Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Town Council recap for Dec 18 - plastic bag waste reduction moves forward

The FHS student group working on the plastic bag reduction plan achieved a milestone after several meetings with the Economic Development Subcommittee to prepare, the Town Council agreed to move the measure forward to be developed as a bylaw. The draft language previously discussed in the EDC meetings will be tweaked and brought forward to the Council for the first of two public readings, a public hearing and eventual vote.

Several items on the alcohol license front:
  • La Cantina received a license for the Farmers Market
  • Acupalco's move from downtown to Union St was approved
  • The Chateau corrected their operating hours changing them slightly
  • Glen Pharma Distillery gained approval for their tasting license
  • The yearly batch of license renewals was approved

The Actions Taken document has not yet been published. Once it has that link will be added.

Additional details can be found in my notes recorded live during the meeting
  • Live reporting: TA Report through to Closing
  • Live reporting: Town Administrator Evaluation
  • Live reporting: Plastic Bag Waste Reduction
  • Live reporting: Alcohol Licenses - new, changes, a...
  • Live reporting: Town Council - December 18, 2019

Glen Pharma Distillery gained approval for their tasting license
Glen Pharma Distillery gained approval for their tasting license

FHS' Olivia Quinn = HockomockSports.com Player of the Week

"Franklin sophomore Olivia Quinn has been selected as the HockomockSports.com Player of the Week, presented by Morse Insurance, for Dec. 15 through Dec. 21. Quinn is the 13th player chosen as Player of the Week for the 2019-20 school year and the second for the winter season.

Quinn has gotten off to a great start to her second season on varsity, helping the Panthers win their opening three games and scoring at least 17 points in all three, including 20-plus in both games this week. Her emergence as an inside-out threat has added a different dimension to the Panthers’ attack and helped them score 80 points twice and win by an average margin of 38 points per game.

“Olivia has work tremendously hard during the off season,” said Franklin coach John Leighton. “She has developed into a threat from the wing as well as in the paint. We are excited to see her continue to grow as a player.”

Continue reading about Olivia at HockomockSports.com

FHS' Olivia Quinn = HockomockSports.com Player of the Week
FHS' Olivia Quinn = HockomockSports.com Player of the Week

FHS gymnastics, wrestling, girls and boys basketball teams all post wins on Monday

Via HockomockSports.com and Twitter, we share the results of FHS winter sports action on Monday.

Boys Basketball = Franklin, 63 @ St. Peter Marian, 53 – Final 
– The Panthers used a strong first half to go on the road and secure a win over a potential playoff foe in St. Peter Marian on Monday evening. Franklin put up 16 points in the first quarter and then outscored the Guardians 19-8 in the second frame to take a 35-19 advantage into the halftime break. Eight different players scored in the opening half to help the visitors create the double-digit lead with Chris Edgehill (16 points) scored five in the first, Brayden Sullivan (eight points) added four in the first, and both senior Steven Karayan (11 points) and Declan Walmsey (six points) hit a pair of second quarter three-pointers to give Franklin the lead. Andrew Byfield scored eight of his 10 points in the opening half as well. Edgehill sank a pair of fourth quarter triples to help the Panthers keep the lead.

Girls Basketball = Franklin, 44 @ Holy Name, 40 – Final 
– The Panthers trailed by as many as eight at several points but were able to rally in the fourth quarter to pull out the win. Erin Quaile came up with the big defensive play in the final 10 seconds, stealing the ball and making a pair of free throws to seal the win. Ali Brigham scored 24 points to lead Franklin, while Olivia Quinn added 11.

Wrestling = Franklin, 48 @ Ashland, 19 – Final
Pins by DiFilippo, Carlucci, O’Leary, Fracasa, Sauer, Sackley, Nawn, Leofanti.

Girls Gymnastics = Franklin, 136.75 @ Norton, 122.6 – Final
– Franklin sophomore Kate Rudolph took All-Around honors for the second straight meet, helping the Panthers pick up a non-league win over Norton. Rudolph was the top Panther in each event, earning All-Around score of 35.4.

Results: Floor – Kate Rudolph 8.9, Caroline Woelfel 8.5, Ashley Hammann 8.3, Lexi Lupien 8.15; Beam – K. Rudolph 8.8, A. Hammann 8.4, L. Lupien 8.15, Elizabeth Schirduan 8.2; Bars – K. Rudolph 8.5, Emma Nelson 8.3, A. Hammann 8.3, E. Schirduan; Vault – K. Rudolph 9.2, L. Lupien 9.1, C. Woelfel 8.9, Maia Keohane 8.3.

For other results around the Hockomock League

And via Twitter:

So proud of the teams win today! Way to go girls!!
So proud of the teams win today! Way to go girls!!

The 2020 schedule for the Circle of Friends Coffeehouse has one or more concerts you'll like!

