Sunday, November 15, 2009

FM #49 - The week ending 11/15/09

Give me about ten minutes and I'll fill you in on what matters in Franklin, MA. In this session, I review my five findings from the recent town election and look over the busy week ahead.

Time: 8 minutes, 10 seconds

MP3 File

Session Notes
Music intro
My intro
FM #49

This internet radio show or podcast for Franklin Matters. This one is number 49 in the series.

In this session, you give me about ten minutes and I'll fill you in on what matters in Franklin. I'll cover my 5 findings from the recent election. And review the week ahead.

While I am not finished with my analysis on the results from the election, I would like to share what I have found thus far.

By the way – I'll make the numbers from which I draw these thoughts available. There will be a link in the posting to a doc. If you want a live spreadsheet version, all you'll need to do is contact me.

1 – population shifts

Precincts 6, 1, 2 and 5 are declining in their voter percent relative to the whole of Franklin's registered voters. (in that order) as the population shifts within Franklin.

Precincts 4, 8 and 7 are gaining in relative voter percent (in that order) for the same population shift. The numbers were calculated as a change in 2009 versus 2006.

2 – voter participation

Year   2005       2007        2009

Votes 3,119       3,845       3,244

Percent 17.6%    20.7%     16.6%

Reg Voters        18572      19509

2005 estimated to calculate out at 17,772 (avg 425 voters inc per year)

3 – ballot position

an old marketing adage says, location, location, location

Ballot position does not make a difference. The voters worked to select their candidates. Yes, the first six listed on the ballot were ultimately selected but it is more important to note that the #1, 3, 5 overall finishers were well down on the ballot. The voters knew who they wanted and weren’t overwhelmed by the total number of candidates (13).

This was also observed in the 2007 election results where Vallee, Whalen, Yurgenson and Zollo held the bottom four positions and three of them were elected. Valle took the top number of votes and Zollo was 3rd only one vote behind Chris Feeley.

4 – hidden message?

There may be something to the “elect all newcomers” attempt that was referenced in a few of the exit poll comments as reported in the Milford Daily News. That would help explain how the one candidate who withdrew from the race too late to come off the ballot actually still received 592 votes.

5 – what majority?

In the 2007 election, three Council candidates gathered more than 50% of the voters who actually cast their ballots. This year, four achieved that mark. It is still disconcerting, one that so few bother to vote and of those that do, so few of the candidates actually achieve a majority vote.

In a standard two person race, you have one vote. One person gets it, the other doesn't. In the TC, we had thirteen candidates and each voter had 9 votes. What the blanks tell us is that most folks found 5 or 6 candidates to vote for but not 9.

Given the number of blanks recorded in the elections, it seems rare that a voter actually will cast their vote for all nine of the Town Council candidates and all seven of the School Committee candidates. How significant is the blank? Almost 35% of the ballots for Town Council included blanks, and just over 50% of the ballots for School Committee.

What does this all mean? We need to understand how to better engage the Franklin voters. If you have any ideas, please let me know. I'll be spending some time on this over the next several weeks at least.

6 - A busy week ahead

Gallery 218 opens a Portrait 2009 show on Tuesday

School committee meeting Tuesday

Town Council meeting Wednesday

Third Thursday sponsored by the Downtown Partnership

FEF Casino Night on Friday

The vote results by precinct were previously published here

The spreadsheet I reference during this can be found here

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This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but I can't do it alone. I can use your help.
How can you help?
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Thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit

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 East of Shirley. The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana" c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with permission.

Another unfunded mandate coming down the pike?

The advocates are focusing their attention on a bill, sponsored by Representative John Rogers, a Democrat, that would require school districts to report bullying incidents and any discipline imposed to the state. The bill, one of those to be taken up at a hearing Tuesday, has the support of such groups as the Massachusetts Teachers Association, Microsoft Corp., and the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association.
The Bold is for my emphasis. You can read the full article in the Boston Sunday Globe here.

