Friday, July 11, 2008

Another Social Networking Site - Wicked Local

WICKED LOCAL: Social networking comes to New England sites GateHouse Media New England has entered into an agreement with TownConnect to introduce family-based social networking and a variety of other community-building tools on GateHouse’s 159 Wicked Local town web sites in Massachusetts.

Through the co-branded Wicked Local People sites, residents of the 159 eastern Massachusetts communities served by GateHouse newspapers can participate in a free, secure, private network and easily organize online communities of friends, neighbors and extended families; coordinate schedules; share photos and files; and connect families, friends, and neighbors.

“When we launched the Wicked Local network last fall, we wanted to combine professional journalism, lots of community information, and lots of opportunities for residents to interact with us and with each other,” said Kirk Davis, president of GateHouse Media New England. “Working with TownConnect allows us to take that interaction to the next level - immediately.”
Read the full article in the Franklin Gazette here

If you have followed our web 2.0 series, you should have some idea of what this site can do. I did sign up but don't have the time just now to continue to fill out the info required. There were about 20 or so other Franklin folks to do so when I signed up. It will need to have more to be worthwhile.

"Each worked really hard"

Posted Jul 11, 2008 @ 12:57 AM


The newly formed Financial Planning Committee spent most of its second meeting getting details from Arlington Deputy Town Manager Nancy Galkowski about the $6 million Proposition 2 1/2 tax override her community passed in 2005 with the promise of not asking for another for five years.

Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting invited Galkowski because Franklin town leaders had expressed interest in proposing a similar scenario in the future: asking residents to approve a sizable override and not seeking another for an established number of years.

"We're completely different than Franklin," Galkowski told the group, which last night included Finance Committee Chairman Jim Roche, Finance Committee member Rebecca Cameron, School Committee members Matt Kelly and Roberta Trahan, Town Council Vice Chairwoman Deborah Bartlett, and resident Douglas Hardesty.

Aside from a strip of Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington has a negligible commercial base, she said, particularly compared with Franklin.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Schedule error persists

If you missed the meeting last night, you may not be alone. I also missed it due to a persistent schedule error. Both the old town web site and the new one contain the resolution 07-46 with the approved schedule of Town Council meetings for 2008. Both schedules show meetings on the 16th and not the 9th.

Oh well.

Schedule of Town Council meetings:

Oh by the way, there is a new look to the Town web site. Check it out!

"a bit disingenuous"

Posted Jul 09, 2008 @ 11:56 PM


Displeased that school officials did not rally behind his idea to give schools $1 million from the town's stabilization account, Councilor Robert Vallee withdrew the proposal last night.

"It appears it's not important enough of an issue for them to get involved in, so, as far as I'm concerned, the case is closed," Vallee said.

School Committee members, several of whom have previously stated taking stabilization funds is unsound fiscal practice but would still accept the money, did not attend the meeting, but heard Vallee's comments as they watched the televised meeting at home.

Three committee members, Cora Armenio, Roberta Trahan, and Susan Rohrbach, jumped in their cars and rushed to Town Hall to respond to Vallee's comments, which they said they felt were inaccurate and unfair.

A bit breathless from the mad dash to Town Hall, Armenio explained that tapping into the stabilization account is "fiscally irresponsible," and would still leave 22 teachers laid off. The School Committee members spoke outside the doors of Town Council chambers because the topic and the citizens comments portions of the meeting were closed.

"I find it a personal affront to say we do not care," Armenio said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Where in Franklin? Answer #50

Where in Franklin? Answer #50, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Maybe due to vacations, we did not get an answer to picture #50.

So getting back into the swing of things (after some of my own vacation), here the answer to #50 was found on Dean Ave with the blue shuttered/white clapboard building belonging to the Franklin Lumber Co.

Stay tuned for the next opportunity.

"three options for its future"

Posted Jul 08, 2008 @ 10:33 PM


There yet may be a ray of hope for proponents of keeping an active classroom at the historic Red Brick School, though it appears likely the School Department will hand the building to the town.

Last night, the School Committee's Subcommittee on Building Use decided to invite Town Council Chairman Christopher Feeley, Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting and School Superintendent Wayne Ogden to its Aug. 12 meeting to solicit input regarding the school's future, rather than voting to recommend school officials give the brick school to the town.

"To be fair to everyone, we should ask for input," said Roberta Trahan, a School Committee and subcommittee member.

