"The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesistate for a moment to prefer the latter... " from the letters of Thomas Jefferson 1787
In March the PSB issued a Proposal for Decision in favor of Adelphia and RRCTV which SKATV opposed. An Oral Argument was held in August. Afer the argument the PSB ordered Adelphia to reconsider its decision. Without evidence of any reconsideration Adelphia sent local subscribers bills designating RRCTV and increasing the PEG fee from 2 1/2% to 5%. SKATV applied for a Temporary Injunction and an August Evidentiary Hearing was scheduled. The Hearing was postponed and Adelphia's eventually published its Reconsideration. SKATV responded in a September letter stating the reasoning was circular, otherwise flawed and unsupported. In October the Board issued an Order Closing Docket. SKATV requested a Reconsideration in November which was denied. In December SKATV met and decided to appeal the Order to the Vermont Supreme Court.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfil it." G. Santayana 1863-1952
During the eighties cable companies installed cables connecting the town of Sherburne and central Vermont with the world of CNN, ESPN, MTV and PEG (Public Education and Government) access. Since then dozens of PEG stations in Vermont and hundreds across the country have fulfilled the promise of digital democracy. Much changed in Sherburne (renamed Killington) as the cable company and ski area were bought and sold three times. Some things never changed - the town continues to be governed under its original 1761 Charter and managed by the same individual since 1976. The promise of public, educational and governmental access remains unfulfilled in Killington.
'Stipulation Re: Public Access' between Young's Cable TV Corp. and Town of Sherburne by Manager David Lewis includes agreement to provide access for live local origination from municipal locations such as town hall, library, school, fire department and grange. Young's is eventually bought by First Carolina Corporation.
$30,000 paid by First Carolina for the Sherburne public access channel. Lewis solicits quotes for equipment which Selectman authorize for up to $ 10,000. Adelphia eventually buys First Carolina.
Town Manager negotiates with Steve Egelston of Killington TV to tape town meeting for $500 for 2 hour program Selectman authorize taping to be paid out of the cable TV money the town received.
Problems w/ Channel 41 not being available on basic plan (only on extended plan). Citizen / subscribers complaints and concerns lead Selectman to suggest town split the cost of a filter with the cable company to extend signal.
KTV proposes to tape Town Meeting for $1,775 discounted to $1,200. Selectman request Town Manager renegotiate price.
Letter from Gary Netsch that the SMAC (Sherburne Media Access Committee) has formed to increase student access to media technology. Members included Barry, & Jeanne Leete, Karen Dalury, Jackie Vaughn, Paris Watts, Trish Jarecki, Scott Hausler.
Barry Leete presents Public Access Program “request” proposal based on meeting between SMAC and School board members. Town manager requests an "outline of the program which would show the use and demand for such a request". Request tabled by Selectmen for review.
After attending a SMAC meeting Town Manager presented their request for Public Cable TV funding for equipment for educational programming. ... "what is missing is a plan for usage and how it will be managed which would then justify the purchase." Board not interested in "allocating this money, based on the information received because it was inadequate." SMAC later disbands after being frustrated in their efforts.
SPA TV (Sherburne Public Access Television). a start-up public access television group, motions to intervene in Adelphia's Certificate of Public Good renewal.
SPA TV notifies town management that an independent nonprofit administrative entity has formed to manage PEG funding. The subject is discussed at next selectman's meeting.
Town of Sherburne votes to rename itself Town of Killington. The chartered name change takes place in July and the town run Channel 13 becomes Killington Public Access Television.
While exploring community needs, SPA TV contacts Adelphia's Terri Gould about a subscriber survey included w/ cable bill.
Meeting with Adelphia's Terry Gould and Nicholas Bolintam; Town Treasurer Pat Keim, Manager Dave Lewis and Selectman Butch Findeisen and SPA TV's Kip Dalury. Gould suggests a notice on the station soliciting interest in local programming before undertaking survey.
Keim programs character generated notice on Ch 13:
ANYONE INTERESTED IN LOCALLY PRODUCED PROGRAMMING CONTACT PAT KEIM OR KIP DALURY (PHONE NUMBERS). Low level veiwership generates little response to the notice.
SPA TV sponsors the following Petition and gathers 50 signatures for it: SHALL THE TOWN SUPPORT INDEPENDENTLY OPERATED PUBLIC, EDUCATIONAL AND GOVERNMENTAL (PEG) ACCESSES PROVIDING LIVE LOCAL PROGRAMMING VIA CABLE BROADCAST'? Article 9 on Warning for Town Meeting.
