Saturday, December 22, 2012

Food Elves Press Release

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Franklin Downtown Partnership by (Franklin Downtown Partnership) on 12/21/12

Food Elves Collect Over 2 Tons of Food

The Franklin Food Elves' "12 Days of Donating" campaign exceeded expectations for the second year in a row, bringing in more than two tons of non-perishable goods and over $5,700 to benefit the Franklin Food Pantry. 

Working with the Franklin Downtown Partnership and local businesses, 50 Food Elves collected 4,223 pounds of goods. Eleven participating businesses each pledged $200 if the Elves met their goal. In addition, DCU donated $1,500, Berry Insurance donated $1,000, and numerous residents also wrote checks. 

According to Linda Sottile, operations director at the Food Pantry, the money donated will be used to purchase goods through the Greater Boston Food Bank, where every $50 translates into 118 meals. The combination of the dollar amount with the weight of goods donated translates into close to 17,000 meals for the families who currently use the pantry. 

"The community's response has been overwhelming," says Sottile. "In addition to the other contributions we've received this season we will definitely have the resources to help get us through March or April." 

"Our need has increased this year and we worried how we were going to meet that need," says Erin Lynch, the Food Pantry's development director. "We are grateful to this community that really stepped up and gave this year."

Co-founders of the Franklin Food Elves Melissa and Cameron Piana are more than thrilled with the results. "It is amazing the good that people can do when everyone works together for a common goal," says Melissa. "We are so proud of our team of elves and for the generosity of the community."  

"It is incredible what can be done in 12 days," Cameron added. "Each year we have been able to double the food donations."

Emma's Quilt Cupboard customers donated six bins worth of goods, according to Cyndi Rich, Emma's owner and FDP board member.  She was one of 11 business participants.

For more information about the Franklin Food Pantry, go to, or call 508-528-3115. For more information about the Food Elves and the "12 Days of Donating" campaign, please contact the Franklin Downtown Partnership at, or go to

Things you can do from here:

"We need to think hard about what message we're sending to kids"

The Milford Daily News reports on NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre's comments calling for armed security at school. Local officials comment on the NRA idea.

"There are armed guards in a lot of public places," said Franklin Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski, who called the NRA's plan "silliness." "That doesn't isolate them from violence." 
For Sabolinski, the federal funds that would go to placing those officers at schools should instead be used for educational services and programs geared toward violence prevention.

Read more:

In the News: somber service, holiday safety, special election

Franklin church bells mark somber service for shooting victims

Friday, December 21, 2012

Yes, you can help the Rail Trail effort!

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your past interest and support of the the Franklin & Bellingham Rail Trail Committee (FBRTC).  We are working hard to turn the Southern New England Trunkline Trail (SNETT) abandoned railroad tracks into a multiuse, universally accessible trail for walking, biking, hiking, horseback riding, cross country skiing, and other outdoor recreational activities.   We hope you have had a chance to use the trail in 2012.

Southern New England Trunkline Trail: SNETT
SNETT sign at Grove St entrance

Did you know that the FBRTC offers an annual membership donation?  Your tax-deductible membership fee of $25 or more ($15 for students or those on a limited income) gives us important operating expense funds to allow us to apply for grants at the federal, state and local levels.  As a member, your level of involvement with the FBRTC is up to you.  You can join us for our various activities during the year, or you can simply let your membership be your involvement. I am writing to ask for your continued support in 2013.  Please take a few minutes to renew online or print the attached form and send a membership donation.

You can renew your support online at 

Membership includes, voting privileges, advanced notice of trail events, meetings, and agendas, updates on important trail news and developments, and 10% off on parts and accessories at Crossing Cycles in Franklin.

