Saturday, March 13, 2010

"Curiosity is the most powerful thing you own"

"Curiosity killed the cat" is an old saying probably based upon some truth, passed down and now lost. The message though is one of caution, don't go too far, don't explore, don't learn what is at the edges. Not a good message for a world where life long learning is becoming a requirement.

James Cameron tells the story of how following his curiosity has resulted in Avatar! His learning about leadership and teamwork built upon a bond of respect is wonderful.

"Failure is an option, fear is not"

Let's move from curiosity and fear to dance. The body is a wonderful thing. It possesses such great moves. Some moves were recently seen during the Olympics when the snowboarders showed off their flips and twists, the ice skaters performed their Triple Lutz and Quad jumps. Watch this piece on what these dancers can do.

Just imagine if some of these moves worked their way on to a snowboard or the ice rink? What would it be like?

The advances these dancers have made exploring the limits of what their bodies can do, has been fostered by the internet. Easy access, cheap video, "keeping up with the Jones"... driven by curiosity.

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view the two videos shown here.

Franklin, MA

HMEA 5K Race/Walk - May 23rd

The Horace Mann Education Associates - HMEA, Inc. is located here in Franklin, MA but their effective service delivery is to over 100 communities in MA.

HMEA has a long history of providing innovative services in school, at work, at home and in the community and now serve over 2400 children and adults with developmental disabilities. Services include: Residential, Day and Family supports, and services for children.

HMEA's Employment Programs provides people with disabilities the opportunity to pursue meaningful employment either on a full- or part-time basis. For people in the Employment Program who work part-time, HMEA encourages volunteering for community organizations, or leisure and recreation activities to supplement their day.

HMEA's Employment Programs serve people 22 years of age and older who live within the commuting distance of program locations in the following cities and towns: Bellingham, Clinton, Hopedale, Plainville and Worcester

The annual fund raiser for HMEA is the 5K Race/Walk and Family Fun Day scheduled for May 23, 2010.
SAVE THE DATE...Sunday, May 23, 2010 HMEA's 9th Annual Independence 5K Walk/Run in the Park - MARK YOUR CALENDARS and grab your sneakers to participate in this "Fun-filled Family Day fundraising event...
This event, which is hosted by our good friends at EMC2 Corporation in Franklin, MA gathers 2,000 or more people to help HMEA continue its mission to make a difference in people's lives. AND, all the money raised is returned to the many programs at HMEA, which supports 2,400 children and adults with intellectual challenges and developmental disabilities.
Once again we have Gene Lavanchy from Fox News25 and tentatively Gail Huff from WCVB-TV Channel performing hosting duties for us. And our great friends and inspiration to many, "TEAM HOYT", Dick and Rick will be on hand again this year -- plus we're pretty sure there will be a few other celebrities and mascots on hand as well!
So come on down and participate in the fun...there's raffle prizes, food, tee shirts for participants (while they last), prizes, a Kids Corner filled with games and activities, a Kids "FUN RUN" and so much more... 

In addition to working the road race registration table (and providing splits at the 2 mile mark), I have decided to help HMEA do some fund raising this year.

I love the quote from Horace Mann that they use on their History page:
"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity"

You can help the HMEA make a difference with a donation. I have a widget in the center column of this and my other blogs, should you choose to donate an amount within your means.

I will appreciate it.
The HMEA clients you help will too!


If you would like to register for the race you can do so here

If you'd like you can contribute in one of several options directly through the HMEA website here

Friday, March 12, 2010

Franklin, MA: Library Tour (video)

How many styles of Greek columns are used in the Library building?
The answer to that can be found by taking a tour of the library. The tour will help you understand more about how the Franklin Library is really one of our treasures.

Have you taken the tour?
I haven't but when I stopped by recently to get some Dr Seuss books, I found out about a video tour that was available on DVD. Could the video be converted to share on a website? Yes, it could.

While a real 'in person' tour, is the best way to view the library, you can take a tour of the library from the luxury of your own computer. Click a view the video, it will be a well spent 35 minutes!

The video will also be posted to the Library website.

The video was put together by The Preservation Committee for the 100th Anniversary celebration of the library in 2004. Many thanks to the great time and effort put into this by Donna Estey, Ann Arpin, and Hugh Bolton in particular amongst the many involved in the production.

Note: for email subscribers, you will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view the video.

Business After Hours

The United Regional Chamber of Commerce held a "Business After Hours" networking event at Dean College Thursday evening.

Dean College was a gracious host, with good food and refreshments in their newly renovated Library and Learning Center on the Dean campus. President Paula Rooney was amongst the several Dean representatives present.

Jack Lank, President of the United Regional Chamber, welcomed everyone. Jay Leiendecker, Vice President at Dean gave some brief remarks as did Jeff Nutting, Franklin Town Administrator.

A number of business people from outside Franklin came to the event to meet business folks from Franklin and help share what they do to spread the word and expand their business.

