Saturday, December 26, 2009

Who lost their shoe?

Who lost their shoe?

This was found Saturday morning in front of 188 King St.



December 23. 2009

The Franklin Health Department will be holding an H1N1 flu clinic for Franklin residents on Wednesday January 06, 2010 from 4:00 to 7:00 PM at the Franklin High School, 218 Oak Street.  Please enter the clinic through the school’s front main entrance.

The following persons are eligible to receive the H1N1 vaccine consistent with Massachusetts Department of Public Health and CDC guidelines for vaccine administration:

Children in 9th through 12th grades.
All other Franklin residents who wish to receive the H1N1 Vaccine.

Please be advised, the Health Department has received nearly 70% of our vaccine allocation in the nasal spray form.  Because this is a live attenuated vaccine, this formulation is only for healthy individuals aged 2 to 49 years of age.
All individuals to be vaccinated in the 2-49 age groups without a contra-indicated medical history will be administered the nasal spray.

All individuals to be vaccinated are to present a completed consent form.  No vaccine will be administered without a completed and signed consent form.  A downloadable consent form is available on both the Health Department and School Department websites as well.

All residents will be asked to produce a valid driver’s license or other identification at the time of registration.

We ask all residents to please be patient and to anticipate some waiting, as we institute our large-scale public vaccination plan.

David E. McKearney, R.S.
Public Health Director
Franklin Health Department

Franklin Board of Health

Bruce Hunchard, Chair
Paul Cheli
Donald Ranieri, JR.

Student safely navigating online

Through the Google Public Policy Blog I just learned about a series of three videos created by YouTube for the purpose of educating students about online behavior. Each of the three videos are roughly two minutes in length. Each video provides clear narration and visual aids. The three videos are Detecting Lies and Staying True, Playing and Staying Safe Online, and Staying Safe on YouTube. These videos could be used in any classroom, but they really seem aimed toward a middle school audience.
From Free Technology for Teachers is written by Richard Byrne and read by a daily audience of more than 15,000 subscribers.

Franklin, MA: Building Inspection Department

The Building Inspection Department is a multifunction office responsible for the construction, demolition, alteration, repair and occupancy of all residential, commercial, business and industrial use for both existing and new construction in accordance with the Massachusetts State Building Code. The department is responsible for the administration, interpretation and enforcement of the following codes:

Massachusetts State Building Code - 780CMR
Town of Franklin Code - Zoning – CH 185
Zoning Board of Appeals Agent
Fence Viewer
State Electrical Code – 527 CMR
State Plumbing & Gas Code – 248 CMR
Sealer of Weights and Measure – G.L. CH 98
Architectural Access Board – 521 CMR

Hours of Operation
The Building Inspection Department is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday 8:00a.m. until 4:00p.m., Wednesday 8:00a.m.until 6:00p.m. and Friday 8:00a.m. until 1:00p.m. For your convenience, you may contact our website: at This site contains a series of forms easily accessible and available to download. The website provides permit applications, sample plot plans, sign regulations, swimming pool instruction manuals. Shed/barn instruction manuals, complaint forms, zoning criteria and other information necessary to process a permit or to simply provide information to the public.

Building Department Staff

Building Commissioner/Zoning Officer: David A. Roche

Local Inspector: Lloyd “Gus” Brown
Local Inspector: Everett “Andy “ Williams
Wire Inspector: Bernard Mullaney
Plumbing/Gas Inspector: Richard Cornetta
Plmb/Gas Inspector: Richard McCormick
Asst Plmb/Gas Inspector: Jay Palermo
Sealer of Weights & Measurers:
Comm. of Mass./Div. of Standards

From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas! (video)

In the spirit of Christmas and having fun, here is a short video of the ImprovEverywhere group providing some assistance to one of the Salvation Army bell ringers.

It would have been really cool if this was one of the bell ringers when Ashley helped


Read more about this group and how they prepared this event here

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view this video.

Information Revolution (video)

Before you celebrate Christmas today, spend 5 minutes to view the latest on the information revolution:


Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view this video.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"the community really cares for its own"

 Milford Daily News reporter, Ashley Studley spent time ringing the bell for the Salvation Army kettle and writes about it:
Some people acknowledged us with a smile and comment about the weather while other shoppers walked away briskly and avoided eye contact. I suddenly felt guilty for doing the same thing in the past - avoiding the interaction due to a lack of cash or time.

I asked her if such reactions are ever discouraging.

"This is the time of year a lot of people don't have the money to contribute to the cause," she said with understanding. "Some people do, some people don't."
 Read the full story online here

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Narrow sidewalks downtown

Narrow sidewalks downtown

TED Talks to view over the holiday week

TED Talks provide viewers with insightful and thought-provoking commentary and ideas. The contents of many TED Talks can be directly or indirectly applied to your classroom practices. While you're on holiday break, you may want to watch one or all of these TED Talks. If you're interested in learning more about using TED Talks in your classroom, check out Teaching With TED.

