Saturday, March 28, 2020

Franklin, MA: Coronavirus Update - Public Facilities Closure through May 4

To: Town of Franklin Residents, Businesses & Visitors
From: Jamie Hellen, Town Administrator
Re: Coronavirus Update - Public Facilities Closure through May 4th

Based on the information provided in Governor Baker’s press conference announcing the further closure of public schools, the Town of Franklin is announcing the continued closure of all municipal buildings to the public and employees through May 4th, 2020. These buildings include the Municipal Building at 355 East Central Street, Public Library, Senior Center, Recreation Building, DPW Administration Building, Facilities Administration Building, and Historical Museum. Public safety buildings will remain open for staff and first responders only. Playgrounds will remain closed until further notice.

While the Municipal Building and other departments are closed for direct, in-person service, staff are available for all regular business activities via phone, email and our online services center at Residents can contact any staff in any department, pay bills, and apply for permits and so forth. Check the Town Coronavirus Portal for a department by department listing of service updates and other resources.

For those without computer access, the Town is continuing checking the white drop box for town bill pay and Census forms at the Municipal Building at 355 East Central Street. It is important to fill out your census forms and send them in as soon as you can. Anyone may continue to use the good ol’ fashioned mail for any Town business or bill payments, as the Town continues to work with the Post Office to process our mail.

Employees are expected to continue to work remotely on their remote works plans that have been approved by each department.

We encourage every resident, business and visitor of Franklin to continue to check our online portal daily at with the most up to date information in town updates, unemployment resources, staff contacts and directories, state announcements and more.

Franklin, MA: Coronavirus Update - Public Facilities Closure through May 4
Franklin, MA: Coronavirus Update - Public Facilities Closure through May 4

Senator Rausch: COVID-19 Update #7


Friday, March 27, 2020


Another extremely busy week on Beacon Hill. I hope everyone is staying safe and practicing social distancing.

My team and I are working hard to keep you updated and get you access to resources that you may need. Check out our website's new resource pages on domestic violence, food banks, mental health, public health, small business, and unemployment.

My team and I also held our very first virtual office hours today! Overall, it was a big success. More details to come on the next virtual office hours session next week, so please stay tuned.

I know there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty and anxiety during this difficult time. I am glad to see emails from many of you highlighting issues for me to work on. Some of the issues the Senate advanced this week include:
  • Expanding access to unemployment;
  • Creating a robust safety net for housing and supports for people experiencing homelessness;
  • Expanding scope of practice for certain nurse practitioners to increase the capacity of our healthcare workforce (this passed the Senate!);
  • Securing additional personal protective equipment for healthcare workers; and
  • Extending the state income tax due date to July 15 (the final legislative action on this should happen on Monday!).
All of these ideas are in various stages of the legislative process. As ideas become concrete proposals, I will continue to update all of you. My team and I also update my website daily to keep all of you in the loop with the state government response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Follow along at our State Response Tracker ( In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you have any other opinions or are in need of assistance.

In addition, as you likely know from prior updates, I have been intimately involved in crafting legislation to aid cities and towns in continuing to operate during this outbreak. That legislation has been passed by my Committee, and currently sits with the House for further action.

Finally, please join me for a virtual tour of the State House! One of the things helping my husband and me keep our two young children entertained has been virtual tours, especially of museums. I had to go into the (mostly empty) State House twice this week for Senate session, so I've now recorded two mini-tours (#1 and #2). Enjoy!

We will continue sending these updates and resources on Tuesdays and Fridays, so as to not overwhelm you and your inboxes. Please remember that my team and I are fully up and running remotely, and we are here to help you! Please call (617) 722-1555 or email me at if you have questions, comments or concerns.

Yours in service,"

Senator Becca Rausch
Senator Becca Rausch

The newsletter was shortened for publication here. To review the full content, follow this link

Senator Rausch: COVID-19 Update #7
Senator Rausch: COVID-19 Update #7

30.2% of Households Have Responded to the 2020 Census - 39% in Franklin!

Keep the 2020 Census responses going Franklin! 

