Saturday, April 4, 2020

Two too good not to share!

1 - "Happy birthday Will! We love to bring a smile!"
Also found in the Milford Daily News:

Twitter video screengrab
Twitter video screengrab

2 - Kathy Pennell reads "Brown Bear, Brown Bear ..."

View the story video on Facebook: 

Facebook screengrab image
Facebook screengrab image

Senator Rausch: COVID-19 Update #9

Friday, April 3, 2020

Hi friends,

I hope you are staying well and practicing extensive social distancing.

Great news - the municipalities bill that I've been shepherding through the legislative process is now passed and signed into law! (Here's the final language.) The bill does a whole bunch of important things to ensure our local and regional governments keep functioning and providing services to Bay Staters:

  1. creates significant budget flexibility, particularly important for towns that can't have Town Meeting right now to pass a Fiscal Year 2021 budget;
  2. extends the time frame for holding Town Meetings;
  3. grants extensions for permits, hearings, and other deadlines, including a temporary lift on any constructive approvals;
  4. allows municipalities to extend the deadline for property taxes and waive penalties on any late payments of taxes or fees; and
  5. contains an important equity provision that prohibits the termination of any essential municipal service – including water, sewer, and trash collection – for a resident who is unable to pay local taxes or fees. In this uncertain time of job loss and insecurity, the last thing our government should do is prevent vulnerable residents from washing their hands.

By the way, this bill also carried the income tax extension from April to July, and lets everyone order beer and wine as part of your takeout order from local restaurants! A great way to continue to help your local businesses stay afloat during these trying economic times.

In addition to my extensive and ongoing work as the Senate Chair of the Municipalities Committee, I've also been advocating for decarceration, a stay at home order (not an advisory), shutting down non-essential construction, medical privileges for clinicians licensed in other countries, robust protections for medical professionals and first responders who are fighting this thing on the front lines, and more. I'm hearing from constituents daily, and I am giving voice to our shared concerns and disappointment with the executive management of this crisis.


My team and I are all working overtime and are here for you. Call us at 617-722-1555 or email me directly at and one of us will get back to you as quickly as we can.

Wishing you and your families strength, health, and resilience.

Yours in service,

Senator Becca Rausch

The newsletter was shorted for publication here, to view the full contents:

Senator Rausch: COVID-19 Update #9
Senator Rausch: COVID-19 Update #9

Franklin Latter-day Saints Invite Town to Watch Worldwide Broadcast on Peace

In a time of such uncertainty, random acts of kindness and neighborly love has and continues to be shown in abundance around the globe. A worldwide pandemic, such as the one we are facing now in COVID-19, has a way of uniting people of all denominations, races and beliefs. It's as if we are all brothers and sisters in an expansive global family. It just takes something as drastic as our current conditions to realize it.

Members of the local congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Franklin would like to invite all to watch a global broadcast this weekend that aims to uplift, strengthen, and ultimately restore the sense of peace we all seek.

Saturday 12 PM, 4 PM, 8 PM
Sunday 12 PM, 4 PM

Broadcast Link:

Franklin Latter-day Saints Invite Town to Watch Worldwide Broadcast on Peace
Franklin Latter-day Saints Invite Town to Watch Worldwide Broadcast on Peace

United Regional Chamber of Commerce on the COVID-19 Pandemic

The past three weeks have been nothing short of unbelievable and that adjective does not even seem adequate. The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly challenged us --- our leaders, businesses, workers and economy. The severity of the very fluid situation changed hourly, shifting to daily. In a short period of time, the way we learn, conduct business and live our lives were all disrupted.

This has and will continue to be a challenging time. Business leaders had to reinvent their entire business models with little to no notice. Leaders face unchartered territory, shifting regulation, difficult decisions, and the fear of maintaining the livelihood of their business and retaining the jobs for their employees with fewer customers. Thousands of workers, who are like family, have taken pay cuts or have lost their jobs altogether for an unknown amount of time.

