Weinberger says he may take 20 days to decide on F-35

By Kelsey Neubauer
March 27, 2018

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said Tuesday he will need up to 20 days to decide whether to support a City Council resolution asking the Air Force for an alternative to the controversial basing of the F-35 jet fighter.

Weinberger said he expects to use as much time as he needs before the council’s next meeting on April 16. Under the city charter, he must decide within that time frame.

“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,” he said in a written statement.

Weinberger has long been a supporter of the F-35 basing, but he told VTDigger in February that he would reconsider his stance if voters opposed it.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Request to halt F-35 goes forward without Weinberger’s support

By Katie Jickling

April 11, 2018

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.

The council considered the resolution after 55 percent of Burlingtonians, on an advisory Town Meeting Day ballot question, voted to halt the basing of the F-35s and request a new mission for the Vermont Air National Guard at Burlington International Airport. The F-35s are currently scheduled to arrive in 2019.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Weinberger won’t sign off on Burlington City Council F-35 resolution

By Anne Galloway
April 11, 2018

Mayor Miro Weinberger announced Wednesday morning that he will not support a Burlington City Council resolution calling for an alternative mission to the F-35 fighter jets, which are slated to be based at the local airport in 2019.

Weinberger consulted with the Vermont Air National Guard and federal officials who he says satisfactorily addressed noise and public safety concerns raised by the public and a series of investigative stories by VTDigger.

Burlington voters on Town Meeting Day rejected the basing of the fighter jets at Burlington International Airport and asked that city leaders urge the Air Force to give the Vermont Air National Guard an alternative mission.

A City Council resolution passed on March 26 reflected the will of city voters.

Weinberger will not sign the resolution. While the mayor previously said he would reconsider his backing of the F-35 basing if voters opposed the fighter jets, he is now reiterating his support for the planes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington City Council Votes to Request Replacement of F-35

By James Ehlers

April 10, 2018

Here is my position on the F-35. Besides my past study and experience, the DOT&E Report and analysis from the Project On Government Oversight offers further basis for the James Ehlers for Vermont position on this controversial issue.

I applaud the Burlington City Council for their resolution to replace the basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport (a site that was not supported by many in the Air Force at the time).

The people of Burlington spoke out on Election Day, and it is essential that we as leaders respect and promote the will of the people. We have to work together to find a reasonable replacement.

We cannot and MUST not allow whole communities–our schools, businesses and homes– to be degraded by massive noise impacts and extreme environmental risks in the event of a crash. Many of the most affected communities had no say at all in the basing process. Let’s invest in Vermonters, not unproven, financially irresponsible weapons of war.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont Congressional Delegation Opposes Vermont Voters

By William Boardman
March 29, 2018

What happens when the lives of citizens get in the way of political egos?

he politics of American imperialism are alive and well in Vermont, where elected officials are defending the military-industrial war-making machine against voters who reject ruling class priorities. At the symbolic center of this democratic confrontation is the notorious F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the world’s most expensive weapons system, designed to kill in many ways, including a nuclear first strike. And the few times Vermonters have had the chance to vote, they’ve voted against basing this loud, health-harming, housing-destroying offensive war machine in the state’s most densely populated area. Now it’s coming to a head in a people versus career politicians face-off.

At a Town Meeting on March 6, Burlington voters chose, by a 55% majority, to ask the Air Force to base the F-35 in some other state. On March 26, the Burlington City Council, by a 9-3 vote, forwarded that request to Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson to “replace the planned basing of the F-35 with a basing of a low-noise-level plane with a proven high safety record….” For whatever reason, the council request left out the rest of the ballot resolution’s request: “… proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area” (perhaps because that densely populated area is NOT Burlington). The City Council asked Secretary Wilson to respond by May 1.

Vermont’s quisling Congressional delegation – Democratic senator Patrick Leahy, Independent senator Bernie Sanders, and Democratic congressman Peter Welch – made what looks like a cheap shot effort to influence the council vote at the last minute. Late on the afternoon of March 26, Vermont’s “representatives” issued a joint statement saying they stood by their years of pushing for the F-35 basing at the Burlington Airport, which is in South Burlington (which has no voice in the decision).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington city council to ask for F-35 plane alternatives

By Tom Garris
March 27, 2018

The Burlington City Council voted 9-3 in favor of a resolution to send a letter to the secretary of the United States Air Force asking for an alternative mission to the F-35 fighter jets that are set to arrive in 2019.

The measure passed after hours of public comment and council debate and requests a response from the secretary by May 1.

This comes after Burlingtonians voted in favor of a Town Meeting Day advisory question, also known as ballot question No. 6, asking the council to request a cancellation of the planes.

City Council President Jane Knodell said she voted in favor of the resolution because it’s what the voters in her district wanted, but she noted that there is a risk.

She said the Vermont Air National Guard could pull out altogether.

“But they might say that we want the Air Guard to really work very hard on noise mitigation, because people are very concerned about that,” Knodell said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Weinberger could veto city council vote on F-35

By Katie Jickling
March 28, 2018

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.

Weinberger, who has previously expressed support for the jets, “is still digging into the repercussions of the city requesting an alternative mission,” Vane said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington city council approves resolution calling for F-35 cancellation

By Kelsey Neubauer
March 27, 2018

The Burlington City Council voted 9-3 Monday in support of a resolution requesting the cancellation of a planned F-35 fighter jet basing at the Burlington airport in favor of an aircraft that is quieter and has a proven safety record.

The City Council vote follows a ballot measure passed by Burlington residents on Town Meeting Day demanding that the City Council ask the Air Force to cancel plans for basing the F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport.

The motion states: “the Burlington City Council values the Air National Guard’s contributions to our community and respectfully requests the Honorable Secretary of the United States Air Force, Heather Wilson, replace the planned basing of the F-35 with a basing of a low-noise-level plane with a proven high safety record, consistent with the ballot question previously cited.”

Like the ballot measure, the letter is advisory in nature. With the basing already approved, the Air Guard has the final say on whether to cancel the basing.

“We obviously have no authority over the Air Force, but we are clear on what we’re asking,” said Councilor Joan Shannon, D-South District, who drafted the resolution.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington City Council wants F-35 based elsewhere

March 26, 2018

City councilors in Burlington want the F-35 to be based somewhere else.

Public comment on the issue lasted for hours at a packed City Hall Monday night. People on both sides of the debate stepped up to share their opinions about whether the Queen City should support the Air Force’s latest fighter jet set to land in Vermont in fall 20-19.

On Town Meeting Day, voters approved a non-binding ballot item saying they do not want the jets here.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington City Council could vote to request cancelation of the F-35

By Katie Jickling
March 26, 2018

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.

It includes a lengthy list of questions for Air Force secretary Heather Wilson: whether an alternative mission would be plausible, the safety and environmental risks of the F-35s, how often pilots would use afterburners and whether Burlington is the only populated area where F-35s will be deployed. The resolution asks for a written response from Wilson by May 1.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Testing the Impact of Jet Noise on South Burlington School

By Cory Dawson
March 20, 2018

School officials will begin conducting noise pollution tests soon at a South Burlington elementary school that sits about a half mile from Burlington International Airport runways.

