, here is an update on school budget matters, including a schedule of important public hearings that you may wish to attend.

The School Committee this week voted unanimously in support of a level service budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. That means we will ask the Town Council for approximately $4 million in additional funding, enough to cover our increasing costs so that we can support the same level of service students and parents currently receive.

As you know, Town Administrator Jeff Nutting has proposed that the schools receive only $800,000 in additional revenue for fiscal year 2009. If the Town Council accepts Mr. Nutting’s proposed funding level, the School Committee and Supt. Ogden would need to impose $3.2 million in cuts, including:

- 15 teaching positions at elementary level

- 12.5 teaching positions at middle school

- 17 teaching positions at FHS

- A $100 increase in the pay-to-ride bus fee hike, and

- The end of late bus service for students who need to stay after school for academic, clubs and extracurricular programs.

To date, we have not received any indications that the Town Council is willing to support additional funding for the schools beyond Mr. Nutting’s proposed appropriation. In light of this, the School Committee also voted unanimously to authorize Committee Chairman Jeff Roy to pursue the possibility of placing a Proposition 2½ override on the town ballot.

Dozens of you have written to me and to other members of the School Committee to express your deep concern over the impact of these potential cutbacks, including inappropriate class sizes, reductions in arts, music and extracurricular offerings, intolerable burdens for working families; destabilized property values, etc.

I appreciate all of the messages of support I have received and the great many smart questions parents are asking. I urge you to make your opinions known to the elected members of the Finance Committee and the Town Council. I have included their email addresses below, arranged in easy cut-and-paste blocks.

Finance Committee members:;;;;;;;;;;;

Town Council members:;;;;;;;;; There are several public meeting opportunities coming up at which you also can ask questions of your elected officials and express your views as voters and taxpayers. These include;

Monday, April 14: The Finance Committee will hold a hearing to examine the School Department’s proposed FY09 budget at 7 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers on the 2nd floor of the Municipal Building.

Tuesday, April 15: Town Administrator Jeff Nutting and School Supt. Wayne Ogden will appear at the meeting of the Franklin Schools at 9 a.m. at Horace Mann Middle School.

Tuesday, April 29: The School Committee will hold its public hearing on the school budget at 7 p.m. on 2nd floor of the Municipal Building.

Wednesday, May 7: The Town Council will hold its hearing on the School Department budget at 7 p.m. on the 2nd floor of the Municipal Building.

Thanks again for your feedback and support. I will do my best to keep you informed. The next three to four weeks will be crucial in determining the state of our schools this fall. Stay tuned. Stay involved.

Ed Cafasso, Member

Franklin School Committee

Fire Station Open House (audio)

The ceremonies from the Fire Station Open House on Saturday. The speakers were in order: Lou Allevato, Building Committee Chair; Chris Feeley, Town Council Chair; Rep Vallee and his special assistant; Chief McCarraher; and Father Bob from St Mary's.

Time: 17 minutes, 50 seconds

MP3 File

Franklin Fire Station Open House 4/12/08

The speakers (in order of appearance) at the Fire Station Open House held Saturday 4/12/08:

Top left - Lou Allevato, Building Committee Chair
Top right - Chris Feeley, Town Council Chair
Mid left - Rep Vallee and his special assistant
Mid right - Chief McCarraher
Bottom left - Father Bob
Bottom right - the flag raising

Where in Franklin? #44

Where in Franklin? #44, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Where are you in Franklin to find this site?

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

Where in Franklin? Answer #43

Where in Franklin? Answer #43, originally uploaded by shersteve.

The answer to picture #43 is the former Tompson Printing Press building along Dean Ave.

ltsjs contiued their streak of correct answers. Thanks for playing.


What was this building used for before Thompson? I have been here almost 13 years but have only seen the building from the train as I go to or return from Boston.

Can anyone fill in some details?

In the News - solar powered trash, fire station

Posted Apr 12, 2008 @ 10:00 AM


Just in time for the town's Earth Day celebration April 19, the public works department has installed two $4,000 solar-powered trash compactors on Main Street and at the Beaver Pond recreation complex.

The "BigBelly" cordless trash compactors can hold up to 200 gallons of garbage - up to six times the typical load, said Denise Zambrowski, Environmental Affairs Coordinator for the Department of Public Works.

"It's really a neat invention. Using solar energy, it will help us maintain a neat (town), just controlling litter and trash in our parks, in our ball fields.

"It's a really interesting invention to help us deal with solid waste management in public places," said Zambrowski, who first learned about BigBelly at an energy efficiency workshop.

Read the full article at the Milford Daily News


Milford Daily News
Posted Apr 12, 2008 @ 11:05 PM


The town of Franklin on Saturday opened its new fire station on West Central Street. The new 22,250 square foot station more than twice of the facility it replaced, which was built on the same site in 1922 and demolished last year.

This is the complete article but you can click through to see the photo at the Milford Daily News.