FAA changes story about F-35 maps


By Burlington Free Press
February 4, 2017

The FAA could have included F-35 sound information, but chose not to due to a pending lawsuit which community members hoped would halt or at least delay the basing of the new jets


Winooski will join F-35 lawsuit -Burlington Free Press

Elizabeth Murray, Free Press Staff Writer1:11 p.m. EDT April 21, 2015

Applause could be heard throughout the Winooski City Council meeting room Monday after the council unanimously approved the city’s joining as a full party to a lawsuit regarding the U.S. Air Force’s environmental impact statement of F-35 fighter jets.

The decision followed a third heated discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of entering the lawsuit against Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James.

As a full party, the city would retain its own lawyer in the lawsuit, forgoing representation by the current plantiffs’ lawyer, James Dumont. The council also approved the expenditure of $7,500 beginning after the meeting. This amount would be capped, and if the city planned on spending more, it would bring that issue back before the public and City Council for discussion.

To date, Mayor Seth Leonard said the city has spent about $4,000 during the F-35 lawsuit research and discussion phase.

“From my perspective, this is the best outcome,” Dumont said outside the meeting. “I’m so happy the city is involved.”

Winooski residents had voted on Town Meeting Day to approve the advisory question that authorized the City Council to enter the lawsuit and spend $7,500 in the process. The council spent three weeks discussing the issue before voting during the third meeting.

Before the vote was taken, former Winooski mayor Michael O’Brien urged the City Council to reconsider.

“I’m concerned about the cost and how deep it’s going to dig into our pockets,” O’Brien said. “The other thing is … we’ve worked hard with the guard to establish relationships and to discuss with them issues about the F-35 concerns that we have. I think we’ve developed a good relationship. The Air Guard will work with us.”

Plaintiffs who filed the case in U.S. District Court say the Air Force failed to provide enough information in the report released in April 2014. At issue is whether the Air Force underestimated the level of noise and its potential impact on health, property values and safety for those in the flight locations.

City Councilors had considered filing a brief in the case to express the city’s support. Councilor Nicole Mace said Monday she felt a brief did not carry as much of a guarantee of success.

The city has passed two resolutions on the issue, first in May 2012 and again in July 2013. City Manager Katherine “Deac” Decarreau said the Vermont Air National Guard has been “exceptional” in providing the city information about the F-35 fighter jet, and the Burlington International Airport is working to complete a noise study to estimate the F-35 impact on the city.

The city joins the Stop the F-35 Coalition and six Chittenden County residents as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Four of the individual plaintiffs are residents of Winooski.

Lawyer Dumont said the deadline for filing a motion in federal court for the city’s entrance into the lawsuit is April 29. Dumont said he expects the city’s lawyer to be contacting him within the next nine days.

Eileen Andreoli, a Winooski resident and party to the lawsuit, said she believes the city made the right decision to join. Andreoli beamed from ear to ear as she and other members of the lawsuit were congratulated by residents as they left the meeting.

“I think it will carry weight when a whole municipality says that they agree this is important for us,” Andreoli said. “It’s been said that Winooski is the conscience of Chittenden County for its efforts to find this truth. We’re a courageous little city.”


Editor’s note – The story has been modified to reflect the following clarification: Winooski City Manager Katherine “Deac” Decarreau said the Vermont Air National Guard has been “exceptional” in providing the city information about the F-35 fighter jet, and the Burlington International Airport is working to complete a noise study to estimate the F-35 impact on the city. Her statements were misrepresented in an earlier version of the story.

Contact Elizabeth Murray at 651-4835 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LizMurraySMC.



Great News!!!  

In its amazing and historic vote on Monday, April 20, 2015, the Winooski City Council  agreed to join the F35 lawsuit as a full partner!  The City will use its own attorney, and the city’s contribution will be capped at $7,500.  The city attorney will prepare the paperwork to join the suit, called a “motion to intervene”.  Wow!

