Saturday, April 14, 2012

Franklin mom fights side-effects of stem cell treatment

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Alison McCall/Daily News staff on 4/13/12

At 45 years old, single mother Amanda Gard struggles with the ailments of a much older woman. "I have over 30 medications that I take every day," said Gard, who suffers from cataracts, osteoporosis and breathing issues. "It's affecting my ability to drive, it's affecting my independence ... It limits my ability to spend the time I want with my son." Her problems come from a stem cell transplant in 2009 meant to cure a previously well-managed cancer that became suddenly aggressive toward the end of her pregnancy with her son, Justin, now 3 years old.

Things you can do from here:

The link to donate to this cause is also found at the end of the article

In the news - Library, shoe recycle, special education

Vacation week fun scheduled at Franklin Library

Reminder: Water Ban

Hello, this is the Franklin Department of Public Works calling to remind you that the Town's Water Conservation Plan has been in effect since May 27th. Outside lawn watering is restricted to one day per week on your trash day. Lawn watering is not permitted from 9:00 AM thru 5:00 PM. No lawn watering is permitted on other days of the week. These summer water conservation measures are needed to limited the daily demand on the water system in order to ensure adequate water is available to meet the public health and safety needs of the Town. Please remember, the University of Massachusetts Cooperative Extension Center recommends that lawns only need one inch of water, either from rainfall or irrigation, each week. Non- compliance with these regulations could adversely affect public health and safety. Violators are subject to fines up to $200.00 Additional information can be found on the Town of Franklin website. Thank you for your continued support and cooperation.

To listen to the above message, you will need audio software and speakers on your computer.
This e-mail has been sent to you by TOWN OF FRANKLIN. To maximize their communication with you, you may be receiving this e-mail in addition to a phone call with the same message. If you wish to discontinue this service, please inform TOWN OF FRANKLIN either IN PERSON, by US MAIL, or by TELEPHONE at (508) 520-4938. THIS E-MAIL ADDRESS IS NOT MONITORED. Please do not reply to this e-mail as we are not able to respond to messages sent to this address.

Friday, April 13, 2012

HMEA 11th Annual Independence 5K - May 20th

The poster talking about the 11th Annual Independence 5K for HMEA is colorful!

If you want to register as a runner, you can do that directly here

or if you want to register and raise some funds for HMEA, you can do that here

You can also view the document here

"recommended dietary allowance"

On Friday the 13th, let's do a little video. No, not the slasher kind. Too bloody. Let's go the other end of the spectrum and watch as Billy Collins gives us our "recommended dietary allowance of poetry". After all, this is April and April is National Poetry Month.

The Mass Poetry Festival will be held in Salem and more info can be found here

Note: Billy Collins was part of the inspiration to develop sherku, my own form of haiku. The story of sherku is here and the verse I wrote can be found here

Milford section of I-495 to be resurfaced

The trip to Walmart, Staples or Whole Foods or the cinema could take a little longer in the near future as the paving work gets underway on i495

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Brian Benson/Daily News staff on 4/12/12

A six-mile stretch of Interstate 495 is slated to be resurfaced in the coming months at a cost of $12 million. Dracut-based Brox Industries submitted the lowest of five bids at $12.1 million. The work will involve resurfacing a 5.9-mile stretch of the highway from just north of Rte. 85 in Milford through Medway and Bellingham to the Bellingham-Franklin town line.

Things you can do from here:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

“Another citizen will step up and serve the district"

Rep Jim Vallee surprised some folks yesterday:
The longtime lawmaker announced yesterday he won’t seek re-election for his House seat in the fall. 
“I was a very young guy when I started,” said the Franklin Democrat, first elected in 1994 when he was 27. “Now, I have three little kids.” 
“That really was my driving factor (in resigning),” said Vallee, referring to Lucy, 5, Beatrice, 3, and Sam, 8 months. “I’d like to be able to spend time with them on the weekends and be home at night to be able to read with them.”

Read more:

Rep Vallee has accomplished a whole lot for Franklin and the Commonwealth of MA. He'll be missed.

Massbudget First Look: The House Ways and Means Budget

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First Look: The House Ways and Means Budget   
Early this afternoon, the House Ways and Means Committee finalised its budget proposal for FY 2013. MassBudget's First Look provides a preliminary analysis of the major initiatives along with the effects on core programs.

To address the state's budget deficit, the House Ways and Means budget relies heavily on:
  • Cuts and savings, including reduced funding for Early Education & Care and Public Health.
  • One-time revenue, drawn mostly from the "rainy day" fund.
In contrast to the Governor's proposal, which introduced some modest tax initiatives, the House Ways and Means budget does not include any revenue from new taxes.

