Saturday, June 18, 2011

Why Franklin, MA public schools deserve your financial support

If you need proof that your local tax dollars are being spent well at the Franklin, MA public schools, please take a few seconds to look at the following repost from the blog.

The post covers the recent art festival held at the Franklin High School by the school’s Franklin Arts Academy (FAA). The FAA functions as a school within a school. It helps boost the academic achievements of artistically talented Franklin students who might otherwise struggle in a traditional school environment.

Video of the FAA’s art festival
Here’s a short video of the art festival:

Why Franklin public schools deserve your financial support
I brought my two young sons to the art festival thinking I’d be showing them some typical high school art. Instead I came away excited about the vision and dedication of Franklin High’s teaching and administrative staff and very encouraged about the future of Franklin’s public schools. We have something special in the Franklin public schools and we’d be smart to dedicate the funding needed in coming years to maintain the outstanding services we are getting from the system.

As I said in the post: Franklin High School’s excellence in action
It says a lot about the quality and dedication of the educators in the Franklin Public School system that the High School has implemented such a forward-thinking and creative program that truly helps students.
In these times of budget cuts and municipal layoffs, it is refreshing to see such dedication to the ideals of public education. Please remember this the next time you hear complaints about local real estate taxes and municipal spending. Support your public schools!

You can read the whole post here.

In the News - summer classes, summer reading

Registration open for Dean College summer classes

Franklin summer reading lists available

Friday, June 17, 2011

Water alert

We received an automated phone call yesterday from the Franklin DPW notifying us about a test on Well #9 that returned bad results. The well was taken off line. No action on our part is required. This is a normal part of the daily effort to deliver clean water to Franklin.

Franklin water sample contains bacteria

There was a presentation on the water supply recently and recapped in this article

Farmers Market Open Today !

Franklin Farmers Market,  Friday,  12:00pm to 6:00pm

Franklin: Farmers Market

ALERT: Public Redistricting Hearing - This Saturday!

The following is an email from Senator Karen Spilka about the redistricting being done in MA.

June 15, 2011

Dear Steve,

As a member of the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting, I am pleased to invite you to a public hearing we are hosting this Saturday, June 18th at Framingham State University.

Following the results of the Census conducted last year, the Massachusetts Congressional delegation must be reduced from ten seats to nine and the district lines for State Representative, State Senator and Governor's Council seats must be redrawn to make sure that each district remains proportionate.

This is an opportunity for you to learn more about the committee, the redistricting process and what it means for you and your community. This is open to the public, giving anyone the opportunity to testify as to their thoughts, questions or concerns regarding redistricting.

Since this will be the only redistricting hearing held in the MetroWest area, I urge all my constituents and all others in the region to attend. It is crucial that we get feedback on this issue so that we can do the best possible job for the Commonwealth.

I look forward to seeing you at this important hearing and discussing how to ensure that the MetroWest remains an economically vibrant region with a strong presence in the legislative process.

Event Details:

Special Joint Committee on Redistricting
Public Hearing
Saturday, June 18th
Framingham State University
Forum Room at the McCarthy Center
100 State Street
Framingham, MA 01701

For those who cannot attend the hearing, the Committee hosts a website at that provides redistricting information, the full hearing schedule and locations and a contact page for residents to submit questions, comments or materials.

If you have any other concerns or comments, please do not hesitate to email me at or call my office at (617) 722-1640.


Karen E. Spilka
2nd Middlesex and Norfolk

Office of State Senator Karen E. Spilka
Room 511-C, State House
Boston, Massachusetts  02133

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Time to bring back fluoride choice in Franklin

Franklin resident Rich Aucoin has his "Letter to the Editor" published in the Country Gazette:

Aucoin: Time to bring back fluoride choice in Franklin

"a stipulation forcing town officials to notify the public after testing positive"

Between 2006 and 2009, for instance, Chilson Beach at Beaver Pond in Franklin was closed 12 times for E. coli - the most of all MetroWest and Milford-area beaches during that time. 
Since those closings, a Franklin Parks and Recreation Department staff person said the town had not taken any extra precautions other than continuing to test for the substance. 
Condon sympathized with town officials. 
"You can't really control mother nature," she said.

Read more:

Related post about Well #9

Note: related to the Chilson Beach results, Franklin's drinking water comes from wells around town. Nature will normally produce E.coli (where do the animals go?).

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New England Transformed - 2010

The Boston Federal Reserve Bank has just published its annual report for 2010.
The feature essay of the 2010 annual report discusses some of the changes that have occurred in New England over the past four decades, comparing the challenges we faced in the mid-1970s with those we face today.

