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Councilmen Comment On Comcast Negotiations

Comcast Cable franchise negotiations headlined discussion at Monday’s monthly meeting of South Boston Town Council, with at least one councilman expressing continued frustration with his cable service. Town Manager Ted Daniel told council that franchise negotiations have been ongoing with Comcast officials.

Daniel also said that he and councilmen Coleman Speece and Bill Snead had a luncheon meeting recently with local Operations Manager Frank Berry and Troy Fitzhugh, a Comcast representative from Winchester.

Daniel termed the meeting as “very productive.”

“It was a nice conversation, and they talked about their operations and their goals,” said Daniel.

Judging by what the Comcast officials said at that meeting, Daniel believes South Boston residents should be expecting features such as high definition in the near future as opposed to the long term.

Daniel added the town’s attorney and South Boston Vice-Mayor Ed Owens recently sat in on a conference call discussing franchise negotiations.
Another conference call is scheduled for Monday, according to Daniel.

Snead and Speece said they also were satisfied with the cooperative tone of the luncheon meeting they attended, despite some continuing reservations.

Snead said during the meeting he’s still unhappy about the TV guide network offered by Comcast.

“It’s just another channel Comcast pulls in, and it’s a rolling scroll, so that’s not the best situation,” said Snead.

“I don’t have a strong enough word for it, to say how stupid a company can be, and you can use that word-stupid-a cable company can be to provide a service for you and not provide any comprehensive listings for those services.

“We’re in the dark, and I can’t understand it, so I’m totally dissatisfied with that.

“It was a good meeting, and I wish I’d thought of a good analogy, but it’s kind of like a car without a steering wheel.

“You don’t know where you’re going.”

Speece said a couple of things stood out at the meeting.

“First of all, we were sitting with a couple of guys who really cared and were concerned about the service here, and they were very sympathetic toward the complaints,” said Speece.

“And further, although they didn’t make a final commitment, they pretty much assured us we were going to get high definition.

“They weren’t in a position to commit to a certain time, but it’s near term.

“I thought their tone was one of interest and concern,” added Speece.”

Snead said after the meeting that as a Comcast customer he was “totally frustrated and has been for at least two years because of the fact we don’t have any good TV listings for programming.

“I think it’s ridiculous for a company that size not to have something like that, and for us to sit at home and not know when a program starts or when it ends,” Snead pointed out.

“Newspapers have some listings, but we don’t have anything for Saturday or Sunday.  We don’t know when the ball games start, or the race, and we have to surf through the channels.

“When you get to a certain program, you don’t know when it started or when it ends.

“I am just totally frustrated, and if they don’t do something quick on listings, they’ll lose me as a Comcast customer,” he noted.

“I want to be clear I had an excellent meeting with South Boston Comcast Manager Frank Berry and Comcast representative Troy Fitzhugh, and those two guys are trying to do everything they can to help.

“Myself, Coleman and Ted Daniel met with them recently, and that was a very positive meeting.

“It seems we’ll have high definition pretty quick in the second quarter, and the tone was very upbeat and positive, but I still didn’t have a good answer on TV listings.

“That’s the whole point for me, you want to know what programs are coming on and when they come on,” continued Snead.

“I have really stayed on board with Comcast, even through this frustration, and I want to support Comcast, but if they don’t do anything about TV listings, I’m gone.”

SUP Approved For Repair Business

Council adopted a resolution approving a conditional Special Use Permit to allow the operation of an auto, truck and boat repair business at 512 Easley Street, following a public hearing Monday night.

Business owner Carroll Thomason applied for the permit, which was approved subject to the condition that the business meets all fire and building codes before it begins operation.

Adjacent property owner Buster D’Amato spoke in favor of the SUP, requesting only that all conditions of the permit be met before the business opens.

Thomason told council his business would concentrate on light repairs of automobiles and trucks, as well as fiberglass repairs to boats.

Cline Appointed To Regional Juvenile Commission

Town Council unanimously approved the Rev. David Cline for a position on the Southside Regional Juvenile Group Home Commission.
Cline will serve a four-year term on the commission.

South Boston To Pursue VML Workshop

Council addressed an inquiry from Steve Craig, managing director of Virginia Municipal Insurance Programs, regarding interest South Boston would have in serving as host for a Local Government Communications Workshop this spring. that Virginia Municipal League is holding these workshops around the state and wanted to have one in Southside.

Jones said in a letter to council VML would invite the board of supervisors and council members from South Boston, Halifax, Scottsburg and Virgilina to participate in the workshop, which probably will be held in mid-April or May.

“He [Craig] provided information and suggested we could open it up to other localities in the area, and if we also got a positive response from Halifax and Halifax County, that would be a good group to start with,” said Jones.

Several council members suggested other nearby localities such as Chase City, Clarksville and Danville could be included.

Council asked Jones to proceed with scheduling the workshop in South Boston.