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

This email was sent to by |  
Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center | 15 Court Square | Suite 700 | Boston | MA | 02108

Franklin Food Pantry: Current Needs

The current needs list of food and non-food items for the Franklin Food Pantry can be found in the document shown here:

You can also view the doc online here

Note: I am on the Board of Directors for the Franklin Food Pantry.

New Feature at Franklin Downtown Partnership web page

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Franklin Downtown Partnership by (Franklin Downtown Partnership) on 4/11/12

We are introducing a new feature on our website -- we have created a space for our members to advertise downtown retail and office space they have available. We have called it simply "Office and Retail Space Available" and you can find it on the right-hand side of the page under the Downtown Partnership Calendar and next to the Downtown Partners' Links

We start this feature off with a listing from Joseph Byrne of Byrne Financial Freedom, LLC

Do you have property you'd like us to list? Contact Lisa at with the pertinent information. We will list your property for one month. 

Looking for more properties? Please feel free to contact one of our many member realtors via their link on the right side of this page for more information.

Things you can do from here:

In the News - Letters to the Editor

Hobbs: Franklin fire victims offer gratitude

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring Pond

As the buds continue to blossom, the brown on the tree line will change to green.

Franklin, MA: Spring Pond horizon view

MassBudget Update: Revenue Proposals in the FY 2013 Budget Process

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Revenue Proposals in the Governor's Budget  
On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee releases its budget proposal for FY 2013. And the fiscal challenge they face is to fill a budget gap of roughly $1.3 billion.

To provide some context, MassBudget has updated its Budget Monitor with a fuller analysis of the Governor's proposals to address that same deficit by way of new revenue.

Most of the new revenue specified in the Governor's budget is temporary--chiefly from the "rainy day" fund. But a modest amount (roughly $215 million) is ongoing, including
  • An increase in the cigarette tax which would raise $62.5 million. 
  • An end to the sales tax exemption for candy and soda which amounts to $61.5 million.
Our analysis covers these and other revenue initiatives in greater detail.

We also invite you to use our Budget Monitor more broadly--to compare the forthcoming House Ways and Means budget with the Governor's proposals for health care, education, public safety, and beyond.

Our "First Look" review of the House Ways and Means Budget will be available Wednesday and our comprehensive Budget Monitor early next week.

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

This email was sent to by |  

Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center | 15 Court Square | Suite 700 | Boston | MA | 02108

Fundraising for the Rail Trail Effort

To All,

As some of you may know, I'v been involved in the development of the four 1/2 mile Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT) in Franklin and Bellingham with our parent 501(c)(3), the Grand Trunk Trail Blazers.  This is an abandoned railroad path that runs from Franklin through Bellingham and into Blackstone.

The Franklin Bellingham Rail Trail Committee's mission is to raise awareness about the trail's existence and to develop it into a multiuse trail.  Our united efforts will ultimately provide a safe environment for riding bikes, horses, walking or jogging, and generally encouraging people to exercise in the outdoors.

The advantages of using this type of trail are many including improved cardiovascular health and fitness and destressing as you enjoy the beauty around us.  Because of the trail's proximity to public transportation, we hope to eventually extend it to the commuter rail stations and public transportation.  This can further help the environment by reducing dependence on cars during the daily commute.

We are holding a 5k run/1 mile walk on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 10 a.m. at the former Putnam Property at 431 Washington Street, Franklin, MA on paved trails.  We would love to have you join us.  Entry fee is $20 prior to race day, $25 on race day and $15 for students. You can also register online at

Or maybe you can support us either by becoming a member ($25), attending committee meetings on the second Tuesday of each month, or by sponsoring our event on May 12th.

If you would like to support this cause, please make your tax deductible check payable to: the Franklin & Bellingham Rail Trail Committee and mail it to: FBRTC Treasurer, PO Box 68, Franklin, MA 02038.


Dave & Annette Labonte
Vice Chair, Race Chair
Franklin & Bellingham Rail Trail Committee

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Franklin, MA: Override and Debt Exclusion History (new format)

As requested, I have formatted the override and debt exclusion history to make it easier to view

Hopefully this will make it easier to read the information on each election

You can also view this document here

This was compiled from official MA and Franklin election records. If there is a mistake, it is not intended. Please let me know what you think is an error and I'll check it out with the official records.

Cub Scouts want your usable shoes!

The five local Cub Scout packs of Franklin have banded together this spring to help those in need by organizing a shoe drive to benefit Soles4Souls Inc., a Nashville, Tennessee-based shoe charity, and Rerun Shoes, an Amherst, Massachusetts-based shoe charity. The packs, comprised of approximately 300 elementary school-age boys and adult volunteers, have committed to collect shoes over the course of five weeks in April and May, beginning April 14th, at locations all around Franklin. In turn, the shoe charities will distribute the shoes to people living in extreme poverty and recovering from natural disasters. Soles4Souls provides one pair of shoes to a person in need every 7 seconds and, since 2005, has distributed more than
13 million pairs of shoes because of the generosity and commitment of people and organizations like the Franklin Cub Scout packs.

