Showing posts with label trust. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trust. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Town of Franklin, MA: Affordable housing opportunity - 1st come, 1st serve

Affordable Housing Opportunity Alert! 
You can learn more about the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust here:  or
Details on the 67 Palomino Drive – Dover Farms – Franklin, MA - $310,500 – First Come, First Serve - Resale

Shared from Twitter ->  or

Town of Franklin, MA: Affordable housing opportunity - 1st come, 1st serve
Town of Franklin, MA: Affordable housing opportunity - 1st come, 1st serve

Monday, March 20, 2023

How to find news you can trust - 3 session webinar series in April, 2023

Save the date for our webinar series.
How to Find News You Can Trust. Skills for seeking credible information. Free webinar series. Wednesdays. April 12, 19, and 26. 4pm Eastern Time/1pm Pacific Time.

Hi Franklinites!

You probably read, watch or listen to the news every day, and chances are you often do so online. How do you know whether news sources are credible? How do you know what to trust?

The News Literacy Project is offering a free three-part webinar series to help you navigate the increasingly crowded and rapidly changing information environment. We'll meet at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT on April 12, 19 and 26 for about 45 minutes, and we'll invite journalists to join the discussions to help us understand how they think about trust and credibility as they report the news.


April 12: Session 1 | What is quality journalism?

News outlets help us make informed decisions, but the process of creating news isn't always transparent. This session will pull the curtain back on the practice of quality, ethical journalism and its mission to inform us accurately.


April 19: Session 2 | Understanding news media bias

People frequently perceive and allege bias in news coverage, but what does this really mean? What makes a piece of news biased, and who decides? This session will empower you to evaluate the fairness, accuracy and objectivity of news coverage.


April 26: Session 3 | How fact-checking works

With the deluge of digital information, it's getting harder to know what to trust. Fact-checking organizations are taking up the charge to combat the spread of misinformation, debunking some of the most viral content springing up social media. We'll learn about the work professional fact-checkers do and skills we can use to do our own fact-checking.


You can find more information and register for the series here.

We look forward to learning with you! If you have questions about this series, please respond to this email.

For a future founded on facts,
The News Literacy Project

Visit us at,, and

The News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan education nonprofit, is building a national movement to advance the practice of news literacy throughout American society, creating better informed, more engaged and more empowered individuals — and ultimately a stronger democracy.

The News Literacy Project
5335 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Suite 440, Washington, DC 20015

Thursday, January 19, 2023

The News Literacy Project: 2 webinars scheduled on Public trust & Misinformation

(1) Jan. 23, 6pm ET: We regret the error: Public trust & media accountability

Audience: All invited
In-person (@PressClubDC, D.C.)
🔗 to register:

Newsroom leaders discuss past mistakes & what they've learned to build greater trust with their audiences

Shared from Twitter ->

(2) Jan. 26, 2pm ET: Your brain & misinformation: Why people believe lies & conspiracy theories (@APA)

Audience: All invited
Virtual 🔗

Untangle the threads in our heads & hearts that can cause us to accept & spread falsehoods even when we should know better

Your brain & misinformation: Why people believe lies & conspiracy theories
Your brain & misinformation: Why people believe lies & conspiracy theories

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Annual Report Of The Municipal Affordable Housing Trust - FY 2021

Note: FY 2021 is last year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The report was prepared to cover the business for the FY 2021 period. This year’s report FY 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) is in preparation now and is normally available for distribution at the polls for the November election.

The Franklin Municipal Affordable Housing Trust fund was established on May 18, 2005 by Bylaw Amendment 05-567. The Trust Fund can receive, hold, invest or expend funds for the rehabilitation, renovation, construction, financing or refinancing of property within the Town of Franklin making these residential properties available to low and moderate income families looking for an affordable home.

The Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) establishes the Median Income for the area annually (currently $120,800). Income limits are set at 80% of the Median Income based on household size. The “Affordable” sales price for a home is set assuming a household earning 80% of the median income can obtain a mortgage.

“Affordable” homes must have a “deed rider” attached to the deed of the home. The deed rider will preserve the resale value of the home so that it will remain as affordable in perpetuity. “Affordable“ homes must be purchased by income and asset qualified households.

Having the deed rider ensures that all the affordable units will be included on the “Subsidized Housing Inventory” (SHI). The goal is to have an affordable housing inventory of at least 10%. Franklin’s SHI is at 12%. This number allows the Town leeway to support only those developments that it feels benefit the community.

In FY2020, interest rates continued to be at historic lows and the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust processed 5 refinances and re-sold 1 home.

