Monday, July 1, 2013

Preparing for Franklin's 4th of July

On Sunday, the ticket booth was ready to be set up:

ticket booth

As was the Berry ride

berry ride

and the Italian swings

Italian swings

and whatever they call this ride

unknown ride (small cars on a track??)

What is the schedule for the 4th of July?

News from Fairmount Fruit Farm

Fairmount Fruit Farm Newsletter
                 PLANT SALE                    
In This Issue
What's in?
Plant Sale
Quick Links

  Come see us for fresh produce, now grown Hydroponically at our farm!
Visit our website to learn more at
Dear Valued Customer,

Hello, and happy Summer! Now that the heat wave is over, it is the perfect time to finish that summer planting! Get your yard ready for the upcoming holiday with beautiful annuals to bloom throughout the summer, and hardy perennials which will return to grace your garden every year.
Looking for farm fresh produce? Its that time of year! Stop in and support local business by choosing farm fresh vegetables and fruits, picked daily at Fairmount. All of your shopping needs can be met, as we now offer an array of grocery products, including dairy, bakery, produce, baked goods, eggs, and more...Stop in and see what's in store!
STRAWBERRY PICKING will be held daily throughout the entire summer (permitting berries are ripe and available), from 10-4. Please call for availability at 508-533-8737

snap dragon
ALL PLANTS are now on SALE
Buy one, get one half off on all plants, including vegetables, annuals, and perennials. Mix and match any combination to complete your gardening needs. Offer available while supplies last!
We appreciate your business and look forward to seeing you soon!
All of us at Fairmount Fruit Farm


Fairmount Fruit Farm | 887 Lincoln St. | Franklin | MA | 02038

"'deceiving' because it ignores known issues"

Milford Daily News has an article from the Franklin Facilities Dept.

Compiled at the request of Town Council, the 14-page report looks forward five years, offering terse recommendations on what should be done with, or to, each facility. It also lists several pages of recent work orders, all of which were for minor repairs. 
America’s first lending library may require more than $2 million in upgrades, including a new HVAC system. Currently, engineers are updating a 2007 study, which looked at balancing structural repairs with the building’s many historic attributes. The Facilities Department will use the results of the study to plan construction. 
Much like the library, the David Thayer Elementary School has outdated infrastructure. The Facilities Department has known this for some time, but other matters, such as the new Franklin High project, took precedence.

Read more:

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Franklin's 4th of July

With no fireworks this year, what will be the attraction for the 4th?
Organizers readily acknowledge that nothing can replace fireworks on July 4th, but they say they have at least found a creative alternative: a laser light show, set to music, beginning at 10 p.m. on July 3 on the common. 
"It’s something that people haven’t seen in the town before," said Warren Revell, co-chairman of the Franklin July 4th Coalition. "Hopefully it draws a crowd to the common. The night of the fireworks has always been a big night, but from what I understand, (the light show) is quite a thing." 
During a show expected to last about half an hour, lights will be projected onto a 40-foot screen. People are encouraged to bring blankets, though coolers are prohibited. 
The light show is just the beginning of five days worth of events, including the annual parade starting at 2 p.m. on July 7. Vietnam War veteran Robert Gardner, recipient of the Bronze Star medal, has been selected as the 2013 grand marshal.

Read more:

The complete schedule of events for the 4th of July in Franklin can be found here

You can also contribute to the 4th of July Coalition on their webpage

Summer is the time to play

Updated 7:00AM This was an interesting idea. I found some other navigation features that made this a pain to use for me so I have already removed this new layout.


Yes, school is out and there is time to play. I will be taking advantage of some vacation time to do some fun stuff this week too. Not that I don't have fun during the normal week. I do, really. Between work and volunteer efforts for this site and the Food Pantry, you probably see that I like to keep busy. I also like to have fun!!!

One of the play areas for this week is with the layout on this website. Google's Blogger software which drives this site has some features that I'd like to test. For those of you reading this during the week, I'd like you to play along.

Dynamic views is one of the templates that I can use which also gives you the reader a choice for how you would prefer to read this site. I have it currently set to default to the Magazine view but you can change it. One of the decision points will be does this new view really allow you to read this page better?

As I tested with Internet Explorer I found this view:

IE shows the dynamic view
IE shows the dynamic view

with Firefox I found this:

Firefox shows the dynamic view
Firefox shows the dynamic view

and with Chrome I found this:

Chrome shows the dynamic view

Statistically you come to read this page with Internet Explorer (29%), Firefox (25%), Chrome (20%), Opera (10%), Safari (10%) and all others (16%).

One key difference among the views shown above: Only Chrome gives you the option of changing the view and only Chrome give you the option of navigating among the sidebar links I provide for you.

(Note in the screen shots above that IE and Firefox show a black line across the top with no text visible. The visible text is only shown in the Chrome view. This text allows you to change the view and to navigate among the tabs.)

The numbers tell me that giving this full functionality to only 1 of 5 of my readers is probably not going to work. However, you do get to have your say in this matter.

  • Many of you read via the daily email updates and hardly ever come to the web site itself. 
  • Many of you read via Facebook and only when the link is really interesting come here to get the full set of details. 

So who wins in all of this? 
You should. You are the ones reading.
Leave a comment or send me an email on what you think I should do with this layout test.

Do you like the dynamic views or should I return to the previous layout?

Updated 7:00AM This was an interesting idea. I found some other navigation features that made this a pain to use for me so I have already removed this new layout.


"looking to improve service and trim expenses"

The Milford Daily News has a long article on the trend and effects of increasing costs for special education.
One of the top drivers of special education funding is out-of-district tuition – tuition costs associated with students that need to be sent to other private or public specialty programs to meet their needs. 
Administrators say costs for day programs can cost as much as $100,000 per student annually, while a residential placement can cost as much as $350,000 annually. Since districts by law are required to educate special education students until they either graduate or turn 22, one or two extremely high-need children can add a strain on a budget for years, while planning is difficult because a new high-need child can move into a district at any time. 
State funding "does bring funds back to the district, but not commensurate with the increase of private, collaborative, and public tuition and transportation costs," Milford Superintendent Robert Tremblay wrote in an email.
This is also a significant factor for the Franklin school budget and has been for many years. Franklin has taken steps to increase their capability to provide special education services to as many of their students within the district as possible.
Franklin Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski said special education costs in Franklin actually declined by $200,000 this year. 
"The strength of our in-district programs and our commitment to co-teaching has enabled our educators to be successful in meeting the needs of students," she wrote in an email.

Read more:

The presentation on the Franklin school budget for fiscal year 2014 can be found here

In the News: grand marshal, 4th fireworks, virtual school

Franklin July 4 parade grand marshal named

The Franklin July 4 Coalition Parade Committee has named Vietnam veteran Robert Gardner as this year's grand marshall of the annual Independence Day parade.  The parade is set for July 7, 2-3:30 p.m

Where's the fireworks? Check here

Fourth of July fireworks displays are an American tradition. Here's a list of local celebrations.

Local collaborative wants to start virtual school

A local education collaborative aims to be among the first in Massachusetts to start a virtual school, when the state begins accepting proposals later this year.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

"reduce the mountainous regulatory obligations"

It's about time! The Milford Daily News reports on a new proposal to address the unfunded mandates that school districts are forced to implement. The focus of the article is on Framingham and doesn't reference Franklin. However, this has long been a complaint of the School Committee and district officials here so I am sure that Franklin will be following this closely.
"We need relief," said Framingham School Committee Chairwoman Beverly Hugo, who wrote the original draft and testified at Thursday's public hearing. "Some of these (mandates) are redundant or duplicative." 
While some of the requirements - which in recent years have been introduced to address bullying, teacher evaluations, and school nutrition, among other issues - may be necessary to some degree, she added, "there's no analysis that shows whether these reports (submitted by schools) improve student achievement or services to children in the classroom." 
What is known, Hugo said, is the cost to districts to fill out thousands of pages of paperwork that are required by the mandates. Framingham, for instance, had to hire several vice principals in recent years to keep up with the greater workloads created by the state's new teacher evaluation system.

Read more:

Related posts:

Earlier this month "Area school officials are concerned the mandates, including a new teacher evaluation system, additional training to educate English Language Learners (ELL) and new fingerprinting requirements, are too much, too soon."
Reporting on truancy was touted in 2012

A listing of state unfunded mandates posted in 2010

Reporting on bullying was added in 2009

Kids get free ice cream for wearing helmet while riding their bike

The Milford Daily News reports that the Franklin Police Dept has teamed with Rick's to promote helmet use for kids riding bikes.
In Massachusetts, the law states that children 16 or under have to wear a helmet when riding anything with wheels, according to Manocchio. 
The department recently teamed up with Rick’s, 28 West Central St., to promote bike safety through offering a sweet incentive. 
Rick Moore, who has owned the downtown restaurant since 2006, said he too often sees kids riding or skating without helmets. 
"As a matter of fact," he said, "for every kid with a helmet, I think I see three without helmets."

Read more:

Franklin: Rick's Restaurant
Rick's in Franklin, MA

Rick's webpage

and Rick's is also on Facebook

MDN anonymous comment policy change

The Milford Daily News FINALLY got around to addressing their anonymous comment issue.

For some time, we’ve received complaints that the anonymous commenting system we’ve hosted on our online stories does little to enhance the conversation within our community. The criticism has been that some of the comments are hateful and sometimes, downright objectionable. We heard you and we agree.

It was about time. I find it quite interesting that the comments on the Milford Daily News articles have dropped considerably. It is still early as the policy just went into effect on Thursday. It was not uncommon to see posts with dozens of comments.  As a good example, the editorial announcing the change received 50 comments (as of this morning 06/29/13 7:20 AM). And yet the new "Most Commented" section shows posts with a top comment total of 1!

Milford Daily News comments
Milford Daily News comment screen shot 6/29/13 7:20 AM

Read the full editorial about the comment change here:

What is the comment policy for Franklin Matters?

One Run for Boston

A cross-country relay intended to raise money for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings will cross through Mendon and Upton this Sunday.

This relay will also run through Hopkinton, Framingham, Wellesley, Newtown and finish in Boston. Most of these are group stages, so runner can still sign up to run in the group. Additional information can be found on the MA sections here

Explore the website here

Follow them on Twitter

Friday, June 28, 2013

Farmers Market - Town Common - noon to 6:00 PM

Franklin, MA: Farmers Market
Farmers Market today

HockomockSports Top Student-athlete: Kristi Kirshe has announced:
Franklin High senior Kristi Kirshe has been selected as the inaugural Miss Hockomock, an award given to the top student-athlete of the school year as chosen by the staff of Kirshe captained the soccer, basketball, and girls’ lacrosse teams this past year and will be attending Williams College in the fall of 2013. 
This past fall, Kirshe led Franklin to its first-ever Division 1 girls’ soccer state championship and a near perfect record of 22-0-1. During the winter season, Kirshe was the starting point guard on the Kelley-Rex division co-champions and helped lead the Panthers to their second consecutive South sectional final. This spring, she was a starting defender for Franklin, which completed a perfect 11-0 league schedule and advanced to the sectional semifinal.
Read the full article on

MassBudget: The Massachusetts minimum wage - Frequently Asked Questions

MassBudget    Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center    Democracy.
Minimum Wage Resources
A strong minimum wage helps ensure that Massachusetts workers earn enough to support their families, and it can also help our economy by increasing the amount of money workers have to spend at local businesses. Our new FAQ answers a range of questions about the current minimum wage and includes some of the main findings from our recent minimum wage reports, including:

  • Over the course of a year, a full-time minimum wage worker earns about $5400 less today than he or she would have in 1968 (adjusted for inflation)

  • Raising the minimum wage to $10 would increase the wages of an estimated 581,000 workers--or roughly 1 in 5 workers across the Commonwealth

  • Of those 581,000 workers who would be affected by an increase in the minimum wage, 86 percent are 20 years or older.

In addition, we have updated several of our minimum wage tools and factsheets, and made all of our relevant work available through our minimum wage resource page. This includes:

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

Franklin LIbrary: Patriotic Crafts

Patriotic Crafts
patriotic crafts
patriotic crafts

Franklin Public Library - 118 Main Street Franklin MA 02038 - 508.520.4940