Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dean College - "Think Pink"

The Dean College Women’s Basketball team, in conjunction with the Sisterhood and the Student Government Association are sponsoring the second annual “Think Pink” night to raise awareness about breast cancer. The groups will be selling “Think Pink” tee shirts to raise money for the College’s Relay for Life team later this Spring.
The shirts are available at the basketball team’s 6 p.m. game on Thursday, February 10 at the Pieri Gym on School Street, on the College’s campus in Franklin.
Admission to the basketball game is free, but a suggested donation of $3 per person will go to the “Relay for Life” team. Tee shirts are available in white, pink or black and range in price from $8 to $12.
Attendees are encouraged to wear pink. Refreshments, activities and drawings will be available during the basketball game.

Franklin, MA

MA sales tax less than national average

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Revenue by Robert Bliss on 2/4/11

The non-partisan, non-profit Tax Foundation has released its latest ranking of state sales taxes and Massachusetts ranks 31st (with No. 1 having the highest rate).

Unlike many other states, Massachusetts , which has a sales tax of 6.25 percent, does not allow municipalities to levy their own sales taxes.

The highest combined rate is 9.44 percent in Tennessee, which has a 7 percent state tax and an average local rate of 2.44 percent. California, Arizona, Louisiana and Washington are at the top just below Tennessee.

Things you can do from here:

Friday, February 4, 2011

Changing Education Paradigms - Sir Ken Robinson

I have shared Sir Ken Robinson here before but this animated delivery is I think stunning!

What do you think?

Franklin, MA

MA Local Property Tax Exemption Fact Sheet

From the MA DLS email comes info on a fact sheet about local property tax exemptions for religious and charitable organizations:

This fact sheet is to provide general information to taxpayers about local property tax exemptions for religious and charitable organizations. It is not designed to address all questions or issues and does not change any provision of the Massachusetts General Laws.
If the link above does not work, please copy and paste the following in to your browser:
For more Forms & Brochures please click here; for more Municipal Law Publications please click here.

Franklin, MA

In the News - sledding, regionalization

Huge sledding run created by Franklin family


Medway, Franklin discuss end of library director sharing deal

Franklin, MA

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Quick updates

I have updated both the Welcome page and the "Why Franklin Matters" page.

  • The Welcome page update removed the prior slidecast and replaced that with subscription forms.

And as always - 

  • If you like this, please tell your friends and neighbors
  • If you don't like this, please tell me
Without this feedback loop, I can not improve this service.

Thank you!

Franklin, MA

In the News - mailboxes, Dean dance showcase

Mailboxes getting smacked by snow from plows

Dean College dancers critiqued by well-known choreographers

Franklin, MA

Snow update - School Calendar - Now when do we get out?

Note: as this was updated School web page as of Jan 31st, and we used another day (2/2/11), the last day would be June 22. For ease of reading, I used strike through in the beginning then made the update for the day used there after.


Snow Day Update/January 31, 2011
Estimated last day of school June 21 22  (based on use of 4.5 student snow days)

Per MA General Law students must be in school for 180 days and the school year cannot go beyond the fiscal year -June 30. Please be advised the Commissioner of Education will not approve any waiver of this requirement. This situation is not unique to Franklin as most districts in the Commonwealth have used at least three or more snow days to date.
We have used three and one half days to this point- current last day is 6/22 and it would be a student half day- we have 6 additional days for inclement weather- if we use all 6 days we need to make up days during April vacation or have students attend school on the weekend- As Saturday/Sunday is impacted by religious traditions this may prove challenging. Any change in the calendar (using April vacation or scheduling weekend school) will require the School Committee to vote on any decision after soliciting feedback from the community. It is premature to speculate that we will have to explore this decision.
Other Weather Related Concerns
Some parents have requested we keep schools closed until all sidewalks and access paths are clear. Due to school attendance requirements we will not be able to honor this request. The town has used its resources to clear roads, parking lots, sidewalk, access paths and bus stops. The amount of snow has created a number of hazards such as limited visibility due to the snow banks. We ask parents and students driving to use caution when driving. As getting to school is the purview of parents/guardians the parent has the right to keep children home if they feel conditions are not safe. If buses see children walking we have requested that they stop and pick children up.
In some communities and neighborhoods, residents have been chipping in to help shovel sidewalks. A JFK parent was out shoveling a path last week as were some parents from the Keller district. Thanks to all who have helped out. Thank you to all the community members who have been patient with school and town personnel during this unprecedented streak of winter weather. We appreciate your kindness and patience!
School Closing - Information for inclement weather, etc. will be disseminated through the Connect Ed system as well as local TV and radio stations. Please keep your contact information current at each school.
You can find the original post on the Franklin School web page