Free Technology for Teachers is written by Richard Byrne and read by a daily audience of more than 15,000 subscribers.

Franklin, MA: Zoning Board of Appeals

The Zoning Board of Appeals currently consists of three (3) members and two (2) associate members appointed by the Town Administrator, subject to the confirmation by the Town Council, for terms of
such length and so arranged that the term of one member shall expire each year. There is currently one (1) opening for an associate member.

The Board of Appeals holds Public Hearings, as advertised, for Variance(s), Special Permits (including gravel removal), Findings and Chapter 40B applications. The Board also renders
determinations on land use and zoning issues. All necessary forms and applications may be obtained through the Building Inspection Department and via Board of Appeals website at

The Zoning Board of Appeals meets in Town Council Chambers at the Franklin Municipal Building on Thursday evenings usually twice a month, at 7:30pm. The calendar may be viewed via website at All meetings are open to the public.

The Board has been very active this fiscal year and the following agenda is a list of all applications filed, indexed and recorded with the Town Clerk.

Respectfully submitted,

Franklin Zoning Board of Appeals

Bruce Hunchard, Chairman - 1991*
Robert Acevedo, Vice Chairman - 2003*
Bernard Mullaney, Clerk - 1988*
Todd Alexander Associate - 2007*
Seth Jackson, Associate Member - 2007*
Barbara Curran, Administrative Secretary

* indicates Member since

From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.

Franklin Voters can come out in numbers

September 16, 2008 - State wide primary election saw only 1,442 Franklin voters come out to cast their ballots.

November 4, 2008 - for the presidential election 16,793 (86%) Franklin voters came out to cast their ballots.

November 3, 2009 - for the town election 3,244 (16.4%) Franklin voters came out to choose their local Town Council, School Committee and other elected Board positions.

From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009 Annual Report of the Town Administrator

From the 2009 Town of Franklin Annual Report. This is available in a printed version at the Municipal Building or online at the Town website here.

You will recall, in recent years, Franklin was named in Fortune – Small Business Magazine, Money Magazine, and Family Circle as among the best places to live and raise a family and start a business. This past year, Franklin did not make it into any major publications. You might think that your town government is resting on its laurels, but the real truth of the matter is, 99% of what we do right goes unnoticed. It is something that we, as administrators, local elected officials, and employees struggle with on a continual basis. How do we let the citizens know about what we do on a daily basis that goes unnoticed?

Today’s citizens have busier lives than ever before. As long as the trash gets picked up every week, the water flows when you turn on the faucet or flush your toilet, and your kids come home from school with good grades and have recreation and cultural activities to participate in, everything is just fine. You get your tax bills and utility bills and you pay them and you think to yourself, life in Franklin is good.

We need you to know that there is so much more that makes those things and others happen.
This past year, the town sold the property at the corner of King Street and Rt 140 known as the Four Corners School for 2.5 million dollars. After paying the debt on the property, 1.5 million dollars is available to fund capital projects and a vacant property will be back on the tax rolls. We continue to replace older water and sewer pipes and resurface roads paid by the water and sewer fees. We adopt financial efficiencies as opportunities arise. This year the town assumed the care of the school facilities and grounds. The town now maintains all town buildings and grounds and the schools can focus on education. We negotiated the regionalization of some services with the Town of Medway. Regionalization is difficult to achieve, but in the long run serves both communities well and reduces costs. Currently, we are, on a limited basis, sharing a recreation director and programs with Medway and our Library Director is servicing both Franklin and Medway and that allows Medway’s citizens to utilize our library facilities and our citizens to utilize their facilities. In a remarkable example of cooperation and sacrifice, all of Franklin’s town and school employees volunteered to forego their raises this year to save fellow employees’ jobs.

In a public/private collaboration, The Franklin Veterans Memorial Foundation commissioned an Iraq/Afghanistan memorial for the Town Common that was dedicated on Memorial Day, 2009. The ceremony was attended by hundreds of Franklin’s citizens and was a memorable tribute to all of Franklin’s veterans and in  particular, two of our sons who were killed in action: Lance Corporal Shayne Cabino, and Staff Sgt. Robert Pirelli.

We continue our mission to make available affordable housing opportunities for senior citizens and families in Franklin in developments such as Eaton Place and Meadowbrook Heights, senior developments, and Franklin Heights and Brandywine Village, family residential developments.

