Saturday, December 24, 2011

"the celebration of Hanukkah"

The lighting was part of the temple’s annual celebration of Hanukkah, the eight-day holiday meant commemorating the Jews reclaiming Jerusalem from the oppressive Syrian Greeks. 
“Hanukkah is most often a home celebration in Judaism,” Widzer said. “What we’ve developed as our tradition here is we take one of those nights and celebrate with the (congregational) family.” 
About a dozen families came to see the candles lit on the fourth night of Hanukkah, the men and boys wearing yarmulkes, the traditional cloth skull caps, of various colors. One man even wore a yarmulke with the Patriots logo emblazoned on it.

Read more:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Ninja cookies

Christmas cookies

simple sugar cookies, some shape makers, different color frosting and some time

Ninja Christmas cookies

given the time, creativity will flow and maybe the ninja cookies will be delightful!

Have the kids (both big and little) gathered in your house for cookie decorating?

Hamilton Storage Technology

The following press release confirms the last step in the process for Hamilton Storage Technology to get the tax incentive that the Town Council approved. Hamilton Storage has purchased 3 Forge Parkway for its new headquarters facility.

The tax incentive allows the company to pay a smaller amount initially on the improvements they are making and gradually the amount increases over ten years. So whatever the tax would be on the base value they pay full and then only 5% for the first year on the improvement amount. The improvement amount increases to 10% the next year and ten percent each year thereafter.

Franklin gets revenue and an increasing amount of revenue over time. The company gets to develop their property bringing jobs to the area. A good win-win proposition.

Press Release - Hamilton Storage Technologies

Related posts on Hamilton Storage Technology




Update on trash and recycling pick up week of 12/25 and 1/1/12

Holiday Calendar

Important note - Trash and recycling will be NOT be picked up on Monday December 26th and Monday January 2nd. The schedule will be delayed one day with Friday pick up on Saturday.

The Recycling Center will be open from 8 AM to 12 Noon on Saturday December 24th and Saturday December 31st.

Originally posted on the Franklin website here

In the News - election spending, Hamilton Storage

Biggest spending won in Franklin elections

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"dictates the path the town should follow"

The town is still looking for two to three members of the public to serve on the committee. 
Members appointed to the Master Plan Committee last night were Town Councilors Andrew Bissanti, Matthew Kelly and Jeffrey Roy, Planning Board member John Carroll, Conservation Commission member Jeffrey Livingstone, Public Land Use Committee member Timothy Twardowski, and James Esterbrook from the Department of Public Works. 
“It would be nice to get two to three more people, to have diversity on the committee,” Town Administrator Jeffrey Roy said, noting that the various town committees are acceptably represented.

Read more:

Related post on the Master Plan

Updated 12/22/11
Per email from Town Councilor Judy Pfeffer, Steve Whalen was also added to the Master Plan committee as a citizen member during the meeting last night.

“We’re approaching this with a very open mind”

“The grant is going to be used to do a deep examination of our general education curriculum,” said Melissa Read, assistant vice president for academic affairs. “It’s all about the student learning. Are students learning what we want them to and what we believe they need to know in order to prepare for their next step?” 
Read said that Dean College begins the process of re-examining its general education courses every five years, and rolls out the resulting changes so that there is continuous progress. 
The difference this time around is that the $100,000 grant allows Dean to spend more time debating the advantages and disadvantages of changes, with faculty members as well as administration, and of helping faculty become adjusted to those changes with week-long summer and winter training sessions, called “institutes.”

Read more:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Food Elves, Downtown Partnership collect a ton of food!

Food Elves, Partnership Collect A Ton of Food

The Franklin Food Elves and the Franklin Downtown Partnership exceeded their goals for the ‘12 Days of Donating’ campaign this month, collecting nearly twice the food and monetary donations they hoped for to benefit the Franklin Food Pantry. Together the groups donated 2,035 pounds of non perishable items and $4,266 during the 12 day drive.  

According to Anne Marie Bellavance, Executive Director of the Franklin Food Pantry, these donations will help carry the food pantry through this holiday season and into 2012.  

“Based on our calculations, when we combine the weight and the dollar amount it translates into more than 17,000 meals,” says Bellavance.  “We have seen a cascading effect of community support beginning with this drive as well as help printing 250 cookbooks for our clients.  We are so very grateful to be surrounded by such a giving community.”

