Thursday, December 10, 2020

Fact vs Fiction from @MassGov

Fact vs Fiction from @MassGov #knowthefacts  
Shared from Twitter:

Fact vs Fiction from @MassGov
Fact vs Fiction from @MassGov

CommonWealth Magazine: "Confusion over tax status stymies solar projects"

From CommonWealth Magazine we share an article of interest for Franklin:

Franklin just recently made an agreement on a solar farm off Spring St, and also changed the bylaws to limit further large scale solar farms.

"AN OUTDATED LAW and a series of rulings by an obscure tax board are throwing the state’s landscape for solar projects into disarray.

The question revolves around whether commercial solar projects should be exempt from paying municipal property taxes. The lack of clarity is threatening to take revenue away from municipal budgets – and stymy the progress of the solar industry, by making some municipal officials hesitant to cut deals with solar developers.

“It’s a confusing landscape, and that’s created a lot of uncertainty for the companies, and there are a lot of questions about how we can get this resolved,” said David Gahl, senior director of northeast state affairs for the Solar Energy Industries Association, a national lobbying group for the solar industry.

Massachusetts legislators are considering passing a law – the subject of lengthy negotiations between municipal officials and solar developers – that would eliminate property tax exemptions to large solar developers. The proposal is in a legislative conference committee that is considering a broader climate change bill.


Rep. Jeffrey Roy, a Franklin Democrat, and Sen. Michael Rodrigues, a Westport Democrat, both introduced legislation that would clarify the tax status of solar arrays by limiting the property tax exemption to smaller solar arrays – generally those that produce enough power for the property they are located on. Roy’s language is included in the House version of a climate change bill that is in conference committee.  

Roy’s amendment, which could be changed by the conference committee, would exempt from property taxes only residential solar projects that produce no more than 125 percent of the energy needed to power the property where they are located. (Rodrigues’s proposal would also include commercial solar projects, but it similarly caps eligibility to smaller projects that power their own or an adjacent property.) “It’s just taking it back to what the original legislation was intended to do, to help homeowners power their homes using solar energy,” Roy said.
Continue reading the article online

Related posts

solar farm installation at Mount St Mary's Abbey in progress in July 2013


“The mission has been to gain full recognition for this group”

 The Boston Globe has the following:
"The MIAA Board of Directors took a crucial first step Wednesday in providing urban schools across Massachusetts a larger voice in high school athletics and other business.

By a 20-0 vote, the board agreed to create an urban schools ad hoc committee to serve as an advisory resource to various MIAA committees. Avery Esdaile, athletic director for Boston Public Schools, addressed the board on behalf of a group of ADs from urban areas across the state, which has been meeting regularly to address challenges and other issues their programs face.

“We want to see the group get to, and ultimately be a resource and utilize the different people and experiences that we have, and help out others in the association,” Esdaile said. "

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

For more about the MIAA, visit their page
Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA)
Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA)

CNN and Sesame Street coming together for a Town Hall on the pandemic - Dec 19

CNN and Sesame Street are coming together for a town hall on Saturday, Dec. 19 at 10 a.m. ET to help children and parents understand the latest issues surrounding coronavirus, the vaccine, and celebrating holidays safely.

What questions do your kids have?
Shared from Twitter:
CNN and Sesame Street coming together for a Town Hall on the pandemic
CNN and Sesame Street coming together for a Town Hall on the pandemic


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Re-opening rolled back statewide to Phase 3, Step 1

From CommonWealth Magazine we share an article of interest for Franklin:

"FOLLOWING SIX DAYS of surging COVID-19 case numbers, Gov. Charlie Baker said on Tuesday that Massachusetts is taking a step backward in its reopening plan.

“We cannot simply wait for the vaccine to get here,” Baker said at a State House press conference. “The rate Massachusetts residents are getting infected and the rate at which they are needing medical care, if all continues to move at this pace, is simply not sustainable over time, and our health care system will be put at risk.”

The governor’s decision means the state as a whole will move on Sunday from Step 2 to Step 1 in Phase 3, a retrenchment that previously had been reserved for communities deemed high risk for COVID-19 three weeks in a row or those that made the decision on their own. Boston and Somerville rank among the latter, while Lawrence, Holyoke, and many other communities fall in the former category."

