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Castleberry Fairs

Selectmen presented with plan to form nonprofit cable station

by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News
September 20, 2012
WAKEFIELD — Jim Miller met with selectmen at their regular evening meeting on Sept. 12 to present the outline for a new nonprofit organization, Clearview Community Television Services, that he is in the process of forming with the help of four other Wakefield residents.

Miller said the other four members of the group were Relf Fogg. Jerry O'Connor, Nick Scala and Stan Lombara, all of whom have been involved with the public access (PEG) channel in Wakefield. He said his goal in meeting with selectmen was to give the board an idea of what the group was thinking and planning.

The overall goal of Clearview Community Television Services is to improve communication in the Wakefield community and in so doing bring the community closer together. So far the group has draft documents for the articles of incorporation and for bylaws. The intention is first to file with the state as a nonprofit organization, which is cheap, and then to file with the Internal Revenue Service as a Chapter 501(c)3 nonprofit, which could cost up to $1,000.

After that the group will need to acquire equipment, train people in how to use the equipment, and find a place to use the equipment and put the recordings on the air.

Miller said the group wants to set up a private organization that works with the Board of Selectmen but is not part of the town. It would not be political but offer equal access to all, with policies and procedures in place to insure fairness. He asked if the board thinks the group is moving in the right direction with that approach. Selectman Peter Kasprzyk said he thought is was a great idea. Selectman Charlie Edwards said he was in favor of that approach and he was glad that former cable committee members are still involved.

Miller said the group was looking at agreements that other nonprofit stations have with their towns and envisions a working agreement like the one the Heritage Commission has for the Greater Wakefield Resource Center.

The next issue is funding. Miller noted that the new cable contract with Time Warner was nearing completion and that a franchise fee would be paid to the town. He cited Article 19 in 2010 which creates a revolving fund for the PEG channel. The franchise fees could be placed in that fund and used to support the activities of Clearview. He said the group does not want to use taxpayer funds for the station.

Miller said the timeframe the group was working in was to have the organization in place by the first of next year, though it could take six to nine months to get IRS approval for tax deductibility.

Kasprzyk asked Town Administrator Teresa Williams if the $1,000 budgeted for the PEG channel could be used to pay setup costs.

Williams replied that the budget item Kasprzyk was referring to covered only wages and equipment, not setup fees.

Kasprzyk asked if Clearview intended to coordinate with Paul School. Miller said yes, hopefully by setting up a second channel. The group intends to go slowly, taking things one step at a time, he said.

In conclusion Miller said he plans to come back to the board in about a month with a progress report on Clearview.

Oak Hill island

Williams passed along a question from Road Agent Fred Clough: should the island at the junction of Oak Hill Road and Route 109 be removed when that section is redone and paved? Selectman Chair Ken Paul was in favor since it would provide a single entrance to the road like other roads in town. It would also give residents another five feet of property.

Edwards preferred to keep the island since it is only one of two left in town. He suggested asking the Scalas what they think and making a decision at the next meeting.

Williams said paving would not be done until the end of the month, so there is time.

Fogg reported from the audience that he witnessed a near accident at the Oak Hill Road intersection and urged the board to keep the entrance as wide as possible.

Other business

The board noted receipt of a letter from Siemon Realty Company complaining about the state of the Maple Street bridge. Edwards noted that the bridge is listed as number 3 on the long-term priority list. Paul pointed out that there is alternate access that does not require use of the bridge.

Selectmen approved spending $4,934.69 from capital reserve funds for light bars and markings on a new police cruiser. When asked by Relf Fogg Paul confirmed that one of the department's cruisers was totaled.

Kasprzyk reported that the Union Meadows conservation easement is still in process and that the Conservation Commission intends to complete the Natural Resources Inventory section of the Master Plan in 2013. He also noted that the Heritage Center in Union closes for the season on Oct. 7 and that the proposed Old Maid Tavern easement has been cancelled, though the Heritage Commission may try again to get one.

Edwards reported that the planning board is looking at a business district on Route 16 that would extend from 500 feet south of Route 109 up to Wilson Road and up to 500 feet from the road. Planners are also looking at a warrant article allowing drive through windows for potential pharmacies and shopping centers. Paul noted that drive throughs are only banned now in Wakefield for restaurants.

Paul reported that the voter turnout at the primary was 24 percent and that the Nov. 6 general election will be held at Paul School. Edwards said that Williams has suggested that all officials at the polls wear photo Ids and that the Police Department could do them.

Phil Twombley reported as Assistant Moderator that only one selectmen was present until 6 p.m. at the polls and recommended that all three be present at the Nov. 6 election. Paul agreed.

In her Town Administrator's Update Williams reported that someone is interested in buying discard outdoor grills from the transfer station. Paul gave his view that if the offer was for more than the town would get by selling the grills for scrap, it was OK with him, but he was worried about "creating a code enforcement problem" otherwise.

Williams said the ash pile was to be removed by the end of the week.

The board approved moving $400 from printer supplies to furniture to pay for a new desk for the Land Use clerk.

Selectmen also approved marking three spaces in the back parking lot "Town Hall Use Only" during regular office hours.

The next regular meeting of the Wakefield Board of Selectmen will be on Wednesday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room. Selectmen also planned to hold an afternoon session on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 4 p.m. to review with Road Agent Clough which roads could be plowed by private contractors.

Garnett Hill
Parker Village
Martin Lord Osman
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