Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mass in Motion - healthy activity survey

The Town of Franklin is one of fourteen communities selected as a Mass in Motion Community – a comprehensive action initiative to address the extent and impact of the obesity crisis. The Franklin community has a chance to share the priorities and actions they would like to see taken to reduce inactivity and poor nutrition.

We are encouraging all Franklin residents, business owners and employees within the town to choose their top five areas of interest from each sector, or add their own ideas and comments. Please visit the website below to complete the survey. Community input is critical to the Town of Franklin’s success. Survey closes Tuesday, February 1st, 2011.

For additional information, please contact Lauren Marciszyn at 774-235-2737 or via email at

Franklin, MA

Franklin posts a good ROI for education

The Center for American Progress has published a report on "Return on Educational Investment
A District-by-District Evaluation of U.S. Educational Productivity"
This report is the culmination of a yearlong effort to study the efficiency of the nation’s public education system and includes the first-ever attempt to evaluate the productivity of almost every major school district in the country. In the business world, the notion of productivity describes the benefit received in exchange for effort or money expended. Our project measures the academic achievement a school district produces relative to its educational spending, while controlling for factors outside a district’s control, such as cost of living and students in poverty.
You can read the introduction and summary here (PDF file).

Download the full report PDF file and read it on your own here

You can also view an interactive map of the MA school districts to see visual comparisons of Franklin and surrounding communities. (You can also view other states and school districts.)  The interactive map is found here.

In between the map and the table of MA communities, there is a link that you can follow to find each school districts full report. The Franklin district report is here. As the district is credited with 11 schools I assume that the charter school is considered part of this.

I found these stats of interest:

Who pays for the Franklin Public Schools to educate our children?
Revenue by source: 
 Federal - 3%
 State - 50%
 Local - 47%

Maybe those who say the School District has too many administrators will recognize that this says otherwise
Total current expenditures 
 Instructional expenditures - 72%
 Student and staff support - 7%
 Administration - 6%
 Operations, food service, other - 15%

If you think there are changes that should be made to the way Franklin spends it money, you can participate in this survey to help determine our priority listing.

Updated: via email from Maureen Sabolinski, Superintendent of Schools, I am reminded that the data reflected here was taken prior to the most recent budget cuts. The academic focus is solely on the MCAS results. Both of these factors should be taken in consideration as you review the report. Franklin's schools do more with less than is reflected here.

Franklin, MA

State Budget updates

The Legislature and the administration of Gov. Deval Patrick yesterday set the consensus revenue figure for FY12 at $20.525 billion. This revenue figure will now be the starting point for budget proposals that will come from the Governor, House and Senate.
The Governor's proposal, to be released later this month, will deal with a structural deficit of approximately $1.5 billion created largely by the absence of federal stimulus funds, limited state reserves, case load pressures and inflationary growth, particularly in health care related programs. As he indicated in his inaugural address, Gov. Patrick's proposed budget is expected to highlight investments in education, health care and in job creation, as well as to propose government reforms.
Read the full post on the DOR website here

Nearly all future state and municipal employees would work five years longer, contribute more to their pensions, and have their benefits slashed if they retire early under a bill Governor Deval Patrick and legislative leaders unveiled yesterday.
Eighteen months after state leaders eliminated loopholes in the pension system, the new proposal would go beyond merely curbing abuses. It would, Patrick said, fundamentally change retirement benefits for thousands of future teachers, police officers, firefighters, and other public workers, in an attempt to save $5 billion over the next 30 years.
Read the full post here on the Budget Blues website

Why should the State budget matter to Franklin? 
Half, yes, you heard that correctly - half our school budget is funded by the State.

Franklin, MA

In the News - police activity, old museum, Senior Center

Warrant issued for Franklin man

Former Franklin museum's fate yet to be determined

Franklin Senior Center programs

Franklin, MA

Friday, January 21, 2011

Patrick proposes $65M local aid cut in Mass.

Hey, when the numbers and details on the Governors proposed budget comes out Jan 26th, we'll be able to see what it looks like and begin to understand how realistically the chance is that the Legislature will be providing the relief - there may be hope down the road.

Why not help now?
The Legislature has to act real soon to get something enacted to help this budget cycle. Then it has to go to the communities for them to incorporate into their business. Franklin has 13 unions, the current contract negotiations have been underway for some time. A couple have already reached agreement. How close the others are is not publicly known yet. It might very well be the next cycle that this would have an effect.

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Glen Johnson on 1/21/11

Gov. Deval Patrick told Massachusetts city and town leaders today he will cut some of their local aid in the fiscal 2012 budget he proposes next week, but attempt to offset the reduction with legislation granting them long-sought power to trim municipal employee health insurance costs.

