Saturday, August 7, 2010

Native Plants of Franklin

Were any of you able to identify last week's native plant? If you said milkweed, you win!

(Thanks to Wikimedia Commons for this second image.)

Common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, is better known for what eats it than for its flowers; but don't let that give you any wrong ideas about its flowers! Milkweed has stunning spheres of blossoms that from up close look like they have been folded from origami.

And of course, what eats the plant are the larvae of monarch butterflies. They eat milkweed, and nothing else. Here is a female monarch looking for leaves to lay her eggs on.

And this is what the caterpillars look like.

If you want to see more monarch butterflies in your yard, plant milkweed! Seeds can easily be collected in the Autumn from meadows where milkweed grows, or they can be ordered from sources such as

And here is our next mystery native flower. Hint: I've zoomed in rather close. Another hint: it's in bloom now.

Don't forget, you can post your answers (or wild guesses!) in the comments section. Happy botanical sleuthing!

Franklin, MA

Spanish-American War Memorial

This what the platform looks like in a recent photo reflecting the work underway:

From the archive, this photo was taken of the memorial in 2007:

The story of the memorial work and gun restoration can be found at the end of the Town Council meeting notes from Aug 4th:

Franklin, MA

"officials don't have an estimate for the cost of renovations"

Renovating the science lab is a top priority educationally, according to Light. He also pointed to the auditorium as an area that could use work.
Light said auditorium seating predates the rest of the school by about a decade, and was salvaged from a town middle school. The stage is not handicapped-accessible. Some eight feet behind its curtain, there's a large cement wall.
"The renovation is more about the core of the building," Director of Facilities Mike D'Angelo said. "It's built to educate kids in 1971. It's not built to educate them in 2010."
 Read the full article about the tour of Franklin High School by local and state official in the Milford Daily News here:

Franklin, MA

Friday, August 6, 2010

Town Council - 08/04/10 - notes from meeting video

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

Motion to approve, passed 9-0

B. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Meetings of the Town Council are Recorded
Change of Council Meeting Dates – Sept. 1 to Sep 8, and Sep 15 to Sept. 29
motion to approve change of Sep meeting dates, passed 9-0

F. HEARINGS - none

1. Resolution 10-40:Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Action Plan

very little discussion, the summary of it is that the numbers available are from the Census 2000 data (very out of date) but the report is required by the State to be submitted every five years, (i.e. now) so it will go forward with outdated data. The overall document is very similar to the document and plan already in place and operational.

Pfeffer requested consideration of housing for veterans in addition to the focus already in place on new home buyers and seniors.

Motion to approve, passed 9-0

2. Resolution 10-42:Establishment of North Grove Street Economic Opportunity Area
This proposal is similar to ones passed last year to help provide incentives to businesses to come to Franklin. Hard to say how effective the incentives have been. Zollo requested to present such data as available for future.

Motion to approve, passed 9-0

3. Resolution 10-43:Establishment of South Grove Street Economic Opportunity Area
similar to that already discussed above, no further questions or discussion

Motion to approve, passed 9-0

4. Resolution 10-44: Establishment of Financial Way Economic Opportunity Area
similar to that already discussed above, no further questions or discussion

Motion to approve, passed 9-0

5. Resolution 10-45: Purchase of Land at 459 Pleasant Street-Authorization and Appropriation
Purchase funds coming from the Open Space fund, it is not funds that can be used for operational or capital expenses.  Roll call and two thirds vote required to pass.

The purchase price ($320,000) is higher than the assessed value. The house is in poor condition and probably needs to be torn down. It had been inhabited but when visited a couple of weeks ago this was vacant. 

Motion to approve, passed 9-0 (unanimous roll call)

6. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 10-645: Site Plan Review & Design Review – 2nd Reading

Motion to approve, passed 9-0

1 - On going sewer inflow and infiltration system work has reduced from 500,000 to 300,000 gallons per day. The flow goes through the Beaver St interceptor and then to the plant which we pay for. This is a significant reduction and a great cost benefit to the town. I'll get a more complete update on the whole sewer system for the Council sometime this fall.