“With tragedies such as the earthquakes in countries like Haiti and Japan, on top of the enormous needs elsewhere, including our own country, we can use the shoes that are taking up space in the closets of ordinary people to help change the world one pair at a time,” said Mike McGuire, one of the adult leaders helping to organize the Scouts.

According to Rerun Shoes, consumers who recycle their shoes for reuse help provide employment at home and abroad. They also avoid the wasteful practice of disposing useable shoes in a landfill. To help keep those shoes out of landfills, the Cub Scouts will be collecting your new or gently worn footwear to make a tangible difference in the lives of many people through the gift of shoes. Every donation will support the shoe charities’ initiatives to distribute shoes to those in need.

To promote giving, the packs are holding a friendly competition amongst one another to collect the most shoes. All the packs are asking the town’s residents to “vote” for their favorite pack by donating all the excess shoes in their closets to the pack of their choice.

“Donating shoes is one of the simplest yet profound acts someone can do, because it will greatly improve someone’s life in the most difficult of times,” McGuire added. “Our boys understand this and really want to do all they can to make this successful for so many people. That’s why we’ve introduced a small, healthy rivalry – to encourage as many donations as people are willing to give.”

The Cub Scouts will be collecting shoes at the following locations throughout Franklin from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. beginning on Saturday, April 14th and each Saturday thereafter until May 12th:

  • Dacey Community Fields on Lincoln Street
  • King Street Memorial Park on King Street
  • Fletcher Field on Peck Street
  • Beaver Pond on Beaver Street
  • Town Common across from St. Mary’s Church

“Our scouts hope that people will realize the great impact that small gestures can have in peoples’ lives,” added McGuire. “Through Scouting, our boys have many opportunities like this shoe drive to provide service to others and reinforce ethical values. These opportunities not only help them now, when they are young, but will carry forward into their adult lives, improving the standards by which they’ll live and our society as a result. That’s what keeps us committed to finding opportunities such as this that will
benefit both our local community here in Franklin as well as the global community, of which we are all a part.”

The Cub Scouts will be holding a registration event on May 20th on the Town Common from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. for those interested in becoming part of the Scouting family. The event will feature some typical field day-type events in addition to traditional scouting events. For those that prefer to become part of the fun immediately, visit today to register with your local pack.

In the News - Planning Board, feline friend

Franklin council to decide on subdivision roads

Franklin woman was unfailing friend of felines

Wally the Green Monster

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Franklin Public Library by Franklin Public Library on 4/9/12

Wednesday April 18th       1:30 PM

Come meet Wally the Green Monster, the official mascot of the Boston Red Sox.  Wally's friend will read a book about Wally and Wally will take pictures with the children and their families.

All Ages, No registration required.

Things you can do from here:

Bubble Party with The Bubble Music Man

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Franklin Public Library by Franklin Public Library on 4/9/12

Tuesday April 17th     11 AM - Noon

An interactive program designed for children ages 3 to 7 years which brings together musical fun, interactivity, and BUBBLES!

No registration required.

Things you can do from here:

Monday, April 9, 2012

You can help your neighbor

You may recall hearing of the house fire in on Hillside Road last Wednesday. The Milford Daily News story is here

Fortunately, no one was hurt as the family escaped although they did lose one of their cats. The house and contents were destroyed. Neighbors have rallied to help collect food, clothing and money for the family.

Cheryl Hobbs is one of the neighbors leading this effort. Her post in the Yahoo Group for "Franklin Area Parents" summarized the situation last Wednesday:
Today has been a very terrible day for our neighbors (Lazanski/Kelly) on Hillside Road, they lost their home and all their belongings. Taryn is a senior at Franklin High. Tom graduated 2 years ago. All 4 are safe and being well taken care of. They, of course, are devastated! They did lose one cat and the other cat was revived and staying well at Tufts. I, first, want to thank my neighbors who came in in a clutch and gave clothing. Many of you have asked what you can do in lieu of clothes (because you don't have kids their size, etc.). Monetary donations are being accepted. Checks made payable to: Michelle Kelly. Please drop off your donation (or mail) to: Cheryl Hobbs - 144 Hillside Road, Franklin
Her update on Easter:
I just want to update everyone on the happenings here on Hillside. Michelle is in better spirits this morning...smiling, laughing and so thankful for all that has been given to her, her husband and kids. The cat is back home and not leaving Michelle's side. 
I am going to try and email once a week now, however, please know, I am still collecting. Again, it is overwhelming the generosity of this community. I was surprised to what I came home to last night..letter box over flowing, as well as, foyer filled with envelopes.

What can you do?
Make your check made payable to: Michelle Kelly.

Provide a gift card for Walmart, Kohls, Stop & Shop or any other retail outlet the family could use.

