Saturday, January 15, 2011

Be careful coming out of side streets, shovel fire hydrants

There has been so much snow, there is only so much room to put it. As a result, the snow gets piled up on the corners and really presents a challenge for those vehicles trying to come out into the main street. There is either no line of sight or its very limited.

And for perspective on how big the piles are, here is a view of the next corner.

I am sure you have the same or worse in the traveling I have done around Franklin. Please be careful!

And from the Franklin website, this is a good plea for action:

Please shovel your nearest fire hydrant. With recent snow, fire hydrants may be unavailable for firefighters. Please take a few minutes to shovel the fire hydrant closest to your home to save vital seconds in the event of fire.

 Franklin, MA

"We hope to put as much green into the project as is financially feasible"

Boulter was one of about 35 students who explored the pros and cons of solar panels, geothermal heating, green roofs and ways to improve bathrooms with low-flush toilets, automatic hand driers and motion-activated faucets at an event at the school yesterday.
"All of these things we're seeing on projects," said Christopher Alles, a project manager at the School Building Authority, mentioning the school's coming upgrades. "This gets students thinking about green design."
Students rarely take such an active role in researching such ideas, Alles said, with parents, town officials and administrators normally proposing them.
While concepts such as geothermal heat may not be possible in Franklin, project designers are considering some of the students' proposals, including making bathrooms more environmentally friendly, Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting said.
I love this collaboration. This is a great practical educational opportunity. Read more about the student work in the Milford Daily News here

Franklin, MA

Reminder: Pancake Breakfast - TODAY - 8:00 - 11:00 AM

The 8th graders at the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School are hosting a pancake breakfast to raise funds for their annual trip to Washington D.C.

The pancake breakfast will be held at the Franklin Elks hall on Pond Street in Franklin on Saturday, Jan. 15th from 8am - 11am.

Pancakes, toppings, juice, milk, coffee, and hot chocolate available. All are welcome. Cost is $5 per person (children under age 3 are free).

Franklin, MA

In the News - Pancake breakfast, Democrat caucus

Franklin charter school to hold pancake breakfast tomorrow

Democrats to caucus in Franklin

Franklin, MA

Friday, January 14, 2011

Southern New England Media Makers - Jan 16

If you are interested in meeting people who are working with audio and video on the web, this is a great meeting to attend. We will have podcasters, videobloggers, filmmakers, artists, writers, PR and social media people. Everyone is welcome.

We will gather around the table, have breakfast, and answer the question, “What are you doing?”

A great way to share what you are doing and learn from others. I like to call it networking with a real purpose in mind. Unfortunately, a family commitment will keep me away from this event Sunday when they will be celebrating their one year anniversary!

Additional details can be found on the Facebook Group Page

You can confirm your free registration on Eventbrite here

Franklin, MA

Green Reel - "End of the Line", Sunday, Jan 23 at 7:00 PM

The Green Reel film series will begin a new series on Sunday evenings in Jan and Feb. Each film starts at 7:00 PM and is scheduled to include a brief discussion following the film.

Agudas Achim - 901 N Main St Attleboro, MA (Rt 152 & Toner Blvd, Exit 5 at Rt 95)

Imagine an ocean without fish. Imagine your meals without seafood. Imagine the global consequences. This is the future if we do not stop, think, and act. End of the Line is the world's first major documentary about the devastating effect of overfishing. This film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

Post film discussion lead by: Deborah Cramer, author of "Smithsonian Ocean, Our Water, Our World" and "Great Waters".

The flyer for the full series can be found here:

Green Reel - Film Series - Flyer 2011

Franklin, MA

"one budget item that communities can overspend"

After this week's bills are tallied, Franklin Department of Public Works Director Robert "Brutus" Cantoreggi said he expects the town to have spent $500,000 to $550,000 of its $750,000 snow removal budget.
"I am concerned," he said. "It hasn't been a good winter to save money. ... We've had over 43 inches of snow in Franklin, and that's what we normally get in a year."
Cantoreggi experimented with only applying salt to main streets and hills earlier in the season to reduce costs. But 50 residents called with complaints about slippery patches in other areas. Public works crews then salted those stretches, he said.
The entire town needed to be salted for Wednesday's storm because the snow was heavy, making it difficult to scrape the roads clear with plows, he said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

The DPW provided an update on their snow removal process and budget allocation to the Town Council in October. You can find that information here

Franklin, MA

In the News - Rotary poker

Franklin Rotary plans poker tournament

Franklin, MA

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Town Council - 01/12/11

The collection of live reporting from the Town Council meeting on Wednesday, Jan 12 can be found here

Why was the meeting held?
The liquor license application needed to be processed. If the meeting had been rescheduled, it would have created a delay for the applicant and an additional cost as the notifications to abutters, etc as part of the application process would have had to be redone all over again.

