Cable Advisory Council
of Charter Communications

   
PO Box 87
Newtown, CT 06470
 
     
January 30, 2001 Minutes
 
         
 
Cable Advisory Council
P. O. Box 87
Newtown, Connecticut

MINUTES

Public Regular Meeting - Tuesday, January 30, 2001
New Milford Public Library


There was a regular meeting of the Cable Advisory Council called to order at 7:37 p.m. December 12, 2000 by Chairperson, Carl DeVoe at the New Milford Public Library, New Milford, Connecticut.

ATTENDEES:
William Stratton, Fred Standt, Treasurer, Jay Lewin, Tom Morey, Paula Hopper, Eugene Rosen, Camella Amodeo, Judith Eslami, Carl DeVoe, Chairperson. For Charter: Janice Vance, John Dee, Greg Van Antwerp.

C. DeVoe noted that K. Cornet and J. Mustich had notified him that they were unable to attend, and requested a copy of the tape of the meeting.

PUBLIC INPUT:
No public present.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
A motion to accept the Minutes of the December 12, 2000 meeting as submitted was made by J. Lewin, seconded by P. Hooper and carried unanimously.

P. Hopper questioned the location schedule for meetings. C. DeVoe indicated it was to resume the regular rotation of locations which was varied a bit the last few meetings. He further noted that the inclusion of the schedule in the Minutes, which are distributed to the various town offices, will act as notice of scheduled meetings for the coming year.

W. Stratton arrived at 7:40 p.m.

TREASURER'S REPORT:
Fred Standt issued the Treasurer's Report
Opening balance of the checking Account (12/12/00). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 195.25
NO CHECKS WRITTEN
Closing balance 1/30/01. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 195.25
Opening Balance on the Money Market Account . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $ 9,802.19
Interest (11/29/00). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17.91
Interest (12/30/00). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18.55
Closing Balance (12/12/00). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 9,837.65
1 yr. plus CD @ $10,000.00 + int. cred. = $10,218.10

MOTION to accept as submitted was made by J. Lewin, seconded by E. Rosen and carried unanimously.

COMMUNICATIONS AND CORRESPONDENCE:
C. DeVoe reviewed correspondence received from Connecticut Public Affairs Network (CPAN), asking to speak with the Council relative to the possibility of adding it to the Charter lineup. G. Van Antwerp indicated they may be airing some tapes that have been provided by CPAN, and J. Dee indicated they may be able to provide a live feed through the system in Winsted, as they will have a connection between the two systems in the next couple months. Any discussion regarding this letter can be brought up under New Business.

A letter was received from Robert Walleck of Woodbury regarding an installation issue. He indicated that, since December 6, 2000, he has been making three calls a week to Charter trying to get resolution. He is seeking written communication from Charter as to how they will resolve this issue. J. Dee indicated it was a boundary dispute. C. DeVoe asked that the Council be appraised of how this is being handled.

C. DeVoe indicated other correspondence included Charter's report for December 2000 and January 2001, as well as a notice of rate and programming changes, dated December 21, 2000. Several letters were also received regarding the application of New Haven Folk Alliance for declaratory ruling concerning use of community access facilities, along with a response by Sky Cable, Inc., as well as one from Comcast commenting on their position on that ruling.

C. DeVoe indicated he had received a letter at the school regarding Charter's access, appraising school officials of public access, portable equipment, studio use, community calendar and internship program. He commended Greg on the publication. He also recommended it be sent to library/media personnel.

CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS REPORT:
J. Vance updated the Council on the status of upgrade, indicating Trumbull, Monroe, Newtown, Southbury, Woodbury, New Milford, New Fairfield and Sherman residents now have access to Charter Pipeline, Worldgate and digital cable. Roxbury is in process, and should be complete in February. Bethlehem should be completed by the end of February. Washington, Kent and Bridgewater are in process and are expected to be released by the end of March. Due to a shortage of fiber optics, there has been a slight delay. Heritage Village upgrade is still in progress. Access to homes has been limited as many of the people are away for the winter, which has slowed installation. J. Dee indicated the amount of work to be done in rewiring is extensive.

J. Vance indicated that out of 61,000 homes, 10,000 are now on digital. Over the next year they will be working on switching over from analog to digital. The FCC is requiring broadcast channels to be switched over to digital by 2006 and this will lead to some issues regarding must-carry requirements. J. Lewin asked about individuals who have cable but do not have a box. J. Vance indicated she did not know what would be done for those individuals. J. Dee indicated that although there was nothing definite, the potential existed to go entirely digital at some time in the future. J. Dee further indicated that, since the operation of the digital unit is more complicated than the analog unit, a special channel is being set up to explain operation of the remote, as well as having installers educate the customer at time of installation of the unit. J. Vance also indicated they have received many requests to add FX, which is a channel that was dropped in 1999. She indicated, however, that they don't plan to add the channel as it is very high priced and would impact customer rates.

J. Dee indicated that Charter had purchased the 2-acre parcel of land next to their existing building. Plans are to build an 18,000 to 23,000 sq. ft. building to house existing operations, with the second floor being dedicated to customer service and marketing. This will allow for better communications within the customer service environment. He further indicated they are looking at existing customer service calls, which have more than doubled since the end of 1999, in an effort to identify the need for additional personnel. In addition, they will be opening a web site where customers can communicate via e-mail.

