Saturday, January 24, 2009

Our teens need your help

Since 1985, the New Beginnings Program (NBP) has provided a comprehensive wellness initiative for schools, parents and communities for hundreds of youth involved in drug and alcohol addiction. The presentations, classes, one-to-one education, and true life testimonies have made a substantial impact. As a result of the recent cuts in funding from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, NBP has cut its staff, supplies and other expenditures jeopardizing the support for over 120 youth currently in the program.

The New Beginnings Program faces a critical need for financial resources to sustain the counseling services that our youth at risk require.

Please visit the NBP website to find information regarding its services, successes, and to make a contribution.

Bill Phillips, the founder of New Beginnings, was a central part of the WASTED presentation at Franklin High School in December, 2008.

You can help by casting your vote in support of this program here:

Free registration will be required to cast your vote.


For Official Rules and prize descriptions and odds disclosure, visit Sponsor: Virgin America, 555 Airport Blvd., 4th Floor, Burlingame, CA 94010.

DPW Presentation on Snow Removal

Thanks to Brutus and Jim for providing this copy of the DPW slides presented during the Town Council meeting Wednesday evening.

Live reports from the Town Council meeting can be found here

"for children ages 4 months to 9 years of age"

JW Tumbles to open first Mass. location

By Staff reports

Kidville's JW Tumbles will open its first Massachusetts location at 524 West Central St., Franklin, on Feb. 2. Pre-grand opening celebration events, including free gym playtime, face painting, contests and giveaways, take place today, tomorrow, Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. JW Tumbles offers a non-competitive enrichment program for children ages 4 months to 9 years of age.

The Franklin JW Tumbles will be the first of five locations to be opened by local businessman J.D. Daddario. Based in New York, Kidville Inc., which operates upscale facilities catering to newborns through 5-year-olds and their parents, recently acquired the assets of JW Tumbles, an international operator of children's gyms, via a wholly owned subsidiary. The company operates 43 Kidville and JW Tumbles locations across the globe. For more information, call Daddario at 508-328-0669.

"you have to live with that for the rest of your life"

Posted Jan 24, 2009 @ 12:05 AM


In any police department, reconstructing a fatal accident requires using technical gadgets, solving complex mathematical equations, capturing hundreds of images from the accident scene, and "good old-fashioned" practices like taking measurements and gathering witness testimony.

Their detective works yields minute details - such as how many seconds it takes a pedestrian to cross the street, a car's speed, objects the drivers perceived, response time, whether someone used their brakes or cut around a corner too quickly.

Yesterday afternoon, Lt. Thomas Lynch and Officers Rick Grover and David Gove explained the ABC's of reconstructing fatal and serious car wrecks, as they completed the final leg of investigating the accident that killed beloved teacher Palma Johnson Dec. 12.

Read the full article to understand the attention to detail that is involved in accident reconstruction.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Green Reel: "King Corn"

The Green Reel: a series of films for sustainable living will be shown on Sunday evenings this winter beginning January 25th.

What: King Corn

When: 7:00 PM on January 25, 2009

Where: Agudas Achim, 901 North Main St, Attleboro or directions here

Free and open to the public. For more info: 508-695-2389

read more about the film King Corn here

Agudas Achim
Crystal Spring Center
Simply Keep It Local
Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary
Citizens for a Sustainable Local Economy
Murray Unitarian Universalist Church
Green Committee of First Universalist Society of Franklin
New Dawn Earth Center
Oake Knoll Ayrshires
Franklin Area Climate Team
White Barn Farm
St Mark's Episcopal Church-Foxboro

Saving Money in Plain English

In our continuing series on learning, the folks at Common Craft have come up with a new video on saving money. They explain the difference between putting money in your piggy bank or into a savings bank.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cafe Dolce - coming soon

The grand opening was held on 4/13/09, you can view the slides here

yea, a coffee shop is coming soon to downtown Franklin.