With as many people as were at the event, I could not get to talk with all. Those whom I did get to talk with were interesting. Some highlights were:
Did you know that Digital Credit Union is developing an application to take a picture of a check with your smartphone to create a deposit into your account without having to actually bring the check to the teller or ATM machine? I will talk further with Thomaz Demoura, Branch Manager of the DCU office on RT 140 to understand how this will work.
Did you know that if you'd like to hold an outdoor wedding in the area that Country Gardens, a bed and breakfast with a special events facility would be a good place to consider? Located approximately two miles from LaSalette Shrine, I will be talking with Ralph Arguin to find out more about their services.
You may recall a conversation with Linda Waters, President, Back to Business, that I reported here from the Harvest Festival last September. The Confidence Beads that were in development are now ready and available. I will be finding out more to bring back and share here.
This is just a sample of the conversations available at Business After Hours. Consider finding out more about the United Regional Chamber of Commerce and their operations by visiting their website, calling one of their offices, or contacting me. You don't have to be a member to attend their Business After Hours, you can attend as a guest.

Why do I spend time at such events? You may have heard me say/write that something like a split tax is not a solution to our budget problems. A split tax rate creates two classes of taxpayers and attempts to shift the burden from the residential to the commercial/industrial base. That simply makes it harder to do business in Franklin. What we really need to do is not split the pie but make the pie larger! Increasing business opportunity in Franklin is one way to help our overall budget issues. The opportunity to meet and talk with the business folks is priceless!

Creating opportunities for business to operate successfully in Franklin is what matters.

Franklin, MA

"take advantage of the opportunity"

Months before they even get a diploma, some Franklin High School seniors are preparing to head into the real world.
Beginning its second year, the school's senior project course gives 35 seniors a taste of being part of the work force before they graduate.
"Senior project is the smartest and best thing that Franklin High School has done for its students," said 2009 graduate John Congdon, who participated last year.

Franklin students get a taste of the real world

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Franklin, MA

2nd Fund Raising Event for Abbey Candy House


Come join with us in Sports


PATRIOTS Offensive Tackle
(Six Division Championships, Four Conference Titles,
Three Super Bowl Championships)

Come join with us in Song

– former American Idol finalist from season 5:
(Boston College Eagles Basketball)

Children Free - Cash/Checks only

Where: Lake Pearl Luciano’s
When: April 11, 2010
2:00 to 4:00 P.M.
Creek St., Wrentham, Ma.

Mt. St. Mary’s Abbey – 300 Arnold St. – Wrentham, Ma. 02093
Phone: 508 528 1282 Web

Thursday, March 11, 2010

solar compactor down at the track

The solar powered trash compactor has been moved to the Franklin High School Track. As I recall this had been positioned downtown, opposite the Post Office, under a tree. I recall musing, would it get enough solar attention under the tree? Maybe it wasn't or maybe it was decided that this would be a better place.

Either way, as I ran my workout at the track today, I noticed it there. It may have been positioned here earlier. With the winter weather this was the first time for me to get to the track this year. I look forward to getting there more often now that the weather is breaking.

Franklin, MA

Davis Thayer School says Thanks!

With a big update on their sign, the thank you is loud and clear.

When was the auction? Last weekend at the Adirondack Club.

Franklin, MA

Walgreens - now open

As I drove by Walgreens today, there is a sign proclaiming "Now Open."

I'll get a picture sometime to record and share but it is open, finally!

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: Town Council - Charter Revisions 03/10/10

The collected posts from the Special Town Council meeting to discuss the proposed Charter Revisions can be found here:

Franklin, MA

"fostering greater awareness of bullying"

"I am so proud to have a group of such motivated, committed students like the Teenangels in my community," Vallee said in a press release. "We can't, of course, legislate what parents should be teaching at home - courtesy, respect, and the Golden Rule - but we can put a plan in place to help school administrators and teachers swiftly and effectively address bullying if it does occur in their classrooms."
The Teenangels, a group of 17 seventh- and eight-graders, is a chapter of that trains students in online safety, privacy and security.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Prior posts on the Teenangels can be found here:

Franklin, MA

"As the town grows ... it becomes more complicated"

Last night, the Charter Review Subcommittee suggested making the town treasurer, clerk, assessors, Board of Health and constables appointed instead of elected posts.
"As the town grows ... it becomes more complicated and a bigger and bigger business," Vice Chairman Stephen Whalen said. "It's more important to be appointed and evaluated on a skill set qualified for those specific functions."
Whalen said not only does appointment ensure the most qualified candidate, but it allows people who may have been turned off by an election process to come forward.
Last night's discussion came during a hearing at which the Town Council discussed several suggested revisions to the town charter - its governing document.

Read the full article here:

Views differ on appointing vs. electing positions

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Franklin, MA

Harlem Wizards return 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)!

From Franklin Matters

Did you miss their visit last year?

Don't miss it this year!

Date:  Friday, March 19th, 2010, 7:00 PM
Doors Open 6:00, Game Time 7:00

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

Tickets: Click here to print ticket order form

Contacts: or

Sponsored By: Annie Sullivan Middle School PCC

Open Gym Night - Remington High School

When: Thursday, March 11th  from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
Where: Remington Middle School Gymnasium

Middle and High School Students: Here’s a chance to spend some free time with friends… get moving and cure the Cabin Fever at Open Gym night!

Of course there will be an open court to shoot hoops, but you can also conquer an obstacle course or take on an air hockey challenge.

Need to slow down?  How about magnetic darts, indoor Frisbee, or a giant blow up Twister game? 

Sounds like fun!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Live reporting - discussion resumes

Nutting - there are two ways to amend the charter, with 9 folks elected to make the recommendations. The other way is the way we are about, is to make the homerule changes, petition the legislature, and then it comes back to the people for their vote.

Vallee - I need to do some thinking about this.