2 - We will be constructing Wachusetts St over the next several months. Parents will be notified as it will affect the drop off and pick up of students with school in session. The base coat should be done before the winter, we'll let it settle and then do a final coat next year. We'll do our best to ease that inconvenience but we have a lot of work to do.

3 - CGKV Architects have been chosen for the high school renovation project.

4 - Thanks to the Franklin fire fighters for their hard work on the Norfolk fire. They did a tough job in a difficult situation.

5 - Improvements being made to the Spanish War Memorial. Cottage St Sheetmetal did work for us to take the rust off. The paint color to reflect the time period is underway, then it will be epoxied so it will not rust.

Maxim Nordifeld 37 MM

Bob Fahey has some money left over from the major memorial work which is being used to update this memorial. The plaque will be mounted on a granite pedestal. We'll work with the Historic Commission on the guns placement with the memorial.


Zollo - ETA on the King St/i495 lights, when will they be fully functional?

Nutting - I don't know exactly but it will be done before the winter. They still have to get the base coat down, I am not sure when they'll do the final coat.

McGann - Jeff is there anyway you can get a report on the water treatment plant on how long it runs and how long it is down? Two retention ponds are right up to the top.
Nutting - I am not sure what it is. It has been down for a month. $5.8 million for the plant. I can get you a report yes.

McGann - What Jeff mentioned earlier, an electrician I have worked with (Bill Nichols) passed away in the fire. Others are in bad shape but recovering.

Thanks to my three neighbors on Lewis St. for their support.

My condolences to Phillip Brunelli and his family on the passing of his mother.

The old police station had been on East St and prior to that had it been the American Legion. The gun had previously been in front of the American Legion for some time, then at a private residence before coming to the Town Common via the DPW.

Where the final placement of the gun will be remains to be determined. We don't want to detract from the names on the memorial. 

The gun was on a ship that was retired in 1919 and sold as a yacht to someone in Wisconsin. 

Nutting - I'd like to see the Historic Commission help determine where it should be.
The muzzle is full of concrete. There are some around but I am not sure how rare it is.

Pfeffer - I think it is wonderful that we are taking care of this gun but the bottomline is better communication is needed. A long rant ensues but that is the justifiable gist.

The old fire station has been repaired, new carpets, etc. If I see this, then others in town will as well. People get excited about money being spent if there is no money.

Are we in a hiring freeze?

Nutting - Not necessarily, it is on a case by case basis. We haven't hired anybody, we have no plans to do so. There have been no new hires in the last 30-60-90 days. 

Mason - on behalf of the council wishing Officer Clifford best wishes on a speedy recovery. He was hit by a hit and run driver while on a construction detail yesterday.

O. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required
not required.


motion to adjourn, passed 9-0

Franklin, MA

Survey reminder

The current survey on the new trash and recycle system is open for your input through Aug 14th.

You can find the survey here:

Note: As of 8/5/10 8:00 PM there were 43 responses. Thanks!

Franklin, MA

In the News - fire, robbery, Norfolk explosion

Follow up articles on incidents previously reported are found in today's issue of the Milford Daily News:

Franklin storage facility catches fire

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Masked man tries to rob CVS

Franklin, MA

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New Trash/Recycle Status Survey

Updated: 8/15/10 - the survey is now closed the results are posted and available here.

This survey will remain open until August 14th to allow plenty of time for folks to respond.

Note: email subscribers may need to click through to Franklin Matters to view and respond to the survey.

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: ZBA canceled

FOR AUGUST 5, 2010.

AUGUST 19, 2010.