"I've given a lot of thought to this. It's been a tough situation, and I had hoped the community" could reach an agreement on what to do with the Brick School this year, said Trahan.

Trahan outlined three options for its future: using the building for something else, such a learning center or museum; treating it as surplus and giving it back to the town; or waiving the School Committee's new policy prohibiting targeted gifts (for operational costs) to keep it open as a school.

The subcommittee hopes to come up with a recommendation for the School Committee at its Aug. 12 meeting (at 5:30 p.m. at the Municipal Building), said School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily New here

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Meeting schedule

During the last Town Council meeting, the talk of the "next" meeting was that it was going to be July 9th; the second Wednesday. Apparently, neither Chris Feeley nor Jeff Nutting had their real schedule handy at the time or recalled that the first meeting this month is actually July 16th. I carried forward that error in my reporting (and podcast) until I finally checked the Town website to find out otherwise.

School Committee meeting - 7/15/08 7:00 PM
Town Council meeting - 7/16/08 7:00 PM

Monday, June 30, 2008

"needs to fix critical problems"

Posted Jun 27, 2008 @ 10:29 PM


After months of a stressful budget season and failed tax override attempt, the School Department finally received good news last week.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Maureen Sabolinski announced the Massachusetts School Building Authority has invited the town to submit a letter of interest for a building project at Franklin High School.

The department had applied and was rejected two years ago, she said, and this is the first opportunity to reapply. The state did not give feedback explaining why it rejected the application, she said.

"We are very fortunate to get a second chance on potential state funding," said School Committee member Ed Cafasso.

"We need to come together as a community to seize this chance as quickly as possible. We are at a crossroads in terms of shaping the future of the high school. It's decision time. We owe it to the community to act decisively," said Cafasso.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Franklin Matters: Sch Com Mtg 6/24/08

Another in a series of podcasts on what matters in Franklin (MA). This one features three segments from the School Committee meeting of 6/24/08 reviewing the depatures from the district due to the budget cuts, the reallocation of some funds to add back 3 teachers, and the closure of the Brick classroom.

Time: 16 minutes, 39 seconds

MP3 File

My notes preparing to record this session:

Features three segments from The School Committee meeting of 6/24/08

In this first segment Asst Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski
Reviews the totals for the teacher layoffs done in May
Lists the categories of layoffs and other departures from the district
There will be some hiring to replace some people whose positions were not cut
Ed Cafasso reiterates a few key points on the numbers

---- ---- ----

In this second segment, Jeff Roy starts the discussion on the 180,000 unallocated funds in the budget
You may recall that this amount was in the hardcopy of the budget but didn’t calculate properly leaving the total unallocated
Sue Rohrbach reports from the budget subcommittee their recommendation
Maureen Sabolinski outlines the proposal to add three teachers in the elementary schools
Consensus was reached by the elementary principals on this decision
Reduces the districts net loss to 42 teachers

---- --- ---

In the final segment, Jeff Roy confirms that as the school and fiscal year come to a close that the district will complete the year at budget, with no surprises
Paula Mullen opens the discussion on the Brick classroom status
Maureen Sabolinski provides Details on the Davis Thayer situation with 2 kindergarten classes in one building
Cafasso closes expressing the committee hard choice in tough budget times

----- --- ---

The state has re-opened applications for school building projects, so the FHS renovation or building discussion will move to the forefront in the next couple of months to meet the state application date in Sept.
The July 9th Town Council meeting school audit/budget update to be presented
Next school committee meeting on July 15th

Stay tuned, stay involved

The holiday week ahead should be quiet, very few meetings, fireworks at the high school, and carnival rides and music on the common, but no parade, enjoy the 4th

---- --- ---

This podcast has been a public service provided to my fellow Franklin citizens and voters by Steve Sherlock

For additional textual information, please visit

If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve dot gmail dot com

The musical intro and closing is from the Podsafe Music Network
Jon Schmidt - Powerful Exhilarating Piano Music

"the traffic from Interstate 495 will be louder"

Posted Jun 28, 2008 @ 10:46 PM


The sisters of Mt. St. Mary's Abbey lead a simple life, and they plan to use the latest green technology to keep it that way.

The Cistercian community of 52 women grow most of their own food, adopting a vegetarian diet out of a philosophy of frugality and austerity. They use a solar-powered electric fence to hold their sheep and alpaca, and sustain their physical needs by making and selling candy.

In 2006, Sister Mariann Garrity replaced all of the incandescent bulbs at the abbey (about 200 light fixtures) with energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights.