This posting has updated information here

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

"Franklin does not have "any more or less" drugs than any other community"

Posted Jan 22, 2009 @ 01:05 AM


In what police say is likely the biggest heroin bust in Franklin's history, Franklin Police and the Norfolk County Police Anti-Crime Task Force seized 324 grams of heroin from a Providence man who sold $150 worth of cocaine to an undercover officer.

In addition to the $32,000 worth of heroin, police also seized 12 grams of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $500 to $1,000, and $4,339 in cash during the arrest at 599 Old West Central St. (Rte. 140), police said.

"It's a very significant bust. Most people involved in the investigation and arrest, even the narcotics guys, they'd never seen that much heroin in any one place before this," said Franklin Lt. Thomas Lynch.

"That was the most (heroin seized) in one incident for one individual Franklin has ever had. In the 12 years I've been in law enforcement, I've never seen that much heroin in one place," said Lynch.

Read the full article on the heroin bust in the Milford Daily News here

Our teens have admitted struggling with substance abuse. You can check out the WASTED presentation here.

Town Council Mtg Summary 1/21/09

The following are the collection of posts for the Town Council meeting of 1/21/09

The DPW Presentation can be found here

"Are we doing too good of a job?"

Posted Jan 22, 2009 @ 01:15 AM


DPW Director Brutus Cantoreggi shed light last night on a few of the mysteries of snow removal, like how much more contractors cost than town employees, why the town needs them, and why salt is ultimately cheaper than sand.

In a presentation to Town Council, Cantoreggi noted the town has already used up its snow removal budget for the year. He said the DPW is trying to cut costs and outlined the price of snow removal, reviewed the kinds of road treatments used by his department, as well as reimbursements for mailboxes smashed by plows, and described a cost-cutting measure he implemented this year.

Read the full article on snow removal in the Milford Daily News here

Is it time?

Other than being an ad for Kaplan University, a company trying to re-invent itself, the subject raises some good questions. Is it time to re-think the educational process?

What do you think?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Live reporting - Administrator's update, to meeting close

Common Cause has awarded the town an award for information on the town web site. An informed electorate is the best way to survive tough times. Thanks to the town employees for providing the updates.

We should hear soon what the state funding status will be. It will be tough times.

Bartlett - What about the stimulation funding?

Nutting - The expectation that everyone will get something is incorrect. By the time you get down to the local level, where things need to be shovel ready, there won't be a lot of opportunity. Some of this will be done via block grants. The Congress has not yet voted on this. Governor Patrick is preparing the state well to react when it happens. We could use $500 billion on MA alone.

Bartlett - How will the process work when the Governor balances the budget?

Nutting - We need to look at the 2010 budget as well as the cuts for the 09 budget to make a smart choice. They ought to be parallel. I don't think it is practical to cut a school budget during the year. Can you just say no more math, or cuts spring sports? I think it will fall to the town to absorb the 09 cuts.

Old business -
Pfeffer - someone must know what the cause of the power and water damage was?
Nutting - I will get you information on what we are submitting.

Nutting - We go out to bid health insurance and property/casualty periodically. We are actually out to bid right now. We should get the bids in March.

New business -
Whalen - I thought we were getting a more comprehensive package on what happened and what the plan is to avoid this in the future.
Nutting - We will resolve that will tying the alerts into the Fire Station so when the heat goes out, there will be calls made.

Whalen - we should have a full accounting
Nutting - You probably won't see it until later February and March.

Pfeffer - we were promised a fuller report
Nutting - yes, you will get it, just not now.

Councilor Comments -
Mason -

Vallee - I heard from two people who are upset that they received a 34-38% increase in their taxes. I would like to hear from my constituents.
Nutting - Any one aggrieved by a tax increase, you need to file by Feb 1. If you don't file by Feb 1, you won't be able to get any adjustment.

Live reporting - Nutting - performance review

Although differences of opinion may occur, Jeff executes the wish of the council.

