Saturday, September 29, 2012

Traffic Alert: Harvest Festival on Sunday

Be aware that Main St will be closed to traffic on Sunday, Sep 30 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM for the Annual Harvest Festival.

For those traveling recently on RT 140, they may have seen the electric sign board put up by the Franklin Police Dept.

Come to downtown Franklin to enjoy the Harvest Festival on Sunday. Be prepared to park outside the downtown proper!

Enjoy the natural beauty

Leaves changing color. Rain.

What a combination!

Enjoy the natural beauty of Franklin this weekend. Don't let the rain stop you from coming on down to the Harvest Festival on Sunday.

The map of the Harvest Festival was posted yesterday

Schedule for School Tours

As mentioned during the School Committee meeting on Sep 11, the schedule of school tours is now available. The first tour comes up Oct 4th at the JF Kennedy School.

The tours are open to the public and will be lead by School Committee members. This effort comes out of the positive feedback received during the tours of the high school before the debt exclusion vote to fund the new high school building in March.

The schedule of school tours will be added to the Franklin Matter's calendar.

"Annie Dookhan pleaded not guilty"

"We can’t speculate on the motive," Coakley said. "To date, we certainly do not have it. We have seen in other cases someone who has a drug habit or someone who is looking for monetary gain. We don’t have that evidence in this case." 
Dookhan carried a heavy caseload at the lab, Coakley said, and at first glance appeared to be an "efficient, effective" chemist. 
"She had a caseload and was able to effectuate two or three times what other workers were doing," Coakley said, adding that Dookhan appeared to be "proud" of her work.

Read more:

Related posts

Thanks to a loyal reader for providing the related links on this developing story

Friday, September 28, 2012

Harvest Festival: Know where the good things are!

The Harvest Festival map!

See where

  • the music performances will be
  • the kids play area is located
  • the food tents are

Hoffman Farm at Farmers Market - today noon to 6:00 PM

The Farmer's Market is open today on the Town Common from noon to 6:00 PM. The Hoffman Farm is one of the local farms present. The Milford Daily News has a timely article on the growth of the Hoffman Farm here in Franklin.

"My father told me, ‘You’ll never make it,’ " Hoffmann said on Thursday morning as he strode through the 18-acre parcel off Daniels Street that he obtained in May for $100,000. 
Preparing to start his second farm, Hoffmann has spent the last nine years proving those words wrong. 
"I’ve redeemed this land from the woods," he said, standing in a field of gnarled roots and branches. "Minus the machinery, it’s exactly what the early settlers did."

Read more about the Hoffman Farm:

Franklin, MA: Farmers Market

Where in Franklin is the Town Common?

View Larger Map

Voters should ignore Question 1 on Election Day

Franklin voters should have received the November ballot information package put out by the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office. The familiar red pamphlet outlines the ballot text and background information for the three ballot questions we get to vote on November 6.

The first ballot question is one that can be skipped over.
The new law fulfills ballot Question 1’s requirement that car manufacturers make all repair codes and other diagnostic information available to independent mechanics. 
The law also gives concessions to the automobile industry by extending the deadline of a mandate that all new cars sold in the state have an onboard diagnostic and repair information system to 2018 from the ballot question’s 2015 requirement. 
The issue won a place on the ballot after advocates gathered 120,000 signatures earlier this year. By the time the Legislature passed its own version of the law, it was too late to legally remove the question from the November ballot.
Yes, timing is everything. The Legislature heard the voters and acted. Now the best thing we can do is get out to vote for everything else on the ballot and skip question 1.

Read more:

If you haven't already registered to vote, you can still do so by October 17th.
If you are going to be out of town or can't make it to Franklin High School on Nov 6, you can get an absentee ballot. Information for that is available here

In the News: 4th Congressional debate

Kennedy said his public service record shows he can fight to give people, including small business owners, better opportunities. 
"The number one issue in this district is jobs and the economy. But it’s almost bigger than that. There are people who are not getting that access to opportunity. I’ve spent my entire life fighting for people in that position [while working] in the DA’s office," he said. 
The debate, moderated by WCVB anchor Ed Harding and political reporter Janet Wu, gave Bielat and Kennedy a chance to distinguish their platforms. 
To help the economy, Bielat said he favored tax cuts over government spending because "tax relief lets families and businesses make the best decisions. Families and businesses know best. The result is you get more efficient expenditure of capital than government spending." 
On the other hand, Kennedy said the government plays an important role in giving small businesses access to capital, strengthening education, "putting Americans to work" and "removing uncertainty in the market."

