Saturday, January 12, 2013

Franklin road conditions: from worst to first!

If your road is in disrepair, just how bad is it compared to the other 200 miles of roads in Franklin? While in prior years, the DPW had done their own study to develop the 'master listing' of road conditions to help determine the repair needs, the new listing was done by an outside firm. The new listing is available on the Franklin website and located here for your convenience.

This PDF version is pre-sorted in ascending order of the road condition from worst to first!

You can also find this file on the Franklin webpage here

In the News: Hamilton Storage, Ben's birthday

Tech firm opens in Franklin's Forge Park

New law requires national background check for teachers

The background check for current employees needs to be completed prior to the 2016-17 school year. This new law expands the scope of the background check to include potential criminal records outside of MA. This is likely another unfunded mandate. Allowing until 2016-17 to implement will attempt to soften the burden upon the district. Normally, the background check is done prior to hiring and with the 'normal' turnover would happen for about 30-50 folks.

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Wicked Local Franklin News RSS by Staff reports on 1/11/13

Gov. Deval Patrick has signed a bill authorizing the Department of Early Education and Care and school districts to conduct fingerprint-supported national criminal history background checks on all teachers, school employees and early education providers in the state.

Things you can do from here:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Annual Report 2012: Planning & Community Development

The Department of Planning & Community Development (DPCD) maintains a professional staff that provides the Town of Franklin with a wide array of planning services. DPCD’s mission is to plan and implement comprehensive policies and initiatives that work to fulfill the land use-related goals of the people of Franklin. We make every effort to maintain the character of the community while enhancing its economic

DPCD’s activities and services include, but are not limited to, economic development, subdivision plan, site plan and conservation plan review, historic preservation, downtown revitalization, zoning by-law and  subdivision regulation development, brownfields redevelopment, affordable housing, open space and wetlands preservation, public transportation, transit oriented development, and sustainable development including use of smart growth and low impact development concepts. The Department regularly identifies and sources funding for various community development projects and activities. DPCD balances its approach to these initiatives through long-term planning and public participation.

Department Personnel
The DPCD’s staffing reflects the diverse skills needed to complete the many activities and roles the Department participates in within the community. DPCD’s staff consists of the following:
Bryan Taberner, Director
Beth Dahlstrom, Town Planner
Nick Alfieri, Conservation Agent, and part time Planner
Kathy Celorier, Conservation Secretary, and Administrative Assistant.

DPCD saw the resignation of Planning Board  Secretaries Joyce Hottenrott and Ellen Callender; both of whom not only provided administrative support to the Planning Board but also to other DPCD personnel with the many demands of a very active office throughout FY2012.

The DPCD manages an Intern Program to assist DPCD staff and other Town departments with administrative and technical assistance. The work performed by DPCD interns is extremely important to the Department’s productivity. Since mid FY09 when the intern program began, the DPCD Intern Program’s
interns have worked hundreds of hours each year; the majority of these hours are devoted to economic development, comprehensive planning, and conservation issues.

Support of Town Boards, Commissions and Committees
DPCD personnel provide staff support to several boards, commissions and committees, including the Planning Board, Conservation Commission, Public Land Use Committee, Design Review Commission, Technical Review Committee, and the Town Council’s Economic Development Sub-committee. Well over fifty percent of the Department’s total staff hours are utilized on Planning Board and Conservation Commission related issues. In addition, Department staff frequently provides professional technical
assistance to other public entities including Town Council, Zoning Board of Appeals, Franklin Housing Trust and various ad hoc committees including the Town’s Master Plan Committee.

Site Permitting and Guidance
DPCD is not a permit granting authority; its function during the permitting process is to integrate laws, regulations and plans with the Town’s goals to ensure that the best interests of the Town and its residents are served. DPCD personnel organize and attend meetings, provide technical assistance, offer professional
opinions, and guide developers, businesses and residents through the Town’s various permitting processes.

DPCD provides support to the Conservation Commission, as provided by MGL Chapter 131, Section 40. Conservation Staff, specifically the Town’s Conservation Agent, is responsible for speaking for the Conservation Commission when they are not present (see separate Conservation Commission Report). Although not a permit authority, the Conservation Agent does have limited police powers to regulate
already approved Conservation Commission activities, stop unauthorized activities and to promote and develop the natural resources of Franklin and its wetlands, streams, brooks, ponds, lakes and watersheds. In addition, Conservation staff provides administrative support and reviews applications being presented to the Conservation Commission, as well as provides professional support to other Town Boards, Commissions and Departments.

Comprehensive Planning and Zoning 
DPCD is responsible for traditional land-use related activities including updating the Town’s plans, and amending and creating zoning bylaws. A description of zoning and land use issues worked on by DPCD during the 2012 fiscal year is summarized below.

During 2012 fiscal year DPCD worked on the rewrite of several sections of Franklin’s Zoning Bylaw; these included adding 36 parcels to the Biotechnology Uses Overlay Zoning District, rewrite of Section 185-20 Signs, and rewrite of portions of Chapter 185-45 D and E Special Permit Criteria. The three Zoning Bylaw
amendments were approved by the Town Council. All three amendments were the result of substantial effort, but the rewrite of the Town’s Sign Bylaw was an especially important accomplishment that resulted from on-going efforts over several years.

Part of this effort was the development of the following four sign districts:

  • Downtown Commercial District
  • Commercial and Business Corridor District
  • Industrial and Office Park District
  • Residential District.
The new sign bylaw created stricter requirements for signage in the downtown, and more clearly explains requirements for the Town’s Zoning Districts.

Also during FY2012, DPCD worked on drafting additional Zoning Bylaw amendments including rewrite of Chapter 185-31 Site Plan Review and Design Review, and development of a zoning bylaw related to Accessory Dwelling Units.