The 'easy' way out was to hold the meeting. The roads were clear. The parking lot of the municipal building was clear. 8 of the 9 councilors showed up for the less than 15 minutes that it took to conduct business. The business applicant was happy. He is on schedule to open (hopefully) in mid-February in the former KFC building on RT 140.

Franklin, MA

Pancake Breakfast - Sat, Jan 15th 8:00 - 11:00 AM

The 8th graders at the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School are hosting a pancake breakfast to raise funds for their annual trip to Washington D.C.

The pancake breakfast will be held at the Franklin Elks hall on Pond Street in Franklin on Saturday, Jan. 15th from 8am - 11am.

Pancakes, toppings, juice, milk, coffee, and hot chocolate available. All are welcome. Cost is $5 per person (children under age 3 are free).

Franklin, MA

In the News - health lessons, Circle of Friends, women's club

Franklin to add health lessons at elementary schools

Circle of Friends presents the Slambovian Circus of Dreams

St. Mary Catholic Women's Club meeting Jan. 20

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow angels

Mary Olsson contributes this snow angel!

After clearing the driveway of the major snow, I went back for the minor clean up and took the opportunity to do my snow angel. If you can't do a snow angel, it isn't really snow.

Did you have fun in the snow? Will you have more fun on Thursday?

Feel free to share your photos here or on our Facebook page.

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Closing


FHS Renovation project did get the feasibility agreement signed, so we are eligible for 53% reimbursement. This can be increased during the planning process up to 55%.


Whalen - question on the SJC snow decision
Cerel - difference between natural and unnatural causes caused some problems, the court has been moving in this direction to remove the distinctions between natural and unnatural causes. Some communities are getting aggressive in revenue generation by enforcing sidewalk clearing within a specified time after the storm.

Best wishes to Jean Hunchard (sic) recovering from heart surgery

Best wishes to Zollo on his birthday and Kelly's daughter, they ar enot the same age.

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


Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Action items

Franklin Café & Grill – New All Alcoholic Beverages Restaurant License
motion to approve, passed 8-0



1. Resolution 11-01: Acceptance of Gifts –Fallen Heroes Signs
motion to approve, passed 8-0
thanks to Rose Turco for putting this together, to Chris Feeley and the Rotary Club for their contributions

2. Resolution 11-02: Acceptance of Gifts – Council on Aging
motion to approve, passed 8-0

3. Resolution 11-03: Acceptance of Gift – Recreation
motion to approve, passed 8-0

4. Resolution 11-04: Acceptance and Grant of Easements: Franklin Center Commons I and Abutting Town-Owned Land  motion to approve, passed 8-0

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Town Council

Present: Kelly, Jones, Vallee, Whalen, Mason, Pfeffer, Zollo, Powderly
Absent: McGann

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – December 1, 2010 and December 8, 2010
motion to approve, passed 8-0

The meeting is recorded by Verizon, Comcast and Franklin Matters



Franklin Recycling Committee, Amanda Costa
Motion to approve, passed 8-0

Franklin, MA

Calling all snowmen!

Mary Olsson sent this to me to share with you.

Thanks Mary! I am looking forward to doing a snow angel. I haven't done one yet this season.

If you get to do a snow angel, take a photo and send the photo to shersteve at gmail dot com. I'll collect the photos of snow angels or snow men and post them here.

Franklin, MA

"half-day or tuition-based program would not save the district money"

"The impact of going to a half-day program would ... lead to a reduction in our foundation budget, which would significantly impact our Chapter 70 money," Goodman said, adding the district's foundation budget for kindergarten is $3.4 million for this school year.
Goodman said it is too early in the budget process to determine exactly how much money Franklin would lose by switching programs.
The district might save money in fiscal 2012 because next year's state aid is determined using October 2010 enrollment, but Franklin would likely lose money in subsequent years, Goodman said.
"This analysis really shows, at least from my perspective, that over the long run financially it's a loser," School Committee member Ed Cafasso said. "The financial evidence is fairly overwhelming that one year of savings would be wiped out every other year." 

