Saturday, March 7, 2009

Stop in to see/buy Spring in vase

This is good to know!

oh no, the start of a sink hole! and King Street was just recently redone

Found on King St heading towards RT 140, between Summer St and Summer St.

I'll come back later to try and measure how deep it is.

Updated 3/8/09 - I did measure it and it is 8" deep, deceiving but potentially dangerous.

"they were very brave"

Posted Mar 06, 2009 @ 11:39 PM

FRANKLIN - Standing tall with her flashcards, fourth-grader Beatrice Riley told Clara Barton's life story 12 times yesterday.

Wearing a white dress and signature giant red cross to portray Barton, delivered Barton's story six times to second and third-graders and another six times to parents by day's end.

"I was shy and I overcame my shyness ... I was intelligent and curious, and most important, I founded the Red Cross in the United States," she explained again and again, tirelessly retelling the highlights of Barton's life.

Riley and 22 other students transformed Davis Thayer Elementary School's cafeteria to a living wax museum of historical figures, including Mozart, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Neil Armstrong, Anne Frank, Marie Curie and more modern icons such as Bill Gates and Elvis.

Read the full article about the living wax museum in the Milford Daily News here

Harlem Wizards vs. Sullivan Rockets

Anxious to get out of the house? Looking for a fun, affordable, local family activity? Want to get in the mood for March Madness?

The Harlem Wizards are coming to Franklin!

The Harlem Wizards, one of the greatest basketball show-team organizations to ever “lace it up and let’em fly”, will play our own Sullivan Rockets. This will be an entertaining night for kids of all ages (and adults too)!

Friday, March 13th, 2009, 7:00 PM
Doors Open 6:30, Game Time 7:00

Tri-County Regional High School
147 Pond St, Franklin MA

Click through to order form here on the Annie Sullivan PCC website

ayotte_k at or erinclong at

Sponsored By:
Annie Sullivan Middle School PCC

You may also order tickets online for a minimum fee:

"invest accordingly"

Dr Scott McLeod writes:
Leadership is absolutely critical to the success of any organization. Whether it be a school, corporation, government, faith institution, non-profit agency, or local community group, every organization lives and dies by its leadership. Organizations with effective, visionary leaders thrive. Organizations with lackluster, ineffective leaders muddle along or decline.
This is the 4th in his continuing series on education in Iowa. I have already referenced his earlier posts here, here and here.

One benefit that the Franklin school district has is with it's leadership. The School Committee is a good bunch of folks exploring the new media web, willing to go paperless (and go green in the process). They have had the foresight to bring in Superintendent Wayne Ogden. He was great for Franklin. What hurt him and caused him to tender his resignation for the end of this school year was our budget problems.

They were fortunate to backfill Wayne with Asst Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski. She has years of experience in Franklin and will be able to step right in so the district won't miss a beat. The administration and School Committee are making good progress on a suitable replacement for Maureen. They have been doing this at other levels within the district getting good relacements for principals and other key personnel. This is a hallmark of a good organization.

The one area that remains is the budget. Franklin as a whole needs to step up to the plate and properly fund the schools. We have been living off the largesse from the state and that won't last.

It is time that Franklin paid a fair share for the education of their own children.

Friday, March 6, 2009

T, can you hear me?

Facebook has a group collecting membership to help direct the MBTA to use Google Transit and improve the information available on the T operations.

Google has a site called Google Transit, that acts as a Google Maps of sorts for buses and trains in rural and urban areas of the United States. If you've never seen it before, go check it out on the link posted below. The program has been adopted by the New York City transit authority (Metro), among many others. More importantly, for those of you with iPhones, if you go to the maps application, you can get transit (bus, train) directions to your destinations. This feature uses Google Transit data and maps.

Unfortunately, for some reason the MBTA is still not on the program. All that needs to happen is for the MBTA to get in touch with Google to list their buses and trains on the website.

I've created this group to raise support, interest, and awareness for the fact that people want the MBTA on Google Transit. It seems so simple and frankly, the Boston area as a whole looks a little silly for not having their transit authority's buses and trains listed on the website.

