Saturday, November 20, 2010

A great "Holiday Care Package" idea for the members of our Armed Forces in Afghanistan or Iraq

First, I hope that this message finds you and your families in good health and spirits.

Second, as we approach the holidays, I ask that you give some thought to performing a random act of kindness for a member of our military serving in Afghanistan or Iraq. You can perform this random act of kindness by:

1. Sending a Holiday Care package to a member of our Armed Services


2. Making a donation to the USO (

For the first option, a holiday package can be sent via the USPS to one of the Chaplain addresses found at (skip the “Redeploying soon” addresses).

For example, my wife and I know someone at FOB Gardez so we are sending Holiday Care packages to:

Chaplain Section,
APO AE 09354

with a note asking the Chaplain to distribute the gift to a Service Member who may not receive a holiday care package from home. 

However, you can select one of the other addresses and use the above format. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find addresses for a US Marine base but perhaps a reader of this can share a Marine base address.

The Holiday Care packages that Beth and I are sending includes Xmas candy (chocolate bar and jelly beans), socks, trail mix bars, a small packet of Oreo cookies, soap, and a Xmas card. The Xmas card is addressed to “A member of our Armed Services at FOB Gardez” and signed the Kelliher Family. We are not addressing the card to “a Soldier” because members of the Army, Air Force, and Navy are all stationed at the base and the term soldier would be inappropriate for members of the Air Force or Navy. In addition, we are packing the items in a Holiday theme gift bag before we place the bag in the box so that the idea of a Holiday gift is reinforced.

Incidentally, the large Priority Mail Flat-Rate box, only costs $12.50 to send to a overseas military zip code like 09354 and the box can be filled with a nice collection of candy, socks, soap, and other items.

Please utilize the list to pick another base. We would like to show our appreciation at more than one base.

Please share the “Holiday Care package” suggestion with your friends, relatives, and co-workers.

Regards and Season’s Greetings,

Charlie Kelliher

Franklin, MA

In the News - Remington, trees on Common

Franklin students help needy with Turkey Trot

Franklin, MA

Sign the Food Revolution Petition

Jamie Oliver is working on his Food Revolution to change the way families eat and cook. He created a stir when he came to Huntington, WV last year and as I recall he is going to LA this year.

He has started a petition to take to the President to get the FDA to change the way they establish the requirements for school lunches.

You can find out more about Jamie's work on his website

You can sign the petition here

You can get recipes for school lunches here

Franklin, MA

Friday, November 19, 2010

5th Annual Casino Night - tonight!

Today, the Franklin Education Foundation (FEF) will hold its 5th 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.

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 $190,000 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

Franklin, MA

Attention Franklin: Important Dates for your calendar

Dec 8, 2010 - a new meeting was added to the Town Council calendar. This is the annual exercise to set the tax rate. I hope to have the data in time to update the analysis that I did last year. I expect the tax rate to increase from the 12.03%. The question is will it go higher than the 14.21% rate that was set in 1997. The low rate for the record was in 2007 at 8.86$

You can find last year's analysis here

Jan 25, 2011 - a presentation and discussion on the issue of full vs half day kindergarten. As has been said frequently by the School Committee, full day is on the table this year. It is likely to be included in the level service budget they initially come forward with. How much revenue the school budget can expect from the Town and state will determine how much of a gap there will be, and hence what options they'll need to consider to balance the budget.

Jan 29, 2011 - school budget workshop, this will be a good opportunity to get into the details and nuances of the budget, cost drivers, etc. The information in this session will set the stage for the school budget actions to come later.

Feb 1, 2011 - announced as the presentation of the school budget formal presentation at the regularly scheduled School Committee meeting.

If you heard the School Committee on Tuesday evening, you heard clearly that they are not interested in changing their ways of communication.

If you did not view the meeting, tune into this section here

Given the reluctance of the current School Committee to consider changing their ways, anyone with any interest in the schools needs to start taking an interest now.

