Saturday, December 4, 2021

Town Council Quarterbacking - 12/02/21 - What happened at the Town Council meeting? (audio)

FM #670 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 670 in the series. 

This shares my conversation with Town Council Chair Tom Mercer. This is one of a series of conversations meant to provide a recap of the prior Council meeting. Akin to one of the many sports post-game analysis broadcasts we are familiar with in New England,  this would be a discussion focused on the Franklin Town Council meeting of December 1, 2021: 

  • ok, what just happened? 

  • What does it mean for Franklin residents and taxpayers?

We cover the following key topics

  • Subcommittee assignments announced, meeting calendar approved

  • Tax rate hearing

  • Snow presentation

  • TA Report – NationalGrid

The recording runs about 35 minutes:

Links to the meeting agenda and associated documents released for this meeting are included in the show notes. The link to my notes taken during the meeting is also provided.

Let’s listen to this recording of Town Council Quarterbacking Dec 2, 2021

** Audio file ->


Town Council Agenda document ->


My notes from the meeting  -> 


We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial.  

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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!


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Snow presentation
Snow presentation

Franklin Federated Church: Advent and Christmas Activities 2021

  • 12/11   Saturday  7 PM
Dr. Seuss' Original TV special  
(26 min) "How the Grinch Stole Christmas"
in the Sanctuary.  Enjoy a craft and trinket to remember those in our hearts at Christmas.
Sundays, Dec.12, 19 & 24 join us on Facebook, in person or livestream for Advent/Christmas services at

  • 12/19     Sunday  7 PM
Outdoor Christmas Caroling
Front lawn of Franklin Federated Church.  Sing carols around the firepit, drink hot chocolate and share fellowship. (Hot Chocolate and other snacks will be available from C&C Food Truck) 
Sundays Dec. 12, 19 & 24, join us on Facebook, in person or livestream for Advent/Christmas services at

Franklin Federated Church: Advent and Christmas Activities 2021
Franklin Federated Church: Advent and Christmas Activities 2021

NETA Opens Their 3rd Retail Store in Franklin, MA

New England Treatment Access (NETA) announced today that the cannabis company will be formally opening its 3rd retail store in Franklin, MA on Saturday, December 4, 2021, at 8:00 AM. The 10,000 square foot space, which includes retail, warehouse, and offices, is located at 162 Grove St. Franklin is also home to NETA’s cultivation and processing facility and the company’s headquarters, both located on Forge Parkway.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held today at noon with local and state officials and the grand opening event will take place on Saturday, December 4th from 11 AM  - 4 PM. We look forward to the Franklin community joining us for our celebration.

NETA has hired more than 60 employees for the new store, which will offer the same high- quality products that the company provides at its other two locations, in Brookline and Northampton. The Franklin store will be open Monday through Saturday 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM and Sunday 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM EDT. The new site provides over 100 parking spaces for patients and customers.

For the first 30 days of operation, it will be reserve ahead only for patients and customers and after that point NETA will offer in-person as well as reserve ahead options.

NETA is a division of the privately held, multi-state cannabis company Parallel and a leading cannabis operator in Massachusetts, being among the first to offer medical and adult-use cannabis to patients and customers in the state.

This announcement follows NETA’s launch of adult use delivery in partnership with Your Green Package, a majority women and Black owned social equity licensee, and is one of the first companies to deliver cannabis in the state.

“We want to thank the Cannabis Control Commission for its continuing support of the cannabis industry. We are thrilled to be able to offer patients and customers in the greater Franklin area easy access to us. We want to thank the Franklin community and its town leaders for welcoming us so warmly,” said Brad Doyle, NETA President. “Route 495 makes it convenient to reach us using either the Route 140 or King Street exits.”

