Saturday, July 24, 2010

Native Plants of Franklin

Hello Franklin! My name is Michelle Clay, and you could call me a bit of a garden geek. Here in Franklin, we have a lot of lovely suburban gardens, but most of the plants in a typical suburban yard come from other parts of the world. We have many fascinating and beautiful plants that are native to the Franklin area that most people don’t know about. Each week I will feature one native plant here, and the following week, I will identify what it is, and tell you a bit about where it can be seen.

Can you guess what this one is? I’ll give you a hint: this is a very unusual plant. It has no chlorophyll, so it never turns green. Post your guesses in the comments, and happy sleuthing to you!

Franklin, MA

Let's Welcome Michelle Clay

You may recall that I had highlighted Michelle's blog The Clueless Gardner earlier this month as I posted on the Franklin Area Blogs that I have found.

You may also recall that I started the "What's your name?" series last week and she expressed interest in highlighting some native plants. She is much stronger in that area so I thought why not combine efforts? She graciously accepted and I am honored to have her posting here. She will showcase a native plant each week and we can all will learn together!

Stay tuned for her first post!

Franklin, MA

Lowell Folk Festival

The Saturday schedule at Boarding House Park in Lowell for the annual Lowell Folk Festival. The largest free folk festival in the US and it is in our backyard (so to speak).

Saturday, July 24Boarding House ParkSTEEP CANYON RANGERS12:00 noon
Saturday, July 24Boarding House ParkJOSHUA NELSON1:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 24Boarding House ParkMARIA DE BARROS2:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 24Boarding House ParkBUA3:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 24Boarding House ParkDE TEMPS ANTAN4:00 p.m.
Saturday, July 24Boarding House ParkTHE BRUCE DAIGREPONT CAJUN BAND5:00 p.m.

The Steep Canyon Rangers play bluegrass, Joshua Nelson sings kosher gospel, Maria De Barros sings Cape Verdian, the BUA group is Irish, De Temps Antan plays Quebecois, and Bruce Daigrepont is a Cajun Band.

Six different kinds of folk music over six hours in one place!

Follow them on Twitter:

Franklin, MA

United Regional Chamber’s Young Professional Organization

The United Regional Chamber’s Young Professional Organization (YPO) has organized several upcoming events.

On Aug. 10, the YPO will have a social from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at LA. Roberts, 120 Chestnut St., North Attleborough. A signature drink will be featured and the cost is $5 at the door.

The YPO is putting together teams for the Butterfly 5K on Aug. 22 to benefit The Julia Cekala Charitable Foundation. The cost to participate is $25.

The YPO is organizing its First Annual Chowder & Chili Cookoff at the Boston Sports Club in Franklin. Restaurants that want to showcase their chili or chowder can participate for no cost. The winner of the cookoff will earn bragging rights for a year and a tacky trophy! Space is very limited.   Updated 8/19/10 - The Cookoff has been canceled for 9/1/10 and will be rescheduled for another time.

Finally, the YPO is raffling off an 8 ½’ kayak donated by City Spirits of Attleboro and North Attleborough. Raffle tickets cost $5 each or 5 for $20 and can be purchased at any of The United Regional Chamber of Commerce offices: 42 Union St., Attleboro; 620 Old W. Central St., Ste. 202, Franklin; or 31 N. Washington St., North Attleborough. The winning ticket will be drawn Aug. 2.

The YPO is comprised of 20- and 30-something business professionals who have an interest in social and business networking, community involvement, and professional development. YPO participants must be at least 21 years old. For more information on any of the YPO events, visit the YPO’s Facebook page at or call Jen at 508-695-6011.

Mike Foster, owner of City Spirits (left), and Jack Lank, president of The United Regional Chamber of Commerce, stand with the kayak being raffled by the Chamber’s Young Professional Organization. The kayak was donated by City Spirits.

Franklin, MA

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hold the date - Aug 3rd - Sit & Chat

Bill Glynn, School Committee member, will hold a "Sit & Chat" on the Franklin Town Common (near the Bandstand, in the Bandstand if it rains) on Tuesday August 3rd from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM. There is no agenda, it’s just an opportunity to share your thoughts, ask questions, engage in discussion on different topics, etc. The discussion is open to all.