Jeff drives around town
1 - to monitor the status of what's going on
2 - ensure that operations are current

continued development of town department heads and employees
maintain cost effective and efficient operations

Council should establish goals, Nutting should do likewise

more periodic updates from town dept heads to better educate the town and average citizens

recommendation for 2.5% pay increase retro active to October 2008

Zollo, (chair) McGann, Pfeffer (members)

raise was already budgeted, will not be seeking a raise for this budget year.

Vallee will not support any increase for any employee at this time

Doak - Jeff is the only employee in the town who has not gotten the increase this year. We should have done this sooner rather than later. I will support the recommended increase.

Chris - Jeff is the CEO of the town, normally is the highest pay of the town, normally would be getting the highest increase. Jeff's leadership in declining the increase for the coming year is good.

Approved 6-1

Live reporting - action items

  • Resolution 09-02: Declaration as Surplus and Available for Disposition (Leasing) and Authorization therefore of a Portion of Town-Owned Land at 40 West Central Street
Approved 7-0

  • Resolution 09-03: Authorization to Expend Funds in Excess of Available Appropriations – Snow & Ice
Approved 7-0

Discussion on reducing costs, the major expense on salting/sanding will occur later this year. Brutus to come back with some alternatives to cut costs what would it look like.

Live reporting - the DPW story on snow

Robert (Brutus) Cantorregi
Jim Estabrook, GIS specialist

Thanks to Brutus and Jim for providing this copy of the full presentation:

only $2,010 left in snow budget right now

Citizens can help by:
Don't put snow back into the street
Clear the fire hydrants
Doak - the DPW is a victim of their own success. Is it a consideration to do less?

Nutting - They have been cutting back on the routes and materials but nothing else.

Brutus - Maybe instead of getting to a subdivision within four hours after a storm, we do eight? Then heaven forbid, we don't get there and there is a tragedy due to a safety issue.

Whalen - what are the costs associated with a slower clearing of the snow? Maybe a few more school cancellations?

Nutting - the wear and tear of our DPW employees, just the safety of the employees alone, never mind the wear on the equipment.

Whalen - I am surprised that citizens with snow blowers just don't do more sidewalks.

Live reporting - Town Council 1/21/09

Attending: Whalen, Mason, Vallee, Bartlett, Feeley, Pfeffer, Doak
Absent: McGann, Zollo

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES - none tonight

B. ANNOUNCEMENTS - none tonight


Fire Chief McCarraher asked for the citizens to help with clearing the fire hydrants near their residences. The DPW is getting around to clear them but the citizens can help create a safer environment.

E. APPOINTMENTS - School Building Committee
Peter Light, new Principal at Franklin High School, was appointed to replace Pam Gould on the School Building Committee. Pam is leaving for another position in Plymouth.

Approved 7-0

History of the internet

Thanks to the folks at Common Craft for pointing out this cool video history of the interent by PICOL. The foks at PICOL are developing a common picture library to help make communications easier and simpler to understand.

Watch this history video and see if they are successful:

History of the Internet from PICOL on Vimeo.

Did this make sense to you?

Did you like this?

"Our vested interest is two-fold"

Posted Jan 21, 2009 @ 12:08 AM


Looking to offer a neighbor a hand, Franklin is poised to start running its recreation programs in Medway, starting possibly with flag football for kids this spring.

Based on selectmen's enthusiastic reception at their meeting last night, the idea, while relatively modest, could open the towns' services to broader regionalization. The concept is mentioned often by local officials, but always proves hard to realize.

Medway has few recreation programs, while Franklin offers a full slate from cooking classes for pre-schoolers to an adult baseball league.

Recreation officials from both towns said yesterday they see the arrangement benefiting their kids and their finances: Medway would start having regular activities in town, while collecting user fees for its fields, and Franklin would bring in more money for a recreation department that essentially already pays for itself.

Read the full article on this collaboration effort in the Milford Daily News here

The American Form of Government

A good ten minute explanation of the American form of government:


Thanks to WXPNews for the link.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Be remarkable

Seth Godin's talk at the TED conference a couple of years ago has been viewed many times. It can stand alone as a great piece of practical business advice. Seth delivers the message in a humorous and attention maintaining manner.