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Review the notes from the full School Committee meeting (including the presentation document on kindergarten) here

Franklin, MA

"It's too dense"

Joel D'Errico proposed 10 single-bedroom apartments for the building in November, but told the Planning Board Monday he plans to build eight apartments instead. The new building would supplement an existing 10-apartment building.
The reduction may not appease many neighbors who said the building is still too large for the lot at the corner of Summer and Winter streets.
"It's inappropriate for the neighborhood," said Robert Landry, who has lived on Summer Street for 65 years. "There'd be too many cars. It's too big of a building, and it's not conforming with the neighborhood."
D'Errico said his development is a good fit since 21 of 31 residential lots in the area have multifamily buildings. One of those properties has 28 apartments, he said.
"The neighborhood character is 2-to-1 multifamily," he said. "It's changed. It's not what it was 50 years ago."

Franklin, MA

School Committee 01/11/11

The collection of posts from the School Committee meeting Jan 11, 2011 can be found here:

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Live reporting - Closing

There is no school for Wednesday!

5. Information Matters
Superintendent’s Report

School Committee Sub-Committee Reports

  • Space needs scheduled for Jan 25th
  • Budget workshop scheduled for Jan 29th 8:30 AM to 12:00
  • Policy subcommittee working on the bullying policy

School Committee Liaison Reports

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

  • Trivia Bee - March 10th, general trivia

7.Executive Session
Contractual Negotiations

Motion to enter executive session, via roll call 7-0

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Action items

4. Action Items
a. I recommend acceptance of a check for $600.00 from the ECDC PCC for supplies.
motion to approve, passed 7-0

b. I recommend acceptance of a check for $1,000.00 from the Davis Thayer PCC for Library books.
motion to approve, passed 7-0

c. I recommend acceptance of two checks ($200 & $50) for the Jacqueline Schaeffer Theatre Arts Memorial Scholarship at FHS. motion to approve, passed 7-0

d. I recommend approval of the request of the FHS Music Dept. to take the Jazz band and workshop to New Hampshire for the UNH Clark Terry Jazz Festival on Saturday, March 12, 2011 as detailed.
motion to approve, passed 7-0

e. I recommend acceptance of the anonymous gift of used books for the Oak Street Elementary School.
motion to approve, passed 7-0

f. I recommend acceptance of a check for $50.00 from the Insurance Store for Keller Elementary School in-house enrichment.  motion to approve, passed 7-0

g. I recommend acceptance of a check for $50.00 from an ECDC parent for supplies.  motion to approve, passed 7-0

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - policy update

Policy – First Reading - BEDA: Notification of School Committee Meeting
updating the policy to account for the recent Open Meeting law changes

motion to move to second reading, passed 7-0

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Community engagement

3. Discussion Only Items
Community Engagement

Cafasso - antiquated platform needs to be replaced in order to update the website itself
the parent survey from 2005 was in the packet (and published on Franklin Matters)
seek the full committee guidance to update the survey
try to update the survey as faithfully as possible to create valid comparisons to the other survey
gather info on perceptions of topics parents would like to be informed on
Use SurveyMonkey to automate the survey process, web based, easy to use and flexible

New front end to schools website by July 1

Next steps, Ed to draft survey questions for review and input

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Kindergarten

d. Budget Update - Kindergarten

428 students in K, moving to half day would be counted as 214 FTE
enrollment decreases by half, determines the foundation budget
$3.4 million for full day, $1.7 million for half-day or tuition based

Foundation budget - Req'd Local Contribution = Chap 70 Aid
Impact of moving to half-day would not be seen until FY 2013

Shifts the burden of a currently state funded program to the local taxpayers

Cafasso - this is an issue that has been kicked around, the analysis shows over the long run, it is loser. With a working community like Franklin, there would be reputational damage.

Rohrbach - we have batted this idea around a lot. We had two first graders who showed us what kindergarten can do for us.

Roy - the evidence is overwhelming, we just can't do this in a prudent way. Thank you for doing this early in the process. I'd rather know this up front.

Sabolinski - this would create another structural deficit down the road.

Glynn - why does another district do this?
Goodman - they may be starting from nothing and going to half day, where we would be loosing the foundation budget as I noted earlier. Other districts may not be in the same situation

Financial Impact of Half Day or Tuition Based K

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Health program update K-5

Guests and Presentations
c. K-5 Health Program
Kristen Cerce, Michele Kingsland Smith

Kristen has taken on the leadership role for health and physical ed this year

incorporating aspects of the following programs into the overall health curriculum
HEAT - Healthy Eating and Active Time from Tufts Univ.
Bullying curriculum

"Bone of the week"
difference between strength and cardio-vascular training
allergies and asthma
substance abuse and prevention
mental health, incorporated into many of the units (e.g. dealing with stress)