Read more:

The debate reported on here is scheduled to air on Sunday at 11 a.m on The Boston Channel, WCVB, TV 5

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What's with teenagers? (video)

As parents, we either have had teenagers, or those youngsters now will soon become teenagers. Life is consistent in that it advances one day at a time. So why are the teenage years so challenging?

In this TED Talk,
"Cognitive neuroscientist Sarah-Jayne Blakemore compares the prefrontal cortex in adolescents to that of adults, to show us how typically “teenage” behavior is caused by the growing and developing brain."

"So adolescence is defined as the period of life that starts with the biological, hormonal, physical changes of puberty and ends at the age at which an individual attains a stable, independent role in society."

"So what's sometimes seen as the problem with adolescents — heightened risk-taking, poor impulse control, self-consciousness — shouldn't be stigmatized. It actually reflects changes in the brain that provide an excellent opportunity for education and social development."

In the News: lab wrongdoing, Tri-County, fall festival

Franklin chemist admits to wrongdoing at lab

MassBudget: Massachusetts Ranks 25th in Taxes

MassBudget    Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center    Democracy.
Massachusetts Ranks 25th in Taxes
State and local taxes in Massachusetts are roughly in line with the national average, according to data released today by the census bureau. Massachusetts ranks 25th among all states--meaning there are 24 states with a higher level of taxation and 25 with lower rates.

The most accurate way to compare taxation across states is to measure it as a percentage of personal income. That is, you look at the total amount of money collected through state and local taxes and then see what share that is of the total income earned in the state. When you do that for Massachusetts, you find that the level of taxation is 10.2%--below the national level of 10.6%.

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

Springfield: 1st MassDOT "Your Vision Our Future" Meeting

According to the published schedule for these meetings, it looks like the closest meeting will be in Framingham.

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Transportation by Klark Jessen on 9/26/12

MassDOT will kick off a series of statewide public meetings tomorrow, Thursday, September 27, in Springfield, engaging with residents, community leaders and business owners to discuss the future of transportation in the Commonwealth.

The meeting is scheduled as follows:
Thursday, September 27, 6-8 pm, Springfield Technical Community College One Armory Square, Building 2, Scibelli Hall Theater, Springfield

Legislation passed in August requires the Department to host at least six public meetings in advance of developing a long-term financing plan for the state's transportation system next year. To ensure that all regions of the Commonwealth are represented, MassDOT will hold 15 meetings.

Representatives from each division of MassDOT – RMV, Highway, Aeronautics and MBTA/Rail and Transit – will be available to answer questions and provide information.
An informational website is available at:

Those who are unable to attend the meetings but wish to submit comments can do so at

Things you can do from here:

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Franklin High School: Update to School Committee

While I was unable to attend the School Committee meeting on Tuesday, I want to thank Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski for sending this document along to share with you.

FHS Update 9-25-12 Final

"sighs of relief from town officials"

The constructions bids for the new Franklin High School were opened and ended up $1.1M under the estimated cost.
"The builder has an excellent reputation," said Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski. "And the price was very good, very good for the community. It’s very fulfilling." 
Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting said going with the model school program rather than repairing the town’s 41-year-old high school, which town officials initially discussed doing, was the better choice. 
"I think the numbers proved today that what we were asking the citizens to support was the right decision," Nutting said. "I think we are going to have an awesome education facility for the next 50 years or so." 
As long as the bid came in at or below the estimated budget, he said, "We were going to be happy. Now that it’s well below the estimate, that’s good for the state and good for the tax payers of Franklin."

Read more:

The collection of posts on the new high school can be found here

In the News: Harvest Festival

Zentangle demo planned at Franklin Harvest Fest

The weather outlook isn't great for Sunday. The Festival will be held rain or shine so let's all hope and pray for some sunshine!