For years, teachers, students and staff at Chamberlin School — with 250 students from kindergarten through 5th grade — have endured jet noise from the nearby airport, said South Burlington Superintendent David Young.

“Our teachers often have to just pause for a few minutes, because it’s just difficult to talk over,” Young said. “This is particularly when the F-16s, or prior to that when the F-4s were flying over. It was kind of known as the ‘Chamberlin pause.’”

Young said he has been asking for years to use money from a Federal Aviation Administration grant program that allows for noise insulation for buildings that are affected by high noise levels.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Democracy 1, War Machine 0 | SocialistWorker.org

By Paul Fleckenstein
March 14, 2018

Burlington, Vermont, last week approved a referendum directing local officials to oppose the basing of the F-35 warplane at the Vermont Air National Guard Station in Burlington.

While majority opposition to the basing has been clear in neighboring towns, the referendum marked the first time the issue has been put to a popular vote. “This is a huge victory for democracy,” said organizer Jimmy Leas, “All the congressional delegation, the entire political establishment of Vermont was addressed by this electorate today that, with 55 percent of the vote, said ‘Yes,’ we want to cancel the F-35.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

VPR VT Edition on F-35 Burlington vote

By Jane Lindholm & Matthew F. Smith
March 12, 2018

Eighteen F-35 stealth fighter jets are set to come to Vermont next year, but on Town Meeting Day, a ballot question with language rejecting the fighters passed with wide support in Burlington. We’re looking at what that vote means and what happens next for the F-35s in Vermont.

Fifty-five percent of Burlington voters called for canceling the basing of the F-35s at the Burlington International Airport. Ballot Measure 6 now tasks the Burlington City Council to “request the cancellation” of the F-35 basing decision, and “request instead” alternate “low-noise-level equipment” for the Burlington Air Guard station.

After surviving past council efforts to vote down the fighters and a legal challenge to the site selection process, the Vermont National Guard says the vote won’t change their plans to bring 18 F-35s to Burlington starting in 2019.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Seven State Legislators Call to Cancel F-35 Basing

March 2, 2018

We are pleased to announce that Burlington Representatives and Chittenden County Senators, have signed a group letter urging Burlington voters to vote “Yes” on ballot question #6 regarding the F35s. The letter follows:

To whom it may concern,

We stand together in favor of Burlington’s ballot question #6 to oppose the basing of the F-35s at the Vermont Air National Guard. The issues are as follows:

1. Noise/Housing: The F-35 is over four times louder than the current F-16, which will put over 6,600 people’s home in a high decibel noise zone that the Federal Government classifies as unsuitable for residential use.1

2. Crash rate: The planes are still new and as such have an eight times higher crash rate than the F-16s. Typically the Air Force chooses a remote base for the new military aircraft. With 1,400 homes in the crash zone, we cannot take this risk. The current runway aims directly at the largest shopping area in Vermont with two dozen big box stores one mile away in Williston. This is not an abstract issue. In 1965, a military jet crashed in Williston. Fortunately, the area was an open field at the time so the casualties were limited to the two people on board.2…

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Ballot Discussion at Burlington’s North End NPAs

February 28, 2018

Each of Burlington’s neighborhoods has its own unique history, resources and problems to be solved, and the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies reflect this diversity. Because many of the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies grew out of existing neighborhood groups, each has a different character and a different approach to resolving issues.

The February meeting of the Ward 4 & 7 NPA (North End NPAs) addresses ballot items for Town Meeting Day, candidates running for office, and other neighborhood issues.

Scroll to 25:00 mark in the video above for coverage of the F-35 ballot item.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder: I knew I was disturbing the peace

March 4, 2018

The co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream knew he was disturbing the peace with a noisy demonstration against fighter jets.

Ben Cohen told the Burlington Free Press that’s exactly the point.

Cohen was one of three activists arrested for disorderly conduct Saturday after blasting jet noise from a mobile public address system in Burlington, Vermont.

He said the goal was to simulate what it might be like for residents living under the flight path of Vermont National Guard F-35 fighters. He tweeted that if he violated the city noise ordinance then the fighter jets will, too.

[FULL ARTICLE]

A letter from South Burlington teacher, Kathy Buley, against F-35

By Kathy Buley

I have been a teacher in the South Burlington school district for over thirty years. I have taught in all three of the elementary schools, and have been here at Chamberlin for twenty years. I have also lived in the Chamberlin neighborhood since 1980. I have, therefore, had a considerable amount of time to witness the changing dynamics of the airport and military aircraft during both my work day and at home.

When I first moved into the Chamberlin neighborhood, the sounds of the airport were a slight nuisance to which one could adjust. Over time, however, the growth of the airport and the introduction of the F-16s has created a significant intrusion into the lives of those in the neighborhood. The level of disturbance has become a reality that no one could have predicted when we bought our homes or built our school.

[FULL ARTICLE]

An F-35 jet blast demonstration leads to noise complaint charges

By Dom Amato
March 3, 2018

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s led a public service demonstration Saturday, simulating the sound of an F-35 jet blast.

Cohen and other organizers were eventually arrested by Burlington Police, and charged with disorderly conduct by noise. The protestors drove a truck with multiple speakers throughout Burlington — to allow people to hear what they say over 6,000 people in the F-35 flight path will hear multiple times a day. Burlington Police issued at least one set of tickets to the organizers for a noise violation as well. Multiple residents and businesses were heavily impacted and complained to the group about the lack of warning.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder arrested in Burlington

By Rebecca Reese
March 3, 2018

A well-known Vermont businessman was handcuffed today in front of Burlington City Hall.

Police say Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen was arrested this afternoon. He was taken into custody after leading a public service demonstration intended to simulate the sound of the F-35 jet blast.

Lt. Matthew Sullivan explained a truck with amplifiers was pulled over multiple times throughout Burlington receiving tickets for violating the city’s noise ordinance.

“Because it was the third violation it’s disorderly conduct by noise so they were arrested,” Lt. Sullivan said. “Three protesters were arrested.”

Supporters of the demonstration such as James Leas said arresting protesters for noise proved their point about F-35 jet blasts.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben (of Ben & Jerry’s fame) arrested for noisy protest in Burlington, Vt.

By Lucas Phillips
March 03, 2018

Ben Cohen was reportedly driving around the city giving sound demonstrations, purportedly of an F-35 jet, like one that may come to a local airport. One of the founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was arrested after repeatedly violating noise ordinances in Burlington, Vt., as part of a protest Saturday, police said.

From 11 a.m. until his arrest at 3:20 p.m., 66-year-old Bennett Cohen of Williston (better known to the world as Ben) was driving around the city giving sound demonstrations, purportedly of an F-35 jet, like one that may come to a local airport, according to Lieutenant Matthew Sullivan of Burlington police. Sullivan said Cohen was pulling a trailer with “speakers you’d find in a club . . . probably 6 feet . . . in height” and powered by four generators.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s cofounder arrested during F-35 protest

By Tom Garris
March 3, 2018

The cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was arrested-along with two other people-Saturday, for disorderly conduct by noise.