90/10 health/physical
next year to be 50/50

development time being provided to complete the curriculum

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Harry Potter re-write

2. Guests/Presentations
b. Harry Potter Re-write – Davis Thayer
Debbie Taylor (Teacher) and students Katie Sumner and Reilly Deforge

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - FHS Girl's Soccer Team

2. Guests/Presentations
a. FHS Girls Soccer Team

Coach Tom Geysen, School Committee Chairman Jeff Roy, and members of the team

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - School Committee Meeting

Present: Douglas, Cafasso, Rohrbach, Mullen, Roy, Trahan, Glynn
Absent: none

1. Routine Business
Citizen’s Comments - none
Review of Agenda - no adjustments
Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the open and executive sessions of the December 14, 2010 School Committee Meeting. motion to approve, passed 7-0
1. Payment of Bills Mr. Glynn  motion to approve, passed 7-0
2. Payroll Mrs. Douglas
3. FHS Student Representatives
4. Correspondence
- Budget to Actual

Franklin, MA

Solid Waste pick up snow delay

An email from Recycling News arrived this afternoon to announce:

Due to the anticipation of large snowfall, curbside trash and recycling will be delayed one day.  Please remember to make sure carts are placed in a stable location so they do not tip over or hit by snow removal equipment.  Cart lids must be closed for pickup and any additional trash placed in orange overflow bags available at the PW office.

Bulk burnable items (i.e. sofa or chair) must be called in today by 3 pm and placed for collection by Thursday at 7:00 AM.  They will be picked up on Thursday or Friday.

You can subscribe to receive your own news here:

"Construction is expected to last about four months"

"We are looking for your input so we can finish up and get this out to bid," Taberner told about 15 people who attended the meeting.
The work, to be paid for through a $1 million state public works grant, is expected to include the parking lot, Emmons Street between Main Street and Hillside Road, Dean Avenue between Main and Ray streets, Ray Street and Depot Street, Taberner said.
Taberner still has to talk with a few nearby property owners, and public works crews must finish surveying the existing drainage system with cameras before bids are sought, he said.
Curbing and sidewalks will be more clearly defined, delineating between pedestrian and vehicle space, said William Paille, a project manager with Weston & Sampson, a consulting firm that is working on the downtown revitalization efforts.
You can read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

This project covers the following area:

The detail on the upper parking lot. This is not the MBTA parking lot, although some spaces can be used monthly by commuters.

This photo depicts the benches, etc to be used in the area

Additional information can be found on the Planning and Community Development web page.
Franklin, MA

In the News - animal shelter

Teen's fundraiser a hallmark for animal shelter

Franklin, MA

Monday, January 10, 2011

Food and non-food needs

The current food and non-food needs of the Franklin Food Pantry can be viewed in the document below:

Franklin Food Pantry - JanFeb 2011 Needs

These items can be left at the Food Pantry during their open hours (Tue - Fri, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM). If the items won't freeze in the cold, they can also be left in the large wooden box on the porch.

Franklin, MA

Bullukian Oil in the snow

Saturday morning, it was still lightly snowing when Dolores and I went for our walk.

Bullukian Oil  was quiet in the snow.

Franklin, MA

Verizon Cable License Amendment - public comment period

The cable license between Franklin and Verizon is being amended to bring the revenue into agreement with the current revenue from Comcast. Actually a reduction from 5% to 4.8% of gross revenues would come to Franklin.

The comment period begins 14 days after the notification (12/16/10), hence 12/30/10 and runs for 21 days (hence Jan 20th).

Franklin Amendment Verizon Cable License

Related post from the Town Council meeting on Nov 17th discussing the possible public access channel operation

Franklin, MA

In the News - registration, garage proposal

Franklin's F.X. O'Regan ECDC accepting applications

Franklin schools to hold kindergarten registration

Franklin garage proposal may get new life

Franklin, MA

Sunday, January 9, 2011

FM #82 - Week Ending 1/8/11

Let's take about ten minutes to find out what matters in Franklin, MA as this week comes to a close. There are three important meetings in the coming week. We go over the highlights for each of them.

Time: 10 minutes, 0 seconds

MP3 File

Show Notes:

This internet radio show or podcast is number 82 in the series for Franklin Matters.

In this session, let's take about ten minutes and I'll fill you in on what matters in Franklin as 2011 opens and the Fiscal Year 2012 budget season begins in earnest.

The Finance Committee was canceled this week. The first meeting they have for 2011 will be Feb 8th.

