Saturday, April 24, 2010

There be tires!

It starts with one person. Dave Dobrzynski, local coordinator for the Charles River Watershed Cleanup activities. Dave is at the Whole Foods Market in Bellingham, handing out t-shirts, coordinating assignments for the 300 plus volunteers working to clean the junk along the Charles.

He gets off the phone and says, I have a story for you. The BSA Venture Crew 22 has just pulled 125 tires from along Mine Brook to fill a dumpster at the VFW Post on Pond St. Dave had talked with Brutus Cantoreggi earlier to get a dumpster positioned there and to have a Bobcat clear out some of the prickly underbrush to enable volunteers to get in close to the brook. All that was successful! Dave adds: "A special thanks also to Ken Gormley in the Highway Division of the Franklin DPW for handling all the logistics of getting me the dumpster and clearing out the brush for us."

I headed to the VFW Post 3402 on Pond St.

As I approach, the parking lot has a bunch of cars, a full dumpster, and there is a group of folks with the Charles River clean up blue t-shirts.

Linda Rafuse, leads the Venture Crew. This group was founded about four years ago, has had up to 28 members and currently has 12, half of whom should up to do the volunteer work today.

The work wasn't easy. The tires and other junk has accumulated over the years. Some of the tires actually has small trees growing around or in them.

The photo on the left is deceptive but there is a slope down from the area on the parking lot to the wet lands long Mine Brook.

The work was dirty as evidenced by this close up of Laura Rafuse's jeans.

They used to be a nice clean blue. Not now, after moving the tires and junk up they are filthy!

Yes, there be tires. 125 of them by their count.

I'll validate that the dumpster is indeed full.

Great work folks!

Here is the happy group: (from left to right, front row: David Johnson, Linda Rafuse, Larry Bederian - VPW Post Comander; from left to right, back row: Laura Rafuse, Eric Harden, Robert Marini, Erica Pollock, Nadia Johnson, and Chris Johnson)

Great work folks, Mine Brook thanks you!

If you are between 14 and 20 and would like to join the BSA Venture Crew, you can find additional information on their activities on Facebook here

and here

DPW News: new trash/recycling carts

The new Trash/Recycling carts have been placed around the town for residents to see, feel and try  during the regular business hours at the following locations:
Town Hall
Senior Center
Recreation Center
Police Station

This is a great opportunity for people to see and feel the new carts. One of the reasons these carts were picked is they are easy to handle.

This was originally posted on the Franklin, MA web page here

"A key challenge is the fundamental structure of the K-12 education establishment."

Continuing to entice you to dive in and read the 2010 Horizon Report: K12 Edition:
A key challenge is the fundamental structure of the K-12 education establishment. As long as maintaining the basic elements of the existing system remains the focus of efforts to support education, there will be resistance to any profound change in practice. Learners have increasing opportunities to take their education into their own hands, and options like informal education, online education, and home-based learning are attracting students away from traditional educational settings. If the system is to remain relevant it must adapt, but major change comes hard in education.

Many activities related to learning and education take place outside the walls of the classroom — but these experiences are often undervalued or unacknowledged. Beyond the classroom walls, students can take advantage of online resources, explore ideas and practice skills using games and other programs they may have on systems at home, and interact with their extensive — and constantly available — social networks. Within the classroom, learning that incorporates real life experiences like these is not occurring enough and is too often undervalued when it does take place. This challenge is an important one in K-12 schools, because it results in a lack of engagement in learning on the part of students who are seeking some connection between their world, their own lives, and their experience in school.

These trends and challenges are having a profound effect on the way we experiment with, adopt, and use emerging technologies. These aspects of the world that surround and permeate education serve as a frame for considering the probable impacts of the emerging technologies listed in the sections that follow.

Franklin, MA

"we try that and we see if that works"

GIST: I think that for far too long we have just tinkered around the edges of our schools that have struggled. Central Falls High School is an example of a school like that. For over eight years, [it] has been on various lists of needing to improve. There are wonderful people in that school, there are excellent teachers in the school. They’ve had strong leadership. They’ve tried different models for reform. But we tend to do one thing, and then we wait and see if that works. And when it doesn’t or maybe it’s incremental, we say, OK, let’s try some new professional development for the teachers. And then we try that and we see if that works, and a few more years go by, and then we say, obviously we need a new principal because that one’s not doing the job. So we bring in new leadership, and we try that. We bring in new materials. We try that.
We just try one thing after another instead of recognizing that it’s not just one thing, it’s actually the combination of all of those things and the way they fit together. When you look at high-performing schools, it isn’t just one thing that they’re doing. It’s a combination of many things, and at the center of all that are high expectations for students. And so part of the work is to change the culture in the school to one where everyone expects that students will achieve and raises the bar for performance.
Read the full article including an interview with Deborah Gist, the RI Commissioner of Education, who has been the subject of much headlines on the Central Falls High School situation. Very interesting reading:

Curbside Yard Waste Collection

Franklin’s Curbside Yard Waste Collection will be held on Saturday May 1st and May 15th

Be sure to have all material in paper bags, trash barrels or cardboard boxes.  