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Town Council meeting 2/2/11

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

(tuned in late to meeting via cable feed)

1. Updates:

Snow Budget - getting eaten up quickly with the weather we have had, exhausted the $750,000 initially budgeted, authorization to exceed budget on for approval later, do have $1.3 M set aside in anticipation of this.

Meeting with Recreation Advisory Board -
postponed due to emergency health problems, won't happen immediately
looking to investigate the option of implementing this

Handicap Parking - please don't park in a handicap spot unless you are authorized to do so

High School Feasibility Study - under way

FY 2012 Budget - numbers will be more solid for the beginning middle of Mar, level service budgets loaded from each Dept. School Dept hasn't had their hearing yet (canceled meeting Tue due to weather). Not sure about using the Governors numbers, wanting to see what the House and Senate for with the revenue numbers before proceeding.

Jeff Nutting added that the Library is collecting books, that there will be a book sale.


1. Resolution 11-05: Authorization to Expend Funds in Excess of Available Appropriations
Passed 5-0

not tonight, see above updates



Jones - congratulations to Simon's Furniture on 100's years of business here in Franklin

O. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required
Motion to enter executive session for collective bargaining, not to return to open meeting
Passed 5-0 via roll call

Note: The meeting went into Executive Session about 7:15 PM


from the video feed:

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – January 12, 2011
motion to accept, passed 5-0

The meeting is recorded by Verizon and Comcast, usually by Franklin Matters (but not present for the meeting that evening).



Design Review - Chris Baryluk as member
motion to approve - passed 5-0

Len Rafuse as Associate member
motion to approve - passed 5-0

F. HEARINGS - none

Maguro House – Change of Manager
motion to approve - passed 5-0

Franklin, MA

Change, one laugh at a time

Cartoonist Liza Donnelly spends a few minutes (about 7 actually) sharing some thoughts about humor and change.

Have a good laugh today!

Franklin, MA

LinkedIn Event: Small Business Marketing Strategies

For the small business owners in the area, this would be a good event to participate in to see how you can incorporate the social media tools into your business.


Tricia White; MSBDC Advisor has sent you a message.
Date: 2/01/2011
Subject: LinkedIn Event: Small Business Marketing Strategies
Tricia White; MSBDC Advisor found Small Business Marketing Strategies on LinkedIn Events and thought you might be interested in going!

Small Business Marketing Strategies Thu, Feb 10 Ames Free Library, North Easton, MA, US Keywords: social media, small business, small business training, SEO, Facebook, LinkedIN, Blogs, E-newsletters, social networking

Sponsored by Ames Free Library, Easton Chamber of Commerce, Marketing Strategies using Social Media – We touch upon basic SEO and what drives search engines, social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, You Tube and My Space), Blogs and E-Newsletters.

If you already know this seminar, please share it with others who could use some help in social media!


In the News - snow on roof

Snow crushes Upton barn, damages Franklin building


Franklin, MA

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

FYI - Trash and recycling cancellation for Wednesday

For safety concerns, the trash and recycling will not be picked up Wednesday and will be delayed one day from your normal pick up day. Friday pick up schedule will be Saturday.

We apologize for the inconvenience, safety is the first priority.

So Weds becomes Thu, Thu becomes Fri, Fri becomes Sat for the trash pick up this week

test post

Test post

post to test new Facebook like function

Updated: I like the looks of it. It is only visible on the individual post, not on the full page which would be overkill.

We'll leave it here for a bit and see (1) if more Facebook likes occur and or (2) someone complains (3) or it breaks something else or ???

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: School Budget Book - FY 2012

The full and complete budget book for the FY 2012 school budget. This is scheduled for discussion Tuesday at the School Committee meeting beginning at 7:00 PM.

- The Budget Book is not available yet. Due to the way it was packaged with Adobe, it is not viewable via my normal sources - I'll correct it as soon as possible.

