Saturday, June 13, 2015

Congratulations to the Franklin Fish!

From Heather Azzariti:
Hi Steve, 
I know you frequently post about Franklin sports, so I wanted to share some Franklin sports news with you. I run The Franklin Fish, which is Franklin's Special Olympics swim team. We just completed our seventh season. You can learn more about us by checking out our new(ish) Facebook page.

Franklin Fish
Franklin Fish

I would like to share with the community that our team competed in the Special Olympics Massachusetts state tournament this weekend, and all of our athletes did a phenomenal job. They deserve recognition for their bravery, athleticism, and sportsmanship. 
We owe a big thanks to our many wonderful coaches and fans, as well as this years sponsors The Adirondack Club!
Franklin Fish - Facebook Page
Franklin Fish - Facebook Page

Find the Franklin Fish on Facebook here

Kennedy PCC & Cub Scout Pack 126 Bottle & Can Drive - June 13

What: Kennedy PCC & Cub Scout Pack 126 Bottle & Can Drive

Date: Saturday, June 13, 2015

Time: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Kennedy Elementary School
Kennedy Elementary School

Bottles & Cans:

Save your clean redeemable bottles and can – soda, seltzer, beer (bottles & cans)!

Shoe Recycling:

Bring out the new spring shoes and let's recycle those older pairs - Kennedy receives 50 cents per pound of shoes we recycle!

We are accepting all gently worn, paired men’, women’s and kids sneakers, shoes and cleats that are still reusable and re-wearable!

Please no big winter boots, UGG boots, rubber boots, big fuzzy slippers, ice & roller skates, slippers, flip flops or moldy shoes or with holes/rips. Shoes must be wearable and in pairs.  Get those pairs of shoes going!

Computer / Electronics / Appliance Shoe Recycling Fundraiser

Additional Info can be found in this shared file

Franklin Community Coalition on Opioid Abuse

Dear Steve:

Below is a story from the June 15, 2015 TIME magazine that I thought would be of interest to you in advance of our first Coalition meeting on Tuesday June 30, 2015. Hard copies of the full magazine and article are on newsstands this week. I will try to forward some additional information to you over the next few weeks as we prepare for our first community conversation.

As a reminder, we will meet on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at 7 p.m. in the Franklin High School Auditorium. At the first meeting, we will have an opportunity to discuss the mission and objectives of the coalition, hear from Community Coalition members from other towns, and hear from some experts in the field about how to address the opioid epidemic which is plaguing Massachusetts communities. We will also have a chance to talk about what we would like to see in Franklin.

If you know anyone who is interested in being a part of the coalition, tell them they can sign up to be on the email distribution list by clicking here. And you should feel free to forward this email to your friends and colleagues and urge them to sign up for this effort. 

As always, I look forward to working with you on this effort.

TIME Magazine cover
TIME Magazine cover

The price we pay for relief

On a chilly evening in late March, Dan McClain was getting ready for dinner when his cell phone rang: Indiana Governor Mike Pence wanted to talk.

Over the previous two months a fast-spreading outbreak of HIV had torn through Scott County, a poor, rural pocket 20 miles from the Kentucky border where McClain has been sheriff since 2011. What began as eight new HIV cases in January had ballooned to 81 by March, quickly becoming the worst HIV outbreak in Indiana's history. Pence, a Republican and stalwart social conservative, wanted to know how to stop it.

McClain, 52, a squared-away former Navy SEAL whose politics tend to align with the governor's, had an answer, but it wasn't the one Pence wanted to hear. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had traced the HIV outbreak to Scott County residents who were dissolving and then injecting a powerful prescription pill called Opana that is meant to treat long-term, around-the-clock pain. Their addiction was so severe that abusers were shooting up as often as 20 times a day, repeatedly sharing the same dirty needles. The CDC even found a family that regularly passed one syringe among three generations.
"We need a needle exchange to get clean needles to these people so they're not spreading anymore," McClain told Pence. The governor has consistently opposed needle exchanges, but in this case Pence made an exception. Two days after his call with McClain, Pence issued an emergency order overruling a state law and allowing a syringe-swapping program in the region.

This is not a story about dark alleys and drug dealers. It starts in doctors' offices with everyday people seeking relief from pain and suffering. Around the nation, doctors so frequently prescribe the drugs known as opioids for chronic pain from conditions like arthritis, migraines and lower-back injuries that there are enough pills prescribed every year to keep every American adult medicated around the clock for a month. The longer patients stay on the drugs, which are chemically related to heroin and trigger a similar biological response, including euphoria, the higher the chances users will become addicted. When doctors, regulators and law-enforcement officials try to curb access, addicted patients buy the pills on the black market, where they are plentiful. And when those supplies run short, people who would never have dreamed of shooting up, like suburban moms and middle-class professionals, seek respite from the pain of withdrawal with the more potent method of dissolving and injecting the pills' contents, or going straight to heroin.

