Weekly Feature

2010-09-15 / Local News

Our Town: Clarence celebrates community pride


Town residents and the larger Western New York/Southern Ontario community will have the opportunity to learn more about Clarence — from its prehistory to its cemeteries, parks, hamlets and key figures of the past.

Our Town: Clarence is scheduled to premiere at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 25, on WNED-TV, channel 17, cable channel 3.

The WNED production showcases the work of a number of volunteers who captured footage of Clarence life and provided narration on various topics important to the town.

One of them was Jeff Feinen who featured town parks.

“I’ve been working on the new branding of the town, and in doing so, I thought it would be a good idea for me to partake in this. As a lifelong resident here, there’s an awful lot of good things in the town, and it would be nice to show that off,” he said.

He chose the park system because he believes it’s unique in comparison with surrounding towns. It includes 26 miles of bicycle paths, in addition to the more traditional parks and sports facilities and may be more extensive than any other in Western New York, he said.

Feinen said he used to work for the town Parks Department during the summer while in college, so he had a foundation of knowledge to use in this project.

The filming process went pretty easily despite Feinen only having a day and a half to shoot in due to camera availability and bad weather.

“On a typical daily basis there’s quite a few people who utilize the park. What I get a kick out of is it’s utilized by young and old,” he said.

Feinen and other Our Town volunteers had the opportunity to preview the production on Sept. 7, and he said he enjoyed seeing the completed project. Some of the participants have been in the town for about 10 to 20 years and are relative newcomers in comparison to him, but their perspectives seem similar to those of lifelong residents.

Feinen said that indicates people come to the town for the same general reason — serenity.

“There are a number of attractions and facilities that are highlighted very nicely and there’s a lot of history that’s highlighted as well,” he said of Our Town: Clarence. “I think it would behoove everyone to watch the program if at all possible. They’re going to learn more about the town.”

Our Town senior producer Paul Lamont said the project is like “going into a town or city and getting a personally guided tour by the people that know it best.”

“I’ve been to Clarence before. I’ve shopped there, eaten there — even spent a weekend at the Asa Ransom House a couple of years back — but I never really knew Clarence until now,” he said.

Lamont has worked on three Our Towns, including Lockport and Niagara-on-the-Lake. He said the productions allow people to celebrate their town pride.

“Like some of the stories that were in Clarence — being able to get away from it all in a nature preserve, take a bike ride down a well-kept path, planting a tree in honor of a loved one who passed away — Our Town always reminds me of how important and meaningful some of those simpler things are,” he said.

Lamont said the Clarence project went smoothly, with volunteers excited about their ideas and the topics they covered.

“My overall impression of Clarence is that it’s a strong, vibrant and caring community that is passionate about its history but equally as passionate about the things that will take it into the future,” he said.

More information is available at www.wned.org/Productions/our town/clarence.

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