Brush must be bundled and shall not be more than 4 feet in length and 6–inches in diameter.  


Franklin, MA

HMEA 5K Race/Walk - May 23rd

What happens on May 23rd?

Who is HMEA?

Why you should help?

These questions and more can be answered in this brief video.

If you'd like to register to run or walk, you can go to
If you'd like to contribute as part of my fund raising page, there is a widget on this page or here:

I hope to see you on May 23rd!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Franklin, MA: Role of the Town Council

From the Town Council page on the Franklin website comes the following:

1. A member of the Council, in relation to his/her community should:

A. Realize that his/her basic function is to make policy, with administration delegated to the Administrator.

B. Realize that he/she is one of a team and should abide by, and carry out, all Council decisions once they are made.

C. Be well-informed concerning the duties of a Council member on both local and state levels.

D. Remember that he/she represents the entire community at all times.

E. Accept the office as a means of unselfish service, not benefit personally or politically from his/her Council activities.

F. In all appointments, avoid political patronage by judging all candidates on merit, experience, and qualifications only.

G. Abide by the ethics established by the State and not use the position to obtain inside information on matters which may benefit someone personally.

2. A member of the Council, in his/her relations with administrative officers of the Town, should:

A. Endeavor to establish sound, clearly defined policies that will direct and support the administration for the benefit of the people of the community.

B. Recognize and support the administrative chain of command and refuse to act on complaints as an individual outside the administration.

C. Give the Administrator full responsibility for discharging the duties of his/her office.

3. A member of the Council, in his/her relations with fellow Council members, should:

A. Recognize that action at official legal meetings is binding and that he/she alone cannot bind the Council outside of such meetings.

B. Not make statements or promises of how he/she will vote on matters that will come before the Council until he/she has had an opportunity to hear the pros and cons of the issue during a Council meeting.

C. Uphold the intent of executive session and respect the privileged communication that exists in executive session.

D. Make decisions only after all facts on a question have been presented and discussed.

E. Treat with respect the rights of all members of the Council despite differences of opinion.

This is all good information. Let's hope all of the Councilors actually have recently read and actually follow this. The key for me is "Remember that he/she represents the entire community at all times."

Word already is around that some councilors don't want to put an override question before the voters. No matter whether they think it should be passed is not the question. The voters are the ones who should make that final pass/fail decision with their votes. All we ask is to be given the opportunity, then let the majority rule.

To already have word that there is not a majority on the Council who would put the question before the voters, seems to be flying against the precept:
"Not make statements or promises of how he/she will vote on matters that will come before the Council until he/she has had an opportunity to hear the pros and cons of the issue during a Council meeting."

As citizens and voters, we should be well informed of what could occur during the Town Council meeting on April 28th. This meeting may be one to attend in person rather than from the couch watching the cable feed.

There is plenty of information amongst these pages on the budget and budget drivers.

You can review all or parts of the 3 hour budget workshop held in January

You can review the Financial Planning Committee report here

You can find out the latest on the School budget by either attending (or watching) the School Committee meeting Tuesday April 27th or visiting here later that night or Wednesday morning for the recap.

Be informed! Ask for the opportunity to vote on an override!  
Your vote should determine the services this Town will offer to all of us.

"there is little agreement as to what a new model of education might look like"

Continuing to entice you to dive in and read the 2010 Horizon Report: K12 Edition:
Many policy makers and educators believe that deep reform is needed, but at the same time, there is little agreement as to what a new model of education might look like. It is difficult to envision profound change in a system as firmly established as K-12 education is today. Proponents of change promote more learner-centered approaches; open content; programs for continuing teacher professional development in partnership with higher education institutions; and the use of social networking tools to increase access to peers and professionals for both teachers and students, but not everyone is in agreement. Opinions also differ on how to make (and measure) progress at all and whether it is better to build success slowly, using pilots and small proof-of-concept classrooms, or to push for rapid and radical change on a broader scale.

Franklin, MA

Martin's fundraiser needs your help!

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Remember, money raised from this effort we will help cancer patients by supporting life-saving cancer research and treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston, Massachusetts (via The Jimmy Fund).
If you've already made a purchase, thank you! If not, please take a moment to make a purchase or refer a friend to our fundraising offers. We're getting closer to our goal and your help could put us over the top.
The program offers a terrific assortment of flower bulbs and perennials guaranteed to grow and bring beauty to your yard and garden for years to come.

