Lanesborough Moving Forward With PCTV Running Station

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Harbormaster Lee Hauge asked the Selectmen to insert requirements into lake-use permits that all watercraft be cleaned before entering the lake.
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The town is asking Pittsfield Community Television for a formal proposal to take over Lanesborough's broadcasts.
The town is looking to keep Selectmen and School Committee meetings on the air. Resident Ronald Tinkham has been running the town's community television station for years and now wants to step down. With no other residents stepping up to fill his shoes, the town is asking Pittsfield to take over.
"We need to get the information out there to the public if we want to let people know what we are doing," said Selectman Robert Ericson on Tuesday when the Board of Selectmen voted to ask PCTV for a formal offer.
Town Administrator Paul Sieloff has been meeting with PCTV representatives. To keep the Selectmen and School Committee televised, it will cost the town about $8,000 a year, he said. That will be covered through the franchise agreement the town has with Charter Communications, wherein the cable company pays a portion of its profits to support the community television station.
That proposal will get the town someone to run and maintain the equipment in town for two hours, two days a week. It will also pay another person for 10 hours a month to do the filming.
Sieloff said the amount would be budgeted by month.
The later step could be for the town to buy a piece of equipment, costing about $10,000, that would allow PCTV to operate the programming remotely. Again, Sieloff said there should be enough money left in the cable account to pay for that.
The Selectmen approved moving forward with a contract on those terms. 
In other business, Harbormaster Lee Hauge says he didn't have any trouble with the Northeast Watercraft Alliance earlier this month when the organization held watercraft races on Pontoosuc Lake. However, he asked the Selectmen to in the future specifically put into approval of such events that the vessels must be cleaned before entering the lake and all neighbors must be notified with more details.
Hauge said he worked with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and the environmental police to ensure the crafts were cleaned ahead of time to prevent the spread of invasive species. 
Putnam Road is closed for the bridge to be reconstructed.
"We were able to achieve that but it would have been easier if it was part of the requirements," he said.
Hauge also said the original course blocked access to neighboring docks. The organizers moved the course, but Hauge said the neighbors should have that information ahead of time in the future with this and similar events.
The harbormaster added that the Northeast Watercraft Alliance put a self-imposed restriction on using the lake outside of the race. Hauge said that worked out well and while it doesn't need to be written into the permits, he thinks asking the company to do that again would be beneficial.
"None of the racers that I saw used the lake other than on the race course," Hauge said.
The Board of Selectmen will also be calling a meeting in the fall to discuss the regionalization of its elementary school district. School officials have been looking into the idea of creating one K-12 district with Williamstown, with which it shares an administrative agreement at the elementary level and a regional school district at the high school level.
That decision is the next big decision facing the town in regard to education.
"This will drive the school impact for the next decade and we as a community need to get as much information as we can," said Tinkham, a former Mount Greylock Regional School Committee member.
Eventually, the committee looking into the regionalization process will be asking Lanesborough voters to approve it. The Selectmen think it is best to get ahead of the issue before putting it to a vote.
"I think it is important that the town drive the discussion," said Lanesborough School Committee member Robert Barton, whose committee would be eliminated through a regionalization process.
The Selectmen said they will host a public discussion meeting in either September or October.
Chairman John Goerlach also reminded residents that Putnam Road is completely closed for construction. The town has been looking to renovate the bridge for a number of years.

Tags: lakes, ponds,   PCTV,   public television,   regionalization,   water sports,   

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