However, amid this time of uncertainty and change, I have seen resiliency, adaptation, ingenuity, compassion and unity in its truest, most authentic form. Locals have rallied around efforts to support our local businesses and non-profit organizations. Manufacturers have shifted their production to retain their talented workforce, while filling a critical need of personal protective equipment for medical professionals on the front lines of fighting this epidemic. Retailers, arts/culture organizations, restaurants, gyms/fitness businesses have taken a hard pivot into the digital space – offering online ordering, Facebook live sales, DIY at-home projects, educational content, and more. 

Local, state, and federal lawmakers have worked to create bipartisan legislation to provide much needed aid for hardworking Americans and businesses of all size. I have seen neighbors serving neighbors –providing food for students in need, displaying teddy bears or hearts in their windows as a sign of hope, and going to the grocery store for the immunocompromised and elderly.

These examples are a mere sampling of the adaptation and kindness that has occurred, but they are indicative of our very nature --- the definition of who we are as Americans. From the Miracle of Hickory during the devastating polio epidemic, to the Great Recession, within more recent memory, our community time and time again has pulled together, hunkered down, and has emerged bruised, but not defeated. The COVID-19 economic disruption will be no different.

United Regional Chamber of Commerce
Our communities’ health and well-being are our top priority. Our neighbors’ lives are at risk and we cannot afford to overwhelm our healthcare infrastructure. Our government leaders have had to make some tough choices to flatten the curve. We must withstand these temporary setbacks, all while doing our part to protect our families, co-workers, and neighbors.

It continues to be an honor to serve in this role on your behalf every day. Regardless of the IRS definition, I believe that all businesses are “essential:”
  • You make up our local economy, bringing personality to our cities and towns
  • You create a place to belong, to connect, to celebrate. and to cultivate a new relationship
  • You are the familiar face mixing up our favorite cocktail or the server who makes you smile by remembering your name
  • You are the retailer who pays attention to every detail --- from your front window display to your thoughtfully selected merchandise
  • You provide opportunity, a second chance, a means of supporting a family, and the hope and promise of a better future
  • You make and sell products that improve the lives of humanity across our region, country and the globe
  • You have sacrificed for incremental growth, have faced tough decisions, and have seen seasons of success and set back
  • You are stylists, therapists, and self-care professionals who have mastered your craft to provide needed rest, healing, enhanced confidence, or even a listening ear, to your clients
  • You give our communities vibrancy, energy, and attraction
  • You are essential …. and we need you

The United Regional Chamber of Commerce is your partner, sounding board, and advocate. We are in this with you.

Working for Business,

Jack Lank, IOM
President and CEO
The United Regional Chamber of Commerce
310 South Street
Plainville, MA 02762
Phone: 508-316-0861

Once Upon a Town: Depot Plaza - Franklin MA (video)

Join Eamon McCarthy Earls and Joe Landry to 
"Discover how the railroad and small businesses helped to create the Depot Plaza area by the downtown Franklin "Franklin Dean" train station"

Video link =

350 Mass Greater Franklin Node Meeting, Thursday 4/2/20: Meeting Notes

Hello, everyone. Last night, Thursday April 2, we had an online Zoom meeting of our Greater Franklin node. Whether you were able to participate or not, we want to share with you our notes