Additional information on the Harvest Festival can be found on the Downtown Partnership webpage


The Franklin High School Soccer Boosters are holding their annual FIVE GUYS Fundraiser

Thursday, October 4th, from 5:00PM - 10:00PM at the FIVE GUYS Restaurant in Franklin Village.

A portion of the receipts for the evening will be graciously donated by FIVE GUYS to the FHS Soccer Boosters organization, which supports the Franklin High School Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Freshman Boys and Girls Soccer Teams.

Please come out this Thursday night to enjoy a great meal at Five Guys and support the Franklin High School Soccer Teams at the same time!

Thank you in advance; your support is greatly appreciated.

Franklin Newcomers and Friends - Oct 3rd

New to town or just looking for something new? Kids? No kids? Wanting to meet new people?

Wednesday, October 3rd, 7:30pm, Union Street Grill, 371 Union Street, Franklin MA

We are NOT just for Newcomers!

The Franklin Newcomers & Friends Club is a social and charitable organization for residents of Franklin, Massachusetts. We like to have fun, learn new things, and give back to the community through fundraisers and volunteer opportunities. We meet monthly from September through May, often with a themed event (speakers, lively programs), and provide other activities throughout the month to facilitate friendship and fellowship. The Franklin Newcomers also host an annual Craft Fair every year in November, which has become a tradition in town.

Please join us for our next monthly meeting on October 3rd at 7:30pm, Union St Grill, 371 Union Street, Franklin, to learn more about the Club. We will be having a cupcake decorating demonstration by one of our members! You can also sample some appetizers. Cash bar available. Bring a friend! We look forward to meeting you for a great night!

For additional information on the Franklin Newcomers and Friends Club visit their webpage

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dean College presentation to Town Council

Dean College's presentation document used last Wednesday evening at the Town Council meeting is now available for your review.

You can view the presentation via the on-demand webcast here (Dean starts about 20 minutes into the meeting)

Ski Club Registration opens

Though the last leaves have not yet fallen from the trees, the Hockomock Area YMCA is already thinking snow! Registration for their annual Ski Club program will begin on Monday, October 15th and will continue through Friday, November 16th. This popular activity is open to teens ages 12-17.

The Ski Club program will begin on Sunday, January 6th. The group will meet for six Sundays in January and February and will ski the slopes of Wachusett Mountain Ski Area. This family friendly resort offers teens a variety of well-groomed trails matching their skill level. For the beginner, lessons and ski rental packages are available.

Registration for this program is limited and traditionally fills quickly. There are several ski and snowboard packages available and all include transportation to and from the mountain.

For more detailed information specific to the Ski Club program, please contact the Hockomock Area YMCA at (508) 695-7001 or (508) 528-8708. The Hockomock Area YMCA offers financial assistance to those who qualify.

About the Hockomock Area YMCA
The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities in the areas of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. At the Hockomock Area YMCA, strengthening community is its cause. Every day, the Hockomock Area YMCA works side-by-side with its neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income, or background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive.

Absolutely Fabulous Affairs - launch party!

Absolutely Fabulous Affairs brings unique and creative party planning to the area as it opens for business in Franklin

Absolutely Fabulous Affairs, a full-service event planning company, opened its doors for business in September. Their launch party will be hosted at 7:00 PM on September 29th at their Franklin, Mass. location.

Absolutely Fabulous Affairs offers everything you need for an absolutely fabulous party or event. Whether it be help with portions of the event or creating a party from the ground up, they work with clients to make visions come to life and craft a unique and memorable experience.

One of their specialties is creating displays called "interactive party stations," which are designed to engage guests and provide a unique and fun way to serve food, drinks or dessert at an event. These can include a Sweet Table, with assorted candies and confections, a Make-Your-Own Mojito Bar, a Popcorn Bar, or an Ice Cream Bar, for example. "You can create an interactive party station to add another dimension to any event and the possibilities are endless," said owner Sandi Verhaegen.

