Friday, March 13, 2020

DLS Alert: Baker-Polito Administration Announces Emergency Order Modifying the State’s Open Meeting Law

Open meeting law regulations modified to allow public meeting to continue during this pandemic period

 Emergency Order Modifying the State’s Open Meeting Law
Baker-Polito Administration Announces Emergency Order Modifying the State's Open Meeting Law

The Baker-Polito Administration today announced an emergency order temporarily modifying the state's open meeting law in order to allow state, quasi and local governments to continue to carry out essential functions and operations during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

This emergency order suspends the requirement for public access to the physical location where a public meeting is taking place, provided there are other means of access available. This includes the use of a phone conference line for members of the public, social media or other internet streaming services, on-line meeting services, or methods of access.

Both the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) have advised residents to take extra measures to put distance between themselves and other people to further reduce the risk of being exposed to COVID-19. Additionally, the CDC and DPH have advised high-risk individuals, including people over the age of 60, anyone with underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system, and pregnant women, to avoid large gatherings.

Additionally, the order relieves the requirement that a quorum of members be physically present at a public meeting. During this period, members may all participate by remote or virtual means.

This order is applicable to meetings of public bodies including commissions, boards, and committees that engage in policy making at the state, quasi and local level, and it does not apply to Town Meetings or judicial and quasi-judicial hearings. It follows Governor Baker's declaration of a State of Emergency on Wednesday, March 11, and it will remain in place until rescinded or the State of Emergency is terminated.

Massachusetts Department of Revenue - Division of Local Services · 100 Cambridge Street · Boston, MA 02114 · USA

"They were frustrated, but they knew it might be coming"

Josh Perry, Managing Editor of, provides some insghts on the MIAA decision, and reaction from both the Foxboro and Franklin girls basketball teams who won't be playing on Saturday.

"Both the Franklin and Foxboro girls basketball team were practicing on Thursday evening when the news filtered through that both of their seasons had ended with a victory, although neither got the opportunity to complete their impressive seasons by taking the floor in a state championship game.

The MIAA announced early Thursday evening that it was canceling the state championship basketball games originally slated to be played on Saturday in Worcester out of concern for the COVID-19 pandemic. The six hockey state championship games scheduled for Sunday at the TD Garden were also canceled and the beginning of the spring season has been postponed for at least two weeks.

With the decision to cancel the finals, the teams that had reached this stage were declared co-champions. Foxboro will share the Div. 2 title with West champion Taconic, earning the Warriors a second state title in three seasons. Franklin finishes its season at 25-0 and will share the Div. 1 crown with North champion Andover, claiming the first state title in program history and widely regarded as the top team in the state.

For both teams, it is hard not feel the season’s end and the state titles were anti-climactic after the excitement of winning four or five tournament games."
Continue reading the article online

FHS Girls Varsity Twitter photo
FHS Girls Varsity Twitter photo

"Biden’s new campaign manager is Franklin native Jennifer O’Malley Dillon"

From the Milford Daily News via the Washington Post, an article of interest for Franklin:

"Former vice president Joe Biden named Jen O’Malley Dillon as his new campaign manager Thursday, a major shake-up that comes as the party’s leading candidate plans an organizational expansion to prepare for the general election.

The move is intended to quell concerns raised in recent weeks by senior Democratic strategists about the leadership structure of the Biden campaign, which has been beset by underwhelming fundraising, scant staffing resources and organizational miscues during the early nominating contests.

“She will be a tremendous asset to a campaign that is only growing and getting stronger as we prepare to take the fight to Donald Trump this fall,” Biden said in a statement accompanying the announcement.

The campaign shuffle is an acknowledgment that while Biden has had a remarkable recent run of victories - at least 15 of the past 21 contests - his operation was not up to the challenge posed by President Donald Trump if Biden wins the nomination."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

The Washington Post article (subscription may be required)

In the News: Dean students get extra break; BAA marathon to be rescheduled

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"In light of the continuing spread of the new coronavirus, Dean College students are getting an extra-long spring break.

Administrators, led by President Paula Rooney, issued a decision on Wednesday to extend the break at least through March 22; the break was original scheduled for March 9-13.

The decision comes a day after Gov. Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency in Massachusetts regarding the respiratory illness, known as COVID-19, and as the World Health Organization on Wednesday labeled the virus a pandemic.

