Saturday, March 5, 2011

Explore the real food challenge

There was a bit of discussion around real food vs school food on Facebook when I posted the news about the Whole Food Foundation providing salad bar equipment for schools in Franklin. The discussion is a valid one. There are no easy solutions especially on a budget and with government requirements to be met.

What is real food?
Author Michael Pollen has written a few books on different aspects of the topic. Jamie Oliver took the Food Revolution to Huntington, WV last year and TV had a 10 parts series to showcase the efforts. There is a growing collection of movies on this topic.

The Leake family in North Carolina took a challenge to eat real food for 100 days.

The family successfully completed their hundred days. The record of what they did and how they did it can be viewed on their website:

The offer a challenge to take a 10 day pledge. 100 days too much? Ease into the change.

Benefits of Taking the 10-Day Pledge

Upon completing your goal we predict you will gain the following:
  • first-hand, eye opening experience of how to identify the real food in our processed food world.
  • At least one improved health benefit such as having more energy, losing weight, improving regularity, or just feeling healthier overall.
  • The realization that some of those pre-packaged processed “food-like substances” don’t even taste that good compared to real food.
  • The opportunity to teach your children (if you have them), by example, the healthiest way to eat and enjoy the food mother nature has given us.
  • congratulatory letter and complimentary gift – a silicone wristband debossed with “10 Days of Real Food” which you can wear to make sure all of your friends know what you accomplished!
  • The ability to continue on with your life however you chose, but with the new knowledge of how and why to avoid processed foods. Hopefully your 10-day experience will convince you to consider making at least a few changes for life.

What can you eat following the 'real food' challenge?

What kinds of food would you have for the daily meals?

Franklin, MA

Friday, March 4, 2011

RE: Franklin Library Blog Posting

A loyal reader provides an update to the posting on the Friends of the Library:

I recently read your blog posting about the Franklin Public Library.  There is a section in the blog posting where you shared that book donations to the public library are not tax deductible.  I would like to direct you to review IRS Publication 526 for clarification.  I also consulted a CPA in the town of Franklin that concurs with this publication that books donated to the Franklin Public library are tax deductible.  Our beloved Franklin Public Library falls under this category and all books donated to the library are tax deductible.  Please share with your readers that all books donated to the library are tax deductible per IRS publication 526 and ask them to support the Franklin Public Library with their book donations.  Please make any corrections to the BLOG entry to avoid confusion with your readers or with other new sources that graciously reprint the postings.

Here is the link to the IRS web page:

Below is what I found from the above IRS website.

Deductible As Charitable Contributions
Money or property you give to:

• Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other religious organizations

• Federal, state, and local governments, if your contribution is solely for public purposes (for example, a gift to reduce the public debt)

• Nonprofit schools and hospitals

• Public parks and recreation facilities

• Salvation Army, Red Cross, CARE, Goodwill Industries, United Way, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, etc.

• War veterans' groups 
• Charitable organizations listed in Publication 78

• Expenses paid for a student living with you, sponsored by a qualified organization

• Out-of-pocket expenses when you serve a qualified organization as a volunteer
This provides an update to the tax question raised during the Friends meeting on March 2.

"I hope that you welcome them"

The hourlong assembly was organized by the school's Best Buddies chapter, which seeks to develop friendships between students with developmental disabilities and their peers. 
Friends of Best Buddies Franklin, a nonprofit organization that supports the program at several schools, provided a $1,100 grant to bring the Maiers to Annie Sullivan. 
The Maiers perform at schools throughout the country in the hopes of increasing awareness of people with disabilities, growing friendships between disabled students and others and demonstrating that someone with a disability can achieve remarkable feats. 
"I think it's just a gift from God," Maier said, adding there's no scientific explanation for her daughter's musical ability. "And we want to share that gift and inspire people around the world."

Read more: Blind, autistic pianist Brittany Maier impresses Franklin students The Milford Daily News

Related post:

Franklin, MA


The United Regional Chamber of Commerce has organized a Business After Hours at Dean College, 99 Main St., Franklin, on March 10 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event will take place on the concourse of the new Dean College Campus Center. The Main Stage Theater space and Campanella Boardroom will be open for self-guided tours. Ample parking is available on the main lot on Route 140 adjacent to the Campus Center main entrance. Admission is $5 for Chamber members and $10 for non-members. Please register by calling any Chamber office: 508-222-0801, 508-695-2011, or 508-528-2800.

