Locally produced video news magazine 'Finding Common Ground' to air on WCKN
Friday, November 11, 2011 - 6:26 am

The first issue of a new locally produced video news magazine called Finding Common Ground will be on local cable Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 14 and 15.

Wind Energy Development, the first program, airs at 7:30 p.m. on WCKN, Time Warner Cable Channel 30, following Peak Moment TV.

The programs can also be seen online.

With debate continuing on renewable energy sources to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and the need for environmentally responsible ways to power our homes, the issue of wind development is taking place around the country and in many St. Lawrence County communities.

There is extensive wind development in Chateaugay and the Tug Hill Plateau. There are 700 megawatts of power being produced in the state, and there are plans for 8,000 more. On the surface, the advent of wind power is a good thing. It fulfills a need for a green, renewable energy source. But it is not without its problems.

But for some communities, it has become an increasingly divisive, emotional issue in which opposing sides have become deeply entrenched in their views.

A panel of local people came together to discuss the topic. Moderated by Elizabeth Lyons, managing editor of the Ogdensburg Journal and the Sunday Advance News, the panel includes Jason Pfotenhauer, deputy director of the St. Lawrence County Planning Office, Kari Tremper, Parishville town councilwoman, and Robin McClellan, adjunct instructor of alternative and renewable power at SUNY Canton.

Loosely based on the Washington Week in Review format, the program endeavors to engage people who can put their respective ideologies aside, find common values, and discuss solutions to challenges and problems.

The Common Ground website http://commongroundslc.wordpress.com/ is intended to let you read about the issues and challenges and help frame questions that will help the community reach solutions.

The civic partners for this project are AAUW-St. Lawrence County, the League of Women Voters of St. Lawrence County, Seedcorn, the Center for Excellence in Communication at Clarkson University, and the students in Comm. 310 and 327 at Clarkson, who provided the technical assistance.

You can watch the show on WCKN or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GU4nnR_tHWA&feature=related.

All are invited to go to the Common Ground website and give feedback and suggestions for additional topics.

A second topic in development for this fall is, pre-K through 12 education. The proposition is that education is critical to our success, and yet it is facing unprecedented challenges.

Check the websites for Common Ground, AAUW-St. Lawrence County (http://www.northnet.org/stlawrenceaauw/index.html) and the League of Women Voters of St. Lawrence County (http://slc-leaguewv.org/) for specific program links.