So... invite all your friends, anyone who rides the T, or simply someone who feels that this is a logical and simple step to more accessibility for the MBTA and Boston.
If you have a Facebook account and would like to join the group, click through here

If you don't have a Facebook account but would still like to join the group, click through and you can create an account quickly.

To view the info on Google Transit, click here

A student's view

We shared the viewpoint of several key educators and thinkers yesterday. Today, let's share the view of a student:

Thanks to Dr Scott McLeod for the link

Financial Plng Comm 03/05/09

The collection of live reporting for the Financial Planning Committee meeting on 3/5/09:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Live reporting - FPC continued

Teacher compensation needs to be understood to develop the assumptions. A percent makes a difference when the schools account for 33% of the overall budget.

Big discussion on how to present the data to create the proper conversation.

Jeff will look at the revenue and expense assumptions to see if there would be any changes.
The assumptions will be critical as these numbers will be what will drive the model.

Meeting next week on the 12th

Doug will update the changes and we'll pick up from there.

Live reporting - Financial Planning (continued)

When doing the benchmarks with other communities, need to define why which towns are used for which categories. For school comparisons, the number of students needs to be similar. When you get to Police, Fire, and DPW, they get problematic as they are not an apples to apples comparison.

Discussion on the teacher salary percent increases, mixing the cost of living and the step/lane changes is confusing, need to be more clear.

Live reporting - Financial Planning Committee

Attending: Roche, Cameron, Hardesty, Ogden, Trahan, Whalen, Wilschek (late), Bartlett (late), Nutting (late)
Absent: Kelly, Zollo,

Review of Steve Whalen's charts/tables. He updated the numbers he has prepared for the past two years. He has two new charts, one that shows Franklin is third from the bottom in percent of revenue from property taxes (~46%). Another shows Franklin at the top of the listing in terms of the percent of revenue from the state (~30%)

Need to look at the past history across the state for operational vs. debt override results, what does that show, would be good to have.

Reviewing the draft compiled by Doug Hardesty: Working through the draft, page by page, looking carefully for the wording and what it conveys to try and get the message tight and accurate.

"Take a deep breath; you can do this"

The world is changing because of social web technologies. Our kids are using them. No one is teaching them how to use them to their full learning potential, and ultimately, as teachers and learners, that’s our responsibility. To do that, we need to be able to learn in these contexts for ourselves.
Well said!

This is Wil Richardson writing about a new report from the Harvard Graduate School Of Education. You can find Wil's complete posting here. He also has the link to the Harvard report or you go directly to the report here, and then go to Wil's page.

Recommended viewing

Technology has created a world where learning takes place here and now.

How do we want to prepare our children for the future?

one laptop per student

Dr Scott McLeod is continuing his series on recommendations for the Iowa schools. In part 3, he writes:

In addition to funding, numerous other challenges exist as well. One of the biggest is the current predisposition of schools to invest in teacher-centric technologies like televisions, DVD/VCR players, projectors, electronic whiteboards, and document cameras. They’re important and useful but they’re also primarily used as yet another way for teachers to push out information to students. In contrast, laptops, netbooks, digital cameras, small high-definition camcorders, digital voice recorders, webcams, digital scientific probes or sensors, and other devices are primarily used by students to facilitate their own academic learning. If we want Iowa students to gain the technology skills they will need to be productive citizens and workers, schools should be making as many investments in these latter, student-centric devices as possible. There also are a number of free or low-cost online software and tools that students and teachers can use in creative and productive ways.
You can read the full article here. It is rich with links and additional media (pictures and video).

Interesting court case in CT on schools

A court case from Connecticut is stirring a debate over where to draw the line on what schools can or should do about things students say online. High school student Avery Doninger railed online against the “douchebags” in her school district and urged her classmates to bombard the superintendent with complaints to “piss her off more.” When the school said that this was inappropriate for a student government leader and told her she couldn’t run for senior class secretary, she sued.

The lawsuit has gone up and down in the courts, but so far the student has lost. All the legal nitty-gritty on the Doninger case is available starting here, courtesy of NSBA’s Legal Clips e-newsletter.