The Food Elves expanded their reach this year, placing bins at downtown locations and canvassing neighborhoods throughout town. The result was more than one ton of food and non-perishables collected for the food pantry.

DCU gave a $1,500 donation and Berry Insurance stepped up with a $1,000 gift. In addition to donations by residents, six downtown businesses, including Dean Bank, Dean College, Jane’s Frames, Printsmart Office Supplies, the Franklin Downtown Partnership and Berry Insurance, had pledged $1,200 in matching funds. The grand total of money raised was $4,266.

Franklin Food Elves founders Melissa and Cameron Piana are thrilled with the campaign’s results.

“A few years ago my brother and I started collecting donations in our neighborhood and the idea has grown into a much bigger way for us to make a difference for needy families in Franklin,” says Melissa. “We want to thank all the residents and businesses for the donations and all of our elves for their help. It was a team effort with huge results.”

“It is amazing to me how many people wanted to help us reach our goal,” says Cameron. “We are excited that we exceeded our goal for the Food Pantry and that so many people will benefit from the donations.”

The Franklin Food Elves are led by Head Elves Melissa and Cameron Piana. The elves are Katie Buccella, Kiara Chan, Jess Deaver, Amanda Dickson, Colleen Flaherty, Katie Flaherty, Elise Frank, Haley Frank, Santiago Leal, Kasey Lynch, Jacob Signori, Shannon Takahata and Mely Wu.

“We knew this community would support the elves and the food pantry but this response surpassed all of our expectations,” says Partnership President Nicole Fortier. “The support and positive feedback for this drive has been overwhelming. We are grateful to the residents and businesses of Franklin and to the local papers for helping us spread the word.”

The Franklin Food Elves is a charitable community service group.  The Franklin Downtown Partnership is a non-profit 501(c)3 group working to revitalize downtown Franklin.  For more information about either group please contact the Partnership at (774)571-3109 or  

Food Pantry Executive Director Anne Marie Bellavance, Partnership President Nicole Fortier, and Head Food Elves Cameron and Melissa Piana (left to right) at the Franklin Food Pantry. 

Food Elves Cameron and Melissa Piana deliver donations collected during the '12 Days of Donating' campaign to Food Pantry Executive Director Anne Marie Bellavance (left).

This was originally posted to the Franklin Downtown Partnership website here

Governor Patrick and ChopChop Magazine Team Up to Provide Healthy Recipes fo...

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

By Emma Morrison, Communications Fellow at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services

As I walked into Community Servings ( in Jamaica Plain today, I was surprised to find so many excited children milling around, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Governor Deval Patrick.  As I too wait for Governor Patrick, I realize the chatter from the children is not only associated with meeting the Governor himself but also on their once-in-a-lifetime chance to make homemade cranberry applesauce with him.  [These adorable kids probably got to stay home from school today, but that's beside the point!]

Today is the launch of an exciting new partnership with the magazine ChopChop, the Fun Cooking Magazine for Families ( and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health's Mass in Motion ( initiative.  The new ChopChop newsletter will provide Massachusetts families (via email) a free monthly recipe using locally grown produce. The hope is that parents will be encouraged to spend time preparing fresh healthy meals with their children.  The ChopChop newsletter is designed to complement the Mass in Motion initiative to combat obesity and chronic disease in Massachusetts by encouraging residents to eat better and move more.

SDC10606After the children patiently sat through the introductions and short speeches, the fun really started.  Governor Patrick rolled up his sleeves, put on his apron and assisted the children with the final steps of preparing cranberry applesauce.  The Governor then graciously took pictures with each child and their parents.
Sally Sampson, founder of ChopChop, reminded audience members of the multitude of benefits cooking can have on children, including spending time together as a family, introducing healthy eating habits, learning locally grown fruits and vegetables and practicing mathematic skills.  Sounds like a win-win to me.

I will be the first to admit, if you aren't a 'cook' (which I am not) the kitchen can be intimidating. But hopefully, these fun, relatively easy recipes will ease kitchen anxiety and homemade meals will be looked at as a fun and enjoyable time to be with your family.  These newsletters will include personal messages from the Patrick-Murray Administration, along with fun facts about the food you are preparing and offer tips to help keep your kids safe in the kitchen as well!  The more that we can teach our children to cook healthy foods and to be nutritionally literate, the more we can support healthy eating habits over a lifetime.

Don't forget to sign up for new, healthy, monthly recipes your whole family can enjoy at  Who knows -- maybe the next Emeril Lagasse will be found in the Commonwealth thanks to this exciting new initiative!