Progress is continuing on the Franklin Ridge senior housing project to be located off of Veterans Memorial Drive and behind Eaton Place. The project will include 60 new senior apartments that will be affordable to income and asset qualified seniors. The Trust has earmarked up to $550,000 in support of this project.

This year, as always, we look forward to pursuing innovative ways to produce affordable housing in the Town of Franklin. It is our pleasure to submit this annual report for your review.

Respectfully submitted,

Chris Vericker, Chairman 
Mary Anne Bertone 
Christopher Feeley
Jamie Hellen 
Maxine Kinhart 
Judith Pond Pfeffer

The full Annual Report for 2021 can be found

The collection of Annual Reports can be found online

Annual Town Report Of The Town Clerk’s Office - FY 2021
Annual Report Of The Town of Franklin - FY 2021

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

MA Senate Passes Legislation Supporting Special Needs Trusts for Disabled Seniors

The Massachusetts State Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to promote the wellbeing of senior citizens with disabilities by clarifying their right to create and access pooled trusts while also receiving MassHealth benefits. Pooled trusts can provide funding to help seniors with disabilities to pay for items and services which are not covered by MassHealth, such as home care services, uncovered medical, dental and pharmacy costs, transportation, clothing, and household items.


“MassHealth serves some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “Senior citizens and people with disabilities deserve to be able to save and make smart financial decisions for their living expenses without having to worry about their eligibility for MassHealth. I want to thank Senator Jehlen for pushing for this legislation and Senator Rodrigues for his committee’s review.”

“The passage of this legislation today strengthens our support for our older disabled population by improving their quality of life and makes aging in Massachusetts a more caring experience for this population in need,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “I would like to thank the Senate President for her continued support, along with Senator Jehlen and others for their advocacy, ensuring we help to preserve funds for this vulnerable population, while protecting their eligibility for public benefits.”


"For decades, disabled people have been able to use special needs trusts to pay for important services not covered by MassHealth," said Senator Patricia B. Jehlen (D-Somerville), lead sponsor of the bill. "The trusts allow them to qualify for MassHealth while preserving enough assets to pay for items not allowed by Medicaid rules, such as home care, transportation, dental care, clothing, and personal care items.  When the beneficiary of a special needs trust dies, any remaining assets are returned to the Commonwealth.  Millions of dollars are recovered from these trusts each year."


Pooled trusts, which are managed by nonprofit organizations, combine the resources of many beneficiaries for the purposes of administrative cost-effectiveness and investment optimization. In Massachusetts, they have been used to give people with disabilities a way to access health care benefits, such as those offered by MassHealth, while depositing additional funds into the trust to pay for items and services not covered by those benefits.


Historically, disabled individuals of any age have been permitted to join pooled trusts without interfering with their MassHealth eligibility. In 2019 however, a federal court decision held that a Medicaid penalty may be imposed on a senior who creates a pooled trust account which is not regarded as a ‘fair-market value’. This makes it possible for MassHealth to penalize disabled individuals aged 65 and over who set up a pooled trust. This legislation would prevent this by requiring MassHealth to regard all pooled trusts as ‘fair-market value’.


Having passed the Senate this legislation now goes on to the House of Representatives for enactment.

Link to legislation ->

MA Senate Passes Legislation Supporting Special Needs Trusts for Disabled Seniors
MA Senate Passes Legislation Supporting Special Needs Trusts for Disabled Seniors

Thursday, February 10, 2022

“What do you think is the strongest argument for the other side?”

"In recent years, the number of nonprofits and initiatives that could be categorized under a concept called “bridging” has expanded in the U.S.: Millions of Conversations, The People’s Supper and Good Conflict are just a few. Some efforts build on conflict resolution practices at a large scale (think social psychology) or individual (think marriage counseling), and all aim to create strong conditions for talking and working together across various fault lines.

Looking at this expanding list, it’s easy to wonder what journalists — who are faced with their own challenges in reaching people with shared conversation and facts — might learn from them. But why, amid all other pressures on their work and livelihood, might they want to?"
Continue reading the article online



Thursday, August 12, 2021

Franklin Annual Report - 2020: Municipal Affordable Housing Trust

The Franklin Municipal Affordable Housing Trust fund was established on May 18, 2015. The Trust Fund has capabilities to receive, hold, invest or expend funds for the rehabilitation, renovation, construction, financing or refinancing of property within the Town of Franklin making these residential properties available to low and moderate income families looking for an affordable home.