You can view the presentation from Saturday

and the document handout (which is the intro to the Budget Book)

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

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - 2/1/11

Vision Statement
The Franklin Public Schools will foster within its students the knowledge and skills to find and achieve satisfaction in life as productive global citizens.

Mission Statement
The Franklin Public Schools, in collaboration with the community, will cultivate each student's intellectual, social, emotional and physical potential through rigorous academic inquiry and informed problem solving skills within a safe, nurturing and respectful environment.

"The listing of matters are those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law."

1. Routine Business

Citizen’s Comments
Review of Agenda
Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the Open and Executive Sessions of the January 25, 2011 School Committee Meeting.
Payment of Bills Mr. Glynn
Payroll - none for this meeting Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives

1. Budget to Actual

2. Guests/Presentations
a. Lifelong Learning – Pandora Carlucci
b. Preliminary Budget Overview

3. Discussion Only Items
Proposed School Committee Schedule for 2011-2012

4. Action Items
a. I recommend acceptance of a check for $921.60 from the Remington PCC for in-house enrichment.
b. I recommend acceptance of a check for $125.00 from the Kennedy PCC for field trips.
c. I recommend the naming of the FHS away-side press box in memory of FHS football coach, Gerry Leone.
d. I recommend approval of the recurring field trip to Hartford, CT for the FHS Cheerleaders for a competition as detailed.
e. I recommend adoption of the School Committee Schedule for 2011-2012 as discussed.

5. Information Matters

Superintendent’s Report

School Committee Sub-Committee Reports
School Committee Liaison Reports

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

7. Executive Session
Contractual Negotiations

8. Adjourn

Franklin, MA

Sound in the Hall Records

They hope to sell 500,000 downloads in the month of February of Copathetic, an independent music album featuring Virginia singer/songwriter Kate Herndon and Jessi Fanuele, a Franklin High School history teacher who plays acoustic guitar.
The students are part of Sound in the Hall Records, a student-run record company launched five years ago to supplement music recording and performance classes at the high school. About 30 students participate in the group, which has recorded local bands and school concerts and broadcasts radio shows on the Internet.
If they are successful, they would earn a Gold record, awarded by the Recording Industry Association of America for albums that sell 500,000 copies, Peacock said, adding they would probably become the first independent record company to reach this goal.
"We'd be making history," Peacock said. "And, we'll be pioneering a new way of marketing an album."
Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

You can visit Sound in the Hall records website here

Franklin, MA

Medway Library trustees meet about agreement with Franklin

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Julie Balise/Daily News staff on 1/31/11

Medway Public Library supporters have been invited to a meeting tomorrow to discuss the Board of Trustees decision to end their inter-municipal agreement with Franklin.

Things you can do from here:

In the News - registration postponed, fire, Dean seminar

Franklin kindergarten registration postponed

Two cats die in Franklin fire

Dean College Children's Center sponsors Early Childhood seminar

Franklin, MA

Monday, January 31, 2011

Budget Workshop: Preliminary School Budget

The presentation used during Saturday's budget workshop for the FY 2012 budget for the Franklin (MA) Public Schools.

Franklin Public Schools FY2012 Preliminary Budget

My notes reported live from the Budget workshop can be found here and here

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

Franklin, MA

Getting squeezed

The i495 and King St intersection was completely re-done last year in a MassDOT project. The wide lanes disappear in the snow however so be very careful navigating there.

You really need to be skinny when you get squeezed into what was a full lane but is no longer and there is an 18 wheeler next to you. Be careful!

While the State did the reconstruction of the interchange, does any one know who is responsible for this section to be plowed: the State or Franklin?

Franklin, MA

Tale of two sidewalks (part 2)

It is good to see that downtown businesses can be taken care of. After all, business is at the heart of Franklin.

From what I hear, some folks would like the sidewalks around schools to be given a little more attention.

Parmenter School looked like this Friday morning:

To be fair, I need to go back to Parmenter to see what it looks like today. The downtown picture was taken Saturday afternoon. The DPW do a tremendous job. They have not added personnel since the 1990's and their amount of roads to cover has grown in that time. One of the two sidewalk snow plows dates back to 1970's. But it all costs money!

Franklin, MA

Work real hard to clear the snow!

Someone will need to be really energetic to clear all the snow with this mortar and pestle!

Stir, stir, stir!