Bring a chair, your thoughts, and perhaps a question or two to the Common near the Bandstand.

Franklin, MA

United Chamber Ribbon Cutting

The United Regional Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new branch office of Rockland Trust at 490 Pleasant St in Attleboro, MA. 

There is another one planned to celebrate the relocation of Vicario Studio, 31 Hayward St., Suite B3, Franklin. The ribbon cutting will be held on Fri., July 23 at 11:30 a.m. Vicario Studio is owned by Photographer Paul Vicario.

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: Town committee and board openings - Updated

The following Boards have vacancies.  

If you are interested please complete a committee appointment request form which can be obtained from the Town Clerk’s office located on the first floor of the Municipal Building, 355 East Central Street or downloaded from the Town Clerk’s web page.


Regular Member

Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Fund


Cable Advisory Board


Design Review Committee


Franklin Disability Commission


Library Board of Directors


Public Land Use Committee


Recreation Advisory Board


Zoning Board of Appeals


Franklin, MA

Thursday, July 22, 2010

School Committee 7/20/10

Note: this reporting was done from the video archive of the meeting available on the Franklin, MA website here:

Present: Douglas, Cafasso, Rohrbach, Roy, Trahan, Glynn
Absent: Mullen

1. Routine Business
Citizen’s Comments - none
Review of Agenda - no adjustments
Minutes: I recommend approval of the Open and Executive Session minutes from the June 22, 2010 School Committee Meetings. - motion to accept, passed 6-0
Payment of Bills Mr. Glynn  - motion to accept, passed 6-0Payroll Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives - none

FSC letter to the FEA
This is in regard to the shortened school day. There will NOT be a shortened day. Parents will be notified on teacher assignments in August. Class size will increase. Additional info can be found here:

2. Guests/Presentations
Summer Update

Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski provides the update
There were several small Federal grant reductions, programs were adjusted downward accordingly

  • Title 2A (teacher quality) - reduced by $2,000
  • Safe and drug free - reduced by $5,000
  • IDEA Special ed - reduced by $14,000
  • Title 1 - $17,000
All the grant reductions amount to $38,000.

Additional grants have been obtained from
Stop & Shop / Hockomock Area Y Grant for Jefferson Elementary School - funds to help with health education.

ELL Grant / Curriculum Development - awarded $5,000 by State. This resulted from DESE coordinated program review discussed earlier this year. Christmas in June! Working with the state to develop curriculum to meet this need.

Verizon Affinity Grant - grant submitted to obtain netbooks for English Language Learners.

Accommodation plan to meet the ELL requirements was accepted by the DESE.
The report was discussed at the meeting in May

Staff heavily engaged in professional development:

  • 24 teachers participated in mentor training during the summer.
  • A course conducted by two teachers for 30 others on closing the achievement gap was held last week. Becky Mardy (?), Brian Wilderman (?)
  • Two teachers were published this year. Both articles were published in the Choice Literacy Journal. Ann Williams (Kennedy), Brian Kelly (Keller). Ann has a reading blog on literacy.

An active summer of hiring/staff changes. 

  • Hired a young English teacher from Brown for Horace Mann. 
  • Deb Goss retired recently. 
  • Physic teacher for the high school. He really is a rocket scientist for the physics dept to replace a retirement. 
  • Three teachers moving to administration positions in other districts (Wareham, Westwood, and Shrewsbury).  A tribute to the training and opportunities offered here, sorry not to have an opportunity to keep them here.

Bully task force about to begin, middle school principals working on a bullying handbook to be shared at a future meeting. Innovative and user friendly.

On the facilities side: 

  • Relocating alternative learning program from Emmons St to the High School in H wing. 
  • Richard Gaskin's office on the loading doc will be relocated to the DPW and that space will be used for teachers work space.
  • Some machine/maintenance shop will be used for Art space for the Arts Academy at the High School.
  • Installation of security is underway at Keller Sullivan
  • Remington security getting additional cameras
  • A couple of sound proofing projects due to needs of students is underway
  • Carpeting and paving at Parmenter are scheduled to be completed before school starts.