One of DPCD’s current major priorities is the Town of Franklin’s Master Plan Update. The Master Plan has nine elements, which are as follows: Land Use; Housing; Economic Development; Natural, Cultural and Historic Resources; Open Space and Recreation; Community Services and Facilities; Circulation; Goals and Policies; and Implementation. During the 2012 fiscal year DPCD worked with the newly formed Master Plan Committee

Planning and Implementation of Community Development and Economic Development Projects
Each year the DPCD works on many community and economic development initiatives. The department develops strategies, proposes policies, bylaw changes and Town Council resolutions, manages projects, and seeks grants in efforts to balance Franklin’s community livability and its economic viability. DPCD encourages responsible community development that meets the goals and objectives of the Town’s various planning documents, and the State’s Sustainable Development and Smart Growth Principles. Some of DPCD’s more important recently completed or ongoing projects and initiatives are summarized below.

Regional Planning
DPCD attends meetings and works on various regional planning issues with a variety of regional  organizations, including Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the Southwest Area Planning Committee, 495/MetroWest Corridor Partnership, and the I95/495 South Regional Technology Economic Target Area’s Economic Assistance Coordinating Council. In addition, the DPCD occasionally supports the initiatives of
other regional organizations including the Franklin Citizens Rail Trail Committee.

Downtown Revitalization
For several years the Town of Franklin has made revitalization of Downtown Franklin a major focus and has worked to improve the Downtown in a variety of ways. During the 2012 fiscal year DPCD worked on several projects related to implementation of the Franklin Center Plan, which was developed in 2002 and 2003 to provide Town officials with a vision and basic strategy for revitalization of Downtown Franklin.
The revitalization of Downtown Franklin must be carefully planned to ensure that improvements positively impact the entire community. During FY2012 the Town completed improvements associated with a $1 million Massachusetts Public Works Economic Development (PWED) Grant to construct roadway and sidewalk improvements in the Emmons Street, Dean Avenue, Depot Street, and Ray Street area, as well as reconstruction of the Town’s Depot Street parking lot. These improvements are a component of the
Downtown Roadway and Streetscape Improvement Project. The Town has also been awarded a $5 million Federal Highway High Priority Project (HPP) Grant for this important project.

The Downtown Roadway and Streetscape Improvement Project is an integral part of the Town’s strategy for Downtown revitalization. The improvement project includes improvements to the traffic pattern of Route 140 in the Downtown Franklin area, installation of interconnected traffic signals with emergency
preemption system, period lighting, traffic calming devices, resetting curbs where needed, ADA compliant sidewalks, resurfacing of streets, and landscape improvements and street furniture.

The Project represents a substantial public investment in the downtown’s future and economic viability, and is expected to spur on private investment. The Downtown Roadway and Streetscape Improvement Project is a main DPCD priority requiring a substantial amount of Department resources for consultant oversight,
managing public outreach, contract management, and grant management activities.

Tax Title Properties
As in past years, DPCD again worked with other Departments assessing the Town’s Tax Title Properties. Each year recommendations are developed for a number of these properties, and DPCD submits the work to the Town Administrator and Town Council for consideration.

Economic Development
DPCD works regularly on a wide range of economic development projects and programs, and is one of DPCD’s top priorities, second only to providing excellent administrative and technical assistance to the Town’s boards, commissions and committees. Potential benefits to the Town from successful implementation of DPCD’s Business Retainage and Attraction Initiatives are significant. These efforts focus on increasing the value of Franklin’s commercial and industrial tax base, filling the Town’s empty and underutilized industrially zoned buildings, and attracting the right mix of companies to the community. Below is a brief summary of the Town’s recently completed and ongoing business retention and attraction initiatives.

In partnership with MassDevelopment and theMassachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD), DPCD developed and manages the MassDevelopment – MOBD - Town ofFranklin Business Visitation Program to make local research and development andmanufacturing companies in Franklin aware of
State technical assistance programs and financial resources that can be made available to further their development, and to raise awareness of DPCD as a resource for Franklinbased businesses. In addition, DPCD works regularly with MOBD, MassDevelopment, and other agencies as required in efforts to attract
the right mix of companies to Franklin’s industrial and commercial areas.

As part of DPCD’s efforts to market the Town of Franklin, DPCD staff develop press releases and various economic development advertisements for industry periodicals, and continuously update the Town’s  economic development marketing brochures.

Redevelopment of town-owned properties is a regular activity of DPCD, and continues to be a high priority. During 2012 DPCD continued to work with other Town staff and a consultant to move forward  redevelopment of the Town’s “Nu-Style” Property. The Nu-Style Property at 87 Grove Street consists of two parcels totaling 1.2 acres with two vacant former manufacturing buildings. The property is contaminated with a variety of hazardous materials. Demolition of the main Nu-Style building and remediation of the property is required in order for a developer or other entity to be interested in obtaining the property.

Preparing the site for redevelopment is expensive, and DPCD has sought funding from a variety of sources.
Late in 2010 the Town received notice it had been awarded a $200,000 EPA Brownfields Cleanup Grant. The Federal grant is being used for demolition of the main building, and partial remediation of soils. Since then DPCD staff has worked with the EPA and Franklin’s Purchasing Agent on contract and procurement related activities. The project required substantial DPCD resources during the 2012 fiscal year.

Project management activities related to the $200,000 EPA Brownfields remediation grant include consultant oversight, project management, and grant management including substantial grant reporting requirements. Much progress was made during FY012; two contracts were awarded, one to an engineering firm for remediation design and construction management services, and another to a general contractor. During the fourth quarter of FY2012 the former Nu-Style facility was demolished; the project is expected to be completed during the first half of FY2013.

