Tuesday, June 16, 2015

#ShopFranklin: Kooky Critters

Via Kiernan Reed:

For this week’s #ShopFranklin Spotlight, I sat down with Holly Ricker Sennott of Kooky Critters! 
Arts and crafts are in Holly’s blood. Her grandmother painted and fired china, her other grandmother was a seamstress who taught her to crochet and sew, her great-grandma was a tailor, her mother sews, and her father enjoyed woodworking. “It definitely came down through the genes,” says Holly.  
Kooky Critters
Kooky Critters
The Kooky Critters themselves were born on a rainy summer day several years ago, when Holly and her three kids had gone through all of their craft supplies, watched every movie they had, and exhausted every other possible activity. Holly finally brought her family to the bookstore, where they found a book on how to make your own stuffed animals. While the kids loved the book’s ideas, Holly told them, “Guys, we can do better than this! You draw what you would want me to make.” 
The result was the first Kooky Critter, an adorable monster with crooked teeth and crazy eyes, but Holly didn’t stop there. “I was ready for something other than just being Mom,” Holly says, but she wanted to find something to do that would still allow her to be at home with her kids. When the monster t-shirt she made for her neighbor’s son was a huge hit with his friends, Holly’s neighbor suggested she turn it into a business, and the rest is history. 
Holly tries to “make items that are functional and helpful – they’re not just toys.” Holly makes several varieties of customizable Critters, including ones that keep kids’ lost teeth safe for the Tooth Fairy, but she’s most proud of her Worry Critters, Wilson and Willow. The Worry Critters grew out of Holly’s feeling of helplessness when one of her children experienced crippling anxiety. 
Several years later, a friend of Holly’s asked for a customized Critter that would help her child deal with his own anxiety issues, and the Worry Critters were the “culmination of her idea and my design.” The concept is simple: parent and child can work together to write down the worry on a slip of paper, which they put into the Worry Critter’s mouth and the Critter eats it. The worry is safe with the Critter, and the child can “be free of it for a little bit” and return to it when they’re ready to deal with it. “I call it my million-dollar idea that’ll never make me a million dollars, and I’m OK with that,” says Holly. 
Kooky Critters can also produce custom items based on kids’ drawings, which Holly says is a huge gift idea around the holidays. Even the #ShopFranklin community is getting into the fun, with a custom Kooky Critter now gracing the bagel rack at Elizabeth’s Bagels, and more in the works for other businesses around town. As a long-time resident of Franklin, community giving and support is important to Holly, and Kooky Critters gives away at least one Critter per month to school auctions, local foster children, families dealing with serious medical issues, and more. 
No matter what the design, every Kooky Critter is completely handmade, and it’s important to Holly to “be able to put my hands on every piece.” In order to grow her business without sacrificing that personal attention to each Critter, Holly is working on expanding her offerings to include patterns so that other people can sew their own Critters based on Holly’s designs. Holly’s family also helps out with the business, with her son handling website maintenance and her daughter creating custom graphics for the Kooky Critters Facebook page. 
While Holly and her husband originally settled in Franklin because of its easy accessibility to their jobs and families, Franklin’s support for the visual and performing arts has also been a plus for Holly’s family, particularly the music program in the Franklin schools. “If you have children, get them involved at some level. You will not regret it,” Holly says. As a business owner, Holly also appreciates the “tremendous support” Franklin offers for local businesses. “I love that sense of community that Franklin has,” says Holly.

Kooky Critters are sold through Holly’s website and Etsy store. Check out the Kooky Critters Facebook page for the latest on what’s happening in Holly’s workshop!

This was shared from Living In Franklin

Franklin TV Broadcast: It Takes A Village: Drug Panel

The panel discussion lead by Dr Anne Bergen and Franklin's town leaders on the crisis around opiate use and misuse will be aired on Verizon (channel 26) and Comcast (channel 8) on the following days this week:

  • Tuesday, June 16th - 9:00 am
  • Wednesday, June 17th at 7:00 am
  • Franklin TV
    Franklin TV
  • Saturday, June 20 at 8:30 pm

The interview with Norfolk Country District Attorney on the same issue will be aired on Thursday evening, June 18 at 6:30 pm.

For the full listing of shows on the broadcast schedule for this week, check here

Hockomock 2015 Track and Field All Stars

Congratulations to the Franklin High School representatives on the Hockomock Track & Field All Stars as voted on by the coaches in the league.

