Saturday, September 22, 2012

"people with disabilities can actually use it"

The Milford Daily News writes about the ribbon cutting on Friday for the new playground at the JFK Elementary School. This was a great example of a community effort and every community effort begins with a core group of people.

The mothers — Renatta Gilarova, Sandy Brown, Ariel Doggett, Tisha Arffa and Nikki Wisniewski — were honored on Friday afternoon during a ribbon cutting ceremony for the school’s new playground. 
They spearheaded an extraordinarily successful fundraising push to replace the 12-year-old wooden one.
The drive was "extraordinarily successful" because they were determined and persistent. What they did can be used as a text book case study for another group to try. They combined all the tools they had available. They found the Pepsi grant online and leveraged Facebook to drive that. They used email, they used Twitter. They also relied on the 'old fashioned' feet on the street visiting the ball fields on the weekend and the commuter train platforms during the week.

Regular readers here saw some of their efforts. They found this webpage and our Facebook page and we helped frequently. It was a worthy cause, a great effort with excellent results. My thanks to the core group for showing how it can be done!

Read more:

Related posts

news and subscription options

Franklin uses its webpage to post important news from each of its departments. There are two good examples of this type of announcement to share today:

  • The Dept of Health has learned that the number of cases of West Nile and EEE viruses has increased and re-issues their caution about contact with mosquitoes.

  • The Cultural Council awards grants to deserving organizations and programs each year. This years application deadline is approaching October 15th.

For information on how to make an application visit

Note: Franklin could elect to turn on or enable an RSS service so that finding out about these announcements would be easier. Franklin could also use these kinds of announcements in their own email notifications. They have explored email notifications and seem to have stopped. As noted elsewhere on this page today, to be successful requires persistence.

In the meantime, you need to visit the Franklin page regularly to find new items on the front page. Trying to find new items buried within each department or committee page takes far too much time.

Of course, regular readers of Franklin Matters have multiple options to find out what is happening. You can

  • subscribe to the daily newsletter
  • subscribe to the RSS feed
  • our get a selection each day on Facebook

You can subscribe to your choice of notification here

Franklin Elks hope Family Day will spark more giving

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Matt Tota/Daily News staff on 9/21/12

The Elks Lodge has had a busy year. So far it has raised $50,000 for a Bellingham native who lost both legs and part of an arm fighting overseas, given 100 gallons of oil to heat veterans' homes and collected items to ship out to troops serving in Afghanistan.

Things you can do from here:

In the News: Preschool fair, Yankee Quilters

Preschool fair planned in Franklin, Oct. 25




Please call:
Deborah L. Pellegri 508-520-4900
Town Clerk/Historical Com. Chairman

You can be part of the Harvest Festival being held that day!

For the Harvest Festival poster:

For additional information on the Harvest Festival, you can visit the Downtown Partnership webpage

Friday, September 21, 2012

Franklin SEPAC: Fund raising events

What is Franklin SEPAC?
"Special Education Parents Advisory Council" an active group of parents with interest in serving and supporting special education children.

Who can participate in SEPAC/ attend workshops?
All parents and guardians of Franklin students receiving special education services are encouraged to become involved in SEPAC. Participation is also open to other interested parties such as teachers, service providers, students studying special education, and families from other towns. All workshops are open to the public.

They have two fund raising events coming up.

Sep 27
We have an amazing Fundraiser Zumbathon® Event coming up at Sublime Fitness in Medway on September 27th 7-8:30pm. Mark your calendars ! All proceeds will benefit Franklin SEPAC! Looking forward to an amazing year!

To sign up please go to:
you may have to go to 'sublime events/workshops/events' 
$10 online and $15 at the door per-person to join this wonderful event.
Bring a friend or family member ( or two!) Can't wait to see everyone there!

