Saturday, October 8, 2011

Looking for military uniforms

The Franklin Historical Museum is looking for military uniforms to display during November.

If you have any that you could share, the details are in the document on how to contact the museum.

Franklin Historical Museum Notice: Military Uniforms

In the News - tax bills, Jewell, trooper, state aid

Tax bills are due in Franklin

Meet the Franklin Candidate: John Jewell, School Committee

Franklin trooper honored at State House for saving choking girl

Franklin, Medway get boost in state aid

Does School Start too Early?

It is good to see students at Franklin High School using social media tools, like this blog - Pantherbook. Click through to read the full article and continue to explore their archives. They have a good mix of news and school discussions.

Way to go Panthers!

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Pantherbook on 10/7/11

This question has been brought up many times in the past; do high school students start too early? Teachers complain about students sleeping in class all the time but it might not be their fault. In an issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine they stated that there is more and more evidence [...]

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RMV Urges Customers: Renew Online

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Transportation by Klark Jessen on 10/7/11

RMV Renew Online Billboard MassDOT RMV is again urging eligible drivers to renew their licenses online.

The number of license renewals is expected to increase by 50 percent beginning in November and continue at higher levels for the months thereafter.

November is the beginning of a five-year license renewal cycle that began in 1991, replacing the previous four-year cycle.   The result of that change is one year every five years with a reduced number of license renewals.  That lower volume year ends as of November 1, and transactions will increase. The RMV has responded by launching a publicity campaign through Highway Division billboards and public service announcements at the MBTA to urge drivers to check their license expiration dates and renew online.

The goal of the campaign is to let the public know that approximately 50% percent of drivers are eligible to renew their license online and avoid a branch visit. It also reminds customers that they can renew their licenses up to one year before the expiration date that falls on their birthday.

The RMV's online renewal application asks customers a series of questions. Customers eligible to renew online can pay the required fee and their license will be mailed to them in 7-10 business days. The online application also helps customers that aren't eligible to renew via the Internet. The web transaction informs customers 75 years or older that they must renew at a branch, in accordance with the 2010 Safe Driving Law. It also informs customers if they owe parking tickets or excise bills that have to be paid in order to renew. Customers that are required to renew in a branch can complete and print the web application to save time during their visit.

Customers not able to renew online should plan ahead and check branch locations and wait times online. To help prepare for the expected increase in customers, RMV recently expanded its hours at some of its busiest branches.  The RMV website allows customers to check branch wait times and locations

Services available on the MassDOT RMV website include applying for a first time license; converting an out-of-state license; scheduling a branch appointment; registration renewals; ordering a driving record, crash report or Fast Lane transponder; viewing the status of a license, registration, driver education certificate and title; signing up for organ/tissue donation; and canceling a registration plate.

You can also sign up online for a free license renewal or Massachusetts ID reminder service.

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Farmer's Market - today - (video)

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

Located on the Town Common

Franklin: Farmers Market

Berry Insurance shares this video they put together on the Farmer's Market

Reminder that the Farmers' Market now accepts SNAP dollars and can double your purchasing power.

Visit the Food Pantry tent at the Farmers' Market for details.

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

In the News - McIntyre, Glynn

Meet the Franklin Candidate: Pamela McIntyre, School Committee

Glynn drops out of Franklin School Committee race

Amy Lockwood: Selling condoms in the Congo

Amy Lockwood in this TED Talk discusses selling condoms in the Congo. Yes, really.

Caution, this video is probably the riskiest shown here. Only four minutes long.

Why? What does this have to do with Franklin?
"And so the lesson is this: it doesn't really matter what you're selling; you just have to think about who is your customer, and what are the messages that are going to get them to change their behavior."

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rockland Trust opens first Providence office

FYI - Franklin, the Rockland Trust is expanding

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via - Latest Stories by By PBN Staff on 10/5/11

Rockland Trust, a community savings bank with more than 70 locations in southeastern Massachusetts, opened its first commercial lending and wealth management office in Providence on Wednesday.

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10-6 Franklin School Update

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Ed Cafasso" <>
Date: Oct 6, 2011 9:40 AM
Subject: 10-6 Franklin School Update
To: "Ed Cafasso" <>

Hi everyone!
I hope you are preparing for what looks to be a glorious weekend. We sure could use it...
There has been a great deal of debate in recent days about the School Committee's unanimous approval of a new contract with the Franklin Educational Association (FEA), the union which represents teachers here. I wanted to take a moment of your time to discuss the importance of this contract.
The new contract period begins Sept. 1, 2010 and runs until Aug. 30, 2012.
It provides no wage increase for Fiscal Year 2011; a 1% increase or FY 2012; and a 0.5% increase, effective Aug. 30, 2012, for FY 2013. The approximate cost in FY12 is estimated as $350,000. This represents 0.68% of the current school budget. The approximate cost for FY13 is $175,000.
The contract is funded by savings attained through attrition, as well as increased circuit breaker revenue from the state. No additional appropriation has been requested.
It's an election year and many candidates prefer to focus on the cost of the raises in this new contract. For some, it's hard to see the forest when that big Election Year tree blocks the view.
In my opinion, there are two overlooked aspects of the new contract that hold real potential for improving student achievement while reforming a pay structure that automatically triggers higher taxpayer costs each year.
The first is that it features an agreement between the School Committee and the FEA to cooperatively re-examine the salary table that drives close to the 75% of current school costs. For the first time ever in the history of Franklin, both parties have agreed to investigate a new, progressive wage structure to replace the automatic "step and lane" pay raises that have become a real budget buster.
The agreement to cooperatively re-examine the current salary table holds a major opportunity for us to address a significant source of annual pressure on Franklin taxpayers.
The second "inconvenient truth" about the new teacher contract is that requires both sides to undertake interest-based bargaining (IBB) during upcoming talks toward a new FEA contract, as opposed to the adversarial and frustrating negotiating posture that has been in place until now.
IBB has been a goal of the School Committee for many years, and we are pleased to finally have the opportunity to implement it. "Bargaining Methods and New Forms of Agreements," as published by the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government, explains this approach succinctly:
"Interest-based bargaining (IBB) is a departure from positional bargaining and the traditional adversarial, industrial model of collective bargaining that assumes bargaining is a zero-sum activity focused on dividing existing resources. In contrast, IBB focuses on parties' interests rather than their proposed positions, making it possible to explore the values and purposes and to learn whether these interests are shared or complementary. IBB allows parties to identify multiple ways to satisfy interests and to solve problems creatively… IBB provides an opportunity to address student achievement in the collective-barging process. IBB can minimize ritualized adversarial behavior and enable productive relationships to develop, better situating the parties to improve student achievement."
There is a great deal of expert, authoritative information on IBB available online. One article of interest can be found at:
There are some who dismiss IBB, and they're entitled to their opinion. I have done years of homework on it and its use by school districts and employers across the country. I strongly believe it can produce great outcomes for teachers, students, parents and taxpayers. It empowers the parties to work in good faith as partners to find common ground and implement potential solutions to systemic issues.
This innovative approach to bargaining could not be more important for Franklin right now. We have to balance ongoing budgetary pressures; meet your high expectations for continued high academic performance; and, also adhere to evolving state and federal standards for student achievement.
I appreciate, respect and share everyone's desire to maintain a balanced budget and to use revenues as efficiently and effectively as possible to provide the best possible services to the citizens of Franklin. Your schools have done precisely that – we spend $2,700 less per student than the state average but still deliver excellent academic performance, thanks to the hard work of teachers, administrators and parents like you.
As the local election approaches, there will be many candidates who point to the "cost" of the contract as a way to win votes and damage other candidates. My view is that we can no longer afford the "cost" of continuing the divisive and confrontational ways of the past. You can see how well that has worked in national politics and in Congress.
For me, the choice was easy. I voted in support of the new teacher contract because it allows us to pursue a progressive approach toward broad, incredibly important goals, including improved student achievement and structural reforms that contribute to financial stability for the community. I voted to support working together to solve real problems.
This e-mail reflects my opinion alone and is provided as a constituent service.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. If you are receiving duplicate e-mails or if you no longer wish to receive these e-mails, please let me know and I will remove you from the distribution list. Feel free to pass this email along to friends and neighbor. If you know of someone you would like to add to the list, please send along their e-mail address.