Put the video in Nibipedia, a new utilization of the wiki format, and the video becomes more powerful. While viewing, there is a screen below the video that changes as Seth is talking. It sequences the video with "nibs", a deeper explanation of that specific point in the video.

This is fascinating stuff. As it is a wiki, you can create another "nib". If one section of the video reminds you of something, you can create an account and add a new nib.

This is not the only video that has been "nibbed" on Nibipedia. This one just happens to be one I like and is a great example of what is needed to be remarkable today.

You can view the video here.

Once you have, continue to explore

Town Council - Agenda - 1/21/09





E. APPOINTMENTS - School Building Committee





  1. Resolution 09-02: Declaration as Surplus and Available for Disposition (Leasing) and Authorization therefore of a Portion of Town-Owned Land at 40 West Central Street
  2. Resolution 09-03: Authorization to Expend Funds in Excess of Available Appropriations – Snow & Ice



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


This agenda can also be found on the Town web page here

The Green Reel: "King Corn"

The Green Reel: a series of films for sustainable living will be shown on Sunday evenings this winter beginning January 25th.

What: King Corn

When: 7:00 PM on January 25, 2009

Where: Agudas Achim, 901 North Main St, Attleboro or directions here

Free and open to the public. For more info: 508-695-2389

read more about the film King Corn here

Agudas Achim
Crystal Spring Center
Simply Keep It Local
Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary
Citizens for a Sustainable Local Economy
Murray Unitarian Universalist Church
Green Committee of First Universalist Society of Franklin
New Dawn Earth Center
Oake Knoll Ayrshires
Franklin Area Climate Team
White Barn Farm
St Mark's Episcopal Church-Foxboro

Monday, January 19, 2009

"we encourage their interest"

According to CNN exit polls, of the 18- to 29-year-old voters, 66 percent of them cast their ballots for Barack Obama in November. And although a majority of students at Franklin High School are not of legal voting age, that minor detail has not stopped some from taking a sincere interest.

"Even though you can't vote, you can still make a difference," said junior Zachary Woodward.

He and classmate Sara LaFlamme recently started up a Young Democrats club at the school and held their first meeting last Thursday.

"I've always considered myself a Democrat," said LaFlamme. "But this election really caught my attention because the two (Democratic) candidates were a woman and a black man. Those are huge steps right there."

She and Woodward went through a number of issues at the meeting, ranging from the economy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and presented the Democratic standpoint of each.

"I really see this club as a portal through which we can channel our ideas," Woodward told the 11 students present. "Just because we can't vote, we still know what's important."

Tina Leardi, a U.S. history teacher and the club's adviser, stressed that a person doesn't have to agree with all Democratic policies to identify with the party.

"I think (the club) is a really good idea," she said. "Kids should be reading the papers, watching the news, and forming their own opinions."

Read the full article on how the interest in politics has risen amongst high school students in the Milford Daily News here

Schools - capital priority list

Posted Jan 19, 2009 @ 12:05 AM


While the townwide Building Committee assesses which buildings are in most need of repair, the School Committee wants to send a strong message that renovating Franklin High School should take precedence.

Facilities Manager Michael D'Angelo made a list of 25 capital projects that need to be done in the school district, with a total cost of $4.9 million.

"The number one priority is not on this list, and that's Franklin High School. Everything on this list should take a backseat to moving forward with Franklin High School," said Chairman Jeffrey Roy.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily New here.

This was part of the live reporting from the School Committee meeting on 1/13/09

You can view the video of this discussion on the town website

FM #28 - This week in Franklin, MA

This is #28 in the Franklin Matters series of podcasts. This one focuses on what happened this week in Franklin with key points from the School Committee meeting, the Franklin Area Climate Team, the Financial Planning Committee, and the FINCOM meeting of January 6th.