Pfeffer - you shouldn't do this next meeting as two councilors will be missing

Dacey - I think we should address the qualifications. IT would have been a growth from 17 to 21 due to the population growth. They made the change to reduce it to nine. I came in off the street and started doing the finances. Thank God I had two good assistants who helped me tremendously. That may not be the situation the next time around. As far as the schooling goes, it took me six years to get them through training and classes that I go to each year. My review is every four years. I think that is too long. I think it should be every year. A long list of appointed Treasurers. Only a few of our neighboring communities have elected officials.

Whalen - I'd like to respond. Perhaps those words I chose I would change today, the sentiment is there. The Treasurer is a specific qualification position. The Council brings varied backgrounds to the role. That someone of a technical background should chose the council I don't think would be good. The number of candidates who would be qualified would be larger if we did not submit them to the requirement of an election.

Cheli - the Citizens committee reviewed the documents from Bauer and Lanza (from 1995) and we reviewed the Nutting and Cerel documents, separated by some 15 years, they are essentially the same. They are issues of accountability between the Council and the Administration.

Nutting - there are a number of minor technical changes we should make
  • Change from the first Weds to second Weds for the first meeting after election of new council
  • with compelling reason, the council should be able to change chair by super majority vote
  • change from journal to minutes
  • council needs to meet more than once a month but does it need to be every month?
  • changes the role of administrator to executive, only in regards to signing of documents, some specifically require that authority and it should be clear in the document for what is in fact in practice
  • remove restriction of the Administrator to sit on boards and committees, key to current requirements of the position (with Council approval)
  • change of language on personnel records to personnel system
  • change purchasing agent to??
  • ratifying positions that we no longer have like wiring inspector, etc. The Council still ratifies the key positions. We don't have some boards and committees, these are all language clean ups
  • change to reflect that the Administrator can act on their behalf, to make it more clear than it currently is stated. The Council appointment process should be extended from 120 to 180 days, still has extension.
  • Finance Committee reduce from 11 to 9 members, lengthen term from one year to two years, all other appointed terms are currently three years.
  • changes the school committee budget to school department budget, technical change only
  • clarifies that the Council should act on the Administrators budget
  • eliminating Chap 7.7.1 of the charter as this exists in the personnel bylaws and conflicts with the bargaining agreements in place
  • Chap 8 would still need to be addressed depending upon what changes are agreed upon.
McGann - we would be doing this review and discussion again when we vote on this
Mason - undoubtedly

McGann - is the Treasurer of the Commonwealth elected or appointed?
Dacey -  elected (side note, the state position is one of title only, he/she has staff to perform all the necessary functions, the local Treasurer is a hands on role, there is no comparison with the State level)

Zollo - I think we can choose to have the elected approve the appointments for the benefit of the people

Norman - I think you need to define in that where you need a 2/3 vote on bond and other major issues
I would like to see a change where incumbents are required to declare at some point certain and then others would have sometime to make a decision. I think there is a reluctance to run against incumbents. I think there should be a prohibition with candidates puling papers for two different positions. I think that would help increase the number of candidates.

5-2-5  25% of qualified should be reduce to 20%, given the history of the voting for this town. It is a barrier.

5-3-6 should consider lowering this to 20%

5-4-1 5% of signatures be collected within 14 days, maybe increase to 21 days.

5-4-4 another 25 to 20% recommendation

Powederly - Given the amount of discussion, how do we get to a point with some language that we are voting on? I would ask the council to consider separating the change of Treasurer and Town Council from the Planning Board, etc.

Nutting- the Council needs to take a vote on a home rule petition, so that language needs to be precise. If you decide on what you want to do, then we can prepare the language accordingly to help the process. Mr Norman made some recommendations that should be considered. You would need to decide amongst yourselves to reach a consensus.

Mason - is the council in general agreement at that that is the way to proceed?
heads nodding yes in agreement

Pfeffer - we are a city that calls itself a Town

Vallee -motion to adjourn

Live reporting - Charter revision - elected vs. appointed

Whalen - the most interesting items I think is the proposal for some positions to be appointed rather than elective. Treasurer/Collector, Constables, Board of Assessors, Planning Board, Board of Health. I think there are qualified folks who can serve in these positions who are not willing to run a campaign. we should not disallow their participation just because they don't want to run for election.

Zollo -

Cheli - recognizing the Citizens Committee members: Michael Walker Jones, Larry Benedetto, Maureen Roy,  (other names to be added later)

There was a majority report and a minority report, the difference was on the Town Clerk position (which should remain an elected position). Both Jim Dacey and Debbie Pellegri contributed mightily to the work of the Citizens Committee.

Jim has recommended that his own position become appointed. The technical requirements have increased such that to manage a million dollar budget it should be not an elected position.

You can leave the positions to the luxury of an elected position.

Pfeffer - you had 23 meetings, but during those meetings you did not vote on the Board of Health, Assessors, etc.

Cheli - The whole process of getting 100 signatures, of standing holding a sign, in the cold and rain. It is not saying the people don't get a voice. They do elect the Council. They do elect the School Committee. You get a chance to review all the appointments. Yes, we did talk about it but none of us felt strongly on making a recommendations.

Pfeffer - I think the Board of Health, Assessors, Constable, and the Town Clerk should remain as elected positions.

McGann - I think we should keep the Treasurer/Collector and Town Council as elected. If you appoint someone, you take away the voice of the people.