The architect selected to proceed with the Franklin High School renovation is continuing . Four finalists will present on July 27th to select the finalist. Contact the School Administration office for details. It will be held at the MSBA office in Boston at 8:30 AM. They are public meetings anyone interested is invited to attend. One of the questions concerns their partnership in selling the project to the community.

Pay-to-ride :
The deadline ended July 9th, 1420 are enrolled. On target with last year, final number from last year was 1520. 75 families are on the wait list, they did not submit in time. The dept is starting the routing/re-routing the last week of July. Re-routing and changing the bus stops due to the three buses cut is underway. 

MASBO is offering a transportation study. They will examine all aspects of transportation. Some of the data would help to build in efficiencies and help reduce costs. Likely to come out in August or September. Miriam Goodman will be leading this effort. There is no free lunch, the service itself is not free but there should be some beneficial offset to consider.

Q - Does Holmes offer this service? 
A - We have never asked them to see if they provide it.

Q - Will we get some updates on enrollment and bus routes?
A - There is a lot of fluctation. We will get an update on numbers in August. There have been moves in/out, 10 in alone at Davis Thayer.

Wireless at Kennedy is installed.
Smart boards are being installed.
Further updates are scheduled for the fall.

Food service
Miriam is moving some cheese.
A survey of students, parents and staff will be held in the fall
A salad bar at Annie Sullivan will be piloted. A wrap bar will be at the High School. If it works at Sullivan (where there already is space and equipment) then it will be expanded to the other schools. We need to make sure it is profitable before expanding. 

Miriam has been attending the Tuft Community Leadership for Childhood Obesity Institute in conjunction with the YMCA.  It is a community effort. Need to partner with other organizations within the community. Speaker today was Mark Fenton on transportation via foot, bike or vehicle.  A study in Somerville schools in transforming the program preparing more fresh fruits and vegetables. Returning Weds to continue.

Summer School is underway. FHS Experience registration is still open. It starts August 9th. 
School lunch will be provided for a couple of days to pilot some new things. 175 enrolled to date. A very good number.

Football camp has good enrollment.

School Dept will have a table at the Harvest Fest on Sept 26th. to help meet the community and help market the schools.

3. Discussion Only Items

4. Action Items
a. I recommend acceptance of two checks totaling $2,655.00 from the Annie Sullivan PCC to pay for buses as detailed.  motion to accept, passed 6-0

b. I recommend acceptance of a check for $721.39 from Stop and Shop for FHS Scholarships.  motion to accept, passed 6-0

c. I recommend acceptance of a check for $1,200.00 from SEPAC for the supplemental curriculum materials.  motion to accept, passed 6-0

d. I recommend acceptance of a check for $252.00 from Wells Fargo for FHS In House Enrichment.  motion to accept, passed 6-0

e. I recommend acceptance of a check for $200.00 from Mr. and Mrs. Robert Doyle for in house enrichment at the FHS.  motion to accept, passed 6-0

A public acknowledgement to the Doyle's. They were disappointed in the override vote and decided to contribute the difference in their taxes to help the schools.

f. I recommend acceptance of two checks ($1377.00 & $3031.00) totaling $4408.00 from Parmenter PCC for field trips and supplies.  
motion to accept, passed 6-0

5. Information Matters

Superintendent’s Report  (all covered in the summer update above)
a. Stop & Shop / Hockomock Area Y Grant for Jefferson Elementary School
b. ELL Grant / Curriculum Development
c. Verizon Affinity Grant

School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
From Ed Cafasso - Advertising subcommittee; memo from Brad Sidwell, pursuing advertising interested for the football field. There is now interest in advertising on the scoreboards. There is space available on the existing scoreboard and some businesses may help purchase scoreboards for other fields where they don't exist.  Trying to keep it simple. The fence along the field by the flag pole is off limits. More to come on this item.

School Committee Liaison Reports

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

Bill Glynn - resolution moving forward for discussion, very similar to the one that Franklin had endorsed. A small difference in the monetary number but it is moving forward. 

