Friday, December 31, 2010

MBTA Tests Commuter Rail "Quiet Cars"

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Transportation by Klark Jessen on 12/31/10

On Monday morning, January 3rd, the MBTA and MBCR will begin the "Quiet Car" program on rush-hour trains on the Fitchburg and Franklin commuter rail lines.

The pilot program is to run for 90 days, during which time riders on the two lines will be asked to provide feedback on their experience with the program. Depending on customer response to the pilot program, the MBTA and MBCR will consider the deployment of "Quiet Cars" on all thirteen Commuter Rail lines.

MBTA General Manager Richard Davey said the program is the result of a recent survey, which indicated significant demand for passenger coaches free from cell phone chatter.

The car closest to the locomotive will be designated as the 'quiet car.' Customers using it will be asked to refrain from cell phone use; keep pagers, cell phones, laptop and PDA sounds off or to vibrate; and speak in whispers. Riders seated in a quiet car who need to use the phone will be asked to move to another car for the duration of their call. Conductors will make normal announcements during the trip. Conductors will be authorized to lift quiet car restrictions during any periods of service disruption or heavy passenger volume.

For more information, as well as tips for riding the "Quiet Car," please visit

Things you can do from here:

Franklin wants your business

The one page summary of benefits for businesses to locate in Franklin, MA:

Franklin Wants Your Business

Franklin, MA

Sample Census Data for Franklin, MA

The NY Times has a pretty slick interactive map tool based upon sample Census data. Input the Franklin zip code (02038) and see the results:

Franklin, MA

In the News - train schedule, Shell Station, Trash system, Donny Drive fire

Franklin train schedule changed for New Year's Eve


Franklin Shell broken into

New Franklin trash system withstands snow challenges

Two children escape fire in Franklin

Franklin, MA

Meeting notes archive for 2010



The collection of meeting summaries for calendar year 2010

Budget Workshop 01/25/10 

Conservation Commission 08/12/10 

Finance Committee 02/02/10 

Finance Committee 03/23/10 

Finance Committee 05/04/10

Finance Committee 05/06/10

Finance Committee 05/10/10

Finance Committee 09/07/10

Financial Plng Comm 03/24/10

Financial Plng Comm 03/31/10

Financial Plng Comm 06/23/10

Financial Plng Comm 08/11/10

Planning Board 03/22/10 

Planning Board 05/03/10 

Planning Board 05/17/10

Planning Board 06/07/10

Planning Board 06/21/10

Planning Board 07/26/10

Planning Board 08/23/10

Planning Board 09/13/10

School Committee 01/12/10 

School Committee 01/26/10 

School Committee 02/09/10 

School Committee 02/23/10 

School Committee 03/09/10 

School Committee 04/13/10 

School Committee 05/11/10 

School Committee 05/25/10 

School Committee 06/08/10 

School Committee 06/22/10 

School Committee 07/20/10 

School Committee 08/10/10 

School Committee 08/24/10 

School Committee 09/14/10 

School Committee 10/12/10 

School Committee 11/09/10 

School Committee 11/16/10 

School Committee 12/14/10 

Town Council 01/06/10 

Town Council 01/20/10 

Town Council 02/03/10 

Town Council 02/10/10 

Town Council 03/03/10 

Town Council 03/10/10 

Town Council 03/17/10 

Town Council 04/07/10

Town Council 04/28/10

Town Council 05/05/10

Town Council 06/02/10

Town Council - Budget Hearing - Part 1 - 06/09/10

Town Council - Budget Hearing - Part 2 - 06/10/10

Town Council 06/16/10

Town Council 07/21/10

Affordable Housing Strategy and Development Plan

Town Council 08/04/10

Downtown Improvement Project (Collection)

Town Council 08/18/10

Town Council 09/08/10

Town Council 09/29/10

Town Council 10/06/10

Town Council 10/20/10

Town Council 11/03/10

Town Council 11/17/10

Town Council 12/01/10

Town Council 12/08/10
Town Council 12/15/10



Thursday, December 30, 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 probably a good thing to do"

Some charities, including the Franklin Food Pantry, will send donors letters acknowledging the gift rather than hand out receipts.
Anne Marie Bellavance at the Franklin Food Pantry said donations being dropped off and coming in the mail have picked up in the past two weeks.
"It's definitely on the minds of people the week before Christmas to ensure it does get credited as a tax donation (for this year)," she said. "We actually have a major donor who comes every year on Christmas Eve or it's mailed around that time and he does it partly to make sure it counts on that year's taxes."
The Franklin pantry is open until 2 p.m. Friday. Food donations are not assigned a monetary value but are listed by weight in a donation letter, Bellavance said. It's up to the donor or accountant to assign a value.
Read the full article in the Milford Daily News

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Downtown Parking - is there enough or not?