The United Regional Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit, business support organization serving the communities of Attleboro, Bellingham, Blackstone, Foxborough, Franklin, Mansfield, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Norfolk, North Attleborough, Norton, Plainville, Rehoboth, Seekonk, and Wrentham.

Franklin, MA

In the News - Brittany Maier, zoning workshop

Playing it by ear

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Franklin to hold workshop on downtown zoning

Franklin, MA

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"fundamental issue is we're still facing a deficit"

"We're trying very hard to avoid an override," Whalen said after the Town Council meeting. "We're very conscious of the fact that there's a potential for a double whammy and we want to avoid that." 
But, if town officials cannot balance the budget without significantly reducing services, it might be better to let voters decide if they want higher taxes or service cuts, he said. 
Town Councilor Tina Powderly agreed with Whalen's comments, noting she hopes that, with a better-than-expected local aid picture, the town can close the gap through savings on health care and further increasing government efficiency. 
"Every year you hope to balance the budget without an override," Powderly said. "There's certainly going to be a deficit. ... We hope to put enough of a bite into the deficit that we won't have to have an override."

Read more: Franklin officials hope to avoid override - The Milford Daily News

Franklin, MA

In the News - DARE, art,

Franklin police announce DARE camp

Franklin artists’ work on display at Norfolk library

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Citizens Against Waste - The question collection

The question form and guidelines

Franklin, MA

Library and Friends clear the air

The Friends of Franklin Public Library meeting took my attention away from the Town Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday night. Yes, that is rare but in this case, especially worth it. Why? The book sale is a major fund raiser. The Friends contributed $20,000 last year to the Library. The bank account for the Friends is currently sitting at $29,516.

(The Town Council conducted their meeting in under 8 minutes. If you watch the recording, the first 1:20 is blank so hang in there it will appear (at least it did successfully when I watched it Weds evening). The liquor license for Ichigo Ichie Franklin, LLC (going into the former Piccadilly Pub) was approved. The July 4th committee presented their financial report to the Council. The snow and ice deficit is now about $400,000. “Pray for warm weather” is what Jeff Nutting asked for.)

The Friends meeting was indeed special. Felicia Oti, the Library Director and Cindy Dobryznski, Chair of the Library Board of Directors were both in attendance with the Board of the Friends and a couple of their members..

I won’t go into the recap of the events that transpired beginning with the December 2010 meeting. There is really no point in trying to reconstruct the incident. It has passed and both sides are willing to go forward. There may be some who don’t want to forget and that is okay. We all have choices to make and then we need to live with them.

It was acknowledged that there were mistakes made on both sides. It was acknowledged to let the past be put behind and go forward to support the Library.

There will be a book sale. It seems likely that it will be sponsored by the Friends of the Library for the benefit of the Library.

The book sale will be held at the DPW Garage like in recent years. The DPW will hold their “Touch a Truck” day to coincide with the book sale. All this will take place on the Saturday, May 21st.

The Library is still accepting books. The donation is technically to the Friends to benefit the Library. When the donation is to the Friends, the donor can receive a “Donation Acknowledgement and Tax Receipt”. If the donation is to the Library, it is accepted as a gift with no tax donation available. (An update from a loyal reader reveals that the statement above is incorrect, the gift to the Library still qualifies for a tax deduction.)

The sorting space that was a problem is still being used. Volunteers are still welcomed to help with the sorting. Felicia has heard from some volunteers who have stepped up to help conduct the book sale. The Friends book sale coordinator from last year had already determined not to do it this year (before the whole incident arose). Whether the Friends have another person to fill in remains open.

The permanent solution for space still remains to be determined.

Both the Friends and the Library Board of Directors have pledged to keep in better contact.

Felicia committed to come to the April meeting of the Friends.

Friends of the Franklin Library Mission Statement: We are a nonprofit organization, incorporated in 1991 and dedicated to supporting and promoting the Franklin Public Library. Ours is the first public, lending library in the USA, established with a donation of books from Benjamin Franklin. We are an all-volunteer community group that meets the first Wednesday of the month in the Library Community room at 7:00 pm from September thru June.