Things you can do from here:

"help people who don't have the time, money, or opportunity to eat better"

Corby Kummer writes in The Atlantic: 
Before getting into the particulars of today's announcement, it's worth noting two things. First, no one at the White House can be unaware of ongoing controversy over Walmart's labor practices. And the very public support for Walmart will not mean that the White House nutrition team, led by Sam Kass, will stop the work it is already deep into with other corporations and food manufacturers, and with many federal and state agencies, to improve access to fresher food and opportunities to exercise. But Walmart has a power across the entire supply chain, from farm to transportation to store, that no other marketer or grocer has. If and when it can choose to be a force for good—and if that impulse is largely the result of market demand and market share it doesn't want competitors to claim—the First Lady's team (and anyone else who cares about the country's health) would be foolish not to try to guide the company in the directions it wants to see the whole food industry head.
What is the big news?
Walmart will be making changes to what food it sells. It will be moving to provide healthier choices.

What kind of changes?
Of the "key elements" Walmart announced, several are ones I reported on last March: shorten travel distances between farm and distribution centers, support smaller farmers than it had previously bought from, bring back staple crops to areas where they had vanished because of competition from California and Florida, and bring fresh food into "food deserts" both in cities and, importantly, rural areas without supermarkets.
Read the full article about Walmart's announcement here

Franklin, MA

Where is that fire hydrant?

The Chief has a good point to make.

Hi, this is Franklin Fire Chief Gary McCarraher with an important request which may affect your safety and that of your neighbors. The heavy snow storms over the past few weeks, have buried most of the more than 1,700 fire hydrants throughout the Town. You may have seen in recent new accounts where buried fire hydrant severely hampered area firefighters in combating building fires. Accordingly we are seeking your help to shovel clear the fire hydrant closest to your home. With your assistance we can insure that firefighters will have unimpeded access to the fire hydrant closest to your home in the event of an emergency. On behalf of the members of the Franklin Fire Department, I would like to thank you for your continued support and have a safe day!
With more snow arriving today, please take some time to find a fire hydrant in your neighborhood and shovel it out. The life or house you save may be your own.

Franklin, MA

How to be truly awesome!

Neil Pasricha's blog 1000 Awesome Things savors life's simple pleasures, from free refills to clean sheets. In this heartfelt talk from TEDxToronto, he reveals the 3 secrets (attitude, awareness, authenticity) to leading a life that's truly awesome.

Good words for your job search! Watch and enjoy!

Now, go out and take the next step to find your best opportunity!

If you can make it to the PodCamp WesternMA in Westfield St Univ, you can practice being awesome there.

If you can go, you should see if you can go for free. The details can be found here

"give us the ability to manage ourselves"

"Everybody in the room was pretty much on the same page," Holliston selectmen Chairman Andy Porter said yesterday. "We are frustrated and want to bring these issues to the forefront."
Medfield Town Administrator Michael Sullivan said officials want to band together to send a message to the state and to the public that changes are necessary to give towns and cities more control in dealing with rising costs.
"We're all facing the same problems, and we are getting very little help from the Legislature," he said.
Sullivan said officials at the meeting were frustrated that they are unable to change health care plans for public employees and retirees to save money. Cities and towns must first negotiate with unions to change plan designs, which officials say makes the job harder.

This topic was also discussed at the Town Council goal setting meeting Wednesday evening. Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Franklin, MA

In the News - Eagles Nest

Franklin Zoning Board OKs Eagles Nest changes

Franklin, MA

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"the gift of cooking knowledge"

Michelle writes on The Clueless Gardner:
I asked Steve: wouldn’t it make more sense to stock the pantry with staples that are generally cheaper, and more nutritious? And I wandered away toying with the notion of writing recipes to submit to the food pantry along with donations of such staples - because in all likelihood if people aren’t cooking from staples, it is because they don’t know how.
Steve replied: “Michelle, I understand your desire for more of a healthy food request. We are heading in that direction. The Food Pantry instituted a farmer's market on Monday's last year to distribute the fresh produce we were able to obtain. We are working as part of the Community Gardens project to further that effort this year. By re-doing the Food Pantry website, we intend to incorporate a blog which will also feature healthy recipes. You also give me an idea that we can solicit recipes from the community (like yourself) as well as from other food and health writers. Thanks!”
Well, we certainly seem to be thinking along the same lines! So I’ve started writing down recipes. And not just recipes: I’m sticking to explaining the basics. What do you do with dry beans, uncooked rice, fresh kale, whole chicken, and the like? And perhaps just as important: how to you go about managing the often lengthy process of cooking from scratch with a hectic lifestyle in which the chefs may be working multiple jobs and raising children all at once?
You can read her full posting here

You can contribute recipes to Michelle, or send them to me. Via email is best for now.