Girls Track

Jess Kroushl

Honorable Mention - Beth Neal
FHS Panthers
FHS Panthers

Boys Track

Logan Mitchell

Honorable Mention - Ryan Spelman

For the full listing of girls on the Hockomock All Stars

For the full listing of boys on the Hockomock All Stars

"Holliston close to owning entire rail trail property"

For fans of rail trails, the news out of Holliston is good.
Officials expect the town will own all of roughly 7-mile section of the Upper Charles Rail Trail that passes through Holliston by the end of the year, as the town has received the money to purchase two remaining segments of the trail from CSX Transportation. 
The town is ready to close on a 1.9-mile section from Hopping Brook Road to Cross Street. According to Upper Charles Rail Trail Committee Chairman Robert Weidknecht, the land will be purchased using $660,000 of Community Preservation Act money that was approved by Special Town Meeting in October. A purchase and sale agreement between selectmen and CSX was signed earlier this year. Town counsel is in the process of closing on the property.

Continue reading the article here

MassBike image
MassBike image

For more on the Upper Charles River Trail -> http://www.uppercharlestrail.org/ 

or here ->  http://www.milfordtrail.org/

or from the MassBike site here  http://massbike.org/resourcesnew/pathstrails/

Additional trail maps can be found here  http://www.arrtinc.org/index.asp

Monday, June 15, 2015

Solid Waste fee reduction approved

The Town Council meeting on Wednesday, June 10 was the first of two budget hearings as well as a 'regular' meeting agenda.

The budget hearing attempted to take a short cut by not having departmental presentations, to just read the budget voting doc, let the individual councilors put a hold on the item to come back to it for a question (or two) and possible discussion.

Several items resulted in a 'hold' and the discussion was focused on specific questions. This method worked better on Wednesday than it did on Thursday in the second of the two budget hearings. We'll cover the discussion Thursday in a separate posting.

In the legislation portion of the agenda, the Council approved the creation of several revolving accounts. This is an annual action. The accounts provide for proper record keeping for the funds coming in as fees and going out to pay for the services rendered.

The Council approved the rate reduction for solid waste (i.e. trash and recycling) from the current $216/year to $200/year. This is a result of improved collections and a renegotiation of the contract for the tipping fees. There will be additional communications coming on how to ensure that what is in recycling is really recyclable and that no trash gets mixed in.

The first reading of a sewer connection was held and the Council was upset that the beneficiaries (i.e property owners) did not come to the meeting. They have a chance at the second reading scheduled for June 24th.

The bylaw on door-to-door solicitation is up for a change to restrict the hours to basically daylight hours. This is the result of a private vendor making solicitations without having been properly permitted.

Franklin Municipal Building
Franklin Municipal Building

My notes reported live from the meeting can be found here

"there’s a wide range to learning everything in the early years"

The Sunday edition of the Boston Globe has a good article summarizing the changes to kindergarten curriculum over the year. The title of the article asks: "Is the Common Core killing kindergarten?"

LAST SPRING, Susan Sluyter quit teaching kindergarten in the Cambridge Public Schools. She’d spent nearly two decades in the classroom, and her departure wasn’t a happy one. In a resignation letter, Sluyter railed against a “disturbing era of testing and data” that had trickled down from the upper grades and was now assaulting kindergartners with a barrage of new academic demands that “smack of 1st or 2nd grade.” The school district did not respond to a request for comment. 
But Sluyter’s complaints touched a national nerve. Her letter went viral, prompting scores of sympathetic comments by other frustrated teachers and parents. Sluyter’s letter was fresh evidence for groups of early-childhood educators who oppose the kindergarten expectations for math and English Language Arts, or ELA, set by the new Common Core, the academic benchmarks for K-12 that most states have adopted to replace the historic patchwork of standards.
Continue reading the article online here (subscription may be required)

Susan Sluyter's resignation letter can be found here

"limit the hours to what are essentially daylight hours"

Recent complaints from residents concerning nighttime visits from solicitors have prompted the town to consider a change to its bylaw on door-to-door sales. 
The Town Council last week took up a measure that would restrict solicitation to daylight hours. Its current bylaw allows solicitation from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. for businesses and advocacy groups that have registered with the police department and obtained a permit. The bylaw does not apply to political or religious organizations. 
The proposal would allow solicitors to work up until a half-hour before sunset, Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting said, noting that depending on the time of year that could be as early as 4 p.m. or as late as 8 p.m.