“Our focus is and will always be on the health, safety and well-being of our community of students, faculty and staff,” states an announcement posted by Rooney’s to the college website on Wednesday."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

"Organizers of the 2020 Boston Marathon will postpone this year’s race amid concerns about COVID-19, sources told 5 Investigates.

The 124th running of the world’s oldest and most prestigious marathon was set for April 20, Patriots’ Day. Organizers are now looking to reschedule the event for September, although an exact date has not been determined, sources tell 5 Investigates. Sources say Sept. 5 - the Saturday before Labor Day - is being considered.

Legislators are talking about creating a special holiday in the fall in order to have the Marathon be held on a holiday, WCVB has learned. The bill would be subject to the same approval process as other bills.

The Boston Athletic Association had said it was working closely with state and local officials and would adhere to policies put forth by the Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

BAA web page with updates

BAA web page with updates
BAA web page with updates

Massachusetts Legislature Approves a $15 Million Fund in Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak

The Senate and House today passed a supplemental budget to create a $15 million fund in response to the outbreak of COVID 19 cases in Massachusetts. The funds, held in reserve, will support the Commonwealth’s monitoring, treatment, containment, public awareness and prevention efforts against the 2019 novel coronavirus by the Department of Public Health, regional and local boards of health, and other public entities.

“Massachusetts acted quickly to put in place funds for our public health system so that it may have resources immediately available to combat the spread of the coronavirus,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D – Winthrop). ““Thank you to Chair Michlewitz for his work to move this legislation this week and Leader Jones for his support. We took this action in partnership with our Senate colleagues, and we appreciate the leadership of Senate President Spilka and the work of Chair Rodrigues during this public health crisis.”

“This week, the Senate, along with our partners in the House, acted decisively to provide a flexible source of funding to assist state and local efforts to deal with our unfolding public health crisis,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “I would like to thank everyone, from Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues and Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, to Speaker DeLeo and Chair Michlewitz, for their collaborative work to quickly pass this supplemental budget.”

“I am pleased that we were able to approve this critical funding so quickly,” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways &; Means (D – Boston). “We will continue to work collaboratively with our partners in the Senate and with the Baker administration to combat this crisis however we can.”

“As COVID-19 outbreak continues to disrupt the day-to-day actions of our Commonwealth, we must continue to rapidly respond to this immediate public health crisis,” said Senator Michael Rodrigues, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means (D-Westport). “Thanks to the leadership of Senate President Spilka, and the partnership of Speaker DeLeo and Chair Michlewitz, we have acted swiftly to provide an immediate infusion of $15 million to enhance state and local response efforts to ensure the well-being of our residents and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

“I’m pleased we were able to take quick action as a first step to address the coronavirus outbreak,” said House Minority Leader Representative Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “I expect this will be the first of many actions we will take to respond to this rapidly evolving public health situation.”

“To combat the spread of Coronavirus illness, the Senate and House have acted quickly to give the state and local agencies charged with protecting the public health the resources they need to respond effectively to this threat,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “Our actions today reflect our ongoing commitment to do what is necessary to reduce risk of harm to the people of the Commonwealth.”

The bill now goes to the governor.

Massachusetts Legislature Approves a $15 Million Fund  in Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak
Massachusetts Legislature Approves a $15 Million Fund  in Response to the Coronavirus Outbreak

March Veterans Council Meeting Cancelled

March Veterans Council Meeting Cancelled

The monthly Veterans Council Meeting scheduled for March 19, 2020 has been cancelled due to Coronavirus concerns.

Stay tuned for updates!

March Veterans Council Meeting Cancelled
March Veterans Council Meeting Cancelled

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Franklin Public Schools: Schools closed Friday, March 13

March 12, 2020

Dear Franklin Families,

We are writing to inform you that Franklin Public Schools will be closed Friday, March 13. All extracurricular activities and are also canceled. We will also be canceling SAT testing at FHS on Saturday, March 14, 2020.

We were notified late today by a staff member at the high school that they have been directed to self-quarantine. Out of an abundance of caution, we wish to conduct a thorough disinfection at the high school.

Additionally, we have reflected seriously on the information that has developed, particularly in the last 24 hours, across the Commonwealth and have applied our judgment as a leadership team about the most responsible course of action, which we believe is to close all District schools for Friday, March 13, 2020. Our first priority is the health and safety of our students and staff. We believe that the decision to close the District is in direct alignment with this responsibility.

