Saturday, June 27, 2009

Franklin: train depot eye sore no more

The old and falling apart railroad building next to the Agway on Cottage Street near the corner of Union is no longer.

The demolition crew was working on breaking up the concrete foundation on Friday. What remained of the red painted boards were in some large dumpsters waiting to be trucked away.

I have an interest in the old days and particularly in the way things were done. I managed to work in a steel mill in RI for a couple of summers between college before the mill closed.

Does anyone know when this building was last in operation?

Did anyone have relatives who worked there loading freight to/from the trains?

"designed to give them experience"

Milford Daily News
Posted Jun 26, 2009 @ 10:55 PM
Last update Jun 26, 2009 @ 11:43 PM


In response to the deflating summer job market for teenagers, the Bernon Family Branch YCMA is starting a new training program to help teens become more marketable.

The Teen Corps volunteer workplace skills program will train teenagers who had planned to get jobs this summer, but who have been unable since many companies have stopped hiring - particularly inexperienced teens for summer-only work, according to the program's coordinator, Christina Puleo.

"We put this program together in response to the lack of jobs in the area for teens," Puleo said. "I actually have had a couple of parents that have called me that planned for their children to get jobs and they've said many of those jobs have gone to adults."

Read the full article about this youth program in the Milford Daily News here

Commuter rail seeks customer feedback

In an effort to be more responsive to customers, the Massachusetts Bay Commuter Railroad today introduced a program to solicit feedback from customers and to better inform management on all areas of performance including fare collection, cleanliness and on-time performance.

In a press release, Richard A. Davey, general manager of the commuter railroad, said, "It is critical that we hear from customers about our performance and that we remain accountable through providing accessible performance statistics are to riders.

"By putting our on-time performance on the internet and in stations, we will ensure riders have every opportunity to know about our efforts to provide safe and reliable commuter rail service."

The commuter rail company is asking customers to grade performance, by signing up to take part in a week-long electronic survey about the service they have experienced on their train. Customers completing this survey will be entered into a drawing to win a free monthly pass. As part of its customer information efforts, the company will post monthly on-time performance numbers online at and at South, Back Bay and North stations.

This is the latest MBCR effort to better understand the service their customers receive and to provide customers with easily accessible performance records for all commuter rail trains operated by MBCR on behalf of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Davey said.

The program is part of MBCR's ongoing effort to raise awareness of the company's goal to achieve at least 95 percent on-time average performance throughout the system and to improve the traveling experience.

MBCR operates and maintains the fifth largest commuter rail network in the United States under a contract with the MBTA. MBCR provides service to 40 million passengers a year in nearly 80 cities and towns in Massachusetts, as well as Providence, R.I.

This was originally posted on the Franklin/Wicked Local Gazette

My 2 cents: If the MBCR/MBTA really wants to listen to the riders, all they need to do is pay attention to what the riders are already saying on their blogs or in Facebook, Twitter, etc. about the performance. Even Clever Commute is a better peer-based information delivery system on what is hapening with the schedule than the current T-Alerts.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Cafe Dolce offers catering

Cafe Dolce, the new coffee shop in downtown Franklin is expanding into catering. Open since April, Cafe Dolce has established a good morning and lunch business. After 3:00 PM, things tend to get quieter. Catering is one way to leverage the business operation that owners BJ Carlucci and Dave Purpura are exploring. They have promoted Lisa Hall to Director of Catering to focus on this effort.

Lisa has a good background in catering and event planning. She started her first operation (Little Feast Catering and Events) as a part-time effort and grew the business to a full time profitable operation. She operated in New York City beginning in 1991 and then in Burlington, VT. She relocated to Holliston early this year, where she answered a Craigslist ad for Cafe Dolce. Her email response lead to an interview and to being hired. Lisa was behind the counter when Cafe Dolce opened.

Lisa and I sat down at Cafe Dolce recently to review her plans. A meeting, event, or party for 10 or more is what Lisa will look to help you with. She is looking to use the sandwiches and salads that Cafe Dolce offers as the starting point. The customized menu would include food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It can be extended as far and wide (within reason) as necessary to create a great experience.

She wants to make the presentation appropriate for a catered event by serving in fine crafted wicker baskets in addition to trays. Call Lisa and she will work out the menu together with you. What is the occasion? How many people? What special dietary requirements are there?

Lisa hesitates to provide per item pricing for catering. “Say you have had the Cranberry Turkey Breast Panini and wanted to serve that at your event. You don't need to order 10 individual paninis for the group. I prefer to price for the total quantity of the food provided rather than by the piece. This method will work out better for you in the long run,” she explains. There is a formula to determine how much food per person would be required adjusting to cover portions for any kids.

When asked who she considers her competition, Lisa answered that, “I really don't worry about the competition. We are here to provide the distinct Cafe Dolce difference. Good food, pleasant presentation, priced to meet your needs.”