You can also check the agendas for the Zoning Board of Appeals on the Franklin, MA website:

In the News - Chestnut St fire, attempted theft, business growth

Fire damages Franklin business overnight

Man tries to steal drugs from CVS in Franklin

Franklin, MA

Franklin Citizens Rail Trail Committee Meeting - Agenda - 8/10/10

Proposed Agenda for August 10, 2010
Location: Franklin YMCA 45 Forge Hill Road
Start Time: 7:30PM

I. Call to Order / Introductions of New Attendees
A. Introduction of new attendees
B. Review & approve minutes of previous meeting

II. Report from our representative from DCR
A. Gates & Grading

III. Membership Committee Report (Denison, McKeown, Sawyer)
A. Committee to report on membership activity

IV. Report from Finance Committee (Rossetti)
A. Report from Treasurer

V. Report of Fund Raising Committee (Sawyer)
A. Report on fund raising activities
a. Report Road Race Committee by Dave Labonte

VI. Report from Grant Writing Committee
A. Extend committee with more members & participation

VII. Unfinished Business:

VIII. New Business:

IX. Set Date & place for Next Meeting and Adjourn

More info on the Franklin Citizens Rail Trail Committee can be found here:

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bill Glynn - sit and chat summary

In his lawn chair, one man was reading near the bandstand on the Town Common. The concerts are scheduled for Weds. Was he waiting for the concert? No, Bill Glynn was waiting for folks to show up for the "Sit & Chat".

They did come. By ones and twos, a total of seven. A mother with her children in Franklin schools who also works as a teacher. A father with children in the school whose wife is a teacher. She was at the boys baseball game, so he came. Two more mothers, coordinators for one of the school PCC organizations. Another mother with two little ones just getting into the school system, curious to understand what their future in the schools might be like. Another mother (also a teacher) brought her son who will be a senior at Franklin High in September (yes, he did want to come along).

Curious, they came to see what the discussion would be like.

Curious, they came to talk about Franklin.

Bill stopped reading when I arrived. The conversation circle we started then expanded with each new arrival. Greetings, small talk (how many kids in school, what school, how did you hear about this, etc.) developed a rhythm, a gentle conversation on a summer evening on the Common.

Were the problems of Franklin solved?
No. There are no easy solutions.

Was it beneficial to talk?
Yes, it was good. There are folks concerned about what is happening. There are folks willing to step up and find out what's going on.

How would I summarize the conversation?

  • Many folks recognize that education is important. Class size increases are not good. People may be surprised when they see the number of kids in their child's room.
  • The teachers are not happy with how Mr Roy (Jeff Roy, School Committee Chair) has portrayed the FEA (teacher's union) in the newspaper. If this is his attempt at winning the power struggle, from the teachers perspective, he is hurting Franklin more than he thinks he is winning.
  • The change to the six period schedule at the high school has been both good and bad. Good in that the schedule itself works. Bad in that the schedule change has reduced the variety of electives. Bad in that along with other teacher staffing changes, some forced by the budget cuts, some with individual teacher decisions (i.e. retirements), some programs have seen a great deal of change. The example cited was five language teachers in three years. Other students had benefited from the same teacher for the four years in that language. 
  • The high school student asked how do students get involved? What are the channels available? All are available. Come to the meetings, view via the web broadcast. If they want School Committee people to meet with them that can be scheduled.
  • The conversation started too late to get the information out for this years override. People were asking what's happening, what's coming and when it all came out, it was too much, too late.
  • Some folks believe Franklin schools have always been good. They don't realize that in the 70's the school system was not well respected.
  • Some parents may be choosing to send their kids to Xaverian and other private high schools. It may be good that they can afford to do so but their students still end up at Westfield or Framingham. The belief amongst some parents is that the preparation at Franklin High is really better than that which could be obtained elsewhere. So while they can afford to pay for a private high school what are they really buying? What are they saving?
  • The concern is that while the students education has been preparing them for the evolving world at the high school today, will the preparation of the students in the lower grades now be sufficient to help them be ready for high school when they go there? Bill shared that in his work with college deans, they have expressed that their concern is many students coming to college are not prepared for it. In that case, the parents end up paying for the remedial study for the students. So what have the parents really saved?
  • What will the high school be like when today's elementary and middle school students get there? What will class sizes be like then? What programs will be available then? Will it be renovated?
  • Would there be two overrides next year? Technically, there could be one override for the operational budget in May/June 2011. There could also be a debt override for the high school renovation later in 2011 (Nov/Dec), if the current state planning schedule holds.
  • How do we get the information out? Reach out to the pre-school mothers. Reach out to all the youth sports groups. Continue the forums, the PCC meetings, the standard notifications. We need to find out how to reach the folks to help them realize that it matters to them. To their home values, to their children's future.