Thank you!

Ed Cafasso
Member, Franklin School Committee
Twitter: @edcafasso

Town Council - 10/05/11

The collected reporting from the Town Council meeting on Wednesday, October 5 can be found here:

The agenda and associated documents for the meeting can be found here

Where was the School Committee?

"We made a very difficult decision that we're going to hold the line on (cost-of-living increases)," Whalen said. "We looked at the economy. We're mired in a recession that's worse than many people in this room have been through, and there's no end in sight." 
Town Administrator Jeff Nutting, in response to a question by Councilor Joseph McGann, estimated the money used for teacher raises could have saved eight to 10 of the 14 teacher jobs cut this year. 
"They sold those teachers down the river, as far as I'm concerned," McGann said. "Those teachers could have been saved." 
Whalen made a motion, which the council adopted, to reopen the entire municipal budget, which would lead to every budget being open to renegotiation.

Read more:

The letter to the Town Council from the School Committee can be found here:

Complete reporting from the Town Council meeting can be found here:

Eat at Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Thurs. Oct. 13th

Eat at Five Guys Burgers and Fries on Thurs. Oct. 13th
and Support Franklin Music Boosters, Inc.!

On Thursday October 13th from 4:00 to 10:00 PM Five Guys Burgers and Fries in the Franklin Village Mall will once again generously donate 10% of ALL their sales to the Franklin Music Boosters, Inc.

Franklin Music Boosters is a parent organization which supports the entire Franklin Public School Music Program grades 6-12. Through volunteer support and fundraising, the Music Boosters help provide transportation for performance trips, competitions and outings; sponsor concerts and special events; finance the purchase of musical equipment and uniforms; fund private lessons and scholarships, as well as support the music department with volunteer help.

For more information about getting involved with the Franklin Music Boosters, contact Amy Czuba,

You can order online and pick up from the Franklin Village location here

In the News - Douglas, Sabolinski, Semerjian, yard sale

Meet the Franklin Candidate: Cynthia Douglas

Franklin School Committee gives superintendent high marks

Deputy Chief Semerjian appointed as new police chief for Franklin

First Universalist Society sets indoor yard sale

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Live reporting - Closing

Old business

New business
Whalen - looking to reopen the annual budget at the next Town Council meerting
motion to accept, passed 9-0

Councilor Comments
Powderly - this isn't about control, this isn't about one governing body vs. another governing body/ We are trying to do what is in the best interest of the larger group. It is not meant to be personal or inappropriate

Whalen - in advance of the next meeting, to consult with the Chiefs to restore the departments to headcount of 2010.

Mason - I mentioned earlier how professional the police have been. In my six years, that perception and the reality is that Chief Semerjan will fill the position well.

motion to adjourn, passed 9-0

Live reporting - Action Items


1. Resolution 11-52: Appropriation – Capital – FY 12- Police Cruisers
motion to approval for use of money from "free cash"; passed 9-0

Nutting - opportunity to purchase some used vehicles at a good price to keep the fleet similar
Chief Williams - life expectancy is about 405 years and then another dept gets to use them
every police dept uses these Crown Victoria for the reason that they stand up to the requirements
The Crown Vic is being replaced, we'd like to see how they are being used and stand up by others before we get into those.
I was going to be looking for 6 cars but I really need two and we can get them now for a real good price.

Kelly - commend you on a good cost savings move for the department
McGann - overseas, I see those small Volkswagon?
Williams - can you see me in one? or trying to stuff you in one?

Williams - thank you for your support, my last time before the election. I can't ask for better support. I don't envy the seat that you are in. Not too many thank you so I want to say that, thank you!

2. Resolution 11-53: Appropriation – Partridge Street Culvert Emergency Repairs
motion to approve; passed 9-0

several months ago the culvert collapsed, the bids are in, we would like to get the work started soon, it may take a month or so

ripe up the road, take up the old culvert, replace it and then repave. It should go the same size as it was.
They'll start in 2 weeks and the repairs will last about a month. Detours will be in place.

3. Bylaw Amendment 11-665:Amendment to Chapter 82, Appendix A – List of Service Fee Rates
1st Reading

motion to move to second reading, passed 9-0

resetting fee at cost of inspections

Live reporting - School Committee/Teacher contract

Mason - unfortunately there are no members of the School Committee present this evening. I do want to open this for discussion by the councilors and administration.

I did receive a letter from Mr Roy that I will read in to the record (a copy of the letter will be posted here shortly).

Whalen - a discussion early on during the budget process was that the Town would hold the line on COLA;s for this year. The economy is in trouble, with no end in sight. It was a difficult decision but a necessary one. It is concerning that with these smaller groups in the School Dept that they were getting increases. When the teacher contract came in, with word about the 1.5% increase, it was going to cost 525,000.

That the teachers are already well compensated and I don't fault them that. The raises were funded from a one time circuit breaker funding from the state. The raises are in perpetuity the funding is one time. Next year will be a problem.

McGann - how many teachers would it have saved?
Nutting - 8-10 depending upon the level and benefits involved.

McGann - every other bargaining unit got along without an increase. Yet the School Committee went and gave the 1% and .5% . The problem with getting overrides passed is there is no confidence in the numbers. The School Committee continues to find money.

Pfeffer - one of the questions was asked last time was how many teachers were on staff, how many retired, etc. 14 teachers lost their positions. Those that remain got the increase. One could hardly consider "what a strong and cordial relationship" exists.

Mason - if the Town Council doesn't support this, then they are against the schools and children. I can count a number of us who did a hands on approach for the last override and the overrides before that. We expect from every department and every elected board is fiscal prudence.

Whalen - I think it was not only imprudent to give out these raises at this time, it was completely unnecessary. I can not believe that the rank and file of the teachers are any different than the police and fire and other groups within the town. This has consequences on a number of levels

Zollo - my wife and I are supporters of the public schools. She and I have personally fought for overrides during my time. We wanted to adequate resources for the teachers and to provide support for the children. I do not see this as a power grab between the School Committee and the Town Council. We are in the worst recession in our life times. Our government is in the worst position to maintain services in these times. I like to pay for performance. We cannot do that all the time. The School Committee undercuts the entire Town position. You sow the seeds in the average persons mind that there will be found money. We have 1,000 more students and 100 less teachers. Real cuts have been made. You can analyze the numbers and see how it affects you. Perception is as important if not more so than reality. If the people do not trust you now, they will not trust you in the future.

Two more points
1 - eliminated positions and provided the raises. granting the raise eliminates 8-10 teachers that should not have been. The class sizes have been increasing. Overtime performance and effectiveness will decline. This particular act will undercut the policy making ability they have had.

2 - Unemployment has been 9% plus for some time. The public sector has been able to maintain positions with pay freezes. With this election coming up, this is the time to pay attention. The type of people you elect will

It is my hope that there can be more consensus between the School Committee and Town Council other than making statements.

Powderly - perception is reality. The decision by the School Committee has undermined the work that they have done. This goes against their stated quality. We were not able to get final numbers on the teachers laid off this past year. I struggle with the authority that the School Committee has, I respect the difference, but every dollar for one department is a dollar from another department. I made some decisions back in June on
public safety cuts. Had the information been available in June, I would have made a different decision. By bringing this discussion into a public forum does not make this divisive.