The catering package can either be delivered or picked up. Depending upon the type of drop off, or drop-off/setup, there may be a delivery charge included. You could also rent the space at Cafe Dolce to hold your event.

When your next catering event comes up, consider contacting Lisa Hall, Director of Catering at 774-571-1805 or via email at dolce dot catering at live dot com.

Note: Cafe Dolce is also exploring social media tools to spread the word on what they do and to help communicate with their customers and fans. You can join Cafe Dolce on Facebook here

Prior writing about Cafe Dolce:
  1. My talk with BJ and Dave prior to opening
  2. My write up about the opening
  3. Picture slide show from the grand opening

"It's all about information"

Milford Daily News
Posted Jun 25, 2009 @ 11:54 PM


Bent on getting their message out regarding the town's precarious finances, the long-range financial planning committee is considering hitting the streets to personally deliver their report to residents.

Hand-delivering the report instead of mailing it would also act as a symbolic gesture, showing how the town is willing to go the extra mile to save money, Doug Hardesty, the group's vice chairman, said at a committee meeting last night.

Getting the 34-page report to every resident should be a top priority, said Councilor Stephen Whalen, a member of the committee.

Among other topics, the report analyzes Franklin's recurring fiscal deficit and a few starting points for fixing the problem.

Next year, the town is looking at a $6 million deficit, Whalen said.

Read the full article about the Financial Planning Committee meeting in the Milford Daily News here.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"go after cars that are unlocked"

Milford Daily News
Posted Jun 25, 2009 @ 12:43 AM
Last update Jun 25, 2009 @ 12:58 AM

When the economy goes south, thieves come out - or the desperation that lures otherwise law-abiding people to crime, area police say.

Franklin Deputy Police Chief Stephan Semerjian believes the upswing in car break-ins this year can be attributed, at least in part, to the recession.

Since March, Franklin neighborhoods have been hit with batches of car break-ins and vandalism, with dozens of residents reporting thefts or attempted thefts for the past three weekends, he said.

"Kids probably have less to do, and want more and they don't have the funds, so this is what they do," Semerjian said.

Read the full article about car break-ins in the Milford Daily News here

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

"We need to let parents know, nothing is a done deal yet"

Milford Daily News
Posted Jun 24, 2009 @ 12:28 AM


The school district will rehire 21 to 23 teachers who received pink slips this spring, said Assistant Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski, but another 40 jobs are still in limbo.

School leaders had been hoping to bring back more of the 60 educators who received notice of possibly being laid off this fall, but the state Legislature's budget threw a monkey wrench in that plan, said School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy.

Roy said the state has cut Franklin's Chapter 70 school aid by 2 percent, or by $574,000, and its stimulus funds by $219,000.

And on Monday, Sabolinski learned that the town's circuit breaker reimbursement is going to be reduced by $275,000, for a total loss of nearly $1.1 million, Roy said. Circuit breaker money is for extraordinary special education expenses.

School Committee member Cora Armenio said she is frustrated that information regarding local aid "is changing hourly."

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Read all the live reporting from the School Committee meeting here

"It's really the Medway-Franklin library"

Milford Daily News
Posted Jun 23, 2009 @ 08:30 PM


Franklin's library director will take on a second directorship at Medway Public Library next month, the first step in regionalization efforts between the two towns, said Selectman Dennis Crowley.

In three separate votes, Medway Town Meeting opted to appropriate money for its library, to hire Franklin Public Library Director Felicia Oti as Medway's library director, and regionalization costs, Crowley said.

The separate votes were intended to protect funding for the library, in case the town voted down regionalization, he said.

Oti will work 16 hours per week for Medway, and her duties are still to be determined, Crowley said, "but she will be the library director for the town of Medway."

"This really is all about regionalization. Cities and towns can't continue, with taxes (as they are), to be the lone wolf any longer. We need to find a way to cut overhead," Crowley said.

read the full article on the regionalization effort for the library in the Milford Daily News

We were the first public library in the USA, we might as well be the first regional library in MA.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

School Committee Mtg 06/23/09

This is the collection of live reporting from the School Committee meeting held on Tuesday, June 23, 2009.

Live reporting - Closing

6. New Business
To discuss future business that may be brought before the School Committee.

Cafasso - compliments to the Teachers union for accepting the sacrifice, to the negotiating committees for working out the deal. Now that that has been completed there are somethings that have been on my mind. The School District is under intense stress about time, no less responsibilities. Tried to avoid reductions in staff but haven't been able to. It is all about time, the teachers are seeking what they need, the principals are seeking to fulfill their needs. I urge the Administration and the Committee to make an interested based, collaborative discussion to discuss budget savings, to see what can be done. Pursue an interest based problems to resolve rather than looking to strike certain language. There has been a lot of rhetoric. We need to change our mindset to come around to the new reality.

One thing I found upsetting were the personal attacks on the Committee Chair. I will not put up with these. Jeff ROy has done more for this committee, this district than anyone. For people to hide behind their anonymous comments in chat rooms and blogs, I do not approve it.

Roy - a note of thanks from Patrick Slight
Trahan - we got personal notes from Brittany McLeod

Sabolinski - thank you, this is our last meeting for the school year, thankyou for all you do for the kids and the community.

7. Executive Session
Contractual Negotiations - motion to enter, not to return to public session
approved 6-0

Live reporting - Superintendent update

Superintendent’s Report
  • MSBA - letters provided to Town Administrator, Building Committee has been established, feasibility study to be funded by Town Council, project manager to be on the approved listing from the State, if we go a different way it would need to be justified
  • Stimulus Money - were counting on $448,000 now down to 218,000; may not comeback as the foundation money total had been reduced and the stimulus money was to help bring us to the foundation level
  • Special Education - Supreme court case on Special Ed funding is interesting and troubling

Live reporting - action items

4. Action Items
  1. I recommend acceptance of three checks from the Remington PCC totaling $376.76 for field trips as detailed. motion to accept, approved 6-0
  2. I recommend acceptance of the donation of the installation of a flagpole from the 5th grade students for the Parmenter Elementary School. motion to accept, approved 6-0
  3. I recommend acceptance of a check for $800.00 from the ASMS PCC for buses for an 8th grade field trip. motion to accept, approved 5-0, 1 abstention (Rhorbach)
  4. I recommend adoption of the Town-School Agreement as detailed. motion to accept, approved 6-0
  5. I recommend acceptance of a Japanese Maple Tree from the FHS Young Democrats Club. motion to accept, approved 6-0
  6. I recommend approval of Budget Transfers as detailed. motion to accept, approved 6-0

Live reporting - Audit actions, budget, FY 10

3. Discussion Only Items
  • Town – School Agreement
  • Budget to Actual
  • FY10 Budget
Notes on #1

Goodman - review of the agreement between the Town and School to formalize and eliminate the forensic audit recommendation.

For example; custodial expenses by the Town for the schools behalf have been formalized to be charged appropriately. The Technology staff is paid initially by the Schools and charged across to the Town. Both sides should be reviewing this agreement on an annual basis.

The end of year report will be used to calculate the "net school spending" amount that the State uses to track how well we are doing. As referenced during the budget discussions, this amount is getting close to the State minimum required level.

Rohrbach - where does the Charter School fit in?
Goodman - it is a factor on the Town side for the "net school spending" calculation. Let me get a better analysis of how it fits. It is a pass through charge that we don't control.

Sabolinski - we think this is a fair representation of the operations and shared expenses between the Town and Schools.

Cafasso - You're coming up on a year?
Goodman - just over a year, we have a good healthy working relationship and I look to see it maintained.
Cafasso - Thank you, I feel more comfortable with the finances you have presented this past year.

Rohrbach - it is great to have this down and documented, it will be a good reference for future.

#3 - State level updates
Chapter 70 cut 2%
Stimulus funds were also cut
Town needs to determine how to split/absorb the cuts between the Town and Schools
Circuit breaker reduced from 60% to around 38-42% that's another $274,000 cut
Since these numbers are still fluid, the budget sub-committee needs to continue to review and await some unanswered questions before making final decisions

Cafasso - we need to see a kind of menu of items and associated dollars that could be considered.

Roy - with the Teachers agreement we were getting down to about 500,000

Sabolinski - it looks like we can add back about 23 positions based upon money that is confirmed and not changing.

Sherlock - I am a little confused. Is the 800,000 shortage Jeff Nutting had referenced now closer to the 1.1 million just discussed, or if this was in addition to the 800,000. If I understand it correctly, it is now closer to a 1.1 million short fall to the total Franklin budget. It remains to be see how it gets split between the Town and Schools.

Roy - good point, there were 60 notified, based on the numbers this far, approx 23 may be able to be returned leaving still 40-plus would be lost positions

My explanation added after the meeting: The School Committee and Administration were talking of adding teachers back based upon the consideration that 60 had been notified and were being cut. I had been working from a difference reference point. So if the School Committee had gotten their piece of the budget shortfall reduced to about 500,000 and the Town now needs to split the 1.1 million (up from the 800,000 previously discussed), then the School side could end up with another 550,000 to look to adjust the budget to cover. Coincidentally, that works out to be about 1 million to cover which could mean those teachers (that Sabolinski mentioned) aren't coming back. With such a fluid situation, all I can say is stay tuned in.

Armenio - parents should plan on program fees could still be increased and additional programs could still be cut until we have that final number.

Trahan - I agree we should keep things open until we have a final number, they should stay tuned.

Live reporting - Community Health Council update

Community Health Council Update – Michele Kingsland-Smith

Here is the summary report that Michele referenced as providing to the School Committee:

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Live reporting - Presentations

2. Guests/Presentations
  • Sam Scoba – Chosen All-American by the USLA (United States Lacrosse Association) and Hockomock League MVP


  • Plaque for Senior Project – Sascha B. Werner

  • SchCom_Werner

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