Franklin is part of the I-495/95 South Regional Technology Economic Target Area, and as such can offer businesses looking to start up or expand in Franklin one of the most attractive incentives a Massachusetts community can offer a business, a Tax Increment Finance Agreement. The Town of Franklin supports the
use of this local tax credit for a wide range of development projects, including projects that create a significant number of livable wage jobs for Franklin residents, support innovative technology, and result in redevelopment of empty or underutilized industrially zoned properties, or development of new facilities.

Once a business negotiates a tax increment finance agreement with the Town of Franklin it may qualify for a state investment tax credit for qualifying tangible/depreciable assets, as well as other significant tax incentives. In order for a business or property owner to qualify for a tax increment finance agreement the specific parcels must be within an established Economic Opportunity Area. In recent years the DPCD worked towards creation of six multiparcel economic opportunity areas, which consist of 100 parcels on over 945 acres.

During FY 2011 and 2012 DPCD worked with National Development and Hamilton Storage Technologies of Hopkinton in order to site a new facility at 3 Forge Park within the Forge Park Economic Opportunity Area. Hamilton Storage Technologies plans to site at 3 Forge Parkway a new 51,000 square foot high tech devices manufacturing facility, which includes its U.S. headquarters.

During June 2011 the Town received a letter from Hamilton Storage Technologies informing the Town of their intent to enter into negotiations for a tax increment finance agreement. During FY2012 DPCD guided the company through the complicated “Certification” process required by the State, including providing assistance in completing the Certified Project application. The Town Council approved a ten-year tax increment finance agreement, which was approved by the state. Construction of Hamilton Storage Technologies’ new facility at 3 Forge Park is well underway and will be completed in FY2013.

Workforce Development was a priority for DPCD during FY2012. DPCD planned and implemented the Town’s 2012 Economic Development Summit, which was held on April 5, 2012 at Tegra Medical at 9 Forge Parkway. The main purpose of the event was to inform Franklin’s businesses that there are workforce
training resources available to assist them, and to build partnerships with state Agencies and educational resources. The event was well attended, and included involvement of property owners, business owners and managers, State and local officials, commercial property realtors and a substantial number of Workforce
Development professionals.

Outlined above are several types of community and economic development strategies, initiatives and implementation efforts. However, all of these DPCD projects relate to two fairly simple but extremely important community and economic development principles: 1.) Economic viability and community livability are equally important parallel goals; and 2.) Strive to create a community where entrepreneurs will want to
settle and raise their families. Franklin is already that community, and DPCD will continue to plan and implement initiatives to make it better. DPCD will continue to undertake a wide range of community and economic development projects, programs, and planning initiatives that will keep the Town’s goals and objectives current and representative of Franklin’s needs and desires.

DPCD is proud of its accomplishments and welcomes public input on all of its efforts to improve the quality of life for the residents of Franklin.

Respectfully submitted,

Department of Planning and Community Development Staff.

Note: As mentioned earlier in this series, the report is prepared by each department as FY 2012 closes and is published by the Town Clerk in November 2012. Nick Alferi, listed as the Conservation Agent passed away in July of 2012.

Additional information on the Planning and Community Development activities can be found on their webpage

Published by the Town Clerk, this comes from the 2012 Annual Report

Public Forum: Core Values, Beliefs about Learning

Franklin Business Communities,

Greetings! We hope the New Year finds you well. As you are aware, construction is under way for the new Franklin High School. As part of our continuing effort to ensure our curriculum and instruction is relevant to the community’s needs in the 21st Century, and as part of our ongoing accreditation, we would like to engage you in helping us develop the Core Values and Beliefs About Learning that will drive decisions about the Culture, Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment of the school.

Towards this end, we are hosting a public forum for Franklin business leaders on January 23, 2013 from 8:00-10:00 a.m. in the high school technology center. This is an important and valuable effort that will benefit both current and future students, families, and the greater Franklin community. We are looking forward to your participation and sincerely hope you can join us. No RSVP is necessary. Please feel free to share this invitation with your neighbors who are equally vested in the continued excellence of the Franklin Public Schools.

Peter Light Maureen Sabolinski
Principal Superintendent of Schools

Franklin High School
218 Oak Street
Franklin, MA 02038

You can also view the invitation document here

Update: Hamilton Storage Technologies

As mentioned in the Planning and Community Development section of the Annual Report, Hamilton Storage Techologies was one of the Tax Increment Financing Agreements.
Hamilton Storage Technologies has opened a new Franklin, Mass. facility to accommodate growing business for its automated sample management and storage systems. The facility will serve as the Sample Management division's headquarters and the East Coast competence center for Hamilton Company, a global leader in the design and manufacture of liquid handling, process measurement, robotics, and storage solutions.

Read more about the new facility here

Related posts:

MassBudget: Budget Preview. FY14 deficit = $1.2 billion

MassBudget    Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center    Democracy.
FY14 Budget Preview
On January 23rd, the Governor is expected to submit his budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2014, detailing how we fund our schools, maintain our roads and transit systems, keep our communities safe, manage health care spending, and fill our budget deficit.

Once again in FY 2014, Massachusetts will face a significant budget deficit. $1.2 billion is the conservative estimate we develop in our new "Budget Preview."

There are two basic reasons that Massachusetts continues to face persistent deficits.

  • The weak national economy, which has lowered state revenues even as it has increased the number of people relying on core safety net services

  • The income tax cuts of the late 1990s, which continue to cost the state over $2.5 billion per year

To accompany our Budget Preview, MassBudget is also releasing a new factsheet on "Income Tax Cuts and the Budget Deficit in Massachusetts." It describes the long-term cost of the income tax cuts enacted between 1998 and 2003 as well as other changes that have reduced state tax revenues and lead to significant program cuts.


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: Shaw's, new album, isolation

New owners may not hold onto Shaw's for long

The Shaw’s Supermarkets and Star Market chains will soon have a deep-pocketed New York investment group as their new owners, but the challenges faced by traditional grocery chains will remain.

