Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"How do we do it cheaper, better, quicker?"

Posted Feb 04, 2009 @ 12:03 AM


Franklin is looking at a $5 to $5.2 million budget shortfall next fiscal year, right in line with the gap most Massachusetts communities will contend with, Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting told the Finance Committee last night.

Nutting is still waiting for a few numbers, on health insurance and the debt, to further pinpoint the shortfall, he said.

The town does have one glimmer of hope to offset the damage, Nutting noted: Gov. Deval Patrick's proposed hotel and meals tax proposal.

The hotel tax would net Franklin about $150,000, and meals tax, $850,000, Nutting said.

"It hasn't become law, but it would take a million-dollar bite out of the apple," Nutting said.

Read the full article on the FINCOM meeting from 2/3/09 in the Milford Daily News here

Franklin History

Did you know that there was a typewriter called "The Franklin"?

The Franklin is a downstroke-from-the-front machine with a curved keyboard. At least three British typewriters, the Salter, English and Imperial, have similar designs. This configuration offered visible writing (at least to a typist who craned her neck forward). Many nineteenth-century typewriter designers viewed the curved keyboard as ergonomically superior to the straight.
For more on "The Franklin", you have my permission to click on through to view the site with photos here.

Just don't forget to stop back here sometime for what matters in Franklin, MA! :-)

FACT: Green Fair 2/5/09

This Thursday come to a Green Fair to meet local green businesses and learn about how to fight global warming. We will have live music and interesting information.
Check out the details at our new website , and follow the link to an article in the Milford Daily news.
Check for directions.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

FINCOM - quick notes from 2/3/09

The Finance Committee wrapped up the capital discussions this evening and voted 9-1 to approve the Administration recommendations on $1.3M for capital to come from "free cash".

Presentations this evening covered the
School Dept - replace two vans (hopefully starts a regular replace of the school vehicles)
School Dept - text books (replacement of US History text that are 10 years old was one example)
School Dept - technology (desktop/notebook system replacements - all slated for replacement are more than 6 years old)

Town - Facilities (replacement of gazebo roof)

Town Administrator Jeff Nutting also provided an update on the current reduction of $300,000 from this years (FY 2009) budget. He is having his department heads look into how they can absorb this amount. He is not overly concerned about this year. (I agree given we come up with about $1 million in "free cash", that is money in the budget that is not used each year, coming up with $300,000 should be "easy".)

Jeff provided an outlook into FY 2010 budget. Given the numbers prepared by the various town and school departments thus far, he is forecasting a shortfall of about $5.2 million. (Note: it was reported last week that this number would be in the $4.5 to 5.5 million range.)

Jeff is hopeful that the state legislature will take action to enable some local taxes (i.e. the meals tax could be kept in Franklin and is estimated at about $800,000). Taxing the phone companies would generate about $150,000. So while together this would be about $1 million, it would help but not be anything near a silver bullet.

Of more concern to Jeff is the fact that the Town is on the path of getting to the minimum level of funding for the schools. It could be that in 2011, the state minimum would kick in and the town would be forced to make further cuts on the municipal side (or pass another override) to make the ends meet.

With the budget season now beginning in earnest, I encourage you to tune into the meetings. Better yet, make the effort to get to the Council Chambers for the key FINCOM, School Committee and Town Council meetings.

With you participation, then at least you can be assured of a good discussion and decision. You will have done what you could.

If you sit back and let someone else take action, you may not like the results but you'll need to live with them.

After school activities canceled today

The automated phone call just arrived with Superintendent Wayne Ogden announcing that all after school activities will be canceled due to inclement weather.

All schools will dismiss on their normal schedule. No late bus runs will be made today.

"The cost savings wouldn't be significant"

By state law, elementary school students are required to have 900 hours of learning time and secondary students must have 900 hours of structured learning time.

Bellingham officials calculated a hypothetical schedule with a four-day school week. In that scenario, school begin Aug. 10 and end June 23.

Students would get just one day of vacation during the Christmas holiday and school facilities would be off limits on weekends.

Ogden said it would be difficult to change the school structure.

"For some people, having kids go to school (nearly) year-round would be desirable, but for many, the traditional summer vacation is highly desired," he said.