SPA TV presents Article 9 near the end of town meeting. Discussion of estimated $100,000.00 balance in fund, oversight and control, composition of board. etc. leads to considerable confusion. Various motions made but no action taken. Perhaps due to conflicting schedules, few of the 50 signers of the petition were present and voice vote not considered a referendum.
Representatives from Rutland Regional Community TV invited to Killington Selectman meeting. SPA TV inquires whether to invite Vermont Dept. of Public Service representative to witness presentation of competing bid for PEG funding. Town decides premature to have state present. SPA TV attends and responds. Rutland Herald reports 'Groups compete for cable funding' in its May 15, 2000 edition of the regional section.
The search for a home:
Selectman suggest possible use of old (vacant) library as possible office space meanwhile the party interested in buying the vacant Sherburne Grange Hall withdrew and this space became another possibility.
Adelphia renews its Certificate of Public Good accompanied by extensive
Order. SPA TV representatives attend annual VAN meeting in Hanover, NH
and meet with Janet Franz, Adelphia's newly hired Community Affairs Manager.
A season of buy outs and mergers. Killington Television/ KTV, the local commercial television station, joins most of the other ASC resorts as a Resorts Sports Network affiliate. The independent local radio station WEBK sold to the group owning WJJR in Rutland. An American Ski Company merger with Meristar is announced but later cancelled. Green Mountain College announces a satellite campus at the Killington Arts Center.
Shortly before town meeting, in an effort to maintain some local control, a group of citizens forms SHARP (Sherburne Seniors, Sherburne Historians, Killington ARts Guild, and PEG) at their organizational meeting Feb. 23, 2001. SHARP continues to meet monthly including representatives from the various groups as well as the town of Killington and the State of Vermont. Main focus is the Sherburne Grange. Various towns have renovated Granges into community centers for the benefit of the public. Community Block Grants are available for these projects and such purposes. The town of Killington would not be involved financially but would be the lead applicant for a community block grant.
The present building would have to be renovated extensively. The old Grange burned and was moved to its present site in the 50's so it may not yet be eligible for historic preservation funding. Killington Mountain School added an addition in the late 80s and leased the building from the local Grange Society until it became inactive in the late 90's. The real estate has now reverted to the State Grange, which has continued negotiations with a series of potential buyers for about $100,000. The site is centrally located in the historic hamlet district.
The consensus is that the renovated Grange would be a suitable community
center. The Cherubs Historians are seeking more space to preserve and protect
local history; they currently have a small display in "The Vermont Room"
of the new library - which seems at times to be already operating at capacity.
The Killington Arts Guild seeks studio space. Sherburne's Active Seniors
seek activity space. SPA TV is an independent start up PEG station seeks
office space. A portion of the PEG funding could provide the 20%
matching funds required for the block grant and ongoing funding to help
support operations, making it the 'anchor tenant' in the community center.
a local citizen raises the issue of the 2 groups competing for the escrowed PEG funds - locally organized SPA TV and Rutland’s Regional Community Television RRCTV.
The local catholic church, which had been interested in the Grange, decides not to continue and the state Grange offers the building to SHARP for $100,000. SHARP files with the State of Vermont and incorporates as a non profit organization at the end of April. A representative from a local architectural firm visits the site and is given all known materials on the building for review and preliminary feasibility study. SPA TV changes its name to SKA TV (Sherburne Killington Access Television) and incorporates as a non profit organization with the State of Vermont. Shortly after
Dalury attends Select meeting and responds to citizens concerns, provides update on SHARP and asks: '...whether the town will create its own identity (via PEG programming) or allow Rutland County do it.
Town manger meets with Adelphia. Selectmen give him permission to contact
RRCTV (Rutland Regional Community Televison) and notify both RRCTVand SKA
TV that they intend to make a decision on PEG administration October 1,
2001. In a 7/30/01 memo the town manger, who lives in Rutland, recommends
sending the escrowed PEG funds to Rutland Regional Community Television.
The boards of SKA TV and SHARP join in opposition to sending town PEG fees
The boards of SKA TV and SHARP (the community center) join together
expanding the board from 7 to 10 members - all seats filled except
for the Selectman and School board representative. The group meets weekly
in preparation for the October 1 meeting, and members attend selectmans
meetings to protest the town manager's memo and his recomendation that
the selectman give the PEG funding escrowed for local subscribers to RRCTV.
