CROWN POINT - Crown Point officials have gained an ally in their effort to create a public access TV channel for the town.
Maryann Arrien, chairwoman of the New York State Chapter of the Alliance for Community Media, has offered support.
The Alliance for Community Media works "to advance democratic ideals by ensuring that people have access to electronic media and by promoting effective communication through community uses of media."
Crown Point Supervisor Bethany Kosmider welcomed the help.
"She has offered to come to Crown Point and help in any way possible," Kosmider said. "I think it's great."
Kosmider has had discussions with Time Warner, the community's cable TV provider, about a local access channel. To date, there has been no progress.
Arrien believes she can help.
"I have been working with other municipalities in New York State to try to help them with their local access television problems and franchise negotiations," Arrien said via Email. "I do this as a volunteer at no cost to the municipality. The alliance is the oldest and best known resource for those who either work in the PEG (public educational and government) access field, or just produce programs or those who want to start up a brand new channel. We also do advocacy work on the national level.
"Currently, I have been working with the City of Albany to try and help their Public Educational and Government channels be revived and sustainable after being off the air for 10 years now," she continued. "I am also starting to work with Kingston Area Public Access, who recently lost their channels for a year, but have them back now, and are trying to find ways to creatively fund their reborn operation."
Kosmider noted Time Warner's cable television franchise agreement with Crown Point expires in 2013. A local public access channel will be part of any talks in extending that pact, she noted.
A local public access channel is a priority for Kosmider, who took office Jan. 1 with a commitment to open government.
The Crown Point board has decided to tape its meetings and air them on the cable television public access channel it shares with Moriah.
"With the Open Meetings Law and Open Town Government format, I deemed it beneficial to film the town board meetings every month," Kosmider said.
"For those who do not have cable, they can check out a copy of the meeting from the Hammond Library as you would a book and return it when you are done watching it," she said. "This is a method of keeping the people informed of what is going on in their town."