Wondering what the FBRTC did in 2012?  Here is a quick summary of how your support has made a difference.
  • Early in the 2012, we revised our mission statement and officially changed our name to the "Franklin & Bellingham Rail Trail Committee" to reflect the growing membership base, and the locality of towns involved in the effort.
    In the spring, a team of committee members and groups from Bellingham (Boy Scouts) cleaned up a section of the trail in Bellingham.
  • In May, the committee received notice from DCR that it was approved for a grant of $10,801.  Over the course of the summer, the committee worked with DCR to identify how the grant would be used.  Gates are in the process of being erected at trail entrances in Bellingham and Franklin.
  • Also in May, the committee held it's second annual 5K run (1 mile walk) fundraiser event.  Over 100 people entered the race, and the committee raised over $3,000.
  • The committee had a table at the Franklin "Harvest Festival" on September 30th.  It was another great opportunity to increase community awareness of our efforts.
  • On October 13th, we conducted a guided "trail walk" with DCR's Ron Clough.  Almost 50 people attended.
  • The towns of Bellingham and Franklin continue to be supporting of our efforts.
  • A boy scout troop in Bellingham is planning to build a kiosk at the trail entrance on Center St.
  • The town of Bellingham has marked the trail crossing at Lake St and Center St.
  • A parking lot is being planned for Center St. in Bellingham.
  • The Ben Franklin Charter Public School 5th grade held a "Community Service Day" at the trail in the fall. They planted flowers, and cleaned around the kiosk at the trail-head at Grove St in Franklin. They were also given an interpretive tour of the trail by Ron Clough from Massachusetts DCR (Department of Conservation and Recreation).
  • Developed a map of the SNETT in Franklin and Bellingham to guide users on parking areas and other points of interest.
  • Became and active partner with the Towns of Bellingham and Franklin in participating in a grants received by the Town of Bellingham from the NPS (National Parks Service) for "Rivers,Trails and Conservation Assistance".  This grant allows all towns and interested groups along the trail to work together to create a master plan for the trail's development.
On any given day, many people are utilizing and enjoying the trail, walking or biking, and connecting with nature.  The committee continues to increase it's outreach and to build awareness using social media.  Our Facebook page:  The page contains over 100 "likes".  We use our Facebook page and web site ( to inform the people of the community of our activities.

The SNETT is a tremendous asset for our community.  Please consider making a membership donation today and become a vital piece in making change happen.

FBRTC Mission: The Franklin & Bellingham Rail Trail Committee (FBRTC) is a volunteer advocacy group dedicated to the development, maintenance, and financial support of the Southern New England Trunkline Trail as a multi-use, universally accessible recreational path.

FBRTC is a subsidiary of the Grand Trunk Trail Blazers, a recognized 501(c)(3), working in partnership with federal, state and local governments, members of the FBRTC are committed to exploring all private, state and federal funding avenues to implement all necessary design plans.

Six One Seven Studios (video)

The studio has been operating in Franklin for about a year now. To help promote their presence, they held a recent Franklin Downtown Partnership networking event. They provided tours of the studio space along with refreshments. One could easily imagine great work being done there. In fact, you don't have to imagine you can view some here.

A video of the Stone Soup Dinner held in Concord, MA

A video of Guru Restaurant here in Franklin, MA

One of their projects is to create a website of local restaurants and show the food served there. You can go to Select Franklin, search for a type of food (pizza, Italian, etc.) or for the name of a restaurant. No videos are available yet as this is still being put together but the info available should be accurate.

You can visit their webpage here

MassBudget: Rise and Fall of Local Aid in Massachusetts

MassBudget    Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center    Democracy.
The Rise and Fall of Local Aid
To help close a mid-year budget gap, the Governor has proposed a 1% cut to General Local Aid, a program that provides money to cities and towns for police and fire protection, parks, and other vital local services.

On its own, that is a relatively small part of the Governor's broader cuts. But funding for General Local Aid is already at its lowest point in over three decades. Like so many other programs in the state budget, it has been squeezed by the large revenue shortfalls that followed the income tax cuts of the late 90s.

MassBudget's new report, "The Rise and Fall of Local Aid in Massachusetts" finds that:

  • Total aid to cities and towns--including both General Local Aid and Education funding--declined by $1.7 billion between 1982 and 2012 (adjusted for economic growth).

  • The bulk of that decline--$1.3 billion of the $1.7 billion--comes in the form of reduced funding for General Local Aid (adjusted for economic growth).

An accompanying interactive tool allows you to track changes in General Local Aid for each city and town in Massachusetts.

In addition to this report on Local Aid, MassBudget is also releasing its annual assessment of education funding in Massachusetts, "Public School Funding in Massachusetts: Where We Are, What Has Changed, and How We Compare to Other States."