We show a 39% response as of 3/26/20 which is more than MA (at 32%) and the nation at 30%
"The 2020 Census response rate map shows how cities and towns across the country are now responding. The map will be updated daily around 3 PM for everyone to see the response rate in their area and compare it to other areas across the nation. The map also shows the comparable response rate from the 2010 Census for each geography."

2020 Census Response interactive page

2020 Census Response Rate Map: March 19-27 2020
30.2% of Households Have Responded to the 2020 Census - 39% in Franklin!

39% response as of 3/26/20 which is more than MA (at 32%)
39% response as of 3/26/20 which is more than MA (at 32%)

Once Upon A Town: Paul DeBaggis - Franklin MA (YouTube)

"Paul Debaggis, a former member of the Franklin, Massachusetts Planning Board, Board of Selectmen and Town Council, and today a veteran building inspector, shares his stories of a town that led Massachusetts in growth at many points over the past 50 years"

In the News: DPH commissioner positive for coronavirus

From the Milford Daily News, an article of interest for Franklin:
"Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, who has been at the center of the state’s efforts to respond to the outbreak of a deadly coronavirus, has tested positive for COVID-19, according the Department of Public Health, and will recuperate at home as she continues to work remotely.

Bharel, in a statement, said she was tested Thursday night and received her results back Friday.

“As the public health commissioner and an essential state employee, I have been vigilant about practicing social distancing from my colleagues and members of the public. My symptoms so far have been mild. I have notified my appropriate close contacts and will rest and recuperate at home, while continuing to carry out my work responsibilities remotely,” Bharel said in a statement.

The Department of Public Health said its offices, which are also headquarters for the coronavirus command center being led by Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, will be “thoroughly cleaned over the weekend.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

FTC Scam Alert: Socially distancing from COVID-19 robocall scams

Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission
by Karen Hobbs, Assistant Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

Scammers – and scammy companies – are using illegal robocalls to profit from Coronavirus-related fears. Listen to some of the latest scammy robocall pitches, so you can be on the lookout and know how to respond. (Here's a hint: hang up!)

Read more 

This is a free service provided by the Federal Trade Commission.

Franklin Residents: Coronavirus Information Portal (Updates Here!)

Coronavirus Information Portal (Updates Here!)

The Town of Franklin is keeping up to date with the latest information related to the novel Coronavirus as it becomes available. This site will be updated regularly with information from Local, State and Federal agencies. Please check back frequently. 

March 27, 2020, Most recent update at 2:30 PM


COVID-19 MEMA Update March 26, 2020 - Updated Daily M-F New

Massachusetts Announces State Income Tax Filing Deadline Being Extended to July 15

Governor Baker orders schools and non-emergency childcare centers to close until May 4th. (March 25)

Baker-Polito Administration Announce COVID-19 Advisory Board (March 25)

Governor Baker issues closure of all non-essential business effective Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at noon. 

List of Essential Businesses


Based on the escalating global COVID-19 pandemic, effective March 16, 2020, the Franklin Town and School Administration offices, as well as all Franklin public buildings will be closed to the public through May 4th, 2020.  Beginning Friday, March 20th, 2020, at 12:00 Noon, all staff will be prohibited from entering any public facilities through May 4th, as well.
Bill Payments & Permitting
  1. White dropbox - residents can drop off payments by check and money order only, census forms, etc. in the white dropbox (mailbox) located on the side of the municipal building. 
  2. Permitting and Online Payments (property and real estate, water/sewer/trash, excise taxes) can also be found online:
    1. Online payments
    2. Online Permitting Portal

Community Resources

The Town of Franklin recognizes the enormous impact the COVID-19 closures and restrictions are having on our community. Please find a variety of helpful resources below.

Unemployment Resources
Food, Housing & Transportation Assistance 
Mental Health & Stress Resources

Important Links & Best Practices

All employees and residents should read the CDC guidelines for personal hygiene and social distancing.  These are the most important things any employee/resident can do to help stop the spread and transmission of the coronavirus (or any virus!). 

Prior Department Messages
    Franklin Residents: Coronavirus Information Portal (Updates Here!)
    Franklin Residents: Coronavirus Information Portal (Updates Here!)

Friday, March 27, 2020

Calendar updates, and the band played on - a COVID-19 playlist

With all our schedules completely revised by this COVID-19 pandemic, the community calendar tab has been 'unpublished' for now. 