Oct 1

Print up a flyer ( can be found on our FB page, web-site and is also the Profile pic for this event) bring the voucher to the Franklin 99 on October 2nd from 11am-10pm and the 99 will donate 15% of your total bill to the Franklin SEPAC! 
This is valid on Dine-In and Take-Out. We recommend Call Ahead Seating 508-520-9909.
Thank you!

The flyer can also be found here:

For additional information on this group,please visit their webpage

a national embarrassment or high performing?

The Milford Daily News got to meet with the candidates for the 10th Norfolk District on Thursday. They report on the different picture that the two candidates have of the MA economy:
Despite the state boasting some of the best schools and hospitals in the country, Eustis said, it has still failed to attract new companies. 
"None of these businesses want to be here anymore," he said. "So you have to ask yourself, ‘Why is that?’ And the answer inevitably leads to Beacon Hill." 
Eustis blamed higher tax rates, saying they drive businesses out and keep them from wanting to set up shop. 
Roy, on the other hand, had a more sanguine outlook on the state’s economy. 
"Massachusetts is one of the higher-performing states," he said, listing its AA+ bond rating and 6.3 percent unemployment rate, lower than the national rate of 8.1 percent.

Read more:

Franklin Library: Resume Writing Review

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Franklin Public Library by Franklin Public Library on 9/20/12

Things you can do from here:

MassBudget: New Data on Income, Poverty, Health Coverage in MA

MassBudget    Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center    Democracy.
Income, Poverty, and Health Coverage in Massachusetts

According to information released today by the U.S. Census Bureau, the median income in Massachusetts fell 1.7 percent between 2010 and 2011--part of a trend of falling median income across the nation.

In spite of the decline, Massachusetts remains among the states with the highest median income: $63,000 as compared to $51,000 nationwide.

Along with this income data, the Census also included updated details on poverty, child poverty, and health coverage in Massachusetts.

  • Although the poverty rate in Massachusetts was unchanged between 2010 and 2011, it is still higher than it was before the Great Recession began.

  • Across the Commonwealth, one out of every seven children lives in poverty. Nationwide, that number is one in five.

  • Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in health insurance coverage, and between 2010 and 2011 the rate of 18-24 year olds lacking health insurance declined significantly, from 8.7 percent to 7.5 percent.

To provide fuller analysis, MassBudget is releasing separate factsheets for each of these measures: poverty, child poverty, income, and health coverage.

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.

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

In the News: Harvest Festival, medical marijuana, unemployment rate

Franklin Harvest Festival set for Sept. 30

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Real time reporting: Town Council highlights

Via the cable feed, I managed to catch the Town Council meeting Wednesday night missing only the first 30 minutes. As it turns out, I would have been better off in the room but that is usually why I do go to the meetings. It is so much better to be in the room than watching remotely. The Dept of Health section of the meeting is recapped here. Other key points of the meeting are as follows:

NationalGrid had a meeting with Jeff Roy, Jeff Nutting and others to review their progress. We will not see a major upgrade to their infrastructure, it is not in their budget unfortunately. We will continue to see work removing tree limbs from the power lines. In some cases, they may need to replace poles and put the lines above the tree limbs. They will look more closely at the data on our 'reported' frequent outages and see if the data confirms that the situation is getting worse or is it due to our 'perception'. (side note - if they were really attentive, they should have already had this data and made it available. To the extent that they haven't done this, they could be afraid of what it would show.)

The bids for the new high school will be opened in the Council chambers next Tuesday. There was acknowledgement from Dean College and others that the athletic fields at Dean would be used in the period during the construction of the new Franklin High although work remains to be done to confirm the specific schedules.

Kudos for the professionalism and quick work of the Fire Dept to put out the King St fire were mentioned by Jeff Nutting and several councilors. According to Andy Bissanti, Robert Catalano (the home owner) will be getting back into the house soon. The reason the tower truck did not show up in response to the fire and instead units from Wrentham and Bellingham did was two-fold. One, as mentioned in a number of presentations by Fire Chief McCarragher, 44% of the calls to action for the Fire Dept come when one unit is already out on a call. They are staffed for two calls, and did not have the additional staff to use the tower. Additional staff were being called in but there is a time delay in the calling out before the staff arrives. This is something Franklin will continue to live with under these budget conditions. Council Chair Vallee says health and safety should be number 1 and no one disagrees with that but there are only so many dollars to go around. Every department is doing more with less.