Using the latest Census data on state-by-state education spending, we find that:
  • Massachusetts devotes a smaller portion of its total resources to education than most states

  • Per-pupil spending in Massachusetts is relatively high (the fact that Massachusetts is a high-income state means that it can spend more than others on a per-pupil basis while still using a smaller percentage of the state's total resources)

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.

BOSTON, MA 02108
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Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center | 15 Court Square | Suite 700 | Boston | MA | 02108

Business After Hours Jan. 15

United Regional Chamber of Commerce

Take the first step to improving your business in 2013. Attend a Business After Hours sponsored by The United Regional Chamber of Commerce's Extreme Networking Group I on Jan. 15 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The cost is $5 for Chamber members and $10 for non-members. 

The event will be held at Dean College, Campus Center Dining Hall, 99 Main St., Franklin. Parking is available in a lot next to the Campus Center and is accessible via Main Street and Route 140. Register by calling the Chamber at 508-222-0801, 508-528-2800 or 508-695-6011.

The United Regional Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-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.


In the News: bell to toll, regional dispatch

Franklin church's bell to toll for victims

Project manager chosen for Franklin-Wrentham regional dispatch center

Thursday, December 20, 2012

DelCarte Property (video)

I made another stop along my run on Sunday to spend a couple of minutes enjoying the quiet at the DelCarte Property along Pleasant St.

DelCarte Property - Open Space in Franklin, MA

Two weeks ago I recorded a video and you can view that here

Town Council - 12/19/12

The Town Council recognized former Representative Jim Vallee with a Citizenship Award. The public hearing on the proposed revisions to the Site Plan and Design Review process drew the ire of several councilors. The motion was tabled, a subcommittee (Pfeffer, Jones and Bissanti) will meet with Jeff Nutting and the Planning and Community Development Dept to discuss potential revisions before the proposal comes back to the Council.

Jim Vallee receives award from Town Council Chair Bob Vallee

The collection of posts for the Town Council meeting can be found here

Dean College Quarterback Signs Letter of Intent to Play for Elon University

Trevor Vasey studying at Dean College

2012 freshman starting quarterback Trevor Vasey (Cumberland, RI) expects to compete for starting job at NCAA Division 1 Elon University

Franklin, MA (December 19, 2012) – Freshman Trevor Vasey, starting quarterback for the 2012 Dean College Bulldogs football team, today signed a letter of intent to play for National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 (Southern Conference) Elon University.

In 2012, Vasey led the Bulldogs to a winning record in the Northeast Football Conference of the National Junion College Athletic Association.  Vasey earned the starting quarterback job as a freshman, easily leading the conference in passing yards with 1,848 and passing touchdowns with 15.  Vasey completed 51% of his passes, averaging 231 yard per game. Vasey also rushed for one touchdown in the season.

Trevor Vasey in action on the football field


In the News: Site plan, Tri-County award

Former Rep Vallee honored during meeting as well.

Franklin bylaw change planned

Plan Ahead for Holiday Travel

Sent to you by Steve Sherlock via Google Reader:

via Commonwealth Conversations: Transportation by Klark Jessen on 12/19/12

Westwood, I-95 South, New Travel Lane, November 15, 2012MassDOT encourages residents and visitors to drive safely and use public transportation where possible during the upcoming holidays.

As always, I-90 Exit 9 connecting I-84 to Connecticut and New York experiences heavy traffic on peak holiday travel days. Drivers are encouraged to consider travel during the early morning or after 8 p.m.  Traffic congestion is also typical at the I-95 and I-495 Turnpike interchanges along with I-495 and I-93 northbound leading into New Hampshire.
To avoid cash tolls, EZPass on the Go transponders are available at all 11 I-90 Service Plazas.  

MassDOT's Traffic and Travel Resources page includes links to all MassDOT travel resources.
Visit MassDOT's online traffic camera webpage with more than 90 live traffic cameras throughout the highway system. The cameras refresh every 10 seconds to provide real time traffic views.  The 511 traffic alert system alerts customers to traffic conditions throughout the holiday weekend.

Free coffee will be served at all 18 MassDOT service plazas courtesy of McDonalds, Burger King, and Gulf between 10 p.m. on Christmas night, Tuesday, December 25, until 5 a.m. on Wednesday, December 26, and between 10 p.m. on New Year's Eve, Monday, December 31, until 5 a.m. on Tuesday, January 1, 2013.