The result is a national epidemic. The CDC has linked outbreaks of the potentially deadly hepatitis C virus in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia to prescription-painkiller injections. The agency has warned every health care provider in the country to be on the lookout for a rise in HIV. Of the 9.4 million Americans who take opioids for long-term pain, 2.1 million are estimated by the National Institutes of Health to be hooked and are in danger of turning to the black market. Now 4 of 5 heroin addicts say they came to the drug from prescription painkillers. An average of 46 Americans die every day from prescription-opioid overdoses, and heroin deaths have more than doubled, to 8,000 a year, since 2010. For middle-aged Americans, who are most at risk, a prescription-opioid overdose is a more likely cause of death than an auto accident or a violent crime.

It took a tragic combination of good intentions, criminal deception and feckless oversight to turn America's desire to relieve its pain into such widespread suffering. Most everyone has played a role. Weak research opened the door to overuse of opioids. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ever more powerful drugs for long-term use based only on evidence of their short-term safety and efficacy. Two pharmaceutical companies pleaded guilty to criminal charges that they misleadingly marketed the drugs as safe. Too many doctors embraced the easy solution of treating pain by writing a prescription.

All now agree that the opioid epidemic is a terrible problem, but few are taking responsibility. It has fallen to local law enforcement and health professionals to clean up the mess as addiction and abuse ravage their communities. It's not easy. The same medical associations that once pressured doctors to hand out opioids liberally now issue conflicting advice over how to combat the problem they helped create. Government scientists admit they have no idea when and whether it's safe to use opioids to treat long-term pain. Meanwhile, the 2016 presidential candidates are feeling genuine grassroots pressure on the issue. Hillary Clinton is increasingly talking about the "quiet epidemic" after hearing from people in the early-voting states of New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina. Kentucky Senator Rand Paul co-sponsored a bill to make medically assisted addiction treatment more widely available. And Carly Fiorina, whose daughter struggled with painkillers before dying at age 35, has called for "decriminalizing" drug addiction.

In Scott County, however, officials have learned that national attention doesn't always mean things get better. Two years ago, the FDA noted in a letter to the maker of Opana, Endo Pharmaceuticals, that its new, supposedly "abuse deterrent" version of the drug appeared to be driving addicts to inject it intravenously rather than snort it. Now local law-enforcement, health care and social-welfare officials are scrambling to contain the HIV outbreak that has since overwhelmed the county. Brittany Combs, a public-health nurse who runs the new needle-exchange program, says Opana's grip on those who become dependent is strong. As she hands out bags full of clean needles from the back of her white SUV, she explains that most addicts run through at least 60 syringes per week. "They don't use it to get high," she says. "They have to inject that many times a day just to get up and do something, just to function."

How America Got Hooked

An estimated 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, and a quarter of them say it is severe enough to limit their quality of life, according to the Institutes of Medicine. Some get injured at work, others develop arthritis as they age, while others battle chronic diseases like lupus. For much of the 20th century, these patients would receive little more than over-the-counter drugs such as aspirin and acetaminophen for their pain. Codeine and morphine, like their pharmacological cousins heroin and opium, provide powerful short-term relief from broken bones or for recovery from surgery. But because the drugs were viewed as dangerously addictive, legal and professional restrictions meant only those suffering from terminal cancer were likely to have long-term access to opioids.

This began to change in the late 1980s. Researchers started publishing anecdotal surveys suggesting that those rules meant that millions of people might be suffering needlessly. One particularly influential 1986 paper by Dr. Russell Portenoy and Kathleen Foley looked at the experience of 38 patients and concluded, cautiously, that if you were in pain, you might be able to safely take opioids for months or even years without becoming hooked. "Drug abuse is highly prevalent, especially in some cities, in some subpopulations and in some patients with psychiatric diseases," Portenoy tells Time. For others with no personal or family history of addiction, he says, drug abuse is a "very, very low risk."

That was a hypothesis some drug companies were ready to test, and soon enough they were applying to the government for permission to do so. Figuring out whether prescription drugs are safe and effective is the job of the FDA, but with the long-term use of opioids, the agency faced a challenge. There were no reliable studies proving opioids worked safely against chronic pain, because it would be unethical to require pain patients in a control group to go months on end without medication. "It's not practical for us to require people to go for a year on a placebo," says Janet Woodcock, head of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Instead, Woodcock says, the FDA followed its practice of extrapolating short-term studies to long-term use. When Purdue Pharmaceuticals sought permission from the FDA in 1994 to market a powerful new opioid, OxyContin, to treat moderate to severe pain for extended periods of time, the FDA signed off and went so far as to tell doctors the drug "would result in less abuse potential" since it was absorbed more slowly than other opioid formulations. Over the next 20 years, the FDA would approve more than two dozen new brand-name and generic extended-release opioid products for treating long-term pain, including Endo Pharmaceuticals' Opana in 2006. "No one anticipated," says Woodcock, "the clinical community would take to this and start giving it out like water."