G. Van Antwerp reviewed the January report on public access. He indicated he had recently completed a speaking engagement for the Bethlehem PTO. He reminded all council members of the ability to provide this service in their towns if so requested, informing them of what's available. He also indicated that John Dee and Janice Vance would be teaming up for the next Homefront Live show to take calls from the audience. He reported that a new internship session has just started, with about 16 people involved.

G. Van Antwerp also presented two copies of the DPUC report for 2000 to the council. This is full documentation for all work done relating to community television for the year and is required by the DPUC.

C. DeVoe asked about Charter's ability to provide a link with the Education Connection in Litchfield County, via the connection J. Dee previously mentioned will take place between New Milford and Winsted, for the purpose of being able to transmit professional development workshops they conduct. J. Dee indicated he would review with Carl what is required so he could further investigate possibilities. J. Dee also indicated that he had been interviewing people for the Director of Access position, and is close to filling the position. J. Dee also discussed the fiber network through AT&T as a possibility to provide coverage requested by CPAN. C. DeVoe indicated the council should discuss at its next meeting what is technically feasible and decide if they want to pursue this. He requested that J. Dee provide at the next meeting an outline of what they are looking for and what Charter can do, and then, if appropriate, have Mr. Giguere attend the May meeting to discuss the issue.

C. DeVoe indicated he would like to discuss with the council the possibility of establishing some type of annual scholarship or grant, in James Diaz' name, and suggested it be added to the agenda.

J. Dee noted that Charter would like to dedicate the production vehicle in James Diaz' name, as well as rename the studio, and put together an open house and have James' mom there. J. Dee will work on setting a date for the dedication.

J. Lewin motioned to amend the agenda to include, under Old Business, discussion of the James Diaz' scholarship. P. Hooper seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.

OLD BUSINESS:
G. Van Antwerp provided copies of a letter to C. DeVoe, addressing the general procedures for the scheduling of the new production vehicle. He noted their first request for use of the vehicle was made by the Washington Volunteer Fire Department, who has a 75th Anniversary coming up. They will be having a parade in June and would like to have the event covered. Greg indicated this particular request would be the type of event the new vehicle could be used for, and could possibly be a segment for Homefront Live. In addition, he felt it would be an excellent project for an intern to work on and could develop further interest in public access within the community. J. Dee indicated the production vehicle has not yet been used, as they wanted to first develop some guidelines and procedures for use. G. Van Antwerp indicated they have started their training on using the new vehicle and will be working on a promotion to introduce it into the community. G. Van Antwerp indicated that in order to utilize the vehicle at a location, certain requirements would have to be met for providing power to the truck and equipment, as well as an area for location of the vehicle relatively close to where the taping is to be done. C. DeVoe suggested those items be spelled out so that when people are scheduling events they are aware of what is required. C. DeVoe further suggested that anyone thinking of items they wish to be considered should mail them to G. Van Antwerp and him for discussion at future meetings. J. Dee also discussed the possibility of a nightly segment for local news, indicating it has been done in Torrington and has been successful.

P. Hooper suggested establishing an annual scholarship or grant in James Diaz' name, for students studying broadcasting and/or community access. J. Lewin made a motion to establish an annual grant in the name of James Diaz, subject to terms and conditions that we develop in future meetings. P. Hooper seconded the motion. J. Eslami suggested a committee be formed for consideration of details relative to such a grant or scholarship. P. Hooper suggested that, once established, it is possible that other local industries may wish to add to the dollar amount. J. Eslami questioned whether Charter already participated in funding any grants and/or scholarships, and J. Dee indicated they did not. P. Hooper indicated she would be happy to meet with anyone interested in working on this for presentation at the next meeting. P. Hooper moved to amend the motion to include "or scholarship". J. Lewin seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously. F. Standt questioned if anyone was opposed to having the grant or scholarship in the name of James Diaz. There was no opposition. E. Rosen stated he felt it was a wonderful idea. As a student of James', he feels it pays tribute to his personality and his vision of public access and dealing with the community. A vote was taken on the motion, as amended, and it carried unanimously.

C. DeVoe asked for volunteers for a committee to study this issue, and J. Eslami, P. Hooper, E. Rosen and J. Vance indicated the would volunteer. J. Lewin indicated he would assist, if possible, although not as a committee member. P. Hooper will chair the committee. Anyone else who would be interested in working on the committee can contact Paula Hooper at (203) 426-6200. C. DeVoe indicated the committee should meet prior to the next meeting.

NEW BUSINESS:
J. Lewin introduced Tom Morey, and indicated he will be appointed as a commission member, representing New Milford. Tom is a director of the shows "The New Milford Journal" and "The Ledger", and he is extremely knowledgeable about the New Milford studio.

P. Hooper suggested a new list of members with phone numbers be prepared, and indicated the By-laws also need to be redone.

J. Eslami asked about dates of appointment and whether or not towns need to do something to reappoint.

J. Vance indicated that, in redoing the list of members, e-mail addresses would be helpful as an efficient way of communicating.

J. Lewin motioned to adjourn the meeting at 9:05 p.m. P. Hooper seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

ADJOURNMENT:
A motion to adjourn was made by J. Lewin, seconded by P. Hooper and carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 9:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by: Lorna J. Szalay, Recording Secretary

NEXT MEETING: Due to a scheduling conflict resulting from Town Meetings in March, the next meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 8, 2001, at Charter Communications, Newtown, 7:30 p.m.

   
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