Saturday, 02 December 2023

MATH considers tools to move forward

MIDDLETOWN – The Middletown Area Town Hall meeting in the Middletown High School's Multi-Use Room at 7 p.m. on February 21 is likely to be "buzzing."

There is a lot on the town hall's plate this month proposed bylaw amendments, a petition to improve air quality, a presentation by Lake County County Counsel Anita Grant on the state's open meeting laws, the need to discuss local business support especially in light of the fact three prominent businesses shut down last month within a two-week period.

But, it will be the presentation on "Tools and Strategies to Move MATH Forward" that will likely draw out-of-towners to this Middletown meeting.

People like Lake County Administrator Kelly Cox from Lakeport and Kevin Comora, president of Vizicast Multimedia in Cotarie are likely to attend. Members of Lake County's media establishment have also expressed an interest in attending. Why? The need for progress in Middletown.

According to Martha Webster, who works with the Middletown Times Star, Middletown has been trying to get a viable town hall up and going for more than 20 years. Last year, it looked as though Middletown had finally arrived. The town was granted status for a municipal advisory council (MAC) in compliance with the Brown Act. Funds were also provided by the county for new lights in the downtown area.

But, neither MAC status nor new lights will help generate more revenue for the local small business merchants. Something still needs to be done to entice the sizable traffic traveling through Middletown on State Highway 29 to "stop and shop." Otherwise, more local businesses may be closing their doors as well.

One problem for Middletown may be its perception as the "Gateway to Lake County." The town is not perceived as a destination, but rather as a pass-through to somewhere else in the county. While it might help if Caltrans were to alter the way traffic approaches and passes through Middletown, that would be a very expensive undertaking.

Given California's current economy, it is doubtful Caltrans will be altering the way Highway 29 approaches Middletown any time soon.

What is feasible is for Lake County to introduce much-needed technological innovation to the area beginning with Middletown. In particular, digital signage.

While Lake County currently has a ban on billboard signage because area residents desire to hold fast to the natural beauty here, the introduction of digital signage can actually reduce the number of billboards and at the same time help small businesses to flourish. This is done by dynamically advertising their message changing multimedia messages on the big screen rather having a painted display.

Dynamic digital signage would also help promote community service. It can even transform the Lake County press kit from a CD with nothing but stagnant PDFs to a vibrant DVD with documentary-style multimedia presentations.

What can you do when you walk into any of the three visitor centers in Lake County right now? Can you walk over to a kiosk, press a button on the screen and find out information about what Lake County has to offer?

No, there are no kiosks. Instead, you have to sort through printed material and decide what you want provided you can find it. A digital signage kiosk can deliver what you need at the click of an on-screen button.

Every visitor center in Florida has for years had a kiosk to accommodate its tourist trade. You will find San Francisco has been putting digital signage to work both out on Fisherman's Wharf at Pier 39 and within 19 of its hotels for 15 years.

Well, the tourist trade is supposed to be one of the major draws of Lake County. Perhaps the time has indeed come for Lake County to start implementing digital signage?

Kevin Comora is the person responsible for much of the digital signage currently being used in San Francisco. In fact, even the digital signage being used on the USS Ronald Reagan battleship is his responsibility. He came to Middletown back in September of last year and demonstrated to the Middletown Merchants what digital signage might do for the town by showcasing a presentation that included Langtry Estates, Sylvie's and Fergusson Cutlery. This presentation can still be seen online at Just be sure to look through the Web site and download the Scala plug-in before viewing.

While technological innovation is a partial solution, it is not the only need Lake County has. Even according to the county's own marketing research, the area has a poor attitude toward itself. Perhaps this is to be expected when you have a bedroom community, like Hidden Valley Lake. A great many of the residents there are forced to work outside the county to be able to afford the lifestyle provided by this gated residential community. Obviously, the need for long commutes can make involvement in local community activities difficult.

Nevertheless, it really is important people CARE about one another, CONNECT with their community and have a DESIGN to move the area forward. This upcoming MATH meeting will hopefully be a step in that direction.

If you would like to attend this meeting, please take time to RSVP. Visit for more information.


Upcoming Calendar

12.02.2023 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Festival of Trees
12.03.2023 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Lower Lake Hometown HoliDaze Street Fair
12.09.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
12.09.2023 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Christmas in Middletown
12.14.2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Lakeport Blizzard event
12.16.2023 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Kelseyville Wreaths Across America ceremony
12.16.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
12.21.2023 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Lakeport Blizzard event
Christmas Eve

Mini Calendar



Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 



Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.