Franklin, MA

In the new - Simon's, efficient schools

Simon’s Furniture celebrates 100 years in Franklin


National report: Franklin schools run efficiently

Franklin, MA

Sunday, January 30, 2011

School Budget Workshop - hand out from Sat Jan 29, 2011

The handout from the Budget Workshop held on Saturday, Jan 29, 2011 is now available in PDF form.

Note: In the conversion from hard copy to PDF, page 1 of 4 in the budget detail section was inadvertently copied twice. Otherwise, the document is as handed out Saturday.

Franklin, MA Public Schools - Budget Workshop Handout 1/29/2011

My notes reported live from the Budget workshop can be found here and here

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

Franklin, MA

FM #84 - Week Ending Jan 30, 2011

Let's spend a few minutes to catch up on what matters in Franklin, MA as this week ends Jan 30, 2011. We'll look at the Town Council goal setting session, the School Committee budget workshop and close with some of the music and conversation from Ben Franklin's birthday party at the Historical Museum on Jan 23

Time: 21 minutes, 20 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes:

This internet radio show or podcast is number 84 in the series for Franklin Matters.

I missed last week's show due to technical issues with my laptop. Those issues have been resolved and I am up to speed writing and reporting again but still trying to catch up on some things. As the week ends this Sunday, Jan 30th, the snow is piled up higher than my mailbox and winter is still upon us.

In this session we'll spend sometime with the Town Council who held their goal setting session on Weds Jan 19. From that session we'll look into the possible field use fee, and the future of the old museum. The School Budget workshop was held on Saturday providing a preview of the budget to be unveiled on Tuesday, Feb 1. It is not going to be pretty.

On a more positive note, we'll close with a sample or two from Ben Franklin's birthday party held at the Historical Museum on Sunday Jan 23rd. There were many folks came in throughout the afternoon. I know I had a great time talking with several. Those who came by were able to learn from Vera Meyer about the glass harmonica that Ben invented while listening to her play.

1 -

The Council goal setting session was a more informal meeting than most. Five councilors participated along with Jeff Nutting and Maxine Kinhart. Brian Benson and I were the only others in attendance. Jeff provided his update on the overall FY 2012 budget, it will be a very tough budget year with a deficit of about 4-5M dollars expected. How to address the systemic expense side of the budget is where much of the discussion took place. The group will hold a working session with the School Committee to get into more detail on health benefits and what options there are to control them. They would like to look at how to get the retirees to share more of the cost. The employees currently contribute 32% of the cost with the Town picking up 68%. Moving to a 50/50 split would take $10 M out of the budget. Doing this is also subject to collective bargaining with the Towns unions. The working session would bring in a health care specialist and be held in 'executive session' due to the collective bargaining nature of some of the discussion.

While the overall Town revenue is ultimately in the voters hands (by their determination of any override or debt exclusion), there are some smaller items that can be used to help prepare to cover for eventual costs. For example, the artificial turf fields will need to replaced sometime down the road. By adding a user fee now, a small fee can accumulate over the years of use by the various sports teams and when the fields do need to be replaced, the funds should be available. Pay a little now or pay a whole lot later. The fields were purchased and installed with a grant of what something in the neighborhood of 4-6M. Adding a small fee to each participant in a sport for each season will set up a fund to be able to pay for the replacement.

Somehow this has become quite a lightning rod. It is not meant to cover maintenance of the fields, those are covered in the regular operational budget. It is meant to cover the replacement of the artificial turfs. The simplest and fairest way to implement the fee is for all to share. If you tried to do t just with those sports using those fields, that would get real complicated and ultimately be unfair. This is only a proposal. It has not been determined when it will appear on a Council agenda for further discussion.

2 - 

The old museum came up in discussion but rightfully belongs with the Historical Commission to make a decision or propose some options for the Council to weigh in on. To do otherwise would not be appropriate. The Historical Commission is the group of record responsible for managing the property. The Council ultimately can have its say but HC needs to take the lead. It is not an simple matter. There is a pumping station on the property but it should not hinder usage. The lot is zoned residential but you could not put in a residential building without a ZBA variance. The lot is currently too small for a residence. If it were used for something other than a residence, the neighbors would have their say. The property has been quiet for quite some time. The church that had turned over the property to the town still has first right to it should we not want it. The church merged in with what is the Franklin Federated and doesn't really exist as a separate church today.

