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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

More Homes Are Inside High-Decibel Areas on New F-35 Sound Maps

Posted By on Tue, May 28, 2019 at 7:44 PM

The Burlington International Airport draft noise exposure map report - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • The Burlington International Airport draft noise exposure map report
The arrival of the louder F-35 military jets at Burlington International Airport will nearly triple the number of homes affected by high noise levels, according to sound maps released Tuesday. 

A total of 2,640 dwelling units will be affected by noise at or above 65 decibels in 2023, compared to 976 on sound maps for 2015. 

The new projections, based on computer modeling, suggest high-decibel noise will affect larger portions of Winooski and Williston, and slightly less of certain parts of South Burlington. 

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Walters: Vermont Senate Approves No-Nukes Resolution

Posted By on Wed, May 22, 2019 at 5:07 PM

Sen. Anthony Pollina, speaking in favor of S.R.5 - JOHN WALTERS
  • John Walters
  • Sen. Anthony Pollina, speaking in favor of S.R.5
After a brief debate Wednesday, the state Senate voted by a 22-7 tally for a nonbinding resolution "strongly opposing the basing of any nuclear weapon delivery system in Vermont." 

Those in favor included 20 Democratic and/or Progressive senators plus Sen. James McNeil (R-Rutland) and Richard Westman (R-Lamoille). The other four Republicans voted "no," plus Sens. Dick Mazza (D-Grand Isle) and John Rodgers and Bobby Starr (both D-Essex/Orleans). Sen. Chris Pearson (P-Chittenden) was absent from the floor during the roll call.

The resolution, S.R.5, got a thorough overhaul in the Senate Government Operations Committee before heading to the floor. The original wording repeatedly mentioned the F-35 fighter jet, which the Vermont Air National Guard is scheduled to begin flying from its base at the Burlington International Airport this fall. A group called Citizens Against Nuclear Bombers in Vermont pushed for the resolution over fears that the F-35 is capable of carrying nuclear weaponry.

But the version approved by the Senate barely refers to the F-35 at all. Instead, it describes Vermont's history as "a national leader in opposing the spread of nuclear weapons" and recounts committee testimony describing instances where the military apparently based such weapons in Vermont.

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Friday, May 17, 2019

New Airport Noise Map Is Not Expected to Lead to More Home Demolitions

Posted By on Fri, May 17, 2019 at 6:00 AM

Air Force F-35 - FILE
  • File
  • Air Force F-35
A new noise exposure map adjusted for the coming arrival of F-35s at Burlington International Airport is not expected to trigger any home demolitions.

"I don’t anticipate homes being removed," airport aviation director Gene Richards told Seven Days Wednesday.

The map will be released to the public during an airport open house from 5 to 7 p.m. on May 29. The City of Winooski will host its own open house the following day from 5 to 7 p.m. at the O'Brien Community Center.

Richards declined to release a copy of the noise map Wednesday, saying it was still in draft form. Seven Days has filed a public records request for the document. 

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Monday, February 4, 2019

F-35 Critic Rosanne Greco Enters Race for Adjutant General

Posted By on Mon, Feb 4, 2019 at 5:52 PM

Rosanne Greco has entered the race for adjutant general. - FILE: KEVIN J. KELLEY
  • File: Kevin J. Kelley
  • Rosanne Greco has entered the race for adjutant general.
A vocal critic of the decision to base F-35 fighter jets in Vermont announced Monday that she will seek the position of adjutant general.

Rosanne Greco, a retired Air Force colonel and former chair of the South Burlington City Council, said she decided to seek the state’s top military post after several female legislators encouraged her to enter the previously male-dominated race.

Greco said her opposition to the F-35s, the first of which are expected to arrive this fall, would make her an excellent candidate because now is the time for the Vermont Air National Guard to be asking the question others might not.

“What could possibly go wrong? A whole lot could go wrong, and you want to know what those things are,” Greco said.

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Despite Opponents' Efforts, F-35s Still Scheduled for Burlington

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2018 at 5:25 PM

An F-35 - FILE
  • File
  • An F-35
Citizen efforts to halt the arrival of the F-35 fighter jets appear to have come up short.

Secretary of the U.S. Air Force Heather Wilson confirmed this week that the planes are still on schedule to arrive at Burlington International Airport next year.

The letter dated May 22 from Wilson to Mayor Miro Weinberger came in response to a city council resolution that requested the Air Force find a new mission for the Vermont Air National Guard. The resolution also included a series of questions about the safety and noise of the planes.

The Air Force's response? The basing is a done deal.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Request to Halt F-35s Goes Forward Without Weinberger's Support

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2018 at 10:38 AM

An F-35 - FILE
  • File
  • An F-35
Mayor Miro Weinberger will not give his blessing to a Burlington City Council resolution asking the feds for an alternative plane to the F-35 fighter jets. He announced Wednesday in a press release that he will neither sign nor veto the letter, which will be sent to the U.S. Air Force on April 16 without his support.

A veto "would serve little purpose other than extending the divisive debate indefinitely," Weinberger wrote in a commentary published on VTDigger.org that explained his decision.

It is the first time in Weinberger's six-year tenure as mayor that he has not signed a council resolution, according to the release. Instead, he sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson explaining his decision and voicing his continued support for the jets.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Weinberger Could Veto Burlington City Council Resolution on F-35s

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2018 at 2:27 PM

An F-35 - FILE
  • File
  • An F-35
The Burlington City Council passed a resolution on Monday night requesting an aircraft less noisy than the F-35 fighter jets — but it may be premature for opponents of the jets to celebrate.

Mayor Miro Weinberger can sign or veto the resolution, according to Katie Vane, a spokesperson for the mayor. A veto would then require two-thirds of the council to vote to override the decision.

Weinberger needs to "take action or provide a response" by the council meeting on April 16, according to Vane, and he plans to make a decision by then.

On Tuesday, the mayor indicated that he'll be deliberate.

“I will use that time as needed to continue the further work on this issue that I promised, and to make this decision with care," Weinberger said in a statement.

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Burlington City Council Could Vote to Request F-35 Cancellation

Posted By on Mon, Mar 26, 2018 at 11:54 AM

  • Arjan Van De Logt/Dreamstime.com
  • An F-35
The Burlington City Council will take up a resolution Monday that asks the U.S. Air Force to base a safer alternative to the F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

The proposed measure comes after 55 percent of Burlingtonians voted on Town Meeting Day to ask the council to "request the cancellation" of the planes and find a less noisy, less risky option.

"The voters asked us to take action, so we're going to take action," said Councilor Joan Shannon (D-South District), who sponsored the resolution.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

F-35 Burlington Ballot Question Spurs Debate, Influx of Ad Spending

Posted By on Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 1:25 PM

Ben Cohen speaking out against the F-35s - FILE: KATIE JICKLING
  • File: Katie Jickling
  • Ben Cohen speaking out against the F-35s
Activists for and against the basing of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport are gearing up — and opening their wallets — ahead of election day.

Members of Save Our Skies gathered 3,000 signatures on a petition to get a measure about the jets on the ballot and have since spent an estimated $15,000 advocating for a "yes" vote, according to lead organizer Jimmy Leas.

The question asks whether voters will "advise the City Council to: 1) request the cancellation of the planned basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport, and 2) request instead low-noise-level equipment with a proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area."

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

At Public Meeting, Federal Officials Seek to Calm BTV Airport Uproar

Posted By on Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 10:19 PM

Richard Doucette presents at the Burlington airport. - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Richard Doucette presents at the Burlington airport.
Eight suited officials, including representatives from the Vermont National Guard, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Burlington International Airport, spent two hours Thursday evening answering community questions about noise lines and mitigation, FAA protocol, and home buyout rules.

The officials hoped the question-and-answer session would relieve rising tensions as a controversial home buyout program proceeds around the airport in South Burlington. In September, the airport announced 39 new home buyouts. More than 100 homes have been bought since the program began in 1997.

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