Franklin, MA

"town leaders need to look at ways to reduce expenses"

Nutting suggested a $20 per sport fee per person added to the normal registration costs, although the amount could change and the fee could be structured differently. He said many local towns charge for field use.
Nutting estimated that the town could gain $100,000 per year to repair fields if the estimated 5,000 people who participate in sports paid a $20 fee.
Town Councilor Stephen Whalen said charging a fee for field maintenance would be a fair balance since the entire town paid for the construction of the fields.
"I think we should do it," Whalen said, adding "in our situation, I think we have to look at things like this."

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Participate in the budget priority survey here

Franklin, MA

No books, please

Friends not accepting book donations

Hopefully, this is just a temporary situation. It was raised earlier this week according to the discussion at the Town Council meeting Wednesday evening and Jeff Nutting is working to find some space for this effort.

Yes, there is some irony involved. Here is the Library stopping their volunteer group from working to prepare their major fund raiser which provides financial aid to the Library.

Franklin, MA

Vallee holds office hours

Rep. Vallee holds office hours Friday

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Creative thinking

This video clip from TEDx shows Charles Lamb sharing some interesting research that he is doing on the brain. By analyzing the brain activity when performing music, he is attempting to answer some significant questions on creativity.

Watch here:

For me, the initial take away was this quote:
But we have this combination of an area that's thought to be involved in self-monitoring, turning off, and this area that's thought to be autobiographical, or self-expressive, turning on.
In order to be creative, the brain needs to shut some aspects off and turn others on. There is a reason for having brain storming sessions. They may not have worked so well due to how they were set up but maybe with this new research they can find the way to set a good stage for being creative.
  1. Put aside your bias for a moment. 
  2. Put on your wide open 'thinking' cap.
  3. Participate in the budget priority survey here

Franklin, MA

In the News - Override group, goal setting

Franklin group forms to support override


Franklin council holds goal-setting session tomorrow

Franklin, MA

Monday, January 17, 2011

Franklin, MA: Financial Impact Full-Day vs Tuition-based Kindergarten

This internet radio show or podcast is number 83 in the series for Franklin Matters.

This is a special session. The audio has been synchronized with the presentation to create a complete package. The package will provide the update by Miriam Goodman, Franklin School Business Administrator, on full day vs. half-day kindergarten. The presentation and discussion occurred at the School Committee meeting on Jan 11, 2011.

You can also review the meeting video on the Franklin website.

The link to the Kindergarten presentation is here:

The full meeting can be viewed here:

During the presentation you will hear the voices of Miriam Goodman and Maureen Sabolinski, Superintendent. In the question and answer period, questions and comments will be asked by School Committee members – Ed Cafasso, Sue Rohrbach, Chairperson Jeff Roy, and Bill Glynn in order of their voices.

My keyboard and that of Brian Benson, the Milford Daily News reporter, is heard in the background as we type away reporting on the meeting. Hopefully, you won't find it too intrusive.

Without further ado, here is the presentation:

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin. I can use your help.

How can you help, you ask?

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

And as always -

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

It will be via your feedback that I can improve this for you.

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

In the News - 1st book, enrollment drops

Franklin woman publishes her first book

Laura Spinella's blog has been added to the Franklin Area Blog section.

Franklin school enrollment predicted to fall

You can view the full report on the Enrollment Projections here

Franklin, MA

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Help determine the priority list

In the January issue of the new Franklin newspaper delivered to your mail box, I wrote about setting priorities for the services that Franklin provides. This survey intends to develop a list of services that you would consider discontinuing and of services that you think we should continue.

The survey will remain open for your input through Saturday, Jan 29th.
The results of the survey will be published Sunday, Jan 30, 2011.

Note: use the scroll bar in form to get to the second question and "Submit".
You can provide an answer for both questions or chose to answer only one question.
For this kind of 'list building' exercise, there is no limit on entries. The survey results will provide two lists for further discussion.

Franklin, MA

Mother Nature responds to Franklin's message!

I travel along Summer St regularly and usually can find a good photo op on this corner:

I love how some of the Franklin streets are named and intersect.  Summer and Winter, East and West.
What other street combinations do you find around Franklin?

Franklin, MA

"He saw some pretty heavy action"

More than 1,000 Franklin residents served in the war, but only about 160 World War II veterans still live in Franklin, Fahey said.
"Earl Lang is just an amazing guy," Fahey said. "He's living history."
Lang said he appreciated adding the medal to his collection of war honors, including a letter from the White House he received in November for his 92nd birthday and a plaque recognizing his role as the grand marshal in Franklin's 2001 Fourth of July parade.
"It was very nice and kind of surprising," he said of receiving a replacement medal.
Read the full article in the Milford Daily News

Franklin, MA

In the News - Broadway

Check out 'Broadway' in Franklin

Franklin, MA