At the same time the new drugs were coming on the market, medical associations and legislatures were telling doctors they should use them. More than 20 states passed laws and regulations designed to expand opioid prescription, including by requiring doctors to inform patients of the drugs' availability and by making it harder to prosecute physicians who handed them out liberally. In 1998 the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) issued new guidelines for doctors prescribing opioids, saying they could be "essential" for the treatment of chronic pain and neglecting to warn of the risk of overdose. The standard-setting Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations in 1999 required doctors to measure pain as part of their basic assessment of a patient's health, which had the effect of elevating pain to the same level of importance as objective measurements like temperature and heart rate. Hospitals began displaying posters bearing smiley and frowny faces to help patients indicate levels of pain. (The FSMB says it had to offer doctors its best guidance for using opioids once the FDA approved the drugs.)

In many ways, opioid advocates were pushing on an open door, as many doctors and patients welcomed the loosened environment. With insurance companies limiting the duration of patient visits to increase efficiency, prescribing opioids became an easy option for treating a patient complaining of pain.

Just in case doctors weren't getting the message, opioid makers went on a marketing blitz. According to government studies and court documents, several companies were particularly active in targeting continuing-medical-education courses, which doctors must take to maintain their licenses. Purdue funded more than 20,000 pain-related educational programs, including some run by the Joint Commission, according to a 2003 Government Accountability Office report. In 2007 opioid makers provided the FSMB $586,620 to help publish a book version of federation guidelines that said opioid pain treatment was essential, according to a suit brought by the city of Chicago in June 2014.

In some cases, regulators, doctors and patients were criminally misled into believing opioids were safe and effective. In 2007 the Department of Justice accused Purdue of deceptively telling doctors OxyContin was safer and less addictive than other drugs. The company and several executives pleaded guilty to misleading doctors and were fined $635 million. In 2008, Cephalon paid $425 million in fines partly for marketing its Actiq opioid, which was shaped like a lollipop, for use against migraines and sickle-cell pain, conditions for which the drug had not been found safe and effective. Actiq withdrew its lollipop, but by then there was no shortage of other opioids available.
By 2011 the number of opioid prescriptions written for pain treatment had tripled to 219 million. By 2014, in some small towns in the southeastern U.S., between one-sixth and one-eighth of the population was taking opioids for more than a month, according to one survey. Such extended use can create resistance to the drug's effects, leading abusers to increase the amounts they take and putting them at risk of a fatal overdose. By 2011, 17,000 Americans were dying every year from prescription-opioid overdoses.
Opana Comes to Scott County

This rising tide of addiction has touched nearly every corner of the country, including thriving cities like Chicago, New York and San Francisco. But the epidemic is harder to manage in places like Scott County, where poverty, isolation and substandard health care systems leave residents particularly vulnerable. Tiffany Turner found that out the hard way. Other than pot in high school, she says she never used drugs. But after breaking four vertebrae in a 2012 car accident, her doctor gave her opioids. Turner, 28, stayed on the drugs to function at work and soon became hooked, taking them regularly for two years.

By then, with addiction rampant in the county, area doctors were mobilizing to cut patients off. The only pain clinic in Scott County shut down, and several doctors refused to prescribe opioids at all. With her husband ill from renal disease (he died in 2014) and bills mounting, Turner felt she had to self-medicate to keep her job. "I went to the street," she says. Even amid Scott County's crackdown, the local black market was flush with opioids. Opana was selling for $25 to $30 a pill, and she started shooting it up.

In 2010, as law enforcement was cracking down on pill mills around the nation, Endo Pharmaceuticals declared the strategic goal of making Opana the No. 2 treatment for moderate to severe long-term pain after OxyContin, according to the court documents filed in the Chicago case. One of the ways the company aimed to increase market share was by assuring doctors it was safe. Endo created a website and funded advertising supplements–which sometimes didn't identify Endo as the author–that suggested its opioids weren't addictive, according to the allegations in the Chicago case. "People who take opioids as prescribed usually do not become addicted," one publication said. Another said, "most health care providers who treat people with pain agree that most people do not develop an addiction problem." Neither of these statements is untrue.

Endo paid Russell Portenoy, the co-author of the 1986 paper on opioid use for pain patients, to edit a supplement to a peer-reviewed pain journal touting Opana that Endo's sales team distributed to doctors, according to the Chicago filings. (Portenoy says he doesn't remember editing that supplement but says he did such work earlier in his career.) The marketing push was felt in southern Indiana. "There was a big drive to use Opana because somehow that would be safer," recalls Dr. Shane Avery, a primary-care physician in Scott County. Doctors weren't the only ones making the shift from OxyContin to Opana. At first, the drug killed Scott County's black-market users outright. In 2011, Scott County saw 21 deaths from Opana overdoses; in 2012 there were 19, McClain and other officials say. Then, as addicts began to adjust their dosage and deaths came down in late 2012, Endo introduced a version of Opana that it said was "abuse deterrent." In a filing to the FDA in 2012, Endo claimed its new formulation of Opana "would provide a reduction in oral, intranasal or intravenous abuse" thanks to a special coating on the pill.