Franklin country singer release new album at The Estate in Boston

Singer-songwriter Christie Leigh will release her new album, "Deep Down Damned,'' Friday, Jan. 11, at The Estate club in Boston.

Johnston: Isolation in 21st century America

There are many splendid new domestic subdivisions in the towns around the Greater Milford area, featuring large new beautiful homes surrounded by well-manicured grounds. Some of these homes are eight-room houses while others are easily more than twice as large. My town of Franklin has seen the construction of many new developments consisting of very large homes. I have taken more than a few older residents on tours of the town so that they could see exactly how the community had grown over the last 50 years.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Parmenter School Tour

Friendly reminder, the Parmenter School Tour begins Thursday night at 6:00 PM.

The sign was still frosty as I took this photo early in the morning. The sun had not yet risen to warm the sign and make it easier to read.

Franklin accomplishments in 2012

December 26,2012

To: Town Council
From: Jeff Nutting

Subject: Town Council's Mission - to improve the quality of life for our citizens

As I think back on 2012 the Town Council should be extremely proud of your accomplishments. In spite of a difficult economy your leadership continued to bring improvements to our community. Here is a list of some
items that you made a reality. It is a pleasure to work for a committed group of volunteers that always consider the greater good of the town.

Thanks for your leadership and Happy New Year

New High School
Delcarte Dam project underway
No layoffs for FY 13
Approved 8 of 9 collective bargaining agreements
Established Master Plan Committee
Established Citizens Committee
Adopted Updated Sign Bylaws
Adopted Bio Tech Overlay Zoning
Authorized refunding old bonds - savings tax dollars
Signed an agreement with the Franklin Cable Access Corp
Updated several Town By laws
Rezoned King and Rte 495 from residential to business
Water main replacement with new roads to follow
Improved the Town Common
Started stabilization accounts for senior center, fire truck and turf fields
Authorized a Home Rule Petition for Regional Dispatch
Received Library waiver
Funded sidewalk on Panther Way
Transferred land off Beaver Court to the Affordable Housing Trust
Funded new park at old town pool
Funded demo of old DPW building and construction of new one
NU style demo project started
Accepted laws to defer water and sewer charges for those in need
Accepted law to allow for Veterans workout program
Approved Solar Deal on Nuns property
Establish Operating Stabilization Fund

Copy provided by Jeff Nutting. Let me add my own thanks to Jeff for his good work assisting the Town Council on their accomplishments!

Town Council - 01/09/13

The collection of posts reported live from the Town Council meeting on Wednesday, Jan 9 can be found below. The major highlights of the meeting were as follows:

  • The creation of a bylaw to allow medical marijuana zoning is going to the Economic Development Committee before coming back to the Council and the Planning Board process.
  • The bylaws clarifying the process of whether you need a full site plan or limited site plan when considering modifications moved on to the second reading. The Planning Board had already approved of the changes. There was some misunderstanding of terminology that eventually was worked out in a special workshop to review the changes and how they would be implemented.
  • The addition of a license fee for a hotel to add a liquor license was approved for a second reading.

Voices of Franklin: Boston Globe Headline Misleads Public in Dookhan Case

The Boston Globe published an article on January 9th titled Ex-chemist's Husband Warned She Was a Liar.

What is the factual basis for such a defamatory headline?

Let us examine closely.

Notice the missing words "government claims" or "allegedly" in the headline. For it is well-established that a large percentage of news consumers will scan headlines quickly to get the gist of a given day's news. And the Boston Globe surely knows this.

More importantly, notice the glaring error within the article itself.

Globe reporter Adrian Ballou states, incorrectly, that Surren Dookhan "has not spoken publicly" about his wife's legal problems.

In fact, Mr. Dookhan has spoken publicly. On August 30th he told Fox 25 that he and his wife maintain her innocence and that they fear she is being scapegoated:
So, rather than relying on an easily searchable first-hand public statement by Mr Dookhan about his wife's situation, the Boston Globe is relying instead on third-hand hearsay provided by Annie Dookhan's accusers.

To demonstrate the corrupting effect of Ballou's reporting error, on the same morning's Fox 25 edition of "Let It Rip," several anchor-pundits were discussing Ballou's article and puzzled hard over why Mr. Dookhan would be sticking by his wife even after telling a prosecutor that she is a chronic liar. It never occurred to any of the Fox 25 newscasters that perhaps the reason why Mr Dookhan is sticking by his wife is because of what he had previously told their very own news station: he believes she is being scapegoated!

Now let's dig a bit deeper. What, exactly, is the source of the information being relied upon by the Globe in reporting Mr. Dookhan's opinion of his wife? Answer: a purported interview that was allegedly given to Dookhan's accusers by a former assistant DA, one George Papachristos, who resigned his position in October despite his insistence -- and the insistence of all his superiors up the entire chain -- that he had done nothing wrong.

Papachristos reportedly claimed that the reason for his October resignation had been merely that he did not want to be a distraction to the investigation. Sorry, George; the distraction horse left the barn the moment the Boston Globe printed your name three months ago, as evidenced now by its being trotted out again and again in the Globe's ongoing conviction of Ms Dookhan in the court of public opinion. Question: Who of any integrity resigns from a career that he reportedly cherished despite having done nothing wrong? And what boss accepts such a resignation? Surely any reasonable observer can see that such a resignation might, itself, raise more than a few eyebrows.

So here we have yet another biased headline about "rogue chemist" Annie Dookhan which relies on the testimony of a demonstrably questionable witness who "believes" that a few texts sent to his cell phone in 2009 "appeared" to have been sent by Mr. Dookhan, all while ignoring a first-hand public statement by Mr. Dookhan himself.