Patients and customers will be able to purchase a variety of premium flower and pre-rolls, edibles, vaporizers, concentrates and more, from an array of Parallel’s top-quality brands.
ribbon cutting ceremony
ribbon cutting ceremony

New England Treatment Access (NETA) (, a division of the privately held, multi-state cannabis company Parallel, is the leading vertically integrated cannabis company in Massachusetts. Founded by industry pioneers whose roots in regulated cannabis date to 2009, NETA's licenses encompass medical and adult-use retail operations in Brookline and Northampton and soon to be opened in Franklin with cultivation and processing facilities also in Franklin. Across the organization, NETA employs 550 individuals and produces more than 435 unique SKUs. NETA conducted the first legal adult use sale of cannabis east of the Mississippi in 2018 and has provided cutting edge therapies and best in class services to our customers in Massachusetts since 2015.


5th Annual MyFM Tailgating For Toys Charity Toy Drive Collects Over $25,000 in Toys

5th Annual MyFM Tailgating For Toys 

Charity Toy Drive Collects Over $25,000 in Toys

Massachusetts Broadcasters Association's 2021 Radio Station of the Year, MyFM 101.3, recently spent the weekend of Friday, November 26th through Sunday, November 28th, braving the elements outside of Walmart in Bellingham, MA collecting an estimated $25,000 worth of toys over a 31-hour period for the local, veterans-operated organization Toys For Kids And Teens.

A COW (Container on Wheels) was generously donated by Gallo Moving in Milford and utilized as storage for the donated toys over the three-day donation event.  The COW was also used to efficiently transport the donations to the Toys For Kids and Teens headquarters in Northbridge at the end of the collection.

While many toys were donated on site from listeners of the station and Walmart shoppers, a large factor in the success of the drive each year is through the generous support from "Shopping Spree Sponsors".

A Shopping Spree Sponsor is an individual/business that donates a minimum of $250.00 in cash to the cause. The cash donation was then spent on toys by an official MyFM Tailgating For Toys volunteer in Walmart. In return for the monetary donation, the shopping was done and a Facebook video was posted with all the toys purchased in their name as a thank you. Videos can be viewed on the station's Facebook page @MyFM1013.

"Those sponsorships make a huge impact.  It really sets the tone for the entire drive.  We're lucky to have so many generous friends," said MyFM Operations manager and event coordinator, Ray Auger.

Toys for Kids and Teens is a 5013c non-profit organization that collects and disperses toys during the holiday season to families in need. Toys for Kids and Teens covers the Blackstone Valley area, further points east.  They can be reached through their website at

Charity Toy Drive Collects Over $25,000 in Toys
Charity Toy Drive Collects Over $25,000 in Toys

Operations Manager - MyFM 1013
"2021 MBA Radio Station of the Year"

Frontman for The Pub Kings
"Electroacoustic Music For The Thirsty"

President - Local Social
Small Business Social Media Marketing and Brand Design 

Franklin Public Schools, MA: 2021 brought many great moments

"A little rewind on some of our many great moments this past year!

FPS Wrapped style ⏪"

Shared from Twitter:

Franklin Public Schools, MA: 2021 brought many great moments
Franklin Public Schools, MA: 2021 brought many great moments

Franklin Dog Park: The gazebo is finished

Via Furry Friends of The Franklin Dog Park Volunteer Committee: 

"Franklin dog park gazebo is completed. Franklin dog park is open. Thank you for your patience."

Franklin Dog Park: The gazebo is finished
Franklin Dog Park: The gazebo is finished

Season of giving. Season of gratitude

Holidays 2021
Tina's Take
Season of Gratitude

In this season of giving and gratitude, as I wrap up my first year as Executive Director, I know I have a lot for which to be grateful. I am so thankful for the many ways the Franklin community supports our mission – through giving, volunteering, organizing drives, attending events and sharing our message. I am grateful to our volunteers who stood out in all types of weather, stocked our shelves, loaded our distribution bags, harvested our gardens, served on committees, and cared for our neighbors. I'm appreciative of our donors who included the Pantry in their charitable spending and committed to making monthly donations. I'm deeply indebted to our staff for working tirelessly and being flexible as we opened our first ever hybrid distribution model. I'm grateful to our neighbors for their spirit, perseverance, and bravery. I am thankful for my family who supported me as I moved from a Board member to an Executive Director and continue to learn and grow so that I can serve our community. Finally, I'm grateful to YOU for your generosity, your heart, and your commitment to help end food insecurity.
I hope you can rest, reflect, and celebrate this holiday season with the traditions that are meaningful to you! I'm looking forward to a happy new year, where together, we will work to feed our neighbors and give everyone a brighter new year!