We covered many topics including:
  • Challenges and strategies for 350 Mass and other organizations --and their members -- to remain engaged and active during the current coronavirus crisis.
  • Local, state-wide, and national issues and campaigns that we can all help promote through a variety of tools, such as contacting legislators and public agencies, signing petitions, and attending online webinars.
  • Resources (articles, online materials) for learning more about these specific issues as well as climate concerns generally.
The overall message is that each of us can still take actions to promote the causes we care so much about. Our organization, 350 Mass, remains committed to stopping new fossil fuel infrastructure, building a clean energy economy, and creating a just transition that centers on economic and racial justice. We continue to partner with local, national and international organizations with similar goals. 
You can find the meeting notes here.  As you read them, you will see actions and links. Thank you for doing what you can. 
If you have difficulty with the online document or the links, reply to this email and we'll help you out.
We encourage you to join our meeting. For participants, this is more than a business meeting. It's a chance to socialize, to laugh, and to share stories and ideas for managing during this strange time. And dress is definitely informal. 
NEXT MEETING: THURSDAY, APRIL 16.  Look for the invitation earlier that week.
Be well.
Node co-coordinators,
Carolyn Barthel
508-473-3305 H
508-335-0848 C
Ralph Halpern
781-784-3839 H
339-203-5017 C

The FTC keeps attacking robocalls

Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission
by Lois Greisman, Associate Director, Division of Marketing Practices, FTC

Have you noticed lately that you're getting fewer robocalls? Yes, way too many calls are still coming, and we're fully engaged on that issue. But we're seeing some promising developments. Some recent FTC actions might just have something to do with that.

Read more 

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

In the News: Domestic violence victims are now at home with abusers; Area workers struggle with unemployment

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

Domestic violence victims are now at home with abusers
"Voices Against Violence, a local organization working to end sexual and domestic violence, has new resources that could make it easier for people now forced to stay home with abusive partners to get help.

Because people might not be able to find a safe place within their homes to call the organization’s usual help lines without being monitored or overheard, Voices Against Violence has created a chat service that allows victims to communicate with domestic violence advocates by typing in an internet browser.

The chat service, which can be reached by typing into an internet browser, is monitored by staff between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. from Monday through Friday."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

For more about Voices Against Violence, visit them on the web

Area workers struggle with unemployment
"MetroWest and Milford area residents are among the record-breaking 10 million Americans to file unemployment claims the past two weeks.

A record-breaking 10 million Americans have filed unemployment claims in the past two weeks, including 6.6 million last week alone, amid the coronavirus crisis.

Workers in the region have not been immune to the surge in layoffs and furloughs. A record 181,062 Massachusetts residents filed initial claims during the week ending March 28, about a 22% increase over the prior week, according to advance non-seasonally adjusted data the Department of Labor published Thursday.

That new level immediately breaks the record set just one week earlier. During the week ending March 21, 148,452 residents submitted initial claims, roughly 20 times as many as the 7,449 who submitted claims the week earlier."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Friday, April 3, 2020

FM #235 URCC Jack Lank COVID-19 and small business 4/01/20 (audio)

FM #235 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 235 in the series.

This session of the radio show shares my conversation with Jack Lank, President of the United Regional Chamber of Commerce. We had this conversation via conference bridge to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

Jack is in the middle of a number of things trying to help his business community as they navigate the restrictions and changing requirements of this pandemic. They have canceled their in person events and are shifting as much as they can to virtual events and the use of social media tools to help spread good information.

We talk about the reach of the current United Regional Chamber and some of their initiatives like: their Facebook page to “Rally ‘round the Restaurants”, a virtual ‘Alive After 5” networking event and a recharged Young Professionals Organization (YPO). YPO is something we’ll likely hear more of as it is a business networking group for the 20-30-40 something crowd.

This conversation runs about 22 minutes, so listen to my conversation with Jack and see what we can do to help local businesses during this time.


Find the “Rally ‘round the Restaurants” page on Facebook and share your update for a restaurant

Find the United Regional page on Facebook

Find the Young Professionals Organization (YPO) on Facebook

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"

the “Rally ‘round the Restaurants” page on Facebook
the “Rally ‘round the Restaurants” page on Facebook

MA Legislature Passes Bill to Provide Immediate Relief to Municipalities and Others During the Ongoing COVID-19 Crisis

Today (4/2/20), the House and Senate passed a bill to provide necessary relief to municipalities, taxpayers, restaurants, and state authorities impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and State of Emergency declaration.

