Robert Nicholson, accompanied by other members of the West Milford Television Commission, presented their Jersey Access Group (JAG) award to Mayor Michele Dale and the Township Council at the latest local governing board meeting. Channel WM77 received a first-place recognition at this year’s Eastern Video Expo Conference, along with several other awards.
Mayor Michele Dale praised the many hours of volunteer service given by the commission members to see that the public can stay informed by seeing meetings and events on television. Echoing that recognition, Councilwoman Marilyn Lichtenberg noted that not only do the people on the commission serve without compensation, but they supply their own equipment without financial help from the municipality. To change that she asked and received council support for her proposal to put $10,000 for the commission in next year’s municipal budget.
The top JAG Award of Excellence was for a Long Pond Ironworks Civil War Documentary. It is the highest award given by JAG in the highly competitive category of “Fairs, Festivals and Car Shows, Arts and Crafts.” Other awards achieved by the commissioners at this year’s event were a Silver Award in the “Concerts/Multiple Cameras” category for recognition of the “Rock-aholics” at Bubbling Springs Park Summer Concerts, and a Silver Award in the category “Ceremony and Parades” for the 2021 Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Nicholson and Geoff Belinfante were at the annual JAG awards event to receive the honors. The recognition facilitated by JAG honors excellence in local and regional Public Education Government (PEG) cablecast programming. Originally named the JAM awards for partnership between JAG and ACM, it was re-branded as the JAG Video Awards in 2016.
JAG was formed as a 501c3 organization in March of 2000 by a small group of stations that saw a need for communications between cable stations in New Jersey. Nicholson said Channel 77 has been around for about 13 years. He mentioned there were some rocky roads along the way that were overcome, thanks to help by attorney Fred Semrau, a partner in the firm of Dorsey and Semrau, of Boonton, that has been representing the township for many years. Semrau was in the audience of the latest township meeting when Nicholson and other local television commissioners made their presentation. Busy with many municipalities, Semrau no longer regularly attends West Milford meetings. Edward Pasternack of the Dorsey and Semrau firm currently is West Milford’s legal representative and was, as usual, present at the latest township meeting.