Tina Powderly, Executive Director
Holiday Distribution
On November 17, we distributed over two hundred Thanksgiving meal bags to our neighbors. This year, we were able to give our neighbors the opportunity to choose their main course with a gift card to Stop and Shop. We also provided side dishes, a bag of coffee, fresh rolls, an apple pie and a bag of fun holiday supplies! Thank you to our sponsors who help make these meals happen.
We look forward to our annual holiday Ham distribution on Monday, December 20. Please note that traffic may be heavy between 1:30 and 2:30 as we move our neighbors through the line. We appreciate your patience as we work to make the holidays happy for our community. Thank you!  
10th Annual Turkey Trot!
Our 10th annual Turkey Trot was an enormous success. We had over 1000 people register to run or walk the 5K course. We would like to thank all our race sponsors and a very special thank you to our race directors: Krystal Whitmore and Erin Campbell and our sponsor coordinator: Kim Cooper.
Food Elves 2021
You better not cry! You better not pout! Our Food Elves are coming to town! Between December 1 and December 12, be on the lookout for a white envelope on your door (our signature purple envelopes got caught in the supply chain). Help support these wonderful Franklin area students as they raise funds to assist our neighbors all year round. Didn't have an elf visit your home? You can still support the cause by donating here.  
Food Donations 

We appreciate all the food donations we receive this time of year. Please deliver donations to our purple bin. We gently ask you to not donate during our curbside distribution hours (Tuesdays from 9:00 – 1:00 pm and 5:30 to 6:30 pm.) We also would like to remind you that the donation bin is locked on weekends and will be locked between December 23 and January 2.

Please check out our current needs list and our donation do's and don'ts before donating! And if you are interested in holding a large donation event, please fill out our online food and fund drive form. This helps us plan and ensure that our neighbors get the food they need! Thank you!  
Support us All Year

Looking for a way to support The Pantry all year long? Consider becoming a monthly donor.  By making a monthly commitment to the Pantry, you will make a long-term impact, help sustain our programs and reduce our administrative costs, so that more of your money goes right to our mission: fighting food insecurity in our community You can sign up here
Thank you for your continued support! This has been a challenging, yet fulfilling year as we continue to help our neighbors. We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season.  

Franklin Food Pantry | 43 WEST CENTRAL STREET, Franklin, MA 02038

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Legislature Passes American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), FY21 Surplus Spending Bill

Legislature Passes American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA),

FY21 Surplus Spending Bill

Investments focus on communities hard hit by COVID-19 and supporting the ongoing economic recovery

Today (Dec 3, 2021), the Massachusetts Legislature advanced a $4 billion bill to the governor's desk that directs federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) surplus funding to assist the Commonwealth's ongoing economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. With a focus on making equitable investments and prioritizing communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, the legislation delivers targeted supports to workers and businesses, and the critical sectors of housing, health care, mental and behavioral health, climate preparedness, education, and workforce development.

"The one-time investments made in this bill address evident needs across all Massachusetts communities and sectors of the economy, particularly those who were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic," said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). "The Legislature engaged in a hearing process before appropriation, and informed by the public's feedback, this bill will help the Massachusetts economy strongly recover. I thank chairs Michlewitz and Hunt, members of the House, Senate President Spilka and our partners in the Senate, as well as all stakeholders and residents for their input throughout this process."