But the FDA wasn't buying it. In May 2013, the FDA's Woodcock sent a letter to Endo warning that there was no evidence to support that conclusion. Worse, the FDA found that the new "abuse deterrent" coating on Opana seemed to make injecting easier than snorting. Woodcock said this raised "the troubling possibility that the reformulation may be shifting a nontrivial amount of Opana ER abuse from snorting to even more dangerous abuse by intravenous or subcutaneous injection." Yet Endo told its sales staff to repeat its claim that Opana was "designed" to be abuse deterrent anyway, according to documents filed as part of the Chicago case.

The FDA was right. Despite the new coating, the pill was easy to cook down into a liquid that could be injected, according to Scott County officials, and it soon became local addicts' go-to fix. Combs, the nurse who runs the needle exchange, says even though black-market Opana is more expensive than heroin, abusers strongly prefer the prescription drug. The CDC confirmed as much in an April 24, 2015, report on the Scott County outbreak: 96% of those who tested positive for HIV there this year and were interviewed by the CDC said they were injecting Opana.

Endo denied Opana was at the heart of the outbreak. It suggested generic versions of its drug that didn't have the "abuse deterrent" coating might be at fault. In April, Endo held a conference call with public-health officials in Scott County. The Endo officials "thought it was a mistake," says Combs, who was on the call. Around the same time, McClain says an Endo security official called him and offered to help investigate the source of the pills. The Endo official told him the drug being abused couldn't be Opana because it had been reformulated to be "abuse deterrent." McClain was skeptical. "I've got an evidence room full of Opana over there right now, and I don't have any generic forms of that pill that are being purchased off the street," McClain says.

Endo officials declined repeated requests to be interviewed for this article. In response to questions emailed to the company regarding its marketing of Opana and its response to the crisis in Scott County, Keri Mattox, senior vice president for investor relations, said, "Patient safety is a top priority for Endo," and the company has "an ongoing, active and productive dialogue" with the FDA regarding Opana's "technology designed to deter abuse." Mattox says the company supports "a broad range of programs that provide awareness and education around the appropriate use of pain medications" and has reached out to the CDC, Indiana state officials and Scott County health and law enforcement officials, among others.

Portenoy and other advocates for pain patients argue that those who become addicted to opioids do so for reasons well beyond the control of drug companies, including genetic predisposition and a history of addictive behavior. Many of the marketing practices used by Endo are common in the pharmaceutical industry. The U.S. district judge in the Chicago case, in fact, found the city had failed to show that doctors there were misled by Endo; he dismissed that part of the case in May. Chicago, which alleges that Endo and the other drug companies it is suing have hurt citizens and the city by defrauding them, has asked for time to amend its complaint to provide additional evidence to support its claims.

Picking Up the Pieces

Ten years into the opioid epidemic, signs of progress can be found. A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found a 19% decline in overall opioid prescriptions and a 20% drop in emergency-room visits for opioid poisoning from 2010 through 2012. But while short-term prescriptions are falling, long-term use remains steady, according to a 2014 study of 36 million insurance claims by Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy-benefit management company in the U.S. And the CDC found opioid overdoses ticked back up slightly in 2013 after falling in 2012. A May 2014 JAMA study found heroin addiction had migrated from "low-income urban areas with large minority populations to more affluent suburban and rural areas with primarily white populations."

Part of the problem, according to the NIH, is that doctors have no scientific certainty over when and whether it's safe to use opioids to treat long-term pain. "There is insufficient evidence for every clinical decision that a provider needs to make regarding use of opioids for chronic pain," a NIH panel on opioids concluded earlier this year. The American Academy of Neurology last year concluded that the risks of long-term opioid treatment for headaches and chronic low-back pain likely outweigh the benefits.
In 2012, the FDA required all opioid makers to adopt a strategy to combat opioid abuse. In September 2013, the agency announced it was finally requiring opioid makers to do several large studies on the risks of powerful, long-term narcotics. The companies are only now submitting their final protocols for those tests–they were supposed to be in last August–and the results on the core questions won't be known until 2018. Even then, the tests will show only whether opioids are addictive and whether abuse-deterrence properties actually help limit abuse.