Franklin, MA

Town Council meeting 3/2/11

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

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES - February 2, 2011
Motion to approve, passed 7-0

Meeting recorded by Verizon and Comcast but not by Franklin Matters tonight


Warren Ravel - July 4th Committee presented annual report on the committee's work for the event


F. HEARINGS - none

New All Alcoholic Beverages Restaurant License
– Ichigo Ichie Franklin, LLC
motion to approve, passed 7-0




recognition of training by Police and Fire personnel
recognition of letters to thank the Fire Dept for excellent work done for the citizens

Approx $400,000 in hole on snow/ice removal, pray for warm weather



Powderly - encourage seniors to take advantage of the Senior Circuit Breaker tax credit
don't have to own to get the credit, if any questions, contact the Senior Center

FHS doing their Spring fund raiser Sunday, March 13th from 2:00 to 4:00 PM

Vallee - question do you have the break down on the Police/Fire/DPW - that was a really big expense?
Revel - Yes, I don't have the specific break out with me but it was about $10,000 for Police and Fire and $3,000 for DPW
Nutting - I can provide a copy of the invoice if you want
Mason - is that alright Bob?
Vallee - yes
Mason - thanks for your work on this, it is a great event for the town and a ton of work. I hope you can continue to do this for some time.

Motion to adjourn - less than 8 minutes (likely a record!)

Franklin, MA

Happy birthday Franklin!

On March 2, 1778 Franklin was incorporated.

Franklin shares its birthday with another significant MA personality (Dr Seuss) as well as about 70 Franklin residents.

The party will be held on Sunday, March 20th at the Historical Museum. Join the celebration of Franklin's birthday and those Franklin residents who share the Mar 2nd birthday!

Read more about the history of Franklin, MA in Wikipedia

Related post:

"I think this a great idea"

A community garden would provide a spot for kids and adults to learn about gardening, the importance of growing food locally and the benefits of working outside, said Amy Acevedo, who started Franklin Community Gardens, a group of residents that are in the process of forming a nonprofit organization. 
"There are so many benefits," said Acevedo, 46, who has lived in Franklin for 10 years. "We'd love to see some Scouts and school groups in there." 
Efforts to create a community garden began when the Bernon Family Branch of the Hockomock Area YMCA used grant money to build raised garden beds. Last year, beds were built at several locations including the Senior Center, Franklin Food Pantry and Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School, Acevedo said.

Read more: Franklin residents hope to start community garden

Related post:

Franklin, MA

In the News - Tri-County, accident

Two charged in Tri-County fight

Franklin accident sends two to the hospital

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"increasing the fruit and vegetable choices"

Franklin's six elementary schools, as well as Remington Middle School and Horace Mann Middle School got salad bars. All three of Bellingham's elementary schools will have a new salad bar, and so will Uxbridge's Taft Elementary School. 
None of the salad bars are open to students just yet. 
"It is a good source of nutrition," said Franklin Food Service Director Clair Doyle. "We are hoping to get them operational by next week." 
The program is sponsored by the Whole Foods Market Foundation and chef Ann Cooper's Food Family Farming Foundation. The salad bars were paid for by Whole Foods customers who donated at local stores through a special school promotion as well as online donations.
Read more: Local kids to eat salad thanks to donations - Milford, MA - The Milford Daily News

Yes, I endorse this effort and thank the Whole Foods Market Foundation (and all the contributors) for this. We will live better when we eat better.

This effort ties in nicely with the Franklin Food Pantry, the Community Gardens, and other healthy programs.

Franklin, MA

Dean College - James Roosevelt, Jr.

Dean College invites the public to its

5th Annual Dean Leadership Institute Executive Lecture

James Roosevelt, Jr.
President and CEO, Tufts Health Plan

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
5:30 p.m. Networking Reception
6:30 p.m. Presentation
Dean College Campus Center, 135 Emmons Street, Franklin

RSVP to: or 508-541-1612

James Roosevelt's presentation at the Dean Leadership Institute Executive Lecture will be on Social Security and Medicare. Mr. Roosevelt joined Tufts Health Plan in 1999 as senior vice president and general counsel, and became president and CEO in 2005. As general counsel he presided over the legal department and the company's compliance, privacy and government relations functions. In November 2008 President Barack Obama appointed Mr. Roosevelt to his transition team to co-chair a review of the Social Security Administration.