Cheli - I understand what you are saying. The voice of the people comes through your body. It is a 90 million dollar business, It is not Franklin in 1975.

Vallee - The key is ratification by the Council. We are elected by the people and we have the control.

Powderly - I am reluctant to take away the power from the people. I think the growth of the Town and the stakes have been raised such that these should be appointed. This is consistent with municipalities of cities of our size.

Zollo - There is a difference between policy makers and administrators. Policy and long term strategic view should be left to the people. Ironically because we have such quality Treasurer and Town Clerk that it is what we need to keep by moving them to appointed.

Kelly - I agree with the Citizens Committee that both the Treasurer and Town Clerk be appointed, I think those folks should also live here, if they do not already. We did that on the School Committee

Norman - I am going to speak in favor of the elected positions of the Assessors. I think it should be kept separate. I don't understand why they should be appointed.

Whalen - this is not a comment on anyone that holds the positions currently. I think of it as a long term document, as the Town continues to grow, we need to have the absolute best people doing those positions. Not all of them who are qualified would want to go through an election. I would rather a larger pool of people to choose from.

Zollo - I think it is simple that we don't have enough candidates currently to fulfill the roles. They have to be convinced to get enough today.

McGann - Kelly hit the issue on the head, why do we have such quality currently in the position? It is because they are local have been living here and are interested in being here. Mr Vallee what are the qualifications of a Councilor?

Vallee - There are none

Whalen - While a Councilor doesn't have to have qualifications, the Treasurer etc.

Dacey - One of the requirements of the City of Worcester is to move to the city. They have a Treasure position open for 2 years and have finally removed the requirement. I would not recommend making that a requirement.

Jones - This is very interesting. My point on this topic.

Mason  I don't think is has anything to do with the voters, it has to do with the candidates. We have a Board of Assessor candidate this year, did not pull papers, ran unopposed, and fortunately he is qualified.

Nutting - in normal cities, the voters elect a council, school committee and mayor. They don't elect the other positions. We are an exception that we are the only city with an elected Town Clerk. I would like to get the best possible people for the positions.

Mason - I don't think we are elitist.

Zollo - I think I was elected to to the best for the voters. I don't think that just anyone can walk into the Town Clerk position and run an election like has been done on Jan 19th, or the past Town elections. This is not best, this is someone who is technically competent and qualified to run the position. All the other cities in the Commonwealth have already made this decision.

McGann - I wonder if this has been announced would there be more folks here to help us?
Mason - it was announced. It was in the Milford Daily News and the Boston Globe.

Pfeffer - comment about clerk being local and handling last minute requests.

Ray Fioravanti - I came here pretty sure that the elected officials were the way to go. I have heard all the arguments and I will stay with the elected positions. What makes the Town Council more qualified to make that decision? If you appoint someone, you do have a broader range of candidates. I agree. That could be resolved in another way. What better way to judge a persons reputation than by putting it out to vote? I would like to get to pick from a large pool. The question is who gets to pick, the Council or the voters. I am afraid there is a pattern of taking away from the voters something they already have.

Refers to a Whalen quote from May 2008, about the genetic disposition of voters against an override

Cheli - This council is a legislative body, the council is not elitist, it is a living document. we took representation away from the people. I think it is what is needed to be done. You got to a longer term view. If you have an issue with personalities.


Live reporting - Franklin, MA: Charter Review

Present: Kelly, Jones, Vallee, Whalen, Mason, Pfeffer, McGann, Zollo, Powderly
Absent: none

Meeting Purpose  review changes of Council subcommittee, review proposals from Citizens Committee, and hopefully come to a consensus

Whalen - decision on election date and terms, all at once or staggered terms
no compelling reason to overcome the logistic challenges to adopt a staggered term

Zollo - I agree with that

Cheli - yes, the citizens committee agreed as well to keep it as is. Worry about losing the institutional knowledge is not valid as it did only occur once (1997) in the last 12 years. We studied it a lot. We have a Town Administrator and Staff to maintain the continuity we felt we needed. The staggered terms could be done, it would be more expensive with more elections but we did not recommend it.

Ken Norman - addressing the issue of staggering terms. The whole purpose of this exercise was to have staggered terms. To my mind it is quite simple. The top vote getters get the longest term. This is how the problem was solved in this charter. You need to commit yourself that you either need to have staggered terms or you don't. It seems pretty simple.

Mason - neither committee was charged with going to staggered terms. The charge was to exam what changes needed to be made and propose those. The issue of the staggered terms was commitment to four or more years. The Council preferred to review their position every two years.

Whalen - I think we said we could do it. We did not come up with a compelling benefit to make the change.

Norman - the history of the town shows that it did occur. The history is being ignored.

Nutting - you can find arguments on both sides. The citizens seem to want the option of deciding who they want every two years.

Vallee - There is a learning curve to become a council. I think it is important to have staggered terms.

Cheli - Ken participated in a lot of our meetings. I had Debbie Pellegri pull the data on the elections. 1997 was a different year. I look it as an anomaly, an outlier. I look it as a unique period of time. I came on the committee with the idea that we needed to fix this. I looked at the data and decided otherwise. It is a sentiment of the citizens that they want the options to "throw the bums out" every two years. The Charter Review in 1995 was a major effort. They reduced the council from 17 to 9.

JIm Dacey - chairman of the 1995 Charter Review committee. "Pray to God it never happens, but we'll that God when it does." It wasn't a fresh group in 1997, some finance and other committee folks did change positions and run in 1997. That was an anomaly.