Medical associations, too, have tightened their guidance, recommending steps doctors can take to watch for and respond to abuse, but the advice given often conflicts: some require limits on doses and regular tests for abuse while others back testing only for high-risk patients and recommend no caps. Every state except Missouri now has a prescription-monitoring program that makes it harder for abusers to get multiple prescriptions from multiple doctors, but participation by clinicians is often voluntary.
Meanwhile, the backlash against opioids is producing its own backlash. Patients in states with tighter laws say they are unfairly being denied pain relief. Portenoy, the early backer of opioids, now says drug companies "crossed the line" in pushing the drugs but warns that over-regulation "will deprive millions of people, including those who need pain medicine as part of palliative care, access to essential drugs." In 2013 the Drug Enforcement Administration fined Walgreens $80 million for allowing opioids to get into criminal hands; a year earlier it revoked the pharmaceutical licenses of two Florida CVS stores for lax oversight of opioid distribution. Members of Congress from those companies' home states are pushing to rein in the DEA's authority.

The FDA, for its part, continues to behave as if the answer to the opioid epidemic is more opioids. One month after requiring long-term tests of the addictiveness of opioids in 2013, the agency approved an extended-release drug called Zohydro, which is 25% more powerful than Opana and has no abuse-deterrent properties. In allowing the drug, the FDA overruled its own safety advisory board, which had voted 11 to 2 against approval because of addiction concerns. (Zohydro's maker has since applied for FDA permission to market an abuse-deterrent version.) A year later, in November 2014, the FDA approved Hysingla, which has abuse-deterrent properties but is two times as powerful as Opana. The total annual sales for opioids in the U.S. has grown over 20 years to more than $8 billion. From 2008 to 2012, Opana generated $1.16 billion a year in sales, and in 2012 it accounted for 10% of Endo's total revenue.

With America awash in opioids for the foreseeable future, health care providers and public officials are searching for ways to help addicts get clean. A drug called suboxone is effective at stabilizing addicts but can itself be addictive, and there are federal limits on how much one doctor can provide. (A bill introduced May 27 by Rand Paul and Democratic Senator Edward Markey would widen the drug's availability). In southern Indiana, a group called LifeSpring runs a suboxone clinic and claims a 60% success rate in keeping addicts off opioids and heroin. It currently has 16 patients from Scott County and a waiting list that runs from two to nine weeks.

Tiffany Turner says she has tested negative for HIV and is off Opana. She volunteers in Combs' needle-exchange clinic and tells her story at substance-abuse-education events in Scott County. As of June 2, 166 people in Scott County had tested positive for HIV. The most common path to getting clean there, though, is by going cold turkey in jail. "My jail is the rehab clinic," says McClain, who has 65 beds and 120 inmates, 90% of whom are in for prescription-drug-related crimes. He's making room for more. In the dusty lot behind the jail, workers are pouring concrete and setting steel I-beams for an expansion that will add another 135 beds and provide space for treatment and counseling services.
Copyright © 2015, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you expressed an interest in joining the fight against obioid abuse in our community.

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Boston, MA 02133

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Franklin Community Gardens - June Update

Hello Gardeners,

The garden is looking good as we move into the middle of June. 

Open Registration for Additional Beds

We still have a handful of open beds in the garden. At the last committee meeting we decided to open the registration on these gardens to existing gardeners, allowing you to obtain and additional bed if you so choose. This bed would only be available for this season, and when you renew next year you'd need to choose which you'd like to keep. If you are interested in an additional bed please visit the Recreation department to register.  

Garden Work Day & Pest Control Tutorial - June 13th 9am to Noon

I apologize on the late e-mail for this, but tomorrow we'll be holding the first official work day of the season and we will be doing a tutorial on organic pest controls. The workday runs from 9am until Noon and allows you to get your required volunteer hours done in one shot. The tutorial will start at 9am.

Future Work Days for the 2015 Season

  • June 28th
  • July 18th  - Will include a tutorial on tomato plant maintenance and diseases.
  • July 26th
  • August 8th - Will include a tutorial on fall planting
  • August 23rd
  • October 12th
  • October 27th

Sluggo Plus

There was a discussion at the last committee meeting about the prevalence of cutworms in the garden this spring, along with additional pests. One of the potential remedies would be to apply Sluggo Plus to the garden beds, but for it to have long term results it would need to be garden wide. There are conflicting reports on its toxicity to some beneficial critters such as bees and earthworms. 

Franklin Community Garden photo from 2014 season
Franklin Community Garden photo from 2014 season

We will discuss this further at the next committee meeting, so if you have any strong feelings on the subject please let us know or attend. 

As always if you have any questions let us know!


Chris Clay & The Franklin Community Garden Committee

“Whatever needs a vet has, they come to me, and I’ll help them out.”

