Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Blackstone Valley: January Things to Do

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Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor

Happy New Year!
January Things to do 

in the Blackstone River Valley 

National Heritage Corridor

For a complete, detailed listing of events, see the event calendar

Coffee with Charlene

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Join Charlene Perkins Cutler for her monthly coffee hour.  
4:00 PM to 5:00 PM

This month's topic:  WATER POWERED!
Location:  BirchTree Bread Company
                  138 Green Street, Worcester, MA
For more information, click here

Grant writing workshop

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Blackstone Heritage Corridor offers a variety of opportunities for funding assistance to our partners.  Join Executive Director Charlene Perkins Cutler as she provides guidance to developing successful grant applications.

Time:        4:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Location: Blackstone Heritage Corridor offices
                 1 Depot Square, Woonsocket, RI 02895

For more information, click here

Save the Dates!

We are looking ahead to some great activities and opportunities.  Mark your calendars, and look for more information in upcoming newsletters.

Late January (date TBD)  Celebration of the designation of
                                           Blackstone River Valley
                                           National Historical Park
                                           with U.S. Senator Jack Reed

February 17(Tuesday) -   Coffee with Charlene

March 17     (Tuesday)  -  Coffee with Charlene 

March 19     (Thursday) -  Blackstone Heritage Corridor 
                                           Annual Dinner 

Find us Here!

Are you planning to attend these events?  Look for us!

March   7 (Saturday) - Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce 
                                      Home & Business Expo
                                      Northbridge High School

March 14 (Saturday) - Land & Water Conservation Summit
                                      University of Rhode Island

March 21 (Saturday) - Mass Land Conservation Conference
                                      Worcester Technical High School 

Partner Events in January

January   1 - First Day Hike at 
                      Blackstone River and Canal Heritage State Park
Visitors will enjoy a trek along the Lady Carrington Towpath. Hike highlights may include winter wildlife along the waterway, fields and forest while featuring the historic canal from farm to factory.   Meet at River Bend Farm Visitor Center, 287 Oak Street, Uxbridge, MA.

For more information, go to the BRWA web page:

January 15 - You're the Expert at the EcoTarium (EcoTarium)
You're the Expert is a live show, podcast, and new public radio program on WBUR that uses comedy to make academic research more accessible and exciting. Through games, sketches, and hilariously misguided guesses, a panel of hilarious comedians will try to get to the bottom of what a distinguished scientist does all day. 

For more information, go to the EcoTarium web page:

January 21 - BRWC/FOB Board Meeting
Monthly Board meeting of the Blackstone River Watershed Council/Friends of the Blackstone.

For more information, go to the BRWC/FOB web page:

January 22 - BRWA Board Meeting
Monthly Board meeting of the Blackstone River Watershed Association

For more information, go to the BRWA web page:

January 24 - Superbowl of Birding
Winter is a wonderful time to bird in northeastern Massachusetts and southeastern New Hampshire. In celebration of this season, the Joppa Flats is hosting the Superbowl of Birding XII (Snow date: Sunday, January 25).

For more information, go to the Mass Audubon web page:

January 25 - Wingmasters Presents:  North American Birds of Prey

Come see live birds of prey up close on Sunday, January 25 in this indoor presentation that will introduce you to different types of raptors including eagles, hawks, falcons, and owls.

For more information, go to the Mass Audubon web page:

January 25 - BRWA Annual Winter Hike
Join the BRWA for their annual winter hike at Hassanamesit Woods, a property of the Grafton Land Trust. This 200-acre parcel has a history tied to the Nipmuc Indians, and archaeological studies are underway to uncover and preserve the land's rich cultural heritage. The ecology of the area is characterized by both upland and wetland areas, supporting a rich diversity of plants and animals. The land here drains to the nearby Quinsigamond River, shortly before emptying into the Blackstone River.

Meet at the gated end of Salisbury Street, which is located off of Keith Hill Rd in Grafton, MA near Rt 122.

For more information, go to the BRWA web page:

Your event could be featured here!