You can read the full posting on the National School Board Association website here

"town helps create favorable conditions for business expansion"

Posted Mar 05, 2009 @ 12:43 AM


In its ongoing efforts to reel in some extra cash, Town Council last night voted unanimously to establish Forge Park and Franklin Industrial Park as economic opportunity areas.

Designating the two parks as economic opportunity areas will provide significant incentives for businesses and property owners wishing to sell, lease, develop or redevelop their properties, said Bryan Taberner, director of the Department of Planning and Community Development.

In turn, the business expansions and developments will bring more tax revenue, he said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

For everything that occurred during the Town Council meeting on 3/4/09, check my live reporting here

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Town Council Mtg 03/04/09

Here is the summary of live reporting posts for the meeting 3/4/09

Live reporting - Administrator, and closing

Thanks to the DPW for the never-ending winter we are having.

Thanks to Jim Dacey and Susan Gagner for their work to gain us an upgrade on our bond rating which saves us $100,000 in interest.

Compliment Allen Earl's new book on Franklin, available in local bookstores

Group working to make the rail trail a reality as an other recreation use in Franklin, contact Jeff Nutting if interested in helping out.

Food Pantry met with Chris Feeley, a pretty positive meeting. We are looking for a new location.

Old business - none
New business -
Vallee - are delinquencies up in this economy?
Nutting - actually no, the banks are tending to pay to protect their property

Councilor Comments
Bartlett - TV Trivia is the theme for the next FEF Trivia Bee is coming March 19th

Move to executive session
roll call - unanimous

Live reporting - action items

2. Resolution 09-10: Authorization for Intermunicipal Agreement with Town of Medway
Motion to approve 7-0

A joint agreement that Franklin will administer the program and gain the fees from Medway to offset the overall administration overhead. A win-win move to trial until Dec 2010. Will come back with status updates.

3. Resolution 09-11: Appropriation – Capital – Fire Dept Ladder Truck
Motion to approve 7-0

4. Resolution 09-12: Appropriation – Capital – DPW Lawn mower
Motion to approve 7-0

The new one is $75K, a used one is $35K, this is a good buy to save the town money
This is a wider cut machine replacing a 15 year old unit

7. Bylaw Amendment 09-630:Amendment to Chapter 37, Town Properties - 1st Reading
Motion to move to second reading 7-0

live reporting - action items

1. Resolution 09-09: Appropriation – Survey on 30+ Acres on Pond Street
discussion on the survey details

Motion approved 7-0

Live reporting - Town Council 3/4/09

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

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – February 4, 11, 2009
Motion approved - 7-0


Chris Feeley read an announcement formally acknowledging the state's interest in purchasing land to expand the Franklin Forest as reported earlier.



E. APPOINTMENTS - Public Land Use Committee
  • Timothy Twardowski
  • James Estabrook
Motion approved 7-0



Live reporting - Planning update


1. Update – Mike D’Angelo
postponed until 3/18/09 meeting so McGann can participate

2. Update – Bryan Taberner, Director of Planning

NewStyle building - working underway

Priority development sites and economic opportunity areas
will raise attention to the area for development
two resolutions before you to take action in this area
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) proposed as part of these areas

Pond Street parcel approved for priority development as requested earlier
Should hear next week on the grant application for up to $60K
This would help streamline the processing of permits, etc within the town
as well as to help market the parcel itself

Now that the parcel is a priority development site, the State will help us to market the site

What we have to do is to develop the process, stick to it, and guarantee a 180 approval process
We are already well within 180 days for most approvals today

Difference between the priority development and economic opportunity is that the owners need to sign off on the priority development individually, they do not need to sign off on the economic opportunity proposal

Skipping ahead to those resolutions in the agenda

5. Resolution 09-13: Creation of Forge Park Economic Opportunity Area
This enables the possibility of a TIF agreement but does not guarantee it. The Council still has final say on the TIF.

Motion to approve 7-0

6. Resolution 09-14: Creation of Franklin Industrial Park Economic Opportunity Area

Motion to approve 7-0

"online coursework can be an excellent option"

When most people think about online learning, they think about adults taking online university classes. Or they might think about the online training that occurs in many workplaces. But online learning opportunities occur in the K-12 sector as well and are increasingly popular with students and their families.

The Sloan Consortium estimates that at least 1 million K-12 public school students took an online course last year. This represents approximately 2% of the national K-12 public school student population and is a 22–fold increase since 2000. About 20 states have statewide virtual high schools that deliver online courses to students across the state.
Dr. Scott McLeod writes on his blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, this post about online learning opportunities.

As you read the following, do a simple replacement exercise, substitute "Franklin, MA" in place of Iowa.
A robust online learning infrastructure for students makes a lot of sense for the state of Iowa (and I’m glad there’s a bill in the Iowa House to consider it). If we’re honest with ourselves, we will recognize that most of our school districts will NEVER be able to provide the curricular diversity that most of our graduates need to be effective digital, global workers and citizens. If we’re truly honest, we also will recognize that the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) is not a viable future option. The ICN is a closed, aging network and the course offerings (and monies) there, like everything else in the world, must move to the Web. Whether it’s a statewide virtual school or some other model, we must significantly increase the number of online courses available to Iowa students if we are to provide them access to the high-quality learning opportunities envisioned in the Iowa Core Curriculum.
You can click through to read the full article here.

Franklin has started exploring this option and should continue to do so. It is not a silver bullet to save money. There will likely be some contractual and procedural changes required to implement appropriately. It will be some work but it should be worthwhile to develop our children for life and learning in this new world.

"This one had the least impact on education"

We know that for students to learn, educators must also be afforded the same opportunity. When Congress was developing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we asked a sample of superintendents about their school systems' greatest funding needs. The education leaders identified professional development as a top priority even during this financial crisis. Let us hope that before cutting back on professional development, elected officials and school administrators will carefully consider its importance in supporting the success of our students and our educators. Even in these difficult times, professional growth opportunities are a worthy investment for the long-term benefit of our students.
This is the summary of the article written by Gene R Carter, Executive Director, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD).

The quotation is from this article and in direct reference to Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri's recommendation to eliminate his state's teacher professional development funding for the year.

In a year full of tough choices, the toughest choices we will face will affect our children. If the proper education of our children is not a priority, what is?

"Very strong household income factors"

Posted Mar 03, 2009 @ 10:56 PM


Thanks to its slightly improved bond rating and good timing, Franklin saved about $100,000 last week, said Treasurer/Collector James Dacey.

The town was due to award a bid for a 19-year note in a few weeks, but seeing that the bond market was "perfect," Dacey acted last week to secure a $17.89 million bond issue.

The town received seven bids on the bond, and awarded it to Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc., with an average interest rate of 3.49 percent, Dacey said, adding that interest rates have been as high as 7.25 percent in the past.

"We got a great rate on that - probably the best rate we've ever had," Dacey said.

"We planned on 4 percent, or 4.25 percent, but by getting 3.49 percent, we saved about $100,000 in interest costs for fiscal year 2010 - a huge savings," Dacey said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bill Glynn - Abraham Bolden

Bill Glynn and Abraham Bolden at the Thomas Mercer Auditorium talking about the JFK assassination on Wednesday 2/25/09


There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image. AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike

Abraham Bolden, the first African American member of the Secret Service.


There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image. AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike

You can listen to the recording of his talk here.

Monday, March 2, 2009

SchCom: Asst Supt Candidate

SchCom_90224_AsstSupt, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Sally Winslow talks with the School Committee at their meeting 2/24/09 as reported here earlier

Dalai Lama coming to Gillette

Posted Mar 01, 2009 @ 11:17 PM


From the New England Patriots to the Rolling Stones, a long list of famous figures have moved through Gillette Stadium.

In May, the Foxborough venue will add yet another name to the list: His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso.

Recognized by many as the rightful head of state and the spiritual leader of Tibet, the Dalai Lama will give two public talks on Saturday, May 2, at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., one on the "Four Noble Truths of Buddhism" and the other a reflection on "The Path to Peace and Happiness." Each talk will last about two hours.