This year interest rates have been at historic lows and we have had numerous homeowners choosing to refinance their mortgages. The Department of Housing and Community Development provided an Agent to resell an over 55+ Townhouse in the Hidden Acres development. These units are purchased by income and asset qualified households, therefore keeping them in the affordable housing inventory. The Town has over the 10% target of its housing inventory as affordable units. We are currently at 11.89%. This number allows the Town leeway to support only those developments that it feels benefit the community.

Even though it is still several years away, Franklin Ridge, the much needed senior housing project, is proceeding as planned. Franklin Ridge will be located off of Veteran’s Memorial Drive and have 60 new senior apartments. The Trust has earmarked $500,000 and the land in support of this project. It will sit behind Eaton Place, our current senior housing development.

This year, as always, we look forward to pursuing innovative ways to produce affordable housing in the Town of Franklin.

It is our pleasure to submit this annual report for your review.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Anne Bertone 
Christopher Feeley 
Jamie Hellen 
Robert Keras 
Maxine Kinhart 
Judith Pond Pfeffer
Christopher Vericker, Chair 

For additional info about the Housing Trust, visit their page

For the full Annual Report for 2020

Prior Annual Reports can be found online

Franklin Annual Report - 2020:  Municipal Affordable Housing Trust
Franklin Annual Report - 2020:  Municipal Affordable Housing Trust

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Franklin Launches Freedom Team To Promote “Unity In The Community”

Franklin Becomes The Fifth Massachusetts Community To Form A Local Freedom Team

In the wake of 2020’s racial unrest, a broad coalition of Franklin community leaders came together to form a Freedom Team with the mission of ‘preserving freedom through unity in the community.’ The team’s members meet monthly to explore ways of offering dialogue and support to individuals and the entire community with a goal of promoting love, inclusion, and trust (“LIT”).
Franklin Freedom Team

“We, as a Town, are a community through unity,” explains jamele adams, Franklin resident and founder of the Freedom Team network. “And if anything happens in the community that is rooted in bias, instead of trying to figure out who to call and how to respond, we want a team to already be in place. We want a team that is proactive, reactive, and retroactive.”

Franklin Freedom Team membership follows the network’s Community 10-Point Connection Model which includes diverse community representatives, including parents, students, educators, town and school local officials, clergy, a lawyer, a trauma-informed clinician, a transformative justice facilitator, and a social media expert. In addition to their regular meetings, the Team hosts a hotline and email for residents to contact if they have experienced or witnessed bias-motivated threats, harassment, or violence. The Team promises to “offer a private and respectful space to discuss the incident using a transformative justice model not only to try to repair the harm through inclusion, trust, and equity, but also to educate and strengthen the community.”

To date, the group has met virtually every month throughout 2021 and their members have helped organize community conversations on police reform, inclusion in early education, and youth AAPI experiences. The group was in immediate dialogue following last month’s news of a swastika found in Franklin High School.

Mr. adams, the group’s founder, is no stranger to promoting ‘LIT-ness’ in majority-White communities. Longtime Dean of Students at Brandeis University and current Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Scituate Public Schools, adams first helped found a Freedom Team while living in Natick back in 2016. The success of the initial team – captured in a 2017
TEDx talk by adams (– has since inspired Hopkinton, Waltham, Wellesley, and now Franklin to form similar coalitions in their communities. (More teams are in development.)

The current membership of Franklin’s Freedom Team includes:
jamele adams, founder and transformative justice facilitator
Sara Ahern, Superintendent of Franklin Public Schools
Rabbi Tom Alpert, Temple Etz Chaim
Camille Napier Bernstein, community advocate
Justin Bates, co-founder of Franklin Area Against Racism
Cobi Frongillo, Town Councilor
Jamie Hellen, Franklin Town Administrator
Elise Howell, clinician
Chief TJ Lynch, Franklin Police Department
Rev. Kathy McAdams, Rector of St John's Episcopal Church and President of the Franklin Interfaith Council
Angelina Perez, student
Judith Perez, parent
Angela Snyder, lawyer
Meghan Whitmore, community advocate

You can learn more about the Franklin Freedom Team at

To report hate, bias-motivated threats, harassment, and violence, residents of Franklin are urged to call the hotline (508-507-9693) or email

Residents who fear for their immediate safety or have an emergency should call 911 immediately. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

FM #558 - Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Meeting - 06/02/21 (audio)

FM #558 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 558 in the series. 

This session shares the Franklin, MA Municipal Affordable Housing Trust meeting held on Wednesday, June 2, 2021. 

The meeting was conducted in a virtual format: some members were in the Municipal Bldg, other committee members and a small group of public participation were remote via the Zoom conference bridge, all to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

The meeting was a public hearing on the draft Housing Production Plan. It is open from comment until June 25, 2021. At that time, the comments will begin to be incorporated into an update which will also be subject to public hearings in particular by the Planning Board and Town Council as part of their approval process before being submitted to the State.

