Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - 9/14/10

1. Routine Business
Citizen’s Comments
Review of Agenda
Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the August 24, 2010 and August 31, 2010 School Committee Meetings.
Payment of Bills Mr. Glynn
Payroll Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives
Budget to Actual

2. Guests/Presentations
a. AYP Update
b. Elementary School Improvement Plans – Elementary Principals
c. Foreign Language Update – Michele Kingsland-Smith, MS/HS Principals

3. Discussion Only Items
Update on Opening of School
Transportation Update
Superintendent Evaluation Process

4. Action Items
a. I recommend approval of the Elementary School’s School Improvement Plans as detailed.
b. I recommend acceptance of a check for $252.00 from Wells Fargo Community Support Campaign for In-house enrichment at FHS.
c. I recommend acceptance of a check for $252.00 from Wells Fargo Matching Gifts Foundation for in-house enrichment at FHS.
d. I recommend acceptance of two checks, $50.00 from Sylvia Ficco and $500.00 from Georgia D’Errico from the Class of 1960 for the FHS Scholarship account.
e. I recommend acceptance of a check for $50.00 from Martha Akers from the Class of 1960 for in-house enrichment at FHS.
f. I recommend acceptance of a check for $91.43 from Follett Educational Services for supplies for Jefferson Elementary School.
g. I recommend acceptance of a check for $27.74 from Olympia Sports for in-house enrichment for the FHS.

5. Information Matters

Superintendent’s Report
a. Enrollment Update
b. Personnel

School Committee Sub-Committee Reports

School Committee Liaison Reports

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

7. Adjourn

Franklin, MA

Office Hours - Sep 26

Stop by for Office Hours

As a member of the Downtown Partnership, I will have a table near the Bamboo House restaurant on Main St and hold Office Hours during the Harvest Festival on Sunday, Sep 26.

I will be coming in from PodCamp Boston 5 and should be at the table by noon time.

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: reflection

Another reflection photo from along Main St taken on Saturday, Sep 11.

The small unoccupied building between the Felix-Cataldo Building and Rockland Trust. The brass (?) lamp fixture with the reflection of the Post Office across the street.

Did you take any pictures around Franklin this weekend?

Franklin, MA

Monday, September 13, 2010

Native Plants of Franklin

Sorry I'm late with the native plants this week! Here is the most recent mystery plant:

This is yet another native flower doomed to obscurity by the word "weed" in its name: jewelweed. This tender annual grows abundantly in moist, shady areas, and from mid to late summer it is covered in little orange orchid-like flowers.

The name "jewelweed" comes from the way water beads up into brilliant, flashing gems on its waxy leaves.

The Latin name of jewelweed is Impatiens capensis, which gives a clue as to what common garden plant this is related to: impatiens.

Jewelweed also goes by the name "touch-me-not", because when you touch the little bean-like seed-pods, they pop open violently! That aspect makes this plant especially fun for children.

This next plant is tricky. Forget about specifically what plant it is. If you can pinpoint what type of plant it is, then you're doing well. I'll give you a hint: this is a flower.

Happy plant-sleuthing!

Michelle Clay writes about gardening here in Franklin at the Clueless Gardeners Blog.

Franklin, MA

Real time reporting - Planning Board - 9/13/10

The YMCA discussion is tied around parking and public safety. The facility has exceeded the calculation for parking by over 300 cars with their expansions and exceptions. They are looking to expand further to retain membership (which would also increase parking requirements).

Could the Fire Dept visit on a weekend and report back on the situation? Would they be able to get equipment up the hill through the parked cars?

The Planning Board is in a tough spot; they appreciate the work and services that the Y provides but the parking and safety considerations are a considerable issue.

Need to verify what the occupancy of the building is? One had 480 and another had 720. The number drives the parking requirements so the difference is significant and needs to be resolved. Complicated by the fact the entrance from National Drive is across private property where the Y has an easement and access for safety (the second entrance).

Meeting minutes accepted for June 7, June 21, July 12 (as amended), and July 26.

Application for 216 East Central withdrawn without prejudice, motion to accept, passed.


Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: Planning Board - 09/13/10 - Agenda

The agenda document for the Planning Board meeting scheduled for 7:00 PM on Monday, Sep 13, 2010.


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

Franklin, MA

Lincoln Street Construction - Closed Weds 9/15

RE: Lincoln Street Construction

Lincoln Street from Maple Street to Sherman Avenue in Franklin, MA, will be closed to through Traffic on Wednesday, September 15, 2010, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

This section of Lincoln Street will be open for local traffic and emergency vehicles during this period.

From the Franklin, MA website

Sunday, September 12, 2010

FM #72 - Week Ending 9/12/10

Let's take less than 10 minutes to find out what matters in Franklin, MA as the week ends Sep 12, 2010.

Time: 7 minutes, 10 seconds

MP3 File

Show Notes

Let's take less than 10 minutes to review the week ending Sep 12 here in Franklin, MA. Hurricane Earl has already faded into memory, Labor Day and 9/11 have come and gone. Importantly, the first full week of school begins this Monday.

