Framingham Blog Posts

October 11, 2017

Framingham Sister Cities

The Sister Cities International is the resource to facilitate relationships between international cities. They make Sister Cities a productive relationship for both entities.

Framingham has only one city listed as a Sister City, whereas the town officially recognize two locations as Sister Cities:

  • Lomonosov, Saint Petersburg - A municipal town in Petrodvortsovy District of the federal city of Saint Petersburg, Russia
  • Governador Valadares, Minas Gerais - A Brazilian municipality in the state of Minas Gerais.

Sister Cities International has only Newark, New Jersey as the sister city.

Sister Flags

Some information about Lomonosov

Lomonosov, Saint Petersburg became Framingham first Sister City officially on July 27, 1992.

How it came about: The mayor of Lomonosov was looking for a Western city to build better relations. Irving August was on a business trip to Lomonosov and met the mayor. Irving came back to Framingham and convinced the town selectmen to make Lomonosov a Sister City.

The relationship is for pure knowledge for the children of Lomonosov and Framingham to learn about each other.

A committee on Sister City relation was created in Framingham. The committee is called FLAME - Framingham Lomonosov Association for Metropolitan Exchange.

A year after the relationship was created 13 citizens from Lomonosov came to Framingham for a visit.

There has been very little information about the cultural exchanges between the two locals since 2004.

Irving August died June 12, 2006.

Distance from Framingham to Lomonosov, Saint Petersburg

Straight line or air distance: 6595.01 km, 4097.95 miles, 3558.66 nautical miles. Estimated Driving Distance: 7584.26 km to 8243.76 km

Some information about Governador Valdares

Ties to Governador Valdares, Minas Gerais was officially formed in October 2003.

The sister city request was made by Joao Paulo Freitas and his wife Vera Dias Freitas.

According to some estimates there are about 1,000 Brazilian immigrants from Valadares in Framingham.

The relationship goal was to teach Framingham residents about Brazilian music, food, language and culture.

In July 2004, a group of Framingham residents visited Governador Valdares, Minas Gerais. They used the trip to learn about Governador Valdares and stayed with host families.

The newspaper in Valadares often feature Framingham news.

Joao Paulo Freitas is currently a realtor at Re/Max One Call Realty.

Distance from Framingham to Governador Valdares

Straight line or air distance: 7439.35 km, 4622.6 miles, 4014.27 nautical miles. Estimated Driving Distance: 8555.25 km to 9299.19 km

October 4, 2017

Framingham Mayor Primary Race

Last week Framingham residents went to the polls to vote for the town’s first Mayor. Yvonne Spicer was the clear winner with getting more votes than all the other candidates combined:

Framingham2017 Results

Factoid:
More people voted for Yvonne Spicer than for the change for Framingham to be a City. (5,684 people voted to transform the town to be a city.)

Number of Register Voters vs Turn out

Last November there were 39,910 registered voters, in September there were 39,996. Which mean 86 people signed up since the Presidential election. Not a huge change, but not bad for a primary election.

  • 27.52% of the registered voters turned up in the primary. (11,006 voted in the Primary Election)
  • 75% of the registered voters turned up in the November Elections (30,028 voted in the General Election)
  • 43% of the registered voters turned up in the Presidential primary. (17,300 voted in the Primary Election)

The General Election had a lot of national coverage so it was expected to have a higher turnout.

September 27, 2017

ADESA

If you're at the end of your lease and don't want to trade it in at the dealer, there’s a couple of options Massachusett residents have, the one nearest Framingham is ADESA.

What is ADESA

ADESA provides customers a whole car auction solution. We serve two main client types: institutional customers and dealers.

The dealers who consign and purchase vehicles at ADESA auctions are licensed franchises and independent wholesale dealers. Dealer consignment vehicles include over-aged dealer inventory and unwanted dealer trade-ins.