Real time reporting: from food inspections to beavers

I managed to catch some of the Town Council meeting via the cable broadcast on Wednesday night. I tuned in as Dean College President Paula Rooney was reviewing how much Dean provides for Franklin and its students. Next on the agenda was David McKearney from the Dept of Health. The one item I expected him to talk about was the relocation of the needle disposal kiosk from the fire station to the DPW and it wasn't mentioned. Since I was remote and no one else asked, it was one of those times when being there really mattered.

The Milford Daily News spent most of its article on David's section and barely mentioned the Dean presentation.
"During the past 12 calendar months, we have had 10 new food establishments come to Franklin," he said. "As we continue to get more and more restaurants, we are not going to be able to keep up." 
There are 135 restaurants and 33 retail food stores here, including the new Big Y supermarket, every one requiring two inspections a year, McKearney said. "Right now we are holding our own," he said. "We work very hard and very aggressively." 
Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting extolled McKearney and his staff for their working so well with less. "We generally have a health staff that’s half the size of other communities," Nutting said.

The Dept of Health work was important during the two major storm related power outages as the food in businesses without power was checked to ensure that anything spoiled was discarded appropriately.

One odd item on the Dept of Health's list of things to do is to issue licenses for beavers. This responsibility is somewhat misplaced but defined by the Legislature. The only beaver permits issued thus far have been to the DPW to address situations where the beaver dams are interfering with the water supply.

During the Q&A with the Town Council after his lengthy review of the departments operations, he elaborated on the difficulty of enforcing some 'public health issues'. What defines a public health issue? The example he used was if a neighbor has a pile of grass clippings that is decomposing and smelling, he can't do much backed by the applicable regulations. If the same neighbor had a pool that was not maintained and contributing to the mosquito population, he could take action.

David was careful to discuss that his action is not as effective as 'waving a magic wand'. He can write an enforcement letter but it is still up to the homeowner, or family members or applicable agencies to help correct the situation. He is frustrated with how little he can do and how many he sees are recurring situations.

For the Milford Daily News write up,

Mixed results in region on latest MCAS

From the Spring 2012 MCAS Tests: Summary of State Results:

Executive Summary
The fifteenth administration of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) tests took
place in spring 2012.

A total of 552,549 Massachusetts public school students in grades 3–10 participated in a total of 17
MCAS tests in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, and Science and Technology/Engineering
(STE). Participation rates remained very high, ranging from 98 to 100 percent across the grades and
subjects tested. In 2012, 9,457 students with disabilities participated in the MCAS Alternate Assessment (MCAS-Alt) by submitting portfolios documenting their academic achievement in one or more subjects in grades 3–12.

Overall Achievement
Student achievement statewide improved on nine of the 17 MCAS tests administered in 2012. Between
2011 and 2012, the percentage of students scoring Proficient or higher improved in ELA at grades 4, 8,
and 10; in Mathematics at grades 4, 6, and 10; and in STE at grades 5, 8, and 10.

Trends in Achievement
Because measures of student achievement often change incrementally over short periods of time, the
Department is presenting a series of five-year views in this report in order to reveal achievement trends
that have occurred over multiple years. Over the five-year period from 2008 to 2012, an increase of five
or more percentage points indicates improvement that has been sustained. The grades and subject areas in
which the percentage of students scoring Proficient or higher increased by five or more points over the
last five years are shown in Figure E-1.

The full report (PDF) can be found here

The detailed information for the Franklin Public School District can be found here

From this link, you can select among the Franklin schools including Tri-County and the Charter School.

