Monday, April 6, 2020

FM #237 Jamie Barrett - "Sisu Ubuntu" 4/02/20 (audio)

FM #237 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 237 in the series.

This session of the radio show shares my conversation with Jamie Barrett, Franklin teacher and singer/songwriter. We had our conversation via conference bridge to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

We jump right into the making of “Sisu Ubuntu”, his new song, collaborated on with over 100 word suggestions, and as we find out, it came together once he picked up his guitar to work on the music to frame the lyrics.

We also talk about TuNesDay and his “Wake up with Mr Barrett” Live concert that he performs on Tuesday mornings at 8 AM. We also raise another challenge for Franklinites to help Jamie get more than 2,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel. He really needs 1,000 but we believe Franklin can do better than that, so let’s go for 2,000.

This recording runs about 15 minutes, so listen to my conversation with Jamie and get some insights into the creative process for this teacher and singer/songwriter.


If you haven't heard it, you can listen to the “Sisu Ubuntu” song here

Please subscribe to Jamie’s YouTube channel 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"

FM #237 Jamie Barrett - "Sisu Ubuntu" 4/02/20 (audio)
FM #237 Jamie Barrett - "Sisu Ubuntu" 4/02/20 (Twitter photo)

Road Construction Alerts

If you missed listening to DPW Director Cantoreggi's interview, there are a couple of road construction projects underway to be aware of.

1 - State paving work on RT 140

From Lewis St to the Wrentham line RT 140 is being repaved via "mill and overlay". The top surface has been ground up during overnight work the past week and should be paved this week. The work is scheduled for overnight.

State paving work on RT 140 - 1
State paving work on RT 140 - 1

State paving work on RT 140 - 2
State paving work on RT 140 - 2
2 - Franklin waterline replacement work on Lincoln St 

From Maple St to Brook St, the water line will be replaced by a contractor for Franklin DPW using the funding plan for water line replacements.

Franklin waterline replacement work on Lincoln St - 1
Franklin waterline replacement work on Lincoln St - 1

Franklin waterline replacement work on Lincoln St - 2
Franklin waterline replacement work on Lincoln St - 2

Franklin waterline replacement work on Lincoln St - 3
Franklin waterline replacement work on Lincoln St - 3

To listen to the interview with DPW Director "Brutus" Cantoreggi 

Once Upon a Town: Chilson Block - Downtown Franklin

Join Eamon McCarthy Earls and Joe Landry to "Find out the story of the Chilson Block, a landmark of downtown Franklin"

Video link =

Senior Center Connections - April Newsletter

The April newsletter provides the latest on what is still happening (although remotely).

Get your copy at the Town of Franklin page

Senior Center Connections - April Newsletter
Senior Center Connections - April Newsletter

In the News: COVID-19 testing facility for first responders; how to apply for unemployment assistance

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

COVID-19 testing facility for first responders
"A COVID-19 testing facility for first responders opened Sunday in Foxborough after it was built in just four days, and Gov. Charlie Baker said conversations are underway about setting up similar sites in western Massachusetts and the Merrimack Valley. 
After visiting the new drive-through testing site, set up in a Gillette Stadium parking lot, Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito provided updates on the state’s continuing efforts to prepare for the coming surge in cases of the dangerous and contagious coronavirus. 
Baker said state officials received a shipment of 100 ventilators -- a fraction of the 1,400 requested -- from the national equipment stockpile, and those ventilators will likely be distributed “over the course of the next 24 hours.” Last Monday, Baker had predicted 1,000 ventilators would arrived by week’s end."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

social distancing properly (Gov Baker's Twitter image)
social distancing properly (Gov Baker's Twitter image)

how to apply for unemployment assistance
"In the past two weeks, 10 million workers have filed for unemployment, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. 
If you’re one of those 10 million workers confused on how to apply for unemployment assistance, the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has been hosting Virtual Town Halls for the past week and can help you out. 
We simplified how that process works, and answered some common questions – including some questions answered during Saturday’s virtual town hall meeting conducted in Spanish."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

“I see a lot of pink bags at the curb awaiting (pickup) that will never come”

