Sunday, March 6, 2011

Bill Gates on State budgets and Education

TED Talks are the visual presentations of an idea from significant thinkers that gather at TED each year. TED has also spawned a number of conferences under the TED umbrella; TEDx, TEDWomen, etc.

Bill Gates spoke at this year's TED conference about the impact of government deficits on education. He focused on California but the comments are applicable for other states.

If the youth are our future, how do we prepare them to take care of this whole place?

The collection of information for the Fiscal Year 2012 budget can be found here:

Franklin, MA

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Explore the real food challenge

There was a bit of discussion around real food vs school food on Facebook when I posted the news about the Whole Food Foundation providing salad bar equipment for schools in Franklin. The discussion is a valid one. There are no easy solutions especially on a budget and with government requirements to be met.

What is real food?
Author Michael Pollen has written a few books on different aspects of the topic. Jamie Oliver took the Food Revolution to Huntington, WV last year and TV had a 10 parts series to showcase the efforts. There is a growing collection of movies on this topic.

The Leake family in North Carolina took a challenge to eat real food for 100 days.

The family successfully completed their hundred days. The record of what they did and how they did it can be viewed on their website:

The offer a challenge to take a 10 day pledge. 100 days too much? Ease into the change.

Benefits of Taking the 10-Day Pledge

Upon completing your goal we predict you will gain the following:
  • first-hand, eye opening experience of how to identify the real food in our processed food world.
  • At least one improved health benefit such as having more energy, losing weight, improving regularity, or just feeling healthier overall.
  • The realization that some of those pre-packaged processed “food-like substances” don’t even taste that good compared to real food.
  • The opportunity to teach your children (if you have them), by example, the healthiest way to eat and enjoy the food mother nature has given us.
  • congratulatory letter and complimentary gift – a silicone wristband debossed with “10 Days of Real Food” which you can wear to make sure all of your friends know what you accomplished!
  • The ability to continue on with your life however you chose, but with the new knowledge of how and why to avoid processed foods. Hopefully your 10-day experience will convince you to consider making at least a few changes for life.

What can you eat following the 'real food' challenge?

What kinds of food would you have for the daily meals?

Franklin, MA

Friday, March 4, 2011

RE: Franklin Library Blog Posting

A loyal reader provides an update to the posting on the Friends of the Library:

I recently read your blog posting about the Franklin Public Library.  There is a section in the blog posting where you shared that book donations to the public library are not tax deductible.  I would like to direct you to review IRS Publication 526 for clarification.  I also consulted a CPA in the town of Franklin that concurs with this publication that books donated to the Franklin Public library are tax deductible.  Our beloved Franklin Public Library falls under this category and all books donated to the library are tax deductible.  Please share with your readers that all books donated to the library are tax deductible per IRS publication 526 and ask them to support the Franklin Public Library with their book donations.  Please make any corrections to the BLOG entry to avoid confusion with your readers or with other new sources that graciously reprint the postings.

Here is the link to the IRS web page:

Below is what I found from the above IRS website.

Deductible As Charitable Contributions
Money or property you give to:

• Churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, and other religious organizations

• Federal, state, and local governments, if your contribution is solely for public purposes (for example, a gift to reduce the public debt)

• Nonprofit schools and hospitals

• Public parks and recreation facilities

• Salvation Army, Red Cross, CARE, Goodwill Industries, United Way, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, etc.

• War veterans' groups 
• Charitable organizations listed in Publication 78

• Expenses paid for a student living with you, sponsored by a qualified organization

• Out-of-pocket expenses when you serve a qualified organization as a volunteer
This provides an update to the tax question raised during the Friends meeting on March 2.

"I hope that you welcome them"

The hourlong assembly was organized by the school's Best Buddies chapter, which seeks to develop friendships between students with developmental disabilities and their peers. 
Friends of Best Buddies Franklin, a nonprofit organization that supports the program at several schools, provided a $1,100 grant to bring the Maiers to Annie Sullivan. 
The Maiers perform at schools throughout the country in the hopes of increasing awareness of people with disabilities, growing friendships between disabled students and others and demonstrating that someone with a disability can achieve remarkable feats. 
"I think it's just a gift from God," Maier said, adding there's no scientific explanation for her daughter's musical ability. "And we want to share that gift and inspire people around the world."

Read more: Blind, autistic pianist Brittany Maier impresses Franklin students The Milford Daily News

Related post:

Franklin, MA


The United Regional Chamber of Commerce has organized a Business After Hours at Dean College, 99 Main St., Franklin, on March 10 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event will take place on the concourse of the new Dean College Campus Center. The Main Stage Theater space and Campanella Boardroom will be open for self-guided tours. Ample parking is available on the main lot on Route 140 adjacent to the Campus Center main entrance. Admission is $5 for Chamber members and $10 for non-members. Please register by calling any Chamber office: 508-222-0801, 508-695-2011, or 508-528-2800.

The United Regional Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit, business support organization serving the communities of Attleboro, Bellingham, Blackstone, Foxborough, Franklin, Mansfield, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Norfolk, North Attleborough, Norton, Plainville, Rehoboth, Seekonk, and Wrentham.

Franklin, MA

In the News - Brittany Maier, zoning workshop

Playing it by ear

from The Milford Daily News News RSS

Franklin to hold workshop on downtown zoning

Franklin, MA

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"fundamental issue is we're still facing a deficit"

"We're trying very hard to avoid an override," Whalen said after the Town Council meeting. "We're very conscious of the fact that there's a potential for a double whammy and we want to avoid that." 
But, if town officials cannot balance the budget without significantly reducing services, it might be better to let voters decide if they want higher taxes or service cuts, he said. 
Town Councilor Tina Powderly agreed with Whalen's comments, noting she hopes that, with a better-than-expected local aid picture, the town can close the gap through savings on health care and further increasing government efficiency. 
"Every year you hope to balance the budget without an override," Powderly said. "There's certainly going to be a deficit. ... We hope to put enough of a bite into the deficit that we won't have to have an override."

Read more: Franklin officials hope to avoid override - The Milford Daily News

Franklin, MA

In the News - DARE, art,

Franklin police announce DARE camp

Franklin artists’ work on display at Norfolk library

Franklin, MA

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Citizens Against Waste - The question collection

The question form and guidelines

Franklin, MA

Library and Friends clear the air

The Friends of Franklin Public Library meeting took my attention away from the Town Council meeting scheduled for Wednesday night. Yes, that is rare but in this case, especially worth it. Why? The book sale is a major fund raiser. The Friends contributed $20,000 last year to the Library. The bank account for the Friends is currently sitting at $29,516.

(The Town Council conducted their meeting in under 8 minutes. If you watch the recording, the first 1:20 is blank so hang in there it will appear (at least it did successfully when I watched it Weds evening). The liquor license for Ichigo Ichie Franklin, LLC (going into the former Piccadilly Pub) was approved. The July 4th committee presented their financial report to the Council. The snow and ice deficit is now about $400,000. “Pray for warm weather” is what Jeff Nutting asked for.)

The Friends meeting was indeed special. Felicia Oti, the Library Director and Cindy Dobryznski, Chair of the Library Board of Directors were both in attendance with the Board of the Friends and a couple of their members..

I won’t go into the recap of the events that transpired beginning with the December 2010 meeting. There is really no point in trying to reconstruct the incident. It has passed and both sides are willing to go forward. There may be some who don’t want to forget and that is okay. We all have choices to make and then we need to live with them.

It was acknowledged that there were mistakes made on both sides. It was acknowledged to let the past be put behind and go forward to support the Library.

There will be a book sale. It seems likely that it will be sponsored by the Friends of the Library for the benefit of the Library.

The book sale will be held at the DPW Garage like in recent years. The DPW will hold their “Touch a Truck” day to coincide with the book sale. All this will take place on the Saturday, May 21st.

The Library is still accepting books. The donation is technically to the Friends to benefit the Library. When the donation is to the Friends, the donor can receive a “Donation Acknowledgement and Tax Receipt”. If the donation is to the Library, it is accepted as a gift with no tax donation available. (An update from a loyal reader reveals that the statement above is incorrect, the gift to the Library still qualifies for a tax deduction.)

The sorting space that was a problem is still being used. Volunteers are still welcomed to help with the sorting. Felicia has heard from some volunteers who have stepped up to help conduct the book sale. The Friends book sale coordinator from last year had already determined not to do it this year (before the whole incident arose). Whether the Friends have another person to fill in remains open.