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Scott O'Connell/Daily News staff on 9/19/12

MCAS Logo_0.jpg
The number of students scoring proficient or higher on the 2012 MCAS went down in Framingham and Marlborough and up in Hopkinton and Southborough, according to district- and school-level results released by the state today.

Things you can do from here:

Tri-County students offer services to the public

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by GateHouse Media, Inc. on 9/19/12

Tri-County RVTHS Superintendent-Director Stephen Dockray has announced that the school's Career Technical Program students are now offering a full complement of services to the public for nominal fees.

Things you can do from here:

Do you know Franklin's muscle man?

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Wicked Local Franklin News RSS by Matt Tota/Daily News staff on 9/19/12

90457 MA_MD_biceps1.jpg
Last year, representatives of the "Guinness Book of World Records" traveled here from London to measure Moustafa Ismail's Herculean 31-inch biceps. The local bodybuilder, who said he benches up to 500 pounds, was told he had a slim chance to make it into Guinness' 57th book of records for having the biggest biceps and triceps in the world.

Things you can do from here:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Town Council meeting - Sep 19, 2012, 7:00 PM

Friendly reminder that the Town Council meeting is Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM in the Council Chambers.

The agenda and associated documents were posted here on Sunday

On the agenda:

An appointment of a constable. There are five candidates one will be appointed to fulfill the unexpired term of Robert Jarvis who has recently passed away. At the next election, the seat will be open for vote.

Transfer of the liquor license for the liquor store in the small plaza at exit 16, next to Dunkin Donuts which will do business as Pour Richard's Wine and Spirits.

Cryptic sign

An update from Dean College. Dean sits in the middle of Franklin, how involved is it in the community?

Dept of Health David McKearney - likely an update on the move of the needle kiosk from the fire station downtown where it was available 24 hours a day to the DPW headquarters on Fisher St where it is now only available during DPW business hours.

The only legislative vote comes on a measure to assess some homeowners along Summer St for the extension of the sewer line to their property.

Note: I have a conflict with a Food Pantry meeting so I'll catch up on what happens later. If you do attend or watch via either the web broadcast or cable, and what to share what you learn from the meeting, please do so.

"I want to use those resources to help Jeff."

The Milford Daily News attended as former Rep Jim Vallee endorsed Jeff Roy for the 10th Norfolk seat that he left vacant.
"Jeff's somebody who's very energetic," Vallee said to a small crowd of Roy supporters gathered inside the Franklin headquarters of the Clark-Cutler-McDermott Co., a manufacturer of textile products for the automotive industry. "He's a great listener, which I think is important to this job." 
An 18-year veteran of the State House, Vallee said he waited until after the Sept. 6 primary before publicly endorsing a candidate because he wanted to respect the voters' right to choose. 
"My interest is ensuring that whomever steps into that seat cares as much as I did about Franklin and Medway," he said, calling his endorsement of Roy "a very difficult decision."

Read more:

In the News: Meals on Wheels, girls softball, 'woman of year'

Meals on Wheels needs help in Franklin

Franklin Girls Softball Association announce tryout dates

State Rail Network Progress

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Transportation by Klark Jessen on 9/18/12

Murray_tim_764Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray this week released a progress report, "Transforming the Rail Network for Economic and Community Development", describing accomplishments achieved as a result of the historic agreement with CSX Corporation.

"Transportation is the enabling network of our economy – it's about getting people and businesses from one location to another," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "I have worked closely with many critical partners and stakeholders to advance the CSX agreement and invest in improved freight and commuter rail service. This progress report outlines how our rail system is evolving across the state, and simultaneously highlights the need to have continued conversations to enhance economic and community development in impacted regions."

Improving the state's transportation infrastructure has been a key priority of the Patrick-Murray Administration. As part of the Massachusetts State Rail Plan, the Administration has strategically invested close to $1 billion in the state's rail system through competitive grants, public funds and private sector capital. These investments, some ongoing, represent the most significant improvements in the Commonwealth's rail system as a whole in decades.

