Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Please Respond Today to the 2020 Census

We have reached a 74.6% response rate for Franklin, there is still time to get beyond 80% (Franklin actually did 79.9% in the 2010 Census).

"The 2020 Census is underway and more households across America are responding every day. Over 70 million households have responded to date, representing 58.6% of all households in America. Make sure that you and your friends and family are included in this once-a-decade count.

Help us spread the word: Everyone can respond to the 2020 Census online in one of 13 languages, with assistance available in many more.

Please note: About 64 million households across the nation will receive a paper questionnaire in the coming days. If you receive mail after you have responded, you should disregard it. It was sent before we received your response."


Visit the 2020 Census response rate map

The current results for Franklin (as of Sunday, May 10, 2020):

We have reached a 74.6% response rate for Franklin
We have reached a 74.6% response rate for Franklin

In the News: Eversource plan unnecessary; Polar Park construction resumes

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"Citing a lack of evidence and need, an independent consultant hired by the Select Board has concluded that Eversource’s plan to replace a 3.7-mile natural gas line that runs through Hopkinton and Ashland is severely flawed.

Eversource is looking to decommission about 4 miles of underground piping that runs through Ashland and Hopkinton and place new 12-inch pipes alongside them.

In Ashland, the gas pipeline runs for 2.5 miles and intersects through more than 80 residential parcels, the Chestnut Tree Apartments and a number of environmentally sensitive areas, including portions of the wetlands and the conservation-restricted Great Bend Farm Trust. The company says the project is needed to address pressure drop problems and provide a more reliable and consistent flow of natural gas to customers in Greater Framingham.

In June 2018, Eversource filed an application with the state’s Energy Facility Siting Board, an agency that reviews large scale energy projects. In its application, the company also included preliminary information about an alternative under-street route should the Siting Board deny its request to place the new pipes on the existing easement."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

"City Manager Edward M. Augustus Jr. has given the OK for work to resume this week on some construction projects here, Polar Park being one of them. What happens next, what does the resumption of work mean for the immediate and longer range future?

That’s a different story.

In a prepared statement, Worcester Red Sox chairman Larry Lucchino said this:

“While we look forward to resuming the construction of Worcester’s new ballpark, we recognize that precautions, health, and safety remain paramount. We will support our local construction workers, and we will abide by the conditions set forth by our leaders to ensure an environment that complies with their public policy and expert medical recommendations."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Monday, May 11, 2020

Real-time Reporting: Joint Budget Subcommittee - May 11, 2020

I took my notes via Twitter for this meeting. See bold items at end of Twitter stream for my summary (if BOLD not visible - last three tweets)