Ben Cohen was among a group that staged a political demonstration in downtown Burlington.

They had a pickup truck hauling a trailer with heavy audio equipment, playing aircraft takeoff noises.

It was a form of protest to simulate F-35 aircrafts set to come to the South Burlington Airport in 2019.

“We are sorry to disturb people,” Cohen said. “We don’t want to do this, but it’s a disturbance once for people that are going to hear this demonstration.”

Sound levels peaked more than 100 decibels, and police received complaints about the noise.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Inc. co-founder Ben Cohen arrested during F-35 protest in Vermont

By Jess Aloe
March 3, 2018

Ben and Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen was arrested Saturday in downtown Burlington for violating the city’s noise ordinances while holding a “public demonstration” about F-35 fighter planes, police said.

Activists opposed to the impending basing of the Air Force F-35s in Burlington played jet noise from speakers mounted on the back of a pickup truck at a decible level they said simulated what it would be like to be underneath the flight path of the planes

Cohen was one of three people arrested for disorderly conduct shortly after 3 p.m., said Lt. Matthew Sullivan. Cohen was escorted from a downtown intersection in handcuffs.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen Arrested for Protesting F-35 Fighter Jets – Breitbart

By Sean Moran
March 4, 2018

Burlington, Vermont police arrested Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen on Saturday after he repeatedly violated a local noise ordinance in a personal protest against the F-35 fighter jet.
Cohen, a supporter of Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign, attached several amplifiers to his car and drove through the city to simulate the sound of an F-35 fighter jet.

The protest began around 11 A.M. on Saturday and was cited numerous times before Cohen was arrested for violating the town’s noise ordinance.

Burlington Lieutenant Matthew Sullivan said, “Because it was the third violation it’s disorderly conduct by noise, so they were arrested, three protesters were arrested.”

Cohen tweeted on Saturday, “Getting ticketed. It’s either legal or it’s not, if it’s legal for the F-35 to make this noise 16 times per day, 52 wks a yr, for the next 50 yrs, it should b legal for us to do this limited demonstration of extreme jet blasts which are the subject of Item #6 on the March ballot.”

Supporters of the protest argued that by arresting the demonstrators, the police proved their point about the dangers of excessive noise pollution.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Save Our Skies VT March 4 Press Release

March 4, 2018

Save Our Skies VT is making public the dire health impacts—both physical and cognitive—to the
children in our area from the noise of the F-35. They will hold a press conference at 11:00 AM

on Monday, March 5, 2018 outside of Burlington City Hall (Church St side). Health care profes-
sionals, teachers, parents, Colonel Rosanne Greco, and Ben Cohen will be present to speak based on their expertise and personal experiences.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Jimmy Leas Interview with WCAX

March 4, 2018
By Darren Perron

Good morning everyone, I’m Darren Perron. Right now on “You Can Quote Me,” how much it will cost you. Federal Tax Changes hitting some Vermont families hard. The state’s Tax Commissioner joins me in just a bit.

Also, campaign countdown in the Burlington Mayors race. Meet the candidates making their final push before Town Meeting Day.

And progress report on the F-35, plus controversy surrounding a ballot question about the fighter jet.

[FULL ARTICLE Part One] [FULL ARTICLE Part Two]

Burlington Ward 6 NPA Meeting

March 1, 2018

Neighborhood Planning Assemblies (NPAs) are grassroots, neighborhood organizations that were established in each of Burlington’s seven Wards to empower citizen participation in City government. Working as neighborhood advocacy groups, Neighborhood Planning Assemblies facilitate communication between the citizens of Burlington and city government through regular meetings scheduled in each Ward.

Scroll to 87:03 in the video above for the segment about Ballot Item Regarding the Vermont Air National Guard Basing of F-35’s at Burlington International Airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Local 22 F-35 press conference coverage

By Torrance Gaucher
March 5, 2018

Tuesday is Town Meeting Day, and Vermonters can head to the polls starting at 7 am.

In Burlington, voters will be voting to elect a new mayor, city councilors, and seven ballot items. Those items range from recommending to raise the age of sale for tobacco from 18 to 21. To the controversial ballot item, whether the F35 should be based in the community.

On Monday, concerned residents gathered outside of City Hall on Church Street to inform voters about the health impacts of the fighter jet.

Also, how the level of noise will disturb way of life.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ice cream mogul Ben Cohen, activists arrested for ‘jet blasts’ in Burlington

By Anne Galloway
Mar 4, 2018

Demonstrators don’t often break the law to get their point across, but on Saturday, three activists who oppose the F-35 basing in Burlington, did just that.

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Ray Gonda, a military vet, and Richard Joseph broke the city’s sound ordinance to make a point: The F-35s that are coming to the Burlington area are loud. Extremely loud. So loud that when the three men blasted neighborhoods with the jet sound residents emerged from their houses (with their hands over their ears) to shout at the activists to stop the deafening roar.

The noise came from a set of speakers on the back of a pickup truck. It simulated an F-35 fighter jet flying at 1,000 feet — a booming rumble that hits a decibel level of 115 — about four times louder than the F-16, the fighter jets that have been based at Burlington International Airport since the 1980s.

“We cranked this thing up and it’s insane,” Cohen said. “A lot of people were pissed off, how could you make this much noise in front of my house?”

Cohen was apologetic. He said he knew the jet blasts were obnoxious in the extreme, but he said, “It was necessary to do this to prevent a greater harm.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Stop the F-35 March 5 Press Conference

March 5, 2018

TIME STAMPS:

Intro Rosanne Greco (Ret. Air Force Colonel): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM

Fiona Griffin, Winooski mother: https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=2m10s

Bob Walsh on behalf of Kathy Buley (Teacher at Chamberlin School): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=5m8s

Bob Walsh (Retired teacher and former Marine): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=6m16s and earlier at https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXm M?t=4m32s

Sharon Hopper on behalf or Ann Goering (Winooski doctor): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=8m21s

Dr. John Reuwer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oimxPvbGXmM&feature=youtu.be&t=11m36s

Ben Cohen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oimxPvbGXmM&feature=youtu.be&t=13m30s

Closing (Rosanne Greco): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=15m58s

Call and response (Rachel Siegel, Director of Peace & Justice Center): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=17m56s

F-35 opponents highlight children’s health risks in final ballot push

By Mike Dougherty
Mar 5, 2018

Activists opposed to the planned basing of F-35 fighter jets in Burlington made a final plea to voters Monday to consider the health effects of noise exposure on area children when they cast their ballots on Tuesday.

Question #6 on the Burlington ballot asks voters whether the City Council should request the cancellation of the planned basing and ask for quieter aircraft. Vermont Air National Guard officials and local economic development boosters have stressed that the ballot measure is non-binding and will not affect the military’s plans.

Environmental impact data compiled by the Air Force in 2013 states that the F-35 will be four times louder than the F-16s currently stationed at the Vermont Air Guard base. That volume increase will disproportionately affect young children at area homes and schools, opponents said at a press conference Monday.

