Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Roanoke Regional (KROA) officials discuss changing the name of the airport (With Video)

Nadine Maeser WDBJ7 Multimedia Journalist

4:29 p.m. EDT, May 22, 2013


The Roanoke Regional Airport has been undergoing renovations for months now, but WDBJ7 has learned something else could be in store for the airport.

After 30 years of being named the Roanoke Regional Airport, travelers could be flying out of an airport with a different name.

According to an airport spokeswoman, officials have been talking about changing the name of the airport for years, but WDBJ7 has learned that they have hired an outside agency to actually facilitate these discussions.

Roanoke Regional Airport is currently in the process of finishing a renovation project that costs about $4 million dollars.

“We wanted to talk to the community a little bit more about ways we could serve them outside of air service so that's where it all started,” said Roanoke Regional Airport spokeswoman Sherry Wallace.

Months and even years of research led the airport to make these big changes and with the new changes could come a new name in the future.

"They had another conversation in regards to all these other conversations we've had,” said Wallace.

Wallace said the commission board members have been kicking around ideas and discussing whether or not it was worth it to change the name.

The airport has hired an outside agency by the name of Kathy Baske-Young to help out with the discussion process. The agreement with Kathy Baske-Young is not to exceed $1,400, according to Wallace.

Many have remained tight lipped on the details but told WDBJ 7 that the agency recently surveyed airport commission members about the name change.

"It's just a conversation,” said Wallace. “Should they decide to pursue it they will do a much formal conversation."

Despite these preliminary talks, the airport will continue on with its construction and rebranding initiative.

You can already see some of the improvements made including a new entrance sign that came with a price tag of $200,000 as well as new escalators that cost $250,000 each.

In the end, it will be the airport commission members who will decide if this newly renovated airport needs a new name.

"We know they'll decide on what's best for the airport and community," said Wallace.

WDBJ 7 asked for a copy of the survey filled out by the airport commission but we were told that was not public record.

We also reached out to members of the commission board. We reached Fuzzy Minnix over the phone, but he declined to answer any questions.

At this point, there is no set deadline on when a decision will be made. Airport officials emphasized that this is only a discussion.

The airport has been called Roanoke Regional Airport since the 1980's. According to officials, it was called Roanoke Municipal Airport prior to that.

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Target 11: Update to Essential Air Service program (With Video)

PITTSBURGH -   We first told you about the controversial federal program, known as the Essential Air Service program, for which tens of millions of tax dollars are spent every year to subsidize commercial flights into tiny airports across the country.

Critics call it a waste of tax dollars, but supporters say it ultimately stimulates the local economy.

Target 11 discovered that despite federal budget cuts and furloughs at some of the nation’s largest airports, the program remains intact and untouched.

Target 11 put the Essential Air Service program to the test again, and just like we saw back in November in Franklin, Pa., we found near-empty airplanes flying to places like Stauton, Va., and Beckley, W. Va.

Despite huge federal budget cuts in recent months, which required the furlough of air traffic controllers and the closure of air traffic control towers, the government’s controversial Essential Air Service program is still set to suck up tens of millions of tax dollars to subsidize passenger tickets at 118 small airports nationwide.

“Can we really afford as a nation to keep subsidizing people to fly on empty airplanes when there are better ways to get them there?” said Dan Ronan, of the American Bus Association.

A United States Department of Transportation spokesman said, despite a budget crisis, no adjustments have yet to be made to the Essential Air Service.

In fact, when Target 11 walked into Beckley’s airport, days after the federal budget cuts took effect, we found the same number of flights still scheduled, a ticket clerk on duty and a TSA checkpoint still up and running -- but an airport with no passengers.

"They have economies that can benefit from having that air service available,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.

Casey tells Target 11 that these small rural airports depend on the program to keep their economy soaring.

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Photos: T-Hangar Construction Progresses at Brunswick Executive Airport (KBXM), Maine

Trusses are in.

Construction work continues on the new general aviation T-hangar at Brunswick Executive Airport:

Weather Avoidance in a Piper Meridian with Garmin G1000: Master Instructor Dick Rochfort


Ride along with Master Instructor Dick Rochfort as he describes use of the Garmin G1000 panel for weather avoidance. Dick uses all of the tools available aboard this PA46-500T Piper Meridian to safely transit the affected area.