To re-use the building itself would require extensive renovations. Before even going down that path, you need to determine a use for the property. Once the use is determined, then the proper planning can be done to see what it would take to bring it up to current zoning and building code requirements to meet the need. Then you could begin to look at alternative ways of funding the renovations. So let's not get wrapped around the axle of a cart that may not even need to move.

3 - 

The School Committee, Central Office and all the principals meet for their budget workshop on Sat Jan 29th. Councilors Tina Powderly and Glenn Jones also participated. Julie Balise from the Milford Daily News and I were the only non-school, public representatives. Disappointing but that is what it is.

The preview of the budget shows an ugly picture. Even with an almost level service proposal, there are 14 plus positions being lost which will result in further increases to class size. I was not provided a copy of the document but didn't press the issue as the full budget package is coming out Tuesday night anyway.

Why 'almost level service'? This is due to the stimulus funds provided the last couple of years. The funds were required to be applied to keep some existing positions and to fund some positions that would otherwise be cut. With the stimulus funding gone this year, those positions come back on the budget to the tune of about 1.1 M. This accounts for the bulk of the personnel increase of 1.7M with the balance mostly in contractual commitments.

A nice what-if scenario was explored. With Franklin at 10,010 per pupil expenditures, and the State average at 13,006 – what would the State average look like for the Franklin budget? Try 78M, yes much more than the 52 million proposed. It would provide the budget that just about should be if the prior year cuts were not implemented. Another way to look at it, if the failed override for schools had passed since 2002, this is closer to what the school budget would be today. Very pie in the sky and unrealistic but certainly an insightful perspective.

4 - 

So instead of closing on this depressing note, let's shift to include some segments of the party held at the Historical Museum on Sunday Jan 23. As I mentioned in the opening, there was good attendance, Many folks came in throughout the afternoon. I know I had a great time talking with several. Those who came by were able to learn from Vera Meyer about the glass harmonica that Ben invented while listening to her play. I hope she is able to come back to the museum in the future. The instrument is special and her presentation of it is engaging.

I hope you enjoy these few minutes from what was a really pleasant afternoon.

Photos from the afternoon at the Museum can be found here


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

Without this feedback loop, I can not improve this service.

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 - Feb 2, 2011

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – January 12, 2011




Design Review - Chris Baryluk as member
Len Rafuse as Associate member


G. LICENSE TRANSACTIONS - Maguro House – Change of Manager

1. Updates:

  • Snow Budget
  • Meeting with Recreation Advisory Board
  • Handicap Parking
  • High School Feasibility Study
  • FY 2012 Budget


1. Resolution 11-05: Authorization to Expend Funds in Excess of Available Appropriations





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


Franklin, MA

Survey on priorities - lack of substantial results hinders progress

Survey results:

What one service would you discontinue?
I would like to see homeowners made responsible for shoveling their own sidewalks so that the students could walk to school. If a snowfall over a certain amount, then the town's sidewalk plows could be used to assist and supplement. Also, if the schools and library and other departments are cut a certain percentage, then so should the senior center. The senior center should not be exempt from cuts. I believe that all services provide benefits. Even though some services may be stretched thin, eliminating one might mean that, in the future, it would be difficult to put back. If something is truly obsolete, and I can't think of any service that is, it should be eliminated.
Some winter classes, to save heat costs. Is it possible to change the calendar year to go to school through June and take 1-2 additional weeks off in the winter?
Most people only use the "optional" services of police and fire and trash, most "mandated" services offered I don't need. You should put the list somewhere for reference in this survey, so people could see how many useless things there are. If schools are "mandated", why are they always the first cut?

What one service would you keep?
Obviously the schools and essential services such as police and fire.
AP classes. The gifted/talented get little to no service in elementary school, then maybe some attention at the middle school. AP in high school is their only hope of sharing challenging course work with like-minded students.
Police, Fire, Trash, roads, Health and Building inspectors. Schools, and there is a LOT that could be trimmed there.

The survey did not come close to achieving what was intended so it is back to the drawing board.

Franklin, MA

In the News - health survey, Horace Mann charter schools

Hockomock YMCA wants local input on Franklin obesity programs

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Horace Mann charter schools reopen education debate

Franklin, MA