Saturday, January 10, 2009

Streaming Video - Historic event

There was a significant historical event this week. The first Town Council meeting was streamed live over the web on Wednesday evening.

What does that mean?
Instead of being in your home with a cable subscription, you can now view a town meeting via your computer. This means that anyone with interest to find the meeting can view it anywhere in the world via the internet and their computer.

Since only 90+% of the town has access to cable, how much this will enable those who don't have cable access is open for discussion.

What will this streaming live change?
I think it will be interesting to see how this will change the meetings, if anything changes at all.
  • Will the various board and committee members improve their personal behavior and conduct now that they can be viewed around the world?
  • Will the nature and presentations of the meetings themselves be modified now that there is a worldwide audience?
  • Will there be an increase in viewing amongst the people in the town?
The one drawback I see is that the availability of the meeting via the internet may reduce the actual physical attendance in the room. Only those who actually need to be there to participate in the meeting will continue to be present. On the other hand, the worldwide audience may actually increase the participation due to the exposure.

How do you view the meeting?
  1. On your computer, open your favorite browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.)
  2. Navigate to the Franklin website home page
  3. Follow the link on the notice for the live streaming (I have not yet found another way to get to this live streaming or archive. I assume there will be an additional path put on the site at some time.)
  4. The first time you view a meeting, Microsoft Silverlight will require to be installed. Once installed, you'll need to close your browser and restart the browser. After this installation, you should be able to go direct to view either the live or an archived program.
  5. You can view the meeting from beginning to end or skip to sections according to the published agenda.

Have you viewed a meeting yet?

What do you think of this?

Friday, January 9, 2009

Northborough pursues wind power

"This could cut taxes, eliminate the electric bill of the regional high school, and decrease our dependence on the Middle East," said town resident Bob Giles, a retired engineer who has spearheaded support for the proposal. He said the turbine, once up and running, could save the town up to $600,000 annually.


As Giles and selectmen move ahead with their plans, they are looking to Hull for guidance. Since 2001, the seaside community has set up two wind turbines that provide about 11 percent of Hull's electricity, according to Town Manager Philip Lemnios, and is looking to build four more turbines offshore, which could potentially meet 100 percent of the town's electricity needs.
Read the full article in the Boston Globe West edition here

Can green jobs solve poverty?

There is an interesting conversation about
Can green-collar jobs clean the "dirty-energy economy" and lift people out of poverty?
The discussion revolves around education in California where the drop out rate from public schools is now 25%. 41% for Blacks and 31% for Latinos.

Van Jones and California State Senator Darrell Steinberg discuss a unique solution for our economy and environment. Together they offer a clear vision for green economic development and its potential.

Click through to listen here.

Well worth listening to!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Peter Light will serve as acting principal

Posted Jan 07, 2009 @ 09:12 PM


Peter Light will serve as acting principal of Franklin High School for the remainder of the school year, Superintendent Wayne Ogden announced yesterday.

Light, an assistant principal at the school, has worked in the district for 12 years. He will replace Pamela Gould, who has been hired as the new assistant superintendent of human resources for the Plymouth School Department.

One of four assistant principals at the high school, Light began his tenure in the district as a teacher. His academic background is in music and educational administration.

Gould announced her departure just before Christmas break, giving administrators time to talk with students and faculty about the upcoming change.

"Peter let me and (assistant superintendent) Maureen Sabolinski know if called, he would serve. He became the logical choice," Ogden said. "Plus he's a talented young administrator and we thought he had the skills to do what we need done."

Students shared their desire for consistency in the remaining school months, Ogden said.

"To bring somebody in midyear who doesn't know the school, students or faculty ... it's a terribly awkward situation," Ogden said. "When (we) talked to students in focus groups, they were talking about stability and a need to continue the improvement projects they were working on."

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

"I apologize for this happening"

An apologetic Michael P. D'Angelo, director of public facilities, explained what happened over the New Year's holiday to councilors. His recap revealed staff did not realize until a day later that electricity had been lost in spots throughout town for about an hour. The high school's and Senior Center's backup generators did not restart heating pumps, which contributed to the damage, D'Angelo said.