Zollo - I appreciate every ones input. I went into the process thinking of the staggered term. By decreasing the volume, increasing the quality of the debate, there would be a better council. The data as referenced convinced me otherwise. I think the four year term would be a deterrent rather than having folks willing to serve two year terms. We need more people who are willing to get involved.

Franklin, MA: Charter Revisions - available for review

You can prepare for the special meeting Wednesday evening by going to the Town website to download or at least read the proposed Charter Revisions here (PDF file).

The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers, Municipal Bldg beginning at 7:00 PM.

Franklin, MA: Trash Automation Introduction and Q&A

The introduction document and the Question and Answers document for the new curbside Trash pickup process starting July 1, 2010 are now available on the Town website

The Introduction document

The Q&A document

or here

The Introduction document

The Q&A document

Franklin, MA: School Committee 03/09/10

The collected posts for the Franklin, MA School Committee meeting on Tuesday, March 9, 2010 can be found here:

In the News: school budget

The proposed budget, $52.2 million, does not see any cuts in programs and could potentially bring back the late bus at no additional cost.
"We're anticipating reviewing the current routes and ridership," Goodman said. "We're expecting to bring back the late bus without an additional increase."
The late bus was not offered for the 2009-2010 school year to help eliminate the budget gap.
"When the late bus was eliminated it created an inequity in the district," Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski said.

Franklin schools predict $2M in increased costs

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Hold the date for the Charles River Watershed Cleanup!

Are you looking to make a real difference in your community? If so, join a group or form your own to clean up trash throughout the Charles River Upper Watershed. You will be helping us improve the appearance and health of the waterways in our region.
If you live in the Upper Watershed please consider volunteering a few hours of your time to help us protect this unique and valuable natural resource. The large majority of our the cleanup sites are land-based, but we have a few on-water sites for experienced paddlers who can supply their own canoe or kayak. 
Did you know? The Charles River stretches for more than 80 miles from Hopkinton to Boston. It originates and flows for nearly 37 miles here in the Upper Watershed. In our region alone the Charles is fed by 45+ miles of waterways including seven major tributary rivers, brooks, and streams.

WHEN: Saturday, April 24, 2010
TIME:  9:00 AM - 12:00 Noon

WHERE: Charles River Upper Watershed - Ashland, Bellingham, Dover, Franklin, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Medfield, Medway, Mendon, Milford, Millis, Norfolk, Sherborn, Wrentham.

The volunteer check-in site will be located in front of Whole Foods Market in Bellingham, MA. Stop by to get directions to your assigned site, collect your cleanup supplies and receive a free t-shirt. We encourage you to sign up in advance by using the contact information below.

CONTACT: David Dobrzynski
Upper Watershed Volunteer Coordinator


You can view the flyer for this event here:

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Live reporting - Information matters, closing

5. Information Matters
Superintendent’s Report
a. Enrollment Comparisons

Sabolinski, The Parmenter School is getting the energy grant for solar panels. US Rep Jim McGovern and State Senator Karen Spilka spent some time visiting and asking good questions. We are leading the way on energy saving measures.

School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
Community Health Council has been doing good work on bullying

Space needs sub-committee report should be ready for early in April

School Committee Liaison Reports

6. New Business
To discuss future business that may be brought before the School Committee.

Trivia Bee - FEF on 4/29

7. Executive Session


motion to enter executive session, to not return to open session.
motion passed via roll call, 7-0

Live reporting - action items

4. Action Items
a. I recommend adoption of Policy EB – Safety Program.  motion to approve, passed 7-0

b. I recommend adoption of Policy EEA -  – Student Transportation Policy – Services and Eligibility motion to approve, passed 7-0

c. I recommend adoption of Policy EEB -  – Student Transportation Policy – Services and Eligibility motion to approve, passed 7-0

d. I recommend acceptance of a check for $100.00 from Charron & Michael Holtzman in memory of Barbara Esterly, FHS cafeteria worker for the FHS gift account.  motion to approve, passed 7-0

e. I recommend acceptance of a check for $2920.00 from the Parmenter PCC for field trips and buses.  motion to approve, passed 7-0

f. I recommend approval of the request of Judi Bassignani for the Parmenter 4th Grade field trip to the VMA Art & Cultural Center in Providence, RI on June 5, 2010.   motion to approve, passed 7-0

g. I recommend acceptance of a check for $500.00 from the JF Kennedy PCC for a 1st grade field trip and buses to Drumlin Farm.  motion to approve, passed 7-0

h. I recommend approval of the 7th Grade RMS field trip to Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket, RI to see the play “Eureka!”.  motion to approve, passed 7-0

i. I recommend approval to establish the Franklin Arts Academy (FAA) using the small learning community model, at FHS for the 2010-2011 school year.  motion to approve, passed 7-0

j. I recommend acceptance of a check for $7000.00 from the Keller PCC for 2 field trips & buses to the Museum of Science and Roger Williams Zoo.   motion to approve, passed 7-0

k. I recommend acceptance of a check for $1170.75 from Lifetouch for the Annie Sullivan MS student activity fund.  motion to approve, passed 7-0

l. I recommend acceptance of the donation of 25 Laptop computers from Boston Scientific C/O (Christine Tattrie) to the Franklin Public Schools Technology Department.   motion to approve, passed 7-0

Live reporting - Bully Task Force

Anti-Bullying Task Force

Recognition that the State is likely doing something in this arena.