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Marty Rides the Pan-Mass Challenge
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Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Students are different, but educational practice and the materials that support it are changing only slowly"

Continuing to entice you to dive in and read the 2010 Horizon Report: K12 Edition:

Students are different, but educational practice and the materials that support it are changing only slowly. Schools are still using materials developed to teach the students of decades ago, but today’s students are actually very different in the way they think and work. Schools need to adapt to current student needs and identify new learning models that are engaging to younger generations. Many education professionals feel that a shift to a more learner-centered model focused on the development of individual potential instead of the imposition of a body of knowledge would lead to deeper and more sustained learning across the curriculum. To support such a change, both teaching practice and the tools used in the classroom must adapt. Assessment has also not kept pace with new modes of working, and must change along with teaching methods, tools, and materials.

Franklin, MA

14th Annual FEF Trivia Bee - April 29 - 7:00 PM

14th Annual FEF Trivia Bee…Still Time to Enter Your Team!

On Thursday, April 29, 2010, the Franklin Education Foundation (FEF) will hold its 14th Annual Trivia Bee at the Horace Mann Middle School starting at 7:00 p.m. This year’s theme is history. 

We are thrilled to say that we have a impressive number of teams already signed up as well as some awesome auction items ... including Red Sox tickets!


FEF is still accepting Team Sponsors and item donations for a special raffle. Companies, organizations, parents and individuals can enter a 3-person team of their own or sponsor a team of Franklin students. Team sponsorships are $300 each. The event is well known as a fun evening out with friends and neighbors, all while contributing to a worthwhile cause. It’s a great way to show your commitment to education in Franklin.

To sponsor a team or donate a raffle item please contact Maureen Roy at 508-528-5170 or For more information visit

Admission for spectators is free. Be sure to attend on April 29, and test your knowledge of history!

Franklin, MA

"Unfortunately it's the nature of the society we live in"

Q: How did it feel to win the award?
A: I was kind of surprised when I got the phone call because I know they've had some volunteers for many years ... I was very pleased, surprised and honored.

Read the full article here:

Q&A with Charles River volunteer David Dobrzynski

from The Milford Daily News News RSS  

Related posts:

Parmenter 5K Race/Walk - Sunday May 16th

The Parmenter Elementary School will be the start and finish for their 2nd Annual 5K Race/Walk on Sunday, May 16th.

You can visit the event website for detailed information here

You can also register at here

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"No matter what we do, it's not going to be good,"

"If we continue town business this way, we will dismantle town government and the school system," said Horn. "As of May 1 there will be no Saturday ambulance ... there will be uncovered (police) shifts. It's a substantial reduction in services. People who think we have money are not looking at the facts."
Mendon is facing similar budget problems to Franklin, the difference right now is we don't know how deep or where the cuts are proposed to occur. You can read more about Mendon's issues here:

Mendon plans cuts if override fails

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

You can review the budget workshop held in January to get a better understanding of the factors in Franklin's overall  budget.

You can review the Financial Planning Committee report. They have the long term plan that says we have a systemic problem and outline several options for resolving the issue. Many of those have been tried in the past year, the one other option left to us is to consider an override. The override discussion will be on the Town Council agenda for Wednesday Apr 28th.

"She asked the important questions"

Dunn helps clients visualize what they want in a variety of ways. Sometimes she helps them focus with meditation. Sometimes clients work on arts and crafts projects and clip pictures from magazines or draw to create collages, which helps them define their goals.
"In creating the collage, it all comes together and they can visualize where they want to go," said Dunn. "If they don't have the vision, they will repeat their old habits and get into a job they don't like.
"To get in touch with what we want, sometimes we need to play," said Dunn. "Part of it is finding the inner child. That's the part that needs to be exercised. Guys go out and play ball. Women don't tend to do that."

Franklin business helps people find themselves

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

"Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession"

Continuing to entice you to dive into a reading of the 2010 Horizon Report: K12:
Along with current trends, the Advisory Board notes critical challenges that schools face, especially those that are likely to continue to affect education over the five-year time period covered by this report. Like the trends, these are drawn from a careful analysis of current events, papers, articles, and similar sources, as well as from the personal experience of the Advisory Board members in their roles as leaders in education and technology. Those challenges ranked as most significant in terms of their impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in the coming years are listed here, in the order of importance assigned them by the Advisory Board.

Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession. The challenge is due to the fact that despite the widespread agreement on its importance, training in digital literacy skills and techniques is rare in teacher education and school district professional development programs. As teachers begin to realize that they are limiting their students by not helping them to develop and use digital media literacy skills across the curriculum, the lack of formal training is being offset through professional development or informal learning, but we are far from seeing digital media literacy as a norm. This challenge is exacerbated by the fact that digital literacy is less about tools and more about thinking, and thus skills and standards based on tools and platforms have proven to be somewhat ephemeral.