In the News - apartments rejected, police dog, gas leak

Proposal for eight apartments rejected in Franklin

Franklin Police dog gets bulletproof vest

Franklin firefighters respond to gas leak

Franklin, MA

Monday, February 28, 2011

Live reporting - Community Gardens Committee Meeting

About 16 folks here tonight to get the low down on the developments for the community gardens

Where is it?
King St Memorial Playground - most families may have found this spot already due to the variety of sports played here but for those who need help positioning it is off King St, just past Forest St and before you get to the Remington-Jefferson complex.

View Larger Map

44 plots for raised beds is the first goal
4 plots for the 'giving garden'
4 plots for community groups
the remainder for first come first served

How would the plots be allocated?
Ideally, they would be assigned via the Recreation Dept website program (assuming it can be set up).
Worse case, it would be done via some sort of lottery to ensure appropriate allocation

A layout has been designed to optimize space
some of the plots will be on smooth ground to enable wheel chair access

The Steering Committee has worked with Tri-County to get some logos developed
there is a meeting Weds to review the drafts and see which one would work for the group

There is a meeting with Jeff Nutting, Town Administrator, to review the plans thus far
and to hopefully confirm some of the direction and planning

What size are the plots?
The plots are planned to be
Ideally 2' deep to ensure good root growth, with alternative plans for 16" or 12" deep beds
One reason to use raised beds on King St is to avoid the ground itself which has been treated over time with pesticides, etc and would not be good for growing organic foods.

Targeting for Apr 22, Earth Day, for the build - coordinated with the Town's Earth Day

each plot would have a 4' by 10' bed using 2" untreated pine
Yes, the beds would have an early life time but this is too get us started at a reasonable cost.

What else is needed?
Looking for another member for the Board
looking for fund raising ideas
looking to leverage relationships with building materials, etc.

Franklin, MA

In the News - Tri-County; FinCom Mtg Canceled

Four boys involved in fight at Tri-County

from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Franklin Finance Committee meeting canceled

As mentioned in the weekly summary, it is not surprising to see the meeting has been canceled.

Franklin, MA

FM #87 - Week ending 2/27/11

Let's take about 10 minutes to get up to speed on what matters in Franklin, MA as the week comes to a close Sunday, Feb 27, 2011

Time: 10 minutes, 1 second

MP3 File

Show Notes:

This internet radio show or podcast is number 87 in the series for Franklin Matters.

We'll look back at the past two weeks as school vacation comes to a close Sunday Feb 27. Then we will look at what is scheduled for the week ahead.

The School Committee meeting on the 15th before school vacation was a full meeting.
Rep Vallee and Sen Spilka attended to provide an update on the overall budget outlook.
They did arrive in time to see the Franklin Arts Academy presentation which was quite impressive.
The school budget was reviewed and with minor discussion, approved.

While I can understand from the SchCom point of view that they have almost lived with the budget, some on the budget subcommittee more so than the others, and they had spent most of Saturday morning Jan 29th in the budget workshop. But as on that Saturday, the reporter from the MDN and I were the only members of the public, you would think that they would take some time to showcase the budget in this real public forum complete with live video which would be available later in the video on demand archive. But no, they went through it summarily and that is that. Shame on those in Franklin who did not come out to the meeting in person, that was your chance to step up and say something.

I do have links to the budget presentation and to the entire budget book available in the show notes

Kudos to Jim Roche, Finance Committee chair, who did participate in the meeting for the budget discussion.

The notes from the full meeting can be found here

The Town Council had a short and relatively uneventful meeting. The meeting notes can be found here:

The only meeting of significance during the school break was the Long Range Financial Planning Committee which did meet on Wednesday, Feb 23. It was a smaller group than normal but they met the quorum requirements (4 of 7). The lower attendance was likely due to the school vacation. There was a special guest, Town councilor Steve Whalen. Steve reviewed his worksheets which had just been updated with Census Data for 2010. The updated data did not change the overall results, Franklin by all measures does get a great deal of quality services for what little it puts out of its own pocket.

Side note – as the documents Steve shared were legal size, I do not have the ready capability to copy them and share them.