SKATV and RRCTV present proposals at an October 1 Selectmans meeting
held at the Sherburne Library to accomodate the crowd of 3 dozen. At the
following meeting the Selectman decide to act on Mr Lewis' recomendation
in choosing RRCTV over SKATV. SKATV board meets mid month and votes to
petition both Vermont Public Service Board and the voters of the town of
Killington if necessary to preserve PEG funding locally.
SKA TV continues in start up mode and submits a Proposal to Adelphia
to administer PEG funds meanwhile continuing to search for office space.
Board members begin gathering signatures on a local petition to bring the
matter before the town of Killington voters if necessary (whether to send
PEG fees generated in the town of Killignton to Rutland Regional Community
Television) And a Petiton to Vermont's Public Service Board to mediate
a dispute between SKAT V and RRCTV, should it arise, is prepared. SKATV
visits Woodstock's new PEG station WCTV.
As the year, decade, century and millenium ends both SKATV and RRCTV
proposals sit on a desk at Adelphia.
SKATV collects 5% of the voters signature in support of a local entity
and for a Special Meeting if necessary to resolve
any dispute between it and the RRCTV. The signatures are sent to Adelphia. SKATV requests to be invited to upcoming Woodstock Community Televison meeting. Town of Killington Selectman publish an 'informational bulletin' in a local publication attempting to explain their rationale for sending PEG fees collected in the town of Killington out of town.
SKATV sends a letter to the editor 'PEG -the rest of the story' in respose
to the Selectmans 'Information Bulletin' published in the local newspaper
which goes unpublished. Warning for Town Meeting appears with Article 11
which proposes to send the restricted balance of PEG funds (see 5/22/89)
to unrestricted general fund. Waiting to be invited to Woodstock Community
Televison Meeting to discuss fee sharing as Killlington children attend
Woodstock middle and high schools. Adelphia closes comment period and states
it will choose an entity during month of March.
Town meeting includes Article 11 'reallocating restricted PEG fund balance
to unrestricted general fund.' SKATV attempts to speak against the article
during discussion but question is moved prematurely. Question is brought
up again at end of meeting but moderator ignores the speaker. The article
passes. Adelphia designates RRCTV as PEG entity for town of Killington.
As promised SKATV prepares it appeal to Vermont's Public Serivce Board.
In response to Adelphia's 2/29/02 letter designating Rutland Regional
Community TV as the PEG entity for Killington, SKATV files its PETITION
for Public Hearing with Vermont's Public Service Board.
Tfhe Vermont Public Service Board set a Pre Hearing Conference for June 11, 2002 to resolve the dispute between public access entities SKATV, RRCTV and WCTV.
On June 11th the Public Service Board held a Pre Hearing conference
at the Sherburne Library. SKATV offered to 'be creative', split the PEG
fees and perhaps cost share closing the 5 mile 'fiber gap' between Killington
and Woodstock with part of the escrow. The offer was refused. The PSB issued
an accelerated procedural order including a second public hearing on July
10th. Later in the month Adelphia filed a Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy
in the Southern District of New York.
The Vermont Public Service Board held a public hearing at the Sherburne Library on July 10th. Supporters of both SKATV and RRCTV were present. The parties continue to provide written testimony to the Board regarding the dispute. Before the 'technical hearing' SKATV submitted a 7/15/02 Statment to which the Town of Killington responded 7/30/02.
The hearing was held in early August in Montpelier. Kip Dalury and Ed Fowler represented SKATV. Janet Franz and atty represented Adelphia, the town was represented by its atty. After the hearing the Town requested Findings and Conclusions 8/23/02, Adelphia submitted a Memorandum 8/26/02, the Dept of Public Service submitted its Brief 8/26/02 and SKATV its Brief on the same date.
The Dept recommended preserving the status quo for a year and revisiting the 'flawed process' in selecting RRCTV as the PEG provider for Killington. Both Adelphia and RRCTV responded in protest to the year long 'limbo'. SKATV continues seeking office space and awaits a decision by the Public Service Board.
Pending the Public Service Board descision RRCTV is 'allowing us to
use their station in the interim' (Killington Selectboard minutes 11/18/02).
SKATV corresponds with parties end of year and continues grassroots efforts.
In January Governor James Douglas appoints Rutland Economic Development
Corp Executive Director David O'Brien to head the Public Service Board.
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