Include a description of the event, the event date/time, and other information shown on our event listing form.  

Would you like to include a picture?  Be sure to send it along with the form!

Call for Event Listings!

Is your organization hosting fun, informative, adventurous, or educational activities?  We would love to help you get the word out!

Click below for a copy of our submission form

We will try to include all events and activities.  Simply start by providing some basic information about your event, and we will take it from there!
blackstone heritage corridor logo

The Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor is a unique cultural landscape of industrial history and immigration in the interconnected system of the Blackstone River watershed. An energetic nonprofit, the Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor, Inc. partners with organizations, local communities and businesses, and residents to insure the long term vitality of the Corridor.

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Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor | One Depot Square | Woonsocket | RI | 02895

Meeting notes archive for 2014


Downtown Project status meeting
Dean College - July 10, 2014

Economic Development Committee
EDC - 12/17/14

Finance Committee

Budget hearing #4

Budget hearing #3

Budget hearing #2

Budget hearing #1

audio version (the meeting was not recorded by Franklin TV)

School Committee
(during 2014 I was on the Board of Directors for the Franklin Food Pantry and the Board meeting was usually a conflict with School Committee meetings)

Town Council


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Franklin Annual Report 2014: Finance Committee

Our fiscal year, which started July 1, 2013, began with the departure of Jim Roche, our chairman for many years. Jim served the town of Franklin well and we wish him great luck in his future volunteer endeavors. We were privileged to witness Representative Jeff Roy recognize Jim’s long term volunteer efforts to our town with a citation from the State House. During the year, Brett Feldman, another dedicated and integral Finance Committee member, was elected to the Town Council. We wish Brett much success in his new role. Fortunately, great citizens offered to volunteer and we added Bill Dowd and George Conley to the committee.

It was another busy year for the Finance Committee, with much focus on the progress of the new high school construction project. During the year the committee met 12 times. Four of those meetings were focused on the Fiscal 2015 budget process, with the end result being the approval of a projected $110 million operating budget for the town. The budget allows the addition of 10 new teachers, one police officer, additional hours for the library to be open on Sundays as well as other increased municipal services. Throughout the year, many discussions related to the deteriorating condition of our public roadways led to the recommendation of an override proposal to the Town Council for FY 2015. Additionally, initial planning expenses related to a potential expansion project for our heavily utilized and space constrained public library were recommended for FY 2015.

Outside of our regularly scheduled meetings, we increased our participation in the Capital Budget and Economic Development subcommittees. We continued our participation in the active joint budget subcommittee meetings attended by Councilors, School Committee Members & Finance Committee members. Additionally, several members participated in the annual meeting of the Association of Town Finance Committees held at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School.

Our accomplishments over the year included the review of a 5 year long-term financial plan for Franklin and recommendations on revisions to the Town’s Fiscal Policies. And while towns must operate within Federal, State & local laws as well as municipal finance rules & regulations, continued focus and public debate enables progress and improvements.

Some improvements are less visible, like the favorable restructuring of town debt in a low interest rate environment. Other improvements are more apparent, such as capital expenditures and expansion of our public recreation space.

I am grateful for my fellow committee members and their ongoing dedication to continued improvements and the financial well being of our town.

Respectfully Submitted,

Susan Dewsnap
Chairman, Franklin Finance Committee

Franklin Municipal Building
Franklin Municipal Building

The full annual report can be obtained from the Town Clerk's office (hard copy) or viewed and/or downloaded from the Franklin website here

Annual reports of prior years can also be found online at

Franklin Annual Report 2014: Historical Commission

Continuing our walk through the Annual Report we arrive at the Historical Commission


Franklin Historical Museum (free) Location: 80 West Central St, downtown, near the fire station.

Hours: Thursdays 5 to 8; Saturday 10 - 1; Sunday 1 - 4

Monthly Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month at the Museum and all are welcome to attend.


We have now completed our fourth year at the new museum and have been well received by the citizens of Franklin and surrounding communities. The museum continues to explore and celebrate the Town's cultural diversity, achievements and unique place in history.