Things you can do from here:

Photography Workshop at Franklin Art Center

Hello Everyone,

We just wanted to let you all know that we will be offering this unique Photography Workshop in January.  It is limited in size so we are sending it out to family and friends before it goes public. Feel free to forward this to anyone you think might  be interest.  Thank you .  We look forward to hearing from you.

Ian and Linda Kabat

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Franklin Art Center

space Winter 2012 -- Workshop space

So I got a new DSLR camera. How do I get started?

Franklin Art Center is having a workshop to understand and learn how to better use your DSLR camera.
Are you a new owner of a DSLR camera and find the manual that came with the camera not really all that helpful? Where do you even begin? There are so many settings and buttons. This one afternoon introductory workshop to DSLR cameras will give you a step-by-step easy to understand guide on how to get started with your new device. To keep everything fun while you learn all these new and exciting things about your new camera we made this workshop a combination of lecture, demonstration, hands-on, lots of practice and review time. The class will be taught by Nicole Connolly.

Please bring your DSLR camera and manual to this class.

For Beginners
3.5 Hours - 1 Session
Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Register NOW as space is limited. For more information and to register contact Linda at 508-887-2797.

Meet Nicole Connolly

Nicole was born and raised in Southern Germany. She is a graduate from Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts, and has worked as a professional photographer in commercial, editorial, advertising, and fine arts for the past four years. Her specialties include New England and European Destinations & Lifestyle, Corporate Events and Contemporary Portraits for Professionals. Click here to learn more and see work by Nicole Connolly >>
If you have questions about the class, please email Linda at Or call 508 887-2797.
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2012 DSLR one day workshop

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Town Council - Agenda - Dec 21, 2011

– November 30, 2011-Executive Session




- Master Plan Committee
Andrew Bissanti – Town Council
John Carroll – Planning Board
Jim Esterbrook – DPW
Matt Kelly – Town Council
Jeff Livingstone – Conservation Commission
Jeffrey Roy – Town Council
Tim Twardowski – Public Land Use Committee

Zoning Bylaw Amendment 11-666: Amendment to Chapter 185-5, Zoning Map, Biotechnology Uses Overlay Zoning District- 7:10 pm




1. Resolution 11-71: Legal Notices
2. Resolution 11-72: Acceptance of Gift – Recreation
3. Resolution 11-73: Appropriation: Library
4. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 11-666: Amendment to Chapter 185-5, Zoning Map, Biotechnology Uses Overlay Zoning District – 1st Reading





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


Heads on beds puts dollars in city and town treasuries

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Revenue by Robert Bliss on 12/19/11

City and Town, the twice-monthly publication of the Division of Local Services, has just published its first in-depth review of the local option room occupancy tax since it was raised from 4 percent to 6 percent in the summer of 2009.

The article comes with a link that shows the amount of local revenue generated from this tax in each of the 177 cities and towns (50 percent of those in the Commonwealth) that has adopted the optional room occupancy tax, and the additional amounts raised by the 93 cities and towns that have elected to tax at a rate higher than 4 percent.

The local option tax generated a record $130.4 million in FY11 for cities and towns, and does not appear to have weakened demand for rental rooms in the Commonwealth, given the data presented in the article.

The article notes that 124 of the Commonwealth's 352 cities and towns, or 35 percent, either have no rental rooms or fewer than three businesses generating room rental income.

That leaves about 15 percent of the state's cities and towns that have foregone the opportunity to generate tax revenue from the local option room occupancy tax.

Things you can do from here:

Monday, December 19, 2011

A parallel story in Marshfield, MA

Marshfield High School is also based upon the Ai3 Whitman-Hanson model school. An animated video fly-over of their model and layout can be viewed here

A document with their information, key points and timeline

An article from the Patriot Ledger on the vote to approve the debt exclusion passed on Nov 19, 2011

Marshfield will borrow up to $53.6 million for the $101 million project, and the Massachusetts School Building Authority will fund the rest. 
Roughly 38 percent – 6,756 – of the town’s registered voters took part in the override election. The vote was 4,722 for the project, 2,034 against.