Did I miss something? Maybe, I am not perfect.

I think I got the gist of the conversation. Bill does plan to do this again. His August's schedule is already hectic so maybe in September.

My thanks to Bill for taking the time to have this conversation.

Many thanks to those folks who came and hopefully had their curiosity satisfied.


Stay tuned into what is happening in Franklin. You can subscribe to what is published here via email. One email each day will arrive in your inbox after 9:00 AM with what has been published since 9:00 AM the day before.

You can get a weekly summary via email by subscribing to Franklin Matters Weekly. It will contain a review of the prior week's events and provide an outlook on the coming week. It is meant to be read (or listened to) in about ten minutes. If there is something that you need to get more information on, there are links to provide the additional details. I have not updated it during the summer. So little is happening (and my own travels have taken me away from Franklin). August is already here, September is just around the corner.

For those on Facebook, you can "like" the "I believe Franklin matters" page. Key bits of information from Franklin Matters get posted there.

Note: Bill Glynn is a first term member of the Franklin School Committee.

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: Concerts on the Common


Wed Aug 4th - Frank Padula Band  (6:30 PM to 8:30 PM)

Children's Program: Elaine Kessler, Story Teller (6:00 PM to 6:30 PM)

Franklin, MA

FSPA presents Shakespeare on the Town Common, plus

The Third Annual Whatever Theatre Festival

Franklin Performing Arts Company (FPAC) is pleased to announce that the Third Annual Whatever Theater Festival will take place from Wednesday, August 4through Saturday, August 7, 2010. The Festival’s events include Shakespeare on the Common, a medley of one-act plays, The Game Show of Game Shows, and a hilarious and entertaining Soiree.

The Festival’s medley of one-act plays will be presented at Franklin School for the Performing Arts, 38 Main Street, Franklin on Wednesday evening, August 4th at 8:00 p.m. and Saturday afternoon, August 7th at 3:00 p.m. The wonderful collection of short plays ranges from silly and strange to mysterious and thought provoking.

The Festival will feature Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night on Thursday, August 5th and Friday, August 6th at 8:00 p.m. The play will be staged on The Franklin Town Common and is free to the public.

The cast also will perform The Game Show of Game Shows on Saturday, August 7th at 7 p.m. at The School on 38 Main Street in Franklin.

To conclude the Whatever Theater Festival, the cast will present a Soiree on Saturday, August 7th at 9:00 p.m., also at The School. Guaranteed to be a night full of laughter, the Soiree features both prepared and improvisational pieces. Past soiree numbers have ranged from song and dance numbers to hula-hoop acts!

The box office for the Whatever Theater Festival can be reached at (508)-528-8668. There will be no charge for the Shakespeare performances on the Franklin Town Common. Tickets for the other performances are $10 for adults and $5 for students at the door.

Franklin, MA

In the News - rain gardens

Garden to clean stormwater in Franklin


Additional information on the Charles River clean up can be found here:

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: Traffic Alert

Chestnut Street, from E Central Street (Rt 140) to Jordan Road will be closed to through traffic on Wednesday August 4 2010 from 7am to 4pm.

You can subscribe to receive news like this directly to your email by following the steps here:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Franklin, MA: Police alert - injured officer status

I saw helicopters circling above i495 earlier today and couldn't find out what was up. Now this Franklin Police alert fills in the details.


On Tuesday, August 3, 2010 at 11:30 am Franklin Police Officers responded to a report of a police officer that had been struck by a motor vehicle while on paid detail duty at the intersections of King Street and Route 495 in Franklin. The suspect vehicle described by witnesses as a small red car fled the scene leaving the officer, 25 year police veteran Edward Clifford on the roadway. Franklin Firefighters were luckily on scene and immediately rendered first aid to Officer Clifford. Clifford was transported by Franklin Fire to the Milford Whitinsville Regional Hospital for injuries suffered. His condition is good as he was released and is recovering at this time at home.
Witness accounts of the accident and subsequent investigation resulted in the arrest of Ari C. Cunard, age 25 of 301 Union Street apartment 220 in Franklin for the offenses of Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident and Operating a Motor Vehicle so as to Endanger the Lives and Safety of the Public. Cunard was located at her home address and subsequent to questioning by Franklin Police Officers admitted to having been the operator of the suspect motor vehicle, a 2006 Red Chevrolet Cobalt Massachusetts registration 698ES6. The suspect vehicle was located in the rear parking area of 301 Union Street where Ari Cunard resides. Ari Cunard was booked for the above listed offenses and held in the Franklin Station until released on bail for appearance in the Wrentham District Court on Wednesday the 4th of August.