Parking, is there enough or not? Is it convenient or not?

What was the study done that leads folks to conclude "there is no parking issue downtown"?

How do you count to get over 2,000 parkings spots downtown?

These and other questions are answered in this document that summarizes the study conducted in 2008 by the Department of Planning and Community Development.

Franklin Downtown Parking Study 2008

This continues the series of additional information from the Franklin Dept of Planning and Community Development on development of downtown Franklin, MA. Look for more over the course of the week to help prepare for the Public Meeting Monday, Jan 10th.

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

Franklin, MA

Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School

The Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School (BFCCPS), a highly successful charter school, was founded in 1995. We are located on the town common in the building which previously housed St. Mary’s School. The mission of BFCCPS is “to assist parents in their role as primary educators of their children by providing a classical academic education integrated with sound character development and community service.” The founding parents established a public school that emphasizes character education, community involvement, service and academic dept with outstanding MCAS performance. BFCCPS is a free, public school open to all Massachusetts students in grade K-8 by lottery.

Our students consistently score above average on MCAS and other standardized exams. We have already met the NCLB National Standard for ELA due in 2014. In addition to the MA Curriculum Frameworks, BFCCPS also incorporates the classically oriented Core Knowledge Sequence, created by nationally known author E. D. Hirsch, Jr. All students take French beginning in Kindergarten an all take Latin beginning in Grade 3 on. Other school successes include three French Gold Medals out of fifteen awarded nationally and excellent Latin scores on the respective National Exams.

A sophisticated system of eighth grade individual Capstone student presentations are required as part of our Community Service initiative. Students in all grades participate in community service programs.

A special effort to include parents in the life of our school community as Parents as Primary Educators enriches our school’s culture and supports the parents role as the first educator of their child. Parents can volunteer in and out of the classroom. They are active members on our Board of Trustees and participate in the many overnight and daily field trips.

Another pillar of BFCCPS is Character Education. Character education is infused into the daily education of our students through responsive classroom techniques, academic advising, and integrated curricular lessons.

Our Classical approach to educate the whole child includes: French, Latin, Art and Music. We have been recognized as one of America’s 100 outstanding music schools with over 80% of our students in grades 4-8 participating in one of our four music ensembles. Our grade 6-8 “Arts Block” offers include: Jazz, Drama, Architecture, Graphic Design, Cartooning, Guitar, Songwriters Workshop, Printmaking, Creative Writing, Photoshop, Keyboard, and Film to name a few.

Sophisticated teacher evaluations and teacher empowerment initiatives give way to teacher creativity in the classroom. With the three computer labs, computer projectors installed in all classrooms, and interactive white board technology, we are able to provide cutting edge Technology classes to all students.

As a K-8 public school we service over 440 students. We are now in our 15th year educating students. We are proud of our past and confident of our future as a charter school of excellence. We invite your questions and interest as we continue to serve students in the Town of Franklin and the eleven surrounding districts.

Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School
201 Main Street
Franklin, Massachusetts 02038

From the 2010 Franklin Annual Report

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Transit Oriented Development

Transit Oriented Development. What is that?

This document from 2006 should help shed some light on the term and the principles that are continuing to help drive the development efforts for downtown Franklin.

Franklin, MA: Transit Oriented Development Study - 2006

This continues the series of additional information from the Franklin Dept of Planning and Community Development on development of downtown Franklin, MA. Look for more over the course of the week to help prepare for the Public Meeting Monday, Jan 10th.

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

Franklin, MA

The British are coming to Franklin, Massachusetts!

What: British Beer Company opening in Franklin, MA
Where: 280 Franklin Village Dr. (Franklin Village Plaza)
When: December, 28 2010
Why: For the enjoyment of all in and around Franklin
What else: 36 tap lines, 91 bottled beers and 1 cask

In Great Britain, Ireland and across Europe, the pub or “local” is the center of town life: a place to relax, refuel the body and spirit, share news and be entertained. The British Beer Company is excited to bring this same atmosphere and service to the community of Franklin.

The BBC offers an eclectic menu, unparalleled beer, wine and cocktail choices and an array of free live entertainment at all their locations. Settle in to one of the several snugs (a private cozy booth) and enjoy a traditional flaky Pasty Pie (chicken and leek perhaps), a crisp Wensleydale salad or a tasty bar pizza (traditional, gluten free or with multi grain dough). Most important; the BBC wants customers to relax and enjoy themselves. At the BBC servers don’t throw a check on the table before the meal is done and rush customers out the door.