The bipartisan legislation extends the state income tax filing deadline for residents; addresses disruptions in municipal tax collections and permitting; and allows licensed restaurants to sell certain alcoholic beverages with food take-out and delivery orders, among other provisions.

"I am heartened by the bipartisan and collaborative process that went into advancing this bill to help the hardworking people of Massachusetts," stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “Our cities and towns, restaurants and taxpayers need relief now more than ever, particularly as we continue to follow proper social distancing guidelines to curb the spread of COVID-19. I would like to thank my Senate colleagues, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and my legislative partners in the House for their work on this critical piece of legislation."

“Our communities, our small businesses, and our residents live the disruptive and compounding effects of this rapidly evolving public health crisis daily, so the Legislature acted again today to provide some relief,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D – Winthrop). “By easing local permitting measures, extending the state’s tax deadline, and providing restaurants an opportunity to increase revenue, we are helping cities and towns, businesses, and individuals throughout the Commonwealth. Thank you to Chair Michlewitz and Chair O’Day and Senate President Spilka and our colleagues in the Senate for their partnership on these important issues.”

“Whether it’s protecting local communities’ ability to govern during a time of crisis or providing much needed relief to restaurants and taxpayers, we must do what we can to support those facing hardship during this unprecedented time,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “With tonight’s passage of this bill, the Legislature is collaboratively acting to meet this challenge and confront the urgent needs facing our Commonwealth related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“By passing this relief package today, we are providing much needed administrative and economic relief for our small businesses, our cities and towns, and the taxpayers of the Commonwealth,” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means (D-Boston). “I know I speak for all my colleagues in the Legislature when I say we are prepared to offer all the assistance we can as we tackle the day to day effects of COVID-19.”

“This legislation responds to a number of vitally important needs; it allows cities and towns across the Commonwealth to execute fundamental governance procedures including budgeting and permitting, it adds mechanisms to empower food and beverage providers to meet consumer needs, and it aligns our tax schedule with the federal extension,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R- Gloucester). “It is the product of bicameral and bipartisan collaboration fueled by our ardent efforts to support those impacted by this pandemic.”

“The municipal relief bill passed by the Legislature and now on the Governor’s desk contains many important provisions for our communities, our taxpayers, and our restaurants,” stated House Minority Leader Representative Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “It is another step, in what will be many, that we need to take to navigate the state through these extraordinary times.”

The major provisions of the bill are as follows:

Tax Deadline Extension. The bill provides immediate relief to taxpayers and extends the 2019 state individual income tax filing and payment deadline from April 15 to July 15 due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The extension of the tax filing and payment deadline to July 15 is consistent with the federal government and provides additional flexibility to filers during this crisis.

Restaurant Service. The bill includes immediate economic relief to restaurants and other establishments that are licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption to sell wine and beer with food takeout and delivery. This change would restore a crucial source of revenue to restaurants and other food establishments.

Municipal Governance. This legislation also immediately addresses several challenges affecting municipal functions and operations during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. The bill:
  • Allows extensions for property tax exemption and deferrals from April 1 to June 1, 2020;
  • Modifies the permitting process to ensure flexibility for applicants and status hearing processes;
  • Allows annual town meeting to be delayed beyond June 30, 2020;
  • Enables a town moderator or person designated as such to reschedule town meetings for up to 30 days, and to do so multiple times if needed;
  • Permits municipalities to utilize retired employees and lifts pension-related hour restrictions for employees who return to work as it relates to COVID-19 response; and
  • Prohibits essential services provided by the city or town from being terminated as a result of a missed or late payment.
The bill also makes several adjustments to the municipal budgeting process so that cities and towns can continue to meet their fiduciary responsibility and provide resources for their residents.

The bill, which is the latest action by the Legislature to address the COVID-19 public health crisis and its effects on Massachusetts, now heads to the Governor.