The Senior Center will reopen today, after being closed this week because of the damage. The John F. Kennedy Elementary School and high school never had to close, though some classrooms were shifted around and the smaller gym's floor at the high school needs to be replaced.

Insurance will cover all but $5,000 of the damage, said Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting. Most of the repairs are already done.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

My live reporting from the same meeting is available here.

Town Council Mtg Summary 01/07/09

This is the collection of posts for the Town Council meeting on Wednesday 1/7/09

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Incident Summary Water loss 1/1/09

This was the handout provided and reviewed by Mike D'Angelo


Incident Summary Water loss 1/1/09

Apparent power loss between 3:00 and 4:00AM

  • Custodian shoveling reported school cold at about 10:00 AM
  • Sent heating company to investigate
  • ATC (heating contractor) found problem and got heat back on

Damage: Broken coils in two rooms and the cafeteria, food loss in the cafeteria fridge and freezer. Rooms soaked with water

Status: Coils all repaired, Carpets shampooed, Fridge fixed


  • Athletic director reported a big water spill on gym floor and it being very cold in the High School about 5 :00 PM
  • Checked school on computer and called people to investigate pump problem
  • Custodian found pumps down
  • Called heating company and they isolated gym coil and got heat back on approximately 10:00 PM
  • Custodian cleaned up water in gym and one room


  • Heating company on site as coils started to unfreeze and leak. Isolated coils and removed 3 for repair. Problems with 5 areas. Cleaned up water spills


  • Heating company and I on site to work more on heat after building still cold
  • Returned full heat to building and 7 more coils unfroze and leaked, isolated and custodians cleaned up water. Building secure with full heat.

Damage: 10 classrooms heating coils, gym coil, greenhouse heat, floors damaged in 8 rooms and gym floor buckled.

Status: Heat repaired in all 10 rooms and greenhouse. All rooms cleaned. Starting tile removal tomorrow and possibly replacement next week. Start to work on procuring gym floor replacement next week.



  • Received call from fire that senior center had problem fire alarm going off, checked on computer and saw no heat. Sent heating company
  • Restored heat but sprinkler piping had froze and broken flooding multipurpose room
  • Sent Compton sprinkler and custodians to clean up water
  • Custodians returned Saturday and Sunday to do more cleanup

  • Sprinklers repaired
  • Pressure valve in dishwasher replaced, heat in attic repaired

  • Affected rugs in 3 rooms re-shampooed
  • Drying system set up in multipurpose room

Damage: Sprinkler system heads and piping including outside heads, dishwasher valve, fill tube in attic, wet sheetrock in multipurpose, $3,000 in computers, multipurpose flooded, 3 rooms flooded.

Status: Sprinkler interior repairs complete, rooms cleaned and shampooed, dishwasher valve and fIn tube repaired/replaced.

Open: Outside sprinkler heads on order, multipurpose drying, misc. ceiling tiles to replace


  • Insurance claim proceeding after meeting with adjuster on Tuesday. Approval given by MEGA to complete items and forward bills
  • Norma Collins got verbal approval from State DCAM Department of Asset Management Attorney George Matthews office to expedite all repairs with reduced procurement requirements
  • No school time lost from incidents in schools
  • Senior center will open tomorrow for all areas excluding multipurpose room
  • Investigating monitoring system for heating system points. Approximate cost for 16 properties is $25,000 to install and $5,000 per year in monitoring costs

Live reporting - Legislation for action


1. Resolution 09-01: Acceptance of Grant of Easement and Water Booster Pump Station

approved 7-0


$371,000 of our $700,000 snow/ice budget had been spent before today.

Thanks to Jim Vallee for another grant of $7,000 for Fire Dept student education

No hiring to replace vacancies, in anticipation of 9C cuts (Mid year cuts per legislature that are provided to the Governor). It might happen just about the time that the Governors' budget is due out. With reduced state funding and reduced local revenues, this will be as bad as it has been in a long, long time. We are not the Federal government, we can not go a trillion dollars in the hole.

