Saturday, July 2, 2011

Preliminary Analysis: Conference Committee Fiscal Year 2012 Budget

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  Noah Berger
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Preliminary Analysis:
Conference Committee Fiscal Year 2012 Budget

July 1, 2011 

On the first day of the new fiscal year, the Legislature today approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 budget.  

Like the House and Senate budgets, the version crafted by the conference committee relies primarily on cuts and savings to close a $1.9 billion budget gap.  It also relies on some temporary revenues including approximately $200 million from the state's rainy day fund.   

This Preliminary Analysis describes major items of difference between the House and Senate budget proposals and how they were resolved.  It also reviews funding levels for major items in the budget where the House and Senate had not disagreed, and provides information about revenue issues in the budget.  

The Governor now has ten days to sign the budget and veto provisions or funding levels with which he disagrees.  The legislature will then have the opportunity to override any of those vetoes with a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate

The report is available at or by clicking here.    

See MassBudget's Budget Browser to explore Massachusetts state budgets from Fiscal Year 2001 to the present, as well as budget proposals for the next fiscal year as they are offered by the Governor and the Legislature.    

MassBudget provides independent research and analysis of state budget and tax policies, as well as economic issues, with particular attention to the effects on low- and moderate-income people.

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'simple, non-crucial maintenance that is great to have done"

Roughly 80 teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 went to nine different places to paint, rake, mulch and pick up litter. 
The conference, which ran from Thursday until today, brought together 11 wards of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. 
Catherine Thacker, co-organizer and Franklin Stake Young Women's president, was one of 25 adults overseeing the "Forever Strong" conference. 
"We want to teach our youth to reach out into the community, to learn that they can make a difference," Thacker said.

Read more:

Friday, July 1, 2011

New paving downtown

Took a quick run (yes, literally) downtown to go to ATM at the bank and along the way found that the paving work on Dean St had progressed. This work is funded as part of the PWED Project.

Dean St initial paving

I also happened to notice that Main St had a new coating of blacktop. This should make some folks happy as it was quite bumpy down that way due to the work on the other Downtown Improvement Project with separate funding.

Main St new temp layer of paving

As I understood the time line on this project, additional work will be done next year and this is only a temporary coating. I wonder who is paying for this temporary coating?

I would have thought it would be better to leave it with as many bumps in the road as there were folks let go over the past several years to serve as a reminder. Continuing to "find" money to cover some bumps like this does not help solve the real structural fiscal issues Franklin faces.

Slick Back Swagger at Cole's Tavern

Slick Back Swagger played a benefit concert at Cole's Tavern last night for the Franklin Food Pantry. One of our 'roving reporters' sent along this photo to share:

Thanks, Amy!

"Drive Smart and Save"

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Transportation by Klark Jessen on 6/30/11

Drive Smart Logo
The Patrick-Murray Administration today announced a new online resource that can help Massachusetts residents and visitors to save money on gas and travel. The "Drive Smart and Save" program offers tips for cost-friendly driving techniques that can save travelers money on fuel expenses, improve fuel economy by up to 33 percent, and help reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.

"Drive Smart and Save" supports GreenDOT, a comprehensive environmental responsibility and sustainability initiative of MassDOT.  "Drive Smart and Save" tips include:
•    Drive Less -- When your travel plans allow, try taking public transportation, walking, biking, or carpooling.
•    Set It at 60 -- Drive the posted speed limit, or even a bit less on the highway, to see increased fuel economy. Fuel consumption increases about 5 percent for every five miles per hour driven above 60 mph. And use your cruise control – keeping a steady speed will also save fuel.
•    Easy on the Pedals -- Avoid fast starts and hard stops to decrease fuel use. Travelers should join FAST LANE prior to hitting the roads this summer to avoid traffic at the tolls – this can save lots of time, as well as fuel.
•    Turn It Off -- Shut off your engine when you are stopped. Idling wastes gas and is bad for the environment.
•    Click the Cap - Make sure your gas cap is tight to prevent fuel evaporation and to improve air quality.
•    Check the Pressure - Proper tire pressure is safer, extends tire life, and can provide up to 3% mpg benefit per tank of fuel. Check your tire pressure monthly, and pump your tires up to the recommended level (which can usually be found on the sticker in your driver's door frame).
Additional ideas for fuel savings can be found at:

Things you can do from here:

Thursday, June 30, 2011

"that line is drawn at two miles"

The fee is for students who live less than two miles from school, under the assumption that the child could walk to school. 
School administrators said this week the changes are the result of upgrades to maps used to organize bus routes. 
Students in kindergarten through sixth grade who live more than two miles from school can take the bus for free. Other students must pay $325 to ride the bus. There is a family cap of $975. 
That policy has not changed, but the updated maps show more details, allowing administrators to more accurately determine where a student's home is and how far it is from school. 
That means some families that weren't assessed a fee will now have to pay; others that used to pay can now ride for free.

Read more:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"There's a lot of efficiencies here"

Administrators will now discuss the terms of a contract with Whitsons. A contract would ultimately be signed by Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting and does not need to be approved by the School Committee, Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski said. 
Hoping a private company could better meet new federal and state nutrition requirements and have greater purchasing power than the current district-run program, the committee in April authorized the administrators to seek proposals to operate the food service. Whitsons, Sodexo, Aramark and Chartwells submitted proposals. 
Administrators told the committee last night that they were impressed with Whitsons' dedication to cooking many foods from scratch, using less processed foods than competitors, selling competitively priced food, training cafeteria workers and offering allergy-free products and organic foods. They were also impressed with a visit to Attleboro schools, where Whitsons operates. 
"We really felt they have the (capabilities) to meet the needs of all our students and offer a variety of foods," Sabolinski said.