Massachusetts owned and operated, the BBC is a refreshing alternative to the surrounding cookie cutter chain restaurants. It’s easy to see why they’re growing so fast - with Franklin being the tenth BBC location to open in Massachusetts since being founded in 1997. Each location has a unique vibe and personality all its own, yet shares its best features with its other siblings – for example, the carefully crafted mahogany bars shipped in from the UK. The BBC in Franklin boasts 36 tap lines of imported brews and specialty craft beers, 91 bottled beers from around the World and Franklin’s first cask conditioned ale. Live entertainment at the BBC is always free with live bands Friday and Saturday nights. Unique lunch and dinner specials are available daily (a couple weeks after the opening).

Whether it’s a business lunch, an after work get-together, a family dinner in friendly surroundings or a late night soirĂ©e fueled by great music over pints with friends…the BBC is destined to be Franklin’s new and only local.

British Beer Company
Open Sun-Wed 11:30am – Midnight.  
Thur – Sat 11:30am – 1am

Cask Conditioned Ale

Franklin, MA

In the News - storm, labyrinth, softball, library

A quiet storm

New Year's Eve labyrinth walk planned in Franklin

Franklin Girls Softball Association plans pitching, catching clinics

Friends of Franklin Library slate meeting, Jan. 5

Franklin, MA

Monday, December 27, 2010

When do I put the trash out?

What happened to the trash pickup scheduled for today?

Mother Nature took care of altering the schedule. Per email with Jeff Nutting, those with Monday AND Tuesday pick up should put their carts/barrels/toters out on Tuesday. They may not get to them all on Tuesday. So if they don't, leave the carts out. They hope to catch up by Weds.

The posted trash schedule showing the locations for each day of the week can be found on the DPW website (PDF)

Franklin, MA

The plan for Franklin Center - 2003

The plan for Franklin Center was developed and published in 2003. You can view the presentation document here:

Franklin, MA: Center Plan - 2003

Additional information from the Franklin Dept of Planning and Community Development will be highlighted here over the course of the week to help prepare for the Public Meeting Monday, Jan 10th.

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

Franklin, MA


The United Regional Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting event at Ten Key Inc., a Franklin-based accounting and bookkeeping firm, on Dec. 21. Owned by Stephanie Robl, Ten Key celebrated its relocation to a new office in the Hayward Mill Complex at 31 Hayward St., unit 2A - Room 205.

Ten Key, Inc. provides financial services, including accounting and bookkeeping, to both individuals as well as small and large businesses. For more information about Ten Key, visit

Members of The United Regional Chamber of Commerce and local officials welcomed Ten Key to its new Franklin office space. Pictured from left to right are: Franklin Town Administrator Jeff Nutting, The United Regional Chamber of Commerce President Jack Lank, Ed McDonough of Executive Coaching, Thomaz DeMoura of Digital Federal Credit Union, Carl Scheinman of Dean Bank, Danielle Grueter of Ten Key, Nancy Quigley of Century 21 Commonwealth, Owner of Ten Key Stephanie Robl, Bob Arena of Personalized Computer Care, Chris Pintarich of Berry Insurance, Allison Delaney of Ten Key, Donna Goulart of William Palumbo Insurance Agency and Faith Macia of Ten Key. Photo courtesy of Jen Osojnicki, Professional Photographer.

Franklin, MA

In the News - Tri-County, toddlers

Franklin member retiring from Tri-County school board


Franklin class designed for toddlers, parents

Franklin, MA

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Parking Ban Activation

Section 170-62 Effect of Parking Ban. The parking of any motor vehicle within the layout or right-of-way of any public street or any roadway open to the public is prohibited between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. while a winter storm parking ban is in effect.

You can subscribe to receive your own news via email

FM #81 - Second Half 2010 Summary

This internet radio show or podcast is number 81 in the series for Franklin Matters.

MP3 File

In this session, you give me about ten minutes and I'll fill you in on what matters in Franklin as the 2010 calendar year draws to a close. This segment will review the major events that occurred each month from July through December. The notes that go along with this segment will contain links rich with the details.


The introduction of the new trash/recycling process

Third Thursday occurred on July 15th

The Affordable Housing Strategy and Plan was out for review

The Native Plants of Franklin series by Michelle Clay was introduced


opened with Bill Glynn of the School Committee holding a “Sit and Chat” on the Town Common

Town Council meeting on the 4th
Affordable Housing Strategy approved
Economic Development Areas established along Grove St
DelCarte house purchased on Prospect St
The Spanish War Memorial gun was removed

School Committee meeting of the 10th covered the District Improvement Plan amongst other items

The Franklin Matters survey on the trash/recycle process results were published

Town Council meeting on the 18th
Underground utilities for downtown were discussed

Third Thursday occurred Aug 19th

School Committee meeting on the 24th
Middle School Improvement Plan was reviewed amongst other items

The survey results to pay for the underground utilities were published

The School Committee added a meeting on Aug 31 due to late word on the receipt of additional stimulus funding which they chose to spend part of reserving part for next years budget cycle..