However, there are good things happening so a new schedule of virtual events is coming together. In the meantime, here are a few of the music videos I have seen this week that qualify for me as 'share worthy'.

If you find one or more, please send an email, or add a comment and we can build a YouTube playlist of COVID-19 music to help our spirits.

What would you add to this?

5 FHS Music Students performed with the MA All State Honor Band and Jazz Band

Massachusetts Music Educators Association held the 2020 All-State Music Festival on the weekend of March 5-7. Five students from the Franklin High School music program were selected for an ensemble and performed at Symphony Hall in Boston that Sunday.

The annual All-State Conference features as many as 120 teacher workshops, several concert hours and casual concerts, and is attended by more than 800 music educators and 500 of Massachusetts' top student musicians performing band, orchestral, jazz or choral repertoire.

The Franklin High School students selected to the All-State Orchestra are: Christopher Broyles - Viola, Chai Harsha - Viola, Emma Kucich- Flute. Lauren Dennett performed Clarinet with the All State Concert Band and Jenna VanHyning performed with the All State Chorus.

"The all-state experience is a chance for some of our advanced players to surround themselves with the best student musicians in the state," said Diane Plouffe, Director of Music. "The audition process alone exposes students to other local musicians outside of the Franklin Public Schools who are striving for musical excellence and achievement in their community and school. We are proud of all of our students."

From left to right: Chai Harsha, Lauren Dennett, Christopher Broyles, Lauren Dennett, Jenna VanHyning
From left to right: Chai Harsha, Lauren Dennett, Christopher Broyles, Lauren Dennett, Jenna VanHyning

Tri-County RVTHS Donates Medical Supplies to Facilities in Need of PPE

Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School delivered medical supplies, including Clorox wipes, face masks, gowns, hand sanitizer, and safety glasses, gathered from several of its program departments to facilities in need of personal protection equipment (PPE). These PPE supplies are critical in keeping medical staff safe as they combat COVID-19. Facilities include UMass Memorial, Sturdy Memorial and Countryside Manor.

Several Tri-County graduates who are now working in the medical field have been coordinating with Health Careers instructor Suzanne Dodakian to get these medical supplies, which are in high-demand in the midst of this global pandemic, where they are needed.

“There is no doubt that our doctors, nurses and caretakers are needed now more than ever,” said Superintendent Stephen Dockray. “We are grateful to be able to help them do their jobs and do them safely. Thank you to every medical staff member who is selflessly working to take care of their communities and those who in need of treatment.”

With support from Facilities Director, Harry Takesian, Vocational Coordinator, Cathie Rebelo, and LPN teachers, Patricia Munger, Tara Lane, Maureen Johnson, Suzanne Dodakian, and Lisa Ferrigno we were able to collect, box, and deliver these supplies. From all of us at Tri-County: Stay home, stay healthy, and stay safe.

From left to right: Cathie Rebelo, Stephen Dockray, Harry Takesian
From left to right: Cathie Rebelo, Stephen Dockray, Harry Takesian

From left to right: Patricia Munger, Tara Lane, Maureen Johnson, Suzanne Dodakian, and Lisa Ferrigno
From left to right: Patricia Munger, Tara Lane, Maureen Johnson, Suzanne Dodakian, and Lisa Ferrigno

Pink bags suspended, clothing recycling program on hold

I missed an update along the way. While the trash and recycling schedule remains the same, the clothing pickups by Simply Recycling (the pink bags) have been suspended.

Shared via Facebook (and confirmed with a conversation with DPW Director Brutus Cantoreggi, that you should hear soon)

Don't put the pink bags out when you put out your trash/recycling
Don't put the pink bags out when you put out your trash/recycling

Once Upon A Town: Ray Block - Franklin MA (YouTube)

"Hosts Joe Landry and Eamon McCarthy Earls delve into the story of the Ray Block, home to a succession of banks from the 1800s into the present day in downtown Franklin, Massachusetts"


Help the Franklin Downtown Partnership get your business info out to the community

The Franklin Downtown Partnership is creating a list of business updates during this period of social distancing on our website that will be easy for the community to find in one place.

We want to encourage residents to go online to buy gift cards if your business has them available. We also want residents to know if you offer delivery or if you have new hours.