She has created parties for children, teens, and adults, bridal and baby showers, office parties, and holiday parties. A few examples include a glow party, a mad scientists party, magical fairy party, Harvard Medical School reunion luncheon, wine and beer tasting parties and a gender-reveal baby shower. "If you can dream it, I can do it," is her philosophy.

Why hire an event planner? "We give you access to our creativity. Understanding the time and cost it takes to source the bits and pieces to complete the theme, Absolutely Fabulous Affairs provides the ease, affordability and convenience to make your vision come alive," said Verhaegen.

They have a storeroom full of amazing decorations, props and party ware that will add to your event without you having to purchase them. At the end, hiring an event planner can be more cost effective than planning it on your own.

Absolutely Fabulous Affairs will also open an online shop in early November. This shop will carry everything you need to host party, from the traditional to the most trend setting party gear. The shop will be found on the company website:

Early in her career Verhaegen worked for a marketing agency in California and managed promotional events for corporations such as Cartoon Network, Levi's, and 7-Eleven. Now she enjoys creating personalized, smaller scale special occasions for people and businesses.

"I always liked to do parties for my friends and family," she recalls. "I would go all out. People would comment on my party and would ask me to do something for them."

"This is a result of my passion for creating simply amazing events," she added. "It is rooted in the philosophy that a party has the potential to deliver happiness and memories long after it's done, by creating special moments that last a lifetime."

Call Absolutely Fabulous Affairs today at 773-332-0718 or view their website at or Facebook page at

Taste of the Region - Tuesday - Oct. 23

Taste of the Region large flyer  

The United Regional Chamber of Commerce | 42 Union Street | Attleboro | MA | 02703

In the News: Eustis, newcomers, Trader Joe's, Destination Dog

Baker, Fattman, Lyons back Eustis for state rep

Franklin Newcomers and Friends to meet, Oct. 3

Monday, September 24, 2012

Parmenter: modulars gone, landscaping underway

The modular units at Parmenter School which were supposed to be taken down before school  started have indeed been removed. The last one left last week. The DPW is working on landscaping the area where they were once located.

Catch up on the week that was and get an outlook on the coming week with Franklin Matters Weekly

from collaborative consumption to digital ghosts

As one who does spend a lot of time online, creating and sharing information, reputation capital is a concept that I understand. I am comfortable walking in real life and sharing what I see (pictures) and hear (text from meetings) online. While it may seem to some that this is all I do, there are limits. There are whole aspects of daily life that don't go online. There is no need to put those there, they shouldn't be drivers for my reputation.

What do you do online? How much of a digital trail do you create? Are you working on your reputation?

Spend 20 minutes and listen to Rachel Botsman talk about collaborative consumption.

One phrase I really like is "digital ghosts". How to reach them in an increasingly online world is a challenge.

Tri-County restaurant open to the public

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Staff reports on 9/23/12

Gerry's Place, the Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School in-house student-run restaurant, is open for business for the 2012-2013 school year with a new menu offering everything from low-fat to low-budget meal choices.

Things you can do from here:

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - Sep 25

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.

"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 September 11, 2012 School Committee Meeting.
Payment of Bills - Mrs. McIntyre
Payroll - Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives
Correspondence:  none