The historic agreement with CSX Corporation offers significant impacts to freight and rail service in Central Massachusetts, Metrowest, Western Massachusetts, Boston and South Coast regions.  The compact is being finalized in two parts, beginning with an initial closing in June of 2010, which set in motion the permitting processes and infrastructure work needed to allow for the relocation of CSX operations. 

The second closing, scheduled for early October will complete the full transaction.  Details after the break.
The second closing will allow for: 
  • Expanding commuter rail service to the Metrowest/Worcester areas by taking ownership and control of the rail line between Framingham and Worcester.
  • Raising the railroad bridge clearances from Westborough to the New York State line to allow, for the first time in state history, the double-stacking of full-size freight containers on trains serving Massachusetts. This will increase freight capacity, reduce costs, and give Massachusetts companies better access to national and Asian markets.
  • Making possible the eventual restoration of commuter rail service to the South Coast by taking ownership of the rail lines that run from Boston to New Bedford and Fall River.
  • Relocating the CSX freight rail operations now in Boston at the Beacon Park Yard, to rail yards in Westborough, Worcester and West Springfield. This relocation will allow for the redevelopment of an 80+- acre parcel along the Charles River to serve as a new gateway district for the city.
With the second closing, the full transaction will be complete and the Commonwealth will pay CSX $100 million in total for: 
  • 45 miles of the Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail line between Boston and Worcester
  • 37 miles of rail lines running south from Taunton to Fall River and New Bedford
  • 8 miles known as the Grand Junction, which runs from Allston, across the Charles River, through Cambridge, Charlestown, Everett and Chelsea
  • 2 miles known as the Boston Terminal Running Track which extends from Dorchester to South Boston, including the West First Street Yard
As part of this public-private partnership, CSX is investing $129 million for rail yards in Worcester, Westborough and West Springfield to expand and enhance freight services throughout the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth and CSX have also worked together to complete bridge work at 31 locations across the state, from the New York border to Worcester, to raise the clearance to allow for the double-stacking of full-size freight containers. Through this initiative, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has raised clearances at 14 of those locations by investing $72 million and CSX has completed the work for the remaining sites.

Things you can do from here:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Who eats the crusts of bread?

In this TED Talk, Tristram tells us something we don't normally hear or talk about.
Western countries throw out nearly half of their food, not because it’s inedible -- but because it doesn’t look appealing. Tristram Stuart delves into the shocking data of wasted food, calling for a more responsible use of global resources. 
Tristram Stuart sounds the warning bell on global food waste, calling for us to change the systems whereby large quantities of produce and other foods end up in trash heaps.

If America really has 4 times the food that we need, then the Food Pantry and others in this space are clearly in the redistribution business, and there is still plenty to do.

Approximately 15 minutes and well worth watching!

For more information on Tristram's Feeding the 5,000

For more on his book

Parmenter modulars: 3 down, 1 to go!

More progress

Only one modular unit left on site now, with some landscaping work to do

"Foreclosure deeds statewide dropped"

Current numbers show the rate of foreclosure deeds declining although the activity year to date still exceeds the prior year. The article by Milford Daily News reports:
Franklin real estate agent Andrew Bissanti said the declining statistics are also a result of banks offering more short-sale opportunities. 
Bissanti said declining foreclosure activity may also help the overall real estate market. 
"A lot of people are waiting for things to get worse," he said. "Maybe if they start seeing things get better, they’ll get out there and be more active in the market."

Read more:

MassBudget: Analyzing the FY 2013 Budget

MassBudget    Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center    Democracy.
Analyzing the FY 2013 Budget
At the beginning of this budget season, MassBudget calculated that Massachusetts would face a deficit of roughly $1.3 billion in FY 2013. Our final Budget Monitor shows that the budget gap was filled through a combination of temporary revenue, cuts, and savings. These include:

  • $615 million in temporary revenue, $350 million of which comes from the "rainy day" fund

  • Significant cuts and savings in Health Care, Homelessness Prevention, Early Education & Care, and elsewhere

There is no revenue from new taxes in the FY 2013 budget. Of all the competing budget proposals, only the Governor's had included provisions for new taxes.