Trahan - The Community Health Council has been working on this matter and I will be reporting later on some of the specific items

Rohrbach - I would second what Roberta mentioned about the Community Health Council's activities. I would recommend that they be part of this activity.

Peer mediation at the high school.

Cafasso - from my time on the committee, I recall a number of presentations from principals on various actions and initiatives taken. It is not a surprise, we should be prepared. We can only do what we can do. We need to engage the community, especially the parents. Modeling the appropriate behavior for their children. This starts at home.

Sabolinski - The middle school principals are out in front of this. There is a lot of interest in this.

Roy  we will get this started and get back to the committee by June 15th.

Live reporting - policies

3. Discussion Only Items
Policy – Second Readings:
1. EB – Safety Program
2. EEA – Student Transportation Policy – Services and Eligibility
3. EEB – Student Transportation Policy – Services and Eligibility

no discussion on these items

Live reporting - Budget Q & A

Q - Cafasso - please with layout, may come back with some suggestions on showing the numbers

Q - Rohrbach - Can you speak to the late bus?
A - We are looking at it. The ridership and routes are being re-evaluated. Cutting the late bus presented an inequity to the district leaving after school activities for only those students whose parents could help to provide transportation.

Q - Glynn - could you share the spirit of the recommendation on the State Report?
A - Sabolinski - yes, we are under-serving the ELL students. There was some growth recently. We are looking at how to address them. They really need to be addressed as special education.

Q - Roy - I appreciate the fact that this is not being overdone. This covers all the bases we need. One of the questions I have is on the per pupil expenditures.
A - Goodman - this is the amount of money allocated to the school principal for use to serve the school population for no-teacher, facility costs. This is for supplies, copies, etc.

Q - Cafasso  can you share what you are hearing from the Town
A - Roy - I think at the last joint budget discussion putting this together with the Town budget we would be short 2-3 Million. It was an encouraging meeting.
A - Sabolinski - There was a recognition on how much the schools have been cut and a willingness to work with us.

Q - Glynn - with the late bus coming back, were there any other items being brought back?
A - no

Q - Glynn - were there any programs cut?
A  - no

Live reporting - FY 2011 Budget

2. Guests/Presentations
a. FY11 Budget

Miriam Goodman, Maureen Sabolinski, Sally Winslow

The budget document can be found here (for now)

The full budget booklet can be also found on the Schools website here (PDF)
(Note - the full book is 75 pages and full of good details.)

Live reporting - Franklin, MA: School Committee

Present: Douglas, Cafasso, Rohrbach, Mullen, Roy, Trahan, Glynn
Absent: none

1. Routine Business
Citizen’s Comments - none
Review of Agenda - none
Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the Open and Executive Sessions of the February 23, 2010 School Committee Meeting.  motion to approve - passed 7-0
Payment of Bills                    Mr. Glynn   motion to approve - passed 7-0
Payroll                            Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives
Correspondence:  Budget to Actual

In the News - charter proposals

"Any time you make changes to your charter, even if it's minor, it's important because that charter is what governs the town," Mason said.

Franklin residents urged to attend charter change hearing

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 


The United Regional Chamber of Commerce will host its first Franklin networking event of 2010 at Dean College Thursday night.
The Business After Hours event invites area chamber members and nonmembers to socialize and talk business from 5-7 p.m. at the Library Learning Commons.

Chamber holds Franklin networking event

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Gov 2.0 Camp - great discussions started

Gov 2.0 Camp was held at the Sorenstein Center at Harvard on Saturday, March 6th. In an unconference format, it brought together a diverse group of folks all interested in improving government.

As part of the unconference, each attendee introduced themselves and provided three words. Someone was quick enough to capture all the three words and produced the following Wordle:

Wordle: Gov 2.0 Camp New England (#gov20ne)

Note: if you click on the image, it will take you to the original and a larger version

My three words were: conversation, content, community.

More about the Gov 2.0 event can be found on the wiki page here

Invitation from Roger at Shades In Place

Spring is just around the corner and my plan is to get you in the mood and welcome back the sun and the warm weather again (especially if you are from the New England area). Also, I love  the idea of making this an annual event....starting this year!

Shades In Place is hosting a  Gold Party where you can sell all of your unwanted , broken, ex-boyfriend's, ex-husband's gold, and make some money to kick off the Spring season. If you bring gold in you could possibly walk away with a big check.

To make it even more interesting, I will have Silpada Jewelry and Mary Kay representatives to show and demonstrate the latest products for you.

Gold Party New England - Mitzi Davidson

Mary Kay -Tina Marie Davern

Cheryl Reed “ Silpada Designs Independent Representative”

Where? At Shades IN Place Studio: 76 Grove Street in Franklin MA 01748

When? Thursday, April 1st  - Don't be a "Fool"! Come between 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Why? Because I love networking and making my clients feel special.

I will be providing refreshments, music and reasons for you to laugh and have a great time.

The bottom line is: I want to introduce you to my Studio and show you ways to pamper your home (with our beautiful window treatments) and provide you with a great opportunity to pamper yourself.

Please R.S.V.P.  by March 20th  since seating is limited.

Hope to see you there. Oh, you are welcome to bring a friend or two with you...

P.S. If you are a guy, bring or send your wife or girlfriend.