Finance Committee and Town Council initially looked at a proposal for funding the design and permitting for repairs of the dams on the DelCarte property

School Committee on Sep 14th
Elementary school Improvement Plans amongst other items

Town Council meeting of Sep 29, 2010

Executive summary for the Traffic Changes

Project presentation from May 2010

Downtown Partnership letter in underground utilities


Town Council meeting of 10/6/10

DelCarte - Town Council discussion

Where is the DelCarte property?

Photo tour of the DelCarte property in May 2010

Economic Development Summit fostered by Councilors Jones and Powderly along with the Dept. of Planning and Community Development

The School Committee met on Tuesday 10/12

Most of the night was spent on the high school reviewing
The school improvement plan
The senior project
The school discipline process and statistics showing the improvements

Copies of the presentations are posted to Franklin Matters.

Town Council meeting 10/20
a bunch of presentations from the DPW on their operations (water, sewer, and snow/ice storm preparations.)
The Council also completed the public hearing on the underground utilities, determining not to pursue putting them underground due to the expense

On the weekend prior to Election Day, November 2 I spent time on the weekly podcast providing information on the ballot questions, in particular the two charter questions


The election of Nov 2 resulted in one of the two charter changes passing. The technical changes passed, the proposal to move the Treasurer/Collector to an appointed position failed.

Town Council Nov 3, Senator Richard Ross came to visit and speak with the Council, Jeff Nutting spoke to provide an extensive outlook on the FY 2012 budget

School Committee meeting on Nov 9th
heard the capital budget as well as the DPW presentation on snow storms

School Committee meeting on 11/16 - Mostly about MCAS

Town Council 11/17 - heard about the proposal to form a cable access non-profit to run the cable TV operations on behalf of the Town. The second major item on the agenda was the initial presentation on the proposal for a new zoning district downtown along with a host of changes to bylaws and signs, etc.

I took the opportunity to provide feedback to both the SchCom and TC on back-to-back nights encouraging their outreach efforts and also reviewing their attendance records which I have been updating and publishing with each meeting.


Town Council met three times this month
on the 1st to approve funding to continue the water and sewer repairs

On the 8th, the tax rate hearing was formally held to set the tax rate for 2011 at $12.95/thousand and keep a single rate

I had updated my numbers and analysis on the tax information prior to the hearing

and on the 15th the third and final meeting to renew the liquor licenses for 2011
and hear a revision of the downtown zoning proposal

The School Committee met only once, on the 14th
The anti-bullying plan was reviewed and approved

So we bring a close to 2010, this will be the last of the weekly summaries this year. There will be more in 2011.

The year ahead looks to be a challenging one. The budget situation will likely result in an override vote sometime in May or June. The high school renovation project is also on schedule to come before the voters late next year. The Town Council, School Committee and other Franklin elected positions will be up for vote in November. Whether the high school project will make it to the same ballot remains to be seen.

So fasten your seat belt, the information train here at Franklin Matters and Franklin Matters Weekly will continue.

In case you missed the mid-year (Jan to Jun) review, you can find that here

---- ---- ----

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but I can't do it alone. I can use your help.

How can you help?

If you have an interest in covering the Planning Board and or the Zoning Board of Appeals meetings, please let me know.

As always - If you like this, please tell your friends and neighbors
If you don't like this, please tell me.

Thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit
If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission

I hope you enjoy!

"We need some serious money"

"It's a wooded environment and it's nature," said David Labonte, chairman of the Franklin Citizens Rail Trail Committee. "We need to do a little sweat equity in paying for this thing upfront to have something for generations of people of all ages."
But, it could cost $2.8 million to improve and pave the 1.4 miles of trail in Franklin, which needs drainage work, grading and signs. A tunnel must also be designed and built under Prospect Street, Labonte said. Costs could be reduced with volunteer labor.
The path, which goes from Grove Street to Prospect Street before entering Bellingham, is mostly on state Department of Conservation and Recreation land and is open to the public. But many sections are overgrown, filled with ruts and otherwise unsuitable for bicycling, he said. 
Read the full article in the Milford Daily News or visit the Franklin Citizens Rail Trail Committee website here.

Franklin, MA

"Public safety is usually at the top of the list"

In Franklin, the minimal staffing level is 10, which allows the department to staff two rescue engines and two ambulances, McCarraher said. The department has lost three firefighters and three administrative positions in the last several years, and the chief said federal stimulus grant money has allowed it to keep the staffing where it is the last two years.
McCarraher said Franklin's town government has worked hard to spread budget cuts fairly, and knows they are in a difficult position trying to decide where to save money.
"We're in the worst economy of our lives, and there are many competing interests," he said. "They heard the message, and they hired more people (when needed). They understand what's going on, and I think they have a very difficult job."

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News

Franklin, MA