Saturday, March 19, 2011

i495 bridge construction update

Have you see the bridge construction signs on i495 announcing construction begins 3/21/11? What are they going to do?

The MassDOT website has the following information:
The work for all the bridges in this project shall consist of joint work, the sounding of the reinforced concrete deck, mapping the deteriorated areas which need to be partially replaced, removing and replacing the existing bearing. The project will also add a plate and replace the diaphragm for the Farm Street Bridge over Interstate 495. The proposed work also includes cleaning and painting the structural steel, reconstructing the bridge and approach wearing surfaces; reconstruct the approach sidewalk to the bridge and patching any deterioration in concrete surfaces.
You can visit the MassDOT site to find other construction projects in the planning or construction phases.

This one is titled: BELLINGHAM- FRANKLIN- BRIDGE PRESERVATION, B-06-019, B-06-020, F-08-022, F-08-023, OVER/UNDER I-495

Franklin, MA

Seminars Offered by The United Regional Chamber of Commerce

Seminars Offered Through
The United Regional Chamber of Commerce
URCC logo white background
Which Seminar is Right for You?March 2011
Four Great Seminars
Internet Marketing Strategy
I Didn't Know Quickbooks Could Do That
Five Steps to Organizing
Organizing Your Office
Dear Stephen,

The United Regional Chamber of Commerce proudly presents four great seminars this month. All seminars are being held at Dean College, 99 Main St., Franklin, in the Golder Room located on the second floor of the Campus Center. Free parking is available in the Campus Center Lot at 109 W. Central Street, Franklin.

Jack's color signature
Jack Lank

Internet Marketing Strategy
Presented by Ed McDonough of Executive Coaching
Business Coach Ed McDonough will reveal the "Must Haves" and "Should Haves" needed for a well-rounded internet marketing strategy that will keep your customers coming back, and keep your business ahead of the competition. 
Where & When
Dean College
Campus Center, Golder Room
99 Main St., Franklin, MA
March 18, 2011
8 a.m.

I Didn't Know QuickBooks Could Do That
Presented by Ed Jaworski of SMB Partners, LLC

Join us in a presentation of QuickBooks Tips and Techniques. Learn how creative use of QuickBooks helps you run your business more effectively. Via a live demo, you will see firsthand how to put these tips into practice. Topics include: QuickBooks as a business management tool, creative use of built-in features, and common add-ons to extend functionality.
Where & When
Dean College
Campus Center, Golder Room
99 Main St., Franklin, MA
March 18, 2011
11:30 a.m.

Five Steps to Organizing
Presented by Janine Cavanaugh, Professional Organizer

This class will teach you a 5-step process that will help you organize your space and information.
Where & When
Dean College
Campus Center, Golder Room
99 Main St., Franklin, MA
March 21, 2011
6:30 p.m.

Organizing Your Office
Presented by Janine Cavanaugh, Professional Organizer 
This class will teach you how to create functional, efficient and orderly office spaces. 
Where & When
Dean College
Campus Center, Golder Room
99 Main St., Franklin, MA
March 28, 2011
6:30 p.m.
The cost of the seminars is included in your membership. The cost for non-members is $25. If you're interested in attending any or all of the seminars, please register by calling the Chamber at 508-222-0801, 508-528-2800 or 508-695-6011.

The United Regional Chamber of Commerce | 42 Union Street | Attleboro | MA | 02703

"Life's going to throw you a lot of curves"

Byers, a radio personality at WAAF, emphasized the importance of each player fulfilling his roll and not attempting to be the hero during an impromptu visit to the school yesterday. 
Teacher Jill Anderson contacted Byers on Wednesday through WAAF because Franklin's hockey team is preparing for the state title. She thought the visit would fit in well with her Sports and Popular Culture class, which has heard from other professional athletes this school year. The class just finished a unit on sports in the 1980s that emphasized the 1980 Miracle on Ice game, when the United States defeated Russia in the 1980 Winter Olympics. 
Byers came to speak to the class, which invited members of the hockey team to listen along.