But here's where things get interesting. Another former assistant DA publicly scolded the Globe in October for portraying Papachristos's and Dookhan's purported friendship as inappropriate. Former Norfolk County Deputy District Attorney Matt Connolly wrote in his blog on October 18th:

"There is not one scintilla of evidence that Papachristos did anything wrong that I have seen. I don't know where the Globe gets off labeling his activities as 'unauthorized.' I wonder, unauthorized by whom? It would be nice if the Globe was more specific."
"There is nothing wrong with a prosecutor being friendly or having a relationship with a witness. It is quite common for prosecutors to socialize with witnesses who will testify... It is the nature of the job to develop these friendships..."

Okay, so, according to expert witness Connolly, such relationships are not only routine but essential, provided of course that no inappropriate favors are being exchanged between prosecutor and witness. Thus, in light of Connolly's informed insights, it appears that the state is trying to have it both ways with Papachristos: By absolving him of any wrongdoing on one hand while accepting his resignation on the other, prosecutors, politicians and the media can simultaneously perpetuate the public myth that Dookhan somehow behaved unethically with Papachristos while also shielding him from any legal liability of his own. Heads, the state wins; tails, Annie Dookhan loses.

The Boston Globe's pattern of wheeling out Papachristos's "unauthorized" friendship with Dookhan, rather than highlighting and questioning the uber-convenience of the state's two-faced handling of his weird resignation, frankly smacks of an agenda. Particularly given the timing of Ballou's erroneous story, dropping coincidentally on the same day that Dookhan was to be arraigned for obstruction of justice in two additional counties.

Sadly, it is becoming clearer every day that justice is indeed being obstructed in this case. And the media's flagrant bias and sloppy reportage is a major part of it.

Bottom line: we can either base our understanding of Mr Dookhan's opinion of his wife on his obvious devotion to her and by taking him at his word. Or we can rely on demonstrably false and shamelessly unfair media coverage that relies exclusively on the state's made-for-TV propaganda and the third-hand account of a dubious character whose own behavior raises serious questions.

Rich Aucoin

Franklin's Dookhan pleads not guilty to five counts of obstruction of justice

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via The Milford Daily News News RSS by Matt Tota/Daily News staff on 1/9/13

153714 MA_MD_dookhan03.jpg
The former chemist accused of tampering with drug evidence at a Massachusetts crime lab, sparking one of the largest state scandals in recent memory, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to obstruction of justice charges inside two separate superior courtrooms.


Things you can do from here:

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Live reporting - closing

meeting about speeding on King St creating a concern at Parmenter
coming back with a proposal sometime

Governor's numbers due in about 3 weeks,
OPEB obligation is a concern

the goal to get through FY 14 is to not lose any jobs
health insurance will be going up
$48M backlog in roads
will give a monthly report on what's going on with the budget

Calendar year 12, despite a challenging year, much was accomplished
8-9 have collective bargaining agreements (Firefighters)
refunding of old bonds
updating bylaws
Town Common looks a lot better
continue to update roads
regional dispatch underway
getting close on the Nu-Style after 34 years
did the solar deal, established an operating stabilization account

on the school issue, we see an issue in the morning from 7 - 9 for the school year, half the year
looking at signage as a solution
don't see speed bumps on public ways, downtown's yes


Dellorco requesting a presentation on DPW for snow removal

Mercer - quick update on the high school project, foundations and footings being poured possibly erecting first steel end of Jan

Powderly - looking at the traffic issues, a note of appreciation, you do a great job of keeping us on point

Pfeffer - Shire Book Shop - congrats to them for being one of 5 in New England

Bissanti - thanks to the Planning Board and Planning Dept, these workshops are great, I saw the exemptions and I saw the clarity, it is good

Roy - congrats to the Council when you look at the annual report, there is a whole lot accomplished

Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required

motion to adjourn, passed 9-0

Live reporting - Legislation


1. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 12-695:Changes to § 185-31. Site Plan and Design Review- Remove from table - 1st Reading
2. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 12-696:Changes to § 185-20. H. Signs. Sign Approvals Remove from table - 1st Reading
3. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 12-697:Changes to § 185-45. N. Administration and Enforcement. Design Review Commission Remove from table - 1 st Reading

motion to remove these three bylaws, passed 9-0

Motion to amend bylaw,

Pfeffer speaks to a better understanding of the language and difference between that used by the Planning Dept and the common folk. The bylaw as amended is better now; not perfect but far better. Meeting held as requested during last Council session with Town Administrator, Planning, etc.

motion to amend to add 'exterior' in three places
passed 9-0

Q - why the selection of 600 sq ft?
Jeff takes first pass on this. What is the amount of area that makes sense to do diminimis, but not to allow to double the size of it without going through the whole process. So what is the nature of a small change? No secret to allowing an addition of 400 ft also requires another parking spot, hence also 200 ft for the total of 600

Q - scenario C, looking for clarification on
A - they have an existing site plan, not creating additional parking, not resulting in an increase in impervious surface, not resulting in a change of use, not resulting in a zoning board of appeals exception, hence a limited site plans

Roy thanks for the clarifcation, this is better

Bissanti - think the workshop was great, I am support of this

motion to move Zoning Bylaw Amendment 12-695 to second reading as amended

motion to move Zoning Bylaw Amendment 12-696 to second reading, passed 9-0
motion to move Zoning Bylaw Amendment 12-697 to second reading, passed 9-0

4. Bylaw Amendment 13-699:Amendment of Service Fee Rates: Administration- 1st Reading
Nutting - hotel would like to apply for an inholders license, we currently don't have a rate for it
there is not a down side for a license for an established business here in Franklin

What happens when everybody else comes in?
What is the downside? They still have to meet the standard, hotel taxes are huge for us.