Looking across the FY 2013 budget as a whole, our Budget Monitor shows how the budget will affect each major area of state government, from health care and education to public safety and the environment--including information on tax revenues.

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income people, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.

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

Monday, September 17, 2012

No School - Sep 17th

A friendly reminder for those without school children... those with school kids already know this!

Voting for the Avery "Give back to Schools" program closed on Sep 14th. This will be something to keep in mind to set up and prepare for next August 2013.

Life changing on Washington St

A pleasant scene. Could almost be anywhere.

Yet, it is here in Franklin along Washington St.

Running by this area on Sunday morning I was concerned to see a road side shrine and the familiar markings of an accident investigation. The flowers were fresh so it had to be recent. So recent that it hadn't made the newspapers yet. (Milford Daily News put a story online at 11:30 AM, and updated the details around 7:30 PM Sunday)

The Franklin Police logs did record the accident as multiple vehicles (2 were towed away) with a fatality involved. Saturday morning at 11:17 AM there were multiple 911 calls to report the accident.

There is a story or two inside the police report yet to be known. One or more families lives were changed suddenly on Saturday morning with the death and the aftermath....

The Milford Daily News article can be found here

A form of this was originally published on Steve's 2 Cents

In the News: Young Women of the Year, dance cabaret

Orientation set for Franklin Young Woman of the Year Program

Saddle Up and Walk 5K - October 7th

Please save the date and register today for the Second Annual Saddle Up and Walk 5K fundraiser on October 7th.

The walk will start at 8:00AM from Fino Field in Milford, MA, and the first 200 registrations are guaranteed a t-shirt. Event will feature a family fun fair with children's activities and prizes, entertainment, food, door prizes, JetBlue ticket raffles, 50/50 raffle and more!

Register early and save!

There are many ways to donate if you can't join us on the day of the walk! Support a team or individual who is walking, or make a general donation both available through links on the left.

In addition, for any corporations looking for permanent or one-time sponsorship opportunities please click on the Sponsors Page Button!

All donations are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, we are a registered public 501(C)(3) charity.

You can register online at

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Franklin, MA: Town Council - Agenda - Sep 19, 2012

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – August 8, 2012

This meeting is being recorded by Verizon, Comcast, and Franklin Matters

Public Service Award




Transfer of Liquor License – NDO Enterprises LLC…

Dean College
David McKearney – Board of Health


1. Resolution 12-64:Order of Betterment Assessment – Summer Street Sewer Improvement





O. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required


The full set of documents released with the agenda for this meeting can be found on the Franklin webpage

Needle disposal kiosk relocated

The town’s new needle/syringe disposal kiosk has been relocated to the lobby of the DPW office at 257 Fisher Street. The kiosk will be available to residents during normal DPW business hours. 
To protect the health of personnel servicing the kiosk, absolutely no needles/syringes or lancets will be accepted unless they are inside an approved sharps container. Laundry detergent containers, cardboard boxes and plastic bags are not acceptable. Also the needle kiosk is not for the disposal of medications. The Franklin Police Department has a collection bin for residents to dispose of medications. 
Residents may purchase small sharps containers from Wal-Mart, Rite Aid, Walgreens and Target for a nominal fee. The Town of Franklin does not provide sharps containers to residents.

In July, a new state mandate requires disposal of medical needles and sharps in a secure manner. They are no longer allowed to be put into the normal trash.  On the practical side, how this will actually be enforced is another matter. Franklin has established a kiosk where residents can dispose of their needles and sharps. It was originally at the fire station downtown and now has been relocated to the DPW office.

Related post from July

The relocation announcement on the Franklin webpage

Where is the DPW office in Franklin?

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