The Boston Globe has the following:
Governor Charlie Baker on Tuesday announced a series of incremental steps to curb the surge of COVID-19 infections, issuing new restrictions on a range of business activities as part of an effort to “build ourselves a bridge to the vaccine,” but stopping short of more forceful mandates.

The frightening trends in the march of the virus — underscored by the 3,627 new cases and 40 additional deaths that were announced Tuesday — mean the state cannot “simply wait for the vaccine to get here,” Baker said. “We have to do more.”
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required) 

Governor Baker's press conference where the changes were introduced and discussed with a Q&A:

Franklin's COVID-19 information page can be found

Franklin's COVID-19 information page
Franklin's COVID-19 information page

"Adopt a hydrant" program returns with winter weather

Residents and civic groups (Scouts, local youth groups, Franklin High School teams, etc.) can "adopt" a hydrant or hydrants.  
This is intended to be a commitment for the 2020/2021 snow season and can be applied towards student community service hours.  
Visit our website to Adopt-A-Hydrant today!

GATRA Launches Innovative On-Demand Share Service - Dec 15

Passengers Can Book Same Day Trips Through Smartphone App 

The Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Agency (GATRA) is excited to announce the launch of GATRA GO United a flexible and dynamic on-demand microtransit service to operate within the towns of Foxborough, Franklin, Norfolk and Wrentham. 

Similar to ride-hailing services, GATRA GO United uses a smartphone app for riders to schedule customized curb-to-curb microtransit trips. A vehicle will pick up riders and drop them off wherever they wish to travel within the service boundaries. Along the way the shuttle may pick up other passengers who also request a ride (With COVID-19 social distancing protocols in place). This service is wheelchair accessible and all drivers are trained and certified using state and federal guidelines. 

This pilot program will operate within the towns of Foxborough, Franklin, Norfolk and Wrentham as well as portions of the towns of Bellingham and Plainville connecting employment locations, medical facilities and recreational locales. 

The service will start on December 15, 2020 and will be operated on a pilot basis. It will be free through the month of January. The service area map can be found on the GATRA GO United app or on our website, 

GATRA is partnering with National Express, one of the largest private transportation contractors in the United States and the current operator of GATRA's services in the Franklin and Norfolk Areas. The new service is powered by Next Connect, a new mobility platform developed by National Express in cooperation with Spare, a leading on-demand Transit software provider. 

The new on-demand microtransit service will replace the fixed route bus service in these four towns with a solution that will enhance transportation options for all. To use the new ride share program passengers first need to download the free GATRA GO United app on their smart phone and then request a ride. 

Following a GATRA GO request, the microtransit app will provide passengers with an estimated pick up time, track the bus in real time and alert the person when their ride is about to arrive. GATRA GO United customers do not have to download the app, same day rides can also be requested by calling 800-698-7676. 

Wait time for service pick up will be subject to vehicle availability. GATRA realizes the importance of greater accessibility and mobility in this region and strives to work with their communities to fill public transportation gaps. starts Dec 15, 2020 starts Dec 15, 2020

FHS swim fundraiser today at Chipotle

Franklin Families! Take tomorrow (12/09/20) night off from cooking and order out from Chipotle in Franklin Village to support FHS Varsity Swim! From 5-9pm, show this flyer or tell them you’re supporting the team and 33% will go to FHS swim. Thank you!

FHS swim fundraiser today at Chipotle
FHS swim fundraiser today at Chipotle

DESE publishes "Local Contribution Study"

Shared by the MASC (@MASC-SchoolCommittee) and Tracey Novick (@TracyNovick), this Local Contribution Study was mandated by the Student Opportunity Act and after public review is now "published".

Download your copy directly from DESE

DESE publishes "Local Contribution Study"
DESE publishes "Local Contribution Study"

Please Send A Christmas Card to a Nursing Home Resident

Hi I am the Nursing Home Administrator at Cedarwood Gardens the former Franklin Nursing and Rehab. As we all know the holiday season can be a tough time for many. If anyone in the community would like to send a holiday card to a resident please address the envelope to

Cedarwood Gardens
130 Chestnut Street

Thank you and be well,
Lisa Rice

"Survey-based measurement of news consumption is not without its own problems"

From the Pew Research Center comes a study on measuring news consumption:

"Given the increasing complexity and interconnectedness of this news landscape and concerns around overreporting of news consumption, Pew Research Center wanted to explore how best to measure news consumption: Where do currently used survey practices still work and where might changes be in order?