"While the Commonwealth's history of saving for a rainy day allowed us to hold steady during the immediate shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, the road to full economic recovery will be long," stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). "Rather than going 'back to normal,' to an inequitable status quo, the Senate was intentional in using both our American Rescue Plan and Fiscal Year 2021 surplus funds for transformational change to allow us to go 'back to better.' The plan passed today sets forth bold investments in housing production, public health, small business and workforce development, climate change mitigation, and many more areas, all while ensuring that the benefits are distributed equitably in every community across our state. I am particularly proud of the significant investments we have made in our mental health care system that will begin to address the growing need for access to care across the Commonwealth. with the goal of transforming the delivery of mental health care in our state—a need felt in every corner of our Commonwealth. I am grateful for the many contributions from my colleagues in the Senate, Speaker Mariano and our partners in the House, and the many members of the public who provided input to shape this first phase of implementation of the American Rescue Plan in Massachusetts."

Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Legislature voted to transfer the state's $4.8 billion allocation from ARPA, which must be allocated by 2024, into a separate fund to ensure stakeholder and resident engagement in a public process. Following six public hearings and more than a thousand pieces of testimony received, the House's and Senate's spending proposals were unanimously approved by each chamber, resulting in the comprise bill which advances to the Governor's desk today. This bill utilizes $2.55 billion in ARPA funds and $1.45 billion in FY21 surplus funds.

"This spending package makes significant, targeted investments into areas such as affordable housing, workforce development, and boosting our health care system that will give a much-needed boost to our residents who were hit the hardest by this pandemic," said Representative Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston), House Chair of the Committee on Ways and Means. "Throughout this legislation, the needs of communities that were disproportionally affected by the pandemic are prioritized. By doing so, the Legislature has passed a truly equitable spending plan."

"With the passage of this important bill today, we mark another important milestone in our efforts to shape our post-pandemic future, while taking advantage of this historic opportunity that the American Rescue Plan Act funds represent to support an equitable recovery and those hit the hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic — our residents, essential frontline workers and small businesses," said State Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Senate Chair of the Committee on Ways and Means. "Ensuring every voice across Massachusetts had a chance to engage and be heard, this conference committee report makes it very clear - we heard the call for equitable investments in mental health, public health, workforce development, and so many other critically important areas with the goal of improving the lives of our residents and helping those disproportionately impacted during these difficult last two years. I thank Senator President Spilka, my fellow conferees, Senator Friedman and Senator O'Connor, my colleagues in the Senate, the members and staff of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, our partners in the House, Speaker Mariano and Chair Michlewitz, and the many members of the public who provided invaluable input to help us put these funds to work for our communities and support our Commonwealth as we recover from this ongoing pandemic." 

"This strong spending package is the result of many months of a robust public process as well as tireless work and collaboration with colleagues, stakeholders and residents across the state," said Representative Daniel J. Hunt (D- Boston), House Chair of the Committee on Federal Stimulus and Census Oversight. "I am grateful to Speaker Mariano and Chair Michlewitz for their diligent work to deliver legislation that will help our Commonwealth recover stronger and equitably."

Notable investments included in the bill are as follows:                         

Economic Recovery and Workforce Development

  • $500 million for premium pay bonuses for essential workers, up to $2,000 per worker
  • $500 million for the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, providing necessary relief to business
  • $100 million for vocational school infrastructure and capacity building needs
  • $37.5 million for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to support organizations working with people displaced from jobs during the pandemic, historically underserved populations, and individuals reentering their communities from the corrections system
  • $50 million for equitable and affordable broadband access and infrastructure improvements to close the digital divide
  • $135 million for Mass Cultural Council to support the cultural sector 
  • $75 million for small businesses, including $50 million for direct grants to historically underserved populations and minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned small businesses and $25 million for nascent businesses
  • $15 million for regional high-demand workforce training at community colleges 
  • $25 million for the expansion of Career Technical Institutes
  • $24.5 for workforce development and capital assistance grants to the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs and the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs, as well $4.5 million for the YWCAs
  • $20 million for the resettlement of Afghan evacuees and Haitian evacuees
  • $15 million to enhance and diversify the cybersecurity sector with partnerships between public higher education institutions and private businesses 
  • $14 million for agricultural economy supports
  • $10 million for regional tourism councils