Winter/Spring Circle of Friends Concerts
View this email in your browser
Circle of Friends Coffeehouse in 2020
Give the gift of music this season. Visit http://circlefolk.org/sched.html
The Circle of Friends Coffeehouse is a non-profit organization affiliated with Franklin's First Universalist Society. Concerts are presented in a smoke free and alcohol free environment at the Society's handicapped accessible Meetinghouse, 262 Chestnut St. in Franklin, and begin at 8:00 PM; doors open at 7:30 PM. Beverages and gourmet desserts will be available. 

Circle of Friends Coffeehouse · First Universalist Society · 262 Chestnut St · Franklin, MA 02038 · USA                                         

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"need to take ample time to study it further -- thoughtfully and thoroughly”

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:

"Results of a district-wide demographic study of the town’s school population is expected to be ready in January, according to Superintendent Dr. Sara Ahern.

Meanwhile, school officials continue to define the scope of a facilities adequacy study of Davis Thayer School, as well a functional space study of all of the town’s schools as part of determining whether to shutter the Davis Thayer building.

“The first step for the space study will be to assess the current use of all facilities,” Ahern wrote in an update sent out last week.

At a recent meeting of the school board, a three-person subcommittee was formed to work with Ahern on a Davis Thayer closing analysis."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Davis Thayer School sign from May 2019
Davis Thayer School sign from May 2019

Monday, December 23, 2019

Holiday greeting from the Franklin Food Pantry

Holiday Greetings 
There is so much for us to be thankful for and celebrate this holiday season. That said, I wish that I was writing this letter to say that because of these successes, we no longer have to be here to serve our community. But, food insecurity does not go away even during the happiest times of the year. The holidays can be even harder for those thinking about where their next meal is going to come from. Through the support of our community, we are able to provide food and other items to our friends and neighbors in Franklin and help ease the stress of the holidays. 
We have been very busy here at the Pantry. While so many people are out doing their holiday shopping, we are making sure that our friends and neighbors have food on their tables. We could not do that without YOU. Through the generosity of our community, we were able to provide 440 meal packages for the Thanksgiving and winter holidays. There were numerous drives that were held to stock our shelves and provide daily necessities like toothpaste, shampoo, and other items. 
In addition, some of the younger members of our community also showed their support by being Food Elves - middle and high school students who create awareness about, and raise money for, the Pantry every year during the first 12 days of December. The Food Elves reached their goal of raising $28,000 for the Pantry so that our neighbors can have access to fresh fruits, vegetables, and food throughout the year. If you missed your Food Elf, or were not visited by one, you can still support this effort by going here. 
In 2020, let's continue to work together to support one another and help to alleviate food insecurity. Whether you live, work, or do business in Franklin, our community is a better place because of you.

Thank you,
Lynn Calling
Executive Director
Franklin Food Pantry

Holiday Meal Distribution

On Thursday December 19, our Pantry volunteers distributed over 200 holiday meals to our neighbors. The meal packages included a ham, fixings, some special chocolates and a blanket.

Thank you to all our volunteers and thank you to the Interfaith Council, MetroWest Provisions, customers of MetroWest Provisions, Chris Feeley and family, Sue Kilcoyne and all those that participated in her holiday event to benefit the Pantry, and our holiday greeting card creators for their generous donations to help make everyone's holiday brighter.


You can contribute to the Franklin Food Pantry securely online

Disclosure: as a former Food Pantry board member, this organization remains a top priority for my charitable contributions.

Community Comes Together For Another Successful MyFM Stuff-a-Bus

On Saturday November 30th local radio station MyFM 101.3 set up camp outside of Target on Fortune Blvd in Milford and began their 30-hour residency in hopes to fulfill their goal of collecting enough toys to fill a school bus. 

The 3rd Annual MyFM Stuff-a-Bus partnered with Uxbridge-based Toys For Kids and Teens in 2019 to assist local families in need this holiday season. “Last year we collected roughly 5,000 toys and we were hoping to just come close enough to topping that this year,” explains MyFM President Tom McAuliffe. “At the end of a very long 30-hours we were happy to report that, through the generosity of the local community, we blew that away with over 8,000 toys!”

The MyFM staff dedicated their weekend assisting with the drive and even went as far as camping out overnight to watch over the toys. But they weren’t exactly roughing it. Affordable Junk Removal and Resellables provided a comfortable living room to rest in. They were well fed thanks to local restaurants TGIFridays, IHOP and Five Guys. The crew kept warm by dancing to festive holiday music that filled the donation area.
Community Comes Together For Another Successful MyFM Stuff-a-Bus
Community Comes Together For Another Successful MyFM Stuff-a-Bus

MyFM Operations Manager Ray Auger brought the annual event to the MyFM after taking part in similar drives years ago on The Cape and in Portsmouth, NH. “I saw the impact it had on those communities and knew that we could really make a different here as well,” says Auger. “It just fit so well with the MyFM model. I knew our friends in the community would just run with it and help make it something special.”