MA Legislature Passes Bill to Provide Immediate Relief to Municipalities and Others During the Ongoing COVID-19 Crisis
MA Legislature Passes Bill to Provide Immediate Relief to Municipalities and Others During the Ongoing COVID-19 Crisis

Once Upon a Town: Grocery Stores - Franklin MA

Eamon McCarthy Earls and Joe Landry talk about the days "Long before big box stores or the opening of the first supermarkets, Franklin residents turned to small grocery stores in downtown to get their food"
Video link =

Jefferson Spirit Day - Slideshow (YouTube)

Jefferson Elementary School had their "spirit day" this week, and this video/slideshow shares the results

Some MA state parks will be open more during the coronavirus outbreak

From the Milford Daily News, an article of interest for Franklin:
"All coastal beach reservation parking areas managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation will be closed to reduce groups of people from gathering during the coronavirus outbreak.

Gov. Charlie Baker issued the emergency order that goes into effect Friday at noon.

DCR will open select state parks early and expand access to other parks to provide additional open space opportunities for residents, the governor said. DCR will also be limiting the amount of parking spaces available at certain high-visitation state parks.

DCR’s ice rinks, visitor centers, campgrounds, playgrounds, fitness areas, athletic fields, athletic courts, golf courses and bathroom facilities will remain closed until May 4"
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Hiking in MA State Parks

Hiking in MA State Parks
Hiking in MA State Parks

Medicare and Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

From the Social Security Administration (SSA):
"With the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), being informed about your Medicare coverage is more important than ever.

Medicare recently expanded its coverage of telehealth services. Telehealth enables beneficiaries to receive a wider range of healthcare services from doctors without having to travel to a healthcare facility. It also helps frontline clinicians stay safe themselves while treating people.

If your doctor orders a COVID-19 test for you, Medicare covers all of the costs. You should not have any co-pay, no matter what Medicare plan you’re enrolled in. There’s no vaccine for COVID-19 at this time, but when one becomes available, Medicare will cover it."
Continue reading the article online

Visit the SSA COVID-19 page

Medicare and Coronavirus: What You Need to Know
Medicare and Coronavirus: What You Need to Know

IRS issues warning about Coronavirus-related scams; watch out for schemes tied to economic impact payments

The Internal Revenue Service today (4/02/20) urged taxpayers to be on the lookout for a surge of calls and email phishing attempts about the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. These contacts can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft.
"We urge people to take extra care during this period. The IRS isn't going to call you asking to verify or provide your financial information so you can get an economic impact payment or your refund faster," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "That also applies to surprise emails that appear to be coming from the IRS. Remember, don't open them or click on attachments or links. Go to for the most up-to-date information."

Taxpayers should watch not only for emails but text messages, websites and social media attempts that request money or personal information.

"History has shown that criminals take every opportunity to perpetrate a fraud on unsuspecting victims, especially when a group of people is vulnerable or in a state of need," said IRS Criminal Investigation Chief Don Fort. "While you are waiting to hear about your economic impact payment, criminals are working hard to trick you into getting their hands on it. The IRS Criminal Investigation Division is working hard to find these scammers and shut them down, but in the meantime, we ask people to remain vigilant."

Don't fall prey to Coronavirus tricks; retirees among potential targets
The IRS and its Criminal Investigation Division have seen a wave of new and evolving phishing schemes against taxpayers. In most cases, the IRS will deposit economic impact payments into the direct deposit account taxpayers previously provided on tax returns. Those taxpayers who have previously filed but not provided direct deposit information to the IRS will be able to provide their banking information online to a newly designed secure portal on in mid-April. 

If the IRS does not have a taxpayer's direct deposit information, a check will be mailed to the address on file. Taxpayers should not provide their direct deposit or other banking information for others to input on their behalf into the secure portal.

The IRS also reminds retirees who don't normally have a requirement to file a tax return that no action on their part is needed to receive their $1,200 economic impact payment. Seniors should be especially careful during this period. The IRS reminds retirees – including recipients of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 − that no one from the agency will be reaching out to them by phone, email, mail or in person asking for any kind of information to complete their economic impact payment, also sometimes referred to as rebates or stimulus payments. The IRS is sending these $1,200 payments automatically to retirees – no additional action or information is needed on their part to receive this.