Roger Magalhaes

I had the honor of participating in the ribbon cutting event with the United Regional Chamber of Commerce last year when Roger opened his showroom. If you missed that event, you can view the recap here. Come on to the showroom, Roger will welcome you!

Rock the 80's Party

There is a "Rock the 80's Party coming up this month.


Get out your leg warmers, lace bra, IZOD shirt, and don't forget your mullet & can of hairspray as you get ready for the PARTY OF THE SPRING!!

For a minimum donation of $15 (you can certainly donate more!) come dance, laugh, and have a great time while raising money for a great cause!

DJ, h'dourves, desert, cash bar, and lots of raffles & gift baskets!

When: Saturday, March 20, 2010 at 8:00pm

Where: Cole's Tavern, Washington St., Franklin MA

More info on Facebook here


The next meeting of the FCRTC will be held at the Franklin YMCA, Forge Hill Rd. Franklin.
The meeting on March 9th, will commence at 7:30 PM and conclude NLT 9:30 PM.
Attached is the proposed agenda as well as the updated promotional flyer for our spring raffle.
Please bring in the stubs & payments for the sold ticket.


Agenda for March 9, 2010                                  

I. Call to Order / Introductions of New Faces
A. Volunteer to write minutes of the meeting
B. Introduction of new attendees
C. Motion to accept previous meeting minutes

II. Report from our representative from DCR

III. Membership Committee Report
A. Membership activity
B. Corporate Membership?  Can we add at $100 amount?
C. Questions to R. Frongillo about adding a “New” button on site

IV. Report from Finance Committee
A. Treasurer

V. Report of Fund Raising Committee
A. Report on fund raising activities
1) Raffle Ticket Sales
a) Members: Status of raffle ticket sales
b) Earth Day Needs:  Tent/Shelter, Raffle Drum, FCRTC Banner

2) Road Race Committee
a) Need Volunteers

VI. Report from our Grant Writing Committee
A. What kind of assistance does the sub-committee require?

VII. Open Discussion on Restructuring FCRTC
A. Nomination of Officers
1. Chairman
2. Co-Chairman
3. Treasurer
4. Secretary

VIII. Unfinished Business:

IX. New Business:

X. Set Date for Next Meeting and Adjourn

Monday, March 8, 2010

Parmenter School - sign with upcoming events

Franklin, MA:

The Parmenter School sign has a current listing of events being held:


I don't get to around to all the schools in my travels but if you happen to see a good sign update, please send it along and we can share it here or on Facebook.

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - 3/09/10

Vision Statement
The Franklin Public Schools will foster within its students the knowledge and skills to find and achieve satisfaction in life as productive global citizens.

Mission Statement
The Franklin Public Schools, in collaboration with the community, will cultivate each student's intellectual, social, emotional and physical potential through rigorous academic inquiry and informed problem solving skills within a safe, nurturing and respectful environment.

1. Routine Business
Citizen’s Comments
Review of Agenda
Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the Open and Executive Sessions of the February 23, 2010 School Committee Meeting.
Payment of Bills                    Mr. Glynn
Payroll                            Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives
Correspondence:  Budget to Actual

2. Guests/Presentations

a. FY11 Budget

3. Discussion Only Items
Policy – Second Readings:
1. EB – Safety Program
2. EEA – Student Transportation Policy – Services and Eligibility
3. EEB – Student Transportation Policy – Services and Eligibility

Anti-Bullying Task Force

4. Action Items
a. I recommend adoption of Policy EB – Safety Program.
b. I recommend adoption of Policy EEA -  – Student Transportation Policy – Services and Eligibility
c. I recommend adoption of Policy EEB -  – Student Transportation Policy – Services and Eligibility
d. I recommend acceptance of a check for $100.00 from Charron & Michael Holtzman in memory of Barbara Esterly, FHS cafeteria worker for the FHS gift account.
e. I recommend acceptance of a check for $2920.00 from the Parmenter PCC for field trips and buses.
f. I recommend approval of the request of Judi Bassignani for the Parmenter 4th Grade field trip to the VMA Art & Cultural Center in Providence, RI on June 5, 2010.
g. I recommend acceptance of a check for $500.00 from the JF Kennedy PCC for a 1st grade field trip and buses to Drumlin Farm.
h. I recommend approval of the 7th Grade RMS field trip to Stadium Theatre in Woonsocket, RI to see the play “Eureka!”.
i. I recommend approval to establish the Franklin Arts Academy (FAA) using the small learning community model, at FHS for the 2010-2011 school year.
j. I recommend acceptance of a check for $7000.00 from the Keller PCC for 2 field trips & buses to the Museum of Science and Roger Williams Zoo.
k. I recommend acceptance of a check for $1170.75 from Lifetouch for the Annie Sullivan MS student activity fund.
l. I recommend acceptance of the donation of 25 Laptop computers from Boston Scientific C/O (Christine Tattrie) to the Franklin Public Schools Technology Department.

5. Information Matters

Superintendent’s Report
a. Enrollment Comparisons

School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
School Committee Liaison Reports

6. New Business
To discuss future business that may be brought before the School Committee.

7. Executive Session


8. Adjourn

FM #59 - Week ending 3/7/10

This internet radio show or podcast is number 59 in the series for Franklin Matters.

The Oscars are underway, on the West Coast as I record this session. Let's just take about ten minutes to keep current with what matters here in Franklin, MA as the week ends March 7, 2010

Time: 9 minutes, 59 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes:

This internet radio show or podcast is number 59 in the series for Franklin Matters.

