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Franklin school officials: Let's try to save late bus service

Posted July 26, 2008 07:49 AM

Even though Franklin voters turned down a $2.8 million override last month, Franklin school officials say they still may be able to salvage late bus service for students involved in extracurricular activities.

Officials predicted that late bus service would be a casualty if the override failed, but recently Superintendent Wayne Ogden told the School Committee that enrollment in regular bus service for the coming school year had not dipped as significantly as anticipated, which could free up some extra funds to bring back a portion of the late bus schedule.

School Committee Chairman Jeffrey Roy says that several committee members remain committed to bringing back late-bus service and will look at a number of measures, including possibly instituting fees or working with the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority to secure additional vehicles.

-- Rachel Lebeaux

Franklin to renew request for high school project funding

Posted July 8, 2008 11:03 AM

Franklin school officials say they plan to file an updated Statement of Interest with the Massachusetts School Building Authority as they move forward with a request for state funding toward a renovation or reconstruction of the town's 37-year-old high school.

Officials say that state aid for such a project will be crucial, since the town cannot afford to foot the full bill for a $100 million renovation or a $130 million new high school, cost estimates that were released by the town's architect earlier this year.

franklinhs.jpgFranklin High School: Obsolete at 37? (Franklin Schools image)
State Treasurer Timothy Cahill has criticized cities and towns for expecting the state to underwrite extravagant high school projects, and Franklin officials have said recently that they will be looking to scale back the project to make it more affordable.

Assistant Superintendent Maureen Sabolinksi is currently working with the state to review the town's previous Statement of Interest.

"This is an opportunity for us to update and review our project," she said. "Over the next few weeks, we'll be reviewing the feedback and looking to see what additional information we would like to provide, as well as looking at the project as a whole and seeing where to go with it."

-- Rachel Lebeaux

Franklin residents will Idol away the 4th

Posted June 30, 2008 07:18 AM

Franklin's annual Fourth of July celebration will kick off this Thursday, and will include an "American Idol"-style contest featuring Ayla Brown, a former contestant on the Fox television show.

ayla.JPGThe part of Ryan Seacrest will be played by Ayla Brown (Globe file image)
The celebration will kick off Thursday night at 10 with fireworks at the high school on Oak Street. Festivities will continue on the Town Common through the weekend, and will include concerts, a magic show, story readings (including an appearance by Snow White) and the singing contest, which begins Saturday night at 6.

A full schedule is available on the town's web site.

-- Rachel Lebeaux

Franklin voters reject override

Posted June 11, 2008 07:23 AM

Voters in Franklin rejected a $2.8 million Proposition 2 1/2 override proposal Tuesday, with the no votes outpacing the yes votes 4,290 to 3,402.

School officials have said that the extra funds would have prevent the loss of 15 teaching positions at the elementary schools, 12.5 teaching positions at the middle school, 16 teaching positions at the high school, a $100 increase in the pay-to-ride bus fee, and the end of late bus service for students who stay after school for clubs and other extracurricular activities.

Town officials had estimated that the override would have added $244 to the average annual tax bill in the town, based on the mean home value of $411,000.

-- Rachel Lebeaux

Catch a falling raindrop

Posted April 15, 2008 07:56 AM



The Town of Franklin has teamed up with New England Rain Barrel Company to offer residents the "New Englander" rain barrel at the a discounted price of $66.50.

The 55-gallon barrels are recycled and modified versions of barrels that were once used to import foodstuffs such as olives. Placed under a downspout to catch storm runoff, the barrels help residents conserve water, save money, and reduce storm drainage into nearby rivers and streams.

Anyone interested in ordering one of the barrels (which are normally priced at $89) is being urved to call The New England Rain Barrel Company at 877-977-3135 or order online via the company's web site.

Orders can be placed through May 2). Residents Residents can pick up their barrels on Wednesday, May 7 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the town Municipal Building at 150 Emmons St.

-- Rachel Lebeaux

Seniors graduate to new center in Franklin

Posted October 12, 2007 09:51 AM


The Franklin Senior Center will celebrate its move into a new, $6.2 million facility with a grand opening ceremony and open house Nov. 11 from 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Karen Alves, the director of the center, said the new space will allow the center to offer more programs. The center currently operates out of two rooms in the old town hall.

"We've been trying to build a new building for about six years, so it's certainly the fulfillment of
a long dream," Alves said. "It's a beautiful, beautiful facility."

The new center is located at 10 Daniel McCahill St.

-- Calvin Hennick

No pitches yet on Franklin's fields

Posted October 7, 2007 07:23 AM


The process to bring banner advertisements to the town's school athletic fields -- which would raise money to help offset rising athletic fees -- has hit some "speed bumps," Superintendent of Schools Wayne Ogden said recently.

First, the district learned it would need to go through the same building and zoning application process as do businesses in town. The ads may also need to be chosen through a competitive bidding process, he said.

"Neither one stops us in our tracks. The bidding one would only make it a little more cumbersome," Ogden said. "The zoning one could make it a little more tricky. If the town decides they don't want advertising in public buildings, they could have that right."

Even so, the district is hoping to launch a pilot advertising program this upcoming spring, Ogden said.

-- Alexandra Perloe

State to begin school project studies early

Posted October 4, 2007 09:51 AM


The state will begin feasibility studies for local school projects about a month earlier than anticipated, potentially allowing some projects to be ready for Town Meeting votes next spring, staff writer James Vaznis of the reports in the Globe's City & Region Section today.

