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Airport groups¯ consolidation draws mixed reactions
Worthington News (SNP), June 21, 2006

AIRPORT GROUPS' CONSOLIDATION DRAWS MIXED REACTIONS


By LYNDSEY TETER
Reprinted courtesy of the Worthington News/SNP ¯2006

OSU Airport advisory and noise committees, members of both groups had plenty to talk about last week.

At least a few issues in the past weeks have angered committee members, including the possible restructuring and consolidation of the groups.

Coming together
William ¯Bud¯ Baeslack, dean of the college of engineering, has charged Bill Habig, a former director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission and vice chairman of both committees, to re-evaluate the groups¯ structures and progress.

He is expected to present a report at a joint meeting scheduled for July 20.
¯It appears to me that the noise committee is wrapping up its work, and has dealt with a lot of issues that have been raised,¯ Habig said last week.
He said he may recommend a restructuring that would consolidate the noise committee into the advisory board.

¯The advisory (committee) member would become the main member, and the noise committee representative would serve as as alternate,¯ Habig said.

He said noise committee member Paul Hammersmith could possibly serve as vice-chairman of the advisory board.

Mixed reactions
Reaction to the suggestion has been mixed, Habig said, as the discussion is still in the early stages.

¯Since members of these committees were selected to serve based on their field of expertise, this suggests further lack of community responsiveness,¯ said Riverlea mayor Mary Jo Cusack in the village newsletter. ¯Some feel that OSU was ill prepared to deal with the amount of work done...¯

Northwest Civic Association President Bill Schuck, who serves on the noise committee, said he had not been made aware of the proposed changes and refrained from comment.

Some members said they think consolidation is necessary.

¯I think it would be helpful in that the two committees are very big,¯ said Don Peters, a professionAlthough university officials cited a lack of agenda items for the cancellation of June meetings of the al pilot who serves on the noise committee.

¯We have worked to determine what the noise problems are and we have pinpointed a couple of things that need to be done.¯

Peters said the change would be helpful for cutting down on the number of meetings and ¯complexities of the number of people who have to be at the meetings. It just makes sense to merge the two,¯ he said.

As far as the expertise of the 30-plus members serving in both groups, ¯there¯s a way to incorporate (expertise) by assigning alternates, who can be at meetings and make comments during the public portion of the meeting,¯ Habig said.

SAFECON news
Also of concern last week were rumors that SAFECON would return to the Don Scott Airport in the fall and again in the spring.

The national intercollegiate flight competition was held in May and the added air traffic drew criticism from airport neighbors.

A smaller, regional version of the event will be held at Don Scott in the fall, but the national competition will not return in the spring, said Cathy Ferrari, the airport¯s external relations manager.

The regional competition involves six universities from Ohio and Michigan compared to 30 teams in the national competition.

Only four of the six schools involved have the facilities to host the competition, Ferrari said.

The university was host to the competition in the late 1980s, 2002 and most recently in May.

MedFlight returns?
The university also drew criticism from representatives of We Oppose Ohio State Airport Expansion, or WOOSE, who questioned why a MedFlight aircraft was housed at the airport a week after MedFlight made a commitment to halt all flights of the older, noisier aircrafts between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The Stage 2 jet was used by Medflight when two of the company¯s planes were out for service repairs, Ferrari said.

The jet has flown during the nighttime hours at least three times in the past week, said WOOSE president Dennis Hennen.

¯They are either maliciously lying to us or the organization is so out of control that the left hand doesn¯t know what right hand is doing,¯ Hennen said of the university airport last week.

Ferrari said the jet was expected to leave early this week.

Read more Central Ohio Community News at the Suburban News Publications Web site, SNPonline.com

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