The Norfolk County Board of Commissioners has entered into an agreement with the town to provide veterans services. 
The agreement, signed by the Town Council Wednesday, gives the town a full-time veterans services officer at a reduced cost. 
Rather than cover the salary and benefits of new veterans advocate Dale Kurtz, the town will pay the county monthly payments of $3,150. Over the life of the agreement – effective from July 1 through June 30, 2016 – the cost of the service amounts to $37,800. 
“The savings to the town just for the wages will be approximately $6,000 without loss of the current service level,” said Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting. “If for any reason this does not work out, we are free to terminate the service.”
Continue reading the article here

Franklin Senior Center
Franklin Senior Center

For all the Franklin Matters notes from the Town Council meeting on Wednesday:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Upcoming Events in Franklin, MA Area: FRI 6/12/15 - THU 6/18/15

FRI 6/12 - TUE 6/30   Ladybug Trek starting today, visit 15 local businesses and use app on your phone for scavenger hunt. #shopFranklin
FRI 6/12   12-6pm   Franklin Farmers Market at The Town Common
FRI 6/12   7:30pm   Zero - The Musical Fable at The Black Box
FRI 6/12   8-9:50pm   Frozen Friday DJ Public Skate at Pirelli Arena

SAT 6/13   1pm   Zentangle Workshop at Franklin Art Center
SAT 6/13   7:30pm   Zero - The Musical Fable at The Black Box

SUN 6/14   8am   PMC Kid’s Ride at Jefferson Elementary School
SUN 6/14   2:00pm    Zero - The Musical Fable at The Black Box
SUN 6/14   6:30pm    Franklin Interfaith Council "Voices of Faith" Concert, 91 Jordan Rd

THU 6/18   6:30pm   Open Mic Night at The Cake Bar  

For all the Town of Franklin Public Meetings click HERE.

For event details click HERE.

*If you have any suggestions or events for the calendar, please email

Lady Bug Trek is "meant to just be fun."

The Strawberry Stroll has ended but reasons to get out and about to Franklin's small businesses have not.
A mobile app-assisted scavenger hunt through more than a dozen small Franklin businesses is getting underway today, Friday, June 12 and will continue through the end of the month. 
The Lady Bug Trek is the first collaborative activity of the recently formed Franklin Small Shop Co-op, featuring special offers from participating businesses and a chance at a grand prize of $1,100 in gift cards. 
"We created the Small Shop Co-op for small businesses to collaborate, so this was sort of born out of that," said Tracie Turinese, co-owner of The Cake Bar in downtown Franklin. 
A total of 15 businesses are part of the fun, including Franklin Liquors, Franklin Yoga & Wellness, Salon Sorella, Making Whoopie, Emmas Quilt Cupboard, Mac Deli, The Cake Bar, Hillside Nurseries & Farm, Elizabeth's Bagels, Terrazza, Pretty is Pink, NHS Printing, Daddario Hardware, Franklin Art Center and Jane's Frames.
Continue reading the article here

The website loaded quickly on my Android tablet and did not on my Android phone (they were next to each other at the time).

Ladybug Trek - a scavenger hunt with a grand prize worth over $1,100
Ladybug Trek - a scavenger hunt with a grand prize worth over $1,100

 solve 9 clues (9 of the 15 businesses) and get 5 entries, solve 12 and get 10 entries!
solve 9 clues (9 of the 15 businesses) and get 5 entries, solve 12 and get 10 entries!

"Stop the Silence. Speak the Truth. Start the Conversation".

Patricia Byrne writes:

Patricia's son Kurt
"It’s time to Stop the Silence. It’s time to Speak the Truth. My son is a heroin addict. I want to wear a t-shirt, a hat, a pin, something. I want a suffering family member or addict to see me in the grocery store and be able to walk up and say ‘me too’. I want families to not feel isolated and alone in this hell that is Addiction. It is everywhere, and we are hiding it because we feel guilty and ashamed. I have seen in people’s eyes in the past that they knew my son was an addict. But they also didn’t know if I knew, and I wasn’t shouting it from the rooftops. So the elephant was with me everywhere I went. We lived in a small town. I was sure everyone knew. I was sure my son’s name was whispered when I wasn’t there. Yet I stayed silent.  
My son is in recovery. He has been clean and sober for 16 months. It’s a miracle he’s alive. That miracle cost us a small fortune. True recovery is not cheap and it is not easy. It is not five days of detox, have a nice day. It is not a thirty day stint in rehab, have a nice life. It is a slow, slogging, exhausting crawl out of the muddy nasty pit Addiction digs under you."

Continue reading her article here

Help is coming to Franklin. There is a meeting at the Franklin High School auditorium on Tuesday, June 30 - 7:00 PM to form a "Community Coalition" to address the heroin and opiate drug problem the community faces. It can be solved, not by putting additional police on the streets but by providing the support to the individuals and families that need it.

Additional information on the Community Coalition can be found here

Voices of Faith concert - Sunday - June 14 - 6:30 PM

Just a quick note to let you know this Sunday - June 14th at 6:30 PM is the Interfaith Council's Voices of Faith concert. This year's theme is "Faith, Family and Freedom". 
The concert is being held at 91 Jordon Rd., in Franklin - at the LDS Church - same location as the Turkey Trot! 
Many of the houses of Worship in Franklin will participate - bringing songs from their faiths to share with us, as well as the 22+ voices of the Interfaith Council's Choir. 
I've attached a poster with details. Refreshments will be served afterwards - and we will pass the plate to collect funds for our fuel assistance fund.

