Saturday, July 26, 2008

Just words

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

These are just the words here.

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

Franklin Matters because there are more than just words here!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sponsor the Harvest Festival

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


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

704 Washington St

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

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

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

View Larger Map

"We're selling it"

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

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"We are going back to the dark ages"

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full article in the Boston Globe West section here

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

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

"A good bylaw provides an accessible location"

Posted Jul 24, 2008 @ 12:06 AM


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

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

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

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

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

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

read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Town Council Mtg Summary - 7/23/08

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

Town Council Meeting 7/23/08 - Agenda

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

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

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

Old business:

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

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

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

Doak - how pervasive is this problem?

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

Nutting - part of the 5 year plan committee process

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

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

live reporting - Stormwater

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

Stormwater: another unfunded mandate for the Town to handle

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

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

Items for homeowners to take action on.

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

Storm water management by-law #153

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

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

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

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

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

DPW website can be found here

Everyone thinks the basins in the roads go to sewers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Live reporting - Town Council meeting 7/23/08




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

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

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

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

Posted Jul 22, 2008 @ 10:36 PM

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

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

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

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

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

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

"It was mind-boggling, actually"

Posted Jul 23, 2008 @ 12:00 AM


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

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

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

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

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News

"We are taking this action now"

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

"people cannot park any vehicle on a sidewalk"

Posted Jul 21, 2008 @ 11:28 PM


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

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

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

Read the full story in the Milford Daily News

Where in Franklin? Answer #48 (better photo)

Where in Franklin? Answer #48

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

Water tagged drains

Franklin: water alert

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

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

Monday, July 21, 2008

Town Council Meeting 7/23/08 - Agenda

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

Link to agenda on new Town website

school choice update

Posted Jul 20, 2008 @ 11:55 PM


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

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

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

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

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

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

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