Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sky Lounge of Ewing debuts at Trenton Mercer Airport (KTTN), New Jersey

Trentonian Photo/GREGG SLABODA 
Jim Hines (right) owner of the Sky Lounge at Ewing restaurant and bar in the Trenton-Mercer Airport terminal held a grand opening on Tuesday.

EWING — Travelers flying out of the Trenton-Mercer Airport can now pack one less item in their carry-on luggage — food.

County officials gathered on Tuesday for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open The Sky Lounge of Ewing, a new full-service restaurant located steps away from the passenger holding area on the second floor.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for me to try something different, and with Frontier setting up operations here, this seemed like a wonderful opportunity for my company,” said owner Jim Hines.

The 49-year-old entrepreneur has a long standing relationship with the county and as a caterer. Hines began his career dishing up fine fare over 30 years ago and started Mercer Oaks Catering at the Mercer County Country Club just about 10 years ago.

“It has been such a great experience working with the Parks Department and with the County to open this restaurant,” he continued.

The tavern type eatery, which had a soft opening approximately one month ago, offers a full line of alcoholic beverages and fresh continental cuisine which can be enjoyed seated at the dark oak finished bar while watching the latest news on three flat screened TVs or can be picked and packed to go.

“The food is just terrific I am very impressed,” said Frenchtown Diane Mallon, who enjoyed a seated lunch at the restaurant before boarding her first flight on Frontier to Ft. Lauderdale. “I am so pleasantly surprised, the airport is so convenient, parking was easy and a great restaurant … this sure beats the heck out of flying out of Philadelphia.”

According to the menu, dishes vary in price from $5 to just under $10 and drinks, both hard and soft, are all under $8 a glass.

“This is a great day for the airport,” said County Executive Brian Hughes, who was flanked by several locally elected officials, as he cut the green ribbon officially launching a new small business in Ewing. “We have seen more than 50,000 passengers come through the airport, since Frontier has been flying out of here, and we expect more in the coming months,” continued Hughes.

Although officially called the Trenton-Mercer Airport, the ground of this newly revived transportation jewel is actually in Ewing Township, and since the launch of Frontier Airline’s East Coast operations in January, Ewing’s Mayor has not let an opportunity go by without highlighting this geographical fact.

“I am really happy to see Ewing in the name of the restaurant,” said Mayor Bert Steinmann, “I’m still hoping we can get it into the official name of the airport at some point,” he joked.

The monthly rent for the restaurant, according to Hines, is $3,500. However he believes the restaurant will be successful thanks to the recent surge in arrivals and departures from the regional airport.

“Even when the airport shuts down for construction in the fall, I think workers and construction crew will come by for something to eat,” said Hines.

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Pilot arrested in drug bust says he didn't know what was on board: Lubbock Aero at Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport (KLBB), Texas

  Michael Paul Gallanter 
(Source: Lubbock County Sheriff's Office)

 Ethan Oliver Wynne-Wade 
(Source: Lubbock County Sheriff's Office)

KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock


Ethan Oliver Wynne-Wade, 31, stood before Federal judge Nancy M Koenig this afternoon to face charges of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, but officials said no decision was reached.

Authorities say Ethan Oliver Wynne-Wade and Michael Gallanter, 48, flew into Lubbock and arrived at Lubbock Aero last Wednesday evening, April 17, around 10 p.m. to refuel their airplane. Law enforcement officials received intelligence that the plane was on its way from Northern California to Atlanta, Georgia and met the plane at Lubbock Aero.

Gallanter rented and was piloting the Piper PA28-181 aircraft, and officials asked him to get out of the plane and show them appropriate paperwork. He did exactly that, but the plane was searched and law enforcement agencies found 98 bundles of marijuana totaling 200 pounds, four bundles of hash totaling 10 pounds and two bundles of hallucinogenic mushrooms totaling three pounds that were hidden in a compartment in the back of the plane. Federal officials were not able to comment on a value of the drugs seized.  

Gallanter told federal officials a guy he met at a coffee shop in California asked him to deliver the cargo to Atlanta and after he agreed, he picked up the duffle bags in the coffee shop parking lot. He said no payment arrangements had been discussed according to the arrest affidavit. 

Both men face a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000. U.S. Gallanter will have his detention hearing next week.

Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration and Lubbock Police Department were all involved in the bust and are continuing the investigation. Federal authorities said they could not comment until the two men have been prosecuted. 

RELATED STORY: 200 lbs. of marijuana seized in Lubbock drug bust

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Old clock prompts bomb scare at Kansas Aviation Museum (With Video)

WCH 12 Eyewitness News

4:18 p.m. CDT, April 24, 2013

(WICHITA, Kan.)—

Wichita Police found nothing suspicious after a package was left at the Kansas Aviation Museum.

The call was reported just before 4 p.m. Wednesday. Dispatchers said someone dropped a package at the museum, 3350 S. George Washington Blvd., and left.

Lon Smith, director, said someone left the package at the museum because it was stolen. He said he drove the package out past the museum gate and called 911.

Officers shut down 31st and George Washington while authorities investigated.  The museum was also placed on temporary lock down.

The bomb squad did not determine the package to be dangerous. An official opened it to find an old clock.