Continue reading the article here

My notes from the Town Council meeting on Wednesday can be found here

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Franklin High School: Class of 2015 - Scholarships and Awards

Over 100 organizations or businesses provided 146 scholarships to the Franklin High School's Class of 2015. The total value of the scholarships calculates to about $100,000 (as you review the list not all the amounts are provided). The total excludes the Dean College Scholarship which alone ls worth $120,000 (4 years at $30,000/year). 

The listing of scholarships and other awards for the FHS Class of 2015 and the underclass awards presented on June 4, 2015 can be found in the document here:

FHS dressed up for graduation
FHS dressed up for graduation

Thanks to Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski for coordinating to provide this information.

Tri-County Scholarships And Awards 2015

The following scholarships and awards were presented at the graduation ceremony at Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School on Sunday, June 7, 2015.
Tri-County webpage rotating header
Tri-County webpage rotating header

Austin Narewski Electrical Trade Scholarship
$750 – Jake Kelley – Carpentry – Franklin
$750 – Conor Flanagan – Plumbing - Norfolk

Chestnut Dental Associates Scholarship
$250 – Sasha Chalhoub – Dental – Attleboro

Craig DeGiso Memorial Scholarship
$2,500 – Anthony Muratori – Carpentry –Medway

David L. Gaboury Sr. Scholarship
$500 – Hank Ballard – Medical Careers – No. Attleboro
$500 – Jaycie Jordan – Graphic Communications – No. Attleboro

Dean Co-Operative Bank
$1,000 – Andre Ricci – Computer Info Systems – Wrentham

Dean College Scholarship
$35,000 – Alison Cifizzari – Graphic Communications – Medway

Don Coe Memorial Scholarship
$500 – Bryanna Haskell – Electrical – North Attleboro

Dorothea Martin Memorial Scholarship
$1,000 – Jessica Coates – Graphic Communications – Bellingham
$1,000 – Michael Ambrose – Engineering – Millis

EMC Scholarship
$1,000 – Rebecca Morandi – Computer Info Systems – Walpole
$1,000 – Christopher Ferreira – Computer Info Systems – North Attleboro
$1,000 – Matthew MacMaster – Computer Info Systems – Franklin
$1,000 – Hannah Varhol – Engineering – Rehoboth

Excellence in Carpentry Award
$250 – Jonathan Mingo – Carpentry – Seekonk

Franklin Community Cable Access - Franklin TV Award
$1,000 – Christopher Lenzi – Graphic Communications – Franklin

Franklin Youth Services Scholarship
$1,000 – Alyssa Gillespie – Early Childhood Careers – Franklin

Friends of Franklin Library in Honor of Wilma Winters
$1,000 – Caroline Read – Engineering – Franklin

George E. Young Memorial Tool Award
$250 – Brandon Hunsinger – Automotive Tech – Seekonk

Gerry Slaney Memorial Scholarship (TCTA)
$100 – Madison Ruff – Culinary Arts – Norfolk

James J. Donovan Scholarship
$1,000 – Savanah Cuevas – Cosmetology – Attleboro

James Paquette Scholarship
$750 – Karl Petersen – HVAC&R – Plainville

Kim Howie Memorial Scholarship
$500 – Megan Morse – Culinary Arts – Wrentham

Lexi & Sean Munroe Memorial Scholarship
$500 – Emily Spillane – Medical Careers – Franklin
$500 – Quinton White – Engineering – Franklin
$500 – John Gilmore – Culinary Arts – Franklin

Lou Bentley Memorial Scholarship
$500 – Nathan Badger – HVAC – North Attleboro

Louis E. Hoegler Scholarship
$800 – Sarah Scholl – Graphic Communications – Walpole

Michael J. Drinkwater Memorial Scholarship
$2,500 – Dillan Hoyt – Culinary Arts – Walpole
$2,500 – Michael Hinton - Culinary Arts - Seekonk

Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation Scholarship
$1,000 – Cassius Peter – Engineering – Franklin

Nadine M. (Nolin) Bryda Memorial Scholarship
$500 – Michael Hinton – Culinary Arts – Seekonk
$500 – Natalie Berganza – Cosmetology –Attleboro

Norfolk County Teachers Assoc. Book Award
$300 – Bethany MacPherson – Early Childhood Careers – North Attleboro