On Nov. 2, the state School Building Authority will decide which school districts' proposed projects to study first. Other districts will be selected on a rolling basis after that.

Being selected for a feasibility study doesn't automatically guarantee construction funding, but it is a prerequisite. More than a dozen school districts west of Boston are among 161 districts statewide competing for about $500 million in construction funds this year, the first time in four years the state is doling out school construction money.

In choosing which feasibility studies to pursue first, the state has been dispatching inspection teams to analyze building conditions and enrollment trends, visiting 90 districts so far. Those districts include Berlin-Boylston, Franklin, Hopkinton, Hudson, Marlborough, Maynard, Nashoba, Natick, Needham, Norfolk, Shrewsbury, Wayland, and Wellesley.

The resulting studies, which should be completed this winter, will give the state the first glimpse of how much it could potentially cost to do all the projects. In all, 161 districts have expressed interest in 422 school projects.

Green Beret sergeant from Franklin dies in Iraq

Posted August 17, 2007 11:55 AM

Staff Sergeant Robert Pirelli of Franklin
(Image courtesy of WCVB/Channel 5)


An Army sergeant from Franklin is the latest Massachusetts soldier to die in Iraq.

Franklin veterans agent Bob Fahey said 29-year-old Staff Sergeant Robert Pirelli was killed in combat. Pirelli was serving in the Special Forces as a Green Beret and was due to come home in October. Fahey says Pirelli's family learned the news Wednesday night.

The Department of Defense is not providing further details.

-- AP

State's premier medical system gains western toehold

Posted July 19, 2007 10:01 AM




The physicians' group for Milford Regional Medical Center is joining Partners HealthCare System Inc., giving the state's preeminent medical system a toehold in a key area of the state and enabling it to funnel more patients to its network of downtown teaching hospitals.

Tri-County Medical Associates of Franklin signed an agreement with Partners Community Healthcare Inc., the physician network for the hospital network, last month after two years of negotiations, according to people involved.

A key issue in the discussions was that doctors at Tri-County didn't want to feel obligated to send their patients to Partners hospitals unless local physicians felt they needed specialized care that only those facilities could provide, Globe staff writer Jeffrey Krasner reports in the online edition of today's Business section.

"We were concerned about losing our independence," said Philip Ciaramicoli , chief executive of Tri-County. "We had to feel comfortable that what should be done in the community hospital gets done in the community hospital."

Dr. Thomas H. Lee , chief executive of the Partners' physician organization, said the affiliation agreement doesn't require Tri- County doctors to send patients to Partners hospitals. But should they choose to send patients to Partners hospitals, referrals and medical records transfers will happen more smoothly.

"The board and the doctors asked me 20 times, 'Are we going to have to send our patients to Boston?,' " said Lee. "I told them, 'You send your patients where they need to go.' We'll get the patients who really need to come into town."

Partners Community Healthcare is the largest physicians' network in the state, with more than 4,900 physicians, up from about 4,200 in 2002. Read more about the agreement in today's Globe.

Franklin voters give thumbs up to override

Posted May 23, 2007 09:45 AM

The "yes" vote on last week's override ballot saved the Franklin schools from drastic, but not all, cuts in staff.
(Globe staff photo by Pat Greenhouse)


Voters came out in favor of a Proposition 2 1/2 operating override yesterday, the first "yes" vote in the half-dozen times that such a measure has been on the municipal ballot.

The $2.7 million supplement to the municipal budget was approved by about 1,300 votes. In total, 8,750 votes were cast, representing about 48 percent of registered voters.

According to Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting, the override vote spared both the library and the schools from significant cuts. Without the override, the library faced laying off 8 staff members and having its hours cut back dramatically.

The school department, which had requested a $6 million budget increase, was considering laying off 40 teachers if the override didn't pass. Even with the additional $2 million from the override, the schools will still trim 15 teaching positions, School Committee chairman Jeffrey Roy said last week.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Fiscal woes may affect local policing

Posted April 2, 2007 06:16 PM


Police Chief Stephen T. Williams told Franklin’s Finance Committee that he will not reduce the number of police officers on the street because of the meager $149 increase in his department’s annual budget for next year.

Nearly all of Franklin’s municipal departments are being level-funded for the fiscal year beginning July 1 as the town struggles with less income from growth. Williams said he has eight fewer officers than in 2000 even though ‘‘business is booming.’’

There were about 7,500 calls to 911 last year, but the department typically has only four cruisers patrolling the town’s 27 square miles at any time.

Williams cautioned that if Franklin reduces its after-school programs for youths, the Police Department will be much busier.

— Alison O’Leary Murray

New principal named in Franklin

Posted March 28, 2007 05:31 PM


School superintendent Wayne Ogden named a new high school principal at the School Committee's meeting yesterday.

Pamela Gould, principal of Whitman-Hanson Regional High School, will start work in Franklin by July 1, Ogden said.

The search for a new principal included interviews with staff, parents and students. Franklin has been through the process twice in recent months, as two finalists withdrew their names from consideration in January.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Franklin health board seeking help

Posted March 28, 2007 11:31 AM


The Board of Health wants to hire a second part-time sanitarian, a move that would increase its budget to $134,000, health agent David E. McKearney told the Finance Committee last week.