Adesa

Six things to Know about ADESA

  • Building was once housed by General Motors
  • Michael Dukakis purchased a car that was manufactured here.
  • Public is not allowed to purchase auction cars. You can watch the auction from the lobby window. (It's neat to see the various cars that come in the lot.)
  • Pictures are not allowed on the property. If you want that last picture with your lease car you will have to do it before you arrive.
  • There is very limited parking. You need to park the car and then walk into the building to do the car transfer. Make sure to have all the paperwork with you.
  • There is no trash bin at the drop-off location, make sure you clean out the car before arriving. Don't forget to look under the mats and sun visors.

Directions

From Downtown Framingham, Take a right onto Hollis St, then the next right on Irving Street. Stay on Irving Street, it becomes Loring Drive. You will know when you get near the facility when you start seeing a lot of cars parked on your right.

Street Address: 63 Western Avenue, Framingham, MA 01702

September 20, 2017

CSA Shares at Hanson Farm

Several Framingham farms have doing CSA (Community Support Agriculture) shares. Framingham residents may have seen lawn signs promoting the CSA Shares.

Framingham's Hanson Farms is one of the Farms that offers CSA Shares.

CSA Shares

How CSA Farm Shares Work

The program allows local farmers to get cash up front to help cover the cost of operating expenses. In return, the investor will get a weekly share of fresh locally grown produce from early June to late October.

The amount of produce received every week is enough to feed a family of four. The share does vary weekly depending on what's available to harvest and the current weather conditions.

Some of the items require the Investor to pick their own - a fun activity for the kids!

Plan Duration and Cost

The standard CSA program last for 20 Weeks and cost $650 (2017 figures). That comes to $32.50 a week.

For smaller families, there is an alternate share program where you get a share every other week. So you only get 10 pickups.

The alternative plan cost $350, which comes to $35 a week.

Hanson Farms has an interesting cost saving summary PDF of how the program is a win-win for everyone. In the PDF, you can see how the Investor was able to save a lot of money over the grocery store prices. In addition, the PDF shows the various type food that might be available every week.

Supporting Local Farms

Using the CSA program is a great way to support local farms. While you may get some produce cheaper at the local supermarket. Supporting local farms via CSA helps local farmers grow excellent crop.

September 13, 2017

Framingham 2017 Mayor Election

The Town of Framingham will have it's first Mayor election on September 26, 2017. There are 6 candidates that are meet the qualifications to be the first Mayor of the city of Framingham. The top two winners in the September primary will face off for the November election.

Framingham Sign

Here's a list of the candidates and a link to their official websites:

  • Josh Horrigan - "We, as a people, Have decided to Change. Now let's commit to it."
  • John Stefanini - "We need to bring government to people, rather than people to government."
  • Dhruba Sen - "My vision is to make Framingham one of the top 5 Smart Cities of the world."
  • Mark Tilden - "There's no reason a major part of the marathon route which appears on the national stage each year shouldn't stand out as a bustling hub of our growing city. "
  • Yvonne Spicer - "I'm running for Mayor to build our new city government in a way that is open and accessible to everyone."
  • Ben Neves-Grigg - "Ben's vision is to move the City of Framingham forward as the most desirable city in the Commonwealth."
  • Priscila Sousa - "will govern to provide a voice for those who have become disenfranchised by the status quo."
September 6, 2017

Callahan State Park

Framingham's Callahan State Park is a public recreation area covering 958 acres. People use the park for hiking, Mountain Biking, Fishing, horseback riding and walking. There is a pond where dogs can play in a beach like area.

The park has many trials with various main entrances:

  • North Entrance - Good place to start on the Hiking trails. Lots of available parking.
  • Edman's Road Entrance - Nice lot
  • South Entrance - Primary Dog entrance. Enjoy the pond and meet other dog owners. Watch out for Golfers across the street when parking!

This is a nice park where there is a combination of open fields and woods. There's all sorts of fun trails to explore.

Not only is this a fun place to go for a walk, but its a fun place to bring your camera and take pictures - especially in early October.