This report is the culmination of this effort and is organized into three sections: Chapter 1 looks at the U.S. public’s familiarity with newer concepts related to news; Chapter 2 examines possible ways to improve survey-based measures of news consumption; and Chapter 3 compares survey results to the use of passive data that comes straight from tracking software news consumers downloaded to their digital devices.

Americans are largely familiar with new technologies but often don’t think of them as news sources."

"Survey-based measurement of news consumption is not without its own problems"
"Survey-based measurement of news consumption is not without its own problems" (Pew Research photo)

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

FM #408 Talk Franklin - 12/04/20 (audio) - #thinkfirstfranklin gift cards, tax rate, spear phishing, etc.

FM #408 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 408 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: 

  • December closing the year out
  • #ThinkFranklinFirst gift cards
  • Tax rate hearing
  • Comcast contract
  • Spear phishing update

We’ll record a session of Talk Franklin each week leading to Christmas and take the holiday week off to begin again in 2021

Links to the key topics covered here are included in the show notes. The recording runs about 45 minutes, so let’s listen to my conversation with Jamie and Anne Marie. 

Audio file =



#ThinkFranklinFirst gift cards 


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

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"

Town Administrator Jamie Hellen updates the Town Council during the 12/02/20 meeting
Town Administrator Jamie Hellen updates the Town Council during the 12/02/20 meeting

1 Week Left to Apply for a Cultural Council grant !!!

View this email in your browser
1 Week Left to Apply for a Cultural Council grant !!!

One week left to apply!

The Franklin Cultural Council (FCC) has set a December 14th deadline for organizations, schools, and individuals to apply for grants that support cultural activities in the community. This funding encourages individuals, groups and not-for-profit organizations to bring to the community unique programming that centers around the arts, humanities, history or interpretive sciences for children, adults or intergenerational groups. 
While the focus of the proposals should remain similar to past years—community-oriented arts, humanities, and science programs—this year the FCC is encouraging new applicants to apply. All grant applications are due by Monday, December 14th.  Proposals that are past the deadline will not be considered. Log on to for grant guidelines and to apply. 
The Franklin Cultural Council is part of a network of 329 Local Cultural Councils serving all 351 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The LCC Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation, supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, sciences and humanities every year. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, which then allocates funds to each community.

View this email in your browser at

Franklin Public Schools: Updated Inclement Weather Plans for 2020-2021 School Year

"As another New England winter approaches, please make note of the attached information related to Inclement Weather and School Closings. Thank you!"

"For the 2020-2021 school year, Franklin Public Schools plans to implement remote learning instead of snow days during the winter of 2020-2021. Having opened school remotely positions us well to pivot to a remote learning day in the event of inclement weather. Instruction on these days will be structured. The Department of Elementary and Secondary education is allowing districts to do so this school year only, without having to make up the days at the end of the year. In the event of inclement weather, educators and students/families should be planning for remote learning days to be held using the remote learning schedules previously communicated at the beginning of the school year. Schools will send additional information about daily schedules. Should inclement weather bring widespread power outages, the district may need to close one, multiple, or all schools for the day, and the day will need to be made up at the end of the year. Asynchronous learning will be provided in the event that sporadic power outages are experienced for individual students to be able to be “virtually present” for the day. The district will continue to use delayed starts to the school day if morning weather conditions make travel difficult but the forecast calls for improvement of conditions throughout the day."


For the full two page outline

Updated Inclement Weather Plans for 2020-2021 School Year
Updated Inclement Weather Plans for 2020-2021 School Year

67 Degrees Brewing HOME DELIVERY (weekly) IS ON!!

Email from 67 Degrees announces:

Orders can be placed daily on our Webstore (  

Delivery orders placed after 2 pm on the same delivery day will be delivered on the next zone schedule.  

67 Degrees Brewing HOME DELIVERY IS ON!!
67 Degrees Brewing HOME DELIVERY (weekly) IS ON!!

Enjoy Beer, Family, and Friends


visit 67 Degrees online via their web page ->