Comparably sized towns spend $280,000 a year on health services and employ two full-time professionals to do inspections, according to Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting. He said the budget increase for the department is one of only three he is requesting for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Nutting is seeking to put a Proposition 2 1/2 property-tax increase before voters this spring that would give the schools an increase of $4 million to avoid teacher layoffs.

— Alison O’Leary Murray

Franklin schools benefit from outside student interest

Posted March 14, 2007 11:00 AM


Franklin's school department is bringing in $272,772 from educating 47 students from outside the district, according to the superintendent's office. Grade 9 drew the most outside students at 10.

The elementary schools drew a total of 22 students; middle school 8; and high school 17. The district is now receiving applications for school choice for next fall and will place students on a first-come, space-available basis.

See the web site at for an application.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Career Exploration Day at Dean

Posted March 14, 2007 10:43 AM


Hundreds of area high school students are expected to turn out for this morning's Career Exploration Day at Dean College's Campus Center.

Businesses have been invited by the Tri-County Partnership to talk to teens from Medway, Bellingham, Millis, Franklin, and Tri-County Regional Vocational High School.

The event is more of a networking event than a job fair, organizers say, as teens have been coached to meet potential employers with a handshake and direct eye contact. The kids were also prepped with questions to ask the employers, such as what matters most in an interview.

Students who impress employers will be asked for their "business cards," which will be entered into a drawing for movie passes.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Franklin school budget to be unveiled tonight

Posted March 13, 2007 02:52 PM


The rose-colored glasses will be off for tonight's School Department budget hearing, Superintendent Wayne Ogden promised recently. The $57,187,852 budget the department seeks is about 13 percent higher than its fiscal year 2007 budget, which ran into deficit spending last fall.

Past budgets included unrealistic projections of revenue coming from sources like athletic user fees and continuing education classes, but this coming year's budget was scrutinized and will be defensible, Ogden said.

The 2008 fiscal year, which begins July 1, will bring an increase of almost $1.8 million to the town's special education budget and as many as 100 additional students to Franklin High School, Ogden said at a recent School Committee meeting. The budget hearing is set for 7 p.m. at town hall, 255 E. Central Street.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Fire chief: Franklin blaze appears accidental

Posted March 9, 2007 11:34 AM


Franklin Fire Chief Gary McCarraher says a three-alarm fire that broke out at an industrial building early this morning was likely accidental.

The automotive insulation manufactured by Clark-Cutler-McDermott Co. on Fisher Street is the likely culprit, McCarraher said.

McCarraher said it appeared the material came into contact with some kind of heat source, possibly one of the machines used to make it, then burst into flame.

“We’re still trying to tack that down, but we believe it was accidental in nature," he said.

The call came in at 3:57 a.m., and Franklin firefighters were on the scene at 4:02 a.m. They were aided by firefighters from Bellingham, Norfolk, Medway, Milford, and Wrentham.

The fire was brought under control at 5:20 a.m., McCarraher said.

The fire damage was limited to the area around the machine where the blaze started, but the building sustained substantial water damage.

One firefighter was injured in a fall on the ice. He was treated at a hospital and released.

– Calvin Hennick

Franklin considering a discount price for property

Posted March 7, 2007 05:09 PM


Town Council is expected to consider lowering the price of the 34-acre Pond Street parcel it has tried to sell for development several times.

Last month, a $4 million deal with Woburn-based Maggiore Cos. fell through when the developer said his plan for condominiums, a hotel, and offices was not feasible because the land had been filled in with stumps and waste soil by the town over several decades.

The property also contained more wetland than previously thought, company principal Paul Maggiore said. Franklin returned the developer's $485,000 deposit.

The Town Council meeting is set for 7 p.m. in town hall, 355 E. Central Street.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Thanks for the diploma, sir or madame

Posted March 1, 2007 04:38 PM


The School Committee -- and the School Committee alone -- will continue to confer diplomas on graduating seniors, following a discussion at last week's meeting.

The board's policy subcommittee had discussed a proposed change that would have allowed other town officials to participate in handing out diplomas under special circumstances, such as the graduation of their child, but ultimately decided to maintain the status quo.

Committee member Mary Jane Scofield tried to amend the policy to allow Franklin public servants, including past members of the School Committee, to hand out diplomas under special circumstances, but the majority shot the idea down.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Franklin students win changes on MCAS

Posted February 9, 2007 05:50 PM


The fourth-grade class of Christine Hunt (center) in Franklin learned the power of writing when the state Department of Education adopted their suggestion for simpler, kid-friendly MCAS guidelines.
(Globe Staff Photo by Barry Chin)


A Franklin elementary school class helped rewrite the statewide MCAS exam. Christine Hunt's fourth grade class wrote the state's Department of Education with suggestions on how to make the instructions for the test more clear, the Globe reports.

The students came up with the acronym READ, which stands for:

Read the question carefully.
Explain your answer.
Add supporting details.
Double-check your work.

The new instructions will appear on the Language Arts MCAS exam for students in grades 3-8.

-- Adam Sell

Two men arrested after video posted on Youtube

Posted February 7, 2007 07:00 PM


Matthew and John Terrio weren't aware they were doing a screen test that would receive national attention when they purchased items at a Bellingham Home Depot in December.

The duo were caught on store security cameras using a credit card that was allegedly stolen from a local man's car while it was parked at a Franklin gym, said Franklin police officer Bryan Johnson. The Terrios were arrested by Middleboro police Tuesday night and were to be arraigned today on charges from several towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Johnson said.