The Long Range Financial Planning Committee did meet on Wednesday for the first time since August 8, 2010. One of the citizen members (Morrison) was stepping back and a request went out for a replacement. The response was overwhelming in quantity and quality. So much so, that the group was reconstituted and resumed this week as a committee comprised of all citizens. The surprise, if any, was that there was an ex-officio Town Counselor present but no one from the Schools. Should there be? I think yes, and there is one single reason, a big one. With all due respect to the Town side of the budget, the schools account of half of the total budget. You can not leave out any insights into half the budget of any type of serious discussions. This is only the first meeting, they are still organizing, there was talk of having schools represented in some form for future meetings. We'll see what happens.

I was thoroughly impressed with the credentials of the new committee. These will be very good representatives for the citizen or outside view.

My meeting notes can be found here:

The week ahead has three important meetings.

Monday – the public has an opportunity for input to the smaller of the two downtown projects. Yes, there are two. The Federal grant is $5 million and covers E Central, Main St through to the Old Brick School. The second grant, Public Works Economic Development (PWED) from the state is worth $1 million and covers Emmons Street between Main Street and Hillside Road, Dean Avenue between Main and Ray Streets, Ray Street and Depot Street.

The two projects have separate budgets and separate plans but it does make sense to coordinate the planning and eventual construction work between the two.

Details on the location and time for this meeting are contained in the link attached.

Tuesday – the School Committee meets for the first time in 2011.

The guest and presentation section has the following items:

  • FHS Girls Soccer Team
  • Harry Potter Re-write – Davis Thayer - Debbie Taylor (Teacher) and students Katie Sumner and Reilly Deforge
  • K-5 Health Program – Kristen Cerce, Michele Kingsland Smith
  • Budget Update - Kindergarten

As I recall, there were two items previously scheduled for the January 25th meeting; kindergarten and the space needs report. Given the kindergarten update has been moved here, I can speculate (which is always dangerous) that kindergarten is no longer 'on the table' from a budget perspective. If you recall the analysis I did with the School Administration last year, moving from full to half day was NOT a cost savings. The Budget Subcommittee would likely have come to that conclusion in their recent meetings as well if that is the case. Again, this is reading between the lines on my part, I could be wrong. We'll find out Tuesday.

The school enrollment projections reinforce my expectation that with the shifts in population within Franklin and the overall decline in student population, we will see a re-districting proposal. Some of the schools are over capacity, others are under. It makes sense to shift the school boundaries to equalize the populations. This should be a collaborative process and not something done 'overnight'. The modular buildings over time can also be de-commissioned rather than replaced. This is also somewhat speculative on my part but I feel comfortable with that direction based upon what the numbers are showing. The details on this we should find out at the School Committee meeting on the 25th.

Either way, both of these items and their budget impact (if any) should be covered during the budget workshop on Saturday the 29th. If you don't have that on your calendar, I would encourage you to make the time for it.

Back to the meeting on the 11th, the School Committee also has a 'community engagement' item in the 'Discussion Only' section. As the parent communication survey was last done in 2005, it appears that the committee will be looking for an update.

School Committee agenda

Enrollment projections

2005 Parent Communication survey results

Wednesday – The Town Council meets for the first time this year. Amongst the items on the agenda, two caught my eye. One, Franklin Cafe and Grill is looking for a liquor license for their new operation to open in what was the KFC building at 418 W Central St. Two, there is a joint easement agreement proposed between the Town and the Franklin Center Commons

The Town Council agenda can be found here:

These three meetings get us quickly into 2011, the budget season and important decisions about how this town will look and operate. Please stay informed, please participate, this will be a busy and important year.

In case you missed the end of year 2010 or mid-year (Jan to Jun) review, you can find them 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!

Franklin, MA: Town Council - Agenda - 1/12/11

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – December 1, 2010 and December 8, 2010




Franklin Recycling Committee, Amanda Costa


Franklin Café & Grill – New All Alcoholic Beverages Restaurant License



1. Resolution 11-01: Acceptance of Gifts –Fallen Heroes Signs
2. Resolution 11-02: Acceptance of Gifts – Council on Aging
3. Resolution 11-03: Acceptance of Gift – Recreation
4. Resolution 11-04: Acceptance and Grant of Easements: Franklin Center Commons I and Abutting Town-Owned Land





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


Franklin, MA

2005 Parent Communications Survey

The survey on communication preferences for the school community was last conducted in 2005. The results are summarized in this presentation document.


Assuming they will be updating this survey, I will be curious to see if and where Franklin Matters places. This site was born in Nov 2007.

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

Franklin, MA

Tri Country Regional Vocational School Committee looking for member

Please send resume or letters of interest to Jeffrey Nutting Town Administrator, 355 East Central Franklin or email

If you have any questions, please call 508-520-4949

Franklin, MA