Here is the flyer you can print out

"Wow, this is a wonderful community!"

Franklin has a new two-sided flyer to help sell the community to potential businesses looking for a new location. This flyer touts all the goodness that Franklin can provide.

"the idea is sustainability"

“We’re looking for assurance on your part that this town is well protected,” Vallee said. 
On average, towns with similar size populations have up to 50 officers, while Franklin currently has 43, with two more expected to arrive from the academy in January, according to Vallee. 
Yet the statistics on crime do not justify the hiring of additional officers, Semerjian said. The stats show that since 2008, arrests and calls have steadily declined. For instance, arrests peaked in 2008 at 545; last year, there were 269. 
“Were not dealing with (the kind of crime) that Framingham or Woonsocket is dealing with,” Semerjian said, adding, “Is the fear real, or imagined?”
Continue reading the article in the Milford Daily News here

You can also find my notes from the full budget hearing Thursday evening here

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Live reporting: Town Council - Budget Hearing #2 - June 11, 2015

Present:  Feldman, Padula, Mercer, Kelly, Vallee, Pfeffer, Bissanti, Williams, Dellorco
Absent:  none

Police - 
Vallee - we're looking for assurances that the Town is well protected
average of comparable communities have 52 officers, Franklin currently has 45
did have 55 patrolmen in 1995

Williams - we were budget for 54 but never did get through the Academy enough to break the 50 level

Semerjian - had layoffs in the 90's and again in the late 2000 for budgetary constraints
we talk all the time but we want to maintain the people when we bring them on, I thought the Administrator did a good job with the explanation on what we do and how we do it.

we have two guys in the academy now, we'd like to get more but it would be more one or two at a time, don't want to do it on a short time plan

Nutting - 42,000 in 2008 down to 28,000 incidents, the book is down so while the officer count is less we are also answering less. The technology improvements have helped immensely

Semerjian - we have a good community, that is a credit to the community and the people are doing their job

We are the larger town in Norfolk County, and we have only 3-4 people for the entire town

Semerjian - the numbers don't lie, the bookings don't lie, the community goes to sleep. I live here. I have all the confidence in the world. We are not dealing with some of the things that they are dealing with

Padula - you have talked with the administrator

Nutting - we were down to 39 officers 5-6 years ago, we got one last year, one this year. We will try and slowly build it up. We are keeping the long run in mind

Chart of the numbers referred to during the discussion that were just provided before the meeting
Chart of the numbers referred to during the discussion that were just provided before the meeting

The PDF of the document provided from which this chart was made:

Semerjian - we are not asking for any more, if some one retires, we need to replace them. Is the fear real or imagined? I provided the stats, you can see what we are doing. Common sense comes into play to.

Padula - the whole town goes to sleep at night, you have 3 patrolmen at night; the opiate issue, how many do we have on that? (2)

Semerjian - we have 7 detectives along with the 2 who are dedicated to the drug issue. These guys are very good. So there are 9 guys total who can address this. We have one guy working with the DEA on the task force.

Padula - so with the opiate issue, you don't need more people

Semerjian - you heard the District Attorney that said we are not going to arrest our way out of this problem. There needs to be another avenue for this. How is one problem more important than another? We need to do what we are going to do. There is a lot involved with putting the cases together. We got a guy out via a taxi on Friday and he was back in on Saturday on his bike. He walked out of re-hab.

Bissanti - I think what you are sensing is the raw nerve around town due to the recent deaths that have touched. There are career drug dealers and everyone knows they are around. All the rhetoric is for the victims. It is a difficult to get those. Don't you need to be maintaining a certain covert level?

Semerjian - I am concerned with what information we do reveal. It is an issue we deal with all the time.

Dellorco - The dealer are not coming into the community. They don't come here. The last one who passed away was in re-hab in a halfway house.

Semerjian - we have 45, 2 at the academy, so 43 on the street and the others will be ready to go by January.

Pfeffer - we are offering another officer, and when did you hear the Town Council do that? and you're saying no.

Kelly - I understand your statistics but I only got them at 5:00 o'clock and havem't fully digested the info. There are communities out there where they are getting offers to go to re-hab versus the arrest. It is getting worse instead of better. If we get another one, how can we not arrest the drug dealer but stop the next death. If they are doing it with 50 and we are doing it with 43, we have the best of the best.

Having 3-4 people on after midnight, it scary. I'd like to see a plan before we sit down to review the budget.

Padula - if you would be comfortable maybe we should have a discussion with the Town Administrator about the numbers. We need to reach out to him and figure out how to get you the numbers.

Bissanti - I don't want to open an other can of worms, wouldn't it be good to hire Franklin first.

Semerjian - if you have a pecking order, you have to be fair to the listing. There are plenty of qualified people out there.