You don't need a dog to visit the park - as there are lots of trails to explore. During a recent visit we encountered several families out for a nice Labor Day walk.

callahanpark Image

Ten things I Learned About Callahan State Park

  • Officially Became a State Park in 1970
  • Named after Raymond J, Callahan, an editor of the Framingham News. The park was named after him shortly after he died in 1969.
  • Was a farm land since 1699 and 425-arces was turned over to the state as park land in 1969. The state paid $322,500 for the land. The state was buying lots of open space and some people didn't think it was a good use of the state's money.
  • The park now encompasses 958-arces. (I wasn't able to find out specifically when the park expanded in size.)
  • When the park first opened, there were personal aircraft shows near the Millwood entrance. Over a 1,000 people showed up. (Where did they park?)
  • Dog owners should be careful about having their dogs swim or drink at the pond off Millwood Street. There are bacteria in the water since it is still water. Probably not a good idea to have puppies play in the water.
  • One of the few places in the MetroWest where you can take dogs off the leach. Make sure to read the park signs, this is not a 100% leach free area and park rangers have been known to enforce the rules. Make sure you are in control of your dog at all times.
  • Learn about the trails before you go. There are trail maps available if you need it.
  • There is only 30 parking spaces on the Millwood Ave parking lot. This tends to fill up quickly on Weekends because its very close to the leach free area and pond. Cars will line the streets near the parking lot entrance.
  • If you plan to visit the park with your dog frequently, consider joining the Callahan Dog Owners Group. It's a group that is working to make Callahan State Park the best multi-use park in Massachusetts.

Official Street Address

The park offical street address is 1048 Edmands Rd, Framingham, MA 01701. If you are bringing a dog visit the Millwood entrance as you'll see other dogs enjoying the open field.

August 19, 2017

Curbside Refuse Collection Planner

Framingham residents will soon be dusting off their rakes and leaf blowers. Pretty soon leaves will be falling down on lawns all over town.

It's important to know when the town will come by and pick up the Lawn/Leaf bags.

Tip: If you go to the Framingham Yard Waste Drop Off you can re-use the Lawn/Leaf bags - instead of dropping off bags you dump out the leaves at the center. Now you get more bang for your buck.

Note: the paper bags aren't strong enough for many re-uses. It's pretty safe to use it a couple of times, after that, you take a chance of the bags opening up in the car. This is especially true if you have wet leaves.

Here's the Town of Framingham Curbside Collection for September 2017 - to January 2018:

FramingahmSchedule_thumb.jpg
Click on image for a larger version.

I recommend saving a copy of the graphic and display it near where you keep trash bags. Basically, remember that when you put out the trash in November to also put out leaf bags.

June 28, 2017

Evernote Helper

Have you ever worked on a document and then an idea came up for something completely unrelated to what your working on?

Ya, it happens to everyone.

The problem is if you completely stop what you're doing - you'll loose focus on the task at hand.

EverNote Helper (Menu Item) can be a real life saver. When you encounter a distraction thought, such as "I should really check out that Tom Cruise - Tom Gun Music Video" you can just make a quick note without closing the program you're in. This is possible because EverNote Helper is a Macintosh/Windows system-wide utility.

Evernote Helper Graphic

I have found that EverNote helper is good way to remember things when you don't want to interupt your current task.

Screen Capture

As an added bonus, you can take a quick screenshot with your quick note. You don't need to take a full-screen shot - you can just take a picture of a selected area of the screen or any window.

Audio Recordings

Macintosh users can add a voice recording but I don't see any use for that. At my office it's pretty quiet - I don't think I would ever use this.

Some real world examples

Don't think it's something you need to use? Check out some real world tasks that have happen to me:

  • Thought of a cool gift idea while browsing Amazon? Take a screen shot and make a note.
  • See a cool graphic design on social media that you would like to duplicate? Take a screenshot of it and comment on why you like it.
  • Need to bring some supplies to work tomorrow? Take a note.
  • Found a bug but don't have time to file a report? Take a screenshot and jot down some notes.
  • Wouldn't it be great if.. Take a quick note.
  • On a call, need to jot a phone number or address?
  • Discovered a cool Alexa saying? Take a note.