My notes from the meeting including highlights from the Whalen updates can be found here:

The other significant item that came from the meeting was the revelation that both Whalen and Zollo will not be running for re-election. I have heard this before but there was still plenty of time for them to change their minds. I guess that is not about to happen. So there will be opportunity for folks to run for the Council. It would be good to see some real competition.

And while we are at it, I have no intentions of running. My approach to this situation has not changed, nor is likely to, so you won't have to worry about it. I'll continue reporting on what matters in Franklin. You can review my disclosure statement for the additional details.

Looking ahead:

The Community Garden Committee meets Monday evening at Stop and Shop. 7:00 PM 7:30 PM in the community room.

The Finance Committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday. February's meeting you may recall was canceled. The Franklin website does not have an agenda posted but it may be on the Municipal Bldg window and I did not have time to go by and check. The Town Council meeting does not have any financial action items which FinCom would have approved first so not sure what's up. We'll find out Tuesday and not be too surprised if the meeting does get canceled.

The Town Council is scheduled to meet Wed March 2. A new liquor license for a Japanese-themed restaurant opening in the former Piccadilly Pub location is on the agenda for approval.

The Town Council agenda is posted here

The Franklin Cafe & Grill scheduled to open soon in the former KFC building on 140 has generated some conversation on the Facebook page. In particular about the sign requirements.

March 2 is also significant for two birthdays – Franklin's own birthday and that of Dr Seuss!
Franklin will hold a party on Sunday March 20th at the Museum to celebrate Mar 2 also with some of the 76 Franklin residents who share the March 2 birthday!

The Commonwealth released data by community for 2001 through 2009 on the senior circuit breaker tax advantages available to them. Franklin does quite well in that there has been an increase each year in the number of filers and in the average credit received. To paint a complete picture, I'd like to know how many are eligible and don't apply?

The Franklin chapter of the Teenangels were in the news

So as we close this week, welcome back. The snow hasn't gone yet. The budget cycle is getting into high gear in March. The time to be involved is now.

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

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.

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 and Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission

I hope you enjoy!

Franklin Public Schools - Budget Book FY 2012

The School Budget Book for Fiscal Year 2012 (FY 2012) is ready for review. Each section is stored as it's own file.

  1. Executive Summary
  2. District Improvement Plan (DIP)
  3. Achievement Profile
  4. Enrollment
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
  6. Overview
  7. ECDC
  8. Davis Thayer
  9. Jefferson
  10. Keller
  11. Kennedy
  12. Oak St
  13. Parmenter
  14. Horace Mann MS
  15. Remington MS
  16. Annie Sullivan MS
  17. Franklin High School
  18. Central Office
  19. Curriculum-Instruction
  20. Pupil Personnel Services
  21. Transportation
  22. Grant Budgets

You can also review the folder of all the documents made public on Franklin Matters here

Franklin, MA

Where you born on March 2?

If so, guess what, you share your birthday with the Town of Franklin!

Although the Town of Franklin is much older (March 2, 1778), we thought it would be fun to invite everyone that shares March 2nd as their birthday to a “Birthday Bash” at the museum. From the looks of things, we will have over 70 people that share that date from children to adults.

We are planning to have a cake, beverages and certainly balloons. Who knows, we may also have some special birthday presents for everyone.

Please RSVP as soon as possible to Deborah L. Pellegri, Town Clerk and Chairman of the Historical Commission at 508-520-4900 or email me at

Remember, family and friends are all invited and certainly welcomed.

We look forward to hearing from you real soon

Your Birthday Celebration

At the Franklin Historical Museum

Sunday, March 20th, 2011 
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Invitation to all

Franklin, MA

In the News - Meghan Dean, pickup accident

PHOTO: A great distinction in Franklin

Pickup injures woman in Franklin

Franklin, MA

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Franklin, MA: Town Council - Agenda - Mar 2, 2011

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES - February 2, 2011






New All Alcoholic Beverages Restaurant License
– Ichigo Ichie Franklin, LLC








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


Franklin, MA

Franklin Cafe & Grill - "now hiring - opening soon"

The former KFC is getting transformed. New signs are up announcing the Franklin Cafe & Grill. There is also a banner announcing "now hiring, opening soon"!

The liquor license was approved at the Jan 12, 2011 Town Council meeting.

Franklin, MA