For the past 3 years, Vendetti Bus Company has been generous enough to provide the bus, which is used to store the toys collected throughout the drive. The bus even comes with it’s own mascot, Jingles the Elf, a.k.a. Milford’s favorite, festive bus driver Moe Hutchins.

In addition to the outpouring of assistance from the local community braving the cold to drop of their toys, local businesses and individuals chose to donate $250 or more for shopping spree that sent the MyFM staff into Target to do the shopping for them. The Shopping Sprees were filmed and posted on MyFM’s Facebook page. $6,250 was raised which allowed for purchases of TV’s, bicycles, electronics and other toys for older children. MyFM would like to thank Dinner and Co., Chelsee O’Meara – LuLaRoe, Montgomery Lodge, Milford Tire, The Kearnans, Lioce Properties, KemForKids, Milford Hardwood, Milford TV, Doyle Siding and Window, Ray’s Automotive, Friends of Holliston, Old Time Auto Sales, Masters Touch, Devlin’s Tavern,. Depot St Tavern, Stephanie G Jewelers, Target and an anonymous Hopkinton donator.

At the end of the drive the toys were moved from the bus to a Gallo Moving and Storage truck where they were stored and transported to the Toys For Kids and Teens drop off site.

MyFM would like to thank all who donated and participated in another successful community event that is sure to bring joy and happiness to many local families this holiday season.

About MyFM
MyFM 101.3 is a full service radio station serving 15 communities surrounding the Milford area. MyFM 101.3 offers local news, information, sports and classic hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s. For more visit www.myfm1013.com or live the on Facebook @MyFM1013.

About Toys For Kids and Teens
Toys For Kids and Teens consist of local veterans from the Blackstone Valley & Beyond who collect and distribute toys for families in need during the holiday season. If you are in need of toys for your family, find them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Toys-for-Kids-Teens-1513587325577171/) or contact them at toysforkidsandteens@gmail.com

Town Council recap of Dec 4, 2019: Tax rate set at $14.51

The most significant item of this meeting was the tax classification hearing which functionally closes out the operating budget cycle for FY 2020. The operating budget cycle closes with the setting of the rate to confirm and authorize the funding required to cover the priorities set during the operating budget cycle.

The capital budget for FY 2020 uses free cash from the FY 2019 year and has recently been reviewed with the Finance Committee. The Town Council will be reviewing the capital budget recommendation at one of their January 2020 meetings.

The tax rate is set for FY 2020 at $14.51 per thousand of assessed value. This rate is down $.15 from the rate set for FY 2019 ($14.66). The growth in the community from the housing and commercial expansion we see all around us is the primary factor for the drop in rate. Yes, the operational expenses continue to increase but the total amount required is spread among a larger group (expanded by growth) so we get to pay less than if we had no growth or expansion.

The chart shown here depicts this fact. As the change in assessed value increases, the rate goes down. As the change in assessed value decreases, the rate goes up. 
Franklin, MA - Net Change in Valuation (Million) vs. Tax Rate (Percent)
Franklin, MA - Net Change in Valuation (Million) vs. Tax Rate (Percent)

While some folks say we should stop growth, that would doom us to paying more and a higher percent of taxes every year. With proper growth (affordable, for one), the growth helps to spread the tax burden.

The official Action Taken document can be found online

The meeting video is available for replay on demand
The audio portion of the Town Administrator Jamie Hellen's Report to the Town Council was released previously

Additional details from the meeting can be found in my notes captured during the meeting:
  • Live reporting: Town Administrator's Report through Closing
  • Live reporting: Legislation for Action
  • Live reporting: Tax Classification Hearing
  • Live reporting: Town Council - Dec 4, 2019

Walk Off Those Cookies Group Walk On The SNETT - Dec 26

Please join us for a winter group walk on the SNETT. 

Let’s try to walk off some of those holiday calories and get some fresh air. This is a child friendly activity and leashed dogs are always welcome too. 

Last group walk of 2019!

Date: December 26
Time: 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Venue: SNETT Parking Lot, Grove Street, Franklin MA

This event is free, but we would love your support: become a member today: https://www.franklinbellinghamrailtrail.org/join-support/

The SNETT Trail heading from Lake St to Cross St in Bellingham
The SNETT Trail heading from Lake St to Cross St in Bellingham

Sunday, December 22, 2019

St Mary's Women's Faith Formation: Women in the Bible - Old and New Testament - Jan 4, 2020

The St. Mary's Women's Faith Formation Group invites all women to attend a presentation on "Women in the Bible - Old and New Testament". 

The presentation will be January 4 from 9:30 - 10:30 AM in the St. Mary's Parish Hall (One Church Square, Franklin). 