The IRS reminds taxpayers that scammers may:
  • Emphasize the words "Stimulus Check" or "Stimulus Payment." The official term is economic impact payment
  • Ask the taxpayer to sign over their economic impact payment check to them
  • Ask by phone, email, text or social media for verification of personal and/or banking information saying that the information is needed to receive or speed up their economic impact payment
  • Suggest that they can get a tax refund or economic impact payment faster by working on the taxpayer's behalf. This scam could be conducted by social media or even in person
  • Mail the taxpayer a bogus check, perhaps in an odd amount, then tell the taxpayer to call a number or verify information online in order to cash it

Reporting Coronavirus-related or other phishing attempts
Those who receive unsolicited emails, text messages or social media attempts to gather information that appear to be from either the IRS or an organization closely linked to the IRS, such as the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), should forward it to

Taxpayers are encouraged not to engage potential scammers online or on the phone. Learn more about reporting suspected scams by going to the Report Phishing and Online Scams page on

Official IRS information about the COVID-19 pandemic and economic impact payments can be found on the Coronavirus Tax Relief ( page on The page is updated quickly when new information is available.

This was shared from the IRS page

Coronavirus Tax Relief ( page on
Coronavirus Tax Relief ( page on

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Franklin Public Schools: Remote Learning Closure Update / Remote Learning Frameworks

April 2, 2020

Dear Franklin Families,

We want you to know that we are thinking about our students and families at this difficult time. We are all missing our regular routine and our connections with the children who attend Franklin Public Schools.

Remote Learning Update
As you are aware, Governor Baker extended school closure through May 4 and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education provided districts with updated guidance on remote learning. We have been spending time aligning to this updated guidance and are prepared to begin phase II of Remote Learning on Monday, April 6. There is a “soft launch” of the learning plan tomorrow, April 3, where teachers who have yet to connect with students this week via Google Meet will be doing so.

We are pleased to share the Franklin Public Schools Remote Learning Framework, accessible by the following link:

An important distinction from our phase I message is that student participation is expected. Connection to school and educators is very important for students at all times, and especially now with the disruption we are experiencing. We recognize that our students, families, educators, and leaders are doing something they have never done before. As a result, we know that it will be imperfect. Additionally, we know there must be flexibility within the structure; it is a balance we are trying to strike.

District administrators will be holding Google Meet calls by level on Sunday, April 5, 2020, in order to share some brief thoughts about the plan and to answer questions.

We invite you to ask questions ahead of time by completing the following form:

We will hold these virtual meetings at the following times, which you can access via a live stream:

ECDC/Elementary Schools    Sunday April 5, 2020 at 5 PM
Live stream link:

Middle Schools     Sunday April 5, 2020 at 6 PM
Live stream link:

High School     Sunday April 5, 2020 at 7 PM
Live stream link:

Questions will be answered during the presentation, which we will record and publish to our Coronavirus portal. Additionally, the form will be open during the presentation to ask questions at that time.

We will be monitoring Remote Learning over time, seeking feedback from all groups, and making adjustments along the way.

You can expect to hear from me again tomorrow, prior to the weekend. 

Kind regards,

Sara E. Ahern 
Superintendent of Schools

For Frameworks and all translations

Great American Gift Card Purchase - Friday, April 3

Please join us in support local small businesses by participating in the Great American Gift Card Purchase

Great American Gift Card Purchase - Friday, April 3
Great American Gift Card Purchase - Friday, April 3

FM #234 Franklin Fire Chief McLaughlin - COVID-19 Updates 3/31/20

FM #234 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 234 in the series.