Franklin Police made the Terrios stars by posting the Bellingham store video on the popular video sharing Web site YouTube. It was an unusual use of technology by local police. Johnson said tips received after posting the video helped to identify the Terrios and connect him to other police departments who also had warrants for their arrest.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Garelick Farms fined for Franklin diesel spill

Posted February 2, 2007 04:51 PM


Local dairy products producer Garelick Farms LLC was fined by the state Department of Environmental Protection for failing to act promptly when 50 gallons of diesel fuel was spilled at its Franklin facility.

According to the state, a truck at Garelick spilled the fuel, a quantity that requires notification of authorities within two hours.

The company, headquartered in Delaware, was fined $8,280 for waiting five hours to report the spill, then taking several more hours before hiring a contractor to clean it up.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Developer drops Franklin project

Posted February 1, 2007 05:58 PM


A developer is backing away from a project to develop a 34-parcel along Interstate 495 once used as a sewer bed by the town.

Town council members were informed yesterday that the property, considered by some to be a prime spot for development, has been rejected by Woburn-based Maggiore Construction for a multi-year project including office, restaurant, hotel and condominium space.

Town Council member Philip Evans said the company found the property's topography unsuitable, perhaps too wet, for the extensive development that was proposed.

The council's economic development subcommittee was called to meet on the issue today. Maggiore had agreed to buy the property for more than $4 million. Two other companies made similar presentations to council members.

The town once sprayed raw sewage on the ground in the area, letting the water seep into the ground and hauling away any solid waste that remained.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Karate benefit for Milford High School student

Posted January 12, 2007 10:39 AM


While Laura Nardini, a 14 year-old Milford High School student with a rare disease who is waiting for a heart transplant that may save her life, her friends are kicking in some support.

Tony Cotillo owns Xiang Hua, a kung fu and martial arts academy in Franklin. His school and another school will host a kick-a-thon Sunday. The proceeds will go to help Nardini's family pay for the critical procedure.

"This disease is so rare that there’s only been one other case in the country. They might not have a name for it yet," Cotillo said of Nardini's condition. Nardini is being treated at Children's Hospital in Boston.

Cotillo's personal goal for the benefit is between 1,200 and 1,500 kicks. The benefit will be held at Looang Foo Pai Kung Fu Academy in Mendon.

-- Adam Sell

Leading candidates announced for Franklin High principal

Posted January 10, 2007 01:40 PM


The envelope, please ...

Two local school administrators were named as top picks to take over as Franklin High School principal and lead the school through a major period of change.

Medfield High School Principal Andrew Keough and John G. Smith, Principal of the Nashoba Regional High School in Bolton, are the two contenders, Superintendent Wayne Ogden said.

Each will spend a day this week with groups of parents, teachers and students before they're interviewed by Ogden.

Ogden said he plans to sit in on the student groups' meetings with the candidates and plans to gather data from as many of the 100 high school faculty members as possible before making his decision, which could come as early as Jan. 19.

Ogden said he will choose the candidate with the best combination of experience and ability to take the school through what the district hopes will be a major renovation of the high school building.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Franklin teen draws Lloyd Webber's eye

Posted January 6, 2007 09:30 AM

Ross with Sir Webber


It's 9 p.m. on a school night and 15-year-old Franklin native Andrea Ross only got home at 7:30 from a sports conditioning class. She's fighting a cold, her voice sounds scratchy, and she has several hours of homework ahead. Still, the young performer is happy to talk about her burgeoning other life -- as Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber's protege.

He's not calling her that, nor is she. But over the last two years, Lloyd Webber, the creator of such mega hits as "Jesus Christ Superstar," "Evita," "Cats," and "The Phantom of the Opera," has taken a special interest in the young singer who made a splash in Boston musicals, and he has quietly taken steps to further her career, the Globe's Living/Arts section reports today.

-- Catherine Foster

Franklin police ID suspects in credit card fraud case

Posted December 26, 2006 06:00 PM


Franklin police say they've identified the two suspects in a credit card fraud case, and they're appealing to the public for any information about where the two men are.

Police used a new tactic in trying to catch the men, posting a video and still pictures on the Internet that allegedly showed the suspects committing their crime.

It was an unusual use of the popular YouTube video sharing service. The video and pictures were also posted on the police website,

Police said in an email and on their website today that "warrants are currently outstanding for both suspects."

Smile, alleged thieves, you're on YouTube!

Posted December 20, 2006 02:38 PM


The novel approach of using YouTube to post video of two suspected thieves using a stolen credit card at a Home Depot has yielded several leads, Franklin police say.

Officer Brian Johnson tells Globe West that the video, posted both on the wildly-popular Internet video-sharing site and the Franklin police website has greatly expanded the department's ability to reach people who might be able to identify the men.

Several people have called with information on the possible identity of the two burly men, who were caught by a surveillance camera at a Bellingham home improvement store allegedly using a credit card stolen from a car in Franklin, Johnson said.

Video is more effective for identifying people than the still photos that are more commonly used by police, Johnson said.

"One lead specifically said it was the way the guy wore his shirt open and his swagger" that made him identifiable, Johnson said. No arrests have been made yet.

Johnson said the investigation has turned up some still surveillance photos from another crime at a different store, which have also been posted on YouTube.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Franklin police using YouTube

Posted December 19, 2006 04:29 PM


In an unusual crimefighting tactic, Franklin police have posted a video on YouTube, the popular video-sharing service, hoping for help in identifying suspects in a stolen credit card case.