You can drop off your donation (or sent via mail) to: Cheryl Hobbs - 144 Hillside Road, Franklin

MBTA halting 12-ride punch card

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

The MBTA plans to retire the 12-ride commuter rail punch card and its six-month expiration as of July 1, replacing it with a 10-ride pass good for a mere 30 days, the Boston Globe reports. As the Globe reports, the punch card is open to abuse, in which users can stretch the card well beyond the 12-ride limit, which means lost revenue for the cash-strapped T.

Things you can do from here:

Coming soon!

It is good to walk around Franklin. Walking slows things down, you get to observe more detail about what is around. On Saturday's walk, I realized that Bellino's had closed and there will be a new Indian restaurant opening in it's location:

Coming soon: new restaurant downtown

I had already heard through the Planning Board agendas that Dean was putting up a new residence dorm on the corner of West Central and West St.

Coming soon: new residence dorm for Dean College

What do you find out about Franklin by walking around?

In the News - marathon, autism, brush fires

Franklin woman runs for her buddies

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

No matter what religious beliefs you hold, spring time brings new life to this world that we inhabit.

Spring colors!

Enjoy the signs of new life!

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - 4/10/12

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 March 27, 2012 School Committee Meeting.
Payment of Bills Mrs. McIntyre
Payroll Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives
Correspondence: Budget to Actual

2. Guests/Presentations
a. Music Department Update – Nancy Schoen (presentation)
b. Budget Overview

3. Discussion Only Items
Kindergarten Registration (Current status - PDF)
Pay to Ride Update

4. Action Items
a. I recommend acceptance of a check for $125.00 from JF Kennedy PCC for field trips and nurses fees for JF Kennedy Elementary School.
b. I recommend acceptance of a check for $750.00 from JF Kennedy PCC for field trips and buses for JF Kennedy Elementary School.
c. I recommend acceptance of a check for $150.00 from Cop Ex, Inc for Davis Thayer Elementary School.

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
Review of Executive Session Minutes
a. 1-24-12
b. 2-28-12

8. Adjourn

Franklin, MA: Music Program

Nancy Schoen is scheduled to present this document to the School Committee on Tuesday, Apr 10, 2012 to provide an update on the Music Program.

Franklin Public Schools MUSIC presentation 4/10/12

Both my daughters participated in the Music program throughout their years in the Franklin schools (Parmenter, Remington and FHS). I think some of their success can be attributed to the musical program as a component of their overall development and growth.

Franklin, MA: Kindergarten Enrollment

The Kindergarten enrollment as of 4/2/12. This is a line item for discussion at the School Committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Apr 10, 2012.

Franklin Public Schools K-registration as of 4-2-12

Note: the actual enrollment for K exceeds the projection provided last January. The details of that projection can be found here

Looking at the current K classroom staffing and the enrollment to date, it looks like there should be some re-alignment of K teachers to better balance the class size across the district. Parmenter for example has 4 K classes this year and may only need 2 next Sep. Current K classes and class size can be found in the following Enrollment document.

The enrollment comparison of March 2011 to March 2012:

Franklin Public Schools: Enrollment Compare March 2011 2012

Disclosure: yes, my wonderful wife teaches kindergarten at Oak Street Elementary School.

"These are not new challenges for Massachusetts"

As we get into the annual budget season, one factor driving up the cost of education is the cost of delivering services for the special education students. The Milford Daily News devotes a long article to a recap of this issue and the state's underfunding of the costs back to the local school districts.

The state funding of special education was raised in a MassBudget report posted here recently

The Marlborough School Department Finance Director Adam Olivere said that because special education costs have risen so dramatically, there is an underfunding in the foundation budget, which is calculated using the average cost-per-pupil, enrollment, and inflation. Costs are rising at a much greater rate than funding each year. 
“The state uses a percentage around 5 perfect to determine what the increase in costs should be, when in actuality, special education costs are increasing as much as 15 or 20 percent each year,” Olivere said. “The foundation budget underfunds special education costs by about $1 billion, and that affects net school funding.” 
Meanwhile, the federal government has never lived up to a promise 40 years ago to cover 40 percent of the excess cost of educating students with special needs. 
“The brunt of it still is falling on the local schools to fund out of their own resources,” said Rich Robison, executive director of the Federation for Children with Special Needs and a member of the Sudbury School Committee.

Read more:

The 2011-2012 School Budget for Franklin highlights special education as one of the factors increasing the cost of education.  Additional information on the FY 2012 Budget for Franklin is collected here

Karen Spilka: A decade at the State House

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Joe O'Connell/Daily News staff on 4/7/12

Spilka 2012
Karen Spilka takes pride in her relentless approach to her job representing the Second Middlesex and Norfolk District in the state Senate. "Patience and perseverance" are two important qualities one needs to have to be a legislator, Spilka said.

Things you can do from here: