Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas - 2010

Merry Christmas!

In the spirit of all that is good around us, I hope you enjoy your holiday with family and friends!

Franklin, MA

Friday, December 24, 2010

Public Meeting regarding the PWED Project Draft Plan - Jan 10, 2011

Important Downtown Franklin Project in Need of Input
Public Meeting regarding PWED Project Draft Plan

The Town of Franklin is holding a public meeting in order to obtain comments and suggestions on the Public Works Economic Development (PWED) grant funded portion of the Downtown Franklin Roadway and Streetscape Improvement Project. The meeting will be held on Monday January 10, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. at Dean College’s Alden Center (S11) located in the Arthur W. Pierce Center for Science and Technology.

Parking will be available in the Dean Hall Lot located off Emmons Street behind Dean Hall.

The focus of the meeting is to obtain input from the general public, government officials, Downtown business owners, property owners, and other individuals and organizations on draft plans for the PWED project area, which includes the following:
  • Emmons Street between Main Street and Hillside Road
  • Dean Avenue between Main and Ray Streets
  • Ray Street
  • Depot Street
  • The Town of Franklin’s Depot Street Parking Lot

The goals of this project are to improve the deteriorated conditions of these secondary roadways, create a safer pedestrian friendly environment, stimulate private sector investment, and improve the overall appearance of Downtown Franklin.

The meeting will be a hands-on workshop, where meeting attendees will have the opportunity to review draft plans, ask questions, exchange ideas, and provide suggestions. If unable to attend the public meeting, draft plans are available for review in the Town of Franklin’s Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD).

To make it easy for individuals to submit comments and suggestions, the Department of Planning and Community Development has created the Downtown Improvement Project webpage on the Town’s website:

Please utilize the website to provide input and look for other ways to participate in this important project. DPCD asks that the public utilize the website whenever possible to provide input, however input in any format (direct mail; email; telephone; fax) is welcome.

Feel free to contact Franklin’s Director of Planning and Community Development, Bryan W. Taberner, at 508-520-4907 or if you have questions or require additional information. We look forward to hearing from you.

Note: There are two projects that have been funded for Downtown - This is funded separately from the Downtown Improvement Project. The two projects are related in that they cover adjoining sections of Franklin and will be worked on a similar schedule.

Franklin, MA

"It's as clear as mud, as it always has been"

As public employees, teachers fall under the state's ethics reform law that was created in July 2009. That law prohibits public workers from accepting gifts valued at more than $50, and requires written notification of any gift that might lend an appearance of impropriety, according to the Ethics Commission.
"Most of the gifts that the teachers receive wouldn't fall into the category where they need a disclosure form," said David Giannotti, an Ethics Commission spokesman. "They're baked goods, or they're homemade holiday cards, or something small like that. You have to look all the facts, and whether a reasonable person would think the teacher could be influenced by the gift. Nobody is going to conclude that a teacher is going to go into the tank for someone for less than $10."
Earlier this month, the Ethics Commission revised the regulations to allow teachers to receive a gift from the entire class up to $150, so long as the gift amounts of each student or parent remained anonymous.

Ethics law means teachers must disclose gifts over $10

Franklin, MA

Thursday, December 23, 2010

"Make your partner a real partner" (video)

From this 15 minute TED Talk, we gain insights from Sheryl Sandberg on women in the work force. She has three messages: one, sit at the table; two, make your partner a real partner; and three, don't leave before you leave.


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

Franklin, MA

"It's the really mundane things that you miss most"

Staff Sgt. Johnny Saldana, a Franklin resident whose 11- and 5-year-old sons attend the school, donated the flag while he was home on leave after spending much of the fall in Afghanistan serving with the Massachusetts Army National Guard.
"This school was founded on the principle that serving other people does matter," Head of School Kevin O'Malley told the students before the flag was raised. "Sgt. Saldana has given us a flag we can all be proud of."

U.S. soldier donates flag that flew in Afghanistan to Franklin school

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Individual mandate penalties proposed for tax year 2011

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Revenue by Robert Bliss on 12/21/10

The Department of Revenue has posted the proposed 2011 penalty schedule for those who are able to afford the purchase of health insurance but fail to do so. The Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act of 2006 requires most adults 18 and over with access to affordable insurance to obtain it, and requires DOR to announce a penalty schedule for individuals who do not comply with the law.

The penalties for individuals between 150.1 percent and 300 percent of Federal Poverty Level (FPL) are equal to half the cost of the lowest priced Commonwealth Care enrollee premium as of Jan. 1, 2011.

For those between 150.1 percent and 300 percent of FPL (up to $32,496 for an individual or $66,156 for a family of four) the annual proposed penalty is unchanged from last year. For example, an individual who is between 250.1 percent and 300 percent of FPL paid a maximum penalty of $58 a month ($696 annually) in tax year 2010 and is proposed to pay the same penalty in tax year 2011. The same penalty is proposed for a family of four with earnings not in excess of $66,156; however, the penalty is multiplied by two if both parents are uninsured.
Individuals with incomes up to 150 percent of FPL (or less than $16,248) are not subject to the penalty and are not required to pay an enrollee premium for Commonwealth Care health insurance. Neither is a family of four whose income does not exceed $33,084.