The surveillance video shows two men who are allegedly using a stolen credit card in the checkout line at a Home Depot.

‘‘You never know who is going to say ‘Hey, I know that guy,’’’ said Officer Brian Johnson.

The Franklin department appears to be on the cutting edge. Police in Canada investigating an apparent murder near a hiphop club recently posted to YouTube a surveillance video of two men they want to question, saying they believed it was a first.

Franklin’s video, taken Dec. 12. by a security camera perched above the cash registers at the Bellingham Home Depot, shows two burly men making a purchase, which Johnson said was for merchandise worth hundreds of dollars.

It was the pair’s third stop within an hour of stealing the card from a car at a fitness center in Franklin; they allegedly racked up thousands in purchases at several stores in Franklin and Bellingham, he said.

In the video on YouTube (search ‘‘Franklin police’’), which is also available on the police website,, one man appears to be dressed all in black, and the other wears a football jersey with the number 80 on the front under a tan jacket.

Although their faces are not completely clear, police hope someone will be able to identify the two men.

Although the men used the credit cards in Franklin and Bellingham, Johnson doesn’t think they’re local residents. He said the town is subject to periodic waves of similar thefts from cars parked at shopping centers, restaurants and fitness clubs.

‘‘Past intelligence tells us they’re from a ring operating in the Lowell area,’’ Johnson said. ‘‘They just operate up and down the highway. They seem to hit the town hard for a while then disappear.’’

It’s common for police to share videos and photos between departments, but putting it out on the Internet is an unusual, new technique, said Donald Kennedy, executive director of the New England State Police Information Network, which is a Department of Justice-funded service that helps police departments share information.

"Why not, if you can catch the bad guys? This may be the future," he said. "Sometimes the police are the last to get in step with technology."

It’s not the first time the Franklin police have done something tech-savvy. A year ago, the department began offering podcasts.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Franklin loses $60K of water to Norfolk

Posted December 14, 2006 10:59 AM


Franklin town councilors were surprised to learn at a recent meeting that more than a dozen Norfolk residences on School Street and Hassler and Mill River Roads had received water from Franklin wells for more than a decade.

According to Mark Cerel, town counsel, there was an agreement between the two towns under which Norfolk was to pump an equal amount of water back into Franklin, but it hinged on state approval of a well that was never constructed.

Over the years, he said, the deal was forgotten due to staff turnover in town departments.

The residents did pay bills -- to Norfolk -- for Franklin's water, Cerel said, adding that it would be politically sticky for Franklin to get the money back.

Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting sought council approval to end the situation with an intermunicipal agreement that would allow Norfolk to bill the residents on Franklin's behalf, starting immediately.

Nutting estimated the value of 10 years of water sent to the Norfolk residents at $60,000.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Kennedys, Kennedys everywhere

Posted November 29, 2006 01:40 PM


Everyone's got RFK on the brain these days, what with the new movie "Bobby" out and all, but history buffs can keep JFK from feeling left out tonight by attending a discussion at Dean College in Franklin.

Was Lee Harvey Oswald a lone gunman or was he part of a bigger conspiracy? Heck, I don't know. But professor of history Harry Kreshpane, who will lead the discussion, probably has a better idea.

The event is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Dean College Campus Center, 9 Emmons St., and is open to the public.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Lethal force seen justified in Franklin police shooting

Posted November 15, 2006 03:11 PM


Lethal force was justified when Franklin police fatally shot a 42-year-old man last month after officers tried to serve a restraining order and get him to surrender his three guns, according to the summary of a report released today.

The investigation, summarized in a release by the Norfolk District Attorney’s Office, determined that Lawrence J. McCarthy burst out his cellar with a loaded semi-automatic rifle and took aim at police. A Franklin police officer, who the report did not identify, fired a single shot that killed McCarthy.

-- Globe City & Region staff

Author who sparked controversy to appear in Franklin tonight

Posted November 15, 2006 03:05 PM


Franklin's Sullivan Middle School will host controversial author Yoko Kawashima Watkins tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the school library.

Residents are invited to hear Watkins speak about her book, "So Far From the Bamboo Grove," a popular middle school text about a young girl's experiences when her family flees Japan for Korea after World War II.

Although the book has been used in many local schools, a recent Globe West article said that Dover-Sherborn Middle School officials are considering removing it from the curriculum due to explicit content. According to Lisa Kocian's story, Dover-Sherborn parents are concerned that the book deals with issues like rape, which they say sixth-grade students are not prepared to consider.

The Dover-Sherborn School Committee is mulling a subcommittee's recommendation to stop assigning the book as required reading but leave it in the school library for students to check out on their own.

Sullivan Middle School is located at 500 Lincoln Street.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

The Kerry effect

Posted November 6, 2006 11:12 AM


Before U.S. Senator John Kerry made his public apology for what he said was a botched joke about poor grades and the war in Iraq, state Senator Scott Brown (R-Wrentham) sent Kerry a letter critical of the situation.

In the letter, Brown references his 27-year career in the Mass. National Guard, saying he was "disgusted" by Kerry's remarks, made at a Pasadena, Calif. college.

Kerry has since apologized, saying he was trying to make a joke at President Bush's expense. Kerry said that if students don't study hard and get good grades they might end up "stuck in Iraq," a comment which Republicans charged was a swipe at the intelligence of soldiers.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Do you think Kerry's remarks will influence tomorrow's election? Share your opinion in the Globe West Message Boards.

Franklin to sell 34 acres

Posted November 2, 2006 11:59 AM


The Franklin Town Council last night voted 6-3 to sell a 34-acre parcel between Pond Street and Interstate 495 to Woburn developer Maggiore Cos. for $4.7 million.

The town-owned property was the site of a former sewer bed, which council members saw as an opportunity for economic development.

In August, town officials decided to seek proposals from developers, and got three interested who all bid about $4 million. Maggiore will build condominiums, a restaurant, and hotel and office space on the site.

Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting said they will also work out an agreement in the development contract that will ensure public access through the property to 400 acres of open federally-owned land nearby. The potential loss of access had concerned open space advocates.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Study: more space needed at Franklin High

Posted October 31, 2006 05:11 PM


A study of space and program needs at Franklin High School has recently been completed and presented to the School Committee.

The study outlined a need for new science classrooms, a new auditorium, and connections between wings on the second floor level.

The report calls for adding at least 83,000 square feet of space to the existing building of about 300,000 square feet. Of those proposed additions, 57,000 square feet would be eligible for reimbursement through the state School Building Assistance Bureau program and 26,000 square feet -- the auditorium -- would not be reimbursable.

For a look at a presentation on the study, go to

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Correction to Franklin development item

Posted October 25, 2006 09:08 AM


Whoops. The Franklin Town Council will soon vote to award development rights to a town-owned, 34-acre parcel on Pond Street, but it won't happen tonight.

A Westword blog item posted last week noted the site of the development as the last opportunity for public access to a 400-acre federal preserve. The item said the council would make a decision tonight.

Actually, Franklin's Town Council isn't meeting until Nov. 1, when they are expected to decide whether to accept one of three proposals to build condominiums, office space and a hotel on the town's former sewer bed site.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Franklin reviews procedures after salmonella outbreak

Posted October 24, 2006 05:38 PM


The Franklin school department is trying to resolve last spring's owl pellet-caused salmonella outbreak among a group of students at Jefferson Elementary School by reviewing district-wide procedures used in experiments as well as all other policies regarding communicable diseases and medical emergencies.

According to assistant superintendent Maureen Sabolinski, a committee consisting of principals, teachers and parents has been formed to review all such information for the district.

The state Department of Public Health's review of the illnesses, which you can reach from Franklin superintendent Wayne Ogden's web page indicates that the teachers were not to blame in the incident that sickened as many as 68 children.

The report found that teachers conducting the experiment had no reason to assume the pellets could be harmful and the teachers used all necessary caution in the experiment and clean-up.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Commuter train rams truck in Franklin; 10 injured

Posted October 23, 2006 09:11 AM


Ten people suffered minor injuries this morning when a Boston-bound commuter train collided with tractor trailer truck at a rail crossing in Franklin, fire officials said.

The train rammed the truck at 7:53 a.m. at the Fisher Street rail crossing, fire officials said. Emergency crews on scene have requested additional ambulances, but none of the injuries appear to be serious.

Franklin is about 40 miles southwest of Boston. Fisher Street is dead-end, and the accident has had little impact on traffic.

-- Globe City & Region staff

Franklin must act to save open space access

Posted October 20, 2006 04:14 PM


Access to 400 acres of unspoiled public land could be cut off for residents if Franklin's Town Council doesn't act before its vote to sell industrial land next Wednesday, a former member of the town's Open Space Committee tells Globe West.

The Town Council is selling a 35-acre parcel between Pond Street and Interstate 495, but, as currently planned, the sale would render a large track of Army Corps of Engineers acreage landlocked without public access, former committee member Alan Earls said.

The issue had been a priority for the Open Space Committee for years but was accidentally omitted from the Request for Proposals that was given to developers interested in the land, Earls said.

Earlier this month, the Council heard from three developers who bid more than $4 million each for the property and unveiled sketches of office buildings, a hotel and condominiums on the site.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Driver arraigned in Wrentham fatal

Posted October 16, 2006 12:41 PM


A Franklin man is being held on bail after his arraignment this morning on charges that he struck a car while driving under the influence Saturday night on Interstate 495 North in Wrentham, killing the car’s driver.

Wrentham District Court Judge Warren Powers scheduled a pretrial hearing for Nov. 13 for Brian F. Harland, 34, of 14 Crocker Ave. Franklin.

According to state police, Harland swerved across three lanes and struck a car being driven by Paul J. Rudeen, age 21, of Framingham.

The collision forced Rudeen’s car off the road and caused it to roll over, police said.

Rudeen was pronounced dead at the scene. Harland pleaded innocent to charges of motor vehicle homicide, operating with a suspended license, and a marked lanes violation. The homicide charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

Harland has prior convictions for heroin possession and possession of cocaine with intent to deliver, said David Traub, a spokesman for the Norfolk County district attorney.

The conditions of Harland’s bail, which was set at $50,000 cash or $500,000 surety, would not allow him to operate a motor vehicle or use
alcohol or illicit drugs. Harland has appealed the bail decision.

-- Calvin Hennick

Driver facing charges in Wrentham fatal

Posted October 16, 2006 08:24 AM


A Franklin man is facing charges today after a car crash that killed a Framingham man.

State Police said the accident happened on Interstate 495 in Wrentham at about 9:50 p.m. Saturday.