Among the dozens of activists gathered at City Hall was Fiona Griffin, who lives under the airport flight path in Winooski. Griffin said that her two children, now ages 4 and 2, have been afraid of the F-16s since they were toddlers.

“Fighter jets have woken my babies while they slept, scared them while they played, and brought them to tears on more than one occasion,” Griffin said. “It’s just really disruptive.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Leahy and staff had role in F-35 basing decision

By Jasper Craven
Mar 5 2018

In December 2012, more than 100 Vermonters gathered outside U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy’s Burlington office to voice their displeasure over his support for a plan to base a squadron of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

While many of the activists in attendance generally agreed with the senior senator’s political philosophy and that of his two fellow Vermont congressional colleagues, they found themselves at odds on the F-35 issue. One woman’s sign read: “Leahy, Sanders, Welch, You’re Breaking My Heart.”

According to a Seven Days report, protesters entered Leahy’s office and demanded the Democratic lawmaker hold a public hearing on the F-35. Leahy’s chief of staff, John Tracy, appeared on the senator’s behalf and dismissed calls for a forum.

Jimmy Leas, a South Burlington attorney long opposed to the planes, pointed out to Tracy that “so far, (Leahy) has only made himself available to speak with supporters of the plane.”

 

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

F-35 noise public service announcement

March 3, 2018

Stop the F-35! Give the guard a plane that doesn’t hurt our neighbors and their children. Vote YES on #6.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Former Air Force colonel commands F-35 opposition

Rosanne GrecoBy Jasper Craven
Mar 2 2018

For nearly three decades, Col. Rosanne Greco served her country in the U.S. Air Force. But for the past five years, she’s been engaged in a fierce battle with the military over the planned basing of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

And while Greco looks back fondly on her service, her perspective on the military — and jet noise — has changed dramatically since she began asking questions about plans to base 18 F-35s in Burlington, scheduled to begin next fall.

“I just get sort of a thrill with that loud noise, so it never bothered me personally,” Greco recalled. “As a matter of fact, we used to run out and listen to it. Although I emotionally enjoy loud jet noise, now my head knows that it’s not really good for me. … Now when I hear the noise I connect it to the people who are trapped, who really have nowhere to go.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont officials steadfast in support of F-35

By Jasper Craven
Mar 1 2018

In December 2012, Vermont’s then-Gov. Peter Shumlin squeezed into a nine-seat charter jet for a trip to Florida.

Those on board — including Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and then-Winooski Mayor Michael O’Brien — were headed to Eglin Air Force Base. The mission: To hear the noise of the F-35 fighter jet firsthand, and report back to Vermonters.

The trip was paid for by the Greater Burlington Industrial Corp. (GBIC), a business group that has supported the basing of F-35 stealth fighter jets in the Burlington area. One of that group’s leaders, real estate magnate Ernie Pomerleau, also accompanied Shumlin on the trip.

Noticeably absent were officials from South Burlington, the city expected to shoulder the greatest burden when 18 of the jets are scheduled to arrive at Burlington International Airport next fall. They were not invited.

After touching down in sunny Florida, Democrat Shumlin and the rest of his delegation took a tour of an F-35. “It’s a pretty amazing machine,” Shumlin remarked to a Vermont Public Radio reporter who accompanied the officials.

After the tour, Shumlin listened to two idling jet models: one simulating an F-16, the military aircraft currently based in Burlington; the other mocking an F-35, the replacement. Shumlin and his colleagues also witnessed both planes taking off. “Volume, seems to me, is about the same,” Shumlin observed.

“Listening to this has been a real eye opener,” he said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Problems have plagued the F-35 for many years

By Jasper Craven
Feb 28 2018

Many adjectives have been used to describe the F-35 stealth fighter jet scheduled to arrive at Burlington International Airport next year, and few of them are flattering.

The F-35 program has been pilloried in the national press as “flawed” and “failed.” It’s been called a “nightmare,” “a mess” and “a trillion-dollar mistake.” And just last month, a Bloomberg report bluntly stated: “The Pentagon Isn’t Happy with the F-35.”

Sen. John McCain, a longtime military stalwart, has been a consistent critic of the Joint Strike Fighter program over its years of development delays and cost overturns that continue to this day.

“The F-35 program’s record of performance has been both a scandal and a tragedy with respect to cost, schedule and performance,” the Arizona Republican said when he chaired a 2016 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the F-35.

In 2013, the Defense Department inspector generaldetermined that the plane’s main developer, Lockheed Martin, was inadequately overseeing the F-35’s development, which “may result in nonconforming hardware, less reliable aircraft, and increased cost.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Already battered by thunderous noise, community braces for arrival of F-35

By Jasper Craven
Feb 27 2018

Conversations in Ray Gonda’s house came to an abrupt halt whenever the F-16s started roaring. As the growling grew louder, Gonda and his wife moved away from the windows, which vibrated as if they were possessed. As the plane took off and flew over their home, family pictures hanging side-by-side on the living room wall shook violently.

“I’d often have to readjust those pictures after the plane took off,” Gonda recalled recently.

For decades now, a fleet of F-16 fighter jets have flown out of Burlington International Airport. While the noise has become routine to many, the impact of the sound hasn’t lost its potency.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Town Meeting Day Burlington Ballot Forum: The F-35 Question

February 25, 2018

Advocates on both sides of the F-35 debate Nicole Citro, Bill Keogh, Jimmy Leas, and Roseanne Greco share their perspectives on the F-35 plane to be used by the VT Air National Guard slated for 2019 during this live call-in forum with Channel 17 Moderator Meghan O’Rourke

[FULL ARTICLE]

Doug Dunbebin blasts F35 noise for Burlington City Councilors

Above clip (approx. 3 1/2 minutes) from when the Burlington City Council refused to limit aircraft noise at the airport, thereby clearing the way for the basing process to continue. Councilor Joan Shannon changed the meeting’s rules at the last minute, disallowing anyone who had ever spoken before on the issue to speak at that meeting (even though two weeks earlier she had promised everyone they would be able to speak). Therefore the people with the most knowledge, including our lawyer, were given no opportunity to refute the misinformation from the proponents.

Doug Dunbebin, a former city councilor himself, broadcasted the recorded sound of the F35s to the council.  You can hear Councilor Shannon in the background screaming at him and pounding her gavel.

“Do you feel it?  Do you feel it?  Are all of you feeling this?  This is anger, and it’s what people will feel every time they hear that airplane take off. Do you understand that?”

Doug Dunbebin

[SOURCE]

General Cray’s February 9, 2018 Press Conference

February 9, 2018

There seems to be some misinformation being circulated about where we are in the F35 basing process by the opponents of the F35. I also want to make a few comments about the non-binding ballot question being presented to the voters of Burlington.

I need to make it perfectly clear that I am the spokesperson for the Vermont National Guard, the opponents of the F35 are not…

There is no alternative mission being planned for the VT Air National Guard.