Norfolk Fire Fighters Association Award
$500 – Madison Ruff – Culinary Arts – Norfolk

North Attleboro Firefighter’s Kid’s Day Scholarship
$500 – Nathan Twyman – Engineering – North Attleboro
$500 – Nathan Badger – HVAC – North Attleboro
$500 – Christopher Ferreira – Computer Info Systems – North Attleboro

North Attleboro/Plainville Rotary Club Scholarship
$500 – Nathan Twyman – Engineering – North Attleboro

North TV Ed Andrew Scholarship
$500 – Christopher Ferreira – Computer Info Systems – North Attleboro

Patti Genoa Memorial Scholarship
$250 – Madison Kaplan – Dental – Attleboro
$250 – Brendan Black – Plumbing – Attleboro

Paul G. Foley Career & Education Award
$500 – Cameron Glennon – HVAC – North Attleboro
$500 – Shelby Setterlund – Cosmetology – Norfolk
$500 – Alexander Whearty – Carpentry – Norfolk

Plainville Lions Club Scholarship
$500 – Ariana Bergeron – Medical Careers – Plainville

Rebeckha Lynn Whitefield Memorial Scholarship
$500 – Evan Sheehan – Plumbing –Attleboro

Robert J. Rappa Scholarship
$800 – Christopher Lenzi – Graphic Communications – Franklin

Rockland Trust Charitable Foundation Scholarship
$2,500 – Leigha Tucker – Early Childhood Careers – Medway

Timothy Anderson Tool Award
$200 – Ryan O’Toole – HVAC&R – Medway

Todd E. Vogel Memorial Tool Award
$400 – Jacob Folsom – Electrical – Franklin

Tri-County Boosters Athlete Scholarship
$400 – Megan Morse – Culinary Arts – Wrentham
$400 – Evan Sheehan – Plumbing – Attleboro
$400 – Emily Spillane – Medical Careers – Franklin
$400 – Jake Ducharme – Carpentry – Norfolk
$400 – Samantha Gitschier – Medical Careers – Plainville
$400 – Amber Webb – Culinary Arts – Seekonk

Tri-County Teacher’s Association Award
$400 – Jonathan Mingo – Carpentry – Seekonk

Tri-County Teacher’s Association Scholarship
$400 – Ryan Trisoline – Computer Info Systems – North Attleboro

Walpole Co-Operative Bank Award
$1,000 – Laura Auerbach – Engineering – Franklin

Wrentham Lions Club Scholarship
$500 – Lauren Gregoire – Engineering – Franklin

Franklin Cultural Festival - Meeting - June 16 - 7:00 PM

We're wrapping up final planning for the Franklin Cultural Festival.  
Meeting: Tuesday, June 16, 7PM to 8 PM at THE BLACK BOX  
Your input and ideas are welcomed!
Franklin Cultural Festival - Arts Happen Here!
Franklin Cultural Festival - Arts Happen Here!
Follow us on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/FranklinCulturalFestival

Sign up to receive our updates here  http://www.franklinsculturalfestival.org/  There are links in the right column subscribe in order to receive updates via email (no more than once a day) or via RSS.

To contribute financially you can use the GoFundMe link here -> gofundme.com/tx62gs

Storytelling at the Memory Cafe - June 18th

Hi Steve,

If you are willing to post this that would be great.  This month's theme is storytelling.  
We will be creating our own story as a collaborative effort from an old photograph!  Next month we will have an old fashioned tea party!  
Please ask folks who are attending this month to bring a favorite book or story from their childhood!  
Any questions please let me know.  
thx Elaine

Franklin Senior Center
Franklin Senior Center

You can also find info on the memory cafe which is scheduled for every 3rd Thursday here

"translating to a 'painful' $17.6 million cut for the more than 100 communities"

Over the years, the funding for the grants has fluctuated. But the previous three fiscal years have seen a consistent decrease. And if the Senate budget stands, next fiscal year’s cut would represent the most significant drop in funding since the state began offering the grants in 2001. 
“If the decision results in a reduction of funds it would reflect a disappointing trend that would signal a decline in funding programs for emerging learners,” said Franklin Public Schools Superintendent Maureen Sabolinski. “The research shows that early childhood education pays dividends over time.” 
Franklin first applied for the grant to establish free full-day kindergarten, Sabolinski said, but has leaned on it less and less as the program grew. 
“We do not rely on the grant to fund our full-day kindergarten program; however it does supplement our budget and enables us to hire additional educational assistants and to use the funds to facilitate training for our teachers,” she said. 
Sabolinski would be surprised if the Legislature moved forward with the cut, as it is sure to “create a burden” for some districts.