Tickets for the Dalai Lama's talks go on sale March 6 for $37.50, $75.50 and $117.50. Tickets will be available at or by phone at 866-448-7849. Parking is free.

For more information, visit To learn more about the Dalai Lama, visit

read the full story about the Dalai Lama's visit to Gillette Stadium this May in the Milford Daily News here

"the loggers will create a fire road"

Posted Mar 01, 2009 @ 11:19 PM


For the first time since the town commissioned its long-term forestation program study in 2000, officials will step into the woods with paintguns and begin marking up ill-fated trees, said Conservation Commission member Paul Boncek.

Barring unforeseen weather problems, Boncek will accompany registered forester Philip Benjamin of Easton on Wednesday to examine the town's open space. Benjamin conducted the study and "is intimately familiar" with the property, just off Summer Street.

Using a remote camera, Boncek will record their walk through the woods, stopping at various trees to explain why they are choosing to knock down each particular one, he said. He plans to put the recording on cable access television so people have a better understanding of the process and the purpose of the forestation program, he said.

"It's a unique thing and people often don't understand it," Boncek said. "After we mark up all these trees, sunlight makes the young trees grow up and older ones get more sunlight and become healthier."

read the full story about the reforestation planning in the Milford Daily News here

"We're certainly willing to sit down"

Posted Mar 01, 2009 @ 11:28 PM


Just as President Barack Obama has called for sacrifices to be made in the midst of the country's economic turmoil, many town workers are also considering what cuts they are willing to make for the greater good.

Last Wednesday, School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy announced that 51 school administrators, including every principal and assistant principal, the superintendent, and all non-union secretaries, offered to freeze their salaries next year.

That will save an estimated $50,000 to $70,000, and two teaching positions, said Assistant Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski, who becomes superintendent July 1.

"We felt good about that," she said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Town Council - Agenda - 3/4/09

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – February 4, 11, 2009




E. APPOINTMENTS - Public Land Use Committee



1. Update – Mike D’Angelo
2. Update – Bryan Taberner, Director of Planning


1. Resolution 09-09: Appropriation – Survey on 30+ Acres on Pond Street
2. Resolution 09-10: Authorization for Intermunicipal Agreement with Town of Medway
3. Resolution 09-11: Appropriation – Capital – Fire Dept Ladder Truck
4. Resolution 09-12: Appropriation – Capital – DPW Lawn mower
5. Resolution 09-13: Creation of Forge Park Economic Opportunity Area
6. Resolution 09-14: Creation of Franklin Industrial Park Economic Opportunity Area
7. Bylaw Amendment 09-630:Amendment to Chapter 37, Town Properties - 1st Reading





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


"If you don't take care of it, you won't have it"

"We're trying to chip away, slowly but surely, to make ourselves greener and reduce our carbon footprint," Kane said.

Solar panels, as well as electrical inverters that change the direct current from the roof to alternating current that can be fed into his NStar electrical system, cost Kane $149,817.

But a $67,568 rebate from the Mass. Technology Collaborative, a $44,945 federal tax credit, a $7,221 state tax credit and other incentives brought the price down to $45,312, he said.

He will pay that amount off over six to seven years.

The solar power system is expected to generate about 18,900 kilowatt/hours a year, which should add up to an annual savings of about $3,800 on utility bills at today's rates, he said.

Kane also shopped locally, getting the Devens-manufactured panels from Marlborough-based Evergreen Solar. His electrical inverters were built by Solectria Renewables of Lawrence.

Kane, who lives in Framingham, said he is now researching whether it would make financial sense to expand his solar array and sell electricity back to his utility company. If so, he sees bigger potential in his industry.

"There are millions of square feet of storage roofs around the country," he said.

Read more about the solar electric installation in the Milford Daily News here

For additional information on solar energy, check out the series held by the Franklin Area Climate Team here

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Ed Cafasso's Letter

Hello Everyone!