Our mission is to preserve, protect and develop the historic and archeological assets of Franklin.


The commission is appointed by the Town Administrator and ratified by the Town Council. We have 7 full time members with voting privileges along with non-voting associate members. We invite all residents, with an interest in Franklin, to contact us to become associate members.


All of our members take turns hosting at the museum at one time or another. We have continued to increase our hours of operation so that we are available to the public at diffi:rent times. We are always loolda& for people to belp as host at the mueeum. It is a fun, relaxing and a great learning expericiK:e. Try it ....... you'll like it!


We held many events during this past year and had over 1,000 visitors at the museum. Some of the events included:

Birthday Party

We once again enjoyed celebrating Ben Franldin's Birthday.
We served a birthday cake and sang "Happy Birthday".

Wedding Gowns

Once again, we had our famous event exhibiting gowns from 1893 through 2010. Both young and old seem to enjoy this display.

Veterans Uniform Display

This is always a favorite display both with young and older residents. It's strriking to walk info the museum and see all the uniforms from all branches of the armed services standing at attention.

Sebool Participation

We encourage elementary and high scbool student visits to the museum to learn about Franklin throughout the year. It's important to see how Franklin "used to be" as compared to the present time. One student said "I wish I lived back then!" Teachers are welcomed to make arrangements with us to bring their class in for a visit.

Antique Appraisal Day

This is a very popular event that we hold each year at the museum. People are invited to bring up to three (3) items to be appraised. Very well attended.

Movie Night

One June 29th we showed the musical 1776. This was a first time event and enjoyed by all who attended. The popcorn was good too!

Annual Events of the Downtown Partnership

The Commission takes part in the annual events planned by the Downtown Partnership such as Harvest Festival (pumpkin carving contest) and Strawberry Festival. Our museum was opened and many first time visitors came by.

Demolition Requests

Under the demolition bylaw passed by the Town Council, the Commission is instructed to review any demolition request of a property 60 years and older. We look into the property to see if there is any historical significance and then write a review. In some instances, we ask that a plaque be displayed representing what existed on the parcel of land. Developers are very agreeable to this.

Audio Conversion Project

We are working with a FHS student, Micbael Labine and instructor Mark: Brady who spearheaded this project. We are converting all our old record albums to digital status. The turntables being used are fimded by a grant from the Teacher's Association secured by Mr. Peacock. It's great to be able to work hand in hand with Town and School personel. Thanks to all involved in this project.

Old Museum on Washington Street

We continue to look into possible uses for the "'Od Museum" on Washington Street. Any thoughts, give us a call.

Frieads of Historical Museum

The Friends, along with our regular and associate members, work very bard to bring special events to the museum. Without their support, we could not bring these special programs to the museum. Donations are always welcomed!

In conduslon, we feel that the Franklin Historical Museum has reached so many of its goals and we look forward to offering the residents of Franklin continued years of enjoyment. We are grateful for your support and look forward to another exciting year.

Respectfully submitted,
Franklin Historical Commission
Deborah L. Pellegri, Chair
Delwyn Arnold
Bob Percy
Marlene Oliver
Mary Olsson, ViceChair
Colette Ferguson. Treasurer
Connie Lawson

Associate Members
Mary O'Neill
Kai Olsson
Alice Vendetti
Minessa Konicki

Franklin Historical Museum
Franklin Historical Museum
The full annual report can be obtained from the Town Clerk's office (hard copy) or viewed and/or downloaded from the Franklin website here

Annual reports of prior years can also be found online at

screen grab of Franklin Historical Museum webpage
screen grab of Franklin Historical Museum webpage

You can also find more information on the Historical Museum webpage here

TED Talks: 2014 Ideas

I have shared a TED Talk or two here and with this review, I am finding that there are more that I could have watched and possibly shared.

As you watch this overview or summary of some of the best ideas TED has shared this year, you can also watch the individual videos they reference. Click through to the YouTube page. The links to each video are listed in the details.