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"Jillian Wilson, Natick’s sustainability coordinator, is saddened by the number of pink recycling bags she still sees on the curbs of several Natick neighborhoods. 
Those pink recycling bags are part of Simple Recycling’s curbside clothing recycling program. 
Based out of Ohio, the for-profit recycler takes donated high quality clothing and other household goods and resells them to thrift shops or international markets. The town has been using the service for two years, and close to 20,000 to 30,000 pieces of material are collected each month, according to Wilson-Martin. 
On March 23, the company had to suspend operations in the state, following Gov. Charlie Baker’s order for all non-essential businesses to seize in-person operations to minimize the spread of the coronavirus."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

“I see a lot of pink bags at the curb awaiting (pickup) that will never come”
“I see a lot of pink bags at the curb awaiting (pickup) that will never come”

"child care providers worry they may never reopen"

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

"Dominated by small businesses, the country’s child care “system” has long been at a breaking point. Child care is expensive to operate and to provide, yet families are largely left to pay for it themselves while providers eke out a living on meager profits.

To make it through coronavirus-era closures and the economic downturn, providers say they need help.

Without it, parents juggling child care with working from home, or unable to afford care while they’re laid off, could find their provider is closed when they return to work."

This story about child care services was produced by The Hechinger Report, a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Sign up for the Hechinger newsletter.

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Sunday, April 5, 2020

HMEA's incredABLE 5K Goes Virtual - May 17

We are going VIRTUAL!

These are uncertain times for all of us. HMEA is responding to the Covid-19 crisis by providing essential staff 24 hours a day in group homes; virtually connecting and teaching children with autism and adults with developmental disabilities who are staying safe at home; and offering resources to hundreds of families in need at this critical time. 

HMEA's incredABLE 5K Goes Virtual - May 17
HMEA's incredABLE 5K Goes Virtual - May 17
Your contributions are vital as we work through this state of emergency together and then continue to teach, support, and empower the 5,000 members of the HMEA community. Eventually all of our supported individuals will resume their normal routines and we want to be ready for that with the resources that will be made available through the funds raised by this event.

So we are making the incredABLE 5K a VIRTUAL EVENT!

Live Virtual Event - MAY 17

10:00 am - walk and run
11:00 am - ceremonies, winners announced, raffles pulled
Tune-in to our Facebook Page

We need your help now, more than ever!
There are so many ways to do something incredABLE!

Run the Virtual 5K

You can still participate in our incredABLE 5k. Find an approved course near you at

Here's how it works:

  1. Register as an incredABLE Virtual 5K Runner at
  2. Run a USATF certified course before May 10
  3. Screenshot or take a photo of your time on the fitness app you used to time your run
  4. Submit the screenshot/photo and the course ID# to by midnight May 10, 2020.
  5. You may only submit timing once
  6. The live virtual 5k run will be held on May 17th at 10:00 AM on our Facebook page. Join in and run at home. Can you beat last year's winner?

Registration fee is $15 for all runners.

Your time must be submitted by midnight May 10, 2020 to be entered into the competition.

Winners will be announced during the live streamed virtual event on May 17th.

  • Additional info can be found online at 


Attention Franklin: Revised Town Budget Schedule

Due to the closure of all public buildings and delays in the Town, the scheduled budget related meetings have been rescheduled. The following schedule is subject to continued change and represents the most likely scenario based on the information we have today.

School Committee Budget Hearing
  • April 14

Finance Committee Hearings
  • Wednesday May 27
  • Thursday May 28
  • Tuesday, June 2
  • Thursday June 4

Town Council Budget Hearings
  • June 17 and June 18

We will continue to update the website with any changes.

Interested citizens should also check the Town Calendar and sign up for email notices

For all the info on the Town of Franklin budget for FY 2021 (next year), FY 2020 (this year) and earlier
Attention Franklin: Revised Town Budget Schedule
Attention Franklin: Revised Town Budget Schedule

Once Upon a Town: Industries of Franklin MA

Join Eamon McCarthy Earls and Joe Landry to hear about how
"Franklin boomed in the 19th and 20th century thanks to industry as entrepreneurs launched new businesses making straw hats, felt, shoes, other textiles and even sugar"

Register O’Donnell Reports Strong 1st Quarter Real Estate Activity Despite COVID-19

Register of Deeds William P. O’Donnell reported real estate sales and lending activity experienced solid growth in Norfolk County during the first quarter of 2020 (Jan-March). This growth came despite all the issues encountered with the COVID-19 coronavirus which began to appear in early March.

Register O’Donnell noted, “During the 1st quarter, real estate sales in Norfolk County, both residential and commercial, rose 9% year over year. There were 3,684 properties sold compared to 3,374 during the 1st quarter 2019. This growth can be explained by many real estate sales being in the pipeline prior to COVID-19 impacting Massachusetts. Individuals and businesses were also taking advantage of low interest rates to purchase property.”

The average sales price, again both residential and commercial, during the 1st quarter was $794,546, an 8% increase from the 1st quarter of 2019. Additionally, the total volume of residential and commercial sales for the quarter was $1.6 billion, a 17% increase year over year.

In Norfolk County, a dramatic increase was seen in the number of mortgages recorded during the quarter. A total of 7,768 were recorded during the 1st quarter 2020 compared to 4,532 during the same time period in 2019. “A solid economy prior to COVID-19 and low interest rates were resulting in consumers not only looking to buy property, but also taking advantage of more favorable terms to refinance their existing mortgages,” noted O’Donnell.

The number of Homesteads recorded during the 1st quarter also increased by 9% compared to the 1st quarter 2019. O’Donnell reiterated the advantages of having a Homestead recorded against a homeowners primary residence. “The Homestead law provides limited protection against the forced sale of an individual’s primary residence to satisfy unsecured debt up to $500,000. I urge Norfolk County homeowners to consider this important consumer protection tool.”

A note of concern during the quarter was the rise in foreclosure activity. “The number of foreclosure deeds recorded,” noted the Register, “was 43, a 19% increase from the 1st quarter 2019. Also, there was a 63% increase in the number of Notice to Foreclose Mortgage filings, the first step in the foreclosure process.”

The Register also noted, “While the federal government recently ordered foreclosure activity to cease for 60 days in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and many lending institutions have instituted mortgage relief efforts, I am extremely concerned that the current economic upheaval caused by the COVID-19 incident will result in a significant spike in foreclosure activity as we move further into 2020. My office continues to partner with Quincy Community Action Programs, 617-479-8181 x376, and NeighborWorks Southern Mass, 508-587-0950 to help anyone having issues paying their mortgages. These organizations have staff available to help anyone who has received a Notice to Foreclose Mortgage from a lender. Another option is to contact the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Consumer Advocacy and Response Division (CARD) at 617-727-8400. Each of these programs is staffed by knowledgeable professionals. If anyone is facing a foreclosure, I recommend they avail themselves of one of these excellent programs.”

In conclusion Register O’Donnell stated, “While the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has prevented public access to the Registry building, the Norfolk County Registry of Deeds has remained open for the recording of land documents. We have been able to do this by utilizing electronic recording for our institutional users and also recording documents received via regular mail and a drop off box. While doing all we can to keep our employees safe by social distancing, instituting workshifts, utilizing alternate work sites and in some cases having employees work from home, we have been able to remain open to record land documents. By instituting these steps, the Registry of Deeds has done its part to keep the Norfolk County real estate market operational during these trying times. These efforts are a tribute to the professionalism shown by the Registry of Deeds employees and the cooperation and patience shown by our customers and the residents of Norfolk County. Clearly, this pandemic has caused massive economic upheaval. There is no question the impact to the real estate market will be significant in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. Our pledge at the Registry of Deeds is to do all we can to help the local real estate economy and serve the residents of Norfolk County.”

To learn more about these and other Registry of Deeds events and initiatives, like us at or follow us on and/or

The Norfolk County Registry of Deeds is located at 649 High Street in Dedham. The Registry is a resource for homeowners, title examiners, mortgage lenders, municipalities and others with a need for secure, accurate, accessible land record information. All land record research information can be found on the Registry’s website Residents in need of assistance can contact the Registry of Deeds Customer Service Center via telephone at (781) 461-6101, or email us at

Register O’Donnell Reports Strong 1st Quarter Real Estate Activity Despite COVID-19
Register O’Donnell Reports Strong 1st Quarter Real Estate Activity Despite COVID-19

“Senior isolation is always an issue, especially in the winter time”

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"Senior citizens and their advocates have long struggled to tackle seclusion and loneliness in a portion of the population – particularly those less fortunate than Foley, without close family or the ability to drive.

To see her grandchildren, 79-year-old Hopedale resident Phyllis Foley arms herself with disinfecting wipes, drives a few minutes up the street, and heads into her daughter’s garden.

While she does a little weeding, her grandchildren come out of the house and sit several feet away.

“I think I’ve got a pretty good sense of what to do, because I had to do it for many years,” the former Navy nurse and visiting nurse said, adding that she wipes down every door handle, gives people a wide berth, and rarely leaves her apartment."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

From a soon to be available interview with Karen Alves, Director of the Franklin Senior Center, the Center offers a weekly reassurance call for those who would like to receive one. Please call the Center at 508 520-4945 and leave a message. They will follow up to confirm the details and set up the weekly call.

“Senior isolation is always an issue, especially in the winter time”
“Senior isolation is always an issue, especially in the winter time”

Small businesses: Where to go for financial relief information

Consumer Alerts from the Federal Trade Commission
by Lesley Fair, Attorney, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection

If you own a small business or work for one, you've seen the headlines about financial relief that may be available to some companies through the Small Business Administration (SBA). But you've also heard about scammers who extract a grain of truth from the news and distort it in an effort to cheat small businesses. 

Now more than ever it's critical for small businesses to go straight to the source for accurate information about what's happening at the SBA. And that source, of course, is the Small Business Administration's dedicated page,

Read more 

This is a free service provided by the Federal Trade Commission.

Let's beat our 2010 Census response rate this time around

"Recently, you should have received a census form. The US Census determines both State & Federal funding based on the information collected! Be counted! The census is quick, easy, and important, and all of your answers are confidential. 

Visit today!"
We are currently (as of April 3) at 55.8%  As of 3/31 we were at 49.3% so we increased by about 6% in a few days.

In 2010 we responded with a 79.9% rate. Let's get well into the 80% rate this year!

The 2020 Census rate response interactive page

Let's beat our 2010 Census response rate this time around
Let's beat our 2010 Census response rate this time around


Spend a few minutes with Marcus

Better late to this than not to have seen it. The ONE thing the pandemic has given us is time. The real question then comes back, if we let it, "how do we use this time?"

Marcus Buckingham, the strengths guy, speaker, author ... Someone I would put on my 'dream Board of Directors" posted this 14 minute video to Instagram. He did it, not his team, they are all distant now. As we are physically distant too. And we don't, shouldn't be, socially distant. We need each other to get through this.

Spend a few minutes with Marcus. He has a series of these. Don't catch up all at once. Gardening is not a binge action. Gardening takes time, you can not rush it.

We all have a responsibility right now. To give and to give up. There are things in life we have to give up in order to contribute. We have to give up our going out, our eating out, our hugging and handshaking. And there are things that we can give. Yes, we can give money, food, excess toilet paper to our neighbors. And of course, your biggest gift: contributing the strongest and best parts of you. But if you don’t know what those are, and if the people around you don’t either, this ‘biggest gift’ is not possible. I’ve probably spent too many hours wishing I could sing or make songs like Chris Martin of Coldplay, or play piano like @JohnLegend. Or tell jokes like @TheEllenShow. But those are not my gifts to give. I’m just a researcher. One who loves to ask questions and write books. I AM clear, though, on where I am strong. And so, for the next, oh dear, however many weeks, I want to help you bring more love and more strength into your life. And if you do, then, as the data show, you will bring more strength into the lives of those you love: Your son, daughter, sister, mother, father, friend, and maybe your bullheaded yet brilliant, British mate. So, here is day one. I promise to give my best tomorrow to you. I see you. I love you.
A post shared by Marcus Buckingham (@marcusbuckingham) on

From my email from Marcus:

Hello. I hope the last 8 videos in the #iseeyouiloveyou series have been useful in your life and the lives of those you love.

I’ve linked each below in case you missed any of them:

I hope you join me this week for #StrongLifeTeam - Together we will build something for you that you will be able to lean into for a lifetime.