By filling out the Google form linked in the FDP's March newsletter, the FDP can update its website and get your information out to the community. If you are not an FDP member and would like to have your Franklin business information listed, please email the FDP office at and request the link to the Google form.

The Franklin Downtown Partnership is here to help during this difficult time. We will continue to promote our Franklin business members and keep the community updated as things change.

Help the Franklin Downtown Partnership
Help the Franklin Downtown Partnership

FTC: Thinking critically about Coronavirus news and information

Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission
by Jennifer Leach, Associate Director, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC

It's dizzying, the amount of information out there about the Coronavirus. You're dealing with story after story online and through social media, television, radio, and in newspapers and magazines — each with its own take — at all hours of the day and night, from all around the world.

So how can we sort out what's real and what's not?

Read more 

This is a free service provided by the Federal Trade Commission.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Franklin Public Schools: Extension Of Closure Update - 3/25/20

March 25, 2020

Dear Franklin Families and Faculty/Staff,

As you may know, Governor Baker announced earlier today that he signed an executive order that all Massachusetts schools will remain closed through April, opening no earlier than Monday, May 4, 2020.

Both the Governor and Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) Commissioner explained how the Department has been working to develop new guidance about Remote Learning in light of this extension. Superintendents are expecting to receive this guidance tomorrow and, after reviewing it, we will follow these guidelines and work cooperatively with the Franklin Education Association to build upon our initial engagement and enrichment since last week.

Per Commissioner Riley’s announcement this afternoon, our plan will begin in early April.

We will continue to keep the community informed as we continue to navigate these unprecedented circumstances. We sincerely hope that you are feeling well and that your families are staying safe.

Kind regards,

Sara Ahern 
Superintendent of Schools

The English language link

Other language for each notification can be found online

Franklin Public Schools: Extension Of Closure Update - 3/25/20
Franklin Public Schools: Extension Of Closure Update - 3/25/20

FM #229 - Town Council Remote Mtg 3/25/20 (audio)

FM #229 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 229 in the series.

This session of the radio show shares the first Town Council meeting held remotely via a conference bridge. It may not be the last as we all adhere to the new ‘social distance’ requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting was held for two reasons; one a practical agenda item, to revise the current Town Council meeting schedule; and two, to practice this new format so when the next meeting comes in April, folks would be better prepared.

The meeting runs just over 30 minutes, so let’s listen to the first remote meeting of the Franklin, MA Town Council.


Notes from my real time reporting of this meeting can be found

We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

How can you help?
  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors
  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit
If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana" c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

not a great photo but an example of the live meeting format
not a great photo but an example of the live meeting format

You ask - we answer: Dean Ave Apartment complex - Questions posed

Dean Ave Apartment complex - Question posed:
"How many parking spots are there for all those apartments? Has there been a traffic study? How will the neighborhood be impacted. Will the 30 mph speed limit on Dean be reduced with the additional cars, pedestrians, dogs, kids, commuters on the street?"

Q - How many parking spots are there for all those apartments?
Answer: 495 parking areas total, this INCLUDES 10 x 6 bay garages (60) per Apr 24 notes (page 4 of 8) and
490 proposed at 1.9 per apartment per the May 22 notes (bottom of page 6)

Q - Has there been a traffic study?
Answer: The May 22 notes discuss at some length a parking study and impacts as well as mitigations. Refer to the details there

Q - Will the 30 mph speed limit on Dean be reduced with the additional cars, pedestrians, dogs, kids, commuters on the street?
Answer: no, per notes speed reduction was not discussed. Sidewalks and roadway discussed

For reference: Planning Board dates and meeting notes
Initial hearing - Apr 24, 2017

May 8, 2017 hearing requested to be continued

May 22, 2017 hearing requested to be continued

June 12, 2017 meeting notes for this and the June 26, 2017 meetings are not posted to the Town of Franklin page. The meeting notes of July 10, 2017 show the notes from both of these meetings were approved by 5-0 votes just before the meeting adjourned.

The July 10 meeting has no mention of this project so likely it was rescheduled from a prior meeting to a future one; at least to the July 24 meeting, where a record per the minutes does allow for the thread to be followed.