Franklin, MA

GATRA expansion for Bellingham

Bellingham may start shuttle to T stop

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Do you ride the Franklin Area Bus?

The schedule forthe bus as it moves around Franklin can be found here

Charles River Watershed Cleanup - 4/24/10

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:

In the News: golf tourney, heating grant

Franklin Youth Baseball planning benefit golf tourney

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Franklin Housing Authority granted $29K for heating replacements

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Franklin, MA: raised garden beds in progress

I was away this weekend and missed the Earth Day activities, the clean up and the building of the raised garden beds. I visited the Senior Center, ECDC and the Charter School to view the work they did complete on the raised beds.

The raised bed at the Senior Center is located off to the left (facing the front of the building) next to the garden they already have.

A close up of the bed shows it empty.

A walk down the path connecting the  Senior Center to the school complex (Oak St, Horace Mann, and ECDC) revealed the raised bed at ECDC located next to their playground area near the front door.

As you can see, their bed has soil in it and it appears ready to be planted.

Walking over to the Charter School to find their beds eventually led us on a walk around the school.

They have two beds between the school and the Hayward property line. One of the beds is already partially planted and covered with plastic.

The chose a great location. Clear to receive the sunshine and help the garden grow!

The sponsor sign has been located in one of the beds. Thanks to the help from all the volunteers, the YMCA and all the sponsors. This is a good start for Franklin, MA!

"Thank you to the following organizations for Helping our Garden Grow!"

The post announcing the raised garden beds can be found here:

P5 of 5: "The way we think of learning environments is changing"

2010 Horizon Report: K12 Edition was just released this week. It lists five trends and develops a story around them. You can view the full report here

The fourth trend:
The way we think of learning environments is changing. Traditionally, a learning environment has been a physical space, but the idea of what constitutes a learning environment is changing. The “spaces” where students learn are becoming more community-driven, interdisciplinary, and supported by technologies that engage virtual communication and collaboration. This changing concept of the learning environment has clear implications for schools.

As the Franklin community gets into the discussion

1) around the Town budget and the School budget (which is about 50% of the Town budget)

2) on what priorities should be set (classroom instruction vs after school activities, etc.)

let's also consider how our current level service school budget meets the needs of the students. Yes, we are a high performing district. What do we need to do to remain one? (Besides obtaining appropriate funding!)

Franklin, MA

In the News - Marathon, rail trail

Local Marathon racers give it their all

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Rail trail construction on track

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

W.A.S.T.E.D. returns - 4/27/10

W.A.S.T.E.D presents: The Prevention of Underage Drinking - Community & Parent Forum

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. 

Franklin High School Lecture Hall

This national  event is sponsored by the Federal Government’s Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking and statewide by the MA Department of Public Health, Bureau of Substance Abuse Services. The forum will address local initiatives, offer practical strategies for communicating more effectively with teens, identify community resources and discuss prevention solutions for parents in the Franklin community. The panel will include Officer Dan MacLean, Mardi Donovan, Bill Phillips, New Beginnings Programs, and students and parents of students in recovery.

Coordinated as part of the Franklin Community Health Council

W.A.S.T.E.D had previously held an evening at FHS on December 2, 2008. Information (pictures, text and audio recordings) can be found here:

Franklin, MA

Monday, April 19, 2010

Franklin, MA: Boston Marathon results

Congratulations to all the Franklin, MA runners who completed the Boston Marathon on Monday.

12673Hogan, Kathleen C.38FFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
12699Pritchard, Bob F.49MFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
13679Robbins, Samantha23FFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
10105Miksis, Edward F.48MFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
13775Brown, Colleen A. Esq44FFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
7274Kobrenski, Michael D.35MFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
22593Connelly, John J.40MFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
26342Brandenburg, Randy J.48MFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
12185Kowalik-Grillo, Kristin29FFranklinMAUSASWE
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
17245Dombroski, Laura A.45FFranklinMAUSACAN
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
22573Cameron, Thomas49MFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
26264Walsh, Lisa A.45FFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
23903Duffy, Craig E.26MFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
23085Hickey, John Jr.45MFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
25343Gagnon, Kimberly J.39FFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
23902Goodell, Roland J.42MFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
25410Biagiotti, Kristine E.43FFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
23487Robinson, Tara L.39FFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
25223Fanuele, Jessi J.29FFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
25224Jacobson, Susan L.47FFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision
22926Wallace, Eileen G.52FFranklinMAUSA
FinishPaceProjected TimeOfficial TimeOverallGenderDivision

These results were obtained from the BAA results website when querying for Franklin, MA residents.