7. Executive Session
Contractual Negotiations

Motion to move into executive session, not to return to open forum. Passed 6-0 (assuming this was so, the video actually ends as the roll call is conducted.)

Franklin, MA

MBTA Parking Made Simple

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Transportation by Klark Jessen on 7/22/10

MBTA GM Davey, West Natick, July 22, 2010 MBTA General Manager Richard Davey visited the West Natick Commuter Rail Station today to demonstrate the new and easy way to pay for parking at T lots.  The visit is also the latest stop on his "Join the GM" series of sessions along with his senior staff to listen to customers' questions and concerns.  

Beginning Friday, July 23, a simpler system for parking lot payments will allow daily commuters and visitors to use their mobile phones and an online account to pay for parking at MBTA lots.

Customers parking in MBTA-owned and operated lots with existing cash honor boxes will be able to pay for parking online or via phone while in their cars or once they board a train, bus, or commuter boat. 

As part of a new partnership with Parkmobile USA, customers can visit and enroll in the new program for free, and have access to their on-line accounts 24 hours a day/7 days a week. T riders can also download a mobile app.

Once registered, customers can use the mobile app, the internet, a text message or a phone call to pay for parking. TTY service is also available. The phone number will be displayed on signs at MBTA parking facilities.

The new service will be available for 23,733 parking spaces at nearly 70 MBTA-owned lots with existing cash honor boxes. In the weeks ahead the T will work to expand the new system to lots that are not operated by the MBTA.  Only two U.S. transit systems offer more parking spaces than the MBTA. 

Learn more about the new service.

Things you can do from here:

School Committee: What took so long?

  • The School Committee met on June 8th, the day of the failed override vote. They also met on June 22, two weeks after the override vote.
  • The letter to the FEA regarding the shortened day was dated July 6th and requested a response from the teachers union by July 20th.
Why did the School Committee wait so long to take action on what they knew was required?

The letter and results of the non-response by the teachers union can be found here

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: no shortened day for Elementary schools

According to the School Committee meeting Tuesday evening, there will not be a shortened school day for the elementary schools. The seven elementary teachers already cut from the budget as announced during the override will be joined by three more due to the lack of response from the teachers union on this proposal. The teachers involved had already been notified per contractual requirements in June.

If the teachers union had responded positively to this proposal, the teacher positions could have been restored.

Notification to parents of teacher assignments will not be until August. There are still enrollment adjustments happening and the final teacher assignments are pending these changes. The enrollment adjustments are families moving from one school to another. The churn is still be worked on the principals.

As clarified in this video segment, the total teachers cut due to the failed override is now 18; 8 from the middle schools and 10 from the elementary schools. Larger class sizes will result.

You can view this segment of the School Committee meeting on the Franklin website here

Here is the letter to the FEA (the teachers union) from the School Committee regarding the proposed shortened day for the elementary schools.

2010 FSC Shortened Day to FEA

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

Franklin, MA

Small Wonders Licensed Family Child Care

In the public service notice category, I have this email text from Joanne Basile:

Small Wonders Licensed Family Child Care has Part Time Openings 2010/2011 for the 2010/2011 School Year:
Hope you're all having a great summer, and I just wanted to post a quick note for those of you that are beginning to think about Back to School Planning...
- Have older kids in school and a little one at home?
- Do you have a little one that misses the preschool cut off?
- Do you need an opportunity for your little one help manage on separation anxiety, or play and share with peers?
- Would you like a few hours a week to do some errands on your own, take a class, or even just clean up?
Small Wonders Family Child care is a fully licensed family child care - I have been in business since 2003, and have many sweet little friends here in Franklin that have come to play. The children enjoy puzzles, board games, dance parties, baking, coloring, sing a longs, walks around the block, story time and more.
I am CPR and First Aid certified and as a mother of two young boys with severe food allergies, trained in the use of an Epi Pen. As a licensed provider the state has performed a background check and safety inspection.
I have many happy references available from both current and former clients.
Only three spaces remain for my 2010/2011 school year, spaces available Tuesday and Thursday from 9-12 or 9-2 depending on your needs.
Please email me at if you'd like more details.

