Saturday, January 9, 2010

DPW Sidewalk Snow Removal Presentation - 01/06/10

The presentation text for the DPW discussion on sidewalk snow removal from Wednesday night's Town Council meeting.

The sidewalk map that shows the three routes can be viewed on the DPW website here.
These maps are in provided in Adobe Portable Document Format and Architecture D Size (24" x 36"). Because of their size and level of detail they are large files and take additional time to download. Please be patient.

Note: email subscribers will need to click through to the Franklin Matters website to view the presentation.

"a teacher-driven initiative"

The Franklin Arts Academy is a "school within a school" designed to create smaller learning communities where students can engage in academics through music and video production, visual art, theater and architecture.

"Each of the arts classes is creating a lesson through academics," Waters said. "Everything is interrelated."
The Franklin Arts Academy program was proposed for Franklin High School. Hopefully it will be implemented for the next school year (Fall 2010) with no impact to the budget. Read more about the program in the Milford Daily News here.

The live reporting and presentation from the Dec 8th School Committee meeting can be found here. The video and Q&A discussion can be found here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Food, Inc. Sunday Jan 10th - 7:00 PM

A series of films on sustainable living called "The Green Reel" will be held Sunday evenings in North Attleboro. The films are presented free of charge. Some refreshments are available. Discussion about the film is encouraged.

Food, Inc. will be shown Jan 10th at 7:00 PM

The flyer for the full series can be seen here:

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Franklin Citizens Rail Trail Committee Meeting


Agenda for January 14, 2010

I. Call to Order / Introductions of New Attendees
A. Introduction of new attendees
B. Volunteer to write minutes of the meeting
C. Motion to accept previous meeting minutes

II. Report from our representative from DCR
A. Gates at Spring St
B. Leveling of the Trail
C. Walking Trails

III. Membership Committee Report (Denison, McKeown, Sawyer)
A. Committee to report on membership activity

IV. Report from Finance Committee (Rossetti)
A. Report from Treasurer

VII. Report of Fund Raising Committee (Sawyer)
A. Report on fund raising activities
B. Bike Donation from Southbridge Bicycle. Need Volunteer to print raffle tickets & need sub committee
C. Spring fundraiser road race. Do we have a hosting facility? Can we pull a sub-committee together?  Can we set the date?

VII. Unfinished Business:
A. Questions from members / attendees

VIII. New Business:

Set Date for Next Meeting and Adjourn

The next meeting of the FCRTC will be held at the Franklin YMCA, Forge Hill Rd. Franklin. The meeting on January 14th will commence at 7:30 PM and conclude NLT 9:30 PM

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Town Council Mtg Smry 01/06/10

The collection of live reported posts from the Town Council meeting of Jan 6, 2010 can be found here:

Franklin, MA: Public School Inclement Weather Notice

The standard policy for the Franklin Public Schools during inclement weather (i.e. snow storms at this time of year).

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at

Note: subscribers via email will need to click through to the Franklin Matters website to review the document.

Franklin Downtown Partnership looking for help

The text of an email from Lisa Piana is found here:

Happy New Year!

We are currently planning our events for 2010. In order to continue with our full schedule of festivals and special events this year we need to fill some key volunteer positions.

Please take a look at the following list and e-mail me by January 12th if you are interested in taking a more active roll in the Franklin Downtown Partnership.  Thank you to all of you who have volunteered in past years!

  • Harvest Festival Co-Chair -> Responsible for helping plan and run the event
  • Strawberry Festival-Co-Chair -> Responsible for planning event
  • Third Thursday-Co-Chair -> Responsible for planning events
  • Holiday Stroll-Co-Chairs -> Responsible for planning event
  • Website Coordinator -> Responsible for keeping website up to date

We really need some new members to step forward and take a more active role this year. Some of our current members have been running the events for over 5 years and need a break.

Please call or e-mail me with any questions you might have.
Lisa Piana
Franklin Downtown Partnership

MBTA going 'real-time"?

Yes, hard to believe but it just might work.

Apparently, the trains will be equipped with GPS devices and the status will be provided via a 'count-down' timer as the train approaches the station. Coming to the Franklin line sometime in February according to the write up here:

MBTA: Commuter Rail "Real-Time Arrival" Countdown

Will this replace the Clever Commute service that can be the T's own alerts?

Stay tuned!

Note: This was also posted to Steve's 2 Cents.

In the News - snow removal from sidewalks

The snow discussion from Wednesday's Town Council meeting as captured by the Milford Daily News

Franklin sidewalk plowing debated

MBCR: For the safety and convenience of our employees

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Universal Hub by roadman on 1/6/10

Got this e-mail from MBCR regarding a change in policy about exiting trains.
Customer Service Notice
Control Coach Changes
Monday, January 11, 2010!
Effective January 11, 2010, except in the case of emergency, customers will no longer be allowed to enter or exit from the "operating end" of the control coach. The engineer operates the train from this location on inbound trips. Upon arrival into Boston, there are mandatory safety duties for engineers to perform which do not allow for foot traffic through the operating end of these coaches.
Signs will be placed on the coach door on that end of all control cars to remind customers of this rule.
read more

Things you can do from here:

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Live reporting - Administrators report



As you know, I am working on a committee to look at regionalization, which is one thing we need to continue to explore. A great statistic from the meeting today was that all the growth in MA is projected to be amongst those over 60. Currently we have 4500 seniors in Franklin, we are projected to get to 7700 seniors. This has implications for the kinds of services we will offer as well as for how we will be able to pay for them.

Trash -single stream coming on the Jan 20th meeting


Powderly - reminder to vote on 1/19 from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Flu clinic was packed today. Well run. Revisit the snow/ice - I am amazed by the job that the DPW does. Can we have DPW do more? Unfortunately, we have limited resources to work within that equation. It is valid to say we need to put more on the Schools and more on the parents.

Zollo - I agree with Tina.

Pfeffer - thanks to all the volunteers for packing the museum for the move.

Jones - Get out and vote Jan 19th. For the citizens that are capable, when they have the time, try an put a little back effort into trying to keep the sidewalks clear.

Whalen - I think this was a perfect example of balancing our resources and needs.

Mason - I had the opportunity to drive around several areas on Sunday and was very impressed that Franklin's roads were amongst the best of all that I saw.

motion to adjourn. motion passed 8-0

Live reporting - snow removal

– DPW Snowplowing/Sidewalks

1st priority for roads for public safety (fire, police, etc.)
2nd priority public buildings/school buildings
3rd priority sidewalks

School policy on snow days posted to School website and Town website

There are snow blower type units for heavy snow removal from the sidewalks
There are plow oriented units for lesser amounts of snow removal

over 35 miles of sidewalks to clear

if less than 6 inches, with the plows, the sidewalks can be cleared in about one day
if more than 6 inches, with the snow blowers, it would take 2-3 days to clear the sidewalks

About $158,000 to cover one storm

Each machine would cost about $120,000 to purchase (snow blower type unit)

Deployment of staff (collective bargaining issues) - all in-house staff should be working at the same time with the contractors

You (Town Council) could require the residents to clear the snow in-front of their property.

Continue to educate the public on the snow removal plan, each year we go through this with the first storm.

Picture of Brook St with sidewalk cleared and student still walking on the road (12/22/09).

Mason - this came about as a result of a call from a resident on Lincoln St. There are guidelines put out by the schools that cover wavers. Beyond that, it doesn't seem like we have the manpower even if we had the equipment.

Nutting - It is parent responsibility to make the decision for their students. I don't think we have the money to go and by another machine. We are not going to be filling jobs anytime soon so I would change it.

Vallee - I have no criticism, you're doing a good job. What is your crew doing today?

Brutus - We're clearing the equipment, making repairs. We did some set up for the H1N1 flu.

Whalen - great presentation, good information. What percent of the snow removal is done by DPW vs. the contractors?

Brutus - DPW does about 30% of the road plowing for a major storm. For the longer period with less snow, we mix the staff over the phases of the snow. The DPW is always on before we call in the contractors.

Whalen - Is there a way to re-allocate some of the resources to get the sidewalks cleared? It maybe that we are doing too good a job plowing the roads.
Brutus - I understand what you're saying, the problem is with the timing. I can't really start clearing the sidewalks with snow falling. If you did the sidewalks and then the plows can by again, it would undo what we already did on the sidewalks.

Whalen - Did I hear that there is an impediment with the labor agreement?
Nutting - Everybody gets a fair bite of the apple on the overtime.

Pfeffer - The priority order is good, we don't have the capability to do it all. The schools have an opportunity to delay or cancel school.

Zollo - What routes do get covered and in what order?
Brutus - three routes shown on map, agreement reached and modified as necessary with the School Dept.

