Saturday, April 3, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

Have you seen the Food Revolution? Quite impressive.

If Franklin matters, you can help

I believe Franklin matters, hence the name for this site. I have written of how the site came to be and how it is my public service effort here.

I am realizing that as much as I can do, there is still more to be done and hence can use some help.
  • If you believe that Franklin, MA matters
  • If you have some skill in writing
  • If you have a willingness to learn some Web 2.0 tools
I would like to expand the writers on this site.
I would like to include those who have answered Yes to the questions above and would be willing to help.

In particular, there are Planning Board, Conservation Commission, and Design Review meetings that would be good to attend and report on. I have focused on the Town Council, School Committee, Finance Committee and Financial Planning Committee to "follow the money". These other areas are important to cover and I can not do it all. Nor would I attempt to.

So if you are reading this, you already maybe someone who can help.

If you'd like to explore what this would mean (and what help/training I would provide) please let me know.

You can comment or send me an email at

Thank you!

In the News - Giada, road money, electronics recylcing, IT Forum

Chef Giada De Laurentiis draws a crowd in Franklin

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Towns to get boost in road repair money

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Electronics and appliance recycling day is April 17

from Wicked Local Franklin News RSS

Tech forum in Franklin Monday focusing on job growth in IT industry

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Franklin, MA

"you save the price of a stamp"

Treasurer Jim Dacey said residents will have the option to pay taxes, water and sewer bills, and permit, license, camp, recreation and school fees online in just a few weeks.

"This gives people another option for paying their bills," Dacey said. "We'd like to switch people from using their online banking, which for us is very inefficient."
 Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Franklin, MA

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thank you!

The growth of visitors and page views on this site has been gradual and wonderful to watch.

Thank you for coming to visit. I trust you are finding what you are looking for here.

Consider subscribing via RSS, email or iTunes to stay current with minimal effort on your part.

If you don't find what you are looking for, let me know.

Filing deadline for physical property damage is May 28

The administration announced yesterday that Bristol, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth, Suffolk and Worcester counties are eligible for both physical and economic injury disaster loans.  Small businesses and most private non-profits in Franklin are only eligible for economic injury loans. 
Up to $200,000 in disaster loans is available for homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, and up to $40,000 is available to qualifying homeowners and renters to repair or replace damaged personal property.  

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

The Small Business Administration website is

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Franklin, MA: Police provide fraud alert

From the Franklin, MA Police Dept alert system:

An unknown group is soliciting Franklin residents for donations.  They claim to be working with the Franklin Police Department to develop a "Don't Drink and Drive" type program, geared towards younger people.
The Franklin Police Department is NOT SOLICTING FOR ANY FUNDS.  We have NO affiliation with this group.
If contacted, you are urged to report this (and any phone number you may obtain) to the Office of the Attorney General.

You can subscribe to these alerts here:

Franklin Connection - Senior Center Newsletter

The April Franklin Connection, the Senior Center Newsletter is now available here or on the Town website.

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view the document

Transliteracy - a new opportunity

Interesting points made on how the library should consider changing its mission are raised this brief video.

Read the full posting here.

What do you think? Should the library charter change from literacy to transliteracy?

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

Franklin, MA

Hold the date - May 14th

Do you recall our effort last year to bring the unconference to the unemployed and underemployed? We ended up canceling the LaidOffCamp due to insufficient registrations. We have learned from that experience and are giving it a second try.

We have a good location: 
St John Evangelist Parish Center in Hopkinton, MA. It is great space for up to 200 and best of all, free for us to use. As we are a non-profit and all volunteer group, any proceeds from the event will be donated to the Church.

We have a date!
Friday, May 14th from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM

We have a new event name:
Job Search Jam Sessions

The name says we are all about the "job search". We are looking for collaboration, learning and sharing from each other on this road to the next stop in our career. You have some tips and tricks from your experience. I do. Bob does. Marilyn does. Everyone does. Let's come together in an 
open space facilitated set of sessions.

We have a new website:

Stay tuned for further announcements. We should have the registration page active by the end of this week. In the mean time, hold the date on your calendar - May 14th!

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: Design Review Guidelines

Continuing the series on the Franklin, MA Planning process:
These design guidelines have been prepared to assist business and property owners in protecting and enhancing the design character of commercial and industrial areas in the Town of Franklin. This handbook is the result of a collective effort by Town officials, members of the Design Review Commission (DRC) and the local design community, and planning consultants. Its guiding principles are based on a general belief that high quality of design and construction contribute to enhance the economic vitality of business districts, and improve the overall quality of living.