So what should you know from the past week?

The Finance Committee met on Tuesday providing a preview of some of the topics for the Town Council meeting on Wed.

The major action item for discussion was the proposal for $140,000 to move from the debt stabilization account for the Del Carte final design and permits.

The overall presentation to the FINCOM and on Weds to the Town Council was lacking. The presentation attempted to keep it short and sweet. It was short but left too many questions to be asked. It was passed by the FINCOM but postponed by the Town Council until their meeting on 9/29.

The short story is there are seven dams and ponds on the DelCarte property that was donated to Franklin several years ago. There was originally a stream running through the property. It was dammed to create several ponds initially to try as cranberry bogs, then for a fish hatchery. The dams have breached and no longer hold back the water as they should Two of the dams are of size and concern to be registered with the State. Analysis of the work required to repair some of the dams has been reduced from over $3 million to just over $1 million. This takes care of the immediate work required. It does not include the creation of hiking trails to enable further recreational use of this splendid opportunity.

I met with Franklin's Conservation Agent Nick Alfieri and Conservation Commissioner Jeff Livingstone to walk some of the property to help my understanding of the problems and opportunities.

Prior post on the DelCarte property

The Conservation Commission heard the proposals for securing the dams on the DelCarte property along Pleasant St. I need to do more to understand the proposals and implications but be aware that something with dollars associated is being discussed. You can view the meeting and proposal options here

and here

My notes from the FINCOM meeting can be found here

The Town Council met on Wednesday. Amongst the action items were some clean up of bond authorizations no longer needed. The major discussion took place on the DelCarte proposal which was reported on here:

The Sep 29th meeting will be a good one. The public hearing for the Downtown Improvement Project is scheduled as well as a presentation and further discussion on the DelCarte proposal.

The full set of notes from the Town Council meeting can be found here

Worthy of note for further discussion, the proposed charter changes were approved by the Legislature and Governor in time to make the ballot for this November.

The text of the changes can be viewed here:



What's coming up this week?

The Planning Board meets on Monday, their agenda is available.
The School Committee meets on Tuesday, I have not seen their agenda. It is not available on their website as this gets prepared.

The Franklin Downtown Partnership general meeting is Thursday morning. The new website will be reviewed with the group. To help advertise the new site and to gather input on the Downtown Improvement Project, stay tuned for the release of a survey question on the one-way versus two-way traffic option. You'll have a chance to have your say in that matter.

As I close this session this week, let me remind you that

  • If you like what I am doing here, please tell your friends and neighbors
  • If you don’t like something, please tell me

Thank you for listening!

For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.blogspot.com/

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

I hope you enjoy!

Schools sharing $250m

Franklin is one of those communities that choose NOT to participate in the Race to the Top program (although it is not listed here).

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Boston Globe -- Globe West by Christine Legere, Globe Correspondent on 9/11/10

School districts that agreed to a list of educational initiatives contained in the state's application for federal Race to the Top funds will be sharing in $250 million awarded to Massachusetts.

Add to Facebook Add to Twitter Add to digg Add to StumbleUpon Add to Reddit Add to del.icio.us Email this Article

Massachusetts - United States - Education - Race to the Top - New Hampshire

Things you can do from here:

Prior post on the Race to the Top decision

EPA to help towns meet run-off rules

The Globe is catching up on 'old news":

via Boston Globe -- Globe West by Rachel Lebeaux, Globe Correspondent on 9/11/10

Three area communities will get expert help as they struggle to comply with a US Environmental Protection Agency directive to reduce phosphorous runoff into the Charles River.

Prior posts on the proposed new EPA regulation

Museum open for Harvest Festival

The Franklin Historic Museum will be a part of the Downtown Harvest Festival on Sunday, September 26th from 11:00am to 4:00pm

We will offer free apple cider on the front porch along with a bake sale sponsored by the Friends of the Franklin Historical Museum. If you would like to make a donation of bake good for our event, it would be very much appreciated. You may drop it off at the museum on Sunday the 26th in the morning. This will be our first fundraiser and funds will be used to offer programs during the year at the museum.

We are also planning to show films from the early 50s during the day. Stop by and see if you can recognize yourself or someone that you may know. Outside the museum, in our parking lot, we will have some antique cars for you to view.

All in all, it will be a very pleasant day to visit the new Franklin Historical Museum.

See you there!

Franklin Historical Commission

Prior posts on the Museum:





Franklin, MA

Reflection: Half staff

Weekend time is always a good for reflection. Saturday, Sep 11 provided an opportunity to be a poignant one. The reflection on the Franklin Municipal building entrance of the flag flying half mast staff was one of the scenes I caught on camera.

Updated 9/12/10 8:00 PM

Most common usage incorrectly refers to 'half mast' when it should be 'half staff'. Half staff should be used when the flag pole is on land. Half mast should be used when the flag pole in on a ship. Thanks to the reader who raised this question and got me to learn something more about the flag today.

The full set of rules and regulations around display and handling of the US flag can be found here.

