Friday, September 2, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Blogger

This will be our last weekly wrap-up post on this blog because next week we'll be launching our new website. Though we loved using Blogger to write these weekly updates for our community, one benefit of our new site is a blogging feature. From here on out, you can check on Fridays to find out what we've been up to---simply click on the blog link near the top of our homepage. We won't take down this blog, however, so if you're feeling nostalgic you can always come back here and read our older posts.

This week we were very busy helping to disseminate information about storm damage, putting the finishing touches on our new site, planning for the Franklin County Fair Parade, and assisting a multitude of producers with their shows.

As you can imagine, our producers were busy too. The highlight of the week was when Dave Roulston, host of "Franklin County Matters", interviewed 2nd Berkshire District State Representative Paul Mark. You'll be able to watch that interview on Cable Channel 15 soon and we took advantage of Representative Mark being in our studio to get his thoughts on redistricting (check out the story on our homepage for more). Other new shows to look for soon include episodes of "Reading Shakespeare" (Tom Roulston takes on the Scottish play) and two classes from the Greenfield YMCA.

That's it for now, make sure to check out our new website next week (the launch is set to coincide with the fair parade on Thursday but we'll announce it on our Facebook Page, and in the local forums we post to, when it's up) and let us know what you think about it.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Greenfield's Water Pollution Control Plant

Last night, Greenfield's Department of Public Works Director, Sandy Shields, sent out this press release concerning the flood ravaged water pollution control plant. It's important to note that this plant has been separated from the town's water supply and our drinking water is completely safe.

By 7:00 am 8/30/11 the flood water had receded from around the Town’s Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP) on Deerfield Street to levels that allowed operators to return to the main building to begin restoration of the extensively damaged facility. The facility contains four stories. It was designed to withstand 100 yr flood levels of 140 ft above sea level. The level after Sunday’s storm was 142.5 ft. The bottom two stories, which contain the major pumping equipment were inundated and over 30 inches of flood water was on the main floor of the building. This floor houses the process control center, laboratory, offices etc.

Upon entry the operators immediately began restoration of most essential infrastructure. Power has been restored to selected areas of the facility as safety allowed. By noon Tuesday a bar screen which removes rags, large debris, feminine hygiene products etc, was functioning and two primary settling tanks were back on line. All of this equipment had been completely submerged in the flood. Also by noon, sodium hypochlorite (chlorine) was being applied to flow entering the plant. This is a very significant accomplishment since the chlorine is a disinfectant that will greatly decrease bacterial levels in the water entering the Green and Deerfield Rivers. This level of treatment is referred to as “primary treatment” which removes 50-60% of incoming pollutants. Full secondary treatment will take up to eight weeks because of the extensive damage to the main building.

The other major accomplishment was that MEMA brought in a pump with a 6” suction line that removed most of the flood water from the bottom two floors of the building. This will allow access for restoration work to continue.

The DPW kindly provided us with these photos, taken by Facilities Superintendent Chris Bassett, of the flooded plant:

By the way, we're putting together a short piece about our local water supply to help everyone understand exactly where our water comes from and what does, and does not, affect it. Look for that video on our homepage either Friday or Monday.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Greenfield's Drinking Water IS SAFE

This press release just came in from DPW Director Sandy Shields:

The Town has been receiving many calls regarding the safety of the town’s drinking water in light of the recent flooding.


The tap water is completely safe for drinking. Currently water is being supplied to the town from the Mill Brook well field which is in the northeast section of town and was not impacted by the flooding.

The Green River dam suffered extensive damage in the flood. That water supply annually supplies approximately 25% of the town’s drinking water. Barring a severe drought, the two other water sources, the Leyden Glen reservoir and the well field will be able to meet the town’s supply needs until the dam is repaired.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Soft Reveal of Website Going Well

So far the feedback we've been getting about our new website has been positive. The producers and board members who've been testing it out like the design and content. Hopefully, over the weekend, more of them will try creating new user accounts and posting on our forums. (Yup! We're going to have new functionality on the site.) Next week will be all about tweaking the site before our public launch the week of the Franklin County Fair Parade. We'll be telling you more about that grand reveal in next week's blog post.