The guidelines will be used by the DRC as a basis for the review and approval of new projects,  improvements, and additions to existing buildings. They are also intended as a source of helpful information and ideas for owners, designers and builders.

This document is divided into five parts:
  • Part I describes the general purpose and contents of the handbook and includes brief recounts of the Town’s historic background, and the history of the design review process. It also summarizes the process and requirements for application for design review and approval.
  • Part II contains site and building guidelines of general application, organized by topics.
  • Part III contains site and building guidelines that specifically apply to downtown Franklin, the commercial corridors outside of the downtown area, or “big box” development. These guidelines are to be applied in addition to the general guidelines listed on Part II.
  • Part IV focuses on signage and sign requirements.
  • Part V includes appendices with further information and resource materials.
The full guideline document can be found on the Town website here (PDF). Note: it is a large document and will take sometime to download.

In the News - flooding

As water poured over a closed Populatic Street yesterday, Eknaian and her husband, Jack, were forced to row to their Populatic Street cottage - which had about 5 feet of water in the yard.
"We always have problems when it rains two or three days steady - all year round," Eknaian said.

Flooding not as bad as expected

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Live reporting - Financial Planning Committee

Present: Whalen, Hardesty, Nutting, Zollo, Sabolinksi, Mason, Rohrbach, Bartlett, Morrison, Cameron (late)
Absent: Roche, Trahan

Meeting opens

Agenda -

  1. Whalen update on his analysis with additional columns added
  2. Review forecast
  3. Override question
  4. Meeting schedule

    1 - Whalen added several columns to pull in the students and teacher populations for the communities already being compared to

    Teacher salary ranks higher than others but that is and has been a deliberate choice of the School Committee to ensure that the best teachers are here.

    Hiring teachers in specific subjects like Chemistry, Physics, Science, Math, Biology and Special Education have tended to be higher cost because of the demand and experience for their skill set.

    Still need to look into Wrentham, Southboro and other communities were they are not K-12 districts.

    According to the DESE numbers, Franklin is now under the State average in all 11 categories tracked at the state level for per pupil spending

    2 - Moving to the forecast numbers

    use 5% for the municipal interest rate for the model, 20 year term for the debt service for the high school
    might have some start in 2012 but realistically it should be 2014-2015

    We'd need to take say 5 million for the architect, there would be a small impact to the tax payers for that, then a year or so we'd take some for the construction schedule, maybe 20, then 30 and roll it all up. The shovels wouldn't go into the ground right away and then it would take time to finish.

    On the state aid forecast, there are three plans - best case, moderate, worst case. Discussion around assuming 0%, moderate a 3% drop, worst case a 5% drop (for 2013, with 2014 flat)

    Chapter 70 is formula driven

    Our purpose is to forecast what is reasonable and likely, it may not be accurate but who knows what it really will be.

    There is also the economic factor, it may simply continue down due to the state not figuring out their economic problems

    Will need to adjust the local receipts as they are primarily excise taxes and not likely to increase as drafted, more likely to remain flatter and then gradually increase

    Local receipts are income based - building permits, license fees, etc.
    likely to be flat this year, next and then increase gradually

    Property tax should be adjusted to show more of a difference between best case and worst case

    Discussion on how to handle the deferral, can't really change the number because it was forecasted and shown previously. Not changing the number so that it matches the prior report, should make it easier to handle the updates via footnotes or a reconciliation report.

    As a long-term planning group we want to provide a baseline and reasonable assumptions for the forecast, we can't be changing the numbers every time there is a new hunch or change in the numbers.

    2012 and beyond, salary assumption is for historical rate of growth
    There is virtue in picking the historical average, it is defensible and everyone can "get it". What other numbers could be used would be open to much more speculation.

    The bottom line in the whole report is that business as usual is not sustainable here in Franklin.

    When you weigh in Hopkinton, Medfield, Sharon and Hudson they are the only ones where their performance is close to our results. The teachers are compensated well. We are spending our bang for the buck on student performance (i.e. MCAS) which we will see in our housing values.

    Current contracts are running 2-3 percent over three years. Everybody seems to be getting at least one zero. In years past, everybody got 7-9 percent over three years. Not now.

    Even if we assume no raises, there is still a deficit to be dealt with. The problem is bigger than salary increases.

    Policy of Council is to spend 3.5% of the general fund revenues. So as the general revenues increase according to the forecast, then there would be a corresponding increase.

    Doug will update the numbers based upon the discussion and send around an update.

    3 - Override question
    2 councils have endorsed the long term plan
    The "O" word is such a sensitive issue
    The report has established credibility (the numbers this year are close to accurate)
    Spell it out that the prior recommendations have been unable to avoid further deficits.
    The alternative this year should be a consideration for the citizens to make a choice between cuts and an increase.