Read the full article on how local school districts looked at the four-day week in the Milford Daily News here

WASTED - Panel discussion - 2/5/09 7:00 PM

W.A.S.T."E."D. will be hosting a panel discussion on Thursday, February 5, 2009 at 7:00 PM in the Franklin High School Lecture Hall to share information and strategies for identifying and dealing with the problem of underage alcohol use among our children. A distinguished panel of experts in this and related fields will be presenting information for all of us to help with this very dangerous and prevalent issue. The panel members assembled include:

Dr Nicole Danforth ,MD….Dr. Danforth is a staff psychiatrist for the Addiction and Recovery Management Service (ARMS) at Massachusetts General Hospital and will be giving a presentation on adolescent brain and personality development, emphasizing the ways in which normal development can predispose to risky behaviors.

Darin Haig, EdM, LHMC….Mr. Haig is program coordinator for the Family Partnership Program at Riverside Community Care. His practice and experience is working on family-based strategies to deal with various mental health and substance use issues. He has greater than 12 years of experience in his field, and is a resource for parenting strategies in these areas.

Christopher Bates Parkinson, JD….Mr Parkinson is an attorney with expertise in the area of social host liability. He is an associate with the firm of Campbell, Campbell, Edwards &Conroy. This firm has a long history of dedication to educating students/teachers/parents regarding the Social Host Law.

Mike Jackman…Mr. Jackman is the Director of School Programs for the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office. He is dedicated to the coordination of all programs and presentations offered by the staff of the District Attorney’s Office to schools and communities.

Dan McLean…Officer McLean is a Resource Officer for Franklin High School. He is a member of the Franklin Police Department, and has a regular presence at the high school with integral knowledge of student life within the school. As a result of his role as resource officer, he also has first-hand experience with the social pressures that our children face on a regular basis, and the consequences of risky behaviors. He is a graduate of Franklin High School, and a proud Head Football Coach who is celebrating the championship season at Tri-County Vocational Technical School.

Tom Hermanowski…Mr. Hermanowski has a 37-year career of dedication to the issue of underage substance use. He has earned many awards for his involvement, including the 2008 Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Partner in Prevention of the Year Award. He will serve as the evening’s moderator.

All of the panel members will be involved in presentation of information, and available for an extended Q&A session with the audience.

This is a follow up to the W.A.S.T."E."D. Presentation in December 2008

This information was originally posted on Peter Light's page here

Seth asks: What are schools for?

Seth Godin asks an interesting question and then proposes a starter listing for the answer:

Seems like a simple question, but given how much time and money we spend on it, it has a wide range of answers, many unexplored, some contradictory. I have a few thoughts about education, how we use it to market ourselves and compete, and I realized that without a common place to start, it's hard to figure out what to do.

So, a starter list. The purpose of school is to:

  1. Become an informed citizen
  2. Be able to read for pleasure
  3. Be trained in the rudimentary skills necessary for employment
  4. Do well on standardized tests
  5. Homogenize society, at least a bit
  6. Pasteurize out the dangerous ideas
  7. Give kids something to do while parents work
  8. Teach future citizens how to conform
  9. Teach future consumers how to desire
  10. Build a social fabric
  11. Create leaders who help us compete on a world stage
  12. Generate future scientists who will advance medicine and technology
  13. Learn for the sake of learning
  14. Help people become interesting and productive
  15. Defang the proletariat
  16. Establish a floor below which a typical person is unlikely to fall
  17. Find and celebrate prodigies, geniuses and the gifted
  18. Make sure kids learn to exercise, eat right and avoid common health problems
  19. Teach future citizens to obey authority
  20. Teach future employees to do the same
  21. Increase appreciation for art and culture
  22. Teach creativity and problem solving
  23. Minimize public spelling mistakes
  24. Increase emotional intelligence
  25. Decrease crime by teaching civics and ethics
  26. Increase understanding of a life well lived
  27. Make sure the sports teams have enough players
Read the full posting Seth makes on his blog here

What would you add to or subtract from this listing?

The Green Reel: "Everything's Cool"

The Green Reel: a series of films for sustainable living will be shown on Sunday evenings this winter.

What: "Everything's Cool"

When: 7:00 PM on February 8, 2009

Where: Agudas Achim, 901 North Main St, Attleboro or directions here

Free and open to the public.
For more info: 508-695-2389

read more about the file "Everything's Cool" here

Agudas Achim
Crystal Spring Center
Simply Keep It Local
Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary
Citizens for a Sustainable Local Economy
Murray Unitarian Universalist Church
Green Committee of First Universalist Society of Franklin
New Dawn Earth Center
Oake Knoll Ayrshires
Franklin Area Climate Team
White Barn Farm
St Mark's Episcopal Church-Foxboro

Monday, February 2, 2009

Uncle Nick’s Happy Fun Hour III

FRANKLIN - The Franklin Performing Arts Company will present its second free concert in the 2009 Family Concert Series, "Uncle Nick’s Happy Fun Hour III," on Feb. 8, at 300 PM.