  • Real-time reporting underway for Joint Budget Subcommittee meeting #jbsc0511
  • Multiple Town Councilors attending but the restriction for only Subcommittee members to speak remains in place, the others can observe/listen but can not speak #jbsc0511
  • Pellegri missing meeting due to health (recovering from surgery and doing well). #jbsc0511
  • No stabilization funding left, balance was used for the FY2020 budget, no help there. Big factor is what State aid will be, used Gov Baker's as the starting point #jbsc0511
  • Q on how the $118m came to be, what drove the split by department? On municipal side, could talk to more details, some things were already in play, no magical %. BoH has a minor increase but under the circumstances, they are being asked for more #jbsc0511
  • Metrics looked for to help judge the numbers, actually only an increase of $1M over last year. Call data for police/fire available, likely to put an appendix, much has been published before but not likely all in 1 place #jbsc0511
  • Phased approach, rocky road to the FY2021 budget, we'll look at again in 6 months or when things change, #jbsc0511 the structural budget issue is/was here, schools were looking for $3.9m over FY2020, when the town as a whole only gets $3m. And then the pandemic came!
  • Superintendent providing overview on schools side, budget put together from level service, then layered with critical needs; some of them added, some not. This is what the SchComm recently approved #jbsc0511
  • Updates to budget coming to SchComm Tuesday, revision coming, still being talked of, Sue happy to have sidebar on metrics being looked for. #jbsc0511 we need to tell the story, conversations were happening before pandemic
  • FHS accreditation report had many pluses and raised some key issues; i.e. around providing support for new careers available, need to address gap and show progress; private school issue of taking cream of the crop, while Spec Ed falls on town #jbsc0511
  • Bullying, vaping, mental health, behavioral challenges all of these are not just school problems, they are Community and society issues, they existed before the pandemic, look at a community when the schools go down #jbsc0511
  • Schools have similar background on numbers showing history, Jamie will try to address these in the summary but the doc may not come out less than 100 pages, effectively a question of what value add is it? #jbsc0511
  • The conversation needs to get to the community, there is only so much we (on the Town or Schools) can make adjustments to make a difference. The dynamics are not new #jbsc0511 there is something not right, the dog can't chase it's tail forever
  • #jbsc0511 did not close out promptly at 6:30 Eastern that the meeting ended (1 hour duration) and mostly a waste of time. Metrics request mentioned last week; SchComm to see some revisions to their budget at meeting Tuesday, otherwise, nothing new
  • Big Q remains: if cuts are coming, Where? What depts, Town or Schools? and given timeline of FinCom meetings 5/27-28, 6/2 - 6/4 and Town Council 6/17-18; what personnel (if any) need to be notified and what contractual requirements are there for such notifications? #jbsc0511
  • #jbsc0511 if as mentioned, you either cut or add funding, cuts are seemingly inevitable; timeline as I recall is passed for possible override discussion/vote. so we'll suck it up and then look back in year (per Chair) and "say we did a good job"

The thread on Twitter can be found here (search for the tag #jbsc0511)

Real-time Reporting: Joint Budget Subcommittee - May 11, 2020
Real-time Reporting: Joint Budget Subcommittee - May 11, 2020

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - May 12, 2020

Vision Statement
The Franklin Public Schools will foster within its students the knowledge and skills to find and achieve satisfaction in life as productive global citizens.

Per Governor Baker’s Executive Order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law, G.L. c. 30A sec. 20, the public will not be allowed to physically access this School Committee meeting. Members of the Public can access the meeting via remote conference. The School Committee reserves the right to implement additional remote participation procedures and will notify the public of these procedures as soon as practicable.

LOCATION: Remote participation via ZOOM Join Zoom Meeting

Dial by your location
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 813 5749 4092

“The listing of matters are those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law.”

Call to Order
Pledge of Allegiance 
Moment of Silence

I. Routine Business
A. Review of Agenda
B. Citizen’s Comments
In the spirit of open communication, “the Committee will hold a public participation segment (also called Citizen’s Comments) about matters not related to an agenda item at the beginning of each regular School Committee meeting. The Committee will listen to, but not respond to any comment made…. A Committee member may add an agenda item to a future meeting as a result of a citizen comment…. The Committee will hear public comments related to an agenda item when the Chair deems appropriate during the Committee meeting. Topics for discussion during the meeting must be limited to those items listed on the Committee meeting agenda for that evening…. ” - from Policy BEDH
C. FHS Student Representative Comments
D. Superintendent’s Report

II. Guests/Presentations
A. Videos from FHS:
Senior Boys: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m6CYmDrTWxE 
Unified Music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSgg6RDHcd8
B. Class of 2020 Commencement, Paul Peri and Bill Klements, Franklin High School
C. Facilities Study - Craig Olsen and Brian Solywoda, Kaestle Boos Associates

III. Discussion/Action Items
A. School Choice Vote
I recommend not accepting any new school choice students for the 2020-2021 school year.

B. Refunds of Fees due to COVID-19 Closure
I recommend that the School Committee refund fees for select programs as detailed.
Spring Sports Fees for 2020 Transportation Fees to Seniors by $35
  • Lifelong Learning Solutions fees since March 13, 2020 and summer fees if programs are cancelled
  • Lunch balances over $10 to seniors, unless families transfer funds to younger siblings

C. Policy - 2nd Reading/Adoption
I recommend adoption of the following policies as detailed;
JFABD (New) – Homeless Students: Enrollment Rights and Services JFABF – Educational Opportunities for Children in Foster Care
JBB – (New) – Educational Equity

D. Policy - 1st Reading
I recommend moving the following policies to a second reading as detailed: EBAB (New) - Pest Management
EBC - Emergency Plans

E. Adjusted School Calendar
I recommend adjusting the 2019-2020 School Calendar so that the May 8, 2020 professional half-day is adjusted to be Friday, May 22, 2020.