Brian F. Harland, 34, of Franklin crossed three northbound lanes of traffic in his Ford pickup and struck a Saturn sedan driven by Paul J. Rudeen, 21, of Framingham, police said.

Rudeen was declared dead at the scene. Harland was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding, driving with a suspended license, driving to endanger, and vehicular homicide.

Harland is to be arraigned in Wrentham District Court today.

-- Globe City & Region staff

Franklin man shot dead by police

Posted October 16, 2006 08:17 AM


A 42-year-old father of two who was facing divorce was shot to death yesterday by Franklin police who had gone to his home to enforce a restraining order requiring him to surrender his weapons and leave the premises, the county prosecutor said.

Lawrence J. McCarthy, a window installer who was served divorce papers on Friday, was called by Franklin police about 3:30 p.m. yesterday, to notify him that a Norfolk County judge had issued an order for him to vacate his house on Chestnut Street and give up his rifle and any other weapons he had, Norfolk District Attorney William R. Keating said.

Over the next two hours, McCarthy made threats of violence, Keating said. About 5:30 p.m., McCarthy walked out of a back entrance of the home, holding a rifle with a telescopic sight, and raised the weapon in a menacing manner, Keating said.

A 10-year veteran officer on the Franklin force fired one shot, killing McCarthy, Keating told the Globe in a story today.

-- David Abel

Library receives refund

Posted October 14, 2006 10:29 AM


The town's library will be able to buy nearly $3,000 worth of books and materials, thanks to a refund from Norfolk County.

The Franklin Finance Committee received a $2,955 refund from the county because the town had been paying into a "dog fund" even though the county no longer employs any animal control personnel.

A letter accompanying the check said, "Since the County is no longer in the 'dog' business...we are enclosing a check for a portion of the Dog Fund account attributable to your municipality."

The Finance Committee redirected the funds to the library expense budget in early October.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

A new look for Franklin?

Posted October 11, 2006 05:17 PM


The Town Council will meet at 7 p.m. tonight with local business owners and others interested in the development of downtown Franklin in order to discuss streetscape improvements, said Town Administrator Jeffrey Nutting.

The meeting is a preliminary step in deciding what to do with $5 million in federal funds earmarked for downtown improvements.

Nutting said the town has hired a traffic engineer to investigate traffic in the area, which includes an unusual one-way circular pattern on a portion of Route 140 through the center of town. He said the plan could potentially change the flow of traffic in the area.

A final design and eventual construction of improvements seem a long way off: Nutting said the design must be approved by the state Highway Department, will go through several public hearings and must be funded on the Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP list. He said it is projected as a project in 2010. The meeting is set for town hall.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

They play to beat the band

Posted October 9, 2006 12:12 PM


These warriors practice for hours every week, all in preparation for one moment.

They're tough, they're confident, they're...the marching band.

Seventeen college marching bands played last weekend at Allentown Stadium. Among them was the University of Massachusetts band, whose ranks include Stefanie Hiller of Franklin.

Her family drove five hours so that Ruth Hiller could see her daughter play the flute for the Minutemen, the Morning Call of Allentown reports.

-- Erica Tochin

A second try for downtown project

Posted September 23, 2006 09:19 AM


John Marini's plans for redeveloping a portion of downtown Franklin will again be before the Planning Board in a public hearing Monday night.

Marini had pursued plans to create condominiums and retail space on a former industrial building site, but withdrew them in June, saying he was frustrated with the process. The plan was the second phase of a large-scale renovation of downtown for Marini. Following an Aug. 15 discussion with planning board members, residents and other town officials, Marini decided to resubmit the plans.

He is seeking two special permits for the development, called Franklin Center Commons II. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Making a space for seniors

Posted September 16, 2006 08:19 AM


Franklin will break ground on a new, 16,000-square-foot, $6.2 million senior center at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

The new facility, at the corner of Beaver Street and Daniel McCahill Way, will offer a wide range of programs not available at its current one-room location, on West Central Street.

According to Karen Alves, director of the Council on Aging, the new center will provide space for nurse visits, a pool table, an arts and crafts room, a computer lab and a large multi-purpose room that can be divided into three smaller spaces.

In addition, the town will offer a "senior daycare" from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the elderly who suffer from dementia.

Alves said the senior population in Franklin is currently about 3,200 but is expected to reach 4,800 by 2010 and 7,500 by 2020. Participation rates at the senior center are expected to triple when the new facility is available.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Theft charges

Posted September 7, 2006 09:42 AM


A former University of Maine employee from Franklin is facing a theft charge after she allegedly failed to return a car she had rented with a university purchasing card.

Meghan Doyle, 30, allegedly rented the car to take some students to Boston, but did not return the car after the event was over. The car was recovered after nine months. Doyle allegedly racked up $10,000 in charges to the university when she kept the car for her own personal use, according to a story on Portland's WCSH-TV Web site.

Doyle is to be arraigned later this month.

-- Erica Tochin

Hard times for the Sox

Posted September 3, 2006 10:35 AM


“I’ve been a Red Sox fan for 34 years, so I’ve learned that not every year can be our year,” Rich Palladino of Franklin, Mass. said in a major newspaper today.

“We got our World Series in ‘04, and I don’t expect to win every year. We take it in stride. I’m not angry about what’s going on. We waited 86 years for a world championship. I can handle this. Besides, we always have our Patriots.”

The New York Times -- ouch! -- published the article, which was titled, "Even by Red Sox standards, a remarkable run of bad luck."

Attempted abduction in Franklin (cont.)

Posted August 31, 2006 02:42 PM

Franklin Police are searching for a man who allegedly tried to abduct a 7-year-old girl from a playground, Deputy Chief of Police Stephan Semerjian said today.

The child told police that she was near the Franklin Commons Apartment complex on Wednesday when she was approached by a "skinny white male with wrinkles" who identified himself as a relative and asked her to enter his car to go do errands with him. The girl ran from the suspect's green Jeep back to her apartment.

Franklin Police are advising parents to educate their young children about the potential dangers of speaking to strangers.

Police described the suspect as a white male around 5-foot-10 with white hair and a white moustache. They said they are also checking local registered sex offender information and Registry of Motor Vehicle records for any similar vehicles to the one the girl described.

-- Sarah Kneezle

Attempted abduction in Franklin

Posted August 31, 2006 10:22 AM


Police in Franklin are searching for a man who allegedly tried to abduct a 7-year-old girl, according to broadcast reports.

The man approached the girl yesterday near Franklin Commons Apartments on Route 140, reports said, and told her he was a relative, according to WHDH-TV.

The girl described the man as a Caucasian male, about 5-foot-10, with white hair and mustache, according to WCVB-TV, and was driving a green Jeep Wrangler.

Dangerous pellets

Posted August 28, 2006 09:10 AM


Teachers, principals, and superintendents from Boston to Springfield are going to undergo special science safety training because of an incident last school year in Franklin, the Globe's Health/Science section reports today.

In the Franklin incident, dozens of students at Franklin's Jefferson Elementary contracted salmonella from owl pellets used in a science experiment.

The Laboratory Safety Institute of Natick will be conducting the training.

Teens who cuss

Posted August 18, 2006 10:10 AM


Franklin resident Tim Harrigan sounded off on Peter Schworm's recent article about teenagers who cuss up a storm in today's Letters to the Editor. Here's what he wrote:

PETER SCHWORM'S article on profanity ("Talking a blue streak," Living/Arts, Aug. 14) and the response to it (letters, Aug. 15) focus on bad words and form, but the real problem is not the particulars of the wording -- it's people being impersonal and rude.

Verbal nastiness is much more about intent than it is about the words used, and there are plenty of breathtakingly cruel things you can say in perfect English. The sad fact is that civility cannot be regulated by limiting vocabulary, and the only real check on bad language is a person's self-image.

For example, in most high schools you may as well replace the ``s" or ``f" words with ``blue" and ``red," for all they really mean. So high schoolers can discuss current events, such as Dick Cheney saying ``go red yourself" on the Senate floor and George Bush wanting Hezbollah to ``stop this blue" without earning detention.


Blurry vision in Franklin

Posted July 27, 2006 10:40 AM


Town Council clerk Judith Pond Pfeffer realized she had a small problem during last night's meeting when it was her turn to read aloud from an official document.

She forgot her glasses, she admitted, holding the paper close to her face as she began to read. Quickly, councilman Carlo Geromini offered his specs, and Pfeffer slipped them on, mid-sentence. She scowled and took the borrowed glasses off again, not missing a beat in her reading.

From the other direction, Councilman Philip Evans sent his reading glasses to Pfeffer via councilmen Deborah Bartlettand chairman Chris Feeley. Still reading, Pfeffer donned the glasses, adjusted them, and gave Evans a thumbs-up. She wore them for the rest of the meeting.

-- Alison O'Leary Murray

Franklin 911

Posted July 12, 2006 02:35 PM


The Franklin Police Department announced today it had received its new, state-of the-art Enhanced 911 system. The new system provides police dispatchers with more accurate location information for callers.

It will help police better trace the estimated 50 percent of 911 calls that are made from cell phones, often by frantic callers who don't know exactly where they are.

The new equipment is part of a statewide initiative, but some town money was spent to renovate and update the department's dispatch room, police said.

-- Erica Noonan

Good vibrations in Franklin

Posted July 8, 2006 10:24 AM


A Franklin health club is seeing a lot of interest in its vibrating platform. Customers have come from as far away as Cape Cod to Core Fitness to use the device the club bought in October.

The Globe reports today that a new vibration-based fitness fad is taking Massachusetts by storm -- although it's a bit of a stretch to call it exercise.

The idea is that simply standing on a vibrating platform like the one at Core Fitness has benefits. Sounds crazy, yes, but among the early adopters are two little-known organizations called the Celtics and the Red Sox.

Handle (owl pellets) with care

Posted July 6, 2006 02:00 PM


The Franklin schools announced today that a salmonella outbreak that affected the Jefferson Elementary School recently was caused by owl pellets that had been used for a 5th grade science experiment.

Officials estimate that 50 students became ill. They have confirmed 28 cases of salmonellosis.

The schools said in a news release that the state Department of Public Health's Epidemiology Program will recommend new procedures for the use of owl pellets in science projects before the next school year begins.

-- Erica Tochin

Stanley Cup comes home

Posted July 5, 2006 06:50 AM


There was a hard-to-miss sports theme in the town of Franklin's July 4th parade. Yes, that was Franklin native Peter Laviolette holding the Stanley Cup as the parade rolled through town.

Laviolette is the head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes, who won the NHL's prized trophy in 2005-2006.

A former coach for the Providence Bruins -- the top minor-league affiliate of the NHL's Boston Bruins -- Laviolette is now considered one of the top, young coaches in hockey after leading his team to the NHL championship.

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