Updated: did get a copy of the Planning Board minutes from the Town and confirmed that the June 12 meeting the hearing was continued to July 24 with no additional discussion. The meeting notes for Jun 12 and Jun 26 will be shortly posted to the appropriate page.

July 24, 2017 hearing requested to be continued

August 7, 2017 hearing requested to be continued

August 21, 2017 hearing requested to be continued

Sep 11, 2017 hearing requested to be continued

Sep 25, 2017 - hearing finally closed off and vote made to approve

If you have a question, ask it with this form and we'll get an answer

You ask - we answer: Dean Ave Apartment complex - Questions posed
You ask - we answer: Dean Ave Apartment complex - Questions posed

State Rep Jeff Roy: Update #5 on COVID-19

COVID-19 update #5

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to test us, but our Commonwealth and communities have stepped up to the challenge. Our goals are to keep infections down and to watch out for one another. Communication is key at this time and that's why I send along these updates regularly in addition to updating my website. New information is coming out regularly and in great volume. To keep the information timely and manageable, I will continue to post only new information in these update emails. Please visit for a compilation of all of the updates. That site will be updated frequently to keep you up to speed on the latest developments. Here are the updates since my last email:

Office hours. I will be hosting office hours on Friday morning (March 27) at 8:30 AM via Zoom. Franklin Town Administrator Jamie Hellen and Town Council Chair Tom Mercer will join me this week. We will discuss state and local issues and answer your questions until 9:30 a.m. I will try to arrange a similar meeting with Medway town officials as well in the next few days. You can join the Zoom meeting at or dial in at 1-929-205-6099 (type in meeting ID: 270 806 351 when asked). I hope you can join us. We will record the meeting for re-broadcast as well.


Please look out for your friends and neighbors and stay informed with the links above.

If you have additional questions or need additional information, please let me know. I am not a medical doctor, so please contact your health care provider if you have specific health concerns. But I am happy to try and chase down any policy or state government related questions you might have. You can reach my State House office at 617-722-2030 or email me at

State Rep Jeff Roy
State Rep Jeff Roy

State Rep Jeff Roy: Update #5 on COVID-19
State Rep Jeff Roy: Update #5 on COVID-19

The newsletter was shortened for publication here. To view the full set of content

Message from the Franklin Cultural District


We hope this that email finds you well. We are navigating difficult times and so, the sharing of resources is most important.

On Thursday, Nancy Schoen and Pandora Carlucci attended a webinar hosted by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) and facilitated by Anita Walker, Executive Director of the MCC. The webinar focused on COVID-19 and used the lens of those involved with culture and the arts.

Throughout the course of the webinar, the presenters shared a number of websites they thought might be helpful. This purpose of this email is to share those sites with you. This is the homepage of the MCC. It is a good place to start and contains information relating to a variety of sources. As you scroll through the homepage, you'll come to a section titled: Data Collection on the Impact of Covid-19. There are two important surveys included: one for organizations and one for artists/independent teachers. Ms. Walker noted that she and the MCC would be advocating for culture and the arts and the data collected through these surveys would help with that effort. These surveys are currently closed but Ms. Walker noted that she would continue to survey and collect supportive data. This is the Nonprofit Finance Fund. The presenter was Sandi McKinley and she spoke about unknown aspects of the pandemic. She referenced the untold timeline and the need to recognize the importance of the nonprofit sector. a representative from the Boston Public Health Commission spoke about the signs of the virus and the need for social distancing, hand washing and more. This website provides some suggestions.

Many of Franklin's musicians, visual artists, and performing artists are reaching out to the community with opportunities to participate through social media. There are private lessons on a variety of subjects using video conferencing and communication tools. Additionally, the Franklin Cultural Council hosted an elementary and middle school art competition last week and issued a high school art challenge this week. People are staying engaged. We have a thoughtful and vibrant community.

We will continue to share information as it becomes available. In the meantime, the Town of Franklin has a wonderful information portal:

Franklin Matters is a good source of information:

The Franklin Cultural District Committee wishes you good health and safety during these challenging days


Pandora Carlucci, Ed.D.
Clerk, Franklin Cultural District Committee

Message from the Franklin Cultural District
Message from the Franklin Cultural District