We constantly review and update our website to provide you with up to date information that we think you want and need to know. We publish a quarterly Municipal Services Guide that is mailed to every household and contains information on what is happening in Franklin, coming events, recreation opportunities, and helpful hints, and articles from various town departments.

These are just a few examples of what we routinely do. We will continue this work and we will develop new ways to share our good deeds with you so that you can continue to be proud of your community, even when it doesn’t make major publications.

It is my pleasure to submit my annual report for your review, and please feel free to write, e-mail, or stop by with any questions, concerns, or comments.

Respectfully submitted,

Jeff Nutting
Town Administrator

Monday, December 21, 2009

Plenty of snow

For the first round of shoveling on Sunday, actually when I fired up the Sear Craftsman snow thrower for the first time, we had almost a foot in the middle of the driveway. It had drifted higher against the garage door but that is normal.

The schools will open 2 hours late today to provide time for the sidewalks and parking lots around the school properties to get cleared. There is no budget for overtime to clear the snow on the off hours.

Franklin's TJ Maxx to close

A reliable source amongst the Franklin Matters community passed along word that employees of the TJ Maxx store in Franklin were notified that the store will be closing Jan 16th.

With stores in Plainville, Milford, South Attleboro, Framingham and Natick currently on the map, Franklin will lose the convenience of having a location in town. Plainville, the newest store, likely would pick up some of the Franklin traffic.

If you have information to add to this story, please let me know.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

FM #52 - Week ending 12/20/09

This is #52 in the series of podcasts for Franklin Matters. Take about 10 minutes to keep up with what happened this week in Franklin, MA.

Time: 9 minutes, 35 seconds

MP3 File

Session notes:

This internet radio show or podcast is number 52 in the series for Franklin Matters.

Take about ten minutes to keep current with what matters in Franklin, MA as the week ends December 20, 2009.
FM #52

In this session I’ll cover the
  • School Committee
  • Town Council
  • Outreach events for both groups took part in
  • And then close with some reflections on what I think we can take away from these events 
The School Committee meeting this past Tuesday was their annual self assessment session. On non-election years, this would work well as the full SC would have been together for the whole year. In this election year, two of the members were new and therefore disadvantaged in commenting on what the SC did during the year. Now, they could provide a view from the outside (and to their credit they did). I also took time to speak up on several points to provide my 2 cents as an observer and reporter of the School Committee.

The School Committee does produce several good information streams; the school department website, the School Committee website and separate blog, the Superintendents page, and each school has their own page. The various websites have been disconnected from the Town for over a year now. There were plans to do an upgrade but the issues around content management and then problems with the proposed vendor (which went out of business as I recall) have halted that work. They are now back to square one to start over and find web site technology that can enable regular and timely updates for all those within the district; Teachers, administration and School Committee.

There is plenty of information available. I don’t think that is a problem. How easily it is found is one problem. I would posit that the second problem is that there is not a clearly defined feedback loop enabled. The Superintendent gets phone calls and the individual members of the School Committee get emails and phone calls. However, the correspondence acknowledged as part of each SC agenda only covers printed items that come through regular mail.

Now as voters, you and I get a chance to provide feedback every two years. In this most recent election, there were seven candidates for seven positions. I believe the voters gave their feedback by (1) voting in the two newcomers with more votes than any of the incumbents (2) by not casting ballots for more than 3-4 individual candidates. This voting pattern said that voters were not pleased with the existing committee.

And then the School Committee holds their self assessment in a room where it is not broadcast to the community via cable or internet as their other meetings are. It is still an open meeting, Ashley Studley (Milford Daily News reporter) and I participated and were the only non-school district personnel to do so.

Now don’t construe what I say as negative about the School Committee. The School Committee is a fine set of engaged and competent people very much interested in doing what is right to provide the very best education for all of Franklin’s youth. For all that they do well; I believe that there is room for improvement.

More on what they do well was highlighted in a couple of other activities this week.

First: Jeff Nutting and at least three members of the Town Council (Scott Mason, Judy Pfeffer and Tina Powderly) held an open information session at the Senior Center on Tuesday morning. The event was well received, good discussions were conducted. The Town Council will return in February to do a similar session.

Second: Five of the seven members of the School Committee joined with six of the nine Town Council to visit the State House as a guest of Rep Jim Vallee. During the time there, they obtained insights into the operation of the state government as well as information on the current issues and future budget for the Commonwealth. In particular, how the budget could affect local aid for Franklin.

Third: The School Committee and Superintendent coordinated a tour of the ten schools in the district for any one of the School Committee, Town Council and Finance Committee who chose to participate. While targeted for the new folks on both boards, it was a well attended event. They made visited all the schools including a stop for lunch at the High School Cafeteria. The feedback from folks who participated included comments like “amazing” “eye-opening”. This kind of outreach is important. The folks who will be shortly determining budget priorities were able to see the schools, administration, teachers, support staff, and students in action.