    Need to open the door for the discussion, presenting the facts
    Get to a multi-year strategy for 2011 and beyond
    Need to mitigate the financial risk of being #1 in State Aid and 28th in terms of local revenue generated amongst our peer communities.

    4 - Target for report update at Apr 28th Council meeting
    Jeff provides budget update at Apr 7th Council meeting
    When to schedule the Finance Committee review? Should include them as a preview on the report before going to the Council.

    Discussion on scheduling another meeting before the 28th, 14 or 21st possible, chose not to schedule a meeting for now. Can schedule one if necessary.

    Franklin, MA

    Notice the new menu?

    Maybe I am longing for spring to really arrive. Yes, April showers bring May flowers but did March need to drown us? Anyway, I am trying out some of the new features available for this Google blog.

    Did you notice the new menu?

    Located just below the header "Franklin Matters".

    You'll now see a series of pages available to get to specific sections quickly.
    • The "Home" link will get you back to the top page from where ever you are.
    • The "Welcome" page will house the audio slideshow I did to help you navigate around the page. (Yes, I'll need to update it now that I have added this menu.)
    • The "Why Franklin Matters?" page combines why I do this as a public service with my disclosure posting.
    • The "Weekly podcast" page will get you to the Franklin Matters Weekly podcast posts. It should be easier to find a particular week there. All the details are still here but mixed with all the other posts.
    • The "Meeting Notes 2010", "Meeting Notes 2009", and "Meeting Notes 2008" do the same thing for each calendar year. They provide the link to each meeting or event that was reported on.
    • The "Important Links" brings above the fold easy access to other key links.

    I hope this works better for you.

    If you have any suggestions, please feel free to send me an email at

    Zoning Board of Appeals - Agenda - 4/1/10

    The Zoning Board of Appeals has their agenda posted to the Town website here (PDF) 

    There are three major items on the agenda with hearing scheduled for the following time periods:

    7:30 PM 
    Lot 6A Miller St – Miller Street Realty Trust, Edward Kaiser, Trustee

    Applicant is seeking a building permit to build a single family home on a lot that has 109.19 feet of street frontage where 125’ is required and lot width of 56’ where 112.5’ is required. This building permit is denied without a variance/special permit from the ZBA.

    7:40 PM
    691 East Central Street - Dan VanRoon

    Applicant is seeking a special permit/variance to increase impervious coverage from 18.4% where the max of 15% is allowed in a water resource district. The by-law only addresses industrial and commercial zones up to 60% with a special permit. This building is in a Residential I zone and the coverage will be 19.6%. A variance/special permit will be needed from the ZBA for relief.

    7:50 PM
    56 Pine Street - Hope Hotchkiss and John Shea

    Applicant is seeking building permits for three additions to a SFR home. The building permits are denied without variances from the ZBA for constructing an addition on the front of the house with a side setback of 20.1 where 25’ is required and a front setback of 36.5 where 40’ is required. Construct an addition on the side of the house 23.7’ from side setback where 40’ is required. Construct an addition on rear of house 37.6’ from front setback where 40’ is required.

    Franklin, MA

    Phil's Phriends - 8th Annual Live Music Silent Auction - April 9th

    Join us for our 8th Annual Live Music Silent Auction, April 9th, at Showcase Live at Patriot Place in Foxborough, featuring live music from THE Average White Band and Sugarfoot and the Brass Kicking Horns. Help Phil’s Phriends raise funds to fight cancer through the Pan Mass Challenge and the Jimmy Fund.
    Tickets are only $25 per person and must be purchased in advance. Limited tickets are available, so please reserve your spot as soon as possible. To reserve tickets, click here.
    We look forward to you joining us for a great event. The doors to Showcase Live will open at 6:00pm. At that time you will be able to order food and beverages, preview auction items and make initial bids. The Average White Band will take the stage at 8:00pm and play until 9:30pm. At that time, we will open the silent auction bidding for 1 hour. At 10:00pm Sugarfoot and the Brass Kicking Horns will take the stage and complete the evening.
    All ticket sale proceeds bought from Phil’s Phriends will be donated to the PMC and Cancer Research. All tickets bought through the Showcase Live Box office will be for the Average White Band Show and will not be considered a donation. Auction item bidding will be open to the entire crowd at Show Case Live. Please help Phil’s Phriends support our young PMC pedal partner – Emily Taylor – by raising money for cancer research. We look forward to seeing you at the event and thank you for your support!
    The Average White Band are widely regarded as one of the best soul and funk bands in the history of music. Though perhaps best known for their timeless instrumental mega-hit ‘Pick Up the Pieces’ the band’s strength actually lay in their consistently accomplished song-writing, stretching across several gold selling albums and multi-grammy nominations for the legendary Atlantic Records. Sugarfoot & The Brass Kickin’ Horns is a 7 piece band with male & female vocalists and one of the finest horns sections around. The band plays the absolute best funk and dance hits from all eras including Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi, Madonna, Journey and many more.
    To get tickets, click here.