Thank you, Winooski City Councilors for your actions on behalf of Winooski and its citizens!  And thank you, Winooski residents and friends who helped make this happen with your activism and support of Article Five!  


Winooski: Council weighs cost of F-35 lawsuit

The City of Winooski has sought legal advice as it explores options for joining a lawsuit regarding the basing of F-35 fighter planes in Chittenden County — though legal opinions conflict as the city moves closer to making its decision.

Plaintiffs who filed the case in U.S. District Court say the Air Force failed to provide enough information in the report it released in April 2014. At issue is whether the Air Force underestimated the level of noise and its potential impact on health, property values and safety for those in the flight locations.

The City Council addressed possible participation on March 16. Mayor-elect Seth Leonard said he is unsure if the City Council is close to a decision, but that it will continue lawsuit discussions Monday.

By the next meeting’s end, councilors hope to have a proposal on which they can vote April 20.

“I don’t expect this to be a long, drawn-out process,” Leonard said in an interview, adding that the schedule is not completely set.

Winooski residents voted on Town Meeting Day, 572-475, to approve an advisory article asking the city to enter a federal lawsuit against U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. The city would join the Stop the F-35 Coalition and six Chittenden County residents as plaintiffs. Four of the individual plaintiffs are residents of Winooski.

In approving the advisory question, Winooski residents also approved the city’s spending $7,500 on legal services, though lawyer Robert DiPalma says the actual costs of joining the lawsuit could far exceed that sum.

The decision of whether to join is up to the City Council, Leonard has said.

“It’s our fiduciary, moral and otherwise, responsibility to make sure we’re taking care of the city in the best way we can,” Leonard said at the meeting, according to a video recording by the CCTV Center for Media and Democracy.

The city has passed two resolutions on the issue, first in May 2012 and again in July 2013. Leonard said that some of the questions posed in the last resolution have yet to be answered.

Lawsuit lawyer James Dumont pointed out during the mid-March meeting that several of the resolution’s questions align with questions presented in the lawsuit.

A variety of options were presented to the City Council at its meeting by lawyer Robert DiPalma of Paul Frank and Collins law firm. Leonard said DiPalma is one of several lawyers with whom the city works.

Among the city’s options are joining as a full party, filing as a “friend of the court,” passing another resolution, or taking no action whatsoever. Each choice contains a different level of liability for the city, raising questions of how much the city will spend and how influential their entry could be in the case.

While Dumont said Winooski’s entrance will sway the court toward the plaintiffs’ side, DiPalma disagreed.

“The consequences of joining the lawsuit are a little uncertain,” DiPalma said. “It doesn’t appear to me that the addition of Winooski as a party to the case is going to have an impact on the outcome of the case.”

DiPalma: Follow the money

If the city chooses to enter the lawsuit as a full party, DiPalma said he believes the city’s ability to stick to its $7,500 budget “is going to be a real challenge, and very well may not be a possibility.”

According to DiPalma, $7,500 could be spent quickly on lawyer fees and fees that could come up in the discovery process when information is exchanged between parties in the case — though Dumont said the costs would not be very excessive.

DiPalma also raised the possibility of the judge awarding a sum of money to the winning party. If the plaintiffs were to lose the lawsuit, this could be difficult for the city to pay back, DiPalma said.

Councilor Brian Corrigan suggested that the council explore the money issue more at the April 6 meeting.

“I have an issue with us suddenly entering into this lawsuit, and the fees are exceeding, or far exceeding $7,500, and all of a sudden we’re looking at a bundle of cash that we have to come up with in a budget that we were very tight with to begin with,” he said. “I see that as a problem.”

Councilor Robert Millar said the city also should be cognizant of staff time spent on the lawsuit as well. Millar said the council should explore more creative options where the city can participate to a certain level in the suit, but not incur as many fees.

“While advisory, it did send a pretty clear signal,” Millar said of the Town Meeting Day vote result. “I think that exploring more full-participation options is what we’re being asked to do by the citizens.”

Dumont: Swaying the court

If the city enters the lawsuit as a full party, lawsuit lawyer Dumont said the entrance will most likely be factored into federal Judge Geoffrey Crawford’s final decision, motivating him to rule in the plaintiffs’ favor.

Dumont said the judge may see Winooski’s entry as a move to protect its people.

“When a city speaks, you’re speaking as a parent advocating for the interests of your children,” Dumont said. “The judge we have is a very good judge, he’s very smart and he also has a big heart.”

The question at hand — whether the Air Force followed regulations laid out by the National Environmental Protection Agency in crafting its environmental impact statement — is too technical for the city to have an impact on the judge’s decision, DiPalma said.

“If you look at some of the issues before the judge, it’s not necessarily going to pull at your heartstrings,” DiPalma said. “The way I see this case is, ‘Did you comply with NEPA?’ That’s pretty dry. My view is that adding a party, such as a municipality, is not going to move the needle for the judge all that much, but I’m willing to listen to other opinions.”

Councilor Nicole Mace suggested the city look at how passing another resolution or filing a court brief would possibly affect the case. Mayor Leonard said the council could explore that option further at the next meeting.

‘You own the question’

Winooski residents at the City Council meeting urged the council to think seriously the question approved on Town Meeting Day.

George Cross, who presented the original petition to join the suit, reiterated that the lawsuit’s questions parallel questions raised in the city’s past resolutions.

“Those answers have not been provided,” Cross said. “The people of Winooski have spoken. They said we want you, even though it was advice, to join this lawsuit on our behalf.”

“You own the question,” Cross added.

Opinions on the question were fairly split on Town Meeting Day, resulting in a 572-475 vote to approve the article. Winooski had 5,496 registered voters as of this year’s annual meeting. Several residents on Town Meeting Day told the Burlington Free Press that they voted to approve the F-35 question to keep the issue alive, and not so the city would actually join the suit.

Resident Michael Mahoney said the Air Force did a thorough environmental impact study — but only “to a point.”

“The issue regarding the lawsuit is that the EIS is incomplete,” Mahoney said at the meeting. “All we’re asking is that they complete it … I think you as the City Council, representing us, would also want to get the answers to those same questions.”


Mayor Leonard and City Councilor Mace said they are open to all options as they go forward.

Mace said she is “eager to hear what additional information and analysis our attorneys and staff have obtained” since the March 16 meeting.

“I look forward to discussing those options as a full Council on the 6th and am confident that we will arrive at a decision that is in the best interests of the City of Winooski and its residents,” Mace said in an email.

Contact Elizabeth Murray at 651-4835 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LizMurraySMC.


Doggle That Boon, Fellas: In Which We Revisit The F-35

More money for nothing, as we learn about another glitch with the F-35 strike-fighter program.

landscape_1426089524-181826395It’s been a while since we checked in with the F-35, the new strike-fighter also known as the Flying Swiss Army Knife, and a gigantic lemon from which no lemonade ever can be made. The money pit that is the F-35 program has now grown so deep that it is very possible that some of the money tossed into it is now turning up in Shanghai. The latest glitch finds us in a situation in which the plane won’t be able to carry its state-of-the-art ordnance for another seven years, at least.


An Amazing Victory in Winooski, Vermont!

Winooski-65dB-Properties-18F35s-Scenario-1-Horace-ShawOn Tuesday, March 3, the citizens of Winooski voted yes to ask their city to join the federal lawsuit against the F35 basing in Vermont.  The lawsuit was filed by the Stop the F35 Coalition and asks the USAF to set aside its decision until a comprehensive EIS has been completed, and then make a decision based on the facts.  Although this vote was non-binding, it is a very powerful message that Winooski voters demand that due process under the law be served in an effort to protect their community from the F35s.

Thank you to everyone who helped with passing Article Five on the Winooski ballot, starting back in January with the dozens of incredible volunteers in our successful petition drive, to every single person that signed it, to those who educated their friends and neighbors about the article and urged their participation, to those who displayed lawn signs as a public show of support, to those who stood outside of the polls in the cold, and finally to every Winooski citizen who voted yes.

I’m so grateful and proud of our little City and the residents who care so deeply about its future!  It has been an honor to have met and worked with so many that appreciate their neighbors and community and are willing to stand up for Winooski and Vermont.  We are blessed to have such a truly an amazing and inspiring group of people that call our city their home!  None of this happened without the help of many, and I want to express my deep gratitude.

Please stay involved as our new Winooski Mayor, city council and city manager review the legal options to decide its next steps in this process.  This is a great opportunity for us to strengthen our lawsuit and protect our community.

Thank you voters of Winooski!

Vote YES on Article Five!

The Air Force Must Obey the Law.


  • Air Force data shows the planned F-35 basing makes 2/3 of the housing units in Winooski “unsuitable for residential use.”
  • By unanimous vote, the Winooski City Council adopted a resolution in 2013 saying the Air Force, “…did not adequately address the questions and concerns…” of the council about the impact of the F35 basing.
  • The Air Force failed to comply with the requirements of federal laws in making the basing decision.
  • Vote YES on Article Five to request the City of Winooski join the lawsuit to demand full compliance from the Air Force. The Air Force must obey the law!


Article Five is non-binding and advisory ONLY!

Vote YES on Article Five and bring

your voting friends with you to the polls!

 March 3, 2015 – Senior Center, Barlow Street

Documents pertaining to the lawsuit can be found at: www.stopthef35.com

The USAF says homes in the F35 noise impact zone will be considered “unsuitable for residential use”

The Northwestern Vermont Board of Realtors now requires a Noise Disclosure Statement on all home sales within the future F35 noise impact zone.

Protect Our Community!

Vote YES! on Article Five


Winooski Residential Properties F-35 Noise Zones


Open letter to Winooski City Council from George Cross

There are approximately 3,713 residential units in Winooski found in 1,591 buildings. These include single family houses, residences with an extra apartment or two, large apartment complexes, and condos. Over the last few years many of us have struggled with the potential impact on these residences by the basing of the F-35 military jet at the Vermont Air Guard Station located at the Burlington Airport. Currently a group of Winooski citizens combined with our neighbors in surrounding towns have entered into legal actions to prevent this deployment. Why?

The Air Force in its Environmental Impact Statement related to deploying the F-35 here has stated that the F-35 is four times as loud as the F-16 which is the plane currently in use. The EIS also states that the defined 65db DNL noise area around the airport is “not suitable for residential use.” Recently the area real estate association has clarified that agents should provide potential buyers with a disclosure form that indicates when a residence is within the 65db DNL noise zone. It follows, that ethically renters should be told about the potential noise prior to signing a lease.

That is why. But, here is the real problem. About 70{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of those residential units, 2,589 of them, fall in the noise area that the Air Force has defined as “not suitable for residential use.” Stated another way, 70{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the places where Winooski residents now live will be compromised by the F-35.

Thus, the time has come for the Winooski City Council to stand up for the city’s residents by joining the legal actions being taken to prevent this injustice. If you agree, it is suggested that you contact the City Council, the Mayor and the City Manager to register your concern about the deployment of the F-35 at BTV. You can find contact information for all of them at www.winooskivt.org.

To learn more about the F-35 and the many issues surrounding the deployment of the plane in a residential area go to www.stopthef35.com or www.saveourskiesvt.org.

George Cross is a former Winooski State Representative, Interim Winooski City Manager, and Superintendent of the Winooski School District

How Would You Spend 1.4 Trillion Dollars?

Published in Seven Days 10/29/14 (Click to enlarge)how would you spend 1.4 trillion

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