At first I thought having another menu item didn't make any sense. However, I discovered that it makes perfect sense for just a quick note.

Once you remember the keyboard commands you'll be using this feature all the time.

Evernote Menu Help
Quick Cheat Sheet Guide.

One last Thought

Think about it - when was the last time your desktop sticky note had a screenshot?

June 7, 2017

Emoji in Evernote

EverNote is a great tool to organize everyday notes. You can put notes in Notebooks and tag them so you can easily find them later.

Did you know that EverNote Supports Emoji icons? It's a cool way to highlight notes or notebooks. Check out this example of the Done and Food Notebooks.

Notebook Emoji

As you can see it's pretty easy to identify the use of those particular notebooks.

What are Emoji icons?

Emoji are a small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communication.

Emoji in Evernote

You can use emoji within your documents. But did you know that you can use them in headers and in Notebook names?

This can make it easier for certain notes or notebooks to stand out. As in the above example, my 'Done' notebook is where I store completed Blog notes.

All Emoji are Not the Same

Androd Emoji and Apple Emoji are different, this is important to know if your using EverNote on different devices types.

Emoji

Also keep in mind that Apple and Android don't have the same Emoji library. When Android encounter an Emoji that is not in their library, you'll get a box to indicate an incomplete emoji, If you keep a single OS platform, then this isn't a problem.

Emoji Technique

Using Emoji is a good way to make ordinary notes stand out. This is a great idea for those reference notes that you may need to use all the time.

Just remember to not throw an Emoji on synced Notebooks. (i.e. Notebooks that are being used by IFTTT, such as Twitter and IOS Photos.) If you add an Emoji, you're essentially changing the name and that may cause the sync to fail.

December 28, 2016

Framingham's Old Colony Hotel

Old Colony Hotel

The Old Colony Hotel is a small hotel near downtown Framingham. Framingham MBTA commuters may see the hotel as they drive to the commuter rail parking lot, as it's the last business before the parking lot.

Some online reports claim that the hotel was built around 1885. However, the town of Framingham lists the building as being built in 1900.

50 Year old Murder in Framingham

According to local reports In April 1966, John T. Horning murdered James Barry Sr. at a bar at the Old Colony Hotel. Police said that his motive for the killing was that John wanted to collect money that James owed him. John confronted James in the men's room, a fight broke out and James ended up on the floor with a broken neck.

James Barry Sr., age 66, died a few hours later at a local hospital from the neck wound.

John T. Horning, then 26, was charged with the murder. There is no information on the status of the trial, beyond that the jury visited the hotel to see the crime scene.

Here are some other things that I have learned about the hotel:

Interesting Facts about the Old Colony Hotel

  • Built in 1900, but the sign on the hotel says it's established in 1885
  • There are 24 bedrooms in the hotel
  • The hotel square footage is 11,677 sqf
  • The building is worth more than the land. (Building: $1,095,900 and Land: $155,100)
  • The Hotel was built across from the railroad depot as a place to people to stay when they arrive to Framingham via rail.
  • Was once called the Park Central Hotel and the Park Haven Hotel.
  • Apparently the name of the hotel changed between Park Haven and Old Colony over the years.
  • A Boston Globe report stated owners of the Old Colony Hotel were going on a cruise in 1920, and then a few years later articles talk about events at the Park Haven Hotel.
  • Hotel was own by Frank E. Brooks until his death on July 30, 1926. He left the hotel to his son Frank H Brooks.
  • Frank H. Brooks attempted to sell the hotel in an ad in the Boston Globe April 23, 1944.
  • There were two fires at the hotel: November 24, 1946 and sometime in 1959.
  • The fire in 1946 started at the Grain Elevator next door caused significant damage to the hotel.
  • Murder Occurred at the Hotel in 1966, A Middlesex County Superior Court jury visited the hotel on April 25, 1966.
  • Hotel went under foreclosure auction on September 21, 1975

Location

The Old Colony Hotel is located at 2 Franklin St, Framingham, MA 01702