Continue reading the full article in the Milford Daily News here

Franklin just passed the FY 2016 budget on Thursday. Some of the discussion including the presentation summarizing the school portion of the budget can be found here

Register O’Donnell Promotes Registry’s Social Media

Emphasizing the importance of communicating directly with the citizens of Norfolk County, Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell today reminded consumers about the various social media applications made available to them through the Registry.

O’Donnell noted, “Our mission is to make important information readily available on a 24/7 basis to our consumers. After all, just because our doors close at the end of the business day doesn’t mean the Registry has to stop working. Our website www.norfolkdeeds.org is a valuable resource to review scanned images of up to 5 million land documents dating back to 1793, as well as to learn about the latest consumer protection programs.”

Norfolk County Registry of Deeds
Norfolk County Registry of Deeds

For example, the register noted that residents can print out an application of the popular Homestead Act on the website, a law which provides a homeowner with limited protection against the forced sale of their primary residence up to $500,000, or sign-up directly on-line for its Consumer Notification System that will alert a person anytime a land document has been recorded or amended against their name in Norfolk County.

Additionally noted Register O’ Donnell, “There is valuable county real estate information that can be researched and tracked on the website based on the monthly and quarterly real estate statistical reports done by the Registry of Deeds, such as the number of mortgage discharges, homestead applications, homes sold, average prices of property sold and much, much more.”

Other forms of social media utilized by the Registry of Deeds include Facebook, facebook.com/NorfolkDeeds, and Twitter, twitter.com @NorfolkDeeds. “Both Facebook and Twitter are great ways for residents and institutional users to be kept up- to- date on Registry events and initiatives. Among events publicized via these platforms are annual office hours held in each community in Norfolk County by the Registry, computer seminars held bi-annually, and events geared specifically to real estate professionals,” said Register O’Donnell.

The Registry has also filmed multiple public service announcements (PSA’s) which are available on the Registry’s website and Youtube. These PSA’s have touched on a variety of issues such as deed scams - where a consumer pays an outrageous cost to a direct mail solicitor for a copy of their deed as compared to purchasing it at the Registry for a few dollars - and also a video on foreclosure assistance for residents who have received a Notice of Foreclose Mortgage from a lender. Videos highlighting the Registry’s various philanthropic initiatives, such as its Annual Holiday Food Drive or its Suits for Success program, which helps people who are attempting to re-enter the workforce, can also be viewed.

Concluding, Register O’Donnell stated, “When it comes to hi-tech and reaching out to the public, there will be more initiatives on the way. We hope by early Fall 2015 to make our website easier to access for users of tablets and mobile phone devices.”

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at facebook.com/NorfolkDeeds or follow us on twitter.com @NorfolkDeeds.

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds, located at 649 High Street, Dedham is the principal office for real property in Norfolk County. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or on the web at www.norfolkdeeds.org.

"local solar installers say they have been busy"

“The investment is substantial,” said Barry Madden, the company’s general manager. “The investment in the environment is also important.” 
Despite the roughly $400,000 cost of the system installed late last year by Hopkinton-based Solect, the long-term payoff is worth it, Madden said. 
He said the company's monthly electric bill, which had been around $4,000, fell to about $200 last month. And, the company took advantage of a federal tax credit. 
“We will produce over 90 percent of our (electricity) consumption during peak production months,” Madden said. “It so far has proved to be a very, very good investment."
Continue reading the article here

Franklin Solar Challenge
Franklin Solar Challenge

The Franklin Solar Challenge is holding open houses to let you come to a home, view the solar installation and talk with the homeowner and solar experts about the installation.  

The schedule of open houses can be found here

Solar Flair has opened an office here in Franklin to help serve the community needs for the solar challenge

Additional info on the solar challenge can be found on the Franklin website

or on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/FranklinSolarChallenge

Multi-Family Yard Sale - Lawrence Drive - June 14

Multi-Family Yard Sale!!! Tons of kids toys, household items, lighting, glassware, etc.

Sunday, June 14th, 8:30AM - 1:30PM,

Lawrence Drive (off of King Street between Spruce Pond Creamery / Summer Street) Franklin.