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Local history documented on-line

PLATTSBURGH - It's taken Calvin Castine and Brian McBride two years of converting VHS tapes to DVD and then posting them on-line. And they're not even halfway done their project.

Castine, who began Hometown Cable in 1983, knew it was time to convert his old tapes, to something that would last.

"I did have [a tape] ... from 1984, when I put it in, this big part on the bottom was just gone," said Castine. "I pulled the tape out and looked at it. Probably about a fifth of it was just dried right out and falling off. I manually fast forwarded to the end and it cleared up a little bit later."

"I can't wait another decade or a lot of it won't be there," he added.

Castine began working with McBride, of McBride Chevrolet and McBride Subaru, who had been dabbling with the Internet for more than a decade.

"I registered the plattsburgh.com domain in 1995," said McBride. "I put a one-page Web site, just some local businesses, the chamber and stuff. I left it alone for probably 13, 14 years. I just got the itch to do something with it and I've got some Internet background."

Eventually, McBride began posting videos of the Airborne Speedway races, through an employee of his, Rick Knowles.

"As soon as word got around at the track that you could watch the show on Monday after the race, we had hundreds of people every day on the site," said McBride.

Soon McBride asked Knowles, who is an acquaintance of Castine's, if he could ask Castine about posting his videos on the Web site.

"He's probably single-handedly producing the most accurate [historical] record of the area," said McBride. "Right now the interest level, it's interesting stuff, but 20 years from now it's going to be a really important reference library to go back to."

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