TED Talks: Ideas from 2014
TED Talks: Ideas from 2014

You can also find the year in ideas queued for you here

Monday, December 29, 2014

Franklin Annual Report 2014: Community Garden

It’s hard to believe that we are already into our fourth season at the King Street Community Garden! We are continuing to succeed in our mission to provide Franklin residents with a place to meet, learn, and grow, by providing a healthy space in which we can share the joy of growing organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

In partnership with the Town of Franklin, the Recreation Department and the nonprofit Friends of Franklin Community Gardens,

Your Community Garden Committee:
• Identifies appropriate locations
• Coordinates design and construction of new gardens
• Develops and enforces rules and regulations for the gardens
• Oversees the plot lottery, gardener registration and plot distribution

We pledge to continue:
• Supporting our community in growing local food
• Providing locally harvested food to those in need
• Promoting increased social interaction through gardening within our community
• Developing an educational garden for all ages

We are proud to report that in 2014, for the first time since the garden began, every single one of our 50 garden beds is occupied and growing and our waitlist for beds is empty. Five of those beds are producing fresh food for the Franklin Food Pantry and the St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry, allowing us to share the harvest with everyone.

Our work is paying off in more than just produce. Recently, we learned from a past-season gardener that with the knowledge she gained from participating in the Community Garden last year, she was able to build and maintain a raised-bed garden this year at her own home.

Our system of biweekly work days, in which gardeners help out with general garden maintenance, is continuing to prove effective. Our gardeners’ dedicated efforts to mulch and weed early in the season have resulted in the clearest paths we’ve ever seen. Thanks are also due to the Franklin DPW for their regular donations of wood chips.

We look forward to many more harvests to come! If you would like to join us for the 2015 season, please visit the Franklin Recreation Department in person or online. For more information about the Community Garden, contact us at or visit our website at


The Community Garden Committee meets the First Monday of the month at Town Hall. Check the Town of Franklin Meeting Calendar for details.

If you are interested in serving on the committee, please contact any committee member or visit the Town Clerk’s office.

Christopher Clay, Chair
Bonnie Kaiden, Vice-Chair
Kiernan Reed, Secretary
Amy Acevedo, Member
Rich Clauser, Member

Respectfully Submitted,
Kiernan Reed

one of the raised beds in June 2014
one of the raised beds in June 2014

The full annual report can be obtained from the Town Clerk's office (hard copy) or viewed and/or downloaded from the Franklin website here

Annual reports of prior years can also be found online at

FHS Boys Hockey win

From HockomockSports we find the results of the FHS boys hockey game in the Mount St Charles Tournament:
FHS Panthers
FHS Panthers

Franklin, 6 vs. La Salle (PA), 2 (@ Mount St. Charles Tournament) - Final - Alec Borkowski scored two goals and had two assists for the Panthers who took fifth place at the tournament.

For all the results across the Hockomock League on Sunday, check here

Tips to celebrating New Year's Eve safely

From the MA Gov blog we find tips on celebrating New Year's Eve safely:
From all-day festivals in Pioneer Valley to breathtaking firework displays on the Charles River, New Year’s Eve is an exciting and fun holiday in Massachusetts. Friends and family gather to mark the turning of the calendar in one of the most festive celebrations of the holiday season in the Commonwealth. 
While communities come together to kick-start 2015, it’s important to stay safe while celebrating. The Highway Safety Division (HSD) and the Department of Fire Services (DFS) of Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) provide tips and resources to make sure you and your family safely ring in 2015.
photo from MA Gov posting
photo from MA Gov posting

Continue reading to find the safety tips

First Night Boston -

Sunday, December 28, 2014

"acts of kindness can greatly improve the lives of others"

From the MA Gov blog they have an article with good tips on how to donate wisely this holiday season.

How to Donate
Charitable organizations provide a variety of services to those most in need. With many charities asking for your assistance, it’s important to give wisely.
  1. Find a cause you are passionate about – Donating can directly benefit the issues you care about the most. Looking to help the homeless and the hungry? Reach out to one of the many food banks in the Commonwealth. If you love animals, contacting an animal shelter for information on contributing can be a great idea. Additionally, you can assist families in need by providing baby supplies, books, clothes, and household items.
  1. Research the charity – As part of the “Donating Dos and Don’ts” it’s important to know to where your money is going. While most foundations are reputable and legitimate there are few that are not. Whensupporting and evaluating charities you can review the organization’s federal Form 990, search through the Non-Profits & Charities Document database, or ask directly for their financial statements.
  1. Document your donations – Many contributions are tax deductible. In order to be eligible for deductions, keep track of how much you’ve given and to what organizations, obtain a receipt for your donation if possible.
  1. Encourage family and friends – Giving charitably to others promotes community ties and bring happiness to those who need it most. Telling those close to you about opportunities to donate can inspire them to do the same.
screen grab of MA Gov article on charitable donations
screen grab of MA Gov article on charitable donations

Read the full article here

While there are many worthy charitable organizations in Franklin, for a year end taxable contribution, I would recommend helping the Food Pantry.
Food and non-food donations can be placed in the bin by the Food Pantry front door at 43 West Central St. Please be mindful of what you leave given the weather conditions. 
Financial contributions can be mailed to Franklin Food Pantry, PO Box 116, Franklin, MA  02038 or made securely through our webpage:  
donate securely here
donate securely here

Disclosure: I volunteer some of my time for the Board of Directors of the Franklin Food Pantry where I serve as Board Secretary and Chairperson of the Communications Committee.

This was also shared on the Franklin Food Pantry page here

FHS Boys Basketball and Hockey teams win

From Hockomock Sports we find the results from Saturday:

Boys Basketball

FHS Panthers
FHS Panthers
Franklin, 65 vs. Catholic Central (NY), 55 - Final - Tim Prunier led the Panthers with a team-high 20 points and senior Marcus Giese added 14 rebounds in the Panthers win.

Boys Hockey

Franklin, 1 vs. La Salle, 1 - Final - Ryan Spillane scored in overtime to give the Panthers the win but the game finishes as a tie for MIAA purposes.

Complete results from Hockomock League action on Saturday can be found here

Franklin Annual Report 2014: Conservation Commission

The Franklin Conservation Commission is responsible for promoting and developing the natural resources of Franklin and protecting the watershed resources of Franklin. A large part of the Commission’s attention is directed to administering Massachusetts and Franklin wetland protection laws. Those laws require the Commission to hold public hearings or meetings before issuing a permit to work in or within 100 feet of a wetland, or 200 feet of a perennial stream.

The Commission is comprised of up to seven volunteer residents appointed for three year terms by the Town Administrator. The Commission may also have up to two non-voting associate members. The members of the Commission have diverse professional experience related to environmental science, biology, engineering, landscape design, and project management. Because of their different backgrounds, each commissioner is able to offer a different perspective during the review of applications for a wetland permit that ultimately benefits Franklin.

In November 2013, the Town hired George Russell, AICP, as Conservation Agent. George is a Professional Planner/Conservation Agent with over 30 years of experience in the field. Franklin was well represented at the annual conference of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions in March, with Commissioners attending classes and workshops and talking with other Commissioners from across the state as well as lawyers, ecologists and engineers active in conservation.

In 2012, the EPA adopted regulations to reduce the amount of phosphorus in storm water runoff into the Charles River basin, with Franklin, Bellingham and Milford as the pilot communities. These regulations are in response to the public health threat posed by outbreaks of toxic algae blooms downstream fostered by high levels of phosphorus from storm water runoff. These regulations will require properties with more than two acres of imperious surfaces to improve storm water runoff treatment. Currently these regulations remain at a standstill as the EPA continues to work out the regulatory details. The Commission monitors the status of these regulations while encouraging and advising on appropriate stormwater management practices where applicable in Conservation jurisdiction.