Nutting - we offered 7 people to interview, and they all declined. I know its off subject but it is a fact. You are required to have a degree. This was our first opportunity and they declined.

Dellorco - when the police came out of a Civil Service, you said it would be easier.

Vallee - I am going to read you a few communities.... we are playing Russian roulette

Fire Dept - 

Vallee - the King St facility is creating call volume

McCarragher- we went there and explained the role of emergency services. We are obligated by regulation and turn that call out, if the patient wants to go, under certain circumstances we will call a private ambulance to transport them. We expect them to provide routine transports, we only provide emergency

The new facility is a retirement community and not an assisted living community. I don't believe the same volume would come from there.

Vallee - we make money from the ambulance calls?

McCarragher - no we cover our costs, we built our system was to cover two calls at a time, and it is alarming to see those. Last year we had 129 mutual aid, we just logged out 130th call today. We have a plan to go the budget and add the 3rd ambulance in 3-4 years.

Staffing - purely by average 3-4 times a day we are out of resources
Fitness and wellness - 60% of the people who retired did so due to to injury

I am the little engine that could championing
I would need 8 people - $640,000 (including benefits) to put on the extra people to put on the 3rd vehicle

7 minute difference between one of our ambulances and a mutual aid ambulance

Kelly - are the assisted living and aging population driving the issue?
McCarragher - I haven't drilled into the numbers to that deal, we have already surpassed our call volume and I usually do that at the end of the year.

The Zoning Board did decline the permit for the facility

Some of the five were shifted to other positions, due to declining enrollment at the elementary level

The new high school
we started the high school up 100 students from Jun to sep, we are up 130 year to date. An influence of people coming to the community.

Vallee - we are not usually in the top 50
Sabolinski - the per pupil average is excess of the state average, their class size is even smaller that we have, like 15-20 students in an English where we would have about 80

Where students get in, and where students attend
most of the Ivy;s are so expensive that we don't always get to go
due to the financial aid and family choices

(note the presentation that was prepared but not used)


We are very low, we are probably 15 people short of where we could be
we don't have the budget to support the staffing we'd like to have

you could put every department in the same boat
they other towns have a higher tax basis, we live off our property taxes, and a low tax base

their tax bill is higher than the others, if the tax payers want to pay more we'll take it

the bottom line is you're doing a good job

Kelly - you guys got through a tough snow season, you work with not a lot of staff and do a great job
you should be commended for keeping it all straight

Bissanti - based upon our tax rate and the level of service we have compared to others, I can believe it
I fear we are hurting the services, everybody will be screaming but no one will want to raise the tax rate.

close of public hearing

– 7:10 PM Budget: FY 2016 Budget Hearing – 2nd Reading
motion to approve, seconded, passed 9-0


motion to adjourn, seconded, passed 9-0

1 reason to stop at Franklin's Historical Museum today

During the Strawberry Stroll:
"The wedding gowns are up! Visit us Thursday night during the Annual Strawberry Stroll, stop by this weekend or any time we are open. We have the Palma Johnson's wedding dress, Claire Thibedeau's dress, a gown from 1890, a gown worn by mother and daughter, gowns fromt the 40's and 50's, the 'parachute dress' and more. Come and enjoy this display that has become one of our most popular!"

lace detail of one wedding gown
lace detail of one wedding gown

At 7:00 PM, just as the Stroll ends, Susan Elliot will talk about her research into slavery in Franklin at the Franklin Public Library.
Slavery in Franklin? Records show that there were in fact men and women of color owned as property, not only in the South, but throughout New England and by prominent Franklin families in the late 1700's and early 1800's. Susan Elliott's informative exhibit, with details about slaves in our town is now on display at the museum. Learn about a man named Ceasar owned by the Pond family. Extensive research was done in preparation for this revealing exhibit.

Historical Museum display on slavery in Franklin
Historical Museum display on slavery in Franklin
Photos from the Historical Museum Facebook collection

Visit the Historical Museum online here

Downtown Streetscape Project Update #4

From Franklin's Town Administrator Jeff Nutting

Downtown Project Update #4

June 9, 2015

The expected work over the next two weeks will involve sidewalk work on Main Street from Emmons up to Pleasant Street, except the sidewalk next to the Town Common and sidewalk work on Emmons Street between Main and West Central Street.

new sidewalks being installed along Main St
new sidewalks being installed along Main St

The contractor plans to start road work between Main and Pleasant Street including High Street on or after June 15th

Further he expects to start sidewalk work on West Central Street between Emmons and Union Street on both sides and the sidewalk along West Central Street on the Fire Station side.

The sidewalk on the other side of West Central will be done after all the old utility poles have been removed.

The specific dates for the above mentioned work may vary depending on weather and crew availability

If anyone has a question please feel free to reach out to the DPW Director, Brutus Cantoreggi or Town Engineer Michael, Maglio at 508-553-5500 or my office at 508-520-4949.