Well worth spending a few minutes to read!

Boston Federal Reserve Bank: New England Transformed 2010

Franklin fire fighters finally get a contract!

The contract with International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2637 covers fiscal 2008 through fiscal 2011 and gives members a 7.5 percent raise retroactive to July 1, 2010. 
The raise is on par with what other unions received over that time, Nutting said after the meeting, noting the firefighters had not received a salary increase during those four years. 
Ratification of the contract was delayed for about three years by negotiations, he said.
The union agreed to drop grievances with the town about vacation scheduling, training and other issues upon ratification of the contract, according to the contract.
Nutting's contract covers fiscal 2011 through 2013 and keeps his salary at $131,300. Town Council Chairman Scott Mason said the contract was similar to other town administrators' agreements to oversee communities that are smaller than Franklin.

Read more:

"thinks the new plan will help with traffic concerns"

Daddario would also be required to make improvements to the Franklin Village Plaza traffic light, since that intersection would have increased use from drivers making U-turns to head toward downtown. 
After meeting with the state, which owns that stretch of West Central Street, Daddario learned that upgrades there would be more involved and expensive than originally thought. 
That expense, coupled with tenants' concerns about the restrictions, led Daddario to reconsider the project, he said. 
Town Engineer William Yadisernia said his major concern with the initial project was that it had two restaurants - both of which would have their busiest periods at the same time of day. 
"Even a full-service restaurant would be fine," Yadisernia said. 
Town Planner Beth Dahlstrom said the Planning Board expects to hold a public hearing on the revised plan at its July 11 meeting.

Read more:

In the News - Strawberry Stroll, school survey

Franklin Strawberry Stroll tomorrow

Franklin parents asked to complete school survey

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Yea, Bruins!

"It's for innovative teaching"

In other business, the School Committee postponed a discussion of privatizing the management portion of the food service program until its June 28 meeting to allow a subcommittee studying the issue to review one of the proposals, School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy said. 
The subcommittee had recommended that the committee authorize the administration to enter negotiations with Whitson's Culinary Group. Sodexo, Aramark and Chartwells also submitted proposals. Roy said he didn't know which proposal needed to be examined. 
The School Committee gave administrators authorization in April to seek proposals, hoping that a private company could better meet new federal nutrition requirements and have greater purchasing power than the current district-run food system.

Read more:

In the News - MetroWest, teen, Arts Academy, summer programs

Health Foundation distributes grants to Franklin

Franklin teen vies for honors in Alabama

Franklin High Arts Academy to showcase skills

Franklin to hold summer program for children

"enormous suffering on some of our nation’s most vulnerable"

From the Center for American Progress:
This week the House will debate a GOP proposal to cut $101 million from food assistance for low-income seniors and local food banks. The bill slashes $38 million (a 22 percent cut) from the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, or CSFP, which provides nutritious food packages to more than 600,000 low-income families every month (96 percent of whom are seniors). The bill also cuts $63 million from The Emergency Food Assistance Program, or TEFAP, which provides our nation’s emergency food bank network with food commodities and storage and distribution support. These cuts come at a time when food prices are rising and food banks are already struggling to serve their existing caseload. 
Conservatives claim these cuts on the backs of our nation’s most vulnerable families are necessary to bring our fiscal house in order. But here’s the rub: One day’s worth of Bush tax cuts for millionaires would more than offset these cuts to seniors and food banks. Here’s the math:

You can read the full posting on the Center for American Progress website

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Franklin Food Pantry says “Thanks to You”

Thanks to your generosity, the Franklin Food Pantry will be stocked to serve our neighbors this summer. The recent “Calling for the Pantry” phone-a-thon netted just over $11,000 and the “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive coordinated with the US Post Office generated just over 5,000 pounds of food and non-food items. “We are relieved to fill the empty shelves and know many of these donations will help us through the summer,” said Anne Marie Bellavance, Executive Director.

Volunteers for the Franklin Food Pantry reached out to talk with 2,400 households in Franklin, MA as part of the first annual phone fundraising effort. Bellavance said, “We were not sure what it (the phone-a-thon) would be like. The phone conversations the volunteers had were priceless. The feedback provided will help us.”

Dean College graciously provided use of their phone bank as their contribution to this event. More than 40 volunteers made the phone calls spread over several time periods from April 30 through May 3, 2011. The unpaid volunteers announced that this was the first annual phone call fundraising effort for the Food Pantry.