The show notes contain links to the meeting agenda and to the presentation document used. Let’s listen to the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust meeting of June 2 Audio file =


Agenda document 

Copy of the plan can be found

Link to presentation doc 

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

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   or 

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"


Planning Director Bryan Taberner
Planning Director Bryan Taberner

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Collection of Relevant Tweets - Saturday, Dec 19, 2020

A collection of relevant Tweets.

As President of the @MA_Senate, I am proud to have authored this piece with @SpeakerDeLeo on the need for federal stimulus to help our residents face the economic impact of #COVID19 in Massachusetts.  #mapoli 1/3
Even a state like Massachusetts, with a significant rainy-day fund, cannot unilaterally absorb all of the pain of an unprecedented public health crisis. #mapoli 2/3

Congress must remember its duty to the American people and pass a bill that will provide states with much-needed funds. Our constituents facing unemployment and our struggling small-business owners deserve nothing less. #mapoli 3/3
The piece referenced =>

#Scammers are taking advantage of fear and uncertainty during the #COVID19 pandemic to steal money and launder it through the complex cryptocurrency ecosystem. Protect yourself, and report #fraud to the #FBI at
FBI press release =>  
Link to tweet =>

  • Via Wired

"The goal of Russian disinformation is not to make you believe in anything, but to destroy your trust in everything." Journalist Maria Ressa explains the real goal of disinformation operations—and how they're weakening democracy:
Link to the Wired video clip =>
Link to the tweet =>

Alaska Airlines parodied an '80s song to promote COVID-19 safety

Or directly to YouTube

Monday, April 29, 2019

What is the Role of the Town Council?

1. A member of the Council, in relation to his/her community should:

  • A. Realize that his/her basic function is to make policy, with administration delegated to the Administrator.
  • B. Realize that he/she is one of a team and should abide by, and carry out, all Council decisions once they are made.
  • C. Be well-informed concerning the duties of a Council member on both local and state levels.
  • D. Remember that he/she represents the entire community at all times.
  • E. Accept the office as a means of unselfish service, not benefit personally or politically from his/her Council activities.
  • F. In all appointments, avoid political patronage by judging all candidates on merit, experience, and qualifications only.
  • G. Abide by the ethics established by the State and not use the position to obtain inside information on matters which may benefit someone personally.

2. A member of the Council, in his/her relations with administrative officers of the Town, should:

  • A. Endeavor to establish sound, clearly defined policies that will direct and support the administration for the benefit of the people of the community.
  • B. Recognize and support the administrative chain of command and refuse to act on complaints as an individual outside the administration.
  • C. Give the Administrator full responsibility for discharging the duties of his/her office.

3. A member of the Council, in his/her relations with fellow Council members, should:

  • A. Recognize that action at official legal meetings is binding and that he/she alone cannot bind the Council outside of such meetings.
  • B. Not make statements or promises of how he/she will vote on matters that will come before the Council until he/she has had an opportunity to hear the pros and cons of the issue during a Council meeting.
  • C. Uphold the intent of executive session and respect the privileged communication that exists in executive session.
  • D. Make decisions only after all facts on a question have been presented and discussed.
  • E. Treat with respect the rights of all members of the Council despite differences of opinion.

Shared from the Town of Franklin page

How to contact your Town Council

What is the Role of the Town Council?
What is the Role of the Town Council?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

“Preserving and protecting land comes at a cost"

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

The Metacomet Land Trust raised more than $30,000 in donations and grants to reach its 30th anniversary fundraising goal in 2018. 
“We are pleased to be celebrating our 30 year milestone as a regional land trust serving 15 communities,” said the organization’s president, Lisa Mosczynski. “We started out 30 years ago with three towns and as more communities saw the need to partner with a land trust to preserve and protect their valuable open space we have expanded to help them. 
Today we own 473 acres of conservation land and hold conservation restrictions that restrict development on an additional 343 acres. Among other partners, the trust works with individual owners, municipalities and the Commonwealth to preserve critical open space in the region.” 
In 2018 the trust finalized the acquisition of another 32 acres through landowner donations in Mendon, Sutton and Upton.
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Read more about the Land Trust on their page

Donate to the cause for 2018  (scroll to the bottom of their home page to find the Donate button)

“Preserving and protecting land comes at a cost"
“Preserving and protecting land comes at a cost"

Friday, December 21, 2018

Real vs. fake - work for good can be misused

"I think these results seem very realistic and intriguing, but at the same time frightening, even to me. Our goal was to build an accurate model of a person, not to misrepresent them. But one thing that concerns me is its potential for misuse. 
People have been thinking about this problem for a long time, since the days when Photoshop first hit the market. As a researcher, I'm also working on countermeasure technology, and I'm part of an ongoing effort at AI Foundation, which uses a combination of machine learning and human moderators to detect fake images and videos, fighting against my own work. 
And one of the tools we plan to release is called Reality Defender, which is a web-browser plug-in that can flag potentially fake content automatically, right in the browser."