For those ages 18-26 whose income exceeds $32,496 or 300 percent of FPL, the penalty for tax year 2011 is proposed to equal to half of the lowest priced individual Commonwealth Choice Young Adult Plan premium without drug coverage or $72 per month ($864 annually), up from $66 per month ($792 annually) in tax year 2010.

For those ages 27 and older whose income exceeds 300 percent of FPL, the proposed penalty is equal to half of the lowest priced individual Commonwealth Choice Bronze premium with drug coverage or $101 per month ($1,212 annually), up from $93 per month ($1,116 annually) in tax year 2010. Again, this penalty is multiplied by two if two parents are in the family.

Things you can do from here:

Franklin Food Pantry - receives grant

The Massachusetts Bankers Association (MBA) Charitable Foundation has announced the recipients of its annual community grants for 2010. The 32 grants are a record number and total $128,500, also a record amount for the foundation, which now has provided gifts totaling $1.3 million over its 14-year history.
The foundation, supported by the nearly 200 member banks of the MBA throughout Massachusetts and New England, is distributing the grants over eight geographic regions in Massachusetts, giving awards to deserving social service agencies.
“There is terrific need all across the region,” said Norman S. Seppala, chairman of the MBA Charitable Foundation and president of Granite Savings Bank, Rockport, “and there are so many deserving social service agencies. We’re pleased to be able to help support the work of so many individuals and organizations in their time of need.”
The Franklin Food Pantry is blessed to be amongst the grant recipients.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I'd like to thank the Massachusetts Bankers Association for this grant. It will help the Pantry continue its work.

The full announcement of the Massachusetts Bankers Association can be found here

Franklin, MA

In the News - dancers, schedule, art

Dancers from Franklin center to open for Rockettes

Franklin High looks to change class schedule

Franklin Art Association meets

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: Kindergarten registration

Hold the dates to register for kindergarten:

February 1st, 3rd, and 7th
4:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
Horace Mann Middle School – Cafeteria
224 Oak Street, Franklin, MA

All the details on the forms required and how to obtain them to have them filled out before arriving at registration can be found in the flyer here:

Franklin, MA - Kindergarten Registration

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

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Traffic Sample on RT 140 (video)

While running Tuesday morning (12/21/10), I stopped to record with my Android phone this video segment of traffic on RT 140 in front of the former KofC building.

Not a great time to sample the traffic as neither the Taco Bell nor Wendy's would be open at this time (about 8:30 AM). A better time would be around lunch or in the evening rush hour.

The traffic was also somewhat slower today due to the snowy road conditions. It would be quicker if the roads were dry.

Would MA Highway consider lowering the speed limit from 40 to 30? I figure that would help. Most folks tend to go over the speed posted limit anyway so if it is posted at 40 folks will go 45-50. If posted at 30, folks will go 35-40. Getting the traffic to go slower would allow more time for a decision on when to safely turn.

What do you think?

Franklin, MA

In the News - traffic study, safety grant, blue Christmas

Franklin board calls for review of traffic study

Franklin gets fire safety grant to teach students

Franklin church holds 'Blue Christmas' service

Franklin, MA

Monday, December 20, 2010

Inside the chicken and egg story

Christopher L. Foote, a senior economist and policy advisor in the research department at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, currently serves as advisor to the Center for Behavioral Economics and Decisionmaking. Chris covers the "Great Recession" in a series of segments from one talk for the Boston Fed with good insights specifically for MA and New England.

The first of the series is available at this link. The remainder in the series can be found within the video player on the Boston Fed Reserve website. The player allows for linking but not embedding.,AAAAGFYn89E~,aFDfVsMsQ7Xbd2TWIkONvAkTltKaGd6w&bclid=701977326001&bctid=704600475001

Franklin, MA

"heroes need to be honored and remembered"

The signs, expected to cost $1,800, will be placed on Franklin streets where the soldiers were born or lived. The town's Rotary Club has pledged $1,000 toward the project and former Town Councilor Chris Feeley has offered to cover the remainder of the cost, said Town Councilor Tina Powderly.
"What this really allowed us to do is focus on the lives and legacy of these men rather than raising funds," Powderly said, adding she and lifelong Franklin resident Rose Turco have spent several months examining scrapbooks and newspaper clippings that reference the soldiers. "This community very, very much supports its veterans and that says a lot about the character of the residents."

Franklin WWII heroes sign project gets a big boost

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Franklin, MA

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Franklin, MA: Planning Board - 12/20/10 - Agenda

The agenda for the Planning Board meeting on Dec 20, 2010 is attached below. The hearing for the proposal to redo the Knights of Columbus property is scheduled to be continued.

Planning Board Agenda 12-20-10

Franklin, MA

In the News - road reparis

Joan Hallett, 69, who has lived in Franklin for 47 years, said she'd like to see smoother roads, but realizes the town also needs to fund emergency services and schools.
"There's not much you can do if you don't have the money," she said.
Read the full article here:

Franklin struggling to keep up with road repairs

Franklin, MA