Kelly - I have been searching for the right word for this and it is disappointing. I know that they have the rights to do so. I am more upset because they have put us in an awkward position when we talk to the police and fire etc. If I had known this in June, my decision would have been different

Jones - As Powderly stated last week "COLAs equal layoffs". It is unfair to all the rest of the municipal employees working next to one who did get a raise.

Mason - reading the letter (copy posted to website here)

Addressing the 2.5% increase for the Tri-County teachers, that was an existing contract. To make a change to the Tri-County budget would have required a 75% or super majority.

"An informal agreement" not sure it warrants the attention provided to it.

Zollo - The agreement for an interest based bargaining discussion is that this was a "quid pro quo". There is likely to be disagreement about the IBB.

Nutting - Training for the IBB is scheduled for November
Powderly - we traded something concrete for something theoretical

Vallee - that 500,000 could have hired more teachers

Dennis Grillo - where is that if a board requests another board, that they snub. Who do they answer to?
Mason - the voters do that

Grillo - its too late
Mason - under the legal limits of the law, they are empowered to make those decision. The voters have the ultimate choice. We have about a 20% turn out for our local elections.
Grillo - every one of you had something to say, yet there was nobody here

Nutting - the vast majority of School Committee law is vested in the State and Chapter 70
Grillo - do we have bylaws here?
Nutting - you can supersede the State
Whalen - if you stay around, there is another avenue to pursue that I'll propose

Mason - due to the rights of the autonomy that they have they can do that. It is an example of two bodies that are not together.

McGann - the voters are watching this or will read it tomorrow. Somebody could have been here. Where is the heat going to fall? Right around this table.

Jones - the School Committee meets on Tuesday at 7:00 PM. They have phone numbers. You can make your comments known.

John Joel - candidate for School Committee, the kids in Franklin need more help, to that they have to be at the top of their ability. Unfortunately we have found in Franklin is that the pie is only so big. We'd like to do more but you can only do with what you have. You have to increase tax revenue. How can we improve our revenue and spend it effectively and efficiently. We need to be consistent and across the board. If I am elected to the School Committee, I will be here to listen and comment.

Zollo - we are for the students, we are for the teachers, we are disappointed that we were mislead a couple of months ago. We are struggling with this misinformation or changed information. We are talking about one particular action that the School Committee took.

Letter to the Town Council

The letter from the Franklin School Committee to the Town Council regarding the new teacher union contract signed last week.

FSC Letter to Council Oct 2011

The link to the document from Harvard on the Interest Based Bargaining approach is provided here

Live reporting - Darkness to Light Program

F. HEARINGS - none



Tony     (10th year with local Y)
Vice President Child Responsibility

YMCA – Darkness to Light Program
Program to prevent child sexual abuse, training developed and community awareness programs coming to Franklin
goal is to have 5% of the adult population take the training within 3-5 years
the 5% is calculated to be the tipping point (from a book by Malcolm Gladwell)
90% of the abused children know their abuser, it is generally not the "stranger danger' that has been popularized.
Program coming to five communities served by the YMCA
Meeting with various organizations to build awareness for the program

Information on the program was previously published here

Looking for about 1,000 adults to take this training
by training the adults, the word should spread and the abuse should diminish
similar approach to that taken for improving seat belt use in autos

McGann - congrats this is a great program
This is not a YMCA program, this is a community program, the facilitators need training, the Y has five people trained, we'll be looking to train other facilitators
It is not any one's problem, it is a community problem, a societal problem
Child protective behaviors are enhanced by the training

Powderly - the preventative approach to this is groundbreaking. I am thrilled that the Town groups are on board. Thank you for bringing it to our community

One quick example, a Y on the north shore went through this training, a staff person noticed some changes in a young girl, through the observation and the training, she was able to identify a situation to change the life of a 10 year old girl. Charleston, SC where this program started has just trained their 10,000 adult.

There is tremendous economic impact to this problem that we don't always recognize.