The Food Pantry will be able to provide more than 55,000 meals with the money raised. They are able to do this by leveraging resources with the Greater Boston Food Bank and providing fresh produce from Grateful Farm in Franklin. The fresh produce will be available during June through October for Franklin Food Pantry clients.

On Saturday, May 14, Franklin participated in the annual “Stamp Out Hunger” campaign, the largest food drive in the US. Jeanne Jackson, Franklin’s USPS Postmaster, was on site at the Food Pantry observing the parade of 20 postal vehicles. As the carriers worked their routes delivering mail to residences in Franklin, they picked up bags of food and non-food items that had been left for them at the mailboxes. The carriers stopped at the Food Pantry to drop off the bags before heading back to the Post Office.

Volunteers worked efficiently to unload the trucks as they arrived. Once unloaded, the bags were weighed, the items were checked for safety and quality, sorted into food and non-food categories and stocked onto the shelves. Only 10% of the items received were put aside due to safety and quality concerns. This is a marked improvement over 2010 when there was 28% waste from expired “use by” dates.

Thanks to

  • Dean College for the use of the phone bank
  • The residents for their contributions of food and money
  • The volunteers for their time and effort
  • The Post Office carriers for their time and effort

Thanks to you for helping put food on the table this summer for your Franklin neighbors!


Stamp Out Hunger web site:

Franklin Food Pantry web site

Strawberry Stroll - June 16, 2011

The inside scoop on which businesses downtown are participating and how they are for the Strawberry Stroll on Thursday, Jun 16.

Strawberry Stroll Handout (Updated May 20)


Proposed Agenda for June 14, 2011
Location: Franklin YMCA 45 Forge Hill Road
Start Time: 7:30PM

I. Call to Order / Introductions of New Attendees

A. Review & approve minutes of previous meeting
B. Volunteer to keep minutes of meeting

II. Approval of Minutes

III. Report from our representative from DCR

A. Any comments from Ron Clough
B. Are we ready to post literature for the Kiosk

IV. Report from Finance Committee

A. Report from Treasurer

V. Report from Grant Writing Committee

A. Application for the Tighe & Bond Engineering Services Grant
B. Application for the DCR Grant by town planning board
C. Other grant application opportunities

VI. Earth Day Event at Beaver St. on April 16th

A. Report from committee members who attended

VII. Report of April 23rd Road Race Committee

A. Post Race discussions – how we did and what we can we do better next year
B. What do we do with our net proceeds of the race?
C. Offer from Brimfield Road Race Committee to create a Rail Trail Road Race Series

VIII. Report on Bellingham

A. Bellingham Lions – Ken
B. Mary Chaves

IX. Unfinished Business:

A. Intro from Dave Denison on inviting Deputy Police Chief Semerjian
D. Still would like to meet with the Metacomet Land Trust
E. Still Need to Meet with EMC

X. New Business:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Franklin Arts Academy Arts Celebration - Jun 15

Franklin Arts Academy Arts Celebration, opens to the public June 15th.

The initiative to teach students with, by, and through the arts has exceeded expectations evidenced by the self motivation and vigor of the students. The night is to allow the public to see, and celebrate with us, the successful first year of this small learning community dedicated to fostering engagement a fully developed art based academic education. Please come, bring your friends and your camera!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM
at Franklin High School on Oak St

Franklin, MA

Strawberry Stroll - June 16, 2011

The Strawberry Stroll is Thursday, June 16, 2011. Sponsored by the Franklin Downtown Partnership many of the businesses downtown will be participating.

FDP Strawberry Festival 2011

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

Struggle and Strength

Inspirational sign from the recent Relay for Life in Franklin:

Relay for Life: Franklin, MA 6/10/11

"Where there is no struggle, there is no strength" Oprah Winfrey

"Prospect Street residents have not objected to the work"

After a hearing before the Planning Board last month, Cantoreggi looked at the trees and determined an oak near 324 Prospect St. did not need to be cut, he said. 
"I think they wanted the tree down because it was in their way," Cantoreggi said. "I was more of the stance that the tree hadn't failed and I didn't see an immediate safety concern. It's a large beautiful tree. I didn't want to see it cut down." 
National Grid had initially wanted to cut 10 trees but scaled back the plan after touring the area with Cantoreggi, company representatives said at the hearing.
The work is part of a program in which the company identifies areas with frequent outages caused by falling trees or branches and trims or cuts trees to reduce the problem, company representatives said at the hearing.
"Tree-related outages are among the leading cause of service interruptions for our customers," National Grid spokeswoman Deborah Drew said in an interview.