The Town Council meeting on Wednesday evening was a short but important one to close out the calendar year. The TC took action to approve the Financial Guidelines that have been developed by the Town and accepted by prior TC’s. The TC also approved the meeting schedule for 2010. The important item was approval for the Housing Trust to proceed with creating affordable housing by using $400,000 from the Housing Trust Fund. Potential home owners could qualify for up to $80,000 to be used at their closing to purchase a home in Franklin. The amount would not be paid back. In return, there would be a rider attached to the deed to keep the house in an affordable state for the years to come. This helps the Town create affordable housing from existing properties (hence avoiding new housing).

While the School Committee struggles with the feedback loop as I discussed earlier, their activities working with the Town Council, Finance Committee, and Town Administration is all good. To the Town Council’s credit they have started their outreach with the Senior center session, I look forward to seeing more of this.

I am comfortable with how the groups have started doing business since the election. The budget year ahead of us will be a challenge. I am glad that these groups have started as they have, there is hope that we will get through the budget with improvement in the flow of information and substantial respectful discussions.

There are no more Town Council or School Committee meetings this year. I can take a break. You’ll probably appreciate the break as well. I have reported on a total of 65 meetings this year, all but one of them live and in real time. I hope that the information shared has been helpful for you to keep abreast of what is happening in Franklin.

As we close this year 2009, let me wish you all a joyful Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or what ever holiday you choose to celebrate at this time of year.


If you like what I am doing, please tell your neighbors

If you don’t like something, please tell me

Thank you for listening

For additional information, please visit

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

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana" c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission

I hope you enjoy!

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to the website to listen to the audio version.

Smalley's Cookies now on the web

I found and bought some Smalley's Cookies at the Franklin Farmers Market this summer. They are great tasting cookies!

As I talked with John in his tent at the market, I asked if they had a website I could link to. Alas, it was under development.

Until recently that is. You can now find them on the web at Smalley's Cookies.

From their About page:
Smalley's Cookies is founded on the principles of life, love and the unending pursuit of joy. We hope our cookies bring a sigh of happiness to everyone who takes a bite.

At Smalley's we are cookie fanatics. Our goal is to create the most amazing cookies on the planet! We searched the globe for the most delectable ingredients we could find: dark and semi-sweet chocolate from Switzerland, fresh pecans with just the right amount of "snap" from Georgia, Dutch-processed cocoa from The Netherlands, sweet dates, all-natural coconut, whole eggs, sea salt and unsalted butter and not one drop of trans-fat or artificial anything!

We know you'll delight in our cookies and feel good knowing that they're all-natural. And what breeds happiness more than reaching out to lend a helping hand? Nothing! That's why a percentage of our profits are donated to organizations which protect our natural resources, and which serve children and adults across our globe.

In the words of Simon Raven, "Life is short and the world is wide," so stop and enjoy a Smalley's Cookie and spread a little happiness along the way.
Some of the cookies I could get at the Franklin Farmers Market are no longer available. Although they tasted tested well, they did not sell well. This is likely because they contained nuts. You may have noticed that there has been an increase in nut allergies amongst the youth. Folks have decided to play it safe by buying cookies without nuts.

I talked with John recently to prepare this update and he was pleased with the company's growth. They went to five Farmers Markets during the summer. People liked the cookies. Word of mouth has enabled them to get into The Fruit Centers in Milton, MA. and Hingham, MA and recently, the Daily Bread Bakery in Whitinsville, MA.

I like their saying "Life is Hard, Have a Cookie!"

Keep up the good cookie making John!

Abbey turbine gets wings

The wind turbine at Mount St Mary's Abbey in Wrentham was installed this week. It is quite impressive even from a distance against a gray sky with the blades not turning.

It looks like a giant bird

or a funky hang glider

coming over the trees

until you get closer and the white tower appears.

It will be tested before turning on to generate power for the Abbey.

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to the website to view the slide show.

In the News - cards for kids

Franklin junior designs cards for children in need

from The Milford Daily News Homepage RSS

Since the project began in November of this year, Burgess has successfully completed and delivered over 150 cards to children around the globe. Now more people are showing interest in helping her project grow.

"Since I made the Web site, lots of people have wanted to help me," Burgess said. "Girl scout troops, youth groups and senior centers. Every wants to get in on it."

For more information about helping Haley, visit the Cards for Kids Web site at or contact her directly by e-mail at

Cards for kids is looking for handmade cards made from construction paper or card-stock that include a personal, handwritten message. Burgess asks that you please refrain from including identifying information or asking questions as the children will most likely not have the opportunity to write back.