Franklin, MA

Town Council - 07/21/10

The collected reporting from the Town Council meeting on Wednesday evening, July 21 can be found here:

Franklin, MA

Hawthorn Suites Business After Hours - Aug 11


The United Regional Chamber of Commerce has organized a Business After Hours at Hawthorn Suites, 835 Upper Union St., Franklin, on Aug. 11 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The cost is $5 for members (3 members for $10) or $10 for non-members. Register by calling 508-222-0801, 508-695-6011 or 508-528-2800.

The United Regional Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit, business support organization with offices in Attleboro, North Attleborough and Franklin serving the communities of Attleboro, Bellingham, Blackstone, Foxborough, Franklin, Mansfield, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Norfolk, North Attleborough, Norton, Plainville, Rehoboth, Seekonk, and Wrentham.

In the News - driving badly, dog debarking, casino letter, curriculum change

Cops: Franklin man drove woman off road

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Massachusetts outlaws dog debarking

Holliston, Ashland, Hopkinton write joint casino letter

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Live reporting - Closing

Pfeffer - thanks to Mark Cerel and Debbie Pellegri for putting together training on the new Open Meeting law. It was well done and a lot of committee and Town folks attended.

Jones - thanks to the Town for getting the circular table wired up to turn the lights back on at the Library.

Mason - happy birthday to Councilor Powderly, she's 29 today

Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required
not tonight

Vallee - motion to adjourn, passed 9-0
meeting closed at 7:20 PM (with a 5 minute recess, this is the shortest meeting I have ever attended.)

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Action items (continued)

1. Resolution 10-40: Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Action Plan
motion to move to Aug 4th meeting agenda, passed 9-0

3. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 10-645: Site Plan Review & Design Review – 1st Reading
motion to wave reading, passed 9-0
motion to move to 2nd reading, passed 9-0

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Affordable Housing Hearing

Zoning Bylaw Amend. 10-645: Site Plan Review & Design Review- 7:10 PM
Bryan Taberner, Beth Dahlstrom

Planning Board has voted to approve the zoning bylaw change
Remove language to hold a bond
incomplete objects would be agreed upon by the developer and the Town Engineer
certification of completion, or a fine of $300/day until completion

Pfeffer - the notary clauses are incorrect for MA law

Dahlstrom - I'm sorry I thought those were corrected
Cerel - Those will be corrected before the second reading

open for citizen comment, none made

motion to close the hearing,  passed 9-0

Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Action Plan – Public Hearing
Bryan and Beth continue

Town Councilors had not had time to read the 34 page document
compared by one to a 'Harry Potter' book, by another to a summons

open for citizen comment, none made

Motion to close the hearing, passed 9-0

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Recess

Five minute recess

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Old/New business


Pfeffer - regarding the new barrels, when they are put back the covers are open and if it is raining or snowing, the barrels could accumulate, can they be put back with the covers on

Nutting - It is a matter of the drivers touch, if they handle it just right, the cover should come back on. We are putting items like this together to have a monthly meeting with the vendor.

Pfeffer - I have also noticed they have been lenient in picking up the overflowing barrels

Nutting - It is still the new process, we want to get it off right. We will soon not pick up the snow cones, those barrels with an overflow on the top.

We are also expecting the smaller barrels in a couple of weeks. If you do want to switch make sure you contact the DPW.

 - five minute recess -

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Administrators Report

Continuing to skip about the agenda to use time wisely before the hearings are scheduled to start at 7:10 PM


Jeff - Thanks to all the citizens in their help with the water ban, the water levels have improved. If we get some good rain, we'll go back to once a week.

The State passed their final budget, we are set, we don't need to make any more amendments.

I want to recognize David Seal, got his heavy duty truck certificate, his personal development and other of our employees are appreciated.

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Action items





2. Resolution 10-41: Authorization to Hold Bonfire-Tri-County School
motion to approve, passed 8-0

Per Jeff Nutting, this has been a standard request every year

(Zollo arrived after this vote)

Franklin, MA