    You can subscribe to the Phil's Phriends blog to get regular updates as they prepare for this year's Pan Mass Challenge

    Franklin, MA

    Tuesday, March 30, 2010

    David Dobrzynski of Franklin - recognized by CRWA

    The 2009 CRWA Stewarship Award recipients are Ken Moraff, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Mary Griffin, MA Department of Fish & Game; Richard Claytor, Horsley Witten Group; volunteer David Dobrzynski of Franklin ; and volunteer Maureen Febiger of Wellesley
    I'll second the motion!

    David has been a good volunteer and advocate for the Charles River Watershed Assoc. I met him last year at Whole Foods in Bellingham as he coordinated the efforts of the volunteers to cleanup. He has provided the early alert on the clean up day this year.

    Way to go David!

    Read the full article on the Charles River Watershed Assoc event planned for Mar 31, 2010 here.

    Franklin, MA: arrest made

    An Easton man was arrested yesterday on a warrant for last week's armed robbery of the Tedeschi's Market on Union Street. 

    Ronald J. Doherty, 25, of 181 Purchase St., was recognized by Easton police from the surveillance image of Doherty captured early Thursday morning, Deputy Chief Stephen Semerjian said. 
    You can read the full article at the Milford Daily News here

    The Franklin Police had released surveillance video last week.

    Where were you on Feb 19th?

    Can you recall without looking at your calendar?

    65 years ago, my father - then a 19 year old US Marine, had landed on the black volcanic shores of Iwo Jima on February 19th, 1945. Fierce fighting took place above and below ground on that island until March 26th.

    On or about March 26th, yes, 65 years ago, Jerry made his way to the beach to await a landing craft to board, to take him back to the safety of a ship, and then back to Hawaii. Solid food, shower, clean clothes for the first time since Feb 19th. Mission accomplished.

    From Jerry's Story

    Jerry is the one circled.

    Jerry talked about his time in the Pacific at the VA Home in Bristol, RI on Thursday. He spoke without notes. He spoke deliberately and in detail. I complimented him on it after and he said "I left out a few stories". One wouldn't have noticed.

    You can view that talk on Jerry's Story here.

    And when you think back on what you were doing on February 19th.
    Okay, you can go look at your calendar.

    And when you reflect on all that you did in the time since then, think of the men who fought on Iwo Jima (in particular as this is their time for remembering) and those who fought elsewhere, and thank a veteran for their service.

    The one line I was expecting to hear from Dad at the VA Home, I actually was surprised to not hear Thursday. Whenever he has talked about his time there, and until recently - this was not often, he would usually close with: "The real heroes did not come home."

    Are there any Iwo Jima veterans in Franklin?

    Please let me know.

    Note: this was originally posted on Steve's 2 Cents here

    Crowd sourcing real time data

    What does that mean?
    What would you do if you heard a giant boom and you didn't know where it came from? If you're like thousands of people in Portland, Oregon, you might hit Twitter and Google Maps to participate in the city-wide exploration of a slightly frightening mystery. Last night at about 8 p.m., people in a big part of the city felt their windows shake and no one could tell them what caused it.
    Some folks in Portland, OR collaborated to combine their Tweets with updates to a Google Map and help to pin point a city park where the explosion seemed to originate. The police, also following on Twitter, checked out the park and did find remains of a bomb.

    Read the full post including detailed maps and screen shots here

    Franklin, MA

    Using Google Tools

    Do you know how to use the free tools available from Google?
    This guide avoids some of the obvious things, like using Google Docs for collaborative writing, and instead focuses on some of the lesser-used Google tools options like publishing an online quiz using Google Docs. In all there are 33 pages containing 21 ideas and how to instructions for creating Google Maps placemarks, directions creating and publishing a quiz with Google Docs forms, directions for embedding books into your blog, and visual aids for accessing other Google tools.
    The full post and guide can be found here

    My thanks to Richard Byrne for doing this.

    Franklin, MA

    Monday, March 29, 2010

    FM #62 - Week ending 3/28/10

    This is #62 in the series for Franklin Matters. Let's take less than 10 minutes to review what matters in Franklin, MA as the week ends 3/28/10.