Affordable Housing and Homeownership

  • $150 million for supportive housing, including $65 million for the chronically homeless population, and $20 million to increase geographic equity and accessibility related to the continuum of long-term care services for veterans not primarily served by the Soldiers' Homes in Chelsea or Holyoke
  • $150 million for public housing authorities to maintain and upgrade existing infrastructure 
  • $115 million for the CommonWealth Builder Program to support housing production and promote homeownership among residents of disproportionately impacted communities
  • $115 million for affordable rental housing production and preservation for the workforce and low- and moderate-income individuals
  • $65 million for homeownership assistance tools, including down payment assistance, and mortgage interest subsidy supports

Mental and Behavioral Health, Public Health and Health Care

  • $400 million in mental and behavioral health supports, including $122 million for workforce loan repayment programs for behavioral health and substance use professionals
  • $300 million for the Home and Community-Based Services Federal Investment Fund to address workforce needs for those caring for vulnerable populations
  • $200.1 million to support the state's local and regional public health infrastructure  
  • $260 million for acute hospitals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • $44.8 million for food security infrastructure, including $17 million for the Greater Boston Food Bank for regional food security network improvements across the Commonwealth, $5 million for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, $2 million for the Massachusetts Food Trust Program to provide loans, grants and technical assistance in a regionally equitable manner to communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, $1.92 million for Project Bread to better connect eligible unenrolled residents with federal nutrition programs statewide and $1 million for the Massachusetts Military Support Foundation, Inc. for the operation of empowerment centers and to support the distribution of food to veterans in need
  • $30 million to support a robust and diverse home health care and human service workforce through recruitment, retention, and loan forgiveness programming
  • $50 million for nursing facilities, including $25 million for capital support to increase the quality of patient care and $25 million for workforce initiatives
  • $25million for youth-at-risk supports and grant programs for community violence prevention and re-entry organizations, focused on communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • $25million for youth summer and school-year jobs
  • $5 million for Health Care For All to conduct a community-based MassHealth redetermination and vaccination outreach, education, and access campaign targeted in communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic
  • $5 million for the Disabled Persons Protection Commission to study and review the interrelationship between service-providing agencies for individuals with disabilities within the Commonwealth and to design and implement a system for an interconnected network that will provide a continuum of care for those individuals
  • $2 million for unreimbursed COVID-19 costs for Early Intervention providers
  • $500,000 to establish transportation services for participants in the Massachusetts Veterans' Treatment Courts

Climate Preparedness

  • $100 million for water and sewer infrastructure investments through the Clean Water Trust  
  • $100 million for environmental infrastructure grants, including the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program 
  • $90 million for marine port infrastructure investments focused on the promotion of offshore wind development
  • $25 million for Greening the Gateway Cities program to support tree planting
  • $15 million for parks and recreational assets 
  • $7.5 million for community colleges to help train underserved populations for green jobs
  • $6.5 million for clean energy retrofitting in affordable housing units
  • $5 million for the advancement of geothermal technologies 


  • $100 million to improve indoor air-quality in schools and support healthy learning environments for grants to public school districts with high concentrations of low-income students, English language learners, and communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19
  • $75 million for capital and maintenance projects for higher education
  • $25 million for the Endowment Incentive Program at the University of Massachusetts, state universities and community colleges
  • $20 million for special education, including $10 million for workforce development
  • $10 million for programs focused on recruiting and retaining educators of color

Accountability and Oversight

To support communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and prioritize historically underserved populations, the bill establishes an equity and accountability review panel for federal funds to track in near real-time the amount and percentage of ARPA funds spent in these communities and awarded to minority-owned and women-owned business enterprises. The bill also takes steps to ensure minority-owned and women-owned business have fair participation on procurements issued under the act. 

Having passed the House and Senate, the compromise legislation now advances to the governor's desk for consideration.

Boston Globe coverage (subscription maybe required)

 The legislation itself can be found online ->

he Massachusetts State House, still closed and mostly inactive.EPA
the Massachusetts State House, still closed and mostly inactive.EPA