Marshsfield is also on warning status for their accreditation

Administrators have until Dec. 1 to submit paperwork to the New England Association of Schools and Colleges to explain why the existing high school should not be downgraded in status. Last month, the accrediting organization notified Marshfield officials that the high school may be placed on probation because of building deficiencies. 
The group cited 39 concerns, such as a leaky roof, corroded plumbing and electrical systems in science labs, and inadequate classroom space. Once a school is placed on probation, it has 2½ years to address the group’s concerns; failure to do so can result in a loss of accreditation.

Read more:

Updates: Ichigo Ichie and Italian Groceria & Deli

What was the Piccadilly Pub that closed in 2008 is now in a "soft open". Ichigo Ichie will be doing their grand opening on Jan 2, 2012 according to folks at the front desk when I stopped in on Saturday.

Ichigo Ichie - Franklin, MA

They owners do have a restaurant in East Providence, RI so you can check out what they do there. The website is not yet updated for the new location butt hat is planned for the January opening.

What was Isabella's, then became Sam's apparently will become the "Italian Groceria & Deli" in January.

Changes coming in January

I don't have a photo for it but you should also be aware that the Chipotle Mexican Grill has opened as of Dec 16th. It is operating in the Stop and Shop Plaza. The location is so new that the Chipotle website also does not find the store.

"it’s lit, free from rain and cold"

“It’s a great program because it gets people out and walking who wouldn’t be able to, and who don’t walk outside because of the dark and the weather,” said Janice McGovern, office manager of Franklin’s adult education office. “It’s basically all ages.” 
The school is open to walkers Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., until April 11. The program will take a hiatus for the holidays, returning Jan. 3. 
“The street we live on, there are no sidewalks,” Franklin resident Paula Renkas said as she walked through the high school hallways with her husband, Richard. “It’s hard to get out and walk. It gets dark.”

Read more:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

FHS Taxpayer costs

The full text of the letter from the School Building Committee to the Town Council on the cost to the Franklin taxpayers for the proposed new high school.

FHS Taxpayer Costs

You can also view and download this document here:

Additional information on the new high school project can be found in this collection:

Collection: high school building project

This listing will continue to grow as the project moves forward.



Dedication ceremony (photo essay)

Dedication ceremony and concert (audio)

Finishing touches added

Demolition update

School food policy updated

Goodbye field house

Part 1 of inside the new FHS

Part 2 of inside the new FHS

Photos of the last tour of the 'old' school building

Note: all the photos will be posted to Facebook and to Flickr for anyone to view in a single place. The locations are already established and photos will be added to them over time.

Facebook album       Flickr album

May 2014 - transition date to the new building

May 2014 - there are sidewalks

Apr 2014 - parking update (video)

Feb 2014 - new building in the snow

Jan 2014 - Pantherbook video tour of building under construction


exterior almost complete

construction progress

construction update

new traffic pattern

updated parking

building committee meeting

construction update

July -

June  -

May -

Apr -

Mar -

Feb -

Jan -


Oct -

Aug -

Update on the high school

Election day results

Results by precinct

15 letters to the editor on the last day

Video on Self interest = Community interest

Last minute voter information

Voter registration and absentee ballot information

Updated presentation on the educational design features of the new high school proposal

MDN recaps the vote

Boston Globe recaps the vote

Voices of Franklin

MDN follows up on realtor support

Citizens for a New FHS

Tour and high school presentation

MDN Article on high school student support

MDN Article on support for debt exclusion

Letters to the Editor

Rep James Vallee supports the high school project

Facts about the cost of the new high school

The Town Council meeting on Feb 1 that approved the debt exclusion vote to be held on March 27, 2012

Milford Daily News article on meeting

The proposed ballot question text

The resolution with the financial deal

Live reporting on the presentation

and the following Q&A

Updated design photo slide show

The MSBA approves the funding for Franklin and the model school program

Announcement of new FHS campaign website

Campaign starting for the new Franklin High School with formation of a citizens committee

Citizens for a new Franklin High - organizational meeting

Parallel story in Marshfield, MA where they just approved their model school

The letter to the Town Council outlining the costs to the taxpayer

Updated pictures and November Monthly report

The floor plans and space summary

The audio segments from the forum held on Nov 17th

Ai3 Architects

Design photos from the Nov 17th Forum

The model school video from the MSBA featuring the Whitman-Hanson model

In the News - Iraq War, teen sexting

Local soldiers recall bearing witness to Iraq War

Researchers caution alarm on teen "sexting" reports

The article does not mention Franklin but the survey is one Franklin uses. The questions will be "did Franklin add this to the survey?" and "what did the survey reveal?"