Town of Franklin Board Newsletter
Volume 5 Issue 1 - Our Town News March 2014
From the Supervisor
By Art Willman
Prolonged Cold Weather Impacts Fuel and Highway Costs
Here we are at the end of February-beginning of March and we are still experiencing below zero nighttime temperatures, low teens for the daytime, and the occasional snow squall. At least as far as the temperatures are concerned, it has been a few years since we have had a stretch this cold. That certainly has put some stress on fuel supplies and prices. Although we haven't really had a "big one" to date, there is still plenty of time for one or more heavy storms. If the quantity of precipitation at the beginning of the season is any indicator what we can expect for the end of winter, beginning of spring, we could certainly expect some good sized storms packing some substantial snow, ice, rain, or a mix of everything.
Our Highway Dept. has been busy plowing and sanding on a regular basis. These little nuisance snows require almost as much labor, sand, and salt as a larger storm, only more frequently. As you probably have heard, other areas across northern New York and Vermont are experiencing serious shortages of sand and salt due to the number and severity of storms. We have been out probably more than other years as well, but our salt and sand supplies are holding up. Barring an unusually long winter and cold, stormy spring, we shouldn't have any problems.
Winter Driving Hazards Caution
Speaking of harsh winters, please keep in mind that we live in a region that experiences wide fluctuations in temperatures with daytime thawing and nighttime freezing commonplace. This produces a condition known as "black ice" which can be hazardous if you are not prepared for it. Also, these conditions can cause show and ice to become "ironed on" the road surface. Although we try to keep our roads as clean as possible, there still will be some problem areas where snow has become hard- packed and a rough, bumpy road results.
The solution to these problems as drivers is to SLOW DOWN. It is far better that we allow extra time to get to our destinations that not to arrive there at all due to a mishap on black ice or some sort of damage due to trying to navigate a bumpy road at higher speed. One more thing: the cold has forced the frost very deep this year. We are getting more than the customary frost heaves at locations where culverts pass under the roads. As general rule, these are marked, but sometimes the marker gets lost, so again, slow down so that you can watch the road and save yourself and your passengers a tooth-jarring experience.
Free Ice Skating at Saranac Lake
By Cliff Smalley
The Town of Franklin has taken the initiative to provide the families of the Saranac Lake Central School System many opportunities this winter season to skate for free at the Saranac Lake Civic Center. Our Town recognizes that many residents are not involved in the organized, pay to play, seasonal activities for many different reasons. By removing one of the expense barriers we hope to encourage a return to the vibrant, social civic skating that was the norm years ago in Saranac Lake and the Town of Franklin.
When I began skating 20+ years ago with my kids it seemed as if every kid was at a skating rink with their friends. The world has changed with a multitude of electronic devices attracting the undivided attention of everybody during their free time. Inconsistent weather fluctuations have made it more difficult to maintain outdoor skating rinks. The consistency of good ice quality in the Civic Center guaranties encouraging skating conditions for the general public regardless of weather conditions. The challenge was to find, and prioritize, consistent skating times throughout the season that could be counted on. Thank you to Mike Ritchie, the Civic Center Manager, for working with our town to emphasize open public skating for everybody.
The remaining free public skating dates sponsored by the Town of Franklin: Feb. 23; March 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30.
The skating time is typically 2:15 - 3:30 but please call the civic ctr. that morning to hear if the time has changed. You can also look at the Saranac Lake Pee Wee Hockey web site to see the days' schedule in advance.
In addition to the indoor skating at Civic Center our Town maintains an outdoor skating rink at the Kate Mountain Park. The Ward family graciously turns on, and then turns off the lights at the rink each evening the ice suitable for skating. Encourage your family to get back to ice skating for exercise and fun. I hope to see you on the ice!
Road Reclamation Facilitated
Looking toward the summer, we are beginning to firm up our plans for ditch maintenance, road repairs, and paving schedule. We could start to make another dent in our road reclamation because of our acquisition of our asphalt grinding machine. If you recall, we went into a partnership with the Town of Harrietstown to purchase this machine jointly. This gives us the availability of such a machine to allow us to grind roads that need more than just surface dressing. The material that is ground up is then used along with stone or crusher run to form a solid base for the new pavement. From all indicators this will lead to greater longevity of the paved surface. It is a fact of life here in the North Country that our roads don't last as long because of our normally harsh winters, the salt we apply, and repeated yearly freeze and thaw cycles. Hopefully our ability to reclaim needed road surfaces will help mitigate some of this destruction
Town wide Broadband Internet Service on the Horizon. Survey Essential
Back at the Town Hall, we are excited about our newest project. We are in partnership with the Town of Harrietstown, Legislator Barb Rice, Dave Wolff from ADKAction.org, and Dr. Diane Litynski from Paul Smiths College to ultimately give every resident of our two towns access to high speed broadband internet service. To do this, we have put together a survey questionnaire to assess if folks have internet access and what sort of provider they have.
We have made this survey available in a variety of ways. We sent out post cards to every resident of our towns with the information for filling out this survey on line or by phone.
In case anyone did not receive a card for some reason, the web site is www.surveymonkey.com/s/town_of_franklin. The phone number if you would like to do this by phone is (518)882-4047. For those of us who prefer the old fashioned way, there are hard copies of this survey at the Town Hall. We encourage everyone to take a couple of seconds to help out by filling out a survey. We have a target date of March 21st with some additional time set for additional efforts to reach some of those who have not yet responded by the 21st . When all is said and done, we would like to start analyzing this data by March 21st or so.
Once we have the date, it will be used to put together a business model of the town showing all of the roads, the residences on the roads, and whether they have internet access and what type of access they have. We will then approach broadband providers with this information to find out the cost of bringing broadband to every resident in the towns and what each provider is prepared to contribute. When we have a clear indication of what we need to raise in terms of additional funds, we will pursue grant monies that are available for underserved areas such as ours. If it all comes together, we can proceed with the cabling, wiring, etc. I need to point out at this time, that no one is under any obligation to purchase broadband access from any provider if they so choose. This entire project is to make this option available to those residents who want it.
It almost goes without saying that this project, if brought to fruition, will have multiple positive effects for the current and future residents of the towns of Franklin and Harrietstown. We would see benefits in the areas of education, business, economics, and tourism just for starters. For example, both towns have large numbers of seasonal residents and visitors. Broadband access will make it possible for these folks to visit more often and stay longer since they would have the ability to stay connected with their businesses, families, etc. Our students would have the access they need for everything from homework and school projects to researching trade schools and colleges and completing the necessary applications to these institutions which have become increasingly more complex and are generally required to be done on line. The potential for starting online businesses or for telecommuting would be realized. In short, it would be a win, win, win for everyone. Please take the time to complete a survey.
PO Box 209, Vermontville, NY 12989, Phone: 518-891-2189, FAX: 6389
Town hall Kitchen Facility in Full Compliance with Board of Health Requirements
Also at the Town Hall, we have had an ultraviolet water treatment system installed. This has been a requirement for public buildings not on a municipal water supply. This also has enabled us to fulfill the requirements for an annual Health Dept. permit for our kitchen which we recently received. That means that any group wishing to use our kitchen to serve food at a fund raiser or other event will no longer have to apply for and obtain a temporary food service permit. It is also helpful to our Summer Youth Program since it allows sandwiches to be prepared on-site for our children.
Well, I have prattled on long enough. If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to give a call to the Town Hall or to my home. Better yet, come in to a board meeting. We'd love to see you. Until then, be well.
Remember When? (Redacted)
By Lauren LeFebvre
Last year when Sandy Oliver started planning her retirement by taking her deputy off the bench using me as a starting player, one of the most common things people said to me was (other than "Oh my gosh, has it really been 10 years since you were Town Clerk?") how they missed the parties I used to do. I miss those parties, too, but there's a huge piece missing. I never, ever, ever did those things alone. I had committees of great volunteers to do them with me.
Remember the Old-Fashioned 4th of July Picnic? I watched George and Sara Besaw's boys jump right over their mother, who was rolling around on the ground trying to regain her balance, in the 3-legged race and never even bother to say "Hey Mom, you ok?" I have the best picture ever of Gene Goff in mid-spit during the Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest. We had a Town of Franklin Talent Show (this was BEFORE American Idol, mind you), a pie eating contest, a potato sack race, etc. I think we could roll this right into Founder's Day.
How about the Easter Egg Hunts? I have one memory of one Easter Egg Hunt. I didn't hide the Golden Egg because my kids were in the hunt. I think the prize for finding it was a bike or something big like that. Wouldn't you know it? One of my daughters walks up to me with huge smile and THE Golden Egg. I immediately said, through gritted teeth and a fake smile, "Go put that back". The response I got was not pleasant. Finally, still with the teeth and fake smile thing going, I said "I'll get you a bike! Just put that back!"
Halloween and the Haunted Jaunt. My all time favorite of all. Give me a reason to wear a costume and I am all over it! For those of you who don't remember, The Haunted Jaunt was the epitome of "working together". The Town of Franklin, Gene's Grocery, St. Paul's Food Pantry and the Vermontville Community Church of the Nazarene all joined together for a night of family fun. In a nutshell, trick-or-treaters started at Gene's to pick up a Treat Ticket and a stamp. They would head over to the Town Hall and go through the Haunted House and get their 2nd stamp. From the Town Hall, head out the back to the Food Pantry for great snacks and their 3rd stamp. The last stop on the Haunted Jaunt was the Nazarene Church's Fall Festival for games, treats and a movie. Kids who had all four stamps put their tickets into a drawing for a BIG prize. This was a fun, fun, fun event for everyone.
Christmas saw a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, presents, games, sing-a-longs, pi�ata (no we never ended up on America's Funniest Home Videos) and, snacks.
Is any of this ringing a bell for anyone? Gosh, I hope so. Some people are great Christmas people, I don't happen to be one of those. Some people are great picnic people, I hate anything to do with "outside". Easter Egg Hunt? Again...outside, we've cover that BUT it is the easiest of all the events. Halloween? Now we're talkin'!
See? Those parties "I" did, I really didn't do at all. 3 out of 4 I could have done without but the people who helped with all of those were the ones who carried the enthusiasm and we ALL had fun.
So right now, I'm looking for volunteers an Easter Egg Hunt on April 12 (come rain, shine, bitter cold, black flies, snowstorm or tornado), Founder's Day July 26 (rain date 7/27), Haunted House October 31 and Christmas Party December 20 . No one needs to commit to each and every event. I know commitment is difficult for a lot of people. Right now, I'm just in the planning stages. What we'll do and how we'll do it depends on how many people are willing to put themselves out there and commit. Call me at 891-2189 or 891-1046 (home), text or call me at 637-7754 or email me at email@example.com. or friend me on Facebook!
My hope is to have a quick meeting sometime before the end of March just to see what your thoughts are. As I said before, those parties "I" did never happened. It was always the parties "we" did. We can do it again.