IV. Discussion Only Items
A. FY21 Budget Discussion
B. Draft School Committee Schedule

V. Information Matters
A. School Committee Sub-Committee Reports (e.g. Ad Hoc Supt. Evaluation, Ad Hoc Facilities Analysis, Budget, Community Relations/Public Schools Advocacy, Policy, Transportation)
B. School Committee Liaison Reports (e.g. Joint PCC, Substance Abuse Task Force, School Wellness Advisory Council)

VI. New Business
A. To discuss any future agenda items

VII. Consent Agenda
A. Approval of Minutes
I recommend approval of the minutes from the April 28, 2020 School Committee meeting as detailed.
B. Transfers
I recommend approval of the budget transfers as detailed.
C. Scholarship
I recommend acceptance of a check for $1,000.00 from Peter Baglione for a FHS Scholarship as detailed.

VIII. Payment of Bills Dr. Bergen

IX. Payroll Ms. D’Angelo

X. Executive Session
A. Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, §21(a)(3) to discuss strategy with respect to collective bargaining with the FEA/RN, FEA/Cafeteria, FEA/ESP, FEA/Secretaries, FEA/Van Drivers as an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the bargaining position of the School Committee and the chair so declares.
B. Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, §21(a)(2) to discuss strategy in preparation for negotiations with Non-Union Personnel.
XI. Adjournment

PDF form of the agenda doc

Documents released for this meeting

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - May 12, 2020
Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - May 12, 2020

Podcast Recommendation: Neil Pasricha's 3 Books

In these pandemic times, it is a challenge with so many changes yet uncertainty looming around us. Opening a book can take us to another world, away from this. We can escape for the time the book is open and we're able to devote time to it. A book from Stephen King,  or JK Rowling, or Philip Pullman can take us away. 

On the other hand, I recently finished "The Great Influenza" by John M Barry to help understand the time we are in. The book is thoroughly researched. It was an easy read albeit a tough topic. I was glad to have reached the end sooner than I thought. According to Kindle, 35% of the pages were notes, bibliography, etc.

Two key quotes from the book to share:
"And a severe influenza pandemic would hit like a tsunami, inundating intensive-care units even as doctors and nurses fall ill themselves and generally pushing the health care system to the point of collapse and possibly beyond it. Hospitals, like every other industry, have gotten more efficient by cutting costs, which means virtually no excess capacity—on a per capita basis the United States has far fewer hospital beds than a few decades ago. Indeed, during a routine influenza season, usage of respirators rises to nearly 100 percent; in a pandemic, most people who needed a mechanical respirator probably would not get one."

"For if there is a single dominant lesson from 1918, it’s that governments need to tell the truth in a crisis. Risk communication implies managing the truth. You don’t manage the truth. You tell the truth."

So having read that, I needed to escape. I turned to listen to a podcast and Neil Pasricha's 3 Books came up in the queue. This episode was released a couple of weeks ago and while I am close to current, I am still behind. This episode was an emotional one because it acknowledges where we are, how we are dealing with this pandemic.It was timely to listen to.
"Look up to the sky.

It’s a slowly waning crescent before Chapter 52 arrives on the exact minute of the new moon next week.

So why this special episode of 3 Books?

Well, like the “cultivating calm during coronavirus chaos” episode we released a month ago, it’s because we are swimming in wholly unprecedented seas. I am feeling stress around coronavirus and I can tell by your DMs, tweets, comments, and voicemails to 1-833-READ-A-LOT that you're feeling it, too."

Episode page https://www.3books.co/chapters/corona2

This as you heard, is not a 'normal' session of 3 books. I will recommend subscribing to the podcast. You can go back to the beginning and come forward if you have the time and desire. So many of the people he talks with are not 'well known', yet the conversation is an adventure into books, and life, and what those three books mean for the person being interviewed.
Neil's home page  https://www.3books.co/

"The Great Influenza" page at Amazon

Podcast Recommendation: Neil Pasricha's 3 Books
Podcast Recommendation: Neil Pasricha's 3 Books

Once Upon A Town: The Fletcher Block - Franklin, MA

Eamon McCarthy Earls and Joe Landry talk about the Fletcher Block in downtown Franklin, MA. Today, the Rockland Trust Bank is located there.


Franklin's Cultural District Partners Meeting - May 12

The Cultural District Committee is excited to invite Franklin's Cultural District Partners to our quarterly Partners Meeting. Much has changed since our last meeting, but we need to keep moving forward. 

The zoom meeting link is provided below. We look forward to seeing you on the 12th.

Time: May 12, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 886 1321 1434

One tap mobile +19292056099,,88613211434# US (New York)

Dial by your location +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 886 1321 1434
Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kd7NsS42bz

Bryan W. Taberner, AICP
Director of Planning and Community Development
355 East Central Street
Franklin, MA 02038-1352
Phone: 508-520-4907
Fax: 508-520-4906
Email: btaberner@franklinma.gov

The agenda was posted previously

Franklin's Cultural District Partners Meeting - May 12
Franklin's Cultural District Partners Meeting - May 12

Blast Back To The 80s... "Wake up with Mr Barrett"

Tomorrow at 8:00 AM ... TuNesday ... 80s ...

watch HERE: https://youtu.be/idIFEQ1XMsQ

subscribe HERE:  https://www.youtube.com/user/Geetarmann

Thanks so much!


Sunday, May 10, 2020

FM #266 "Talk Franklin" TA Jamie Hellen; Anne Marie Tracey 5/08/20 (audio)

FM #266 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 266 in the series.

This session of the radio show shares my "Talk Franklin" conversation with Town Administrator Jamie Hellen and Marketing and Communications Specialist Anne Marie Tracey. We had our conversation via conference bridge to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

We talk about the first phase of the re-entry of employees to the Town services for service with the public. No public access is allowed in the buildings at this time. The drive through window will re-open. The Library will return to the reserve and contactless pick up. Beaver St will re-open for full service but with only credit card payments. Additional details were posted to the Town web page Friday about the various department moves to re-open in this first phase.

Senior Center, Recreation are among the other departments working on plans for some of the operations to return with safety protocols in place to protect the workers and the community.

Jamie acknowledges that the Municipal Building is a social center of sorts and while he wants to get to a re-entry point, needs to proceed cautiously.

The budget gets a discussion at the Joint Budget Committee meeting on Monday, May 11. The Budget Subcommittee will meet with the Finance Committee and the School Committee budget subcommittee to coordinate the planning around the downward revision in revenue and begin to make the adjustments accordingly. These adjustments will then be reviewed in the Finance Committee sessions after Memorial Day.

We talked about the need for community engagement for this budget. The decisions will require serious discussions.

We got a preview of the department spotlight on the work of the archivist at the Historical Museum. And then close out the conversation with some reflections on the pandemic period. Jamie’s grandmother who is 101. Yes, she was born during the last pandemic in 1918-1919 and before women could vote. As well as finding time to walk, exercise, and take the mindful breaks.

The recording runs about 55 minutes, so let’s listen to my conversation with Jamie and Anne Marie.


Re-entry Updates

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

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 Franklinmatters.org/
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 #266 "Talk Franklin"  TA Jamie Hellen; Anne Marie Tracey 5/08/20 (audio)
FM #266 "Talk Franklin"  TA Jamie Hellen; Anne Marie Tracey 5/08/20 (audio)

Reporting by Walking around: Photos around Franklin

Trees are blossoming
Trees are blossoming

before the trees get leaves, their skeletons are shown
before the trees get leaves, their skeletons are shown

In the heavy rain this past week, the rain garden did its thing
In the heavy rain this past week, the rain garden did its thing

Even from rough stuff comes new life, keep the hope alive
Even from rough stuff comes new life, keep the hope alive

Additional photos can be found in the album shared here:

Once Upon A Town: Rome Restaurant Block - Franklin MA

Eamon McCarthy Earls and Joe Landry talk in this video is about the Rome Restaurant Block in Franklin MA


Looking for "volunteers to help replace American flags at veteran graves"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"Memorial Day festivities in Franklin have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the town has still found a way to honor its veterans.

The annual Memorial Day breakfast scheduled for Friday, May 22, and the parade and ceremony at the Town Common on Monday, May 25, have each been canceled. But for Sunday, May 24, the VFW Post 3402 is seeking volunteers to help replace the American flags at veteran graves, something it usually does in collaboration with local Scouting groups, said Ernest Carruthers, of VFW Post 3402.

This year, however, Scouts are prohibited by their national organizations from participating in in-person events to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, he said.

“Area veterans and supporters of veterans have volunteered to make sure that our fallen veterans are remembered and that their final resting place receives a new American flag,” said Carruthers."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)


To volunteer, email Carruthers at ernestcarruthersjr@gmail.com and put “Flag Volunteer” in the subject line. All volunteers must wear face coverings. A short ceremony on Memorial Day will also be aired on Franklin Local TV, said Dale Kurtz, the town’s veterans service officer.

Did you hear the interview with Franklin's Veterans Service Officer Dale Kurtz?
Listen here: 

Looking for "volunteers to help replace American flags at veteran graves"
Looking for "volunteers to help replace American flags at veteran graves"

In the News: "Extent of reopening hinges on child care availability"

From the Milford Daily News, articles of interest for Franklin:
"Transportation and child care, including summer camps, are key pieces of the “infrastructure” necessary for Massachusetts to reopen its economy, Senate President Karen Spilka says.

Spilka said the COVID-19 crisis “has made it really clear just how important accessible, reliable, quality child care is for so many families across our commonwealth,” and that she’s asked the Senate’s COVID-19 working group, led by state Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, to make recommendations around child care.

“I think we can fight for, hopefully, some federal funds to help our economic recovery, public private partnerships with our business community, because I just don’t think it’s realistic at all to expect people to be able to go back to work without giving them a timeline for day cares, and for that matter summer camps,” Spilka told the News Service."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Senate President Karen Spilka: The latest updates on COVID-19

In the News: "MBTA repair plans are delayed as a result of pandemic"

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

"Nearly two dozen MBTA projects, including high-profile components of a plan to speed repairs during more frequent system shutdowns, will be delayed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While senior public transit officials say they are still exploring ways to accelerate work while ridership is at historically low levels, postponements on a significant chunk of projects range between one and three months, officials told the News Service.

Maintenance work on the Green Line’s tracks, Red Line infrastructure and stations on the Orange and Blue Lines will be delayed. The projects are all pillars of a 2020 accelerated maintenance plan. Work schedules are also being pushed back on 17 other projects that do not fall under that umbrella.

The ongoing public health emergency prompted the shifting timelines. The MBTA’s capital delivery office cited supply chain disruptions, staff and contractor availability shortages, and efforts to shift support resources from maintenance to running bus and train service for essential workers on the front lines of the crisis."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

shuttle bus in place today (Mother's Day) between Franklin/Dean and Forge Park
shuttle bus in place today (Mother's Day) between Franklin/Dean and Forge Park

Discolored water alert for some of Franklin: Washington, King, and Grove

Town of Franklin, MA (@TOFranklinMA) tweeted at 8:43 PM on Sat, May 09, 2020:
"Discolored water alert! Damage to a hydrant on Grove Street cause by a car accident. Residents on/near Washington, King, and Grove may experience discolored water."
More info on discolored water: https://t.co/NRubfdGotL
or here  https://www.franklinma.gov/water-sewer-division/pages/discolored-water

Shared from Twitter

Discolored water alert for some of Franklin: Washington, King, and Grove
Discolored water alert for some of Franklin: Washington, King, and Grove