Read more:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Town Council agenda document - Jun 15

After the public hearing on the zoning changes proposed for the Downtown District, the agenda gets into an interim contract with the fire fighters union. The fire fighters have been working without a contract for several years. The details on an interim agreement are contained here.

The Town Council is also scheduled to ratify the employment contract with Town Administrator Jeff Nutting. The details of the contract are contained here.

Town Council - Agenda - 6/15/2011

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

"serve food that is safe for students with allergies"

The board will consider allowing administrators to negotiate with Whitsons Culinary Group at the Tuesday meeting. 
The committee gave administrators authorization in April to seek proposals, hoping that a private company could better meet new federal nutrition requirements and have greater purchasing power than the current district-run food system. 
Whitsons, Sodexo, Aramark and Chartwells submitted proposals, Chief Procurement Officer Norma Collins said. 
School officials toured a district that already uses Whitsons and gave a subcommittee studying the issue positive comments on the company's proposal, Roy said. 
"They're going to retain our current (cafeteria workers)," Roy said of the proposal. "They're going to offer meals that comply in every way with the federal regulations. They have a great track record in the industry. ... I hope they can come up with a financial package that makes sense for Franklin." 
New nutrition requirements included in federal legislation will require school districts to add more fruits and vegetables, reduce sodium and serve whole grain breads, among other changes. Legislation also strengthens requirements for nutrition education in schools, cafeteria worker training and food sold from vending machines and school stores.

Read more:

Franklin, MA: Town Council - Agenda - Jun 15, 2011





- 2011 Annual Committee Appointments


Zoning Bylaw 11-652: Amendment to Chapter 185 §4. Districts Enumerated
Zoning Bylaw 11-653: Amendment to Chapter 185 §7. Compliance Required
Zoning Bylaw 11-654: Amendment to Chapter 185 §12. Schedule of Lot, Area, Frontage, Yard & Height Requirements
Zoning Bylaw 11-655: Amendment to Chapter 185 §2. Parking, Loading, and Driveway Requirements, Subsection B
Zoning Bylaw Amendment 11-660: Amendment to Chapter 185 §45. L. (1) Administration and Enforcement


Precincts – Debbie Pellegri, Town Clerk
Franklin 4th of July Committee



1. Resolution 11-28R: Public Works Stabilization Account

2. Resolution 11-31: Grant of Utility Easement - Off Wachusett Street

3. Resolution 11-32: Ratification of Local 2637, I.A.F.F. Contract

4. Resolution 11-33: Ratification of Town Administrator’s Contract

5. Resolution 11-34: Authorization to Join State - Wide Public Works Municipal Mutual Aid Agreement

6. Resolution 11-35: Authorization to Join State - Wide Public Safety Mutual Aid Agreement

7. Zoning Bylaw 11-652: Amendment to Chapter 185 §4. Districts Enumerated Zoning- 1st Reading

8. Bylaw 11-653: Amendment to Chapter 185 §7. Compliance Required Zoning 1st Reading

9. Bylaw 11-654: Amendment to Chapter 185 §12. Schedule of Lot, Area, Frontage, Yard & Height Requirements. – 1st Reading

10. Zoning Bylaw 11-655: Amendment to Chapter 185 §2. Parking, Loading, and Driveway Requirements, Subsection B - 1st Reading

11. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 11-660: Amendment to Chapter 185 §45. L. (1) Administration and Enforcement – 1st Reading

12. Bylaw Amendment 11-661: Chapter 151, Solid Waste and Recycling - 2nd Reading

13. Bylaw Amendment 11-662: Amendment to Chapter 82, Appendix A, List of Service Fee Rates- 2nd Reading





– Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required


Note: the full set of documents for this agenda including the compensation details on the Fire Dept contract and Town Administrator Jeff Nutting's contract can be found here

"friends who are willing to do anything to help"

"I can remember at my husband's first diagnosis, the doctor came up to me," she said. "He touched my shoulder and said, 'This will be harder for you than it is for him.' " 
The doctor was right, Frieda Schwartz said, since it was difficult to complete household chores and care for her husband while worrying about his months of treatments. 
"We were so lucky to have had the support of friends and family," she said.
That's why Schwartz, a longtime participant in Franklin's Relay for Life, was excited to learn that this year's event would feature a breakfast recognizing caregivers of cancer patients who bake meals, watch their children and stay with them in the hospital.
Read more:

Relay for Life: Franklin, MA 6/10/11

Additional photos from the Relay for Life can be found here: