Tuesday, September 8, 2020

“I do think there’s an opportunity to not have snow days anymore”

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

Snow days are typically tacked on at the end of the year, pushing classes into summer, when students’ minds tend to be drifting toward vacation, Tremblay pointed out. “Those are really lost days. They’re never going to be the same value,” he said.

Could widespread remote learning mean the end of snow days?

“It’s possible, at least for this year, that the state ... (may) allow districts to go remote during snow days,” said Milford Superintendent of Schools Kevin McIntyre. “It wouldn’t be that big of a lift for our teachers or our school because they’ll be very, very engaged in remote learning.”

With many school districts opting to begin the year either fully or partially remote because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, school leaders were forced to find speedier ways to make remote learning accessible to all students. 

Monday, September 7, 2020

Join us for our 2020-2021 Donation-Based Zoom Concert Series

Announcing our Exciting 2020-2021 Season

We are very pleased to be presenting our regular season of four concerts.

Keep reading for details!
  • Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 3 p.m.
WILLIAM RILEY, classical guitar = Music of Granados, de Falla, and more
  • Sunday, October 18, 2020 at 3 p.m.
VICTOR ROSENBAUM, piano = All Schubert Program
  • Sunday, February 28, 2021 at 3 p.m.
AMY PORTER, flute = Program to be announced
  • Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 3 p.m. 
Borromeo StringQuartet members - Nicholas Kitchen, violin, and Yeesun Kim, cello, with Ann Sears, piano  = All Beethoven Program 

For additional info visit the web page  https://www.liveartsma.org/

StoryWalk(R) on the SNETT

Please enjoy the StoryWalk(R) along the SNETT in Bellingham, MA. The StoryWalk(R) will be installed at the Center St. trailhead. Please observe social distancing when visiting or wear a mask if 6ft distance cannot be maintained. Thank you.

The featured book is The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn.

The StoryWalk(R) Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kello-Hubbard Library. StoryWalk(R) is a registered service mark owned by Ms. Ferguson. 

For additional rail trail events  https://www.franklinbellinghamrailtrail.org/events/

StoryWalk(R) on the SNETT
StoryWalk(R) on the SNETT

Trash/Recycling schedule delayed one day this week (due to Labor Day)

Trash/Recycling schedule delayed one day this week (due to Labor Day) 

The annual program guide for this year can be found online if you miss placed the mailing

Shared from the Franklin DPW Facebook page

Trash/Recycling schedule delayed one day this week (due to Labor Day)
Trash/Recycling schedule delayed one day this week (due to Labor Day)

Hockomock Area YMCA Opens Virtual Learning Space For Children

With the announcement by area school superintendents that schools will be run virtually or hybrid this fall, the Y, which typically offers before- and after-school care to children, will now offer programming during school hours to provide children a space where they can attend virtual classes while supervised by Y staff.  

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our Y is committed to best serving our community and be a safety net for those who need us,” said Ed Hurley, president of the Hockomock Area YMCA. “As an organization dedicated to youth development, we know how important it is that children have a safe and enriching environment for learning and to provide essential child care to those parents who need to return to work.”

The Hockomock Y is offering Out of School Time to provide children a place where they can attend virtual classes while their parents are at work. The Out of School Time Program will be run at Hockomock Area YMCA branches in Foxboro, Mansfield and North Attleboro, as well as at the former St. Mary school building in Franklin and the Milford Youth Center in downtown Milford. Virtual learning/enrichment programs are available for enrollment for children in grades K-6.

Hockomock Area YMCA Opens Virtual Learning Space For Children
YMCA Opens Virtual Learning Space For Children

Working with school partners, the Y has created this program with the intent to complement the students’ remote school day curriculum while providing participants with enrichment and physical activities to keep kids active and engaged.  

Financial assistance is available to those who qualify, ensuring every child and teen has the opportunity to learn and grow at the Y. 

In order to help keep children and staff healthy and safe, the Hockomock Area YMCA, following state and local requirements, has adapted several changes to its day-to-day operations in licensed Y school-age programs, including:

  • Required facial covering for all participants and staff 
  • Daily health screenings for children and staff
  • Reduced capacity in group activities
  • Staggered mealtimes to reduce crowds
  • Classrooms arranged by academic pods
  • Enhanced outdoor play

“We are very fortunate to have the Hockomock Area YMCA as a partner in education,” said Allan Cameron, Ph.D., Superintendent of Wrentham Public Schools. "The Hockomock YMCA's Out of School Time program is a tremendous benefit for Wrentham families. The hybrid learning schedule is very challenging for families. Unfortunately, the school district does not have the space or staff to supervise students when they are learning remotely. The YMCA Out of School Time program provides families with a safe and supervised learning environment for students when they are learning remotely.”

For more information and to sign up for the Out of School Time Program and Before & After School Care, visit www.hockymca.org/out-of-school-time or call 508-528-8708.

About the Hockomock Area YMCA

Where Cause Meets Community. At the Hockomock Area YMCA, strengthening community is our cause. The Hockomock Area YMCA is an organization of men, women, and children sharing a commitment to nurture the potential of kids, promote healthy living, and foster a sense of social responsibility.  

The Hockomock Area YMCA is committed to partnering and collaborating with others to create and deliver lasting personal and social change in the 15 communities they are privileged to serve. The Hockomock Area YMCA is a not-for-profit charitable cause-driven organization with facilities in North Attleboro, Foxboro, Franklin, and Mansfield. For more information visit hockymca.org.


Talking the Blues!: Piano Blues

"This weeks' episode focuses on piano blues.  We talk about and listen to a range of blues pianists from classic originals to those that have carried on the sweet tickling of the ivory.

We bring to you legends like Otis Spann, Memphis Slim, Professor Longhair, Pinetop Perkins, James Booker, Ray Charles, Jesse Yaw, Roosevelt Sykes and Lachy Doley.  Keep on Talking the Blues! "

Audio link = https://www.podbean.com/eu/pb-x2tn7-ea2751

Talking the Blues!: Piano Blues
Talking the Blues!: Piano Blues


Cub Scouts - Join Day - Sep 12 - 12 - 3 PM

If you are interested in having your son or daughter join Cub Scouts this year, we are having a Join Day next Saturday the 12th from 12-3 PM at the Franklin Historical Museum in the center of town.  

Come Learn more about Scouting, our plans for the year, and how to sign up! 


Follow the Facebook event   https://www.facebook.com/events/621116372176461/

Cub Scout Join Day - Sep 12
Cub Scout Join Day - Sep 12

In the News: "Census Bureau must temporarily halt winding down operations"

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

The U.S. Census Bureau for now must stop following a plan that would have it winding down operations in order to finish the 2020 census at the end of September, according to a federal judge’s order.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California, issued a temporary restraining order late Saturday against the Census Bureau and the Commerce Department, which oversees the agency. The order stops the Census Bureau from winding down operations until a court hearing is held on Sept. 17.

The once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident helps determine how $1.5 trillion in federal funding is distributed and how many congressional seats each state gets in a process known as apportionment.

The temporary restraining order was requested by a coalition of cities, counties and civil rights groups that had sued the Census Bureau, demanding it restore its previous plan for finishing the census at the end of October, instead of using a revised plan to end operations at the end of September. The coalition had argued the earlier deadline would cause the Census Bureau to overlook minority communities in the census, leading to an inaccurate count.

For the interactive response rates for Census 2020

how many households in your community have responded online, by phone, or by mail
how many households in your community have responded online, by phone, or by mail

"unemployment taxes are 'probably the first of many bills' from the pandemic"

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

"With unemployment soaring, state lawmakers are considering ways to soften the blow from a major impending increase in the taxes employers pay toward the state’s unemployment system, a jump in costs that one business group described as a “pretty staggering.”

With the unemployment insurance trust fund suddenly facing a multibillion-dollar deficit over the next four years, the contributions required from Massachusetts businesses are set to increase nearly 60% when the calendar turns to 2021 and then continue growing at a smaller rate through 2024.

Those higher taxes -- estimated at an average of $319 more per qualifying employee next year -- will be due starting in April, raising concerns that the sharp uptick will put a drag on the economic recovery from the ongoing COVID-prompted recession and make it more difficult for employers to bring back jobs they cut.

Christopher Carlozzi, state director for the National Federation of Independent Business Massachusetts, said his group and the employers with which it works view the projected increases as “a looming crisis.”

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - Sep 8, 2020


“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. ECDC Reopening Plan -- Ms. Kelty Kelley and Ms. Paula Marano

III. Discussion/Action Items
A. Policy - 2nd Reading/Adoption
I recommend adoption of the following policies as discussed:
  • EBC (SUPPLEMENTAL) - Creation Of A General (Interim) Policy On Covid-related Issues
  • EBCFA - Masks/Face Coverings (New)
  • COVID Policy Addendums
B. School Handbooks and Covid Addendums
I recommend approval of the School Handbooks with the Covid Addendums as discussed.

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 August 25, 2020 School Committee meeting as detailed.

VIII. Payment of Bills Dr. Bergen

IX. Payroll Ms. D’Angelo

X. Executive Session
Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30A, §21(a)(3), move to go into Executive Session to discuss strategy with respect to potential litigation as an open meeting may have a detrimental effect on the litigating position of the School Committee and the chair so declares, and not to reconvene in an Open Session.

XI. Adjournment 

The agenda doc contains the connection information

The meeting packet folder is on the Town of Franklin page

Franklin, MA: School Committee - Agenda - Sep 8, 2020
sign at Davis Thayer elementary school

FM #343 Town Council - Building Dept Update - 9/02/20 (audio)

FM #343 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 343 in the series. 

This session shares a key segment of the Franklin, MA Town Council meeting held on Wednesday, Sep 2, 2020. The meeting was conducted via conference bridge to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

Chair Tom Mercer opened the meeting on schedule at 7:00 PM. After 

  • A statement on the election results of Sep 2
  • Two citizens comments
  • Approval of minutes of 7/29/20 meeting
  • Public hearing for lot line changes

Gus Brown, Building Commissioner, presents an update on the work his department conducts in coordination with Inspections, Zoning Board of Appeals and others. The segment includes the Council comments and questions following the presentation.

The show notes contain links to the meeting agenda and to the presentation document.

This meeting segment runs just about 56 minutes, so let’s listen to the presentation and discussion on the Building Department

Audio file:  https://www.hipcast.com/podcast/HW4JwKLK



We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial. 

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 #343 Town Council - Building Dept Update - 9/02/20 (audio)
FM #343 Town Council - Building Dept Update - 9/02/20 (audio)

Arbor Day, Labor Day - Both are worthwhile celebrations

by Pete Fasciano, Executive Director 09/06/2020

"As a school kid, I recall Arbor Day, and ‘Trees’ by Joyce Kilmer.  The holiday was little more than the starting blocks for another school year. There wasn’t much meaning behind it. No giant festivities, fireworks, parade, big doin’s, junk food – nothin’.  Not even a corn dog.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbor_Day

It was – uhhm, Arbor Day. Then somewhere in those early school years it became Labor Day Again – nothing. At least, nothing for us kids to get jazzed about.

Now, both of these holidays are fine occasions that commemorate deserving causes. As an adult in these times of global warming with record high temps and record high unemployment – ? I get it. These are among the burning issues of our time. Firing up the backyard grill is nice, but – Somehow, we need to jack up the holiday gravitas and cobble together some appropriate Arbor Day/Labor Day traditions, including labors that promote the greening of our planet – and our wallets.

This notion of combining Arbor/Labor Days (or at least the causes they celebrate) is what Democrats are espousing in their Green New Deal.

Now you know.

And – This just in:
Fittingly, the first job that the Green New Deal saved – was that of its author.

There’s another day that we should celebrate – Election Day. Get out the vote. And – as always 

–  Thank you for listening to wfpr●fm. And, thank you for watching. "

Find the weekly Franklin TV and Franklin Public Radio program guide online at

Arbor Day, Labor Day  - Both are worthwhile celebrations
the home page of Franklin.TV features a link to Franklin Matters

Berry Insurance Makes the Cover of National Magazine

Franklin’s own Berry Insurance is in the midst of their “one month of fame” as the September 2020 cover feature of renowned national magazine, Rough Notes.

“We are humbled to have been chosen. It is an honor to be recognized for our focus on building relationships through creating content that both educates and makes understanding insurance easier,” says Berry Insurance President Kaitlyn Pintarich.

The article titled “Everyday People Doing Extraordinary Things for Clients” spotlights the local independent agency, specifically highlighting its family-like appeal, commitment to being a client resource through honesty and education, and dedication to supporting the local community.

In the article, writer Dennis H. Pillsbury quotes Pintarich saying, “We try to work with our clients in areas beyond just insurance … Our goal is to become a resource for them in any way we can. We do a lot in the area of education – offering seminars on a number of topics that we found were of concern to our clients, including ones on using social media and understanding Google Reviews. At the same time, when we need to engage a vendor or contractor for something, we always try to shop locally and with our clients, when possible. And of course, we also support their fundraisers.

Rough Notes is a national monthly publication, well-known in the insurance industry for covering the evolving needs of insurance agents and offering technical and educational resources for insurance professionals and the communities they serve.

“Rough Notes is one of the most well-respected publications in our industry. Being chosen as the agency of the month, out of thousands of agents across the U.S. makes us incredibly proud to have our team recognized for their hard work and dedication to our clients and community,” says Pintarich.

To see the full article, visit roughnotes.com and sign up for a free subscription to the magazine.

Berry Insurance is an independent insurance agency offering customized personal and commercial insurance in Massachusetts and New England. Since 1922, Berry Insurance has been blending personalization, consultation and education, to offer the best possible insurance solutions paired with an honest and attentive customer service experience. To learn more about Berry Insurance, visit www.berryinsurance.com or call 508-528-5200

Berry Insurance Makes the Cover of National Magazine
Berry Insurance Makes the Cover of National Magazine


Commonwealth Magazine: Ranked choice voting and the 4th District; rethinking high school in COVID

From CommonWealth Magazine we share two articles of interest for Franklin:  

"WHEN JESSE MERMELL gave her videotaped concession speech in the 4th Congressional District primary race on Friday, she did it in front of a sign that read “Jesse Mermell for RCV,” an acronym for ranked–choice voting. “If the ranked–choice voting campaign needs a new face, give me a call, guys,” Mermell said. “I’ve got some time on my hands.” 

Mermell, a progressive who worked for former Gov. Deval Patrick, lost the Democratic primary by just 2,000 votes, or 1.3 percent, to Newton City Councilor and US Marine Corps veteran Jake Auchincloss. That means primary voters in the liberal congressional district that repeatedly reelected Joe Kennedy, Barney Frank, and Robert Drinan over the past five decades have selected seemingly the most moderate of seven Democratic candidates vying to represent them in Congress.

Auchincloss, who worked for Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s gubernatorial campaign in 2014, won in a seven-candidate field comprised mostly of liberals. Auchincloss rejects the “centrist” label and calls himself a “pragmatic progressive.”  But his close election reflects a campaign that performed strongly in much of the more moderate southern part of the 4th Congressional District, which extends from Brookline and Newton to Fall River, and featured a crowded field that likely led liberal voters to split their vote.  

The race is calling renewed attention to a November ballot question that would implement ranked–choice voting, which lets voters select candidates in order of preference and could mitigate the effects of vote-splitting."

"FOR 20 YEARS, I’ve taught in an adult ed program in Dorchester. Every year we tweak things, adjust the schedule, hire new faculty, tinker with syllabi. Change happens gradually.

This past spring, with the advent of COVID, we had to scramble. Many of our students do not have laptops or good internet service and our class sputtered out. Around the end of June, my fellow teachers and I thought about what we would do for this coming year. What we did is, we tore up our schedule, our comfortable ideas, our expectations, and started fresh. Change happened suddenly.

Which is why I wanted to write up some ideas for the coming school year, specifically for the suburban high school where my children are enrolled.

I, like every other parent I spoke to, and like the teachers and School Committee members who wrote and spoke publicly — like everyone in town — was disappointed with the agenda for this school year — remote learning. The truth is, it’s disappointing because it’s not like previous years, and it’s not close enough to previous years to placate us."
Continue reading the article online

"the lab is now working with state health officials to correct problems"

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

"A Boston consumer genetics company that has batted away former employees’ accusations of shoddy practices since at least 2019 is now under investigation by the state Department of Public Health for logging hundreds of false positive coronavirus test results.

The company, Orig3n, has halted COVID-19 testing in the state. A company spokesman said the false positives were due to “human error” in processing the tests.

In August, after learning about the Massachusetts investigation, North Carolina issued a stop order for its coronavirus testing contract with Orig3n.

The consumer genetics startup, which claims it can tell customers what kind of foods they should eat and whether they’re predisposed to intelligence based on their DNA, has secured some of the biggest coronavirus testing contracts in the country."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)