2. Guests/Presentations
a. FHS School Improvement Plan; AP Update – Peter Light

3. Discussion Only Items

4. Action Items
a. I recommend adoption of the FHS School Improvement Plan as discussed.
b. I recommend acceptance of a check for $625.00 from Northeast Football Operations for the FHS.
c. I recommend acceptance of a check for $1257.00 from Lifetouch for in-house enrichment at Keller Elementary School.
d. I recommend acceptance of a check for $500.00 from Natures Edge for a banner ad at FHS in the Field House.
e. I recommend acceptance of a check for $125.59 from Target’s Take Charge of Education Program for Annie Sullivan Middle School.
f. I recommend acceptance of a check for $145.06 from Target’s Take Charge of Education Program for Remington Middle School.
g. I recommend acceptance of a check for $100.00 from Siobhan Dunham for the J. Schaeffer Theatre Arts Memorial Scholarship at FHS.
h. I recommend acceptance of a check for $555.23 from Target’s Take Charge of Education Program for FHS.
i. I recommend acceptance of a check for $242.28 from Wells Fargo Community Support Campaign (David Lee) for FHS.
j. I recommend acceptance of a check for $3000.00 from Copex, Inc. for in-house enrichment at FHS.
k. I recommend approval of the FHS trip to Washington, DC from January 19-21, 2013 to witness the swearing in of the U.S. President as detailed.
l. I recommend approval of the FHS trip to Italy from June 25-July 4, 2013 as detailed.
m. I recommend acceptance of a check for $500.00 from Keefe Ins. For a banner ad at FHS.
n. I recommend acceptance of a check for $500.00 from Doherty, Ciechanowski, Dugan & Cannon, PC for a banner ad at FHS.
o. I recommend acceptance of a check for $500.00 from Franklin Country Day Camp for a banner ad at FHS.
p. I recommend acceptance of a check for $500.00 from Ames Financial Services for a banner ad at FHS.
q. I recommend acceptance of a check for $500.00 from Real Living Realty Group for a banner ad at FHS.
r. I recommend acceptance of a check for $500.00 from All American Publishing, LLC for a banner ad at FHS.

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
Approval of the Executive Session Minutes from the August 7, 2012 meeting.
Contractual Negotiations

8. Adjourn

Franklin High School: Improvement Plan 2012-13

An excerpt from the Franklin High School - Improvement Plan for 2012-2013
Franklin High School, located in Franklin, Massachusetts, has an enrollment of 1612 students in grades 9-12 serviced by 104.5 Teachers and 17 Educational Assistants. In addition, the students are supported by 6 guidance counselors, 2 school psychologists and 3 adjustment counselors. The administration consists of 1 principal, 3 assistant principals, 1 special education administrator and 1 athletic director. 

Based on March 2012 SIMS data, the ethnic makeup of our school is: 1486-Caucasian, 13-Black/African American, 60-Asian, 4-American Indian, 3-Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 24-Hispanic or Latino. The current inclusion model has 277 members of the student body classified as special needs students. Less than 1% of the student body comes from homes where their first language is not English. In March of 2009, 52 students were provided with free/ reduced price lunches and as of June 2012, 137 Students qualified for free/reduced price lunches (62% increase over three years)

The full School Improvement Plan can be found here

This is scheduled to be part of the agenda for the School Committee meeting on Tuesday, Sep 25th

"remote participation is not widespread"

The new Open meeting Law for MA provides for remote participation for members of the board or committee that is conducting the 'open meeting'. Franklin has approved remote participation for the Town Council and School Committee. The Milford Daily News article provides a review of the communities that have allowed this kind of participation.
"It was unbelievable," Mercer recalled this week, of joining his fellow councilors via a Skype phone while traveling in China last spring for work. "It was like I was sitting in the room. I could hear the audience speak and could hear everything." 
Thanks to changes to the state Open Meeting Law that allow remote participation under certain circumstances, board members such as Mercer can join in on discussions even if they are away on business.
There are time when the remote participation works well, there are times when technology impedes the process too. There are times when you just have to be there.

I have participated in hundreds of meetings reporting on Franklin business. Many of those I could easily have watched via the broadcast. There are times when the discussion is such that it is a great thing to be there. You can ensure that your question gets asked either publicly or in the followup after the meeting.

Read more:

To review the full open meeting law, you can visit the MA Attorney General's webpage

There is a guide that is very readable on the do's and don'ts

If you think there is a violation of the open meeting law, there is a complaint process to follow

'They delivered what our community needed'

The Milford Daily News has an article on the changes in the MA school building process. The prior organization providing oversight didn't do so well. The current Massachusetts School Building Authority has created a new operation and is accomplishing much.

Tom Mercer, Chair of the Franklin School Building Committee working on the high school project has experience with the prior organization and has seen changes.
Mercer said the MSBA now has a more active role in building, which initially surprised him. 
"I will say that in the very beginning, when we started the new high school project, I wasn’t sure how happy I was with the (MSBA) being right there with its thumb over us, approving everything we did," he said. "But the more we have gotten into this project with the MSBA, I can tell you it’s just wonderful."

Read more:

What is the cost for the new Franklin High School?

What is the timeline?

What will the building look like?