The permanent solution for space still remains to be determined.

Both the Friends and the Library Board of Directors have pledged to keep in better contact.

Felicia committed to come to the April meeting of the Friends.

Friends of the Franklin Library Mission Statement: We are a nonprofit organization, incorporated in 1991 and dedicated to supporting and promoting the Franklin Public Library. Ours is the first public, lending library in the USA, established with a donation of books from Benjamin Franklin. We are an all-volunteer community group that meets the first Wednesday of the month in the Library Community room at 7:00 pm from September thru June.

Franklin, MA

Town Council meeting 3/2/11

Present: Kelly, Jones, Vallee, Whalen, Mason, Pfeffer, Powderly
Absent: McGann, Zollo

A. APPROVAL OF MINUTES - February 2, 2011
Motion to approve, passed 7-0

Meeting recorded by Verizon and Comcast but not by Franklin Matters tonight


Warren Ravel - July 4th Committee presented annual report on the committee's work for the event


F. HEARINGS - none

New All Alcoholic Beverages Restaurant License
– Ichigo Ichie Franklin, LLC
motion to approve, passed 7-0




recognition of training by Police and Fire personnel
recognition of letters to thank the Fire Dept for excellent work done for the citizens

Approx $400,000 in hole on snow/ice removal, pray for warm weather



Powderly - encourage seniors to take advantage of the Senior Circuit Breaker tax credit
don't have to own to get the credit, if any questions, contact the Senior Center

FHS doing their Spring fund raiser Sunday, March 13th from 2:00 to 4:00 PM

Vallee - question do you have the break down on the Police/Fire/DPW - that was a really big expense?
Revel - Yes, I don't have the specific break out with me but it was about $10,000 for Police and Fire and $3,000 for DPW
Nutting - I can provide a copy of the invoice if you want
Mason - is that alright Bob?
Vallee - yes
Mason - thanks for your work on this, it is a great event for the town and a ton of work. I hope you can continue to do this for some time.

Motion to adjourn - less than 8 minutes (likely a record!)

Franklin, MA

Happy birthday Franklin!

On March 2, 1778 Franklin was incorporated.

Franklin shares its birthday with another significant MA personality (Dr Seuss) as well as about 70 Franklin residents.

The party will be held on Sunday, March 20th at the Historical Museum. Join the celebration of Franklin's birthday and those Franklin residents who share the Mar 2nd birthday!

Read more about the history of Franklin, MA in Wikipedia

Related post:

"I think this a great idea"

A community garden would provide a spot for kids and adults to learn about gardening, the importance of growing food locally and the benefits of working outside, said Amy Acevedo, who started Franklin Community Gardens, a group of residents that are in the process of forming a nonprofit organization. 
"There are so many benefits," said Acevedo, 46, who has lived in Franklin for 10 years. "We'd love to see some Scouts and school groups in there." 
Efforts to create a community garden began when the Bernon Family Branch of the Hockomock Area YMCA used grant money to build raised garden beds. Last year, beds were built at several locations including the Senior Center, Franklin Food Pantry and Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School, Acevedo said.

Read more: Franklin residents hope to start community garden

Related post:

Franklin, MA

In the News - Tri-County, accident

Two charged in Tri-County fight

Franklin accident sends two to the hospital

Franklin, MA

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

"increasing the fruit and vegetable choices"

Franklin's six elementary schools, as well as Remington Middle School and Horace Mann Middle School got salad bars. All three of Bellingham's elementary schools will have a new salad bar, and so will Uxbridge's Taft Elementary School. 
None of the salad bars are open to students just yet. 
"It is a good source of nutrition," said Franklin Food Service Director Clair Doyle. "We are hoping to get them operational by next week." 
The program is sponsored by the Whole Foods Market Foundation and chef Ann Cooper's Food Family Farming Foundation. The salad bars were paid for by Whole Foods customers who donated at local stores through a special school promotion as well as online donations.
Read more: Local kids to eat salad thanks to donations - Milford, MA - The Milford Daily News

Yes, I endorse this effort and thank the Whole Foods Market Foundation (and all the contributors) for this. We will live better when we eat better.

This effort ties in nicely with the Franklin Food Pantry, the Community Gardens, and other healthy programs.

Franklin, MA