The musical event, open to the public, offers children the opportunity to enjoy folk classics, blues, early rock and roll, sing-alongs, dance-alongs and special guests. Guests are invited to bring their love of music and join Uncle Nick for an afternoon of fun.

Uncle Nick played to a standing-room-only crowd for the past two years.

Call 508-528-8668 by Friday, Feb. 6, to make a reservation.

The third concert in FPAC’s Family Concert Series will conclude with Opera for Children on Sunday, April 5, at 3 p.m. Visit for details.

FPAC’s Family Concert Series is sponsored in part by Berry Insurance and the Franklin Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.
This was originally posted online here

Town Council - Agenda - 2/4/09






F. HEARINGS -Alcoholic Beverage Licensees
– for Failure to Pass Compliance Check - 7:10 PM
  • Cottage Street Pub & Grill – 1st Offense
  • Pepper Terrace Restaurant – 2nd Offense


  • Charles River Pollution Control District


  • Resolution 09-04: Onset Circle, A Private Way: Acceptance of Covenant with Developer





O. EXECUTIVE SESSION – Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required


Defibrillators coming to Franklin Line

Automated external defibrillators will soon be available to passengers on the commuter rail system, which includes stations in Attleboro, South Attleboro, Mansfield, Norfolk and Franklin, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority and the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Rail Co. were expected to announce today.

Read the full article in the Attleboro Sun here

Failure to pay attention

Pay attention to what you ask?

There were approx. 30 in the Attleboro hall to view the movie “Escape from Suburbia” and the discussion that followed versus millions in front of their TV to watch the Super Bowl.

How much oil/coal was consumed to power the Super Bowl and all the TVs to watch the spectacle?

Oil that a short while ago had risen to historic prices generating lots of talk but now that the prices have returned to lower levels, the issue seems to have passed.

It hasn’t.

What can I do? The problem is so huge.

“Conservation is one answer… conservation is economically more sustainable.”

Reduce your household energy use. Change out regular light bulbs for the energy saving kind. Take one small step at a time but keep at it.

“Action encourages optimism”

Take the 2 Mile Challenge!

Walk or use a bike (in the warmer New England weather) to the store for those small item errands rather than take the family vehicle.

“Community is our solution. We need to help one another.”

Get active in your community. There are a number of groups in the area that are working to address this issue. The Franklin Area Climate Team is one. Check out the sponsor listing for the Green Reel series for other groups in our area.

Talk with your neighbors, share the tips and tricks you pick up with each other.

Do something today!

Note: this was also posted today at Steve's 2 Cents

Note: The quotations in Bold were from the movie "Escape from Suburbia" as I took notes Sunday night.

Both measures would only affect sewer fees

For the first override, Medway's share of next fiscal year's budget would rise 23 percent to about $327,000, for example, according to information provided by the control district. The override, which would be the district's first since 1988, is mainly needed because the state has required two more people be hired at the treatment plant, and to pay for higher maintenance and chemical costs.

The debt exclusion override would raise Franklin's capital payments in 2015 from $102,000 annually to $1 million a year for the next 20 years. In Medway, the increase would be from $25,000 to $260,000 per year.

The Charles River Pollution Control District's treatment plant mainly serves Franklin and Medway, but also handles Bellingham's and Millis' sewer systems and septage tanks from Dover, Sherborn, Norfolk and Wrentham.

Only Franklin and Medway have votes on the increases. Their representatives on the district's commission unanimously approved them last month. District officials presented the plan to Medway selectmen last week, though they have not yet voted on it. The Franklin Town Council will hear a similar presentation in the next few weeks, said Town Administrator Jeffrey D. Nutting.

Read the full article on the proposed Charles River fee increases in the Milford Daily News here

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Early word on Franklin local aid cut

Officials in Franklin, which lost $299,676 in the local aid reductions, don't yet know where they will make cuts, said Council Chairman Christopher Feeley, "but we know it should not affect schools."

The news was not as painful as Feeley anticipated, he said.

"I thought it was going to be more dramatic. We've known this was coming, so there are some municipal positions that haven't been filled. Three hundred thousand dollars is a lot of money, but it's not a lot of out a billion," Feeley said.

Read the full article about the effects of state aid cuts on local communities in the Milford Daily News here.