I apologize for falling slightly behind in my monthly updates… The first eight weeks of the year have flown by! Here’s a brief update on recent school issues in Franklin…

Fiscal Year 2010 Budget: Intensive work is underway in an effort to figure out the best financial plan for the Franklin schools given the difficult financial climate we are all facing.

Costs continue to outpace revenues and, in the current economy, revenues are shrinking. The big drivers of school cost increases in the coming fiscal year are teacher salary hikes and step changes; healthcare prices, special education, and transportation. Normally, given the budget cuts the schools sustained in the current fiscal year, one would hope for at least a level-service budget in the new fiscal year that begins July 1, a budget that meets cost increases and preserves current personnel and programs. Instead, the net effect of declining state and local revenues means that the Franklin schools will be fortunate to secure a level-funded FY10 budget. “Level funded” means operating the schools with the same amount of money as the previous year, despite increasing costs.

Under a level-funded scenario, cuts imposed last July will be not be reversed. To balance the FY10 budget, the schools will need to trim nearly $3 million in costs – the equivalent of 60 classrooms positions. Given that 45 professional teaching positions were eliminated at the start of this school year (and 14 were cut the year prior), School Committee members, administrators, principals and staff are working together to explore and discuss every possible option in an effort to avert another dramatic teaching cutback and even larger class sizes.

Everything is on the table. In recent weeks, for example, all 51 of our non-union school personnel – administrators and secretaries – decided to freeze their salaries and give up any increases in FY10. It remains to be seen whether unionized school workers will adopt a similar approach. Also unclear are the details of how the Franklin schools might benefit from the Obama administration’s stimulus package. Keep in mind, however, that the stimulus money is not recurring revenue – once it is spent, the personnel or programs it supports will be without funding.

I urge everyone to stay close to the budget process this year by paying attention to School Committee, Town Council and Finance Committee meetings; and by seeking a frank discussion of these issues with your principals and your school PCCs. As a reminder of the budget cuts your schools have sustained in the past six years, I encourage you to visit this web link:

School Calendar: As Oak Street and Horace Mann parents may have heard, the state Education Commissioner has refused to grant a waiver from the 180-day requirement for the single day that classes were cancelled when the facility closed due to a September water pipe break. The result is that an additional day of school will be tacked onto the end of the academic year for Oak Street and Horace Mann students.

As of this afternoon, classes in Franklin are scheduled to end Friday, June 19, which means that the extra day of school for Oak Street and Horace Mann students would fall on Monday, June 22. But another major snowstorm is being forecast for tonight and tomorrow. Additional cancellations will push the school calendar further into the week of June 21.

Franklin High School: There has been no news on the district’s application for funding assistance from the Massachusetts School Building Authority. A professional inspectional team from the MSBA toured the building in mid-December as part of Franklin’s application for state funding assistance. We hope to have an indication from state officials soon about the likelihood of state support for the renovation of the school or the construction of a new building. You can expect school and town officials to move quickly once we are able to secure some clarity from the MSBA.

The next meeting of the School Committee is scheduled for 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 10th.

These e-mails are provided as a constituent service. I try to distribute at least one e-mail update each month during the school year, as issues warrant. As always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. If you are receiving duplicate e-mails or if you no longer wish to receive these e-mails, please let me know and I will remove you from the distribution list. If you know of someone you would like to add to the list, please send along their e-mail address.

Thank you!

Ed Cafasso, Member

Franklin School Committee

the new House majority leader

Chris Feeley, Franklin's town council chairman, is also a fan, citing Vallee's work ethic.

"He has his job as a state representative, he has his law practice, he serves in the military, and he is a very family-oriented guy and somehow balances all of that very well," Feeley said. "Most important for him, he doesn't make his family sacrifice, which is what I respect most."

Read the full article on Rep Jim Vallee's rise to the House majority leader role in the Milford Daily News here

"The cost is often greater than anticipated"

Franklin School Superintendent Wayne Ogden said layoffs could leave the town with a wider budget gap.

"The liability for the town overall could be huge," Ogden said, if anticipated layoffs become a reality. "In a worst case scenario, the unemployment benefits for the town of Franklin could get into the millions."

Read the full article on how layoffs affect the budget in the Milford Daily News here