Whalen - there has been a lot of talk abot Obama's stimulus package for local "shovel ready" projects. Where are we with this? What have you heard?

Nutting - The high school is 3-4 years away from being shovel ready. I am on a task force to deal with these proposals. We will submit some projects, what will get selected remains to be determined. Sewer work, water work, maybe the small school projects, would be candidates. They are working hard to collect a lot of information to be prepared. They can't give us anything definitive.

  • Old Business - none
  • New Business - none

Council Comments
Zollo - happy birthday to Connor for his 7th birthday

McGann -

Doak - happy New Year, this year will be a big challenge.

Executive session
roll call 7-0

Live reporting - 2 minute recess

two minute recess

Live reporting - Incident summary 1/1/09

(A copy of the incident report will be added later)

Mike D'Angelo, Facilities manager
provided a brief overview of the incident over New Year's weekend

Kennedy School

McGann - questioning the presence of a sensor that could have caught the problem.
D'Angelo - yes, the sensor would be valuable, it would not have tripped due to the temperature level in 2 of the 3 buildings as the temp had not dropped enough

Bartlett - I lost power and when it came back, the heat kicked in as well, why not here?
D'Angelo - These motors are protected by circuits and code to protect it from severe spikes in power. Normally, when the power returns, they would have come back. When the power did return, it only came back with 2 of 3 phases. Sensing that, the motor required a manual restart.
Nutting - The motor is about the size of a full keg of beer.

Doak - clarification on what the problem really was, temperature monitors are not going to solve this problem. Why couldn't we get notification from the power company?

Whalen - I am focused on how we can try and avoid this going forward. Anytime the power goes out we have to be notified?
D'Angelo - yes, we should. The boilers were sitting with hot water but it wasn't circulating.

High School

McGann - generator at the high school?
D'Angelo - generator was on and ran all the time

McGann - with the generator on, how did we get the freeze up?
D'Angelo - motor starters did trip, likely because of the 2 of 3 phase power return

McGann - with the money we paid for those generators at the high school and senior center, we should not have had this
D'Angelo - they were in the trip position when we arrived. The heating contractor reset the trips.

Doak - is there a test we can do to see if everything is running properly?
D'Angelo - I think if there is one leg off, this would happen.

McGann - on the power side yes, on the generator side, that is three phase power, this should have come right back on

Zollo - 2 high level principles that I am looking at here. There are experts in these areas, yourself and others, let's get a plan to solve the problem for these extreme contingency events. There will be capital required, and I understand that.

There needs to be monitoring with call outs to multiple points so that when something else comes up, we'll at least have been alerted to address something sooner rather than later.

Pfeffer - if it seems like you are being picked on, you are. You are the Director of Facilities. People are not happy with what happened. The Senior Center was 38 degrees on Friday. Some seniors are dependent upon the center for their food. That is unacceptable.

D'Angelo - getting to the actual root of the problem will help us prevent this in the future. The eyes and ears of a person walking in to check a building will be done over long weekend and other periods going forward.

Doak - will we get a break from the insurance company for putting these other monitoring devices in?
Nutting - Not sure, our out of pocket is $5,000. The insurance will cover the repairs.

Senior Center

Heard about it first on Friday with the Fire Department picking up an alarm.

McGann - Do you have the generators on a cycle?
D'Angelo - yes, they are run once a week, I don't remember the day of the week.

McGann - When all things are back and ready, I would suggest that some time, off hours, we do a test. Make sure that all things are working as they are supposed to be. It doesn't seem right to me.

Pfeffer - Do we have to worry about mold?
D'Angelo - with what we are doing, I don't expect to but if necessary we will.

Feeley - would it be reasonable to come back in 2 weeks with a plan?
D'Angelo - It would be better to do it a little later. Early in February would be better.

Gym floor will be a big one to replace. It really crimps the high school to ahve the gym out. All the recreation programs are already taking space in the other gyms in town.