Live reporting - Town Council - 10/05/11

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

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – July 13, 2011 and August 10, 2011
motion to approve, passed 8-0



Graydon Smith from Long Range Financial Planning Committee. The Committee will be posting a document to help the candidates for the Town Council understand some of the financial issues that Franklin is facing. The doc will be on the Franklin website in the Long Range Planning committee section


  • Chief of Police - Stephan H Semerjian appointed as new chief
motion to approve appointment, passed 9-0

  • Cultural Council
Ann  Knapp
Denise Jandreski

motion to approve appointments, passed 9-0

Sunni Brown: Doodlers, unite!

Do you have a pencil and paper handy?

Get ready for some worthy insights From Sunni Brown on doodling! (6 minute video)

Now go doodle!

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

In the News - Rohrbach, auditions

Meet the Franklin Candidate: Susan Rohrbach, School Committee

Franklin arts company holding auditions for 'Humbug!'

Mass. schools eye $250M in bonds to finance projects

You can click through to read the full story.

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

More than a dozen Bay State communities are preparing to issue nearly $250 million in debt in the months ahead to finance a slew of school building and renovation projects. The planned projects involve everything from the construction of new $128 million high school in Duxbury to a $1.3 million window-replacement program at the Atkinson Elementary School in Andover.

Six of the 25 project proposals involve the construction of new schools, according to the Massachusetts School Building Authority. The project and bond-financing pipelines were detailed during the MSBA's Sept...

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In the News - Mullen, walking

Meet the Franklin Candidate: Paula Mullen, School Committee

Franklin High offers free indoor walking program

Franklin Newcomers and Friends Club - Oct 12

The Franklin Newcomers and Friends Club invites you to their monthly meeting on Wednesday, October 12th at 7:30 pm upstairs at “3” Restaurant, 461 West Central St, Franklin.

This month, Town Administrator Jeff Nutting will visit to talk about local news, the upcoming town elections, the pending High School project, new businesses coming to town, and much more. He’ll also answer any questions you have, so bring your hot topics!

Complimentary appetizers and soft drinks will be provided. Cash bar available.

The Franklin Newcomers and Friends Club is a social club for residents of all ages and situations–not just those new to town. For more info, visit

Reminder: Walk to School, Weds Oct 5

Hockomock Area YMCA and local schools celebrate
International Walk to School Day on October 5

(Franklin, MA)  Hockomock Area YMCA staff and school leaders and volunteers will join local elementary school children in celebrating the annual International Walk to School Day on Wednesday, October 5. Participating schools include Oak Street Elementary, Helen Keller Elementary, Davis Thayer Elementary, and Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public Schools all in Franklin as well as Stall Brook Elementary School in Bellingham.

Franklin's Bernon Family Branch of The Hockomock Area YMCA will join the students as well as parents, teachers, and community leaders on the walk from the designed meeting spaces to their schools, ensuring that they have a safe path to school. As part of a strong commitment to the YMCA's Healthy Future's initiative which was developed as a collective community response to the childhood obesity epidemic, YMCA staff will encourage kids to learn about fitness by walking to school with friends.

Walk to School events work to create safer routes for walking and bicycling and emphasize the importance of issues such as increasing physical activity among children, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion, concern for the environment, and building connections between families, schools, and the broader community.

In the U.S., International Walk to School Day is expected to be celebrated at over 3,500 events at participating schools. Walkers from the U.S. will join children and adults in 40 countries around the world.

For additional information, please contact the Y's Community and Youth Wellness Director Lauren Marciszyn at 774.235.2737 or

For additional information, please visit these Web sites:
International Walk to School in the USA                                   
National Center for Safe Routes to School         
International Walk to School                              

In the News - watershed award, music boosters, Ad book

Watershed association wins $250,000 for river management

Eat at Five Guys, support Franklin Music Boosters

Franklin Music Boosters plan ad book

In the News - wine tasting, book sale, live strong

Temple Etz Chaim to host wine-tasting

Volunteers needed for Franklin book sale

Livestrong at YMCA