This summer, the Cistercians of the Strict Observance at Mt. St. Mary's Abbey are getting further swept up in their efforts to conserve, putting a 40-meter-tall wind turbine in the field beside the sheep pasture, in the middle of their 580-acre property, which is split between Franklin and Wrentham.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Saturday, June 28, 2008

"nothing beats the flavor"

By Krista Perry/Daily News correspondent
Posted Jun 27, 2008 @ 10:52 PM

Local farmers and artisans lined the paths of Town Common yesterday for the third Friday in a row to sell their fresh produce and crafts to zealous customers.

The variety of the produce and the ability of local farmers to concentrate on specialty crops makes this farmers' market unique, many vendors said.

"This farmers' market is great for building the community," said Catherine LaValle, of Grateful Farm, an organic farm in Franklin. "People know our produce is fresh and that we do not use harsh chemicals."

LaValle said the presence of the farmers' market every Friday gives local farmers an opportunity to succeed during a terrible economy. Competition with larger farms is very high, she said.

Despite the hard times, LaValle said that Grateful Farm takes pride in the way they treat the earth.

"Many large farms do not rotate their crops and the soil loses its nutrients," she said. "We grow all kinds of different vegetables in all kinds of colors. You can't get that at a grocery store."
Read the full story in the Milford Daily News here

Friday, June 27, 2008

"as you learn more, you evolve "

Posted Jun 27, 2008 @ 12:10 AM


The Conservation Commission last night took a step forward in its plan to cut select trees from about 25 acres of the Franklin State Forest bordering Summer Street to keep the forest healthy and thriving.

The commission voted to allow Conservation Agent Nick Alfieri to prepare an request for a proposal to hire a consultant who will draw up a forest management plan.

Two commission members, Pearce Murphy and Jon Fournier, voted against the plan. "I feel ... for 10,000 years, forests have survived" without human intervention, Pearce said.

Commenting that he is not speaking for or against the plan, Alfieri advised the commission that it will have complete control over which trees it wants chopped, and they can change their minds even after consultants create a plan.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Thursday, June 26, 2008

"it just means other things won't get done"

Posted Jun 26, 2008 @ 12:26 AM


Taking a break from packing boxes, wrapping up "small issues" and moving out of Town Hall yesterday, Lisa Piana reflected on her 3 1/2 years as downtown manager, saying she is most proud of the work she's done in bringing people together.

Her role as the town's downtown manager ended yesterday, due to Town Council's recent decision to stop funding the position.

She had two separate roles, splitting her duties between working for the town nine hours a week and working for the Downtown Partnership 12 hours a week. She will remain the executive director of the Downtown Partnership.

"The downtown manager was the point-person to bring the community together with the town to make projects happen" - like attracting $30 million worth of development from Canton developer John Marini, she said.

"It's going to make a big difference for downtown retail," said Piana.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"It's not a shell game"

Posted Jun 25, 2008 @ 10:01 AM


At the recommendation of Assistant Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski, the School Committee last night agreed to use $180,000 of unspent money found in the athletic revolving account this year to put three teachers back in the classroom.

Former acting Finance Director for schools Paul Funk notified the committee of the accounting oversight this spring, but the committee opted to wait for the results of the Proposition 2 1/2 tax override on June 10 to decide how to use the money.

"In the past, the superintendent (Wayne Ogden) recommended using it for bringing back three teachers. We said right up front, teachers, teachers, teachers," which will reduce class sizes, Sabolinski said.

The School Committee agreed to allow principals to hire a Grade 4 teacher at Helen Keller Elementary School, a Grade 3 teacher at Oak Street Elementary, and a Grade 2 teacher at John F. Kennedy Elementary School, as class sizes there were slated to be 28 to 30 students, Sabolinski said.

"There was consensus among all elementary school (principals). A lot of thought went into making those recommendations. They looked at the needs of students in those classrooms," Sabolinski said.

School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy noted the district is still losing the vast majority of teachers they expected to this spring.

"It's only three teachers out of 45, so it's a net loss of 42 teachers," Roy said.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here.

School Committee Meeting 6/24/08

live reporting - Superintendent's report, subcommi...

live reporting - Action items

live reporting - FY 08, Brick closes

Allocation of $180,000 - 3 teachers come back

live reporting - late bus

Live reporting - school choice, Pay-to-ride

Live reporting - budget effects

School Committee meeting - live reporting

School Committee Meeting - Agenda - 6/24/08