The talk will be give by Dr. Aldona Lingertat, who is the Director of both the Master of Arts in Ministry Program and the Master of Theological Studies Program at St. John's Seminary.

Come join us to learn more about important women in the Bible. The talk is certain to be interesting and informative.

St Mary's Women's Faith Formation: Women in the Bible - Old and New Testament - Jan 4, 2020
St Mary's Women's Faith Formation: Women in the Bible - Old and New Testament - Jan 4, 2020

Download a copy of the flyer

FHS wrestling wins 3 in quad meet, girls hockey ties Austin Prep

Via HockomockSports.com and Twitter, we share the results of FHS winter sports action on Saturday:

Boys Hockey = Franklin, 1 @ Pope Francis, 6 – Final

Girls Hockey = Franklin, 3 vs. Austin Prep, 3 – Final

Wrestling = Franklin @ St. John’s Prep Quad
– The Panthers picked up three wins in the quad meet. 
Franklin beat Lawrence 54-24 (Pins by DiFilippo, Sauer, Sackly, Cogavin, Nawn, Jacoby, Leofanti), 
Salem (N.H.) 60-21 ( Pins by Carlucci, Jawando, Fracasa, Sauer, Sackley, Nawn), 
and then edged out the home team St. John’s Prep 37-34 (pins by DiFilippo, Carlucci, Walker, Leofanti) in the final match.

For other results around the Hockomock League

And via Twitter:

FHS wrestling wins 3 in quad, girls hockey ties Austin Prep
FHS wrestling wins 3 in quad, girls hockey ties Austin Prep

School Committee links for 12/10/19 meeting

The School Committee meeting of Dec 10, 2019 will be available for video replay eventually. Check the Town of Franklin page:

As noted previously, I was recording the Finance Committee meeting when this was being held. Until the video is available for replay, you can find the meeting agenda documents on the Town of Franklin page  

The Superintendent's Report

School Committee Actions Taken

Proposed draft Calendar for 2020-2021 school year

The MCAS update for 2019

School Committee links for Nov 26, 2019 meeting

I was out of town and missed the School Committee meeting of Nov 26, 2019. The video replay is available on demand on the Town of Franklin page

  • The Actions Taken document


  • The meeting packet documents can be found


  • The Superintendent's Report


  • The Schools Finance Update (a good update for the new SchComm members and a good refresher for any resident of Franklin as the school budget accounts for approximately HALF of the Town budget)


School Committee links for Nov 26, 2019 meeting
School Committee links for Nov 26, 2019 meeting

In the News: possible change to housing zoning removing 2/3 majority; BFCCPS applications open

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to make zoning changes easier at the local level is one step closer to passage after the Housing Committee voted to advance it alongside 20 other bills aimed at generating new housing production.

The Housing Committee voted 16-1 in a poll that concluded Thursday afternoon to favorably report out Baker’s bill, according to a copy of the results acquired by the News Service. The Boston Globe first reported Wednesday that the poll was underway.

All 20 other bills, which range from a proposal to establish a housing production task force to one that would set a statewide housing production goal, also advanced with only one dissenting vote. State Rep. David DeCoste, R-Norwell, voted against each bill, while state Sen. Patrick O’Connor, R-Weymouth, reserved his rights on some votes.


The legislation would lower the local voting threshold needed for zoning changes from a two-thirds majority to a simple majority, a difference that Baker and supporters argue would allow more projects to get approved rather than fail on a 3-2 City Council vote or with only 55% backing."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

"The Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School is accepting applications for the 2020-21 school year.

In a press release, school officials said siblings of currently enrolled students will have priority enrollment status; thereafter, applicants from all 13 communities in the school’s district will have an equal chance at securing a spot for their child through the annual enrollment lottery to be held on March 4.

Applicants from outside of the region, but who reside within Massachusetts, will be eligible for enrollment should additional spaces remain after all sibling and regional applicants have been placed."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

new school sign at the entrance
new school sign at the entrance

"88% of parents perceived a positive impact on their child’s quality of life due to the later start times"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"A survey on this year’s later school start times at Weston High and Middle schools, which was given to students, faculty and parents, found that “all groups in general have found the change in start time to be positive,” Superintendent of Schools Midge Connolly told the School Committee last week.

“Parents and guardians, in particular, responded most positive to the changes,” she said.

The school day at Weston High and Middle schools runs from 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. The Country, Field and Woodland elementary schools run from 8 a.m. to 2:20 p.m.

One of the largest issues continues to be students released early from class in order to make it to athletic contests."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Franklin's School Start Time Advisory Committee (SSTAC) was dissolved and the Central Office is providing periodic updates as the move forward is currently 'paused'.

The SSTAC information can be found online

The most recent presentation from Sep 2019

The Franklin Matters meeting notes for this School Committee meeting