This session of the radio show shares my conversation with Franklin’s Fire Chief James McLaughlin and Firefighter/paramedic Laurie Roy. Laurie serves the Fire Dept as the Infection Control Officer. This was conducted via conference bridge to help maintain ‘social distance’ during this pandemic period.

Chief McLaughlin shares the modifications taken by the Fire Dept in order to continue to serve the community in responding to 911 calls. The firefighters are taking extra precautions as they respond to the call to minimize exposure on both sides and help prevent any spread of COVID-19.

This conversation runs about 11 minutes, so settle in and listen to my conversation with Chief McLaughlin and Firefighter Roy.

Audio file ->


Link to Franklin Fire Dept letter 3/30/20

Link to Town of Franklin Coronavirus Update Portal

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"

Franklin Fire Dept Station 1 - downtown at night
Franklin Fire Dept Station 1 - downtown at night

Franklin Neighbor Brigade Update

In these times of uncertainty we know one thing clearly, that love never has to be rationed or quarantined.  The truth is, we all need each other more than ever right now. We need each other in so many ways, both big and small. We need to rely and lean on one another and to be compassionate, understanding, and patient with one another. We need to focus on being there for one another in the best and safest way we can.
Please read on to see how you can help whether it be from your home or in the community.

Challenge for all Volunteers
Here is a FUN family project. Who's up for a Letter Writing Challenge! All you have to do is wash your hands and put your love on.  If we can't thank, visit a sick person or give gratitude in person, we can do it in a personal note. The list is endless on who you can send a note to.  Here are some ideas of people/neighbors we can offer hope, kindness and a smile to: 
  • a neighbor you have not seen or you know can use a positive note
  • those who are bereaved or supporting the bereaved
  • those who are anxious or feeling afraid
  • people alone and isolated
  • those working at risk jobs and essential workers
  • a teacher
  • the local food pantry
  • a medical professional
  • our fire and police
The challenge is to send two notes within two days to the people of your choice. One could be to say hello/thinking of you and another could be a thank-you/gratitude note.  We have 173 active volunteers.  Let's see if we can get at least half of our volunteers to participate.  If you accept the challenge please let us know by signing-up through the volunteer system.  Happy Writing!   

Important NEW Volunteer Requirements due to COVID-19
While we wait for our services to be called upon from location organizations such as senior center, food pantry, police, fire, and of course our neighbors in need please make sure you have met the NEW volunteer requirements.  They include reading the NB Handbook, Food Handler Training, COVID-19 Preparedness, and have a current CORI check on file. You can check to see if you met this criteria by logging into your account and clicking on Profile on the top right heading and selecting Qualifications.  It should look like the highlighted areas below.  If it doesn't then you will need to complete those tasks by clicking on the information button circled in red and following the instructions.  If you have any questions or need help accessing your account please feel free to reach out.

Franklin Neighbor Brigade Update
Franklin Neighbor Brigade Update

Community Opportunities
YMCA -  Growing demand for families in need of food is happening. Drop off box at YMCA is outside from 9am-6pm daily. Recommended following food items: oatmeal cups/packets, macaroni & cheese boxes/cups, granola bars (nut free whole grain preferred), applesauce or mandarin orange cups (no added sugar), whole grain crackers, tuna pouches in water (low sodium), Progresso chicken soup (low sodium), rice boxes/cups, Barilla Ready Pasta and pasta boxes.

Franklin Food Pantry needed wish list items can be ordered on Amazon using the following link

Tri Valley Meals on Wheels is in need of temporary volunteers to drive meals to residents in Franklin, Medway and Bellingham.  They have a volunteer sign up time from 11:00-12:30 Monday-Friday at the Grace Baptist church on Beaver street. You will need to bring your license and front page of your car insurance with line 5 highlighted. Any questions, call Gail Hamilton 508-520-1422.

Stay home when you can, find joy in the small moments and spread kindness when it's needed greatly!
Linda Gagnon and Cheryl Ferri
Franklin MA Neighbor Brigade Chapter Co-Leaders