When we're not working on the new site, we're busy getting ready to film the Franklin County Fair Parade, which is coming up on Thursday, September 8th, at 5pm. If you can't get a good spot on Main Street, from which to watch the parade, don't worry. We'll be broadcasting it live on Cable Channel 15. Keep checking for more information on the parade, and the fair itself, because we'll be doing some news stories on it over the next two weeks.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Government Meetings & New Website

We had a large audience for Wednesday night's Greenfield Town Council Meeting. Residents gathered to watch their councilors debate changes to the solar farm contract, disposition of the town farm, repairs to the middle school roof, and funding for additional student transportation. You can watch the whole meeting for yourself tonight at midnight on Cable Channel 15 or look for it as part of our Video on Demand Player early next week.

The Greenfield School Committee has changed their meetings from the 2nd & 4th Thursdays of each month to the 1st & 3rd Thursdays so we recorded their short meeting at the high school this week and there won't be a meeting on the 25th. You can watch the latest session on Cable Channel 15 tomorrow at 1pm and again at midnight on the 24th. It will also be available as part of our Video on Demand Player early next week.

Finally, our new website is getting closer to launch. We'll be doing a soft reveal of it to our board members and some of our producers next week and we've planned the grand opening to coincide with the Franklin County Fair Parade on September 8th. We'll be telling you more about all of that in next week's blog post so be sure to check back.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Family Week at GCTV

On Monday morning, "The Dukes of Sports" host Russ Brown brought his father and grandchild with him to the studio for a taping. Russ' dad made a wonderful guest commentator while his grandchild finally got a chance to see where grampa makes his tv show. The staff, meanwhile, appreciated the chance to meet some of Russ' family.

Thursday morning's "Local Bias" shoot was also a family affair in a way. Dr. Andrew Blais interviewed Paul Richmond---a local writer, poet, publisher, and activist. Paul also happens to be the host of "Imagine" on WMCB 107.9-lp FM. You'll be able to see their conversation on Cable Channel 15 within the next two weeks.

Airing on GCTV now are two interesting pieces of programming that came from local government events held Tuesday evening and Friday morning. Our Station Manager recorded the Special Greenfield Town Council Meeting (in which the councilors discussed upcoming repair work on the middle school roof) on his way home on Tuesday and our New Media Producer came in early on Friday to attend the swearing in ceremony of Greenfield's new "Special Police Officer". Both of these videos can also be viewed on our homepage.

While our New Media Producer was at town hall, the rest of the staff was assisting the Greenfield YMCA as they recorded two new shows in our studio. Keep an eye out for them during the coming months.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Weekly Wrap Up

Even though our Station Manager was on vacation, and we had some beautiful weather, we managed to behave ourselves this week and get a lot done. Though no shows ended up being recorded in our studio, a lot of field equipment was signed out and ten programs were worked on in our editing suites. In addition, the staff produced a news story for our website each day. If you missed them, be sure to check out our homepage for the most recent pieces and the "Community Coverage" playlist in our Video on Demand Player for the rest.

Looking forward to next week, we thought we'd highlight a couple of events for you:

On Monday night, the Reggae group "Rebelle" will be in our studio for a live performance on "Valley Homegrown". The show is free and open to the public so come on down and have a good time. ("Valley Homegrown" goes live on Cable Channel 15 at 7pm so we recommend getting there around 6:45pm.)

At 6pm on Tuesday night, the Greenfield Town Council will be holding a short, special, meeting at the Greenfield Police Department. This meeting is being held in order to do a First Reading on the order to appropriate $175,000 for the repair of the Greenfield Middle School Roof.

That's all for this week folks. Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Combating Underage Drinking

Once again the Northwestern District Attorney's office is making use of our facility to promote a common good. Late last week Jana McClure, the DA's Director of Community Outreach and Education, and Mary Carey, Communications Director for the DA, toured our studio in preparation for a shoot this Wednesday. They are putting together a short piece for use at local college orientations that discourages underage and binge drinking.

The final program will be shown for the first time at UMass in a few weeks so the DA decided to shoot a short open and close for it on location at the college. Thank goodness Wednesday was sunny but not too hot! You can see a picture (taken by the DA, David Sullivan, himself) of the intrepid crew below:
(L to R: Deputy District Attorney Janice Healy, Mary, Alicia, Jana)

The location footage will be combined with the recording made in our studio, and b-roll from various sources, by our current intern. We're happy to have made the connection between the DA's office and our intern because it will give them both a real professional experience and final product. In addition, we appreciate the exposure and recognition we are receiving from the DA's office.

We'll let you know when you can watch this public service announcement for yourself, either on Cable Channel 15 or as part of our Video on Demand Player, so keep checking back.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ta Dah!

As promised, here are some before & after shots of last week's office renovations. We're not quite done, our station manager and a volunteer will soon be installing sound panels to help limit echoing in the studio, but the new carpet looks and feels great. We also have new curtains in the tv studio (black-standard, blue-for special effects blue/greenscreen work), and red-for variety) and we'll be moving the live radio studio into the new recording space in the back room while moving the pre-production computers into the smaller space the live studio now occupies. The staff worked really hard on these facility improvements, doing all the moving, demolition, and painting themselves. The only thing they couldn't do was the carpet. These pictures really don't do the renovation, and the need for it, justice. If you want to see more, stop by for a visit.

Our entry way before the renovations, as we were in the process of clearing things out:

A close up of the rug and 20 year old carpet. Note the circled rip, there were more like that in other parts of the office.

The new entry way!

The studio before (with the old town council set that was falling apart):

The studio wall after:

The renovations also allowed us to move some staffers around to better workspaces and different duties. Our new media producer now has her own office, formerly the copy room, so that she can concentrate on getting our new website up and running and expanding our web presence. By the way, the new website is coming along nicely with a lot of content added and a second training attended by both our new media producer and our station manager.

Philippe has taken over the receptionist duties which gives him the front desk and his own computer. If you need to schedule something, this is the guy to see!

The back room will now be able to serve its intended functions as conference room, break area, and supply & copy room.

In other news, we'd like to welcome a new, part-time, staff member to our ranks. Elijah Rottenberg, who's been volunteering on "Valley Homegrown" and producing content for us for years, has come on board to assist producers and you'll find him in the office three days a week if you need help.

Finally, we'd like to let you know that our July board meeting has been cancelled.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Week of Renovations

Even though we were open on Monday, the staff spent the day getting ready for being closed the rest of the week. All rooms, and closets, with carpet were emptied and their contents moved upstairs or into the studio and control room. Staff members who worked at home this week organized what was coming home with them, in between toting items and answering the phone. Producers who stopped in had a very different view of the premises than they did normally. Zydeco Connection starred on "Valley Homegrown" in the evening and that was our last production before closing down to the public.

First thing Tuesday morning our Station Manager unlocked the door for the carpet installers and they quickly got to work ripping out the old and putting in the new. As rooms were finished, furniture was moved back in. There were some changes however. The next time you're in, you will notice probably notice Philippe at the reception desk instead of Alicia. Our New Media Producer is moving into the old copy room and the copier will go into the rear conference/break room as the pre-production studio for WMCB transfers into what used to be our workshop. Some repainting of walls was also accomplished this week, putting the finishing touches on work that began several months ago to improve the efficiency and image of our space.

We'll post before and after photos here next week so keep checking back.

Friday, July 8, 2011


It's been a busy week for coverage of local events. We met our goal of putting up a new story on our homepage each day and some of our b-roll may have been featured this morning on WWLP's "MassAppeal". As a result of our coverage of the upcoming Dakin Pioneer Valley Humane Society's "Rescue Me" fundraiser, chef Mike Collins and artist Tony Palumbo took a DVD of our footage with them when they drove to Springfield to be interviewed. If you missed this, or any of the stories on our homepage this week, be sure to click on over and find out more about the great things that are going on in our community.

Lots of great things are happening here as well. Our computers were kept busy all week as eight producers edited a variety projects in addition to our staff working extra hard to prepare for not having access to much of our equipment next week while the new rugs are being installed and walls are repainted. (Don't forget, this means that our office will be closed Tuesday 7/12 through Friday 7/15 and we will begin to shut some things down on Monday 7/11.) In addition, our Station Manager and New Media Producer went for training related to our new website.

For those of you who haven't heard yet, we are in the process of upgrading our website and transitioning to Drupal instead of continuing with Dreamweaver. If you aren't familiar with those systems for creating and maintaining websites, not to worry. All you need to know is that working with Drupal will make our site easier to use, provide more interactive opportunities for producers and viewers, and increase our staff's efficiency.

We hope you'll get a chance to experience these positive changes in the near future and, if you read this blog regularly, we'll keep you up to date.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Politics, Fireworks, Rain Plans, & News

At Noon today the folks who were elected/re-elected to the Greenfield Town Council, school committee, and various trustee positions will be sworn into office during a ceremony on the town common. Our station manager will be there so that we can bring you the event in its entirety next week. If it rains, though the forecast says it won't, the swearing in will take place in our studio at 393 Main Street, 3rd. Floor.

Immediately following the ceremony, the council and school committee will hold reorganizational meetings to choose their leadership for the coming year. The meetings will take place on the 2nd floor of town hall, in the meeting room, unless it rains. In that case, they too will occur in our studio.

Rain plans have also been made for Greenfield's annual fireworks display on Saturday night. In the event of rain, the celebration will be moved to Sunday. If you want more info. on the festivities, check out the first short piece that our new part-time staffer Ian created for our website. You'll find it at the top of the homepage, simply click on the "Fourth of July" tab.

Another addition to our personnel roster also produced his first news story this week. Please join us in congratulating new intern Dan for his interviews with college students participating in a New England Climate Summer bicycling tour. You can check out his work on our homepage as well.

Finally, we'd like to remind you about two upcoming office closures. We'll be off on Monday, July 4th, for the Independence Day holiday and we'll be closed Tuesday through Friday of the following week for renovations. From July 12th to July 15th new carpeting will be installed throughout the facility while our staff cleans, organizes, and paints. Those of you familiar with the condition of our floors know that this is a very good thing. In addition, all of these improvements will help to free up more space for producers to work in and increase efficiency.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Projects in the Works

Just a few quick updates:

*Greenfield's Local Cultural Council met in our studio on Tuesday night to discuss the allocation of grants to local artists and non-profit organizations. We recorded the meeting and will be airing it soon.

*"Local Bias" filmed a new episode yesterday morning; keep an eye out for it to begin running on Cable Channel 15 on Wednesday at 5:30PM.

*DIAL/SELF, which provides youth & community services, has been editing several programs over the last couple of weeks and plans to have them completed very soon.

*Finally, there will be no GCTV board meeting this month.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Your Government at Work

Covering last week's town election involved a great behind the scenes effort by GCTV staff and volunteers. In order to keep you informed about the process and---of course---the results, many people contributed their time and enthusiasm. Staff members collected b-roll and interviews with the candidates outside the polling location in the morning, Joe Gochinski and Drew Hutchison provided live commentary about the races and their outcomes on cable channel 15 that night, Joe's dad called the station with vote totals, and our website announced even the winner of the write-in contest in Precinct 1 before 10pm. Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to everyone who participated in the process and our coverage of it.

The newly elected town councilors won't be sworn in until next month but there was still business to be done at the last meeting of the current council, held on Wednesday, June 15th. If you didn't watch this meeting live, you missed an interesting debate about how government works. In addition, some charter/ordinance changes were approved along with some fiscal appropriations. You can see all this for yourself by watching it as part of our Video on Demand Player, in the "Local Government" category.