Live reporting - license transactions


F. HEARINGS - none

. Cottage Street Pub & Grill, Inc. – Pledge of License approved 7-0
. Franklin Lodge #2136 BPOE., Inc. – Change of Manager approved 7-0 as amended
. Applebee’s Northeast, Inc. – Change of Manager approved 7-0

Live reporting - Town Council meeting 2

Attending: Whalen, Bartlett, Feeley, Pfeffer, Doak, McGann, Zollo

Absent: Mason, Vallee

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – November 19, 2008, December 3, 2008, December 10, 2008,
and December 17, 2008 Regular & Executive Session

approved - 7-0




Robert Dean, Chairman of the Cable Advisory Committee, talks about the new live feed of the Town Council meetings. Chapters will be available in the archive.

Live reporting: Town Council Meeting

The Town Council meeting is being streamed live on the internet this evening.

Go to the Town home page, and click on the first announcement to get the streaming feed.

"not all the projects can be ignored even when money is tight."

Posted Jan 06, 2009 @ 10:37 PM


Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting is recommending spending nearly $1.5 million on capital items this fiscal year, but that number would likely shrink if the state cuts local aid.

Finance Committee members started their review of the recommendations last night with the increasing possibility of cuts in mind. Chairman Jim Roche, for example, said he wants to avoid spending on items that would sit idle should officials have to cut staff.

He said it would be "foolhardy if we spend money on things that may be sitting empty or be better spent elsewhere."

The money for the capital items comes from the town's "free cash" account, essentially comprised of higher-than-expected revenue and unspent money last fiscal year, which ended June 30.

Some of that money could be used instead to cover deficits if Gov. Deval Patrick makes midyear local aid cuts, which he has said are possible. Cuts to next fiscal year's aid are even more likely.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

"It's an opportunity to advance her career"

Posted Jan 06, 2009 @ 11:32 PM


After a little more than a year as the principal at Franklin High School, Pamela Gould is preparing to take a step up the career ladder in another school system.

Gould has been hired as the new assistant superintendent of human resources for the Plymouth School District, a job she will begin later this month. Her last day in Franklin will be Jan. 23.

Gould said that although she is moving up, the decision to leave Franklin so soon after she arrived doesn't come without some regret.

"I feel like there are a lot of things that we started here, some good things, that I'd like to see through on the one side," Gould said, but she has "absolute faith" the colleagues she leaves behind will take up her charge and carry it forward.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Energy $ense Series - Kilowatt Ours

Wednesday, January 14, 2009, 7:00 pm


Franklin Public Library Community Room
118 Main Street, Lower Level


Ted McIntyre, Ph.D.
Board Member
Massachusetts Climate Action Network

This film traces the path of the electricity you use in your home from the light switch, through the wires to its source. Along the way you’ll meet power companies, schools, businesses and everyday Americans finding ways to meet our energy needs using conservation and green power. “Kilowatt Ours” will teach you how to dramatically reduce your electric bill and improve the environment at the same time.

Sponsored by:

Franklin Area Climate Team (FACT), Massachusetts Climate Action Network, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Friends of the Franklin Library

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

In the News - power outage damage, Hope for Animals

About 2,240 National Grid customers lost power early Wednesday for a couple of hours when strong winds downed a power line on Oak Street, a spokesman said.

As a result, the Senior Center's heat went off and the sprinkler system froze and three ventilators at the John F. Kennedy Elementary School and 10 more in the high school broke, causing water damage in all three buildings, said Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting yesterday.

Insurance claims will cover the damage's cost, Nutting said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

About a dozen people and shelter coordinator Melissa Trottier attended last night's meeting to support Hope for Animals.

"How sad it is that this community cannot help," Tanfani said. "We have to have some place for cats. The economic conditions are hard, but if we close our doors in May, you will have the problem of unspayed and feral cats."

To help support the shelter, call 401-996-4129 or visit the Web site

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Conspiracy found

Yes, really, there is a conspiracy revealed within the Franklin Town web site. But no, it is not the kind you were thinking of!

Continuing to explore the 2008 Annual Report I find information on the Human Resources Department.

Welcome To Human Resources

We are partners in building the Town of Franklin by aligning the skills and assignments of our employees with Town initiatives, values, strategies and the needs of all our citizens. We serve as a source of information and expertise that provides quality customer service for employees and citizens and their ever changing needs. We help make Franklin a great place to work and live -- professionally and personally. To do this we work to:

1. Develop an attitude of teamwork and quality in our day to day operations.
2. Create an atmosphere which fosters challenges, fun, safety, and excellence
3. Seize opportunities which demonstrate excellence execution, caring attitude and a sense of urgency.
4. Communicate in a candid and fair manner with the diverse work force from whom our Town derives its strength.
5. Commit to acting openly, equitably and consistently in our pursuit of uncompromising quality.
6. Increase participation in Town and community activities while seeking knowledge, enthusiasm and an improved quality of life for ourselves, co-workers, and the community.
7. Respect team member values which may be different from our own.
8. Accept responsibility for promoting ethical and legal conduct in personal and Town business practices.

You can find this and more information on the Town website. From the Home page, scroll over the Departments link and select More. Scroll down to find the Human Resources Department in alphabetical order.

Check out the "Conspiracy of Kindness" and "Tale of the Goose" here

If you have not picked up your hard copy of the report at Town Hall, you can try to view it online here:

Coverage of the Human Resources Department begins on Page 96.

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Second annual town-wide reading program


Join the Franklin Library for its second annual town-wide reading program designed to have everyone in the community read the same book and share ideas expressed in the book by participating in discussions, a film series and author event.

This year’s selection is "Manhunt: The twelve day chase for Lincoln’s killer," by James Swanson.

This nonfiction book tells the story of the plot to assassinate not only Lincoln but other members of his cabinet, and the hunt for the conspirators and their eventual capture. This is a story appropriate for teens as well as adults.

Copies of "Manhunt" are available at the Franklin Library.

Read the full article in the Franklin Gazette here

Monday, January 5, 2009

Senior Center closed until 1/8/09


The town’s senior center will be closed until Thursday, Jan. 8, after it lost power last week, leading to a burst pipe and sprinkler system and water damage. All of the center’s activities are suspended until then.

Damage to the center is minimal, but some computers were covered in water, said the center’s director, Karen Alves. The water largely collected on the multi-purpose room’s floor, which is linoleum, making the clean-up easier.

"Everything looks quite good," Alves said Monday. "The custodial staff was here over the weekend and did a good job, with the exception of the computer lab. We don’t know how many were damaged and are trying to determine that now."

The Dial-A-Ride service in town, operated by the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority, is running as usual this week.

This was originally posted online at the Milford Daily News here.

In the News: repair shops, 2010 budget, space heaters

Car shops and parts places are among the few businesses experiencing growth in the recession, as consumers try to save money by keeping their cars longer, said Jon Hurst, president of the Massachusetts Retailers Association.

"I will vouch for that!" said Adam Dauley, assistant manager at AutoZone on Rte. 140 in Franklin.

"We've had a good 50 percent increase in sales in the last few months. Sales have been unbelievable," he said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

"If it doesn't go up, never mind being cut, we're in trouble," Nutting said.

Franklin gets 37.5 percent of its revenue from state aid; this year, that is $33 million of the town's general fund, he said.

"We're vulnerable to fluctuations in state aid. Other communities are too, but not nearly (as much)," Nutting said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

"They can be very innocuous, but as we saw Dec. 12, it can be fatal," said Franklin Fire Chief Gary McCarraher.

On Dec. 12, Franklin resident Bruce Barck, 62, was killed in a fire ignited in his kitchen by a space heater placed too close to "tons of combustible materials," McCarraher said.

Keeping combustible materials away from space heaters is "vastly important," he said.

The number one recommendation from McCarraher and fire officials in Milford and Bellingham: read, follow and keep the manufacturer's instructions. "Like everything, you've got to read the instructions and use (space heaters) judiciously," said McCarraher.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Town Council - Agenda 1/7/09

January 7, 2009 7:00 PM

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – November 19, 2008, December 3, 2008, December 10, 2008,
and December 17, 2008 Regular & Executive Session





. Cottage Street Pub & Grill, Inc. – Pledge of License
. Franklin Lodge #2136 BPOE., Inc. – Change of Manager
. Applebee’s Northeast, Inc. – Change of Manager



1. Resolution 09-01: Acceptance of Grant of Easement and Water Booster Pump Station





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


As posted on the Town website

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Long term planning

Two area communities that saw voters turn down requests for tax increases last year are crafting long-term plans that, officials hope, will clearly lay out their town's financial future.

Franklin and Ashland have both created committees with the task of developing three-year budget forecasts, and assessing ways to reduce expenses and increase revenues.

Read the full article in the Boston Globe West section here

The meeting notes and live reports for the Financial Planning Committee can be found in the 2008 Meeting Summary along the right column of Franklin Matters

"The solar-powered spotlight will save the town"

Posted Jan 02, 2009 @ 11:24 PM


Driving past the King Street ball field one afternoon, Army Airborne veteran and DPW Director Brutus Cantoreggi noticed something awry - a flagpole missing its American flag.

Not only was the flag missing, but so were the lights that should be illuminating it at night, he said.

"When you display an American flag, it's supposed to be lit at all times" though the town couldn't afford to pay for a lighting system at the field, Cantoreggi said.

"As a veteran, I do like to see all American flags illuminated," Cantoreggi said.

So he secured a U.S. flag and a $6,000 grant from the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative for a solar-powered light, which the Department of Public Works installed last week, he said.

Franklin was one of the first 20 communities in the state to apply for and receive such a grant, he added.

"We get the best of both worlds. We get to light the flag, which is the right thing to do, and it doesn't cost anything," Cantoreggi said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

"It's not as difficult as I thought it would be"

FRANKLIN - Joyce Walsh, 77, never took an interest in art, though her daughter, Roseanne Walsh, is an art teacher at Remington Middle School.

She said she was just too busy to ever experiment with it.

"I took a lot of comfort in the fact (Roseanne) was so creative," said Walsh.

But this fall, when high school students offered a special course in watercolor painting at the Senior Center, Walsh decided to give it a go, she said.

"This is my first attempt at any kind of painting. I wanted to see if maybe I did have some talent that didn't emerge after 77 years, maybe I could still make it grow," she said, chuckling.

Read the full article in the Franklin Gazette here

In the news: libraries are busy, regionalization to save costs

Libraries have also become hubs for public internet access, as they provide Web service and the computers needed to use it.

And the most attractive part about libraries in a rotten economy: They're cheap, if not outright free.

Celeste Bruno, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, said about 2 million more books and other materials were borrowed from libraries in the 2007-2008 fiscal year than in the previous year. About 54 million items were borrowed that year, she said, plus about 2.2 million people participated in library programs during that time.

"This is a big surge," said Bruno.

Circulation rates are up in local towns in the past few months: Milford is up 30 percent, Franklin by 21 percent, Medway by 16 percent and Millis by 18 percent, she said. But as the demand rises, already thin library budgets could get strained even more with the likelihood of more than $2 billion in state budget cuts.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

The two towns are talking about sharing some services, such as merging transfer stations each community operates in the area. Sudbury capped its dump years ago, and Wayland recently began that process for its own landfill.

But if the two towns worked together, O'Brien said there's a possibility of other projects, such as erecting a solar power panel farm on that wide-open space.

It could generate electricity for municipal buildings in both communities, plus the towns could tap the landfills for methane gas as another energy source, he said. Such a project could save on energy costs and set a standard for the future.

"There is a tremendous savings opportunity for the community. But if we do it right, it's a potential model site for the rest of the commonwealth," said O'Brien.

As cities and towns face ever-tightening local budgets, municipal officials are looking across town lines at the potential of sharing services and splitting the costs with neighboring communities.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here