Franklin, MA

The sign is gone

It didn't take long to remove the sign for which that complaint was lodged at the Town Council meeting on Wednesday. Walking about for Franklin Photo Saturday, I checked on the Town Common and the sign previously found there was no longer around.

It was a glorious day for being out and about. I hope you all enjoyed your day.

Franklin, MA

Q&A - Glenn Jones on Haiti

I (FM) followed up with Glenn Jones (GJ) to find out more about his trip to Haiti. We exchanged email to complete the question and answers to share here:

FM - What memory from your first trip to Haiti lingered/lingers the most?
GJ - It was the third day of the Mission trip. I was working with my crew installing conduits for a new electrical generator, when ‘Sue’, one of the medical crew comes up to me asking to use my cell phone. She appeared rather distraught and I asked what was bothering her. She cried while explaining to me that a baby that came into the medical clinic just died. She talked about how she had assured the mother that all should be well, the baby had an elevated temperature and short of breath. The Baby had a chest infection. Not long after the mother left to wait outside the baby went into cardiac arrest. Sue mentioned how this should never have happened. If this were America so much more could have been done to save the baby, but it was not. The Medical clinics have extremely limited resources and the Hospitals are so far away and understaffed them selves. We said a prayer for the baby that night at dinner.

FM - Why go back to Haiti?
GJ - I am heading back to Haiti on October 16th to continue the work I started during my March trip. No matter how much I may be able to contribute to the rebuilding of Haiti, it is just a mere scratch on the surface. An estimated 230,000 people were killed during the January 2010 earthquake. Most of those deaths were caused by falling buildings and houses. Donating my experience and skills as an electrician to the devastated people of Haiti is the least I can do.

FM - Why go now?
GJ - Things have not really improved much since the January Earthquake. The Haitian people are just as much in need of our help today as they were the days following the quake. The Media has grown bored covering Haiti’s destruction and despair and has moved on to other international problems, like Iran building a nuclear power plant. However, we can not allow ourselves to forget those who are very much in dire need of International attention. So, why now? Because there is no better time than the present to help.

FM - How can someone help you in this effort?
GJ - A small donation goes a long way in helping me help Haiti. All donations have an immediate and direct impact. Unlike larger National Relief Organizations that have to jump through hoops to get things done, my Mission Trip this October will bring help as soon as I step off the plane. I simply need to raise the funds necessary to pay for a round trip flight and accommodations while in Haiti. Also, additional funding will go to support Mission E4’s continued efforts in Haiti. Please visit Mission E4 at http://www.missione4.com/ . Donations can be made directly to me. Glenn Jones – 172 School St. – Franklin, MA, 02038 – 508-439-7011

FM - Is there anything you'd like to add to this?
GJ - I would like to thank everyone that helped me in March and those that are helping now. I know for certain that the Haitian people are much appreciative of Mission E4’s continued support. It is never to late to help. Take a look around someday and see who may need you. Help is needed everywhere you look. There is no need to go as far as Haiti to help people. Find a local organization and start participating today in your Community; Senior Center, Franklin Food Pantry, and many others. Doing God’s work is what it is all about.

Related posts on Glenn Jones can be found here:




Franklin, MA

Understanding Our Tax System: A Primer for Active Citizens

The 'primer' referenced here is some serious but highly informative reading. 87 pages worth. Get a fresh cup of your favorite beverage, sit down and cruise through this.

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Contact Info

  Noah Berger

  (617) 426-1228 x102

  Tom Benner
  Communications Director
  (617) 426-1228 x100

Understanding Our Tax System:
A Primer for Active Citizens

September 9, 2010

A newly updated resource offering a comprehensive overview of the Massachusetts tax system is now available at www.massbudget.org.

Understanding Our Tax System: A Primer for Active Citizens provides tools for everyone who wants a solid understanding of how the Massachusetts tax system works.

The primer explains the five principal criteria used to assess a tax system.  It provides an overview of the Commonwealth's current tax system, describing how much revenue is collected from the most important categories of state and local taxes.  Placing the Massachusetts tax system in a broader context, the primer shows how Massachusetts compares to other states and to the U.S. as a whole, and how the Commonwealth's system has changed over time.

Finally, the primer provides a closer look at each of the six major kinds of taxes which together compose the Massachusetts tax system, trying to answer a number of basic questions: How does each of these taxes work and how much revenue does it raise?  How has each of these taxes changed over time?  How does each of these taxes affect different income groups?

The tax primer is available at www.massbudget.org or by clicking here.

In addition, individual fact sheets are available on the income tax, the sales tax, the alcohol tax, tax fairness, and the "Taxachusetts" label.

See MassBudget's Budget Browser to explore Massachusetts state budgets from Fiscal Year 2001 to the present, as well as budget proposals offered by the Governor and the Legislature.

MassBudget provides independent research and analysis of state budget and tax policies, as well as economic issues, with particular attention to the effects on low- and moderate-income people.

Well, what did you think?

Does this help paint the big picture on taxes in MA?

Franklin, MA