Read more:

Also from Tuesday's School Committee meeting:

Blogging helps kids in Franklin connect

Recycling Center News

Attached is the new information for the Beaver St. Recycling Center. We are taking more products for recycling.

In addition we will be enforcing fines for dumping and bringing in unacceptable items and trash to the facility.

Beaver St Recycling - July 1, 2011

In the News - 4th July, recycling, well,

Franklin July 4 festival ready to go, June 30-July 4

Franklin recycling center taking new items

Franklin may start using well again soon

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Slick Back Swagger at Cole's Tavern Thursday

Slick Back Swagger will be playing at Cole's Tavern on Thursday evening to benefit the Franklin Food Pantry. The band is scheduled to play from 9:00 PM to 11:30 PM.

The show is 21+

Tickets to the show are 5 dollars and will be sold at the door. Slick Back Swagger will be playing in the downstairs room at Cole's.

The Franklin Food Pantry will have a van set up outside of Cole's where food and monetary donations can be made. The van will be around all day, even if you can not make the show, you could stop by to donate. All donations are appreciated.

If you would like to drop off something for the Food Pantry, their current needs are:
Health & Beauty – Shampoo, Soap, Deodorant, Razors
Paper Products – Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels, Feminine
Baked Beans / Dry Beans
Baking Mixes, Flour, Sugar
Canned Meat/Fish
Canned Pasta (chef boyardeeish)
Condiments / Dressings
Flavored Rice and/or Pasta Side Dishes
Spices / Seasonings
Fresh and Frozen Produce always welcome!

What's a NY band doing playing in Franklin?
The drummer is from Franklin!

Additional videos can be found on Slick Back Swagger's YouTube Channel

Where is Cole's Tavern?

View Larger Map

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - 6/28/11

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 June 14, 2011 School Committee Meeting.
Payment of Bills - Mr. Glynn
Payroll - Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives
Correspondence: none

2. Guests/Presentations
a. ASMS – Rachel’s Challenge/Friends of Rachel
b. Blogging Project – Laura Welshoff / Jen Slater

3. Discussion Only Items
Food Service Program
Transportation – Pay to Ride
Policy – First Reading
o JNN – Head Injuries & Concussion in Extracurricular Activities
o JKG – Educational Services in the home or hospital

4. Action Items
a. I recommend the School Committee authorize the administration enter into negotiations with Whitson’s to assume the management functions of the school dining program.
b. I recommend approval of the budget transfers as detailed.
c. I recommend acceptance of a check for $84.03 from Follett for Supplemental Curriculum materials for Jefferson Elementary School.
d. I recommend acceptance of a check for $10.67 from Follett for the Jefferson Elementary School.
e. I recommend acceptance of a check for $3000.00 from the HMMS PCC for In-house enrichment.
f. I recommend acceptance of a check for $100.00 from the Jefferson PCC for Remington Best Buddies (in-house enrichment).
g. I recommend acceptance of a check for $200.00 from Alexandra LePage for Remington in-house enrichment.

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 4th of July Schedule

The schedule of events for Franklin's 4th of July celebration is available:

Thursday, June 30th:
• 6pm-10pm Rides and food booths open
• 7pm-10pm DJ and local youth bands

Friday, July 1st:
• 6pm-10pm Rides and food booths open
• 7pm-10pm Corvairs Oldie Band

Saturday, July 2nd:
Children's Day
• 10am-10pm Rides and food booths open
• AM road races by Rec. Dept
• 12 noon Children’s Parade
• 1pm-2pm Lisa & Friends Puppets
• 2pm-3pm Flippo the Clown
• 3pm-4pm TBA
• 4pm-7pm Franklin Idol
• 7pm-10pm "Groove Doctors" Band
• 10pm FIREWORKS!!! Franklin High School

Sunday, July 3rd:
• 1pm-10pm Rides and food booths open
• 2pm-3:30pm PARADE
• 4pm-7pm Franklin has talent
• 7pm-10pm Digger Dawg Band

Monday, July 4th:
 • 10am-7pm Rides and food booths open
• 10am-2pm DJ
• 2pm Talent winners announced
• 5pm-7pm DJ
• 6pm Drawings to be drawn

The 4th of July celebration is supported by volunteers, and donor contributions. You can contribute by mailing a check or by using your credit card in a secure online transaction here:

Monday, June 27, 2011

"it's not too late to plant some extra crops"

"It's nice to know that things aren't going to waste," she said. "Fresh produce is expensive and it's nice to know that it can go back into the community and help someone stretch their food dollars."
Hoping to get other gardeners involved, she worked with the pantry to start Franklin's version of Plant a Row for the Hungry, a program by Garden Writers Association that encourages gardeners to plant extra crops each year and donate their surplus to those in need. 
The pantry also gets fresh grown food from Grateful Farm in Franklin, which it distributes to clients Saturday mornings. Acevedo said produce grown over the summer months and donated by local gardeners will add to that bounty.

Read more:

For more information on the Plant a Row program, visit or

Franklin, MA: Community Gardens - Opening Day

Picking up on the idea of play, Maya Beiser really plays her cello!

what are you going to play today?

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

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Designed by nature to play

In this TEDxBG Talk, Steve Keil advocates for play. The more you play, the bigger the brain.

So after watching this, you have permission to go out an play!

Can you imagine a world without play?

For more about play, you can visit Steve Keil's Play Manifesto Blog

in the News - wedding gowns

Historic wedding gowns on display in Franklin

The Franklin Historical Museum is located at

80 West Central St
Franklin, MA 02038

The Museum is open on

Thursday 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Saturday 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Sunday 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

View Larger Map