Time: 11 minutes, 40 seconds

MP3 File

This podcast for Franklin Matters is number 28 in the series. In this edition, I’ll focus on what you should know about what is happening here in Franklin, MA as we begin 2009.

From the School Committee meeting 1/13/09, there was a very good presentation on the high school arts program and how it is bringing art into the community. Art teacher, Mike Caple was accompanied by two students, Rachel Nault and Madison Weber, to make the joint presentation.
You can view the presentation on web now. The School Committee meeting was streamed live over the internet. This was the third town meeting to be broadcast this year. You can go to the video archive and view the meeting in its entirety or specific sections according to the published agenda. The link is on the town web site and will be included in the blog post that accompanies this.

Continuing with the SchCom meeting, Peter Light. previously announced as the interim principal for Franklin High, was announced as the permanent replacement during the meeting Tuesday evening. You should recall that Pam Gould had tendered her notice to leave Franklin to take the Asst. Superintendent of HR position in Plymouth. I would have liked her to stay here, she was doing so well. Given the choice to move up and on or stay, I do agree with her choice. I wish her well.

Peter has done well in dozen years he has been here in Franklin. I expect he will make a great principal for the high school. He knows the community. He has the willingness to listen and the drive to do good things.

How did he move from interim to permanent so quickly? While not explicitly stated, it was acknowledged that Peter was a finalist for the principal position in Needham. Reading between the lines, I think it was better to make him permanent, to keep him here rather than run the risk of losing him.

Wednesday evening, along with about 25-30 others, I viewed the documentary “Kilowatt Ours” at the Franklin Library. This was the fourth and final of the Energy $ense series sponsored by the Franklin Area Climate Team. Information on the prior sessions is available on Franklin Matters. There is a special link on the right hand column under Important Links. Look for “FACT – Energy $ense Series”.

At the library, I picked up a flyer for “The Green Reel – 2009 Winter Film series”. There will be additional details on this series of 5 films to be published on Franklin Matters. The first film is “King Corn” to be shown at Agudas Achim in Attleboro on January 25th.

Thursday evening the Financial Planning Committee got together to review the status on the report they are pulling together. The various sections of the report were covered in detail in my “live reporting” notes already posted on Franklin Matters.

The draft report will be previewed with a focus group, followed by a town wide open forum. The date remains to be determined for this forum but I would encourage you to stay tuned. As soon as it is available, this is one forum we should all participate in. The budget details for the short term outlook for Franklin will be critical points to understand.

When someone like Rebecca Cameron says:
”It finally hit me how much we are dependent upon the state”
I think this is a break through moment.

Rebecca sits on the Finance Committee and has insights into the details of the Franklin budget process that many of would like to have. She now is part of the group developing this long term plan for Franklin. I have said before that the work this group is doing is going to be critical to what Franklin does in the short term and longer term. The information they have gathered and are about to share should create a better understanding across the Franklin community of what the real issue are.

One key point on the operation of the Fire Department was captured during the Finance Committee meeting on January 6th. Chief McCarraher was answering questions from FINCOM members as he reviewed his capital budget plan. One question was why not outsource the ambulance services. The answer the Chief gave is important to understand how smartly the Fire Department has created its staffing plan and how efficiently they do utilize their resources. Let’s listen to this clip from the meeting:

... insert clip ...

The Fire Department staffs a minimum number to provide a first response and calls in off-duty resources when there is a fire. He had 10 folks regularly on, needs fifteen for a fire when it occurs. In the meantime, he uses the extra time of the fire staff to answer ambulance calls for which they are reimbursed. Very smartly done. Can’t be much more efficient than that. If you don’t follow this line of thought, please be sure to talk with the Chief, or send me an email or comment.

To quickly recap this segment, we talked about
  • live streaming for town meetings
  • the high school art in the community program
  • Peter Light the new principal at the high school
  • the efforts of the Franklin Area Climate Team
  • finally the Financial Planning Committee
There is a whole lot going on in Franklin, please try and stay current with what is happening. If you have good news or insights you would like to share, please leave a comment or send me an email.

----- -----

This podcast has been a public service provided to my fellow citizens of Franklin, MA

For additional information, please visit

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The musical intro and closing is from the Podsafe Music Network
Jon Schmidt - Powerful Exhilarating Piano Music

Sunday, January 18, 2009

School Committee video available

The video broadcast of the School Committee meeting Tuesday January 13th is now available on the Town web site here

You can also view the complete January meeting archive here and then select the meeting you would like to see.

"We can ride this out"

Music venues of all sizes are tightening their belts as well. The Amazing Things Arts Center in Framingham and Circle of Friends Coffeehouse in Franklin report a 20 percent drop in fall and winter ticket sales.

"What we're also seeing is that people are waiting longer to buy tickets," said Circle of Friends volunteer organizer Jake Jacobson. "It's understandable because people are afraid of losing their jobs."

For Circle of Friends, a small, well-respected, volunteer-run operation that does not rely on donations, the consequences are manageable. Equipment purchases are being put on hold.

Read the full article on how non-profit arts organizations are coping with the downturn in the Boston Sunday Globe West section here

The next concert at the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse is scheduled January 31 featuring Vance Gilbert and Ann Heaton

"The project will not cost the town anything"

Posted Jan 18, 2009 @ 12:41 AM


Building a multi-purpose bike path from Franklin State Forest to Palmer is going to require a lot of time, passion, and help, but it's legwork that Franklin bicyclists are ready to put in.

On Jan. 14, the Franklin Odd Fellows along with representatives from the Masonic Order, Army Corps of Engineers, Grandtruck Trailblazers, Conservation Commission, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Bellingham Lions Club, and other local bicyclists and nature lovers formed "Friends of the Bike Path Committee" to begin discussions on creating Franklin's portion of the bike trail.

The trail will replace unused rail bed, starting in Franklin, and weaving through 15 towns including Bellingham and Blackstone, to Palmer and back to Southbridge and Sturbridge. In Franklin, the railroad splits at Cottage and Union streets, with the inactive part of the line beginning at Grove Street.

Read the full article about the proposed bike/exercise path in the Milford Daily News here

The group welcomes volunteers and meets again on Wed., Jan. 28 at 7 p.m. at the Odd Fellows Lodge. They will talk about how to present their case for developing the path to the town.

"average rate of municipal health care cost increased 13 percent"

BOSTON - Rep. James E. Vallee, D–Franklin, support plans to file legislation this month to remove union veto power over cities and towns seeking to save hundreds of millions of dollars by joining the state health insurance plan.

"Cities and towns need our help and I am committed to doing all I can to help my communities weather the current fiscal crisis," said Vallee. "I believe these changes will help communities save money by allowing them to join the state health insurance plan. The cost savings to communities is tremendous."

Read the full article on the cost saving measure online at Wicked Local here

"I think we're very detail-oriented"

Nothing too fancy or too complicated. But at the end of the day, it nets positive results.

"We're not about athleticism," said the 6-foot-5-inch Spencer. "Whoever works harder is going to win the game."

Added Dean, "We're not about flash. We're about getting it to the open guy."

Read the full article on the Franklin High School boys basketball team in the Boston Sunday Globe West section here

"you just have to do it"

Municipalities often budget low for snow and ice cleanup because, unlike with most other accounts, they can spend in the red and make up the difference later in the year.

But even in Franklin, where the Town Council had hiked its snow budget from $551,000 to $694,000, Public Works Director Brutus Cantoreggi said Thursday he was near the limit.

"I've spent about $550,000 so far," he said. "But one of my salt sheds is empty, and it costs $150,000 to fill, so I'm gone."

Plummeting fuel prices have been a boon, some public works directors said, but road salt is still proving to be a budget-buster. In Franklin, the price jumped from $54 a ton to $75 this season. That means it costs about $30,000 each time Cantoreggi sends a fleet of trucks to put down a layer of sand and salt across town.

"Labor costs are about the same. It's just the salt," he said. "It's been a very busy winter."

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here