Updated: 8/8/10
Boston Herald says Ari has a record:


Note: The police officers working on details are working on their own personal time earning extra money and money for Franklin. Franklin charges the contractors for the detail services which covers the cost of the police officers time, plus. This information has been confirmed in prior budget meeting discussions with police and town personnel.

Franklin, MA

Information Sessions Regarding Franklin Residually Designated Discharges

                                            The United Regional Chamber of Commerce logo 
Information Sessions Regarding Franklin Residually Designated Discharges
The United Regional Chamber of Commerce and the 495 MetroWest Partnership invites you to an information session at which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will provide information on the "Draft General Permit for Residually Designated Discharges in Bellingham, Franklin, and Milford." In light of the comment period being extended to Sept. 30, the 495/MetroWest Partnership and The United Regional Chamber have been working with the EPA to use this opportunity for further outreach and education for the affected parties.

The first of these information sessions is being held on Tues., Aug. 3 at 10 a.m. at Dean College in Franklin in the Alden Center at 85 Main St. Parking is available in the Dean Hall Parking Lot. The second session is scheduled for Wed., Aug. 18 at 3 p.m. in the Arcand Meeting Room at Bellingham Municipal Center, located at 10 Mechanic St., Bellingham.

The third session will be held on Thurs., Aug. 26 at 10 a.m. in the Physician's Conference Room at the Milford Regional Medical Center, located at 14 Prospect St., Milford. Free parking is available at the Cancer Center, directly across the street from the Hospital, on Prospect Street.

These meetings offer an opportunity for constructive dialogue on the details of the draft permit. EPA officials will offer a presentation, followed by Q&A. This is not a public hearing but an informational meeting to gather more details about the draft permit and to have your questions/concerns heard by the EPA. For further details and background information on the draft permit visit:

If you have specific comments/concerns on the draft permit that you would like to submit formally, for the record, they must be sent in writing by Sept. 30 to the EPA at:

                        Mark Voorhees
                        Office of Ecosystem Protection
                        US EPA Region 1
                        5 Post Office Square, Suite 100, Mail Code OEP06-4
                        Boston, MA 02109-3912

Who should attend? Property owners in the affected communities who have either received a letter/Notice of Residual Designation from the EPA or have 2 or more acres of impervious surface (rooftops, parking lots).

Why should you attend? Once the draft permit is finalized, affected property owners will be required to obtain an authorization to discharge stormwater and reduce phosphorous levels in those discharges by implementing Best Management Practices (BMP's - both non-structural and structural) and/or participating in a Certified Municipal Phosphorous Program (CMPP). Learn more about who is affected, what will need to be done to be in compliance, and what the timelines are.

Please send specific questions that you would like addressed at these meetings in advance to Mark Voorhees, at

Also, please RSVP to Mark Voorhees and indicate which meeting you are planning on attending.

Plans for schools advance


Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:


via Boston Globe -- Globe West by Rachel Lebeaux, Globe Correspondent on 7/31/10

As the new school year approaches, officials in Franklin and Medway are on the verge of hiring architects for longstanding school renovation and repair efforts, and are moving closer to asking voters to approve property-tax increases to pay for the projects.

Add to Facebook Add to Twitter Add to digg Add to StumbleUpon Add to Reddit Add to Email this Article

Medway - Franklin Massachusetts - Property tax - Business - Franklin


Things you can do from here:


Municipal Relief Bill enacted

The major item of interest here is the unfunded liability for the pensions that Franklin (and every other community) has to address. The deadline for having a fully funded plan has been extended to 2040.