The in-room license that currently exists came in from somewhere, sometime, no one has it

motion to move to second reading, passed 9-0

Live reporting - medical marijuana zoning


Change of Manager – T.D. Beverage Inc.
motion to approve, seconded, passed 9-0

Medical Marijuana Zoning

a number of permits are required to be allowed per county
we are part of Norfolk County which stretches quite a distance
proposing to put it into the Industrial park area, would avoid locations near schools
some communities are looking to put it into their hospital zone

Mark Cerel recommends a new use line rather than putting it into another district

there are two considerations; one the use table, and two the zoned location

Q - We don't have anyone asking for this yet?
A - there have been requests in other towns

Q - put it into an overlay district?
A - Yes, it would make sense to do so

Cerel there are some towns considering what Jeff has mentioned, there are towns saying no, period
There is authority to grow there, not just distribution
Out in Colorado, they are doing this in huge facilities

Powderly - we need to respect the will of the voters, so many open questions, keeps the safety of the residence in mind. What are you proposing to do with this in the Economic Development? I would like to see something sooner than later

Nutting - meeting being put together on the 22nd, would give another sounding board before coming to the Council. I don't see it slowing down the process. We could come to the Council in Feb

Cerel - Wakefield and Reading did go down the no path, the Attorney General needs to weigh in

Live reporting - Town Council - Jan 9, 2013

Present: Mercer, Dellorco, Kelly, Powderly, Vallee, Pfeffer, Jones, Bissanti, Roy
Absent: none

October 17, 2012
motion to accept, seconded, passed 9-0

This meeting is being recorded by Franklin TV and shown on Comcast channel 11 and Verizon channel 29.This meeting may be recorded by Franklin Matters.



Library Board of Directors - Sandra Brandfonbrener
motion to appoint, seconded, passed 9-0

Annual Report 2012: Council on Aging

The mission of the Franklin Senior Center is to enhance the independence and quality of life for Franklin’s older adults by:

  • Identifying the needs of this population and creating programs that meet those needs.
  • Offering the knowledge, tools and opportunities to promote mental, social and physical well-being.
  • Advocating for relevant programs and services in our community.
  • Serving as a community focal point for aging issues and as liaison to local, state and Federal resources for older adults and their families.

The Center is located at 10 Daniel McCahill Street and is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The Center provides programs, services and activities along with outreach, information and referral to serve the needs of older adults and disabled individuals.

Senior Center: Back patio
On a warmer day, the patio in the back of the Senior Center

The Senior Center offers health screening and wellness, nutrition, social service coordination, socialization, recreation, educational programs, a supportive day program, recreational transportation and volunteer opportunities.

Our staff includes 2 full-time employees and 8 part-time employees. Four of these positions (2 full-time and 2 part-time) are funded by the town of Franklin. Our Health & Wellness Nurse and Supportive Day Program Aide are funded through grants, and our Grill Cook is funded through a generous donation from the Friends of Franklin Elders. Our two Supportive Day Program Coordinators and Bus Driver are funded with
program fees.

The Council on Aging’s Strategic Planning subcommittee completed a strategic plan to address the needs of Franklin’s elderly community over the next 10 years. The Council’s by-laws were also reviewed and

We launched a new Fall Prevention Initiative which included individualized Gait Assessments and Fall Risk Assessments to determine if elders are at risk for falling, along with a new evidence-based program entitled Strong for Life, using resistance band exercises, and the Matter of Balance evidence-based program. We also distributed Fall Prevention packets in an effort to educate elders about fall risks. This program
was funded by the Metrowest Health Care Foundation and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs.

The Center hosted two Franklin High students in a new internship program which placed each student with us for 70 hours. The program was so successful that the students donated twice that amount of time. With their assistance, we offered several new programs including: a Digital Photography Class, Video Oral History
interviews, and presentations on Social Media for Seniors and Cell Phone Savvy. All of these programs were extremely well received.

We also offered several new programs and activities this year including: Meditation Classes, Chair Yoga, Chair Volleyball, Senior Striders Walking Club, Depression Screening, the Silvertones Chorale Group, and the Yellow Dot Program. A second painting class was added to our schedule due to popular demand.

Our Wellness Nurse is supported through grants from the Metrowest Health Care Foundation and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs. She provides weekly health screening of blood pressure, bi-weekly blood sugar testing, ongoing health education, home visits, and a monthly

As noted above, we offered several new innovations to prevent dangerous falls which can lead to serious injury or fatality for older adults. We enhanced our Safe & Secure at Home program by offering Gait Assessments, new evidence-based trainings and in-home evaluations of senior’s home environments to
determine if the risk for dangerous falls can be addressed. Based on this evaluation, installation of grab bars and adaptive devices are provided.

Our nurse provided 103 Fall Risk Assessments and 60 Gait Assessments this year which resulted in 31 referrals to Health Care Practitioners. She also offered 262 units of evidence-based training through the Matter of Balance and Strong for Life programs. Grab bars were installed in 28 households this year,
and we distributed 151 Fall Prevention Packets.

Wellness activities at the Senior Center include:  Low Vision support group, TOPS weight loss support group, a Caregivers Support Group, Podiatry Clinics and Chair Massage. The Center hosted a flu vaccine clinic and offered ten health education presentations over the course of the year.

Fitness activities offered at the Senior Center include: Chair Exercises, Zumba, Tai Chi, Yoga, Drums Alive, Meditation, Line Dancing, two walking clubs, Bocce, and Cardio,Tone & Stretch. We logged 8,391 units of fitness activities this past year.

The 2011 Senior Expo was held at the Senior Center with over 30 exhibitors, a senior fashion show, entertainment and a free luncheon. The winner of the Silver Spirit Award was Anthony Molinaro.

Outreach/Social Service Coordination
The Social Service Coordinator at the Franklin Senior Center provides assistance with housing, employment, home care services, tax abatements, long-term care placement, prescription drug programs, and many other
programs and services for elderly and disabled residents. The Coordinator can make home visits to homebound residents to assess needs and make referrals.

