Cable company balks at use of Savage videotape for fund raising Money would help restore historic hall NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE

June 18, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

In April, Savage residents were thrilled to learn that state legislators had approved a $70,000 grant for major repairs to the Carroll Baldwin Memorial Hall.

The county also agreed to give $67,000 toward renovating the 70-year-old Savage landmark that serves as the town's community center.

The hard part has been the requirement that the community raise $3,000 on its own to match the grant money.

Savage resident Ron Dameron recently came up with a fund-raising idea that everyone likes -- selling copies of a county-produced documentary on Savage.

The community, County Executive Charles I. Ecker and County Council Chairwoman Shane Pendergrass, D-1st, who represents Savage, all said it was a good idea.

But there's one hitch -- the county's cable television station, which produced the video, is balking at giving up its copyright.

Mr. Dameron came up with the idea shortly before Savage Fest, the community's annual fair, and had hoped to sell the tapes at the June 5-6 event, where he'd have a large group of potential customers.

Mrs. Pendergrass wrote a letter to the county's Cable 15 coordinator, Serena Mann, to support the idea and inquire if it was legally possible, but the issue couldn't be resolved in time for Savage Fest.

"I think we would have made a lot with the video [at Savage Fest]," said Warren Williams, vice president of the Savage Community Association.

"I don't know why they object to releasing it," he said. "It was made with the taxpayers' money and long time residents are in it."

So far, the community has raised about $1,200 for the restoration project, with $700 coming from donations and the rest from sales Carroll Baldwin pins at Savage Fest, Mr. Williams said. Also, state Del. Virginia Thomas, D-13A, donated a state flag, which was auctioned off at the festival.

Ms. Mann said she's never faced this kind of request and is uncertain how to handle it.

"As a policy we do not give away the product we produce for other purposes," Ms. Mann said.

The 3-year-old video is no longer aired on the local cable channel because it was shown hundreds of times, Ms. Mann said.

As an alternative, Ms. Mann suggested that Cable 15 produce a piece about Savage's fund-raising efforts for Carroll Baldwin Hall to air on the local cable station.

"I thought that was a more valid way to raise money that would reach a wider audience," said Ms. Mann.

Mr. Ecker said he supports the idea of selling the video and plans to re-examine the cable station's policy.

"I see no reason why something we don't use anymore can't be released for a worthy cause like this," he said. "The restoration of the Carroll Baldwin Hall is a very valid reason for us to release it, in my opinion."

Mr. Dameron, the originator of the idea, said he remembers seeing the tape about Savage on the local cable channel and that it made quite an impression.

"I think the tape had a lot to do with my decision to relocate here," said Mr. Dameron, who moved from the nearby Bowling Brook development to an old mill house in Savage.

"I'm in love with Savage," he said. "I like it's quaintness and it's community spirit. It's like a little gem in the southeast county."

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