Re-districting is another distinct possibility, they really should have done it earlier to avoid some of the imbalance in class sizes amongst the schools. They have chosen to move slowly. Why? Maybe they can answer. I won't speculate for them.

Both of these issues affect the entire school population. Never mind getting into a tough budget year next year AND the high school renovation pending some realistic dollar figure being attached to it after all kinds of speculation.

Given all this, one would expect a significant communication effort to come forward. As was made clear by their litany of excuses explanations during their meeting Tuesday, they are comfortable with their efforts and don't see the need to change.

You can ask them. You can get involved.

Franklin, MA

Franklin, MA: Police toy drive

The Franklin Police will be conducting their annual toy drive. Details in the flyer below


Franklin, MA

Sunday - Downtown Partnership Needs YOU!

Franklin Downtown Partnership Plans Holiday Decorations

The Franklin Downtown Partnership will once again team up with the Garden Club to decorate Franklin's downtown center with holiday greens, ribbons and wreaths on Sunday, November 21, at 9:00 a.m.

Residents are welcome to put on their garden gloves and join volunteers on the center island in front of the Rome Restaurant. Volunteers are also needed on Friday, November 19, at 10:00 a.m. to organize the greenery at Hillside Nursery.

"It's become our tradition to put up the decorations the Sunday before Thanksgiving to spruce up the downtown for the holidays," says Eileen Mason, Beautification Day chairperson. "Volunteers from the high school boys and girls hockey teams are very much appreciated every year for their spirit and enthusiasm in the decorating".

Each year local sponsors donate funds to pay for the holiday decorations and the spring flowers. "We are fortunate to have such generous businesses that enable us to continue our efforts each year," says Executive Director Lisa Piana. "We accomplish all of this through donations and tireless volunteer hours."

Anyone interested in volunteering or sponsoring this activity should contact Eileen Mason at for more details. For more information please visit the Partnership's new website at or contact Lisa Piana at

"The whole project is done beautifully"

The project was permitted in 2004 as a senior housing development. Construction began one to two years later, but a weak real estate market and high unemployment made it difficult to sell units. In 2008, the Zoning Board granted a variance making two of the five buildings non-age restricted.
"It has been transformed ... into something that is unique," Gary Hogan, an attorney for the developer. "There is not another similar development in this town."
That variance coupled with a decrease in the selling price of units led to increased sales, Hogan said, adding that 25-30 percent of the units have been sold and 40 percent have been built.
Franklin condo developer wants to expand project
from The Milford Daily News News RSS 

Franklin, MA

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Quick Poll Question

Do you think the school committee earns an 'almost very high' level of engagement with the Franklin community on school issues?

Express yourself in the quick poll in the center column.

Franklin, MA

"Let’s Talk about Cyberbullying"

Thursday, December 9, 2010
7:00PM – 8:30PM
Dean College
Campus Center Multi-Purpose Room

We are all reading about cyberbullying in the news. Now Franklin’s own home-grown expert Teenangels and their founder, cybersafety expert and head of, will help the Franklin community understand how it works, how big a problem it is and what we can do about it. The Teenangels are teens who train under Dr. Aftab for 2 years to become cybersafety experts in their own right. They are sought after by the media, governmental agencies and Congress for what they know and their practical approach to addressing cyber-risks.
Parry Aftab is Executive Director of, the largest online safety and educational program and the cybersafety contributor to the Today Show, Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, CNN and MSNBC. She is best known for empowering families to use digital technologies more safely and responsibly. She is a member of Facebook’s five member international safety advisory board and MTV’s advisory board.
This event is sponsored by: Franklin WiredTeens Club, Franklin Community Health Council, and the Franklin Anti-Bullying Task Force.