    Time: 7 minutes, 30 seconds

    MP3 File

    Session Notes:

    This internet radio show or podcast is number 62 in the series for Franklin Matters.

    Let's take about 10 minutes to review what matters in Franklin as the week ends Sunday March 28th.

    In this session I cover four meetings Planning Board, Finance Committee, the School Committee meeting and the Financial Planning Committee that occurred this past week.

    "encourage people to shop downtown"

    "We wanted to be part of the rebuilding of downtown, we think that's a very very exciting thing," she said. "But there are a lot of challenges to being downtown, the most predominant one is people don't think of downtown as a place to shop."
    Phil Bellino, owner of Bellino's Italian American Dining on 30 Main St., agrees there's not much business from neighbors.
    Bellino, who has been in Franklin for over two years, was the part owner of the now-defunct Vallee's Italian Restaurant in Woonsocket.
    Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

    While the article is depressing, it should be noted that while Art Beat is closing Cafe Dolce opened Dolce Express and Maguro House opened both within the past month. There are reasons to go downtown.

    Yes, parking is an issue. Yes, I am concerned about the move to the 2-way street. As a commuter and frequent users of the train station, how long will it take for folks to get out of the station parking lot with 2-way traffic? I am looking forward to the additional planning sessions that were announced but not yet scheduled (that I know of) to participate in the downtown planning process.

    For the record, I am a contributing member of the Downtown Partnership and United Regional Chamber of Commerce to help understand the needs of businesses, especially because business reflects the heartbeat of Franklin.

    Franklin, MA: FHS entries to video contest

    via Commonwealth Conversations: Transportation by Klark Jessen on 3/23/10

    RMV Kaprielian Dance Don't Chance 2010Dozens of Commonwealth high school students and schools have answered the call on YouTube and posted their best safe driving videos.

    MassDOT RMV Registrar Rachel Kaprielian last month joined Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), to announce the 2010 "Dance. Don't Chance" statewide teen safe driving video contest to encourage a safe prom/graduation season.

    Teens wrote, produced and submitted 60-second videos on safe driving and avoiding underage drinking.

    Now, you can check out the more than 50 videos on YouTube here. The winning video will be announced next month. The winning school receives a Dream Prom package provided by contest sponsors.

    Learn more about the contest. 

    There are two entries from Franklin High School

    1 -

    2 -

    Sunday, March 28, 2010

    Franklin, MA: Moving the Museum

    Many volunteers came out to help move items from the Historical Museum on Washington St to the new location downtown.

    The large display cases were a challenge to move. Trying not to tip and disturb the contents. Then getting it into the vehicle. Alan Earls and Kai Olsson position this one in Steve Whalen's vehicle.

    Jim Dacey and partner tried to fit this carriage in but it just wouldn't make it. It did get moved with another vehicle.

    The former Town Hall, former Senior Center, newly refurbished will be a good location for the precious historic items. This is a view of the main space. Brown paper covered the floor to protect it during the move.

    As the items arrived at the new museum, they were sorted to go upstairs to the main floor or down into the basement. From there, the items will get into a display location for the opening in May. Or remain in storage for display in the future.

    The sled was the subject of some conversation as it was carried. Fortunately, the weather although cold cooperated to help make the move a success. There is still work to do but the good are mostly in the new building and ready for suitable display.

    Thanks to all who helped move. I can hardly wait to see the final product.

    Franklin, MA: 1997 Master Plan

    During the Planning Board meeting on March 22, Town Planner Beth Dahlstrom mentioned that the 1997 Master Plan is scheduled for an update.

    The 1997 Master Plan can be found here

    The information on the update to the Master Plan can be found here

    Other Planning and Community Development documents can be found here


    Note: email subscribers will need to click through to Franklin Matters to view this audio slide show

    Check Out Student Safe Driving Videos

    Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

    via Commonwealth Conversations: Transportation by Klark Jessen on 3/23/10

    RMV Kaprielian Dance Don't Chance 2010Dozens of Commonwealth high school students and schools have answered the call on YouTube and posted their best safe driving videos.

    MassDOT RMV Registrar Rachel Kaprielian last month joined Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), to announce the 2010 "Dance. Don't Chance" statewide teen safe driving video contest to encourage a safe prom/graduation season.

    Teens wrote, produced and submitted 60-second videos on safe driving and avoiding underage drinking.

    Now, you can check out the more than 50 videos on YouTube here. The winning video will be announced next month. The winning school receives a Dream Prom package provided by contest sponsors.

    Learn more about the contest. 

    Things you can do from here: