Monday, March 24, 2014

Mount St - new poles, renovated barn

On my reporting by walking around excursion on Saturday, I took my Summer St, Mount St to Upper Union St loop back to King St. A good walk, plenty of hills with Summer and Mount St and a nice long decline coming down Upper Union.

Mount St residents were upset a few months ago with the tree cuts and new utility poles being put in to carry the power from the new solar farm at the Abbey. While the solar farm at the Abbey had been in the news, nothing had been mentioned about how the power was going to run from the Abbey to get to the power grid.

A few trees were cut down on Mount St and new utility poles were put in to raise the power lines up further from street level than the existing lines.

In this first photo, the new poles are standing at the beginning for the incline

new utility poles on Mount St
new utility poles on Mount St

A close up of the renovated barn. Nicely done!

renovated barn on Mount St
renovated barn on Mount St

Related posts:

Solar farm at Mount St Mary's Abbey

Trees cut on Mount St

Franklin Library: Music & Movement with Ms. Marsha

For the young children "Music and Movement with Ms. Marsha" is scheduled for Tuesday, March 25th at 10:30 AM.

Celebrate through music and movement
Celebrate through music and movement

for additional information on events at the Franklin Library, follow their webpage here

In the News: urgent care

Dismayed by the time it takes to transport patients in need of immediate care to area hospitals, Town Council members have asked a subcommittee to research outpatient options, such as a satellite emergency room. 
The council's chairman, Robert Vallee, has made the matter a priority this year, instructing the Citizens Committee to pursue the problem.

You can read the remainder of the article here (subscription required)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - Mar 25, 2014

Vision Statement
The Franklin Public Schools will foster within its students the knowledge and skills to find and achieve satisfaction in life as productive global citizens.

"The listing of matters are those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law."

1. Routine Business
Citizen’s Comments
Review of Agenda
Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the March 11, 2014 School Committee Meeting.
Payment of Bills Mr. Clement
Payroll Mrs. Douglas
FHS Student Representatives

2. Guests/Presentations:

a. Awards
National Merit Scholars
1. Patrick Milne
2. Ruchira Parikh
School Sports Awards
1. Cam Kelly – Wrestling
2. Griffin Tighe – Wrestling
3. Jack Reidel – Shot Put
4. Leah Zogby - Swimming
b. Horace Mann Update – Shawn Fortin, Kaitlyn Demers
c. Math Presentation – Joyce Edwards
The documents can be found here

d. Report Card Feedback – Joyce Edwards

3. Discussion Only Items
Policy – First Reading
o LB – Relations with Other Schools and School Districts
School Choice 2014-2015 Vote
2014-2015 DRAFT School Committee Meeting Schedule
Budget Questions

4. Action Items
a. I recommend approval of changes to the K-5 report cards as detailed.
b. I recommend moving Policy LB as discussed to a second reading at the April 8, 2014 School Committee Meeting.
c. I recommend adoption of the FY15 School Budget in the amount of $55,600,000.00 as discussed at the budget hearing on March 11, 2014.
d. I recommend that we not accept any new School Choice students for the 2014-2015 school year.
e. I recommend approval of the request of Mr. Light that the FHS Classics Club travel to Hyannis, MA for the Junior Classical League State Convention from April 11 to 13, 2014 as detailed. This is a recurring field trip.
f. I recommend acceptance of a check for $242.28 from Wells Fargo Community Support Program for the FHS.
g. I recommend acceptance of a check for $825.00 from the Oak Street PCC for field trips.
h. I recommend acceptance of a check for $150.00 from the Parmenter PCC for buses for field trips.
i. I recommend acceptance of a check for $175.00 from the Parmenter PCC for buses for field trips.
j. I recommend approval of the Budget Transfers as detailed.
k. I recommend acceptance of a check for $400.00 from the Keller PCC for the 5th grade party.
l. I recommend adoption of the 2014-2015 Draft School Committee Meeting Schedule as discussed.

5. Information Matters
Superintendent’s Report
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. Executive Session
Contractual Negotiations

8. Adjourn

Franklin Municipal Building
Franklin Municipal Building

Elementary Math Adoption documents

These documents are part of the School Committee Agenda for Tuesday, March 25

Math Text Selection Rubric

K - 5 Math Adoption Plan

Elementary Math Adoption Plan

Downtown Partnership - Letter to Town Council

The following is the letter the Board of Directors sent to the Franklin Town Council last week.

Mr. Robert Vallee, Chair
Franklin Town Council
Office of the Town Administrator
355 East Central Street
Franklin, MA 02038

March 18, 2014

Dear Mr. Vallee:

The Franklin Downtown Partnership has had thoughtful discussions with many of our members over the last few months regarding the town-owned Emmons Street property.  We have listened to the concerns of important downtown stakeholders such as The Franklin Performing Arts Company, Simon’s Furniture, Artistry Kitchen and Dean College.  These are businesses that have invested heavily in the downtown area and will continue to do so in the future.  We have also spoken to residents, downtown business owners, building owners, members of the Downtown Partnership, the Historical Commission and the Franklin Art Association.
Franklin Downtown Partnership
Franklin Downtown Partnership

There is a consensus among these stakeholders that the town of Franklin should not approach this very important matter hastily and rush into writing an RFP to sell the Emmons Street property, which will serve as an important "Gateway" to downtown Franklin. This was evident during the March 4th town workshop when community members developed several different concepts which did not involve selling the property.

In the opinion of the Partnership, the time required to offer due diligence to the many interesting proposed uses of the property and the immanent physical changes to the downtown infrastructure render the Emmons Street property a subject that requires more time to determine the most beneficial course of action.

Therefore, we are requesting that the Town Council suspend issuance of an RFP for one year until after the following facts are known:  

1)    What the new traffic patterns will be on Emmons Street and West Central after the Streetscape project and the two-way traffic pattern is implemented.
a.    This information is vital before any new retail is established in this busy intersection and causes additional traffic issues.
b.    The  new traffic patterns that will result from the implemented streetscape project will provide the Town with more reliable data to help determine the best means of access to, and circulation within, the Emmons Street Property and to ensure that traffic does not back up to the Davis Thayer School.

2)    What the parking needs will be during the next 12 months with the current and new businesses, especially during construction.
a.    It is important to understand the growing parking needs of current businesses before losing the 50 parking spaces to new retail development.
b.    It is critical that the downtown businesses have a place to park during the streetscape project construction.
3)    What funding is available for non-commercial development such as greenspace/park, cultural arts center or a combination.
a.    It is important to give the community a chance to develop ideas and research funding sources.

Moving ahead without knowing these facts is not only doing a disservice to the community, but may be devastating to the economic development of the downtown.  We believe that the value of this property will increase after the streetscape project is completed so it would be prudent to wait.

The Franklin Downtown Partnership has over 200 members, and our mission over the last 12 years has been to improve the downtown and encourage economic  growth by working with residents, business owners, town and community leaders. We feel that this is one of the most important properties in our downtown and we have an opportunity for careful, long-term, creative thinking by the community and town officials. The Emmons Street property is a prominent "gateway" to downtown, and represents an opportunity to substantially impact the downtown's perception and character. The Town is in an advantageous position in that it controls this important piece of real estate. This parcel's development can have a positive impact on the downtown, and, by extension, the community at large.

The Downtown Partnership looks forward to working with the Town Council, the Planning Department and community leaders to find creative solutions and funding to develop a “Gateway Property” that everyone will be proud of. We encourage the Council to give the community a chance to support the vision of a vibrant downtown that has been outlined in the Master Plan.

Thank you for your time and consideration regarding this important decision.  We believe that only through careful and thoughtful planning will our community determine the best direction for the downtown and this important “Gateway” property.

Sincerely yours,

Franklin Downtown Partnership Board of Directors

Nicole Fortier/Dean Bank, Joel Carrara/Printsmart,
Cyndi Rich/Emma’s Quilt Cupboard, Roberta Trahan/Resident, 
Del Arnold/Historical Commission,  Pandora Carlucci/Franklin School Department,
Gregg Chalk/Dean College, Jane Curran/Jane’s Frames,
Gary Donelan /Middlesex Savings Bank, Dave Drucker/Dean College,
Mary Graff/Berry Insurance, Scott Martin/Hockomock YMCA,
Angie McMillan/The Cake Bar, Jim Schultz/Resident

Lisa Piana/Executitve Director-FDP

This was originally posted to the Franklin Downtown Partnership page here

If you agree with this position and would like to add your name to the online petition you can do so here

My reporting of the public meeting on March 4th can be found here

The follow up post including the handouts from that meeting can be found here

Then and now: Crossway Church

I thought of a new series of photos that I can share here as the occasion arises. As I have been capturing Franklin scenes for some time, a 'this was then' and 'here it is now' comparison would make sense. Of course while walking Saturday, this is the idea that occurred to me!

Back in 2010 the building on Summer St was decrepit and an eyesore.

Crossway Church - 2010
Crossway Church - 2010

Today, it is respectable place of worship

Crossway Church - 2014
Crossway Church - 2014

Their sign on Summer St

Crossway Church - 282 Summer St
Crossway Church - 282 Summer St

For more about Crossway Church, you can visit their webpage ->
There you can also find photos of the project as the church was renovated ->

Saturday, March 22, 2014

The NSA Debate at TED

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety”  Benjamin Franklin
As we live in the first community named for Ben, we should be as concerned about liberty and security as much as how Franklin will find funds to pay for our roads and other services. Hence, there are two important TED Talks from this week I will share here. Pull up a comfy spot (if you're not in one already) and spend about an hour with Edward Snowden and then the response from the NSA.

Edward Snowden at TED  "How we take back the Internet"

Richard Ledgett: "The NSA responds to Edward Snowden’s TED Talk"

"I would say the last year has been a reminder that democracy may die behind closed doors, but we as individuals are born behind those same closed doors, and we don't have to give up our privacy to have good government. We don't have to give up our liberty to have security. And I think by working together we can have both open government and private lives, and I look forward to working with everyone around the world to see that happen."  Edward Snowden

Franklin High's weight coach is strong

Two year ago, shortly after she was introduced as Franklin High's new strength coach, Liane Blyn became a legend in the school's weight room. 
It was a YouTube video, later posted on the school newspaper's website, showing Blyn dragging a yellow Hummer that had the students abuzz.
Read the full article here (subscription required)

and the video of her pulling the Hummer from a dead stop

Hockomock Area YMCA kicks off the Reach Out for Youth and Families annual campaign

Brian Earley and Michael Patch return to lead the charge in the Hockomock Area YMCA’s 2014 Reach Out for Youth and Families Campaign. Brian joined the Board of Directors of the Hockomock Area YMCA in 2011 and is currently vice chairman. He is General Manager of Patriot Place and active in the town of Franklin, where he resides with his wife and four children. North Attleboro native Michael Patch grew up as an avid YMCA member and is currently chairman of the YMCA’s North Attleboro Branch Board of Managers. Michael is President of CSM Group, Inc. and lives in North Attleboro with his wife and three sons. 
Michael Patch [left] and Brian Earley [right]
"We are thrilled to have Brian and Michael lead our annual campaign," notes Jeff Dufficy, Chairman of the Y’s Board of Directors. "Brian and Mike are great champions of our mission and their passion to help improve the quality of life in the communities we serve is infectious and inspiring."

The Hockomock Area YMCA is recruiting more than 400 volunteers to help tell the story of the Y and its impact. The campaign will officially kick off on March 27th at the Hockomock Y’s annual breakfast beginning at 7:00 a.m. at Gillette Stadium, Putnam Club (East Side). Volunteers, community partners, and friends will come together to be inspired and to help friends and neighbors in need. 
In 2013, the Hockomock Area YMCA invested $1,732,470 in confidential scholarship assistance and subsidized programs. Through the community’s support, people of all ages and from all walks of life are enjoying lives that are more healthy, confident, connected, and secure. This includes cancer survivors and their families enrolled in the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA initiative, over 600 children with special needs participating in inclusive YMCA programming through the Integration Initiative, and thousands of middle school students taking part in Adventures in Respect, the Hockomock Area YMCA’s bullying prevention initiative. The Hockomock Area YMCA is more than a place; it is a cause that is committed to strengthening communities. 
According to Ed Hurley, President of the Hockomock Area YMCA, “We are grateful for the thoughtful generosity of our community. Last year, more than 15,000 local children and families benefited from a Y experience through the contributions of over 3,000 Reach Out for Youth and Families donors.” To RSVP for the annual breakfast, contact To learn how you can volunteer for this year’s campaign, please contact Peter Waisgerber at (508) 643-5251.

About The Hockomock Area YMCA
The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities in the areas of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. At the Y, strengthening community is its cause. Every day, the Y works side-by-side with its neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to learn and grow. For more information about the Hockomock Area YMCA, please visit

Friday, March 21, 2014

Upcoming Events in Franklin, MA Area: FRI 3/21/14 - THU 3/27/14

FRI 3/21   6:30pm   Art Night Uncorked - Franklin Art Center.
FRI 3/21   7pm   Casino Night to benefit Franklin Youth Baseball

SAT 3/22   9am-12pm   Patriot’s Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser to benefit BFCCS students, Elks Lodge Franklin.
SAT 3/22   8pm   Concert: Lori McKEnna with Mark Erelli, First Universalist Society, Franklin. (sold out)

SUN 3/23   12:30pm   Cupcake Decorating for Teens. The Cake Bar, Franklin.
SUN 3/23   1pm   FPAC Free Concert Series: Opera for Kids - Franklin.

MON 3/24   7pm   Planning Board Meeting, Franklin Municipal Building.

TUE 3/25   7pm   School Committee Meeting, Franklin Municipal Building.

WED 3/26   6:30pm   Cooking Matters - FREE class. Hockomock YMCA Franklin.
WED 3/26   7:00pm  Finance Committee - Budget hearing #4 (may be last one of series)

THU 3/27   7am-9am   Power of Voices - YMCA Annual Youth and Families Breakfast. Patriot Place - Foxborough.

For more details on above events click HERE and select the event of interest.

*If you have any suggestions or events for the calendar, please email

More on PARCC

Additional articles on the Common Core and PARCC

March 19, 2014 Letter written by Ludlow Superintendent regarding too much on standardized testing

Just out today, March 20, 2014


Related post:

Franklin Downtown Partnership Announces 2014 Event Dates

The Franklin Downtown Partnership has set the dates for this year’s Strawberry Stroll, Harvest Festival, Holiday Stroll and Beautification days. The FDP also announces its General Meeting Dates and invites the general public to attend and learn more about important issues and happenings in town. 
Franklin Downtown Partnership
Franklin Downtown Partnership
Downtown Beautification Day will be Saturday, May 17, 9:00 a.m. to Noon. The Partnership, the Franklin Garden Club and many volunteers will install more than 1,200 flowers and greens, and community service hours will be available to students. Contact Eileen Mason at for details about sponsorship and volunteer opportunities. Winter Beautification Day will be Sunday, November 23. 
The Partnership’s 11th annual Strawberry Stroll will take place on Thursday, June 12, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. A sidewalk sale, entertainment and the Partnership’s mouthwatering Strawberry Shortcakes will kick off summer in sweet style. The FDP currently is signing up sponsors for this event. Contact event Co-Chairs Nicole Fortier,, or Bryan Taberner,, for more information. 
The always-popular Harvest Festival will be Sunday, October 5, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. This annual event will draw at least 6,000 visitors to town for a fun afternoon of local entertainment, shopping, food and games. Booth registration information will be available on the FDP website in June. 
The Holiday Stroll is set for Thursday, December 4, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. A visit from Santa, holiday music, crafts and specialty shopping draw hundreds of people downtown for this special holiday evening. Roberta Trahan and Gregg Chalk will co-chair this event. 
Along with these popular events, the FDP also set its General Meeting dates: May 1, September 4 and November 6. The Partnership invites all business owners and residents to join discussions about issues affecting the area and learn more about the FDP’s efforts in revitalizing downtown Franklin. The meetings take place at 8:30 a.m. at the Dean College Campus Center. 
More information about the events, meeting dates, sponsorship and volunteer opportunities can be found at
The Franklin Downtown Partnership is a 501(c)3 organization that works to stimulate economic development downtown to create a positive impact throughout the area. To that end the FDP runs events and takes an active role in downtown improvement projects like beautification efforts and streetscape design. The Partnership currently has close to 200 members and welcomes all businesses and residents. 
Any business, organization or resident interested in membership or sponsorship should contact Executive Director Lisa Piana at or (774) 571-3109, or visit the office at 9 East Central Street.

Franklin Art Association: Special Show Meeting

   Please come - We need all to help us

Who:        All members and all new members to join in

Place:      Guarino's, 75 Jefferson Road, off King Street, Franklin 

When:      Wednesday, March 26   

Time:       7-9 PM

Franklin Art Association
Franklin Art Association

Objective:  Request for help* with FAA Spring Show, at Dean College, May 16, 17, 18 

*All tasks will be reduced to small responsibilities  No one will have to do anything they cannot do.
Detailed information with be available for each 'assignment'. 
It is a wonderful way for newer members to become more part of FAA.    We want and need you!    
We want to get to know you newer members and 'work' with you.   
Please come, we need everyone's help.     Mark your calendars now to come over. 
See you there!

       Thank you.    Bill Wallhausser and Gail Eckberg,  Co-chairs, Spring Show

MassBudget: Rewarding Work: The Minimum Wage and Tax Credits

MassBudget  Information.
 Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center  Democracy.

Rewarding Work:
The Minimum Wage and Tax Credits
Rewarding Work: The Minimum Wage and Tax Credits discusses the important roles played by both the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the minimum wage in expanding economic opportunity for low-wage workers. This Facts At A Glance finds that the EITC and a strong minimum wage are complementary policies:

  • The EITC is particularly effective at helping those lower-income working families with children.

  • The EITC works best when coupled with a strong minimum wage to mitigate any downward pressure on wages.

  • While a very effective wage supplement for many low-wage working families, the scale and scope of a state EITC can't substitute for adequate wages.

This Facts At A Glance also examines an employer tax break related to the minimum wage that was recently adopted in New York, one that creates a variety of problems for low-wage workers.

Read this Facts At A Glance

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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