[FULL ARTICLE]

A Plea from Winooski Citizens – Burlington Free Press

By Coalition for a Livable Winooski
February 18, 2018

We’ve always thought of ourselves as part of the Burlington community.

We like you.
We think you like us.
We need your help.

The extreme noise level from the current military places at the airport doesn’t affect most of you. But it affects most of us. It’s driving us crazy.
And it’s about to get WAY, WAY, WAY, WAY worse for us if the F-35 comes here, because the Air Force told us the F-35 is 4 times louder than the F-16.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force reply and motion for judgment

March 7, 2016

“NO MILITARY AIRCRAFT” AT BURLINGTON AGS IS NEITHER THE PROPER NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE, NOR A REASONABLE ALTERNATIVE
According to Plaintiffs, this “no military aircraft” alternative should have been the no action alternative, or was at least a reasonable alternative that should have been considered in the FEIS…
However, conspicuously absent from the VTANG’s presentation was any suggestion that once those aircraft were retired the VTANG would abandon its decades old mission of flying fighter jets.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

To the contrary, the Air Force informed the public that if Burlington was not selected, the base’s “current mission would continue.” … In short, Plaintiffs’ speculation regarding “empty hangars at Burlington” is unfounded, and Plaintiffs have failed to show the Air Force used an improper no action alternative.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington Residents Will Vote on F-35 Question As Written

By Katie Jickling
January 30, 2018

The Burlington City Council on Monday agreed to allow voters to weigh in on the future basing of the F-35 fighter jets — but not before a lengthy discussion about ballot wording that, in the end, will remain the same.

The Town Meeting Day ballot question is advisory, and is not likely to prevent the planned 2019 arrival of the F-35s. The crux of the debate during Monday’s meeting centered not around the vote itself, but around language F-35 opponents used conveying “strong support” for the Vermont Air National Guard.

Three councilors — Jane Knodell (P-Central District), Dave Hartnett (D-North District) and Kurt Wright (R-Ward 4) — proposed an amendment to delete the phrase, “as part of our strong support for the men and women of the Vermont National Guard, and especially their mission to ‘protect the citizens of Vermont.'”

Col. Hank Harder, the guard’s 158th Fighter Wing Vice Wing Commander, agreed with the proposed amendment, saying Monday that it would be “disingenuous and misleading” for F-35 opponents to frame their question in terms of support for the guard.

[FULL ARTICLE]

FAA offers few solutions for F-35 noise mitigation in South Burlington

By Emily Greenberg

February 17, 2017

An official with the Federal Aviation Administration told residents here that there is little that can be done to mitigate noise from F-35 jet fighters taking off and landing at the Burlington International Airport.

The airport is located in the middle of a residential area. At a question and answer session Thursday night with officials from the FAA and the Vermont Air National Guard there was only one solution offered to concerns about noise pollution from the aircraft: Home buyouts.

“The best way to mitigate noise, at high noise levels, is to buy homes and remove them,” said Richard Doucette, the FAA’s New England Environmental Program manager. “But the city of South Burlington doesn’t want that. Usually it’s the opposite.”

South Burlington city councilors have suggested noise barriers as an alternative to home buyouts, but Doucette said that the odds of the FAA funding a noise-wall would be slim.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington Airport Commission and FAA Joint Meeting on Noise Mitigation


February 16, 2017

The Burlington International Airport (BTV) and its Commissioners held a question and answer session on February 16, 2017 with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) representatives, Airport representatives , Vermont Air National Guard, Vermont Army National Guard and various Airport consultants in relation to the Home Buyout Program, Land Use and Reuse Program, Noise Exposure Maps and Noise Compatibility Program. We welcomed any questions that you may have regarding these programs or any other Airport initiatives.

[SOURCE]

Response from the Guard about the Burlington F35 Vote

The military says it’s set to base the F-35 fighter jet in Burlington by next fall, but opponents have renewed a long-simmering fight to prevent the next-generation fighter jet from landing.

A plan to base the military’s F-35 jet in Burlington has sparked nearly a decade of debate. Efforts to stop it have included lawsuits and anti-campaigns. The latest — a group called the Coalition for a Livable City.

“We urge the public to join together to protect the right to vote on an issue of fundamental importance, and not allow the mayor to force F-35 basing and bashing on Burlington without a vote,” said
James Leas, a long time F-35 opponent, and ring leader of the group.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Press conference on getting the F-35 issue onto the Burlington ballot

By Katie Jickling

January 19, 2018

Opponents of the decision to base F-35s at Burlington International Airport collected 2,700 signatures — nearly 1,000 more than required — to put the question to Queen City voters on the Town Meeting Day ballot, members announced in a press conference outside City Hall on Friday.

The advisory question, which must be approved by the city council to be on the ballot, asks voters to “advise the city council” to cancel the planned basing of F-35s, which are scheduled to arrive at the airport’s Air National Guard base in 2019. The ballot item asks if voters will “request instead low-noise-level equipment … appropriate for a densely populated area.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

CCTV video of F-35 discussion

December 12, 2017

Charles Simpson, retired professor of sociology, sits down with Jimmy Leas, activist with Save Our Skies, Rosanne Greco, retired Air Force Colonel and Save Our Skies activist, and Carol Miller, of the New Mexico based Peaceful Skies Coalition, to pokes a few holes in the message to which Vermont’s political establishment is wed: that the U.S. Air Force’s F-35 fighter plane is a wise investment and an appreciable factor in Greater Burlington’s livability.

[SOURCE]

PRA and FOIA request for VTANG sources for statements on needing the F-35 for a mission

By James A Dumont, Esq., P.C.
February 8, 2018

I write on behalf of numerous residents of Burlington, Winooski, South Burlington, and
surrounding communities, including but not limited to Mr. Leas, to submit this Public
Records Act and Freedom of Information Act request to the Vermont Department of the
Military, the Vermont Air National Guard, the Vermont National Guard and to you, as well
as to the Air Force.

The Vermont Air National Guard website contains a FOIA page. The FOIA page refers
all requests to the Air Force. To be complete, I am submitting this request to you under
both FOIA and the Vermont Public Records Act, and I am submitting it as well to the Air
Force at the email address on the Air Guard’s FOIA web page.

However, I must insist on a response from the Vermont Department of the Military as well
as a response from the Air Force. You were selected by the Vermont legislature to head
the Vermont Department of the Military, to fulfill functions mandated by the Vermont
Constitution and Vermont statutes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Leahy pressures Air Force to base F-35 in VT

By George Nichols, E Maj. USAF
September 3, 2013

Notes from today’s phone conversation between Senator Leahy and General Welsh

  • Senator Leahy opened with casual conversation and wanted to be a little more “Parochial” concerning F-35
  • He strongly supports F-35 in Vermont. Tiny vocal minority that is against it. He has received over 200 letters from the group; however, he has over 13,000 signatures for it
  • He strongly urges the Air Force to not delay the RoD in light of rumor that there would be a two year delay for Ops 3 (ANG)
  • He understands the rational of splitting the decision into two RoDs, one for Active Duty and one for ANG but asks for little or no delay in the two RoDs
[FULL ARTICLE]

It’s not too late, We can still save our communities!

By Jasper Craven

Feb 6 2018

It’s NOT TOO LATE! We can still save our communities from the inappropriate F35 basing in our residential neighborhoods!

Burlington voters — please help by voting YES on article #6 at Town Meeting Day on Tuesday, March 6.

“Elsewhere in recent years, military plans have been scrapped or greatly reduced in scope following intense push back from community and political leaders.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 nuclear capability sooner than expected

By Alex Lockie

Jan. 12, 2017

The Air Force designed the F-35A with nuclear capability in mind, and a new report indicates that the Joint Strike Fighter may carry nuclear weapons sooner than expected.

The Air Force originally planned to integrate nuclear weapons in the F-35 between 2020-2022, but Air Force Brig. Gen. Scott Pleus told Defensetech.org that “it would definitely be possible,” to hasten the deployment of B-61 nuclear gravity bombs on the F-35 should the need for it arise.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 at Burlington Mayoral Debate

February 5, 2018

NH Senator’s ability and actions to counter Air Force plans

A Republican senator on a leading defense panel in Congress has moved to block the Air Force’s plans to retire the A-10 Warthog attack plane.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

A Republican senator has blocked the confirmation of the woman nominated by President Obama to be the next Air Force secretary until the service offers up more information over its plans to cut the A-10 fleet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Ayotte spokeswoman Liz Johnson said the senator lifted her hold on James’s nomination after she received a second round of responses from the Air Force about potential cuts to the A-10 fleet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Lawmakers on key defense panels have reached a deal on the annual defense authorization bill that would block the Pentagon from retiring the A-10 fleet. Key senators such as Sen. John McCain, who next year will succeed Levin as chairman of the Senate panel, and Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a Republican from New Hampshire whose husband was a Warthog pilot….

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Senator Ayotte has a personal reason for keeping the plane the pentagon wants to kill…

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Joint explanatory statement to accompany the National Defence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (Sec 133)

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force to Impose Limits on F-35 Training Flights at Eglin

By Dan Cohen

July 9, 2014

Air Force officials have decided to impose operational limitations on F-35 training flights at Eglin Air Force Base on the Florida Panhandle to reduce noise over the city of Valparaiso, according to a record of decision published Wednesday.

Officials selected the “no action alternative” for the basing of up to 59 F-35s at the Eglin joint training site, which represented the environmentally preferred alternative.

“The Air Force listened to the community’s concerns and worked hard to find a solution that meets mission requirements and also reduces noise impacts,” said Kathleen Ferguson, acting assistant secretary for installations, environment, and energy.

The decision demonstrates the Air Force’s desire to limit impacts on communities around Eglin, Ferguson said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Valparaiso Settles Suit with F-35 Noise Concerns

By Meagan O’Halloran

Mar 02, 2010

A year and a half ago, every city and town in Okaloosa County was anxious to welcome the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilot training program to Eglin Air Force Base.

Every city except Valparaiso, where residents said they were worried about the additional flights and excessive noise.

his week the Air Force and Valparaiso announced a settlement to the city’s federal lawsuit.
The whole episode has left Valparaiso looking like the villain of the county.
Some call it the “Sound of Freedom”, others call it an ear-splitting nuisance.

Regardless, Elgin Air Force Base will become the new home to 59, F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets this fall.
Folks in nearby Valparaiso were worried about the noise the additional five dozen jets will cause.
They decided if they couldn’t stop the jets from coming to Eglin, at least they’d have some say about where at Eglin.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Successful effort to reduce F-35 impact on citizens

By Kelly Humphrey

April 23, 2016

The F-35 and its three variants (the Air Force’s F-35A, the Marine Corps’ F-35B and the Navy’s F-35C) have both ardent defenders and fierce critics in Congress, at the Pentagon, in the defense industry and on the Internet. Thousands of critics and conspiracy theorists have questioned the aircraft’s safety, effectiveness and cost.At first, it seemed as if that controversy might bypass Okaloosa County, where support for the military runs deep.

But not long after the recommendation to build the training center at Eglin was announced, Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold and many city residents began to express concerns about the projected noise levels of the new aircraft.

With plans for dozens of daily takeoffs and landings from a nearby runway, Arnold feared the impact the noise would have on his citizens’ quality of life. The city sued the Air Force twice over the noise concerns.
Both lawsuits were eventually settled, and today Arnold maintains that his issue was never with Eglin, per se.

“Our concern was if the noise levels were too high, it would stop future development in the city, and would negatively impact our homeowners’ property values,” he said. “But that hasn’t turned out to be the case. It’s been noisy at times, but the current level of flights has been tolerable.”

Arnold said there’s no question in his mind that he did the right thing to question the Air Force’s plans, despite the enormous criticism he received from other local politicians and residents who feared the controversy would lead the Air Force to look elsewhere for a home for the program.

He dismisses those who say the subsequent reduction in the number of aircraft from the proposed 107 to less than half of that is directly connected to his city’s actions.

“That was purely a political decision based on available funding,” he insists.

The Base Realignment and Closure Committee (BRAC) recommended that up to 107 jets be stationed at the base, and a multi-million dollar training complex be constructed to serve students from the Navy, Marines and Air Force, as well as international pilots from eight allied countries.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Up in the air: F-35 training program remains strong despite reduction in aircraft

By Kelly Humphrey
April 23, 2016

While the Marine Corps originally trained its pilots at Eglin, last year the branch relocated its school to Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina, and took its F-35B’s with them. Going forward, F-35B pilots from the United Kingdom will also train at Beaufort.

That leaves less than 50 F-35s at the Eglin training facility.

While that reduction has caused some observers to wonder if the training program is in jeopardy, Okaloosa County Commissioner Wayne Harris isn’t worried.

“There are a lot of reasons that the reduction in planes has happened, and those are mostly due to fiscal constraints,” Harris said.

“The F-35 is a great plane, but it’s very expensive, and they’re still working on getting some of the bugs out of it,” he said. “I believe the training program at Eglin is very secure — the government has too much invested in it. I’m confident it will stay up and running.”

Whether the Navy will continue to train pilots at Eglin is still up for debate, however.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Addendum to Record of Decision for F-35 Beddown at Eglin AFB, FL

April 23, 2015

A one-time, temporary increase in certain F-35 operations is allowed due to required construction-related closure…but only after all mitigations measure have first been implemented and/or exhausted, limited additional F-35 operations up to the number and type of average daily operations.

The DoN is authorized to deliver up to fifteen additional BAI F-35C aircraft, provided VFA-101 continuously monitors F-35C operations to ensure they do not exceed the average daily operations analyzed under the No Action Alternative on a weekly basis.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Richard Joseph: ‘Save the Guard’ – The big lie

By Richard Joseph

September 12, 2016

In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. — Anonymous

The truth revolution faces fierce opposition in Burlington. In fact, during the past four or five years, Burlington has been subjected to a concerted disinformation campaign touting the supposed benefits of basing the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Burlington’s commercial airport. Lies have been told and repeated by F-35 basing proponents attempting to build public support. Now, in government documents released in conjunction with an ongoing lawsuit against the Air Force, some of the deceit has finally been exposed.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F16 transfer Eielson to Elmendorf

May 2013

Proposed Action: The Air Force proposes to relocate 18 primary assigned and 3 back up F-16 aircraft from EAFB to JBER, Alaska and to adjust EAFB personnel over the following 2 years to reflect reduced base operating support requirements. EAFB is the only Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) base with a one squadron wing. The Proposed Action to consolidate 3 squadrons of fighters under the 3rd Wing would achieve operational efficiencies in the PACAF Pacific Region that would meet both Air Force cost saving
and force-sizing requirements while maintaining current operational capabilities within PACAF.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Alaskan Senator Submits Eight Point Document to USAF Contesting F-16 Proposal

March 1, 2013

As the time closed for comments to be submitted from Alaskans, Senator Lisa Murkowski today delivered a stinging and comprehensive refutation of the flawed United States Air Force proposal to transfer the F-16 Aggressor squadron from Eielson Air Force Base to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson – in addition to the comments received directly from Alaskans through her “Eielson Closing Argument” online initiative she created before the U.S. Air Force allowed comments to be sent via the Internet.

“I am proud to have been a part of this statewide effort; where the Air Force thought they could pit different regions of our state against one another, Alaskans created a united front,” said Murkowski. “Alaskans came out in Southcentral, Alaskans came out in the Interior and they chimed in via the ‘Eielson Closing Argument’ initiative. In addition to all their voices, my letter today is an attempt to sum up all the best arguments and say ‘case closed.’ Alaskans must be heard, have been heard – and I will work in Washington, DC to make certain the Air Force listens.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Navy changing plans at Oceana Air Station

September 19, 2008

Proposed sites selected with objective to:
Minimize impacts to landowners and residents
Avoid National Wildlife Areas, wetlands, Important Bird Areas, and Threatened and Endangered species…

[FULL ARTICLE]

Environmental Law Center To File Suit Challenging Navy’s OLF Plan

January 9, 2004

The Southern Environmental Law Center, representing the National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife and the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, will file suit in federal court Friday challenging the Navy’s plan to build a military jet landing field in the heart of the Atlantic migratory bird flyway and a few miles from a national wildlife refuge.

The groups say the government’s environmental impact studies for the landing field downplayed the substantial risk of collisions between jets and the large flocks of tundra swans, snow geese and other birds that winter in the area, and minimized adverse impacts to the wildlife refuge.

Citing extensive evidence from wildlife experts, including the scientist who led part of the Navy’s own study, the lawsuit characterizes as “reckless” the plan for a new F/A 18 E/F Super Hornet jet training field within five miles of the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in eastern North Carolina.

The refuge is winter home to some 100,000 large swans, snow geese and other waterfowl known to represent a severe risk to low-flying aircraft and their pilots.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Hundreds drawn to celebrate ruling on OLF

By Kate Wiltrout
Mar 30, 2008

The setting was humble and wholesome, and so was the food. Fresh-cooked pork barbecue, green beans and homemade pound cake, all served on paper plates at picnic tables inside a giant barn.

The people, too, were humble. Even on a Saturday night when they could gleefully have celebrated their David-vs.-Goliath victory over the U.S. Navy, they refrained.

Instead of high-fives, hundreds of people exchanged thanks – first to God, then for one another, and finally, with a standing ovation, to the lawyers who represented them in court.

In fact, some guests even thanked the Navy for bringing them together.

“I don’t want to say, ‘We beat them,'” Ronnie Askew said. “I want to say, ‘With the good Lord’s help, we showed them the error of their ways.'”

Askew was one of about 500 people in this rural community who packed the Beasley family’s barn for what North Carolinians Opposed to the Outlying Landing Field called, “Our Blessed Celebration.”

It was a party more than four years in the making. One, two and three years ago, similar events packed the barn. But those were fundraisers or get-to-know-you gatherings for politicians, journalists and environmental groups they brought together to talk about the cause.

This night was a chance to savor, finally, the battle that reversed the Navy’s decision in 2003 to make 30,000 acres of farmland in Washington County into a place for Navy jets to practice simulated aircraft carrier landings.

In January, Navy Secretary Donald Winter removed Washington County – Site C, in the Navy’s voluminous study – from the service’s list of potential locations.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Super Hornet Final Environmental Impact Statement Released

July 18, 2003

The Secretary of the Navy has released a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for introduction of the F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet to the East Coast of the United States.

The document contains two preferred home basing alternatives, each recommending split basing of 10 Super Hornet squadrons at Naval Air Station (NAS) Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., and at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Cherry Point in N.C. The FEIS also recommends construction of an Outlying Landing Field (OLF) in Washington County, N.C., for use in practicing aircraft carrier landings.

Atlantic Fleet Commander, Adm. Robert J. Natter, has recommended the Secretary of the Navy select the alternative that calls for basing eight Super Hornet squadrons (96 aircraft) and one Fleet Replacement Squadron (24 aircraft) at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach, Va., and two squadrons (24 aircraft) at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina. The second preferred alternative contained in the FEIS recommends basing six squadrons at NAS Oceana and four at MCAS Cherry Point. Both alternatives recommend construction of an OLF in Washington County, N.C.

The recommended basing alternative maximizes existing facilities and limits capital investment requirements at both NAS Oceana and MCAS Cherry Point, providing substantive mitigation of environmental impacts at both sites at an acceptable cost. The geographic proximity of the two bases allows for combined use of training ranges and OLFs by all Super Hornet squadrons, as well as other aircraft based in the area.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Jet Noise Can Make You Rich!

May 16, 2007

Market Watch is reporting the following: “The Justice Department and the U.S. Navy have reached a settlement agreement with approximately 3,400 property owners in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, Va., regarding litigation relating to jet noise at a naval air base. Under the terms of the agreement, the participating plaintiffs agree to dismiss their claims and acknowledge that the settlement does not constitute an admission of liability by the United States.

“‘We are pleased that the federal government and residents near the Naval Air Station Oceana and Naval Auxiliary Landing Field, Fentress have been able to reach an amicable resolution in this matter and avoid further litigation,’ said Matthew J. McKeown, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. ‘This resolution signals an end to six years of litigation and provides positive results for the citizens as well as the government.’

[FULL ARTICLE]

Julie Macuga: The true sound of freedom is not an F-35

By Julia Macuga

February 8, 2018

The stack of speaker sign-up sheets for the F-35 ballot item towered at a packed City Hall last Monday night. People from around the state and members of the press crowded the first floor and balcony. People in polished brass mingled with those in salt-stained boots. The session had skipped right to public comment; by my tally, 35 people spoke in support of the issue being placed on the ballot, and five spoke in favor of the F-35’s and against the ballot initiative that would advise for an alternative to these aircrafts.

The winter chill could not freeze the petitioners nor democracy in the weeks leading up to this meeting — over 2,700 signatures, about 1,000 more than the 1,787 required to put the F-35 advisory question on the Town Meeting Day ballot — have made their way to the city clerk.

City Hall filled with murmurs as supporters of the F-35 debate said, “Why are we still arguing this?” I tried to gauge the council and Mayor Miro Weinberger’s reactions as my fellow Vermonters spoke. Despite the Air Force’s 2016 declaration that “… if there is no F-35A operational bed-down at Burlington Air Guard Station, the current mission would continue,” Vice Wing Commander Harder asserted that there would be no alternative mission for them if the F-35’s were stopped. Ray Gonda, a Vietnam veteran who lives near the airport, stated, “Burlington gets the goodies, while I and my neighbors pay the costs … Burlington has profited handsomely [from this project] by acquiring, free of charge, many formerly private-owned properties near the airport in my community.” People spoke about livelihoods, democracy, racism, birds, noise pollution and justice. The council asked the audience to settle down on numerous occasions — but applause, like the noise of jet engines, could not be mitigated.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VT National Guard press conference

February 09, 2018

The leader of the Vermont National Guard has a message for Burlington voters. It’s about a ballot question on the new F-35 fighter jets heading for the Green Mountain Boys next year.

Opponents of the jets pushed for the nonbinding question on the March ballot requesting cancellation of F-35 basing at Burlington airport. Maj. Gen. Steven Cray says even though the measure won’t change the Air Force’s decision on the F-35, he’s speaking out because it could trick voters.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Guard pushes back on F-35 ballot measure

By Elizabeth Gribkoff and Mike Dougherty

February 9, 2018

Vermont National Guard officials spoke out on Friday against a ballot measure that will allow Burlington voters to signal opposition to basing F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport.

Maj. Gen. Steven Cray, Vermont’s adjutant general, said at a press conference that the question “misleads the voter into thinking they are supporting the Air Guard.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Greg Guma: Claims that F-35 basing will protect jobs are overstated

By Greg Guma

January 25, 2018

In Vermont’s ongoing debate about the basing of F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport the arguments in support often center on balancing noise and other admitted impacts against economic necessities, benefits and fears. But the controversy also raises questions about the real economic impacts of military spending.

In 2012, for example, dire warnings that thousands of Vermont jobs were jeopardized by looming defense cuts and changes in Air Force priorities turned out to be overstated. Speaking at an Air Force public hearing on the F-35 Environmental Impact Statement, Phil Scott, then Vermont’s lieutenant governor, explained that one of his main fears was “that, with all of the talk at the federal level about reducing costs, if the program is not located here, there is a real chance the base could be reduced in size or possibly closed altogether.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Advocacy group questions F-35s

By Renee Wunderlich
February 8, 2018

Rosanne Greco is a former South Burlington city councilor and a retired Air Force colonel.

She spoke to University of Vermont students Thursday about her work with the advocacy group “Save Our Skies VT.”

Greco said there are a lot of reasons she’s not a fan of the F-35s.

“Health impacts, property value impacts, not to mention the bombardment of this noise on our children,” she said.

But it could be crucial for the Air Guard that the jets arrive next year.

Col. Hank Harder of the 158th Fighter Wing spoke to the Burlington City Council during their last meeting, saying, “… there is no alternative mission for the Vermont Air National Guard. But Greco says that’s not true.

“There are direct contradictions between what the Vermont Air National Guard senior leaders are saying — which is, if we don’t get the F-35s, we’re out of business. We have no mission, no job — and what the United States Air Force has said in their Environmental Impact Statement as well as in court,” she said.

Greco cites documents from the United States Air Force that she says contradict what the Guard says about the need for the F-35’s.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Why Are Democrats and Progressives Pushing the U.S. War Machine in Vermont?

By William Boardman

February 3, 2018

This is a story primarily about corrupt practices by the Burlington City Council, in its headlong determination to force a neighboring city to be the base for a weapon of mass destruction, the nuclear capable F-35 fighter-bomber (in development since 1992, first flown in 2000, still not reliably deployable in 2018, at a cost of $400 billion and counting). Yes, the premise itself is corrupt: Burlington owns the airport in South Burlington, so South Burlington has no effective say in how many housing units Burlington destroys in South Burlington to meet environmental standards for imposing the quiet-shattering F-35 jet on a community that doesn’t want it and won’t benefit from it. The entire “leadership” of the state of Vermont, mostly Democrats, has spent more than a decade making this atrocity happen, with widespread media complicity.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Impact on Winooski

DOD agrees to halt F-15 fighter jet transfers

June 22, 2012

The Department of Defense is telling U.S. Senate leaders that it will stop scheduled Air Force transfers of aircraft until Congress finalizes 2013 budget plans later this year, which could also further prevent those transfers.

The announcement, released by Montana U.S. Sen. Max Baucus, comes as several states become increasingly worried about their Air National Guard units losing aircraft missions.

Montana filed a lawsuit earlier this month against the Defense Department, seeking to stop the military’s transfer of F-15 fighter jets to California. Montana wants assurances that the state will later get its planned replacement mission of C-130 cargo planes.

But political leaders from the Gulf Coast states are threatening action to prevent movement of the C-130s from their states, where they help with hurricane preparedness.
[FULL ARTICLE]

Airstrip proposal could test limits to development

By David Murray
September 22, 2017

Sometime in the next several weeks an environmental assessment study will be completed on the grounds of Malmstrom Air Force Base. If that assessment on a narrow strip of land stretching near dead center through the base doesn’t reveal any big problems, it’s fair to assume that construction on a new dirt airstrip will begin as the weather permits.

The proposed Assault Landing Zone will resemble little more than a runway scratched out of the clay soil that forms the foundation of Malmstrom Air Force Base. Its purpose will be to provide a training ground upon which Montana Air National Guard flight crews can practice C-130 transport aircraft landings and take-offs under similar less-than-ideal runway conditions they might encounter in remote locations throughout the world.

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Governor sues over Montana Air National Guard’s loss of mission

June 15, 2012

Gov. Brian Schweitzer filed a lawsuit against the Defense Department on Friday to block any plans to take away the state’s Air National Guard mission without a suitable replacement.

Attorney General Steve Bullock filed the complaint Friday in U.S. District Court in Great Falls. It asks the court to place a hold on the military’s plan to transfer 15 fighter jets to California. It argues that the transfer would violate federal law that requires the governor’s permission before the federal government can make a change in a state guard’s organization.

Schweitzer, as commander in chief of the Montana Air National Guard, is the plaintiff in the lawsuit.

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F-35 Fighter Jets: What Would Martin Luther King, Jr. say?

What would Martin Luther King, Jr. say about the proposal to locate F-35 supersonic fighter jets at Madison’s Truax Field Air National Guard base?

In his 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” speech, Dr. King spoke passionately about the injustice of the growing spending on war—while anti-poverty projects were de-funded. “A Nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death,” he said.

A January. 12, 2018 Cap Times letter to the editor by former Madison Alder J. Michael Shivers called the proposal to base the F-35s at Truax Field in Madison an “outrageous waste of taxpayers’ money.” Each of the 18 jets to be located at Truax costs $150 million dollars—for a total of $270 billion.

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