The Commission continues to work on the DelCarte Area (aka the Franklin Reservoirs) off of Pleasant Street. There are a series of seven “structures” (six are dams that had been originally used for cranberry farming, the seventh is a stone wall that beavers had dammed) along Miller brook thru the 100+ acre DelCarte Area. The dams are identified serially from Dam #1 located closest to downtown adjacent to the MBTA Dean station to #6 located furthest downstream, closest to Miller Street. In 2012-3, rehabilitation of Dam #4 was completed and the work was been approved by the State Office of Dam Safety. Several Eagle Scout and school/class projects have been completed in the DelCarte and Dacey Field areas. These projects have helped in the clearing of trails and the erecting of educational signage.

Since the last annual report, the Conservation Commission has received 51 permit applications to work within the area under their permitting jurisdiction. These applications range from the removal of dead trees in a buffer zone, to the construction of 55 single family condominiums in a designed development. The Commission also issued 38 certificate of completion for various projects and granted 5 extensions to allow projects to finish.

The Commission would like to draw the attention of the Town’s residents to the many protected natural areas in the Town and the opportunities for passive recreation they enable:

  • The DelCarte Area, with parking off of Pleasant Street, has recently improved walking trails through woodlands along a series of ponds. A permit has been approved for installation of a canoe launch and an above-water boardwalk to completely connect the trail system; Dam Restoration, DelCarte Recreation Area
  • The Town Forest has good access points off of both Summer Street and Russet Hill Road with a network of walking trails thru woodlands and across Uncas Brook;
  • There is a network of recently improved walking trails that cross Shepards Brook and go thru fields and woods behind the Dacey Recreation Area off Lincoln Street;
  • Indian Rock has good access off of both King Phillip Road and Lost Horse Trail with walking trails thru woodlands near two large vernal pools and to the top of historic Indian Rock;
  • The Metacomet Land Trust owns several pieces of protected land, notably the walking trails off of Bridle Path and The Lady Bug Trail near JFK school;
  • The Franklin State Forest is accessible off of Grove Street and Forge Hill Road and boasts an extensive network of walking and ORV trails;
  • The SNETT trail goes all the way to Douglas. There is a Town parking lot off of Grove Street; (The town has a grant application pending with the state to improve this trail.)
  • The expansive marsh near Interstate 495 exit #17 is the US Army Corps of Engineers Natural Valley Flood Storage Project, preserved to protect against downstream flooding in the Charles River basin. That marsh is along Mine Brook, the largest stream in town, draining about half of Franklin, starting at the extreme south end of Franklin, passing underneath Washington Street, Beaver Street, 495, Grove Street, West Central Street, 495 again, Beech Street, and Pond Street before finally meeting the Charles River on the Medway border.
  • Other significant streams in Franklin include Shepards Brook, Miller Brook, Uncas Brook and Bubbling Brook. Lake Populatic is part of the Charles River, the other navigable ponds in Franklin are Spring (Green’s) Pond, Beaver Pond, and Uncas Pond, the last two of which are listed as Great Ponds by Mass DEP. There are many other natural areas in Franklin waiting to be explored.

The Commission would also like the town residents to be aware of the potential tax savings of M.G. L. Chapter 61 (forest land), 61A (agricultural land) and 61B (recreational land). Such programs are designed to benefit the land owner via reducing the tax burden as well as to preserving and maintaining the quality and quantity of environmentally sensitive and natural areas within the commonwealth.

Conservation Commission Members:
Jeff Livingstone – Chair
Paul Harrington
Marc Depoto - - Vice Chair 
Ravi Pendkar
Mark Cataldo 
Steve Younis
Dayna Gill

Respectfully submitted,

Jeff Livingstone, Chair

floating bridge was added to DelCarte to allow the trails to loop around the pond
floating bridge was added to DelCarte to allow the trails to loop around the pond

Please visit our website for additional information including application forms, and regularly posted
Conservation Commission agendas and meeting minutes at

The full annual report can be obtained from the Town Clerk's office (hard copy) or viewed and/or downloaded from the Franklin website here

Annual reports of prior years can also be found online at