In case of wintry travel weather, motorists should drive with headlights on, observe posted speed limits, never drink and drive, make sure everyone is using a seatbelt and be on the lookout for changing weather conditions. More information on safe winter driving is available at the MassDOT website.

The MBTA Christmas Day through New Year's Day holiday service schedule includes a Sunday service schedule for Tuesday, December 25 and Tuesday, January 1, 2013.  The T provides additional trains and FREE service after 8:00pm on New Year's Eve, December 31.  Check out the full T schedule at

Things you can do from here:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

live reporting - Closing

I would like to echo the comments for having a top notch School Administration, they made several updates over the weekend to

Vallee - you're going to meet with those three people (Jones, Pfeffer, Bissanti) and the Planners
Nutting - yes, that's why I wanted some time to do so

Roy - meeting with NationalGrid, making progress
Bissanti - and interesting meeting, my first, communication was fleshed out as the problem, they know that now.
Nnutting - the Union loop feeds six towns, they are putting together a 1-4 year plan to upgrade that, they are also looking to site more equipment in the town which will help. The DPU will assist us in keeping on eye on this

Powderly - possibility of online banking to improve the online payment options
Nutting - Jim Dacey is looking at and RFP for this, perhaps we'd have something for next fiscal year

Roy - thanks to Jeff and Tina for putting together that notice, it was a mind boggling event. It is important to ensure our community that their children are safe. It is a frequent topic of concern. i get sworn in and will be attending a meeting shortly thereafter.

Bissanti - I want to echo what Jeff Nutting said, the schools, teacher, principals did a great job handling this. I am getting good comments back from others who go to the schools. I can't understand how these things occur. We may not understand. It is a tragedy.

Jones - I appreciate the letter as read tonight. I was emotionally effected by the event esp with five children of my own. I do feel comforted by the fact that the Schools, teachers, principals, Administration go out of their way to take care of the children.  Merry Christmas, enjoy the holidays.

Pfeffer - tonight we celebrated a former Rep, it was a great tribute to him and his family.

Powderly - any update on the fuel assistance money?
Nutting - Bob Fahey and the Food Pantry

I was able to take part in the Friends of Franklin wrapping party, gifts were wrapped within 45 minutes.
happy holidays and happy new year to everyone

Dellorco - Our staff does a great job, there are alot of folks that do a great job looking out for the safety of the children.

Mercer - I echo the comments of my fellow councilors, happy holidays to all

Negotiations, Litigation, Real Property, as May Be Required
approve via roll call vote, 8-0

Live reporting - Legislation


1. Resolution 12-75-R: Town of Franklin Net Metering Power Purchase Agreement Authorization
motion to approve, passed 8-0

2. Resolution 12-85: Appropriation - Technology-Consulting
motion to approve, passed 8-0

Nutting - due to requirements for state level reporting, request to outsource some services and to hire someone to backfill the position to cover what we need. The world is becoming more technical not less. A new technology can bring us to a complete standstill. It is short money for a big bang.

3. Resolution 12-86: Appropriation - Health Insurance Payroll Withholdings Account
motion to approve, passed 8-0

Susan Gagner - in FY 12, some money was charged to the employee account in error. The Town had a surplus closed out to Free Cash. Looking to take the money back to cover the account. If found earlier, it could have been done with an accounting transfer

4. Resolution 12-87: Appropriation – Kensington Estates
motion to approve, passed 8-0

Nutting -a four lot subdivision was proposed off Beach St, one developer sold it to another who didn't finish the road. This amount will cover the work, the DPW will cover the work in the summer of 2013

5. Resolution 12-88: Acceptance of Gift - Recreation
motion to approve, passed 8-0

Nutting - a small donation, we'll send a thank you

6. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 12-695:Changes to § 185-31. Site Plan and Design Review- 1st Reading
motion to table 12-695, 12-696, 12-697 to next meeting , passed 8-0

7. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 12-696:Changes to § 185-20. H. Signs. Sign Approvals- 1st Reading
8. Zoning Bylaw Amendment 12-697:Changes to § 185-45. N. Administration and Enforcement. Design Review Commission- 1st Reading