The flyer for the event can be found here:

Aftab Cyber Bullying Event 12-9-10

Related posts on Cyberbullying

Franklin, MA

Town Council - 11/17/10

The collection of posts from the Town Council meeting on Weds Nov 17th can be found here:

Franklin, MA

In the News - zoning, toy drive, Vallee office hours

Downtown Franklin zoning proposal debated

Vallee to hold office hours in his district

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Live reporting - Closing

Happy holidays



Pfeffer - congrats on Franklin Arts Show
Senior Center held the Veterans Day, well attended, thanks to the participants
The Council did have an open meeting at the coffee shop and the only attendees were the councilors

Dec 10th -
Holiday Stroll - Dec 2nd
Tree lighting - Nov 28th 4:00 PM

motion to adjourn, passed, 7-0

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Action items


1. Resolution 10-63: Acceptance of Amendment to Chapter 138, Section 33B

Adds one hour to the Sunday hour for selling liquor
motion to accept, passed 7-0

Franklin, MA

Live reporting - Sign Bylaw Proposal

Cable- Creation of a Non-profit access Corporation
Proposed Changes to the Sign Bylaw, the Commercial 1 Zoning District, & Creation of a New Downtown Commercial Zoning District- Zoning Bylaw –

Bryan Taberner, Department of Planning & Community Dev.
Nick Alferi, Asst Planner

(a copy of the presentation will be posted later, Bryan will be emailing it to me)
the document can be seen as part of the meeting document

TC 11-17-10 Downtown Bylaw Changes Presentation

Existing sign bylaw does not meet the Town's needs
treat the downtown as a separate commercial zone
re-zone 74 parcels into the new Commercial I zone

all the changes are coming through together as they are all related to one another

Change the district, zoning map, use tables, change the parking requirements

Eliminates the special permit for height by reducing permit for 4th and 5th story buildings to be only 3 story buildings

Could still get 4th and 5th floor outside the downtown district via special permit

Changes mixes uses for downtown to allow retail on the first floor and residential above

Residential parking .75 for one bedroom, plus one space for every ten bedrooms
option to buy out and feed a parking fund

sign districts similar to design review guidelines
permitted and no-permitted signs
exempt, temporary and political sign

signs allowed by district - in table (part of packet)
establishing a procedure for timing of the temporary signs and the political signs

bylaw changes are not going to make all current signs illegal (if illegal today, still illegal)
does not disallow all temporary and political signs

listing of the multiple bylaws required to accomplish all the changes required

Pfeffer - I was at that meeting in Jan 2008, why did it take you so long to get here
Taberner - The sign bylaw took multiple revisions

Pfeffer - When Mariani came downtown, the bylaws were changed to allow his building coloring
Taberner - That was before my time, I understand what was done, we are making it easier now

Nutting - the bylaws were changed back in 2003, we have learned from what we did then to incorporate them now. These proposals have a building setback, they add downtown parking, they allow a 3 story by right as opposed to the special permit.

Pfeffer - I don't understand why we changed it then and are changing it now

Nutting - changing the density from 40 to 20 is much more practical

Vallee - I like the mixed use, but there are a number of things that I don't like. What model did you use to get this?
Taberner - this is developed specific to what we need to do here, learning from what others have done

Vallee - what do you have against the mixed use.
Taberner, right now, these are not allowed by right, that is what this is about. I understand what you are saying about the upper stories. To get a special permit, right now will take a long time and there is no guarantee of getting it. With the 3-story, it is an appropriate use for that space and should be available by right. Leaving the option for 4-5 in the outside the core is possible

Taberner - if you change the use, then these regulations would kick in, unless you change the use, these changes wouldn't kick in

Alteri - the parking requirements are based upon the square footage of the building

Nutting - that is a non-conforming pre-existing use, if they don't change the use, this would not have an effect

Powderly - What is the feedback from the Downtown Partnership
Taberner - I was there several months ago, I will be there tomorrow morning
I expect that there will be additional input from them based upon the current proposals

Franklin, MA