Loss of flight could mean layoffs at Yeager Airport (KCRW), Charleston, West Virginia

Wednesday May 22, 2013

by Paul Fallon, Daily Mail Staff

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Central West Virginia Regional Airport Authority could be forced to lay off employees in order to reduce its operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Board members discussed the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget during a meeting Wednesday.

They learned that $675,000 must be reduced from the proposed budget, bringing it down to around $5.3 million, because of a revenue shortfall caused by the elimination of the Orlando flight last year.

The authority can eliminate about $300,000 from the proposed budget by possibly laying off a "few employees" and leaving other positions unfilled, said airport director Rick Atkinson.

Two to four employees could be laid off and an additional three positions could be eliminated through attrition, he said.

The number of employees to be laid off would depend on whether the airport could receive leniency from federal authorities on some future technology purchases.

Employees will be asked to pay higher insurance premiums, which could reduce the budget by about $26,000, Atkinson said.

The authority also will not allocate 3 percent merit raises during the upcoming fiscal year, saving another $75,000.

Members also plan to reduce the amount of money placed in the authority's reserve fund from $400,000 to $300,000, and the authority will not allocate $150,000 to help pay for airport marketing to slash the budget, Atkinson said.

Losing the Orlando flight has meant that about 20,000 fewer passengers used Yeager Airport from last year to this year.

The loss of traffic caused the airport's landing fee to jump from $3.55 per every 1,000 landing pounds this fiscal year to $4.74 per every 1,000 landing pounds during the upcoming fiscal year.

The $5.3 million budget incorporates a $3.55 landing fee for every 1,000 landing pounds.

The landing pounds are determined by the weight of the plane coming in to the airport. The airlines pay the fee to the airports.

The $3.55 landing fee will keep the airport "competitive" said authority chairman Ed Hill.

"We would be doing our airport and our customers a great disservice by raising our landing fees," Hill said.

Raising landing fees could force airlines to eliminate flights in to and out of the airport, further reducing revenue.

"That would make us less competitive and less attractive to airlines," he said. "It's important for the board to consider all other avenues to accommodate our shortfall.

"We recognize how vital it is for the airport to stay competitive and active," Hill said. "We have to maintain profitability."

The board members also are looking at cutting expenses wherever they can, Hill said, and on Wednesday the authority opted not to purchase a $30,000 truck.

Although the board is struggling financially, a proposal to help fund a $7 million to $9 million bridge from U.S. 119 near Mink Shoals to the back end of Coonskin Park is still moving forward.

The bridge must be built in order to keep the West Virginia Air National Guard base at Yeager Airport open, said retired Adj. Gen. Allen Tackett, an airport authority board member.

There needs to be a secure entrance to the armory and air base, Tackett had previously said. Currently the facilities share an entrance with Coonskin Park.

While airport authority board could never use its general fund to pay for the bridge construction because of Federal Aviation Administration restrictions, it could use other funds, such as those generated by parking garage revenue, Atkinson said.

Tackett hopes to have the bridge construction financed by the airport authority, the National Guard, the commission and the City of Charleston.

The budget will be placed before the authority board for a final vote on June 27. 


Pilot's License and Flight Instructor’s Certificate Stolen in Armed Robbery: Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Published: May 22, 2013

A man was robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Lascassas Pike in Murfreesboro and so far an arrest has not been made. The victim said he was unloading his car at 8 in the evening at College Grove Apartments when he was approached by a black male wearing a white coat. The unknown man told the victim, “Give me your wallet, I’m not playing.”  The victim complied and handed over his billfold.

The armed robber cocked his weapon, but did not point it at the victim as he was stepping away. The subject fled on foot running through the complex. The victim called the police and they dispatched a K-9 unit. A K-9 attempted to locate the scent of the thief, but was unsuccessful. The unknown man got away with the victim’s wallet. Two of the prized possessions inside the wallet were a pilot’s license and a flight instructor’s certificate.

Source:   Murfreesboro Police Incident #13-9877

Well-Known Brandon, Florida, Educator Lyle Flagg Dead at 85: Member of the Experimental Aircraft Association and one of the original founders, past president and longtime board member of the Sun ‘N Fun Fly In, Lakeland

Lyle Flagg looks through old Brandon High School yearbook photos. 
Photo Credit Linda Chion Kenney

Family, friends and former students are mourning the death of longtime Brandon educator Lyle Flagg, who died Tuesday, May 21 at the age of 85.

Born Jan. 13, 1928 to Forrest and Louise Flagg in Fayette, Maine, Flagg served in the Navy during World War II and received his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Maine.

In 1954, he moved his family to Brandon where he served 40 years with the Hillsborough County School System and was a longtime member of Nativity Catholic Church.

During his tenure as an educator, Flagg was principal of Pinecrest High School, Dowdell Junior High School, Brandon High School from 1968-74, East Bay High School, Armwood High School from 1984-90, and was the director of secondary education for the school system. He retired in 1990 and the football field at Armwood High School was named in his honor.

As an educator, he served as chairman of the Florida Committee of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and as executive director of the Hillsborough Association of School Administrators.

In 2011 he was presented with the Hillsborough County Human Rights Person of the Year Award for his work mentoring minority school administrators.

He was also dedicated community servant, serving as a trustee of Brandon Regional Hospital, past chairman of the Riverview and Brandon chambers of commerce, and president of the Brandon Lions Club and Brandon Rotary Club.

He earned the Rotary designation of Paul Harris Fellow for his longtime service to the organization.

Flagg had a passion for flying. He was a pilot with a commercial rating, a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association and one of the original founders, past president and longtime board member of the Sun ‘N Fun Fly In, held each year in Lakeland. He was subsequently presented the title of chairman emeritus of Sun 'N Fun.

He also was a member of the Florida Air Museum and Quiet Birdmen, an honorary aviation fraternity.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Vivian Perron Flagg; his daughter Lee Hinkle (Cliff); his sons Reggie (Cherie), Dan, Howard (Lynn), Tom (Linda), Tim (Pam); nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Visitation will take place Friday, May 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Southern Funeral Care in Riverview. A funeral Mass will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 25, at Nativity Catholic Church in Brandon.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions be made to the Lyle Flagg Endowment, University of South Florida Foundation, 4202 E. Fowler Ave., ALC 100, Tampa, FL 33620. The endowment will be used for students in educational administration.

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Former politician called British Columbia's ‘flying MLA’ perishes in plane crash: de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, Accident occurred May 21, 2013 just off Stuart Island, north of Quadra island in the Strait of Georgia, British Columbia, Canada

Photo Credit:  Powell River Peak
Harold Long, a Powell River businessman and former MLA, was found dead in his float plane south of Stuart Island in Bute Inlet late Tuesday afternoon, May 21.

Former B.C. MLA Harold Long has died in a plane crash, the B.C. coroner’s office confirmed Wednesday morning. 

Mr. Long, 72, first served as an MLA for McKenzie from 1986 to 1991, and then for Powell River-Sunshine Coast from 2001 to 2005.

The coroner’s office said Mr. Long was the sole occupant of a DHC-2 Beaver float plane that was spotted overturned in Bute Inlet on the west side of Stuart Island late Tuesday afternoon.

Search-and-rescue technicians, the Canadian Coast Guard and the RCMP attended the scene and confirmed Mr. Long’s death later in the day. The coroner’s office says authorities are continuing to investigate the incident.

Mr. Long had been known as B.C.’s “only flying MLA,” and commuted from Powell River to Victoria in his private plane.

Premier Christy Clark issued a statement Wednesday saying that Mr. Long “set an example by always working to make his community and province a better place.”

“I served with Harold in the Legislature from 2001 to 2005 and will never forget his wise counsel and belief in giving back to British Columbia in ways big and small,” Ms. Clark said. “He embraced life with a great spirit. There were never any strangers when Harold was around. He treated everyone exactly the same – like a friend.”

Ms. Clark also expressed her condolences to Mr. Long’s family, adding that they should be “immensely proud of all his contributions and his generous nature, both of which touched so many.”

Before entering politics, Mr. Long operated a transportation business which had been in his family for generations.

He lived in the Powell River area his entire life.

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Police release fresh closed-circuit television footage in bid to snare killers of Jason Osu: Liverpool dad was shot as he parked his Mercedes outside his home in November 2012

Dad-of-two Jason, a commercial pilot and currency trader, was shot five times as he waited in his car outside his Liverpool home in November 2012.

This man could help cops catch the killers of a Merseyside dad gunned down in a hail of bullets.

Jason Osu, 31, was shot repeatedly in his car by two masked men who lay in wait outside his Wavertree home.

The trained pilot died in hospital six days after the gunmen opened fire in Beauclair Drive on November 19.

Six months on, police released fresh CCTV footage to the ECHO of a man detectives want to speak to over one of the getaway cars used by the killers.

The gunmen fled in a stolen Citroen C4, which they torched a mile away in  Wavertree Nook Road, close to Waldgrave Road.

They then made their escape in a silver  Audi A4 S-Line, later found burning in Halsnead Avenue, Whiston.

The man cops want to quiz could have key information on that Audi, which was stolen from Queens Park leisure centre in St Helens on September 19.

Detective superintendent Mike Shaw told the ECHO: "This car was stolen in September and then false plates put on prior to being used by the men who murdered Jason Osu.

“I would like to appeal to the man in the CCTV or anyone who knows him to come forward.

“This car was stolen two months before the shooting and there must be someone out there who knows where it was being kept or used during that time.”

Detectives, who have arrested and bailed six over Mr Osu’s death, also want to speak to two young men seen in Waldgrave Road when the Citroen was abandoned and set alight.

Det Supt Shaw said: “They were last seen running in the direction of Northway. I would like to stress that we do not believe that they were involved in the incident, but may well have seen the offenders, who were wearing dark anorak-type jackets and balaclavas, abandoning the car in the road.

“Any information they may have could be vital to our investigation.”

Police earlier this month confessed that they returned Mr Osu’s  Mercedes to his family with the bullets that killed him still inside.

But officers insist that good progress is being made on the hunt for his killers.

Det Supt Shaw added: “It has been six months since Mr Osu was killed and we are following a number of positive lines of enquiry, but we would still like to hear from anyone who may have information that they have not spoken to us about yet.

“Jason Osu was a father, brother and son and was shot in cold blood on his driveway with no means of defending himself. We are determined to find those responsible and put them before the courts."

* The Audi was stolen from Queens Park leisure centre at 12.15pm on Wednesday, September 19. When stolen its number plate was MF60 KVY – when found burnt out the number plate was RV09 KXU. 

Authority approves nightspot at John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport (KJST) - Pennsylvania

JOHNSTOWN — Fans of country-western and classic rock music will have a nightspot catering to them when two veteran restaurant owners open their new endeavor in John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport terminal building.

David Horten of Richland Township and Galen Blough of the Riverside section of Stonycreek Township outlined plans for Rock and Country Grill at Tuesday’s meeting of the Johns­town-Cambria County Airport Authority.

“There is no place in Richland that is dedicated to country music or classic rock,” Horten said. “It is the most popular music in this town.”

The authority voted to authorize its solicitor to negotiate a lease for the restaurant space, which has been vacant since Audi’s Olde World Restaurant closed in November 2011.

Horten cited his 20 years and Blough’s 40 years of experience in the restaurant business.

“I think we can make this place go,” Horten told the authority board.

Horten is owner of NyKo’s Restaurant on Scalp and formerly operated Four Corners of the World in the Richland Plaza and Shooter’s Lounge in the Bel Air Plaza, among others.

Blough cut his restaurateur’s teeth at his parents’ former country-rock nightspot, Cal and Dot’s Inn, which was located at 400 Bentwood Ave. in Geistown.

The partners are not concerned about the airport restaurant location’s troubled history. Rock and Country Grill would be the seventh operation since the new terminal opened May 1, 1999. Previous incarnations have been The Wings Restaurant, Lino’s at the Airport, Skyway Cafe, Barnstormer’s Bar and Grille, Sassy’s at the Airport and Audi’s.

Although the restaurant is off the beaten path, it is close to busy shopping and dining areas, authority Chairman William Polacek said.

For the restaurant to succeed, it must become a destination for patrons, Horten said.

“If you provide good food at a decent rate, people will come,” he said. “If you put country-western music here, people are going to go.”

Horten is pushing for a June 17 opening in time for Thunder in the Valley. He’s asking the airport to excavate an area along the airfield for outdoor dining to cater to the motorcycle crowd.

“Since Shooter’s, I know these guys want to go outside,” he said.