To be clear, I do not support bullying. I do know what it feels like. I was called "four-eyes" and worse growing up. Once I learned to stand up for myself, the bullying stopped. Bullies pick on those who are perceived to be weaker than themselves. Once stood up to, they generally back off.

I do think with sufficient funding, the schools can provide some help in this area. In fact, I think they are already doing what they should. 

I do believe that the responsibility to address bullying falls squarely in the realm of the parents. The parents of those bullying need to create a better home environment (easier said than done). The parents of those being bullied need to help their students stand up for themselves (coddling them doesn't cut it).

I'll focus on the unfunded mandate part because that is what we should have some control over. 

Let's recognize that even if the schools were sufficiently funded to support this reporting effort, once the kids go home, what was learned and fostered in the school environment may not be reinforced at home hence wasting the effort.

What do you think?

I added a new poll in the top center column to help obtain your feedback on this issue.

Can the Governor sing?

Can the Governor sing?

Yes, he can. Apparently, when he stopped by the Franklin Senior Center recently he joined in song with some of Franklin's finest seniors.

On the same day that he visited the Senior Center, Gov Patrick stopped by Jefferson Elementary School. The public address announcement to the school that the Governor made while there was recorded.

More on the Governor's visit can be found here

November 3rd Election Ballot

Since so many of the Franklin voters did not see the ballot on November 3rd, I thought it would be a good idea to share it here.

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Some of the commentary on the election turnout and results reference this ballot.

This was originally located on the Town Clerk website


Regionalization, a dirty word for some but one of the realistic ways to tackle the issue of providing appropriate services at a reasonable cost is the topic of the video.

There is a new Regional Advisory Commission underway to explore opportunities in this area.

"the right to speak anonymously ... is not absolute"

The bottom line is robust dialog is always welcome. But defamatory speech is not. It is good to see that the courts are willing to open the doors to the anonymous world when speech crosses the line. That should serve as notice to posters that they should consider the legal, moral and ethical components of their comments. And they should be careful with their facts. Because if they are not, the courts will offer assistance to those who seek redress.

Don't miss the full posting over on the Franklin School Committee blog

One more reason why this site welcomes a civil dialog but anonymous comments can go elsewhere.

3rd Thursday - Men's Night Out

"Men's Night Out"
Ladies are welcome
Thursday, November 19th

5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Host for November:  Emma's Quilt Cupboard & Sewing Machines
12 Main Street
Emma's will showcase quilts made strictly by men. "We invite everyone to join us for a visual display of men's creativity and enjoy some refreshments"  says Cyndi Rich, owner of the quilt shop.

Other 3rd Thursday happenings:

Artbeat Your Creativity Store will host a reception to introduce "Handmade for the Holidays," a craft gallery featuring the work of local artisans and demos for unique holiday gifts that easily can be made by children and adults. Artbeat is located at 9 Summer Street.
Stop by Café Dolce, 17 East Central Street,  will host a gold buying event: Bring in your unwanted gold, silver, platinum, gemstones and diamonds and our experts in the jewelry industry tell you what it's worth and pay you on the spot. Check out the Café Dolce webpage for more information.
Facial Rejuvenation at 11 Main Street will offer 20 percent off all Jane Iredale mineral cosmetics. "Jane Iredale is the gold standard in minerals recognized by dermatologists, plastic surgeons and skin care professionals around the world" says owner Kathleen Ronzio.
Franklin Pizza, 18 Cottage Street, will offer a free 2-liter soda with purchase of a large pizza with one or more toppings.
Jane's Frames, 11 East Central Street, will display new etchings just in time for the holidays. Owner Jane Curran encourages shoppers to come in either ahead of time or during Third Thursday to create a wish list in anticipation of the Holiday Stroll on December 3. Kai Olsson will play guitar and refreshments, including "fruit of the vine," will be served.
Hair at Nail It, 20 Main Street, invites shoppers to help celebrate their 15th anniversary with a complimentary wash and blow dry. They will also give a $10 coupon for all new customers.
Pretty Is Pink, 9 Summer Street, invites women and teens to stop in for an evening of leisurely shopping. "After the menu is set, we want you to look your best for Thanksgiving," says owner Lori Rosenberg.  
Simon's Furniture, 8 Summer Street, will offer a 20 percent discount off all lamps, pictures and accessories on Third Thursday to help shoppers get their homes ready for the holidays.
The Franklin Downtown Partnership is gearing up for a special event in place of the December Third Thursday.  The Holiday Stroll will be Thursday, December 3 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.  A tree lighting, music Holiday Carolers, Santa, a Craft fair and 30 downtown businesses offering treats and special offers are just some of the fun planned for families that evening.
Get more details at each participating business
So much is happening Downtown/Uptown Franklin
Come join the Fun!
Fall Third Thursday


About Franklin Downtown Partnership
The Franklin Downtown Partnership is a commuity based 501 (c) 3 organization, with a  mission of revitalizing our downtown, helping to make Franklin a better place to live, work, and shop, and  improving the overall  life of our community.

Post Office Box 413
Franklin, Massachusetts 02038
Franklin Downtown Partnership

In the News - food pantry, hockey clinic

At the Franklin Food Pantry, Executive Director Anne Marie Bellavance said the holiday season puts a strain on residents because of increased fuel costs that come with the winter months.
"This time of the year is the toughest time of the year," Bellavance said. "Due to fuel costs, our clients have to reallocate food money to heat their homes." She added that flu season also brings an added burden of increased medical costs.
The Franklin Food Pantry, located on West Central Street, will gladly accept the holiday trimmings to go along with the turkeys that will be distributed to the pantry's 24 registered clients.
Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here


Bruins sponsor youth hockey clinic in Franklin

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Look for Letter to the Editor

FYI - I can't find the "Letter to the Editor" written by Ted Klowan, Jr on the Wicked Local website but you can read his excellent and logical argument in this week's Franklin Gazette. The hard copy should have been tossed in your driveway.

FYI - The Franklin School Committee took the time to post an image of the newspaper copy here

Lottery versus taxes

Cahill said the average person in Massachusetts spends $700 a year on the state lottery, compared to the national average of $170.
Oh my, really! Yes, according to comments made at a luncheon Friday in Milford

So here's where things get complicated.

You got to be in it to win it!

But if you took what the "average person" spends on a gamble and spent it on local property taxes, you would get improvements in all our local services: fire, police, DPW, library and education.

The "average person" certainly isn't everyone, not at least in Franklin where incomes for some are real tight. The "average person" referenced can't be the same person who voted against an override.

Surely they would see that a sure thing is better than a gamble?

In the News - Team Hoyt visits Annie Sullivan

I have had the pleasure of meeting and running with Team Hoyt in a number of events including the HMEA 5K held locally in May and the Groton 5K. They are truly an inspiration!

Hoyts inspire Franklin students

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Electronic and Appliance Recycle Day

What: Electronic and Appliance Recycle Day

When: Saturday, Nov 28th 9:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Where: St. Mary's

Cost: Varies by item

Electronic and appliance recycle day to be held at Saint Mary's Church, One Church Square, Franklin, MA on Saturday November 28th from 9a.m. t0 2 p.m. We are accepting all electronics for recycling to include monitors, fax machines, modems, TV's etc as well as all appliances to include refrigerators, washers, dryers, stoves, water tanks etc. This is a great opportunity to reduce the carbon footprint in the environment and recycle your unwanted items. We will also accept lawn mowers and snow blowers with the gas removed as well as exercise equipment. This is a fund raiser and there will be a small fee of $5 per electronic item, $10 for each TV or appliance and $20 for each large wood console TV. There will be receipts provided as well. Car and truck batteries as well as cell phones are free.

Phone:  508-277-6728
Organization:   Saint Mary's Church

4th Annual Casino Night - Nov 20th

On Friday, November 20, 2009, the Franklin Education Foundation (FEF) will hold its 4th Annual Casino Night at the Franklin Elks from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. The event will feature Black Jack, Roulette and Money Wheel as well as raffles, a Silent Auction, cash bar and FREE hors d’oeuvres. The event is well known as a fun evening out with friends and neighbors, all while contributing to a worthwhile cause.

In addition to having fun at the gaming tables, attendees can bid on a variety of great Silent Auction items. Included will be autographed Red Sox and Patriots memorabilia, handcrafted jewelry, original art, and gift certificates from 3 Restaurant, Panera Bread, Stop & Shop and Arbonne Skin Care. Preliminary sponsors for the event include DCU (Digital Federal Credit Union), Rockland Trust, Doherty Ciechanowski, Dugan & Cannon, PC and ZeptoMetrix Corporation. If you have an item to donate or if your company is interested in sponsoring, contact FEF. It’s a great way to show your commitment to education in Franklin.

Admission is $25. To avoid waiting in line at the door, advance ticket purchase is recommended. For ticket purchase, auction donation or sponsorship information, please contact Peter Minor at (508) 541-6700 or Cash only accepted for chip purchase. Checks and Visa/MC accepted for Silent Auction items. For more information visit

Since 1997, The Franklin Education Foundation events have raised well over $170,000 which has been distributed to Franklin public schools in the form of special grants. All Franklin Public School staff members are eligible to submit creative, innovative ideas for programs or activities that would not traditionally be funded by tax dollars. To see a list of programs FEF have funded over the years, visit

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Friday, November 13, 2009

H1N1 VACCINE UPDATE - November 12, 2009

The Health Department has been inundated with hundreds of calls and emails regarding the availability of the H1N1 vaccine for Franklin Residents.  At the present time we do not have enough vaccine to hold a public flu clinic.  Vaccine production issues have significantly delayed the delivery of the H1N1 vaccine to all health departments and medical providers across the country.  As a result, we can not state with any certainty when Franklin’s first H1N1 flu clinic will be held.

Once we have a sufficient supply of vaccine on hand, we stand ready to implement our clinic plan and to begin the vaccination process.  The Franklin Health Department has the personnel and the infrastructure in place to begin large-scale vaccinations of the target group, once the vaccine is delivered in sufficient quantities.

The initial allocation of vaccine will be directed toward children aged 6 months to 9 years of age.  Again, this age group will require two doses of vaccine so it is important to have the first doses administered as soon as the vaccine is made available.  It is possible that we may, due to limited supply of vaccine, narrow the age group significantly during our first clinic.  This will prevent parents and children waiting unnecessarily when the vaccine is in short supply.

It is important to note that the Franklin Health Department does not expect to receive any thimerosal free vaccine.  This has implications for women who are pregnant and wish to receive preservative free vaccine.  Pregnant women are urged to contact their obstetrician regarding thimerosal free flu vaccine.

The Franklin Health Department fully understands the frustration and concern the residents of Franklin are experiencing regarding H1N1 vaccine availability.  I can assure you the Health Department staff and the Board of Health shares your concerns.  We will do everything in our power to expedite the vaccination process once our supply of vaccine is received.

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding.

David E. McKearney, R.S.
Public Health Director
Franklin Health Department

Franklin Board of Health
Bruce Hunchard, Chair
Paul Cheli
Donald Ranieri, Jr.

Happy Birthday, Franklin Matters!

I was busy this week and almost forgot to celebrate a birthday. Two years ago this past Monday, the first post was generated here at Franklin Matters. The archives for Nov 9, 2007 contain:

As long as readership continues to grow, and I continue to learn and have fun doing this, you can count on more years of Franklin Matters!

Thank you for reading, commenting, and sending emails. All your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Photo credit: Two Candles in the Dark by