Read more:

Franklin, MA

"we don't know how long it's going to be until there's another banner up there"

There was once a day where that was likely true. Jimmy Marchand was one of the stars of Franklin's 1983 state championship team, a senior who scored 25 goals in the Panthers' only state championship season. 
The only one for now, at least. 
James Marchand and his teammates will have something to say about that tomorrow when they play North-champion Tewksbury at TD Garden for the Division 2 crown (1:30 p.m.). 
James has been one of the heroes of Franklin's run, scoring in the final minutes against Oliver Ames in the sectional semifinals to complete a late comeback, then scoring twice in the third period to put away Plymouth South in the South final last Sunday.

Read more:

Franklin, MA

Friday, March 18, 2011

"First time I smiled doing a derivative."

Salman Khan talks about how he went from a hedge fund analyst to Khan Academy. The use of videos in the classroom and the digital dashboard feedback provided for the teachers fosters better quality teacher interaction time with each student.

Thanks to TED Talks for sharing this video

Franklin, MA

Franklin Birthday Celebration - Mar 20 - 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Reminder: Franklin's birthday party at the Historical Museum - Sunday, March 20, 2011

Although the Town of Franklin is much older (March 2, 1778), 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.

There will be a birthday cake, beverages and balloons. Who knows, we may also have some special birthday presents for everyone.

Your Birthday Celebration

At the Franklin Historical Museum

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

Franklin, MA

"the whole school is talking about it"

"We've only had six home games so the fans really haven't had an opportunity to come watch us," said Nick Bertoni, a 17-year-old junior who plays left wing. "We want them to cheer like they've never cheered before." 
And if advance ticket sales are any indication, the players will get their wish. The school sold more than 800 tickets during the first day of public sales and athletics staff had to drive to Boston yesterday to get a second block of 1,000 tickets to meet demand, Athletic Director Brad Sidwell said. 
The Panthers (17-4-2) will play at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the Division 2 state championship game against Tewksbury (18-5-1) in hopes of winning their first state title since 1983. The team last made the championship game in 2003.

Read more:

Franklin, MA

Safe Routes: Bike and Walk to School

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Transportation by Klark Jessen on 3/17/11

The Massachusetts Safe Routes to School program has recognized five schools/communities for their achievements encouraging students to walk or bicycle to school. 

Award recipients include:
    Hockomock Area YMCA for Community Collaboration
    Town of Marblehead as Champion of the Year
    Marion E. Zeh Elementary School in Northborough for Safe Routes to School Innovation
    Newman Elementary School in Needham for Safe Routes to School Leadership
    Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in New Bedford for Rookie of the Year for outstanding initial efforts

Existing Safe Routes to School programs already reach 386 elementary and middle schools representing nearly 180,000 students in 120 municipalities statewide.  The program educates students, parents, and community members on the values of walking and bicycling to school.  Learn more about Safe Routes to School.

Safe Routes To School Winners, March 2011

Safe Routes to School 2011 Forum winners and MassDOT celebrate their awards. From left above:
Christine D'Angelo, Zeh School in Northborough, Jim Cope, MassDOT, Susan Whitten, Zeh School in Northborough, Kate Reilly, Town of Marblehead, Kimberly Cohen, Caitlin Hurley, Lauren Marciszyn, and Barbara Zimmer, Hockomock Area YMCA, Tim Rumberger, Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in New Bedford, Anne Hayek, Newman Elementary in Needham, Ned Codd, MassDOT.

Things you can do from here:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Introducing "Voices of Franklin"

You have a story.

Perhaps you have lived in Franklin all your life, maybe you arrived in the 1980's or 1990's, or even more recently.

You would like to express your thoughts on what it is like to live in Franklin. Perhaps on the way things were, or the way things should be. There are any number of topics that matter to Franklin. You may not have the time to create your own blog. Now you won't need to.

Send your writing to "Voices of Franklin"

If you
  • have time to write a couple of paragraphs
  • access to email
  • your voice can be published here in a new “Voices of Franklin” section
  • please include your name and address (to confirm Franklin residence)

Your written submission will need to abide by the editorial guidelines found below. 

You'll also need to be aware that anything published on Franklin Matters is subject to the Creative Commons License 3.0 for USA. Specifically, what is published can be shared with attribution but not for profit.

More information about the editorial guidelines and creative commons license are found in the links below. If you would like to clarify something before sending your writing in, you can reach out to me (shersteve at gmail dot com).

Editorial/comment guidelines

Creative Commons

The idea for "Voices of Franklin" was mentioned most recently in the weekly summary 

Franklin, MA

Town Council meeting 03/16/11

The collection of live reports from the Town Council meeting on Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011 can be found here

Franklin, MA

Franklin Downtown Partnership Seeking Members, Sponsors

The Franklin Downtown Partnership has kicked off its annual membership and sponsorship drives for 2011 as it plans more events and involvement in Franklin this year.

The Partnership gained more than 50 new members in 2010 and hopes to increase its numbers again this year, according to Executive Director Lisa Piana. The 140-member strong organization brings together residents and businesses to improve the downtown, draw visitors and beautify the area.

“Being a member of the Franklin Downtown Partnership gives a business or resident a vehicle to be part of matters affecting our downtown’s future,” says Partnership President Nicole Fortier, branch officer at Dean Bank. “For an affordable price our members are involved in revitalization projects like the streetscape design work. We give them a voice in decisions that directly affect their businesses and their day-to-day lives.”

Membership also gives certain privileges at Franklin’s festivals and strolls, free links on the Partnership’s website,, communication updates on events and projects, and informational meetings and networking opportunities. Non-business memberships start as low as $15 for seniors and students and $25 for residents, and businesses’ dues are based on the number of employees. Dues are tax deductible.

As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, the Partnership relies exclusively on membership dues and sponsorships for funding. Sponsorships make up the majority of funds for popular events like the annual Strawberry Stroll, the Harvest Festival, the Holiday Stroll, and spring and winter Beautification days. Each year attendance at those events has increased, according to Fortier.

On Saturday, May 21, the Partnership will join members of the Franklin Garden Club for the annual Beautification Day. Volunteers will plant more than 1,400 flowers throughout the downtown, including planters on the bridge and center island as well as on sidewalks in front of businesses. Sponsors’ names will be displayed prominently on signage in the center of town.

“All of those flowers are donated. We simply could not freshen up the downtown area with all of those gorgeous plantings if we didn’t have support from our sponsors and the countless volunteers who do all the hard work,” says Piana. “We are very proud of the impact those planters make every year, and we rely solely on outside support. We do a lot on a small budget and the impression on people coming to the downtown is positive and long lasting.”

New members are always welcome, and membership is open to all residents and businesses, regardless of whether they are located downtown. The Partnership is actively looking for businesses and individuals to sponsor all upcoming events. A full calendar of events, sponsorship opportunities, applications, deadlines, and contact information can be found on this website or by contacting Lisa Piana at (774)571-3109 or

This was originally posted to the Downtown Partnership page here

Franklin, MA

"found no major discrepancies during his annual independent audit"

The council must still approve a bylaw change before the poles, located between East Central and Depot streets, can be removed, Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting said. 
Nutting told the council the project would cost utility company National Grid about $100,000, resulting in a $1 one-time cost to residential electric customers. Business and industrial customers would pay more money, Nutting said. 
"We thought the aesthetics of Main Street would be improved," he said. 
The town is planning to improve sidewalks, crosswalks, lighting and other elements of downtown in the coming years thanks to $5 million in federal funding. But that money cannot be used for putting utility wires underground, Nutting said. 
Last year, the council decided not to pursue a $1 million project to remove utility poles along East Central Street because that would cost cable and electric customers $65-120. The Main Street work would only impact electric customers, as there's no cable line there.
Read more:

The full set of notes reporting on the Town Council meeting of Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011 can be found here:

Franklin, MA

In the News - saved life, hockey tickets

Franklin man among those honored for saving a life

Tickets for Franklin hockey championship on sale tomorrow

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

One Book One Community 2011

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Franklin Public Library by Franklin Public Library on 3/16/11

"If you leave Opi, you'll die with strangers," Irma Vitale's mother always warned. But Irma is too poor and too plain to marry and can't find honest work in her tiny mountain village in Southern Italy. Barely twenty, she must leave home bearing only native wit and astonishing skill with a needle. Risking rough passage across the Atlantic, a single woman in a strange land, Irma seeks a new life sewing dresses for gentlewomen. Swept up in the crowded streets of nineteenth-century America, Irma finds workshop servitude and miserable wages, but also seeds of friendship in the raw immigrant quarters. When her determination leads at last to Chicago, Irma blossoms under the hand of an austere Alsatian dressmaker, sewing fabrics and patterns more beautiful than she'd ever imagined. Then this tenuous peace is shattered. From the rubble, confronting human cruelty and kindness, suffering and hope, a new Irma emerges, nurturing a talent she'd never imagined and an unlikely family, patched together by the common threads that unite us all.

When we were Strangers by Pamela Schoenewaldt is the selection for our 2011 One Book, One Community program.  Copies are now available for checkout. 

For more information about the author and the novel, please visit Pamela Schoenewaldt's blog:

Program schedule coming soon!

Things you can do from here:

Live reporting - Closing

parking lot at Depot St will be closed for about 6-7 months due to construction

looking at options to relocate the 27 spots elsewhere for the commuters

looking at a regionalization with 4 towns for dispatch services

Pleasant St house, old DelCarte house was demolition last week

Community Gardens coming to King St fields

Budget still not finalized at State

PEG agreement being worked

Met with the Big Y, expect to put a shovel in the ground in July

Vallee - when construction will begin for Main St project?
Nutting - likely 2012 at earliest, looking at perhaps a one lane cover if we have the money


McGann - any news on the bell?
Nutting - no

Vallee - it seems to me that these costs on the Town side are excessive
Nutting - we leave public safety decisions to our key personnel

Vallee - I think these costs are excessive
Nutting - I think 60% of the costs are related to the fireworks

Whalen - what is the timing on the remaining budget items
Nutting - health care costs we'll have next Tuesday, they have been dragging out, they'll we'll present options to the employees and to the unions. I can put a budget together with worse case numbers but I don't think we have numbers from the State until we get the House numbers in April. Our employees and the unions have been very open to changes, we are hoping that continues this year.

Whalen - when will we get numbers worst case?
Nutting - May, I think I am going to have to do the budget before that and have everybody be flexible

Mason - thanks to the Scouts for attending this evening
congratulations to the FHS Hockey team for making the state finals on Sunday

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


Franklin, MA

Live reporting - poles on Main St

1. Resolution 11-08: Report of Franklin Town Council, Re: Advisability of Requiring Removal of Poles and Overhead Structures Along Main Street From its Intersection with East Central Street to Its Intersection with Depot Street

estimate of $1 per rate payer for this, one time charge only for electric, no cable involved
the $1 is the estimate for average residential use, the company/businesses would pay a higher rate

the one building involved could get service and would require an internal update

either way, the building owner has internal issues

motion to approve, passed 7-0

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Audit report

Scott McIntyre, Vice President - Melanson

Audit document

audit was good, no material disagreements on transaction applications

Page 12 - long term prospective balence
Net OPEB Obligation
year two of accounting standard, to be fully funded over 30 years
over $15 M, increased
dropped from $8 to $1.5 M as unrestricted assets

page 14 - short term
500,000 draw on operating balance, not unusual for these economic conditions
$5.2 M down about 700,000 (used for capital expenditures)
8% of general appropriation, about where it is supposed to be

revenues came in about 700,000 above forecast, good but in narrow range
expenses under budget, so this creates a positive balance
use of existing cash reserves is not a good thing

Management Letter
close inactive project funds, not fully completed as end of fiscal year but has been fully closed now

Management letter document

develop a more formal risk assessment process, mentioned before
identify risk areas and respond, formal policies and procedures should be applied
possible areas of risk supplied to Comptroller

outstanding bonds not reconciled to ledger at end of fiscal year, this has been done subsequently

GASB 54 prepare for new standard, mostly terminology
account for raining day funds to be reported in the general financial statements (i.e. stabilization fund)
funds combined only in the audit report, other regulations take precedent to keep them separate

Nutting - can you reconcile the diff between the $15M and the $79M obligation

McIntyre - estimated to be your fully funded liabilities earned by retirees
Accounting standards don't require this to be recognized at once, can take 30 years to fully fund
this liability is not in the general fund, no obligation to actually fund it

$80 M is without a trust fund, if there was a trust fund to be used, the liability would be cut in half

There is a substantial amount of town audits where there are no material disagreements
turn the clock back ten years ago, and I could not have said them same thing
accounting systems and general ledgers have improved

McGann - what condition would you find Franklin in compared to other towns of similar size?

McIntyre - considering debt service and fund balance, those two attributes put you in good company, they like to see between 5 - 10 percent, you are at the upper end. For the debt service, (page 39) it shows how quickly you pay off your long term debt, how much of your debt are you paying off in ten years. you pay off 70% of your debt in 10 years, that is very good, for the enterprise accounts, approx 70% within ten year period, also a very favorable result.

The report will be posted to the website in a couple of days.

Franklin, MA

live reporting - License transactions

Longhorn Steakhouse – Alteration of Premises
motion to approve, passed 7-0

Joe’s American Bar & Grill – Transfer of License
motion to approve, passed 7-0

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Town Council

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

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES - February 16, 2011
motion to approve, passed 7-0

meetings are recorded by Verizon, Comcast, and Franklin Matters



E. APPOINTMENTS - Conservation Commission
motion to approve Regan Harald, passed 7-0

Franklin, MA

Citizens Against Waste: Trash fee question

So, when the town spent however-many thousands on those new trash and recycle containers the implication was that the household trash collection cost would go down slightly. While I do like the new containers the only reason to spend money like that, especially during a time like this, is if it will reduce the cost of trash removal. 
We recently received our quarterly water/sewer/trash bill and while not in front of me at the moment I believe the trash cost was $55. Is that lower than it was a few quarters ago before the new bins? Or do they just expect that everyone will forget about that little promise and keep charging the same? Anyone remember what it was before? 
Now that the trash removal company requires only one worker per truck instead of three and can clear more cans per hour I assume the savings are passed on to the local governments it services. Were those savings passed on to us? That was how it was sold anyway so just curious. Thanks.


Yes, the quarterly rate reduced from $61 to $55.

Part of the rate reduction came from the efficiency of the new single stream process with one-person mechanically operated trucks as opposed to the two-person truck manual operation of the prior vendor.

As the $800,000 for the bins (barrels, toters, or whatever you want to call them) are paid off, there is potential for a further reduction.

Note: the financing for the bins is done within the solid waste enterprise account. This account is where the trash and recycle fees are collected, town expenses accumulated, and occasionally when the account balance is sufficient, a rate reduction is passed along to the rate payers.

Thanks to Adam for the question. He entered it on the question form and on the Franklin Matters Facebook page. 

If you have a question, please ask it here and we'll get it answered.

Franklin, MA

School Committee 03/15/11

The collection of posts reporting on the School Committee meeting for Tuesday, March 15, 2011 can be found here:

Franklin, MA

Offer to candidates for election - November 8, 2011

To the citizens and potential candidates for Franklin's election on November 8, 2011:

I extend an offer to conduct and post an interview with you here. The interview can be either text or audio.

You are running to conduct business on behalf of Franklin. Together, we can share your views, your objectives, and help to spread the word to create an informed voter.

Send me an email (shersteve at gmail dot com) and we can arrange a mutually convenient time.

Be aware that this is my public service effort conducted solely to create an informed electorate here in Franklin.

I do this for fun and education. If it stops being that way, I will stop.
This is not an advertising site. This is an information sharing site.

My disclosure statement can be found here.
My comment/editorial policy can be found here.

A similar offer was made for the Franklin, MA elections in 2009 and 2007.

Results of the interviews posted during 2009 can be viewed here

Corny ad

Did you catch the Saturday Night Live remake of the high fructose corn syrup ad?

I didn't but the link is available for replay here:

The original ad is also found here

Franklin, MA

In the News - FHS courses, tsunami report,

Franklin may drop some Advanced Placement courses

A full report of the complete School Committee meeting can be found here:


Franklin man in Japan tells tale over computer


Fidelity to close Marlborough facility, move 1,100 jobs

There are a number of Fidelity and a growing number of ex-Fidelity employees here in Franklin.

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Live reporting - Closing

4. Action Items
a. I recommend approval of the RMS trip to the Providence Place Mall IMAX Theater on April 15, 2011 as detailed.  motion to approve, passed 7-0

b. I recommend acceptance of a check for $2666.00 from the Parmenter PCC for Field Trips.
motion to approve, passed 7-0

5. Information Matters
• Superintendent’s Report
March 30, MSBA update joint with Town Council, School Committee and Building Committee
in the Training Room at 6:00 PM

salad bars fully installed, a big hit amongst the students

• School Committee Sub-Committee Reports - none
• School Committee Liaison Reports - none

6. New Business
• To discuss future business that may be brought before the School Committee.
Thanks for participation in the FEF Trivia bee

7. Executive Session
• Contractual Negotiations

motion to move to executive session, not to return to an open meeting, passed 7-0 via roll call

Franklin, MA