The District leadership team will also use tomorrow to conduct a fuller assessment of the situation to plan and prepare for the continued support of our staff, students, and families. We will continue to closely monitor this ever-changing situation, following the guidance of our local Health Department, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. We will reassess to determine if a longer closure is warranted and update the community prior to the weekend.

Earlier this week, the Commissioner of Education has informed Districts that schools will only be required to make up, at most, 5 days due to school closure. Therefore, at this point, Franklin Public Schools will have had 2 days of closure.

We wish to remind you that the Town of Franklin has developed a portal for the public to access the latest information on Coronavirus:

Franklin Public Schools

Get the PDF Copy of this notification

Franklin Public Schools: Schools closed Friday, March 13
Franklin Public Schools: Schools closed Friday, March 13

Cancellations of note: 3/12/20

On the FHS sports (Track and Field, Cheerleaders, basketball all stars), MICCA music, Recreation fronts:

Music4Kids fund raiser features Sugar Ray Norcia (and the Bluetones) with Monster Mike Welch - April 2

Sugar Ray Norcia (and the Bluetones)
Monster Mike Welch
Veronica Lewis
Nolan Leite

These musicians are coming to Wrentham! Come enjoy dinner, drinks and some awesome blues music! Proceeds of this event go to Franklin non-profit Music4Kids, helping us to provide musical instruments, lessons and special music education programs for disabled and disadvantaged children.

The Home for Little Waderers is highlighted as one of our ongoing projects that will be served by the proceeds of this event!

Auction and raffle items available for bidding. This is a great cause. Hope to see you there!

*This event is in open seating format with the exception of reserved tables.*

**If you would like to have one or more tables reserved, please contact Joshua Silver at 508-381-9052 after purchasing the desired number of tickets.**

Date And Time = Thu, April 2, 2020 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM EDT

Location = Lake Pearl Ballroom, 299 Creek Street, Wrentham, MA 02093

Tickets can be purchased online at Eventbrite 

Music4Kids fund raiser features Sugar Ray Norcia (and the Bluetones) with Monster Mike Welch - April 2
Music4Kids fund raiser features Sugar Ray Norcia (and the Bluetones) with Monster Mike Welch - April 2

You ask - we answer: When will the Dean Ave. apartments start renting?

Q - When will the Dean Ave. apartments start renting? Are any for low income? Will there be a safe walkway to train?

A - The website for doesn't provide a timeline for rental.

1 - In my walks by the location, exterior construction is still very much in progress. Perhaps before the end of the year? You can sign up for their "Interest List" to find out. 

The Fairfield Residential webpage shows this opening "Early 2020".

2 - none of the units are designated for 'low income'

3 - There will be sidewalk along Dean Ave to Main St. As mentioned in the Facebook thread on this question, the Town and developer jointly are working to address the drainage at the Dean Ave corner with an EPA grant. Roadwork has been underway last year on the underground portion. Sidewalk and paving is scheduled for this year.

The website for
The website for

The Fairfield Residential webpage
The Fairfield Residential webpage

March 2020 Online Learning courses start March 18

March 2020 Online Learning
Are you ready for a change? Would you like to learn something new? Here's a chance to explore new opportunities. New sessions begin March 18th OR many courses also have a self-paced option that you can start anytime.

  • SAT/ACT Prep Series
Part I will give you all the information you need to do well on the verbal questions of the ACT and the new SAT.

Part 2 will give you all the information you need to do well on the math questions of the ACT and the new SAT.

  • GRE Prep Series
Part 1 (Verbal) takes you through all the question types on the verbal reasoning, analytical writing sections, and both essay tasks.

Part 2 (Quantitative) features a math review as well as techniques for tackling the quantitative comparison, data interpretation, and standard math questions that make up the quantitative reasoning sections.

  • Prepare for GED Test
This course will help you analyze your strengths and weaknesses as well as give you the basics of what you need to know to succeed on the four GED® test modules: Reasoning Through Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Mathematical Reasoning.

Register online at

March 2020 Online Learning courses start March 18
March 2020 Online Learning courses start March 18

In the News: NBA suspends season, Trump bans European travel as coronavirus steps

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"The NBA has suspended its season “until further notice” after a Utah Jazz player tested positive Wednesday for the coronavirus, a move that came only hours after the majority of the league’s owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas.

Now there will be no games at all, at least for the time being. A person with knowledge of the situation said the Jazz player who tested positive was center Rudy Gobert. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the league nor the team confirmed the presumptive positive test.

“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice,” the league said in a statement sent shortly after 9:30 p.m. Eastern. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

"President Donald Trump said Wednesday he is suspending all travel between the U.S. and Europe for 30 days beginning Friday as he seeks to combat a viral pandemic.

Trump made the announcement in an Oval Office address to the nation, blaming the European Union for not acting quickly enough to address the “foreign virus” and saying U.S. clusters were “seeded” by European travelers.

“We made a lifesaving move with early action on China,” Trump said. “Now we must take the same action with Europe.”

Trump said the restrictions won’t apply to the United Kingdom and the U.S. would monitor the situation to determine if travel could be reopened earlier."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Go directly to the portal

Attention Franklin: Coronavirus Information Portal
Attention Franklin: Coronavirus Information Portal

Cancellation of Franklin Democratic Town Caucus - March 19

The previously announced Franklin Democratic Town Caucus on March 19 that was to be held at the Elks Club in Franklin has been canceled until further notice.

Massachusetts Democratic Party (MPD) Chair Gus Bickford issued the following statement: 
"In light of guidance provided by state officials at this afternoon's press conference, MDP is temporarily suspending all caucuses scheduled to take place."

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

FM #223 - Stormwater Utility Fee Info Session 1 - March 6, 2020 (audio)

FM #223 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 223 in the series.

The Town Council Stormwater Utility Fee Subcommittee held the first of three information scheduled sessions to review the proposed stormwater utility fee as a response to the Federal mandate required by the EPA MS4 regulations.

Subcommittee Chair Melanie Hamblen presided over the presentation and discussion. Councilor Eamon Earls joined her. Councilors Dellorco and Jones are also reported to be on the subcommittee but were not present for this session.

Franklin Police dog Ben Franklin made a special appearance.

The presentation was led by DPW Director Robert (Brutus) Cantoreggi, GIS Coordinator Kate Sjoberg, and consultant Jean Haggerty. Town Administrator Jamie Hellen was key among the other participants. Those who had questions or comments identified themselves for the broadcast.

The audio segment runs almost 2 hours, so let’s listen in to the presentation and discussion of the stormwater utility fee.


The handout can be found online at the new Stormwater Division page

Visit the Stormwater Division page to review the mitigation plan as well as the MS4 itself

Visit “Soak it up Franklin”

The presentation is not yet available on the Town of Franklin page. When it is, I’ll add the link here

We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (

This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

How can you help?
  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors
  • If you don't like something here, please let me know

Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

For additional information, please visit
If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com

The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana" c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.

I hope you enjoy!


You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

Franklin Police dog Ben Franklin made a special appearance
Franklin Police dog Ben Franklin made a special appearance

FHS girls basketball team keeps winning, head to State D1 Final Saturday

Josh Perry, Managing Editor of provides the game recap:
"When asked if the loss to Springfield Central in last year’s state semifinal game, three days short of a year before Tuesday night’s semifinal at Worcester State, was being used as motivation by his team, Franklin coach John Leighton dismissed that idea, saying that his team had already moved on.

“None, not at all,” Leighton explained. “We moved on and buried that. We celebrated winning the sectional championship with the three seniors from last year. Otherwise, you kind of live in past glory and it doesn’t motivate you forward.”

The Panthers can continue to look forward, as they pulled out a 55-43 victory against a feisty Minnechaug, which upset Springfield Central in the West final, to advance to the first state title game in program history. At the final horn, there were smiles and some cheers, but Franklin players reacted like it was business as usual.

“It’s the farthest that Franklin has ever been,” said senior Ali Brigham. “We make it this far, we’re not going to stop now. We wanted to make it to the championship game, which we did. It feels good to be there but that was an ugly game so hopefully we’ll be a lot better in that game.”
Continue reading the game recap:

For a photo gallery from this game:

For other results around the Hockomock League on Tuesday

Franklin senior Ali Brigham scored 25 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to help the Panthers beat Minnechaug and advance to the program’s first ever state title game. (Josh Perry/
Franklin senior Ali Brigham scored 25 points and grabbed 16 rebounds to help the Panthers beat Minnechaug and advance to the program’s first ever state title game. (Josh Perry/