The Oscar's are about to begin on the West Coast as I record this weekly review. Let's take about ten minutes to keep current with what matters here in Franklin, MA as the week ends March 7, 2010. As a reward for paying attention to this session you can give yourself an Oscar for civic engagement!

In this session I’ll cover the Town Council meeting on Wednesday, Mar 3. The meeting lasted only one hour and is available for review via video on demand on the Town website here.

During this quick and effective meeting, three major items occurred that you should be aware of.

1 – for senior citizens, there were four changes made to four items that should help cash flow
  • Property Tax Deferrals For Seniors – Gross Receipts Limit is now indexed to the State/Federal Cost of living calculations.
  • Exemption amount for those who are blind, is raised from 437 to $500
  • Property Tax Exemption is increased from $500 to 750
  • Senior Citizen Property Tax Work-Off Abatement Program, the hourly wage is raised to equal the minimum wage at $8. 

If you are a senior citizen, you can check with Karen Alves, Bob Fahey, or the Board of Assessors for further details on how you may qualify for these changes.

2 – The bio-tech changes
to the zoning bylaws were reviewed in a formal hearing and moved to a second reading. Assuming passage at the second reading, which is likely during the meeting March 17th, they will go into effective and help improve Franklin's ability to attract bio-tech business to our two industrial parks.

3 – the third major item covered was the audit report for Fiscal Year 2009. The audit was clean, there were a couple of minor items recommended, they did not rise to a level of significant or of any serious nature. This is very good for Franklin, The process and procedures put into place with the new accounting system, and especially since the School Dept problem that occurred in FY 2005/2006, the town audits have been clean. It will still take some time for some folks to truly believe that the Town is operating fiscally responsibly but for the rest of us, we can rest easier.

So that was the week that was!

Looking ahead
Two major meetings will happen this week that you should be actively involved with.

First up, the School Committee meeting on Tuesday. Aside from the normal school business, a lot of good does happen in these meetings, the single major item to be concerned with is the first look at the FY 2011 school budget.

The proposal is for $1.9 million more than last year (which is the current operating school year) or a 3.9% increase. Amongst the many details is only a 2.5% increase for salaries which is what they are already obligated to based upon the teacher contract deferral for the current year. You may recall that the teachers, administration and other school district employees did defer their scheduled cost of living increase this year. Does it really mean the Sch Com is going to negotiate with the teachers for no increase for FY 2011 and beyond as part of the new contract? This should be interesting to see.
Another item that caught my eye is why you won't hear the budget called a “level service” budget. There is a proposal to restore the late bus. Now you should be well aware that while this made it into the 2008-2009 calendar year at the last minute, it fell out of the current 2009-2010 budget. For now, it is proposed to return for next September.

The final item that caught my eye was the lack of a starting point tying this budget to last year. They mention the Town funded amount as a starting point to calculate the basis for the 3.9% increase. You may recall, the School Budget for this year was referred to as “level funded plus”. Plus because the influx of Federal and State stimulus funds were all added to the budget that those of us in the Town funded. This created the disconnect last year where they were going to be cutting up to 60 teaching positions and ultimately ended up cutting 23. Now don't miss-read that this was not a good thing for the school system, the teachers and students. It did significantly cut into the trust factor that the School Committee has worked hard to build.  

They did commit to providing a single page summary sheet to keep track of the budget changes as the budget season progresses, I was hoping they would start with a reconciliation from last time which we did not get.

You can review the budget document details on the School Committee blog:

2 – the second meeting of importance this week is a new one on the calendar. It was apparently added after the Town Council meeting last Wednesday which is why they missed an opportunity to advertise it. There  is a special meeting on Wednesday March 10th in the Council Chambers to review and discuss the proposed charter changes. Exactly what the charter changes are remains to be seen. There is not yet a document posted and hopefully there will be something to review before arriving at the meeting.

Why is the Charter so important? Let me read the preamble:
We, the people of the Town of Franklin, Massachusetts, in order to form a more
perfect community, reaffirm the customary and traditional liberties of the people
with respect to the conduct of our local government and take fullest advantage of
the Home Rule Amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth, do ordain
and adopt this Home Rule Charter for our Town.

Please participate in this meeting, this is how we decide to do business.
If we don't like it, our time to change it is now.

We talked about the Town Council meeting of 3/3
Tax relief for seniors, bio-tech zoning changes move along the process and the audit came out clean.

All reasons for Franklin voters to celebrate!

And we talked about the two important meetings this week, the School Committee meeting on Tues, the  Charter review meeting on Weds

I look forward to your active participation in both meetings

As I close this session this week, let me remind you that
If you like what I am doing here, please tell your friends and 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
I hope you enjoy!

Volunteers Needed – Saturday, March 27th

The Historical Commission is happy to announce that the new museum will be opening May 15th to the public.  The commission is very excited!

Your assistance is requested in moving some of the materials from the “Old” museum to the “New” museum on March 27th (Saturday) beginning at 10:00am.  Packing has already been completed and now we need help to remove boxes and items.

If you have a van or truck “WE NEED YOU”.  We also need volunteers to transfer items into trucks and vans from the “Old” to the “New”.  You will be directed by Commission members during the move.

Please email  Let me know if you will be driving a truck or van/or if you plan to volunteer yourself with the moving of the items. 

Thank you in advance for your continued support of the Franklin Historic Museum.