Zollo - the dilemma is how to create a balance? I am not saying we can eliminate all risk.

Kelly - Is there any priority put on the Town Common with the Sunday services?
Brutus - no there isn't any priority there. We clean up the downtown after the storm, during daylight hours.

Nutting - we used to do downtown during the night but we don't have the budget to pay the time and half. It disturbs some during the day but that is the way t is.

Jones - You do a great job. Question I have is with the hot zones.
Brutus - it is an issue, drainage needs to be handled. We are in a freeze right now so it is okay but when the thaw comes, we'll need to deal with it.

Jones - It was icy for some time.
Brutus - We really don't have a practice for salting the sidewalks. Some of the schools have salt available as necessary to use.

Powderly - you guys do a phenomenal jobs with limited resources. I am very uncomfortable with students who are walkers who would be punished in a way by not getting sidewalks cleared. I think we should revisit it. Re-allocation of the plowing resources.
Nutting - They used to have an inclement weather bus but that was cut years ago. I don't think stopping a bus to pick up students on the roads wouldn't work. The parents primary responsibility is the students safety. It is not the Town's responsibility.

Powderly - can GATRA be used? There must be some way.
Whalen - I am not the only one observing plows plowing on hardtop and reallocating that money to switch to start doing the sidewalks.

Whalen - It would be good to know if we are putting an exceptional amount of salt, etc. comparable to other communities.
Brutus - We are pretty much in the same neighborhood for salt amount per mile of road used. I take offense to running on dry roads. The center of the roads will get cleared more of course, but pushing back from the edges to widen the road takes multiple passes. We wait to call in our contractors until later than others.

Vallee - Norfolk has more than we, we need more snow blower units for the sidewalks.
Brutus - it doesn't happen often that we get a storm like that.

Pfeffer - There is no easy answer to this. The first time we don't clear the roads, then the police, fire and others would be in hear screaming. I think the Schools can do more by cnaceling when the snow gets higher.

Zollo - This is an issue because of our revenue problem. We don't have the resources to provide what we used to. This is a real life example of whether it is an override or not. With the resources that we have, we are getting a high level of service. Just understand the effects of not increasing resources.

Live reporting - Biotech zoning changes proposed

– Bryan Taberner – Bio-Tech Zoning

Recognizing efforts to attract bio-tech business to the industrial areas of the town, there are two proposed changes (1) to remove the requirement for a permit by the Town Council (this is an extra level in comparison to other communities). (2) adjusting the parcels covered by the existing zoning, adding several parcels, removing one (actually recently added to the Town Forest).

What examples of bio-tech does this cover?
Very comprehensive way to handle and dispose of materials. Level 2 slightly infectious agents. Level 4 would cover anthrax (which would not be permitted in this zoning).

Level 2 and Level 3 are the busy areas with the majority of the research being done.
We would be catching up with other communities with these changes.

Worcester requires a Board of Health permit and nothing else. Cambridge has substantial amounts of special permitting required but has been home to several operations and is recognized. Multiple levels of safety plans are required before getting a permit there.

If we were to go that far, we would need an additional consultant to assist the Board of Health with the application and review process.

We have the overlay districts which other communities doesn't do.
We were given a bronze rating as a "bio-tech' ready community. This is the lowest of the four level of ratings. Eliminating the special permit will get us to the "silver" rating.

Zollo - What would enable us to go from silver to gold?
Brian - To get a higher rating is a marketing effort itself. Press releases will help. Changes to the website to help say we welcome bio-tech. Getting into a real-estate magazine would help. The State is assisting us in marketing.

Pfeffer - By removing the one parcel, this will alleviate some fears amongst the residents that had come up previously.

Nutting - this will be coming back for a formal vote. We would like this evening to solicit questions and can come back with detailed answers.

Jones - What kind of complaints are you getting?
Brian - I have been doing research and heard of one from several years ago. But it was before my time and I don't know the name of the company.

Live reporting - license transactions



– 99 Restaurant – New Officer & Director
motion to approve, 
A formality, everything is order

Passed 8-0

Live reporting - Town Council - 1/6/09

Attending: Kelly, Jones, Vallee, Whalen, Mason, Pfeffer, Zollo, Powderly

Missing: McGann

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES – December 2, 2009 Regular & Executive Session
motion to approve,
amended to read "vaccination sessions" not "information sessions"
Passed 8-0

Trivia Bee sponsored by FEF