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Revenue by Robert Bliss on 7/29/10

Earlier this week, Gov. Deval Patrick signed with an Energency Preamble the new Municipal Relief law . The preamble allows the provisions of the law to take immediate effect.
Highlights of the law, formally titled An Act Relative to Municipal Relief, include:

-- Allowing cities and towns to extend their pension funding schedules out to 2040, rather than meeting the previous deadline of 2030 which seemed all but impossible given unprecedented asset losses from the stock market decline of 2008;

-- Giving communities more flexibility in their borrowing by allowing the financing of projects over a term matching the asset's useful life up to 30 years;

-- Permits communities to adopt a limited early retirement program;

-- As noted in City and Town article of July 22, "Certification Year Reshuffle," restructures the schedule for triennial property tax recertifications.

There is much more in the new law, including changes in bidding, intermunicipal agreements, and provisions to stimulate regionalization and shared services. 

Things you can do from here:

Franklin, MA: Absentee ballots available - Sep 25th primary election





TIME: 6:00a.m. – 8:00p.m.


LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE: AUGUST 25, 2010 at 8:00pm at the Town Clerk’s Office, First Floor, 355 East Central Street, Municipal Building.

Absentee Ballot Information: Absentee ballots are now available in the Town Clerk’s office. A registered voter who will be unable to vote at the polls on election day due to the following reasons may vote absentee up to 12:00 noon Monday, SEPTEMBER 13, 2010:
absence from your city or town during normal polling hours; or
physical disability preventing you from going to the polling place; or
religious belief.

All absentee requests must be made in writing with an original signature (no faxes or e-mails are accepted). If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call Deborah L. Pellegri, Town Clerk, at 508-520-4900.

Attest: Deborah L. Pellegri, CMC, Town Clerk/Election Administrato

Franklin, MA

Town Council - Agenda - 8/4/10


B. ANNOUNCEMENTS - Meetings of the Town Council are Recorded
Change of Council Meeting Date – Sept. 15 to Sept. 22








1. Resolution 10-40:Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Action Plan
2. Resolution 10-42:Establishment of North Grove Street Economic Opportunity Area
3. Resolution 10-43:Establishment of South Grove Street Economic Opportunity Area
4. Resolution 10-44: Establishment of Financial Way Economic Opportunity Area
5. Resolution 10-45:Purchase of Land at 459 Pleasant Street-Authorization and Appropriation
6. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 10-645: Site Plan Review & Design Review – 2nd Reading





O. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required


The full agenda document can be found on the Franklin, MA website here (PDF)

In the News - Bill Glynn, St Rocco's, cancer, renovations

School discussion planned in Franklin


Italian cooking in Franklin, a handful at a time

Franklin, MA

Monday, August 2, 2010

Franklin, MA: Town Council - procedures manual

Continuing to find some interesting summer reading, let's get into the Town Council procedures manual. It is posted on the Town website here (PDF):

and can be viewed here:


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Native Plants of Franklin

Hello Franklin! It’s time to reveal what last week’s mystery plant was. Were you able to figure it out? Loretta was close, and Susan correctly identified it. Here is the picture again:

If you said it was pinesap, you are correct!

I photographed this pinesap, at the Franklin State Forest last September, which means you have some time to get out and look for this elusive plant yourself. This patch is visible from the trail that leads straight into the woods from the YMCA.

The trick to seeing pinesap, Monotropa hypopitys, is that it only grows above ground like this for a very brief window of time. You may notice that the plant isn’t green. It actually contains no chlorophyll, which means it isn’t getting its food from the sun. Instead, it is a parasite that feeds on a fungus, which in turn is in a symbiotic relationship with tree roots. Don’t ever try to transplant this type of plant, because its growing conditions are so complex that removing the plant from its environment would kill it.

A more common relative of pinesap is Indian pipe, Monotropa uniflora, which also grows in undisturbed, shady woodlands, and is in bloom right now.

Indian pipe is frequently mistaken for a fungus, but like pinesap, it is a parasitic flowering plant.

And here is our next mystery plant:

Happy plant-sleuthing!

Franklin, MA