A tribute to Yolanda WeiderDate: December 19, 2014 -- Henry Clay
The Independent Living Community was started in 1990. The management entered into a contract with Time Warner to provide Cable TV access for the entire Village. Later A.T.& T became the Cable provider and still later they were succeeded by Comcast. At some point Comcast provided a separate Channel known as Channel 18 and from that point until the fall of 2003, Channel 18 was run by the Administration. The Administration did not really want to be in the TV news for residents business, but had no real alternative.
In December of 2002, Retirement Living resident Warren Nace gave a presentation to the Association's Executive Committee on his ideas and suggestions to modify Channel 18 programming. The Association's President, Howard Wittel, recruited a Committee consisting of Henry Clay, Roy Ecklund, and Ken Stout to do a feasibility study to determine if the residents should and even could take over the running of Channel 18. Later, Ken Stout's health prevented him from participating. Howard Wittel then added Ed Allen and Harold Barrick to the Committee. Howard Wittel and Ray Tierney were invited to all meetings and participated in all of the discussions.
The Committee quickly determined that being computer literate had nothing to do with being TV literate. The Committee set out to (1) educate itself about private TV, (2) determine what it would cost, and (3) determine if the Masonic Village had the necessary number of residents who could succeed in running such a Channel.
Visits were made to Elizabethtown College (which had five TV Channels, one being public Channel 40 and the other four restricted to the College for teaching purposes); Meadowood Retirement Community; the Milton Hershey School; Garden Spot Retirement Community, and Lima Estates Retirement Community. Lima Estates was a part of 17 ACTS senior resort lifestyle communities located on the eastern seaboard. ACTS Management had made a lengthy study of private TV Channels and they made us aware of Display Systems International, Inc., (DSI) located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada (the company that sold them the software and hardware for their private TV Channel).
Finding no other alternative, the Committee decided to develop a proposal that would be based on DSI hardware and software. Initially it set about to raise $37,000 from the residents. That was later increased to $50,000 in order to have enough to purchase new digital equipment and a sound system for Sell Chapel and equipment for the studio to be located in the lower level of Grand Lodge Hall. With the money in hand the Association moved forward with taking over Channel 18.
The Committee recruited Warren Nace, Tom Glidden, Norma Hildebrand, Clyde Jordan, Art Linington, Horace Mason, Harry McMullen, Ray Simpson, Woody Richter, Carol Stevenson, Yolanda Weider, and Bob Wheeler to be the initial staff.
Resident run Channel 18 came on the air June 28, 2004. Warren Nace initially lead the staff of Channel 18 and later he shared it with Yolanda Weider as they brought Channel 18 on-line and figured out what programming would be presented. As Warren's health declined Yolanda Weider assumed the role of leading Channel 18.
Sometime later (I have lost track of the date) the Masonic Village at Sewickley followed the lead of Elizabethtown in taking over their private TV Channel. They were advised by the Channel 18 staff in Elizabethtown not to use the software being used in Elizabethtown without first seeing if there was something newer and more advanced available.
Their research turned up 'Touchtown' and that is what they installed.
By the end of 2009 the original software being used in Elizabethtown had reached the end of its useful life and an alternative was needed. The 'Touchtown' software being used in Sewickley was still the state-of-the-art software on the marketplace. Association President, Wils Kile, working with Yolanda Weider, determined that it would take about $25,000 to make the upgrade. The fund drive managed to raise $31,000 and the upgrade was on its way. The Administration agreed to cover the cost of a needed Service Contract.
Yolanda Weider led the effort to make the upgrade fly.
Channel 18 as we knew it changed. All residents with digital TV sets started seeing Channel 18 on Channel 95. A new Channel 23 reappeared on channel 66.
Channel 18 started running the Retirement Living activities as well as the Sell Chapel, Life Center, reserved trips, clubs & meeting activities.
Channel 23 started running Residential Living, Assisted Living, and HCC neighborhood activities as well as Roosevelt and Grand Lodge entertainment videos.
Because of the advent of multiple channels, the activity was rechristened as MVtv.
An expanded staff was recruited.
Shirley Averill became Director of MVtv and Yolanda assumed the role of Assistant Director.
Yolanda Weider was synonymous with MVtv. She will remembered for her long and valuable service and she be missed by all.