Several social benefit programs can be accessed to help senior and disabled residents, including Food Stamps, Fuel Assistance, Mass Health, Supplemental Security Insurance, Veteran’s benefits, and many other public benefits. Further assistance is provided such as monthly legal clinics, and the SHINE (Serving
the Health Insurance Needs of Elders) program, which provided assistance with health insurance questions and problems for 175 elders last year. Several tax preparation programs were also offered, including preparation of 120 tax returns by the AARP Tax Preparation Program and 68 returns prepared by a private volunteer who also prepared Circuit Breaker Tax Credit forms for 84 elderly residents, resulting in a total of
$73,920.00 in senior tax relief. A session providing information and assistance to seniors in obtaining real estate tax abatements was also offered.

The Council on Aging also offers a cable television show, The Senior Circle, which provides useful information on senior topics and issues of interest. COA member, Stella Jeon, hosts the show which is shown on Franklin Public Access, Channel 8.

Educational Programs
Some of this year’s educational presentations included: CPR & First Aid Training; AARP Driver Safety Program; Know the Ten Warning Signs: Early Detection Matters; Real Estate Tax Abatements; What You Need to Know About Shingles; Dealing with Dizziness, Vertigo, and Balance Problems; Circuit Breaker Tax Credit Workshop; Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefits; Are Your Medications Doing More Harm than Good?; Planning for Medicare: Countdown to 65; Taking Control of Your Future: A Legal Checkup; Adventures in Peru Travelogue; The U.S. Constitution; Learning to Use Social Media, Cell Phone Savvy; The Roads Scholar Class; The Five Wishes Advance Directive, and The Health Benefits of Walking.

Other educational opportunities included: a Digital Photography Class and painting classes. Peer led groups include: woodcarving, knitting and quilting classes, computer instruction, Italian Conversation classes, cribbage classes, a Brain Gamers group, and book and current events discussion groups.

Social and recreational opportunities are also offered at the Center, including cards, games, movies, parties, crafts, bingo, trips, and fitness activities.

The Common Grounds Café offers senior citizens a delicious, healthy, and affordable breakfast and luncheon in a welcoming environment. The Café provides a great social venue for Franklin’s seniors. In FY’12, we
served 17,894 meals at the Common Grounds Café. In addition, our monthly theme parties offer an opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones while enjoying a delicious meal and great entertainment.

Supportive Day Program
The Supportive Day Program at the Senior Center, The Sunshine Club, offers a safe, structured and stimulating environment for frail elders, or those with mild to moderate dementia. This program has an overwhelmingly positive effect on the quality of life for participants who enjoy fun activities, socialization and gentle exercise.

Through this day program caregivers, many of them elderly, obtain respite from the strain of caregiving. Caring for a loved one is a stressful job that takes an enormous toll on caregivers; therefore, we also offer a Caregiver Support Group to help provide support and education for those in this critical role.

Handicapped accessible transportation is available to Franklin’s elderly and disabled residents through GATRA, the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority. Dial-A-Ride service is available to Franklin senior residents within Franklin or out-of-town within a 15 mile radius. GATRA also offers a fixed
route bus through town and transportation for medical appointments to Boston and other destinations. GATRA transportation can be scheduled by calling 800-698-7676.

The Council on Aging works closely with GATRA to assure optimal access to, and quality of, both
Dial-A-Ride and the fixed route bus services for senior and disabled riders.

TRIAD is a partnership of the Council on Aging, the Franklin Police Department and the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office. Its goal is to enhance senior safety and improve awareness of scams and fraudulent schemes to reduce the instances of elderly victimization.

This year TRIAD launched the Yellow Dot Program, a free program that provides a sticker for an elder’s vehicle’s rear windshield, directing first responders at a crash site to the driver’s medical information in the glove compartment. TRIAD also offers the Project Lifesaver program to aid individuals who may wander off
due to dementia. The program provides subscribers with a wrist bracelet with a radio transmitter. Should the subscriber wander, the caregiver notifies the police and a search and rescue team is deployed with a mobile radio receiver to track the signal.

TRIAD manages the “Are You Okay?” telephone reassurance program for Franklin’s senior and disabled residents. This program provides a daily telephone call to assure subscribers’ safety. The Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office makes daily calls, and if the subscriber doesn’t answer the call, a well-being check is
carried out to assure that the subscriber is safe.

Friends of Franklin Elders
The Friends of Franklin Elders, Inc. (FOFE), is a private, non-profit organization, which was founded to assist the Franklin Senior Center with funding. The Friends supplement town funding for the Senior Center by providing funds for programs, services, and equipment for the Franklin Senior Center. The Friends of Franklin Elders’ annual membership drive supports programs, services and activities at the Senior Center.

This year, the Friends offered crucial support by funding our Café’s Grill Cook, providing $9,800.00 to fund this position. This position is an essential component in offering healthy, affordable meals at the Center’s Common Grounds Café.

In addition, the Friends fund events such as our annual Veterans Breakfast and our Volunteer Recognition Luncheon, and they fund the entertainment at each of our monthly social events. They also funded the purchase of grab bars for our Safe & Secure at Home program and tee shirts for our volleyball team. This year, the Friends of Franklin Elders also took over publishing our newsletter, The Franklin Connection.

Busy Bees
The Busy Bees Crafts Group meets twice weekly to create crafts and hand-made items to sell at their annual Holiday Bazaar and other local events. The Busy Bees then donate funds to support the Senior Center by purchasing equipment and contributions to various events.

The group also donates hand-made gift items to our gift shop and makes gifts for the guests at our Nonagenarian Tea Party.