To sign up for Reality Defender visit

For more about Supasorn

Friday, July 27, 2018

Why you should be news literate!

"Today, information moves around us in many forms, every hour of every day. Even if we do not seek out news on our own, we often receive it anyway, instantly, on our phones. 
So how can we manage this mountain of information so that fake news does not mislead us? 
We believe this requires news literacy. News literacy is the ability to use critical thinking skills to judge news reports. Are they credible? Can you rely on the reports to be true?"

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Metacomet Land Trust has a new web presence

The Metacomet Land Trust has a new and updated website.  

"Since 1988 Metacomet has worked with landowners, towns and state agencies to permanently protect land. MLT owns more than 350 acres across our member communities, protects another 162 acres through Conservation Restrictions, and has assisted in the conservation of another 900 acres---land that is now town open space, state parks and forests, and state wildlife management areas. 
Follow us @MetacometLandTr on Twitter 
Metacomet proudly serves the communities of Bellingham, Blackstone, Douglas, Franklin, Mendon, Millbury, Millville, Norfolk, Northbridge, Sutton, Upton, Uxbridge, and Wrentham."
Visit ->

screen grab of the new Metacomet Land Trust webpage
screen grab of the new Metacomet Land Trust webpage

Friday, July 10, 2015

Dacey's Market liquor sales restricted by Town Council

The Town Council had a busy meeting on Wednesday. They approved the sewer extension for a single family home on Crocker Ave and penalized Dacey's Market for liquor sales to an underage person. They sent a zoning bylaw change to the Planning Board for the area around the current Thompson Printing facility. They also authorized the funding of the trust fund to help resolve the OPEB issue.

Sewer Extension

The single family home owner will pay for the sewer extension and repaving the road where the sewer line is laid. The land is mostly ledge and won't support a septic system per Franklin's Health Dept inspector. The vote was 8-0 for this item at the second reading. Members of the Council had objected to the absence of the home owner for the first reading of the bylaw change. The home owner was present on Wednesday.

Dacey's Market

Dacey's Market was handed a 7 day penalty, 4 days to be served beginning July 16th and 3 days held in abeyance for 2 years. This is the second instance for underage liquor sales. The first took place in 2011. 

The underage sale was discovered when an off duty sargent was making a personal purchase and observed the individual making his purchase. A vehicle license check confirmed the underage status. An officer on duty happened to be in the area, he was contacted. Confirmed the underage status and made a vehicle stop to confirm the liquor purchase. He confiscated a CT license. The individual claimed to not have used it as the store employees regularly did not check for licenses.

The owner of Dacey's Market was present. He had purchased the license validation machine after the 2011 incident to prevent underage sales. If the machine says the license is good, he makes the sale. The license itself may be good but it may still not match the individual. Dacay's has 5 days to appeal the Council decision by going directly to the ABCC, otherwise the penalty will take effect as agreed to.

Zoning Bylaw

A zoning bylaw change was referred to the Planning Board to begin the process of changing the last industrial zone in downtown to residential. This was an outcome of a prior zoning workshop the Council, Planning Board and other Town official held March 25, 2015. (My meeting notes can be found here)

The area around the location of the current Thompson Building is the target for the change. It already abuts another similarly zoned parcel. The proposed change is hoped to provide additional residential space near the downtown area. The Planning Board will do their public hearing process and bring the bylaw back to the Council where there will be a public hearing and two readings before a vote. 

Franklin Municipal Building
Franklin Municipal Building

OPEB Trust Fund

Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) account is underfunded by the Town of Franklin to the tune of about $80M. An actuarial study currently underway will confirm the current requirement. Franklin had established a trust fund to help manage the money being put aside. The primary purpose for such would be to increase the rate of return on the funds invested. Current regulations impose a more conservative return opportunity for the money in 'stabilization' funds but allow for more aggressive funding opportunities in a managed trust fund.

The trust fund was established previously. The management committee had been meeting to discuss investment options and finally reached their decision. The Council's action was to approve the transfer of $1,875,334.64 (plus accrued interest) to the Trust Fund.  

The complete set of notes recorded live during the meeting can be found here