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Citing sequestration uncertainties, Army stops officer transfers into flight school at Fort Rucker

The Army is suspending its aviation branch transfer panels indefinitely, a move that stops officers from transferring into helicopter training at Fort Rucker.

Army Times is reporting the move was made due to the uncertainties over sequestration, the across-the-board cuts that are slicing some $46 billion from the Department of Defense this fiscal year. Suspending the transfer panels effectively stops new student pilots from starting at the Aviation Center of Excellence at Fort Rucker, the headquarters for Army aviation.

Fort Rucker is looking at losing some 500 student pilots and 37,000 hours of aviation training due to sequestration cutbacks. Officials said they stopped transfers until it could be determined how many spaces were available.

The transfer panels, which normally meets in April and October, would have considered five officer transfers this session, Army Times reports. Those soldiers come from ROTC units, Officer's Candidate School, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The Army said the applications will be reconsidered at a later time.

The move comes just weeks after a visit by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno.

Odierno toured Rucker's different training facilities, held briefings and met with students from the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Career College and flight school. He said while Fort Rucker was important to the Army, sequestration's cutbacks reached into all corners.

"If we don't sustain Fort Rucker, we will lose our readiness for our aviation capabilities. If we have to reduce it, we will try to mitigate that as much as we can," he said.

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Airport Authority puts 753 acres in Rockefeller's hands

Deal with New York development company envisions massive warehouses on 753 acres just outside Lehigh Valley International Airport's core property.

By Matt Assad, Of The Morning Call

10:16 p.m. EDT, April 23, 2013

If the Rockefeller Group of New York gets its way, in the next few years hundreds of acres of farmland around Lehigh Valley International Airport will spout industrial complexes, offices and some of the largest warehouses in the region.

And if Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority officials get their way, the money Rockefeller pays for the 753 acres of farmland will dig the airport out from under its crushing debt.

The authority Tuesday approved a Rockefeller conceptual plan that envisions 10 huge warehouses and distribution centers — some of them larger than the massive Nestle distribution center on Interstate 78 — and more than a dozen smaller buildings.

The plan, more than a year in the making, is designed to help the airport pay off the remaining $14 million of a $26 million court judgment against it for taking a developer's land in the early 1990s. But while the deal has the potential to virtually erase the court debt, there's a chance the payoff will come too late.

Under Rockefeller's deal with the authority, it has five years to get the property developed. The authority has to have the court debt paid by the end of 2015.

Authority officials said the company has interest from a distribution company that wants to develop 200 acres of the land as soon as possible. A Rockefeller executive declined to comment Tuesday.

"Are we holding our breath and hoping they get this done ahead of schedule? Absolutely," authority Chairman Tony Iannelli said. "But we also recognize that this is our best chance to fix this problem."

Not everyone agrees. Two members of the 15-member board voted against approving the plan. William Berger and Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski worry that the authority is putting too many eggs in the New York City real estate developer's basket.

"I'm a little concerned about tying up 750 acres of good land for five years," Berger said.

"We've kicked this can down the road for 16 or 18 months," replied authority member Michael Dowd. "We've been down this road a couple of times."

The authority expects to have enough money to make its debt payments through 2013, but has to come up with a $5 million payment in 2014 and a $6 million payment in 2015.

Rockefeller's plan comes after months of reviewing all property airport officials have deemed nonessential. In its plan, Rockefeller offers a letter of intent to buy and develop 534 acres of farmland straddling Allen and East Allen townships just north of Race Street, and an additional 219 acres just east of Airport Road in Hanover Township, Northampton County, airport Executive Director Charles Everett Jr. said.

The company also served notice that it has no interest in several smaller properties along Airport Road, or in the 74-acre Braden Airpark in Forks Township, but Everett said the airport will try to find other buyers for those parcels.

In a draft conceptual plan they say could change depending on buyers, Rockefeller officials envision the 534-acre tract as a distribution and warehouse park similar to those along Interstate 78 in Upper Macungie Township. The park just north of LVIA's main terminal would include eight distribution or warehouse buildings, including two of 600,000 square feet, one of 780,000 square feet and another of 1 million square feet that would be larger than the Nestle warehouse along I-78 west of Route 100.

On the 219-acre tract in Hanover Township, Northampton County, Rockefeller's draft conceptual plan calls for warehouses of 415,000 square feet and 1 million square feet, and 14 other lots for office, retail and commercial buildings.

No homes are allowed to be built on any of the land because of its proximity to the airport.

Under the proposed deal, the company has 12 to 24 months to get township planning and zoning, and Federal Aviation Administration approvals. Rockefeller will foot the bill, expected to reach $750,000, for all of that.

Once the land is prepared for development, a new FAA-approved appraisal will be done to determine how much Rockefeller must pay the airport authority. Then the company will have up to three years to lease, sell or develop the land.

It won't be clear how much the property will fetch until federally approved appraisals are done, but a large portion of the same land — roughly 559 acres — was appraised at $8 million to $10 million in 2010.

Everett understands the need to get the money soon, and he's counting on Rockefeller to get some of the land developed well ahead of schedule. He also added that if all of the money doesn't come in time, the authority could borrow money against the future sale to pay the court debt on schedule.

"We are confident that Rockefeller is as motivated to get this done as we are," Everett said. "This is our best hope."

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