Newsletter & Website
The Franklin Connection, the Senior Center’s monthly newsletter, contains news about upcoming activities and events, along with relevant information on social benefit programs. The Franklin Connection is mailed free of charge to Franklin’s elderly residents. To obtain a subscription, senior residents can call the
Senior Center and provide an address. The newsletter is also available on-line at:

Postage for this is provided with a grant from the Executive Office of Elder Affairs and a donation from the Friends of Franklin Elders. The Center’s website also contains useful and topical information of interest to senior citizens and disabled residents.

Tax Work-Off Program
Franklin offers a Tax Work-Off Program for senior homeowners aged 60 and over. By working in various town departments at minimum wage, seniors can take a credit of up to $800.00 off their real estate taxes. This program provides important tax relief to senior citizens, while supplying the town with dependable, skilled workers. Last year, 86 participants worked for a total of 7,517 hours at a total cost of $60,134.00. Senior workers were placed in the Library, Treasurer/Collector’s office, the Recreation Department, the DPW, the Assessors’ office, the Building/Inspection office, the Senior Center and several schools.

Grants and Community Support
For FY’12, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs provided a grant of $27,494.00. We also received $13,373.00 from the MetroWest Community Health Care Foundation to fund our Health & Wellness Nurse whom we shared with the Medway Council on Aging. Funding was also provided by organizations such as the Franklin Cultural Council, the Friends of Franklin Elders, and the Busy Bees, to support Senior Center programs, services and activities.

The Random Smiles Project was presented with a Community Service Award by the Franklin Council on Aging at our Volunteer Recognition Luncheon in April. The Random Smiles Project provides substantial support to elderly and disabled households.

The Franklin Council on Aging works closely with the Franklin Police Department to enhance the safety and well-being of Franklin’s older adults. The Franklin Police Patrolmen’s Association officers offer a holiday luncheon at the Senior Center every year, along with educational presentations and Bingo parties.
The Franklin Patrolman’s Association sponsors a holiday luncheon at the Senior Center.

The Hockomock YMCA furnishes instructors for several of our fitness classes including: Yoga, Tai Chi, Zumba, an Aerobics class, and the new Drums Alive class. The “Y” also provides training on our fitness equipment by sending an instructor to the Center to offer classes on the proper use of this equipment.

The Council on Aging is deeply grateful to the community organizations and local businesses which have supported the Senior Center over the past year. This generosity enhances our ability to meet the growing needs of senior and disabled residents.

Our volunteers are acknowledged for their dedication and generosity at our annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon. This year, the luncheon and entertainment were generously funded by the Friends of Franklin Elders. This year, 130 volunteers at the Senior Center donated 11,234 hours of service to the Town.
This contribution by volunteers would be worth a total of $89,872.00 in paid wages if workers received the minimum wage.

Our volunteers are essential to the operation of the Senior Center. Without their selfless dedication, we could not offer the many programs, services and activities we currently enjoy. The Council on Aging is profoundly
grateful to our volunteers for their gift of time.

Intergenerational Activities
Intergenerational activities are always embraced at the Senior Center. This year we had numerous activities with students from several different schools. Eighth grade students from the Horace Mann middle school came to the Center to demonstrate their inventions to help older folks hold a pencil. National Honor Society students at Franklin High School hosted their annual Spring Fling for seniors with a free luncheon,
entertainment by talented students, and generous raffle prizes which the students solicit from local merchants.

Contestants from the state-wide Junior-Miss beauty pageant volunteered at the Center and then performed for our members. We hosted two students from Franklin High and Xaverian Brothers High School and two students from Franklin High School for extended internships. Tri-County Regional Technical Vocational
School Health Services students visited the Center bi-weekly to interact with seniors and assist with activities. Tri-County’s Honor Society offered free gift wrapping for seniors during the holidays.

As their capstone project, two students from the Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter School raised $700 by holding a talent show and donated it to the Senior Center. Students from the Benjamin Franklin Charter School contributed to the Friends of Franklin Elders’ annual basket drive and were thanked with an
Ice Cream Social at the Senior Center. In addition, many students volunteer at the Senior Center throughout the year. All of these intergenerational activities and events create an enduring bond that bridges the years between students and seniors.

The Social Imperative
A survey by the National Council on Aging recently found that, compared with their peers, senior center participants have higher levels of health, social interaction and life satisfaction. This research demonstrated that older adults who participate in senior center programs can learn to manage and delay the onset of chronic diseases and experience measurable improvements in their physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental and economic well-being. These findings confirm what senior center participants already know; that staying active, engaged and socially connected promotes a positive outlook and better quality of life.

Respectfully Submitted,

Karen Alves,
Senior Center Director

Published by the Town Clerk, this comes from the 2012 Annual Report

Finance Committee - 01/08/13

The Finance Committee reviewed the DPW's capital requests and eventually approved the first phase of a capital budget. Jeff Nutting, Town administrator, explained that they are taking a cautious approach to the capital budget this year. Our needs are great, there is free cash available, but there is also uncertainty with State revenues currently under what was forecasted. If the State makes cuts to the local aid, then we would be better off holding some of this money to help cover for that situation. If that resolves itself, we can still use the free cash as planned for other capital requirements.

So this first phase reflects the more critical needs of the various departments. The Town Council will still need to provide their approval.

The individual posts reported live from the Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday, Jan 8th:

Many of the vehicles referenced during the DPW discussion were on view during the "Touch a Truck" event held in May 2012 in conjunction with the Library Book Sale.

BookSale_20120519 014

Other photos from this event can be viewed here

Franklin Library: Hobbit Party

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Franklin Public Library by Franklin Public Library on 1/8/13

Thursday January 10th
3:30 PM
Especially for ages 8 - 12

Come Party Like a Hobbit

Trivia, Games, Crafts, and Prizes

Costumes Welcome!!!

Things you can do from here: