Monday, December 14, 2020

FM #412 Davis Thayer Facility Analysis - Mtg - 12/09/20 (audio)

FM #412 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 412 in the series. 

This session shares the Franklin School Committee - Davis Thayer Facility Analysis Ad-hoc Committee meeting held on Dec 9, 2020. 

The meeting was conducted via conference bridge to adhere to the ‘social distancing’ requirements of this pandemic period.

The recording runs just over 1 hour, so let’s listen to the Davis Thayer Ad hoc Subcommittee meeting. 
Audio file =



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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.

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Give Yourself the Gift of Laughter EVERY Wednesday at 7:30pm on Zoom - FREE

Let's Laugh Today is Free EVERY Wednesday at 7:30 PM on ZOOM! 

Give Yourself the Gift of Laughter! Let's Laugh Today is free on ZOOM!

Let's Laugh Today
Let's Laugh Today

There is nothing like a good belly laugh to help release stress and anxiety. These laughter exercises and deep breathing help to bring more fresh oxygen into the body and brain helping you feel more energetic and healthy. 

See for link to the free 45 minute ZOOM Meeting EVERY Wednesday at 7:30pm. All ages are welcome. You can sit or stand the entire time. No need to get down on the floor. It's a good time to try something new and take care of our mental and emotional health! 

Led by Certified Laughter Yoga Master Trainers and Laughter Ambassadors, Linda and Bill Hamaker.

Linda and Bill Hamaker
Linda and Bill Hamaker

Reminder - Commuter Rail notice: Reduced Service Schedule begins today

All Commuter Rail lines will operate on the Reduced Service Schedule on weekdays beginning Monday, December 14th and for at least 2 weeks, due to Covid-19 impact in communities and in the workforce. Weekend trains will operate on regular schedule.

Reduced Service Schedule is now available from and at South Station, North Station and Back Bay.

Bikes will be allowed on board all trains.

On Friday, January 1st, The Commuter Rail will operate on a regular Sunday Schedule.

We will be reviewing staff numbers on a weekly basis to determine when we can be confident of being able to restore the full service.

Last Updated: Dec 14 2020 05:09 AM 

Reduced Service Schedule begins today
Reduced Service Schedule begins today

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Franklin, MA: Town Council - Agenda - Dec 16, 2020

This meeting is being recorded by Franklin TV and shown on Comcast channel 11 and Verizon Channel 29.  This meeting may be recorded by others. 

Citizens are welcome to express their views for up to five minutes on a matter that is not on the agenda. The Council will not engage in a dialogue or comment on a matter raised during Citizen Comments. The Town Council will give remarks appropriate consideration and may ask the Town Administrator to review the matter. 


None Scheduled

None Scheduled 

6. HEARINGS - 7:10pm
Zoning Bylaw Amendment 20-861: Zoning Map Changes on or near Oak Street 
Legislation for Action Item: 10a.  

Zoning Bylaw Amendment 20-862: Zoning Map Changes on or near Longhill Rd. & Pleasant St.
Legislation for Action Item: 10b.    

2021 Annual Alcoholic Beverages License Renewals

None Scheduled

a. Capital Budget Subcommittee

b. Budget Subcommittee

c. Economic Development Subcommittee

Zoning Bylaw Amendment 20-861: Zoning Map Changes on or near Oak Street - Second Reading (Motion to Adopt Zoning Bylaw Amendment 20-861 - Two Thirds Majority Roll Call Vote)

Zoning Bylaw Amendment 20-862: Zoning Map Changes on or near Longhill Road and Pleasant Street - Second Reading (Motion to Adopt Zoning Bylaw Amendment 20-862 - Two Thirds Majority Roll Call Vote)

Bylaw Amendment 20-864 As Amended: To Amend The Code of the Town of Franklin to Add A New Chapter 16 Community Preservation Committee (CPC) - Second Reading (Motion to Adopt Bylaw Amendment 20-864 - Majority Roll Call Vote)

Resolution 20-75: Authorization For Town Administrator To Enter Into Lease Purchase Financing Agreement To Fund Upgrade Of DPW G.P.S. System Devices (Motion to Approve Resolution 20-75 - Two Thirds Majority Vote)

Resolution 20-76: Appropriation Transfer To Water Treatment Plant Fund Authorized Under Resolution 19-27 (Motion to Approve Resolution 20-76 - Majority Vote)

Resolution 20-77: Cable Funds in Support of PEG Service and Programming per MGL Ch. 44, §53F3/4 (Motion to Approve Resolution 20-77 - Majority Vote)

Resolution 20-78: Town Council 2021 Meeting Calendar (Motion to Approve Resolution 20-78 - Majority Vote)

Resolution 20-79: Gift acceptance - Police Department, $100 (Motion to Approve Resolution 20-79 - Majority Vote)

Resolution 20-80: Gift acceptance - Franklin Library, $51,624 (Motion to Approve Resolution 20-80 - Majority Vote)

COVID-19 Update



None Scheduled 


  • Two-Thirds Vote: requires 6 votes
  • Majority Vote: requires majority of members present and voting
Connection info can be found on the agenda document folder

Rudolph gets in the spirit of the season at Four Corners (East Central - King St - Chestnut St)
Rudolph gets in the spirit of the season at Four Corners (East Central - King St - Chestnut St)

Work begins on the State FY 2022 budget

With the FY 2021 state budget finally approved, work begins on FY 2022

"Next Tuesday, Dec. 15, the House and Senate Ways and Means committees and the governor’s budget office will convene the annual “consensus” revenue hearing, where the Department of Revenue and other fiscal experts and economists will discuss the prospects for the economy and state revenues over the second half of fiscal 2021 and for fiscal 2022.

The virtual hearing will start at 11:30 a.m., with streaming for the public and press available through the Hearing & Events section of Legislature’s website. The event will be closed to the public, and the participants in State House Hearing Room A-2 will be practicing social distancing."

How to listen in to the hearing

Work begins on the State FY 2022 budget
Work begins on the State FY 2022 budget

Town Administrator Performance Review & Evaluation Part II - Dec 16

Town Administrator 
Performance Review & Evaluation 
Part II - Dec 16 = 5:30 PM

2. TOWN ADMINISTRATOR EVALUATION - Continued from 12/02/2020 meeting
a. Overview of “Town Administrators Contract - Section 6 - Performance Review”
b. Town Administrator Goals
c. Thoughts, Questions, and Ideas from the Town Council
d. COVID - 19 Response/Protocols

Shared from the Town of Franklin page - agenda doc includes connection info

Town Administrator Jamie Hellen at a recent meeting
Town Administrator Jamie Hellen at a recent meeting

Massachusetts - Electoral College Proceedings - Dec 14 - 3:00 PM

Electors of President and Vice President for Massachusetts convene to cast their votes in the Electoral College, with Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin presiding.

Massachusetts - Electoral College Proceedings - Dec 14 - 3:00 PM
Massachusetts - Electoral College Proceedings - Dec 14 - 3:00 PM

Register for volleyball training at Downtown Sports

Did you know that Franklin is home to one of the few middle school volleyball programs in the region? Downtown Sports on Cottage Street hosts the newly established Franklin Volleyball Club, which offers competitive teams, beginner clinics, and advanced skill training throughout the year.

We are currently accepting registrations for our beginner / intermediate clinics starting January 6th. If your 5th - 8th grade daughter would like to learn the game, click here to register ( contact us at for more information. 

Volleyball training at Downtown Sports
Volleyball training at Downtown Sports

If you missed my conversation with Rich Frongillo, you can listen here to get the story on the development of Downtown Sports

Davis Thayer Facility Analysis Subcommittee - Recap -Dec 9, 2020

Quick Recap:
  • Meeting discussion jumped right into a dressing down of the KBA representative for some errors discovered in the presentation that were suspected to invalidate the report and conclusions. He admitted and apologized for the copy/paste errors in the presentation doc but the errors in no way changed/affected the conclusion. One of the inconsistencies was around the use of various capacity terms (functional capacity, building capacity, etc.) which were all defined in the appendix
  • Brief update on the demographics forecast. Ultimately very close to what was forecasted and Franklin is doing better in retaining students that have left other districts due to concerns over COVID-19
  • Reviewed the survey results (doc not shared yet - some photos of the results captured during the meeting) 
  • Budget info required is nearing completion and will be ready for the January meeting (Date TBD)

Photos captured during the remote meeting and shared with Twitter can be found in one album

As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.

The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #dtfa1209 

Updated facility analysis report
  • Davis Thayer Facility Analysis subcommittee meeting begins, Real time reporting underway. Page 11 graph a duplicate band doesn't affect final results, some other numbers were transpositions and don't affect the overall modeling or conclusions #dtfa1209
  • Concerns about accuracy missed in final report, not material to overall conclusion. Committee expected not to have to go over it with a fine tooth comb. #dtfa1209 central office focused on the qualitative factors in their review. Superintendent embarrassed by miss too
  • Formal apology made by KBA, a parent had done the discovery. Definitions for capacity differences found in appendix; school vs functional, vs building,  did share the calculation models separately so the calculation could be seen. Page 48-52 when schools are combined #dtfa1209
  • Difference on capacity calculation between middle vs elementary schools; Keller and Sullivan, Jefferson and Remington, Oak and Horace Mann; capacity changes in the combination. #dtfa1209
  • Also due to the schedule difference between middle/elementary; elementary generally in a home base, and when they go to their special it leaves behind and empty room, hence a calculation difference. Think of rooms being occupied and it may help. #dtfa1209
  • Moving to McKibbens update, #dtfa1209 basically a lower number of students most change in pre K and K, a situation across MA due to COVID. Other districts seeing 3.5 - 7 point loss (we are only 2.2%) housing sales 278 single family this year, actually assumed 275 annually
  • The real estate makes sense under the pandemic as well with the reported move from urban to suburban areas. #dtfa1209 hence a validation of forecast and assumptions. Moving to survey results, agreement on using responses as submitted
  • #dtfa1209 next up, timeline on budgetary info. Why can't we be faster about the numbers? (Getting ready for FinComm mtg next week). Could amend charter of this Committee to include Parmenter, or defer it to the full Committee (and separate team/policy study)
  • Special programs not considered in the KBA report, Parmenter houses a program that has been growing and a space requirement to be considered. #dtfa1209 data is about 80-90% done just not ready for presentation tonight. Set next date to meet, early January.
  • Motion to adjourn #dtfa1209 passes 3-0 via roll call

screen grab of one of the pages of survey results being analyzed by the subcommittee
screen grab of one of the pages of survey results being analyzed by the subcommittee

Franklin Senior Center: Virtual Coffee Hour - Dec 17

Attention Franklin Seniors! 

Join in on a virtual coffee hour with State & Local officials next Thursday, December 17th at 8:30am. 

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting

Franklin Senior Center: Virtual Coffee Hour - Dec 17
Franklin Senior Center: Virtual Coffee Hour - Dec 17

EDC Business Listening Session #3 - recap - Dec 9, 2020

Quick Recap:
  • Disappointing turnout for session, only one business owner present, although business groups (Downtown Partnership and United Chamber) present along with Representative Jeff Roy
  • Success of the tax increment financing (TIF) tool as an incentive to attract business to Franklin (i.e. Tegra Medical, Cold Chain)
  • Updates on development work along Grove St and Kenwood Circle as infrastructure is critical for business relocation considerations
  • tech difficulty disrupted the meeting as the Council Chamber was disconnected from the Zoom meeting but was able to reconnect in a few minutes
  • Next session Jan 13, 2021
Photos captured during the remote meeting and shared with Twitter can be found in one album

As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.

The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #edc1209

Listening session #3 agenda 

Listening session schedule

  • Shifting to the EDC business listening session that started at 6:30PM #edc1209
  • Disappointed to see such a low turnout for the listening session. #dtfa1209 Franklin is ideally positioned to pick up the 'slack' as whomever leaves the urban areas. Rep Roy adds that getting the platinum rating for biotech is helpful, continue on those lines
  • TIF's are a great way to attract business. Tegra Medical, Cold Chain, these are prime examples. Contollo landed a Federal contract and is scaling up to deliver that order. #edc1209 quality of school system is key to attract a company and in turn, it attract employees
  • There is industrial space available, Tegra is expanding here and expecting to expand further. #edc1209 life science companies doing well. Forge Park, Constitution blvd, and Grove St are the 3 main areas here in Franklin. Looking for traffic studies to adjust light timing
  • MEMA is now located here (and a ribbon cutting when safe) #edc1209 smaller grow facilities for cannabis companies. Infrastructure is a big attraction for companies. New warehouse actually put Franklin on their intro video touting out permitting process
  • New businesses coming to Grove St an indication of what can happen. Didn't get state grant but based upon feedback with Roy/Spilka offices to reattempt a grant application, including road rebuild at Kenwood Circle. #edc1209 word of mouth is out there
  • Jack Lank (URCC) confirms previous comments on Franklin's reputation for the permit process. #edc1209 a neighbor town with a cannabis retail operations is generating a big check for the municipal org with sales skyrocketing.
  • Blank screen for council chamber does not affect the broadcast of the session the live stream is fine screen grabs shared #dtfa1209
  • #dtfa1209 the short videos are being redone to update them as they are 'aged' somewhat (i.e. done before the new FHS building came online)  Franklin does have a YouTube page.  (yes, incorrect hashtag - used prior meeting one not this one for this meeting)
  • What's update on power outages affects business as well as residential. There was a Nov 18 Town Council meeting with a segment on this. The bulk of the tree removals required are private landowners. The public ways have been addressed #dtfa1209
  • A new line has been installed to help address the Grove St line in the meantime. In April nationalGrid will begin another infrastructure project for the area. #dtfa1209 suggestion to do more than social media to help awareness on mask requirements (sign board, police display)
  • Council chamber dropped from meeting so we lost them from the Zoom session, they eventually got another laptop to connect to rejoin the rest of us on the Zoom session #edc1209
  • Next session Jan 13, 2021. Motion to adjourn, second, passes 3-0 (Bissanti left earlier) (Hamblen, Jones, Chandler present at end) #edc1209
  • That's all for tonight folks, catch you next time!
EDC Business Listening Session #3 - recap - Dec 9, 2020
EDC Business Listening Session #3 - recap - Dec 9, 2020

50+ Networkers: Practice Interview session - registration deadline Monday

Good Morning ~

Attached you will find the promo for the next 50+ Job-seeker workshop we are hosting.  Please feel free to forward and share the flyer with anyone who may want to attend.

There is a registration deadline for this interview practice event. We will  organize  the break-out rooms in advance and need a head count.

DEADLINE for to register with your Zoom Invite is Monday 12/14 at 12 Noon

You are invited to a Zoom meeting.
When: Dec 15, 2020 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.


Melody Beach and Ed Lawrence

50+ Networkers: Practice Interview session - registration deadline Monday
50+ Networkers: Practice Interview session - registration deadline Monday

Re-imagining post COVID-19: "Midtown Is Reeling. Should Its Offices Become Apartments?"

From the New York Times, an article of interest for Franklin:
"The pandemic is pummeling New York City’s commercial real estate industry, one of its main economic engines, threatening the future of the nation’s largest business districts as well as the city’s finances.

The damage caused by the emptying of office towers and the permanent closure of many stores is far more significant than many experts had predicted early in the crisis.

The powerful real estate industry is so concerned that the shifts in workplace culture caused by the outbreak will become long-lasting that it is promoting a striking proposal: to turn more than one million square feet of Manhattan office space into housing."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Views on the Supreme Judicial Court decision; they got it wrong, right, and 'following the money'

From CommonWealth Magazine we share two articles of interest for Franklin and then 'follow the money': 

SJC decision on Baker’s powers is poorly reasoned

"THE MASSACHUSETTS Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled on Thursday that Gov. Charlie Baker’s various COVID-19 orders were authorized by the Massachusetts Civil Defense Act of 1950, and did not violate the plaintiffs’ due process rights or right to assemble under either the state or federal constitutions. The court’s opinion is superficial and poorly reasoned at best, and intellectually dishonest at worst, and is hardly the end of the matter.

The outcome of the opinion could readily be predicted from its first words, which identified the justice who authored it. Stunningly, that justice during the argument of the case had asked the plaintiffs’ counsel whether he didn’t agree that the governor was doing a good job with his COVID-19 measures. Any first-year law student, and indeed most sentient citizens, would know that the job of a justice ruling on a legal or constitutional challenge to a government measure is not to agree or disagree with any policy underlying the measure, or the results achieved by it, but rather to rule on whether it is indeed legally or constitutionally valid."

SJC got Baker emergency orders case right

THERE ARE AT least two important takeaways from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in Desrosiers v. Governor, in which the court upheld Gov. Charlie Baker’s authority to issue emergency orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

First, the court’s conclusion was undoubtedly correct. The plaintiffs argued that the governor had “usurped” the role of the Legislature and violated the state constitution’s commitment to separation of powers, as well as the plaintiffs’ rights to due process and free assembly. At bottom, the plaintiffs maintained that the governor lacked the authority to issue emergency orders under the Civil Defense Act. That law, enacted in 1950, gave the governor the power to issue emergency orders in the event of, among other things, “fire, flood, earthquake or other natural causes.”

To 'follow the money' we share this article from MassPoliticsProfs

Desrosiers v. The Governor: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Body Slams Charles Koch
"Today the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled for Governor Charlie Baker in a lawsuit underwritten by Charles Koch and sponsored by Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance/Fiscal Alliance Foundation in which MFA sought to undo the governor’s emergency public health powers—just as Covid-19 is raging across the land.  It wasn’t close.

This was really a case about conflicting ideologies. On one side is the view that government should be empowered to help people to do needed things the people cannot do for themselves (the view of Abraham Lincoln, by the way) versus Koch’s ideology, which is that government should do nothing except to protect private property."
Continue reading the article online

‘An Indelible Stain’ and "Republicans faced a simple choice: For or against democracy"

From the New York Times, an article of national interest for Franklin:
"The Supreme Court repudiation of President Trump’s desperate bid for a second term not only shredded his effort to overturn the will of voters: It also was a blunt rebuke to Republican leaders in Congress and the states who were willing to damage American democracy by embracing a partisan power grab over a free and fair election.

The court’s decision on Friday night, an inflection point after weeks of legal flailing by Mr. Trump and ahead of the Electoral College vote for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Monday, leaves the president’s party in an extraordinary position. Through their explicit endorsements or complicity of silence, much of the G.O.P. leadership now shares responsibility for the quixotic attempt to ignore the nation’s founding principles and engineer a different verdict from the one voters cast in November."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

From the Washington Post, an article of national interest to Franklin:

"HOUSE REPUBLICANS have faced what amounts to a choice between standing for or against democracy: whether to sign on to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s delusional lawsuit to overturn the presidential election. A large majority of them failed the test. More House Republicans, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), on Friday signed an amicus brief supporting Mr. Paxton, just hours before the Supreme Court unceremoniously rejected the suit. This is a disheartening signal about what these members of Congress might do on Jan. 6, when at least some Republicans probably will object to the counting of President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral votes.

Mr. McCarthy and the other extremists and toadies who have signed their names to President Trump’s antidemocratic plot may think their complicity is costless, because the Supreme Court was bound to reject the Paxton lawsuit, as it did on Friday, and there are enough Democrats on Capitol Hill to foil any GOP mischief during the electoral vote counting. They are wrong. Their recklessness raises the once-unthinkable possibility that a Congress controlled by one party might one day flip a presidential election to its candidate in defiance of the voters’ will, citing claims of mass fraud just as bogus as the ones Republicans have hyped up this year."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)